Friday, December 19, 2008

Working Hard on those Christmas Cards

Do you know the best thing to seal envelopes...even hundreds at a an amazing speed, without getting even one paper cut on your tongue or any stickiness at all for that matter, giving you the peace of mind that you will never suffer a Seinfeldian death due to cheap adhesive on envelopes?

The aquadoodle pen!! It works like magic.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


14 friends and I made chocolates for Christmas this year. I think I gained ten pounds just smelling the delicious aroma all day. We made about 50 pounds of chocolates and a huge mess at my friend Amber's house. (I didn't do my hair or make-up that day!)
A big 'thank you' to our friend, Windi, who set it all up and shared her recipes and chocolate making skills with us!

My favorites were the Taffy Cracks, or as we have nicknamed them at my house, Chocolate Ritzis.

Here's the recipe:

1 bag caramels
1 box ritz crackers
1 bag white, milk, or dark chocolate
Cookie sheets lined with parchment paper

On a paper plate, place 8-12 Ritz crackers. Place an unwrapped caramel on each cracker. Microwave 20-30 seconds until the caramels soften. Place another cracker on top of each caramel and squeeze gently together to make a sandwich. Set aside.
Melt chocolate in double boiler. Dip Ritzi into the melted chocolate using a fork. Tap the fork on the side of the pan to allow the excess chocolate to fall back into the pan. Place on a cookie sheet. Cool in refrigerator until chocolate hardens. Drizzle with opposite chocolate color.
Place in plastic container for storage.

Happy Who-bilation!

For our church Christmas party this year we had a Who-bilation, complete with a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, kids crafts, the ever-so-convenient Christmas card exchange, roast beast dinner and Grinch Play!

We had a great time!

Thanks for taking these pictures, Amy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

99 Life Experiences

For my 99th post here are 99 things to experience in a lifetime. I bolded the things I have done!

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world (I've lost count!)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo (On my mission to some elderly people who I hope don't remember)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Been in the Southern Hemisphere
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch -or craft? painting furniture, jewelry
15. Seen the Taj Mahal
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (3 times!)
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Learned to surf
23. Given a stranger a hug
24. Built a snow fort (Slept in it, too!)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Done a real triathlon
28. Seen the Alps
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset -both from the same beach on Oahu!
31. Hit a home run -but I rocked at base soccer in Elementary School)
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language (No, but I've learned to speak 4 fluently in my lifetime!)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied -this all depends on my outlook.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a real movie or TV show
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business - not a super profitable or professional one, but way fun! Eek to Chic
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies -but I've bought my fair share!
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (But I've tried...they don't like my blood)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (my china kitty from Copenhagen)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar (Yuck! What's the big deal?)
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
74. Eaten a meal that cost more than $100
75. Learn to type faster than 70 WPM
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone -that's a good thing, right?
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem (Oooh, this is my dream!
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (Nast!)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (my great-grandma)
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (see 26) Missy!!
97. Been involved in a law suit (No, but Ben sued AT&T for a thousand dollars and won!)
98. done a doughnut in your car in the snow
99. Been stung by a bee

Thank you, Leslie, whom I stole this from. I changed a couple.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight Anticipation Ended

I went to see midnight showing of Twilight with a group of friends...and the anticipation of the event was not quite the reality of the event.

I expected some serious crazies in line, dressed up as vampires, hysterically hyperventilating at the thought of Edward on a gigantic movie screen, maybe some Bella-like melodramatic teenagers staring at the group of moms I was with, wondering what was wrong with us.

Not even one good person to people watch in line! Most of the crowd were 17 year old teenage girls with a couple of boys, unhappy husbands and old ladies in the mix.

That I would be really scared of the "bad" vampires and/or vampire scenes and that there could be a movie-goer or two dressed as one of the creepy creatures. (Okay, yes, irrational fear of vampires..I know!)

The scariest part of the whole thing was a preview for some insanely freaky horror show about a lost twin...the Unborn? I couldn't even look at the screen. The whole audience was screaming and covering their eyes.
Oh, and me, pretending to be a vampire:

We'd get bored or tired waiting for three hours for the movie to start.

