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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Who Knew?

So no one reads this anymore. Hence, no posts since September. But here was something that PJ did the other day that I got such a kick out of...

We all know that Liza has absolutely zero artistic ability. For proof, I refer to her report card. She scored 4s (mastered skill, ahh, proud moment) in everything! Except handwriting. She can do equations, read anything, but ask her to draw a straight line and it just isn't going to happen. Although, to her credit, her stick figures are coming along.

But PJ on the other hand. Well, that is apparently a whole different story. The other day, he grabs Liza's notebook and begins to doodle. When I ask him what he is drawing, he says, "A one eyed martian camel." With a tone that said I should have seen this one coming. I am completely clueless to where he got the concept. He has quite the imagination. When he was done, it actually looked like how a real alien camel might appear. See for yourself:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Watch what you ask for.

Last year while volunteering at EVES, I fell in love with the take home reading program. This was a small library that sent home a book on the child's reading level every day. Your student would read the book, answer some comprehension questions, then take the book back the next day. Then get a new book and do it all over again. I finally learned that the same program would be offered at the new school. But after a week with the books sitting in their boxes and no one doing anything with them, I offered my help. And that has landed me, as well as a neighbor, running it. Eh, I've got the time, and I love the program. I will be good for me to get back into volunteering. Talk to me next week. I may be singing a different tune.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

PJ's first day of school

Today was PJ's first day of preK. This is almost the same as kindergarten, except he won't go on the shorter Mondays, and I have to pay a small fortune for it. But, it is well worth it. I think this will help him get a leg up when he goes into kindergarten next year. It will certainly help him get used to the environment and routine. He loves his teacher, Ms. Parker. He has a friend in his class, and that makes him super excited.

As with Liza, Jer stayed home late so he could take PJ to school on the motorcycle. That made PJ's day. When I went to pick him up, he asked if he would get to ride the motorcycle every day. Sadly, no. But that's OK. Apparently he was cold on the motorcycle anyway.

When I asked PJ what he did in class today, he said he forgot. He told me that they were going to learn to read today, but they ran out of time, so they didn't. He can't wait until tomorrow when he gets to go back. And neither can I. I enjoyed my first morning free. I went grocery shopping. ALONE! Wow, that is nice.

Cabin

Labor Day was spent at the family cabin at Strawberry Reservoir. We met most of the Lewis clan for our annual bbq. We did this last year too. It was a lot of fun. It makes me sad that I don't make more of an effort to go up there. The kids love it. I have fond memories of spending my childhood there. We would get filthy making sand stone sculptures, climbing in and out of the meadow, hiking to the water tank and the beaver dam. But it has been years since I have spent more than an afternoon up there.
PJ and some of his cousins thought it would be so much fun  to make a new mud slide. They would climb up the hill a few feet and slide down on their backsides, getting completely covered in dirt. I have never seen PJ get so dirty. He had so much fun. Liza went hiking around with anyone who would take her anywhere. She loves hiking and exploring in the outdoors.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More Fun Party Pics

Birthday Party

Yesterday Liza turned 7. Today she got to have her party. She had two of her cousins, her brother and 5 friends for a total of 9 kids. They played on a water slide, broke the pinata and made their own ice cream. It was a lot of fun. The beach ball party theme was way fun too. The cake was super easy. It didn't take much time to decorate and since it was simple, there were no goofs to get me frustrated. So much fun. I'm glad she got to earn her party back. Now it's off to have dinner with the family.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Early birthday present

The flies are driving me nuts. They are driving everyone around here nuts. Last week, I was at a friends house. She pulled out her fly swatter to get at them. I laughed and told her that I just used a rolled up news paper and if I didn't to them fast enough they would recover leaving me to swat them again. So yesterday, I show up for music makers and Maryanne hands me a heavy duty fly swatter and wishes me a happy early birthday. I just laughed. This is the funniest thing I have ever been given as a gift. It even tops the plunger I received as a wedding gift.

Now I have to tell you about the packaging on this thing. Someone was having a bit too much fun. Maybe it was late. Here goes:
A Military Spec Swatter for the Toughest Pest!
-Recoiless design allows for swat-attacks on even the largest flying prey
-Handle creates the most lethal flying pest killing apparatus the world has ever seen
888 Civilian uses. Here are just 8
-Keep it in the truck for the winter and use it as a windshield scraper
-For those who don't mind spreading a little bug shrapnel, try it as a back scratcher
-Emergency toothpick (works well, but don't let your wife catch you)
-Canoe paddle, never know when you will be the that creek without a real one
-Makes a good fish club
-Beer can crusher
-Red neck badminton
-Manual mouse trap
Caution:
-While Srg Swat is effective on most campsite pests; it has been shown to only aggravate bears
-Ment for backyard warefare between you and the flys. Not your neighbors or dogs
-Keep away from unruly kids (unless you like getting thwacked)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I caved

I made Liza clean closets, make super nice with her brother, and do many pages in a first grade work book. But, I did let her earn her birthday party back. It will be on Saturday, but I have been busy working to pull it all together. The agenda will be to have a huge water slide, then a pinata and finally, the kids will make their own ice cream and have cake all before leaving. The other day, I spent about 3 hours making thick layers of paper machet wrap around a balloon. Finally the thing dried and tonight I put the tissue paper around it. I have to admit, I am a bit proud of it. And I am super excited about the party.

I am still having mixed feelings about letting Liza earn her party back. But I do think she finally learned something. I just wish that it didn't come down to all of this. It would have been so much more enjoyable if she had never lost her party in the first place. It would have been nice to have the week or two ahead of me to make all of this happen. Now I am rushed, but I think it will all work out super well. I'll let you know.

On another subject, PJ and I met his teacher yesterday. She seems really nice. All parties are looking forward to the next year. PJ will go in to be tested by Ms. Parker tomorrow morning. Then on to classes beginning Tuesday. They have a tool bench in the classroom- complete with power tools. I think there will be a few issues there. I had to practically pull PJ away from it when we were leaving, I knew I should have gotten him something like that for Christmas last year. Oh well. Maybe this year. Ha!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Best Dog EVER!

As long as I can remember the circus has come to town over my birthday. For years, I have wanted to go and even more so since I had kids. But alas,  I have never been. Not once. In all my 30, soon to be 31 years. I know, sad, isn't it? Ahh, but thanks to Lucy, that has all changed. All week, B98.7 has been giving away tickets. All you need to do is get you dog to bark 4 times in 10 seconds on the air. Not as easy as it sounds. I heard the announcement this morning, gave it a moments thought, then went on the hunt for a phone. It took a minute or two to find one. By the time I called, I figured I was too late to accomplish anything. Right away, I get a ring. So while I am waiting, I get out the laser pointer and get Lucy all riled up. She barks, she wins! She is sending us to the circus! I am far more excited about this then I should be, but, hey, I am just that pathetic. And that excited. Liza's face was so funny. She opened her mouth and did that wide-eyed stare that she does so well. Jer can mimic it so well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

School days

After a long and busy summer vacation, school finally started yesterday. It seems that it is becoming a first day tradition that Jer stays home late and takes Liza to her first day of school on the motorcycle. She was a little cold when she got there, but super excited.

First grade is a whole new thing for her. She gets lunch at the school. She was so excited to get to choose. She said she could have a corn dog, but she doesn't like them, so she chose this sandwich things instead. That was all she knew. Then she had apple sauce, a whole orange, and chocolate milk. I told Liza that she can make all the choices that she wants, but that I would rather have her choose at least one veggie and only have chocolate milk one or maybe two times a week. Ha! Right. How naive am am?

She was super excited to find out that she had 3 recesses and specialty every day. And she loved riding the bus home. She didn't make it home until almost 4. I told PJ that Liza should be on her way home. He jumped up faster than I have ever seen him move, ran up the stairs, yelling. "Yea! I'm going to watch for her out the window!" I think he missed his sister.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yay for buses!

With the new school so far away (2+ miles), and the lack of a paved road directly from my subdivision to the school, plus no sidewalks or trails, it seems that Alpine School District has deemed the few blocks where I live to be bus worthy. Kids k-6 will get to board at 2 stops, both a little farther then I like, but beggars can't be choosers. I think I will call the district to see if they will add just one more stop along the route. I will be driving Liza to school in the mornings Tues-Friday, since I need to drive PJ anyway. Still, this will cut my trips to the school to just 8 per week instead of the 15 I was planning to need to make. This will be nice.

