Friday, December 21, 2007

A Night In Bethlehem

Our ward did something different for the Christmas party this year. We had a night in Bethlehem and everyone dressed in biblical attire and we traveled back in time.

It was really fun. I can't say that our clothes were very traditional. The girls were sporting princess togas but we got in the spirit. Tyler almost wore my pink bathrobe (he said it would be dressing in the colors of his family) but in the end we all opted for togas.

We were given money as we came into the market and there were booths where we would purchase food. Can you see me holding the little money bag?

At the butchers we got some ham and turkey and at Carb's Inn we got rolls and potatoes, etc. The girls liked the bakery the most of course and we made several trips there at the end of the meal.

It was a really neat experience. At the end, there was a short program where we sang and saw the nativity acted out. I was very impressed with the ward for trying this. I know it took a lot of effort from many people, but I think it was one of our best ward bonding moments. I mean, how can people sit on blankets together, sing Silent Night, and not feel closer?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Hope She Never Changes

Everyone knows June has her own sense of style and I keep wondering if that will be the way she is forever or one day she will snap out of it and start matching things. Well fortunately, there is no change in sight. My Uncle has an eight year old daughter and he sent along some hand-me-downs that she has outgrown. I love getting clothes from people. My girls do not care in the least. They are always thrilled when 'new' clothes come their way. The Taufa's are often dropping off bags of surprises for the girls and it always feels like Christmas.
So I unloaded the clothes on my bed and June dug right in asking what was her size. She picked out a skirt in particular that she needed to wear right away. Her little pre-school shirt was too long and it was covering most of the skirt, so I told her to go choose another shirt to wear. There were plenty of options that may have not matched exactly but would have been somewhat coordinated. Perhaps a solid color with a small design. But no, she went for the shirt that may have matched the least.

She thought the outfit was great and she wanted pictures and Daddy to come home right away to see it. She eventually found a crocheted belt that didn't match either, but by this time, who's keeping track. It is so odd to me, but at the same time, I hope she never changes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

In a One Horse Open Sleigh

...or carriage, as this truly was. The Riverwoods Mall has a free carriage ride on Monday nights.
It is strictly a first come-first serve basis and it isn't a very long ride, but the kids sure enjoy it. The carriage just travels around the Mall and then back to the beginning in front of Tucanos.
I actuallly think the travel time is just right for restless kids and then of course there is the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory nearby to snag a treat from at the end.
It isn't a fancy ride but this is our second year running and we really enjoy going.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

And Then They Reach That Special Age When...

Okay Mothers, you could end that sentence with so many things, it boggles the mind. In fact I think it would be funny to have everyone submit three and we could just laugh and laugh. But all seriousness aside, I am here for a specific purpose.
My youngest has reached that precious age where she has learned to take her own diaper off. Ever child gets there and some are more fascinated than others. June was really bad about it, and Robyn passed that stage in a breeze. And now Ivory has arrived. We came home from a Christmas party the other night and found her sleeping like this...
That is interesting I thought. When I told the babysitter to change her diaper I am pretty sure she would put a new one on. There are some babysitters I might question (unfortunately), but the one we had that night was reliable. And so that left really only one person. I guess June or Robyn might have sneaked in and taken it off her, but they are really too young for those kinds of pranks. Tyler might have done it, but he was with me, so... it was my darling Ivory.
My next hope was that it was a fluke. But subsequent naptimes, and random occurences in the afternoons have led me to believe otherwise.
The real fun is finding out whether she is wet or dry. In the picture above, she was still dry, but at nap time today, no such luck. And this afternoon, when I found her in her room holding her diaper, I would say she was 85% dry (if you can give dryness a percentage?). It really just means that she's growing up. Not really my baby anymore. Little stinker. Let's just hope she skips the running down the street naked phase. It's too cold for it now and by next summer she should know better, right? (fingers crossed)

