Sep 30, 2014

Happiness and Rainbows

Last night my little crew was playing with a whiteboard they carted off from someone's bedroom. I was working on some paperwork and they were drawing together with an occasional giggle. Then Scout came over to show me the picture. "It's our rainbow dancers!" she declared. Then she pointed, "There's me and there's Baby Doll." I frowned. "Where's Curly?" I asked.

She headed back to finish it. Two minutes later they came back to show me the picture. "You can put it on the blog!" says Baby Doll. So here I am, telling you all about their cute picture and sharing it with you.

We were also out and about today in the rain and were pretty stunned to see this full bow rainbow so I snapped a pic for you. There is actually a second smaller bow beside it.

So yeah, my week is full of happiness and rainbows. How about yours?

Sep 29, 2014

Guest Blog: Making Scripture Journals by Elder Dog Walker

I know that I haven't got to guest blog about my mission for a while, but I want to explain another challenge that I'm about to do. I wanted to keep it a secret, since it would be for my entire family as a Christmas gift for Christmas of 2014.

I have a feeling that I revealed the surprise and most of my family members would figure out what I've been trying to do and I think I'll have to give up the plan to do it. I was going to make my entire family a set of Scripture Journals for each member.

What I do was to make a cover on the front of a notebook with a family member's name with an apostrophe and an S and with Scripture Journal on it. Then I would add a smiley face right on the cover under the title. Then after that, I would print out scripture book chapters and put them on a page.

I figured since I got all the stories of chapters from the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, I have to improvise to try to get all the story chapters to fit into the entire notebook. The purpose for this journal is to read your scriptures and to write down in the journal of what you've learned from it and it would feel like you're glad the scriptures were written and translated. I hope you'll all enjoy about what my challenge would be.

But I guess since I would reveal the secret and surprise too soon before December, I will have to just give up and think of something else to give to my family for Christmas. :(

Sep 28, 2014

A Rainy Saturday

We had so much rain today!

I had all these great plans. After we took the last of the Sleepover Girls over to the service project at the church, we took off for the Lowe's class. The kids had a great time making little fire engines. We left just in time to drop Sport off for his football warmups. Bossy went the opposite direction so she could get Taco to Herriman on time.

It was wet and rainy.when we dropped him off. I didn't see any point in having all the kids getting soaked, so I took all of them home first. Then my sweetie and I headed back to the park. We had waterproof gear, but for some reason we left the umbrella home. We sat for an hour and a half and it rained pretty much the whole time. Yeah, we were soaked.

Sport's team won 13 - 0. It was a tough game made worse by the slipping and sliding, but eventually they were victorious. After the game I came home and took a hot shower. I had planned on taking the girls out fundraising since they only have until the 1st of October to finish putting their orders together, but the rain made it not fun at all so I let the girls stay home. My sweetie and I went shopping in the rain instead.

Last week was beautiful! I kept the camera under cover today.
I didn't get my beans picked either. But I did take the girls to the Women's Conference at the church. About the time we were walking in, Scout said, "I think I just broke a tooth!" Then she spent a good part of the time complaining about how it hurt. When we got home I noticed that it was broken and I'm 90% sure it's a baby tooth so the rest should fall out soon.

After that we just worked on Reflections and ate a nice meal my guys made while we were gone. I love it when I don't have to cook! And my sweetie will cook tomorrow too since Crafty wants spaghetti and meatballs for her birthday dinner. Meatballs is one of his specialties. :)

I feel a good weekend coming on.
It's even stopped raining.

Sep 27, 2014

Service Sleepover

You all know that Princess turned 18 on Wednesday, but did you know that Crafty will turn 14 on Sunday? So for the first time ever, they decided to have a shared birthday party! It was Princess's idea. When I asked her what she wanted to do to celebrate her transition into adulthood, she said service.

Princess is all about service and it's so good for her. So we kicked around some ideas and decided that it would be fun to invite all of her friends and all of Crafty's friends for a sleepover. As an activity, they could make fleece blankets for the huge service project going on tomorrow at the church.

