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Friday, December 30, 2011

Mystery Solved

Some of you may remember that I won a local photo/essay contest last fall, but I couldn't remember what picture I entered, or what I wrote. Yep, losing my mind at an early age. Well last night we solved the mystery.

This is the picture that I am now "famous" for. The exhibit isn't big--about 12 pictures, but mine is one. I named the entry "Wild Child" and wrote about all the good things Utah has to offer families. This trip was a great memory for all of us. We love Snow Canyon, where this pic was taken. There was something for everyone--sand, rocks, hiking, easy walks, beautiful sunsets, picnic areas and more.

To see the exhibit up close and personal, it will be at the Taylorsville Library in January, Draper Library in February, Kearns Library in March, Millcreek Library in April, Tyler Library in May and South Jordan Library during June and July.

Like I said, not a huge exhibit, but my baby is now almost famous.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goodbye 2011

We had a great Christmas. Everyone got what they wanted, and there were a few surprises. My favorite gift was a Dutch Oven from my parents. I've wanted one for so long and now I have it. It was a very thoughtful, wonderful surprise. My other favorite thing was watching Andy open his new U of U watch--a total surprise, his face was like a kid's. He's the best and deserves a surprise now and then.

Aside from the normal holiday hassle, it was a great celebration. Some highlights not soon to be forgotten include a church service where our bishop was talking about the Virgin Mary, S. Sue asked what a virgin was. Any other mother would have quieted their child and explained later, but I seized the opportunity (much to my husband's shock) and threw a little immaculate conception education her way. Now she, and the row of people behind us are a little more knowledgeable. Consider it my way of paying it forward. Sometimes I feel that when an opportunity to educate my kids pops up, it needs to be taken, no matter where you are.

The other fantastic memory would have to be the baby kicking a dining chair down the stairs and making some lovely new marks in the wall. The wall will get fixed by 2012's end, I am sure.

I am done with 2011. There were some great experiences like our family vacation to St. George, the birthday parties, surviving being a momentary single parent, finishing our kitchen/office remodel and learning new things. Hopefully you've learned something new from this year's posts.

We are preparing to ring in the new year with family game night and pretty much constant eating of tiny foods like little smokies, chips and dip, chicken wings, clam chowder and leftover Christmas candy. Diet starts on Tuesday. Looking forward to a new year. Here's a new recipe link for the new year Best of Betty 2011, enjoy.

Hope you check the blog out in 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wrap It Up

I am almost done wrapping the gifts. It's going to be a fun holiday. I can't wait to see some faces on Christmas morning. With that in mind, I am taking a break from the blog, knowing that you will all be partying and eating so you won't be cooking or looking for great finds.

Although, you know the after Christmas sales may be worth hitting, and if they are, my hiatus will be temporarily interrupted.

This last week has been rough and busy. Book reports, storytelling reports, Chinese projects, Christmas breakfasts, parties, neighbor gifts, etc. I am not complaining, just tired.

We are about halfway through our 12 Days of Christmas project. We delivered a small treat based on the song "The 12 Days of Christmas" to a couple of families in our area who needed some extra cheer. Each of the older kids have had a chance to secretly deliver the gift. All went well, except for J-Dog who was really more interested in the recipient knowing it was us rather than keeping it a secret--that was on day 2. Luckily S. Sue literally grabbed him off the porch and hid him behind a tree, with her hand over his mouth, so the secret is still safe. So, although I told her not to go outside, her intuition was right. Obviously mother doesn't always know best.

It's been fun to watch the kids get the spirit of giving. That really is a gift to our family. May this season bring you Joy. Looking forward to a happy and hope filled 2012.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Food for Thought

The other night I let the twins watch "Whitney" with me. S. Sue asked if Whitney and Alex were married. I told her no, they just lived together. Very innocently she looked at me with raised eyebrows and asked, "Why??" I replied with, "Some people choose to do it, but we'd prefer if you didn't." I realize we live in an imperfect world. If the world were perfect, they'd be able to learn from all my mistakes without having to actually make them.

My job is to teach my kids right from wrong, knowing that they'll make mistakes. The second part of my job is helping them recover from the aftermath of those mistakes. Our little conversation made me think about what I am teaching my kids when they aren't looking. Are the messages they get from what I watch contrary to what I say? Yep. I hate double standards. The thought of "Do as I say, not as I do," isn't a comfortable thought for me. My Dad sent me the following, and I had to share. No matter what your religious or political views are, it is worth reading and thinking about how we treat "The Stranger."

The Stranger
A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on. 

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger... He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. 

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind. 

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. 

(I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.) 
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home - not from us, our friends or any visitors. After our long time visitor stayed longer he became more daring however, and even got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol but the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.. 
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... And NEVER asked to leave. 
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first.
 Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. 
His name?....
We just call him 'TV.' 
Note: This should be required reading for every household!)
He has a wife now....we call her 'Computer.'
Their first child is "Cell Phone".
Second child "I Pod

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fun Freebie

You all know how much I love cupcakes. I have stickers, stamps, plates, glitter all with cupcakes. Not to mention the cupboard in my kitchen dedicated to them. I had to share this freebie with you!

Tomorrow, Dec 15th from 4-7pm local time, Maggie Moo’s will be giving out Free Ice Cream Cupcakes!  No purchase is necessary!


