Monday, May 20, 2013

Playing Peek-a-Boo With Time

Do you ever have days that seem like they will never end? When you are so exhausted and you look at the clock and it is only 10:00 in the morning and you say to yourself "how am I ever going to get through this day?" Well, somehow you do, and you keep going day after day. Some wonderful, some mediocre, and some never-ending. Then, one day, you look back and an entire year has gone by in what seems like a blink of an eye. And the culmination of those marvelous and miserable days have produced one of the best years of your life. It is hard to see that perspective in the midst of a hard moment...but they do pass quickly and life moves on as if time is playing Peek-a-Boo.

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was so exhausted from having a new baby. I closed my tired eyes and when I woke up to what seemed like the next morning, one of the most wonderful years with Megan has passed by.

She has gone from this:
to this:

in seconds. 
So, Happy Birthday Megan! I can truly say that I have LOVED every day with you this year. The days filled with pure joy and wonderment, days of crying and worrying, days of being spewed with every kind of bodily fluid known to man, days holding you close and knowing that you would grow up but wishing for those tender moments to last a little longer. But then time played Peek-a-Boo and those sweet baby days are gone and I miss them. I am so thankful that I experienced them, and I will remember them and treasure them...but DANG IT, they went by way too fast!

I guess my point in all this is to enjoy the moment of life you are in right now. Even if you are bone tired, and your clothes are covered in stains of every shade of yellow. Time doesn't wait and one morning you will wake up and realize that those were some great days after all!

Boo to Peek-a-Boo with time.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Box Cake Made With Greek Yogurt

My friend told me about this little gem. I don't think that I will ever make a cake-mix the regular way again! The cake turns out so moist and dense - more like home made. It is also a much healthier option because you omit the eggs and oil. Are you ready? It's pretty complicated, but here it is:

Greek Yogurt Cake:
  • cake mix (any flavor)
  • 6 oz container Greek yogurt (plain or flavored - I used strawberry with a white cake)
  • 1 cup water (or whatever the cake mix calls for)
  • Remember - DO NOT add the other ingredient (oil and eggs) that the mix calls for - just the water.
Bake according to directions.

I made this for Megan's first birthday with fresh strawberry frosting and she devoured it. I can't believe that she is already a year old - more on that in another post.

Enjoy...Megan sure did:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Christlike Mothering

Do you ever find yourself like this - buried up to your eyeballs in messes?

Read this, it will help on those days of never-ending messes:

This a a great article from The Deseret News, it's a little long, but worth the read!
I had just swept the final collection into the pile. "Pretzels, captain crunch, popcorn, cheerios, chips ..." I spouted off to anyone listening. "Nope. I didn't eat any of these things," I continued, as I brushed the last of the pile into the dustpan.
The only person listening at the table said quietly, "It's the mother's atonement."
I straightened up, "What?"
He spoke louder and clearer now between bites of breakfast, "It's the mother's atonement."
I stood silently with a pause hanging in the air. He swallowed and continued, "It's what mothers do. They spend their life cleaning up messes for everyone else, messes that they had no hand in making."
The observance was profound to me. It would seem that I should have been filled for a moment with pride considering that my job of sweeping their crumbs was more Christlike than I had ever considered. Yet, almost immediately, I felt a rushing wave of guilt.
I cowered from the comparison. How many times had I commented out loud, under my breath, to my spouse or simply in my mind about the list of things that I had done for my children? Wanting, for a small moment, for them to recognize and be grateful. It shouldn't seem wrong to desire my children to be grateful, but in that moment of clarity, I saw that my gratitude requirement was more about me receiving some type of praise or return on my service than it was about them changing their hearts.
Christ never required praise. He never asked for it. He never wanted it.
I can recall conversations with my teenage children where they, in an attempt to get out of a work request, listed off all of the things they had done for me recently. I would then make a conversation-ending comment like, "Well if you'd like to compare service lists we can, and you'd lose, so get to work!"
We'd always had a good laugh about it, but as these thoughts raced through my head Sunday morning with a broom still in my hand, the humor was lost on me. My motives were rarely pure enough for the comparison my husband had just made. The Savior has never offered up a list to compare what He had brought to the table vs. what I had brought. I would lose every time. I know that. But He would never do that.
That Sunday morning comment awoke me to a new mothering concept. Mothering as He would. Not for praise. Not for recognition. Not for a hug, a kiss or even a thank you. Not because I can't stand a dirty floor or because someone coming for a visit might see the display of animalistic behavior my children can exhibit. Not for any type of compensation.
Sweeping up crumbs because that's what He did. With a perfect love.
All that He did and all that He was in His life pointed us to understand the true nature of His Father, our Father. The glory was to be pointed there. It was never about Him. He swept up the crumbs, mended the broken, and made no comment or had any thought as to who was responsible. He cleaned up our messes infinitely with the perfect love of the Father, so that we could come to know Him.
My job as a mother is to point them to the Savior, who will then point them to the Father. Christlike mothering isn't about what I've done for them. It's about what heart I did it with.
When I show my children who He is through my actions and my heart, then, and only then, can I consider the mother's Atonement applicable to me. Only then do I feel like I am participating in christlike mothering.
Question: We all do countless acts of service for our families, but when was the last time you did service with the pure motivation of love?
Challenge: Think of an act of service you can perform for your family this week with a pure motivation to love them. Write a one word reminder on a piece of paper and hang it on the fridge to remind yourself throughout the week.

