Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cafe Rio crock pot chicken

Thanks for all the crock pot recipes you shared through comments and emails. I have so many more to choose from and I can't wait to try them all out!

This past Friday Scott, me and Krissy did some early morning day-after-Thanksgiving day shopping while Becca and Grant watched the kids(Thanks guys!!). We were pretty successful. I had been wanting to get a larger crock pot since ours is a 2 quart one, and I saw an ad for a 5 quart digital crock pot at a couple different places for around $10. We were able to pick one of those up and a toaster oven (Charles melted some crayons down our toaster some time ago, so we've been using another hand-me-down one that will usually toast at least one side of the bread) each one was $10! I love finding good deals! And we got a few other things. Today (Sunday) we had our annual Grazzini Christmas party, and we had it at our house this year. My aunt brought the salad and my cousins brought some amazing desserts (don't forget to email me those recipes ladies!) and we were in charge of the main dish. I wanted to do a crock pot meal since we get out of church at 4pm and the family was coming over at 415, so that's where you all came in handy. I ended up making the Cafe Rio crock pot chicken. We also served it with the Cafe Rio rice, black beans(canned; I loved canned black beans!) and the Cafe Rio green salad dressing that Scott and I made the night before. I hadn't made any of these recipes before, and normally I would never experiment like this on guests, but I'm glad I did because they all turned out great. They were great recipes. Thanks all, for sharing!

Oh, and by the way, I'll have to post pictures of different events later because, for the time being, Scott has to leave his lap top at work since they're working on some confidential business, and for some strange reason, our computer will not read and load the pictures from my camera. It's done this ever since we got it last year and we've tried all different things. Anyway, I'm not sure exactly when he can bring it home again, but it may not be until all the deadlines are due which is December 10th.

Oh, and by the way again, we had Scott all to ourselves for 4 days in a row(well, probably more like three since he went to the BYU game Saturday) which was a little piece of heaven on earth for our family! We LOVE having Daddy with us!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Please share crock pot recipes

Hello everyone, I need your help. I love making crock pot meals, but I only have probably two recipes that we really like(okay, and I haven't really ventured out beyond trying maybe one other), and so that can get boring. I was hoping that you all could share with me one or two(or three or four) of your favorite crock pot recipes so that I could have more to try out and choose from. We're not too picky, though we don't really eat fish. Besides that, I'm up for anything, casserole dishes, meat dishes etc. Please share! Thank you! And if you could share within the next couple of days that would be ideal because I want to do a crock pot dish for Sunday. Thanks again!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just kidding

So, well, it looks like Scott's crazy hours are not over yet. Yesterday he worked for about 16 hours, and got home around 1130pm. And tonight...we're not sure what time he'll be home but it's now 830pm and all the kids are in bed and it's not looking like he'll be home for a few more hours. We love you and miss you Scott!

Many thanks to my dear friend Elisa L. who watched my kids so that I could do our Thanksgiving day shopping without them today, and who then invited us over for dinner! We had french onion soup, which was my first time ever having this, and it was divine! So good! Well, but anything Elisa makes is SO good. So anyway, now here I am, bored, writing blogs, not really wanting to read anymore today or watch any movies(I've sure done a lot of that this week. By the way, don't watch Mama Mia, the whole plot and moral of the story is just no good. Sorry to those of you who do like it. But Up is cute. I cried within the first 5 minutes of that movie; it had a very touching scene in the beginning where we see the life he has with his wife and it touches on the key points and it's just so sweet). I can't wait to see Becca and Krissy tomorrow! Yay!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thoughts on New Moon and the Twilight saga

My friend Maren and I went and saw New Moon this past Friday evening. I thought the movie was much better made than the last. There was a lot more dialogue, they followed the book more closely, the music was better and really, just everything about it was well done. And I actually liked this movie better than the book New Moon, probably because instead of reading hundreds of pages about a depressed 18-year-old broken hearted girl, you only have about a half hour of it. So that was nice.

