cardboard brownstone houses with lights via seejaneblog

Mr. Bean returned today! He was greet with squeals of excitement – and this year he brought with him his own cardboard brownstones Mer Mag style housing!!! He has good taste.

This year, Mr. Bean arrived with a note that said the kids could touch him! He requested to be put to bed each night on a sofa in one of the brownstones, and stated that he would move each day to a new location, but it was safe to always move him back to his housing. On the days he doesn’t move – that means the kids have been naughty!

Elf on the shelf duct tape cardboard brownstone mermag style - inside the box via seejaneblog

Elf on the shelf duct tape cardboard brownstone mermag style rooftops via seejaneblog

Elf on the shelf duct tape cardboard brownstone mermag style party room interiors via seejaneblog

Elf on the shelf duct tape cardboard brownstone mermag style via seejaneblog interiors

Playful by Merrilee Liddiard via seejaneblog

Playful book by Merrilee Liddiard duct tape cardboard brownstones via seejaneblog

Elf on the shelf duct tape cardboard brownstone mermag style housing via seejaneblog

Playful by Merrilee Liddiard launch party via seejaneblog

In september we partied it up and celebrated the launch of the immensely talented Merrilee Liddiard’s brand new children’s craft book Playful. I have admired Merrilee’s talents for years – she did the illustration for my cheerleader valentine a couple of years ago. Her illustrations are beautiful, and her style for children’s playtime ideas – absolutely genius!

If you are interested in making the duct tape cardboard brownstones – all of the instructions + a template can be found in her book! FYI: these three duct tape cardboard brownstones were so fun to make, but they do take time. It took me a handful of late nights and two all nighters over the past six weeks to get them finished. With that said, I absolutely love them and I KNOW they will get played with every day this month for HOURS. And, we will keep them for a long time to come – I am sure they will get re-decorated all the time. Thank you for the brilliant ideas, Merrilee! xo.


28 days of ideas for ELF ON THE SHELF + GIVEAWAY (you could win ALL of this!) + TWO PRINTABLES

Elf on the Shelf GIVEAWAY via seejaneblog copy

Tis the season for ELF ON THE SHELF!!!

I had so much fun organizing this giveaway two years ago – that I decided it had to be done again!!! As a gesture of gratitude for all of you and in the spirit of giving – thank you, thank you, thank you for your friendship & support here at seejaneblog and in real life. Here are twenty-eight ideas for Elf on the Shelf this year + a chance for someone lucky to WIN ALL OF IT!!!

And! Two festive printables you can use this season for your elf-ing.

Elf on the Shelf with lego advent calendars via seejaneblog

The Elf (hopefully you give it a clever name!) doning BLACK FRAMED GLASSES will arrive in style it’s first day with two sets of advent calendars: Barbie and Star Wars!

Elf on the shelf with cocoa and copper mugs via seejaneblog

Idea two: time for cocoa with copper mugs and candy cane spoons!

Elf on the shelf with Essie polish and chapstick via seejaneblog

Idea three: Take care of your lips during the winter with candy cane chapsticks in cute tin cans (6), and prep your nails for a holiday party with Essie polish!

Elf on the shelf with HUGE jar of crayons and more via seejaneblog

Idea four: We have LOVED our big jar of crayons for years – so, keep busy ALL season with supplies to color: BIG glass jar + six 120-packs of crayola crayons + coloring book + tin supply box.

Elf on the shelf puzzle time via seejaneblog

Idea five: puzzle time!

Elf on the shelf with balancing blocks via seejaneblog

Idea six: Have the Elf hiding somewhere with Balancing Blocks.

Elf on the shelf with Blokus via seejaneblog

Idea seven: Game night with Blokus! A Rhodes family favorite!!!

Elf on the  Shelf time too make cookies via seejaneblog

Idea eight: The elf takes over the kitchen – with a gingerbread ninja kit + cooking attire!

Elf on the Shelf Naughty or Nice Board Game via seejaneblog

Idea nine: We LOVE games – so it’s time for another one!

Elf on the Shelf Fishing via seejaneblog

Idea ten: The elf needs to stay warm in a festive sweater to go fishing!

Elf on the shelf pop-out surprises via seejaneblog

Idea eleven: Hide him somewhere good with these pop-out surprises! (one, two)

Elf on the Shelf reading Once upon a northern night via seejaneblog

Idea twelve: Time to cozy up to a new book – Once upon a northern night.

Elf on the shelf pilot via seejaneblog

Idea thirteen: Watch out! The elf is flying by with his own set of wings, aviator gear, and little planes for the little ones.

Elf on the Shelf and 3d christmas lights glasses via seejaneblog

Idea fourteen: I hope your Christmas tree is up by now – so you can look at it with festive 3-d glasses!

Elf on the Shelf with the Original Miracle Melting Elf via seejaneblog

Idea fifteen: The elf brings a friend to visit – a melting elf!

Elf on the Shelf with Piperoid via seejaneblog

Idea sixteen: The elf brings more friends… only this time, you have to put them together! four PIPEROIDS.

