Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Queen of Putrescence

I introduced the kids to "The Princess Bride" this weekend. They loved it and have watched it several times since. I always enjoy it when the kids like a movie that I loved as a kid - it's a nice bonding thing.

Predictably, Haley loves the love story in the princess bride.

Just as predictably, the boys love the sword fighting. Also the ROUSes (Rodents of Unusual Size).

Brekken and Preston were battling last night and fighting over who got to say: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!" They had to take turns being the six-fingered man who died dramatically.

Preston also called me the Queen of Putrescence several times. When I protested, he said: "But you're the queen, Mommy! You're in charge so you're the queen!"

I said to him: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." (He did not get my clever reference.)

I'm hoping that he is just using the word because he likes the sound of it, not as a reference to my (admittedly) sloppy housekeeping of late...

Monday, February 27, 2012


This weekend I took the chance to do a couple of the projects I had found on Pinterest and marked to do with my kids.

I used craft sticks to make a "building set" as my kids call it. Just a dot of velcro on each end of each stick and they can put them together in many combinations. This is a new addition to our Sacrament meeting quiet bag.
The kids actually played with the sticks for almost an hour and had a grand time making their various creations.

We made a set of decorations for the playroom wall. I just traced a letter (first letter of their name) on some colored paper, then the kids used stickers to fill in the outline of the letter. I'll confess that I helped Rylen with his. I stuck the sticker creations in a frame and hung them on the wall. It's a fun, colorful addition to the playroom.

It was fun time with the kids for very little money. And stuff I would never have thought of on my own. Yay for Pinterest. :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Mother-in-Law's Amazing Crockpot Beef

I was just putting dinner in the crock-pot and thought I'd better share this recipe for amazing crockpot beef. My mother-in-law introduced us to this and it is SO good. We have made it regularly since she made it for us once. The best part? SUPER SIMPLE.

Take a beef roast (or pork... or chicken... we've tried it with all three. It's best with beef, but pork and chicken are very good as well.) and put it in the crockpot. Add a package of powdered ranch dressing mix. Add a package of powdered Italian dressing mix. Add about 1/4 c water. Put the lid on the crockpot and walk away. Let it cook 6-8 hours on low until the meat is tender enough to shred. Shred it with a fork and serve over potatoes or rice or on rolls for sandwiches.

It's so good and so easy. Love it. Thanks, Bonnie!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another Quick Funny from Brekken

As annoying as he can be in all his 3-year-oldness, Brekken is a pretty funny kid. He's always saying stuff that makes us laugh. Or at least makes us go, "Whuck?"

He loves to tell us about long, convoluted "dreams" he has had (generally magically inspired by a conversation someone else was having) that always involve some crazy and improbable occurences. They're very straneg, but entertaining.

The latest thing he's come up with is to categorize injuries. If you refer to an "owie" on his elbow, he'll correct you and inform you that it is, in fact, a "boo-boo."

Because I kept getting it wrong, I had him lay it out for me last night.

A big injury such as a big bruise, bump or cut. It may involve blood. It generally requires ice packs, bandages, and a little rest time before returning to play. Seemingly small injuries may be upgraded to boo-boo status if painful enough. (For example, a small paper cut would not qualify in terms of size or blood, but could sting badly enough to be called a boo-boo.)

A mid-size injury. A small bruise or bump. A scratch. Generally does not involve blood. May require a bandaid or other first aid from a psychological perspective only.

A small injury. Can usually be fixed with only a hug and a kiss to the afflicted area. (And no, I have no idea where the term "con-tron" came from. Brekken came up with this categorization of injuries all on his own and just informed us that the smallest injuries should be known as con-trons.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Vice I Can't Give Up

Today's post brought to you by Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop.

Mama Kat asked: What is the one ‘vice’ you can’t give up?

I have so many, it's hard to choose. There's my morning hot chocolate - I don't have it every morning, but I'd hate to give it up entirely. And my daily nap on the bus - I feel pretty cheated if I don't get that. The Cheetos I sometimes keep in my desk drawer - mmmm.... Cheetos. My beloved Kindle and iPhone, of course - I'm pretty addicted to them.

But when I stopped to think, my biggest addiction is probably Amazon.com. You can get everything from Amazon! Hot chocolate? Yes. Cheetos? In bulk. Apps and content for my Kindle and iPhone? Of course! Amazon could even help with the bus naps - eye shades and ear plugs could take care of the people who insist of turning on the reading lights and chattering away during the morning commute. (Seriously people, save that for the afternoon ride. The morning drive is for napping. The rest of us find the two of you extremely annoying. It's true. We've talked about it - on the afternoon bus.)

