Monday, April 30, 2007

Paper Airplanes

My son came home from school yesterday very excited because he had won the 1st grade paper airplane contest. I was thrilled for him and it brought back to me a fun memory.

About a year ago, my husband and I hosted a family dinner at our house for my husband's family. There are nine children in his family and most of them with their wives/husbands and children were able to come. My father-in-law, who had lost his wife to breast cancer over a year earlier, came as well. He brought with him a nice lady he was dating and her college-aged son. (He since has married this very nice lady.) My younger sister-in-law also brought her new boyfriend and this was his first exposure to the whole dentist husband clan (I think there are about 30 of us now.) Anyway, the day had the potential of being somewhat awkward because of several new people to the mix.

As everyone was arriving, dentist husband and toothsome #1 were sitting at the kitchen table making paper airplanes. They were trying out different designs and then toothsome #1 would go across the room and test them to see how far they would fly. As people started arriving, they would sit down at the table and join them. Before dinner was ready, everyone, with the exception of a sister-in-law who was helping me in the kitchen, was sitting around the table, laughing, trading design secrets and having a good time testing their airplane designs. None of the awkwardness I was concerned about existed. I commented about this to dentist husband once everyone had left, and he just smiled and said, "That was by design. I was hoping the paper airplanes would be a good ice breaker." I marveled at my husband's wisdom. And, the spend thrift in me was impressed that it only cost us a 1/2 a ream of paper.

If anyone is interested, cute long shorts

If anyone is interested, I purchased these from Lands End about two weeks ago. We are having unusually warm weather right now and so I wore them for the first time today and have had several people stop me and ask me where I got them. They come just below the knee but don't look creepy weird like some long shorts do.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Yard Work

I spent about two hours out in my flower beds today. I have three. I want to have more flower beds, but we still need to expand our back porch (my husband and I are still negotiating on exactly what to do), so I have one main one under my front porch and two smaller ones. I really didn't know anything about planting until 8 years ago, when we bought our first house and I realized that I needed to learn. I am still learning and every year, I feel great excitement about the upcoming planting season and what flowers I am going to try.

Anyway, today was "amend the soil" day. I went to my local nursery and bought four big, heavy bags of compost and worked them into the soil. (Thank you to the nice employee who saw me with two little kids--one crying and helped me load them into my car.) While at the nursery, I bought two more buckets (?) of balloon flowers and three packets of seeds for some more Love In a Mist. (FYI, the picture on Wikipedia doesn't do Love in Mist justice to how truly beautiful they are.)

I plant Love in a Mist purely for sentimental reasons. I think most people consider them a "dated" flower but it is one my Mom's favorite flowers and the first house we purchased, my husband's grandmother's home built in 1941, had a ton of them growing on the side of the house. They are one of the only true blue flowers and every time I see them growing, I get really warm happy feelings about my and husband's heritage.

So, now my arms and back are tired but my beds look good and I have the warm happy feeling about the upcoming season. I am now going outside to enjoy the cool night air.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Family Movie Night

Tonight is Family Movie Night. Once a month, I rent a movie everyone will like, make a kids favorite dinner (tonight is "Chip Dinner"--homemade beans, homemade guacamole, salsa and baby carrots), pop some popcorn and then we all sit down and enjoy a movie together. Tonight we are watching "Night At the Museum."
We do this regularly (almost religiously) and the kids love it and look forward to it. The hardest part for me and my husband is finding a movie we are willing to sit through as well as the kids. Here are some titles that have worked for both Mom and Dad and kids. (Keep in mind, this is for ages 8 and younger.)

1. The Stewart Little Movies (I and II)
2. High School Musical
3. Jump In
4. Read it and Weep
5. The Herbie Movies (including the old Classics)
6. Shrek (I and II)
7. Monsters Inc.

