Saturday, May 31, 2008

Let's (not) Do Lunch

Yesterday I posted about putting bark in our yard. That was yesterday. The day before that we put bark in the neighbor's yard. The day BEFORE that one we put bark all around the church building.

Today we had a stake-wide service project - beautifying Asbery Field. I was not about to do bark 4 days in a row. I volunteered to pick up trash around the field. The field is one block wide and 3 blocks long. Stephanie and Cory showed up and went around the field with me picking up trash.

Funniest thing we picked up? Daniel's lunch that he had inadvertently left at the bus stop 4 weeks ago (when he went to the UW with Cory and Kaith for the day). I knew it was his - who else would have a Costco water bottle filled with milk.

4 week old milk.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Love Thy Neighbor

Yesterday we helped a neighbor in need.

Our next door neighbors are getting ready to put their house on the market, so they ordered 12 yards of beauty bark. I took a look at the two of them valiantly trying to move that mountain from their front driveway, to their back yard - with just a little wheelbarrow. I told Steve we needed to go help them - we grabbed Nathan and Daniel (and our larger wheelbarrow) and offered our services.

Many hands may make light work, but my shoulders are a little sore today.

After they had finished all of their yard, they still have about 1/3 of it left. Today I got a little ambitious and weeded our front flower beds - and then had Alex and Nathan help me spread some of their leftover beauty bark in our yard.

It's too bad the bark only looks really good for a few days. Here's hoping it keeps the weeds down longer than that.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Bid You Stand, Men of the West!

Thank you, Keira, I need to memorize this. I think it would come in very useful at my house.

"My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!"

While The Cat's Away

Usually, when my husband goes out of town, I embark on some kind of home improvement project. Usually. Remember the week of 9/11? I painted my entire living room, dining room, kitchen and entry. When Steve went to Philadephia for a week I had my bedroom recarpeted, and Keira, Tia and I put new flooring, counter, sink and faucet in my bathroom - not to mention painting both rooms, hanging new curtains and new pictures on my walls. I've done other projects while he was gone, mostly just painting or rearranging bookcases (ah yes, the gypsy bookcases...)

With Steve gone for the next two days I feel a little at loose ends. I don't have a project to work on. I'm not ready to do Alex's bedroom - I have to wait for Andrew to leave...I don't have enough money this week to put in new counter, sink, faucet and flooring in my upstairs hall bath....hmm....Maybe I'll ***** *** ****** (sorry, I can't type it out, it's a secret).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chick Flicks

My husband is going out of town for a couple of nights. I will miss him, but use the time as wisely as possible by indulging myself in a chick flick or two. Any recommendations? I don't like tear jerkers...or racy movies...or sappy ones....

Here is a sample of ones I do like - just to give you an idea:

  • Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version)
  • The Princess Bride
  • Sliding Doors
  • Music and Lyrics
  • Return to Me
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn version)
  • On The Town or Kiss Me Kate (I love Ann Miller films)
  • The Pirates of Penzance

So...what's your favorite chick flick?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Achievable Goals

I'm a big believer in making a list in order to get stuff done. If I'm going on a trip, I will write down the important things to take, then check them off the list (I had 3 pages of list for when Steve and I went to Europe). If I'm getting ready for Christmas, I will have a list of presents that I already have, plus ones that I still need to get. When we were working on the house last summer I made a list of things I needed to do (paint cabinets, refinish piano, etc...). I know enough about myself to make my list achievable. Yeah, sometimes I put easy stuff down, just so that I will have something definite to check off, but I try not to put any extra stuff.

Steve tends to make lists that have everything that he wants to accomplish in this life(and possibly the next). He wonders why he never gets everything done on his check list. Of course it doesn't help him that I sometimes add things to his list - occasionally big things (last years remodelling extravaganza comes to mind), but he also will add to mine (I hadn't planned to refinish our piano - that was his idea).

What are my goals for today?
  • homeschool Daniel
  • write my blog (yea! I can check this one off already)
  • take Alex to the orthodontist
  • exercise
  • put away yesterday's laundry
  • make dinner
  • read scriptures

Totally achievable. Anything else is pure gravy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday Matinee

Kate Blanchet was great - but they didn't spend much on her wardrobe -all she wore were these gray coveralls.

