Friday, December 28, 2007

Book Review: A Train to Potevka

A Train to Potevka by Mike Ramsdell
My dad suggested that I read this book. It is about a CIA Agent who served some time in Russia and his experiences. It was very interesting and definitely written from a man's perspective. I would have no desire to live the life that he has. His experiences in Russia are very trying and give him a real opportunity at self evaluation. Mike lives a very exciting life, I believe that the secret service deals with many things that we never even hear about and keep us safe taking care of the type of jobs that no one wants to know exist. Our nation has so many wonderful freedoms and to maintain those takes much work. Many of us take this for granted. I appreciated learning a little more about what takes to keep our freedom. Life here in the United States is really good.

Merry Christmas

Our family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas here in St George. We were not able to enjoy the snow that so many did this year but we enjoyed the spirit of the holiday season! We were all spoiled by the many gifts and notes that people sent our way. It was a blast for the children and exciting for Mr. A and me to see their pleasure! Christmas morning was a little struggle for everyone to wake up but as soon as they got started opening presents they were thrilled!
Mr. A got a leather jacket for Christmas and tried a little Fonz move to see how "cool" he was!
He is so goofy!

Bella and I are next to our beautiful short tree!
Our tree is short and usually crammed in the corner with the couches blocking the little ones from knocking it over. We have spent many Christmas times cleaning up a knocked down Christmas tree and this short tree seems to work perfect for us!

The kids went the the Bear Mill and made Jack-Jack this little puppy dog dressed in a super hero costume! It was a very fun project for them and they were excited to see his reaction Christmas morning.

Bella is all dolled up in her fun Christmas accessories!

Notice Rex and his new Elmo! He was so excited from the moment he saw Elmo's feet! Thanks to Grandpa & Grandma A for the larger than life Elmo,
he'll be Rex's best pal for many adventures!

Obi loves Star Wars and Transformers. He was spoiled with lots of Star Wars & Transformers!

All the candy!!!
My dad prepared a wonderful Christmas morning breakfast at their house and lots of presents! It is very nice to have family so close especially during the holidays! All the kids were extra spoiled by Grandpa & Grandma B this Christmas, I think they out did Santa Clause this year!

Jack-Jack is so COOL!
We hope you all had a wonderful holiday!
We most certainly did and love the spirit of the holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Newsletter 2007

Dear Family & Friends,

Due to the inevitable passing of our beloved computer printer, we will be sending out our Christmas newsletter email style. We apologize to those of whom this may be an inconvenience; our printer stopped all progress about two weeks ago. Well, here goes...

This year has been quite a blessing for our family! We welcomed a beautiful baby boy, Jack-Jack, January 29. He has been a wonderful addition. He has even started walking early as he is ambitious to keep up with his brothers and sister. Jack-Jack is a great little guy with a hug and smile for anyone he meets. He loves his big brothers and sister. Right now he is very into climbing and walking, TROUBLE!!! He likes to play in water, follow his brothers around and sit with his sister to hear a story. Jack-Jack is truly a gift from God. Little babies bring a spirit in the home that cannot be found anywhere else.

Rex is 2 years old and keeps us all on our toes! He loves to wrestle with his brothers, tease his big sister and get into everything possible. Rex loves Elmo, horses, his family, playing in the dirt, jumping off anything over 3 feet tall and being rather mischievous. He has learned to be very independent but still wants to sleep with Daddy & Mommy when the monsters are hiding in his closet! We love him and all his energy! Rex is learning to talk very well. His primary teachers are enjoying the earful they get every Sunday. He speaks very clearly and has lots to say. Everyone needs to hear one of his songs. Mr. A is our ward choir director and Mr. A has gone a few times, he now sings song about everything from what he is eating to what is playing on the radio. He especially likes to hear "Here comes Santa Clause!" He is at the stage when Christmas finally gains that excitement that gives you goose bumps and twinkles in all the little children's eyes!

Obi is 4 years old! He started preschool at DSC in August and has been thoroughly enjoying the experience. His little neighbor, carpools to and from school with him. He has learned a lot both in ABCs, 123s and how to make friends. He has always been very into structured environments, but change is very hard on him. He seems to adjust well since he began preschool. He will be starting kindergarten in the Fall and is very excited to be a big boy! Obi is a very playful child, he loves to play outside, ride his bike & scooter, run around, wrestle with his Dad and brothers, pretend and just be a kid! He is such a fun little guy and very loving. He loves being a big brother and looks up to his sister. He asked Santa Clause to bring him Star Wars guys and a girl for Bella to play with. Obi is thrilled for Christmas and is already trying to sneak a peak at the presents!