Also, at long last, I'd like to say, "Hip hip Hooray!! Pioneer Crossing opened today. Can't wait to drive it and see just how much time I will shave off my commute. When we moved out here, it took exactly 33 minutes to drive from Orem to home. Commute time has really shot up. Now, assuming I don't hit "bad" traffic in Lehi, I can expect at least 45 minutes. If traffic is bad, well, it has taken up to 2 hours to get home. The state has been working hard over the years to solve the congestion by widening 73 and rebuilding intersections, but it has not been enough. I have high hopes (high apple pie in the sky hopes) that perhaps my drive will be back to what it was 8 years ago, or maybe even better. Now wouldn't that be nice?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Finally???

3 days since Liza bit PJ. Have I finally gotten through to her? I hope so. I was just about at my breaking point. Wednesday, when she bit PJ, I told her that if she really needed to bite something, she should bite Ellie, her Build-a-Bear dog from Granny, that she loves more than anything. Her response was, "But, she is special. I'll never bite her!" That sent me into a whole tirade about how PJ has real feelings, while Ellie's are pretend. But the baby food plan actually worked. She even mentioned it today. She said she would never bite PJ again because she will never eat baby food again. This was a monumental leap forward. Finally, I feel like I have gotten through to her.

I thank everyone for their tips. There were many tips: baby food, time outs, spending 15 minutes a day doing an activity she initiates, positive reinforcement, and ignoring Liza while I dote on the child who was bitten until she addresses her bite... There were so many. I actually felt like I was able to get help by reaching out. When I posted it, I thought I may be reaching for straws. But when all is said and done (I hope it is) the tips I gained through my postings gave me the help I desperately needed.

Sadly, the stuff for Liza's party came finally. Actually seeing it made me so sad for the loss. I had been looking forward to this for months. I had it all planned. The beach ball invites, piniata, and 3D beach ball cake. Ahhh, the imagined memories. Maybe next year. Assuming that for a 3rd year, Liza doesn't bite away her birthday. Then again, next summer will be the first chance that PJ gets to have a friend party. I guess we see how it goes. So much of me wants to cave and let Liza earn her party back. But I think I just want her to have it. I don't want this to turn into some kind of I-know-what-I-said-and-I-know-what-you-did-but-I-am-going-back-on-my-word moment. I hate it when parents go back on their word, good or bad. The mother-in-law until thinks I was too hasty in taking away the birthday.

Gahhh! Parenting SUCKS!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

She's Still Doing IT!!!

Alright. So Thursday, I took away her birthday. Let her work her butt off the rest of Thursday and all of Friday to earn it back. She bites PJ within the hour. Then again Saturday. Then again Monday. They are playing pony. PJ climbs on. Not a word- just bites him because she doesn't want to play anymore. Monday again. So I blow my top. Tuesday is pretty good. The only thing she got in trouble for was because I caught both of them on top of the car. Both were sent to their room. Ahh, but then let's move on to this morning. Before 8 am, Liza has bitten PJ. This time, he was laying on her. Again, no warning. Just a big fat bite on the leg. So I yelled. I screamed. I made her plain-old-boring-with-nothing-added oatmeal for breakfast. It took her until 2 to decide that she was hungry enough to eat it. One of my Lit n' Leaning mom's who talked to her shrink hubby suggested this morning that I try telling her if she can't use her teeth correctly, she won't have to use them at all. I laughed because of the oatmeal.

At about noon I just couldn't take the fighting anymore. I went to a neighbor's for a few moments and cried on her shoulder. (Thanks, so much for that, btw, C, I really needed that). I told her what I was going to try. She went to her pantry and gave me a bottle of baby food that her daughter refuses to eat- mixed veggies and beef. I went home and told Liza that if she was going to bite, this is the food she gets to eat.

As of bed time, no more bites. Much better behavior (she even read with no mistakes). Maybe there is hope yet. My heart says she finally learned. My mind says it's hopeless. I did threaten to take away Girl Scouts. Maybe that is more important than her birthday. Which is not happening. No presents. No outing. No party. Not a single phone call will be passed to her. September 3rd, at least this year, will just be a date on a calendar.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

No Birthday Party?

Last week Liza started biting PJ. HOLY CRAP!! What's that all about? I told her if she did it again, she would loose her birthday party. This sounds very familiar. It happened last year, and she didn't get to have a friend party. I still let her have the family party, but this year I upped the anti. A few days go by, and low and behold, I catch her with her teeth in PJ's leg. No party. I decide to let her earn it back. Thursday and Friday, I make her work her butt off to earn it back. Finally, tell her she can have the party. Not an hour later, she friggen bites her brother- AGAIN!! Grr. I yell. I scream. She knows she is not having a party now. Not with friends. Not with family. What happens Saturday afternoon? She freakin bites him, AGAIN!!! According to Liza, each time he has deserved it. Thursday, they were playing in a box, PJ was climbing in with her. Chomp. Friday, they were watching TV and he didn't want to watch the same show she wanted. Chomp. Saturday, he put the crayons in the dogs' water bowl. Chomp. I swear the whole neighborhood heard me scream "He didn't deserve to be bitten! You don't get to decide what punishment he gets! You don't get to punish your brother!!!!" I am livid. So now, there is no TV, no friends, no spa night, and no birthday. We were planning to go to the zoo this morning with friends. Nope. Couldn't happen because Liza will not stop biting her brother. I am at my wit's end. I have had it. Only 10 days before school starts, and I already can't wait.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Perseid's

First, went to the Dinosaur museum Wednesday. More on that later...

This morning was the annual Perseid's meteor shower. I look forward to this far too much every summer. However, it does remind me that my favorite season is quickly coming to an end, as it is this time of year when the temps drop drastically. Last week it was in the 70s overnight, last night, the 50s. Ahh, what a show though.

There was a little bit of confusion about the peak of the shower. The news said 12-3 while NASA reported 4-5:30. Tina was planning to bring her family over at 4, light a fire, look through the telescope and have breakfast. In a cruelly fortunate twist of fate, Toby got sick at 12:30 this morning so we were up cleaning the carpets. Which woke PJ. So the two of us went out to "peek" at the shower. We were out there for less than 10 minutes and watched about 15 falling stars. So we went in to get everyone else. I don't know how many we actually saw, but we were outside for about an hour. I think we happened on the peak time. As Liza would say, it was lovely.

Jer woke me again just before 4. Needless to say, I did not want to get up. I sent Jer to turn on the lights so Tina would know we were up and she could come down at any moment. She called to say she thought it was too cold so her kids would be miserable. I laughed as she said she was going to bale. Fine by me. I crawled back into bed and didn't wake again until 9. I don't know when my kids got up, but apparently PJ was pretty upset that we didn't wake him up at 4 again. He was fine when Jer told him no one got up.

Oddly, I have had so much energy today. I just kept going. It wasn't until I got home from helping Tina in her classroom that it hit me just how sleepy I was. Still one of my favorite things to do. We didn't ever pull out the telescope, so we may do that again tonight. We got our hands on a nifty lens that doubles the power of the lens you are using. We have tried it out, and saw Saturn and it's rings super up close. Can't wait to see Jupiter!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2 buck Tuesdays


I love Thanksgiving Point's August special. Every year I make the trip to the gardens for only a few clams. It's the only time that I bother with the gardens, and really the only venue where I bother trying to save a few bucks. With the museum being such a great deal, there is always a line out the door and around the building just to get in, let alone the hundreds of people crammed into exhibits, and farm country is just cheap anyway- only $3 any given day. But I figure, with the many acres of room, I can handle the crowds.


Tina and I took our kids to run among the flowers. They loved it. We got to see the NASA exhibit, so totally not worth it. I'm glad I didn't fork over the $30 bucks for that. But the flowers were in bloom, and the grass was green. So the planet thing just didn't really factor in. The kids had such a wonderful time. They loved the waterfall, the hills, and the hedge maze. I lost myself in the gardens. I just enjoyed the company and the scenery. 4 hours went by almost instantly. I think even Tina thought that the get away was nice. We were with the kids, but they were so busy that it was like we were in totally different hemispheres.


