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Dear Family and Friends,

Last week my sister-in-law Mimi asked if we were doing anything special this week with school getting out. I replied that we really weren't planning to do anything. I laugh now at that statement. Despite our efforts life always keeps us busy and usually its a good thing.

The weather continues to amaze me. We woke up Monday to 3 inches of snow! Our kids dug out boots and snow gear to go to school. On Tuesday I was mowing and fertilizing the lawn in shorts! Our plants all look like they are in shock.

Monday we spent the morning at the pediatrician and radiology. Taylor's ankle and foot did not have anything broken. The x-rays just showed lots of inflammation which we already knew. By Wednesday, Taylor would periodically touch his toe to the floor and now he will stand and walk/hop for us. So life is getting better for him. The not walking just reminded me to be grateful of the skills he does have. I cannot imagine hefting him constantly for the rest of his life. On Thursday we all left at 7:30 a.m.! (I know that is not that early but for the first day out of school for Spencer and Allison, it seemed very, very early). We went up to the wheelchair shop to have Taylor's chair looked at. We are trying to figure out a way for Taylor to stay upright to help him do better at being alert, as well as helping his spinal issues, digestive, breathing etc. The adjustments put Taylor at a recline in his chair making his chair very awkward. It really isn't working for him as after the first day he realized he could slouch even more. So we are talking to them this week about readjusting everything again.

To make up for the early morning and patience of our kids, we did jobs and then headed off for the first day at the pool. With school for most people still in session we pretty much had it to ourself. Robyn is learning how to swim the old fashioned way with her having to make her way to and from siblings and either swim or go under. It makes me have flashbacks of teaching my sister the same way.

Spencer and Allison had their last day of school Wednesday. The last day only lasts for 2 hours. Just enough to get sugared up on parties and say good-bye. Spencer had breakfast and Allison had pizza and they were both sad/happy for the occasion. To celebrate the last day we decided to all bike to their master piano class that afternoon (once a semester their teacher does a group lesson and now the two of them are in the same group). Between getting the trailer set up and biking to piano, then biking back home and repeating to pick them up - I felt whipped. Robyn and Taylor must have felt the same way as they crashed in the trailer on the way home:

I decided I am not the most fun mom as Friday the kids and I spent the afternoon at the car dealership getting a recall repair taken care of. Jeremy asked if after 2 hours I was making sure they knew I was there waiting. I told him, that I was sure they couldn't forget we were there as we were camped out in front of them in their waiting area:

Friday night was cousin night where we ate pizza and ran around. Then we all headed to our neighbors to celebrate the last day of school with an ice cream party. We were wearing sweatshirts and huddled in blankets but everyone was too happy to sit and visit to leave and kids could care less as long as no one noticed how many times they went back for extra hot fudge. We had told our kids before hand that they only got one serving. So Allison got her ice cream and toppings, ate all the toppings off with a LITTLE bit of ice cream and then went back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths on the topping part. Talk about the letter of the law versus the spirit!

Saturday was a Jeremy is great day. He parented solo while I ran, put together a site for my sister, helped a lady move, fixed our sprinklers and the gate, took me to the temple, taipan trading for some new plates and then out to my favorite Mexican restaurant. What a guy. They used his video for the school assembly Monday and everyone loved it. He did get to go do one photo thing this week but the majority of his evenings are church, helping out my sister and a neighbor with their web sites or taking care of family. After a day of non-stop meetings plus taking over the Primary with the Elder's Quorum so the sisters could attend a Relief Society visiting teaching conference, Jeremy enjoyed a few minutes of down time. Till someone from the church called a few minutes later...Macho was not amused.

Jeremy has been trying to get into concert photography through a local radio station. This week they finally called with concerts like Tim Mcgraw on the table. Unfortunately the two big concerts they were offering are when we are in Arizona and California! Plus someone offered him for the June weekend to get a press pass to a UFC event. He is such a good guy that he turned them both down but it was with a little pain and wincing. For some reason family events and big photography events always seem to coincide and he always puts family first.

Spencer and Allison got their new glasses this week. Spencer was just in shock at how "cartoony" everything looked - meaning it was no longer fuzzy. The tolerance of that guy with bad vision just boggles my mind.

