Thursday, April 30, 2009

Book Fair

IMG_3932 Last week was the last book fair for the year at Dallin’s school. I had been promising Dallin that I would take him to one all year long and let him get a book. I just never got around to it, but since this was the last one, I figured I better get off my sorry (and apparently huge) butt and take him up there. Not surprisingly he picked out a book about animals. All the photos in the book are from that series on the Discovery Channel called Planet Earth. If you’ve never watched it, they show it pretty regularly on there and it is absolutely amazing what they were able to capture on camera and well worth the time it takes to watch it.

This is Dallin trying to look like the hyena in the picture. He is such a goof. But not nearly as a big a one as Mandy.

pinkalicious-cover[1] Anyway, while at the book fair, Mandy of course wanted to pick out a book too. Not surprisingly she picked out the pinkest book there….Pinkalicious. All of you that have little girls are probably familiar with this book. It is really cute and humorous and, well, PINK. The jest of the storyline is that the little girl eats too many pink cupcakes and she turns pink! There are lots of cute, darling, funny little quirky lines in the story that had both Mandy and me smiling.


But do you know what she thought was the funniest thing? That they show a drawing of the little girl without her shirt on. It wasn’t crack your ribs funny that eating cupcakes turned her pink or super silly that the doctor told her to fix the problem she would have to eat only green things.

Nope for Mandy the absolute, throw your head back and laugh, funniest thing was that there was one drawing where the little girl was NAKED. It was hilarious to watch her tell Maren and Nathan about the story. She couldn’t even turn to that page in the book without cracking up.

IMG_39381So if you ever have the chance to sit down with Mandy and let her show you her Pinkalicious book, it will be so worth your time. It’s the kind of activity you should plan for when you’re having a bad day, because watching her tell the story will make you laugh so hard that it will make your bad day magically turn into an awesome day! So next time you’re having a stinky crappy day, just drop by our house and spend a few minutes with our goofy little girl. Some of her giddiness will rub off on you. I promise.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You know it’s time to loose a little weight…

…when your 3 year old tells you:

“Mom, your butt is HUGE.”

Thanks Mandy. I thought us girls were supposed to stick together. It's a good thing you're cute or I would have.... $#^%&@$sghg$#&%


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Area Day of Service

Like I mentioned a few days ago, Saturday April 25th was the Area Day of Service. Church members, community members, and civic organizations worked toge3ther to provide service all throughout 11 southern states. Projects ranged from trash pick up, building a Habitat for Humanity home, stocking food banks, blood drives, making quilts for nursing homes, and lots of other wonderful projects. In our area, about 50 church congregations in Northeast Florida coordinated with the American Red Cross to deliver packets of emergency preparedness information within the local community.

The week before the day of service, the youth in our ward stuffed 2200 bags with the emergency preparedness information that was provided by the Red Cross.


The morning of the 25th, lots of volunteers showed up at the church building to be given the map of their delivery route and their stack of packets to deliver.

IMG_39541 Here are the Shaws waiting to receive their instructions before heading out.


The lady sitting in the middle is Sister Wilson. She is 75 years old and she is now the chorister in primary. She is just the cutest lady. Watching her do all the little hand motions and songs with the kids is one of my favorite parts of each Sunday.


After receiving their assigned routes and packets, everyone went out in groups of two or three to deliver the information.


My assignment for the day was to entertain the kids while their parents delivered the emergency preparedness packets. We did a few activities like looking through a 72 hour kit to see what goes into it and playing lots of games and dancing and even making our own trail mix. They even got into the spirit of service by making beautiful cards to send to our military men and women serving overseas.


Even Layton wanted to help out and make a card :)


We also had people working behind the scenes preparing food for both breakfast and lunch.

IMG_3959 Everyone was so happy about what they had accomplished and had a wonderful time.

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By the end of our 4 hour shift we were all pretty pooped and were glad to get to take a rest when our shift was over and the afternoon shift of workers began.


It really was wonderful what all the volunteers in Northeast Florida accomplished. The representative from the Red Cross told us that what all of the volunteers from the church did in ONE day whould have taken them 4 months to accomplish using their usual staff of volunteers. Makes me want to go out and help them more!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sun Developed Photos

To celebrate Earth Day, I thought the kids would enjoy doing something, well, ‘earthy’. So I went searching on one of my favorite kid’s toys websites, Fat Brain Toys, and found this photo paper that uses the sun and water to develop it. You can place any object on the paper, but since it was Earth Day, I thought that we should do leaves and things like that. So the kids went searching outside and cut some leaves from the trees and a few from my herb plants.



