Wednesday, December 29, 2010

'Tis the Season

Well, my Anniversary, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day has come and gone without so much as a peep from me here.  You all know how it is... I've been shopping, cooking, sleeping and playing with some new toys Santa brought me.  (I think the Nook is really going to get me in trouble.  Once I start a book, I have a REALLY hard time putting it down!)

We've had sick kids, and sick moms and dads.  I think that I may go this whole Christmas season without making one cookie that was edible.  I finally gave up on the "Peppermint Whoopie Pies."  I had high hopes, but every time I tried to make them they just tasted - funky.  Then I just ran out of time.  Oh well!  (Oh, and by the way, all of my Christmas cards are still sitting on my kitchen counter.  You WILL get them though, I promise!)

A few days before Christmas, Derek asked Matthew if he thought he was on Santa's "naughty" or "nice" list.  "Hmmmm... " says Matthew.  "I think I might be on the naughty list."  Hearing that makes me question my parenting skills a little.  What kind of mother am I, that my six year old thinks he belongs on the "naughty" list!?  Derek assured him that while he may make bad choices sometimes, he was definitly more nice than "naughty."  I agree. 

Today, he comes up to me and says "mom, you look so pretty."  "Thanks Matthew," I say.  He replies, "no really mom, you are pretty!."  See, he belongs on the "nice" list all year long!

Another fun thing happened today.  Bella asked for "pretty toes."  She didn't just ask, she insisted.  The downer was I used my "Pretty Princess"  (the must have pink) color, and it wasn't dark enough for her.  She made me repaint her big toes red.  HOWEVER, WOOOO HOOOOO!  I have my girly girl.  Love it!

I also wanted to share what I came up with for Sharing Time last week.  I felt really inspired.  The lesson was on returning to live with Heavenly Father someday.  As I was pondering the lesson, I thought of the game Chutes and Ladders.  So, I printed a copy of the game board and reproduced it on a poster.  Then, I printed picutes of some of the "good" choices we make that lead back to Heavenly Father and added it to the "ladder" squares.  Then, of course, bad choices over the "chutes" squares.  Not only was it fun, but I feel the kids came away with a pretty clear understanding of the lesson.  I am SO relieved my first month of Sharing Time in my whole life is over.

One more thing, Tyler left on Trek today.  I'm pretty nervous.   He's been sick and the weather is uncooperative.  Cold and windy.  I heard his "ma and pa" are a couple in the Ward that Derek and I totally trust, but I hope he's okay.  I can't wait to post about his (and our) experience when it's over!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

We FINALLY took our family pictures with Santa Claus over the weekend.  They weren't the best pics ever... as a matter of fact, they were the worst but that's what you'all are getting anyway.   (No complaining...)  I'll post the picture here so that you are all prepared...  Now my cards say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, but judging from the fact we just picked them up a few minutes ago, I would focus on the Happy New Year part if I were you. 

Brace yourself, here are the pictures.  Now of course, my children should be feeling lots of "Christmas Cheer", after all, they are with Santa.  But for whatever reason, they just couldn't find a smile - at least not the little ones.  Tyler and Mike were ready to go.



I'm pretty sure that I should've darkened the picture up before I turned it into a card, but it's done now.  I'll do better next year! 

Only five more days....   (My kids are just oozing with the "Joy of the Season,"  aren't they?)

PS.  We had our second annual "Bethlehem Dinner" tonight, it's a new tradition.  We ordered Middle Eastern food, read Luke 2 and sang Christmas songs.  It was so fun,  I LOVE Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"I Will Take You Home"

OK, another video here.  Tyler wrote this song here at home on the piano.  His friend, playing with him in the video helped him re-write the song for the guitar.  Needless to say....  I am very proud!



Don't worry, I have videos of other children, I'm not done yet! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Concert

I'm going to be posting several videos over the next week now that I figured it out.  Here is Tyler's solo from the Jr. High concert, on December 15th, his birthday.  He did a fabulous job!




Friday, December 17, 2010

Fall Concert

I finally loaded the boys video in a You Tube format.  I hope it works this time!  This is a school Jazz Choir that Tyler and Michael sing in.  Tyler is closest to the camera, Mike is the first boy next to the girls' side.  There are three songs and I don't know how to seperate them.  The first one is "Spiderman", second is "Somewhere" and the last is "Hey Soul Sister."  the second and third songs are my favorite!

The Spirit of Christmas

This story is mostly about Joshua, but also about having a great "Christmas Spirit" kind of a day.
.
Here's what you all need to know about Josh.  He is much like his brother Tyler -  Fearless.

Total Tangent Here:   (Side note, I was having lunch with some ladies from the Ward we lived in eight years ago.  One of Tyler's teachers from when he was eight asked me if Tyler was still the same kind of kid.  Just happy and, well, fearless.  I, of course, answered in the affimative.  She said she remembers that he would always ask to teach his Sunday School class.  Too funny!  That is EXACTLY Josh.  Josh even went so far one week as to go to the library for supplies.  At least a have a practice run raising Tyler first....  But I digress.....)

When you give Josh a direction, he may or may not take it.  I mean, he'll listen respectfully most times, but if he disagrees - well, he'll just do what he feels is best. 

Case in point.  I had discused with the old Primary Presidency moving Joshua into the Primay class just older than him.  It has children that are also in his class at school but most importantly, it has boys in it.  His current class had only girls, and poor Johua didn't stand a chance with his teachers (new parents). He was in trouble every week.  Josh said he was fine in his class, but he was mysteriously ill nearly every Sunday.

Derek and I left the situation alone, but I addressed it with the new Presidency members when I was called in.  We decided that we would move him, but didn't absolutely conclude on the best time for it.  I wanted to discuss the situation with his teachers and the teacher of the class we were moving him to.  I then made the error of mentioning to Josh that we were thinking of moving him at some point.

Fast forward to two weeks ago.  Josh, armed with this new information went to his "old" class, informed his teachers that he was no longer part of their class and went into the "new" class, and told the teacher that he would be attending his. AND THIS WAS AFTER I TOLD HIM THAT HE MAY OR MAY NOT BE MOVED THAT DAY!

So how did I feel?  AWKWARD!!!!  Especially since I'd discussed with the Presidency waiting until January (barely over a month) to do it.  Needless to say, Josh and I had a little chat about that, also about listening in general.    Since then, Josh and I have made a real effort to communicate and he has really stepped up and been a better listener.

There's the back story.

Today was the kids last day of school before Christmas Break. 

I missed Josh's fieldtrip this week, so I told Josh that I would TRY (try being the operative word here) to get to his class party today.  He asked at the time, if I came to class would I bring popcorn from our machine?  I said, yes if I come I'll see if I can get you some popcorn.

So this morning rolls around.  It's been a hectic week, school plays, trying to get teachers' gifts done and some Christmas shopping in.  We are getting ready for school and Josh says, "hey mom, you're coming to my party today, right?" Of course, after my week and being up late and in the middle of the night again I say to Josh, "no, I don't think I can.  I told you I'd TRY to come."

A BIG look of alarm was on his face.  "Oh..... mom, I'm sorry I told my teacher that you were helping with the party and bringing popcorn.  I guess I just didn't really understand..."   No whining, crying, fussing or arguing.  I made the decision right then that I was going to his class party and dang it if he wasn't going to have popcorn (specifically popcorn maker popcorn) for his party.

I call Derek and ask for a quick tutorial on where I could find supplies for  our machine somewhere in Coolidge.  He informed me that it didn't seem to be working very well so he didn't want me to use it without him being home.  There is a little place in town, one of the convenience stores that used to sell popcorn so Derek called them for me.  They referred him to our Ace Hardware here in town. 

