Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thankful for...

I have been looking forward to Thanksgiving for some time now and for more than one reason.

Kory and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary on Thanksgiving Day this year. It's amazing to think and ponder about our life together over the past 10 years! It's fun to say that 10 years later we have 4 kids, drive a mini van and have a white picket fence. I am very thankful for my husband. I am thankful that he is such a hard worker and wants to provide for our family. I am thankful for his love and his commitment to us. I am thankful I have a husband who helps around the house and that together we are raising our family. I know he loves me for who I am and I love him!

Another reason I was looking forward to Thanksgiving this year was knowing we were going to be away from home for 4 days! We don't travel very much any more being we live close to family. It's something I don't think I'm use to quite yet. On most occasions when we go to St. George or Hurricane it's just a day trip and seems we are always rushed to get home. We had such a great time spending some time away from home. It was great to spend a few days with family. It was great to get away from our day to day life. I loved that Kory didn't have to go to work and the kids were out of school. It was great to be able to go shopping without a time limit or being rushed to get home before Kory had to be at work or the kids were out of school.

One of the biggest reasons I was looking forward to our Thanksgiving Vacation was to let the cat out of the bag. We were the last to arrive to my parents home as Kory had to work the night before. Being we were the last this worked to our advantage of announcing our latest news to everyone. When we got there this is the shirt that Brayden wore into the house.

The front of his shirt says:

Hey, Listen up!

This li'l turkey has something big to say....

The Back:

I'm going to be a big brother!

We are very excited for our newest addition to arrive. I am currently in my 11th week. My due date is June 14, 2012. This just happens to be my mother-in-laws birthday. Madelyn is hoping the baby will arrive on June 25, her birthday. I hope not! Kory's birthday is June 4. I'd be fine if baby wanted to be born that day or even June 11th as that's my father-in-laws birthday. Either way I think June is full of birthday's already.

Thanksgiving 2011

This year for Thanksgiving we were in Hurricane with my side of the family!

Each year we alternate the Thanksgiving holiday between my side of the family and Kory's. Two years ago we were in Hurricane but we were missing my brother Matt as he was serving a mission in Penn. The last time our family was complete at Thanksgiving was in 2007, 4 years ago!

I think we all had a great time being together this past weekend. Everyone stayed for a few days so the kids had plenty of time to play with their cousins and us adults had plenty of time to sit around and visit. We did the black friday shopping together, the grandkids helped Grandpa set up all his Christmas decor outside, the Daddy's and Hunter went Paint Balling and Emily's favorite part of the week was to go carolling to her GG and GG Pa's house. When you've got 13 adults and 9 grandkids singing all at once we didn't sound to bad!This is Jamie and Elena. These two were born the same year Brayden was. We call these three the triplets! Folding there arms waiting so patiently for dinner.

We had plenty of food the entire week.
My borther,Travis brought his X-Box so there was plenty of video playing done by all the boys in the family!

Grandma had a Christmas craft ready for us do with our kids.

Madelyn did one side and Emily the other. Brayden was napping at the time and Hunter was having his turn on the X-Box.

So what is this Christmas craft?

Ta da.......

A toilet seat cover!

The first thing my kids did when we got home was to put our new and only toilet seat cover on!

Good Job, Grandma. It was great craft and the girls really enjoyed it.

Thanksgiving School Play

This year at the kids school, the 2nd graders put on the Thanksgiving Play. There class performed 4 different plays about Thanksgiving during an hour long assembly. Madelyn played a few parts but her favorite was the pilgrim. Other's in her class were turkey's, indians, farmers and we even had a football coach!
This is the pilgrims crossing the ocean. You can't see Miss Madelyn as she's behind everyone else but she was there!

These are the pilgrim girls learning the ways taught by the friendly indians.

Madelyn is the child in the middle standing up.

I love my camera for outside shots but it sure stinks taking pictures inside. Unfortunatley these were the best I could share.

