Entries for the ‘arizona’ Category

Getting through Summer with your sanity intact

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

In an effort to keep my kids brains from atrophying this summer I am enacting, The Summer Rules. Needless to say, the kids aren’t thrilled.

I saw something similar to this on instagram and recreated it with a few tweaks for my family. Its a free printable if you think it will work for your family. Here is last years chore chart if you more ideas.

I hope your summer is full of water, Popsicles and a lot of napping!

Weekend Re-cap

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

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This weekend was a balancing act between Pinners Conference, *new* house projects and being a wife/mother. The balancing act is starting to get old…I’m SO READY to be in our home and settled!  Six more days until we move…

I had a great time teaching embroidery and helping Bonnie with her class- but most of all I loved chatting and spending time with Stephanie and Bonnie. The older I get the more of a homebody I become, but I sure am glad I got out of the house and spent time with these inspiring ladies I call friends.

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I decided to really take a break from everything today (well, I did spend a wee bit of time on craigslist looking for tables and couches for the new house….and maybe an hour combing through Stephanie’s archives for a picture I remember seeing once upon a time that I wanted to use as inspiration for the girls room). But that was it!  I cooked dinner for my family, something I haven’t done in what feels like ages, I made chicken tikka masala and brownie sundaes for dessert. I didn’t pack anything, I didn’t even visit the house today.

I’m grateful for the rest that honoring the Sabbath can bring from our daily struggles and busy-ness. When we got to church I was so tired I thought I might fall asleep, by the second hour of church I was feeling much more awake and I enjoyed a great Sunday School lesson and then a relief society lesson by one of my favorite teachers. It was about family and how we can strengthen and protect our families.  My role as mother is something I have been thinking a lot about in the last few months.  Back in August I introduced myself to someone new and unashamedly said I was “at home with my kids” when asked what I did for a living. That was the first time in my LIFE that I didn’t feel ashamed, or less-than for admitting that I am a SAHM (the person asking me was a working single mother). It took years for me to get to this point. I feel like I finally see and value my role in our family. I find it kind of funny that my husband has always seen and valued my role as a mother and wife at home, while I was blinded by voices and societal pressures around me.

This is not meant to add any fuel to the fire of women fighting against each other over who is a better mom. I think as women we demean ourselves when we play that game.  Its hard to be a mom, period. As women we need to stand by our sisters and support them in the choices they make and not tear each other down.

After my day of rest I feel ready to tackle my to-do list for the week…
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Summertime in the ‘burbs

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Nothing makes me crazier than too much unstructured time. Not just unstructured time with my kids, but I have to create schedules and structure for myself or I become slothful, unproductive, and growl at people. I need boundaries and expectations to function (on a side note, I’m currently reading Better than Before and it is really fascinating to evaluate yourself by these constructs!) .

Enter the 2016 edition of….THE SUMMER CHORE CHART….

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(click the image if you want to download the pdf file to use at your house, minus my children’s initials)

Katie Hughes posted her chore chart to instagram last week and emailed her file to those who were interested. I liked her format and used it to revamp our chore chart- far more classy than last years!  Next week my goal is to create the daily activity list. Baby steps. I’m trying to find my groove again after our weekend trip to California.

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What are you doing this summer? How do you keep the summertime doldrums at bay?

Horton Springs- early fall

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

My kids are on fall break this week. They want FUN! EXCITEMENT! SOMETHING NEW!, I want quiet, reading, sewing and kids who forage for their own meals.

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In the name of FUN! we hauled them kicking and screaming (well 1 out of 3) north today for some exercise and family bonding.  We love Horton Springs Trail because its easy, green and has water. Admittedly we have never in the gajillon times we’ve been there ever made the full 4 miles to the end of the trail…we go maybe a mile and a half and play in the water and then head back.

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It wasn’t until we were heading back that the switch was flipped for “happy family time”. The kids ran along ahead of us giggling…until my middle child spotted a TARANTULA!! crawling across the tip of her shoe and ran screaming back to me.  Having never seen a TARANTULA! in real life I asked her to show me where it was, we found it crawling in some grass.  No, I didn’t take a picture! I could barely look at it without squealing and running away myself.

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We finished off the day with a late lunch at our fav. Payson, mexican place- La Sierra.  The best part was that we were having a good time together, squeezed into a booth laughing together about topics other than farting. We were cracking jokes about what the kids would be like when they were parents.

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As the years wax on, I know the kids won’t remember the kicking and screaming that began this trip. They’ll remember the laughs, the tarantula and positive feelings.  The whole experience was a reminder to me that its worth the effort to drag my kids through positive life experiences, they will be better happier people in the end.

