Thursday, August 28, 2008

weekend plans and a RAK

Edited to add:
We changed plans.
I noticed that Yellowstone is supposed to be rainy with a chance of @$%! SNOW! (!!!) So we opted to go to Los Angeles and spend a couple of days at Universal Studios.
I think I will like wearing capris more than a parka on my birthday, yes?

Keep these ideas coming! I am loving your suggestions!


Sunday is my birthday.
I want to get the "H" out of Dodge.

You know how every year after your birthday, you VOW that next year you will do something fun, just for YOU. Yeah, and then your birthday rolls around, and if you are like me, you end up making or buying yourself a cake, and hosting guests.

Well, this year I am going away.
Granted, I am bringing along the kids and husband, but at least we will be in a hotel, where someone else will make the bed. On my birthday.

We are only going to be gone a couple of days, so we settled on a destination that is fairly close.
We are heading to Yellowstone.
It was the best I could come up with on short notice.

Sam has never been, and neither have the kids.
I went when I was a little girl, and can still remember being a little freaked out about falling in the steaming sulphur pits.

I remember waiting forever to watch Old Faithful blow, and then it did, and I was like..."that's it?" And being kinda disappointed at waiting so long for something that was just meh.

Sort-of a foreshadowing of my life now. If I had only known...
Now here is where you folks come in.

If you had a weekend, and you could go anywhere you wanted to spend a couple of days...where would you go?

Bear in mind that we are the lucky ducks who have free flight benefits.
Throw me a bone here, and give me some more ideas for our next trip.
Or sell me on your fine city!
Somewhere fun you have been.

And when I get back (Tuesday) I will throw together some post-birthday scrapbooking RAKS to share with some random folks who leave me a comment.

Cause I am a giver like that.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


When you are five, you don't have to worry about being socially or politically correct.

Yesterday's conversations:
Mikayla, hovering over the toilet in the bathroom:
"Mom, do you want to see my poop?"
"No thanks."
"Uh, okay then...I guess I will just flush it."

Then, after school:
"Mikayla! How was your second day of school? Did you make any new friends?"
"Nah. Just the same one from yesterday. My brown friend, but I still don't know her name."

Here are a couple layouts I did for Core'dinations Cardstock:

I have scrapped these pictures before, but I was in the mood to scrap with a red/turquoise color scheme, and well...inconveniently the kids are in school now, and not readily available to the paparazzi.
I thought about pulling her out of class for an EMERGENCY! but didn't want to entertain her for the rest of the day...

Off to get Mikayla to Kindergarten! And the stinky kitchen is calling...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I got an award.

My friend Laura picked me for the world-renown, prestigious, "I Heart Your Blog" award. Incidentally, her blog is one of my favorites. Thanks Laura!

See! I have the picture to prove it.
I guess the deal is, when you get "picked" you then pick seven other blogs that you read regularly, tell why you love that blog, and link folks to it.

Sounds like a blog tag, which I vowed not to participate in...but this one is an award... That's different, right?

Here are some of my favorites, and I hesitate to even do this, cause I know I am going to be leaving some of you out.

The first link I hit in the mornings is:
My Bank.

If there is money, then I go HERE. Or HERE. And occasionally treasure hunting HERE.

If there is no money, well then, I sit down at the computer and live vicariously through the lives of other folks.

1- ASHLEY GAILEY I spooned with her once at a trade show when we shared a room with five girls was it? So I like to check in with her every once in a while. She is pretty fun, even though she drinks, and shoots too much. Heh.
2- THE FUG GIRLS Usually makes me feel better about myself and my stay at home mom wardrobe to see these celebrities in action. I love the commentary of the girls who author the blog.
3- THE PIONEER WOMAN I love her photography, and also the cooking section. It almost makes me want to cook, and then I remember how much mess that makes, and call for pizza.
4- NICHOLE HEADY I am not a stamper. But she makes me wanna, and then I remember how much mess that makes, and I just print something out on the computer. I love her pretty, pretty projects and tutorials.
5- Here is where it gets embarrassing LAURIE WIMMER <---I honestly don't know her. I am a total stalker, and can't even remember how I came across her blog. I like her writing style, and her life reminds me of mine was, when my twins were little. I check in to see if she is still surviving...
6- MELISSA MAPLES My blog friend who lives in Turkey. She goes to these swap meet type markets and takes pictures of the tee-shirts they attempt to print in English. So glad she has a camera, and shares those gems with the world! I love when she posts photos of Turkey too. Very cool.
7- JENNIFER STEWART She and I go back to the days of our very first online design team together. She posts recipes too. And vintage goodies. And she is just very sweet.