I found this article here and I had to share. It was just what I needed. All too often I serve my family begrudgingly. I get upset when my entire day is spent doing mundane things that no one seems to appreciate. I need to change my focus from the recognition of what I have done to doing it with a Christ-like attitude of love.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Super Easy Flat Bread

I know, I know...homemade bread sounds really intimidating, but this recipe is SUPER EASY and QUICK and turned out REALLY GOOD! It was so yummy with a bowl of hot soup it could also be used for sandwiches, bread-sticks, or pizza:

Super Easy Flat Bread
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (add a little more if dough is really sticky)
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup hot water
Mix all ingredients, cover, and let rise for 20 minutes. Roll out on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam. Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares. Bake at 500 (yes that is right, I have never cooked anything at that high of a temp, but it worked) for 5-7 minutes until top is lightly browned.
While still hop, rub top with butter and sprinkle on some garlic salt or Parmesan cheese.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

When Life Gives You Snow Make...

When life gives you snow...a whole ton of snow, don't just sit around and wait for Spring, you can...


Don't want to go down on a sled you problem, dads make great sleds as well!

Spend the Night in a snow cave after working days piling the snow up and hollowing the cave out.

Eric slept in this thing two nights in a row, once with Aaron and the next night with Kaylee....brrrrrrr!!!

Orange, blue, green, pink, and even yellow...the snow is your canvas. Just put colored water in a water bottle and poke some holes in the top.

Watch ice-cycles grow each day, turning your home into a winter Wonderland

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Heaven Is Here

Stephanie Nielson is one of my heroes. I follow her blog - and just finished her book, Heaven is Here. I found so much hope, strength, inspiration, and self introspection from this book. Stephanie is an amazing woman and mother. After a devastating plane crash in which she was burned over 80 percent of her body, she writes about her struggles and recovery. She writes how she puts her total and complete trust in the Lord and the divine help that she receives. She writes how she comes to accept and appreciate her new scarred and painful body. She writes about the everyday joys in life that I take for granted and how she finds fulfillment in the sometimes mundane day-to-day things. She writes about deep physical and emotional pain and how she found piece and hope and even joy....It's a GREAT book!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from this book:
"At first I thought stubbornly that the only thing that would make me happy was for life to look like it did before the accident. But no one could give that to me, and no one else could make me happy. Happiness was my choice, and though it is hard won, I am the only person who can stand in the way of it. As I gradually accepted my responsibility to choose happiness every day, I rediscovered the beautiful life I had always wanted. I still have to remind myself to choose happiness almost every morning when I wake up in pain, and I expect I will need reminding throughout my life, but the amazing thing is the more I make the choice to see and feel joy, the more joy there is to see and to feel."
"I know, now, without a doubt that the true source of happiness, self worth, and authentic beauty doesn't come from the outside. Women and constantly being persuaded to want something unachievable, to look younger or thinner and above all to fit in because being different is too painful and embarrassing. I have accepted myself in a world that does not accept me, because I have learned--and more than any of the lessons of my accident, this is the one I wish I could teach everybody--that our hearts matter most. Your heart matters most, so be gentler and more patient with yourself, and their hearts matter most, too, so be kinder and more compassionate to others. It's a beautiful heart, not a perfect body, that leads to a beautiful life."
"I do think that insofar as heaven is a joyful place fulled with people you love, and where you feel peaceful and genuinely happy, then it's true. Heaven is right here."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Drops of Awesome

I just came across this amazing blog post...If you have a few minutes, it is really worth reading! Here are some excerpts to sum it up in a nutshell:

"Every time you do something good, something kind, something productive, it’s a drop in your Bucket of Awesome. You don’t lose drops for every misstep. You can only build. You can only fill.

