Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Fools' Pranks

April Fools is just around the corner. Here are some fun pranks to make your day a little more exciting and thrilling tomorrow....just remember - what goes around comes around. So if you dish it out, be prepared to take it as well!
  • Get the quarter in the circle game:
    • First have someone trace a quarter with a PENCIL 10 times, making 10 circles on the paper.
    • Then tell them that the game is to try to roll the quarter down their forehead and nose and try to make the quarter land on one of the circles.
    • What they are really doing is making lines all over their face from the pencil getting on the sides of the quarter....APRIL FOOLS! Kaylee was a good sport!

  •  Put a rubber band around the sprayer on your sink. The next person to turn on the sink will get some April showers!
  • Put bubble wrap under the toilet seat. The next person to sit down will get a popping surprise!
  • For dinner, put away the utensils, plates, and cups. Set the table with serving spoons, tongs, pots, pans, measuring cups, little tea cups, and any other funny things to eat with. Enjoy your dinner together as you laugh at each other trying to eat.
  •  Serve your kids banana splits for breakfast.
  • Make dinner look like dessert and dessert look like dinner - here are some great recipes over at Family Fun. I liked this idea: "fish sticks" made out of wafer cookies covered in peanut butter and crushed corn flakes (although I think that crushed graham crackers would taste better) and "peas" made out of rolled green taffy.

Have a thrilling April Fools!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Knock Knock...Who's There?

Knock, knock...who's there?
Aaron who?
Aaron you excited to read this post?

April Fools is coming up...a time to play and tell jokes. Tomorrow I will share some thrilling ways to play some jokes and pranks on your family. In the mean time here are some fun Knock-knock jokes to arm yourself with and to get a good laugh :)

"Aw ha ha ha...these are so funny that is made snot come out of my nose!"

Q: "Knock, knock….Who's There?…..Ashe……Ashe who?"A: Bless you!
Q: "Knock, knock…..Who's there?…..Nobel……Nobel who?"A: "No bell, that's why I knocked!"
Q: "Knock, knock…..Who's there?…..Leaf……Leaf who?"A: Leaf me alone!
Q: "Knock, knock….Who's There?…..lettuce……lettuce who?"A: Lettuce in and you'll find out!
Q: Knock-knock…..Who's there?…..Aaron……Aaron who?A: Why Aaron you opening the door?
Q: "Knock, knock….Who's There?…..Tank……Tank Who?"A: You're welcome!
Q: "Knock, knock…..Who's there?…..Hawaii……Hawaii who?"A: "I'm fine, Hawaii you?"
Q: "Knock, knock…..Who's there?…..Orange……Orange who?"A: Orange you even going to open the door!
Q: Knock-knock…..Who's there?…..Gray Z……Gray Z who?A: Gray Z. mixed up kid.
Q: "Knock, knock….Who's There?…..Who……Who Who?"A: Is there an owl in there?
Q: "Knock, knock….Who's There?…..Anita……Anita who?"A: Anita to borrow a pencil.
Q: "Knock, knock….Who's There?…..Woo……Woo who?"A: "Don't get so excited, it's just a joke."
Q: "Knock, knock….Who's There?…..figs……Figs who?"A: "Figs the doorbell, it's broken!"
Q: "Knock, knock….Who's There?…..Boo……Boo Who?"A: Well you don't have to cry about it.
Q: "Knock, knock….Who's There?…..Theodore……Theodore who?"A: Theodore is stuck and it won't open!
Q: "Knock, knock….Who's There?…..Police……Police Who?"A: "Police let us in, it's cold out here!"
Q: Knock-knock…..Who's there?…..Amarillo……Amarillo who?A: Amarillo nice guy.
Q: Knock-knock...Who's there? ....Ivan...Ivan who? A: Ivan to suck your blood.
Q: Knock-knock...Who's there? ....Adolf...Adolf who? A: Adolf ball hit me in de mouff and dats why I talk dis way.
Q: Knock-knock...Who's there? ....Old Lady...Old Lady who? A: I didn't know you could yodel.

