Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Problem Solved--Thank you neighbor

In a previous post about sun protection, I asked people their suggestions on purchasing a sun tent. I also sent out an e-mail to my friends and family who don't read blogs (or maybe just my blog) and asked their opinion as well. Well, this morning, my neighbor/friend/garden consultant (who by the way introduced me to Rose of Sharon bush which I LOVE and plan on planting about 4 more in my yard this summer)/mother to toothsome #1's favorite person/visiting teacher called and offered me her sun tent. It was such a great thing for her to offer and checks something off my list that has been on the back of my mind for the last week or so. What a great way to start a morning! Thank you neighbor!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Why Didn't I Go to the Store Yesterday?

I needed to go to the store yesterday. I knew I needed to go, but I had other things pressing (like a pile of laundry as high as an elephant's eye to fold) and so I never went. So today, we are down to the last of the milk, I have no vegetables to feed my kids at dinner, and I think we are pretty low on toilet paper. That said, it is snowing like crazy right now. I HATE grocery shopping when it is snowing. It is not just about driving in the snow to get there but unloading three kids out of their car seats in the snowy parking lot, usually getting a wet basket, shopping and then having to reload my kids back in the car seats (while I am standing in wet, dirty, slushy snow), loading my car in the snow and then unloading everything in a cold,wet, muddy garage. Why didn't I go yesterday? I saw the forecast. I knew it was going snow. Why? Why? Why?

Monday, February 26, 2007

I've Forgotten How Much Fun It Is

At the start of summer 2006, I started teaching toothsome #2 to read. Her pre-school teacher said she was more than ready and because she watched me practice letter sounds with toothsome #1, she learned them at the same time. The school district here uses a system called, "Academic Success for All Learners" and so I ordered on-line, the first set of books. I really like this system, particularly after seeing how fast toothsome #1 learned to read after using them in Kindergarten.
Anyway, all summer long, she read to me daily out of these books and we were super diligent about reading them until toothsome #4 was born in October. We really haven't read together since and not a day goes by without me feeling guilty about it.

So, today was the day to start again. We spent about 20 minutes together reading and I had forgotten how much fun we have together doing it. At the bottom of each page in the book there is either a comprehension question or a smiley face that says, "Praise!" to remind me to praise my child. Whenever we get to a "Praise!" toothsome #2 hollers loudly, "Praise, praise, praise, praise!" We laughed and giggled the whole time and she's learning to read. It reminded me that it is moments like these that create happy growing up memories for my children. I need to continue to create moments like these. They are priceless.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I Do Not Have Caller ID

We do not have caller ID. I realize this must surprise most of you because I have been getting a lot of calls lately from "you" who don't tell me who you are. I listen intently while you speak, waiting for some clue of who you are, so I don't come across as rude or that somehow you are less important to me than someone's voice that I would recognize right off the bat. I have also been getting messages that say, "Hi this is so and so, when you get this message, please call me back. I am sure you have my number on your caller ID, so I won't leave it. Oh, remember it is urgent." So, for the record, I DO NOT have caller ID. Please state who you are when you call and leave your name and number if you get my machine, if you want a call back. Thank you.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Help! He's driving me crazy!

Today is a cold, snowy day. In our area we have had over a foot of snow. It is great for my kids, who love to play outside in it and come in exhausted, ready for bed. It is great for me because the snow brings out my cleaning energy and the house usually gets really clean on snowy days. It is not so great for dentist husband. Dentist husband doesn't see patients on Fridays and is often able to pursue his own interests on Friday. His current interests are golf and flying his airplane, which he purchased with his father about 8 months ago. Well, all of this snow has made it impossible to do these interests and enabled him to stay home with me to correct me on how I do everything. I love dentist husband very much. I really do but I can only take so much of his interest in what I am doing. Again, I love you but please let there be sunny skies tomorrow!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Blame Lisa for this one

I have not gotten anything done today because Lisa in my book club (a different Lisa than the one who introduced me to Sonic's Route 44) selected the book, "The Quilter's Apprentice" by Jennifer Chiaverini for our meeting in March. I started it last night, stayed up way too late reading it and then had to finish it today. Everything stopped in our house while I was reading it. I let the kids fend for themselves for lunch out of the pantry (which means goldfish crackers, Mint Milano cookies and Fresca) and just held toothsome #4 and read. It is now almost 5:00pm, my house is a wreck, I need to change some diapers and then start dinner. It was a great read but now I have to get back to my life. When I start a good book, I have no self control and read until it is over and then am sad that I finished it. Why can't I just portion a good book out over a few days a least?

