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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hint Hint Hint

After nearly 12 blissful years of marriage, I've learned many things. The Man will eat just about anything I put in front of him. He is way more ticklish than I am. And subtlety just doesn't work. If I want something, I have to a) make sure his computer and phone are no where in eyesight and b) just tell it to him straight without mincing words. And if I can send him a direct link, or just go ahead and buy it myself, that makes our little exchange even better.

Mother's Day is coming up. And I would really, really like a pretty mother's necklace with birthstones for all three of my littles. Unfortunately, there are some pretty tacky ones out there, especially around this time of year. So when Trying To Stay Calm announced a giveaway featuring a gorgeous locket, I immediately started this post. I know The Man pretends he doesn't read my blog but I've tricked him into admitting that he does so here goes:


Dear The Man,

You are a wonderful father and I'm sure you will admit that I'm a pretty awesome mom. So please go to the Pretty Peacock and get me one their birthstone necklaces. I'm thinking either this one or this one.

Sincerely,
Jessica G.

P.S.
Their birthstones are topaz, diamond, and blue garnet. Just in case.

Monday, March 28, 2011

FHE: The Lie Monster (repost)

Since I've been posting these for a loooooong time, I thought I'd re-post a couple of the more popular FHEs. This one, The Lie Monster, was one of my post popular posts for quite a long time, bringing in a lot of readers from web searches. Enjoy!

*****

We don't really have an issue with lying around here (unless the kids ask if I've been eating chocolate). It was da Boo's turn to teach the lesson so we were looking through some online resources, I was reading the titles and she thought "the Lie Monster" sounded the best. Of course.

Opening Song: Once There Was A Snowman (such a break with tradition but the Boy likes this song).

Opening Prayer: I volunteered.

Lesson: We talked a little about what a lie is and why someone would choose to lie (keep from being punished, not hurt feelings, etc.). We lost the Boy at this point...he missed his nap and everything was making him sob so we pointed him in the direction of Time Out until he could settle down. We resumed the lesson.

I read
The Lie Monster story. Tommy first tells a lie to keep from getting into trouble for eating chocolate chips (I understand his dilemma!). Then he finds himself lying to cover his lies, lying to himself and blaming others for his problems when it is his lies that are to blame. With each new lie, his Lie Monster grows and eventually Tommy is no longer a happy boy.

Da Boo was in charge of the pictures and did a pretty good job adding the
tentacles to the monster after each lie Tommy told. When the story was over, we talked about how the Lie Monster had gotten bigger with each lie. Then we discussed what Tommy could do to shrink the monster back down: tell the truth, apologize, try to be nicer, etc. I made sure to explain that sometimes telling the truth can be a really hard thing and we might want to tell a lie instead. We should never lie because Heavenly Father has asked us to always be honest. If the kids were older (and not throwing a tantrum), I would read them the 9th Commandment and explained what it meant by "false witness."

Closing Song: Choose the Right.

Closing Prayer: Da Boo.

Treat: Scoop of chocolate ice cream. I could say that I served these in my little black ramekins with strings of black licorice, to make them look like Lie Monsters but really, I just wanted chocolate ice cream. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Confessional #3

I confess...
I miss my body.

Maybe it's all these zumba classes I'm taking where I just can't make my hips roll like they used to or get my feet to keep time but I'm struggling with just how much I took a healthy body for granted. I'm not entirely sure my bum was meant to rotate like that. At least not without a "wide load" warning or those automatic back-up beeping noises to alert those around me.

I miss the tight jeans I used to rock out in during High School, the adorable dresses and skirts that caused all production to stop whenever I walked into the warehouse during that summer job. But it's not all about how I used to look.

I miss not panting after running up the stairs or being able to hold that crouch just a little bit longer. I miss being able to shop in normal stores and fit into mainstream styles that don't involve muumuus or other creative ways to disguise the fact that I've had three kids.

I confess...
I miss my arm.

