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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day and EFY

Today we are celebrating Father's Day.  I have been blessed with an amazing dad who continues to be an example to me of who I want to be someday.  And we are celebrating Jeremy's role as the dad of our family.  Kids got up without grumbling to make him omelets and Allison has been hard at work making dinner for him.  This will be the 24th Father's Day we have spent together if you count the one when we were engaged and just thinking about being parents someday.  He still surprises me everyday with how much he does for our family.  The above picture was taken at our city's rodeo Thursday night.  One of our favorite traditions.  Watching wild cow milking and eating strawberries and cream while kids manage to talk a mile a minute to share every thought they ever had.  Can't be beat.  Taylor stayed home as the rodeo is not  his favorite and because he has been struggling a bit lately.  So today we left after sacrament and this is how Jeremy spent a portion of his Father's Day:

Just constipation again or obstication is how the doctor put it.  After x-rays to make sure that it what we were dealing with.  They sent us home with syringes and the doctor's favorite recipe for homemade enemas.  Yummy.  We have lit candles, opened windows and are prepared for the deluge.  If it doesn't work then back in we go and they will admit him and do it at the hospital with different contraptions that aren't as pleasant.  I have been putting off taking him in as he isn't in shock yet but as he once again refused to eat this morning and Jeremy pointed out that I was leaving for Girl's Camp Tuesday, we decided we better get him feeling better before I leave.  Not much fun for Taylor but hopefully things will improve soon.

Taylor has been enjoying the last two weeks of summer camp every day.  We take him at 9 and pick him up at 3.  They work on goals and crafts and play games in the morning and then he either swims or does field trips in the afternoon.  He comes home tired and happy, ready to nap until it cools down again.  And then if he is lucky Jeremy takes him for a drive in the convertible and then lets him hang out in the grass while he washes the car.

I have appreciated having a driver this week as Spencer has been helping me out when I had to work three mornings.  He took Taylor to camp and the girls to piano.  I think he enjoys the responsibility.  He even drove himself to get his hair cut.  He is working usually 3-4 days a week which keeps him busy.  This week he is off for his high adventure of canoeing the Gunnison River.

Allison got to spend a week at EFY which she loved.  She was a little nervous about who her room-mate would be as she didn't go with any friends.  But she lucked out and made a new great friend from California.  

She said she tried really hard to be friendly and outgoing to everyone and can't wait to go back next year.  After hearing all her stories about the boys in her group, Jeremy is appreciating his new shirt that says: "Rules for Dating my Daughter: #1 You Can't".

And if you go to EFY, lunch at the creamery with your Mom beforehand is required:

With Allison and Taylor gone one morning I was able to go hiking with Spencer, Robyn and our friend Blake.  Who knew this gorgeous hike was just up the street from us?

This week has been Strawberry Days for our city.  So we have been enjoying all the festivities.  Jeremy took Robyn to the fireman's pancake breakfast:

Robyn and Taylor got to tag along with me as I went with Allison and Mia Maids to the concert in the park:

And of course the rodeo!  Allison and her friend and Jeremy got to volunteer at the concession stand one night.  Allison said her forearms have never been so sore from pouring cream all night!  It turned out that a bunch of kids from our ward happened to volunteer at the same time and same place so they had a great time.

And then there is our small town parade.  Robyn decorated her sun hat and had her candy bag ready along with her friend Jill.  Alas we forgot sunscreen and a canopy so Jeremy and Allison have slight sunburns on half their body!  After the parade Robyn and Jillian had Allison pour ice water over them!

For Jeremy's Father's Day date I gave him many options.  He got a massage and then picked going with our family to a beach family festival and out to Chubby's.  Allison refused to make hamburgers for Father's Day as she hates them so he has to get his meat somewhere!  Kids thought it was a great way to spend an evening:

Robyn has been having swim team every morning but did time trials Thursday and Friday mornings.  That meant she had to be at the pool by 6:30.  That means I have to be up as well!  I know she loves swimming when after staying up till midnight for the rodeo she is up and ready to go before 6 am and has a smile on her face.

We have been at the pool a bunch this summer.  Robyn has a new game: teach Mom how to swim better.  She really enjoys telling me everything I am doing wrong!  She and her friend Jill have been trying to babysit more for a family down the street.  They attempted one night time babysitting experience and when the 2 year old wouldn't stop crying they called the parents.  Robyn felt like such a failure.  Then Allison told her about having to call me to come help her with a baby who wouldn't stop crying and now Robyn has a game plan for next time.  Robyn and her friend Jill spent a week planning a babysitting field day for kids at our house.  They made games, crafts and snacks and then had a few kids over for two hours.  All were super tired and happy at the end of it.

Jeremy has been having kids help him make a water station for the chickens and is quite pleased with how it's working.  No more chickens going without water when it's 100 degrees outside.  Not that kids ever forget to do all their jobs around here!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

First week of Summer

Memorial Day morning we checked Taylor into respite and I took the 3 kids plus Allison's friend Kaori for a Utah State road trip.  Jeremy sadly had to stay home and work after being gone for a week.  We missed him.  For our trip, we ate an enormous, delicious late lunch at Angie's in Logan:

And then we hiked the Wind Caves tunnel where you could see all of beautiful Cache Valley:

Luckily I now have Angel's Landing in my back pocket to break out when Robyn keeps saying she can't do 2 miles uphill...there was a bit of whining.  For some reason all the whining disappeared when we were walking downhill!

Then since Pepperidge was closed we went to play in the pool, drink hot chocolate and eat PB and chocolate chip sandwiches and stay up late watching Disney shows.  My kids have certain qualifications for hotels: a pool, cable and free breakfasts:

Then we were off to Utah State to walk up Old Main Hill (Robyn thought it was Old Man hill - she said she guess the name was because you felt like an Old Man when you got to the top).

