Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Waffles! and an update and money talk

All right - I know it's absolutely no surprise to anyone that we had waffles tonight. But they were healthy! Check out the recipe below...

Whole Grain Waffles

2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups skim milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Beat in whole wheat pastry flour, flax seed meal, wheat germ, all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until batter is smooth.
Preheat a waffle iron, and coat with cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron in batches, and cook until crisp and golden brown.

Another use for our flax seed! You all know (probably) about our favorite pizza dough with whole wheat and flax so to find this recipe is so great for us! We love whole grain stuff - and now we can have it for breakfast too. You can sub mashed/pureed fruit or sweet potatoes for the applesauce. We didn't have applesauce so I used banana. Lots of reviewers (this recipe came from said they skipped the oil altogether and just used applesauce. Even better!

So, I've been asked to update a little about what's going on here. I am sick (today marks 2 weeks) and Ashlyn is too. Interesting that Nathan didn't stay sick so long... The announcement today that all kids are recommended to get flu shots (all the way up until age 18) mentioned that one of the reasons was to prevent adults from getting the flu. The doctor on the news said that most parents pick it up from their kids and the parents end up getter sicker than the little guys do. So maybe that's why I'm so blessed! Ashlyn started with the "end of the cold" cough this week and Rick and I lose an hour or two of sleep each night when she wakes up for her never ending coughing fit. That's fun.

The baby - still moving around, feels really low (even though kids other than your first typically don't engage until active labor) and is trying to find a way out of there - disregarding the routes already established by God.

Rick is doing well - he is happy at work. The launch this week that Rick was supporting slipped into March. The turkeys! It's scheduled for my 38th week. Hope the baby cooperates!

In related news, we are now the proud recipients of our very first year-end BONUS!!! A third of it was taken away in taxes, but extra money is extra money! So that's fabulous. We socked it into our emergency fund. This is something I am so excited that we are finally getting started! Ooo, I'm excited to chat about $$$!

Our method is loosely based on Dave Ramsey's principles with a solid Suze Orman base. I read about some girls who were really deep into debt using Dave's principles to get back on their feet. We weren't in debt (just a house and car) but I thought it couldn't hurt for us to reevaluate and do a little tweaking. I love his saying: "Live like no one else, so that later you can live like no one else." Just like everything in life - delay gratification - good lesson, no?

Dave says to first get a good, tight budget based on cash in envelopes. When the money's gone - you're done. We don't do that, because without a local bank it would be a pain in the hiney for us and I like the convenience of a credit card that we just pay off each month. He says that studies show that people spend less when they use an all-cash budget but since we're not in dire straits I'm opting for convenience. Then you get a $1000 emergency account so that you don't have to go into more debt when an unexpected expense rears its ugly head. Then you pay off all of your debts (smallest first - even though the math doesn't support it - it makes you feel good to know you accomplished something) leaving just your mortgage. Then you can pump up that emergency fund to 3-6 months basic living expenses (we aren't including entertainment, subscriptions, haircuts, college fund contributions, etc. - just what we need to live). We are putting away all our available cash into a money market account each month until we can reach 6 months of living expenses - then we will continue to add to it until we have an additional amount in order to buy our next car in cash. :) I was going to separate the accounts but I figure the benefits of compounding interest outweigh the visual separation of different accounts. We only have our mortgage now as a debt and even though it's huge, I know we are much better off now that we have a solid goal and a plan.

It's good to know that everything will be OK if something terrible happens. I have a great sense of security knowing we are doing this! I'm weird that way - going over my budget and using retirement calculators and seeing that we come out OK is such a stress reliever for me. I think this is one reason why I wouldn't have made a very good farmer's wife (thankfully Rick changed majors). I think I would lose crazy amounts of sleep and give myself ulcers if I took out a half million $ loan each year. In fact, I've been waiting with happy happy joy joy for this Saturday - when I can see the first of our paycheck's with this years little COLA increase. I love going over to the IRS calculator on their website and inputting all the new figures to make sure we don't end up with a refund (or at least just a tiny one) and loaning the gov't our money all year. I'd rather have it and make money on it myself. I'm such a number nerd!

