Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white christmas

It's a nice sentiment, that song. The reality is a little less romantic. The weather forecast said there would be some snow today.

We put the babies down for their afternoon nap, and then the big kids and I decorated Christmas cookies for Santa. M asked me if Santa was really his dad. I asked him what he thought, and he said he thought so. Interestingly enough, he still wrote a letter for Santa tonight.

After the kids had been asleep for about 15 minutes, it began to snow. It started out pretty light, but got heavy pretty quickly. We had plans to go to my parents' house for the annual Christmas eve party this evening. Because the weather had gotten bad so quickly, we decided we'd leave as soon as the littles woke up from their nap.

We set out for Salt Lake about 4pm. After driving about a half hour, we still weren't to the freeway, and that is usually only about 5 minutes. The roads were very slick, and cars were sliding all over the place. Meanwhile, it was still snowing sideways. We decided it was just too dangerous to make the trip.

The kids were terribly disappointed. K had even memorized "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to recite at the party tonight. I have to admit I was almost as disappointed myself. I have gone to this party every single year of my life. Even the year we lived in Japan, we managed to make it home for Christmas.

However, we did have a really nice evening of playing a new Life game that my sister-in-law and brother-in-law gave us, ate ham and asparagus (my kids loooooooove asparagus, so I splurged and bought some on the way home to cheer them up. LOL Isn't that funny? Cheering up kids by buying and serving green vegetables?!).

The weather eased off, though as I've sat down to type this, it started snowing again, and I'll guess that it's snowed a good two inches in the last fifteen minutes. Maybe we'll end up having the quiet Christmas at home that my husband has always dreamed about, but never got because I love the hustle and chaos of visiting my family every year.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies
a story by K

Hi. My name is Samantha. But you can just call me Sam. All my friends do. It was Wednesday. Five more nights til Christmas! I was just waking up when I saw snow! I swear there was a foot of snow! Okay, I'm exaggerating too much. But there was a good five inches.

I awoke with a start. I hurried and got dressed and ran to my closet to get my snowboots, snowpants, and my big puffy coat. My gloves were in the coat pockets.

I ran upstairs, shoveled down my cheerios and was putting on my boots when my mom said, "Sammy, aren't you going to help me make fudge and gingerbread cookies?

"No, I'm going to go outside and play in the snow."

My mom had a sad look in her eyes. I wasn't sure why. I ran outside and there standing in her back yard was my friend Lilly.

"Hi Lilly!" I shouted, "Want to come play in the snow with me?"

"Sure!" she said. And she climbed over her little fence to keep her dog in.

When she got over to my yard, we said that we should make an igloo. So we started making an igloo. We were having so much fun that we didn't notice the sun going down. Lilly said that she should get home. So she went home and I went inside.

When I walked in the kitchen, I got a big shock. One by one, gingerbread women, men, and children were jumping out of the oven. I rubbed my eyes. They were still there.

I saw my mom. She was swaying as if she were going to faint. I ran over to her. She was really pale. I waved my hand in front of her. She didn't respond to it. Then she toppled to the ground.

"Mom!" I yelled. I hurried over to her and looked at her. She had her eyes closed. Just then, little pieces of fudge were jumping out of the oven. I ran to the sink and soaked a towel. I trickled water on her forehead. Her eyes fluttered open.

She explained that somebody came to the door and rang the doorbell and she let him in. The way the guy convinced her to let him in was that he was raising funds for an "orfanage" (sorry, couldn't correct her spelling on this, thought it was too cute). My mom let him in and went to look for her checkbook.

She said her guess is that he came in the kitchen and bewitched the cookies and fudge. before my mom could go after him, he ran out the door. The funny thing is that he ran past a tree and disappeared. But you could see the footprints in the snow. My mom said that he wore sneakers like any old teenager. But the footprints in the snow were footprints of boots. They didn't have any trace of a design on the bottom as most sneakers do. But there was also some markings in the snow. Sort of. The kind of markings there would be on the ground if you were Dracula for Halloween and there was some snow on the ground.

A few weeks later a sorry card came in the mail. It said, "Dear Jorgansons, I didn't mean to startle you. I thought it would give you a good laugh. With great apology, KK"

Me and my mom were so puzzled by who sent the note that we didn't bother to look at the return address. And there labeled on the envelope was this address: The North Pole.

I figured out that KK stood for Kris Kringle. Other people call him Santa Clause, Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas. I thought it was a great Christmas story. I hope you enjoyed it.

The End.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels

So, the cookies. I made these cookies from Alton Brown's recipe with a couple of alterations. I think they turned out quite pretty, even though peppermint cookies aren't really my thing. S seemed to really like them. I gave her one, and she wolfed it right down and asked for another. Since the recipe only makes about 30 cookies, I had to save what was left for the party, so I told her "no". Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued. She found a stool and drug it to the counter while I was busy and managed to sneak another cookie. Apparently they met with her seal of approval.

We were at the church party when Jon approached me. I was at the dessert table, trying to decide if I wanted a second brownie or not. He warned me that the swirlie cookies tasted "funny, like mint or something". I played it cool, and said it looked like there was bits of candy cane in it, so they were probably SUPPOSED to taste like mint. He shook his head in disgust and said, "mint has no business in dessert."

I was so tempted to tell him that I had made those atrocities, but I decided to not embarrass him. It would've been fun.

So, if you feel that peppermint has no business in cookies, don't eat these. If you feel otherwise, like most people, they're quite pretty, and yummy.
Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels (with my alterations)

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup margerine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl.

