Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Eve


The Book of Mormon, I read in Mosiah chapter 2 verse 41:
 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and ahappy state of those that
keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are bblessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out cfaithful to the end they are received into dheaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Everyone wants to be happy.  Seems like most people go about it the wrong way.  My little chili dishes (that's what Hannah likes to call children) definitely go about it the wrong way.  They think doing what they want, having what they want, not working, that's the formula for happiness.  They are wrong.  This week has been spring break.  It was a very different spring break than I had imagined.  Once upon on a time the plan was to be in Utah celebrating Jenna and Clayton's wedding and being with our family.  That plan changed as they decided to take a little bit more time before tying the knot.  Then we thought we'd go to Montreal and visit Papa and Grandma for a few days.  That plan changed with the sequestration mess, R needing to be at work and us not wanting to spend the $ right now.  Both of those trips are still up coming but they were not this week.  Our third plan was to have a fun staycation and do things with friends.  Then the terrible cold hit (weather wise and me being sick wise).  I was sick all week.  There were some days this week when I couldn't get out of bed for more than a very short time.  I am still not 100% but it's getting better.  Even though I have tried to do a few things the children have been left pretty  much to their own devices.  Did they cheerfully step up and sing a happy little working song, keeping the house sparkly and themselves entertained?  Nope.  They watched TV, ate crackers, made messes, had a few fights and were not happy.  Happy would have been the other.  I know this.  When we do what's right, help others and are kind we are happy.  When we lay around doing nothing we are sluggish and sad. People need to be anxiously engaged in a good cause to be happy.

Last night I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants in section 88 as part of my personal readings.  This morning Hannah was mad that we had the audacity to wake her up at 10am.  She wanted to sleep more.  So I shared with her some of the good council I had read the night before.
124 Cease to be aidle; cease to be bunclean; cease to cfind fault one with another; cease to dsleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be einvigorated.
She was not happy to hear this.  There is lots of great wisdom in this section, as there is in all the scriptures.  I am grateful for scriptures and living Prophets to teach us the things we need to know to be happy.  To give us the tools we need to return to our Heavenly Father once more.  To be eternal families. 
Our world is a mess, people are seeking happiness in all the wrong places, Wickedness is running rampant and it is very troublesome to me.  I see such a blatant disregard for keeping Father's commandments.  It can be very overwhelming.  I wish everyone would seek the peace the gospel brings.

Friday, March 29, 2013

a list of potential careers for people who don't want to finish college

Today we compiled a helpful list of jobs for the children to refer to in case they don't want to go to college.  This is by no means comprehensive, it's just a start.

alpaca shearer
worm grunter
pig shaver
gum scraper
bridge cleaner
locomotive engine shiner
monkey caretaker
sled dog breeder
goose feather plucker
zombie make up model
street painter
cement pourer
buoy cleaner
mud mineral excavator
alligator egg collector
geoduck harvester
spray insulation technician
chicken buster
poo pot maker
mule logger
salt miner
steam ship cleaner

all, good, honest, real jobs. 

charming things Hannah has said today

scene 1: leaving Target where we bought Hannah a "Beatles" shirt, and tank top and a blue shirt and we also bought some laundry detergent and Hannah chose a snickers bar and Ethan some air heads at the checkout stand.

Checker: that will be 92.20
Ethan: Wow! That's a lot
Hannah: I know, that's because mom bought so much fun stuff for herself
Me: What? Laundry detergent??
Hannah: ya! so you can wash our clothes

scene 2: dinner time. 
children: mom, can we have pizza??
me: no I am making dinner
children: are we having real food??
me: yes, I am making a cowboy favorite
children: what is it??
me: corn bread and beans
Hannah: NOOO!!! The apocalypse hasn't started yet we shouldn't have to practice eating survival food!!!!!! I'm not eating it!!!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SB day 3

This morning I took Madison and Grace to the Brownie Scout American Girl day.  They had a great time, they made paper dolls, played colonial games, ate pancakes, made fans and learned the language of the fan, made bracelets and had lot of fun!

Ethan got to go to Chebi's house.  There are 3 Ethan's in STEM so they call each other by their last names, or call signs depending.  This is a group of kids who likes to make up nick names for each other, I don't know if this comes from the time they spend in simulators, or making rockets or what but they still all do it.

