"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ain't gonna be no carolin' tonight y'all

We reckon it's done gotten too durn cold to be out traipsin' around in the snow bellowing at the top of our lungs for other people's entertainment no how.
- JohnBob

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Job hunt continues

For those of you who know that John has been pursuing a consulting specialist position with Gallup, I thought I would give you the update. John went out to Omaha, Nebraska on the 3rd and had a good round of interviews there and we were very hopeful for a positive outcome. In fact, they all but offered John the job, telling him who his supervisor would be and that they were looking forward to having him in the office. Then, on Tuesday, we received a call informing us that they had not selected John for the position. The news came as a surprise, but we are doing fine. In the beginning, John applied for a position as an associate analyst, and in the process of interviewing, Gallup requested him to apply for the consulting specialist position as well. John is still in the running for the position he orignally applied for. Unfortunately, they are not hiring for that job until May 2009, so there is a little more wait involved. Oh well, life goes on and we are moving forward. Instead of a setback, we are viewing our position as still being on track for what we originally anticipated.


We got snow today, a very rare occurrence in these parts. Not just snow, but about 5 inches of it. Last night, Paul was sick, so I took the kids first things in the morning down to my parents house to keep Joy, Brigham and Hyrum off of Paul. When we came back for lunch, I noticed that someone had started shoveling our walk. I figured it was just the neighbor who had gotten going and not realized how far he had gone. After a while, I heard shoveling outside and figured it was our neighbor working on his driveway. When John pulled in the drive, I went out to meet him. And, there was our neighbor, who I have never met before, just finishing shoveling our driveway and walk. I could not hold back the tears. We have lived here for over a year, and I have never gone and introduced myself. I have waved in passing, but with John gone for a year, meeting your single, male neighbor isn't the world's best idea. And yet, when it snowed, and he didn't think John was here, he shoveled our walk. That gives me hope. Sometimes the world seems full of hostility and frustration. It is good to be reminded that there are others there as well. Thanks Matt.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Let it be stated up front that I am not just a snob. Okay, that said, I have not read Twilight. I started it last year while I was on bed rest and read 30 pages before I got tired of it. Yes, I was in the middle of reading book 5 of a 12 book series I was really enjoying, so I may have been a tad biased. But, I just didn't go for it. I mean, it is vampires in high school. Well, I am now out of reading material, so I thought, if I could get it on CD from my library, I would go ahead and listen to it. I don't really have enough time to read it, but I thought listening to it would be a way I could give it a second chance. I mean, EVERYONE I know loves it. Except my brother Charlie, and it actually worries me a little that I am with him on this one. So, I got it today. And, while I make cornbread for the ward Christmas party tonight, I am going to listen. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Caroling on the 1st

Details, details, details. John says I should list some. For those of you who will be caroling on the 1st, here are the plans:
  1. Meet at our home at 6pm. We will have the opening prayer, etc at that point. We will try to leave here by 6:15pm.
  2. We anticipate caroling until about 7pm - or until the kids drive us crazy, whichever comes first.
  3. If you have ideas of who you would like to carol to, bring your ideas. We will have a flexible plan of attack that can be modified with any requests.
  4. We will provide sheet music for carols, but if you have favorites, bring them too. We typically sing two songs per home - one secular and one sacred. Don't worry, we don't get too fancy, this is a family activity.

Any other questions? Call.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Yeah for Wraps!

Thank you for all your support. Charlie, your one measly little vote didn't stand a chance against the world of knowledgeable wrappers!

Christmas Caroling

Ahh, December. Cold weather, snowflakes, hot chocolate, and Christmas caroling. We have a big fan of caroling at my house - John. I enjoy singing, but John LOVES to carol. So, for a Family Home Evening in December, we always go Christmas caroling. This year, John proposed that we carol for every FHE in the month, starting on the 1st! When I suggested that we might get caroled out and perhaps we should wait until the 8th (at the earliest) to start, he had a better solution.

"Why don't you post it on your blog and see who wants to go with us?"

So, here I am, begging for your support. Come carol with us! It really is a fun, painless FHE, especially here where the weather is so moderate. And, did I mention it is fun?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wraps and Ranch

I invited my ingrate brother Charlie to have lunch with me today. He hung out with me for the morning, so I didn't want to just eat in front of him. I made a really yummy wrap (tortilla, spring mix greens, grilled chicken, shredded cheese and Ranch dressing) and we got into a theological debate. Charlie maintains that wrap is just a fancy word for burrito so that stores don't sound like they are selling Mexican food. He says that, since the main component is Mexican (tortilla) that makes the whole thing a burrito. I say, that because the thing does not have Mexican seasoning, it is not Mexican, and therefore not a burrito, but a WRAP! Obviously, the boy has issues. But then, my crazy sisters agreed with him, so now he thinks he is right. Bear me out here, a wrap is a wrap, and a burrito is a Mexican entree involving some kind of meat/beans and MEXICAN seasoning!

Also, he says that Ranch is not a cowboy dressing. (Please don't ask how we got there, the discussion was long, varied, and not really that interesting.) But, who knows any cowboy who uses any dressing other than Ranch. For heaven's sake, its called RANCH. How much more cowboy-ee can you get?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Last night, Joy (who, by the way, is 6) came home with something that troubled me. She was super excited because her school is having an assembly for Veteran's Day today (Tuesday). And, she was talking about voting. I am not sure to what extent the subject has been discussed in school, but there has obviously been some discussion. She asked me who I was voting for. I told her, "McCain". She was excited and wanted to know who Dad (John) was voting for. I told her, "McCain". She was so excited that both of her parents were voting the same (twins, she said) that she started dancing in the kitchen. She couldn't wait to go to school and tell her friends. Then, she got serious and said, "Oh, I guess I shouldn't tell. We need to keep our vote private." Apparently, someone in authority at school told her that she shouldn't talk about who she was voting for. I was concerned. We talked about that we have the right to keep our vote private, but we also have the right to share our opinions on candidates, and our preferences in voting. In fact, I believe we have an obligation to share our opinions. "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." Please, do something. VOTE!!! And yes, I voted MCCAIN!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wake Up Call

This morning, at 5:54am, I was woken up by a cry of,


A few moments pause and then -

Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp (you get the idea) on the bedroom wall.

After a minute or two of that -

And, none of these sounds were mad. They were just Brigham letting us know that he was awake!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Prop 8 Simplified

For one of the first times in my life, I am really concerned about a political issue. I have heard a lot about Prop 8 and have done some research. I found this video that does a good job of explaining what Prop 8 really means, and thought I would pass it on.