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies (7 regular candy canes = 1/2 c. of crushed candy) (note to self: if crushing candies in a plastic baggie by hand, don't do so on a soft wooden table, it'll put little tiny dings in it)

Divide the dough in half and add chocolate and vanilla to one half and incorporate with hands (I suggest using rubber gloves for sanitary reasons). Add egg yolk, peppermint extract, and crushed candy to other half of dough and incorporate with hands. Cover both with plastic and chill for approximately 15 minutes. Roll out doughs separately to approximately 1/4-inch thickness. Place peppermint dough on top of chocolate and press together around the edges. Using waxed paper or flexible cutting board underneath, roll dough into log. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and cut into 1/2-inch slices. I suggest doing this by getting a piece of floss or thread. Slide the string under the roll, bring the ends up to the top, cross and pull. This will cut the cookies without mashing them or mixing the colors.

Place cookies 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat and bake for 12 to 13 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Church Christmas Party

We had our church Christmas party last night. It was one of the best I've ever been to. It was by far the most creative. Our invitations were "tax notices". We were told that we had to appear in Bethlehem (our church) on Dec. 1 at 6:00pm for our taxation. We were asked to bring some canned goods for a donation and a blanket to sit on. We also were invited to dress as we would if we lived in Jesus' time. Separately from that, we could sign up to bring misc. food. I signed up for cookies, and made Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels, but more on that later. When we arrived at the church, there was a sign welcoming us to Bethlehem. We were taken on a roundabout route, and were given small bags of "coins", one for each person.

We put our blankets on the floor to eat picnic style. They had the back of the gym set up to look like an ancient village, complete with sign advertising a bakery, fruit market, etc. They even had a well set up with a big punch bowl in the middle so we got our water from the well to drink. We were given food that at least approached food from that time. Fresh fruit, deviled eggs, chicken salad in pita bread. Each item was for sale, and coincidentally enough, we had just enough money to get something of everything. The children's money pouches had an extra dollar coin where they could go to the toy store and buy a dreidel.

After we ate, there was a short program. It was simply reading Luke 2:1-20 while people acted the parts and singing Christmas hymns at appropriate times. It wasn't very long, maybe 10 minutes, but absolutely beautiful in its' simplicity

I would say that at least 75% of the people were there in clothes that somewhat approximated clothing from the era. Something tells me that snowflake bathrobes weren't common attire then, but hey, they tried! The lights were slightly dimmed the whole time, and the spirit there was absolutely amazing.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Deck the..... couch?

Ok, the kids' decorating has gotten out of control. I guess K didn't approve of M's ornament placement, and took all of the balls off the tree and put them on the couch. She then got distracted and forgot. A while later, I go into the front room, and there was a big pile of ball ornaments covering the one couch cushion.

As I type this, S is having quite the adventure involving candy canes off the tree, M's transformer, and a halloween trick or treat pumpkin that hasn't made it back into storage yet.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The AAP and I

In general, I find that I agree with the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics).

Breastfeed exclusively for 6 months before starting solids? Check.
Then continue breastfeeding for at least a year? Check
Rear facing for at least a year? Check
Vaccinate your child? Check

However, they do not advocate cosleeping, and I've heard a recent campaign about the ABCs of safe sleeping:
on the baby's BACK
and in his/her Crib

While I think in certain circumstances that is the best and safest thing for baby, I don't think it always is. I more subscribe to the Sears idea that it can prevent SIDS and create a more bonded experience for mom and baby.

I coslept with S for her first year of life. I didn't worry about SIDS with her like I did the first two kids. I felt a certain bit of naughtiness to cosleeping since the AAP was already speaking out against cosleeping at that point. I felt like I was eating cake for breakfast or something by cosleeping. It was quite fun. However, my older two kids were generally both sleeping through the night by 2 months of age. S didn't sleep through the night til she was in a crib in her own room. Coincidence? I think not.

Z slept in a Moses basket right next to my bed for the first couple months of his life, and then would spend several hours in bed with me at night. I'd put him in bed to nurse, and then promptly fall asleep. But, I have made a more concerted effort to have him sleep in his own bed. I don't feel like it's safer in our case, but I do think it makes for more sleep. He more or less is sleeping through the night.

He has recently decided to do his own field test, and has decided that our nice Tempurpedic mattress is far superior to his $40 mattress courtesy of Wal-Mart. About 3 am, he will wake up and squawk until I put him in bed with me.

Tonight I gave him a late bath, a full jar of baby food, and a good nursing session before putting him to bed, so I have high hopes of him spending the entire night in his bed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My dishes!

Recently, our local television consumer advocate broke a story about how much lead is acceptable in our dishes. You can click here to see the original story. I was obviously concerned, given I have several small children, all of whom I would prefer to remain unleaded.

The response was so great for the story that they arranged for people to do free testing on their dishes at the news station. Anything under 1 is "ok", and according to the experts at the station today, anything over that is "hot". The FDA says anything under 2 is ok.

I told my mom and grandma, and we spent two hours in line, waiting for our dishes to be tested. My grandma brought her brand new dishes that she'd dreamed of owning for 50+ years. Hers were great. She brought in my uncle's family dishes. They came in at 5!!! I brought my Japanese dishes and my Christmas dishes. My Christmas dishes came in at .5. My mom brought her regular dishes, her Christmas dishes, and my sister's dishes. All came within acceptable ranges except her Christmas dishes, which were at 1.7. My Japanese dishes came in at 1.2. So. quandary time. I'm leaning towards destroying them since I'd rather err on the side of caution. But I like my dishes. And we spent quite a bit of money on them. My husband has offered to shoot them for fun.

We took our kids into the clinic and had the older three tested for lead exposure to be on the safe side. Since we live in an older house, this seemed like a good idea, dishes notwithstanding. All three were very brave. I was especially proud of S, since they really had to dig around to get enough blood, and being two, she really didn't understand what was going on. She didn't even cry.