Monday, December 10, 2007


Happy Holidays from the girls

Advent Activities

We have had a lot of fun doing our advent activities. I have been woefully poor about taking pictures. This mostly involves forgetting the camera wherever I go. Last Saturday with all the snow swirling around, we braved the storm and went to visit Father Christmas. He is a nice man who looks very much like Santa (he has the beard and glasses) but he isn't there to talk to the children about what they want for Christmas. Instead he talks to them about problems they are having and what they can be doing for others. You bring a card with information about your child and someone reads the information to Father Christmas on a ear microphone while your child talks with him. This lends to the mystery about how he "knows" so much. The kids seemed to enjoy it and Ivory even sat on his lap after being offered a candy-cane. I forgot my camera of course. There was even someone from the Deseret News asking us questions. We may be in the paper soon (who knows?).
Other advent adventures include crafts, caroling, and face painting.
This one was so easy and the kids love it every time. I didn't catch June until after she got back from school (hence the faded candy cane).
There is no treat for this last week. I just didn't feel like making the one we pulled out of the jar, so there you have it. I hope to get back in business this week.
Oh, and how are you doing on your conference reading? I am staying above water, barely, but I enjoy every one that I read. Don't get too busy this season to forget the important things.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Nativity

Well the Christmas season has started in earnest. We don't have anything nearly as fun as Keri's elf Dugan, but we do have a family advent calendar in which we open a door daily and do an activity. The biggest hit so far has definitely been the chocolate advent calendars. We did a treasure hunt to find them on the 1st and the kids delight in opening them each morning (nothing like chocolate for breakfast--wish I had one).
Monday night we put together our Nativity letting the girls help place the pieces. I really like Nativities, but they are usually quite expensive. The only one I have bought myself is the little Fisher Price one (adorable) and I have another one if any one would like to purchase it ($25). I sold one on Ebay last year (for $40), but it would be a lot easier to not go through all that work again.

Regardless, we do have a very nice Nativity given to us at our wedding (there's one good reason to get married right before Christmas). But it is HUGE! In our first two apartments, we didn't even have room to set it up. With a house, we have more space now, but it takes over most of the kitchen island.

I was hesitant at first, but the house felt so empty without it up. So we did it for FHE. The kids loved putting the pieces in and hearing the story again. They like the baby Jesus most of all. Robyn asks to play with it, and that is precisely why I got the Fisher Price set. Our large nativity is not so child friendly, but I will let her stand next to it and move a few things around.
It was good to sit down with the kids and recall the real reason for the season. I love the Santa side of Christmas too, but it wouldn't be Christmas without Jesus.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lazy Blogging

We went to the Festival of Trees last week, but instead of taking my own pictures, I brought along Erica. Actually, Shannan came too and we had a great time. I forgot my camera so she took some pictures and instead of having her send them to me, I thought you could just check out her post. It covers all the good stuff. How that's for lazy. I may hire her full time to take my pictures and post my info. Hmmm, wouldn't that be a dream job.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Raspberry Upside-Down Cake

Okay, I know it looks like this cake caught the measles, but it was soooo yummy. I used an extra cup of raspberries (because I like 'em) and I used a different size pan because I don't know if I have even seen a 10" pan. Oh, and it cooked a lot longer in my oven. I stopped counting how far over it went and just watched it until the middle stopped jiggling. But there you go. I think this one is a keeper. It is one of my favorites so far and the kids scarfed it. Sorry I haven't been an interesting blogger lately. I'll try to get back in form.

Raspberry Upside-down Cake

Great served warm or cold!

18 ¼ oz. pkg. yellow cake mix and ingredients to prepare cake

1 c. raspberries

¾ c. sugar

½ c. whipping cream

Prepare cake mix according to directions. Pour into greased and floured 10” cake pan. Place raspberries over top of cake mix. Sprinkle sugar over raspberries. Gently pour whipping cream over top. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let stand for 10 minutes. Turn upside down on a plate to serve. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Summer in Winter

I am very excited for this holiday season and I have already gotten into the swing of decorating and doing Christmas activities, but today I sat down and stepped right back into summer.
Our treat this week uses raspberries, and I have been putting off making it because the raspberries looked so delicious. I needed a whole container, so I wasn't supposed to snitch. So these delectable treats have sat in my fridge not knowing their fate. I ended up at the store today needing an extension cord, and I passed by produce again just to check and all these perfect raspberries are on sale for 98 cents a container.
It didn't take longer than a few seconds to figure out the game plan. I bought a couple more for our treat and went home and pried open a container for myself. They were so delicious! I will have to save some for Tyler since I know he has been restraining himself as well. So if you have a moment and are craving just a piece of summer, Wal-mart (on Sandhill) is selling some for only 98 cents.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm Grateful!

