Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Better times are coming, Leo!

Karen sent me this text yesterday morning....

Oh Leo, Leo.....hang in there sweet boy.

Juliet, and Rich, will be your forever friends.
You'll see.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A 75 year study on what makes a good life.

Tyler got me started on TED talks, and this is one of my favorites so far:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

This is how unorganized grandparents do the morning routine

We weren't prepared. Simple as that. Lots of things going in our life 
that week. Plus we are grandparents. Still, I have renewed respect 
for parents who go through this every morning. 

The setting: We were asked to just have the twins for dinner and 
keep them overnight, and take them to school the next day, while 
Amy was out of town and Logan was working. 

When I suddenly woke up late that morning, I looked at the clock and it said 7:30!  In panic I
announced to sound-asleep-Dennis that "we have exactly 30 minutes to get the twins to school."

He popped his eyes open, and without even sitting up in bed, lunged towards the door and down the
hall to wake up the twins. I swear that man is a selfless saint even in his sleep.

I staggered to the kitchen (literally….not use to waking up that quickly) and made them banana
shakes, and frozen waffles. Jonas insisted he wanted Grandpa’s syrup on his waffle and not my syrup,
(the real stuff.)

No time to discuss or have Jonas upset, so I grabbed Den’s syrup from the cupboard and read the
label. I saw it was made with sorbitol. “Sorry Jonas the bonus, it has sorbitol in it and may hurt 
your tummy….you’ll have to have my syrup.” I put a little on his plate to the side of his waffle.
"No, no", he said and added he wanted it ON his waffle instead. Since I’d already made the
mistake I explained, “It’s better on the side, so now your waffle won’t get cold.” 

Téa’s hair was extra tangly and no one knew where her brush was and I don’t know how to fix little
girls hair anyway, so I suggested I just comb the top part and put the rest in a pony. She said, “But 
that will look messy.” “No, it will look great, you’ll see. (although there was NO time to look in 
the mirror)

Had nothing to put in their lunches so Den flew to Savemart to get some “white bread with brown 
around the edges” as Téa explained. While he was doing that I told the twins to hurry and get their
lunch bags and bring them to the kitchen. Only Téa had hers and Jonas had no idea where his was.
That’s when Téa excitedly announced, “Yay!…then we get to have hot lunch today!” I didn’t
even know that was an option!

Called Den…."turn around and come home, they’re having hot lunch.” I heard Jonas cheer!

Den got home and asked if they needed lunch money. I said, I’m not sure but I don’t think schools
take cash anymore. He turned to Jonas, “Do you need money for lunch?” Jonas said no. So then
Den asks him, “Then how do you get your lunch?” Jonas says, “We just walk into this place and 
they give us some food.” “But don’t you need to pay for it?”  “No, they just give it to us.”

I texted Amy in Florida where she was visiting her mother, and asked if they had money in some
account at school so they could get hot lunch today. She said they did and added her smiley face as
always, so I could tell she was fine with it. It’s now just 25 minutes later and it's 7:55.

“Doesn’t school start at 8?” I ask Den.
He turns to Téa, “What time does school start?” 
“7,” she says. (gotta love Téa!)
Den: “It must be 8 or 8:15. Why can’t we remember from last time?” 
“I think it’s 8:05, but I’m not sure. But it's not like we can move any faster.” 

“Grab your back packs. Time to go. Did you get your homework put in your backpack?” 
“We don’t have any homework.”
I turned to Den, “That’s what every kid says.”
“Let’s go!” he announces.

The kids had their coats on with the back packs put in place while we walked them out to the car.
Then they had to remove their backpacks to fit in their booster seats. Parenting is so complicated
these days. Got them strapped in and I kissed Jonas goodbye. Then I stretched over him to kiss Téa
and fell on Jonas. I blew kisses at her instead. At least they left knowing we love them. A lot.

About 20 minutes later Den got back home and announced, “You aren’t going to believe this 
but they weren't late to school!! When I got there they were still all doing the pledge of 
Allegiance on the blacktop so I just walked the twins to their room to line up.”

