Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Enough to Drive me Crazy

I hate running out of things. It drives me crazy when I am cooking, use the last of the package, go to the cupboard to get more and there isn’t more! Or when I use the last of bathroom or craft supplies… stuff you need, as soon as you run out of it. I stock up on items as much as I can and love it when someone says “we are out” and I can say, “there is more on the shelf downstairs”.
More than running out of something, though, I hate not being able to find what I know we have! This has spurred some housecleaning in the last couple of weeks. I know there is stuff around here, somewhere! I just need to find it. Slowly, digging out, cleaning up, getting rid of some stuff, organizing others and taking lots of deep breathes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cancer Stinks

Today I’m mad and sad. My neighbor just lost her brother to esophageal cancer. Another neighbor just had surgery (again) to try and remove his cancer. And a dear friend, Tonya Jamois (former ICAN President) just got diagnosed with breast cancer. She started a blog called Pink and Plaid Warrior about her journey.
I was at the park when I overheard a little boy, maybe nine or ten years old, say, "I like to burn the hair off Barbies and pretend they have cancer." I'm still trying to wrap my brain around that one. Does his mom (or another relative) have cancer and this is his way of dealing with it? Or is he a real-life, straight off the big screen movie Toy Story, toy torturing Sid? I don't know, but it freaked me out.
Why can't we find the cure for this disease? It can't come soon enough...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Song: He'll Carry You

Our Sunday Song comes from Hillary Weeks: He'll Carry You.
I recently heard a man discussing  the Parable of the Good Samaritan. He talked about how it is really a story about Christ and all that He does for us. He also mentioned the word beast, in some translations, means creature or man. The scripture could infer that Christ, Himself, carried the injured man... just as He carries each of us.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chocolate Peanut-Butter No-Bake Cookies

I recently found this yummy recipe for Chocolate Peanut-Butter No-Bake Cookies. My family loves these. They don't take long to make. I have one suggestion: gather all the ingredients and measure them out--especially the peanut butter.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • Waxed paper


In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls, until cooled and hardened.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Manti trip and a Dream

Saturday we drove down to Manti to see the LDS Manti Pageant. I was surprised at how empty the town was. We’ve gone before and I remember people playing at the park and walking the streets. We didn’t see many people out at all. We went to the craft store and park. Then over to the church for a turkey dinner (they raise turkeys in Manti). I stood in line for a few minutes, made a mad dash for seats, but in reality, there was little competition. Since the pageant doesn’t start until dark, we went back to the hotel to hang out.
The pageant was beautiful. The kids were impressed by the volcano action. I loved the angels and the part where Mary, a young mother who dies on the plains, comes back to get her husband when he is shot by an arrow. That scene is enough to make anyone cry.
I had a funny dream while in Manti. I was at a neighbor’s house, checking their mail for them while they were out of town. I was making sure everything was okay when another neighbor starting chatting. She asked me something about the neighbors, but I couldn’t remember the names of the people whose house I was watching. I was totally embarrassed. Then I see a door inside the house open and close. I ask, “oh, they are home now?” They invite me in and we chat for a minute before the husband gets up, and grabs some paperwork and a baggie of pills. He says, “I am conducting a study on how well this drug will help people with memory loss from drug use early in life. I’m going to sign you up. Here are your drugs.” He writes my name on the clipboard.
I say, “I’ve never used drugs. Will it still help?”
His reply “I think it is obvious you’ve been involved with drugs from your memory problems. I’m signing you up.”
I say, “Don’t you need some background information?”
His reply, “I don’t think that will be necessary.”
I’m upset that he is doing everything wrong, but I really want the drugs (how’s that for a not being a drug user?!) so go along with it. Hysterical!
I woke up to husband knocking on the door (due to our large family, we had girls in one room and boys in another). 7:45… you’ve got to be kidding. Groan. I open the door – not! The deadbolt won’t open all the way. I shake the door, move the deadbolt in and out, but it won’t move all the way over. I go to the window and notice it is a full window, you can’t open it. I shout through the window that the door is stuck. Jay is looking at me like I’m an idiot. Seriously, the lock won’t open. He wiggles the door from the outside and I try again. No luck. He goes to the office, who promptly calls me. I explain and again I get the “are you serious?!” treatment. He instructs me to do the same thing Jay and I just did, again. It doesn’t work, again. The manager says he’s coming to the room. I hurry into some clothes. He starts pushing and shoving the door. I turn the deadbolt and VIOLA- it works. I tell him it is a good thing there wasn’t a fire. That would have been bad. He promises to change the lock. Seems like I can’t go anywhere without having some kind of problem with the hotel. Rolling eyes.
We leave Manti rather quickly. We still had lots of snacks for the trip, mostly gluten-free stuff but not all. We did stop by a McDonalds on the way home for breakfast. My kids hardly ever eat breakfast out and really didn’t know what to get. One had egg mcmuffin, two had a cinnamon roll and one had nothing. I didn’t bother to get anything. There isn’t much on their menu that is gluten-free. I’m trying really hard but sometimes I forget...
We went to dinner at my sister-in-law’s house. My nephew cooked the steaks perfectly. There were baked potatoes and a yummy salad. For dessert, I brought ice cream cones. I had wanted something I could just serve. I didn’t want something with lots of prep time, since I wasn’t sure what time we would be back from Manti. I scooped out ice cream cones for everyone, then fixed one for myself.
I. ate. the. whole. thing. without. thinking. about. it.
I didn’t even realize I’d done it until we got home and the kids asked for one more cone. I fixed them one and thought, “I want another one. WAIT. I ate an ice cream cone?! What was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking!”
Waaaa! Where is my baggie of memory pills!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ragnar Race

