Sunday, May 31, 2009

May UFO's

It's time to report what got crossed off the to-do list in May. (Go here for the full story.)
First of all, the laundry counter did get cleared off again - AND it's stayed that way for close to two weeks now. Yay for me! (In case you haven't figured it out yet, keeping surfaces cleared is one of my constant challenges.)
Part of emptying that counter meant I had to figure out how to get the sleeping bag clean. I decided to go the inexpensive but time-consuming route. It seemed to work. 1) Clean your tub. Fill it with water and a touch of Woolite. Soak the sleeping bag. Drain and refill with clear water to rinse. Repeat rinsing step several times. Don't wring the bag! 2) Carefully roll the bag in some towels and let sit to dry. 3) It takes a few days. Rotate it occasionally. 4) When it's fully dry, stuff it back in the bag and put it in the attic. (Here are the instructions if you ever need to wash a down sleeping bag yourself.)

And this is what happens when you don't get around to making jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.The plan was to cook them and freeze the pumpkin pulp. When it came time to decorate for Christmas and they were still sitting on the kitchen counter, I moved the pumpkins outside. I was still intending to cook them, just after Christmas. I distinctly remember seeing them out the window sometime in February and thinking I ought to get around to that job. But it never got written down and so I forgot. In April the Teacher's Quorum came over to go swimming and saw the rotted pumpkins. That was embarassing. Yet it still took me another month to remember to add it to the to-do list, and even longer to clean up the mess. However, now it's done!!

We moved bedroom furniture around when Jeff went off to BYU last fall. His room became the game/sewing room. And it's where I piled things whenever I wasn't sure what to do with them. However, it also needed to be the guest room. Having a tangible deadline is a good thing! So, we went from this: to this (Jeff had a brilliant suggestion for rearranging the furniture):
just in time for my dad's visit. (Don't look inside the closets - that's another project!) Hopefully it will stay this way for a while.

Finally, with help from Michelle (and a rainy Saturday), we cleaned the outside of the kitchen cupboards. It would be nice to devote one day and get all the insides done at once, but that's not going to happen any time soon. I have been making progress by doing a few each month. And this month it was the "under the kitchen sink" cabinet's turn. That's the one I procrastinate on the longest, and now I don't have to for a while!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Food and More Food

Week Four Wrap-Up
If I had to pick one word to describe this week, it would have to be food. Hmm, maybe it should be washing dishes - but that would be two words. We celebrated Grandpa arriving by inventing a new recipe - Lingonberry Chicken. It was delicious!
And we also had an old favorite - Fresh Peach Pie.

Memorial Day started with breakfast (we took cinnamon rolls to share) and sports at the church.
Then we played tourists and visited the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks,

ending the visit with lunch at Mama's Greek Restaurant (which helped make up for the unexpected delays caused by discovering a museum on our walk). We learned that gyro is pronounced "yee-ro" and that it tastes yummy. The salad was delicious as well. Did you know that Greek lettuce salads are served on top of a potato salad base? The school year may be ending, but our education isn't.In between preparing and delivering a talk, attending the temple with Grandpa and the Relief Society sisters, and working at home and for the neighbor's, Jeff's been busy creating more recipes as well. Our favorite was the Ultimate Quesadilla, but click on the "Chef Jef" tag when you're over there and you'll find several more of his creations.

Thanks, Dad, for coming to spend some time with us. It's been a wonderful week. It's been a wonderful month. And June will bring a plethora* of exciting happenings as well.

*Michelle's favorite word for the school year - although, according to her English teacher, you're only allowed to use it once in an essay.

