Monday, May 31, 2010

A Swingin' Success

This is what we (ahem, mainly Ben) spent our time doing today. . . building a swing in our backyard:

Jonas got the maiden voyage ride. He was pretty pleased with that.

Miles flying high and loving it.

There you get the whole shot of the swing. We have about 10 trees on our property - but this is the only one that isn't on the perimeter. And, as you can see, there are no good horizontal branches and so we had to employ a beam. Ben has even taken a turn swinging - but I can't bear to watch.

Emmy likes it, too, of course.

And some videos of their first time on it:

Pioneer Bread

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon this blog, but I'm glad I did. Amy, the blog's author, posted a recipe for "oatmeal whole wheat quick bread."

Ben made some last nite and we LOVED it and ate the whole thing - except for our doughy parts (I'll get to that later). Ben and I renamed it "Pioneer Bread" because of it's simplicity and wholesomeness. It doesn't use yeast - just baking powder as the leavening agent. So it is super quick to make and bake.

I asked Amy if I could post her recipe here and she very kindly let me. But go check out her blog, too, because she has a lot of neat recipes and ideas there - no refined sugar products. Wholesome goodness is what her blog looks like to me.

Anyways, the recipe:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
11/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Grind oatmeal in a food processor or blender. In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, dissolve honey in oil, then stir in the milk. (I mixed the milk, coconut oil and honey in a one cup glass measure and microwaved it until the coconut oil melted (the cold milk made it into a solid state, so I needed to liquify it). Combine both mixtures and stir until a soft dough is formed. Form the dough into a ball (I had to add a bit more flour) and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
3. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

E-notes: Ben made this and for some reason he added 2 T. honey ('tho I'm sure 1 1/2 T. would be just as great!). We don't have coconut oil and so I am not sure if Ben added olive oil (don't think so) or vegetable oil (think so). Our blender broke weeks ago (but we just bought a new one today!) and so we couldn't blend up the oats. So we used quick oats as they are slightly more blended-up like. Amy mentioned adding some more flour and Ben did as well. But apparently Ben's ball of dough was a little too high and round - ours didn't quite look like Amy's more oblong-round shape. Ours was more round-round shape. And due to that we think it didn't cook as well in the center and so it was a little doughy. But still oh so delicious - just simple goodness!

Thanks, again, Amy for letting me share this recipe. We are trying to come up with another reason to make some more today - but we don't think our pizza-dinner needs this with it tonite dangit.

P.S. I posted this on our Foodees blog. It's YUM. YUM. YUM.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another person's trash. . .

was my treasure today.

As I was coming back from my run, I decided to take the "alley road" behind our home. This road is where our "communal" garbage cans are kept and picked up - we all have our own trash cans that we have to take to the communal ones, and those get picked up by the garbage trucks.

Anyways, I saw some really great lanterns - not inside the trash, but right next to it. They were dirty, but I knew they'd clean up easily. So I grabbed 10 of them, plus a child's watering can, and headed home. I rinsed them and scrubbed them this afternoon and then Ben drilled holes and we hung them up. The pictures are hard to take since it's dark and so they are not that great. But the lanterns are really cool.

Yeah for trash!
The lanterns in light - well, in flash.

Not the greatest, but you get the idea?

Here are 2 of them without their "cover." See the cool stars and moons? Their covers broke and so I thought they would make great center-pieces.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I just posted a whole slew of posts of our trip to Nauvoo. My nephew Elliot wedded his beautiful bride Ashly at the Nauvoo Temple and so we were able to go out there and enjoy the wedding and everything else that Nauvoo had to offer. Some of the favorite things (of Ben and mine) that we didn't get pictures of, but loved doing, were just visiting with Laura and Jay and also our morning runs there - and evening walks. It is beautiful country there. (But I could SO do without the humidity).