I thought since Thanksgiving has come and gone, I should tell you about my grateful weekend. We drove to Idaho and arrived too early in my estimation because I was ready to EAT! So I snitched ham for an hour and a half until dinner was ready. The food was grate! We feasted as a family and then just sat and digested and talked until all the women realized that we better hit the hay early if we were going to get a jump on shopping.
For the record, standing in front of Best Buy from 3-5 in the morning, was not grate! It was freezing. I was really worried about losing a few toes. But I endured thanks to the help of a free breakfast burrito from some kind strangers and sheer determination. But getting my item and getting out of there quickly was grate! We then had a grate day of shopping. I love spending 'black friday' with my sisters-in-law and my mother-in-law. We laugh, spend a lot of money and enjoy the day. It was grate! I took no pictures because I was too busy shopping but trust me, we had a grate time.
Saturday was more low-key. The kids played, Vicki (mother-in-law) got all her beading supplies out and we made jewelry all afternoon. I made some grate earrings, a bracelet, and a necklace. I am totally spoiled when I go over there. We played games in the evening and then packed up the kids to go home. Tyler drove and let me sleep and I think Thanksgiving and subsequent days were a grate success. And now you can see all the things I am 'grate'ful for.

And this has nothing to do with last weekend, but I forgot to post our treat from last week, and it was pretty grate too. Here it is.

Amazing Double Chocolate Truffles

Try making flavored truffles by stirring in different extracts…a teaspoon of orange, peppermint, or raspberry extract will do the trick.

6 1-oz. sqs. Semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped

2 T. butter

¼ c. whipping cream

12 oz. pkg. white chocolate chips

2 T. shortening

Optional: Chopped nuts or colorful sprinkles

Melt baking chocolate in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Add butter and whipping cream; stir until smooth. Refrigerate for one hour. Roll mixture into one-inch balls; place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Freeze for 4 hours. Melt white chocolate chips and shortening over low heat, stirring until smooth. Dip frozen truffles into white chocolate~return to baking sheet. Roll in nuts or sprinkles, if desired. Refrigerate truffles for 10 to 15 minutes until coating is set. Store in airtight container. Makes one dozen.

These were really fun and very rich. I still laugh when I read some of the instructions. It was not a piece of cake to roll them into balls after they set in the fridge, but it worked out eventually. The girls had way too much fun dipping them in the sprinkles and nuts. At one point when I was not paying attention Ivory was grabbing handfuls of purple sprinkles and stuffing them in her mouth. She was purple for a while.

This picture cracks me up. I feel like he is saying, "What did you expect to be in here? Chocolate of course."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mommy's Little Helper

I've been getting up early and going to the rec center for almost two months now. I should preface this with-I am NOT a morning person! I never have been. Tyler probably thought he was throwing his money away when I asked to get a month pass. I have tried many gimmicks and schemes but nothing has worked until now. There must be something about you ladies (thanks Deanne, Keri, Kari).
However, as I have modified my morning schedule, I struggle to modify my evening schedule. Since I get up earlier, I should get to bed earlier, but that doesn't always happen. I feel like sleep and weariness are catching up quickly. If I stop moving too long, I tend to fall asleep. My girls have been very kind to let me take afternoon naps every so often. Today, I didn't make it far after shopping for some goodies to take to Idaho. I plunked down on the couch, turned on Cyberchase and didn't move.
June set to work, telling me that she would help get lunch ready. I heard her rummaging in the cupboards for plates but I thought that was where it would end. It wasn't until she asked me where the jam was that I truly realized what she was up to. And still I wasn't very motivated to get up. When she got the cheese out, I figured I wouldn't be a good mother if I let her go for a knife without interceding, so I used all my energy and roused myself off the sofa.
And there on the counter was a perfect peanut butter sandwich, cut into quarters for June and Robyn. June was getting pretzels out and I cut up some cheese cubes. I was so proud of her. She is really turning into quite a good helper. I hadn't even asked for the extra help, but I think she could see the need. Heck, now that I know what she is capable of, I may set up a permanent residence on the couch (just kidding, although I may teach her how to use the washing machine tomorrow). It seems like the possibilities are endless. I mean, if you can make a peanut butter sandwich, you can do anything!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

