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Adventures in the kitchen with E

February 26, 2018

Now that E can read fluently, he should be able to read and follow a recipe, right?  Right??

He thinks so.  And every once in a while he surprises me.

I’ve had the older boys take turns making breakfast for ages and E has been asking for his own day to be in charge of breakfast.  So he now has Friday for sure, and no one else is sure what day they have.  (Changing their seminary classes to 8 a.m. this semester has really thrown a wrench in the “who cooks breakfast” routine.)

The first Friday after this change, I was awakened by E at my bedside saying, “I need help with the eggs.”  That was a disconcerting way to start my day.  Those waffles were so good, though! He measured everything perfect, and really only needed help with the eggs.  He’s made pancakes a couple of times now too, although I’ve realized that I need to rewrite my recipes with very very specific instructions on what to do: which ingredients, in what order, in what bowl, etc.

This afternoon he wanted to make cookies, but no one wanted to supervise him, including me (something about a 4 a.m. wakeup call from Baby S finally catching up to me…) He was determined to make snickerdoodles all by himself, and I thought, why not? The first snag was the fact he wanted to double the recipe and we were running low on butter.  He’d already measured out the sugar and mixed it with half the butter, so there was no turning back, so I helped him scrape butter off the butter plate that was out on the counter and eyeballed another ¼ cup, without too many toast crumbs.

I went back to whatever it was I was doing, and a few minutes later I hear, “I think I put in too much vanilla…”

“How much did you put in?”

“½ cup.”

½ cup???  It’s supposed to be ½ teaspoon!

Note to self: Buy more vanilla.  And butter.

It really was funny at the time, but I had to pour off the excess vanilla while trying not to pour out too much of the melted butter because we had no more to work with.  He wanted to keep going, so I told him to add everything else in and I’d come check the texture.  He added everything.  Literally.  Including the cinnamon and sugar that he was supposed to roll the cookies in.  That’s when we realized he was just following the list of ingredients, and not the actual recipe directions.

In his defense, the waffle recipe just says to add all the ingredients together and blend well.  Most recipes have a few more steps though.  Now he knows.

Why did I let E have free rein in my kitchen?  Frankly, I was too tired to care.  After some extra flour was added, we baked his vanilla/cinnamon cookies.  Not quite snickerdoodles, but they tasted great.  Even the baby loved them.

We breed an independent streak in our children.  We were just retelling the story of how A, at age 2, made brownies one morning all by himself . . . in the dog’s water dish.  Luckily he hadn’t gone for the eggs and oil yet, but he’d measured out flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt and mixed it together .  We never could get some of that . . . cement . . . off the wallpaper.

Add this to our story collection–½ cup of vanilla! (I should have taken pictures.)








Simple Woman’s Daybook

February 19, 2018

For Today: Monday, February 19, 2018, Presidents Day

Looking out my window: 26 degrees and Snowy! (which I would normally enjoy except that we’ve had a few too many tastes of spring weather.  It’s hard to go back to winter.)

I am thinking… about all the things we should be doing but aren’t, and just how drained I feel from still not getting a good night’s sleep in forever.

I am thankful… we found enough candles to get by last night when the power went out, and that it was only out for a couple of hours during the snowstorm.  We’re especially grateful for C’s solar-powered inflatable camp lantern.  (Small children and candles don’t mix.)  I think we’ll be buying some more to keep on hand.  We definitely could be better prepared.

One of my favorite things… apparently Ravensburger puzzles and games judging by the pile in my kitchen.  Scotland Yard is our newest favorite game.

I am creating… flyers about cello lessons for our Music Teacher Expo meet-and-greet next Monday night.

I am wearing… my favorite comfy jeans, a gray turtleneck sweater, and red striped wool socks.

I am reading… the latest Inspector Rutledge mystery and the readings for the Mothers of Influence group I’m a part of.

I am listening to… my two oldest enjoying their holiday from school by sightreading piano duets.

I am hoping… that my cello students play well at their various Solo and Ensemble events and college auditions coming up, and that my new orchestra music for the March concert isn’t too difficult because honestly, practice time is at a premium around here lately.

I am learning… how to use my InstantPot. We had a church activity two weeks where everyone swore it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them in the kitchen, but there’s a learning curve (at least for me) and I haven’t completely figured out all of its wonders yet.

In my kitchen . . . Roasted Tomato Basil soup tonight (it’s definitely a day for soup), Orange-ginger chicken in the InstantPot tomorrow, and banana bread sometime since nobody ate the bananas I bought last week.