For those reading this who are in my neck of the woods, they'll be doing another free dish check on Tuesday Nov. 20 at the Salt Lake County south building, located at 2100 s. State.

My tax dollars at work

For months, my husband has been complaining to the city about how the shoulder of the road looks on our street. The holes are getting quite deep, and it's starting to get quite deep. When it rains, we get some pretty big puddles.

So yesterday morning, my son comments that he saw a couple of men with a dump truck full of dirt come by and start shoveling dirt into th
e holes. Upon hearing this, I was excited on my husband's behalf, thinking his complaining had finally resulted in the shoulder being fixed. Here's a photo of their work:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fun with Fondant

My grandmother's birthday is the day before Halloween. This year, we had a big party to celebrate Halloween and her birthday. She wanted all of the kids to wear their costumes so she could see them all decked out.

I offered to bring dessert, and was really excited to finally try out fondant on a cake. I'd found a really easy recipe here to make fondant using marshmallows, powdered sugar and shortening, and was really intrigued. The recipe was really easy to make, and I had a lot of fun making a gruesome Halloween themed cake. I used a Betty Crocker Bake & Fill pan to make the hollow for the cherry pie filling to fit in.

"I spilled my food, Mommy"

This will never stop being funny for us.

A couple months ago, we went out to dinner, and S wanted soup. We gave her clam chowder, and she did a pretty good job of polishing off the bowl. We continued on our drive to Ephraim, UT. About ten minutes outside of town, we heard the noise all parents dread on a road trip: the sound of a vomiting child. S began to cry and said, "I spilled my soup, Mommy!".

A couple nights ago, she got a mild case of food poisoning (?), and threw up. She told her daddy that she had spilled her food.

My husband still hates vomit with a passion that takes my breath away, but even he can giggle at the "spilling of the food" phrasing.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Anything to get out of room cleaning

My dd K will do anything to get out of cleaning her room.

In all seriousness, she is a great, tough kid. Today she came home from school, sobbing because she fell off her bike. Now, I can count on one hand the number of times she's cried since she exited toddlerhood. One of those times was when she broke her arm. She cried when it happened, but then insisted it felt fine and she didn't want to go to the doctor. After five days, I noticed that she was writing with her left hand. Huh. She's right handed. That's interesting. She could still move it ok, but when pressed, admitted it did hurt. "But, if it's broken, they'll put a cast on it, won't they? And you can't go swimming with a cast on, can you? No, it doesn't hurt." So, I took her the doctor. Sure enough, it was broken.

So, when she came home crying today, I definitely wanted to get her right in to the doctor. This time, I was in within two hours of the injury! Go me!

As you can see, it's broken again. She's in a temporary cast til Monday, and then she'll get the "real" cast. She's not as upset this time around because there was no swimming on the horizon. But, she is bummed out because it's her right arm again, so writing will be difficult.

She also got a big spot of road rash on her other arm, so both of her arms are all covered up in gauze. Poor kid.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Good News!

I am NOT a nerd! Yippee!

I think I will have to have my husband take the test. While I don't think he's a nerd in the comic book/star wars way of thinking, he definitely has some dork tendencies. says I'm a Non-Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

You're my best friend!

I have been having so much fun with my 2.5 year old, S, lately. She has an amazing vocabulary. All of my children are exceptionally brilliant, but of the three that are talking, her speech seems the most advanced for her age. It's just amazing to listen to her talking, and getting to know her as an actual person.

She has taken to carrying her jaguar all over the place, and she is the momma jaguar. She also has been carrying around her little stuffed ostrich. She also tends to cook the ostrich on the cooktop of her play kitchen (note to self: don't let her babysit Z any time soon), so her maternal instincts only go so far. In the picture, you can see she's cooking Noah (she refers to him as Santa Claus) and a pony on the stove, while the ostrich is being microwaved.

A couple times a day, she will come up give me a huge hug and say, "You're my best friend!" It just melts my heart. When she hears a song she likes, she'll announce "They're playing my favorite song."

A couple of weeks ago, my mom was babysitting her while I could go to the doctor for my sore throat. It came time to put S down for her nap, so my mom was looking for her pacifier to put her down to sleep. She looked and looked, but no dice. Finally, she said, "S, I can't find your binky anywhere, and your mommy said it'd be right by your bed." S replied, "Grandma, this is Z's bedroom. My bedroom is downstairs". You gotta love a kid like that.

I don't remember having nearly as much fun with my older two. I know they were just as funny and delightful. Maybe I've forgotten all the little stories in my old age? Or maybe having the knowledge and experience of years has taught me to slow down a little and enjoy the small joys that each day brings.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A really cute gift idea

A friend of mine makes these darling custom spoons as a unique baby gift. I think they are so cute, and so much more interesting than the typical baby gifts you see out there.

Anyway, I wanted to spread the word because I think they're really adorable. Plus, they are having a customer appreciation sale. If you go to Beaded Things you can look around. From now until November 1, she is having a buy one, get one free sale. The coupon code you'll need to enter is "bogo".

In addition to a great sale, there's a great cause! In addition Beaded Things will donate $1 for each spoon sold during the remainder of this year to Susan G. Komen for the Cure via the 3Day Walk for Breast Cancer. She have walked in the 3Day for the past three years (60 miles in 3 Days) and so far raised over $6,500 by walking. She plans to walk again in 2008.

Fruit Leather

My domestic goddess activity for the week has been to dehydrate fruit. My grandmother has a plum tree, and I took a bucket full of plums home, along with my parents' borrowed food dehydrator.

K and I took all the pits out of the plums, and blended up a blender full of the fruit (leaving skins on), and added 1/2 c. sugar to the mix. Then spread the puree'd fruit onto the trays of the food dehydrator and let it run for about 12 hours. The resulting fruit leather has been really good. K is looking at me like I'm magic.

