Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Traditions-Carving Pumpkins

We have a lot of traditions surrounding Halloween around here.  One of them is carving pumpkins.  As a kid, everyone seemed to carve pumpkins.  These days, I don't see them nearly as often.  We try to grow our own pumpkins, mostly because that's what we always did as kids.  Sometimes we succeed, other times, not so much.  This year, our garden produced 5: two large, two small, and one green.  The older two boys chose the two large ones, Dave and Greyson got the little ones, and I got stuck with the green one.  Here are a few picts (okay, a lot of picts) to show the transformation from pumpkin to jack-o-lantern. 
Of course, Greyson couldn't miss out.  Isn't that cute!  That pumpkin is just his size. 

He even drew his own face. 
Then, I did my best to cut where he had drawn.  This is the finished product. 

These two boys are really into their work.

Notice Chad's spoon-he does not do gunk!  His hands were perfectly clean when he was done. 

They each drew their own faces. 

And he's done.

Him too!

Chad has been on my case to carve these for weeks.  It was all I could do to hold him off this long  Hopefully, they don't mold before Halloween. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fix It Man

This kind of scene used to drive me crazy.  If you can't tell what this is, it is the insides of my washing maching laying in parts all over my kitchen. 
We have had our share of broken appliances over the years we have been married.  It used to be that whenever something new went out, I'd panic.  All I could imagine dollar signs, no doubt telling how much it would cost us. Add to that the time it would require for Dave to get it fixed and the help we'd surely need, and I was fit to be tied.  My own dad has always been very handy.  Growing up, he always fixed what needed fixed.  I knew when I married Dave that he was handy.  He can build anything.  But fixing electrical is a totally different domain.  Dave has been able to be taught at my dad's feet and has now developed this same skill.  I'm so proud to say that Dave can now take our waching maching from this . . .

To this!!!  (That first picture could really worry a person!) 

Now when something breaks, I can be calm, knowing that Dave can fix it and the cost for fixing it will probably not be all that bad.  It's pretty fun to see how excited he gets too at being able to figure things out.  This particular fix was only $30, and the repairs usually take an evening at most.  He has fixed our dryer more times than I want to name, our microwave, and who knows what else.  I guess when you commit to not live on credit, you commit to live life a different way and one of those changes for us is "doing it ourselves".  I'm sure lucky to have such a handy man.  Thanks Dave! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sick Day

Do you remember that part in Ferris Bueller's Day Off when Ferris fakes being sick by putting the thermometer to the light bulb to make the mercury raise?  Well the truth is, every time I have a child claim to need to stay home from school because he is sick, I have to question.  Not that I think he is holding the thermometer to the light, but is he just wanting to skip out on a day of school?  So hard to know. 
Chad woke up this morning saying he felt sick.  Even before he got out of his bed, he was complaining.  I had him get dressed and do his hair.  As he was tying his shoes, he looked at me and asked why I was making him put on his shoes.  He fully expected that because he felt sick, I would let him stay home.  I might even say he felt 'entitled' to stay home.  Oh, the emotions that I feel as I try to make the best decision.  I tried to coerce him into wanting to go to school by talking about it being "Fun Friday" or by reminding him that he gets to eat mashed potatoes and gravy at lunch.  He turned them both down.  I even reminded him that if he stays home, he does not get to have any friend time today.  Ultimately, I decided to let him stay home, but I told him that I'd be watching to see if I thought he felt good enough to go.  No red flags this morning.  He lounged around and read some books and watched a movie.  But at about 10:30, I loaded everyone up to run an errand.  After our errand, we stopped at a park to see the progress on an all access playground that is being built.  Aha!  Chad ran over to the toys.  He was jumping and running and we walked around the entire thing (it is pretty big).  Afterward, I told him, "Chad, I think you are acting well enough that you can go to school.  If you can run and jump, you can sit in a desk and listen."  Instantly, he is holding his tummy and sounding so pathetically awful, "But I'm sick!)"  What is a mom to do?!  I really don't want to send him if he feels awful, but a little 'I don't feel good' does not warrant staying home.  So I took him to school.  We'll see if he stays.  I feel bad.  And yet I feel bad if he stays home and he doesn't need to.  This is one of those mom battles that I just fret over, and I can't say I know that I made the right decision. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Few Fall Moments

I always anticipate that life will slow down a little with the arrival of fall.  The chaos of summer in contrast to the schedule of school starting makes me believe it will be so.  But fall seems instead to feel just as busy.  There is a garden to be harvested and canning to be done, a house to put back together after those warm summer days.  With Chad in school all day, the two younger boys and I fill our days playing together, with always a few quiet, special moments with just Tyler and I while Greyson sleeps.  A recent afternoon found us picking our first apples off our tree. 
 Here is Tyler doing his part.  We planted this tree 2 years ago and this is our first harvest.  We got about 35 apples off of this scrawny thing. 

