Monday, April 28, 2014

Please Pass Along

This is my dear friend and her adorable family.  They are trying to adopt and know that word of mouth is the best way for them to find a baby.  They are an amazing family and fantastic parents so if you know of anyone who is thinking of adoption please share the Stewart's story and information from the
Stewart Family Adoption Blog.
Also if you have a blog of your own or use social media, please share the link above.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quick Fixin's

If I had to pick my very favorite sandwich, without a doubt, it would be a Reuben.  I will admit that I am willing to pay almost any price for a good Reuben at a number of Kosher NYC delis. Yes, I paid $30 for this yummy sandwich at Carnegie Deli once.Why it never occurred to me that I could make my own is beyond my comprehension until now.  I finally made my very own Reuben and I have now eaten one for my last three meals. The rest of the family is not nearly as in love with the 5 pounds of corned beef in my fridge but they are tolerant. If you are a Reuben fan here is my 3 minute Reuben Recipe for success.

First warm your sauerkraut and corned beef in separate containers in the microwave or on the stove.  Meanwhile toast your seedless Rye bread.  Spread Thousand Island dressing on both slices of the bread, then top with corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I have taught preschool  for the past seven years.  With all three children, I have participated in a cooperative preschool with other moms.  It has been a wonderful experience for me and for each of my kids.  Although school is not over just yet, today was my last turn to teach Harley and her friends. In fact, it was my last day teaching preschool EVER.  We are going to send Harley to a more formal preschool next year for various reasons. Last night as I was preparing today's lesson I was complaining to Scott that I was so "DONE" with preschool. He warned me that I was going to be sad when it was over.  I hate it when he is right.  All day I have been tearing up.  Helping kids with juice boxes and cleaning up paint never seemed so special.  I will miss it.  I will miss the time I have had watching my kids grow and learn and interact with their peers. I will miss watching their little hands working so hard as they learn to form their letters. I will miss watching them explain their show-and-tell items with complete exuberance. I will miss being completely in awe of the miracle of child development. I will miss this part of motherhood.  The season of my life is changing and I'm not sure if I am ready for that to happen. Luckily I was coherent enough to snap a few pictures of my last day as Harley's teacher. I love you Belle!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Seder

The first time I participated in an Easter Seder was several years ago when a lovely and talented lady I know, planned one for the women at my church.  She explains it in great and eloquent detail HERE or HERE on her blog.  The following is my attempt to recreate that lovely evening for my family.
Before we began I gathered my family in the living room. I had them remove their shoes and I explained to them that a Seder is the name used for the ceremonial feast eaten by Jews to celebrate Passover.  We discussed that in this feast Jewish people eat food that symbolizes the time in their history when the Hebrews were the slaves of the Egyptians and how the Lord delivered them.  Each food eaten during the Seder is eaten in a special order with a special meaning.  I further explained that we do not eat the Passover Feast because we are Christians. I told them we were going to eat a similar feast but our food would be depicting the last week of the Savior's life and  it would be called an Easter Seder. Everyone was instructed to move to the dining room but not to touch anything on the table until they received special instruction.
Above are the items that were served at our Seder and the items needed to complete the feast.  Below are the steps to complete the Easter Seder. I wrote out and laminated each step so that we could reuse them each year.  

