Thursday, September 25, 2008


No matter how I try to stop it, our family is growing. At each birthday, I warn my kids not to turn another year older. No, do NOT grow another inch. But alas, who listens to mom? Not my kids. They are getting older, and taller and taller until riding in the car is more of a chore than anything..

"Get away from me." "You're on my spot!" "I want to sit in the FRONT!" "Move over!" "Mom, it's my turn to bring a friends, he got to last time." etc.

Not only do my kids not listen to me but my SUB is quiting on me as well. Little by little things are going wrong with it. I guess it is a consolation to know that suburbans are one of the hardest cars to break into. I actually found this out when I locked both sets of keys in the car at the gym a few years ago. The AAA guy told me that even with his slim jim it was going to be hard to open the door as they are the hardest car to get into. This actually proved to be true when I woke up one day, several months later, to find that both handles on the doors were almost falling out. Someone had tried to break in on BOTH sides. They didn't succeed but tweaked my car (carma to them!). $150 EACH for new handles. I'll live without them. (that was just for the parts)

The shop really did not believe me when I first brought it in and said the windshield wipers only work SOME of the time. He gave me "that look" and told me they were working fine when I came to pick it up (fortunately, I had brought it in for something else). To my satisfaction, it actually cooperated by not working when I tried to start them upon pickup. The shop guy gave me the "oh, sorry." look. $380 to fix windshield wipers? Forget it. It rarely rains here anyways.

No more kid songs in the car. The CD player has also developed a mind of its own in deciding when to work. I actually miss that.

New tires, new brakes needed, I'll go as long as I can I guess.

The A/C breaks down. No big deal, rolling down the windows to the cool ocean breeze in H.B. is not big deal, even in the summer.

The oil puddles under the rear-end AGAIN. The trailer has pulled the rear-end out. It just can't take it. I like the trailer and the vacations we spend in it.

Then we move to Murrieta in the dead of summer, 100 degree heat, No A/C, BIG DEAL. With all the $$ we have to spend to fix that car knowing the next time we take it on vacation the rear end will probably give again was the deciding factor.. We're getting a new (to us) car.

The old SUB. I sure enjoyed it. It handles like a car, smooth ride, was great and plenty roomy in the day.

But I must admit, it has been "mommed up" If you don't know what that means, please tune in to: My friend Heather posted this on her site. I must unfortunately admit that I have had this service done to my poor SUB as the rear of my car will show. Honestly, my car has never been this filthy! I will miss my flip flops custom made at OC marketplace. It was fun watching people in the parking lot stop to count them all and exclaim on the number 7!

You know those things you say you will NEVER do when you are young and foolhearty? Will I've done it. I've officially become the owner of the mormon mom-mobile to the highest degree. We bought, and I actually wanted the extended 15 passenger van!! I am actually excited to have all the extra room for stuff, friends & fun. Not to mention it is a trailer pulling 1 ton superstar! We are excited to try it out on vaca to Aunt Darlene's this Thanksgiving. A 15 hour drive to Pie Town New Mexico (pop 300) to see Aunt Dar & Uncle Doug on their 160 acre horse ranch equiped with a trailer barn & breakfast with full hookups! (wer are making a stopover in Pheonix to see Uncle John & Aunt Allison on the way.

We purchased this beauty in San Diego. So we decided to do something fun while we were out there. I googled something fun and inexpensive and found the Miramar Marine airplane museum. Of course Kierstin didn't want to go but the rest of us had a blast!

The Planes were so cool!
How does all that metal stay suspended in the air? It's a mystery to me!

