Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...Shark Tales!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cherish Bound National Convention Has Arrived!

Well, I'm heading out tomorrow morning for 5 days! Cherish Bound's annual convention has finally arrived and I'm so ready for it. I'm 100% exhausted and can't believe I actually got myself packed and ready to go before midnight. I even got my five kids and and hubby all situated and ready for the rest of the week. I'm a lucky husband rocks! He's attempting to work at home with 18-month-old twins, 3 kids in school on different bus schedules, soccer and softball practices and even 2 soccer tournaments in Orlando over the weekend! Please pray for my family...that daddy survives this week!

I can't wait to report back on Monday about all the amazing announcements, new books and products that will be released and hopefully some great contests so you can win some free Cherish Bound goodies!

Here are some links to the great festival we'll be attending during our convention.

Mt. Timpanogos Storytelling Festival

Monday, August 25, 2008

Remembering Kindergarten

This rite of passage comes far to quickly! It feels like yesterday baby #3 arrived and he'd be at home with me forever! As fast as this much anticipated event arrived, I know it will go by even faster as I immerse myself in the normal daily routines and schedules. And not just for me, but for my son too. Life changes every day for a kindergartner.

The first few days were down right pathetic. He's taller than your average kindergartner, looks like he's heading into the 2nd grade or so and probably comes across as a "tough guy". But don't let it fool you....days one, two, and three, were a pretty sad sight. Anxiety the night before, crying all the way to the bus stop. It was a mother's nightmare, but luckily for me, he's #3 of five so my skin is a little thicker than your average first time mom. But man, that sad little face pressed up against the bus window just about did me in. It was bad enough that the bus driver actually honked to get me to turn around, opened the door for him to give me one last hug. It was priceless. I tried not to giggle because he was focused and trying really hard to be "all growned up", but he was just too cute.

Today started the second week and in just seven days he's made an entire 180! Woke up a few minutes early, got ready without a tear, and ran to the bus stop excited for his day to begin. I was pleased and relieved, but it also reminded me that time is going to fly by. If I don't capture his stories fresh with emotion (and my own memories) right now, it'll be too late. The stories will either change and not be capture correctly or we'll just never get to it.

Remembering Kindergarten can seem like a daunting task, but following a few easy steps and tips will help you capture those most important memories and stories straight from the kindergartner. I see too many times "mom's" version of the story, and while I think we should have some say, it's their version that is the most memorable. It's their version of the story that is real. No mother can retell a story like a kindergartner can.

5 Easy Steps for Remembering and Capturing Kindergarten Memories

1. Keep all photos in a file on your computer labeled Kindergarten

2. Keep ONE small plastic bin for favorite art work, writing samples, etc. These bins get full quick, so let your kindergartner pick their favorites each month. You can pick a few too if you really need to, but let them pick their favorites. It's their memories! Scan them as you pick the favorites so they're already stored and edited in your picture folder.

3. Start writing down the stories NOW! Don't wait. Keep a note book or a document file in your picture folder on your computer that you can write or type funny sayings, stories or events right when they happen. Details fade after a while. And get your kindergartner's version of the story as well.

4. Ask him questions. What are his favorites? Who are his friends? What is he learning? And so on and so on....these will change from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. Find out the answers to these and other questions now. If you need some ideas, Cherish Bound has a great Story Starter just for kids called "My School Days". You can interview your child and write the answers right there in the book.

5. At the end of the school year you're organized and ready to published your child's first year of school in a beautiful hardbound book. Compile all the photos, classwork & art, and stories in digital format. Drag and drop everything into a Cherish Bound book for publication.

I can promise you that these memories will stay alive forever if you preserve the stories, get your child involved in the process and publish them in a Cherish Bound book. The smile on his face will be priceless! There's nothing better than watching your own child hold a book all about them, written by them, just for them!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A True Hero!

I've been glued to the TV watching the Olympics these past few weeks. I LOVE "The Games"! I can't even explain the excitement my family and I have as we watch each event, game, and match. The thrill is so energizing and even more so because we know it'll be four more years until we get to witness these amazing athletic gods and goddess.

Today a story came on about a Swedish Olympian, Eric Liddell. Eric Liddell's
story, was made into the film,
Chariots of Fire. He was a runner who took gold in the 1924 Olympics and then devoted his life to teaching and missionary work in China.