Bella is 6 years old and in 1st Grade. She loves to read, write stories, and especially draw! Her teacher says that she is on a 2nd grade reading level and an excellent artist. She comes home and creates pictures and stories almost everyday. Bella has a great imagination and catches onto everything. She has become quite the mama hen and helps Mommy with her little brothers all the time. She loves to be independent! Bella is our little princess and more so every time that she gets a new brother! She is hoping for a sister one of these days but wouldn't trade her brothers for the world! Bella is very creative and is starting to help with projects around the house. She is a very smart and good girl!

Mrs. A is busy in the home with four children. She longs for a home of their own but makes due in our town home. She loves to cook, stitch, read, take pictures of her children, and decorate. Our home has been blessed by our experiences. We enjoy homemade bread, a clean, peaceful home, healthy, happy children and a calm atmosphere in our home! Life has had many trials for our family this past year with our housing (our town home has been up for sale since this past March) and job (Mr. A was laid off his second employment) but the Lord has blessed us immensely. As long as we follow the guidance of our prophet we are blessed.

Mr. A is busy with work! Teaching his third year of school has been a very good but trying experience! He has his very own computer lab which he loves immensely. If he just had enough computers for all the students things would run a lot smoother. This past year he was out several computers in his lab due to some computer malfunctions and a few more students than anticipated. Now that all that is taken care of he can get back to focusing on the teaching aspects of his job. Mr. A had been working for a small financial company who underwent some financial turbulence and couldn't continue his employment. It was quite a let down but we were able to find another job in a very short amount of time. He now spends his evenings working for Infowest, an Internet provider here in St George. It has given him the opportunity to learn some new things and keep his mind very busy. He really enjoys this new opportunity! He is away from the wife and kids more than he would like to be but for now this works for our family, especially when we get to play together on Saturdays!

Our family has seen the Lord's hand in our lives. We know that he is aware of our needs and provides us with the things that we seek after. Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate our Saviour's birth. He has blessed our lives with his grace! Always keep the spirit of Christmas in your hearts. We love you all and are mindful of you. Hug your kids a little tighter and remember the reason for the season!

We send you warm holiday wishes,
Our Family

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Switchback Grille

Switchback Grille & Trading Company, Inc.
1149 South Zion Park Blvd. Springdale, Utah 84767
(435) 772-3700

Mr. A's work Christmas party for Infowest took us out the Switchback Grille. It is located in Springdale, just outside of Zion's National Park. It was a very nice gathering and the people were very nice. We had a wonderful evening without any kids. Thanks to my sisters. Mr. A ordered us Prime Rib thinking it was more like ribs but it was still very good. I am personally not into much red meat and haven't really acquired much of a taste for it so the turkey dinner looked a little better. Like the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. He did order a New York Cheesecake that was quite good. It was a very good night and fun to just be us, not just the parents of four small children!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Recipes: Barbecue Beef Filled Biscuits

1/2 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/3 cup Barbecue Sauce
1 can biscuit mix
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese

BROWN meat in medium skillet; drain. Add green pepper; cook and stir 5 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender. Remove from heat. Add carrots and barbecue sauce; mix well. SEPARATE biscuits. Press 1 biscuit onto bottom and up side of each of 8 medium muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. (See Note below for what to do with remaining 2 refrigerated biscuits.) SPOON meat-vegetable mixture evenly into biscuit cups, pressing filling into cups with back of spoon. (Filling will be mounded.) BAKE at 375°F for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Continue baking 3 to 4 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and cheese is melted.
By Kraft Foods

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Book Review: Fast Track to Heaven

Okay, so if your looking for a little laugh and want to laugh at your silliness read this book. I thoroughly enjoyed Lynn Jaynes honesty. Being a mother is a never ending job that entails lots of patience and plenty of humor! This book helped me to learn a little about laughing at myself and seeing that the gospel can be incorporated in my life at all times.

"I believe that all of us are children of God. Due to divine heritage and through no effort of our own, we have inherent worth that we may not even be able to feel or see, but that doesn't mean we don't have it. Perhaps our life's journey is to discover it. Perhaps it is just to have the faith that it is there. Trust me on this one."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Brothers are trouble

Bella had a little run in with Jack-Jack! She went to pick him up while I was unavailable and ended up getting her tooth knocked out! It was already loose but he helped finish the job with a small punch to the mouth. Boys are so rough! The funny thing was that she seemed really excited to finally loose the tooth. She wasn't upset with Jack-Jack at all.

This morning Mr. A put up all of our Christmas lights. Jack-Jack wanted to see what we were doing and was still in his pjs so I wrapped him up inside my coat and let him visit Daddy outside. He also wore my hat to keep his little head warm. Isn't he just so cute!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Birthday Bash

Mr. A decided that he was going to make my birthday extra special this year. I woke up to breakfast in bed with flowers! Later on my mom called and asked to go to an early dinner with the kids. How was I to know that she was keeping me away from the house while Mr. A pulled together a small surprise party! I entered the door and immediately was surprised with a crown and all!
Bella with Mommy, doesn't she look so cute in her little dress! She had helped her dad with the breakfast and a card! Mr. A also made a picture of each of the kids and had them color and sign the mat that went with it! The pictures are on the left side of the blog for your enjoyment!
Rex waiting for cake

Rex, Grandma B, and Mrs. A

My nephew and brother more enthralled with balloons than anything else!

