Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Calling

Today, I received a new calling. I am glad. I have been in Nursery for the last 2 1/2 years and been the actual Nursery leader for a year and 1/2. I think I am in the minority when it comes to being someone that actually likes being a Nursery worker. I was the one that actually approached the Primary Presidency and offered to be a Nursery worker after seeing the hard time they were having filling the calling. (Way too many ing's, sorry!) I have really enjoyed it for the last 2 or so years but in the last few months, it has really taken its toll on me. I don't know if there is any specific reason for it. It could be because toothsome #4 is about to turn one and my patience reserves have already been spent before I got to church. We have had a few new kids come in that are difficult, a few parents yell at me when I take their sick kids back to them, a new boy who is a spitter, but that is always part of Nursery. So, I really don't know why I reached the end of my rope with the calling but needless to say, I am glad to be done with Nursery for awhile. The new nursery leader is a friend of mine and she will be excellent.

Anyway, I am now the Cub Scout leader for my son's troop. I have held this calling before (twice actually) and never had a child in it, so it will be fun for both of us. When they announced my name during Sacrament meeting, toothsome #1 actually said very loudly, "YES!" He has only been in a few months, and so I am assuming, I will be his Wolf and Bear leader. I am looking forward to it.

On a side note, I am planning on getting out all of the Halloween decorations tonight. On Wednesday, I am going post pictures of my favorite ones. If any of you want to join me in posting your favorite Halloween decorations on Wednesday, please do. If you do, leave me a comment on Wednesday's post so I can go over and look at yours. I love seeing what people do!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm Excited

I'm excited because this arrived in the mail as well as bunch of other things I ordered for me and friends from Scrappy Notes. I am not showing my family one because it actually has my kids names on it and (and address) as as everyone knows, while I have no problem sharing my life with you all, I like to leave a little privacy space. Anyway, it is so darling and it is just fun to send letters with the personalized address labels on the corner.

I love sending letters. I try to send at least one note a week to a friend. There is something so fun about getting a letter in the mail. I thrill sending and opening letters from friends. While I love the Internet, e-mail and blogging, there is something special and different about opening a sealed envelope addressed to me. I love the feel of the paper between my fingers, the works.

Trash Day

Today is trash day. I LOVE trash day. I love emptying my house of all the unnecessary junk. I thrill going from trash can to trash can, emptying each one, knowing that all of that stuff is out of my life. You are banished messy diapers! You are gone chicken fat! Out junk mail, excess paperwork and cereal boxes! Go to the dump and leave my house forever. Anyone else feel this way or do I need to find a hobby?

Monday, September 24, 2007

I'm Hungry

Every season, I sit down with my bills and reevaluated our budget. I do this every season for several reasons but the main one is that in the fall, our water, heating, and electric bills are very different than what they are in the Summer, or Spring or Winter. Also, every season, we have different children activities that cost different amounts of money. I like to take a fresh look every 3 months and see what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong.

This leads to me our eating out budget. I LOVE to eat out. My husband does too and so we have always budgeted a lot more for that than most. We are not extravagant people at all but eating out is one area that we both are willing to dump a lot of money. In looking at our budget, I realized that a lot of the eating out comes when I am out doing errands with the kids and I have not planned very well and I am starving. I don't think well hungry, and even if we are on the way home, and I could just delay my hunger for about 10 minutes, I swing through a drive-thru and grab something. Now that McDonalds and Wendy's offer healthy choices, the "I'm going to get fat" guilt is gone and I order away. I'm happy, the kids are happy but our budget is not happy.

While looking at our spending, I was reminded about a conversation in the back seat of my car about a week before school started. My kids started to argue about what place they wanted to go for lunch. "I want Panda." "No, we have already gone there 2 times this week. I want Barbacoa" "Mom, toothsome #1 wants Barbacoa and I don't feel like it. Maybe we can go to Wendys." I laughed at the time but it is frightening to realize that they just assumed we were going to eat out for lunch--the thought that I would actually make them a sandwich had never entered their minds.

So, back to the budget, in reevaluating it again today, I decided I have to cut out eating out for lunch and only eating out for dinner once (ok, maybe twice) during the week. This is going to be SO hard for me. My husband doesn't call me McJanice for nothing and already I am going through some serious sadness. To help me, I have already loaded my car with snacks to help me get through the hungry times until I can get home and eat something. Wish me luck.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Welcome Diane and Nightingale Dolls

First, let me welcome my good friend Diane into the blogging world. After months of bugging her to create her own blog, she finally did it! Check her out here. Diane and I met at the bus stop when I was in 1st grade and she was in Kindergarten. We have been friends ever since. She is the friend I can all any time, about anything. She has listened to me vent about a million things, cried when I have cried, laughed when I have laughed, and celebrated when I have celebrated. She even was my mission companion for a few short months when I came home sick from Argentina and had to be reassigned stateside (Temple Square of those of you who are curious.)