The Friday Confessional is about admitting the truth, right? This is perhaps the hardest truth I have.

I miss being able to reach that top shelf with both hands, not having to get creative when the occasion calls for uplifted arms, or successful attempts to shake hands with someone from a seated position. Every time I drop a basket of laundry because my shoulder gave out, I miss it. Every time I can't sleep at night because a storm front is moving in and my shoulder throbs, I miss it. Every time I can't carry a sleeping child upstairs to bed because it requires two arms, I miss it.

I try to convince myself that I don't miss having two working arms, that I've compensated after all these years. Heck, I've lived most of my life now as the Bionic Woman. People who have known me for years still don't know there's anything wrong or are surprised when they find out because I don't dwell on it, don't bring it willingly. But the truth is...I miss it.

I always will.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Recipe kinda rhymes with FHE...

Sorry, no FHE post for last week. As you might remember, last Monday was March 14th, also known as "Pi Day," as in 3.14159265 etc., and must be commemorated by consuming copious amounts of pie. In other words, totally my kind of holiday. In honor of the day, I made this:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

1 pie crust (homemade or refrigerated...your choice)
3 eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 chocolate chips and then some
1 cup whipped topping
a sprinkling of peanuts

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place your crust in your pie pan. Go ahead and be all fancy by making a cute edge. Or use a fork. Whatever floats your boat. Or pie.
  • Beat together eggs, corn syrup, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla until well combined.
  • Spread chocolate chips over pie crust, leaving out about a tablespoon to be used later. I used mini chocolate chips (because everything is cuter when it's mini...like Baby) but you can use whatever you'd like. Pour peanut butter mixture over the top.
  • Now comes the tricky part: you need to cover your crust to keep it from getting too brown in the oven. Mostly, I use tin foil loosely pinched around the outer edges. There are also ready-made crust protectors that will do.
  • Place pie in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and then bake for another 10-15 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out pretty clean. The top of your pie will be a lovely brown.
  • Let the pie cool for a bit, then cover it and place in the fridge for a couple hours until set and completely cool.
  • Once you're ready for the accolades, spoon the whipped topping on the center of your pie, keeping the edge about two inches from the crust, to show off the filling. Sprinkle topping with remaining chocolate chips and peanuts. Or be like me, realize you don't have any peanuts, and use peanut butter chips instead. Still gets the point across.
  • Be sure to take a picture of your pie to share on your blog...unlike me. I forgot. So I borrowed this one from the Family Circle website because I got the recipe from their magazine.
  • Enjoy!
What is your favorite flavor of pie?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Choke Gag Hack Spit

Dear Soda Manufacturers,

When I was a kid, I thought a mint soda would be awesome. My older, wiser sister pointed out that we already had something similar in mouthwash. Fair enough. But what about mint chocolate? Genius! I was baffled that developers hadn't jumped all over this golden idea.

However, I have decided that a mint chocolate soda is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea. After extensive market research (in which I accidentally drank from my soda after eating a Thin Mint cookie), the resulting taste is actually quite yucky. Please don't do it. Ever.

That is all.


Bubbliest regards,
The consumer who has now made it a personal rule to only enjoy the loveliness of Girl Scout cookies whilst holding a glass of milk

Thursday, March 17, 2011

When The Trap Fails

The kids insisted on trying to trap a leprechaun again this year. I reminded them just what they were getting into and what happened that last time they made a trap but the leprechaun was able to escape and play tricks on them. Just like the first time, they were blinded by visions of gold and granted wishes. There was no talking sense into them.

The trap was entirely their design. According to their plan, the leprechaun would also visit a few of their friends and would probably be pretty tired from playing all those tricks so a nice fluffy bed would be very alluring. Signs forbidding sleep and reserving the bed for other creatures would also draw him in (because they like the break the rules), as would the green color and sparkling decorations. They even provided him with a place to hang his hat and a lovely story book. And the mattress was so nice and comfy that surely, he would fall right asleep and not wake up until the kids were able to catch him.

