Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Okay, I'm a bit late in posting a Christmas post, but this way you can hear what we did with our holidays. I haven't down loaded the pictures yet, but hopefully I'll get there (famous last words).

Of course part of the fun of Christmas is the things we do that build up to Christmas. At the beginning of the month we had our family party. My folks were in town for a Dr.'s check up from my dad's surgery, so we invited everybody else over from both sides of the family. We had about 28 people in the house and had a blast. After a nice lunch, we proceeded with our traditional game gift exchange. Everyone brings a gift that's worth $15 that anyone would like or that the bringer wouldn't mind taking home as their own gift. Then we play the white elephant gift game where each person takes a number, and in turn gets to open a gift or steal a gift already opened. Depending on the group size, the gift is frozen after being stolen two or three times. It's a lot of fun to play and it lasts awhile. Our family rule is that children ten and older can play. This game has created a lot of fun memories and makes it so we don't have to buy gifts for each person in the family. The younger kids also get to open a gift to play with while the adults play their game.

We finally made it to temple square this year. We figured we'd have troubles finding a parking spot down town SLC so we parked at the trax and took the train into the city. The boys were so excited to ride the train. It was quite cold even though we bundled up so we spent more time on the train than on temple square. CoolJ was quite disappointed that we didn't go into the temple since we had gone into each of the other buildings. I've since reserved tickets online for us to go through the Draper Temple Open House.

On another occasion, we drove through Riverton to see the lights people had on and around their houses. One home in particular was absolutely gorgeous. There were several large trees and very tall bushes that were all wrapped in lights, each individual branch.

The kids are starting to catch onto some of our family traditions. Rafiki mentioned a couple times that he looks forward to opening a gift on Christmas Eve because he loves getting new pajamas. This also helped Kobee and CoolJ to understand their present would be pj's and not a toy. On Christmas Eve we also read the story of the birth of our Savior together as a family. It was wonderful.

Christmas day we were snowed in. Two storms came through that day. For those of you who have not been to our house, we are on the end of a dirt lane which is a "private drive" meaning that the city does not plow our road. AND our driveway is quite long and double wide, so shoveling takes hours. Eventually the plows made it through the major roads, but two 4x4's got stuck in the middle of the dirt road. We ended up canceling our Christmas dinner so that family wouldn't get stuck trying to come down our street. This meant we baked a 22 lb. turkey to feed seven of us. Thank goodness we love leftover turkey!

Christmas day was a lot of fun. Hawkfire woke us up at 7am, which is plenty early for her to be up. Oddly enough she actually went to sleep by 10pm the night before. We woke up everyone else in the house, including grandma. Santa Claus filled our stockings with lots of fun things and left us Rock Band to go with the Wii we got for Christmas last year. Kobee and CoolJ found Magnetix in their stockings, which kept them busy until we decided to open presents.

When all was said and done, each person had an electronic device except Hawkfire, who asked for books, books, and more books. I found a great deal on ebay for a Nintendo DS, Gameboy Advance and several games (used) all in the same auction, so Kobee got the Gameboy and Rafiki got the DS. Knowing CoolJ would want something similar, we found a preschool "laptop" with educational stuff on it for him. Grandma got a cell phone on our family plan so that I don't have to worry about her so much while she's out. Church_Mouse got a Blue Ray DVD player to replace our broken DVD player, and he got me an iRobot Roomba which is a vacuum that runs itself. Amazing. I named it Angel because it cleans for me! Church_Mouse proceeded to clean corners in preparation for Angel to do her thing. For me, that's the best gift of all is having somebody else doing the cleaning.

A couple days after Christmas we hopped in the van (after a great deal of packing) and headed to Idaho to visit my folks. Even though the weather was good in Utah, it wasn't so good once we reached Idaho, so our driving time was extended from the usual 4 1/2 hours to just over 6 hours. We would have turned around if we felt it was too bad to continue north, but everything worked out fine for us to be here. Our intent was to play in the hills with sleds, which we forgot to bring, and go ice skating. While here the wind and weather has been very odd. The wind blew so hard for two days and we didn't want to go anywhere. The wind was much warmer than it had been so it started melting the snow. Of course the snow isn't gone, but it's time to go home and we haven't done what we came for. However, we have played a lot of games with my mom and visited my grandma. Mom saved the best for last and pulled out marshmallow guns for each kid tonight, which kept them busy for a good long time, laughing and aiming.

Tomorrow we'll hop in the car and head home. Then tomorrow night we'll spend the evening with some friends to celebrate the coming of another year! Even Hawkfire was amazed at how quickly this year has gone by.

The holidays have brought a lot of joy and happiness as we have spent many evenings together as a family. Good times, great memories!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

There's a turtle in my bathtub!

Our turtle is quite the story. A year and a half ago, Rafiki came home from his best friend's house with a turtle in a ten gallon fish tank.

"It's my birthday present."

"Your birthday isn't for four more months."

