Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Frosty White Christmas

 O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining....and so was the tree except for the few bulbs the Grinch must have stolen before he had a change of heart.
 The girls made it until 6:30 a.m. blessed be... then it was Rockin around the Christmas tree.
 Adrie laid out the vittles.
 Traditional Caramel Sticky Buns for breakfast
 Old school and new age, Brynn had a sweet day playing apps like Temple Run on her visually stunning Kindle Fire until the charge ran out. Did you know that Kindle Fire's don't come with chargers?  Neither did Santa! He can't think of everything! He is sending one in the mail promptly!
 There's more than one way to eat a chocolate orange
 Adrie also went gadgety and got an Android tablet.  This one was a bit harder to navigate but we eventually got her well on her way to watching YouTube videos and playing Angry Birds.
 Cannon looks repentant because he knows he shouldn't have run off crying after opening his present and finding out it was just regular legos without first looking to see that the Ninja Swamp Creature ones were right next to them in the box. He and Adrie were thrilled to go to bed tonight with their DreamLites illuminating their rooms with a happy glow.

Kate also went techy and got an iPod Touch. She didn't need any help. She got right to work downloading her favorite songs. She also got the new bedspread she is laying on. Her room is turning out to be a pretty cool preteen pad for hangin' out. 

I feel like I could write an electronic review with the spectrum of gadgets we got but hands down my favorite is my new iPad 2! Crisp visuals, super easy to figure out (and when I can't Kate's right there to offer tips.) Downloading makes me so happy!! Here's a little Christmas money saving tip... Go with refurbished from the Apple Store and you can get a smashing deal along with a 1-yr warranty. Apple pie in a bag. 

Dad got a cordless drill so he can install shelves and do other exciting honey-do projects. 

We were graced with a white Christmas sure enough and the sun came out all day to give the snow that frosty brilliance. We stayed warm and cozy indoors and played with our new gadgets, watched movies, ate chocolate for dinner and followed the directions to build tiny tedious lego structures. 

For Christmas Eve we did our traditional candlelight dinner with ham, potatoes, and orange rolls. We acted out the Nativity, The  kids opened their presents to each other that they had been waiting an eternity and a day for.  Then we finished the most exciting night of the year with The Grinch Who Stole Christmas before scooting the kids off to bed.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger/because there was no room for them in the inn. 
There were shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. 

 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Merry Christmas 2012!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

12 Daze of Christmas

2.  Adrie had her 2nd grade program. My favorite part was watching them dance the Macarena. I'm not sure what the Macarena has to do with Christmas but it was entertaining!   Brynn sang in her school program and the girls were glad to get their violin recital out of the way early in the month.

3. Visit from Santa at the church party.   Cannon changed his mind at the last minute and asked Santa for legos. He didn't think Santa would be able to give him an iPad afterall. Man, is he smart! The girls are going all gadgety for Christmas and asking for electronics of various sorts.

 4. I played in the orchestra for our community Messiah production. It wouldn't be Christmas without that amazing music.  This was my 10th year! and the first time that my mom was able to be there--in spirit.

5. We got loads of snow! We were hoping school would get cancelled the next day and so we made plans to celebrate: Making salt dough ornaments, baking cookies, and snuggling.  School wasn't cancelled but we couldn't give up our plans. We declared it a snow day and stayed home anyway.

6. Driving to the city to meet up with Brandon and for once I was grateful to get pulled over by Highway Patrol. He informed me that on the mountain pass ahead I would encounter deer, snow drifts, and black ice and if I continued to go my speed I might not get to where I was going.  Sure enough he was right! I slowed waay down and was able to safely maneuver through the ice packed stretch of road. I'm pretty sure he saved our lives!! And that is already making for a merrier christmas. 

 7. Went to the movies, did some city shopping, went out to eat and concluded the day with the beautiful lights at Temple Square. Oh,  I forgot how much I love the city!!

8. At the family party Aunt M fashioned these super cool hats for our gift exchange. We have been wearing hats all day ever since but had to draw the line when it came time for church.

 9. Brandon led the ward choir in our Sunday music program. I got to write it, sing, play the cello, and lead the congregation. I thought it went swimmingly and we're both especially glad that it's over!!

10, 11, 12. Watched Silent Night the docudrama which is about the origins of how the song was written in Germany, 1818.  One by one each of the kids wandered off to put themselves to bed. How great is that?! Finally, after all these years, we've learned the secret to a beautiful bedtime. And that's exactly where I'm going to wander off next. Merry Christmas everyone!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


A few days ago I was driving home from getting groceries when in a moment of spontaneity I pulled into the local thrift store and decided to have a look around. Boy, am I glad I did.

Cannon went straight for the toys. I went straight for the books. He found a blue power ranger to complete his rainbow collection. I found this little book written by my grandma, published in 1947.