We loved it so much we are actually going back to Mira Mar this weekend Oct. 3rd for the airshow they're having. So if you're looking for something to do, come join us! Need a ride? Come by the house and we'll all load in. We have a little extra room now!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

woman = blogger, male = gamer

So I had this brilliant revelation as I was sitting here blogging in the office. I was thinking how it's mostly women that love to socially blog. I love to post things on my blog. I bring my camera around so I won't miss an opportunity to make my blog more interesting, for my future posterity of course. But also, I LOVE to check out all my friends blogs. To see what cute wallpaper they are using on theirs. See what they are up to. Get a yummy recipe' or mostly, for me, I like to get a reality check that I'm not the only crazy one out there going through these crazy things.
The home we're currently renting, is a newer home with the open style. There are seperate rooms downstairs but they have these "windows" in the walls without glass that kind of are half walls that seperate the rooms but because you can see through to the other room.
In any case, I am sitting here "BLOGGING" and directly across from me, in the, what is supposed to be extra room downstairs bedroom, is Danny, GAMING. None of our kids wanted to be in the downstairs bedroom alone (not that I'd want them to be anyway) so I told Danny instead of being exiled to the trailer, he could set up all his gaming in there. Boy did he take it to heart. He went out and bought a loooong table so he could set up his 4 at least 35 inch TVs with XBOX 360 systems. He had already got these cushy chairs from some waiting room office he and his brother had painted. So he's all set up for some major gaming; except we moved and he doesn't really have any gaming least so I thought. Until today when we were talking and he mentions some comment his friend so-and-so said.
I asked "who is that?"
"Oh, you haven't met him."
"Where did you meet him?"
"Well, I haven't really met him either."
(me looking perplexed)
"He's my gaming buddy, online."
"How many online 'buddies' do you have?"
"A few."
"So you've never actually met them?"
"No, but they've described themselves to me."
..................Should I be worried? But truly, doesn't your man have a gaming buddy online? I know yours does, Amber Pitt. At least Danny's seen Chad!
But basically, I'm saying that yes, we women have our "thing" (blogs) but men have theirs too (gaming). Maybe someone should invent a blogging game!

P.S. (Danny, you always have an open invitation to blog whatever you'd like on "our blog." I know you always say I get a little off on the story of things, so feel free to correct it.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Daddy Daughter/Lua

For YW last Tuesday it was the Daddy daughter date. As you can see it had a Lua theme. The girls made their dads candy leis out of their favorite candies Danny was excited when the YW leader, Kristi Jensen, informed Kierstin that it was a requirement that dad gets a hug & a kiss. Those are a very scarce commodity these days so Danny was happy to receive his.

There was all kinds of fun & festivities. The dads got to do the limbo. Dad did pretty good but the Bishop won.

The girls were very entertaining dancing the hookilau for dads. Kierstin was an expert by now as she had learned it for the senior dinner they did for the seniors in H.B.

It was very fun & delicious. I was happy that I could be there to observe all the fun! Kierstin was actually smiling and happy! It's so heart warming to see her smile. I wish I got to see it more often!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kudos to Kierstin

I just have to give a "Kudos" to my lovely Kierstin. (this is her last year's pic). This year started the year I've been dreading since she started school, (yes 10 years ago).. SEMINARY!

Not that I'm against seminary. I KNOW for a fact it is such a wonderful way to innoculate these wonderful kids as they go off into the much infested world of high school. However, Kierstin and I are NOT what you call morning people. Having to be up and ready for elementary school to start by 8:05 every morning was killer. Let's put it this way. We got to walk to Moffett School every morning (yes I did take that for granted). Kierstin's room was always the one closest to home. Bradley's was on the other side of the school. Poor Bradley who was always waiting around for Kierstin had at least 5 tardies per semester on his report. When Kierstin left for Jr. High, he amazingly never had another tardy, ever! Enough said.

I have to admit that my seminary years saw a "few" tardies on my roll sheet (no divulging just how many Erin, Heather or Shannon!) . Kierstin gets that from me. So it is with some dread and much trepidation that I was looking forward to having to wake Kierstin up at 5:20 in the morning so she could be to seminary that starts at 6:00 a.m. cuz high school starts at 7:30.

Yes, poor Kierstin will have to do this for the rest of her high school career, all 4 of them but I must say how about poor me? I GET to do this for the next 18 years of my kids' lives!!