Running is still going. I was able to do 12 miles Saturday, have a toe nail that is black and my first contact rash on my arm from a seam in my shirt - starting to feel more like a true runner. But the best part for me was that I didn't feel ready to die at the end. I learned this week that I can't wear head phones for the race which gave me some panic. Running and just listening to my own panting does not sound very motivating. You would think I would be in such great shape but real life and chocolate is just too appealing most of the time.

Love to you all and I hope that someone, somewhere is my family will be enjoying our traditional day at the beach. We are hoping to make it to the pool tomorrow if the storm clear.


Allison had been busy moving toys over to Robyn's room. She wants to "re-arrange" her room tomorrow and is busy making plans.

Spencer has spent the week re-reading all the Calvin and Hobbes books in order:

One of my brother's girlfriends gave me this recipe a long time ago. It is easy to make and instantly satisfies my desert urge. It says it makes 48 bars but who are we kidding. Really it makes more like 18 bars that disappear way too fast.

Chocolate Scotcheroos

1 c light corn syrup
1 c sugar
1 c peanut butter
6 c rice crispies cereal
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c butterscotch chips

1. Melt syrup and sugar in a medium sized pan over medium heat. Stir constantly and cook until it begins to boil.
2. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter.
3. Add cereal to pan and mix well.
4. Coat a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray. Pour in cereal mixture. Spray a piece of aluminum foil or wax paper with spray and use it to help push the cereal till it is evenly spread and compressed.
5. Melt the chips in a bowl for a minute and a half in a micowave. Stop the microwave every 30 seconds to stir.
6. Spread the melted chocolate mixture over the cereal mixture.
7. You can wait 8 hours for the chocolate to harden or you can put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
8. Cut into bars and serve.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Doctors and graduation

Dear Family and Friends,

I have informed our kids for the 5th time that they have to play a game where NO ONE touches each other. See how long the peace lasts while I get to write!

A lot of drizzle and rain this week with the surprise of a few sunny warm hours periodically. I am so used to running in cold that one afternoon when I ran my double in a rare moment of heat and sun I was having a tough time. I put all our vegetables in this week and hope that they all tough out the rain and cold. On a positive note, with all the rain our raspberries are covered in green berries.

This week seemed a bit full of medical stuff. All the kids went to the dentist Tuesday for their check-up. It always seems like a long afternoon on dentist days even if its not. Spencer got his retainer re-tightened and entertained us the rest of the day with his over the top dramatics whenever he had to take a bite of food. He gets to go back to have 2 more teeth pulled. I never knew teeth just didn't fall out on their own! Allison has to go back for 3 cavities and has regained her belief in flossing and rinsing with listerine. Spencer was telling her how luck he was because he hardly ever brushes and he doesn't get cavities - not exactly the attitude I was hoping for! Robyn got to have her teeth painted (sealants) which she loved and the dentist just shook his head and said to start saving for braces now. Allison has been crying about her front teeth coming in. They have a tight space to squeeze into. So the dentist prescribed Popsicles for her as often as she needs them. No wonder our kids like him so much.

Taylor went Thursday to Primary's to see an orthopedist. With one side of his back developing so much more than the other his spine is now curved at a 22 degree angle. In a regular kid they would be pulling out braces and talking about surgery in the future. With Taylor they said any surgeries would cause him to have a lot of trouble walking and braces don't work so well with kids with disabilities. It brings down their quality of life without improving things much. So since he is not done growing, they will just x-ray every year until he stops growing in 4 years or so. If it gets really bad where he is unable to sit up causing breathing and digestive problems than fusing his spine or doing a rod would be a reasonable step. So I am just hoping for the best. This week we meet with the wheelchair staff to change up his wheelchair to help him sit straighter. With all his growth his current wheelchair is a bit tight. Talked with the pediatrician about Taylor's CBC test. His anemia should be solved with a simple vitamin with iron. His hypoglycemia explains all his dizziness and sleepiness and just means he needs snacks. His teacher and aides pretty much knew this already and have been giving him orange kool-aid to make him all alert and active again in the afternoon. This week Taylor really hasn't wanted to walk much and by Friday it was obvious that his left foot was hurting him. By Saturday he refused to put any weight on his foot. So on Monday we get to go get some x-rays!