"It's an early birthday present."

Okay. So Rafiki is given full responsibility for the care of this turtle. I think it's good for him. When we moved, the turtle came with. A couple months later, the tank cracks when Rafiki was cleaning it. I quickly bought a tank off craig's list and decided to paint the living room before putting the tank together. So the turtle remained in the small tank with little water because of the crack.

I painted three walls during that general conference (last April) but never got around to finishing the room, including the wall where the new, bigger tank would be sitting in the TV room. A few months later (yes, months, I had homework and residency and all sorts of other stuff that apparently took priority), the tank shattered into the bathtub while Rafiki was cleaning it. Since the wall hadn't been painted, I didn't let church_mouse put the tank together, insisting I would get to it in a couple days.

The next general conference came and went. After another crazy quarter of school, I decided it was time. Since we didn't have Thanksgiving at our house this year, I spent the day before painting, organizing, cleaning, and dejunking. As soon as the paint was dry, church-mouse put the tank together for the turtle.

Now having the turtle in the tub wouldn't have been so bad, except that church_mouse and I share the downstairs bathroom with the little boys. The two big kids have bedrooms upstairs by their grandma. Grandma has the master bedroom and bathroom and the big kids share the main level bathroom....with a turtle in the bathtub. To make a long story shorter, the big kids were using our bathroom as well for bathing for a couple months. We dealt with it fine until my family came for a week long visit, which added three more people using the basement bathroom. I just shake my head thinking about it.

Now the turtle has a beautiful tank that sits on a matching cabinet in the TV room. I do believe the turtle is happier there with swimming room, a sun lamp, and lots of people to watch her. The tub has been thoroughly scrubbed to get rid of the salmonila (however it's spelled) and the shower head has been replaced with a nice one to entice the big kids back to their own bathroom.

Just in case having nine of us using the downstairs bathroom wasn't enough, right before my folks came for a visit, we discovered a leak in the toilet. Apparently the "inards" need replacing. Unfortunately the previous owner who finished the basement installed carpet in the bathroom. UGH. Well, that makes for easy removal, but then we have tools, a small bathroom throw rug and concrete for the nine of us to deal with. Fun, fun. We've decided to install tile in that bathroom, but unfortunately church_mouse just went out of town for a class, so we may not get that floor finished for weeks to come. I'd do it myself, but I don't know how to fix the toilet. --heavy sigh. As hard as I try, I can't do it all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Hawkfire!

Today Hawkfire is officially a teenager! It's hard to believe my baby girl is all grown up. Hopefully she won't grow much more or she'll be taller than me. I only have two inches on her and she already wears the same size shoes as me. The other day I was reminiscing about Hawkfire's infancy and she happened to walk by. I asked her to sit on my lap so I could hold her for a few minutes. She gave me a funny look, so I said, "Just humor me, please." So she sat on my lap and I wrapped my arms around her and we talked. About a minute and a half later I said, "I think I'm going to drop you." She laughed and got up.

What a joy she is to have in our family. It has been a lot of fun to watch her develop her talents the last couple years. This year Hawkfire discovered Manga and Animae. This spurred a great interest in the Japanese language, so she is trying to learn Japanese. Part of doing so is finding Japanese music and memorizing it. Hawkfire has a beautiful singing voice and we often hear her while she's on the computer with her headphones on, singing in Japanese. Hawkfire also loves to write. She posts stories on fan fiction websites and is also writing a book or two.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Recipes

How many of you LOVE to cook that turkey? I bet you dread the constant wonder of will it be moist or dry? My sister in law is an amazing cook and she gave some tips that have worked every year.

1. Don't stuff the turkey with stuffing or rice. These dry out the turkey.

2. Do stuff it with apple, orange, & onion all chopped and liberally use salt, pepper, & sage then mix well and stuff both ends of the turkey. These put moisture into the turkey instead of taking it out.

3. Use an oven bag to cook the turkey in. This also helps keep the moisture in the turkey.

4. Cook the turkey upside down. If the breast is up, it will dry out easier. With the breast at the bottom, it will sit in the turkey juices while it cooks! Yes, this means the little timer thing can't pop. Don't worry about it. Use the time recommended by weight on the oven bag instructions and it will come out perfect!

Here's a recipe I'm going to try this year for Pumpkin Pie. It looks really easy!

Turtle Pumpkin Pie

1/4 cup plus 2 TBsp. caramel topping, divided
1 graham Pie crust
1/2 cup plus 2 TBsp. pecan pieces, divided
1 cup cold milk
2 pkg (3.4 oz. each) Jell-o Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed, divided

POUR 1/4 cup caramel topping into crust; sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans
BEAT milk, pudding mixes, pumpkin, and spices with whisk until blended. Stir in 1-1/2 cups Cool Whip. Spread into crust.
REFRIGERATE 1 hour. Top with remaining Cool Whip, caramel topping and pecans just before serving. Makes 10 servings, on slice each.