I am sure there are tons more but as I mentioned in the previous post, toothsome #3 is needing my attention in the bathroom.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Adventures in Potty Training

I love being a mother--even dealing with the yucky parts--like diaper changes, cleaning up throw-up, wiping runny noses, having projectile spit-up land all down the front of my shirt just as I am about to go up and lead the closing song in Sacrament meeting, etc. I feel it is such privilege and blessing to be a mother that any of the work is so worth it, with the exception of potty training. I HATE potty training.

My wise sister (sibling #3) who has five boys, told me to not start potty training until a child is three. I have added to that until they are at least three and really ready. I mean really ready--like them telling you when they are going pee-pee when they have their diaper on. I want no accidents on my carpet. I want no wet puddles on the wood floor. I don't want any accidents in the Playland at McDonalds. Once they have proven to me they are completely aware of going in their diaper, then we move on to underpants. No sooner. That is my rule and it has worked with my first two kids. My two oldest children potty trained in 24 hours. Yes, I rocked as a potty training mother.

Until . . .this morning toothsome #3 announces that he is done wearing diapers and wants to wear big boy pants. As his mother, I know he is not ready. Yes, he is three, but he has given no true indication that he is ready and so I ignore him. He tells me we need to go to the store and buy him big boy pants. I ignore him. We are out doing errands and he reminds me to buy him big boy pants. So, I give in. We go and buy some Spiderman and Cars emblazoned underpants and go home. Within 10 minutes, he has tried on every pair and gone pee-pee in the toilet once and had one accident. He is not ready but this strong-willed child will not let me put a diaper on him! He is done with diapers.

My one small success is that he did do a number 2 in the potty just before bedtime. Hurray! So, I will keep everyone posted. I have a feeling we are in for a bumpy ride.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Congratulations Oldest Nephew

Congratulations Oldest Nephew who just got called to the Russia Rostav mission!

Product I Love--Hanna Andersson

For some reason, I have always identified with my Scandinavian part of my heritage more than any other of the other family lines. Maybe it is because my maiden name is Swedish and I am so blond and blue eyed, I have had people assume I was born and raised in a Scandinavian country. This was particularly true when I served my mission on Temple Square and I would have Swedish and Norwegian visitors come up to me and assume I spoke their language. Imagine their surprise, when they would discover I speak Spanish! Anyway, I digress.
Years ago, I discovered Hanna Andersson. I realize that they are an Americanized version of Swedish clothing but regardless, I have been a huge fan of their clothing from day one. The brand just fits my body better than most companies and I somehow feel closer to my heritage when I wear their clothes--in particular their clogs. Now that I have two daughters, I love that I can buy the matching mother/daughter outfits. Every Christmas I threaten my husband that we are going to buy their matching green, red and white pajamas for everyone and make it our Christmas card. However, I think that would be the year, my husband would refuse to be in the card.
Anyway, if you haven't discovered Hanna Andersson, go to their web-site and check it out.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I'm So Proud

I went to the grocery store with my four kids. I know that sounds like a ton of hard work but I firmly believe that a trip to the grocery store is full of fun learning opportunities with my kids and never mind a "group trip" to the store. Today was no exception.
Today, while shopping they all begged for a jumbo bag of Doritos. I agreed and we kept on shopping. We then passed a huge display of rubber balls and they all begged for a ball. I said no. Then toothsome #1 consults with his siblings and says to me, "If we don't get the Doritos can we get a ball? The Doritos are $3 and one ball is $3." Impressed with his logic and math skills, (and grateful I won't have to clean Dorito fingers later in the day) I agree to that. While picking out a ball with a lot conversation between the kids, Toothsome #1 notices that smaller balls are just $1. He then says, "Can we each get a ball for $1? It will be the same price as one $3 ball." (Toothsome #4 is only 6 months old and doesn't need a ball.) Again, good math skills and good logic and so I agree. So, we leave the store with three balls, three very happy children (toothsome #4 was not so happy as I should have nursed before going to the store) and very proud mother. Good use of your math skills, toothsome #1!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Story of the Ring

