Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fun in the sun

The kids have increased their swimming ablilities substantially this summer. Swimming every day when we were in St George really helped, by the time we left they were both comfortable swimming in the deep without any help. Yesterday we went to the Scera pool. It was super fun, but it is kind of hard to get any real swimming in since the pool is so crowded! I know in the pictures it doesn't look very crowded at all, but that's because we got back in right after a 15 minute pool inspection where they made everyone get out.

Ethan wouldn't go near Derek and Julia for a picture, but he did enjoy messing up the picture of them by jumping in front...

The water slide was fun too.

Julia is just barely too short to go on the water slide by herself, she had to go with Derek and wear a life jacket.

School starts in 2 1/2 weeks so we're trying to make sure we use the rest of our time this summer wisely. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A word to the wise...

"Fajita" bell peppers are hot ! Not quite jalapeno hot, but hot nonetheless. I guess we'll be making salsa...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Some really fun children's books

Every night my kids listen to books on tape or cd as they're laying in bed ready to fall asleep. This started as a way to keep them in their beds at night, and now they insist they can't fall asleep without them. We own some but they quickly get bored of those, so we frequently check new ones out from the library. They end up liking some of them, and others not so much.

So it was quite by accident that we ended up checking out the tape "Sophie's Tom" by Dick King-Smith. The kids loved this one and we ended up checking out all the other Sophie tapes we could find. They are about a young girl named Sophie who wants to be a "lady farmer" and they are full of fun and mischief. These books have been referred to as the British Junie B Jones books. A few of them weren't available on tape so we found the books in the library and checked them out and I read them to the kids for bedtime stories. Since the author is British the books are harder to come by in the US, but I was lucky enough to find some used ones on Amazon and now we own the complete collection. The series goes in this order: Sophie's Snail, Sophie's Tom, Sophie Hits Six, Sophie in the Saddle, Sophie is Seven, Sophie's Lucky. Or you can get the first 3 books together in Sophie's Adventures, and the second 3 together in Sophie's Further Adventures.

If you're looking for some fun books for 1st to 3rd graders these are great!

The Dark Knight

It is supposed to get up to 102 today and our house can't seem to stay cool when it's that hot outside, so we went to see the new Batman flick today. The kids went to Grandma's house.

We went to a matinee and the movie theater wasn't very full at all, but there was a family there with 2 boys, probably around Ethan and Julia's age. Now I know that there are lots of fun new Batman toys in the stores, and many kids will probably really want to see the movie as a result. But I'll just say that my kids will not be seeing this movie!!! I kept looking over at the kids, worried that they would be so traumatized by seeing such a violent and scary movie. Don't get me wrong, the movie was very well done and I did enjoy it overall (Heath Ledger really deserves all the hype for being an extremely disturbing Joker), but it's definitely not for kids. So do me a favor and leave the kids at home for this one.

Who's taller now?

One week later and the corn has passed them up, it's amazing how fast it grows!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Pioneer Day!

In honor of Pioneer Day I'm posting a pioneer story from the Friend magazine about one of my ancestors!

Manna for Mother
Kimberly Webb
(Based on the life history of Louisa Mellor Clark) He gave them bread from heaven to eat (John 6:31).

“There is enough food for only one more day,” the captain said. “Would you like to eat it all or divide it into smaller portions to last three days?”
The company agreed to divide the food.

Louisa’s stomach growled as she and her family accepted their tiny portions. As a member of the Martin Handcart Company, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d had enough to eat.

That night, the company gathered around the fire to sing. “And should we die before our journey’s through, happy day! All is well!”
Louisa’s sister Elizabeth wiped away a tear.
“Are you worried about Mother?” Louisa whispered.
Elizabeth tried to smile. “A little. But remember Mother’s blessing?”
Louisa nodded. “Yes. It comforts me too.”
Mother had been sick before leaving England, and Father had helped carry her onto the ship. Mother had been given a blessing that promised she would live to see her children reach Zion. Though she improved during the sea voyage, pulling a handcart through the early winter snow and surviving on such little food had weakened her again. Every day she grew worse.

