Family Flags

A few months previous to Thanksgiving my brother in law gave us each a piece of fabric that we were to create a family flag on.  We were to put what we stood for and what was important to us.  I lost my fabric and had to buy more but obviously didn't know what size it was supposed to be so mine looks different! Each of the families put what was most important to them on their flags.  Things like scriptures, temple, service and love.  For our flag the kids said they wanted a church and book of mormon and I thought music was also something we needed to include because it is such a big part of our family.  We also put our family motto of "Work hard & be kind" I love how they all turned out and I love that they all depict what we all are as a family.  

We are Conks!


Thanksgiving 2012

We came, we cooked, we ate.
The end.

Halloween 2012

I thought that last year would be my last year with 3 kids dressing up but alas, my daughter with the flair for the dramatics wanted to dress up one last year (lets not kid ourselves she will dress up ever year for the rest of her life!)  Sam saw a girl Robin costume and knew that was it.  She was no side kick this day though, she was the main show with her mask and green tutu!  Colby was insistent that he be a zombie (like the rest of the the school) so after much pleading all to no avail i caved and with the help of his dad we created a zombie costume. Bonnie got to wear her costume for a second time and was the hit of all the trick or treaters.  

General Conference October 2012

Have no idea what General Conference is, check it out ...here

While we enjoy getting dressed up in our fancy duds every Sunday, it's kinda nice when we have what we call "Jammie Church" twice a year.  We get to have a whole weekend where we hear the words of our prophet and leaders through the modern technology of television and internet!  I try to have some kinds of busy hand work for me and the kids while we watch because if their hands are busy then they aren't fighting with their siblings!  I didn't have much on hand and lack of preparation caused me to get creative.  The kids wanted to do clay but I know how that goes with the expensive modeling clay that Sam and I usually like to use.  I grabbed my cream of tartar and food coloring and whipped up some homemade playdough.  There were full minutes of fun! (just kidding, they were occupied for the entirety of the Conference!

Sam used her modeling clay to create this tiny model of the prophet speaking at the pulpit! So cute and only about an inch tall!

Bonnie turns 5

She was insistent that she have a halloween party.  I tried for princess, or girly of any kind, but alas, she wanted a costume halloween birthday party.  I kept it pretty low key.  She invited kids from school and church and we partied hard! 

I spent quite a bit of time on her costume because the wig that came with her lalaloopsy costume was awful.  We were tickled with how my version turned out and she made a dang cute little Lalaloopsy if I do say so  myself! 

We had lots of fun treats after pizza! Monster cookies and candy corn cupcakes! We painted pumpkins, played witches hat ring toss, pin the eye on the monster and don't eat pete! Bonnie had a super fun party and all the kids had a blast!


Oregon with my favorite People!

Our good friends came to visit us at the ranch this summer and we tried to see if we could pack as much into the 5 days they were here with us. We hiked, swam, laughed, ate, hiked some more, river rafted a lot and just thoroughly enjoyed our time with them.  

Emigrant Lake in Ashland

The water slides were a hit, the kids had so much fun even though it wasn't the warmest of water!! 

We took a day and went up to Crate Lake.  Every time we visit this magnificent place my breath is taken away. It's always pulling teeth to get Terry up here because it is a bit of a trek but it is so worth it to me! 

See Mitch she is not a myth! My brother has heard me talk about my friend Melanie for years now but has never met her so he claims she is like a unicorn, only exists in my mind, but here is proof!

It was fun to get to spend time with these kiddos!  Sam started violin with Melanie as her teacher almost 8 years ago and Payton started with her.  It is so crazy to think that these almost teenagers were the same babies scratching out twinkles on their violins!  We decided to check out some of the hiking trails around Crater Lake and they did not disappoint! 

We also hit the Upper Table Rock Hike that is literally 5 minutes from the ranch! Such a pretty hike and super fun with this great people! 

I made an investment in a lifeproof case for Brett's iphone so we could get some fun shots of our trips down the river!  I love these priceless memories that we would not otherwise have! Cael was my raft buddy for one of the trips down and he did pretty good.  Maddy was with us and it was super fun to have these cute kiddos in my boat! 

We almost lost Bonnie at Crater Lake! Not really but she is good a hamming it up for dad's camera!! 

Good times were had by all and I can't wait for 2014!! We sure love those Larsens!

Oregon - July 2012

I am still catching up from this summer so continue to bear with me! 

