Friday, July 29, 2016

SEVEN Deadly Sins

You may have noticed some chronological problems on the blog. The last week I blogged about was week FOUR. So what happened to FIVE and SIX? Well, week FIVE was the room changing week, and I haven't gotten all my pictures taken. (Not surprising that we still haven't gotten everything back in order. We are darn close though.) Week SIX was the CA EX week and all the posts are up for that. And that brings us to week SEVEN. I think we are currently at the end of week NINE, so I still have some catching up to do, but hopefully that helps you out with a mental timeline.

Let's jump right into two weeks ago. It was a regular week with all our regular activities, plus a birthday. Fun, fun!

Crafting - We got some markers called Crystal Effects Window Markers. Tricia had some for her kids and they looked cool, and I knew my kids would dig coloring on the windows. We got two boxes and divided up the window space. Luckily, we have some big picture windows in the front.

Daisy had the back door to decorate and she went straight to work letting everyone know her birthday was imminent.

I had the most fun taking pictures from the other side of the windows.

The markers were so cool. When you drew with them, you could hardly see the writing, but then it would frost over, much like Jack Frost taking over. It is hard to describe or catch a picture. Look at the flower below. The entire flower with petals is already drawn, but the petals are still frosting over which is why you can't see all of them yet. It was a very cool effect to watch in action.

Also very cool, was the sun shining through the designs in the morning. They sparkled so beautifully.

Library day was very eventful for me. A book that we had turned in to the public library was missing. I don't like this, because I begin to doubt myself and wonder if we ever turned it in in the first place. But I remembered the book being on the bottom of a stack that we dropped into the drop box. However, the library had done a shelf check and still the book was missing. They had graciously checked it out again on our account, but my due date was sneaking up, and I didn't want to pay for the book. So, I checked the shelves myself and guess what I found? The book! Right where it was supposed to be. I was so relieved, and a little miffed at the library. I used to think they were infallible and the fault was always mine, but I won't be so quick to doubt myself next time. Even the library makes mistakes. (And technically they owe me 10 cents for a late fine I payed on a book I had turned in.)

Swimming - We swam as usual in the afternoon, but the morning was busy driving to Idaho. I knew I wasn't going to have time to drive all the way up to Grandma's house, but she was anxious to get Moxy back to us. (Sorry Grandma, we know she sheds like a pregnant woman four months after giving birth. I don't blame you for wanting to give her back.) Grandma was nice enough to meet us halfway, so at a gas station in Malad, we made the exchange. Moxy seemed happy to be back with us, and I know one girl who was ecstatic to have her dog back after many weeks.

And we still had time to go swimming that afternoon.

Treat - We made Oreo Balls for our yummy endeavor. You can find a recipe for Oreo Balls all over the internet. Crush up some Oreos...we used the blender, add a block of cream cheese and some powdered sugar. Form them unto balls and freeze them until firm. A toothpick in the top will make them easier to dip.

Many recipes call for almond bark. I couldn't find any at the store. So, we grabbed some bitter dark chocolate to balance out the sweet inside. Then we dipped those babies.

Chocolate dipped in chocolate. (It seems we have done this more than once this summer.) You know it will be rich and heavenly.

We froze them again and then it was time to test our efforts.

Definitely rich, and tasty.

I'm sure they would look prettier with the white coating, but I thought they were very good. A perfect cool treat on a hot day and since they were rich, one was just right.

We finished up our schedule with raspberry picking and Daisy's birthday, but I already blogged about that day. Catch her Epic Summer Birthday back one post.

No one can say that we have a boring summer around here. I'm thinking we will play right up until school starts, which is sadly only a few weeks away.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Epic Summer Birthday

Well, hello there. I have been off having adventures...some of them very good, and some not at all pleasant. But you take the good with the bad. And I'm back to get all the dreamy and dreadful onto the blog.

Let's start with a birthday. Daisy is our summer birthday girl. Summer birthdays are very unpredictable around here. I never know where we will be when Daisy's birthday rolls around. One year, we were on trek. Another year, we were at the cat pee house. Sometimes we are on vacation, sometimes we are home. Last year, June was at Girls' Camp. You get the picture. It is all up in the air. But there is never a doubt that we are thrilled to celebrate our Daisy Cakes.

Birthday Bear was there as usual when she woke up.

And we measured her right away. (Even if you try to grow some more today, we already used SHARPIE. Haha.)

Sometimes we do breakfast in bed. (Usually for Ivory) I can even be persuaded to get up early and make breakfast if someone requests it, but a summer birthday has its perks. No one has to be at school, so we went to get Kolaches. (Koh-lah'-cheez) Tyler discovered the Kolaches recently, and we are all glad he did. They are like a cross between donuts and pastries. A pillowy dough with a dollop of fruit and cream inside. They make savory ones as well. 100% tasty. It was so fun to go as a family.