1. Palm Sunday
Discussion of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a Donkey where he was met like royalty.  The people threw palm leaves on the ground in his path.  Everyone throws their palm leaf on the ground and eats their heart of palm.
2. Monday
Jesus curses the fig tree for not bringing forth good fruit. This is to remind us to do good works and repent or we too will wither and die.  Everyone eats the fig. (FIG NEWTON)
3. Monday
Jesus cleanses the temple by throwing out the money changers. (Mark 11:17)  Everyone throws a coin over their shoulder.
4. Tuesday
Jesus teaches a sermon on the Mount of Olives. He teaches the 1st and 2nd great commandments. (Mark 12:30-31)  Everyone eats their olives.
5. Tuesday
 A woman anoints Jesus with an expensive ointment or oil.  She is mocked by Jesus's disciples who believe she should have sold the oil to give money to the poor, but Jesus explains that she has done a good work by preparing his body for burial.  Everyone dips a piece of unleavened/pita bread in oil and eats it.
6. Thursday
Jesus eats the Passover in Jerusalem.  As part of the Passover Seder Jesus would have eaten Haroset with Bitter Herbs and Unleavened Bread.  The haroset was a representation of the brick and mortar that the Hebrews had to build for the Egyptians.  Everyone eats the Haroset with Bitter Herbs (Horseradish) spread on their Unleavened Bread (Matzoh Cracker). Bitter Herbs and Unleavened Bread were the two items the Lord asked the Hebrews to eat when the destroying angel was killing all the first born in Egypt.
7. Thursday
 Jesus blessed and broke the bread. He told His disciples to eat in remembrance of His body. Everyone eats a piece of pita bread.
8. Thursday
Jesus blesses the wine and gives it to His disciples to drink in remembrance of his blood which is shed for all.  Everyone drinks the grape juice.
9. Thursday 
After dinner Jesus washes the feet of His apostles.  He taught that he also cleansed them of their sins.  (John 13:14-15) Everyone takes turns washing one another's feet.
10. Thursday Late
  Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  (Luke 22:4)  He drank of the bitter cup as he suffered for the sins and pain of all mankind. Everyone drinks the bitter cup of cranberry juice.
11.  Friday Morning 
Jesus was betrayed by Judas and taken prisoner.  His disciple Peter betrays Him three times before the Cock Crows Friday morning, just as Jesus had prophesied.  When Peter heard the Cock Crow that morning he realized what he had done and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:75)  Everyone dips a piece of chicken in salt water and eats it.
12. Friday
Jesus is turned over to Pontius Pilate.  Pilate found him to be an innocent man but the Jews insisted He be crucified.  Pilate washes his hands before the multitudes saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person. (Matthew 27:24, 26)  Everyone washes their hands.
13.Friday Afternoon
 Jesus is beaten and given a crown of thorns.  They take Him to Golgotha and crucify him between two thieves.  Jesus cries to His Father in Heaven, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 13:24)  One of the guards gives Jesus a sponge dipped in Vinegar to quench His thirst.  After he drank the vinegar He bowed His head and allowed Himself to die. (John 19:30)  Everyone dips a piece of bread in vinegar and eats it.
14. Friday Evening 
When Jesus died the veil of the temple was rent in twain.  Everyone tears a piece of cloth in half from top to bottom.
15. Saturday
 Jesus was removed from the cross and His body was laid in a the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea.  Everyone keeps silent for one minute.
16. Sunday Morning
Mary Magdelene visits the tomb. She brought with her sweet spices that she might anoint His body. (Mark 16:1)  Angels told Mary that the Lord was Risen. (Luke 24: 5-6)  Everyone eats a piece of risen bread with sweet spices. We used a cinnamon roll.

It might require some preparation but this was such a special experience for our family. The kids were reverent and patient and I think that they not only felt the Spirit but learned more about their Savior.

Ford's Theatre

One of the items on Atley's to-do list for Spring Break was to go to Ford's Theatre, the site of the Lincoln assassination.  He recently finished Lincoln's Last Days and loved it.
Of course, unbeknown to us we picked the anniversary of Lincoln's Death and the day of the annual Emancipation Day Parade to visit the theater and museum. It was a nightmare. The lines were incredible plus it was freezing. The only thing that made Nash and Harley continue to cooperate was the promise of an enormous rootbeer float from Shake Shack when we finished.  Other than that I think they were most impressed with the learning center across from Ford's where they have a tower of books all written about Lincoln.  They also that it was pretty cool being in the actual bedroom where the president died.  They are totally morbid.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter Day!

 This is as good as it got with the Easter Pictures this year!  I guess it captures their personalities.  I read somewhere that pictures of the family getting ready for church was a must.  I valiantly attempted to take pictures of the boys straightening their ties and their dad combing their hair.  But, I was mostly unsuccessful.  First, they found out Harley was wearing a hat to church so all three of them immediately donned fedora's or misshapen Pharrell Cowboy Hats just to tease me.  Anyway, it was a lovely Easter and I feel a deeper gratitude to my Savior for his Atoning sacrifice for me and each member of my family. Because of him I can repent and be forgiven and I have the opportunity to live again after death. By the way, if anyone needs me tomorrow I will be in a sugar detox facility at an undisclosed location.  Curse you Reese's Eggs and Peanut Butter M&M's!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