Derek called Ace Hardware and they said they had a machine.  When he asked how much they would charge for bags of popcorn they said nothing, they would just do it.  So I went to Ace where they'd popped a machine full of popcorn for me to bag and take to my son's Christmas Party.  A really sweet lady named Stella even packaged the popcorn up in easy to carry boxes.  How awesome is that!?  This little town can be so COOL!!

I really feel the Spirit of Christmas this year!  I am a little behind in all of my projects, but I feel so blessed.  I really feel the Love of Christ in my life.  I've been listening to awesome Christmas music and I'm LOVING the Holidays! 

It was a big bonus today to have my own little Christmas Miracle  AND be able to go up to the school and bring Josh his popcorn.  He was SO happy!  What a great day.  Merry Christmas everyone!  Only a week to go. 

PS.  I feel the need to share.  You all have probably heard of the web radio station Pandora.   You can register for free and listen to just about anything. Well, yesterday I discovered that I could do a radio station with the search Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Holiday).  It streamed FABULOUS music into my kitchen all day.  I just kept my laptop away from the cookie batter.  (Or as Tyler called it, "ookie" batter.  He didn't like my cookies, story for another day.  The jury is still out on those mint whoopie pies....)  I hope that someone out there can use that tip!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December Birthdays

My two oldest children were born in the month of December. Michael turned 13- a teenager a week and a half ago.  Tyler's birthday is today.  Our anniversary is also in December, December 23rd to be exact.  (What were we thinking?) 

I remember both of their Birth Days like they were yesterday.  Funny how time flies by so quickly.  I can picture myself in either one of those delivery rooms.  When you hold those tiny infants, you have no idea what kind of person they will become and in the case of Tyler and Michael, I didn't know quite what to do with them.  Babies are such mysteries.

There was someone I worked with once that told me that there\is a special bond between a mother and her sons.  I totally get it.  I just love my boys.  They are sweet, kind and good people. 

We had another Jr. High concert tonight.  The boys performed beautifully.

Tyler just LOVES to be the center of attention.  He was the emm-cee for the concert and kept the crowd entertained between numbers.  Derek and I aren't sure where he came from (although, there is a bit of an actor in him AND in some of my immediate family members, so I'm not totally caught off guard...)    Who knew, when I held that little guy for the first time that he would have such a huge personality? 

As he was hosting, he announced that he would be available after the show for autograpghs.  Well, we were gathering everyone up and guess what Tyler was doing?  Signing autographs.  He even signed someone's hand.  Seriously Tyler.....  (Ok, where DID he come from?)

 Who knew, when I held my Michael for the first time, that he would be so much like me in so many ways?  That he would not only LOVE to learn and read, but also perform and sing in front of an audience and be creative?    I get so many compliments about Michael.  He is adored by people outside our home.  Just a good kid...

I am loving getting to know my children better and better as they grow.  I love to see them really work to find their "niche" and work towards their potential.  I love that they're not afraid of almost anything!  I am so lucky to be their mother.

Happy Birthday Baby Boys!  I love you!

BBQ Pork

OK, an experiment that turned out YUMMY!  Lot of flavor and easy.

7 to 8 pound bone in pork sirloin roast.  (They usually sell this cut boneless, if you use a boneless pork loin, you may need to add some liquid to keep the meat tender.)

1 can diet coke
1/2 to 3/4 C sugar
1 to 1/2 tbsp. rock salt
1/2 C liquid smoke

That's it.  Leave it in the crockpot until it's tender.  I shedded the meat with the juice, because there wasn't much left after the roast was done.  We just used Baby Ray's BBQ sauce on it and served it with rolls and cole slaw.  So Good!

Uh-Oh!

So.......

Derek and I were going out shopping yesterday morning and Derek handed me some "Jingle Cash" (Walgreens name for rebates) from his wallet.

Bella watched our exchange, ran up to her dad and said "where my money?"   (She doesn't say much, but she was able to communicate that pretty clearly.)  Guess what!?  Her dad handed her some and helped her put it in her pink, sparkly purse.

How old is this child, like, twenty months?

Her dad is in some SERIOUS trouble.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Christmas Miracle

That's what it will take for me to get all of the little projects done that I'm thinking I want to do.

Just sayin'

Okay,

I pulled out Grandma's "Peanut Butter Ball" recipe today because my goal is to get them done this week. We were blessed to live close to the Anderson Grandparents most of my childhood.  Grandma made these cookies every year and they were my absolute favorite! I feel close to Grandma when I make them - I feel like I'm passing on a family tradition by making these for family and friends.  Love you Grandma!

So here's the recipe, from Grandma A.

Peanut Butter Balls:

2 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs (or 18 double whole graham crackers)
1 pound box powder sugar (4 cups)

Stir together with:

1 12 oz. jar crunchy peanut butter (equals 1 C plus 2 tbsp.)
2 sticks melted margarine or butter

Mix together all of the ingredients and shape into balls.

In a double broiler, melt 1/2 cake of parrafin wax (Usually found with canning items)
with 12 oz. butterscotch chips or chocholate chips.

Dip peanut butter balls in mixture and place on wax paper to dry.

Makes 6 1/2 to 10 dozen, depending on the size of the cookies.

Pass them on and spread a little bit of Christmas Cheer!  :)

A Little Validation

I received a new calling at church last month in the Primary Presidency.  I have to admit, I feel like a fish out of water. I wasn't very excited about it.  I loved the callings I had for the past two years and I can pretty much count on two fingers how many years of my life I served in the primary and never in the presidency. 

I had to teach my first Sharing Time last week.  I planned and planned and prepared, but I guess nothing can  actually get you ready for you very first Sharing Time.

 I thought it would be fun to have little skits to figure out what scripture story we were learning about.  I organized props in bags and printed the actual script for teachers to say.  In Junior Primary, our upcoming Sunbeams participate with the Sunbeams during Sharing Time.  For some reason, I decided that the youngest children could be "families" in tents, listening to King Benjamin.  What made me think that having fifteen three and four year olds together in a "tent" was a good plan?  I really thought they would listen?

Least. Reverent. Sharing. Time. Ever.

I could actually read the teachers thoughts...  (Can't fix stupid!)  Good thing they were all much too kind to say so...  Even typing out what I did, I can't believe I thought that was a good plan.

Anyhow, fast forward to this week. I planned and prepared again this week and a friend gave me some ideas to help keep kids reverent.  So here they are in case any of my "sistas" are out there working in Primary.  I brought a boy crown and a girl crown and the most reverent children got to wear them.  The other sisters in the Presidency moved the crowns around to other quiet children so several had turns. Worked like a charm.

I gave a  lesson that turned out well and we did a little craft.  I was pretty worried about doing an activity - any activity again, but the kids behaved very nicely.  Complete 360 from last week.

 So, I wanted to ask Matthew how things went hoping, of course, to get a pat on the back.  Who better to get feedback from than one of my own kids and I knew he would be honest.  I asked him, "hey Matthew, did you like Sharing Time today?"  He said, "Mom, I didn't like it."  What!?  (I was surprised and a little sad.)  Then he finished, "I didn't like it, I LOVED it!" 

Funny thing here, my heart leaped a little.  It genuinely made me so happy that he loved it!  I am validated - maybe I'll learn to enjoy this calling after all...

But I will definitely save the tents for camping.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

I love Christmastime!

It is so fun.

Our streeet is slowly "lighting up."  The pressure is on this year!  I went today and spent WAYYY too much money on lights - I had "subpar" lighting last year (single strand lights, brother), and Derek PROMISED that I would be able to get my multi colored icicle lights for this year.

