Monday, June 8, 2015

A year with kittens

A year ago, our house was feeling empty when our old cat died. He had cancer and a severe case of the grumps, but he still left us feeling like something was missing. That was when I had the brilliant idea to foster kittens. But look at these little faces. How could we not keep them? Hobbes made himself at home the moment he found the food dish.

 Cinderella showed no fear. She has since learned to fear thunder. She still loves to play with string.

This is their mother, Padme. It took some serious coaxing to get her to come out and join the family. She has since found a family of her very own.

Cinderella loves her toys. Hobbes has grown fond of the toys too - as long as they contain catnip. He walks around the house meowing whenever he is carrying one around. Sometimes we have to hide his toys at night.

Cinderella is a big helper.  She acted as a prop for Halloween.

Hobbes likes to show off his bunny butt.

Cinderella will never let her brother outdo her on the weirdness scale.

Hobbes was sure he was the best gift ever. (He's right.)

Cinderella checking out the toys we made for the homeless kitties at the shelter.

Hobbes didn't like the plant.

It takes too much effort to stand and drink. Love the water dish, Cinderella. Love it.

Cinderella waiting for favorite human to get out of the bathroom.

So there you have it. A year with the kitties. We don't feel like we're missing anything anymore. (Except for maybe some homework and legos) My next blog will not involve kitties. Promise.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rebel Princess has been nominated for best cover!

Hop on over the the New LDS Fiction blog to vote for your favorite cover. And, while you're there, check out the other amazing covers in the other categories.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Enjoy them when they're big!

I can't count the number of times people told me to enjoy my kids while they were little because they grow so fast. It's true.  They did grow fast, but I didn't stop loving them the moment my son's voice changed or my daughter developed hips and a somewhat obsessive interest in cute boys. They were fun while they were little - and they still are. In fact, I think they get better with time. Wiping bottoms and runny noses can't compare with exchanging books and laughing about jokes that actually make sense.

Here are some advantages to having older kids;

First off, they are still cute.  Look at that face.

I still get to make her hair all pretty.

 We can use much more exciting mediums for art projects. He twisted this balloon animal all by himself.

We made these shirts with permanent markers and rubbing alcohol--definitely not something you would do with a toddler.

We can go hiking with them and don't have to carry anyone. (Blogger did something funky with some of my pictures.)

They can still be silly.  Here we are at the dinosaur quarry in Vernal Utah. They are touching a real dinosaur bone. (They have a designated place for people to touch the bones.)

The quarry was actually pretty packed, but I never had to worry about someone wandering off or running away.

We can stand by rivers and not worry that someone is going to drown.

In a few months I will get my own personal errand boy.

 Their school projects are fun and don't involve macaroni noodles.

 There was a cobweb I couldn't reach. He made a contraption that involved a mop, a broom, and some duct tape to clean it for me.

Blogger did something really weird with this picture. I'm posting it anyway. It's kinda funny. His entire head was attached when he was cooking. 
The older they get, the better they get at cooking.

He collected over $1000 worth of items for a local children's hospital. Talk about a proud Mommy moment!

So don't panic when someone tells you to enjoy your kids while they are little.  You can still enjoy them when they're big.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

E-book Sale!

You can get Kindle and Nook formats of my book for 99 cents until Dec 12th!

Barnes and Noble Link

I was born to be evil. Nice is NOT in my blood. Besides, nice girls get locked in towers. 

Raven Perilous is like any other middle school girl—if middle school girls are usually evil princesses. The daughter of a gentle princess and evil sorcerer, Raven spends most of her time being as wicked as possible to avoid being stuck in a tower. So when Prince Charming shows up at her school, Raven knows she has met her nemesis. 

In The Rebel Princess, loyalty, heroism, and a pinch of enchantment are perfect for conjuring up an adventure that you’ll never forget.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Carpet cleaning that works for you and the environment

I don't know about everyone else, but I like to thoroughly clean my house before the holidays.  This includes cleaning the carpets. That's oil from a rolling chair.  Lovely, isn't it?

I'm not sure what this was but . . . ew.

One more lovely shot of my dirty carpet.

The first thing I did was sprinkle my carpet with baking soda and let it sit all night. My early risers track it around the house in the morning, but it's just baking soda, so it doesn't matter. Vacuum the entire floor. I started taking pictures after I'd vacuumed.

Fill your carpet cleaner with hot water and about 2 Tablespoons of vinegar. Go over your entire floor. This next picture is after the vinegar step.  It looks a little better, but you can still see spots. For the record, I said this works, not that it's fast.

The oil stripe is a lot lighter after the vinegar.

The next step is to use liquid castile soap and water in the carpet cleaner. I use about the same proportions as the vinegar and water. You can buy castile soap at Walgreens or on Amazon. It is a natural soap and comes in several different scents. I like peppermint or orange. The next few pictures are after the castile soap

So much better.