We had lunch in a park in Lehi, then a quick trip to Home Depot to get some things I need around the house. I have to say, my kids were so fantastically well behaved today, that I felt a little out of sorts. They just usually act up in some way. I am so proud of them. We had such a relaxed day that I was more then happy to spoil them a little. They got some extra snacks, TV time, and more stories at bedtime then usual. Ahh, if only every day could be like this. It makes me realize how lucky I am to have 2 such well behaved kids. And happy kids. All day long it was nothing but smiles. If only that were everyday. Maybe the headaches would stop. Haha.


Tomorrow, I will happily pay full price to not have crowds at the museum. It will be the last Lit n' Leaning field trip of the summer. Then school starts. Then I will have spare time on my hands, until I get busy volunteering at the school. Something that will actually start this week when I go in to help label some of the books.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Going back to work?

I love being a stay-at-home mom! It is fabulous. Staying home allows me to do so many things with my kids that I may not have the time for otherwise. Like all the great stuff I have done with them this summer. I love that I get the chance to be a room mom for Liza's class. I had a blast being able to spend 2 days a week volunteering at the school last year. Well, this year, PJ will also be in school. Just 4 days a week, part days. So I am thinking about applying to the school for some of the part time jobs that are opening. This is a great time to do it, new school, new positions. I have submitted an application for one such position. It is 4 hours a day as an office assistant. But, that leaves me needing to put PJ in daycare 4 hours, 1 day a week and 1 hour the other 4 days. I would still have plenty of time to be room mom and still get to plan all the parties. It's either do this now, or wait another 2 years when PJ goes into first grade. I guess I will see if the school district calls me about the office job. I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Big Day

I went to the school today to help Tina move some of her stuff into her classroom. She gave us a tour. I am really excited about it. There is a ton natural light all over the building. PJ's classroom has balloons drawn on the ceiling tiles. The kids are really jazzed about it. This will be fun. There is only 3 weeks before the start of school.

After we did that, Tina and I took the kids to the Museum of Natural History. It's free the first Monday of the month. They had so many hands on exhibits, I didn't think the kids would ever want to leave. I think we spent the most time looking at the minerals, but the kids really liked the bugs too. There was a spider in there that was 2 inches long in the body. Apparently, it is common in the Utah foothills. Ewww! Hard to find, thankfully, as it is a nocturnal spider.

It was about 2:30 when we left there, and went to do some school shopping. We drove up the canyon to Park City. They had some pretty good jeans for only $10. They are pretty thick in the knees, so I am hoping that these jeans will hold up for the year. Needless to say, I left my house this morning at 8:30 and didn't get home until almost 6. Long day. But it was fun. I was super tired when I got home, but some of the best days are those that you are just running around making memories with your kids.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Farm Country




Our Lit n' Learning activity for this week was a field trip to the petting zoo at Thanksgiving Point. The kids had a blast. When we arrived, they had a 2 week old kid out for the kids to pet. PJ was a bit intimidated and didn't want to get near it. Just as I convinced him to tough it, the goat let out a huge bleat, making poor PJ jump about a mile. He never did actually touch it, something that he said he wished he had done as we were leaving. Liza tried to get near a pygmy donkey, but he was being ornery so she didn't get to stay too long near it. But they got to ride the ponies twice. Liza went right to the tallest and rode that one both time. He stood more than 5 feet high at the saddle. PJ went for one of the smaller ponies the first time, but the second, he rode the second tallest pony. She was nearly as tall as Liza's pony, but not quite.

Just one more big field trip for this summer program. We will be heading to the Dinosaur Museum at Thanksgiving point in a few weeks, then it's time for school. Wow, this summer seems to have just flown by. I can't believe I am already doing school shopping. Fun, fun. I am looking forward to getting both kids into school this year.

Slumber Party

So I have pretty much decided that I will let Liza go to the party on Friday, but I will not let her stay the night. I will pick her up about 9:30, maybe 10, then take her back Saturday morning for the breakfast. I have asked almost everyone I know their opinion, and I have some very clear lines. It is funny. Every mom living in Eagle Mountain says, "Nope, no way." Many are actually opposed to slumber parties all together, no matter the age of the child. Meanwhile, every mom living outside the city says, "What's the big deal? Let her go." This has been interesting. It makes me curious about other issues that may be so clearly divided.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dazed and Confused

Yesterday I stated that Liza had been invited to a slumber party. I rashly stated that I would still let her go. After all, I don't want to be the mom that says "no" to everything. But I have really been having trouble with that choice. She is still only 6. I don't know what I want to do. Recently there have been some events that make me never want to let her out of my sight. I suddenly find that I can't trust my own instincts. AHHHH! I don' t know what I am going to do. I told Liza today that I could not let her spend the night; that it wasn't about her, but I just didn't think she was old enough. That sent her on an all day long quest to convince me that she will sleep like she would at home, be on her best behavior and that she will love me forever if I let her go. I told her I would let her stay until 9:30 or 10, and then take her back for the special breakfast. God, I am at a total loss. I have never doubted a decision so much. But then, this has just come at a really bad time for me. On one hand, I have a mom who says she will never let her kids have a slumber party. On the other, I have a mom who doesn't see what age has to do with it- Liza is certainly mature enough, it would not be the first time she was away from home. Jer says no way. I don't want to be the mom who shoots down everything. I feel like we are tough enough parents as it is. Other than age, I don't have any reason to say no. AHHHH! This is really not much more than a rant. I don't think I will actually decide what I will do until Friday. I think I will be on Jer's side. After all, if I talk to Savhanna's mom and ask her to call me when the other girls get up, I can take her over for breakfast. Savhanna is so close, you can actually see her house from my back door. AHHHH! I hate it when I doubt myself!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Slumber Party? Already?

Liza just got invited to a friend's birthday party. The girls were in the same class, but on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. While Liza was the oldest in her class, turning 6 just when school started, Savhanna was the youngest, turning 6 this weekend. Although, if you looked at Savhanna, the way she behaves, speaks and plays, you don't really notice the age difference. But she is a tiny little bug. Pretty too. I have to say, I admire this girl's parents. They are both firefighters for AF, and very busy. Savhanna is having a slumber party. Now that was a bridge I knew I would be crossing soon, but I thought I could see it just on the horizon. So is this as crazy as I think it is? 2 very busy parents, both highly qualified if there was an accident, but throwing a slumber party for a 6 year old? I don't remember how old I was when I had my first sleepover. Ahh, she's excited about it. I am going to let her go. Now I just hope she doesn't think she gets to start having them. I thought 8 or 9 would be good. Maybe 1st grade isn't as bad as I think it is. Then again, maybe it is.

Pioneer Day


First off: LOOK I FOUND MY CAMERA! Someone (my 3rd child by the name of Notme) apparently put it on the speaker behind the couch that is hidden by the curtain.
Friday afternoon, Tina and I went to my parents and in the heat, plucked 4 flats of perfectly under ripe apricots. That led directly to a very busy Saturday morning. We went right back to the pioneer spirit and canned 46 quarts of yummy goodness. It only took about 5 hours. Time well spent. We were both surprised by the amount we got. I certainly didn't think we would get that many. Ahh, come winter we will really be enjoying the freshness of our labor. In a few weeks we will go back for the super ripe fruit and make nectar.


The rest of the afternoon was spent just hanging with the kids and getting ready to have a friend over for dinner. Earlier this week, we pulled out what we thought was going to be a pretty big roast to have for Sunday dinner. When we got it out to start the marinade, we discovered that the unlabeled cut of meat was actually several randomly sized chunks of meat. We're talking anywhere from half an ounce to 10 ounce steaks. What a shocker. After a quick trip to the store, our roast turned into yummy kabobs. While I was chopping the veggies, Liza comes screaming into the house. She and PJ had been playing. I guess at some point, PJ failed to pick her up, dropping her instead. Thanks to the holiday, my only options were wait until this morning to take her to the doctor or head to the ER. It didn't appear serious, but i was pretty sure that she broke her wrist. Again. This morning I get an appointment first thing, take her in, and it turns out, she just had a bad sprain. Anyone who knows my kids knows it was more likely to go the other way, but I am glad I took her in anyway. Better safe than sorry.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Busy summer

I have been super busy this summer. Between the activities I have lined up for my kids with the Lit n' Learning program and Music Movers, broken bones and birthday parties I feel like summer has flown by. I have taken pictures everywhere we have gone, but sadly, it seems that I have lost my camera. I had hundreds of pictures that I had not pulled off of my sim card onto my computer. This makes me sad. The pics at grandpa's farm, Porter's birthday, Liza's kindergarten graduation, all gone. Along with many many more. Swell. Maybe the camera will turn up. I hope so.

