November 30, 2008
November 29, 2008
We've been talking about switching the blanket closet for the boy's closet (of adult supervised activities). See, the problem is that during "quite time" at least one of the boys is sleeping and getting an activity for the other boys who are awake requires sneeking into the bedroom and removing the item (after finding it) without waking the sleeping child. The sneeking was tolerable but the finding was getting to be a significant challenge.
After hearing about this for too long I decided it was time to swap closets. Michelle told me to put the boy's stuff on the table so she could sort through it. I pulled out all the blankets and put them in the boys room. I then began the process of extracting all sorts of items out of the closet in the boy's room. Most of the stuff didn't seem to have any logical relationship to each other. There was a loose collection of childrens books, some puzzles, some activity stuff and other random nick nacks. I put it on the shelves in a loose Khayyam organization with the most random stuff on the kitchen table. Once the boy's closet was cleaned out and vacuumed I placed all the blankets inside.
I then announced that the project had gone as far as I could take it and the rest was up to Michelle. Before long I noticed that every item I had placed in the closet had been removed! Not a single item was in its "original" place. Well, Michelle is the master mind so I just let her go to work. And before I knew what had happened we had organization...or everything!
This picture shows the final result. It would have been more dramatic if there had been a before picture but we're still marveling at this level of oranization. Sometimes we just walk by and open the door just to look at it. Most of the organization was done with old diaper and wipes boxes that we seem to have (in abundance). But now everything is categorized and labeled and even the boys know where to put things away. AMAZING! And there is simply no way I could have completed such a feat of organization alone.
November 25, 2008
1 cup flour
1/4 t cinnamon
November 23, 2008
Aleky is such a cute boy. When he's in a good mood, and that is most of the time, he is simply irrestible. One of his favorite games is catch. Well, it's actually more like "roll" than "catch" but he loves it just the same. He'll get the ball and roll it to you. Then he'll gesture for you to roll it back to him. For a kid that small, he has an unusally long attention span for this kind of stuff. It's great, to play ball with your son. I have no doubt that as he gets older he'll want to keep playing ball but the ball with change size and shape with age.
November 22, 2008
November 21, 2008
My sister just had her birthday this week. Her boyfriend (Mike) tried to call me a couple of times this week. After a little phone tag we finally connected and he began to lay out his grand scheme of surprising Trista for her birthday. As circumstances would have it, her birthday fell on a Thursday, after she would be finishing a long shift at the hospital. So Mike's ideas was to have a surprise party on Friday instead.
The plan went perfectly! Apparently the day had some interesting weirdness to it, none of which had anything to do with us so we found out about it later but it sounded quite fascinating.
It was great. Trista is so good natured that she loved the fact that everyone had worked so hard to have this party for her. We were set to play games and have cake & ice cream. In the end, reliving the day and the subtleties of the plot won center stage. Trista was certainly impressed with the great effort put forth in her behalf. A few more of her friends arrived and we talked a lot, were entertained a little and laughed the most.
In the end we just wanted to wish Trista a happy birthday. I'm impressed that Mike coordinated this great effort with our family, especially since I've only met Mike on one other occasion. It was great.
We survive, only just. I whipped up some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese along with some fruit (on the side). The boys loved me! The gobbled up their dinner and then wanted treats. Well, you can't tell 'em no after they ate all their dinner so now they love me even more. The dinner ended and Michelle showed up wondering what she would find, having left all the boys home alone. And she was thrilled to see the boys all ready for bed, having eaten (all their) dinner, brushed their teeth, said their prayers and were just getting reading to be tucked in for the night.
As I tucked the boys in to bed Michelle leaves to unload the car...? She was taking gifts not getting them. I was certainly perplexed when she brings in this huge pot of soup. I was definitely confused by this turn of events. I quickly tucked the boys into bed and hurried out to investigate. That's when I noticed this pan of...something yummy sitting next to the huge pot of soup. Michelle could tell that my brain was struggling with this whole turn of events so she kindly explained what had happened to turn a a gift giving experience into a treasure trove of goodies in return.
