Monday, June 30, 2008

Salt Lake or Bust!

We have had a wonderful, fun-filled three days with the Condies!! Wendy (Tony's sister) and her 4 cute kids stopped at our house for a couple days on their way to Salt Lake City (from Louisiana) to spend July with Grammy Joan.

They arrived Friday evening just in time to play for a few minutes and fill up on some pizza. Saturday, we packed a lunch and hit the zoo! (Darling picture...maybe because I'm not in it! Ha!) Then we had a BBQ dinner, the big kids and Wendy got a tour of Tony's haunted office (a story for another day) we put the kids to bed and scared the crud out of everyone watching I Am Legend.

Sunday, we went to church, the big kids, Wendy, Josh and I went to the Trail Center and then picked up Grammy Joan at the airport (she's driving back to Utah with Wendy and the kids).

When it got dark enough, we caught fireflies for the kids to take to Utah to show their friends...they apparently don't have fireflies in Utah. Sad but true. If you look closely, I even got lucky and caught a couple of bugs on film.

Today, we played hard, hung out at the house, and hit the new sprinkler park by our house with all seven kids. It was a gorgeous day and the kids were delighted to frolic in the sun and water...even Josh.

They'll head out tomorrow morning early, and make their way across the plains. Thanks so much for the fun, fun visit. We love you and look forward to returning the favor in November! Be safe...

Remember to visit Tip Junkie for a chance to WIN Monday through Friday for the next 5 weeks.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tiny Dancer

We're about on our way out the door to church, but I wanted to post a scrapbook page I finished last night. I wanted to do this page while Anna's dance year was still fresh in my mind. What darling, darling girls.

I'll be back to post more Monday...we are having a blast with Wendy and her kids.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fresh Squeezed Fabrics & Tip Junkie 20 Day Giveaway

Randi, who hosts a great recipe box swap the first Thursday of every month, is opening a Etsy fabric store! Her selection is fabulous and the coordinating prints just scream to be made into aprons or diaper totes. Check out Fresh Squeezed Fabrics here.

And starting on Monday, June 30th, Tip Junkie will be having a different giveaway every day (Monday-Friday) for 4 weeks in celebration of the site's first birthday. All you have to do is visit Tip Junkie and leave a comment. A winner will randomly chosen the following morning and the process will begin all over again! Just as a heads-up, my day is Tuesday, July 22nd. But you have to visit Tip Junkie that day to find out what it is and to enter to win!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Say Wha?

Tonight at dinner, Sam was so excited to tell us about a family tree that he is drawing. Since we have a bunch of family coming into town this weekend, he wants to have them sign his family tree. Tony decided to channel his excitement into a learning experience.

Tony: "Sam, who can sign your family tree?"
Sam: "Everybody...grandmas, grandpas, uncles, cousins...everybody."
Tony: "How about nieces and you know what those are?"

Sam gets a puzzled look on his face and we can tell he's pondering deeply.

Sam: "Oh! (and I quote) An ef-you is..."

I almost spit my dessert across the table. Tony almost did too.

Well, I guess we DID ask...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tagged Again

This fun photo tag is from Jenny. You're not supposed to stage anything...just click away!

My laundry pile. Don't be too impressed...yesterday was laundry day and although they've made a valient attempt, the kids have yet to completely fill the basket since then.

Our most popular potty. One of the reasons we finished the basement was so we had a bathroom off the playroom. Yet 9 times out of 10, the kids still make the pilgrimage upstairs to use their bathroom. Obviously, they got their logical thinking gene from their mother.

My favorite shoes. Currently, it's these brown Mudd sandals. Love 'em.

My closet. Please don't make fun of me because my clothes are organized by style and color. And my shoes. And my handbags. And my sweaters. Sigh.

My fridge. Went to the Commissary today so we are stocked with milk. Also with fresh blueberries and sugar snap latest summer obsessions.

My kitchen sink. Not too interesting...I'm just following the rules.

My favorite room. Gotta be the family room/play room/computer room/where I work room.

What my kids are doing right now. Sleeping. Probably what I should be doing right now, too. Isn't she precious?

Self portrait. I'm already in my jammies ready for bed, so you get a lovely shot of my feet tonight. Too bad because my hair looks pretty cute...I got a darling trim today...thanks, Albanie!

Rosanne tagged me with the "5 Things" tag, and I've already done that one so I'm just linking it here.

And last, but not least, a Random Five tag from Martie.

