Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jell-O Oranges

I'm not usually one to do craftsy kid-friendly projects, because they usually end in one weird-looking project, one frustrated mom, and crying kids....really. But if I find a project that looks (firstly) easy, (second) fun, and (third) at least a little worthwhile, I'll do it. One of my friends got me a subscription to Family Fun magazine (it's free!), and there were plenty of cute ideas in the February issue. I thought I'd post pictures of one such project, Jell-O oranges....or orange oranges...or um...well, just look at the picture! :) The boys loved them. REALLY loved them. And I did, too. They were very easy to make and really fun to eat. Here's the recipe. I didn't put fruit in the jello, because I think there isn't much that's more unpleasant than eating jello (so good, so sweet, so desserty) and biting into a surprise carrot shred or grape skin or tiny piece of pear (Hm, what's this nasty surprise in the midst of all this goodness?). I'm sorry, Utah. But to me, it's like mixing pasta with chocolate. Yes, they're both good. But together? Ew.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hinckley & Reed

I didn't know if I wanted to blog about President Hinckley's passing, but after reading a few friends' blogs on the subject, I do want to. But only a little. I just want to say that although I will miss his voice and his ongoing counsel dearly, I am happy thinking of his being reunited with Marjorie. That's really all I can think of--how happy he must be right now, and what an incredible life he lived.

Last night on the news there was a little piece about youth (in many states) who had dressed in Sunday apparel on Monday to honor the Prophet. That made me cry, especially because of my (new) calling in Young Women. I love hearing of the youth doing things like that, things that show that they are soft and loving and vulnerable and honorable. And it reminded me that President Hinckley was loved by people of all ages. Last night I explained to Reed that the Prophet had died. His biggest question was "Why?", to which we responded that President Hinckley was very old, had done what Heavenly Father needed him to do on earth, and that it was time for him to join his wife in heaven and continue working there. We talked a little about his life and his countless contributions to the Church, and then just sat quietly for a little while. Then Reed looked very somber, so I asked, "Are you okay, Reedo? What's the matter?" And he said, "My head hurts." So I said, "Do you remember that President Hinckley will be resurrected one day?"
Reed - "Why?"
Me - "Because everyone will be resurrected one day. It might take a long time. But it will happen."
Reed, with a smile now - "Yeah. Like your brother Reed will be resurrected."
This boy understands.
He went to sleep without teasing Jaxon at all last night, and had an expression of contemplation on his face as he drifted off.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


This is a really weird thing to blog about, but I heard on the (entertainment) news this afternoon that Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment today. Aside from the information itself being really random and shocking, I'm a little sad (I know, I know, I don't even know him). I loved him in 10 Things I Hate About You and especially A Knight's Tale. Strange and sad, hm?

On to a (somewhat) lighter note--we've all been beaten by the flu this last week. Fever, chills, congestion, coughing, dizziness. I'm just about done with it, Reed's pretty much done, but Savvy seems to have just started and Jaxon seems to be making his way through the worst part of it. Phill is strangely immune. And even if he does catch it, he'll probably have it for half the time. He's beastly strong, that man. :) Anyway, yesterday night was pretty bad for me, as I was worried about how I'd be able to take care of the kiddos with how I was feeling and Phill was going back to work today after a very helpful four-day weekend, during which he did ten loads of laundry, four sinkfuls of dishes, made meals and doctored us sickees with utmost patience. So we had a friend come over, and together he and Phill gave me a blessing. Last night I was able to sleep more soundly and comfortably, and this morning I was finally able to breathe through my nose! :) Not only that, but Savvy took a 3-hour nap and Jaxon did, too! (And they actually coincided!!!)

And lastly, on a weird note: Phill accidentally washed his cellphone. In the washing machine. He has tried everything short of CPR to revive it, but nothing doing. And we just updated, too. Good thing we have our old phones. And at least his phone is as clean as it will ever be, right? Right?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Delicious Dinner

Crystal (and anyone else who cares), here's what we had for dinner tonight! In our desire to make healthier meals that are also easy, fast, and not too expensive (tall order!), I found this recipe online. We made it tonight, and I LOVE it!! The kids were not so thrilled with it, but I don't care--I'll make it again and again. And just to note: I did a bigger (20-ounce?) can of refried black beans, and added an extra can of black beans. We topped the soup with fresh cilantro, sour cream, and avocado, and we ate it with tortilla chips. Very comforting (not to mention nutritious!)* and has the option of being a fully vegetarian meal if you sub the chicken broth for veggie broth. Oh--and one bowl was VERY filling, and we had enough left over for probably two more nights--and that was three adults and two kids eating. Mission accomplished! Something yummy, cheap, simple and nutritious. Oh, and it took maybe 15 minutes.

