Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I am a FACS Momma!

Last night, I was a very lucky girl and had two escorts to our apartment building ice cream social. One escort held my hand and the other was tethered to me with his lion backpack/ leash.

It was nice to meet people in the complex! One super cute girl asked me if I used my degree at all. I immediately responded, "Yes!! Everyday!" as I looked at Devin. I know she meant the question to mean am I currently teaching and using my degree in the way it was intended but that wasn't the question.

It made me think. Do I use my bachelors degree anymore? Am I really using it everyday? Were all of my classes and textbooks and fees and labs and scholarships and the time spent for nothing?

I love the quote that says, "When you educate a man you educate an individual; when you educate a woman you educate a whole family."

But more than educating a family, I really use my degree everyday of my life. Seriously. The knowledge I gained while studying for tests and completing projects made me who I am today. And my degree was definitely not for waste. If nothing else, I learned how to learn when I was in college. That skill alone is completely invaluable!

I loved my family finance class and now love budgeting. I love being in charge of our money together and knowing where it is going instead of wondering where it went. Our budget is what is allowing us to buy a home right now! And living in our budget means knowing how to save money and distinguishing between wants and needs.

My interior design classes were extremely time consuming. But I learned so much! And trust me, I am already grateful for the knowledge. It made our apartment more homey instead of just a place to live. Once we move, I will really be using my interior design skills. I get to plan and paint and decorate. It will be amazing having color on my walls and finishing the basement anyway I want. Our home will truly transform from government owned fixer-upper to a place of beauty. A place of peace and shelter from the world. A place of laughter and hugs. A place that is ours.

One of my hardest classes and lowest grade at BYU was in my food science class. I worked so hard and crammed so much before tests. Luckily I was married when I took this class because Casey became my study buddy and quizzer. If it weren't for him, I am sure I would have done much worse! Surprisingly this is also one of my only books I ever refer back to now. Not because I care to review the chemical structure of foods. But because I want to know why certain ingredients affect recipes the way they do. I want to know how to modify recipes to make them healthier. I love figuring out why a recipe failed and how to improve the next attempt. I am constantly try new recipes--in fact it is rare that we eat the same thing twice. Along with this is making meal plans for the week, knowing how to have everything ready for dinner at the same time, and eating healthy but enjoyable meals. This is still a work in progress but I'm so glad for the foundation I have!

Then there is sewing. I have not followed a pattern to complete a project for a while now but someday I will! Sewing was not my favorite section because it was so time consuming. I would spend countless hours in the sewing lab. But I still use the basics constantly. I altered Casey's work shirts, mend holes, make baby ties, create homemade mittens, sew blankets, pillows and hooded towels.

The last part of my major was child care. Do I use this? Yes! Child care is more than merely babysitting and more than watching the TV together. I am meant to teach Devin and it needs to be on an age appropriate level. We are learning and growing every day. I'm really looking forward to when I can teach Devin preschool, just like how I taught preschool at BYU and as a student teacher. We are going to do experiments and go on field trips. We will have dramatic play and stations. We will have activities to go with the children's book. But forget the future. I'm teaching today; I'm teaching every hour of every day. Devin is learning about the Sacrament and how to count. He is learning his colors, shapes, body parts, etc. And he helps me pack boxes and do the laundry.

So yes. I truly am using my degree. Constantly. It blesses my life. It blesses my family. It blesses countless others.

I am a Family and Consumer Science Momma!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Greatest Power

Yesterday was a special day. A historic day. An inspiring day. We were blessed with the opportunity to watch a Special Broadcast: The Work of Salvation. And we were doubly blessed because we were actually able to watch and listen and feel the spirit. Mr. Devin slept through the first half and then sat quietly and ate granola bars and snacks for the rest. If you didn't have a chance to watch it last night, I hope you will take the time to do so. It was very touching and uplifting!