Apparently she went to the shower like normal. She hadn't had anything to eat since this morning so she was starving and helped herself to some generous portions of soup and yummy stuff. After the party was over she somehow ended up with the left-overs which she brought home to share with me. I still don't know what this yummy stuff is called but Michelle is supposed to be getting the recipe! I can hardly wait!!!
November 20, 2008
In some ways I feel sad that we didn't get started sooner. We've been married for over 6 years and now we have most of a summer and fall recorded with pictures and memories. What about the other 6 years!!!??? Better late than never. We do have some pictures from those 6 years but they are in the shoe box title "to be scrapebooked." So we may never see those pictures again.
But we're having a blast and I have to believe that the best is yet to come. I'm excited to see that we have some friends and family who check our blog from time to time and hopefully more of our friends and family will discover us as well. We're heading into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons and this is truly a great time of the year to reflect on the many blessings that we have. I know that we're facing our own personal struggles and things aren't exactly the way we have pictured them in our minds, which sometimes brings discouragement and frustration. But we don't have to look very far before we find people who are a lot worse off than we are and we start to count our many blessings.
We always have things to be thankful for, even if it is just that the sun rose on another day. I hope we can join with our family and friends in making this a great holiday season.
November 19, 2008
This time he was riding his scooter to computer class (which is held at the stake center 3 blocks from the house). As Donovan was cruising to class he apparently offended the scooter because the scooter, all of a sudden, stopped and smacked him in the face! We asked Donovan what happened but he just said, "I don't know!" The scooter has remained silent.
November 18, 2008
So the tough part is picking out the books that you want. With thousands of books lining shelf after shelf, how do you possibly pick out the books you want? I have found that I can just walk up to any shelf, start picking up books and they're all new to me. So it doesn't really matter, just pick up a handful of different books, check them out and off I go. The boys have been thrilled. New books for the past 2 weeks.
I have discovered that reading a book a night just doesn't work. Usually its more like 4 or more books and they're not done when I am. So my handful of books for the week...only lasts about 2 nights. But since this is a new discovery I'm still learning. And the boys love the process.
November 17, 2008
David made the fatal mistake of forsaking his seat to explore the other games and Michael was quick enough to sneak in his own turn at the wheel.
David was back in an instant but didn't dare throw Michael out of his seat with me watching. So he did the next best thing and decided to coach Michael on the fine art of vehicular navigation.
The reason for our Family Home Evening outing was to find David some Sunday shoes. We were fortunate this evening to locate some shoes that fit David. After trying on the entire store selection of (Sunday dress) shoes in his size (both of them) he was able to make his decision. Then, with the drudgery of shopping out of the way, he proceeded to play on the shopping cart. I have to admit to being just a little guilty in encouraging such rowdy behavior as I was the one directing the cart through the isles at top speed!
When I finally caught up to David and Donovan I discovered them hiding beneath a huge pile of leaves! We've done our best to keep the leaves off the lawn so that it would look nice and presentable. Here in the park the city crew had just blown all the leaves off the sidewalks and into great piles in random places in the park. This pile happened to be on the path (so much for clearing the sidewalks) and the boys couldn't resist. It was the cutest thing!
November 16, 2008
First things first, I went to the recipe box and found the recipe for Breakfast Cake. With the recipe in hand I began to assemble the necessary ingredients and supplies. That is where everything began to fall apart! The recipe calls for an 8 inch square pan. No problem, we own one of those but I couldn't find it in any cupboard, counter or dirty dish pill! I finally realized that we had just used this pan the night before to take dinner to a new mommy (Lisa Blanchard) in the ward.
Next, I pulled out all of the ingredients for making my Breakfast Cake when I hit problem number 2, the recipe calls for shortening and our container of shortening was missing in action. How do you make Breakfast Cake without all of the ingredients? I was already concerned about the "cut in the shortening" part but now I didn't even have the shortening to be concerned about.