I'm now drying banana slices and apple slices.

Monday, October 15, 2007


We went out to eat with my parents recently. One of the waitresses was pretty excited to see me, and said hello to me, calling me by name. I knew I knew her, I just couldn't place where. Having children has seriously affected my ability to put names with faces with places.

I told my mom the above, and she suggested I chat up the waitress, saying something like, "Oh, you live up here now?". I responded (for the waitress) by saying, "Yeah, idiot, I'm in your ward!". I just stuck to the general pleasantries and didn't try to figure out where I knew her from.

The next time I was at church, she comes up to me, "I NEVER see people I know at work!!". Huh. I guess I subconsciously knew where I knew her from.

I feel bad because she's really sweet, really nice, and I would like to be friends with her. I hate being so oblivious about this sort of thing. I'm glad I didn't make a fool out of myself.

Sick Sick Sick

I had the worst sore throat for almost two weeks. It was so miserable! After about 5 days of pain and fever, I went to the doctor, where a strep test came up negative. However, the doctor was so impressed by the ugliness and swelling in my tonsils that he gave me a massive dose of antibiotics. It took almost three days to start working, but it finally is.

It is funny the things you appreciate after being sick. I am so happy to be able to swallow normally and without feeling like I'm eating shards of glass. I'm glad that going up and down our stairs doesn't seem like an almost insurmountable task.

My husband really stepped in and helped out while I was down though, which was really sweet and appreciated. In fact, he took more time off for this sore throat than he did for the birth of three of our four children! He did dishes, laundry, meals, childcare, floors, etc. It was very nice. Some may argue that it was expected that he picks up the slack when I'm sick. That may be true, but it was still very much appreciated.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The green fog

Z is exclusively breastfed. He hasn't ever had anything else. Now, in my experience, the gas and poop of an exclusively breastfed baby isn't at all offensive in odor. But the gas this kid has?! Whew! Seriously, it's like toxic waste level of stink.

His daddy had the nickname of the "Green Fog" as a teenager due to his superpower of being able to empty out a gymnasium in a single fart. It appears that Z has inherited this trait. I'm soooooo excited. Not.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Harvey the Wonder Hamster. Again.

Last night, my husband and I were watching tv in bed. He suddenly cocked his head with a weird expression on his face, and looked off the side of the bed. There was Harvey, M's hamster, coming for a visit. He put her back in her cage.

About 20 minutes later, I hear a scratching sound, and look over. There is Harvey, walking on a piece of paper that had fallen off my side table.

I am so glad that hamster always comes to our room when she escapes. Befuddled, but grateful.

We invited my mother, the murophobe (fear of mice/rats/other rodents) to spend the night after telling her about this. Shockingly enough, she politely declined. LOL

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I wanted to share some of M's art.

Like every other artist, his art wasn't appreciated. Note the teacher comment in the upper corner. Now, in his defense, when he drew that picture, his teacher had told them to imagine they had a new puppy. They were to draw a picture of a rule they'd have for said puppy. Well, I've got to admit that what he drew would be near the top of the list of rules I'd have for my puppy too.

This door hanger was done at primary. I've got to wonder two things. One, what his primary teacher thought when she saw that, and secondly, how she didn't keep from collapsing into a fit of giggles when she saw it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The time I lost a person

This actually happened in March of 2005, but I was looking at my old blog and laughing over this story, so I thought I would share it.

We signed up to host a Japanese engineering student for 3 weeks. Y attended college in Tokyo, and came here for about 3 weeks. Each student stays with a volunteer family. We had three other families in our neighborhood who are also hosting students.

The boys arrived Thursday evening, dead on their feet from jetlag. They were expected to be at the college at 8:30 the next morning. We put together a carpool with the families in our neighborhood so we weren't all driving every day. So, it was my turn to pick up the boys after school the first day.

I arrive at the university and get in the car pickup line. I get up to the front, and tell the translator who I am picking up. Three of the four boys hop in, including Y. I ask about the fourth, and they point to another car and say he's riding with them. I told them I was supposed to bring him home. I ended up having a couple of admin types there, and they assured me everything was ok. I was really unsettled about the whole thing, but felt like I had no choice but to leave. Especially since the other car had already left!

I immediately called S, the host mom to the boy. Got voice mail. Told her what had happened, and that it just wasn't sitting well with me. I just knew that S would've called me if there had been a change in plans. Asked her to call me back.

So around 6pm, S calls me, and I can tell two things. 1- She hasn't gotten my voice mail. 2- Her student never made it home.

She and I go into full panic mode and she begins calling the other host families and administrators on the list, trying to figure out where this kid has gone. He finally got back to Sarah's place about 8:30pm.

Long story short, here's what happened: Another host parent, who shall hereafter be referred to as "Kidnapper" had a carpool going with HostFamily3. Kidnapper was supposed to pick up on Tue, Wed, and Thur, and keep the student until 7pm. Since it was FRIDAY (duh!), Hostfamily3 had come, picked up their student and left before Kidnapper arrived. So Kidnapper arrives, gets his student, and thinks KidnapVictim is his other charge ("Since they all look alike" he said). Tells him to get in the car.

They go merrily on their way, not knowing there was a problem til 7pm. When Hostfamily3 doesn't come to pick up their student, things begin to fall into place. By this time, all of the instructors and half of the host families are aware of the situation and are in full blown panic.

Poor kidnapvictim is so upset and traumatized by the whole thing that he begins to cry. Poor kid is probably exhausted due to jet lag, doesn't speak English, and has been in the US less than 24 hours. I felt so bad for him.

I felt so awful for my role in the thing. I don't know what more I could've done, short of flinging myself in front of the other car.

It could be worse though. I could have inadvertently kidnapped one of the students! LOL

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Started a photography blog

I wanted to have a place where I could showcase some of my favorite photos I've taken.