And if you use Amazon frequently enough, you can get the Prime membership. Which means that you get 2-day shipping for free every time. That's just even more addicting. It just shows up at your door in only a couple of days and for no shipping charge? Awesome!

Whenever I need anything, I just assume I can get it from Amazon. And I'm almost always right. New charger for the iPhone, the lotion I couldn't find at Target, a case of Cocoa Puffs for my cereal-obsessed children. I've been known to buy diapers or paper towels from Amazon just because I didn't want to drag all the kids to the store. (Though you do have to do a little planning ahead on that one - 2 day shipping is useless when you're down to two diapers in the box.) I just love how it's all at my fingertips and only a couple clicks away.

Every birthday present. All my Christmas shopping. Many a Mother's Day and Father's Day present. All from Amazon. And since I'm lazy that way, sometimes I just go ahead and have Amazon wrap it for me, too. After all, Amazon has already found the present and is packing it up and shipping it to the recipient for me. Why shouldn't Amazon wrap it up for me, too? Amazon is like my own little personal assistant who takes care of these pesky chores.

Yep, definitely addicted. Give me Amazon or give me death! (Well, not death. That's a bit extreme. More like severe discomfort. Or intense annoyance. Doesn't have the same ring to it, but it's more accurate.)

And on that note, I've just remembered that my mother's birthday is coming up. Off to Amazon to take care of that...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quick Funny from Brekken

Back on the Sunday before Valentine's Day, a sweet girl named Tessa in Brekken's Sunbeam class gave him a Valentine. It was actually hilarious to see... there she is, thrusting the Valentine at him, urging him to "Take it!" And he's backed up against the wall, hands behind his back, an expression of utter confusion on his face as he tries to figure out what he should do.

Between Tessa's mom and I, we managed to explain to him what was going on and get him to take the Valentine. Then fast forward to this week after church, when Brekken told me:

"Remember Tess that gave me Valentines? She pretty much loves me. That's why she gived me Valentines. She loves me all the time. So much. I think she cries and cries after church because I have to go home."

LOL - no lack of self-confidence for this one!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bragging a Little

We had parent-teacher conferences for Haley and Preston last week, and I just have to brag on them a little.

Preston actually started out a little rough this school year. When they did the initial kindergarten testing, I think he was not paying much attention or was nervous or something, because he basically failed. Oh, I know they didn't phrase it that way when they told us about the test results, but he performed poorly enough on the tests that he ended up on what the teacher calls their "watch list" of students who are going to need extra help. He was put on an IEP (individualized education plan?) to help bring him up to standard. This was frustrating to me, because I knew he was capable of doing the things on the test (things like identifying shapes, counting, naming numbers, letters, and letter sounds) and did them at home. He just didn't do it during the testing for some reason. But now that he's settled into his kindergarten career, he has gotten past the testing roadblock and the teacher shared his current results. We looked at a little graph that showed where he is now compared to where he needs to be at the end of the year... and it was almost all: "Well, as you see he needs to be at an eighteen by the end of the year. He's currently at 37, so he's good there." With that, he is officially off the watch list and done with the IEP. He's doing great!

Haley continues to be a stellar student. The teacher even told Aaron that she deliberately saved Haley's conference for the last one of the day because she wanted to be able to end on a completely good conference. She's officially in 2nd grade, but is doing a lot of higher-level classwork. Often she has extra time in class (because she finishes her work quickly) and gets to help the 1st graders with their work. Haley LOVES this. Apparently the 1st graders love it too. The teacher said Haley is so good at helping them (and really helping them learn it, not just doing it for them) that the 1st graders all vie to have Haley as their helper. Haley also has a lot of those graphs like Preston's, showing that she has long since passed all her milestones for the year. And she's officially moved off the charts as far as her reading levels go. Right now they're rating her reading grade level at 6th grade... maybe 6 1/2. But they acknowledge that the reason for ranking her at that grade level is really because they just don't have tools in elementary school that will measure any higher than that. She could be reading at an even higher reading level, they just can't test for that using the elementary reader scales. Total smarty pants! (And frequently a smart-alek as well... but that's another post.)

Happy President's Day!