Anyway.... we're planning on saving this funky stimulus check in May as well and we should have our 6 month's expenses and enough for a car in about 6 years. Not very close - but it's closer than when we weren't trying! Since we have Toyotas I think we can easily pull another 6 years out of them if we take care of them. They each have around 120,000 miles so I think it's doable! I know that you probably don't care - but I love talking about money! That and natural childbirth and breastfeeding. I could go on forever! Maybe that's why I have no friends... JK!

Hmm - let's see. Our stake president announced at last Sunday's evening priesthood meeting that he will be released in May at our stake conference and he will be a mission president. He doesn't know where - just that it's English-speaking. He's going to be so fabulous! Seriously. He can give you actual constructive criticism (where you've been prompted to do better without feeling bad) and leave you feeling resolved and hopeful. And he is just such a caring man. Those missionaries who serve under him are lucky ducks!

That's pretty much it here! Hope you are doing well!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's About Love

Our friends Ryan and Amy have just put their adoption profile online - you can check it out here! You can also go to and search the adoption profiles for RyanAndAmy1. We have known Ryan and Amy for 4 years now and I can, whole heartedly and without reservation, recommend them to you if anyone you know is looking for some fabulous adoptive parents! They are just as cool as us but can play piano (for real - with both hands!) and sing! Give it a look and forward the info to anyone you know who might be interested. :)

Like the change?

So no one has commented about the new background. Did you even notice? Rick didn't like the old Valentine's one because the dots drove him crazy while he was reading the posts. So I redid this one with some digital scrapbooking stuff and Photoshop. I also did a new design for March (it's green) and one for when the new baby comes toward the end of the month. I suppose I shouldn't be telling you that it's all ready to go (just to edit the HTML in blogger when the time comes) so that when you see that not only did I have a baby but I designed a new blog template all in the course of a few days that you'll be more impressed! Oh well. Now you know you have something to look forward to in the coming month!

Oh and my sitemeter is now working! I haven't been able to have hit counts since I changed the template. It's been annoying not being able see who's visited and where they're from.

Oh! And Jamie emailed me that she had found some blogs from families in our old married college ward. So fun to see what people are up to now! The Mowers are in Alaska! And Kim had twins! I also ran into Lanita Bell at Deseret Book last fall - they live in Parker. Such a small world! Jamie linked them on her page so I might do the same. Do you have a blog you'd like me to add?

We really had some great friends in college. I didn't know until I moved into this ward that I had it so good! We had so many friends that we could hang out with - families that loved the Gospel, served without reservation, and had the same values that we do. It's just not quite the same here. I totally feel like the odd one out most of the time. We don't live in a bad ward - that's not what I'm saying. I just miss having a bunch of people in the same boat in life and with the same convictions to hang out with. People who love Settlers of Catan! And love chatting and getting together! People who love church, have burning testimonies and people that you can really grow with and are better for having them in your life. I just felt so much like I belonged and was valued. I have been so lucky in life that way. Ephrata and Kent family wards felt the same for me - even though there weren't a lot of people my age the people there were awesome! You were always uplifted. The Church is definitely true in Washington! :) Maybe people from Washington are just different? I miss the people there. :(

I do need to add that there are awesome people here in Colorado! And if you're reading this you are one of them ('cause I'm pretty sure most of the people I look up to know about the blog). So thanks for making our time in Colorado better!

Downstairs bathroom

Well, I've had numerous requests for updated pictures of the downstairs bathroom. Given, they were all from the same person, but as that person is the chief architect and laborer in this project his desires get priority!

So here is the (almost) finished project! It looks beautiful! Rick (with a ton of drywall/cement board help from his Papa) did a fabulous job. There are lots of soffits (I think - I'm talking about the boxes in the ceiling) to cover up the plumbing necessary for the upstairs bathroom which is directly above this. My very favorite part of this part of the room is the light over the tub!

What a difference that will make for baths (the ones I have to administer)! You'd be surprised how dim it seems with the light off compared to the illumination we now have.
Here we have the adjacent wall that you see when you walk in.

It looks so plain! The paint we picked out for the walls looks white and it was supposed to be a light beige, but oh well.

There will be something lovely going in above the toilet. I was thinking a square iron scrollwork piece when Hobby Lobby puts them at 50% off. Maybe with tealights, maybe not.