Yeah! Another quarter finished.

This quarter has been very grueling. Not because the course work was difficult, but because the rest of life won't quit happening. Registration signed me up for the wrong classes to begin with, so it wasn't until week 3 that I was caught up. Then I got sick for three weeks, during which our renters moved and left the house completely trashed. Church_Mouse and I spent a month working on the house and still did not have it done. We found new renters who were willing to continue the work on home repair. Imagine that! By this time I had to start on final papers. Crazy!

Anyway, I now have a week and a half before my next two classes start. I have to finish many incomplete projects around here as well as get ready for Christmas. So little time, so much to do.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Cookies (low calorie)

1 spice cake mix
1 sm. can pumpkin
2/3 cup choc. chips

Blend together. Blob onto cookie sheet using a tablespoon. Bake at 350 for about 10 min.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wii Fit

After searching for six months, I finally found a Wii Fit, by accident. Rafiki and I were shopping for a birthday party he was to go to. He says, "Mom, there's a commercial for the Wii Fit." I look over and it's one of those TV screens in the store. I turn back to what I was doing. My brain did a double take as I realized that those TV screens typically advertise the product being sold on that shelf. I look again and there sits one Wii Fit. I snatched it. Mind you the box is pretty big and it's rather obvious what it is, so as we're walking through the store, I was actually worried somebody would try to take it from me.

This was about three weeks ago when I was fighting that cold that wouldn't go away. So, as usual, the kids got to the game first, figured it out and told me how to set up my character. CoolJ's comment was, "Why did you buy a Wii Fit to lose pounds?" Obviously he does not yet understand what pounds are! Kobee on the other hand, informed me that I need to play Wii Fit everyday in order for it to work and let me know it told him that he is a very healthy person.

I started this game a couple weeks after starting Weight Watchers (again) but hadn't been exercising due to the lack of energy from the cold. However, it has been six weeks since I started eating healthy again and about three weeks of exercising occasionally and I've lost 10 lbs. My DH Church_Mouse has shocked me (yet again) and joined a local gym. With a family membership we have been able to go together to exercise, so I'm getting a lot more of a workout than just the Wii Fit. The good news is, we'll have exercise options through the winter!

Meanwhile, Church_Mouse is shrinking rather quickly (as usual, once he puts his mind to it) and I'm shrinking gradually. It's nice to have a support system at home and online! Weight Watchers works amazingly well and I am enjoying it. You know why? Because I can still have a bowl of ice cream every night if I want it!

BTW-anyone is welcome to join our online weight support group no matter what "diet" you might be doing. We record our daily food intake, email it to each other daily, and share good meal and snack ideas with each other. If I can ever get the time, I'd like to make pumpkin cookies! They're only one point each and the recipe is so easy! Maybe I'll blog that next.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weight Loss Support Group

Leave it to my best friends to kick me in the butt and get me back in shape. I'd been at the point of not caring about my weight for quite some time as it continued to creep up. Anyway, Emily asked me if I wanted to help her do WW without actually going to meetings. Her idea was to create an online support group. After a few days I decided to commit. It's so much easier to not "diet" alone; however, WW is much more of a lifestyle than a diet.

What we do is email each other our food journal at the end of each day. Not everyone in the group is following the WW plan, but the point is to be supportive of the others. The fun part is seeing what other people are eating that is low calorie and healthy. We even share recipes for yummy foods and meals. I've been back on WW for 3 weeks and I've lost 4 lbs. That's pretty good considering I've been sick for half of that time and haven't felt good enough to exercise. I found a Wii Fit at Target this week and it tracks everything for you: weight, BMI, etc. so now the kids are being very supportive as well.

Why am I telling you this? Because if you'd like to join our weight loss support group, that's what we're here for. I believe within a few months, our group will have lost the equivalent of a person, figuratively speaking!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Yesterday evening it was just Kobee, CoolJ and I at home. The big kids and hubby were out doing other activities. We had about an hour before bedtime and were tired of watching cartoons. Kobee asked me if I'd play a game with him. I play games with CoolJ all the time so I'm thinking this will be all sorts of fun.

"Sure, what kind of game do you want to play?"

"Let's race!"

Oh, you've got to be kidding me. I'm so out of shape, but I have to be able to beat my boys at anything so they don't think their mom is a woos.

"I'll beat you," I threatened.

"That's okay. Let's race."

So we all put on our fastest running shoes and headed to the front yard, where it was very dark. Our front porch light doesn't seem to do much good for the front porch, let alone the whole yard. Now last time Kobee and I raced was about a year ago in Tooele. I was way faster than him, and a lot lighter. Kobee has grown several inches this year and runs races all the time at school, so he's improved a bit since last year, but I'm still determined to beat him. He tells me to line up along the edge of the driveway, facing the side yard.

"Okay, where are we running to?"

"To the red tree. On your mark, get set, GO!"