Tonight E and H both got to go to the Martines to hang out.  So bottom line, lots of good times being had by all despite lousy weather and ongoing sniffly, coughing, itchy ears, fever, dripping noses misery.

SB day 2

 Tuesday it was still pretty cold, and we still had colds but decided to pretend that the weather was good and that we felt great.  After sleeping in we headed up to Waldorf and had a lot of fun.  We walked around the mall and found two modest skirts for Hannah at PacSun! Yea! Ethan found a pink golf shirt that he wanted and we used our Kohls cash on it so it was free! Grace wanted some new earrings and we looked but she can only wear gold and those are more pricey and we couldn't agree so we ended up not getting any.  We ate mall lunch, which the kids love to do.  Everyone can pick what they want from the food court.  Ethan complained a lot about going before we left but ended up having a good time.  The kids laughed and talked with one another and made fun of me for wanting modest clothing.  It was a good time :)
After the mall we went to our favorite theater and saw "The Croods" which was cute, then stopped at the book store on the way home.  I told everyone "one book".  We stayed pretty close, Grace got 3, Ethan 2, me 2 (but they were clearance books at only $3ish  a piece) and Hannah got one.  The ride home was very quiet as every one's noses were buried in their books. 

I had saved up some spring break fun money and we blew threw most of it yesterday, I did save enough for the metro and ice cream tomorrow when we go on our cherry blossom field trip :)

Last night we watched "Wreck it Ralph" from Redbox, the night before we watched "Bring the Boom".  We liked both and enjoy piling in bed and staying up late together :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hannah and I are depressed

 This morning we got to facetime with our favorite little snickerdoodles and we miss each other.  We looked for $49. flights between Reagan and SLC and didn't find any.  :(  We want to be together, here ...or there.....
or here!!!

Where is that fairy travelmother when you need her????

spring break day 1

First day of spring break.  We have had a chilly winter.  It goes without saying that we are looking forward to warm weather.
To further add to the fun everyone is sick.  Ethan threw up all over on Saturday night, we spent a fun night washing linens, mopping floors, etc.  Sunday he and Lu both didn't feel well and stayed home from church with R.  Han has been sick for a couple of weeks, Last night R started feeling "fluish" and now I feel poorly as well.  I am happy it's a break day so we can sit around in our pajamas and have a lazy day. 
Hannah is feeling better and now she wants to go to Ohio, or the beach, or Georgetown.  As it is snowing we will not be doing any of those things.

In other news, we had some good camp meetings yesterday.  Camp is going to be awesome! Can not wait.  This is a busy season for planning things. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

spa night/boys night/friend fun

 Yay! Spring break is here! Even if it's cold we are happy!  Yesterday Hannah had Alyssa over.  They wrecked all kinds of havoc and pulled pranks and were silly.  It was not so pleasant but she had a good time so I am glad about that. 
Ethan and R had a boys night.  They went to eat w/ Pete and Joey and then to watch Batman at their house.
Lu had Brownie Spa night.  I took her and Maggie and the girls had a terrific time.  They had mini manis, made sleep masks, had a smoothy/snack station, had facials and did yoga.  Both girls said it was very fun!
Night one was a success.
6:30am found these two bundling up and facing the cold for our first outdoor game of the spring season.  We tied 2-2. 

The rest of the day found us doing chores, then the kids spread far and wide to friends homes.  Hannah went home with Alyssa, Ethan is at John's and Grace is at Maggie's.  What will Rob and I do home alone in the middle of the day?? ....fold laundry :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

tasty treats

Sierra is visiting Andrea in AZ.  Lucky duckies!! They went out for frozen gelato, looks delicious!  Reg seems to be enjoying it as well.                           

Dani and Tate had an ice cream date as well.  Looks like everyone is enjoying frozen treats lately.  We are only "enjoying" frozen temps outside.  Last night we did enjoy a very yummy corn bread chicken pot pie.  Thank you Pinterest.  Tasty and warm, perfect for a post soccer practice warm your tummy dinner with the family.
Penny Jane
Jenna got another summer job offer.  This one is at Philmont (in Colorado) as a rock climbing guide/instructor.  She doesn't know which one to pick...I am voting for Philmont, she will make more $$.  Both sound very fun, and I am happy that she is having a fun work experience! potentially fun anyway.

