Friday, June 22, 2012


A very few of the berries we picked.  

This week the boys and I picked 45 pounds of strawberries.  We must have hit the perfect day to pick because in less than two hours we came away with twice as many berries as we had planned on getting.  I'm a berry fanatic and pick a ton every year, but I outdid myself this year.  It helped that Buddy is a really hard worker and was bound and determined to work hard enough to earn some money.  He picked almost 20 pounds himself.  Needless to say I've been washing and freezing and jamming and eating berries nonstop for the past three days.  Tomorrow I'm picking up some cherries I ordered so I've got to make room in the fridge for them too.  Bring on berry season!

I've been pinning and trying new recipes like crazy from Pinterest. Today I tried a new strawberry pie recipe.  I have several tried and true recipes I love, but this one caught my eye because it combines all my favorite things:  cream cheese, strawberries and chocolate.  I modified it a little, so I'll list the recipe I made here as well as a link to the original recipe

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pie

10 chocolate graham crackers
6 TBSP butter, melted
1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
4 oz white chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust:
Process the graham crackers in a food processor.  Mix the melted butter and the cracker crumbs together and press firmly into a pie plate.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the pie:

Melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler.  Set aside.

Beat the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar until it becomes thick.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese, the other 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and the white chocolate.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Spread the cream into the chocolate pie crust. Don't put all of the cream in the crust at first. There is a lot of cream and it will overflow as you fill the pie with berries. Then, press the sliced berries into the mixture.

Melt the milk chocolate in a double boiler.  Then either drizzle the melted milk chocolate over the strawberries.  Or... my chocolate wasn't really drizzling consistency, and my berries were so small I didn't slice them, so I plopped a generous dollop of chocolate over each strawberry.  

Enjoy!  This pie is TOO DIE FOR.  I ate two pieces.  And... I ate several additional chocolate dipped strawberries.  I had to do something with the leftover melted chocolate!  I've been eating berries and salad all week so my dessert(s) tonight were acceptable.  So don't judge...


In other cooking news, Buddy made me proud today.  I had some leftover waffles from dinner the other night that I offered the kids today for lunch.  Buddy said, "If you have waffles on hand, I found the perfect recipe for lunch."  He then thummed through an old Friend magazine until he found a recipe for scrambled eggs and a slice of cheese between two waffles (like a sandwich).  He explained that he's been waiting for the perfect time to make it because it "sounded so good."  I was so overjoyed that Buddy (who is normally clueless about cooking) has possibly found an interest in collecting recipes.  Like mommy, like son.  Maybe I should teach him about Pinterest too. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Our friend Ben is a beekeeper and has a few beehives at different friends' houses.  Our backyard is a good spot because of the farms and blackberries nearby.  We harvested our first batch of honey the other day.  It has been so exciting to learn about and watch the process.  After Ben extracted the honey comb from the hive, our boys smashed it up.  Ben then put the honey and smashed comb into a strainer net and let the honey drip through into a bucket.  Then we poured the honey into jars.  We had a pretty good yield with much more to come later this fall.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Project DONE

When we moved into our house the landscaping was horrible.  The front yard had gigantic grasses and overgrown hebe shrubs. We removed most everything and unfortunately have been staring at bare dirt ever since.  I enjoy yardwork, know how to maintain the landscaping, and I LOVE a pretty yard.  But I am totally clueless about how to choose plants and organize them in an aesthetically pleasing way.  You have no idea the frustration this causes!  Luckily I have a good friend with an eye for beautiful design plus she worked for her dad, a landscaper, for years.  So she knows her stuff.  So I begged her to take me to the plant store to help me design the front yard.

We enjoyed browsing plants for a few hours and eventually she pulled together the perfect plan.  I got all the plants in and then laid mulch down.  I love it!  All the plants are small -- and I know the picture doesn't look like we did much-- but believe it or not, there are a lot of plants there.  It took me all day to plant them.  It will be gorgeous eventually, I think. 