I had so much fun with my mommy posse and YW and no kids, and chatted the hours away!

Cheesy romantic vampire story featuring melodramatic teenagers falling irrevocably in eternally deep love in a matter of days against impossible and unbelievable odds.

Cheesy romantic vampire story featuring melodramatic teenagers falling irrevocably in eternally deep love in a matter of days against impossible and unbelievable odds.
I also found it rather funny!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Backburner Bacon in the Oven Blog

This is one of those posts I put on the back burner for a rainy day. Well, it's not really raining, but I can't think of anything to blog about. So here it to make bacon in the oven. These directions are usually on the package of bacon you buy at the store, but I never tried it until a little while ago. I was happy with the results.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place strips of bacon in single layer on a cookie sheet with raised edges.
Cook bacon for about 10-12 minutes for cooked bacon or 18-20 minutes for crisp bacon. No turning necessary.
Drain on paper towels.

The beauty of this method is that it makes less mess, I can cook it all at once, I don't have to vigilantly watch the bacon cooking to make sure it doesn't burn, I don't end up reeking like bacon, and I never get burned when the oil "spits."

Try it next time you make bacon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Prop 8 passed!

I'm sure by now you've heard that Prop 8 passed, that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California." I feel like we have reason to celebrate! We have worked so hard here in Orange County to make this happen and I feel that all of our efforts paid off, especially since it was so close. 52% to 48%! It's a victory, for now, and I'll take it.

I want to share some things for posterity, things that I learned by supporting Prop 8.

My faith in a modern-day prophet has been strengthened. It was my belief in the prophet that initially began my support of prop 8. I struggled at first to come to terms with hurting people who are gay who cannot be happy unless they marry, mostly because I know and love 3 men who are close to me who struggle with same-sex attraction. I imagine how much I am hurting others, and those I love in particular, by standing up for something I believe might hurt my children and will eventually hurt society. It was hard for me to justify simply by reasoning it out, even taking into account all the legal ramifications. It was my faith in the prophet that helped me know that this was the right thing to do.

I was strengthened by stepping out of my comfort zone. I have never been this involved in politics and I'm not really gung-ho about getting into any political discussions with anyone. Over the last months, I learned that I can do scary things like calling or knocking on a stranger's to ask them how they are voting, to wave a sign on a street corner and listen to the angry shouts of those who oppose my views, go to voters' homes to ask them to please vote. In fact, it makes me stronger!

Our country is awesome! I am so grateful to live in a country where my vote matters, where we can worship as we please, express our opinions and fight for our rights!

I am part of an amazing community. I was awed by the incredible efforts of my friends and fellow church members during this campaign. People have rallied together and have given countless hours to fight for this cause. One example: we made 9,000 phone calls on Election Day to get voters out! I felt part of something important, and because we worked together, supported one another, we found strength in each other and I believe we have grown closer as a community of saints.

Children are smart, faithful and courageous. I had to explain to my kids why we had a Prop 8 sign in our yard, a bumper sticker on our car, why we went to rallies and made calls and worst of all, why there were people who opposed Prop 8. They not only understood clearly, but accepted it immediately and had the instant desire to help out. They cried when I told them they had to be 16 to wave signs. One of them snuck out of the house to wave our yard sign at neighbors passing by while shouting, "YES on 8."

Satan is the master of deception. He works slowly and carefully to forfeit and eventually destroy what is most sacred. Marriage. Family. The divine roles of men and women. The right of children to be raised with love by the two people who created them. He is hard at work!

The Lord's purposes will be accomplished. I know that no matter the outcome, it was the Lord's will to have us stand and fight for traditional marriage and the family. No matter how hard Satan works, the Lord will win eventually. I know that!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Hope your day is filled with fun, spooks, and candy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Because I also love Stephanie...

I'm doing this tag, too.

Copy and paste and pass it along!

