May 31, 2010

Casual Blogger Conference 2010

The Casual Blogger Conference was fantastic. The best part: meeting lots of great bloggers and getting some great information.

Here are some of the cards from people I met and new blogs I now need to check out:

I also won a ton of random stuff in some drawings. Like thrice. As in my number was called three times. Yay! I love winning. It happens frequently enough that when I enter drawings I have a reasonable expectation to win something. Warning: before you are envious of such good fortune, be advised that I'm also the lucky one who gets her luggage lost when traveling on airplanes. It's happened to me at least a dozen times. Occasionally at very inconvenient moments. Though luggage is not as big of a deal as when they lose one of my children's car seats. And that's happened twice. I'm definitely one of the chosen ones. Yes!

 The not so hot side to winning all of my loot:
1. Wondering what to do with the doggy biscuits...we don't have a dog.
2. Figuring out how to get this stuff in my carry on (nope I don't check luggage if I can help it).
3. Pretty much unpacking my entire bag at the airport security screening to find the missing liquids (lotion I won and had packed at the bottom of my bag).

I'm excited to be moving into a new dimension with my blogging. I definitely need to get more organized at home and I believe I've got some new tools with which to do that.

May 28, 2010

El Mexiquense

I am currently in Utah at the Casual  Blogger Conference and loving it. Loving the people. Loving the classes. Loving Tymon's laptop. (During presentations I can check out what speakers are saying with what they've posted online while they're talking. I heart technology!)

Tonight for dinner, my pal Kim took me to her favorite Mexican restaurant, El Mexiquense in American Fork. "It's authentic," she warned. I'm okay with that. I love little taco trucks and that's the type of food I had in mind. The menu is posted on the wall and the fare is inexpensive ($27 for 7 of us to eat). They had something called a torta. In wanting to try something authentic, I ordered one. It turns out that their carne asada torta happens to be God's gift to the Salt Lake Valley. Seriously. The carne asada was tasty. The bread toasted to perfection. The avocado divine. My only complaint is that I only tasted cilantro once. And I love cilantro. But I can forgive them for that. The rest made up for it. They had this pink drink that Kim says tastes a little different every time she comes in. It was familiar to me but I don't know why.

Three shouts out to El Mexiquense. If you're in American Fork, Utah you should stop by and give your taste buds a treat. De licious!

May 26, 2010

Waiting Up

Tymon and I went to see Fiddler on the Roof tonight and the kids stayed with Nana and Bapa. I guess they didn't want to wait up for us.

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May 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Tymon!

Jocelyn just gave Tymon the best birthday present ever. I mean truly ever. I was changing her diaper and there weren't any new ones to put on her. I asked Jett to go to the garage and get a new package and Jocelyn started running around with nothing on. Then she ran over to Froggy Potty and sat down. I got up when Jett couldn't find any diapers and I noticed that Jocelyn was actually peeing in the potty. Yay!!! We did a happy dance and put some potty training panties on her. I really hope that she'll love them and want to use Froggy Potty again soon.


Happy Birthday Lover!
This photo is from last year. We were camping on Tymon's birthday...thus the hair! :D

May 22, 2010

Create Your Profile!

I just discovered that is launching an update to its website that will include personal stories and testimonies from members of the church that will answer questions that visitors are interested in.

What an amazing idea! I love it. I just made my own profile and answered a few questions. I love the idea of recording my testimony on different topics not just for those who search for truth, but for my own personal history. I'll need to come back and do more later, though. Right now I have an assignment to complete before tomorrow. Ah, why is it that I find the coolest things to do when I'm procrastinating?

May 20, 2010


At dinner last night, Graeden informed me that his bus driver would be calling me.
Me: Huh? Why?
Graeden: I don't know.

My first thought was that he'd hit someone. You know, like he does his brothers. Daily. Nope. He wouldn't admit to that. Then I thought he'd called someone a name. Poop nugget is the name of choice this week. Nope. Not that, either.
I was at a loss for what kind of trouble he got into.

So, I noticed later that a voicemail had come in. I listened to it and found out that the bus driver was driving a different bus than normal and it behaved in a little different fashion than she was accustomed to. When she started the engine, the door closed on Graeden as he was getting on. He got a little squished and a lot scared.

And today she gave him a special M&Ms baseball...hoping all is well. And I'm wondering why it is that my first thought to an authority figure wanting to call me is that my boy was naughty. My poor boy was hurt and frightened and so shy about talking to me about it. That's what I'm feeling sad about. It was a big deal to him and he couldn't tell me about it. But rather just danced around the edges of a conversation.

May 16, 2010


Usually about once or twice a week while I make dinner, Tymon leads the rest of the family in tidying up the house, taking out the garbage/recycling and setting the table. I love it when this happens. Truly. Not only because the house looks better, but because we're all working together, side by side, at the same time. I love that feeling and it rarely (if ever) happens when it's only me with the kids.

Our 6 year old next door neighbor, Dylan, invited himself over for dinner tonight. And our boys supported this decision. Rather than telling him to go home, Tymon told him that we were helping to clean up for dinner and that he could stay if he helped. And he decided to help...which actually encouraged Graeden to stop throwing a fit and help, too.

