Life Is Short

All to often, we are reminded of the lessons that life can teach us.

The lesson that you can never hug and kiss your baby too much.

That it isn’t foolish to watch them sleep.

That it is joyous every time they smile, giggle and snuggle up close.

The lesson that it is our Father in Heaven, in His infinite wisdom, that has a plan for us.  And our children.

Our friends were blessed with a beautiful daughter named Kenadie.

Even before her birth they knew that there would be struggles and trials involved when Kenadie came to earth.

But along with those struggles and trials came all the love and joy that parenthood brings.

There was a bond there and a fierce protection that will never be broken.

Even by death.

Due to complications she had since birth, 13-month-old Kenadie was called back into the arms of her Father in Heaven on April 24th, 2012.

This kind of loss can not even be imagined by those not faced with this trial.

But we can send our love, and our prayers and our hope.

And our help.

As if this loss is not hard enough, the financial burden that is placed upon this young couple is hard to bear.

Let’s send our love for Jesi and Shane Humphreys in any way we can.

Let us lift them up.

Let us lessen their burden.

Let us be God’s hands.

His hands are busy right now.

Whole Wheat Waffles

I can honestly say that these waffles are Lizzie’s favorite food.  She loves them and gets really giddy when she knows that I’m going to make them.  They are definitely a family favorite of ours!  Traditionally, we eat them with fresh strawberries (or occasionally the frozen kind loaded with high fructose corn syrup — shame on us) and whipping cream.  I also enjoy them with honey butter.

Whole Wheat Waffles

1.5 cups Whole Wheat Flour

1.5 cups milk

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

*I occasionally like to add a bit of brown sugar, or cinnamon to the batter.  It’s optional, of course.

Thoroughly mix all ingredients together and cook using a waffle iron.  I have also made pancakes out of this recipe as well, but I prefer the waffles.

I hope that you enjoy them as much as we do! 🙂


Easy Peasy Pizza Pie

We make this pizza once or twice a month.  It’s a meal that my kids will eat seconds and sometimes thirds of and we can have leftovers.  I love it because pizza is so versatile.  We can do traditional pepperoni, veggie, bbq…the combinations go on and on.

Here’s my easy peasy dough recipe:

1 cup warm water

1 tsp sugar

1 Tbsp yeast

1 Tbsp oil

1 tsp salt

2-2.5 cup flour

Add sugar and yeast to warm water and wait 5 minutes until it proofs.  Then add oil, salt and flour until soft but doesn’t stick to sides of bowl.  Knead for 5 minutes and then stretch out to desired pan.

We like to do one large pizza for the kids and then we’ll use cake pans with a little bit of oil on the bottom for a deep dish personal for my husband and myself.

I love it.  No waiting for it to rise and it is really my favorite dough recipe.  And I tried a lot to get to this one.

Add your favorite sauce, cheese and toppings and Enjoy!

Felt Hopscotch Game

First of all, I’m not sure how to spell “Hopscotch”.  Oh well…I know you all know what I’m talking about. 🙂

Lizzie loves playing hopscotch outside.

But sometimes it’s just fun to change it up a bit and play it inside with moveable number squares!

I don’t consider myself a crafty person by any means.  In fact, if you haven’t already noticed, all of the crafty things on this blog have been posted by my talented sister, not me.  I do, however, enjoy making things for my kids.  This is as crafty as I usually get. 🙂

This game was incredibly simple to make.

Materials:

10 pieces of colored felt (around 30 cents each at Micheal’s)

5 pieces of white felt (approximately, depending on how big you make your numbers)

Hot Glue Gun

Instructions:

Cut numbers 1 through 10 out of the white felt

Hot Glue the numbers on the colored felt

THAT’S IT!

Have your pre-schooler arrange the numbers in the shape of a hopscotch game and play!  Lizzie likes to be creative and shape each game differently. 🙂  These felt numbers are good for practicing putting numbers in numerical order.  In fact, I’m thinking of making some more with numbers 11 through 20.

Have fun! 🙂

Happiness

If you read the title of this blog you probably think I will go on and tell you how HAPPY my children make me.  And they do, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about.

