So I survived the cinnamon roll baking experience (see previous post). I haven't had any complaint calls, so hopefully everyone was happy. I don't think I want to eat or bake cinnamon rolls for a really long time either. Glad that is over, and thankfully they only do that fundraiser once a year. The joys of being a band mom. . .
Some other exciting news this week. . . Miss A had her first high school track meet and did awesome!! I really have no idea where she gets her running talent. I am not a runner, and neither is Ben, but man, that girl can fly. She ran the 2 mile, 1 mile, and 1/2 mile races and got first in every single one of them. Way to go!! She broke her own personal best times in both the 2 mile and 1 mile. She beat her fastest 2 mile time by over 30 seconds!! Yes, I am a proud Mom. She got home very late last night, but she was very happy.
We have our annual Easter egg hunt this weekend. We have been doing that every Saturday before Easter since we moved to the country almost 8 years ago. Every year I say if it rains, we cancel, and we have never had to cancel. I have never had to worry about canceling because of snow, but this year might be the first. . .
I got the new Hobbit movie for my birthday, and it hasn't even been opened yet. Been a crazy past couple of days. Hoping for time to open it and actually enjoy watching it this weekend.
Just loaded up on eggs to dye tomorrow afternoon. A friend asked me, "you have to buy eggs? I thought you had chickens." Yes, we do have chickens, and they lay wonderful, yummy eggs, but we only have 5 hens. They lay enough eggs for us to eat (except when you have to bake 6 dozen cinnamon rolls in one day) but not enough extra for us to dye a few dozen for Easter. And actually fresh eggs are not the best to hard boil. They are really, really, really hard to peel. It is a pain. Older eggs are much better to hard boil and peel, so we buy white eggs to dye. When I have to buy eggs I always about fall over when I see how expensive they are. Really, a dozen eggs is how much? Man, I love my chickens! The brown eggs dye really pretty, but we are going with white this year. I did a post about dyeing brown and white eggs here.
Hope you have a Happy Easter and have a great weekend!!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
So in case you didn't know, I am a very new band mom. More about that here. The band is having a fundraiser, and they are selling pies and cinnamon rolls to get money for new uniforms which they really need because they are still using the one's they had when I went to school there ages ago. So they were asking for volunteers to bake rolls and pies. Pies kind of scare me. I don't know why. I think it is the crusts. I don't have a 'go-to' pie crust recipe, and I need to find one, but I just don't make pies that often, so I don't have one. If you have one, please share. Anyway, so I volunteered to make cinnamon rolls. Little did I know I would be making 6 dozen by end of this week. Gulp! I kind of panicked. I don't really have a 'go-to' cinnamon roll recipe either, so I needed to find one. I made a few batches earlier this week to see which ones would be best. I didn't get pictures of all of them, but here is what we did. . .
These are Mel's Kitchen Cafe Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. The recipe makes 2 dozen, but the problem was I didn't bake them long enough and they sunk in the middle and were really gooey and not done, but the outside edges and frosting were divine. I would make them again and just bake them longer. I will be making them again for my family, but not for the band. It is kind of an expensive recipe to make times 6 (with a box of pudding, bar of cream cheese each), so I don't think I will make these for the band.
These are Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls. They do not get as big as Mel's. They use a powered sugar glaze icing (PW's icing uses coffee which I don't put in). One batch makes 4 dozen cinnamon rolls (so I only have to make 1 1/2 batches instead of 3, perfect for band fundraising!) They taste really good, but the best part about these? You can make the dough 3 days ahead of time and just keep it in the fridge. When you are ready to make the rolls, just roll them out, cover with butter, sugar, cinnamon, slice, rise, and bake. One thing about these, PW melts her butter to put inside, but I think that is too messy. I just get my butter really soft so it spreads easily on top of the dough. Way less messy than having the butter melted. So, I already have a batch in my fridge, and I am going to make another batch of dough today, so tomorrow I will just be rolling out, cutting, baking, and frosting--6 dozen cinnamon rolls. Sounds fun, huh? What did I get myself into with this band thing???? Those new uniforms better be really nice. . .
