Friday, December 21, 2012

Just being all grateful up in here. Catholic Christmas pageant success.

We had our Christmas Pageant at St. Peters school last night. Just imagine the magic of Disneyland, combined with christmas lights, caroling, church spirit, family and friends, along with the cutest kids on the planet. That's just like a portion of the amazingness of this pageant. It was the BEST.

Ya, I can't really put it into words. I worked a 14 hour day yesterday and even after I got home (and all packed to fly home) I was still going going from all the energy of the pageant excitement. There is nothing more fulfilling then preparing students for something then watching them succeed incredibly! The school is k-8. We worked with each grade in preparing a Christmas song (all of which had 2 part harmonies). The 8th grade was dressed for the nativity to perform and narrate the whole pageant. We also have a choir at the school that we worked with at lunch every day in preparing some other special numbers that Dave and I arranged. I played the piano for the whole concert (about 13 songs) along with a drummer and bassist. So fun!!! I walked away last night in tears after several standing ovations from a wonderful audience. The kids did SO WELL and I was so thrilled to be a part of it. I don't think I'll ever be able to leave this job?

I also had several friends come to support me last night, and that meant so much to me since none of my family was able to attend. This has been the best Christmas so far and I haven't even played the name game with my family yet...

Here are some photos and I also included some from my piano last Saturday.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Recital success and chocolate.

So I held my very first piano/voice recital this last saturday evening and it was a SMASHING success. Perhaps arriving at the church to set up 3 hours early did it? Or maybe it was putting all of my students through "recital boot camp" last week.... which they totally loved by the way. Teaching full time these last few months has taught me a lot, to say the least. I've been learning extreme patience with my little 4 year olds as well as my 14 year olds. I've also made quite the list of practice excuses and hilarious phrases my students come up with. Teaching is the BEST.

Now on to the next concert! My cute students at St. Peters k-8 school will be performing our annual Christmas pageant this thursday evening. I can hardly wait. They've been working hard for the last couple of months and the school community has been getting excited. I guess the pageant has quite the reputation to being amazing. It's such a blessing for me to be a part of the pageant and get to spend time with these cute kids everyday!

Hope everyone else is having a happy holiday!

Chocolate piano gift from student. Don't think I'll be eating it. My apartment is cold enough to keep it whole for a while. 


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quilt extravaganza- still excepting blankets for Sandy victims!

I've been meaning to update for a while and then just slacked off.... The last few weeks have been wonderful as we have had blankets piling into my apartment out here in Boston!!! My ward decided to contribute as well so we purchased enough material for 100 fleece blankets and worked on cutting and tying them this last week. Here are a few pics. (And sorry some of them are blurry... guess I need to get the new iphone). 

We had a lot of fun getting all of this done and the help of so many wonderful people! Please keep sending your blankets in. If you're in Arizona you can drop them off at my parents house at 3917 E. Des Moines St in Mesa. If your're in Boston you can bring them over anytime to my apartment at 54 Maplewood st. in Watertown. 


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Patchwork lovin

This is Hazel, one of my cute piano students. She has been working on this quilt for a while and when she heard about Comfort Sandy's Kids she knew it was the perfect place to send her quilt. Thank you Hazel!! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Unless someone like YOU cares a whole lot!

There is little to no temporary housing for thousands of people who can't live in their homes after Sandy.

An Article from ABC local shares stories from people like Charolette, on Staten Island, who lost all her furniture along with everything else. Her story along with 15,000 other Staten Islanders without homes urge me to do something. Click here for article

Another article talks about many who do have housing but are living in horrible conditions. The article reads "Families are living in deplorable conditions with no heat, no hot water, and disease carrying bugs everywhere". A resident shared "The closets smell because of the cockroaches and the kids have been getting sick because of the closets," She says they have no money to leave. 

If the articles or striking facts above haven't hit your heart in the just right spot yet check out the photos below. 

Perfect Thanksgiving service for your family right? Now... read the post below to learn how you can help! Please comment or email me if you have any questions.  AND PLEASE PASS ALONG! Facebook, pinterest, twitter.... you know the drill. 

