Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Momma-Bird Nest Charm's

So I'm still perfecting these...but I think this is what all the "momma's" in my life are going to get for Christmas......
Bird's nest necklaces.....glass beads and wire and patience....

I love the symbolism behind these....We all have people and children in our lives that we help, love, nourish and protect....Perfect. Gift. for so many people in my life :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sweet Serenade

We answered a knock at the door tonight....A family in our ward serenaded our us with
 "Love One Another"
and handed us a cookie puzzle.

We love you guys too!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday: Singing, Santa & Sunsets

Today was our ward's primary presentation. I Know The Scriptures Are True was the theme for 2011. Last week I realized that this would be the last year a Kramer participated in the Primary Presentation....Dallyn moves up to Young Mens soon. He can't wait, I am a little sad to see the primary stage of our life end....
I love our primary, my favourite is the primary songs, the kids sang their hearts out today. Dallyn was also showing off his new church duds and looked so grown-up.

Notice the little owie on Dallyn's cheek....Alex threw a "For The Strength of Youth" book at him...aw my perfect children....I think you missed the point of the book Alex....you might want to read it again, eh?

As soon as the Superman finished at church, he slipped on his Santa suit and headed to the Wal-Mart kids Christmas party....

The kids reactions are always priceless.

The joy this little guy showed as he leaped on Santa lap was contagious and made it all worth it.

No joy.....This kid was forced :)

Tonight's sunset...I heart sunsets!!!!

Today was a beautiful day. :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kindness :)

"Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes."
--Joseph B. Wirthlin, "The Virtue of Kindness", Liahona, May 2005, 26–28

Not going to lie, It's been a rough week, but a week filled with kindness.....

My visiting teacher brought me chocolate cake....for breakfast.

My sistas who bought me a sandwich and made me laugh so hard I had a headache and wished I'd worn depends

A sister in law, who knew just when to call, listened with compassion, and said exactly what I needed to hear.

Superman's friend who dropped off a DQ gift card just for him....Money can't buy happiness, but money can buy ice cream, and ice cream's close. :)

My children who were an endless source of comic relief :)

And the life long friend of my Dad's, who went out of his way to bring my Dad a turkey dinner with all the trimmings after my Dad had refused all other Thanksgiving invitations.

This week has ended with my heart full of gratitude for the kindness that has been shown my family. Kindness has made ALL the difference this week....Thank you all.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Well Played Dallyn!

So Dallyn walks into the rec room and hands Bailey her bright pink cell phone and says "Ummm Holly's going to be really mad at you Bailey".... Bailey: "Why??"..... Dallyn: " 'cause you just called her a poo head"....DALLYN?!?!

Holly came in the door from work 15 minutes later...."Alright which one of you dorks texted me!!!!!"

Dallyn's text "sup sup poo dog"

Well played Dallyn, well played :) Its always nice to know that boy can hold his own in a house full of girls.

Happy Birthday Alex!

Happy Birthday to my baby girl Alex!
fall 2004
Welcome to teenage- land.

fall 2011

Four teenage girls under one roof, well won't this be fun!!! Good thing you are all awesome kids. Please just keep the tag-teaming to a minimum. You don't want your poor parents to go crazy now do you???

Her wish list was...
getting facebook
cell phone

What she actually got...
hair straightener and a haircut

oh the power of parents :)

Happy Birthday Jo! (don't worry I'm not senile)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bailey's {most recent} Masterpiece

Bailey's newest masterpiece....God's Hand
Visual Arts 11/12
I am constantly amazed at your talent and deeply respect your conviction, to be who you are, where ever you are. We sure do love you. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Button and Bead Rings

Can you hear that?, nope, me either....my house is sooo quiet and I love it. I took this rare opportunity to crank up the Christmas Caroles and make these....

Wire, bead and button rings. It took a little practice but they are pretty easy. I got the wire, beads and buttons from the dollar store and used various size markers as ring forms....and stole Alex's tiny pliers and wire cutters from her jewelery making kit (shhh). Each took about five minutes....

Nothing like a little crafting therapy :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Singing Kumbaya on a Soapbox

Stepping up on my soapbox.....

So, my world these days, spins a heck of a lot faster than I wish it would. Somedays I feel like I just can't catch  breath, much less a break. I swing from wanting/needing the help from others and wanting to climb in a bubble and protect my family...."If people only knew how much we have on our plate, how fragil things are right now" {maybe people will be kinder} So here is my new phillosophy. Unless you think my family is AWESOME, kindly leave us be.

So here is the best Facebook comment ever....something I really needed today.....

My facebook status was "Why can't we all just hold hands and sing Kumbaya, life would be so much easier that way ..."

