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Sunday, April 26, 2015


And because Jeremy was the photographer here are LOTS more photos of our girls:

Robyn is Alice towards the back and Allison is on the right as a fox towards the front
We are all enjoying our lazy Sunday today.  Last night was the closing performance of our girls' play Shrek.  They had a week of rehearsals every night and all day Saturday.  Then this week they had a dress rehearsal that Jeremy attended to take photos of and then 5 evening performances and 2 matinees for school groups.  Jeremy attended one performance to take photos, I attended one and then we all attended one as a family.  For each event girls needed to be fed, hair done, make-up on and then driven down to Provo.  It has been an awesome but tiring two weeks and now we are all ready to rest a bit.

The girls did awesome with their play.  Shrek is not my favorite play that they have ever done but they did a great job.  Allison tap-danced away with her glitter leggings on a big smile - that girl is a born performer.  Robyn tried to pretend to get nervous and hyped up - emotions did start to ramp up around here - but Jeremy reminded her that drama was not allowed.  She replied but Dad this is Drama!  They had a great time and are already looking forward to some dance classes this summer and performing Peter Pan next year.

Spencer got a call Sunday night that he was doing road driving this week for Driver's Ed.  At a high school 20 minutes away.  At 6 am!!!!  all week long.  And then he would need to be driven back to his high school at 7.  He passed the driving test so as soon as he gets his practice hours finished he can get his license.  Every night we would pack his stuff along with a lunch, pills and breakfast in the van.  I would drive him over at 5:30 and then spend the hour running their track and then drive him to school.  I don't know why I was complaining about it as I often get up early but every day with the play going on seemed like a lot.  Jeremy great guy that he was would get girls up and going for school or a performance and get Taylor showered and started with breakfast before I would get back.  Don't know what I would do without him.  I even started getting brave and having Spencer drive me around to do errands.  I don't think he realizes how stressed I am while he is driving but I try to hold back all the yelps and comments.  Jeremy is much braver than I am and has him drive the canyon and the freeways.  I am not there yet.

Spencer had his last volleyball practice this week.  His team has been on the lowest end of the bracket this year as they all learn.  The tournament is Tuesday so we all assume that will be the last game.  He has loved volleyball and is excited to get back to cross fit. He is worried about how much strength he has lost so he has been busy lifting in the afternoons.  Thanks to my parents he got some new wheels for his ripstick so he has been enjoying being outside and working on that.  And we had a meeting with a group of parents to plan his Eagle Court with the ward so that should be happening in June.  And he picked up his first job application!

Our microwave broke a week ago so Friday night the boys and I shopped for a new one.  And then while I watched TV and crawled into bed early, Spencer and Jeremy stayed up installing a new microwave for us.  I woke up the next morning to find it installed and our whole kitchen cleaned up.  It was awesome.

Other things that have been going on: we had a huge dust storm a week ago.  Our shed literally flew apart so currently we have a roof, one wall and a floor left of our shed on the side of our house.  Its plastic and its toast.  So another project for this summer.  Currently everything is stuffed into our garage.  And since breaking things occur in groups - our mixer also died.  It currently is being repaired.  Luckily it didn't officially die until after I was able to host a wedding shower for my neighbor.  It is hard to believe that a kid I watched grow up is getting married and moving to Florida.  It was great to visit with her and some neighbors and to spend a Friday night making cupcakes (recipes to follow!)

Jeremy started a police citizen's academy once a week.  He gets to meet with our city police and be taught police procedures etc.  He really enjoyed the first week and is looking forward to the next two months.  Last weekend we got to have a date - something that had nothing to do with kids!  We went to the BYU/Hawaii volleyball game.  It was awesome and I think lost some hearing as they won in the 5th set by 2 points - it was super close and amazing to watch the entire time.

Taylor started attending special needs mutual 2 weeks ago.  Its the same night as our ward activity night which makes it a bit tricky.  It only goes through the school year so he will have the summer off.  I think he will really enjoy it.  And I got him registered for a summer camp that will be 9-3 ont he days he doesn't have school.  They will work on his goals, go on field trips and swimming.  I think he will love it.  And lastly he started attending a Sunday school class with two other special needs teens/young adults in our ward.  I don't know how sure he is about that class but the teacher is awesome and it has to be better than attending the adult Sunday school class with us!  So he has some exciting things going on with him.  He has been struggling the last two weeks with some bad days here and there.  Think its all allergies and digestive issues but hopefully it will all work itself out without involving a clean out at the hospital.

I have been trying to figure out my schedule for next year.  At first I thought I would just quit my job - that didn't feel right.  Then I thought I would stay - that didn't feel right.  So I kept praying and thinking and then asked our principle if I could not work the Wednesdays during the summer school days so I could pick up Spencer and if in the fall I could only work 2 or 3 days a week so I could start a class to get my teaching certificate.  That felt just right to me and she surprised me by agreeing!  Trying to figure out what direction God wants you to go is not always a quick answer but it sure feels good when it all comes together.