Anywho, here is a quick update on what we've been up to. Last week I took the kids to the capital building. I've never been. The kids loved to look at the rotunda. There was a little scavenger hunt available. We left for lunch at Memory Grove, and when all was said and done, the kids wanted to go back. They said they didn't get to see enough. I think I may just do that. They have tours every hour, so I think the next time we go, we will hop in on one of those.

This week, we headed to the planetarium. For all my love of space, I have never been. Did you know it is free? I didn't. Which is part of why I had never been. All you have to pay for are the shows. This would have been a great spot to have my camera. So sad. There are big displays for the kids to play on of the surfaces of the moon and mars. There is an actual space suit and planets scaled to a small section of the sun painted on the wall. One look and you realize exactly why Pluto was demoted. It was about the size of a bouncy ball. You know, the small ones you get from the dentist. We did take some time to catch Hubble. I thought there would be more about the things the telescope had captured. There was some, just not as much as I had hoped. But what we say was amazing. They take you actually inside the Orion Nebula. That was great. Since I can see that through my telescope. Although, it looks more like a smudge on the lens than anything else from here. After the planetarium, we wont to the fountain for lunch and to let the kids play a bit. Liza was soaked when we left, but it was so hot that she was almost dry when we made it back to the car. PJ crashed before we even hit the freeway.

In two weeks, the dinosaur museum. I get a break next week.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grandpa's ranch





Yesterday we loaded the kids in the car for a long drive to Sterling, ID. We finally made it to the ranch at close to 2. The drive was longer than we expected. Rick's ranch is bigger than I expected. He has more than 100 acres where he grows hay, wheat and alfalfa. He has a couple dozen cows and 2 horses. I have no idea how many chickens. He has a huge vegetable garden. His goal is to live just on his land, and he's doing a good job of it so far. Just this week he sold his hay and used the money to by a huge ATV that he let us ride on all day. The kids had a blast. Rick was going to sattel up the horses and let us take them for a ride, but Titan, the male, was getting spooked and Nakita, the female was just as wary. So he harnessed them up with the lead and let the kids get on his shoulders to pet them as much as they wanted. I have to say, it was an awesome day with grandpa. He even let us get pictures with him and the kids. That's saying something.

Sadly, I learned the hard way that I am still super allergic to grass. I thought I might have some issues, so before we left, I took an allivert. Stupid useless allivert. Doesn't really work. Not when you really want it to, anyway. After less than an hour I was itchy, sneezey, watery, and totally miserable.

We had dinner before we left. Beef stew. I had to compliment Rick on his beef. The roast he had in it was so tender and tasted amazing. He says he feeds his cattle only grain 90 days before taking them to slaughter. They eat only grass before that and he doesn't shoot them up with hormones or antibiotics. He will give them something if they are sick, but he doesn't just treat them unless they need it. Well, he sent us home with easily 100 pounds of meat. The back of the car was half full before we left. I think he might have sent us home with more, but we were feeling like we were taking too much. I can't wait to make something up with all that. Yumm.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Liza had a blast at Lagoon with her dad. The weather was less than stellar, she was cold and soaking wet when she got home, but she was more than excited to tell me all about it. When they got there, Jer asked if she wanted to try the sky coaster. She did not even hesitate. I think I have an adrenaline junkie on my hands. Up they went, and down they fell. Liza can't wait to do it again. She was thrilled to tell me about going on the "upside down" roller coaster twice, wicked and the white roller coaster. Although, the white roller coaster was not one of her favorites. She missed out on some of the rides because of the rain, but she hardly missed those with everything she got to do. When they were leaving, the people at the gate gave them all passes to go back for $10 by the end of the month, but PJ is out of commission until at least the 2nd of July. I don't want to take Liza back without PJ. It is one thing to have a trip already planned and another to plan it when he can't go. Too bad. I don't want to pay full price. Poor kid. Maybe next year.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Is it just me?

My kids have suffered more than the average number of broken bones. Liza has had a broken finger, a broken hand, and a broken wrist (both bones). PJ has had a broken leg (both bones) and now a broken clavicle. I usually don't let my kids watch much television, and so I have figured that by not letting them watch TV, they are playing, and when they play, they do dumb things like jump off chairs and slide on ice. Thanks to my busy few weeks and the bad weather this morning, I was not having any guilt about letting my kids just watch the boob tube for a bit. After all, we were going to be going to Lagoon for the day and I figured some TV couldn't hurt. HA! Teach me. While just laying on the couch simply just watching some morning cartoons, PJ breaks his collar bone. OK, so he wasn't so much "just laying on the couch" as he was laying across the TOP of the couch. Where gravity had its way and he fell off. Awkwardly landing on his shoulder. This is insane. I took him to the doctor. Dr. Corry took one small look at him, and said, "Yep. He definitely broke his clavicle. Let's get some x-rays and see how bad." I took PJ in just last week for a well child check, where Dr. Corry pointed out that we had not had a broken bone for a while. Almost 2 years. Almost. Did he jinx us? Maybe. In an attempt to find some humor in this, I will say yes. Oh well. It was not a bad break. Just a greenstick, but we have to make sure he doesn't finish off the job by playing too hard and falling. He is in a sling, but it is hurting him a lot. The poor kid is terrified to lie down. I don't know what we will do at bed time.



Liza still got to go to Lagoon with Dad. I didn't think it would be fair to make her miss out on all the fun. She has gotten to do a lot of cool and crazy stuff. I wish I had been there to see it. But I feel like I should be with the injured kid. I think that is where I am better off. If I was with Liza, I would just be worrying about PJ. More on Liza's adventures when they get home and I find out just how much fun she is having.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Is this strange?

It looks like we will be going to Gigi's funeral. At least, Jeremie is. It seems that Gigi had children, and those children have asked if Jeremie will be a pall bearer. I think this is strange. He never met the woman or her children. I am wondering if this is a "not enough hands" kind of thing. I don't know. But Jer has decided that out of respect for his dad he will be there. I will have to see if I can leave day camp for a few hours or get out of it completely if I want to attend. Ahh, this is just one of those moments in life that doesn't make sense and you are forced to go where the wind takes you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Birthday Party

Today we had PJ's birthday party. It was utterly EXHAUSTING. Seriously, I have never been so tired after throwing a party for my kids. I think I bit off more than I could chew. Believe it or not, I had a cake disaster. First, I had planned to make a rocket shooting up from a launch pad. But when I made the rocket, it was huge. So at 3 am I decided to take the rocket, warm it in the microwave and flat out sculpt a rocket. It worked out. At first. The smaller rocket fit better on the fins I had already made. This morning I was totally confident it was going to happen. I glued it all together (with chocolate). But within minutes, one of the fins snapped. Ok. Deep breath. It can still work. Lay the rocket on it's side, like it is spinning through space. Ahh, that works. Ice the rocket. Place on cake. All is well. Until it's not. Second fin falls. Crap. Take fin that fell off earlier. Cram a dozen tooth picks into it. This should hold. Looks good. Add cotton candy smoke trail. Clean the bathrooms. Walk into kitchen. Total mess. Cake is a disaster. Crap Crap CRAP!!! Did you know that cotton candy will melt when it comes in contact with even a little oil, like as in the butter in icing? I throw my hands up, say many words that would make a sailor blush, and give up. I stop caring. In the end, we had one fin, a jet oddly on it's side, and one very very happy birthday boy. Sorry, no pics of the total disaster before I pulled off the yellow rice crispy mess soaked in melted cotton candy.
I suppose I should expound on what we actually did. After all, a cake is just a cake, but a party is a PARTY. All of PJ's cousins came. They got to play on a giant inflatable water slide. We went over to the soccer fields and each kid got a chance to light a rocket and send it flying. We had dinner and presents. PJ got everything he wanted. He only asked for 3 things: cars, a rug with roads (I think he may have seen that at Mima's because just this last week he asked for that) and a two wheeled scooter. He got them all. Plus some Buzz and Woody buddies, that he was less than ecstatic about, but once he watches the movies, I think he will love in time. The whole thing was fun. The kids loved getting to see all of their cousins. Even Ben, Taylor and Brianna made it. This is the first time they have been able to come to one of Porter's birthday parties. So that was really special.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sad State of Affairs

