Monday, February 28, 2011

Does This Count As FHE?

My kids and I just had the following conversation over dinner:

Scarlett:  "I want to be a teacher, like my teacher, when I grow up."

Me: "Oh, I thought you wanted to be a Mommy.  Why don't you be a Mommy after you be a teacher for a while."

Scarlett:  "Ok"

Guy:  "I want to be a lumberjack."

Me: "Do you know what I did before I was a Mommy?"

Scarlett/Guy: "What?"

Me:  "I worked in television."

Guy:  "You worked on televisions?"

Me:  "No, I worked to make the shows that they show on TV."

Guy:  "Did you help make Curious George?"

Me:  "No, I helped make the news."

Guy:  "The news is cool.  I like the news.  It has soldiers.  Do you like soldiers?"

Me:  "I do like soldiers.  I just feel bad for them, because they have to fight."

Guy:  "If they didn't fight then the bad guys would go every place and destroy it."

Me:  "Yes (surprised)...that's right."

My children are already learning that sometimes a person MUST stand up for what's right, for the weak, for the unprotected.  I'm ok with that.

On a side note:  I bought the Captain Moroni action figure shown above at Goodwill last month.  It was in a bag of unwanted, mismatched action figures.  I bought the entire bag for 47 cents.  Now I'm not calling anyone out, but Pennsylvania has in it the smallest Stake in the church and the smallest number of Mormons per I am curious...

Whoever you are...Thank You!
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Seeing Double

This is what I just saw in my back yard...the birds are returning! (Can you see the one in flight on the right with wings extended?)  Spring is returning too, and no one can tell me otherwise.  

With Spring comes the best thing of all...Easter!  I am putting together an Easter Blog Party that you won't want to miss, so stay tuned.

Have an Easter idea that you would like to share???   Please let me know!

Click on the button "contact me" below to give me the scoop!


In other news, my new buddy Sharline wrote a few weeks ago to tell me that my wiser and blonder twin is serving as a senior missionary in her ward.  Today she sent me this picture as proof that we do indeed bear an uncanny resemblance to each other.  When I opened this photo on my laptop, my 2-year-old pointed right at Sister Kellett and said, "Mommy!!"  

So what do you guys think?

(Sharline told me to add a side-by-side here it is!)

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Letter Writing Service Boot Camp Badge

True story:  Last February, during Service Boot Camp, I did 30 consecutive days of service for others.  It wasn't easy, but I was determined to do it--every day.  They say serving others should make one happy, but it was not enough to stave off a bout of depression.

Another true story:  This February I set out to write letters thanking people who have blessed my life.  Half-way through the month, I injured the thumb on my right hand, making it very difficult to write those letters.

Is there opposition to our efforts to follow Christ's example of serving others?


Will that opposition prevent us from performing daily acts of service, 
following the spirit, and lifting someone else's burden?


We are Service Boot Campers.  We signed-on for this.
We can benefit from these experiences by learning to view them with an eternal perspective.

The rest of true story #1:  I eventually overcame my sad time of trial and that month of service was even sweeter to me knowing that serving others actually lightened my load.  And I am a stronger, more compassionate person now because of it.

The rest of true story #2:  My thumb is finally beginning to heal.  I am learning valuable things from this experience.  And when I am back to full-strength in my right hand, I will continue to keep the USPS in business with my letter-writing!

Carry on, Service Boot Campers, carry on.

And thank you for joining in on this Letter Writing Boot Camp!

You might need a little reminder after this month is through, so I highly recommend that you place the blog button below somewhere special, (like on your blog), to remind you to write letters to people as a way of serving and loving them.

You might even like to print out the Service Boot Camp subway art and hang it on your fridge.  Special thanks to my good friend Tami of Tami's Eclectic Corner  for creating this image just for you Boot Campers (and wannabe Boot Campers!)

We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice In Christ

PS - Oops, nearly forgot to announce the winner of our final Boot Camp Giveaway:
Comment #16 - Renae wins the "Tour de Family" personalized note cards!!
Email me, Renae!

Special thanks to Dean Penn and Paper!

Tour de Family - Personalized Folded Note Cards
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

7 Words to Include When Writing a Letter to a Child

Tour de Family - Personalized Folded Note Cards

As you write your thank you notes this week, consider making it a team effort by including your whole family in your service efforts.  There are lots of ways to enlist children in the process of writing thank you notes.  Give them blank stationery to personalize or let them decorate the envelopes.  My sister Dawn is an amazing stamping artist and designer.  She and her kids stamp together a lot and they make beautiful creations for everyone to enjoy.