Poor Hannah has been sick for a couple days.  I don't really know what's wrong with her, she doesn't have a fever but she's been so tired and feels nauseous although she hasn't thrown up.  I let her stay home for two days from school but this morning we forced her to go.  It's a half day and she needs to get all her make up work so she can do it over spring break.  I guess if she doesn't feel better soon I will take her to the doctor.  Val thinks maybe it's mono.  I don't know what it is.

Spring break in 4 hours! Yay!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring

It's been cold and windy.  Brrr! Last night soccer practice was cancelled because the fields were too wet.  We are ready for a change.

Last night was Brownies.  This cracked me up we had so much to do to prepare for Brownies, way more homework than we ever have for school.  First we had all the rest of the cookie money to turn in.  Then I had encampment fees to pay, earlier in the day we had to sign up for Brownie Spa Night (and pay) and American Girl Spring Break Picnic (and pay).  We had to get emergency supplies to help build the first aide kit for her first aid badge and finish our "happy box" for the feelings lesson of a couple of weeks ago.  Lastly for the finance badge she had a 5 page booklet to fill out which included great exercises like: either go to a store and pick out 3 outfits for $30 or do on line pretend shopping for same three outfits.  She agonized over those choices because she wanted money left over for the virtual fun on the next page.  She kept asking me "do I have to wear underwear?  Do I have to buy three pairs? Can I wear the same shoes every day?"  It was good.  She was also surprised how much socks cost, which everyone in my house thinks is a consumable item like toothpaste and should be renewed weekly.  Anyway, we had a whole bag of stuff not to forget to take with us and then we had to go late because we had a mandatory talent show meeting at the elementary school first.  It turned out that we had plenty of time for both.  I was very glad I made it to the mom pow wow in the hallway because they were discussing dates for the incentive activities.  With the money they earned from cookie sales the girls voted to go horseback riding and also ice skating.  Mrs Wise, the cookie mom, was planning on a Saturday one weekend and a Sunday another weekend to do the two activities.  I had to speak up, why is it that no one has any regard for the Sabbath?  It drives me completely crazy.  I said, Grace will cry if one  of the activities she worked so hard for is on a day that she can't come.  Luckily several other mothers agreed.  Two of the girls are preparing for their first communion and need to check off the "go to mass" box until said date passes.  The other just didn't want a Sunday.  There are lots of conflicting activities on all days, which is hard, most of those activities are entered into by the choice of the family, Sabbath observance is not a personal choice, it is a commandment from the Lord.  Not the same thing at all.

Bub and I have started watching a new show on Hulu+  It's called Terra Nova.  We've watched 5-6 episodes and it's pretty good.  He's growing up so much.  Last night he was texting a girl, and a boy, maybe multiples on his ipod.  There is a lot of romance floating around the 5th grade set.  Crazy!  When I was tucking him in bed I lay down with him and we read Grandma's blog together.  She is writing her life story and the first installment was very interesting to him. 

Tonight is scouts, YW, activities days recognition/talent show (we have two talent shows for Lu in the next couple of weeks) and we need to stop by the store because somehow the boy wore a hole in the bottom of his shoe the size of a silver dollar.  R asked him doesn't water and mud get in your shoe through that hole?  Yep.  (head shaking)

Can't wait for spring break next week....even if it is frosty, cold and windy break!  There are a couple of movies I want to see, and we have some plans with friends.  I wish we were going to visit mom and dad but we'll go this summer when it's nicer outside.  Our summer packs up so quickly.  Already we have 4 weeks spoken for and we haven't even planend a vaca! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

and the nieces!!

 Katie, she's a college freshman now! Go Katie!!
 Mackenzie Ann, such a cutie face!!
 Jordyn, our little dancer!
and little Tal, can't believe this girl is getting so grown up!  So cute!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St Patricks day

Happy St Patricks day.  This little shamrock looked cute in her new skirt!

We had Lucky Charms for breakfast then went to church except for Bub who was sick.  I came home after sacrament meeting and the kids got driven home by various friends.

Bub and I watched Small Soldiers.  When everyone got home they brought Joseph with them.  We ate French toast and the teens hung out all afternoon.  Arden came over to play with Grace and we had a house full!