I hope you had a happy President's Day and did not spend it (as I did) trying to recover from a night of vomiting and other unpleasantness that may ensure I never eat another leftover again. (Believe me, I already have issues with eating leftovers and now having actually gotten very ill after eating some... no more!)

Since I spent most of the day in bed alternately sleeping and channel surfing, I was reminded of the fact that for some reason, President's Day is synonymous with Mattress Sales. I've noticed before, but just kind of in passing. But this time around, I spent some time thinking about it and formulating a theory.

We all know that Bill Clinton and JFK are pretty well known for their extra-marital activities. And then there's Thomas Jefferson. And it turns out that Eisenhower, FDR, Cleveland, and Harding all had some pretty scandalous love affairs as well.

Hmmm... perhaps the connection between mattresses and President's Day makes sense after all!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Childhood Memory Time

Another post based on a prompt from Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop. Today's topic: Childhood Memory Time - Write about something you loved to do as a child.

The first thing that popped into my head when I saw this topic was what it was like growing up on my grandparents' farm.

We lived next door to my grandparents on their farm. It was a great place to grow up. Not only were Grandma and Grandpa right next door (making a great place for sleepovers or just to "run away" when you felt life was unfair at home - my kids sure wish they could run to Grandma and Grandpa every time they feel life at home is no fun!), but we also had 80 acres of fields and pastures to roam.

We could spend all day tramping through the fields. 80 acres is a lot of space to wander and you could take off with siblings or cousins and just get yourself lost for a while. (Though I don't remember ever actually getting lost - I always knew how to get home.) My favorite thing to do was to take a book and head to the alfalfa fields when the grass was really tall right before haying season. I'd stomp the alfalfa down to make myself a little "room" and stay there all day reading my book. Grandpa was kind enough to overlook his smashed hay most of the time... until I started getting a little too creative and stomping out an entire suite of interconnected rooms. Eventually he had to put a stop to it so there would be some hay left to bale!

We went fishing in the pond - even though the only thing to catch were tiny sunfish, we thought we were pretty cool when we would bring home our catch. Now that I think about it though, I don't recall ever eating sunfish for dinner. Maybe the cats got a treat when we went fishing!

We could visit the chickens, cows or pigs - though mostly we didn't because chickens and pigs smell pretty bad and it's not like they're pets to play with. And while cows smell better, let's face it, they don't do much. Mostly the cows did their thing and we did ours. Grandpa often moved the cows around to different sections of the fields to ensure that no one section got overgrazed, so you never really knew where you would come across the herd of cows. No big deal in most cases. Cows are pretty gentle and calm and willing to ignore you. So we'd just make our way through the herd to wherever we were headed. The exception, though, was Hot Dog the cow. I don't know why her name was Hot Dog, that's just what we called her. She was a big, light brown cow with big, sharp horns. At any rate, that's how I remember it. In reality, the horns may have been small and dull. Or for that matter, might not have existed at all! But in my memories, Hot Dog had some frightening horns. When Hot Dog spotted us, she would come charging over to scare us away. So we were always on the lookout for Hot Dog.

We would climb the stacked hay bales and then jump off into the hay that had come loose from the bales. It was fun, but so itchy! Whenever I see or read a scene where you have people who decide to get "romantic" in the hay (why did this become such a cliche?) all I can think about it how itchy they're going to be from rolling around in that hay. Yikes! Don't take your clothes off in there! You're going to be rashy all over!

There was a long creek wandering through the property. One section of the creek was wide and slow-moving and great for gathering watercress. I remember picking the watercress and taking it back to Grandma's to make watercress sandwiches for lunch. As it went along, the creek went under a bridge at the bottom of a hill. We used that hill for sledding in the winter and the trick was to steer the sled just right so that you could make it across the bridge. Otherwise you had to bail off the sled at the last moment to avoid going off the edge into the creek! Another part of the creek had carved out a deep gully. Grandpa had thoughfully installed a rope swing here, so there was a lot of time spent there. I remember climb to the top of the gulley, hauling that big heavy rope with you. When you got to the top, you straddled the rope - wrapping your legs around the big knot at the end, clutching the rope above with all your might... and then getting the courage to make the leap off the firm ground. Breathless... weightless... that first moment of free-falling was exhilarating and terrifying. And then the snap as the rope hit its end and gravity kicked in again. Swinging up on the far side of the gulley and trying to hit the trees over there. Swinging back and forth until you finally came to a stop at the bottom of the gulley and hopping off the swing into the shallow creek below. Only to start the climb back to the top to do it all again.