You can see it here:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Food Storage

There is a case lot sale this week at Macey's, a local grocery store. Being a good Mormon girl, I strapped my littles in the car, and drove on over after the big kids were in school. I put Z in a front carrier so I actually had room in my cart, and put S in the nifty little race car seat.

Let me back up. LDS people are counseled to have a year's worth of food storage at all times. Well, that's not technically true. When we lived in Japan, it was only a 72 hour kit per person. I've been told by my military friends that they've been told to keep cash that would last a while. I can't remember whether they were supposed to keep that money in the bank or not. However, since I am a Utah Mormon, it is a year's worth of food, and two weeks worth of water. As a point of reference, one adult needs 14 gallons of water for two weeks. Nursing mothers like me, and pregnant women need more.

Why a year's worth of food storage? It's anticipated that some hard times are ahead of us, and we are counseled to be prepared for that. Do I personally think it'll be a year's worth of hardship and no food shopping? No. I think we will be expected to help those out who don't have any. After all, we are a Christian church, and would it be very Christ-like to turn away starving kids with a shotgun? Of course not!! I had a girlfriend have her husband lose his job, and they didn't have much money in savings. They lived off of their food storage until he got a new job. She said having that food saved was truly a lifesaver for them.

We have some food storage on hand, but definitely not a year's worth. This was the inspiration for today's trip. That, and the fantastic deals.

You are supposed to store food that you will actually eat and use. Then, once you get a pretty good supply going, rotate the food through, buying a few cans here and there so it's not something you go into debt for. With these tips in mind, I bought a case of diced tomatoes, a case of tomato sauce, a case of tomato paste, a case of water chestnuts, a case of cream of mushroom soup, 25 lbs of flour (I will go through that within a month or two, given my penchant for baking) and 20 lbs of sugar.

I am exhausted, trying to get all that stuff in my cart without crushing Z while lifting it in, dealing with a hungry and cranky toddler. But, we are that much closer to being prepared.

K begged my to make salsa today, using our veggies from the garden, so I need to take a breather before she gets home from school. I am sure she'll want to help. She did a lot of the work for our pasta sauce, so I expect she'll want to help again. I expect I'll blog about that, including pictures of our soon-to-be-made beautiful salsa.

If you would like to read more about food storage, and living wisely, visit this website:

Friday, September 14, 2007

Questions, questions, questions

These are all questions that M asked me while eating his breakfast this morning:

How do you make a molecule by hand?
Do we have a microscope that sees molecules?
What are bowling pins made of?
Do you think that if you played baseball, using a bowling pin as the bat, would the bowling pin break?
If my arm gets cut off, will you buy me a mechanical arm?
How does a mechanical arm work?
Are there any dangers to a mechanical arm?
Could magnetix harm a mechanical arm?
What day is it?
What are we doing today? (this has been asked 5 times, and it's 7:47am)
Can you get a mechanical stomach?
Can you get a mechanical toe?
When you put your fingers on the home row when you're typing, how do you figure out how to push the other keys?

Well, he is done eating, so I shall cut off the questions that I'm repeating. For now. LOL

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

That's it, I'm moving

Our gorgeous, beautiful sandbox that my husband built, and the scene of the latest spider incident.

I blogged about finding that hobo spider in our bathroom Sunday.

Today, I let all three kids go play in their fancy sandbox. The big kids took the cover off. Lurking in one of the pails was a black widow! I am so, so glad that the big kids found it and told my husband, who killed it. I shudder to think of S not knowing it was poisonous and trying to pick it up. Or one of the kids not noticing it and getting bit.

I am really upset now. :(

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Boundaries People!

I woke up Friday morning with a pretty raging case of mastitis. I attempted to call my doctor's office to make an appointment, but their phones must have been down. I kept getting an error message that the call could not be completed at this time. I chewed up motrin tablets and hoped it would get better.

When I woke up on Saturday, it was NOT better. Husband took the older kids with him, and Z and I headed down to the instacare clinic.

We're sitting there waiting, and this lady is chatting on the phone, setting up a babysitter so she can go golf with her dh that afternoon. I'm thinking WHY is she getting a sitter for later if she's here with 2 kids at the instacare?

She sets up her babysitter, then comes over to visit with me, and first off, asks why I am there. Being being really open (and suffering from some boundary issues myself, hence the blog), and kind of hoping to embarrass her, I tell her exactly why I'm there. She said, "Oh, you must've caught it early, you still look pretty good. I had it with my son and was so sick" (her kids are boy- 4ish and girl 6ish).

I find out that her boy is there because of pinkeye. oh great. I HATE pinkeye. Had it a couple years ago, and it was miserable. But, she is doing her best to limit contamination. She's trying to get him to not touch anything (thank you!!). He starts playing with a magnadoodle. She grabs a disinfecting wipe, takes the toy away, cleans it off. Meanwhile, he grabs another toy and begins playing with this. Watching this struggle keeps me highly entertained for several minutes.

Then, this 17ish kid comes in with a bloody rag on his head, and some blood lines down his face. Ooooh, a bonafide emergency! Well, being nosy that I am, I'm dying to know what happened and what his wound looks like. They whisk him right back to double check his wound to see if he should get priority treatment or not. He is back out in the waiting room a couple minutes later, it being decided by staff that he is not about to die. He is there with one person (a parent maybe?). They both jump on their phones and are making phone calls. I am surreptitiously watching, hoping to catch a glimpse of his head wound.

She admits that she wants to see the cut on his head. I admit I do too. SCORE!!! He moves the rag away to show his cut to about five family members who have shown up for moral support! I announce that I have seen the cut, and she wants me to describe it, so I do. But, my description isn't enough.