Jared ran the Ragnar Wasatch Back Race Friday and Saturday. Yes, it took two days to finish this relay race. There were 12 runners who ran three legs of the 188 mile race. My son was runner #11. He ran a total of 14.6 miles. His first leg was straight up hill, his second relatively flat around a lake and the last was straight downhill and off road. He appears to have run the race without any injuries or problems. I’m really proud of him.
I have never considered myself the athletic type. I much prefer curling up with a book to attending an exercise class. When my son said he was going to run the Ragnar, I had to look it up to know what it was. He had only a two week notice that he was running the race. It was out of my comfort zone for me to let him do this, but felt that if he wanted to, then he should do it. My next thought was, “Better him than me. I could never do that.” I’m not sure where this came from, since I really dislike the words, “I can’t”. I often see that as a challenge to find out how much I can do. This brings me to the uncomfortable place between knowing I need to do this and not really wanting to. I have a friend who is encouraging me to train for and run a 5k… maybe… I can.  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Song: Still My Daddy

Sunday Song: Still My Daddy Happy Father's Day! Hug yours if he is near, call him if he isn't. If he's in heaven, send a message to Jesus to pass along. 

I'm also sharing this Mormon Message about a special Dad: A Father Indeed

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fathers and Leadership

This Father's Day weekend, I'll share this counsel from Ezra Taft Benson:
With love in my heart for the fathers in Israel, may I suggest ten specific
ways that fathers can give spiritual leadership to their children:

1. Give father's blessings to your children. Baptize and confirm your
children. Ordain your sons to the priesthood. These will become spiritual
highlights in the lives of your children.

2. Personally direct family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly
family home evenings. Your personal involvement will show your children how
important these activities really are.

3. Whenever possible, attend Church meetings together as a family. Family
worship under your leadership is vital to your children's spiritual welfare.

4. Go on daddy-daughter dates and father-and-sons' outings with your
children. As a family, go on campouts and picnics, to ball games and
recitals, to school programs, and so forth. Having Dad there makes all the

5. Build traditions of family vacations and trips and outings. These
memories will never be forgotten by your children.

6. Have regular one-on-one visits with your children. Let them talk about
what they would like to. Teach them gospel principles. Teach them true
values. Tell them you love them. Personal time with your children tells them
where Dad puts his priorities.

7. Teach your children to work, and show them the value of working toward a
worthy goal. Establishing mission funds and education funds for your
children shows them what Dad considers to be important.