Most of the meeting was about missionary work--sharing the thing that I love the absolute most with those that we love the most. Pres. Packer spoke about how to teach. And I absolutely loved this quote!! I decided to make a printable to have in our home. Because sometimes I need a little reminder that being a stay-at-home mommy is the greatest thing I can ever do. Teaching Devin is more valuable than anything the world could give a working woman.

"I have come to know that everybody is a teacher. In the church we talk about being called to a position and being set apart to teach Sunday School or any other Priesthood auxiliaries. The Priesthood, I think, sometimes prides itself with having the power to doing the teaching. They don't come near the power that's given to a mother. The greatest teaching in the church is done by the mothers." --Pres. Boyd K. Packer (Special Broadcast: The Work of Salvation. about 1.37:30- 1.38:30)

I just love this!!
The power of mothers... and the ability to teach!
A good reminder of my worth.

I thought this one sentence was a good stand alone quote too.

As was this one. :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Quiet Book for Toddler {printable}

UPDATE: This is by far one of my most popular posts... and even though I'm not regularly blogging right now (because my life is so busy with two Little Loves and family history and etc), I thought I would mention that I have started an Etsy store selling other Quiet Books, LDS File Folder Games, etc. This quiet book will always be free and I hope you will continue to use and love it! :)

Etsy Store: LivingOurDreamLife

UPDATE: This is now availabe to download as a PDF... all ready to print! Go to {Living Our Dream Life} facebook page. PLEASE LIKE THE PAGE! Then go to the photo album called {Freebies}.

{Living Our Dream Life} facebook page

Before Devin was born, I made several church bag activities (most of which I never posted on the blog--sorry). I had plans. Devin was going to sit quietly and look at the activities and we would all listen to Sacrament meeting and be uplifted. We would never eat cookies or play with cars at church. Well, allow me just to say that my super curious one year old has a very hard time sitting for three hours. And it does not help that my ward has Sacrament last so by the time we get to that meeting, he has already been sitting on our laps for almost two hours. (Yes, we keep him on our lap. I know he would rather go play. But he is not allowed off our lap. And he knows that and doesn't fight it too much anymore. He rose to our expectations. However, even with expectations, he can still only last for so long!) Yesterday, I bribed Devin to stay with us during Sacrament meeting by feeding him cookies and he played with a tractor. So much for my ideal world.

My church bag activities were not working because they are meant for preschoolers... if not older. He doesn't understand how to put the Popsicle stick puzzles together or how to read all of the photo books I made him. I needed something simple and on his level. Something with few words and lots of pictures that taught the purpose of the Sacrament. The main goal was to have the flip book teach--not just entertain. I searched the internet. I found nothing created for an early toddler. So I decided to make my own.

We will probably save this mini quiet book for only during the Sacrament itself. I want it to be more than just a snack to him, which means I need to teach him. We weren't sure how long to have Devin wait to take the Sacrament for the first time because we didn't know if he would get it yet or not. Yesterday I decided Devin gets it. He knows that sunglasses go on my face and he tries to put any sock he finds on his foot. He knows we talk on phones and touch the spoon to the plate before we put it in our mouth. If he picks up on those things, I know he is paying attention to us taking the Sacrament as well. I was whispering to him yesterday while we all took the Sacrament what we were doing and why. He began whispering back to me (I have never heard him whisper before). It was like he was reciting back to me what he learned--even though I didn't understand what he was saying. Hopefully this flip book will help him begin to understand the why better and connect my whisperings. 

I took some of the phrases from lessons in Behold Your Little Ones (the nursery manual). Others I just made up. I figured that manual is designed for early toddlers and more on the level of my curious child. (even though he is not old enough to go to nursery--I try to convince the nursery workers to let him come early. He walks, plays with toys and sits to listens to stories at the library so he could sit for nursery lessons too. But they won't go for it... not six months early at least.) The pictures are mostly from the Gospel Art Book. And if the cards seem repetitive, it's on purpose!! I'm hoping hearing similar things over and over will help it sink in better.