We ended the evening with some corned beef and cabbage and potatoes and green frosted brownies. 

My cute nephews

 Joneaux and Zoe at the beach!! So stinkin cute!! I wish I was there running behind him and biting his cute little buns!
 Deo, look at those baby blues! What a doll! I haven't met this guy in person yet but when I do I am going to eat up those chubby cheeks!
 Reggie, the monkey man, he is getting so big and looks so much like his daddy!  Miss you bud!
 Little Jakob.  Also adorable.  Why don't I live close to these little guys??
and  Air Spencer!  This kid is almost 12.  He'll be getting the priesthood in two months and passing the sacrament.  What an awesome kid!

Tanner is 15. He's jumping off the roof...because that's a normal thing to do :)  Love that boy.  I wish I was there to be super Auntie to this motley crew!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Flash light Easter Egg Hunt

 One thing I really love about our neighborhood is that it has lots of fun events.  We have holiday celebrations, our own 5K, bunco groups, work out groups, book groups, pool parties.  All kinds of fun things.  It's a lot of fun to go out and visit and watch the kids run around!
 Ethan isn't feeling well and didn't want to come, Eric stayed home too so it was a girls night :)  They found plenty of eggs to share!


 Finally a big one!! Yay!
 This morning I made a St Patty's day skirt for Lu to wear tomorrow.  She chose the fabric a few weeks ago but I hadn't found the time to make it yet.  It came together pretty quickly so now I want to make more!
 This morning was the last chess day.  Ethan did well.  He ended up placing 3rd in the 6 week tournament.  This is his schools team.  Pretty cute little chess players!
Hannah and Chelsea went to Julia's house to play werewolf.  Julia and Maria made the coolest, scary werewolf cupcakes!

Last night was our last indoor game(s).  Ethan played keeper the whole first game against Rampage and he did awesome.  It was pretty intense.  I kept R in the loop with a blow by blow text.  Here's what I told him:
stopped one
another stopped
Rampage scores
Stops one
E catches one on the ground
another from the ground
He's on his game
stops another
one more
sadly Gerig isn't getting much action (the other keeper)
Awesomest save ever (he jumped in the air, finger tipped it out of the goal)
Another excellent save
Save against Zach (his super talented friend)
First half over
Second half
I thought Brian was going to keep but it's Bub again
Score 3-1
Freedom winning
E slid into the ball for a save, hopped up caught it again and then a third time
Rampage score
Rampage ties it up
Blocked two then let one in
Ramp up
Diving save
Freedom ties it up
kicks it out of the goal
Defended against Z
Collision in the goal on the other side, Dave (the coach) ran out on field yelling
End game


We won the second game 7-0.  Not as exciting but still fun.

I bought a new vacuum, it doesn't suck...which is the one thing you do want a vacuum to do.  Hannah broker ours a few days ago vacuuming up the abyss of her room.  My dream is to have 3 vacuums, one for each level.  So far I have, um, one, sort of.

Yesterday Ethan told me he has a bucket list.  He wants to jump off the grand canyon.  He wants to knock over a port a potty.  He wants to spend a million dollars in one day.  It's a good list.

Tonight we have our neighborhood flashlight Easter egg hunt.  Ethan doesn't want to go.  He's getting too big.

 Exciting news, Jenna got a summer job in Moab.  She's going to be a river guide.  I hope it's like the above picture but I have a feeling it's more like the bottom one.  Looks scary to me! She has always been an adventurer so I am super excited for her.  She applied for several fun summer jobs so is waiting to hear of her options before saying yes.  I think a trip to Moab might be in order! Clayton will be in Ohio for the summer doing an internship with Goodyear.  It's a great opportunity for him.  I think it will be a hard summer for them to be apart during but the time will go quickly and if it's meant to be they will last.  I am glad they are not rushing into a wedding that they weren't quite ready for.
The weather is beautiful today! Yay! Last night we noticed that some daffodils in our garden were blooming. 