So here is what my awesome friend from high school said.....(if only we all knew how profoundly smart we all were in high school).....

If we did that then someone would complain that it was being sung too fast, or too slow, or in the wrong key.

Someone would complain that the words "oh Lord" were too religious and others would complain that they were sacreligious and of...fensive yet others would say they are traditional lyrics and should never be changed.

Someone would say they couldn't sing today as they didn't have child care and others would bring their children along which, of course wouldn't sit right with those who think this is an adult-only activity.

Someone would get fed up with all the complainers and tell them to just shut up and sing which would make everyone mad that they were being told what to do by someone who is not in charge.

Then everyone would get mad, storm off, and the original person would be left standing there and wondering why we couldn't all just hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

Wiser words were never spoken, well today at least. My friend makes a profound point....No matter what we do there will always be those who sing our praises and those who will shoot us down. My family, like most, is AWESOME despite some heafty challenges. I am not here to convince any one of that, (but I might suggest some glasses) I know the journey we have walked, and the mountains we have mastered.... and those who have held our hands or carried us along the way know it too. Maybe we should do alot more carrying and a lot less critizing....That way we could all be AWESOME.

There I have stepped down off my soap box....man I feel better :)
(Thanks Vicky for your AWESOME words) 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Laundry Team Love

After spending nearly two decades trying to avoid all the stereotypical evidences of being the tried and a  true Suzy Homemaker, I have come to the reality that that is exactly what I am..... and this is how you know you are "that"  Suzy Homemaker.....

Our brand new Washer and Dryer (our washer bit it several months ago and we have been getting by using an apartment size stacked set since) was delivered today and I was so excited I had a hard time sleeping last night.....Visions of neatly fold laundry and being able to see the laundry room floor...kept me up. I have had less anticipation waiting for children to be born (okay, I'm kidding, but only slightly)....

Laundry is my arch enemy and since the Laundry Fairy walked out on us a decade ago, I have never seen the bottom of the mountain.

aren't they pretty

The Washer is a high-efficiency that has all the features of my old front loader, but as a top loader :) and more capacity.

Don't worry, we let him out for 15 minutes, at dinner.

So we will see how well these do, cause we will use and abuse them and make sure we wear out the warranty (with drying Dallyn and all)

Marriage Tip: Don't move appliances with yer spouse and don't mention that" in the distructions it says"....I's just saying.

So I guess this proves fully that I am indeed a true Suzy Homemaker :)

Funny Stuff Dallyn says....I say "Dad was pretty hot in high school" The girls "Mom stop" Dallyn: " So that's where I get it from!" Grant and Dallyn high five each other  :) :) :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Crafting Begins :)

Alright I admit it, I am addicted to pinterest...But at least I am actually making things.
For Christmas this year I have strong-armed my family into the idea of a "one gift" Christmas. We will draw names amongst the seven of us, set a $50 limit and Santa will only be bringing stockings. Everything else has to be homemade....I have started on ornaments for the kids 12-days of Christmas.

Owls are so dang cute.

These are called Finnish Stars and really aren't as hard as they look.

So I'll let you know how this Christmas goes, its about the time, memories and traditions, right?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ass.u.me. Nothing.

So this week I was sitting around waiting for my Superman to finish up, what he needed to do....When someone I know relatively well, Comes up to me and says "You sure wait around alot..." "Oh I don't really mind" I respond. "I'm sure this is when you really regret never getting your driver's license." (something I have never mention to her) "Not really" I say. "Well I know I'd die if I didn't have mine, I don't know how you function, but I guess relying on everybody else takes the stress off of you."....(I think she meant well?)

Now it is true, I DON"T DRIVE. It's a choice I have made, an educated choice. If anybody actually takes the time to ask why I'm always super willing to explain...but for those who assume, I tend to change the subject. Which is exactly what I did. Change the subject.

But it got me thinking. We often assume many things about the people around us...Should we?

We often to infer what our wants, desires and needs would be, onto someone elses life. Have you ever walked into someone else's house, lets assume it's an absolute disaster in our minds, cluttered, stuff everywhere?? Has your first thought been they sure need to clean this up, maybe I'll help them?? But if you actually asked those who lived there "How can I help you?" A clean house might not even be in there top ten. Maybe its help with a defiant teenager or a sick baby or just a friend to talk to that they need the most.

Assume nothing and always ask.....

I don't drive mostly because of cerebral palsy, something I have been mildly affected by since birth. I have zero depth perception, poor hand-eye coordination, and slow reflexes. I have learned to adapted in most areas in my life thanks to intensive physical and occupational therapy. I have had both feet reconstructed, spent more than two years of my life in a wheel chair, had corrective eye surgery and have yet to have won my terrible battle with gravity. Driving is difficult for me and we have made the decision that everyone is safer with me OFF the road. But my life is just about as normal as anyone, minus the driver's licence....

