March 30, 2011

Dayton's Legs

Our nephew Spencer is featured in this video from "Mormon Messages." He is a sweet kid.

March 25, 2011

Field Trip to the Zoo

On Tuesday I chased 5 first-graders around the Phoenix Zoo chaperoned Jack's class field trip. 
Thankfully it was a gorgeous day, and I was only assigned 5 kids in  my group (including Jack), only one of which would be considered somewhat "difficult."  It was very fun. 
I enjoy being with my kids and getting to know the other kids in their school.
 The Phoenix Zoo is large and the exhibits are very spread-out, but I think we saw everything in the few hours we were there, which means we were all exhausted.  The kids were about to fall asleep on the bus ride back to school!
 Elephants are always interesting.

 But Monkey Village is always the favorite.  You walk right into their habitat and the monkeys are close enough to touch.  (This monkey was literally right over my head... this is not zoomed or cropped.)  They seem so cute and cuddly, but I imagine they probably aren't.
 The kids were dying to get to the tiger, but naturally he was just lying around being lazy and didn't do anything impressive.
 Ditto for the lions.  What a bunch of lazy bones!  :)

March 24, 2011

Mowing the Lawn

Since the day Collin was born, Jay looked forward to Collin being able to mow the lawn so he could sit back and relax.  Collin, for his part, also eagerly awaited the day... from the time he could reach the lawn mower handle he would walk along with Jay pretending he was helping (it made me nervous)

By the time Collin turned 10 he was mowing the lawn by himself, without ever complaining about it (even during the super hot summer), and doing quite a good job of it.  (Jay still does the edging though.)  But now it seems he is looking forward to passing the torch to Jack.
This was the scene in our backyard last Saturday as Collin carefully instructed Jack on the finer points of lawn-mowing technique.  (Jack did not look unhappy.  In fact, he tried very hard to suppress a grin.)  I love it when Collin gets all serious about teaching his younger siblings stuff.  It makes me proud.

March 21, 2011

"Flipback" Books

Since I love to read (and I love books), I'm very intrigued by this

And this is how I feel about books

Jay's Birthday

Yesterday was Jay's birthday.  We celebrated on Saturday by going to dinner and then to see I Am Number Four(Jay's choice..... go here to read what I thought of it.)  This is what he wanted me to make for his birthday cake.... a recipe from an advertisement in a magazine!  Oh brother. 
Actually, it turned out pretty good.

That was Saturday.

Yesterday (Sunday, his actual birthday) I made him his favorite breakfast, Eggs Benedict.  And for dinner, his favorite meal....
- Rib Eye steak, rubbed with butter and seasonings
- Red potatoes, boiled and buttered, with garlic salt and parlsey
- Salad of red leaf lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, croutons and Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette

I made him another cake, which we took to his parents' house to share with the rest of his family.  I made this Strawberry Cake (adapted from Paula Deen)....
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz.) box strawberry instant jello
  • 1 (16 oz.) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water
Combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into 2 round cake pans (prepared), and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

I layered the cake with this filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 large box banana cream pudding
2 c. milk

Beat cream cheese; add pudding and milk and beat until smooth and thick.  Spread half of mixture on top of first layer of cake.  Add second cake layer and top with remaining pudding mixture.  Frost the whole thing with 8 oz. Cool Whip, and top with fresh strawberries.

It was yummy!


Want to see what I gave him?  Go here and here.  He loves them both.  I think I did pretty good this year.

March 17, 2011

Spring Break - Day 3 - Chase Field Tour

Yesterday we went on a tour of Chase Field (see slide show below). I had no idea what to expect, but it was really fun. It was very informative (and humorous at times), and we got to see a bunch of cool stuff. We didn't get to actually go in the players' clubhouse, but they showed us a video tour of it... looks awesome. (I imagine they don't want a bunch of people going through their private and very expensive stuff... I don't blame them.) We did go in the visiting team's areas... boring in comparison.

We visited one of the suites, but that wasn't a big deal for me because Jay and I once attended a Diamondback's game as guests in the owner's suite. I have to say it was pretty darn cool. (There's another whole funny story behind that experience.) Being in the dugout was fun... a very unique perspective.

The private pool area is where I would love to watch a game... it's $3500 for 35 people... you get the pool and spa to yourselves, which is level with the field, plush seats with an amazing view (and a row of bleachers if you'd rather watch that way), private dressing rooms/restrooms, lifeguards, premium reserved parking, D-Backs souvenir towels, and it's fully catered. Not bad for a hundred bucks a person. It's still available for a few games... anyone want to go in on it with me? :)

March 15, 2011

Spring Break - Days 1 and 2

We aren't being as exciting as last year, but Jay took a few days off for Spring Break this year, so we are enjoying some fun time together as a family.... and trying to keep the kids from getting too bored and driving each other crazy. 

Yesterday, we took a bike ride to our local library, which is a little over 2 miles away.  We took a picnic lunch and ate it at the park next to the library, then picked up some books.  Jay's bike ended up with a flat tire so we left him and Jack there (since Jack is the slowest rider) and I came back with the car to bring them home.  Small snag.  But it was still fun.  Later we watched "Fantastic Mr. Fox" for the first time.  We laughed.  Our new word is "cuss."  And we keep doing the whistle-whistle-click-click thing.  It's not old yet.