She WALKS OVER THERE, and pushing past the now dozen family members who are there, asks to see his head wound (maybe she tells them she's a nursing student?). Meanwhile, pinkeye boy is going to town, touching all toys. Note to self- most parents aren't as good about disinfecting their kids, so disinfect toys in waiting room before allowing children to touch them.

She tells them that if it were her, she'd clean it really good, apply some neosporin, and put a butterfly bandage on it. Well, I have to admit that I kind of agreed with her; it wasn't that bad of a cut. Stitch worthy, but not NEEDED NEEDED, if you know what I mean. She comes back, and as she's disinfecting the toys again, tell me what she told them, and how they wanted to be seen anyway. I responded with, "Well, not everyone is a do-it-yourselfer". At this point, she is called back.

When she is out of earshot, the dam breaks loose. Wow. She has really, really offended this family who is having a Real Medical Emergency.

"Can you believe the nerve of her, telling us to just stick a bandaid on it?"

They're asking the receptionist her opinion (from across the room of course). She agrees it could use medical attention. During this flurry of discussion, it comes out the cut was caused by a sewer pipe. I inwardly decide that yes, he should see a doctor and get on antibiotics due to HOW he got the cut.

They sat there clucking and hissing and being really upset and offended for a good ten minutes, until I'm called back.

I got my antibiotics, and am feeling much better today. It was an entertaining visit to the instacare though. Definitely worth my $30 copay.

Bugs bugs bugs

When we moved to this house, we had a big earwig problem. I hate earwigs. yuck.

This year, we replaced all of the windows, which almost completely got rid of the earwig problem (inside anyway).

Since we got back from camping, I've found a couple of hobo spiders. According to some websites, they are very dangerous, others say that hobo spiders are harmless and the other sites are lying.

Here's the smartest hobo of the bunch; we've tried killing him several times with no luck.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Detectors Save Lives

A friend of mine lost her sister in law when a gas leak caused her house to explode. She is trying to raise awareness about this issue, and the importance of having not only carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, but a combustible gas detector. I'd suggest visiting her website.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Beaking up is hard to do

I am such a dork. I am a cheater.

I have had my auto and home insurance policies with Met Life for several years and have had no trouble (no claims either though). Our agent is a nice, personable guy, and I've been happy. I've checked rates occasionally, and have found ours to be the best.

A couple days ago, another insurance agent came into my husband's work, and wanted to give apple to apple quotes. This new guy's quote was so competitive, I doubled our coverage, lowered our deductible, and added our RV to the policy and we're still paying less per year!

So, now I have to break it to my old agent that we are moving on. Obviously, the numbers speak for themselves, but I still feel bad. I will probably take the chicken's way out and send him a letter, including a thank you card, and a copy of the new policy so he can see why.

Camping Trip

Every Labor Day weekend, we go on a camping trip with my in-laws. We go to the Mountain Man Rendezvous in Ft. Bridger Wyoming. People will dress in period clothing: either trader, settler, or Native American, and sell/buy goods that would be sold in that era. We don't dress up, though my kids are dying to. One of these years I'll make them outfits. There's usually a few guys in loincloths too!

We used to camp in the boy scout camp at East Fork of the Bear, but since the boys got ATVs, we camp elsewhere. A few years back, some boy scouts set the mountains on fire, doing a lot of damage. There's still dead trees all over the place. You can see them in the above picture.

We had a moose neighbor, but he didn't get much closer than he was in this photograph.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Harvey the Wonder Hamster

Harvey, wearing a taco. Yeah, she didn't quite get she wasn't supposed to eat her costume, but then again, the fine points as to why she was wearing a taco escapes me.
Since I've blogged about K's gecko, it's only fair that I talk about Harvey the Wonder Hamster.

About a year ago, my older kids started begging for hamsters. They thought they looked so cute and funny in the pet stores. My mom has a bona fide phobia of reptiles due to her brother's hamster having babies, and the babies getting loose in her room. So, I never had rodents growing up, and never had much interest.

After much begging and room cleaning, we got two hamsters. We put them in a tank that was 20" long by 13" wide. Thought it would be plenty of room for them. Night one went smoothly. Night two, K's hamster attacked Harvey, blinding her in one eye and nibbling on her tail (who knew they had tails?) til it bled. The next morning, I drug my pregnant self over to walmart and bought a second hamster enclosure.

K lost interest in her hamster pretty quickly, and we sold it on Craigslist a few months later. M still LOVES his hamster.

The hamster enclosure I bought is a Hartz branded cage. It's the Hartz® Placy City Extreme™ Fun House™ for Active Hamsters & Gerbils to be specific. Apparently, it wasn't designed for EXTREMELY intelligent hamsters, as Harvey can easily escape from it unless we tie it shut. Never having heard the adage (or choosing to ignore it) "throwing good money after bad", I bought the Hartz tubing accessory kit, figuring we could take the escape easy section off of the top and making the cage escape proof. No dice. She was able to escape from that even more easily! Luckily for me, Harvey loves my bedroom. Every time she's escaped, she heads straight for my room, which makes capture much easier. I live in fear that I will step on her in the night, as without my contacts, my vision is practically nill. So far, no hamsters have been squished, or lost into our ductwork. Thank you kind God for this!

Hartz product boxes proclaim that their product is satisfaction guaranteed, but to read the small print, you have to go to their website. There, they explain that to get your money back, the product must be unused, and returned to them in it's original packaging with a sales receipt. Seriously? I wrote a stern letter to the Hartz company, telling them the trouble I've had with escaping. I also told them a seven year old had paid for all of their products with money he'd earned by doing chores. We hadn't kept the receipt or box because we didn't realize our satisfaction hinged on having these items. Their response? A form letter restating their policy. Whatever!

