Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 17

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.  My Grandpa--Grum passed away, I flew out for the funeral and spent a week with my family there.  I got home and hit the ground running with all our activities here.  I got home Wednesday night, and it is Monday morning and I still haven't had time to unpack my bags yet. . . crazy.  I posted some pictures from the beautiful and wonderful and sad and happy funeral week in the previous post.  Here is a look at this past week. . .
My Grandma DeeDee is an amazing cook and baker.  Cookies are her speciality.  We got to make some cookies together while I was there.  It was so wonderful to be with her.

Almost all of Ben's family lives near my grandparents, and they all got together the Monday night I was there.    That day was Earth Day, so my sister-in-law had a fun activity where we were divided into teams and each team had a bag of recycled materials to make a sculpture out of.  This was my group's bus/train/covered wagon thing :)  lost of fun and great to see all the family on that side on my short trip.

I had the opportunity to attend the temple while I was there.  Always such a calming, peaceful, and strengthening experience and one that helps you reassess your priorities.  A wonderful experience.

And darn, we had to say good-bye.  Sure love this DeeDee of mine.  She is amazing and going through such a hard time now since losing my Grandpa, but she is so strong, has great faith, and continually amazes us!  Sure love you DeeDee!  I miss you!!! 

So I got home late Wednesday night--all the kids were in bed.  It was fun to wake them up the next morning and see their eyes light up as they saw it was me waking them up.  Made my day.  We drove an hour to Miss A's track meet that first day I was back.  She did awesome.  We are good cheerleaders :)

This weekend was our county's youth author's celebration.  We always have 2 children's authors/illustrators come and visit with the kids and do workshops.  This is Miss E with Susan Stevens Crummel.  She and her sister Janet Stevens have done some cute picture books together.  

Miss O with author Susan Campbell Bartoletti.  If you haven't read her book The Boy who Dared you need to.  An amazing true story of boys in Germany that tried to stand up to Hitler.  Her presentations about that book and the one above were so inspiring!

Miss A had a church formal dance.  She looked so pretty in her green dress!  She had a great time!

It was a busy weekend for Miss A--her formal and then state music competition.  She and one other boy were the only ones to qualify for state in solos.  Her madrigal group and women's ensemble group also qualified.  They all did amazing!  

So, we have 3 week of school left, and they are just crazy busy with track meets, field trips, major reports due, field days, and such.  I will be very happy and ready for a really long nap at the end of those 3 weeks!!!

Thanks for visiting.

I am linking up with Kleinworth co and The Mom Creative.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Grum's funeral

Wow.  What a week!  It was wonderful, sad, exhausting, exciting, full of laughter and full of tears.  Here is a look at it. . .
I flew on a plane by myself.  I haven't been on a plane in over 7 years, and I haven't flown by myself since college.  It was fun.

But the plane ride was a means to an end to get me to this wonderful lady--my grandma DeeDee.  

This is Grum's Santa suit.  Grum wanted his 18 grandkids (who were all at the funeral) to sing "We wish you a Merry Christmas" because Grum and DeeDee started a sub for Santa years ago and blessed so many family's lives.  Grum always was Santa and everyone else carried in the presents and cookies and such, and as they came in they always sang, "We wish you a Merry Christmas."  What an amazing man!

These are my other set of grandparents.  I am so lucky to have them!

All my siblings were there.  It was great to be together!

My aunt's friend made these roses for the funeral.  They were amazing!

Here is a close up.  She did them with a laser???  So cool!

Elder Russell M. Ballard from our church was a great friend of Grum's.  He spoke at his funeral and after I had the chance to meet him and talk and, of course, get a picture.  He is an amazing man.

My uncles, dad, and cousins as pallbearers at the cemetery.

A beautiful shot at the cemetery.  My grandpa was in the air force at the end of WWII, so they had a gun salute for him and a touching military ceremony for him at the cemetery.

My family.

Also my family--the 18 cousins/grandkids, some spouses and some of the 20 great-grandkids.  I know Grum was happy with the day and was smiling down on us.  We love you and miss you like crazy Grum!!!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Saying good-bye

On Sunday I said good-bye to my Grandpa--Grum for the last time on this earth.  He passed away this week.  Saying good-bye was so hard even though we knew it was coming.  More about my amazing Grum in this post here.  We are not meant to live forever.  Death is a part of life.  I know where my Grum is now, and I know what he is doing.  I know he can look down and see me and my family, and I hope he will be proud of what he sees because I know someday I will see him again.  We like to think we are in control of things in this life.  I do.  I am a planner.  I am one that likes to be in control.  I am a mom of 4 kids, and I have to be organized or life would be insane, dinner would never get on the table, laundry would never be clean, the house would be a mess, and we would never do anything or go anywhere.  I plan.  I calendar.  I have a schedule, but I am also a realist.  You have to be flexible.  I realize life happens.  Appointments get canceled.  Kids get sick.  It rains.  Life happens, and along with life comes death.  To all of us.  It came this week to my family.  Very sadly it came to many in Connecticut in December and also this week to families in Boston and Texas.  We never know when it will come, and I fell very lucky that I was able to say good-bye when many are not.  So we need to live and love and enjoy every day.  My Grum was a good example of that.  I am very lucky to have him as my Grandpa.  Family is so important.  It is very important as we go along our road called life that we realize what really is important.  Family--our faith, our friends, and make those the priorities.  We just never know when we will have to say good-bye.

