Wake-up Call!

Before I get to the point of this post, I have to tell a quick story. And to understand this story you need a little bit of background on ME :) Here's the thing, I tend to be a very "all-or-nothing" type person. This can be very good, but also very bad. When I am "all", I am unstoppable. But if I feel like I can't be "all", I tend to do the other part...."nothing". The funny thing is, I'll just be going along with my life when something will happen and a switch will go off in my brain making me go "all" on some aspect of my life. This is what happened to me a few weeks ago:

Skylar was complaining of some health issues in a sensitive area and I started to do a little research. After I checked her out and did some research online, I came up with my diagnosis :) I was horrified with what I found. What she had was caused by dehydration, lack of excercise and poor diet!! I felt like the worst mom EVER! In all the research I did it was very uncommon for children to have this condition, and that made me feel even worse. Here's where the "all" kicks in! In one fail swoop I completely changed the way our family eats. Out with the enriched flour, high fructose corn syrup, and processed foods. It's hard to change a lifestyle, but when you think your childs health is at risk, it suddenly becomes much easier!!

Now are you ready for the funny part? When I took Skylar to the doctor to get her issue checked out, it turns out I was totally wrong!! :) She didn't have what I thought she did, jokes on me! So here I made this huge lifestyle change, for really no reason at all :) BUT, that doesn't change the fact that I am glad we did. A few weeks later I am seeing that I need balance and to be a little more flexible, but I am still really happy with the changes we have made. I quickly wanted to post some of my favorite things that I have found in our quest to be a little bit healthier, simply in the hopes that you will do the same! What are some healthy things you give your kids to eat? I have a pretty easy time with meals, but snacks are a little bit harder for me. Here are a few of my fave things: (and just a sidenote, I am no nutritionist, but I feel pretty good about giving my kids these things!)

My kids LOVE these Annie's Homegrown Bunny Snacks. They taste just like Teddy Grahams and Goldfish, but they are all-natural and made with whole-wheat flour. You can find them almost anywhere I think, I like to buy the variety pack at Costco.

Yogurt is one of my kids favorite things to eat. I really thought I was giving them a healthy snack, not realizing that the second ingredient listed on Gogurts is high fructose corn syrup! So needless to say I was thrilled when they recently came out with Simply Gogurts. I know, I know, these still have a bunch of sugar, but they did take out all the high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors. Its better at least, right? :)

Finally, we LOVE us some hummus!! I get any old brand of pita bread, bake it in the oven for about 7-10 minutes and bake our own pita chips. My sister in law introduced me to this particular brand from Costco while I was in New York. It is our fave new snack!!

I think one of the biggest obstacles for me when it comes to eating healthy is the financial aspect. Let's get real folks, it ain't cheap!! But after talking to my husband and looking at our budget, we decided to take the money out of our entertainment fund to add to the grocery budget. I feel like it is an investment in our health, one that I am sure will pay off in the long run.

One more sidenote: I don't think there is anything wrong with yummy, unhealthy treats!! The problem in our house is that those kinds of foods were no longer special treats, they were snacks that the kids could eat all day. So take what I am saying with a grain of salt and if you ever have the Johnson's over, don't worry about what we will and won't eat!! I have decided you can't control the situation everywhere you go, and thats just fine!! I am simply trying to teach my children (and really my husband and myself too!) how to live a little bit healthier life :)

Now don't forget when you comment :) to leave me all of YOUR wonderful healthy snack ideas!!


The Johnsons Take Manhattan...

Ok, we were actually only in the big city for one afternoon, but we did have a fabulous time on our trip to New York!! I can't wait to take some time and blog all about it, but these highlights will have to suffice for now :)

* Playing freeze tag in the backyard
* The best prank EVER played on a missionary :)
* Our sweet nephews baptism (love you Cam!)
* Staying up WAY too late playing games
* Trying to squeeze the double stroller onto the jam-packed Subway at 6:00 pm
* Paul getting his pic taken with the Bull on Wall Street
* Going to the Bronx Zoo, weather was perfect, kids were perfect...Hogle Zoo is looking pretty
* Seeing my kids absolutely fall head over heels for their cousins in New York ( and you too
Becky and Alan!)

See, it really was a fantastic trip :) Thank you SO much to the Barney family for being so so wonderful to us! We loved seeing you and can't wait to come out again soon. Every time Skylar talks about you guys she gets a little teary-eyed, but then says "We're going out in the fall mom, right?"

And for all the masses wondering what happened to Cutting the Chaos, fear not!! I did get sidetracked with our NY adventure, but on Monday it will be back up and running. Just to keep you excited I will be diving into ways to organize coupons, birthday parties on a budget and much much more! I am quickly realizing I will never run out of chaos that needs to cut :) In the meantime, feel free to check out these posts on some systems we have put in place in our home that I couldn't live without!

Hope you're all having a wonderful week! :)


Something is missing...

and I just figured out what it is. This blog is seriously lacking some testosterone! :) It's been WAY too long since I featured this little man, and he is just to cute to ignore any longer.