We also have a few prints that we are still debating about. They are all based on the red color that you see in the shower curtain.
Here's the whole group that we are trying to decide between. We have the two frames in a nice rich brown. And then we'll either do the tree/landscapes pics in them or the flowers. I have to admit that I'm incredibly partial to the flowers. Both because they are a bigger print so I think it looks better in the small room and because I just like flowers.
But I think that since this is kind of a guest bathroom, or at least not our main bathroom, that I should go with the trees since they're more neutral. I think most of you are going to the say the trees too. They just seem to look better in the pictures.
Here are the two flower pictures. I also like them because they bring more of my favorite olive tone into the room.
Do you think you should be looking at a beautiful picture when you walk in and when you are sitting on the toilet? We have two pictures so one could go in each spot. The other option is to have them on the wall to the right when you walk in. Then you could look at them as you were stepping out of the shower. If we don't do pictures there what will we do? It has to be flat (not like a shelf or cabinet) because the door opens into that wall to give us more space.

I like the warmth of red and brown. I was thinking about going with the blue/brown color scheme that is popular, but I think I'd rather have something that isn't a fad and that I will love each time I see it. I tend to love olives, burgandies/reds/purples and browns so that's pretty much what you'll see in the whole house. But I never tire of looking at them!

Getting some decorating done!

I have wanted some pictures on the kids' room wall ever since they've been in together and we had to take down Ashlyn's cute girly decorations. I bought these frames a LONG time ago and have just been meaning to take the time to paint them and get some pictures in them. Well I finally finished today!

I wanted one of the kids being "lovey" so that they can be inspired and reminded how lucky they are to have each other! Then I picked one of our family pictures from the fall photo shoot with Meredith. So now they can remember that they have a fabulous family that loves them!
I was so good when we sent out the copies for the family and I picked out the picture that made the kids look good. Now I am being selfish and picking the one that makes Mama look good! :) Not that the kiddos could ever look bad of course!

Just last year I bought a few things after Valentine's Day to decorate a little bit. It's not that the holiday is a very major one, but I love to have reminders all around the house to celebrate the love we have as a family. I realize just how lucky we are that we all like each other and I am grateful to have an official day when we can be prompted to remember all the reasons why we chose to be a family! I love the opportunity to have a reason (not that we should need one) to share with my family via Family Home Evenings and notes and the environment of our home how much I love and am grateful for them. Anyway - this year I decided to make a crafty thing to complete my decorations. (Or at least I'm not going to buy anything else in the near future - I doubt I'll ever be done "decorating"!) I copied it from Heather's blog - I'm a really great copier! (Not so much with the original ideas!) I love it! I have another board that I'll hang from that wreath holder during the rest of the year that I LOVE! But you'll have to wait until our Love Fest is over at the end of the month to see that one!

Friday, February 22, 2008

The joys of Martha White

I used to make these when I was younger (like teenage-ish) and I just loved the fake berry flavor of these cheap little muffins! So I thought I would pass on the joy to the next generation. :) Since Nathan and I baked yesterday (poppy seed bread for the lovely man at Rick's job who lent us his tile saw) I thought I would wait until nap time and bake with Ashlyn today. Not that Martha White REALLY counts as baking. But Ashlyn did get to put on her cute monogrammed apron!

You can see the loaf of poppy seed bread that we kept for ourselves on the stovetop. Yummy! We made 3 smaller loaves for our benefactor and gave Rick an extra for himself (and of course he shared with the guys who sit by him!).

Baking with Nathan yesterday was so cute! He loved using the Kitchenaid! I let him lock and unlock the tilting mixer, turn it on/off and adjust the speeds and dump in each cup and teaspoon. He loved working the dials and switches on the mixer! How like a little engineer!

I tried to give Ashlyn things to do too... She cut the corner off the package and dumped in the 1/2 cup milk. :) Like I said, not much baking to Martha White. :) She also stirred it all up until it wasn't lumpy - but I think she liked licking the bowl best!

