Wednesday, April 29, 2009


By the way... we're off on vacation until May 5. Visiting family in Utah! Since I don't think I'll have Internet access during the visit, I guess the blog is on hold until we get back. =)

Works For Me Wednesday

My kids love to do "art projects." This always seems to involve lots of cutting, glueing, coloring, and mess! One thing that Haley REALLY loves is glitter. Give her a bottle of glue and a container of glitter and she is a happy girl.

I am usually not so happy, because glitter is just so messy! It gets everywhere and it's hard to clean up. Getting it cleaned off tables, floors, and children is a chore. Plus I always worry that Brekken or the cats will get into the glitter and eat it... and that can't be good for them.

So on Sunday, I was doing an art project with the kids and Haley wanted to glitter. I didn't have any glitter, but I suddenly had a bright idea. I had a several containers of colored sugar - the kind you use to decorate cupcakes and cookies. Since I rarely actually make cupcakes or cookies, the sugar just sits unused in my cupboard for years. So I tried using it in place of glitter and it works great!

It's brightly colored, it shines, it sticks well in the glue. It sticks better than glitter actually. And when it was time to clean up, that was SO much easier. A damp cloth on the table and the kids, a broom and dustpan for the floor and it was all taken care of. It didn't take 5 or 6 passes to get all the stray pieces the way it does when I'm cleaning up glitter. And if a little did escape me and Brekken gets into it later, well, it's just a little bit of sugar!

Now, I haven't done a cost comparison, so I guess I don't know if it costs a lot more to get colored sugar than to buy glitter. But the advantages above are enough for me to keep using the sugar version for a while. Plus, I can make my own colored sugar if I don't want to buy the decorating stuff. A cup of sugar and a couple of drops of food coloring = colored sugar!

So that's what works for me. Head over to We Are That Family for more WFMW ideas!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


"It's a moo point, just forget about it."

"Don't you mean a moot point?"

"No, a moo point. You know, it's like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter."


Saturday, April 25, 2009

What a great guy!

My kids have a playroom that has been pure chaos. Toys everywhere. Piled so deep you could hardly get into the room. It had to be hard to play in there.

So yesterday I agreed to watch the Sallee kids on Saturday - knowing that meant that I would have to do something about that playroom so the kids would have somewhere to play. I asked Haley to pick up some while I was at work... but of course that didn't happen. :rolleyes:

When I got home from work, I told Haley that we needed to get in there and get some work done. But meanwhile Brekken was clinging and just wanted me to hold him and Preston wanted dinner and Haley was whining that she didn't want to clean. Frustrated, I just said, "Fine, we'll have dinner and then you have to go straight to bed so I can go clean the playroom."

At that point, Aaron stepped up and said he and Haley and Preston were going to take care of it while I watched Brekken and fixed dinner. I was a little skeptical of his methods at first, since he started out by dumping every toy box and basket out onto the floor! But then he proceeded to spend the next couple of hours (sporadically helped by the children and by me when I could get Brekken to cooperate with us) meticulously organizing every toy in the room. I can tell you that if I'd done it, I'd have been haphazardly scooping toys into whatever bin was handy, just to get them gathered up and off the floor.

It all looks so good now, I don't want to let the kids play in there! They'll just mess it up again. What a great guy to spend all evening taking care of that!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Super Easy Soup

I had to run to the store after work last night, so by the time I got home I didn't want to cook anything that required much effort. So I threw something together on the spur of the moment that turned out really good. I love it when I make up a recipe and it turns out well! (If you can really even call it a recipe when it just involves opening cans and dumping them into a pot.)

So if you're looking for something along those lines...


I'm guessing at the amounts on the cumin and garlic powder. I tend to just shake some in and keep tasting it until it tastes like I want it to. So if you decide to make this, you might need to experiment with the amounts of seasonings a little.

Even my very picky kids liked it. And Brekken (my not at all picky kid) ate 3 bowls! Baby-sized bowls of course, but still...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Schedule? What schedule?

I am not one to put my kids on a strict schedule, but we do have a loose schedule that we follow at night. Basically, we come home from daycare and fix dinner, then there's some playtime and then we try to start getting the kids ready for bed around 7:30.

