Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pizza Chips!

Naomi thoughtfully announced at dinner the other night that she had made up a new recipe. She explained that her creation was was called pizza chips, would be made like nachos, but with mozzarella and pepperoni instead of cheddar or jack cheese. You would dip your pizza chips in marinara sauce instead of salsa.

After she reminded me a few times I finally got around to making them for dinner. Despite probably making a few Italian and Mexican grandmothers roll over in their graves, they were surprisingly delicious, especially for a recipe made up by a six year old.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

San Bernardino County Museum

A couple of months ago, the kids and I took a trip to the San Bernardino County Museum. It was good for a day trip with just enough exhibits for us to see everything. There was a paper ephemera exhibit that everyone else had a hard time dragging me and Heather out of. The bird and egg collection was amazing! But...I don't have any pictures for you.I have gotten really lazy about photographing stuff. I think my blog backlog is sabotaging my subconscious. Anyway, the kids took pictures of each other, so I have a few to show you. We bought a membership, so if you want to see more, we'd love to go with you :)

We started with a picnic lunch outside. Summer and Rachel were both with us, but this hand of Rachel's is the only evidence I have of either one of them.

To quote their website, "The San Bernardino County Museum... is a regional museum with exhibits and collections in cultural and natural history." There was an old stagecoach with a pile of stinky dress up clothes that the younger kids LOVED. They spent more time messing around there than at any other exhibit.

My favorite picture of the day!

Even More Typography Fun

A Typographic Dating Game

Monday, July 29, 2013

More Typography Fun

Typography Fun

Try the kerning game and see how well you do!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Naomi's Kindergarten Graduation Letter

Naomi had her kindergarten graduation a few weeks ago. Summer was home and able to go with me. For part of the graduation, the parents read a letter to their child and, of course, I had waited until the last minute to write it. I ended up dictating it to Summer, while I barreled down the freeway in the tail end of rush hour traffic. When someone wouldn't let me into the carpool lane, I uttered an exclamation of disgust, which Summer helpfully included in the letter. See if you can find it. Summer also had fun with spelling while she took down what I was saying and I have retained her creativity below.

Here it is -

Dear Naomi,

Daddy and I are so proud of you. You have worked so hard during your first year of school. You are reading wonderfully and it is fun for us to see you read so many books! We are especially grateful that you read your scriptures every night.

 Keep up the good work, keep doing your best in school and you will be able to go to kollege like your older seesters.

We love you so much! You are such a fun part of our family Ahhh, curses! Foiled again! We love your hugs, kisses and snuggles. It is great how you love to organize things, how you are good at HIKING, how you don't give up when things get hard, and your bubbbbly sense of humor.

Congratulations on graduating from kindergarten. You R a great girl.


Mom and Dad

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Pets (maybe) and Other Stuff

The kids have adopted a cat...maybe. The jury (Stan and I) is still out. They are having fun anyway while we decide (wear down most likely). We'll take it to the shelter tomorrow and see if it has a chip in it. They named it Griffin Blue. Even I have to admit it is a pretty cute cat.

Speaking of adopting pets, Kelly's 5th grade teacher retired in June and Kelly was able to take one of the class pets home, a Pacman frog. It was unimaginatively named...Pacman, so Kelly renamed it...

I fully expect my sister Sara to get the literary reference.

I've been meaning to post this from last May and am finally getting around to it. Michael took a fencing class and LOVED it. Here he is getting a point.

Finally, a picture of my bff Amanda who came to visit last week with some of her kids. As always, it was a joy to see her. Isn't her grandson a cutie?


So, here are the little bits and pieces I have to catch up on. I also have some longer posts to write about Sara's wedding, zoo and museum trips, hiking, camping and graduations. Any requests for which I do next?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Kelly had a birthday :)

Happy Birthday Kelly!!! 

Kelly turned 11 this past week. We are so lucky to have her in our family. She is naturally cheerful and optimistic. She is very rarely sad, doesn't get grumpy and gets along with all of her siblings (most of the time says Gwen).