I don't think I was really prepared to have more than 20 cute teenage girls here to celebrate the collective birthdays.! First they made homemade pizzas and then they decorated cupcakes. Princess is still working on the last of the blankets while the other girls are watching a movie or sleeping. We ultimately only had about half a dozen girls decide to stay over. But most of them are having fun except for poor Fajita who is not feeling well. Maybe she caught what Teach had yesterday.

If that's the case, I definitely don't want this bug, even if it means a day off!

Sep 26, 2014

Running on Empty

I'm tired.

It's been one of those weeks...

Actually it's been one of those weeks for several weeks in a row and I could sure use a break, if even just for a minute. Sometimes it seems like the only time I get to choose is when I'm sitting here at the computer taking a minute to tell you about my crazy life before I fall into bed.

Teach started her new job this week. Oh don't get me wrong, I'm very happy for her! She needs a job. I had just gotten used to having her around to off-load some of my stress. But I'm slowly getting used to the idea that I can monopolize less and less of her time.

A much happier car ride.
She has been training all week, only working 4 -5 hours each day. So today Baby Doll and I had to run up to Curves to pick up the Tupperware we left there yesterday morning for an open house. It's a nice way to sell things. I go for an hour and set things up, answer questions and leave catalogs. Then I go back the next day and pick up orders and the Tupperware. And if no one wants to talk to me, I take the time to work out while I am there.

It was about noon when Baby Doll and I were loading the van and my phone rang. It was Teach. "Mom?" she whispered. Immediately I knew something was wrong. "Can you come and get me? I'm so sick!"

Fortunately Baby Doll and I were within less than a mile of her new job. She still had an hour of training left for the day, but the minute she dragged herself across the parking lot I could tell that she was in a bad way. Sweat was pouring from her face and she could barely climb into the van.

We had gone less than a mile when she heaved. I thought Baby Doll might lose it too, but she managed to hold it together. To make a long story short, when we got home Teach
crawled into bed for several hours and when she finally emerged she was almost human again.

I just hope it was something she ate and not something I can catch. Although sometimes I wonder if that is the only way I might get a day off...

Sep 25, 2014

Blast From the Past: Pilot Costumes

Bossy sent me a bunch of pics from her phone a few days ago and I had to smile when I saw this one. There is definitely a story behind it. It was the summer of 2008. Teach was working on her Girl Scout Gold Award and if you remember right, she was make a community helpers costume chest to donate to the preschool at Bingham High school.

We took the family to the airplane museum near Hill Air Force Base. The kids love that place! It has such fun history and my favorite part is that it is free as long as we avoid the gift shop. Unfortunately, we succumbed to the pleadings and let the kids look at the overpriced mementos. That's when we discovered these adorable little pilot's costumes. My sweetie couldn't resist buying them for Teach's project.

Bossy wanted a set for Taco and Burrito, but she was not willing to pay the price tag. So instead she came home and made very similar costumes for her boys to wear for Halloween. I didn't have pictures of hers, but maybe she can post some of them for us.

.Hope you all have a terrific week!

Sep 24, 2014

Happy 18th Birthday, Princess

Cupcake Club float for Homecoming parade
I know I haven't been blogging for birthdays this year because it seems like I would be writing them all the time, but I just couldn't let this one pass without sharing it with you.
Her awesome birthday cake!

Her birthday gift from Drama Queen.
Can you believe Princess is turning 18 today?

I can't.

It just doesn't seem that long ago that I held her in my arms and rocked her to sleep. She has always been such a bright sunshine in my life. She and I are a lot alike. We surround ourselves with stress and craziness. She loves service and good works.

She is totally involved in tons of things, Youth City Council Deputy Mayor, FCCLA Officer, Cupcake Club president, Distinguished Young Women, Girl Scout Community Delegate, Troop President, Sugar Plum Fairy... The list just goes on and on.

But she loves it that way. She and Prima Donna are in Provo for the FCCLA Leadership Conference tonight, so she is not even home. But if she were home, I would wish her the sweetest birthday ever.