Oh, and one other thing that I failed to capture on film and thus need to document here: fireflies! One evening Ben and I went on a walk. The kids were up in their rooms for bedtime, but not sleeping yet. On our walk Ben and I noticed the fireflies (no, we don't have them out west!) and so we came home and got our children out of bed and showed them the fireflies. They were so excited. So excited! Jonas even caught about 1/2 a dozen of them - he was amazing! We put them in a jar, covered them with a paper-towel punched with holes. They survived for almost 24 hours. Pretty amazing. But that was so great.

I didn't get as many pictures as I should have of the family or the wedding (why we came!). But I got a whole bunch of others.

So enjoy - if you want to. :)


A post on driving? Yes, indeed. Driving was a big part of our trip - 40 hours to be exact. 20 there and 20 back. We broke it up into 4 days: 11 hours and 9 hours on the way there. 15 hours and 5 hours on the way back (we drove 15 hours to make it to Denver at 1am - thus letting us spend the entire next day at Denver, with no driving).

The drive there was spent in rain - pouring rain. For at least 15 of the 20 hours. It was insane. The drive back? Maybe 1 hour of rain. But perhaps 10 hours in constant blustering winds. Crazy mid-west! But the kids did so great, considering. It's fun for them even, because they get to watch movies that they hardly ever get to watch, eat fun snacks that I ordinarily don't buy them, listen to great Roald Dahl book on tapes (we listened to James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, among a few others), listen to Little House on the Prairie, plus other fun music CDs. The only real problem? Whiny Joe. He just could not fall asleep at night-time and would wake up every 15-20 minutes whining about his bum hurting. It was painful for us all. But all in all, the kids did amazing.

Greatly enjoying a movie!

The cool windmill. The scenery was pretty neat. At times.

The beautiful rainbow!

Looking at freshly-picked library books.

Eating their dinner - lunchables. So lucky!


Fun snacks.

The first nite driving out we stayed at a hotel - for like 5 hours of sleep. :) Here the kids are waiting for the car to come around since it was pouring rain. Love the picture. :)

Historic Nauvoo

Nauvoo is a beautiful place. And the "historic" part of it is so nice and quaint and adorable. We didn't do all of the sites there, but enough for the kids (and myself). Ben could have done it all, twice. We really did have a great time touring the area; it's such a neat, neat area.

We took a wagon-ride that showed us all around historic Nauvoo. The next day we took a carriage ride through the country-side and that was really neat, too.

Riding on the wagon.

One of the kids' favorite places in historic Nauvoo was the "Pioneer Pastimes" area. Here there were games, toys, etc. that the pioneer children would have enjoyed and played with. My kids loved it all!


Oh I love this picture. This was some acrobatic monkey thing. It was pretty awesome. You squeezed the bottom sticks together and the monkey flips and such.

Oh this was another favorite - the climbing bear. All my kids just loved, loved doing this. You hold the ropes tight and the bear climbs all the way to the top. So great.

Pioneer boy Miles. So cute.

Pioneer girl Emmy. So cute.

Emmy learned that being a pioneer and pushing a wheelbarrow was hard work, too. Not just all play. :) Whoa girl.

Miles, the school boy.

Miles feeding sheep.

This was another "exhibit." The kids got to make rope here. We also learned about baking bread in the wall oven, candle making, etc. We did go to other sites, too - like the tin-shop, the gunsmith home, the bakery, the blacksmith, etc.

Good times in good ol' Nauvoo.


Although Carthage is a sad place, it was such a neat site to visit. On Sunday we went and toured the site and I really enjoyed it. It was crazy to think that this was where the Prophet Joseph Smith - and his brother Hyrum - were killed.

Another Joseph and Hyrum statue. The jail it directly behind the statue.

Miles was so interested in knowing all the details of how and where exactly Joseph was killed and died. This is Miles looking out the window that Joseph fell out of when he was shot.

Standing in front of the Carthage Jail - and the spot where Joseph fell to his death.

Family and Random Pictures

Of course one of the best parts of our trip was just being with family. And, of course, I didn't get enough pictures of everyone. But we had such a great time with Laura and Jay and their wonderful family. They are fantastic people. And, as always, it was good to have Grandma Diana and Grandpa Max around, too. Our kids fell in love with their cousins. Here are just a very few pictures of family, as well as some random pictures thrown in:

Miles had to bring "pTeri" (as in pterodactyl) everywhere we went. So Miles.

