Monday, September 30, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 39

3 Volleyball games and 2 cross country races later, we made it through this week.  It is finally beginning to feel like fall here, and I am loving it.  Love having the windows open, love having the excuse to bake anything with pumpkin, love decorating for the season and buying pumpkins.  Love the sunsets we have been having.  Life is good, and I love it.  Here is a look at our week and what I love. . .
Several years ago for Christmas my mom gave us a set of hand bells that we like to get out and sing and play with every so often.  We did that this week and had a lot of fun.  We love to make music at our house.

Went on an evening bike ride and loved the sunset!  Sure love where we live!

Girls lunch out--sent shopping and to lunch with these amazing ladies that I love so, so much! 

One of several volleyball games this week.  This girl is one hard worker, let me tell you.  I sure love her!

These two are in the middle school band together, and it is so fun to hear them play things together.  This next week is going to be a big band week--2 parades and one football game are on the band agenda.  Go girls, go!  Sure love their good attitudes and hard work!

Isn't she about the cutest thing ever?  Got her high school band pictures back this week.  What a doll!  Have I mentioned how hard this girl works?  7 a.m. band almost every morning plus volleyball practice every day after school plus one late night a week of band practice, volleyball games, and she gets all A's.  She really does inspire me!  I sure love her!  

Ben was messing around with our camera and the different settings while we were decorating for Halloween.  Mr J was so excited to get all our Halloween books out!  Lots of fun memories reading those!  I sure love books!

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you have a great week!

I am linking up with The Mom Creative

Friday, September 27, 2013

Life interupted

So, our Internet has been down almost all week.  I have a love/hate relationship with that.  I love my Internet and my computer and all the blogs and fun online stuff there is, but I also hate the Internet and my computer and how much time it can take out of my day.  I am in charge--I can set limits.  And I am not the only one in my family who has this love/hate relationship.  Ben said the other night, "It is kind of nice not to have the Internet working then I don't feel like I need to check things."  I agree.  I just read a talk about how we talk to children and how important that is.  In the talk by Rosemary M. Wixon titled The Words We Speak, she suggested taking time each day to "disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other."  Amen.  She also said, "precious moments of opportunity to interact and converse with our children (and I would add spouse) dissolve when we are occupied with distractions."  This not only applies when you have young children, but also to your spouse and older teenage children.  My teenage kids are always running here and there, and their actual home time is very limited.  I need to limit my online/computer time/distractions when they are around.  That is my new goal.  No computer from 3-8 when the kids are home.  I often tell Ben, "save that for later, you can do that once the kids are in bed," and I need to apply my own advice.  So our household is starting a 'disconnect time' from 3-8 p.m. daily because our life is not on the computer, our life is our home and our kids, and we don't want to interrupt that.  Wish us luck!

Monday, September 23, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 38

Busy week, but seriously, is there any other kind?  Not in the season of life we are in right now.  I am grateful for that season--as busy and as crazy as it seems at times.  I am grateful, and sometimes I need to keep reminding myself of that.  I am grateful to have 4 healthy kids to taxi around everywhere :)  I am grateful they can do all they can.  I am grateful for their hard work and good attitudes.  I am grateful for a hard working and supportive husband that allows me to do what I do.  I am grateful.  So, here is a look at our busy week that I am grateful for. . . 
Sunday afternoons and evenings are thankfully not busy.  They are our downtime and family time.  Mr J and Ben had some fun with legos tonight.  They don't usually play with the big ones, but they wanted to do something different tonight.

Miss E isn't quite as busy as her older sisters yet, but her time is very quickly coming.  She loves to read, and can most often be found curled up with a good book.

A typical after school shot--homework and snacks--today it was orange julius and marshmallows--what a combination, huh?

Volleyball game #1 of the week.  Miss O did awesome!  She helped her team win their match against a much bigger school.  Way to go Miss O!

I got to take these two out for an extra yummy treat--double dip ice cream cones--yum!

Football game and band performance.  Miss O works so hard in band.  She inspires me.

Volleyball games #2,3, and 4 of the week today.  Miss O had a tournament that Ben and I went to.  She has such a positive attitude for which I am very grateful for!

Thanks for visiting!  Have a great week!