 Walgreens had them on sale this week and now I'm the proud owner of about 2400 lights!  ☺ Yep, no sense I tell ya, but my house is going to look AWESOME!  ☺

Mom and Dad will also have fancy pants lighting this year.  Oh yeah, our houses will match! (Because Derek rocks - just sayin')

Nothing like seventy five and sunny in the day and chillly with pretty Christmas lights at night.

You're all invited.....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Nobody" Strikes Again!

So the Monday we get back from vacation, I'm going through our snack drawers to figure out what I need to buy for lunches.  I usually have something leftover from the few weeks before, and in this case I knew I had about a third of a case of hot cheetos and a box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cakes.

Imagine my surprise when I go to pack lunches and the drawers are completely empty.  Not even a empty wrapper left!  Hmmm....  so I start asking around, questioning children as to the whereabouts of the missing food.  Guess who admitted to taking it?  NOBODY!

"Nobody" causes so much mischeif around here. 

Today, I'm looking for a remote control in the couch cushions - a regular activity.  (Now, I am sure that I'm not the only one that searches for remotes in the couch on a regular basis, right?   I don't want to know if I am, ok?)  When lo and behold, I pulled out an empty cheetos bag.  Then another, then another.  SEVEN empty bags later, I decided that NOBODY was going to be getting hot cheetos for a while. 

And I haven't even checked the other couch yet!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken

I tried another new recipe tonight, and I really liked it so I want to save it in my "Blog Cookbook."

3 pounds chicken thighs (bone in)

Marinate this chicken in:
3/4 C soy sauce
3/4 C sugar
2 garlic cloves
1/4 C oil

Marinate chicken for three hours to overnight.
Bake chicken in a 350 degree oven for about one hour, turning the chicken halfway through cooking time.

It was really easy, and really good!

PS.  I am sure that you could make this with chicken breast also and it would be very tasty!  I think if I did it with chicken breast, I would grill instead of bake.

It's All in the Name

I was going shopping for nail polish last week, determined to get a deal at the Ulta store.

(In case you don't know what Ulta is, it's like, the best most awesome beauty supply store ever...)

They were selling an OPI base coat and one of a handful of colors for five dollars each, and I had a 3.50 off a 10.00 purchase coupon.  Great deal, makes me smile, right?

So, I get there ready to find my deal when I saw this color:




And then I read the label:

"Princesses Rule"

Ohhhhhh.....  I'm such a sucker for the right name.  (Especially with a beautiful sparkly pink shade!)

So I forfeit my great deal for an 8.50 bottle of perfect pink with a perfect name.  I still got a great deal on the topcoat though!

I am starting to see a pattern here.  Before Bella I had a stitch of common sense, but she just wrecked it.. . Oh well, maybe I can make up a color that Jules would wear too. We could label it "Not Girly Girl."  I'm afraid for Jules right now, that color would be "clear." 

And I guess that two "girly girls" in one family is enough.  Love you all my ladies!

PS.  You can also see my weakness for awesome names and colors in the change in my blog background.  Of course, it's Christmastime, but a pink "Sassy Santa" background, did I have a choice?

Freezing Football Finale II





Our trip to Vegas didn't end as well as it started.   Tyler's team lost for the first time THE ENTIRE SEASON!  So Sad!  I don't really know much about football, but the thinking goes that our team had more skill, and we should have won.   Between our team not being on top of its game (we played a really hard game the day before), and some bad calls by the referees we just couldn't pull it together.

Our first game on Friday was against a team from Taylorsville, Utah.  They played a great game but we were able to pull off a win against them.  Derek said it was one of the best coached teams we played.  And ps. they had awesome sportsmanship.  As I was watching the game, I wondered if this is what it is like every time you play football in Utah.  Those boys on opposing teams would smash each other, and then take turns helping each other up and giving pats on the back.  (Our boys are really great too, you just don't usually have two teams with the same level of sportsmanship.)   It is so fun to play a team like that, you want both teams to win.

The best part of all these games though, was watching Tyler play.  He is awesome!  Once again, I don't know football, but I know when Tyler plays well and he did such a good job.  I was a proud mom!  He made some plays that could've been game changers during the second game.  It was so fun!!! 

And the other fun thing was I was able to see Rachel, Matt and kids.  They drove the two hours from Cedar to watch Tyler's game. I haven't seen Rachel in forever but we were sitting there like we ate dinner together the day before and this is just what we do on a regular basis.  That is always how it is with "best friends," you can always pick up where you left off.  I feel that way about my sisters.  I am so blessed!  Just wish we all lived closer...

It was hard to decide to go, but I am happy I did.  The cost wasn't as steep as we were afraid it would be.  We were thinking we would need to entertain children, but there was really only enough time for football!  One more game this Saturday and we are DONE!

Now that I'm home, it's onto Christmas projects!  Busy, Busy, Busy...  (But super fun!)  Love you all!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Freezing Football Finale!

We're in Vegas! 

Tyler's team won their game today, so they are in the Championship Game tomorrow.  He played so well.  I know I am his mother, but when other people are yelling your sons name, you know he is having a good game.

FUN!!!

However, since we've been here, it's been freezing cold.  Literally, not one day above fifty degrees.  (I know that is not technically "freezing", but everything is relative, okay!)

So, I am at a game the other day as part of this playoff, and I hear a child, definitely old enough to know better, yell loudly - loud enough so that everyone sitting around me and half the parents from the other team hear:  "hey mom, is it okay if I pee my pants?!" 

WHAT!?  WHOSE CHILD IS THAT?!

Certainly, I don't have any children that would say such things.  Who is that kids mother anyway?

I mean, I know it was cold, but that would have only kept that child warm for what, two minutes? As luck (or divine intervention) would have it, someone rescued that unnamed child from his mother, and he didn't end up peeing in his pants after all.

I hope that mother learns her lesson!  Stop taking your children out in public already...

Go Coolidge Bears!

PS.  The mother and child in the above story shall remain anonymous, I am sure that you may possibly know someone that this may or may not have happened to.  That is all I'm going to say about it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Heartbreak and Hugs

I know many of you are fans of Disney's "Good Luck Charlie." 

I watched my first episode this week, and I have to admit, it made me a little weepy and it's made me think.

Charlie is a little girl, well toddler, that is part of a family with much older siblings including a teenage girl, Teddy.  In the episode I saw, Charlie meets Teddy's new boyfriend and doesn't like him on the spot. She continually tries to send Teddy signals by biting, hitting and glaring at her new boyfriend.  In the end, the older sister finds out her new love is cheating with another girl and becomes brokenhearted.

At the end of each "Charlie", the family records a video message for her to watch when she grows up.  In this episode, Charlie's mom is holding a crying Teddy as she looks at the camera and says "Hey Charlie, your sister just got her first heartbreak."  The teen looks at her mom and says: "What!?  The first?  You mean there will be more!?"

(Teddy goes on to say it's too bad that Charlie won't have a little sister to look out for her when Charlie's her age.  Of course, I found that part so sweet...  The similarities between the show and Bells and Jules isn't lost on me.)

But the lesson here was something I've been thinking about lately.

How sweet and naive that Teddy hadn't considered that there would be more heartbreak in her life.  That's how kids are, right?  Especially teens.  They just don't think bad things will happen to them.  That's when it gets tricky for we parents.  They look like adults on the outside, but on the inside they are still little.  They need our leadership and guidance at this point more than ever!

