Eliza's Self Portrait

Within the first week or so of school Eliza was assigned a project for homework (with parental help) of creating herself using whatever she wanted. I thrive on this kind of homework!! It was fun working side by side with her. She had some great ideas and I helped her with the follow through. I think she turned out rather cute! Here's our Eliza!

Some fun and a little reflecting....

The week before school started we went on a little family outing to the Seattle city center. We played at the Pacific Science center and went to the Lego Games touring show. But the funnest part was the Singing fountain!! We hadn't planned on going, so no swim suits.

But who needs a suit to get wet?

The kids weren't shy about rolling up their pant legs and hopping right in.

Ready, set, go!!

The fountain sings and shifts spray patterns to the music. The kids love it when the jets suddenly switch and come from below their feet and scare them. Then they all run back up screaming.

Except our duckling, Holly. She is never afraid of the water. During this diluge, she was the only person left under the fountain. I got a video of her putting her arms around the fountain and hugging it as it sprays her ruthlessly. She just giggled and put her arms in the air triumphantly like this while everyone watched her. So cute!

Jaren needed a little sun time.

The water felt good on a hot day. Can you believe we actually had a "Hot" day? What luck.


I was sitting on the ledge at the top of the fountain. I looked over at this pile of shoes. It made a tear come to my eye. There was a time it would have been only one little pair of shoes. It seems not too long ago. Then two pairs.....then another.... and another. Can you believe this pile? And to think that each pair represents a piece of my heart. Each pair has changed my life and made me better in some way. And now, ANOTHER tiny pair of shoes will be joining our family in a few weeks. How lucky am I? I can't think about it or look at this picture without tears. I AM SO BLESSED!!

Bee Happy!

We had a Family Home Evening lesson on being positive and trying to always have a happy attitude. So, for a treat afterward we made "Be Happy Bees". What fun!

This was a book that had our model in it. But we kinda did our own thing.

The ingredients: Sixlets candies, lemon fruit slices, black licorice, and honey sweetened cookies baked in oval shapes.

(Just a silly side note. I looked for 6 months to find these lemon slices. The lesson was a long time in coming. I finally found them on our trip to Canada. When I checked out I was so shocked!! They were in the bulk section and they were prices by the GRAM and not the pound. So, I wound up paying over $8 just for those 12 slices. Count it up folks......they were over 75 cents a piece. Ouch....I guess I am the one who got stung!)

On your mark, get set, make those bees!!!

Ariana's bee was cute as a button and it was already in flight!

Holly designed her bee in rainbow colors and he was smiling with all those candies for a mouth.

Jaren's bee cracked me up. It looked just like him with those cute BIG eyes. The shape of the cookie even looked like it was smiling.

Ryan's bee was mad about something. Love those eyebrows and red hot stinger.

Daddy's bee was a little fashion conscious and opted not to do horizontal stripes. They just make you look wider anyway!

And Momma's bee was just plain YUMMY!!

What is your favorite treat for Family Night?

BYU-I Gardens

After Family Home Evening last night we went to the gardens for our activity. The kids always love going there. There's room to run around and lots of places to explore. Enjoy the pictures!"I LOVE YOU 4 EVER"
View of the temple from our car.

I'm back...

It has been ages since I have blogged anything. But we are alive and kickin'! I am especially the one who is feeling the kickin'. I was up this morning at 4AM because I gave up on sleep. When baby doesn't sleep--Momma doesn't sleep. So, here I am thinking of my blog.

We have been busy doing a lot of fun family things. I just haven't posted any. I'll get right on that. But in the meantime......I am busy drooling over these:

PUMPKINS (click me!)

Aren't they gorgeously delicious. I must make some quickly!! I think I need to run to JoAnn's. I'll put that blogging off for a little longer while I fill my pumpkin fabric void.

Sleepy Lion!

