Friday, March 26, 2010

Maile's Prayer

Maile's prayer the other day; "Dear God, we don't like the snow here anymore. Please take it back....and let the flowers grow."

Amen, sister!

To Sporadics and Would-be's

For all you sporadic bloggers out there, I love reading your blogs! Write in them more often, please! (Charity, that means you!) Also, for you would-be bloggers, here is a suggestion that may motivate some of you to start a blog, or for you sporadics, to write more often--at least this idea has worked for me. Curtis compiled a bunch of our photos from the past year on one of those on-line book publishing sites (We used Booksmart). I inserted nearly all of my blog entries from last year, and between the pictures and the blog entries, we have a really nice family record of our year, which we will publish as a hardbound book as soon as we have an extra fifty bucks in our budget!

Just a thought.

Of Digging for Nuttin'

You know, being a mom is an interesting experience, to say the least. I am so grateful I am able to be at home with my sweet little children, but I often feel like I am mentally stagnating. I have good intentions of reading the news every day, at least for a few minutes to stay up-to-date on current events, or trying to learn something new each day, or read an educational book here and there, but by the time I finish laundry, cleaning, reading to the kids, cooking, cleaning, getting kids snacks, attempting to exercise, read my scriptures, pay bills, cleaning, etc., the day is gone and I haven't added anything to my reportoire of knowledge. I get envious sometimes of the college students who get to go to class each day and learn cool things, and I have to remind myself that I have had my turn at college. Sometimes I worry about carrying on an intelligent conversation with people--I worry that my brain is functioning on a very basic "get stuff done" level, and they won't find much there if they dig too deep! Am I alone in feeling this way, or do other mothers have similar feelings? Does anyone have any suggestions on ways that have worked for them to improve their minds on a daily basis and still accomplish all the "mothering" that needs done?

Of Leprechaun Gold and Burlap Bags

St. Patrick's Day was quite enjoyable this year. I have been making a better effort this past year to do a bit more for some of the holidays I don't normally celebrate much. I don't know if it is the long winters here where I am looking for any excuse to party, or if I just want the kids to have some fun memories...either way, it was fun, and we like to have fun!

Anyway, the kids woke up to a trail of gold leprechaun dust going from their bedroom to the kitchen table, where there awaited a crock full of chocolate gold coins and a baggie of green drink. (Pistachio pudding mix--just add a teaspoon or two to a glass of milk--it's really quite delicious!) Arden had to draw a picture of a rainbow which he taped to the table and put the pot on. Cute.

To end the day, we enjoyed a wonderful party at Kayla's house (sorry, I forgot the camera, so no pics.). She had made a delicious Irish stew and soda bread, and we had green drinks, and lots of yummy green deserts. The kids had a leprechaun hunt and found more gold coins, and played a rousing round of hot potato. The adults played the candybar game with lots of green packaged treats, and we all enjoyed a game involving throwing miniature burlap sacks across a line with miniature pitchforks (kitchen forks). Apparently, that used to be a popular game in Ireland (not using the miniatures, of course.) It was a lovely day, and one of the most fun St. Patty's Days I can remember. Thanks, Kayla and Ben!

Of the War on Weeds

I don't mind weeding, in fact, I find it somewhat therapeutic. (I get that from my Mom--apparently it is an inherited trait!) However, we have half an acre of landscaped yard, and well, enough is enough. I feel like I spend the majority of my summers trying to keep the weeds under control in my yard (with varying success depending on the weed.). Anyway, I decided I wasn't going to mess around any more, so I signed up for a weed management class at the county extension office. It was a two hour class, and I was somewhat perturbed when we spent an hour and a half of the time just on identification of weeds, (I don't care what the darn buggers look like, just tell me how to kill them!!), but there were a few good tips I picked up at the end of the class that I will pass along if any one is interested.

Quack grass is a common weed in this and many other areas, and is annoying in lawns. To get rid of it (and other weeds, for that matter!)put on a disposable rubber glove, put a cotton glove over it, and dip your fingers in a solution of three parts water to one part Roundup. Then you just wipe your wet, gloved fingers over the grass, and it should take care of it. Don't water or cut the grass for a few days. (BTW, the roots of quack grass are edible, if anyone cares.)

