Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I'm in a bad mood because my Air Conditioner is broken and it's hot and humid in half of my house. At least it's not the half of my house that I sleep in. A guy is coming tomorrow to either repair it or tell me I need a new one. It's 13 1/2 years old which is about the life span of a HVAC unit in the South. It's not exactly what I wanted to put my tax refund towards, but it will be nice to be cool.

Here are some pictures of Easter:

We color eggs the old-fashioned way in food coloring and water with vinegar. Sarah dyed a two-toned blue egg. It was very pretty. The kids weren't too impressed with the white crayon trick because it didn't seem to work, but it worked when I tried.

Sunday morning was a little rushed. Emily and I are in the choir at church and we had to be there at 8:30 to practice. We opened baskets at 8 AM and then Emily and I rushed out the door.

A basket of goodies. Hershey Kisses, Hershey Miniatures, classic jelly beans, Pop Rocks, chocolate bunny, stickers, coloring book, Kit Kat, Gold Whales, Nerds, bubble wands, and a Capri Sun (not shown). Mommy and Daddy claimed all the Special Darks. I'm so glad that some of my kids do not like Pop Rocks. I enjoyed those too.

Awesome Kit Kat.

Egg Hunt. My husband hid 156 plastic eggs.

This was George's First Easter! He's become very good at scoping out dropped or forgotten chocolates, sucking the chocolate out of the foil wrapper, and drooling chocolate all over the floor and carpet.
He got a scraped nose Saturday on some cement, it's not chocolate on his nose.

The eggs were empty this year, but the kids had fun finding them. It was a bit warm out. After their hunt, they hid them for Mommy and Daddy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

11 Years!

The annual anniversary picture. It was raining out this evening which made me happy because I love free water for the garden.

So, a few weeks ago I was thinking about how my husband and I were about to celebrate 11 years of marriage. Then I thought, "How cool! We are going to celebrate 11 years of marriage in 2011!" But then realized that I think that same thought every year. We were married in the year 2000, so the number of years we've been married is always the same as the last two digits of the year. Duh. But, it's still cool.

So today was kind of uneventful. I spent a lot of the day organizing my cupboards and finding room for my new stash of tuna fish. This past week the nearby grocery store had a sale on Starkist Tuna. It was a deal for buy 2, get 3 free. It made each can of tuna $0.38. The best deal I ever got on tuna was $0.25, but that was three years ago and it was the store brand. 

I learned of the deal last Friday and the sale ended the Tuesday (2 days ago), so I took full advantage of the deal. The store says you can only use your discount advantage savings card 3-4 times per day, but I learned that it's actually seven. There was a limit of 10 cans per transaction, so Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday I stocked up on tuna. I bought about 260 cans. It sounds like an absurd amount of tuna. Ok, so it is an absurd amount of tuna, but it's something that most of my kids will eat and it's an easy Saturday afternoon lunch. So, if you do the math: 

If our family eats 5 cans of tuna per week, it will last our family 52 weeks. It's the perfect year supply! Of course we might not eat tuna every single Saturday, but the cans say, "Best By Jan 2014" so we have some time to spare.

My collection of tuna after the sale ended on Tuesday.

My accomplishment of getting the tuna in the cupboard today. It was a perfect fit. Well, almost a perfect fit. there are 4 rows of 63 cans, so I actually had 8 cans left over that I stashed somewhere else.

So what did we do for our anniversary?
Since I felt too cheap and lazy to get a babysitter, we put the kids to bed early and I went out to get some take-out dinner for the husband and me. We tried a new Japanese restaurant. (I LOVE Japanese food.) Ginger and Wasabi are the ultimate combination. I love the sensation of wasabi burning in my nose.

Teriyaki chicken and rice. I got white rice. David got fried rice. I also ordered teriyaki steak. It kind of looks like not a lot of food, but they are large plates. I brought out the special occasion (Thanksgiving) plates for the event.

California Roll. Look at all that ginger! Mmmmm.

I made the salad at home. It only cost me $1.99 instead of $5.00 to order 2 salads from the restaurant.

I made miso soup at home too. We have a constant supply of miso paste in our fridge. I heard on the John Tesh program on the radio once that miso helps reduce crows feet so it's become a staple in our house. We buy it at the Asian market.

