Friday, September 28, 2007

The Name Game

I want all you bloggy people to try this - it's a cute one. For me some of them are kooky because Jolene is my middle name. That is a story for another day - but in case you have questions after reading my answers - my first name is Dale. And I lied - I didn't really have Mini Wheats for breakfast - I'm embarrassed to say that I had leftover shredded beef tacos for breakfast.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car): Skitz Suburban

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie): Chocolate Chunky Chips Ahoy

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name): D-Rid

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Red Baboon

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born): Jolene Mesa

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first): Ridda

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink): The green limey diet

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers): Richard Estras

9. STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy): Miracle Kisses

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ): Mae Eugene

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Millet Minneapolis

12. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower): Spring Gardenia

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”): Raspberry Running Shoesy

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree): Mini Wheat Weeping Willow

15. YOUR ROCK STAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby, fave weather element + “Tour”): The Crafty Lightning Tour

I like the sound of that - See Skitz Suburban on the The Crafty Lightning Tour - coming to a County Fair near you!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A typical day of Jr. High for me...

Today was "shadow a student" day at the Jr. High. My goal was to not embarrass my kids too much. I wore what Courtney picked out for me and I didn't hug or kiss Devon in front of his friends. They had a 1/2 day with 30 minute classes and I split the day evenly with Devon and Courtney - I went to Courtney's morning classes and with Devon in the afternoon. Around 5th period - I had a migraine. All of the terrible things I remembered about Jr. High were reinforced today. I stepped in gum (so did Shannon - it might have been the same gum). But my life came full circle when I started my period and had nothing with me to take care of it. I had to go to the nurse's office and get a pad. Just like 1981, only this time I didn't get it all over the chair in typing class and have the school hottie (Kevin Dawe) point out to me that I might have a "problem". And... today I wasn't wearing a rainbow shirt and white painter's pants...

Monday, September 24, 2007

How to scare a 6 year old

Nicole has been going through some kind of separation anxiety. She is six years old - it's not like we've never left her before.

A couple of weeks ago she started crying before school - she didn't want to go anymore. I couldn't figure out why - I still haven't but she is going everyday. The crying then started at dinner in anticipation for the next day of school. Now, I know she is doing well in school - she has lots of friends, her teacher is always praising her smarts and she is working ahead of the other 1st graders in her class. It has got to be something else.

We worked through the school issue, then came the primary tears. She did not want to separate from me after sacrament meeting to go to primary. She says she misses me too much when she is in class. I am in the primary presidency now so I am within sight of her for the largest portion of her primary experience. I can't figure this one out.

But now the nightmares have started. She tries to get in bed with me a couple of times a week. We have never had kids in bed with us past the nursing stage. She knows she will not be allowed to get in but she comes to get me and tells me she has a bad dream. I walk her back to her room and stay with her until she falls back to sleep, if it is especially traumatic - we will say a little prayer.

So last night at dinner Nicole asks us if we have flood insurance. ???Wha..??? She tells us she saw a commercial about it and she has been very worried about it ever since. She said, "That's why I can't sleep mommy, I've been laying awake at night wondering if you are ever going to buy flood insurance. And what if there is a flood at school or at church - what will we do?" I've never seen this commercial - but apparently is enough to strike fear of flood in a six year old.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Bare" your testimony

I heard about this calendar on the radio last Saturday. I looked it up on line and was shocked - I am not sure what to think. Mormon Mommy Wars posted about it today - I think there will be some pretty lively debate. I can't help but grimace when I see what I assume are the top of one of the boy's garments poking out of the top of his jeans. Maybe it will be a good missionary tool - but I think it is a little questionable. They are holding auditions however for the 2009 calendar!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm a bragger..

My two 7th graders are doing so well in school. We got their progress reports the other day in the mail - and I couldn't be more proud. We got their school pictures too - being so nice looking is a bonus.

Devon: grade point average 4.573

Honors Math A+

Social Studies A

P.E. A

Spanish A

Honors Science A

Honors English A

Courtney: grade point average 4.429

Orchestra A+
Honors Science A
Honors English A
Honors Math B
Social Studies A
P.E. A+

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tasty Tuesday - Old Stand By

Today for food group I made one of our family favorites - spare ribs and potato salad. Not just any old potato salad but Alan's great grandma's potato salad that has been passed down through the generations. But before I post the recipes I am going to talk some more about my food group. That link takes you back to where I originally posted how the food group works - but my friend Jennifer asked in a comment how to get involved in a food group - so I wanted to address that.