My mom and sister are also blogging about our movement.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Comfort Sandy's Kids- a new movement

Listen up if you have a heart any bigger than the Grinch's 

Now is the time to ACT if you would like a super-sized heart.
Here are some tutorials to help you as you help others! 
We made our own plus found a bunch of links to other quilting and crafty blogs in case you want to get really crazy. 

Remember, we would love all kinds of blankets, including big ones, small ones, quilted, tied, or fleece. Anything to help our fellow americans stay warm and feel your love. *But please no used blankets or beanies, only homemade or newly purchased.

Blankets for Sandy’s Kids
Blankets range from 54x60 for the fleece and 54x36 for cotton

Blankets can cost from $10 - $20 depending on where you get your fabric. The fleece I just bought at JoAnn’s fabrics was 50% off @ 12.99/yd. so I paid just at $10 per blanket.
My cotton blankets are made from fabric purchased at Wal-Mart they have lots of cute fun prints at very reasonable prices.

Fleece Blankets
1-½ yds. Fleece

Make sure your edges are all nice and straight.  Cutting off all rough edges and salvages. 
There are lots of ways now to do your ends. You can tie all 4 sides of your blanket or you can choose to only tie 2 ends.
Cut 4 inch fringe about 1 inch think on each side you plan on tying. 
Options: tie each individual fringe by itself.
Or: tie two pieces of fringe together in a square knot. (right over left and left over right – so that when it is washed the knot will stay.)

Either method is cute and fun.  You can also find great tutorials on how to sew 2 pieces of fleece together to make a thicker blanket.

Super easy Cotton tied blankets
1 ½ yd. cotton print

1 ½ yd. cotton solid
crib size batting
Quilting needle

Wash and dry fabric (to prevent shrinking after blanket is made.)
On a flat surface lay the back side of your fabric with right side up.  Next layer on top of that your top layer of fabric with right side down. On top of that lay out your batting, pin all three layers together.
Trim all three layers so your edges are all straight and even.  Can use a straight edge and rotary blade if you have one.
Sew all three layers together leaving a 5 inch opening on one side.  Remove pins.
Turn blanket inside out.  Your batting should be in between your fabric now with the right sides of your fabric facing out.  Be sure to push out each corner from inside so you have nice defined corners.  Press
Sew up your 5 inch opening carefully on the machine or by hand. Be sure your fabric is tucked inside along that seam.
Time to tie your quilt.
Begin by marking your quilt with a 5x5 template. (I cheat and usually just stitch according to the pattern on the print.) The purposes of the ties are to keep the fabric together and the batting in place.  In the blanket shown we tied in the middle of every other fish, skipped two rows of fish and started again.  Use your best judgment and just make if fun, cute and consistent.

Thread your quilting needle with about a yard of yarn, pulling your yarn through until both ends of the yarn are even.  Make a small stitch at your first marking, making sure you go all the way through both fabrics.  Pull your yarn completely through until you have 3 inches left on the end. 
Next there are several ways you can tie your yarn.  The most important part is that you make a square knot at each mark. 
Here are two ways to tie:
1)    Continue on stitching your yarn through each mark, making sure your 3 inch end stays secure and doesn’t get pulled through.  When you get to the end of your yarn, cut in between each mark, and tie at each stich point the yarn in a square knot.
2)    Tie as you go: after each stitch cut your yarn, tie your square knot and continue on.
3)    There is also a method to tie before you cut your yarn, but it is hard to explain.  If you would like to know how, send us an email and we’ll help walk you through it! J

Finish up: look at each tie and make sure it looks nice and clean. Check the back side of the fabric to make 
sure it also looks nice and clean leaving no crazy yarn pieces back there.  Trim each tie to about 1 inch long.

Viola – you have a fun warm blanket to send to a Sandy family and everyone gets to be warm inside!

If you're feeling all funzy follow these links to get some inspiration!  