And my kid's all time favorite:
Q: Knock-knock...Who's there? ....I'm up...I'm up who? A: You're a WHAT???


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Success at School

Kaylee and Aaron LOVE school and I LOVE that they love school! They came home this week with excellent report cards for the third term. They were so excited to show me their grades. I hope that this excitement and love of learning continues when school gets more challenging. I hope that their success at school now will continue throughout their lives and that they will value their education. I have always tried to be very involved in their schooling. I try to volunteer in their classrooms, help with homework, and read with them as often as I can. I think that it is paying off...a little effort can make a big difference!

I found a great booklet put together by the U.S. Department of Education about helping our kids succeed at school. I really like the activities that help build learning skills. Check it out.

"The hours in a school day are few and the time a teacher can spend with any
one child is limited. For children to be successful in school, parents and families need to
be actively involved in their children’s learning. They need to become involved early and
stay involved throughout the school year. In fact, many studies show that what the family
does is more important to a child’s school success than how much money the family
makes or how much education the parents have.
By showing interest in their children’s education, parents and families can spark
enthusiasm in them and lead them to a very important understanding—that learning can
be enjoyable as well as rewarding and is well worth the effort required."
 My Future College Graduates

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Please!

Awwwwww, Spring. The days of sitting out on the front yard soaking in the sun, the fresh air, and watching the kids play...getting all of their endless energy out. The days of finally going to the park again. The days of hearing the birds outside my bedroom window. The days of breaking out the gardening gloves and seed packets. The days of getting out the t-shirts, flip-flops, and shorts. The days of opening the windows, letting the gentle breeze blow through my house. The days when hibernating neighbors and friends emerge from their houses and come out to chat. Awwwww, I love those days!

This is what we get instead:

Spring covered in snow and cold!

I am getting a little (ok, a lot) impatient for my coveted Spring days! Could a mom get some Spring...PLEASE!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Service - The Antidote of Selfishness

"The antidote of selfishness is service, a reaching out to those about us--those in the home and those beyond the walls of the home...A child who sees his father active in the Church, serving God through service to his fellowman, will likely act in the same spirit when he or she grows up. A child who sees his mother assisting those in distress, succoring the poor, and going to the rescue of those in trouble will likely exemplify that same spirit as he or she grows in years" - President Gordon B. Hinckley

Mosiah 2:17 - And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

Yesterday my kids wanted to do something "fun". They even came up with a list of things to do and presented it to me. On the list were things like rent a movie, go to a restaurant, play games, go get ice cream, and go to a bounce house. I suggested something totally different to make our day "fun". We went to my grandma's house and served her by helping her with things that are getting harder for her to do. It turned our day into not only a fun day but also a memorable one. The kids had such good attitudes while we made beds and cleaned toilets. They loved helping their Great Grandma. In return, Grandma made cookies with the kids and we even had time to play games, watch a movie, and eat ice cream when we got home. What a great day when you not only have fun, but help someone also!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Potty Train

All Abooooard!
"When you feel like you have to go, climb aboard the Potty Train. Chugga, chugga pooooo-pooooooooo!"

Ok, I know this sounds a little weird, but this really is a cute book for kids who are potty training. Nathan loves it even though he has pretty much mastered this "skill". It has cute illustrations and what kid doesn't like trains? If you have kids in this stage...have him/her climb aboard the toilet as you read this and hopefully the whistle will blow and your kid will be able to go chugga, chugga pooooo-pooooooo!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Refrigerated Bran Muffins

I grew up with my Grandma making these babies and I LOVE them! I tweaked her recipe today by making some substitutions to pack in even more nutrition.

The down side to these muffins is that they required quite a few ingredients that I normally don't have so they were a little pricey.