Elf on the shelf with tictacs via seejaneblog

Idea seventeen: With all this company… maybe someone needs a tic-tac?

Elf on the Shelf and Barbie via seejaneblog

Idea eighteen: The elf is a social creature – this time Barbie comes to visit with a new set of modern furniture! And, matching retro glasses!

Elf on the Shelf taking selfies with Barbie via seejaneblog

Elf on the Shelf selfies with Barbie via seejaneblog

Idea nineteen: You can’t have a pretty friend visit without taking some selfies!!! So… elf gets out the Fujifilm INSTAX Instant Smartphone Printer + two packs of film! Say cheese!!!

Elf on the shelf crafting with natural beads via seejaneblog

Idea twenty: Time to get creative!!! Using a LOT of natural wooden beads: make necklaces! small, and big!

Elf on the shelf parade of animals with gifts via seejaneblog

Idea twenty-one: Everyone loves a parade! Especially one that brings small gifts and surprises!!! Schleich animals, festive hexbug, JJ’s build-an-animal kit, and more!

Elf on the Shelf report card printable via seejaneblog

Idea twenty-two: It’s almost time for Christmas!!! Time to tell the kids how they have been behaving with “Report Cards!” Download the printable here.

Elf on the Shelf LACE CARDS printable via seejaneblog

Idea twenty-three: More crafting!!! This time, print festive lace cards here, and using plastic yarn needles + yarn practice your sewing skills! (maybe the kids need to stay busy while parents relax from the hustle & bustle of the holidays!!!)

Elf on the shelf and kendama via seejaneblog

Idea twenty-four: Time to kendama!!!

Elf with Faribault mill wool throw via seejaneblog

Idea twenty-five: Is it cold where you live this time of year? Time to hide Elf in a cozy spot wrapped up in his Faribault wool blanket!

Elf on the shelf and masquerade masks for dress-up time via seejanebog

Elf on the shelf and masquerade masks via seejaneblog

Idea twenty-six: Time to dress-up with masks for the kids and Elf!

Elf on the shelf with festive cereal, gold utensils, and acacia bowls via seejaneblog

Idea twenty-seven: Christmas Eve breakfast!!! Maybe a little gift for mom too – four place settings of gold utensils, four acacia bowls, and festive cereal!

Elf on the shelf likes Lindt lindor chocolates via seejaneblog

Idea twenty-eight: The elf arrives for his last time wishing everyone a Merry Christmas with blocks, and one of his favorite treats! BON VOYAGE!!!

Elf on the shelf with christmas blocks and chocolate via seejaneblog

The giveaway is based on a family with four children – and I attempt to cater to a variety of ages: little ones – teenagers.

How to enter:

This will be instagram-based:

(1) follow @see_jane on instagram.
(2) Re-post the very first image in this post (also found on my IG account) on your personal IG account.
(3) Hash Tag #seejaneelf

One out-take:
Hova, the cute puppy elf-photo-bomber:

Elf on the Shelf photobombed by cute dog via seejaneblog

puppy NOT included in the giveaway.

That is it. I will announce the winner on the bottom of this post, and my instagram account on Monday, November 24th. I would like to ship ALL of this to the winner that morning, hoping they will be able to receive it by Thanksgiving, and start their elfing soon after!!! You are welcome to leave comments below – begging, pleading, and/or explaining in more depth why you should be the winner, or someone else. I welcome stories. Good Luck! xo.


I wish I could send you all a box of these treasures, but since that isn’t possible – HUGS, HUGS, HUGS!
THE WINNER IS: SARAH THOMPSON. I’ll be in touch with you soon in regards to delivery!!! CONGRATS! xo.

this giveaway is closed.

Photography & Styling by: Me, Jane Rhodes and Tregan Johnson – the owner of our cute puppy photobomber.



group dinner setup via seejaneblog

see jane setup a party via seejaneblog

bulb lights via seejaneblog

bulb lights and mason jars via seejaneblog

black and red converse via seejaneblog

modern day grease costumes via seejaneblog

Sadie Hawkins dinner via seejaneblog

Grease guys and girls via seejaneblog

bohemian inspired dinner table via seejaneblog

Grease halloween costumes via seejaneblog

Sadie Hawkins group date via seejaneblog

Sadie Hawkins group dinner via seejaneblog

High School group date via seejaneblog

bulb lights party via seejaneblog

mexican blankets and sheepskins via seejaneblog

low tables for dining via seejaneblog

In this post I mentioned that Kiana just went to Sadie Hawkins – a girls choice dance here in Utah. For the group date, I agreed to host all twenty teenagers in her group for dinner. The day after Halloween. In retrospect, WHAT WAS I THINKING??? It was a mad dash to put away Halloween decor, and re-set our house to host!