Monday, March 25, 2013
Spring break week! Yeah! It was very nice and some good weather until our major snow storm this weekend. We usually don't hide our Easter Eggs in the snow, but we might this year. My sister took my kids for half the week. So fun for everyone :) It was a very quiet house with just Ben and I, but we enjoyed it, and at the end of the week it was also nice to have everyone home. Everyone needs a break now and then, right? Thanks Aunt T and Uncle G! So here is a look at our week. . .
Sunday: Our St. Patrick's Day feast--green meal--green everything--yum! We had a friend and the sister missionaries over to join us.
Monday: First day of spring break and we had some really good friends from the city come down and spend the day. These kids have known each other their whole lives. Too much fun!
Tuesday: Day 2 of spring break, we got together with some other friends and played kick ball. Run, Miss O run!
Piano lesson night, Mr J enjoys his Dragon Slayers Academy book while waiting for his lesson.
Picture courtesy of my sister who had my kids from Wednesday to Saturday. She showed them all around their cool small town and went to this rock quarry.
Spending time with Uncle G is always fun, especially in his classroom at school where he is the art teacher. Mr J and G working on a wood carving.
My birthday! So nice to have everyone home, and my girls got me these cute bowls. I am a bowl collector, never can have too many cute bowls.
Thanks for visiting and have a great Easter week!
Friday, March 22, 2013
Let me just preface this by saying I am so not a perfect person, mother, wife, friend, daughter, and the list goes on. I am okay with that. I try, I make mistakes, and I keep trying. Life is good. Along the way I have learned things that have helped me with my 4 kids and life. Little bits of wisdom that I want to share every now and then when I think about it :) So today I wanted to share something that has really come in handy the last 16 years.
Our first aid kit. When I was pregnant with Miss A I was finishing my degree at BYU, and I took a health class--a basic first aid class. It was one of the best classes I took at college. I have used the stuff I learned in there constantly over the years. One of our assignments for the class was to put together a first aid kit. I got this handy green tackle box and filled it. I got an A, but besides that, I had this kit all ready when we had kids, took it in our car on trips, and had it at home in a very handy place. We have used it a lot.
The most used items in our first aid kit? Well, band-aids and neosporin of course (my kids are trained, you never put a band-aid on without putting neosporin on it first), and then this box of band-aids right here. I got a box of these 16 years ago, and thankfully Band-aid still makes them. I have replenished the box several times over the years. Luckily even my little town Wal-mart carries this brand and type of band-aid. They are life savers--especially the fingertip band-aids. I have passed them along to friends and missionaries that have visited and needed some. Everyone has been amazed, "Those are the best band-aids!" They are. So, my words of wisdom today are if you don't have a first aid kit, buy one or make one, and then make sure you put a box of these band-aids in your kit. Your fingers and knuckles will thank you for it. I promise.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I love brownies. So does Ben. Brownies with ice cream is about our favorite dessert. Now, I would admit that most things are so much better made from scratch. Most things. I used to make brownies from scratch, but then I found this mix (I get it at Costco). . .
Ghirardelli's Triple Chocolate Brownie mix. I don't think I could make a brownie from scratch this good, and I haven't, and I am very content with buying a box once a month at Costco, and so is my family, and we all lived happily ever after. So yum! The end.
Other cooking this week . . .
We had our annual Green feast for St. Patrick's day--green mashed potatoes, green jello, green salad, broccoli, green punch, green cake with green frosting, and we normally have green gravy, but not this year. Ben requested that we not have green gravy because turning the brown gravy green usually ends up with a really unappetizing gross green/brown, so we had green everything but the gravy.
Other yummy things. . .
Pineapple salsa chicken--one of those amazingly easy dump in the crock pot in the morning using frozen chicken, no less, and you have divine to take out of the crock pot at dinner. Love those kind of meals!
