Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guess what we did last week?

I’ll give you a few clues:

it involved something



completely wild

and that left our fingers looking like this:


yep, that’s right…BLACKBERRY PICKING



why in our little suburban neighborhood of course!

There is a big hay field beside our neighborhood and right beside the hay field we found black berries growing wild everywhere!


Nathan was a lean mean picking machine.  He even went and put on clothes to cover every inch of his body.  He wasn’t about to get any stickers on him!


Layton totally cracked me up with them though.  He absolutely couldn’t get enough.  I am absolutely sure that for every one that went into his cup – three found their way into his mouth!


Mandy never ate a single one of them.  Getting her to try new things is just insane.  But that didn’t stop her from having fun and enjoying watching everyone else eat!


Along with all the black ones we saw, we saw tons of red ones too.  So I’m sure we’ll be going back soon to stock up on freshly ripened ones!  Which will make Dallin super happy because ever since then he has asked to go blackberry picking EVERYDAY!


And my taste buds completely agree with him!  What is it about fruit/vegetables eaten right off the plant?  They just tastes so much better!


Friday, May 27, 2011


Look who lost her very first tooth!


She was so excited about it!


And she loved the money that the tooth fairy brought her.  And like the sweet little girl she is, she shared some of her precious riches with both her brothers.  And then they all had fun going to the Dollar tree to buy a treat!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Science of Sound

Last week Dallin’s class was doing a science unit on sound, so each of the students were asked to create their own musical instrument.

We decided to make a tin can xylophone.  So Dallin set to work on decorating it.


I think it turned out pretty cute!


Then he jammed out on it!   And had a blast doing it!


I love it when learning is fun!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It’s open!

And it’s beautiful!


Taking the picture was a little scary.  Climbing up a ladder to do it was a little crazy, but luckily I had Nathan right there to make sure I didn’t fall :)


It was completely worth the effort because now we have a record of how awesome Dallin is at gardening!  It really is crazy how tall they are!


Dallin is so happy with them that he has decided that he wants to plant sunflowers EVERY year!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Work So Hard

One morning last week during our usual morning pile up in our bed, Dallin was complaining and didn’t want to go to school.  Mandy decided she needed to agree with her brother and so started complaining that she didn’t want to go to school either.  When ask why, she said, “Because we have to do so much work there and it is so hard.”


Yeah, that looks like really hard work to me.  Poor thing. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

About to bloom…

I am so excited!  It looks like our sunflower is about to bloom!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Just thinking…

about my dad.  I think about him everyday, but he’s been on my mind a lot this week.  This past Tuesday marks 1 year since he passed away.


I miss him, but I’m pretty sure he’s been watching over everything we do.  I’m pretty sure he has watched Mandy enjoy her first year of ballet, cheered Dallin as he made some awesome hits at baseball, kissed Layton’s boo-boos right along with us, and laughed at all of the crazy funny things they do.  I keep thinking how much I wish he could be here to watch Dallin get baptized next month and to stand in the circle to give Dallin the gift of the Holy Ghost. It just doesn’t quite seem fair that he won’t be.  I have a feeling though he wouldn’t miss it and that he’ll be there in spirit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sweet Wheat Yeast Rolls


I made these for a family gathering and have had several people ask for the recipe, so I thought I would just post it here.  I’m going to admit, homemade bread products and I have not always had a happy time together.  It has taken me quite a while and lots of trials to finally find a recipe that turns out good every time and is not too hard to make.  This recipe is actually a modified version of the bread base for Pioneer Woman’s famous cinnamon rolls.

12 oz can Evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water  OR  2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1/2 level teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 2-1/2 cups wheat flour
2 to 2/12 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter (please use real salted sweet cream butter, it just tastes better!)

Heat the evaporated milk plus water or the regular milk in the microwave until warm but not HOT.  I actually prefer using the evaporated milk because it seems to give the rolls a richer flavor, but regular milk tastes good too.  Pour the warm milk into the bowl of your counter top mixer.  Pour in sugar and yeast packets.  Give it a little stir and then let it sit for 10 minutes or so or until the yeast looks bubbly.  Pour in vegetable oil, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Then add 2 cups of the wheat flour and 2 cups of the unbleached flour.  You can also use regular all purpose flour, I just like the unbleached kind because they doesn’t use chemicals in the processing of the flour.  Put the bowl on your stand mixer and put on the dough attachment.  Let it mix for a minute or two and then take a look at the dough.  You want your dough to be sticky but not overly wet.  If it seems really wet, turn the mixer back on and add flour a little at a time until the dough gets to be a sticky consistency.  If you add too much flour and the dough doesn’t stick to your finger when you touch it, you can always add a little water or milk to get it back to the right consistency.  Let it knead for 3 to 4 minutes. 

