Monday, March 30, 2009

Taa Daaa!

It must have been spring fever or something, but I was bookin' today! I made and froze dinner for 9 nights (plus sent meals with two friends), completed 4 loads of laundry, cleaned and organized my closet and gleaned an entire trash bag of give-aways, and even took breaks to feed children and read stories.

(Hotmama cooking tip #1 - To make cooking bacon easy, I cut it into bacon bits before cooking it. I slice right through the package with my Ginsu! Super fast!)

(Hotmama cooking tip #2 - Check out this cool french fry cutter that I picked up a few months ago at Goodwill! It makes chopping up potatoes a breeze.)

So here's my menu plan for the next week:

Mon - Chicken Enchiladas

Tues - Fried potatoes with bacon and onions

Wed - Quiche

Thurs - Chicken Packets

Fri - Shredded Chicken and Bean Burritos

Sat - Potato Soup & Rolls

Sun - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Mon - Soft Tacos

Tues - Beef Pot Pie

I was curious about the cost of making meals ahead, so I spent a few minutes to add it up. I made 11 meals for $85. That means each meal cost $7.72, which breaks down to about $1 per person per meal. Can't beat that!

(Hotmama cooking tip #3 - Maximize your work force.)

Oh yeah! I also made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies, and a batch of oatmeal cookies! I was completely done and the kitchen was clean (I started the day with an empty dish washer, and cleaned as I went along) by 5:30 pm when we sat down to eat our Enchiladas.
Woot! Woot!

I AM ON FIRE and THAT is why they call me HOTMAMA! ;D

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mission Update

Pictures from President Fry's Blog - Zone Conference March 2009
Words are Excerpts from Elder Bronson Shipp's Letters (Our oldest son is serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Ukraine, Donetsk Mission)

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Week 1 in Kharkiv, Ukraine -

my new companon is named Elder Tyler McCarther (i think that is it in english. i have only seen it in russian. )my days have been full and exciting...figure now that you are curious as to the nature of my trainer, well he is a couple inches shorter than i and is from south jordan, utah. i like him, he is a good obedient missionary and i am learning a lot from him. we are white washing our area in kharkiv which is decently enjoyable so far, there was only one investigator in the mess of an area book we found. we have an appointment set up for wednesday which i hope goes well...

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k, tracting stories... i have none really, nothing uber awesome. but we pretty much taught this random guy the first lesson yesterday,... k i guess this was awesome. his name was игор which is pronounced eager not igor like we say it. but he was hanging out at a bus stop and i contacted him and jumped right into teaching, he was decently receptive and we threw down the first lesson right there on the street standing in the mud with no feeling in our fingers and snot running down our faces bearing our testimonies and making that little dirty piece of Ukraine sacred. it was awesome. we gave him a book of mormon and invited him to come to the open house that we are going to be having for the beautiful church building that we have.

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oh food! haha, nothing absolutley ridiculous to tell thus far. i had a шарьма (sharma) my first day out which wasn't terrible, but not my very first choice. it is a cabbage and chicken rap. yup... tasty... crunchy to say the least hahaha, but i ate the thing and i could say that it wasn't too bad. i never wanted to vomit hahaha. (Hotmama notes: He doesn't like vegetables. heehee) but that is so far the extent of my uniquely ukrainian dish experience. i must add though that so far i have discovered two things that ukrainians do better than us. juice and ketchup. the juices are incredible and the ketchups come in SOO many different flavours i like the orange one, it has a slight salsa taste with a bit of spice though the blue one (the ketchup isnt blue the package is thats the same for the orange) is pretty good.

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Elder Tillotson & Elder Shipp

Week 2:
my companion left me! sort of, he is on his way to bulgaria to renew his Visa, so i have been hangin out with one of the A.P.s Elder Hulet and today i will be joining elders hunt and tillotson (the other elders in novia doma) for the rest of the week! but it is going to be a jam packed week with all sorts of activities, we have zone conference and the open house and stuff it will be cool to be with elder hunt. he either was a zone leader or an A.P. for a year of his mission, this is his last transfer before heading home. he knows russian as well as any professor stateside, the guys grammar is unearthly amazing, its really cool. but that will be really cool.