After gathering all their leaves they placed it on the photo paper in whatever design they wanted.


Then they simply placed it out in the sun and watched the paper turn colors. It starts out blue, but the sun makes it turn white.


To set the photo, they dipped it in water for a minute or two. The water makes the paper turn back to blue and the place where the objects were laying turns white.


Then they laid them out to dry. As they dried, the paper turned an even darker blue.


I thought they turned out really cute. In fact, I like Mandy’s so much that I cut it down a little, framed it and hung it up in her room. It looks like a beautiful piece of modern art!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

72 hour kits

Today was the Area Day of Service at church. It was such a neat thing to know that on this exact day, church members and other community members in 11 southern states were working together to help and support the local community. I’ll post more about what we did in our small town a little later.

IMG_3907 My assignment for the day was to work a 4 hour shift entertaining the kids, while their parents did the service work. For part of that time, I thought it would be fun for the kids to take a look inside a 72 hour kit and see what all should be in there. So in preparation for that, I thought it might just be a good idea for me to take a look at our 72 hour kits so that I knew what was in there myself. I pulled them out of the closet and just had to laugh at what I found. It quickly became apparent to me that I hadn’t updated our packs in almost 5 years. There was this little outfit that I had put in there for DALLIN which was a size 12 months. Which means that Layton would have been covered, but that if we did have an emergency and could only grab our packs then both Dallin and Mandy would either just have to stay in their same dirty clothes for 3 days or be NAKED. And the protein bars? They were Snickers Marathon bars. I decided to try one just to see how it was (it was only 5 years old) and YUCK! It tasted like sawdust. Or at least like I would imagine sawdust tastes like because I don’t think that I have ever eaten it. I’m not 100% sure about that, but I don’t think so.

Anyway, I decided that this was as good a time as any to update the packs and even make up a couple of smaller ones for Dallin and Mandy so that they could have there own. After looking over a couple of checklists, one that I found here and another that I found at the Department of Homeland Security website, I put together this pile of stuff to go into our packs. What do you think, will it all fit?


Luckily it did. Mine and Nathan’s pack are SO heavy. But, they have to be to be able to contain so much food and water. I don’t want to starve! Just think of all those people at the Superdome in Louisiana after the hurricane. If they had carried this much food and water with them, their situation would have been much, much better.


I also put a coloring book into the kid’s packs and a deck of cards in ours. I would hate to be lost out in the middle of woods and be bored :). Anyway, since I have them all ready now, I am going to have to try to remember to update them more often than every 5 years because I don’t really relish the thought of eating sawdust or the idea of my children running around naked in the middle of a national disaster. But do you know what I am really hoping? That I NEVER have to use them!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Homemade Pizza

I love pizza. As I am sure do most of you. At least I hope so. Because it would just be wrong if you didn’t. I love ordering pizza from all the different pizza places, but sometimes I’m just in the mood for some homemade pizza.

I have never had a very good relationship with homemade bread products. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to eat them, but I have yet to be very successful at MAKING them. But pizza dough, now that’s one that I can do because you only have to let it rest and rise for a few minutes rather than hours and you don’t even have to knead it!

It is really simple to make. Just pour 1 packet of yeast into 1 cup of warm water. Add either 2 tbsp of white sugar or 1 tbsp on honey. Gently stir it and then let it sit for about 10 minutes or until it looks really creamy.


In a large bowl, mix together 2 1/2 cups of flour and 1 tsp of salt. You can use regular white flour, wheat flour, or I like to do half white and half wheat. Pour the yeast mixture over the top and then mix it until well combined. It may look a little sticky, but that’s ok. You really don’t need to knead it. In fact, kneading it too much can make the pizza crust tough.


Cover the bowl with a towel and then let it sit for 15 minutes or so. Then just dump it out onto your pizza pan. I just do a quick spray of Pam over the top of the pile of dough and it makes it really easy to roll out into the shape I want it right on the pan. You can roll it out thick or thin, however you like best.