Also, my good friend Tess' daughter has created a blog called Nightingale Dolls. It is a wonderful project and I thought I would post her blog here as well. It would be a great service project for so many people and organizations. Please, please, please click here. You will be impressed by this 13 year old girl. We need more 13 year old girls like her.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Christmas Card Project

About a month ago, I started on this project and just finished it. I am very happy with the results and I thought I would pass the idea along. I wanted a way to store all of our family's Christmas cards but also be able to enjoy looking at them every year. I am not a "scrapbooker" and I am sure many of you could (and will) come up with lovely and beautiful ways to do something similar. In my pragmatic mind, this is what I came up with.

I went to my local scrapbooking store and purchased an acid free notebook.

The picture doesn't show it's true color, which is dark green. (For obvious reasons, a Christmas color.)

In the process of doing this, I decided to add all of the Christmas cards from growing-up as well. I contacted my mom and she was able to get me originals and when needed copies of originals. During the family reunion, in August, I gathered everyone in the family together and one night, we compiled these.

This one is from 1982. Do you like the 80's hair and makeup? My sister, Goddess #3 I am sure will not be pleased that this picture is on-line. She is quite the beauty these days and does not have a short permed haircut anymore.

I then put everything in acid-free sheet protectors, in order starting from the 1st year my mom sent out Christmas cards (1963) until the present. I also have the Christmas cards that my husband and I have sent in order starting in 1999 until the present.

The plan is to bring out the notebook every Christmas season with the rest of my Christmas decorations. I plan on putting it on my coffee table and it will be a fun thing to look through as the years pass.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dinner in the Canyon and MVP

Last night for Family Home Evening, dentist husband and I took the kids up the canyon for dinner. One of my favorite things about living in Utah is the closeness and accessibility of the mountains. In the summer and fall, we try to go up regularly and have a hot dog roast and let the kids run around, and get dirty. We also have the tradition of trying to time it to go up just before the first snow fall and get one last "canyon run" in before it snows. It is always really cold until we get the fire going but after that, it is great. I've included some pictures.

Also, this past Saturday, toothsome #1 had soccer game and was named MVP of the game! This was amazing for a lot of reasons, mostly because he is the youngest and smallest on the team. (Dentist husband and I are not big people--5'6" and 5'3" and have produced very short children. It is not until Kindergarten before any of my kids make it on the charts.) All summer long, I have taken him to practices and watched as he has been the weakest player on the field. I kept on debating with myself if having him play on a competitive team was worthwhile for him. I wondered if it would have been better to keep him on the city (and much easier) league. I have wondered if the other boys get frustrated with his playing. Anyway, in the past two weeks, some switch clicked with him and he has become a strong, aggressive, really good player! On Saturday, we played against a team that had boys 6-7 inches taller than my son and that didn't stop him of going after them. He was amazing and really did deserve the MVP status. It was so fun to watch!

Friday, September 14, 2007

There is FINALLY a Chipotle in Utah!

Back when Dentist husband was in dental school and we were dating, we had a favorite restaurant--Chipotle. (Actually, we had a few but this one fit our budget better than others). It was brand new when my husband started dental school and we ate there a lot. They started opening more around the Denver area and shortly after getting married, they put one in Boulder, where we were living. Every Monday night for Family Home Evening, we would ride our bikes (weather permitting ofcourse) to Chipotle and eat dinner there. It was one of the few things I could keep down when I pregnant with toothsome #1 and buy the time he graduated from school, all of the employees knew us by name and would start making our burritos when we walked into the door. We once even got free chips and salsa on a slow night and we were the only ones there.

Well, we moved to Utah when Dentist husband graduated and it was so long to Chipotle. I still checked out their web-site occasionally and whenever we went back to Boulder to visit, we always stopped there.

Last week, I got an e-mail that they were opening up a Chipotle somewhat close to our house! Not only that, but the first 200 customers who purchased burritos, got a free t-shirt and a coupon for another free burrito! Well, you can imagine the excitement in this house. The kids got home from school, Dentist husband got home from work and off we went. It was everything we imagined it would be and we are all thrilled to be close to a Chipotle once again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reason # 1 million and 11 why I am not a fan of Dogs

Last night, toothsome #1 had a soccer practice at a local park. This park is a leash-on park and I have seen a lot of very happy runners and walkers with their dogs on leashes having a great time exercising. I have seen a lot of these owners carry bags with them to pick up dog droppings and the park even has a bolted to the wall, bag holder filled with bags for owners who don't carry bags, but who can use them to pick up their dog's feces as they see the need.

I'm sure you can see where this is going. I put toothsome #4 down on the grass to crawl around and 2 seconds later, she is COVERED in dog feces! She had it on her hands, in her hair, on her legs, the works. I frantically pick her up, getting it all over me and run into the bathroom, leaving toothsomes 2 and 3 and my purse with another soccer mom. There is running water but no soap. I do the best I can with the water and then run to my car and grab my antibacterial lotion from Bed Bath and Beyond. Reading the ingredient list, I do discover it has alcohol in it, so I slather her with that. Again, it is still on her clothes, which I remove and my clothes (which I can't remove, not because of my overwhelming sense of modesty--ask any of my college roommates, I don't really have any of that) but because I was afraid I would get arrested for public indecency.