Yesterday, I had to drive to work, so I was able to pick the kids up earlier than usual. It wasn't dinner time yet, but the kids wanted a little snack so we had some crackers and then decided to go work on the flower gardens. The kids had some sunflower seeds that they've been desperately wanting to plant for weeks now... I think that it may now be springtime and the seeds will be safe from winter snows. No real guarantees in Colorado, it could still snow in May, but we'll hope not.

So with Brekken watching from the exersaucer, Haley & Preston & I finished cleaning up the flower beds for spring and planted their sunflower seeds. When I turned on the hose, the sprayer on the end had sprung a leak, which shot water all over Preston and Brekken. They enjoyed it, luckily! So then we all had fun watering our newly planted seeds and trying not to get soaked by the faulty sprayer.

When we'd finished that, Haley & Preston wanted to play in the backyard. It was dinner time, but since Aaron had to attend Mutual night, he didn't come home after work. That made it easy to lose track of time. So since it was still light and warm out, we headed for the backyard. Preston ran for the sandbox - where he proceeded to fling sand to all corners of the yard and dump sand on his own head and down his own shirt. I don't see the fun in that, but he enjoyed himself. Haley and Brekken played on the swingset... Brekken loves it when you push him in his baby swing. What I had intended to be 10 minutes or so of playtime turned into more like an hour when my sister called and I was on the phone with her for quite a while.

As it started to get darker and cooler, I hated to call an end to playtime. It had been so nice to enjoy the nice weather while I talked to my sister and pushed the kids on the swings. The kids played together and didn't fight and everyone was so happy. But eventually the boys (in their damp clothes from the water sprayer) were getting chilly and everyone wanted some dinner and we had to head inside.

Bedtime didn't come until after 9:00 last night, but luckily the kids are home with Dad today, so they didn't have to get up early. And we all really enjoyed a night off from the usual routine!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Everyday Heroes

I read Rosa's post yesterday about the man who helped her when the van wouldn't start, and it made me think about the people who help us in everyday life. They're just normal people like us who take the time to help a friend or a stranger. So I'm starting my own TAG post... I want to hear about and everyday hero who has helped you!

Here's mine...

When I was 5 or 6 months pregnant with Haley, Aaron and I were driving to Las Vegas for a convention for his work. We were driving the big work truck loaded down with all kinds of music and accessories to be sold at the convention. As we drove across the San Rafael Swell, a tire blew. If you're not familiar with the area, I'll tell you that there is NOTHING out there. It's hot (I think it was August) and dry and very, very empty. And as it turns out, there is no cell-phone service.

We tried to change the tire, but in the unfamiliar vehicle, we couldn't figure out how to release the spare tire. The truck was so loaded down and heavy, we didn't know if we would be able to jack it up, even if we got the tire off. I don't know how long we were out there trying to figure out what to do next. It seemed like a VERY long time. We tried to flag down someone to help, but cars were few and far between and those who did pass... just kept passing by.

Finally, someone did stop. It was a semi-truck. Another semi going the other way had seen us and radioed to anyone heading our way. Given the advance notice, this trucker was keeping an eye out and when he saw us he pulled over. He couldn't change the tire, either, but he agreed to give us a ride to the next town. So Aaron and I got to ride in the semi! It was pretty neat, actually.

The trucker took us to the next town, then set us up in the trucker's lounge at the rest stop so I could rest (I was feeling very rough by this point). He hung around until he was sure we'd found a tire service to help us take care of the truck. Neither of the truckers involved needed to help us out in any way, and the man who stopped probably put himself behind schedule to help us. But all these years later I still think of him fondly and am so grateful that he took the time to help someone else.

Now it's your turn! Tell me about an everyday hero in your life!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Any Dream Will Do

I admit it, I'm a dork. I love BBC and reality television. I've also always loved the musical "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

So imagine my joy when I found out that all of these were going to come together! BBC America is running a reality show where they're searching for the next Joseph to star in the London production of "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." We've been watching it for a few weeks now and I quite enjoy it. I figured we were probably about the only people around watching it. It's on the BBC, which is kind of an obscure channel hidden very high in the channel listings and usually showing some very odd programs (or programmes, I suppose, since we are talking about BBC). I don't think very many people are probably watching it. Or so I thought...

