"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday Riding Lesson

I haven't posted since Monday, whoa. I was on a pretty good streak there for a while. I've been super busy and distracted since school has been out. It's amazing the difference one more child for a few hours a day can make. I've been spring cleaning like mad. I just couldn't take the clutter any longer, so I've been cleaning and scrubbing for three solid days. It was nice. But that's out of my system now. I really don't like deep cleaning, but once I get started... watch out.

So I finally have some pictures of my riding lessons. I always forget my camera. Unfortunately the lady that was taking the pictures didn't know how to use my camera, and when I got it back it had been on macro and some other weird setting, but I still got a couple of decent ones...

I didn't get to ride "Legs" today. I think Terie has officially given up on me purchasing him at any point, but she did have a new horse for me. His name is "Red". Boring name, but a great ride. Red is a 14 year old purebred Arabian gelding. He was a successful show horse last year, but he was sold to a lady that didn't take care of him or something. He lost 150 pounds over the winter! He was so skinny you could see his hip bones sticking out. So sad. Terie just acquired him yesterday and he hasn't been ridden for almost a year. He was whinnying and freaking out when I first got him out of the pasture. He was jumpy and nervous, and I was a little hesitant, but once he got the kinks worked out, he was amazing. His trot was all business. He was super collected and responsive. It was awesome to have an immediate response to my every cue. His canter was heavenly. This horse has some serious training under his belt. I really like him. Terie didn't want me to ride a posting trot on him without stirrups because he has no cushioning, but I had to ride a "standing" trot for like fifteen minutes. Whew, that was a workout. My legs were screaming for mercy. I'll feel that one in the morning. It was a fun lesson.

"Red", whinnying for his buddies, over and over again...

A collected walk:

My "standing" trot exercise: (Yeah, you try holding this pose for 15 minutes!)

Candid shot of Terie, Red and myself (Nice expression there Britt)...

We have lots of family and fun planned for the weekend, so I probably won't post again for a few days. Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Falls!

We stopped at the falls this weekend and whoa, lots of water! The kids thought it looked pretty cool. Averie didn't like the noise. The water is so high this year. We had a great weekend. Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Grandma's Trampoline!

The kids just love to jump on the trampoline at Grandma's...

Averie's Birthday Festivities

Why is it that first year birthday parties never work out for us? Well, it's my own fault for not giving Averie decent naps. She was extremely over-tired and when we arrived at my Mom's house and she finally got a nap, it was too little, too late. The result?:

And then there was the "Cake Mishap", also my fault. Averie is obsessed with Ellorie's stuffed animal penguin, so I drew one in frosting on her birthday cake:

I was taking some pictures of it and thought it would be a great idea to get a picture of Averie next to the cake. Did I mention she loves the penguin? Well she tried to give it a little "hug", and cake does not hug well, needless to say. This was about one minute after I had finished the cake:

It wasn't a big deal, but Mason was totally distraught. Averie was absolutely screaming because I had scared her when she grabbed the cake, Mason was bawling because the cake was broken, and it was just a fun moment for all. It was actually hard not to laugh. So I fixed the cake, we had a somewhat uneventful dinner, and after Averie had a little cat nap we fed her some cake. You would think that chocolate cake would have improved her spirits, but apparently not even sugar could do it for her today. Poor baby. She didn't understand all the chaos. Things settled down a little bit and we let her open her presents. She was still a little stone-faced, but no screaming. She really liked her presents, and I even got a grin out of her. Mason and Ellorie had a blast "helping" her unwrap her presents. Averie's favorite present was her "realistic" keys.
This is actually a squeel of joy. We can handle that kind...
She was a little happier after the presents. Remind me why we do we do this again? Well, she has had a much better day today. (Naps are a glorious thing!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Baby is One!