I have seen the movie, but it's been YEARS! I'm not that old, but I remember watching it as a kid once maybe twice. I didn't put the movie and the name together until today as I watched his amazing story on NBC.

His Olympic story is incredible! His success as an athlete is amazing. But what really made an impact on me was this man's integrity and character. His story is one worth learning about. As you read his story you'll get some back history on him and why he was in China and what he was doing there when he was put into a
Japanese prison camp in 1943. I'm not going to ramble on and tell you his story....I can do it no justice. Click the links and read his story!

NBC had interviewed one of his daughters and some other people that were in the prison camp with him. They talked about him with such peace and honor. I could see in their eyes their love for him. One woman's interview stood out. She was a child in the camp and described how horrible it was. There were families in there, Chinese as well as other nationalities all living together in filth and desperation. But she told how Liddell create a routine, traditions, connections and bonds. He helped these children and families survive through simple traditions!! She said it gave them a sense of peace and something to look forward to in these horrible conditions. His guidance through these traditions gave them hope, and they felt reassured and secure because as they suffered in this camp they still felt like they had "something". They had a traditions and routines to keep them close together and ultimately helped them survive until the Americans came to the rescue.

Sadly, Liddell died in the prison camp from a brain tumor five months before they were liberated, but his story lives on quietly and powerfully to those who hear his message and inspiration. I'm a believer in traditions and how they can heal and bond a family...and even a prison camp. There is truly a power in traditions and story.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Family First

Today is my first post at I'm a guest blogger on Fridays for this great blog. My Friday blog posts are all about "Family First"! Go check it out!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Way-too-cool-teens enjoying the "kiddy" rides!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday Tradition #28

When I was in grade school every day at lunch I would open my lunch box and find a "love note" from my mom. I remember vividly the smile it would put on my face. It was exciting to find a sweet little note every day from my mom. EVERY SINGLE DAY from kindergarten to 6th grade my mom would write a simple note written with a black Sharpie on my napkin.

Middle school (we called it Jr. High) came and my mom had to go back to work so I had to start making my own lunches and the notes for the most part stopped. She'd still sneak in one here and there, but it wasn't the same as grade school. I've made sure that I carried on this simple tradition with my kids. Since my ninth grader started kindergarten she got letters on her napkins and the tradition carried on down the line to her sister. Those two are "all grown up" and are in high school and middle school and so buying lunch is the cool thing to do now. So my little notes are not as often as I wish, but I still sneak one or two in their backpacks, pencil pouches or folders.

Well, my son has started kindergarten and the tradition begins again. Monday was his first day of school and I could see a little anxiety as he boarded the bus for the very first time. He had "the look", but I knew he'd be okay. I was certain he'd be well taken care of, make some new friends, color a picture or two and probably play on the playground a few times. When I went to meet him at the bus stop to pick him up he was smiling and happy and so excited to tell me about his day. I asked him, "So what was your favorite part about your first day of kindergarten?" And you know what he said, "Your note you wrote on my napkin." AHHH! I actually forgot I had done that, but my heart melted when he said that to me.

He said he couldn't read it so he asked the teacher to read it to him. He grabbed my hand as we started for home and said, "I love you too mommy, just like the note." I asked him about anything else that happened during his day and he proceed to tell me that he was a little shy, but had lots of fun on the playground, of course. It seemed after lunch his day started to get better and better and I guess I'd like to hope that my little "love note" helped him along his way.

Lunch boxes are the perfect place to remind our kiddos that we're thinking about them, rooting for them and always there for them. Here are some simple ideas for lunch box surprises!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Making the Most of Fay

Well, so much for my exciting week of schedule and back to school! Miss Fay has thrown that right out the door. One day of school down and now this wet and windy storm has forced me sweet children home for ONE MORE DAY! Yes, I'm smiling........

I've been thinking about what we'll do if the seven of us are stuck in this house with no electricity, no air conditioner and limited use of all our luxuries. At first a small panic attack started to settle in, but then I realized I can make this a total nightmare or have some fun with it! Yes, we get another 36 hours of bonding!

We went and did a last minute grocery run to make sure we have all the necessities to survive a less-than-36-hour lock down. Grabbed a 10 pound bag of chocolate chips, 2 cases of soda, a few bags of chips and popped pop corn, and a few other yummy treats. We baked some cookies when we got home, charged all the portable DVD batteries and we're having a PAR-TAYYY! We're definitely going to be making some memories in this house. Fay might cause a ruckus outside, but inside it's even crazier at our house! We've got all the games out and treats and we're ready to make some memories.