I know there are many more I hit regularly.
That should give you some new links to try, yes?
And then hurry and throw some laundry in, so you don't feel like you have wasted your whole Tuesday.

Oh wait!!!
Here is your "tool" for this TOOLSDAY!

Poster Tack.
I think I got it at my local grocery store in the office supply aisle.
This stuff is kinda like dry silly putty.
It is not greasy.
Doesn't dry out.
I bought it to hang up word strips and pictures for my lessons I teach on Sundays in church. My kids started using it as play-doh. Let me tell you what...several years ago play-doh got banned in my house. I hate it. HATE! This poster tack is like the anti-play-doh miracle.
They spent the entire hour long church meeting making Poster Tack animals.

Plus, it is great for putting a small piece behind that picture in your house that always tilts crooked. A little chunk on the bottom corners will hold it in place.

Please tell me you have one of these too...
I bet you could use it to hang layouts when trying to photograph them.
I need to do that this afternoon.

Anyway, get some. It was a good two bucks spent.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

In my own backyard

Saturday, we had a couple hours to blow until Sam had to go into work.
We thought we would take advantage of the now limited good weather days in Utah.
We took the kids up to Bridal Veil Falls in the Provo Canyon.

We had a couple of kids in diapers last time we went up there, I remember them getting all soggy and wet.
Of course that could have been anytime in the past ten is all a blur.

It really is a beautiful place.

Sometimes you forget about things that are this close to where you live.
I keep telling my friend Wendy, who lives in a really cool city by a beach, that we should trade houses for a weekend.
She wondered why in the world she would want to come to Utah?
HA Wendy! HA!
You will regret scoffing at me now. Scoffer.
Our billy-goat kids started hiking to the top of the falls.
I said to Sam, I think I will climb up with them for a minute and get a couple of pictures.

It was rock.
It was shifting rock.
I was barefoot.
My kids were barefoot too.
Of course, since summer was wrapping up, their feet are like leather, and mine, well...they are delicate.
Plus, that very morning Ponica took me to that Cycling class again. And my squatter was good and sore, so I had a hard time with the climb itself.
I couldn't keep up, and about half-way there I realized my plight...but like a good picture taking soldier, I went on. Bloodied feet and all.
Here are the upper falls:

And here is my family.

Sam carried Mikayla up.
Apparently there is a TRAIL.
A real life non-rocky TRAIL.
There is probably a tram too.
But I got exercise, no?
Here I am. And Sam.

To prove I did climb there.
Let's go back to that previous picture:

I just wanted to point out how high up we were. Those things I circled in the photo. Are PEOPLE.
Not tiny people. Full-sized people that are far, far away, in a land of shoes and socks.

So that was Bridal Veil Falls.
Then, in other news:
We have had a plethora of Soccer games.
And I couldn't be prouder of this guy:

Brendan was born with his mother's coordination.
I am so happy he has found something he enjoys, and that he is genuinely good at.

My camera was the point and shoot.
And who knew?
The batteries were low, and it made for some extra craptasic photos.
My apologies.
But I got some gems, unfocused and grainy as they are.
Like this one:

Incidentally, he was kicking the winning goal in this photo.
For reals.
I couldn't help but be reminded of Mosh Pit Girl when I saw it.
(*edited to add, NO I AM NOT MOSH-PIT GIRL. I stole this off the internet. If you do a search for Mosh Pit Girl, she is a favorite amongst Photoshop Geeks.)

Told you he has my coordination.
And then I caught this one too, same day even...

You can sing with me now "....Everybody was Kung-FU Fighting...HUH!"

And that was my weekend entertainment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

There will be some Sharpie marker corrections tomorrow--

Apparently my daughter has taken on a side job at the elementary this year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Starting School.

