Imagine what you could do if you knew you could not fail.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Newest Cleaner

We have a new little cleaner at our house. This time it is forced labor. Why, you ask, am I making this little 2-year-old clean my kitchen floor with a napkin?
Alexandra has discovered the joy of finding anything in the house that could possibly be used as a writing utensil and making her mark EVERYWHERE! This time the kitchen floor was paired with crayon. She scribbled all over the floor, so guess what . . . SHE gets to clean it up.

Some of her other favorite writing utensils lately are pencils, pens, markers, lip gloss, lip stick, and soap.

Unfortunately this "learning experience" turned into a game once Max noticed we were all at his level. He started jumping at her cleaning hand and trying to catch the tissue.

It looks like we'll have to go through all of this again, seeing as this just turned out to be a lot of fun for her. RRRR

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We Hiked the Y

Last Friday Jeremy had the day off work, so we decided to make a fun day of it. We got up early and took the kids to hike the Y on the mountain. This picture is at the bottom, before we started going up. We thought the trip might be a disaster because as we were starting the hike, I got after Nathan twice for not staying with us and for hiking too close to the edge. Jeremy got after him too and we had to repeatedly tell the girls to STAY AWAY FROM THE EDGE. Nathan folded his arms in a huff and started to pout. That was all within the first 5 minutes of our hike. After that we started telling stories and having a good time and we didn't have another problem the rest of the way!

It took us 40 minutes to get to the top. In this picture we are almost there! You can see the Y in the background.

Once we made it, we sat and enjoyed the view while eating some snacks. Because we went so early in the morning, we had shade on us most of the time. The sun didn't even come over the peak until we were about halfway back down.

Here we all are together. :)

This is the view looking towards our house.

The Provo temple.

This is looking straight down the slope of the Y.
Straight out into the valley and BYU campus.

The kids had a good time on the Y and they seemed to appreciate the views as much as Jeremy and I did. It took us another 40 minutes to go down the mountain and again - no complaining!

This is the last picture of our hike, just as we were reaching the bottom.
I asked the kids if they would want to hike the Y again next year and they said, "NO! We want to do it this year!" They really had a good time!
After our hike we went to Seven Peaks and swam for a few hours to cool off. It turned out to be a perfect day off.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tradition . . . .TRADITION!

There is one tradition that I try to get out of every year, but have been unable to evade. It is the tradition of my family sleeping out on the parade route for the 4th of July parade. So, every year on July 3rd, we pack up all our gear and go sit on the lawn all afternoon and evening. Then I leave Jeremy and some kids there to spend the night and I drive home with the youngest. Then the next morning I get up really early and drive back up there for the parade. This year was no different . . .so here are our pictures from the event.

Samantha is spending her time watching cars go by and trying to stay cool in the shade.
For dinner and entertainment, we took a drive to Burger King. Then we came back and ate while we watched more cars drive by.

This year we sat in front of some college apartments. A few of the college kids came and told us they would be making breakfast in the morning and we were welcome to join them. Then towards evening, one of the girls who lived in the complex came out to invite anyone who was interested into her apartment for a movie, popcorn, and brownies. She was really nice and all the kids jumped at the chance to do ANYTHING different. None of the adults wanted to go and watch a movie and I didn't think she would want to have all of our kids come and hang out in her apartment. Surprisingly, she didn't seem to mind and all the kids jumped up and followed her inside. They were watching Phantom of the Opera. Our 3 older kids and 3 of Mike and Ronda's kids just went and sprawled out across her living room floor.
I checked up on the kids a few times and they were having a great time. It was so nice of her to let them come in and join her little party!

The next day when the parade was about to start, I noticed that same girl sitting outside on the steps trying to see the parade route from behind us. I invited her and her friends to come up and sit on our blankets and watch the parade with us. All of my kids just gravitated to her, especially Nathan. He wouldn't sit anywhere except right by her side. It was really cute! She seemed to just soak it in. So, out of the tradition that I dread every year, the kids made a great friendship for the day. :) It turned out to be a fun memory for them!

Here is Nathan, Heather, and Alexandra waiting for the parade to start.

Samantha, Athena, Janelle, and Amber.

Here are the kids with the college girls. See how Nathan is just tucked so nice and tight between them? The girl in the striped shirt is the one who invited them in. She was so nice and cute with all the kids - and she is the one Nathan just attached himself to. Her name is Jaime.