For some CRAZY-STRANGE reason, I feel blessed to spend time with my family, but I feel even more blessed because this "hurricane" could be much worse. I started thinking about Katrina and other horrible hurricanes that have ripped through the south and I've gained a better appreciation for the blessings that I have and the safety that I feel. This could have been so much worse. So what!....we have to sit and play games and eat junk food for 24 hours. Woopy! I'm just grateful we're in our home, with each other, safe and sound.

See y'all later! It's time to have some Family Fun! A new family tradition in the making....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Family Goal!

We're down to hours until school starts! Schedules and organization will once again thrive within the walls of my home....well, sort of. My version of schedules and organization are probably slightly different than the average mom. But hey, a little crazy is good, right?

During summertime we always get away from our weekly family time. You'd think with no sports and commitments we'd stay on track and be diligent about our weekly family night. But nope, total chaos takes over and I don't think all 7 of us have been home at the same time for over a month!! So as a family we're setting ONE goal! To make sure we continue our tradition of setting Sunday night aside for just us! Nothing else, but the 7 of us gathered around for some good company, fun activities, & yummy treats. We also use our Sunday nights to update our weekly family schedule....who has what practice at what time, who's driving, what's for dinner. Pretty much the who, what, when, where, whys and hows of the week. With 7 of us on different schedules we have to have some sort of plan.

So this is our family's highest priority/goal, get back on our Sunday night family! I'd love to hear what your family's goal or goals are for the new school year. Do share! We can all use good ideas, better organization tips and it's fun to see other families that are crazy like mine!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday Tradition #27

It's hard to believe another summer is coming to a close. School is starting for us next week and with that comes a little relief, but also a tinge of anxiety. As a mother of a first-year high school student, middle school student, and kindergartner, my mom instincts of protection and worry are starting to kick in full gear.

I truly believe I'm raising children that are strong and independent, but I want even more for them. I want them to be happy with themselves when the next school comes to a close in 9 months. I want them to have NO regrets, but make good choices and love the consequences that come with them. Yes, I'd love to completely control them, but I know that's not possible and what the heck would that do for them anyway?

I thought that it might help them if they actually had a plan and some goals made specifically for the next 9 months. What do they want to learn this year? What achievements in sports are they willing to work for? What grades to they expect to get? How much time are they willing to put into getting those grades? What clubs and groups would they like to join? How many books do yo plan to read?....and so on and so on.

Tonight as a family we're going to sit down and let them write themselves a letter. Telling themselves what they except to have accomplished and achieved by the end of the school year. Set some goals and then tuck it away in an envelope. I going to let them have these at the end of the school year so they can see if they followed their plan, stuck it out, disciplined themselves to accomplish what they expected before school year had started.

I'm hoping that this "letter-to-self" will give them some accountability and help them remember to stay the course and not settle for anything! I can't wait to see what their plans are and what they expect of themselves. I'll report back next week and give you a full review of their goals and expectations. Until then....deep breath and bracing myself for a wild year!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tell Your Baby's Stories...From the First Kick to the First Steps

Being pregnant and giving birth to each one of my children is among the happiest days of my life. The stories, memories and emotion are placed deeply in my heart. As mothers, we are the ONLY ones on this planet that can tell our children's story. We are the ones that can tell our children how it all began.

Cherish Bound's Birth to 18 Months Story Starter can help every mother and father tell their stories and share their memories about the memorable days of our new babies. With the help of this story starter you can write your child's story in less than 2 hours whether they're 6 months old or 16 years old. The Birth to 18 Months Story Starter is tool used to help you write this story. It is filled with TONS of questions, story prompts and ideas in chronological order to help you organize, write and remember the story.

Everyone loves to tell their story, but everyone loves to hear their story too. Tell the stories that changed your life and brought ultimate joy...tell them to your little ones. Keeping it simple and beautiful is the goal. You have everything you need to tell this's inside of you.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Confessions of an Ex-Scrapbooker #20

I've had lots of emails and interest from many of you wondering how writing our family's stories and publishing them in Cherish Bound books can be a "group" effort or done with friends. Some of you come from the "crop night" world, and look forward to getting together with your friends to do some memory keeping. It becomes a monthly ritual and there is NO WAY you're going to miss it...not for anything! I was once a regular attendee of monthly crop nights. I enjoyed getting together with my friends, meeting new people and I really enjoyed the adult conversation.....and I loved getting something done! I really hope that the general scrapper population gets more done than I did at crop nights. It took me an hour just to unload and get situated, another to catch up on the latest gossip, and then I'd get about 2 or 3 spreads done in a six hour span....yippee!

