Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall Nature Hunt Bracelets

I LOVE the Fall colors and to be outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Yesterday, Nathan, Izy, Travis, and I went and did just that. We found a nice walking path with lots of trees, packed a picnic, and set off on our nature hunt. I had a list of Fall items to hunt for along our walk:
Fall Nature Hunt:
Something Brown
Something Orange
Something Yellow
Something Red
Something Green
Something Round
An Acorn
A Pinecone
A Stick Shaped Like a Letter
A Small Leaf
A BIG Leaf

I then put a piece of masking tape around each child's wrist with the sticky side out. When they found something on the list they put it on the tape. By the end of our walk they had made a Fall bracelet. It was a fun way to enjoy the outdoors!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recipe for Success

Recipe for Success:

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived--
this is to have succeeded.

            --Ralph Waldo Emerson     


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 Smiles Cavity Free

All of my nagging about my kid's brushing their teeth has paid off. Yesterday Kaylee, Aaron, and Nathan visited the dentist. They were each cavity free...Yippee!

This was Nathan's first dentist appointment. He was SO cute sitting in the big chair. He braced himself by holding on to the sides of the chair and obediently opened his mouth and answered questions. He thought that the sunglasses were pretty cool as well.

Kaylee received some bad news. She is going to need braces in a few years and she has to have 4 teeth pulled in a month...ouch! I told her the news and she had a meltdown. She is very nervous. Whenever we talked about it or even thinking about it made her cry. I wonder what she will be like on the actual day. I hope that she doesn't freak out! Any suggestions to help calm her down?????

Well, at least this was a successful dental appointment...hopefully I have good things to say in a month as well!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sick Leave

There are lots of benefits of being a mom...little giggles, smiles, hugs, teaching moments, playing with my kids, watching them master a new skill, nap time :), and the funny things that they do that keep me laughing. But I need a few more benefits...the kind that every other working individual gets. And no, I don't mean the paycheck (although that would be nice as well). I want sick leave and a few vacation days as well.

I was sick last week (probably from cleaning up Nathan's puke). I couldn't call a substitute or call in saying that I can't be mom today. I couldn't lay in bed all day. No...being a mom means being a mom 24-7. Sick or not, the kids still need to be fed (even though the thought of food made me sick), dressed, entertained (thank goodness for the TV on days like this), and watched (or Nathan would tear the house apart).

O-well. The benefits of being a mom far outweigh the benefits that are lacking.....I just need to be reminded what those great benefits are next time I am sick!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Looking Through Dirty Windows

Last night was the General Relief Society Meeting. I LOVED President Monson's talk. If you have a minute, you can watch it here (his talk starts at about 57 minutes). Here are some of my favorite quotes from him last night:
"I begin with a short anecdote which illustrates the point I would like to make. A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next door neighbor hanging up her wash. "That wash is not clean!", Lisa exclaimed. "Our neighbor doesn't know how to get clothes clean." John looked on but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang up her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments. A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window to see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor's yard. She said to her husband, "Look John, she's finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder how she did it". John replied, "Well Dear, I have the answer for you. You'll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows".
Are we looking through a window which needs cleaning? Are we making judgments when we don't have all the facts? What do we see when we look at others? What judgments do we make about them? Said the Savior, "Judge not." He continued, "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" (Matthew 7:3) Or to paraphrase - "Why beholdest thou the dirty laundry at your neighbor's house but considers not the soiled window in your own house?" 
Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poor in India most of her life, spoke this profound truth: "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." The Savoir has admonished, "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12) I ask: Can we love one another, as the Savior has commanded, if we judge each other? And I answer--with Mother Teresa--"No; we cannot."
—President Thomas S. Monson  
Are your windows clean? I need to wash mine...or maybe Eric will get up early and do it for me :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nathan's Journal

Every birthday I write in my kid's journals about what they have been up to for the year. I pulled Nathan's out for his third birthday and got caught up in reading and remembering the funny things that he used to do. For today's Saturday's Story, I want to share a few of my favorite excerpts from his journal.