Lately, she has been asking lots of questions about everything. It is fun for me to try and answer them all and to enjoy her curiosity about the world.

For her birthday dinner, he had biscuits with sausage gravy, broccoli and canned peaches for her dinner. For her "cake", she chose brownie banana splits. It was fun!

The thing she wanted most was binoculars. I was going to buy her some cheap ones from Walmart, but Stan likes binoculars that really work, so he convinced me to shop around. I found a refurbished pair that are much better quality. She was so happy when she opened the box :)

Dear Amy

Don't forget, you can get advice anytime from "Dear Amy". Just leave a comment on any blog post...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Despite the lack of posts, we have not run off and joined the circus.

Some of us are working on our qualifications, though! More on that later...

So, yeah, life is passing us by and I feel bad that I haven't kept up. I have huge virtual piles of pictures to sort through and it is overwhelming, but (thanks to my friend Christine who gave me some good advice and encouragement) I will stop thinking I need to blog about EVERYTHING  I have missed and give you the Reader's Digest version. Short, sweet, and hopefully with a joke. (I love the jokes. They are the first sections I read when there is a RD in the doctor's office.)

Summer is home! Woohoo! She is just so wonderful to have around :)  She finished winter semester at the end of April. Rachel, Jillian, a friend from our ward, and I drove up to Provo, stayed a couple of nights and brought her home. It was so fun for me to see her apartment, meet her friends and go to church with her. Here she is at a birthday party for one of her roommates last fall.

Summer is doing well; getting good grades and happily changing her major on a regular basis. Her current thought is a major in wildlife biology, pending how she feels about doing field work with her dad while she is home. Sadly for me, but a good thing for her, she will be heading back to Provo at the end of June. She has a great job (the best job in the universe, really) working at the Harold B. Lee library in the Book Repair Unit. I worked there when I went to BYU and she even has the same boss. She doesn't have to take  classes and can work full time during summer term.

I am enjoying her while I have her. We have been hanging out together, chatting all day, and have a couple of projects we are working on together to get ready for my sisters wedding later this month. Summer is a bridesmaid and we are making her dress together. I am making Sara's guest book, which Summer will help with. She has been helping with a LOT, actually, cooking dinners (she's cooking in the picture below), making lunches and helping herd kids.

Here is a picture of Rachel in the prom dress I sewed for her. She made the bow and sash. She wore turquoise high heels and her friend Lina's sister, Jen, made her a corsage. Sorry about having to look sideways!

Here she is with her friend Lily. They were both on the prom court because of their class rankings. Lily is ranked 4th and Rachel is 6th.

Rachel made it into every school she applied to, including BYU, UCLA, Berkeley, Penn State, UC Santa Barbara and University of the Pacific. The 1st three on that list were the ones she was seriously considering, so she toured each campus. I went with her to UCLA. The school spirit at that place was amazing. At least a third of the students had UCLA shirts on. We ate at the dorm cafeteria and the food was pretty good! After the tour, I asked Rachel what she thought and her comment was, "They all look so smart! I'm smart, but I try really hard not to look smart."

Berkeley flew her up to tour their campus. She came back sure she didn't want to go there, "The food in the cafeteria was horrible and everyone looked weird."

She, Jillian, and I toured BYU the weekend that we picked Summer up. By then, because she was offered a scholarship, she was pretty set on BYU and touring the campus was great. She left feeling excited for when she goes in the fall.

We looked at the different dorms and ate in the cafeteria. After the pronouncements about UCLA students all looking smart and Berkeley students all looking weird, I asked what BYU students looked like to her. She said, "Mormon."

One funny thing happened while we were there. I took Rachel and Jillian to see the apartment complex where I lived and where Stan and I met. No one was in the office, so I just knocked on the door of one of the apartments I lived in and asked if I could show my daughter what they looked like. Some nice coeds let us in and then one of them looked at me and said, "You're the pants lady!" She went to got get another girl from the back of the apartment and said, "It's the pants lady!"