Our kids will have heartbreak, and it's all a part of learning and living life.  No matter how much we may want to take pain away from them, it's just as important for them to learn from their mistakes as it is for you to let them make them.  And, I think it's important that we don't try to take away all of their burdens, No matter how hard it is, I think some burdens are theirs to bear alone.  You can intervene and give advice, but at some point, it's up to them.  (Mistakes and burdens aren't always the same thing either, but at this age, they can be.)

It's the trials in life that make us who we are, and overcoming them is what gives us the strength to carry our burdens and help others carry theirs.  So many times, our trials end up being our greatest blessings.

All you can do is hold them and tell them that everything will be okay, because eventually and always, it will be.

Wow, I have so much to learn about raising children.  Ready or not, here come my teenagers!

(And what a great show  "Good Luck Charlie" is!  Love it now.)

Gratitude Tree

I heard about a new Thanksgiving tradition that I wanted to share.  I haven't done it yet, but the week isn't over.  We'll see if I can get to it while I'm getting ready for Giant Football Playoffs.  (There is so much more to that than it sounds... weigh ins, driving, several games - all over the next seven days.)

Anyway, here it is:

You either print the tree and leaves that you can find on http://www.sugardoodle.net/  (an AWESOME resource for all things LDS), or make up your own pattern.  The leaves print separately so they can be cut out and written on.

You tape the tree branches up on your wall and then for FHE, have the kids write down the things they are grateful for on the leaves. Place the leaves around the tree and leave it up for November.

I feel like Thanksgiving is starting to be a little ignored.  Retailers are in such a rush to sell Christmas toys that they've made "Black Friday" a MUST DO so we don't even have a chance to digest our turkey before we're rushing out to Christmas shop.

*NOTE:  I love Black Friday, I am in no way bagging on Black Friday.  I am a big believer in getting as many deals that day as I can get my greedy little paws on... hence the reason I think the Thanksgiving Tree is so great!   Ads here:  http://www.blackfriday2010.com/

HOWEVER, I think the tree would be a great reminder to us all to be Thankful for this great country and all of the blessings that we enjoy.  Then maybe we could really remember to actually CELEBRATE Thanksgiving and its importance.

"Thanksgiving Style" Roasted Chicken Legs

I made some chicken legs for Activity Days tonight.  We did a "Gratitude Dinner" for Thanksgiving.  Our new leader had the great idea of having chicken legs instead of roasting a turkey or chicken.  It was a fabulous idea, and the chicken turned out YUMMY! 

Here is the recipe:

Chicken legs  I bought them at Safeway, so they were a good quality.  I think that helped! (I made literally ten pounds of chicken legs - great sale at 88 cents per pound.)

Take the skin off the chicken if you want.  For the most part, the skin cooked down and peeled back on this chicken, but I think if you wanted to go through the trouble it would be just as good because I added "fat" in the marinade and during cook time. 

Sprinkle chicken liberally with Adobo Seasoning.  I am sure that this can be found in Utah, you may have to hunt a little but it should be in your "Mexican" or "Latin" food isle.  If you don't have this, I'd use Jane's Crazy Salt or Seasoning Salt.  Rub the seasoning into the chicken.

Place chicken in plastic bags.  I put approximately 5 pounds of chicken in each bag.
Marinade: Per bag of chicken
Pour 1/4 C vegertable oil
1/4 C soy sauce
1/2 C mesquite marinade
Let the chicken marinate for a least one hour, longer if you can.

(I am using both marinade and marinate to describe what I did here.  I'm not sure which is grammatically correct so please reserve judgement.)

Line baking sheets with foil.  There's no reason to make your clean up time any more difficult than necessary.  Place chicken on the baking sheet, then take a half stick of margarine and dot it "here and there" around the chicken.  Yes, go ahead and add it!  I think that kept the chicken tender and juicy.

Roast chicken in the oven at 375 degrees for about an hour and a half.  (You probably don't need to cook it that long if you're not making TONS of chicken, so check it.  You don't want your chicken to dry out!)  About halfway through cooking time, turn the chicken so that both sides carmelize and get that yummy brown outside.

When you pull the chicken out of the oven, sprinkle both the chicken and the cooking juice with some garlic powder and garlic salt to taste.  Surprisingly, I'm going to say use caution adding the salt.  Both the Adobo and soy sauce will add the salt taste to it, but being me I thought it needed a tad bit more so I added garlic salt.

It was no accident there were three specialty salts sitting on my stove a few days ago.  Now, there is only one jar of mixed up specialty salts.  Sigh.... all I could salvage.

I made this chicken early in the day and then placed in in the crockpot on warm.  I poured the cooking juice over the top of it to keep the chicken from drying out.  My Activity Day Girls and my own kids LOVED this chicken.   I don't normally make "chicken with bones", but I think I'm going to start.  This was cheap and good.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beef "Stoup"

I made a "stoup" tonight.  (Rachel Ray calls a mix between soup and stew, "stoup.")  I wasn't sure if I wanted to write down the ingredients because I didn't know if it was that good, but my family loved it and ate almost the entire pot.  So, I guess I'll go ahead and save it here in case I decide to make it again someday.  Maybe you all can try it too and let me know what you think.

Start by making a "roux"
1 1/4 C margarine
1 1/4 C water
Combine in the bottom of heavy dutch oven
Stir in two cups of water and mix with whisk.
Slowly continue to add about six additional cups of water and whisk continually so that you don't have any lumps.

Add:
2 cans beef broth
1 can Campbells french onion soup
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 bag of frozen vegetables.  I added a bag of broccoli, cauliflower and peppers in a cheese sauce.  It added extra flavor to the soup.

We had london broil for Sunday dinner, and it was delicious.  I added about 1 1/2 pounds of leftover beef cut into cubes.  If you have leftover steak or roast, I'd add it as is, but if you are using raw beef, brown it in some oil and season it before you add it to the stoup mixture.

Season with:
1 envelope beef stew seasoning
1 tsp. dried rosemary
garlic powder and garlic salt to taste

I brought the stoup up to a boil, then let it simmer for over an hour.  Total cooking time was about an hour and a half.  I'm thinking the crockpot would do a great job on this recipe so I'll use it next time.

I only have about a three to four month window when it is truly chilly enough at night to make soup.  We'll see what else I can come up with this winter!  :)

I Need A Win

In my "Battle of the Bella", I am afraid I'm behind today.  My laundry is piled as high as ever, dinner just got going (at 6pm.)  I am down three jars of "specialty salts."  The worst part of that is, she got one. jar. at. a time.  (What's the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?)  Thought so.  I should've moved the salt the first time.

Oh well,

How am I supposed to compete against this?


Or This?



I want to point something out here.  I took both of these pictures today. See any difference?  Picture #2 means that Bella won today.  If I took pictures of my laundry pile, kitchen, or ME, then you'd really see how big she won.  (But I have some pride left.)

I think we're going to bed early tonight.

PS.  You'd think from my blogs that I don't have any other children doing anything else.  We are all very busy and I do have other things to write about.  Bells is just VERY time consuming and I need the most "journal therapy" from her...  :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The "Little Things"

The little things in a relationship make such a big difference!

When I was sick the past few days, whenever I reached over to my nightstand there was always an icy water and diet coke on the table next to our bed. 

I was thinking about that today.  It's the little things that show how much someone cares about you. Derek is so sweet, I love him.  :)  He teaches me how to serve others every day.

Speaking of Derek, he is also starting a "blog journal."  It's called:   http://www.mycupisalwaysfull.blogspot.com/  (He said he didn't mind if I posted it here.)  I guess we both enjoy writing "online journals."

