Saturday, July 30, 2016

family temple night

for the first time in a very long time, dougs parents came to the temple tonight! it was so wonderful to have them there with us and we are so grateful that we were able to go as a family. there is not all that long to go now until dominque will come home and join us... i can hardly wait to go altogether as a family. it's only this year that i've had that opportunity with my family and i am excited to think it will happen with both of our immediate families before the year is out. 

i am so grateful for the temple, for the blessings that the gospel brings and for the blessings of eternal families ♥

aren't we attractive! hahaha

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

temples are a beacon

it's been almost 2 years since our little family ventured to samoa to visit my parents while they served their mission there. it was an incredible experience that we won't forget in a hurry... the sounds, the smells, the food, the heat... but their solid belief in god, every where we went was what really blew me away. loving the lord is like breathing to them. everyone believes in god there. 

it feels like i took a million photos of this beautiful building, which is a beacon in apia. people constantly give directions using the temple as a reference point because everyone, latter-day saint or not, knows where it is and where it stands for 

that's what i am trying hard to do, make the temple the centre of my life and something i can use to get and give directions ♥

"temples are more than stone and mortar. they are filled with faith and fasting. they are built of trials and testimonies. they are sanctified by sacrifice and service" - thomas s monson (from a talk the holy temple: a beacon to the world)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

fill your life with light

i love this quote so much... recently in one of the relief society lessons i did, there was a suggestion of how to guard your home and your family from the dangers of the world. it was quite simply to "fill your life with light!" i have tried so hard to do that, to surround myself with good things... and to surround these little people with good things - or just to surround myself with them!

being a parent can be so hard, especially when you are trying to make sure your children are learning and growing, but learning the good things. there are so many things in todays world that they can pick up so easily and so quickly if i turn my back for even a second... so i need to be trying twice as hard to fill my life with light, to make sure i do the same for them.

train up a child in the way that he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it
-proverbs 22:6

Friday, July 22, 2016

besties mega barn date

i went on a date with my best friend to the mega barn yesterday. it's been so long since we had time with just the two of us... but seeing as just the two of us doesn't exist anymore anyway since we had kids... off we went with our little boys. of course it goes without saying that they whined and messed about and (in my case) ran about the place but we had a good time. i got an awesome haul (i've not had a bad day at the barn yet, must be a good sign that i need to keep going on a regular basis) and we laughed and chatted and just generally had an awesome time! plus we may have even eaten hungry jacks on the way home, which is not something we do everyday and probably haven't done since we were teenagers... perfect bestie date. let's do this more often! ♥

on another note, same topic... how amazing is this lamp and shade that mum picked up as two separate pieces at her local opshop which now has pride of place in my room. on both sides... because there were two! the chances are so slim of something so glorious, but it happened and i am loving it. thanks mama!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

christmas in july: vt style

years and years ago when doug and i first moved into dianella ward, i remember my friend speaking with great pride about her grandmother and her 100% visiting teaching record. it was at that very moment that i decided i wanted that too and have tried hard to make it happen, so i am also always scanning blogs, instagram and pinterest for awesome ideas to make it fun. so far, so good...

this time however, i grabbed a few packets of candy canes the week after christmas and stashed them for seven months (yes they were still not past their expiry date) just to give them to the girls i visit teach for a christmas in july treat. what was even better, was that someone i know was having a clean out and gave me these epic christmas plastic cups just in time.

merry christmas in july peeps! ♥

Sunday, July 17, 2016

baby marlee's blessing day ❤️

our friends baby marlee was blessed today. isn't she perfect! 

surrounded by family and friends, her father mark gave her the most wonderful blessing with beautiful promises for her life to come

baby marlee with her mum and grandmothers

look at that widdle face!

baby m with her doting dad

we love you vinnies! ♥

Thursday, July 14, 2016

my top 10 op-shop tips

my current favourite opshop is the good sammys mega barn in canning vale (44 bannister road if you are lucky enough to be a perth native!) and my mum and i hit it up earlier this week and got a pretty epic haul. their clothes are priced by the kilo (weird yet excellent) and we got 96 pieces of clothing between us for $82, woop woop. this pic is just my share.

it is no secret to anyone that knows me that i love to opshop... i'm forever being asked for tips of where to go and how to find the good stuff - so here is my 10 best tips to getting the best of the opshop and the best of your day!