Jer's dad called today. We knew it had to be something important, since he never calls unless he wants something, and even then, that is maybe once a year. He had some sad news. Geegee died last night. Wondering who Geegee is? So were we. Jer had to ask. Apparently, Gigi was Jer's step mother. Yup, Rick remarried. Don't know when. Kinda sad. Not that his step mother died, but the fact that we didn't know he HAD a step mother. Well, I'm sure that Geegee's passing is sad and unfortunate for many people who actually knew her. I would say for her family, but we don't know if she had any. Kids? Parents? Brothers or sisters? No clue. I'm sure it is sad for Rick. He says he will be fine. I'm sure he will.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Time Flies


Yesterday was a big day for PJ. It was his birthday, and he had a great one. He got to choose what to have for breakfast, what we did and where we went. He choose to go to the zoo. We took his friend Braeden with us. But that wasn't the best part of the day for PJ. Nope, the best part was when Daddy took the training wheels off his bike. He has been asking us to do this for a while now. We didn't think anything would happen, but off he went. He didn't even crash. It took him a few tries to figure out how to steer, but he was balancing right off the bat. Once he got on the bike, he was off like an old pro. With Daddy running behind trying to keep up. He rode back up the street to me, where he announced, "I AM AWESOME!!" And he was right. I am so proud. He's not a little boy anymore, so he tells me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Graduation


The kindergarten teacher's spent weeks planning a graduation ceremony for all the kids. Today was Liza's chance. She is officially a first grader today. She work a little green cap and gown, sang a song and got a "diploma". After words, there was a quick slide show and refreshments. Nothing to spectacular, but special all the same. Tomorrow will be the last day of school. She is excited. She keeps saying, "When I wake up on Monday, I don't have to get ready for school."


She has made so much progress this year. When school started, Liza couldn't read. Knowing her letters, colors and shapes was about the extent of it. Now, she is reading like a crazy woman. She loves to pick up a book and read it. I still have her read out loud, but before long, I don't think she will need to do that. Her handwriting is still atrocious, but look at her dad's. We will work on that over the summer.


We will both miss Liza's teachers. They made learning so much fun. But she has a whole new school to look forward to next year. And she gets to be with Lily and Bradley next year. I don't know if Savhanna will be in her class. But then, I don't know if I'm supposed to know who she has next year. But I asked that she not be in Tina's class, and I think there are just 2 first grade teachers at the new school. That will be nice, having a smaller school (only about 500 students there next year, instead of 1300).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

wall-e


I got the cake done! Yea! It was a lot of fun to do. I made the arm and head out of gum paste, the treads out of black red vines, then dusted it with cocoa powder because it all looked so clean when it was finished. Just before Dianne came to get it, one of the arms broke off. I was able to cut it off a little and lay the hand across the front of the cake. I did have to take the head off because I didn't think it would survive the drive. There was nothing holding it onto the cake. It was just sitting there. But that will be no trouble for them to just set onto the top. I hope Jessie loves it, I sure did.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Level

As I said, I will now explain what is going on with my house. We hung the shelves. Jer was very fastidious as always. They are secure and most importantly, level. So we slid everything into place, and the TV sits just about an inch below the bottom shelf. Exactly were we wanted it. At least on the right side. The left is a totally different story. The shelf sits more like 2 inches below the shelf. Jer put the level on the shelf. Its fine. He put it on the floor. Sure enough, there is the problem. For aesthetic purposes were are planning to put some shims under the cabinet to bring the left side up a little. Man though. That sucks. After 8 years in this house, it is still full of surprises.

cookie monster

I got an email from someone calling themselves cookie monster. I dont know who this is, so unless you want me to keep ignoring your emails, identify yourself. I assume it's someone I know with a new address.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Uncle!!

I feel like I have been running for days. It is 9 at night before I have been able to actually sit and take a deep breath for days. No, I'm not meaning to complain. I'm just not used to being so busy. We finally finished the shelves and moved everything from one room to another, but I feel like that's about it (and discovered that my house is way lopsided, more on that later). I wanted to make it to WinCo today so I could stock my freezer, but I didn't even have time for that.

So if you don't know, this week is "teacher appreciation week". As a room mother, I have been in charge of the whole thing. When I started this project, it was fine. But I have spent so much money and gotten so little support from other mom's that it has started to bother me. The other room mother that I have been working with suggested a book for Liza's teachers. Fine. She had to leave Thursday to go to her sister's funeral, so Friday I went to Walmart, spent $20 on paper and envelopes. No biggie. I sent a note with the kids to fill out the papers, include pics and send them back by today. I also asked for donations for a gift to the teachers. Well, as of this morning, I had 19 of the 29 pages back and donations from a whopping 5 parents!!! What is wrong with people?? Liza's teachers have done so much for the class. Why cant people just show a little appreciation. Hell, send a freakin dollar with your kid!!! Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of 3 parents (they each sent $10), I did get some nice gifts. But then Shannon wants me to laminate each page of the book, at a small fortune ($70). I got her down to the cover of the book, but when all is said and done, I am now $40 into the book, and she has not opened her wallet. Honestly, I'd rather do all of this alone. At least then, I wouldn't be shocked at the cost. Sorry, I know this is a total rant. I'm just frustrated.

I have to say by Friday night, I will be climbing into my hole and disappearing for the weekend. I'm sure that there are many other emotions sitting not-so-quietly at the edge of my mind magnifying everything. On a positive note, I got a new couch. And Shan, I will say, I didn't want to get up from it when I laid down on it. I thought it was pretty comfy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's gone!

No more pool table. Haha! Jer got a call Friday night, guy came out Saturday to look at it, and decided to take it. He did not want to have to refelt it, so he got 8 of his closest, most willing friends to come move the beast intact. Wow. These 8 guys seem to have the ability to move an adolescent elephant. We estimate the weight to be 800-1000 pounds, easy. But they got it. Up the stairs (barely), out the door (barely), into a moving truck (eventually). I don't think the marks will ever come out of the carpet, but that's a small price to pay for getting a big room in my house. I have to say, I did not realize that we had such a large space. We went out today and bought wood to make some shelves. We got them put together and mostly painted. I'll finish up the project tomorrow and give the paint some time to set, then we'll move everything around on Tuesday. PJ actually wanted to move into the room downstairs. He says he is tired of his "tiny'' room and wants a big room "like Liza's". That ain't gonna happen. Poor kid. Maybe eventually, just not when he is 3.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Not an Ugly Bug

For weeks Liza has been working hard to learn new songs at school for a program for parents. Tonight, she finally got to put her songs to the test. She got up on stage and belted out a few songs with more than a few fellow kindergartners. They sang I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee, Ugly Bug, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and a few others. The whole thing took the teachers weeks to put together, and only 30 minutes to run through. Sadly, we learned the hard way that arriving 20 minutes before the show puts you in the 3rd to the last row. Wow, the place was packed. Standing room only. The show was cute, and when all was said and done, we took the kids to Arctic circle to get ice cream. I remember doing that with my family after any school performance, so I had to carry on the tradition. Liza was thrilled that both of her grandmothers came out to enjoy the show as well. Oh, heads up, the boy at the bottom of the picture is Eric. He is the boy Liza says she is going to marry some day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Spelling test

I have been practicing Liza's spelling lists with her for several weeks now. This week her words are some, come, from, there, and here. PJ wanted in on the action. While we are having breakfast, PJ says, "Some. s-o-m-e. Is that correct, Mommy?" In just love the big words he uses. Sometimes he just sounds so grown up!

