Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good Wishes for Grandma

This morning I asked Kimball, my five year-old, to say our morning prayers. (He has a tendency to say the same two sentences every time he prays, so before we knelt I encouraged him to take a moment to think about what he'd really like to say.) He began with his list of usual niceties, and then verbalized a VERY special, heartfelt request:

"And please bless Great Grandma that she'll have fun in her coffin today."


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yummy Yums!

I am a big fan of If you have not yet discovered it, then stop now and take a look. My favorite feature to the website is the Reviews. As a general practice I only bother to make recipes that have atleast 100 or more positive reviews. This way I can avoid wasting time with something that will be more enjoyed by the garbage disposal than my taste buds.

I was perusing last Sunday and decided to try and make the top rated cookie called "Beth's Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie" It has 1291 reviews, so far, and still averages a 5 star rating. I love oatmeal cookies, but (sorry Dad, I know you are a big fan) I am not partial to raisins in them, so I replaced those with chocolate chips. (In case you do not know this already- chocolate makes everything better!) In addition I am not a big fan of Crisco- so I made them with all butter.
With those changes- I love this cookie! The added spices give them a little unexpected twist, and they are super chewy and delicious.
A bonus- the oatmeal is good for you- so that cancels out anything bad for you, such as the butter. Right? (A positive 5 plus a negative 5 equals zero. It's simple nutrition "math" people!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No More Christmas Crazies!

This is the year! The year that I will get all my shopping done early. The year that I will be so relaxed and carefree that I'll have all the time I desire to revel in the holiday season with my family. We are going to bake and sing. We are going to read scriptures and stories about the True meaning of Christmas and we will do random acts of service for each other and our fellow man!

This is the year........I hope.

This is my plan every year. Most of the time I fail miserably, (my procrastinating nature sneaks up me no matter how hard I try to check off my lists in an orderly fashion and I end up a stressed-out freak!). But not this year! I am feeling positive. I'm feeling upbeat. I'm feeling ready to tackle projects-- And that, my friends, is what every mom needs to survive the Holidays and come out with any sense of "peace on earth and goodwill towards men." (especially when that Mom is also in charge of her ward's Christmas party. Lucky me!!)

This year I have a game plan for joyful Christmas success:

Number 1- Unlike most years, this season I have forgone almost all homemade gifts. Most of my relatives already have a quilt or purse or something "Amanda-esque" to call their own, so I figure they shouldn't be too disappointed if their gifts are lovingly handmade in China this year. There will be no late nights at the sewing machine for me. I am happily going to purchase gifts and try not to feel too guilty about it.

Number 2- I am doing all the before mentioned purchases online, thus avoiding crowds and the lengthy amount of time it takes me to get anywhere around here. (If you have any unusual online stores that you frequent for great gifts- I would love to hear about them.)

Number 3- We have in acted a new policy in our home. This year we can only talk about what we want to give others. No more long lists for Santa, constant drooling over catalogs, and the incessant "Mom, I want...." and so ons.

And last, I am reducing quantity. Each of my kids will be the lucky recipient of just a few gifts- instead of the endless pile of things they will soon forget about anyway. In addition, I have told my children that they can only make each other presents this year. (I figure my "no-homemade" presents rule does not need to extend to them) I was surprised by their enthusiasm. In fact, they could hardly wait to get started. Last night was a creation extravaganza with tin-foil, paper, glue and tape. Tustin couldn't wait to give me my present so now I am the proud owner of a lovely new tin-foil hair bow.

I will wear it proudly as I shop in my pajamas!

Good luck to all on your own "Christmas To-Do lists." May the Crazies pass over your house and leave you with the joy and peace this season should bring!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tainted Leaves

Here in our little town we pile our fall leaves at the curb in front of our homes and at the end of the season the city sends around big trucks to gather them up and take them off to who knows where. But, before that big clean-up, the leaves make for mountains of fun. Each week the piles get bigger and bigger. I love going out and getting fun action shots of the kids as they roll, tumble, toss and bury themselves amongst Fall's bounty. Until today...

...I was happily driving home from preschool drop-off when I spotted a woman out walking her dog. She perched her beloved pet right on top of her neighbors leaf pile and let him take care of all his business!! I was speechless! Is this a common practice? Could my precious pile of fun really be a cesspool of animal bodily functions?

This may seem like no big deal to the animal lovers out there, but since I am not an animal lover I am especially disturbed! I would like my pile of leaves to stay fresh and untainted for my harvest play ground. I do not want to have everyones retrievers, poodles, and various mutts relieving themselves in my leaves!!! They are mine! Maybe I will post a sign:

"Family Leaf Pile. No dogs allowed"

Does anyone know if dog urine is sterile?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fruitless Bribes!

( The look of a girl who could not be more pleased with herself.)

This is the main conversation in my house these days:

Me: Laura, Do you want to use the potty?
Laura: No
Me: Why do you want to go in your diapers?
Laura: I just like to.
Me: Let's be a big girl and go on the potty!
Laura: I AM a big girl. And I don't want to use the potty.

I've given up. My child must actually enjoy her smelly self, because she couldn't care less about sitting on any porcelain throne around here. I, on the other hand, am very sick of dealing with her wonderful "gifts." I've tried all the tricks and incentives that eventually, after weeks of sweat and tears, worked for my boys --to no avail.

Everyone told me that potty training a girl would be "so much easier" and that she would probably even start the process BEFORE she turned three. I was really looking forward to the "walk in the park" I was promised- just by giving birth to a female. Boy was I fooled.

My own daughter has swindled me out of toys, stickers and candy. She'll do what I want to get her reward. Then as soon as she's got her mother's praise and gifts, she returns to her old smelly ways- and she's pretty smug about it too!

So, I'm taking the hands off approach and have delegated this responsibility to her older brother. He's spent the last 5 minutes or so reminding her how sad Cinderella will be if the flowers on her Pull-Up get wet. Now, she looks up at me with her big blue eyes and says, "Mom, we don't go on Cinderella's flowers, we go on the potty!"

Whatever honey! Talk is cheap- and I've heard it all before. I am immune to your charm! The sticker/candy/toy bank is closed until I get some action around here.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Happy Birthday Laura!

Laura turned 3 years old this week. My baby is no longer a baby, but a spunky and fun little girl. (Sigh......)

She and her friend Ezra were born 5 days apart so we had a shared birthday party with a small group of their friends. It was one half "Thomas the Tank" themed for him, and one half "Princess" themed for her. It was great fun. We blew up the bounce house, (one of our better purchases from Costco a few years back. If you ever think of getting one, I highly recommend it. We have gotten a lot of mileage out of ours.) had some face painting, and enjoyed some fun castle and train engine cakes.

So- goodbye to another year- it was a great one. We love you so much Laura!

(Laura's Castle Cake- I've learned that a world of cake-baking mistakes can be camouflaged by a lot of candy!)

(Ezra's awesome Train cake. He has a very talented Mom. Shout out to you Rachel!)

(Doesn't every mother love the "cheese" face? So attractive!)


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