I am capable of getting myself anywhere I need to go, my legs work, I can even read a bus schedule, and I have a ton of friends who are willing to take me with them. I have never been afraid to ask for what I need. It's really a non issue.

I really hope no one ever pity's me for not driving. Pity bothers me, not the lack of a driver's license.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm Going There Today.....

Saturday, Grant and I traveled to the Temple with most of the Youth from our Ward to do baptisms....Now I love going to the temple especially with our youth, but the crazy traffic, construction, and the pouring rain in Vancouver. Make me super nervous. Now Vancouver did not disappoint. It was POURING, the traffic was crazy, but we made it. I even sat in the front seat (Grant usually makes me sit in the very back and hide) and didn't use my imaginary brake or gouge the Superman's arm once (miracles).

Entering the temple with our youth was a stark contrast to the chaotic drive to get there...The spirit of the temple brought instant peace.  Witnessing the joy and enthusiasm of our youth for the next two hours was an absolute privilege. Our youth are nothing short of amazing and watching their unity in purpose, spirit  and friendship, I could help but think, I'm pretty sure this is what heaven will be like.

As we left the front doors of the temple, we caught a glimpse of a young couple who had just been married for time and all eternity. The bride the daughter of dear friends. She had been one of my YW and was also laurel when Holly was first a beehive. She had always been so kind to Holly. I felt joy for this beautiful bride and gratitude for the example she continues to set for my daughters. Such a sweet moment.

I love to see the Temple, especially with our youth :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget

Service to country was always important, especially in my Dad's family, all the way back to the American Revolutionary War. My Grandfather Wendell W Merrill served in World War One in the Medical Corps as a dentist....He then returned home and practiced dentistry for many years in Logan, Utah.
This is him in 1918 when he married my Grandma Beena, not long before the end of the War.

All five of his sons went on to serve....
John, Bill, Bob, Les (my dad) and Pete. 1995

From my Grandma Beena's journal.....

“My five sons were all in the service of our country. Bill in the Air Force and flew many missions over China.  Peter was in the Marines and served in the South Pacific. John in the Army and served in the far north, Hudson’s Bay. Les served in Germany, Bob served for three years, also in Germany. They were all spared and returned home safely another reason for my gratitude.”

I too am grateful for their service and all those who have sacrificed for my freedom.

It wasn't until I moved to Canada as a teenager that I remember hearing the poem "In Flander's Fields" by Canadian John McCrae. Now one of my all time favourites....Also put to music, It was also the first song I learned in school choir in Canada. Simply beautiful. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Robin'll Do It!

One of the only benefits of having a ton of kids (out here, people think anything over three, means yer crazy) is we have a built in team to get a ton of work done quickly. Plus, out of necessity and some church callings I have had experience in feeding a ton of people at once.....Unfortunately my Superman knows this and we get "volun-told" by said Superman a lot....

So Tuesday my favourite Superman says "Can you help me with the associate appreciation lunch at work?" [Translation: Robin I need you to do the lunch at work]. When?: Thursday [as in this]. How many?150 [as in people] Who's helping? [the kids]

Because I kind of like the challenge and the Superman's boss has been really kind to us...I mostly didn't mind.

So the Superman had suggested a baked potato bar and salad to the Management team, something none of them had heard of {obviously never been to a (lds) church diner.:)}

So here's what we served:

Baked Potatoes

-Sour Cream
-Bacon Bits
-Green Onions



Here are my tips:
Shred the cheese yourself, way cheaper that way (by half)
Store everything in Ziploc bags easy to store in the fridge and transport, less dishes if you are just refilling
To steam the chopped broccoli just add a couple of Tbs of water leaving the corner of the bag open, microwave for 5-8 minutes (worked perfectly)
My favourite site ever for figuring out quantities:  Ellen's Kitchen

I have a pet peeve for store bought bag salad so I usually make it myself. Use only sturdy veggies, no tomatoes or cucumber. Mix in large Zip locs. I have even use the gigantic sized ones if the salad is being served all at once. Romaine and Spinach hold up longer than iceberg.

We bought 80 lbs of russet (bake the best for buffet style)
I never wrap them in foil, safer that way. When they are wrapped it can allow bacteria to grow, when serving over time. Plus the buffet line moves quicker with no one trying to unwrap a hot potato and less garbage...

I also made a stock pot of chili:

Costco size hamburger
2 large onions
4 green peppers
#10 can tomato sauce
#10 can kidney beans
#10 can baked beans

This made the perfect quantity and defiantly requires the largest pot you own, always cook slowly over low heat to prevent burning.

