Monday, July 28, 2014

Love Notes

I was cleaning some of the paper clutter off my fridge this morning and found an apology letter from Zander. 

"to mom from Zander.  Sorry for being a but.
to mom from Zander.  I'll never ever do that again.
from Zander to mom.  I love you."

 I don't remember what he did to necessitate a letter of apology but I do remember that when he handed it to me he said, "But, remember, I'm not perfect.  Only Jesus was perfect." 

I also found this picture on my phone.  Looks like he found a way to entertain himself while we shopped.  Goofball.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

Our ward Pioneer Day celebration was yesterday.  At a park.  Where it was 99 degrees in the shade.  Staying in my air-conditioned house on my comfy couch was looking pretty good.  Justin had helped organize the event though, so I bucked up and drug myself to the park.  Not only that, I even entered a pie in the pie contest.  I think I earned enough bonus points to skip the ward Christmas party this year ;)

The heat zapped any ambition I may have had to tackle a traditional pie crust so I opted for a graham cracker one.  I had a little inside info on the judges' pie preferences.  Justin likes berry and Andy likes rhubarb.  After a little Google searching, I found a simple strawberry rhubarb pie recipe.  Sure to win two of the judges over.  I have to say this is a very tasty pie! 

The judges gave prizes to the top four pies and my pie was one of them!  Okay, so there were only eight pies, but, hey, not bad for my first pie contest.  Justin said he would've awarded me first place if they had one.  He may be a little biased though.

The crumble topping I adapted from a different pie recipe.  I thought it would add a little crunch and made it look appetizing, too.  Here's my version of the almond crumble topping:

1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. butter
1/4 C. sliced almonds

Mix all the ingredients together.  I spread the crumb topping out on a small cookie sheet and baked it for 20 minutes at 350 to give it a little crunch.  This recipe makes enough crumb topping for probably four pies.  I saved my leftover topping and put it in the freezer to use on a future pie.  Since I'm an award-winning professional pie maker now.

Oh, and serve this delicious summer-time dessert with whipped cream.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Family Fun

Aunt Patty and her family drove down from Las Vegas and we all got together to spend a relaxing, fun day at the beach together. 

The boogie boarding gang.

It wasn't always graceful, but it was entertaining.

A ginormous uprooted seaweed plant washed ashore.  

The roots were home to skinny, long-legged starfish and purple sea urchins.  The kids were fascinated.  I've never seen starfish like that...they were weird.

Azie and her mini-aquarium.

There was also sand crab hunting...less creepy than those starfish.

Grandpa and his brood of grandchildren.

It can be challenging finding something for that many people to do together.  The beach was perfect.  It was good for all ages with plenty of room to romp and play.  Kids were so busy some of them didn't even stop to eat.  We made some good memories!

Friday, July 11, 2014

4th of July

We got together with three other families to celebrate the 4th of July.  There was a lot of delicious food, a big pool, fireworks, and good company.

I made Wave Your Flag Cheesecake.  I've decided it will be a tradition.  This is the third year I've made it so that makes it a tradition, right?

Thanks to Pinterest, my watermelon, blueberries and marshmallows were patriotically arranged.

Kylie made patriotic Rice Krispies treats that were layered with red, white and blue.  They were eaten so fast, I didn't get a picture.  This one is from Lil' Luna where we got the recipe. 

Every recipe we found cut the regular Rice Krispies treat recipe into thirds but we found them to be too thin.  So we made the bottom layer using the full Rice Krispies treat recipe amounts and colored it red.  The middle layer we halved the recipe and left it white.  The top layer we halved the recipe and colored it blue.  They filled a 9x13 pan nicely. 

There was lots of other scrumptious food that we munched on all day.

We worked up an appetite swimming in the pool.  There were games of Marco Polo and chicken fights.

And there were kids being thrown everywhere.

Zander relaxing with Tracy and Bailey between sessions of eating and swimming.

When it got dark Justin put on a fireworks show.  This year was extra spectacular because he put the fireworks up on a ladder and they reflected off the pool.  

The kids also got to do some sparklers. 

