Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Trail Center

This evening, Tony and I and our friends JoAnn and Will Toronto went to the Mormon Trail Center to see the special traveling exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Trail Center holds a dear place in my heart because we spent many a primary activity chasing kids and begging for reverence in the place. So tonight, it was so great to get to take some time and really experience the Trail Center. Having experienced several Nebraska winters already, it is incredible to believe the conditions the pioneers experienced during their stay at Winter Quarters...a time in which the death rate was so high, nearly every family lost at least one family member during their stay in Winter Quarters.
I love this quote by Brigham Young, found hanging on a banner above an exhibit detailing the life of the saints as they prepared for their journey to Utah. It certainly applied to the pioneers as they scratched their way across the country to their new home, but I find it a subtle reminder to me about my responsibilities today also. The Dead Sea Scrolls were great...
but my favorite part of the trip, as always, was viewing the temple at dusk from the cemetery adjacent to the temple plot.

Seeing the tombstones in the same frame as the temple speaks to my soul about the purpose of the temple and the blessings that come from within.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer Berry Crisp

We had our friends the Broughs over for FHE tonight and so I used them as willing guinea pigs for a new recipe. It won raves, so I'm posting it to share. ENJOY!

Summer Berry Crisp

2 cups blueberries
2 cups blackberries
2 cups raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold butter

Combine berries with sugar, flour and cinnamon and place in 9 X 13 pan. Combine topping ingredients and work together with a pastry knife into crumbles. Sprinkle on berries. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool on rake slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Random Thoughts on a Saturday

I love Saturday. It is the day I get to sleep in while Tony gets up with the kids and makes waffles and eggs for breakfast. I love to wake up to their sweet giggles as Tony chases them around and "Nichols tickle torture"s them, and then drifting back to doze for another little while. But what made this Saturday even more fun was that my sister Megan stayed overnight at our house. She kept me company way into the evening as I worked on projects and we got to of the most wonderful things about being with Megan. She helped me polish off a half a bag of milk chocolate cherry cordial Hershey kisses(the best kind of sister)...which brings me to my first random thought.
I found these great Hershey kisses at the commissary this week and got some for our family to enjoy and a bunch for Tony's candy bowl at his office. I am so proud of my sweet husband and his dedication to his job and the sacrifices he makes to serve our wonderful country. I love that the kisses match his desert BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform for all you normal people out there). What a blessing he is!
My second random thought...just wanted to share my latest project in preparation for my Christmas craft show...made these cute ornaments. I made multiples of them all, but just wanted to show some example. Thanks for humoring me. I LOVE Saturdays!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Plus des Papillons

The first day Sam and I walked to the school, we noticed that the wrought iron fence that surrounds our little neighborhood is topped at every post with a butterfly. Just another example of Papillion charm.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tummy Time

To all the other mothers of newborns out there, I apologize. But I simply have the best baby in the world. He rarely fusses and is content to be cooed at, swing in his swing, and eat. The kid is a breeze. He barely makes a noise when he gets his shots, didn't even throw a fit when they put him in that contraption to take his chest x-rays, and didn't make a peep on any of his four plane trips.

Just don't put him on his tummy. He can get there by himself, but don't you dare make him stay to screaming in 1.4 seconds. Amazing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Name Magnets

Just a quick post today to show off a cool thing I did this weekend. As a neurotic neat-freak (and proud of it!) I'm always on the lookout for ways to simplify and organize my home. With our new fridge, magnets only stick to the side, leaving considerably less room than this family of 5 actually needs. So I bought some heavy-duty magnets at Target with a 1" round top. I then printed out our family member names on different colorcard stock, used a 1" punch to center and punch them out, glued them on the circle magnet, and covered it with a 1" page pebble to make it waterproof. Turned out pretty cool and it makes my fridge look neat and organized. Best yet, the magnets are really strong so we won't lose anything in the "no-man's-land" between the fridge and the counter...

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Cavity Conversation

The following is an actual conversation that took place at our dinner table late last week.

Sam: "Daddy, what is a cavity?"

Tony: "You mean a cavity that is in your mouth?"

Sam: "Yes, daddy, a cavity that is in your mouth."

Tony: "Well, when we don't brush our teeth very well, our teeth get little holes in them that hurt and they are called cavities. Then we go to the dentist, just like grandpa, and he fills them."

Sam: "How does he fill them?"

Tony: "Well, he gives us a shot in our mouth by where the tooth hurts and then he uses a drill to make a hole in our tooth and make it clean. Then he fills it with a special kind of material to keep it from getting a bigger cavity."

Just then Anna very quietly gets up from the table, right in the middle of dinner, and heads down the hall.

Tony: "Hey Anna! Whereya going?"

Anna: "I'm gonna go brush my teeth."

That's our girl. Thanks for always making us laugh.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Missing Box

Seriously, of all the boxes. THE box. The one that holds the most precious of my craft supplies. The one that holds my stitchery patterns that have taken years to collect. The one that has an entire flat bin full of Stampin' Up stamp sets. The one that holds all my Family Home Evening and sharing time resources. Yep. That's the one. The ONLY box that our movers lost.