That's Gonna Leave a Mark

Tyler plays football with the guys at work every so often. They play more during the holiday season and I try to come watch if I can. The girls like to play at the park nearby and I split my time between the two. It was a rare moment when I was actually watching the game when Tyler's coworker, Wade, had just caught the ball and he was making a dash for the goal line. It seemed that he slid and went down with several guys in close proximity, but it looked more like the wet grass took him out than a fellow player. He didn't get up and I was concerned as to what happened. Apparently he broke his ankle. I was watching and it happened just like that--in the blink of an eye.
It seems that is how injuries happen. One moment, everyone is fine and the next you hear someone say, "That's gonna leave a mark." Here are a couple of my favorite this year that I would gladly have taken myself.

This is Robyn after she chipped a tooth in the car. Her fat lip made me cry for days (and this was right before she was getting birthday pictures).

This is your classic running into the door frame when you're not looking. It looks painful.
There is no good way to prevent these accidents. They come when they will and we deal with them as they come. Just this morning, I smashed my head into the top of the car as I got in and almost knocked myself out (wish I could do that one again). Unfortunately, there are no do-overs. If only I could wish that none of us would have to go through these days. As mothers we are hard on ourselves (my nerves were shot the day June fell down the stairs from the top). Let's remember that these incidents truly are accidents. Let's hope we all have a bandaid and a kiss ready, that it isn't our fault (most of the time) and that our kids will still love us when it is. And lucky for all of us, usually it doesn't leave a mark for long.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Know Your Audience

So I have this great friend Tricia. There are not really words to describe her. She knows so much about me, I feel she could be my mother, and yet she is close like a sister, but we don't fight, so that must make her the best friend variety, but she is more I said, there isn't really a word.
I figure that any day now she will wise up to how unbalanced this relationship is, and leave. For example. She got me a gift the other day and it was perfect for me.

First--She got me a gift (I like stuff)

Second--It was stuff to decorate my house (I love decorating for the holidays especially and I am woefully short on Fourth of July stuff)

Third--I got to help make it myself (so now not only do I have a gift that I love for my home, but I can look at it and feel proud that I painted it.

Does it get any better. For me, not really. And every year, Tricia seems to understand me better and every year I seem to forget more and more. I blame this a little on having children, but that excuse is only good for so long. After that, I think I just need to try harder. I guess it helps that I love her to death and she seems to forgive all my shortcomings (see, just more reasons why she is so wonderful).

Anyway, here is to pulling the wool over her eyes for many more years to come. May she never realize that she has the short end of the friendship stick here, and may I work harder at deserving her friendship.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My Fair Lady

So my husband, the true romantic at heart, remembered my deep love of musicals and he bought tickets to take me to My Fair Lady. There was a plethora of wonderful musicals to choose from. Provo Center theater was doing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Hale Center Theatre was doing Thoroughly Modern Millie. I would have been happy to see any of these, but I was even more happy that my husband thought to take me at all. My Fair Lady was done by Mountain View High School, and they put on a spectacular show. The girl who played Eliza Doolittle did an excellent job with the 'flower girl' accent and I loved the whole thing. There were quite a few people from our ward that attended that night and I was proud of myself for picking out Joe Littlefield on stage before I even knew he was in the production. I also recognized his brother, Josh, sitting right in front of us, but Tyler didn't believe me on either account until the intermission (when Josh turned around to say Hi and ask if we saw his brother on stage it was hard for Tyler to dispute).
Tyler bought me chocolates that were being sold in the lobby at intermission and Kylee Zwahlen stopped to chat. It was such a fun evening and I hope Tyler knows how much I love it when he takes me out to a play (I guess he will now when he reads this). I think he is fantastic. My only regret of the whole evening was forgetting to put a sign up at the building to cancel volleyball. Or I could have given my keys to someone else. It seems everyone has played so much with all the Stake games we have already had this month, that I figured we were volleyballed-out, but I don't know for sure that no one came, and I feel bad. But other than that, it was a wonderful evening. Tyler still knows how to take me out.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cool and Creamy Fudge Bars