We had lots of visitors this summer while at the ranch. Lisa and the kids came to visit for a few days before heading over to her sisters house! We took a hike and river rafted.  We even had a day of rain so we could snuggle up with sweats and soup! These kids sure love their cousins and we are lucky that they all get along so well. 


I just realized I never posted my November 365. I'm trying out this new app to blog from my phone so lets see if it works!!


52 | 2012 - Music

I'm going to do a 2fer here and do a blog post from this summer which it seems I will never get caught up on which happens to coincide with this weeks Linked theme...Music

In August Samantha had the opportunity to go to Suzuki music camp in Las Vegas.  It was a great experience and she learned so much.  Jenny Jackson, Sam's teacher was one of the instructors and made it possible for Sam to go.  She stayed at my parents house and Miss Jenny got Sam to and from camp everyday since I couldn't come into town every single day.  
 On Friday they had a concert and played for all the families.  I was so impressed with how much she learned in such a short period of time, now if only I could get her to practice her dang violin now that we are back in the swing of school and things!! 
Don't forget to check out my other friends linked photos this week-


The Family Economy

I have been stressing and fretting for quite some time now about how to teach my children to become responsible contributing members to society.  I worry that they will continue through life with the same sense of entitlement that the rest of today's youth seems to have.  I'm sorry young people but you do not have the RIGHT to an education, you have to work for it! Seeing the government handouts and bail outs teaches my kids that you don't have to work hard to live comfortably and that is the wrong message to send. I believe that there is pride in a job well done and a sense of achievement is important in developing a sense of self worth.  I have observed in my own home that when my kids work for something and have to use their own money they actually take care of it and if something happens to it the devastation is so much greater.  When it's something that mom and dad bought then hey..."mom and dad will just buy me a new one or pay to fix it."


I also am sick and tired of fighting with my kids to clean up after themselves and contribute to this household.  Add that to the fact that my kids have NO concept of how money works (which I didn't really have a good understanding of savings, credit and interest and all that jazz either, but if I had, who knows where I would be today.)  I have heard it said The smart man earns interest and the stupid man pays it.  I want my kids to be the smart one and earn interest!!

Now don't get me wrong, I don't believe in giving kids an allowance for chores, it is there responsibility  to make this household run and functions smoothly.  I have to buy my kids clothes and pay for their school trips or a new basketball for practice.  By contributing to the house then they can earn money to buy those things.  I would start a college fund or mission fund with with money I am giving my kids but the money that will go into savings from their allowance will pay for those things (hopefully)

Now I hesitate to even put this out there for fear of it not happening and coming crashing down in a ball of flames but I have been barraged with comments and texts to see close ups of our new Family Economy System. So here it goes.

It starts with the zones which we will rotate thorough each week.

I have made a detailed description of what is involved in maintaining their zone so there is no question about what is part of their job.

Each child has a check list that has to be initialed at the end of each day and filled at the end of the week.  

The 4 categories that need to be checked of each day have also been outlined so there is no questions as to what is expected and entailed in those categories.  

At our Sunday night trip to the "Bank" the children will receive their money.  One dollar for each year of life (except for Colby because in years past we have given the opportunity to earn $10 and I don't feel I can go back on that)  We then implement the 10-20-70 division of their money.  

10% - goes to tithing (you can read more about this here)
20% - goes into savings, that they cannot touch until mission or college
70% - goes to what ever they choose to spend it on but they will be buying most of what they need (clothing, gifts for friends, trips to the movies and so on)

We want to help them learn about compound interest and why it is important to save so we will be helping them grow their money by adding 10% to what ever is in their savings "account" each quarter. Now this is where my kids got really excited about this plan.  They know that because of certain life events there is no college fund as of right now.  So they will need to save and we are helping them do it.  It is a great way for them to see how saving and not spending your money can benefit you in the long run!  Brett will be turning 16 in just a little over a year and I'm sure he is going to want a car, and gas to put in it.  Society has gotten to the point where they won't give a job to a teenager (don't even get me started on this) so how will my kids ever have a chance to earn money for these things!    

Now I feel I must give credit where credit is due, I did not come up with this plan on my own.  I had seen it over on Shawni's blog, to which I quickly ordered her parents book where the whole thing is outlined, Three Steps to a Stronger Family.  I knew from the moment I saw it that it was an answer to my prayers, (I told you I have been stressing about this for some time)  and Terry jumped on board with full force.  We went on a drive to run some errands and outlined the whole plan to get it in place and told the kids about it last night at a family meeting.  The kids are super excited about it and we are too.  I pray that we can stick with it and that my kids will never get into money trouble as adults because they were able to learn at a young age!