So I am taking this next week off to be with family, attend the funeral, and celebrate the wonderful life of my Grum.  I love you Grum!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What's up Wednesday--Oreo Salad edition

My very dear friend Angie made this Oreo salad for our Easter potluck lunch.  I had to use every ounce of will power I had not to lick the bowl in front of my company.  It is that good.  It is called a salad, but it is mainly a dessert, but, man, no matter what you call it, it is good!  I meant to have a bigger bowl to show you a picture of, but my kids devoured it when I made it, and I barely saved this little bit to snap a picture.  So good!  It calls for buttermilk, and I had the real stuff when I made this, but Angie always uses this. . .

Angie also makes hers the night before, but I tried to do that and when I went to get the bowl out of the fridge the next morning, 3/4 of the salad was gone, so beware. . . it disappears really fast!

Oreo Salad

1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1 cup buttermilk
 Beat together with a whisk and let set a few minutes until soft set.

Fold in:
8 oz container of Cool Whip
1/2 package of Oreo cookies chopped into small pieces
15 oz can mandarin oranges, drained

Let set in the fridge at least 2 hours before serving (if you can keep your kids away from it)

Some other yum we have had this week. . .

Make ahead unstuffed shells is a new recipe I tried for our Easter pot luck.  It was a big hit.  I have made it again since then, and everyone--even my non-pasta loving hubby--loved it.  My small town's one grocery store does not carry the Philadelphia Italian Herb cooking cream, so both times I have made it I have just used softened cream cheese, and it is really good!  If you live in a place big enough that your grocery store actually carries the cooking cream, consider yourself very luck and make it with that :)  we we love it our way too.

I made my easiest roast ever which is a staple at my house.  I keep those 3 cans of soup constantly stocked in my cupboards.  So easy and so yum!  

Another staple and favorite at our house is this slow cooker Italian beef for sandwiches.  It makes your house smell so good and tastes even better!  Enjoy!

Happy eating!

Monday, April 15, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 15

Another busy week--is there such a thing as a non-busy week??   Haven't seen one of those yet.  We had a crazy hail storm Sunday, another awesome track meet by Miss A also know as iron woman around here, and other fun school activities.  5 weeks of school left. . . but who is counting???
Sunday:  We had this crazy hail storm Sunday afternoon.  This was the 'beginning' picture

And this picture was taken exactly 5 minutes after the above picture--I checked my camera's time.  5 minutes.  It was crazy!  I have never seen a hail storm like this in my life.  They were dime to nickle sized hail, and they just killed by tulips that were starting to bloom, but thankfully nothing else was damaged!  I would much rather have damaged tulips than broken windows.

Mr J proudly shows off his planet fact sheet and his missing two front teeth.

Miss O had a school dance, and she and a friend did their hair with a cool wave crimper iron.  They are both so cute and had a lot of fun!  

One of our sister missionaries is Hispanic and was helping Miss A study for her Spanish test this afternoon.

Really, you have to kneel when there is a chair 2 inches away?  Funny Miss E doing her math homework after school.  She makes me laugh.

Miss A's varsity track meet today.  She ran the mile and got first; she ran the 2 mile and got first.  This race was the 800, and she was neck and neck with this girl, and Miss A got 2nd by .3 of a second.  Man, she is good.  She was dubbed "iron woman" in the local press box.  She is one impressive runner!

Saturday donned bright and sunny.  First yard work day of the season.  Ben moved the lawn while the other kids and I worked on clearing out flower beds and trimming bushes.  It is nice to have some good helpers!

Thanks for visiting!  I post every Monday/Wednesday/Friday, so visit often!.  Hope you have a great week!  