This was the night before school started.
All the kids, in blanket-wrapped heaps in the TV room.
This is a typical scene for us.
We are pretty casual in the summer, and on weekends.
Lucky for us, the kids like to hang out together, and watch movies until late in the night, and then crash where they are.
I will totally miss this.

This guy started 7th grade this year.
He started actually last Friday.
They had the newbies come on their own day to get the hang of the place before the older kids move in and squelch their self-esteem. He said he liked Junior High. We will see when his hormones kick in, and he starts growing pit hair.

Then, the other kids started Monday.
Brendan in 5th grade. WooHOOO "maturation" program. That is always a good time.
The twins start 4th grade. Shianne's teacher this year is Mrs. Hooker.
I can't even make this stuff up.
She married into that bad boy.
She will never be able to teach Junior High.

Then around the house, we have been busy with miscellaneous projects.
Like hair clips:

I am lucky to still have my hair model around.
She will start Kindergarten this next Monday.

I've been working on some scrapbooking assignments.
I would show you those, but I haven't taken pictures of them yet.
I am lazy like that.

I did get the laundry done this weekend.
I didn't find that spider again.
Now I think I see it everywhere.
Especially in the night when I get up to go to the bathroom.
I am totally blind without my contacts, so everything is a little scary anyway, and add that on top of a rogue spider...
Not cool.

And by the way...
My bathroom has been out of toilet paper for two days.
I forget and almost go...and then remember, and relocate to another bathroom.
I refused to change the roll out.
Just this one time.
I am ALWAYS the one who refills the TP.
This time it was a total backfire.

Last night I totally forgot, and had to use a sock from the dirty clothes hamper.
I am not sure why I felt compelled to tell you that.
Maybe just a reminder to check the TP before you sit.
And always bleach socks.

You're welcome.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Morning Fun!

I apologize for posting so sweaty this morning.
Can you smell my pits?
I am so sorry...

My friend who lives around the corner, (to protect her identity, we will just call her Ponica) invited me to go with her to the gym.

There are a couple of classes that she swore I would be able to do.
Even with my handicap of being born without the coordination gene.

I swore I would never take classes at the gym. Remember that?
Remember when I laugh at people at the gym?
Especially those Perky Girls?

My friend Ponica is very thin. And Perky. But muscular. And thin. You want to hate her, but you can't cause she is so dang cute and nice. (Smooches, Ponica!)

So we go to the first class.

First of all, Ponica marches me right up TO THE FRONT OF THE CLASS.
And the teacher is there, and she is a little slip of a thing, with muscles, and looks good in a ponytail with no make-up, and she is smiling and READY TO ROLL!
Her and Ponica know each other by name, and catch up a little.

Here is where I wonder...
Do all thin and beautiful people KNOW each other?
Is there a conspiracy?
Do they all gather periodically and lunch with Kate Moss?
Except I don't think they would lunch...
Maybe just re-arrange salad greens on a plate, and sip water.

So Ponica starts loading me up with all this equipment.
I had 10 pound weights.
8 pound.
5 pound.
and 3's.

Then I had a bar, with clips and weights.
A step.
A mat.
And an exercise ball, in its own cute little tray.

I wondered how long the class was going to be.
Too long.

We hopped a little, and used all the schtuff, and surprisingly there really weren't any moves I couldn't fake. Although at one point we had to swing the ball in a wide arc and my hands were so sweaty I almost flung the ball right at the teacher.
Did I mention we were on the front row?
I thought I did.

We focused, it seemed, on our shoulders muscles.
It hurt a lot.
I was shaking like I had palsy.
And then the teacher told us she was going to "burn us out" on our shoulders today.
And started to do these arm circle things.

I cashed in my tickets to Quittersville.

Then, the teacher told us to drop down and crank out some push-ups.
She said: "We can do regular push-ups all day....Yes?"
Me(in my head) "No we can NOT."
She: "So pull your elbows in tight to your body, and give me ten for your triceps."
Me(in my head) "Just quit."

Actually I had been telling myself to just quit since we got there, and Ponica wanted the front row.

