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

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Last night I took Athena to dance and Nathan was with me. He and I were waiting in the car when he decided to share some valuable insight with me. He said:

Mom, my teacher told me that if you get a lot of "owies", then your skin will fall off and you get to be a leopard.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Not My Kind of Fun

On Friday, close to midnight, I was sitting at the bar and Jeremy was sitting at the kitchen table. We were enjoying a bit of free time before going to bed since the kids were all in bed. Max was acting a little weird and was sniffing around the refridgerator. I looked over to see what Max was doing just in time to see a mouse dart out from under the fridge and run right under the pantry door. I did my job and screamed really loud! Ugh!!!! It was so disgusting! So . . . for the next hour and a half, Jeremy's job was to go through the pantry and find the mouse.

We thought it was on the right side of the pantry because there were boxes sitting in the middle of the pantry that I didn't think it would go around. Jeremy and I started emptying all the food and putting it on the table. Then Jeremy got the job of cleaning everything out from the floor. When he had most of the stuff out of the right side, Max got really interested and started looking into the pantry and trying to sniff a little closer. Jeremy thought he had the mouse cornered, and right when he lifted up a box the mouse ran out from under it and over to the left side of the pantry.

I certainly wasn't much of a help because I was so sick to my stomach from seeing the mouse. I really thought I was going to throw up. Jeremy handed me the broom while he pulled stuff out from the pantry and told me to whack at it if it came running out. NO WAY! There is no way I could whack at the mouse! So I gave him the broom back and then he said he would hold the broom while I pulled stuff out. That wasn't going to happen either! So onto the next brilliant idea (at 1:00am). We set up a barricade all around the pantry doors using boxes and filling any empty spaces with plastic grocery bags. That way, if the mouse came running out again it would have nowhere to go. Finally we got down to the last bit of stuff. I had to leave the room because I knew the doom was coming soon. All of a sudden Jeremy started yelling and whacking and yelling and whacking. Then after 3 hard hits he started jumping up and down and whooping and hollering. "GOT IT!!!"

I hope this is the only mouse I have to deal with this year. I've had to clean out all my drawers and wash every linen from the linen drawer in the kitchen. Thankfully Jeremy was able to kill this stupid, pesky mouse without splattering guts all over the place. He did, however, break my broom. It is bent weird in the middle. After the mouse was dead we finished the pantry cleaning project and got every last thing put away and cleaned up by 2:30am. This was a party I would have been happy to miss.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Delicious Fall Treat

This year I tried my hand at making caramel apples for the first time. I can't believe I didn't do it before! They were SO EASY to make and a huge hit!
I kind of cheated. I used Kraft caramels instead of making my own from scratch. All I did was put about 75 caramel squares (unwrapped of course) into a sauce pan. Then I added some evaporated milk and melted it all down. Whalaa! Then I stuck some craft sticks into my apples and dipped them in the caramel.

I also melted some chocolate chips and added evaporated milk to make the chocolate more spreadable and I put the chocolate over the top of the apples. Jeremy didn't want the chocolate ones, so I made some with chocolate and some without.

It ended up making 10 apples and they lasted us a little more than a week. We had them for our family home evening treat and then for after-school snacks. I'll definitely have to do it again. Maybe next time I'll be more ambitious and try making caramel from scratch.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's PUMPKIN time!!!

Each year we take a trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins and enjoy a night out. This year it was pleasantly warm! We boarded the wagon and waited for it to fill up before the tractor pulled us to the pumpkin patch. Here are the 4 kids all ready to go.

I enjoyed watching Athena and Samantha enjoy being together as sisters. They really do get along well.

We are ready too! Extreme close-up. AAAAAAGH!

This year a few more things were added to the pumpkin patch. In addition to these cutouts that they have each year for pictures, there was also a crate maze and a tractor to sit on. The kids had a blast! Nathan and Alex are the perfect size for these ghosts.

Athena and Samantha opted to sit on the hay bales. :) Then we all ran and chased and played hide-and-seek in the maze for awhile.

Next . . . sitting on the big tractor. Nathan and Alexandra were a bit nervous sitting on top, but they stopped whining long enough for me to take this picture.

Here is another cute sister picture. Ok, so they fought too about not having enough room on the seat and who gets to hold the wheel, but it all worked out.

This is the other cut-out available for pictures. That pumpkin on the end really freaks me out.

When it was finally time to go hunt for pumpkins everyone was so excited! Here is Alex racing to find the perfect one.

I think Nathan was the most picky this year. He went through 7 or 8 pumpkins before I finally just said, "You know what . . . just PICK one! You will never know the difference between this one and that one when we get home."

 LOL . . . Athena and Samantha are stalking their prey.

