Slideshow Image 1 Slideshow Image 2 Slideshow Image 3 Slideshow Image 3
Sunday, April 28, 2013

A week of projects

This week the cold finally started easing up to the point that today we have the windows open and are lying around in shorts.  I got to go for a long bike ride and now have a sunburn on my one hand facing the sun in the outline of the holes in my biking gloves.  The waterfall got dejunked and de-dead fished (my least favorite spring garden project - that thing smells to high heaven!)  And Jeremy loaded up on tools and started on the chicken coop.  I like the chickens but I am going to like them even more when they live outside.  They will be happier too as they are tired of being cooped up.  Spencer did some manly work with Jeremy while I was gone with the others but then Allison spent the rest of the day shadowing her dad.  She went to the Hardware store, brought him sandwiches and lemonade refills, handled the miter saw like a pro and was just a daddy's girl for the day.
Part of Allison's devotion to her Dad Saturday might have stemmed from what he did with her Friday night.  She had a few friends over to eat pizza and go crazy down in the basement.  I am not sure what it involved other that loud music and maniacal laughter periodically!  Then Jeremy took her and a friend to a Vocal Point concert up in Salt Lake City.

Jeremy was there to do photos of the concert so they got to sit on the front.  Allison was in heaven meeting all the members and getting a CD signed.  Last year she watched every episode of The Sing-off and although her heart is truly stuck on Pentatonix she holds Vocal Point as a close second favorite.  And did I mention Jeremy drove up the girls in the convertible?  Allison was on cloud 9 all night.

While they were at Vocal Point Spencer was off camping with the teachers.  I am beyond grateful for the leaders he has.  He came home tired out and fell asleep reading comics a few hours later for which we were ALL grateful for.  He has been busy at school planning an archery booth with some class mates for their upcoming Shakespeare festival.

Tuesday night Spencer and Jeremy went with the priests to start on a project for Taylor's room.  We are padding Taylor's room.  We spent Monday night at Home Depot figuring out all the moulding to go over the foam/fabric on the walls.  Tuesday night they cut all the wood.  Saturday morning they are coming back to staple on the padding and to paint the trim.  I really, really hope my vision and sketches of this project work out!

Today I helped do a primary inservice for our teachers.  I love a talk Summer of the Lambs so I shared my thoughts about the talk and made beanbags for each teacher.  I gave them a list of 50 things to do with a beanbag in the classroom.  It was a bit overkill on the beanbags but I had fun making them and listening to primary training talks over and over.

We have had a rogue kitchen faucet for a few weeks now.  We have had geysers from faucets coming off.  We have had a slow leak/spray into our bottom cabinet from a hole in the faucet below the sink.  So Friday we got our new faucet!  I am excited not to be mopping up the cabinet every day.  We switched the sides our garbage disposal is on, which means we also had to switch what side our garbage can is on.  Still getting used to the switch.

I am excited this week to see my mom and sister-in-law Griselda and attend BYU women's conference.  I had hopes of having a weed free yard before their visit.  I think we will be settling for the controlled jungle look.  This is the time of year though that I love being outside and working in the yard and I keep sneaking out to work for a while in the afternoons.  In August, its a whole different story.

We made strawberry jam this week.  Always makes me feel like summer is really coming when the house smells like strawberries and sugar.  And I have learned that cottage cheese with some jam stirred in is really good.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Play is the thing

This was the week Allison has been waiting for all year.  5 days and 7 performances of The Little Mermaid.  She was a tentacle, a sea anemone and a bird.  When I heard the parts she was doing I was thinking that wow they are really stretching to make sure every child gets included.  But actually they were very neat parts and costumes.  And Allison loved every minute of it.  She just beamed up there on the stage.  She had to miss school for two days as they did matinees for school field trips.  And then she had a performance every night Tuesday through Saturday.  I got to go Wednesday and see her and work as an usher.  Then we were all there Saturday night, hence the cool photos courtesy of Jeremy.

For more pictures you can see them on Jeremy's gallery.

Allison was tired out today and enjoyed the sunshine appearing at last.  Kids took their different animals outside for play dates in the backyard.  (It is starting to feel very zoo like around here!)  We went for a long bike ride/walk up by the canyon and ate dinner outside.  Kids even helped do dishes so we could rally with badminton for awhile.  I think she will enjoy regular sleep schedules and being able to play with friends again.  The last night the director pulled me aside to tell me how much she has enjoyed having Allison in the play, that she just loves having her there.  Made me feel proud of our little actress.  She has already signed up to do it again next year.

The chicks have become rather unkempt teenagers.  We have had wind, cold, rain and even snow this week.  This weekend the sun finally appeared and we have been introducing them to the big backyard.  They are getting very fed up with their small crate in the kitchen.  Jeremy spent one evening sketching out the plans and dimensions of a neighbor's coop that he intends to copy.  I am getting excited at the thought of kicking the chicks outside.