Even though I've changed my "memory keeping ways" I still love an excuse to get together with friends that want to preserving our family's memories and stories. Story and Technology Workshops are now replacing the "crop night". As a Cherish Bound consultant, I hold monthly and sometimes bi-monthly Story workshops and Technology workshops. These workshops provide a quiet place for my friends and customers to come and work, chat, eat and get things done!

My Story Workshops are usually theme-based so everyone is working on the same story theme. I can usually get people through an ENTIRE STORY in less than 2 hours....usually an hour and a half. By using the Story Starters, sharing and pairing their stories, writing within time limits, everyone leaves with their story done and organized. It leaves plenty of time for chatting, eating and enjoy our friendship. The best part is they come and accomplish a task, they're leave knowing they can return again the next month and continue building their family's library.

Technology workshops are done with laptops and computers. Everyone learns how to use Cherish Bound's online publishing center for creating and publishing books. We also go over basic scanning, editing and photo tips. It's fun to see how everyone catches on so quickly and how creative people are! I love seeing custom designed pages from the pros and simple, beautiful photography from the rookies.

I'm hoping to start some online workshops for those of you in far off remote places with no consultants to hold workshops. It would be a fantastic way to help you get your stories organized and ready for publishing!

Table Decor from my Best Friends Workshop!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Interview @

Kelly McCausey from recently interviewed me. "A work at home mom who is really taking her business to the web in a great way." Check it out!!

Holiday Planning Party!!!

Christmas and Hanukkah are less than 150 days away!

Friday, August 8th @ 11am

Have you started planning your holiday gift giving list? Join me at and get started with your holiday planning through Cherish Bound. Get some awesome gift ideas for personalized books and calendars, Publishing Gift Boxes, and Unique products. Organize your lists: who to buy for, what should I publish, make & buy, how much do I want to spend, and how can I get it all for FREE! I promise you will LOVE the ideas and I'll help you get started now and finished before Thanksgiving arrives! Plan now so you can enjoy the holidays!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday Tradition #26

Summer is almost over...but here are some fun things you can do with your family while we have a few days left!! Found these ideas in a magazine called Wonder Time!! If you have about an hour.....

  • Roll down a hill
  • Paint Rocks
  • Spray each other w/ seltzer
  • Play flashlight tag
  • Roast marshmallows
  • Catch some fireflies
  • Bake mud pies in the sun
  • Toss a frisbee
  • Start a grass fight
  • Look under stones near a pond
  • Run through the sprinkler
  • Read bedtime stories in a hammock
  • Organize a Crazy Eights tournament
  • Make a daisy chain
  • Smack a tetherball around
  • Snap a family picture at dusk
  • Weed (dandelions and such)
  • Hold watermelon seed-spitting contest
  • Catch some minnows
  • Jump rope w/ a hose stream
  • Work on your cartwheels
  • Launch foam rockets
  • Take a walk in your pj's

Monday, August 4, 2008

Top 10 Summer Memories!

Summer is now furiously coming to a a mother I welcome it with open arms and throw out a few obnoxious hallelujahs! Even though my children are longing for a schedule, they would rather plan a few more beach days and sell a little bit more lemonade. I will admit that there is a tincy-wincy part of me that is a sad about this particular moment in time coming to an end.

Next year my sweet 14 yr. old will be driving with a permit. My 12 yr. old will be an official teen and won't be the same little girl she is this summer. My 5 yr. old boy will graduate from a cute toothless innocent little boy to a bike-riding neighborhood terror! He'll be a bit more mature and will probably want to have adventures with the neighborhood boys instead of treasuring hunting with his mama. And the twins...gosh, they'll be little kids! No more toddlers toddling around, mumbling gibberish. So yeah, there's a part of me that's sad at the end of each summer.