Steve took me to see "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"this afternoon. I would give it 2 thumbs up. It's a fun popcorn movie. Don't expect too much in the way of believability and you won't be disappointed. It did have one "message" - which seeing as it doesn't really spoil the plot, I'll share.

Stay in school.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Please, No Pictures.

Danny volunteered us to babysit Kaith, Trevor and Miriam on Saturday night. That was fine, I like having the grandkids over when Steve can be here too. Usually I have them over one at a time during weekdays - so he doesn't get to see them nearly as often.

Stephanie & Cory rushed in with the kids at around 7pm - and rushed off to the movies - with only baby Sterling.

10 minutes later.

Miriam hurled, spewed and rolfed. It was amazing how much came out of that tiny little 2 year old. The initial site of impact was my new area rug. Yup, it's now been initiated.

Two loads of laundry, mopping the floor (and disinfecting), scraping the muck off the rug, sponging it clean, bathing Miriam, washing her hair, combing her hair....

...never have I been so grateful to have had coconut shampoo in the kids bathroom.
(Miriam was just fine for the rest of the evening)

Friday, May 23, 2008


We hosted our "dinner group" this evening. There were supposed to be 3 other couples besides Steve and I. A couple of days ago one couple backed out. That's okay - my table really only fits 6 comfortably. Another couple couldn't come because of health reasons. That left one couple and us. I'm really glad I had Steve invite another family from work to join us (a summer intern, his wife and 2 small children). The young intern couple were nice and I think they appreciated getting out of their temporary lodgings, even if it was only for an evening.

I enjoyed our "party" - I was very laid back about the whole thing, I didn't stress out about it at all. I was calm as a cucumber at 6:20. Our dinner was supposed to be at 6pm, but everyone was fashionably late. I think the first couple came at about 6:25pm. Didn't bother me at all. We had sent the boys to the movies so Steve and I had the entire house to ourselves.

It was lovely.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday, May 22nd

Happy Birthday Trevor!
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, at the temple.

Elder Andrew goes to the temple too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


What is it about men/boys and patches? Cub Scout Patches, Boy Scout Patches, Merit Badges, Military Rank... you KNOW they don't have to sew the darn things on.

I was first introduced to the darn things over 20 years ago while Steve was in the Air National Guard. I always hated it when he got a rank promotion, because that meant I'd have to rip off the old patches and sew on a new set - on all of his clothes. Okay, great honey, you got promoted....(all the while quietly grumbling about all the work it entailed for me).

Danny brought home a patch from Scouts a couple of weeks ago. I asked him if it was supposed to be sewn onto his shirt. He didn't think so. I thought so. I asked his Scout leader a few days later about it - it turns out I was right. I hardly grumbled at all as I lugged out the ol' Kenmore, found somewhat matching thread, scissors and a pin. It wasn't too bad. I think I managed to get it put in the right place (don't get me started on that issue - how they always have a specific place that they have to be put...) and best of all I didn't sew the sleeve together.

**later, the same evening....Danny came home from Scouts with ANOTHER patch to sew on! I hadn't put my sewing machine away yet, so everything was all set to go. I hope this doesn't become a habit.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Family Home Evening at the Flicks

Last week we promised the kids we'd go see Prince Caspian for FHE.

I remembered that at 4:45pm this afternoon. Oops.

I'm sure glad we only live 3 miles from the theater. We made it to the 6:30 showing - and considering Steve sometimes doesn't get home from work until nearly 6pm, I'm thinking we did pretty well.

Thank goodness it was taco night at our house.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Survival of the Fittest?

12 and 13 year old boys present "natural selection" with an overwhelming amount of opportunities to work. I'm not touting evolutionism, no, just a reason why some people might think evolution is the operative force in nature.

Danny had an overnight camp out with the Scouts this weekend. After our long cold spring, the weather broke and it was hot and sunny. Hot. And. Sunny. And they were camping at Lake Ki. He did take sunscreen. He even said that he used it once. He and the other Scouts spent an entire day swimming, fishing and canoeing. I think he had a great time - he even caught a fish, cleaned it, cooked it and ate it. I wish I had a picture of that.