Personally, I'd love to have my own set of the stationery shown above personalized with my family name:  Team Christensen.

Because our family IS a Team.
We play together, work together, serve together.
We support each other, we take turns taking the hits, and offer each other a way out when the going get rough.

My family members are my best teammates ever.

And I do hope they know that. 

In fact, I think I shall tell them a letter.

I hope that you remember to write a letter to a child as part of this Service Boot Camp.  Our "littlest teammates" need to hear the loving words of their parents, and they need to have our words to hold and remember as time passes and life becomes difficult.

I have treasured all of the letters that my parents have written to me in my youth.  They are priceless.  Even thought I am all grown up, I still need to hear their encouraging words today, and I always love to read a note where they tell me how much they love me or how proud they are of the work that I do as a Mother.

Having trouble thinking of what to say when you sit down to write a letter to your child?  Try starting out with "I Love You." provides a good starting point for writing a letter to a child with

7 Words to Include When Writing a Letter to A Child:

1.  Love:  
Express your love to your child and assure him that this love will never go away.

2.  Notice:  
Name positive characteristics you see emerging in your child.

3.  Enjoy:  
Describe what you enjoy doing with your child.

4.  Proud:  
Be specific when you describe what makes you proud.

5.  Cherish:  
Share memories that mean a lot to you personally.

6.  Hope:  
Share your highest hopes that you have for your child.

7.  Believe:  
Share the confidence that you have in your child as well as your testimony.


Today one lucky reader will win this set (shown above) of 10 personalized cards called "Tour de Family" which has been donated for this Service Boot Camp by Dean Penn and Paper: a paper specialty shop on Etsy.  Ooh, they do address labels too...and all of their designs are classic, yet innovative.

Right now, you will receive 15% off of your entire order when you enter the codDPP15 at checkout.

You may enter to win by doing any of the following:

1.  COMMENT:  Tell me something happy.

2.  Click here to LIKE Dean Penn and Paper on Facebook.

3.  Send one letter in the mail today.
(Receive an entry for each individual letter sent.)

4.  Write a letter to a child.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

I will announce the winner on  Sunday.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I just feel like thinking right now.

Not writing and thinking.

Not talking and thinking.

Not reading and thinking.

Not watching TV and thinking.

Not thinking because I can't sleep.

Just plain old thinking.

Do you ever take time to think while you do nothing else?

That's all I feel like doing tonight.


Here are the winners of two giveaways from this week!

Household Letter Writing Set
Winner of the Household Letter Writing Set:  Comment #9

erohde said... 9

"I have started a new "project" each week writing a letter to someone who has ment something to me in the past. Roommate, cousin, friend, teacher, ect. It has been fun to remember all the memories connected to each person and at that time in my life."

Atlas Map 4 Bar Envelopes set of 10
Winner of Atlas Envelopes:  Comment#11:

Stefanie said... 11

"Whuv, tuwoo whuuv, ish whad bwings ush togevah today"


Please email me to claim your prize!
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Healing Power of Letter Writing

Household Letter Writing Set

I hope that the letters that you have written this month have been a boon to your soul and that your words have been an unexpected joy to the recipients.  But perhaps some of you have been reading along in Service Boot Camp thinking, "but I can't write letters to the people closest to me, because I just cannot forgive what they have done."  Well, then perhaps this post is for you.

As I was reading the Ensign last night, I was reminded of yet another positive use for letter-writing:  letters as therapy.

In the article entitled "Learning to Forgive," (March 2011 Ensign) the author shares her struggle to forgive her father for abusing her as a child.  The author mentions writing letters to her parents--letters that were never mailed and that were eventually destroyed.  The author wrote letters as an emotional outlet at first, and the tone of her letters eventually became amicable, which lead to her reaching out to her parents in real life.

Have you ever received a letter of apology from someone or written a letter asking someone for forgiveness or extending forgiveness?  If you have, you might know that this can be quite a freeing experience.  

Letter writing can help us to reconcile with others, no matter what side of the situation we find ourselves.  Yet another reason to write letters...whether you send them or not!

Household Letter Writing Set

For today's giveaway, I have a "household letter writing set" that you are definitely going to want to send!

These cards are soooo cute and classy and come to us from the Etsy shop

Enter to win by doing any of the following:

1.  Visit Hello Good-bye Designs and let me know what you think!

2.  Share a positive experience that you have had writing letters this month.

3.  Choose your own adventure...but make it good!

See ya on the flip-side, Service Boot Campers!