PS.   I found my missing camera.  I can neither confirm nor deny that it was sitting right where I last set it.  That's all I'm going to say about that....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

****s Bells!!

Wow, there are some days where Bella really impresses me.

This morning, I was talking on the phone and folding laundry.  Bella was sitting back to back with me - we were touching.  Imagine my surprise when I stood up and saw Bella with her hair full of conditioner, all over her body and in a puddle on the carpet.  WHOA!

Soooo....  in the tub she went, safe and sound for about ten minutes while I cleaned the mess.

 I pulled clean, silky, soft haired Bella out of the tub and let her go (what was I thinking) to clean up the bath clutter.  She makes so much clutter while she's in the tub.  She takes all the bottles, soap, cups surrounding the tub and throws them in.  That doesn't take long, right?

I go to find her and happen to see a can of diet coke, spilled all over the carpet.   Grrr...  She usually just drinks the stuff when she gets her mitts on it, what the heck!?  So I find another towel and get to work. 

Finally I am on my way to corral the little bugger and put her to bed and what do I find?  A "piddle puddle."  The turkey peed on her closet floor while I was cleaning the Diet Coke mess.  AGGGHHHH!!!

However, the icing on the cake was tonight.  The boy's Jr. High music program was tonight so  I took great care to charge my video camera.  I even downloaded the instruction manual so I could do a better job of filming the boys performance.  Then I set it on the end of my bed so I could just grab it on our way out the door.  When we were leaving, I went to get it and guess what...  IT WAS GONE!!  No where to be found!  I looked everywhere.  ( I even checked the toilets.)  GONE!!!

BELLA!!!!!!!!!

Now, maybe I'll come to find that I did something else with it. That could happen.  But for now, all that comes to mind today is, well, my edited title.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Guilty Pleasures"

I'm sick today, and bored.  Part of me is relieved to be sitting down for the first time this week, but now my mind is wandering.  I'm finding my remote going back and forth between BYU TV and "The Kardashians."  I know, there is pretty much no more space on the programming spectrum than between these two channels.  It got me thinking about my other "guilty pleasures."    Why do I feel the need to share?  I'm not sure, probably because I'm bored...

*Diet Coke with Lemon from McDonalds
*Diet Coke with Lime
*Diet Coke in a Can
 (You get the idea.)
"Mormon Myth" inserted here.  I heard a rumor that President Monson loves Diet Coke.  If that's true, he's my new "favorite" prophet.   :)
*"Bring It On" Two (Only the second one.  The first one is dumb and yes, I understand that there are several ironies happening there...)   I have no explanation.  It always seems to be on Saturdays while Derek is working and for some reason, I never get bored watching this movie.  I'm embarrased typing that...
*Cheesecake of any kind
*Sonic Blasts, (with Reese's)
*Usher - I really enjoy his music, but I probably shouldn't.  He has some new songs out so Tyler and I listen together.  Hmmmm.... does that make me a bad mom?  (Rhetorical question, please do not answer.)
*Grilled Ribeye Steak with butter melted on top.  MMMMM..... Heart attack on a plate.
*Ruffles and Ranch Dip with cheese and bacon.  Missy makes it.  SO GOOD!  I can't stop eating chips and dip when they are in front of me.

Yes, I am having a giggle at myself.  But hey, I KNOW there must be a few more closet "Bring it On 2" fans out there.  ( I won't ask you to fess up.)

"Gearing Up" for the Holiday Season

After my very busy week, it dawned on me that Christmas is in a matter of weeks.  Time to break out my Christmas "to do" list.  I made it a few years ago in a crazy fit of organization.  Unfortunately I am way past it now, but I just want to pass on the one and only organizing tip I have to give.

Here it is...   If you haven't already written or typed out a Christmas "to do" list, I encourage you to do it this year.

One day, I sat down and typed out my Christmas card list.  Then, I took the cookie and tamale recipes I use every year and I put them with my list so that they would all be in one place.  I also listed the family traditions that we enjoy doing during Christmas.

I "tweak" my list with new ideas every year, then I print it out and put it in a binder where I keep other "family information."  It is really one of the best things I've done for myself.  I'm encouraging you all to do the same this year!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The "Grocery Game"

 Do you see this?  I usually don't have fun at the grocery store, but today was an exception.  I have become a coupon clipper.  It's pretty time consuming, but just one trip like this makes it worth it.  You see everything in the picture, right?  (There are a total of 15 WW Smart Ones here.)  Not pictured:  Two 24 packs of bottled water. 

My grand total?  15.50 (ish... less that 16.00)

With our economy in the dump and looming inflation, especially on commodities like food, I wanted to share some of the websites that I use.  (Here is where I could give away how much time I spend following politics, but I just won't.  I'm actually starting another blog about politics so that I can rant, but I digress...)

I get my coupons from a few different sources.  The Sunday paper, grocery stores, and several from the internet.

http://www.pinchingyourpennies.com/  Has a list of coupons printed in your Sunday paper.
http://www.thekrazycouponlady.com/  Has a list of internet coupons

Both websites list national stores and sales.

OK, so I can't wait to hear about how you are all going to save money and build your food storage.  You can comment and email me with your questions!

*I changed the link above.  "The Krazy Coupon Lady" is the correct link.

I Forgot

I've been saying that a lot lately, and I'm about to say it again.  I had another topic to post on tonight, but I completely forgot what I was going to say.  So instead you get this:  I just can't remember.

Maybe I should have more sympathy with my kids when they tell me:

I forgot I couldn't have my cell phone in my room.
I forgot that I wasn't supposed to delete my texts.
I forgot I wasn't supposed to call my friends using my cell phone instead of the home phone.
I forgot to do my chores.
What!?  It's not my fault...  (Oops, sorry, that's a different argument)
I forgot I wasn't supposed to hit my brother.
I forgot that my Book Report was due tomorrow.
I forgot to listen when you were talking to me.

Riiiiiiiight...... 

Well, you get the idea.

I have a very wise friend that once told me that after a certain age that you are entitled to forget things.  At that point you've worked so hard in life that no one can possibly expect you to remember everything.  You earn the right to forget.  You can just say "give me a break, I'm  (insert age here).  I pick 39.  That way, I can feel better about the fact the I forgot Matthew at the school last week...  (Sorry Matthew!)

Maybe I should forget how to get home next time I go on vacation... 

And guess what, now I've been rambling on so long here that I finally remembered what I was going to write in my next post.  YEAHHHH!!

Simple, Delicious Tuna by Michael (Borrowman that is)

While Mike was here he made some tuna salad that for some reason was like, the best thing I'd ever tasted.  He said that there wasn't any special seasoning in it, but I'm still not sure I buy it...  :)

Here what he told me he put in it.  (With no exact amounts, it's to taste).

Tuna (drained very well)
Regular Mayo
Celery cut into half inch pieces.  A little bigger than normal, but SOOOO good.
Avacado, also cut into half inch cubes
Red onion, chopped slightly smaller
Green onion, chopped into 1/4 inch rounds
Season with salt and pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Refridgerate before eating  (That's my idea, it was a perfect cold temperature when I found it in Mom's fridge.)

I had this for lunch and dinner.  Sorry if anyone else wanted leftovers!  I know that this is so simple, and many of you may already make tuna fish perfectly, however, this was just yummy.  I usually cut my veggies into tiny pieces.  No more!  The bigger pieces made it perfection.

Love you Mike!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy Halloween! (Monsters and Princess - No Not Plural in Case You Wondered)

 I was a little crazy over Halloween this year.  Bella is somewhat to blame!  :)   I believe that I finally have a "girly girl"  (yes, everyone clap for me and give me long distance "high fives")  -  so I was absolutely determined that she was going to be a Disney Princess.  Unfortunately, the closest Disney Store is about 40 minutes away and my weeks (plural, not singular) have been out of control. 

