Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Graham Cracker Creations

Today marks a sad anniversary for our family, so we gathered together as families should on such a day. I think we made some really good memories. For an activity we had intended to do graham cracker houses, but D wanted to make Thomas the train and the girls wanted to make a princess tower, so we had an assortment of creations. I couldn't believe that D sat there and decorated a train, he is really growing up. The girls had so much fun making Rapunzel out of candy and J did an awesome job on his candy cabin.

A summer birthday

This is two years in a row that I haven't found AP's birthday pictures until December because we are always out of town on her birthday and the pictures are on my phone nor someone else's camera. I noticed that she is wearing a cowboy hat again, funny. I'm posting the picture from two years ago first because it downloaded with the new stuff and I love it (thanks for taking it Dad). Here are her cupcakes, she wanted pink sparkly cupcakes and since we are all addicted to decorating stuff around here, they turned out to be pretty unique.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Song

My daughter wrote a Christmas song and I put it to music for her. So here is our "Christmas Card" to you.

Today Is The Day

Today is the day to celebrate, a very, very special date.
Today is the day a child was born and He is Christ the Lord.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! And He is Jesus Christ the Lord.

This little child was not the same, for at his birth an angel came
And this is what the angel said: Unto you a child is born!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! And He is Jesus Christ the Lord.

very rough, but you get the idea...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thing 1 and Thing 2

My friend and I helped our daughters make costumes for their class Dr. Seuss party today.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Temple dirt

The kids had a memorable experience at the temple groundbreaking.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


With our temple groundbreaking only days away...

They announce another temple even closer to home. What a deeply thrilling prospect that is. When J was two he used to always ask to go into the tabernacle for a tour and I told him we would go inside some day. (It always surprised me that he was so interested in the building at age 2). When it burned down I was reminded I had never kept my promise. I truly look forward to taking him there now when the restoration is complete and it is ready to function as a holy temple. (photo from Daily Herald)

A walk down mainstreet in August

Look mom! Glasses!

Her birthday was on the book release date for book 8 in Sisters Eight her favorite series, she has read the books ragged!

I'm helping teach violin for 4-H at the school this semester, D can't wait to learn to play himself. Violins everywhere, so much fun.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Housekeeping Class

Ages 5+

This is the sequel to the LEGO Art class.

I have a great appreciation for fine art and education, but I believe a man (or woman) isn't truly educated until he knows how to do mundane, basic, everyday work. If you can do the mundane, you can do the brilliant. When one of my kids asks for permission to go play, I used to say "is your homework done?", but that really bothered me. Homework is only about third or fourth or fifth in priority.

What I wanted to say was, "are your chores done?", but they didn't really have chores. So I assigned a few, only to discover they never did them, because they didn't really know how. Also, there never seemed to be a spare minute to show them. So now that it is Summer, I can finally truly educate my children.

My new class that started when LEGO Art was over, was "Housekeeping". The preparation phase was about 20 minutes. I took a blank piece of paper and jotted down all the housekeeping jobs that my 6 and 8 year old are capable of doing. The final list had 63 items. I starred about five of them as being a bit too complex for my children to master at this age and saved those for the end of summer.

Then I told my kids that we had a new class called housekeeping and that it would last for two hours each day just like LEGO Art. I showed them that I had a list and asked them to each pick a number. This was a novelty-- chores where you pick a number between 1 and 60? And so it began.

The first item picked was
"How to set everything on the table for dinner that is needed for salad."
I showed them where salad greens are kept, where the salad condiments tray is kept, where the salad dressing is, the vinegar, and oil. Five items. They had to memorize them and then they took turns setting the table for salad as fast as they could. Then as a bonus, they learned "how to put salad away". Housekeeping class is all about training. I show them carefully exactly how to do stuff and then we practice, practice, practice. Sometimes my kids love housekeeping and sometimes they hate it. It takes a lot of energy and when I don't feel well we don't get it done, but they are learning a lot. So far we've done about 40 of the items on my list at least once.

I never know what housekeeping adventure will come next. I've kept my list a secret and its always luck of the draw. My kids did have a tendency to pick 1-10 and 50-60, so halfway through the summer I had to renumber the list to mix things up a bit.
Some days we are in the kitchen, other days we are in the bathroom or cleaning in other various rooms of the house, but its been amazing to see my kids' housekeeping skills blossom.

Another amazing thing is the whining and excuses. I've heard a lot of it. I'm "the meanest mom in the world!", Am I trying to make them puke? I'm a slave driver! I'm lazy and never work myself, etc. On the other hand they brag to their friends about the things they have learned and on the occasion I had a friend join us for "housekeeping" the friend had a blast. I believe we were cleaning butter knives that day and he thought it was hillarious that we kept making the knives dirty on purpose just to wash them. Then we broke cracker crumbs and put them all over the table with peanut butter blobs to practice washing the table. We did it again and again. Yep he thought I was bonkers. So then it was off to scrub bathtubs and clean carpet stains. It was high entertainment and he said he'd be willing to join anytime.