Kobee starts running as he says go but of course I don't start running until after he has said it, so he is already ahead of me. I book it to the tree and stop, while Kobee hollers,

"You have to run back, too, mom."

UGH. So no matter what I've lost this race due to the fact that my six year old makes the rules as he goes, and calls out go so that he can leave the line before I do. In hopes to make this more fair, I declare CoolJ the referee, who gets to be the one to say go. I also verify that we're running to the tree and back. I've got it straight what he expects now and we are ready.

CoolJ says, "On your mark, get set, GO!"

Kobee leaves the line as go is said AGAIN so I'm behind AGAIN. But I'm still determined to be faster than my six year old and win this race. I book it, touch the tree, which Kobee didn't do, and book it back. Making great strides to catch up to and pass Kobee in the last leg of the race, I slide on one foot several feet across the grass, which means of course that I then fall and slide on one knee several more feet while Kobee is passing the finish line. Yes, I slid safely into home. If only we had been playing baseball or kickball or softball. But NO, there I lay on the grass beaten by my six year old. Of course I had to accuse him of cheating because he didn't touch the tree before he so quickly ran back.

The races continued without me, which means I got to be the referee for Kobee and CoolJ. The first race Kobee won hands down. CoolJ isn't as practiced at this yet. To make things a little more fair for CoolJ, I made a rule of my own. CoolJ has to touch the tree and come back, but Kobee has to run around the tree and come back.

"Ready, set, GO!"

Off they go towards the tree. CoolJ is so funny at how precisely he follows the rules. He stops completely, touches the tree for several seconds, turns around and runs back. It's like slow motion. Luckily he still finishes in similar time to Kobee who has run around the tree.

The boys went to bed with no problem that night!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mannah from Heaven!

As many of you know, my parents live in Idaho. With no stops, it's about a four and a half hour drive for us to get to their house. Each fall my parents glean potatoes after the potatoes have been harvested. This year since my dad is driving over the Teton pass to work each day, mom had to find someone else to help glean the fields. Mom's best friend is in her early forties and has six kids, the same age as mine down to newborn. Since this friend lost her mother many years ago, my mom stepped in to help give her advice on raising kids and helps her like a mom when she has babies. Since there's only a decade difference in age, it works well for them to also be best friends.

Now that you have the background information here's the story! Mom took her best friend's kids to help glean the fields. Their first gleaning was red potatoes. When they drove into the field, right there on the edge of the field was a big puddle full of spuds. Those kids had a hayday digging potatoes out of the mud. Mom said it looked like there was trouble getting around that corner because of the puddle so they dropped all the potatoes on the belt and picked up once they got around the corner, leaving probably hundreds of pounds of red potatoes for someone else to discover.

The second time they went to glean, they wanted russets. Mom pulled into the field and found tons of potatoes again, right there on the edge of the field. They filled the back of her jeep with all the plastic bags mom brought chock full of russets. Mom's best friend ended up with easily a dozen boxes of potatoes between the two gleanings and my parents with probably as many.

A day or so goes by and mom gets a phone call from her best friend, "You didn't need to glean potatoes. Come to my house and see." Mom's friend lives next to the highway and there is a ditch between her house and the highway. A potato truck filled with thousands of pounds of potatoes hit the ditch with one tire, which of course toppled the truck, dumping potatoes onto mom's friend's yard. The farmer came with another truck and a front loader and scooped everything he could, telling her she could have the rest. Mom and her friend spread the word for people to please come take whatever potatoes they wanted from her yard. 30-40 families have gleaned potatoes from her yard and there are still potatoes left waiting to be claimed.

With the economy the way it is right now, those potatoes serve as a blessing for many families to be fed this winter. Mom described it as "Mannah from heaven."

Don't watch "The Dutchess"

Church_Mouse and I went on a double date Saturday night with some friends. After going to dinner, we went to see the movie "The Dutchess" starring Keira Knightly. We've enjoyed other movies that she has played in and figured this one would be good as well.

The movie had several sex scenes, including a lesbian sex scene. It was based on a true story and the story line was very sad. I was quite shocked and would like to warn everyone else this movie should have been rated R and I can't recommend it at all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

You've Been Spooked!

My best friend started "Boo"ing people in her neighborhood last week. It's a fun tradition that has gone on for many years in the month of October. I've been running so far behind in school as well as the rest of life that I have decided not to worry about it this year.

This week with the weather changing so drastically, I have struggled with allergies. My allergies became a raging cold over night last night and I have slept all day today. Matt woke me up for dinner at 5 pm with a bowl of chicken noodle soup for dinner. Still tired, I came upstairs and crashed on the couch with no energy.

A few minutes later someone pounded quite loudly on the front door. I waited for one of the kids to go running to answer the door, but nobody budged. CoolJ was playing quietly with his mega blocks. Church_Mouse was working from home with very large head phones preventing him from hearing just about anything. The other kids were downstairs: Hawkfire on the computer in her own little world and the other two boys playing the Wii. So...that left me to answer the door. Forcing myself to get up and walk across the house, I found the front door wide open with our black cat, Friday, sitting in the front doorway. No one is at the door, but a plate of cookies with a note, "You have been spooked."