We've been doing the "drop and dump" in our house for the past few weeks.  In case you're wondering what that is, it's like "Sunday house" on steroids.

NOTE:   Many of you must be familiar with "Sunday House."    We use that term to explain a house that everyone walks into and drops what they are holding, wearing, their trash, food etc. right where they stand.  GRRRR..... 

Anyhow,

There are so many great uses for my time.  Laundry, bathrooms, new calling, laundry (did I mention laundry?) - you get the idea.  (PTO, fundraisers for football, Booster club etc. etc....)

So how do I use my ONLY two and a half free hours that I had last week? (That I had to cancel a parent teacher conference to get.  What!  Jules has straight A's...)  I drive to Gilbert to get Bella a Princess Belle costume.   Never mind Halloween was on Sunday so we didn't actually let the kids trick or treat,  OR that our church "trunk or treat" was on Saturday night at the same time as Josh's football game, so we were only at the party about 45 minutes. 

I paid 25.00 and two and a half hours of precious time on buying one Belle costume that was only used for 45 minutes.

Was it worth it?


C'mon, it totally was, right?  Ok, so she was a "poopy Princess" for just a minute. Turns out that she is no longer fond of the camera.  BUT, she loved her costume.  She made the same face when I made her take off the dress.  

 In my defense, remember that I'm a "girly girl" with four boys and one "not girly girl."  I'm entitled to have a few lapses in judgement...

*Please note the adorable flowers in her hair*  Aunt Christina made those specially for her.  Then, Grandma hemmed up her dress.  Thank Heavens for family! 

*Please do not pay attention to the mess that is behind Bella in the picture.  I did explain the "drop and dump" phenomenon, right?.....  I promise, it doesn't look the exact same right now, I swear.  C'mon, it's been four days.  At least we moved the piles around!  :)

And just in case this blog entry isn't long enough already, here are the rest of my little monsters.  (Nope, no more princesses here!)  Derek came up with the great idea of having a costume contest.  It ended up being between Mike and Jules, but they had a great time with it.  Jules won five dollars for taking so much time on her costume and being creative.  (Matthew finally caved under pressure - he was a Transformer, but still really cute!)




We had a great time.  As an added bonus, Uncle Mike was here and was part of our craziness and fun and games.  He made a Thanksgiving dinner menu, and then put it together with just some "sous" chefs.  In other words, the rest of us chopped some veggies.  He seasoned everything.  It was awesome!  Did you know that green bean casserole could be made with cheese soup and cheesy fried onions?  YUMMY.

One more life lesson I learned.  We were so excited about making homemade root beer again this year that Derek bought the ice Wednesday so that we would be prepared for Sunday.  Imagine our dismay when we pulled the bag out of the freezer and it was empty.  The dry ice completely disappeared.  Soooo..... Mike explained that dry ice is either a solid or a gas.  No liquid.  Hmmm....  who knew?  We were very sad.  Good news is, we will know for next time AND we will be making it soon anyhow.  I'll post the recipe when we do.

I hope you all had a "Very Happy Halloween!"

PS.  This note is for Julianna.  For all my talk of Princess Bella, I would not change ONE thing about you.  Not one!  I only WANT one Princess, I love you so much just the way you are.

On Wounded Knee

I am way too young to feel like a Grandma.

I wake up every day and my body hurts everywhere.  Is that normal?  After my chidren go to school I'm pretty much ready for a nap.  Is that what being grown up is about... exhaustion?

I can't figure out if it's because life gets so busy, or if it's from wanting to "turn off" from life to get a break...

Maybe I can convice my family I have narcolepsy.  (Am I making that word up?)  Then I could curl up in a ball and sleep and no one would question me...

PS.  I wrote this Saturday.  You'll be happy to know that it is Wednesday and I don't feel quite as old.  Still tired, but not as old.  I know,  WHEW right?  I knew you'd all be relieved.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are You Ready for Some Football!

Vegas, baby!

That's where Tyler's team is going.  His team remains undefeated for the season.  Not only has his team never lost, but no team has been able to score on his team.  I am soooo proud of them!  It is very fun to watch those big boys play.  Not only are they good, but they have great sportsmanship.  They are always helping kids from the other team back up after they get leveled.  (An irony, don't you think?)

This last game was an exception.  A coach from the other team started a brawl.  He was encouraging one of his players to "get" one of ours.  Tyler's position is close to the opponent's side so he heard the coach yell this and he also heard some Gilbert blondie (yes, for those who know our area, Gilbert) mom yelling to Tyler she would meet him and numbers so and so - I don't know details-  in the parking lot.  And here I thought Coolidge was supposed to be the white trash....  Anyway, it got ugly.

A kid from the other team hit one of ours, and the fight began.  Derek went out there are started throwing football players off each other and off the field.  (Personally, I think he enjoyed that...) But not before Tyler was able to throw out a few punches.  He came home with swollen knuckles and a big grin.  It's not too often (never) he would be able to get away with decking someone without any consequence, but this happened to be the exception. Who knew that he would enjoy brawling?  Methinks the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Anyway, it's been an interesting season so I'm looking forward to the rest of it - and the END of it!  (Did I say that?)  :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Beach Day!

My family loves the beach. 
 The day we went to Newport Beach on our vacation, it was high seventies, sunny and no wind.  (That is summer weather!)  We were able to park right next to the boardwalk and we basically had the beach to ourselves.  I thought the kids would be cold in the water, but just like summer, they never left it. Tyler, Michael and Julianna body surfed and "boogie boarded"  all day.  Derek worked on teaching Matthew how to boogie board and Joshua built a sand city.  Bella LOVED the sand and I loved laying there watching everyone!  Sometimes, I wish we lived closer...









It was such a Happy Beach Day! 

Recaps and Highlights from our Disneyland Vacation










I was going to blog a daily diary of what we did on our trip, but I decided to give highlights instead.  We had a TON of fun - that's the main thing.  However, there are some things that I learned about each of my kids and I think those are the things I want to remember most.

First of all, Joshua is pretty brave.  His absolute favorite ride at Disneyland was the Matterhorn.  He went on it five times which considering the line that thing had, was pretty impressive. After his first ride, Josh comes running up to me...  "mom, that was awesome!  There was this Yetti in there, but he wasn't even scary.  He was, like a toddler Yetti, he only came up to here (hand on chest) to me.  It was totally cheezy."  Hilarious.  The unscary Yetti was only a toddler.  Whoda thought?

Matthew went on several rides you couldn't have paid me to be on.  When he came off the "Tower of Terror"  (one of the rides I would never do)...  he said "Dad, my legs are pretty wiggly, they won't stop moving.  Go figure.  And Matthew came back for more.  He rode every ride he was tall enough to except Space Mountain.  His mother put a stop to that.  Too scary...

We learned that Michael actually has an honest fear of heights.  I've never taken him very seriously when he says that.  I tell him to "buck up" and "get over it".  But he actually babysat Bella several times so that the rest of us could go on rides that he didn't want to be on.  I have a different perspective on his phobia now.  Sadly, I benefitted from it so much this trip, I don't think I'm in any hurry for him to get past it.  (Does that make me a bad mom....?)  :)

There were lots of things that Mike and I did do together and I loved that he hung with me and Bella so much.  Who else would stand in a half hour Peter Pan line more than once?  Mike, Bells and I literally hung around Fantasyland for hours and loved every minute of it! 