The upside...they make a TON. You make this recipe, store it in an ice cream bucket and keep it in your fridge for up to 6 weeks. Then every time you want a healthy and filling snack or breakfast just make as many of as little of them as strikes your fancy.

Refrigerated Bran Muffins
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups Kelloggs Bran Buds or Fiber One cereal (the bran cereal that looks like little worms)
  • 2 cups sugar (I used 1 1/4 cups honey)
  • 1 cup oil (or 1 cup applesauce)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 5 cups flour (I used 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white flour)
  • 5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups wheat/bran flakes
  • 2 cups chopped, dry dates
  • 1 cup pecans
 Pour boiling water over the Bran Buds/Fiber One and set aside. Cream sugar, oil, and eggs. Slowly add buttermilk. Add rest of dry ingredients. Add bran mixture, dates and nuts. Store in covered storage container in fridge for up to 6 weeks. Do not stir after it has been put into the fridge. When ready to cook, fill muffin tin 1/2 full. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let's Go Fly a Kite

The other day my kids were bored...and I said, "Go fly a kite! No really, let's go fly a kite." It was a windy day...maybe a little too windy but we had a great time!

Oh, oh, oh!
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite!

 "This dang wind is messing up my hair!"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bond of Brothers

Nathan and Travis have sure been building a cute little bond. Nathan can get Travis to laugh like no one else. Travis loves his big brother...even when Nathan is laying on him or pulling him around the house by his legs. I just hope that Travis survives his older brothers...but at least he is happy :)

"A friend is a brother who was once a bother." - Author Unknown

"It was nice growing up with someone like you - someone to lean on, someone to count on...someone to tell on!" - Author Unknown

"All of one and one for all
My brother and my friend
What fun we have
The time we share
Brothers to the end."

Enjoy a little video of the brothers in action...I dare you not to smile :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Substitute - a person or thing acting in place of another. A substitute teacher (at least the ones I had) doesn't even come close to the real thing. I would cringe when I walked into my classroom and saw a substitute sitting in my teacher's chair. I knew that the day would be filled with pointless busy work and tedious worksheets that made the day last forever.

One the other hand...I have some substitutes that are just as good and sometimes even better than the real thing. These substitutes will even help you triumph over the constant weight loss battle by adding more nutrition and less calories to your foods.

Here are some of my favorite substitutions:
  • If a recipe calls for sour cream; use plain yogurt instead
  • Instead of using butter/margarine in baked goods; use the same amount of applesauce in its place
  • Use ground turkey instead of ground beef
  • Instead of putting mayo on your sandwich; mash up an avocado and spread that on your bread
  • Instead of using cream of chicken soup in recipes try this homemade version with ingredients that you can actually pronounce:
    • melt 1 Tbsp butter in pan
    • stir in 3 Tbsp flour
    • add 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup whole milk
    • add a dash of salt and pepper
    • bring to boil and simmer on low until thick (about 5 minutes)
Give these substitutes a chance. I know you may be cringing at some of them...but they really are a great alternative and won't make your food boring!

*Do you have any other good substitutes? If so, please comment and share!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Mom's March Madness

Being a Mom is a lot like Basketball:
Rebounding after giving birth...trying to lose that baby weight.
Kids Dribbling and drooling all over everything that you own and wear.
Passing on things that I want to do like staying in my pj's all day reading a good book.
A mom can't be layed-up. Even when she's sick she still on the starting lineup.
Running around between school, soccer practice, grocery shopping, and play-dates.
Screening what the kids watch, that the chores get done, and homework is completed.
Being a mom is a Slam Dunk during those little moments of spontaneous hugs and slobbery kisses.
Refereeing silly arguments and benching kids for flagrant fouls.
Assisting with last minute projects.
Priceless one-on-one time with the coach is often interrupted.
Having a zone defense because the kids outnumber the coaches.
Turning-over my life to care for the team.
Having a ball when we play together.
March Madness of good weather then bad weather 1 hour later...I just want my kids to play outside!
Going into overtime when a kid is sick or won't sleep.
Being a mom is NCAA...Nothing more Challenging yet Altogether Awesome!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