 Once we washed them and shined them up, they looked amazing.  Most of them, we turned into applesauce, but a few we enjoyed with some homemade caramel.  We are trying to soak up the last few rays of sunshine before all of the warmth is gone.  Last week, we wore shorts on Monday and it snowed on Thursday (I was in Idaho Falls and they got about 4 inches). 
 Greyson is learning to do just what his brothers do (that is a scary thought, right?).  He found this piece of chalk the other day and took to writing on the driveway, just as he has seen his brothers do. 
He and Tyler wandered out into the sand one warm afternoon to play together before Chad got home from school.  I know they miss him when he's gone, but I love to see the two of them developing a friendship.  Tyler has always played with Chad when given the choice, and now he is being forced to give Greyson a little attention as well.  Oh how I hope their friendship will grow over the next two years before Tyler starts school.  Time seems to be passing so quickly.  I just know those two years will fly by.  And in the mean time, I'm going to savor these precious moments.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

General Conference Traditions

This past weekend was General Conference.  A fellow blogger described this event as follows, "[To]members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this is an important weekend that comes twice year. We believe our Church is a modern restoration of Christ's Church, and that includes having prophets and apostles on the earth today -- we believe that our leaders are not just inspired, not just generally good, but that they have the same calling and authority as prophets did anciently. They are not perfect men, but they are men who have the calling to speak for God, and we take that seriously."  (You can read more of her blog HERE.  I really like her stuff.) General conference is where we are able to listen to these prophets and apostles speak to us.  There is actually eight hours of speaking.  I always have such high hopes for what I will glean from it, but little children make it a challenge to hear all that was presented.  I even prepared several games and got out what we needed to build a Lego temple, but none the less, I was not able to hear all that I would have liked.  So, I now look forward to re-reading and listening to the messages again over the next few days, weeks and months. 
One of the traditions we have adopted surrounding conference is to have conference waffles.  Back in college, I was privileged to live with an aunt and uncle in Utah.  Although I was only there for a short four months, I picked up on several traditions they had and I loved.  One was conference waffles.  Each General Conference, they would prepare a meal of waffles and ice cream.  It's amazing!  Trust me.  They serve it with all kinds of toppings.  We stick mostly to fruit and peanut butter, syrup and of course, ice cream.  We eat it on Sunday usually for lunch in between conference sessions. 
This is what the set up looks like. 
Here is the finished product.  They are SO delecious! 

It is something we always look forward to and enjoy only during conference. 

Another tradition I adopted from this same wonderful aunt and uncle is to do a "girls night" during the Priesthood session of conference.  There is a special meeting on Saturday night of General Conference that is specifically for priesthood holders.  (The priesthood is the power to act in God's name.  Boys can receive the priesthood at age 12.)  So, when all of the men head off to this meeting, us girls get together to bond as well.  Sometimes, we do a craft.  Other times, we just chat.    And after the men are finished at their meeting, they head out for some bonding as well (get ice cream, dinner out, etc.).  I just love that this tradition sends a message to our boys that this is a special time and something they can look forward to (rather than dread that they have to go to one more meeting).  True, none of my boys are old enough to attend yet, but they have two older cousins who can now attend, and I know they watch them.  We talk about where daddy is going and how much fun it will be when they are able to attend and what they'll be able to do.  When my boys get old enough, I'd like to have the first priesthood session they attend be at the actual conference center in Salt Lake City where the prophet actually speaks.  I think that would also be a wonderful tradition.  (That one is the brain child of my sister-in-law.) 
I think it is such a blessing to have prophets and apostles on the earth today to speak to us and teach us what the Lord would have us know.  I love surrounding this special event with traditions to make it more memorable. 

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