They did a marvelous job and after Elliott said a blessing on the food, Dylan wanted to pray, too. His prayer wasn't about food, though. It was all about Evan. He prayed that God would protect him and take care of him. It was truly a sweet prayer. After putting their plates in the sink, the boys ran outside to play. When Dylan's mom called him to come home, he was disappointed that he hadn't gotten dessert. 

It wasn't ready, yet. And I'm not sure he would have liked it anyway...we had roasted beets and I'm sure he was hoping for cookies. 
I originally got my boys to eat beets by telling them that their poo would turn magenta in color the next day. And that part is true. But now they like them on their own merit (well Jett's still hesitant).

May 15, 2010

Stepping Back

I'm currently preparing to teach a lesson tomorrow in church about prophets and I thought of a story from college about prophets that may fit well. So, I am now reading my journal entries of my senior year to see if I can find it and to refresh my memory on it's finer points.

I did come across a funny memory...
November 16, 2000
I laughed tonight as Brett and I dropped Erin off at home....the Carpenters were on the radio and all of a sudden just as [Erin's] about to get out, Brett starts in [singing], "Don't you remember you told me you loved me baby..." So then I joined in [with the next line] and I can just imagine what she was thinking...she laughed...
And interesting thoughts with a bit of foreshadowing, really...
December 13, 2000
I'm seriously considering taking over the driving school. (I was filling in for my parents while they were out of town and I was on my winter break from school.)
And a loss that rocked me to the core...
February 28, 2001
I just feel sick. I noticed tonight in the library that I was missing my gold Celtic ring that Kristal and I got in Inverness, Scotland. I knew that it was loose, but I never thought it would just fall off...What upsets me is how much a material possession means to me, but it really does.
March 18, 2001
I haven't seen my ring. I didn't wear any for two weeks. I was in mourning. Now I've got some silver ones on. I'll work up to putting on gold again - maybe tomorrow.
But I think the story I'm looking for is in another journal.

May 14, 2010

My Man

A couple of months ago, I was online and came across the coolest composter in existence. It can turn a pile of organic waste into dirt in the matter of two weeks. It's electric and so there is plenty of heat and an arm does the rotating every few hours. I couldn't buy it, though. It was too pricey. I needed time to really think about whether or not I needed it. I'm trying to curb my impulse buying. I did put it on my Amazon wish list, though. That way I could find it again if I decided I really did "need" it.

Now, imagine my man who wants to do something fabulous for his wife for Mother's Day. And the same ol' same ol' is, well, old. He checks out my wish list ... and... buys the only thing on it. I am surprised and delighted! Wow. Love it. Love him. 

And now we've got some compost brewing in the laundry room. My flowers are going to love it.

May 10, 2010


Sweet blotchy-faced Jocelyn
Visited the allergist
She cried
And cried
Milk-free isn't fun
Wheat-free is worse
Soy-free complicates issues
Because what is left?
Not a lot

She loves cow's milk
She hates almond milk
Breaks out bad with soy milk
Coconut milk is nice
Absolutely refuses rice milk
Loves almond milk
But only after rice milk
Goat's milk may be an alternative
But I'm not willing to pay for it
It's $4.79 for a quart
Yes a quart
Or 0.95 liters
In addition to artichokes (not really), our daily nutritional intake revolves around dairy, wheat and soy. Except not tortilla chips. Those are safe. But not so healthy. It's been 5 days and the facial rash/blotchiness is lingering. The results of her blood test (it took 4 of us to hold her down to get a vial of blood) indicated that she has antibodies for several foods. They give us clues into what we should cut from her diet. When her face clears up, I will introduce her to foods on the shiz list one at a time. And watch for a reaction.

Maybe this rash is a good thing. It says we need to keep looking for an allergen. Maybe it's the laundry soap. Or fabric softener. That would be a relief.

We made some wheat-free vegan cookies last night. I'm not sure WHY anyone would chose to live as a vegan. Wow, what a compromise in taste. Even sugar can't fix everything. Tymon had a bite of one. Then I think he then passed it off to the kids. The boys loved them. But I think it's because they haven't had very much sugar lately and lost their ability to accurately judge a good one.

Tymon is paying the boys to go without candy and treats for the rest of the year. Except for holidays. Those are free days. The boys were really excited to make cookies on Mother's Day and these were fantastic to them. We went wheat-free for Jocelyn...but she picked the cherries and chocolate chips out of them and left the rest of the cookie in Tymon's reject pile. It would have been much better with butter, I'm sure. But butter is a dairy product. Dairy is bad. This week. I hope it's okay next week. I miss it. A lot.
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May 6, 2010

I Heart Artichokes

I was a girl, maybe about 9 or 10, when I first experienced the pure delight of an artichoke. We were visiting my grandparents in California...where the greatest of the great artichokes are grown. I now recognize that my brain releases some sort of satisfaction hormone when I reach the heart. I work hard to eat my way to it. And for those last moments with me and my artichoke,  I close my eyes and smile until that last bite disappears.

