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Updates on kids and family, plus yummy recipes!!

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


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.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I can still remember how I felt March 6, 1999. Who wouldn't remember their wedding day? I can't believe it has already been 11 years. Wow. We may not have always lived the fairy tale. We have had our share of rough times. But for these last years, it has been a dream come true. I am so happy to have a man who is completely in love with me. Although I may not understand exactly why. It hardly seems like I deserve him. He took this week off of work. So far he has made breakfast every morning, and dinner most nights. When he takes a vacation, so do I. And forget his 20/20 vision, it helps that he is blind as a bat. He fails to see my many flaws. He is my greatest ally. He is my best friend. He is the love of my life and I couldn't imagine my life without him. Nor would I want to. I am a lucky woman. Because of him, I am a better person. He makes me want to reach for the stars, and he makes me feel like I can actually touch them. Jeremie, I want to thank you for our years together. I wish for many, many more.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Polish strikes again

I have not been sleeping well lately. So with Jer at home today, I took a little nap. What I wake up to sounds like world war 3. Apparently while Jer was making dinner, PJ got into the TV room and painted my coupon binder, the newspapers, and yes, the carpet in pink enamel. Lovely. Fortunately, I have had to deal with this before, but on a much larger scale. It took just a few minutes with the carpet cleaner and hairspray to get it up. But oh boy. Sometimes I wonder if this kid has it out for us. I just don't know how much more I can take. Ahh, the joy of parenthood. I know that for the most part, I have been very lucky. My kids are smart and usually well behaved. But man, when they go to the dark side, they go far. I am so happy that I have that carpet cleaner. It has saved my carpet more times than I ever thought possible. If it ever dies on me, I will have to replace it right away and not tempt fate. Who knows what will happen next.

To the cookies. We have had them for 3 days now, 2 if you don't count that we got them on Tues and didn't do anything but sort them. We have only a few more orders to collect. There are about 10 around the neighborhood. Jer still has 3 at work. But we have not done the Orem orders yet at all. That will be it. We turned in our first set of cash and checks today. Almost $1400. Its good to know have to worry about being liable for that any more. Especially since we had a close call yesterday when I dropped my stack of checks in the street. Oops. At least we have honest teenagers around here. A girl found it and called one of the people who wrote a check who told her it belonged to Liza.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

They have Arrived

The cookies are here. Now we have more than 600 boxes of cookies to deliver to nearly 200 people. Liza worked hard to get most of the sales, Jeremie worked hard to get the rest. Its all good though. The wall is hidden behind stacks, and the back of the car is filled up for deliveries that will be made tomorrow at Jer's office. Next will be the doctors office and the Orem boxes. The hardest part is going to be delivering the cookies around the neighborhood. Liza will have gotten more than $100 in activity credits that she has almost completely planned out how to use. She cant wait to go on an overnighter with Mom and a prom-like He and Me dance with Daddy in June. She is also going to plant a tree during Earth week with Daddy and a few other things. She sold enough boxes that she has also earned a beenie cap and a wristlette purse. She is so excited. It makes me laugh to see how happy and anxious she is to get them out. Its like watching her come to the end of a long journey.

My kids have been very funny these last two days. Last night I told Liza to get in the car so we could run to Walmart. She asks, "The car?" I look at her flatly and say, "No, the zamboni." She walks into the garage, and I assume she is getting into the car. About 30 seconds later, she opens the door, sticks her head in and innocently asks, "What's a zamboni and where is it?" I laughed for at least 20 minutes. I'm still chuckling when I think about it. Not to be outdone, PJ says to me today, "When I am 88 and a half, you and daddy will be grounded." He doesn't have a clue about how right he is. I certainly do not plan to live to 115. I don't think Jer does either.

Today's Menu Cranberry salad
1 lb spring mix lettuce
1 pear, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cashews

Mix ingredients in salad bowl, toss with your favorite vinaigrette