We Thought We Were Going to Dye...

but I forgot to buy the necessary supplies so we decided to use crayons to decorate our Easter Eggs this year. It was actually really cool. We used hot eggs-right out of the boiling water and the crayon wax melted onto the eggs quite beautifully. Plus the kids got to be much more creative than just holding their egg in different colored water.  We got a Star Wars Jawa Egg and a Chick Hatching/Princess Leia Angry Bird Egg. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Civil War Trail

Atley has been studying Civil War History in school.  He considers himself an expert on the subject and after hearing him spout off all he knew while we explored Bull Run Battlefield I think he is right.  On the way there he explained to us that many Civil War Battles had two names for example the battle of Bull Run is also called the Battle of Manassas or the battle of Sharpsburg is also called the battle of Antietam. He explained that the south usually named the battle after the nearest town while the north named the battle after the closest body of water.  
Bull Run was one of the first real battles of the Civil War, taking place July 21, 1861.  People from both sides assumed this would be the only real skirmish of the war and actually packed picnics to observe from the surrounding hillsides.  The Confederates won the first battle of Bull Run and it was there that Thomas Jackson earned the nickname Stonewall when he was observed staying perfectly still and stoic as volley landed all around him.  The second battle of Bull Run took place a year later. It was even more bloody than the first, almost 30,000 soldiers lost their lives.

As you can observe the cannons were especially exciting to the kids.  We have had the chance to visit many Civil War battle sites and each one is special.  It may sound a little corny but there is a sacred feeling you get when you visit and read about the places and the battles that shaped the future of our country.
After we finished the boys wanted to eat Civil War food, hardtack to be specific.  Apparently, Chick-Fil-A would not suffice. I took them to Cracker Barrel. They were in awe and totally convinced that we had gone back in time and were eating just like they did in the 1860's.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


When it is finally warm enough for us to play outside it means it is also warm enough for the critters to come out and play too.  Usually those critters are alive, sometimes not so much.  Friday after the boys got home from school and changed into their swimming trunks I began picking up the clothes they had been wearing. It was at this point I began to smell something dead.  Boys are generally stinky but this was worse than usual. Before throwing their jeans in the wash I emptied their pockets and found the skull of squirrel in Atley's pocket.  Complete with one snaggled squirrel tooth. I put it in a plastic bag and it is sitting on my kitchen counter. They won't let me get rid of it.
The very next day Atley caught the first toad of the season. In true big brother style, he convinced his little sister that if she kissed it, the toad would turn into a handsome prince. It took some coaxing but eventually she did kiss the toad.  When the toad didn't change into a prince she expressed her relief. She was glad because she said he was much cuter as a toad.

Probably most exciting of all was when Harley captured a lady bug.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Fever

Friday was 80 degrees. It might as well have been 100, because the boys raced home from the bus stop and immediately stripped off their school clothes and put on their swimming suits with their little sister in tow. It felt like the last day of school, they were so excited.  They hooked up the hose and soaked themselves in water that is still very cold from the winter.  When the water got too cold to bear they retreated to our sand box which has not been opened for months. It was full of the remains of melted snow and old sand.  Of course none of that stopped them from taking a "mud bath."  The mud bath required us to shower them in the cold water once again before allowing them in the house.  I must admit hosing them down was pretty enjoyable.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Popcorn Popping on the Cherry Blossom Tree

Nash ditched school today so that he could go with Harley and I to see the Cherry Blossoms.  Atley had the same option but chose school so he wouldn't have to do make-up work over Spring Break.  How responsible of him! We really missed him though. Of course it was lovely and crowded and pollinated.  We rode the paddle boats on the Tidal Basin and got in trouble for climbing the trees but my favorite part of the day was when Nash kept photo bombing a local news reporter.  She finally lost her temper with him. After her exasperated outburst she looked to me for help but much to her chagrin she found me laughing hilariously. Needless to say, she and her cameraman found a different location. We were also stuck in traffic with former Utah Governor John Huntsman.  We kept trying to get his attention by blaring Talk Dirty to Me! on the radio and dancing in our car but he stalwartly kept his focus on the road with hands firmly grasping 10 & 2. Perhaps he being a Utah Alum didn't appreciate our BYU Alumni license plate.