When all was said and done, everyone ended up with a pumpkin. My rule is that you have to be able to carry out your own pumpkin. As you can see, all pumpkins are carried! Mostly it's a selfish rule because I don't want the job of carrying 5 pumpkins around for the evening. It does tend to keep the pumpkin sizes in check, so it works!

I decided to get one too this year. I want to try baking it and using it for cooking. We'll see if I end up being so ambitious.

After all the pumpkins were picked, we boarded the wagon and took a ride back to the barn for ice cream. Sorry, Jeremy, for the awful picture of you. I picked this because the kids all looked so cute.

Overall this was a good pumpkin experience and I think the kids had a good time. We ate ice cream at the end and that turned into a battlefield because Nathan kept bugging his sisters and then several of them got into trouble, but I guess that's life, right? So I'll say . . . the pumpkin part of this experience was WONDERFUL - especially that the weather was so cooperative. I didn't take any pictures of the ice cream part because who wants to remember that? Except that my ice cream was pumpkin pie and it was SO GOOD! So, I'll remember to get that again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Woman Cops

Jeremy has this thing against women cops. He seems to think they are 10 times worse (or more) than their male counterparts. He thinks that they are always ornery and just out there waiting to ticket anyone who dares cross their paths. Whenever we are out driving and we see someone pulled over, if it is a woman cop he always makes some sort of comment about how that person is really gonna get it.

So, I guess this attitude has kind of worn off on the kids. Today's conversation was proof.

I had just finished dropping off Athena and Samantha at school and was pulling out when a cop drove by.

Nathan: Alex, I hope your arms are in . . . there's a police!
Alex: Yep! They are in! (meaning her arms were in her seat belt and the clip is done up)
Nathan: Cause if they aren't in, you will go to jail. Police are mean.
Alex: Yep. I did my buckle.
Me: Police aren't all mean, but they will take you to jail if you are doing something wrong. That's their job.
Nathan: They will take you to jail if they are a girl, cause girl police are mean.
Me: Why?
Nathan: I don't know. Dad said they are. But boy police aren't mean. Remember Alex? The boy was nice to you and he didn't take you to jail.
Alex: Yep. Boys are nice.


Oh, a little background on the arms being in.

Alexandra always takes her arms out of the buckle on her carseat and she gets in trouble for it. Her restraint goes over her shoulders and clips in front, but she opens the clips and takes the seat belt off her shoulders. Then she twists all around in her carseat. I was sick and tired of always telling her to do her buckle up when we were out and about - especially on the freeway. So one day we were at the park and noticed a policeman nearby. Jeremy ran over and asked him to come talk to Alex about keeping her buckle done up on her carseat and to put a little scare into her so she would stay safe. He came over, but was way too nice. He told her how cute she was and then as a side note just told her to not open her buckle because it wasn't safe. I wanted him to say he would take her to jail or something if she didn't stay buckled. Since he was so nice that one time, I guess that boy police are nice. But not girls.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Full Day of Mazatlan

Our day in Mazatlan was really a lot of fun! We decided not to purchase a pre-paid tour and just kind of "wing it". Jen and Jim came along with us to choose our own adventure.

We took this open-air taxi through to city and over to the shopping district.

We ended up getting some great souveniers for really great prices. :)

We went through a flea market and there was this little restaurant on the corner with this sign that caught our eye. Thankfully pot is not allowed!

After shopping we walked out to the beach. At first the beach was a huge disappointment. Not because it wasn't really pretty. It was because of the massive hoard of people waiting to sell us pretty much ANYTHING! Holy cow! It was a mess! I had no less than 10 people approach me in a 3-minute period to buy anything from jewelry, to toys, to dresses, to art, to pottery, to excursions. You name it! I did cash in on a cup of perfectly ripe ready-to-eat mangos for $2. That was it. After that I just wanted everyone to go away and get out of my face.

Jeremy cashed in on something as well. On the ship we could have purchased a parasailing trip for $82. Right here on the beach this group of men were giving parasailing rides for $30. He decided for that price he couldn't pass it up.

They were launching people from right off the beach and it certainly didn't seem very safe. Especially because the guys were hurrying to give instructions to Jeremy as he was getting ready to lift off!

Here he goes!

Thankfully he managed to get up in the air without incident. :)

The boat took him around the bay for an 8-10 minute ride.

As he was coming back I was talking to one of the guys giving rides and mentioned something about "when" he gets back safely. The guy said "IF" he gets back and kind of laughed. I told the guy that Jeremy had BETTER get back safe from his ride or that guy won't be going home to his wife. He said, "I get that."

Needless to say, the ride went well and Jeremy had a wonderful time!