Now, imagine my disappointment when I accidentally learned who the winner will be! I was listening to a radio show and the DJ had been watching the series. She complained that she had gone online to find some information about the show and accidentally learned who won. In the process, I found out who won!

Such mixed feelings... it takes away the suspense in watching the show, but on the positive side, at least the person who won is the guy I wanted to win!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

But wait, there's more!

We were sitting at breakfast this morning when Haley turned to me and said " Do you know what is the bestest thing about Touch & Brush? There's no batteries to replace!"

She then proceeded to tell me about how it fits in any room and comes in two designer colors. "We really need one!" she told me. "It puts just the right amount of toothpaste on your brush every time & it lets you use every drop in the tube. It makes brushing fun!"

That's my daughter, the walking infomercial...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Isn't he the cutest?

Just wanted to share a few pictures of my sweet little Gerber baby!

Look at those big blue eyes!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Birthdays are coming up soon...

And I don't know what to get my boys. Especially Brekken... we have so many toys from the other two kids at that age that it's not as if he really needs anything. But of course we're going to get him something for his 1st birthday!

So any suggestions of gifts that were a hit for your 1-year-old or 3-year-old boys would be appreciated!!

(If it helps, Brekken likes playing with balls and anything that keeps him on the move. Preston is into fire trucks. He's a big ball of energy and likes things that are active and/or destructive.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Pictures

It's a little past Easter, but the pictures were too fun not to share.

A bit washed out from the window light, but Haley had a great time dying eggs.
Preston's favorite thing was the egg dipper. He tried to pick up everything with it.

Brekken was exhausted just by watching and had to take a little nap.

The end result. Haley & Preston were very proud of their eggs.
What you can't see is that almost every one of those eggs is covered in cracks from the many times they were dropped during the decorating process!

All dressed up for church on Easter.
Aren't they adorable? I may be biased...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Who needs a GPS? I have Aaron!

My hours for the last week or so have been kind of crazy as I've tried to finish up my big project at work. I've had to drive so that I wouldn't have to depend on the bus schedule when my own schedule was so uncertain. Then this morning, I overslept and missed the bus, so I drove yet again. It's not a terrible drive... I avoid I-25 and all the traffic tangles there, so the route is a little inconvenient, but at least I avoid most of the bad traffic.

But the other day, Aaron asked about the route I was taking to and from work. I told him and he informed me there was a better way. He told me about it, but it involved all these little back roads and sounded confusing. I couldn't remember it exactly and it was a bit intimidating (I don't like to risk getting lost). So I kept going my usual way for a couple more days. But there are a couple of traffic snarls that catch me up on that route, so last night and this morning I finally decided to try Aaron's back roads route.

I should have known, I should always just listen to Aaron on these things! His route was much better! He's like my own personal MapQuest. No matter where I am or where I need to get to, he can always map out a route. A lot of times, he can just do it off the top of his head without even looking at a map. He just has all these maps stored in his head. It's an impressive talent!

I remember once I had gone out shopping and I managed to get into an area of Denver I didn't know very well. I was all turned around and couldn't figure out where I need to go to head home. So I called Aaron for help. He asked me what city I was in and what intersection I was near. It wasn't an area we'd spent time in, so I don't know how he knew this, but without missing a beat he informed me that I needed to turn right, go past two intersections and turn right again and then I should see the freeway entrance. Sure enough, it worked exactly like that and I got home without further trouble.

So no need for my family to get one of the fancy GPS units for the car. At least as long as I keep my cell phone charged for emergency calls to Aaron!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Peas Please!

We go through a lot of peas at our house. There aren't a lot of vegetables that all the kids agree are okay... Haley loves broccoli, but Preston hates it. Preston likes cooked carrots but Haley doesn't want to touch them. Brekken can't eat many vegetables that aren't pureed or chopped to tiny bits. But they'll all eat peas - he loves to feed himself peas; and throw them around when he's done eating.

They're so easy to add to almost anything. So easy that I realized last night that I had fed the kids peas every night this week! As a side dish, in mac and cheese, in a casserole, in chicken alfredo. I even made rollup sandwiches for dinner one night, and I threw peas into that too!

Hmmm... I think I need to start to vary my veggies before we're all "pead" out!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's going to be a long week...