Last week in my first venture outside since our weeks o' sickness (I've been sick with Ashlyn since Valentine's Day and Nathan got it during our getwaway weekend the previous week) I tried to get some Valentine's Day clearance. Unbelievably, less than one week after the big day, I had missed out! I did end up finding some packs of cards at JoAnn's (the fabric store - I looked everywhere!). And I bought a heartsy vinyl tablecloth for our V-day dinner next year at Walmart. But along with those I found this cute little muffin pan for the kids! It was $2.88 and even though it was in Walmart's clearance aisle I think that's its normal price since it's not nonstick or anything. (The 6-cup tin in the baking aisle was $2.88 too). This is something I've been wanted to get for the kids for a bit. I thought it would be fun to have them eat little cute muffins that they could help me make. Plus, then I can make those cookie dough things!

My next item on "Stuff I Don't Need But Really Want" for the kitchen are jumbo muffin tins! Mmmmm. I am excited about them! But I have yet to see them (not surprising since I only remember to look when I am in the grocery store baking aisle).

Oh, and speaking of things I'm on the lookout for - Nathan loves to wear a tie to church like his daddy does. Where can I find a tie that fits a size 4/5? I should clarify - Where can I find a tie that fits a size 4/5 and not spend more than $4? (I can only find them at WM in a package with a shirt for just under $10) And where are boy's jeans on sale right now - again I mean for under $5? Nathan is breaking land and speed records in growth!

Cute thing to add...

When we were making the muffins Ashlyn was talking about how good I am at recipes and how we should be on a cooking show together. Then she says - "This recipe is so good. You should give it to Grandma B****!" So Grandma, consider yourself given to! Go and buy a package of Martha White - stir in 1/2 cup milk and bake at 425F for 14-17 minutes. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Playdough Fun

Nathan and I had some fun this morning - just the two of us while Ashlyn was at school - with our favorite homemade Playdough. (It's the recipe I got from April that I posted before on the blog)

We started out using the playdough tools from our bucket but you know? It's just more fun to freehand. We had more fun with our hands and toothpicks. :)

These are mommy's creations.

This is Nathan decapitating my snake and then disemboweling him.

And here we have Nathan chopping up the Lake that he made for my baby snakes to play in. And in the Woody water bottle - we have HOT CHOCOLATE! That was Nathan's request - and who am I to refuse hot chocolate?

V-day Class Party

On the actual DAY of Valentine's Day Ashlyn had her last day of school for the week and her last class party of the year. She had a lot of fun writing out her Valentine's for all of her friends to put into their decorated bags. To save time, none of the cards were to specific people so the kids could take their pile o' cards and drop one into each bag assembly line (sort of) style.

Ashlyn wrote TO: My friend FROM: Ashlyn on each of hers. But this little "no personal" Valentines didn't stop her admirers! She's had a couple of little boys bring her presents from time to time at school and one of them bought her a little mini Russell Stover heart-shaped box with chocolates inside for Valentine's day. He kept it in his backpack and gave it to her when they were getting ready to leave. I was there with Nathan for the party and he looked back at me and said "I gave that to her!"

He was very excited. I whispered "Thank you!" and he mouthed back "You're welcome" with the cutest smile. He is adorable!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Thank You note...

Being given the opportunity to get away for a little bit and seeing what a fabulous difference it made has really put me in a thankful mood. This was something fairly simple to do, not too expensive but full of such a giving spirit and it has meant more to us than anyone could imagine.

We had a lesson in Relief Society a little while ago that was about service, and specifically about visiting teaching. The teacher gave examples of times she had served and been served and it really touched me. I do try and do that. I've watched a baby for a day so the first-time mommy could rest. I've taken kids out to the park, on a hike, to McDonald's for an ice cream so a mom could get a break. I've washed a kitchen full of dishes for a mom who just lost her baby. When the teacher talked about how the older women especially could serve the younger ones (because I think sometimes they think we are too different and hard to get close to) I got very weepy. Because how cool would that be?

What if someone came by and said, "Hey, can I take your kids to the park this afternoon?" Wow - that's just never happened to me. But wouldn't it be awesome? I hear stories all the time about how people come and serve in answer to a prayer when someone needed it the most. I got a little "boo-hoo for me" party going because no one has ever come to my house and cleaned, or given me a reprieve from the little ones just in time.