One pot southwest chicken and rice is also great. I love one pot recipes too. My kids actually love them more because it means less dishes for them to wash :)
Monday, March 18, 2013
The week before spring break is always kind of crazy with lots of test, papers, and things due. Miss O was a page in the state legislature. Track practice is in full swing for the oldest two girls. We are ready for a break! And this week we have one, so nice to sleep in and have a relaxed schedule. Here is a look at our last week. . .
I got this book several months ago, and we started reading it each Sunday. We finished it last week. It was very, very good. It was based on a book for adults by the same authors. I decided I need to read that. Our family's favorite miracle? The Battle of New York during the Revolutionary Ward, in which an inexplicable fog allowed George Washington and his army to escape the advancing British troops.
Miss O got to be a page in the state legislature with 2 other girls from our town. She had fun, got to meet the Governor and get a picture--exciting day!
Mr J had a $5 bill burning a hole in his pocket. It was his prize money from winning the safety poster contest. He had been begging me to take him to the store to get something. We finally got there, and he was super excited to find a bow and arrow and a personal hand held fan :) Who knew $5 could buy so much?
Super Reader Mr J made it into the 100 point Accelerated Reader club this week. Way to go Mr J!
For a church activity this week, our sister missionaries taught the kids how to waltz. One of our missionaries was/is on the BYU ballroom dance team, so she really knows her stuff. The kids had a lot of fun!
Love picture books, and more about this picture here, but we had toads on toast for dinner tonight. Yum!
The joys of country living. . .this little (well he wasn't really little) big critter was hanging around the chicken coop today. I think it is a ground hog? He sure wasn't scared of me and my camera and was in no hurry to leave. The chickens didn't really seem to enjoy his company, though.
Thanks for visiting! Hope you have a great week!
Friday, March 15, 2013
I have been extremely blessed to know many great and amazing men in my life. The greatest man I know is my husband Ben--bar none, but a very close second comes my dad, my father-in-law, my grandfathers, and Ben's grandfather. My brother, brothers-in-law, uncles, and cousins are also right up there. I have been extremely blessed to have both sets of my grandparents be a big part of my whole life. Both sets are in their 80's now, but they are all still with us. I am so glad my kids have been able to have their great-grandparents be a big part of their lives. It is a huge blessing.
These are my maternal grandparents--DeeDee and Grum. Grum was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in August of last year. Just in case you didn't know, let me just make it clear that cancer sucks. I know many of you can attest to that from personal experience. This picture was taken in November when my family went out to visit my grandparents and in-laws for Thanksgiving. They do not live close to me--about 1150 miles away, but I didn't know what the next year would bring, and I wanted to see them, so we made the long drive for Thanksgiving. We had a great time, and I am so glad I went.
We don't know how long my Grum has left. We don't know how long any of us have. Life is a precious gift, and we need to cherish each moment we have. Even though we can't see him often, we call, we send letters and cards, and we pray fervently for him and my DeeDee every day. It is in the Lord's hands, and I know everything will be okay. I know that if he or I go tomorrow that we will see each other and our families again. Families are Forever.
My Grum is a great man. He has taught me so much. I didn't ever grow up living very close to my grandparents. Most of my life they lived about 1150 miles away, but that doesn't mean they weren't an important part of my life. They are a huge part of my life and why I am who I am. I just wanted so share some thoughts I have been having lately about my wonderful Grum.
Grum tells the best stories. As a little kid I would love to curl up next to him on the couch and listen to his stories. My favorite was his version of The Three Bears with Papa bear, Mama bear and Yucky, pucky baby bear who didn't like their porridge (who would? he would ask) so they went to McDonald's for breakfast. A classic bedtime story at it's best.
DeeDee is an amazing cook. She makes world renown chocolate chip cookies. Grum makes London Broil. If Grum ever cooked, you always knew what was on the menu. Yum!
Grum always listens, and he always has a plan, a deal, and advice for you.
Grum tells the best jokes.
He and DeeDee love their family so much, would do anything for them, and are so proud of them. They had a license plate for many years that read "My grandkids are cuter than yours." One day he told the story of a lady that followed him home, pulled up behind him and put up a sign that said, "No they aren't," and then drove away. Grum thought that was pretty funny.
