Thursday, May 20, 2010

livi loves books

I should really just call this blog "livi land" because she is taking over! But who can blame her? Or me for constantly spotlighting her? She's just too cute for words. I just hope the big kids won't hold it against me one's not my fault there were no blogs when they were babies, right?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

what cleaning up a broken nose looks like

Yep, you heard me right. A broken nose. Poor Ben got clocked, accidentally of course, last Saturday by a friend doing a cartwheel. His nose is black and blue, and a little crooked. We've had to wait for the swelling to go down so the plastic surgeon can work his magic, which will be this afternoon. Wish him luck, the poor little guy is really nervous to go get his nose "set." I would be too. In fact, I don't think I could even manage taking him to this appointment. Thank goodness for dads, huh? Clayton's in charge of this stuff.

Hannah and I spent a good hour and a half cleaning blood up off the stairs and hallway, but it all came up with the miracle cleaner I didn't even know I had hiding up on the shelf.

Ben's double sad because he has to miss his field trip to the Kennecott Copper Mine so he can go get his nose fixed. Clayton promised him that we will take him there soon ourselves!

we're going on a bear hunt

Here is a classic for you. As toddlers, Ben and Hannah loved this one so much that our first copy was completely obliterated with use! So I had to order a new one when Nina was a baby so I could read it to her too. It's now the first one Olivia chooses from her book basket when it's time for a story. She likes to rush through it a bit because the end is so much fun, when they actually find...A BEAR! "Quick! Back through the cave! Tiptoe, Tiptoe, Tiptoe! Back through the snowstorm! Hoowoo! Hoowoo! Back through the forest! Stumble trip! Stumble trip!..." I'm writing this from memory, I've read this book easily a thousand times. At the end, when the family is hiding from the bear it says, "Into bed. Under the covers." Olivia squeals on that part because we actually throw her blanket over our heads, and get "under the covers" too.

I love the board book for toddlers, but it is also available in a larger format. The watercolors by Helen Oxenbury are beautiful. If you could frame a book and hang it on your wall, this would be the one to use!

chicken + pineapple skewers

I wait all winter to fire up the grill so we can have these for dinner! This is one of those favorites I come back to over and over (from my one of my favorite Food Network chefs, Tyler Florence). As Clayton said the other night, "Thanks for the rockin' dinner!"

The recipe says to use chicken thighs, but I usually use 4 chicken breasts instead, since I always have those in the freezer. I usually serve these over rice, with a green salad on the side. Make sure to save a little more than half of the sauce for serving so there's enough to go over the rice too.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

18 months

Already? This little girl is growing up too fast for me.

Here are 18 things I love about you, Olivia.

1. I love how you pat my back when I hold you, and how you snuggle your face into my shoulder. You always like to cuddle.

2. I love the way you wiggle your finger when you point at things.

3. I love how you wave at everybody and everything, and shout, "Hi" in that little voice of yours. You wave at complete strangers at the store and get them to smile and say hi to you.

4. I love how you say the word "eyes" while you are poking your eyes, my eyes, Daddy's eyes, or your baby doll's eyes.

5. I love how you randomly mention "butts" (elephants) throughout the day. If there are none to be found, you raise up your palms as if to say, "Where are the butts?" You are obviously still obsessed with elephants, and constantly point at the computer screen begging to watch the "butt" compilation video we made of you. You kiss elephants you see in books, and you love to ride on your elephant rocker while kissing it too. The first word that comes out of your mouth in the morning is "butt," as you point to all the elephants on your sheets.

6. I love the funny faces you press your lips together tight, tuck your chin in as far as humanly possible, and peek up with those big brown eyes. Then you quickly stick your chin out as far as you can and smile so big! You know it's funny, and you love that it makes us all laugh. I love your sense of humor that is beginning to shine through.

7. I love how you are so attached to your blankie, and that shabby little silky tag that you like to rub between your fingers. I sewed a bunch of extra silky tags onto your blanket, but you still like that original one the best.

8. I love how you carry around our framed family photo from the front room, and kiss everyone in it through the glass (we have to clean that picture a lot).

9. I love how you are so entertained with things that have lids. You go straight for my moisturizer and hair products that have capped lids, take a seat on the little step in front of the shower door, and you are totally busy taking the lids on and off for awhile. You also love to sit right inside the fridge at any opportunity it is open, and play with the bottle of butter spray and the cap. You get so mad when I move you so I can close the fridge!

10. I love that you love books. It seems like you like to look at books more than you like to play with toys. Books are constantly strewn all over your bedroom floor. I love when you pick out a book from the basket in your room, and walk backwards toward me so you can plop into my lap for a story.

11. I love how you are so loving with babies (and baby dolls). You are pretty gentle most of the time around them, which is good since you are getting a baby brother in a few months!

12. I love how you are so loving with everyone for that matter! When Nina's friends come over to play, you don't hesitate to pat their arms and hug them. Same thing with your cousins and with other little kids in nursery. You are just so sweet.

13. I love how you are just a little pixie, so tiny and cute!

14. I love the big smile you get when we open the door to go play outside. You put your hands up in front of your shoulders, palms out, and shake them, you are so excited! Same thing when you are about to get into the bath.

15. I love listening to you chew...I know, weird. But it really is so cute. If any of the other kids chew with their mouths open I am disgusted, but with you, it's adorable.