I am linking up with The Mom Creative.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's up Wednesday--Banana bars

Bananas are something everyone in my family loves.  On Thursdays at my grocery store I can get them for $.19 a pound, so I load up.  We usually don't end up eating them all before they start to go brown, darn it, so that means we get to bake with them or freeze them for smoothies.  Yum!  Some of our favorite banana recipes are my great grandma's banana bread, baked banana oatmeal, and banana chocolate chip mini muffins--which I will share that recipe next week.  But I was looking for something different to make with our ripe bananas this last week, and I found something divine!  I think what makes these so divine is the frosting--browned butter frosting.  Have you ever made that before?  Oh. my.  it is to.die.for.
When Ben tasted them he said, "Wow, what is that frosting it is really good!"  and my kids didn't have to say much, the pan which was gone in less than an hour spoke for itself.  It used to be that I could make a batch of cookies or brownies or bars like these, and we would have left-overs to freeze and use for lunches.  That is not quite the case anymore.   More often than not the cookies and bars are gone before I can get them into the freezer.  Maybe I just need to start doubling everything I make--one to eat now, and one to freeze.

I found these somewhere on the web--do you do that, find things and then can't remember where you found them?  I print off recipes all the time, but sometimes the site doesn't print off, so I apologize to whoever came up with these first that I can't give you credit, but thank you because they are so good!

Banana Bars

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3-4 ripe bananas mashed
2 tes vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tes baking soda
3/4 tes salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional--we aren't nut people, so I never put them in)

Browned Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tes vanilla
 3 Tbl milk

Heat oven to 375.  Grease a 10x15 jelly roll pan.  Beat first four ingredients until creamy.  Blend in bananas and vanilla and beat for 1 minute.  Add dry ingredients and blend for one minute.  Stir in nuts if using and then spread in pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Cool slightly until warm but not hot and frost with browned butter frosting.

For frosting--heat butter in saucepan over medium heat until it is boiling and a delicate brown color--this takes a while--keep an eye on it.  Remove from heat and immediately add the remaining ingredients.  This should be thicker than glaze and thinner than frosting.  Use a spatula to smooth over the banana bars immediately.  It is easier to spread on the warm banana bars.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 16, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 37

Busy week--2 volleyball games, one cross country meet, one band playing at the football game, and bought a new car.  The weekend was not long enough to recover.  I need a vacation!  Here is a look at our week. . 
Sunday night we took some time to relax and play a game.  This is called Qwirkle, and we think it is a lot of fun.

Miss O has a bug collection due this week, so everyone was helping her catch bugs tonight.  My freezer was full of little baggies full of bugs for a few days.  Fun stuff!

First volleyball game at home--she has such a good attitude and has so much fun!

She is also a very good player!

One day a week my kids get out of school 30 minutes earlier than usual.  On their early release day today we went to see a really cool art exhibit.  All these are made from cardboard.

Cross country meet #2, and Miss A did not disappoint.  She did awesome!

First home football game of the season, and Miss O's first time to perform with the band.  They did awesome!  It was so fun to watch!!

So, more about our exciting van shopping adventures if you are interested in the previous post, but we were able to make things work and get up to the city today to finally get us a new (to us) van!  It is a Honda Odyssey, and we love it!

Thanks for visiting!  Come back often!  Have a great week!

I am linking up with The Mom Creative.

Friday, September 13, 2013

the weekend that wasn't

Happy Friday the 13th!  I think my Friday the 13th bad luck hit me early.  Let me tell you about it.  Have you ever planned and looked forward to something and then have everything fall apart and not go anywhere near the way you wanted it to go?  Well, that was my last weekend.  We have been needing to buy a new van for quite a while.  Our old one has been wonderful, but it is just, well, old.  It hit 200,000 miles this summer, and we were just praying it would get us to our vacation to Colorado and home, which it did great, but since then I feel like we have been pushing our luck.  So, since we live in a very small town with little to no car dealerships available for another minivan, we knew we would have to go to the city--easy choice.  Finding a Saturday when we could actually go to the city--the two of us, no kids?  Not so easy.  So, about a month ago I penciled in we would be going to the city last Saturday to go van shopping--just me and Ben.  No kids.  We figured they are old enough (15,13,11,8)  to watch themselves for a day especially with grandparents in town to call on in an emergency.  So, I had the day all planned out.  We were going to leave early (like 6 a.m.) so Ben and I could attend the temple, then we would have the whole day to van shop--we had a list of dealers and places to go, we would go out to dinner someplace besides fast food or Mexican (which is all our small town has to offer--I was thinking Olive Garden--Yum), and we would just have a great day together.  I had a plan--we were ready.  Little did I know. . .