On Christmas Eve 2006, I decided that Santa would not come until I had mopped our kitchen floor. Our wooden floor was a mess and I hand mopped the whole thing. At the end of my mopping, I went to put on my wedding ring, wedding band and another ring that I wear on my right hand ring finger. In my haste, I put the wedding band on the right hand instead of the left. My right hand is bigger than my left hand and immediately after making that mistake, I panicked realizing that I would have a hard time getting it off.
Poor dentist husband walked in the kitchen to see me crying with about a cup of olive oil all over my hands trying to remove the ring. It would not budge and in my frantic attempts at removing the ring, I had caused the knuckle to swell to about twice its normal size. Dentist husband calmed me down, looked at my hand and said, "You are just going to have to wait for your hand to heal before we can try and remove it but if you don't have the patience for that, we can cut it off."
I did not want to cut it off. You see my husband made the wedding band. When we were engaged, he lovingly spent hours making me a hand-made, one of a kind wedding band to go with my engagement ring. The ring means SO much to me and symbolizes so much of the goodness that is my husband.
So, digging deep, I used all of the patience I could muster and waited, and waited and waited. I tried to forget it was on the wrong finger, reminding myself occasionally, that I was still wearing it even though it was not with the engagement ring on my other hand. Every once in a while, I would move it around on my finger, trying to see if I might be able to take it off but realizing I could not. This went on for FOUR LONG MONTHS.
Then, yesterday, after rubbing lotion all of my son's face and thus getting lotion all over my hands, the ring felt loser than normal and after a little bit of struggle, I GOT THE RING OFF! Hooray! Happy Day!
So, that is the story of the ring. I learned that I can be patient and I now have my ring back where it belongs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Envisioning Myself Being a Cake-Making Goddess

My friend Lindsey posted this on her website. I was so moved about how cute those little poppy seed bundt cakes were, I immediately ordered a mini bundt cake pan for myself. For some reason, those cute little bundt cakes stirred up all of these great food presentation fantasies. There are six people in my family and I see myself making these cute little cakes and my husband and kids delighting in there own little cake. I see myself making them for Book club and everyone spontaneously cheering out loud at how darling and tasty they are. I see inviting neighbors over for Family Home Evening, and smiling demurely when they see the cute little cakes I bring out for dessert. I see myself having my in-laws over for dinner and "wowing" them with these little cakes.
But first, the pans need to arrive and then I need to put these fantasies into action. So, if you are in my book club, or I invite you over for Family Home Evening, please cheer out loud when I serve you a cute little bundt-cake. Thank you. If you want to make one of your own, you can buy them here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Books On CD

I am an avid reader, usually reading about two books a week. (Some might ask how I do that being the mother of four young kids and the real, honest answer is that a lot of housework that should get done, doesn't get done.) I love books. I love the smell of books. I love the anticipation of starting a new book. I love the satisfaction of finishing a book. I love seeing how the author unravels a story. Books are very important to me and I hope to pass that love onto my children.
Anyway, recently, I purchased the first Harry Potter book on CD to listen to with my children in the car. We drive down to Provo quite a bit and on Sundays it is common for us to just go on a family drive to force children who should have taken a nap but our church schedule messes it up, to fall asleep. My older kids are starting to complain about how boring it is, so I decided to try out Harry Potter to see if it would help pass the time.
Books on CD are wonderful! Hearing a book read aloud adds a whole new dimension to the story. The kids now ask if we can go on car rides, just so they can listen to Harry Potter. My kids are too little to read the books themselves and the movies are still too scary for all of my kids with the exception of my oldest to watch and this has been a great avenue for them to learn the story and be culturally literate on the subject. My husband who is not a reader is enjoying listening too. It has been a "win" in all areas.
So now, I have decided to check out of the library other books on CD for me to listen to while I do housework. I feel like I am embarking on some new exciting journey.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's Official

Toothsome #4 just rolled over from her back to her stomach. As she hates being on her stomach, she quickly became one really mad baby.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Goodness of a Hamburger