August, 2007 - "You should be born healthy and strong, in fact, you will probably be born walking because you "walked" 30 miles with me while I went on our Stake's Pioneer Trek in July when I was 6 1/2 months pregnant. We walked the entire way and it was an amazing experience. I hope that you have the opportunity to go again."

September, 2007 - "Nathan, it feels so good to finally know who you are! It was such a fun surprise to find out that you are a boy. When you came out, the nurses thought that you were having a hard time breathing because your face was purple. You were just had a bruised face and right arm from being so squished (sorry!). They even had to put a sign on your carrier saying "I have a bruised face" so that people don't think that you are suffocating."

June, 2008 - "Nathan Baby - you are already 9 months old - time sure flies when you are having fun, and you are a blast! You are such a cute, adorable little boy. You have HUGE, clear, striking blue eyes that people always comment on. You also have curly blond hair at the ends - Dad wants me to cut the curls off because he is worried that you look like a girl - but I won't let him. And you do not look like a girl - you look like the Gerber Baby. You love, love, love to eat! You cold sit and eat all day because when I am done feeding you, you always cry for more - even if you are stuffed."

December, 2008 - "You are very cuddly. Our favorite thing to do at night is to sit on my bed and say "Nathan, can I have a love?" and you will go around to each of us giving us hugs. Kaylee and Aaron love it. Sometimes you will even tease us by walking toward us to give us a love and then walk away. You had your first hair cut yesterday. I love your hair - it is very curly - but it was just getting too long and crazy, plus people were calling you a girl. I gave you a little trim and I miss the ringlets!"

March, 2009 - You are 18 months old and I want to write down some of the fun things that you are doing before we forget:
Your favorite things:
  • Balls, balls, balls! You are obsessed with balls. If you pass a ball or even something the looks like a ball you will point it out. 
  • Daddy. You love it when Daddy comes home. You hear the garage door and go running to the stairs saying "Daddy". You love to jump all over him.
  • Lilah - You love our dog. You will follow her around and sit by her and sometimes lay on her. In the morning she comes into your room and your face will light up as you say "Lilah" over and over.
  • Food. You love to eat - anything you can get your hands on - even dog food. You get pretty mad when you have to wait to eat or when we tell you that you are done."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Monkey Cupcakes

I found these cute monkey cupcakes over at The Two Savvy Sisters. Nathan saw them and wanted me to made them for his third birthday and they were a big hit:

I frosted the entire cupcake with chocolate frosting, then used a toothpick to spike the frosting into hair.
The eyes are chocolate chips, and the nose and mouth are licorice strings.
I spread yellow frosting in a circle for the face.
The ears are supposed to be chocolate cookies, but I couldn't find any that small so I just made them out of paper.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Store Tours

Nathan and I are a part of a neighborhood group of moms and kids. Each week we do something fun with our kids. Nathan really loves the tours. They are free and we get a behind-the-scenes look into several businesses...and the best part...samples. We went to a local candy factory and saw how candy was made step by step. We went to a local bread store and saw how bread is made, start to finish.

We also toured a grocery store and saw how the trucks brought and unloaded the food; how they store the veggies, fruit, and milk in the big refrigerators; and where they make the cookies in the bakery.

