Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Love Story

My Grandma and Grandpa S. are together again after being separated for 7 months when Grandpa died. My Grandma just passed away and they are now reunited and in each others arms again. There's is a true love story. They met in Washington D.C., were engaged 2 days later, got married and stayed married for 64 years.

Right after they were married, Grandpa went off to fight in WWII. During this time they wrote each other love letters. This is a poem that my Grandpa wrote to his bride during their separation:

To That Girl Of Mine
As another day has passed, 
And I'm home again at last,
In my heart I'm thinking of a girl so kind, 
Of my darling LaPriel I left behind.

As I sit here without a letter,
I can't think of anything better,
Than to sit down and write,
Of how I'm thinking of her tonight.

In this big world of toil and woe,
What people are doing, they do not know.
For it matters not to all of them
What the Lord has forbidden unto men.

Today the news says Hitler is dead,
The news is good, someone has said.
Peace on the earth is near at hand,
Were freedom again will rule the land.

I'm praying the day to come to me
That soon again I may cross the sea.
For the thought that I have in mind,
Is to get back to that girl of mine.

Their love story is only beginning as they are together now, never to be separated again. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cashew Chicken

This is another GREAT slow cooker recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking. This is not your typical slow cooker chicken recipe that is smothered in a cream sauce (which are still delicious). This one is great if you are looking for something different with a tangy, slightly spicy kick to your chicken. Don't pass over this one because it looks like it has a lot of ingredients. I had most everything in my pantry and it was really easy to put it all together!

Cashew Chicken
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh tenders (I used chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces and thought that it was fine)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews
Combine flour and pepper in resealable food storage bag. Add chicken. Shake to coat with flour mixture. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side. Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken. Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Add cashews and stir. Server over rice. Makes 4-6 servings.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

E I E I Oh Baby!

I took my kids to Baby Animal Days at a local farm, and oh was so fun! The kids actually got to be with the animals and hold them and pet them. Kaylee and Aaron fell in love with the baby bunnies. They had a hard time parting with them.

 Lots of babies were seen at the farm, E I E I O
And on the farm we held some chicks...E I E I O

With a moo moo here,
 And a baaa, baaa there.

 Here a bunny, there a bunny, everyone with bunnies.

 Even baby turtles were at this farm...E I E I O

We also spotted some new colts and lambs near our home. We went on a walk to feed the cute new little babies. I love spring and the life it brings!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Springtime of Motherhood

My sweet grandma sent me an article that she had clipped from her newspaper. I want to share a little bit of it because I think that it is so good. Here is the entire article if you want to read more.

"I like to think I am in the spring of my life. I'm tending to my garden of girls-helping them grow, making sure they have the love and support they need to grow into women.
This is the time. This is my season.
This is not my season to focus on my career or myself. This is not my season to rest, or even to prepare for motherhood. That has passed.
This is the season to enjoy my children while working hard to raise them well. This is my season to teach them, to love them and to create unbreakable family bonds.
I cherish this springtime of my life. I know it will pass all too quickly and I won't be able to go back to this time and place. It's a moment unique in time.
Even though the work is hard and some days I wonder if I'm even doing anything right, I know this season is critical-albeit fleeting.
And just like that first miraculous daffodil pops open in the springtime, my girls will blossom unexpectedly one day.
When that moment comes, I can only hope I've used this season wisely to shower time and love on my little garden."
--Erin Stewart

I have a quote in my kitchen that says "LIVE in each season". Am I living and enjoying this season of my life? Some days yes, and some days no. Just like spring, it will pass quickly and I will look back and miss these blossoming, beautiful, and sometimes rainy days of my springtime of life. I need to cherish this springtime of motherhood more.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Smarty Pants