And lastly on Saturday Allison had an optometrist appointment as she has been complaining about her eyes. We took Spencer along just in case. Turns out Spencer's vision change is more than Allison's to where now they are both at -3 to -3.75. So new glasses all around. Spencer is getting some new frames that fit his face better so he can stop shoving them into his eyes causing sores or looking down his nose like an old granny. I am glad this week for our cafeteria plan!

Robyn had her last week of pre-school this week. She had a little graduation program where they sang their favorite songs, got an award, ate treats and got a goody bag. Robyn was very sad to say good-bye to her teacher, she has loved pre-school. Her teacher Suzanne gave every kids an award. Some for most imaginative, helpful, good at cleaning up etc. Robyn's was most enthusiastic. Suzanne talked about how she ran through the door every day with a smile on her face ready for anything. Said she would love to bottle some of her energy and zest for life. Made me think of Robyn's baby blessing and how she was blessed to have a happy heart. She really does. On Monday with a warm afternoon our neighbor opened up her pool for us, cranking the temperature up to 90 degrees. Robyn put a life vest on and was just happy as a clam shooting Spencer and Allison with water guns with her friend Luke in tow.

Spencer and Allison are out of school Wednesday morning. So they have been having sluff days at school, finishing up tests, cleaning out desks, playing bingo and having special assemblies. On Saturday our ward had a beginning of summer carnival. Spencer and Allison each worked a shift helping with the games. Then all our kids stuffed their faces on popcorn, snow cones, cotton candy, cookies and hot dogs. The kids all judged the activity a roaring success and came home sufficiently sugared up. Speaking of food our kids have discovered smoothies giving our blender a daily work-out. We are cruising through our frozen berries, bananas and straws (after seeing Robyn's face drinking her smoothie we decided straws were the way to go).

Last Sunday, Taylor was the subject for the first half of sacrament meeting. He is now a teacher. The deacons and beehives worked together to complete all his faith in God requirements for Taylor. They each came up and said what they had done and what it meant to them. Taylor was up on the stand the whole time. Then they asked me to bear my testimony about it. You would think by now I wouldn't cry every time but yep the floodworks still get turned on. It was a neat experience though. Taylor also had his school dance festival this week. The clouds moved away for a few hours so they were able to do it outside. He was just happy to be there.

Jeremy continues to try to get projects done and off of his to-do list. He has been busy this week making Lincoln's school video. There is always lots of last minute tweaks with this projects. Friday night we had a date and went to work on his mom's condo and take pictures so we can list it. There are still a few things to be done but we just need to set up the rental company now and we are almost there. It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed since Lauri died. On Tuesday he taught a Relief Society class on how to take pictures. I wasn't able to go but it lasted a few hours and everyone talked about what a great job he did.

This week I received my final legs for the ragnar relay in June that I am doing. The legs ended up being different than what I had planned on and a bit harder. The hardest part for me I think is that now I am running one of the middle of the night legs. I am never at my best at 2 a.m.! On Saturday I ran a 10k with two of my relay team mates. It felt good. I am now at 9 1/2 min miles. Not as good as my 49 year old friend who got 8 1/2 min miles but 30 seconds faster than last year. I went this week and got new running shoes as my knee and legs have been hurting quite a bit. Turns out I turned into a pronator so now I have "special" shoes. That and a knee brace till my tendons recover made a huge difference Saturday. It always feels better to run when it doesn't hurt.

We were able to have Bryn come spend the day with us Thursday for Kelly's birthday. Robyn loved having a friend to play with all day. Costco was the biggest hit with all the samples. We made strawberry jam and chocolate covered strawberries and they spent the afternoon in the hot tub. Life is so hard when you're a kid!

I still cannot believe that my free quiet time is now gone till September. I am excited to have kids home 24/7 and with all the fun that summer entails. At the same time I am psyching myself up for constant company!

Love to you all, Heather

This is Robyn's new favorite skirt. She breaks it out for any occasion. Dance class, dance festival - it all needs to be done with a tutu.