In order to keep a small part of this summer's memories alive, I'm having my my kids write and publish a "Top 10" book about their "Top Ten Favorite Summer Memories". I want them to be able to remember their summer memories vividly. Although summer was my favorite time of year as a kid, I'm beginning to have a hard time remembering details, and I would love to be able to see how I really felt and what I really thought about those amazing summer days. It's one of those things that you have to record so you can relive the can't rethink it. You have to relive it through words.

So here's a sneak peak at some of their Top 10's:

State Championship Softball Victory, first year of Especially For Youth Camp, getting fake glue-on nails, moving to a new house, learning how to do a flip on the trampoline, "skinny" jeans, catching a frog, learning to ride a bike, swimming, backyard camp out, lemonade stands, picnic at the park, seeing an alligator in the pond, grandma and cousin Cody visiting our family.....

Those are just a few, but those memories are theirs! They're not mine. I was there for most, but had I written these Top 10 Summer books by myself, I would have missed some very important summer details. I would have never thought that getting FAKE glue-on nails would be a highlight. But that's the beauty of being a 12 yr. old girl. And seeing an alligator? I completely forgot about that until I was reminded by my amazing boy. It's so entertaining to take a peak into their minds. I love seeing the world through their eyes. I love hearing their version of the story. It's much more exciting to hear what they have to say.

Take the time to find out what your family's Top 10 Summer Memories are! Interview your children. Find out their version of the story. You'll be surprised at what they say. Don't forget to have them write down how they felt, what they've learned, and who they spent time with.

Leave a comment about some of your favorite family's favorite summertime memories and you could win a "Top Ten Mini" Story Starter from Cherish Bound. Be sure to check back to see if you won!! Contest closes on August 17th....the DAY BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

That's What I Love About Sundays

I normally don't blog and get on the computer on Sunday. It seems to be the ONLY day that life slows down just a little bit. I try to make Sunday different than all the other days in the week. I want it to be different. I want there to be some sort of peace that we look forward to each week as we fight through the days the lead up to it. Today's simple schedule reminded me why I truly love Sundays. Nothing big and exciting happened today. Nothing earth shattering or something to call the press on. Just a simple day.

We made it to church on time...with all of us in the car and dressed quite nicely. We make it to church every Sunday, but sometimes we arrive on our own time, slightly disheveled hair, and a missing shoe or two. It was not until the ride home that I realized how precious Sundays are. I always ask the same question as soon as we pull out of the parking lot, "So, what did you learn today?" The 10 minute ride home was filled with voices sharing the stories they learned in Sunday school classes. I loved hearing each of them tell me about their favorite hero's, scriptures they learned and were challenged to memorize and even a few stories about families from the scriptures that are slightly similar to our own. I loved that they're learning and TELLING US ABOUT IT! I loved coming home to the peaceful home that awaited our arrival. There was nowhere to rush off to. There was no phone calls to return, no emails to answer, it was just a day of rest. Why we fight that concept I don't know. But I truly believe Sunday was created for no other reason than to allow us to rest with our families and connect on levels we cannot do on the other six days of the week.

That's what I love about Sundays.....

Friday, August 1, 2008

Confessions of an Ex-Scrapbooker #19

What weighs 40 lbs?
A 4 yr. old child? No. A dog? Nope. Hum....A very large bag of flour? Hu-huh.

Answer! 8 Scrapbooks!!!!!!!!! (Not very pretty either)
*Exhibit A* more for you?

What weighs 6 lbs?

A new baby? I wish my weighed that small! A 6-pack of Diet Coke? Yum...but no. A bag of clothes from the mall? Come bags weigh more than that!

8 Cherish Bound books, published, hardbound and BEAUTIFUL!
*Exhibit B*

So what's my point? Um....yeah, if there's a fire you can actually grab your kids and your memory/story/photo books if they're done this way. Actually, I take that can let your books burn. Yeah, because if they're done with Cherish Bound they're archived FOREVER! So let 'em, burn. You can get more copies. Grab the kids, the animals....oh, yeah, wake up your husband, and get out!

And one more thing....what would you rather see on the book shelf in your family room or the coffee table in your living room????? Probably not Exhibit A. Well, at least not my "Scrapbooks"...I'm embarrassed. I can't believe I just showed that picture of my scraps! Go ahead, cringe. It's okay...I know, my S-books are ugly. But come on! Look at my new books! You gotta love those. Let me know when you're ready to save your family in the fire! (wink-wink)