When I started thinking about my life in terms of adding these little Drops of Awesome for every tiny act of good, I found that I was doing more and more of them because it’s a lot more fun to do good when you’re rewarded with joy, rather than being guilted about every failure in your past.

In the end, it’s really about allowing yourself to feel joy and allowing yourself to be proud of the small victories of life. This builds momentum and you want more drops in your bucket and when you don’t get as many, you pick yourself up and say, “What can I do next?”

“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” (Alma 37:6)
Small and simple. Tiny drops. Go forth. Be Awesome."
I think that we as moms feel guilty about every little mistake or thing that we do wrong or think that we do wrong. I know I would be a much better mom if I focus on the positive and Awesome things that I do each day instead of the negative. Drop by drop and little by little is all that it takes!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mom's on the Mean List

See this:
I'd like to introduce you to my wake-up-call to be a nicer mom. This is Nathan's "mean list" (I'm not sure why he put his own name on it). I am not proud to be included on it, although I probably deserved it. Here's how it went down:
It was one of those days (you know them) when Nathan and I were just butting heads the entire day. He was intentionally doing things to push my buttons and man I was frazzled!!! By the afternoon, he did something (probably small I don't remember) and I blew up...not one of my greatest Mom moments. Nathan calmly smirked at me, walked to his room, and got a piece of paper and pen. I thought "wow, he sure handled that well...maybe I finally got my point across". He then proceeded to ask me how to spell Aaron's name and my name. He then said "This is my list of everyone who has been mean to me today". Yep...I sure got a point across, but not one that I intended to. All of my yelling and frustration did nothing to correct his behavior, it just showed him that he has a mean mom. Oh, that was a blow right to my heart...he definitely got his point across loud and clear on that little piece of paper.

Thanks for the wake-up-call Nathan! You deserve a mom who shows you that you are one of the most important people in her life. Who's eyes light up when she sees you. Who loves you no matter what you may do and how naughty you my be. A mom who keeps her calm and sets a better example for you in how to act when frustrated. A mom who's name never appears on a mean list again! I am going to try harder every day to become that kind of mom for you Buddy!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ride of a Lifetime

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is that most putts don't drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey...delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride." - President Gordon B. Hinckley
“Behold, we count them happy which endure”  James 5:11

I am grateful for this bumpy, smokey, sometimes endless, and occasionally thrilling and Heavenly journey that I am on!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Brownie Pizza and Oreo Cake

Kaylee just turned 11 (I can't believe she is that old). We had the funnest desserts for her party....Brownie Pizza and Oreo Cake....GREAT right?

The Brownie Pizza is a brownie baked on a pizza pan for the crust with frosting, shredded white chocolate, and candies for the toppings....and you thought pizza couldn't get any better! I let the kids make their own pizza...I had the brownie frosted and gave each kid a slice to decorate.
This would also be a fun and festive Valentine's / Easter / Christmas/ Halloween dessert. Just correlate the color of frosting with the holiday and get a variety of holiday candies and sprinkles to go on top.

Here's the brownie recipe that I used from six sisters stuff:

Brownie Pizza
Brownie Pizza Crust Ingredients:
8 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt

Grease 2 pizza pans (12 or 13 inch pans).  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Melt butter . Stir in cocoa.  Mix sugar and eggs in mixing bowl.  Stir in butter and cocoa.  Add vanilla, flour, and salt. Spoon half of the batter into  the greased pizza pan.  This recipe makes 2 brownie pizzas.  Bake 17 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Frosting Ingredients:
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk
Red food coloring

Combine frosting ingredients and mix well until smooth. Add enough food coloring to get your frosting as dark as you want it for your pizza sauce. Frost cooled pizza. Don't go all the way to the edge so that the brownie will show for your pizza crust. This will frost both pizzas. 

Decorate pizza with shredded white chocolate, small cookies, chocolate chips, and candies that go with your party theme.

The Oreo cake is two chocolate round cakes with a creamy Oreo middle and chocolate top. I found the recipe at kraftrecipes:

Oreo Cookie Cake
  • 1 devil's food cake mix
  • 4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 package cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • 12 Oreo cookies crushed...and more to decorate the top if wanted (I used the pink berry Oreos)
Make 2 (9 inch) round cakes according to directions on cake mix. Cool cakes completely.
Middle -  Beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until blended. Gently stir in whipped topping and crushed Oreos. Spread on top of one cake, then put the remaining cake on top. Spread top of that cake with chocolate glaze, decorate, and refrigerate.
Chocolate Glaze - Microwave chocolate and butter for about 2 minutes (stirring after every minute). stir until chocolate is melted. Cool for 5 minutes, then spread on top of cake.