Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Couple disagreeance

Not really a disagreement, so that's why I'm calling it a "disagreeance." Which, yes, I know is not a word.

I, Lisa, say that there is something wrong with the washing machine and it is shrinking all the kids' clothing.

Cody says that the kids are getting bigger.

Please, please agree with me!

"The Weather!...very peculiar..."

I have seen some mighty crazy weather in my days. I grew up in North Dakota. It would snow sideways... there were ice storms that blanketed everything in a solid half inch of ice...negative thirty degrees and windchills of negative sixty... ground blizzards... drifts of snow that touched the rafters of the houses thunderstorms with lightning so rapid that it sounded like standing next to a jet engine... tornadoes... wind so strong you could lean into it at a 45 degree angle and not fall over... But I gotta say, this was some of the weirdest weather I have ever, ever witnessed.

It rained mud. Not rain. Mud. Big huge drops of mud. Every window, every car, everything in our town has been coated in this mud. I think what happened is as the storm system was coming in, wind kicked up a lot of dust and dirt from the empty, dry fields around here. Then, the rain grabbed some on its way down. Hence, a mucky, nasty mess. Just look at our black Honda Civic. I drove to the chiropractor this morning with the windows down because I couldn't see out.

Right now it is snowy/rainy out, so we won't be able to wash anything until the weather warms a little again. I probably should have washed it on Monday when it was sunny and sixty degrees out. Whoops.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Learning to help OR Child Labor?

When I was an early teenager, I accused my parents of child abuse. They were making me haul dirt from the driveway to the backyard garden. I didn't like the sound of the shovel scraping on the cement driveway *shudder*. In a futile attempt to get out of the work, I think I even threatened to call the cops. Of course, I've always been too big of a chicken to make good on my threats. But now that I'm a mom, I'm already doing it to my children:

Though, in my defense, Lee and Annalisa were merely playing in the remaining snow (and don't be fooled, it was about 60 degrees outside when they were out there with no coats), and they ADORE helping put away dishes. Anna cries if she doesn't get to help.

Monday, March 29, 2010


C'mon Mom, I saw this tub here, full of water and toys and my brother Lee. What'dya think I was gonna do?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Customer review: 2 new TV shows

Alright alright alright...I will admit I am a TV junkie. Not THAT bad...I just have a few TV shows (about 1 a day) that I really like to watch. TV is sort of my escape and my way of winding down. I love to cuddle with Cody on the couch and he strokes my hair and plays computer while I watch my silly shows.

But there are 2 new shows, which just started last Sunday, that we really enjoyed.

1) Life. It is simulcasted on Discovery and its affiliates on Sunday evenings. We TiVo'd it and watched it on Monday. Very good. Probably would be better in HD. It is an 11 part miniseries that took 3 years to film. If you like the animal documentary type shows, than you will love this one.

2) Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Cody already really likes TV Chef Jamie Oliver, so we set up a season recording for this one as soon as we could. Jamie Oliver takes on Huntington, VA, in an attempt to help the most unhealthy city in America. The first episode was all about the resistance he is meeting--the episode starts with a Radio interview and the host just berating Jamie for trying to come in and change things. The host, who is probably thirty pounds overweight, says things like "There's nothin' wrong with the way we do things!" and "We don't wanna sit around eatin' lettuce all day!" and "I don't think you're gonna do a thing. We like the way we live, and that's that." After watching this show, you'll never look at chicken nuggets the same way again. I also loved the part where Jamie Oliver shows the list of ingredients in the school lunch hamburgers and asks if they know what all those are. The cook retorts hotly, "Ground beef! First ingredient!" One is left to wonder, Shouldn't it be ground beef, ONLY ingredient?

Why-oh dat

One of Annalisa's first words was actually a piece of a song. She started talking shortly after her first birthday, which was around Halloween. We sang Halloween songs to Lee and Anna picked one up--"Halloween Cat." The words are simple:

Halloween cat,
Halloween cat,
Why oh why do you yowl like that?

Anna started singing "why oh why oh why oh" on a regular basis. She still does. Yesterday she added some more to her song. Lee thinks it's hilarious. I have to agree with him.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Cereal Killer

Let me premise: I am not a big cereal eater. When I was in high school and had to leave the house at six in the morning for Seminary, I would still wake up just a tad early to cook myself breakfast. Given the choice between a bowl of cereal and nearly anything, I will choose the nearly anything. For breakfasts, I usually have toast, yogurt, eggs, or some other kind of breakfasty food. Not cereal.