Madelyn had so much fun during her play. She loves dressing up, she loves speaking parts and she loves to perform. She was so cute to watch and did such a great job!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A weekend in Vegas

Two weekends ago our family made a quick trip to Vegas.

That saturday afternoon Kory and I had the priviledge of attending a VERY special sealing.

My brother, Jonathan and his wife Camille and there two children, were sealed to their newest addition to the family. Miss Mya has been apart of their family since she was born. Her birth mother abandoned her at the hospital and Jonathan and Camille became her foster parents. They brought her home from the hospital and have had her in there home for the past 13.5 months. She is so adorable. She's like a little doll!

Her adoption was finalized before a judge that thursday and then this sweet little girl was sealed to her family on Saturday! It was such a wonderful experience.

Something the sealer said to everyone in that sealing room has stuck with me during the past two weeks. It was something that I heard but really didn't think about until my mom and I started talking about it. The sealer said that before we were born we prayed for our parents.

I've never thought about that. Why wouldn't we pray for our future family?

He mentioned that before Mya was born she knew who her birth parents were going to be. She knew the situation she was going to be born into. She also knew that she COULD have the opportunity to be sealed to a righteous, loving family. The sealer believes that Mya was praying that Jonathan and Camille would find her, she prayed for them to live righteous lives so that she could be apart of there family for forever.

For the rest of us in the sealing room he said our children that have already been born to us prayed for us too. The children that have not yet joined our families are still praying for us. They want their family to be together forever in the here after. They are praying for us to remain righteous, to keep the commandments, to do everything we know we are suppose to be doing. They want to join a loving family that will be together forever!

Isn't that just the coolest thing you've ever heard?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sorenson's Pond

Last week I was able to go with Madelyn on a little "reward" field trip. Her teacher, Mrs. Sorenson, had a reading goal for each child. Those that met their goal (all but 3) were able to go. We went to Mrs. Sorenson's house where she has a little pond. The 1st thing Madelyn and I did was to make a turkey using an apple, colored marshmallows, gum drops, etc.
Here's Madelyn's turkey!There was fishing to be done...

and the most favorite part was the paddle boats!

Madelyn had a blast on these paddle boats.

I even took a turn at taking a group around the pond. It was a little harder than it looked. Those things aren't to easy to steer.

I'm so glad I went. It was great to get to know the other mom's of the class and to meet some of Madelyn's new friends. What an awsome field trip these kids had. As much as I miss certain things about our previous schools we've attended I'm pretty sure this kind of a field trip wouldn't have happened at those schools.

Self Sufficient

Before our family moved to Alton I thought about how our family would probably become a little more self sufficient. Not necesarily by choice but my neccesity living so far away from a grocery store and such. Tonight's dinner brought these thoughts back to my mind. About 98% of our dinner tonight was litterally from scratch, homemade, etc.

Tonight I made Madelyn's absolute FAVORITE meal of all time. Let me back up for just a moment.... For several weeks now we've had the opportunity
to take part in milking the family cow. We milk every saturday night. Some milkings our better than others. For instance 2 weeks ago and for a few weeks before that all we were getting was about a gallon of milk. This is not enough milk to last our family an entire week. So I've had to stock up on store bought milk. Then something happened, the past 2 weeks we've gotten more then 3 gallons on our turn milking the cow. This is great but it's been hard to drink all of our "fresh" milk plus the store bought before it goes bad. So having about 6 gallons of milk in my fridge and knowing in 2 days I may have another 3 gallons I decided I had to do something. I talked to a few sister-in-laws and decided to try my hand at making cheese. Yesterday with Emily's help we took 4 gallons of milk and made mozzarella cheese and cheese sticks, then using the left over whey we made ricotta cheese. It turned out GREAT!