As I was rounding everyone up for dinner tonight I found Molly conked out on my bed dressed up in a too small lion costume with her stuffed lion. Things like this is what makes it all worth it!**Molly just came over and I asked her who was in the picture and she said, "Andrew." I said "No its not, its you." And she said, "No its not." I then had her look closer and she sheepishly said, "Oh, that is me." **

Sunday afternoon craft

This afternoon while Penny was napping I decided to do something crafty for a change. I'm one of those people who keep the local boutiques in business because I buy all their cute bows and flowers for girls' hair. But, after talking with some of my friends and finding out how easy it is to make them, I bought some supplies and tried my hand at something new. I started with this:And after a couple hours of burning myself with the hot glue gun I ended up with these!They are all made out of ribbon, I haven't tried making them with fabric yet but I want to.I think they turned out pretty good, hopefully they'll look good when the girls wear them. Thanks Tiffany for having the great tutorials on your blog!!My poor, trusty glue gun gave up the ghost just as I was trying to finish the last flower. I guess they don't last forever!

Game Decathlon - Day 2

Let the games begin...part 2! Tonight we started off the competition with Game 6 - Aggravation. At the end of the game it was down to each of us having one marble within 3 spaces of home, but only one could prevail...Joe won!

Game 7 - the aMAZEing Labyrinth.
This is a really fun game. Can you tell??
Joe won!
Game 8 - Junkyard Jalopy. It's like Operation but 1/2 the price!Joe won in a tie breaker lightning round!
Game 9 - Skip-Bo.Mary won!
Game 10 - Candyland.
Joe getting ready for an intense game of chance!Who's going to win? I can't stand the suspense!
Mary won!!
So, the final tally is Mary 6, Joe 4.The ending of our decathlon was kind of anticlimactic. I was waiting for fireworks or roses and a crown but all that happened was a "good game" all around. The prize has yet to be decided. Joe said he'll think of something good. Maybe he'll cook dinner for a week or give me some shopping spree money. We'll see. It was really fun playing all the games with Joe. He always tries to cheat but does it so that I'll be sure to catch him. Maybe we'll start playing games more often, just not 10 in 2 nights! We'll save that for next year's decathlon! Thanks for humoring me Joe and playing all those games! I love you babe!

Spicy Mediterranean Chili

Recently I participated in a chili contest and this is the recipe that I came up with. I was feeling like making something different than your standard run-of-the-mill chili, so I went with a Mediterranean theme. I was hoping to win the hottest chili award, but I did not. But talking with the two others chefs at the contest who had the other two spiciest chilies, I think it was agreed on that mine was the spiciest. I think that some people just tried two chilies, and voted for the spiciest of those two or something. The one that won was not even remotely spicy. I think it was rigged. Anyway, I digress. I had it all made up and ready to go, but it was lacking a little depth in flavor, so I added a handful of Guittard dark chocolate. That did the trick. It turned it from a rosy red to a nice brown and gave it that je ne sais quoi I was hoping for. Chocolate and chilies are best of friends, right? My chili recipe from last year was not good enough to repeat, but this one most definitely is. If this isn't hot enough for you (on a scale of one to habenero, I give it a four), you can always add a habenero or even just some hot chili sauce.

Spicy Mediterranean Chili

Original recipe by Vernon Mauery


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 4 jalepeno peppers
  • 3 cherry bomb peppers
  • 3 sweet banana peppers
  • 2 large (or 3 medium) red bell peppers
  • 4 medium tomatoes (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 C. prepared garbanzo beans (~3/4 C. dry)
  • 2 C. prepared black beans (~3/4 C. dry)
  • 1.5 oz. dark chocolate (or bakers chocolate)
  • 1 lb. bone-in lamb shank
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • salt
  • water
  • olive oil


T-8 hours:
Rub salt on lamb shank and place in crockpot

T-4 hours:
Wash tomatoes and skin them. The easiest way to do this is to blanch them or roast them until the skins come off nicely. Dice them and add them to the crockpot.

Wash peppers and then roast them. The bigger peppers will take longer. Make sure that most of the pepper is charred or the skins will not come off easily. As they come off the grill (or broiler), place them in a covered container to continue to steam themselves. With protective gloves on, skin and core the peppers. You can keep or discard the seeds as desired. Dice the all the peppers except the bell peppers and add them to the crockpot.

Add about one cup of water to the grated carrots in a saute pan. Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Remove lid, add bell peppers and continue to cook until most of the water has evaporated. Pour mixture into a food processor and puree. Add puree to crockpot.

