"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Friday, April 27, 2007

Out Of Office Reply

"Your message could not be delivered. The Cow is out of the office until Tuesday, May 1. If this is an emergency, please leave multiple comments so it looks like somebody actually reads this blog besides me. Seriously, my husband doesn't even read it! But that's a whole new post..."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is that Donny Osmond dancing with Weird AL???

Monday, April 23, 2007

FHE: Following God's Plan

This was a trial run of the Activity Day girls' plan for Wednesday. We are having them put together their own FHE. So I used my family as guinea pigs to see if this was any fun.

Song: The Man was in charge of songs. I'm a little surprised he didn't pick something from Def Leopard. We sang I Am A Child Of God.

Prayer: It was the Boy's turn so Daddy said the opening prayer.

Lesson: My turn (shocker). I downloaded this lesson. We talked about how God has a plan for us and to help us, He has asked us to do some things. I asked what we are asked to do and da Boo did a very good job answering: God wants us to be nice. And really, isn't that it? If we could be nice, so many problems would be fixed!
She had some more ideas and Daddy added a couple too - read our scriptures, keep the Word of Wisdom (see note at the end), obey our parents, and again, be nice to everyone (even little brothers).
After the lesson we had a quick activity. I blindfolded everyone, including the Boy. Then they stood at one end of the room, da Boo in front with Daddy holding onto her shoulders and the Boy holding her hand (I KNOW! I sooooo should have taken a picture). I put chairs in the way. Then, I gave them directions, told them which path to take to reach me. After the initial rush of giggles, they listened very well. The point was that if we listen to what God has told us we need to do, we can eventually reach our goal and be with Him again.

Song: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (listening to the Boy try to sing this will melt your heart).

Prayer: da Boo volunteers.

Treat: da Boo had a hard time deciding but finally chose chocolate chip cookies. Nestle makes a vat of cookie dough that we get from Costco so the kids helped me roll some into balls. Nothing like melty chocolate chip cookies and some milk!

The Man and da Boo played golf on the wii while the cookies baked. Guess who won? Da Boo!

* Note: I substituted for da Boo's Primary class on Sunday. I got the notorious phone call three hours before church. Oh goody. The topic was the Word of Wisdom. I don't remember where I originally got the idea but I had a picture of a boy with his mouth wide open and cut out. Also, there was a trash can with the top cut open. Then I printed out pictures of all sorts of food: good and bad. The kids pulled a picture out and decided if we wanted to feed it to the happy boy or if it belonged in the trash. The kids loved it and when we ended the lesson with time left, they wanted to play it again. We also did this for FHE awhile ago. I think I need to laminate the pictures so they'll last.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

We Had A Ball!

Yesterday was the Boy's birthday bash. Instead of herding toddlers, I invited their whole families and made it a BBQ. Then a cold front moved in and I started to get nervous. Saturday morning dawned a little cloudy but sunny. By the time we were setting up the tables, it was actually getting pretty nice outside.

Of course the morning starts with an emergency. It wouldn't be my life if something didn't go horribly wrong at the last minute. The previous night, my chivalrous husband helped me unload all the groceries from the car. He was also slightly medicated due to allergies and thus, forgot to close the sliding door. So when he headed to the garage this morning to pick up the balloons for the party, he was stopped in his tracks. The battery was dead. And his little car was too small for all the balloons. Luckily (now, anyway), our last car had a habit of draining it's battery so we had invested in a battery charger, which saved the day.
Now the party can start! When guests arrived, we sent the kids out into the back to play. The theme of the party was balls. Couldn't you tell from the cake and the title? There were about a dozen normal-sized playground balls and then one gigantic beach ball. It was almost as big as da Boo! I should have taken a picture of her with it.
The kids are having a great time playing with the balls and our next door neighbor (also at the party) let them use her little playhouse. The moms are inside helping me with food stuff and the dads are gathered around the grill, grunting and making non-sensical comments about propane and raw meat.
There were no organized games. Toddlers don't play musical chairs and they don't take turns. I did fill a tumbler-style thingy with peanut M&Ms, then the adults guessed how many there were inside. The answer? 307.

We start grilling. Burgers and hot dogs. Didn't even grill veggies. In fact, since I can't stand potato salad, I asked someone else to bring it! :)
There was also a strawberry caesar salad, fruit salad (with melon BALLS), lots of different chips, and several bowls of candy. And a vat of lemonade.

