Monday, September 29, 2008

the preparations begin...

Cupcake class: 4 weeks x 3 designs each week x 20 kids = 240 cupcakes = one sucker mom= $500 profit for the PTO= trips to 5 stores in search of all the necessary candies and cupcake construction supplies = yields vats of candy and junk in my dining room.
As you can see it's taking it's toll on my kids and my #2 is put to task demonstrating his preschool classifying skills acting as the official Mike and Ike color separator.

1. finally finding black licorice ropes 2. copy machines 3. deeper sleep

Friday, September 26, 2008

the world is his oyster/clam/mussel hybrid

A while back my 7 yo son took great interest in a NPR story on the emerging field of biological engineering and the new college degrees in this field. For a science lover like him, it would probably be an excellent fit. The other night over dinner he got this excited glow in his eyes as he explained to me his great creationist ideas.
His plan was to identify the genes from a vast range of sea creatures that created given characteristics and then to remixthem to create these new species to his own liking. (As thought it were like making brownies- just add a bit of this DNA a bit of that and stir) I applaud his creative desires, and hate to quash them with a debate on the ethical ramifications and practicality of such engineering, but it just made me think about what lies ahead for our children? I know how drastically the world has changed in my short 32 years of living. I have to wonder what lies ahead. Truly the world is his oyster or in his case maybe an oyster, clam hybrid with a little mussel DNA thrown in for dramatic shell contrast...
1. thoughts to ponder 2.time with friends 3. kissing my sleeping boys

woman power

I am the such a proponent of strong women. No not bossy, mean women, women who make things happen, women who do hard things, women who do the right thing, women who lead, women who speak up. There is a power and influence that women have founded in intimacy and caregiving. As women our perspective is unique and our voices powerful in the softest lullaby and loudest cry. So often this power goes underutilized or at least underecognized. As women we shape the moral foundations of society we lay the bricks upon which all else is built. Many of my painting have relational themes. My reaching tree series is one of my most favorites and I have recently picked up working on it again. This is my latest addition to the collection. I consider them my feminist paintings. They are to me the embodiment of great women. Firmly rooted and with a solid core, a belief in themselves as agents of change, as powerful, and as a creators of beauty, giving forth life to everything around them. Their beauty, their goodness, their endurance, their acts of faith and kindness, their teachings, reaching up and out in a dizzying array of influence. So imagine yourself as this painting and feel inspired to greater strength and purpose.
And a special shout out to my mom who is truly an example among women and taught me what it means to be a great woman -Happy Birthday!!

1. a husband coming home 2. painting joy 3. ice packs

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

keeping it (not) simple

I wish I could keep things simple but, somehow I never manage too. I try to fit in all the really important things, and then I throw a bunch more things in on top of that. I try to fight it at times, but deep down I think I like the complexity or I lack the ability to walk away. Like today I was doing some trial run cupcakes (9 completely different varieties) (because yes I am a total sucker and agreed to teach a 4 week cupcake class to 2nd-5th graders for free). This also with the help of 3 little boys. My dining room is still recovering from the aftermath of target buyout and I have been madly painting (2 more 30x40 trees half done) because I am in a painting groove and I want to get every last ounce out of this sudden burst of creativity before it leaves me. I am trying to be good mom and keep the house clean, fill my boys days with play and fun, and stories, and love, and attention. I know I should be in bed, but there I go again with one more thing. Sometimes I wish I could relax more and do less, but I get joy from the richness and the many things I do. I guess it's a constant battle- just have cake or cake with frosting and sprinkles--no matter how hard I try I am always the latter.
1.chicken 2. trying again 3. thoughtful prayers

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

on a roll

A new 30x40 painting from reaching tree series with a more kandinsky twist.1. my little appretice 2. new shows 3. getting something done

Monday, September 22, 2008


aspen panels (60"x40"). I now have a temporary filler for my dining room wall which has been in need of paintings!
1. lime bars 2. peaceful bed time 3. building with blocks

Sunday, September 21, 2008

piece of the week- mountains

I miss seeing the beautiful mountain views of Utah. One of my favorite things from my college days was walking home looking up at the mountains especially when the snow was rolling in. I started this piece a few years ago and just recently came back ot work on it- It is acrylic on canvas, 24x36.