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Another tracting story: " hahaha, it makes me laugh just to think about it. we got run out of a подездь (stairwell) quite forcefully. we were tracting this floor and about three door later this guy comes out and starts yelling at us about how we woke him up and blah blah blah. and told us to leave after using a lot of words i didn't understand (i later found them out to be some eloquent swear words) then as we were leaving he seemed to get the idea that i wanted to fight him, so he grabs me by the jacket pushes me up against the wall and starts shaking his fist in my face saying something along the lines of "you see this fist i have two of them and i will pound your face in with both of them if you don't leave!" needless to say, if i didn't have the Lords name on my chest and hadn't been set apart above the world... well, i would have been a little un-Christlike." lets just say that.

Week 3 - Kharkiv

our open house went pretty well, we had around 100 people come which was far more successful than the one that they had in saltofka, but it went really well. a success. Ukraine seems to have a pretty serious surplus of crazy people though. oh! funny story, i was out on the street during the open house inviting people to come in and i just about got bum rushed by a gang of бабушки (babushkas) there was about seven of them walking down the street and they came up and all of them started talking at once, and you have to understand, babushka russian is a very unique accent. if i had a spoonful of thick oatmeal in my mouth and then started speaking russian it would come close. but these ladies were yelling at me about how i didn't have a hat on. (to babushkas no hat means you will get sick and die, kinda odd.)
(Open House Images from Sis. Kinghorn's Blog)
then they asked why i had a tie on and if i was going to church and so i am thinking "hahaha! why yes!" so thats what i say! " why yes! today our church is having an open house! and you are all invited!" the exclamations were there when i spoke too, they couldn't really herre me, bad hearing combined with thick scarves. then they started asking me above doctrine and stuff so i just kind of dropped a simple universal " we are Christians and we believe that Christ is our Savior and in this beautiful church there are ukrainian members who are willing to answer all of your questions!" so they said ok and went in. i thought it was hilarious, because not a single one was taller than 5'5" so i was stooped over yelling at them and such, pretty entertaining i thought.

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k so on the mission blog that sister frye does you see the pictures of the zone conference where we are eating pizza, that is as close as we can get to american pizza, meaning that it didn't have mayonnaise on it or anything oddly ukraine either. they put mayonaise on EVERYTHING and it isn't really american mayonnaise either, lets just say it wouldn't be the first thing that i put on my pizza...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Picking Petals


What is more delightful to a two year old than gathering all the rose petals off Mom's roses?


Eating them.

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PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beans, Beans, The Musical Fruit!


The babies wanted to help me sort the beans this morning. (They always come running the minute they hear those beans start to clink in the pot.) But, after sorting through the entire pile, without culling out one dud, I decided to give them their own sensory beans.


They LOVED running their hands through them - pouring, scooping, and playing.


I guess it's no worse than the water/cracker/cereal messes they usually make in BittE's kitchen.

(Wondering about her kitchen? Click Toddler Kitchen 1, Toddler Kitchen 2, and Kitchen Accomplished!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Love Laura and some odd Randomness

Have you ever picked up a piece of clothing on the laundry room floor, thinking it has fallen from the clean pile you're carrying, then you smell it, just to make sure...and it's not?

Today we were having our Art Class outside, so that the kids could draw roses from life, when a boy from church came walking his bike down the street. I asked how he was doing, and he said, "Well, I'll probably have to get stitches." Then he showed me the 6 inch gash on his calve where his bike chain had sliced him open! It was at least an inch deep and as wide! Gross. Thank goodness DH had just refreshed my first aid skills a couple of weeks ago when he taught us first aid to prepare my young women for Girls Camp, and left his first aid supplies sitting in the living room (Gosh, I knew there had to be a good reason). I had him come in, cleaned the wound, wrapped it up, and called his grandma to come get him, so she could take him to the emergency room to have it sewed up. I'm feeling very Clara Barton.

Why I LOVE Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on The Prairie (I'm reading it to the Babies every night before bed.) -

"Then his (Pa's) eyes twinkled at Ma and he told her to open the square
package on the table. "Be Careful," he said. "Don't drop it."

Ma stopped unwrapping it and said: "Oh Charles! You didn't!"

"Open it," Pa said.

In that square package there were eight small square of window glass. They
would have glass windows in their house.

Not one of the squares was broken. Pa had brought them safely all the way
home. Ma shook her head and said he shouldn't have spent so much, but her whole
face was smiling and Pa laughed with joy. They were all so pleased. All winter
long they could look out of the windows as much as they liked, and the sunshine
could come in.

Pa said he thought that Ma and Mary and Laura would like glass windows
better than any other present, and he was right. They did. But the windows were
not all he had brought for them. There was a little paper sack full of pure
white sugar. Ma opened it and Mary and Laura looked at the sparkling whiteness
of that beautiful sugar, and they each had a taste of it from a spoon. Then Ma
tied it carefully up. They would have white sugar when company came.

Best of all, Pa was safely home again. "

::Big sigh::

Here's another great excerpt that made me just wish for a little cabin in the middle of nowhere.

"Pa turned the chair upside down, and he pegged the curved pieces to it's
legs to make the rockers. And the chair was done.

Then they made a celebration. Ma took off her apron and smoothed her smooth
brown hair. She pinned her gold pin in the front of her collar. Mary tied the
string of beads around Carrie's neck. Pa and Laura put Mary's pillow on the
chair-seat, and set Laura's pillow against its back. Over the pillows Pa spread
the quilt from the little bed. Then he took Ma's hand and led her to the chair,
and he put Baby Carrie in her arms.

Ma leaned back in the softness. Her thin cheeks flushed and her eyes
sparkled with tears, but her smile was beautiful. The chair rocked her gently
and she said, "Oh Charles! I haven't been so comfortable since I don't know

Then Pa took his fiddle, and he played and sang to Ma in the firelight. Ma
rocked and Baby Carrie went to sleep, and Mary and Laura sat on their bench and
were happy."

It makes me so grateful for all the blessings we have, and yet when I read those books, I crave that kind of simplicity. Gratitude for all the little things we take for granted, like windows, is such a huge part of being happy in this life. Making celebrations of everyday events can help our children learn gratitude and optimism too.

How did we all become programmed to believe that the world owes us video games, Tivo, newer cars, bigger houses, and a Wii fit?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cousins, Critters, and Campfires


We've been busy keeping the kids entertained. Yesterday we met the cousins at the park and played for a few hours.

Last night we hit the drive-in and saw Race To Witch Mountain and Confessions of a Shopaholic. Witch Mountain was good. Shopaholic was great!

Today we caravaned about 32 miles out of town and spent the day with cousins playing in water, digging in the sand, catching critters, and roasting hotdogs and marshmallows! It was the best day ever!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Word Verification Is Naming My New Band

I should clarify - My new non-existent band.

I really like:

Phist! - for my heavy metal band

Nerveca - for my punk band

Combacu - for my Cajun Zeideco group

Had any good ones lately?

A Classic Repost in Honor of Spring Break


Back by popular demand...well, I liked it. A pre-blog-jack post, republished for the record. (Also, when originally written there was some question as to when this all happened. So, to clarify: this did not all happen in one day, or one week, or even in one year - or someone would not have survived. However, the fact that it all happened in one lifetime, is enough for me. Ooh, and I'm using their old alias' so I don't incriminate anyone in particular too much - just know that Wolverine, is not Wolfman. And, Tattletale, was not an alias, more of a label - and yep, it's usually the same kid.)

- Old man neighbor to Me, "I don't want to get him into trouble, but I thought you should know that your little guy set a bunch of pine needles on fire. He got it out alright though. I was watching. He's sure a creative kid!"

- Q? Me, "Hey you guys, why are all the tips of my knives bent?"

A. Tattletale, "Wolverine was practicing knife throwing last week."

- Q? Me, "Hey guys, why are there a bunch of dents in this door?"

A. Tattletale, "Calvin locked the door and wouldn't let us in, so Wolverine was trying to use the broom handle to break the door down."