There were mostly women(and girls) in our theater, though we did get to sit next to a middle aged male who kept yelling 'shut-up' to the women who would cheer and squeal when certain actors appeared on screen. It was kind of funny, and annoying. I just don't like it when people are squealing so much that you can't hear what's being said. Anyhow, apparently Eclipse is done being filmed and they're not sure if they're going to make Breaking Dawn into a movie yet...which I can understand. I mean, Bella and Edward did get married in that book and all the readers got to experience a bit of their honeymoon(nothing terribly explicit, but uh, I could definitely see where Hollywood could make this really, really bad).

Maren and I talked afterword about different things we've been picking up from these books(and movies) that seem a little shady:
1. Bella wants to be intimate with Edward and not get married
2. Edward spends the night in Bella's room, every night...even though they're not doing anything
3. Bella is obsessed and completely dependent on Edward and when he left her she went into a 3 month or longer depression and never fully recovered until she got together with him again.
Hum, and I'm sure there's more, but those were a few we talked about.

Anyway, sorry about the randomness of my thoughts here, but that's how my brain works sometimes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Phew!

Boy am I glad these past eleven days are behind us! Scott has had to work really long hours every day of the week for the past eleven days(10 and 11 hour days Mondays-Saturdays and 5 hours Sundays), and that's hard on all of us.

It's hard for Scott to have to be away from the family that long and to have to sit in a chair all day; that can be bad for the body. And he hasn't been getting enough sleep because he's been going in so early every morning. And it's been hard for us not to have Daddy here while the kids are awake for eleven days in a row. I didn't realize how much of a help it was to have him home. In the morning he helps with breakfast, and then again in the evening he helps with dinner and clean up and helps get the kids ready for bed and plays with them; he usually still has energy at that time of day, whereas mine is mostly gone. Having Scott home is huge. I missed being able to talk with him over dinner and laugh with him about the crazy things that happened during the day. And then of course, not having him here all day two Saturdays in a row and half of two Sundays. Yuck! But we made it through, and now it's time for the next group of people at Scott's work to take over the project and so he won't have to work as much, just his normal hours and perhaps a little extra time if they have questions about what he did. Well, that's what we're hoping at least. And hallelujah, Thanksgiving is just around the corner which means a couple of extra no-work days for Scott, and our sisters, Becca and Krissy will be here so it'll be so nice! Oh and, we decided about a month ago to fly to Seattle for Christmas, so this extra work has actually been a blessing because it'll pay for our trip and more. And another blessing from this work trial was that I was able to strengthen my relationship with our Savior. Looking back, I see that I was more sincere with my personal prayers and scripture study(I spent more time than usual on my knees and with my nose in my scriptures and in the Ensign) which was the thing that saved me. I knew He was right there with me, helping me along, and making the load seem a bit lighter at times. I am so grateful that we have a loving and caring and kind Heavenly Father who knows and loves each one of us.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Making sugar cookies


The kids and I made Thanksgiving sugar cookies this week(we ate and shared half of them and the other half we froze for next week) . Elisabeth and Charles both like to be very involved in the mixing and baking process. Well, at least they start out that way. But Charles, after a short time, gets distracted. Here he has magically turned his rolling pin, into a baseball bat. Elisabeth actually did stay focused and on task the entire time, and she was a big help to me. I did most of the rolling out and then she'd help with the cookie cutters and while I placed everything on the cookie sheet, she'd get all the dough scraps together and ready for me to roll out again. It's nice when my little helpers can actually help. But, I suppose there is an experimenting and learning time that they all must go through so that they can one day be capable and helpful. Annabelle and Charlie are both still in that experimental/learning stage. It's fun to watch them learn and see their eyes light up with excitement when they see the finished product and something they helped create.

Friday, November 20, 2009

FHE lesson

A friend of mine made a post on her blog about an FHE lesson they did about a turkey with a terrible temper. It looked really cute and I wanted to do it for our FHE lesson this week since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so I googled it. And I found a really cool FHE exchange website. Click here to check it out for yourself. I found the story and printed it out and thought others might be interested in it as well. I think I'm going to trace each of the kids feet onto brown construction paper(they did this in Elisabeth's kindergarten class), and then cut out feathers in each of the colors from the story and have them glue it on rather than use the clipart from the story, because our black and white printer printed the whole thing out gray. And now, here is the story of "The Turkey with a Terrible Temper".