So I'm struggling here trying to figure out how to make the wonderful Breakfast Cake and feeling a little helpless. At this point anyone familiar with cooking would know that there is no problem here. But my lack of recent cooking experience has left my resourcefulness center (in my brain) a little rusty. At that very moment of great alarm Michelle wakes up and comes walking into the kitchen to see what is going on and take inventory of "fires" that need to be put out already this morning. She sees me standing in the kitchen with a counter full of ingredients and a perplexed and dumbfounded look on my face and asked the simple question, "what are you doing?"
Her simple solutions to my perplexing dilemma leave me feeling sheepish as she explains that I can use a different pan and that she has modified this recipe to use vegetable oil instead of shortening (because the vegetable oil is healthier for you). Problem solved and off I go to create my delectable masterpiece.
Since I want to have boiled eggs with our breakfast I go ahead and get the eggs on to boil while I finish putting the Breakfast cake together. BIG MISTAKE! The eggs only take 10 minutes to boil and the Breakfast Cake takes 25 minutes to cook. That means the eggs will be done and cold before we get to eat breakfast. (At one time I would have remembered that.)
Just as I'm about to begin mixing the ingredients for the Breakfast Cake Michelle, who has decided it best not to leave me unsupervised in the kitchen, directs me to make the topping first. "But it doesn't say that on the recipe," I reply. "Not everything is one the recipe card. Some things you just know from experience." Alas, my great deficiency in the kitchen is a lack of experience. So I quickly put the topping together and set it aside for later.
As I begin to mix the ingredients for the Breakfast Cake I begin adding the all of the dry ingredients, the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. I didn't realize that is what I was doing until I was about to add the vegetable oil and Michelle stopped me in mid-pour. Apparently your supposed to mix the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients, and then mix them together. No harm done...I quickly mixed the dry ingredients in the bowl and then added the oil, milk and egg. I quickly whipped that together and I'm on my way.
By now the eggs are done boiling and I'm washing a new pan to bake my Breakfast Cake in. It takes a couple minutes to prepare the pan and as I'm drying it Michelle reminds me that I need to do the flour trick so the cake doesn't stick. It wasn't on the recipe card but I should have known this from experience. Easy enough, I prepare the pan and go to pour the cake into the pan. But something has happened to my batter and it isn't quite as pour-friendly as I would have preferred. Again, having the pan prepared and the oven pre-heating (which Michelle had done for me when I wasn't looking) are things you do before mixing the ingredients together.
I scrape out the cake batter into the pan, help the batter make it to the four corners of the pan and then sprinkle the topping on and I'm ready to go! I put the pan in the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes. But Michelle saves the day by turning the pan so it's not in the oven at an angle. Who knew? An oven doesn't have exactly even heating in every space and so the back will be hotter than the front at times (or something like that). If I had left the pan in the oven at an angle I could've had over cook front and undercooked back. As I sit back for a moment I begin to wonder, "since I'm not using the cake pan from the recipe, will the cooking time change as well?" Michelle is there to save my day. Upon visual examination she was able to determine that our pan required just 21 minutes of baking instead of 25!
I was elated. We had finally reached to moment of peak anticipation as we prepare to eat this home-baked meal. I rounded up the boys and we sat down to eat as the cake was ready to emerge from the oven. The boys each had a boiled egg to start and each boy was eyeing their egg eagerly but had to wait for the prayer (to bless the food). As the amen sounded loud and clear, each boy tore into their egg and I removed the Breakfast Cake from the oven. As I head to the table with my prize cake in front of me Michelle directs me to place the cake outside!
No why would I want to do that? Because you can't serve the cake right out of the oven; it needs some time to cool. Again, just a little experience would have let me know that vital piece of information. So the boys quickly devour their first cold egg and are diving into the second. The cake isn't cooling nearly fast enough. With the second egg gone each boys is demanding more food and I can't give them anything so I panic and pull more eggs from the fridge, through them in a pot and start boiling a few more eggs to satisfy the ravages of hunger sweeping through the house. Michelle relents and allows me to get the cooling Breakfast Cake before it was cool enough and we cut it up and pass it out to our starving boys (growing boys think their starving if they experience any hunger pains at all). The gobble down the food, asking for more.