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Monday, February 21, 2011

"I Am Not Left-Handed"

My hand is still wrapped, making it difficult to write my thank you notes.
(and difficult to type)

A small set-back.

Have you ever written with the opposite hand?  I have been writing left-handed now for over a week, and I'm getting sort of good at it.  I've also been eating left-handed, which has staved off my normal gorging!  And a doctor friend of mine told me that using your left hand on occasion can stave off dementia as well.

I don't know about you, but I could use that kind of insurance.

It's true that I love The Princess Bride.  I am fairly certain that there is a quote in the movie that can be used in pretty much any situation in life.  It is also true that I have used every opportunity possible recently to interject that "I am not left-handed."  If it wasn't so difficult to type, I'd turn this whole post into a scene from the movie...but alas...

I looked online just now for an image from the movie and discovered this t-shirt which depicts one of the greatest fight-scenes in movie history.  ( my humble, if not misguided, opinion.)
(My apologies to anyone reading this who is anti-PB!)  

Inigo Montoya t-shirt Prepare to dieHello Inigo Montoya T-shirt Princes sBrideDread Pirate Roberts T-shirt Princess Bride

I am still trying to figure out what I am supposed to be learning from my thumb injury.  Perhaps it is that I need to develop skills that I have allowed to go dormant in order to strengthen myself as a whole?  You know, work to make strengths out of my weaknesses.  Maybe the lesson is to slow down and be careful about what I am doing.  Or perhaps I am just supposed to beware of R.O.U.Ses? I don't know.

In other news, I hope you are keeping up with your letter-writing and reading.
(Try to read though Mosiah 26 today.)

If you are, then give yourself an entry for today's giveaway by commenting on this post.

Atlas Map 4 Bar Envelopes set of 10

I thought that these upcycled atlas envelopes by Bugaboo Gifts were the bomb, and just had to have them for a giveaway here in Service Boot Camp this month.

Kelly of Bugaboo Gifts makes a lot of cool paper products, 
like these upcycled rigid mailers for instance:

Upcycled Rigid Mailer Envelopes set of 10

They've got me cookoo for cocoa-puffs, if you know what I'm saying.

Upcycled Rigid Mailer Envelopes set of 10

The winner will receive a set of atlas envelopes shown above.

To Enter do any of the following:

1.  Leave a comment with your favorite Princess Bride quote.

2.  Visit Bugaboo Gifts.

3.  Mail a letter today (or if you mail one over the weekend that counts too.)

4.  Keep up with your reading!

5.  Build a snowman...which is what I am going to do right!

Have a great day...and please leave a separate comment for each entry!

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scripture Heroes & Primary Heroes

Guy received a special note and gift from his wonderful Primary teacher today. She is moving out of the area, and we'll be very sad to see her go.  Sister Hare...a.k.a. Tarin is a great friend of mine, and has been a very loving teacher and example to my first-born in the wilderness!  I love what she wrote in her note above, because it is so true.  Each of us can do great things when we follow our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The special gift that she gave Guy is this set of Hero Cards...They are a set of cards dedicated to 40 different heroes from the scriptures.  The premise for the cards is that basically, everyone needs heroes in their life.  Instead of looking for 'super heroes' in movies, let's look for real heroes found in the scriptures.

Each card has original artwork on the front and a corresponding scripture, but my favorite part is the bullet points on the back that give you the short-hand version of how to emulate the scripture hero that is being described.

Now, I have kind of a hard time using the term "heroes" since my parents taught us time and again not to put anyone on a pedestal and that Jesus Christ should be our example, because he is the only perfect person to walk the earth, but I think that Tarin has said it right.  We can certainly have "heroes" in the scriptures and follow their examples as they follow Christ.

Guy already has posters of the Armies of Helaman and Samuel the Lamanite in his bedroom.  Anyone wielding a bow and arrow is pretty cool in his book!  Thank you for all that you have done to grow Guy's testimony, Tarin!  You're definitely a hero in our book, too!  Hooray for good Primary teachers!!! 

UPDATED 1/31/12 - A note to all my Pinterest friends who found this post just recently, yes, the link above is broken.  I am assuming that is because this company no longer exists, but I'm not sure.  The company is called "The Remember Company".  They used to be found at  I think Guy's teacher bought them at a book store near the temple. Let me know if anyone locates this company or these cards again and I will update the link! THANKS for bringing it to my attention! Perhaps if Pinterest had been around years earlier, this company wouldn't have gone out of business! :)

Here is some old info about the company:

The comments below contain various links to similar products as well...