In our house we refer to them as dessert. They are a huge treat. I only buy them when they are less than $1.50 each. And that doesn't happen very often. We had some jumbo ones last week. Tonight we had some medium sized ones. I steam them for 45-60 minutes (depending on their size) and then we dip the leaves in mayonnaise before scraping the flesh off with our teeth. Some people dip them in melted butter. But we're a mayonnaise family.

In college, my pal Erin and I found some little artichokes once that were 5 for a $1. We each got 5 and went and had a party with just us and them. She's a fan of melted butter.

Graeden's first 3-syllable word was artichoke. He used to give me his heart. Not anymore. He knows it's the best part.

Jocelyn will usually chew on a leaf or two, but during dinner her mind was elsewhere. Namely, with the bowl of strawberries on the counter. Wouldn't you know it....her first 3 syllable word is "strawberry".
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May 5, 2010

Hail Storm

Randomly, we had a hail storm this afternoon. It interupted a great game of Underwear Man. The boys quickly shifted gears, put on a coat and my shoes and headed outside.

Hail is pretty much like snow. The boys loved making hail balls...they're easy to make and just glide right out of your hands. It was all fun and games until the thunder started. That was scary.
How do you like my new gerber daisies? Yeah, I planted them when the sun was shining two hours prior to little ice balls pelting them.

We got cleaned up and went to Elliott's music concert at school. He sang his heart out but wouldn't give me one smile. Seriously. Not one.

May 4, 2010

Meet Danica

I got the list of exchange students coming next year and saw that one girl, Danica, is from Belgrade, Serbia. I forwarded her photo and info blurb to Jovana to ask if she knew her. Ha ha ha. Belgrade is a city of over 1.6 million people. 

Instead of laughing at such a remote possibility, Jovana confirmed that she didn't know her and then proceeded to write me the kindest letter in return.
I definitely see the year I spent with you as a “crossroad” year of my life. I believe I have changed in a good way. I could not have done it without you guys... As I think about the mission you had with me, I feel the tear go down my cheek.  I learned a lot from all of you: Tymon, Bridget, Graeden, Elliott, Jett, Evan and Jocelyn. I miss you. Your role in my life is so significant.
That’s why I think you should get another student. I know you are amazing and you can share so much experience and nice moments with others.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. And I really want you guys to be happy…
So, with Jovana's gentle persuasion, we seriously considered hosting again. The only major question was whether or not Danica liked children...because we have quite a few and that can make or break an experience. We made it a matter of prayer and then decided that we should proceed with the application process. We are now hosting again. Danica called us on Easter to introduce herself, which seems pretty gutsy to me. I'd be feeling awkward in the same position...and she was probably nervous. However, she seems very communicative and her English skills are fabulous. She'll arrive at the end of August and spend next school year with our family.

I gave Jovana Danica's phone number and Jovana called her.
We have 12 mutual friends. Isn’t that crazy. =] She lives in the neighborhood where I grew up. =] Such a coincidence. =] And my friend Marija knows her boyfriend. They attend the same faculty in Belgrade. I met him too. That’s how I heard about Danica. Marija showed me their (Danica’a and her boyfriend’s) pictures on facebook several months ago. (…)
Ok… So I have already called Danica…and we talked for about 30 minutes. She had a lot of questions. She seems nice. I will meet up with her one day next week. I will find out more about her. I told her about you guys, about the kids, school, church... There were so many things that I wanted to talk about… so I started tons of stories, and didn’t finish them. Hopefully I did not confuse her. THE MOST important thing that I found out so far is that she REALLY LOVES CHILDREN. =]
Since then they have met and Jovana gave us a full report of their 2 hour meet up. I believe that Danica will also find a special place in our home and hearts. 

And have I shared the MOST exciting event that will be happening in June??? Jovana will be coming to visit. For an entire month. AND if Lufthansa offers to give her $2000 in vouchers to be bumped on her return flight (like they did last time), she has promised to take them up on it. Yay!!!

May 2, 2010

Buckwheat Redo

Same recipe.
A little more water.
So much better.
Word on the street is that it tastes good, too.
The boys can actually have a sandwich for lunch.

May 1, 2010


"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."
-Thomas Edison

I'm not discouraged...I'm determined to learn. Learning includes changing behavior. So, WHAT am I learning? To change my behavior with my experiments.

The behavior? Putting an experiment into the bread maker late at night and then waking up to a beautiful aroma. It isn't that great when no one can truly experience the joy of a hot slice of bread. I had one good loaf in between the last one and this one. I used my coconut flour on the good loaf. I found that it gets the crumbly texture from not having enough water in the dough. This loaf has regular flour and buckwheat flour. I wanted to try this one without butter/oil, so I put in flax seed meal. Flax is an oily seed. It can be substituted for fat in pretty much any recipe and good fats are have very beneficial health benefits. What I didn't account for is that it sucks up water like coconut flour and that I should have added more water. Something I would have known had I watched the dough form. But I was asleep with the false expectation that a machine could do my work for me.

I hate to waste so much food in these experiments . . . but I have a feeling I'll need to make 99 lousy/semi-lousy loaves before I find the great one that I'm looking for.
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