But really - things like that have happened to me. They've just been a little different. This time with Rick was one of them. What a simple act of service (setting it up would take minutes and my kids are awesome so watching them would be a treat, right?) but what a profound effect! I am determined to do this for someone else. What a fun thing to be able to do for our kids as they get married! Or for a couple in our situation with no family nearby who doesn't get the chance to get out much. The hotel and the $20 was less than $100 all told and I'm sure we could swing that occasionally!

And this made me think of other things that people have done for me specifically. Things that weren't terribly expensive but made a difference to me in my very core. Like they fill a need that you didn't even know was that big of a deal to you - but when it's filled you want to cry with gratitude because of the burden they've lifted or the love they've helped you feel. Once, my family bought me maternity jeans and a top at the end of my pregnancy with Nathan. Being tall, all 2 paris of jeans I had were too short. And being cheap, they were second hand, dated and not too flattering. I received the package as a surprise - I hadn't asked for them and there was no big occasion. But I put them on and I felt BEAUTIFUL and LOVED. Not just because I had spendy, trendy LONG jeans (they looked so nice!), but because someone noted an offhand comment that I had made and then filled a need they saw. I felt so cared for and that is what affected me.

This past Christmas I had the same thing happen. Rick's family gave me gift cards to Red Robin. This may have been because I'm hard to shop for :) but it meant the WORLD to me. Why? Because now I can go out with my husband or as a family and not beat myself up over the $$ I maybe should have spent elsewhere. And we LOVE Red Robin! It is something that I feel so LOVED by having received it. I feel free to enjoy my husband and my family and all I have to pay for is maybe a babysitter! It's just awesome! I didn't even realize that I missed dates as much as I do - until I got those gift cards. It just goes to show you that people do love you and people are God's hands here. Even if they don't know it. :)

So thanks everyone! I hope that I am in tune enough to be able to do this for someone else too. :)

Valentine's Dance!

Our church always puts on a Stake (lots of congregations in the same geographical area) family dance in February. This was the Saturday before Valentine's this year and the day that we got back from out night alone. It was a blast for the kiddos - even though this was day one of what was to be Nathan's first cold this year.

Here is Rick dancing with the kids (in the shirt that he HATES but he knows I LOVE!). He must have the best darn shoulders out there! He looks so yummy in anything that accentuates that (or hugs the chest - another personal favorite of mine). He's built like a super hero! Triangle Man... Triangle Man...

Here we have Ashlyn decorating the black paper they had the walls. Such a fun idea!

And here's Nathan doing the same...

And finally, here's Olivia's mommy. She's showing Ashlyn what it would like if her mommy was cool and could dance with any semblance of rhythm.

My Good Luck Charm

When I saw this as we were wandering around Garden of the Gods - I knew it was a sign! This looks just like a hand with it's fingers crossed!

God put it there just the day before - special for me - so that I would see it while we were out walking.

He was telling me that everything will go OK with this birth, I would labor mostly at home (with labor starting in mid afternoon after a nice night's sleep and nap), be admitted so fast, all the doctors and nurses would listen to and respect my wishes about a gentle birth, and with no triple-peaking contractions I would give birth to a beautiful baby girl who will promptly tell me what she would like her name to be.

I'm so excited for March!

Preggers Pic of the Week!

Here we are (in our room!) at 34 1/2 weeks. Only a month and a little bit left!

Some pics from the getaway!

Welcome to room 208!

Here we are in the hotel room!

"Kissing Camels" in Garden of the Gods Park. (Ok, we're not the camels...the rock formation is at the top of the cliff where there's a circlish hole in the rock. To the left of the hole is one camel and to the right is the other camel. They have their heads together and they are K-I-S-S-I-N-G!)

Rick! (Kissing Camels is at the top right)

Pike's Peak in the background - Garden of the Gods in the foreground

Our getaway weekend!

So, you all are going to be astounded - the couple who never goes out WENT OUT!!! And not only that but we did it without the kids! Amazing - I know. Let me just say that THE BIG GUY UPSTAIRS loves us and arranged the opportunity for us to go for a night away. We dropped off the kids with a lovely family and were given an envelope with the info: where we were staying and what we were to do. I felt like I was on Oprah and they just gave me a million dollars! I could not have been more surprised or excited!