Cool and Creamy Fudge Bars

4 1-oz. squares unsweetened baking chocolate

½ c. plus 2 T. butter, divided

2 c. sugar

4 eggs, divided

1 t. vanilla extract

1 c. all-purpose flour

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 T. cornstarch

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 t. peppermint extract

Melt chocolate with ½ cup butter in a double boiler. Combine chocolate mixture, sugar, 3 eggs, vanilla, and flour in a large mixing bowl; spread in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. While brownie layer is in oven, beat cream cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cornstarch until fluffy. Gradually beat in milk, peppermint extract and remaining egg; pour over brownie layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set. Top with glaze. Cool completely, chill and cut into bars. Makes 40.


1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ c. whipping cream

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan; melt over low heat, stirring until thickened.

These were pretty good. I didn't do too well at the layering thing. My bottom layer didn't seem firm enough when I poured the creamy layer on top. They mixed more than layered, but it's all going the same place, right? I wanted them to be more brownie-ish, when in fact they are more fudgy-ish. It makes them more sticky than I expected. But the peppermint was fun and made them very refreshing although rather rich with all the chocolate. Still a good new treat to try out.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So Mature

If you don't like boy humor, you may want to stop reading.
I've been married to a boy now for almost 8 years. I never had brothers growing up, so I had no idea the fascination they have with flatulence. I should have figured it out eons ago merely because of all the fancy words they have for the proverbial "fart". Tyler has come home with some very interesting descriptions given by the guys at work. My favorite one (to hate) is "drop bass."(thanks Jared)
Needless to say, when we got our Questar Gas bill, and it had the following news, Tyler was almost crying with laughter and I may have chuckled a bit too.

Questar's newsletter had an article: How to identify an outside gas leak

"A pungent 'rotten-egg' odor is your warning that there may be a gas leak. (NO kidding)
But what about other ways of identifying gas leaks?

The following signs may indicate a pipeline leak or failure (that's a nice way to put it.)
- Hissing, roaring or blowing sound (trust me, there are many more sounds than that)
- Dirt being blown into the air (let's hope that's all)
-Fire at or near exposed piping (this only occurs with a blue dart usually. If you don't know what that it, please try to keep your naivety. It is too late for me.)
Continuous bubbling in wet, flooded areas (hopefully only on really bad days)

Anyway, if you have even an iota of immature humor in you, you can see why we were laughing together (at the dinner table no less). This post is mainly for Tyler, but I hope some of you enjoyed it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My "Secret" Identity