Well. . . we left on time.  The temple was wonderful, but things just went downhill from there.  After we left the temple we went to a dealer.  We pulled into the parking lot and I had this instant, intense pain on my right side lower back.  Like so intense and instant I felt like I was going to be sick.  I breathed deeply thinking, "What in the heck???" and then we left the dealership without even going in because I needed to use the bathroom and didn't want to use it there.  So, we drove to a hotel right across the street, I went in, took deep breaths, walked around, used the restroom, and the pain started to subside.  So, I thought, "okay that was weird, but I am feeling better, so let's go. . ."  So we drive back over to the dealership and start looking at some vans.  We looked at 3, and then the pain started again.  Oh, my.  The salesman said, 'Well, lets take a drive."  And I was thinking, "I am not going to go for a drive and throw up in this new car."  So I politely said, 'Ben you drive it, I am not feeling well.  I need to go to the restroom."  He was ready to just leave and go home, but I insisted he drive the car and see what he thought.  So, I spent the next 30 minutes in the restroom of the car dealership throwing up and feeling awful.  I called my Dr. from the bathroom in the dealership and said, "help!  I am in the restroom of a car dealership in the city, and I am dying!"--benefits of small town medicine.  Thank heavens he has known me almost all my life and knew I wasn't crazy :)  He called me in some prescriptions at home, and then I hear some knocking on the bathroom door.  It's Ben who didn't know where I had gone and was very worried.  I told him we had to go home right away--which takes 2 hours.  So, after a horrid ride home of constant pain and throwing up, I made it home where I immediately sent Ben to the pharmacy, and I hid out in my room for 2 days alternating between moaning in my bed and getting sick in my bathroom.  It was not a pretty sight.  After 6 hours of throwing up almost every 20 minutes, I finally stopped and was able to get some medicine and liquids down.  Ugh.  Not fun.  What was wrong?  Well, I had a UTI, and those are common for me, but I have never, ever had them with that kind of pain in my side.  My doctor thought it might have been a kidney stone?  But I never passed anything and the pain went away by Sunday.  The throwing up I am assuming was my body's reaction to the intense pain.  I don't know, but I hope and pray it never, ever happens again.

So much for our nicely planned weekend.

I was sort of out of commission for a few days after and just sore.  After throwing up that often for that long, my body was really sore, but by Wednesday I was feeling almost normal.  Thank heavens for modern medicine!

But trying to find another weekend we have free now is almost next to impossible.  Ben and I were looking at the calendar, and I said, 'Looks like we can go again the 2nd weekend in November."  Oh. My.  So, we are hoping and praying our good old van keeps plugging along fine until then and that I never get that sick again!  It was an experience I never want to repeat.  The end.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's up Wednesday--baked banana oatmeal

I found this recipe I don't know where, but it originally hails from Parent and Child magazine here, and since I found it 3 weeks ago, I have made it no less than 3 times.  It is so good!  My whole family loves it, which is saying a lot because my 8 year old son does not like oatmeal, but he loves this.  Who wouldn't?  It is like a baked oatmeal cookie for breakfast, and what's not to love about that?
Baked Banana Oatmeal

4 1/2 cups rolled oats or quick cooking or a combination
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 Tbl butter, melted
3 eggs
1 Tbl baking powder
1 tes salt
2 tes vanilla
1 1/4 cups mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1.  Heat oven to 350
2.  In a large bowl mix all ingredients and stir well
3.  spread in a greased 9 x13 pan
4.  Bake for 30 minutes or until set

I usually mix all the dry ingredients together the night before and have the wet ones ready to go in the fridge so I can quickly get it in the oven in the morning.  This is just super easy to mix together and make.  The leftovers are good to reheat for the next day--if there are any leftovers which sometimes there aren't in our house.

Monday, September 9, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 36

What a week, what a week!  Sports are in full swing here.  Miss A had her first cross country meet and Miss O had her first volleyball match.  Of course they were on the same day, but different places.  My kids and their activities constantly remind me that I can't be in two places at once!  But we had fun, and it was a good week!  Here is a look at it. . .
Ben made this amazing lemon curd and strawberry trifle for dessert on Sunday.  So yum!  I was very impressed!!

Ordered a big box of Colorado peaches and freezer packed them today.  Yum!

This is one of the many flowers on my front porch.  Love the color!

Our first den meeting for Scouts.  Mr J got his bobcat award and 2 beads toward his wolf.  Way to go Mr J!

Miss A's first cross country race of the season.  She is the last one on the right end.  Lots of girls in that varsity race, and she did awesome!

Enjoying our after school snack of pretzels dipped in nutella with apple juice!  Yum!  A nice way to touch base and have the kids fill me in on their day.

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you had a good week!  This coming week we have 2 volleyball games, one cross country meet, and then the first football game with Miss O performing with the band during half time.  Hello crazy, here we come. . .

I am linking up with The Mom Creative

Friday, September 6, 2013

First meet of the season

So in case you didn't know, our cute Miss A is a runner.  A very good runner, and I have no idea where she gets that talent from because it is definitely not from me.  This week she had her first cross country meet of the season.
Here she is with her cute teammate before the race.  It was a pretty hot day to be running--over 90, but she was ready to go. 

She is a sophomore, but this is her second year to run varsity.  Everyone lined up.  There were a lot of girls in that varsity race.

She did a great job!

I so admire her determination and strength to be able to run those 2. 5 mile (4K) races.  Her goal is to make it to state this year.  Last year she missed it by one place and 1/4 of a second.  She is looking good this year!  We just hope and pray she stays healthy and can run the races she wants because she works so hard and deserves the best!  Way to go Miss A!!!  We are proud of you!

Miss O also had her first volleyball game---conveniently it was the same day as Miss A's race.  One was an hour south and the other was 30 minutes north, so we went to the 30 minutes one.  We can't be to everything with 4 active kids, and our kids understand that, but they know we love and support them and will be there if we can, and Miss O has a lot more games we can go to which we are excited about.  She is also a super hard worker and dedicated.  Way to go Miss O!!!  We are proud of you!

Looking forward to a fun and very busy season!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's up Wednesday--Aebelskivers

What is an Aebelskiver?  It is a round Danish pancake made in a special Aebelskiver pan.  Ben's dad went to Denmark on a mission for our Church, and he shared his love for them with Ben and his siblings growing up.  I saw this post about them on Mel's Kitchen Cafe and decided since this was part of our heritage we needed to get them and make them.  Boy was I sure glad we did!  They are yummy!
This is Ben making them this past Sunday.  We also had them for Labor Day breakfast and decided that was going to be our new Labor Day tradition.  We always have root beer floats on Labor Day for our evening treat, but from now on we are going to add the tradition of having Aebelskivers for breakfast.  We also decided they were going to be our Christmas morning tradition.  We normally have sweet rolls, but everyone voted to change to these, so you know they are good!  And I like traditions where someone else does the cooking--like Ben :)

You put the dough in the pan after you oil each circle.  Then you turn them as they cook with a stick--we (Ben) use a chopstick.

Cooking all the way around.

Yum!  They are traditionally served with powdered sugar and jam which we tried and is really good.  We also have some fruit syrups (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry) and they were excellent with those also.  Regular pancake syrup is good, but our favorite is to put Nutella on them.  Oh. my.   A breakfast made in heaven!  The pan was not very much--I got a cast iron Norpro Danish Aebelskiver pan on Amazon for less than $12 here.  It works great, just be sure and season it as it says before you use it.  That is the key to cast iron--season before!

This is the recipe my father-in-law gave us (Thanks Dad!), and it is very good.  The recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe is also very good. We (Ben) substitued 1/2 whole wheat flour, and they were excellent.  Enjoy!  

Danish Aebelskivers

2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1/2 tes salt
1/2 tes soda
2 tes baking powder
2 eggs
2 Tbl sugar
4 Tbl melted butter

Combine all ingredients well--it will be thick.  Oil each cup in your pan before putting in about 1 Tab in each cup.  Turn them as they cook.  Enjoy any way you want!  Yum!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 35

We had a good week--a very busy one, but a good one.  Schedules are getting figured out, and we are in the back-to-school groove, although we could all get to bed a little earlier and that would be helpful.  We were very ready for the 3 day weekend and enjoyed it a lot.  Here is a look at our week. . .
I had ordered an Aebelskiver pan and got it this week, so Sunday morning Ben made us Aebelskivers for breakfast.  Yum!  They are Danish, and Ben's dad went to Denmark on his mission, so Ben had them growing up.  They are a round pancake cooked in a special pan.  We decided we liked them best smothered in Nutella, but what isn't good smothered in Nutella?  I will share our recipe on Wednesday.

Tuesday is my laundry day, and I had a lot today.  Sign, but all that laundry means I have a house full of people I love, and that is a good thing!

Mr J had the same brown bag assignment Miss E did for his 3rd grade class.  He had to pick 3-5 things that helped describe him or things that he liked that would fit in the bag and bring to school to share.  Here is what he chose:  Thomas the train since he loves trains, a lego creation since he also loves legos, his back bag of rocks that he got when we rode on the train in Colorado this summer, and his metronome that he uses for piano because he likes playing the piano.  

School is back in session, so that means I can go to lunch with my girlfriends every so often which I love because I love them!  

Miss O and Miss A practicing their band music.  Yes, in case you didn't know, my house is extremely loud.

I got to go with my older girls up to the city and go to the temple with them.  We had a great time!

And let it begin. . .first BYU football game of the season.  It was a rather pathetic and sad one, but still it is exciting the season has started, and hopefully they will just get better!!!

I am linking up with The Mom Creative

Thanks for visiting!  Have a great week!