When I was 14 I could start driving in the state I lived in. I remember one of my aunts giving me a piece of driving advice. "STOP" she said, "does not stand for 'slight tap on pedal." I remember thinking, she must have learned the opposite of that from Grum because anyone that has ever driven with him knows his definition of STOP is 'slight tap on pedal.'
DeeDee always sent us packages growing up full of individually wrapped cookies, candy, sometimes homemade seasonal pillowcases, etc. She continues to send them to me and my kids. Love in a box. The packages were always from DeeDee, but Grum always stuck something in from him. A note and a $2 bill. That is Grum's signature. Grum is just like those $2 bills.
$2 are rare. I remember one time my daughter took her $2 bill to the store to buy something. The clerk wouldn't take it. She didn't think it was real. She had never seen one or heard of one. She had to call her manager before she would take it. The manager said, "Wow. Those are really rare!" Grum is very rare. There are not many people like him. He is one in a million.
$2 bills are priceless. They have a face value of $2, but are really worth more. When another daughter was young she took one for show and tell. One boy asked her how much it was worth. She, being a very smart kid, looked at him and said, "$5." "Wow! Can I buy it?" he said. She didn't do it, but that would have been a deal Grum would be very proud of :) Grum is worth much more that you think, he is priceless.
$2 bills are treasures. I try to go through my kids' stuff every so often because they have so much, and it is much easier to sort through and get rid of stuff when they are gone. As I have gone through each of my 4 children's things at different times I have found a $2 bill from Grum safely tucked away. It is in a safe place, an important place. They aren't going to spend it. They are keeping it. It is a treasure to them, just like Grum is.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for my Grum. Thank you for putting a $2 bill in my life. He is rare, priceless, and a treasure, and I will always be grateful and continually blessed that you allowed him to be my grandfather, part of my life, and my children's lives. Bless and keep him and let him feel of our love.
I love you Grum!
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I love picture books. I think I will be reading them to myself when I am 90 or so, and I am okay with that. The new picture book shelf is the first one I raid when I enter the library. This week we got a really cute one that helped us make dinner. It was Toads on Toast by Linda Bailey and Colin Jack. In the book a fox is tired of eating the same old big frog every night, so he goes to the library to get some cookbooks. A whole new world of eating is opened up to him, and he finds out he needs fresh young toads to make the best stuff. So he goes out and finds a bunch, but their momma follows the fox home and suggests the best recipe for Toad in a hole minus the toad. The fox loves it, and vows he never needs to eat another toad, and they all live happily ever after. Don't you just love picture books?
So for dinner one night this week it was just the 2 youngest and me, so we made Mamma Toad's Secret Toad-in-the hold recipe minus the toads. They were a hit. Yum! These are also commonly known as 'egg in a hole,' or 'chicken in a hole' or a variety of other names, but they all are good!
1 slice of bread
salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese
Butter the bread on both side, cut out a hole in the bread. Place the bread on a frying pan and break an egg into the hole. Cook a few minutes on that side until set, then flip sprinkle with salt, pepper and cheese if wanted and cook until done.
Some other yummy things we have been eating this week. . .
Chocolate chip cake is so good! At first I wasn't so sure with the cinnamon and sugar mixed with the chocolate chips, but it is yummy! It was our Sunday evening dessert this week.
For another dessert this week I made a banana pudding poke cake. Yum! It is from a new cooking website I found called The country cook.
For another dessert this week I made a banana pudding poke cake. Yum! It is from a new cooking website I found called The country cook.
This ham and pasta skillet dinner was a new recipe I tried this week. It was really, really good and easy. It is definitely going on our monthly meal rotation. Check it out.
Another family favorite is Pioneer Woman's Cowboy Calzones. It is from her cookbook, but she has a similar recipe on her site here.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Big news this past week was Miss O starting band. She is going to play the trumpet. More about that in my previous post. Also Mr J won a county wide safety poster contest, and the kids had a sleepover at Grandpa's--super fun! Here is a look at our week. . .