I even did a couple of small ones so that Mandy and Dallin could have their own. Prick the dough a few times with a fork and then let it sit for 15 minutes or so. If you like, you can brush it with melted butter. Place it into a preheated, 350 degree oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until done. You really don’t want to skip pre-baking the crust or you’ll end up with soggy pizza (trust me, I know from experience :)).


During all that time that you are having to let the dough sit and also during the cook time, you can prep all of your favorite toppings. These are a few of the ones that we like:


After the crust comes out of the oven, you can put on you favorite pizza sauce. One that we really like is this Sundried Tomato Pesto Sauce. It is delicious.


I really load down the pizza with it, right up to the very edge because we like it so much.


Then just put on your toppings. I lay on the toppings so thick, that we usually have to end up eating the pizza with a fork!


Mandy and Dallin though, they usually just have cheese or sometimes pepperoni. They are not that adventurous with their pizza toppings.


Bake in the oven at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Enjoy!


Do you ever make homemade pizza? If so, what are some of your favorite sauces, toppings, or dough recipes?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Birdfeeder Saga Continues

Remember a couple of months back we were saddened about how we didn’t seem to be able to attract any birds to eat at our bird feeder? We finally got a pair of cardinals to regularly visit and we have so enjoyed watching them. Now however, our birdfeeder has been captured and is under siege by the local gang of squirrels.


This means that our lovely cardinal sits and watches over to the side until the feeder is clear of squirrels and then moves in to enjoy his midday meal.


But low and behold, the squirrels are so greedy that they won’t even let him enjoy his little meal in peace.


But that doesn’t seem to stop the female cardinal. She is a brazen woman, right after my own heart. She is not going to let some pesky squirrel keep her from eating.


But two squirrels. That’s another story entirely.


She woefully flies away to perch in a nearby tree when this sneaky little gangster moves in to take over the feeding trough.


And he brings his friends with him.

IMG_3746 copy

Nathan has decided that now it’s war. Every time he sees the squirrels out there, he grabs his pellet gun and tries to scare them off. I’ve try to explain the futility of this effort, for they will just learn to visit when he’s not around, but I think he just secretly enjoys shooting his pellet gun. It’s the little boy that lives inside him who loves to come out and play with be-be guns.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Public Service Message

Happy Earth Day!


"Use it up, wear it out,

make it do, or do without"

For tips on water conservation click here. For tips on energy conservation click here.

This message has been brought to you today by the letter:


And by the number:


All rights reserved.

Copyright 2009, Our Forever Family, LLF (a Lots of Love Family)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Dallin brought this leaf over to show me and told me that it was the 'biggest leaf ever’.


Not to be outdone, Mandy quickly grabbed the first leaf she could find and told me that this was the ‘cleanest leaf ever’.


She further explained that this distinction made her leaf extra special because it meant that she could bring hers inside the house. She is such a goof ball.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Our Teeny Tiny Garden

IMG_3606For the past three years we have been planting a tiny little garden each spring. We plant tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, jalapeƱos, squash, and a few herbs. In the past, we have successfully grown a few tomatoes, a few bell peppers and tons of jalapeƱos. In the last three years, we have yet to get more than a couple of squash from our squash plants and only about three cucumbers from our cucumber vines. Everyone tells us that squash is one of the easiest things to grow and that each plant will make tons and tons of squash. IMG_3614So we’re going to keep trying to see if we can get them to grow right. It has become very apparent to me that I just don’t have very much of a green thumb at all. I’ve just got my fingers crossed that with some good old fashioned dumb luck, maybe this year we’ll be a little more successful. I will have to say though that I absolutely LOVE the herb portion of our garden. We have rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley, chives, and oregano. IMG_3618

They all smell so good. Sometimes, when we are playing outside I’ll just walk by and pinch a little off one of the herbs and rub it between my fingers and just enjoy the smell. They also make for some delicious food. When you hear people say “fresh is best”, it’s really true, especially for herbs. IMG_3611

It is also a fun fresh air family activity that the kids really enjoy participating in. Dallin especially loves to go out and water the garden. He has been kind of sad that it has been raining pretty frequently for the last week or so because he hasn’t been able to spray everything with the hose. If you are wondering why they are planting flowers in our vegetable garden, it’s because we heard somewhere that planting flowers around the vegetables will help attract bees to pollinate the plants. Let’s hope it works!