This past spring and summer I rented farmhouse tables from Alpine Event Rentals twice – after paying for them, my husband decided it was time to build our own and save what it was costing us to rent them each time. It was way more economical. So, the thoughtful man that he is – he made me TWO tables with the help of our best friend Danny. When Alpine Rentals delivers these tables the legs are not attached. They set them up for you – and this got me thinking — I had been pinning images on Pinterest with low table legs — so I asked the guys to make me a set of short 15″ legs AND a set of regular legs so I can switch them back and forth as I want!!! This was the first time to use my new tables AND my first time to host a dinner with guests sitting on the floor. After the years we have spent in Asia, we love it. I hope all of our guests do too!

Even though I was exhausted, I LOVE spending time with these teenagers, and especially a big group of them. The theme for their dance was, “going to the movies,” and their group decided on a modern Grease theme. It was killer.

Cheers to fun years in high school!!!

Photos by: Mindy Johnson


christmas in the fairy garden!


Last weekend we had what is probably our last few days of warmish fall weather, so Sela and I spent most of our Saturday outdoors. We walked around our home snipping sticks and leaves off bushes to use in her fairy garden. Then we decked the gardens for christmas!

This is without question, my favorite toy/kid activity that our family has engaged in over the years. Thomas the train, dinosaurs, board games, Barbie, dolls, blocks, all the phases we have lived through in almost seventeen years of parenting – this is my favorite. I enjoy it ever bit as much as Sela does!





We have been adding to our fairy garden collection for over a year now – and there are some really cute items available to buy – however, our MOST favorite fairy garden pieces are still the ones we create all by ourselves.

For over a year now we have been changing the fairy gardens every season or more – this time we decided it needed a festive teepee! It was so easy to make with a few sticks tied together with a small piece of leather string.



christmas fairy garden via seejaneblog

christmas fairy house via seejaneblog

christmas DIY teepee in the fairy garden via seejaneblog

christmas fairy garden ideas via seejaneblog

Deck the fairy garden via seejaneblog

If you are interested in creating your own fairy gardens – if you live in Utah – check out Sun River Gardens in Orem, if you attend Swiss Days in Midway or Beehive Bazaar in Provo – you might find a booth by My Plum Scrumptious – but you can also purchase items online, you can find the CUTEST items on ETSY, Look online at My Fairy Gardens, and Fairy Garden Store. However, like I already said – the cutest items will be the ones that are homemade!

Photography: First seven photos by Sela, KJ, and I! Last five photos by Becky Kimball Photography.




Last month, I joined forces with Twig Creative to host an event. Twig launched their new “knotical – origami nesting boat” with the cutest play date activities and opportunity to play with the boat, and I used my home combined with MEND juicery and friends to have a FEED supper. I LOVE what the FEED mission is working hard to accomplish – it is such an unbelievable difference around the world between those who are starving and those of us who are blessed in abundance.

We were worried about the weather for weeks leading up to this event – here in Utah, the last few days of October can expose themselves with sun or snow. We lucked out with sunshine and nearly eighty degrees!!! The kiddos were swimming! The mountains were glowing. It was beautiful.

Thank you so dearly to everyone who came, donated, and shared your friendship. Together, we donated almost four thousand meals to those in need! Together, lets keep helping. xo.



















Photos by: Callie Hobbs Photography.






Friends. Friends. Friends. I am so pleased to be sharing with you an idea I have had for years, and it is finally coming to fruition!

I enjoy gathering people together. I have a deep appreciation for good whole food. And, I crave learning. Especially learning a new craft. I frequently plan events that involve my family and closest friends, but this – this could involve all of you. I am going to offer something that embodies people, food, and learning combined:


This is about choosing the real over the virtual, creating something that brings a deeper meaning to our lives. Our days are filled with so many tasks, to-do’s, errands, extravagant checklists, and worries. I want to create a moment in time where we come together, enjoy simple pleasures, and relax.

My goal is to host events – usually at my home – but not always – once a month. Maybe more. Each little retreat will include a meal, and an activity. For the inaugural event – I have teamed up with Lizy Bowden of Lizy’s Lilies to create a natural, fresh, beautiful wreath for the holidays! This will be held at my home on Tuesday evening, November 25th. Two days before Thanksgiving so you can have a calm night out before the preparations for Thanksgiving begin – and you can enjoy your new wreath for the holidays. This is not a gender specific event – Men and Women are welcome. Bring a date, friends, moms, any one you would like! No children under sixteen.


The schedule for the evening is as follows:

6:00-6:30pm Cocktails* & hors d’oeuvres

6:30-7:00pm Dinner

7:00-8:30pm Wreath making with Lizy Bowden – Each guests will receive the supplies needed to create one fresh wreath to take home and enjoy during the holidays!

8:30-9:00pm Dessert

Tickets for this little retreat are $100/guest, and will be available on EventBrite later this week. *When purchasing your tickets, if you are interested in an optional alcoholic beverage – please state so in the notes section. A menu for the evening will be sent out in an email confirmation prior to the event. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let me know ahead of time. I will be announce when tickets are LIVE on my instagram account – @see_jane.

I love a life full of warmth, laughter, and friends – I can’t wait to host you. xo.