I recently had a Parade of Purses Party at my home. It was very fun. I used to not like things like purses and pink, but having three girls has softened me quite a bit. I was really looking for something a bit bigger since I bought my last purse not realizing that I couldn't fit a good sized book inside (and that is very important). Michelle brought lots of fun purses to choose from and I waffled for awhile before I decided on this beauty.
Just as necessary, I needed a new wallet, and I picked that fun polka-dotted green one. As I was changing everything over from my old wallet to my new wallet, I found something that reminded me of a funny story, so I thought I would share... (music plays as the flashback begins).
It was August and my mom had arranged for me to fly to California to spend a week with them hopping around the amusement parks. She sent me a ticket online and I printed it out and took it to the airport. I was checking in and I immediately saw what I had failed to notice at home. The ticket was for Maleen DARGAN. Well, I used to be that girl, but I have been married for over seven years. You would think my mom would have noticed. I was distraught. How was I ever going to get on the plane. It is not like I have ID with that other name. Maybe after one year of marriage you have an old license in your wallet, but not after seven years. Tyler said that the first name was the same and they would probably let me on. I told him he was crazy. My name being a little more unique would not be an adequate reason to let me on a plane. I told him that if he had a ticket with the name Tyler Johnson on it, they weren't going to let him on. The lady at security was laughing heartily at my quandary. She told me to check the front desk for advice. While waiting in line, I scoured my wallet for anything that might help and low and behold, I found a library card with my maiden name and (even better) a blood donor card with much more information. I was saved. The security lady gladly let me through and said her mother would probably have done the same thing. Coming back was less fun. My mom couldn't change the name on the ticket so I was red flagged. All my luggage was checked very carefully and I had to go through all the special procedures that are reserved for suspicious looking characters. But I arrived home safely at last. (music swells as story transitions back to the present).
I laughed to myself as I put my blood donor card into my new wallet thinking, Who knows? I may have need for my secret identity again someday. I did give my mother a hard time, but I have completely forgiven her. It will certainly be me someday and I still catch myself occasionally signing my last name with a D...even after seven years.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tyler was involved in a plane crash...

...and he was flying the plane at the time. Fortunately the plane was only 1/5th scale and there were no passengers.

Barry (my father-in-law) likes to build and fly planes. The girls and I went out to watch the men fly and it was fairly cool. Tyler doesn't have a lot of practice but he does very well (despite the fact that he crashed). To give him some credit, it was very windy, too windy for good flying conditions. And there was so much dust in the air. The girls and I were watching from the car for a while and the dust would get so thick, you couldn't see the guys standing out on the field. Here is a picture of the guys in the dust. Tyler was flying the plane you can see (this is obviously BEFORE it crashed).

And to give Tyler even more credit, he really didn't crash--He had more of a bumpy landing and one of the props broke off. You can kinda see the pieces in his hand.

Not extensive damage but certainly the plane will not fly again until repairs are made. I didn't come out to the field until after the dust had died down, but it was still bitterly cold and windy. The guys don't seem to care though. They stand for hours watching the skies and doing tricks with their planes. If you aren't watching the skies as well, you just see a lot of this...

(that is Barry by the way. He has never let me try flying, but I think that is because I would break more than the prop. Maybe with a little practice...
Here is one more picture of the field and a couple of the planes the guys have built (pretty cool!).

This last one is just for fun. The girls all stuck their heads out of Grandma's sunroof. The wind was whipping back their hair and they were loving it. We weren't driving at the time, it was just THAT windy.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Do You Believe in Magic?

I don't really believe in magic. I believe in miracles (not the same as magic). I think it is exciting to watch shows where they "perform" magic, but I know it is an illusion. I think it is an amazing talent and I am still very impressed, but I can't say that I believe in magic like fairy stuff and dragons. However, I may be wrong...

...for this is true magic!

How can anyone have made a product that you simply rub on your walls and it takes off crayon and all sorts of markings. It is pure magic I tell you. Ivory did another of her creative renditions on my wall and the magic eraser took it off like that (snap). Whoever made this would be my new best friend, but they are probably terribly smart and would be extremely bored with me, so I will just praise them from afar. Thank goodness for household magic. If anyone knows of any other tricks that defy the laws of nature, I would surely be interested. After all, I'm becoming a believer...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Best Laid Plans...

There are moments when a child says something and it makes you put things into perspective. Not the I am the adult perspective, but more of the let's get real perspective. After a bit of a stern talking to yesterday, Robyn looked at me, lowered her eyes and said, "Mom, I'm sorry I ruined your plan." After that, only a heartless beast could still be mad at that little one. But here is some background:

Monday night, so naturally FHE is planned. Mom makes beans (that green bean casserole and it was so good) but Robyn is not a bean eater. In our house, you have to try one bite (at least) to get FHE treat and you have to participate during FHE to get the treat as well. Basically the treat is leverage for just about everything. Robyn has a habit of leaving dinner to go to the bathroom, but depending on what we are eating, sometimes she is not too eager to return to the table. Well, beans are not tempting her back to the table and she lingers in the bathroom longer and longer with the intermittent threat from her mother. "Robyn, you won't have a treat unless you eat your beans!" "We are going to start FHE soon, you better hurry up!" It wasn't working last night. A good friend of mine asked why I didn't just help her in the bathroom and speed things on their way? This is an excellent idea, but I had my hands full making this scrumptious treat that was supposed to be worth eating beans for. I was making donuts and this was a full time job.