Since we didn't know beforehand what to pack or get ready we had everything we could think of - swimsuits, suit, dress, casual stuff, etc. When we opened our envelope we found out that we had reservations in Colorado Springs! Woo-hoo! So off we went! We had some great conversation on the way down - it has just been ages since it was the two of us!

I think this is neat so I'm posting the instruction sheet we got with our directions:

Here are some of the tips connected to your get-away
1) Check into the hotel (Not a 5-star hotel but you can't beat the price)
2) Use the enclosed $20 to go to a grocery store and purchase something fun and different to go back to the rooom and fix for dinner. (Don't go over $20)
3) Have dinner together in your hotel room
4) Take time to talk about ...
a. When you first realized you liked one another (Mine was nice and embarassing: "When I saw you half-naked on my living room floor while my roommate gave you a backrub." Man - the jealousy totally kicked in - and he wasn't even mine yet!)

b. What is it that you love about one another
c. What are some of the funniest experiences you have shared together (All of mine about Rick's are hilarious cooking stories. My fave is the Lemon Bars. His mom gave us something in an old ice cream bucket that she had written "Oatmeal" on. We had used up whatever it was and were now using it to store kitchen stuff. I had my powdered sugar in it. Rick saw on the recipe directions that he was supposed to sprinkle confectioner's sugar on the top of the Lemon Bars that he had made. He asked if we had any and I said yeah, in the container that says oatmeal. So, even though he KNOWS what lemon bars are supposed to look like he sprinkled uncooked, ACTUAL oatmeal all over the top of the bars. Oh man, I died when he brought them out. All of the stories about me tend to be farming ones. Like the
mice in the hay bales... Denise and I were out "helping" - I think Rick's dad made up this job so I would feel included! - while he baled hay. We were turning the bales on the end of the row so that they all faced the same direction - I think anyway. After a bit I noticed all of the bales had a hole through the middle. I asked Rick why and he said that the mice are really quick and love to eat holes in the hay. I totally bought it, and told Denise. She didn't know that either! After a while I thought it was a little weird that the holes were all in the center and that they were there so soon after the hay was baled. But I still believed him - Rick doesn't lie, right? Hah! Later he told me that there was a big spike in the baler that speared through the bales in the process of squishing them together. Thereby making a lovely hole through the middle of the bales! He also liked that I could never distinguish between a tractor and a combine. I came up with a great rule of thumb: Tractors are green. Combines are red. I swear this works about 80% of the time)

d. What life goals do you want to accomplish as a couple together

e. How can you rely on the Lord to help you accomplish those goals
5) Commit to getting away just as a couple at least once each year (We are absolutely doing this! So expect that at least one of you will be enlisted when you come to visit)
6)Leave the hotel and go out for dessert to have a special treat
7)Take a walk
8)Tomorrow go and see something fun and different
a. Garden of the Gods (that's what we did)
b. Olympic Training Facility
We'll see you tomorrow after lunch (Around 2:00)
Most important have fun.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Print Nick's missing person poster

Newer info...

Nicholas Francisco was last seen leaving Publicis Advertising Agency, on the corner of 2nd Avenue W and Republican in Queen Anne, last night (02.13.08) around 6 PM. He was last seen wearing a light blue or off-white button down shirt, plain black jacket and blue jeans. He is about 6' tall and 28 years old. He was leaving the Queen Anne area heading south toward South Center/Seatac. He drives a red '92 Toyota Paseo Hatchback, lincense number 601RHX. IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL 911!! for pics of him and his car. for another picture...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day is coming soon!

We started out Valentine's week (as a lot of you know who are LUCKY enough - hee, hee - to be in my email address book already know) with an FHE about how much Heavenly Father and Jesus love us. We talked about all the blessings they've given us and how it's all b/c of their love for us and desire for us to be happy.

Then we had my favorite Red pop from Rite Aid (I have no idea why I love it so much, but I could seriously take a bath in the stuff!), steak, baked taters and green beans with bacon and 'shrooms (some of our family's favorite foods).