Spencer working his shift at the top of the blow up slide. He took his job very seriously and enjoyed watching out for all the little kids.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Taylor's annual BBQ

Dear Family and Friends,

I realized this morning that I didn't take a single picture this week. Not even of Taylor's annual BBQ last night. It was a perfect evening. 17 families and their kids, lots of food, the sun was out and Taylor was happy and had his better than anything cake. Every year I get so wrapped up in talking to everyone and getting food served that I forget to take a picture till everyone goes home! Had a little scare at the beginning of the party when we realized Robyn and her friend weren't at either of our houses so we had a neighborhood search for 30 minutes till we found them in a backyard a block away.

The beginning of this week was cold and rainy but by the middle the sun came out in bursts and Robyn and I were in full force gardening mode. We toured nurseries in wind gusts and darted outside between showers to plant. I love this time of the year. Robyn's favorite nursery has a gigantic urn of shelled peanuts for people to eat from. So I keep finding pockets full of peanut shells. But I think besides getting all our vegetables in tomorrow, we are pretty much done with the planting. I put in some grape vines this year and we are going to try growing celery - see how it goes. With our very strange winter this year we had to replace a few bushes that didn't make it.

Taylor has his follow-up on is VNS surgery this week. Turns out he has grown 10 pounds in the last year!!! So we adjusted his meds a bit to see if that helps with his seizures. As long as he doesn't get constipated, his seizures are doing pretty well. He also was anemic and hypoglycemic so we are going to work on those things. This week he sees an orthopedist. He has one side that is much more developed than the other causing his spine to curve. So they are going to do some x-rays and measurements to see were we go from here.

Spencer and Jeremy went on another camp-out this weekend at the Sand Dunes with the 11 year old scouts. Despite a night of freezing and no sleep, they had a great time. Spencer learned orienteering with a compass and he and Jeremy stayed afterward for a few hours to ride the quad around. Both came home sandy and very tired. And then as Spencer grumpily unloaded the truck (he wanted to take off with friends and not stay to unpack) he pulled Jeremy's camera case. Camera and lenses went rolling across the garage floor. Super dad that Jeremy is he just bit his tongue and in a carefully quiet voice talked to Spencer about his actions as Spencer bawled away. Jeremy thinks they aren't broken but just badly dinged up.

Jeremy has had his plate full this week. His cold is getting better in that he isn't up all night coughing anymore. But he has work, a video to make for the kids' school, a web site to make for a friend, his regular church stuff and a class for a Relief Society Meeting on photography this week. Just a little much. In return for his web site though I get some free pedicures so this week I went in and had my toes done. They have this new shrink wrap covering for your toes that is really cool. It looks like an elaborate paint job but it isn't.

Robyn had a party at the park this week for preschool and then is doing a little program this week for parents. And then preschool is over! She said she is going to cry when she has to leave Miss Suzanne, I said I think I will too. We got our summer pool pass this week. We did teacher appreciation week where kids had to bring in all these things. Its just hitting me that Robyn is done with school this Wednesday, Spencer and Allison next Wednesday and Taylor next Friday. I feel like I need to take a nap or something before my opportunities are gone till September. Actually everyone is very excited for school to get out and for summer plans to commence. I just don't feel quite prepared yet!

This week Allison had a school field trip at the Children's museum so Robyn and I went along as chaperones. We had a lot of fun and watching 3 schools there on field trips at the same time, made me realize once again that I could never, ever work there without major doses of Tylenol. Allison is reading the chronicles of narnia right now and is either reading, making up some imaginary scenario with friends, or riding around on her bike or roller skates.

I continue to run to get ready for the Ragnar relay. I did 10 miles on Thursday which is not huge for my friends and family that do long distance but for me was quite big (I am trying to do better at using my own yardstick to measure my accomplishments rather than someone else's :) ). Friday night we made chocolate covered strawberries using Mimi's recipe and all the girls ate way too much of them. I had a little plan going, clean a bathroom, eat a strawberry, clean a fish tank, eat a strawberry. Made me realize how easy cleaning is when I have proper motivation. Perhaps I can strew chocolate stashes along my running routes!

Love to you all and I promise pictures next time,


Monday, May 10, 2010

Allison's Choir Concert (video)

Heather covers the events of the week so well, you rarely hear from me. I like to think each of my photos counts for a thousand words....right?