Hope that clears up some misconceptions!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I have been working on crafting a huge spiderweb on the front of our house. It is literally at least 10ft from one end to the other. And, it looks like a huge spider built it, not just a bunch of filmy stuff spread out. In the middle, is a big spider. Well, today was a perfect opportunity to use it. Joy was in the front lawn trying to adjust one of the strings (one of her favorite pastimes) and there was some teenage boy coming up the sidewalk just down from our house on his bike. So, I opened the front door (I had been observing from inside) and said, "Little girl, please be careful around the web, the spider might get you" just as the kid was riding past Joy on his bike. A moment later there was a SMASH! The kid, who was sucked in by my joke and was watching Joy and the spider instead of where he was going, ran into the trashcans on the sidewalk! It was stinking hilarious! Let me tell you, it made my day.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ah, fundraisers

Do you remember back when they used to have us (the school kids) go door-to-door with our fundraiser catalogs selling calendars, candy, and stationary? I thought the system had finally come to its senses and QUIT with the fundraisers. No, my kids just weren't old enough to do them yet. So, Joy came home last week with her fundraiser catalog, just about to wet herself with excitement. She decided we needed to buy EVERYTHING in the catalog. And, John should really take it to the job fair he was going to be attending the next day. When I explained what a job fair was, she decided instead of trying to sell stuff to people, he should just take it along for good luck. And, they tell you that the kids should not go door-to-door selling. They suggest that you just take it to work and leave it sitting on a breakroom table. Well, as it would get eaten within 30 seconds on the table in my breakroom (most people call it the kitchen table) we decided this was not the best alternative. Joy then decided that we should take it to all our friends. Of course, all our friends have kids doing the EXACT SAME fundraiser. Again, not a good option. So, we decided to compromise; I promised Joy that I would do a post on my blog about her fundraiser. That way, she is making an effort, and it is costing me as little agony or frustration as possible. If you want to help Joy on her path to fundraiser glory, go to: NW Fundraising and have fun. And, if you want to just be grateful you don't have worry about this, count your many blessings and laugh at me. However, if you choose option A, her orders must be completed by Tuesday, October 14th.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I was kneading bread this afternoon when my eyes happened to fall on my kitchen table, and I was reminded of what a lucky woman I am. There, in the middle of the remains of lunch and the two skirts I am working on, was a HUGE, GORGEOUS bouquet of flowers. What was the occasion? I just happen to be married to the most wonderful man in the world. He was out the other day and just picked them up because he could tell I was under a lot of stress. What a sweetie.

I have never told you about JohnBob? Well, let me do so now. John is 6'3" and all muscle. He is your much sought-after tall, dark and handsome man from your imagination. He was raised in the South, so he has a beautiful honeyed drawl that just makes your heart melt. He is absolutely the world's best father; I have never seen a man so in love with his children. When we first met, I knew that I wanted a man like him for the father of my children. He is kind and thoughtful and helps me to be a better person. He is strong where I am weak, and his example creates in me the desire to improve. He can be boisterous and out-spoken and the life of the party. He can be quiet and shy and oh-so cute! He is the love of my life, and I do not know what I would do without him!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hyrum turns ONE!

Hyrum turned one on Wednesday! What a sweet little bugger he is. As part of family tradition, the first cake the kids get is chocolate, and they sit it in the middle of the table to devour it. Hyrum was our most enthusiastic cake eater; he is pretty enthusiastic about everything, so that really isn't too surprising. He didn't get too into unwrapping the gifts, but he really liked eating the ribbon. Forutnately, Joy, Paul, and Brigham were willing to help with the unwrapping of the gifts, so they all got opened!
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Blueberries

I have been trying to settle on an evening to go pick so that those who are unavailable during the day can attend, and I have finally found it. Friday evening at 5:15 we will meet here and head over. The blueberries are just north of Dugwalla. Wear long sleeves and closed-toed shoes. Bring your own buckets. We will be leaving half of what we pick as payment. And, should it happen to rain, we won't go. Blueberries and water just don't mix. If you are planning on coming, please leave a comment so we know who to wait for!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blueberry Thursday

So, after much searching, I found blueberries. I know this is horrible timing, but if you want to go pick blueberries tomorrow morning, be at my house at 11am. The berries are FREE, but you have to leave half of what you pick with the owners of the bushes. And, I would strongly recommend against bringing kids. The patch is FULL of massive thistle bushes growing around and through the berries. Wear long pants and closed-toed shoes. I know that not bringing kids knocks out a lot of potential pickers, but maybe one or two people could watch kids and then the berries could be split among everyone? I would volunteer to be the watcher, but I have to go. Anyway, if you have questions, call!

Random Thoughts on Life

Today was a day from Arizona. As I drove to Applebee's (where I dropped my cell last night) I thought, 'You know, I can't imagine any of my friends yelling at their kids. I am sure they must do it occasionally (please say you do!), but I can't actually imagine them doing it.' And, I went to playgroup, and sure enough, my thoughts were right, I am sure my friends don't yell at their wonderful kids who seem to have none of the perpetual motion issues my little ones do. Did I sin horribly in a previous life? Is the Lord just pushing to see how much I can really handle? Really, things are pretty iffy around here. I still have yesterday's lunch dishes unwashed in my dishwasher, the house looks like a tornado ran through it, and I am sure that my children will be scarred for life by the amount of Dora they watched today. I begin to feel the crushing weight of it all (no, that isn't all, they are just the things that are publishable), and I wonder if I am the only one. NO, I CAN'T BE THE ONLY ONE! And I realize, other people have bad days (weeks, months, years...) too. Life does go on. Tomorrow is a brand new fresh day, with no mistakes in it. (Thank you Anne.) Why am I sharing this with you? So you don't feel alone. So that you will know that other people yell at their kids and don't do dishes for days at a time too.

Monday, September 8, 2008


This evening Joy made a very interesting observation. We were reading in Mosiah about Abinadi teaching king Noah and his priests. After the reading, Joy told me about the places you could go after you died - there was one where you could be with Heavenly Father, one where you could just see him, and one where you couldn't be with him at all because you were with Satan. She said, "I hope I will be in the first one. But, I think I will actually be in the middle one. I still pick my nose." WHAT? I hope that things as minor as nose picking won't keep you out, or I and my far more serious problems haven't a chance! So, we had a little talk about kids under eight, and how now is a great time to practice doing things correctly so that when it counts, you will already be ready. And, we talked about the atonement and repentance. They say that you need to be willing to listen when they want to talk, but it doesn't always go the way you expect.

Friday, September 5, 2008


As I came out of my room this morning, I was greeted by one very happy boy. He was so excited and proud to show me his accomplishment. Yes, that's it, the yellow stuff in the ziplock bag. When I asked Joy for the story, she said that she had gone to the bathroom, and when she came back, Paul had this bag. She sealed it for him. What a great big sister, and I have to say that I am grateful for the help.

Did I mention that Paul LOVES Hyrum? He is always trying to squeeze and love him. Fortunately, Hyrum is very good humored about it all.

