Friday, September 30, 2011


I'm big on dinnertime. Or at least I try to be. I try new stuff all the time make a lot of different things. I feed my kids and if there is somebody else around I'll feed them too.

Ahh, domesticity, how I love thee! There is nothing that floats my boat more than having a bunch of kids at my house and being able to ask if anyone wants some homemade just-out-of-the-oven cookies or watching my children eat something that they are enjoying and I know is good for them. (With John this is not often. As in pretty close to never. He won't eat anything I make and it makes me crazy.)

I try to remember that people get hungry after a long day of work/school and we are not just feeding their bodies but their spirits and we are connecting as a family and kids who eat dinner with their families are 432% less likely to do drugs--or something like that. But really for me it just means, hey April, don't just make dinner, turn off the TV and give your kids your attention. So I had this saying that I really like made for the kitchen.

My kids like to tell me it is cannibalistic, but I actually went to a class titled "What your kids really want for dinner is You" at Women's Conference so I know I'm not the only one who gets it. It's like my personal kitchen mantra, which is good to have because I spend a lot of time in there.

Does this mean we never eat dinner in shifts parked in front of the TV? I keep working on it but unfortunately not. Gathering all the kids together from the four corners of the earth for dinner at six is not easy--even when they have been told repeatedly to BE HOME BY SIX. I have seriously considered making the younger kids wear watches with an alarm that goes off at 5:55 because you can bet that even if I've seen them for the past 3 hours when 6pm comes they are no where to be found. If only I could figure out how to set a watch . . .

I also recently decided I was weary of the constant "what's for dinner" coming from six different hungry people everyday. You would think that someone maybe possibly would overhear me telling someone else--but that never happens. And I don't always have to desire to explain what kind of chicken I'm making over and over. Just chicken okay?

So I bought a little magnetic white board to write down the dinner plan and posted it on the fridge. It has worked out great. The kids have really liked it and if I forget somebody will frequently write it in for me.

Then sometimes I start with something like "roast and baked potatoes"
and end up with this:

But seriously, I'm going to be so sad when they are past this age

Monday, September 19, 2011

September update

School started almost a month ago. I've had lots to blog about but haven't had the motivation to take action. So here's the update.

1st day of school.
Rebecca was set on wearing her cowgirl skirt, boots, and earrings, but I gently nixed that idea. Nathaniel is in tenth grade, Sarah is in eighth, Rebecca is in fifth, and John is in first.

The whole idea of my kids being in school all day always causes me worry but things have really gone a lot better than I had expected. Not that John is popping out of bed in the morning, let me tell you. Lily came to visit that week, which kids weren't happy about because they had to be at school all day. I took Sarah and Lily to see 'The Help' because I loved it so much the first time I wanted to go see it again with them. We were lazy and didn't get any pictures of Lily. She is frolicking about the beaches at BYU Hawaii now.

Sarah pretty well hates junior high, which makes me feel bad, but she is taking a photography class and seems to like it, so here are a couple of her pictures:

Our dear friends the Gambles married off their last daughter Brianna
in the Manti Temple . . .

where Nathaniel got to meet up with Cameron. I hope Cameron knows just how much he means to Nathaniel. He never would have driven to Manti to attend a wedding unless there was some prospective long-boarding with his old pal ahead of him. That's some dedication.

The Manti Temple was beautiful. It was my first time going inside and it brought sentimental feelings because my parents were married there over 38 years ago.

Sarah got to take home the bouquet because by the time Brianna got around to throwing it she was the only single gal around.

Here is Rebecca's reminder to herself I found on the fridge on fast Sunday.
I thought it was funny.

Peter's sister Megan came to visit and we all loved on Daniel.
Here they are dancing with the "Nightmare Before Christmas" soundtrack
in the background. So cute! We all started getting sick with bad colds while they were here.

The big news around our house has been that Nathaniel's friend Mason is on the mend. Just as things were settling down around their house Mason's dad had an accident on his ATV just turning it around in the backyard. He ended up being taken to the hospital with broken ribs and a punctured lung. It was a complete shock to everyone as their family has already been through about as much as one could handle this month. Due to complications he was 10 days in intensive care--longer than Mason! He finally came home yesterday.

In the meantime Nathaniel and Mason have been hanging out. Nathaniel pushes him around when Mason goes to school (every other day) and they have their own funny ways of getting in and out of the house or getting into the basement. Mason hung out here quite a bit while his mom was visiting his dad in the hospital. I think he got pretty sick of it.