Surprise, surprise, he has a doozy of a sunburn. I have seen worse - in fact I saw at least 2 other boys at church today with worse burns, but it is the worst that Danny has ever had - and if you know Danny, you'll know that he's not shy about telling you when he is in pain.

He did make himself popular at church today. He had a bottle of Solarcaine* in his pocket and shared it around with the other burned boys.

Live and learn, then get out the pain relief.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Boy Meets Grill

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It sure is handy having Nathan home. He is a veritable whirlwind of activity.

His willingness to do yard work without being asked - practically brings a tear to my eye.

His willingness to heave to with any home improvement project, likewise.

Today he assembled our new BBQ. Without swearing.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Where, Oh Where?

I'm taking suggestions.

Steve and I are in the initial planning...well, maybe a step or two before that...the initial "wishing" stage of planning a vacation for just the two of us. We are sort of thinking sometime this fall - late September or October - for a week or two(ish). Could be later - but not sooner.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Soup du Jour

I love the Internet. I love it. I had a hankering for Zuppa Toscana today - so all I had to do was search for a recipe, print it up, and take it along with me to the store. The soup turned out great. Not sure if it will be a family favorite - but it hit the spot for me.

Zuppa Toscana Soup
like Olive Garden's®
Spicy sausage and bacon, russet potatoes and greens in a creamy broth.

Serves: 10 Prep. Time: 0:35

1 lb. spicy Italian sausage - crumbled
1/2 lb. smoked bacon - chopped
1 qt. water(2)
14.5 oz. cans (about 3 2/3 cups) chicken broth
2 lg. russet potatoes - scrubbed clean, cubed
2 garlic cloves - peeled, crushed
1 med. onion - peeled, chopped
2 cups chopped kale OR Swiss chard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper - to taste

-In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside.

-In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown bacon; drain, set aside.

-Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.

-Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes.

-Add kale and cream to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat through.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bathing Beauty

Both Keira and Suzanne referred to girly-ness in their blogs today. I don't have much of that happening around my house - where I am the lone owner of female chromosomes. Lest I forget what it means to be a girl, I will go to YW tonight and bask in girly-ness, listen to giggles, and perhaps see some female grooming rituals (i.e. braiding each other's hair).

I did indulge myself today in a brief bout of femininity - by taking a long soak (in a short tub). I hate our inadequate bathtub with a vengance, but every 2 or 3 years I give in and try to take a relaxing bath.

While in my not so relaxing bath today, the doorbell rang. Nathan came to my bedroom door and said that "someone" was here to see me. See me? See me?? I rinsed off, dried off, got dressed, and came out of my room. Nathan then informed me that the visitor had been my brother-in-law Dan - who lives in Idaho Falls. He only stayed a minute, then left. This is the first time he has ever been to our house. It figures that it would be during the only bath I've taken in 3 years.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Month and a Day.

Friday June 13th- one month and one day until school gets out. I hope the date is not an omen of things to come this summer.

I was talking to Suzanne today - her kids get out at the end of next week. I am ever so slightly envious. Usually I'm not that anxious for summer vacation - but since I've been Danny's teacher this semester, I'll be glad of the break. I hope to still get him to do some work over the summer (shh! I haven't told him yet), but if we do it will be much more casual.

Steve and I been trying to get our summer vacation plans put together - but I don't think we're going to be able to pull off anything big this summer- we have so many activities that just don't coincide.

Alex has 3 separate weeks of camp/EFY.
Andrew goes to the MTC in mid-July.
Danny has scout camp.
I have girls camp.
Nathan starts summer quarter on June 23rd.
One week in August for the family 50-miler.

Our calendar sort of looks like one of those logic puzzles they throw at you in junior high math class.

So, how are you spending your summer vacation?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day, In Review

Breakfast. Check.

Primary singing "Mother, I Love You". Check.

Priesthood (Men and boys 12 years old and up) singing "Love At Home". Check.

Talks about Moms. Check.

Frozen lasagna for dinner. Check.

Strawberry shortcake for dessert. Check.

Mother's Day cards or phone calls from all children. Check.

Flowering plant. Check.

