A long, long time ago before Michael could walk and talk, he produced this adorable dancing video for us to admire. But this week, he has excelled above and beyond in his dancing skills. We have been laughing our heads off at this.


Dance parties and Shooting games

When I was a little Gillespie I would always play with my little neighbor friends, the Heisses. Now we're all grown up and some of us have children of our own. We were all in Utah over Christmas, and it was fun to have the new little generations playing together. First games, building guns out of legos. Even the girls got involved in this one.

Uncle Philip got a drumset last year for Christmas, and I had yet to even hear him play. He agreed to play for a bit. The kids came flocking in, and danced their little hearts out. So cute!



One of my very favorite things I did this holiday season was play volleyball a couple of times with family. There was so much laughter involved too, it was out of control. When it was time for lunch, I went to find Michael, and found him and his cousin (well technically second-cousin) playing their own volleyball game in the other room with a table as their net. 

Preschool Santa

I took Michael with me to drop off our preschool hold application, and little did I know I would walk into the end-of-year preschool program in front of parents. The teachers were so fabulous, and didn't give me a second to even feel embarrassed; they just invited us to sit down and watch, which we did. Then Santa made his appearance at the end. Michael was so excited, and looked forward to going up and telling him that he wanted "Go Diego Go" toys. He got a candy cane instead. 

That weekend, we attended the ward Christmas party and Santa made his appearance there as well. When Michael saw him he said, "I don't want to sit on his knee. That's a different Santa." He still went up and showed the Different Santa the craft he made, but refused to sit on his knee when Santa invited him.

The photographer pushed Michael once more to sit on Santa. Michael, firm in his thoughts, sat on the floor next to Santa. Eventually, he stood in front of Santa and smiled his big cheesy grin. That won over the crowd, and even Santa was laughing too much that he forgot to give Michael a candy cane (which believe me, I was grateful for)!


Book Recommendation

If you haven't read this, read it.
I have been flying through these chapters, and all the footnotes (which are just as insightful as the writing itself) and been loving every page. I especially loved the beginning chapters about Joseph Smith's mother and her family and their living circumstances. I look around at my beautiful apartment, and think "How lucky am I?" and then imagine squeezing 9 people in this living space. I am definitely grateful that Lucy Smith kept a journal and kept records of events happening around her as pertaining to her family, and especially Joseph's life. (But those who know me, know I'm very partial to journal writing).

Growing up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have heard many stories of Joseph's life and highlights of glorious events that happened around him. Oftentimes these stories are repeated over and over again and with time some events have just kinda become that, a story, with no real fascination to me. And although many of these stories are also in this book, it is surrounded by context and characters that I never knew were present and these stories have become real to me. They are exciting to read.

I'm also grasping the personalities of people like Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer more wholly than I have ever before. Growing up, I just envisioned them as nice people who helped Joseph out. But now, they are remarkable to me. Real men who had to learn for themselves that the true Gospel was unfolding. Many had their own preparatory events unfold in their lives before even meeting Joseph Smith. Things happen for a reason. People enter our lives for a reason. And I believe it is just as true then as it is now.

Anyway, there's my book recommendation for the week.


Richard's Birthday

This post is very belated.
Richard requested a Guava cake for his birthday. I've never made this before, but was happy with the turnout. My gelatin on top was a little too runny, and I didn't really build a wall of frosting & coolwhip around the top so well so the guava gelatin kind of dripped off. But, you can't beat the taste!

I put 28 candles on there. Never again. I kept burning my fingers and only ended up lighting 26 of them. Next year, I'm purchasing number candles.

 We invited some friends over for cake and ice cream, and then two of those couples joined us in going to an improv show. It was funny and great company. We were lucky because we got the very LAST tickets. Phew!



I am the type of neighbor who loves to share. Usually, I bake a large batch of cookies or cupcakes, eat just enough, and then pawn them off. In my last apartment, they acted more like a bribe--Dear Neighbor, please like us, and please don't mind all the noise our little family of three creates. And, in other ways they were a thank you--like, Neighbor, thank you for putting up with all the noise our little family of three creates. 