This wasn't ready to upload when Heather posted yesterday, so I thought I'd add it today. Allison did a great job and the choir sounded great. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The curse is ALMOST gone

Dear Friends and Family,

We have suffered from the Mother's Day curse since Taylor was born - that doesn't sound too good, Taylor wasn't the cause. It is just that every Mother's Day since someone has been sick or in the hospital. Last Mother's Day for the first time EVER everyone was happy and healthy and doing well. This year Allison's ankle that we were worried yesterday might be broken is just sprained and only bothers her a little bit. Jeremy's bad cold has him miserable but he is up and functioning. So things are looking up for us!

Seriously, it has been a wonderful day. Taylor had a bag of candy attached to his wheelchair saying "please take one and wish Taylor a Happy 14th Birthday". So he had lots of kids and young men and women wishing him a happy birthday. And when we got home Spencer walked him outside to the swing to cuddle with him while he read. Taylor is clapping and chirping and quite happy about his day. On Saturday we are having his big birthday BBQ. Taylor's seizures have been improving since Sunday so its almost back to his normal 2 a day. He sees the neurology department people Tuesday for his follow-up.

Girls eagerly watched me open their little presents they made at school while Spencer made me cheesecake brownies that I was informed I didn't have to share unless I really, wanted too (this was said with hungry, sad eyes looking at me). Jeremy is cooking us steaks for dinner, I have flowers on my counter and a pretty watch on my wrist. Add in some sunshine and a walk with Rocky and life doesn't get much better (perhaps in my dreams but days of cherubic children aren't reality).

This week we had several big events with the countdown to school letting out. Spencer took part with his class in a 5th grade children's chior they do at BYU. Four thousand children take up one side of the Marriott center with their shirts making up a gigantic flag. It is a huge, spectacular production and was very cool. Robyn and I drove kids down Tuesday morning for their dress rehearsal. Afterward we grabbed some creamery ice cream cones before heading back to school. While at the Creamery, they were shooting ads and asked if they could use Robyn. So we are getting some free ice cream coupons and Robyn gets to be in print:

Tuesday night only I went to the performance as its a bit of a zoo and Jeremy did kids and ballet chauffeuring. I took a bunch of video that I will put up later.

Allison on Wednesday night had her end of the year choir concert. It amazes me what a bunch of elementary students can do. They mostly sang Disney songs and had a great time.

Jeremy and Spencer had the Father's/Son campout this weekend. Elder's Quorum was in charge of it particularly one of his counselors who excels at finding cool new ways to have fun. So Thursday night was spent taking the trailer up the canyon and setting up and then Jeremy and Spencer were gone Friday and Saturday. This is done amid Jeremy being miserably sick and leaving work to come home collapse in bed with some thera-flu and then get up, work on the camp out and then come back to collapse. But sick as he was they both had a great time. They have another scout campout this weekend at the Sand Dunes. Spencer is loving this life. He came home Saturday and even though he took his pills this time, he still went to bed for a couple of hours. It makes for a quiet afternoon and then a happy Spencer when he wakes up!

Since is was a girl's night with Taylor along for the ride, Robyn and Allison had a sleepover. They slept together in Robyn's room. In fact they slept so well that when I came back from my early morning run to find out that I had locked up a little too well while I was gone, they didn't wake up to the door bell for an HOUR AND A HALF. I got a lot of weeding done. But I decided that running in the cold spring air feels good, weeding really doesn't until the sun comes up. Allison had a cooking birthday party on Saturday so she didn't feel deprived of having fun at all.

Earlier this week I went to tour my neighbor's mom's garden with a group of friends. I was suitably inspired and enjoyed my hour out with other adults.

I want to make one of these sign posts for our back yard. I thought it was so cool.

We have had lots of really cold and windy days lately. So Friday and Saturday with the brief appearance of the sun, I spent the two days working outside. Our yard is looking greatly improved and Robyn is no longer asking why I planted so many weeds.

Robyn is holding my arm and whining and Taylor is signing food. Must be time to cook dinner. Love to you all and Happy Mother's Day.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tres Leches Cake

I make this every spring. My mom used to get strawberry pie every year for Mother's Day as part of a young women's fundraiser in our area. So for me, no spring is complete unless I make something sweet with strawberries.