In the school room . . . we’re finishing up Marco Polo and Kublai Khan and moving on to medieval Russia with D and E, getting ready to start reading A Tale of Two Cities with the older two.  A is also preparing for the ACT test next Tuesday.


A moment from my day: 

This girl loves the snowy weather!

Quote from the January Ensign: “…every single time I’ve gone to the temple, I have been blessed. Whether we are granted an immediate blessing or our efforts accrue toward later blessings, every bit of time we spend in the temple results in some personal increase.”  ~Sister Jean B. Bingham

Our Stake conference yesterday focused on temple attendance and the blessings that follow.  I’m looking forward to Stake temple day this Friday and the opportunity to worship there.


Read more Daybook posts at 

Family History Quest

January 30, 2018

There is a new Family History Quest in the Friend magazine this year.  Each month there will be a different activity to complete that will help us learn about our family history.  January’s activity was to decorate a binder or box to keep all of our activities in.

I finally remembered to pick up some binders last week and on Sunday afternoon we really needed a fun activity after six of us stayed home with head colds or the possibility of being sick.  (Only C and D went to church.)

I told them they could print out anything relevant to our family history: pictures, maps, census records, etc.  C found a map of the Isle of Bute and printed out Stuart of Bute tartan for his and D’s binders, but mostly everyone was interested in pictures.  I had a huge amount of prints from the studio portraits we’ve had taken over the years.  The 8x10s have largely been framed; smaller copies have gone to the grandparents and great-grandparents (although my grandma has a habit of compiling photos given to her and giving them back to us in albums every couple of years. Probably a good idea with over 60 descendants now–she’d be drowning in photographs otherwise!) But I have so many wallets and smaller prints of so many different photo shoots left over.  It’s amazing really.

So I dumped them all out on the table.  It was covered.  But we had so much fun sorting through them all!

Some observations:

  • A is the only child who had regular photo sessions at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months old.  Perks of being the oldest?
  • We used to get family pictures taken a lot more regularly.
  • It’s much easier to get three children all smiling together than six.
  • The days of the matchy-matchy outfits are over.
  • All of my babies look remarkably similar!  We can especially see Baby S in D’s 4-month picture, A’s 9-month picture, and E’s newborn photos.
  • There is one photo of E at 3-months-old that does not look like him in the least!  We’re pretty sure it’s him though from the outfit.  Very odd.
  • As we were sorting photos out by child, I had to keep asking the boys whose pictures were whose because honestly I couldn’t always tell!  I think I asked C about the same photo of him about 11 times.
  • Daddy has aged quite a bit over the past 20 years; on the other hand they all thought that Mommy has hardly changed at all!
  • We have way too few printed photos of the younger three.  In fact, all of the photos of Little A were printed off the computer on Sunday.
  • Speaking of Miss A, she was born for projects like this!  If you want to keep her occupied for many hours, just get out the glue, scissors, pictures, and paper, and she will go to town with them!  She cut all of these out herself (and was so excited about “Pink Paper!!”):

A declined to decorate a binder.  He sorted out his scout merit badge stuff instead.  I hate to say it, but he’s growing up and outgrowing some of our activities.  Everyone else had a fabulous time, though.  C said, “That was fun! We should do this more often!”

I may just take him up on that.  9:00 church with the afternoon free has its perks.

Here’s a look at the finished products:


New smile!

January 30, 2018

Fall 2013

January 2014

January 2018

It’s been a long four years, but last week C finally got his braces off!

I tried to find a representative picture of his smile when we first started orthodontia, but couldn’t find a photo that really showed just how crooked his smile was!  I should have saved the original photos the orthodontist took, although it was really the x-rays that tell the whole story.  His teeth were basically growing in a (crooked) V-shape, instead of a nice curved semi-circle.

He started out with a screw/widener that we had to turn periodically to widen his jaw.  First I could never remember how often it needed to be turned, so we’d have to go another month to get it where it needed to be. (In my defense that was when I was horribly morning sick with Little A.)  Then I was accused of turning it the wrong direction (which is basically impossible) because unbeknownst to us, C would play with it with his tongue and move it back a notch.  When we got that figured out, we finally started seeing some progress!

Apparently it’s a whole lot easier to play the bagpipes without braces, so he’s extremely happy!  And we’re so happy to see his beautiful smile!



January 22, 2018

Little Miss A turned four this week!  It feels like we’ve been celebrating for days.  Wait, we have…

First up, presents at Grandma and Poppa’s house on Thursday.  Everything was so exciting!  First the wrapping paper was pink!  Then there was a box (!) inside.