Saturday, due to the rain a planned Eagle project that Spencer was helping with was cancelled.  That meant he was free to go with Taylor and me to Repticon up in Farmington.  Imagine a small warehouse packed full of weird people, animal presentation and reptile vendors.  He was in heaven.  I was very touched how he even packed a lunch for Taylor and me so we wouldn't get hungry.  Taylor won one of the raffles so Spencer gets a reptile world magazine subscription and some lizard stuff.  Tonight was an act of true love, as if the convention was not enough.  Jeremy and I helped Spencer clean out Chaz's cage and put in new sand and transfer 100 crickets (no that is NOT a typo) to his cricket keeper.  There are some things like cleaning out the garbage disposal I never imagined me doing!

While the boys and I were holding snakes and tarantulas, Jeremy took our girls out to lunch:

It was to help console Robyn who had a birthday party cancellation at the last moment.  The salt in the wound was that Allison was also going to a birthday party that afternoon and her's wasn't cancelled.  Robyn came home sick Tuesday from school with a tummy ache.  She had a small fever and fell asleep in her bed for the afternoon.  Always a sure sign that she isn't faking.  The next day she woke up with a new bottom tooth and was just fine.  I think our girls take after me and don't do tiredness very well.

Jeremy has had a couple of photo things come up and has been staying up late almost every night working on projects.  He has truly been burning the candle at both ends.

It is sort of hitting me that my century bike ride is in a month.  So I have been trying to sneak more rides in.  Friday morning, while out with my friend Carol, the clips finally caused me to do a slow motion fall at a sudden stop.  Glad I was wearing tights as they took the brunt of it.  There is nothing like falling and knowing that you cannot just jump away from your bike.  I am sure the motorcyclist I suddenly stopped for was laughing for the rest of his ride.

Taylor has been happy all day today.  He is our weather barometer.  If the sun is shining, then he is chirping.  I was feeling so good about myself this morning as I gave him a shower while the MoTab played.  I was going to have him all ready for church so he could have a long breakfast.  Just as I was patting myself on the back I noticed the blood streaks on the floor everywhere he walked.  I was too busy to notice that his toe had blood all over it form being stubbed.  Not my finest mom moment. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013


This week I finally after sewing, unpicking and changing my mind a bit, finished the curtains for our dining room.  I think it only took me 2 months!  I am still poking at them a bit and adjusting things but they are done.  And my family can have the dining room table back.

Last Sunday we got to go have dinner at Jason and Kelly's house and my kids re-discovered why they like neighborhoods under construction.  They found re-bars hidden in the dirt and intently tried to figure out how many things they could bang on.  Great, dusty, cousin filled times.  My girls along with our blocks under 12 population have been busy making a little club house down by an irrigation ditch.  They have a swing, a bridge, water, a tree to climb and bugs.  Plus they are out of direct adult supervision.  It has become the place to play.

Allison has had play practices all week and is tired.  5 hours every school day and all day Saturday.  Tomorrow is one last dress rehearsal and then she will be performing every night for the next week along with 2 matinees for school field trips.  She is loving it but is really tuckered out.  And I think she is sick of having sandwiches for dinner snuck in whenever she isn't on stage.  Since she is signing up to do it again next year, she must think its worth it.

Originally I was going to be gone this weekend to St George with some friends.  But some things came up and people couldn't go and we all decided it would be better to stay.  So Friday we all played hookie and watched an early showing of The Host and then came to our house for dinner and cake (one of my friend's birthday, Jenn, is tomorrow).  To finish off our wish list for our girls' weekend we all got up early to do a long run together on Saturday.  I am hoping it countered the cake we ate the night before.  I am truly blessed to know such amazing people.  I did have a neat experience.  One of my friends was diagnosed last week with breast cancer.  This week all her friends fasted for her.  I have never fasted on a regular week day before or gone to the temple fasting.  It was a good reminder to me that fasting is not isolated to Sundays and a tool I can use when there isn't anything else I can do.

Spencer got to go on one last campout this weekend with the Deacons to the Sand Dunes.  He came home happy, tired and sandy.  I remember his first camp out when the idea of laying out all his camping supplies outside like his tent etc, cleaning them up and then repacking his equipment and putting it away was a huge teaching moment.  And now he just does it matter of factly - leaving a trail of sand from the front door to the back but he did go back to sweep up.  I am trying so hard to learn to but my tongue as he figures out how to do things.  Last night he made cookies to thank two neighbors who had welded a candle holder he had accidentally broken at Kelly's house.  He kept asking me to just let him do it himself.  I felt like it took super human strength to not intervene and I don't think I was very gracious about it.  But I remember my own mom letting me destroy our kitchen making rice crispie treats for school carnivals or my brother Daniel making cookies every Sunday unsupervised and it was a good inspiration to me.