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Message In A Bible

I had a fun chat with my friend over Facebook last night.  It only reinforced what I have been thinking about over the last day or so, and here it is:

Blog posts are not scripture.

Scripture is scripture.

Read your scriptures.

My grandmother read her scriptures.  She really knew her stuff.  So when my Mom offered to give me some of my Grandmother's old copies of scriptures that she had used for years, I gladly took them.  Just to open them and smell her familiar scent on the pages was a joy and a wonder. But to see notes in her hand-writing as well, was also so special and insightful into who she was, what she thought about, and what she valued.

My five-year-old son Guy has adopted my Grandma's old Bible as his own first Bible.  I like the words found on this bookmark that she used:

My Grandma saw more than her fair share of hardships during her lifetime, so I know that this poem must've been especially poignant to her as she sought inspiration and strength in the pages of this Bible.

I flipped a few more pages and found this note that my Mother had typed out for my Grandma using an real live typewriter!  My grandma must've really treasured this note from her daughter to keep it tucked safely inside her Bible all these years.  Along with it was a newspaper clipping of her step-father's obit.  Pressed tightly between the pages all of this time preserved it perfectly.

It would be my crowning achievement if my children were to say these things about me some day!  I can understand why grandma saved this note.

The other night, Guy asked me to read to him from his Bible at bedtime.

When I read, "And God said, 'Let there be light,'" Guy's whole face lit up as he said, "We learned that in church!!"  I felt really close to my Grandma that evening as Guy urged me not to stop reading aloud to him and Scarlett, but to read on.  I decided to wrap up our bedtime rituals by telling them a true bedtime story about my Grandma Gladys and her little brother who they affectionately called Junior.  Guy and Scarlett laid on their stomachs, eyes wide with their fists supporting their chins.  They loved the story which began with tragedy and ended in triumph.

Like I said, it's a true story, about my family.

It really happened, and God was in the details, just like the stories we read about in the scriptures.  They're better and truer and more inspiring and uplifting than any blog post you'll ever read.

So...what are you waiting for?

You've got all weekend.  You've got all day.  You've got this moment.
Put down your mouse and pick up your scriptures.

You'll be so glad you did.

Click here to comment on this post.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Pull of the Sun is Too Strong

I received this in the mail yesterday...a sweet note cross-stitched by my friend Cherry who is celebrating a birthday today!  Happy Birthday, Cherry!

I've got stuff to say, but the sunshine won't let me stay inside long enough to say it.

So, I'll just announce the winner of yesterday's drawing 
from My Rubber Stamp and then I'll be off.  

The winner is:

Steph B said... 38

I did lots of laundry is sheet day!
Please email me Steph B!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"You are part of us, and we are part of you..."

We had a fun visit with Uncle David last night.  We only wish he could've stayed longer. I also wish that I wouldn't have accidentally DELETED ALL OF THE PHOTOS that I took of the fun that David and Guy had putting together an RC airplane, coloring with Scarlett, and wrestling in the basement.  Booooooooooooooo, and 'thumbs-down,' I say to that! (the good thumb, anyway...)

The only pictures that survived were the ones I took of the 500 or so bubbles that Guy blew all over my living room the day before David arrived.  What's special about these bubbles is that they don't pop quickly like regular bubbles.  They stick around for a loooong time!  When David was here, I discovered a bubble on the wall that was over 24 hours old. It's cool, you can catch them in your hand, but the clean-up is slightly more tedious with these bubbles, especially if you only have one good hand to scrub the floor.

Despite the mishap with the pictures, the memories that we've made with David will hopefully-like the special bubbles-not disappear, but linger, and remind us of the love that we have for our wonderful brother, uncle, and friend.  We love you, David!  Come back again soon!

As you are writing letters to people who have made a difference in your life this month, remember to include letters to those who are closest to you--your family.

Last week, we received a most exquisite letter from Steve's parents who will enter the MTC next Monday.  Their words really touched my heart.  I loved receiving this kind of guidance from parental figures.  I love that they felt ok to lead out and share their thoughts with us their grown children.  It was comforting to me to know that they love us this much--enough to put it into words that back-up their actions.  And the things that they was so beautiful, prophetic, and moving.  

The letter started out like this:

...and ended like this:

And what was in between was simply marvelous.  I said what they wrote was prophetic, because they wrote the letter ten years ago and only decided to mail it now.  I am so thankful that they didn't mail it in 2001, because if they had, I surely would never have had a chance to read it.  I didn't become their daughter-in-law until May 22, 2004.  What a blessing it is to be part of their family.  They have taken such great care of me.  They have loved me and encouraged me, and that has meant more to me than they know.