And, Brigham has given new meaning to the term "climbing the walls." If you click on the picture and get closer, you can see how proud he is of this new skill. Obviously, our house doesn't lack for fun!
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Confessions of a fair to middlin' cook

Have you ever looked at your life and said, "What is the one thing I could do that would make the most difference?" I don't usually do it, but at this point, it is hitting me over the head. I know that if I could really immerse myself in cooking, it would really improve my family life. But, I just don't do it. It isn't that I don't want to (okay, maybe it is) but mostly it is that I don't know how. I would love to spend a month or so at a good cooking school (alright, just about anywhere but doing dishes would be good) but, like most of the rest of the world, I just can't. So, I continue to plod away, making the same kinds of things, day in and day out, and not really enjoying it. It isn't that I can't follow a recipe, I can! I am actually pretty good at following a recipe. I just don't have enough recipes I really like, and I am horrible at recognizing good ones! And there are very few things I detest more than putting a bunch of work into something and then having it turn out like slop! So my question is, how do you identify good recipes? Really, I would love to just request everyone's favorite recipe. I figure, if I could get one GREAT recipe from everyone I know, I could toss out the ones that just don't match my taste and still have a good stockpile of tried-and-true recipes. So, who wants to share? I know, I wouldn't really take the time to do it either, but here's hoping!


Okay, I have to brag. Brigham is just the cutest little bugger around! He is totally obsessed with letters right now. He can correctly identify ALL his letters. He can recognize 75% of their signs. He can DO some of their signs (signing isn't as easy as it seems when your hands are that small.) AND he knows what sounds ALL the letters make! I have not worked on this with him much at all, he has just picked up on what Paul and Joy have been doing. He is so dang cute about it. He finds letters all over the place and has to name them and tell you what they say. He is also doing a bunch of other cute stuff right now.
  • He loves to say, "Mom, I have a question for you."
  • He tore his pillow open and pulled the guts out the other day. When I went in, he asked where the sticky tape was so we could stick it back together. (He is a bit obsessed with Dora, and he has been watching a sticky tape episode recently.)
  • When he goes potty in the seat (which he does quite well now) he gets an M&M. He knows it, so as soon as he is done, he hops of the seat and says, "M&M for the addigator?" Yes, he seems to think potty on the seat turns him into an alligator.
  • He doesn't like sitting on his chair, ever, so when he feels like falling off he says, "Mom, I'm falling off my chair!" and plops off.

Dang, none of these things sound as cute as they are in real life. Oh well. Come visit and partake of the cuteness yourself.

1st Grade

School starts late here, so today was Joy's first day of 1st grade. Do you think she was excited? We met her teacher at a ice-cream social on Tuesday, and she seems great. Joy was ecstatic! When we took her pictures this morning, we decided, instead of making her take normal pictures, to just let her be herself. Actually, John tried to tone down the poses, she was much more enthusiastic. What a ham!

I have been worried for a while that I wasn't really feeling the way I should be about Joy going back to school. I was almost as excited as she was a the prospect of the work I would be able to get done while she (and Paul soon) were at school. But, somehow, last night it hit me that she would be gone ALL DAY, like 8:30am to 3:30pm. I cried several times last night when it finally sunk in. Half-day wasn't so bad, but all day is a bigger adjustment. Anyway, she loved it. And, I must say that it was quite gratifying when she came home this evening and said how much she missed me. What a love.

Did I mention that Joy's skirts is one of my creations? I have a skirt I just love, and I took the idea and adapted it to this. Joy actually helped make it, she ran the pedal and I guided the fabric.
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Sorry to be so flaky!

I just realized that it is a holiday weekend, so I am holding off blueberry picking tomorrow. I will call on Monday or Tuesday to see about scheduling a day next week. If you have a preference, leave a note!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Competition in the blueberry market

John went to the Farmer's Market for me today, I was in the middle of making dinner when I remembered. And, Bonnie and her berries weren't locate-able. However, according to the competition, Bonnie's berries aren't ready anyway, but for the same $2/pound, we can set an appointment and come pick with them. So, I think I will still try for Saturday, around 10am?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Okay, after many weeks of waiting, the blueberries are ready! Unfortunately, they are only available on Saturday and Sunday. And, I haven't gotten a real person on the phone to find out times. However, Bonnie's Blueberries is supposed to be at the Farmers Market tomorrow, so I will find out times then. In the meantime, I am definitely going Saturday! Blueberries are $2/pound u-pick, but I have got to have some berries!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Peanut Butter Sandwhich Bar

One of the fun things we do occasionally is a peanut butter sandwich bar, akin to a potato bar. I put out peanut butter on a piece of bread for each kid, and they get to choose which toppings they want. Today, here were the finals:
  • Joy - PB and marshmallows, chocolate chips and strawberry/blueberry jelly on toast
  • Paul - PB and raisins and chocolate chips
  • Brigham - PB and chocolate chips
  • Hyrum - PBJ (he's too litte for chocolate)
  • Me - PB and chocolate chips and raisins
  • John - PBJ - weighed about a pound!

Lots of fun, and a nice change from the regular old PBJ!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Anne of Green Gables

Every night, I read to the kids. When all goes well, we put them in bed at 6:30pm and then I read for about a half an hour. First they get a chapter or two of some book they wouldn't have the patience to sit still for. We have done the Narnia books, the Ramona books, and assorted others. Right now, we are working on Anne of Green Gables. And, I have to say, Anne is my all-time, no-questions-asked, FAVORITE book in the whole world! I haven't read her for years, but I thoroughly enjoy it. And, we end up reading more than a chapter or two, because John and I are enjoying it so much. The cutest is when I find John in our room reading ahead! After their story book, I also read a chapter of the Book of Mormon to them. I figure, there is no time like the present to start. I have to say, I really think this is a great idea. It gets the kids settled down for bed (usually) and gives them a chance to be exposed at a younger age to good books. It is a treat for us all, and I like the idea that they will have the memories of me reading to them. I also record some of the books, so when the night is really busy or there is a babysitter, they can just put on a tape and the kids still get their book.

Middle Name

Brigham is obsessed with asking people their names and telling them his. So, the other day over lunch, John asked him what his middle name was. His response? "Fruit Snacks". (Of course, Brigham says it fruit thnacks) We thought it was a fluke, so John asked him again what his middle name was. "Fruit Thnacks". Funny, but not as funny as when he asked him again tonight. "Brigham, what's your middle name?" "Fruit Thnacks". Obviously, we mis-named that child!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


On Thursday afternoon Joy was invited by some friends from the ward to go crabbing, fishing, and miniature golfing. Needless to say, she had a blast. And, they came home with four crabs. The one in the bathtub is the one given to Joy, and John and Joy ate him. I have never cooked a crab before, and I have to say, that the way his eyes kept popping up above water level as he boiled (even though I knew he was dead) was really disturbing!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Day

Yes, and I even parallel parked for the first time in my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE! With one real car in front and one in back (instead of just practice trash cans.)
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Things we have been doing in our spare time

Um, do we really have spare time? Not really. Actually, I had a revelation the other day. I was trying to figure out why I only seemed to have a fraction of the time I used to, and I realized that John is now home (which takes a lot of my free time) and Joy and Paul are not in school. And, Hyrum is now getting big enough that he requires more attention. So, we haven't been doing a whole lot.