Now, there are a few types of cereal that I actually like. Just a few. Since our kids are on the WIC program, we get some cereal on the vouchers. There are two WIC approved cereals that I like, so I usually buy those. But recently, Cody has requested some more variety. So I've been buying the cereals that are less than appealing to me, which Cody and the kids eat almost every morning for breakfast (*Cody is typically in charge of the kids the first hour of the day. I get up, eat my breakfast, and go exercise for the first hour. Cody usually gets the kids fed and dressed. Then I come home and take over the kiddos for the rest of the day).

So here we are, with only Rice Krispies and Chex (neither are my favorite to eat straight up...great to cook with, I like Rice Krispie treats and Chex mix) in the house. It was my birthday, and Cody's sister Raychel gave me a box of cereal. Amazingly, it was a type I really like! I was super excited the next morning to have a bowl of cereal. I savored every bite. I carefully closed the box up and stowed it away, already looking forward to the next morning.

I came back from my exercise and post-exercise shower to find the kids, stuffed to the brim with--you guessed it--my favorite cereal. And Cody polishing off his third gigantic bowl. The box was already to be recycled. The cereal was completely gone. Not a single morsel left. Once again, a nice gift for me, the mom, had been passed directly to the hubby and kids--with me only getting a tiny share on one day. So much for my birthday present!

I was silently resentful for a month. I haven't eaten any cereal at all. Cody and the kids have been enjoying their Rice Krispies. I have been getting bored with toast. I was totally surprised at the store last Saturday when Cody took me to the cereal aisle and told me to pick a box of cereal--any kind I wanted, just for me. I tried to protest. "I don't really like cereal! All the cereals I do like are mightily expensive!" But he wouldn't take no for an answer. I finally chose the same kind of cereal that Raychel had given me for my birthday.

We'd hardly got home from our Saturday excursions that I opened my new box of cereal and poured a glorious little bowl full for me.

And Cody poured himself a bowl too. :)

Pictures and thoughts

This post is kind of random. Just some thoughts and pictures from the past few days.

The kids thinks treats taste better after they've been dumped on the floor.

I noticed a moment ago that there are buds on the maple trees in the front yard. Spring! I love it! Also, I have several inches of daffodils and tulips coming up. There are more elsewhere, not because my ground is slower, but because there are fewer bulbs there. For some unknown reason, though, I feel like this winter was super short and spring has sneaked up on me. Though I know it really is spring. Weird.

Here's Lee and Anna yesterday before church. Like Anna's hairdo? It was my first attempt at curling her hair. I used my Chi straight iron, so it was more a flippy-outty do than a curl, but all day her hair sort of floated on the sides and I thought it was dang cute, especially when she ran and the hair would fly backwards and bounce around. The little whale spout on the top is pretty precious too. And also there's Lee, who is the awesomest kid! Right as sacrament meeting was starting, he told me, "Mom! I just saw a dinosaur! It was purple. And it had sharp tooths. And a sharp belly."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Homemade Bread part 2: for Aubri :)

This is my recipe for homemade bread. It is not mine, in that I did not write it, which is why I'm posting it here and not on my food blog. My food blog is reserved exclusively for recipes I write and develop myself. But that doesn't make this bread any less yummy! This recipe was one from a friend, (Aubri, you know who, she was a great sister in our ward back in ND...with many kids our age...) who had 10 kids. They only ever ate homemade bread. She said in the height of her kid's teenage years, she would make this recipe--all five loaves, once a day. And she didn't have a Bosch mixer like I do. She kneaded it by hand. Now that, ladies, is dedication!

Wheat Bread
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBSP salt
2/3 cup powdered milk
5 cups warm water
2/3 cup oil
2 eggs
2 TBSP yeast
12-14 cups flour, white or a combination of white and wheat

Mix all ingredients well, adding flour last until dough is a good texture and not sticky. In a mixer, add flour until dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl. Knead dough for 10 minutes. Let rise in a warm place for one hour. Divide dough evenly into 5 loaves, about 1 1/2 lbs each, and shape dough into smooth, round loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and rise for another hour or two. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. *if you are in high altitude, it will be 35 minutes for sure. Halfway through rotate pans 180 degrees.

Note: To make whole grain bread, add up to two cups of rolled or ground whole grains such as wheat, rye, flax, barley, oats, etc before adding the flour. The amount of flour you add at the end will be reduced.

Another note (from Lisa, in regards to freezing): The recipe has you rotate your pans halfway through to promote even baking. This is essential if you put all 5 pans in the oven at once. However, if you freeze two, three, four loaves raw, and bake them one or two at a time, it is not necessary.