Well, I had other plans for the summer that we never got to, but this has been a good one so I thought I would share.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Favorite Places

As I have been reading all these summer vacation blog posts, I asked myself what are the 10 favorite places I've seen? So, here's a list of 10 places I've really loved, I'm sure there are some really great ones I've missed, but here's a quick list off the top of my head, I wish I had pictures, but these are mainly in my head and I think of them often so I don't forget.

1) Philmont, New Mexico-the rain, the lightening storms, the meadows, the flowers, the meteor shower on Aug 14
2) Zion Narrows, Utah- the pool somewhere in the middle of the hike with enormous red flowers vining up the canyon wall and crystal clear water.
3) Fairview, Wyoming-the Hale Farm
4) The view of the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island from my childhood home in Bountiful, Utah- the sunset there every night was extraordinary, truly one of the most amazing sights of my life and I saw it hundreds of times.
5) Firehole River, Yellowstone, Wyoming In the winter when its frozen and smokey looking, wow!
6) San Francisco/Bay Area, CA-Kirby Cove, sourdough bread, Muir Woods
7) Green River Lakes, Wyoming- Slide Lake, the lake as well as the waterfall on the way to the lake where a quick glance took over a half an hour, it was so beautiful
8) Oregon Portland-the flowers at the temple, Astoria-foggy, charming little town, good clam chowder (Becky, I'm curious if you agree with my impressions...), Seaside-sunny, cheerful, hanging flower baskets EVERYWHERE.
9) Gettysburg, PA and Washington D.C.-the feeling I got at Gettysburg was overwhelming, a once in a lifetime experience, it gave me a much more profound love and appreciation for many things.
10) Cache Valley, Utah- the Logan temple-celestial room and how the exterior is lit at night, driving the valley on Sunday afternoons, and Wellesville Canyon when the leaves change color in the fall
wow I was just going to go to ten, but I really loved Evergreen, Seattle, and Lucerne and...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Zoom has a birthday

Little D is pretty obsessed with trucks right now, so we took the family to the Cars movie for his birthday and made him this
Haulin' Cupcake birthday dessert.

"Giggle" and "Zoom" testing out the plasma car

Eating with chopsticks is fun!

Another LEGO ART class

Mini World: Cabin by a lake

The arts council asked me to teach another LEGO class. This time for 12-18 year olds instead of 5-7 and 8-11. I honestly did my favorite 10 projects last year and think its great for any age, but they requested different more advanced stuff, hoping that something unusual would entice the older kids to sign up.

So instead of basic bricks, I had somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 various LEGO pieces of every imaginable type. The last day I brought a scale and each student got to take home 2 pounds (about 600 pieces) of LEGO, whatever they wanted from the class set. I called it Pick-a-Brick day, that was a big hit.

The projects were much more complex and visually less impressive than the bright basic Lego brick sculptures of last year, but they loved the challenge of building with so many special LEGO elements. One student said the last day, "this is a pricey class but definitely worth it" All the other students agreed. Yay, just what a teacher likes to hear.

Technic Thing-a-ma-jigs

LEGO vignettes

Miniland size 3 1/2 inch figurines:

Planets Day: We built Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, the international space station, and Pluto which is not a planet (therefore didn't take many LEGO bricks, heh, heh).

Spaceships and Planes (a LEGO art project back by popular demand):

Youth Arts Festival, Artist Reception

Creative Dance Class

This was such a fun class, she misses it so much now it is over. On the last day the girls dressed up and all the parents came.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Happy Birthday J!
He had a great day, we did Arts Festival all day long, had a pizza picnic for lunch, macaroni for dinner, an angry birds cake with edible playdough on it for the treat, and a puppet show in the park (despite the pouring rain. The rain was good, we found AJ's long lost retainer in her jacket pocket.) I let the kids pick their birthday menu, they never tend to pick quinoa and salad, I wonder why?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Family Nativity 2010

We got a Mac in August and I'm just barely starting to learn how to use it. So now I know how to export slideshows.

This was the family Christmas party with Uncle M and his soon to be fiance A. Sorry about the picture where the shepherd attempts to beat up the angel with his walking stick. He got confused, isn't that a different story!?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gluten Free Poptarts

A few days after DH had to stop eating wheat and dairy, the kids had a Dad's and donuts reading activity at school. He was sad that he wouldn't be able to have milk and donuts with the kids. I sent a lunchbox with homemade poptarts (gluten free) instead. They were almost good. I made my own jam filling since we don't normally have jam at our house. Then I used a gluten free flour mix and a gf pie-crust recipe. I didn't actually use any sugar in the jam or pastry, just xylitol, but it was waaaaay too sweet. I'd do it again using 1/4 the sweetener or none in the pastry.

