Thursday, March 29, 2007

I've Still Got It

I took my kids to Wendy's for dinner, I had the kids sit in our regular spot and I went and ordered. While in line, a high school aged boy tried to pick me up! I had to be at least 15 years older than the poor boy. Needless to say, it was very flattering and I now have bragging rights. Yep, I've still got it! (Including, relatively flattering picture of me to show all of you that I do still indeed HAVE it.)

Spring Cleaning Update

Rooms to clean: 12

Rooms cleaned: 12

Yes, after having three very nice house cleaners here for three hours, my house is spotless! It looks like it did when we moved in. And, while they were cleaning, I was able to sort through paperwork that has been neglected. It was a WONDERFUL present from my mom and so fun to have done. I feel so spoiled.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Didn't Want to Like This Book

For my book club this month, Tess chose "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. It is a World War II story dealing with the sad, grim reality of World War II. I was upset about this book choice. I have read plenty of World War II themed books. I cried throughout The Diary of Ann Frank, I gained a new perspective about the meaning of life through reading, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I hoped I was as brave as the Ten Boom sisters in The Hiding Place. I have watched various movies on the subject--Schindler's List being the most recent. I even lived in Israel and visited the museums, met descendants of the survivors, celebrated multiple Jewish holidays and tried to learn Hebrew. For gosh sakes, even my roommate my freshman year was Jewish! I have felt plenty of pain for the sufferings of the people during World War II. Why would I need to read another book on the subject. Why?
Because as much as I didn't want to like this book, I discovered that I not only liked it, I loved it. It is beautifully written. The story is narrated by Death and tells about World War II in Germany and about a German (non-Jewish) little girl. It was a fascinating and enjoyable (albeit with plenty of sadness) read.
Thank goodness for my book club, because otherwise, I would have never read this book and missed out on an amazing book reading experience. Thank you Tess!

Spring Cleaning Update

Rooms to clean: 12
Rooms cleaned :0

However, I solved the problem by calling a cleaning service who is coming to deep clean my house for me. For my birthday, my mom gave me three house cleaning visits and I am now cashing in. I still have to go through all of the closets but at least my house will get a great cleaning.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

UV Index

I just learned about this cool web-site. It tells you the uv index for your city. Pretty cool.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Favorite Thing--Scrappy Notes

A few years ago, my sister (I'll call her Goddess), gave me a darling notepad with my name on it from a company called Scrappy Notes. After calling Goddess and thanking her, I found out that they are made by a mother in Colorado. I went to the website, loved what I saw and have been purchasing from them ever since. Now for birthdays, all of my friends, neighbors, visiting teaching companions and visiting teachers receive something from me from this company. (If you are reading this and haven't gotten anything from me yet, realize I probably have something for you with your name on it in my "to give gift" box.)
Why do I like this company?

1. As my husband is a small business owner (dentist), I like to purchase from small business people and support their products. I am always looking for good small businesses to give my business to. This is one of those great small business. (Read about the founder on the ABOUT link on their site.)
2. They have great customer service. One time, there was a misspelling of one my friend's names and after a quick e-mail to them, I received a corrected notepad within a few days with an apology for any inconvenience they might have caused.
3. As a mother, I am constantly writing quick notes to my kid's teachers. These notepads are perforated on top for quick and clean removal and with my name written clearly on the bottom, so there is no question who the note is from. Last year, my son's Kindergarten teacher commented, "I love how you use the same pad for your notes to me because I always know they are from you."
4. Selection, selection, selection. Because all of my friends have different tastes in colors, interests, etc. I can essentially design my own gift to them. From the font type, font color, ribbon color, picture on the notepad etc., you pick. For my California beach loving friend, I sent a flip-flop design. For my gardening friend--a floral design.
5. I am singing the praises of their notepads, but after you check their web-site you will find various other products from birth announcements, to address labels (I love the Christmas themed ones I used for my Christmas cards), thank you cards, etc.

So, check out their site.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I'm an Aunt Again!

We just found out that Dentist husband's sister, Kelly, had her baby this morning. I don't know many details except her name and that it was a scheduled c-section because the baby was breach. I am sure she will post more on her blog about it when she comes home. So, once again I am an aunt--counting both sides of the family that is number 23 for me. Congratulations Kelly and husband!

Also, as I am writing this, my Roomba is vacuuming my kitchen. I LOVE my Roomba.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Yard Maintenance Tip

When we put in our yard three years ago, we got a raw deal and quite a bit of the sod had crabgrass in it. We had a long process of dealing with the people who we purchased the sod from and that is another long, frustrating, story. End result is that I know what to do to get rid of crab grass and our yard is free of it and other such non-grass menaces.