Food is served and everyone seems happy enough, munching away. This is Aunt Denise, keeping an eye on the Boy while I ran around like a crazy woman, making sure everyone was having the time of their lives before I got my hamburger.
After food comes THE CAKE! The Boy got to practice blowing out candles stuck in a mini cake on his actual birthday so he knew just what to do when I started to light the candle. He was a little too eager...a friend had to cover his mouth so he would stop blowing out the flame before the candle was lit! We ended up singing to him first and then lit the candle for him to blow out.
After cake comes the presents! The Boy was getting a little too distracted with each gift, wanting to play thoroughly with everything before moving on. Luckily, toy manufacturers, in their infinite wisdom, have made the packaging around the toy virtually impossible to remove. While the parents are wrestling with the heavy-duty, steel wiring that holds the plastic toy firmly to the metal-enforced cardboard, the toddler loses interest and will then select the next package to tear to pieces. And da Boo got to help.
In their goodie bags, older kids got a porcupine ball, a dog ball, a tangle ball, and a punch ball. Ball theme, remember? And then there were sixlets, dum dums, and mini Reese's PB cups. Since there were several babies there, I let them take home one of the playground balls.
It was pretty fun! Afterwards, while the Man was showing da Boo how to play with the Wii, I took a nap. Wanna help clean up?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Pride Goeth Before The Fall

So today was the Boy's birthday party. I will totally blog all about it in a bit but first I wanted to show you the cake.

Not bad, right? Kinda cute, goes with the "ball" theme. I wasn't too keen on how that blue color turned out but that's not the worst of it. Just when I've gotten to thinking that maybe my cakes are good and I ought to start charging for them...just when I've introduced myself to new acquaintances as a cake decorator...THIS happens:

When I was setting the top layer on the round, a big chunk crumbled off in my hand. There was nothing I could do! I tried filling in with icing but knew that was a flawed plan. Then I was going to get one of those huge jawbreakers, the kind that are the size of your fist, and wedge it into the depression so it looked like someone had thrown a ball in the cake. Decided against that and just put the ugly part in the back. Still, I knew it was there and it just ruined the whole cake for me. Seriously, what if I had made this for someone who was paying me, not a good friend, but an actual client? I think I would have cried my eyes out and spent the whole night baking a whole new cake.

And since someone is probably going to ask, I made the ball part of the cake from a pan I have. I used it on another recent cake.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Good W's Around Here

You may have seen my previous post regarding my need for woo. While romance is not necessarily scarce around here, it is a highly valued commodity. Today, I let the Man purchase this. To show his gratitude, he wooed me with these:

I'd say that is a fair exchange!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Yesterday, I took the kids to a Bug Party. I have a friend who should quit her job as a neonatal nurse and start a party-planning business because she throws the coolest parties! Her daughter and da Boo play together a lot so we were invited to the Bug Party. Everyone had to get in character:

Then, it was a tea party! Since the participants were mostly girls, the Boy felt a little out of place. But once food was brought out, he started paying attention.

The kids were having a great time! The food was wonderful: cute little sandwiches and even sugar cubes. The Boy finally started getting into the party mood. (It was his birthday, afterall...)

At the end, the kids were given bug-collecting kits. Da Boo has been anxious to use hers. It's a little hard to find bugs when it is snowing. Yes, you read that right...it snowed yesterday. I am a getting worried about the BBQ we have planned for Saturday. There are 7 families coming, with two parents and 2 kids each. What am I going to do with that many people in my house? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy, Happy Birthday to The Boy!

Today is The Boy's 2nd birthday! And since I am a very emotional person, I've already teared up several times just thinking about this funny little kid that sings me the Mama Song every morning. So to honor my son, here are some of my favorite pictures from the past two years.

This was taken shortly after we brought our Boy home from the hospital.

At eight months, the Boy started solid foods. Or at least, that was the plan. As you can see from this showdown with the spoon, he wasn't keen on the idea. He never took a bottle or a pacifier and he was nursed exclusively until he was 14 months...this was NOT my intention! Believe me, I TRIED to get him to eat real people food!

Church was cutting into the Boy's naps. As soon as he finished lunch, he was ready to go down. Sometimes, he didn't wait for me to get him out of his chair.

Standing just before he turned 1!

The Boy's 1st Birthday! That was some good cake!

Enjoying a car trip over last summer. I just love his big blue eyes!

Just trying to entertain us so we don't realize he is playing in the cabinet he is not allowed in.

This one is from Christmas. Can you see the ring on his forehead from when he was trying to drink the melted ice cream out of the bowl?

And then we have this picture, taken today. Where is my baby? Who is this little person that makes me laugh and cry at the same time? How did I get to be so lucky?
Happy Birthday, My Boy!