Preparation:
Copy the turkey
make feathers the colors as indicated in the story

Song:
"I am Like A Star"

Lesson:
Read the story below.
Once there was a little brown turkey who had a terrible temper. He often flew into rages and ranted around until he was a nuisance in the farm yard. One day he lost his temper about some little thing and got so angry he flew into a rage and went RED as a beet. The other turkeys laughed at him and said:
You're RED, RED
RED as a beet:
Red from your head
To the tip of your feet.

Tom Turkey didn't like anyone or anything so he ran away and hid. He sat and sulked for a long time. When he calmed down and came out of his hiding place he was really RED all over. His head was RED and his neck was RED- he was RED from his head to his feet.

He hurried to the edge of the farm to visit Dr. Owl who was wise and knew all the answers to everything. "You have to learn to control that temper of yours!" hooted Dr. Owl. "if you don't remember in time you will end up being a very sorry turkey."

The next day Tom Turkey was brown again except that he had a red feather in his tail. He was very glad to be brown again, but he still thought it was everybody else's fault that he gotten so angry the day before.

Tom's mother called to him to help with the Monday wash. But Tom got the BLUES as soon as he started working. he moaned and groaned until his mother said he was acting like a baby. You can guess what happened next- he lost his temper again. This time he went BLUE all over! As he was running, the other turkeys yelled:
You're BLUE, BLUE
From your head to your toe,
BLUE all over
wherever you go.

This time Tom Turkey sat and sulked and blamed his mother for losing his temper . By morning he was BROWN again but now he had a blue feather next to the red one in his tail.

You can guess what happened the rest of the week. On Tuesday Tom didn't want to clean up the yard. He said he hated cleaning up with a PURPLE passion. Just as soon as he said that, he was in a rage he turned PURPLE all over. the turkeys shouted:
You're PURPLE, PURPLE
That's all we can see,
You'd better go hide
Under your favorite tree.

Of course Tom Turkey sat and sulked and blamed everything onto everyone else.

On Wednesday morning he was BROWN again but he had a purple tail feather added to his RED and BLUE one. He was beginning to feel ashamed that he couldn't control himself like he wanted to.

He went out for a walk when he saw a big ear of corn that his turkey friend was eating. Tom was GREEN with envy. He thought the farmer had no right to give someone else the cob of corn. And before he knew it, he had turned GREEN all over, and was in another terrible temper tantrum. The turkeys all turned to him and yelled:
You're GREEN, GREEN
GREEN as the grass
Why don't you get wise
And stop all the sass

And of course again, Tom Turkey went to his hiding place to sulk and feel sorry for himself.

On Thursday morning he was BROWN again but now he had a green feather amongst the other brightly colored tail feathers. But something was happening to Tom Turkey. He was really beginning to change. He wanted to keep his temper. He didn't feel like being ashamed of himself. He was determined to try hard and do just that.

Of course all the turkeys like to tease Tom and while they were playing a game of Gobble and Waddle someone called Tom a coward. Before Tom stared to think he had flown into another tantrum. this time his face turned YELLOW and his neck was YELLOW and the turkeys were saying he had a YELLOW streak down his back. They yelled:
You're YELLOW turkey
Just like we said
Why don't you go home
and hide under the bed?

Tom Turkey had turned YELLOW all over because he had forgotten to control his temper. But this time he sat under the tree and thought a long time about everything. He had only himself to blame for his mistakes. He was beginning to realize that he was the only one who could make things better.

When he awoke in the morning he was brown again with a new yellow feather in his tail. He didn't say a word to anyone, he just went about his business and said to himself, "I can do it, if I try hard enough!"

Mother Turkey asked Tom to keep an on the little turkeys while she went to the store on Friday. While she was gone all the baby turkeys ran through the house with muddy feet. When Tom saw what they had done, Tom almost lost his temper. But this time he just held his breath as long as he could. He turned as pale as a ghost, but didn't lose his temper. The turkeys yelled:
You're WHITE, WHITE
But your temper didn't show
Maybe you're changing
We really hope so.

all Saturday and Sunday he kept calm and was tickled pink to think he had gone two days without a terrible temper tantrum. He was still a little brown turkey, and a very happy one too.

