Friday, September 17, 2010

Homemade Oreo Cookies

Thursday morning at 7:43 a.m., I got a text from my brother Ben:
"If you had time you could make homemade Oreos if you want.  Yours are the best."
Me:  "I've never made homemade Oreos."
Ben:  "I swear you made me some once?  But only if you have time.  Its totally cool if you don't."
Me:  "Well, for your graduation, I bought you some Oreo Cakesters.  But I will make you some if you want.  It's no biggie."
Ben:  "Ohh that's right.  But ok awesome.  I just hope I get time to try one!"
Ben is so funny.  So I looked up a recipe on the internet.  I was thinking it was going to be a pain to make them because I was already going to be canning peaches and making jam Saturday night.  But the recipe I found was really simple.  It even had a recipe for cream cheese frosting to go with it.  Friday, I went grocery shopping, and got all the ingredients.  Then Saturday, at around ten o'clock at night, after I had cleaned up all the mess from canning peaches and making jam, I was sitting at my computer playing WOW with Kurtis when suddenly, I exclaim, "Oh!  Shoot!  I forgot to make Ben homemade oreos!"  "Are you going to?"  Kurtis asked.  I promised I would, so of course I did!  I'm the bestest sister ever!

Here is the recipe I wrote down from the internet.  Phsht!  Please!  Do I really seem like the kind of girl who would make her own cream cheese frosting?  Um, no.  Not when there is a perfectly excellent little jar of it sitting on a shelf in the super market!  Betty Crocker needs to feed her family, too! ;)

Here is the finished product.  I made mine a little bigger than dime shaped.  They were all gone by the time I got back from church.  But Ben saved me one!  I had sneaked one last night, so I let Kaleb have it.  In the future, if I make them for oh, say, Riley's baptism lunch, I think I will double or even triple the recipe, though.  I made about two dozen (maybe a few more).  I didn't really count them, or really care how many I brought because I was assigned the drinks.  Even that was pretty sketchy.  "Oh, only bring them if you want to, we can just drink water."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm Gonna Miss Him, or In Other Words: Ben's Farewell

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have missionaries.  This really isn't all that different from other religions.  The biggest difference is simply that the LDS church does not pay their missionaries to preach the word.  The missionary and/or his parents usually pay for the cost of going on the mission.  Crazy, huh?  Well, the gospel of Jesus Christ makes us happy, so we want to share it with others in the hopes that it will make others happy, too.
My brother Ben, left for his mission today.  He entered the MTC (or Missionary Training Center) in Provo, UT.  He is being sent to Belem, Brazil.  There is an MTC in Brazil already, but he does not have his visa yet.  I warned him this would happen if he didn't get his application out as soon as possible.  This happened to another missionary in our ward.  That's how I knew.  I'm not psychic.  Most of the time.  Any way, his excuse: "I sent in the papers by the date they told me to!"  "They" being the people who sent him his mission location.  Once again, I am right about something.  (He he he)
Sunday, he spoke to the congregation about why he is going on a mission, and how he came to his decision.  He told me once he wasn't going to go on a mission.  He said he was probably just saying that to get me to leave him alone.  Rude.  That was then.  This is now, and he's changed his mind.  I really enjoyed his talk.  He talked about growing up, and all the influences of his Sunday School teachers and Youth leaders.  He also put in a plug for our dad.  Our dad is soft spoken, humble, amazing, wonderful.  We love him.  He spoke about Grandpa, and told a story that was told at his funeral.  One man got up early to shovel driveways for people in the neighborhood with our grandpa.  He commented that by the time the two of them were done, they had shoveled 17 driveways.  I remember that story too.  My grandpa also told the man the reason they get up so early and start with a particular woman's driveway is because if they didn't, she would already have it done by the time they got there.  Grandpa was so funny.  He also wrote a poem.  He's not going to read my blog for a long time, so I am going to post it here.  Because I think it is pretty good.

Who taught us to judge our brother?
To look with disgust, and hate another?
All will feel the love it smothers,
If we always show hate to others.

Hate will dull the sense of Sin.
It can vanish any grin.
Some might smile with an empty Heart,
Their selfishness, to tear you apart.

How can we dare to disgrace God’s Son
By laughing at, or making fun?
What is done unto one, is done unto Him,
So why bring one down, at every whim?

We don’t understand the pain we can cause,
If we don’t learn to love another man’s flaws.
So truly love your older Brother,
Go show love unto another.