1. Eating food someone else made
2. Reading
3. Travel

1. That my kids could possibly not embrace the gospel.
2. Vampires.
3. Being YW president. Oh, wait a sec...

1. To not hurt any of my friends' feelings by not doing their tags. :-)
2. Get organized, keep my house clean!
3. Learn to be a fantastic photographer

1. I used to collect ceramic cats. My mom still has my little collection in her curio cabinet.
2. Being on time. I hate not being on time.
3. Not wasting anything.

1. I could eat an entire giant Costco jar of jelly bellies. I actually haven't tried, but I think I could.
2. I regularly have that dream where you show up to math class and you have a final and you haven't even been to the class all semester and everything hangs on how you perform on this one test.
3. I love my friend Steph, who I have known since my Freshman year at the BY. We have had some good times as friends and roomies. And I love her blog. Don't you love this picture of her?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just 'cause I love Leslie...

I'm doing this tag.

If you feel like doing this tag, you can. Especially if you haven't blogged in a while...Matt, Nettie, MK, Sally, Kim, on!

You have to answer the following questions with one word, one word only...

1. Where is your cell phone? Busted
2. Where is your significant other? Working
3. Your hair color? Blonde
4. Your mother? American
5. Your father? Busy
6. Your favorite thing? Tiramisu
7. Your dream last night? Nada
8. Your dream/goal? goodness
9. The room you're in? Messy
10. Your hobby? Blogging
11. Your fear? Alone
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Settled
13. Where were you last night? YW
14. What you're not? Supermodel
15. One of your wish-list items? Nikon D-90
16. Where you grew up? Europe
17. The last thing you did? Email
18. What are you wearing? Comfort
19. Your TV? Clunky
20. Your pet? Kids
21. Your computer? Slow
22. Your mood? Relaxed
23. Missing someone? Family
24. Your car? Minivan
25. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
26. Favorite store? H&M
27. Your summer? Schedule-free
28. Love someone? Ben
29. Your favorite color? Aqua
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday

And just for the record, Leslie is one of those high school friends I still stay in touch with and adore and will never break up with. And she has a hilarious blog.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Oh, so naughty and oh, so cute.

Kate is...

Oh, so naughty when she colors on the floor and walls with crayons.
But oh, so cute when she is coloring in her new princess coloring book daddy got her FROM Disneyworld.

Oh, so naughty when she draws on Ian's homework with a marker.
But, oh, so cute when she exclaims, "I do homewahk!"

Oh, so naughty when she runs away at top speed down they hall at church.
But oh, so cute when she you finally catch up with her and she gives you a big squeeze and a pat- pat on the back.

Oh, so naughty, when she rips six keys off daddy's laptop while he's out.
Oh, so cute while she is watching me fix them and saying, "Thassa P, Mommy!"

I'd give you away, Kate, if you just weren't s'darn cute!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Heart YW!

I have been serving in the YW program in my ward for just over a year and now I'll be serving as the YW president. I'm a little scared but also excited and just filled with love for these girls!

This picture was taken at the Newport Beach Temple with six of the best girls in the world: Nory, Jolie, Kiara, Hannah, Rachel and Channing.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I love books. I always have. I remember being Ian's age and just wanting to devour books. You know, in the non-literal sense. My grandpa once sent me a whole set of Trixie Belden Books for my birthday and I read them in two days. I still love curling up in bed with a good book, reading late into the night.

My favorites in 3rd grade were The Neverending Story by Micheal Ende -you remember the movie- and Momo by the same author- both originally in German. (If you didn't know already...I grew up speaking German and didn't learn to speak English fluently until I was about 7 or 8 years old.)

Both of these books really made me think.

I remember going to the book fair at school during fourth grade after I moved to the States and wishing with all my little heart that my mom would buy me those books on display in the library. I remember Judy Blume books like Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing, and the Ramona Quimby Series by Beverly Cleary. My mom neverl et me buy these. But she did let me ride my bike to the library all summer long to check out as many books as my library card would allow.