Favorite Recipe--Calzones

My sister-in-law made this for our family when she was first married to my brother. I was about 12. It has been a favorite ever since. My husband loves it.


1 Tablespoon dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons oil
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour

Dissolve yeast and water in a bowl. Add sugar, salt and oil. Mix well. Gradually add flour to form stiff dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Separate dough into 4 or 6 even balls. Roll out balls into flat circles. Place calzone fillers (we like monterry jack cheese, turkey pepperoni, black olives, and sauteed mushrooms) on one half of the rolled out circles. Fold over and seal up the edges.

Put on cookie sheet and bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (until nicely brown.)

Serve with hot tomato sauce (we use Prego) or Pesto on top of each.

I roll out the individual balls and then let my kids put in whatever fillings they like inside.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New picture of Toothsome #4

I didn't realize that the picture I posted of toothsome #4 was so crazy looking. While that is a cute, cross-eyed huge smile, I thought I would post one that looks a little more like her. She is wearing her blessing dress in this one.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I'm an Idiot

Last year, I donated money to "Daffodil Days" to support the American Cancer Society. It was kind of a pain to pick up the flowers, but I felt good about the cause and it was fun to have the daffodils in my house.

This year, I got a call from them asking if I wanted to donate again, and I said yes. I was really busy at the time and quickly wrote down where I was supposed to pick up the flowers and on what date.

So, I wrote down on my calendar on February 19th, "Pick up flowers". Well, since I was dealing with a sick child yesterday, I forgot to pick up the flowers. I called the Draper Smiths this morning and asked if I could still pick up my flowers. The man didn't know what I was talking about. I went again to the Daffodil Days web-site to double check the location and called them back. The man spent about 20 minutes looking for my order and said that he hadn't even heard of Daffodil days. I was trying to be polite but I donated my $40 and wanted my 2 dozen flowers. I kept on saying, "Are you sure there wasn't a huge order of Daffodils brought in yesterday?" "The web-site says I can pick them up on the 19th or the 20th." "This is really weird. Maybe they would be in some other department?" He was very polite and said that he would check with his flower department manager, he was sorry if there was any confusion, etc.

Well, found the original note I had scribbled the information on while cleaning up this afternoon and discovered that the pick up isn't until March 19th! So, to nice man in the floral department at Smiths, I am so sorry and I will see you in March. Opps.

Diet Coke--I am working on my problem

I have a problem. I drink way too much Diet Coke. I remember my freshman year at BYU, there were girls on my floor who would go to the local Maverick, fill up one of their 62 ounce Mega cups with Diet Coke and slowly drink one all day long. I remember being so disgusted by it. I never touched Diet Coke for the first 7 or so years of my marriage but then toothsome #3 came along. He is a wonderful, full of energy child but one that puts my sleep deprivation limits to the test. When he was about 6 months old, I started needing a Diet Coke to just get through the day. Then, my friend Lisa, (yes, I blame you) introduced me to Sonic Drive-Thru's Route 44. In the afternoon, Happy Hour as they call it, you can buy a 44 ounce Diet Coke with fresh lime for 1/2 price!

So, now for the improvement part. I have decided I can drink as much Diet Coke as I want, as long as I drink an equal amount of water. I can still enjoy the aspartame cola with lime flavor but I have to make sure I am still getting fresh unadulterated water. Now, I don't feel nearly as guilty.

Sun Protection

I had my 6 month skin cancer check up and everything looks good. The only sour moment came when the doctor saw toothsome #4 and about fell over. She is so fair, he immediately started talking to me about how I need to keep her out of the sun, what did I plan on doing this summer, etc.