Press "play" to watch!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Potluck: New Focaccia Recipe

My riding lesson was cancelled tonight. Bummer. But I already had a great recipe planned for the ward potluck, so I had some unexpected time to try it out! I found it on one of my favorite recipe blogs: Coconut & Lime. I am a focaccia lover, and my family {heart}s artechokes and olives, so I might even get my kids to eat it...
It took all my willpower not to add garlic. I sometimes tend to over-garlic things. (I did make a couple of changes: I substituted one cup of white flour for whole wheat flour, and I used regular black olives instead of Greek olives because I just am way too cheap to spend 7 bucks on a bottle of something for one recipe. I actually really like Greek olives in salads and such, but $7? Not today.)
It turned out really great. It's a good thing I'm taking it over to the church or I would be tempted to eat the whole thing. I love the olive oil and rosemary flavor and the saltiness of the artichokes and olives. mmm. It's a definite repeater. Here is the recipe:

Olive and Artichoke Focaccia

6 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil PLUS 1/4 cup, divided use
1 tablespoon salt10 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup Greek olives, halved
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions: In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of water. Allow to sit about 10 minutes. Then combine yeast with 1 cup of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook. Mix thoroughly then add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, 2 1/2 cups flour and 3/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly again and then add the remaining flour and water. Continue to mix with the dough hook until a soft dough forms. If it is sticky, add a bit more flour, too dry or powdery, add a touch more water. Remove from the bowl and pat into a round shape. Grease a 14 x18 inch pan* with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the dough in it, cover with a damp towel and allow to rise** about 1 1/2 hours. After the 1 1/2 hours, stretch the dough out to the length of the pan, cover with a damp towel and allow to rise an additional 45 minutes. After about 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 450***. After the 45 minutes, uncover and poke the dough with your finger to make little holes.
In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup olive oil,a tablespoons of water, rosemary and a bit of salt. Brush this over the bread along with the artichokes, and olives.
Bake 15-20 minutes, checking about half way through to make sure it isn't browning too quickly. If you are using the Parmesan, sprinkle it on after about 15 minutes of baking then return it to the oven for about 5 more minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.*a black, metal pan works best.**an "cold" oven is an excellent place to allow your dough to rise.***it is nice to bake this in the pan on a baking stone, if possible. Place the baking stone in the oven to preheat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Easy Homemade Ice Cream

I had an "Achievement Days" activity at my house today. My assistant had a family emergency, so it was just me again. But there were only 9 girls there today, so it wasn't too crazy. (If all 16 had showed up it may have been a nightmare.) We were planning on doing the activity completely outside, but it was pretty cold and had been raining most of the day. So we ended up doing about half in and half out. Which means my entire house is really muddy now, but that's beside the point. Anyway, we had a really great activity. We first talked about doing service to our family members and the importance of families. The girls each made some service "coupons" for three of their family members. You know, stuff like "I will make all the beds in the house for one week" or "coupon for 1 hour of babysitting without complaining". They decorated those while they waited their turn to make homemade ice cream. I found this really fun and easy recipe for making it in a plastic bag:
1/2 C milk
1/4 C half and half
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 sandwich size Ziploc® bags
1 one gallon size Ziploc® bag
2 C ice
1 T coarse salt
(I used ice cream salt. It was $1.00 at the grocery store)

Put one small Ziploc bag inside the other and add the milk, half and half, sugar, and vanilla extract to the inside bag. Seal both bags securely, removing excess air.

Add ice and salt to larger bag and place smaller bag inside. Seal firmly. Shake like crazy for 5 to 10 minutes, taking care not to break open bag. Squeeze into a bowl and enjoy!

"Shake like crazy!"

We added "flavors" as well. They could choose between chocolate chips, NesQuick, or Strawberry Jam.

It actually turned out better than I expected! It tasted great. Some of the girls were a little lazy with the shaking, so theirs turned out more like thick milk shakes. They were also a bit messy to pour out of the bags if the ice cream wasn't all the way set up:

All in all it was a really fun and easy activity. I have a hilarious video of the girls all shaking their bags. It was pretty entertaining. It would have been even better if it had been as warm as it was yesterday, but no complaints. I definitely recommend trying it. Even Mason and Ellorie were able to shake theirs enough to get it quite thick. Yum. I love homemade ice cream.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Daddy's Gonna Just Love This....

Dandelions anyone? I came outside in the yard to find Ellorie spreading lovely dandelion seeds about. They are pretty, I must admit, but I know I shouldn't encourage this behavior. Oh well, Brandon can just weed-n-feed later I guess...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kindergarten Zoo Fieldtrip

We went with Mason's class to the zoo today. I had never been to this one before, so it was fun. It was a little too hot for Averie's taste. She was really lethargic and grumpy the whole time. I don't think she even looked at any of the animals. Ellorie totally loved it. Her favorite part was feeding the goats. Mason's favorite part was eating lunch (?) whatever. They had a little picnic with his class in the eating area before looking at the animals. He also really liked the tiger and the otters.
I took this cool picture on accident and thought I would share. I do NOT like spiders in any way, but I was trying to take a picture of the snow leopard in the background and my camera focused on the spider web. I didn't even see it until I looked at my pictures later!