- Tattletale, "Mom, I need a bandage for my arm."
Me, "What happened?"
Tattletale, "Calvin told me to hold this piece of cardboard and then sprayed spraypaint at it and lit a match..."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm drawn to you!

Lately in Art Lessons the kids have been wanting to focus on Drawing. Their favorite drawing game is Statues. I write characters on small slips of paper and fold them. Each child has a pencil and a sheet of paper. (We usually fold it in 6ths, so we have 12 squares to draw in, front and back - but watch out, when drawing the back, you will get graphite from the first drawings all over your table!)

The kids take turns choosing a character, then stand on a chair (so that everyone can see well) and hold the pose for 1 minute or less while everyone else draws them.

The hitch is that while drawing you are not allowed to lift your pencil. We draw in swirls and quickly attempt to capture the shape and proportion of the person. Some of the poses have been: Ballerina, Rock Star, Football Player, Runner, Pirate, The Thinker, Drum Major, Lion Tamer, Soldier, Fashion Model, Traffic Cop, etc.

Give it a try! It's a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, or Family Night!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sky Watch

Lemon Blossoms

4:23 p.m.
I've been watching Daryl's Skywatch and had to give it a shot.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things that Bring me Joy!

  • The smell of magazine perfume samples

  • "Mommy, I just want to stay home forever...I love it here with our family." (Wolfman, age 4)

  • Chocolate Pudding

  • (Eating it. Not cleaning it up.)

  • Trying a new recipe!

  • "When you read that book to me, it makes my heart happy." - I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch (Wolfman)

  • Bunco with friends!

  • A job well done

  • Hearing my 15 year old say, "You just wish you had a Mom this cool."

  • When kids clap because I'm coming in to teach Art Masterpiece

  • Seeing all the beautiful new growth on my rose bushes

  • Kids washing my car

  • Chilled Fanta Fruit Punch tickling all the way down

  • Kisses

  • Holding my baby while she falls asleep on my lap

Find Joy in the Little Things at

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Giggles in the Night

At 3:38 am this morning I was awakened by the strangest sound..


I lay there, still in a stupor, trying to figure out who in the world was laughing, chuckling, giggling, and chattering in the middle of the night. When I heard the word "babydoll" I knew it was BittE but assumed I'd probably find her big brother/roommate had climed up into her bed and was entertaining her.


She was just sitting there, giggling to herself and playing with her dolly in the dim moonlight that was filtering through the blinds.

I got her a cup of milk and put her back to bed.

This morning she slept in. Late.

Wolfman and I were up at 6:30 taking care of business. We sent kids off, had breakfast, did laundry and dishes, and watched a movie. Around 9:30 am, I decided to go back to bed. My feet were cold. Seriously, it was only about 65 degrees this morning and I was chilly. So, we moved the party into my bedroom, I put on Winnie the Pooh and snuggled back under my down comforter.

We finished Pooh to the Rescue and had moved on to The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, when BittE finally woke up. Since my feet were still cold, I got her, a cup of milk and sugar, a couple of peanut butter and honey sandwiches, then we all headed back to bed. The problem came when there was only enough milk for half a cup. Since BittE hadn't had any yet this morning, I gave it to her. Wolfman cried! "Wah, Wah, I want some milk and sugar!" (He really says Wah, Wah - I think he got it off Noggin.) But when he thought I was asleep, he asked her "Do you think I should have your milk and sugar?" Then I heard sipping. I said, "Hey, are you drinking her Milk and Sugar!?!" Pause. "Not anymore." LOL!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

For Daryl

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Princess Academy

A girl can be more casual
When sitting her jeans and tees,
But any time you're in a dress,
Be sure to close your knees!

On Friday my sister, Maria, babysat while I taught art masterpiece at the Princess' school. When I came back to pick up the kids, Maria told me that one of her teachers, for the big Stake Activity Day (for 75 girls 8-11 years old) that she was in charge of on Saturday, was unable to teach. The theme for the 4 hour long activity day was A Royal You. The classes were: A Royal Me (making a paper bag journal), A Royal Family (A Family Home Evening Lesson "I want to live like Abinadi...Except for the Fire Part"), Fit for A Queen (learning about exercise and nutrition), Royal Treasure (making a Tiffany style stamped necklace, from a washer, that said "Faith" or "Royal"), and Pretty as a Princess. She asked if I could teach the "Pretty as a Princess" class the next day. She said I could teach anything I wanted to, I just needed to teach the same 30 minute lesson, five times.

