September 28, 2012

Leave the Judement at Home

I am interrupting my regularly planned posts for a special announcement.

I could count on one hand the number of truly serious posts I've ever written in my last four-plus years of blogging.

So when Jocelyn of We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ asked if I would guest post for her annual celebration of the Family Proclamation, I spent a lot of time trying to think of something fun and clever.

It wasn't working out for me so well.

I had had a lot of fun writing a post for her three years ago called, "Family Planning: It's None of Their Business".

But this time I kept coming back to my mom and what she had to offer others. So I wrote a mere breath of her story, the tiniest glimpse of her life. We even went through it together and she insisted that since most people don't know her story, we would only brush over facts without offering details. She was worried about upsetting someone.

I feel a bit nervous, I hope people who read it will see her strength, even if they don't share our religious views.

So as you head over to read my post, I hope you'll remember that it's not my story, but that of the amazing woman who raised me.

Click to read: "Leave the Judgement at Home"

September 27, 2012

Labor Day Weekend and Savannah's Baptism - Part 1

I didn't think much of it when my mom said, "I'll just let you blog about Savannah's baptism." *insert sly grin*

When I downloaded all the photos off her camera and sat down to look at them, I had almost 500 photos to go through!

Clever mom, veeeeeeeeeeery clever.

So yes, I am just now getting around to posting about it. Deciding out of 500 pictures which handful to post is pure torture.

I don't foresee a future in photography any time soon.

So let's see, where to be begin?

It all started late Thursday night when my parents rolled into town driving their fancy, shmancy vehicle.

They sure know how to make an entrance.

I've been thinking about what to get them for Christmas this year. I confess I'm terrible at gift giving, terrible! But I think I may have finally landed on a brilliant idea for them.

They're going to love it.

After staying up late into the night chatting with them, Friday morning arrived whether we were ready for it or not. I for one wasn't ready. 

But since I was the host it was my duty to get up. I have vague recollections of rolling rather ungracefully out of bed and banging into a wall or two before making it out to meet the day.

Sometimes I wonder what inspires my mom to take pictures when she does.

I mean really....

The kids were super excited for Granny and Papa to be here! They even woke up extra early just for the occasion.

It's like school. I have to drag them out of bed Monday through Friday, but come Saturday or Sunday, they are up before the sun.

Life can be so unfair.

My mom wanted to do something extra special for Savannah's birthday and baptism. She insisted on getting the white dress Savannah would wear after she was baptized.

So here we are, the day before the baptism, and Savannah gets to see and try on her dress for the first time. Imagine my panic when it became abundantly clear that the top of the dress was too big for her and gaped open something awful.

In pure desperation, I called up my talented next door neighbors and they swooped in with a pair of scissors and a sewing machine and saved the day.

Thanks heavens for small miracles!

That afternoon, my little brother Abe and his wife arrived in town with their extraordinarily adorable twin baby girls.

We had decided a while back to all go to the temple together. So, we left the seven kids with two babysitters and took off!

It's always an adventure with my family.

If you knew my parents at all, you would know how accurate those photos are. Haha.... they're so awesome.

Especially my mom who I convinced to try on my fabulous blue shoes.

Who says you can't be sixty and sexy?

You go girl!

See those gorgeously shnazzy black lace heels my sister-in-law is wearing?

Oh ya... totally my doing. I converted her and I'm dang proud of it.

Although, wearing high heels does tend to make our men look a bit short....

Temple grounds are always so pretty.

You also find the best looking guys there.

True story.

After our temple visit we did what we do best... eat!

Who says mormons don't drink? Look at that sucker! Whooo... you have to be a tough one to be able to hold your lemon water!

And... my mom carefully ignores the crazies going on around her.

She's had lots of practice.

As for my brother, well, he married a good woman. She already has him all figured out and knows that if she will just hold perfectly still long enough, he'll actually take a normal picture.

Bless you Annie.

Oh... I want her dimples!

After we relieved the relieved babysitters, we once again stayed up way too late chatting and laughing about everything and nothing.

