Friday, May 30, 2008

Things I am Learning Recently

1. When cleaning out a basement, it is OK to get rid of:

--maternity clothes and baby clothes (if I have a surprise 5th, I can and probably should buy new items)
--things that have been given to you for free, that you have not used in 5 plus years but in the back of your mind you think you might need some day
--some wedding gifts that were given that you still think are cool but know you will never use
--cassette tapes (since I can download anything these days)
--old Primary singing time music aids (the songs on the back of these items they are currently not learning), that probably weren't that great anyway.

It is OK to save:
--your old Prom dress as well as some very old outdated dresses that have a ton of sentimental value
--some baby clothes that are full of meaning
--boxes for mailing gifts to friends and family at any time (however, I do have to get rid of some of them)

2. The end of school is a delightful yet sad time. My kids have had a GREAT year and they both have said how they will miss their teachers but love the idea of summer.

3. Soccer parents get more fanatical as your children age. (Can we say, wanting to hire a fitness trainer yes trainer, for 9 year old boys. Isn't playing soccer fitness? )

4. Pet Day is the LAMEST of all "special" school days.

5. The swimming lesson pool desk at my local rec center is NEVER open.

6. When someone offers to sell you frozen chicken and meat a super good price, you should say no. But if you don't your freezer will be full of food that you are not sure you will like anyway. (For some reason, the lemon chicken looks yucky to me.

7. You can drink to much Diet Coke. (I know, I never thought that was possible.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Father's Day Shopping Done!

This is not a good picture of it but for my dad, I purchased him this remote controlled gutter cleaner by irobot. Anyone who knows me, knows that I practically worship my Roomba by the same company and so when I read a review about this in Good Housekeeping, I knew I had to get one for my dad. Yes, they are expensive but my brother and I went in on it for him. You can find them at the irobot web site, amazon and I am sure many other places.
Dentist husband already has the GPS system that I purchased for a steal of a deal about a month ago, so with maybe the addition of a Pilot's magazine and a new pair of scrubs, he is already covered.

I'm Thinking Pink!

I just finished planting all of my flowers in my front flower bed. And this year, they are all pink. The past few years, I have done purples but for whatever reason, I left the Garden Center with all pink flowers--mostly geraniums and petunias. (My front bed gets full sun.) When they are in full bloom, I'll post pictures.

Also, while the house cleaners were here (I have them come twice a year), I attacked my basement and got a TON cleaned out. It still has a long way to go but boy do I feel like I accomplished something big today. Unlike my friend Gabriela who moves often and is forced to dejunk with every move, we have only moved three times in our married life and often brought the same junk with us, from move to move. So, today was HUGE.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Book Blogging Babes--I LOVE THE TITLE

One of the many blessings of blogging is that we meet, wonderful like-minded people, who make us laugh and smile and make us realize that we are not alone in this glorious world. Anyway, through blogging, I met Tiffany, which led to me meeting Michelle and then Liz and then Circe. They all know each other but I have been invited into their amazing circle of friends and daily, when I check my blog, I feel so blessed to see a piece of these amazing woman's lives.

Anyway, Book Blogging Babes was formed and I am now a member. On a complete tangent, I must say, if I were naming an on-line book club, Book Blogging Babes would have been it. "Babes" is one of my favorite names of girls as I think we are all babes in our own right. My freshman year, our floor dubbed itself, "Brigham's Babes" and when I served my mission on Temple Square, when asked to submit names for "Districts" many of my suggestions had the word babe in it. Which, unfortunately, offended many of the easily offended sisters but made others laugh. I can proudly say that my suggestion, "Woman with Witt" (my mission's presidents last name) won the vote for our district. (District meaning a group of about 12 sister missionaries).

Anyway, monthly we will be posting book reviews on a book. It is my turn to pick the book in June and it is The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio by Terry Ryan. So, you want to read along, please join us. Currently, we have all reviewed The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Here is the LINK.


Kelly is doing a fun swap. Check out her blog to join in!

Book Review--The Glass Castle

I came across this book through various people. The first time I read it, it was given to me by a friend, who had been given it to her by her mother-in-law who had received it from someone else, etc. It was later selected as a book for my monthly book club. I point this out because this is one of those books that you can't keep quiet about. There are just too many important elements in this book to not want to share with others.

