fiance, student, homeschool retiree, preschool teacher wannabe, Senior Living Coordinator, writer of many things unsaid, blogger, lover of the creative, most cheerful depressed person, devourer of books, crafty wanna be, amateur tech support, internet junkie, facebook stalker, tweeter of tweets, Pagan, friend, sister, daughter, aunt, karaoke super-star

New Year, New Focus

I've never been one for the whole idea of making New Years Resolutions. They always seem more like a list of promises to ourselves we never really mean to keep or a rough draft of our lives for the next year that never actually gets published. They have an "It was a great idea, but I never actually got it down on paper." feel to them.

Alas, this year I find my attitude toward them changing. I have some things I would like to get done this year-more serious then organizing the garage (FINALLY!). I just feel the momentum building up.

For me the timing of this new year is just right. We moved back to the 'big city' in August. We unpacked, set up shop, and got to work with out much reflection. I knew life would not wait while I analyzed our new location and life here. We just jumped in feet first (which is the safest way to jump into anything) and began our life here September 1st after 5 days of unpacking.

We've been attending our new church ward for 4 months now. The school year for our homeschool Charter school started on September 9th. The boys were promptly enrolled in lessons in September also. Our days began to fill and I began to fell like we were on a roller coaster with no end in sight.

I hate that feeling...going somewhere but not really sure where. I am not a huge SURPRISE! person. I like to know when I get in a car, where I am going, how to get there, and why I am going. (ask my husband who is finally getting the hint...surprises are bad). Same with life. I love the security of having as much information and planning done ahead of time. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately for me (it's hard to decide some day) I'm not on this journey alone. I've got some other passengers and often they like to drive too. They are along for the crazy ride I like to call MY LIFE. So having these other people (my family) along can complicate things...especially when we are all yanking the wheel in different directions or as the case usually is we all want to be somewhere different but at the same time. Not to mention all the road hazards that seem to be in the way (like job losses).

I even have the same exact battle with myself I am wanting to be doing and being 3 or 4 different things at once. What's a mom, wife, homeschooler, writer, etc,  supposed to do? Well I think I've found it!!

FOCUS!! for the low, low cost of $19.95 you too can gain FOCUS in the New Year. This revolutionary new idea is brought you by me and for today ONLY...I'll waive the shipping and handling....Well heck! I'll just GIVE it to you for FREE!!

Focus is like your destination. Where are you headed? Better yet, Where do you want to go?
SO gaining focus....lets take a look-

In the dictionary...

fo⋅cus [foh-kuhs]

It can be a noun that can mean a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity. Or in Physics it means a point at which rays of light, heat, or other radiation, meet after being refracted or reflected. In Optics it can mean the clear and sharply defined condition of an image.

Or as a verb it can mean to concentrate.

Origin:1635–45; < L: fireplace, hearth


1. center, heart, core, nucleus.

from Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.
Cite This Source

Finding your focus is gonna take a little thought cause all those directions your being pulled in have to get you to the same place eventually. Like in Physics all those rays of light are going to have to meet sometime. Your focus needs to be sharp and clearly defined. Your going to have to concentrate to find your focus, and then concentrate on it often so you don't get side-tracked (like spending your lunch break on Facebook). It'll be like a fireplace, after a long hard day your gonna be warmed by the thought that you stayed on track with what you really wanted.

Unfortunately for you, I can't tell you what your personal or family focus should be. Don't you just hate that! All those self help books and articles out there offering advice and answers-just to tell you, you have to make the decisions and do all the hard work yourself. What the heck? 

Alas, I too must tell you to do the hard work of actually coming up with a focus for your year. I can give you some tips though.
 Wishing you a great 2010 full of FOCUS power!


Guillotine: because boys just love chopping heads off...groan

The boys and Levi playing the Guillotine game. 