Anyway they all got eaten even if they were a bit too rich. By the way, pastry dough without gluten in it is way easier to roll out, heh, heh.

Look at my book club Mom!

I go to book club once a month and my kids have always had funny ideas about what a book club actually is or does. This was my favorite yet. Little AP said "Look at MY book club mom!" Yep I can just imagine all the moms getting together and building stuff out of books. Now that really would be fun!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Years Interviews

My Dear Husband:
Favorite Movies:Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Favorite Books: Paths of Glory
Things I enjoyed this year: a Real Soccer game, (seats at the midline
Songs:Meet the Elements by They Might be Giants
Favorite treat was the Huckleberry Ice Cream on our Yellowstone trip.
Highlights: Watching Spain win world cup, trip to Yellowstone, trip to Albuquerque

Movie: I only saw New Moon, Scott Pilgrim, and The Blind Side, I liked the Blind Side best.
Music: "O Light of Life" by the Tabernacle Choir, gives me the chills!
Favorite TV: The only show I watched this year was the Tabernacle Choir.
Favorite Food: I learned how to make homemade yogurt and pink breakfast smoothies (with raw beets!).

AJ, eight years old:
TV: Phineas and Ferb
Songs: Abba, Enya, God Bless the USA, I Like Being Me, If The Savior Stood Beside Me, How Firm a Foundation
Books: I kind of read a whole series at a time. My Favorites were Avalon, and Sisters 8. By the end of the year I was averaging 20 books a week.
Highlights: Yellowstone Trip, lateover with Shelby over Spring Break, Arts Festival, Soccer Camp, Getting Baptized.
Favorite Obsessive Compulsive Behavior: Picking Mud Off the Bottoms of Shoes.
Favorite Foods: Brownies, Buuz with soy sauce, fruit, potato flake soup, saltine crackers and cheddar cheese slices for lunch.
Hobbies: Reading and Computer Games.
Accomplishments: Reflections contest winner for literature (a poem about making mudpies with a little sister).

J, six years old:
Movie: Clone Wars
TV: Clone Wars
Music: Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam
Books: I read “Bombad Jedi” all by myself, I started in the afternoon and read all day and finished at night, (it was a miracle, way to go Josh!). Mom read me lots of Star Wars books, my favorites were the Boba Fett ones.
Highlights: Yellowstone, Soccer Camp, Lego Arts Class, Playing Star Wars Lego with Uncle Ben, 4-H, 4-H, and 4-H.
Hobbies: Building with Legos and playing with Bridger.
Food News: Love Dominoes Cheese Pizza, ice cream, mom made special mini-pizzas for lunch called Padawan Pizzas, Horchata from Bajio, I like a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast everyday, and an apple for a snack everyday.
Accomplishments: Reflections contest winner for literature (an essay about building Legos with a friend), learned to read

AP, three years old:
Movies: Cinderella & Monsters vs Aliens
Song: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, Lullabye, Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam, All Creatures of our God and King
Highlights: Watching Ice Dancing during the Olympics, Preschool, Yellowstone Trip, Watching Beauty and the Beast on my birthday, My Cinderella Birthday Cake, Swimming with Uncle Ben.
Food News: Favorite breakfast is Granola. I also love “pink” yogurt (plain yogurt with red food coloring and agave), pink and green smoothie, pretzels, cheddar cheese slices, oranges.
achievements: ditched diapers over Christmas Break, yay! Earned "Barbie and the Diamond Castle" movie for doing that.
Favorite Toys: Lego Duplos, Magna Tiles, Dolls, Cards (to carry around in purses), Playdough.
Note: AP wears a dress every day, if she has to wear pants in the morning because its cold, she’ll change into a dress by lunch time. She especially wants to wear dresses when we go to the store or have company as she feels embarassed not wearing a dress in public.

D, 18 months:
Movies: don’t care about the movies, but remote controls are the best!
Songs: likes to play on the piano, likes Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam and Scripture Power
Highlights: liked the mudpots at Yellowstone, liked the Explora museum in Albuquerque especially the “cupboard-opening” display for toddlers.
Food: likes raisins more than anything, also likes hawaiian haystacks especially the pineapple, likes green smoothie, bananas, pears, string cheese, and rice.
Hobbies: pushing buttons, pulling things out of cupboards, especially Dad’s grill tongs. Likes to play with the Word Whammer (Fridge Phonics).
Achievments: learned to walk
Favorite Toys: Weapons such as guns, swords, lightsabers, large kitchen knives, and grill tongs, also likes cell phones, the broom, and the vacuum. (not all of these are officially allowed of course!)