Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas creation countdown

(These are the actual numbers produced not the order in which I'm rating them)

12 Steaks a-sizzling (Yes folks, it was a regular Surf-and Turf Christmas eve complete with New York Strips and Lobster tails!)
11 Songs a-singing (a night of caroling with the neighbors)
10 Art projects starting
9 Bags a-covering (I made some extra Christmas bags this year out of Zach's old PJ's for wrapping up gifts
8 Children playing (our 3 kids plus Ben and Joy's 5)
7 chairs a-covering (Zach recovered Joy's dining room chairs)
6 Bags a- candying (homemade fudge and caramel)
5 Golden Bow ties (actually they are quite colorful and they are all for Zach, no little boy ties)
4 Plates of cookies
3 Bread loaves steaming
2 Jars a- jam'ing (blackberry jam from this summer that I forgot with the first bread-loaf delivery)
1 Blog- a printing (Zach formated the first year and a half of my blog into a photo album for me, it took him 20+ hours to do it)

We spent a lovely Christmas eve over at Ben and Joy's enjoying an indulgent evening of Grade A beef and shellfish. We were also pleasured to see Tina, James, and Jeanette who spent the night there while we trotted the little ones off to their own beds. Christmas morning was a small family affair here in our own little basement apartment opening gifts and taking them for a test drive. Later in the afternoon we hopped back over to the Lindon Hutchins' for some more Christmas R&R. Wish you all could have been here with us.

Merry Christmas to all and to all A good night!

Playing with Aunt Tina

Whoa! Thats some serious seafood

He's the only one allowed to get into this Christmas decoration

Finding a new use for our Christmas bags

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Holy and the Jolly

In a great memorandum that John S. Tanner recently sent out to BYU faculty he explains how his parents divided what his Mom called the "holy" and the "jolly" time. And how there was room for both.The article reads in part:

"So much art depicts Christ as a man of sorrows. He is portrayed in suffering, solem, or serious mien. But surely Jesus smiled as well, and even laughed. His teachings are replete with references to feasts and reveling; his parables are populated with party-goers. And he himself is portrayed as a frequent guest at feasts. Indeed, he performed his first miracle at a wedding party, where he turned water to wine. And he was censured by the Pharisees for failing to fast and for eating and drinking with the sinners. Is it incompatible with his character as Savior to imagine Jesus as jolly? If 'jolly' conjures only Santa in the modern mind, how about a 'merry' or 'mirthful' Messiah?

"To be sure, some forms of merriment deserve censure and should be eschewed. Some revelry resembles the drunken Bacchanalia of many New Year's Eve parties rather than a merry Dickensian Christmas party. Some partying indulges in 'loud laughter' inimical to the Spirit and 'riotous living' of the sort that the Prodigal Son regrets- but not all. Remember, the same parable that condems a son's riotous living, depicts a father celebrating the returning prodigal by throwing a great party. The fater kills the fatted calf and invites the whole household to 'make merry' in a celebration that seems to perfigure the joy and merry-making in Heaven over the repentant sinner....

"Christmas reminds us that we embrace a gosple of good cheer...It reminds us that jollity merriment, mirth, and cheer have an honored place in Heaven and on earth."

So Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Child's Prayer

David (2 yr 10 mo): ...."Please bless us coming to our new house, please bless Uncle Ben to get better, please bless the food. Please bless daddy to do good work today. And please bless mom to do some work today. Amen"

(I wonder what he thinks my job is- or if I even have one?)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pavlov's Bell

In a famous experiment Ivan Pavlov (1927) used a bell to call dogs to their food and, after a few repetitions, the dogs started to salivate in response to the bell. This is refered to as
Classical conditioning (also Pavlovian or respondent conditioning, Pavlovian reinforcement) It is a form of associative learning. The typical procedure for inducing classical conditioning involves presentations of a neutral stimulus (the bell) along with a stimulus of some significance (the food).

This is well trained puppy dog #2

All cozy together

THE bell. I use it probably every single day instead of having to call out that it is meal time. The boys respond better to it than my voice, which they have become adept at tuning out. Its especially nice since the hope of getting to ring it themselves still apeals to their youthful zeal. If they come quickly their their fairy-good-mother grants their wish.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Gem from the Ensign

"In her epic poem, Aurora Leigh, Elizabeth Barrett Browning expressed the eloquent thought:

Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.

May each of us unlatch our shoes and cram our labors with the essence of heaven, and may none of us be found plucking blackberries when a much grander, loftier work needs to be done."