With only a single piece of Breakfast Cake remaining, the eggs finish boiling and are ready for consumption. At that pinnacle moment the boys finally decide that they have had enough to eat. They clear their plates, throw the egg shells away and wash their hands. They have been satisfied with my masterful creation. I revel in the "Thank you Daddy" that each boy echos.
Despite the fact that I created this breakfast in almost perfect "reverse" order we still had an enjoyable moment, "breakfast as a family." Of course I'm better prepared and more experienced for my next culinary adventure. So the next time I will be able to surprise Michelle (in a good and pleasant way)!
November 15, 2008
November 14, 2008
BYU BDC Memories (2001)
(These pictures are of the places and people on tour)
Ballroom Dancing Action Photos (2001)
(These pictures are of the actual dancing, costumes and performers on tour)
Just a little memory lane. I've posted these pictures on Facebook.com because so many of my ballroom friends are already on Facebook so it made sense but I am excited to share these pictures with anyone else who may be interested. (If you decide to join facebook and reconnect with friends, neighbors, acquaintances, classmates, etc., please make sure to add me to your friends list! Thanks)
1/4 cup Sugar
1 T. Baking Powder
pinch of Salt
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Milk
4 T. Flour
6 T. Sugar
3 T. Butter
1/2 t. Cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 400; prepare 8 inch square pan (grease and flour it)
Prepare topping: mix all ingredients together, stir with fork; set aside.
Mix (dry ingredients) flour, sugar, baking powder & salt together; add (wet ingredients) oil, milk & egg and blend. Pour evenly into pan, sprinkle topping over cake. Bake 25 minutes. Let cool (until warm) and serve.
November 13, 2008
- minimum size: 3.5 x 5 inches
- maximum size: 4.25 x 6 inches
- minimum thickness: .007 inches
- maximum thickness: .25 inches
- intermediate sizes are allowable
If the postcard is too small or too light it is undeliverable; if the postcard is too big or too heavy it qualifies for a different mail class and costs more money. Who knew?
November 12, 2008
One of the biggest challenges to finding the perfect tree is to properly gauge the actual size of the tree. With nature as a back drop anything can appear small. We've had a couple of experience where we found a tree that was bigger than it first appeared! It can be a challenge to fit a large tree into a small living room.
The other big challenge is to find a perfect tree, one that is straight and tall, full (but not to full) and not loop-sided, with a single stem (many branch into multiple tops) for the star on top. Michelle has the eye for these trees and can spot one a mile away, as long as we can get inside of that mile radius! So we'll spend time driving through the wilderness enjoying the time together.
The final trick is that you need to have a Christmas Tree permit! This year there are only 400 permits being sold to the public (I'm not sure where the Christmas Tree wholesalers get permits). I just bought our permit and there are only about 80 left (and today is "opening" day for permit sales). If you're going to get a permit you need to be at the office in Spanish Fork first thing in the morning or you'll end up waiting until next year. The address is 44 W 400 N, Spanish Fork.
November 11, 2008
(Just getting in a little X-box while he has the chance.)
November 10, 2008
November 4, 2008
While trying to get the boys ready for bed I was in and out of the bedroom. On one of those trips I happened to see David playing ball with Aleky. While Aleky hasn't developed his professional ball skills just yet he certainly was having a great time playing with his older brother. And it especially warmed my heart to see David taking such good care of his baby brother.
Donovan is such an amazing child. Like all little brother he tries so hard to emmulate his older brother and do everything that he does. Obviously he isn't always successful but that doesn't stop him from trying. But Donovan has run into a problem...David goes to school. Since Michael and Aleky both take naps that leaves Donovan with 2 hours of "what do I do now?"