So back to tonight's dinner... Our dinner consisted of store bought jumbo shells stuffed with our homemade ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese. The shells were then smothered with our homemade spaghetti sauce we put up this summer with what we reaped from our garden. Our sides for dinner was beans that we canned this summer and garlic bread using our homemade bread and dried parsley flakes we also put up this year. I did sprinkle a little garlic salt which was from the store. 98% homemade, the only 2 store bought items used in tonights meal was the shells and garlic salt. This definetly doesn't happen a lot but it's kinda neat to see the rewards from all our hard work over the past few months of gardening, canning, freezing and then yesterday spending a few hours making cheeses coming together in one meal. I was curious to hear what the kids thought of dinner not realizing it was mostly homemade. Madelyn and Hunter both thought it tasted the same. I did too. Emily and Brayden didn't have a comment and Kory will be eating our meal for lunch tommorrow. I'm anxious to hear his opinion. Overall though I thought dinner was GREAT!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


Today I'm playing blog catch up. We were gone all day saturday moving Kory's tools to his new shop and didn't notice until sunday morning when I tried going to LDS music. com that our internet was down. It is FINALLY up and running again. The company blames our recent snow activity. Yes, it did snow for almost 3 straight days in a row but we didn't get that much. I'm afraid to see what happens during the harsh winter months when we've got 4 feet on the ground, and there sattelite has who knows how much sitting in it's dish!
Our family has had chickens for a few years now. We do this mainly for the eggs. We started in Prescott Valley as something to try because we could. We had ducks and chickens at that time. It was a great learning experience for the kids. There was a little store down the street that would buy our extra eggs for $3 a dozen. As long as the kids kept up with there chore of taking care of our friendly fowls they could keep the money. They loved this.
When we moved to Utah we gave our chickens to our best friends.
When we moved to our new home we found a chicken coop already installed in the barn in our back yard. We found ourselves more chickens and have continued to have all the eggs we can get. Living in such a remote area I quickly realized that cereal/milk was going to be WAY to expensive to eat as often as we were use to. I'm not doing coupons anymore and not having any stores around to compare prices with each other just wasn't working. We decided to do away with cold cereal! We got more chickens to give us more eggs for more wholesome breakfasts.
Several weeks ago a few of our chickens got sick and died. We were left with 7. Last friday morning Hunter went out to feed his chickens and discovered a neighbors dog in the coop with a chicken hanging out of his mouth. Hunter "kicked" the dog out of the coop. Unfortunately the dang dog got to 4 of our chickens. Yesterday, Hunter and Madelyn again went out to feed his chickens to discover our last 3 chickens had been killed. Madelyn was in tears. She was so upset that those dogs got to her chickens. And so we now have no more chickens!
It's not exactly the season to buy chickens and so we hope to do things a little different come feb. Kory's brother has an incubater he is willing to loan us and we are going to hatch ourselves our very own chickens. What an experience that's going to be!

Our 1st Snow Fall

Is it possible to be tired of the snow already?

It started snowing at our house late saturday night. We woke up Sunday morning to it still snowing, we went to church while it was snowing, we came home from church while it was snowing. I went V.T later that afternoon as it still continued to snow. We went to bed that night to it snowing. The kids got up for school monday suprised to see it STILL snowing. When they got home from school it was still snowing and didn't STOP until tuesday mid morning.

It was a cold 3 days and I'm pretty thankful for all the wood we've got sitting on our porch just waiting to heat up our house for us. During a brief snow fall stop on monday the 2 younger ones wanted to go out to play. Emily's 1st thing to do in the snow was of course to eat it. Brayden came to me tattling that Emily was eating gross stuff. I told him that it was O.K to eat the snow. This was his reaction....
Really mom, I can eat this stuff????

and so he did...

We were given a swing set before we moved here and what a blessing it has been. Emily and Brayden go out to play on it daily. I wondered if they'd still play during our winter months and I suppose the snow didn't deter them. They still had fun.

When the big kids got home from school they decided to play during another brief, lack of snow fall.