The opening is so compelling. A daughter, in New York, on her way to a very important social function sees her mother digging around in a dumpster. It is so outrageous that I thought, maybe this is book of fiction, not non-fiction. The whole story read that way to me. I kept thinking, "This can't be real. People don't live lives like this and then go on to be successful enough to write about it." It made me realize how closed my world really is. Even when I look back at things I have done in my life of 35 years--lived abroad several times, served an LDS mission, was raised in a very liberal town as a very strong conservative, I often think of my life as very exposed and open. After reading this and other such novels, I realized how wrong I am. And, how I better be a success in life considering the normalcy I have been given. There are so many out there with no consistency who make amazing lives out of what they have been given. This book is one of the best lessons about that very subject.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Guess Who Stayed In Nursery Without Freaking Out?

This cute little menace did something her siblings never did. She actually went into Nursery and actually stayed without crying! Small miracles. Small miracles.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Summer Snacks

Now that summer is almost here, I find that many little people are always at my house demanding food. It used to bug me when kids would show up and immediately ask for food but once I discovered that my kids did the same things at other's houses, I am much nicer and feed these kids. However, sometimes I do get tired of feeding the masses and send them back to their own houses.

Anyway, I finally came up with a list of snack foods to always have on hand. I thought I would pass this along and if any of you have any other suggestions, let me know. I could always use some new ones.
(Just don't say fruit snacks, I am so over those.)

1. String cheese
2. crackers
3. Graham crackers
4. microwave popcorn (this is huge favorite all year round)
5. popsicles
6. baby carrots
7. gold fish crackers (but I get very tired of the powdery mess they make when stepped on)
8. apples
9. corn chips
10. Occasionally I am the nice mom and buy real potato chips but never Cheetos--too messy!)
11. Dried mangos from Costco--so yummy!

I'm Back--Sort of

This week, toothsome #2 has been off school because of Kindergarten testing. So, I haven't had much time to do anything--particularly blogging. With school ending in about a week, I am not sure how much I will be around. I'm sure I will post things but I don't know how often.

This week, I have spent it just managing little people and trying to keep them entertained.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Summer "To Do"

Summer is fast approaching and I have spent the weekend coming up with a "Summer Plan".

I have informed the neighborhood Moms that our house is "closed" before 10:00 am. I have also created a sign stating that as well, that I am going to post on the door for the first few weeks, until everyone gets it.

Before 10:00 am the following MUST be done:

1. Make bed

2. Eat breakfast

3. Clean room

4. Do one section of "Summer Bridge Books"

5. Practice the piano

I have printed this list out on colorful paper and it will be posted in a central location that they can check off once their things are done.

My kids are always up around 7:00 am, so this is very doable.

At 1o:00 am, they will have tennis and then swimming.

On Fridays, we as a family will attack one of the rooms in the house together--kitchen, the Great room, the mud room, etc. because they don't have tennis or swimming on those days. Those days, the baseboards, the walls--everything will get a thorough cleaning.

For Family Home Evening, we are compiling a list of what the kids want to do for fun this summer like going to the zoo, visiting the Spiral jetty, the aquarium, the Olympic fountain, etc. That list will be posted as well to refer to when the kids say, "Mom, we are bored!"

Today, after attacking the bathrooms, I am going to create a "To Do" list for me that includes things like getting the kids scrapbooks organized, cleaning out the basement, etc. Things that don't make it on my regular "to do" list. So, that is Summer Plan 2008. What are your summer plans?

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Quilt

Back when Toothsome #1 was still inside me Dentist husband had this great idea to take a Colorado state flag and make it into a bedspread for him. Dentist husband spent a ton of time looking all over the state of Colorado for just the right size, fabric and stitching for this project. Flag was purchased and when toothsome #1 was about two we had it made into a bedspread. It is very neat looking and we always get comments from people when they see it on his bed.
(Real pictures to come in another post). So, now, toothsome #3 shares a bedroom with toothsome #1 and so I decide to have another quilt made using the Utah state flag as the theme. The flag was purchased and then I had the hardest time finding someone who could make it into a quilt for me. I could not remember the name of the lady who did the Colorado one and after an exhaustive search of my paperwork, I finally went into a quilt store and got a list of of "machine quilters" and called around and found a very nice lady close to our house who could do it.
I brought the Colorado quilt so she could see what I wanted done. In the process of showing it to her, lo and behold, there was a tag sewn in the side of the quilt, with the name and phone number of the original lady I used! I am an idiot. But, I should say this new lady is very nice, closer to my house than the other and it appears as if she does great work. When the Utah quilt is done (in about 6 weeks), I'll post pictures.
On a side note, I'm planting tomatoes and flowers this afternoon. I so love doing it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I've Gotten So Much Done!

Yesterday was a banner day. I got a ton done. Several of the things I have had on my "To do" list for years, yes years. So, here they are.
Finally planted some basil indoors in these planters I purchased a while ago.
Finished planting things on my side yard--two wigelia and a pencil holly.
Put together this table and got it set up in my daugther's rooms.
Hung these impessionist paintings that were in my room growing up. I have had these in my house for four years and finally got that accomplished!

