Thursday, March 31, 2011

this is gana be hard

Isn't he the cutest?
That was the subject line of an e-mail I received tonight from my 6-year old nephew, Tyler.  He has recently learned how to use e-mail and he loves it!  He sent the following note to his aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Dear every budy I love you this was hard
 Love Tyler

Dear Tyler,
I love you, too!  Thanks for making me smile. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The King's Highway

I read this to my daughter tonight for her bedtime book.  I love the illustrations by Howard Fullmer in his retelling of an old fable.  Here is a summary from Goodreads:

Readers will discover the story of a king who must choose an heir to the throne. The king announces that whoever best travels his highway to the castle will be crowned the new king. But a pile of rubble on the king's highway is blocking passage. Watching the splendid parade of wealthy travelers, a shepherd boy named Michael decides to help and clear a path big enough for all the travelers to pass. In so doing, he uncovers an object that will make him the new ruler of the land.
"I am sorry it is so late, Your Highness," whispered Michael, his voice trembling. "I found this while traveling. No one was left to return it so I have come." Then carefully unwrapping his bundle, he revealed the king's ring for all to see.
Taking the ring in his hand, the wise king looked first at it, then at Michael. "That ring is not mine," he said.
"But it must be yours, Your Majesty," said the boy. "It bears your crest."
"Yes, it does bear the crest of royalty," said the king. "But the ring now belongs to you. I proclaimed that he who best traveled the highway would become the new king. By clearing the road so that all could travel, you showed that it is not fine clothing, fancy horses, or even great wealth that makes a king. It is by serving others that one becomes great."

A great moral and a great story.  Do you have a favorite book like that?  Please share! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Mother of all Strawberries

Check this thing out!  This is one strawberry with some serious siamese mutations.
(Maybe I should sell it on e-bay...)  :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

What is that?

Tonight we were playing a family game of Guesstures.  One of my boys was one of the last to have a turn.  Hoping to score a lot of points, he carefully selected high value cards.  When he got to his last card, he hemmed and hawed trying to figure out what to do.  He admitted that he wasn't quite sure what the word meant and ended up doing nothing until the card fell through the slot as his time expired.  What was the card?

Yeah, it was pretty funny, especially since we had to explain what it is to most of the kids.  A good laugh!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


When I was a little girl, I loved going to my cousins' house.  Aunt Mary Ann and Uncle Bill were pretty cool and always had the latest gadgets.  My siblings and I got along really well with their eight kids and we saw them fairly regularly.  When I think back to our time spent together, one thing stands out:  Aebleskivers - yummy little puff pancakes.  We may have only eaten them once or twice at their house, but it's one of my most vivid memories.

Several years ago I decided to introduce my kids to these yummy little morsels so I bought an aebleskiver pan and searched for a good recipe.  My kids loved them and I had visions of a new Sunday afternoon tradition.  Sadly, that didn't happen (they were kind of a pain to make) and the pan spends way too much time tucked away in the far recesses of my kitchen.  Any organizational guru would have told me to pitch it ages ago for how seldom it gets used.  I am not very sentimental, but the pan stays.

Lately I've been trying to make an extra effort to create positive memories for my kids.  I don't know what brought it to mind, but on the way home from church I decided that we should try aebleskivers again.  I used this recipe and whipped up a batch.  They weren't as big of a pain as I remember and, with one exception, they were a hit.  (You can't please everyone!) 

Suddenly, I have visions of a new Sunday afternoon tradition...

Most of us loved them. Sterling, not so much. (Love that face!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Strawberry Hour

One hour + 5 pounds of strawberries + 8 pounds of sugar (gasp!) + 5 boxes of pectin + 5 Tablespoons lemon juice + one handsome kid (straight out of bed and still in jammies is best) EQUALS:


My official stirrer - No complaining and a smile the entire time!
Jeff helped me hull the berries then Spencer stayed with me through all 5 batches and stirred and stirred and stirred!  We were down to our last jar of freezer jam.  I'm so happy to have our supply replenished.  It's been a productive morning! :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Funny

Q:  How do you tell an elephant from a banana?