However, we learned from some of our friends who saw the parasailing operation later in the day that several people did NOT land safely. Some in the water . . . some on those rocks behind Jeremy . . . and some swimmers almost got taken out by the rope pulling the parasailers! So, I'm extremely grateful that Jeremy's ride went well and he had a great time.

Here we are on the crazy beach. See the little umbrella with 2 chairs? Troy and Heidi had to pay $10 for that so they could give their baby some shade.

After the parasailing ride, I was quite anxious to get away from the craziness on the beach. I forgot to mention that even as I was trying to photograph Jeremy taking off on his parasailing adventure, a lady got out some necklaces to try and sell me and was shoving them in my face - almost in front of the camera! GET A CLUE!!! I thought it was really rude. Jim, Jen, Jeremy, and I started walking down the beach to the hotel zone. After walking for about 10 minutes, the salesmen pretty much disappeared! It was like magic!

I loved our walk down the beach and the water felt perfect. I saw our first pufferfish too! It was dead and washed up on the beach. This is a snorkel boat that was sitting out on the beach.

We walked about a mile and a half down the beach and started to get hungry. In trying to find an exit from the beach back to the street, we walked right up into the middle of the pool area for this hotel. We went through the hotel lobby and ran into the manager.
Jim asked him if he knew of any decent restaurants in the area we could eat at. The manager said we could eat right there at the hotel if we wanted to. So, as a trade off . . . we asked, "If we eat here, can we also swim for a couple of hours?" SURE! Here I am sitting next to Jen.

We ended up eating a fantastic lunch (a plate of loaded nachos) right by the pool. Jim is enjoying his nice cold drink.

Hi Jeremy!

Isn't our lunch setting beautiful?

Our lunch ended up being about $10. Then we got to swim and play for the afternoon!

We met up with some friends from the cruise who coincidentally paid to go to the hotel as an "all-inclusive excursion" and played some water volleyball.

So, we enjoyed for $5/person, what our friends each paid $55/person to do! Can't beat that! This is a picture of our friends as we were leaving the hotel. This is their "taxi".

Once we got in the taxi to head back to the ship, we were calculating what time we had left before we HAD to be on the ship. We figured we had about and hour and a half left. The taxi driver heard us and said, "If you want, I can take you on a tour of the city and to the overlook for an hour. It will be $30." So, for just $15/couple we could take a tour of the city that the ship's excursion team was offering for $29/person. AWESOME!

The taxi ride was going to be $5/couple anyway, just to get to the ship. So for $10 more we went on a ride to see the sights. It was fun!

Here are Jim and Jen in the taxi. I shared the back seat with them and Jeremy got the front.

This was our driver.

I thought it was neat how many statues and all the art around the bay. Our driver took us to all different statues and told us about them. This one is funny - it's a statue of the open-air taxis that drive the tourists around.

We drove up the steep hills across the bay to where we could see a view of the whole city.

This is all of us at the top.

While we were up there snapping pictures we noticed something growing right there next to us, in the wild. See it?

Jim and Jen with their beautiful view! And there "it" is again . . . to the left.

Yep, you guess it! A HUGE marijuana plant! I guess we always just see them on tv all withered and dried up. We took a picture of Jen's hand next to the leaf so you could see the size of it. Interestingly enough, when we first arrived at the top of the overlook, Jeremy noticed a lady walk away with a couple of leaves from this plant.

I also wanted a picture of this really pretty fern tree that was up there.

This is our cruise ship, docked on the other side of the overlook.

Another statue by the water.

We also drove by the devil's gate. None of us chose to go in.

Our time was wrapping up. We came down the hill, into the historic part of town. The buildings in this area were really pretty - all nicely fixed up along very narrow streets.

We stopped at this cathedral and went inside to take a look. Then we were on our way!

Here we are with our taxi driver/tour guide. :)

We made it back to the ship in time to get cleaned up and eat dinner. Instead of going to the ship's entertainment in the theater for the night, we opted to get together as a group and play some games in the game room upstairs. James or "Sparky" also had an eventful shopping day. He bought THIS! A sweet Nacho Libre mask!

The "Nacho" clench. He seems to like it a lot.

We played apples to apples in a huge group, but still managed to have fun. In this picture is Jen, Carlie, Jeff, and Cathy.

Sparky and Yun.

More game night pictures.

After awhile we wanted some munchies, so Jen went on a secret operation down to the buffet. She put on the mask and went downstairs to get a plate of cookies! Wasn't that nice of her? And she wore the mask the whole way! Way to go, Jen!

Mazatlan day was very full and eventful, but we had a LOT of fun!!! :) My only regret about Mazatlan was not buying more souveniers. The shopping there was cheaper than anywhere else. So, for next time I'll try to remember that.
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