Jan 31, 2016

Preliminary Bridals

Honestly, I should have waited for Teach or Drama Queen to write this post for you, but I knew you would be excited to see what they were doing for the bridal pictures.

The day started early (I have to confess I was still in bed!) when Teach had an old mission companion coming over to do her hair and makeup. Drama Queen had already been assigned to be the Lady-in-Waiting, so all the pictures you are seeing here are the ones she took with her cell phone. We should have real bridals in a few days and I will share them with you too.

We happened to get about 6 inches of new snow this morning and I didn't know where they were planning to go or how these pics were going to turn out in a blizzard, but as you can see, they found somewhere and I think we will all be pleased with the results.

I hope their photographer knows how to photoshop out the goosebumps from the cold. I love this pic of Twiz. He is obviously holding her coat at the ready for the minute the pics are done. His look of love and concern are priceless.

Moments later, he made sure she was warm.

Jan 30, 2016

Up Too Late... Again

Here I go, staying up way too late again. Mostly it wasn't even my fault this time. I've been working on modifying Teach's wedding dress because she has her bridal pics tomorrow morning, but I finished that nearly 2 hours ago. This time it was Prima Donna.

She's a last minute sort of girl and even though she knew she had an audition at Weber State in the morning, she didn't remember she needed her dress washed until about an hour ago. That's when in a panic she brought it to me and asked me to help her.

Most of the time I'm inclined to let my older kids learn the hard lessons in life, but this time it just didn't seem like the right thing to do. She was already stressed and worried, cutting her music and trying to make her monologue fit the time frame. It's crazy, all that work and preparation plus a couple of hours of driving for exactly 60 seconds or less. How can they accurately judge someone's abilities in that amount of time?

So I stayed up, washed the dress and just put it in the dryer. My sweetie is taking her to Ogden in the morning. My day is full enough without that. And all I really want to do is snuggle up with the dog and Curly and sleep.

Jan 29, 2016

Jordan World Circus

When my sweetie told the guys at work he was leaving to go to the circus, they commented, "Isn't your life always a circus?" That may be true, but tonight we got to take our family to the REAL circus. We had so much fun!

We were given 10 free tickets and we used every one of them. The show started at 7:30 and since it was the last night in South Jordan, it was pretty crowded. The venue is smallish and that put us right down on the level with the action. They had the traditional 3 rings, but most of the time they only had action in the center one. When I asked the kids what they liked the best, they all had different answers. Crafty liked the dog act, Sport loved the motorcycles inside the ball. Baby Doll was fond of the elephants and the camel with the horses. My sweetie thought the guy running in and on the giant wheel was amazing.

My favorite (and Scout's) by far was the acrobats/jugglers. I don't know much about these guys, but there were 8 of them and they did some amazing tricks. I could have watched them for another 1/2 hour easily. But that would have kept us there even later. We didn't get home until 10:45 as it was and that was on a school night and we only live a mile from the equestrian park.

We noticed quite a few people leave early and I think that is mostly because the intermission went so long. During intermission, they allow people to purchase camel, pony, and elephant rides. I'm sure they don't always have this sort of response, but the intermission took more than 30 minutes and because the people were down in the arena, they kicked up a bunch of dust that made it difficult to breathe.

I know the circus counts on the extra income they make from the intermission, but perhaps they need to start the show at 7:00 so it doesn't go so late. My little ones were pretty tired. Thankfully, they are off track so they can sleep in tomorrow. Other than that, we had a great time.

***We were given free tickets for our honest review of this activity. No other compensation was provided.***

Jan 28, 2016

One Quilt Done

Remember at Teach's bridal shower when I told you we tied a couple of quilts for her? I finally finished binding one of them today. I want you to see how cute it is and let me explain why it's a pink frog quilt.

We found this fabric a long time ago and Teach wanted it to be a quilt for her. Time marched on, of course, and we didn't get it made. Until now. When I asked Twiz how he would feel about a mostly pink quilt, he said and I quote, "Real men wear pink!"

Pink or not, it will be wonderfully warm for them and a great addition to their new little apartment. Now to get working on the other one.

Jan 27, 2016


I'm so tired today.

There are so many things to worry about with the wedding and I still have real life to live. Sometimes it makes things difficult. Did I tell you I'm going to be working with the Cub Scouts again? I went to my first Pack Meeting since the Dog Walker stopped being the Assistant Cubmaster. Things are so different now. Good, but different.

I told you I finished delivering the wedding invitations yesterday. Drama Queen is making scenery for the reception. She is planning to make the church gym look like a forest.