Well, the first week, Kierstin got up really well. Fortunately, we get to carpool with her friend Ms. Callie Campbell who lives up the street from us. They were driving the first week so she got up pretty well and was ready to go when the quiet little knock on the door came. I thought, yeah, that's the first week.

2nd week, my turn to drive. I thought, "oh no, here comes the complaining and I'm going to have to do the whole "you want to choose the right, don't you?" speech... Nope, she got out the door without a complaint. 4 weeks later, Kierstin is still getting up and out the door on time and I have not heard ONE WORD of complaint out of her. (the morning groan when the light goes on, doesn't count). I've heard a few other mothers express how they have had to give that CTR talk to their kids already.

WAY TO GO KIERST! I'm so inawed of that solid moral compass you have within yourself that keeps you solidly on the right path. You are even learning all of your scripture mastery scriptures. YOU ARE AWESOME!! Keep on the path and you'll be so glad you did and we'll celebrate forever! Seminary will be worth it cuz it will help you to get there.

Luv, your grateful, proud, in awed.... mom

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A much needed retreat.. Arrowhead

This last weekend we took a much needed mini-vacation up to Lake Arrowhead. We have some very dear friends who are kind enough to let us enjoy the use of their cabin. We have been up there several time with them and have many fond memories of being there.

This couldn't have come at a better time. We didn't really take a vacation this summer with all our moving activities going on. In fact, I feel like my kids did get a little jipped at summer vacation this year. Usually we have a whole weekly schedule to count on and lots of little mini side trips to museums, amusement parks, camping trips, etc. This year it was, stay at home, have to keep it clean to sell. Then we moved and they had to jump right into school 2 weeks early. They handled it all so well. Thanks guys!

So we were really for a change of routine and it was nice to have something somewhat familiar in our somewhat unfamiliar new lifestyle.

We took the kids out of school a little early Friday to avoid the traffic and drove up the mountain. We just chilled, dad took the kids to get some videos while Tyson got his wiggles out and then we went to our favorite malt shop that The Wards introduced us to about 6 years ago:

It was established in 1948. The hamburgers are just delectible!! I have to admit that cheeseburgers are one of my favorite things to eat ever! I love their Stingray with Swiss cheese. Their shakes are made with real ice cream and made right before your eyes. How can Danny just get plain old vanilla and declare it 'the best he's ever had' I don't know.. BORING! Kierstin and I split a cookies and cream (cookies mashed before your eyes). Bradley finished off a chocolate shake, by himself. Bryce and Brian, well they really hit it. The waitress recommended this super delicious banana split shake with hot fudge & bananas. They sat at the counter and watched her line the glass with hot fudge, scoop in the ice cream, cut the bananas and mix them in and top it off with whipped cream. Their eyeballs were about as big as the shakes. I wish I would have got a pic but it was too much to do that and try to keep Typhoon Tyson from destroying the place while we waited for his food. I think Brian summed it up when he turned around and said "Wow, this is GREAT!" I even like the fries which are freshly cut potatoes seasoned with season salt.

We enjoyed quiet time at the cabin after that and the kids watched their corny "The Mask" movie with dad (remember the one with Jim Carey & Cameron Diaz). We put the Tysters to bed and Brad, Bryce, Brian Danny and I played out a game of Life. (Kierstin slept off her seminary mornings, much deserved)!

Next day we woke up late (yippe, Ty slept in till 8:00). Then we went out on the Lake. It was perfect. It was hot out, but not too bad so the Lake felt really refreshing, yes, I actually got in. It felt so wonderful. They boys and I kayaked over to the island, Bradley & Bryce in one and Brian and I in the other. I thought I'd have to tow them over but they made it there and back all on their own!
Here we are at the Village
Dad entertaining Tyson

We ate dinner up there and while I cleaned up dad took the boys on a hike up the mountain. I knew the moment they entered covered in dirt, that it was a great success.

Kierstin had fun chilling and reading her book "The Life of Pi" for school.

An overall much needed, relaxing mini-vacation!

Thank You WARDS!!

YUM! - Mommy's little helper!