Jane's feet and wreath


If you feel you have a craft or idea that would be a good fit for LITTLE RETREATS, please email me your ideas at jane(at)prolook(dot)com – I look forward to hearing from you.

Beautiful photography by Becky Kimball.


festive packaging

packaging with antler, disclaimer- no reindeer were hurt in the wrapping of this gift, via seejaneblog

antlers and gift wrap via seejaneblog

artificial succulents as gift toppers via seejaneblog

birch sticks as gift topper via seejaneblog

christmas packaging via seejaneblog

::Thank you:: to EVERYONE who came to my gift wrapping class last week at Gatehouse No.1!!! It was wonderful to have such a big crowd, and so many beautiful, smiling faces when I was sharing ideas for this season.

A quick re-cap: I like to use part of the gift as the topper on the package. It’s like gift-anticipation-overload! A couple of ideas: antlers are a hot item in home decor right now – choose a nice coffee table book for someone, and then tie the antler on top of the package – when it’s all open they can put the book on display on their living room table, AND the antler!

Another idea: I adore succulents, but artificial succulents are even easier to take care of! Choose a unique piece of pottery or a vase as the gift, and use artificial succulents on top of the wrapped package. When it’s all open: they have the plant & pottery ready to use!

Lastly, go outdoors and find natural elements to use on your gifts – like birch sticks. Small pieces of pine. I’ve been pinning lots of ideas lately on my “packaging” pinterest board – check it out!

Happy gift wrapping, friends! ‘Tis the season!!! xo.


tennis party

tennis party via seejaneblog

tennis party - oversized black and white paper prints via seejaneblog

tennis party place card holders with pictures and tennis balls via seejaneblog

tennis party tennis cupcakes via seejaneblog

As I mentioned in the last post, Myla’s high school tennis season ended with a banquet/party!

There was an entire team of moms who helped plan the bash. I decorated the tables, and planned HUGE prints to hang around the room of the seniors. After the party, each of the seniors took their larger than life photos home with them. If you are interested in printing images this big – at an affordable price – it’s so easy:

1) Put the images you want to print on a thumb drive.
2) Go to your local Staples store with the thumb drive.*
3) Print the images as big as you can with their assistance. Typically, the biggest print is 36″x48″ (I learned this from printing Caravan Shoppe prints!) and it cost only $6 to print! But, if you are willing to work with them a bit – they helped me figure out how to get the tennis shots almost life-size. They were cropped about 36″x 60″+, each one was a little different.

*It’s also an option to submit the photos online.  This idea could be adopted to a LOT of events: birthdays, end of school year programs, scouts – any time you are honoring someone: make a HUGE print of them! Also, if you are looking for an inexpensive way to print family photos for a bedroom or area of your house – try this!

For the tennis ball place card holders:

1) Use a knife – make a small cut in the top of the tennis ball, it’s fairy easy.
2) Place the photo or paper in the slit to put it on display!
3) My husband cut 2″ PVC piping in to half inch little rings, so the tennis balls wouldn’t roll around – instead – they had a mini display stand.
4) I cropped the photos I used in to squares and had them all printed locally at Persnickety Prints – they offer a 2″x2″ square photo with a white trim! The team pictures were also printed there.

















My Myla just finished her freshman year of high school tennis. She has been playing tennis since she was seven, and devoting a lot of time to her training since she was nine. But, this was her first time to be on a tennis team and she absolutely loved it. The season went by way too fast. I went with her one weekend in September when the team had a tournament in St. George, Utah. I stayed in a rented house with all twenty girls and I don’t remember ever laughing so hard. These girls are sweethearts. They are clever. Smart. Hilarious. And, they are killer tennis players. I feel so fortunate that Myla has so many good friends to go through high school with.

At the end of the season, about three weeks ago, the team had a banquet and I created a video of memories for the girls:

During the banquet, the coach gave out some very notable awards. Myla was highly recognized for her character, hard work, friendliness, team spirit – you name it, I can’t even remember everything it mentioned, but I thoroughly believe she deserved it. She worked so hard, and is so fiercely genuine. My moosey is golden. And, she finished the season in J.V. first singles.

I can’t wait till next year!

Photography by: Mindy Johnson.


come one, come all: FREE gift wrapping class this Friday at Gatehouse no.1 in Orem!

minimalist style gift packaging

simple gift wrapping via seejaneblog

simple gift toppers via seejaneblog

festive gift toppers via seejaneblog

festive style via seejaneblog

Locals! Tomorrow: Friday, November 7th – I will be co-teaching a class at Gatehouse No.1 in Orem, Utah at NOON. I will be sharing my favorite gift toppers for this season and some simple, beautiful ways to wrap gifts! Lizy Bowden of Lizy’s Lilies will be teaching how to make a garland and wreath for the festive season ahead!

If you follow me on instagram then be sure to enter the giveaway I have posted! TEN winners during the class will receive some of my favorite choices for ribbons and more!

Photography: Mindy Johnson.