I had some floral jeans on and they had seen me on campus that day and liked my pants so much they were tempted to yell at me out their car window. Instead, I made a personal visit to their apartment. What are the odds at school with 34, 000 students?!?

Heather is just finishing up her freshman year of high school and is getting straight A's. I went to her art class earlier in the year to teach bookbinding to 34 kids and have an even greater appreciation for teachers than ever. Part of Heather wishes she could quit going and home school, but I am glad she is sticking it out because her school has some really dedicated, excellent teachers. She did request online PE and French for next year, which would mean she could leave at noon, which I am hoping is the perfect balance of in and out of public school for her.

Heather amazes me constantly with her skill in everything creative. Her artwork is lovely. She has been getting into mail art and does especially delicate watercolors. She is daring and skilled at cooking (which we are all enjoying the fruits of) and regularly asks to use my sewing machine.

She loves animals with a passion and is happiest when she has a dog sitting job. We are hoping to have her take horseback riding lessons in the town next to us this summer.

Gwen is our daredevil and the child most likely to really join the circus. We have an old telephone pole in our back yard, which she climbs and which I am in denial about. I don't like to think about her climbing it because I always imagine her crumpled at the bottom, but Stan thinks letting her take controlled risks is good. I just asked him how tall it was and she yelled from the other room, "Twenty six feet and one inch! We measured it." Eek!

Gwen is in the middle school orchestra and plays the violin. She got straight A+'s on her last progress report. She is fascinated with skeleton keys and is planning on starting a collection.

She starts high school in the fall and has signed up for PE Tennis, which I think I am more excited about than she is, but I hope she will have fun with it. She and I went to a park with tennis courts yesterday and played for a while, then went to Dairy Queen to eat ice cream and cool off.

Kelly has a birthday this week.  She wants binoculars, books, an orange ball, a nerf gun, candy and fancy pens. For Christmas, she got some fine tip markers and a sketchbook and has been using them a lot. She is following in her mother's footsteps with an love for art supplies :)

She is doing well in school, plays the piano and the cello and always cheers us up with her big smile and infectious laugh.

Michael was baptized last fall. Now that he is eight years old, he is going to Cub Scouts and he loves it. He gets to spend time with boys, doing guy things. Pretty cool. The pinewood derby was a couple of months ago and he and Stan had fun getting his car ready. Stan pulled out his old pinewood derby car to brush up on how to do the wheels and stuff (don't you love my technical language?). Michael traced his design on his block of wood and Stan sawed off the big chunks, then showed Michael how to carve and sand the rest. Michael painted it his favorite color, stuck on his number 8 stickers and was ready to go.

While he didn't win the derby (complicated rules I don't remember), his was the fastest car that night. Let me tell you, it was thrilling!

Michael and Naomi are homeschooled, which means I can take them to Coach Nash's classes. He is a great guy :) Michael took baseball a few months ago and he and Naomi just finished track and field.

Speaking of track and field class, here is Naomi throwing the javelin with excellent form. The younger kids in the class used these foam javelins, but the teenagers used the real, Olympic sized sharp ones, which meant each class got a lecture on safety with a couple of stories about athletes (not in Coach Nash's class) being impaled and having to pull their own javelin out and call 911. Coach says it is pretty fun to search "javelin mishaps" on youtube and watch all the violence. I skipped that bit of entertainment.

Naomi is fun, affectionate and, as we are trying to remember to call it, has leadership potential. She also loves to organize things, which is great. I feel like I won the lottery - my last child loves to organize? That means she can clean out all the stuff I have hoarded over the years when I get to old to use it. Woohoo!

While I am covering everyone, I should mention that we are all enamored of our little budgie, Montague Bodkin. He is talking more and more and now says, "What's cookin'?" in addition to "Pretty boy," and "I love you, Monty."