I think it worked. Although, I should've delivered downstairs a few more times. 

Once again, I have to mention my all-time favorite post. When we first moved to Seattle, I felt very confined to my apartment. I had a newborn, no friends, and no idea what the city had to offer. So instead of getting out--I stayed in and baked, a lot. Within 6 weeks, I had baked over a dozen varieties of cookies. 

With our recent move, I thought I would go on another baking kick. Tis the holiday season, right? A couple of weeks ago, I did whip up some chocolate cupcakes and pomegranate icing, but I hated the cupcakes that I baked. So, I tried a different recipe. And I don't know what happened.... 
...I totally botched these cupcakes. After those many hours in the kitchen I was ready to throw in the towel to cupcakes. 

But then I remembered these cute cupcake liners and toppers that I bought at an after-Christmas sale. That motivated me once again. I chose a basic chocolate cake recipe with plain ol' delicious vanilla buttercream frosting. I topped them with crushed Andes Peppermint Crunch and they were just perfect!

They didn't even make it to the neighbor's home. Instead, they went to a "Christmas Party" which really turned into a "Adios Anderson Family" party that my dear Seattle friends put together. We have some of the bestest friends in the whole wide world. 


Talk About Talent!

I recently came across an autobiography that I wrote in 5th Grade. Our teacher provided us with sheets of paper that prompted questions that we answered. It is quite a hilarious read, and definitely the school project I won't be throwing away ever!

One page is about talents, and this is what it says:

Although I've only been around 10 years, I've managed to accomplish some pretty neat things! Here is a list of just some of the things I've done: swimming, basketball, piano, playing, reading, singing, violin, writing storys, playing with cat

I am especially talented at eating a lot
And the accomplishment that I am the most proud of is that when we were having a big dinner I was so hungry, and most of the food I didn't like so I ate 3 tacos, one serving of salad, and I drank 2 cups of water

When I accomplished this I felt very, very full

I'm also pretty sure I was the hottest thing walking the elementary halls that year. 


Goodbye "Ciatill"

On June 1, 1997 I wrote about my friend Sarah's baptism. I ended the entry by writing, "...at 4:00 on the same day she and her family went on a vacation to Ciatill somewhere in Washington."

I absolutely love this entry. I love being able to interpret amidst my wretched cursive and little emotion, that I had absolutely no clue where my friend was going and just wanted her to come home. I remember her describing the Space Needle to me, and I, well I just gave her a blank stare.

But when I read my journal now, I think about how lucky she was to go on vacation to Seattle!

I am full of so much emotion today. I just got home from church--my last day in this wonderful ward where I have made so many friends. When I think about why I love Seattle so much, the number one reason has to be because of my friends. I have some really fantastic friends--but then again, who wouldn't say that about their friends?

I also love the majesty of living in a big city. There is something brilliantly alluring about sitting in a lot of traffic. Okay, okay not so much. But, really I don't mind how busy and large everything is. It's absolutely breathtaking driving into the city at night, and seeing all the speckled lights on the tall buildings. Seriously, the first time I was driving home on the freeway at night, I just wanted to pull over and stare. I loved inviting visitors to go to Pikes Place Market and to do downtown shopping. I like driving past the Space Needle and reminding Michael that it can't fly. I love that Seattle will be the first place he will remember as home.

I remember the day when I discovered there was a beach just a few miles away. And then another, and another. Hello! I loved being in walking distance to multiple parks and meeting other moms there. I like how every weekend there seems to be a festival for something, or someone, somewhere. There is always a reason to get out (and sometimes a reason to stay in). And the weather, to be honest, I love Seattle weather. The summertime is perfect. The rain, well at least it's not snow!

I know we are just moving to the other side of the lake. But to me, it's a brand new adventure. I am anticipating that I will end up loving it just as much as I loved my experience here. I wonder who my friends will be, how I will acclimate with my new ward, and if Michael will end up starting school there. The unknown is a little overwhelming (and so is packing).

I am really grateful to my friend Tysha for taking some awesome pictures of my little family around Greenlake, one of my favorite locations in Seattle. These pictures will forever remind me of the good times (and the not-so-good-times) that made this chapter of my life so sentimental to me.