However, we did end up going on the Elder's Quorum camp out, and that was fun. Paul ended up going home with me and Hyrum (he had bad bowel trouble), and then I woke up in the night to the sound of pouring rain. I had gotten to sleep late because, with my few minutes of spare time, I made a skirt for Joy. (See A Place For Crafts for more details.) After I heard the rain, the rest of the little sleep I got was very disturbed by stress-dreams of family wet in a tent and not getting the pound of bacon I brought home back in time to be cooked in the morning. Then, at 6:35am, John called and said, "Come get us, we are wet." I got the boys up and we were at the campsite by 7am. John went back later to get the gear, it was still raining at that point.

Later that afternoon, we went to the Highland Games south of us. It was a lot of fun. At the beginning, Joy was really scared by all the men with long hair and beards running around in skirts (kilts), but we explained things to her, and she got used to it. And, she loved the participatory dancing (I know, big surprise). Unfortunately, I can't find the pictures we took. We all had fun, though.

And, we did have a break and got a few nice days of weather. The kids and I went out and played in the sprinkler and I got a few cute pictures of Hyrum. He is standing on his own now, but I couldn't quite get far enough away so you could tell.
This? Hyrum with his mouth over the lens before I could snap a picture. If you look at the far outside left edge, you can see a little light - the edges of his mouth!

Brigham's 3rd Birthday!

Yes, Brigham is now 3 years old. Sometimes I can't believe it. He is as sweet as can be, and busier than that. He is talking like crazy, and favorite phrases include, "What's your favorite color?" and "What's your name, (fill in the name)." He loves to color and play with whatever Paul or Hyrum has. What a blessing he is in our lives. And, here are the pictures from his birthday party!

Friday, August 8, 2008


We are blessed to live in a great ward with great friends. Tonight is the Elder's Quorum family camp-out. From what I hear, 17 families have said they would be attending! I can't even guess who all those families might be. Of course, we are one of them. I have to say, although I am really excited, I am also a little anxious. In our almost 12 years of marriage, we have been camping only a few times, like less than five. First, I was a big wimp and wouldn't do much. Then, we always seemed to have a baby, and camping with a baby is a daunting thought. But, we are going tonight. And, at least John and the three oldest kids are planning on actually staying the night. Hyrum has a runny nose, so he and I may go home for the sleeping part of the night. But, camping in August shouldn't be that cold, you say? When we wake up in the morning, the thermometer reads low 50s. It may get up to 70 during the day, but it is 60s by dusk. So, with the cold night air, Hyrum and I might skip out. And, I am really sad. Our ward is great, and I would really like to stay all night. Oh well, we will see how it goes. I think the kids will enjoy it immensely. And, if I can't find the pump for the air mattress, I might not be too sad to be coming home!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Freezing Berries

One of my biggest gripes about freezing berries is that when you take them out, they are all stuck together in one big lump and so much harder to use. So, this time, I tried out a new idea. I laid the berries (raspberry) in a single layer on cookie sheets and froze them that way. Then, when they were frozen, I transferred them into baggies in the freezer. It worked great! We used them tonight, and they were nice and individual, and they thawed beautifully. I know, I am a genius!


Before I ramble on about Joy's day in charge, let me just take a moment to extol the virtues of intentional parenting. What is intentional parenting? It means that you plan and do things for a reason; you don't just react to what comes your way. It takes more work, but the results are well worth the investment.

Joy. When I got up this morning, I went down to find that Joy had already changed Brigham's diaper and got him dressed. Yes, he did have some play-clothes on, but those were over his normal clothes. Joy decided that she wanted pancakes for breakfast, so I sat at the counter and gave instructions while she cooked. And, even though it took her an hour from start to finish, she got it done. Although some were a little lumpy from not quite getting turned over all the way, none were burned and only a few were slightly underdone. She did a good job with setting the table, and got the boys' bibs on and brought them to the table. I must admit that I was concerned with how well she was doing. The point was for her to realize how much work it is, not to just breeze through things. After breakfast, she went to the planner and planned the day. We had quilt group, and she didn't argue about the necessity of going there. But, after naps, she had us at the park for three hours and then a picnic dinner before bed. After planning came the work. She was supposed to empty the dishwasher and load the breakfast dishes, but it took her about an hour of dawdling before it was time to go to quilt group. So, when we got home, she made lunch (bread with jelly and pieces of cheese), and while I put the boys to bed, she did the dishes. Joy is definitely old enough to start doing the dishes, I was really impressed with how well she did.

Okay, I guess you don't really need a blow-by-blow account of the day. She did choose to watch a movie during quiet time, something she doesn't usually get to do. And, when a friend came over to play, Joy told her what was going on. The friend thought it sounded great and thought Joy should do it every other day. "NO! It's too much work!" was Joy's immediate response. We did go to the park, but when we got home, Joy realized that we didn't have time to do a picnic dinner. So, waffles at home were her choice. Again, she made them herself while I sat at the counter and read. And, they were great waffles. All seemed to be going well. Although, at one point in the day, she asked me to help and I sassed back about it. She looked at me with defeated eyes at that point. Anyway, back to dinner. So, all was well until about halfway through dinner when John told Joy that four helpings of whipped cream with her waffles was too much. She just looked at him with sad eyes and her chin started to quiver. Behind my hand I reminded him that Joy was in charge. He apologized and told her he had forgotten and she could have what she wanted. Her chin still quivered, but she pulled it together. After dinner, I told her that, after the boys went to bed, she would be responsible for dinner dishes. I expected her to be excited about the chance to stay up later, but she wasn't. John asked what she needed us to do to help, and she asked him to clear the table. "Do you usually clear the dinner table?" (She is supposed to, but it doesn't usually happen.) "No, I usually argue." So, I suggested to John that he needed to argue. He said, "Um, do I have to do it? Um, maybe I could just, you know, go outside and play for a while." Joy looked at him, turned around, and walked out of the room. She went to the stairs and just cried, "It's just too much!" She was obviously worn out and couldn't handle the emotional strain anymore. So, John went and comforted her (since he did the teasing.) We told her to get her jammies on, and she said, "Dad, could I please be done being in charge?" We discussed it, and decided that she had done a good job, and could be done.

