Saturday, December 22, 2012


...we have a winner! Marcia, Alex and Cameron, on their second try, guessed all eight gingerbread house exterior decorators. Watch for your candy in the mail :)

Honorable mention definitely goes to Opal, Coral, Ruby, Stephanie & Matt who impressively got six of eight right on their first try! Woohoo!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Getting close...

...but no winners so far!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gingerbread House Contest

UPDATE:We have a winner!

We made gingerbread houses for FHE a couple of weeks ago. I don't recommend using nerds. They kept hitting the floor like hail. We will probably be finding them for months. 

Do you think you can guess who made which gingerbread house? The first person who guesses them all correctly will get some candy from us in the mail. Something yummier than nerds. Leave a comment to enter.








Here's a hint. The following people  made houses - Stan, Amy, Rachel, Heather, Gwen Kelly, Michael and Naomi.

 None of them were made by Summer, who is away at BYU trying to decide what to do with her life. Over Thanksgiving, she tried out a few roles, but decided she isn't ready to get married and doesn't want to get involved in any drug wars. (She was dressing up in her Aunt Marcia's wedding dress, using Uncle Ed's knife and wearing a poncho from her Uncle Randall's mission.)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Just for Fun

Naomi was writing in her journal this evening and asked me what this entry from Feb. 1, 2012 said. We figured it out together and I added the "translation" at the bottom. I love the artwork :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Just a little bragging...

Gwen, Heather and Rachel all got progress reports recently. Woo-hoo!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

General Conference Saturday

This is one of my favorite weekends of the year - one of the Semi-annual General Conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was inspired by so many things today. President Monson's announcement about missionary service is so exciting! Elder Oaks said so well something I have been feeling very strongly, especially as I think about the upcoming elections and choose candidates. So much of our culture is centered on selfish adult priorities and all too frequently it is innocent children unable to speak up for themselves that suffer.

I was also particularly inspired by Elder Ballard's talk and made up this page to print out and help me remember as I say my prayers. You can download a pdf here.

I am looking forward to tomorrow and more conference :)

Friday, October 05, 2012

20 Years

This past July, Stan and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. Neither of us had ever been to Catalina Island, so we decided that would be a good place to go. Unless you have your own yacht (we don't - surprise!) there are two ways to get to Catalina - a ferry, or a helicopter. Stan has gone in a helicopter a few times for work and I've been jealous every time, so I told him that was all I wanted for an anniversary gift :)

It was SO FUN. We even saw a BLUE WHALE from the air!!!! Can you tell it was really exciting? 

We lay around on the beach, slept in, went out to dinner, shopped for sunglasses, and pretty much relaxed sans kids. It was great :) The other splurge we indulged in besides the helicopter flight was going Snuba diving, a cross between scuba and snorkeling. 

It was fun taking underwater pictures of the wildlife...

...the kelp forest...

...and each other!

Daughters in My Kingdom Study Guide

Here is something we used in our Relief Society to deepen our study of the wonderful book, Daughters in My Kingdom. I am putting it on my blog because I looked all over the internet and, at least while I was trying, I couldn't find a study guide. Feel free to link to it, print it out and copy it as much as you would like.
I was contacted (see the comments) by Sandra López from Mujer Mormona and she has translated the guide I wrote into Spanish and posted it here. I think that is so nifty :) Thanks, Sister Lopez!

To put these together, I printed the first seven pages of the document, then flipped them over, reinserted them in my printer face up, and printed the next seven pages. Then I was able to fold them into a booklet and the pages were in order. You may have to do a little trial and error, in case your printer does things differently than mine.

Then, I had them copied at a print shop, where they even folded them for me, which was nice. I also could have had them stapled, but instead I conscripted a couple of my kids and we sewed them all with baker's twine using a pamphlet stitch, which I thought was much nicer than scratchy metal staples.

If you are going to stitch them, I'd recommend five hole pamphlet stitch because of the size. Jeannine Stein has a nice tutorial for the stitch. Scroll down for the five hole instructions.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Natalie and David come to visit.

While Rachel and Heather were in St. George going to EFY in July, my niece and nephew, Natalie and David came to stay with us. We took them into LA one day. Our first stop was the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theater. I'm not that impressed with the stars in the sidewalk, but I do get a kick out of the hand and footprints.

Can you tell which star's shoe prints my kids wanted their picture with? 


After Hollywood, we headed to Chinatown where we got a rockin' hot deal ($1 each) on some boba mango smoothies. Yum. They hit the spot on a summer day.

Gwen and Natalie couldn't resist the piano sitting and waiting to be played. They each took a turn and finished with a duet. 