Lost, that is, until the phone call today that said that they had found a box and that they would be delivering it this afternoon. HOORAY!!

Oh yeah, they found the futon, too...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Morning Charts

I took an idea that my mom used with us when we were children and applied it to my morning routine this year for Sam and Anna...the morning chart!

They are laminated so they can be used with a wet erase marker and we can reuse them week after week. (I also made a reminder chart for Sam so he will remember what he needs to take to school each day, and I get a kiss out of the deal, too!) Then I strung them on huge binder rings and hung them on their respective bedroom doorknobs. I love that they can get themselves ready, and I am not constantly repeating myself during our early morning press!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A New Year

Today was Sam's first day at Walnut Creek Elementary school AND as a 1st grader. I am so amazed at his resiliency...after a summer full of hotels, and living out of a suitcase, he was still so anxious to begin the school year.

Grandma and Megan were still here so just Sam and I were able to walk to school alone together and talk about some of the things he wants to do this year (he wants to learn to be a waiter). We got to school with just a few moments to put his backpack in his cubby, get out his little box of new school supplies, and to find his seat. I got out to the hall just as the bell rang and I must admit, I almost had a panic attack. How could I leave my little boy at a strange school, with a strange teacher, in a strange new place?? But then his little class all stood up together and I was stuck in my spot, watching my little boy put his hand on his heart and say the pledge along with his classmates, and then sit down. I caught his eye and he blew me a kiss. I cried all the way home.

Have a wonderful year, Sam. We love you and are so proud of you. Enjoy your year as a "Wildcat!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cookies, Anyone?

While I was stocking my new kitchen with the essentials after our move, I came across an almond cookie recipe on the back of my new bottle of almond extract. I have collected several almond cookie recipes lately and none have failed to delight. So I'm passing another winner along.

Lucky for us, my "baby" sister Megan is here, visiting while she gets settled into her apartment in Lincoln...she will be starting graduate school in just a few weeks at the University of Nebraska. What a blessing that she will be right down the road! And how ironic that she is a dietitian...helping us make cookies...

Almond White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cup slivered almonds

Beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and extract; beat until well blended. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture until well mixed. Stir in chocolate and almonds. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until edges are browned. Cool on wire racks.

Monday, August 13, 2007


153 change of address cards, addressed to 29 states, 4 foreign countries, and FINALLY off my to-do list. Watch your mailboxes... here they come!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mexican Chicken!

I'm all for crock pot cooking. Especially on Sunday. There is nothing like coming home from church to the smell of dinner already half done. And thanks to the fabulous Jeni Harmon, I had a new recipe to try this week.

Easy Mexican Chicken

3 large chicken breasts (I used about 10 chicken tenderloins)
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
1 small jar of salsa

Cook all ingredients in a slow cooker for 8 hours. Remove chicken pieces and shred (I cut mine into very thin strips) and put back into pot for another hour. Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce with chips, sour cream, cheese, avocado...

YUMMY! Thanks Jeni.

Speaking of slow cookers, my mom turned me on to these slow cooker liners. I tried one with this meal for the first time and it was fantastic. No scrubbing at all. Worth a try.

Little Boy Blue

We are blessed with three wonderful children who are so creative, inspiring and hilarious. Unfortunately, one of the things that they also do extremely well is get croup. SCARY croup...croup that turns into pneumonia croup. Now, I know from numerous ER docs that no baby has ever died of croup. I always wonder how many moms of croupy babies have died after a nervous breakdown and countless nights of interrupted and worried sleep, though. We were hoping that the croup gene would pass our little Joshua by, but unfortunately, he woke up on Friday morning with a seal bark that got progressively worse. So I ran him over to the clinic to get checked out really quickly. After a blood draw, a breathing treatment, and 2 sets of x-rays, they thought they saw pneumonia in his little 4-month-old lungs...thus our first trip to the ER with our little guy.

Luckily, everything checked out okay and after another breathing treatment, a steroid sip followed by a milk chaser, we were able to bring him home.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Our Town

I have finally joined the blogging band-wagon and look forward to sharing glimpses of our crazy life with friends and family a little more easily. Feel free to shouldn't have to register to comment. My goal is at least once a week, so check back often. We have a lot to catch up on.

But first things first. We are settled into our new home in Papillion, Nebraska...recently named #6 on Money Magazine's best places to live in America--we'd put it closer to #1. As with many of Nebraska's delightful towns, you don't actually pronouce it like you think you should. After 6 years of French studies, I believe that "papillon" is the French word for "butterfly" (pap-E-o). Our town is spelled Papillion and is pronounced "pap-ill-E-on." Still hurts my delicate French ears every time I hear it. Just wait until we share how we pronouce "Beatrice," "Kearney," and "Norfolk"...

This is our water tower. What a delight for the kids to know that we are close to home when they see our special water tower with the monarch butterfly on it. LOVE it. One of the JOYS of living in Papillion. We look forward to discovering the many more.