A:  Try picking them up.  If you can't, it's probably an elephant,
although it could be a really heavy banana.

Q:  What's green and has wheels?

A:  Grass.  I was just kidding about the wheels.
(photo from

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I {heart} BYU!

Man, what a ride!   Tonight's game was a roller coaster.  Sadly, we lost to Florida in overtime, but to see BYU's shooting percentage, it's amazing we stayed with them as long as we did.  Florida guarded Jimmer so hard at the start that they basically shut him down.  In fact, I think it was around 13 minutes into the game before he had his first basket.  He still managed to score 32 points so I guess Florida knew what they were doing.  There are so many "if only's," but that's pointless.  I'm just happy we have a connection with such an amazing team.

I had to laugh when I walked into Sterling's room tonight and he was singing the 50 States song he learned at school where they sing all of the states in alphabetical order.  His version tonight went something like this:  Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Evilness, Georgia, Hawaii...  We honestly don't wish any ill will on Florida, but we really, really wanted BYU to win.  It was our best season in 30 years and we weren't quite ready for it to end. 

I'm glad we decided to go all out with a BYU themed party.  Each of the kids invited a friend and I spent most of the day in the kitchen preparing every blue thing I could think of (thanks to this post from Our Best Bites.)  Here is part of our spread:
We also had plenty of yummy breasticks and more dipped pretzels:
We're still keeping our eyes on Jimmer Fredette.  We don't currently have a favorite NBA team.  I'm fairly certain he'll be drafted early and we can't wait to see where he goes!  Thanks, BYU, for a great year!
Sterling looks the way we all feel!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


One of my kids came home from school yesterday feeling pretty bad about something that happened during P.E.  They were playing a dodge-ball type game and when he was hit by the ball, he said he wasn't.  It didn't alter the outcome of the game, but it ate at him for the rest of the day.  He told me about it so that I could help him figure out what to do.  Today he is going to try to find the boy who threw the ball and apologize. 

This morning I watched the following video and was touched by the message.  Yes, I know we should be honest and I believe that standing up for honesty might help others choose that route as well.  A quick quote from the end of the video:  "We may deceive others, but there is One we will never deceive."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Better Half

Wouldn't you know, it turns out that Jeff doesn't mind being called at work in the middle of the day to learn that I've locked my keys in the car.   In my defense, it's the first time this has happened in our almost 16 years of marriage.  Did I get a lecture?  No.  Did he give a long sigh on the other end of the phone and make me feel like this was a huge inconvenience?  Nope.  Did he hop on his bike, because he almost always rides his bike to work, and haul across town to bail me out?  Yep!  (Did I hurry and buy him one of his favorite treats to show him how sorry I was?  Of course!)  I was checking out at the store when I realized my mistake.  I called him and within ten minutes he had the car unlocked and we were both on our way.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, this Jeff is a keeper! 

Monday, March 21, 2011


Soren's daily job this week is floor sweeper, which has proven to be the most undesirable job on our rotation.  Determined to get out of it, he came up with a plan.  He made up a couple of certificates for anyone willing to do it for him.
A certificate 2X! to play with you as long as you want me to!  (any game!)
He had a couple of interested parties, but Sadie jumped right up and donned the broom.  She was so cute the whole time she swept, telling us what a good worker she is!   Hmmmm...maybe Soren is onto something here.

Sadie-bug - will work for play!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

You know it's a good game when...

...BYU's entire starting line-up is happy to be benched near the end of the game to give the other players some time on the floor.  BYU beat Gonzaga tonight by 22 points.  I don't do suspense very well so this was my kind of game.  Sweet Sixteen here we come!  (Don't you just love the look of sheer joy on Jimmer's face?)
  (Photo from

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Funny

A pirate captain, his first mate, and his crew were sailing across the ocean when the captain looked through his telescope and spotted an enemy ship chasing after them.  He knew there was about to be a battle so he commanded his first mate to go get his red shirt.