Take the bowl off the stand and then cover it with a damp kitchen towel and put it in a warm place.  What I like to do is turn the oven on for about 1 minute so that it gets a little warm in there and then I place my bowl into the warm oven.  Let it rise for about an hour or so or until the dough has doubled in size.   Punch the dough down and then in a small bowl melt the butter in the microwave.  Make slightly larger than golf ball size pieces of the dough (be sure to try to smooth the top of the ball as much as possible) and dip them into the melt butter and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Let rise (again I normally just stick the pan back in the oven) for about another hour or so or until the edges of the rolls are starting to touch and they are doubled in size.  If you let them rise in the oven, pull it out and preheat the oven to 350.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are browned.  If you really like butter, feel free to put a little more on the tops of the rolls right after you pull them out of the oven.

This recipe makes about 35 rolls.  I normally just use part of the dough and make one pan of rolls and then save the rest of the dough in the refrigerator and make something else the next day.  Either more rolls, cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, or sometimes I’ll use it as pizza dough!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

End of Season Party

It was the end of baseball season (or so we thought – we ended up having three more games after our “end of season” party) and what better to do than to celebrate!


I actually didn’t get to go to the party because I was photographing a wedding, but Nathan was nice enough to take pictures for me.  While the River Dogs this year weren’t exactly a winning team, getting to know all of this teammates and coaches was definitely a winning experience for Dallin.


You’ll notice he is the only kid not in his jersey – he didn’t want to wear it and Nathan didn’t make him.  Oh well.  I guess that’s what happens when mom isn’t there :)  He loved getting his trophy!


Walking by and getting five from one of his favorite teammates – Hayden!


He is super proud of this trophy and it now holds a place of honor on our entertainment center.


For the fall, we gave Dallin a choice of playing soccer or playing baseball.  I was seriously hoping that he would choose soccer because the schedule is so much less demanding – but at the idea of fall baseball his little face just lit up.  There was no way that I could tell him no fall baseball with so much delight on his face.  So I guess we’ll be back at it in the fall and then probably again in the spring.  Wish us luck!

P.S. Has anyone else had some issues with blogger lately?  There were some comments on a couple of my post from last week that are no longer there.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pure Popsicle Bliss

IMG_3435 copy

Now that’s summertime enjoyment at it’s finest!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Remember Who You Are

I loved this!  Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mother’s Day Brunch

On Mother’s Day at church during the 3rd hour, the young women treated all of the women to a special brunch.  In preparation for it, the YW asked if the activity day girls would decorate the tables.  So we came up with a fun decoration that would also be a little treat. 


The girls made tons of these flowers and then we filled little cups with M&Ms and nuts to hold the flowers.  I thought they turned out really cute.


The rest of the primary made special placemats to go on the table as well.  I was able to search around and found Mandy’s -


It made mother’s day oh so very special.  My only complaint – they only gave us ONE chicken salad sandwich on our plates.  Those sandwiches were FANTASTIC!  I could have eaten 3 or 4 at least :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The first swim of the season in Nana’s Pool

with many many more to follow, I’m sure!

First Nathan and Dad had to get the stairs set up.


Nathan volunteered to be the one to get into water.  As you can tell from this reaction, it was a little chilly.


But that didn’t deter my kids from getting in!


However, they didn’t stay in there very long.  Only a few minutes later they were all wrapped up in towels swinging with Nana.


Then Layton got a little cozy.


Then a little cozier. Until he drifted right off to sleep.


He’d had a very long day.  Not to mention a pretty traumatic one!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Layton’s Big Boo-Boo


Poor little Layton.  On Saturday he fell and kind of got the losing end of the battle between his face and a decorative driveway reflector.  Rather than put stitches in (because they couldn’t use superglue because of the proximity to his mouth), they decided to simply tape it closed with little strips of tape.

Ummm….yeah, those little strips of tape didn’t last long at all.  In the time that it took me to take the bandaid off and put a new one on, those things were gone.  So he will very likely end up with a little scar there, but that will just give his perfect little face a bit of character, right?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother’s Day Tea

Last Friday, Mandy’s class put on a special Mother’s Day party for all of the moms.  Mandy’s teacher, Mrs. Staab, put together a lovely little tea party (with the help of my mother-in-law and Debbie Graden). 

Mrs. Staab read the story of the Runaway Bunny.


The place settings were so cute:


And the kids had worked hard on making special gifts for us:


It was a lovely time!  It really made a mom feel special!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother’s Day

Dallin told me today:

“We love mommy, just like people who are not vegetarians love salami”

I guess that makes me a pretty good mom that my child loves me as much as cured sausage.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!


I gave this talk today on mothers.  Enjoy!