I am linking up with Kleinworth Co and The Mom Creative.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday book review--Josi Kilpack

If you follow my blog at all you will probably know that I love books, I love to read, and that I got my degree in English/Humanities from BYU.  Reading is a big part of my life and my family's.  Each year I make it a goal to read as many books as I will have candles on my birthday cake that year.  Some years I go way over, and some years I barely make it.  I like to read all kinds of books.  I do have a book blog that I used to keep up :)  but not anymore.   It has lots of summaries of past books I have read on that blog, so if you are looking for a good book, check it out.  Keeping up two blogs was just a little too much with my life and my family right now, so on Fridays I will occasionally review some books I have read.  The series above is one a friend introduced me to (thanks Heather!) and I wasn't sure it would be my thing.  I have never really been a big mystery fan, but she said try it, so I did.  I loved it!  These are culinary mysteries by Josi Kilpack.  They follow busybody, mother of 2 grown children, widowed, great cook, and amateur sleuth Sadie Hoffmiller as she tries to figure out mysteries that seem to just fall into her lap.  She will make brownies to take to a neighbor in a chapter, and then at the end of that chapter you get the recipe for the brownies.  I have made several of her recipes, and they are very good.  I got my sister hooked on them, and these books are hers.  This picture is missing the first two books Lemon Tart and English Trifle and the most recently published Baked Alaska.   For a good read and some good recipes, check these books out!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What's up Wednesday--buttermilk pancake edition

We love pancakes at our house.  We have breakfast for dinner often, and they are a favorite.  I thought it was sweet that Mr J in his blessing book put "syrup" as one of this blessings one night when we had pancakes for dinner.  You can see that in my previous post.  These are my mom's buttermilk pancakes, and they are divine.  Ben is the expert at making them in our house.  He makes breakfast every Friday for his early morning Seminary class.  Last week they got buttermilk pancakes.  I don't always have real buttermilk, and often our one grocery store is out, but my friend told me about powdered buttermilk, so I got some and will have to try it.  Mel's kitchen Cafe also has a great buttermilk substitute list here.  This is a big recipe, so you can half it, but we never do.  We just freeze the extras (they freeze great) so there are always pancakes in the morning.  
Ben's buttermilk pancakes

In a large bowl beat well
4 eggs
5 cups buttermilk
6 Tbl. oil

In another large bowl mix
5 cups flour
2 Tbl sugar
4 tes baking powder
2 tes baking soda
1 tes salt

Mix both wet and dry ingredients together with a whisk.  Add more buttermilk if it is too thick.  Use 1/4 cup to cook in hot skillet for pancakes.


Some other yumminess we have been having around here this week. . .

Coconut and cashew granola :  I made this as a snack this past weekend to watch during our church's General Conference.  This is what Miss O my 12 year old said, "If I had to choose only one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would be this!"  Need I say more?  It was gone in a matter of hours.  So good!

Simple and Meaty Skillet Lasagna : I have never made a skillet Lasagna before and was kind of skeptical, but this was very easy and very good.  My 15 year old daughter made most of it, and that always makes things taste good too :)  One pot and your done?  Sold.

Tomato Bisque Soup : I made this with butternut squash from our last year's garden.  Always cool to use produce you grew yourself.  It was very, very good, but you have to plan ahead to cook the squash, but well worth it.  Mr J (age 7) was bound and determined not to like it because of the squash, but after the first spoonful he said, "Yum!" and devoured the whole bowl.

Lion House dinner rolls : I made these to go with the soup, and they are, as always, divine.

Heath Bar Cake : Super easy and yummy!  One bowl and you're are done.  Make it today :)

Happy Eating this week!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 14

Big week here--Easter Sunday was beautiful!  Miss A got her Young Womanhood Medallion!  Miss O had 2 track meets and broke the school record for the mile!!!  Miss A had one track meet--her first varsity meet as a freshman, and she got 2nd in both her 2 mile and 1 mile races and improved on her best times.   It was a busy week, and it will only get more so.  People say December is the busiest month of the year, I think April/May blow it out of the water.  Plus, we only have 6 weeks of school left for the year!  Our April/Mays are crazy, so I am just trying to embrace that craziness and "keep calm and carry on."  Wish me luck.  Here is a look at our week. . .

Easter Sunday--everyone ready for church in their new outfits and Mr J's new suit.  

Miss A got her Young Womanhood medallion which is a huge deal at our church!  She had to do over  70 hours of service/projects.  It is equivalent to the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout award.  She got this beautiful silver necklace.  Way to go Miss A!!!

Track Meet #1 of the week--Miss O did discuss, and got 2nd place.  Way to go!  She also ran the 1 mile, half mile, and was the anchor on the medley relay, and she got 1st in all 3 races!!!  Way to go Miss O! 

Mr J got this fun new kick ball in his Easter basket that he was trying out today.  Quite a kick there :)

Track Meet #2 of the week--Miss O broke the school record in the mile race running it in 5:59.  She also won the race and got another gold medal for anchoring and winning their medley relay.  More about our crazy track life here.