1. take cash. always take cash, because not all the opshops are going to be equipped with modern technology like paypass and often it's the best (and cheapest!) ones, hello local parish opshops!
2. do not wear those awesome zip up boots you love, or lace up shoes or anything difficult that could make the day harder than it is. wear a simple dress or jeans and a tshirt, with flats, no laces, no zips, there's no time!
3. take baby wipes or hand sanistiser or something to clean your hands (this should have been my number one tip!) and clean them whenever you leave an opshop. things are not always clean and ew, germs!
4. check that the zips work in whatever it is you are buying. the number of times i have gotten home and realised a zip didn't work (a total of one, before i realised i needed to check them everytime)
5. take a friend! your mum, your best friend, but never someone who is the same size as you! this person must not be able to find something perfect in your size that they want, that just wouldn't be right! they are there as a wing man, to find something and say ooooh i love this, but it's your size. you get me?
6. dig. dig and dig some more. do not be afraid to do so. the best bargains are those that have not yet been uncovered... the ones that were waiting there for you!  so what if your hands get a little dirty? you have hand sanitiser! (see tip 3)
7. go country! they have the cheapies! low rent (normally out the back of a church) and brimming with bargains and "fill a bag for x amount of dollars" days
8. don't take your kids! hahaha. if you can find a sitter, run, opshop and be merry. let the grandparents enjoy them for the day
9. if it's super cheap and amazing and cannot be left there but isn't your size, think of someone that it will fit! the possibilities are endless
10. smile and chat to the volunteers. chances are if the items are not pre marked with a price, your dazzling smile will knock off a few dollars from your total

but most important, have fun! i'll be thinking of you all next time i'm grabbing the bargains! ♥

Monday, July 11, 2016

madeline is five!

i can hardly believe it and my mummy heart is aching when i think about my little teeny girl growing up so fast right before my eyes, but she is whether i like it or not so i may as well embrace it.

little miss woke up this morning to a number 5 tshirt hanging on her dresser, which she quickly threw on and rushed to my room, asking when she could open the presents on the table. i was so happy with her little set up, complete with helium balloons (seriously, go and buy yourself a helium tank, best investment ever!) and cotton on kids crown printed wrapped gifts ♥

she loved everything with great gusto and thanked us about a billion times while opening them, clearly doug and i got it right. (it's so easy when they are this young! please don't grow up!)

i think my favourite was the ruby red shoes book, we love rrs in this house, if you haven't read it yet, i highly recommend you do, quick smart. 

this house has been full of sick people and coughing and germs all week, so we had to compromise on maddie's request of going to see a movie... by hiring one here and watching it on the big screen. she chose zootopia and we sat on the recliners and drank lemonade and ate hot chips while we did so. she was thrilled to bits! we ended our day with tacos, singing happy birthday while maddie blew out candles on a cupcake... cuddles on the couch, reading ruby red shoes and then putting an exhausted five year old to bed.

i still can't believe she is five! but i am so happy to be her mum and have a little best friend following me and asking a bazillion questions everywhere i go! 

happy birthday miss madeline beth kendall ♥

Saturday, July 9, 2016

pineappeline is five

today we threw a pineapple party... yes you read that correctly. this year when i asked miss madeline what she wanted for her birthday, she responded very quickly, a pineapple party please mum! well. a pineapple party it was! it was a good challenge for me and i had lots of fun putting it together

we have been lucky until this year, it has never rained on her party day, even though it's in the middle of winter, but this year we were not so lucky. apart from the 10 or so minutes which we spent outside taking these pictures, it was raining, dark as and stormy outside!!