Always Behind

Do you ever feel like you're forgetting something?  I do! CONSTANTLY!  For some reason this school year has really thrown me for a loop.  With 4 kids in different schools and start and finish times, then add in after school activities and schedules, I can barely keep up!  I was talking to a friend and I was telling her about something that happened this summer in Oregon and I said "Well you probably saw it on my blog" then it hit me...I still haven't blogged this summer.  I haven't blogged school starting or our trip to California or Halloween.  Thanksgiving is quickly approaching with Christmas right behind and here I sit, not even caught up to JUNE!  Oh my, I'm in trouble!  I haven't taken photos of my daily life with my big camera in ages.  I do love instagram because it helps me keep the little day to days recorded.  Here is what my October looked like!  Maybe I'll get caught up by the end of the year!  

p.s. Don't mind that there are 4 days of cupcakes in my month, or that Bonnie gets the most camera time, it's just the way the cookie crumbles (or cupcake for that matter)


Thankful Thursday & 52 | 2012 - Texture

Since I am totally lame and can't seem to get my butt with it enough to get a real blog post together I am just combining these two post...lucky you, you get a 2fer!!   It's been a while since I have done a Thankful Thursday post so I though I would do one to kick off of the month of thankfulness.  So here is what I am thankful for this Thursday!

1.  Halloween is over.  HALLELUJAH!! I always go into this holiday with high hopes but am totally candy corned and fake blooded out by the big night!

2.  I found the plug in my house where I can vacuum the majority of my house without moving outlets.

3.  The temperatures have cooled to delightfully perfect weather!

4. It's cool enough to start my Starbucks hot chocolate habit back up.

5.  My sister who went to Costco and bought 8 cans of said hot chocolate for me because I was worried they would run out!

6.  My new dishwasher that is patiently awaiting installation in my garage.

7.  The satisfaction of accomplishing my to do list today.

8.   My new iPhone and the lovely photos it takes!

The theme for this week was texture and I have been playing a lot lately with light and not making everything all even light with perfect Martha Stewart light!  Thanks a lot Wendy, for some reason I am trying to step out of my box and I'm not likin it!! It's scary outside of my nice well evenly lit box!  But every once in a while I find a shot that makes me go, ok that's kinda cool.....so totally not me, but cool none the less!  This was one of those shots.  The morning sun was streaming in my front window lighting up my little girl and her breakfast!  I though the texture created in this photo by the shadows was pretty neat!!

Up next week - Wind

Don't forget to check out my other friends linked photos this week-


52 | 2012 - On the Shelf

I can't seem to get it together lately! My life is going 90 million miles an hour in 6 different directions!  I had planned to get some shots of my girls new shelves that I put up, but their room has been a disaster for days now!  Then I thought of the really awesome shelves I am building but they are not even close to being completed (read:bout supplies for yet still in garage.)  So you get an old photo inspired by Michelle. 

06.08.10 That Girl
Mom: "Samantha please go clean your room"
Mom: "NOW!!!"
Sam: (stomps off to room)
1 hour later
Mom " Sam, I asked you to clean, what have you been doing in here for the past hour?"
Sam: I organized my books by color!


Next week's theme is Memories
My Linked friends:



52 | 2012 - Colors

"Green beads go in a green dish on a green saucer....gosh mom"  

How a 4 year old thinks! 

Next week's theme is Neighbors
My Linked friends:


4th of July

So I'm still playing catch up here so bear (or is it bare, I'm having a total brain fart here!!) with me while we take a trip back to July!  

We bar-b-qued some delicious burgers and as the festivities rounded up the children were asking if we were going to see fireworks.  Sheri and I were the only ones that wanted to, so we loaded up the few that wanted to see the show and drove down to the fair grounds in search os lights in the sky. It was a fun night despite getting stuck in the horrible traffic that took us over an hour to get out of the parking lot!