Although I am cheap, and Ben is cheaper still, I decided two years ago when Ian got his first Scholastic Book Order Form in Kindergarten, that my kids should have the privilege of buying "those books" just because I didn't. So we became fans of Scholastic! At first Ian was choosing cute books by Dr. Seuss and Eric Carl, and other favorites like Magic School Bus and Magic Tree House books.

Over the years, Scholastic Book Orders have become a little more annoying. The boys started wanting books with Star Wars and Indiana Jones and Captain Underpants in the title. While not the best choices, at least these books have a plot. However, the latest requests have been Pokemon Guidebook and Test your Video Game IQ! The latter was Ian's choice for this month. I a) tried to talk him out of it, b) refused you pay for it, c) tried explain to him that this does not necessarily qualify as a good book and d) conceded when he insisted on using his own hard-earned allowance to buy it!

Side note -I think Video Game IQ is my new favorite oxymoron.

And don't even get me started on the non-book junk they offer. They even sell video games, which, to me, are the complete opposite of books - neither educational or imaginative, frying brain cells left and right.

This item was truly alarming...


1. How early do we really need to introduce texting? Ian is in 2nd grade and is still learning how to actually spell words.
imo txtng isnt the bst thng vr to hapn 2 the englsh lngj

2. It costs $20! It would take Ian four months to earn that kind of cash.

3. It's practically encouraging kids to text each other in class. What teacher wants that going on?! in second grade!?

"Shhh...this pen really writes but it's also a texting device!"

4. It only works up to 10 feet away??? Can't you just talk?

5. It looks like a pregnancy test.

I'm ready to quit Scholastic. Maybe my mom was on to something.

Okay, really there still are a lot of good options with Scholastic and there's always the library...
Please share your favorite children's books in your comments!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Playing with Words

I discovered WORDLES! This is an amazingly fun cool invention! I think I could do this all night.

My family wordle:

The wordle that wordle created from my blog URL feed:

Try it here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happiest Place on Earth

Disney just announced their 2009's a link to the story:

The bottom line is that you get in FREE on your birthday during 2009! Just a valid ID and proof of birthdate required.

If you already have a pass, you can either get a free ticket for next year, a bunch of Fastpasses, or a gift card worth the price of admission that you can use to buy merchandise!

The happiest place on earth just got happier!

And with free room and breakfast at the Hotel M., what are you waiting for?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Learning about Diversity

We live in a state with a very diverse population. Really, it's one of the things I love most about California. My kids go to school and realize there are all kinds of people who speak different languages, have different beliefs or have a different color of skin.

Just look at this wall I saw today at Back to School Night, filled with little self-portraits of culturally diverse children, all in Ian's new second grade class. How beautiful!

Only, I'm not sure what race Ian thinks he belongs to.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wacky Wednesday

We are involved in many activities this fall. Like the perfect storm, today they all fell on the same day.

Mom: Go to her first scripture study class at church, lead music for the first time at Music Makers (a co-operative music program I go to with Kate), plan and attend YW activity--we tie-dyed T-shirts

Ian: swim team, piano lesson, Lights on Broadway practice (Stake Broadway review)

Jacob: soccer practice

Ben: coach soccer, practice for Lights on Broadway

Kate: trying to go to the potty

This does not include our regular daily tasks such as school, work, homework, carpools, chores, reading, practicing the piano, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, not to mention squeezing in the things we enjoy...exercising, reading a mommy book, taking pictures to blog about, playing at the park.

Are you tired yet?