Cran-Pomegranate juice. I was going to get sparkling grape juice, but it was a much better deal to get about 10 times as much plain juice because it was buy one get one free. And as you can see from above, I can't pass up a good deal at the grocery store.

It was a great anniversary. The kids made us cards. We got a nice card from my dad. My husband got me flowers and chocolate. I washed my hair, shaved my legs, wore deodorant, put on some makeup, and wore a skirt. We watched the American Idol results after dinner. The only bad part was that there was nobody to clear the dirty dishes from our table when we were finished eating. I cleared them, but they are still sitting dirty on my kitchen counter. We didn't finish all of our food, so we can have Date Night Part Deux tomorrow night. Yay! And...I have cheesecake to eat and more juice to drink tomorrow. I can't wait......

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just a Bowl Full of Sugar Helps the Oatmeal Go Down.

Emily made oatmeal for breakfast this morning. I think somebody, possibly a four year old, thought he would have a little oatmeal with his brown sugar. Jason actually really loves oatmeal. I think today he loved it even more.

The other day when we were in a restaurant, Bradley saw two tanks of iced tea at the self-serve beverage station. One tank said, "Iced Tea" and the other said, "Sweet Tea". 

He asked, "Who would ever get plain Iced Tea?" as he dispensed himself a kid cup of fruit punch. In his mind he was thinking if you have the choice between plain and sweet, the obvious choice is SWEET! He's a smart kid.

Today Jason opted for the Sweet Oatmeal.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Burning Butts and Frozen Nuts

(I'm probably going to get in trouble for this post title, but I couldn't resist the rhyming. I suppose I could've used Burning Rears and Freezing Ears, but it just doesn't have the same effect. Anyway....)

Thursday was kind of a doozy. I got up late (9:00 AM). "Got up", not "woke up". George was very kind to be my alarm clock and he fussed at 7:00 AM. I took him out of his crib, made him a bottle, and snuggled with him in my bed. It was enjoyable, but I really wanted to go back to sleep, but I couldn't because he doesn't have enough sense yet to not crawl off the edge of the bed. Instead, I idly watched worthless TV, like 3 year old episodes of Dr. Phil on OWN channel (Oprah's channel) with bits and pieces of Housewives of Orange County during the commercial breaks. Yeah, it was a really productive use of my time. Seriously, I already knew the that the guy on Dr. Phil has been reunited with his son that was kidnapped by his wife, who later died in Brazil, because I saw it on the news two years ago. Anyway.....

The kids slept late and we were an hour behind schedule. My husband was out of town this week and when I have nothing to make me feel guilty for being lazy, then I usually opt to be lazy. (My husband doesn't actually make me feel guilty. It's a self-imposed guilt as I lay in bed and he does his P90X and goes to work.) My main problem last night was that I was running a virus scan on my laptop. My laptop was on the desk in my bedroom.  I didn't think it would take that long, but it ran ALL night and the constant hum of an electronic device scanning for virtual disease disrupted my sleep.  So, it actually is a good idea to keep things that might have viruses out of the bedroom.

(The good news is my computer scanned clean and I won't lose anymore sleep over it.)

Anyway, lots of frustrating things happened that day.  I lost my camera memory card. I put it on the couch the night before and forgot to put it in a safe spot before going to bed. I spent about 45 minutes looking for it, taking cushions off the couch, jamming my hand in the crevices of the couch, moving furniture and blankets, and trying to think, "If I were a 11 month old, 3 year old, 4 year old, where would I put a camera memory card?".

No memory card. No memory card with pictures of Emily's 10th birthday on it. It made me sad. I tried to get Jason to fess up. He convincingly seemed innocent. As I stood at the shelf in my family room thinking of where else I might look, I glimpsed at Bradley's little treasure box and there it was! I must have put it on top of it last night so it would be safe. I just don't remember putting it there. Or Jason snuck it there when I wasn't looking. But I'm pretty sure I put it there.

I also had four loads of laundry to wash and fold. It went pretty well, just time consuming. I went downstairs to get something and there was a funny smell. A burning plastic kind of smell. I panicked thinking my house was about to burn down.  I could not pinpoint where the smell was coming from. Then I saw the lamp on the piano was missing its shade...."Bradley! What did you do!?" He told me the lamp fell and the shade fell off. He thought he was off the hook with that reasonable explanation. He didn't realize that his mother's olfactory system was sensing that he wasn't giving the whole story. I gave him a look that said, "Finish your story."