To contrast, this is how the yard looked when we moved in.  This was early February, which is why the grass looks horrible. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Feeding Ducks and Boys

We pulled some bread from the freezer the other day and the bag it was packaged in was totally split the entire length of the loaf.  I'm paranoid about germs, so rather than tossing it, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the river and feed the ducks.  We hadn't done that in years.  Such a simple activity and so very fun.  Especially for Buddy, who loves birds.

When Buddy was 18 months we took him to feed ducks in Utah one time.  He did not understand that the bread was intended for the ducks and not for him.  We all got a good laugh at the time and we still bring that up from time to time.  Well low and behold, at age 8 he still didn't understand.  He'd toss a piece to the ducks, and take a bite for himself.  And he begged and begged for me to save the last piece of bread for him.  Even though I had fed him a snack (anticipating this) five minutes before we started feeding the ducks.

This is Buddy feeding the ducks at age 8.

This is Buddy feeding the ducks at 18 months.

The other funny part?  Right as we finished feeding the ducks an entire Costco loaf (minus a piece), I noticed a sign asking park visitors to "please avoid feeding the waterfowl."  Oops.  No wonder all the fishermen were giving us the stink eye.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'm Surprised He Hasn't Cut His Own Hair Too

Click to Enlarge

This child can not be left unattended with markers or pens.  And all Sharpies are hidden in this house.  Please somebody tell me I'm not the only one with a child with 75% of their clothes stained with marker or pen.

The best though is that despite writing his name on his shirt while he was wearing it, he managed to write it write-side up, even if it ended up backwards.   That's talent, people.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More Antics

Well, I guess I can stop complaining about not having any pics of me and the kids.  We had new family pictures taken and the photographer took one of me and them.  Unfortunately, I look weird and I'm choking Buddy.  But it's better than nothing.  

Per usual, it's been awhile since I've written.  Usually I write less when I have things on my mind.  I'm too wimpy to write when I'm thinking a lot because I worry about offending the throngs of people who read this blog.  As a result, I don't end up writing about anything of substance, and if I do, I don't publish it.  But I enjoy the process of writing and I enjoy having a small record of the happenings of this family, so I'll keep the lame posts up for now.

A picture is worth a thousand words.  This is my life.  I adore this picture!

Here are a few recent happenings:
Buddy asked me if he's a nerd because he likes science. I said, "I don't really think it's polite to call someone that, so i don't think so.  But other kids might call you that.  Don't worry about it though. Who cares what they think."  The he proceeded to explain: "Well, I might be a nerd because I like science, but a lot of nerds like math and doing extra homework and I do NOT like those things."  I'm not sure why he asks me for my opinion when he has it all figured out.

Sambo (age 4) informed me that a neighbor boy (age 8) has boobs with "buttons."  He was so confused about this. 

Buddy and his friend wrote "You have a big butt" with sidewalk chalk on the friend's neighbor's porch because the boy that lives there is mean.  As rude as this is, I found it mildly amusing.  Especially because it didn't happen on my watch, so I didn't have to deal with it or apologize.  And seriously, if I walked outside and saw that message on my porch in kid-scrawl, I would laugh.

I hadn't heard Buddy talk about his girlfriend in a few days, so I asked him about her.  I accidentally said, "Are you still 'dating' Ellie?"  As you can imagine, he FREAKED.  I forgot that elementary kids don't call it 'dating.'  In fact, elementary kids don't even talk to their significant others.  They chase at recess or simply look at each other, from what I'm told.  I tried to figure out what the proper terminology is these days for this age (going steady?  going out?) but Buddy was so offended he ended the conversation.  Anyone know?

Sambo has picked up a swearing problem.  You'll probably judge me for this, but he's said some doozies -- including calling several people (me, his brother, a guy in our ward, and my mom) a "stupid ass."  I probably shouldn't, but I find this hilarious.  (He doesn't know I find it funny.)

I found Sambo in his room making a paper airplane, as he followed instructions from his brother's book.  His folds and creases were perfect.  Have you ever tried to follow origami instructions?  I can't follow them so I was extremely impressed he could.  He also can now follow the instructions to build his own Lego sets.  I guess considering he's been playing Legos alongside his brother since he was two, I shouldn't be surprised.  It's so fun to see what he creates on his own too.  I had breakfast with some friends this morning.  I wasn't planning on bringing Sambo, but preschool got cancelled.  So at the last minute I filled a baggie with Legos and he quietly played with them for two hours at the restaurant without disturbing us once.