At least in Utah and Colorado, (and probably Idaho), when the forsythia is blooming, you put pre-emergent down. If you do it too early or too late, nothing will get rid of the crab grass. Out in my drive today, I noticed that the forsythia is blooming in abundance, so now is the time! Everyone go out and spread your pre-emergent. You (and your grass) will thank me later.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I Don't HATE Spring and favorite recipe--Eclairs

Ok, I have had enough people tell me they have read my blog about Spring (but are not leaving comments--leave comments I tell you) and are disgusted that I hate Spring. For the record, I do not hate Spring. I might not be ready for Spring, but I don't hate it. As a matter of fact, Spring is my 2nd favorite season, 2nd to Fall. Unfortunately, Spring here in Utah is followed way too quickly by a long, HOT, Utah desert, summer. Spring lasts about 2 weeks here in Utah and then we have miserable summer. I know it is not a humid summer, but it is a desert hot, can't get away from the beating down on you sun summer. I am a mountain girl, raised in a small town nestled in the Rockies, where in the evenings, the summer nights cooled down. Not so, in HOT, Utah desert living. So, I do not hate Spring just the season that comes after Spring. A season, the comes, way too soon after Spring.

Ok, enough of my ranting. Here is the recipe for eclairs. It is from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

In a saucepan, combine butter, 1 cup water and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir till mixture forms a ball that doesn't separate. Remove from heat. Cool 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth.

Drop batter by heaping tablespoons, onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and split immediately and removed any soft dough from inside. Fill (with pudding, whipping cream, (or combine both), fresh fruit, ice cream, etc.) and then spoon on top, softened in the microwave, chocolate frosting. (I like Betty Crocker.) Makes between 12-14 puffs.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Greatest Day Ever and other things

We have been having unseasonably warm weather for the last week or so. As a result, we have been playing outside as much as possible. Yesterday morning, toothsome #1 practiced riding his new bike (one with hand breaks and gears) all morning. We then went to Barbacoa for lunch (his favorite) and then came home, rode bikes some more, then went to RC Willey and finally purchased the much looked for play set. (RC Willey had the Deluxe model for sale and so we purchased it. It is much nicer then the original one we planned on buying and we saved over $1000 purchasing from RC Willey instead of directly from the company. Here is what we are getting delivered to our house next week.) After the purchase, we drove to Provo, ate at McDonalds with a really cool play land and then went to watch "The Divine Comedy" perform. Dentist Husband's sister (she is Jackie Smaz in the "Blogs I Read" section) is in the troop. They always throw out lots of candy and glow sticks. At the end of the evening, toothsome #1 said to me, "This has been the greatest day ever!" I agree.

On a side note, I am in the middle of making Eclairs. It is our family's tradition to make them every St. Patrick's Day. I dye the filling green. I always dread making them and then am surprised at how easy they are to make once I start. I will post the recipe and if I am organized enough, a picture tomorrow.

I'm posting a picture of toothsome #4. I have started calling her my little baby pig. I think the picture will explain why.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Spring Cleaning Update

Rooms to Clean: 12
Rooms Cleaned: 0

However, I have managed to play outside with my kids a lot, finished books #2 and #3 in the Elm Creek Novel series (there are a total of 10), folded a ton of laundry, gone to our last (hooray!) in-door game, nursed toothsome #4 countless times, gone to the grocery store 4 times and since Smiths was having their case lot sale added to my food storage, wiped off my kitchen counters about 50 times, attended Book Club and grilled Marguerite about what I should have on hand for my brother's family who are coming into town the first week of April and all have celiac, changed too many to count diapers, found out an unnamed friend was pregnant and had to talk on the phone with her about that exciting upcoming event for a LONG time, arranged my visiting teaching, think about my back porch some more (and no I haven't called any stone places yet) and watch a lot of fun TV with my husband at night. Oh, and had a few too many Route 44's but with equal amount of water.

So, no Spring cleaning but I have gotten plenty done.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I'm So Slow

I had lunch with Dentist husband today and I was venting to him, how much time it takes me to accomplish anything. I used as the example our playset purchase. We decided three years ago to purchase a playset. It took me 3 years to find the playset I wanted and no, I haven't ordered it yet because I have to wait for HOA approval. I then used as an example, our kitchen table and chairs. 8 years ago, dentist husband and I saw at the mall, the table and chairs we wanted and it took us 5 years to find the exact company who made them and another year after that to order them.

My husband then pointed out to me that my slowness is not necessarily a bad thing. He said, "You know what you want. It just takes you a long time to find it. You don't settle for just any purchase. You look and look until you find the thing you are looking for--not just something close to what you are looking for."