I printed the pictures at home on cardstock. I did not want to put them in a photo book. I wanted this to be different and I already made several church photo books. (But you certainly could print them off at a picture place and do the book option if you wanted!) My cards are 3" x 4" with a hole punch in the top left corner and a ring. Plus they are hard laminated for heavy duty/ still-puts-everything-in-his-mouth use. You are welcome to save the pictures and print the book for your own personal use. But please refer back to this post instead of uploading them again yourself.

UPDATE: This is now availabe to download as a PDF... all ready to print! Go to {Living Our Dream Life} facebook page. PLEASE LIKE THE PAGE! Then go to the photo album called {Freebies}.

I know this one is a bit wordy.
And he probably won't totally understand.
But I wanted it in there so I could remember to whisper it in his ear. 

Example of the last two pages:
Both of these pages are also in Devin's flip book.
I put them before the last page of "Jesus loves me."
But I didn't really want Devin in everyone's book.
And printing out Devin defeats the personalization purpose!
You will have to make your own mommy/ daddy pages.
Or just leave them out... :)
The font is called "Hank BT" --in case you want your pages to match.

UPDATE: This is now availabe to download as a PDF... all ready to print! Go to {Living Our Dream Life} facebook page. PLEASE LIKE THE PAGE! Then go to the photo album called {Freebies}.

UPDATE: This is by far one of my most popular posts... and even though I'm not regularly blogging right now (because my life is so busy with two Little Loves and family history and etc), I thought I would mention that I have started an Etsy store selling other Quiet Books, LDS File Folder Games, etc. This quiet book will always be free and I hope you will continue to use and love it! :)

Etsy Store: LivingOurDreamLife

Saturday, June 8, 2013

HONESTY --the best policy

We went under contract. The loan was being processed. I had turned in almost all of the papers for our grant and it was being reviewed with the missing papers. I thought everything was moving along smoothly with buying our home.

Yesterday our loan officer called me. The first thing he said was he had bad news. My first thought was interest rates had spiked super high and now we won't qualify for the loan because we have not locked in a rate yet. But I didn't jump to conclusions and just listened to his explanation. It turns out it had nothing to do with interest rates. It was the grant.

I still have to turn in two papers for our grant application to be complete. The first was Casey and I had to sign the copy of our taxes. Easy. We just didn't think to sign it because we submitted everything electronically and assumed the electronic signature would show on the printout. The second is a form called the buyer/ seller certification.

The buyer/ seller certification.

Generally, it would not be that hard to turn this in either. The seller signs the form which states we are applying for a grant. Truthfully, I don't even understand why the seller has to know this because it doesn't affect them at all but that is the city's rule. But our situation is different. There is no seller--our house is government owned. And everyone involved on the government's side of things refuses to sign it. My agent has talked to countless people trying to find anyone who will sign the form. And no one will sign it. They even emailed our agent part of their rules & regulations handbook which states they will sign absolutely no forms other than their own contract.

Everyone knows this. All loan companies know this and there are some of our loan forms that generally the seller will sign as well. But they don't even try to have them signed when the seller is the government. So... everyone knows this except the city we are moving to.

The city will not accept the form without a signature. Our loan officer has talked to the person in charge of the city grants over and over. The city claims that they have never had a problem before even with other people applying for the grant with a government owned house. The form has always came back with a signature. The loan officer pursued it and tried to understand how government owned houses had a signature in past cases. Finally he was told by the city that they don't check it. As long as there is some form of ink on the seller's line, they don't care.

Lovely. If any of us were willing to scribble something on the line, we would qualify for the grant. But our loan company and agent are both extremely honest--a characteristic trait that is absolutely needed in this home buying business! And we are not willing to commit mortgage fraud either. But because all the previous government owned houses grant applications came back with something scribbled on the line, they refuse to accept ours without it.

I don't know how things will work out right now. But I do know that we will be blessed for being honest. On Monday, we are going to pursue calling other city offices, including the major and city council, to hopefully find a way around the required seller signature. We should be able to write on the line "government owned" and have that waive the requirement. 