One last picture after the parade, before we packed up and left.

This parade was like our last few parades. It did rain on us. Who would've thought on the 4th of July we would get rained on! Another fun thing - Nathan got to shoot the big gun that the men pull along at the end of the parade. They were looking for a little boy to come and pull the rope that fires the gun and Nathan ran up there. After he shot the gun we asked him what he thought of it and he just said, "It was really loud." Even funnier - he really ran up to the guys because he thought they were handing out candy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Saved $91.86!!

For all this stuff I spent just $31.52. :) I also got a coupon for $2 off my next purchase when I go to that store when I bought this stuff. You can click on the picture for a larger view. I've been couponing for several months now and have loved the savings. This past week I matched a bunch of my coupons to a sale at Albertson's and came out with all of this. It's such a great feeling to be able to stock my house with foods we eat for so much less. I only paid normal price for the chips because we needed them and they were on sale. Everything else was a great bargain - the wheat thins were free and Albertson's actually paid me about $2 for each gallon of milk that I took off their hands. SWEET!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Trying New Recipes

I have a hard time coming up with things to cook in the summertime. I enjoy cooking and trying new things, but usually I experiment more when the kids are in school and I have time to actually think about what I'm going to make. During the summer I feel like I'm constantly trying to think up meals for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Well, I finally branched out a little.

When Jeremy and I went to Dominican Republic last fall, we ate a traditional meal at one of the homes there that was so tasty! They served red beans over rice with fruit and bread on the side (and a few other things). I've been wanting to have that beans over rice again and let the kids taste it, so I went on the hunt for a recipe that looked similar to what we ate. I scoured the internet and WALLA! I found one! I made it this past week and it turned out to taste just like I remembered it - - - and the kids LOVED IT!!! The recipe made so much that we ended up eating it for a few days, but we were able to eat it into some yummy variations. So, in case you are having a hard time coming up with a good summer meal, here is one to try. It was really easy to make.

Red Beans over Rice

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp goya seasoning or Accent seasoning
2 tsp seasoned salt or salt & pepper to taste
1/2 sm. bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
2 c. (1 lb) dried red beans soaked & cooked
  1. Heat olive oil in pot large enough for all ingredients.
  2. Saute onion & garlic for 5 min
  3. Add oregano, bay leaves, tomato sauce, seasonings
  4. Bring to simmer & add cilantro and beans. Add enough water to cover (about 3 cups).
  5. Bring to boil, then reduce to low simmer & cook 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until beans are tender.


I didn't have bay leaves, so I omitted them. I also didn't have time to let it simmer for 1 1/2 hours at the end and my beans were already tender, so we just ate it and it was still very good.

We put this bean mixture over white rice and then we had watermelon and yellow tortilla chips on the side. The next day I mixed the rice and beans all together and heated it up. Then we put it in soft tacos with cheese and sour cream. The other variation was to microwave the rice and beans with cheese on top until it melts. Then eat it like a dip with chips. YUM!

So, let me know if you decide to try this recipe. My whole family loved it and the kids even asked for seconds. :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Marathon Family Day

For my family reunion this year we all met at Cascade Springs to walk around and eat lunch. Then we drove to Teresa's house for activities and a barbecue.

This bunch of people isn't everyone. There are a LOT more of us! We are just getting ready to walk down towards the springs.

Alexandra loved walking around and looking at all the pretty things. We saw fish, butterflies, birds, flowers, water, people, Max, and lots of other things. She takes notice of everything around her.

This group found a dead end and all had to turn around. I met up with them here and turned myself around too.

Hannah, Hailey, and Ashley

Just my family. You can click on it to enlarge it if you actually want to see our faces.

The pretty river created by the springs.

We stood around here for awhile while all the separate families took a picture on the bridge.

Cheeser Nathan!

If you look close you can see some fish in the water. The water is amazingly clear! The brown you see is the bottom.

Max had to stop and get a drink. Apparently it is very entertaining for my kids!

After our picnic lunch at Cascade Springs, we all headed up and over the road that goes into Heber Valley instead of coming down the canyon. Then off to Teresa's house.

The first thing we did there was help the kids with a craft. Teresa found a cute craft where all the kids made their own silverware. She got lots of silverware at the D.I. and some modelling clay. Each kid crafted their own fancy silverware handles. Then she baked them in the oven until they were hardened and ready to take home. These are just a few of the kid's creations.
We then played several games on the lawn. Samantha and Jacob are trying to tie their legs together for a 3-legged race.
It was so cute seeing the kids try to get around with their gangly legs all tied together. Looks like it isn't quite working for this pair!