Yet another note: If you've never made homemade bread before, you might be confused at the "12-14 cups flour." No, it is not an exact measurement. It will not be the same every time. Altitude, humidity, weather that day, all affect how much flour you will need. What you do is add 11 cups flour (I like to do about 4 cups whole wheat flour, and 7 cups white flour). Mix as you add the flour. If you don't have a mixer, be prepared for some work. At the end, don't worry so much about measuring as about texture. After the original 11 cups of flour, continue adding flour, about half a cup at a time, until the texture is right. In a stand mixer like a KitchenAid or Bosch, this is pretty easy to tell, because it will go from very sticky, to cleaning the sides of the bowl and staying in one smooth mass very quickly. That's the perfect point. The same thing happens when you're mixing by hand, but if you've been mixing with your hands the whole time, they might be so covered in dough that it will be harder to tell. If you knead by mixer, just put it in a stable place and let it mix on hand for ten minutes. If you knead by hand, make sure you have a very clean, sanitary surface; turn out the dough, and then fold it and half and push down. Fold in half and push down. Over and over...for ten minutes. (very good workout!)

One more cotton-pickin' note!: This recipe is divine straight from the oven, wonderful a few hours later, great the next day, but beyond that it...well, you just want it straight from the oven again. So I like to freeze the dough raw if I'm not going to bake it all. I'll just bake up one or two loaves at a time. I like to freeze the dough raw, as opposed to freezing it after baking, because it's the experience. You WANT to fill your house with the smell of fresh baked bread. You want the hot, soft, flavorful bread the second it comes out of the oven. You want to put the butter on it and watch it melt in a glorious little pool in the middle. That's the whole point of homemade bread!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Homemade Bread

I sometimes like to make bread from scratch. It's really tasty, but it has a few problems. First off, my favorite recipe makes 5, count them, 5 loaves. I have 2 kids. We do not eat that much bread before it goes south. Speaking of going south, that's the other problem: this bread has a shelf life of about four or five days before it molds. So I've tried a couple of things to help me's not a good recipe to reduce the size of because the measurements are hard to divide. Sometimes I make the 5 loaves and give 3 away. But I surprised myself a few months ago when I (DUH) realized I could freeze the raw dough! I line my loaf pan with plastic wrap before I put the dough in. Then instead of rising on the counter, it goes in the freezer, covered with more plastic wrap. Once it is solid, I pop it out of the loaf pan, wrap in (you guessed it) more plastic wrap, and then store it in its frozen state until I'm ready for a loaf of hot fresh bread. Then, to thaw and rise, I take it out, unwrap all the plastic wrap, spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, and put the frozen dough in it. Leave it on the counter, and in about 12 hours, it will have thawed, raised, and be ready for the oven, like magic! It's like Rhodes bread, only cheaper, better, and...better!

This is Annalisa eating eggs and cinnamon toast from homemade whole wheat bread this morning. Yum!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Customer review: Bing

This blog post has not been approved by the Husband. It is also meant as a joke, so don't take me too seriously...I'm running on major sleep deficit.

There's a new internet search engine out there called Bing. Most of you have probably used it. Cody thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread. I've been up in the air. Last night my opinion went from mixed to two thumbs down!

Story time. At 5:15 am I awoke to voices in the house. Loud ones. Two women, but I couldn't tell what they were saying. I knew Cody had gone to the bathroom recently and first wondered if he was watching TV. But he was zonked next to me...maybe the TV had been left on? Maybe there were people walking outside and I could hear them through the window? But the voices didn't fade. I even wondered if the house was being broken into. I wondered why robbers would be so loud. I got up to investigate. As I walked around, I realized the computer in Lee's bedroom was the culprit. You see, we have the pictures screen saver that goes on that computer, and Lee likes to watch it as he goes to sleep. After that runs at night, Cody and I usually just turn off the screen until morning. So last night, the screen was off, but the sound was blaring. It was two women talking about shark attacks and surfing. I tried to mute the sound but it didn't work. I turned off the speakers, turned the screen back on, and found that Cody had left up Google Chrome, open to It had loaded this random movie and started playing it, even though nobody had clicked on it. I got soooo mad! Don't you DARE interrupt my sleep, stupid computer!

Cody thinks I'm being silly, blaming Bing on such a small thing. He says I can't prove it was Bing. I can: Bing likes to play videos without clicking on them. It's part of their "Decision browser" tagline. Cody says I'm not being fair to Bing. I don't care. Because of that stupid video coming on in the middle of the night/early morning, I had a really hard time going back to sleep, and Anna woke up with cold feet (granted, could be the cold feet that woke her up), and I haven't slept since 5:15. GRR! That's why I'm mad at

In case you were wondering. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day, to anyone who reads this, and everyone who doesn't!