One day I decided he'd had enough of sitting around in the house and it was time for him to go outside to get some fresh air and a change of scenery. So we got him situated outside in the backyard but the sun was in his eyes so I added the umbrella. Then I drug the folding table out and we played a game while he waited for Nathaniel to get home. He was my captive victim since I usually can't get anyone to play Sequence with me.

He comes over and plays his guitar and Nathaniel plays piano. The options are limited.I think Mason has had his fill of video games and TV for quite some time.

On Saturday we had different neighbor kids around (see Jarom Dunn sitting next to Mason) and Nathaniel had to get up to get something for Mason. When Nathaniel rolled his eyes Mason reminded him that he would love to be walking into the house himself right now instead of being dependent on someone else and Nathaniel teased Mason about being a complainer.
"That's all I ever hear. Waa waa. My legs are broken. Waa waa. I can't walk."
I'm still laughing about it.

Everyone in the ward has wonderful things to say about Nathaniel and how great he's been for Mason which is funny because to me he is often your typically self-absorbed, sarcastic, and rather lazy teenager.

I'm a fan of the comic Zits and this one was so true I had to put it on
my fridge the other day.

Peter just got back from another trip to Tehachapi. He worries enough for the both of us these days, so I just try not to do much of that myself. I just enjoy doing my thing over here. On Tuesday last week I had Nathaniel, Mason & their other friend Dillon over. Rebecca and John both had friends from school . Sarah was taking care of Mason's younger sister Maddie, who is three, and we had a couple of kids from the neighborhood to play with her. That is a total of eleven children of various ages at my house.

John's friend was a boy from his class named Harvey. First grade is his first public school experience and John is his first play date. I could see the mother's eyes widen as she dropped him off into the chaos that is my house, boy in a wheelchair and giant black poodle included, and I assured her that all would be well, and no, I wouldn't let him ride on the bike unsupervised.

What I'm really thinking to myself this must look crazy, which I know it does, but at the same time I'm thinking how blessed am I? Everyone is happy and healthy under one roof. How many people get to spend their lives doing what they want to do with the people they want to be doing it with? Though I do get weary of the constant feeding, feeding, feeding! When the kitchen is clean, which happens in brief moments in the day right before another meal begins, I just want to stand and look at it.
I do a lot of dishes, but at least the view from my window is this:

The pergola plants are thriving and we have really loved our new outdoor space.

I'm trying to take time to smell the flowers these days.
Did you know this is the first time I've had kids in school all day? Last year it was John home in the morning and then Rebecca home in the afternoon. I've gone from that to NOTHING. Silence. I feel guilty for every minute I spend doing something unproductive but it is glorious. With all the visitors and sickness the first few weeks of school I had a constant parade of people in the house either visiting or home sick.

Then Peter came down with the nasty cold we've had and was hanging around the house all day. I finally had to tell him to get better or find somewhere to be sick out of my personal space because he is a major disruption to my sacred time. Course I didn't really say that, I just tentatively suggested that maybe it would be a good day to get back down to the office. It could be just the thing he needed to start feeling better! He caught on real quick and accused me of trying to get rid of him.

I finally finished touch-ups on the paint in the kitchen. Note the leftovers of Brianna's bouquet in the green vase to the left and on the right is my raspberry rhubarb jam. It came out great.

I spent the last two Saturdays at the Provo Farmer's Market, which I haven't gone to at all this year up to now. I eat peaches until I get sores on my lip and with the abundance of pears right now here in Utah I just served up my last two pieces of our favorite pear pie to Nathaniel's friends yesterday. One of them asked me to pass along the recipe to his mom so I thought I'd post it on my blog too.

This recipe was given to me by my very good friend Melissa Dolan, who has known me since Nathaniel was just a newborn.

Melissa's French Pear Pie
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
(You are supposed to sift these ingredients but I never do.)
Cut in 3/4 c shortening 'til evenly crumbl. Mix in 1 egg with 1 tsp vinegar and add to flour mixture. Add 3-4 T water go get dough to form ball & right consistency.
Yield: 9" double crust pie shells or 9x13 pear pie base.
Press pie crust onto bottom and up sides of a 9x13 pan.
Put in 8 cups sliced & peeled pears
Mix together:
2/3 c sugar
1/4 tsp ginger
2 c sour cream
2 eggs
Pour mixture over pears.
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp cinamon
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c soft/melty butter
Cut together 'til crumbly and sprinkle on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 min.
Then prepare yourself for bliss.
Oh, and you might want some vanilla ice cream with that:)