Halloween 2011

Oh boy, did I miss Halloween? Richard knew at the beginning of the year that he was going to build Michael's costume. Of course, we all didn't start putting it together until two weeks before. The costume wasn't quite to his liking, but it was cute enough.

Introducing Bumblebee! (the Transformer...in case you are confused, because some people were confused when we would refer to Michael as "Bumblebee")

We went to Richard's work party on Halloween and ate a yummy lunch. And played with balloons. Richard had every desire to dress up as Optimus Prime but there simply wasn't enough time to get that project going.

I didn't dress up, but I think I'll buy these next year.

Despite going to a neighborhood business trick-or-treat, the ward trunk-or-treat, and then trick-or-treating with some friends on Halloween night there is definitely no more candy left at this house.



Recently R & I went to a friend's home and played Carcassone. The next day Michael wanted to play the game with me. We got things started when he started talking about which color was going to attack the red guys. I corrected him by saying, "Michael, this isn't a shooting game. It's about getting points."

His reply, "Oh. Yes. So, you point this guy at that guy and then shoot."

Here's a video of some of the battle. And Michael saying, "Mom" a lot. I haven't counted how many times he calls for my attention in this video, but holy cow kid! I'm sitting right in front of you! I can hear you. Say what you want to say!


the Difference Between Girls & Boys

I know Michael is acutely aware of the differences between girls and boys. But there's one thing that I don't think has quite clicked for him: Girls don't really prefer shoot & fight & "smack that bad guy" games.

I think Aunt Karen came to appreciate her sweet granddaughters much more after being around Michael for a week.

"Hey!" Michael yells, looking at Karen, "Hey...hey, uh, hey...."

At this point, I prompt him, "Michael, her name is Aunt Karen."

"Hey, Aunt Karen, watch this!" At this moment, Michael could be holding anything from a pillow, to a lego, or a piece of lint, and as soon as Karen looks over Michael throws it up in the air and starts batting it like the "bad guy" it is.

Or he'd hand her a toy, "Let's fight!"

"Umm, no, Michael, I don't really want to fight with it right now," Aunt Karen replies. I'm sure Michael couldn't understand why she wouldn't want to play such a fascinating game with him.

I'm glad I had a break from these games for a while. The week after Karen went home, I went to Utah for a weekend trip (kid free)! I stayed at Grandma's house, and played with my 3-year-old niece, Emily. It was fun to curl her long blonde hair on Sunday morning (something I wish I could do more often). While I was doing my own hair in the bathroom, Emily came in and picked up two of my bobbypins from the counter and immediately started naming them.

"This one's the mommy," pointing to the one bobbypin, "and this one's the daddy." Then she proceeded to walk those hairpins around the sink and into their homes.

I stood in awe. Michael would have never done that.

It was nice to come home and see my three-year-old again. I'm good at getting him partially dressed (as many of my pictures prove). This picture was taken the day I got home from Utah. While sitting at the computer, Michael pulled out some pennies to play with, and guess what? He immediately named one of them.

"This one's the daddy...."

Oh wait, I don't want to steer you wrong. That's not really how that sentence ended. One penny was set aside and he called it "the daddy....warrior" and the rest of the pennies began a deep, cutting battle with one another protecting that daddy warrior penny. Yup, that's my boy.

Boys and girls are different. Very different indeed.


Snoqualmie Falls

We had a visitor all last week-Richard's Aunt Karen! It was nice to have two cars, and to get out and do something out-of-the-ordinary everyday. We also played lots of Mexican Train Dominoes and ate a lot of sugar everyday. Oy! 

Our first days adventures included a drive to Snoqualmie. We visited Snoqualmie Falls, which was incredible. I didn't realize such a powerful waterfall was just down the street from Richard's work. It was breath-taking. 

After the falls, we drove to downtown Snoqualmie and walked down a path with rusty parked trains. We read some of the information posted along the trail about these old trains and laughed at it's many spelling mistakes.
After trains, we stopped by Richard's work and had lunch with him and then looked at his desk. Very exciting stuff indeed. Richard has already adorned his desk with a couple of Transformers.