It got me thinking because we have a great neighborhood pool right by our house and we practically live there in the summer. I have it down to a science the way I protect me and my older kids from the sun, but with a baby it is entirely different. So I have spent the last few days researching sun tents for toothsome #4. Do I buy this one from my favorite sun protection web site? It is pricey and looks like it belongs on the moon but it also looks really nice and high quality. Or do I get something more like this? Is it really worth it? Will I use it? Will she stay in it? Will it be so big and cumbersome that setting it up at the pool with be a hassle? I just don't know. Has anyone out there owned one? Please help!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sickness and more sickness

Last week, we dealt with seven ear infections in our house--mine being one of them. Because we were all sick, the house fell apart during this past week and I have struggled to just get the basics done. So, last night, I had the thought, "Everyone is finally on the mend and I will be able to get back into a good routine." Why then, when we have those thoughts, does it send a message to the universe to mess everything up?

Around midnight, toothsome #3 started throwing up and didn't quit until 4:00 am. He then slept until about 7:30 am, threw up some more and then became wild child. I am so tired, I can hardly think straight. My house is a mess and this upcoming week is super busy. I don't know when I will catch up. Listen universe, back off for a while and let me get some sleep and then get my house clean.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Favorite Food Recipe--Macaroni and Cheese

This is from Cooks Illustrated, my favorite TV cooking show. I have subscribed to their magazine for the last few years and own several of their cookbooks. Now that I have started making this Mac and Cheese, my kids won't eat any other kind.

Macaroni and Cheese

Bread Crumb Topping

6 slices white sandwich bread--torn into rough pieces
3 T buttter, cut into 6 pieces

Pasta and Cheese

1 pound elbow macaroni
1 T plus 1 t salt
5 T butter
6 T flour
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered mustard
5 cups milk (can use any type but I always have 1% at home, so that is what I use)
8 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

For Bread crumbs:

In blender, or food processor, pulse bread and butter until made into crumbs.

For Pasta and cheese:

Cook macaroni with 1 T salt until just past al-dente. Better to be more tender. Drain and set aside

In same pan, heat butter over medium high heat until foaming. Add flour and mustard and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color--about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, bringing mixture to a boil (must reach full boil to fully thicken.) Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistancy of heavy cream--about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses, until fully melted. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is steaming and heated through--about 6 minutes.

Transfure mixture to 9x13 pan, sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Broil until crumbs around deep golden brown 3 to 5 minutes.

Can add ham and peas, when adding the pasta for more of a cassarole feel.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hearts that are filled with love have no room for anything else

When I was 19, I did a study abroad to Israel, Egypt and Jordan. I remember sitting in some hotel conference room in Jordan listening to Spencer Condie, the General Authority over the area speak to the small gathering of students and members of the church in the area. He said something that has never left me.

"Hearts that are filled with love, have no room for anything else."

So, in the spirit of St. Valentine, fill your hearts with love and leave out any other junk.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ear Infections Part 2

7 ear infections! Yes, that is how many we currently have in our house. Toothsomes 2,3 and 4 all have double infections and I have one! And poor little toothsome #4 also got 4 shots today. Thank goodness for Tylenol and antibotics.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Problem Solved--Thank you Dr. Laura

I have to do at least two loads of laundry a day to keep ahead of the pile that forms in my laundry room. Loading the washer and putting them in the dryer is easy for me. It is the folding and putting the piles of clothes away that rarely happens. There seems to ALWAYS be a pile of clothes my family sorts through outside the laundry room door. Well, NOT ANYMORE!

New system: I fold clothes on my bed while listening to Dr. Laura. She is on in the afternoons from 1-3 pm here--which is also conveniently nap time for toothsome #4. Folding and putting away clothes has become a breeze while I listen to her tell some idiot girl that she shouldn't be sleeping with her boyfriend and paying for his illegal drugs. I now look forward to my afternoon ritual of listening to Dr. Laura and folding and putting away clothes. And, while I am upstairs, I usually get a bathroom or two cleaned as well.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ear Infection

I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. Turns out I have an ear infection--the ear drum actually ruptured. Boy to I now have empathy for my kids!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Live a Life of Meaning

There is a sad story in the news about a young family who was killed in a car accident--a needless one, caused by a teenage drunk driver. The family's father and two children survived while the pregnant mother and two other kids died.