Big Love Ball

big love ball via seejaneblog one

I don’t know how many areas of the U.S. or the world have this tradition? But here in Utah – teenagers and college students are really creative when they ask someone to a school dance.  Since I lived through this cultural custom growing up (and enjoyed it!) and I am now assisting my teenagers with the same tradition, I thought I’d start a series with original ideas of how to ask someone to prom! or Sadie Hawkins.  Or Morp (prom backwards). Or Sweethearts.  Or, Homecoming.  Or, whatever dances you may have at your local schools!

This past month, Kiana asked her friend Jordy to Sadie Hawkins.  Which is a girls-choice dance.  I had a friend tell me about the Big Love Ball a few weeks ago and the instant I saw it I’ve been looking forward to a good reason to use one!  This was it:

big love ball via seejaneblog three

big love ball via seejaneblog four

big love ball via seejaneblog ten

Our big papi helped Kiana do this job because it was a big task getting the big love ball across town! It’s five feet wide!!! They transported it in his truck, and then tied it to the top of her future dates truck. This was all being done while her friend was playing in a football game – the plan was that he would leave the game and find the big surprise!

big love ball via seejaneblog twelve

big love ball via seejaneblog eleven

big love ball via seejaneblog five

big love ball via seejaneblog six

Did you notice something? Did you notice the big love ball was tied to the top of TWO different trucks? Yeah. That’s because they tied it on top of the WRONG truck the first time!!!

big love ball via seejaneblog seven

big love ball via seejaneblog eight

For those of you who might be curious as to how Jordy answered: He left a box of fresh hot Krispy Kreme donuts on our doorstep late one night with the top of the box open – it said on the inside – I dough-nut want to go with anyone else but you to Sadie Hawkins! p.s. I’m So excited! It was cute. And delicious! And, the dance was last night – we hosted the dinner at our house for twenty kids in the group that went together! It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend with Halloween. I’ll be posting pics soon of the dinner!

Readers, is this a tradition where you live? If you like this idea but the big love ball is just too big – there are LOTS of different ways you could use this same idea – the big love ball comes in small sizes too! Be creative!

Photos by: Mindy Johnson (she was so wonderful to go take pictures of this for me – because I was in class on this particular night!)


G.I. Jane and my troops

The Rhodes have been deployed to bootcamp for Halloween!



We have deep soft spots in our hearts for the national guard. And it was an easy decision to pick this theme for our family this year – however, Mr. Rhodes was the most excited. He has said numerous times over the years that he wishes he would have spent time in the forces, and this guy was a kid at heart when it came to dressing up.

We took our family to the local Army/Navy store weeks ago to pick out these costumes and dog tags, we purchased some items used, and some new. Mr. Rhodes wanted all legit-used pieces, and on the day we took these pictures, he ran to Starbucks to get a coffee – and had his little moment of glory pretending to be a real soldier running around town.

G.I. Jane and my troops costumes via seejaneblog

G.I. Jane and my troops costumes II via seejaneblog



G.I. Jane and troops costumes via seejaneblog


G.I. Jane and troops costumes IV via seejaneblog

Company MARCH!!! Right, Left, Right, Left… Company HALTTT



Our mission is to report to basic training (aka: trick-or-treating) and BE ALL YOU CAN BE!

Do you have plans to dress-up this year? This might be our last time to attempt a family theme, we’ve only done it a few times, but with my older kiddos growing up – times are changing, and they are interested in making costume-plans with friends now… maybe, Dusty Rhodes will wear this costume every year he likes it so much!

If interested, I posted a fifteen second video of us in character on my instagram account @see_jane, #rhodesfamilyfilm!

This costume could be easy to throw together with how trendy camo and the color army green are right now! look in your closets for pieces of clothing – my older girls opted to wear black leggings. Our black combat boots are from Target. Temporary tattoos via tattly, you can’t see any of our army patches close-up in these pictures but we had a lot of fun choosing them – we each had an approropate ranking for our family, KJ and Myla had patches that say, “zombie hunters!” and more. you can get really creative with this detail. you can get free tires (locally) from Discount Tires if you need an obstacle course!

photos by Becky Kimball Photography.


lake powell + how-to steps to creating videos!

Hey friends. On my last video post I had a few inquiries about how I create the videos. I’d love to give you a few tips, and answer ANY questions you have but keep in mind this is the short version of instructions!

1 – I use my iPhone 5S for ALL of my footage. (I am DYING to get my hands on the new iPhone 6 just because I hear the camera is so much better!!!) I shoot everything with my phone horizontally, always tipping my phone to the left – in the same direction each time I take a video. If you don’t shoot it the same way, you can later edit it and flip it around or zoom-in later in iMovie but it’s an extra step or two to do so.

2 – I take a LOT of video. I’m positive I annoyed my family and friends when I first started doing this, they would all give me the “you’re kind of interesting, Jane” look when caught taking videos over and over and over. But, I feel like once they figured out what I was doing with the videos – they loved it and patiently embrace me now and accept my quirky video obsession.