Dinner tonight: kielbasa pasta bake that Colleen sent over.  Yumm!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

still waiting for spring

 I'm tired.  I'm happy it's Friday, looking forward to a hectic weekend.  This week was our last MSA testing week.  That was exhausting.  On Wednesday I was assigned 6 lunch duties.  In one day. Man oh man, that was a tough day. 
Thursday I didn't work.  We had our stake round table and youth conference meeting that night and I needed to prepare.  The meetings went really well.  I think youth conference will be amazing and the round table meeting went well.  We had 5 wards represented for the young women, which is not amazingly good but it's not awful.  Those who came I think were really encouraged and uplifted.  Which is the point. 
I got home from that quite late, the drive home went quickly because I got to enjoy a  nice long chat with Sierra but still it was a late night, then I was cold in the night and didn't want to get up to get an extra blanket and didn't sleep great.  I am looking forward to sleeping tonight.

This weekend we have Eric and Chelsea staying with us.  The kids are really excited.  Jeffers is staying tonight and then going to the Marsh's for the rest of the weekend.  The four younger kids played cards for hours.  Now E2 is walking around the pond throwing rocks into the water.  Chelsea has a baby sitting job, and Ethan has a soccer game tonight.  I will take Eric with me and leave Jeffrey and Lu with Hannah.  It should work out great that way.
R is finally on his big fishing trip.  Today Pete and Sam caught a fish each.  I hope R gets one tomorrow.  I talked to him tonight and he's tired, lots of hiking involved but I think they are having a good time.  Anyway it's good to have time away, doing a hobby, connecting with friends, recharging.  I hope his weekend will do that for him.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

groundhog day

4th grade lunch duty is a little like the movie Groundhog day.  It's the same thing every every day.  Every day Ben's dad makes him a delicious looking sandwich, with a tomato and lettuce and cheese and meat.  Every day Ben tells me his dad made it, he eats his chips and cookies and drink and whatever else and throws away his beautiful sandwich.  Every day Lexi sits on the corner of the last table and opens up her lunch bag which always holds one thing, half a sandwich, a bag of popcorn.  She eats it slowly.  Faith comes and sits by her and shares food off of her tray.  Faith and Lexi are cute girls, but definitely part of the have not crowd.  Every day Cheyenne runs in and hugs me.  Every day Paco struts in, he is a nice boy, smart and popular and boy can he dance.  He has a little entourage that are silly and crazy, their table is loud.  The front table is always a group of smarty pants with lunches made with love from home.  Finn with his cute glasses and Harrison in his crocs, Julia who always dresses so cute and Lauren.  Brandon and Jillian sit by the water fountain.  They eat fast and leave plenty of time for getting in trouble.  Across from them sit Nathan and Shawn and their crew.  They are done eating before everyone else has even sat down, the  jump up quick and grab the brooms to help to run around the cafeteria checking out what everyone else is doing.  Every day teeny tiny Marissa eats a few bites of her lunch while buzzing about her table telling everyone what's what.  Then she asks to report go to someone in the office what she ate (her mom is worried about her).  Every day. Every day we turn off the lights and tell the kids to turn off their voices.  Every day someone spills their tray.  Every day I look at the clock and count down the minutes while I make laps around the cafeteria reminding kids to eat, settling disputes, admiring their newest joke or trick or hair style.

Lu is coming along with her piano songs.  She is going to be in the school talent show.  Today Z and I took a walk around the square while she had her lesson.  It was nice out.

Lately we've been watching Dirty Jobs.  It's pretty interesting.  Lots of jobs out there I would not want.  bloodworm harvester, broiler cleaner, monkey rehabilitation facility caretaker to name a few.

This is day light savings time week.  Not a great week.  Kids don't want to go to bed, kids don't want to get up.  Everyone is tired.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

wrap up

Doesn't this look heavenly?  This weekend we have warmer  weather.  I am so happy.  Sunshine on my face...sweet!  love it.  It's making me wish for summer, particularly because Dani and the girls just bought tickets to come visit!! Can.Not.Wait!! 

We had a pretty good weekend.  Ethan had a chess tournament.  One more this season.  He won 3 and lost 3 matches.  It was pretty fun to watch, Grace and I went.  After we went to Donut Connection and ran into Matt Ray and Addie.  We ate donuts together and then Matt drove Ethan home since we were going to the grocery store next and Ethan did NOT want to go. Worked out great for everyone.  I was supposed to go to our stake women's conference but R had to work at the last minute and I didn't want to leave the kids home alone on a Saturday morning.  I was disappointed but his job comes first, at least most of the time, and the kids certainly come first over a bonus meeting that I don't even have to be at. 