52 | 2012 - Autumn

I really struggled with coming up with photos that mean Autumn to me because the season doesn't usually hit until around mid to late November around these parts, so I thought, what is going on in my life "right now" where the rest of the world is enjoying the crisper air and cooler temps.
Well....we are back in the swing of school and routines.  Regular musical instrument practice and homework.  I am about to pull my hair out with those two things right now and I didn't want my hostility towards the two to come through in my photos.  I (though Wendy the great quite disagrees) think that photos should mostly be happy and capture good times...who wants to remember the hair pulling and teeth clenching? NOT ME!! So I decided to capture what I so enjoy about this time.My sweet little girl missed the school cut off for Kindergarten by a few weeks but that just means I get to have her all to myself for another year before I send her off to be corrupted.  We try to do "homework" often on these days. Now before you award me mother of the year, this is purely at her begging a pleading.  She is a very bright girl and thanks to Ms. Heather is beginning reading so I try to keep her engaged as much as my patience will allow.  I do enjoy hearing her play independently with her figurines and putting on music concerts for her stuffed animals! I love walking by and seeing the little "scenes" she has created for her toys to enjoy while she takes a nap.  I want to just suck up every last bit of these last few months I have with my baby girl!
Tune in next week for our 52|2012 challenge where our word is - Tools.
Don't forget to stop by my friends to check out what their Autumn looks like!



Knowing that the Phantom of the Opera would soon end its run here in Vegas I wanted to take the opportunity to take Sam since it is her favorite movie.  Terry gave me the tickets for Mothers day and when the day came Sam was just bursting out of her skin with excitement! We had a fun night with dinner and the show.  I managed to take a few shots during the show giving Sam a heart attack she was so afraid I was going to get us kicked out of the show! I am really sad that it is gone but thankful I was able to see it 4 times while it was here!  I just wish I had had the funds to take my other kids, I know they would have enjoyed it! 



52 | 2012 - Kitchen

I have to admit that I was pretty uninspired with this one, I may have done better if I had given it more than 20 seconds thought but all I could think of was how grateful I am to have a real kitchen! Remember this...
Looking at this photo is kinda giving me a panic attack right now....breath in, breath out!  For those of you who may not know, e and my family of six lived in this tiny travel trailer for 15 months on the side of my in laws home.  We recently moved into a real house with a real life kitchen and walls and bathroom sink that isn't 6 inches away from my pillow!  This is my new kitchen with its odd pot shelves and window box for my terrariums.  It is boring and small (compared to my last REAL kitchen) but it is divine to cook and have counter space.  A real fridge that holds more than a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk!  Though it may not be exactly what I would want for my dream kitchen, I am so very grateful that it is mine.  
Tune in next week for our Linked:52 word "Autumn" which ought to be interesting since it's still in the 100's!  And don't forget to check out all my Linked buddies! 


52 | 2012 - Spice

This girl is full of Sugar but she certainly is not lacking in SPICE!!

Don't forget to check out my linked friends!!


Succulent Terrariums

I had been seeing them on the web all over the place, but our recent trip to southern California really inspired me.  Our beach house (yes it's OURS...you gotta problem wit dat?) is owned by a landscape artist and he apparently has a thing for succulents.  They covered the grounds, front and back.  On a whim one date night back in June I expressed my interest in making a little glass terrarium.  We spent the whole drive to St. George and all of dinner doing some research.  We bought some really cool apothecary jars at TJMaxx, then headed to Home Depot and Walmart for the soil and plants.  On our way home we did some more research via smartphones...and found that these types of terrariums need drainage holes.  With a little more work and a trip to Ace to buy a glass drill bit we were ready to go.  

I am in love with them.  They look so pretty when they sit on my center counter, but I have to keep them up in my window box for the most part so they get enough sun.  They are pretty low maintenance, just my kind of plant!! 



It's great to be 8 | Colby's Birthday Party

Colby was really excited to turn 8!! Can you tell? We had a super fun waster swim party at Grandma's house.  Aside from me having to save a kid from drowning fully clothed with phone in pocket it was a super fun party!!
The snow cone station was a hit.  We went through some serious ice at the party.  I think they liked that better than cake!

Colby told all of his friends he wanted water guns for his presents. ALL OF THEM!! He seriously got 8 water guns.  I tried to get him to keep some in the packages so we could return them and get something else but he insisted that he wanted them all!Photobucket
The slip-n-slide was super fun and we managed to slip and slide with only minor grass burns!!
One of Colby's best friends is a girl so he wanted to invite her but I made him invite more girls so she wouldn't be the only one, what a super fun cute group os girlies!!


Great fun was had.  I was sad when it was over, because Colby had turned yet another year older, and that ALWAYS makes me sad!!