Sep 23, 2014

Just in Time

You know how much we love books around here. Well, we found some great ones I want to share with you especially if you have elementary-aged kids.

A while back I posted on the Amazing Utah History Hunt. It was a fun summer activity in Utah where Barnes & Noble were giving away the Just in Time books written by Carol Lynch Williams and Cheri Pray Earl.

Well, we didn't win.

But after they asked me to post, I offered to read book one and report back to all of you with the kids' opinions. You know I love reading aloud to the kids, and these books are real page-turners. We were given book 1 to preview and I was surprised that Curly was the one who enjoyed it the most although Baby Doll, Scout, and Sport were all close by any time we opened the book.

If I tried to put it away after only one chapter, I would receive a vigorous round of complaints that often led to another chapter or two. In fact, we liked the books so well that I just ordered the second and third ones from Amazon. They are funny and educational with likeable characters. We can hardly wait to read the next one!

Sep 22, 2014

Rest of the School Pics 2014

Aren't my kids awesome?! They know how rough my life has been lately and how bad I feel when I don't post so they have jumped in to help me put something up every day. Even Scout and Teach worked out the post yesterday. Wasn't it cute?

I think life is full of capturing the moments and that is what my blog seems to do. I don't suppose it matters if I'm doing the writing or someone else is doing it for me. We have such a crazy life here! Today we celebrated Princess's 18th birthday with a big family party although her actual birthday is on Wednesday. Teach is starting a new job and so the kids were all stressing about her finishing up their school pictures. She really is an amazing photographer!

Then we took the time to work on Visual Arts tonight for Reflections. I know, I am totally insane to let the kids all sit around my kitchen table with a huge pile of oil paints. It took me over half an hour just to wash out all the brushes and my hands are completely green. I've washed them about 10 times and I still can't get rid of all the color.

Bean Dip
The Dog Walker was scrubbing off the bench where Baby Doll was painting...

Oh well, they are memories, right? Good memories, I hope.

Prima Donna
I just enjoy being a mom and watching my kids develop their talents and skills. I love seeing them work together and play together. (Not sure which of those categories Reflections falls under.)

So tonight let me leave you with the last of the school pictures.

Thanks, Teach, for making this post so easy!


Sep 21, 2014

Guest Blogger: Speed-Walking with Teach by Scout

Teach set a goal this week to go on a walk everyday. Usually she does this at normal times of day, but today she announced she needed to go on a walk at 11:45 PM. Drama Queen was really mad and did not want her to go. She thought there were creepers.( but as you can see, we're fine) After me and Teach got back, Prima Dona wanted to go. So we went just for her. We went to Butterfield's and back we speed-walked there and back. It was hard but fun .Going back, we lost Elder Dog Walker. It was really fun!

Sep 20, 2014

Guess What We Did Today...

I know, from the pics you are thinking we went out for ice cream, right? Well, you are half right. We have an annual tradition of going out for ice cream right about this time of year after everyone (except Sport) succumbs to a flu shot or flu mist.

Curly did his fair share of complaining that Sport gets an ice cream even though he doesn't have to have a shot until I remind him that Sport ended up in the hospital because of an allergy to flu shots and he won't be getting any more. And hopefully he won't get the flu either.

Baby Doll and Curly both have asthma, so they have to get the shot rather than the mist and they were both pretty unhappy. I would WAY rather have a shot than have them squeeze stuff up my nose!

But mostly I'm glad the ordeal is over. Now I'll have to invent another excuse to go out for ice cream...

Sep 19, 2014

Guest Blog: Peaches Everywhere by Bossy

One of the best things about my job right now is that I have a foster child that is placed right next to Dad's favorite fruit stand.  Once a month I drive 30 minutes to Utah county to see this child and use my lunch break to stop and pick up fruit for my father.  Because of my schedule these visits normally fall on a Thursday.  Which means picking up a couple of cases of fruit to can over the weekend is perfect.  In August my visit fell on Dad's birthday which worked out well, and I conspired with mom to bring back some Lemon Elberta peaches for him, his favorite.  