Friday, May 29, 2009

August 1983

Flashback Friday
Our First Anniversary

Weston and Megan finally wrote about their first anniversary, so I thought today's flashback should be about ours. And then I checked Alicia's site and her picture is from 1983. It was meant to be!
However, when I went looking for pictures, I discovered we don't have any of the two of us from that time. We did celebrate our important milestone, but then I spent our anniversary week in California visiting my family - introducing Weston to his great-grandparents and welcoming George home from his mission - and missing my husband. And I took the camera with me! Weston "helping" Holly at physical therapy.
The Pacific Ocean is cold!!!
It was much better resting under the umbrella -
or playing with aunts and uncles.
And although we weren't together on our actual anniversary, I made it home - to a "we just moved in today" new apartment - in time for Wayne's birthday!
Note: You improvise when you're poor college students with everything in boxes. So although he had to hold the candle, he still got his cherry cheesecake.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WFMW - Haircuts

Works for Me Wednesday
Home Haircuts

I mentioned in an earlier WFMW post that one of the ways we save money is to give haircuts at home. It's much easier with teenagers (assuming you can agree on a style) than with wiggly toddlers. We solved the wiggling problem by making it a two-person job. While I did the cutting, someone else would keep popping M&M's into the child's mouth. If they wiggled, they didn't get the candy.I figured it was worth revisiting the subject, because it works even better for me when I'm not the one doing the work! Steven was due for a haircut. For the past couple of years Jeff's been cutting his own hair, and he was ready to branch out and try his hand on someone else's head. Steven accepted the challenge to be guinea pig, although he didn't go so far as to allow the style to stop at a mohawk:Ready for summer!!If you want to give it a try, here's a site that has some basic directions: Tips for a Home Hair Cut. And check out We are THAT Family if you're looking for more ideas to make life easier and simpler.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Family, Friends and Freedom

Memorable Monday Moments
Happy Memorial Day

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away?

Week Three Wrap-Up

This was basically a quiet week at our house. It's always nice to have one of those! However, it's still been eventful with attending a friend's Eagle Court of Honor, the awards night at school, shopping for missionary clothes, and looking forward to grandpa's visit. It's also rained every day this week.

And although that means the yardwork Jeff started isn't finished yet (the stumps got hauled off but those piles of dirt were still there this morning), we're in a drought so we don't want it to go away.

Climb Every Mountain

Flashback Friday
Hiking with Dad

My dad came down for the weekend, and that reminded me of these photos I have stored on the computer. Last time I visited him I took "pictures of pictures" (which means the quality isn't the greatest) so that I could have access to these memories whenever I wanted. This first one was taken at the top of Mt. Lassen. It was cold up there. If I had to guess, I'd say it was about 1974 or 75. This one was taken a couple of years later, not sure where, but I remember backpacking in Lassen as well. We like that national park. That's Louise, Ida in front of my mom, then me, Dad, Scott, Benjamin and George. This reminds me of a "Sound of Music" scene. We may have even been trying to duplicate it. The quality is awful but it's my favorite of the three. I have a lot of fond memories of climbing mountains with my family. Maybe that's why I did the same thing with my own kids!
It must always be cold at Lassen Peak. Here we are in 1996. Don't they all look miserable? Do you think in another 20 years this will be a fond memory for them??

Check out "More than Words" to find others sharing old photos and stories.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Brad's Doing Great

Brad finally found some time to email us a few pictures last week.
He found a giant ice cream cone.
I guess leapfrog is still fun even if you're technically an adult.
A sign with his initials!
Doing what he went to Argentina to do.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Evolution of Breakfast Time

Works for Me Wednesday
Staying in the Kitchen

Our family has a crazy morning schedule, one of the results of sending children to multiple schools. When they were younger it was easy to fix one breakfast and sit down and eat together. Now it's a little more complicated. I never would have thought I'd turn into a restaurant chef, but I have - at least for breakfast - and yet it works for us. I figured someone else out there in blogland might appreciate knowing they're not alone.