Brother Chapman asked me to share some of my thoughts and experiences on motherhood. For some reason whenever I think about motherhood and the kind of mother I want to be, my thoughts always turn to a talk given by Sister Julie B. Beck, the Relief Society General President. In the October 2007 General Conference, she gave a talk titled, “Mother’s Who Know.” That talk left a profound impression on me and has helped me to set goals to become the mother that she describes. Goals that I am continually working on and still far from achieving. Much of my talk today will be taken from Sister Beck’s talk.

First of all, what is a “Mother Who Knows” and what exactly do they know. We are all familiar with the story of the Helaman’s 2000 stripling warriors. In Alma chapter 56 verse 47 through 48, Helaman shared these words of those stalwart young men, “Now they never had fought yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying; We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”

Mothers who know, know who they are, know who God is, know what the Savior’s atonement means to their lives, know the truthfulness of the gospel, - and like those mothers of those stripling warriors – they do not doubt it.

Sister Beck said,

“Mother who know desire children. In the scriptures we read of Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, and Mary, who were foreordained to be mothers before children were born to them. Some women are not given the responsibility of bearing children in mortality, but just as Hannah of the Old Testament prayed fervently for her child, the value women place on motherhood in this life and the attributes of motherhood they attain here will rise with them in the Resurrection. Women who desire and work toward that blessing in this life are promised they will receive it for all eternity, and eternity is much, much longer than mortality. There is eternal influence and power in motherhood.”

Mothers who know, make and keep sacred covenants. And they teach their children to make those covenants as well. Dallin will be turning 8 next month. We are so grateful and happy that he has such a strong desire to be baptized. We are grateful for the covenants that we made almost 10 years ago in the Orlando Temple. They strengthen and sustain us.

In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, we are taught that a mother’s primary role is to nurture her children. Sister Beck said, “To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a “house of order,” and women should pattern their homes after the Lord’s house. Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women.”

Mothers who know are leaders. In equal partnership with their husbands, they lead a great and eternal organization. These mothers plan for the future of their organization. They plan for missions, temple marriages, and education. They plan for prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Mothers who know build children into future leaders and are the primary examples of what leaders look like. They do not abandon their plan by succumbing to social pressure and worldly models of parenting. These wise mothers who know are selective about their own activities and involvement to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most.

Mothers who know are teachers. We are never off duty and should take every opportunity life offers to teach our children. Sister Beck said, “Think of the power of our future missionary force if mothers considered their homes as a pre–missionary training center. Then the doctrines of the gospel taught in the MTC would be a review and not a revelation. That is influence; that is power.”

Mothers who know do less. Sister Beck said, “Mothers who know allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years.”

In that same October 2007 general conference, Elder Dallin H Oaks said “In choosing how we spend time as a family, we should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best. Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”

President Monson suggested a few of those “best” things that we can spend our time doing with our children. He said:

1.Take time to always be at the crossroads in the lives of your children, whether they be six or sixteen.

2. Take time to be a real friend to your children.

3. Take time to read to your children. Remember what the poet wrote:You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be— I had a mother who read to me.

4. Take time to pray with your children.

5. Take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening. Make this one of your great family traditions.

6. Take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible.

7. Take time daily to read the scriptures together as a family.

8. Take time to do things together as a family.

9. Take time to teach your children.

10. Take time to truly love your children. A mother’s unqualified love approaches Christ like love.

President Gordon B. Hinckley has asked us to stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord. It is mothers who set the tone of the home. It ismothers who most directly affect the lives of their children. It is mothers who teach infants to pray, who read to them choice and beautiful literature from the scriptures. It is mothers who nurture them and bring them up in the ways of the Lord.”

I am grateful for my mother whose influence continues to bless my life and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to learn to be a good mother myself.

In closing I would like to leave you with one of my very favorite quotes from President Monson, “May the laughter of children gladden our hearts. May the faith of children soothe our souls. May the love of children prompt our deeds. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Ps.127:3.) “

In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Have you ever noticed how much kids are a lover of novelty?  Just something as simple as eating their lunch on TV trays while watching a movie can make them feel special.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

I don’t think I’ll ever do this again…

Mandy’s teacher at her preschool asked if I would do their spring school portraits.  And me thinking – oh this could be fun and a good learning experience – said yes.  Ummm….30 minutes into it, I was no longer thinking it a good learning experience but rather a wild and crazy one trying to get 36 different kids to pose and smile while only working with them for less than 2 minutes each.  Let’s just say the sweat was dripping off of me. In preparation for the school photos, I bought a cheap light set and a cheap little background thing and then did some practicing on my kids.  Mainly on Mandy be cause she was the most willing.  So I thought I would share a few of the ones that I took of her:



Plus let’s not forget the behind the scenes bribing of cotton candy!


So while I can’t say that the experience was necessarily a “good” one, it was an experience and while some of the kid’s individual shots were questionable at best, I think the class one turned out pretty good!