Thursday, September 26, 2013

Warm Fuzzies

I haven't had a whole lot of time to post lately, but a friend just mentioned a post from my family blog that I thought might be beneficial to post here. 
It's another one from a few years ago, and the idea may be worn out by now, but at that time, I seriously felt inspired with the idea. I was surprised in the comments on my post that other parents had done the same thing! ... So, worn out idea or not, you may not have heard of it... so here you go :)

Sammy has had a really rough couple of months. It's finally happened. He has become the toddler I KNEW he wouldn't become. Despite all of my efforts, apparently tantrums, hitting, yelling, ignoring, .. you get the gist - is apparently normal and it happens to even Sammys. My perfect Sammy. hehehhe :)

If I've learned any thing this past year... and I have learned a lot..... - I have learned that I really don't knowhaha - I know, it sounds weird... and I wish I could explain it right now, but time is short and I need to get to the point before this ends up being another novel :)

Mike and I were talking after the kids went to bed a week or so ago. We were both heart broken at what was going on with Sammy. It seemed like ALL DAY LONG we were getting after him for something. My days were spent hauling him to time out, cleaning up the food he didn't want and had thrown on the floor, trying to comfort Claire after being attacked by her sometimes, not so well-meaning older brother. - We HAD to do something, it seemed the only attention Sam was getting was negative attention and with that, things were getting worse and worse. We talked about charts, puzzles, incentives, "good habit" boxes, consequence boxes.... on and on and on...

A few weeks ago, I read an article in "The Friend" about the gift that was given to President Monson for his birthday. A group of primary kids gave him a jar of "Warm Fuzzies" or pom poms. Each one represented an act of service .... they actually made a mormon message about it if you want to check it out:

Any way - As Mike and I were discussing, we came up with a plan! - We pulled out a quart mason jar from the pantry and gave it to Sammy. We have it in a prominent spot where he can easily reach it and see it. Mike and I carry around a pocket full of warm fuzzies every day, and when ever we see Sammy making a good choice, we get dramatically excited and hand Sammy a fuzzy and explain to him why he got it! - He gets excited and runs it to his jar. Once the jar is full, he can choose from a list of fun things he can do to trade in his fuzzies for. A late night movie and popcorn with mom and dad, a ride on the choo choo train at the mall, swimming, etc. -

He LOVES this.

I really feel like we were inspired and I am so grateful. Once the fuzzy is in the jar, it CAN NOT come out. This can't become just one more thing to threaten them with. This is ONLY positive. It's really neat to gather him up in a hug and show him the growing jar of fuzzies and say "SAMMY! Look at all of your good choices!! You are one amazing little boy!" His face lights up every time he gets one. A lot of the times we are just WAITING and WATCHING for any sign of a good choice so we can pull a fuzzy out because each time we do, his whole attitude changes. He remembers that he IS a good boy and that the good things he does are valued by us.

I hope this can help you out with your toddler 'woes' as well! :) Good luck to ya!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pink Milk Nights

A few years ago I posted this on my family blog.... which has been severely neglected..... I was thinking about it again as the holidays are coming upon us (hooray!!) and the thoughts of childhood traditions and traditions I'd like to implement in our family adventure. What are some of your favorite traditions?

When I was young, my mom made every day special. She had a way of celebrating life - whether it be driving in the car singing at the top of our lungs to Mary Had a Little Lamb and Baaa Baaa Black sheep (she's a knitter, she's always had a thing for "lambies" :)) - cooking in the kitchen, and sunsets. Every time it was a "pink night" where the sky was pink, we would pop out the milk and pink syrup and have ourselves a pink night celebration :) I LOVED this and even before I had kids of my own, pink nights would make me smile. I've continued this tradition with my kids and they LOVE it. Sammy is constantly on a search for a pink night and when they come he has a grin from ear to ear - We hurry and whip up that pink milk as fast as we can so we can enjoy it while watching the pink sky - It is so happy. ....

I just thought I'd share- Traditions are such a special part of life, don't you think? As I have reflected on my childhood and also the past 3 years of being a mama, I am convinced that traditions are the silver lining on the clouds of our memories, the florescent yellow (or in this case, pink) highlighter in our daydreams of the past. The glory of traditions is we as parents get to have control over them :) We don't have to wait for holidays, I know that every day, if we look hard enough, we can find something to celebrate. I want to teach my children that amidst all of the bad that is going on in the world, there is SO MUCH GOOD. So much to be excited about, so much to clink our pink cups filled with pink milk and shout "CHEERS" to a wonderful day. Traditions are a great reminder of the good things in the world. Especially the everyday ones!

What are some of your favorite traditions? :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Creamy Zucchini Soup

Creamy Zucchini Soup

Yum! I LOVE this Creamy Zucchini soup... it's even fun to say! ha! ".. anyway...
 Zucchini is always plentiful this time of year and this is a great way to use it :) Like most of the recipes I post on here, it is very simple, very fast, very economical and especially VERY good!! :) My entire family LOVES this recipe. Even Ben! :) I just scoop some into our mini food processor and blend it up for him.. if it is too runny, I just had oat or rice cereal to it. It freezes well in that form.. I've never tried to freeze it whole.. just as baby food. I'd imagine it wouldn't work to well.. but baby food - fantastic! :)
I originally found this recipe on :"Hungry Hinton's" It's a recipe blog of my friend's wife's sisters and mom. It is actually a really great blog and I have found a few I use over and over again... especially this one. She couldn't remember where she found it, so if you happen to stumble upon this and it is your recipe, please let me know! I would love to give credit where credit is deserved :)

Creamy Zucchini Soup

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 25 min


2 med zucchini, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
2 T minced fresh parsley (or 2 t dried parsley)
1 tsp dried basil (Or a handful of fresh)
1/3 cup butter or margarine (or use olive oil)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes (or 1 T better than bullion, or just use 3 cups of chicken broth and omit the water)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 can (14 ½ oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 package (10 oz) frozen corn
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
Pinch sugar, optional
Chopped parsley as garnish, optional (I didn't use)


In a Dutch oven or soup kettle over medium heat, sauté the zucchini, onion, parsley ,and basil in butter until veggies are tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in water. Add the bouillon and lemon juice, mix well. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, evaporated milk, and corn; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until corn is tender. Just before serving, stir in Cheddar cheese and Parmesan until melted. Add sugar and garnish with parsley if desired.