i fell in love with this dress from flamingo tease kids when it was released a few months ago and after watching it for ages, it went on sale and i snapped it up for the party (and a million wears afterwards i hope) we also gave madeline a pineapple necklace to wear with it, she got these cute as boots from her grandma... and we made her a sweet little crown out of green paper to wear for the day, totally appropriate seeing as the invites said: be a pineapple, stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside

i spent hours cooking and icing these pineapple cookies this week (and i may just be a little proud of them) you can check out the process and the recipe here. (pineapple cookie jar was picked up at target on clearance earlier this year for $5)

drinks were easy... 5l drink dispensers, the one on the left had water with lemon and pineapple pieces... and the one on the right had 4 x 1.25l bottles of the coles brand fizzy pineapple drink. excellent choice at 75c each, the whole thing cost me just $3! (straws from ebay here)

decorations were easy, the tablecloth is one of my doona covers, 3 honeycomb balls from kmart (80c a piece) with a piece of green paper cut to make a crown, bunting from the local cheap store (the green one is left over from joseph's first birthday!) then helium balloons done this morning with the assistance of a helium tank from spotlight, an awesome purchase!

pineapple serving dishes also from target ($3.50 each) i made my usual brownies and glued a pineapple lolly to the top of each one with a dob of icing and a few other yellow and pineappley looking options...

and as usual, my best friend delivered with this gorgeous pineapple cake! madeline was so excited about it and the topper was such a good idea, simply the top cut off a pineapple with a mini gold glitter hooray sign from kmart. forever grateful that i've never had to make a cake yet, love you jen!

i was so pleased with the lolly jars... they were so simple, but looked awesome. empty glass jars saved up for the last few months, with a photo print in each... with a piece of chinese pineapple cake (looked awesome, had a pineapple printed on the packet) allens pineapple lollies, a balloon, bouncy ball, mini slinky, a fruit eraser, coconut lollies (with palm trees on the packaging) and a teeny gold pineapple ring from ebay (14 of them for just $12, can't go wrong!)

because of the weather i had to be inventive and ended up having just two games, a colouring contest with a gorgeous pineapple colouring page i found here (i was clever and told the kids it had to be a rainbow pineapple) and pass the parcel. prizes found on ebay here, pineapples of course!

we had such a wonderful day with family and friends and madeline was just beside herself with excitement the whole day

i mean seriously, doesn't this face say it all?

i can't believe that just two days from now our little girl will be five!

happy party day pineappeline! 

making a wish... i wish every day could be as fun as today was little one! ♥

Thursday, July 7, 2016

pineapple cookies

i have avoided ever making decorated sugar cookies because i thought they would be way too hard. but when i found a pineapple cookie cutter a few months ago i decided it must have been a sign that it was time to give it a try. so i did. i read recipe after recipe on pinterest until i found one that looked easy enough here and got to work.

it was pretty easy and i quickly got this ball of dough ready to roll

then got out my little pineapple cutter out and got 30 of them cut and on the trays. tip: lift the edges with a butter knife before you try and pick them up

i baked for 10 minutes instead of 6-8 and they came out great. nice and solid, ready to ice once they had cooled. 

i used this icing recipe (but added 5 tsps of milk instead of 4) to make it runny enough to pipe. i made two lots, added yellow to one, green to the other and started to decorate my day away... a circle on the bottom of each pineapple to outline, then a dollop spread and smoothed out with one of the kids teeny knives! haha. rinse and repeat for the crowns with green, 2 hours of icing cookies later... leave to set for hours (preferably overnight) and voila! i have officially made my first set of iced cookies and will not be taking orders, ever. if you're feeling brave, give it a try :)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

to err is human, to forgive is divine

as the first sunday of the month in relief society brings a presidency selected lesson, i got to pick the topic for todays. i kept feeling a pull towards speaking about forgiveness, so i chose my topic as: to truly forgive. i think (?) it went well. it certainly did me well being reminded of the importance of forgiveness and the peace and freedom it brings to our lives. ♥