Aaron is a smarty pants...see:
He loves to figure out numbers and math problems. He reads at a 4th grade level. He finishes his homework in one minute tops. He gets bored in school. He needs to be challenged. He needs to learn how to learn. For these reasons we had him tested for a program in our school district that puts kids like Aaron in a more fast paced and challenging classroom.
We got the letter the other day that he has been accepted into the program and he has decided to go. I am so proud of him and I think that it will be a great opportunity for him to be in an environment where he will be pushed academically.
But on a more selfish note...I am not looking forward to this. You see, this is my view every morning and afternoon when my kids go to school:
The bus-stop is right in front of my house! Oh, it is so wonderful to just send my kids out the door when we hear the bus coming down the street. Now I will have to actually take off my slippers, get the kids packed in the car, and drive Aaron to a different school every morning and pick him up in the afternoon. Why do kids have to be so inconvenient? Oh well, way to go Smarty Pants!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Love Hate Relationship

Goodbye Cadbury Mini Eggs. I will miss your crunchy sugary shells and creamy chocolaty centers. I don't know if I can live without you for another year but I will try to get by. Those other chocolate candies just do not compare to you. I get so excited when I see you on the grocery store shelves, I can't resist putting you in my shopping cart. And now the shelves are cleared. Shopping just won't be the same without seeing you there.

But do you know what you do to me? I tell myself to just eat a few when I open your purple package...but after one mini egg I am hooked and my natural primitive instincts take over. Before I know it, the bag is empty. The only thing that I am left with once you are gone is hours of exercising to work off your side effects. It is a good thing that this is just a short term relationship because I can't afford you and am tired just thinking about all of the push-ups I need to do because of you. So until next year...goodbye. I love you, yet I hate what you do to me!

p.s. thank you for making our Easter dessert even better. I didn't think that no-bake cookies could get any better but you proved me wrong.

Farewell my one true candy love :(

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I Know that my Redeemer Lives

President Monson shared this message at the closing of the last conference:

"I believe that none of us can conceive the full import of what Christ did for us in Gethsemane, but I am grateful every day of my life for His atoning sacrifice in our behalf.
At the last moment, He could have turned back. But He did not. He passed beneath all things that He might save all things. In doing so, He gave us life beyond this mortal existence. He reclaimed us from the Fall of Adam.
To the depths of my very soul, I am grateful to Him. He taught us how to live. He taught us how to die. He secured our salvation.
As I close, may I share with you touching words written by Emily Harris which describe so well my feelings as Easter comes:"
The linen which once held Him is empty.
It lies there,
Fresh and white and clean.
The door stands opened.
The stone is rolled away,
And I can almost hear the angels singing His praises.
Linen cannot hold Him.
Stone cannot hold Him.
The words echo through the empty limestone chamber,
“He is not here.”
The linen which once held Him is now empty.
It lies there,
Fresh and white and clean
And oh, hallelujah, it is empty.

John 11:25-26 -Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.
 26And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

I Know That my Redeemer Lives
Hymn # 136
I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”

I do know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives! I am so grateful for that first Easter morning!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Bridge

There once was a big turntable bridge which spanned a large river. During most of the day the bridge sat with its length running up and down the river parallel with the banks, allowing ships to pass through freely on both sides of the bridge. But at certain times each day, a train would come alone, and the bridge would be turned sideways across the river allowing the train to cross. The bridge was just wide enough for a train to cross it.

A switchman sat in a small shack on one side of the river where he operated the controls to turn the bridge and lock it into place as the train passed. One evening as the switchman was waiting for the last train of the day to come, he looked off into the distance through the dimming twilight, and caught sight of the train's light. He stepped to the controls and waited until the train was within a prescribed distance when he was to turn the bridge. He turned the bridge into position for the train to cross, and moved the lever to lock the bridge into position, but to his horror, he found the locking control didn't work. If the bridge was not locked securely into position it would wobble back and forth at the ends when the train came onto it, causing the train to jump the track and go crashing into the river. This would be a passenger train with many people aboard.

He left the bridge turned across the river, and hurried across the bridge to the other side of the river where there was a lever which he could use to operate the lock manually. He would have to hold the lever back firmly as the train passed. He could hear the rumble of the train now, and he took hold of the lever and leaned backward to apply his weight to it, locking the bridge. He kept applying the pressure to keep the mechanism locked. Many lives depended on this man's strength.

Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack, he heard a sound that made his blood run cold!-----"Daddy, where are you?" His four--year old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first impulse was to cry out to the child, "Run! Run!" but the train was too close; the tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The man almost left the lever to run and snatch up his son and carry him to safety, but he realized he could not get back to the lever. Either the people on the train or his little son must die.

He took just a moment to make his decision. The train sped swiftly and safely on its way, and no one aboard was even aware of the tiny, broken body thrown mercilessly into the river by the onrushing train. Nor were they aware of the pitiful figure of a sobbing man, still clinging tightly to the locked lever long after the train had passed. They didn't see him walking home more slowly than he has ever walked----to tell his wife how he had sacrificed their son.

Now if you can comprehend the emotions which went through this man's heart, you can begin to understand the feelings of our Heavenly Father when he sacrificed His son to bridge the gap between us and eternal life. Can there be any wonder that he caused the earth to tremble and the skies to darken when His Son died? And how does He feel when we speed along through life without giving a thought to what was done for us through Jesus? When was the last time you thanked Him for the sacrifice of His Son?

 -Author Unknown

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bunny Buns

I saw this recipe in this month's Friend Magazine and decided to give it a try, and I am glad I did! They were so easy and turned out really good and surprisingly most of them even resembled a bunny! They were so good that I am going to make them again for our Easter dinner. The only change that I will make is to add orange juice instead of water to the glaze to make the buns more flavorful.

Bunny Buns
(Friend Magazine, April 2011)
I was able to make about 18 bunnies from this recipe
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup milk, warmed not quite to boiling
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used 1/2 cup applesauce and it worked great)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
  • 5 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • Glaze: 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup hot water, 1 teaspoon butter

Sprinkle yeast in the warm water and set aside.

In another bowl, blend milk, sugar, shortening, and salt. Cool until lukewarm, then add eggs, water with yeast, orange juice, and orange peel.Stir in flour a few cups at a time to make a soft dough. Let stand for 10 minutes
Knead dough 5–10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover bowl with a clean towel and put it in a warm place. Let dough rise for 2 hours, or until double in size. Punch dough down and let stand for 10 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into strips 1/2 inch wide and 14 inches long. Roll between hands into rounded snake shapes. Cut one strip into pieces 1/2 inch long, and roll into balls.

Place one long piece of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Place one end of the strip over the other to make a loop; bring the end that is underneath up and cross it over the other end. Place a ball of dough on top of the bottom loop.

Cover bunnies and let rise in a warm place for 45–60 minutes, until nearly double in size. Bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for 12–15 minutes

For the glaze, stir powdered sugar, water, and butter together. Frost bunnies with the glaze while they are still warm. Use sprinkles, chocolate chips, or whatever suits your fancy for the eyes and mouth (don't look too closely at mine...I used bat shaped Halloween sprinkles for the eyes).


Thursday, April 21, 2011

SpEGGtacular Eggs

Dying Easter eggs has been a yearly tradition in my family. It is so fun to see your creation as you lift if from the cup of dye. A few years ago, Kaylee refused to let anyone eat her special eggs. They sat in the fridge for months until I secretly through them away. This year, I decided to put the store-bought kits away and try something a little new. We tried two different techniques and they turned out spEGGtacular!

Tie-Dyed Eggs:
The pattern from a silk tie transfers onto the egg...amazing!

  • An old silk tie...the tackier, the better!
  • cloth cut into strips
  • 3 Tbsp vinegar
  • eggs
 First, cut all of the lining out of the tie and cut it into squares big enough to wrap around an egg. Then, tightly wrap the silk around the egg (I did it like a piece of candy with the ends twisted). Next, tie two strips of cloth around the egg, one in each direction, to secure the silk.
Cover the eggs with cold water in a stainless steel or glass pot, add 3 Tbsp vinegar and boil eggs for 30 minutes.
Let cool, then the best part- unwrap your tie-dyed egg and see how it turned out!