Sunday: Some dear friends were visiting Sunday evening and joined us for scripture study. It was so cute to see their little girl and Mr J sharing a book and him helping her read. These two have known each other since they were born. Good friends are such a blessing!
Monday: Mr J got his award for winning a county wide safety poster contest. He looks thrilled, huh? We were very proud of him!
Tuesday: A common scene at our house, Ben studying his New Testament to be ready for his early morning seminary teaching. He is an awesome teacher, and so cute :)
Wednesday: Miss O gets to bring home her trumpet--oh.my. They are loud :) Band mom here I come. . .
Thursday: Does this look like a comfortable position to read in? Miss O thinks so :) She is reading The Hunger Games series--again--and is obviously at a nail biting section.
Friday: My mom has been out of town this past week visiting family, so my dad invited the kids to come spend Friday night with him. He took them all to Wal-mart to let them choose their own TV dinner for dinner. My kids have never had a TV dinner before in their lives, so that was a big deal :) The kids had an great time! Thank you Grandpa!
Saturday: Weekends are our movie nights and game nights. Tonight Ben was playing The Scrambled States of America game with the girls. We love games.
Thanks for visiting! Hope you have a great week!
Friday, March 8, 2013
I read a quote once that said, "You can do anything, just not everything." Amen. I have to remind my kids (and myself) of that fact often. Especially when there are 4 kids that want to do everything all of the time. It just doesn't work. Decisions have to be made. Miss A had to decide between the school play and track. Can't do both. Miss O had to decide between track and soccer. Can't do both. Miss E decided not to do soccer and instead to do swim team. Not sure how I feel about that one, but it was her choice, so I am no longer a soccer Mom. I am a track, volleyball, swim team, piano, guitar, and now band Mom. I think that is enough for now. Mr J is only 7, so he hasn't really added to my list yet, but I know he will. Lately Miss O has been debating whether to start band. Band is a big commitment and a big deal in our town. Once you are in, you are expected to be in until you graduate from high school. I went back and forth on the issue. She already plays and has lessons on the piano and guitar, does she need another instrument? So, after talking to the band director that she will have for the next 5 years, discussing "you can do anything, just not everything" and that means if you choose this you can't choose that, etc. we finally decided she was going to do it. I have no idea what we are getting ourselves into. Ben and I were never band people growing up. It will be a learning experience. After a few sessions with the band director she finally decided on . . .
Okay, I must admit I never knew how loud trumpets were. Oh.my.
Our ears are in for a treat for the next 5+ years.
I have so much more sympathy for other band families now (and the band director, do you think he secretly wears ear plugs? I am thinking I need to buy some. . .)
But man, it is fun!
Band Mom, here we go!
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
We had some great friends come and visit over the weekend, and I knew I needed some cookies. I also needed some cookies to give to some neighbors and just to have in the freezer for the kids lunches. I needed a lot of cookies. So I turned to a favorite cookies recipe that makes a lot of cookies.
Miss E helped me make them. They are really yummy, freeze well, and the dough freezes well also if you want to do that. I try not to do that because then I always think 'Yum! I have cookie dough in my freezer!' and then very quickly my cookie dough disappears, but whatever works in your house, go for it. These are great! It is a big recipe, and you could half it, but once you try them you are going to wish you made the whole recipe. I got them from my friend Heather G.--thanks Heather!!
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
Mix the above together for 4 minutes
Add 6 eggs one at a time mixing well after each one until the dough is light and fluffy. After eggs are all in, then add
1 Tbl. vanilla
3 Tbl corn syrup
4 tes baking soda
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, your choice)
Mix well then add
4 cups flour
5 cups oatmeal (I have used both quick oats and regular)
Then add in
4 cups of chocolate chips or a combination or chips and M&M's or Reeces pieces, or whatever you like
Drop by large tablespoon full onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes.
Here are some other things we have eaten here this week. . .