On a side note, I have discovered a craft bone in my body. Its not very big at all, but apparently it's there. I saw these flowers that Martha Stewart had made. She glued them onto a branch and turned it into a centerpiece. I don't need or want anything like that, but I thought they would turn into cute little barrettes. They did. I just need to get some fabric in more colors that Liza wears. But she loves them.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Catalina Magdalena Hopperstiener Waldendiner Hogan Bogan Logan was her name

When I first started working in the take home library at the school, I would sit in the room with the books reading to PJ while we had to wait for Liza to get out of class. Well, one day I read him this funny book that we both loved. Trouble was I had no idea what it was or where I got it out of the shelves. Today I pulled it out to give it to another student. I was so excited. I found a post-it, scribbled down the name and now I cant wait to order it for the kids. Ok, not all for the kids. I love reading this one out loud. It is just FUN!!

On another note, Jer's interview went well. They said they were really interested, but they don't know if they can afford him. The guy who did the interview said that he had not been able to get with the director to find out the budget, and he himself would be leaving on vacation soon. So we may not hear anything for a few weeks. That's alright. Jer is still not sure if he wants to leave Dentrix, at least not completely. For some kind of raise though, he might be willing to hand in his golden shackles. The biggest thing he would be walking away from would be the vacation time. But the severance package he has earned over the last 11 years and the life insurance are a little hard to swallow (as far as "what if's" go). For Jeremie, though, this was at the very least, a great way to get some networking done and see if he had some other possibilities out there. Guess we will just sit and wait, see what happens.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

12' tall sunflower

In honor of Earth Day, I went into Liza's class today to plant flowers. I didn't know that the other mom would come in with giant sunflowers for all the kids to plant. Ah, this should be fun. Yes, I do know that Earth Day is actually Thursday, but there were some scheduling conflicts so we had to do it today. It was a lot of fun. Watching 30 kindergartners plant flowers in tiny pots is really funny.

On another subject, Liza had her DRA testing today. Total brag moment, but she did fantastic! She is reading well above her grade and her fluency and word speed are really good. She had a story that she had to read in under a minute, and read it flawlessly in 32 seconds. Her teacher was impressed. So was her mother. I am afraid that Liza may get a big head though. She knows she did well, and is excited about it. she has every right to be. She did great all around, even on math. I am really bad about working on that with her.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kindergarten Graduation

With the end of the school year comes events. Last week Liza was given a paper asking parents to provide a baby picture and a current picture for her little "graduation". Of course, I completely forgot all about it. Until yesterday. I find the paper, look at the date the pictures are due, and what da ya know. TODAY!! That would be all fine and dandy, except I the last time I had pictures printed up was from Disneyland, almost 2 years ago. So I get Liza's hair done, take her out into the front yard and snap a few photos of her. Run to Walmart and get a bunch of pictures printed. I come home, go through the pictures, and discover, I didn't print Liza's picture. Grrr. I had another bad headache, so I caved to the pressure and went to bed. After I took the kids to school, I ran back to Walmart and printed up just the picture of Liza. Can't screw that up, right? Thought I'd share the picture!! I have to say, I think this is by far one of the best pictures I have of Liza since she was a baby.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peanut butter cookies

So this is more for Becky than anyone else. I don't know why I don't have her email, so I am going to use this recipe for my menu tonight as a substitute. Hope she sees it.

Today's Menu: Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

First Beck, yes, the time you bake the cookies determines how soft they are, but it is actually the amount of white sugar to brown sugar that will give you the chewy cookie you are looking for. More white gives you a firmer cookie, more brown will give you a chewier cookie. It's all about the molasses. This recipe calls for equal amounts of both sugars, feel free to give or take 1/4 cup in either direction.

In medium bowl, sift together:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
In mixing bowl cream:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup white sugar
Add 3 eggs, one at a time until just mixed in. Add 1 cup peanut butter (I prefer creamy, but you can use chunky if that's what you have on hand) and 2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or extract since most people don't have the paste. Mix until light and fluffy. Add flour in about 3 batches until mixture comes together.

Drop by rounded teaspoon or a small ice cream scoop onto baking sheet. Add no more than a dozen cookies per sheet. For a traditional look, make the criss cross pattern with fork pressing down. Slightly dampen fork to keep from sticking. For quicker results, use the bottom of a glass or a cookie press if you have one.

Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, until cookies are just set in the middle. If cookies look done in the oven, you will have a hard cookie. If you do want a crispy cookie, bake 15-18 minutes until cookies are slightly golden around the edges. I usually get 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cows and pets

Driving home the other night, Liza asked about cows. She wanted to know what it would be like to be a cow. I told her that I didn't think it would be much fun. After all, imagine being outside all the time wearing a leather jacket in the snow, the wind, or the sun. She says to me, "And cows cant have pets. Dogs? No. Cats? No. Fish? Definitely not!!"

Today's Menu Homemade Potato Chips

1 russet potato per person, peeled and sliced as thin as possible
1 qt canola oil
Favorite seasoning, I used my essence (recipe below)

As you slice the potatoes, put them in cold water. Give them a good rinse and dry them well. Meanwhile, heat oil. I did this on a high heat, about 375-400 degrees. The hotter oil gives the chips the crisp that you are looking for. Fry up in batches, and while each batch is still hot, sprinkle with seasoning.

Essence:
2 1/2 tbls paprika
2 tbls salt
2 tbls garlic powder
1 tbls each ground black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried leaf oregano, dried thyme

Mix and store in spice jar. Use on anything from eggs to fish to pasta.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It may not have been a diamond ring...

We are frozen solid! Jer and I just spent close to an hour outside looking at planets. Venus was a close call, but we saw it. We couldn't make out Mercury, it was too close to Venus, so she blocked it out. We got out there just a few minutes before she went down. Venus and Mercury are following the sun pretty closely right now, so they set just after sundown. But SATURN! WOW!!

Right now Saturn appears southwest in the early evening. It has a slight pinkish hue that sets it out from the stars. You will find it in the Virgo constellation, a few inches down from the triangle formation in Leo. When we got the telescope, we were told you could see the rings of Saturn. I had my doubts. The rings are pretty perpendicular right now, but you can clearly see them- just jutting out from the planet. It seems we will need to wait a year or so before we can see the rings parallel to the earth. But what I am really looking forward to will be the Perseid's meteor shower in August. At the same time we will be able to see the shower, we can see Jupiter and Andromeda Galaxy. We plan to take the kids with us when we go out to Five Mile. You need to be clear of all light pollution to see the galaxies. All this will happen the second week of August. Anyone who wants to join us is welcome. I am already super excited about this. Jer has been hearing about it since I started tracking Jupiter. I'm sure he can hardly wait to get it over with. I am like a kid counting down to Christmas. I am so over the top, I am well into ridiculous.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New bikes


I went out today to get the kids new bikes for Easter. They were getting a little big for the ones they already had. I went to Target, grabbed one for Liza that was $100. And yes, I quarrelled with myself. I just thought that was a lot to spend. But I got it anyway. Then I ran to Walmart to get one for PJ. While I am there, I find a nearly identical bike to the one that I got Liza, but it was half the price. HA! So I got the one there for Liza. They had it in pink anyway. Turned out that I got both kids bikes for almost the same cost as the one at Target. Boy, I don't know why I bother going anywhere else. Sure, when Liza stops needing a new bike every year or two, I wont mind spending some money on a bike for her, but not now. I got her one of the 20" bikes. It's a little big for her, but she rides it just fine. And instead of training wheels, it had a kick stand.




PJ's bike is also a little big, but it wont be long before he is riding it just fine. And with the training wheels on that one, It is OK that his feet don't touch the ground. I got him a 12" to replace his tiny 10". This is actually the first bike we bought for him. He just had Liza's old 10" that we painted. he loves it. Jer will probably take him out to learn how to ride it sometime this summer. PJ wants to start now, but since his feet don't reach, we think it's best to wait a little bit.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Snow, washers

Ok, what's up with the snow? Grr. I want the warm sun shine. Whose with me? I give. UNCLE!!

Also, I seem to have angered the appliance Gods. That, or it's just really bad laundry karma. In the last year, most of my appliances have died, leaked or otherwise needed to be replaced. 2 weeks ago, my dryer gives me trouble. I get the call in just under the warranty. Great. They came out, replaced the blown out circuit board and swapped out the control panel for good measure. Fine and dandy. So then Tues, without thinking much about it, the washer does something funny. We put a load in and set it to delay wash. That never takes off. For some reason, I hear the door lock, the tub spins a bit, then freezes up. Alrighty then. I have to kill the power at the breaker to make it work again. Humm, odd. But I think nothing more of it. But then last night, it happens again! Jer looks up the F70 code that pops up, apparently there is some kind of "communication error". What's that all about?