This is one recipe with two variations.  I have fallen in love with the ease and goodness of these cupcakes.  I am sure I will find some other variations soon!

Chocolate Cupcakes - Caramel and Andes Mint Variations

1 Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 5.9 oz box of instant chocolate pudding - not sugar free
1 c sour cream - not low fat
1 c vegetable oil
1/2 c water
4 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixer.  Beat till smooth.

2. Pour into either oiled or lined cupcake tins.

3. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Take them out when you touch them and the cake springs back from your touch.

For Andes Mint Cupcakes:
1. Melt 1/3 c chocolate chips and 1 tsp peppermint extract (or 1/3 c of andes mint pieces) with 2 Tbsp heavy cream and 1/4 c powdered sugar.
2. BEFORE cupcakes cool pipe mixture into the center of every cupcake.  Just poke a hole in it with the tip of a small frosting tip and fill cupcake till cupcake bulges slightly.
3. Cool cupcakes completely.
4. For frosting beat 8 oz cream cheese, 6 Tbsp butter, 3-4 c powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp milk, 1 tsp peppermint extract and green food coloring.  Frost cupcakes using a jumbo decorating tip.  Drizzle a little extra ganache filling (if you have run out while filling cupcakes just make a little more) and top with an andes mint.

For Caramel Cupcakes
Cool cupcakes completely
1. For frosting beat 3 sticks of butter, 6 c powdered sugar, 1/3 c milk and 1/2 c caramel sauce.  You might need to add a few more Tbsp of milk as needed.
2. Frost one small layer on each cupcake and put cupcakes in the freezer for ten minutes.
3. Melt 2/3 c chocolate chips with 3 Tbsp cream and 1/4 c powdered sugar.  Dip each cupcake into the chocolate mixture.  (This will give you a soft chocolate topping.  If you want you can use melted almond bark instead but it will give you a crispy chocolate topping).  Sprinkle each cupcake with heath bits.
4. When ganache is set frost with caramel frosting again using a jumbo frosting tip.  Drizzle chocolate or caramel on top and sprinkle on sea salt.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring Break, Easter and family

The week leading up to Spring Break was filled with fixing up the yard, homework projects being finished up, our ward missionary week finishing and a few fun things to keep life happy.  I got to take Robyn and her friend Gill to their school's roller skating night.  Lots of strobe lights, junk food, Taylor Swift and kids.  They had a great time.  It was followed by the next night where we had a girl night with cousins to see Cinderella.  After that it was back to cleaning bathrooms and folding laundry and me fighting off bad allergies as we counted down to Spring Break.  Good thing I had a stash of cadbury eggs and cough drops.

My brother David's family arrived really early Friday morning and we got to play and visit with them through the weekend with General Conference and Easter.

We got to dye a few eggs:

Make some pizzas and stay up watching movies and eating popcorn.

Haefen got to stay with us while David's family went to General Conference Saturday.  Jeremy was gone from early to late helping to shoot photos at Conference, so David was Spencer's priesthood with subsequent milkshake run buddy for the evening.  And while they were doing the priesthood session the rest of us got to enjoy an indoor pool.  Have to tire everyone out for a day of sitting.

Sunday morning the kids ran to find their Easter baskets and hard boiled eggs.  We made egg sandwiches and huevos rancheros.  Then we enjoyed conference for the day with the addition of Jason's family followed by dinner and a massive Easter egg hunt in our backyard.

Monday we were able to go bouldering after saying goodbye to Spencer.  He left to spend the week with my parents in California.

Then it was good-by to cousins and hello to a week of nothing-ness.  The girls had play rehearsals every night so Jeremy and I had a night to ourselves (with Taylor as our chaperone) every single night.  Holy cow, it was awesome.  We did a lot of just hanging around, fixing up the yard, catching up with errands and house work, watching TV episodes we were way behind in, reading some books and just having a great time with no agenda.  I even got to run and bike outside in the sunshine and plan our raspberry bed - it was was wonderful.

We did fit in a few things like having my nieces Kayla and Brynn over for a few days, and going to a trampoline place and the zoo.  Robyn decided to chop her hair short as Allison told her she thought it looked better.  And Jeremy and I had an awesome Heather's choice date night - Cheesecake factory, make-up lesson at the Mac counter and shopping for shirts for Taylor.

We roasted hot dogs last night to celebrate Spencer's return and finished up Robyn's homework.  Now sadly its back to reality of work and school and classes and piano lessons and volleyball and everything else.  But I have clean bathrooms, a mowed lawn and a stash of happy place moments in my mind to call upon as needed. 

Edit by Jeremy to add some photos:

I was late getting some of these photos added to the gallery, so adding them to the end of the post.