Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I was preparing our slow cooker dinner just now and thought it might be nice (in case anyone cares) to compile a list of my best loved/used cookbooks.

A lot of the time I just search online for a specific type of recipe (and love for this purpose), but there are a few tried and true and well loved cookbooks I use. Here they are (links may not be the exact edition I have):

1. Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book: the one I use is the 12th edition, and I love it. Classics.

2. Cooking Light: Complete Cookbook: another good, big cookbook and I feel like it is "healthy." Maybe it's the title.

3. The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: oh my awesome. I love the explanations/"here's why" nature of it, and the recipes are so good as well. 

4. Taste of Home: Slow Cooker cookbook. I just got this relatively recently, but I had a different slow cooker cookbook that did not have very tasty recipes... and this one does (so far!)... so it's a win! Especially on Sundays when church ends at 4 p.m.

5. Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: this is a great read as well as a good cookbook. Especially for biscuits. But we also like the chocolate cake, bagels, yogurt, etc.... I ought to use it more but I really do love and recommend it (except the chocolate chip cookies. I can't recommend those, sadly).

I have a lot more cookbooks than that, but for cookbooks that I would recommend actually purchasing (and if I had to get rid of all but five cookbooks), I would say these are my tops. Happy cooking!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Simon Sayings

Let's face it. It's about time to have a post about the wonderful things Simon says to us. So... here is a sampling of some of the comments he has made that I've written down, snippets of conversations, etc.  Enjoy!

"I love Hawaii so much. I want to stay here for a bit."

Jamund, referring to a leaf blower man: "That guy's like 'I'm in the road!'"
Simon, referring to a baby: "That guy's like, 'I'm in the stroller!'"

Me: "I'm thankful that daddy is normal."
Simon: "No, you're thankful for apples."

"You can be a motorcycle for Halloween, I'll be a van. And Daddy can be the road we drive on. And Ellie can be a flower."

"Do you want to be a mountain for Halloween?"
"No, I want to be a car for Thanksgiving."

"I was an apple pie."
"Oh? How was that?"
"Oh, I guess it was 'A B C D E F G...'"

Me: "You're something else!"
"Yeah, I'm a mountain. A snow capped peak."

Me: "What are you eating, Ellie? Spit it out."
Simon: "She's eating a butterfly."

"Will I turn into death if I get cold?"

Discussing "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.": "I'm telling you the facts, not the reasons."...  "I thought a tiger was in the movie."

"I'm lucky to have a big papa like this: big big big BIG BIG papa!"

"Pretend it's nighttime. (about 5 seconds pass) Okay, I'm done. So you want me to read a story to you? Which story do you want? A Christmas one? This one?" (turns the pages, then says "All done!" and then looks at me quizzically when I tell him he didn't read it to me)

Reprimanding me as I'm texting Jamund during pretend nap time: "I tell you to sleep! You look at your phone when you're done sleeping!"

"This is Howl's moving castle. I made it." (pats his blanket, which is in a pile on his bed.)

"Ellie's old now. Let's get a baby sister. Let's throw Ellie away because she's old now."

"Hey, I need some milk, man!"

"I promise you to death, Mommy."
"What does that mean?!"
"It means to dive. Dive into some water. It means to die on the cross too."

"There's a toenail on my toe right here. I want to saw it off."

Simon getting on underwear and putting on his pants (excuse the mention of a private body part): "Percy, king of the railway! Where's my penis? ...Bees, bees, bees... My pants are getting tighter, Mommy!" (Hits my stomach and then falls to the floor)

"Mom, you're a FedEx truck."

"I'm a crab. I'm a snapper." (makes snappy finger motions.)

"You're a daffodil, mama"
"Oh, why?"
"You're a bad guy."
"You're a bad guy, mama!"

"Here's a booger."
"Put it on your bottle." (me not wanting to get up since we are cuddling and reading a story)
"No, that's dirty.... (thinking) Put it on Ellie's shirt."

"I'm not your son. I'm your boy."

"Where's the horse head!? Where's the horse head? Is it outside the door? I want the fish head. I want the horse head. Mama, where is the horse head?!" (referring, I hope, to emoticons on my phone)

Me to Simon: "How's it going?"
"A dog bite. A dog bite. Don't get any closer to the water. It's on the carpet. I'm going to go fishing to catch some fish."

