Saturday, February 28, 2009

Layton's Big Challenge

How to keep the ball from rolling away...

Wouldn't it be great if all of our grown-up challenges were that simple and straight forward? And wouldn't it be great if we all had as much fun trying to solve our challenges as Layton had trying to solve his?

Friday, February 27, 2009

That Crazy Lady

Kylia was nice enough to drive Aunt Becky over to visit with us this past weekend. We had such a good time. Dallin and Mandy, and Layton too, played and laughed and loved all the attention they received. Mmmmmm and the chocolate dipped pretzels. We all enjoyed those.

While they were here, they stopped in at JoAnn Fabrics. Aunt B found this fantastic deal on yarn for crocheting, which she loves to do. But rather than being like most normal human beings on the planet, and just buying 10 or maybe even 15 spools of yarn, she buys 74.
That's right. That is not a typo. I wrote SEVENTY-FOUR. Kylia texted me a picture as proof. Don't be fooled into thinking that she is just standing beside a display of yarn. That is actually her shopping cart. On her gravestone, I think I am going to have them write "Here lies one who could never pass up a good deal, but at least she shared her bounty with everyone."
She is really good that way. When she finds these amazing deals, she buys all of it (and seriously, I mean all of it) and then she shares her spoils with everyone around her. Kylia and I, and I think several other people too, go to her house and do a lot of our shopping. She always has good stuff and better yet, she lets us have it for free. So in the end, I think that we are getting an even better deal that she did!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our $75 Cake


Remember that cake I made? Well this one makes the one that I made seem like a pale imitation of a cake. And rightly it should. This one was made by a professional pastry chef. And oh my goodness, this pastry chef is a master. One bite of this cake and you will be in heaven. I'm talking eyes rolling back in your head with each bite because of the extreme ecstasy your taste buds are experiencing. Lets just say that if you were to fill a room with all the world's leaders and give them a piece of this cake, the ensuing atmosphere of utter satisfaction and contentment would bring about world peace like we've never seen before. Seriously, while Nathan was in chocolate utopia eating this cake, I actually considered asking him if I could buy a macro lens (which cost about $300) for my camera because in that state there is no way that he could have said no. But I didn't. I knew if I did I would always feel guilty for taking advantage of his weakened chocolaty condition. I just can't say enough about this cake. Chocolate cake layers. Strawberry cream filling. Chocolate ganache icing. Heaven. Heaven. Heaven.

I know you must be wondering about the $75 price tag though, because under normal circumstances, even though the cake itself is absolutely worth that much, we would never pay $75 for a cake. But, we just happen to be lucky enough to have a pastry chef that lives in our ward and he donated two cakes to the Young Women's girls camp dessert auction. So really we were just making a donation to the young women in our ward. The crazy thing is that the $75 we spent on our cake was not even the highest amount spent on a dessert that evening. One dessert went for $90. Another was sold for $70 and then because the man who bought it is diabetic, he put the cake back up for auction and it sold for $65. So the YW earned $135 for a single cake!!! Needless to say they earned way more than what they needed for camp. It was such a fun evening. The YW sold tickets for a spaghetti dinner and then the dessert auction followed the dinner. It is a lot of fun bidding for things like that. You really get caught up in the moment, which is why we spent as much as did on that cake. It was for a great cause though, so we were happy to donate the money. And besides, like I said, that cake was absolutely worth every single penny. I dream about it every night. One of these days, I'm going to learn how to make a cake like that myself!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Mandy got out some of the leftover Valentine's Day chocolate and decided to share it with Layton. I think he really enjoyed it:


As I was cleaning chocolate off the carpet (I seem to be cleaning my carpet an awful lot these days), off the couch, off the recliner, and off of Layton, I began to wonder about all this hype surrounding the importance of teaching your children to share. Maybe it is really not all that important after all. In this instance, had Mandy chosen to be selfish instead of sharing, it certainly would have saved me a whole lot of work.

I decided to enter Layton's chocolaty face into the I Heart Faces photography blog contest because this week's kids catogory is messy faces. Don't you think his messy face is a winner?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Ode to Hoover

My steam cleaner - not the President.

Oh how I love thee

Let me count the ways-

You help me clean up poop that has been smeared all over my carpet

Do I really need a second reason to profess my love for my steam cleaner? I think that one reason sums it up quite profoundly.

A little boy that I was babysitting pooped and then decided that he needed to stick his hand into his diaper, grab some poop out and then use it to finger paint my carpet. ajfoidpahnfgvlsojgdvdaz (sorry, I just gagged a little at the memory) He also decided that my piano was entirely too clean and needed to be used as a poopy canvas as well. I literally cried when I saw the piano, great big tearful sobs. Just ask Nathan. I was on the phone with him at the time. It felt as though something sacred had just been desecrated.