After jammies were on, we did a little debrief of the day. When we asked what Joy had learned, she said that she needed to help more and not argue; she needed to serve more, and that Mom really did a lot. Later, after I went to YW and John was laying down with her, he asked how the day had gone. "It was a lot harder than I thought." When John inquired what she meant, she said, "I thought I would be like a queen who could just sit around and tell people what to do, and they would bring me things and stuff." Ah, it was worth it. I would do this again in a heartbeat! In order to be successful, you really have to let them do EVERYTHING they feasibly can do. I took the stuff with the boys she really couldn't, but otherwise, she did everything. And, a little arguing like they do helps them to understand your frustration when they do it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Joy has become very concerned about the balance of power at our house. She feels like I have it all and she has none. She is constantly complaining about not getting to be in charge, so I have decided to let her be in charge. Of course, along with that comes responsibility. We talked, and tomorrow she is going to be responsible for meals, chores that I usually do, and the boys - and, she gets to be in charge. Although, for his safety, I am still responsible for Hyrum. Joy is quite excited at the prospect, and I hope it will be a great teaching opportunity. We talked a bit about what her responsibilities would include and came upon some things she didn't want to do. She decided that the things she couldn't do, she would just tell me to do, and I would have to do them. "What if I don't want to do them?" "Well, you will just have to sit on the stairs until you do!" (The usual punishment for disobedience or sassing.) I think tomorrow could be an interesting day. John thinks we need to give her the whole day, but I think I will have to see how things go.


Yes folks, the end is in sight. Charlie is doing so well that they are going to let him come home on Thursday! That is 7 August! We are SO excited!

Installing a Husband

Dear Tech Support,
Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed adistinct slow down in overall system performance, particularly in the flowerand jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1. Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.
Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix theseproblems, but to no avail. What can I do?

First, keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.
Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme.HTML and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If that application works as designed, Husband1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5. However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 todefault to Grumpy Silence 2.5.
Whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstances install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of allyour system resources.)
In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0-program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.
In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memoryand cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Cooking 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.
Best Wishes Babe!
Tech Support

- my sister sent me this and I couldn't resist not posting!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Charlie Update 4 Aug

I got to go down and visit Charlie yesterday! My family was going down and had a couple of extra seats, so Joy and I went. Let me first thank John for taking the three boys so I could go and actually enjoy the visit. He would have kept Joy too, but she was in tears at the prospect of not being able to go; she really misses Uncle Charlie. Charlie is doing great. He seems almost completely back to normal, only now he has a cast and a neck brace, and he gets a little tired. However, he was usually tired, so that isn't so unusual either. He is doing in-patient therapy every day except Sunday, and it sounds like they keep him pretty busy. When he was first admitted, one of the tests he did was to see if he could fry an egg and make coffee. As he doesn't drink coffee, it is my guess that he failed that one. The doctors told him that he would probably be released by the 14th of August, and we are all excited about that. Charlie is hoping to do really well in his therapy and get released even earlier. I think we could all handle that!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Naked as a Jaybird and Raspberries..not at the same time

Brigham is at that age where he has all sorts of neat tricks. His neatest trick is climbing up the ledge of his window and standing there. I have a lock so he can't get it open, a trip from the second floor is not my idea of fun. At first, I thought we was climbing things in his room to get up there, so I took everything but his bead out. No, he isn't using assistance. This is quite a feat when you consider the ledge comes up to his chin. He is using pure force. Well, one day, I heard him doing his I'm-stuck-on-the-seal squeal, so I went in to check on him. There he was, with the blinds pulled down behind him, NAKED AS A JAY BIRD! He got his diaper off (yes, he is un-potty trained) and climbed in the window. I am sure the neighbors think I am a neglectful mother. But, it was pretty cute, all things considered.

And, today we went back on the spur of the moment and picked raspberries. I must say, much better picking. I came home with about seven pounds..I think I ate three!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Girls Night Out - Rock Band!

I am in need of a Girls Night Out, and I am too impatient to wait. So, Thursday (31 July) at 7:30pm, let's do Rock Band at my house. Bring a snack to share, if you are so inclined, and we will let our hair down and have fun!

Only Four Left!

I haven't followed up much on my exercise regime, but I am happy to say that I ONLY HAVE 4 POUNDS LEFT 'til I hit the weight I was working toward! I have fallen off working out with the business of life, but I stepped on the scale yesterday, and realizing that I only have four pounds left until I am my pre-baby weight is extremely motivating! I think I may have to pick those kettlebells up after all! (I think I have used a lot of exclamation points, do you think I am excited?)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Raspberries Take 2

Last week the raspberries weren't so ripe, so let's try again. Tuesday at 10am worked for me, so how about that this week too? Leave a note so we know who to watch for. And, hopefully, there will be more ripe berries this week!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Sweet Little Man

I have made it a habit to go in and check on the kids at night before I go to bed. Tonight is a good example of why I do it. When I went in to check Paul, I found him asleep - wearing a backpack with a bunch of books in it and arms wrapped around a child-sized suitcase. I removed the backpack, but he woke up and insisted that I put the suitcase back next to him. What a sweet little bugger!

My newest blog

As usual, I am trying something new. I am now the Laurel Advisor in my ward, and I have started working on Personal Progress. My goal for knowledge entails learning to cook healthier and use a menu. So, I started a new blog. A Place for Food is my attempt to create healthy, tasty weekly menus. Please feel free to visit and contribute! I admit, I totally stole the idea from This Week For Dinner, please visit and see her really cool site, then come back and contribute to mine! I like what she does, but I don't usually have recipes for her food, so that is why I am doing my own. And, I am not really happy and fulfilled unless I am doing something new.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Car

This week, my life seems to have been consumed by the details of Charlie's life, and I am very grateful to be able to say that. Yesterday, I was able to go remove his personal belongings from his vehicle. This is the first time any of the family has seen what is left of his car. The towing service was very gracious and stayed open a little late so I could get there. After we took care of all the paperwork, I was told to brace myself before looking at the vehicle. I had seen the picture in the paper, so I thought I was somewhat prepared for what I would find. Let me state here and now that there is NO WAY Charlie should still even be alive. If that boy wasn't as thin as a rail, there is no way he could have survived, and I am sure that the only way he did was that the Lord was protecting him. I did not even try to go around to the driver's side of the vehicle, there would have been no point. How any human being could have been in the space left is beyond me. I think the Lord watched over me too as I removed Charlie's stuff; the sight of his car should have been overwhelming. I am a bit of a crybaby as it is, and this definitely should have sent me over the edge. How grateful I am for a Heavenly Father who loves and watches over his children. If I was grateful for Charlie's safety and surprised at how minor his injuries were before, I am now in awe.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Charlie 25 July

What a great day for Charlie! This morning he woke up and talked to Dad. Dad asked how Charlie was doing, and he said, "okay". Dad asked his name and he said, "Bill." Dad was puzzled and asked again and he said, "Bill" and smirked. He was making a joke! Hugely exciting for us. Of course, he went immediately back to sleep.

As the day has progressed, he has gotten even better. Dad was on the phone and Charlie opened is eyes, looked around, and asked about Mike's mission call. When Dad told him where it was, he said, "Wow!" and went back to sleep.

After a while, he opened his eyes, looked around, saw Mom and said, "Hi, Mom."

Later he was awake and talking to Dad. Dad asked how he felt and he said he hurt and was hungry. Dad asked if he had any questions and he asked, "What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?" For those of you who aren't familiar with the question, it is a Monty Python line famous in our family.

