Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gross, Grosser, Grossest (and one Good)

I'm writing this mainly for my memory (not really sure it's something I want to remember - but the last part's good at least).

So yesterday we got home from playing with friends and I knew that my kids needed a bath. I also knew that the lawn needed to be mowed and that there was impending rain. It may come as a shocker to anyone who knows me, but I'm kind of a multi-tasker (in case it wasn't obvious). Anyway, I threw my kids in the bath and told Sophia to watch everyone and that I was going to go mow really quickly. I should probably win Mom of the Year for this one. Sophia really is good at watching Mabel and I wasn't too worried about it.

Anyway, we have a cherry tree in our backyard that has been dying for the last few years. We attributed it to old age and the fact that sometimes trees die. The grass grows right up to the trunk (really bad for trees, I know) and so I bumped the tree as I was mowing around it. Right then out of a crack of the base of the tree millions of earwigs came pouring out. It seriously was like a scene from a PBS special on earwigs. It was so gross! Those suckers seriously just kept on comin. I did not take the picture above (I didn't want to remember this experience that much) but it was pretty close to that gross. I screamed, freaked out and then ran to get the bottle of insecticide concentrate. I totally poured the whole bottle all over them and down the crack. I'm pretty sure I managed to give myself an early death from exposure but there was absolutely no time to measure and fill the sprayer with water.

Doug of course happened to be at Youth Conference and was not around to witness this wonderful scene. I was trying to do him a favor by mowing so that he wouldn't have to when he got home today and this is what I got. No good deed goes unpunished right?

I immediately came inside and texted him about the fiasco and my body was seriously crawling for hours. So creepy. I realized that we've had them in our house more lately but once again, I attributed that to the fact that sometimes you get a bug or two in your house. I've since realized there's a freaking infestation in our backyard and that it may be more of a problem that I thought! I have a brother-in-law who works for Stewarts Pest Control and he said that they've gotten really bad in the past few weeks. I can definitely attest to that.

Anyway, so after I came inside I realized that my kids were dressed in jammies and playing (except Mabel who was crawling around naked). I forgot that they had been in the bath and I wondered if the jammy fairy had stopped by and gotten them all dressed. Sophia said she washed everyone's hair, got them all out and got them all in jammies (except she didn't know how to get Mabel's diaper on but she did get her a diaper and jammies - side note: she has since made me teach her how to put Mabel's diaper on because I'm pretty sure with a mom like me, she knows the opporunity will arise again when she needs to get her baby sister dressed). I seriosuly was looking around to see who had helped them. I was so amazed and so proud of her. I can't believe how much she is growing. I'm pretty sure I'm ready to leave them with her the next time I go to the store. JK. Kind of.

Friday, July 29, 2011

She's Famous!

(Okay Stacy, please forgive me for posting this! I should have asked first so I hope you don't mind!)

My awesome friend and neighbor Stacy who has a blog (or two) and who builds her own furniture and who goes on TV all the time was featured in the Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. I'm so proud of her (and totally jealous - not because I wasn't in the magazine but because I'm not that talented!). Anyway, she totally deserves it and I'm glad that other people are recognizing and appreciating her talent. It's in the August issue in case you haven't seen it yet. And Stacy, seriously don't forget the little people when we come to a book signing (or something) someday!

Food Week and Other Things

This week we had fun talking about food! It was fun to brush off some old things from my BYU Dietetics Program days including this book. I think my mom gave this to me at one point in school and I love it! My kids enjoyed it as well. I know the Food Pyramid is way old school by now and we've moved onto MyPlate (last I knew it was the newer pyramid that was more like a bar graph - apparently I'm not staying on top of things like I thought!) We also made food collages and tried to find a picture of at least one food in each group.We also of course had a little fun in the kitchen. I know this is not a healthy treat but there's room for a little bit right? I've never made cream puffs before and they were pretty easy and turned out ok.A little while ago Sophia asked me what mousse is. We decide to make some and put it in our puffs. They were pretty tasty!

We also talked a little bit about our senses (mostly smell and taste). We did an experiment where you put mustard under your nose and then eat a piece of chocolate to see how smells can effect taste. Sophia said it really didn't taste too different but she loves mustard so both tastes were great for her!
Here's a few random pictures. We were at my mom's house yesterday and she had these cute little tiara hair clips. My girls had a blast with them. I thought Mabel made for a sweet little princess.
She also enjoyed feeding herself yogurt the other day. Not sure how much actually made it in her mouth but it sure made her face cute! Sophia thought she looked like a clown.
Here's a few random pictures that were supposed to be in our last post. When we were in Flowell the girls got a little restless while we were waiting for the next activity. They would not stop asking me for something to do so I finally told them to build a bird's nest with leaves and grass. Here's what came up with. I love the pathway to the arch. That's my kind of bird's nest!

Finally here's one of Sophia and Bridger sharing a ride on the pogo stick at Wales. Two peas in a pod I tell ya.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Recent Reads

It's been awhile since I've mentioned good books I've read lately so I thought I'd do a quick post about that. Most of the books I read are recommended to me by my mom. She's a librarian in a children's library so a lot of them are young adult fiction. They really are my kind of read though. They're usually short and sweet which is about all I have time for these days! One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Summary: "Eleven-year-old Delphine has it together. Even though her mother, Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, seven years ago. Even though her father and Big Ma will send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with Cecile for the summer. And even though Delphine will have to take care of her sisters, as usual, and learn the truth about the missing pieces of the past.

When the girls arrive in Oakland in the summer of 1968, Cecile wants nothing to do with them. She makes them eat Chinese takeout dinners, forbids them to enter her kitchen, and never explains the strange visitors with Afros and black berets who knock on her door. Rather than spend time with them, Cecile sends Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern to a summer camp sponsored by a revolutionary group, the Black Panthers, where the girls get a radical new education.

Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, one crazy summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls in search of the mother who abandoned them—an unforgettable story told by a distinguished author of books for children and teens, Rita Williams-Garcia."

My thoughts: I love the strength that Delphine exhibited throughout the book. It was such a confusing time in her life and she did a wonderful job staying composed through all of it. She was the mother figure her sisters needed when she was longing so badly to have one for herself. This book was also a good history lesson at the same time. You really don't learn too much about the Black Panthers in school. Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Summary: "Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.
Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it’s just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to “Leave Well Enough Alone.”
Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town."
My thoughts: This was a sort of coming of age book and Abilene very much resembled a Scout character. The story got a little hard to follow at parts because it kept alternating between what was happening in the present and what happened about 30 years before. Also, it's about a 400 page book and it honestly could have been about half that long. There was a lot of description in the stories and in the end it all came together nicely. The last 30 pages were the best and I couldn't put it down at that point. Overall, I loved hearing about the town's past through the voice of Miss Sadie the Diviner. It was also fun to read about the role of each of the townspeople and how they play into each other. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (a Corretta Scott King award winner)
Summary: "Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole school—but no one knows it. Most people—her teachers and doctors included—don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows . . . but she can't, because Melody can't talk. She can't walk. She can't write.
Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind—that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice . . . but not everyone around her is ready to hear it. "

Here's what it says on the back cover: "Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes - each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands. Deep within me, words pile up in huge drifts. Mountains of phrases and sentences and connected ideas. Clever expressions. Jokes. Love songs... But only in my head. I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old."
My thoughts: I first thought this book was pretty predictable which was ok because it was a good story full of great characters. It definitely was full of surprises and kept me reading. It was so fascinating to see inside Melody's mind and the way she wanted to present herself to a world that only saw her as a disabled child in a wheelchair. She definitely had a voice and she wanted to make it known. And she did. I was so proud of her and how she had the world figured out at 11 years old. I definitely recommend this one.

My sister-in-law recommended these next two to me. They're the first 2 books in a 3 book series. They were really good and made for some good entertainment reading. They are pretty similar to the Twilight series if you liked those at all. They're written by a first time LDS author (they don't have any churchy stuff in them though) and they really were pretty good. The third book came out last month but my library doesn't have it yet and I'm too cheap to get it.The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
Summary: "Move over Edward - Dante is bound to eclipse you!" - Emily Watts, bestselling author

His past. Her future. Can love bring them together in time?
Abby's senior year of high school is going according to plan: good friends, cute boyfriend, and college applications in the mail. But when Dante Alexander, foreign-exchange student from Italy, steps into her life, he turns it upside down. He's mysterious, and interesting, and unlike anyone she's ever met before. Abby can't deny the growing attraction she feels for him. Nor can she deny the unusual things that seem to happen when Dante is around. Soon Abby finds herself drawn into a mystery whose roots reach into sixteenth-century Florence, and she uncovers a dangerous truth that threatens not only her future but the lives of those she loves.
The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangum
Summary: "The hourglass door has closed behind Dante, sending him back in time to hunt down Zo, Tony, and V. Abby knows that Dante, as a Master of Time, is the only one who can stop them from destroying time itself. She also knows that he will need her help. But almost immediately, things start to change, and Abby’s worst fears are realized when Zo begins targeting her past specifically.
As Abby’s world fractures around her, she must face a terrible truth: either Dante didn’t make it through the door, or he is lost forever. So with Dante’s blueprints in hand, she begins construction on a new door, a new time machine that will either save Dante—or doom him.
With each new change that ripples into her present, Abby's life continues to spiral out of control. Her relationships with Jason, Natalie, and even her family are threatened to the breaking point—and beyond. Zo’s power is greater than Abby ever imagined, but as she struggles to free Dante, she receives help from an unexpected—and unlikely—ally."
My thoughts on both books: These were very entertaining, quick reads. She did a good job telling the story without leaving too many open ends. It was believable enough and a fun concept to write about. Abby was a little similar to Bella in a lot of ways but there also were enough differences. I can't wait for the third book!

