Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Easter Sunday

This is my family on Easter Sunday 2010. 
(Turkey is 2 1/2 yrs old, Peacock is 3 1/2 yrs old & Penguin is 7 yrs old.)


P.S. If you're waiting for blessing day photos, I think my computer is finally up & running after being down for almost 2 weeks.



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Monday, April 26, 2010

Wonder-Boy

All in a day's work ....


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Temple Marriage Lesson 15 Manual 2 ... MORE IDEAS & TIPS!

I just wanted to share a few more ideas to go along with Young Women Lesson #15 (Manual 2).  (To see my other post for this lesson, go HERE.)

On Saturday evening, I made my temple cookies ....

(my kids decorated them with sprinkles)

Instead of baking regular sugar cookies, I decided to use a recipe that I have for Lemon Sables.  My parents had to remove the lemon tree from their front yard last week, so I was in the mood for something with some lemons.  I doubled my recipe and made enough cookies for my mom's birthday party that we had last night.  I think everyone really enjoyed the lemon-ness in the cookies.  If you'd like to try my recipe, here it is:

Lemon Sables
(makes about 15 large cookies)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

2. In a large bowl (like your Kitchen-Aid Mixer bowl), beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg, then beat in the vanilla & lemon zest.  On low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to firm slightly.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

4. At this point I cheated & just put flour on the counter & my rolling pin to roll out my dough (I was supposed to roll the dough out between 2 sheets of waxed paper, refrigerate again, etc, etc, etc ... too much work!)  Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and use your favorite cookie-cutters to make whatever fun shapes you'd like to have.

5. Place your cut-out cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, until very lightly golden around the edges.  Cool for about 1 minute on the baking sheets, then trasfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Now you want to make your cookies pretty.  If you want to be quick & easy, prepare an egg wash which you'll brush on the cookies before baking .... if going this route, you'll also put your sprinkles on the cookies before you bake them.  I might also add more lemon zest to the cookie dough.

I decided I wanted MORE lemon goodness on my cookies, so I made a lemon glaze:

Lemon Glaze

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup confectioners' sugar
About 1 Tablespoon cream or milk

1. In a small bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat the lemon juice into the confectioners' sugar.  Beat in just enough cream to make a smooth, spreadable glaze.  Spread the glaze over the top of the cooled cookies.  Let them sit for about 30 minutes, or until the glaze sets completely.  If you want to add sprinkles like I did, you'll have to add them immediately after you spread the glaze because if the glaze sets and then you try to add the sprinkles, the sprinkles will just fall off the cookie.  Hope that makes sense! :)

As you can see from my photos, I placed the cookies into clear little bags.  There wasn't enough room at the top of the bag for a bow, so I found some temple stickers (leftovers from my wedding announcements!) & just closed the bags with those.



My mom also serves in the Young Women program, so she had some left-over handouts that she gave to me  for my Laurels ... the Laurels went NuTs over them!  She attached ring pops to this hand-out:



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Friday, April 23, 2010

Public to Tour The Gila Valley Arizona Temple - LDS Newsroom

Public to Tour The Gila Valley Arizona Temple - LDS Newsroom

*Article includes interior photos of this beautiful new LDS temple in Arizona.


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Temple Marriage: Young Women Lesson #15, Manual 2

** April 26, 2010: I've posted more ideas for this lesson HERE!

On April 25th, I will be teaching Young Women lesson #15 out of manual 2 which is titled Temple Marriage.  What a great lesson!  There are oodles & oddles of ideas out there.  Sugardoodle has their lesson helps HERE or you can check out their lesson helps for manual 1, lesson 18 which is titled Temple Marriage - Requirement for Eternal Family Life HERE.

I have to say that this is a lesson that I'm really looking forward to and that, for me, is an easier one to teach.  I've decided that I'm going to make cookies cut-out in the shape of the temple and then use the frosting/ingredients idea I found on Suardoodle.  I think I'm just going to use a 4x6 index card & with a cute font, print "Ingredients" on one side & "Frosting" on the other side.  I will have the girls write qualities on each side of the card that they'd like their future husband to have.  The "ingredients" side will be must-have's & the "frosting" side will be where the girls list qualities they'd like their husband to have (like nice eyes), but that aren't really necessary.