And later, a family from our ward came down to visit. Katie went to a Spanish-speaking mission, and she and Charlie had a conversation in Spanish.

Oh yes, and the medical part. Charlie had surgery done on his hand last night. He now has four screws, two on each side of the break, and they are screwed to the next bone over. He will be in a soft cast for two weeks and then in a hard cast for six weeks. He will have to wear the collar for six weeks because of some stretched ligaments in his neck.

I don't think I can tell you how pleased I am. We were (and still are to some extent) concerned about the head trauma Charlie received. John warned me that he might have some problems with planning, memory and organization. However, I don't really think Charlie had any of those skills to start with, so it won't be much of a change really.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mission Call

After much waiting (okay, not really that long, but it felt like it) Mike's mission papers came. And he is going to...(drum roll, please)... Jakarta, Indonesia! Wow! Talk about a surprise! I wasn't there when the papers were opened, he took them down to the hospital to open them with Mom, Dad and Charlie, so I can't tell you the look on his face, but we are SO excited. He will go into the MTC on October 22nd. YEAH MIKE!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Charlie Update

Things have been crazy around here today, but I wanted to take a moment to let you know how Charlie is doing. I talked to Dad this afternoon, and Charlie has been taken off the sedatives. He has woken up and said "yes" and "no." He has opened his eyes several times, but is still mostly resting. Dad is very optimistic. He will have to have surgery on his hand tomorrow (the bone broken in his pinky is actually a compound fracture in the palm part of the hand and so has to be set and taken care of surgically.) The MRI from his head to sternum showed nothing other than the fractured disc in his neck, which is not effecting anything else. They have taken all the tubes out of his mouth and he only has one in his nose now. Charlie is doing MIRACULOUSLY well. He has been moved out of the ICU into another part of the hospital. I am sure that he was being protected in this accident.

The below is a picture of his car after the accident taken from our local paper. I am including the picture only so you can see what a miracle it is that Charlie was not more seriously injured. A state trooper called me today trying to positively identify Charlie. When I talked to him, he said that the paramedics on the scene did not expect Charlie to last the night. He was amazed when I related Charlie's injuries to him, he was sure they would have been far more critical.

I have to, one more time, thank all those who have called and offered help and sympathy. It has been wonderful to feel such love at this time. Thank you for your prayers, I know they were answered.


Today, my brother Charlie (yes, of the infamous garage) was in a car accident. He is in stable condition now, but we did have a bit of a scare. It was really rather interesting that I found out about the accident about six hours before I realized Charlie was involved.

We went to pick raspberries today, and on the way home, they were re-routing traffic because of an accident. I think I was probably there very shortly after it happened, because they were just starting to turn cars around. I didn't think much of it until this evening when my brother Mike called to say that Charlie was in a hospital two hours away. Mom and Dad are both gone (Mom in Nevada with my sister who is getting ready to have her baby, and Dad at Scout Camp with my two youngest brothers) so Mike went to work. After a while, he had called Mom and started the search for Dad. I called my friend Becky, and within minutes I had several calls from friends in our ward volunteering to help. Within the hour I had the kids in bed, and Chivaun, Laurie and Katie at my house to watch them. They were doing dishes and cleaning before I left. Becky came over a little later to stay with the kids (it was 8pm when we left) and field phone calls. You don't usually find out how much people care, but I feel it now.

When we (John, Mike and I) got to the hospital, I was prepared for a shock. We were told he was in a head-on collision going 55mph, and that he had head injuries and assorted breaks. The shock was how good he looked. They had him hooked to a ventilator because he was sedated to keep him from ripping tubes out, but the reality was, he looks great. He had some stitches above one eye, a compound fracture in his pinky and a broken wrist on his left arm, he has a broken disc in his neck and a bruised lung. But, the break in his neck seems to effect only that bone. He is in miraculous condition considering the severity of his accident.

How grateful I am to have a Heavenly Father who was watching over Charlie, and great friends who were watching over me. I will post more as we find out more of how he is doing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"It's All About Mom" tag by Joy

1. What is something mom always says to you? "clean my room"
2. What makes mom happy? "when I obey her" - she's right on that one!
3. What makes mom sad? "when I don't obey her"
4. How does mom make you laugh? "tickling"
5. What was mom like as a child? "a helping child"
6. How old is your mom? "(giggle) she's 31"
7. How tall is your mom? "Woah, I don't know that! 33" long?"
8. What is her favorite thing to do? "play outside with the kids" Hmm, hers must be mine, right?
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? "that's a hard one, play with my brothers"
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? "being such a great mom"
11. What is your mom really good at? "being a really good mom" I promise, I did not coax her on this!
12. What is your mom not very good at? "okay, that's pretty hard, I've got to think for a little while. Sleeping when Dad's around." When I asked why, (I was perplexed) she said, "cause he snores"
13. What does your mom do for her job? "be a mom"
14. What is your mom's favorite food? "egg salad sandwhich"
15. What makes you proud of your mom? "for being such a great mom"
16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? "a dancer" We don't do many cartoons at our house, so I am not really sure she knew what I meant. However, me as a dancer is definately fictional!
17. What do you and your mom do together?
18. How are you and your mom the same? "brown hair"
19. How are you and your mom different?
"blue eyes, brown eyes"
20. How do you know your mom loves you? "for being such a great mom, that's how I know"

Joy tags Gabby, Kara, Francis, Maira, and Brady

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I am always interested in people and what they think and remember, so when I found this on a friend's blog, I had to try it.

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.


I think I am going to have to start posting in mass. Since John is home now (yes, he did make it!) I have to spend more time doing wife-ly things. I guess I should say I GET to spend more time doing wife-ly things. As a tangent, I was talking to a friend on Saturday night, and she asked how I got so much stuff done. Firstly, I don't feel like I get even half the things I want to done. But secondly, I didn't have a husband around. Lots of bloggers I know don't have the time they want to blog because they have so many other roles to fill. When a big one gets knocked out, you can fit other stuff, like blogging, in. Okay, end of tangent. So, since John is still getting accustomed to the time change, I am going to take a moment and do a mass post.

Pioneer Day Picnic
Our ward had a Pioneer Day picnic this Saturday, and it was a lot of fun. They did a bunch of races and Joy competed in all she could. She did the sack, wheelbarrow, and three-legged race. She tried hard and had fun. Brigham even tried the wheelbarrow. I was chasing around Paul and Brigham so I didn't get pictures of them all, but here are some I got. Joy and Brigham are wearing their duck hats, so just look for the yellow hat and you will have located them in the picture.

Sack Race

Wheelbarrow. I don't think it is a good sign when you start laying down!
Or on your head! Leith and Brigham had a bit of a hard time figuring things out. Brigham got the stand-on-your-hands concept, but he never did figure out that he was supposed to move forward. Eventually, Leith just picked him up and ran.
Joy and Dallyn understood things a little better.