He is right. So, it is OK that we don't have a TV hutch. It is OK, my kids don't have bedroom furniture. It is OK I haven't figured out how big to make my back porch. Once I find exactly what I want, then I will get it. Until then, I will enjoy what little, perfect to my specifications, things I do have.

The picture is of the above mentioned, kitchen table and chairs. I don't know how to make it turn the correct way.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring Cleaning

With tempertures in the 60's and Spring offically only a few days away, it is time for some true Spring cleaning.

Rooms to Spring clean: 12
Roomed Spring cleaned: 0

I'll keep everyone posted.

Playset Found

In a previous post, I mentioned my worry and anxiety about what we are doing in our backyard, size of concrete pad, etc. One of the worries has been what playset to buy. After almost two years of looking, I have finally selected one and assuming the HOA approves it (there is one exactly like it up the street so I can't imagine they would not approve it), it is a go. So, here it is. We are adding the rock wall that is listed as an option on the bottom.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Favorite Recipe--Tomato Bruschetta

For birthdays in our family, we always take the kids to Macaroni Grill. Dentist husband and I love it because it is not fast food and the kids love it because they always bring out a huge piece of chocolate cake for the birthday person. Toothsome #1 always orders their appetizer, tomato bruschetta for his main coarse. Last night for dinner, I had a craving and tried to duplicate their recipe. Toothsome #1 claimed it tastes just like the one at Macaroni Grill.

Tomato Bruschetta

4 medium sized tomatoes, diced
4-6 fresh basil leaves--minced
6 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

8 slices of french bread

Toast french bread, rub with fresh garlic and put tomato mixture on top. Add a thin slice of fresh Parmesan cheese on top.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Year is Over

I am coming to an end of my year long boycott of Costco. Why, you ask, did I boycott Costco? It really wasn't because they did anything bad to me. I was a little frustrated when they stopped carrying Pampers Diapers but that didn't cause the boycott. It was caused by everyone I associated with seemed unable to function without shopping there. It seemed every time I would ask someone something the answer was, "Oh, I got it at Costco." It appeared to me that no meal could be made, no flowers could be purchased, no clothing or house decorations could be acquired unless they were acquired at Costco.

So, I decided to see if could function without a bi-monthly trip to Costco. Analysis? I faired quite well. Because Costco doesn't take coupons, I discovered that I have actually spent less money shopping at my local stores using coupons and following their sales. I don't use coupons that often (I don't even take the Sunday paper) but when I had one, I would use it. I should mention I have an Albertsons and Smiths super close, so after checking the flyers, I would pick which store I would save the most money on per week and then then shop there. So, I did have that option and that indeed help in my money savings.

I can say that my food storage is not as full, largely because I wasn't forced to buy bulk. I am dangerously low on tuna fish for example and I think I am completely out of canned beans and canned corn. I did miss the thrill of filling my cart to overflowing at Costco knowing that I was really well stocked for quite a while. I didn't miss the always over $150 amount I would spend every time I went there.

So, I am glad to say I can live without Costco. I will renew the card but I know I won't be going as frequently as I did in the past. Oh, I know for some of you, living with out Costco is a hyerisy and if I have offended any of you I do apologize.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Concrete and Outside Tables

We have now lived in our current house for about 3 and 1/2 years. We built it and for the most part I have been very pleased with the house and the choices we made. However, our backyard concrete pad is very small and I would really like to expand it, so we can put a patio table on it. I was raised eating the majority of my meals outside in the summer and I want to pass that onto my kids.

So, this the year to expand the patio, purchase a table and as a side note, buy a play set for the kids. I have spent countless hours outside rethinking how big to make the pad. I want it big enough for fun but not so big that it takes up too much grass/play space. I don't want stamped, colored concrete, just a plain normal big useful pad. I am losing sleep over this. How big to make it?!!

My other frustration is the patio furniture. I was raised with a flagstone table. It was wonderful because it was left outside all winter and no weather could destroy it. Come rain, snow, strong winds the table was solid and indestructible. I want that kind of table and I am having a very hard time finding it. I have gone to all of the patio furniture stores and they all look at me like I am crazy. So, Monday morning starts the calling of all the local stone places to see how much it is going to cost to have one custom made. If I lived in Colorado, I could go to a place in Lyons, CO pick out the table I wanted and they would deliver it. So far, no such luck here but hopefully, Monday something will turn up in a reasonable price range. And reality is that if I get too many distractions from my kids, it might be more like Tuesday or Wednesday before I can make the call.

Oh, last but not least, I have an annoying backyard neighbor who yells directions to me over the fence. He is an older retired gentleman who has plenty of time to be annoyed by anything me or my kids do. He has reminded me more than once, that anything we do, he will have to look at. He currently HATES our "just grass" back there and has already told the Home Owners Association (HOA) that our backyard is too plain and not up to his standards. So, on top of all of this, once my decisions are made, I have to submit it all to the HOA for approval, so the backyard neighbor, when he submits his complaint (which he will do regardless of what we do), will just have to deal with it. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Happy Birthday Toothsome #3!