For Blankets:


Info. about us: In 2001 we started Comfort the Kids, and with the help of several hundreds of amazing people delivered over 2500 handmade red white and blue blankets to children who lost family members in the twin towers on 9/11. To keep the fun going, we delivered over 500 blankets to victims of some of the California wildfires in 2003, and in 2006 sent over 500 blankets to Houston, Texas to a children's burn unit affected by hurricane Katrina.  As a family we are grateful for the blessings in our lives and feel it a privilege to share those blessings with those suffering.  Please join us and share your warmth and love with the families that are bracing for a very cold winter on the east coast. Please give a blanket, so you AND those who bundle up in your blanket will feel some comfort, warmth and peace this cold winter season. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My cute little life right now equals happy

So I thought that I would give a quick update of what's happening right now! I'm teaching full time at a k-8 charter school in Cambridge, MA. It's a great small school with such a cute community. I'm the music teacher so I see each of the classes once a week. It has been incredibly fun so far! The kids are really cute and well behaved. I think it helps that it's not a public school because the kids receive a lot of attention since there is only one class per grade level.

One challenge of teaching at a k-8 school is that each age group learns so differently and have such different interests. Each class have such unique personalities! I'm building 9 different curriculums for each class that are really based on their skill set and how quickly they learn. k-3rd grade is really fun; we do a lot of short activities and games centered around learning rhythm, solfege, movement, and theory. 4th-8th grades have more of choral pieces, creative writing, more advanced theory, improvisation, world music, and performing. All the kids keep me busy and happy. My classroom is right next to the cafeteria so I get to see all the kids everyday and I LOVE that so many of them stop to say hi to me in the mornings or during lunch.

I get to play the piano for Mass every thursday morning. All the kids walk over to the Catholic church next door for mass and they spend an hour there listening to Father O'Malley, singing, and taking communion. Not all of the kids and teachers at the school are Catholic but a good portion of them are. Playing the piano for the choir is really fun! The choir is getting better and better.

I'm teaching private piano lessons as well and have about 30 students!! The age range for those lessons are from 5-14. I teach the lessons at the school every day (after school gets out). I'm learning so much from teaching privately and absolutely love it. The parents and kids are great and I feel like we are finally in a good pattern of practicing. We have a piano recital coming up on Dec. 15th that they are all preparing and getting excited for. It has been challenging helping my students learn how to practice productively and affectively. That has been the hardest thing. Getting them to sit at the piano 30 minutes a day was just the first step, now they have to learn how to use that time well and actually force themselves to work hard at it every day! So, I'm learning a lot! I'm also learning a lot of patience..... (guess I didn't learn enough of it from teaching in China the first or second time). Third times a charm right?

So I really love my job! I moved to Watertown in September which is just outside of Boston (like 10 minute drive) so that I could be closer to work. I live in a cute house with 3 other LDS girls who are all working and going to school. We love our neighborhood and everything has been great so far. I honestly couldn't have written out a more ideal situation or job for me right now. It has just been such a blessing!

Going home for Thanksgiving next week! Huge family reunion, friends wedding, and some dates.....  I need to find me a man and he ain't in Boston. Did I just say that?


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sleeping bags and creepy crawlies

So I have to post about our wonderful ward camping trip this last weekend.... mostly wonderful. Three singles wards our here in Boston went to Camp Zion in New Hampshire for the weekend and had a blast! Camp Zion is right on a beautiful lake and is only about an hour and a half outside of Boston.

On saturday night we had our skit and then ended up jumping in the lake (most of us with our clothes on) for a dance party. This may be a strong contributing factor to my lost voice for the last few days..

I headed to bed around 2am and got to the cabin and all the other girls were already asleep. So I quietly unzipped my sleeping bag and got in. I went to lie down and pulled my bag up to find something heavy on the other end of my bed, wait no inside my bag! I kicked around a little and realized it was pokey. I unzipped my bag and grabbed my phone to shine my light on it and WHAM a huge lobster staring at me. I didn't want to wake the other girls up so I did a few silent shrieks. Figured it was dead so I unzipped my bag and shoved it on the floor but NO it starts moving around!!! Freaking out!! I knew immediately who the perpetrators were so I sent out a few nasty words via text. After I was assured that they did not do it I told them to get over to my cabin to at least get the lobster out. (by this time all of the girls in the cabin were awake, they thought I was crazy when I was yelling "lobster in my bed", I guess they thought I was saying, monster in my bed...)  

