Entries for the ‘arizona’ Category

Summer Lessons

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Once again summer is winding to a close, equal parts of me are baffled that summer passed in the blink of an eye and Oh my gosh I can’t wait for school to start next week! I just want to be able to type a five sentence email without being interrupted twelve times about inane things. I want to complete thoughts, sentences, text messages, meals without having to answer questions or play referee.  I want to clean up the kitchen and have it stay clean for TWO WHOLE HOURS. Its the little things.

I’m not looking forward to my new 5:15am wake up call, so I can get to the gym before the rush to get the kids out the door. I decided to really make an effort this summer, I’ve been goaling for the gym 5 times a week. I hate it, but I keep doing it. I don’t care what those healthy people tell you- I don’t have more energy, in fact I usually want a nap at 10am! The only side effect of all the exercising is a decreased appetite for sweets- which I guess is a good thing…but shouldn’t all this exercise mean I can eat more junk and not gain weight?!

In other news we drove over 2,000 miles this summer and replaced a transmission (ouch!), swam in salt water and floated in snow melt. We climbed mountains, drove over mountains, ate fresh raspberry shakes, hiked through wildflowers, sat in LA traffic and enjoyed hotel swimming pools. I vacillate between feeling frustrated that we can’t financially take trips that involve air travel and passports (thank you social media) and feeling like we are the luckiest family ever to be able to see so much of America with our children in tow.

I was reflecting yesterday on our time in Wyoming and trying to pinpoint why I enjoy being there so much. For sure it has to do with the lack of cell service at my in-laws, no phone calls and no texts make it really easy to forget the real world that exists outside the bubble of Star Valley, WY. It also has A LOT to do with the patience and acceptance of my in laws. I have never felt unwelcome in their home,their home is both relaxing/comfortable and always in a state that could be photographed for a BHG spread. My MIL’s picture should be in Websters next to the word Homemaker, she sets the gold standard. My in laws have never once lost their patience or their cool with any of our kids and their shenanigans. My mother in law never seems bothered by the messes our presence create in her home. I’ve observed and marveled at this many times. I can only assume its because she knows its only temporary, and maybe she likes us enough that our messes are worth it to spend time with us?

 I get frustrated with my children/husband when I have taken the time to clean something and they carelessly mess it up. I mopped my floors last night and I am sure I’m going to snap at the first person to walk with pool wet feet across it. It frustrates me because I know I’m going to have to clean it again….sometimes I feel like Sisyphus and that rock. When I complain about that to Aaron he always says something irritating like “think how the place would look if we never cleaned”.  I’d like to develop my MIL’s patience, because really, having messy children in my home is temporary. In twenty years it will just be Aaron and I, and my floors will stay clean for days. I’ll probably be begging my kids to come visit and I won’t mind their messes because it means they are home.

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


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.


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…

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….



(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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.



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!


Hand Embroidery With Heather

Monday, September 8th, 2014


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


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


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.

heatherhalesdesigns- embroidered pillow


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.



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!


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!”

Monopoly with Papa

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.

Say Cheese -heatherhalesdesigns.com

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.


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?