P.S. totally unrelated…we switched hard drives and I lost ALL my pretty fonts. boo! What are your favorite fonts? Give me some ideas of what fonts I should be sure to have in my arsenal.

Dirt Roads

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

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As a kid I remember warm sunny afternoons when my Dad would pile my sister and I into the back of his truck (it was the ’80’s) for an adventure.  He would drive us through the San Bernardino foothills on poorly maintained fire roads.  We rarely had a destination in mind, it was all about the journey. My sister and I bobbing up and down with every dip in the road, gripping the sides of the truck to keep from sliding around too much and coughing through the dust.

This Saturday I had a deja vu moment as I put the truck into a lower gear and steered us up a steep and very rough road while my own children bounced around in the backseat.  I felt like I had come full circle without even realizing it.

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I told my kids this was what we used to do for fun when I was younger.  They were shocked to know my sister and I had ridden in the back of the truck. I told them about fire roads and how my parents had to get out of the truck to turn the four wheel drive on. They asked me if I liked going on adventures when I was a kid.  I stopped to think for a minute and realized I didn’t like or dislike it, it was just something we did, like the way your family hangs the toilet paper inside or outside.  It just was.

I pointed out how different the experience was for them, as they were sitting in the nice air conditioned cab of the truck, clean of dust, securely held in place by their seat-belts. We were doing the same thing, but their version was different than mine.

We finished the afternoon off with cheap mexican food, a very different experience from my childhood. Growing up we went out to eat a handful of times a year. They have it good these kids of mine, I’m giving them the very best that I’ve got and I hope they remember it fondly.

3rd times the charm

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Back in September I bought a Groupon for the Children’s Museum of Phoenix,where I used to have a membership. I thought it would be fun to take my youngest there- but I kept putting it off.  I remembered how much work it had been with the older kids, chasing two small children around from exhibit to exhibit. Monitoring to make sure they were not taking too long of a turn with the trikes, that they were sharing the race cars. Then Groupon notified me that my pass was about to expire, so I bit the bullet and took her to the Museum today.

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Oh! It was so much fun! I really enjoyed being with her and I didn’t just watch from the sidelines- we walked through the Noodle Forest together, we each made art projects in the Art Cafe, and I helped her make pizza, hot dogs and ice-cream. As we sat together making gingerbread men, she announced “I’m happy!” I about melted.

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I spent the drive home thinking about the differences between our day today and the experiences I had taking her older brother and sister to the same place. For sure it was easier because I was with ONE child instead of being out numbered, but don’t get me wrong she can have her moments when its just the two of us. I think the novelty of the CMoP affected (or should it be effected?) how she behaved. This was the first time she had been since before she was one. She was old enough to appreciate it and was just in awe of each new thing we saw.  She happily played with the glitter play-doh for a good 30 min (making hot-fish, muffins and birthday cake) and chased pigeons in between climbing.

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It reminded me of the first time we took the older children to Disneyland.  I love Disneyland, but taking my kids for the first time was even more magical.  It was one of my best memories of when they were little.  Despite the fears and mishaps they loved it, they were just so happy to be at Disneyland.  The second time we took them- about 2 years after the first. They complained and asked to go back to Grandma & Grandpa’s and eat ice-cream.  They were tired of being there and the whole experience was really not fun for anyone.

Maybe if I hadn’t had a membership all those years ago the experience of taking my kids wouldn’t have felt like/been so much work. The whole notion of entitlement and lack of gratitude. I made it too easy for them to experience fun, so easy that they got rowdy and ungrateful. I know why I got those memberships (to the zoo, the botanical garden, the CMoP)- it was under the guise of cultural enrichment, but really it was so I could get out of the freaking house at least once a week without having to drop $30! It was lonely and overwhelming for me to have two small children….at home…all the time. Had I known the long term price, I would have still done it anyway.

But this last child of mine…she is getting the best.  Its not too hard to have her home with me, I don’t mind if we never leave the house all week. Seeing her light up and truly enjoy these experiences I am able to give her on a much less frequent basis than the other two- is so worth it!

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Hand Embroidery With Heather

Monday, September 8th, 2014

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If you live in the PHX area and want to learn hand embroidery this is your chance!!  I’ll be teaching a 4 week course in October.  If I get a good response I’ll be doing it in November too!  Please share this image/blog post and help me spread the word.

For more information and for sign-ups click the image or visit HERE.

 

Summer Stitching

Monday, August 25th, 2014

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A few months ago a friend of mine showed me a watercolor she had done- it was beautiful!  I asked her where she got the quote and flower design, she told me she found it on pinterest and just repainted it.  A little light bulb went off in my head!!  I am queen of not-reinventing the wheel and loved the idea of finding something you liked and then making it for yourself!