Serve with warm crusty bread! Enjoy!! :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What am I doing?

I'm tired today.. and yesterday and a few days before that. I suppose it's because we just got back from a dream vacation and the reality of responsibility is weighing on my shoulders again. Loads and loads of laundry seem to be scattered through out my house. During this daze, my kids have felt it their duty to dissect my house of all games and toys with small pieces and have sprinkled them around each room :)
I just got a knock at my door, my neighbor's daughter just came to  let me know that Sam and his little sweet friend were threatening to throw rocks at her.... what?? Turns out he and his friend were killing bugs in her yard.... this little girl is full of life. If there was a Tall Tale about a little girl, it would be about her. She comes to my house with regular sized water bottles full of massive bumble bees she somehow got to enter in such a narrow top. She picks up spiders and bugs with her bare fingers and cries when slugs die.... One time I found one in my garden and brought it to her house knowing how sad she was when her slug died.... when I gave it to her in my little broken tupperware, she treated it as if I just gave her a pony. Her eyes were big with gratitude and and she couldn't stop saying thank you. She can tell you the name and species of every plant and insect in our area... she loves nature... so for Sam to go to her home and squish her precious creatures, man.. it sent adrenaline through her veins and she screamed at Sammy and defensively he told her he was going to throw a rock at her..... the kids came home and Sammy looked so upset. "Mom, I still want to throw a rock at her!" ... we had a talk for a bit as I tried to calm him down and help him to think straight. We had a productive chat and in the end he still wasn't in a good mood, but mostly because he had to clean his room. As he shut the door... I let myself fall into my couch and stared at the seemingly zillions of flies that are swarming in my house (okay, there are 4 of them... but they are making me nuts!) I glanced over to the bin of beautiful peaches waiting to be preserved on my counter and looked at the clock to see how much time I had left before Mikey, my sweet little (okay, not so little, 22 year old) brother came over to get help from my husband for a math class. All I wanted to do was go into my room and pull the covers over my head (perhaps with a few "Sees" chocolates) and fall asleep. Where do I begin? The laundry? The dishes? Dinner? the bathrooms? Collecting game pieces? Cleaning the toy room? The peaches? ....... crafting? .......
I found myself being so overwhelmed, and to tell you the truth I still am. But in that moment I asked myself. What am I doing?
I thought back to a lesson we had in Relief Society on Sunday. It was beautiful and profound. Exactly what I needed and I'm sure exactly why the adversary was trying so hard to keep me from going to church. For weeks it has been so hard for me to pull myself together and go... I have, but it has been uncharacteristically hard for me lately. I kept praying the help me "just get there" - I was so grateful I did as each talk in Sacrament meeting, the wonderful Sunday school lesson and the profound and beautiful Relief Society lesson seemed to be personally tailored to me. The lesson in RS was on becoming united, and our inspired instructor shifted the lesson to realizing that what we are doing is good in the eyes of the Lord. ... I, like I"m sure a lot of women, and men, have the problem of being able to see the vision of perfection. We go to church, we learn how to do things right, with exactness and we want to be exactly perfect. "If god asked me to do it, then he will prepare a way for me to do it" ... is a phrase that goes through my mind over and over again when I am met with challenging circumstances. While I believe this to be true with all of my heart  - I am learning that God does not expect us to be perfect now - he just wants us to do our best .. and our best is far from perfect. He knows that and he knows our hearts. He knows our capabilities. He knows our best changes from day to day and even from moment to moment depending on what is going on. Some days we feel we could hike Everest, while other days it's a grueling hike just to make meals for the family. A sweet sister in our ward raised her hand and shared a piece of advice that was given to her from someone she trusted.... "Perfectionism is Satan's counterfeit for the Atonement." she said. ... Think about that deeply.... I would like to explain my thoughts, but worry it would take away from the purity of the statement. Isn't that so true?
As I sit here feeling glum, feeling the imperfections of my habits .. my messy home, the dinner to be made, the weeds out in the garden, I ask myself, "What am I doing?"
The answer is not just merely "I'm taking care of kids, homemaking and exhausting myself" ... it's "I"m participating in God's work which requires and makes me eligible for the use of His everlasting Atonement. I am mothering the next generation. I am the creator of my children's environment".... and I try to not let myself be overwhelmed with this. As parents our purpose isn't to create "bliss" for our children. It is our grand responsibility to prepare them for difficulties and triumphs of life. To teach them, while we utilize the enabling power of the atonement, to UTILIZE the enabling power of the atonement. Perfection.. in the work place, in the home in our thoughts and actions is unrealistic. It is UN REAL. Life is meant to be imperfect. We are imperfect. Through imperfections we learn and grow and experience pain and sorrow and even our greatest joy. So, what am I doing? Without opposition you can't fully understand joy. So why are we so down on ourselves when the opposition arises? Don't we know that imperfection is part of our Father's perfect plan? Can we learn, somehow to embrace it and learn to know what it feels like to know when you are doing your best? And to accept that "best?" I'm not saying to accept mediocrity, what I am saying is to see our efforts in the eyes of God. If he is pleased, so should we.