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that Bella didn't meet any ride at Disneyland she didn't love.  Every morning the first thing she did was try to climb in her stroller so we could get out the door again.  She started to get sick towards the end of the trip so she lost some of her zip, but she was such a trooper.  I had a great time with her!  On this occasion, I was glad for her little daredevil personality.  So Fun!!!

Julianna....  she was brave about some things, not as much about others but overall she loved her time at Disneyland also.  Here is my funny (and is it funny) story about Jules. 

So Derek and Greg (dad of the other family we were with) were going to pick up dinner one night.  They drive past a "Gentleman's Club."  Jules says, "dad, we need to send Tyler there"  pointing to said club.  "Oh really"?  Derek asks.. .  "Yes, maybe they can teach him some manners there"!  Needless to say while trying not to laugh too hard, he explained that while Tyler would probably enjoy learning manners at the "Gentleman's Club", that was never going to happen.

Tyler had a blast.  He rode every ride as many times as he could.  He was a one man comedy act while I was waiting to go on space mountain with him.  I was super nervous because it was the first ride we did when we got there and I didn't realize it was a roller coaster until I'd already been standing there for twenty minutes.  I'd planned on starting small and working my way up to a roller coaster, so I was anxious!!  He was telling me, "don't worry mom, you're only at zero gravity for about five seconds" and "ok, now when we get in there take a deep breath because they suck all the oxygen out.  Don't worry, there is a fifty fifty chance that you'll land back in your seat after we drop..."  Thanks Tyler, but I sure did have fun hanging out with him.

And in some strange wrinkle in the universe, my Padowan Learner turned out to be.....





Yes, Michael was picked as the Young Jedi....  Evidently, Joshua wasn't really listening to the instructions the "Jedi Master" was giving.  (Come to think of it, maybe that isn't so weird....)

I really can't wait to go back!  I love my family... 

PS.  I feel the need to mention this for the safety of any family member that may go to Disneyland in the near future.  Use extreme caution when riding "It's A Small World".  If you have to wait in line for any amount of time (I would say, longer than ten minutes), then walk away....  JUST WALK AWAY!!  When your ride through "It's A Small World" takes thirty minutes, yes, not a typo, 30 MINUTES!!  I would argue that the ride becomes scarier than a Halloween Space Mountain ride, or even Halloween the movie.  No one should EVER have to listen to the song "It's a Small World" for longer than five minutes.  NEVER EVER!!!  Seriously the stuff nightmares are made of....  




Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quiche

I made this tonight and I need to clarify one instruction.

I finally came up with a Quiche recipe that is the correct consistency for our family to enjoy it.  I've been experimenting now and again with different recipes and now I believe this is the ratio of fat to eggs that makes the best texture for our family.  I've learned that to make any egg dish requires a certain amount of fat to prevent the eggs from being runny.  I've made a few quiches now without enough of one or so ingredients that keeps the eggs from setting the way our family likes it.  This ratio of mayo and cheese to eggs makes it perfect for us.  (The cheese is actually pretty important, I've tried with only a cup of cheese and it doesn't set up correctly.)

Combine the following ingredients in a mixer:
1/2 C Milk
1/2 C Mayonaise
4 large eggs or 5 medium eggs
Seasonings, I usually use regular salt and pepper.  I will occasionally add 1 tsp. dried dill

Into the pie crust add:

1 1/2 C Cheese  Any kind of cheese.  Our family always has co-jack on hand so that's usually what we use, but mild cheddar is really tasty also.

The rest is up to you!
We love to add:
Steamed Asparagus
Steamed Spinach
Ham cubes
Sauteed onion and green pepper to the adult quiche.

Mom also loves it when I add cream cheese.  I cut a block in half and then break pieces of it off around the inside of the crust so every piece has a bite of cream cheese.  It changes the texture just a little.  Mom loves it, Derek doesn't.  You do what you want  :)

Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients in the pie crust

Bake at about 375 until set.   About 35-45 minutes.

Green chili, green onion and monterey jack cheese in your quiche is awesome also.  If you don't live close enough to Casa Palomino to get a perfect Chili Relleno, this has some great flavors.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Disneyland IS the Happiest Place on Earth!



We got back from our Disneyland (and beach) vacation last night.  I was going to blog a little daily, but closing Disneyland down three days in a week turns out to be a little exhausting.  We didn't want to waste a minute so we literally collapsed into bed every night.  We had SO MUCH FUN!!!

Beans and rice, hot dogs and grill cheese sandwiches will probably be on the menu for the next two weeks, but we have no regrets!  Best. Family. Vacation. Ever.

I will break down my days in upcoming posts, I feel closer to my family and in love with my husband.  AWESOME!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Go Tyler!




This is Jaren. 

He loves Tyler.  He sees Tyler at school and church and he's one of Tyler's biggest fans.

He's been asking his parents to take him to watch Tyler play football for the past few weeks.  He even made this sign  (in the picture above) that says, "Go Tyler!"  It's on a post it note.  Seriously, the cutest thing you've ever seen.  He was holding it up for Tyler during the game.

After the game, Tyler asked to go to Jaren's house to tell him thank you for coming to the game.  I guess he went and told Jaren that he saw him up in the stands cheering for him and he saw him hold up his sign. He told Jaren how happy he was that he came to the game and gave him high five and knuckles.  

After Ty's visit I recieved a text from Jaren's mom, letting me know how sweet Tyler was with her son and how much it meant to her and Jaren.  Jaren struggles with autism so any time he really makes a connection with someone, it's a big deal.

I am so thankful that Heavenly Father puts us in places where we can touch each other and help each other grow.  HE placed Tyler and Jaren in the same place so that they could bring out the best in each other, even if it's just for a little while.

And Go Tyler!  (What a good kid.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Whew!

Here is an update from my last post.

Superman saved me  :)

First, (and most important), he let me lay in bed with the covers over my head way too long for the second day in a row where I was able to find enough courage to face my day.

Then, he ran all the errands for the vacation, took care of the children, grilled hotdogs for the Birthday Party, ran kids to the game, packed up half the kids clothes for the vacation and is now cleaning out the car so we'll be ready to go. 

I seriously couldn't do life without him. 

Help!

So what was the mother of six doing the morning of her daughter's birthday and two days before she leaves on vacation?

Why sleeping in and laying around of course!

Well she must be so on the ball, this mother to have so much done that she can just lay there, right?

Of course, the laundry is done ready to be packed, the birthday party is organized and the food is done.  The football uniform is washed and ready to go for the game happening right after the birthday party, the house is cleaned of trash that will surely rot and stink up the house while the family is away on the vacation they are taking in  48 hours.

This mother is ready to jump out of bed and go sell popsicles and popcorn at the school to make money for the PTO and visit with her childrens' teachers, then go run errands for her family's vacation, then help get Grandma's house ready for the party tomorrow, then take her daughter out for her birthday, and then come home and clean up the  mess at home.

Hmmmm........  what do you think?

The truth is, this mother is laying in bed with the covers over her head scared of her big bad day!  Too bad that big bad day is going to come and get her anyway....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Pool is Cool

 So Mom and Dad's pool is done.  Once they got going on it, it just didn't take much time.  I have to admit, I'm surprised how much our family loves it.  We been at the Grandparents' house swimming literally every day (but Sunday) since it was finished.  It's helps that it's been blazing hot here for the past week.  105 or more.  I just wanted to add some fun pictures...

FYI, this was the first day we could swim.  Before too long, Derek just jumped in clothes and all!

Take note of my no fear baby. She scares me to death!  The upside is she is sleeping much better lately.  Nothing like swimming every day to help wear her out!