The French Revolution is famous in part for the use of the guillotine to put nobles to death, and this is the macabre subject of this light card game. As executioners pandering to the masses, the players are trying to behead the least popular nobles. Each day the nobles are lined up and players take turns killing the ones at the front of the line until all the nobles are gone. However, players are given cards which will manipulate the line order right before 'harvesting,' which is what makes the game interesting. After three days worth of chopping, the highest total carries the day.
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It's Ok To Write Badly

Josef age 11 has been struggling with his writing assignments for homeschool. This has been hard on me as writing has always just poured out of me. Talking to him I discovered he was mostly just afraid.

" I don't know what to write!" he'd exclaim. "I'm not doing it right!"

"Write anything, it doesn't have to be good or bad, just put that pencil on your page and write." I'd demand.

Soon we reached an understanding when he started a writing journal similar to my hundreds laying about the house that I pick up and jot down ideas into. I gave him fun prompt and said, "Just write!"

For his Journal I don't grade it. I do not look at it for punctuation, spelling, or good grammar. It's just a tool to get the ideas down, to get him writing his thoughts on paper.

He has written some amazing stories or beginnings of stories, one he ever broke up into chapters. Humorous and funny tales sprouted from his imagination. The vocabulary usage impressive!

It is surprising how freeing it can be to allow yourself to 'JUST WRITE'. Often my own best ideas come from the process of just writing for the sake of writing. It's like thinking aloud on paper or perhaps just listening to your self without judgment.

Art-Picture Study

Windows Wallpaper Changer Powertoy

This amazing tech tool comes in very handy when we are learning about a particular artist. I scour the internet for images of prints from that artists and photos or portraits of that artist. I save them to my computer, I usually name the file after the artist. I right mouse click then press Save As.  Then I add them to the Powertoy. While we use our computer for that month, works from that artist are rotated on our Wallpaper. Adding instant exposure and recognition. Try it! It's fun!! You will need to have Windows version XP or higher.

Windows Wallpaper Changer Powertoy 

"Make your computer desktop more dynamic, interactive, useful, and fun. The Wallpaper Changer PowerToy allows your desktop wallpaper to change automatically. It also lets you choose which images to display. Select the folder of images to display as a slide show and set the display interval to change wallpaper every few minutes, hours, or days. The simple intuitive interface is easily available from the system tray." ~

Meet Rosie


We were blessed with a new addition to our family this month.  We hadn't mentioned her earlier because we were waiting to see if she was going to want to be adopted by us. We also wanted to make sure Chubs would accept her. Well she loves us, we love her, and Chubs-he tolerates her. She is just 6 months old and still in that kitten stage. She loves to play, lick (which is kind of icky), and be held. The boys are having a blast with her. She helps entertain (annoy) Chubs who is 5 years old now. Which is good for him becuase it keeps him young and active. They sort of remind me of Garfield and

She was a stray found in our complex and was about to take a car ride to the Boise Humane Society with our building managers. All the shelters in our area are VERY full, its a sad time of year for unwanted pets. We (the unsuspecting victims) were just there to reserve the Conference Room and innocently asked about the meowing in the office. We held her and feel in love.

Neat-O Blog How-to's

I always wanted one of those fun Add My Blog Button thingies. Well now I do!! A huge thanks to A Heart for Home for writing up easy instructions (for us HTML impaired). Check out her awesome post about How to make a Blog Button with Text Code for your readers to add to their blogs. While your there read her great blog too!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day photos

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Me...I Want A Hoola Hoop

Josef's First Talk

Josef has his first talk in Sacrament tomorrow. He was able to choose any topic from the Strength of Youth pamphlet. He chose 'Choosing Good Entertainment and Media'. First I had him brainstorm what he already knew about the topic. Then I had him read the articles and resources on the church website under Media and pick out some quotes and thoughts he liked best. Then I sat by him and typed as we made his notes into a talk. I think he did a great job. I hope that it will be a positive experience for him and he will enjoy giving talks as much as I do. ; )

(He did great and was not nervous at all!)

Here is his talk:

Choosing Good Entertainment and Media
by Josef age 12

In the thirteenth Article of Faith it says “If there is anything virtuous, lovely,or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things”.
It is sometimes hard for me to find good video games, books, music and movies because most of the popular things are not good for me. It is hard to avoid them, they look fun and interesting and everyone else seems to be playing, reading, listening or watching them.