Milk mixture:
1 14 oz can sweetened, condensed milk1
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
1 c whole milk (or heavy cream)
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c whole milk
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
2 c sugar

One container whip cream and sliced strawberries

1. Pour the condensed milk into a large microwave safe bowl. Cover TIGHTLY with saran wrap. Cook on medium-low heat for 9 to 15 minutes. Stop the microwave every 2 minutes to stir and check. When the milk is slightly thickened and darkened, it is done. Stir in the evaporated milk, whole milk and vanilla. Let cool for 30 minutes or so.

2. For the cake: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan. Heat the milk, butter and vanilla together in a small saucepan until the butter is melted.

3. In a mixer whip the eggs on medium-high speed and gradually add the sugar for about 1 minute. Continue to whip 4-8 minutes until very thick. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the butter mixture. Mix 30 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix 30 seconds and then whip at medium speed for 30 more sconds till smooth.

4. Pour cake mix into pan and cook for 30-35 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes.

5. Using a skewer, chopstick or dinner knife stab holes all over the cake. Pour the cooled milk mixture over the cake. Let cool for 15 more minutes and then cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

6. Frost with cool whip and sliced strawberries. Can refrigerate again if needed.

This was one of my favorite meals as a teen. Usually accompanied by my mom's banana muffins. I would eat a huge bowl for dinner and then pack some for lunch the next day. It still remains of my favorites. My kids though eat the ramen and the chicken and the cabbage disappears only under protest. I tell myself that eventually they will learn to like it as much as me. If not, good thing I pick the menu!

Mom's Chicken Cabbage Salad

2 Tbsp sesame seed
2 Tbsp chopped almond
1 head chopped cabbage
1/2 red pepper, chopped
3 chopped green oinons
1 package top ramen noodles, crushed (throw away the seasoning packet)
3 roasted chicken breasts, cut up

Mix all the salad ingredients together. Toss with a dressing of:

2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 c oil
1/2 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp vinegar

This is a combination of several spinach salad recipes I have used over the years. This is my favorite way to make spinach salad. Depending on my mood and ingredients the salad changes. When strawberries aren't in season I use cut up apples, pears or mandarin oranges. When my jeans are feeling tight, I loose the bacon. When I have run that day I use brown sugar caramelized pecans. And at times I swap out the feta cheese for finely shredded mozzarella. But this it the ultimate for me:

My favorite spinach salad

1 head romaine lettuce, cut up
1 bunch spinach with stems removed
1 pint strawberries cut up
1 cup craisens
1/2 red onion cut up
1/2 c feta cheese
almonds, preferably candied
4 pieces bacon cut up, cooked, drained and cooled

Combine all the ingredients. Toss with a dressing of:

1/2 c sugar
1/2 Tbsp dry mustard
1/2 c oil
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds

Now I have made several variations on this recipe:

 1. Fruit spinach salad: only spinach with a combination of blackberries, strawberries, mangoes, raspberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, feta cheese, craisens and candied nuts

2. Candied nuts: I use whatever nuts I have on hand.  I will buy the glazed nuts at the store.  I will heat up a little butter in a skillet, toss in some brown sugar and walnuts/pecans/almonds and stir until carmalized.  Then I will cool the nuts on wax paper and break into pieces.  I will also bring 1 cup water and 2/3 c sugar to a boil and boil whatever nuts I am using for 2 minutes and then drain them on a paper towel.  They taste sweet but not overly sweet this way.

This is again from my friend Allison. Those dietitians always have the best recipes! My kids think the fried wantons should just be eaten plain.

1/2 c almonds (I have done whole, sliced or my favorite caramelized in a little sugar and butter)
1 can mandarin oranges (large or small depending on how much you like them)
3 chicken breasts grilled and then cut up and marinated in terriyakki sauce
3 green onions, sliced
1 head romaine or red leaf lettuce
1 inch stack of wontons cut into 1/2 inch strips. Fry in a single layer in a small amount of hot oil. Flip after a few seconds, remove when both sides are golden. Drain on paper towels.

Mix all the salad together when you are ready to eat. Toss with dressing of: 2 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 c oil, 3 Tbsp white vinegar and a dash of red pepper sauce if you like.

This does not keep so plan to feed 6-8 people or eat really big plates!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tex-Mex Pizza

This is an easy, relatively healthy pizza for our weekly pizza and movie night. I like topping mine with chipotle sauce for a little kick but my kids prefer ranch dressing drizzled on top.