I’m going to talk about another obsession of mine (seems like those keep coming out lately).

I am obsessed with happiness.  Mine and others and just the general theory and idea of it.

A couple of years ago now I read this book:

First off, Gretchen Rubin is so cool.  I wish we were friends.

Secondly, this book was amazing.  I don’t think Oprah did a special on it or anything, but she should have.

The ideas in this book are so adaptable by anyone.  They are simple and memorable.  You will remember how to add happiness into your life years after you read this book.  Not just while you are reading it.

She has a website that has all these documents on it to help you with the resolution charts and goals that you will find out more about when you read the book.

She updates it VERY regularly with articles and ideas and updates.  It’s a constant flow of happiness reminders.  But not the sappy, made-up things that don’t last.  Real life changing happiness.  So real that it’s right there and you didn’t know it.

In the book, she talks about a one-sentence happiness journal.  She will write one (or two, or three, or four…but just short) sentence about the day.  Then she can look back and remember the little things that happen and it also helps her to find the happiness in her daily life.

Last year, she came out with this:

A five-year happiness journal.  I got it for Christmas and it is amazing.  I write one sentence every day and then I write in my regular journal monthly.  I have never had so many reminders of the past.  One sentence can trigger a day full of memories.  It has been the best habit I have picked up this year.

She has a new book coming out September 4 called Happier At Home.  Pre-ordered!

Plus, she will send you an autographed notecard to put in your book for free!

I love following her, reading her books, and implementing their happiness tips.

Please read her book and get ready for her second.  I am Happily recommending them.

Long Days and Broken Clocks

I usually try to put forth an honest effort to be somewhat positive in writing these posts, but I am going to use my prerogative today and simply vent.  I need it!  🙂

Do you ever have those days when the clock seems to stand still?

Today was one of such days.

It’s always more difficult on the days when I know that Jon won’t be coming home until late.  It’s on these days that I truly ache for those women who are either single, widowed, or their husbands have jobs in which they travel a lot.  I can barely survive a day when I know that my husband probably won’t make it home until 9:00 at night.  How in the world do other women manage?  I feel like such a baby sometimes!

Perhaps I am too dependent on my husband.

Anyway, the clock moved at least a zillion times slower than usual today.  By 8:30 in the morning, the kids had already watched their allotted amount of T.V., we were playing outside on our playground, and Bryce was asking for Macaroni and Cheese.  No, he wasn’t just asking for it.  He was whining and crying and screaming about it.  He has become somewhat obsessed with Macaroni and Cheese lately.  If it was the homemade kind it wouldn’t bother me as much.  But, of course, what kid chooses homemade Mac-n-Cheese over Kraft?  All of the added sodium and MSG makes a difference, you know.

I gave them a snack to see if it would hold them over until lunch.  It was worth a try, anyway.  I ended up making Bryce his Mac-n-Cheese at 10:50.  He ate a second lunch with Lizzie at 12:00.  That boy has quite the appetite, I tell you.

Speaking of appetite, it’s on the days in which the clock stands still that I seem to eat way more than I should.  I’m not any more hungry than usual, I just have a tendency to be more of an emotional eater on days like today.  And then I just feel plain yucky because I know that my body can’t possibly use all of those calories, breastfeeding or not.

When the clock stands still, I can’t seem to get in my groove.  I feel like I’m in one of those dreams where you run and run and run and never arrive at your destination.  I keep changing up the activities with the kids.  We read books, we play games, I feed Mason and try to give him a nap, we eat, we drink, we listen to music, etc.  We do all of those things and, according to the clock, only a mere fifteen minutes had passed.

What is wrong with this picture?

Before today, I hadn’t yet gone on a walk with all of my kids at the same time.  I miss walking so much.  Today, since the clock was broken, I decided to try it out.  Mason is able to face forward in my front carrier now (he screamed when I tried to put him in it when he had to face towards me).  So I put Mason in the front carrier and the other two were in our double stroller.  Lizzie and Bryce were elated.  I guess that they miss going on our daily walks as much as I do! 🙂

We walked around the entire block (at least 2 miles less than we used to walk on a regular basis).  I had to cut our walk short because it was windy and poor Mason was having a hard time breathing.  Our little walk gave me hope, however, that perhaps longer walks are in our future. 🙂

We played outside a bit more.