Wow, was I surprised!

He said he told one of the random moms standing around at school, “I can’t believe we made it on 
time!” She was probably thinking, 'What's the big deal, I do this every morning!'

And just in case you are wondering how we had time to take a picture of the twins (above) before
they were out of bed…..that was actually taken the following Monday when we repeated the routine.
Monday went much better. We even remembered to pray together before they left. Amazing what a
little prep the night before can do.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Brown Rice Pilaf

I'd been looking for a good brown rice pilaf recipe for years. White rice is stripped of nutrients.

Plus to us, brown rice tastes better.
So after much trial and error, I came up with a recipe we love....and I make it often.

So here it is. I'll walk you through it, and then I'll type the full recipe at the end of this.

First of all, I use this kind of rice. It's my favorite. But use a brand you like.
Walmart has the best price. Like $2. cheaper than Vons or Savemart.

So I take about 1/3 of an onion and saute it in 2 T olive oil.
I'm always tempted to put more onion but I don't, or else the rice will be too moist.

Then I add 1 cup of brown rice....
and I stir it around in the heat so each kernel of rice gets it's own jacket. Saute it for another minute.

Then I add some fresh chopped parsley. 
Den prefers it without the parsley, so sometimes I leave it out.

Add 2 1/2 cups water. 
3/4 t salt
2 whole garlic cloves 
(the garlic will mash up as you stir it when it's done)

Bring to boil and then turn down to low, put the lid on and simmer for 45 minutes.

When the 45 minutes are up, turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 10-15 minutes.

Then I take the lid off and throw some of these 2 guys in
Not a lot, just however much you like.

Put the lid back on for a few more minutes so the flavors can all marry 
(like my Mom use to say)

And there you have it.

If I have leftovers it's so easy to freeze in little ziploc bags 
and bring out whenever we need a side dish.

Or sometimes I'll throw leftover pilaf in a soup I'm making for added flavor.
I've become more daring in my older age.

I hope you like it!

In large frying pan put 2 T olive oil and fry chopped onion (small one or 1/3 of large) until
translucent. Then put in 1 c brown rice and mix it all so that each kernal of rice gets it's own jacket.
Measure 2 1/2 cups water and stir in along with 2 garlic cloves.  3/4 t salt, Bring to boil, then cover
and simmer 45 min. Turn off heat and let it set about 10-15 minutes. Then add some sliced almonds
and craisins, stir, and put lid back on until dinner is ready. Fluff with fork. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Galentines Day

So as soon as I arrived at the church yesterday Elora asked if I needed help making the punch.
But looking at her, all I could think of did this happen? 

How can Elora be old enough to plan a party for all the other 12-13 year old girls in our stake? 
(a stake is the combination of several wards in our area....a ward is our own congregation)

As I left the kitchen and walked past Violet in the hallway, she sees my camera and does this.

I opened the door to the party room and SO impressed with all the work 
Elora and her parents did to get ready...
Galentines: for girls only

Her Dad was getting the music ready for the big party.  
Could Violet look any more excited?

Backdrop all ready for photos

Hearts and flowers and love all around the huge room.

The girls started arriving.
What do 12-13 year old girls talk about anyway? 

Whenever I'd pass Elora I would think....really? She's this grown up?

THE BEST time of all was had by Violet!
I don't think her feet were even on the ground!
After about an hour or so I went home to check on Cami who was with Grandpa.

She was reading her favorite magazine. Seriously.
We can have a stack of books and magazines and she will go through them till she finds the Ensign.

Cami, you are so pretty.

She watched a little of BYU basketball with Grandpa in his office.

Then we ended our Saturday celebrating with these two.
I think we should all try to be as happy as Violet!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

An update on our new Washington grand babies

First, this picture came to me on Monday from McKenna. 
Annie is 2 months old now! 

Can't you just see Annie and Scarlett (2 1/2) 
growing up the best of friends?

 Then on Tuesday, Karen sent me this one of Juliet at 2 1/2 weeks!

To me, she looks just like her Mama. 

Thank goodness for text pictures and FaceTime. 