3. I create and edit the videos in iMovie. I don’t feel that I’m good enough at doing this yet to give you my own tutorial. Technology for me is a live-and-learn, trial-and-error experience. This is a great place to start if you need help! Remember: when using ANY types of technology or new programs – if you have a challenge, GOOGLE the problem, I’d dare say that 100% of the time you will find your answers online to anything you need!!!

4. I created an account with vimeo, this allows me to have an online space to keep the videos organized publicly and to get a code to embed them here, etc. – I also have a Youtube account but feel vimeo is where more independent, artistic videos are being shared and I like the platform just a snitch better.

5. Have fun!!! If any of you make a video and post it somewhere, I’d love to see it! Or, let me know if you have questions you can’t find answers to – I will do my best to help!

* This past summer we made our first trip back to Lake Powell since returning to Utah. This trip REALLY made us feel like we were back in our stomping grounds. Dusty Rhodes would like to live at Lake Powell all summer. And I’m pretty sure our kids would agree! I think I’d LOVE it till one of the big notorious wind storms hit, and then I’d be done. The mix of sunshine, the outdoors, and lake for a week is a good combo, especially when you add friends, fun, and good food! However: when you see the kids having a whipping cream fight… someone on our trip had suggested a shaving cream fight – Because this was new to us I thought the shaving cream might burn the kids’ eyes, so I planned whipping cream instead. NOT A GOOD IDEA. The kids jumped in the lake after to clean-up, but a few hours later and the next morning – some of them started to smell like SOUR MILK. IT WAS AWFUL. Each time I hugged them, I was gagging from the smell, and BEGGING them to shower. Use shaving cream!



Selabration number eight!

flamingo birthday party via seejaneblog

flamingo party in the courtyard via seejaneblog

Our baby girl turns EIGHT today. It has been the fastest eight years of my life. Sela thinks she has waited f-o-r-e-v-e-r to be eight. Like: we started talking about this flamingo party last SPRING. She was already putting in her request for another doll party. And deep inside as much as I love observing her love of all things doll – I did not feel like planning another doll party. So, as we continued to discuss ideas I tried to think of the most pink-girly-things that would intrigue her… sans barbies, etc. – when the flamingo idea came to mind! At this time, I hadn’t seen anything new or trendy with flamingos. And best of all, Sela LOVED the idea! she was CRAZY about the idea!!!

So. We started planning on the down low. Some time the end of May I told my friend Becky and she loved the idea too. Not soon after I received an invite to Alison’s flamingo FEST dance party. And about died of disappointment that a flamingo party was being planned on the social media scene. THEN, before Alison’s party, Silhouette America hosted one of the dinners I went to at Alt. Summit (a blogging conference) and used flamingos for their theme. THEN, I think every clothing line we like – crewcuts, GAP, Target, even my favorite children’s clothing store in the Philippines – Gingersnaps – had flamingos show up in their summer clothing lines. So, maybe it was sub-conscious and I didn’t realize I had already seen flamingos everywhere. But, six months ago, Sela and I thought we were reviving an idea for a party that hadn’t been over-used yet, and obviously, we were not. We are digging on flamingos just like the rest of the world!

The past six months of planning have felt like a lifetime for Sela! She has had a countdown on her bedroom wall till her party – there were weeks of little boxes she’s been checking off day by day. I think it’s safe to say, it runs in our blood to WANT to selabrate. It’s a NEED. So. We partied last Saturday with all of sela’s closest friends and our family. And today – her official birthday – our family has been extra lovin’ on her all day long. Because she’s sooo easy to love.

flamingos in the fairy gardens II via seejaneblog

The day before Sela’s party, I surprised her with these mini mini flamingo’s in her fairy gardens. They are just about the cutest little things I ever have seen – and she flipped out over them!

flamingo party in the fairy gardens via seejaneblog

mini mini flamingos in the fairy garden via seejaneblog

I had this idea: to have pink hair tips & wear pink eyelashes for the party!!! Sela loved both these ideas, about three weeks ago we tested out the eyelashes and it was really easy to put them on her – and me. She even cut one pair in half and put them on her dolls, it was super cute and fun. THEN, the day of the actual party came, and about thirty minutes before the party, I put my pink eyelashes on, Sela said she changed her mind and didn’t want to wear them. Which was fine.

I walked into our kitchen – where most of our family was and received some raised eyebrows and funny looks.

woah, mom. blank stares.

me: do you guys like my eyelashes?

Dusty Rhodes: Did you look in a mirror?

flamingo party pink eyelashes

Needless to say, Sela’s expression above – examining the eye lashes up close – spoke a thousand words. Right after these pictures, I ran to the bathroom and took them off. change of plans. Mom looked ridiculous. we are NOT wearing pink eyelashes for this party, Mom or the girls.