Taylor has been in a happy place all week.  He has been laughing, smiling and eating like there is no tomorrow.  And he really enjoys the chickies chirping away in our kitchen.  I am looking into getting him a umbrella style stroller as his wheelchair is a huge pain to take somewhere.  I am not used to taking 10 minutes to break apart or assemble his wheelchair every time I need to go in somewhere.

Robyn has been helping me tackle weeds in our yard.  We have more weeds than plants right now. Robyn just sits next to me flinging dirt everywhere and chatters away.  She is more help than hindrance now and I enjoy every minute of it.  She fasted today for her T.A. who is having surgery this week to remove a growth in her stomach.

Jeremy had a few photo shoots this week and is trying to catch up on all the work he has.  He works so hard and then surprises me by mowing the lawn out of the blue when he knows it will make him have to stay up that much later working.  He picked up Allison and her friends from play practice this week in his convertible and at Primary they were all asking when the next time Jeremy is driving the carpool.  Right now he has declared it nap hour.  A stroke of brilliance that I hope to embrace, right now :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spicy Sausage Pasta

I got this recipe from:  I have changed it just a little for how I like to cook it but it was voted a keeper unanimously by my family.

Spicy Sausage Pasta

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage, cut up into bite-sized pieces - pick your favorite flavor
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 oz penne pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions

1. Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat.  Brown sausage and onions till lightly browned, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

2. Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper, and stir.  Bring to a boil, cover skillet and reduce heat to medium low to simmer for 15-20 minutes till pasta is cooked.

3. Stir in 1 c cheese then top with remaining 1 c cheese and with green onions.  If desired put pan in oven to broil until cheese is melted.

We have been talking about getting chickens for a few years now and decided that this year was it.  So Monday we took the kids chick shopping and set up a little home for them.  Allison's is named Penny, Spencer's is Artemis, Robyn's is Mica and Taylor's is Sandy.  We are hoping for all hens but won't know for sure until they are 6 months old.  Taylor smiles listening to their constant chirping and the kids have spent hours this spring break holding their chicks.  And of course, one night Jeremy broke out the lights for some chick photos.
We have 5 to 7 weeks depending on how fast they grow before we move the chicks outside to a coop.  Jeremy has been scoping out coop plans.  We are debating between a tractor coop where you can move it around your yard or a permanently fixed coop.
Sunday night we had a Easter egg hunt courtesy of Jason and Kelly.  They hid all the eggs in the backyard but told the boys that their eggs were hidden in the front yard.  That bought the girls a few minutes of easy pickings.  And Jeremy had his camera out...
I have been informed by our offspring that we did not have a very exciting spring break.  Allison had play practice for 5 hours every evening.  We alternated between spring showers and sunshine.  Whenever the sun shone I kicked everyone outside to weed, clean the shed and play.  We did go one day to check out a very cool new park where we met up with Kelly and kids for a picnic.  It has a climbing structure that is taller than our house and almost as wide.  I could tell Spencer was ready to have a good time when he walked to the car carrying a basketball, baseball, gloves, football, soccer ball and frisbee!  Most of our neighborhood left for sunnier skies this week so we were very grateful for the few friends that stuck around.  Spencer discovered the new murdock canal trail by our house and biked from our house to Provo Canyon - he was justifiably proud of himself.
Monday Robyn had her four bottom teeth pulled.  She had shark teeth where her adult teeth came in by her tongue as he baby teeth wouldn't come out.  She was quite loopy and funny on laughing gas!  The week before Allison had two teeth pulled on the bottom and a retainer glued in so they have been showing off the new gaps in their teeth.  Allison came down last week crying because her floss had gotten stuck in a tooth and blood was everywhere.  Turns out after a day of working on it her baby tooth was loose enough to fall out on his own.  She thought the whole process was extremely gross and messy but we reassured her that having baby teeth come out naturally was so much better than having the dentist pull them and that is what is supposed to happen!
Jeremy had a couple of photo shoots this week that he worked hard on.  I am glad this his hobby/side job is something he loves so much.
Last night Jeremy and Spencer went off for their guy night of priesthood and a guy dinner of fries/hamburger/shakes after.  So it was ladies' night around here.  Taylor's respite worker had to cancel on us as her husband came down with chicken pox.  But Taylor was thrilled by Allison and Robyn's plan (they discussed and discussed what to do for a long time this week).  We went to Costa Vida where Taylor downed 6 cups of horchata, a kids meal and vehemently insisted that he wanted more.  But we cut him off and he was grinning while he kept signaling more so I think he understood.  Then we went to Hobby lobby where the girls each picked a small craft to work on at home.  They had planned to watch a movie while crafting but since the network was down for repairs they had to be old fashioned and talk to each other instead!  Allison got a calligraphy pen and is trying to learn how to write fancy.
On Thursday I got to go up to SLC for the general primary training.  It was awesome to attend and was full of inspiration and ideas.  I think they need to pass out kleenex at the beginning of the meeting.  I came home feeling so loving and then realized thirty minutes later that I had said nothing but criticisms to our kids.  I definitely have room for improvement!