My little brother enjoying the cheese!

Cutting the cake!

My nephew having fun in the activity center!

Hello Jack-Jack!

The kids waiting for some more cake!

Mom and Grandpa B slipping on the rug

A little elfing around A few weeks ago Mr. A was playing on the computer during his little breaks and found this fun little activity! Another teacher had taken and elfed the administrators at the high school. It is quite easy to do. You take a few pictures of family/friends 4 at the most, then change them to elves with a little help from the computer and you'll have some dancing elves. Here is our kids all done up!

Book Review: Pride & Prejudice

So, last night I finished reading Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. It was a wonderful book with so much life and quirks. It was highly entertaining! I borrowed the movie Pride & Prejudice starring Keira Knightley from the library. We all sat down and watched it after lunch. The boys lost their patience about 5 minutes into it but I sat through the whole thing. I would have to say that the BBC version is my most favorite. The one that I watched today left much for the viewer to wonder about. It seemed to jump to extremely which the other one which is 4 hours longer seems to cover. Surprise! Jane Austen is a highly talented writer and I have enjoyed many of her works.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Santa Clause is coming to town!

We took our kids to see Santa and the only one that seemed to be okay with the whole thing was the baby! Obi & Rex were bawling and Bella was pulling away! Santa pictures are always so much fun! I cannot remember why we always make them sit on some strange man's lap and insists on a picture, they all seem to wonder what we were thinking! LOL! I guess they owe it to us for all the great presents they get from Santa!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Thanksgiving Break

Happy Thanksgiving to all! We had a very eventful weekend. It started with early out on Wednesday, which turned into a big party out at the playground for the kids. It was plenty warm outside for the kids to run around. As you can tell from the picture they did need jackets but that's pretty good for November.
Here is Rex and Jack-Jack playing on the basketball court. Jack-Jack loves to run around with his walker! Rex is a bit camera shy but he'll give me a half smile.

Here is Bella & Obi just hanging out with their friends! Obi is wearing his Halloween costume because it has become his favorite new outfit to wear around. Isn't he just so cool!

Here is a picture of all the kids in "all their glory!" Rex has decided that being "nated" is so much fun especially when mommy chases him around the house trying to put clothes on him before the home teachers come! Obi as always doesn't think wearing a shirt is for any place except the outdoors! Jack-Jack loves to climb our stairs, he just hasn't figured out how to get down yet. His favorite thing is to get up on the couch or one a the beds and then dive off. The result isn't always what he thought it would be but he won't try it anyother way and gets mad at Daddy for trying to help him!

Obi's preschool class made turkey hats for Thanksgiving. Mr. A wore it throughout all of Wednesday at the high school. Obi wore it long enough to take a couple pictures but then wasn't all that interested.

My mom is always big on the presentation of the meal. I figure its just food so let's eat but my SIL had to learn how to set a table were everyone has 3 plates, one bowl, and lots of silverware! Holiday magic! LOL! It just ends up being a whole lot of dishes, thanks to the inventor of the dishwasher, Josephine Garis Cochran! You knew it had to be a woman.

Grandma B let Jack-Jack have some chocolate pie until his little belly was content! He made a huge mess of himself but was all grins about the chocolate! I want a lick! HAHAHA.

On Friday morning Mr. A went to the Black Friday with the family at 4am to make sure he got all the deals. It is one of his favorite holiday things (I have never even attempted the crowds, they make me nervous!) He raced a lady down the isles to get the last two razor scooters but showed chivalry toward the end and let her go first. She took them both! A very Christmas spirited event I think not! Our friends stopped by for a short visit which was nice. The kids enjoyed an excuse to go outside. They weren't able to stay long but we appreciated that they came anyway!

Saturday we watched the Utes lose to BYU for the 2nd year in a row! It was a mighty pointless game, both teams only had a few field goals until the last 2 minutes of the game. The Utes scored the first touch down with about 2 minutes left and then BYU scored two touch downs. It was rather pathetic! Later on we all went out the Madrin Buffet. As we were leaving a bus came carrying 47 passengers to dine there. Poor guys! We set up the Christmas tree and decorations that evening. The kids got to bed rather late but we made it to church in the morning, a little ornerier than usual but still there. Hope you all had a rather fun and eventful weekend as now things have to be back to normal until Christmas break!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Activity Days: Mini Pies

We had Activity Days last night. I taught the girls how to make mini apple pies. They seemed to enjoy themselves and they had fun pies to take home!