We invite cookies at any time! I the meantime, for FHE tomorrow night, and figure out who we are going to spook. But the story thickens. Rafiki had just gotten out of the shower and had come upstairs in a towel and was walking past the front door when the "BANG, BANG, BANG" took place. Scared Rafiki out of his skin. Our front door at that time was closed, but the door opens easily, so about the time somebody ran, the door flew open and the cat showed up to take a look. Soon Kobee showed up when he found out there were cookies, asking who was at the door. I told him it was a ghost. He seemed a little taken aback by that until I told the whole story and reminded him that he helped "Boo" neighbors last year.

So hopefully I'll be feeling well enough tomorrow to make cookies. If not, the kids will do it. They love to bake...and make a big mess in the kitchen.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another Honda....but this one is a Motorcycle

Crazy? Yes, I do believe we are. A few years back when Church_Mouse needed a commuter vehicle, he asked for a motorcycle or a hybrid. As you may know, I agreed to the hybrid. Many years later, that honda is having transmission issues. UGH. It's still driveable, but we'd like to have another option while we figure out how to get the hybrid transmission fixed. So...three months ago Church_Mouse started looking on ksl.com for motorcycles. He found that compact cars and hybrids are selling for more than they're worth because they're not gas guzzlers. We discovered that our hybrid is worth $4K more than we bought it for. Crazy! In the search for motorcylces, Church_Mouse discovered that motorcycles are also more expensive because they also get good gas mileage.

Any of you that know Church_Mouse, understands that when he takes an interest in a new topic, he researches as much as he can oftentimes until there's nothing else available to learn. As he found motorcycles for sale, he researched the make and model so he could figure out what type of motorcycle would work well for him. Then one day it happened. He calls me up all excited, sounding like a kid on Christmas day. Church_Mouse found the one. "It's way under priced, the guy only wants what he owes on it so he can get out from under the loan." He had a co-worker friend test drive it for him. As it turns out, we paid cash for the motorcycle, which of course, ended up being a Honda. It's a 1984, so Church_Mouse gets comments like, "Oh, my brother had one of those...about 15 or 20 years ago. He loved it."

Church_Mouse took a motorcycle training course to get his motorcycle license last weekend. It rained all weekend. Nothing like practicing in inclement weather. He has enjoyed "Joy Rides" around neighborhoods and in the mountains and now that he has his motorcycle license, it's time for me to invest in a helmet and join him for a joy ride now and then. Hopefully we'll have another nice day soon so I don't have to wait 'til next year. Freezing my toosh on the back of a motorcycle doesn't sound too appealing to me. Church_Mouse talks about getting me a motorcycle or even a scooter to run errands on. I think he says that just so I can't do much shopping. You can't bring much home on the back of a bike!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In need of a good renter

Our renters are out and we're in the process of hunting down new renters.  If you know of anyone looking for a great place to live, please give them my  phone number.  We're doing some painting throughout the house and finishing up with fence fixes in the yard.  The yard will be fully fenced and has a great sprinkler system for easy maintenance.  Keeping the yard maintained and looking beautiful is one of our requirements for our renters.  

For anyone interested, the house is a four bedroom, two and a half bath two story house with a finished  basement.  The neighbors are awesome and the rent is competitively low.  There are many cops that live in the neighborhood, including the Chief of Police so the crime rate is lower than much of the city.  

Please spread the word for us!  

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Online SCAM artist: Collinsroy Skada

I finally broke down and took some pictures of our extra furniture to sell on ksl.com in hopes to make a few bucks and clear some space in the back garage.  I'm really good at procrastinating, so this has been a thought lingering in my mind for a couple months now.  So I did it.  In the middle of the night, only a couple hours after I had listed a few things, I get an email from somebody wanting to buy one of my bean bags.  But the email was weird.  This person asked questions about every detail I answered in the ad, AND didn't speak (type) English well.  So I was suspicious from the get go.  I found the ad first thing this morning but hesitated to respond.  Many hours later I decided to respond just in case it was for real.

In my email back to the scammer, I was brief and to the point, restating the details from the ad.  Of course soon thereafter, I get an email back from the scammer:

"I understand your message.  The total amount for your item, is $225 + $25 for removing the advert from Craigslist, And my client is respossible for the payment that is why I ask for your information.  A check of $2800. will be issued out to you.
"Please as soon as you got the check and get it cashed, You were to deduct the whole amount of this transaction and send me the rest balance to my shipper company.

Following this were details of where I could send the check.  Ontario Canada?  Not Nigeria?  Okay, that's a surprise, but most definitely a scam.  So... to anyone out there getting emails from this jerk.  Beware and don't send any money!  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


It has been so nice having the older two boys back in school.  This means that CoolJ and I have a lot of time together.  He'll be back in preschool next week, which will be great fun for him, and will give me time for myself!  