Saturday afternoon R went to soccer training, his outdoor season starts practice next week, luckily his indoor season ends next weekend so we have very little overlap.  He played 2 games on Friday night.  Ethan was the keeper, we won both. 
Saturday early evening R and I headed to Waldorf for some shopping and dinner.  Han got rich that night :)

Today was a good day.  Church was really great.  Our sacrament meeting talks were really good. All three of them.  Kris Sutherland spoke about her mission and I felt the spirit so strongly.  I can not wait until I can go on multiple missions.  I wish Sierra and Jenna would think about going, I know it would be so life changing, so awesome.  They are both wonderful wonderful young women and would be excellent  missionaries.  Also Emma.  Emma would be an awesome missionary, just saying.  I am so grateful for a living prophet, the missionary age announcement was so miraculous and so welcomed.  I know it's impact will  be far reaching and life changing for so many of our young missionaries and the people they teach.  Mike Oakes also spoke and he did a wonderful job talking about supporting our church leaders.  He talked about the story in Exodus 17 where Moses held up his arms and the children of Israel prevailed but when he lowered them they began to lose and his arms grew heavy so Joshua and Hur sat him on a rock and held his arms for him.  Then he drew the analogy that our leaders need our help and support this same way.  We need to follow and we need to help.  It was really a good talk.

After church Daniel came over to play.  In the afternoon R and I went to visit Katherine and Pete, had a great time and some yummy dessert.  Then we went to the Rays.  Again, great visit.  Then we came home and Lu and I made canolli cupcakes with Ricotta cheese frosting.  Then I had a veemo meeting about youth conference and R cleaned the kitchen.

Doesn't this look like fun exercise?  It's like hammock yoga I guess.

Friday, March 8, 2013

my men:

 Rob is preparing for a big fishing trip to Niagara.  He is determined to bring some some big ol fish for the familia.  Last night his manbra/tackle purse came in the mail.  Now he has all the gear he needs (for now).  I have noticed that boy hobbies take a lot of gear.  In all seriousness I am glad he has hobbies, and I think he kind of resembles Obi-wan in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.  Sweet!
This boy, who has been an angel and a delight his whole life, as of late has been a bit more of a challenge.  He's almost 11 and I am not ready to leave the little boy days behind.  Sometimes I ask him to do something and he doesn't want to...what?  A few nights ago he had a water fight in the house while I was gone.  To be honest I think Sister Hannah started it but he definitely participated. Two days ago he and John drove me crazy with water in the house, running and smashing into walls when they turned corners, wrestling in a fashion that rearranged the furniture. They were being so loud and stinky.  Maybe it was the rain....although last week they took the little one to the "Forbidden pond" and brought her back covered head to toe in mud and there was no rain then. 

Last night Jake came over after school and hung out with us until night, he and Lu and Ethan had a lot of fun.  We made cookies, they ate them all.  They went to the pond and brought Lu back scratched.  (anyone else noticing a theme), they ran amok, dribbled soccer balls, and played dominoes for a couple of hours. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

pinterest cooking

I love pinterest.  So fun to look at great ideas.  I've been trying out some of the recipes I've pinned and it's been pretty successful.  My fav is the lasagna soup! so Yumm!  Tonight we are making crock pot Hawaiian chicken and also cinnamon rolls.  I also bought all the ingrediants for cornbread chicken pot pie so that will be tomorrow. 
Lasagna Soup
Yield: 8 servings
    for the soup:
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
  • 3 c. chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 c. chicken stock
  • 8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • for the cheesy yum:
  • 8 oz. ricotta
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • additional cheesy yum:
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy and absorb all the soup broth. You may even want to consider cooking the noodles separately, and then adding some to individual bowls before ladling the soup over them. This would be an especially smart move if you are anticipating any leftovers. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.
 Warm and Chessy Potatoe and Sausage Casserole
BLT Salad