Mini Apple Pies
Makes: 3 mini pies 2 servings each. Prep: 20 minutes
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

4 apples, peeled, cored and diced (4 cups)
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp sugar
4 1/2 tsp Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Pinch Ground Cloves
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 box piecrust mix or 1 recipe double pie crust
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp milk

1. Heat oven 400. In large bowl, combine apple pieces, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, cloves and lemon juice. Toss to combine; set aside.
2. Prepare piecrust as directed, adding remaining 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll out 3 pieces to 7-inch circles. Fit into three 5-inch ceramic pie plates (we used pot pie pans). Roll out remaining dough to three 6 1/2-inch circles.
3. Divide apple mixture evenly among pie plates, about a generous 1 cup per pie plate. Cut butter into 3 pieces and place 1 piece on top of filling in each dish. Top with rolled-out doughs, and crimp edges to seal. Cut a few vent holes in each. Brush all crust with milk, and sprinkle each with 1/2 tsp sugar.
4. Bake pies at 400 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350; bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden. Cool on racks for 20 minutes before serving.

It took long enough with 7 girls that we ended up sending them home with instructions for baking. Hopefully they enjoy their homemade pies!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Book Reviews: First Day of Forever and The Reunion

I just finished reading two of Jack Weyland's books, they are both out of print but I was lucky enough to get them from our library here in St George. First, I read First day of forever, it is a compilation of many of Jack Weyland's short stories written for the New Era several years back. They were heartwarming and focused on missionary work at different phases of relationships. I enjoyed the read. Second, I read The Reunion, which is a novel about a bishop who is headed to his 20 year high school reunion. The book makes you realize how much a man has to sacrifice for his religion when called upon to serve in such a demanding calling as a bishop would be. I found new respect for our bishop and thoroughly enjoyed the added humor that Mr. Weyland used. In one part the bishop through many phone calls one evening receives an anonymous call asking his favorite color, he answers the color green. The call ends abruptly. Later on in the story he calls his neighbor and asks about his home to make sure it wasn't broken into. The neighbor gets back on the phone to tell him that the priest and laurel group had painted the house "garden hose green" as a service project!!! It was very fun!

Family Photo Session

Well we took our kids to Sears Portrait studios here in St. George to get our family picture taken. It is so hard to get everyone to work together on the whole thing. The assistant to the photographer gave up on the kids half way through the shoot because the kids weren't really interested in blowing a cake off her head! I do believe I would be much better at taking pictures than most of these girls we pay to do it. When I took Jack-Jack in to get his blessing pictures at the same place, the lady kept making this high pitched squeal and he would start bawling. Do they not see that if it is bothering the child: DO NOT DO IT AGAIN!!!

The pictures turned out okay as you can see but I really liked getting our pictures taken at JC Penney's before and they don't have one down here. I guess we'll just have to pay someone with a little bit of talent a few extra dollars and get what I want next time. Sorry to anyone who may actually be working at Sears Portraits, I just don't like this one here I haven't gotten very good service for the past two years. Fortunately, my smile savers expires next month. Maybe I'll just take them myself or ask a friend of mine.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Guess who is walking

Our little Jack-Jack went in for his 9 month appointment this past week. He is by far my heaviest baby at 20 lbs 10 oz! Also, he decided that instead of just being my heaviest he also wanted to be the earliest to walk... yeah, you heard that right! He has taken 5 steps! He is a little ways from running around the house just yet but at 9 months old he's definitely my youngest to try it. I think I'm in trouble!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Stake Conference

We just attended stake conference today. It was broadcast to 77 stakes in the Eastern & Southern Utah areas. We were pleased to hear from Elder Holland and President Hinckley. It was a very encouraging meeting with emphasis given in enduring, and missionary work.

The prophet President Hinckley went another route. He talked of the importance of a happy marriage. He started by saying that we need to "Enjoy the journey...hand in hand." President Hinckley addressed the four cornerstones of a happy marriage: mutual respect, a soft answer, counseling together in finances, and building your home. First, mutual respect is to respect our differences. To look for virtues rather than vices. Second, speak with a soft voice. Soft answers turn away wrath. Quiet talk is the language of love, the language of peace, the language of God. The voice of heaven speaks to us through the still small voice. Third, finances are the root of many troubles in marriage. Husbands and wives need to counsel together in regards to their finances. If they share this burden it will bless their home. Fourth, it is our responsibility to build our home. We need to join together in family prayer and scriptures. Unite our family in the gospel. The meeting left us with a good spirit and goals to work on. It is always such a blessing to be able to hear the words of a living prophet. Like a brethern said at the start of the meeting. A living prophet can teach us things that God wants us to know now. To focus on us as a people in this day and age.