*I guess it would've been more healthful for us if we had cut out the chips part and maybe gone easy on the sour cream...but boy, was it yummy. No guilt. So much good stuff in that soup, what's the harm of adding a few more goodies? :)

Too Easy Black Bean Soup

recipe from

4 servings
25 min 10 min prep
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pint fresh salsa
16 ounces refried black beans
15 ounces black beans, drained
14 1/2 ounces low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan or large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the salsa and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes.
  3. Add the refried beans, black beans, and broth and bring to a simmer.
  4. Cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls. Top with some remaining salsa and the sour cream and cilantro, if using.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Just posting for 100% sentimental reasons

I'll be using any of the Photoshop knowledge I have to "restore" this photo of my brother, Isaac. My mom sent it to me because it's stuck to the glass and tore a little when she tried to remove it. I'm really just posting the picture because I think he's just so sweet! And my Jaxon looks a lot like he did.
*Quick update: Savanna is crying it out (for fewer minutes every time) for naptimes and falling asleep earlier at night. Thank you to all of you who gave such sound advice! I'm feeling a little more sane, and somewhat better-rested.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Christine, I think I've got you beat on the I'm-proud-of-my-child posts....this one is monstrously full of pictures.

Nope, I don't have the house clean yet, or the numerous projects done yet. But I have resolved to be more forgiving, and so: I forgive myself! The house is not clean, but it's okay--I'm doing my best! :) Savanna has been in an ultra-clingy stag
e lately, so it's very hard to get much done without her surprisingly loud--and impressively persistent--protests ringing in my ears (and throughout our annoyingly echo-y house).

I have managed to take a lot of pictures. I realized when Abby, Liz and I were getting our calendars made for the grandparents/parents, I had hardly any pictures of the kids! I mean, I had several get-dressed-and-let's-take-some-photos photos, but hardly any of them playing and just being kids. So I resolved this year to take pictures whenever I feel like it, whether Savvy has sweet potatoes in her hair (which is actually pretty cute) and whether I don't have the ideal lens on my camera, and even if it's a time when it's hard to not use the flash, and even if the house isn't clean in the background. I've done great with this particular renewed resolve (big surprise, right?), and I already have several folders-full just for January. So I chose to share some of them with all you bloggity friends, especially because last night we had sort of a milestone night with Savvy! Nothing that huge, just her first "big-girl" chair and her first ponytail. And the night before that, her hair was sopping wet in the tub, and I couldn't believe how long it was (all straightened out) that I thought I'd post those, too. And a few Without further ado:

First they were just "keeping her company".....

And then Reed just begged to feed her, and he was already feeding her little strawberry-apple puffs on a spoon, so I went ahead and let him feed her some carrots. I'm glad I did. He was so proud of himself, I just didn't care about the clean-up.
One of Carlisle sleeping on his favorite perch, just for kicks.
Behold the ponytail....
And behold the cutie. :)

This sort of pouty-lipped look is her favorite lately.
I was just holding the camera this morning and Reed said, "Now one with my arm around." Look at the ecstatic expression on Jaxon's face. He's a little bear-ish in the morning. He just wants to eat his "loop loops" and be alone.
Happy and sleepy and crying a little bit....preparation for the roller-coaster teenage years?
Wow. She really was tired. Poor chickee.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Household Improvement Projects....

....means posts with before/after pictures. Tomorrow I should finish the last of our most time-consuming improvements, and maybe I'll even have the house clean to the point that I'm not embarrassed to post pictures of it!

And introducing Rae's Anatomy, spinoff of the beloved TV show Grey's Anatomy....
I've decided to go back to teaching Pilates full-time, instead of just subbing. I was on the fence about it for a while, but lately have remembered just how much I love it. And this time, instead of teaching in a gym (sweaty mats and dirty floors and people intent on whittling themselves down to nothingness), I'll be teaching with my friend at her studio! (I'll still probably be teaching only three hours a week, so it's not even terribly time-consuming.) I'm basically her apprentice right now, and tonight she loaded me up with several good books, one of which is about anatomy. It's actually really fascinating, although a lot of the words are long and jumbly, and sometimes I really have to exercise my spatial reasoning skills to picture the muscles being described. Does "obturator internus" sound like words you'd be apt to say every day? Or how about "acromioclavicular joint"? I love it--these words sound a little like the ones I made up fifteen or twenty years ago. (Okay, I still make up words.....ahem....every day.)

Here's hoping my house will be clean and my transversus abdominis will become strong. :)

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Reed Quotable

(Reed) "Mama, I want to give Carlisle a high five."

(me) "Okay honey, but I don't think most kitties like high fives."

(Reed) "Yeah. Or maybe he's just scared that I'm large."

"Mom! Those clouds over there are pink!! Maybe they have pink rain. [Then, after some thought....] Maybe they have pink rain, and it would rain and be paint, and we could paint."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Last-minute fun

What happens when I'm playing with my Christmas presents from Phill, and old friends visit?