After church was over, I went back to my mom's house.  Apparently, my family did not go to all of church.  Shocker considering she did for the rest of my brothers'.  I guess Ben, being the youngest gets special treatment.  But that means, that I did not get pictures of all the people who were there.  Just of the ones who were still there at two in the afternoon.  Melinda (his girlfriend), Caleb, and David.  I've never met them before in all my life - except maybe they were there when he opened the envelope telling him where he was going to go.  It's a big deal in LDS culture.  The family gathers around to watch the missionary open his/her letter from the first presidency of our church.  I think I remember seeing Caleb now that I think about it.  So these are the pictures I got.  Sorry, I went to Relief Society, Michele (Really, I'm not sorry. It was a good lesson and I got to sit by Kathy Potter.  She said seeing me makes her miss me more, and she asked how you were.)!  Melinda says she took lots, but I don't know when I will see them.  You should join facebook, and "friend" her.  Maybe she will post them there.

Melinda and Ben.  Who knows what they were talking about, but Ben looks amazed.

Cookies first.  Then dinner.

Rodney (my brother) talked about getting dreads in his hair.  Melinda, and I both said, "Ew!  That's gross."  Hopefully he was just saying that because he knew that was how we would react.

Caleb.  Those flowers sure are pretty!

Melinda, Ben, and David.

Yep.  Cookies first.  I love those green eyes!

My brother Jeremy.  AKA: Grizzly Adams.

My mom wanted Ben to take a picture for the plaque they will be putting on display in the foyer on the way into the chapel (all the missionaries have one), so he started posing.

This one is my favorite.  It belongs in GQ or some other men's magazine.

Joel took our family picture.  Michael and Michele, Brian, and her kids are missing.  The punks!  It's like they aren't part of our family any more! :''''(

Here is a shot where everyone is smiling, and Kaleb isn't making funny faces (See above photo)!

After the family photo shoot, we got serious, and here is a possible photo for Ben's plaque.

Personally, I like this one best, but Mom will probably use the one above because she said she needed to be able to cut it down to like 2 inches by 3 inches.  I told her she could get it printed any way she wanted it, but she looked at me like was weird, and said, "I'll just get a 4x6 and cut it down."

Then I tackled my children!

I was victorious!

Until they sneak attacked me!  Some one was choking me at one point.

They took me down, and tickled me!

Trampolines are fun.  Maybe Santa will bring us one for Christmas this year.  I'll have to talk my kids into asking him for one.  You know, for the kids! ;)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Domesticated! >:(

Awhile ago, during dinner, Kurtis and I were looking at our peach tree in the backyard.  He turns to me, and says, "You should can some peaches this year.  Then the kids can have them to eat in the winter."  What!?  A little piece of me died inside.  I have never had any desire whatsoever to can peaches!  Never.  Ever.  I hate canned peaches.  I don't like baked fruit.  Or fruit that is mushy.  It must be fresh, and crisp.  Like God intended.  But I knew I would do it.  I knew I would do it because he asked me to.  In his defense, he promised to help me.  I thought it was a strange request, though.  He hates peaches.  When we bought our house, and found out the tree in the backyard was a peach tree, he wanted to cut it down.  The only reason we didn't was because his mother said, "Don't you dare!  I love peaches, and I want some!"  I borrowed my mother's canning pot.  She gave me some jars.  I bought the tongs and funnel.  Today, we picked a butt load of peaches, cut them up, and bought a butt load of strawberries, mushed them up, and made strawberry peach jam, and also canned a bunch of peaches.  I also made some regular strawberry jam, too.  I bought way more strawberries than I needed.  I've never made jam before either.  I liked making jam more than I liked canning peaches, but doing it with Kurtis was fun.  I would not have liked doing it by myself at all.  Please, just kill me first.

I'm gettin' all artistic with my fruit!

Strawberry Peach Jam made by me!

He's so hot when he peels peaches.

The fruits of our labors.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Need to Stop Asking Why