Yesterday Church_Mouse was working from home and I was doing kitchen chores and decided to have CoolJ help me unload the dishwasher.  Since he's only four, I try to keep it simple.  The easiest part for him to do is put away the silverware.  He was watching TV and I asked him to come be my helper and unload the silverware for me.  I was shocked at his response.  On his way to the kitchen he said, "Come be my helper, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH." I couldn't believe I was hearing this from my four year old.  I charged him slowly, tackled him, tickled him while saying, "blah, blah, blah" over and over again.  He thought that was pretty funny.  I don't know where he initially heard this lovely phrase, but he sure is good at properly using whatever he learns.  

Since CoolJ is my "baby" I am trying hard to enjoy him all I can.  I am with the other kids as well, but once he's a full time student, my years of being a mother of young children will be over.  While I'm glad to be done with diapers and toddlers, this precious age of four into five is my very favorite.  They say the funniest things and they're so much smarter than we give them credit for.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Mom, I have diarrhea."

The blessed day has arrived that my boys go back to school from being off track.  I'd even threatened to send them back early!  Yesterday morning I'm getting everyone up in preparation for scriptures and prayer so HawkFire could head out the door to the bus stop.  Kobee comes up the stairs and says, "Mom, I have diarrhea."  Oh, shoot.  I'd heard that the "gomboo" was going around already this fall and we've been so healthy that I was quite surprised to hear him say this.  We had scriptures and prayer and I sent HawkFire out the door to school, all the while contemplating why my six year old has diarrhea.  

The epiphany finally came to me!  Sat. at the Farmer's Market I bought a small bucket of plums.  Kobee has discovered the joys of fruit this summer and he ate a good amount of those plums since I had them on a bowl on the counter top.  Kobee insisted he go back to school despite his problem, so I wrote a note to his teacher asking her to let him use the restroom as often as needed.  

I was curious as to how Kobee's teacher reacted when she read the note, so I asked him at dinner what she said.  You'll have to use your imagination here, but she winked, put up her thumb and made a cute click with her mouth.  Last night before bedtime Kobee announced, "Mom, I don't have diarrhea any more!"  

We've enjoyed a lot of other fruits this summer as well.  I picked up a case of peaches at Peterson's associated food store last week and I've been eating them like crazy.  We're down to the last dozen in the bottom of the box and they're getting soft.  I'm going to have to use the rest tonight.  I've already made jam from the last box we bought, so I'm thinking about dehydrating the rest of these.  The next batch of jam I make will be pumpkin jam!  

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Gem Faire

Since I've been beading and making jewelry, I've wanted to go to a rock show in hopes to find some killer deals on beads.  It finally happened!  The unfortunate thing is that I had no one to go with to ooh and aah over beads.  So, I met a couple people there and had fun without a buddy.  The fun part about the bead show is getting to see thousands upon thousands of top of the line quality gem stones that I could never afford.  For example, I love tourmaline.  The strings are tied together in bunches so I picked them up to read the price tag.  $1200 a string, and I'm holding about a dozen strings.  Oh, but they're half price this weekend.  (Cuz that will make a difference.)  Anyway, I did find lots of good deals.  I bought most of my strings of rocks for $1-$3 a string.  I also found several awesome pendants.  Unfortunately, there's never enough money to buy everything you'd like to get.  For example, I wish I would have bought some more rose quartz.  The next gem faire is March 20-22.  I'll have to start saving money now so that I can have a good amount to spend!

I also shopped some yard sales today.  I decided to shop in different neighborhoods since I was already on the other side of the valley.  I found it to be very frustrating; however, I did find a yard sale that was selling a roto tiller and after talking them down, I decided to buy it as well as a spreader.  It will be helpful considering we have a huge garden and yard.  Now to pull all the dead weeds back there.  It's got to get done, but today I need to work on the front garage.  With fall here, winter is on its way and I'd like both cars to fit in the front garage.  

Time to get to work.  Hugs to all!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Temporary Arrangements

We moved into this house so that my mother in law wouldn't be alone.  She has a bad back and can't do stairs, so she needs a bedroom on the main floor.  I wanted her to have her own bathroom so she doesn't have to share with the kids, so we decided to leave her in the master bedroom.  This puts Church_Mouse and I in a small bedroom downstairs with a small closet that is "the closet under the stairs."  I can't manage to keep my room clean since there just isn't enough space to put things.

To make a room for the little boys, we created a "wall" out of shelving to separate their bedroom from the family room.  It has worked just fine; however, they don't have a closet.  Their bedroom is pretty darn big so they have plenty of space to play....and make big messes.  