Perhaps, you are thinking of someone in your family who you need to write today.  I hope that you do.
Matryoshka Nesting Doll (Rubber Stamp) - Save The Date / Thank You / Personalize with your own texts. Item 1051
Today, someone will win a rubber return address stamp customized in the design of your choosing from the Etsy shop My Rubber Stamp!

WATERING Personalized (Rubber Stamp) - Return Address / Thank You / This Belongs To / Personalize with your own texts. Item 1007

Eunice from My Rubber Stamp has over 300 totally unique and stylish stamps in her shop and they are super affordable!
Custom Silhouettes (Rubber Stamp).  Return Address, Happy Family, Sibblings, Mum with kids, Childrens with pets, Grandpa with grandkids and etc. Item 1083

Eunice was recently featured in Knitting Today Magazine, and has more than just return address stamps for you to choose from.  Check these out:

Hand Knitted by Your Name (Clear Rubber Stamp) - Personalize with your own texts. Item 1026

CAKE MIXER (Clear Rubber Stamp) - Return Adress / Your Shop Name / Thank You / Baked with love by / Personalize with your own texts. Item 1004

Couple HUGGING (Clear Rubber Stamp) - Return Address, Save The Date, Thank You, Merry Christmas, Weddings Or Personalize with your own texts. Item 1068
A Beauty (Rubber Stamp) - Return Address, Save the date, Scriptures OR Personalized with your own texts. Item 2060

Ok, I could go on and on about this shop, but I must get on with the day here in my corner of the world!

TO ENTER do any of the following:

1.  Leave a comment.

2.  Be a follower.

3.  Visit My Rubber Stamp and tell me your favorite designs.

4.  Share this giveaway on FB (link to or like it!).

5.  Send a letter to someone today (don't forget family members!)

6.  Hug your children and tell them you love them.

7.  Smile at someone who is rude to you today.

8.  Eat breakfast.

9. Take a nap.

10.  Do some laundry.

11.  Revisit a goal that you've given up on.

12. Eat some chocolate.

13.  Go outside and look for sunshine!

Just DO SOMETHING today to make it a great day...and you can have an entry!

Please remember to leave a separate comment for each entry...and GOOD LUCK!

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Don't Be Bashful, Spring!

Spring is coming.  I can sense it.  I can smell it.  It's just around the corner.

I delivered a spring-themed gift to a friend just now...with no coat on...just to prove my point.

Maybe Spring will come sooner if we roll out the welcome mat with new swingsets, or maybe even a trampoline or something.  I don't know, I can't speak for Spring, but I know I'd feel good about making my grand entrance if someone were to roll out the red carpet for Me like that.

Speaking of rolling out the red carpet, my brother-in-law David is paying us a visit tonight...all the way from Colorado Springs.  We are so excited and cannot wait to see him!  

While you're willing Spring to arrive, will you please send some positive thoughts my way too?

I'm just nervous about something and excited all at once, but I need your positive mental energy and prayers to help tip the scales in a favorable direction!  Thank you! :)

Image Source

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With One Hand Tied Behind My Back

I sprained my thumb on Saturday evening playing a mean game of volleyball with some friends.  I haven't really played volleyball since I was pregnant with Guy, so despite my injury (which happened about 45 minutes into play), I was so pleased to discover that I have retained the skills and instincts that I had worked for many years to develop in my youth...and that the game that I love still brings me joy.  

It's been an interesting experience, so far, TRYING to figure out how to do everything with one hand...and not the hand that I normally use.  There's wisdom to be learned in this experience.  Steve said as much in the blessing that he gave me on Sunday, so I'm just laying low for now, trying to listen and observe and be teachable.  (And no, Mom, the lesson is not that playing sports is hazardous to ones health!!!) :)

Me:  Laying low.
While I am laying low at home, I am also guest posting at  The Story of A Nice Mormon Girl today...Click on over there and find out why Love means never having to remember what a doofus you once were...

my bruised hand
(Ew!  Sorry about that...Just fishing for a few sympathy comments!)

Now to announce the winner of yesterday's giveaway of rejection note card from

Rejection Letters Make Great Paper Airplanes Greeting Card

Thanks for sharing all of your awesome rejection stories!  Some of them were pretty funny in retrospect!  The winner is Angela B (comment 10)!  Email me your mailing address, please, Angela!  Congrats!


Keep up, keep up...You can do it!

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