So Jake and Brent come over and I tell them the whole story and they are flipping out that it's so huge and blah blah blah. Next morning I found out that they had actually followed me home and were outside of my cabin the whole time, being the criminals that they are... clever guys. real clever. There was actually a whole team of guys in on the prank, retaliation in action for each.

This is me the next morning right before cooking time. 

Cooking time.  

Thank goodness Vanary was there to tear apart the lobster, such a champ. 

So that's the end of the lobster story. Pretty sure I'll never be able to climb into a sleeping bag again with out checking for a lobster.. or some other creep thing. 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bad luck turns good!

I've been checking online for tickets to go to SLC for my mission reunion since May and have not had such a good time! Why on earth does it cost so much to fly?! Going to Arizona is way cheaper. Sooooo I've been super bummed because I would be missing my mission reunion that is happening next weekend.

But then..... I thought, oh hey I should text my sister-in-law Haley and ask if her mom has any buddy passes. Turns out that he mom didn't but that a woman her mom works with does! I seriously wanted to break down and cry I was so happy. So, I get to go hangout in Utah next weekend with all my favorite people and most importantly get to see President and Sister Holmes who I've missed like crazy. Blessings blessings!!! I'm pretty dang excited to spend some time on Temple Square as well and reminisce back to my mission.

My apartment is insanely hot right now by the way. I should probably invest in an air conditioner, I might do that today. I might not though. :)


Carly Jo 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

He Hears Every Word

I love sabbath days. I've been sitting here debating whether or not I should go practice piano for a few hours, which I believe is a great sabbath day activity, or just to relax and get some reading and writing done. So once I finish I might have a little bit of time to go pound some keys for a while.

My beautiful sister Catie is staying with me this month in Boston and we are having a ton of fun together. She is so cute, charitable, fun, and positive about everything. I've just loved having her here. The other day she told me, (and continues to tell me), "Carly you are so lucky, you get everything you want! The Lord seriously blesses you with everything!...." she proceeded to then go on and on about all the blessings she has observed me having... she's a doll. So now whenever anything good happens, she's always like SEEE!!!! When bad things happen.... she doesn't notice. Now that's the way to be! I've thought a lot about it though and have been trying to figure out how on earth I have been so blessed and so "lucky" with wonderful opportunities and blessings.. for example.. 

I get to live in Boston and enjoy all the perks to living in a fun city, I'm graduating in August from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Education- and have been blessed with incredible music instructors and friends, I'm surrounded by cultures and people and music and a very enriching environment at Berklee and in the city, I get to start teaching music full time in the fall at a charter school in Cambridge (couldn't be more happy or excited about the opportunity), I recently purchased a car (finally!!), I get to live close to a temple and now have a car so I can go more often!, the singles wards here are full of friends who have blessed my life, I've had the opportunity this summer to work as an assistant for a family in Cambridge and am becoming close friends with them, and I get to move in September to a house in Watertown that is in the perfect location and will have wonderful LDS roommates. 

When I think about these blessings and many more, I'm filled with so much gratitude towards my Heavenly Father. I know that they are all from him and that with opportunity comes great expectations. I understand that the gifts and blessings I've been given are for me to master and share with others. It is seriously the most exciting thing and scariest thing ever. I want to do my best and don't want to let the Lord down. 

I do have a reason for the title of my post. I know that it has been through consistant, careful, sincere, and honest prayer that a lot of these blessings have come about. I struggled for a long time to know what it was exactly that my Heavenly Father would have me do once I finished school. I just couldn't comprehend not being a student (or a missionary) and not having things laid out in front of me. The Lord lead me to realize that I must make my own decision, move forward, and trust that he will show me the rest of the way. (Did I mention that I didn't even decide to move back to Boston until last December??) This is exactly what he has done and continues to do as I walk by faith. 

As Catie said, the Lord seriously does bless me, and I know that he will continue to bless each of us as we align our will and plan with His. I don't like it when people say to forget about what you want or your own will, because that isn't true. If what you want is good and uplifting then God will want the same. I just love the Lord and I love that He hears every word, every thought, and is eager to bless us with the blessings we are seeking. 

Hopefully these words will touch someone today. 
With love- Carly Jo 

Thursday, May 3, 2012


11pm, taking a break from studying, sha na na na na. That's my song. Here's some things flying around my head right now. 

