Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grandma Williams

I found this neat link today. Catch up on Grandma Williams' life. I'm pretty sure this was made into a book by the lady who did the interview, but its nice to hear her voice!

We love you Grandma!

Oddly enough, I found it while looking for hairstyles. I want to dye my hair dark again and I remembered seeing Julie Beistline with long dark hair a few years back. I wanted that color so I looked to see if there was a picture on google.......and while I didn't find any pictures of her (except an old one)...this link of Gma Williams came up on the second page....lol Go figure. So, Julie...you have a fan club. Any great pictures of your hair straight and dark brown that I can show my hairdresser? lol.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blend it up!

Sean is in love again. He has been wanting a vitamix for over 2 years and last week finally made the plunge. We already LOVE it so much that I wonder why it took us so long to get one (oh yeah...they are expensive, that was why). We got it on Monday and so far have made

5 different smoothies (some had spinach, cooked wheat, carots....all kinds of crazy stuff!!)
spaghetti sauce
wheat flour

I am so impressed with this little machine! Today I am going to make fettuccini alfredo with it for dinner. It comes with really yummy health-conscious recipes! Some interesting things I found that I can make in it are:

powdered sugar (its just a mix of corn starch and sugar blended together real fast!)
onion soup mix
rice flour
oatmeal flour.....ANY FLOUR!
ice cream (including soy ice cream! yuuum!)

On that note (because I made wheat flour) I was able to can a whole bunch of food recently in #10 cans at a friends house (THANKS NIKKI!). It was awesome. Did you know you can rent an electric #10 canner from the cannery for FREE99? It was super easy to use and we just bought whatever we wanted in bulk either from them or from costco (depended on what was cheaper) and then canned it all up! The only things we had to buy extra were the cans, lids, oxygen absorbers and boxes to put the cans in. It was still cheaper than buying them already canned from the cannery and WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY cheaper than buying them from the store. And I got to pick what I wanted like JASMINE rice instead of plain white rice.... anyways, check it out in your area if you are interested. Its a nice feeling to get food storage started!

Living Scriptures Coloring books

Did you know that you can download all the living scriptures coloring books for free? Mom, please donate all the ones I have in Fairbanks to someone who can use them (I'm obviously getting no good use from them in a box somewhere). Anyways...all you have to do is register on their site (which was super easy) and then you can download them to your computer and print out the pages you want to use!

Yay! Enjoy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ring-around-the Rosie

My favorite part of this game with Penny is that she says: Rosie, Rosie, Rosie......and for those of you who don't know, I have a sister named Rose and I love her berry much and miss her berry much (she's at school in Utah and when we lived there she used to come over all the time) so I love that Penny says her name quite often lately cuz it makes me think of me sister.

aaaaaaaand its a fun game to see her get dizzy and fall over.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

See-N-Say Fun

This should qualify me as done blogging for weeks...... =)

Random jibber jabber and playing with the see-n-say. We love this game.....especially because it sings us Old McDonald Had a Farm too. Penny and Dominic like to take turns picking the animal for that verse.

Penny's Valentine

Grandma Penny came to visit and brought Penny a Valentines card. Penny said the animal on the back was a cow and then she stuck the card underneath her and began to ride the horsie like the little girl.
It was quite entertaining and she knew it. Don't you just want to eat her curls?

It snowed on Friday!!

Friday Dominic had no school and we woke up to 3 inches of snow. What a treat! I had slept on the couch with Penny cuz Stella woke her up in the middle of the night (3 year old cousin I watched overnight). Outside the wind was blowing and making Dominic's soccer net goal scream "*croud roaring noise* scoooooore!" Over and over and over. I guess it was quite the storm. We ate breakfast and then took a few pictures while Dominic played in the snow with the neighbor kids and pelted their parents with wet wet snow. Stella wasn't feeling well so I needed to stay inside otherwise I would have been out there too. It was fun to watch though and Dominic came inside soaked through and through!
Elaina better watch out....
They gathered ammunition. Dominic kept saying, "come over here...all the snow is in my yard!"
The birds kept coming onto the yard here. All the holes in the snow there are birdprints. Penny was in bird heaven at the window. It was a fun day and a nice change from just cold weather.