So there you have it for now. What have you read lately that I need to get my hands on? Any recommendations?

Wild Wild West

We had fun last week talking about the Wild Wild West. We talked about fun things like cowboys, horses, and pioneers (perfect for the holiday over the weekend!)

This picture was supposed to come later in the post but I accidentally deleted it. I love this baby!One of the days we cooked cookies in the dutch oven to talk about how they used to cook their food. They turned out ok.We also went to Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point. The girls always love going here and had a blast riding the horses. We also had a fun wagon ride. We were luck enough to go with our cousins Elyse, Elizabeth and Emily so that made it even more fun!
Here's Sophia and Bubs.Mabel was pretty content to hang out in the stroller. We also had a Pioneer Treasure Hunt (thanks again for all the ideas Lauren!)We even found some gold at the end! We also had fun dressing up like cowboys and watching a movie about being a cowboy.
Mabel even took a turn at trying on the attire. She wasn't too fond of it. On Saturday we went to visit one of Doug's friends and coworkers in Flowell, UT. For those of you who don't know where Flowell is, it's about 7 miles west of Fillmore. We stopped in Fillmore to tour the Territorial Statehouse. Also for those of you who don't know, Fillmore was the first capitol of Utah and this was supposed to be the capitol building. Truman Angel (the same man who designed the Salt Lake Temple) designed this building as well. It was supposed to have 4 wings with a big dome in the center. This south wing was the only thing that was ever built before they decided to move the capitol to Salt Lake City. Kind of interesting. Here's the girls inside.Enough of the history lesson. Moving on. We had a pretty good time in Flowell. It happened to be their town festival at the time. We played a lot of fun games and had a good time riding the bukcing bronco. The girls also got to ride another pony. And she was a beautiful one too.They also had a petting zoo and some fun carnival games. There also was a huge lava flow on the outside of town. In the middle of the flow there's an ice cave that we hiked to. The girls were only a little bit hot walking over the hot black rocks in 100 degrees. It was crazy how desolate it was. It was also a little weird to see these huge black rocks in the middle of farm land. Here's Sophia at the cave.Here's the girls getting ready to get prizes in the straw dive.To continue on with talking about cowboys and the pioneers, we spent the rest of the weekend at Doug's parents pioneer home in Wales. We took a drive to the Manti temple to talk about how the pioneers built that temple. We also stopped for a snow cone. These babies were only $.75! What a steal! The girls were totally in heaven.
Overall it was a great week and a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Time

We had so much fun with family in town last week! I can't believe it's over. My sister Eliza was here with her 4 beautiful children and Melissa was here with one of her boys. It was so fun! One of the days we went bowling at BYU and then made a trip to the bookstore. Here we are after we got our candy fill at the bookstore. Here's Melissa's sweet Lucas enjoying the bowling.

Here's Lilly taking a turn. They had so much fun. Definitely something we need to do more often.We also still squeezed in an activity to keep up with the summer plan. This week was space week. We watched "Space Camp" (such a classic! I couldn't believe it had Joaquin Phoenix in it too! He was the most annoying kid in it when we'd watch it growing up), "The Jetsons" and I took the kids to see "Planet 51". Definitely DO NOT recommend that one. We also checked out some books from the library in addition to all the movie watching. We also made some fun planet collages.Here's a random picture but we also spotted this child in our house. I love how she cleans up incognito. She'd hate it if I knew she actually knew how to clean up!

Anyway, back to the fam. On Sunday we had a big Sunday dinner at my house to celebrate having the sistas in town. Mabel had so much fun playing with uncle Jason (as she always does).

Jason, Lucas and Mabel.
Me and Jason. He's my oldest brother. I love how he had to scrunch so low to be at my level!
My and my sistas! (and Kate)
Cute Kate. I love this girl so much! She is such a hoot! She seriously always kept us on our toes and always had us rolling on the ground with her hilarious antics! I didn't get a picture of it but if you ask her what the hippo does in "Madagascar" she turns around and puts her little bootie in the air and says "I like to move it move it". So funny. I seriously love her.
3 silly girls (sorry for cutting off your face Cakes!) Lilly and Kate were inseparable the whole time. I think it helps that they're both two cute blondies.