A few years ago, I taught a similar lesson, so I have a few temple related items saved on my computer that I thought I could share ....


While I was in Pittsburgh, I didn't have access to cute things like temple-shaped cookie cutters, so I actually printed out the shape above in the size I wanted & then cut each cookie by hand with a knife.  You can frost the cookies with white frosting & then use the shimmery, white sprinkles on top to make it look kind of like glitter.  I think the sprinkles that I used before are Wilton's White Sparkling Sugar (pictured below).

Whether you decide to go with one of my ideas for a hand-out or another idea, I think the things that are given to the girls for this lesson are things they keep for years.  I still have all the little lists I made when I was a Young Woman of qualities I wanted my future husband to have.  It's fun to pull those things out now & look at them.  I also have my wedding dress hanging on a nice white hanger that I received as a gift from my young women leaders growing up and I still have a white hanky from when I was a youth.


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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chandler Symphony Concert

Mark your calendars!  The Chandler Symphony Orchestra has an upcoming concert that you don't want to miss!  The choice of music is excellent, so I'm super excited to perform in this concert.  I love Dvorak's New World Symphony & you won't want to miss our violin soloist ... there aren't too many places you can hear someone as talented as her play for FREE!


"Grand Finale"
Sunday, May 2  3:00pm
Desert Vista High School
16440 S 32nd St - Phoenix, Arizona

Titus Overture (Mozart)

Violin Concerto No. 3 (Saint-Saens)
FeaturingViolinist Joy Jai Ye Pan


Symphony No. 9, "From the New World" (Dvorak)

*All CSO concerts are FREE & families are welcome.




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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wanted: Job for a Dentist

I know a lot of my readers are probably in the looking-for-a-dental-job phase of life.  Anyone know of anything in the Phoenix area?  We've been looking for work for over a month now and have been unsucessful.  Hubby has walked into offices asking if they know of anyone who is hiring, contacted & visited lots of friends who are dentists & specialists, etc and we've had no luck.  We're willing to live anywhere in the Phoenix area as well as Prescott, Tucson & some other areas outside of the Valley, but we are absolutely 100% opposed to corporate dentistry.  I am not willing to move again for another corporate job.  For us, it has not been a good experience.

Maybe you know of a job for a dentist somewhere else in the country?  If we have to move again, we will be much more cautious & careful this time, but we're willing.  Hubby has had 5 denstists call him wanting to set-up interviews ... interesting that all 5 of those dentists are in the same state & within the same general part of that state.  A sign? I don't know.  Some places are begging for dentists, some places like AZ can't support another dentist.

We need to get serious about something quickly because starting Monday, hubby will be down to 3 days a week and those 3 days are not usually busy, productive days.  So, just putting all this out there in the blogosphere incase someone knows of something.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Double Stroller

My double stroller broke & I'm pretty sure I *need* a new one.  We've been using a side-by-side Combi for about 3 years.  I'm not sure why it broke, but I'm wondering if the amount of weight the poor thing was carrying had something to do with it ... combined Peacock & Turkey probably weigh about 70 pounds.  Anyways, I need a place to put my two toddlers when I have errands to run & places to go ... a place that they can be strapped into.

I'm pretty sure I'm a side-by-side girl.  We went with the Combi a few years ago because of how it drove/handled the road, it was about 10 pounds lighter than other brands, and I liked how compact it was when all folded up.  The storage space has been OK and as the kids get older, I don't need as much storage.  One thing that I haven't liked is the lack of a cup holder for Mom.  When I stop to get a soda, I gotta push a wide stroller with one hand & hold my drink with my other hand ... not an easy task.