Add diced onion to the saute pan with about 1 T. olive oil. Saute for 4 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Add mixture to crockpot.

Add the prepared garbanzo beans, with their water to the crockpot. Discard the water from the black beans and rinse them before adding to the crockpot.

Add cumin, mustard. Add salt as needed (depending on the saltiness of the beans and how much salt was on the meat.)

T-1 hour:
Pull the meat out and coarsly shred it with two forks. Put meat and bone back into the crockpot.

Add chocolate and stir until melted and dispersed throughout. Adjust spices as desired.

Serving Suggestion:
Serve with pita bread, chopped green olives, and feta cheese.

1st Annual Game Decathlon!

I've been planning this game decathlon for several weeks now. You'd think this would be a family affair but tis not so. I wanted to do something fun and out of the ordinary just for Joe and me. So, it's 2 nights, 10 games, 1 winner. Let the games begin!!

All the games were put into a cup and drawn randomly. I wish I knew what the prize is for the winner but I haven't a clue. Any input for a super prize is very welcome!
Game 1 - Checkers.
Mary won!Game 2 - Jenga.Mary won.
Game 3 - 100 Pin Bowling on the WiiMary won.
Game 4 - Monopoly. (Joe looks thrilled to be playing!)Little bit of an action photo! We played the short version.

Mary won.
Game 5 - Rummy.
Stayed tuned for night 2 and the last 5 games. I really had a fun time playing with Joe, we laughed, we joked, we just had good old fashioned fun!

WIWW-Week 3

So, I think this will be my last week of doing this. I've enjoyed stepping it up a notch and trying to look a bit nicer than usual but I don't want to bore you all with my clothes every week. I might do an update here and there of what I might consider a "really great" outfit and I might not! So, here's week 3!

Black long sleeved tee from local boutique. Scarf from Old Navy. Jean trousers from Maurices. Converse shoes. Necklace from JewelKade.
Friday: Cardigan, layering tee, and jeans from Downeast. Ballet flats from Target. Necklace from JewelKade. I've decided I love cardigans and have about 15 in my closet! :)
Saturday: Ok, so this outfit is completely and totally out of my comfort zone. I've had this top for several months but haven't had the courage to wear something so daring. Give me some feedback on this one! I was self conscious all day! Cardigan from Maurices. Jeans from Downeast. Plaid top from J. Crew. Ballet flats from Ross. Necklace from JewelKade.
Sunday: Stayed home from church with kids who had pink eyes but I'm pretty sure it's not pinkeye, just allergies. I just didn't want to cause a commotion in nursery. Tee from American Eagle. Jeans from Maurices. I didn't even fix my hair or put on makeup.
Monday: Top from Maurices. Jeans from Downeast. Tevas. Necklace from JewelKade.
Tuesday: Cardigan from Old Navy. Layering tee from Downeast. Jeans from Maurices. Roxy flipflops (love them!) Necklace from JewelKade.
Wednesday: Tee and jeans from Downeast. Tevas. Necklace from JewelKade.

Patriot Day

Last night we had the privilege of attending the first annual Patriot Day Memorial Service at the Fire Station. It was well done and I had to blink back tears more than once. I love America and I'm so proud of all the service men and women who work so hard everyday with little recognition or praise. I'm proud of my firefighter/paramedic who truly loves the work he does. Who wouldn't love this?Chief Child welcoming everyone to the event. The Madison Fire Department Pipe Brigade. This was their first public performance and they did a great job. Here they are playing Highland Cathedral.Here are the many supporters and firefighters from area departments. It was neat to see everyone join together, firefighters truly are brothers. They had a huge flag flying between two ladder trucks. It was beautiful. Here is the memorial they build in front of the station. It has a bell to represent the call to duty, 2 unfinished I-beams representing 9/11 and a plaque. They rang the bell and we had a moment of silence. Close up of memorial.
They played a song from atop the fire station.The Pipe Brigade playing Amazing Grace.The Honor Guard retrieving the colors. They presented the flag to a family that lost their brother in the Pentagon 9 years ago. Honor Guard retreating. Joseph was part of the Honor Guard. Here they are all together.