Elder M. Russell Ballard tells us that whatever media we read, watch, or listen to has an effect on us. Church members are counseled to choose only entertainment and media that are uplifting. Wholesome entertainment promotes good thoughts and righteous choices and allows us to enjoy ourselves without losing the Spirit of the Lord.  He said the choices we make in media can be symbolic of the choices we make in life. Choosing the trendy, the titillating, the tawdry in the TV programs or movies we watch can cause us to end up, if we're not careful, choosing the same things in the lives we live.”

When I was at a friend’s house we were playing video games. They asked me about playing a bad game. ;I knew it was rated M for mature and that it had violence and bad language. I was worried about seeing things I shouldn’t see. I told them I won’t play because it had bad things. I was worried that my friends would be mad at me for rejecting their offer to play. They were ok with it though, and we just played a different game that was good. Now they don’t even offer that game to me to play when I come over or play it when I am there.

I try to be careful about what I watch, read, listen to or play. The media rating systems are usually pretty helpful. Usually movies marked G or PG are pretty safe and playing games marked E or E-10 and up. But sometimes even the ratings aren’t accurate and if it has things that aren’t good in it-I turn it off and do something else. If I’m not sure if something is good or not, I ask my parents and they review it and tell me if it is something I should be using.

The spirit can also tell me if things are bad or good, if I get a prompting or a bad feeling I leave or ask it to be turned off. In Moroni Chapter 7 is tells us “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man that he may know good from evil;” If I am not sure about something I can always use the gift of the Holy Ghost to protect me.

I know that if I choose good media, I will feel uplifted, have good thoughts, and make righteous choices. I can have fun without bad media, I can enjoy myself without losing the Spirit.

Merry Christmas from the Mitchell's

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Things That Make You Go "Hmm" #2

Yesterday, I walked out of Walgreen's after buying some stocking candy.

I went to my car got in and looked over and saw this.....

I just cracked up laughing...
Unfortunately you can't see THE LOOK- so well because his doggie eyes went all green in the photo. But he looked very sad and miserable. My people left me out in the car wearing this dumb hat. I normally do not take photos of random dogs in cars...but this was funny.


A New Blog Title

I've been thinking I need to do something with my blog. Originally it was a family blog...but really I have taken over and no one posts but me anyway.So i need to make it more my personal blog...where I post everything. I was thinking of names...and came up with a cute one ALL THE MEN IN MY LIFE...but its taken: (. And of all people-by a really cool mom with 4 boys too, Suz. It's a great title Suz!
I also have my backup one which is AMBITIOUS APRIL...but its not near as cute as the first one...what do you think. What should this writing, homeschool mom or four name her blog?

2009 At a Glance

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A quick look at our year, it's been a little crazy...but we loved every minute!

It's been one of those months....

This month I have been such a slacker homeschool mom. I have been very unmotivated to plan much of anything exciting. Well-We subscribed to Time 4 Learning this month. All four boys have an account...even Oliver. Thank you Time 4 Learning for saving this lazy homeschool mom. The boys take turns on two computers doing their lessons for the day. I have them do at least one thing from each subject. They love it! I was surprised at how much they are actually learning. It's not all fun and games...but it is you see!

I don't think I would use it for my sole form of homeschool curriculum but it is an incredible supplement or a great thing to use when you need a break from lesson planning-like me.

Oliver(PreK) and Kaleb (6) love it the most. They like seeing all the 'school' they have done. Oliver is done with the PreK 1 activities and has moves on to PreK 2...he likes seeing the little check marks that show what he has completed.

Time 4 Learning isn't just a homeschool thing either. I recommended it to my sister who doesn't homeschool. Her kiddos will be home for the Christmas holiday for 2-3 weeks. A little Time 4 Learning a day may keep holiday mush brain from setting know when you completely forget everything you have ever learned over Christmas break.

Only a 100 years to live....

I love this song...