Wow! Great day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Big News Chipotle Lovers

If you live in Utah and are married, this is a GREAT deal for you!

Books I Have Been Reading

I just finished reading this book for our monthly book club. It was a good, full of information read but at times, it ran really long. I was very impressed with the Martha Washington and as I always am when I read books about the past, impressed by the fortitude people had in times of opposition, death, and trial. Woman lost husbands and children REGULARLY and they seemed to be able to just pick up and move on.
I also started and then ended up just skimming through "The Red Leather Diary" by Lily Koppel. This is a trashy book about a trashy person. The author, being so open-minded and liberal, about this person's sexual encounters with men and woman. Stating that that was "just how it was" for the wealthy elite in turn of the century New York. Everyone experimented with same sex attraction. I checked this out thinking it would be a good, fun historical read. Not so. Avoid it. Trust me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I am So Thankful I Have Them!

Nine years ago, I sat in a Sacrament meeting at church, very pregnant with toothsome #1 and listened to the speakers talk about motherhood. As I sat there, feeling this baby inside me move, I was overwhelmed with joy that I was going to be joining the "society of motherhood." Nine years later, I am so overwhelmed and grateful for my four bright, darling, talented, precocious little ones. I somehow imagined it would be more serene (ha ha). They are my life! Motherhood is such a blessing and a gift.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches

I got this recipe off of a friends blog and it is SOOOOOOOOOOO good and worth the extra money I had to spend buying the high priced ingredients.

Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches

Ingredients:• ¼ cup balsamic vinegar• 4 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)• Salt and pepper • 4 large portobello mushrooms• 1 large red onion, thinly sliced• 2 large garlic cloves, chopped• 1 rounded TBS tomato paste• 1 ½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese• 3 TBS store bought pesto sauce• ½ cup chicken stock or broth• 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped• 4 Kaiser rolls split in half• 8 thin slices prosciutto • 1 small bunch of arugula (I used spinach)

Preheat the oven to 450In a shallow bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, about 2 TBP of the EVOO, salt and pepper. Add the Portobello mushrooms and toss to coat. Arrange the mushrooms on a cookie sheet gill side up. Roast for 12 minutes.
While mushrooms cook, heat a medium-size skillet over medium high heat with 2 TBP EVOO. Add the sliced red onions, garlic, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese and pesto. Once the mushrooms have roasted for 12 minutes, remove and spread ricotta mixture among the mushrooms (gill side up). Return to the over for a minute to heat the cheeseAdd the chicken stock and chopped olives to the onions. Turn the heat to high and continue to cook until the stock has reduced almost completely.Arrange one cheese topped mushroom on the bottom of each split roll. Top the cheese with some of the onions. Top that with 2 slices of prosciutto, arugula and other 1/2 of roll.

4 servings

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bird Feeder from Family Fun

For whatever reason for Scouts this month, my partner and I have really zoomed in on birds. Probably because it is Spring and they are everywhere and it helps pass of a requirement and elective and goes toward getting their conservation patch. (For you non-scouting people, I am sure that all means nothing to you.)

Anyway, my partner found this on the Family Fun website and this is what we are doing for our next meeting. I have found doing simple projects like these are really are fun and keep the boys happy and busy and less likely to break something in my house. :)

Clean 1-liter soda bottle
Craft knife
2 wooden spoons
small eye screw
Length of twine for hanging
Time needed: Under 1 Hour
1. Start by drawing a 1/2-inch asterisk on the side of a clean 1-liter soda bottle, about 4 inches from the bottom. Rotate the bottle 90 degrees and draw another asterisk 2 inches from the bottom. Draw a 1-inch-wide circle opposite each asterisk, as shown.

2. Use a craft knife to slit the asterisk lines and cut out the circles (a parent's job). Insert a wooden spoon handle first through each hole and then through the opposite asterisk, as shown.

3. Remove the bottle cap and twist a small eye screw into the top of it for hanging.

4. Finally, fill your feeder with birdseed, recap it, and use a length of twine to hang it from a tree.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Eye Panic--But all is fine.

About two weeks ago, I was in a dark room and a bright flash of light streaked down the side of my left eye. I have a very faulty left eye. Every eye doctor who looks at it is amazed that I see much of anything out of it. Six years ago, I developed a small blind spot in it which lead me on a two year, full of panic journey, to rule out MS, a tumor in my occipital lobe, cancer, etc. Fortunately, I don't have MS or any other scary condition but it took about 5 eye doctors, 2 neurologists and finally a Nero-opthemologist to come to that conclusion. It was a crappy time and one I did not want to relive again. It impacted everyone around me.