In May I pinned this

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I thought it was just beautiful and decided to take a cue from my friend and stitch it up.  It took me ALL summer long to finish it.  I made myself start with the lettering (my least favorite part) and only when that was done was I allowed to work on the gorgeous flowers.

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I got all fancy pants and used stitches I don’t regularly use for the flowers.  The round flowers are button-hole stitches sewn in round, plus a french knot or two in the center.  The leaves are a herringbone stitch, which is such a quick and pretty alternative to a satin stitch.

The whole number is backed in a fun orange/yellow/pink vintage pillow case and I added a subtle pink and white striped Lecien print as piping.

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I wish I knew who the original illustrator is, I would love to give credit where it is due, all I know is that the design was released by the LDS Church. If anyone knows- please share!

If you are at all interested in learning to do some of those fancy (and even the less fancy) embroidery stitches and you live here in the Phoenix area I’m in the planning stages of putting together a class for Tuesday evenings in October.  Email me (or leave a comment) if you are interested and I’ll email you when I secure the location.

P.S. I started another PUBLIC instagram account this weekend- I’d love it if you wanted to follow along!

http://instagram.com/heatherhalesdesigns/

Are We Done Yet???

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Summer. We’ve hit the wall, I’m ready for summer to be over.  June was a whirlwind of Summer School and Swim Team, we stayed busy but still had fun.  July? July has been dragging since day one- AND IT’S NOT OVER YET!  Without Summer School to keep us in check the July days have been one long drag of boredom.  My friend Dawn has been keeping track of summer via instagram, according to her count we are on day 59.  Every time I see her dated posts I feel a bit of pride and  say to myself “You’ve made it 59 days and you haven’t lost your you-know-what yet!”

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Only I did loose it on day 56.  I couldn’t take the children’s arguing and deliberate sabotage attempts against one another one more min.  I snapped.  Thank heavens they were rescued by Papa- who arrived in the nick of time providing an excellent diversion!  Today he whisked those older two off to Wyoming with him; where they will spend the remaining weeks of summer frolicking through the green and pleasant-ness that is a WY summer.

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Which just leaves the littlest and I to endure the brown and hot that is an AZ summer for one more week before we too join in with the green pleasant-ness frolickings.

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The only reason I managed to keep my crazy in check for 56 days was by spending as much time as possible in the sewing room.  This dress (that my daughter was so thrilled to model this morning) is from vintage Simplicity 8714. I’ve made dresses, skirts, a bow tie, and started a bunch of embroidery projects.  What are you doing to keep it all together this summer?

Stillness has a sound

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

It all started on Monday when I posted a picture on instagram of some play dough I made mentioning that I always feel ambitious on Mondays.  I got some flack for the ambitious Monday part.  For me the week is brand new, the kids are back in school and I feel the unfolding week is ripe with promise.  On Mondays, I can do anything! (by wednesday I’m overwhelmed and ready for a nap -case in point it is nearly 11 o’clock and I am still in my pajamas contemplating how  much energy I will need to gird up to take a shower)

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This week my Monday was full to the brim and didn’t stop until nearly 1am when I finished grading a third grade class worth of homework (that my daughter forgot to tell me about until Monday after school, it was due Monday and she had been carrying it around since Friday!). Busy-ness is not a badge of honor or worth, nor is it something I aspire to. I have made very deliberate choices in my life to keep my days calm with moments of stillness. Sometimes the crazy still creeps in, and it is never just a little bit crazy either- when it rains it pours.

I barely drug myself out of bed Tuesday morning to get the older kids ready for school and then take my daughter and her friends to preschool.  My husband called between my errands and we talked.  I gave him the run down of my day and how it would be one activity to another until 8pm and how I barely had the energy to move!  In that moment of telling him about my day I realized that any number of calamities could happen to alter my day, and I knew that if they did I would be begging for my simple busy day. Buoyed by the thought that there is joy in the ability to make it through a crazy day, I picked up my daughter and her friends from preschool and we went to the park.

I get really overwhelmed at the thought of being responsible for entertaining lots (read more than one) of children.  I knew that it was my turn to have the girls over but the anxiety of keeping them cooped up in my house for 3 hours was sending me over the edge. With the weather so nice I decided I would take them to the park for a picnic.  After they ate, off they ran to play.  I sat back in my chair and enjoyed a moment of stillness.  I listened to the sounds in that moment…  the soft whoosh of the cars on the nearby freeway, the giggles and shrieks of delight as the girls jumped and slid gently piercing the otherwise silent park and the quiet call of a bird somewhere deeper in the neighborhood. And, the feeling of the warm sun on my back.