He proceeded to explain, with Sarah's help, that he had Ken sit on the exposed light bulb (thus the burning plastic smell.) Upon examination of Ken's rear, it looked fine and not in need of any plastic surgery. I was relieved to have my answer and knowing my house wasn't likely to burn down at any moment. Bradley also offered additional information that he also had G.I. Joe touch the light bulb with his hand. I asked him where G.I. Joe was now and Bradley said, "The freezer."

There he was.

Joe didn't look too happy about being half frozen in a cup of water. I couldn't help but think of themovie Toy Story and what might Joe's reaction be and words said after I closed the freezer door. ("Darn eight year old!.......Umph. Urr. Argh. Umph." as he trys to hobble himself off the edge of the shelf in an attempt to spill the remaining water and save the family jewels.)

At lunch I caught Bradley and Sarah flicking stray breakfast Honey Nut Cheerios (actually Great Value Honey Nut Spins) off the table onto the floor. I  said, "What are you doing!? Can you tell me what happens once those Cheerios end up on the floor!?"

Emily said, "George eats them." I was thinking more like "They get crushed, make a mess, and then we step on them with our bare feet and track Cheerio crumbs all over the house." I have to continually remind myself that kids don't always have the common sense that we hope they have, except for Emily. She was right, it was more likely that George would've eaten it before anyone stepped on it. He's our resident Roomba.

I found a nice cut on the back of the couch while I was searching for my memory card. Pretty sure it was Jason who did it.

I was impressed with the ability to cut a right angle. That's some serious skill.

I found a sash cut off of one of the girl's dresses. Pretty sure it was Jason.

The other day Jason cut the power cord on one of our cordless phone chargers. He's a little obsessed with scissors right now.

We had pancakes, strawberries, tangelos and Cool Whip (actually Great Value Whipped Topping), and chocolate chips for dinner. It was the quietest the kids were all day.

No such thing as a short stack in this family.

They were delicious.

Weeks that my husband are gone are very long, but I was blessed with a divine dose of extra patience this week. My frustrations were short-lived. My kids and I are all still good friends. Instead of reading Little Women at 10 AM this morning, I read it to them while they were in bed. I probably should've read it to them in the morning. Maybe my day wouldn't have felt so chaotic. But if there wasn't chaos, maybe G.I. Joe never would've been frozen. My favorite part of the day was finding him in the freezer. My husband is home now and things are back to normal.....Well, as normal as normal can be.

First one to Daddy wins!

George couldn't compete. He opted to eat chalk.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Count Your Many Blessings

Every day I read to my kids at 10 AM for a half hour (Well, most days if everything goes as planned.) I always feel more productive on the days that I read to them. They sit at the kids table in the playroom and draw and color while I sit in a chair and read. A few weeks ago we finished The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett and we topped it off by watching the movie.

Now we are reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. (I like to read books that can be followed up with a movie.) Today we read Chapter 4 in which the March girls' mother told them a story with a moral. The story was about four girls that never seemed to be happy with what they had, and they seemed to be always yearning for more or better. The moral of the story was to be content and count the blessings that you do have. So when we finished reading the chapter, we sang the first verse of Count Your Blessings and I got a purple crayon and had my children count their blessings as I wrote them down. It was fun to listen to them. We counted 51. I'm sure they could've counted more, but some blessings seemed to fit into some of the broader categories that we wrote down already, like "toys" or "family". Here is their list:

  1. Family (this includes siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts uncles, great-grandparents,cousins.)
  2. House
  3. Education/School/Learning
  4. Toys (this could include MANY sub topics)
  5. Bed
  6. Food
  7. TV
  8. Computer
  9. Health
  10. Safety/Freedom
  11. Church
  12. Friends
  13. Games (This could be grouped with toys, but I thought it deserved to be its own blessing.)
  14. Garden
  15. Chalk
  16. Clothes
  17. Daddy's job
  18. Bikes
  19. Cars
  20. Neighbors
  21. Books 
  22. Scriptures
  23. "Cubbies" (1 cubic foot of private space that you can keep your stuff and nobody can touch it.)
  24. Bathrooms (No outhouses.)
  25. Movies 
  26. Music (Instruments and
  27. Camera
  28. Aprons 
  29. Phone
  30. Vacuum/Broom
  31. Pencils/Crayons
  32. Air Conditioning
  33. Paper
  34. Shoes
  35. Tables/Chairs
  36. Windows
  37. Utensils/Plates
  38. Furniture
  39. Pictures of Jesus
  40. Sinks and Bathtubs
  41. Kitchens
  42. Hair (This is when they began to name all body parts and I lumped them into "our bodies" in #43)
  43. Our bodies and spirits
  44. Our senses, including sense of humor and common sense (even if the common sense might be lacking at times.)
  45. Nature
  46. Art
  47. USA
  48. Clocks
  49. Cleaning supplies and tools
  50. Rainy Days
  51. Sunny Days

