Month: October 2013

Halloween Grinch

Halloween Grinch

When I walked into my home this week after having attended my youngest’s Halloween program, I saw the remnants of the mummy skirt I sewed for her fifteen minutes before we had to leave that morning. Because she refused to wear the witch costume which 

My Monster Mama

My Monster Mama

  My Monster Mama loves me so, Let me tell you how I know. I was sitting in the BYU ballroom at a dinner this month, watching a “Family Home Evening” given by President and Sister Samuelson and one of their daughters and her little 

RWM: One for you, one for me

RWM: One for you, one for me

okay for now

This week I had a phone call with someone that left me in tears and feeling emotionally upset. One of my daughters asked me later on, “Are you ok?” I answered, “Okay for now.”

Which reminded me of one of my favorite books.

Okay for Now tells the story of a young man growing up in a family with an abusive father, bullying brothers, war, and disability. If you have never read a book by Gary Schmidt, this is a good place to start. Schmidt knows how to blend humor with reality and compassion, touching upon those places of the heart that can be so tender. It’s a beautiful story about friendship and hope as well as the resilience of the human spirit.

Loved it. I should read it again.

I recommend it for anyone about 12 and older, depending on the person.

And today I started a book for me.

tinkers

Tinkers, a Pullitzer prize-winning novel by Paul Harding. A friend caught me on the street and handed me a book. Just like that! A gift! It was one we had seen advertised at the library and had agreed that we both wanted to read. Neither of us could make it to the library on the advertised nights, so my friend purchased two copies: one for herself and one for me.

It came right on a day when I needed a change of thought! What a nice friend!

So here I go, diving into a new book. I just read the beginning right after I walked in the door. Lookin’ good so far.

Happy Reading,

Liz 🙂

3T: Setting the table in the morning

3T: Setting the table in the morning

Years ago I read the daily schedule of a family with six children* that started at 5:00 am. At 5:00 the children awoke, made their beds, and got dressed. In ten minutes. Miracle one. At 5:10, they had family scriptures. Very impressive. At 5:30, they 

Mmmm: Lime Meringue Tart

Mmmm: Lime Meringue Tart

Some of us don’t prefer birthday cake for our birthdays. We’d rather have pie, ice cream cake, or, ahem, Lime Meringue Tart. Nothing like a little French pastry to satisfy your birthday dessert citrus wishes. Be forewarned: You can’t whip this up like a Betty Crocker bake 

Mmmm: Finnish bread and a mission call

Mmmm: Finnish bread and a mission call

pulla

In preparation for Nate’s mission call opening tonight, I’ve been making Finnish pulla, a special sweet bread that we LOVE. (I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like pulla.) I just pulled the first three loaves out of my oven and the whole first floor smells like heaven. Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if heaven doesn’t smell a little like this.

Sigh.

The recipe we use comes from a well-loved Finnish cookbook called The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice A. Ojakangas. You can find the recipe online here until I type up my own copy. (Family members go here.)

When I went into the pantry to find the Finnish cardamom, which my wonderful cousin Sarah brought back from Finland for us, I was in a bit of a panic. It was GONE! I hurried downstairs to find one more in our food storage. Phew!

But that means I need to get some more. How to get cardamom from Finland? Now there’s a question! I googled it and finally found an online store in Finland that carries it, but it is $92.27 a bottle! Craziness! Hmm. I’ll have to keep researching that. Because cardamom from Finland really makes it delicious.

We can hardly wait for tonight! Pulla, hot spiced cider, and most importantly, FINDING OUT WHERE NATE WILL BE SERVING. I’ll be posting a video of him opening his call!

Until then,

Liz 🙂

 

RAC: Definitely not a how-to blog

RAC: Definitely not a how-to blog

I hopped in the car the other night and heard a radio interview with Melissa Ballard of Melissa Writes of Passage on the program “Thinking Aloud.” I was particularly interested since I recently read and blogged about her. The interview primarily focused on her book, Global Mom. The interviewer asked 

FF: Tag in IKEA

FF: Tag in IKEA

(Peter flying onto a bed at IKEA.) Last fall break (2012), we drove up to Salt Lake to stay in a hotel for two nights as a family. (If there’s a swimming pool, it’s a vacation.) We stopped on our way up at IKEA for 

Fire-breathing dragon cake and other simple birthday ideas

Fire-breathing dragon cake and other simple birthday ideas

OK, so the title is a little tongue-in-cheek. A dragon cake in and of itself obviously isn’t the simplest thing to do, but actually, it wasn’t the hardest, either! I found an idea online that I thought I could do, bought the few extra candy items with which to decorate it, and made it. For the most part, it looked like it was going to be a disaster, since the cake ended up being so crumbly and the icing so heavy, that it was literally falling apart as I tried to frost it. But I kept at it, making a different type of frosting that was a little thinner and easier to spread, and when it was all done, it was mostly covered. (I ran out of time and frosting, so part of the tail was not frosted. It was fine. Truly: 10 year old boys are not worried about their cake being frosted perfectly.)

The most fun part of making this cake was when we thought to stick our sparkler-type candles in the mouth to make it “fire-breathing.” The boys loved it. The only part Pete didn’t like was when his sister blew some of them out for him!

Crack me up.

Big sisters can be so annoying at times, especially when you’re a 10-year old boy trying to blow out your own fire-breathing dragon candles!

Games books

When we do parties, we don’t go crazy. I simply don’t have either time or financial resources to do it. We open up our book of games and look on the internet and pick some games that sound fun for the group that’s coming. And we may read a story book or teach a song to a younger group. And of course we plan some fun food. We keep it all short enough that we aren’t completely exhausted at the end.

Because there’s plenty of clean-up to do no matter what you plan when you have 10 or 12 whatever-year-olds running around the house and yard for two hours.

We also include as many family members helping as possible, because doing parties together makes them all the more fun.

Happy Birthdays,

Liz 🙂

P.S. Today I was reminded of how giving food fun names makes it so much more fun to eat. Peter chose “Dragons” as his theme, and for dinner, he wanted mini corn dogs. So we had “dragon eggs” (mini corn dogs), “dragon scales” (Desert Weed Potatoes), “dragon eyes” (sliced kiwi), “mixed grasses” (coleslaw), “steamed trees” (broccoli with brocooli sauce), and “dragon tongue” (a Charleston Chew candy bar to take home as a party favor).

 

Salt dough relief maps

Salt dough relief maps

(Eliza’s salt dough map a few years ago) Each time I have a child in fourth grade, I make salt dough. And each time I make it, I think I should write the recipe down somewhere. So after my sixth time making it, I’m writing