The other night Church_Mouse said to me, "We've been in this temporary situation long enough.  It's time to make a plan."  So we started talking about what we can do to have a second master bedroom and bathroom.  Of course it will take a long time to get it done since we'll be doing the work ourselves.  The little boys will end up in the room we are currently in and their room and the family room will become the master bedroom.  The area by the utility closet is already plumbed for a bathroom.  The rest of that area which is currently the little boys room will be a sitting area and craft area.  We'd like to go ahead and install a fireplace in the family room since there's already a chimney there.  Then on the other side of the family room, we'll build a walk in closet.  I told Church_Mouse the closet needs to be built first so we can use it before the rest is done!  Then we should install the fireplace so we can stay warm this winter.  Oh, and I can't forget the best part.  We'll get new carpet for the basement.  Time to start pricing lumber.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kids say the Darndest things!

Yesterday I got a phone call from another mom whose kids are currently off track asking if Rafiki could play with her son.  I quickly called back to see if Kobee could play with her daughter, who is in his school class.  So off they go "the back way" to get to their friends' house.  They played for about three hours and came home around dinner time.  I asked Rafiki if he had fun, which he certainly did.  Rafiki said, "Mom, their house is huge.  It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!"  I had to laugh.  It was particularly cute coming from an eleven year old.  We've never lived in an area where there are affluent families so it was quite an adventure for them.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tether Ball

About three weeks ago, I looked out my front door and said to myself, "Huh, something looks different."  Towards the side of our house we have a long skinny garden area with a tree at each end and my well in the middle, with lots of dead weeds taking up the rest of the space.  The thing that looked different was to the right of the first tree was a big pole, with a long rope attached at the top, dangling down the pole.  "I wonder where that came from," I said to myself.  We don't have many neighbors, and the pole with base attached is pretty darn heavy, so it's not like a toy some kid accidentally left in the yard.

We decided to wait for awhile to see if anyone came to claim the pole.  It's been three weeks and no one has said boo about it being theirs, or mentioning that they donated to our yard in hopes it could find some use with all the kids.  Nothing.  So, since possession is 90% of the law, I guess it's legally ours, right?  I decided to order a tether ball for it.  We're going to move it to the back yard and probably concrete it in so the kids don't knock it over trying to climb it and we'll have a tether ball pole.  Remember the school playgrounds when we were kids?  Most of them had two or three tether ball poles.  I haven't seen one in ages.

It's fun having things in our yard that other home owner don't have because that's a reason for the kids to play here for awhile.  I recently bought a really nice soccer goal at a yard sale and all the kids in the neighborhood came over to play soccer.  Okay, we don't live in a neighborhood. We live on a dead end dirt road out in the middle of nowhere between two cities.  So the kids from two houses came over to play soccer and it was a lot of fun.  Adding a tether ball pole to the back yard should bring all sorts of excitement.  

BTW-my goal to paint the living room last Friday...didn't happen.  --heavy sigh

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Yard Sales

A great Saturday for yard sales.  The weather was cool and slightly rainy, but plenty of yard sales to shop at.  I've been hoping to find some roller blades for Kobee and I, but no luck so far.  I did find a new comforter set for my bed today that is absolutely gorgeous for $10.  It came with two pillow shams, curtains, and a table cloth to go on top of my dresser.  That was the highlight of all the stuff I bought.  

I did meet a lady today with several apple trees and a pear tree.  She says she ends up with more fruit than she knows what to do with.  I gave her my name and number and told her I'd love to take some of that fruit off her hands.  I may be doing some canning after all this fall.  I have done two different kind of freezer jam, but I tend to give at least half of it away to neighbors and ladies I visit teach.  Anyway, we'll see if she calls.

The weather has definitely changed to fall.  I'm hoping we have a good long fall so that I can get the yard work done that I didn't want to do during the heat of the summer.  I didn't get around to gardening this year because we were doing major remodeling in the kitchen, so I need to pull all the weeds that are there.  I'd like to be ready to plant a huge garden next spring.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chocolate Sugar Free Protein Shake!

1 cup milk
9 ice cubes
dash salt
1 tsp. vanilla
8 packets splenda
1/2 banana (opt.)
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 large egg
(any fruit can be used)

Church_Mouse invented this recipe himself when he was low-carbing.  I drink one almost everyday as a meal or a snack and it lasts a good three hours before I'm hungry again.


We've spent a couple days thinking through nicknames for the children.  It has been a lot of fun going through ideas for what to call the kids online.  We've taught them not to give out personal information online so here are the nicknames we've chosen.  My daughter, the oldest, is HawkFire.  Rafiki is my oldest son, Kobee is my middle son, and CoolJ is my youngest son.  