Brave Little Monkey

Monday, September 20, 2010

Proud Parents

As usual, we are very busy when school starts.  It's fun, but hectic. 

Tyler is playing football this year.  We feel like in all the years he's played, this is the year when his knowledge and talent are coming together.  It's fun to watch.  His long legs get him up and down the field so fast! (He is nearly 6'1 now, CRAZY!)   That's a big improvement from his meandering and smelling the roses on the field days of the past.  He is also teaching himself to play the guitar and piano in his spare time.  He's doing pretty well.  Sometimes I call him Troy Bolton but he threatens me when I do...  :)

My Michael was just elected "Student Body President." We've been calling him Mr. President here at home.  We are so proud of him!!  He's still writing his book.  Now he has a teacher helping him so hopefully by the end of the year he'll have a "finished manuscript."  He is taking piano lessons but he's been teaching himself also so he is already way past beginner stage. 

Jules has discovered that she really enjoys hip hop dancing.  Uncle Quinn also spent hours teaching her to play a few songs on the guitar for the Primary Talent Show.  She did so well!  I need to record her playing.  Like her brothers, she has natural musical talent.




Joshua is playing football for the first time.  Oh yeah, he is a baller... He LOVES being a Coolidge Bear.  He takes the game very seriously.  It is just so fun to watch him.  He says over and over that he's been waiting to be a Coolidge Bear since he was three.  We worry about little Josh out there but his love of playing makes it worth it.  He is still creative as ever with his legos.  He builds complex bases and spaceships in his spare time.

Matthew is along for the ride right now.  I just love his laid back personality.  He is catching onto reading quickly and has lots of good friends.  He loves tagging along to all of Tyler's football games.  Tyler calls him his "good luck charm" and insists that he is at all his games no matter how late they start.   (It is so cute.)

And Bella, oh my Bella.  I love her.  She is so cheerful and loving.  She is also a "hot mess."  She spends most of her life covered in markers, water, makeup, bruises and sweat.  She just doesn't stop.  She wears me out but every day I am so glad that I have her.

I just wanted to update all of you on the kids so far this year.  I really need to add pictures!  It's almost time to print the blog into a book.

I love you all family!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Guardian Angels



I am so thankful for guardian angels.

To anyone that I know and love.  We don't raise these babies on our own.  We always have help.  You absolutely cannot control every situation and you can't be everywhere all the time.  If Heavenly Father wants to intevene and keep your child safe, He will.  If He wants them back, he'll take them.

Bella was having "a night", like she sometimes does and was covered literally head to toe in marker.  I went upstairs to get the bath started and she comes in whimpering.  I notice a small cut on her leg and think that it looks a little weird, like a slice.  I am holding her and trying to comfort her and she is gagging.  I swept her mouth a few times and nothing.  Finally, she throws up a little and there is a piece of glass in it about the size of a dime.

To say I was a mess is an understatement.

In the five (or less) short minutes I'd been upstairs she broke a canning jar of salsa and put the only loose piece of glass in her mouth.  Literally, the rest of the glass was up inside the other half of the jar.  There was no glass mess.

I am just so thankful that we are not alone in raising our children.  I've had a child jump off the second story stairs, get outside and wander the neighborhood, fall out of a window (luckily onto our patio roof), and I still have six children.  This was another one of my miracles.

Thank you angels!

PS.  I've been working on an Activity Days activity and looking through some art.  This picture moved me and made me think of this incident.  I have a thankful heart.  The picture is called "Heavenly Hands".

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"A Shout Out"

I love you honey!  You are awesome.  You complete me.  You get the idea...  :)
(Really, seriously, I mean every word.) 

You do the dishes for me every day.  You rescue me from the kids when I think I can't parent them one more second.  You let me "clock out" every night around eight. You've worked it so I don't have to get up for early morning seminary.  You go to the grocery store for me on your way home even though you already have to drive an hour. You bring me breakfast and dinner in bed randomly.  You tell me I'm beautiful even though I'm old and tired. You forgive me when I'm a bratty and you still make me feel like a "twelve cow woman."  You are my "sugar pusher". You are superman.  (You are really superman, you save people every day.)  I am so proud of you!

I. Love. You.

FABULOUS

So I quickly have to tell you the story of fixing my blog tonight.  (While my children are all clamoring over me asking for help on their homework.)

I got the giant shot in my knee that is supposed to "really, really" help, however, for the best results I have to sit here and let the medicine work through my knee.

Perfect time to update my blog, right?  Well, I started off finding the best background from "Cutest Blog On The Block"  (to my sisters starting blogs, this is a great site).  I found a cute, maybe a little over the top blog background called "Fabulocity".  Had to have it, it's all in the name...

About three hours of frustrations later, I finally have my fabulous website.

 It's a little harder to read than I intended because I thought I'd use the new "Blogger" templates to get the job done and it kept undoing all the color and cuteness of my new background.  After an hour and a half of wrangling with this thing, I returned to the "Cutest Blog" website to try to fix what I'd done.  I picked a different background called "Sassy" because by this time, that's exactly how I was feeling.

I tried to make "Sassy" work for me, but no luck.  Instead of "Sassy" being black (like I was feeling), "Sassy" was turning out to be blue.  (I was a little blue, but black was more "appropo"....). 

Back to the "Cutest Blog" website, where lo and behold, at the top of the background page it gave me the exact directions to making their backgrounds work on a "Blogger" template. 

Ahhhhhh....  if I would only would stop to read instructions....

So here is the updated blog.  It is FABULOUS is it not?  Even if you don't think so, please please tell me it is! 

Love you all!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yummy Veggie Sandwiches

I was in charge of Book Club today, which is turning out to be a little less about reading and a little more about socializing.  It is pretty fun.  We tried to do a serious book this month and we enjoyed reading, but no one actually finished the book...  We will try next month.  (We picked a much easier read for September, awesome  :)  )

Anyhow, since our Book Club is more about gathering and eating as opposed to reading, I (OK, really Derek made them but I told him what to do...)  made some delicious sandwiches that I wanted to share with you all.  Just in case you're in charge of some "ladies lunch" soon...

Cucumber and Veggie Cream Cheese Sandwiches:

Peel and cut a cucumber in half lengthwise.  Remove the seeds with a spoon.  Thinly slice and lay on a plate covered with paper towel.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and let them sit for about an hour.

Meanwhile, combine in the food processor:

One brick of softened cream cheese  (you know the best kind)
One stalk celery  (trimmed on both ends)
About one third yellow onion
About one third green pepper
One good size clove of garlic
Season with Jane's Crazy Salt to taste

Spread two slices of bread VERY LIGHTLY with mayonaise.  Then add the cream cheese spread and cucumbers.  If you want to be fancy, remove the crust and cut into triangles.  If it's for you, skip the mayo and eat up!  (The mayo is important to use as glue if you are bringing these on a tray...)

Tomato Avacado Delicious Sandwiches...

Slice tomato and place on a plate lined with paper towel.  Lightly salt and let drain for about an hour.

Spread the outside of your bread with pesto.  (I keep a jar of prepared basil pesto in my fridge.  It's really good when you add a spoonful to pasta salad.)
Place the bread, pesto side down in a skillet, toast.
Add drained tomato and sliced avacado to the sandwich.  Season with salt and pepper.
If you are taking these to a party, lightly spread either mayo or butter on the inside of the bread before adding tomato and avacado.

Derek made mom one of the tomato avacado sandwiches for lunch today.  Mom added some of the veggie cream cheese to her sandwich and LOVED it! 

My kids ate the rest of the sandwiches when they got home from school.  These were SO YUMMY and a good way to eat your veggies. 

Love you all!