The periods of solitude have brought out the creative spirit in Donovan. While he may not necessarily volunteer for being abandoned for hours at a time he is able to keep himself amused until David gets home from school. However, some of that creativity has begun to spill over into his other activities...such as dinner-time!
We suspect that this creativity streak may be similar to that of the great Albert Einstein! While his creative ideas may not be quite as refined or controlled as the great inventor, it should only be a matter of time until his greatness is revealed.
See for yourself...
November 2, 2008
Regardless of my waivering opinion on the subject, the fact is that today I got an extra hour. While some people would use that time for sleeping that isn't really an option when you have young children who don't value the extra hour of sleep. I would suspect that most people would have used that extra hour to study their scriptures, pray or in some way enlarge their souls, recognizing this hour as a gift from heaven. I'm not quite that good so I used my hour to catch up on my blog. With a holiday this past week I haven't had time to write about everything because we've been to involved in doing it! So this extra hour has been a chance to catch up on the great memories of this fall/Halloween season!
(and I've also modified the comments so that my non-blogger friends and family can now comment)
The weather was perfect, hardly a breeze, clear skies, cool air and fall colors in the trees. In spite of these perfect conditions (and because we had just had hot dogs on Wednesday) we decided to cook up some hamburgers on the new grill. Michelle has been using her new (early Christmas present) grill for bottling our chicken meat; we've beat our poor stove into the ground trying to bottle our pears, peaches, grape juice, etc...the stove was not designed for bottling and canning; so we invested in a 3 burner grill to handle to intense heat from the bottling and set it up in the garage.
We have now discovered that the garage is a great place for bottling but not a great place for cooking, smoking, BBQ-ing, or anything else the will produce smoke!
We had the family start to arrive around 5:00 pm, around the same time we started the fire. Darius and Kristen (along with Morgan and Olivia) were the first to arrive, followed closely by Trista, Cheyenne, Larissa and Mike (Trista's new boyfriend).
Larissa wasted no time jumping into the social circles of conversation...through text messaging with...well no, it wasn't with us!
Aleky spent a lot of time hanging out by the fire, in his high chair. For the most part he was content but he was quite excited when the food started showing up on the tables. His first course was...bread.
Despite our incredible success with roasting hot dogs 3 nights previous, the boys acted like it was torture to eat a hot dog this time. They were okay with the jell-o and definite approved of the Cheetos and potato chips but hot dogs we "so yesterday" and they would have nothing to do with them.
We've heard rumors about the guy named Mike from Georgia that Trista has been dating for a couple month now. We were quite excited to finally meet him. While he claims to be from the south I strained to pick up any hint of the true southern accent; if it wasn't for the fact that they met through his sister who lives in Georgia I might have to wonder! But over-all he seems like a very cool guy.
While Cheyenne tries to appear like an innocent college freshman we know that she's anything but innocent. After bathing the boys and putting them to bed we played the game "Cranium." Cheyenne was on the team with Trista and Mike and it was obvious that they were in cahoots and had played the game before.
Larissa took some time off the text messaging to join teams with Darius and Kristen. Don't let 'em fool ya, they are good at this game as well. I think someone forgot to remind them about proper gaming etiquette at our home...we are supposed to ALWAYS win. As it turns out we ended in 3rd place of the 3 teams! I don't supposed that had anything to do with poor luck, no TV knowledge and limited exposure to this game?
It was quite an enjoyable evening and we were sorry that it had to end. We called the game just after 11:00 pm when Morgan's energy finally ran out and she was too tired to carry on. We had a lot of laughs, sometimes a little too loud (somehow our boys slept through it all!) but an enjoyable evening never-the-less.
We are going to miss the Joneses as they head off to Oregon for new opportunities. They have been wonderful friends and great family. We wish them the very best as they begin this next chapter in their lives. And we hope to stay in touch and up to date with each excited new adventure that they have! Good luck guys...hope to see you soon!