So, imagine my fear when that flash of light hit my left eye. I decided to ignore it but the flashes kept on coming--usually noticed when I was in a dark room but not always (once, while I was singing a solo during a Stake Relief Society Enrichment.) I went to Web MD and again, things were pointing to MS and I thought, "I don't have the time or the emotional energy to go down that road again. It was completely ruled out six years ago and now the fear is back." And, it was back big time. A few posts ago, I wrote about calling my mom. I did more WebMD reading. I started waking up in the middle of the night checking my balance, etc. I DID NOT want to go to a doctor and be sent in for a million tests again. The flashes continued and I was near a breaking point.

So, finally on Saturday, on the soccer field, an opthemologist father of one of the boys on my team was sitting next to me. In my best calm voice, I casually described my symptom. He very casually said, "Oh, that is normal. Your vitreous is pulling away from retina. It happens to everyone. You are at the age when it often happens." He then said, "If you develop a blind spot, go immediately to the doctor. It should go away in a few weeks." He didn't even look me. It was all very "no big deal" talk as our sons beat Sparta (YEA!)

So, it was all reassuring with the exception of the possibility of a blind spot. I already have one of those and other weird benign but making it hard to see out of my eye problems. So, back home, on the Internet again and back to me constantly checking the vision in my left eye. After a few more nights of no sleep, my vision getting crappier because I wasn't sleeping, I finally made the dreaded appointment to the eye doctor convinced I was going to be sent in for a million tests, which I knew I would fail, etc. Fortunately, it is just the vitreous pulling away from my eye. My retina looks healthy and fine and he said it should stop in a few weeks. There is still a small chance of my retina pulling away (one in 100) but based on what he saw, currently no. Retina is still attached.

So, if you develop flashing in your periphery, yes, do go to the doctor (to rule out retinal detachment) but don't freak out. Trust me, I have done all the freaking out for you.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Summer is Coming and my kids will be doing this

Last summer, I purchased this book for my school age kids and made them do a page a day. I liked how the work was doable but not too much so that they hated to do them. I felt when school started back in the fall that I hadn't just let their brains go so mush. Today, I realized that summer is just weeks away and so I again ordered them. They will be on the kitchen table waiting for my kids the 1st Monday of summer break.

Finally It was Warm Enough to Wear Their Easter Dresses

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Who is Her Mother?

Toothsome #4 is a wild baby. Today at church, she hollered, "No" for the whole final hour of Sacrament meeting. She freaked out when I tried to pass her to dentist husband, so I could lead the closing song, so I just brought her up with me. After the first verse, she squirmed out of my arms and then proceeded to run around the pulpit and congregation. I finally was able to grab her and take her out into the foyer for the closing prayer. I foolishly thought I could put her down there but no she headed straight back to the chapel and I had to chase her down again. There was not one non-laughing person by the end of the meeting. I used to glare at parents who let their kids run wild during church. After all, I have managed to keep three others well behaved before she came along. Not so with her. If she is this bad now, what is she going to be like as a teenager?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Lastest "Improve Myself" Regime

I am a relatively low-key person who doesn't let the craziness of life overwhelm me but every once in a while, I stay up all night, imagining all of the bad things that could happen to me, my husband or my kids. It takes over my mind and once I get started, it overwhelms me and I struggle for a few days trying to shake it. My husband, the non-freaker outer on the family always says, "You freak out about what you know, but there are a million things you haven't heard of that could get anyone one of us. Just stop it." That doesn't really help because I end up on WebMD at 2:00 am, researching diseases. Anyway, I don't think I am that unusual but maybe all of you are reading this and thinking, "No, that never has happened to me."

Anyway, last week, I started down that road again and finally, out of desperation called my mom in tears and said, "OK, help me work through this one." My mom is always a voice of reason and between my tears and worry, she got me to confess that no I don't get much sleep and I am lucky if I get one fruit or vegetable eaten a day. (Again, my McJanice problem--french fries don't count as a vegetable.) So, she made me PROMISE to do the following:

Eat one CITRUS, LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLE, CARROT and APPLE a day. (And to stay off WebMD--which is a major problem for me, exercise but not freak out exercise like I tend to do and drink more water and less Diet Coke)

Let me tell you, the reason why people don't gain weight eating those things is the amount of chewing involved. Holy cow, sometimes I am exhausted after eating a spinach salad. I feel like I just sit there and chew and chew and chew. I still need to get my apple in for the day and I am dreading it. I am ready for a trip to Jamba Juice.

Because Some Have Asked . . .

My new haircut.
Photo by Toothsome #2