He reported back to Dr. Owl on Monday and Tom Turkey thanked him for his help. Dr. Owl told Tom he earned the wright to wear the brightly colored tail and that he should show it off proudly from now on.

So when you go to the farm and see the turkey with his fan shaped tail all unfolded, remember this story about the turkey with the terrible temper.

Treat:
Turkey shaped sugar cookies

All bundled up

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My least favorite chore

I'm pretty sure my least favorite chore is laundry. Maybe because we have so much of it all the time. Or maybe because there are several steps involved: taking the laundry down to the 'dungeon'(that's our only unfinished room in the basement with cement floor and walls, and terrible lighting), washing the laundry, drying the laundry, folding the laundry and then putting the laundry away. And it's never ending, there is always laundry to do with all five of us dirtying things throughout the day. Here are a few pictures from this week. First there is the dirty clothes hamper in our room, next is the dirty clothes hamper/color separator in the dungeon, and third are the clean clothes from a few days before that I forgot to take out of the dungeon and fold, though please know that I did take out and fold and put away two other loads that day(okay, well maybe I didn't put them away that day, but within a few days...). Usually I'll do laundry one day a week, sometimes two, but I'll get all 5-6 loads done on that day, and then throughout the week we try and put them all away. Ugh. I can't wait until the kids are old enough to do their own laundry. They can sort of fold now and help put away, but when they do, it usually looks like nothings really been done. Accept the hand towels and wash cloths; they're okay at those. Hopefully just a few more years.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BYU football cake


My friend Lindsay and I, do a swapping of services: photography for birthday cakes. I love it! She's so good at what she does. We're grateful to have her. Last week was her sons birthday. They thought he'd like to have a football cake and I found out his favorite team is BYU. So this is what we came up with(and Lindsay found the little football player figurine to add on top which was perfect!).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Playing in the leaves




...and in the garbage.
Now everybody wants a turn. Here we come!

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Sisters, sisters...."



When I took these pictures off my camera, this song popped into my head from White Christmas:

And the impromptu from the men:


"Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters; never had to chaperone no sir, i'm there to keep my eye on her. Caring, sharing, every little thing that we are wearing;"

The girls do share clothes(well, hand-me-downs), and they love being together and playing together, even though they are almost 4 years apart. And we're excited to have another girl who is only 2 years apart from Annabelle. Me and my younger sister are 2 years apart and even though there were times we got in arguments over clothes and other things when we were young, now as adults, we're very close. Family is a wonderful thing!

Working hard

Scott's usual work schedule is from 8-5, Monday through Friday. So he'll leave about 745am and get home around 515pm. Every once in awhile(maybe once a year), they'll have a big project deadline and need to work longer hours for a period of time. That started yesterday and will go through around Thanksgiving(let's hope not longer but he may need to do a little extra time up until Dec. 10). Last night he got home from work at 945pm. This morning he took off an hour early(645), hoping he can leave a little earlier tonight so that he can see the kids before they go to bed. He'll also have to work all day Saturday and maybe Sunday. But we're hoping if he gets lots of hours in during the other 6 days of the week, that he won't have to go in Sunday, or at least not for the entire day. But we'll see. So these will be a long couple of weeks for our family. But so far, so good. Yesterday went surprisingly well for me and the kids and I'm sure it's because Elisabeth and Charles had a lot of really good, friendly play time. They didn't argue and fight as much as normal so that was a little blessing from the Lord for me. And Monday she's back on track which means she'll be in school again and she's really looking forward to that. I'm a little nervous about her going back since there have been swine flu cases around here and she's not vaccinated. Maybe I'll try and sneak a little hand sanitizer in her pocket and tell her to pull it out whenever someone touches her hands and rub some on real quick. I think she'd be willing enough to do it if it meant there was less of a chance of her getting sick.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yummy snacks

Pinto beans! Annabelle loves to eat cooked pinto beans(and canned black beans). So whenever I cook pinto beans to make refried beans, I always set some aside for Annabelle to eat. I suppose it's the mexican in her coming out. We seem to make and eat refried beans quite a bit in our house.