Stan and I are great, just truckin' along, raising kids and paying bills. Stan's book is selling, slowly but surely. I am looking forward to going to my sister's wedding in a week and a half. This picture is from a week ago, when the family went hiking for FHE.

Well, if you have made it all the way down to the bottom of this post, you deserve a joke, so here you go -

Q: What do you call two blondes in a closet?

A: Last year's hide-and-seek winners.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

I sent my good looking family off to church, all the girls in skirts I sewed them. I am home with a cold, ready to head to bed with the Ensign to read about the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for Him and all He has done to make hope and happiness possible.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dear Amy #2

Dearest Snotcicles,

You need to find a loosely knit scarf to wrap around your face to keep your nose warm, but that will still let you breathe. I think this will work...I imagine it will be tell you the truth I don't have any idea, because I live in Southern California where we think 46 degrees is FREEZING. Obviously we are all wimps, at least when it comes to cold weather.

My next best advice it to make up some really hot chocolate and hold it under your nose, enjoying the aroma while it cools off and you defrost as soon as you get inside!

Hoping you survive,


Meat Desserts

The missionaries came to dinner at our house on Monday night. Sunday, when I was talking to them about a time, I asked if either of them had food allergies or were vegan or whatever. One of them replied, "I'm a meatatarian."

I said, Okay, we'll have meat for dessert," and his companion, sounding very relieved, said, "Oh that's good! Then we won't be having ice cream. Ice cream makes me sick." (Oops, I think I might have forced ice cream on him last time he came.)

A quick search came up with a few recipes -

Chocolate Covered Bacon

Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hamburger Brownies

I couldn't decide which one to make. I was strangely fascinated with all of them, so I made them all!

This is what the brownie batter looked like (I added chocolate chips) -

And this was what our dessert smorgasbord looked like -

1. Heather made some truffles and I put them out in case someone, out of the blue, became a vegetarian all of sudden...

2. dark chocolate covered bacon*

3. white chocolate covered bacon*

*I actually used compound coating because I had some and it is so easy to melt and dip.

4. bacon maple chocolate chip cookies - One of the reviewers suggested using bacon fat instead of butter. I did and the cookies worked great. I didn't used the whole two cups of bacon that the recipe called for. I ran out of patience with frying bacon after one pound. I saved the prettiest pieces for the chocolate covered bacon, the next prettiest for the garnishes on the cookies and crumbled the rest into the cookie dough. With the bacon fat, they were still plenty bacon-y, in my humble opinion.

5. hamburger brownies - If I ever make these again, which is highly unlikely, I will used my tried and true, favorite brownie recipe and just add hamburger, instead of this recipe. It wasn't chocolatey enough, even with the added chocolate chips.

Everyone's favorite was the chocolate covered bacon. Elder Meatatarian says they are a contender for his wedding reception :) 

The cookies were okay, but not worth the hassle of cooking bacon, which happens to be one of my least favorite kitchen activities. (See what I will sacrifice in the name of a good joke!) I took the leftover ones to a parent meeting at Michael and Mo's school and they were a hit, so if you like cooking bacon, or a least tolerate it, they are worth a try.

The hamburger brownies were kind of blah, sort of weird, good in a novelty kind of way, but not much more than that. 

It was fun, but I did warn the missionaries not to expect to be served chicken, cow AND pig next time they come to dinner :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dear Amy #1

Dear Unknown,

Sometime you just need to let go. Perhaps you have secret hopes the Gravity will change and become better, but it won't happen. Just let go of Gravity and you will be well on your way into outer space.

Hoping to change your mind and decide to hang around,


Friday, January 11, 2013

Dear Amy

Just for fun, ask me anything. and I'll give you!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I love limericks... much so that, when I decided I wanted a new message on our voice mail, I composed one. 

Unfortunately, my family vetoed my creativity. 


If you need to reach Stan or Amy,
Try not to be grumpy or blame-y.
Right now they're not home.
It's best not to moan.
Just leave us your number and name-y.