The first mate asked, "Sir, why do you want your red shirt?"

The captain responded, "So that if I get shot, the crew won't notice my bleeding and they will continue to fight courageously."

They ended up winning the battle and the captain wasn't harmed.

A few weeks later the captain looked through his telescope and saw 50 enemy ships coming after them.  The first mate said, "Sir, would you like me to go fetch your red shirt?"

The captain replied, "No, get me my brown pants."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Silver Smiles

This morning I took two kids to the orthodontist and handed over all my money.  The kids were given silver smiles and sore gums then sent home.  Despite tylenol and advil, pudding and ice cream, mashed potatoes and bread, they are miserable.  It's amazing what we put ourselves (and our kids) through, knowing that the outcome will be worth the pain.  They entered this adventure willingly even while knowing that it would be unpleasant at times.  Life is like that. 

Here's to straight teeth and happy teenagers!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

In honor of Pi day - you know, since today is 3.14 - I hope you celebrated with pie.  We did!  Blueberry Banana Pie.  Yum!
Here's the recipe:
Blueberry Banana Pie (makes 2 pies)
2 graham cracker crusts
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (Neufchatel is a good low-fat alternative)
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. cool whip
3 medium bananas (or 4 small)
1 can blueberry pie filling

For filling, mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.  Add cool whip and mix well.  Slice bananas into graham cracker crusts.  Pour filling over bananas.  Top each pie with 1/2 can of blueberry pie filling & chill until ready to serve.  (Thanks to my friend, Dawn, for sharing this recipe with me so many years ago.  We love it!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What's In a Name?

The following is a piece I wrote for a memoir writing group I used to attend regularly.  I wrote it back in November 2008 and I shared it with a few people then, so maybe you've read it before.  I came across it the other day and it made me cry (happy tears) so I wanted to share it here... 

What's In a Name?
      Spencer is our third child and second son. At the time of his birth, Sam was three and Savannah was almost two. Spencer was only about 2 weeks old when the impression came. Sadie Jennifer. It was just a name that popped into my head, but it was more than that. I knew somehow that someday we would have a little girl named Sadie Jennifer.
      A couple of years later, when we learned that baby #4 was on the way, we wondered if this would be our Sadie. An ultrasound showed otherwise. Having no boy names picked out, we embarked on a thorough name search and finally narrowed it down to 2 solid boy names: Sterling and Soren. I love the name Soren. While I have been accused of such, I didn't make it up. It is Scandinavian. In Sweden, for example, if a man named Soren has a son, the son is literally “Soren's Son” which is where the last name Sorenson comes from. It means “Warrior” or “God of War”. That was our first choice, but then there was 9/11 only 2 months before this little boy was due. Suddenly, “God of War” seemed so ominous in the face of these frightening times. I couldn't do it.
      And so Sterling (meaning “genuine”) made his debut mid-November. He is a delightful and very busy little boy. In fact, Sterling gives the word “busy” new meaning. As a toddler, he frequently achieved tornado status. While little Sadie was always in the back of our minds, we couldn't imagine life without our little “Boog” as he's come to be known.
      A year later, baby #5 was on the way. But this pregnancy wasn't as smooth as the others. At fourteen weeks along, on Christmas day, I seemed to be having one last bout with morning sickness. It was worse than usual and I felt crummy all day. But it didn't go away and I was sick all night, too. It turns out I got appendicitis for Christmas. I had my appendix removed the following afternoon. The baby's heartbeat was strong after surgery and we hoped for the best.
      Two weeks later, on a Tuesday morning in January, our little family of 6 was stuffed into an ultrasound room at the hospital. When the technician told us we were having a boy, big sister Savannah was very disappointed. But it was all put into perspective when I received a call from my doctor later that afternoon. There was a possible problem with the baby. Something about an abnormal fluid collection at the base of the skull. Suddenly it didn't matter so much that we would have to wait a little longer for our Sadie. I just wanted this baby boy to be okay.
      The Maternal Fetal Specialist told us that most likely the baby had Down Syndrome. He said there was a slight possibility that it could be a couple of other conditions, both of them much worse than Down Syndrome, and a very small chance it could end up being nothing. But while Down Syndrome babies often have heart problems, our baby's heart looked strong. The limbs were also normal in appearance when frequently they are shorter than they should be. But still, “This baby has Down Syndrome” were the words we left with that day.
      And then we knew. His name would be Soren. Warrior. God of War. He would have to be our little fighter. It was the perfect name.
      A month later, the specialist said that he still thought the baby had Down Syndrome, but there was a much higher possibility – did he say 50%? - that there was nothing wrong. Another month and the chances of a healthy baby increased. And at our next visit we heard the words, “I can't find anything wrong with your baby.”
      Our little Soren was born, perfectly healthy, in mid-July. He's a beautiful child. My friend calls him the Gerber baby because of his perfect skin and angelic face. He's a total mama's boy, preferring me above all others. I still love his name. In today's world, he'll need to be a fighter for sure. And, like Sterling, what would I do without my little Soren? More than once I've wondered if Heavenly Father let me know about Sadie so that I wouldn't stop having children before getting these boys here, too.
      And what about Sadie? Two years after Soren was born, I was entering the last month of what felt like a very long pregnancy. I specifically chose to not find out the gender of this baby at our routine ultrasound. With Sterling and Soren, I'd gotten to 7 months pregnant – which is a very uncomfortable time for me – and wondered if I'd really be able to go through pregnancy again to try one more time for the little girl that already felt like a part of our family. This time around I needed to think, especially at 7 months, that this might be it. This really could be our little girl that we'd known about for 6 years.
      And so it was, unknowing, that we left for the hospital late on that July night. And in the wee hours of the morning I heard the doctor say, “It's a girl!” as he lay little Sadie on my chest. At that moment I knew. I knew that I had done the thing I was meant to do. I never imagined 6 years earlier that in that one name, Sadie Jennifer, I'd get three children. Sadie was meant to be a part of our family, but so were Sterling and Soren, every bit as much as Sam, Savannah, and Spencer. My family was complete. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's been a long week