Plaid Eggs
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • electrical or duct tape
  • at least two different colors of dye 
Put strips of tape around the egg going all one direction. Put the egg in the darkest color of dye first. Take out and let dry. Then peel the tape off.

Then put strips of tape around the egg going the opposite direction. Put the egg in the lighter color of dye.

Take out and let dry. Peel off the tape and check out the rad plaid!

Have an Egg-celent Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Jelly Beans and Easter

GREEN is for the grassy blade,        
YELLOW is for the sun God made.
ORANGE is for a flame so bright.
BLACK is for our sins not right.
RED is for the blood He gave.
WHITE is for Jesus grace. He saved.
PURPLE is for the hours of sorrow
PINK is for a new tomorrow.
A bag of jelly beans, so colorful and sweet,
is a promise, a prayer, and a loved one's treat.

Some folks think that Easter time
Is just for pretty clothes
And Easter baskets filled with eggs
Of colors bright and bold,
But Mother told me differently
It’s for another reason
For Jesus rose up from His Tomb
That Happy Easter season.
This gives to me a precious gift
It means that when I die
I’ll live again, as Jesus did,
And dwell with Him on High 
-Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Be Prepared

Am I prepared to be able to feed my family if a disaster strikes? Am I prepared to be able to live off of our food storage for a year if Eric loses his job?  Am I prepared with six stocked 72 hour kits if we need to leave our home in an emergency? Answer...NO! But I feel like we are getting there a little at a time and that helps me to not fear what the future may bring. Here are some of the things that I am doing.

  • I try to stock up during case lot sales with canned goods that we eat a lot...hopefully the disaster comes right after the sale and not when we are running low and waiting for the next sale!
  • I pulled out my wheat grinder that I have had for about 2 years and finally learned how to use it to grind some wheat to use in a recipe. It was a lot easier than I thought and even gave my arms a great work-out.
  • We are planting a garden and hopefully we will have fresh produce out of our own backyard. The peas that I planted are just starting to come up...mmmm, I love fresh garden peas!
  • We have five 72 hours kits stocked with food and water that is 2 years old...time to go through them again.
My point in all of this is not to brag about my awesome self reliance...because I am lacking in a lot of areas. My point is that we can all be prepared. Just start small and go from there. Learn how to use ingredients that have a long shelf life. Look for sales and when they come, stock up. Learn how to plant a garden. Grab a backpack and throughout the year fill it with things to help you get through an emergency. What a triumph it would be to be prepared for a disaster/emergency/job loss. And if it never's a triumph just having that peace of mind! Here is a great website with helpful tips - Provident Living.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Penicillin Villain

After being on penicillin for 8 days for an ear infection, Travis broke out in this rash:

He looked horrible. Don't turn me in...that is not a black eye. So back to the doctor we went (for the third time in three weeks...ugh!) and found out that this was an allergic reaction to the medication. This was the third time that he was on this antibiotic and his body just decided that penicillin is a villain to him. Great...please no more infections for the next 3-5 years until he hopefully grows out of this!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lost Lambs

Jesus commanded us to "feed my sheep" or to teach others about him. What about the lambs? Are we teaching our lambs and feeding them with spiritual knowledge? Are we as parents leading our lambs to the Good Shepherd through our examples?

And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

The Echo
’Twas a sheep not a lamb
That strayed away in the parable Jesus told,
A grown-up sheep that strayed away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.
And why for the sheep should we seek
And earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger when sheep go wrong:
They lead the lambs astray.
Lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
When sheep go wrong,
It won’t take long till the lambs are as wrong as they.
And so with the sheep we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today,
For when the sheep are lost
What a terrible cost
The lambs will have to pay.
-C.C. Miller

Saturday, April 16, 2011


The kids and I just finished Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. It was a little difficult to read out loud because of all the back-woods country folk wording and phrases, but other than that, it was a great book. Shiloh is about a boy named Marty who finds a beagle that ran away from his drunk and abusive owner. Marty falls in love with the dog and will do anything he can think of to keep and protect Shiloh.