Me to Simon: "You need to treat your sister with respect. Do you know what respect means?"
"Be handsome, and evil, and good."

We love that little man.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I made two discoveries yesterday.

#1: I was teaching the kids from this preschool book about germs and realized that Eleanor probably gets sick way more than Simon did because she loves to suck her two fingers. Makes sense, right? Simon didn't really suck fingers or thumbs or pacifiers.

old photo, but shows what I'm talking about

#2: Frozen lemon bars. For reals. Try it now and thank me later, after you've gained about 5 lbs.

Friday, January 24, 2014

so it's been a little while...

Quick post since the kiddies are probably awake now, but I thought, why not? Why not extend quiet/nap time for a few more minutes so I can "blog"? Ah, rationalization.

It's been quite the time since I last posted... various things happening/that have happened include:

• My becoming Primary President at church again. (not sure exact date on this compared to when I last posted, but it is something that helps keep my time occupied, so it's blog worthy?) Lots of meetings and children and teaching and organizing... and good experiences, of course. Simon is now a "Sunbeam" so that can be hard (with me as Primary President) and funny and cute.

• Family trip to Maui! Awesome. I could probably post some photos of that at some time. Eleanor LOVED it.

• Eleanor being sick most of the time with a cold/cough/runny nose

• Each child getting an ear infection

• My parents coming for Christmas/New Year's and being super helpful, of course, and the kids LOVING them so much

• Moving a few houses away over Christmas/end of December. We actually like our new house better (it's a tiny bit smaller but basically a very similar layout, one room we had in our last townhouse is now a "den" in this one, but that actually works better for us and makes the home feel more "homey" for some reason). But moving itself is not necessarily fun or awesome.

• My getting sick during the moving process

• Identity theft/debit card hacked /whatever you want to call it. Super annoying. The bank caught it and alerted me really fast, but it's so time consuming trying to make calls and change things to prevent future incidents and not having a debit card for a few days is kind of annoying. Actually I don't really care.

Ah well, life is still super good and I need to remember that. It's so easy to complain (and it can be entertaining sometimes), but I need to remember that life is so good! The kids are cute (and crazy), we are relatively healthy, at least not miserably unhealthy or anything, we live in California where it is not a polar vortex, and my kids haven't started screaming at me (or at least I can't hear it if they are!) yet.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Eleanor apparently HATES baths these days. Jamund is upstairs doing bath duty and I can just hear her screaming/crying. I'm not sure who to be more sorry for, Eleanor or Jamund.

Guys, I am so tired after today. I had so much to accomplish and basically got it all done...I think... (still need to make muffins for breakfast tomorrow)... but I am exhausted. Give me a high five or something... because I: called doctors to set up appointments, made egg salad, made bread, made pumpkin bar things and frosting, cleaned the kitchen, went to one of those doctor appointments I just made (same day! I was shocked!) with the two kids in the stroller, went to the park with the kids, exercised, shopped with google shopping express (delivered to my door, hallelujah), wrote some emails, etc.

The rest of the week (including weekend) is not much more "relaxing" either... Sigh.  Early bedtime tonight?!

(And because it is Halloween week... Halloweek? Is that a thing? Did I just make it up?... I'll end with this:


Thursday, October 17, 2013

our schedule



In case anyone was interested, I thought I would write out a sample of our daily schedule (give or take):

About 7:30 a.m.: Get children out of bed, underwear/diapers changed, potty time, etc. Jamund does this while I prepare breakfast/finish getting ready.

7:45-8:15 ish: Eat breakfast and get cleaned up

8:15 ish to 9:15: After getting excused from breakfast, we wash up and get the kids changed into their clothes for the day. We listen to music in the front room and they (hopefully) all play together. Sometimes I will do chores or clean up the kitchen.

About 9:15: Eleanor goes to her room for a nap/quiet time.

9:15-10: More play time, but usually from about 9:30 -10 we have "individual quiet play time" wherein I attempt to get them to play by themselves or read quietly while I also do individual quiet time things like reading or checking e-mail (or blogging in this case).

Rough estimates of times (but the "goal":)....
10-10:15: Learning time—we read a "learning" book like Berenstain Bear's "Almanac," "Science Fair," "Nature Guide," or other various kids educational books/encyclopedia, etc.

10:15-10:25: Exercise time—stretching, songs like "London Bridge,""Row Row Row Your Boat," pretending to be different animals, etc.

10:25-10:35: Numbers or alphabet flashcards

10:35-10:50: Learning Time Activity (lately we've been learning about our senses or food groups or maybe doing a fun number game or writing/tracing letters)

10:50-11: Usually Eleanor is done with her nap by now so we start getting ready for a walk/outside time

11-12: Walk/outside playtime/park

12-12:45 ish: Lunch/milk/getting cleaned up

12:45-1 ish: More music/dance/play time while I clean up lunch

1-1:30: We go up to the playroom and read books. The kids can "read" their own and I usually read a chapter book so they often cuddle up and look at the pictures (usually I read children's illustrated classics)

1:30-1:45: We go upstairs and have potty time, change diapers, and read a "Jesus" story and then a regular story. Then it is naptime!

2-4: Naptime/quiet time in bedrooms

4-4:20: Getting everyone out of bed/diapers changed/potty time

4:20-4:45 ish: Gospel learning time (we have lots of good gospel books/scripture stories).

4:45-5:30: Craft time/play time

(sometimes from 5-5:30 if I'm making a more labor intensive dinner and they are crazy, we have movie time. I try not to have movie time more than every other day or 2-3 nights/week, *ideally* once or not at all---ha!)

5:40-6:15 ish: Dinner time

6:15-7: Daddy time (walk, play, bath)

7-7:30: Bedtime (jammies, tooth brushes, story, prayer and then tuck into bed)


That's it! Phew.

Friday, October 11, 2013

two plus two plus two

Having four kids is kind of hard. One day I thought about how my mom raised four kids but realized that my oldest sister was probably 15 when I was a year old, my brother was 13 or so, and my other sister was about 6.


Not to negate the efforts of my saintly mother, but taking care of two three year olds and two in the one to two year old bracket at the same time is its own special opportunity. Like the above photo, when they're all awake it's often like constant motion, and not unified, nice constant working-together-motion.


I also get used as a pillow/seat. I've learned being close to floor level in a reclined state is very dangerous (for me) when I'm around little kids. I become something to climb on, rub a snotty nose on, etc.


We are having fun times, hard times, crying times, whining times, hissy fit times, dance times, dessert times, outside times, walk times, bath times, bedtimes, gospel study time, learning time, individual play time, reading times... lots and lots of times.


This is what keeps the day going: short increments of activity. And a long quiet/nap time for everyone each day. I feel like Hugh Grant in that scene of "About a Boy" where he describes how he divides his day up. That's what we do, and it works. My advice: keep the day flowing and try not to have "I don't know what's going on time" because that usually leads to what happened to us this afternoon....

...which was: Jamund went out to pick up pizza I had ordered online, only they claimed they didn't have the order/that the order had been canceled, so I was at home with lots of hungry bellies and had to wait for the pizza place to make us new pizzas... We watched a lot of "Mary Poppins"and lots of tiny bits of chewed and rejected apple skin and orange got strewn about the living room.

(Though I am proud to say I don't think the kids had watched movies/TV shows the whole week until this point.. at least since Sunday!)

But really, the best times are dance times. We put on records and the kids LOVE it, especially Eleanor and Lillian who now will dance together/next to each other (which means they move around slowly in circles side by side). It is SO CUTE.

Favorite dancing records/songs in the household:
1. The Seekers' "Georgy Girl" and "A World of Our Own"
2. Saturday Looks Good to Me (don't remember the name of the album; it's got a pink cover, though)
3. The Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville" song
4. We listened to the Faint "Danse Macabre" but it was a little too much and we had to turn it off because kids/adults were starting to get a little sick from too much spinning after lunch.

But the real trick about this many kids together at similar ages is that one second they are having the time of their lives and the next, all bets are off and someone has gotten punched in the face or looked at the wrong way or something and everyone is screaming bloody murder and shrieking and oh! It's very touch and go.

But the dancing. It is so cute.

(and so is this daddy/uncle Jamund coming home welcome):


And these two together:


So funny. They can laugh and be so funny together and then start fighting/hitting each other like a little lady cat fight. It is ridiculous. Oh babies.