Summer happenings

Tonight I sat down with my calendar and realized school is less than two weeks away. I had so many plans for summer and only a few days left to enjoy them. Ari starts middle school this year and I am so nervous about the choices and paths that lay ahead. Middle school is so rough for everyone I think! I pray that he can find a few good friends and a hobby he loves. That reminds me of President Hinckley who said that we all need a friend, a job to do and to be nurtured by the good word of God. So applicable here! I’m feeling a shift in my job as a mother…the cooking and cleaning is still there but I cherish the moments I’ve had this summer with the older two talking about books and the world around us.

Maya fell off her scooter and broke her arm a few weeks ago. Since she’s in a soft cast we can’t get it wet and it’s forced us to be a little more creative with our days. We’ve made trips to the library, hiked, played board games, worked in the garden, baked, done some left handed bowling and made lots of trips to the park. Last night Maya and I went on a special time to do some back to school shopping and she just loved the one on one. I did too!

Ikea Kitchen remodel: one year later pantry organization

I took a day of spring break today to clean out the pantry and decided I needed to share my ideas and possible get some new ones (yes! Please!) This is still one of my favorite parts of our recent kitchen remodel. When we bought our house it had a tiny kitchen and no pantry. So when we did the remodel that was a must! First of all I love how it blends in with the rest of the kitchen. We didn’t want to waste the space framing a door so we built it out of bodbyn Ikea cabinets and used three doors to make the long pantry door.

Next I built floating shelves and painted them to match the cabinets (bm paper mache). I used the instructions here

Next the organization! I love my dollar store baskets with labels, my airtight bins and the lazy Susan in the corner for all the sauces/vinegars you don’t use that often. I got some hanging bins from Ikea that work great for potatoes and onions. They are meant for thing shelves so I drilled some holes and they still work. Also can you see I have a plug in my pantry for the toaster and wheat grinder? I love it! I also like having a big bin on the floor for bags of pasta and beans. My tubs of flour and oatmeal with gamma lids are really easy to pull out when cooking too. The top of the cabinet is open so it always stays light. That also means I can pile up chips and paper towels if needed. I don’t have all my can goods in the pantry as I like to buy sales in bulk. This is what my downstairs food storage closet looks like:

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a professional but I loved the ideas I got from the web so wanted to pass it forward. Enjoy!

Our trip to Kauai

It was so nice to leave the snow in utah and escape to Hawaii for a week!   We flew Nana out to babysit and it was fun to be able to spend time with the kids and go out the two of us too.

We chose to go to the island of Kauai as we heard it was the least commercialized and has the best snorkeling spots. December in Hawaii is the rainy season but it’s been nice to have overcast days and even when it does rain it’s warm and feels great.  Pete went almost the whole week without a sunburn until we went to poipu beach on Wednesday. The beach at Poipu is unique is that it has sand but it also has a protected reef right in the water. Maya and Ari both enjoyed snorkeling in this little bay that didn’t have the crazy waves but had all the beautiful fish Hawaii is famous for. Maya was excited to even see a unicorn fish!

The week before our Hawaii trip I tore my gastroc calf muscle and so I was still on crutches. This sadly limited what we could do but although we couldn’t do the hikes and canoe trips I still felt we saw everything there was to see. The first day we were there we rented a van and drove into the canyon. The view of the “little grand canyon” with the waterfall was beautiful. My favorite though was at the very end when we saw a rainbow over the Na Pali coastline.

Overall the food in Kauai wasn’t worth mentioning but we loved the tropical fruits you could get everywhere!

Eating mango and pineapple and Sadie sacked out!

The heater was out at the pool at our Marriott so we spent one day at the Marriott lagoons. We were the one ones in the whole pool and boy was it pretty!

One of our favorite days was going to tour Lydegate Farms. They call it a chocolate tour but I loved that they also showed us how they grow limes, macadamias, starfruit and vanilla beans. We also learned about lots of other tropical fruits one that even tasted like pumpkin pie! Ari the history buff loved learning about the history of chocolate and Maya loved getting to try the different kinds from different places of the world. It was so fun to see the chocolate trees with their pods growing straight off the trunks of the trees. The fruit is white and sweet while the raw cocoa seeds are very bitter. They are actually purplish and don’t turn black until they are dried and fermented. So fun!

The last day we drove way out west and saw a huge beach and ended the day with macadamia nut ice cream…ahh farewell Hawaii and back to the ice and snow

Maya turns 8 and is baptized

Maya was so excited for her eighth birthday because she got to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   One of her best friends Clara tautkus is only a day younger than her and so they got to be baptized right after each other.  It was a really sweet day.  Nana and Papa Jen and Juliet all flew out for the baptism and all her Halverson cousins and grandma and grandpa Halverson were all there too!  Maya played “When I am Baptized” on the piano and Nana gave the talk on the Holy Ghost.  Maya smiled the whole day.  After her baptism she was asked in the primary program why she was glad she got baptized. She said she was happy to follow Jesus and be baptized like He was. We are so proud of her!