Staring into the dying fire, Louisa tried not to think about the snowy graves that had been dug for so many of her friends along the trail. Instead she thought about Mother’s blessing and the warm feeling of assurance she had felt. Mother, Father, and all six of her siblings—even the two-year-old twins—would make it to Zion safely. Louisa was sure of it!

The next morning, as they plodded through the snow, Louisa’s mother began to stumble.
“Go on without me,” she called to Louisa’s father. “I can’t go any further!”
“You have to keep trying,” Elizabeth pleaded.
It was no use—Mother’s strength was gone. She kissed each family member good-bye. Then she hobbled over to a boulder, sat down, and cried.
“The company can’t wait for us,” Louisa’s father said, his eyes filled with sadness.
Louisa tried to keep her voice steady. “Elizabeth, will you help Father take care of the others?”
Elizabeth’s eyes grew wide. “Louisa—”
“We can’t all stay here, and we can’t leave Mother alone to die,” Louisa insisted. “I’ll stay here. Don’t worry.” She tried to sound brave. “Heavenly Father will help us.”

As the weary company struggled past, tugging their sagging handcarts, Louisa sat next to Mother and watched them disappear over the ridge. Soon Louisa and her mother were alone, listening to the howling wind. Louisa’s skin prickled at the thought of howling wolves.
“I’ll be right back, Mother,” Louisa said. She walked down the trail a short distance and knelt in the snow. “Please, Heavenly Father, wilt Thou protect us from the devouring wolves? Wilt Thou grant Mother the strength to continue so we can reach camp tonight?”
Louisa remained on her knees, waiting. She thought of camp, its welcoming bonfire and loving family members huddled around it. She thought of Zion, still hundreds of miles away.
Even though the chilling wind blew, she felt a warm spot growing in her heart. Yes. Heavenly Father would answer her prayer.

Louisa hopped onto her sore feet and started back up the trail, but something lay in her path. She blinked in surprise. She squinted and crouched down for a better look.
There, in the middle of the road, was a perfectly made pie.
“Oh my goodness,” Louisa cried. “Manna from heaven!” Laughing, she snatched it up. It looked and smelled delicious, like the pies Mother used to make back home in England.
“Mother, I’ve found something!” Louisa called.
“What is it?”
Louisa’s eyes glittered above her rosy cheeks as she placed the pie in Mother’s hands.
She gasped. “Louisa, where did you get this?”
“I prayed for you, and Heavenly Father sent me a pie. I found it on the road.”
Tearfully, Louisa’s mother thanked Heavenly Father for the miraculous gift. She ate the pie and rested awhile.
“I’m feeling much better,” Mother finally said, pulling herself onto her feet. “The Lord doesn’t want us to give up, and I won’t—not ever again.”
Louisa grinned. “Let’s catch up with the others. We can still make it to camp tonight.”

After darkness fell, they met Louisa’s father coming back to look for them. He rejoiced that Mother had regained her strength.

For the rest of the journey, whenever Louisa’s mother felt like quitting, she remembered the gift of the pie and offered a prayer of thanks instead.
Louisa and her family prayed with gratitude all the way to the Salt Lake Valley, where they arrived together safely on November 30, 1856. Mother’s blessing was fulfilled, just as Louisa had always known it would be.

20 ways to stay sane

Someone emailed this to me. Usually I don't keep forwarded emails, but I liked this one.

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."

5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Smuggling Diamonds"

7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."

8. Don't use any punctuation

9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.

10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."

12. Sing Along At The Opera.

13. Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme

14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play tropical Sounds All Day.

15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You're Not In The Mood.

16. Have Your Co-workers Address You By Your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom.

17. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"

18. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, Yelling "Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"

19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."

Its Called therapy

Twilight fans

You have to check out this blog. What a fun story!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Need long shorts? is having a great sale on shorts. Sale ends August 1st-- they've extended the sale through August 18th, so if you want some snag them soon.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A summer wedding

My cousin Jessica got married on Friday. She looked beautiful!