It was awesome.

Late that night my little sister Angel arrived with her family, so the next morning was filled with the screams and cries of nine children under the age of eight.

However, truth be told, my niece Lilli scares me... just a little bit.

Savannah spent a lot of her time trying to get Maddy to look at the camera.

I think Maddy was stunned into pensive silence through the whole episode.

Little Claira.

As we adults took out sweet time getting ready to go to the church for the baptism, the kids were getting into the spirit of things.

Kind of....

This is the down-right adorable scripture case Annie made for Savannah's new scriptures! Seriously, it's so cute.

She makes them for super cheap if you want one too!

Finally, it was time to go.

Savannah was feeling so excited as we hopped in the car and drove off for the church.

Me? I was feeling humbled, blessed, and just a little bit... old.

To Be Continued...

September 24, 2012

One moment in Time

It's a little after 10pm. The only sounds in the house are that of the washer and dryer running at full capacity, and the dishwasher's buzz humming in the background.

Hubby is asleep on one couch while I fold laundry on another. When I'm done, I slowly open the door to the boys room and soft strains of piano music washes over me. The boys have insisted on going to sleep to music every night ever since one of them had had a bad dream and I put on the piano music to calm him down. Since then, they have both slept soundly through the night.

As I sneak around the boys room putting clothes away, I grin when I see Jacob sprawled on the floor, apparently having rolled right out of bed without even knowing it.

He's definitely my son.

Glancing up I see Joseph's leg hanging over the side of the top bunk. I can't help but feel just a teensy weensy bit smug when I remember how I had insisted on the safety rails even though Hubby had felt sure that the kids wouldn't need them.

I'm positive both boys unknowingly appreciate my foresight in saving them the experience of Joseph falling off and landing on Jacob.

Soon I am repeating my actions with the girls, only when I open the door to their room, instead of soft music reaching out to greet me, it is the sound of snoring. I hope Savannah's future husband won't mind too much.

I snicker at the thought.

After putting all their clothes away, I glance at Alayna and am not surprised to see her body twisted in some strange contortion, mouth hanging open as she hugs her favorite blanket.

Claira is not much better as she lays on her chest with her bum sticking straight up in the air. I carefully cover her back up with a blanket.

Closing the door, I walk back to the living room and look around. Despite my best efforts, the house still carries a faint but lingering smell of throw up. Joseph quite randomly and suddenly coated the living room floor before kindly running to the kitchen, where he continued to splatter the floor and several cabinets.

I have scrubbed and disinfected everything about six times.

I'm still fighting the urge to do it again.

Still, the overall condition of cleanliness in the kitchen was far from great. Crushed cereal still decorated the floor under the table, my counters are covered in produce from our garden, waiting to be frozen or canned, several toys and "projects" have been left out by the children, cluttering corners and floor space. I make a mental note to put all the library books that are spread out all over the table away before the kids spill something on them during breakfast.

Turning away, I grab some of Hubby's shirts and go to our closet to hang them up, trying to ignore the pile of "stuff" that covered the bed. Hubby has just returned from out of town and his suitcase and clothes have been haphazardly tossed in the middle.

Shaking my head, I couldn't help but think how spotless everything had been Saturday morning.

Still, strangely in that moment I didn't feel overwhelmed, well, not a lot anyway. I didn't feel guilty for the mess... well, maybe a little. But what I mostly felt was gratitude.

I thanked God for the pink sponge curlers that covered my bathroom counter and the frilly dress-up clothes that were spread all through the basement. I thanked God for toilet paper roll guns the boys had made and then left on the kitchen table, and for the pile of toy cars that are resting by the stairs.

These thoughts have also made me realize how little quality time I've been spending with that which is most precious to me and how quickly time is slipping through my fingers

So here's to a better week, a better mom, and a happier family.

By tomorrow I may be ready to donate my kids to the zoo, so let's just enjoy this moment while it lasts.