Thinking back on it now, it was a pretty idyllic existence. Thanks, Mama Kat for helping remember some of those good times. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012


SUPAHMAMA! over at http://domesticmischief.blogspot.com/ nominated me for a versatile blogger award. Thank you! How very cool to find that in my inbox this morning!

The Rules for The Versatile Blogger Award

1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.
4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

Since I already tell you all the random things that cross my mind, I'm going to have to think hard to share seven things I haven't already said...

  1. I LOVE to shop. It doesn't matter what it's for - lightbulbs at Home Depot? Hooray! Groceries at King Soopers? Great! Surfing online to compare prices and features at eleventeen different sites? Wonderful! Random garage sale that might have some cool stuff? Woo-hoo! I don't even have to buy anything much, I just really like to wander the aisles and look at all the possibilities. (Note: All this goes out the window if I have the kids with me. Enjoyable shopping is a solitary pursuit. Riding herd on 4 small children spoils the whole experience and makes it the complete opposite of enjoyable.)
  2. I am a popcorn snob. I love popcorn and will make a big bowl of it on many Saturdays as a treat for me and the kids. But it has to be popped in the air popper. Microwave popcorn is stale and disgusting and unacceptable.
  3. I hate socks. I prefer being barefoot over all, but when forced (by things like work or weather) to wear shoes I still try to avoid wearing socks. I've even been known to wear my snowboots out in a blizzard without putting on socks. I don't know what it is - my feet just feel all smothered or something. But I just really hate the feel of socks on my feet.
  4. I am terribly jealous of those of you with a knack for decorating. I see your houses when you blog. I see the gorgeous paint jobs and coordinating furniture and tasteful accessories and I wish that I lived in a house like that. Alas, I live in my house. Which was decorated (and I use that term loosely) by me.
  5. I have grown so addicted to ebooks on my Kindle and my iPhone that I am resentful when I have to read an actual, physical book. It's so heavy. And I have to hold it with one hand and turn the page with another hand. And it doesn't save my place for me when I put it down. *sigh* It's so difficult.
  6. I aspire to be a cool mom who does fun things with the kids. Instead, I'm more often the cranky mom who just makes the kids mad.
  7. My favorite food is pizza. Gourmet, cheap, delivery, frozen - whatever. I love it all. I think I could probably eat pizza every day of the week and still be happy with it.

Now... to think about my nominations for Versatile Blogger!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pin It

I was just introduced to Pinterest. I'm a little behind the times because apparently a lot of you have been there for a while, but I just hadn't checked it out. I got an invite from my friend Christy over the weekend, and suddenly it's an obsession. What can I pin? What have other people pinned? What new pins have posted since I checked 30 seconds ago?

As my co-worker Elizabeth described it... "What is Pinterest? It's crack cocaine."

I have come across so many great crafty ideas for the kids... maybe I can do some of things and be more of the fun mom I want to be on Saturdays.

And the recipes! So many new recipes I want to try.

And books I want to read.

And home improvement projects I would love to someday do at my house.

And new blogs to read and music to listen to and tv and movies to watch.

And when will I find time to work or sleep when I have so many pins to review?

Yep. Like crack cocaine.*

*disclaimer: Okay, so neither Elizabeth nor I REALLY knows what crack cocaine is like, but in our sheltered good girl estimation, this is a good comparison. ;-)

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Know My Kids Really Love Me

Thanks to Supahmama for her link to new writing prompts! Hopefully it will help me out of my blogging slump. :) And on that note, today's prompt is courtesy of Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop.

I know my kids really love me, because they feel free to be themselves. Sometimes I hear from their teachers or a babysitter or friends about how well-behaved my children are. They are polite and friendly and don't beat the crap out of each other at the drop of a hat. And I have to think to myself: "Who are these well-behaved pod-people impersonating my children and how can I get them to come to my house?"

Because at my house, my children are less polite. They feel free to express themselves.

Sometimes through words (I hate you! ...but sometimes, I love you. You're stupid! ...but sometimes, You're the best mommy.).

Sometimes through artistic expression (such as the water and toilet paper sculptures currently found in my bathtub and the modern art masterpiece drawn in deodorant on the bathroom door ...but also through sweet stories and pictures showing a loving family life).