The tour was very cool and we were there for over 5 hours walking around the campus, seeing the dorms, eating lunch, meeting with an academic advisor and of course getting Aggie ice cream:

Then we visited Willow Park zoo, a really tiny, very cool zoo.  There was a goat that was convinced Spencer couldn't stop scratching him.  Allison loved their "pet rock" collection.

Spencer and Allison both really liked USU and it helped them to see what was required of them in high school and what classes they would take there etc.  I think USU is now the top of Spencer's college list, we will see if it stays there.

Then we drove up to Pepperidge Farm outlet to stock up on goldfish and for kids to buy a bag of cookie each.  And we hit up Maddox on our way home.  And yes I know food seemed to be the theme of this trip and we have been eating salads ever since!

We came home to enjoy summer.  Robyn started swim team and has been up early, ready to go every morning.

We got to spend one afternoon at the pool with Kelly and cousins splashing around.  A heat wave came this week so the days have been in the 90s and the switch has made the pool feel really good.  One morning I got to stay for swim team and swim laps.  I forgot how much I like swimming but also how tired and out of shape swim wise I am!

One night I was able to go with my friend Brenda as her son took out his endowments.  What an amazing experience to see a young man I have known since he was 6 go through the temple.  Helped me remember what is important in life.  The next evening Spencer, Allison and I got to go do baptisms together.  Spencer loves the family appointments - zero wait time.  I think they must put the nicest temple workers in the baptistry just to build up our kids.

On Friday I got to go with Allison and the 4th year girls on a backpacking trip.  Allison is a 3rd year but since I am going she got to go and she was very excited.  It was a pretty short hike only a mile but it was uphill and super hot!  Allison slept in hammocks which she thought were great.  Since I carried up a tent and tarp in my backpack I thought the hammocks looked pretty nice too.  She said it was a great nights sleep.  I wish I could have filmed the process of them setting up these hammocks and getting it.  It was pretty fun to watch.  We hiked around, had devotionals, cooked our meals and had a great time hanging out.

Everyone is starting to embrace summer with the usual complaints of doing jobs, having to get up and not sleep till noon and the usual transition to a summer schedule.  Last night we got to go to a neighborhood BBQ and it reminded me of how blessed our family is to be surrounded by people who care for us and our kids.  Kayla, my niece spent the night with us and Robyn and her enjoyed staying up building forts all night.

Jeremy has been working hard and taking care of kids while I have had to be gone.  Saturday he took Robyn and Taylor to the city breakfast/hike - minus the hiking part because of Taylor.  Then he went off to take photos and play with the police academy's class at the shooting range.  This week he gets to be a citizen on a use of force committee which he thinks will be really interesting.

This recipe originally came from and is one of my favorites.  I will serve it with tortillas so some choose to eat it as a wrap instead of a salad.

Lime Fajita Salad
2 limes juiced (6 Tbsp lime juice)
2/3 c cilantro
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 c olive oil
2 Tbsp white or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt

1/2 c cilantro
2 limes juiced (6 Tbsp lime juice)
2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 olive oil

4 chicken breasts cut into strips
1 large yellow onion sliced
2 peppers - red, green, yellow or orange - sliced
2 romaine hearts cut up
1 avocado, sliced
1 c cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 c shredded cheese

1. Make the vinaigrette.
2. Make the marinade.
3. Pour 1/2 the marinade in a bag with the chicken.
4. Pour 1/2 the marinade in a bag with the onions and peppers.
5. Let sit for a few hours if possible.
6. Heat up a large skillet.  Drain the marinade from the chicken and cook in the skillet on high heat until the chicken is lightly brown.  .  Drain any fluids from the pan.
7. Add the onion/pepper mixture along with any marinade.  Cook on high stirring every few minutes until the chicken and vegetables have caramelized a little with brown charred spots on them.  Let cool slightly.
8. Either toss all the ingredients together into a salad or have everyone assemble their own salads.

This recipe is originally from Carlsbad cravings.  My entire family loved it, which doesn't always happen.  I have changed a few things for just how I prefer to make it.

Smothered Chicken Burritos
Crockpot Chicken Filling
2 lbs chicken breasts
1/2 c salsa
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 4 oz green chilies
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
 1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle chili pepper
1/2 tsp dry organo
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Spray crockpot with oil.  Add all of the ingredients with chicken first.
2. Cook on high for 2-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
3. Shred chicken in crockpot.  Stir everything together.
4. Cook on low for another 30 minutes.
5. Pour mixture into a colander to drain all liquid.

Making the Burritos
6 burrito size tortillas
1 c shredded cheese
nonstick cooking spray

Roll up burritos with 1/2 c filling and 2 Tbsp cheese.  Put on cookie sheet and spray burritos on both sides with Pam (or brush with melted butter).  You can let the burritos just sit at this point for awhile if needed.  When ready, cook at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes and then flip burritos and cook till other side is golden and crisp about 5 more minutes.

Making the Green Chili Sour Cream sauce
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 c chicken broth
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 c sour cream
1/2-1 of a 4 oz can of chopped green chilies
1/2 c cheddar cheese

Melt butter in oil in a medium saucepan.  Whisk in flour and cook till thick around 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to low then gradually whisk in chicken broth.  Add spices and bring to a simmer while striring till thickened about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in rest of ingredients.

To serve top each burrito with sauce and any additional toppings like tomatoes and avocado.

*I have also cooked these burritos till almost crisp and then frozen them.  They work great just to be thawed and reheated.  It only works though if you crisp them first as otherwise they get soggy.*