Happy Birthday to you little one! Three years ago, you came into the this world fast and furious and haven't quit moving since. You have been a delightful addition to our family.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I'm Not Ready for Spring!

We have been having warm Spring weather today. I went outside to clean up the garage and sweep my front porch when I noticed that little green leaves are sprouting through the dirt--a sign that my bulbs are getting ready to make an appearance. I know most people get tired of the cold weather and look forward to Spring but not me. I like Spring but I don't love it, mostly because Spring is a very short season in Utah and that leads to Summer very quickly.
I am not a fan of Summer. Why? Well, it is a mixture of things. I have always been somewhat of a heliophobe (fear of the sun) even before having skin cancer. Being so fair, I have always felt a need to hide from the sun and feel very exposed when I am out in it. I have never relished, like most of my friends, being outside in the sun. I don't like getting that sticky feeling as sweat starts dripping down my skin. Feeling "hot" is a miserable for me.
I also have never liked the uncertainty of summer--even as a child, I preferred the school year and the organization of the days. I am not someone who like surprises and in summer, it seems like every morning was an uncertain fate. How will I fill the next 12 hours?
As a mother, summer brings about worry of West Nile Virus, constant application of sunscreen, worry and supervision at the swimming pool, making sure my kids have helmets on when riding their bikes, making sure they drink enough water, play outside, but not in the street, etc. I do better in cold months, when I keep everyone close to the nest, indoors, and safe.
But, life is too short to be miserable and so I will do my best to enjoy the short Spring and then the LONG summer. But truth be known, I would be happier with a longer winter.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Moving In Slow Motion

I am having one of those days where it feels like I am moving in slow motion. I know I have been busy doing things all morning, but when I look around the house, I can't see any real progress made. I want the house to be clean and look good for when my husband comes home. I know he is hard working so I can stay home and make life good for him and the kids. I am trying. Why isn't my hard work noticeable?

Monday, March 5, 2007

In-Door Soccer

We are down to the final two weeks of in-door soccer. Hooray!

I HATE in-door soccer for the following reasons:
1. Practices are on Monday nights, at a junior high school about 15 minutes away and last an hour and 1/2. They start at 5:30 pm, which is normally before my husband comes home, so I take all four kids to the practice. We are all starving once the practice gets out and that usually means fast food dinner.
2. Games are on Wednesday nights; which is the same night as Young Mens; which means my husband can never go to the games; which means I take and manage all four children to the games every week by myself.
3. The games are played in an in-door gym with very slippery floors. Kids are sliding all over the place, crashing into each other and I am sure one of these games, some child is going to be rushed to the hospital because of a head injury.

So, why do I do it? Only because I love my first child and he LOVES soccer and begged to play this winter. It is also good physical activity for him. However, next year, I am going to try and talk him into in-door tennis. Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Little Joys

After a morning spent making sure everyone had done their Saturday chores (and having to take away computer game privileges from my kids because they weren't doing their Saturday chores), I decided to take the kids to Sonic and get slushies and then take the car to be washed. We just went to one of those places where you pay your six dollars and pull forward and it cleans the outside of your car with the machine the sprays soap, water, etc. on it while you stay inside.
Anyway, the kids LOVED it! They giggled each time a bar would pass and hit the window on their side with soap, water, tri-colored protectant, etc. I turned off the CD I was listening to and just enjoyed listening to their laughter and chatter about the whole thing. At the end of it, my kids (even my 7 almost 8 year old) said, "That was such a fun adventure! Thank you Mommy. Can we do that with you again?" It's just one of the little joys of being a mother. I am so lucky.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Favorite Recipe--Mexican Layered Dip

In high school, a friend's mother made this dip whenever a group of us were at her house. I have one specific memory of standing by it with several friends (Hilary and Brett Reynolds in particular) and eating the whole 9x13 pan while we talked. At BYU, I was craving it once, called my friend's mom from my dorm room and she mailed me the recipe. I like it because you can serve it cold or hot but I prefer it when it is cooked.

Mexican Layered Dip

2 15 ounce cans refried beans with green chilies
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterry Jack cheese
4 green onions, chopped
1 4 ounce can sliced black olives
torilla chips

Spread beans in a 9x13 baking dish. Combine mayo and sour cream and spread over bean dip. Sprinkle chopped avocados with lemon juice; layer over mayonnaise mixture. Cover with salsa. Sprinkle with cheeses, then onions. Top with black olives. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with torilla chips.