Now here are some You Tube videos of the hymn "Count Your Many Blessings.":

#1  I can't help but think of the Munchkin Land when I listen to to this one:

#2 I think the person who made this video is grateful for fruit and 15 clip art blessings:

#3 is my favorite - Quartet Style:

"So they agreed to stop complaining, to enjoy the blessings already possessed, and try to deserve them, lest they should be taken away entirely, instead of increased, and I believe they were never disappointed or sorry that they took the old woman's advice."
-- Marmee from Little Women 

Have you counted your blessings lately? Count them with a happy feeling :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Taxes Done!

I've been absent for the past week because I was working on our taxes. I just submitted our taxes electronically. I hope it works. I've never been successful at submitting them electronically before. I think it might have been due to my name not matching my social, but now that my name is officially changed, I hope it works. Oh, wait.......I just got an email that says the IRS accepted our return! I hope that's right. I guess it was the name after all! Ten whole years of filing paper returns just because I was too lazy to change my name. (How long has E-file even been around?) Anyway....

I have a bunch more to say, but I'll leave it at that because I think I'm going to hit the hay and not think about taxes anymore. Here's a picture though because yesterday was Jason's half birthday. He's a big 4 1/2 year old now:

The half birthday boy is outgrowing his tie. We are also missing one of his church shoes, so he's been wearing his sneakers with his suit for the past couple of weeks. He looks very punk. He wasn't wearing the sneakers in this picture, but he does have on the pink cowboy boots.

The half birthday cake. 
Right before this picture was taken, I went upstairs with Jason to get a shirt for him to wear because he was shirtless. He picked out his "baseball" shirt. (There's a picture of a football on the shirt.) I think we might need a lesson in sports one day. He obviously doesn't have a father who watches sports.

Tonight we had strawberry shortcake with the other half of the cake for Family Home Evening Dessert. This strawberry was 3 inches tall!

Here's a little comparison next to Thomas Jefferson to prove that the above picture wasn't trick photography. It was probably the most awesome strawberry I've ever seen. 

Also did you know that Wednesday is Thomas Jefferson's birthday? Pretty cool. I have more catching up to do and pictures to post.  I'll be back...

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

My Tenager

Emily is 10!

So when I meet someone and want to try to estimate their age, I add 20 to the age of their oldest child to figure what I believe is a fair estimate of what their minimum age would be. Now that Emily is 10, I am officially 30.

Emily had a great birthday!

I found this shirt at Target a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't resist getting it for her. I even paid full price for it! Everything else she got from us was a clearance item.

 A Latch Hook rug from my Dad and Sister. I had one of these when I was younger. It's sitting half-finished somewhere. It was of a rainbow. I LOVED it. Emily got one of a rainbow and sun. It's only a 12" X 12" so she should be able to complete it. Mine was rather large.

Daddy got Emily a special present. Can you guess what it is?

I think he spent more time wrapping that trombone than he did driving 30 miles to go get it from some guy who was selling it on Craig's list.

A sewing basket from my Dad and sister. It was a perfect gift for a 10 year old. She LOVED it. It will be perfect for Thread Thursdays.

Emily got some other good stuff like more clothes and shoes, some bracelets from my grandmother (who broke her hip yesterday and had surgery today), and some cards and drawings from her siblings.

I'm not too happy with my cursive E, but the purple dark chocolate M&Ms are pretty. Emily loved that it said, "E10 which sounds like 'eaten'." When Bradley turns 10 it will say B10.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Happy 11 Months!

George is 11 months. I can't believe he will be a year old next month! 