I am.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Morning Rush

6:05am - My alarm goes off. I pull my body out of bed and get ready to go swimming. My goggles are missing. My brain finally turns on enough to remember they are in my swimming bag.
6:20am - I get in the pool. It's a little chilly today. My friend Audra and I have a great discussion about Prop 8 (see left sidebar).
7:00am - I get out of the pool. My thoughts turn to the upcoming whirlwind. Last year did not always go well, but this year will be better even if I have two boys to get off to school. I might even squeeze in a shower before they leave!
7:00am - The boys' alarm has gone off - hopefully they are eating breakfast.
7:08am - I get home. The boys are not eating breakfast.
7:10am - I get the boys their breakfast, I start making lunches. At least Kate isn't awake yet.
7:12am - Kate wakes up - she asks to watch Curious George -she can't watch TV right now because it will incapacitate the boys. It will render them motionless and cause them to completely lose all control of their senses. Kate doesn't get it.
7:15am - I'm still trying to make lunches and urge the boys to eat faster. My brother, who is here visiting, wakes up and I get him some breakfast.
7:20am - The boys are done eating breakfast but the lunches are not done. I send the boys upstairs to get dressed. Their clothes are laid out so it should go fast.
7:25 am - I finish the lunches. I want to get out of my swim suit and take a shower. I go upstairs to find the boys playing with their Legos. I gently urge them to get ready faster. Maybe I had better not get in the shower.
7:30am - I see Ben off to work. I put the lunches in the back packs and clean up the mess I made, all the while shouting at the boys upstairs to continue getting dressed and brush their teeth. My brother wants to take a shower. I ask him to wait until the boys have brushed their teeth.
7:35am - Ian has taken his pajamas off, but is still not dressed. Jacob is going #2 on the toilet which could take a while. I warn that they only have ten minutes left.
7:40am - Ian is almost dressed. Jacob brushes his teeth and is just starting to get dressed. I give them a lecture about being on time and that I will just let them take their sweet time tomorrow and take them when they are ready and THEY can tell their teachers themselves why they are late.
7:42am - I yell at Ian to get his socks and shoes on. I yell at Jacob WHO IS STILL NOT DRESSED and tell him he has 3 MINUTES until Sister B---- is here and that he'd better get busy fast.
7:43am - I'm combing Ian's hair while he is brushing his teeth and hoping that Jacob is getting dressed. Kate is following me around crying for breakfast.
7:44am - Jacob IS dressed and I'm throwing on Ian's shoes, getting a comb to do Jacob's hair and trying to fend off Kate.
7:45am - Ian says a quick prayer while I am praying in my heart that I can be forgiven for yelling at my kids, that Sister B---- won't wonder why I'm wearing my swimsuit and cover-up, and that my brother is having a fun vacation and won't think I'm insane.
7:46am - I sigh in relief.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Huzzah for School!

The boys started school today! I wasn't quite ready for the summer to be over - we really had a fun time this year doing whatever we wanted when we wanted. I will miss that. BUT it's also nice to have a schedule and actually be productive and learning. So huzzah for school!

Jacob, who I swear was just a baby, started Kindergarten today. He was all smiles. He couldn't wait to go and try this new adventure and just about burst when he put on his new Star Wars shirt he's been waiting to wear for a week. How did I do, you ask? Well, we had a little bit of a hectic morning (Kate was not feeling too well and had the biggest, wettest blow-out of her life!) The whole taking pictures and walking-to-school-to-avoid-the-parking-mess didn't really work out. Luckily, we at least made it in time. I kissed boy 2 goodbye and he walked right up those steps to his teacher who was waiting to greet him while I got a little teary-eyed. Then he turned around and waved and gave me one of those big smiles and I almost lost it.

Ian, the veteran, began 2nd grade. When I asked him if he was nervous or excited, he said, "Kind of in between." He stood in line and waited for his teacher and I couldn't resist giving him a big smooch on the cheek as he was about to leave. He gave me one of those looks that said, "Mo-om, not in front of the other kids I just met!" mixed with "Okay, you can kiss me...but this is the last year I'm letting you do this."

Jacob has morning Kindergarten and is only in school for 3 hours 20 minutes, which I like. I always enjoy the one on one time with my kids. So when Jacob got home, we opened his Schultüte (German tradition: all children receive a cone thingy filled with school supplies, treats and gifts in celebration of that first school day ever!) When asked for his opinion of the day: "School is way better than preschool." Hopefully he enjoys the next 180 days just as much!

Just for are the boys two years ago when Ian began Kindergarten.