Sometimes through their actions (by stopping just short of ACTUALLY murdering a sibling, though you'd never guess that from the blood-curdling screams that ring through the house... but also through hugs and kisses and just wanting to be together - sometimes too together. For Pete's sake, could I just have 5 minutes with no one touching me! Oops, sorry... slipped into a whole separate rant, there.).

So even though sometimes I wish those well-behaved pod people would make themselves at home in my home, I love my kids just the way they are. Rock-hard toilet paper sculptures stuck to my tub and ruined deodorant and all.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I've got nothing...

Lately I can't seem to come up with anything to blog about. I'm busy, busy, busy with trying to get the house put back together after our flood, worrying about the van about to die, work, kids, church... but none of it seems interesting enough to share with people. Why would anyone want to read about it?

I just feel out of ideas. I try to think of something to write about and - meh. Nothing. I actually had an idea the other day and was so excited. I had the whole post written in my head. But by the time I had a chance to sit down at the computer and actually write... it was completely gone. I couldn't come up with the tiniest recollection of what I had planned to write. I still can't remember. I'm disturbed by this; but try as I may, I can't come up with it.

I'll keep working on it. Surely I'll have some creativity soon...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mitt Romney's New Ward

Hilarious post from Mormonistic... had to share!

Mitt Romney’s New Ward

If Mitt Romney becomes President of the US (aka POTUS), his family will be assigned to the Washington DC 3rd Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

So if you are the Bishop for the 3rd Ward, ya gotta be wondering:

1. Will you allow an inaugural ball to be held in the cultural hall? Do you mount security cameras on top of each basketball rim and have a secret service detail stationed on the stage?

2. Can you call Mitt and Ann as the Nursery leaders… even if you really feel inspired?

3. Who is going to home teach them?

4. If Harry Reid and Mitt Romney are in the same High Priest group, will they behave responsibly, or do you need to be there to keep order?

5. Exactly how will tithing settlement work? Will the Secretary of the Treasury come, too? Or would the Fed Chairman be a better choice?

6. Will you be inviting the new Romney family to speak in Sacrament Meeting… and if they go a little over, at what point do you ask them to sit down?

7. Will the Secret Service do a sweep of the building before each meeting?

8. Can you call the Secret Service agents to help out in Primary?

9. If you give Mitt a calling and the pair of token Democrats in the ward raise their hand AGAINST sustaining him - then what?!!

10. If you can’t give them a calling, and they don’t attend very often, will that mean they’re ‘inactive?’ If they’re not active, can you give them a Temple Recommend? And if you do, can they go? How will the Secret Service screen the temple?

If you’re assigned to be the Romneys’ Home or Visiting Teacher:

1. Can you just drop by when you are in the neighborhood, without an appointment?

2. Can you even call them for an appointment, or do you have to go through the Chief of Staff?

3. Can you bring by Christmas sweets and cookies? Will they be screened by the Secret Service first? If so, is this a missionary opportunity to share the gospel?

4. If you don’t come teach the Romneys regularly, can the IRS do an audit on you?

5. Will they want to do a national security background check?

6. Do you have to have a permanent teaching companion assigned who has been vetted? Can you just grab any teacher or priest to come with you? What if they are Democrats?

7. Do you have to help him move in and out of the White House?

8. If Ann Romney gets sick, are you allowed to bring in meals or at least tell the Relief Society President about it?

9. What can you share with the Bishop about the Romneys?

10. Do you have to ask them about their year’s supply?

11. If you get a late night call for a blessing, will reporters follow you around wanting to know what was wrong and what you said? And if the reporters offer remuneration in exchange for your time, does it all have to be donated or just the standard 10-percent tithe?

Weird Rumors about Mormons

My boss, Elly, comes in occasionally with weird rumors she’s heard about Mormons and asks me to explain. Today’s came from a co-worker of her husband (Tom). The co-worker told Tom that Mormons believe that after you die you go through a hole in the moon to a special planet that is hidden behind the moon (that’s why astronomers don’t know it’s there). All the faithful Mormons will live together on that hidden planet. This explanation came complete with pictures of the moon used to show Tom precisely where the hole in the moon could be found. (Tom thought that it looked like just another moon crater, but didn’t like to offend his co-worker by saying so.)

I told Elly that  this gentleman had obviously been attending different Sunday School classes than I had! Am I way off base here and I’ve forgotten an important element of doctrine? Or is this guy a bit of a whack-job out there giving Mormons a bad name? Yikes.