Rachel's New Bob

This past summer, Rachel got her "college girl" haircut a year early.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Still here...slightly alive!

Inigo Montoya: He's dead. He can't talk.

Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

Yes, we are still here and alive. I haven't blogged for a LONG time and I dearly miss it, so I am using a week I have at home recovering from a doctor's appt. to catch up.

There are two reasons I haven't been on here for a while. One, I got a new calling that is busier than Nursery Leader. I am the Relief Society President in our ward. It is hard for me to give myself permission to blog when my RS stuff is in a big pile that needs organized :)

The second reason is because once I fall behind, I fell like I need to catch up on EVERYTHING I have missed before I start blogging about what is going on today. Forget that! I will never catch up. I hope the kids forgive me for missing a bunch of their birthdays.

So, for the next while, I will post about stuff from the past nine months or so, or maybe I won't, we'll see...

Anyway, today, I have a treat for you, and it is dedicated to Summer, who when I told her I was going to try to blog today, said, "Oh, good, I love it when you blog, as long as I am not home for you to blog about me."

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Birthdays Plus

Stan had a birthday and everyone gave him tools, except Heather, who bought him a couple of nifty pigeon books, and my parents, who gave him leather gloves, socks awl. Stan likes tools :)

We all had fun celebrating his birthday with him and eating yogurt cheesecake.

Here's the recipe -

Strain 4 cups yogurt through a dishcloth for a while. It will lose quite a bit of liquid.

While you wait, make a crust of 1 and ¼ cups crushed cereal or graham crackers , ¼ cup butter and ¼ cup sugar. Press into a cake pan and bake at 350 until browned around edges.

Let oven cool to 275 while crust cools and you mix together the following –

strained yogurt (discard liquid)

4 egg yolks

½ cup sugar

¼ cup cream

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Bake at 275 until it isn’t jiggly in the middle anymore. Cool to room temp, chill and serve with fruit topping.

Heather took this picture of a phoebe in the back yard.

Next, it was my turn for a birthday. I took advantage of it and slept in :) When I woke up, I found flowers and muffins for breakfast from Stan.

Michael helped me eat them :)

My friend Tammy, who I was neighbors with as a newlywed also has a birthday in February. It is fun to get together with her and celebrate. I am wearing the scarf Rachel gave me.

Gwen got a school-district-wide silver medal for her science fair project - What is the Best Activity to Do Before Homework? (best was exercise, worst was watching an action movie)

The last birthday of the month belongs to our last child, who turned five. I made a cake and frosting, Rachel assembled them and Naomi decorated her cake. And, yes, that is a tea light we added to the birthday candles to make five.

We were on our way to buy ice cream when we passed the cheese sticks, which Mo decided she wanted with her cake instead of ice cream, so we had birthday cake and cheese sticks. How cheesy!

Happy 5th Birthday Naomi!!!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

For FHE last night, we got out paper, stickers, stamps, glue, glitter and the vintage typewriter that I bought on ebay last month and made valentines.

It was fun, but now I know if we are going to do family projects like this, I need half a dozen more typewriters.

I was glad Rachel got a turn, because she made this lovely card that made me smile -

Yes, it is upside down and no matter what I do, that's how it loads, so here is what she wrote (so that you don't have to stand on your head on your desk to read it) -

Once upon a time
There was a princess named Amy S.....
She was beautiful and very kind (Rachel is being too nice!)
And got married to her Prince Charming (that's the truth)
And lived Happily Ever After

Summer was also feeling creative and made each of us bookmarks and sent them to us for Valentine's Day. Aren't they darling?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Eek! I won!!!!

Last week, like I do almost every week, I entered the Friday giveaway on one of my favorite blogs: Forgotten Bookmarks.

This was my comment -

No way! Thanks for the best giveaway ever. I am going to short out my keyboard with drool :)

Congratulations on the 1000th post on your wonderful blog!

Here is the original contest with all the lovely, amazing, drool-worthy books and here is the announcement of the winner. Me!

p.s. Maybe you also remember my submission to Forgotten Bookmarks from last November.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy 16th

Today is Stan's birthday, but we aren't celebrating until the weekend, so I'll post more about him later, but in the meantime, Happy Birthday, Darling!

It has put me in a birthday mood, though, so I thought I'd finish this post that has been waiting as a draft for a couple of weeks.

Rachel is 16!

Happy Birthday Rachel!!!!

Rachel, Sara and Summer were getting home from San Francisco the night of Rachel's birthday, so we threw her a surprise party. It was a a little nerve wracking after I told a bunch of teenagers to come over at 7:30 to have my three travelers call and say they were running two hours late, but with some help from Rachel's darling friend Jillian (who helped a lot with the guest list) we got a hold of everyone and told them to come later.