  1. 1
    Cut skinless smoked sausage in half, lengthwise, and then chop into 1/2 inch "half moon" cuts. Cook in a frying pan for about 15 minutes, turning frequently to SLIGHTLY brown.
  2. 2
    Meanwhile, put cooked & diced potatoes in 2 quart casserole. Add cooked meat and give it a gentle toss.
  3. 3
    Mix all remaining ingredients (except for shredded cheddar cheese & the paprika) in a saucepan over medium heat until warm, melted and smooth. (Use a whisk and stir constantly.).
  4. 4
    Pour white/cheese sauce over potatoes and meat. Sprinkle shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top, and then sprinkle paprika evenly over the top.
  5. 5
    Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 35-45 minutes (watch, until golden brown on top).
  6. 6
    NOTE: You can substitute: 1/2 lb. hot dogs, sliced into 1/2-inch slices OR 1/2 lb. ham diced into 1/2-inch dices OR 12 oz. can of Spam diced into 1/2-inch dices, instead of the smoked sausage
  • 12 ounce corkscrew shaped pasta
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 12 ounces lean bacon
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup mayo (i used 1/4 cup mayo and 1/4 cup greek yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 5 heads Bibb lettuce, quartered, or 5 cups chopped romaine hearts
  • Directions
    Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs. Drain and toss with the milk in a large bowl; set aside.
    Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pan. Add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic to the pan and toss until warmed through; season with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon into bite-size pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Toss the remaining bacon and the tomato mixture with the pasta.
    Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons chives with the pasta until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce; toss again to coat. Garnish with the reserved bacon and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Serve at room temperature.

    "snow" day

    random picture of Jenna
    I should have had a couple more children.  Sometimes I miss babies and toddlers.  It's such a magical time in life.  I miss the days when going to the McDonalds play place was a huge treat :), the days when we sat on the couch with a pile of books and read and read and read, the swish of a diaper clad bum running through the house.  Last week we were at the canoe store and they had some baby rugged wear for sale.  I was flipping through the rack and saw a little pair of overalls with a shirt and I just remembered a small boy running around and being grabbed by the little "handle" on the back of his overalls and scooped up :) 

    We have a snow day today, sans the snow.  So ridiculous.  It's MSA testing time at school and such a hulabaloo you have never seen.  The schedules are complex, the walls are covered with paper so no clue may be given to a kid whose eyes sweep the room between questions, subs are called in, lunch times disturbed, kids and teachers are stressed.  Yesterday everyone was worried about the storm and the possible disruption to the test schedule.  It came...we are home.  I am getting lots of laundry done, which I like, but the disruption is probably not worth it.  Grace has an appointment with the allergist this afternoon.  I am not sure how it will go, I am pretty sure a big bribe is going to be in order for her lay still and get poked.  (grimace).  John is coming over to play with Ethan, Hannah is locked in her room commanded to find the carpet.  (that girl~ head shaking)
    girls at the rescue squad
     Last night was Brownies.  We met at the Volunteer Rescue Squad and the girls learned all about emergency safety.  They had a wonderful time.  I am amazed, and have been since the minute we moved here that both our fire department and our rescue squad, including the paramedics are all volunteers.  These are good people who really want to contribute to the community.  They work on average 4 or 5 shifts a month and drill together every Tuesday night.  I would love to be involved in something like that, it seems like such a good thing to do.  There are so many good people in the world, doing so many good things, it's really heart warming. 
    Lu and Delaney in the ambulance
    Monday night we had the missionaries over for dinner, and another family.  The missionaries taught a discussion to the dad, who is not a member.  I was looking forward to the evening, I am not a good missionary by any definition but I do love the gospel and want to share if someone is interested.  Our evening was very nice, dinner was good, they have a disabled daughter who is in a wheelchair and the kids were so sweet and good with her.  The played with her and read to her, Grace sat by her at dinner and chatted up a storm the whole time.  I am really happy that they have always been good with old people, babies, disabled people, weird people ;)  Whatever.  They have good hearts,  I need to really remember that when rooms are messy, or squabbles happen or when, like last night, R and I leave the house for an hour (literally) at 8pm after kids are settled for the night and Lu is in bed and we come home to find Lu up, the kitchen a mess(which was clean when we left) and that Hannah and Ethan have had a water gun fight in the house.  Anyway the lesson didn't go nearly the way we had hoped and I feel really badly about that.    I always want everyone to be happy and comfortable and everything to be positive and good.