The snow melted by afternoon.


Great-Grandma has a little sewing box that she keeps out by her chair in the living room that Penny is obsessed with. When she wants to play with it she says "Hewp, hewp hewp (help)....spoooooooooools!" She absolutely LOVES the spool box. It has buttons (which she calls butts) pins, small scissors and many many different colors of thread on wooden spools (they are really old spools of thread apparently). We love Grandma and I love that she plays so much with Penny while Dominic is at school. It is time we cherish with Grandma. Right now we are all playing a game of Uno (they are shuffling for the next hand) and Penny has gone to bed. Grandma is so fun to be around.

Opening the spool box, can't contain the excitement:

finding the bag of pins:

she loves these little blunt scissors:

She says scissors perfectly. Its the cutest thing.

Some Candids

Penny's hair is quite ridiculous in the mornings and after naptime. The other day after she woke up from a nap she brought Grandma a brush and the detangler and nudged her head towards her and said "hair...pwiiiiiiity." We have to do her hair quite often and so she's getting quite used to it.
She drops things off the edge of the coffeetable and then holds herself from falling with her feet as she picks them up again. She loves this game, and I love the view. She giggles the whole time she does it.
Dominic loves his sister and loves snuggling her when she falls asleep. He is the best brother ever.
She likes shoes and boots. This is her cheese grin (I love how its crooked). Just in the last week or so she'll smile when we ask her to say cheese. She used to sign the word cheese when we asked her to say it. Ha!

Doesn't she look like our Rose-bud in the last picture? Its like having a slice of Rosie even when she's in Utah....we miss Rose.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

We got our Christmas pictures did you?

So, just in time for Valentines day, we got our Christmas CD's from my sister with ALL the pictures that were taken over our Christmas break. Here were the ones from our family photo session (photoshopped by yours truly of course....well I was, Sean, Dominic and Penny are all nature-all!).

More to come. Enjoy:

Thank you Annie!

Penny's learning to Read

Recently a friend of mine did a post asking about the 'Your Baby Can Read' series. I'm sure you've seen the infomercial (if you have cable). Its a fun concept. I got the movies for Dominic when he was 1.5 and while they definitely opened my eyes to a new world for what children can do, and he watched them a few times a day...he didn't learn to read. Instead, I started making powerpoint presentations with words that he could associate with and showed them to him in the 'presentation mode' on the computer (full screen). He loved it and learned to read several sight words by the age of two. Mind you, this isn't READING at this point, its just the same as recognizing a picture...but you build on it. They eventually learn phonics and reading comprehension just as if you would have taught them traditionally. Dominic loved it. However, I was a single mom in school and I wasn't consistent enough to make it work past knowing 50 words or so. I stopped when he went home to see his Dad that summer for 3 weeks and didn't start it again the next semester because of my schedule.


Another venture started. Penny is starting to learn to read. Her vocabulary with speaking is such that I can write just about any word and she already has an association with it either by signing or by speaking it so I know that she understands that the word that she is looking at means ______ because she already knows what _____ means. We started last week and already she can recognize the words; water, Dominic, tickle and strawberry. She started this week being able to recognize one word and each day she has added a new word that she recognizes. I started a second list of 20 words with her today and will re-visit the old list frequently.

My point, little kids are very smart and ready to learn what we want to teach them (and stuff into their empty brains). Penny already can recognize several of her shapes (circle, diamond, heart, moon, star, square, oval, triangle, and rectangle) when I draw them for her. She thinks its a fun game and I love teaching it to her! Though I don't find it NECESSARY for a super young child to know how to read.....it can be done in a way that makes it very enjoyable for them. If you are interested in more information about it I'd be happy to share what I have learned so far with my 2 kids.

If you ARE interested I would suggest that you start with sign language as a baby so that they can communicate with you (stupid to teach them reading because they can't write the words back to you and let you know what they need)......then step into reading when your baby has a grasp on verbal and sign language. If your child is already older and has the ability to communicate in one form or another......start teaching them to sight read (using powerpoint....flashcards are too hard!) and see where the journey takes you!