They did another Wheelbarrow, and Joy and I did that one. Things were really bunched at the beginning (and Paul thought it was a wagon race),
and with those darn hats on, Joy couldn't see where she was supposed to go. About five feet out, she started going sideways across the field, and there was a pile-up when she and I went down.

However, we did get up and try again.

And, just because I have to brag, my friend KellyAnne and I won the adult three-legged race. In fact, we won by such a long lead, I don't think it was even really fair to call it a race! If you check out the picture of the pile-up, you will see KellyAnne in the pink driving her wheelbarrow. We are very similar in height and build, and lots of people mix us up. I think that similarity gave us a big advantage over the husband and wife teams in our ward who were so mismatched in size. We'll let them believe that, anyway!
And, we found a wagon for Paul at a garage sale. If you have had the pleasure of meeting Paul, you will know that he is a wheel man. If it has wheels, he loves it. This particular wagon was built for legos, but Hyrum fits it just right.
I think Hyrum needed the helmet more than Paul!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Raspberries Tuesday at 10am

The date has been set. We will meet at my house at 10am on Tuesday to pick raspberries. You don't need to bring any equipment, just yourself and whatever children you want. Raspberries are $1.89 per pound. We will probably only stay about an hour, the kids tend to get restless after that.

John is coming home TONIGHT!

Due to the public nature of this blog, I have not mentioned the fact that John (husband and father of our family) has been in Iraq since June of 2007. He worked for a contractor over there providing support services for the military. But, tonight, he comes home for good! I cannot possibly tell you how excited I am! And, I cannot possibly express my gratitude for my parents and brothers who live just down the street and have helped and supported me while John as been gone. Being the single parent of four children is not easy, but it would have been impossible without their assistance.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Car Care

Why am I blogging? I have too much to do, and this is totally a non-essential topic! However, I am an addict.

I was cleaning the car out today, and decided it was time to replenish my car kit. I am quite fortunate to own a van with space under the seats. Just pop up the floorboard, and there is all this nice extra storage space. So, a couple of months ago I decided to start utilizing the space. Under one seat I have:

  1. A sweatshirt for each member of the family (yes, we live in the Pacific Northwest, they are essential even in JULY!)
  2. A Moby wrap
  3. A change of pants and underwear for the three boys
  4. Juice boxes
  5. Water
  6. Snack bag - nuts, granola bars, fiber bars and fruit snacks
  7. Quaker Oat chips
  8. Monkey backpacks (leashes) for Paul and Brigham
  9. Sunscreen
  10. Antibacterial wipes
  11. Diapers
  12. Changing pad and
  13. Bags for dirty diapers, wet clothes, etc.

When I am really on top of things, I replenish the kit every week or so. I find that having all of this stuff in the car saves me a lot of hassle. When it is time to go, I can usually pick up and go without having to take an extra 15 minutes to get stuff together. And, having the stuff I need keeps whining to a more manageable level. I wish I would have thought of this years ago!

Mr. Fix-It

I have been saving a bunch of little things around my house that need a real fix-it man. So, I called Dad over tonight and asked if he would take a look at my vacuum cleaner that won't turn on and my dryer that has suddenly started taking longer to dry stuff. I explain the problem with the vacuum, push the on button, and it does just what I describe. Dad takes it, pushes the on button, and it starts right up. Just to be cute, he does it FIVE more times in a row. Vacuum taken care of. I explain the problem with the dryer and he asks where the outside vent is. We go outside and he asks if I have the slats that cover the hole. Yes, I have the slats. The kids love to take them off, so I just keep a hold of them so that someday I can put them back on. "Well, you may have a build up of lint in there." So he sticks his arm in the vent. No lint, but about FIVE semi-largish rocks, as well as an assortment of smaller rocks! I don't need three guesses to figure out who put those there. We call Paul Paulie-Pocket because he likes to hide pockets of stuff in odd places for future use. Tomorrow I go to Home Depot to find a different cover to put over the vent!

Raspberries anyone?

We did pick strawberries at Dugwalla yesterday, and while we were there, found out that U-Pick raspberries are available on Monday. So, sometime next week, we will go. If you are interested, leave a comment with the best day and time for you. I will also be checking out Cresent Farms for blueberries, and we will go soon.

Joy's schedule

I woke up Wednesday morning to Joy busily working on drawing/coloring in my room. She was being quiet and I was up late the night before, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. When I woke up 10 minutes later, Joy had a masterpiece to show me. "Mom, this is our schedule for the day." If you look close, you can see that we are having waffles for breakfast, getting dressed, playing outside, having snacks, watching a movie (instead of taking the normal naps or quiet time) and spending most of the day playing outside. There are a lot of arrows, because, like her mother, she didn't want to waste time making more pieces when she could just do an arrow. She even put the times next to activities. I must say that I was quite impressed. I think the schedule board is working. Maybe I need to schedule at least one day this week! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More strawberries

Yes, we are going again. If you want to go (Dugwalla this time), meet at my house at 9:50am on Thursday. We will be back in time for playgroup at 11am.

I made brownies in a box!

Okay, so I just helped. But, I did make the box oven and the brownies. Okay, the brownies were from a mix, but I added the peanut butter chips!

I am the group leader for the Prep Rally Enrichment group in our ward. We do preparedness topics in this group, and this month the topic was Cooking Without Power. Since I have a good in (what dad can resist when their daughter asks them to teach?) I volunteered to coordinate. Dad came over and came up with a great outline for the class, involving cooking using four different methods of powerless cooking. One was baking using a box oven. Never heard of it? This is what it looks like:

Basically, you cover the inside of a cardboard box with aluminum foil, shiny side out, making sure there is no uncovered cardboard. I am a little paranoid, so I did several layers just to be sure I got it all. Then, I taped the whole thing around the outside with duct tape. Viola - a box oven. And, you can bake anything in a box oven that you can in regular oven. To bake, put a layer of aluminum foil on the ground (the aluminum keeps the ground from starting fire or absorbing heat and reflects heat back into the oven), add charcoals around your pan to equal your desired cooking temperature (one briquette produces 40degrees of heat), rest your pan on a couple of rocks, bricks or other stable objects, and put your box over the top. Make sure to rest your box on a couple of sticks about 1" high so you get ventilation all the way around, the charcoals will go out without the air for fuel. Then, you just let your oven sit for your normal recipe time, and you are done. I know, pretty amazing. We did brownies, and I never can get those puppies done just right. I think these were better than most I do in the oven. It was really cool. I think that I am going to have to invest in a cast-iron dutch oven and do a powerless dinner once every two or three weeks, just so that, should the need arise, I could do it. Plus, it is just fun!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Brigham was playing with the other kids in the backyard today when I heard a cry of pain. (I can tell I have been a mom for a while now, because I can finally tell the difference in the kids' cries.) I ran out to see Brigham laying face down in the grass right next to a cement step. He must have been running after Joy, who just went into the garage, and somehow tripped and caught his head on the edge of the step. I guess I should just be glad that he hit his forehead and not another part of his face. Can you imagine what that would have done to teeth? Yikes! I tried to put ice on the bump, but Brigham really wanted to eat it, so I let him. I figured that if it calmed him down, it didn't really matter where the ice went.