I guess I will just have to see what happens. Technically, my warranty expired on the 14th. That's not cool. But I will raise a stink and see what I can do. Shan says apparently this has been an issue for other people. Don't know yet, I'm just going to look it up now.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to train your dragon

We took the kids to see the movie that has been on count down in our house for almost a month now. Every day I have heard, "How to Train your Dragon comes out March 26. That's in 7 days Mom." "How to Train your Dragon comes out March 26. That's in 6 days Mom." You get the point. They were so excited they could barely restrain themselves. The movie really is as good as they say. Hiccup is fantastic. Toothless is adorable. And the movie taught me something. For years I have been saying Hollywood wouldn't know an original idea if it bit them in the butt. Ahh, today, I was (happily) proven wrong. I just hope they don't ruin the movie with 3 sequels. Eh, they will. It made too much money. At last count it was at 45 million. We can take credit for some of that. This movie was great for kids. We will definitely be buying it. The 3D was great. Another sad attempt for Jer. Poor guy. He can't see things in 3D. Didn't work on Avatar. Didn't work today. I feel bad. He misses out on a lot.

After the movie, we were supposed to go decorate Easter eggs. We haven't missed it in 10 years. Between the movie and eggs, we stopped to grab some lunch. Sadly, as we were getting back in the car, PJ got sick. So we had to come home and clean everything up instead. I'm sad that we didn't get to follow tradition this year. On the bright side, I got my car totally cleaned. Although, it really wasn't worth it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cookie Awards


Today Liza's troop had an Easter egg hunt and awards ceremony for cookie sales. Well, not so much a ceremony, but Liza did get all her badges. With at total of 662 boxes of cookies, Liza was the top seller in her troop! Thanks to eberyone who went over and beyond to help Liza get her sales. She had a lot of fun doing it and can hardly wait to see cookies again next year.

She got her cookie pin and several badges. There was a first cookie sales patch, a big seller patch (for more than 50 boxes, a refer a friend to the troop (super cute, and right up Liza's ally, two elephants shaking trunks) for getting a friend to join the girl scouts, and a cookie booth patch. Even though they did not have cookie booth, Shannon had already bought them and didn't want the girls to miss out on that badge just because all the cookie booth cookies were sold before the booth. She will get the top seller badge later. The leader had it and had to go to California to be with her sister before she passes.

Liza will get the rest of her rewards later. She will have activity credits of more than $120 and she earned her beenie cap and wristlet purse.The girls loved hunting for the Easter eggs. There were so many! First they told all the girls there were a dozen a piece. That collected only about half. So they let all the brothers and sisters take a basket and join in. PJ also got to collect an entire basket of eggs. They did finally let the girls go back for more eggs. I have so many now! It's insane. But they had a blast and that's what matters.

Liza is really enjoying girl scouts. I am glad that she is having so much fun with it. It is a wonderful program, and she has some great leaders that help make the expierance to enjoyable for her. This whole this thing has gotten PJ super excited to join the boy scouts. But he will have to wait a few years.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Toy Story

Here's a great deal on the new release of the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 blueray/DVD combos. Save $10 each with coupons and get them at ToysRus or price matched at Walmart or BestBuy. You'll need to go to disneyrewards.com, enter UPC code from the original movies, I have that or you can google it if you need to. If you go somewhere other than ToysRus, make sure you let them know that the advertised deal is the 2 movies for $34. So you end up getting the movies for $7 with the coupon. After you get the movies, there is a printable coupon to see Toy Story 3 for free, one pass per movie bought. Just go to disneyrewards.com to get that. You will have to tell them what theater you will be going to in June to see the movie, but well worth the savings.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Electric Lights

So with PJ being sick all night, I gave him half a cup of powerade this morning when he woke up. Liza got some too. Liza asked what it was for and I told her that I was giving it to them because they had been sick all night, and needed the electrolytes. PJ really liked the drink and kept asking me for more all afternoon. Finally, we have this conversation:
PJ: My electric lights are off.
Mom: Your what?
PJ: My electric lights. I need to turn them back on.
Mom: You have electric lights? Where?
PJ: In my body.
Mom: (laughing) You have electric lights in you body?
PJ: (with a look that says, "hey idiot") Yes. In my butt. Can I have more of that drink?

2 AM and she calls me...

Just need to state my appreciation for 24 hour Smith's. Oh, and the fact that they have Powerade for a quarter. Oh, and they just happen to have it when BOTH my kids start throwing up in the middle of the night. Well, PJ started about 10, Liza waited until after 1. Grrr. So after getting all the cleanup done, I decide that I should get them something to keep them hydrated. I know I wont be able to run in the morning with Jer gone, so I leave him with the sick kids and make a quick run to the store. Once there, I find empty shelves where the sports drinks are. What is it with Smith's? They never actually seem to have what they put in the ads. At least, not if it is an unbelievable deal, such as Powerade for close to free. Ahh, but thanks to helpful stock boys! One of the men, literally, scoured the store and finds me 16 bottles. Ok, so I had only planned to get 8, but got all 16. After all, he went all over the store looking for it, and it was only another $2.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spa Night

Liza and I got to have a special Mommy and Me night. I was plucking Liza's eyebrows this morning, with her complaining. That tuned into "maybe we should go get waxes done", that turned into mani's and pedi's, turned to home spa night, turned to having Lilly and her mom over. It was last minute, but Tina was game. She came over tonight and we did the whole thing while watching The Princess and the Frog. New nails and facials went over well with the girls, and the mom's got to feel great spending some special time together with our girls. We are going to make a regular night of it, just once a month, but that will be a great place to start. I know Liza and I have needed it. I am excited to be able to start this new event that I hope will always be a special memory for Liza as she grows up.

Liza had so much fun. It was the first time she has ever had a facial. She thought it was strange, especially as the mask started to dry. She could hardly wait to get it off. She and Lilly did a foot soak, then Tina painted their nails. Lilly wanted green, Liza went for purple. We did a salt scrub on our hands and a peppermint treatment on our feet and ended the evening with peppermint tea.

PJ didn't get left out in the cold. He got Daddy to read all of the Skippy John Jones books. All 5 of them. That was special for him. He loves Skippito, and can hardly get enough. We could hear him yelling, "Boom, boom. BOOM! BOOM!" At some point he crashed. He was out like a light when we came up. Liza got to stay up way past bedtime. Her head didn't hit the pillow until 10! Lucky kid. With luck, she wont wake up at 6:30 tomorrow morning.

Today's Menu Super Simple Brownies
1 oz baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

In medium sized bowl, add butter and chopped chocolate. Melt in microwave for 30-60 seconds. Add flour and sugar, mix to combine. Add eggs and vanilla. Pour into grease 8x8 baking dish. Bake at 350 30-35 minutes until set in center. When cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Day

Haha. Today I wish Liza a happy St. Patty's day. She corrects me and tells me that it is St. Patrick's day, and asks me what St. Patty's day is. Then we move onto a debate about who is going to wear what green. I planned the party for her class, and have been looking forward to it for weeks. I am happy to report that thanks in large part to the massive amount of sleep I got yesterday, I felt great today and went to the party. We started out by hiding little leprechauns throughout the classroom. We gave all the kids a magnifying glass to look for the little "visitors", although they were actually 2" tall. It was a blast watching 28 kids on their hands and knees crawling around on the floor looking through little plastic circles, pressed right against their eyes. I thought it would at least take several minutes, but 6 year olds are really great at finding things when they set their minds to it. All of the figurines were discovered in under 2 minutes. We moved onto playing a game of bingo and then the kids all got to make a little magnet to take home. It was all way fun. I have to admit, I have had more fun working in Liza's class than I probably should. Eh, who cares? If I don't enjoy the little pleasures of motherhood as much as I do, what's the point? Right?

PJ got to have a party at preschool as well. But sadly, the only highlight he talked about was the box of candy he got from his teachers. Then the dogs ate it. He ran around the house yelling, "Bad boy, Toby! Bad dog!" Poor Toby, he just can't resist temptation.