 My grandma authored 20+ books, most of which I have. I did not have this one and it is a gem. I just delved into it for the first time of my life and it's turning out to be a delightful narrative summary of the Bible. My grandma had a deep love for the Bible which she passed onto her daughter, my mom. No one could tell a Bible story quite like my mom. I remember many of her rousing renditions at the breakfast table. My grandma and mom had one specific version of Bible stories that they preferred to all others--and that, friends, was my next lucky find:
  This looks like the same version my mom read to me and here it was at the thrift store for me to buy and read to my kids. The inside cover read:  Merry Christmas Boys  Love, Mommy and Daddy, 1948. What a treasure.
  This beautiful book uses classic art and it reads just like my mom and I imagine my grandma would have told these stories--add in some wild gesturing. (My mom could not talk without her hands.)  I too, love the Bible and am so thrilled to pass on that love to my children. (I also can't talk without my hands.)
As if this trip weren't already completely and totally paying off I then glanced over to see another familiar title, this one written by my Uncle!!
Grateful for that little nudge that sent me into the thrift store that day,  I'm looking forward to some cozy book nights of sorts in the literal spirit of family.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

When Kids Decorate for Christmas

Thoughts and happenings...

* Went to Breaking Dawn part 2 in the theatre. The critics weren't lying when they said movie fans would be in for a big surprise. Even my date was surprised and he slept through part of it.

* I'm not going to exaggerate. The donuts we made this afternoon were super fabuloso. It wreaked havoc on our clean kitchen and we had to share with the neighbors to prevent eating ourselves sick but we definitely have a new tradition for our tummies.  For the recipe, click  Homemade Doughnuts  You won't be disappointed!

* Had a great Thanksgiving with Brandon's family--a 2-turkey crowd.  We went to church after for a talent show and some inevitable basketball in the gym.  Food, family, and fun--I'm thankful for a holiday that's simple and good like that.

* Know what's even awesome-r than getting a good deal on Black Friday??  Sleeping in!   (I'm sure they didn't have the 500-inch TV I wanted anyway.)

* Can I be completely honest?  I love Christmas shopping for my kids and husband. But,  when it comes to all the friend/neighbor/coworker/teacher/who-else-can-we-think-of gifts??-- that is the part of Christmas that just stresses me out.  Could we all just start now and agree to a truce to shrink our gift-giving circles to immediate family? That could be the best gift we ever gave each other. Here's taking a step further. How about we donate that money we would have spent to a good cause?   Would that not make the season brighter?  I'm in--and here I thought my love language was gifts.

* Christmas seems to creeping up on us earlier and earlier each year. I have welcomed it with open arms. I had to stop myself from decorating in mid-November but, I didn't stop myself from listening to holiday tunes.  This year we did something a little different.  I got out our boxes of Christmas stuff and let the kids have at it with the decorating.  Who cares that I'm hosting book club next week? If things get dull (as IF) the kids will have provided many interesting conversation pieces. I think it was pretty entertaining to see how they repurposed some of our gewgaws, trinkets, and baubles.

 Heavy concentration of ornaments on the bottom 1/3 of the tree

 Reliving Childhood memories?

 Vinyl clings get a prominent spot above the fireplace

For some of these underdogs, this is going to be the best Christmas ever!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Money Well Spent

So, I've bought my share of duds in this life--like the "as seen on TV Titanium knife" that couldn't cut through a shoe as promised. But this year I've had some winners. These purchases made me think... "Yep, this was definitely a good investment."

A.  AAA Membership: ($52/year)  Hopefully I don't jinx myself when I say "I haven't had to use this yet ;)" but I love the peace of mind of knowing that IF I breakdown or run out of gas or lock my keys in the car...I will be rescued!  As a bonus I get discounts on hotels and car rentals and a magazine with travel tips. My AAA membership just makes me feel special. Who can put a price on that?
This coverage goes with me everywhere. So, if I'm riding in your car, you are covered too. I just became your favorite road trip companion and that's worth every penny.

B.  Amazon Prime Membership  ($79/year)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...1. I love being able to buy something  and get it in 2 days!! 2. I love not having to pay shipping on that something!! Gone are the days that I have to think of a few extra things to add to my cart to get to the $25 minimum to get free shipping. I can send a $5 book to myself, and one to my buddy and not have to pay shipping for either of them! You might not think that with all the $5 dollar items I buy that I break even with my membership fee. That may be true but so what?? I love my membership. Oh and back to the counting  3. I get thousands of shows and episodes to watch instantly. 4.   I just learned that you can "borrow" books in the lending library! Yippee.  You can borrow one book a month from a list of bestsellers and other goodies.   It's like Netflix, the Mall, and the Bookmobile in one service. With Amazon Prime, I feel totally ready for Christmas. Bring it on!