I haven't made granola in probably over a year, but just last week I was thinking about it while we were packing up our snacks to take to the park. I remembered that my friend Elisa L. often brought a gallon sized ziploc bag of yummy granola to share, and then I couldn't get my mind off of it. So we made granola this week and I LOVE having it around!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Outnumbered

Me 19 weeks pregnant with baby #4

Yesterday was my 19th week mark and we were able to have our ultrasound. The baby looks healthy and normal in every way possible! What a blessing! And we found out that the boys are going to be even more outnumbered! We're having another girl and we're all SUPER excited to meet her! And I'm sure she's been waiting for awhile to come down to us and is just as excited as we are!

Sorry I'm not posting any of our ultrasound pictures but they didn't turn out well and they didn't give me the gender shot on the cd they provided which is the coolest one, in my opinion. We had our ultrasound at a hospital that has only been in operation for a week now and they have new machines and new staff and they're still trying to figure everything out. But the ultrasound went really well and Scott and I were able to see our cute little girl moving her arms and legs and head and she was all curled up and we're just so excited to have another human being with us in our home!

And some more good news is that this new hospital is only a six minute drive from my house. I timed it yesterday with traffic lights and going the speed limit and all. Though when I mentioned this to Scott yesterday, who was following me in his car so he could go straight to work, he said, 'You were not going the speed limit.' Okay, so I went five over for not even a quarter of a mile but then I caught myself and slowed down. And most people don't even think of going five over as speeding. I love you Scott and you're a wonderful example! But anyway, it's only about two miles which is a relief because our last baby came so fast that I want to be sure I'll make it to the hospital in time to have a doctor catch her rather than a neighbor(but I do have some really excellent neighbors, three of which are nurses so it may not be too bad if it does come down to that. But still, in my house with all the yuck that comes out with baby? Let's hope not.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Email from mom's principal

Mom forwarded me an email(good job Mom on figuring out how to forward an email. I know I talked you through the steps but we were both still a little uncertain if it'd work and I was relieved when I saw it in my inbox) sent out from the principal at her school to the other teachers. Mom is a reading recovery teacher at an elementary school in WA. Anyway, I liked what he said and how he put things so I want it in our family journal. Here it is:

Subject: Rojean
Importance: High

Hello everyone,

I wanted to get some news to all of you. Rojean is beginning a battle against pancreatic cancer. But here’s the deal: she has one of the best surgeons in the country and he has one of the highest success rates. He’s very hopeful. Much more importantly, Rojean is, as she says, “choosing happiness.” She is taking this on with a smile and a positive attitude and she wishes for all of us to think these same hope-filled thoughts when we talk with her.

She is scheduled to have surgery in December and will have a variety of tests before then as her “super thorough” doctor sets her up for a successful procedure. Following the surgery, she may have chemo or radiation or may be a part of a new experimental procedure at Johns Hopkins University. Time will tell what path is taken toward Rojean’s health following the surgery but I think things will be fine. They have to be, actually- we NEED Rojean working with our kids!

During Rojean’s absence (which will likely include winter break), she will track down a good sub to make a difference in the reading of some of your students. We may have to take a short break from Garnica Miracles in Reading, but it’ll be okay.

I’d like to end by saying that despite receiving this challenging news today, Rojean still had her Parent Literacy Workshop tonight and gave amazing advice and instruction to a group of all-ELL parents. Even today, Rojean was working to help our struggling readers.

Thank you Rojean- you’re an inspiration. I will choose to join you in your happiness. We are all with you during this challenge.

Doug

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pray for mom

In the end of September, my mom went in to see a doctor because she was jaundiced. They did an MRI and an ultrasound, and found a mass at the top of the pancreas. They went back in and did an ERCP to try and get a better idea of what was going on. They cleaned out the pancreas and got some cell samples, but not from the mass, and put a temporary stint in so that things could drain again. After that 'outpatient surgery' she was hospitalized for five days for pancreatitis caused from the ERCP. She got the results back from the cell samples and they came back negative, so that was good. About two weeks later they went back in and got a sample of the mass through an endoscopic ultrasound.