I'm really not upset with the boy, after all he's just a little kid. He didn't know that what he was doing was the grossest thing ever. Truthfully, I love him. He is a real sweetheart. A handful, but a sweetheart. This whole experience, while disgusting, left me with a great love and appreciation for a few things, namely:


stain remover

my steam cleaner


air freshener

hot water


copious amounts of antibacterial hand soap

and more disinfectant

I can't imagine life without those things. It just wouldn't smell as good or be as inhabitable. Seriously, without them, I think we might have had to move out of this house.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just roll over, its not going to kill you...

Layton is such a little turkey. He falls over on his back and rather than just rolling over and continuing on his way, he lays there and cries until someone comes to get him. And it is not like he doesn't know how to roll over. With the right incentive, like a remote control or some other attractive item, he'll roll over to get it. Or when we tell people, like our visiting dignitaries of this past weekend, Kylia and Aunt Becky, about him not rolling over, he'll roll over every time. But mostly, if he is on his back, he just lays there and cries and stubbornly refuses to right himself. Good golly, what a brat he is sometimes. And after I pick him up, what does he do? He smiles at me and melts my heart and makes me give him some kisses. Honestly, I think he is already smarter than I am. He already knows how to manipulate me to do whatever he wants. I am such a pushover. An absolute sucker for a cute baby face.

Like this one:

Or even this one:

He knows that I will do whatever it takes to get him to go from this:

To this:

He's got me wrapped. Completely wrapped.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Little Baby Butts

are so stinkin' cute that I just want to pinch them. And that chubby leg? It's calling for me to bite it. And those toes? Just looking at them makes me want to start talking about piggies going to market and eating roast beef.

I'm weird. I know. And I'm really ok with it.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I fussed at Mandy for writing on the bathroom counter top with a crayon. She quipped back with:

"Well, Jesus loves me and he lets me do what I WANT."

After hearing that, you try to discipline her and not laugh - just try. At least I know she was paying attention when we had a lesson in primary about how because Jesus Christ loves us and was willing to follow Heavenly Father's plan, we have agency and can choose for ourselves. Her interpretation of that concept leaves a little to be desired though :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chasing Pigeons

Did you know that the best part of going to the Museum of Science and History on a warm February day is chasing pigeons? I didn't know that either until I went to the MOSH with 70 something kindergartners. Luckily I was put in charge of only two of them. Dallin and his little friend Alex. Did you know that a three story museum full of interesting, thought provoking exhibits could be toured in under 45 minutes?

The kids arrived at the museum by school bus (which Dallin loved, because it was his first ever ride on a school bus) at 10:00 a.m. By 10:45 those two boys had drug me through every room in the museum at lightening speed and were ready for something new to do. So we went outside by the river and ate our picnic lunch. And then Dallin and some of his other little friends spent almost an hour chasing pigeons and a few seagulls too. By the end of that hour they had run some of their excess energy out of them and we were able to go back inside and enjoy a science demonstration.

We learned all about lightening and static electricity. And we even got to witness the explosion from a tiny hydrogen bomb. Pretty cool. After we got home, the house was nice and quiet because Layton and Mandy were taking a nap. A little too quite. I went looking for Dallin and found him fast asleep laying across the recliner. I guess all that bird chasing paid off. For me that is. It meant that I got 45 minutes of much need peace and quite. It is such a rare occurrence I hardly knew what to do with myself. I decided to follow the kids' example and take a little nap myself. It was excellent. My favorite part of the day, by far.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Everyday Traditions

We all have traditions that we love. The ones surrounding holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter are ones that I really treasure. But, I also really love the everyday traditions that we do all the time. Like dancing after a movie is over. At the end of every movie as the credits are rolling, at Mandy's insistence, we all get out in the middle of the living room and dance to the music playing. It doesn't matter what the movie is. It can even be one that the kids didn't pay one minute of attention to, like the one we are demonstrating in these pictures. When the credits start rolling - we start dancing. Another everyday tradition that I love is the "I love you" one-upping that we do. If one person says "I love you", the next person says "I love you more", then the other person says back, "I love you the most". Dallin even leveled it up by adding an "I love you the mostest" to the mix. It makes my heart smile to do these everyday little traditions. What are some of your family's everyday traditions that you love?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chocolate Italian Cream Cake

On Friday, the financial department at Nathan's work had a little Valentine's Day party. They chose to do all the food with an Italian theme. Everyone was supposed to bring something in for a potluck style lunch. And since Nathan "claims" that he can't cook, I of course have to be the one to prepare his offering for the potluck.