I think everyone should put together a food group! It is the best! I was lucky that someone dropped out of one and I just took their place but I think it would be easy to put one together. Get three friends (I really think four is the best number) who have similar family size to yours and get them excited about it. I know it doesn't work for everyone, the girl who dropped out of our food group did it because her husband and kids were picky eaters. Then have each person get four casserole dishes (we got ours at the Corell sp? store at the VF Factory Mall - they were less than $4.00 a piece) and then every time you meet you just gather all of your ingredients or food that you made and trade. Have a set time each week - we do Tuesday so that you have Monday to plan and shop - and then dinner is set for the rest of the week.

Anyway - here are my recipes - I'm being honest - I don't really use the recipe for either of these so feel free to take liberties with the sauce proportions etc...:

Tender and Tangy Spare Ribs

2-4 lbs of country style ribs

1 cup vinegar
2/3 c ketchup
1/2 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. mustard
1 tsp. paprika

Brown ribs on all sides in a large skillet or Dutch oven with lid. Combine remaining ingredients in bowl and mix. Pour over browned ribs. Cook on medium-low heat for 2 - 2 1/2 hours. They will be so tender the meat will just fall off the bone. This recipe also works well in a crock pot - cook all ingredients on LOW for 6 hours.

Grandma Roper's Potato Salad

5 lb bag potatoes
1 c mayonnaise
1 c buttermilk
1/4 c chopped (fine) parsley (the plain curly kind)
1/4 c chopped (fine) green onion
salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes; cool. Peel and dice. Combine mayonnaise and buttermilk to make dressing. Pour over potatoes. Add parsley and chives and salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Slave to Target

I don't try to hide it. I'm kind of proud of it in fact. I know how to find the bargains at Target. I search the back end caps in every department to look for the clearance items and I go straight to the clearance racks in the clothing. There are good deals to be had.

Case in point. Today I took my mom from her house in the middle of nowhere to Fountain Hills to do some banking. Her bank is in the parking lot of a strip mall that has a Target. She needed a few things and of course I suggested we go to my favorite store. My mom is not a shopper - she hates it - she had a list and she was sticking to it. She only needed three things, a clothes rack, a lamp and some band aids - but I convinced her to let me walk quickly through the children's clothing.

SCORE!! I picked up a journal, 8 shirts (2 for each kid) and one pair of Sunday pants for Devon and spent all of $26.01 total. I don't even know what the tax rate is in Fountain Hils - I just know that they had lots of clearance. You can bet your sweet bippy that I will be visiting that famous Fountain Hills Target again!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

I never knew what was missing in my life....

until now.

These are the most glorious, fabulous, delicious things EVER!!

Chocolate and raspberries in one tiny, wonderful bag. There goes my diet.

How to rip off your Relief Society Sisters

Last night we had a "Service Auction" for our Enrichment. They passed a sign up sheet around last Sunday asking what kind of service we would like to provide. I honestly couldn't think of anything good to do. And - I knew that this was a busy week and I wouldn't be able to spend a lot of time making something. So - I decided that I could bring 10 completed Family Home Evening Packets.

I have belonged to several "Family Home Evening" groups. When my kids were younger - they were great but eventually my kids out grew the kind of Family Home Evening you can fit in a manila folder. The way the group works is similar to how my food group works - just with more people. There were 10 people in our last FHE group so every month I got 10 completed packets. We each made 10 copies of our FHE and then we traded. This last group I was in was pretty amazing - every packet had a story, game, scripture card etc.. Everything was laminated and very painstakingly produced. The problem for me was that my kids had really already outgrown it.

So I have 30 or so FHE packets that have never been opened or looked at. I went through them yesterday and pulled out 10 that I was pretty sure I wouldn't use for sharing times etc... - tied a pretty ribbon on them and took them to Enrichment. They were a highly coveted prize and people wanted them and I felt pretty good about myself.