The snow was never coming down really really hard it was just a constant light snow fall. After almost 3 days of snowing we only got about 4 inches. When I knew we were moving up here I started looking for snow boots at D.I. I was pretty blessed to find each of the kids some boots and only payed $3-5 a pair.

It's been pretty sunny since the snow fall stopped and lucky for me has started to melt a lot already. I don't know what is worse. Fresh white snow all over my tile floors that quickly turns to little puddles that no one BUT mom seems to notice to clean up or the now brown, muddy slush all over my floors. As cold as our house gets thanks to all the tile flooring, I am thankful for the somewhat easy clean up I have.
I'm not ready for the daily mopping up of snow!

I am definetly going to start some new rules about shoes being taken off at the door, regardless of the amount of time being spent inside before going back out.

Bragging Rights

I've been a little concerned about the kids new elementary school they are attending. Many people have asked about the scores of the over all school? On the same note I've also been told that the scores aren't very good and the school is one of the worst in the state of Utah.


Besides choosing to home school we don't have any other choice than the school they are already going to. My kids don't need to attend the best school possible but at the same time I don't want them attending a "not so good" school and not being taught the things they should be learning.

I've been doing a little research online to come to my own conclusions. Valley Elementary is NOT as bad as I was being led to believe it was. On several UT websites I found there are a total of 496 elementary schools. Ranking #1 as the best and #496 as the worst our current school's ranked at #121. The school they attended last year was ranked #222. The schools are ranked by the states test scores. So each year a school can go up or down on the ranking level.A little while ago I had parent/teacher conferences other wise known as SEP's.

Both SEP'S went extremely well. I'm going to excersise my bragging rights and brag about Madelyn for a minute....

At the begninning of the year the kids are given a reading test to decide their reading level. Madelyn is in 2nd grade and scored a 3rd grade reading level. She was also tested on vocab. She once again scored a 3.2 which is 3rd grade 2nd month. There is another test coming up next month and her teacher thought she'd probably score at least a 4 which would be 4th grade.

At the end of our appointment her teacher said she'd love to clone Madeyln about 22 times. It would make her job as a teacher much easier. What an awsome compliment for this mama.

Good Job Madelyn.

It's Hunter's turn for a little bragging now....

At the beginning of the year Hunter was given a reading/vocab/comprehension test. He to will be tested again at the beginning of the new year. His teacher told me his scores were off the charts! What does that mean???? The average score for the reading test that was given was a 17. She asked me to guess what Hunter's score was. Ummmmmm? Maybe a 50 (you know off the charts right?) She replied, yeah NO! He scored 147! Good grief. She told me she thought maybe he was just a good guesser until she looked at the rest of his scores. For vocab. he scored, drum roll please.......

7.2 what's that????

Seventh grade 2nd month!

His comprehension was a 6.8, sixth grade 8th month.

Apparently it's pretty common for the comprehension score to be a little lower then the reading level. She too mentioned what a great kid Hunter is. He's always quiet, never speaks out of turn, is quick to raise his hand, and is just an overall joy to have in class. She wishes others would act more like him.

What can I say? I left the school pretty proud of my kids.

These scores are what prompted my research into there school. It's a little unsettling to know that there scores where as high as they were and no one else in there class was that high.

It made me wonder if we were now attending a "dumb" school. The school's scores aren't terrible. Kory and I have decided neither one of us is ready to home school so we'll just keep pushing the kids to do the best they can and try to challenge them a little more from home.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween 2011

I absolutely LOVE halloween.

I love the "fall" weather, the costumes, the friends, the parties, the candy, the trick-or-treating door to door and most especially the normal meals that I can turn into a "Halloweenish" meal. My kids really love the candy of course along with all the parties we end up going to. While trick-or-treating they look at everyone elses costumes and try picking one that they want to be for the following year. What can I say, Our family really enjoys Halloween!

