Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Timely Meme

My sister in law tagged me for a meme. I haven't done one for awhile, so here goes...

Past, Present, Future
20 years ago . . .
1. I was working as a Nanny in NJ.
2. I had just started dating my future husband.
3. I was saving money for college.

10 years ago . . .
1. Dh graduated from graduate school.
2. We sold our second house in Missouri.
3. We moved with our 2 kids in with our in laws in NJ.

5 years ago ...
1. We were living back in Utah with 3 kids.
2. My sister in law and my nephew were baptized.
3. We saw or went to San Antonio, Roswell, Cape Cod, Timpanogas, Park City, St.
Francis Peak, The Spiral Jetty, Blacks Fork at least 3 times, Hogle Zoo and the
Children's Museum.

3 years ago . . .
1. We had just had our 4th baby.
2. We were now living here.
3. I was working on getting my new garden in.

1 year ago . . .
1. I was about to give birth to our 5th baby.
2. I was about to celebrate my one year blogiversary.
3. I was in the process of painting the nursery mural.

So far this year . . .
1. I took up the hobby of birdwatching and participated in the Great Backyard Bird
2. I started a nature journal.
3. I briefly considered the possibility of moving again.

Yesterday . . .
1. I managed to get both of my little ones to nap at the same time.
2. I went on a date with DH to Panera and to the mall to buy him new dress shirts.
3. I shaved my left leg, because I forgot to shave it on Monday when I did the right

Tomorrow. . .
1. I will do my errands/shopping that I didn't do today because of the snow.
2. I will pay the bills.
3. I will work on planning an upcoming Primary Activity.

In the next year I shall...
1. Hopefully install tile and do some painting.
2. Wean the baby.
3. Sleep a solid 8 hour stretch a time or two.

Seedfolk and Garden Planning

It may be snowing today, but my thoughts have turned toward spring!

My two oldest daughters and I just finished reading Seedfolk by Paul Fleishman.

We started reading together in the evenings again. I wanted to spend more quality time together, read more good books, and jump start reading scriptures better as a family. We had tried at bedtime before, but with a cranky tired 2 yr old, it didn't work out. So, I'm putting Elsie to bed a little earlier, and then starting to read books with the girl's to get a habit started. Soon, we will read books AND scriptures and get the rest of the family to come join us. That is the plan anyways.

So, back to the book. It's the story of a community garden in Cleveland that brings together a diverse group of neighbors. It is told in the voices of 16 people, each with a different background and life story. We really enjoyed reading it and discussing it together. It allowed my girls a peek into a world very different than their own. Unfortunately, it wasn't until after we were done that I found this teacher guide, complete with discussion questions. It also made me excited to start planning my garden for this year!

(Warning: The book does introduce a couple themes, drugs and teen pregnancy, that might be too much for younger children, but are a good spring board to the subjects for older ones.)

So, I've planned our food garden. We will be growing:

Maestro Peas
Mesculen Mix Lettuce
Buttercrunch Lettuce (New)
Mediana Spinach
Detroit Dark Red Beets
Blue Lake pole beans
Gurney's Pride Zuchinni
Spirit Hybrid Pumpkins
Straight 8 Cucumbers
Mammoth Dill

Plus tomatoes, bell peppers, basil and oregano plants bought locally.
And the already planted, strawberries, raspberries and cherries, of course.
Next, I need to plan for the flower beds, decide on a replacement a shrub that died last year, and put away all the snowmen decorations!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Two Cool!

I have two cool things to share today!

FIRST- Remember when I said I expected forsythia blooms in a few "weeks"? It was more like a few "days"! The first blossoms opened a week after bringing them in.

SECOND- I just discovered blog slurping by Blurb. Blurb is a self publishing site where you can create and publish your own books. Blog slurping is something new that they have introduced that allows you to import your blog and have it published as a book. What is great, is the flexibility you have in making it the way you want it, and at the same time how user friendly it is.

Select which posts, whether you want comments included, and if you want hyperlinks included as foot notes. There are 14 or so different themes to choose from (similar to a blog skin) and over 75 different layouts. Don't like the layout of an individual post? Select another template and it will automatically arrange everything for you. Or, for those more creative than I, you can manually do all your layouts yourself.

When you are done, you have it printed. A 40 page soft cover book is $13. But, there are hard cover options, and the possibility of a book 440 pages thick, as well. And you can include it in their "bookstore" if you'd like. So all your loyal fans (friends and family?) can order a copy of their own.