2013 is the year of Gratitude for our family.  We are trying to really focus this year on our blessings and being grateful.  We made blessing books at the beginning of the year to write in daily our 5 blessings or things we are grateful for that day.  More about that here.  I snapped a picture of Mr J's book today.  Love the things he sees as blessings and is grateful for, and I love his spelling.  He is 7.

Ben out working on the car this weekend.  So grateful for him and all he does.

Thanks for visiting.  Hope you have a great week!

I am linking up with Kleinworth Co. and The Mom Creative.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday review--Track

Track--that one word pretty much describes our week, and more than likely the whole month of April and May.  Three track meets this week, and that is just the beginning.  Sigh.  People say December is the busiest and craziest month.  I think April/May blow it out of the water.  Our April/Mays are 10 times crazier and more busy that any December we have ever had.  I wish it was December :)  But even though they are crazy busy, they are fun and very rewarding for my girls.  Very rewarding as a parent to see your child succeed and excel in new things and do well.  This is what this past week has been all about--succeeding and excelling for my two oldest girls.  I have been a big cheerleader.
Miss O had two track meets this week.  At the first she placed 2nd in the discus--which is something she has never, ever done.  It is a whole new sport, and she is doing awesome!

At that same meet she placed first in the 1600 (Mile) the 800 (half mile) and anchored her medley relay to a first place finish.  3 golds in one day.  Watch out Michael Phelps!  Man that girl is fast!!!

In her second meet of the week she broke the school record for the 1600(mile) running it in 5:59!!!!!  The old record was 6:03, and she won the race to boot!  She also anchored her medley relay and led them to a gold medal too!  It was a busy day for her!  She is awesome!!!  And I was there--the whole 6 hours of the track meet.  Have you ever been to a track meet?  Man, they are not quick things.   They are hours long things.  So, she and I got home really late last night to tell the rest of the family and celebrate before we both collapsed into bed.   She was exhausted, and I was too.  It was a long and very successful day, and there are a lot more to come.  Let the crazy begin.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What's up Wednesday--Moon Pie edition

Moon Pie is a dessert that my family found out about years ago.  It was from one of my Dad's old students.  They made it once when we went to their house for dinner.  It is called Moon Pie because when you take the crust out of the oven it is all puffy and uneven and looks like the surface of the moon.  It is an easy and divine dessert, and we usually have it on Easter.  Enjoy!
Moon Pie

In a medium sauce pan melt 1/2 cup butter in 1 cup water and bring to a boil.
Add all at once 1 cup flour and stir until a ball forms.  Remove from heat and let cool about 10 minutes.

Add in 4 eggs one egg at a time to the butter/flour ball.  Don't add a new egg until the previous one is all mixed in.

Pam spray a 10x15 jelly roll pan and spread the dough on the sheet.
Bake 400 for 20 minutes

Let cool.

While that is cooling. . .

Mix 2 small boxes of vanilla instant pudding according to Pie filling directions (this means, use about 3 1/2 cups milk instead of 4 when you mix the two boxes)

In another bowl mix an 8 oz softened bar of cream cheese until very soft and whipped.  Add the pudding to the softened cream cheese. **this usually goes lumpy, and that is okay.  Spread the pudding/cream cheese mix over the crust and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Top with 1 tub of cool whip.  When you cut it to serve, pour chocolate syrup over individual servings.  Like an open faced eclair--yum!

Another yum from this week. . .

I made this Sweet and Spicy slow cooker chicken  and it was so easy and so good!  We served it on tortillas with cheese, lettuce, and sour cream.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 13

Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend.  Ours was great.  The winter weather at the beginning of the week left us, and we were sunny and 70 for our Saturday Easter Egg hunt.  Crazy!  Here is a look at our week. . .
Sunday:  Church was canceled because we got quite a snow storm last night.  My kids donned their boots to write "BYU" in the driveway :)

Mr J and Ben are practicing their duet for their upcoming piano recital.  April is piano recital and competition month, so they are getting ready.

Snow still around, and this was been the view from our back door for the last few days.  Love that I have little (and not so little) people in my house who fill those boots!

Mr J and Miss E and their typical after school snacks--pretzels and gold fish and juice.  Miss E enjoys hers while reading Anne of Green Gables.  Love that book!  What classic!

My cinnamon roll baking marathon day.  More about that here.

Every year since we moved to the country and had room, we have hosted an Easter Egg hunt and potluck lunch the Saturday before Easter.  We love it!  The kids are playing the Easter version of 'duck,duck, goose' which we call "bunny, bunny, hop" while the eggs are being hidden.

The kids at our egg hunt.  The snow from earlier is all gone, and it was beautiful and sunny!  So fun!  I have pictures like this when Mr J was just a year old.  Man how time flies!

Hope you all had a wonderful week!  Thanks for stopping by.

I am linking up with Kleinworth Co and The Mom Creative.