I just have to say, I ROCKED IT! (Humbly, of course.) I have been concerned about my own young women (12 and 13 years old), and feeling like we need to have Charm School. I decided that I'd teach "Princess Lessons" and give them tips on posture, bearing, hygiene, and etiquette. I have an old book from 1949 called Your Manners are Showing by Betty Betz. It has darling pictures and cute poems for many dating and social situations. I started with her pictures and then made poems up that would be more pertinent to younger girls today. (I did use some of her poems, but often they used odd expressions like "rude beyond the pale" and words like Lad were tossed around. ) I stayed up until 2 am, writing my lesson, making a slide show, and typing up a handout. But it turned out great. It was fun, fast paced, interactive, and the girls were all actively engaged!

If you need a super cute lesson on manners, just let me know, and I'll be glad to email you my pictures and poems!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Don't try this at home

I was attempting to do a tutorial today, for making a super-cute ruffled apron.

Unfortunately, I had a "helper."
Obviously, it's a project that will have to wait for naptime.

My Favorite Things Swapparazzi Loot Arrived!

Talk about a bounty of bloggy goodness! Marla at Stolen Bon Bons must be my long lost sister! She sent me so many great things, all her favorites! How did she know that they're my favorites too! (Mamarazzi is the best at matching up partners who have lots in common!)

I can hardly believe that she sent me a beautiful Willow Tree Angel! The first in my collection, but not the last! Isn't she gorgeous!?! She also gave me a beautiful blank book! Absolutely one of my Favorite Things!

A sampling of sweet smelling, foaming, bubbling bath and body stuff! (With five kids, she probably enjoys the peace and escape that a hot soak provides, as much as I do!)

And The Cookie and Biscuit Bible! Woohoo! I can hardly wait to whip up a batch of decadent treats! I've already been perusing it to see what I want to try first! It's like the Sears Wish Book for Bakers!

Thanks so much Marla! I'm sure if we lived next door to each other, we'd be best friends! However, with 11 kids between us, I'm sure the neighbors are glad that's not the case :D

I'm so glad that I participated in this swap. I wasn't going to. I was feeling poverty stricken and stressed, but Mamarazzi saved me a spot ('cuz she loves me) and I'm glad I took the chance! It is really as much fun to plan and prepare for a swap as it is to get a box full of treats in the mail. The best part is making a new friend! Go check out Our Dandelion Wishes to put help decide the theme of Mamarazzi's next swap, coming up in April. Talk about democracy in action!
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Mission Update - He arrived in Ukraine safely!

what a beautiful day here in the ukraine! we are going to be running around here at the mission office in donetsk until we recieve our new companions on transfer day in a coupple days! exciting and then s\freom there we head to wherever President Fry assigns us. he is such a kind and quiet man. very nice and loving, just what this country really needs. i am so exctited to be here.

the flight over the atlantic was pretty tough, one of the armenian sisters on our flight was really sick, so elder hyer and i annointed and blessed her in the back of the plane. it was in russian so it sounded horrible because i cant really speak at all but i got the important parts right.

this email is just to let you know that i live and that i didn't get bum rushed getting off of the plane because i was american, though i got plenty of looks hahahaha! it was interesting the further and further away from home i got the less and less english i heard, it was so cool. when we walked of the plane in vienna and hardly anything is in english and these angry people are barking german at us. i like german, its a nice language. it was wild when i got my bags in donetsk, the security (military) seemed to think that i had an odd item in my baggage, the way he described it was bomb like, so after they got done digging through my bags the assistant to the president came and saved my rear. you could tell the guy was getting tired of my poor russian, but it all turned out ok. good times.

but i am going to go now, i have a lot to do and i still feel a bit air sick so staring at this screen doesnt help me much.i love you and i will email soon from my new area.

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