I have always loved hamburgers. Until my college years, I was a very picky eater and would always order a hamburger at any restaurant--Chinese, Italian, Greek, you name it, I got a hamburger. (For the record, I now have no real food issues and have given up my picky ways). A hamburger for me is total comfort food. When having a bad day, a hamburger cheers me up like no other food item. I can go from grumpy to happy after one bite. I used to feel guilty about my love the all-American hamburger until I realized that most people consider a well rounded/balanced meal: a piece of meat, a roll, and some vegetables. A hamburger is just that--just all piled together in one delicious stack.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Want to become a Quilter--Maybe

I have always loved and been fascinated by hand-made quilts. I love the color variations, the beautiful patterns, the thrift of using old clothing, etc. At one point, in high school, I even considered making a quilt for my Laurel class project that represented all of the Young Woman values. However, I am not much of a seamstress and my few disastrous attempts at using a sewing machine were well, disastrous. So, every time I think about taking up quilting, the thought says for about a week and then goes away. I am currently in one of my "thinking about becoming a quilter" stages.
Currently, I am reading all of the quilting-themed books by Jennifer Chiaverini. The books present quilting as such a fun, relaxing, enjoyable hobby. As I have been reading them, I think, "Wow! I would love to have a house full of beautiful quilts. I could join a quilting guild. Once I put the kids to bed, I could quilt." When in reality, I have no time to quilt. I have four kids under the age of 7 in my house. I am lucky to get dinner on the table.
However, that said, I want to make quilts so, I can make, to quote Jennifer Chiaverini, ". . .the act of creation, in piecing together beauty and harmony from what had been left over and cast aside. Her art would not endure as long as painting or sculpture but it would outlive her, and every time her descendants wrapped themselves in one of her quilts, she would be with them, embracing them." (From The Quilter's Legacy). I can still fantasize, check out quilting books from the library and enjoy the idea of one day becoming a quilter. I do want to become a quilter--maybe.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Product I Love--Love Boxes

I discovered these darling hand-painted boxes through my friend Lindsey's web page. They are officially called Love Boxes and I ordered three of them to add to my Easter decorations. They came and they were more beautiful than the pictures on-line and instantly, my children wanted to handle them. About an hour after I set them out, toothsome #2 handed one to me and told me to open it. Inside, she and toothsome #1 had written little love notes to me for me to read. What a great addition to the cannon of Easter memories we will have! Why else do I love this product?
1. Again, I am always looking for small businesses to support and this is another story of a mother doing these out of her home. I love to see mothers succeed in their home-based businesses, doing something beautiful and creative.
2. They arrived beautifully packaged. It was a joy to open each individually wrapped love box. My kids and I had a great time just opening each one.
3. They are really little individual pieces of artwork. Each one is painted with such beautiful detail. It has been fun to study the detail on each one.
So, now is the time to check Love Boxes out!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

We've Had Visitors

My brother and family came here for their Spring Break. It was a ton of fun and it was sad to see them go.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Favorite Recipe--Blue Cheese dip

I got this recipe off of one of those TV news segments about 8 years ago. If you like blue cheese, it is a fun dip to make.

Blue Cheese Dip

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese (I like the lighter version--Nuefchatel)
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 Tablespoons Cheese Whiz (I know that sounds horrible but it really is the "secret" ingredient)
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
2 Tablespoons of diced red onion
2 Tablespoons diced green onion tops
1/2 cup sliced almonds

With a hand mixer, mix cream cheese and buttermilk until smooth. Add cheese whiz and mix until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve with small bread rounds or quality crackers. (I like it with a product called, "Nut Thins" made by Blue Diamond.)

Monday, April 2, 2007

Book List

My friend Paige had this on her blog, and I thought I would see how well read I am. I am not sure exactly where this book list came from.

Look at the list of books below:
*Bold the ones you’ve read
*Italicize the ones you want to read
*Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.
*Cross out the ones you are so not interested in that you would never read.
If you are reading this: tag; you’re it!
1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King) (put line through)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. the hobbit
22. the catcher in the rye(J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. the red tent(Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible - (Yes, curtesy of having to make up so many days in early morning seminary)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)