On the table at the church was a little survey for each of us to fill out. The survey was pretty straight forward and awarded points for all of the things that you have done or took away points for naughty things. I got 10 points for arriving before the opening song, points for having family prayer and personal prayer, points for exercising that day etc... I really scored for doing something nice for my mom that day (she had come over and needed a few things), singing with my kids that day (gotta love the High School Musical 2 soundtrack) and sitting next to Theresa Jones - I earned the most points for that. One of the lines said to reward yourself 2 points for every button the person on your right is wearing. Theresa had 15 buttons! She was wearing a button down shirt and cargo pants with lots of buttons! I lost points for complaining about something, speeding and not bringing a friend but I was way ahead of most with my points.

We all got a chance to look at the things that were going to be auctioned - there was so much to choose from -photography sessions, hair cuts, home made bread, dinners, babysitting etc... And then there was this box. It was tied shut and had a little note that it contained home made Christmas cards. Now, don't judge me or think I am sacrilegious but I KNEW that this box was for me - I had a testimony of it without even knowing how many cards were in there or what they looked like. I just knew that I would use my considerable amount of points to bid on it. When it came up for auction I thought I was going to get it for a good bargain and then somebody starting bidding pretty aggressively against me. This somebody was sitting at the table with the girl who made them AND I had a feeling she knew what was in them - so I just laid it all out there. "I have 98 points" I said with confidence and she dejectedly conceded the prize.

The cards are amazing. There are 30 of them and they all have envelopes and they are all different. Everyone of them has ribbon, brads, pom poms, glitter or some other sort of doo-dad. I consider myself a card maker and I would never have put this much effort into my Christmas cards. At first I felt like I had really scored. Then I thought about those stupid FHE packets I had brought. I didn't even make them!

This morning, I am feeling so guilty. I am still feeling like I totally scored and I told the girl who made them that I was in love with her and that I wanted to kiss her right on the mouth because the cards are so beautiful - but I feel guilty at the same time.

So, I am going to do something nice for everyone who was sitting at my table - I don't know what yet, but I will think of something. But, I'm pretty sure it will not involve giving the cards back!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How do the weeks fly by so fast?

Not that I am complaining - I'm so glad that the last few weeks are over and done with. But, I really am left scratching my head and wondering where the time goes? It is such a cliche but I finally understand that old saying "the older you get, the faster time flies." All of you youngsters (you know who you are) are always trying to make me feel better for being the oldest person they know but I really am starting to embrace my almost middle age.

One of the funniest things I have read about people my age is that young people think you are too old to know what you are talking about, old people still think you are too young to know what you are talking about - but they both ask you for money. I don't think this could be any truer in my case.

So, changing the subject to the movie we saw last week, Becoming Jane. It was such a fabulous movie. I loved it - and being the Jane Austen fan that I am - I knew how it would end, but that didn't keep me from wishing for a happy ending. It wasn't a bad ending, or even a really sad ending - although I cried buckets of tears - it just wasn't a very satisfying ending. I have always loved that Jane Austen was so smart, and plucky in a time when that wasn't a very good quality in a woman. In fact, they use a quote from Jane Austen as the tag line for the movie; "A woman especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can." -Jane Austen. Anne Hathaway was so beautiful, and so convincing as Jane. It is a movie that I will have to have when it comes out on DVD.

So for my Tasty Tuesday I am posting a recipe for a cake that was popular in Jane Austen's time:

Courting Cake

This is a real summer treat and a good way of using up slightly bruised or over-ripe strawberries or making just a few go further. It was originally made in the north of England by young girls for their betrotheds, hence the name. Makes about 16 slices.


two sticks butter (room temperature)

1 cup sugar

4 eggs -beaten

1 1/2 cup flour - sifted

2 -3 Tablespoons milk

1 1/4 cup heavy cream (Bavarian or add 1/4 cup powdered sugar)

1 - 2 cups sliced strawberries

powdered sugar for sprinkling


1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Grease and line the bases of three 18 cm (7 inch) round cake tins.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour, then add enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency.

3. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, until well risen and firm to the touch. Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

4. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape. Sandwich the cakes together with the cream and the strawberries, reserving a few for decoration. Dredge the top with icing sugar and decorate with the reserved strawberries.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Odds and Ends

I haven't posted in almost a week and I know the axis of the entire earth is starting to shift - so I thought I better get some really important news out there (to save the world). I have a good excuse - I have been sick. In the last 10 days I have been through a terrible visit from my Aunt Flo (I know that is so Jr. high), a kidney stone, bad seasonal allergies that eventually turned into a sinus infection and an upper respiratory infection. But in these last ten days I have done my visiting teaching, prepared and given one sharing time, made my dinners for food group (twice), gone to Globe to pack and move my mother into her new home, helped my mom unpack, thrown away two truck loads of stuff from my mother's house, gone to two Dr.'s appointments and one orthodontist appointment, attended Courtney's first volleyball game, taught French, and done approximately 14 loads of laundry. I have taken several naps and in fact spent two full days sleeping (missing an important primary visit) but thanks to some good antibiotics and a pantry full of Gatorade and Diet Coke - I am on the mend.

My food group meeting yesterday was pretty hilarious - the week before no one said what they were going to make for the coming week. We have never had anyone even suggest anything close to what another person is doing - yet, yesterday, when we got together to trade - we had three almost identical meals. So there will be some re-purposing going on this week.

Courtney's first volleyball game was yesterday. She made the school's 7th grade team. There were almost 70 girls who tried out and 15 made it. Courtney was initially chosen as what they call a "bubble player" - or what I would call a "bench warmer". The coach told her should would probably only play when someone was gone - I kind of figured the reason she was chosen was because she is so tall and she has VERY long arms. So yesterday, I didn't expect to see her play - but she did! She was great! Her team got clobbered, they played two games and the whole thing was over in less than 30 minutes. They lost 25 - 8 and 25 - 6. They really only had one good volley the whole day. I could see the coach was very frustrated - the majority of girls on her team seemed scared of the ball so I was really proud of Corn while she was in there - she really went for every ball.

Devon is on the 7th grade flag football team. His games will be the same time as Courtney's games but I am so proud of his attitude. I told the kids that I would just have to split it up and half of the time go to Courtney's and half of the time go to Devon's games but Devon had a different take on it. He said that he has always been involved in organized sports (which is true) and that we have always attended every one of his soccer, football, baseball, and basketball games (which is true) and that I should just go to all of Courtney's games and not worry about his games. For now, I am going to do just that - it is still 110 degrees out and his games are outside - but I will go to some of his games when it cools down a little.

Morgan turned 11 on Sunday. Such a bummer to have your birthday on fast Sunday! We were supposed to be out of town for a family reunion but I was too sick to make the trip. So we were home - we went to church - then had dinner. I made her favorite dinner (spare ribs) and we had chocolate mousse for dessert (also her favorite) and she got to open some cute new outfits. She had a birthday with her friends a couple of weeks ago - it was a High School Musical party. It was a lot of fun, lots of dancing and singing, pizza and makeup. We made the invitations as backstage passes and told everyone to dress in red and white (East High colors). We turned the dining room into a dance floor/ karaoke stage and the living room in to a movie theater for the premiere of High School Musical 2.

This is getting really long - but I just have to talk a little bit about my Mom. We went up to Globe on Monday morning. My sister Susan and her husband Lyle and our brother Jeremy came up also. Her house was really a disaster - she has been having a really hard time getting rid of things. We loaded up two trailers, the back of Jeremy's Tahoe, my Mom's van and there is still so much up there. We made the trip down to my brother Lonny's new house where my mom will be living. It is in VERY north Scottsdale - it is technically county land - and pretty close to Fountain Hills. When my parents lived in Globe it was almost exactly 1 hour from my door to theirs - my mom has moved to the valley to be closer to all of us and it is almost exactly 1 hour from my door to hers. Her place is nice but I think the reality of moving her entire life into a 12 x 12 room has finally hit. There will be a lot more purging to do.

But during this last move - we inherited a full sized hospital bed (we will put it in the downstairs bedroom for company or for when my mom wants to stay over), the humongous grandfather clock that I have no idea where I am going to put, and a new t.v. which I will also put in the downstairs bedroom and move the video games in there (yippee!). I'm trying to deal with all of this new stuff that needs to be cleaned (Alan thinks our garage smells like old people) on top of the mess that is my house (one week of sick mom makes for a messy house) . Still to come in this week, all four kids to the dentist, me to the Dr. again, another volleyball game, curriculum night at the elementary school, another trip to help my mom get organized, and thank goodness tomorrow night - A GIRL'S NIGHT! I love my friends!