This is the one that surprised me the most.  No more oil stripe! I actually did this about a year ago and it is still gone.

The last step is to go over the entire carpet with just hot water. Keep going until the water is fairly clear when you dump it out. This ensures you got all the dirt and your carpet will not dry crunchy.

Be sure to test an inconspicuous area with this combination before you do your entire floor.  Vinegar can lighten colors.  My carpet is pretty light so it doesn't matter.  (Note to self: Don't ever get light carpet again. It shows everything!)

Bonus shot of my book.  Oh, pretty!

This was not the most exciting of blogs so I will leave you with cute kitten pictures. I took these while they were still foster kittens so they have paper collars that they hated. Come to think of it, they don't like the regular collars either.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bryce Canyon

Over UEA break my family took off for Bryce Canyon. We stayed at the KOA in Cannonville and had a great time. My boys played in the red dirt and chased rabbits. We arrived late Wednesday night and found that our reservation sheet had been picked up by someone else. We had no idea which cabin was ours and the office had been closed for hours. After about half an hour we found an empty cabin with a key on the table and decided it was ours. We unloaded and were soon in bed sleeping. There was a little bedroom with a queen bed, a bunk bed for the boys and a hide a bed for our daughter. It had a full kitchen, heat, and a full bathroom. I love camping like this! **The owners of the KOA were amazing and took great care of us. The mistake was no fault of theirs, they were ready for us and we highly recommend staying there.
We woke to the most amazing sight out our windows, it was a long section of the Grand Staircase. And there were three rabbits playing by our car too.

This is Sunrise Point. We hiked one morning on the Queens\Navajo combination Loop. It was just under 3 miles and other than the last 1/2 mile, it was pretty easy going. The last bit was steep but plenty of room to "pull over" and rest up.

Upper Inspiration

This was on the way to one of the Hoodoo hikes called "Mossy Cave and waterfall." Part of the Jr. Ranger Program was to hike to at least three hoodoos and take a rubbing of the benchmark. When the boys received their Jr. Ranger badges we all received pins for hiking the Hoodoos.

One of the pull offs

My husband took this after a star talk by one of the rangers. So many stars!

This vest belongs to one of my boys. You can see he has earned a few pins from different national parks. We really love the Jr. Ranger program, It's fun and they learn new things like what scat it. ;-)
The pins are now what they earn and the patches we purchase for $1-3.
We spent 3 full days in Bryce and it was perfect for us. If you are more into hiking, you could spend a lot more time. Enjoy!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Simple Halloween Decor That Doesn't Break the Bank

I've never been big on spending for Halloween. Money is often tight at this time of year as we work to get ready for Christmas.  I buy a few Halloween decorations, but most of them are re-purposed or handmade.

Cinderella is not part of the decor.  She just thinks she is.  

My daughter found these dolls at a second hand store a few years ago.  She thought they were beautiful and spent her own money to buy them.  Then it got dark and she decided they wanted to kill her in her sleep.  They spent some time locked away in a bin with books piled on top of them.  Then I rescued them to use as Halloween decorations. My daughter thanks me every day for covering them up with distressed cheese cloth and putting them on display. I'm sure she'll want them back one day.  

Distressing cheese cloth is actually pretty fun. All you have to do is cut and pull.  It has a naturally creepy vibe, like the dolls.

I made this wreath out of an old glow-in-the-dark skeleton I had.  Its legs were broken and it was missing several toes.  I used black tubes from an old spider costume as the base.  The ribs helped to make it more sturdy. Then, with my trusty glue gun, I attached the other bones and added the little skulls and bow tie. I didn't do a more detailed tutorial because I put it together with random pieces. It might be good for kick starting new ideas, though.

The monster is a big doll with a monster mask.  Isn't she cute? I had to move it because the kittens didn't approve of the location. (It's all about them, you know.)

Cinderella insists on being in the pictures, but won't look at the camera. The skulls can be found in various stores for about a dollar.

This ghost started out as a ghost costume.  Unfortunately, the mask looks like Klan mask and I couldn't ever wear it. (It only looks that way on people.  Weird, I know) The body of the costume is really long and with kittens around I decided it was best to keep it packed this year.  I made a new body by tying three pieces of cheese cloth together and distressing them.  The mask is stuffed with a paper mache head that glows under our black light.  It's a pretty eerie way to greet our trick-or-treaters.

Plastic pumpkins pick up light from the window behind it.

Fuzzy pipe cleaner spiders. Take 4 pipe cleaners, twist them in the middle and glue a body over the twisted part.  You can do a head too.  I didn't because they aren't seen from close up and I was going for simple.  They look pretty creepy from a distance with all those spindly legs.

Our ghost masks are still a favorite.  This is their third year and they are still going strong, despite the crazy weather. Go here for a full tutorial.

Have a safe, happy Halloween!