Also in the news, sadly getting much more attention is the death of Anna Nicole Smith. An ex-Playboy bunny who lived a reckless, foolish life. I am so bugged that she would get attention in the news besides just a passing mention. There have been hour long shows dedicated to her this weekend. She was such a silly waste of frivolousness.

I also have been considering my own mortality this week because a year and 1/2 ago, I was diagnosed with melanoma. It was caught in it's earliest stages, but every six months I go in and the dermatologist looks everywhere I have skin, removes more moles and then call me approx. a week later with the results. So far, I have been blessed and in reality lucky, that no more melanomas have been found. I have one of the appointments at the end of this week. My skin has been analyzed so often (at first every three months by an oncologist) that I don't really panic too much, but I also acknowledge the 20% possibility of finding another melanoma.

Pointe? Life is so fragile it is scary and if I dwell on it too much, I can sink into a very scary place that I don't like go. So, instead, I just keep thinking, "Live a life of meaning! Raise good responsible children. Create good memories for those around you. Be a good wife. Be a caring mother. Focus outward--not inward. Don't be a waste of skin!

I remember my mother-in-law saying, "Thank God for every uneventful day." Amen!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Who Made This Terrible Mess?

I walked into the family room to find Toothsome #3 standing by an empty Kleenex box and saying in a very frustrated voice, "Who made this terrible mess?" That would be you, my little menace, you.

Also, do you like his dapper outfit? He won't go anywhere these days without a sweater vest on.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Favorite Recipe--Teriyaki Chicken

My friend Gabriela posted on Fridays, her favorite meals that you make and freeze and re-heat for later. I loved her suggestions and thought I pass on a favorite and relatively easy recipe my whole family loves. Handsome Dentist, who is a much better natural cook than I am, came up with this.

FYI: This is a great meal for people who have celiac because it is gluten free, if you buy the gluten free soy sauce. I have several friends as well as 2 nieces and a nephew with the autoimmune disorder.

Teriyaki Chicken

Cook 4-6 chicken breast--I prefer to grill them, cut into strips and set aside.

1/2 cup soy sauce
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons crystallized ginger--pressed into small pieces. * You can use fresh but crystallized is easier for me to always have on hand.
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

In a jar, take 1/2 cup cold water and 2 heaping tablespoons of corn starch--shake until well mixed.

Put sauce in a frying pan and let come to a boil. Add corn starch thickener and cook until sauce has a nice glaze ( 1 to 2 minutes.)

Add chicken and serve over Calrose rice. We like broccoli with it as well.

*For me the easiest way to do this, is pour the ginger in my garlic press and press it through.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Latest Mommy invention

When you don't want to dirty another knife, a "cracked sandwich" is the only way to go. Invented by me about 10 minutes ago, it brightened toothsome #3's day and enabled me to not have to clean another utensil.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Do Better

I have been thinking about my New Year's resolutions this past week. I am not one to sit down and write a new list every year because I am always working on the same things. This is not a bad thing because the list is full of good things that I should be doing--like exercise regularly.

So today, as I am picking up toys from the floor, the thought entered my head--do better. That is doable. I don't have to master any of the things on my list, just do them better. I can do better at reading the Book of Mormon. I can do better at making meal time a great family time. I can do better at giving Handsome Dentist Husband the attention he deserves from his wife. I can do better at being patient with my children. I can "Do better" because doing better is not creating a list of things to do, just improving on what I am already doing. And, if I add anything to the list, the fact that I added it is doing better.

Do better--I can do that.

Monday, February 5, 2007

To All Who Have Nursery Age Children

If you are an LDS person, who have children between the ages of 18months and 3 years old, please DO NOT bring your sick child into Nursery. And if for some reason, you think your child is not sick enough to keep out of Nursery, please DO NOT argue with the Nursery leader when she brings your sick child back to you--even if you think your cause is justified. I know how hard it is to deal with an active child at church and yes, I am sure it has been a difficult week for you dealing with a sick and I am sure, clingy child. I too have children, four to be exact and while I might not look child wise (and I really don't claim to be any sort of true expert on the subject) to you, I do not want your sick child in Nursery. This is not a personal attack on you or your child--just an attack on their sickness. And, all of us (scientists and doctors included) are trying to prevent the spread of illness and your child with a runny nose or hacking cough or having had just thrown up in Nursery is spreading illness to others. It is awkward enough to bring them back to you, so please DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT argue with me in the hall and then later, complain to others about your shabby treatment by the Nursery leader. Thank you.