But. one more picture for memory’s sake, I will probably never wear pink lashes again…

flamingo party PINK eyelashes via seejaneblog

flamingo party cake via seejaneblog

flamingo party flamingo cookies via seejaneblog

Rustic flamingo party via seejaneblog

flamingo party details via seejaneblog

flamingo party mother daughter via seejaneblog

The girls all watercolored flamingos – this is the result of the momma planning the party currently taking a watercolor class. I attempted to give them a crash course in about 30 seconds. It took all the energy I had to speed talk as their minds were DYING to rip into those supplies and get started. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them each create their own unique pieces of art.

flamingo party watercolor printable via seejaneblog

watercolor flamingos via seejaneblog

flamingo party activities via seejaneblog

flamingo party neon hair spray for pink tips via seejaneblog

flamingo party watercolor via seejaneblog

flamingo BINGO via seejaneblog

flamingo bingo at a flamingo party via seejaneblog

flamingo party birthday cake via seejaneblog

flamingo birthday party CAKE time via seejaneblog

flamingo party pinata indoors via seejaneblog

flamingo birthday party pinata via seejaneblog

Sela also had the idea before the party to have the girls have a “flamingo contest” by standing on one leg. It was really fun. They all did so good too! We did about eight rounds, while I was timing them – those that made it to one minute, then I had them raise their arms, at two minutes they had to go on relevé, or in non-ballet terms: their tippy toes! There are some serious little yogi’s at this age, they were good!

It was the funnest, PINKEST day of our lives. We flamingled our little hearts out!


party details: The wildly adorable mini mini fairy garden flamingo’s found here. Yard flamingos here. You can download the free printable flamingo to paint or color here. I found all the watercolor arts supplies we used locally at Hobby Lobby. Download the free adorable “flamingo bingo” here (if you use either of the printables, please give credit and I’d love to see your projects!) – just add numbers with a marker. Make sure to do it correctly! In sporadic order, only 1-5’s in the B column, 6-10’s in the I, 11-14 in the N, 15-20 in the G, and 21-25 in the O! I just kept a list of what I had called and wrote it down. The mini yard flamingos for bingo can be found here. Bamboo plates and utensils found here. Flamingo straws here. Sugar cookies here. Cake ordered locally here. Candles are from here. The flamingo pinatas were from a local party store – Zurchers. We attempted to use hair chalk for our hair tips and it didn’t work well, I also had neon pink hair spray as back-up and it worked so good! Found at a local party store – Partyland. The gold cake topper – was an item I was able to keep after the ‘Silhouette America‘ Alt. Summit dinner party this past June. They used smaller plastic flamingos and spray painted them gold – Thank you, Silhouette!

you can see previous selabrations here: two, three, four, five, six, seven!

Printables designed by lovely Lindsay for seejaneblog. Beautiful event pictures by Becky Kimball photography! xo.



mother|daughter hands, seejaneblog

I was raised by a mother who had been raised Methodist, temporarily Presbyterian, and later converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Washington state when I was four years old. I’m not sure what church or religion my Dad grew-up participating in, but he was an extremely liberal christian also converted to the LDS church by the time I was five. I share this with you to give you a peek into my personal religious/spiritual history — raised Mormon by parents who were converts to the religion — I grew-up by all the standards considered normal by mormon terms: I attended primary as a child, young women’s once I was twelve – earned my young women’s medallion, went to girls camp, graduated from seminary, married a return missionary and was sealed in the temple for all eternity.

Yet, through all of those years — my soul greatly struggled with one major commitment (and a few other things) with the LDS faith. I did not believe it was the only true church on earth. In a nutshell: I did not have a testimony of Joseph Smith, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I struggled to believe in organized religion.

Over the years, I tried so hard — minus a few hiccups through my teenage years I fully committed to the gospel, it’s standards, and attempted to live just as I should by mormon values. I attended church regularly, I participated actively in my religion and helped whenever possible or whenever I was needed, I read my scriptures diligently, I attended the temple — and yet, whenever I was expected to share my testimony or acknowledge that mormonism is the only true church, or that Joseph Smith among others was a prophet of god — instead of feeling a warm confirming spirit that this was true — a serious case of nausea would sweep over me, and I’d get dizzy and sick just thinking the words. A mental battle would break out. It was constantly the opposite experience that I had learned growing up was supposed to happen.

When I was twenty-seven years old, I had just had our third child – our son KJ. My husband and I lived in Provo, Utah – we were completely submersed in the mormon culture in the area. My husband was the elder’s quorum president in our ward – this is a male leader holding the Melchizedek priesthood in the office of an elder over the men in the area, I was a counselor in our primary presidency (primary includes the children 12 and younger) and one Sunday when I was finishing a sharing time with the primary kids, I knew I needed {and was expected} to close the lesson with my testimony confirming that I believed what I had just taught the children. And with all the mental strength I could conjure up, I couldn’t do it. I had finally reached a point where my “fake it till you make it” religious attitude wasn’t going to hold up any longer. I could not be dishonest with myself anymore. I couldn’t tell these kids {mine included in the group} that what I taught them was true, and that I believed it, when I didn’t. Not a fiber of my being believed it. that was the truth.

This is when I learned courage. REAL COURAGE. I had to tell my husband how I felt. I had to be honest.