C. Costco Membership ($55)
Again, I don't know if I break even with the membership by the time I pay for gas to even get there!! But, for moms this place is like Disneyland. I can buy bulk everything and let's just face it, there is something primal-y satisfying about filling your cupboards with gargantuan containers of food.  More satisfying are those occasional "unplanned" purchases or featured items like my knife set or the pie serving trays, or most recently my Ninja Blender.
We always eat there because by the time we get there it's time for some meal or another. If you haven't tried their Italian ice cream, you are missing out.

D. DoTerra Essential Oils Physician Kit ($150)
Let me tell you, this has more than paid for itself for all the times it has kept us out of the doctors office!
When Cannon had a nail fungus? I used oregano oil. Poof. Gone. the. next. day. A natural sleeping aid? Lavender oil on the bottom of the big toe. Strep throat? Lick some On Guard.  When you feel the gamboozo coming on? Digestzen on the navel.  I feel so empowered knowing that when my family is sick, I know what to do to help them!! And because I don't know everything just yet...there is the handy reference book ($25)
Find a DoTerra Rep and get yours already!

That's all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Viva Las Vegas

Blinking t-shirt: $10, getting your picture with Elvis $5, watching someone get arrested: Priceless.

Tons of Family Bonding:)
M&M World

The Gore-atorium--where the lobby is enough to make not want to go to the Taqueria next door.

 We walked a wild walk from one end of the Las Vegas strip to the other and back again. The strip may sound like a straight line, but the sidewalks snake you through smoke filled casinos, over sky bridges, and into shopping malls.   We covered miles-- all of it a feast for the eyes and most of it an assault on the senses! You can meet anyone from Elmo to Elvis and buy anything from tattoos to ...much worse.   So many interesting services are vying for your dollar: How about wearing a nasal cannula and sucking in some oxygen for small fee??
Caesar's Palace Casino

 Had lunch at Planet Hollywood which I don't recommend unless  you agree with $8 hot dogs for the kiddies.  Brandon wanted to see if his hands were the same size as Indiana Jones'.
 Adrie with Wednesday Addams.
 Remember this guy from the movie BIG?  Kate paid a dollar to hear his creepy words of wisdom.
We made it all the way to Circus Circus which I remember visiting several times as a kid.  The kids whizzed around on roller coasters in the largest indoor amusement park, the AdventureDome.
After all that fun it was getting late...just in time to see the city that never sleeps come alive. We had ice cream at Ben & Jerry's, watched the pirate show outside Treasure Island, and saw the volcano erupt at the Mirage. But the best entertainment of the night was walking past a statue of Elvis, admiring it's likeness even, when it suddenly high-fived Kate and sent her flailing with terror into a crowd of laughing bystanders.

There was no end to the disturbing images and at least 3 of them involved Elmo. Elmo with a sign endorsing Obama.  Elmo with a cardboard sign scrawled with "Why Lie? Elmo needs a beer"  and lastly the image of  Elmo reaching out for a handshake with a  fuzzy gloved hand encrusted with grime. Cannon wouldn't do it. (we've taught him well) Yes, there were lots of Elmos and other wacky characters to pose with like Hello Kitty, Mr. T,  and a frumpy Spider-Man.
It was a long walk back up the strip to get to our car but never has time gone slower than when we were waiting for an  elevator while someone was getting arrested 10 feet away  and swearing up a storm in the struggle. (Picture me covering up 4 sets of ears and eyes with 2 hands. )

Although the kids thought Vegas exciting, they were glad to get away from the choking smoke and have a peaceful ride home back to family friendly Utah. We listened to Michael Vey in the car, the exciting new book by Richard Paul Evans.

 Oh Babylon, Oh Babylon we bid thee farewell....
We're going to the mountains of   to dwell.. (for some reason that song keeps running through my head?)  

Here we are doing just that...
The trip had it's moments, like the girls spitting incident. "Kate spat on me."
"You spat on me first." I'll admit I was less bothered by their misbehaving and more pleased with their correct conjugation of that verb.
While hiking around I couldn't help but marvel at what a beautiful place God had created.  A few yards away, a little girl about age 4-5 asked her mom, "Who made this place?"  The mom answered, "Nobody made it. It just happened. Nature just happens."  Her answer was disappointing but I couldn't help but reflect on the sweet instincts of a child to know intrinsically that "Where there is a design, there is a Designer."
We concluded our trip with dinner and visiting with our Dixie cousins.  Brandon and I were fortunate to see two of them exhibit very fine dancing skills in their high school production of "Sound of Music."   All in all a fun-tastic, family bonding, culture-shocking weekend. Time to turn the heater on!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Nation Divided

To all those who voted for Obama: Eat, Drink, and be Merry--and send China the bill. :))

I am a 35 year-old mother of 4, married, college graduate, LDS, political conservative. I voted for Romney/Ryan because I believed in their plan to get our country on a plan of fiscal responsibility and a better economic future. Any President has to work with Congress to pass laws. Although Ron Paul had good ideas,  I believed Mitt better able to work across party lines and negotiate change in Washington.