Everyone picked out their flavor.

Dig in kids. Delicious!

On the way home, we stopped to get balloons. everyone picked out a balloon for Daisy. She picked the huge 8. Guess you can't guess how old she is? I love this picture.

With breakfast in her belly, new balloons, and Dad still with us (before he went to work) Daisy decided a few presents were in order. She is still very easy to please and she loved all her presents. Monster High dolls have been in and out for her. But this time around, they were definitely 'IN'.

Yes, that is a two headed mermaid from the new movie. The two heads are named Peri and Pearl. I like these dolls. With their strange tails, they can stand on their own.

Daisy's birthday happened to fall on a field trip day. So we packed everyone up and went to pick raspberries. We found this super cute place called Perry's Berries. It was close, convenient, and fun. The instructions seem pretty simple.

We sent those pickers right out. Tricia came along and brought her two girls, so you may spy Annalise and Camille in the pictures.

It was very sunny and almost a little hot to be picking. We should have gone earlier, but Kolaches were totally worth it. As it was, we were reminded that we were picking sun ripened raspberries.

The view was lovely. Have I mentioned that I love living near the mountains?

Robyn knows how to beat the heat. Smart to bring a sun hat.

She gets those brains from her mother apparently. Sun hat selfie!!

There were lots of berries, although I think there might have been better picking just a few weeks later. They recommend you call ahead so they can tell you whether the berries are ready. There was no shortage for just had to look for the good ones.

Birthday girl was a good picker. She doesn't look like she has much, but she kept dumping her treasures into my bowl.

June is picking the Australian way...through the bush.

All my berries went into my bowl. Half of June's went into her belly. That is to be expected. Don't worry, we left some extra cash on our way out.

There was a little wildlife about. There were the sweet little white butterflies everywhere, and I saw a snake at one point. And check out this dude posing for a picture.

Many hands make light work. We weren't there even an hour, but came away with a good haul.

Here is the official sign if you want to make your own visit.

Many berries went from bush to belly, but Daisy requested jam, and you have to humor the birthday girl. (Especially when it is a fantastic idea.) The girls were great helpers. They even made designs while adding sugar. (Maybe there were inspired by the Kolache.)

The end result was pure heaven in a jar. (Although that is almost guaranteed when you add 5 cups of sugar to fruit.)

It was a dreamy day for our new eight year old. In the evening we watched her new Monster High movie. Spoiler: Pearl is the meaner of the two mermaid heads. It's a shame. She has a lovely name.)

We still don't do cake around here very much. Daisy requested mint ice cream sandwiches. And that is what she got.

Candle out. With one flame, I think she'll get her wish.

Daisy sure is a delight in our family. I'm glad we have an excuse to celebrate her during the summer.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Texture B&W

I'm behind enough on my photo challenge that I'm starting to get a bit confused which theme I'm supposed to be on. So, I think I will start labeling them by week, which is how they are done on the site. You can check out it out here at

They are currently doing week 28, and I believe I am back on week 25. That is just fine by me. My goal was to pick up my camera more and I have had great success this year. I still take plenty of pictures with my phone and that is great too. Win/win.

The theme for week 25 was B&W - Texture. I love textures to begin with. I have a post here and here. I actually had a specific texture in mind, but when I was in CA, I saw the planks on the dock and it drew my attention. They make such an interesting texture and pattern. So that is what you get.

I was going to take a picture of this weird woven rug that we finally pulled out of the sunroom. It is hanging out in my garage, so there is still a chance I will get a picture of it. But not much.

Next up: Week 26 - OUTDOOR WATER (Long Exposure)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Graduating and Leaving School in Style!

School has been out for weeks now. In fact, we are over halfway done with the summer. (Say it ain't so. I am NOT ready to give back any kids yet. Luckily, I still have a month.) But I still have a few posts to wrap up from school. That is how we roll around here. Get to the posts when you can. And at least I got CA on here right away.

A while back I put a lot of school posts all together. At the very end, I mentioned that Pearl had a kindergarten program, but I didn't have any pictures. I sure thought that was weird. As a mom, it is your designated roll to take videos/photos of your child at school. I know this because have you ever seen the gym lined with parents and their phones, recording away. Who is even going to look at those pictures again? But they dutifully take them. Me too. (Well, I put mine on the blog so I feel they are seen again, and I'm sure many make it to FB, but there are a ton that just sink into the archives of forgotten photos.) So, I found it strange that an event like a program would go by without any pictures.