To truly forgive

To err is human, to forgive is divine

When I was working in the funeral home many years ago, before Madeline was even born, I arrived one day to make arrangements with a family who were as calm as could be. There was complete peace within their home. I learned within the arrangements that their elderly father had stepped off the kerb earlier that morning and been struck by a passing car, killing him almost instantly. I then learned that this family had asked the policeman who attended their home to deliver this terrible news, if they would be able to visit with the man who had been driving the car. Not out of malice or anger, but instead to let him know that they did not blame him for their loss. To let him know he was forgiven. This beautiful family put their pain aside to ensure he would not live in guilt or suffering as he relived the events of that day throughout his life. This, my dear Sisters, I feel is what our saviour spoke of when he told us that we needed to truly forgive. 

There is the phrase forgive and forget. I personally do not feel that we need to forget to be able to forgive. We have memories for our experience. We learn from experience and our memories of these incidents allow us to not make the same mistake again. 

“He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42).  The Lord has offered a marvellous promise here in the scriptures. I have also read in a church book just recently…. that the neither the Lord nor we will forget our wrongdoings. There is a common misconception that once we have truly repented that we will no longer remember a sin. This isn't the case. It simply means that those sins have been paid for and at the day of judgement the lord will not bring them up. They will be as though they never happened even though our memories may remain, as again these things are for our experience.

“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:9–10).

There are so many in our day who are unwilling to forgive and forget. Children cry and wives weep because fathers and husbands continue to bring up little shortcomings that are really of no importance. And there also are many women who would make a mountain out of every little offending molehill of word or deed. We must forgive our family. Even Nephi said of his brothers that did so many wrongs to him time and time again “I did frankly forgive them.” I always admired him for that!

In a talk from 2005, simply entitled “forgiveness”, President Gordon B Hinckley recounted a powerful story of forgiveness. A time back, the Deseret Morning News, reporter Jay Evensen wrote the following. “How would you feel toward a teenager who decided to toss a 10 kg frozen turkey from a speeding car headlong into the windshield of the car you were driving? How would you feel after enduring six hours of surgery using metal plates and other hardware to piece your face together, and after learning you still face years of therapy before returning to normal—and that you ought to feel lucky you didn’t die or suffer permanent brain damage? And how would you feel after learning that your assailant and his buddies had the turkey in the first place because they had stolen a credit card and gone on a senseless shopping spree, just for kicks? This is the kind of hideous crime that propels politicians to office on promises of getting tough on crime. It’s the kind of thing that prompts legislators to climb all over each other in a struggle to be the first to introduce a bill that would add enhanced penalties for the use of frozen fowl in the commission of a crime. The New York Times quoted the district attorney as saying this is the sort of crime for which victims feel no punishment is harsh enough. ‘Death doesn’t even satisfy them,’ he said. Which is what makes what really happened so unusual. The victim, Victoria Ruvolo, a 44-year-old former manager of a collections agency, was more interested in salvaging the life of her 19-year-old assailant, Ryan Cushing, than in exacting any sort of revenge. She pestered prosecutors for information about him, his life, how he was raised, etc. Then she insisted on offering him a plea deal. Cushing could serve six months in the county jail and be on probation for 5 years if he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. Had he been convicted of first-degree assault—the charge most fitting for the crime—he could have served 25 years in prison, finally thrown back into society as a middle-aged man with no skills or prospects. But this is only half the story. The rest of it, what happened the day this all played out in court, is the truly remarkable part. According to an account in the New York Post, Cushing carefully and tentatively made his way to where Ruvolo sat in the courtroom and tearfully whispered an apology. ‘I’m so sorry for what I did to you.’ Ruvolo then stood, and the victim and her assailant embraced, weeping. She stroked his head and patted his back as he sobbed, and witnesses, including a Times reporter, heard her say, ‘It’s OK. I just want you to make your life the best it can be.’ According to accounts, hardened prosecutors, and even reporters, were choking back tears” Who can feel anything but admiration for this woman who forgave the young man who might have taken her life?