As quoted by Elder Spencer J. Condie in an excellent article "Handel and the Gift of Messiah"
Dec. 2010 Ensign, p 27

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Handy Dandy Christmas Tree

This is a tree made out our family's hand prints. The original thought was to make these into Christmas cards for the grandparents but then I didn't know how to send it without folding it all up. Now it has just turned into festive wall decoration. Just zoom in real close grandparents, its almost the same.) I was thinking that this will be twice the size when we have 8 kids! Now our family has five people but then it will have 10. A good family home evening idea for anyone looking for an activity. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I admit it, I am addicted to cookies. Usually the classic chocolate chip walnut variety but I've been branching out since Zach can only take so many of those. It is a rare day NOT to find homemade cookies in my house and it is usually a good indication that some will be in the works/oven soon. Yesterday I splurged and made white chocolate chip macadamian nut cookies. I say splurge because if you are the shopper in the family you know that Macadamian nuts cost over 5 dollars for a tiny bag worth about one cup or one recipe's worth of nuts. Oh, but they were good-no better than good- wonderful. So wonderful in fact, I may or may not have eaten 6 cookies in the process and had to wake up at 6:00am this morning to P90X some of those calories off.

Old Faithful

(actual picture of cookies I made)

These are a change of pace- an orange shortbread cookie with melted chocolate on top. Other favorites include triple chip butterscotch, oatmeal raisin, sugar cookie, and gingerbread. This does not include any of the other pies, cakes, fudge, caramels and variety desserts that frequent my kitchen. Now that I think about it, my BMI should be somewhere in the obese range.... hummm...maybe I should cut back a little. Well perhaps after the New Year. I can't back down now, just when the baking frenzy has begun. We are 6 and counting for goodie deliveries this season and going strong. Just call me Mrs. Fields. Happy Baking People!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gabe's first Primary talk

Out of the mouth of babes.

I have a cousin. His hame is cousin Roger and he is going on a mission to Panama. When he gets there he will teach the people about Jesus. This is the Missionary book "Preach my Gospel". It helps the missionaries know what to do and say. We can be missionaries too. We can invite people to church just like we invite our friends to our house or to a birthday party. We can share our testimonies about Jesus or make good choices and be a good example of keeping the commandments. It is important to love them like Jesus does. I believe in Jesus and Heavenly Father and I know they love me. The devil and his people don't follow Jesus and Heavenly Father. I know the church is true. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Passover and Elijah

I just finished reading an excellent book called Celebrating Passover: A guide to Understanding the Jewish Passover for Latter-day Saints by Marianne Monson-Burton
It takes you through the rich history and symbolism of this ancient feast and how to celebrate your very own Seder complete with recipes and script (Haggadah) Since I'm on the Relief Society committee I would like to do one of these Passover feasts as an activity in the Spring. We shall see if anyone else is as excited about it as I am.

This book confirmed one of my Passover suspicions as well:
"On Easter Sunday 1836, during the Passover festival when Jewish families around the world opened doors and invited him to enter, Elijah appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the newly dedicated Kirtland Temple. There he restored sealing keys that permit families to be bound together eternally.
The importance of this date is underscored by an amazing astronomical coincidence that links the date of the Saviors resurrection with Elijah's return in this last dispensation. The Jewish lunar calendar and our modern solar calendar do not often align, but Elijah's return in 1836 occurred not only during passover week, as anticipated by the Jews, but also on an Easter Sunday calendrically similar to the proposed date of the Savior's resurrection, being both April 3 on the Gregorian calendar and 16 Nissan on the Hebrew calendar. Mormon scholar John P. Pratt said, "The Easter of 1836 was calendrically the most similar in history to the Easter of A.D. 33. [the year that Jesus was crucified] And if the earth's orbit continues unchanged, that Easter should retain this distinction for another three thousand years. The year 1836 was the only such occurrence in the nineteenth century!"
This is obviously much more than a remarkable coincidence. Elijah's return occurred on the exact anniversary of the resurrection, which emphasizes the essential and holy nature of the priesthood restoration..."

That is one Passover that is vitally important to Latter-day Saints.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful For

My little heathen Indians

And easy crafts inspired by Gabe's preschool teacher
(Gabe got his at school and I made David's when he saw Gabe's hat. )

I'm also grateful for a husband who spends his day off recovering my kitchen chairs

I know, the plastic isn't too classy, but when your heathen Indians are 4, 2, and 1 sometimes you just have to go with practical.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I am thankful for

Snow Angels

Align Center

And yes, he did actually throw that snow ball at me and hit me, but at least he missed the camera.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I think I have a Problem

I think I may have a problem. Maybe even an addiction. I like to be cute, my feet like to be cozy, we're at an impasse.

(from left to right: indoor slippers, outdoor slippers, summer slippers, and heavy duty winter slippers)

Look at them all lined up there like little sensible soldiers, ready to march off in the war against uncomfortable footwear. Or perhaps they are just fighting against what's in fashion. All sturdy and flat and not an ounce of cuteness in them. Perhaps my wardrobe will take retribution soon. I doubt it since my wallet would have to join the fight.