And I have to note, again, how much my testimony and love of having a Family Night each week has grown and been reaffirmed this week as something that is SOOOOOO important. I can't think of another night recently when I have felt LESS spiritual and more prone to drowning my kids and/or myself than this past Monday. Usually I could point to a few specific events, but this time it was just a culmination of a lot of little things like not listening and being inconsiderate to one another. I would like to say that I did great at not being a hag - I didn't yell or scold or get mean - but we did have a lot of "I'm disappointed" and time outs. By the time Rick got home I was such a ball of nerves that the last thing I felt like doing was talking about anything spiritual - least of all Love. But we have been promised so much is we do our best to be consistent and do it anyway.
“Regular participation in family home evening will develop increased personal worth, family unity, love for our fellowmen, and trust in our Father in heaven. It is our promise that great blessings will come to all who conscientiously plan and hold weekly family home evenings.”

Who doesn't want that, right? So I gave the lesson, sang some songs, played a matching game about the blessings we have. And you know what? The difference when we finished was like night and day. When you talk about gospel principles you have the Spirit attend you and touch your heart. What an awesome thing! Most times the hard thing is the right thing and you'll be blessed so much more abundantly than the effort you might extend. It was so nice to regain that family unity and love that we had chased away earlier.

In our continuing LOVE fest this week we'll be having Marlboro Man sandwiches (for Rick and anyone else who would like to give it a try)from the Pioneer Woman Cooks blog tonight. . .

along with the makings for sub sandwiches. (For the ones for whom this doesn't seem like heaven on a bun). Ashlyn is one I'm betting will head for the subs fixings. We recently bought a sub home from our overnight date and, I tell you, I have never heard a girl gush like she did. She was full of "Can we eat this every day?" "This is fabulous" "I love this special sandwich". It was adorable. So, since we aim to please here (at least until #3 comes and I don't have the energy to remember my name) we'll include this in our LOVE fest week too.

I am going to assemble little goodie bags/buckets for Rick and the kids and my visiting teaching gals today - and hopefully deliver them tonight before the snow falls. Why do we need a snowstorm for Valentine's Day? I just don't get it. Oh well, with temps up to 60 today we are melting quite a bit of snow so I guess we need to replenish our stock. :) We just can't have bare ground! It would go against all that Colorado stands for!

We'll be making Pretzel Turtles and Hugs this year again because they are so kid friendly and tasty! I don't want to have to buy anthing special so this year we will be using what we have - pretzels with caramel Kisses (that I already have so I don't have to buy Rolos) and either walnuts or M&Ms on top. Hopefully I can get this done this afternoon so we can have a fun "kids and mommy" time. I don't think we'll be doing sugar cookies this year (which seems a shame since I have all these cute cookie cutters) but who knows! Maybe I can justify it if I give them all away. I just don't like having all the sweets in the house to much on and I don't like the example it sets for the kids.

We are also giving Rick the last of his Valentine's blocks tomorrow! So far he says he "loves" them (as he was instructed - good man) but that they look funny in his cubicle b/c they are "girly" colors. Well, I told him he wouldn't a man to be giving him Valentine's blocks - he's getting them from his wife, so girly colors are what he's going to get! :) I know he does like them though - b/c he sees how thrilled and smiley the kids and I are to give them to him. Sometimes the value of the gift is seen in the giver you know? It may not be your favorite but it's given with so much love and adoration you can't help but see it in that light, feel that love, and be happy. So yay for pastel hearts and loveable husbands!

Also tomorrow we'll be having our annual Heart Pizza (our little Papa Murphy's knockoff), more Red pop (yeah, I know, but I CRAVE it!), and salad. I have red melamine (sp?) plates, heart-decorated tumblers, heart-shaped serving dish, and little heart-shaped mini cake pans all ready to go! I haven't decided what's going to be for dessert - maybe brownies? I think that the baby should be introduced to chocolate cavity cake - mmmmm.

We'll also go through our LOVE fest envelopes (did you check them out at and reading our Valentine's. What a fun holiday! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to celebrate LOVE!!!


Since all of you live too far away to come and hang out at our place for dinner, you may not know that one of our favorite, "oh nuts, is it really already 5 o'clock and all my meat is frozen?" dinners is actually BREAKFAST!!!

Sometimes it's breakfast burritos, sometimes pancakes, and mostly we have some sort of eggs (so I don't feel really bad about eating just carbs for dinner). These dinners have been making more frequent appearances at our place as this pregnancy has progressed.