  • My new guitar and burning desire to be amazingly good within 2 weeks tops. 
  • Piano proficiency exam (performance of 2 pieces for some teachers)on monday and that one jazz tune that I have yet to memorize... 
  • Ward service project on saturday that I think I'm responsible for, painting and cleaning out a food pantry! 
  • Cute cuddly little mouse friend scurrying around my kitchen, I swear I just heard him. I should name him. Ideas?
  • New E3 Imagine video I finished up this week and all the other edits and changes I'd like to make to it. #neverending
  • Pixy hair cut. 
  • Downton Abby season 2 and how frustrated I am that I can't find it online anywhere! 
  • Badly wishing I could hop on a plane to Taiwan and hangout with one of my favorite companions from the mission after catching up with her yesterday. Miss her!
  • Mommy and Daddy coming out next week for my graduation. Weren't we just here for Drew's graduation? 
  • Graduation
  • GRAduation
  • That girl yesterday who asked how old I turned on saturday and her response was, "really? you don't look that old!". hmmmm 
  • Baby Porter and baby Marsden- I just want to squeeze them and give them like 27 kisses.. each. 13 days! 
  • Potential teaching job in Cambridge at an Elementary Charter school as their music teacher, and my nervousness to be starting a real career. What's wrong with me and commitment?!
  • Might be homeless in the fall if I don't find a place to live! Homeless people are nice, I might make a good one. I might make more money doing that. 
  • How I really want to answer more questions on my profile- eSPECially the ones about polygamy and homosexuality... hard 
  • Augmented 6 chords, chordal common chord tones, secondary dominants, anticipations, neopolitan 6 chords... blah blah blah.
  • Oh yes, and how one of the greatest guys I've ever met and I aren't dating anymore... time for another song. La la la CJP is crazy la la sha na na na. (you can LOL now) 
  • My siblings and their spouses all going to see The Avengers tonight and wishing I could be with them! 

I'm actually doing really well and couldn't be more excited to graduate in about a week! Berklee has been good to me, but I'm excited to move on. Can't wait to spend some quality time with mom and dad and get them all to myself. I love the Lord, love the Gospel, and am grateful for the many lessons I've learned since I've been back to Boston. 

"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing... character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved"-Helen Keller 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

These days

Can't believe I'm back in school! I really thought the day would never come....

I'm loving my classes at Berklee this semester. I'm taking 16 credits and have 11 classes. I know... sounds like a lot and don't worry, it is! My major is Music Education and seriously everyday I get more and more excited to be a teacher. My classes are all really small and the teachers are all very enthusiastic and excellent musicians.

Let's take a glance at my campus. It's in the middle of the city, and our buildings are pretty spread out...  This is the BPC, Berklee Performance Center.

So other than classes, I come home from school and work part time for E3 Imagine. Things are going well there as well. I work on video and audio for our interactive Ebooks, I'm also working on videos for some lesson plans that we are creating for elementary schools. I feel so blessed to have such a good job and to be working with my family even while I'm across country! 

The weather has been GORGEOUS! Seriously, who ordered the sunshine? It has only snowed once since I've been back. I try to go jogging a few times a week and just love the cool breeze and not freezing my buns off! The other picture is me on my way to church my first sunday back. Where do the coolest singles on the planet live? Oh ya, in Boston! It's true. If you know anyone wanting a change and a new place to live... send them my way, I'm an excellent B-town recruiter. 

Hearts everywhere, until next time. - Car Car.

I promise to start posting more often! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

December flew by!

Okay, first of all sorry that I've been so MIA for the last few weeks! I kept on meaning to blog everyday and then somehow ran out of time.... funny how that happens!

We had a wonderful christmas here in Arizona. It has been three years since I've been home with my family for the holidays so it was a lot of fun!!! Loved chillin with these two cute pregnant girls, can't the babies come already?! They are both due in February.

Christmas Eve we had a fun white elephant gift exchange. Love these girlies, Delia, Gwen, and Eden.


This last weekend I got together with some sister missionaries that I served with at Temple Square! There are a lot of us here from the valley so we try to get together every few months.

I have to get to work but I'll write more later!