We used plug in turkey roasters to bake and keep the potatoes warm, and crock pots to serve the chili.

I couldn't have done it without the help of my teenagers. Luckily I have a great ability to ignore their whining (practice, practice, practice) But we got it all prepped and put together in less than four hours...Yeah us :)

A little more notice next time kay Super :) Unless this is now a competition ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

And She`s Driving ....

Just yesterday she was driving this....

Now (as of yesterday) its this.....

Driving this....
The Superman is thrilled to finally have another team member at the Krazy Kramer Transportation and Taxi Company. Way to go Holly! I just I have no idea where the time has gone. Now just be nice to Dad's car :) The Superman was more than happy to let her do the Seminary run this morning...we made them still bring the car home and walk to school after (he he he)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Look What I Did (with a popsicle stick)

I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested...seriously I was tested and retested for many things as a child and I wasn't crazy then....But I think I have an issue now, I have gone a little craft crazy and it's driving my family nuts. Something I find great pleasure in :)..

I found perhaps the world's cheapest craft,  popsicle stick bracelets.....

All you need is the biggest Popsicle sticks you can find, scrap paper, and modge podge. It costs less than 5 cents a bracelet....

You boil, yes boil the sticks in water for 15 minutes or more. Shape each stick into the inside of a glass (I finally found a use for the crystal glasses that have been in my cupboard for ever.).Sticks will be brittle, you will break several. So boil more than you need. Let dry for at least 24 hours.

Using a popsicle stick as a template cut out scrap paper. Modge podge onto sticks, using several coats.

Sand edges with and finish inside and out with a final coat.

Pretty simple and turned out really cute. Easy enough to do with a group of kids/teenagers. The sticks I used were about 6 inches, I am on the hunt for longer ones (like 8 ") they would work better for teenagers.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The View....

Love this song!......

It amazes me how some of life's biggest challenges become (with the gift of perspective) some of our greatest blessings....

This summer in the middle of the Superman's health crisis, I was lamenting to a dear friend how frustrated I was. Why was this happening to our family again? Wasn't losing my mom to this and dealing with a worsening father enough? Right in the middle of my "why me, haven't I learned enough already " tirade....My friend gently says..."Robin maybe there is nothing to learn, maybe it's that you have something to give."....

Recently I have found a piece of my heart changing....from bitterness to gratitude. I have begun to understand that the hell I went through with my mother's illness and death has had a much greater purpose and benefit to me. It wasn't just a gauntlet to see how much I could endure. It happened to teach and to prepare me.....

What I know....

Things could always be harder.

Our Heavenly Father doesn't give us more than we can bear. (ok I really hate that statement...here's what I think it should say. Our Heavenly Father will help us bear all things. We cannot face our challenges alone, we weren't meant too.

We are stronger than we realize.

My eternal family is always worth fighting for.

Perspective is everything....I can chose to see all difficult things and feel overwhelmed or I can look up and out and see the beautiful view.

I love my view :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Glue Gun Glory.

So instead of doing anything productive today. I had a date with my glue gun. Shhh don't tell the Superman.
I made felt flower head bands....
Gotta love YouTube tutorials.

None of these took more than ten minutes and we a lot easier than I thought. 
I used the glue gun to make the flowers but, stitched them onto the headband .

I also made bookmarks out of paperclips, ribbon scraps and buttons.

Each one took less than three minutes and that's with me actually hand stitching the ribbon and the button. I'm thinking great Christmas or thank you gifts.

So I totally neglected the house all day but I didn't care....It's amazing how the laundry and dishes will wait for you, they're patient like that :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

See the Good Days

I think it's just the Halloween Hangover...but I have had little motivation to do anything today. |Now I did clean the kitchen and pick up umpteen zillion candy wrappers, but the majority of my day was spent watching talk shows and surfing Pinterest. I really do hate days like this and I'm quick to be hard on myself. I have a lot on my mind and focusing can be hard....So instead of complaining anymore about my lot in life....

Here are the things that made me laugh today....

1. Alex gets really mad at Dallyn today, and in the middle of her yelling...Dallyn says "It's ok Alex you're just PMS-ing, Dad talked to me about this....and he runs away :) :) :)

2. The fact that Tater the Wonder Dog was guarding any opened candy wrappers today and would snap and snarl at the kids if they tried to retrieve their candy.

3.The Superman came home with glitter all over his face (how we know Christmas has started at Wally World)

Here are the things I'm grateful for today...

1. I have 364 days until another Halloween

2. Alex made dinner

3.Madison folding all the laundry without me asking

4.This scripture: “For he that will love life, and see good days…happy are ye” (1 Peter 3:10&14).