I have not been my kids' favorite person lately.  Sometimes I have a bad mommy day, but unfortunately this has been more like a bad mommy week.  Argh!  So I had to smile when I realized that at least one person around here hasn't given up on me.  Here is what Soren brought home from school today: 
 Spring Break starts now.  Let's hope Soren's prediction comes true!!

{Sorry, no Friday Funny today.  If you have a favorite joke, please leave it in the comments.  I could use a good laugh!}

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Just Wish...

When Soren was small, he would frequently climb in bed with Jeff and me in the middle of the night.  He would snuggle right up next to me and squeeze my arm.  He called it my "squishy arm" and would hold on above my elbow with both hands and pump it like a heartbeat.  It was like his security blanket.  (Please, no fat arm jokes.  I think most people probably have squishy arms when at rest -- at least that's what I'd like to go on believing.)

For some reason, Soren has climbed in our bed again several times over the last couple of weeks.  He's a wiggle and he migrates further and further over to my side which means I have precious little space by morning, not to mention the fact that his feet are in Jeff's back all night.  I finally told him that I think he's getting too big and he needs stay in his own bed.

But when he showed up last night with the sweetest little, "Mom, I just wish I could snuggle with you for a bit," it melted my heart.  I thought to myself, he's getting too big for this, but then I realized that soon he'll actually be too big for this.  So I pulled him in knowing that I'll miss this someday.  He grabbed my arm and we both immediately fell asleep.