Today Jay and I left the kids at home for a while and had lunch at Chelsea's Kitchen.  Yum!  Then we headed to Last Chance... I scored a sweet pair of Steven Madden pumps for $20, and some super cute flats for $10. Later, after a game of Carcassone with Jay and Jack, we all rode our bikes to the local QT for slushies and snacks.  We are loving the great weather, so we are racking up the bike-riding-miles!

We have something fun planned for tomorrow.  At least I hope it will be fun.  I will let you know.

Red Carpet

Here is our "red carpet" photo from the award's ceremony.  I wish that I had had time to lose 20 pounds and get something new to wear (I didn't know what the attire was until I was actually getting dressed for the evening and Jay said, "Oh yeah, you are supposed to dress formal."  Ugh!), but here it is anyway.

March 07, 2011

A Night on the Town

On Saturday night, Jay and I went to an awards banquet because his project (PHX SKY Train) was receiving an award (for innovative solutions).  The event (and the award) was sponsored by an organization for professionals in the transportation industry, so I thought it would be pretty dull.  But it wasn't too bad.  (Though it was kind of long.)  It was fun because I was with Jay.  (Actually, I love going to these things with Jay, though I pretend I'm doing him a big favor.  Don't tell.)

It was at the Tempe Center for the Arts, which is a really cool venue and our table was right by the window looking out on the lake and the city lights, which was very cool.  It was a "glitzy" event (all the women were dressed like they were going to the Oscars or contestants in a beauty pageant), so it was fun to observe everyone, and the MC was entertaining.  Even the key note speaker (the head of the planning division at ADOT) was pretty interesting.  It was fun to dress up, eat fancy food, have our photo taken on the red carpet (these transportation people take their formal events very seriously) and spend the evening on the arm of the handsomest man in town, who everyone was praising and congratulating. 

I'm very proud of Jay.  He hates it when I brag. 


March 05, 2011

Time Travel, Blogger Style

I always have good intentions about blogging consistently... it's important because this is a record for my family.  But life gets in the way.  You know how that goes.  Then I get behind, and I want to get caught up, but it's overwhelming so I put it off some more... and some more... and then it's really bad.


Thankfully, Blogger lets me pre-date posts, so I've traveled back-in-time and posted about events in chronological order (for the most part) so that our family's record isn't all messed up.

Anyway, if you read this blog to know what is going on in our lives (why else would anyone read this boring blog?), then you might want to go back-in-time too and read what we have been up to.

Here are a few:

Photography Workshop
Building a Bike
Kids; Valentines
Funny Things Kids Say
Scout Day Camp

More to come.....


Flag Football

Collin finished a season of flag football a few weeks ago.  His team didn't win any games, but they worked hard, learned a lot, made new friends, and had a good time.  They all had great attitudes and showed excellent sportsmanship.  I was very impressed with all the boys on the team.  I think it helps that they had 2 very kind coaches.  (It was some of the boys on the winning teams... and their coaches.... that were the ones with the "attitude."  Hm.)

So I've been practicing the "panning" technique I learned at the photography workshop I went to.  Panning is tricky.... I have a lot to learn!  But it's fun to experiment.
I am very proud of Collin.  He is a really good kid.

March 04, 2011

My Kids Vs. Wild

We have oranges galore from the trees in our yard.  We picked a bunch to make orange juice.  They are "juice oranges" not navels, so they have seeds and are difficult to peel (but they are sweet and juicy).  I found out my kids have been eating them....whole... in the backyard.

The thing is.... my kids are sort of obsessed with Bear Grylls.  They have watched a few too many episodes of Man Vs. Wild (OK, I admit it, I watch it too)
It turns out they have been pretending our backyard is "the wild," and the only food they can find is the oranges on our trees.... and, as my kids like to state, "they are full of vitamin C."  But they now pronounce it with a "short i" as the British do.... as Bear Grylls does. 

Actually, they have started pronouncing a lot of things differently these days.  My kids seem to have the whole British accent down pat. 

So, they eat the oranges, which Collin cuts open with his scout knife, pretending they are disgusting (and I'm sure they come up with some creative description, just as Bear does).  Yes, my kids have great imaginations.  At least they don't eat grubs or scorpions.  (shiver)  Maybe next time I make something new for dinner that they don't like, I will tell them to just pretend they are Bear Grylls surviving in the wild.....

March 03, 2011

A Bike Ride, a Picnic, a Kite and a Camera

Last Saturday was a beautiful day, and the wind was perfect for flying a kite.  We rode our bikes to Freestone Park where we ate our picnic lunch and Jay and the kids flew our kite. 

I followed everyone around experimenting with my new camera lens.  So fun!

I caught a few candids of Jack, but Mary was my only willing model.  Too bad she looks a mess... grubby Saturday clothes and windy-day hair-do.  Oh well.  She's still cute.  :)