8. Encourage good music and art and literature in your homes. Homes that
have a spirit of refinement and beauty will bless the lives of your children

9. As distances allow, regularly attend the temple with your wife. Your
children will then better understand the importance of temple marriage and
temple vows and the eternal family unit.

10. Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the
Church. This can become contagious to them, so they, too, will want to serve
in the Church and will love the kingdom.

Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice, p. 46

Friday, June 18, 2010

He's reading without being told to

I can't tell you how excited I was to look over and see John reading a book in the car. His two older brothers have always been readers. I never had to tell them to read, they always carried a book with them. John has only recently discovered that reading is a gateway path to learn whatever you want to, go where ever you want to and to help you learn to be who ever you want to be.
He is reading the Magic Tree House book series. The have a great website called Passport to Adventure to encourage kids to read. There are activities for kids to learn from at their Teachers@Random page. Use the books to teach geography, history, spelling and more.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Job Done!

What is a mother to do? After nagging Jo to fold and put away the kitchen towels, this is how they are put away. She claims I didn't say "fold them" just "put them away". I'm not folding them. This is how they will stay. We'll call it "casual living".

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Made our own Chalkboard

We’ve added a fun new thing to our school room: a chalkboard! We bought three pieces of sheet metal and some wood molding from the local hardware store. We painted these with chalkboard paint that I found. We mounted these on the wall, then covered the edges of the sheet metal with the wood molding. It looks great and the kids love it! Not only can they draw on it, they can also use their alphabet magnets on it. Say good-bye to those little magnets all over your kitchen floor -- they are happily on the chalkboard! Hooray!

Monday, June 14, 2010

UHEA Conference part 1

I attended the Utah Home Education Association’s conference on Saturday. I came away from this conference, more than ever before, feeling that I heard exactly what I needed to hear and that, “I can homeschool!”
The first two classes I attend were Penny Gardner’s on Charlotte Mason. She talked about using living books, rather than textbooks. Read biographies, historical fictions and well-written core books. Penny said Living books capture imagination, changes your life, gives new ideas and broadens your mind.
A Charlotte Mason quote: “Persons matter more than things. Don’t say anything that will leave a sting.”
I’m going to give you my notes for the rest as I took them, if you have questions, let me know.
Language Arts:
Narration is the retelling – “act of Knowing”
Steps to becoming a good writer:
-Oral Narration
-tell a story – oral composition
-read linear stories together, then have child narrate
-Make it fun!
-Make a book and give as a gift
-bean bag toss- “your turn- what happens next in the story?”
-cube toss: six sides: plot, theme, setting, character, compare/contrast, favorite part
-encourage kids to tell Dad about the book
-show a picture, write a list- tell what they saw
-maybe make into a poem
-act the story out
-draw a comic strip
-make a poster
-Copywork or Transcription
-Worry about penmanship around age 7 or 8
-have kids trace
-use Italic Handwriting
-handwriting is an art
-“People will judge you on your handwriting”
-have a jar or basket with favorite quotes for copywork
-short, focused lesson
-copy great literature
-there they will pick up spelling, punctuation, grammar, usage, vocabulary, capitalization
-let kids make their own Book of Mottos – special quotes
-do not repeat
-learning listening, attention, concentration, memory
-start with short things
-start with something they already know
-should use neatest penmanship, spelling, punctuation
-take words from reading
-notice how the words are spelled
-picture the word in your mind
-spell orally
-pronounce words correctly
-write with eyes closed
-write word in sentence
-speak correctly
-restate properly
-learn Latin
Transitions from Oral to Written Narrations
-start as written, move to oral
-alternate between student and parent writing

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer Plans

Here is our summer plan. Mondays will be the day I choose to stay home and catch up on laundry. The kids can play with friends. Tuesdays we’ll go to the park (if the weather is good enough) by the library, then go to chess club. Wednesdays we’ll go to the dollar movie. Thursdays we’ll go bowling, with our free bowling passes. Friday, we’ll take it easy or maybe find something fun to do.
We don’t have any big vacations scheduled, but hope to do some fun day trips.
I just scored some awesome tickets for the Heber Valley Railroad for a train ride. (Click on the link on the left for your tickets!) We haven’t done the train ride in a long time. The kids should enjoy it.
The kids do have to keep up with their piano practice, reading and math through the summer. They also have chores they are helping with. I’m mean like that.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Everyone Pick up the Living Room, NOW!