Come morning, the kids ran straight to the trap...


Hrmm...well, it certainly looks like someone slept here. And all the signs were defaced, just like last time. Looks like he helped himself to a few of my Thin Mint cookies as a bedtime snack...but where did he go?

That's when Boo noticed something.


Everyone that helped with the trap had them! Well, except for the Boy because he sleeps on the top bunk and the leprechaun is too short to reach him.

And there was this:


Luckily, the leprechaun left a trail of golden goodies for the kids to follow.


Instead of leading to his pot of gold, the trail led them to where he hid the chairs. They're already taking about the trap for next year...it involves a metal cage and motion sensors. I'm guessing they're taking this a lot more seriously. When they get to dart guns and sleeping potion, I'll have to rein them in a bit.

For dinner tonight we are having corned beef sandwiches on green rolls. Our local grocery store makes these every year but I convinced the kids that the leprechaun did it. There's also green salad and sliced kiwi, with lime jello and pistachio pudding for dessert. I might be having a little too much fun with this...

What tricks did your leprechaun play?
(And feel free to include a link to your post in the comments!)

Monday, March 14, 2011

FHE: Family Planning

Hrmmm...that might not be the best title for a FHE post but oh well. I'm keeping it.

Monday night rolled around and while eating dinner, I happened to mention to the Man that it was his turn to teach the lesson. Considering that I do four of the five, I don't think it's too much to ask. He quickly covered his surprise and even said he already had a lesson ready. Really? Well, then, this ought to be good.

Opening Song: Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree (I think the kids keep picking this one because it's just too adorably funny to watch Baby do the actions)

Opening Prayer: Baby (again, a stinkin' adorable form of entertainment)


Lesson: Maybe it's the warmer weather or being so busy at work but the Man has been talking vacations for a bit. We've got Spring Break coming up fast. So the Man opened with talking about places we've visited before and asked which ones were their favorites. The Boy immediately chimes in.

"I liked that place where those little volcanoes blowed out goo."

Ah. He means Yellowstone. Another favorite was Goblin Valley.

We progressed through the meeting, a nice list growing of places we'd like to go, with the kids not even mentioned Disneyland once. I consider that a small victory. Just goes to show you that FHE doesn't have to be detailed and complicated to accomplish things together as a family.


Closing Prayer: The Man

Activity: We don't always get around to an activity but tonight, the Man demonstrated how to use an Ace bandage to wrap a sprained ankle. On my ankle. Because I am completely uncoordinated and managed to mess it up something fierce during my step aerobics class. It hurts.

Treat: I was responsible for treats so we had some delicious brownies. And I might've had another one once the kids went to bed...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Clinging

Maybe it's the warmer weather or the plans to visit my sister soon but I keep thinking back to my childhood. I practically grew up in our backyard with my siblings, spending the days chasing the dog, climbing up on top of the porch roof (but don't tell my mom), crawling all over the swing set, pretending we were D&D characters (what, you didn't already know I was a dork?), and just being a kid. With all those memories, it's no wonder that I look out on our back window and just sigh.

We don't really have a backyard. When we first moved in, we liked the idea of an "open community," with shared areas and not a lot of fences. The neighborhood would be like one big family. Besides, we were so close to the park that kids could just go there to play, right?

Well, they don't have a wood swing sets like I had. And it's not as much fun to have a dog when there isn't a specific space for it. I'm not the accomplished gardener and landscaping that my mother is so every year the vegetable garden sprouts a bumper crop of weeds.

But my kids see it a different way. Here, there are plenty of friends and games around that it's not too hard to find some fun. With a bucket of chalk, driveways become art galleries. The local dogs are smothered with affection by my kids (except for Baby, who is still nervous around any pets that are too big for a hamster wheel). Lemonade stands and rock sales become a corporation. Bike parades and cookouts. Popsicles and dance shows.