Me (in my head) "Just try it. Then you can have a fudge bar when we get home! YAY! FUDGE!"

So we are supposed to do the tricep push ups using the step thingie. So I position my arms on the step, lift up and start to slowly lower my shaking frame down to the step. And here folks, is where my arms gave out.

I face-planted on the step.

Then I quickly checked for blood, and looked to see if anyone noticed.
It didn't look like they did.
I stopped and positioned my arms into a regular push-up, you know, to blend in.
Ponica noticed me stopping.
She tried to tell me we were doing those super-special push-ups, and not the wussy ones.
I just smiled, except it was more of a grimace, cause my face still hurt.

Somehow the class ended.
The next day I couldn't walk.
And today, Ponica had me go with her to the Spin class.
Stationary bikes. How hard can it be?
But my butt and lady regions are already feeling it.
Bike. Seats.
I just know tomorrow I am going to cry.
My legs feel like tight zip-lock bags of jello.
I am glad Ponica drove, cause I think pressing on the gas pedal would have pushed me over the edge.
Ponica is motivating.
I'll give her that.

Okay then.
I have cooled off enough to shower.
Then I am eating a fudge bar and taking a nap.

Friday, August 15, 2008

i will survive - the Alien Song

Just for fun, if you have a spare 47 seconds...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Got Zucchini?

'Tis the season, where you hardly dare to go on vacation, because you are afraid that your zucchini plant will multiply and grow and take down the garage.

I am throwing you a bone here, if you haven't had this casserole, you need to try it.
This casserole is the best.
I grew up on it, and didn't realize how good I had it.
My picky-"A" kids can't get enough of it, and my husband---he's not a real casserole guy, he says he doesn't like all his flavors mixed up. Whatever that means.
Anyway, he likes this one too.

And I think its pretty healthy.

Ignore the sour cream.
Oh, and the stuffing.
It sure does have a lot of vegetables!! Vegetables are healthy.

Zucchini Casserole
1 lb ground beef
4 medium zucchini sliced 1/2" thick
2 medium yellow squash sliced 1/2" thick (you can use straight zucchini here, or straight crooknecks <---another name for yellow squash)
1 c. sliced carrots (I use more, usually)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pint sour cream, maybe more (I have used fat free, and it was just fine)
1 box chicken flavored Stovetop (or store brand is fine)<--prepare as per package directions
1 can cream of chicken soup

Brown your ground beef with the onion.
Cook your sliced veggies in boiling water, put the carrots in first, they take longer, cook them about half-way, and then dump the squash in. Cook until tender, but not soggy. Drain thoroughly. Let those things sit in the colander and really drain...
Combine everything in a big bowl.
See if it is saucy enough, if it looks dry, add some more sour cream.
Dump into a 9x13 and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Top with grated cheese, so it looks prettier, cause this one is colorful but on the ugly side.

I promise. This is good stuff.
And it freezes really well.
I usually make up a triple batch of the stuff, and freeze two of them.
We love eating it in the winter.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Brave Girls

We took Mikayla to Kindergarten registration.
We walked to the school.
All the way there, she chatted incessantly about how excited she was.
About how smart her teacher would think she was.
She practiced spelling her name, reciting her address, and counting as high as she could go.
Then we got there.
She had to sit with her teacher, alone, in the classroom to be assessed.
She waited her turn, while other kids filed in and out.
She was silent.
And while I was filling out papers, I felt her tug on my arm.
"Mommy, what do you do if tears start coming?"
I wanted to say to her "Then you don't go to school, honey. You stay home and keep your Momma company for another year."

But I know we both need to grow.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I tried.

Today I tried to change my blog template to a cute one I found online.

It totally backfired, and I went running back to this fluorescent green and orange combo that I know you all are so fond of.

Then, I tried to be productive, and do some of the backed up laundry...
By the way, this past week I have read a total of 1,478 pages between the three books I have mentioned.

The laundry is, well...the kids are wearing their winter clothes now, and just rolling up the sleeves.

So I proceed to Mount Wash-more, and start picking up some dark clothes, thinking I would start with a load.

Out runs this huge freaking spider.
I am not lying.
That sucker had a body as big as a nickel, and then legs on top of that. And I think fangs, maybe.

