Kids


Starting graduate studies has forced me to rearrange my schedule, drop certain activities, and really look at my priorities.  One priority that I insist on making number 1 is my family.  I don’t want my family to ever feel that I put school, or a future job made possible by school, before them.

This week’s dilemma?  Hoob’s 16th birthday.  How do I make it special for her and still meet my school, church, and other family obligations?  Hoob’s birthday is on Friday which also happens to be a full-day youth conference for our stake (group of congregations in our church).  Here are my ideas to make the day as fun as possible for her:

*I had her choose the shoes she wants for her birthday from zappos.com and we ordered them last week.  They should arrive before her birthday.

*Even though we will be visiting four historical sites in SLC during the day with other youth and leaders from our stake which makes it hard to celebrate her birthday, I have arranged with one of the ward (congregation) leaders to buy a birthday cake.  We will keep it secret from Hoob until we break for lunch and then we will pull it out and have the youth and leaders from our ward sing happy birthday to her and then share the cake.

*I will make sure to take pictures of the cake activity.

*Tomorrow afternoon I will put homework on hold and I will take Hoob shopping for new capris and flip-flops–the rest of her birthday presents.

*I always give my kids a chance to go to lunch or breakfast with me on their birthday for some one-on-one time with me.  Because of the youth conference starting early, making it necessary to eat a quick breakfast at home, and then including lunch and dinner as part of youth conference, Hoob and I will, instead, go to see a movie together that night as our one-on-one time.  The movie she has chosen?  “Green Lantern.”  Once again, homework will be put on hold.

*Of course I will wish her a happy birthday on facebook so that others can know it is her birthday.

*Hoob, or course, is anxious to get her driver’s license.  With Friday’s schedule being what it is, we will go Monday afternoon as soon as I am done with class to pick up her license.

I am hoping these ideas will help Hoob to have a special day.  Hoob is so good-natured, I really don’t have anything to worry about, but it really is about…

…making family #1!

*

It is that time of year that foil dinners are craved at our house.  Because we have a portable fire pit on our patio, we can have this type of dinner often.  Our usual foil dinner consists of stew meat, diced potatoes, carrots, and onions all seasoned with salt and pepper.  Sometimes we will do ground beef instead of stew meat or we will do pieces of chicken.  Last night we tried a new combination of foil dinner ingredients that we all liked and so I share the recipe here.

Cut 18 inch square pieces of foil (one for each family member).  Fold each edge over once.  In the middle of the foil family members place as much of the following ingredients as they want:

Polish kielbasa cut into 4-inch-long pieces and then halved (3 to 4 pieces works best for each serving)

Pearl onions

Sliced crook-neck squash.

Sliced carrots.

Drizzle with the following flavor booster (I double the recipe for our family):

1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 T. lemon juice

3 T. vegetable oil

Sprinkle the sausage and veggies with salt and pepper to taste.  Fold up the foil to make a package that seals in the juices.   Write family member’s names on their packet.  Lay the packets on hot coals or on a lit grill (400 degrees) and cook for about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and place on a plate.  Open the foil…and enjoy!

 

Mack graduated from high school today.  I am proud of myself.  I only teared up three times.  :-/

Checking her reflection to make sure she looks "just right."

 

Figurative: Walking away from mom toward her future

 

Huntsman Center at U of U

 

761 seniors wait to be told they are graduates

 

Yay!

This was #4 in our 6 years of high school graduations in a row.

As usual, it was a bittersweet day for me.

Life has been too crazy lately for me to blog about our spring break trip that we took a month and a half ago.  I still don’t have time to do the trip justice.  This short post will have to do.  I polled the family members who went on the trip (Juju didn’t go because she had school and work, and Shroom didn’t go because he opted to go with a friend’s family to Las Vegas) on their top three favorites on the trip.  Here are their results (with a few pics from each top choice carefully chosen to preserve our anonymity):

Hub

1.  Scorpion hunting! (We stayed with my sister who happened to be experiencing a scorpion infestation.  We learned that scorpions glow in the dark when you shine a black light on them.  Hub loved going in the backyard after dark and hunting for the little nasties).

2.  Making Japanese food.  (Hub made some of his yummy Japanese food for all of us one night)

3.  Going to Oreganos for pizzookies.  (Oreganos is an Arizona original with the best dessert in the world–the pizzookie is a partially baked cookie topped with ice cream.  Yum!  I want one right now!)

Actual glowing scorpion

Huh (joined us on some of our activities since she just happened to be attending college in Phoenix at the time).

1.  Visiting the Phoenix Zoo.  Especially feeding the random squirrel on the trail, and going into the monkey enclosure.

2.  Taking pictures.

3.  Playing games with the family

Our squirrel friend

 

Mack:

1.  All day Thursday.  (The day consisted of kayaking at Tempe Town Lake, a picnic, renting tandem bikes and riding trails at Tempe Town lake, and then later that evening seeing the movie “Rio.”

2.  The warm weather.

3.  Phoenix Zoo.

 

 

Hoob:

1.  Feeding sting rays at Phoenix Zoo.

2.  Oreganos

3.  Riding the tandem bikes.

 

 

Yawlin:

1.  The Arizona Science Center.  (My scientific little boy loved all of the interactive exhibits here).

2.  The Tandem bikes.

3.  A tie.  Oreganos and spending time with family.

 

Me combined with Mack

 

Me combined with Hoob.

 

Me combined with Yawlin

 

Yawlin

 

Hoob

 

Mack

 

Me

 

Kweenmama:

1.  Seeing family.  Namely my daughter who had been living away from home at college and seeing my sister and her family.

2.  The tandem bikes.

3.  Relaxing….

My nieces' pet baby turtles

 

Huh showing her siblings around her campus

 

It was a great trip!  I wish I had time to write more about it, but life keeps getting in the way…

…at least we have the memories!

 

 

It was 10:50 p.m. and Hub and I were just dozing off in bed.  Suddenly, the house phone rang.  As I reached for the phone I glanced at the caller ID and saw that it was Shroom’s cell phone number.

“Hello?”

“Aw crap, I was hoping my dad would answer the phone,” said Shroom.

I handed the phone to Hub and said, “It’s Shroom for you.”

Hub tiredly put the phone to his ear and said, “Hello.”  There was a brief silence and then Hub burst out laughing.  “Okay, I’ll be down in, oh, about 10 or 15 minutes.”  I could hear a loud protest from Shroom and Hub laughed again.  “Okay, I’ll come right now.”

Hub got up and put on his bathrobe.  “It would seem that Shroom is stuck on the toilet downstairs with no toilet paper.”  He went down the hall laughing.

And so, folks, this is just one more example of one more use for a teen’s cell phone…a call for toilet paper!  😉

I went missing from Blogland for much longer than I had planned.  I had intended to only miss a week of blogging during our trip, but got busy with other things afterward.  I hope to get back to a regular blogging schedule soon, mostly because blogging is one of the “me” activities I enjoy, and it  provides a nice break during the day.

And what has kept me so busy???  Oh, just the teeny tiny decision I have made to go back to school to get my Master’s degree.  Because I made the decision to go back to school after the application deadline, and because the school was kind enough to let me still apply as long as I completed all of the requirements quickly, my time became “get transcripts transferred, write an essay, apply online, get three letters of recommendation, complete an interview, and take a big, nasty test” time.

I hope to post about our trip on Monday…

…but no promises.

National No TV Week begins on Sunday.  There are some who call for people to “unplug” completely during that week, which means not only unplugging from the tv, but from the computer and computer games as well.  I’ve had my family participate in unplugging in years past and have posted about our results on my blog. 

This year the unplugging happens to fall during our spring break–a spring break that we have actually decided to take a trip during.  So, unplugging for us will be much easier this year. 

 We leave tomorrow.

I will post about our unplugging…

…and our trip…

…when we get back.

Gotta love spring break!

It is now 6:00 a.m.  I have been awake since 3:50 and out of bed since 5:00–all because of the two new “projects” I alluded to in a previous post.  Because these projects are going to take quite a bit of time, not only today but many days hence, and because I like to be productive (even at 6:00 a.m.), and because being productive (in my mind) would include getting done as many things as possible, I take the easy way out for my Monday post and post another recipe.  But rest assured, this recipe is a good one!  Most recently I made it for a game night at my mom’s house.  The recipe comes from a woman I knew as a youth.  She was like a second mom to me and everyone called her “Mom Low.”

MOM LOW POPCORN

8 c. popped kettle corn (two bags)

2 c. rice krispies

2 c. nuts (I use cashews)

Mix the above in a bowl.  In a microwave oven melt:

1 lb white chocolate chips (1 1/2 bags)

1/4 c. peanut butter

Pour over popcorn mixture and mix.  If you can resist the urge to eat it, let it set up for a while so that you don’t end up with sticky fingers.

Enjoy!

My son, Yawlin, has been fascinated with water balloons lately.  He fills balloons and then thinks of different ways to break them.  He has tossed them in the air, played catch with them with a sister, shot them with his air-soft pistol, poked holes in them to see how long it takes for the water to drain, put tape on one and then poked it with a needle to see if it made the water drain more slowly, he even froze one to see what would happen.

Big sister, Hoob, noticed this fascination and proposed a new game for the two of them to play.  They each hide a water balloon in their room and then, over the course of the week, they secretly search each other’s room to find the balloon.  If they find the balloon they get to take it to the backyard and “kill” the balloon in any way they please.  They call this game “Balloon Assassin.”

Hoob was the first to succeed in assassinating a balloon.  Yawlin determined to find a much better hiding place the second time around.  So far Hoob hasn’t found Yawlin’s second balloon.  It is funny to see one or the other sneak around trying to find a balloon.  Yawlin even enlisted my help the other night in searching Hoob’s room while she was at the gym.  We had no luck.

The thing I like about this game is that my high school sophomore is paying attention to her 5th grade little brother.  Anytime an older sibling pays attention to a younger, it is a good thing.

I just hope the hiding places aren’t so good that the balloons die a natural death and leak all over!

My two weeks of “Joyful Reports” are now over.  It was amazing to me how much good I found, how much more positive I was, and how blessed I felt as I performed this two-week experiment.  Even though the two weeks are over, I plan on looking for joy each day–it is such a better way to live!

I now get back to my regular Monday/Thursday blogging schedule, also a good thing, since I have taken on two more “projects” that are going to take up quite a bit of time.  I will blog about those after each is further along.

“One joy scatters a hundred griefs.”  –Chinese proverb

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