My sister-in-law called today asking, “Can I bring my grandkids over to see your chickens?” “Sure, why not,” I thought, “just please, don’t come in the house.”
There was a time, long, long ago, when I always had a clean house. In fact, if I knew you were coming over, I’d purposely not straighten up a particular area. After all, I wouldn’t want you to feel bad that I was a perfect housekeeper. With more kids, it became a little harder to keep it perfect. I could still clean up the house spotless with a five minute warning that you were coming over. The lead time necessary gradually stretched to ten minutes. Now, I could make do with a two day warning, if I had to, but if you were my friend, you’d give me a week’s notice. Trust me, you don’t want to come over and see the kitchen (or heaven forbid, the bathroom!) without giving me time to clean up!
When I ask the kids to pick up the living room,they ask,"Who is coming over?" ARGH! Does someone have to be coming over for us to clean the living room? Okay, I admit, my friend is coming over in five minutes. Would you please get your underwear off the couch and put it away?!
At the temple, we use microfiber clothes to clean. They work great. I'm going to order some for home!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Woman of Substance

I am a Woman of Substance. Or at least, that is how I looked last night to a particular guy hanging out at the gas station. After work, I stopped to get an orange juice and some almonds for the drive home. I didn’t have my friend to car pool with and I needed something to get me home without falling asleep. As I stepped into my car, a guy on a bike asked me, “I see you are a Woman-of-Substance and I asking you for eighty cents so I fill my water bottle with soda.” I laughed, sighed and handed him one of the two dollars I had in my wallet. Maybe I shouldn’t have. Really, he likely didn’t need the soda, especially if he couldn’t afford it… and I laughed about the Woman-of-Substance. I am a woman who was on her way home from her part-time job she has to be able to pay for some of the things she otherwise wouldn’t be able to have or do. I am a woman who cuts and uses coupons to lower her grocery bill. I am a woman who hangs her family’s clothes out on the line to lower the electric bill. Am I a Woman-of-Substance? Well, I was driving a car, instead of riding a bike. I have a home, with running electricity and filled with food. I am lucky to have a job. I have a family. I am a Woman-of-Substance, even if I only have one $1 bill in my wallet. Indeed, I am a blessed Woman-of-Substance.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Swimming Suit

My new bathing suit is here! Whoo! I bought it at the Casual Blogger Conference, but they didn’t have the style I wanted in the color I chose, in the size I need. So they mailed it to me. The lady was so sweet. I mentioned it was my birthday on Wednesday and she really wanted it to get to me before then, but with the long holiday weekend that didn’t happen. She wrote on the package, “Hope you had a fantastic birthday!”
I’m so excited to wear this modest swimming suit! My girls each got one, too, and they love wearing their swim suit ‘dress’.
Disclaimer: They don’t have sizes higher than 10-12, yet, but promised me they would have them for next season.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Song: Daughter of a King

Our Sunday Song this week is from Jenny Phillips: Daughter of a King.
My sweet Jo, just eight years old, makes the cutest cards for me. "To Mom You are a princess. I love you more. Love XOXO" She covers the cards with flowers and hearts.
May all women know they are daughters of the Most High King.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friday Fun and Chocolate Disappointment