Creamy chicken and wild rice soup is so good! It is a soup crock pot recipe, and I don't think it gets any easier than that:) I have made it monthly since September, and my family loves it. Rice-a-roni long grain and wild rice is now a staple in my cupboard. It calls for half and half, but I have used milk or cream or a combination, and they all work well.
This is my go-to, favorite, and most reliable Lasagna recipe. It is classic and easy. I usually make it in the morning, put it in the fridge, and then stick it in the oven about an hour and 15 minutes before we want to eat. Classic comfort food.
Kansas City Sue's Chicken is another great crock pot recipe that my family loves. I made it last night and one of my daughters said, "Oh, not that again. I don't like that." Then when I served it and she actually tried it she said, "Oh, sorry mom. I was wrong. I love this! It is great! Can you make it every day?" Funny kid.
I love cooking for my family (most days :)
Monday, March 4, 2013
Another week with more snow, and one more snow day. The kids were excited about that. We also had some dear friends come and visit for the weekend which is always nice. I am excited for March and hoping for some spring weather. We have temps in the 60's this week, so our snow will be gone very quickly, and hopefully spring here very soon! Here is a look at our week. . .
Ben told the kids they should make a big cool design in the backyard that you could see from the 2nd story of the house. The kids designed this sun. It looks/ed pretty cool. It is all gone now.
Snow day and the snow was finally good snowman making snow. Each kid had fun creating their own. Mr J decided his was just going to be a big face, he wasn't going to worry about a body or anything else.
We have amazing sister missionaries in our town serving our Church. We had them over for dinner tonight, and one of them helped Mr J study for his spelling test. They are awesome!
This little guy was a new 'pet' at Ben's work. He is a PT in a nursing home, and they have cats, dogs, birds, etc for the residents, but this pig was a first. The lady insists it is extremely clean and smarter than a dog. The kids had fun holding him and getting to know him. His name is Stanley. And Miss E is wearing Ben's big Russian hat because it was crazy hat day at school to celebrate Dr. Seuss day just in case you were wondering :) That is not normally something she wears.
Stanley just made Mr J laugh.
Sleepover in the basement with our friends.
The kids having fun with their friends and glow bracelets in the basement.
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Friday, March 1, 2013
I have been going through my craft room lately which is like the cave of memories--years and years of photos in boxes that I need to get into books. I have been working on getting Mr J's baby book done, and it has a page in it about "Our Story" the love story of his parents. I was looking for pictures of Ben and I to put in that section for Mr J. That brought up a lot of fun memories.
Most recently it brought up this. I got this print here for Ben for Valentine's Day, and there is a story behind it, and I even scanned some grainy pictures to go with that story for you. Ben and I met at BYU when I was a freshman and he was just back from a 2 year mission to Moscow, Russia for our church. Ben had asked me to a dance in a very creative way. He had bought some sheets for my bed and written on them asking me to the dance and had my roommate put them on my bed for me. I still have the sheets. They are Bambi, and it is our designated popcorn sheet for the family room floor when we watch movies. Anyway, so I had to think up a clever way to answer him, that yes, I would love to go to the Heritage Invitational dance with him!
So, I talked to Dr. Mack Wilberg, (who is now the director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, he is the one sitting at the piano) who was Ben's Men's Chorus teacher, and asked him to let me come in and sing a little song for Ben in his men's chorus class of over 200 guys. Man was I gutsy :) Looking back I really can't believe I did that, it must have been love. . .so my 3 friends and I walk into this auditorium of over 200 college guys and ask for Ben to come to the front. Now Ben does not like attention, never has, hates being in the limelight. He wouldn't even look at me when this was happening and very reluctantly came to the front of the auditorium and then we sang him this song . . .
You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are gray
You'll never know Ben
How much I'd love to
go to Heritage Invitation with you!
And then we knelt down and I gave him the rose and my girlfriend thankfully got a picture of it.
We got a standing ovation :)
So, I thought the "You are my sunshine" print was a good one for Valentine's Day because it started a great thing. . .
This was us at the dance
And this was us about nine months later :)
A very happy ending and a wonderful beginning
And he still is my sunshine and makes me very happy. I love you Ben!