I think we are almost finished with cookie sales. We've talked with most of our neighbors who typically order and I am just not interested in pursuing it any more this year, although I signed up Baby Doll and Scout for summer camp, so they better sell enough to pay for most of it.

I have one of the quilts almost bound for Teach and Twiz. I picked up the silk bouquet for her bridal pictures today. It's beautiful! My friend did it and she only charged me for the silk flowers. Drama Queen cut out the pieces we need to modify the dress and I need to have that done by Saturday for the pics. I also have Twiz's pants to hem from his suit and several of the girls's dresses to modify.

We are planning to do another ballet this spring and the Grant Proposal is due February 4, so that is something else I can put on my to-do list. Oh, and the Elder's Quorum President called me and asked if my sweetie and I would speak to the adults on Sunday.

I have a dentist appointment and a doctor's appointment for the girls tomorrow; a basketball game, dance runs, preschool, setting up the volleyball nets for the 1st ward, and... and... and...

I'm so tired tomorrow...

Jan 26, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's been a great birthday weekend!

We started out the celebrating on Friday night when my sweetie took me to Outback Steakhouse for dinner. It was so nice to spend some time together alone without the distractions of the kids. I told him we couldn't even discuss wedding plans... (of course that left us with nothing to talk about).

On Saturday we had all the basketball games and Baby Doll went to a birthday party for a friend and then we used our Pass of All Passes to see the Peanuts movie for free at the Towne Cinema in American Fork. Teach and Twiz spoiled us all with drinks and popcorn. You know how I feel about theater popcorn.

Sunday was the big party day. My sweetie made Belgian waffles with fruit and whipped cream for breakfast and then after church he cooked Prime Rib and we had all the kids over for dinner. We were only missing Fajita who had to work and Bean Dip who had already gone back to his mom's house. Princess made a carrot cake (my favorite!) and served it with ice cream. The kids showered me with amazing gifts and my sweetie gave me a heated mattress pad. I'm so excited to see how it works.

Then today was my actual birthday and I expected the celebration to be mostly over, but we partied on. My sweetie took me to lunch at our favorite Japanese place and he made french dip sandwiches out of the leftover Prime Rib for dinner. We watched the Space Jam movie for FHE that the Dog Walker gave me at my birthday party yesterday and then Drama Queen used the last of the fruit from the waffles and made mixed berry shakes for a treat.

(Why does it sound like all of our celebrations are about food??)

Last but certainly not least, I had nearly 100 friends and family members wish me a Happy Birthday in one way or another. Thank you so much to all of you who remembered! As I get older and older, just knowing that I have people around me who care about me is the most important thing in the world.

Love you all.

Jan 24, 2016

Ice Castles

Last week our dear friends around the corner gave Teach and Twiz free tickets to see Ice Castles up in Midway. It's about an hour drive from our home, but from what they told me, it is an amazing sight and well worth the drive. Some of my girls have also had the opportunity to go with their Young Women group and I heard the same thing from them. So of course when US Family Guide approached me with another promotion, i.e., free tickets to see the Ice Castles in exchange for an honest review, I immediately pulled up their production materials to see what was required. (Now remember, they have 4 sites for Ice Castles including one in Canada.)

Imagine my surprise when the first family pics I saw were of my sweet neighbor's daughter and her cute family! She used to be one of my Laurels when I was teaching in the Young Women program, and her two little ones were in the nursery when I was the nursery leader. Of course I couldn't resist adding their photo to my blog. I remembered that she and her family had gone back to Minnesota for a winter season to work on their Ice Castles display there.

I am excited for the opportunity to see what I've already heard is so awesome and if you want to go too, I can save you 15% off your admission fee. Use Code USFamily on IceCastles.coupon

Here's all the info on the Utah site and if you live closer to one of the others, you can find out all about them at their website at IceCastles.com

And guess what? The coupon works for all four sites!

The address is 2002 Soldier Hollow Road in Midway, Utah. It is open from January 8 through March depending on the weather. Times are listed on the website as well and they are open every day but Sunday.
From what I hear they have dozens of amazing ice features including archways, tunnels, slot canyons, ice slides, caverns, glacial waterfalls and even a frozen throne.

I'm thinking it sounds like a perfect Family Home Evening activity.

Jan 23, 2016

Pajama Party with the Cow

Sport took off last night for the scout Klondike, so we didn't have to go to his basketball game this morning. I was a little sad about that until Bossy reminded me we now had an empty morning so we could go to the Chick fil A Pajama Party with the Cow. I've had some free breakfast coupons that I've wanted to use for a while, and it sounded like the perfect opportunity.