Everyone in my family is wearing green today.

Annalisa is taking a nap.

Lee is watching Japanese movies with Cody.

I have the hiccups.

And that is what is going on.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Both Annalisa and Lee love to play on the computer/s. Anna calls it "Beep-Beeps!" She can open the laptop and hold it in her lap, and then she types away until she gets caught. She is also very good at touching one or two buttons and disabling the computer entirely until after a reset. Amazing.

Lee likes to use the computer to watch movies (aka "nuvies") or to play on (aka "ABC's game"), or to use MS Paint to create fridge-worthy works of art, like these.

Personally, I think both my kids are geniuses. Agree?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Anna Talking + Like Aunt Sara

Annalisa is learning new words every day. I caught a few of them on film. Well, not actual film, I guess the new phrase should be "I caught a few of them on my digital memory card." But for some reason, that doesn't have the same ring to it. hm. another old cliche that should probably be updated to "the same ringtone to it." Sigh. What a strange new world we live in!

Bonus video: my parents have hours of footage of my little sister, Sara, doing this. I thought it was cute, albeit a little disgusting, and since it reminds me of my sis, I had to post.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

King Solomon Wanna Be OR Mean Mommy?

Normally if there's a power struggle over something in the house, that something has some sort of value. So I take it away, put it away for a few days, and that's that. But this time, the struggle was over an old potty training DVD (a 25 minute commercial for Pull-Ups, with no value to me at all). If Anna touched it, Lee started screaming, "No, No, No! it's mys, it's mys!" And if I let Lee hold it, Anna fell to the floor in hysterics, flailing and crying. Over a scratched up old commercial DVD! I couldn't stand it. I said to Lee, "You want this?" to which he replied, "I want it! I want it! I want it! It's mys!" to Anna I asked, "And you want this?" She started jumping up and down, clawing at the DVD. "Okay then," I told them. And I walked to the kitchen, whipped out my awesome Cutco Kitchen Shears, and chopped the dumb thing in two.

Anna seemed quite satisfied afterword. But Lee then had a meltdown for about 10 minutes, begging for tape, hot glue, or some other item that could stick the two halves together. I explained to him calmly (don't believe I was calm? you're probably right...) that because he was fighting over it, and wouldn't share, it was now ruined. He retorted, "You bloke it, mommy! You bloke it!" Unfortunately, he was watching when I cut into the DVD, so he sees its ruination as my fault, not his. Oh well. At least I now have an excuse to get rid of one more piece of junk in my house.

Friday, March 12, 2010

All better

Yay, Cody's home again! He actually made it home early last night, so my "losing it" moment was blessedly short lived. Besides, Lee actually helped me clean up the book shelf disaster and the laundry disaster, and was very good natured about going to bed. So was Anna; which made it much better than it could have been. Sorry if I freaked you out with my last post. Even though I try to keep this blog about just the bright side of life, know that I, too, go crazy. A lot.

Today is going pretty well. Cody's working in his office now, and I am busy washing laundry and dishes, and trying to finish repairing the destructo-mode effect all over the house. But taking a break now to blog, of course. Pretty soon will be lunch. It is amazing the effect sleep has on a person!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is it bad?

Is it a bad thing that I don't care about what my house looks like right now? Does it really matter? All I'm currently caring about is making it until bedtime. That is, surviving. Hopefully keeping my hair too. But everything else is fair game.
Above: how I found the kids just now. The result of my not caring. Why don't I care? Because Cody is gone and I miss him. :( and because the kids are in destructo-mode, which is impossible to keep up with. So I'll take care of it after they crash tonight. if I don't crash first. ha!

18 Months

Our baby girl, Annalisa Karin, is 18 months old today. It is kind of hard to believe!

18 months is a pretty big milestone for a kid. Next Sunday is her official first day of Nursery. I probably will go with her close to the whole time. She has separation anxiety. While she's perfectly happy to play with the toys and the other kids and the leaders, if she turns around and daddy or mommy aren't there, she has a huge panic attack, including her famous high-pitched scream that makes you think she just broke her leg. I can hear it anywhere in the church, even through closed doors. So I'll be employing several strategies to help her transition.

Anna really is a happy girl, though. My dad says she makes a better me than I do. It's probably true; that girl has enough character for three babies! After dinner she always gets in her best mood. She is learning to sing and dance, and is super duper cute doing it.

Maybe sometime I'll put some pictures up on this post. Right now I'm still in bed, and the network isn't running right for me to access the other computer, where the pictures are. For now, take a look at some of these links that will show you a little life sketch of Annalisa.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Scary Things

Our kids are pretty curious. They don't get bugged by much. But there's a few things that really freak them out--enough for Annalisa to let out a squeal of terror, and Lee to come barreling to me with his hands clamped over his mouth, pale and shaking.

One is the pipes in the basement. I'm afraid this one was encouraged by Cody and I. There are lots of dangerous things in our basement--glass jars and Christmas ornaments, partially used bottles of chemicals, sharp needles and scissors, permanent markers, tape, glue, big boxes full of precious and breakable things...just not a good place for kids to play. So to encourage them to stay out, Cody bangs on the pipes and makes Lee think there are monsters down there.

The other super scary thing we have in our house is demonstrated on this video.

Lee came running to me earlier crying "The bees are coming! The bees are coming!" Anna was crying hysterically. That's when I grabbed my camera and went to investigate.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Deep-Dish Pizza

I started making this pizza dough, and it needed a few days to rise. (Yes, days!) So at Sunday dinner I mentioned to Sara that I was attempting to make Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza for Monday's Family Home Evening. As I described to her my plan, including rubbing the cast iron pan with butter and forming a disc of sausage on two layers of cheese, she smiled at me and said, "So when is dinner?"

And that's how we ended up with dinner guests yesterday--Sara and Eric, and Mom F. They all brought other things to go with the pizza, and together we experimented on something none of us had ever had before. Since we were all trying this style of pizza for the first time, none of us had expectations, and so none of us were disappointed. (very wise, wouldn't you agree?)

It was delicious, though! (Watch my Food Blog for the recipe coming in a few days)

We really like having people come over for Monday night FHE. Not EVERY Monday, but on occasion. It is way more fun marching in circles to "Follow the Prophet" with seven people instead of four.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Can you tell what Lee picked out of the fridge, by himself, for breakfast? The pictures are a little blurry because Anna was dancing. Lee, Anna, and Cody all had one. I was busy making our actual breakfast: Johnny Cake, ham and scrambled eggs (going Southern today).


First of all, I haven't posted since Monday on this blog. This is partly because I'm lazy, partly because there wasn't much to post about, and partly because I posted on my other blogs. Click one of the lovely links to your right to check it out.

Now onto my post about spring. Where I live, I have decided my definition the seasons is this:
Winter: Never gets above freezing, except for maybe one or two random days.
Spring: Temperature rises above freezing most days, but typically falls below freezing at night. Follows winter, and therefore marks the beginning of the outdoor times.
Summer: Never falls below freezing. (Note I didn't say never falls below 70 degrees!)
Autumn: Typically stays above freezing during the day and falls below freezing at night.

This definition of the seasons is kind of important to me, as it majorly bugs me when people complain about the weather. Why does it bug me? For one, nobody can do anything about it. So why complain? Second, our area really really needs these distinct weather changes. We need rain. We need snow, and we usually need more than we get. Third, you choose to live where you live for the most part. The weather is what it is where you are: it's called climate. I live in an area that is colder than Las Vegas, warmer than where I grew up in North Dakota, and drier than Florida. When people want it to be hotter than Las Vegas, or more humid, or less snowy, or shorter winters, I say, suck it up! You chose to live here too! If you want it hotter, go somewhere hotter and quit your whining.

Gosh, that was a major rant for me. So if you know me personally and have day to day contact with me, please don't complain about the weather to me. Discussing the weather is okay, just no complaining.

And yes, this does mean that by my standards, Spring has come! To celebrate, I took the kids to the park yesterday. There was still snow around the base of the slides, we wore our coats, and we only stayed about half an hour before we got cold. It snowed after we left. But to me, these things are indicative of Spring here. It was above freezing almost all day. The snow that fell is melting already--not even 9 am. My Granddad even has daffodils pushing through the ground. Yay! Spring is here!

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Toy

On Saturday we did "projects" at my parent's house. While Cody and my mom were building a beautiful new cabinet for my parent's bedroom, my dad asked me if I had anything I wanted to make. I've been toying (pun intended) with the idea of building a toy airplane for the kids, and decided it was as good a time as any. I sketched out the design, and dad guided me to the right pieces of wood and the right tools...but otherwise, the labor and design were all mine. I think it turned out rather cute! Of course the two greatest rewards were 1) my dad's giggle when he saw the finished project and 2) watching both my kids play with it and tell me it was cool.