I read more books.

I picked up the toys.

I tried to keep Bryce from smothering Mason.

I cheated on my T.V. rule and we watched a little more.

I picked up the toys.

I gave the kids chocolate milk.

I played a few games of Candy Land with Lizzie while Bryce had some much needed alone time in his room.

I tried to keep Mason happy.

We ate leftover homemade pizza for dinner.

I told the kids to pick up the books and toys.

I gave Mason a bath.

Everyone else got ready for bed.

We brushed our teeth.

We read “The Friend”.

By this time, the clock really had to be broken because for some reason it was telling me that it was only 6:45 p.m.

What in the world was I supposed to do?

I put the kids to bed.  Early.  And yes, it is currently 8:20 and they are all still asleep. 🙂

After the kids were sleeping peacefully, I cleaned the kitchen.

I should really clean the desk in our bedroom, but it hurts too much to even look at the disorganized piles of paper.  So that chore will have to wait.

What to do next?

I should actually put the laundry away instead of having it collect dust in the laundry basket.

Even with the kids temporarily out of the picture, this never-ending day is dragging on and on.

Well, I was really hoping that my husband would be home by the time I was finished venting, but I had no such luck.  I’m still alone.  I’m going to go and read my scriptures.  Maybe, just maybe, they will help me feel better! 🙂

I really don’t want to be an annoying wife and nag my husband right when he walks in the door, but I can’t stop myself today.  I’m going to be annoying and ask him to fix our clock!  Because if it’s broken again tomorrow, than I’m going to end up pulling all of my hair out! 🙂

What about you all?  Do your clocks have a tendency to break on occasion?

The Contents Of A Blink

(photo credit)

I saw this quote a while back but it has stuck with me.  Stuck with me like a catchy song or a really good laugh.  Throughout the daily tasks of motherhood, whenever I start to think “I can’t wait until I don’t have to do this anymore”….this quote comes back.

The funny thing is, I don’t mind the actual laundry.  I love a hamper full of dirty clothes because it means we made some good memories in them.  I love the smell of the clean laundry wafting through the house because it reminds me that I got a task done.  I also love piles of folded laundry, even the ones I don’t ever put away, because it means that once again, I’m hopefully making memories instead of doing chores.

The things that are on my list of things that I’ll find myself missing when my kids are older are things like taking at least 45 minutes to force them to eat every bite of their dinner because one day I’ll be cooking for two.  Or having to sing six to ten nighttime songs because one day I’ll be waiting up for them to come home and go to bed too tired to talk to me, and then after that they won’t even go to bed in my house.  Or reading Dr Seuss and Jane Yolen until I can barely keep my eyes open, because I know sleep will come much sooner with their textbooks later on.  Or picking up toys and moving rugs and replacing pillows, because all too soon my house will be all too clean…..and all too empty.

This is my top ten list of things I already know I’ll miss and I cherish every moment of them:

1.  Mikey wanting to tell me his favorite color, power ranger, dinosaur, food, etc every five minutes because it changes that often.

2.  Riley asking me to draw with him all day long and thinking I’m the best artist in the whole wide world.

3.  Ty lighting up whenever he sees me like I’m the most important person in the world.

4.  The boys copying everything their daddy does and knowing he’s who they want to be someday.

5.  Mikey randomly complimenting me and meaning it.  Today he loved my purple sandals.  Yesterday it was my Rapunzel hair.

6.  The joy I find every time Ty rolls over to get a toy, or pushes one inch to get closer to his brothers.

7.  The fact that Mikey wants to get “bathtized” and Riley’s favorite animal is a “crocidikle”.

8. Finding papers all over the house with hearts on them from Mikey telling me he loves me.

9. The fact that they’d rather play with me than a video game.  I’m hoping that one never changes.

10.  How quick they are to forgive and how easily they forget that I’m not perfect.

Even today I found myself saying, “Things will be so different when all the kids are in school.”  Then I realize that I blinked and Ty is six months old.  You should see this little cherub.  He is 19 pounds of smiles and seriously makes my life so much easier.  It feels like yesterday I was in the hospital holding Mikey in my arms and falling into the love, doubts, joy, worry, pride and sacrifice that comes along with parenthood.  Now that baby is all of four feet tall (just over one foot shorter than this momma) and has feet one set of toes smaller than mine.