So when Gym Rat's girlfriend wanted to learn how to can peaches I said I would be happy to pick some up while I was on my visit. For some reason we scheduled on a Monday instead of a Thursday, but it has been cooling off the past few weeks and we thought the peaches would be fine until Friday. Plus I had selected two under-ripe boxes. We certainly didn't have time to can this week. Hopefully Mom can fill you all in on our crazy week.
So I picked up the peaches as planned and we ran one box over to Mom's sweet visiting teacher and Dad munched on the other ripe boxful we bought just for eating. 

Then the week of chaos came.  Mom has been running so many different directions that Dog Walker decided to be super helpful and keep the laundry running. On Wednesday, I was considering canceling Webelos because I had been sick all week and complaining to Mom that it was 95 degrees and too hot for mid-September when Dad said, "you know those peaches are spoiling."  Sure enough all the laundry the Dog Walker had run and the heat had turned the garage into a sauna.  As I was settling in to pick my overgrown bean patch, Mom called with a canning emergency.  It was a good thing Fajita's Young Women's was moved to a special night and Gamer had already cancelled Webelos. 

We finished picking our 2 5 gallon buckets of beans and rushed over to help with the peaches. By the time we got there, Baby Doll, Scout, and Mom had nearly blanched all of them. I made the syrup and cleaned things up so we could get on with processing.  As Mom filled the jars she mourned the loss of an overripe peach. 

I grabbed another Tupperware that we always use for salsa! Mom continued filling the jars and the bowl of overripe peaches grew.  There was no way we could use that much peach salsa. Instead she decided we would make peach jam.  Truth be told I am not one for stone fruits. I will eat a ripe peach when we can to say I had one, but I really don't like them. I definitely don't like apricot jam either. but it had been a very long time since we had made peach jam and I have very fond memories of our peach and strawberry freezer jam.

So when Mom said we were making freezer jam with the overripe peaches, I was all in.  After making 16 flats of strawberry jam this Spring, Fajita and I were the resident experts so here it is. 

Freezer Jam

 **Note if making strawberry jam omit lemon juice.*
All our pictures show triple batches.  These wonderful Tupperware bowls make jamming so much faster. 

Step 1- Wash, stem, peel, and pit or otherwise prepare ripe fruit for mashing.  In a large bowl, mash the fruit to desired jam texture.

Step 2 - Measure 2 1/4 cups of crushed fruit into a clean bowl.  For peaches add 2 TBSP of lemon juice.

Step 3 - Measure 5 cups of sugar into another clean bowl. We do this because we are tripling the recipe and if you lose count on sugar it will ruin the jam. For a single batch you could probably measure directly into the bowl.

Step 4 - Stir sugar into fruit (and lemon juice). Mix until completely blended.  Allow sugar and fruit to stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5- While the fruit and sugar is resting, bring 3/4 C of water and one box of pectin to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn the pectin.  **When making more than one batch, just getting the water to boil will take the 10 minutes of rest time or longer.  It is okay, it can wait longer than 10 minutes. But in a single batch you probably want to wait for 4-5 minutes before starting your pectin.Your sugar and fruit must sit so the pectin will allow the jam to set up. Sitting together, the fruit is releasing its natural pectin.

Step 6 -  Pour boiling pectin into fruit and sugar. Stir all together and continue stirring for three minutes.

Step 7 - Pour into containers or jars.  Allow to set up at room temperature before freezing. The box says to keep out for 24 hours.  We usually put the jars in the freezer as soon as the kitchen has been destickyfied. That can be a while with jam.  The best part of jam is tasting! Use a piece of bread as a spatula in your bowl to sample your delicious product.
I want to say the peach and strawberry jam from my childhood used 2 cups of peaches and 1 cup of strawberries.  We also made peach and pineapple.  This was because we didn't think people would like the plain peach jam.  To be honest it still isn't my favorite, but I have a lot of strawberry jam and I am not afraid of mixing things up.

We finished about 25 quarts of peaches and nine batches of jam.

It feels so good to remember how to "put up winter stores" for the season. 