Monday, November 15, 2010

70 Degree snowball fight

The snow fort (food storage boxes)

The enemy

The ammunition

The audience

The Victors

There were no casualties thankfully. If they fight again I'll be sure to clear the room of breakables. That was NOT something the master snow fort builder thought of before he began the battle.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our New Thing

(Sing this to the tune of Book of Mormon Stories)

Book of Hutchins' stories that my mommy tells to me,
Are about the Gabey-ites in modern history
Long ago their father came from far away NC
Given this room, in which we live, righteously

David-ites met others who were seeking liberty
And the room who welcomed all who wanted to play free
Book of Hutchins' stories say that we must brothers be
Given this room, in which we live, righteously

This is our new thing. We read a little bit from the Book of Mormon stories at breakfast time each day. I'm usually done first anyway and just wait around while I shovel food into Mac's mouth. This way I have something else to do. We still read five verses from the real Book of Mormon at night but this is a lot easier for the boys to understand. AND, bonus, there are pictures too. It is an Ensign-inspired idea. It makes our mornings go smoother and brings the Spirit into our home. I don't have to coerce David into takeing bites either, I just stop reading and say take a bite and he does it so the reading will continue. It's a beautiful thing. (Plus, I feel a certian kinship to Lehi's family since their band of boys get so much press time up front in the Book of Mormon.) As my father-in-law would say, "This is good."

Monday, November 8, 2010


This is my one and only Sister- Amber. She's in North Carolina and I'm in Utah. I miss her.

We have three kids that are all the same age. Amber and I have been having play dates for four years now. No more:: sniff, sniff::

I'm going through withdraw.

Now if only I could convince her husband Robbie of the finer points of the wild west so that they would just move out here.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Birthday Baby

Some's call him Cheeks, some's call him Lil' Kenny, some's call him wacky Macky, or Mac Attack but whatever you call him just don't call him late for cake. One wonderful birthday #1 !

His favorite toy is the Little Tikes red and yellow car that he plays with out side. He loves to ride in it and push it around our driveway. No close up of the cake this year- lets just say it was a "rush job". He didn't care though, it still tastes yummy.

"Look mom, no hands! Some of it actually made it into my mouth too."
We just put a piece on his tray and let him "go at it" after he took the traditional birthday bite.

Thanks to Grandma for sending the "funkeys" (get it Fun-keys, Funky?)

Riding high in his new forward facing seat. It sort of looks like the chair is going to swallow him. Perhaps we need to adjust the straps.
We love you Mac!!! Happy Birthday

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sock Wars

So my middle child is two years old- David Hyrum. Sometimes there is just no getting around being two, or four for that matter. The other day he and Gabe had a very vehement disagreement, to the point of tears, as to which of them was going to get to wear the "joker socks". (They are a black pair of socks that has a picture of the Hunch back of Notre Dame wearing a jester's hat. ) In the end I thought that it would be wisest to rotate the use of the pair so that one cried this time and the other cried the next time- just so long as we got out the door! That is always a struggle with three small children. Dad on the other hand, independent of my decision, came up with a better one. He gave each child a sock and had them wear a different sock on the other foot. Apparently this appeased the wee ones and staunched the tear ducts. I'm sure eventually the novelty of the second-hand foot apparel will wear off.
That night I said to Zach, "I should just be grateful. In ten or fifteen years I'm going to be arguing with them about girls and video games and electronic devices Wishing I were still arguing about socks." Needless to say, Zach agreed. When me and the boys resolve our differences then, I'm not sure I'll get a big squishy hug afterward either. My continual lesson: don't rush it because then its gone and you're sad its over. I'm going to go wake up my squishy two year old now from his nap.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Its the day after halloween

No theme folks, just random costumes.

Anyone tired of seeing pictures of my pumpkins yet? This is the last one, I promise.

This is my two year old counting his "treasure"

My little pumpkin. The costume was actually too small for him to walk in so we snapped a picture and took him out of it. We'll save it for our next round little gourd.

This is Gabe looking as evil and menicing as he can- how's it working? Pretty cute pirate hu?

Our ward had a Halloween party on October 30th, avoiding the Sunday trick or treat problem. It was pouring rain so we did a "sit and treat" in the gym. It was 3 wards combined so it turned out to be scarier than any haunted house- more like a mad house of kids and candy. All of us damp and cramped in that little space. There were a few brave souls who stood out in the driving rain to serve soup in Styrofoam cups so that we could partake sitting in metal folding chairs and warming up a bit. A little crazy but a nice thought. The weather just didn't cooperate.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Visit From Grandma

My Mother is visiting this week from North Carolina and the boys were so excited to see her.

She came bearing gifts, a book for Gabe and one for David. They've been having a great time reading the number book.

The weather has been very accomadating and Utah-esque. We had our first dusting of snow this week. Its not really cold enough for snow though (40's and 50's) so there's not much left the day after. TI was fun to play in while it lasted.

I think this is a first for me- snow on my Halloween pumpkin. I think its 70's and 80's in Raleigh right now.

Gabe used to call snow "sugar from the sky". Even though he knows what it is now he will sometimes call it that anyway and giggle at his own joke. The Sky sugar has definitely made the mountains beautiful.

Welcome to Utah Grandma. We're all glad you came to visit!