Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Review and February Book

If anyone is interested in reading my review of "Dancing at the Rascal Fair" by Ivan Doig, go on over to my "Book Blogging Babes" site.

And, if you are looking for a romantic February read, I chose "A Room with View" by E M Forster. This is my favorite romance story of all time. I LOVE the movie as well but be warned that there is one scene (when a bunch of men take a bath in a lake) where there is some nudity. You can skip it and still enjoy the movie, which is wonderful. In college, I even posted on my bulletin board, "Wait to find my George". Once you read it, you will get what I mean and yes, I did find my George.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cheese Dip/Ball Whatever Recipe

At a recent party, my friend, Catherine brought this dip. It was a huge success and I thought I would pass it along to everyone. When I asked her for the recipe, she told me she has modified it from a recipe she had, so I am giving you the original as well as her modified version. I think the modified one is better but I don't like green peppers that are in the original one.

The original recipe: (From Christmas Recipes from the Lion House)

2 8oz packages cream cheese
1 can (8 1/2 ounce) crushed pineapple, drained
2 T finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup minced green pepper
1 tablespoon season salt
1 cup chopped pecans.

Soften cream cheese, Press all juice out of pineapple and combine pineapple, cream cheese, onions, green pepper and seasoned salt. Mix well. Refrigerate several hours. Shape into a log and roll in chopped pecans. Serve with crackers

Catherine's Recipe:

2 8 oz. packages cream cheese (the lowfat Nufchatel kind)
1/2 to 3/4 big can of crushed pineapple (it is way cheaper this way and I lean toward the 3/4 of can amount)
Small amount of chopped green onion or red onion
1 tablespoon season salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Follow the above directions. I like wheat thins with this.

For the last few weeks, I have been making this recipe regularly and my only modification is that I prefer to just throw the nuts into the mixture and mix in with the rest of the ingredients. It looks really tasty in a nice bowl. And like Catherine, I prefer wheat thins with this. One time last week, I was craving it so much, that I actually got out of bed in the middle of the night and had some. (And, no I am not pregnant.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Time for Annual Freak-Out

This is the time of year, when I go in for my annual skin exam to make sure all of my moles are normal and not changing and turning into cancer. I have written several times about my skin cancer melanoma experience (which thankfully was caught early), so I am sure this is no surprise to you. Well this year, I haven't been nervous. I have watched my moles all year and know that nothing new has grown or changed. So, I thought I would have escaped this annual panic. Not so.

You see, I am married to a man who refuses to go to the doctor for anything and he has never had his moles checked. I have asked him to go and he always says he is fine. Well, this year, I was determined to make him go, which made me freak out about his moles. He has one in particular, that I knew was new and it was black. (Melanoma means black cancer and anytime a mole develops a black spot, you need to go in and get checked.) But, a small perfectly round black mole is considered normal (but then again, if it is new, it might not be normal.) So, I started trying to remember when I first noticed it. Was it new or had I just noticed it 6 months ago and he has had it longer? Was it changing? Was it smaller six months ago? Are the borders irregular or I am just imagining things? Is it getting shades of red in it? That can be bad. I tried to be casual when I was looking at it when he had his shirt off (so he wouldn't know I was acting crazy) but I knew something had to be done, when in the middle of the night, I had a flashlight on it while my husband slept and I studied it against pictures I had found on-line. (I finally figured out I was acting crazy and went to sleep.)

Finally, I called Dentist husband in tears at his office and said, "I will not be widow at 40 because you refuse to have your moles checked." The tears worked and he let me make an appointment. (And, he might have woken up when I was looking at it with the flashlight in the middle of the night.) I made the lady who was scheduling the appointment write in the chart, "Wife is freaking out and losing sleep about this mole. Make doctor remove it even if he thinks its nothing."

So today, Dentist husband went in for a full body check. That mole was looked at and considered "not a problem but because your wife is nuts (ok, that wasn't the word he used but you get the idea), I will compromise and freeze it off. In a month, if there is still some mole tissue there, (which there won't be), come back and I will biopsy it."

So now, I can go about my normal life and find something else to freak out about. But at least now I know, that my husband's moles are fine. I go in for my annual check in two weeks. Maybe I can delay my freak out about that until just before the night of my appointment. It is exhausting business dragging out the freak out as long as I have this time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Word for 2010

Laurie at Create Your Experience, challenged everyone to come up with a word for 2010. You can read about it here. She did this post at the beginning of the month and I finally feel like I came up with a word that our home needed.

After much thought and deliberation, the word I chose for 2010 is:


Recently, we have been having some problems with one of our children. I won't go into details because I really am not a fan of blogs that completely open up but I will say a lot of thought and concern and prayer has gone into this child and the thought that keeps coming into my mind is "increase love."