Being raised LDS (or any religion), you know the intense emotion involved with remaining true to that way of life. You KNOW the heart ache that families go through when a member of the family chooses a different way. You know what they are going to think of you. You already know the judgements that are going to be made about you. You know the disappointment you are going to cause. You know that this doesn’t just affect your family, but also your extended family – your neighborhood – your friends – your children – especially living in Utah – where so many saints live, diversity is not commonly celebrated.

My husband and I were driving around one Saturday afternoon running errands, around this same time, he and I in the front seat of his truck and all the kids in the back seat —– when it hit me —- I had to tell him now.

It was very intense, and because it was so emotional, I don’t remember exactly how it all went down, but it was something like this, “you know how other people are just as committed and devout to their religions as mormons are – i.e. baptists, catholics, muslims, etc. etc” and yet the LDS church strongly believes that we are still the only true church…..”


“I don’t believe it.”

Right then, as my tears were forming and I could see his anger and frustration in his eyes — my husband told me to not talk about this in front of the kids. So, I stopped talking about it. And I knew. I knew I had upset the first person I was going to upset. There would be more. There would always be more…

Now I had to be brave. I had to find inner strength to not cave when all the people I loved chose to question my integrity, question my lack of belief, they would doubt my every inner quality as a person, as a mother.

My husband and I continued our conversation in private, after the kids were in bed. Me: explaining all my inner-most feelings with the religion I had grown-up with, with religions in general – explaining my views about spirituality as I see it. Him: listening. Very intently. So intently that he actually agreed with my perspective, and over the course of the time to follow he abandoned his testimony and childhood religion quicker than I did.

Here’s what followed immediately: I finally had the spiritual experiences and feelings I had been waiting for my entire life. For the first time after all those years, I felt peace. Truly, beautiful peace. My heart and every inner cell of my being felt right. I had confirmation after confirmation within our family and in the life around me, that I had made the correct decision. I felt this amazing inner strength that it was hard to tell those around me how I felt, but that it was right, and would all be ok.

This is one point that I think members of the church don’t always understand: I feel more in tune, and accurate now about my beliefs and inner moral compass than I ever did as an involved member of the gospel. However, with that said, I adore the “church” and greatly miss it at times. If only there was a forum for non-believers who love the philanthropy and social aspects of the church! I often wish there was a room for us at the temples, because who doesn’t want to escape the world more often to a place of peace, and calmness?!?

This time in my life was over eleven years ago – and this is the first time I’ve written about it anywhere. I’ve been writing THIS POST for over a year. It’s odd to me, that as adults, we still struggle to share our honest opinions about such matters. I have dozens of friends who feel the same way – apprehensive to discuss their thoughts. I have friends who passionately don’t believe, but are willing to keep pretending in order to not upset those around them. Religious pressure.

I’d like to mention one more thing: I don’t usually freely offer how I feel about religion because (one) it didn’t relate to my blog. and (two) I feel my personal views, when discussed in finer detail, can be very compelling to other members of the church who may have never questioned their LDS religion. For some dysfunctional reason, I carry a sense of guilt with the idea that someone would leave their religion after hearing how I feel. Everyone should be exploring religion, and spirituality on their own. Yes, our kids all know how we feel and as one of their parents I strongly support them and encourage them in finding and knowing their own individual opinions about such matters.

To be a real seeker of truth,
one must challenge the veracity of EVERYTHING-
truly challenge it without bias.

For the past couple of years I’ve had this growing urge to share my thoughts on the topic on my blog. And each time I attend a bloggers conference I keep hearing the echo – Find your voice. Be genuine. Share how you feel. Others will appreciate the honesty. So, once again, I will likely upset people. But I will also find a community that understands me and/or agrees with me, and maybe, they need to hear my story.

And I realize, this topic is big, the journey doesn’t end here. How do I feel eleven years later? About religion? About the LDS church? What do I believe? How does my family feel about living in the heart of Utah? How are my kids treated at school, in our neighborhood? (maybe future posts. Especially now with the popularity of Mormon intellectual discussions like those by John Dehlin, etc)

So – readers, have you ever had such an experience? Have you abandoned a belief system, a culture, something dear to you?

I have to add one funny story here – in the early years of my blog (c. 2007-09) I had posted about one of our annual trips to Mexico. I think I was wearing a bikini in a couple of the images. If you are unfamiliar with the LDS beliefs – modesty is encouraged and two piece swimsuits are somewhat discouraged, but I think most modern day saints would agree that this teaching is also an individuals choice. I had already not been involved with the church for years at this point of my life and if you knew me personally, you already knew this. Someone anonymous added a comment to the post saying, “It looks like when you go on vacation, your values go on vacation too!” I about died, I thought it was so hilariously judgmental. HUMANS! If that person is still reading this blog and/or anyone else has ever been curious as to what is going on with religion and/or values in our home… hopefully, your questions have been somewhat answered. xoxo.

Photo by: Mindy Johnson – mine & my daughter Kiana’s hands.

© 2014 jane rhodes.