So I am not doing laundry.
Anyone wanna recommend another book?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It's a good time.

Last Saturday night I got into a brawl with my 12 year old.
It was more of an: "I hate you" fight, with some pushing.

Totally pre-teen hormones + he was tired.

But I can't help but think that I picked a stupid time in my life to lose forty pounds.

I could use the extra weight to throw around.
Plus, I bruise easily.

Of course we have made up, and he is very pleasant.
I am sad I missed the deadline for football, as he could obviously use someone his own age to knock him around a bit.

Ahhh, so excited to be a teen mom.
Please send advice.
And Advil.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sometimes you DON'T get the shot.

I miss certain things about film.

Like getting the batch of photos back from the developers and finding craptastic gems like these.
We delete now, in the digital era. We erase all the crappers before they even make it to the computer.

When I am in a hurry, and don't delete before I download, I sometimes have some "special" photos.

This one Shianne is scary-excited about something. The rest of the photos from this dance are cute.
This one...she looks like she needs a helmet, and has a seat of her own on the short bus. If you know what I mean.

And her brother too.

What can you expect from this shallow gene pool?


And I leave you with "The Mikayla Series."
She never disappoints.

And the ultimate cheese.
With a cheeseburger.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Yuba Lake

Yesterday I went with the youth to Yuba Lake.
Not the prettiest lake ever...but perfect for water fun!

What? You think it looks pretty?
That is because I took that picture during the five minute break in the clouds, when the sun was actually out.
The rest of the day it was overcast. Which, according to those in the group who went last year, was rather nice. I guess when the sun beats down, it feels like purgatory.
Here is a more accurate picture:

And again, I caught that teeny patch of blue.
Anyway...on to the water FUN!
We have a lot of youth.

We had three boats, and they were really good about taking turns.
Our youth really are a good group, they all get along really well.

And my boy, Jayden, was able to come this time.
He just turned 12 and that is the magic age to be in the Young Men program.
This was his first outing with all the youth.
It was fun to have him there.
I only saw him twice the whole day.
Here he is:

Just to prove that I really did notice he was there.
We ended up getting on different boats at different times, and missed each other, it was sort-of comical...and yet maybe he planned it that way, so he wouldn't be caught so "uncool" as to be hanging out with his old lady.
I was miffed.
He had Oreos in his backpack.
I didn't get any Oreos.
Here are some of my girls in my group:

And here I am, venturing out on the water on the inner tube of death.
Look at me!
I am having fun!
I am smiling and stuff.

Still loving it...
Water fun, baby!

And I am getting pretty good with the tube.
Look at my STUNT!

(I KNOW!!!)
I was awesome.
It was my first venture out with the new tankini.
I looked pretty okay.
Of course the life jacket was covering all my goods.
Too bad for you blog readers.
No gratuitous swimwear shots.
Here is where things turned south...

You can see here, that I am trapped betwixt two swiftly moving tubes.
Betwixt is a word that doesn't get nearly enough use, in my opinion.
Here I am though, and the water is just beating the crap out of me.
(This is me the next day:)

Betwixt the tubes the water is crazy.
And suddenly, I feel something flapping on my legs.
"What is that?" I ask myself.
What is that betwixt my knees?
(Sorry. I will stop now.)
So I glance down, and see that is is THE BOTTOM OF MY TANKINI.Yes, folks.
The water pressure is blowing my britches off.
So I bailed:

None of the teenage boys in the boat said they saw anything.
I sure hope not.
Good gravy.
No one needs any of that.
Maybe not the best choice for water fun.
Needless to say, I spent the rest of the day driving the boat.

Okay, not really.
I just drove once.
But I did take some awesome photos!

And I kept my pants on the whole rest of the trip.

You really need to click on these two, and see the girls' faces.

Go Sara Jane!

Colton (my friend Niki's boy) he gave the camera some love.
That kid is good on a wakeboard.

Even when he is fixin' to wipe-out.

And on tonight's agenda?

A little Vampire love.

I hope my laundry has evolved into a higher species of laundry and washes itself, cause I am not going anywhere for about 754 pages.