No One Likes a Frowny Face

“No one likes a frowny face – there is a song about that, I think.  Smile and the world smiles with you.  In developing real spirituality you cannot be a sourpuss, because you have to be a blessing to people; they must enjoy your presence.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace.  Be happy, and you will find that it works miracles with everybody around you.  And you really ought to smile even when you do not feel like it, because you become as you act.  Do you sing because you are happy, or are you happy because you sing?  If you are unhappy, try an experiment:  start singing.  I guarantee that you will not be unhappy very long.  We become as we act.”  Hartman Rector Jr.

Galatians 5:22 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.


If you chance to meet a frown,
Do not let it stay.


Quickly turn it upside down
And smile that frown away!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Man's Search For Meaning

"Frankl was once asked to express in one sentence the meaning of his own life. He wrote the response on paper and asked his students to guess what he had written. After some moments of quiet reflection, a student surprised Frankl by saying, "The meaning of your life is to help others find the meaning of theirs." "That was it, exactly,"Frankl said. "Those are the very words I had written." - William J. Winslade

Man's Search For Meaning is just that...Viktor Frankl's (a concentration camp survivor) book about helping others find meaning to their lives. I thought that it was a very inspirational book about how to find meaning and optimism through pain, death, and suffering. The first half of the book is about Frankl's experiences in a concentration camp and how he and others around him found meaning and even happiness in their lives despite having everything taken away from them, starvation, sickness, miserable conditions, hard physical labor, and being tortured and mistreated.

The second half of the book gave me flashbacks to my college psychology classes. I felt like I was reading a text book...and just like I did in college, I skimmed over it.

Here are some passages that really touched me:
"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

"Dostoevski said once, "There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings." These words frequently came to my mind after I became acquainted with those martyrs whose behavior in camp, whose suffering and death, bore witness to the fact that the last inner freedom cannot be lost. It can be said that they were worthy of their sufferings; the way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement. It is this spiritual freedom--which cannot be taken away--that makes life meaningful and purposeful."

"He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. Whenever there was an opportunity for it, one had to give them a why-an aim-for their lives, in order to strengthen them to bear the terrible how of their existence. Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost."
Even though we are not imprisoned in a concentration camp, sometimes life can get a little dicey. Are we baring our suffering with a genuine inner achievement? Are we choosing a good attitude in any given circumstance? Do we have a why, an aim, and a purpose to live for?  If so, we can find meaning and happiness no matter what!

Friday, March 18, 2011


The other night, Eric suggested that we have tostadas. I had to think what they were for a minute...and then I remembered - it is like a hard taco shell, only flat. So we bought some tostadas and we have had them twice since...they were so good. I don't know what it is about being flat, but it tasted so much better than a taco. We had them once with ground turkey seasoned with taco seasoning; and then again with chicken taco filling using this slow cooker recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking. Here is how we layered our tostadas:
  • Tostada shell
  • refried beans
  • meat - ground turkey or chicken
  • Spanish rice
  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • cheese
  • sour cream

They are a little hard to eat...making sure that all of the toppings don't fall off as you lift it to your mouth...but they are sure yummy! I will be making these again for sure!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leprechauns and Rainbows

Top o' the mornin' to ye...
Our morning started off with a little Leprechaun mischief. He left a little kiss on each child's face, dyed our milk green, and even turned some chairs, pictures, and our clock upside down.

We had a delicious breakfast of rainbow colored Fruit Loops, green milk, and green pancakes:

Then Nathan, Izy, and I made some rainbows by gluing Fruit Loops onto paper. They loved it, and it was even educational as they had to pick out the different colors with each layer:

I'm one LUCKY Lass! My pot o' gold is filled with 4 beautiful children!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

That's Not Fair!

I get so sick of hearing "But that's not FAAAAIIIIRRRRR!" with every little discrepancy that my kids notice. I love this quote. I actually used it on Aaron the other day. He gave me the classic "That's not FAAAAIIIIRRRR!" whine and I replied, "Well it's also not fair that you get to wear underwear. To make things fair, I think that you should have to wear diapers to bed like your brothers." That shut him right was great! You just CAN'T treat each kid the same!
"Parents often worry about damaging their children's self-esteem, and one of the biggest complaints or worries is whether they're treating their children "fairly." Now, this is the number-one tool in the "Kids' Arsenal of Guilt Trips." All children were born with this arsenal. So your child will often whip out her favorite tool and howl, "But that's not FAAAAAAIIIIIIRRRRR!"
Let me share with you a little story told by actress Marlo Thomas. Some dedicated, wonderful parents had a son and named him Ralph. Then they had another child and decided that they had to be absolutely fair, so they named her Ralph. Then they had a third baby and named her Ralph too--just to be fair. They wanted to be fair to all their children, so when it was time for one child to do homework, they make them all do it--dumping books in the baby's crib. All the kids had to wear diapers, because that was fair. All the kids had to take long naps, just to be fair. All had to wear braces to be completely fair to all.
Time goes on, and of course the kids are complaining. The parents say, "Where did we go wrong? We treated you exactly the same! Isn't that fair?" The children said they didn't want to be treated fairly and that maybe, once in a while, the parents could treat them differently." - Merrilee Browne Boyack, The Parenting Breakthrough
 Kaylee starting young..."But that's not FAAAAIIIIRRRR!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Garden Boxes

I love planting a garden because I LOVE fresh veggies. I love going out and picking a fresh tomato to put in our tacos and snacking on fresh peas. But I HATE this:

Weeds. I hate to weed and our garden is full of them...or at least it was.

Last summer we built some garden boxes out of 2 X 12 boards:

Laid down a weed barrier and put the garden boxes on top...and presto...a weed free garden. 

It was also a dirt and plant free garden as well...that is until today:

We put in a mixture of top soil, compost, and perlite to hopefully make a loose and airy soil...much better than the clay that was there before. Then we added our first little seeds...peas. Now after all of this work, expense, and time; these better be the best tasting peas in a weed-free garden we have ever had! Oh I can't wait for them to grow...come on sun, do your thing!

Monday, March 14, 2011


I just don't feel like posting about the madness going on with me today. My petty problems don't seem so important when there is so much suffering going on in Japan. My thoughts and prayers are with those people who have lost everything, including their loved ones. Things like this always puts my life into is so fragile and unpredictable. When life gets maddening, hectic, and crazy; take a breather and show the people around you that you love them. Who cares if the laundry doesn't get done? At least your family knows that they are important to you...and you never know what may happen tomorrow.
I feel so helpless during such big disasters. But I can take a minute to make a difference in my own home by appreciating every moment that I have with my family. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Moving in the Right Direction...Little By Little

This is one of my favorite quotes from President Hinckley because we don't need to be the perfect mother, daughter, neighbor, and person today...we just need to be a little better each day to move in the right direction towards perfection. That seems doable to me!
"Let us all try to stand a little taller, rise a little higher, be a little better. Make the extra effort. You will be happier. You will know a new satisfaction, a new gladness in your heart.
Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) That is the great crowning example of excellence. May each of us have a rich and wonderful life moving in that direction. We will not become perfect in a day or a month or a year. We will not accomplish it in a lifetime, but we can keep trying, starting with our more obvious weaknesses and gradually converting them to strengths as we go forward with our lives."
2 Nephi 28:30 - For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little...

If the Lord works by the principle of "line upon line" then we should too. I know that I often get discouraged because I make so many mistakes as a mother and as a person in general. Enough with the guilt! If we are trying to stand a little taller and be a little better here a little and there a little, we will be better. We will be moving in the right direction a step at a time.