All was fine until 4:30 when I woke with an arm in my face.  I put the arm down only to have it back in my face within seconds.  Again I put it down and again it was in my face.  I rolled over to my side and he immediately rolled into my back so I couldn't move and I was left with about 6" of mattress.  And I chuckled to myself as I thought, Good feeling's gone!  (But I still love you, buddy!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Helping in the Vineyard

Have you heard of this?  It's pretty cool.  Click on the graphic above and you'll access a website that lists service opportunities available through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The tasks are relatively simple with the idea being that many people doing small tasks can get a lot of stuff done.  Tonight I indexed 50 names for FamilySearch.  Pretty slick!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Four Eyes: the sequel

I recently reported that Savannah got glasses and now Spencer has them, too.  Spencer's make me even happier than Savannah's.  Why?  Our out-of-pocket expense for Savannah's glasses, after insurance, was about $85.  Spencer's glasses cost a mere $14, no insurance needed.  We got them online at goggles4u.  Savannah wasn't brave enough to choose glasses from a website, but Spencer isn't quite so picky so we decided to give it a go.  Looking good, Spence!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Recipe: Hamburger Cookies

I have my friend, Paula, to thank for these yummy little guys.  These are definitely my kids favorite hamburgers.  Pack meetings, school functions, or after-school snacks are much more fun when these are served!

They are super easy to make.  All you need:
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Keebler Grasshopper cookies (Girl Scout Thin Mints work, too)
  • Frosting
When Paula made these for us, she had green-tinted coconut on some of them to look like lettuce.  Some of my kids don't like coconut so I don't do that, but I love the look!

These are so easy to assemble that little hands can easily help.  Here's what you do:
Place a small amount of frosting on the flat side of a vanilla wafer.  This will act as the glue to keep the grasshopper cookie from sliding around.  Place a grasshopper cookie on the wafer then decorate the top of it with frosting.  Try to keep the frosting near the edges so you can see it when you're finished.
Place a vanilla wafer on the top of each.  See?  Super easy.  Makes about 3 dozen - or however many are in the grasshopper package.  Enjoy!
{Note:  I like to use the little decorating icing tubes.  They are easy, and the colors are rich.  You can make your own frosting, but if you use food coloring, your red will probably look more pink.}

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Saturday Phenomenon

Is this the face of innocence or what?  Okay, so this is Soren a few years ago, but he still has the face of an angel.

So what is it about school mornings that makes it practically impossible for him to get out of bed?  Monday through Friday, we plead, drag, coax, (sometimes yell), or resort to other creative tactics to get him up, dressed and fed in time to catch the bus.  Somehow we've managed about a 95% success rate in getting him out the door just in time.

Yet somehow, every Saturday/snow day/holiday, Soren appears by my bed at the crack of dawn fully dressed and ready for the day.  This morning it was 6:45am.  Sadie appeared shortly afterward and they both crawled in next to me and snuggled, giggled, and fought over who loves me best. (They really did.  Turns out they both really, really love me!)  

It reminds me of the poem Sick by Shel Silverstein about little Peggy Ann McKay who has every ailment you can imagine and so she can't possibly go to school...until she realizes it's Saturday and she's suddenly cured.

It's a good thing he's cute!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Funny

A frog named Kermit Jagger walks into a bank and asks to speak to the loan officer.  He is directed to Patty Black's office.

Kermit introduces himself to Mrs. Black and mentions that the bank manager knows his dad, Mick.  He explains that he needs a loan and Mrs. Black asks him what he has for collateral.  He places a statue of a small silver elephant on her desk.  Unsure, Patty says she'll have to talk to the manager.

She walks into the manager's office and says, "I've got a frog in my office named Kermit Jagger.  He says you know his dad, Mick.  He wants to use this elephant thing as collateral.  I don't even know what it is!" 

The manager replies,
"It's a knick knack, Patty Black, give the frog a loan.  His old man's a Rolling Stone!" 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Alt 167

I know this is totally random, but you know that little degrees symbol?  Well, here's how you make it:
Alt 167  Yep, that's it!  It's so handy when typing the temperature outside (currently 49º) or degrees in a recipe.  Like I said, random, but it makes me happy so there you go!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I like your sleeves...

They're real big!

Savannah's costume for her school musical this weekend has given us plenty of opportunities to use a favorite line from Napoleon Dynamite.  :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

If I Were Abe...

"If I were Abe, I keep my papers in my hat."  -Sadie, age 5