Sunday, July 26, 2015

Goodbye, Play Kitchen

Almost four years ago, I wrote this post about finding a Step 2 play kitchen in excellent condition at the thrift store for only $12.99.


Caden loved it. Soon I moved it out of his room and next to our kitchen so he could play with it while I cooked (the kitchen was gated off). I expected to keep it for a long, long time. But it eventually stopped getting played with. By the time Caden was 3, he wasn't interested anymore. He loved playing with the food he got that year for his birthday, however.


I was determined to keep the kitchen because we had a new baby and I still couldn't get over the price I paid for it. Replacing it in the future would most likely be very costly. And whenever we had other children over, they enjoyed playing with it.

Gabe ended up not really interested in it either. He preffered dumping out the food to use the bucket as a step stool and sucking on the food. I got tired of cleaning it up several times a day, so I got rid of the felt food first. I put away the wooden food and dishes a couple weeks ago to keep for periodic use. (The boys like to play with the dishes in water.)


Then I made Caden take down all the things he had stashed on top of the kitchen and cleaned it to get it ready for selling. I taped up the hole so the kids couldn't stuff toys into it. It took me half an hour of shaking the kitchen back and forth and trying to stick my hand inside in order to get everything out! I even found the original utensils I had completely forgotten about.

I changed my mind about selling it at first, until one day I noticed the bucket inside the washer with a load of laundry! Somehow I missed Gabe putting it in there. I put the bucket away too, making the kitchen completely useless to my boys. As much as I still wanted to keep it, I decided it had to go. I'm really trying to weed out stuff we don't use, and unfortunately it fit the bill.

I sold it, including all the food and dishes, yesterday. I was kind of sad, but I know I'll get over it. Generally speaking, I don't let myself get attached to material things anymore for this very reason. So, goodbye, play kitchen. You served us well. May your new owner enjoy you longer than my boys did.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Missionary: Possible" Book Review


I feel passionately about proper preparation for serving an LDS mission. Preparing to be a missionary starts as a child with obtaining gospel knowledge and a foundational testimony. It continues on in the teenage years as knowledge and understanding deepen and testimonies strengthen. But far too many youth wait until crunch time before starting to prepare, and then it's too late to make meaningful and lasting improvements. Companions, investigators, and church members end up suffering from the under-preparation of these missionaries.

Eric Rigby addresses this problem in his book Missionary: Possible, Preparation Tips from New Testament Heroes. He uses examples from the book of Acts and his own life to teach proper mission preparation in specific and helpful ways.

Smiles
*It had the perfect tone for the targeted audience. It was straightforward and simple without being condescending and had the right amount of cheesiness.
*I like that he used New Testament examples instead of typical Book of Mormon and pioneer stories. Missionaries need to be familiar with and appreciate the Bible as well. This approach also made the book unique.
*It includes pages for note taking to encourage study and application, not just reading.

Frowns 
*None.

I recommend this book not only for teens but also for parents who want to know how to help their children prepare for a mission and for anyone who wishes to be a better member missionary.

Friday, July 17, 2015

My Week Without a Phone

From last week Wednesday afternoon to yesterday afternoon, I was without a phone. Not just a smartphone, but any phone. Not being able to make a phone call was frustrating. Everything else I could do on the computer, though not as well in some cases. For example, I used Facebook messenger in lieu of texting, but I could only do that while at home.

The hardest part was not having a camera. So many cute photo opportunities I missed! I also didn't realize how much I relied on certain apps on my phone, like the calculator and weather app. The latter is surprising because I'm the type to check the weather by going outside. But summer showers here are sporadic, so it is nice knowing when to look out for rain.

On the bright side, it somewhat helped me lose my phone attachment. I was still distracted while on the computer, but at least I wasn't when I was with the boys. I'm being careful getting back into using my phone so I don't develop an attachment again. I'm going to follow these three simple guidelines to help me:
  1. Wait until the boys are eating breakfast to turn on my phone.
  2. Turn it off at least a half hour before bedtime. 
  3. Put it away when I'm with the boys, including when eating, unless I want to take a picture.
I'm debating whether or not I want to download the Facebook app onto my new iPhone 6. Overall, it's better to use than the online version, but the biggest reason I prefer it is that it's much easier to share photos. Perhaps I will just have to make rules for my Facebook use too!

Do you have a smartphone? Have you made any usage rules for yourself?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My Cousin's Wedding

The first weekend in July I flew out to Maryland for a day to attend my cousin's wedding. I arrived early with my brother and spent time with my grandma and her dear friend whom I have adopted. We also saw the bride and her family, half of whom didn't even recognize me. Apparently my new haircut threw them off. Lol. Really, I just think I look more my age now and they're used to viewing me as young and cute.



The ceremony was outdoors at a beautiful historical mansion.


The bride looked absolutely stunning, and her bridesmaids had lovely dresses.



Hors d'oeuvres followed the ceremony. I met up with my sister Chrissy and we spent almost the entire time together. My brother asked her husband, "Since when did they become best friends?" Sisters just have a way of doing that, even if they rarely see or talk to each other.


all 3 sisters



We moved inside to the dining hall for the toasts from the best man and maid of honor and dinner.


The bride's sister sang for the first dance. She has such a flawless voice! It was the first time I had ever heard her sing live. Once the dance floor opened, Chrissy and I were the first ones there of course.We had so much fun dancing. We also did the photo booth before she left and were total blondes not looking at the camera and laughing instead of posing. I can't wait to see how the pictures came out!


I flew home the next morning. My family drove from Maryland to come visit us for a couple days. Monday evening we played Catch Phrase for Family Home Evening. Tuesday was rainy and I was sick so we watched Muppets: Most Wanted (I love that one, especially the music!), went out for ice cream, and played Imaginiff. Wednesday we ordered Chinese takeout (the Caruso/Lyles family loves their Chinese food!) and played Uno. Yeah, we love board games. Thursday morning my family left for NYC. The kids miss them tremendously.
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