Thanks Melea for giving me this post idea.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December Scrapbook Post and Wrap Up

1. What am I eating for dinner today? Cafe Rio Pork
2. Who was the last person I talked to on the phone? Dad
3. What color did I wear today? Red and Blue
4. What was the last good thing I read? FB post about "Damn You Autocorrect"
5. What's one goal I have accomplished this week? Finished extended family's gifts
6. What's one thing I need to work on? Keeping track of things
7. Today's best thought? Only 4 more days til Friday
8. One word to sum up today is? Exhaustion
9. One worry or concern? Schedule Overload and guilt I can't be 2 places at once
10. Favorite thing I did this week? Amazing Race and ice cream with the kids

So I've done this post for a year now. What have I learned? I talk to my husband and Dad more than anyone else. I think that's good. They are two of the most important people in my life. I've worried a lot--and will continue to worry about money, kids, time, etc. I sum that up to part of the human experience. I really like Mexican food. I'd eat it for every meal if I could. I am pretty productive and like to set goals (already knew this was part of my personality, but it comes through loud and clear in my writing). 2011 was a hard year, but overall a good one. I met lots of new friends and have given a lot to my community. It's been a frustrating year filled with uncertainty, and yet, I won't ignore the tremendous blessings we've received physically and spiritually to make it through. You may remember we started this year with everyone throwing up and really sick. We're ending the year with a croupy cough, but I'll take it over the beginning of the year.

I really hope there's a light at the end of our proverbial tunnel in 2012. Let's ring in a New Year with hope for our country, economy, families and friends.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meals, Deals and Steals

I think I am losing my mind. I went to Sam's Club, bought a whole bunch of stuff including a box of 50 bags of chips. Then we went to make lunches and there were no chips. I checked the receipt and somehow the chips made it off the shelf, into the cart, onto the conveyor belt, but NOT through the check out. How???

Then I've lost an entire bag of candy, 2 rolls of tape and some glue. I bought it all at the same time, in the same place, but after 2 hours of ripping my house apart---nothing. Although now my closets and dressers are clean.

Seriously, I am getting old and losing it. If I don't write "it" down, out the window of my mind it goes...forever. Maybe it's the increasing numbers of grey hair. Maybe it's the time of year. Maybe I try to do 100 things at the same time. Yeah, it's something.

So here's the post for this's to hoping Santa returns my mind and sanity this year.

Haystacks. Normally I don't get super excited for this meal, but J-Dog is helping me cook tonight. Should be an experience, watching him meticulously place each item in their prearranged dish in rainbow color order.

Rachel Ray Turkey Chili and Grilled Ham and Cheese

Greek Spaghetti
2 lbs.                       Stew meat
1 (12 oz.) can           Tomato paste
1 pinch                    Cinnamon
½ tsp.                      Oregano
½ tsp.                      Basil
½ tsp.                      Garlic salt
3 small                     Beef bullion cubes
1                              Onion, chopped
1/4 cup                    Water
Salt and Pepper    

Saute Onion and brown meat in large frying pan
Add tomato paste, spices, water and bullion, simmer 5 minutes
Put all ingredients into Crock Pot, add 2 cups of water and cook on High for 2 hours
Add water as necessary. Serve over pasta

Mexican Pork Roast
I like this version Cafe Rio Pork

Remake a second night for Pork Tacos

Deals Today Include
Amazon X Box Deal
Right now, pick up the 4GB Xbox 360 with Kinect Bundle for $299.99. Plus, if you order it through this page on Amazon, you will get an $80 credit!  Making your total only $219.99 for both the Xbox and Kinect! 2 Days after your order ships, Amazon will email you a special $80 promotion code you can use on any other Amazon order!

Walmart is doing a crazy sale on Xbox Games… you can get 3 select games for only $30!  That means, each game is only $10.  And that is the lowest price I have ever seen on a bunch of the participating titles.Shipping is $.97, or free if your total is over $45. 

Bebe Bella Designs up to 75% off. Discount codes are on the website.

Right now Target is taking 50% off select LEGO sets! Here are the sets that are available with the 50% off discount:
Finish Line
Right now, Finish Line is doing a 2 for $40 sale on their Women’s and Men’s Hooded NCAA Fleece Sweatshirts!  But, if you purchase 4 of them and then use coupon code PUGKGPD1SB at checkout, your total will drop to $65!!  Plus, shipping is automatically free. That makes each Sweatshirt only $16.25- when they are normally $50 individually! **If you have a hard time finding the deal, just search on the Finish Line Site for “NCAA Fleece”.  They should pop up.  Then, you can narrow down by school. I bought these for Andy and me this year. They are great quality, wear and fit well. Definitely worth the purchase.

This is just a sample of great Christmas ideas.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Traditions

Some of my favorite childhood memories include my aunt and uncle playing their guitars and my mom singing Christmas music. I can't carry a tune in a bucket, Thank God for Ipods, but I do love music. Still, those memories are precious since many of those people who made my childhood holidays so special, are no longer here. I want to create those same types of memories for my kids, so here's a few things we've chosen to do.

Every year since Andy and I met, we've taken one night to get Hot Chocolate and donuts and drive around different neighborhoods admiring (and sometimes laughing at--seriously, Christmas Pigs??) different Christmas lights. There's probably no better sight than Temple Square. A close second is Christmas Street in Sugarhouse. We've seen a lot and are amazed at the amount of time, money and energy some people put into the yearly tradition of decorating. I guess that's why "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" strikes such a cord with many of us. Art imitating life.

This year we've found a great new tradition to keep Christ in Christmas. In an effort to protect Mary, Joseph, the Sheppard, the wiseguys (aka wisemen), animals and baby Jesus from the curious hands of my toddler, we are putting out one piece at a time. Kind of a 12 days of Christmas to unveil the whole manger scene. I found this 12 Days of Christmas idea here. There's a poem, song or scripture to accompany each piece from the Nativity set.

It's really helped us keep the focus on the Reason for the Season.

Merry Christmas.