Britton is something else, I tell ya! This is one sweet little boy. He loves to play with cars and the basketball hoop that his cousin Kade gave to him. He loves his bottle and REALLY loves whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and blueberries. He does NOT love string cheese, raisins and white bread....funny, huh?!

He doesn't say much beyond the occasional Mama and Daaad...but I am convinced he can sing part of the chorus from "Best of Both Worlds" by Hannah Montana, he certainly hears it enough with his two crazy big sisters :)

Britton has been my calm this last year. You can't help but smile when you see him, and he brings out the best in both of his sisters. His mellow personality is much-needed in a family with two intense little girls and I hope he stays that way. He is starting to really become a ham, and loves when we all sit on the couch and just laugh at his silly antics!

Ahhh....that feels much better! :)


Cutting the Chaos, Week 3!!

This one I have been SO excited about, not because it is an original, crafty amazing idea, because frankly its pretty simple :) The reason I am so excited about it is it will help me keep up with something I feel really strongly about doing in a much simpler way than the way I have been.

JOURNALING!! I love it! I am a big believer in keeping a journal. I have found so many blessings in my life from keeping a journal, and even though I go through phases where I am better than others, I would say for the most part I keep a decent record of our life. One thing that has really helped strengthen my testimony of journaling is going back and reading old entries. Something I have been amazed at time and time again is how often the Lord has guided me and my family, even if at the time I didn't realize it. I found a particular entry the other day that was really profound for me. I was writing about before Paul and I had any children, when we were trying to decide if we were ready to take that next step. I wrote something to the effect that I had was worried that I might have a difficult pregnancy or that there would be complications with my baby. I also wrote that I didn't know if I was just being paranoid, or if it was the Lord's way of preparing me. Months later when we had Skylar 8 weeks early I remembered those feelings, and I was very humbled to see that the Lord had never left me, he had slowly been preparing me for one of the most difficult experiences of my life, but one that had brought about a sincere change of heart. The birth of my Skylar completely changed my outlook on life and my faith, and reminded me that I was capable of hearing the Lord when he speaks to me and taught me to trust my ability to feel and recognize the Spirit.

Sorry, that was a little bit off the point, and a lot rambling!! If you are still with me, I'll show you the project! ;)

As much as I enjoy journaling for myself I have always felt strongly about keeping journals for my children. I started with Skylar, and then added one for Kendall when I had her. Then I thought it would be good to have a journal for my personal scripture reading, and of course my own personal journal. Put that all together and this is what I am looking at every night before I go to bed...

Yeah, I think its a little much :) And if you realize, there are only two kids' journals....HELLO!! I have 3 now, have for about a year now :) I feel like so often I feel so overwhelmed at writing in all of these, I instead write in nothing! And come on, I have some hilarious, adorable, charming children here that need to be written about. Fast forward to my new way of journaling for my children, I think I have to give credit to my amazing Aunt Sheri for this idea :) I'm pretty sure it was hers a few years ago, and I am just finally seeing the genius in it.

I simply went to Walmart, found this cute little index card holder and got 3 different colored packs of index cards. Blue for Britton, Pink for Kendall, and Purple for Skylar. I stuck a pen in the holder, and now any time one of the kids says something I never want to forget or reaches a new milestone, I can run over, grab an index card and write a short note. The biggest thing I try to do is make sure I date everything, and I am so excited to be able to look back on all these notecards and remember those moments that you think you will never forget but inevitably do! :) I hope some of you are having your own luck at cutting the chaos. :)



We had a really fantastic weekend. We loved our Easter weekend that was only made better by hearing the words of a modern day Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I was SO uplifted, inspired and encouraged to be better. I did have one interesting experience while listening...

I was enjoying Sister Becks talk during the Saturday session when the doorbell rang. I was a little annoyed because I was really into the talk :) Sister Beck was talking about how we feel the need to be appreciated, but how we need to look for that appreciation and validation in the right places. As I reluctantly went to open the door this is what I found:

My sweet husband had these delivered to me, for no reason at all but to tell me thank you. Seriously?! I was so floored, and it meant so much to me! The timing also struck me as I was thinking about Sister Becks comments.

The simple truth is we all need to feel appreciated. Everyone needs to feel that they are of worth and that they have something special to give. The problem is, the world is not extremely conducive to giving that appreciation. So in our own ways I think we try to get that appreciation, and I think thats great! But it was a wonderful reminder to me that the only real validation I need is from my Heavenly Father and my family. It also made me think what a powerful opportunity we have as women to support each other and lift each other up. I am extremely blessed to be surrounded by amazing women: Friends, Aunts, Grandmas, Mothers, Sisters in Law, etc and I hope in the future to strive harder to show them my appreciation, and let them know how wonderful they are!

So to all the wonderful women in my life that make me better, THANK YOU!! The things you do don't go unnoticed, and the impact you have had on my life trickle down to my children and make all of us better :)


Cutting the chaos, Week 2!