Another way our instructor recommended for reducing weeds in lawns, is to water only once, maybe twice a week, very deeply. If you water about two inches for a normal soil, it will drain down about a foot. The roots of the grass will grow down to however deep the water penetrates, and the deeper the roots, the more competition they will be for the weeds, and hopefully, they will crowd out the weeds all together. He recommended keeping the grass at about 2 1/2 inches to 3 1/2 inches for maximum weed control.

A healthy weed is easier to kill then a sick weed. (The idea being that if a plant is healthy and absorbing all the nutrients from the soil, the sunlight, etc., it will much more easily absorb your weedkiller.)

The best time to manage perennial weeds is in the fall. He said with his dandelions, he sprayed them in the fall and the next year, he only had one dandelion in his entire yard. If you spray dandelions in the spring, it only kills the tops of the plant but the root is still alive.

For weeds in the garden...till in early spring or late fall. All the weeds that will sprout in your garden will be in the top inch of soil, and apparently 50% of the weeds that will sprout, will come up at the same time in the spring. Anyway, our instructor lets the first crop of weeds come up in his garden (despite strange looks from his neighbors), sprays them with Roundup, waits a couple of days, then plants his garden. Then, the veggies will grow, crowding out the rest of the weeds that want to come up, before they have a chance to come up! (Did that make any sense at all? I understood it allright when he told us, but I'm not explaining it very well! Anyway, he said that weeding is a pretty simple task once a week after following that process. He also emphasized making sure to plant your stuff close enough together that it crowds out the weeds. Where ever there is not something, weeds will grow!

Ummmm...what are just a couple of interesting tidbits: June grass (also known as cheat grass and crab grass) is highly flammable. It is a big problem in Idaho because when it catches fire, it burns very quickly and gets rid of a lot of the native vegetation. Our instructor said that as a scout, he and his friends would use that as a fire starter in their fire-building contests, and always won! Very clever!

Second interesting fact: Our country spends about $10 billion a month on the war on terror--about $120 billion a year. We spend as a country about $138 billion a year on weed control! Crazy!!

A good website for learning about and identifying weeds is

That's all for now, folks! Comment if you have any burning weed questions, and since I am now an expert on weeds, I will answer it for you. (-;

Friday, March 19, 2010


I have found my calling in life. A pie maker! I volunteered to make the pies for the pie eating contest at Kayla's house for pi day. I think I made about 10, besides the two we brought just to eat. I had so much fun! I used to dread making the pie crust until I found a wonderful recipe for "Never Fail Pie Crust." It is more like a dough then regular pie crust, which makes it tons easier to roll out. Not only that, but you can re-roll it numerous times and it still comes out nice and flaky. It stores in the fridge for up to a month, and makes a great on-the-spot FHE snack. (Lady Fingers--roll out the crust, spread on butter, and sprinkle on cinnamon sugar. Oh so good, if not the most healthy snack in the world!)

5 c. flour
2 1/2 c. shortening
2 tsp. vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1 egg
Water (cold)
Mix flour and salt together. Add the shortening and mix with a pastry blender or fork. Put egg in measuring cup, add vinegar and mix together. Fill up to 1 cup with water. Add gradually to flour mixture.

One of the best cake decorating purchases I have ever made is a large pastry bag. They have the huge star tip on the end, which makes for very professional looking results with whipped cream or frosting, with minimal effort or skill required.

Another great product I found is called "Rich's." You use it in place of cool whip or whipped cream, and it is much more stable then either of those products, making it ideal for outdoor use, or if your cake or pie will be sitting out for quite a while before being eaten. I bought my containers at the local Frontier Pies Restaraunt for about $5 each. Each carton makes about a gallon of whipped topping. For the 12 pies I made, I used about 1 1/2 cartons of the stuff, so it goes quite a long ways.

Here are the finished results. Don't look too closely--I didn't spend a whole lot of time with the pies for the pie eating contest, but for the small amount of time I put into them, not to bad, in my humble opinion. Again, it's all the pastry bag!