Last night was one of those nights. I had already decided on eggs and pancakes when I received an email from Bisquick (I am signed up for a lot of those sort of things to get coupons) with the title, "How About Breakfast for Dinner Tonight?". Well, great minds think alike, eh? Dinner was very yummy (and WAY more filling than usual - I only had 2 pancakes!) so I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

PB&J Stacks

"J" Syrup
1 cup fruit jam, jelly or preserves
1 cup maple-flavored syrup
2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
Additional peanut butter, if desired

1. In 2-quart saucepan, heat jam and syrup over medium heat, stirring occasionally until warm.
2. Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat (375ºF); grease with butter if necessary (or spray with cooking spray before heating). In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, 1/2 cup peanut butter, the milk and eggs with wire whisk or fork until blended.
3. For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook until edges are dry. Turn; cook until golden. Serve stacks of pancakes with additional peanut butter and syrup.
BTW - 375 on my griddle was too hot, so I kept it between 325 and 350. I also added more PB - I just eye balled it until it looked good.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Here's to hoping Rick continues not to read the blog

Here is his Valentine's Day present from me (currently drying on the kitchen table). If you know Rick like I know Rick - you KNOW he's going to gush and cry and love this to death! :) Or something. Starting tomorrow I'm sending one block each day to work with him as a countdown to Valentine's Day.

He cut the blocks for me but doesn't have a clue what they are for except that he is to display them at work and say "Aren't these lovely? My wife gave them to me because she loves me so much! I adore them!"


Ashlyn recently celebrated the 100th day of school. Each child was asked to bring in 100 of something to share with the class. Some brought marbles, some pennies or googly eyes - below you can see what Ashlyn thought would be fun. She wanted to make a beautiful poster of sheep and decorate it with princesses, lovely colored bins of hay, and a surrounding landscape. That's my girl!

Super sad - what a tender heart!

Lots of you know our beloved prophet Gordon B. Hinckley passed away a little over a week ago. Ashlyn has always handled death very well - pets, her great grandpa, etc. So I was surprised at her reaction when she heard her prophet had passed away.

She cried at his funeral as well and I am reminded again at how in tune with the Spirit this little angel is. She is such an example to me.

29 weeks - Truly I don't do this for myself!

So here - for posterity - is a preggo pic. No makeup, ready to walk on the treadmill in hopes that I can somehow affect my labor and how squishy my body will be come the last week of March.

Now we are finally into 2008!

Just wanted to show you that my Berliners turned out beautifully! My Oma makes Berliners every year for New Year's Eve and this year I was brave enough to give it a shot for my little family. I want them to have fun traditions that mean something special and it doesn't hurt when they are extremely tasty too!

Rick requested that I didn't include a mustard one -we need lots of good luck this year- so we just let everyone pick out a jam. We ended up with Strawberry, Peach and Blackberry.

My Christmas Break

Before the new year we each wanted to get cracking on projects. Rick busted his tail on the bathroom and I spent a day making all the birthday cards (and a few Thank You cards) that I'll need this year. Curse Glen and RC for having 9 children! (Just kidding - we love all of them! But it's kind of like a math lesson in exponential functions to make cards for the whole clan!)
Lots and lots of work. With the combo of tile saw, the smell of sealant and the nonstop hum of the fan Rick worked his way into a migraine followed by a week-long headache followed by another migraine. I had him go to the doctor and now we are the proud owners of prescription migraine medicine! His wifey was a little concerned that he might be incapacitated at a critical time (say the end of March) and be unable to drive - now she feels much better! And even better - we hope that this will make it so that Rick doesn't have to suffer any more!
Here we have a picture of the whole lot.
If you look closely you'll see yours! See how much I love you?

Grandma Loot

Each of the grandkids on Rick's side are getting quilts from grandma and Nathan was SOOOooooo thrilled to see his super colorful quilt and pillow! And he also was given a cute Buzz Lightyear lunchbox full of grandma treats - dried cinnamon apples and bananas along with other fun snacks (Rick helped himself to some too - I guess he misses his momma!)

Moving right along

Here's a "work in progress" update of the only almost-finished room in the basement!
Related Posts with Thumbnails