1. inspiration 2. Utah 3. memories

Blogs I love

Sheree recently highlighted me as a blog she loves. I feel really special because she is such a fun, "cool" person. We bonded last summer over shared makeup, late nights, and talk of glowsticks. I would love to share more of the blogging love with some other great bloggers- I am supposed to pick 7- that is torture for one like me who enjoys readership of many blogs. One of the treats of blogging is finding new blogs that you love, and the way it mixes circles of friendship so I'll try to mix some circle here...
LL over at Lewis Family Letters- Always a diligent poster- seriously you know something is going terribly wrong if she hasn't posted that day. So fun IRL and has a great laugh- you may know her from her great semianry condolence basket- and know for sneaking em choclate in church.
Becky at The Orton Family- seriously fun and (funny) and an amazingly strong woman who I admire and can't wait to see again. She even brings me moose munch (how can you not like someone like that.
Shelah at Hitting the Ground Running, My BFF, who permeates the blogosphere and is also known for her writing at Blog Segullah and FMH. I live through her vicariously running achievements while sitting on my couch eating pie. She's a super smarty and does great book reviews and has been my confidante of the past 15 yrs!
Courtney over at Five Under Five- Her life is always full of adventure (just can't imagine keeping up with triplets and 2 others!) and she is settling into New Jersey living.
Catherine aka Bluestocking mama, One of my favorite friends, and a great writer, busy kicking out her her dissertation on women's online literacy (which totally justifies my blogging) Who has to hurry and finish so she can come visit me!! WTG!
Ellen- big red EP- A fellow LDS New Englander, with so many talents, and heart of gold. Her photos are beautiful and she is just type of person you want as your friend!
Lei at My many colored days- A fellow creative always dipping her fingers in many pots, so inspiring and talented, She is a great friend and always creating beauty. One day we are going to get together and just create!

Friday, September 19, 2008

doing my part to keep the economy strong

Smart mama is single handed working on improving the consumer spending indexes. If you know me you know I love 2 things 1. GIVING (my parents used to forbid me from giving away things as a child becasue I couldn't stop) and 2. GOOD DEALS. So when all the school supplies went 75% off at target I took that as my call to buy it up and do something with it. What I was going to with 2 carts full o' supplies (sadly pictured is only the loot from my first trip--I actually made another subsequent trip with equal damage and the angle does not provide a full view of the magnitude of damage I did) I didn't know exactly. But I knew I could find good homes for all of it. I am such a believer in education and love to help. I made up super cool backpacks full of cool stuff for school auction events, basket for the teachers drawing for teacher appreciation week, supplies baskets for the school offices, a jumbo basket for #1's teacher, pen bouquets for all the elem teachers, some to be used for students in our area who are in need, a giant load to be shipped to others will be going to Operation Iraqi Children and some to be shipped to help children in the Congo. I also have most of my sons supplies for next year already stocked away. I love to give especially when my dollars get to go 4x as far! You can imagine the shock and surprise though when my husband returned home from a business trip and couldn't even walk through the dining room.
1. a husband who never objects to my "giving"
2. sales
3. giving

Thursday, September 18, 2008

man my subconscious is pathetic

So last night as I was drifting off into dream land ... when my first dream appeared it was about spilling a pitcher of orange juice all over the kitchen floor. The dream me somewhat annoyed, mopped up the sticky slop on the floor, but then the semi-awake part of me realized this was a dream and that this was an especially lame dream and while I may have to put up with mopping up spills all day long, I did not have to put up with it in my own dream. So I stirred myself fully awake slightly annoyed with this frustrating dream and started over falling back asleep in hopes of something more exciting --Enter second dream... about bad sticky canned frosting on a cupcake. What? Hey is this lame dream night or something?!

By now I am getting upset. I have had a long day, I'd like a nice relaxing, escapist dream... something really good. But this is what I get?? Freud help me out here- what do my orange juice and bad frosting dreams mean? Certainly not wish fulfillment-- Please!! If this is what I dream about at night how pathetic must my life be? Seriously insomnia sounds more promising.

