Monday, January 31, 2011

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Last week while I was posting about the snow my family and I were enjoying ourselves in sunny Florida and Disney World. It was an awesome vacation...probably a once in a lifetime vacation.

And now it is over. Why do such good things have to come to an end? But I must say that there were some things that I was glad to see end like...
Keeping the kids (especially Nathan) entertained on the long flight.
Our Airplane Survival Bags sure came in handy, but it didn't solve Nathan's 30 minute meltdownof kicking and screaming on the way home. Boy was I glad when he finally fell asleep!

Standing in line. Luckily it wasn't too bad.
Most rides were only about a 10 minute wait.
And some rides had fun things to do while we waited...what a great idea!

Getting caught in a downpour.
We made the most of it by buying ice cream while we waited 
for the storm to pass. It didn't pass so we were drenched
by the time we made it to the bus. 

Being so exhausted by the end of a none-stop day.

And the constant battle of souvenir shopping. The kids wanted to buy EVERYTHING in sight!

Yes, our long awaited vacation has come to an end and so has the fun in the sun. But so long to airplane rides, goodbye lines, goodbye exhausting days, and souvenirs. Hello to piles of laundry, snow, and and an empty fridge. The one bright side to coming home was seeing this little guy who stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Be Thou An Example In...

1 Timothy 4:12 thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

The prophet Brigham Young said: "We should never permit ourselves to do anything that we are not willing to see our children do. We should set them an example that we wish them to imitate."

I am constantly reminded of this when I reprimand my kids for something that they do or say. But then I realize that they are just imitating me. There have been lots of times that my kids have imitated my angry tone in a conversation and my negative words. I hope that I am exemplifying something positive!

*Does being an example in goofiness count...because my kids can sure imitate that!* 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snowmen At Night

Have your kids ever wondered why their snowman looks totally different the day after he is created? Why is his grin a little crooked, and his carrot nose droopy? This cute book explains this mystery by exposing the secret life of a snowman at night. My kids and I love the fun illustrations and catchy phrases of Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chili and Cornbread

On those chilly, snowy days, warm up with some homemade chili and cornbread...YUM!

(this makes a lot so I usually freeze half of it for another time)
  • 1 lb hamburger or ground turkey
  • 1/2 to 1 small onion diced
  • 1/2 to 1 green pepper diced
  • 1/2 to 1 red pepper diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 big cans (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 to 1 jar of salsa (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder (more or less depending on how hot you want it)
  • Salt and pepper
Brown ground beef, drain and add chopped onion, peppers, and garlic. Saute together until veggies are tender. Add remaining ingredients and let cook together for about 2 hours on the stove top or on low in a slow cooker for 4-5 hours.

From The Essential Mormon Cookbook 
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
Cream butter, sugar, and eggs. In a separate bowl blend cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. combine creamed mixture, dry mixture , and milk. Blend. Bake in a greased 8x8 inch pan at 375 for 35-40 minutes.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snowman Kit

Have you ever done the snowman scramble?...You build the snowman and then dig through the snow trying to find sticks and rocks and hope that you have a carrot in the fridge to make the snowman come alive. I made this kit containing a hat, scarf, and wooden eyes, nose, and buttons attached to a dowel to stick through the snow. They are all kept together in a bucket...ready to go when the snow comes.

Nathan and Izy helped me put our snowman kit to good use:

No more snowman scrambling for us!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snowballs and Snowflakes

by Shel Silverstein

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.

I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away,
But wet the bed.

Snowflake Poem
by Jennifer Sainsbury Brown
One cold winter night, I walked outside
And looking up I could see
A skyful of snowflakes tunbling at me.
The sky was high, I was down low.
I saw a million snowflakes glow.
And yet no two were just alike
In all that wondrous, wint'ry night.
It makes me feel so good to know
That on this earth down here below
With all its great variety,
That He who makes the snow made ME
One of a kind!
If you looked forever
You would never find
A person-pattern just like mine!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snow Shoveling Duo

The other night the snow kept falling, dumping about 4 inches on the sidewalks and driveways. Eric and Aaron went out to help some of our neighbors shovel. After 1, they moved on to another. After 2, they thought of someone else that needed help. On their way to the third driveway, they passed a fourth that could use some shoveling. And so it went until they had shoveled 7 driveways. After the seventh and final driveway, Aaron said to Eric "Dad, I don't think that I can shovel another snowflake!" As I looked out the window and saw my husband and little man walking home with their shovels over their shoulders I was very proud. Aaron is on his way to becoming a great man like his Dad.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snowy Days