I recently was worried about the future of my blog and whether it would "last" or eventually disappear into cyberspace. And I have done such a lousy job of scrapbooking or making baby books for my kids. Now I can make a "real life" copy of my blog, and even make individual books for my kids with the posts that pertain to them. I am very excited about this!

Learn more here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Forcing Forsythia

I love forsythia in bloom, which is good because we have five of them around our yard. They just say spring to me. And I am ready for spring. So, I am cheating and trying to get some blooms early by "forcing" them. I cut some branches and brought them inside. I've never done this before, but if it all goes as planned, I should have a nice display of bright yellow blooms in a few weeks!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yummy Treats

Elsie and I made one of my favorite treats to share with the family for valentine's day. These are so easy to make and very addictive!

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spread waffle shaped pretzels on waxed paper on a cookie sheet. Top each with a Hershey kiss. This is where trying different flavors is really fun. We used peanut butter kisses this time. Put in the oven for 1-2 min until chocolate is softened. Watch them carefully, the time will vary depending upon the flavor of kisses you choose. The peanut butter ones seem to soften a bit quicker. Remove from oven, and immediately press an M&M or Reeses Pieces into the top of each kiss. Let cool and enjoy! I throw them in the freezer because I hate waiting!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday- Now with Words


For more Wordless Wednesday.

UPDATED: My dad wanted to know more, so I will oblige...It seems that peanuts are one of blue jays' favorite foods. I bought a bag and we have been throwing a handful out on the back patio in the morning. Practically a flock of blue jays come to get them. Emily was home from school on Monday and she and I had a good time trying to take pictures of them. We even turned the coffee table on its side and pushed it up over to the windows so we could have a "blind" to hide behind. Here are a couple more pictures:

Standing on one foot:

Three at once:

An interesting thing about their migration, is that some do, and some don't. Younger ones are more likely to migrate, but whether a particular blue jay chooses to migrate can vary from one year to the next. They aren't sure why!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hobnobbing Here Amongst the Elite


Last night dh and I attended a local fundraising gala. They hold it every year, but we have never gone. Mostly because the price per plate is enough to feed our family very well for a week. Last night we got to go for free because dh was asked to do some schmoozing. Not really one of the tasks of his job that appeals to him. I was excited, though, because I find this kind of event fun. The decorations, the entertainment, the food, the people watching...its all a fun change from my regular life routine.

Last night's theme was Chinese. The walls of the entry, halls and ballroom were covered in large oriental painted and solid green and red banners. There were a couple of enormous dragons, red and gold tinsel strewn on the ground and an entire hallway lined with live bamboo. Coconut shrimp, spring rolls, filet mignon, and real orchids garnishing the dessert. The Peking Acrobats performed amazing dances and stunts. The live auction sold packages worth up to $17k. With over 500 people, most dressed in fancy gowns and tuxedos, it was quite the event.

It really wasn't a place where I felt I truly belonged, however. I did not blend. And not just because I wasn't wearing a long, beaded, backless gown with my cleavage on display. Or because I was drinking water and cranberry juice instead of expensive wine and saki. The people I met were very nice and friendly, and a heck of a lot better at remembering my name than I was at remembering theirs. But the coming to be seen, to make connections, to network, to display. Not me. Not my world. I live in a world where I mop my own floor, change my own baby's diapers, paint my own nails and do my own taxes. Yes, we are raising 5 children without hired help. Crazy, I know! My day to day little world orbits no where near theirs. But, I love my world and wouldn't have it any other way. It was fun to visit their planet for an evening, though!

PS. Do you recognize the source of this post's title?

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Ultimate Planner

I consider myself a planner. I like to think ahead and plan for things. I'm also a great procrastinator, which often defeats all my great planning. But, I am realizing that our Heavenly Father is the greatest planner of all.

This morning I was pondering things in my life and some of the blessings my family and I have recently received. And I was amazed to realize the long, sometimes unexpected paths those blessings followed to come to fruition. Blessings I didn't even know were coming, because I only recently was let in on "the plan".

I know that Heavenly Father knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we need to grow and to be happy. And because he has perfect patience, he knows how to plan for that growth and happiness far, far in advance and then patiently watch as the time necessary passes. My plans focus on the next day, next week or month, maybe the next year. It is so hard for me to really think and plan for the long term.

Probably because I lack that patience. I don't want to wait. I want it all now! Do you know how your toddler will ask for something, and they have to wait just a minute first, and so they fall all apart? And you think, "What the heck kid, its coming already!"? Well, I wonder if He sometimes thinks that about me! Maybe that's why I wasn't allowed to know these blessings were coming. Kind of like being careful not to tell your child that Christmas or their birthday is coming too far in advance.