Generally, I am a creative dreamer, I have dreamt in blog (complete with sidebars), and dreamt in facebook format the other night, I also have dreamt in full episodes of various TV shows (including the office). Maybe something is wrong at the dream department (has anyone read the seems? excited for the next book this month?) All I know is I am going to bed tonight and this time I am holding out for kissing and a beach.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

if it weren't for you son...

My life would be ordinary... My kitchen would not get sprayed with water, nor my carpet with Windex or limeade, the side of my desk would not be used to try out new colored pencils, chalk pastels wouldn't be smeared on the PTO posters, the bag if donuts would still be full, and that Halloween snow globe at target would still be intact. When you have your own children you will appreciate this post.
(this all thievery, destruction, and vandalism occurred before 1 pm today and yet I still l love you!!)
addendum- I was just reading to him on the floor and told him I was getting all the "grouchies" out of him today, to which he responded, "But mom I have a whole load of grouchy fertilizer stored in my garage and a spreader to spread it with!" Oh where oh where does he come up with these things?)
1.sunny walks 2. planning 3. "stopping to look at beautiful things"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

serving up...

homemade bread with fresh raspberry jam
definitely tastier than the overdone baby, the tough three year old, or burnt out mom we were also serving this afternoon
1. bedtime 2. shower 3. homemade goodness

Monday, September 15, 2008

smart cookie

Something magic happened to my kids between 5 and 6:30- some wave of extreme niceness crashed through our house like a tsunami (this in contrast to an hour prior when I could be heard saying "you will not be allowed to talk to your dad on the phone unless you put your clothes on!)-- seriously compliments were flying in all direction. There was peaceful sharing, nay blatant sacrificing of the coveted crispy orange chicken from cheng-du. Children were willfully choosing the other person's favorite songs for family night, offering thoughtful. long sincere prayers. For a moment I thought My house fell out of a church video. I told them if this behavior kept up I could not be restrained form throwing a massive party for them this weekend.

The best part was when my #1 volunteered to do the FHE lesson.
It started with this comment, "Mom you know fortune cookies can actually be really helpful?! They provide lots of good advice especially for small children!"
"hmmm, well I guess so...", I remarked.
He then gave his spur of the moment FHE lesson which turned into an excellent treatise on how to be a good friend, complete with friendshipping scenarios and nursery peer entry strategies. All based on my profound fortune "To have a friend, be a friend".
Moral of the story: When in doubt, go for Chinese... you underestimate the many benefits- less dishes for mom, magical kindness powers, and inspirational family lessons from a single cookie!
1. a lucky mom 2. electricity (my poor Bf is still w/out it in Houston!) 3. Magical kindness

Thursday, September 11, 2008

in progress

a couple 30x40 paintings of aspens
1. clean house 2. tasty breakfast 3. a moment to paint

blessings big and small

Today I had to capture a picture of my 3 greatest blessings, my boys. Each one is unique, that is what I love about being their mom, each one reminds me of different things.
I would also be remiss for not thanking more of my "villagers" for helping me out today.
"Sister J" for taking my #2 to the park so I could get a nap and some cleaning done and to "Sister C" who provided us with dinner tonight! Seriously I am feeling the love and it has helped me get through my miserable feeling week!
My Thankful three
1. tasty dinner
2. a playdates for my boys
3. reconnecting

keeping up with the times

Well for sometime now I have been meaning to get myself on facebook, as a way to keep track of people over time and distance. So blogging buddies, lets be "friends"...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

capture it or live it?

I am loving my new camera! I love it's ability to better capture the essence of the moment but it has raised a new dilemma...
Capture the moment (peering at at the world through your lens making adjustments) or truly be in the moment?
I have never been a "photographer" so learning all the photo skills, settings, lingo is a new job for me. My oft photographed subjects are no longer amused with the novelty and roll their eyes anytime they see the camera in my hand. So which do you do?

piece of the week

I did this last week, but I forgot to post it-24x24 square the paint is mixed with glazing medium to it is very translucent and sheer

it takes a village...