The Pipe Brigade, Honor Guard, and Chiefs all together. Looks good!

My sexy fireman! The whole family.I sure love this guy! What a nice evening. The local firefighters did a fantastic job honoring the 343 firefighters who gave their lives on Sept 11, 2001.

Jon Schmidt Live

Last night Eliza and I got to see Jon Schmidt perform at BYU-Idaho. Once again he amazed me with his talent, combined with humor and entertainment. He is so good! I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoy watching him perform. Amazing! Here is Eliza and me waiting for the concert to start. We were too far away to get a decent picture but here is Jon Schmidt just glowing!

Afterwards we waited in line for an hour so Eliza could meet Mr. Schmidt. I bought her his primer book and she's excited to get started. I think I am officially a Jon Schmidt groupie!
Eliza's favorite parts were when he played unside down laying on the piano bench and when he played "Dumb Song" wearing a red wig and even played with his head. She's still talking about it! What a fun evening!

My heart is full

Nine years ago today tragedy struck America. Lives were lost for no good purpose. Shock and grief spread across the nation as millions of people watched the attack of terrorists. It struck the core of America, the land of the free had been violated. The feelings and emotions from that day are still with me today. I remember the disbelief, the confusion, the heart felt sorrow. I couldn't wrap my brain around how someone could be so evil as to mastermind the whole thing. I still can't. Then, in the aftemath we watched as hundreds of volunteers searched ground zero for the fallen bodies. We watched as citizens of this great nations joined hands and hearts to rebuild our shaken foundation. We watched how a horrific event brought together a nation. Now, years later do we still remember those fallen people. Do we hold our loved ones close and tell them we love them. Do we recognize and honor those who defend our country, our cities, and our homes. I hope I can do better. I hope our nation can stay strong and once again join our hands and hearts and show the evil in the world that we are not broken. God bless the USA.

Second Grade Savvy

Oh, dear. I have a second grader, and boy is she gorgeous! She always has been. Would ya look at this cutie?

And now here she is: seven and gorgeous and so confident. Go, Nicole!

Blast from the Past

This boy.....

started kindergarten today!

Holy moley, he's so big. And cute. And smart. And hilarious. Love him!

WIWW-Week 2

I decided to go ahead and do this one more week. I'm actually enjoying it, it requires me to think about what I'm wearing and not just throw something on. The best thing about it is that I feel prettier but the clothes are still functional as a mom. So, here I am!! (Sorry about the dirty mirror, I didn't notice it until Sunday, oops!)

Last Thursday:

Brown Sweater from a local boutique, brown layering tee from a different local boutique, jeans from Downeast, ballet flats from Target, necklace from Lia Sophia.


Sweater from Maurices, long sleeved brown tee from Shade, jeans from Maurices, ballet flats from Target, necklace from Lia Sophia.


Tee from American Eagle, jeans from Old Navy, Converse sneakers, hat from Shopko, earrings from Lia Sophia.


This is my mostly Maurices outfit. The cardigan, top, skirt, shoes, and necklace are all from Maurices, layering tee from local boutique, ring from Downeast.

My after church outfit:

Ditched the cardigan and skirt. Jeans from Old Navy.

Close up of the necklace and ring. Love that cute little elephant!
Long sleeved tee from Abercrombie & Fitch (men's department), layering tee from Downeast, jeans from Downeast, Tevas from eBay, necklace from JewelKade.
Tee from American Eagle, jeans from Maurices, Mia shoes from Famous Footwear, necklace from JewelKade.
Wednesday (today):
Cardigan from Maurices, layering tee form Downeast, jeans from Downeast, sandals from Payless, necklace from JewelKade.
I realized my clothes mostly come from just a few stores and that I use a lot of layering tees. Maybe someday you'll see me in something besides jeans, but don't count on it!! Now, I want to see what you all have been wearing!

I love Joe!

I just wanted to make a little tribute to my Joseph. My heart is full and I love him so much that I just need to put it all out there. Joe is my everything and I don't let him know that nearly enough, so here's my ode to Joe.