Since I started working at Nurse-Family Partnership, I have been working on a huge project. It's a bunch of handouts to provide to first-time pregnant moms to teach them about what to do/not to do, what to expect, all that sort of thing. It's been a very interesting project - and very big. I've basically written a book... almost 1,000 pages of materials that I've put together over the last 6 months.

The first phase of the project is almost finished now. In about 3 more weeks it's going to be such a huge relief!!! (Until the next project starts in about 3 and 1/2 weeks.)

Also, in about 3 more weeks, I'm going to feel the stress of this project going out across the nation and having everyone see it and judge it. Approximately 10,000 people are going to be getting these materials in the first year. That's a lot of people who might decide they hate it all. I'm actually already feeling that stress. I'm worrying in advance what everyone's going to say about it.

... And heaven forbid I start thinking about how many people can potentially get the materials. If President Obama's budget is passed, there's a lot of $$ in there for programs like ours, which could bump up the numbers to more like 500,000+ people. That's a pretty wide circulation!

So I'm spending this week in frantic proofreading and finalizing everything. It goes to the printer on Monday and everytime I think about it my heart starts to pound and I feel a little panicky. Yikes! It's going to be a long week...

Friday, April 3, 2009

What an idea...

fail owned pwned pictures

I need to pick up one of these outfits for Brekken! Finally the floors will be clean! =D

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dinner Time Revisited

If you caught the post a week or so ago about the stuffed shells I made for the kids' dinner (, you saw that it was not a hit with them. But Aaron and I thought it was pretty good.

So I took the recipe and tweked it a little bit to turn it into a more grown-up recipe.

It was really good! And fairly easy.

Boil some jumbo shells until they are slightly less than al dente. (You'll finish the dish in the oven, so that's when the shells cook the rest of the way. It's also easier to stuff them without tearing them if they're a little firm.)

Make your filling. I did a simple turkey salad... just shred the turkey, add a touch of mayonaisse and I threw in some peas for color and to get some vegetables. You could easily do it with chicken salad, egg salad, or a ground beef mixture. Whatever sounds good to you!

Put a spoonful of filling into each shell and arrange the shells in a baking pan. I made a quick white sauce (you can find a recipe for that by doing a quick Google search). You could also buy a store-bought white sauce or an alfredo sauce. I poured the sauce over the shells then sprinkled them with parmesan cheese and some black pepper.

Put the dish in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes... just to let the cheese melt and all the flavors meld.

It was REALLY good! The kids still didn't like it, but Aaron and I did.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another Camera Catch-Up

As we wait to see what today's snowstorm will be like, I'm getting around to posting the pictures from our big snowstorm last week...

The kids enjoyed playing in the snow once it was warm enough to go outside.
There goes Haley with another America's Next Top Model pose!
Preston was busy building a snowman... not recognizable as such by anyone but him, but he had fun.

Poor Brekken is just waiting for the day that he can go out and play with the other kids.

Works for Me Wednesday

It's been a while since I posted a Works for Me Wednesday, but I had a tip that seemed worth sharing this week!

I like to use ground beef in a lot of recipes, but I hate frying the ground beef. I don't know why I have such an aversion to frying ground beef, but I really just hate to do it. I will end up not cooking a recipe I planned on making because I just don't want to fry the beef. But I've found a way around it... and it's a money-saver, too!

When you go grocery shopping, you can get a much better deal on ground beef if you buy the big family pack of ground beef instead of just a pound at a time. But it's a pain to divide it out into smaller containers - ick, handling raw meat. But I recently learned that you can buy the big family pack of ground beef and then take it home and dump the whole thing in the crock pot. I seasoned it with a little salt, pepper, and onion powder and left it mostly alone for 4 hours. I stirred it a few times to break up the meat, but mostly ignored it.

When it was done, I just scooped out the beef with a slotted spoon and divided it into smaller batches to store in the freezer. Soaked up the remaining grease with a couple of paper towels and popped the crockpot liner in the dishwasher. Since then, dinner featuring ground beef has been a breeze! I just keep one container of ground beef in the fridge and when I need it I can just dump it into the recipe, then pull another container from the freezer to thaw and be ready for next time.

So that's what works for me. Head over to We Are That Family for more WFMW ideas!