The final stop of the day was a trip to Theo Chocolate Factory. We went on the tour, ate lots of samples, and looked hot with our hair nets on. Michael hated having it on his head, and was quite thrilled with all of the information he was learning about cocoa beans. Can't you tell? Sorry for the fuzzy I-Phone pictures. There wasn't a lot of light, and I was trying to sneak this picture of Karen intently listening to our tour guide. Karen learned one thing--90% cocoa chocolate bars are not her favorite thing to sample. I should've gotten a picture of her face when she took a bite of that! 


United States of America

This is kind of an old video. This has been a fun puzzle to do with Michael. He's proud to say he lives in Washington and that Philip lives in Utah.



A morning at the Locks where we observed the salmon traveling on the fish ladder. A few of these salmon were exceptionally large. It was pretty amazing!

This young boy has finally started to play on the swings. He has never been fond of them, so it's nice to see him enjoy them now (as long as he's on his tummy).

Richard works near Snoqualmie Falls and the old trains. We enjoyed walking around and gazing into some of them one afternoon. I mostly adore this pictures because Richard looks so sharp. Michael on the other hand, is still wearing his pajama shirt because it was a rough day, and I justified it because we were going to see the trains later anyway. 


50 Bar Challenge

Update: It's still Friday, and I've got 40 bars to go! That's absolutely fantastic! If you don't want to pay shipping (by buying through the site) please tell me what you'd like, and I'll get the product to you. Thanks for all of you that have gotten this competition off to a great start!!!

I promise you that my blog will not be completely overrun with Scentsy products now. It's just new, exciting and on my mind 99% of the time as I'm getting this business rolling.

My Star Director has challenged me, and others to sell 50 Bars in 5 days. I know I can do it, and the competition aspect is really driving me! I am so happy I signed on right when the fall fragrances came out, and I'm sure you'll find plenty of scents that you just love. My favorites are: Sugar Cookie, Pumpkin Roll, Coconut Lemongrass, and Kahiko Hula (pineapple-scent).

Scentsy bars come in over 80 flavors. $5 each, 3 for $14, or 6 for $25.

In short: Scentsy is a really neat product that is super simple to understand. A Bar has 8 cubes of wax, each cube giving approximately 25 hours of fragrant melting time. You just place a cube into one of the warmers to melt the fragrant wax, and walah!--your home will smell fabulous. It's a candle without the flame, and the wax cannot burn you which is important to me with having a 3-year-old running around. Their stinkin' cute holiday selection is now online too.

Call or message me, or order online at https://dianaanderson.scentsy.us/Buy?partyId=52163557

I will be placing an order as soon as I hit my 50 Bar goal! Thanks, friends!



Just a few of the wonderful things I've done this week:
• Made a new batch of homemade laundry soap

• Baked Peach-Mango & Cream cupcakes for a holiday/birthday celebration with friends.  These cupcakes have been on my radar for a year. It was about time.

• Canned 20 pounds of peaches in record time with Richard's help

• 4 sunny days at the park

• Saved $24 with coupons in one transaction at Target, getting 6 items free. :)

• I AM NOW A SCENTSY CONSULTANT! Have you heard of them, or used Scentsy products before? I'd love to know. I really like their products, and am excited to be a consultant for them. View my website to see what it's is all about: https://dianaanderson.scentsy.us/ 

I'm trying to get started with hosting some parties and introducing the products to those who have never had them before. So far all the feedback I have heard is that people "love their Scentsy" which makes things pretty relaxed for me.

Please, please, please if you want an excuse for a girl's night, or already have something going on and you'd love to have a Scentsy sampling on the side, let me know! Obviously I'm talking Washingtonians here, but if anyone wants to host an online party, we can arrange that and the host can receive free products as well! Think Christmas gifts--I know I am!
Electric Warmer. Keep it plain, or apply a DIY Theme
This is a DIY Theme Pack under the Close-Out tab. 
I love this one a lot! 


