Sunday, February 28, 2010

They’ve Got a New Look!

I gave Mandy and Layton a haircut about a week ago.  I can’t say the cuts are perfect, because, well, I did them (not to mention Layton moves A LOT when you are trying to cut his hair), but I still think they look pretty cute.  We’ll do some before and afters so that you get an idea of how much I cut off.
Mandy went from long flowing locks,
to a shoulder length that I think suits her well.
Layton went from the shagg look
to the short cropped look of an adorable little man.
It made me a little sad to cut off the slight little bit of curl to his hair, but he really was starting to look a little like a girl and we just can’t have that now can we?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I HATE Boy Scout…


I mean really, what the heck do they even need them for?  Are they afraid that they are going to forget what troop number they belong to? 

And honestly, when they finish a task, do they REALLY need to have proof of it on their shirt?  Wouldn’t a certificate of completion be just as good?

Oh well, don’t listen to me, I am just a grouchy old lady that has difficulty sewing on patches with 1/4 inch plastic backings.  Seriously, who thought of that?  Obviously not the people that actually have to do the sewing to the shirt.

And who the heck thought that it would be a terrific idea to have a patch on the little pocket on their shirt sleeve? Why, I ask you, why?  It was almost impossible to get my hand inside the little pocket and sew the patch on.

Don’t think that I didn’t try to take an easy way out and just use iron-on bonding to put them on there.  But no, not for these patches.  Remember that brilliant person who decided to put PLASTIC on the back of them?  They can’t be ironed on because the plastic will melt.  Really???  I think they need a new designer at the Boy Scotts of America headquarters.

Why did I even have to do this anyway?  Dallin hasn’t started Boy Scouts yet.  Well, Nathan decided to go to a Boy Scout leadership training course out in the woods and so we had to buy him a uniform (WAY overpriced) and I (not him) had to sew on all the necessary (yeah, whatever) patches.  He owes me big time.  I do feel like I got a little bit of revenge through the weather though.  He FROZE his butt off for the last two nights camping out in a tent.  BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A little tree Monkey

There is a tree just outside Mama Doris’ house that has been climb by almost every one of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including myself.  Layton has reached an age that he thinks that he can do everything his older brother and sister do.  So it comes as no surprise that he decided he would climb the famous tree too.  And I have to admit, he did pretty darn good for such a little thing!

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Thursday, February 25, 2010


A little over a month ago, my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  That diagnosis has kind of sent our whole family on a roller coaster of emotions.  His health has been worsening for over a year and I think we all knew that whatever was wrong with him was serious.  This diagnosis proved that.

However, after a CAT scan a few weeks ago, the doctors told him that it appeared that the cancer had not spread and would be treatable with radiation.  He needed to have a PET scan performed in order to verify that it had not spread.  Due to high blood sugar issues, which he now has under control, the PET scan couldn’t be performed until this past Tuesday.  And happily, the scan showed that the cancer really was contained and that he should continue forward with the radiation treatments that he began almost two weeks ago. 

This is such a relief to all of us.  He still has a long road of treatments and recovery ahead of him, but the outlook is so much more positive now than when we first learned the diagnosis.  Of course, the scans don’t guarantee that the treatment will be successful, but knowing that it is contained to just the one area does raise the odds of survival TREMENDOUSLY. 

It is hard living away from my parents, knowing that he has to go in for treatments everyday during the work week and not being there to help.  Gladly my brothers, especially Cliff, have stepped up to help my mom get Daddy to where he needs to be.  Jason, the son that Daddy wishes he could call his own, has been a wonderful taxi driver also.  Others have helped too, which we are so grateful for.  It is one of those times when saying ‘thank-you’ to those that have helped and will help just seems to not be enough.

But even though, when we go to visit, my dad spends much of his time resting, that doesn’t stop him from finding ways to play with the kids.  He loves his grandchildren so much.  I think he was born to be a Granddaddy.  This past weekend when we went, all the kids lined up their feet so that he could tickle them.  They had the best time doing that!

And when Layton was tired and about to fall asleep, he knew just the right person to go snuggle up with.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Warm hands,


Warm feet,


and silly children


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hairy Heads

While visiting Mema (aka Aunt Becky) this weekend, the kids discovered a few hats that she had crocheted.  They are awesome!

I love Dallin’s expression right here:

On Layton, the hat looks so huge!!!!!!!!

Even my biggest kid tried one on.  I think it really suits him.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Got my fingers crossed

That spring will be here before we know it!  On a beautiful bright sunny day



we went to the park.  The sky was amazingly blue!



And much to my surprise, the grass was growing bright green.  Unlike, the dead brown stuff covering our yard.



And then we found an even greater surprise of little flowers blooming.



It just makes me happy to think that everything will be blooming and green again so soon!  I love springtime!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


This is the face you get when you have taken just one too many pictures for the day:

It’s a good thing I stopped there.  There is no telling what I would have gotten next!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rubbing Off

You know you have been spending too much time with your kids, when you even starting thinking in their vernacular. 
Mandy has never used the word thirsty.  She has ALWAYS referred to herself as being ‘drinky’.    So while sitting by myself (a rare moment indeed) at the computer, I found myself thinking, “I am really drinky.  I could use a glass of water.”  Do you know I walked all the way into the kitchen and got myself a glass of water before I even realized what I had said to myself?  Then I just had to laugh.  That is is life with a mommy brain for ya.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Coconut Cake with Ganache Filling

Coconut is a funny thing.  Some people either love it or hate it or some people just like coconut flavor without the actual pieces of coconut.  Well lucky for me and Nathan, we are both coconut lovers and so I decided to make us a coconut cake for lover’s day.  But rather than just your normal coconut cake, I decided to spruce it up with our most  favorite food – chocolate.

For the cake part you  will need:
1 boxed coconut (or white if you can’t find coconut) cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup cream of coconut

Mix all of that together and divide the batter into parchment paper lined round cake pans to make 3 layers.  Bake at 350 until cake is done.  Remove from pans and allow to cool.  If cakes have a rounded top (mine almost always do), use a long serrated knife to cut off the top and make the layers nice and even. 

While the cake is cooling, in a microwavable bowl, place 2/3 cup whipping cream, 4 oz. high quality dark chocolate, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Microwave for about 45 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 45 seconds.  The chocolate should be pretty melted at this point.  Use a whisk to combine it well with the cream.  Keep whisking until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Place in the refrigerator to cool and stiffen up a little.

Once the cake layers are cool, combine the rest of the can of cream of coconut with 1/3 cup evaporated milk.  If you did NOT have to cut off the tops of the layers to even them out, be sure to poke holes in the cake with a fork before putting on this mixture so that it will soak into the cake.  Place the first layer on a plate and spoon about 4 or 5 tablespoons of the coconut cream mixture over the layer. 

The idea is to add moisture and flavor the cake without  making it completely soggy.   Get your cooled chocolate ganache out of the frig.  You want the ganache to be completely cooled before putting it on the cake.  Poor half of the ganache onto the first layer. Spread evenly.

Top with the next layer and repeat the 4 to 5 tablespoons of cream of coconut over the layer and then spread the second half of the ganache over the second layer.  Top with the last layer.  Just like the other two, add 4 to 5 tablespoons of the cream of coconut mixture over the top. 

Now for the icing.  Nathan told me that he would have been happy just to have another layer of chocolate ganache over the top, so feel free to make extra ganache and go that route if you like.  Or, you can make the traditional egg white frosting used on coconut cakes.  I like it, so that’s what I did.  To make it you will need to bring 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water, and 1 pinch of salt to a boil.  It doesn’t need to boil long, just long enough for all of the sugar to dissolve.  Once it is ready, remove from the heat and add 1 tsp vanilla extract.

In a large mixing bowl, place 3 egg whites or 3 egg white equivalents.  For this, since you are just relying on the heat of the sugar mixture to cook the egg whites, I prefer to use dried egg whites and the required amount of water to create a 3 egg white equivalences. 

I really like this stuff.  It is pasteurized and safe and it always whips up really nicely.  Back to the frosting.  With a hand mixer or stand mixer, begin beating the eggs.  Very slowly, pour in the hot sugar mixture, while still beating the eggs.  Continue beating for several minutes until the mixture is nice and stiff.  Then just frost the cake with a nice thick layer of it.

If you like (and I do like), you can then top with cake with a little toasted flaked coconut.

This cake is rich and super moist and fantastically delicious.  We loved it!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Valentine’s Day

Is it odd that I buy my kids gifts for Valentine’s Day?  I know it is supposed to be a day to express your love to your significant other, but I like to think of it as a day to express love not only to him but also to my kids because I think they are pretty special too. 

I think the favorite gift of the day was Layton’s frog.  He LOVED it.  I never knew that a pull behind toy would be so very entertaining for him.

I admit, I did break down and buy Dallin some more Star Wars Legos.  What can I say, he needed to have some of the good guys and a rebel ship.

Then that evening, I made us all a nice steak dinner.

Dallin decided that he thought we should have steak every night.  Yeah, I don’t think so.  We ended the night with a delicious Coconut Cake filled with chocolate ganache.

Heavenly.  I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.  And just so you know, Nathan totally came through with some chocolate for me.  He’s just awesome like that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Percy Jackson and The Olympians

After the good times had at Ollie Koala last Saturday, Mom (aka Nana), was nice enough to watch the kids for us so that we could go see Percy Jackson and the Olympians : The Lightening Thief.  Long title, right?  Anyway, Nathan and I read this series of books and have been looking forward to the movie.  Unfortunately it was one of those books to movie instances that just disappointed a little.  I think had we not read the book in advance, it would have been a very likable, enjoyable movie.  Sometimes though when you read a book and then expect that the movie will contain certain details and events that you really liked and then they weren’t there, the book just ruins the movie for you.  The movie had some good high points and action scenes in it, so I would still recommend it – but I much more highly recommend the books.  They were a great read.

You know, I really love my husband.  I love that we enjoy the same types of things.  When I read a good book and pass on the recommendation to him, he will read it too.  I even got him to read all of the Twilight books and Shannon Hale’s Books of Bayern series.  We also love the same types of movies and TV shows.  It gives us tons of things to talk about and do together.  We absolutely were made for each other!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thanks Nana

For a special treat, Nana took Dallin, Chloe, Mandy, and Layton to a place called Ollie Koala (it’s kind of like Chuck e Cheese).   No surprise, the kids had a great time.

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And yes I know Layton looks like he is terrified in the slide picture above, but truthfully I just caught him in between expression and he is having the time of his life.  There is a very good reason that I talk about Dallin being such a good big brother all the time – because it’s true.  Do you know that while they were playing in the jungle gym, that was just a little too big for Layton to maneuver very well, Dallin helped him the WHOLE time.  Everywhere Layton wanted to go in there, Dallin helped him up the high climbing places, across shaky bridges, and over big jumps.   And the best part, he did it all without being asked.  He really is the best big brother any little Layton could ask for!
Thanks again Nana for such a great time!  And for the babysitting you did later that day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I want to see!

Have you ever noticed how funny kids are about immediately wanting to see any picture or video taken of them?  My kids, especially Mandy, always request to see the pictures I take the second after I click the shutter.  It just makes me laugh to realize how digital their whole life has been and will be.

We went to visit my sister-in-law last week for a little while and the kids enjoyed a few minutes viewing themselves (and their cousins/sisters) on Kim’s camera.  I wonder, am I creating some really self-absorbed kids by taking pictures of them all the time?  I’ve heard mom’s like me referred to as Momarazzi.  I’d say that’s about right :)  I really do think of my kids as my own little super stars. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day

Dallin wanted to send you a little message on this lovely holiday!


And he really does think that about you :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A test.

Of your smile muscles.  I challenge you to take a good look at the face in these next two pictures and not smile.


How did you do?  Did you pass?  I admit, I never do.  Anytime Layton smiles, I can’t help but smile myself.  That’s just how I’m wired.