It was a hot day, but a fun afternoon trip. I can't believe school is almost out!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Scrapbook retreat!

I had a really nice relaxing weekend scrapbooking. Loved it! It was just a couple of hours drive to a great cabin, and then it was SERIOUS scrappin' time. This is my second retreat with this group of ladies. They each packed enough gear, supplies, and embellishments to stock a fairly good sized store. (I'll admit I too had a ridiculous amount of luggage for 2.5 days.) They are all amazingly creative and fun. It makes it easy to be inspired and crank out the pages. Here are my layouts:
(NOTE- Sorry about the nonprofessional camera work, most of the pictures are a little crooked...)

One more... this is really funny... can you spot the typo??

Well, Brandon did and, duh, isn't it obvious. Lizzzzard? There is honestly something about scrapbooking that addles the part of my brain that does the spelling. I'll be deeply engrossed in a layout, and suddenly I can't remember how to spell someone's name or a really simple word. Last scrapbook retreat I told Shannon that the correct spelling for Kindergarten was "Kindergarden" and I was 100% sure of it at the time. As we all passed around our layouts we found numerous typos. My theory is that we're using the right and more creative side of our brain to scrapbook and the left, more logical (spelling) side of the brain just shuts down for a while. It's crazy, but I swear it actually happens. Some other great typos this weekend by my fellow scrappers included "Alladin"(Aladdin), "Jasmin" (Jasmine), "Exhasted" (Exhausted), I know there were more, but I can't remember now. Anyway, if you see any OTHER typos on my layouts, kindly let me know...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Riding Report

My riding lessons are back on! Two weeks on, two weeks off is a killer. I will definitely feel it in the morning. I had my choice of horses today. (JOY!) So I chose "Legs" again. I was determined to find a better posting trot and canter on him. He will be three years old in a couple weeks, and it is always a little nerve-wracking riding a "baby". (Though the worst part is getting all the equipment on him because he is so tall and jumpy.) I had an awesome lesson. I lunged him first for a while, then worked on a posting trot, specifically bending on corners and collecting him. I had him perfectly collected and bending beautifully. (Woohoo!) Then we worked on his canter. Not perfect yet, but a million times better than last time. It was much more balanced and controlled. He is such a huge horse that his gaits are much faster and more ground-covering than the other horses I ride. It's really exhilarating sometimes. I love it, love it, love it!! After my lesson Terie took us outside to look at the newborn foals. Oh so sweet!

Okay, these are not my pictures, but you get the idea. I could have kicked myself for forgetting my camera today. It was a beautiful day and perfect for pictures. And the babies were sooooo cute. Oh well. I'll try to remember next week. Terie is breeding Dutch Harness Horse/Arabian crosses this year. She has seven fillies and no colts this year! The Dutch Harness horses are huge. Her two mares look a lot like Frisians, but without the feathered feet. The rest of her broodmares are purebred Arabians with really impressive bloodlines. Oh I love hanging out there. Some days I don't want to come home... I can't wait to have my own horses someday.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tulip Walk (Walk of Wonders)

Tonight after dinner I took Mason and Ellorie on a walk around the block. They took our old cell phones with cameras to “document” their adventure. (I didn’t bring my camera, so I had more time to observe my cute kids.) All of the tulips on our street are in bloom and very lovely. They of course had to stop and take pictures of each and every one. We also saw some other astounding sights:

~A “beautiful” shiny garbage can (“It’s so shiny and pretty!”)
~Dog footprints in the cement (“Or maybe it’s a cat, Mom”)
~A big fire truck with lights and sirens blaring. (“I wonder where it’s going?”)
~Cute little pine trees (“Oh, they are just so beautiful!”)
~A “really cool” really old (really trashed) Trans Am. (“Mom, I just LOVE that cool car.”)
~Millions of tulips, grape hyacinths, and daffodils.
~Popcorn popping on an apricot tree. (“Mom, is that REAL popcorn?”)
~A tiny windmill.
~Lexi’s Mom.
~A sprinkler running.
~A kid mowing his lawn.
~Baby Jayne’s mom in the window. (Hi Sharon, we’re not spying on you I promise.)