I think cars and trucks might be a good gift.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

General Conference

What is this General Conference that I speak of? Well, you can either click the latter link or read this post. I hope you choose to read this post :) 

Every six months the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attend General Conference on the first Saturday and Sunday of April and October to listen to the leaders of the church: The Prophet, the Apostles, and other inspiring men and women.

Before the days of the Internet members would gather and listen to the leaders in person. Then as technology advanced, they got all fancy and started broadcasting it on TV in some areas. (If you have satellite TV, you can watch it on the BYU channel or in some areas it's just on regular TV, but not where we live.)  We have cable, so we watch it on the Internet at home. I think our neighbors must think we slack off and play hooky from church every six months. I'll admit that I enjoy sleeping in Conference weekend since the first broadcast begins at noon on the east coast. It is broadcast at our church building, but it's nice to be able to relax at home and let the little ones roam around the house and eat snacks while we watch.  

It's always a wonderful weekend. I can totally understand that from some people's perspectives it might sound really boring. It's literally eight hours (four hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday, each day divided into two, two hour sessions) of listening to men in suits and women (not in suits, but in nice clothes) speak from the pulpit at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. However, the strange thing is that it's not boring at all! Of course there are moments that I want to doze off which is usually due to the warmth of the sun shining in our family room around 5:00 PM, which makes me feel like a lazy cat on a sunny Spring day. But usually either my husband or I stay awake and get each other up to speed if the other one dozes. AND, the good news is that the talks are always printed in the May issue of our church magazine, The Ensign, so we can read them over and over once they are published. (They are also posted online about a week after Conference.) Also you get to hear beautiful music sung by the Mormon Tabernacle choir by watching it live which you don't get to hear when reading the magazine.

This is a picture of the kids at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City in August 2010. We didn't get to go inside though because Emily got altitude sickness and we needed to head to California early. It was very sad. It's a 1.4 million square foot building that seats 21,000 people. It's supposedly really awesome. Bradley wants to go back and attend Conference live in October, or maybe next year.

Even the kids get excited about Conference weekend.  We make it fun for them, with good snacks and games.

Here's a little photo documentary of our Conference weekend:

Emily made a countdown sheet.

A reminder about Conference hung on our refrigerator all week with a picture of Thomas S. Monson. It looks like a picture of him in his younger years.

 The kids' table with lots of coloring sheets and activities to do. I think Rachel has a mouthful of Skittles which were supposed to be the Bingo markers.

Our computer setup. Every Conference we are always straining to hear the the people speaking because the little kids are being chatty or playing with a clanky toy or something. This year we smartened up and actually brought down the sub-woofer that my husband uses in his office/music center. It helped A LOT and the kids and I enjoyed it for our Saturday night oldies dance party while my husband attended an additional two hours of General Conference at the church building. Men are not naturally as spiritual as women and need additional spiritual instruction. (I'm half kidding.)

In case you might be a bit dyslexic, LDS stands for Latter Day Saint. These are not LSD Bingo boards. That would be a trip.

George spent most of Saturday in his high chair eating snacks.

We had Gold Whales (they were cheaper than Goldfish), vegetables and dip,....

cheese and crackers.
(Not pictured: imitation Fudge Stripe cookies, graham crackers, Nilla Wafers, Handisnacks, orange juice, Sprite.)

I hung this up so the kids could check off the leaders who spoke, but my double sticky tape wasn't so sticky and the papers wouldn't stay up.

My husband takes notes during Conference. I think he was fighting hard not to fall asleep at this moment.

He lost the battle once Jason fell asleep on his lap. But don't worry, I caught him up to speed once he woke up. It was a cat nap.

The computer had to work so hard with all that video streaming, it got hot and shut down so we gave it some ice packs and restarted.

In between sessions on Saturday we did a little gardening. The first weekend in April is the best weekend to plant vegetables. We planted green peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, okra, sunflowers, and cantalope. I am so excited that we are not moving, and we get to reap the benefits of our garden! I really hope our vegetable plants are successful. We are taking extra precautions against deer this year, but this is material for a whole other post.

The kids made a tent for the second session on Saturday and first session on Sunday.

It was a great weekend! We were inspired and uplifted as we learned about:
Jesus Christ
Eternal Life
The Temple
The Atonement
Lots of other Good Stuff

Every April they read off the statistical report.
Total membership - 14,131,467
Converts baptized - 272,814
New children of record - 120,528 (One of those was mine :)

I look forward to getting my May magazine, so I can read all the talks again.