I think it started several years ago when our middle school student didn't have to catch the bus until 8:30. The high school kids left the house at 5:30 AM, with a hot breakfast in their tummies. Although we got the younger kids up just before then for family prayer, I wasn't going to insist they actually eat at that hour. (Let's face it, they'd just be hungry again before they went to school!) They got to go back to sleep for a bit. And since I was already preparing breakfast more than once, it just became easier to give each child what they wanted. I decided that I wasn't going to force my daughter to eat something smothered in syrup when she preferred just a piece of fruit or glass of milk. So, this morning someone had pancakes, someone had pancakes and a smoothie, someone had a leftover piece of breakfast cake, and if Wayne had been home, he would have had cracked wheat cereal. (Some of the favorites on our "breakfast menu" include: granola, muffins, dutch babies, and cinnamon rolls - just click on the title and it'll take you to our recipe.)
After we'd been doing this multiple-breakfast thing for a while, I started feeling badly that our middle-schooler was eating all alone. However, I definitely didn't need to eat multiple breakfasts! The light-bulb went off** and that became time for me to just be in the kitchen - either washing dishes or preparing for dinner or just working on the crossword in the paper. We had some of the most interesting and delightful conversations, which in my view is the main reason for eating together. And even if we didn't really talk, knowing that we could was important. I try to use this same principle in the evening when someone's schedule doesn't allow them to be home for family dinner time. Rather than holing up in the computer room or vegging on the couch, I try to be in the kitchen with them. After all, there's always something to be done there!

So, that's what works for us. For more ideas, check out We are THAT Family.
Counsel to mothers from a prophet: "First, take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going--when they leave and return from school--when they leave and return from dates--when they bring friends home. Be there at the crossroads whether your children are six or sixteen. . . . Sixth, take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible. This is a challenge as the children get older and lives get busier. But happy conversation, sharing of the day's plans and activities, and special teaching moments occur at mealtime because mothers and fathers and children work at it." (Ezra Taft Benson - click on the name to see the whole talk with all ten suggestions)

Monday, May 18, 2009

You can be proud, Dad

Sorry you have to be in England this week. Here's what you missed:
(let's see if our poor computer can handle uploading videos)

Steven: Top Sophomore Math Student

Steven: one of two science awards for 10th graders

Michelle: Spanish 2 honor student

Well, it took some time, but I think it worked. Hopefully it will give you an idea of what it was like to be in the audience. We missed you.

Rewarding Family Nights

Memorable Monday Moments
a very short FHE

Our high school usually holds their end-of-the-year awards ceremony on a Monday evening in May. A few years ago on that night, we had one of our shortest family nights ever. I don't think everyone attended the awards ceremony, maybe it was going to last too late for elementary school kids, but we did all gather together, had family prayer, and read two verses:

1 Samuel 24:19 - "The Lord reward thee good for that thou has done."
D&C 59:23 - "But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward."

While we don't always get recognition for the good things we do, sometimes it happens. And while that's nice, it's important to remember that God sees everything and if we stay faithful, eventually we'll receive His reward, which is worth more than any trophy or certificate that the school may hand out.

So, tonight, we're having a FHE repeat. But this time we're all going to the awards ceremony, so family night will last longer than a couple of minutes. And maybe there will even be ice cream for refreshments!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to You, Weston!

Happy Birthday to Weston!
Thought you might enjoy access to some pictures from your past birthdays.Can you believe that you were ever this tiny? May 16, 1983It's a good thing your grandparents love you. Your parents the students didn't have enough money to give you much for your first birthday. Fortunately, at that age it really doesn't matter!It seemed everyone thought you ought to start learning your letters the year you turned 2.
It looks like every other year you got something to ride outside!
The next year it was time for some inside toys.
You had your first "friend" party when you turned 5! Isn't it nice that David's one of your friends?
6 years old - the year of the "Whiz Kid"7 years old - someone likes chocolate cake8 years old - old friends in a new house9 years old - the piƱata in the basement10 years old - time for a Sunday birthday11 years old - Super Nintendo surprise!12 years old - and still loving chocolate!
(Okay ran out of time to scan pictures. But we need to save something for next year.)

Have an absolutely wonderful time celebrating your birthday.
We know you will because you have Megan around to make sure that happens. Thanks so much Megan!