I'd like to know what kind of double stroller you are using or what kind of set-up you have for your young kids.  What's your favorite brand?  Where do you go in the Phoenix area to test drive a variety of strollers?  Once you find the stroller that you want, how do you buy it?  Do you shop on ebay, craigslist, or hunt down a coupon for a store?  Please share!  :o)

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Faux Camping

I've been out-of-it for a few days.  Thursday I spent the majority of my day at the torture chamber (aka dental office).  I'm still feeling the effects of that visit today ... my gums are still sore and now my lips are full of blisters.  beautiful.  Friday morning, Hubby had a job interview with a dentist he's been communicating with via Skype & email for several weeks. The dentist happened to be in Scottsdale this weekend for some kind of class or convention, so hubby was able to meet him face-to-face.  They had a nice meeting which, for part of the time, included the owner's consultant.  Hubby says we should hear more sometime this week. 

Usually our weekends are packed with extended family activities, church responsibilites, continuing education classes, etc.  But not this past weekend.  Our Saturday was ours & ours alone.  Friday night we watched a movie (Princess & the Frog) and consumed popcorn & horchata.  Weird combo, but that's what the kiddies wanted.  Then after the movie, we pitched our big ol' tent in the backyard and slept outside.  It was kinda chilly & hard to sleep out there, but it was well worth it and the kiddies loved it!!  We spent the rest of our day Saturday just bumming around town ... eating, shopping, eating again, watching movies, resting, etc.  All good stuff.



I have a YW lesson for this week, but the power source for my computer isn't working.  I should be up & running again by about Thursday.  Stay tuned.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

10 Days New

Over a month ago, Hot Mama & I spent numerous hours putting this 10-day old sweet bundle of joy to sleep (again & again & again) so we could take a few photos.  I don't think Baby A appreciated her sleep being interrupted countless times as we moved & positioned her, but she was a trooper.

Hot Mama has owned this pot for a few years and we've been waiting for the right opportunity to put it to good use.  :o)


A couple weeks ago, Hot Mama came over & designed herself a baby announcement ... I think it turned out pretty cute!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Finds on iTunes

On iTunes you can get a free "From Pole to Pole" episode of Planet Earth produced by BBC. It's a 48-minute HD TV download from Series 1 of Planet Earth. Other episodes of this length cost $1.99 to $2.99.

Also available on iTunes is "That Easter Morn".  Just search "That Easter Morn" & it should pop right up.  You can buy the whole CD or individual songs. The music is absolutely beautiful!!  We have a copy of this CD in both our cars & it's what the kids always want to listen to while we're on the road.

Tickets go on sale this week for EVMCO's next concert, "O' America".  We will be performing on Friday, May 21 7:30pm  @ Gammage!  Tickets are $15 & $25.  Our previous concert was sold-out, so don't delay in buying your tickets!!


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Monday, April 12, 2010

Brain Quest

My favorite workbooks are by Brain Quest.  Their workbooks contain more than the usual math & language arts.  They have science, social studies, creative writing, etc all in one book.   Another product I've used with my kids are the Brain Quest cards which are available for ages 2-13 years old as well a variety of topics like Black History, For the Car, America, etc.  I usually buy Brain Quest supplies at Costco ...  Look in the book section for their workbooks & cards ... I saw some cards there today.  :o)



HERE is another mom's review of the Brain Quest cards.

Not only do these cards have great educational value, but they also help with bonding and one-on-one time.  I love to take my little ones, sit them right in my lap, and work on the cards with them while they are cuddled up close.

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Family Fotos

Yesterday I finished-up photos for my in-laws & delivered CD's.

{the whole gang}



T & N ... your CD is in the mail & on the way, but I think this is my fave of your family. I keep going back & forth between sepia & color though.  Color is nice, but I think I'm just a black & white/sepia girl.  I feel like my eyes go to the faces & stay on the faces better when a photo is not in color ... fewer distractions maybe.


{bliss}

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Random-ness

Wednesday evening I was busy making Mexican food for dinner.  When I went to find my bag of tortilla chips, it had disappeared.  I found these two pistols hiding outside under their slide with the whole bag of chips just munching away.  Good thing I had just picked up a new super-size bag of chips from Costco the day before.

The Easter Bunny found our house last weekend, but this year he didn't bring any candy.  After several egg hunts, I guess the bunny thought we had had enough sugar at our house for a while.  Instead he brought new Crocs (well, knock-off's of Crocs) to each of the kiddies along with some cute charms cause that's why the kids really want them, right?  Can I just say that Crocs are not the cutest shoes around, but I deeply appreciate the person who came up with them ... all-season shoes (socks or no socks) that can be washed with a garden hose and that a 1 year old can put on & take off with no help ... amazing stuff!  :)


Forgot to add this photo to my Black Hair post yesterday.  Just incase to you want a closer view of some of the products I've been using recently.  It's all trial & error and I'm always trying something new. 

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Black Hair

I don't typically do Peacock's hair.  I feel like I don't really know how to care for her hair properly and it's so much harder to style than I ever imagined.  Ms. Donna usually comes to our house every other week to do Peacock's hair.  I pay Ms. Donna $40, which I think is really reasonable considering she comes to our house, has a flexible schedule, and Peacock loves her.  She typically spends 2-3 hours at our house when she comes.  (I have Peacock's hair out of the previous style & washed before Ms Donna comes over.)

When we lived in Pittsburgh, we took Peacock to Wal-Mart's salon a couple of times to get her hair styled ... I think after a tip, we usually spent about $60, so Peacock only got her hair done for special occasions.  I always had plenty of friends or people from church offer to come over & help me with her hair, but for whatever reason that just seemed too hard to actually do with two babies ... I couldn't sit for hours doing hair.  Just. could. not. 

By the time Peacock was almost 3 years old, I just felt like I needed some serious help and I had a little more cash in my pocket, so we hooked up with Ms. Donna.  Ms. Donna has been on bed rest for the last couple of weeks, so it's been up to me to do Peacock's hair again ....

I was getting tired of it looking like this:
 ... always matted, dry, & full of tangles.

Last night when I got home, my good husband had given all the kids a bath and washed 3 heads of hair.  After breakfast this morning, I felt determined to do something about Peacock's hair.  So, I came up with this:



Not the greatest pics, but I think you get the idea.

So, for all you adoptive momma's out there, I thought I'd share what I did and maybe sometime you can share some ideas & tips.

Here are my supplies:

#11: (not pictured) A hand towel ... something to wipe your hands on cause they're going to get wet & greasy.
#10: Super Stretch hair elastics.  I got mine from Sally's ... 500 for $1.39.  Now I know every black woman you talk to says to never use them, but cause they're so cheap, I just chop them out with scissors when it's time for a new hair-do.  SO much easier than trying to pick the hair off a cute elastic you paid more money for.  And you can always put the cuter hair elastics top of the black ones.
#9: Hair Straightener.  Peacock has her own ... I do NOT share my nice Chi straightener with her because I don't want the grease off her hair getting into my hair.  I got Peacock's straightener at Costco for about $35 and it works really well.
#8: Leave-In Conditioner &/or Detangler Spray.  I have Motions brand pictured here, but even the Suave Kid's stuff works great.
#7: Blow dryer. 
#6: Spray bottle with water ... or just washed hair is even better.
#5: a good DVD to keep Peacock's attention
#4: Comb & Brush.  If you look closely, my comb has a long, metal, sharp end.  This is so helpful for making parts & then picking out skinny braids when it's time for a new style.  I've tried cheap versions of these combs from Wal-Mart & they're no good.  Go to Sally's or another hair supply place and get a nice one.  I most recently bought one for $12 from the professionals hair supply shop ... you'll have to have someone with a license get you in, but it's the best one I've found so far.  The brush is one that's supposed to be good for curly hair.
#3: Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade.  I think any pomade will work fine, but I think you can buy Motions brand at any local Wal-Mart.  Motions puts some glitter into theirs which is kinda fun.
#2: Organic Olive Oil Root Stimulator.  This is just a grease that I prefer these days.  Good for the scalp & hair.  Again, you can find this at Wal-Mart.
#1: Blue Magic Conditioner Hair Dress.  Another grease, but it's thicker than #2.  I avoid putting this on Peacock's scalp because it causes her scalp to get clogged & she gets lots of zits, but it's good to just put on the hair  ... it keeps the hair oily for weeks if the hair is in braids or twists.

K, so I didn't take pictures of the process cause I wasn't really planning on doing a post like this, so bear with me & feel free to ask lots of questions.

Step #1: After Peacock is comfy in a chair in front of the TV, I wet her hair down pretty well and spray in lots of detangler.  I then take her brush and pull the hair straight out from her head as I blow-dry her hair.  I go around her entire head always pulling the hair straight out as I keep the blow dryer aimed on whatever section of hair I'm working on at that moment.  When you've finished drying, the hair should be pretty poofy/fluffy with curls that are less tight than what you started with a few minutes ago.

Step #2: I take small sections of hair and comb some of product #2 (Olive Oil grease) through her hair.  While I've still have that small section of hair in my hand, I grab the straightener and straighten it.  Go around the entire head until all hair has been straightened.  Also, as I'm making these sections of hair, I generously rub lots of #2 on her scalp so by the time the hair is all straightened, I'm also done greasing the scalp.


Step #3: Now you've got much more manageable hair to work with & you can style however you want.  I decided to take the sharp end of my comb and make a zig-zag part so I could have two side pony tails.  After making my two ponytails, (the Easter Bunny brought the cute polka-dot elastics ... I think he found that at Target less than a week ago in the big girls' clothing section) I divided each pony tail in half.    K, so picture with me ... you're looking at one of the pony tails & you've got that pony tail divided in half.  Now I take product #1 and rub a bunch of grease into each 1/2 of the ponytail.  I make the hair as smooth as possible and twist each 1/2 clockwise.  If you're still following all this you should have two long twists now.  Take the two twists and wrap them around each other going COUNTER-clockwise ... don't lose your clockwise twist you already made while doing this.  I know photos would be really nice right about now.  Put one of your cheap black elastics in the end of the twist and you're done!  I decided to loop the end of her hair so the ends look a bit nicer.  Then you can decorate with bows, clips, or whatever you want.  I bit time consuming, but not too hard.

Before you walk away, take your pomade (product #3) and generously rub that into the hair (mostly around the edges) to smooth down fly-aways or shorter hairs that were too short to get into the pony tail.

Good luck!!

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Outtakes

Today is one of those days when I'm not really sure what to blog about.  This Sunday is Fast Sunday, so no lesson for me which means no YW post from me this week.  There are definitely "things" on my mind, but I'm going to have to be careful how I word these "things" cause I don't want my blog popping up on Google because someone is searching for info about these "things".  And I don't have time to write a careful post today cause I gotta make dinner for a special friend who had surgery.

On Easter Sunday, my hubby's family got together for family photos.  It was actually kinda fun to get photos this time around.  When I got home, I had over 500 photos to get transferred onto my computer.  I've now deleted over 150 photos and I'm making good progress as I sort through them & pick out some of the best & cutest pics.  Here are a few fun outtakes ... some sweet ... some funny.   They all bring a smile to my face. :o)


{My boy ... Already chasing the cute blonde girls!}



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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Survivor

I find myself avoiding a lot of personal topics on my blog.  Is it because my blog is now public & I don't want the world knowing all my business?  Maybe it's because some things are just too hard to put into words.  So, today, I give you one word ...

Survivor:  n. a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.


{My Mother-in-law}



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Monday, April 5, 2010

Nature vs Nuture


I often find my mind wandering & thinking about the whole nature vs. nuture thing.  Maybe I think about it more than the average momma because two of my kids do not have my nature, so my nuturing will is all they get from me.  Now that I'm a mom of children of both genders, there is no doubt in my mind that boys are boys and they are just so different from girls no matter how we try to (or try not to) influence them.  My boy loves all the typical boy stuff ... cars, trains, balls, teasing the girls, gadgets, buttons, etc.  He is so fun & I'm so thankful for my little man!!  Just can't imagine life without him. *sigh*

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wedding Attire

Remember when I said I was done scrapbooking photos of my sister's wedding?  I lied.  I decided to do one page with some of the wedding attire to go with THIS page, and THIS page, & THIS page.


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