16. I love how you walk towards me like Frankenstein when you are excited to see me, arms up and a big googley-eyed grin! "Mama!" Haha!

17. I love how you call all dogs "Piper," which is the name of Grandma Ruthie and Papa Steve's little dog. You always get a serious look on your face when we pull up to their house, and you whisper, "Piper!" because you can't wait to go in and play with her. It's so funny!

18. I love how easy it is to tuck you in for naps and bedtime. After some books and sometimes a little song, you lay right down in your crib with your silky tagged blanket and your mouse princess doll. Then you wave to me, say a bunch of jibberish, and blow me a kiss. You smile at me even while I'm closing the door, your tiny blonde little head peeping out from the covers. So cute. It melts me every time.

I love you!

Monday, May 10, 2010

chinese chicken salad

Here's my version of Chinese Chicken Salad. Even my kids will eat this!

Mix together the following in a large salad bowl:

1 head red leaf lettuce, rinsed and torn into pieces
1 orange, peeled and chopped
1-2 green onions, finely chopped
1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
3 chicken breasts, cooked in a little soy sauce, then shredded

In a medium sized pan, toast the following in a couple tablespoons of butter, allow to cool, then add to salad bowl:

1 pkg. ramen noodles, crushed
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1-2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

Top with this dressing:

1/2 c. oil
1/4 c. white vinegar or rice vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ginger


Sunday, May 9, 2010

happy mother's day

“One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of a car we drove, what kind of a house we lived in, how much we had in the bank account, nor what our clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because we were important in the life of a boy or a girl.”

-President Thomas S. Monson

Friday, May 7, 2010

clarice bean

Being the huge Lauren Child fan that I am, I was so excited a couple years back to find that she had finally come out with some chapter books. Now that my bigger kids have outgrown the Charlie and Lola books (they have got to stop growing up so fast), they can read these! I read Clarice Bean Spells Trouble in about a day myself because I couldn't put it down...hilarious stuff! If your elementary schooler has a book report coming up, give these books a try. They are super fun, with little Lauren Child doodles throughout as well. I catch my kids laughing alone in their rooms while reading these!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

baby casch

Well hello there! And who might this be? I don't believe we've all met.

Let me introduce you to baby Casch, my sister Erika's 8 week old cutie. She and her family just moved back from Hawaii, and we are all so happy they are home so we can kiss this baby's cheeks!

Here are a few favorites from a photo shoot we did of the wee lad this week. Don't you just love him?

cleaning lady

Okay, so I don't have a cleaning lady. I wish I did. But these cleaners are the next best thing. I am going to a "favorite things" bridal shower for my cousin, so my sisters and I thought these would fit the bill perfectly. If you have never tried method cleaning products before, I highly recommend that you do. I actually look forward to using them because they smell so gosh darn great. Wouldn't you rather have your house smell like lavender, cucumber, grapefruit, almond (or any of their other great scents) than ammonia?

Find method cleaners at Target and you'll never go back to the harsh chemicals. Oh, and try their hand soaps while you're at it too. I love 'em!

this mom is amazing

Many of you probably already know about Stephanie Nielson, the survivor of a near-fatal plane crash which happened in 2008, but I find her to be so inspiring I wanted to share these links. Her story is the new "Mormon Message" this week on the LDS church website, titled "My New Life."

I love reading her enormously popular blog too. Sometimes I think I am having a rough day as a mom, but if I think of her then I am reminded, "What am I complaining about?" If anyone deserves to be recognized this Mother's Day, I think it should be this amazing woman.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

rainy day abstract art

It's been so rainy here, and my kids were off track from school...which always leads to one thing: "I'm bored!"

So I happened to find this super easy project, which only requires scissors and cardstock. Perfect! It kept all three big kids entertained until dinner was ready.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

triple chocolate brownies

Here's one I LOVE from Nigella Lawson's cookbooks. It has 3 sticks, plus 2 tablespoons of butter. Need I say more? I make these for almost every birthday, family gathering, etc. If I don't have white chocolate chips on hand, I just use extra chocolate chips, like I did here.

The only way these could possibly get any better would be to top them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some caramel sauce.

Click here to view the recipe.

I don't have a 9x11 pan like she uses, so I use either a 9x13 (bake for about 30 minutes), or an odd 8x10 (bake for 50 minutes).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

it's a...


Last night was so. much. fun. Our families all got together at my in-laws gorgeous new home for the big moment...the moment we'd been waiting for these last 3 weeks!

I can't even tell you how nervous I was, everyone watching me, as I tore into the wrapping paper. I was so sure it was going to be the little dress we had picked out. It just had to be. How could we possibly have another boy? They are too rare in our families!

Riiiiip went the paper...pop pop pop went the tape...crinkle crinkle went the tissue paper in the box...."AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" I screamed!! I felt like I couldn't breathe. There was the little blue plaid shirt, the green hat, the khaki shorts, the monkey sandals. All of it.

"It's a BOY!" I shouted, kissed Clayton, and burst into tears I was so happy. It was so chaotic in the room with everyone cheering, my sister Cami who was on speaker phone just figured it was a boy because of all the noise. I couldn't stop crying, it was such an amazing moment. I can't wait to meet this little guy.