This year something happened and I can't quite put a finger on it cause' I'm thinkin' it was a lot of little things that all added up. Anyway, somehow I think our family became the "scrooge" of Halloween this year. It all started the beginning of October when we pulled out our 3 huge tote buckets full of our Halloween decorations. It's always hard the 1st year in a new house trying to figure out where to put everything but this time we really failed! Real quickly we realized we had almost NOWHERE to put anything. We don't have any shelves, our piano top that we've used in the past is in my bedroom so that was out, we also no longer have an enterainment center. All we had this year was 2 small black tables that I have sitting between our couches. The kids were quite disapointed with the lack of decor we used this year.

One of our traditions that we've had for many years is a Halloween Party at our house. The party just didn't happen this year. Of the 3 weekends we had we were out of town for 2 of them. Needless to say it just didn't work. Usually we end up going to a ward halloween party each year but apparently our current ward doesn't have a halloween party! Every year I love turning ordinary meals into something a little ghoulish. This year I didn't make a single one! I'm shocked at myself. What the heck??? I have been very busy these past few weeks with my school midterm and working 2x a week. The flu bug has also landed in our current town and has left many of us with diahria and throwing up. Just not fun around the holiday's.

So yesterday at school the kids were suppose to dress up for Halloween. This little guy must not have felt well cause he went to school REFUSING to wear a costume! He was the only one in his entire class not in costume. I'd be mortified being the single man out but it didn't seem to phase him. When he got home from school he asked if I'd take everyone down to Hurricane/St. George for trick-or-treating. Not wanting a 4 hour commute for a 2 hour trick-or-treating I refused to do it. So then he asked if I'd take him to Orderville (a near by town) I again said no, he then wanted me to take him to Glendale (a even nearer town) and of course I said no. He wanted to leave our little town because he thought there wasn't enough houses for trick-or-treating. I though we should stick around and give it a try. And so we did.

Hunter went as Darth Maul but refused to let me paint his face. He decided to change his costume to "the unknown phantom" instead!
Madelyn loved her costume! She was a new Winter Barbie in a box. A collectors item, right?

As I mentioned on an earilier blog I was hoping Emily would be something most little 5 year old girls would want to be. You know like a butterfly, a fairy, a princess but NO WAY. She insisted on being Alecia who is Diego's big sister. She wore her green pants with a vest and click around her neck. She insisted on leaving her hair down too cause that's how Alicia wears it. Over all her costume worked and she did look pretty cute in the end.

Brayden went as Diego! He refused to hold his bag for the picture.

Seriously, we should have done what Hunter had asked me to do. We should have left our little town and gone somewhere else. The kids and I started off walking up our street (Kory had to work being he's on the night shift). We were able to hit all 4 houses on our street. We turned the corner and came back down hitting 5 more houses. During the hour it took us to walk around our rather large block we didn't see a single person doing there trick-or-treating and the majority of the houses we got to, no one was home. There was a bowl of candy left on the porch to pick from. Frankly it was kinda boring and lonely! I couldn't believe we hadn't seen a single person out trick-or-treating at 7:00 at night. When we got close to our house a sister-in-law was driving by. Apparently the way people go trick-or-treating in our new little town is to have mom or dad drive the kids door to door.


Being the wind was starting to pick up and the temerature was starting to drop I loaded the kids in the van and finished our trick-or-treating for the night by me driving them. I am so glad I did too. There were only 6 other houses that had there porch lights on that we were able to stop at. Hunter was just beside himself thinking he only got to go to 15 houses!

Sorry kiddo!

The kids, and me too, were quite disapointed at the lack of people on the streets. The lack of community gathering that his holiday can bring. I loved talking to other parents as we watched our kids tentatively walk up to a spoooky house. Even though I really never liked the "trunk-or-treating" we had in AZ that our ward ALWAYS participated in, that would have been better than what we had this year. I'm thinking next year we'll head on down to Grandma's house to have ourselves a halloweenish good time. The kids can just skip school the next day!