5 things in my handbag:
1. Wallet
2. Chapstick
3. Keys
4. Sunglasses
5. Gum

5 Favorite things in the room I'm in right now:
1. Tony
2. My sewing machine
3. All my family scrapbooks
4. Jaws
5. Tony

5 things I've always wanted to do:
1. Go to Italy
2. Be a mommy
3. Write museum guides for children
4. Be hopelessly in love
5. Go to grad school

5 things I'm currently into:
1. Reading to my kids
2. Summer salads
3. My circle scallop punch
4. The latest Patricia Cornwell
5. Catching fireflies

Play along if you'd like!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Toads Are Our Friends

When we finished the addition of a guest room/bathroom in our basement last fall, we had to dig out an egress window for the bedroom to satisfy city code. Since Sam loves to sleep down in the guest room when we don't have company, we added a ladder for easy escape should the need arise...the window well is about 4 feet deep. This Spring, we have had a couple of animals fall into the window well and get stuck. The first was a baby bunny (so cute) and despite his frustration over the rabbits eating his vegetable garden, Tony gave in and helped the baby bunny out of the window well. But only after the kids had named it "Peter" and fed it lettuce and carrots. This weekend, Sam announced that there were two toads in our window well. And after consulting his book of animals, he concluded that they looked the most like common toads. Whew. I was worried they might be uncommon vampire toads. So last night, Tony played the hero once again and used Anna's $1 butterfly net from Target to rescue the toads from the window well.

I'll be examining Tony for warts for the next few weeks, be assured of that.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Run, Don't Walk... your local Target. They have these darling shallow star dishes (in blue, white and red) in the $1 Spot. My wheels are already spinning for July visiting teaching ideas!!

Everyone have a good weekend? I watched Kung Fu Panda, sitting between two of my favorite little people.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mexicorn Salad

After we moved to Spokane in 1999, I met a fabulous girl in my ward. Her husband had also deployed, and we quickly got to be close friends, keeping each other company, rollerblading, stitching, and making cards. She moved by the end of that first year in Spokane and we kept in touch sporadically during her family's adventures stationed in Germany. She has since moved back to the states and we email frequently. She is adorable. And every time she sends me a little package, she includes a recipe. They have always been winners. So thank you, Jeni, for our new summer obsession.

Mexicorn Salad

2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cup Jack/Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can mexicorn, drained and rinsed

Combine all above in a large bowl. Mix the juice of 2 limes, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, a pinch of salt, and garlic powder to taste and drizzle over salad. Serve with corn chips.

And since Jeni doesn't have a blog (yet), I had to brag for her. She was recently the featured artist in Scoop magazine...a local interest magazine for her area. Congratulations, Jeni!

You can also see some of her work by visiting The Plum Tree's blog here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Uncle Sam Windsock

I've had this project tucked away from the July 14, 1998 issue of Woman's Day magazine, if you can believe it. It's so old in fact that they don't even have it archived on their website so I'll do my best to give good instructions. I'm usually not one for craft foam, but this project was too cute not to try today...I've been saving an empty oatmeal box exactly for this project. Sam was kind enough to help while Anna was at a playdate.

1. Trace the end of the empty 42 ounce oatmeal box on a blue sheet of craft foam and trace another circle about 2 inches larger than the first circle to make the hat brim.

2. Hot glue three inches of white fabric (I used white muslin) to the inside bottom of the oatmeal box cutting away excess. Rip along bottom of faric at desired length (mine are about 36" long). Then rip up from the bottom every inch creating the strips of Uncle Sam's beard.

3. Glue 16 3/4" x 6 1/2 " strip of blue foam and glue around box, flush at the top. Trim ends so they match in the back. Slip the brim up from the bottom of the box and glue. (I used a strip of white foam along the bottom even though the directions didn't call for it so that the brim is sandwiched between the upper blue strip and the lower white strip.)

4. Cut a 3" x 4" flesh colored rectangle for face. Paint black dot eyes and pink cheeks. When paint is dry, add white dot highlights to the eyes. Cut out a white foam mustache and glue both face and mustache to front of windstock below the hat brim.

5. Cut 1" x 2" strips of white and red foam and glue them around the top of the brim. Cut 5 large stars out of yellow foam and glue along top of hat.

6. Use an awl to punch 3 evenly spaced holes along the top of the box and thread through string to create a hanger for your windsock.

Fly with Pride!

Monday, June 16, 2008

CWS & Look Who's Walking!

We have crossed another thing off our summer to-do list! On Saturday, Tony took the two big kids up to Rosenblatt Stadium to watch Stanford and Florida State slug it out in the series opener of the College World Series. When the game got moving a little slow, they headed over to the zoo (the stadium and the zoo share a parking lot) and hit a couple favorite attractions. Of course, the minute they hit the parking lot, the game heated back up and ended in a 16-5 blowout for Stanford.

And look who decided to walk!

Who knew all the inspiration he needed was a pair of Mr. Potatohead glasses. Hum.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To My Dad...

...I hope you have a wonderful Father's Day. I love you, BIIIIG!

Get the popcorn pan warmed up...we'll be there soon!

Friday, June 13, 2008

"By Small & Simple Things..."

Tony is very hard to shop for. So every June tends to be a bit hard with both Father's Day and his birthday to scrounge up gifts for. But this year, I was inspired by two great ladies with an absolutely fabulous idea for Tony's Father's Day gift.

My friend Albanie, who lives in Costa Rica (how cool is that?!), took pictures of her two kids in their daddy's work shirt as part of her husband's Father's Day gift. Which got my rusty wheels a spinnin'. And my sister-in-law Wendy gave me the perfect caption to complete the gift from Alma 37:6. And voila! Tony's Father's Day gift.

Thanks for your inspiration, ladies. You make my world a brighter place.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Peace, Love, Dance

All the drama, whining and tender feelings that come with having a daughter are SO WORTH IT for the mommy/daughter benefits of weekends like this one! Friday was Anna's last day of dance before the summer break and the last chance to practice before the dress rehearsal and recital. During class time I got to hang out with the other 3 moms of Anna's classmates who I have come to adore while visiting with them during dance class for the last eight months. The girls gave Miss Jennifer a framed photo of themselves that they had signed their names on to remember them by. It turned out so darn cute and Miss Jennifer was so pleased. Then we had the big dress rehearsal on Saturday...complete with hair, full stage make-up and costume. We were only allowed to tape the dress rehearsal and needless to say, the girls all did better during the actual performance. Please excuse the HORRENDOUS quality of the video...I have had major issues getting these tapes onto my PC. But you get the idea of how darling these girls are.

My favorite is Anna giving my sister Megan a "thumbs up" about three-quarters of the way through "Pineapple Princess". Priceless.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rice Crispy Treat Worms

Despite rumors to the contrary, I have not dropped off the face of the earth. After a crazy couple of days with no computer time, my google reader is exploding and I'm finally sitting down to catch up.

Several weeks ago, I came across the cutest treat project over at Ramblings of a Crazy Woman. Jennwa has the best crafts for kids and these rice crispy treat worms were a huge hit on play dates last week.

Use your favorite rice crispy treat recipe and make a batch in a 9x13" pan. Cut them in half longways and then across the short way to create 12 longish worm bodies. The kids used strips of fruit leather to make stripes on the bodies and then I wrapped them in plastic wrap. Next, we used pipe cleaners to make antennae, the kids made them curly and then glued googly eyes on the front with tacky glue. The kids had a ball, and loved sharing their creations with their friends.

Sam was sure to straighten me out on two things, however. Apparently, worms have neither eyes or antennae. Just so you know.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

April's Baby Bracelet Giveaway

My sister April has just extended the deadline for her darling baby bracelet giveaway. Hop on over here and comment for your chance to win!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Greek Village Salad

Thanks to Randi for hosting her Recipe Box Swap. There is no theme this month, so I chose one of our favorite summer fares. I actually found this recipe in the food section of our paper. The best part about this recipe? Eating the leftovers in the whole wheat pita the next day. YUMMY!

Greek Village Salad

2 small green bell peppers, cored and sliced into strips
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into thick rounds and quartered
1 small red onion, cut into thin slivers
3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2" wedges
18-24 Kalamata olives, halved
1 Tbsp. capers, drained
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. dried oregano

Place the peppers, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, olives, capers and cheese into a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, then with olive oil and vinegar. Crumble oregano over the salad and then toss lightly.

**Updated** We were in the midst of a killer tornado warning all last night and luckily, our immediate area was spared from any major damage. We did have crazy rain, hail and more scary wind than I have ever seen before. The kids slept through the whole thing, if you can believe it. Our friends the Buxtons took some great pictures during the storm you can see here. Have a good one!

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Spiritual Recharge

Our ward in Montana handed out the coolest thing to the fathers last year on Father's Day Sunday.

It was a 2-pack of AA batteries with this great message from The Church News and a quote from President Hinckley:

"During a power outage, have you ever reached for a flashlight, flipped the switch, and watched as a dim beam flicked to life briefly, then went out? The result of old and not very powerful batteries. What could have been a powerful aid during an emergency becomes a useless tool, in need of new or recharged batteries.

Such also is our own spirituality if we ignore it and, like our flashlight, put it aside, unused for long periods of time, allowing our bright light to dim somewhat because of neglect. It is certainly easier—even in times of emergency—to draw upon our spiritual reserves if they are properly maintained then hunt for them worrisomely when forced to do so."
--The Church News, June 2007

“We need to build ourselves spiritually. We live in a world of rush and go, of running here and there and in every direction. We are very busy people. We have so much to do. We need to get off by ourselves once in awhile and think of the spiritual things and build ourselves spiritually.”
--President Gordon B. Hinckley

I wanted to share it because I thought it was a really great much for the ladies you visit teach as well as the special fathers in your ward family.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Giveaway Winner & BBQ Chicken Pizza

First things random number generator (a.k.a. my son, Sam) chose #15, so the winner of the pinwheel pin is Lizzy at My Ice Cream Diary! Thanks everyone for playing along.

I also wanted to share another family dinner favorite from Gooseberry Patch. Enjoy a fabulous Sunday!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
12" baked pizza crust
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4" slices
1 small green pepper, sliced into rounds
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine chicken and BBQ sauce in a large bowl; spread over pizza crust. Arrange onion slices and pepper rings over chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cheese melts.