This is a great book to teach kids about being honest and making right choices - even when the right thing seems so wrong, and the value of hard work.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tator-Tot Casserole

This is one of my go-to dinners when I am not in the mood to say "well, this is what's for dinner...take it or leave it" or when I'm not in the mood to hear "Mom, I hate's disgusting". This is the kind of dinner that my kids never complain about....they rave instead. This is the kind of dinner that I just need to make sometimes...even though it is not the most healthy of choices. Sometimes a little peace and compliments far outweigh the nutritional content.

Tator-Tot Casserole
  • 1 lb ground hamburger browned and drained
  • 1 bag of tator-tots
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup...or use this substitute (I think it tastes even better)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • shredded cheese
Spread tator-tots on the bottom of a 9x13 pan in a single layer. Put cooked ground hamburger on top. In a separate bowl, dilute the cream of mushroom soup with the milk and pour over hamburger. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Enjoy! (I hope you especially enjoy an easy night of cooking with no complaints)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Egg Hunts

One of the funnest parts of Easter is hunting for little eggs hidden in the tall Spring grass. We have lots of egg hunting around here. Here are some of the ways that we have done it:

Put little candies or coins in the eggs and tell the kids that they can find a certain amount of eggs:

Assign each kid a color. They can only find that color of egg:

One year we put little clues in each egg. The clues led to their Easter baskets which were hidden in the laundry room:

Put pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters, and dollars in eggs. Put the filled eggs on a table. Have kids sit around the table and take turns opening the eggs. Our kids used a wooden spoon to touch the egg that they wanted then they had to open the one they touched. They loved trying to find the dollar eggs and counting their loot once the eggs were gone:

Or, you can go all out like my "egg"xtraordinary Grandma and hide presents instead of eggs. She wraps the presents in different colors/patterns of wrapping paper then gives each child a square of wrapping paper. All of his/ her presents will be wrapped with that kind of paper:

"Hoppy" Hunting!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't Quit. Keep Playing.

A mother wishing to encourage her son's progress at the piano bought tickets to a Paderewski performance. When the evening arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway piano waiting on the stage. Soon the mother found a friend to talk to. And the boy slipped away.

At eight o'clock, the lights in the auditorium began to dim, the spotlights came on and only then did they notice the boy, upon the bench, innocently picking out, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." His mother gasped, but before she could retrieve her son, the master appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, "Don't quit. Keep playing." Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side and improvised a delightful obbligato. Together the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized.

In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear time and time again, "Don't quit. Keep playing." As we do, He augments and supplements as needed until works of amazing beauty are created.
-Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tickling the Ivories

Kaylee has been playing piano since she was 4 years old. Her wonderful Grandma teaches her and she has developed a great talent. She is wonderful at it...the problem is getting her to practice. When she doesn't practice, she forgets what she has learned, gets frustrated, and doesn't want to practice anymore. When she does buckle down and practice, she remembers her songs, and her face just glows as she tickles the ivories and she becomes more confident in her ability. Here is a link with some helpful tips to get your child to practice.

To help motivate Kaylee to practice, we planned a family recital together. She decided who she wanted to invite (which was hard with about a 12 person capacity family room), wrote the program with what songs she wanted to play, and helped me make some refreshments (which was the most exciting part for her):

Once everyone was invited the pressure was on and it sure gave Kaylee the kick in the pants that she needed to get those fingers moving! Kaylee did a fabulous job! I am so glad that she shared her talent and I sure hope it continues!

Here is a little taste of her talent...good job Kaylee!

Monday, April 11, 2011

ONE-derful Mr. T.

How does a year go by so fast? A year ago I was doing this:
Awww...nothing better in my opinion - laying down, cuddling with a newborn who is still scrunched into a ball.

Now my baby is one. Where did the year go? I want those days of cuddling with him again. Instead, he wants to get out of my arms and go play. Oh, well...he is still a "ONE"-derful little boy!

This also means that PB & Joy will celebrate its first birthday soon. I have been writing this blog faithfully every day for almost 365 days. Pretty crazy. Thanks for reading and following through this "one"-derful, maddening, triumphant, and thrilling year!