Happy 35 Years!

Today is Dentist husband's 35th birthday. Our original plans were to celebrate it tonight but on Saturday, I remembered that Monday night is toothsome #1 in-door soccer practice. Monday's are usually a really busy day at the office and we normally don't see Dentist husband until around 7:00 pm, making it too late to go to dinner, celebrate and still get the kids to bed at a fairly normal time.

So, Saturday evening, we did an impromptu party and fun was had by all.

Happy Birthday Dentist Husband!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

This Article Moved Me

I was just about to throw away the paper today, when I came across this article. As I finished it, I was fighting back tears. It has been a long winter here in Utah with record breaking "inversion" days and it was nice to read this and gain a spiritual perspective to all of this.

Winter turns to spring — eventually
By Jerry JohnstonDeseret Morning News

I write this column "in the bleak midwinter," looking out my window at a landscape that could be the moon. Even the evergreens are gray. And the sky looks like oil shale. "Wish hard enough — and long enough — and Christmas will come," my father used to say. You could say the same for spring. It's always around the corner. It's that hoping "long enough" that takes a toll. I'm reminded of several women in the Bible. Time and again a woman who is either very old, or considered barren, gives birth to a baby. And that baby, more times than not, turns out to be a leader. It happened to Sarah, with her son Isaac. Elizabeth, John the Baptist's mother, found herself in the same fix. But thanks to a miracle, someone who was thought to be infertile became filled with something living, warm and alive. The dead came back to life. When a thing like that happens once in the Bible, it's interesting. When it happens twice, it's worth remembering. But when it happens over and over, there is usually a lesson to be learned. And the lesson here, I think, is: Don't dismiss anything as being too dry or desolate to be beyond redemption. Heaven can bring things back to life at a moment's notice. The "big lessons" are easy to spot. People's faith in the resurrection of the dead comes to mind. As does the faith of a pioneering people who walked West into a wilderness and, with the blessings of heaven, made it bloom. But there are also "little lessons" — personal lessons — to be learned. The mother and father who feel like giving up on a child whose life has become a barren desert could take heart from Sarah, Elizabeth and others. Even the most withered soul can be made alive. And there are times each of us feels as dry as cork inside. But with patience and faith, a heart like a saltine cracker can become — in the flicker of an eyelash — something as sweet and tender as homemade bread. So, as I sit here looking out at the landscape like that guy in the song "Cool Water" (all day I faced the barren waste), I know in a few weeks all that gray will be green again and all those empty flower beds will be filled with color. Does the fact I understand the cycles of the seasons make the rebirth of nature each year less of a miracle? Not in the least. In fact, if I had a little more faith, perhaps I could see that the eventual "coming alive" of all things parched and arid can be counted on as confidently as the coming of May. I'm not quite at that level of assurance yet. But, as with Christmas, I keep hoping long and hard for it to happen. In the meantime, all those stories of barren women becoming mothers in the Bible, the stories of thirsty deserts that have been brought into bloom and the brittle lives that have become soft and warm — in short, all these bleak midwinter "moonscapes" I've seen evolve into spring — help me to keep taking heart in the hope that there is bigger more glorious spring awaiting us all. And that thought takes a bit of the chill out of the ice outside.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

I Blame My Sister For This One

When I was a student at BYU, my oldest sister lived close by and I was able to see her and her young children often. In their family, the word they used for a BM was "blik". Because I was around them often and changed many of her children's diapers, that word became part of my vocabulary as well and was brought over into my marriage. It is the current word we use in our family for doing a number 2.

So, today, I am eating at McDonalds with my husband and children and they get the following toy in their Happy Meal--Mr. Blik. You can imagine what lunch was like for us after discovering him in their Happy Meal. Going to the bathroom will never be the same again.