For our Christmas letter Kelly asked everyone their favorite colors and, Rachel, being slightly pert, or maybe cheeky, answered gold and diamonds. So, I bought some stuff at the after Christmas clearances and we decorated for her party in bling!

Heather made her a sparkling banner.

Her chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

I was a bit nervous about throwing my first party for teenagers, but got some good advice from my sister-in-law, Gina and from Anthony and made sure we had a LOT of food.

Besides cake and ice cream, we had chips and dips...

...a chocolate fountain with candy, cookies, pretzels and fruit to dip in it...
(which was a gift from Matt and Steph - thanks again!)

...and s'mores...

...which were roasted over a bonfire in the backyard.

I gave the kids waiting in the garage my camera to videotape Rachel when they surprised her.

Hee hee :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekend in PA

Michael and I flew to Pennsylvania a few weeks ago to see my parents. I was talking to my mom about it and she said, "Why don't you come the weekend of the farm show"?

Wow, I'm glad we did!

First, I want to say, the whole weekend was wonderful. It is always great to spend time with my parents. I enjoy both of them so much. I wish I lived closer. It was also fun to see my sister, Sara, brothers Toby and Matt, sister-in-law Steph, Matt and Steph's three girls, Ruby, Coral and Opal, Sara's boyfriend Greg and my good friend Cathy, with her son Daniel. I was having so much fun eating good food (including Sara's chocolate birthday tower of delights that had a layer of brownie, layer of chocolate cheesecake, two layers of chocolate cake and chocolate frosting, all made by my dad), playing board games, touring the Herr's Potato chip factory, shopping and chatting that I didn't take any pictures, except at the farm show, so if it seems that is all I have to tell you about the weekend is farm stuff, it is because that is all the visuals I have to offer.

So, on to the 96th annual Pennsylvania Farm Show! Here's the blurb from their website - Pennsylvania is proud to host the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country, with nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits.

I got ready before we left home by painting my toes in John Deere colors :)

Coincidentally, here is the first exhibit we stopped at. Michael and my dad were both excited for the day.

Next we, went to the cow barn. The noise was deafening! There were some moos, lots of talking, footsteps, public announcement system fuzziness, but that didn't explain it.

I couldn't figure it out for a minute. There was along line for the cow showers (cow wash?), but that wasn't all of it.

Oh, that was it! Hundreds of cows getting BLOWN DRY all at once! They had to look pretty for the judging in a couple of hours :)

Or maybe they were looking pretty to attract potential customers...

I am always impressed with the longhorns.

Then, it was on to the pigs, sheep and goats. If I told you it was much quieter in this barn, you can get an idea of how noisy cow beauty parlors can be.

This pig was really enjoying the scratching.

Here is the grand prize winner.

My dad wanted to get there early so that we could park close and not have to take the shuttle from the far parking lot. We were there by about 7:30 and, even though we were inside, it was chilly when we got there. The goats and sheared sheep were all wearing jackets. I thought this one had a sweet face. He (she?) was probably thinking my camera strap looked liked breakfast.

There were fun chickens and...

...fat rabbits.

We watched chicks hatching...

...and ducklings being oppressed.

There was a high school and middle school rodeo. I couldn't believe the twelve year old 7th graders riding full sized bulls! I was too tense wondering if they would die a gory death to take pictures. All I got were the rodeo princesses at the start. I miss riding a horse that I know well and can appreciate. If I believed in reincarnation, I would want to come back as a rodeo princess.

It is a fuzzy picure, but look at all that glitter!

There were all kinds of competitions on display, including floral arrangements, mushroom dioramas...

...cookies, pies, cakes, honey...

...apples, vegetables, wine (we met the grape princess) maple syrup...

...and the famous butter sculpture!

Michael's favorite part of the whole shebang was the butterfly house. We each got a q tip dipped in gatorade to feed the butterflies.

There were lots of them, mostly monarchs, but also swallowtails, painted ladies and buckeyes.

Guess which chrysalis is about to hatch.

Sara, with some hitchhikers.

Michael went through the butterfly house with me, my dad and Sara and then again with his aunt, uncle and cousins. Matt and Steph and the girls came from the D.C. area and met us after we had been there a couple of hours. Michael was so happy to have cousins to hang out with. At one point, we were separated from them in the crowd and it was all I could do to keep him from running off helter skelter to find them. Maybe that is why I don't have any pictures of Michael with his cousins. I was too busy hanging on to his collar to hold my camera. So I stole some pictures from their blog...

Coral, Ruby and Michael



Michael and Ruby, who is being idolized.

Can you see how happy he was to be with his cousins?