The Kindergarten program is one of the most well-attended events. It is CRAZY TOWN in there. The teachers know this and they specifically ask you to leave other children at home. We dutifully left our brood back at our place and took Pearl in all her Kindergarten glory. I planned on meeting Tyler at the school, and I knew he would have his phone, so I left MINE with the kids. It wasn't until later that I realized that all the pictures from that night were on Tyler's phone. (He actually has lots of fun photos that aren't on the blog because I forget about them. Look forward to a post on dumping Raging Stallion's phone.) In the meantime, I was psyched to find that I am not a complete failure as a mother. I mean, I was glad we got some pictures.

However, you probably won't be very impressed. See, we were sitting farther back and it is hard to take pictures between people. This was the best we got of Pearl. (She is still super cute.)

Then we resorted to taking weird selfies to entertain ourselves. (We never claimed to be very mature.)

Jonny was kind enough to save us some seats in the madness. We rewarded him by taking pictures of him without his knowing. (We are such great friends.)

So, you weren't missing much. The program was fun, but I was glad to get outside at the end. Many kids had their Kindergarten graduations the same evening, but not Pearl. Her teacher wanted everyone to come in again the next day. (As if it is super easy for dads to take off work whenever they want.) I did get a picture of Pearl in her cute patriotic colors.

The next day, we were back. I was there anyway, since it happened to be the day Robyn graduated. I went right from a rowdy group of sixth graders to an exuberant group of littles. They are so cute in their caps and gowns.

They practiced for a minute or two and then it was go time. They all left and then came walking back into the room. (This is an important process so you can see that they all learned to walk in a line during the year.) I caught a picture of Pearl as she was coming in.

They sang songs which was a little weird since they had done all of this the night before. But you just go with it and smile. At the end, they each received their diploma and they stood for pictures. Congrats Pearl. As your reward you now have to go to school the whole day for 12 more years.

There was a cute slideshow at the end and we each received a copy to take home. (I was going to put some pictures on here, but I have no idea where I put it. Typical.) It was fun to share Pearl's big day.

And then school ended. Kindergartners got out a day earlier than the rest. Last year I took pictures of the kids with their teachers (and blogged about it promptly) and I really liked that, so I tried again this year. This year was the weirdest for teachers, so I did the best I could. Let's start with the oldest.

JUNE: She was in Jr. High, so she had a lot of teachers. I told her to choose her favorite and get a picture with him. Hands down it was Mr. Hansen, her math teacher. He was a fantastic, dedicated teacher. I heard about him all year. June made him a birthday gift, and every time I ran into him, he only had glowing reports about June. (Well duh...she is amazing. I know.) I even saw him at all the track meets. He really cares for all those kids. (And his beard is exceptional.)

ROBYN: Sorry, I just don't have a picture of Robyn with her teacher. Mrs. Spadafora was great, but she was missing for the last month. The sub was a nice guy, but the last four weeks of school were a total joke. (I may have mentioned this before.) It was all I could do to get the guy to sign her graduation paper. We'll leave it at that. (I still want the lipsync video, but I fear I will never get that.)

IVORY: Ivory's teacher was also gone by the end of the year. She left for health reasons. You can see a picture of Mrs. Boyer at the crack off. (Ooh, actually, you can see Mrs. Spadafora too.) Miss Nelson was their sub. I have nothing against Mrs. Boyer. She has a very fun, eclectic style of teaching, but I feel like Miss Nelson was just the right touch for the end of the year. She was very organized and I think the kids thrived under her short tutelage.

DAISY: Miss Thomas who was actually Mrs. Bingham by the end of the year. She was great. She was well organized and super fun. I couldn't help putting in this silly picture of her with Daisy.

PEARL: Kindergarten is such a chaotic, crazy year. I have to take off my hat to any teacher or aid who takes on the challenge of teaching these young spirits. (It is not for the faint of heart.) Mrs. Brown has been teaching for so many years. She is excellent at what she does. She was always trying to keep the parents happy and informed. I think she did a phenomenal job with Pearl.

It was a strange year to be honest, and next year will be different too as we all transition to a new school. Always an adventure.

The last day of school, I went to collect the kids. Pearl was already with me in the car so we took bets at who would be out first. First out the door was Daisy. I think this kid is ready for summer.

Next out was Ivory. This is a totally fake smile she has on. I don't think she was very happy to leave. She is really going to miss her old school and the friends she made there.

Finally, Robyn was out. She brought Saphira and they went home and played for the afternoon with Abby. She has no regrets as she leaves Elementary Behind.

I of course, was ecstatic to have the kids home from summer. We obviously have been playing hard and having lots of fun. Summer has not been what I expected. Some things have worked well, others have been failures. (Ask me about stations some time. Complete bust this year.) But it is always great to be together as a family.

I know that it will be nice when everyone is back in school. I will have more time than I have ever had before (supposedly) but at the moment, I am just happy to be with my kids. They are my life.