I finally calm down and take few deep breathes and look down at my little blond girl and see she is sucking on her fingers, big time. Big time, "Like there is a new taste on these fingers, let me suck it all off." Once again, I start panicking and start imagining a trip to the local Children's Hospital for e-coli induced dehydration. Meanwhile, I look over and a bunch of children, including toothsomes 2 and 3 are all playing in the same spot where she got covered in the feces!

That was it for me. Pack up the kids, leave soccer and get in the bath with an alcohol wash for the bottoms of everyone's shoes. Eww. You dog owners want to know why I am not a fan of dogs? There is reason number 1 million and 11 for you.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Feel Like Singing!

I was raised in a family that liked music. We all took piano lessons and all sang in choirs. Some of us are better than others (my sister, Goddess #1 being the most proficient of any of us). My mom loved the radio and almost constantly, music was on. Because I was the youngest, I listened to what my older siblings listened to. I listened to a lot of Barry Manilow, Manhattan Transfer, Billy Joel, John Denver, Sting, The Police, and a lot of songs that I don't know who sang them. (And for some reason, unlike most of my friends, Neil Diamond never made the "hit list" in our family.)

Music was the constant back drop of my life. I was woken up daily by the BYU fight song--Rise and Shout the Cougars are out. Songs were made up to help me in various ways, the most notable being the one written my sisters and brother in trying to get me to stop sucking my thumb. "Oh we never ever ever suck our thumb. Or someone will pinch you in the bum. And your teeth will stick out so far so far that you'll never be pretty like your brother, your brother your brother. Your B-R-O-T-H-E-R. Brother. YEA!

So, it is no surprise that I have brought music into my marriage and family. A song seems to always be coming from me. Because the weather has gotten cool enough to turn off the air conditioning and open the windows, I have become a little self-conscience about my singing and noticed how often I break out into song. It appears as if I do it constantly.

Here is just a sampling of what I sang today:

1. To wake my kids up, what else, "The Cougar Fight Song."

2. While weeding, "Come to My Garden" from the musical "The Secret Garden"

3. While playing croquet, and my husband had just become "poison" and I broke out into the 50's classic, "Poison Ivy."

4. I have made up various songs for toothsome #4. Her favorite being, "What's your name? What's your name? Everybody loves you, what's your name?" That alone has probably been sung 50 times today.

5. While folding laundry, a medley of 40's songs I learned when I sang with the BYU Woman's Chorus.

6. Various Primary songs as the mood hit me.

Anyone else constantly breaking out into song or I am the freak mom who seems to constantly borderline embarrass her kids?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Tasty Peach Yumminess

Peach season is upon us and I have discovered two wonderful ways to eat peaches. I should say that to me, a plain, unadulterated peach is one of the greatest flavors in the world but these two "recipes" are fun.

Sliced peaches and Milky Way Candy bars. Together, the taste explosion is wonderful.

When camping, my husband likes to experiment with "Tin Foil Dinner" desserts and his latest was peaches, Lorna Doone cookies and Milky Way (sliced thinly throughout the whole thing) and cooked tin foil dinner style until hot. WONDERFUL!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Favorite Recipe--Pork Tacos

This is super simple and a favorite for almost everyone in the house.

In a crock-pot: (Put things in order listed)

1 onion--chopped--bigger pieces
1 pork tenderloin--braised
1 bunch cilantro--cut up

Cook on high for 3-5 hours.

In the last hour, squeeze fresh lime juice on top.
Shred just before serving.

Eat with warm tortillas--I like flour, salsa, sour cream, cheese and avocado. Super easy and very tasty.

Monday, September 3, 2007


I just added the "labels" section on my blog and realized that I haven't posted anything recently on books for a while. Book Club meets at my house this month and I chose a book, "Predators, Prey and Other Kinfolk--Growing Up In Polygamy" by Dorothy Allred Solomon. I read it several years ago and thought it was an interesting perspective on the subject. I am curious to hear what my fellow book club members think of it. It has potential to create A LOT of discussion.

I am finally (almost) finished with "A Pathway to the Seas" by David McCullough. I have loved all of his books (I am a big history fan) and having lived in Central America as a child and actually seen the Panama Canal, I have found this one VERY interesting and honestly, loved every page. However, my life has been so crazy, it has taken me a while to get through it. I would highly recommend it or anything else he has written.

I am also rereading "Absolutely American" by David Lipsky. In 1998, West Point invited the author to come to stay at the Academy and have unprecedented access to everything there. He essentially follows one class from Freshman year to graduation, and selecting various people from the Academy, he tells a compelling story. It ends just after 9/11 and I have often wondered what happened to those graduates he talks about with such frankness in the book. I plan on e-mailing the author and asking for a follow-up. The book can be crass at times but I found it very fascinating. But beware, it is definitely PG-13 and sometimes R.

In re-checking out Absolutely American I discovered, "Black Cadet in a White Bastion" by Brian Shellum. I have just started this one but so far have loved it. It is about the 3rd black man to graduate from West Point and the first attain a full career of military service. Again, as a fan of history, I am enjoying this one.