Sep 18, 2014

Blast from the Past: Power Wheels

My kids LOVE Power Wheels! Just recently my sweetie ordered a couple of new batteries and the kids (especially Curly) have been riding them all over.

I had forgotten how much Sport and Scout enjoyed them when they were little until Bossy sent me these pics of them. These are from 2009, so they would be almost exactly the same ages as Curly and Baby Doll are now.

Why is it they grow up so fast?
Hey wait, Bossy just sent me more. Where does she come up with all of these? Hope you enjoy all my little riders from May 2009.


Crafty and Bean Dip

Scout and Taco


Sep 17, 2014

Not Worth It

Last night I told Baby Doll she had to eat a bowl of cereal because she wouldn't be able to eat after midnight. It wasn't long before reality dawned on her. With tears glistening in her brown eyes, she asked, "Why can't I eat, Mom?" The same thing came up two weeks ago and for exactly the same reason.

The dentist.

My sweet girl has had some real issues with her teeth. Two weeks ago she got a shiny silver crown and several other fillings. Today was supposed to be much easier with just two small cavities to fill on the other side of her mouth.

The process was the same, she still had to drink that medicine that made her a little loopy and unable to stand up straight. Then she sat in the big chair and watched Frozen. She was a real trooper through the whole thing and when it was over, the dentist confessed to me that the one filling was much deeper than he had expected it to be.

She got to choose 3 prizes and all of them were cute little rings like this one. She loves them, but I'm thinking they are just not worth it...

Sep 16, 2014

Guest Blog: CES Devotional Choir by Elder Dog Walker

I know that I should always talk about my mission, but I've been asked to talk about an amazing thing that's ever happened to me in my life, and of course, Sister Teach's life. She and I got to be in a combined Institute Choir for the CES Devotional with Elder D. Todd Christofferson. It was broadcasted throughout the world for everyone to see and hear Elder Christofferson and the choir.

For the past three weeks, Sister Teach and I went to rehearsal to make sure that we were all set with the other members to sing two of the best hymns from the hymnbook Be Still My Soul and God Be With You Till We Meet Again. She sang Soprano while I sang Bass.

After we sang the first song, Elder Christofferson got to give his talk about service and how we help everyone in the world to feel more faithful and to know that it's true. I wanted to embed the devotional from, but they didn't have a link that said embed, so I could just link it to you and you can watch it whenever you have the time. It was a great talk and to watch out for me and Sister Teach being in the choir. Teach is on the back row and I'm in the middle.

Sep 15, 2014

It's That Time of Year Again..

That's right! It's September and even though we are crazy busy and the deadlines are about 2 weeks earlier than normal, my kids all still want to enter the PTA Reflections contest. So today after a fun and exciting birthday party for my dad at Li'l Sis's house, we got home about 8:30. The hour or so window that followed was my opportunity for the kids to do something for 3D Art.

I remembered how much fun they had when we worked with clay for the Festival of Trees Christmas tree we donated last year, so I bought some different colors of Sculpey and let them have at it! Since I don't want anyone to borrow their fun ideas, I'm not going to show you the finished projects right now, but I'm sure glad to have one more category out of the way!

Now if I could just figure out a way to get them to extend all the deadlines by a couple of months...

Sep 14, 2014

Sneak Peek of School Pictures 2014

I love the fact that Teach is home and can take all our school pictures again! I hate to confess that we don't really have formal pictures from last year. I tried...

But as you have no doubt noticed by now, I'm not really a very good photographer. I just don't really get it. I love these cute pictures she took, but I just can't look through a lens and see what she can see.

Don't you just love that pic of Crafty? I know she is gorgeous, but Teach could turn her into a real model.

Maybe tomorrow or the next day Teach can grab some pics of Princess and Prima Donna. They are just so busy they are never home during the hours we have good lighting.

According to Teach that is extremely important. Not that I would know...

Sep 12, 2014

It's Off!

Hey, guess what we did yesterday?!
Baby Doll was so excited...

until she realized that it was still going to hurt
at least for a little while.