I blinked and he was dancing to Coldplay.

I blinked and my boys are obsessed with Spiderman.

I blinked and I was way past outnumbered.

I don’t even want to think about what’s coming in the next blink.  And the next.

I vow to cherish the laundry.  To cherish the tantrums.  And to keep my eyes wide open.

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

-Anna Quindlen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author.   

Sick Kids

I would have to say that my least favorite part about being a Mother is having to deal with sick kids.

It seems to really take a lot out of me physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I have a tendency to worry far more than necessary about seemingly trivial illnesses, which definitely takes its toll on me.  When it comes to the varying possibilities of sicknesses, it seems as if the grass is always greener on the other side.  When I am cleaning up mounds of puke off of the carpet, I would do anything to chase them around all day and wipe their noses every two seconds.  Yet, when my day is completely occupied by wiping noses, cleaning up puke doesn’t seem like too bad of an idea.

It’s hard, as a concerned Mother, to know when to really worry about certain symptoms or to simply ignore them.  I am constantly researching and trying to figure out if I need to take my child to the doctor or just deal with it at home.  You always read about those rare cases in which a Mother didn’t take her child’s symptoms seriously enough and than her child became severely ill or even died.  I don’t want my child to become one of those statistics!  As such, I admittedly take my children to the doctor far more than they need to.  It’s better safe than sorry, right?

Almost immediately after my kids start feeling sick, I ask Jon to give them a priesthood blessing.  I am very much aware that a blessing won’t necessarily make their sicknesses miraculously disappear, however, it brings me peace of mind to know that everything that can be done for them is being done.  After that, it’s up to the will of the Lord.

Lizzie has amazing faith.  She asks Jon to give her priesthood blessings quite often when she’s sick.  On more than one occasion, she has been sick one day and then, after receiving a blessing, is completely better the next day.  It truly is a miracle.

But there are definitely the times when, even after receiving a blessing, the sickness lingers for days (or weeks) and is shared with the rest of the family.

In retrospect, the following experience is quite humorous.  At the time, however, it was absolutely miserable.  Our entire family got the stomach flu at the exact same time.  Prior to being sick, our home was only a little over a year old and was still in pretty good condition.  Afterwards, you would have guessed it to be at least thirty years old by looking at the stains all over the carpet.  I didn’t want to clean anything.  It would have been much easier to simply pack up our essentials and abandon the house.

One night during this bout of sickness was particularly miserable.  I decided to sleep in Bryce’s room on the floor with him because he kept puking.  We played our own little game of puke tag all night.  He would puke and I would clean him up.  Then I would take a turn.  This process repeated itself for hours.  At one point I was in the bathroom across the hall from Bryce’s room and I started seeing stars and my limbs started tingling.  I cried out to my husband (who was doing his own puking in the other bathroom) and he rescued me with a liquid of some sort.  At this point, Bryce was awake and walking and puking all over the hallway.  Fortunately, Lizzie was sleeping peacefully for the time being.

The next day was simply a continuation of the night.  By this time, our house truly stunk, as you can probably imagine.  I started feeling a little better, fortunately, because one adult in the house needed to take Bryce to urgent care because the poor little thing was extremely dehydrated.  I was the lucky adult.  I took him to the doctor and they gave him some anti-nausea medication that worked wonders.  Lizzie seemed to be doing better.  About ten minutes after putting her to bed, however, she puked all over her bed (which was covered in towels by this time because every other blanket and sheet in our house was in the process of getting washed).  I decided to take her to urgent care as well.  We barely made it out of the driveway before she projectile vomited all over the car.  I turned around.  The stench was horrid.  I was literally dry heaving as I cleaned up Lizzie and the van.  We got back in the car and eventually made it to urgent care…and then went right back home without being seen by a doctor because the wait time was four hours!