So, if you have a hamster, do not buy any Hartz products. I have serious questions about their quality assurance, given that I doubt we have a hamster genius on our hands.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


We live .3 miles away from the elementary school, living on the same road. I can actually hear the school bells ringing if I'm outside. I was pretty excited about this when we moved in, figuring the kids could walk to school. As we settled in, however, we realized our road is not really conducive to children riding their bikes (what my kids want to do). It's a fairly narrow road, with a speed limit of 30 mph. If people actually followed the speed limit, I'd feel better about it. But, most speed quite a bit.

When our school opened, they had a map up of the school, and the "safe walking routes" for the kids. Some kids were given a bus because although they lived close to the school, a safe walking route wasn't available. We have zero sidewalks between us and the school. About a third of the way to the school, there's a street. Our "preferred walking route" takes my kids up this road, over a couple blocks and back over to the school. So, instead of walking .3 miles, it's over a mile. I'm sure if there was more than just my two kids, we'd get a hazardous route bus.

And to top it off, the kids who have the hazardous route bus now have a nice walking trail that gets them off the street almost entirely for their walk to school.

I really wish our city would put a sidewalk down our street. I asked the city planner about that, and he said they were going to make whoever developed the field on the way to the school put sidewalks in.

I know the road doesn't look that bad. The road itself is fine. We just have a problem with people driving down that road at 45+ mph.

So, I guess I should be mad at the city. I want the speed limit better enforced, and sidewalks so my kids can go safely to school. And since I'm going to be annoyed, husband is really irritated that the road is so chewed up and in poor condition. I think that slows cars down, so it doesn't bother me as much.

I let the kids take the longer route on their bikes to school today, but M got a flat tire, so I ended up having to go rescue him, trying to cram his bike into my car.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Living "Green"

I stayed up the other night watching Living With Ed, an HGTV show about a couple who tries to live really environmentally friendly. He has a roof full of solar panels, and has even installed a little windmill. From what it sounds like, he has no electricity bill at all because of his gadgets. Bill Nye the Science Guy lives a couple doors down, and he has so many energy producing gadgets that his power box was actually running BACKWARDS, meaning he was actually producing excess electricity that was going into the grid. Theoretically, the power company would pay him! After two months of electricity bills in excess of $180, that sounds so nice.

I need to research these alternative power sources and see how feasible it would be to add them to our house. I'm not sure if I would want to invest too much into this house. I don't plan to live here more than a year or two longer, but for "THE HOUSE", I think it would be a fantastic investment.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The police busted up my playgroup party today

I was even on the phone with my husband as the policewoman came walking back into the backyard. "Oops, the police are here to bust up the party, I'll call you back". Husband was freaking out.

No, the real reason the police came was because there'd been a report of a child about three-ish years old, walking a collie around with no supervision. They were coming to my house to see if 1- we were missing anyone or 2- we knew who the child could belong to.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Diaper Cake

I had a bunch of size 1 diapers that Z outgrew before we used them. However, the package was opened (thank you S!), so I couldn't return them. I used my diapers to make a diaper cake for a girlfriend having a baby boy. Here's layer one (that's a tub of baby wipes in the middle)
I used little elastics to secure the diapers in their little tube shape, then yard around the whole layer to keep them in place
All three layers without the pretty bows to hide the elastic and yarn
Finished product!

A weekend away

We spent this weekend at my parents' cabin in the mountains. It was a lot of fun, and very relaxing. There's usually a few moose running around, but this time around, my husband was the only one to see any, much to my older kids' disappointment.

We hiked around a bit. The kids explored the property a little, S cuddled with her grandpa, crafts were painted, games played. M brushed up against the wooden railing of the porch and got literally hundreds of splinters in his arm. The rest of the trip, he muttered to himself about how it's really stupid to have wooden handrails and some other material ought to be used.

The picture above is the road to the cabin. That switchback is a little nervewracking in a large vehicle, and there have been some close calls. It makes for a pretty picture though, doesn't it?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Shower with a frog

Today I was taking a shower when I felt a cool gush of air. Soon after, a bath toy frog came flying into the tub. He was soon followed by the other bath toys and S's excited chatter that I needed toys if I was going to take a shower. She was horrified that I was trying to take a shower with company.

It is a bit touching to me to watch my children try to care for those around them. I see shadows of my parenting in how S cares for her dolls, how K & M watch after S when they're playing outside. I love to hear S sing to her Thomas the Tank Engine as she (attempts to) put a diaper on it. M is so sweet and encouraging when he helps S climb down the stairs. K has really shown an interest in getting Z's diaper changed and picking out clothes. They are all so sweet and gentle, and it touches my heart. Hearing them repeat things that I've said to them gives me hope that they are listening, and that I am doing an ok job of raising kids. Watching S take care of her dolls lets me see just how closely she's watching, and how she imitates almost everything I do. Except for when S throws her doll at the wall. I swear she didn't learn that from me!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

MMMM homemade spaghetti

K has been begging me to make homemade pasta sauce with all of the tomatoes we've been growing in our garden. She picked a whole bunch of them and we made sauce yesterday. I showed her how to put the tomatoes in boiling water, then ice water to split the skins.

She then peeled the tomatoes while I chopped. I let her read the directions and then add all of the ingredients to give her a nice cooking lesson. We made a big vat of sauce, and then invited my BIL and his kids over for a delicious spaghetti dinner. I think it turned out very nicely. Here is the recipe we used:

Marinara Sauce
3 +/- onions, chopped finely
1/2 c. oil (I use olive)
12 c. chopped & peeled tomatoes
32 oz. can tomato SAUCE
12 oz. can tomato PASTE
3 tbl. oregano
2 tbl. basil
1 tbl. pepper
1 tbl. salt
6 tsp. sugar
2 tbl. garlic powder (or a few chopped cloves)
3 bay leaves

Brown onion in oil, add rest of ingredients. Let simmer for two hours.