2 thin crust pizzas (can make your own, use Bobli, or my favorite is Walmart bakery makes thin crust pizzas)
1 can black beans
1 can corn with peppers
4 c Monterey Jack cheese

Sprinkle 1/2 the cheese on the crusts. Drain beans and corn and sprinkle on crusts. Top with cheese. Cook at 425 for 8-10 minutes. Top with drizzled ranch or hot sauce.

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy May Day to all! To combat the snow and bitter cold we have had since Tuesday we bought some tulips to celebrate spring. If you don't look outside at the snow on the mountains and the wind blowing everything over I can pretend that spring really is here.

This week the theme really has been how much I rely on friends to help me out. Taylor had his surgery Tuesday morning to replace his VNS generator. Jeremy got kid off to school and dropped Robyn off at a friends. Accidents made Taylor and I really late for his check-in. But everyone having surgery was late so it all worked out and we didn't get bumped. It was a long day. All went well with the surgery, that lasted 1 1/2 hours. The original lines were still working fine so they didn't have to re-open his neck incision or attach new lines to his brain. They just opened his chest to put in the new generator. Its 1/3 smaller than his old one which is nice. He looked so peaceful all drugged up afterwards! All the drugs seemed to affect him though. He had a good day Wednesday but Thursday and Friday sort of stank. Didn't eat and seized a lot. But Friday evening he started to come around and has been fine since. His bandages have come off and he is just down to steri-strips now.

Friday I spent the day at BYU Women's Conference. Another friend watched Robyn and again Jeremy got kids off to school. What a guy as mornings are really controlled chaos around here. It was an awesome experience for me. One of my friends was there so I was able to meet up with her to attend classes with her. Its different than education week as its all women and the classes are all spiritually based rather than having some practical classes too. Learned a lot and had a lot of thoughts on what I need to do/change. Left a little early so I could be home to get Taylor off the bus and Allison from choir practice. Next year though I have high hopes of attending both days. Robyn spent the day with my friend Allison and her little girl Tally and was suitable tired out from a fun day of playing, going to an inflatable playground place and the grocery store. Allison is a patient and brave woman!

Friday evening we had our two neighbor families over for a BBQ, making s'mores and hot tubbing. Despite the bad weather our fun prevailed. Kids were high on junk food and almost caused our hot tub to overflow. It was fun to catch up with our friends, we need to do it more often.

Saturday morning Spencer was off early for a 5 mile hike with scouts. They ended up doing 2 hikes as they would go up the mountain till the snow got too bad, come back down and then back up another trail to get their mileage in. He came home muddy, tired out and happy. I love scouts. He spent the rest of the afternoon laying on the couch with a blanket and a Harry Potter book to recover.

Saturday night Jeremy took pictures of a neighbor's son for his Prom. Then we went to see the play 'To Kill a mockingbird' where he was asked to take pictures of one of the actors. Jeremy had one bad moment as it hit him again how something always breaks on the doing it as a favor jobs! The play was really well done and I walked out with tears in my eyes, always a sign of a good play.

The girls have been busy this morning:
And Robyn tortures/loves Macho. Her body is so covered right now with cat scratches, bruises and scabs. Her bouncy personality has been leading to some crashes lately.
It has been a busy week but nothing really else to write. It just always amazes me how much work I have for a "non-working" mom! One comment at women's conference was that you shouldn't read other people's blogs as so often they are brag posts. I hope I share some of the bad and ugly along with the good and sweet. But as I told Mimi once, life with kids is like childbirth. Looking back you focus on all the wonderful parts and conveniently forget the pain involved.

Mom, have a wonderful birthday! Peter, fasting for you is the only reason the BYU ice cream I brought home hasn't been broken out - you are in our prayers.

Love to all, Heather

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spinach Dip

This recipe is just the basic Knorr soup package recipe but we love it.

Spinach Dip

1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed VERY dry
1 container (16 oz) sour cream
1 c mayonnaise
1 package Knorr Vegetable soup mix
1 can (u oz) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
3 green onions, chopped

Combine all ingredients and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve with vegetables or my favorite is with really good crusty sourdough bread chunks.