I consider my friend, Kristin, to be the recipe connoisseur. She loves searching for new yummy recipes and is even good about trying them out right away. I'm always calling her for ideas. You may recall my previous post as to how much I dread the cooking aspect of my job. She is always posting the yummy recipies she has found on her blog. She inspired me to do the same. That way, when I put together my blog book, I'll always have them.

I was trying to decide what I should have for the kids for an after school snack today. I looked around and found I had the perfect number of baking banans (the ones that are almost black all over) - 3 for banana bread. And I have the BEST banana bread recipe ever. I'm sorry Kristin, but the BEST banan bread recipe winner goes to my friend, Mary Jane Seely.
My mom used to make banana bread at Christmas every year. It was O.K. but kind of dry (sorry mom). Every so often someone would say "you have to try this recipe." I would but it wasn't good enough to try again. So I was never a big fan of banana bread. That was UNTIL I had Mary Jane's banana bread. Now I try to leave a few bananas to ripen on purpose so I have an excuse to make it. My kids can't get enough of it.
Kristin, here's your next taste test!!

For my H.B. 4th ward friends, the recipe is in the most current recipe book (the black one). Mary Jane and I both submitted it. For the rest of you, here it is:

The BEST Banana Bread
¾ C. butter
1 ½ C. mashed bananas (about 3)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ C sugar
2 C flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
½ C buttermilk (key ingredient)
½ C nuts (optional)
1. Combine softened butter, eggs & sugar until creamy. Add vanilla, buttermilk & mashed bananas until thoroughly mixed.
2. Add flour, salt & baking soda.
3. Mix in nuts if so desired at the end.
4. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes if using a large loaf pan, 1 hour if 2 small loaves.

I DARE you to tell me it's not THE BEST!!

Here's a picture of it:
Here's a picture of my helper of the day... Brian!

What? You ca't see him? It's crazy, but the kitchen in this house we're renting is big as my old kitchen dining/room/living room combined. Do I need this much space to make banana bread? Not really. I feel very absurd but it's kind of fun and will be even more fun to entertain in. We can put a large feast on the island in the middle.

Here is Brian helping:

Here he is enjoying the "fruits" of our labor:

Who doesn't like to lick the bowl? I wish I didn't. Maybe I could fit back in my old jeans.

Here is the BEST tortilla soup recipe ever, no joke. I LOVE it. It is from this great lady in H.B. 4, Marlene Moore. You'd never meet a sweeter lady. Her cooking is to die for. I haven't tried anything she has made and haven't just HAD to get the recipe. ...

Northpark Tortilla Soup

3 cups shredded poached chicken breast
3 T olive oil
1 C diced onion
¼ C seeded and diced red pepper
¼ C diced celery
¼ C peeled and diced carrots
½ T minced garlic
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp pure red chile powder
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp cayenne
1 C canned crushed tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth
10 corn tortillas torn into ½ inch pieces
¼ C nacho cheese sauce or similar cheese product (I DON’T USE)
1 C heavy cream
Crispy tortilla strips
¼ C cilantro for garnish

Pour olive oil into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan and set over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and carrot and sauté for about 4 minutes, stirring often until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, chile powder, oregano and cayenne. Saute, while stirring, for about 2 min. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and add the torn tortilla pieces. Let soup simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the tortillas have disintegrated and the soup has thickened. Add the reserved shredded chicken, the cheese sauce and the cream. Simmer for 15 minutes longer. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

I'm making Kristin's molasses cookie recipe tomorrow and pumpkin cake on Sunday so stay tuned for those most excellent recipes!

LUV YA Kristin! Thanks for your inspiration

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


We are your typical family; we work together, play together, go to school together, eat together, etc. We have a typical day like most other families filled with school events, sport events, church events, playdates, shopping, homework etc. All is well and goes along until....