We arrived at 9:30 and the line was short but the tables were full. Fortunately, by the time I got the food all ordered, everyone was seated. Bossy's family showed up a few minutes later. We had so much fun! They had games for the adults and the kids got to decorate a pillowcase or a princess bag with markers.

When we were finished, we were all given a gift card for a free dessert and a handful of mints. Not bad for the $23 I spent for 9 of us to eat a full breakfast. How was your morning?

Jan 22, 2016

Guest Blog: My Changing World by Princess

It's amazing how fast your whole world can change. Sometimes it feels like it will always be the same and then you get thrown a curve ball. I think my curve ball came after graduation but it was slow. I could see it going left but it wasn't quite in reach so I just stressed and tried to figure out how to prepare for it. I started doing what I believed everyone was expecting me to do. In the process I cut out many things that I loved and I was very unhappy. 

But I told myself that that is just what adults do. We go to school and work and do laundry and stop having fun and waste our lives away in the mundane. It got to the point where I would look back on the week and think, “Did I even smile once this week?” I was absolutely miserable and yet I wasn't positive of the exact source of the problem. So over the past 2 ish weeks I did all in my power to solve it.

  1. I went to some dance classes.
  2. I started my actual major program.
  3. I quit my job.
  4. I got a new job.
  5. I stopped trying to be a missionary girlfriend.
  6. I found Jaron.

And that, my dear friends, is when it all came together. On the second day I was with him I smiled so much my face literally hurt. He makes me laugh so hard my eyes water. He's my new best friend and biggest support. I can tell him anything and I always want to see him. The hardest thing in my life right now is when I have to say goodnight to him. (Well, that and the fact that I'm a couple weeks behind on laundry.) 

Being with him came with some drama and it brings even more futuristic questions, but I am finally happy. I'm so grateful that the Lord answered my prayers and blessed me. He knows what is best for each of us and He will give it if we ask, but in His own time frame.

Jan 21, 2016

Provo City Temple Tickets

After Teach was in the hospital all day yesterday, I almost decided not to get up at 5:30 for the Provo City Temple Open House. Tickets are kind of hard to get for a group as big as ours, but as it turned out, Teach was not up to going, so Twiz stayed home with her. Crafty, Prima Donna, and Sport were all worried about school since this is the last week of the semester, so they didn't go either and my sweetie stayed home to run them around. So there were only 7 of us.

Drama Queen drove and most of the kids snoozed in the back seat. We got there at about 6:50 for our 7:00 tour. We ended up being the very first ones on the tour today, so at least we didn't have to wait for anyone except for the sisters that were presenting the video.

The temple was originally the Provo Tabernacle and it burned down about 5 years ago, so the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to rebuild it into a temple. They used the original shell of the old building as a starting point and tried to make some of it the same. It is small, but beautiful.

I loved the stained glass windows and the murals on the walls. There were lots of stairs and it was pretty early in the morning for all that walking, but we persevered. Curly led the way and he only fell asleep once waiting for the video to begin.

We couldn't take pictures inside the temple, but we did take some in the video room and near the displays. They even had a camera set up to take pics and email them to us. We didn't think to stand on either side of the temple in the picture, so it is a nice pic of us...

Seriously though, if you live in Utah and you can get hold of some tickets, make the trip, it is definitely worth it. Look for tickets at www.lds.org 

Jan 20, 2016

Trauma for Teach

I spent most of my day at the hospital with Teach. She was having a minor procedure in outpatient surgery while she was still on her dad's insurance, but it became a long waiting process and a bit more complicated than expected. 
She was much happier going in than coming out.

I didn't take anything with me to keep busy, so I spent the day checking my email 500 times and looking at the same old stories on my Facebook feed. It was frustrating and frightening, but all is well and she is on the mend. Her recovery was slow and we ended up being at the hospital for nearly 8 hours.

I got home just in time to grab dinner and run to basketball. Now I'm exhausted and in desperate need of sleep. Teach is settled for the night and pumped up on pain pills so she can sleep, and I'm off to bed.

Jan 19, 2016

Winds of Change

I have finally recovered a bit from my weekend. The winds of change are blowing...

On Sunday I was called in for an interview and released from working with the Activity Days girls and immediately asked to work in the Cub Scouts, specifically the Wolf Den. I'm a little sad about that since I will miss having fun with all those cute girls, but Curly will be a Wolf in August, so I will enjoy that.

Princess has found herself a new boyfriend and is enjoying spending all of her time with him. She sent her missionary a letter explaining everything and he took it much better than I was expecting. Her new guy is already a returned missionary and he is very much like my sweetie in that he wants to be an engineer and he drives a Pontiac. OK, there are a few other similarities, but we won't go into them right now...

Curly and Scout are off track now, so we need to plan some field trips around all the wedding stuff. The only thing that isn't changing very fast is this stupid cold I've been fighting for over a week now. Even with all the extra sleep the last couple of days, I can't manage to kick it.

And other things, like selling Girl Scout cookies and coaching basketball, never seem to change.

Jan 18, 2016

Finding a Good Meat Thermometer

For about the last 5 years, my sweetie has cooked Prime Rib for Christmas dinner, but to get it just right (not overdone or so rare the kids won't eat it), he has relied on a meat thermometer. Unfortunately, he has not been able to find one he really likes.

So when Cave Tools approached me about trying their Quick Read Digital Cooking Thermometer, I was all over it. Besides, it meant that my sweetie would be doing the cooking and you know how I feel about that. So in his words, I will share his review and I will also add my 2-cents worth. The London broil was amazing! The best we have ever had...

"I was excited to try out the thermometer. I have a love/hate relationship with meat thermometers and I normally use them more for roasts and full-bird poultry than I do for steaks and chops. I know a nice instant read thermometer is best for steaks and thin meats, so I decided to give it the ultimate test, London broil.

London broil is a perfect cut of meat for an instant read since it is really a cut of thick steak, thick enough that it is hard to tell where it's at by just looking and it's also very easy to ruin. A well done London broil resembles an old shoe more than a meal and when two are required due to family size, keeping them the perfect temperature is not easy.

The thermometer worked great, and believe me, I put it to the test. Before I did the first flip, I barely inserted the thermometer and got basically an external temp and then I got a temp at 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 so I was able to see a temp gradient across the meat (he is such a nerd!). This gave me a feel for when to flip.

I flipped before the lower 3/4 was too warm, then repeating, I got the other side and ended up with two very nicely cooked London broils (I completely agree).

Just to give it one more chance (and to make Sandy happy), I tried it on two pork loins I was roasting. For roasts, I prefer a thermometer I can leave in and set an alarm for a specific temperature. But that is problematic because the probe draws in heat and causes uneven cooking and a flawed reading (who even thinks of this stuff? No wonder I don't like to cook, it's way too complicated).

The small diameter was a nice feature, less intrusion and fewer leaking juices. The temp is very quickly displayed, making the time the oven door is open shorter than with most thermometers, and I like the big, easy-to-read display.

The pork turned out great. The only negative thing I could think of was that the buttons are a bit small, but overall, this is a very nice thermometer."

So I have to tell you, when my sweetie and I bought the Prime Rib for Christmas this year, the sale was so good that he bought an extra one for my birthday next week... maybe turning 51 won't be so bad after all.

Our friends at Cave Tools wanted to make it easy for you to buy one of their awesome thermometers, so they even gave me the links to include with my post and a coupon code to save you 15% at Amazon. Just enter LH58KB66.

Amazon - meat thermometer

Or you can find them on their own website at Cave Tools

***We were given a free meat thermometer for our open and honest review of the product.***

Jan 16, 2016

Teach's Harry Potter Bridal Shower

Sorry to disappoint you last night. I was SO tired! But let me back up a minute.

As you know, I was up until nearly 6:00 AM finishing the second quilt for Teach and Twiz. I slept for a few hours, but with so much to do, I finally got up and started getting things together. 

We loaded the van and I got the first load over to the church about 1:30. I wanted to get the quilts set up and started well before our first guests arrived. Princess and Bean Dip put up tables and the kids worked on the chairs. 

At 3:00 we had a quick girl scout meeting (at the church) before cookie sales which started today so I could get all my paperwork in order. Then it was back in the gym to finish putting things together for the shower. Drama Queen showed up about 4:30 to finish the final decorating, and by 5:00, both quilts were up and ready.
Chocolate Frogs

By 6:00 we started setting out the food and I snapped a few pics for you. Princess took a bunch more, but mostly not when people were around. The guests started coming just before 6:30. Drama Queen did such a great job with this shower! Seriously, she spent at least 100 hours on it, probably more.

She and Crafty made 362 chocolate frogs and then put little collectible-type cards with all the family members in them. She made the 4 hour glasses with the different colors from the houses. She painted all the signs and the brick background for the photo booth. She made an amazing little cart out of things just around the house. Her goblet of fire was fabulous! And her homemade cauldrons were full of Bertie Bott's jelly beans.

And her dictates on the walls were hilarious. Not only that, she borrowed enough bundt pans to make this snake cake (again, all by herself), and 30 pounds of chicken salad! She is amazing and so full of energy. The ideas she comes up with for props and decorations prove why she is a drama teacher.

Teach and Twiz got plenty of beautiful and creative gifts as well. The quilts were not finished and gathered up until nearly 11:00. I wish we would have started even earlier, but once they were on the frames, all we could do was keep on tying. I will still have to get them bound, but now we are on to the actual wedding... hopefully after a couple of good nights' of sleep.

Jan 15, 2016

Making Quilts for Teach

It's been a rough couple of days trying to get ready for Teach's bridal shower tomorrow. I've been mostly camped out in front of the sewing machine finishing the quilt tops so we can tie them at the shower. Honestly, I was hoping to finish the second one way before now, it just didn't work out.

A part of me is sitting here noticing the clock and thinking I could just stay up all night. That is what Prima Donna would do. But I'm no good at pulling the all-nighters anymore. I was actually surprised to see the clock slip to 5:30 while I was serging away.

Here's a little glimpse of the quilts; this one just for fun. I'll let you see everything tomorrow night with pics from the shower. Or maybe I'll just go to bed early and let Drama Queen put up the post. She has done most of the work anyway.

Jan 13, 2016

Sport's a Poet

Sport has been studying the Diary of Anne Frank in school and honestly, it hasn't been one of his favorite books. He would much rather read something sports-related (go figure...). I think he was extremely grateful to finish up the story and move on to something else.

That's why I was so surprised when I saw this beautiful poem he wrote about World War II. I knew he could make up rhymes about silly things, but I was impressed with his creative insight. See what you think.

World War 2
Renaissance Man
It was a terrible thing, World War 2,
Many people didn’t make it through.
Tons of people did get killed,
With much sorrow, graves were filled.
In the camps they suffered pain,
They were shipped there by a train.
Some died in Death-gas showers,
And on death marches, marched for hours.
Even though some tried to hide,
In the end, most of them died.
With Hitler now, it was better before,
That’s why the Allies fought in the war.
Nazis were bad, people got smitten,
Look in Anne’s diary, it is written.
It truly was bad news,
That Hitler killed millions of Jews.
So that is why Hitler fell,
That all could heal and be well

Jan 12, 2016

Refinishing the Pew

My sweetie isn't happy unless he has a project going on and I think after two weeks off for Christmas, he was just itching to start something. So when I went to the fabric store to buy wedding stuff, I was surprised when he so willingly went along. I didn't realize then that he wasn't really interested in helping me choose ribbon and fabric for the quilts (although he was a good sport about it). He had something else in mind.

He had already decided he wanted to reupholster the church pew in my living room. First let me tell you that we have never really done any reupholstering, so this was all new territory (not that I did anything except run support).

I was a little nervous as I watched him tear it apart, but he was confident and a couple of days later, it was reassembled and it looks beautiful! One more project done...

...wait... it's only halfway done. I still have a pew on the porch and it's stuffing is popping out everywhere. Good thing he is an experienced upholsterer now.

Jan 11, 2016

Another Missionary

I am so excited to report that we have another missionary in our family! Bossy was set apart today as a Church Service Missionary with the Family History Group. I don't know exactly what she will be doing, and maybe we can get her to explain better. I do know it is unusual for a young mother to receive this sort of calling, but they really wanted her because she is a genius when it comes to all things Family History.

We joined her family at their church this afternoon and then we all came back to our house for dinner and a party (first one of January!). I love having all the kids together. We also solidified wedding plans and had the girls try on their dresses. I even managed to get a great idea for altering the wedding dress (with Drama Queen's help, of course).

This week will mostly be focused on the shower on Friday and Girl Scout cookie sales which start Saturday morning. Don't worry, those of you who live near me. The girls will still come around and gather your orders. Gotta have those Samoas!

Jan 10, 2016

Learning to Cook

I'm pretty sure it's no secret that I don't like to cook. Honestly, other than canning, cooking has never really given me any pleasure. It doesn't come naturally to me like it does to my sweetie. I don't get excited about new recipes. I would rather fold 10 loads of laundry than make dinner.

That said, I think it's really important to teach kids to cook. That natural progression can start with toast and move to cheese sandwiches and then eventually to french dip. My mom wasn't big on teaching us to cook. She much preferred to run her own kitchen and we were rarely allowed to participate in the meal planning or preparation. I sometimes wonder if that is one of the reasons (other than it's in my DNA) that I don't like to cook.

So I make my kids cook.

Well, actually, I get the Drama Queen to help teach them to cook. Scout needed to make a recipe for school with 7 ingredients or more so together they chose No Bakes Cookies. I thought you might want to see the cute pics Drama Queen took of Scout to prove to her teacher that she had completed the assignment.

Isn't she cute? And a natural-born cook!