Our family played for the wedding, myself included, and wow, I am so out of practice!! But my Dad, Char, and Kristen put up with me and most everything still sounded OK, I hope.

Our quartet.

Here are my Mom and Dad playing at the reception.

My mom and Jess after the reception was over.

Sisters! Kristen, Melodie, me, and Charlotte.

Me and my cousin Katie who is 6 days older than me.

Who's taller?

The corn is quickly gaining on them.
We haven't had a garden for several years but we decided we ought to go ahead and plant one this year. It took a lot of work, but hopefully it will be worth it! (I don't know if we'll get to keep any of our strawberries though, so far the birds have eaten all of them.) It is so amazing how quickly everything grows! This corn was started from seed around 6 or 7 weeks ago and it's growing SO fast. We did have a few casualties along the way, we lost a pea plant, a tomato plant, and a cucumber plant, but luckily most of what we planted it doing great.

A yummy chicken recipe

Yesterday I finally got around to putting a bunch of chicken I got on sale at Macey's into the freezer. I decided to leave some out for dinner. I remembered that I had a recipe for chicken that I wanted to try so I put together this marinade super quickly. I let it marinate for about 5 hours before we grilled. It was super tender and had a great flavor too!

This recipe can also be found here.

Marinated Chicken Breasts
2 cups lemon-lime soda
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
6 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the soda, soy sauce, oil, garlic powder and horseradish; add chicken. Seal the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight.
Drain and discard marinade. Grill chicken, uncovered, over medium heat for 6-7 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.

*I made this without horseradish because I didn't have any, it was still great!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Zion National Park

I'm so excited to be able to do this post!! In case you've forgotten, or didn't read the other post, our memory card decided to quit working after it had at least 150 pictures on it from our trip to St George. My dad had a co-worker who was able to retrieve the pictures from my memory card-- thank you to my dad and his co-worker for working on this for us!!!

Remember the squirrel post? Here is the squirrel reaching for food!

Our favorite hikes at Zion are the Emerald Pools trails, and the Riverside Walk. Our first day we hiked to the Upper Emerald Pool. There are actually three Emerald Pools, the trails are all connected so if you get to the first pool and aren't too tired, you can continue on to the middle and then the upper pools. Last time we did this hike it seemed much longer and harder than it did this time, I think that was due to the fact that it was about 10 degrees hotter last time we went.

This is the lower pool (you can't get near the water at this pool)

This is the middle pool.

And this is the Upper Pool.

The trail to the upper pool is a very rugged trail, it's rocky, dusty, and steep, and it's also very hot-- there's almost no shade along the way. The very end of the trail you can get some shade from some trees and rocks, and then you walk into this open area and it just feel like you're walking into an oasis, it's amazing! Cliffs surround this beautiful pool of water and it just takes your breath away. As you walk into the water there's no rocks under your feet, it's just soft sand.

This is a look up at the surrounding cliffs. We stayed at the Upper Emerald pool for a while and just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery.

And here we are on the way back down.

We took a different trail down, and saw lots more cactus than on the way up.

Ethan didn't like the different trail we took down, it didn't have much shade. We had also just finished off our water and just wanted to get to the bottom to refill our water bottles.

We got down and decided that we were done for the day, so we drove back to St George and went swimming.

Our second day at Zion we did the easy Riverside Trail. The trail ends after 1 mile, but you can continue walking down the river and eventually you get to the "narrows". You have to make sure that you don't go on a day where the forecast calls for rain though, the narrows are extremely prone to flash flooding.

The walking sticks really helped a lot, some of the rocks in the river are super slippery and the walking stick just gives you a little extra balance.

Most of the water was fairly shallow, but parts of it went up to Julia's neck.

As you're walking down the river there are some areas off to the side where you can walk on dry land, other times the river is the only place you can walk.

We had such a great time at Zion, we'll definitely be going back again!