An hour later, there is no sign of Robyn. She is either stuck to the seat or maybe my cooking is worse than I thought. We start FHE but I am singing from the kitchen as I continue to make donuts. Tyler's throat hurts so he opts out of singing, and June enjoys the actions more than the words, so I am basically singing a solo to the house. Tyler was supposed to be in charge of the lesson, but he is still letting his throat rest so that makes me in charge. By this point, I realize there is no way I can give Robyn a treat when she hasn't eaten beans or participated in FHE, so I call it a night and just serve the donuts. June really enjoyed them, Tyler didn't eat anything (sugar would irritate his throat), Ivory didn't like the look of them (I don't blame her. They tasted pretty good, but they certainly weren't the prettiest donuts you've ever seen) and Robyn finally decides to leave the bathroom. I tell her that I will save her a donut and that she still needs to eat a bean. She is shocked that they are cold (do I explain again about what happens when you spend an hour in the bathroom?).

Well, FHE was a bust for the evening. After one bean dutifully enters Robyn's mouth, she joins me on the couch for a story. I tend to be overly chatty when it comes to discipline (I don't know if you can tell that I get rather loquacious?) and I was telling Robyn repeatedly why she should go potty faster and why she was not getting a donut. This is when the classic line happens, "Mom, I'm sorry I ruined your plan."

I softened immediately and just hugged her tight. So...FHE wasn't the best we've had. So...Robyn spent over an hour in the bathroom. These things don't matter so much. What matters is that I don't let the silly little things come before the love of my child. She got a donut in the morning and I have learned that I need simpler treats on FHE night. I guess I got a little perspective.

I may as well add the recipe since it is our treat for the week. They were very tasty (the raisins were fun) and they don't have a lot of sugar unless you count the powdered sugar on the outside. But unless you have a deep fryer you may be out of luck. You could use a pan on the stove or borrow mine, but the experience is a bit messy and time consuming. I think these would be great once a year, on a special occasion. But definitely NOT for FHE.

Olliebollen (Doughnuts)

1 pkg. active dry yeast

1 t. sugar

¼ c. warm water

2 ¼ c. cake flour

1 ½ c. raisins

1 c. warm milk (1oo to 110 degrees)

¼ c. sugar

1 egg, beaten

¾ t. cinnamon

½ t. salt

¼ t. nutmeg


1 c. powdered sugar

Dissolve yeast with one teaspoon sugar and water—let sit for about 10 minutes. In large bowl combine the next 8 ingredients ‘til well blended; add yeast mixture. Cover and let rise for one hour. Drop 2 tablespoonfuls of dough into hot oil in deep fryer; fry ‘til golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Roll in powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Microwave to reheat. Makes 2 dozen.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Let's Be Enriched Again

I promised that I would get my Conference reading schedule going in November. My Ensign has not quite arrived but if you read this blog then I know your computer works and you can find the text or audio versions here. If we read two a week, we will reread them all before the April Conference. I am excited. I will post a week in advance on my side bar so you can see what is coming up and read ahead if you need to. I know life is busy. Our job is to keep trying. What I do know is that reading these words from our prophets and apostles should be a top priority. It is modern scripture for our day. We are so blessed to have these inspired men speak to us. I feel like one of the ten virgins who did not bring extra oil if I ignore this opportunity to partake of counsel given to us to improve our families and strengthen our testimonies.
Enough of my soapbox. You may use my schedule if you like. This week Nov. 4-10 we are reading Mothers Who Know (Julie B. Beck Sun-MS*) and Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Mind (Keith K. Hilbig Sat-AS*).

*MS stands for Morning Session
*AS stands for Afternoon Session
*PS will stand for Priesthood Session

Friday, November 2, 2007

Raspberry Bars

Raspberry Bars

1 c. butter, softened

¾ c. sugar

1 egg

½ t. vanilla extract

2 ½ c. all purpose flour

10 oz. jar seedless raspberry jam

½ c. chopped pecans

Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beating until blended. Add flour, beating until blended. Reserving one cup dough, press remaining dough firmly into a lightly greased 9x9 baking pan. Spread jam evenly over crust. Stir pecans into reserved one cup dough. Sprinkle evenly over jam layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 28 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Makes about 1 ½ dozen.

These are really yummy. They remind me so much of scones from the Puyallup Fair. I have to specify because Tyler and I have learned through our marriage that Idaho scones and Washington scones are not the same AT ALL (Washington’s are better—don’t edit this Tyler!) However part of the recipe really makes me laugh. They want you to sprinkle dough on something? Sprinkle evenly? The directions should read more like,

Do your best to get the sticky dough off your fingers or spoon and from there, see if you can do it so it covers the majority of the jam layer. Good luck.

As far as I know, the word ‘sprinkle’ should be reserved for salt, sugar, sprinkles themselves, and maybe powdered sugar (although that seems more of a ‘sift’ to me). Other than that, the recipe is fairly easy. My oven needed to cook them longer (more like 38 minutes) so you have to watch them at the end. Happy baking.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Phantom DDS

We had a great Halloween. The kids get cuter every year, but I certainly get more paranoid about them getting 2 tons of candy. I have decided that this holiday (or at least the candy part) was never invented by a parent. So in our family, the Phantom DDS comes to visit the house. He loves candy and he knows that Halloween is the perfect time to look for his favorite treats. If you leave him some of your candy (or in our family, MOST of your candy) then he leaves you a present to say thanks for your kind offering. I did let the girls keep some of their candy (ten pieces each) which seems plenty to me. I know...everyone can be so thankful that I am not their stingy mom. And then we left the rest of the candy in a pile for the phantom. The girls awoke to wooden pumpkins with little people inside and they were very excited the phantom stopped by. I don't think they will even miss the candy. I mean, please, look how much there was. I am not letting my kids eat all that.

Before mom took away all their candy, they had a lot of fun trick or treating. We went to Provo Center Street where all the businesses invite the children in to Trick or Treat. They had a good time going from store to store. The weather was beautiful, and only problem we seemed to have was whenever we crossed the street my hat would blow off. I was almost run over three time trying to catch the darn thing. You would actually think I would have figured it out sooner, but my hands were full of stroller and ghost most of the time. My favorite part was Robyn, who couldn't see very well. So every time someone handed her a candy, she would hand it to me and say matter-of-factly, "I can't see the opening," and I would put it in her bag for her.
I, of course, need to give you some closeups of my lovelies. June was a witch this year. We borrowed a dress at the last moment and it looked so cute on her. She really had a good time. (I think I am becoming my mother. She always took pictures of us in front of the front door, and now I find myself doing it too.)

Here's Robyn, my ghost, and a picture of her peeking out. I love her costume because it is so classic. Tyler says it reminds him of Charlie Brown.

Ivory went as Nemo and I have never gotten so many comments about a costume. She was just adorable. I saw the costume when I was at Disneyland and I couldn't resist buying it. All the kids at Music Makers loved it and kids were clamoring to sit by "Nemo." I love that there is one long fin and one short "lucky" fin and when she would walk, the tail fin would waggle back and forth. Just super cute.

It was a really fun Halloween. I hope you all had a good time with your families. I am sorry that we never got a picture of Tyler. He dressed all in black, and even painted his face black and put a large 'P' on his shirt. He was 'Pepper.' Somehow no one got this and instead he got a lot of weird comments and some racist jokes. We'll probably skip that one next year, unless I feel like going as 'salt.' In our Halloween travels we have seen many wonderful costumes (hats off to the Ure's who were Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox) and some super decorations (we even won the ward trunk decorating contest--although I'm not sure how) but this beauty has to go on the top ten. That is one talented balloon artist.