I know this is a delicate and sensitive thing of which we speak. There are hardened criminals who may have to be locked up. Of course, society needs to be protected from hardened criminals, because mercy cannot rob justice. There are unspeakable crimes, such as deliberate murder and rape, that justify harsh penalties. But there are some who could be saved from long years in prison because of an unthoughtful, foolish act. Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way.

The great Atonement was the supreme act of forgiveness. The magnitude of that Atonement is beyond our ability to completely understand. I know only that it happened, and that it was for me and for you. The suffering was so great, the agony so intense, that none of us can comprehend it when the Savior offered Himself as a ransom for the sins of all mankind.

It is through Him that we gain forgiveness. It is through Him that there comes the certain promise that all mankind will be granted the blessings of salvation, with resurrection from the dead. It is through Him and His great overarching sacrifice that we are offered the opportunity through obedience of exaltation and eternal life.

May God help us to be a little kinder, showing forth greater forbearance, to be more forgiving, more willing to walk the second mile, to reach down and lift up those who may have sinned but have brought forth the fruits of repentance, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more.

Dr. Sidney Simon, a recognized authority on values realization, has provided an excellent definition of forgiveness as it applies to human relationships:
“Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harbouring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.”

Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness. One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them. Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours. The folly of rehashing long-past hurts does not bring happiness.

Some hold grudges for a lifetime, unaware that courageously forgiving those who have wronged us is wholesome and therapeutic. The hardest thing we will ever do, is to forgive someone who is not sorry, and accept an apology you did not get. But doing so will change our lives and heal us of unnecessary pain.

All of us suffer some injuries from experiences that seem to have no rhyme or reason. We cannot understand or explain them. We may never know why some things happen in this life. The reason for some of our suffering is known only to the Lord. But because it happens, it must be endured. President Howard W. Hunter said that “God knows what we do not know and sees what we do not see.”

President Brigham Young offered this profound insight that at least some of our suffering has a purpose when he said: “Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered to come upon the few, to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. … Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation.”

If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being. Some recent studies show that people who are taught to forgive become “less angry, more hopeful, less depressed, less anxious and less stressed,” which leads to greater physical well-being. Another of these studies concludes “that forgiveness … is a liberating gift [that] people can give to themselves.”

In our day the Lord has admonished us, “Ye ought to forgive one another,” and then makes it requisite when He says, “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.”

What can we all learn from such experiences as these? We need to recognize and acknowledge angry feelings. It will take humility to do this, but if we will get on our knees and ask Heavenly Father for a feeling of forgiveness, He will help us. The Lord requires us “to forgive all men” for our own good because “hatred retards spiritual growth.” Only as we rid ourselves of hatred and bitterness can the Lord put comfort into our hearts.

 “Forgiveness is a source of power. But it does not relieve us of consequences.” When tragedy strikes, we should not respond by seeking personal revenge but rather let justice take its course and then let go. It is not easy to let go and empty our hearts of festering resentment. The Savior has offered to all of us a precious peace through His Atonement, but this can come only as we are willing to cast out negative feelings of anger, spite, or revenge. For all of us who forgive “those who trespass against us,” even those who have committed serious crimes, the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort. Christ himself even on the cross begged for the forgiveness of those who had put him to death. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do"

This is not to say that forgiveness is easy. When someone has hurt us or those we care about, that pain can almost be overwhelming. It can feel as if the pain or the injustice is the most important thing in the world and that we have no choice but to seek vengeance. But Christ, the Prince of Peace, teaches us a better way. It can be very difficult to forgive someone the harm they’ve done us, but when we do, we open ourselves up to a better future. No longer does someone else’s wrongdoing control our course. When we forgive others, it frees us to choose how we will live our own lives. Forgiveness means that problems of the past no longer dictate our destinies, and we can focus on the future with God’s love in our hearts. We must forgive as many as 70 times 7. ♥

(lots of my lesson sourced from here and here)