I usually will let cool, then put in freezer bags in our family size, then freeze. When we want some, I'll take it out of the bag and cook in a saucepan til it's hot.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Since I'm blogging about gross stuff...

Now, before I tell my story, I have to give background. My dh is not squeamish, and can deal with gross, icky things that I would not want to touch. However, he hates vomit. Really, really, really hates it. He hates it so much he has somehow mastered his body to not do it. Seriously. I've known him 15 years now, and he has never thrown up in all that time.

Over the weekend, we went to Ephraim to visit the family ancestral home. We took dh's new (to him) truck so that we could bring his ATV. He was going to do some repairs on my grandmother's home, then go ride ATVs with my dad and his dad.

It was the first time we were in this truck all together. DH has only had this truck a couple weeks, and had to do some minor repairs to it before it was ready for a family outing. So, the truck is nice and shiny and clean (dh is a real stickler for a clean car, which I love and appreciate). We get out on the road, and not more than 20 minutes later, M throws up all over. We pull off at a Chevron (thank you, nice Chevron people for having free, high pressure water at your station!!) and I clean up the mess. We grabbed some anti-nausea medication for M, and continued on. He says he feels much better, but dh is looking squeamish because his truck has now been vomited in.

We stopped at One Man Band Diner in Nephi for dinner, and M and S both had soup. S seems a little quiet, and doesn't eat too much soup. About a half hour later, SHE proceeds to throw up. She looks shocked for a second, then starts to cry and says, "Mommy, I spilled my soup!"

Dh and I couldn't help it. We had to just laugh out loud at that.

They both seemed fine the rest of the weekend, so maybe it was car sickness? DH's truck has officially been initiated.

Mmmmmm, boogers and mortification

I think my kids know I have grand plans to humiliate them when they reach their teenage years, so they're getting even before I strike. Today I shall talk about how my kids embarrass me with their booger pickings.

Last week, we were at a sporting goods store. M wanted to buy a snorkel and mask with his birthday money. While I was checking out, he was jabbering nonstop as usual. I turned to answer a question, and discovered he was knuckle deep into his nose. The idle cashier, a teenage boy, was watching with great interest and trying not to snicker. I snapped, "M, get your finger out of your nose!!"

He immediately took the offending finger out of his nose and stuck it in his mouth. Ewwwww! This was too much for the cashier and he started laughing out loud at this.

This did prepare me for a recent shopping trip with S. She discovered that there's stuff in her nose. Weird! She stuck her finger up her nose, pulled out a booger, and then handed it to me, deeply concerned it came out of her nose. I usually put a shopping cart cover on the seat to protect her from germs and stickiness, but it was in the wash that day. So I'm standing in walmart, half horrified, half amused with a booger on my finger, and S is about to go in again to see if she can find more! I quickly found a paper towel designed for a wet spill and cleaned off my finger, then went to a bathroom to wash my hands.

I need to start plotting for their teenage years. As Miracle Max said, "Humiliations Galore!"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How Geckos are like Children

We have added a new member to our family. We're proud to announce the arrival of a baby leopard gecko. He/she is unnamed for the moment, as he/she is too young to be able to tell gender, and K wants, no NEEDS to know the gender before selecting a name. She got money for her birthday to buy the gecko, and we finally bit the bullet and bought it a couple days ago. I will guess it's a boy because I've got to use one pronoun or another- "he/she" is driving me crazy.

He is so darling! He's about 5 inches long, and very colorful. I did my research before buying him so that we could make an educated choice. We knew we wanted a leopard gecko. They're relatively easy to care for, inexpensive, and most importantly, friendly. K really wanted a reptile that would be ok with being handled. Dogs and cats are out due to allergies in our family.

We bought him from *THE* pet store to go to for reptiles. First off, I noticed that the baby geckos had a sand-like substance in the bottom of the cage. Most sources online say not to use sand for geckos, particularly young geckos. I asked the salesperson about it, and he said they use a "digestible" sand, so it was ok. Now, I thought that any and all sand could cause impaction in geckos, but hey! What do I know? He also said that we should feed the gecko crickets; mealworms could chew their way out of the gecko's stomach if not properly chewed. Well, if the gecko is anything like my kids, chewing food properly is a major problem, so I was properly horrified.

$75 later, we walk out of the store with the gecko. We already had the cage, feed dish, lights, heating elements etc from K's iguana, so I was a little surprised that it was so expensive! I put their special digestible sand in the tank, and find out the next day that it is absolutely wrong for a baby. -sigh- So, I bought some slate tiles to go into the tank.

I do more reading online (I really need to step away from google) and discover that baby geckos that are fed mealworms live longer than cricket fed geckos. Sheesh! And I thought the breastfeeding vs. bottlefeeding debate was hot!

The day after we bought him, he starts looking kind of grayish and pale. Oh crap. We've had him less than 24 hours, and I'm already killing him. I spend the day googling like crazy, and confusing myself in the process. Such conflicting information! Having four children is a cake walk compared to this! By nightfall, I realize that the gecko is simply shedding it's skin. Today, one evening later, most of the dead skin is gone, and he is gorgeous once again.

I've been stressed to death, trying to figure out what is the "right" way to take care of this gecko. I was muttering about how taking care of a baby is so much easier. A quick trip to a parenting board gave me the slap I needed. There's just as much, if not more, conflicting information on taking care of babies. I think when it comes to raising a living thing, it's more of an art than a science, which means there will be a lot of opinions and a lot of different "right" ways to do things. I guess I just trust my mommy instincts more than I trust my reptile instincts.

Here is the famous new gecko, right in the middle of his skin change.