This entire house process is a constant pleading with the Lord. We are praying that hearts will be softened and that through miraculous means we will be awarded the grant. He has answered our prayers before, we know He will answer them again. We just don't know how at this point....

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dream Home vs. Actual Home

When we started the home buying process at the beginning of this year, I made a list of of our dream home. There were certain requirements that it had to have and then others that we really wanted but could live without. I thought it would be interesting to compare and see if our home matches our dream home. My list is posted below in orange and the actual home is written in purple.

  • In an area where we can get one of the housing grants (not all parts of the valley offer that and some cities have stricter rules than others) YES! Our grant is being processed right now! I still need to go turn in several forms but I was told the process was already started.
  • Located in an accessible area (meaning near-ish the freeway/ trax/ etc) Near-ISH being the key word in that. Ish. It is sort of... kind of accessible/ near Trax. Which also means it is sort of... kind of far away. It is not as close as we would like. But oh well.
  • Not on a busy street but not a dead end either YES!! It is in a good location in its neighborhood. It is a small street that is off a major street.
  • Previous owners can not be smokers (my allergies would go crazy!) and the house can not smell like pets either. The house smells clean. I think we should be fine, especially after a good carpet cleaning. I think the previous owners did smoke but always outside.
  • We want an actual house--not mobile home or condo. YES!! It is free standing with it's own fenced in yard.
  • Has to feed to good schools. YES! From all the extensive research I have done on the schools, it seems to be in a very good school area.
  • Electric dryer hook-up. YES!
  • Kept in good shape and ready to move in. More or Less. There was a kid there that did wonders to all the walls with his artwork. And we know that some of the appliances need help. It will be interesting to see what else we learn about what is wrong with our home after we get a home inspection.
  • The water tastes good (I will seriously ask to drink the water before we put an offer on it!) No idea right now. I'm slightly nervous about this. The house was winterized and there was no way to tell what it tastes like. But I'm hopeful!
  • Good Ward (how do you tell before you buy the home??) Another no idea... We are praying it is though. And praying we will find life long friends! I guess I will have to report back on these two after we move in.

  • Has a small formal living room, a large kitchen and a family room all on the same level (or the family room could be down a few stairs like in a tri-level house) Nope. It does have a large kitchen!!!! No family room at all. But a completely unfinished basement. Our house was not the layout/ floor plan I wanted.
  • Has at least a 3/4 master bathroom. Nope. It is a one bathroom house.
  • There are two rooms in addition to the master room on the same level/ right by each other. Nope. It is only 2 rooms total. (I wanted 3.)
  • Hopefully another room/ den/ office in the basement. Nope. But it could because it is completely unfinished.
  • Has a good storage room. Sure-- isn't that what unfinished basements are for?! Storage...
  • Garage at least a carport. We got our at least. No garage but it does have a carport.
  • A yard big enough for Devin to play in and grow a garden. Yes. The actual yard is fairly big compared to most houses in the surrounding area. But currently it is a complete weed patch. So it will take a lot of TLC. And when we redo the grass, we are going to add a garden somewhere.
  • Has a garbage disposal. I honestly don't know right now. I would assume yes because it has a built in dishwasher!
  • No carpet in the dining room (ugh! Such a pain--that has to be the thing I like the least about our apartment right now) YES! I don't know what the kitchen and dining rooms are; I think some sort of laminate. But whatever it is, I can sweep it with a broom. I'm SOOOO grateful the dining room is not carpeted!!
  • The family room is large enough to play the Wii and have the family computer in there. Nope. No family room right now. In the future though when we finish the basement, this could become a yes.
  • Lots of natural light. The kitchen and dining room has a ton! But I think our house is just about normal on this matter. There are good sized windows in all the rooms.

It is not the house that I dreamed of. It does not have the floor plan I wanted. But it is our home. It is in a good area. And it really does meet nearly all of our requirements. And has the potential to meet a lot of our dreams. Although an unfinished basement is not "move in ready," I'm excited to be able to finish it any way I want! I can use all of my interior design skills and make the basement what we want.