If Grandmas years ago had grandchildren out of state, they just had 
to wait for the holidays and hope pictures would be sent! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Those 2 daily questions plus a third

Many parents I know ask their children each night,
"What was the best and the worst part of your day?"

So last week in Good Housekeeping magazine I found a twist
 to this and I like these THREE even more:.

Imagine the dialogue as they try to figure out solutions to their day. 

I wish I had thought of this about 30 years ago!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Slow Cook Chicken Dinner

I made this a few nights ago and Den and I both really liked it.
I made it just like the chef said, only I put less chicken (frozen!) and more vegetables.

Any leftover chicken tastes great in sandwiches the next day.

I did add some frozen green beans. I can never get enough vegetables.

Every crockpot seems to be a little different, but our dinner was ready after 3 hours on high.
We weren't ready to eat yet, so I just turned it to warm for another hour and it was fine.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

So the baby shower went like this....

Continuing from yesterday's post....

As soon as the girls started arriving for the surprise shower, I put them to work decorating.

They asked me how, and I said, "However you think it would look best."
There was such excitement because our very pregnant co-teacher would be arriving in 15 minutes.

Little hands just taking pink crepe paper and taping it wherever they could. 

And of course the banner they all made together 2 weeks before....

One of the girls arranged the cups all around the punch bowl.

Another took the cheese squares and came up with this style.
Some standing, some lying down.

As soon as they completed the decorating,  they began writing little messages 
on newborn diapers for baby Ariel. I wish I had thought to have them sign their names on them.

I could put carrot and celery sticks on a platter with Ranch on the side and hardly anyone would have 
touched them. But I put them in cups like this and I think every girl took one and ate them all. 

One girl brought an "unscramble the baby item" game.
Ten words all mixed up. I wish I had thought to keep a copy of it here.

Another girl taught us how to play the toilet paper game.
The girls split up in 4 groups and chose one girl in their group 
to dress up like a baby out of toilet paper! They loved it!

What a good sport she was!
Sweet Kelsey, who is not much bigger than the Primary girls had a 9 lb, 1 oz baby 6 days later!

Then we played the old fashioned memory game.
Look at 15 baby items for about a minute, and then try to write them all down.
I think we had SIX girls remember 14 of the 15 items!
It must be so nice to have a young brain!!

Then it was time for refreshments.
I brought my Mom's punch. It was perfect and what the girls couldn't finish, 
Den gave to the Young Women (ages 12-17) in the room next door.

And remember the girl from yesterday's post? The one who wanted to make sure all the knots were 
tired correctly? She is the same one who pushed her food forward here, and stepped out of the way, 
so I could get a picture of it. She thinks of everything.

I went home that night thinking of this:
The girls' decorating was the best! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

She didn't think anyone saw her.

So while my Primary Activity Girls were making a blanket for our pregnant co-teacher,
I was sitting off to the side talking to one of the Moms who came to help.
The girls were all on the floor gathering around the blanket, tying knots.

When that was completed they all stood up at the table
and made a banner for the soon-to-be-born baby.

Suddenly I noticed one of the girls had left the banner making group and was kneeling back down all
by herself by the blanket they had all just tied. I watched this girl as she quietly scooted around the
blanket on her knees, checking every single knot. 

A few times she looked like she was re-doing some of those knots. After inspecting each and every
one she stood back up and went back to work with the rest of the group making the banner. I don't 
think any of the girls even noticed she had left. I think that was her plan.

So I went up to this girl and just quietly asked, "So were you working some more on the blanket?"
She quietly spoke like she didn't want anyone to hear, "Some of the knots were done wrong so I 
was just fixing them." 

What I found more impressive than her desire to "fix" the blanket.... was that she made sure to sneak
away, after the group was occupied so none of the girls feelings were hurt by her re-doing some of
their knots. She didn't want anyone noticing her. And she probably thought I wouldn't either. 

I hope little Ariel Brooke will enjoy having this banner in her home.
She was just born yesterday!

Next I'll show you what we did at the baby shower.....
It definitely had its own flair being created by young girls!