Friday I took the kids and met up with my friend, Whitney, and her son, in Salt Lake City. We went to The Discovery Gateway Museum and totally had a blast. The kids loved all the hands on activities. They played in a sand pit, pretended to be a news anchor, played with wood, plastic and magnetic blocks. John's favorite thing was the Magformers. I guess I know what he wants for Christmas. We ate lunch on the roof-top, next to a helicopter (after we ate, we got to talk while the kids played). We spent three hours there and could have spent longer.
The kids begged me to take them to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a treat. The kids were excited as we crossed the street to store. It didn’t take them long at all to pick out something they wanted. Two ice creams (in a cup) and one Rice Krispie treat with chocolate and caramel on it. I asked the lady behind the counter what they had that was gluten-free. She turned to another employee and repeated my question, “What do we have that is gluten-free?”
He snorted, looked at me and smirked, “Water.” He then turned his back on me and went on with whatever he was doing that was more important than helping me.
I bought my kids their treat, hearing only a little whining from Jo, who seemed to feel she ought to be able to pick out more than one thing. I squashed that idea. Her one treat alone cost me three dollars. That was all she was getting. Then I sat with my friend and our kids and watched them all eat their treat. And I got angry.
Most chocolate is gluten-free. Rice Krispies and marshmallows are gluten-free. Most ice cream is gluten-free (not counting the obvious ingredients, like cookies). Nuts are gluten-free. Was it true that there was nothing in the store that would be considered gluten-free? I don’t know. I do know, though, that the employees there are uneducated about gluten-free foods and could care less about helping a customer who needs to eat gluten-free.
Next time we go to the Gateway, my kids and I will find another place to get our treats. Somewhere that cares.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sweet Cake Bake Shop

I have a friend whose daughter got married last week. She told me she found this little bakery in Kaysville, whose sweets were all gluten-free. She didn’t have a clue what gluten was, but said their stuff was yummy. I’ve been dying to get to the bakery, but didn’t make it over there until my birthday.
That morning, my eight year old, asked me, “What kind of cake are you going to make yourself for your birthday?” Ack, little girl, didn’t I teach you better than that?! I’m not making my own cake.
After I went to lunch with my friend, Jo, we drove over to the Sweet Cake Bake Shop. It is right off Main Street and 200 North. It is a cute place. Not only do they have sweets ready to go, but they also have mixes to buy and make later. There is pancake and “Master Mix” for making bread. The sweets include cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and raspberry bars.
Four chocolate and two vanilla cupcakes, to go, please. The frosting is piled a mile high. The kids took one look and wanted to eat them before dinner. At first, my husband wasn’t sure he wanted one (after all, it is gluten-free) but they look so yummy, he gave in and ate his. We all did.
It was delicious to eat cake again… and know it wouldn’t hurt later.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy to be 39

I went to the doc last week so he could check a bump on my leg. Have I mentioned I’m a bit of a hypochondriac? I was worried about blood clots, since the coloring of the bruise had gone away, but the bump was still there. The nurse asks me how old I am: "29" I laugh. "Just kidding. Sorry, I'm... how old am I? Oh, yeah, 39 next week." She checks my paper again: "What did you say you hit when you slipped in the tub?"
I’m not sure where the ‘29’came from. I haven’t lied about my age for many years. I have, in fact, been a little impatient with women who claim to be 29 for years. Be proud of your age. Look at what the years have brought you: a new baby, a new job, a new calling, a trip to a new place or the opening of a new vision of who you are. Maybe it was the opportunity to see your children grow another year. Whatever it was, be grateful; many women haven’t had the blessing of living to your age.
I think of Valerie and Melissa, school teachers in New Jersey. Both died following the cesarean delivery of their first baby (both girls). Valerie was 35 years old and Melissa was 28. The things those mothers have missed and the things their babies have missed, not having their mothers. I look at my children and am so grateful… they have taught me, just by letting me be their mom.
One day, years ago, when I had just three boys, we were at the mall. We ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I was proudly showing off my boys when Jayson piped up, “Jared is eight, I’m six, John is two and my mom is twenty-one!” You do the math! OWW! Jayson just had his birthday and was so excited about it. He was really interested in how old everyone was. He kept asking me how old I was. I tried telling him it isn’t polite to ask a woman how old she is, but he persisted. I told him I was 21. That is how I came to be standing in the mall, doing the math to realize I had my first baby at 13! Yikes! Happily, my friend just laughed, winked at me and said, “You have him trained well.”
Today I turn 39. I’ll take it. It is better than the option. I’m grateful for this last year. I’ve gotten a new job and I’m enjoying it. I’ve taken on a new challenge in ICAN: being the Clarion editor and I’m learning lots. I’ve made new friends. My children growing up and I’m here to be a part of their lives. Isn’t that what it is all about?