Joe, you make my heart sing, whenever I am near you. You lift me up and carry me through the pain and the joy. You do silly things to make my laugh, you do annoying things that make me crazy...and then laugh. You work so hard to spoil me. You love our kids and really show it. I'm so very blessed to have the best daddy for my kids. I love your touch and your smile. I love how excited you get when an airplane or helicopter flies over. I love your supersuit. You're so cute when you know you've done something you shouldn't and you've gotten caught. I love how you humor me when I ask your opinion and you tell me exactly what I want to hear. I love the way you love me. I love hearing you sing to our kids. I love snuggling with you on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn between us. I love playing games with you. I love that you let me win sometimes. I love hearing you say you love me. You make me feel all kinds of special. I feel pretty around you. I love hearing the kids squeal, "Daddy" when you walk in the door. I love holding your hand in the car. I love you more than anything. I can't wait to grow old with you and kiss your wrinkly face. You are my biggest fan! I LOVE YOU JOSEPH!!!

13 Is My Lucky Number

I am: hilarious, determined, mobile, cuddly

?People say: I have great hair, am a riot

?I have: eight teeth plus one molar on top, wispy red hair, shrinking thighs and tummy, and toes that like to play, "This Little Piggy"

?I can: get to standing in the middle of the room, crouch to get toys I want, clap my hands, wave (sometimes), find my belly (Mom's favorite!), do so-bigs, almost walk in a circle (turning is hard), and give strawberries

?I love: my fuzzy pink blankie, my siblings, my Mommy, my binky collection

?Recently I've: tried the mall play place, guarded my binky from grabby kids at the mall play place, had roseola, stayed with just my Daddy for a weekend, been working on feeding myself -- but they won't give me a spoon yet

I don't like: when my mom walks away from me, talking to strangers, the word "NO," getting my diaper changed

My regular day includes: waking up around 6am to get shushed by dad then sleeping till about 7:30am, blueberries for breakfast, exercising with mom, morning nap, yogurt and fruits and veggies for lunch, adventures till naptime at 3pm, hindering dinner prep, eating dinner, going to bed at 8pm

Mom's favorite things about me: the way I toddle, my obsession with bellies

Dad's favorite things about me: my cuddly side, my big toothy grin

Next month I'm looking forward to: walking more steadily to give Mom's arms a break, attending exercise group, spending more time just with Mommy while big bro and sis go off to school

Some notes on Annie this month: Thirteen months might seem an odd time to post milestones, but it's been such a big month for growing and changing for Annie that I couldn't resist. Also, have you noticed there are no still shots of Annie this month? You try catching a one-year-old standing still. GOOD LUCK. :)

What I Wore, Wednesday

So, I've been following a blog called the Pleated Poppy and every Wednesday she posts what she wore the last week. It helps her to actually get dressed instead of hanging in yoga pants and a tee. So, I thought I'd try it for 1 week and see how I liked it. When it actually came to it I realized just how BORING my wardrobe is. Anyway, we'll see if I ever do it again. It was kind of fun but I don't know if I could keep it up. If you like it give me a shout out!! Here we go!

Last Wednesday: Purple shirt from Maurices. Joe's Jeans from DownEast. Teva's from Ebay. Necklace from JewelKade. Earrings from Lia Sophia.

I circle square Tokyo shirt from American Eagle. My favorite jeans from Maurices. Roxy Flipflops (can't remember where I got them). Necklace from JewelKade.

Friday: Floral Top from DownEast. Jeans from Down East. Converse shoes .

Saturday: Sweater from Old Navy. Layering tee from DownEast. Jeans from DownEast. Tevas. Necklace from JewelKade.

Sunday: I stayed in my pj's all day with sick kids.


Cardigan from Gap. Layering tee from DownEast. Jeans from DownEast. Ballet flats from Kohl's. Necklace from JewelKade .

Tuesday: Cardigan from Old Navy. Jeans from DownEast. Tevas.

Wednesday: Paris tee from American Eagle. Jeans from Maurices. Converse shoes.

So, there you have it. I reused my 2 favorite pairs of jeans all week. Sunday is usually my day to get all gussied up and I didn't even get to this week. We'll see what happens this coming week!