Then she got another box! and yet another box!
She got new clothes, which she had to immediately try on, some play-doh toys, and a stuffed Paw Patrol fire dog.

Paw Patrol was kind of the theme this year, although she’s only watched the actual show a couple of times.  But she and E use Paw Patrol toothpaste, so she associates everything Paw Patrol with the characters on the tube.  (And the theme could be Disney princesses instead, so I’m not complaining!) She has been talking about having a “puppy party” for months now and has watched three of her brothers have birthday parties in recent weeks, so while I wasn’t terribly excited about throwing yet another party, I couldn’t bear to let her down either.  So we invited some of her friends over yesterday for a Paw Patrol puppy party.  (Say that five times fast!)

After having so much time left over at E’s party, I scheduled this one for a short and sweet one hour.  It was perfect as half of the kids (the boys) didn’t want to play the games I had planned anyway.  They just wanted to play with our toys.  I should have just called it a playdate . . . with cake.  But the girls were game so we tried a few things with varying success.  Little A wanted to do “Pin the badge on Skye” but nobody wanted to be blindfolded, so they just pinned the badges on and even being able to look, only one person put the badge where it was supposed to go.  Duck, duck, goose was another hit, although when one kid got up to run, half the circle went with them.  But I think everyone had a good time.

And who knew you could find Paw Patrol cupcake liners.

Last night we also let her open her presents from us since Daddy had to work all day today.

More boxes, so exciting!

Half of her presents were leftovers from Christmas that didn’t make it here by Dec. 25.  That’s the upside to having a January birthday!  But she also got some books she requested, some needed long-sleeved shirts, and a daddy leopard since, “My baby leopard doesn’t have a daddy.  He needs a daddy!”

We repurposed the candles onto a cake so Daddy could sing to her too.

This afternoon she opened her last present from Nana which we saved so she’d have something to open on her actual birthday.  She also got more cupcakes in Primary and was sung to again.

We got a really good snowstorm yesterday so she and E went outside to have a snowball fight tonight after dinner.

Then they popped the popcorn one of her friends gave her and watched “Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration” while waiting for the big brothers to come home from their youth fireside.

She actually let me take her picture today, but insisted on being silly!  There’s so much personality in this little person.  We are so grateful she came to our family.  Happy 4th Birthday, Little A!

New Sunbeam!

January 17, 2018

Last Sunday was Little A’s first day of Sunbeams in Primary.  The week before, they took all the nursery children who were going into Primary into sharing time for the first time.  She sang the songs, raised her hand to answer questions, and found a match in the matching game, or basically, participated more than E ever has!  This girl is ready for Primary!

Just write something. Anything.

January 15, 2018

It’s been a couple months with nothing happening on the blog.  Plenty has happened in real life, but I just haven’t made it a priority to write it all down.  I can blame the fact that writing is still a tedious task for me.  I can blame my computer not wanting to communicate with the photos on my phone.  And ultimately I can probably blame the baby who has awakened me at least once between 2 and 5 a.m. every night for the last eight months.

I still can’t believe what a toll that has taken on me and my mental energy and ability to accomplish anything.  He’s leaning more toward 5 a.m. and even later now, but still, I am so sleep deprived with this child.  I can’t even fathom what a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep would feel like.

Yesterday afternoon DH had to go back to work and more than anything else I just wanted to crawl in my bed and sleep.  For hours.  But I had a baby who was ready for dinner.  Then there was bathtime and bedtimes, and waiting for children who were at the stake dance to come home. And so it was many more hours before I could crawl into my own bed.  Sometimes this mothering thing is so very hard.

At least now I think I’ve figured out how to post pictures on the blog again without going through about a 9-step process.  What a rigmarole.  That has been the most frustrating problem to try to solve.  So will I try to get caught up on all the posts I’ve been composing in my head the past few months?  How about a new resolution half way into January?

Let’s remember how to blog.

I miss it.  Not necessarily the writing part (although it helps me sort out the thoughts in my head) but I miss having a record of what we’re doing and what I’m thinking.  And I love being able to look back on our lives and have stories to go along with the photos.

I’ve been microblogging on instagram this past year.   It’s so easy to share a photo straight from my phone, but typing anything long is such a pain.  I finally figured out how to add my instagram feed over there in the sidebar, but I actually prefer sitting at the computer and typing out much more detail.  I have a slew of “better late than never” posts that I intend to write (or finish writing) this week.  Wish me luck.

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