There have been some other more private moments of thought and prayer where I realized that love is going to be the glue in our family and love in the walls of our home will be what saves us from the buffetings of the outside world. I need to have this word central in our home for 2010 and likely for the rest of our lives.

Interestingly, a few years ago, I had the words, "Joy, peace and love" put on our wall in our main family room area to remind me of the three things our home should have. I have been reminded many times in my life of the need to have those elements in my home. So, love is the word. I going to do my darnedest to increase it in our home daily. Have any of you picked out a theme word for your family this year?

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Recently, I have discovered some great things that I thought I would pass along to everyone:

Mark my Time Bookmarks: You can get them here and I have been told Barnes and Noble also has them. My kids are all required to keep track of their reading minutes and this makes it super easy. I actually bought a bunch of them and plan on giving them as birthday gifts to my kids friends (with a book).

Taboo: My sister is a speech pathologist and she recommended this game to us as a vocabulary builder for my kids. We play by the traditional rules with my older kids and for my five year old, we just have him explain the words (without worrying about the words you can't say) when it is his turn.

Mitten tree: I know I have mentioned this earlier but I absolutely could not live without this in the winter time. You can get it here.

Stainless Steel Toy Pots and Pans: I bought these to go with my daughter's play kitchen. They look exactly like my pot and pans and she is always making dinner along side me at night. So cute, and so nice.

Cotton Terry Towels from Costco: I LOVE these towels. They are perfect to cleaning anything and I use many of them daily. They are in every bathroom, under my kitchen sink and my mud room. I use them to hand mop my kitchen floor, clean my mirrors and windows, soak up spilled items, etc. And, at the end of the day, I just throw them all in the washer with bleach.

Fablehaven books: I know I might be a little late on this bandwagon, but honestly, these books have given me something wonderful to read with my 10 year old son. My other kids love the stories as well, but these books have reshaped my relationship with my son as we race each other to read them and then talk about them together at the end of the day. It has become our "thing" together and as most of you know, it is important to have something special between your child that just belongs to the two of you. Also, the author graduated from the same English program I did at BYU.

Eating from the Pantry

My friend Paige did this post about making dinner from things you already have in your pantry. The idea is that we already have pantry's full of food that we often don't use and forget about what is in there. I am not a very skilled cook and I am very guilty of just that. I have lots of cans of "stuff" and often go to the store without looking in my pantry and end up just buying more stuff.

So, this month, I have taken on the challenge of cooking from my freezer and pantry. My goal is to cook dinner every night using at least one item from my freezer or pantry. My friend Paige is being much more strict about it and giving herself a $100 a week grocery budget (there are seven in her family) but I am not quite there yet.

So far, things have gone very smoothly. We have had tacos (from hamburger found in my freezer--it was in the way back, I had forgotten it was there) and taco shells and seasoning from the pantry, pork tenderloin (another freezer item) seasoned from some spices I have in my pantry, a 1/2 bag of taquitos for lunch (forgotten in the freezer), noodles with salami and parmesan (pantry and the salami I bought about a month ago that has just been sitting in our refrigerator) and beans and guacamole (the pinto beans were from my pantry as well the chips). We have also had green beans every night (a Costco, freezer item) as a side as well as various canned fruits (a lot of pineapple). I know I am saving money and I am loving how much space I am gaining in my freezer and pantry.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


For the last few years, I have had basically the same resolutions. This year, they are slightly different and so I am going to post them.

1. Take better care of myself. I now run at least three times a week, which is much better than I have done in the past, so this is more on the sleep, eat and drink more water vein.

2. Consistently have a clean house. I'm really good about doing a major clean every few weeks and then slowly letting it get bad again. Daily, I need to have everything to good better order.

3. Make dinner more, eat out less. My kids are really at the age, where we need to be sitting at home, around the dinner table talking about the day, reading a scripture verse and just being together as a family. And, I have to quit the regular "lunch" date for myself, where I grab a yummy bite somewhere and then I am too full to enjoy dinner with my family.

4. Less time on-line. It is easy for me to collapse in front of the computer at the end of the night and not interact with my husband and not finish up projects started during the day.

5. Give my kids more individual time. We regularly have family game night, and family movie night but I need to focus more individual attention on each child.

6. Quit doing $25 Amazon purchases. :)

7. Reach out to others more. I tend to isolate myself (which I am really fine with) in the bubble of my family. This is great for "us" but not so great for my kids. I need to make an effort to have other families with kids my kids ages over to our house or invite people to do things with us. While others seem to have great get-togethers where families all bond, we tend to just go off as a family by ourselves (which is how my husband and I both are). I think my kids need more than what we are offering. I think. (Still struggling with this one, if anyone has any good thoughts on this, let me know.)