So get a group together and go explore your community!
It's like a back-stage-pass for kids.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tantrum Survival Guide

Kids don't come with a survival guide, but I did find a survival guide for tantrums. Nathan just turned three so I am preparing myself for some doozies...he has already thrown some whoppers but I know that he's got more up his sleeve! Click on the link above for the entire article, but here are some of my favorite excerpts written by Kristen Gough:
Tantrums often come when your toddler is experiencing strong emotions but doesn't know how to tell you about them, or how to deal with them himself. "If you understood everything but couldn't talk as fast, you would be angry as well," explains Dr. Ravinder Khaira, a pediatrician at Sutter Health in Sacramento, California, and the father of four-year-old twin girls. "Toddlers have tantrums because they want to become more independent," Khaira says. "They want to do things like put on their clothes or feed themselves and they become frustrated with their limitations and the inability to communicate."
 "Once a tantrum occurs the most effective way to deal with it is to ignore it," says Dr. Glass. While your child is in the throes of emotion do not establish eye contact. You may want to put the child in her room or another safe location and let him stay there, under your supervision, until he's approachable. When you feel your child is past the behavior, give him attention and eye contact. "By giving your child attention when he's being good, he's more likely to end his tantrum or have a less intense tantrum when you don't give him attention during a tantrum."
There are days when you'll be the perfect parent and days where parenthood is more a matter of survival. When those difficult days come, remember that parenting is a learning process for both you and your toddler. As you help your child deal with her emotions, you'll be setting up a relationship and trust that will extend from the terrible twos into the tumultuous teens and beyond. As Jen Singer, mother of two and author of 14 Hours 'Til Bedtime puts it, "Toddler tantrums are normal. They just don't make a sticker for it in you child's memory book." 
I think that I need a sticker, t-shirt, or award of some kind saying:
 I Survived
Nathan's Tantrums

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Travis' Triumphs

What is my triumph today...just surviving yesterday! It was a VERY long day and I am VERY happy to say that today is a new day. Here is a little taste of my the kids off to school (Aaron almost missed the bus even when the stop is right in front of our house), worked out, went grocery shopping, played with Nathan's new toys, made a peach pie, laundry, laundry, and more laundry, it was just one of those days that I didn't get a minute to myself.

Then to top it all off, when I finally melted into my bed (I love that feeling after a long day) and was just falling asleep, Eric says "Stac, I need your help". I went into Nathan's room to see him covered in puke...all over him, his pj's, his 3 blankets, and through the sheets. I didn't think that he had eaten that much...I was wrong! After cleaning him up (thanks Eric), and doing 2 more loads of laundry, then began my long night of being "on call". Whenever Nathan would stir, I would jump out of bed to check on him just in case he needed to throw up again. I did not want another mess!

Just another day in the life I suppose.

On a more positive note: Travis has had a few triumphs of his own:

Eating solids...

kind of.

And rolling over...which I am not too excited about.
 I am not ready for him to be mobile!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Free Year Old Giveaway

I am pleased to announce my first blog giveaway...Nathan is now officially three...or as he would say "free". From previous experience of two other three year olds, I know that the "terrible twos" are easy compared to the opinionated, stubborn, tantrum throwing, wanting to be independent, everything has to be done my way, talking back, horrible threes.

So I have a free year old if anyone would like him. He is free of charge until he turns four or outgrows the horrible threes. Just bring him back completely potty trained, calm, polite, and still in the habit of taking long naps. He is pretty cute, but don't let that throw you...he dishes out a pretty mean tantrum!

To enter this giveaway, you must be an excellent mom that will give him lots of loves. Leave me a comment about how you handle three year olds. The winner will be selected after an extensive background check.

Of course, I am only joking...don't turn me in. I love my free year old Nathan and I would never give him away.....but Grandma's and Aunts, feel free to take him for the weekends because I have the feeling that I will need the break! 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Be Not Weary in Well-Doing

I have been pretty "weary" this week in doing the small things that seem insignificant and mundane...especially cleaning and preparing meals. Here is a great quote from Elder Bednar that really picks me up and helps me realize that it is the seemingly small things that add up to produce something wonderful!

"Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results."

“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33).

Saturday, September 18, 2010


The kids and I just finished Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. It is a fantasy book about two children, Kendra and Seth, who go to stay with their grandpa on what they think is a nature preserve. They soon find out that their grandpa is the caretaker of a secret refuge for mystical creatures called Fablehaven. Kendra and Seth have some amazing adventures as they explore this refuge full of mythical and fairy tale characters. It is a wonderful story that ignites your imagination and teaches the importance of courage, and especially obedience (I hope my kids picked up on that one!).

I loved reading it out loud to my kids. As soon as they walked in the door from school I was begging them to come and read with me because I didn't want to wait any longer to continue this story. I highly recommend it and I am excited to start the next book in the series...Rise of the Evening Star.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peach Pie

I LOVE peach season. They are scrumptious. Here is a great recipe for peach pie, it is SO GOOD! Unfortunately it is not helping my "big bum" situation...oh well, this pie is too good to pass up:


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 to 5 Tbsp ice water
Sift flour and salt. Cut in shortening with a fork for pastry cutter until pieces of flour are the size of peas. Sprinkle  ice water 1 Tbsp at a time over mixture, tossing dough after each addition. Form into a ball. Flatten on lightly floured surface. Roll 1/8 inch thick from the center to the outside edge of dough. Put in pie tin, trim off excess dough - about 1/2 inch from the edge of the pie tin, and pinch the dough around the edges. Bake at 350 for about 7-10 minutes or until lightly golden.

Peach Pie:
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2-3 peaches pealed and sliced
Boil water, sugar, and butter in a pan. Mix cornstarch and 3 Tbsp water in a separate bowl. Temper the cornstarch mixture my adding a spoonful of the boiled mixture to it about 3 times, stirring quickly each time. Then add the cornstarch mixture to the water/sugar/butter mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice and mix.
Mix the egg yolks with the milk. Temper this mixture in the same way: add a little of the hot mixture to the egg yolk mixture and stir quickly. Do this 3 times, then add all the yolk mixture slowly back into the cooked mixture, stirring constantly.
Let cool. Put peeled and sliced peaches on the bottle of the cooled pie crust and pour this mixture over top. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pizza Parlor

My kids LOVE to "help" in the kitchen...and sometimes I just don't want their help all that much. They fight about who gets to stand closest to the mixer, who gets to pour in the next ingredient, and who gets to lick the beaters and spoon. Then there is the unavoidable licking of fingers, unexpected sneezes, and endless spills. But despite all of that, I still try to give my kids an opportunity to cook with me so that they can learn and one day really be able to help. It is thrilling when they learn to crack an egg without getting any shells in the batter, or to make something on their own.

The other night I gave the kids total freedom of making their own dinner. We made personal pizzas for dinner. I set out the ingredients (English muffins for the crust) and let the kids go to town. I didn't worry about germy fingers (the germs were a topping for their own pizzas) or fighting or complaining about what I had made. It was a fun night...even for me!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Poem for Grandpa S.

This is a poem that my Mom wrote for my Grandpa S.'s funeral (a few of the lines are in German because that is where he was born). It really makes me realize that I need to treasure the moments that I have left with my other grandparents!

Vater, Wir Sind Dankbar
(Father, We Are Grateful)

As we look back on our lives
We find ourselves wondering...
Did we remember to thank you
For all that you have done for us?

For all of the times you were by our side
to help us celebrate our successes
And accept our defeats?

Or for teaching us the value of hard work,
Good judgment, courage, and honesty?

We wonder if we've ever thanked you for the simple things...
The laughter, smiles, and quiet times we've shared?

If we've forgotten to express our gratitude
For any of these things,
We are thanking you now.
And we hope that you've known all along,
How very much you are loved and appreciated.

You were there when we took our first steps,
And went unsteadily across the floor.
You pushed and prodded: encouraged and guided,
Until our steps took us our the door...

You worried then "Will the be OK?
Is there more I could have done?"
As we walked the paths of our unknown
You wondered, "Where have my children gone?"

Where we are is where you have led us,
With your special love you showed us a way
To believe in ourselves and the decisions we make
Taking on the challenges of life day to day.

And where we go now you can be sure,
No matter how far away we roam,
For where you've been is what matters most to us,
Because to us that will always be home.

If we could give you diamonds
For each tear you cried for us.
If we could give you sapphires
For each truth you've helped us see.

If we could give you rubies
For the heartache that you've known
If we could give you pearls
For the kindness that you've shown.

Then you'll have a treasure, Daddy,
That would mount up to the skies
That vast fortune would almost match
The sparkle in your kind and loving eyes.

But we have no pearls or diamonds,
As we're sure you're well aware
So to honor you, we give you gifts most precious...
Our devotion, love, and care.
Wir lieben dich!
(We love you!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Priceless Pedicure

One bottle of nail polish...$2.00

Nail stickers...$1.00

Nail polish remover...$1.50

Having a daughter who will give me a much needed pedicure...priceless!

Thanks Kaylee!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Big Bum

As I was getting dressed, Nathan came in (I have NO privacy as a mother), looked at me, and with a thoughtful look on his face replied, "You have a big bum Mommy." Kids are too honest! But (sigh), he speaks the bum is big and it is time to do something about that.

It is time to start limiting my dessert intake,

and start working my big bum off!


Goodbye days of being pregnant and eating what I want because I am getting fat anyway and too sick to work out. Goodbye days of being ravenously hungry because I am huge appetite is gone but the habit of eating everything in sight remains. I will miss you...not the pregnant part, the eating part. On to veggies and treadmills. Thank you Nathan for giving me the kick in my "big bum" that I needed!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Until We Meet Again

Job 14:14 - "If a man die, shall he live again?"

Mosiah 16:7-8 - "And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection."
"But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ."

I am so grateful that through Christ's atonement and resurrection, I will be able to see my Grandpa S. again! I know that life continues after death and that the "grave has no victory". This knowledge brings me so much peace and comfort when someone that I love dies.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Goodbye Grandpa S.

I just returned from my Grandpa S.'s funeral. He was a beloved husband, father of 10, Grandfather, and Great Grandfather. He was a VERY hard worker, he served his country, he was a farmer, he always had a huge smile on his face, and a great sense of humor. He was a wonderful man and will be missed by many!

Here is a quick funny story. He had always wanted a Cadillac. When the day finally came when he purchased one, he called his son over to come and see it. When Lorenzo came, Grandpa was so proud of his new car. He showed him how his key-fob could open the doors and the trunk. When the trunk opened, Lorenzo noticed 3 bales of hey. What a true farmer...measuring trunk space with bales of hey.

Goodbye Grandpa...God be with you till we meet again!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Orange Julius

While it is still hot outside...some days anyway...blend up some of this fruity goodness! We love to have this and some popcorn when we have movie nights together. We have also experimented and tried other frozen concentrates like kiwi strawberry, pineapple orange, or whatever exciting combos I can find in the frozen juice section.

Orange Julius

  • 6 oz frozen juice concentrate
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup ice cubes (or more if you want a thicker consistency) 
Blend and enjoy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Family Picnic

Over the weekend, we went on a family picnic. We packed up the kids' bikes, the stroller and our lunch and then enjoyed the beautiful trail.

We stopped at a pond to cool off.

We had a great time enjoying the last of the Summer weather.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Prayer For Parents

A Prayer For Parents
O! Give me patience when little hands,
Tug at me with ceaseless small demands.
O! Give me gentle words and smiling eyes,
And keep my lips from hasty sharp replies.
Let me not in weariness, confusion or noise,
Obscure my vision from life's few fleeting joys.
Then when in years to come, my home is still,
No bitter memories, its rooms may fill.

-Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

SUPER Nathan

He did it...he really did it! Nathan is potty trained! Oh happy day! Thank you 71 Toes for the great idea!

S is for the countless Starbursts and Stickers we used as bribery

U is for Nathan's Thomas the Train Underwear

P is for his little Potty

E is for the Excitement I show when he goes
R is for no more Reeky diapers

Thank you SUPER Nathan!