It's not my childhood but I'm loving that it is theirs.

What was/is your favorite thing about your backyard?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's Swapping Time!

Howdy, folks! I just signed up for the legendary Mamarazzi's Favorite Things Swap. I've had a lot of fun in previous swaps and have been feeling the itch so this was perfect timing.


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Anyone think that another round of my True Colors swap might be fun? Maybe during May...Would you join up?

Monday, March 7, 2011

FHE: "It's Too Hard!"

When I hang out with other bloggers, one of the most frequent comments is "I miss your FHE posts!" Really? You miss all the times we've sung Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the various levels of meltdowns? (Including mine?) Well, okay then!

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say how frustrating it is for the parent when kids break down into tears and insist that whatever task was at hand - be it sorting socks, multiplication tables, or completing my taxes - is simply too hard. Time for a little perspective!


Opening Song: Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree

Opening Prayer: the Boy


Lesson: I asked the kids what were some things that were hard for them. Boo started with piano lessons but changed her mind and decided that being an inventor was hard. (Seems that all the good stuff is already made.) Boy said that playing Lego Harry Potter on the Wii was hard. And so was reading. And coloring inside the lines. And brushing his teeth properly. And the list went on. I had to reel him back in before the tears welled.

Then I explained that sometimes new things seem difficult at first. Using an old issue of the Friend magazine, I read them a story titled "I Can Do Hard Things" by Nita Facer. In the story, Jon decided that school is too hard and he'd do much better staying home and helping his mom with his little sister. His mom reminds him that when he was first learning to tie his shoes, it was very hard but now he can tie them with no problem. Even his little sister is learning hard things by trying to walk on her own. Although she falls down a lot, she still gets back up and tries it again. When Jon asks if his mom thinks he can learn to do all those difficult tasks at school, she says he can, if he keeps trying. Jon decides that perhaps he can do hard things.

After the story, I asked the kids to name something that they are good at. Boo chose piano and we talked about how she really had to practice to get better. Now, she can read music pretty well, even songs that aren't in her lesson books. She was pretty happy when she realized how far she's come since she first started but I reminded her it took lots of practice to get her to this point. Then it was the Boy's turn. He was convinced there was nothing he was good at but once we got the ball rolling, he started naming all sorts of achievements. I said he's gotten better at building with his Legos. Boo added that he's good at Lego Star Wars on the Wii. Boy pondered that and he decided he was actually pretty darn good at all things Legos (maybe because he plays them far too much...). And once again, he needed to be reined in.

In closing, we set goals on things we thought might be hard now but we were going to keep working on until they were easy. I pledged to keep with a new exercise class I started, even though the instructor seems to enjoy trying to kill me. The Man has similar goals. Boo said she wants to learn to ride her bike without training wheels. Boy decided he would do the same. How's that for some sibling rivalry? And Baby? She's considering tackling the whole potty training thing.

Closing Song: Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam

Closing Prayer: The Man

Treats: Boo was in charge of treats and decided we needed to have ice cream sandwiches. I agreed.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Mothering Moment: Sandwiches

Here are various options on how to make a sandwich for your 2-year-old to achieve optimal results.

  • Make a peanut butter sandwich. Your toddler gets a nice lunch but may possibly hurl a milk cup at you for no apparent reason.

  • Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Your toddlers gets a nice lunch and may refrain from ear-splitting scream for the next three minutes.

  • Make a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Your toddler gets a nice lunch and gives your plenty of sticky grins.

  • Make a peanut butter and honey sandwich, using a cookie cutter to make things a little more interesting. Your toddler gets a nice lunch and is so inspired by your creativity that he or she spends the rest of the afternoon recreating Van Gogh's "Starry Night" with crayons.

  • Make a peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich. Your toddler gets a nice lunch, will be accepted to Harvard on a full scholarship, and will have you featured in Time Magazine as the "Best Mommy Ever!"

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