Of Pi and More Pie

Pi day (March 14th--3.14 for all you unelightened) was a great success this year. Kayla hosted a wonderful party, and a great time was had by all. We played a couple of nerdy games, ate tons of different types of pie--all very delicious, and even enjoyed a pie eating contest. (I enjoyed watching!) To end the night, we played several rousing rounds of Wolverine, which is kind of a mafia game. Very fun! We found out we are all very good liars. (A rather dubious distinction, I'll admit!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Of Three Year Olds and Going Crazy!

As cute as she is, I CAN NOT wait until Maile is no longer four. This past week, she has dumped out three bottles of shampoo, used up all the soap in the front bathroom in one sitting, torn off and shredded the wrappers of an entire box of crayons, drawn on her bedsheets, squeezed out a whole tube of toothpaste (she was making a drink for dad), pulled the leaves off one of my houseplants, dumped out and used the contents of my makeup bag (including fingernail polish, which not only did she use on her nails, but also on my eyeshadow--eeks!), drew all over herself with eyeliner, and tried to snitch some things from the pantry, breaking one of the shelves in the process and having all the small kitchen appliances get dumped on her. Oh yeah, I was looking for the can of baby formula the other day, and I finally asked Maile is she knew where it was. She found it under a pile of blankets she had made in her room. Thanks goodness I got to that before she dumped it all out!

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of having a three year old of your own, you are probably thinking, "My, what a negligent mother!" For those of you who know what I am talking about, negligence has nothing to do with it. It is just the nature of the beast. Half of the things she did, she was supposed to be napping at the time. Several of them I just watched in amusement--yeah, I can afford a couple bucks for a new tube of toothpaste, and she is having so much fun with it!, and the others, well, Maile is just a sneaky little thing. I love how when she is trying to get away with something, she will say, "Mom, can you go wait in your room and close your eyes for a minute?" Ha. Ha. Sure, Maile.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Of Sqibs and Coral Wreaths

O.K., time for some cute "kid" quotes.

Arden's new favorite phrase; "Oh my ham!"
Maile's new favorite phrase; "That is hilarious!"

Arden, Maile and I were sitting at breakfast the other day, and I was eating some leftover Waldorf salad. The kids were asking me what was in it, and I told them one of the ingredients was yogurt. Arden piped up, "I know how to make yogurt salad. You get some salad and put yogurt in it." Maile's response, "Arden you're so clever!"

It is so fun to listen to kids' conversations. Again at breakfast, I was just listening to the kids talk together. Here is how the conversation went:
Arden: Octupuses and sharks are almost the same.
Maile: Octupuses are kind of like squibs.
Arden: Maile, did you know a coral wreath is alive?
Clearly, we will have to take the kids to an aquarium when we move to San Diego so they can learn correct ocean terminology!

Maile is a cheeky little thing. The other day when I told her to do her job before watching a movie she responded (in a very saucy voice); "Besides, you're not the Dad!" I love my girl.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Of Movies and Jobs

After having Leila, in sleep deprived desperation, I decided it was time to turn on Netflix again so I could get a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning. I had originally cancelled our subscription because I got tired of the kiddoes begging to watch movies all the time, however, again, the desperation factor kicked in. Anyway, as soon as we turned Netflix on, as I should have predicted, the kids started getting up at the crack of dawn and coming into our room, asking for help in turning on their movie. Aarrrgghh! So much for my plan.

So, we worked on plan B. The kids weren't allowed to get up before 7:00 or they forfeited their movie for the morning. Worked pretty good. However, I soon realized that plan B was lacking somewhat, so we added part two of plan B--to get them to have breakfast ready and the house spotless before I got up in the morning. Hmmmm... that was not quite as successful as I would have hoped, but I did come up with a plan to help the kids be somewhat more productive and contributing members of our household. I made them little chore charts, which I put in their mailbox at night along with a love note and a treat. Once they have their chart completed in the morning, they are allowed to watch their movie. The plan backfired a little, because Arden was so excited to get into his mailbox and do his job (I LOVE that!) that he was back to getting up at 6:00 in the morning, so we had to remind him of our 7:00 rule, but overall, it is working pretty well. No complaints.