And now all the kids are lined up for the sack race.

Nathan passed the finish line and just crashed.

Hooray! Athena made it too. :)

Now for the adults . . .

Here I am in action!
And there I go. But you can still see my hair at the bottom of the frame. LOL! Jeremy thought he was taking a picture of me, but by the time he snapped it I wasn't there anymore. I was on my way to the ground.
Another favorite - Spin the Bat. Shauna is the ref on that end of the field making sure all the kids spin the correct number of times - then they had to run back and tag the next person. This game is one of my favorites because it's hilarious to see dizzy people run!

We also played a game where you tie a balloon to your ankle and try to pop everyone else's balloon while keeping your balloon intact.

Other than the games, we spent a lot of time visiting, eating, and visiting some more. Cynthia made a crazy-delicious-super fattening coconut cake that was heavenly! Jaime made his specialty burgers on the bbq. Mama made her famous potato salad.

Thanks Teresa for planning a fun family reunion. We really enjoyed our day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is it worth it?

We have had Max for almost 2 months now and I've seen a lot of good changes in the kids, especially Athena.

She takes Max with her everywhere she goes and has taken a lot of responsibility. She gets up earlier than she normally would just to take him potty in the morning. Then she feeds him.
She also takes him for walks and likes to reward him with his little doggy bones. Athena and Samantha both like to dress Max up and play with him and he doesn't seem to have a problem with it either.Nathan and Alexandra get in on the action and feed him, play with him, and give him lots of love (almost too much love). Even Jeremy seems to be in heaven with a pet around the house. He looks forward to coming home and playing with the dog. He always had a pet growing up and has wanted a dog for a long time.
I think that Max actually likes being with the kids more than the adults in our family. He loves them and they love him! The kids sneak the camera into their room and take puppy pictures.
As cute as Max is, and as much as the kids and Jeremy love him . . . I am not so happy with the situation. In the past 2 days I have found that Max has been pooping in the house! It's disgusting and I freak out!! I found poop twice in Alexandra's room a couple of days ago. I also found poop under my bed twice yesterday and by then I'd had it. I told Jeremy that we cannot keep a dog that is going to poop in the house. To me, that is not tolerable.

So, I ask myself - even though I have seen great changes in the kids and their capacity to love and care for another living creature, is it worth it to put up with the CRAP??

Monday, July 6, 2009

Yeeeeeeeee Haw!

I am just now posting our rodeo pictures from mid-June! :)

We went to the Strawberry Days rodeo and had a great night with our family. :) I realized that I got a lot of pictures of people, and not so many pictures of rodeo - but isn't that what it's about?

This year all the kids actually watched the rodeo and it seemed like I had to do less maintaining of kids. That made it nice for me because I actually got to watch some of the rodeo. Before it all started we ate our traditional rodeo food - burgers and nachos. MMMM

Here is Jeremy. He just finished his food and is one satisfied man!
Samantha is enjoying her nachos, down to the last bit of cheese.


I finally made Samantha stop at this point with the cheese. She did manage to create some wonderful artwork!

Did you really eat ALL that?!!

If you look closely you can see most of the family. Mike and Ronda's family weren't able to make it this year, darn it!

Athena and her red vampire teeth.

The halftime show for the rodeo was a motorcross show. They were really fun to watch! They did all kinds of jumps and wheelies. I think this was probably Nathan's favorite part. He kept talking about it after the show.

Alexandra, for some reason, is scared of anything that makes noise. She was hiding under this blanket on Jenny's lap and refused to come out. Near the end of the show, as the motorcyclists were in the air, Jenny would hurry and pull the blanket off Alexandra's head so she could see them in the air. Finally, on the last jump, Alexandra peeked out of the blanket all on her own just in time to see the guy launch into the air.

This is everyone's favorite part of the rodeo, the bullriding! Exciting.

I think my other favorite part is watching the cow milking competition. It's hilarious! They release a bunch of milk cows into the ring and cowboys in teams of 3 have to chase down the cows, try to hold them still, and get enough milk out of them to fill a small container.

Samantha really liked the cowgirls who race around the barrels. Nathan's favorite, next to the motorcross, was the buckin' broncos and the bulls.
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