My Crafty Side

Look what I made recently! I actually created this morning & night routine chart several months ago, but wanted to get it laminated before I actually put it to use. However spending the money on laminating didn't fall under "need" in my budgeting. So I was excited to receive some birthday money, and headed to the print shop! (Huge splurge, right?) 

Each rectangle is laminated separately and I have extra blank sheets, so I can add/take away things as necessary. Michael for now is just using a small magnet to mark his spot. He was so enthusiastic about it this morning, which made me super happy. No negotiating about sitting on the potty, or eating his breakfast before playing. And, of course, it was nice to start the day with a hug & kiss. I have high hopes that things will go really smooth for the bedtime routine as well.

The other activity I am super excited to show off is a Preschool Pack that I printed from Homeschoolcreations website. When I spotted the Star Wars one, I knew Michael (and R) would be in love with it.

The entire pack includes tracing, measuring and counting exercises. Michael's favorite thus far is the matching games. In the following pictures he is matching up the featured shapes with the word. And yes, he is sitting at his own makeshift school desk.

So, maybe we didn't get completely dressed this morning.

I printed it at home on regular printer paper, but next time I will take a file to a print shop to use their ink and get some of it on cardstock. I put the write-on pages into sheet protectors so Michael can use dry erase markers. It all took me less than 24 hours to put it together, and this is just one of many themes. I thought it was super cute.


an entry :)

I recently talked to Jessie on the phone about couponing and gave her a few words of advice. I loved talking to her about it, and it kind of made me think about having some "starter tips" written out somewhere, so when someone asked questions I could forward the info to them.

But, I don't really feel like doing that right now.

On a different note, I just started "following" a couple more blogs on that related topic a couple of days ago. Of course, I found my way to them because of giveaways they were hosting. And then today I found out I won $100 from one of the blogs! I was super stoked.

Anyway, I just submitted a simple 6 ingredient recipe on A Thrifty Mom's site. (Hers is the couponing-type blog I read most regularly). This recipe entry was my entry into another giveaway. And this post, well, it gives me an extra entry.

Just to clarify, I really don't spend my entire day just entering giveaways. Although, there are plenty to go around.


It ain't a birthday without cupcakes

For my birthday, we met the Mahelona's at Claim Jumpers for dinner. It was delicious, and I got a complimentary red velvet cupcake!

After dinner, Twyla, Aaron and Ben came over to our house (sleeping bags in tow). Michael was so excited that Ben was sleeping over. Then surprise! surprise! Twyla pulls out a pan of chocolate cupcakes. Richard starts putting paper, markers, scissors, and mini marshmallows on the table. The plan? Turn our cupcakes into pirate ships.  It turned out really fun, and Rich and Z stopped in for a minute and added their own designs. Here's the debut of our pirate ship cupcakes. The snowman pirates are my favorite. ;) Which is your favorite?

Thank you Twyla and Richard!

The next day, we had a Hart family picnic to attend. We enjoyed a wonderful picnic in the shade and then Uncle Wes, Uncle Paul, cousin Ryan, and we headed to the Family Fun Center in Tukwila. We did a few rounds in the batting cages, then Richard played mini-golf. Michael and I went inside to the (air conditioned) arcade area. My favorite game was the Wheel of Fortune game. :) Michael and I got over 105 tickets in one game. And then just collected one ticket here and there in other games. Here are a couple of the "great prizes" that he got.

And to top off the evening, Julie brought me some cupcakes she made. Of course I took a picture of them before eating them. They were gorgeous, and delicious. And Julie recently told me she reads my blog, so I must shout out: THANK YOU JULIE! :)
It was a great birthday weekend. I am now a-quarter-of-a-century in years. I always thought I'd feel old when I turned 25. But, I don't. Probably because most of my friends are older than me, and I can never seem to catch up. 


I had a fabulous birthday weekend. Richard did a great job at keeping most of it a surprise. On Saturday morning, Richard planned on my friend Twyla taking me to go get my haircut (something I've been talking about doing for 2 months). My hair was a bunch of split ends and definitely needed a cut. It's funny how different my hair color looks in both of these pictures. No, I did not color it. It's taking a bit of getting used to, but overall I'm pleased with the change up and my great stylist.