Monday, April 16, 2007

FHE: Feelings (and BOY! Do I got 'em!)

For Family Home Evening tonight, the Boy "taught" the lesson. Well, it was his turn but mostly he sat in his chair and sucked down milk from him sippie cup while I talked about the picture he colored at Church. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Opening Song: Hannah Had The Hiccups. (Not in the Church songbook but one of da Boo's favs so guess who was in charge of songs tonight?)

Opening Prayer: da Boo. (Daddy was in charge of prayer but he was off fighting a network dragon so he couldn't join us).

Lesson: The Boy, his milk, Mommy and his picture from nursery. We talked about different feelings we have and practiced making the faces that go along with those, although the gist of the lesson was nearly derailed when I asked for silly faces...oh boy...shoulda known better. So I finally get them refocused. Feelings, people! Come on, let's pay attention before I start emoting all over your behind! Then we talk about how we need to talk about how we are feeling instead of just crying, screaming, or hitting. I was trying not to look directly at da Boo during this part, but considering how much time she's spent in Time Out today for hitting, I hope she got the message.

Closing Song: Monkey See, Monkey Do. (Another preschool favorite.)

Closing Prayer: Me.

Treat: Puppy Chow! (I was in charge of treat so I picked something I've been craving.)

We adjourned so I could go to the craft store and get paper for the Boy's birthday party invites. I don't feel like throwing a big party for toddlers so we're having more of a neighbor BBQ.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Good Kids - With Pictures to Prove It!

So last week, we were going somewhere on Saturday, I don't remember where. The Boy was just recently up from his nap so he wasn't wearing any shoes. I asked da Boo to go get his shoes. She did, and then she sat down to help him put them on! It was very sweet! And in my hyper-emotional state lately, I will admit that I got a little teary-eyed.

They really do get along together very well. In fact, they play together so well that when da Boo is at preschool, the Boy follows me around the house, whining and grumpy. You should see how excited he gets when I tell him it's time to go get her. Here is an old picture showing one of their favorite games. In this one, the Boy is just learning to walk so he's not quite a year and da Boo is 3 1/2.

*Sigh* I am really very blessed.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How I Am Feeling Today...

It was either this or "Loser" by Beck. I liked this one better.

Click here if you can't see the video.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Deaf Bunnies At My House

"There is an unwritten rule that says all mothers get to eat the ears off the chocolate Easter bunny."
- From my chocolate calendar, of course.

Monday, April 9, 2007

FHE: How Does Your Garden Grow?

For Family Home Evening tonight, we had an outdoor activity. Since the Man has been laid up with various ailments, he is behind on getting the garden started. We had ready access to willing slave labor so we got the kids all excited about planting seeds.

Opening Song: Give, Said the Little Stream (led by me)

Opening Prayer: da Boo (possibly a record for fastest prayer ever)

Lesson: Quick briefing by Dad as to how we would plant the seeds. We then regrouped outside, where the Man had prepared a trench and set up the wire frame for the bush beans. The kids got to plant the seeds. In her usual style, da Boo was very careful and compassionate, talking to each seed as she placed it in it's new home. On the other hand, I was surprised the Boy didn't opt for eating all of his seeds. After a generous watering (that was briefly delayed by the hysterics that ensued once spiders were discovered in da Boo's watering can), we said goodnight and headed back inside.

Closing Song: Popcorn Popping (very Spring-ish)

Closing Prayer: da Boo (after some non-reverent encouragement to say the prayer)

Treat: Piece of Easter cake that the kids got to decorate with Aunt Denise after Easter dinner. She was very brave and even let them spread the chocolate frosting. As you can tell from their faces, they had a great time!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Morning

Easter morning, the kids were very excited to get out of bed and head downstairs. But it wasn't to see what the Easter Bunny brought. They wanted to check on their Easter cookies. Here is a picture:

They turned out great! Da Boo was simply amazed when she bit into one.

And then there were the Easter baskets. Here is a picture of the kids enjoying the customary breakfast of orange rolls while drooling over their baskets.