Enjoy this video. Its not bragging rights that I want.....Penny loves it even in the short time we've been doing it and will come up to me and sign and say "words" wanting to come to the computer and read more words. Its a game...a game that is fun to play with her...and she's learning, and I didn't spend a dime on it. Why wouldn't I share that information with people right? So, anyways....enjoy:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fun and Jokes

Sean and I watched this together today and thought it worth sharing. Often we find ourselves teasing each other in our family (which isn't necessarily bad). While this is fun, this short clip really puts into perspective how PERHAPS sometimes we could change a situation to be BETTER by playing a different kind of teasing. Good, Better, Best style.

Have I mentioned lately how much I miss President Hinckley? I do. He was such a beloved prophet of God.

(Thanks Dad for sending me the Meridian site today)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I love this

This made me smile.

Spic n Span

I had a little helper cleaning last week. I was cleaning the kitchen and Penny went into the other room and found the wipes, came back into the kitchen and started scrubbing away.
She also liked seeing her reflection in the oven.

But cleaning wears a girl out! Believe me I know (Sean, you are not allowed to comment on this post).

Friday, February 06, 2009

My weakness

These are my new found weakness.

They are gluten free, vegan cupcakes from Azna Gluten Free bakery here in Cameron Park (corner of Cameron Park Drive and Green Valley for those of you who live here and want to try them). They are AMAZING and I'm borderline addicted. Perhaps I should go buy a pregnancy test because they consume my thoughts at times due to their immpecable taste. Even Sean, Dominic and Grandma think they are de-lish.

Megan, thank you for introducing us to such a yummy treat, now come over and share one with us!

I call them miracle cupcakes because something gluten free AND vegan, should not taste this good. Do not confuse these with healthy, I'm sure they are not.....though I wish they were.

Rose, yours have already shipped. Be on the loookout.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Zurburt Heaven!

Feeding the Ducks and Gooses

We got out on Sunday and fed the ducks and goose at Cameron Park Lake (about 1 mile from our house). Its nice because there is a path that goes around the lake and an island in the middle. You cross the bridge (on foot) to get to the island and thats where we fed the ducks. It was a beautiful day out and we had a great time. I gave Penny pieces of the bread to throw and at first she just shoved them in her mouth. Eventually I got her to take a nibble and throw the rest. Dominic threw huge chunks of bread to them or he would break off a bunch of little pieces at a time and then throw them all at once. He LOVES feeding the ducks but is still a little intimidate of the big goose (which...so was I! He was HUGE *replace H with a Y sound*).

See how big he was? He was about to peck at my butt at one point, thats how tall he was (and how yummy my bum was I guess!)
Dominic would throw bread to them as he backed away. He would make circles around us walking backwards. At one point he backed into the stroller and his back hit the plastic bag which freaked him out cuz he thought he backed into a duck. It was pretty funny.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love California winters?

Dominic the wrestler

Dominic started wrestling with a local wrestling club (the middle school's don't have a wrestling team so that started a club). He LOVES it. There are 4 kids in his group. They are 1 year older, but its perfect. He's learning a lot already! Yesterday they focused on what he needed to do if someone got him on his back (which happens a lot right now). My favorite is that I let him take Dad's cell phone when we drop him off so he can call us if he needs anything and so usually we get a call during their water break with Dominic asking what time it is (he can't read time yet).......... ha! I love him. Enjoy!

Shabby Apple Baby Girl Picture Princess Contest

Penny is the picture perfect princess because she sparkles and we all know that princess' require lots of sparkle. Also, her name starts with P and so do all of the other 3 words in the contest PICTURE PERFECT PRINCESS PENNY. It just fits. I love that she has her Daddy's eyes and her smile melts our hearts. She's the GOOFIEST baby I know and will, on command, act silly. "Penny, be silly" - penny shakes her head and laughs hysterically......... and if you ask her "who's cute" she says emphatically "MEEEEEEEEEE!" with one hand in the air. She even makes her babies do it. "uhcute? meee!" as she raises their arms. At 14 months (today) she has blown our minds away with how much she learns each day. She's a smart picture perfect princess and understands everything we tell her. She talks more than I do (and thats a LOT). We love you Penny poo poo! Happy 14 months old!
She's takes princess baths

She hugs her princess kitty

She talks on her princess phoneS

We love our Picture Perfect Princess Penny

So, we're entering this contest just for fun. I think Penny would look cutest in this dress. What do you think? There are so many cute ones to choose from

Little Girls and Girls Dresses from Shabby Baby

A new cute wardrobe would be so much fun for this little picture princess! It would surely make her all the more sparkly!