But we survived.

Even when you are beyond miserable and you feel as if you just can’t make it another day, it helps to remember that (for the most part) sicknesses don’t last forever.

I tried to remember that fact last Thursday when I went to check on Lizzie at 11:00 at night before going to bed.  As I entered her room, I immediately smelled the stench.  You know, the pungent, sour, and very distinct smell of vomit.  Oh my goodness.  Lizzie had puked all over her bed (and herself) and had fallen back asleep on top of it all.  The puke was everywhere.  It was all over her face, in her hair, on her pajamas, on her pillow, and on her comforter.  Somehow, it miraculously managed to avoid each and ever one of her stuffed animals.  Lucky creatures.  🙂  She had also puked on the side of her bed adjacent to the wall.  As such, the puke had run down the wall, gotten all over her bed skirt, and there was nearly an entire cup of it under her bed (both on her carpet and on top of a Little People Ferris Wheel toy…poor, poor toy).  I started dry heaving and called for my husband.  Lizzie was awake and crying by this point and when she gets that way, she doesn’t want anyone but me.  So while I bathed her and changed her clothes, Jon did the honors of transferring the soiled bedding to the laundry room.

I prepared myself for the worst, but Lizzie didn’t vomit again until Saturday morning.  Really strange.  And fortunately, (knock on wood) no one else seemed to have gotten sick.

I hope that it stays that way.

Yes, sick kids completely wear me out.  It’s not just the chasing and the wiping and the cleaning and the washing.  It’s the worrying.  It’s the way that my schedule gets thrown off.  It’s the way that we have to quarantine ourselves inside of our own house.

But I must admit that I am grateful for these times.

It’s times like these that help me to truly appreciate the normal, somewhat mundane days that make up my life.  When my kids are sick and not acting as crazy as they usually are, I miss them.  I miss their hyperactivity.  It miss their spunk.  I miss their appetites.  I even miss their tantrums.

I know that sicknesses won’t last forever.

I also know that my children will not be young forever.

It is my goal to put forth a genuine effort to enjoy this season of my life.  This time when I have the privilege of wiping noses.  This time when I have kids constantly hanging on me and yelling in my ears.  When I hear squeaky voices telling me that they love me.  When little arms are wrapped around my neck and when I am covered in wet kisses from head to toe.

Even with the puke, I really couldn’t ask for anything more.

Strawberry Lemonade Trifle

I am a huge fan of trifle.  It can be modified to fit any occasion.  Usually I enjoy a little chocolate in my trifle, but with spring here in full force, I was looking for a lighter taste.  I may have ended up eating most of this by myself…but it was so tasty!

Strawberry Lemonade Trifle

1 box lemon cake

1 lb strawberries, sliced

1 box instant vanilla pudding, prepared

1 tub of cool whip

It’s pretty simple really.  Make the cake as directed on the box.  Once it’s cooled, cut into 2 inch pieces.  Then proceed to layer cake, pudding, whipped cream, and strawberries until your dish is filled and pretty.  Then enjoy!

(feeds about 20 people so be prepared)

No Cream of Soup Funeral Potatoes

We are not big fans of Cream of Anything Soup in our house.  I prefer to make things from scratch.  Not only is it healthier, but it simply tastes better.  When I found this recipe for Funeral Potatoes that didn’t ask for Cream of Chicken Soup, I knew that I had to try it.  They tasted great and I ate way more than my fair share!  Give it a try today!  You won’t be disappointed! 🙂

( I found the recipe here)

No Cream of Soup Funeral Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk (I even used skim)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I actually used 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup Mexican cheese blend and it turned out just fine)
  • 26-ounce bag frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • Topping:
  • 2 cups of lightly crushed cornflakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the butter and onion. Cook until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute.
  3. Add the chicken broth and milk to the mixture. Add each one slowly while whisking.
  4. Add the salt, pepper and thyme and stir to combine.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce then simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until smooth.
  7. Fold in the thawed hash browns until well combined.
  8. Then in the sour cream. Spread the mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  9. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the mixture.
  10. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly.