Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 36

A busy week this week--we had 3 volleyballs games, and, for one week, that is a little too much.  Thankfully the season is now over, and we can all catch our breathe and stay home more :)  Here is what else be have been doing (besides going to volleyball games)
Sunday:  My sister was in town and came over Sunday afternoon to make bread with the kids.  She is the gourmet of the family, and we got to eat their yummy creations--nothing beats homemade bread--YUM!

Monday:  This was our meet-the-famous-author-day.  New York Times Bestselling author Brandon Mull (of Fablehaven and Beyonders fame) was in our small town, and we had him over for dinner.  Awesome, awesome guy.  The kids loved him.

Tuesday:  This was my major headache day because they started replacing our roof and the pounding gave me a huge headache.  The old roof is brown--the new is dark grey.  I was so glad when they cleaned up, left, and my Tylenol kicked in!

Wednesday:  This is my day to volunteer at the elementary schools.  I am there first thing in the morning in Miss E's class, and I love being there when they say the flag salute.  I haven't said that in a long time, and it was fun to see the kids do it and hear it echo down the halls as all the classes do it. 

Thursday:  One of our 3 volleyball games this week.  This is Mr J, #12 is a friend, and Miss E in blue watching Miss A play.  She did a great job, and those 3 are really good at cheering.

Friday:  Our elementary school carnival was tonight.  Being on the PTO, it is always tons of work, but the kids love it, and we had a great turn out.  The kids got tickets at the little games--pop toss, duck pond, bean bag toss, etc and then they could exchange their tickets for prizes.  Mr J and Miss E combined their tickets and got this movie, and they were so excited!!!  Love Mr J's eyes--they are so expressive.

Saturday:  People in big cities complain about traffic.  This is traffic in my neck of the woods.  I got stuck behind Mr Tractor on the way home from town today, and there were about 10 cars behind me.  This is our kind of traffic jam. 

Hope you are all getting some good, cooler fall weather.  I am ready to hang my pumpkins up.  Happy fall and have a good week!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our trees

So as I mentioned in my last post, the power company is putting in a new power line down our street--a transmitter line that goes through the country where we live and then weaves its way into the town to provide them with their energy.  Now, I have no problem with energy, power lines, and power companies--besides the fact we need to conserve more and use less, but I will be the first to admit that I love my A/C, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, computer and lights to just name a few, but I love my trees too!

They are telling us that the new poles will be 5 feet closer to the house than the existing one and that these 2 trees have to go.  These trees are not in their current eastment/right of way, so they want to buy a bigger easement/right of way, and then the trees will be in it, and "company policy" is no trees allowed in the easement/right of way.  We are not happy about it, but I don't know that we have much choice. 
Of course they have to pay us for the land and trees.  They had the trees appraised and offered us what they are worth--and, again, how do you appraise the value of a tree???  How do you appraise the shade they provide?  The swing in them?  The climbing in them my kids do daily?  The blocking of the house from the road, the privacy they provide?  and we aren't even scratching the surface of the environment aspect of the trees--the oxygen, the bird's nests,--I mean how do you appraise that??  We have gone back and forth and back and forth with the company over the last 2 months trying to come up with a compromise to keep our trees, but I have to admit the company is not very easy to work with and has rejected everything we come up with.  I think we are to the point where we either accept it or go to court and be forced to accept it.  Neither sounds good to me.  Historically and legally utilities are given the right of way.  Not fair, but we all like our modern conveniences, and so do I, but can't we still have them and keep my trees??

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 35

A week to remember. . .
Sunday:  This is one of my favorite of the thousands of images from the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  I think the memorial is beautiful.  I went to NYC  as a teen and went in and ate in the basement of one of the Twin Towers.  I would like to go back now and see it again.  It is so important to remember.

Monday:  We have a big garden 50' x 50' and we planted over 24 tomato plants and none of those plants are dead, but we have not seen a single tomato yet either, but we have had a huge harvest of zucchini and yellow squash.  We can never get sick of zucchini, but I think my family has had their fill of yellow squash.  Miss O chops some up for dinner.

Tuesday:  Over 2 months ago in July, before we left on vacation, we had a strong storm, and it blew some shingles off.  Ben hurried and bought a tarp to cover the part of the roof that was bare, and we left on vacation hoping for no rain.  Well, waiting on insurance and contractors we have had this lovely blue roof now for over 2 months, and finally this week we are getting a new roof and getting rid of the blue tarp.  Thank heavens this was on the back of the house :)

Wednesday:  Homework, homework, homework is a constant thing at my house "Did you get your homework done?"  is probably the most common question asked after "Did you practice your piano?"  and "Did you clean your room?"  Miss A is quite comfortable doing her homework on the floor.

Thursday:  I snap pictures all the time, all the time, and my kids are used to it and just ignore me.  Ben is not so used to it :)  Gosh, I love that cute boy.  Today he was helping Mr J with his piano.     
Friday:  I actually worked and got paid for my work today--first time in almost 14 years :)  Being a stay-at-home mom is the best job in the world, but the monetary pay isn't so good :).  My mom is the librarain at my kids' elementary school, and today she had to be gone and her para also had to be gone, so she begged me to come work for her that day in the library.  Little did I know the paperwork and hoops I would have to jump through to help out my mom for 7 hours.  I had to get a TB test done and a drug test.  I thought--serioursly?  Oh my, but I had a fun day at the school library.  I checked out 186 books and shelved about that many.  I got to check out books to this cute little guy too--it was fun seeing Mr J and Miss E at school.
Saturday:  This is one of the big trees in our front yard.  The kids love to play in it and under it and around it.  It has a tree swing in it.  We were so sad to find out that the power company is putting in a new powerline down our street, and it looks like our trees are going to have to be cut down.  We are so sad and just sick about it.  Makes me want to cry.  Of course they say they will pay us for it, but how do you appraise the value of a tree?  I love trees.

Who came to dinner

Did you guess who came to dinner?  It was author Brandon Mull.  He has written the bestselling Fablehaven series and then his #1 New York Times Bestseller is BeyondersBeyonders is his new trilogy, and he told us he just finished the 3rd book in the series (but it won't be out until 2013) and he says it is the best he has written.  Book 2 in Beyonders will be out March of 2012.
He talked at Miss E's school and did a great job, and she loved meeting him and sat by him at dinner.

Miss O was the one beyond excited to meet him.  She had a whole stack of books for him to sign since she owns everything he has written.  She is a big fan!

And Mr J was excited to get his own book signed--he got his The Candy Shop War book and wanted his Dad to start reading it to him as soon as he got home.   Sadly Miss A missed the dinner because of an out of town volleyball game, but she was able to listen to his presentation at school and meet him then.

We had a great time with Brandon.  He is very funny, easy going, great to talk to, and extremely talented and down to earth.  If you live in the Utah area I would recommend checking his website and attending some of his events, and if you don't live in the Utah area (or even if you do) then I would recommend checking his books out from your local library.  They are good!  Happy reading!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Guess who is coming to dinner???

Guess who is coming to dinner and who I went to lunch with today?

He is a New York Times Bestselling author.

He has written one picture book, and 7 other YA/juvenile books.

Just finished the 5th in his bestselling series that starts with an "F"

He is on tour across the US promoting his newest NYT bestseller.

He is from Utah.

He is an awesome guy and my 11 year old is beyond (big hint there) excited to have him over tonight.

Any guesses?

I will post pictures tomorrow of the Fabled (another hint) author.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 34

Sometimes I am amazed at how slow the days seem to go, but then I am equally amazed at how fast the weeks go by.  Why is that?  How can that work?  So here is our week of slow days that flew by :) 

Sunday:  Sunday dinners don't have to be fancy.  We had chicken chip soup which is hands down probably the most favorite recipe of our whole family, and it is so easy!  I think it was originally called "six can chicken soup" and I think I found in on, but we call it chicken chip soup.  All you need are the above 6 cans, then grated cheese and tortilla chips to garnish when heated.  So easy!  So, grab a pot and get ready--mix one can chicken broth with 1 can cream of chicken soup until smooth.  Then add 1 can black beans (do not drain), 1 can cooked chicken, 1 can corn (drain) and 1 can diced tomatoes (we blend them up first so no one can actually see they are eating tomatoes :)  Heat and serve with cheese and chips.  You don't have to use canned chicken, you can cook your own and put it in about 1 1/2 cups.  I am so glad it is getting to be soup weather! 

Monday:  For Labor day we got a big surprise--our chickens, which were born in April, laid their first eggs!  Miss E was the lucky one to find 2!!!  So looking forward to fresh eggs!

Tuesday:  I picked up Miss E and Mr J from school today.  They usually ride the bus, and I got this picture of them carefully looking both ways before they crossed the street to get in the car.

Wednesday:  Grandpa was out of town today, so Nana needed a buddy to spend the night with her so she wouldn't be lonely.  It is very convenient that she works at Mr J's school as his librarian, so Mr J got to be Nana's date and go out to eat with her and then spend the night and go to school with her.  He was super excited and they had a great time!  A school night sleepover, doesn't get any better than that!
Thursday:  Miss A #3 at the net ready to go for her volleyball game.  She is awesome at serve receive--gets the ball exactly where it needs to be.

Friday:  We have some friends that moved to our town from Mexico, and her mom (who speaks no English) was visiting from Mexico, so they had us over for dinner for Mole (chocolate chicken) and it was very good.   Here I am with my friend and her mom--now normally in any picture that I am in, I am the shortest, but I sure felt tall compared to these friends--that is rare :)

Saturday:  Mr J and Miss E disappeared this afternoon, and I found them in the front yard.  When I asked what they were making they said, "A fairy house."  Ah, love it!  Making fairy houses is the best!

Hope you all had a good week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 . . . I remember

The events of 9/11 will be forever etched in my mind--as I am sure they are in yours.  You probably remember exactly where you were when you first heard or saw what happened.  I had a 3 year old and a one year old then.  I had just gotten out of the shower and was running late to get to a play day at the park when the phone rang.  It was Ben.  It was about 9 a.m. our time, so about 10 a.m. in New York.  He said, "Have you heard about the plane that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City?"  No,  we didn't (and still don't) have TV, so I hadn't heard or seen anything.  He said, "Turn on the radio." and then he had to go.  So, I turned on the radio.  I remember sitting on my bedroom floor and just being shocked by what I heard.  They just got the report of the 2nd plane about the time I turned on the radio.  When Ben first called I was thinking--how horrible--did the pilot fell asleep or the plane malfunctioned, but then I head there was a 2nd and that this was not an accident.  I remember sitting on my bedroom floor and trying to process this as my 1 year old toddled in and my 3 year old asked what was wrong as tears fell down my cheeks.  What do I say?  "A plane crashed, sweetie, and lots of people were hurt."  Then she asked me "Where there any kids on the plane?"  And I cried more and hugged her and said, 'Yes, honey, there were probably kids on the plane."  I called my Mom at work.  She is a librarian at an elementary school.  She had the TV on in the library, and we both cried on the phone.  What was happening?  This seemed unreal.  Somehow I got the 2 kids in the car and headed to the park where I was late for our play date.  I remember walking up to my 4 friends at the park and asking them if they had heard the news.  They hadn't.  I remember feeling so distant as I told my 4 friends about planes purposely hitting buildings and the Pentagon at this point on a beautiful sunny, cool September morning.  There was a slight breeze as I looked up into the trees and at the blue sky and said thought to myself--how can this be happening?  I am in a beautiful, calm, peaceful place--I was pushing my kids on the swings, my kids are happy and playing, but all this senseless death and destruction are occurring this minute, what can I do?  We played at the park, came home, had lunch, the girls went down for a nap, and I listened to the radio some more.  It was mind boggling.  We were being attached?  How could that be?  How could this happen?  We were invincible.  I remember when Ben got home that night we just hugged and held each other close for a long time, and I cried and cried.  We went over to my parents that night and for the first time I saw the images of what had happened.  I was physically sick.  I had always felt safe my whole life.  I had never, ever felt threatened or in danger.  I thought we had the best and strongest country in the world.  Nothing could ever attack us--no one was dumb enough to threaten us.  What had happened?  We had some friends in New York state, and even though they didn't live near the Twin Towers, we knew he worked near them.  I e-mailed them, and it took several days before we heard all was well.  That was a blessing.  What a day I will never forget, and I was thousands of miles away from the event--didn't know anyone personally killed or directly involved, but I was affected--my life was affected as every American's was by the events of that day.  The month before we had taken our 3 year old and 1 year old on a plane to California to Disneyland.  I remember thinking how glad I was we had done that before 9/11 because I didn't think I could take my kids on a plane again for a long, long time.  It is important to remember.  It is important to remember we still have a great country made great by the people who have lived and do live here--the people who work and serve others here--the people who care.  Today I honor and remember those people who cared and served and who continue to care and serve so I can live free and enjoy my life and family.  God bless America, and may we always remember and teach our children to do so also.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 33