Grandma Halverson’s acting debut

Last weekend we went to Evanston to see Grandma in a community theater play called Agatha Christie:  Who Dunnit?  She said she always wanted to be in a play so she responded to an ad in the paper and got the part.  Dad stayed home with the littles but Maya and Ari loved it!  We sat on the front row and felt like the show was just for us.  At one part Maya laughed so hard that Grandma forgot her lines.  Ari thought for sure Grandma was the murderer but he was so tickled to learn she was the undercover detective instead!  We all laughed when Grandma reached in her pocket to pull out the handcuffs and pulled out her room key.  “Wrong pocket!” she added.   Even the actors onstage couldn’t help but laughing.

The next day we found a park with an old school merry go round.  The kids had a blast and grandma treated us all to slurpees/sodas.  So fun!


Connor turns five!

Today I was giving Connor a piggy back to go check out our tomatillos in our garden (he’s obsessed with salsa verde) and I commented how big he is getting.  “Don’t worry Mom” he assured me, “When I’m too big for you to carry I can always sit on your lap!”  I don’t know how that kid can have so much love in his little heart.  It is so cute to watch him with Juliet his one year old cousin as he gently holds her hand and leads her around offering her toy after toy.

It’s so fascinating to see how Connor’s mind works.  The other day he asked Dad if he could print some coins on the 3d printer because he wanted some money.  Then he thought about it and said, “Let’s print dollars on the 2d printer because those only use paper!”  He has such a math and engineering mind.  Yesterday he wanted to use his money to subscribe to prodigy an online math game.  It said it was $5/month.  Connor looked at it and said, “Oh I have $10 so I can pay for two months!”

For Connor’s birthday we did a little party with the cousins at Grandma’s house. 

Ari turns 10

After spending the past few years solely reading detective mysteries (Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, Boxcar children, Magic treehouse, etc) this summer Ari has discovered fantasy.  He has spent most of the summer curled up on the edge of the couch reading the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus/Trials of Apollo series and Michael Vey.   He’s also into the Fortnite mania and if the world ever goes apocalyptic I’m sure Ari will be able to build a fort and save us all.   He and Connor have really enjoyed playing together lately and Ari helped me build a loft bed so Connor could move into his room.   I’m glad to say he still isn’t too big to build forts out legos and connor and him have had some massive battles.  He keeps saying he’s almost at tall and me and stealing my flipflops but I can still beat him in an arm wrestling match.  Maybe he should do more training at camp half-blood…

Happiness is…

hugs and cuddles from Connor.

Sadie saying, “I love you Mom” or “Mom you’re so pretty!”

Ari’s favorite poem he’s given me, “Roses are red, violets are blue.  Chocolate is sweet but not as sweet as you.”

reading Nancy Drew with Maya as I brush her hair at night.

Yesterday at Costco Sadie was tugging on my pants almost pulling them down repeatedly.  A grandma in line behind me leaned over and said, “Dearie you know your daughter is showing off your underwear but isn’t it wonderful we have little ones to tug on us?”   I left embarrassed and practically in tears but afterwards I was thinking about what she said.  I am grateful for my little ones and though they test my patience they give me so much joy and happiness.  I feel grateful and blessed to be called their mother.

Ari reads the Book of Mormon in 30 days!

As a family we started a read the Book of Mormon in 60 days challenge.  Ari doubled the challenge and finished in 30 days.  We are so proud of him!  In the introduction to the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith said, “The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”   The Book of Mormon has truly helped me to know God and I hope Ari find the same peace and direction that I have found within the pages of this sacred text!

Spring break…not the break you would imagine!

Wow what a crazy week!  We went down Easter weekend to Goblin Valley and hiked our favorite trail Little Wild Horse.  Sadly Pete and Maya got pink eye and that combined with the crazy winds we cut our camping trip short and came back Monday.   Wednesday Maya was playing frisbee in the front yard with Ari and Connor and she broke her foot!   We thought she just broke her big toe but Thursday morning it was blue and swollen down to the middle of her foot.   Our pediatrician was concerned and sent us to primary children’s for xrays.  After consulting with the primary children’s orthopedist he called and she she fractured her growth plate and the joint is a little displaced.  She probably doesn’t need surgery or a cast but she has to wear a boot for four weeks and can’t tumble for five weeks after that.  She has been amazing through it all, going back to school this week and still being super patient with her siblings who keep accidentally bumping her sore foot.  It really is true that hard things make you stronger!

Do you see the break in the growth plate of her big toe?  The orthopedist drs were pretty impressed she just broke this playing in the yard!