I love to try new recipes, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to find a new one because the only Italian dessert I knew how to make was biscotti and I wasn't sure how well a hard dry (but delicious) cookie would work out in this particular setting since they wouldn't have hot chocolate for dunking. So I went to one of my favorite recipe sites,, and went looking for an Italian dessert. I found this recipe for a Chocolate Italian Cream Cake that had very good reviews so I decided to give it a try. I did make a couple of changes to the recipe based on the review I read. I doubled the amount of cocoa in the cake batter and I added 4 ounces of melted Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate to the icing. And because I can do nothing without my kiddos begging to help too, I let them do a few of the easier steps for me. And because Layton wanted to participate too (i.e. he was pulling at my legs and crying because he wanted me to hold him), I decided to let him be my taste tester. He tasted the icing and loved it and then tried some strawberries to let us know how sweet and fresh they were.

Because I could not see making a cake that looked like this ------>

and not get to try it myself, I made a little Chocolate Italian Creme cupcake and garnished it with the highly recommended strawberries that Layton gave a double thumbs up. And it was very yummy. I don't think that I would make this cake all the time because it was a little time consuming, but it was definitely something that would be perfect for special occasions. The icing though was very easy to make and WOW delicious. Cream cheese and chocolate---oh so good. So I can totally see myself whipping up this icing to throw on a boxed yellow cake mix to make it extra yummy on a regular basis.

You know, I must love Nathan an awful lot to spend over two hours making a cake for him to take into work. Especially since I had to make it with three kids under foot that I tripped over more times than I could count. what should I make him do in return? Options...options....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines and Sugar Cookies

We were happy, especially Mandy was happy, to have a play date at our house last Wednesday. Several of her friends (or rather my friends who happen to have kids who Mandy happens to love who she happens to call "my kids") came over to play. After she and "her kids" played for a little while, we made these cute little valentine cards. The checkered envelope was made from a pattern that I found here. They can also be made into little baskets if you want. And they can be made much grander in design as seen at Chocolate on My Cranium and here. Very fun and I think very cute. After making little cards, the kids decorated heart shaped sugar cookies. Or rather they dumped a ton of icing on the cookies and had a little cookie with their icing. I think Mandy ate about six of them. She is such a little junk food junkie. She would eat sweets from morning till night if I let her. She is funny about stuff like that. If she eats something good for her, like fruit or vegetables, upon finishing them she immediately asks, "Can I have my treat now?" And she asks this not just occasionally, but EVERY single time she eats something good for her. What am I going to do with that crazy little girl?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

100 Days of School

Last week Dallin's class reached the 100th day of school. To celebrate, each child had to create a poster of 100 things. Dallin chose to make his poster out of 100 army men. So he counted 100 of them and then we worked together to make a poster. I really love his kindergarten teacher. She comes up with some of the cutest activities. On that 100th day of school, they did EVERYTHING by 100s. Dallin said they jumped 100 times. They read 100 words. They had a snack totaling 100 things (which they had to count), made up of 10 gummy bears, 10 goldfish, 10 pretzels, 10 M&M, 10 jellybeans, 10 Cheerios, etc. They made necklaces out of 100 fruit loops. And then of course each kid got to do a little show and tell presentation of their 100 item poster. When Dallin came home, he told me all about it and said that it was the "funnest day ever". He tells me that about once a week. He LOVES school. And I love that he loves it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

I love you because....

Last Saturday, we held our first quarterly Primary activity of the year. Because it was so close to Valentine's day and our theme for the year is based on the family, we decided to make it a parent/child activity. All of the activities were designed to have the parent and child interacting together.

I think the favorite game of the day was the three legged race. But then, honestly, who doesn't love a good three legged race? We even set up a little photo booth and took pictures of the kids together with their parents. I really enjoyed being the photographer (and I use that termly loosely here) of the day. The family photos turned out really cute.

After all the fun and games. The kids served the parents a wonderful snack of fruit and homemade cinnamon rolls, which were absolutely delicious. They were covered in cream cheese icing and were fabulous. While everyone ate, we watched a little video that the kids had made the Sunday before. We asked each child what he or she loved about their mom and dad. We got some super cute answers ranging from good cooking to hot fudge sundaes to Dallin's which was that he loves me because I tell him and Mandy what to do. I'm glad he enjoys that part of our relationship, but I'll have to say that usually in the moment when I'm telling him what to do, he doesn't appear to enjoy it as much as that statement would lead you to believe.

And what did Layton do during all these lovely festivities? He observed. And enjoyed himself thoroughly in the process. After the activity, I took the photos to Walmart's one hour photo and had them printed. Then on Sunday, we took the pictures and made little photo frames for the kids to give to their parents for Valentine's Day. I gave Dallin the choice of either using the photo of our family in his frame or a picture of him and his friend Maizie. Not too surprisingly, he chose to go with the picture of him and his adorable little friend.