It is finally beginning to feel like fall here this past week.  I love fall.  School is in full swing.  Life is good.  I love my quiet days, love them, and we are all adjusting to the crazy busy nights and weekends of having a family of 4 active, growing kids.   So here is our week. . .
Sunday:  In trying to force the weather into what we wanted (fall type weather, not 106 which it was 2 days before this picture) we bought a pumpkin pie at Costco on Saturday and had it for our Sunday evening dessert.  Sunday evening desserts are a tradition at our house--not to say we don't have dessert other days.  Some days we do and others we don't,  but you can count on Sunday evening desserts--those are a constant.  So tonight we loved our pumpkin pie from Costco.  If you haven't ever tried their pumpkin pies, I would highly recommend them.  I can't make anything near that good--so yummy!  Miss E is cutting it for us with her crazy wild just-out-of-the-shower hair.

Monday:  It was purse switching day.  I have loved my pink and brown one, but it is getting a bit worn, so I cleaned it out and moved to the green and brown one.  Look at all that junk in my purse--my, oh my. . . good thing I cleaned it out, found some treasures :)

Tuesday:  Before bed tonight we played Outburst which is a classic.  We have the travel edition.  Miss A was marking off for Ben and Miss O.  One of the lists it had was "Goldie Hawn movies," and Miss A and Miss O both said, "Huh?  Who in the heck is that?"  So we passed on that one.  Kind of dates the game, and Ben and I couldn't even name one.  I guess we aren't Goldie Hawn fans here, but we are Outburst fans.  
Wednesday:  Miss O making some cookies.  It has finally cooled down enough to actually want to turn on the oven to make cookies :)

Thursday:  Volleyball begins!  Miss A had her first game today.  So fun!  She did great!  Love her socks, too :)

Friday:  After a long week, this is how I play checkers :)  Mr J is pretty good, and we had a nice relaxing evening playing games.

Saturday:  The kids have asked and asked to spend the night on the trampoline all summer, but it has either been way too hot, or chance of rain or something.  Well, all the stars aligned tonight, and they headed out.  Ben and I were taking bets on if they would stay out all night, because it was actually cold--50 degrees, and after 106, that is definitely artic weather.   So, Miss A came in around 3 a.m.  Miss O and Mr J came in around 5 a.m., and Miss E won the prize and actually slept out there all night and came in at 8 a.m.  I was impressed.  I don't think any of them were too overly excited about doing it again, but we shall see when and if the stars all align right they might do it again.

Hope you all have had a great week!  Have you seen the new Project Life kits??? Oh. my.  Talk about eye candy.  I am thinking the Cobalt is the one for me next year. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

A little mixed up

Saturday mornings are sleep in days for me and Ben.  The kids know that as long as they let mom and dad sleep in they can watch a movie, but as soon as mom and dad are up, the TV is off and it is time to clean the house, so usually they are really quiet and don't disturb us.  We don't have "TV" at our house, so Saturday morning cartoons are not available, so they just choose a movie.  Usually it is a Harry Potter movie.  One Saturday morning I was sleeping in, and Mr J came into talk to me and snuggle.  He said he had watched a movie.  I asked him which one.  He said, "The one where Darth Vader goes to Dumbledore's cemetery."  Um, which movie was that?  It took me a while to figure out which movie he had actually watched, but I thought the one he had described would make a good movie, what do you think?  Star Wars meets Harry Potter.  Darth Vader vs. Dumbledore.  Sounds good to me.