Houston, we have ignition. Lift off.

Mother's Day fence.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Spring Recital

A play AND a piano recital all in one week. Whew!

I give the piano recital 4 1/2 stars (out of five). The biggest advantage the recital had over the play was length. Clocking in at 1 hour and 10 minutes, it was much more manageable, time wise that is. It also helped that Danny was number 14 (out of 25). The only reason I can't give it 5 stars is that too many of the kids hadn't bothered to memorize their music (Danny did) - and had obviously chosen pieces that were a little beyond their capabilities. Other than that, it was surprisingly enjoyable.

The refreshments were good too.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Theahtah, the theahtah

Danny, Alex and I went to the spring musical at the high school last night. This year's production was "Into the Woods" - which I had heard of, but hadn't seen. I will give it 3 1/2 stars (out of 5).

  • new sound system - everyone was "miked" so that you could actually hear what was being said and sung.
  • Strong performances from several lead actors/actresses.
  • Sets were simple, but effective.
  • Overall good casting (within the limitations of people willing to try out for a musical at their high school.)
  • Music and sound effects.

  • Length. The darn thing was 3 hours long - it didn't get over until 10:30 and this was a school night.
  • Act II. Act I was fun and fairly lighthearted. Act II gets darker and has more of a "message". I did not appreciate it when Cinderella's prince has a fling with the baker's wife.
  • Pit orchestra - technically very good and enjoyable, but at times too loud - which made listening to the words of songs tough.
  • Seating. The high school auditorium has new seats that are about a million times better than the old ones, BUT, they are still about 1 inch higher that is truly comfortable for a 3 hour play. The backs of my legs were in agony by the end of the evening.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wish You Were Here

Sandra Jane Walley Hanna
August 11, 1939 - May 8, 1986

I bought Mom the t-shirt she's wearing.

She was either expecting Keira or Tia (I think it was Tia) - Sherri would know - she's sitting there right beside Mom looking like a surly teenager.

Things I learned from Mom:
  • don't be afraid to try new things (squid, octopus, weaving, macrame)
  • indulge yourself by traveling (even if it's only to take a bubble bath in "Tahiti")
  • advantages of a large family (you never have to be alone or lonely)
  • love of reading
  • how cut up a chicken

What did you learn from Mom?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Going to Pot(tery)

Not bad for a left handed, right brained, partially color blind, teenage boy who wears glasses.

"One kind of man I impatiently scorn is the kind that looks bored if I mention Ibsen or ceramics or Aztec civilization but is interested instantly, alertly, if I mention my garters”
- Mary MacLane

The Month of "Yes, You May"

Yes, it's May. Finally.

I feel like spring this year was only a half-hearted effort on the part of Mother Nature. Time for a jump start.

Apple blossoms in my back yard.
(Notice the new fence in the background!)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"We Should Do This More Often," She Said.

The YW painted flower pots for Mother's Day. It was not rocket science. It was more along the lines of a 2nd grade art project. I fully expected it to take all of about 5 minutes.

We took the entire time.

I brought some card making supplies as fill (as in time, not land) - I figured we could stretch the time to 15 or 20 minutes. Some of the girls both painted and made a card.

As the last girl was leaving she said "We should do this more often - I like it when we get to be creative."

This should be a lesson to me. I haven't decided what lesson it will be, but it should be a lesson.

Fashionably Late

Is it possible to be tardy when you're homeschooled?

Why yes it is.

Danny didn't wake up until 9:45. I usually wake him up between 7 and 8, but this morning I was busy cleaning my room and moving a little furniture. He's not happy about how late it will be when we're done with school - but I informed him that I was not his alarm clock.

His teacher, yes, his alarm clock, no.

Maybe I'll make him take the bus tomorrow.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Cinco de Mayo.

Senorita Laura

Yes, we will be having a vaguely Mexican type dinner tonight. Stephanie is making a traditional cake of some kind and bringing it over.

According to a paper published by the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture about the origin of the observance of Cinco de Mayo in the United States, the modern American focus on that day first started in California in the 1860s in response to the resistance to French rule in Mexico.The 2007 paper notes that "The holiday, which has been celebrated in California continuously since 1863, is virtually ignored in Mexico."