Last week, mom called with the news. She has pancreatic cancer and the mass is a tumor that they will remove on December 2nd(hopefully, as long as everything still looks okay and the fluid around the pancreas has dissipated from the last operation), along with the gall bladder and the duodenum curve(maybe more of it) and the duct from the liver to the pancreas, which they're going to resection to the lower bowel. My grandfather, her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer around October of 1994 and died ten months later in August of 1995. She has the same gene, but the cancer hasn't spread as much, which is a really good thing, and more research has been done since then and the doctors are more skilled.

Here are a few more pieces of good news(and these all came from Mom): 1.) Apparently they can do tests now for family members with a history of pancreatic cancer(like me) to find the gene early on and watch it so that if it does turn into cancer(like it did for mom), you can get help earlier on when things aren't so advanced. 2.)Apparently John's Hopkins is in the experimental phase of a pancreatic cancer vaccine that, so far, is showing pretty good results. Maybe that will be of some use to someone in our family and others someday. And 3.) Her surgeon is the best in the country for this particular procedure. He has perfected the Whipple procedure(the one they will be doing on Dec. 2) and has minimized the amount of things that have to be taken out and he has minimized the length of time that a patient has to stay down in the hospital. There's actually a great article about him(Dr. Traverso) and the Virginia Mason hospital(where she will be getting the surgery) that you can read here. It's comforting to know she'll be in such good hands. And most important, we know that the Lord's hand is in this, and we love Him and trust His wise judgment. He knows all and will do what is best. Please, keep her, and our family in your prayers. I know they will be a comfort and a blessing to us.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chicken sale

We eat a lot of chicken in our house, mostly because I'm not a huge fan of red meats or any other meat, so this is pretty much the only meat we get besides turkey for Thanksgiving. Anyway, there are some Albertson's in the area that are being bought by another local company, so they have a couple of really good sales going on. One of which is chicken! You can get chicken in the butcher area, for $1.29/lb, and because it's back with the butcher, they'll cut it up and package it for you however you like. I went and got 20lbs. of breasts on Thursday, double wrapped which I then froze, and then I went back today and got 10 more pounds cubed. So for those of you who like chicken, you may want to check this out before their sale ends Tuesday. Our store had quite a bit and I was the only one back there, both times I went, so it went pretty fast.

Also, while you're there, if you turn in your Albertson's Preferred card, they'll give you a 5lb. bag of sugar for free. So there you go. Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!





The kids dressed up this year as Snow White (Elisabeth), a fireman(Char) and a pumpkin (Annabelle). They all looked great! Elisabeth has five different princess dresses that she uses for dress-up, so I didn't have to do anything for her costume. Last week for her kindergarten Halloween party she dressed up as Sleeping Beauty.

Charlie was given a firefighter jacket from Granny last year, and I had saved one of those plastic red ones the fire department give children and I just covered their white logo on the front with black construction paper. He has some blue and black snow boots so all we needed were some pants. I found a pair of blue sweats in his drawer and just added some gray duct tape down the side as a reflector stripe that matched the gray stripes on his jacket.
Annabelle was given a cute little pumpkin shirt from Grandma with a green stuffed hat. I couldn't get the stuffed hat to stay on for more than a few seconds, so I ended up cutting it open and pulling out the stuffing so that it could lay flat on her head, and it worked great.

Halloween day we painted and carved pumpkins and had a Halloween dinner. We ate the same thing as last year: chili in orange pumpkin soup/bread bowls, and macaroni. Elisabeth and Charles only ate the macaroni so Scott, Annabelle and I got to have a lot of chili, and we have tons left. We'll probably be eating it for several days. I need to remember next year to half the recipe.

We had our fire pit out front this year while the kids trick-or-treated. Scott sat at the fire first and handed out candy while I took the kids around our block. Charlie was ready to be done when we finished our block so he and I went back and sat at the fire while Scott took Annabelle and Elisabeth out again. I was surprised at how much Annabelle liked trick-or-treating and she wanted to walk most of the time and go up to all the doors. Once Scott and the girls got back, Charlie wanted to go out one more time, so Scott took him out again while I put Annabelle to bed and Elisabeth answered the door and handed out candy. Happy Halloween!