We stayed up late on the 4th and again the next two nights playing games with friends.  We don't usually have such a full social calendar but with it being summer bedtimes aren't so important.  On Monday the kids voted to have a movie marathon day.  We started with Narnia then went to Harry Potter.  Somewhere during the third movie the boys konked out...for two hours!  Kylie and I took little naps, too.  Bryn was the only hold out.

Kylie got out the sleeping bag for girls camp and Brayden decided to nap in it.  Makes me hot just looking at him.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beach Bums

We went to the beach with friends a couple weeks ago.  It was such a nice day.  I love listening to the sound of the waves and being out in the warm sun.  I haven't always been a fan of the beach but I'm getting better.  I wonder if it has to do with the fact that my kids are easier to keep track of and clean off so it's more of a relaxing experience for me.  And I'm learning to tolerate sand.

There was some serious boogie boarding going on.

Kylie, Brayden and Bryn got in on the action, too.  It's a good thing Justin was with us because I don't go in the water past my's cold and I don't like seaweed and other slimy things touching me.  If the kids need help out in the water their dad can rescue them.

Zander ran from the waves at first.

Then he got brave and he'd jump over the waves.  When they didn't knock him down he raised his little fist in triumph every time.

Bryn was the collector of every shell and rock she could find.

And what's a day at the beach without some digging and sand castle building?


We even saw a random rainbow in the sky.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Birthday Bowling

At our local bowling alley kids can bowl two games for free every day during the summer.  With shoe rental being only $2.50, it's a super deal!  So we did a little bowling to celebrate Justin's birthday. 

Grandma Jake was a regular at the bowling alley back in the day.  And she can still wipe the lane with us all.  (Is that proper bowling smack talk?)  Justin was a close second though.  I was last.  Yep, even Zander got a better score than me. 

After throwing balls at pins, we headed back home and Justin opened his gifts.

He has some new cards to add to his Sentinels of the Multiverse game, a fun fast-paced dice rolling game called Space Cadets, a Tie-Not for fast water-balloon filling and a cool Star Wars t-shirt that Bryn picked out for him.  

I made a Reeses peanut butter poke cake for the occasion.  It was very rich.  Too rich.  I recommend cutting the cream cheese and peanut butter layer in half.

Lighting birthday candles is serious business.

Happy Birthday!!!



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Stuff

We've been having a pretty low-key, relaxing summer so far.  We signed everyone up for the swim club.  We're there from 6-8 every night.  It's been great exercise for the kids and they're becoming strong swimmers.  They come home hungry and tired from their workout with aches in places they didn't even know they had muscles. 

Each day we try to do a little "school work".  Kylie and Brayden are doing online keyboarding classes.  They're also making Power Point presentations on topics of their choice.  Kylie's is about the composer John Williams.  Brayden's report is on how Legos are made.  Bryn is learning cursive.  And Zander is doing math.  And everyone is reading, of course.  We're doing the library summer reading program and earning free kid meals so we get to eat out once a week. 

Besides swim and keeping little brains sharp, here's some other stuff we've done...

Dumped dish soap on the trampoline to make lots of bubbles.

We made hard-boiled eggs and I told the kids to put a sticker on the egg container so we could distinguish the hard-boiled eggs from the not boiled ones.  They decided to turn it into an art project.

Anything the kids make, their schoolwork, special treasures that they don't want to get rid of, things like baby blankets and baptism clothing that have special meaning, all go into each child's "special box".  They are always begging to go through their special box but I usually deny their request because, well, I think you can figure out why from the picture.

Kylie and I went and saw Divergent, after reading the books, of course.  We bought some sandwiches and candy and smuggled them into the theater.  Good movie, by the way.

And, yes, those are braces Kylie is sporting.  That was one summer adventure I'm sure she'd rather not have had.  But she'll be grateful in two years when she has beautiful, straight teeth. 

We let the girls get their ears pierced when they turn eight if they want.  Bryn had to wait until soccer was over because you can't play with earrings in your ears.  She was very brave and didn't cry at all.  I also took her shopping and let her pick out a new shirt. It was a fun Bryn and Mom date.

The kids spent one day being news anchors.  They made their own TV and microphone out of cardboard.

And we washed my car.  I think it was time, don't you?  Though I do miss seeing Brayden's smiley faces with mustaches every time I look in my rear view mirror.