I voted for Romney because I supported his plan to:

  • Repeal Obamacare
  • Become Energy Independent
  • Balance the Budget
  • Create a Military force not to be reckoned with
  • Strengthen Economy, Create Jobs
  • Shrink Federal Government, give States more freedom to choose their education, healthcare, etc.
  •  I believe he is honest.  
  •  I know I can spend my money better than the government can and I want the freedom to do so.
I don't know what his policy on Immigration would be and that issue is a concern of mine. However I think one Governor said it perfectly,  "There is no such thing as a candidate with whom you agree 100% unless you write yourself on the ballot."   True! We have to elect who we think will have the best chance of tackling the most important issues.  We need to vote our conscience but at the end of the game a vote not for Mitt was a vote for Obama. If the Libertarians and other misc. voters had put their vote toward Mitt rather than someone who had no chance could we have avoided an Obama re-election?

Election Days are a good wake up call for the nation, and after this one aren't we all awake?!
Am I upset that my candidate lost?  Yes, but despite the heaviness of heart I am keeping my eyes on the horizon and 3 things give me hope.

 1. The President didn't win by a landslide. Half the population believes like me that Obama is putting us on the fast track toward bankruptcy and we demand reform!  The message is loud and clear. There are enough people in our nation that want what is best for our country and that gives me hope.

2. Many of our local and state leaders who clamor for change DID win their seats. Republicans still hold a majority in Congress and that will help keep a Democratic Pres.and Senate in check. They are awake to their duties!

3. The rest of us are now resolved and united in our efforts to uphold values and freedoms we hold dear.  I did everything in my power to vote for change. I marked my ballot,  I contributed financially, and I stayed educated on the political happenings. In fact I am glad I can finally listen to music again instead of politics--but wait!!!   What could I have done better and what will I do better in the next few years??

 I will be more vocal about my beliefs and stand up for my principles.   I tended to shy away from social media during the election. I only dipped my toes in the water so to speak.  I believe in the wisdom of Proverbs; Reason not with a Fool. While that is still true I believe it is my duty and privilege to stand up for and defend the cause of freedom and promote the good. I don't believe everyone that voted for Obama is a fool. I think most people are good but they may not realize the  consequences. This year I will be more bold in defending truth with civil dialogue. I will stand up for the Constitution and the principles this country was founded upon and I will  use all the social media I can get my typing hands on! ( Not to mention I am also pretty motivated  to beef up my emergency preparedness and food storage...)

Consider this proposal I heard from a radio caller the other day: 
Because the nation is divided, let's literally divide the country in half. The people who want Obama for President can live on one side, and Mitt can be President of the other side.  ( I would also propose  that we divide the national deficit in half so 8 trillion each--on your mark get set--good luck!! )   It wouldn't be 2 weeks before the Obamites realized there was no one to pay for their policies (unless Jay Z can get a few Platinum-z). They would be desperately digging tunnels to get over to the Romney side!  (Maybe they would resort to stealing from us which is kind of what really is happening anyway in the form of high taxes. )

p.s. While we're at it let's just solve the immigration problem by annexing Mexico.

Okay, aaaanyway...
Carry on fellow Americans and let not your hearts be troubled. If you voted for Obama and you are still reading  please study Thomas Paine's Common Sense, The Constitution, Glenn Beck's Broke, The 5000 Year Leap, The Making of America and watch Obama 2016.    I used to believe everyone in America deserved free everything. Yay for government! But nothing is FREE for long.  If they wanted to live in a socialist government our ancestors wouldn't have left Europe and fought for the freedom and Independence that makes America great. Let's keep it great!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pumpkin Smashing

For all the fun and festivities of Halloween why am I so wickedly pleased when it is all . finally. over?! 

Cousins in Costume...and one Uncle who tried in vain to escape the confines of the camera lens. 

We had an exciting family party complete with carnival booths, games, pinata, a spooky story, and an even spookier  wagon ride through the Haunted Fields around Grandma and Grandpa's House.
 Back at home we carameled apples and carved pumpkins--NOT on the same day, mind you.  Both were utterly messy and therefore memorable--which is what matters, right?
The night started with tears for 3 of the 4 but ended with happy happy kids hauling pillowcases full of treats.
We gave out around 200 pieces of candy.  Gone are the days of walking around as a family! The kids have friends. Back at home they counted their loot:
Brynn and Kate came out  winners with 106 pieces, Adrie a close second at 99 and Cannon, 25. And to quote him, " Now it's 24 cuz I just ate another one mom."

Lastly, we started another messy but memorable tradition this year which happens to sum up my feelings for the holiday in general: Smashing Pumpkins.