Ellorie also found beauty in and took pictures of a telephone pole, a black shiny garbage bag, and a dead bush. Go figure. Their pictures are mostly bits of blurry color, but even if they were perfect you wouldn’t be able to see what they saw in that really cool sidewalk crack. Oh to be young and so full of wonder! Everything is so fresh and exciting to them. I love it!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Gifts

Here was our gift to our amazing mothers. I mailed them on Tuesday, so I hope they arrived safely. Some of the photos don't do the colors justice, but you get the general idea. This was a 6 by 6 album. Two actually, one for each Mom. They were pretty much identical, except for the last page because I didn't have two sets of footprints that were the same color. I forgot to take pictures of the darling cards the kids made for them. oops. If you want to read the journaling, click on the photos. They should be large enough to read. Hope everyone has a great Mother's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's "Tea"

Mason's kindergarten class held a Mother's day tea for all the students and their moms. They put on a cute little program and gave us darling pictures and flowers. It was very well done, and just so cute! I took some videos of their poem and singing:
They also presented a little side show of pictures of the kids at their fieldtrip to the farm, and had each of them say one reason they love their mom. They showed a picture of each mom that the kids made on the computer. Here is Mason's:
He said, "I love my mom because she always makes me food." Such a sweet boy. I felt very loved and pampered. He has such a great teacher.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Morning Light

Averie's new trick is waking up at the crack of dawn, even after waking two or three times at night. She was so cute in the morning light this morning that I just had to snap some pictures. She loves to wave bye-bye and blow kisses to Daddy when he leaves for work. It's just so dang cute. I've tried to make a movie, but once I pull up the camera she forgets what she was doing. I'll have to keep trying to catch it. Aren't her new front teeth the cutest?!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mom messed up.

I made a huge mommy blunder. That's right, I took all three of my children to .... "the fabric store". Apparently my usually-very-well-behaved children couldn't handle it. We all go to the grocery store, the mall, Target, and about everywhere else without any problems. The fabric store is a totally different story. They were pulling things off shelves, throwing things at each other, fighting, squeeling, screaming, shoving, running in to people, touching EVERYTHING, and it didn't help that Averie didn't take a nap today and was crying most of the time. I don't get it. I was thinking about it though and decided that there is just WAY too much stimulation for their little brains. All the bright colors and patterns and textures and bright shiny buttons, they just go nuts. Wow. I about lost it a few times and became "that crazy lady" you see yelling at her kids in the store. But anyway, my purpose in going into the store in the first place was to purchase these babies:

This is fabulous fabric for my latest project. My super-talented and creative friend Sharon came up with this great baby sundress pattern, and we are going to make a bunch of them. I'll keep you posted...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sewing Project

I am the Primary Achievement Days leader for my ward. I have about 16 girls (ages 8-11) that come regularly to the activities. They really wanted to make scripture cases, so I decided we could do a sewing activity. I was really stressed out about how I was going to accomplish this, but then I found this blog post and it was PERFECT!... We made them on Saturday at the church. They turned out really great! (Thanks in part to my friend Sharon, the seamstress, that came to my rescue while my assistant was on "maternity leave"--Thanks Sharon!) These bags are super quick and easy if anyone wants to make one. I found the place mats at Big Lots. It really only takes a few minutes to complete. The girls all had a great time, and the bags turned out much better than I was expecting. I'd like to try to make some bigger ones for the kids to use as library bags. Just thought I would share...
These pictures are actually from the follow-up activity for the girls that missed the first one. Some of the moms were not cool with pictures of their daughters on my blog, so no girls, just the bags:

My favorite combination was the green bag with black polka dot ribbon, but no picture of that one. They are all really cute.
Step One: Sew two handles on the inside of the placemat. - two 12" pieces of gross grain ribbon.
Step Two: Fold in half so the bag is inside out, and sew up the two sides.
Step Three, fold down the corners and sew across. (You can click on the picture to make it larger.) Trim your thread and fold bag right side out. Voila! You're done. It is so quick and easy.