A day in the life of playing in the snow:
  • Nathan looks out the window and exclaims "There's snow!"
  • 20 minutes to find snowsuit, boots, gloves, hat, and coat.
  • 20 minutes to put on snowsuit, boots gloves, hat, and coat.
  • Finally Nathan gets to go out and play in the snow.
  • After one minute his glove comes off.
  • After 5 minutes his hands are cold.
  • After 6 minutes he wants to go back inside.
  • 10 minutes to take snowsuit, boots, gloves, hat, and coat off.
  • 5 minutes to wipe up all of the melted snow off of the floor.
  • 30 minutes to warm up cold hands and have some hot chocolate.
  • When warm, Nathan is ready to go back out in the snow.
  • Sigh, do I give in and go through the process again?
"Please Mom" many more days until Spring?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Calming the Storm

One of my favorite scripture stories is when Peter tries to walk on water to get to Christ. At first Peter was fine, but as he noticed what was going on around him and saw the waves and wind he became afraid, began to doubt, and sank. He called out for Jesus to save him. Christ reached down and brought Peter out of the storm. I love this scripture because life may be going along just fine, but then the "waves" start crashing in around us and we may lose our focus on the Savior for just a moment as we get caught up in our problems. When we pray and ask for help, our Savior will be there to lift us up out of our stormy times by giving us strength and courage and comfort to calm our story seas. When you feel like you are sinking; reach up!

And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Peace Like a River

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger is a very well written, poetic book about the Land Family and the miracles experienced by the touch of their father to bring about a miraculous end as the family searches for their outlawed brother. Here is a quote from the book:
"Let me say something about that word: miracle. For too long it's been used to characterize things or events that, though pleasant, are entirely normal. Peeping chicks at Easter time, spring generally, a clear sunrise after an overcast week--a miracle, people say, as if they've been educated from greeting cards. I'm sorry, but nope. Such things are worth our notice every day of the week, but to call them miracles evaporates the strength of the word....Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature...A miracle contradicts the will of the earth."
I had a hard time getting into this book, it was a little slow and the author goes off on a lot of tangents, but overall it was a good read.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Slow Cooker Meatballs

I got a new Crock Pot for Christmas and I have been putting it to good use. Thanks to my good friend over at 365 Days Of Slow Cooking, I have tried some fabulous new recipes and here is one of them:

Slow Cooker Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 28 oz can of spaghetti sauce
  • Mozzarella
Mix meat, oats, egg, 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce, onion, chili powder, and salt. Form into meatballs. Place into bottom of slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. When ready to eat, drain grease and pour the rest of spaghetti sauce over meatballs and warm. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top. I like mine over pasta, and Eric likes a meatball we had both.

* I used ground turkey instead of beef. It was still very good, but the meatballs didn't hold together as well and some fell apart. Beef would be best for this recipe.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Spy Quilt

For Christmas, Eric's mom made an I Spy quilt for the kids and they have LOVED it! It is a tied quilt with 70 squares of different fabric. She took a picture of each square, laminated each little picture and connected them to a ring that loops through a corner of the quilt.

To play, the kids choose a picture and try to find the square on the quilt that matches. Nathan and Izy like to just take turns finding the squares. Kaylee and Aaron like to race and see who can find them all in the fastest time. We also play the "I Spy" game by using colors/objects on the quilt. Who knew a blanket could be so much fun?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"I Have a Dream"

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr....thank you for making the world a better place!
"We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood -- it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, "Too late."
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood." 
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don't Hold Your Breath

*News Flash*
Kaylee Cleaned Her Room!
Remember this:
 That turned into this one month later:
Are you ready for this...cover your mouth, hold your breath, plug your nose, do whatever you need to protect yourself:
That decomposed into this 3 months later, yes she saved it for 3 months!

Bu-Bye nasty, moldy, smelly, squishy, health hazard veggie-derby!

Kaylee's room is now the question is for how long before the next thing comes along that is "too special" to throw away? I will just enjoy going in her room without holding my breath and plugging my nose.

Will it last??? Don't hold your breath on that one!

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Can't Do It All!

Yesterday I shared a scripture that said that it is not requisite that we should run faster than we have strength. I need to slow down. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed when I think about all that I need to do and what I should be doing. But, you know, I can't do it least not today. Because when I try, I realize that those are the days that I haven't taken the time to play with my kids, to spend time with my husband, to stop and enjoy the sunset, to take some time for myself. Those are the days that I am short tempered, that I am impatient with my kids because they are getting in the way of my to-do-list. Those are the days that I feel like a chicken with my head cut off, that I feel like it was a "marathon" of a day because I am running faster than I have strength. So...
  • I don't need to get all of the laundry done that even it ever done?
  • I don't need to clean the bathroom right soon as I clean it it is dirty again anyway.
  • I don't need to lose the 10 pounds that I really want gone in a month or may take a year.
  • I do need to stop and really listen to what my kids have to say.
  • I do need to get down on the floor to play with my kids.
  • I do need to laugh and smile and enjoy being with my family.
  • I do need to take time to be a friend.
But you know what...I don't need to do it all today!!! I am tired of "running". Sometimes its just nice to slow down and enjoy the goodness of life!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Refocus on What Matters Most

I loved President Uchtdorf's last Conference talk...Of Things That Matter Most. Life gets so busy and hectic; but with what? Are we filling our time with things that are significant and that matter most?
"My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most. Let us be mindful of the foundational precepts our Heavenly Father has given to His children that will establish the basis of a rich and fruitful mortal life with promises of eternal happiness. They will teach us to do “all these things … in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that [we] should run faster than [we have] strength. [But] it is expedient that [we] should be diligent, [and] thereby … win the prize.” Mosiah 4:27
 "If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fablehaven Rise of the Evening Star

The kids and I just finished reading Rise of the Evening Star (2nd book in the Fablehaven series). We all really enjoyed reading it together. It was a fun story and very exciting, just like the first. We can't wait to start the next book in the series! Brandon Mull uses a lot of "big" words that my kids sometimes had a hard time understanding so it was nice to read it together so that they could ask questions when they didn't understand something. The author also seems to focus on a value in every book. This book stressed the value of being trustworthy and being true to your word.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oven-Fried Chicken

Here is a healthier way make fried chicken with the same great taste! We loved it, it was very flavorful.

Oven-Fried Chicken
By Bobby Flay
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
Whisk together the buttermilk, mustard, paprika, garlic and onion powders, salt, and cayenne in a large baking dish. Add the chicken breasts; turn to coat. Cover, refrigerate for 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Pulse 1 1/4 cups of bread crumbs in a blender until fine. Pour them into a shallow bowl, add remaining bread crumbs and some salt and pepper, and mix well.
Line a baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack on top. Liberally spray the rack with nonstick baking spray.
Take chicken out of the buttermilk mixture and dredge in the crumb mixture. Place on rack. Bake at 400 until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fruit Loop Necklaces

This is a classic activity, but one that kept Nathan and Izy busy...and hopefully they even learned something. We made Fruit Loop necklaces:

They threaded the Fruit Loops on some yarn. To make it a little easier to thread, I put a little piece of masking tape on one end. We worked on patterns, colors, and counting.

And then the best part...eating all of their hard work!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rescuing Butterflies

I just read a great article; Keeping our Credibility as Parents by Robert Lichfield and I wanted to share part of it that I really needed to hear because I am parent who likes to jump in and rescue my kids:
"The last way in which we damage our credibility is by rescuing our children from their consequences. It's very hard, as parents, not to do that, and it's something we all have to work on.
Watching parents try to rescue their children reminds me of the story of the little boy who watched a butterfly try to break out of a cocoon. He watched as it struggled and fought its way out, and the boy finally decided that it just wasn't going to get out by itself. Finally, out of compassion, the boy helped the butterfly break free. Then he threw it up in the air, where the butterfly flew for a ways, and then fell to the earth and died.
The grandfather who had watched all of this came over to the boy and said, "son, a butterfly needs to exercise its wings to the full extent in getting out of its cocoon. If it doesn't, it doesn't develop the strength it needs, and so it dies."
That's what we do many times when we try to rescue our children from the consequences of their actions. As we try to avoid that tendency, our best example, once again, is God. No one loves us more than God loves us. But He lets us struggle through the cocoons of life until we develop the strength that will carry us through. We must learn to do the same with our own children."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Airplane Survival Bags

Time to unwrap another homemade gift. I wanted to find something to keep my kids entertained on the long plane ride to Disney World so I made each kid a travel bag to take along with them:

I found some inexpensive canvas bags and some cute Disney material. I just cut the pictures out of the material and sewed them on to the bag and added some ribbons and strips of material on the straps. I also sewed some Velcro along the top to keep everything contained. Then the fun part...I found lots of Disney themed activities at All a Dollar to put in the bags. I put in crayons, coloring books, stickers, travel games, treats, stamps, and puzzles. Now the triumph will be if these bags help make the flight a little more enjoyable for us...and the rest of the passengers who have to be in such close quarters to my kids. Disney World, here we come....if we survive the flight!

Here are some great road/plane trip printables that would also come in handy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nail Biting Battle

We've got a problem...Aaron and Nathan are constantly biting their nails....the majority of Aaron's baseball picture look like this:

They always have their hands in their mouths. Today while waiting at the doctor's office, Nathan was looking at my hands and then tried to bite one of my fingernails, and then one of Travis's toenails...I guess his are too short so he is moving on. It is getting out of control! I have tried everything that I know of:
  • The gross tasting stuff that you brush onto their nails...doesn't faze them.
  • When I see Aaron biting his nails, I have him put socks on his hands...he bites holes through the socks.
  • I have talked to my pediatrician...he said that they just have to decide to stop for themselves.
  • My dentist can make a mouthpiece that they can wear that prevents them from biting their is too expensive.
  • Aaron bites his nails so far down that they hurt and bleed...but that doesn't stop him.

 Any suggestions? I am losing this blasted nail biting battle!