And, with my husband, we are continuing our plan of going somewhere every time off we have available. This past year, we did local things--like Wendover, and downtown Salt Lake and even more far off places like St. George, California, Bear Lake and Colorado. Most were three day vacations but we did do a few longer ones. We budgeted for it, spent less on other things and every trip was well worth it. The memories we have created and family bonding time we created was well worth every penny.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Eve

Ok, this should be my final "holiday" post and then I am caught up.

On New Year's Eve, some friends of ours put together a very last minute get together. Because it was last minute, we ended up driving all over the valley for our fun but it was well worth it. We started at pizza place (about 20 minutes away from our houses) where a room was reserved for our group. When all was said and done about seven families from our neighborhood got together.

After that, we headed across town to a bowling ally where someone in the group had reserved seven lanes for us. I had my best bowling night ever, scoring a 147! I beat everyone in the group with the exception of one man--an ex BYU football player. (He got a 153).

Notice my excited face in this picture.
We then ended up at a friend's house (a few houses up from ours) for the rest of the night. The little kids started fading fast and a lot of them fell asleep on my friend's dining room floor.

Fireworks at 11:00 pm and 12:00 am. (To accommodate people not wanting to stay up to midnight.)

Great fun, great friends.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Film Festival

Every year, we have a film festival with my husband's siblings. In past years, we have done it later in January but because so many came into town for Christmas this year, we did it New Year's Day. We always host and Dentist husband always makes or buys sushi for the event.

The basic rules of the film festival are that the movies have to be in DVD format, they should be no longer than eight minutes long and if you live out of state (yes, family members out of state make movies and mail them to us and we refer to them as foreign films), we have a deadline when the need to be at our house.

This year, my three kids wanted to make individual movies. Here is toothsome #2 introducing her movie. After each movie is shown, we have a question and answer session afterwards.
Dentist husband talking about his movie.
My father in law always makes this "Oscar" out of money and awards it to one person's film who thinks is the best. This year toothsome #2 won. (She did a funny movie based on the Geico money TV commercials.)
Later in the month, my sister in law compiles them all onto one DVD and mails all of us copies. It keeps all of connected (even the out of staters) and we always have fun.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Day After Christmas and Sock Exchange

On the 26h, we always get together at my in-laws house for a gift exchange and the annual "Sock Exchange"
Toothsome #4 with her cousin and uncle
Dentist husband thrilled with the socks he got from his sister.
Sock Exchange: My father in law started this tradition years ago with his kids and it has continued even with in-laws. Instead of having Christmas socks with candy in them, they are filled with practical items as well as not-so-practical (OK, junk) items. We then play a white elephant like game, trading and exchanging items from our pile of stuff. Here is my brother-in-law with some Spam and a cowboy hat he was preparing to exchange. It is always fun and loud and competitive.
My nephew modeling a mystery gift he chose not to exchange--a zebra Snuggie. This was wrapped and was not allowed to be opened until the end of the sock exchange. Sometimes mystery gifts are good (gift cards, etc) and sometimes not so good (zebra print Snuggies and Richard Simmons exercise videos). This event is often the highlight of Christmas.

Sights of Christmas

Toothsome #1 making candy.
Toothsome #2 playing with her new Pixos
Toothsome #2 working on her poster
Toothsome #3 playing with his baseball cards.
My very full glove tree. I LOVE this item and ordered a 2nd one this year from Plow and Hearth. It is backordered but well worth the wait.
Eating left overs in front of the TV. (I seemed to cook about once a week with all of the extra food from Christmas parties, etc.)
My nativity from my study abroad in Israel.
Last but not least, the annual tree pull. At the end of the season, we tie our tree to back of our car and pull the kids on it very slowly for a few yards before we take to the local drop off. You would think they were at Disneyland.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Morning

Toothsome number 4 got a kitchen. It took Santa 2 1/2 hours to put together and one of the parts was broken. Santa really hopes she loves this because Santa and Mrs. Santa were close to divorcing over this item when all was said in done. So far, she loves it.
Toothsome #2 with her new chest for the end of her bed and timer book mark.
Toothsome #1 with his Lego Mindstorm. He has asked Santa for this for three years and he finally came through. We might have a computer programmer on our hands.
Toothsome #4 loving all of the candy Santa dropped.
Toothsome #3 with his beloved drums. Dentist husband loves them too and has played them almost as much as toothsome #3.
Toothsome #2 with her beloved orange. She talks about getting an orange in her stocking with almost the same amount of excitement as toys. (And, it is not like her parents deprive her of oranges normally).
Ballerina dolls from Pottery Barn.
Opening presents--Toothsome #1 was very excited about getting Monopoly (the credit card edition).
My boys in their BYU hats.

Christmas Eve

Homemade guacamole
The annual counting, and messing with the presents. (They tried to make them look like a Santa hat this year).
Opening of the Christmas eve pajamas.
Everyone in their new pajamas. (Toothsome #4 was trying her hardest to get on the naughty list that night. It didn't work but she gave it a good go.)