Well, I have to be completely honest here. I had something very different planned to share with you today but last week became (what else?) a little chaotic and I wasn't able to finish it. However, I decided this project is to cut the chaos, not add to it, so even though I didn't like it I put it on the back burner until next week and chose something that I could do without taking near as much time away from my family. I still hope it gives you some ideas to cut the chaos in your life, I know it has helped out in mine! :)

I don't know about your family but when we go somewhere we pack alot of stuff! The kids always want to take little toys along, shoes and socks, sometimes a change of clothes, etc. I think most young families are like this. I have noticed over the last little while after we have company I often find a trail of socks, toys, sippies, etc that I know are not ours. Herein lies the problem: where do I put this stuff?? If I hide it away somewhere I will NEVER remember to give it back but if I leave it sitting out it just adds to the clutter of an already cluttered house! :)

So I give you...

Our very own Lost and Found :)

I simply found these cute boxes at Ikea and stuck one up in my laundry room with the sign "Lost and Found"

Now when friends come over I try to bring out the baskets before they leave to see if there are any treasures they have been missing :)

See, I told you they wouldn't all be complicated :) Sometimes in life its the simple things, right? Hope you are all having some success in cutting the chaos in your life. Have a great day!

For real???

I was so flattered a few days ago to realize I was given my first blog award by the amazing Jessica from Life Done Properly. I love her blog, just looking at it makes me inspired to find ways to calm, refresh and beautify my life.

Following the theme of this award, here are some things that make me simply happy:

Of course there are the big ones, my husband, my children, my friends, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and so much more. But for today I think I will focus on the simple things that brighten my day :)

Teaching- I didn't realize it until I became a mother, but I LOVE to teach. There is nothing quite like seeing the look in my children's eyes when they learn something new, it opens up a whole new world for them. Last week Skylar read her first book, and it was incredibly rewarding for both of us to see her progressing and understand all the possibilities that lie ahead.

Traditions- Just ask my sweet, accomadating husband, I love me a good tradition! It can be anything, monkey bread on conference morning, sleeping under the Christmas Tree the first night we get it, visits from the Valentines Man, I love it all! There is something so comforting about tradition to me.

Throwing a party- I love throwing a good party!! I love all the little details that most people probably don't even notice, but to me that is the best part. I love the planning, the staying up late putting it all together, the baking, all of it! Right now I am planning Britton's first bday party, and its gonna be a good one :) Imagine little monsters as far as the eye can see...its gonna be fun!

Mondays- Kinda wierd, I know! But I LOVE a fresh start to the week, a chance to accomplish everything I want, a new slate. I am always so motivated on Mondays, it usually wanes by Wednesday, but Mondays are a good day at our house :)

These are just a few things that make me happy. I would love to pass this award along to 4 other ladies that in their own way contribute to that happiness with the great things they are doing on their blogs:

Britt's Broadcast: If you want to be organized and ispired, check out this blog! Not ony is she incredibly on top of things, but her priorities are always in place, you know her family comes first. Love it!
Spence Family: I LOVE her Tender Mercy Tuesday posts. Its a beautiful thing to be able to see the Lord's hands daily in our lives, and Mickie is helping me do just that.
The Mediocre Mom's Guide to Greatness: My dear friend from years ago started this site to help all us moms feel a little less mediocre, one day at a time. Yes please!!
Cherry Tree Photography: My friend Hollie is one of those people that is just amazing at everything, but most especially photography! She is doing some fantastic work and looking at something so beautiful always makes me feel a little more happy :)
Stay tuned a little bit later for the second installment of Cutting the chaos, one week at a time!!


Mini Me

Skylar Ann, my own personal mini-me :) She is like me in so many ways. She looks so much like I did when I was little. She loves everything girly and loves to pose for the camera. She has so many fears and is pretty much scared of everything. She has my little nose and little ears.

The thing I love the most about Skylar is that I totally "get" her. When she reacts a certain way to something, I understand. When she is terrified of trying something new, I understand. When she starts to cry her "happy tears", I understand. She is just like me. Then we had a conversation the other day that made me realize I want to be just like her.

Skylar has a lot of special qualities but one that has always stood out is her sensitivity to the Spirit and her thirst for knowledge of the gospel. We were driving to dance class and she asked me why Jesus died for us. It's difficult to explain something as infinite and amazing as the atonement, especially as I am always learning and trying to understand more about it myself. I told her how we had a council in heaven, how there were two plans, how we chose to follow Jesus. Then I explained the need for a Savior, the way our Father allowed for his mercy to compensate for our sins. I told her that what it all came down to was love. I told her that Jesus loved her so much he would have done it all, even if it was just for her. She was really quiet, and finally she said "Mom, is that story really true?" I told her I knew that it was true, and if she ever wondered she could pray to Heavenly Father and he would tell her so she could know for herself. Then she said "No, thats ok. I have that really good feeling in my heart, and last night I had a dream about Jesus. I was talking to Him." This peaked my interest and I asked her what He said. She replied "He said, 'I made you, and I love you'"

Isn't that really it? Isn't that what it all comes down to? He made us, He knows us, and He loves us. Skylar reminds me that it really is that SIMPLE. Easy, no, but simple, yes. This Easter I am grateful for the opportunity to focus on my Savior. To remember the simple truths, He knows me and He loves me.

Even though Skylar is so much like me, I think the more I become like her the more I become like my Savior. I am so thankful for my mini-me, that every day is helping me become a BETTER me.