September 22, 2012

Recipe Round-Up

Wha...? Oh, cha... I mean, come on! You don't need to look THAT shocked that I'm finally doing another recipe round-up! Yeesh! You'd think I hadn't done this in months!

Oh... right.

Well, you have my friend Terri to thank for this. She mentioned how much she had liked these posts and guilt weighed heavily upon me, so I decided to get my rear in gear and write up another one.

We have tried some pretty yummy recipes lately!

Just remember, every one's tastes are different so just because we may have loved something, doesn't necessarily mean you will. These are my personal thoughts and opinions.

Click on the recipe titles to be taken to the actual recipe.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken (Hellmanns Mayo Recipe)

I had seen this recipe floating around Pinterest for a while, but there was one thing that had always held me back from trying it.
The mayo. I think mayonnaise and miracle whip are both Nasty. That's right, with a capital "N".
I don't mind them on a sandwich and all but, I still have these nightmares of my mom scooping mayo out of the jar with artichoke leaves. Ugh... *gag* so gross.
Anyway, I decided to give it a try and just hope they turned out well. Imagine my surprise when, they were amazing! So yummy and didn't taste like mayo at all!
Everyone, even the kids, LOVED this chicken and its so easy. This one will make a regular appearance on our dinner table for sure.
My Alterations: The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of seasoned breadcrumbs per chicken breast, I used more like 1 tablespoon or more, and I used regular chicken breasts and just cooked it an extra ten minutes.
WARNING!! DO NOT USE MIRACLE WHIP! Or it will be nasty. And you will wonder why I liked this recipe. You've been warned.

Taste: 5 out of 5 stars
Ease: 5 out of 5 stars
Time: 4 out of 5 stars

Cheesy Potato Fries

My kids aren't a huge fan of potatoes. They don't dislike them, they just don't love them. Still, I needed to use up some potatoes and decided to try this out.
Hubby really liked them and I thought they were good! My kids seemed to like them well enough so I would definitely say to give this a shot and see what you think!
My Alterations: I had to cook my fries longer than the 40 minutes the recipe called for and instead of drizzling on the olive oil, I just brushed the oil on each of the fries. Also, instead of pouring all the dressing into the dish, I used just a small amount and set the rest aside for dipping the fries in.

Taste: 4 out of 5 stars
Ease: 4 out of 5 stars
Time: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets

I have to tell you straight up. This is by far, my kids FAVORITE recipe! Seriously, I double the batch every time I make them and they are always gone that same night. It's crazy! I love these too, I just don't make them very often because they are a bit time consuming. Still, I have contemplated making like, ten batches at once and just freezing them so I can pull them out whenever.
One of these days.....

Taste: 5 out of 5 stars
Ease: 4 out of 5 stars
Time: 3 out of 5 stars

Feta Dip

If you like feta cheese, I think you'll love this recipe. My kids didn't care for it at all, but I was quite surprised to discover that Hubby actually liked it! I didn't think he would. It was an interesting change of pace for us, but I'd make it again as an appetizer for a party. I really liked it.

Taste: 4 out of 5 stars
Ease: 4 out of 5 stars
Time: 4 out of 5 stars
Cornstarch Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was curious to try out this recipe to see if the cornstarch would really make a difference. And, yummy! This is a really good cookie especially if you like soft cookies. I also tried adding cornstarch to my usual cookie recipe just to see if it would make a difference. Eh... maybe a bit, but not a lot. So try using this actual recipe.

Taste: 5 out of 5 stars
Ease: 5 out of 5 stars
Time: 3 out of 5 stars

So, have you tried any good recipes lately?

If you've posted a recipe onto your blog, link it up below so we can all come check it out!

September 20, 2012

Kiddy Kounsel - What Do Moms Do All Day?

You know you're a blogger when....

you actually feel a little guilty for not taking a picture of the large, shattered glass bowl, compliments of your three-year old, that coated a big part of your living room floor, just so you can share it on your blog.

Seriously, I've been doing this waaayyyy too long.

Anyway, so a question was submitted, (after I effectively begged for one on Facebook, I'm not above begging) by Emily. "What do moms do all day?"