Yesterday Kobee lost his second top tooth so now he looks somewhat toothless.  He's also missing one on the bottom.  He's excited to go back to school to show a friend of his that he matches her!  Yes, Kobee still hangs out with the girls.  At the beginning of the school year, a girl wrote him a note saying she likes him, so he wrote her a note back telling her she's the smartest girl in the whole class!  Kobee has an awesome teacher that has really helped get Kobee excited about learning.  He is doing great with his reading teaches CoolJ a lot about first grade.  The problem here is that when I want to sit down with a preschool workbook to do homework with CoolJ, he tells me he wants to do Kobee's homework.  It's quite cute.  Kobee's latest joy in life is roller blading.  I found some new blades at a yard sale for CoolJ that are adjustable and used with shoes.  I haven't been able to find blades for Kobee anywhere so he has been wearing Rafiki's blades, which are my size.  The crazy thing is he blades really well on them.  Meanwhile, the search continues for blades his size.

Rafiki earned his Weblos badge last month, just in the nick of time.  He's now an eleven year old scout.  Time for a new uniform and book.  Rafiki has a great teacher this year and he actually has a small class.  Of course this could easily change with all the families that have been moving into this area.  By the end of the school year his class could be big.  The only thing that bugs me is the elementary school is brand new (this is its second year open) and the entire sixth grade are outside in portables.  Rafiki's favorite hobbies right now are legos and pokemon.  

CoolJ is enrolled in a preschool taught by a lady in my ward.  She was pregnant with child number three and had been teaching Kindergarten for seven years.  She decided to stay home to teach and built an amazing preschool room into her basement.  Since school is year round here, she started teaching at the beginning of August, which worked perfectly for when the other boys went back to school.  She had her baby a month later and is taking six weeks off.  This has also worked out fine since the other boys went off track two weeks later.  CoolJ loves hanging out with his brothers and when they are not home, I'm his entertainment, which means not much gets done.

Hawkfire is amazing.  She is thoroughly enjoying Young Women's and is starting to make some friends.  Since the school district offers dance in Middle School, so no longer is on a competition team.  I feel bad about this, but the cost out here is sky high.  She has so many other things she likes to do with her time that it seems to be working out fine.  So, in school she is taking modern dance, chorus, French, Geometry, and all the other required classes.  At home she is working on learning Japanese due to her current obsession with Manga and Animae.  She still reads everything she can get her hands on and is excited about the valley's public library system (all the libraries are linked together so she can request a book from another library and get it the next day).  Hawkfire is quite the writer on a couple forums that do fan fiction and role playing games.  

Church_Mouse, my husband, has been transferred to a different team at work.  It has made a huge difference for him with a new learning curve and the opportunity to work with people that are positive.  He still loves flying RC airplanes and spends his Wednesday evenings at the field training other people who want to learn to fly.  His enthusiasm and good teaching skills has influenced several people to join the local RC flying club.  Church_Mouse is also still a big reader, only he has discovered the joy of downloading books onto his iphone.  It is much lighter than carrying around a bulky book with him everywhere.  Book 13 of the Robert Jordan series is coming out next year so he is rereading books 1-12 on his phone.  

I, Blue Daisy, have finally adjusted to our new home.  I still feel like we're out in the middle of nowhere.  I used to tease Church_Mouse's step dad that "If directions to your house say turn off the paved road, you might be a redneck."  Well, that is the very house we live in.  I still have much organizing and painting to do, but that was the story in Tooele as well.  School keeps me from getting big projects done so it'll be awhile, although I have many gallons of paint just waiting to be opened.  I am still learning names at church and recognize that these people are very nice, but I haven't clicked with anyone yet.  I have tried to keep in touch with my old friends and have been able to see a couple of my friends here in the valley a little more often.  The last book I read was Breaking Dawn in the Twilight series.  It took me forever to get through since I was in the middle of a quarter when it came out.  We did rock paper scissors to see who got to read it first.  I won!  But because I had homework to do, Church_Mouse  picked it up and read it and when he finished it Sara snagged it.  Oh-well.  

Today's goal:  paint the other half of the living room since I don't have any homework due today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I have been wanting to start a blog for a long time now, and finally decided to make an attempt in hopes it would be easy.  My hope is for this to an easy way for all my friends to keep in touch with me as they see what is going on in our lives.  With any luck I'll figure out how to post pictures on a regular basis.

Our lives on Critters Cove is much different than it was in Tooele.  We feel like we're out in the country with very few neighbors.  We live on an acre of land with some young fruit trees, a huge back garage, a lot of lawn to mow with no riding lawn mower, and all sorts of critters we'd rather not have to deal with.  For example, we have another mole hole with dirt pile right in the middle of the backyard we've worked so hard to recover this year.  We'll figure out how to get rid of those moles yet.

I am still working on my master's degree with the goal to become a Marriage and Family Counselor someday.  I'm a full time student so sometimes other parts of life take the back burner for a little while.  For example, right now the laundry is piled high. --heavy sigh--   Today may very well be a great day to t the kids to work in hopes to put a dent in it.

I've realized that I have finally reached the point with my children that I can enjoy them.  This is mostly because my baby is four and has become somewhat independent, allowing me to nap when I need to.  The fun is trying to keep him occupied while I work on homework.  

Future blogs will give nicknames for the kids and funny things that happen around here on a regular basis.  Until then!

Blue Daisy