Da Boo got new Easter-themed Littlest Pet Shops and a CTR ring. The Boy got the stuffed chicken (which has barely left his side) and a clip-on tie (which has stayed in the basket). They loved the magic capsules (the kind that you put in warm water and a sponge animal comes out). Those were a huge hit.
Church was really great! The sacrament meeting was done by the choir. It was like Music and the Spoken Word, with Easter songs and narration. Very nice. Sunday School was on the transfiguration of Christ. There were several comments on the General Conference talks and the testimonies of Christ. Powerful stuff. We have a really fantabulous teacher. And I'm not just saying that because she reads my blog. I have learned so much in this class. She teaches the gospel and doesn't make me feel like I am a lousy member because I don't know all the deep doctrine. (And she's way cute.) Relief Society was a montage of scripture and hymns. I also discovered my mascara is not waterproof. After church, I got in trouble because I was cropping and editing photos to post for you, my lovely reader, instead of making dinner for the family. So no funeral potatoes. Had baked potatoes instead. And steak. And yummy rolls. And jello salad. And green salad. AND chocolate cake. I'm very full, physically and spiritually.

Happy Easter!

We hope you had a good Easter and were able to think of the many miracles that Jesus worked on our behalf.
Yesterday we had two Easter egg hunts, at the same time. One was up at the church and included breakfast. The second was in our neighborhood and had the Easter Bunny. We went for breakfast first.
Da Boo liked the fact that she could reach the "big kid" eggs. Oh, wow! Another yellow egg! Not surprising. Also not surprising is the fact that Boy has something non-edible in his mouth.
The neighborhood event had the eggs split into three age levels. The Boy's group was scattered over the basketball court. I purposely did not crop the photo so you could see the sort of chaos that ensued. There was a limit of 12 per child but lots of parents were not enforcing it. Notice the girl behind the Boy with the full bucket. The girl next to her only had 2 eggs in her basket. The Boy barely managed the 12 before all the eggs were gone. Da Boo was in the middle group but she was the youngest. She didn't come close to12. I about had to tackle a kid who snatched up an egg my girl was reaching for. Luckily for him, a look was enough for him to drop it.
And here's the Easter Bunny! His name was Peter. The Boy thought he was pretty cool and tried to pull on his teeth. Da Boo suddenly got very shy, like most people do when in the presence of a celebrity. She later was asking me some questions about why a bunny is delivering chicken eggs, where he gets the eggs and if he makes all the candy. Some tough questions to answer! I distracted her with chocolate.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Good Advice

Here is a piece of advice for you:

The night before an appointment with a professional photographer to take pictures of the kids in their cute Easter outfits, DON'T CUT THE BOY'S HAIR!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Confessions of a Hungry Bookworm

I found this list of "101 Books to Read Before You Die." Actually it was only 100 books; I added the last one. Along the list, I've bolded the ones I've read and sometimes made comments. Check it out.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) Good! Liked the book better than the movie, of course.
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) Is it just me or are these books getting darker and darker? Kids aren't going to be allowed to read #7 at the rate she's going.
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) I thought it was better than Da Vinci Code.
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) Really good! Barely mentions sex.
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald) Love the title! I am going to have to find this one.
18. The Stand (Stephen King) Ugh.
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
One of my favorites!
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
I'm also reading the Silmarillion, which is the prequel to all of these books.
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) I still don’t understand why this book is supposed to be wonderful...I didn’t like it much.
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) The answer is 42.
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) There were two houses in Texas that could have been the set for this book! Kinda creepy.
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) I thought the movie was kinda scary for a kids' book. Went and got Turkish Delight. It's pretty tasty stuff!
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom) Sooooo boring! I wanted to kill Morrie, the cancer was taking too long.
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks) And loved the movie.
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) Been meaning to read this one...
34. 1984 (Orwell) I know, I can't believe I haven't read it, either.
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) Interesting but lots of naughty things.
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) Very thought-provoking.
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom) Just re-read it for book group. Still cried.
45. Bible Can I still count this if I skipped a lot of the “And this guy begat him over here, and him over here begat that dude...”?
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) Liked the movie, so I read the book. Backwards, I know.
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
Really good series! I was disappointed when I ran out of books.
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) Started reading it...stopped after a few chapters.
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) Read way back in High School. I like “Twilight” better.
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo) Even read the unabridged version. Did they really need 6 pages detailing the Paris sewer system?
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) Serendity, anyone?
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck) Can I count this if I was in the play? I read the script!
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier) Really liked this book! And it wasn’t until years later that I realized they never tell us her name! (And no, it’s not Rebecca.)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen) And I even like the modern movie version “Clueless”
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams) And then there was that really freaky cartoon made.
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) I can’t remember how this one ends so I might have to read it again.
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd) Interesting but too easy.
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) More proof that boys do stupid things.
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)
101. The Book of Mormon (as translated by Joseph Smith)

Now it's your turn! Which books did you read and want to comment about? Which ones would you like to read?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Want a Chuckle?

***Edit: Oh, come on! No comments? You people just don't know funny when it's dancing like a zombie right in front of you.

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