If you leave his bangs alone, they cover the spot pretty well. I guess I will put his haircut off another couple of weeks...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Organizational Mastermind

I am a bit of an organization/schedule/compulsive freak. I find life runs much more smoothly when it is well planned and executed. Okay, in reality, I do better when I am intentional. We are happier, get more done, and the things we do are more worthwhile. And, I tire of constantly telling the kids what comes next. So, I came up with a plan. I created a board on which we plan every day. Okay, almost every day; we usually have one day a week that starts running and we don't take the time to plan. This is a Tara original, my own invention, and I LOVE it!

What's that you say? This is so amazing that you must have more details? Well, if you insist. First, click on the picture so you can see it bigger in all it's beauteous glory. Alright, now that you have seen the bigger picture, let me give you some more detail, but only because you asked. :0)
  • Each day has a column and is divided into 13 hours, 7am to 7pm. Each hour square is 2.5".
  • Activity pieces are sized according to time. Activities that take about an hour are 2.5" squares. (nap time, lessons, art time, etc.) Activities that take a half hour are 1.25x2.5" rectangles. (get dressed, eat breakfast, do dishes, read books, etc.) There are a few activities that take 15 minutes (set table, snacks) and they have 0.75x2.5" rectangles. But, usually I stick to 1 or 1/2 hour increments. This gives us leeway time for set up, pack, clean up and life in general.
  • On the far left side of the board are the hours, with clocks showing what the analog time looks like, and a digital font underneath showing the time. I have an analog clock hanging on the wall just above the clock column. I want Joy (and the boys eventually) to learn to read analog clocks, so this is a tool to that end. And, although we aren't usually completely on time, it does help a bit.
  • Down each day column is a strip of Velcro. On the back of each activity piece is another piece of Velcro. This allows us to move things easily, but they stay pretty firm, unless Hyrum gets them.
  • The arrows are time extensions. Instead of printing a million of each piece, I just made hour and half hour extensions that can be used to lengthen activities.

I have found that this really helps. We get up in the morning, have breakfast, and plan our day. When I am really on the ball, we put the big things up for the week at Family Home Evening. Here's how I have found it helpful:

  • I am more intentional about what we do in the day. Since it has to be posted, I think about what we are doing. It looks bad when there are big chunks of "watch a movie" every day.
  • The kids are involved. They have input as to what happens. They understand a little better that I have to do dishes when they see the dishes piece on the chart. They learn time better, not just on the clock, but what things take what time, and that things actually do come to pass.
  • It saves countless hours of, "When are we going to ___?" I simply refer them to the board.
  • I am more accountable. The kids know what to expect and are free to hold me to it.
  • There is flexibility. The kids learn that sometimes things change. It happens almost daily that things don't go according to plan and we have to make changes. So, we look at what is going on, and figure out how to adjust. Great lesson.
  • One of my favorite pieces are the kids' time. There is "Joy Time", "Paul Time" and "Brigham Time" - 15 minutes each. These pieces have the kids' pictures on them, and they know that, during that time at least, they get Mom's undivided attention.
  • We do more fun stuff. Because we are planning, we get more done.
  • I also have free time pieces. It is important to have unplanned time daily, and we've got that too.

Now, if this sounds like bragging, I am only bragging about the idea, and I have to admit that it is FABULOUS! But, our lives aren't perfect. We still have most of the normal problems. However, when I come across an idea that works, mine or someone else's, I want to share it. So, I am sharing with you. If you are interested in trying something similar, I would be more than happy to share what I have done. The activity pieces are all on a Word document, I just don't know how to link it to the page. Leave a comment and I would be happy to send it on.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I was out doing some shopping the other day and came across a tie-dye kit on clearance. I did tie-dye once or twice as a kid and really enjoyed it, so I decided to give it a whirl. The box said the Mega set I got would do up to 20 shirts - we did 18 things. Not just shirts, but underwear and onsies too. If I do one, I do 50. And, it was a LOT of fun. Back when I was in high school, homemade tie-dye did not come out bright and with lots of colors. Times have changed. We got bright colors and lots of them. The shirts came out looking like something you would buy, not something you did on the back porch. However, there are a few tricks I learned, so let me share with you.

1 - COVER YOUR WORK SPACE! I used a sheet of vinyl that sometimes covers our table top. Since we worked on the back porch, it probably wouldn't have been a big deal if we had spilled, but on anything else, it would have made a difference.

These are the assorted items rubber-banded and ready to go. I would recommend running your stuff through a spin cycle in the wash before you apply. That bit of dampness helps the shirts to absorb the dye more easily.

2 - (Which you should probably do before #1) Plan and band in advance. Once you get the dye out and start squeezing, things get messy. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I could not touch the camera after we started, so I don't have any pictures of the work-in-progress. However, you do not want to have to stop, take off gloves, and rubber band. Of course, you could just be sane and not to so many at one time, but that wouldn't be nearly as fun.

3 - WEAR GLOVES! I did, and I still ended up dyed! 24 hours later I only have faint traces left.

4 - Allow small children to be involved in the placing of rubber bands and the choosing of colors, and then ship them off somewhere safe. Dye and kids under the age of six really shouldn't mix.

5 - Don't be scared. Things really turn out quite nicely. Just have fun!

So, basically the process works like this: You prep your shirts according to what you want them to look like. Then you mix your dye and put on your gloves. Take your shirts out back, apply dye, stick them in a plastic bag for 6-8 hours, take them out, cut off the rubber bands, rinse under warm water, and wash in as hot a water as is appropriate for the fabric type. Don't wash them with anything else for a few more cycles, because they are said to run. Today, Joy took off the pair of dyed panties she was wearing to try on a bathing suit, and she had blue, pink and purple dye on her skin. It was pretty cute, but considering they were washed before she wore them, I would guess there will be more dye coming off in the wash. This is our mess immediately after being removed from the bag:

So, if you want your shirts to look like this:

Choose the point at which you want the burst to start, pinch that point, and lift the shirt up from there. Use your rubber bands to section it off, and apply colors to each section. These are the tube-y looking ones in the pictures.

If you want swirls (obviously my favorite):

Lay your piece out flat and choose your center point. Grasp the fabric there and twist it around that center point. Try to keep your fabric lying flat so that eventually you have a swirl and a circle. Use your rubber bands to enclose that swirl. Squirt your dye on the shirt as if tracing and then filling in pieces of a pie.

Color blotches:

Lay the shirt out and pull up sections. Wrap a rubber band at the base of each section. Squeeze one color on the rubber banded section and another over the other areas. Pretty simple, but pretty cool.

If you want a design to show up, don't use something little like underwear!