Contest rules here

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Button or Banner

Recently our Blush and banner stopped working for whatever reason. Rachel has fixed it so if you have our button or banner on your site and it has stopped working, please re-grab that information off to the right on my blog and put it back up again.

Thanks to all of you for supporting our venture!

Be Bold. Wear Blush

welovebloggers will get you 20% off the price of 2 or more! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I'm going to garden this year

I'm halfway through reading an amazingly simple book about gardening. Its not a new concept and has been around for quite a long time but I went to a small farm/large garden in the fall and saw the concept in real life and was amazed at the amount of food that was produced in such a small space. Welcome to Square Foot Gardening. You could do it on your patio, in your small yard, up high for the elderly or however you want. The concept is that you make your own box (only 6" for non-rooted plants and 12" for root plants) and you mix your own dirt (don't use your dirt from your yard) so that you don't have weeds and you have 80% less area that produces the same yield of crop.

So, whats your excuse? Here's why I'm doing it:

1) This year is a drought year and it uses less water than a conventional garden because its compacted into a smaller space and the dirt is designed to hold water in instead of leak into the ground.
2) Its portable....at least the one I'm building will be. So when we move, I can take it with me and I don't have to leave my garden ever again!
3) I want to be self sufficient
4) No fertilizers needed with this soil mix so it is completely organic!
5) No more trips to the grocery store for veggies!
6) My family eats healthier when we grow our own....its fun to eat food you've been anticipating!

and many more reasons. I think my main reason though is:

7) Dominic misses having a garden and always talks about the garden we had in Utah. It was a great family experience for us (except the pumpkins and watermelon overtaking the grass...which SFG has fixed also...did you know you can grow pumpkins and watermelons up instead of out?)

So, I'm starting with one 4' x 4' box. Thats it! I got the wood for free by asking for it on www.freecycle.org and all I have to buy is the dirt and seeds. I have enough to make 2 boxes but I'm starting with one to see how much it produces so I dont' overburden myself with too many veggies (lol...can you do that?).

So if this piques your interest at all.......go check out the book from your library or get it on amazon for under $16. We all need to know how to grow our own food, you don't need to love it...but at least learn how.

Yay for gardens!

Alaska Mormons are DIE HARD

So I'm sitting here today doing the dishes after playing outside with a bunch of friends that came over. All our kids ran around and played in the sunshine together eating pretzels and grapes. It was fun. But I got to thinking............I COULD NEVER DO THIS WHERE I GREW UP. Today in Fairbanks, it is -22 degrees....thats 90 degrees colder than it is out my front door. Its the middle of January and I BARELY have to wear a jacket. I love it...

Then I got to thinking. When I was up there in the beginning of January, we still went to church. IT WAS -38 degrees. Why was church even still on that day you ask? Well, they have a cold weather policy. If its warmer than -20 they still have all 3 hours of church. If its between -20 and -30 they have only 2 hours. If its colder than -30 they only have sacrament meeting (1 hour). If its colder than -40 than church is cancelled. Want to know the main reason? BECAUSE ITS COLD!! Those are die hard mormons. It was -38 on the Sunday I was there and there was a good 40-50 people at church that day (probably 2/3 of their normal sunday attendance). Nobody turned their cars off, they just left them running the whole time......

People ask me if I miss Alaska....and I do sometimes...but wintertime is not one of those times. I miss the summers. Light all day and all night, 80 degrees, great smells, few days of heat then a few days of rain, blueberry picking, raspberries in my backyard, the hammock (with the patent pending pulley system), green green green everywhere you look, moose everywhere..... I miss the summers.

......thats what I've been thinking about today as I put off cleaning. I like my Cali winters.