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico. The date is perhaps best recognized in the United States as a date to celebrate the culture and experiences of Americans of Mexican ancestry, much as St. Patrick's Day, Oktoberfest, and the Chinese New Year are used to celebrate those of Irish, German, and Chinese ancestry, respectively. Similar to those holidays, Cinco de Mayo is observed by many Americans regardless of ethnic origin. Celebrations tend to draw both from traditional Mexican symbols, such as the Virgen de Guadalupe, and from prominent figures of Mexican descent in the United States, including César Chávez. To celebrate, many display Cinco de Mayo banners while school districts hold special events to educate pupils about its historical significance. Special events and celebrations highlight Mexican culture, especially in its music and regional dancing. Examples include ballet folklórico and mariachi demonstrations held annually at the Plaza del Pueblo de Los Angeles, near Olvera Street. Commercial interests in the United States have capitalized on the celebration, advertising Mexican products and services, with an emphasis on beverages, foods, and music.

Proud to be an American - we'll do anything for a party.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Confectionary Calamity

Last Tuesday the YW all got together and made "treats" for Mother's Day. Shari (YW President) sent this email to everyone in YW's...It sort of says it all.

Mother I love you
Mother I do ooooo
The Young Women made candy
I won't give to you oooo

The chocolate was bitter
The divinity un-divine
When 25 girls bake,
We just have a good time

We under boiled
And fed the priests,
They spit it out
That's how we knew not to eat

Thanks to all those
the fudge that they made
At least you have a little treat
From the Beehives, Laurels, and Mia Maids!

Happy Mother's Day :)

Bed, Sweet Bed

I love visiting family. I really do, but boy oh boy do I like to return home to my own comfy bed, and my own bathroom.

We got home just before 11pm last night. I was tired and sore (from painting). When I woke up this morning I seriously considered just staying in bed. Thank you Dad for instilling a sense of right and wrong. I knew it would be wrong (and self-indulgent) to stay home from church just because I was more comfortable in bed.

Turns out I was really glad I hauled myself out of bed and got myself to church. When I walked in the chapel I noticed the entire stake presidency sitting up there. On a fast Sunday. Yup, we got a new bishop today.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Male Bonding

Nathan and Steve - working well together.

Day 3, "The Great Mantle and Bookshelf Project". The boys are getting along. Most of the mantle is done - just a bit more molding and the plinth. The first bookcase is put together and installed. The second one is ready to be nailed together....

Mad carpentry skills in the making.

Looking good.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Grotto

Day 2 of the great "Mantle and Bookcase Project". Steve, Nathan and Nathan forged ahead on the woodworking. Progress has been steady, if not fast. Steve is NOT a carpenter, he is an aerospace engineer. He is used to designing things to within a 1,000th of an inch tolerance. Needless to say, that kind of attention to detail takes time, and one hopes that they don't use putty to hide goofs.

Keira and I painted. Pretty much all day.

Keira worked on her family room and kitchen. Tia came over and lent a fresh arm and moral support for an hour or two in the afternoon.

I tackled the small room in her master bathroom that has the toilet and shower - also known as "The Grotto". The original owners of their home had painted that tiny room a horrible dark muddy green. Not only were all the walls that color, but so was the ceiling. There is no natural light - only a small, dim ceiling light/fan that casts a pale sickly glow. The dim light served to slightly disguise some black mass of malevolent evil above the shower - it looked like possibly soot. Keira thinks the previous owners may have used candles in there - I'm inclined to blame it on some sort of spontaneous human combustion. I primed that horror of a room - then painted the ceiling white. Twice. Then Tia came in and helped roll a lighter color paint on the walls. The room is much improved.

Apologies to the French peasants, they will now have to go elsewhere searching for miracles.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Parallel Parking

Not sure why Steve felt the need to parallel park in Keira's driveway, but there you go. It looks like he and Nathan slid in at full speed ala "Dukes of Hazzard".

Day one of "Project Mantle and Bookcases" has been good. All the short term goals were met. Plans were drawn, supplies were purchased, table saw fetched, drywall patched, saws set up, and lumber cut.

Tomorrow the real work begins.