BEDTIME. That's when the sneaky little Night-itis bug creeps up. We have the normal bedtime ritual, family prayer, baths, healthy snack, bedtime story, brush our teeth.. All is well until the head hits the pillow. That's when IT hits. That creepy little night-itis bug that makes everything that went unnoticed all day long creep up... "mom, my eyes hurt!" "My leg, where I hurt it last week, really hurts!" "Mom, I itch all over!" "Mom, don't you see that tiniest of sliver in the bottom of my foot? Even though I've been running on my foot all day long it suddenly hurts NOW and I CAN'T go to bed." It all leads to "Mom I just CAN'T go to sleep!"

That creepy little Night-itis bug likes to make all sorts of things happen so growing little children don't want to go to sleep which is so important because that's the all important regenerative state when kids grow big and strong!

Fortuantely, this mom learned the cure long ago....."Lay down, close your eyes, pretend to sleep for just 10 minutes and it'll go away. I'll come and check on you then..."

Surprisingly enough, 10 minutes later (sometimes even less!) they've tricked that night-itis bug to BUG OFF and they are blissfully regenerating and growing healthy and stronger and almost (not quite yet Kierstin & Brad) taller than mom!

But seriously, it is considerably tiring fighting that little Bug almost every night!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Brad's BackpackS - I should have trusted mom.

Transitioning into a new school year is always hard. It makes it a step harder when you're going into Middle School and a step harder even still when you have moved and you're brand new and don't know ANYONE.

I think we all cringe when we think back to our middle school years, I know I do. In some ways it's worse than high school. You're hitting puberty and trying to adjust to a body that is trasnforming into an adolescent. You're trying to figure out who you really are; testing boundaries, rules your parents have set for you, finding friends that mesh and, of course, trying to stay fashionable within it all....

At least, I know it (fashion) was a big deal for me. I remember hounding my poor mother into buying me a $50 pair of white Guess jeans that I knew she couldn't afford but she bought them for me anyways. (I'm sorry mom!) I still feel bad about it but I did LOVE those jeans and was truly grateful and took extra good care of them.

All of this is in my mind as I am shopping for school supplies with my oldest son who is currently stepping into his middle school 6th grade life. With Kierstin, she could care less about what's in and what's not. I secretly admire how she is strong enough to resisit the fashion trends and could care less if her jeans were above the waistline. (yes, girls got on her case about it in 5th grade). No big deal to her, who cares? They are comforable. I am so grateful for my daughter who DARES to be above such things and CARES about modesty not what's in. My pocketbook has been grateful too.

BRADLEY, is me in male persona. Things have to be only THIS color, ONLY Vans shoes, etc.. O.K., I'm good at shopping sales, etc. I have patience, I REMEMBER the $50 jeans, saving my babysitting $$ for THAT dress. We look at backpacks at Office Depot and Target. They are not Etnie or from Tillys. I don't know where a Tillys is in Murrieta. We are going to H.B. this weekend. Do you want to wait until then to get a backpack? I ask. (I have a 20% off 1 item coupon). Yes.

Next morning, only the 2nd day of school, we are driving to school and he is in TEARS because he doesn't have a backpack. Everyone will ask him why he doesn't have one. Where is his backpack? I ask him what happened to "we'll wait and go to H.B. this weekend, I can live without one?..." Obviously a transformation over night. He is obstinately refusing to go to school. I try the mom coaxing, it will be all right, tough it out, you can live through another day... no good. I resort to You have to go or no video games for a week... I don't care. I see how upset he is and feel his pain. O.K., let's go to Sport Authority and look at backpacks, I'll take you to school a little late.

We get there, buy a cool all black backpack... $40 (I lement my unused coupon, Oh well).

I walk him into the office to excuse his absence. The morning announcements are on. We hear the tale end of it.. "so and so and Bradley Baak. You can pick up your prizes in the office." What? How many Bradley Baaks can there be at this school? He's only been there one day. The lady in the front says he might as well get his prize since he's up there.... Imagine my MIXED emotions when the principal calls him over and tells him his PE coach nominated him for the student of the day yesterday and the prize is... AN EDDIE BOWER BACK PACK! (worth $50 and full of supplies) I just look at Bradley and don't even say it.
Lesson learned... trust mom when she says it will be alright!!