Emmy with cousin Emily, also known as "Our favorite girl" (as called by all my kids).

Jonas hiding in the flower bushes at the temple.

The boy cousins all shucking corn together.

Curtis, another wonderful cousin. I'm sure you can see why they love him too.

Jonas hanging out, literally, at the temple steps.

Oh this park. This was heaven for our kids and probably would have made the 20-hour drive worth it to them for this alone (does that even make sense?). They have never been on a teeter-totter before and had The. Best. Time. Ever. It was awesome. And check out cute Emmy running to the swings. Oh the fun.


We were oh so lucky to have one of my best-friends from college, Megan, make a 6-hour round-trip drive to spend a few hours with us. She and her husband and her adorable kids came and we walked the little path of "Trail of Hope" in Historic Nauvoo (the trail was what the early Saints walked down as they left their beautiful town of Nauvoo and crossed the Mississippi river on their way out west). It was a great time (but I should have gotten more pictures of our friends!).

Cuties - Emmy and Jack.

We made it to the river, where lots of throwing of rocks and sticks were enjoyed by all the kiddos.

What a neat spot.

They did a little "fishing" too. Too bad cute Ellie's face was covered.

Not the best of picture but I had to show my friends - Megan and her husband Greg. Oh yeah, and check out that ever-expanding belly of mine.

Covered wagon - similar to what the pioneers would have crossed the Mississippi river with.

The Nauvoo Temple

The temple at Nauvoo is probably one of the most beautiful temples we've seen and been in. It is absolutely amazing. It has this spiral staircase that is about 6-7 stories high and is just so neat to look down upon and up at. The rooms are all beautiful. When you do an endowment session you go into four different rooms - all beautiful. Beautiful, get it?

I'm pretty lame and don't have any pictures of the bride and groom. Jim, Ben's dad, took great pictures and maybe someday I'll get them. But we did get quite a few shots of the kiddos on the temple grounds:

Miles looking wonderfully handsome.

Oh how sweet.

The 2 brothers standing in front of "The Last Ride" statues of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum - as they ride away from Nauvoo to Carthage, where they would shortly be killed.

Oh I love them. Especially when they look so adorable.

Awesome - as in awe-inspiring. Not as in totally rad. (Whoops, looks like we cut out Angel Moroni.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Wilson

Wilson's birthday was yesterday. We (as in humans) celebrated it more than Wilson got to - with a cake. Wilson will get a bone - but not until we head out of town and he can have the bone all to himself and not have to fight Scout over it. :) The kids did wish him "happy birthday" lots and so I am sure that meant a lot to Wilson. Ha.

But here's our birthday-song tribute to Wilson:

We really do love the dog - even if he is fat and oh-so crotchety.

Miles' Last Day of Kindergarten

Wow, Miles is done with kindergarten. Done. Crazy. It's only May 18th. Well, technically, the last day of school is the 20th, but since we are skipping out of town tomorrow it's Miles' last day today. Wow. He's a great, great school kid (I just wish he would be that way at home, too) and he had a great, great year.

Even though he has to miss out on "field day" (the official last day of school), he has gotten to do a lot of fun things these past few weeks - root beer float parties, movies, experiment-guy coming to his classroom, petting zoo at school, etc. Even today his class gets to walk down to the local children's museum - so he got to have a special last day, too.

Time flies when you're having fun. Here are some pictures of our walk to school today:

The "almost first-grader" (as Mr. James now calls his students) and his siblings. Wow, look at those smiles.

Crossing the street on our way to school.

Just sweet.

Really cute.

The kids are always stopping to smell the flowers on our walk to and from school. Sometimes it is just so sweet. Other times it just drives me crazy (we don't have forever to spend walking to and fro school ya know).

Scout joins us for the walk to school. (What's that on his face? It's called the "gentle leader" collar and it is brilliant. I love it.)

Anyways, it was a good year and we sure are proud of Miles.