Why, impromptu photo sessions, of course! I'm still annoyed by some things I haven't figured out yet, but I keep plugging away....soon I'll dazzle you all! :)

These guys were living right next door when Phill was deployed, and their kind friendship carried me through some darker moments.

Friday, January 4, 2008


One more thing: I can't believe I've been forgetting to post this! For Christmas, Phill got me what is basically a portable studio--a backdrop stand, three backdrops, a brand-new tripod (because the boys demolished my other one), a remote (MAN I'm in love with that thing!), two flashes, umbrella reflectors, and light stands, another flash for my camera, and some sample gels.

Needless to say, I bawled all Christmas morning. I'm still figuring everything out, and right now I'm actually pretty awful with everything, but I know I'll have some good stuff to share soon enough! Oh--I did take a picture of him in his gift from me. He actually teared up a little when he opened it. :)

He and his friends always said they would never wear another football player's name on their backs. So his very special request was an official Green Bay Packers jersey with his name on the back and his own number. :) He never had a certain number in mind--so I got a little creative (and really corny) and picked the month and day we met. (May 2nd.) And I think he said that 52 is actually a retired number. So he's as original (and as crazy a fan) as it gets. :)

Lower central incisors

It's official! After a very rough week of tears and chewing anything in sight, Savanna's first two teeth--the lower front ones--have finally broken the gums! No wonder this last week was so rough. Two at a time just doesn't seem fair. I'll be sure to post photos when they're more visible.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

We, the feline-enthused

Woooooo.....lots to blog about. I'm currently working on a couple of home improvement projects, which I will post about later. But the newest news is that we have a cat! My sweetest cat Jesse ran away a couple of years ago when I had some friends keep her temporarily when I moved to Provo. I like to think that she was searching for me, although the thought does make me feel somewhat guilty. Anyway, it has been over two years since we've had a cat, and the thought of having another one was too overwhelming (until now) for a couple of reasons. 1: As overly sentimental as it sounds, I still miss Jesse, I still want her back, I still have dreams that she comes back and just falls asleep next to me at night. And 2: I have three children. A cat is another responsibility to add to my countless responsibilities. It seems, though, that we are meant to have cats. Three days ago, I went to the garage to warm up the car, and was surprised to find that Phill had accidentally left the garage door open in his haste to get to work. I pressed the button, and as the door began to close, a big, fluffy cat darted up to the door, stopped, and sat on its haunches, looking at me. Did I mention that it was absolutely frigid and windy outside, and the sky was the color of milk, and snow was falling? I couldn't turn the poor cat away. So I opened the door wide, and it came in. We gave it a little bit of chicken and milk, and it promptly fell asleep on the couch. It seemed equally comfortable inside as it had been outside--only, I imagine, a little warmer. It wasn't even a little bit phased by the kids. I emailed the Relief Society president and sent a picture to her, so that she could let the sisters know, just in case any of them were missing this fluffy kitty. Eventually, he seemed to want out, and the weather had improved. I let him out. He came back later that evening and sprawled out lazily on one entire couch cushion and slept, hardly moving a muscle, for over an hour (see above picture). That night we sent it out, but I put a box with a blanket inside (and a can of tuna) in the backyard, facing away from the wind. (I know, I know....such a softie.) The next morning, a woman from the ward called me and told me who the cat belongs to. Apparently "Freckles" is owned by a 14-year-old boy, and spends equal time inside and outside. Then she asked me, "Are you wanting a cat?" And I didn't know what to say. Yes, I want a cat. I love cats. No, I don't want a litter box. No, I don't want to have to worry about another living thing in my home. But she told me that her son had found a cat at Camp Carlisle, a Marine base, and this cat was living with her while her son is in school. This cat does not get along with her cat, although it gets along swimmingly with her Pomeranian. Anyway. Long story short, I agreed to have her bring this cat to us--just to see. I decided that unless I really liked him from the start, we wouldn't keep him. Well, we really liked him from the start. And now we love him. He is oddly mild-mannered for a cat, and hardly anything phases him! I'm finding that the maintenance isn't nearly as overwhelming as I thought it would be. Reed scoops the box, Jaxon pours the food. Oh, and his name is Carlisle. Jaxon says "Caw-lye-owe" and Reed mostly calls him "Carlos". (Hey! Carlisle is a tough name for a kid to say.) Savanna loves him and actually took a weird sort of step to him today. (Weird sort of step: Phill was holding her hand, and he let go for a second, after which she moved one foot forward. No holding. But she can't stand on her own yet, of course, and she's not too enthused about crawling.)

Jaxon yelled, "Kitty Carlisle!" and for some reason, it sounded familiar. I googled it. This is why it sounded familiar. So now, finally, some pictures of our newest celebrity: