Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted,"
or "forbidden" in the title.~From Scooby-Doo

Dec 26, 2008

Birthday Boy

This little baby boy has a birthday today - he's turning 8.

This little baby boy is still as cute as ever except he's grown quite a bit taller and will be passing up his mom before long.

This little baby boy doesn't have his curls anymore because he likes keeping it short - a #2 shield with the clippers.

This little baby boy still does toilets and hardly grumbles when asked to help clean the bathroom.

This little baby boy loves Lego Star Wars on Wii and it was his favorite toy yesterday from Santa.

This little baby boy can play the piano like nobody's business - who knew that those little chubby hands would turn long and slender, just right for playing piano.

This little baby boy still has huge dimples in his cheek and chin and now that he's a bigger boy he's completely unaware what that will do to girls some day.

This little baby boy has the most amazingly blue eyes that still can do his mom in when she's trying to say 'No' to him - it never works!

This little baby boy turned out to be a great big brother and is still a good little brother - who doesn't mind being 'girl trapped'.

This little baby boy can play soccer and basketball and is a really fast runner.

This little baby boy has grown up to be a wonderful son and loves his family and Heavenly Father.

This little baby boy is having a birthday... Happy Birthday Son!

This little boy has a birthday...
This one pictured here!
Father in Heaven bless him,
Throughout the coming year.

Happy Birthday to you,

Happy Birthday to you,

Happy Birthday dear baby boy
Happy Birthday to you!

Love you Always,


Dec 24, 2008


We are finally done wrapping all of our Christmas gifts - woo hoo! Growing up, Santa never wrapped our Christmas gifts. We would wake on Christmas morning and walk out into the darkened room lit up by the Christmas Tree. Underneath the tree, each of our presents would be grouped in a pile next to our stockings. They always looked magical in the glow of the twinkle lights and we would race to find our stocking so we knew which pile was ours. (It was pretty obvious the year I got my favorite 'Puddin' doll and my brother got a GI Joe.) It wasn't until my younger brothers were much older that Santa started wrapping gifts and putting them under the tree. With 7 children, I think it might have saved Santa a little bit of time, at the Covey household, just leaving them unwrapped.

The Big Easy, on the other hand, grew up with Santa wrapping all his Christmas presents. He said the fun for him was not knowing what was inside until the wrapping paper was completely off. They took turns watching each other open gifts and the fun was guessing what each odd-shaped box would hold.

When we started having children of our own we had to decide what we would ask Santa to do - wrap or leave them unwrapped??? I have to admit that unwrapping a gift does add quite an element of surprise and suspense. We started with our oldest and had Santa wrap the majority and leave the biggest toy out - or the one that might have to be put together or odd-shaped. That tradition has continued. We compromised - now Santa wraps them all and if there is something that is too unusual to wrap or needs to be put together in order to be played with on Christmas Day, he leaves that out. Like our youngest's play kitchen last year and the trampoline in it's huge box. I think it's a good arrangement.

With six children this year I think Santa has his hands full for the gifts at our house. Even though I think each child will get a modest amount of gifts - when you add that up its a lot of wrapping! I've talked to several friends and family members and its funny how there really is a 50/50 split on how everyone grew up with Santa wrapping or not. I bet there's been a lot of compromise happening through the years where gift wrap is concerned. Happy wrapping! (or not!)

Dec 19, 2008

The eyes have it!

It's Birthday time around our household! Not only is it Christmas next week and our anniversary tomorrow but....it was this guy's birthday last Saturday, the 13th of December:

And it's this guy's birthday today (our littlest guy that we're being foster parents to):

And next week, the day after Christmas, is this guy's birthday - he's turning 8 and will get baptized on January 3rd!

I'm thinking that besides the fact that we're completely broke, partied out and overrun with gifts by the end of December - I'm pretty much surrounded by some cute guys! And what about all these eyes!???? In case you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a sucker for eyes and it's hard for me to say "no" when they flash their baby blues, browns and greens at me!

Dec 15, 2008

I like free stuff!

I'm all about freebies - and you (or I!!) could win a Cricut machine or an iPod Touch! Bloggled is trying to save our blogs by backing them up (what a concept) and making them into books (another great concept!). Today only, you can register for free, link to them on your own blog, add a RSS subscription or add them as a friend on Twitter or Facebook for chances to win. There's supposed to be a drawing ever 2 hours. I don't know about you but I wouldn't look this gift horse in the mouth! :D

Dec 3, 2008

Clean Up on Aisle 5!!!

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. My sister and her family drove up from Arizona for 4 days. I am so grateful they did. The last week or so my glass wasn't 'half empty' it was pretty much bone dry and needed to be filled up. I've been trying to do some self-care and Eric has been doing a great job of pulling his half of the yoke but I still needed a pick-me-up.

I can't say that we did anything amazing or spectacular during our time together as a family. But the point...was that we had family around us. Someone to share and lighten the load. My children had cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents to love and dote on them. My biological children who have recently been feeling neglected and alone were reminded that they have special people who know their entire history and think they are pretty awesome. My foster kids were introduced to yet another group of people who are healthy, normal and also think they are awesome. I had my sister - who I adore beyond words - just a stone's throw away. We saw Twilight together, laughed about caterpillar eyebrows, had our walking therapy sessions, made chocolate gravy and quesadillas together and hugged and loved each other (hopefully enough to last us 'til the next time). I got teary eyed watching my oldest daughter stay up late with her favorite girl cousin talking, eating snacks. making crafts and watching movies. She couldn't get enough girl/cousin time.

My cup was filled to overflowing. It filled every inch of my heart and spirit and spilled out onto those around me. Love's like that, you know - it touches everyone in the vicinity. If you want to help with the clean up - be willing to bring a tissue or two - but only if you have a cup to wring them into!

Nov 22, 2008

Twilight - The Movie

Okay, I'll admit it - I saw the movie at midnight the day it opened. I was actually in my seat about 11:00 pm on the 20th - in anticipation of the 'grand opening'. Me and several hundred of my closest, weirdest, middle-agiest mostly female friends. The theatre was packed with fans of the books and what I assume to be caterpillar eyebrows. I have a bias towards Robert Pattinson - the guy cast as Edward - his eyebrows are too bushy to be Edward. I'll admit that right up front, I thought he was all wrong for the part and I'm sticking to it! My not-so-professional opinion of the movie:

Cinematography - location, awesome! The shot of them climbing in the trees was magnificent
Bella - cast well and Kristin Stewart is a fine actress for this role
The role of the father - he was younger than I pictured and I liked it.
Jacob - not bad, could have done more in the picture
Edward - eyebrows still distracting but there were times he 'grew on me' especially the biology class scene when the scent of Bella first hits him.
Forks - quaint and perfect

Length of the film - it drug on and on and on
The Cullen family - not enough of them
Victoria - should not be talking
I don't want to hear the word 'spider monkey' used as a term of endearment ever again!!!
The 'venom sucking' scene in the dance studio was laughable and I don't think it was meant to be...laughed out loud when Bella's eyes crossed!

Eyebrows on Edward - did I mention that already?????
Alice - her baseball throwing stance - hello???what's with the pointed toe???
Bella's prom dress...could they not have found something more suitable and beautiful!?
The kissing scene in the bedroom - where was all the romance leading up to it!?
All the women in the theatre screaming at the top of their lungs for every little thing - come on ladies, get a life!!!! (Oh wait, I was there too but not screaming, mind you!)

I could go on - but will spare you. I loved the books and while dissapointed with #4 and the movie - still think they are refreshingly new in their concept. Will I see it again? Probably? Will I buy it? Yes. Will I meet Robert Pattinson in a dark alley with a waxing pot and linen strips? Most definately!!

Nov 13, 2008

Falling for Soup

I love soup...there I've said it! Fall is the perfect time for me to dust off some old 'tried-and-true' recipes and also launch into some uncharted territory with soup cooking! All growing up my favorite was potato soup that my mom made with home-made french bread. It's still a great one but here's my favorite (and a real kid-pleaser) for the moment!

Cheeseburger Soup
1 lb ground beef
3/4 Cup chopped onions
3/4 Cup shredded carrots (I buy them pre-shredded)
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Dried Parsley Flakes
4 TBSP Butter
3 Cups Chicken broth
4 Cups diced, peeled potatoes *
*(if in a hurry - I buy the frozen breakfast potatoes with green pepper)
1/4 Cup All-purpose flour
2 Cups Shredded Velveeta Cheese (or cubed)
1 1/2 Cups Milk
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 Cup Sour cream

In a large saucepan brown the beef; drain and set aside. In the same pan, saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 TBSP butter. Cook until vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes) Add broth, potatoes and beef. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. In a separate skillet melt the remaining butter. Add flour to butter; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add the flour mixture to the soup and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for approximately 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Cook until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream. Serve.

Nov 11, 2008

Thankful for 5!

This past weekend I participated in the Telos Turkey Tri 5k in Orem. It was my fifth 5K - and I can hardly believe it! My good friend, Clint, did the actual sprint triathlon: run 5K, bike 10 miles and swim 350 meters. I was so proud of him!!! I had toyed with the idea of entering that part but knew I wouldn't be ready - good thing I know my limits (well, at least where chocolate is not involved!). I finished the race and while I don't know my time, it doesn't really matter. I was surrounded by hard-core racers and triathlon athletes. I know that I stick out like a sore thumb - not having the body of a 41-year old who's been running/biking/swimming her whole life. Rather, the body of a 41-year old who's just started running and is grateful just to finish without collapsing.

I am extremely grateful for a Heavenly Father who made our bodies so forgiving. Who knew that you could actually change your body shape and make-up this far into life? Every time I run a little further and am less winded than the time before, I give thanks. When I walk/run up the hills I am grateful that I have legs to carry me, lungs that work right and a will that's been strengthened by a powerful belief. I know that my Heavenly Father wants me to be healthy, strong and happy - He's helping me through each race I've entered. It's something I wish that I'd done sooner in life, but it's better now than never!

I have to stop myself from comparing to the wrong crowd - instead I think about all the folks who don't even enter races, whatever the reason. I think about all the times I sat on the sidelines admiring people who could run and yet didn't feel motivated to join them. Wow! I'm one of those people now and despite coming in the end of the 5K, I couldn't be happier. I'm holding out the banner for all you sitting on the sidelines - if I can do it, you can too!

Nov 1, 2008


It was a perfect day! The temps were in the 70's during the day so there was just a slight chill in the evening. There were plenty of fall leaves to crunch while walking around and I had 6 kids to oooh and aaaah over their cute and costumed selves.

I truly love fall - many people get invigorated by spring but for me it's fall. Growing up in Arizona we didn't really have 4 seasons - just 2, hot and not-so-hot! I always dreamed of beautiful trees changing colors, leaves piled up in the yard - perfect for leaping and driving down the street and watching leaves swirl around and behind the car.

I got my first taste of a true and lovely Fall when I lived back east. There are so many trees and the chill in the air plus autumn leaves were a magical mixture to me. While I love Arizona - I was thrilled when we moved to Utah that my lovely autumn dreams were coming true again.

I couldn't help snapping some photos yesterday - but they just don't do it justice! You'd have to have crunch-o-vision, smell-o-vision and feel-o-vision to appreciate these fully. Just take my word for it - it's perfect!

Oct 28, 2008

Out of Eggs????

I don't know about you, but there's been many times I set out to bake something only to discover that I was out of eggs. (And too lazy or not enough time to go buy some more) Here's some substitutes and tips that were given me by a friend. I'm planning to print it off and stick it in my favorite cook book!

Preparedness Tip - Inexpensive Eggs for Food Storage: Eggs are essential basic cooking ingredients, but have a short shelf life and powdered eggs are expensive. Wendy DeWitt, who created food storage recipes for the Mesa LDS cannery, said unflavored gelatin mixed with water makes inexpensive eggs, and cornbread I made with unflavored gelatin that was over 10 years old was delicious! 1 lb of gelatin will make 192 eggs (16 doz). It's much cheaper if you buy in bulk; I get mine from bulkfoods.com.

To Make One Egg: Stir 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin with 3 Tbsp cold water until dissolved, then add 2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp very hot water and stir. Decrease liquid called for in your recipe by about one-fourth cup to compensate for the added water from the egg.

Other Egg Replacement Options:
1 egg = 2 Tbsp. potato starch
1 egg = 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
1 egg = 1/4 cup canned pumpkin or squash
1 egg = 1/4 cup puréed prunes
1 egg = 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg = 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed simmered in 3 Tbsp. water
1 egg white = 1 Tbsp. plain agar powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water, whipped, chilled, and whipped again

Egg Replacement Tips• If a recipe calls for three or more eggs, it is important to choose a replacer that will perform the same function (i.e., binding or leavening). • Trying to replicate airy baked goods that call for a lot of eggs, such as angel food cake, can be very difficult. Instead, look for a recipe with a similar taste but fewer eggs, which will be easier to replicate.• When adding tofu to a recipe as an egg replacer, be sure to purée it first to avoid chunks in the finished product. • Be sure to use plain tofu, not seasoned or baked, as a replacer. • Powdered egg replacers cannot be used to create egg recipes such as scrambles or omelets. Tofu is the perfect substitute for eggs in these applications. • If you want a lighter texture and you're using fruit purées as an egg substitute, add an extra 1/2 tsp. baking powder. Fruit purées tend to make the final product denser than the original recipe. • If you're looking for an egg replacer that binds, try adding 2 to 3 Tbsp. of any of the following for each egg: tomato paste, potato starch, arrowroot powder, whole wheat flour, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, instant potato flakes, or 1/4 cup tofu puréed with 1 Tbsp. flour.

Oct 21, 2008

The New 'Brady' Bunch

We are the von Pingel bunch! 3 kids + 3 kids = 6 kids. 3 boys + 3 girls = 6 kids. Only difference? no Alice to help me out!!!

The first few days have been full of ups and downs. The kids got here Thursday night and it was eerie how quickly the little ones fell into calling us "mommy' and 'daddy'. Even though it makes us feel good, it is a red flag that they are not more confused and distressed - at least about living with a new family.

All of the school-aged kids were out of school for 3 days so we have been nice and cozy 24/7. There has been quite a bit of rivalry between the 2, 8-year old boys and the 2, 3-year old girls. Apparently I should have predicted the need for two of every princess, Dora and My Little Pony item I've ever bought! Big D is adjusting to not being the only boy any more plus sharing a room and his toys for the first time. Our baby girl is also having a hard time adjusting to not being the baby and having to share her parent's attention. We are all adjusting to a little guy in diapers and needing lots of care while eating and getting places. I spend most of my time playing referee. A close second is cooking and cleaning up. (My groceries have never disappeared this fast!)

The newest additions have attachment issues and most likely been exposed to things in their little lives that no child should ever have to be exposed to. They cry easily and the oldest is very stubborn and the pickiest eater! The younger two have a hard time responding to and being cared for by Daddy sometimes...somewhere they have been hurt by a male adult. I know the oldest has a 'shell' for protection and it has served him well thus far. We are praying that love, consistency, togetherness, therapy and good boundaries will help them all do a little healing while in our care.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I'm not going to get a thing done for myself for awhile. I have also resigned myself to the fact that I'm happy and content to be mothering 6 children and receiving even more kisses, hugs, "Mommy!" calls and laughter than I thought possible. Just call me Carol Brady!

Oct 14, 2008


Remember the old way ketchup used to come out of bottles?? Slowly and took its own sweet time. Sometimes you'd have to pound on the bottom of the bottle, shake it, stick a knife in it - turn it over to see if it was near the edge and pound yet again. But oooohhh...it was worth the wait!

Life is like that for me lately - ever since hubs and I decided to become foster parents. We've been waiting, pounding, prodding, hoping, looking and pounding again in anticipation of children being placed in our home. Just when we were about to give up (and go for mustard) we got 'the call'.

The wait is going to be over on Thursday - 3 kids are coming to join the clan. Now that they're on their way I'm nervous, scared, excited, hopeful, fearful and happy. We will be doubling our children and they will by far outnumber us! It will be an adventure in parenting and loving - and while this is only the beginning, I'm sure that when I look back on this time it will have happened all too suddenly and will have been definately worth the wait.

Just like ketchup always is!

Oct 13, 2008

Happy Morning!

I'm off today to a cottage warming party! (It's virtual and anyone is invited!) Click the button to the right to see some delightful quilted cottages, get some tasty recipes and warm your toes by the fire!

Oct 6, 2008

I love pencils! The smell, the look, the unsharpened ones, the sharpened ones, plain No. 2's, colored ones, red ones for marking papers, decorated and designed ones...they're all good! I saw this article and learned a lot - hope you do too!

20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Pencils
By Dean Christopher Discover Magazine

1. There is no risk of lead poisoning if you stab yourself (or someone else) with a pencil because it contains no lead -- just a mixture of clay and graphite. Still, pencil wounds carry a risk of infection for the stabees, lawsuits for stabbers.

2. Also, bad juju for anyone linked to Watergate: In his autobiography, G. Gordon Liddy describes finding John Dean (whom he despised for “disloyalty”) alone in a room. Spotting sharpened pencils on a desk, Liddy fleetingly considered driving one into Dean’s throat.

3. Graphite, a crystallized form of carbon, was discovered near Keswick, England, in the mid-16th century. An 18th-century German chemist, A. G. Werner, named it, sensibly enough, from the Greek "graphein," meaning “to write.”

4. The word pencil derives from the Latin “penicillus,” meaning -- not so sensibly -- “little tail.”

5. Pencil marks are made when tiny graphite flecks, often just thousandths of an inch wide, stick to the fibers that make up paper.

6. Got time to kill? The average pencil holds enough graphite to draw a line about 35 miles long or to write roughly 45,000 words. History does not record anyone testing this statistic.

7. The Greek poet Philip of Thessaloníki wrote of leaden writing instruments in the first century B.C., but the modern pencil, as described by Swiss naturalist Konrad Gesner, dates only to 1565.

8. French pencil boosters include Nicolas-Jacques Conté, who patented a clay-and-graphite manufacturing process in 1795; Bernard Lassimone, who patented the first pencil sharpener in 1828; and Therry des Estwaux, who invented an improved mechanical sharpener in 1847.

9. French researchers also hit on the idea of using caoutchouc, a vegetable gum now known as rubber, to erase pencil marks. Until then, writers removed mistakes with bread crumbs.

10. Most pencils sold in America today have eraser tips, while those sold in Europe usually have none. Are Europeans more confident scribblers?

11. Henry David Thoreau -- American, but a confident scribbler all the same -- used pencils to write "Walden." And he probably got them free. His father owned a pencil-making business near Boston, where Henry allegedly designed his own pencils before becoming a semi-recluse.

12. In 1861, Eberhard Faber built the first American mass-production pencil factory in New York City.

13. Pencils were among the basic equipment issued to Union soldiers during the Civil War.

14. The mechanical pencil was patented in 1822. The company founded by its British developers prospered until 1941, when the factory was bombed, presumably by pencil-hating Nazis.

15. "Je suis un crayon rouge." After the 1917 Soviet revolution, American entrepreneur Armand Hammer was awarded a monopoly for pencil manufacturing in the USSR.

16. More than half of all pencils come from China. In 2004, factories there turned out 10 billion pencils, enough to circle the earth more than 40 times.

17. Pencils can write in zero gravity and so were used on early American and Russian space missions -- even though NASA engineers worried about the flammability of wood pencils in a pure-oxygen atmosphere, not to mention the menace of floating bits of graphite.

18. Those concerns inspired Paul Fisher to develop the pressurized Fisher Space Pen in 1965. After the Apollo 1 fire, NASA banned pencils in favor of his pen on manned spaceflights.

19. The world’s largest pencil is a Castell 9000, on display at the manufacturer’s plant near Kuala Lumpur. Made of Malaysian wood and polymer, it stands 65 feet high.

20. At the other extreme, engineers at the University of California at Santa Barbara have used an atomic force microscope as a kind of pencil to draw lines 50 nanometers (two millionths of an inch) wide. Just because they could.

Oct 4, 2008

Who Knew!?

It's the little things that count...makes a day/week/month/year/life easier! Try this and see! Happy Weekend!

Oct 2, 2008

What is it about them???

Doughnuts or donuts - I love them! I prefer Krispy Kreme over Dunkin Donuts. I like filled donuts but not with custard, only creme frosting. I like cake/old-fashioned type donuts the best, especially blueberry or spice. There are two places in town that make amazing doughnuts: the Lehi Bakery and a locally-owned grocery store, Kohlers. I can't walk into the store with Sophia without her asking for a donut (and boy am I glad she does - it gives me an excuse to have one too!)
Today they had fall-colored icing with sprinkles. Sophia said the plain part looked like a pumpkin. They were soft and melt-in-your-mouth. I have to admit that I've never made donuts. I guess it's too quick and easy to buy them in the store (oh yeah, and they're not good for me! did I mention that!?) But, I found a recipe that I think I'll need to try - maybe for a cool autumn day when I have some extra time. Just hope they turn out as good as they sound and maybe I'll give Krispy Kreme and Kohler's a run for their donut money! (let me know if there are any adventurous donut makers out there)

Apple Cider Doughnuts

For the doughnuts:
1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (low-fat or nonfat work fine)
Vegetable oil for frying

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider

For the doughnuts: In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed (with the paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto 1 of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnut shapes. Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (You may re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)
Add enough oil to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees. Have ready a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels.

For the glaze: While the cut doughnut shapes are in the refrigerator, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners' sugar and the cider until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

To fry and assemble: Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels after the doughnuts are fried. Dip the top of the warm doughnuts into the glaze and serve immediately.

The Bad News (Don't look if you don't want to!) Per doughnut: 201 calories, 3 gm protein, 33 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fat, 31 mg cholesterol, 2 gm saturated fat, 200 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber

Sep 21, 2008

Peaches, Peaches, PEACHES!!

We've been inundated with peaches from our very own trees! One of the selling points of the home we're currently in was the storage, back yard and the fruit trees. We have two plum trees and two peach trees. Sadly, the previous owners planted them but never got to see them bear fruit and reap the rewards...happily we do!! The very first summer we were in the house we had peaches and this year was our 3rd summer enjoying the 'fruit' of someone else's labors.

We have put very little money into them other than some water and spray for bark beetles. Very little effort has produced an abundance! This past week I started to pick some and was fully intending to let them stay on the tree for another week or two. Mid-week we had a storm roll in with high winds - just as the winds picked up I noticed peaches were falling from the tree. RATS! I hurried outside with the kids, boxes and a ladder and pick all the peaches. I wish I could say that my helpers were extremely helpful but that would be misleading you! My oldest did hold the bag and carried many of them to a box. The younger two were easily drawn to the nearby trampoline. All in all we got 6 boxes full and a Trader Joe's bag. (This was after losing about 30-35 that fell off in the last week and slugs got them plus the 100 or so my hubby thinned out at the beginning of the season).

Luckily, this past Saturday had nothing scheduled other than an early morning volleyball game. Our peach 'taskmaster' kept us busy all day: blanching, peeling, cutting, mixing and bottling. Gratefully we had two friends and my parents come over to help. It was quite a job! We divided our spoils with all those who participated (think Little Red Hen!) Our half was 20 quart jars of peach halves, 11 pint jars of peach slices and 8 jars of jam. I love the way they look stacked up on the shelf!!!

Peach cobbler was on tonight's menu for dessert - so yummy! Here's our favorite recipe:

Fresh Peach Cobbler, the Absolutely Best Ever Recipe #61366

Fruit Mixture
6 tablespoons
6-7 cups
fresh peaches, sliced (or equivalent canned peaches)
1 cup
sugar (omit if using sweetened canned peaches)
1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon

Cobbler Dough
1/2 cup
butter, softened
1 cup
2 cups
1 1/2 cups
2 teaspoons
baking powder
1 teaspoon

Cobbler Topping
1 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons
cinnamon, to taste
nutmeg, to taste
1/2 cup
boiling water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine tapioca, peaches, sugar (if used), cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly. Pour the fruit mixture into a buttered 9" X 13" baking dish. In a bowl mix thoroughly the ingredients for the Cobbler Dough. Spread over the fruit mixture. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together DRY cobbler topping ingredients. Sprinkle evenly over the cobbler dough layer. Then pour the boiling water evenly over the cobbler.
(Do Not Stir.) Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean and top has a golden crust.
I still have a little over a box calling my name, "Wash me...peel me...chop me...make me into jam!" Guess you know what I'll be doing tomorrow...but that's peachy keen with me!

Sep 19, 2008

Woo Hoo for Cake Mix Extender!

I posted this simple recipe earlier in the year for extending a cake mix! Today I put it to good use as I made cupcakes for the school carnival.

I was supposed to make 2 dozen and knew that the cake mix would leave them puny and definately wouldn't give me any leftovers for the little gal that hangs out with me all day! She can't keep her 3-year old hands off the cupcakes when I leave the room for a minute (Imagine that!) So...the cake mix extender worked like a charm - I got 2 dozen regular-sized cupcakes and 2 dozen mini cupcakes out of one mix! Woo hoo!!!

I was debating how to decorate the cupcakes - they are for a cake walk at the carnival. I didn't want to bring just plain ones (the kind that sit there until the last kid has finally won!) and definately don't have time to do the fancy schmancy stuff (nor would I want to since they are going to be scarfed down in 30 seconds flat!). So, yesterday I was in the BYU bookstore and saw these:

Yes, I am taking the easy way out by plopping one of these little critters on top of each and every cupcake. Now, the only debate is whether they should be sitting on chocolate frosting or vanilla dyed red!? The cupcakes themselves are devil's food. I really don't think it'll matter in the end. I'm fairly confident that the tarantulas will be the 'draw' and not the flavor of the cake and frosting. In all honesty, I'll probably go with whatever is on sale when I get to the store later this morning...but then again...maybe a mini cupcake or two will find its way into my belly and I prefer chocolate! (Of course!)

Sep 15, 2008

Lists of 100

My good friend Stephanie posted a list on her blog - 100 things every good omnivore should try at least once. The original post was found on http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/ and after reading her list I thought it'd be a quick and easy post to add my own - saving the results for future generations to come and maybe expand my horizons (and list). Post your own results or at least your score in a comment! My Score: I've eaten 46 of the 100 items, won't eat 22 so that leaves 32 things for me to put on my 'to do' list!

The original post:

"Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either;
Wikipedia has the answers."

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I made mine red...meaning Stop! Do Not Pass Go! and NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS! - Teddi)
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at
http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/ linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush (have even made it at home!)
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (mmmm...yes!)
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes (have 4 varieties growing in our garden!)
22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche (thanks to Eric, yes indeedy!)
28. Oysters
29. Baklava (learned to make it from a Deaf, Greek friend)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (at Boudin last year during RID Nat'l Convention)
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (would or could eat them every day!)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear (my grandma used to make prickly pear jelly)
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (sadly, yes!)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (absolutely!!!!)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie (delightful!)
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict (can make this at home too!)
83. Pocky (crunch, crunch!)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash

88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam (delicious fried with potatoes)
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I'm hungry now! Guess I'll have to settle for the tuna fish sandwich w/peppers I have prepared! Bon Appetit!

Sep 12, 2008

My Summer Vacation is over!

How quickly 3-months can pass when you're having fun! This past summer was full of all kinds of good things! I think my 50 lb weight loss has given me the confidence, finally, to try lots of things that I always wanted to do but never would. Mostly because I was afraid of how I'd look from behind while running...or dying of exhaustion from exercise, HAHAHA!

The summer started off with a big bang when we headed to Arizona to visit some family. The main point of the trip was a concert featuring this guy!

That's George Michael for all you young'uns out there born in the late 80's or early 90's (although you should still know who he is!) I got to go to the concert with Stephanie M. and my sister - it was so much fun!!! Gorgeous George performed some of my old favorites and some new ones as well. We were good girls and didn't take our cameras in but we wish we would have! We had fabulous floor seats - thanks Brad and Stephanie! and the whole thing was a celebration for Stephanie's 40th birthday. And DID WE CELEBRATE!!! There was much dancing, singing and general good vibes had by all! This is what it looked like although I didn't take this photo:

One of my favorite moments was his singing "Freedom 90" - which unbeknowst to me has been viewed as an anthem for the gay community. Who knew!!!??? (Shows how much I don't pay attention to the lyrics sometimes.) Anywhoo - we were shouting it out with everyone and I think it really fired me up to get free this summer. So here's a sampling of what I did:

Ran (and I mean walk/ran) my first 5K, the Freedom Run in Provo, after starting to run the week before:

And subsequently ran my 2nd and 3rd 5K's (plus my fourth 5K this past weekend - and yes, my time is improving!)

Rode the medium-sized and super-sized zip lines at Olympic Park in Park City. (I'm the middle rider)Hiked to Timpanogos Cave with the 3 kids and my niece - what was I thinking!? But we made it up and back in one piece. I also overcame my brief internal bouts of hysteria thinking about going into the cave but made it out alive and well! (We were actually grateful for the cool temps in the cave after the heat during the hike up!) Gotta love this picture taken by one of my kids - I am looking oh so fine, dontcha think?

Sprinkle in trips to "This is the Place" village, Stadium of Fire with Blue Man Group and Miley Cyrus, Temple Square in SLC, a Xango party, watching "The Drowsy Chaperone" with my niece, all the foster parent training courses (32 hours worth), work, presenting at and attending 2 conferences, farmer's market, gardening and fun times in the backyard kiddie pool and slip-n-slide! WHEW!!! It WAS a full summer!

Another highlight was marked by the "Breaking Dawn" release party at BYU - fun times with family and friends (and our specially designed "Team Edward" t-shirts. I actually won a door prize as well - toot toot!)

I loved every minute of it - how good it feels to be so free!

Jun 16, 2008

A Hero never dies

Last week was our local UTRID (Utah RID) conference. I am the secretary for the board and so was very involved with planning and carrying out all the things that come along with pulling off a 3+ day conference. I also presented a 3-hour workshop on Friday and Saturday. I would have done it for free but was paid for my time and given a gift as well - it was a book which I'd been wanting to read. The book was "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow. I had heard about the lecture, the book and seen a television show about Randy. (You can google his name and find more information about him but he has been given a limited time to live because of cancer.) The book is inspiring. I started reading and am halfway through. I have to stop at the end of each chapter to keep myself from sobbing at the sweetness, poignancy and clarity it has brought to my thought process this weekend.

This man, who I have never met and will never meet, is a hero. Not because he is dying and doing it with such grace and dignity. Not because he has written a best-selling book and been seen on national TV and everywhere else. He's a hero because he took the time to document some profound lessons he learned for his children. His children are very young and will not have many memories of him - he loves them so much and is taking great care to do the very best he can to leave a lasting legacy for them. His wife, Jai is a heroine. Without knowing anything about her, outside of what he's written - she is amazing. I don't know if I would have her strength of character and courage - but I hope so.

You can watch the actual lecture he gave here I found a video of a short address he gave to graduates at Carnegie-Mellon. It is sweet and profound...all the things a good address should be. Don't miss the end of the clip - it says it all.

May 28, 2008

Some Things Never Change - Part I

Better late than never (HAH!) but at least I'm still here! We took a vacation to Disneyland a couple of weeks ago and I've been wanting to blog and post about our fun! While we all physically came home on the 11th - my youngest continues to vacation there 'in spirit' every day since. She gathers her Disney stuffed animals, talks constantly of the rides, wears her Minnie ears and watches Disney movies just to keep the magic going. I can't say I blame her...it is the Magic Kingdom after all.

I've always had a love affair with Disneyland. I've never been to Walt Disney World or any of the other Disney Theme parks but Disneyland will always be near and dear to my heart. I am fortunate that my parents shared the magic with me at a young age and we went several times while growing up. Here's proof:

That's me on the left and my brother, Sean on the right. Yes, I did have to point it out just in case you zero in on the short haircuts missing the mini dress (is that a dress!?) altogether. By the date stamp on the photo it was taken June 1971. I was 4 years old and my brother would have been 3 years old. It was obviously summer - poor Sean had to wear long pants - Mom! where were the sandals and shorts for the love of all things cool!? Luckily we were in no danger of having our necks and ears covered in sweat or hair for that matter!

We are standing in front of the entrance to Disneyland park - the Mickey Mouse flower sculpture hasn't changed...still there! Mickey hasn't aged a bit - he must have a terrific skin care regime! Here's another one from the same visit:

I don't know if these '3 Little Pigs' characters still exist in the park? or anywhere else in the Disney video collections for that matter. We also met this guy...

I love this photo - looks like I'm pulling as far away from "The Big Bad Wolf" as my mom would allow me to while still remaining in the photo! But the real reason I love this photo is that it shows the Matterhorn in the background, the Skyway ride, the old booths and some nifty neat-o 70's clothes if you get a good gander.

My favorite rides at Disneyland back then were: The People Mover, Journey to Inner Space, America Sings, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty's Castle (walk through), Bear Country Jamboree, It's A Small World and The Tiki Room. Sadly, many of those no longer exist.

However, I found the coolest website that shows pictures of those long, forgotten rides and describes them and when they were taken out of circulation at Disneyland. Take a trip to Yesterland for a jolt to the past for those of you as old as I am and wishing for the way 'things used to be'.

I love the smells, the sights, the sounds and the magic that exists there - Walt Disney knew what he was doing. Yes, they have to be pulling down some big bucks every day but I think it's worth it - my memories were worth it for my parents and now I'm making new ones which leads me to Part II...

May 3, 2008


One thing I enjoy quite a bit and have done for years is 'swaps'. I started doing things related to scrapbooking: paper, embellishments, yarns, ribbons, etc. I stopped for quite a while after accumulating too much stuff and also because I found that often I would get partners who didn't follow through or sent stuff that they wouldn't want to receive.

Recently I started back up again but this time it's sewing related items. Dotee Dolls and the latest was a lunch box/bag swap. Here's what I sent to my partner:

I used some tutorials found on the internet. The insulated lunch bag and water bottle carrier were quite simple and turned out quite nicely. My youngest really liked the fabric and thought they were for her and didn't want to part with them. I promised her I would make her a water bottle carrier for our vacation next week.

I received this lovely package from my swap partner:

I did not take a good picture but the bag is fully reversible and in all my favorite colors. It is nice and roomy to hold a couple of lunches and books for reading (she included a magazine to get me started!). The shape reminds me of the Trader Joe's re-usable shopping 'bucket bags' - my favorites. You can check out her blog to see better pictures and the inside: Lunch Box Swap from Pink Chicks

After my promise to make a water bottle carrier for my baby girl - I made some adjustments to the sizes in the tutorial for the bottle carrier. I needed it to fit a 'pint size' 8 oz. bottle. I also added an internal strap that Velcros over the top of the water bottle to keep it from falling out - should the little tykes start doing somersaults or cartwheels while wearing their carriers. (Oh yes and I made 6 more for friends and cousins - a total of 7 princess-themed carriers.) Here's what they turned out looking like:

I like them...they like them...we'll see if they hold up to the true test of trekking through Disneyland. I'll let you know!

Apr 15, 2008


I have been MIA the past couple of weeks - at least from the blog world but not in my real world. I had a big Enrichment activity at church, baby shower for my 3rd grader's teacher at school (I'm the room mom) and last weekend was a conference that I presented a workshop at and interpreted as well. It was a joint venture between AMPHL (Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses) and UTRID (Utah Chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf). It was a really long day but as a member of the UTRID Board we had donated our interpreting time to support the conference. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the conference went and the turn out was much higher than I expected. I had a great time with my fellow 'terps' - getting to know them better as people, laughing and seeing them working. We usually only see each other at meetings and I was so impressed with their skills.

Anywhoo...during my workshop introduction I was telling the participants how long I've been interpreting (and reminding myself) - over 18 years and sometimes it startles me! I have so much to learn still and I look at other interpreters and think "I'm never going to be that good"! Being an interpreter was not a conscious career choice but more a path that was placed in front of me and like a moving sidewalk it just kept going. Here I am all these years later. It's been so rewarding and yet every assignment is a challenge. I take a big breath right before starting an assignment and internally wonder if I'll be up to the job. I guess for the most part I must be or I wouldn't still have work constantly coming my way. For that I'm grateful.

I still remain fascinated and a little starstruck at times with the Deaf community and their language. Yes, I understand it for the most part but there are still those times when I struggle. I enjoy it most when I can just sit back and watch - not interpreting for anyone. It rarely happens but when it does - wow! If you've never had a chance to check out the website for
D-Pan... you should! It's amazing and here's one of their most recent artistic ventures! Whether you know sign language or not it's beautiful and if you do know ASL - prepare to have your heart strings pulled!

Mar 28, 2008

The Bachelor: Lehi Calling

There's a new guy in town - his name is
Charming, Prince Charming.

Some of you may remember him from his earlier work in the Disney film, "Cinderella" and he's making a comeback! In our house, we have been partakers of the Barbie frenzy trend for many years now but I must admit that very few male versions have crossed our door. I don't know why...I'm assuming it's because they're less glamorous, their wardrobe is lousy, their hair is molded or maybe they just need better PR folks working for them on the cartoon break commercials. Either way - they've been a bit scarce around here. However, last week was our youngest daughter's 3rd birthday and she's been asking for a "Daddy Barbie". So...while Ken, Beast, Prince Antonio (of Barbie Island Princess fame) and Prince Philip were all in the running - in the end Prince Charming won the spot as "MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELOR" in our household.

Here he is surrounded by his gal pals - you may recognize some of them...(don't hate them because they're beautiful!)

From left to right we have:

from "The Princess and the Pauper" Barbie movie - the brunette who looked an awful lot like the blonde princess, Analiese...hmmm....uncanny? I think not! She can sing up a storm and has a button on her back to prove it! (If you've seen "The Bachelor: London Calling" recently you'll know that singing is apparently the 'in thing' this year). Go Erica/Analiese!

from "Beauty and the Beast" - also a birthday gift and as you can see she is presumptuously sporting a wedding gown (the nerve!). One small thing you may, or may not, be able to notice in the pic - her head is almost twice the size as Charmings. I don't know about other parts of the U.S. but here in Lehi, that type of genetic dominance may just give her a leg up!

African American Barbie
- the $4.99 variety purchased as a 'hush up and I'll buy you this' moment during an especially stressful trip to Wal-Mart. She is especially talented as her legs are permanently 'tattooed' painted purple. She has benevolently been given a gown to wear for just this occasion. What a gem!

and last but certainly not least our beloved and every perky...

- I do believe she was once a Princess Somebody or Other and has now been demoted to wearing the African American Barbie's tutu (minus the purple tights). She is unfailingly beautiful, can't stand on her own and can easily snap under the weight of her own upper torso - however she is prized for her lovely locks.

Whatever is a man to do???
But wait....what's this!?????

Some last minute entries purchases (our lovely birthday gal got a gift card and cash from her grandparents). As in every good reality show there's always a twist!

Ariel! The beloved Little Mermaid - fresh out of the package water and wearing only her fins and a bikini (and lovely hair that changes color when it gets soaked in cold water).


Barbie Mariposa! - still touring in her just released (Spring 2008) movie! She is absolutely stunning with magical 'pop-out' wings, lace-up ballerina type slipper thingies and flowers in her very long and lustrous locks (complete with pink brush). What a stunner!

Wow...this is going to be a nail biter right down to the bitter end. Stay tuned to see what becomes of our lovely ladies and the lone bachelor (who, by the way is anatomically incorrect but has six-pack abs....go figure!) This could get ugly...Who will get the rose (or lose a leg) first!? You won't want to miss this!

Mar 14, 2008

The Ties that Bind

February was quilting month over at one of my favorite sites: Sew, Mama, Sew. They did all sorts of tutorials and highlights of different quilt blocks and lovely finished projects. I admire the handiwork that goes into quilting and hope that someday I will have the time to be able to piece together a quilt top and do the machine or hand stitched quilting for what I consider a true 'quilt'. In the meantime...I love doing tied quilts. Here is our family's latest project:

I grew up on these kind of quilts and it's truly the only kind I know how to do with any sort of efficiency. I thought that's how it was done growing up...the quilt stands and the sound of thread being pushed and pulled through layers of fabric and batting. I would crawl underneath the quilts and grab the needles sometimes pushing them back up to the top when my grandparents couldn't reach to the middle. Some of my earliest memories are of helping tie quilts.

I still have a quilt that was made for me when I was little and my children have tied quilts I made for them when I was pregnant. So, this winter I decided it was time for them to learn how to tie a quilt. I found a flannel sheet set on sale at Target - fell in love with it's bright, bold colors and set to work. Luckily, my sister-in-law has a set of quilt stands and clamps that her mother gave her so I borrowed them. It took up the entire free space in our downstairs basement living room to set it up. After some fudging with the pillow cases to fill in the space on the fitted sheet (after removing the elastic) it was ready to be used as the backing. The Big Easy and I tacked the pieces and batting to the frame. He had never done such a thing either so it was also a learning experience for him. One of the hardest decisions was where to place the ties - the fabric had an all-over pattern so we just needed to choose which 'snowflake' to use. We settled on a red one that was easy for everyone to spot and seemed to be closest to the starting edges. I showed my two oldest (9 and 7) how to start tying and once they got the hang of it - I showed them how to chain the ties together. They were quick to pick it up! Many memories came flooding back as my youngest (2 1/2) was crawling underneath the quilt and grabbing at the yarn and shaking the frames.

It didn't take us long - the 4 of us tying at the same time. There were times of frustration when the yarn got knotted, the needles came unthreaded, the yarn wouldn't pull through the fabric or spots were missed. But overall I think everyone actually enjoyed themselves and we were working together on something and making it with our hands! We 'popped the tacks' off the edges and the quilt was tied. Lots of 'ooohs' and 'aaaahs' as we saw our pattern come to life. Later that day we headed to the fabric store together to choose the binding (yes, I know... can you imagine me at the fabric store with 3 kids and the hubster!??). Originally, I was thinking a flannel would go nicely but everyone fell in love with the feel of the minky fabrics. We picked a green that looked like it would go well. Over the next couple of days I cut the binding and sewed it on. The fabric was nice and stretchy and so, so soft!

I put the quilt upstairs for its true test....would it get some use? Since that day I can gratefully report that it is always unfolded and laid out on the couch! (I fold it back up every night before bed) Used mostly by me and often by the kids. It is warm, large enough for me and all the kids when watching a movie on the couch and a nice pillow when folded up! The best part...we all had a hand in it! I love seeing the random little knots on the back side and the few ties cut just a tad too short. The other day my son said, "Mom, aren't you glad we made this quilt?" I said, "Yes, why do you say that?" His response? "No reason...I'm just glad we did, too!" Ahhhh.....the quilt making baton has been passed.