I was curious to see what my kids would say. I was hoping for something extremely hilarious. Unfortunately, instead of being funny, they simply divulged some of my secrets.

Alayna (age 3) - Clean uuuuuuuuuup... go to chuuuuuuuurrrrrch.....

Jacob (age 5) - Clean up, get food. Ummm... * big mischievous grin appears on face* Be nice and let me play on the kindle!  ..... Can I play on the kindle mommy? Hehehe.

Joseph - (age 6) - Go to the store all day.

(Hey, in my defense, I would like to say that I most certainly do NOT go to the store all day! Some days it feels like I haven't left my house in weeks! Although I guess as the mom, I do do all the shopping around here. Okay fine, I concede his point.)

Savannah (age 8) - Umm... work? Well, almost all day. They have to feed the kiiiiiids, they have to make the beeeeeeeeds. And they're usually at the computer. Oh, and sometimes they read books.

(Oh, busted.)

If I must be completely honest, I actually felt kind of bad about their answers. Not one mentioned "play with us" or "do fun things" or anything like that.

I realize that children kind of have "short memory". Whatever has happened in the last couple of days is usually foremost in their minds over what happened last week.

So with the school back in session, me trying to do three other side projects, and us trying to sell our house (ah yes, I forgot to mention that little tidbit) things have just been a little crazy around here and unfortunately, I haven't exactly been a bright ray of sunshine lately.

I don't think I've danced around the kitchen while belting out some obnoxious song in weeks!

So, I have decided to make a conscious effort to spend a little more time having fun with my children. 

Guess those kids offered advise without even knowing it.

Dang, they're good!

I would challenge you to ask your kids "what do moms do all day". Chances are their answers will reflect on your behavior. It's an amazing way to discover their point of view and take note of things you might need to change.

They're worth the effort.

Keep sending in the questions! My kids have all the answers.

At least, that's what they tell me.

September 17, 2012

September Family Challange - Family Mottos

So being the awesome slacker blogger that I am, I haven't been doing the "Play With Your Family" challenges like I was suppose to.

Seriously, sometimes I don't know how I still have friends!

At least, I hope I still have friends... maybe... I think...

You know what? Let's not philosophize over that complex question right now, its too early in the morning for unhappy news.

At this moment I'm just trying to repent of my wicked ways and post the September challenge which is, to have a family motto!

What's a motto?

Nothin! What's the motto with you? Bwah ha.............  ha........... ya okay, that was bad.

Anyhow, when I read Michelle's post the other day, she was all like... inspirational and stuff. That's when I knew I was in Big. Stinkin'. Trouble.

I had to sit and think about what our family motto might be. What are our favorite quotes or sayings around here?

I soon realized that things like, "Girl's don't pee outside!" and, "Stop licking his toes!" don't particularly count as motivating family motto's.

I mean, I love my own personal motto given to me by my neighbor,

but I suppose that doesn't count either.

Although, it might not be a bad one. Maybe I should start a petition.

Still, I asked the kids what are some things that we say a lot of around here. They immediately came up with two things and so I tried to get them to repeat it for you guys.

I was only moderately successful.

That's as close as we've ever gotten to a family motto. Although Jacob might be onto something with the Captain Hook thing.

At the risk of getting an eye roll from you readers, I will confess that ever since I watched the movie, "The Help", often before school I will have the kids say, "I am smart, I am Kind, I am Important."

Don't laugh, they actually love it!

Anyway, my point is, I'll need to think about this family motto thing.

The Challenge: Share (or Create) a Family Motto or Phrase
 Do you have a favorite family phrase or quote you use? If so, we would love for you to share it with us. If you do not have one yet, create one! It can be short or long. Whatever works and motivates yourself or your family is your best option.

Share your Family Phrase below by:
1: Commenting right here on our blog!
2: Jump on over to our Facebook Page and leaving a comment or a link for everyone to see!
3: Or simply share your Family Motto on your blog and leave the link to your post via our inlinkz tool below:

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