Today's Menu St. Patty's Day Cake
This is a simple improved from the store cake. Just take your favorite vanilla cake mix, add a large box of Lime jell-o, and bake in 2 8" rounds. Ice with cream cheese icing, sprinkle with green jimmies. Or make into cupcakes, cover with white icing and pipe 3 hearts and a stem to make little shamrocks.
My Cream Cheese Icing:
1 pkg cream cheese
1 stick of butter (if piping, swap for 1/2 c shortening)
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
add milk a little at a time until icing reaches desired consistency, thicker if spreading, thinner if piping.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Helping Hands

So last night I realized I had too much to still take care of for Liza's party tomorrow. I called the mom who has been helping me plan it. I told her what was going on, she happily agreed to take over the party. Then she called me back, insisting that I let her take my kids for the day. She has 2 boys the same age as my kids, and Liza is a good friend of her older son's. I finally agreed, and she came this morning at 9:30 to pick up PJ, then got Liza from school. They have been there all day. Playing with friends is a far better plan then letting the kids watch TV all day. Turns out it was a smart thing to do. The medicine I have been taking to control my coughing and clear my lungs makes me extremely groggy. I slept until 2:30! I don't have a clue when I last needed that much sleep. It was a big help though. When I woke up, my lungs felt better then they have in days. The weight is off and I can finally take a deep breath without coughing. I also don't get out of breath just by walking up the stairs. Wow, it's amazing how quickly a z-pack can work.

Today's Menu Chicken Pot Pie (quick and easy)
1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 Tbls ground cumin
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 lb frozen mixed veggies
2 stalks celery
1 medium potato, peeled
1 pastry crust
1 egg white, mixed with a little water

Combine all ingredients, add enough milk to make a cream sauce. Put into round baking dish, cover with rolled out pie crust, cut slits in top. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 375 for an hour, until sauce bubbles up around crust and through slits and crust is a flaky golden brown. Let sit for 15 mins before serving.

Monday, March 15, 2010

You're never to old to listen to your mother

For the last week, I have had a cough. It has gotten worse every day. My mother has been pestering me for the last 4 days about going into the doctor. After waking up several times last night with terrible coughing fits, I caved. I went to see Dr. Corry this morning. Looks like I have pneumonia. Aww, shucks. I don't think I will be able to live this one down for a very long time. Even Peggy got in on it. She heard my cough at Aunt Margaret's funeral and said she thought it was pneumonia. When I went in this morning, I was willing to concede that I may have bronchitis. No such luck. I am on a z-pack and a cough suppressant that knocks me out for about an hour at a time. Dr. Corry says if I don't improve by Thursday, he wants me to have a chest x-ray. I guess I get to play it by ear for a few days. i just hope I will be able to make to Liza's St. Patrick's Day party. I have been looking forward to it for weeks.

Ok, so to my mom and to Peggy, you were right. I should have listened to you a week ago.

Today's Menu: Throat soothing smoothie
2 cups frozen fruit, I used nectarines
1 carton vanilla yogurt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp agave nectar

Blend and let the cool drink refresh a throat that is sore from coughing for more than a week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Margaret Irvine Rowland March 8, 1929- Mach 8, 2010

Today Jer and I attended his great-aunt Margaret's funeral. Aunt Margaret was Jer's grandfather's last surviving sibling. An end to that generation, but the beginning of a new branch of the Irvine family tree. I want to share my thoughts on this amazing woman.

I first met Aunt Margaret and Uncle Glenn when Jer and I got married. From the moment we said "Hello" I have felt like family. Aunt Margaret recognized me instantly, no matter where we ran into each other. I remember passing them at the mall, and hearing, "Amy, it's so nice to see you, how are you doing? How is Jeremie?" Even though Margaret was a more distant relative, I always looked forward to seeing her and enjoyed our conversations. Sadly, my last conversation with her was at Uncle Glenn's birthday party July 2008. We were not able to stay long, as we were in a rush to make it to my cousin's wedding. But Aunt Margaret was as warm and welcoming as always. She even remembered that she still had our wedding present. It is all wrapped from ZCMI. We never did get it, but that isn't what matters. It's that she, after more than 9 years, remembered that she still had it. Thinking back on that makes me laugh. That is just the kind of sweet woman she was.

Attending Aunt Margaret's funeral, I learned so many things about her. I learned how much we actually had in common. I can imagine myself in another life revering her. She is the sort of woman I hope to be some day. She was strong and determined. She was talented and practical. She loved to cook and to garden. The most important thing I hope to have learned form Aunt Margaret is her patience. Although her uncanny ability to remember names and faces is a talent I do envy.

So to you, Aunt Margaret, we miss you. As for me, I wish I had known you all my life. It would have been an adventure.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thank you Trenton, NJ BBB

For weeks I have been getting no where with Cuisinart about my rebate. After emails and phone calls for an entire month, I finally filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in Trenton, NJ. Monday I filed the complaint, Tuesday I got an email from the BBB saying my complaint had been forwarded to Cuisinart, and miraculously, when I checked the Cuisinart web site on Wednesday, they had changed my status from "pending" to mailed. Ahh, I check the mail, low and behold, what do I find? My $40 check. Fantastic. Yes, I did send an email to the BBB to let them know that my complaint had been resolved. It took me less than a week to get it after the claim, and an entire month chasing down all the channels with Cuisinart. I think it is sad that I had to go out side the company to get it resolved, but I am thrilled to be done with the whole thing. I do have to say, this whole thing makes me wish Utah had some of the same laws that states like Ohio have. In Ohio, mail in rebates are prohibited. If there is a rebate, you get it at the register. No hassle. That would have been nice, especially after Black Friday. We had so many rebates out it was insane. We had more than $200 in rebates out. We got the others in no time, only had to fight the one.

I also just heard the greatest tip. Use vodka to clean your jewelry. Apparently it is great for dissolving all that crud that can gather under the stones and in the little detailing. I cant wait to try that out. Obviously, the cheaper the vodka, the better. And if you don't drink, it wont be a huge expense if it works. I'll check it out and report on that soon.

Today's Menu Stuffed Shells
1 large container ricotta cheese
1 lb shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1 egg
1 tbls Italian seasoning
2 tbls fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, pressed
pepper to taste
1 jar favorite pasta sauce
1 box jumbo shells, slightly under cooked

Mix cheeses and seasonings with egg. Fill each shell with 1-2 tbls of filling. Cover with sauce and bake at 375 for 45 mins. Heads up, this will make a ton of shells. We give the kids each 3 shells and Jer and I eat 5 or so. With leftovers for Jer to take to work, I still get at least 2 meals out of this one recipe. I just take the shells I don't bake and freeze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper then vacuum seal them so they come out as individual shells. When baking them frozen, I allow for 1 hr 15 mins.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Anniversary

Last night for our anniversary Jer took me to La Caille for dinner. Wow. I have to say that it is totally AMAZING!! As we drove through the beautiful front gates, we followed a brick drive, lined with trees past at least one of their private ponds swimming with ducks and geese. Walking into the french chateau style building, I was awe struck. I don't think I have ever seen such a gorgeous place, especially not around here. Jer talked me into trying escargot. I've had it before, but I remember how much I hated it. Everyone has told me that it should not have been bitter. And they were right. This was sauteed in garlic and clarified butter, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. They brought out an amuse buche, smoked duck and marinated cucumber. That got me in the mood for duck. They had the most amazing fruit compote under the duck. For dessert, they put a firework in the dish to help us celebrate our special occasion.

This afternoon when we picked up the kids, we took them to see Alice in Wonderland. I have to admit, I like Tim Burton's work, so I may not be the best critic, but we enjoyed it. The whole movie was fast paced and very artistic. It wasn't even scary for the kids. PJ jumped once, and it was as Alice was walking up a path. Nothing was even there. But it was a cute movie. I'm positive there will be a sequel. There always is with movies now days, right?

Today's Menu Roasted Garlic Chicken
1 head garlic, top cut off to expose cloves, coated with olive oil and cooked in 450 degree oven for 30-45 mins. When cooled, remove cloves and mash
4 chicken breasts, grilled
In med skillet:
make roux from 2 tbls melted butter, 3 tbls flour. Cook slightly.
Add 1 cup chicken stock/broth, bring to boil and let thicken slightly
Add roasted garlic, run puree if not smooth enough for your liking
Salt, pepper and fresh parsley to taste
Pour gravy over chicken and serve.