You'll probably judge me for this too, but I like Pitbull.  As in the rapper.  I find him fascinating and very talented.

We had to throw away one of Sambo's pairs of orange pumpkin socks because they got holes in them.  It was a sad day indeed.  He wears pumpkin socks year round every time they get washed and put back in his drawer.  Fortunately, he has one pair left.

Our Costco/American Express cards expire this month, so they mailed us new ones.  When G's arrived, he noticed someone else's picture on the back.  The guy could be G if he was bald and 40 pounds heavier.  We thought this was so incredibly funny.  He called to report the problem.  And the new card arrived today via UPS.  And low and behold, the same guy is on the back of his new card. I cannot even express to you the hilariousness of this situation.  It's been the highlight of our month. 

Our good friends are moving to California for a job promotion.  They listed their house on Thursday and got an offer higher than their asking price today. I'm so happy for them, and so hopeful it works out.  But I'm sooooo sad they are moving.  We love them.

I'm not going to revisit the whole story of my cardiovascular woes.  Pretty much everyone that reads this blog already knows.  But after some patience for the past three months, my heartrate has lowered slightly and I've started running.  I'm running painfully slowly, but as a result I haven't had any of the symptoms I was having.  Plus I've been able to run a good distance and am improving every time I run.  This is really exciting because this is something I've wanted to do for a very long time.  I'm busy, just like every other mom on this planet, and finding the two-hours to get to the gym several times a week is really hard to do.  I've been wanting to run outside, which requires far less of a time commitment.  I prefer exercising alone, but I had a 40 minute window of time on Saturday, so I thought I'd try bringing the kids on a run with me.  Sambo rode his bike and Buddy and I ran.  We covered 3.35 miles and not only did Buddy keep up the entire time, but in fact, I couldn't keep up with him.  The only part of the entire run that I got ahead of him was when he stopped to catch a snake along the way.  He ran with that thing in his hands for a few yards, but I'm terrified of snakes, so I made him throw it down.  Despite the snake and Sambo running into a parked car on his bike, it was a really good experience and I'm hoping this is the first of many family runs!

Buddy asked me if when I was a kid did I get whipped at school if I was bad?  First of all, I never ever was bad at school.  But it reminded me of the time he asked me if a particular book existed "in the olden days" when I was a kid.  

Buddy has gotten obsessed with the movie, Jurassic Park.  He watched it two days in a row and has been re-reading all his dinosaur books he loved when he was younger.  He is planning to watch it several more times this weekend. 

Tonight G met me at the mall so he could take the kids to the free Lego build at the Lego store.  Meanwhile I went shopping in peace.  Later we met up for dinner, then he took them home to put them to bed and I continued shopping alone.  In peace.  It was ecstasy.

The kids came looking for me in Forever 21 at one point tonight.  In the 30 seconds they were int the store, Sambo pantsed (I haven't said that since junior high.  Are people still using that term?) a mannequin.  It was really funny, but you can see why I enjoy shopping in peace.  I turned around and walked away pretending I didn't know them, and let G deal with it.  Buddy laughed so hard he literally fell on the floor.  G later said it was pretty awkward pulling up the mannequin's pants, especially since the mannequin was standing right by the door opening to the busy food court.

School is out next week.  Hallelujah!!!!!!!! 

It was "twin day" in Buddy's class at school today, so he and his friend dressed up in their Scout shirts.  He was so proud to wear his Scout shirt to school.  Apparently only one other set of kids dressed up and another set claimed they did, "but they weren't even wearing the same outfit, so you can't really call that twins." 

A kid in our primary class barfed on Sunday.  Thank heavens, he was near the trash can when it happened so all the puke was contained.  Still, it made for a very dramatic class.  We had to relocate outside because I'm a germaphobe and didn't want to be anywhere near that smell.  It was exciting enough that we got a funny email from a mom of a kid in the class.  Apparently her son couldn't stop talking about the incident.