to teach 3 kids early am seminary...
how many days of seminary did i make it through-- 1-- no joke my husband had to teach the second day because I was dying from allergies and a sinus headache that I though would split open my head. So after being up 9 times in the night, and taking all medications I could possibly take I had to beg off. So back to our original question...
Well as you can remember sister L (1) had to cheer me on with a survival basket. Brother G (2) to teach day two , and sister B (3) to arrive at my doorstep bearing this offering for my health and well being (which I had always been skeptical of in the past, but must now end my mocking). (I do think I shocked her with my deathlike appearance- sorry sis B.) Sister J (4) and sister P (5) cheering my on via email. I am sure by the end of the year many more "villagers" will have had a part in the cause. PS. As you can also see seminary teachers accept all gifts.
I did make it back to class this morning...
1. fun seminary sketchbook journals 2. friends who care and share 3. feeling a little better

Monday, September 08, 2008

to answer your question...

I survived the first morning. Everyone came, stayed awake, and even drew varied interpretations of new testament pie in their seminary journal books. I will admit to lying on the studio room floor after getting #1 on the bus, feeling like I wanted to throw up, my eyes burning, and my body stiff and achy. I then gave in and took a nap while#3 slept. Here is the seminary setup at La Casa de Smartmama-6am- takers? takers?
1. nice students 2.naps 3.1 down 163 mornings to go~

Addendum: Look what just arrived!! A basket of seminary survival joy from my dear friend Sister Lewis- complete with a sympathy card- bringing comfort,peace, and hope for my hour of need. Don't you wish you were teaching seminary too! It's so beautiful I can hardly break into it!
This calls for another thankful 3~
1. seriously nice friends 2. basket o'fun
3. breakfast tomorrow~

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Smart Mama Presents: Learning

As part of a series on our family values, I will highlight each of the 9 values we have chosen for our family. I'll share my thoughts on the value and why I chose it. Past values Accountability and Stewardship.
Motto:We love to learn and share our knowledge with others.
Scripture:...Teach one another words of wisdom; yea seek ye out if the best books words of wisdom; seek learning even by study and also by faith. Doctrine and Covenants 88:118
I chose this value because I feel so strongly about education (you'd never guess I am a teacher, huh?). By this I don't just mean book smarts. In fact, most of our most important learning and knowledge is never taught in a college classroom. Knowledge takes many forms: like how to cook a meal, or how to make others feel comfortable, or how to manage your time and money.
I want my children to take advantage of the educational opportunities they have. Knowledge and skills provide opportunities for service. The more you know, the more you can do, and the more you can help.
Knowledge is also power. I want my children to know education opens doors and gives you choices. It gives you power to navigate in the world, to feel confident expressing yourself, and standing up for what you believe. For me knowledge is to be shared, the purpose is always to build, enrich, and uplift others, not to judge or look down upon others.
I have often seen how my education has helped me in my church responsibilities, in my community, in providing one on one service, and everyday as a mom. It has also allowed me to travel the world giving service and have my dream jobs! Similarly skills I have learned have provided me opportunities for joy and fulfillment. I love the knowledge and expertise of my family and friends that has enriched my life in so many ways.
So as for me and my house-- we're learners!
My 3: 1. a great banana split 2. new testament 3. the words of good people

Saturday, September 06, 2008

one on one mom fun

With#1 off to school this week, I have been devoting time to #2. We've done puzzle time, pattern bead stringing, painting, easel time, cornstarch tray (which he loves to trace lettters and his name in), reading time, dramatic play,and all sorts of little activities- One of his favorites this week was this animal sort activity I devised for him. He took our animal bin and sorted them by farm animals (red construction paper), zoo animals (brown paper), sea creatures (blue paper), or forest creatures (green paper). Its fun to see how engaged they get. Days like that are always rewarding.
My 3: 1. meeting new friends 2. rescued rolls 3.beautiful cards

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

colors of vacation (catch up)

fruits, art, donuts, and sunsets-what could be better-- I love colors!

My 3- 1. puzzle time with #2 2. reading to #3 1. hugs from #1

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

ready,set, go

Sharpened pencils
Caramel and Chocolate Dipped Apples for the teacher, bus driver, principals, & superintendent (thanks andrea for the idea!)
One boy ready for third grade

My thankful three: 1.painting in my studio last night 2. first day of school excitement 3. fresh cookies