Things That Make You Go "Hmm" #1

Mormon Bachelor Pad


The Countdown

My Friend the Thesaurus


Thank you! You have been a true friend. Even though I can never seem to spell your name right, there you are when I call. Google pulls you up every time. You are like a bright candle in a dark room. Helping me to find the words I have lost. You spice up my life, like no one can. You turn my disappointment to discontent to disillusionment...and those sound better don't you think? You have saved my writing from the monstrosity that is a first draft and made the revision process delectable. Really...You ROCK!!


Did you write today?


So what if it was just an essay on why we started homeschooling for someone else's book. I might get paid (like $2) for my submission. Gosh darn it...I wrote something!

Christmas Photo Shoot

The deadline is fast approaching to mail off Christmas cards. We try to always send a photo with ours each year. Its fun to look back on past Christmas photos. Which reminds me-I should make them all into some sort of cutesy album. (I'll add that to the One day One day I'll have so much free time to do all the cutesy things I want to do.) Levi was home and we grabbed the chance to get the photo out of the way. We had too much fun though. Let us know what you think.
p.s. Just click on them to view them larger

Nativity Advent

This year we are reading through a Nativity Advent Book a friend gave us as a gift a few years ago. Every night we have a prayer, sing a Christmas song or hymn, read a few scriptures, and a short story or explanation of the events leading up to Christ's birth and then add a piece to small nativity poster. It has been a nice Christmas activity for our family. Usually Levi is gone driving and traveling around the US as he is a truck driver, so we have him on speaker phone for this activity. It was fun to have him in person this time.  Enjoy the Smilebox!

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Deck the Halls

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The Trouble With Plots

The trouble with plots is-they change. Writing your own story. Dictating the lives of your characters. Making the characters in a do, say and be whatever you want. It's just way to much power for anyone. Of course, I let all that mad power go to my head and I think about my peeps in so many situations and plot twists that it's truly insane. "Enough!" I say, hit my delete button and return to that boring old plot outline.

Dear Diary,

Shh-don't tell anyone, but I've got this thing for John Mayer. He is so very talented, and that voice! Unlike some people, he can actually sing and does it without a whole lot of technology. That great simple pairing of his voice and the guitar makes you feel like you are being serenaded. Well lets just say-it makes me melt.  I say- "You keep singing John and I'll keep melting and it'll all be good."

Moving on

Quietly forgiving and moving on is a gift to God ~ and yourself. ~ Unknown

There are are few things that have happened this year that have bugged me. I've decided that going back in my mind and dwelling on them is not helpful at all. Confrontation as fun as it seems in theory is just so messy in reality and rarely results in closure. So I guess I am just getting good at moving on. Somethings and some people, you just can't fix. So you move along and just let go. That sort of thinking could seem despondent I suppose. As melancholy as it seems, I think it can be healthy. The same as seeing an accident scene on the side of the freeway, the police and ambulance lights flashing. You want to stop and help somehow, but the traffic cop is waving his hands to say, " Just move along, nothing to see here, nothing you can do, move along."


Henry David Thoreau said, “How vain it is to sit down to write,when you have not stood up to live.”

I must say, I love this quote. It really is kind of sad that it is a good reminder for me. Sometimes we writer/creative types spend so much time living within ourselves. We think, we ruminate, we feel the need to show the world what WE think, and we are passionate about sharing what is inside us. All those are great and fine, but when you aren't living, what new things do you have to share? You become disconnected from the world, who is supposed to be your audience. I need to be more about observation sometimes and less about what I think. Will it make my writing better? Most definitely! Will it make my life better? It couldn't hurt! 


I have been sick this week. I felt it coming on last week. My legs had been achy, a sure sign of my body giving way to some sort of invader. Then it hit me hard on Sunday and I have been feeling icky all week. I have a sore throat, my head hurts, groggy brain, and I just plain do not feeling good. I will be glad when it is all over!

In fact, I feel a little better right now,but that may all be drug induced confidence.

Flowers from Levi

I made this little print of some flowers Levi had given me. I love flowers.

Into Depression

Into Depression 

Lost hope
No Strength

~April Mitchell
©November 1, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

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Boise Tree Lighting Ceremony

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