I wasn't going to blog about this, but I thought my sister would enjoy it.  She lives far away, and the point of this blog is to let her know what's happening in our lives.  Just know that I am still pretty upset right now.
Riley and Kaleb got themselves grounded last night.  No friends, no TV, no movies, no computer, PlayStation, or xbox (the wii is broken - again) until further notice.  I was furious.  I went upstairs to go to bed last night.  Kaleb was on our bed.  He'd fallen asleep there (he has issues), so I texted Kurtis to come help me put him in his bed.  Kurtis comes upstairs, and says, "Come here."  I do, and the carpet is absolutely soaking wet in the hallway by Kaleb's bedroom door and by Riley's!  So Kurtis and I wake up Riley (it's about eleven o'clock), and ask him why the carpet is so full of water.  He said he and Kaleb were playing with water.  "IN THE FRIGGING HALLWAY!!!?"  I screamed.  Apparently they thought it was the bathtub.  No, not really.  Of course they knew it wasn't the bathtub!  We used my carpet cleaner to suck up as much of the water as we could, and put the fan on it.  It was still wet in the morning, so while the baby screamed in her port-a-crib (it was her nap time anyway), I tried to suck out more.  Once I turned off the cleaner, I picked her up, cuddled her a little.  She didn't like me at the moment, so I put her back down, and she went right to sleep.  Any way.  The fans are still on the carpet, and it's getting dryer, but needless to say, I've been pretty cranky this morning.  I yelled at my groggy Riley for quite a bit last night.  He should know better!  What are you thinking, and all that crap.  Kurtis and I want them to remember this incident though.  We want them to remember the punishment we inflicted on them, so they will never do this again.  Ever.  Kurtis came up with this:  Riley gets to sit on a chair, and not get off for two hours after he is done with his homework.  He can't do anything else.  No reading, no getting off his chair to inspect a bug on the floor - nothing.  He's gonna be so bored.  Why are we being so harsh with Riley and not Kaleb?  Well, Riley is older than Kaleb by a good two years.  He knows better, and Kurtis and I know that if Kaleb sees Riley (or Zach) doing something they aren't supposed to, he will think it is okay.  And dumping buckets of water on my carpet is not okay!  We also extended his no treats in his lunch or dessert after dinner grounding for another week.  I wanted it to go until Halloween with the threat of no trick-or-treating if he gave me any lip, but Kurtis thought that was a bit much.  It still sounds quite reasonable to me.  Especially since I didn't even touch him last night.  Surprisingly, neither did Kurtis.  He spanks our kids when they make him mad enough, but I hate spanking.  Unless I am possessed by an angry demon or something.  Besides, it usually hurts my wrist more than it hurts them at all.  I onerously told Kurtis this morning, "Next time I say, 'What are they doing up there?' please go check it out."  He said that I would have shrugged and said, "I don't know", too.  No, I would have said, "I don't know.  Go check on them."
I probably haven't done a very good job of explaining what they did.  I don't really know.  The evidence points to water in the small drum of their drum set (it was upside down with drips in it), there was a weebles wobble tree house in the hallway.  Among other various toys that could hold water. 
I'm assuming they put water in the ferriswheel on that.  Maybe they ran some down the slide.  When I asked Riley why they did this he gave me the same response I usually get:  "Because we wanted to."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Something's Missing

Labor Day was fun.  We finally got the chance to hike our butts up the mountain in the place where I grew up to the infamous "B".  Ben, his girlfriend (Melinda), her brother (Mitchell), and Emily came with us.  Ben said he knew where the trail was.  He hiked a little ways ahead of us to look for it, couldn't find it, and so we went up the mountain, through the sagebrush.  Yay!  A hike that I remember taking maybe 2 hours, took 4.  There used to be a trail.  When I was a Sophomore in high school, our class hiked up there after school for the annual "lighting of the B" during the homecoming game.  I remember a trail.  I kept asking Emily, "Don't they still light the 'B' for Homecoming?"  She said she thought so, but seriously, if there is no trail up to it, I can't imagine the school district allowing it.  It was treacherous going back down.  I loved it when Ben went to go look for the trail back down, and Melinda said, "Yeah, because that worked out so well for you last time."  He he.  So true!  Ryan (my brother) claims there is still a trail, but he hasn't been up there in awhile himself, so maybe he can go find it since he has nothing else to do all day.  But I finally accomplished my goal of working out for 4 hours!  Now, I have no idea how I am ever going to keep up that goal - considering I don't usually have 4 hours to set aside for working out, what with having three kids and needing sleep.  It's just not gonna happen.  Maybe when Kaleb is in first grade.
I digress.
It was definitely an adventure, and I am not sorry we did it.  But, you know.  Trails just tend to make the journey a little easier.  Kaleb got carried most of the way back down the mountain, but he did not want to be carried while we were scaling the rocks, and when he was climbing back down them.  I piggy backed him  on the steep parts that were quite scary even for me.  Oh, yeah.  And Riley, on the way down, put his hand on a cactus.  So Emily made her facebook status "lesson of the day: cacti do not like high fives."  He was having fun up until that point.  But I didn't get a picture of it.  Dang it!

The Final Destination.  It's a good thing we planned to leave at 10 in the morning.  We left about at quarter to eleven.

Mitchell, Melinda, Ben, and Kaleb on the trail at the beginning.

Emily and Kaleb cutting through the sagebrush.  Apparently, he got a little scared when he couldn't see us for a bit.

One of the many grasshoppers we saw.  Riley said, "Mom!  Take a picture of this!"

Then they found a bone, and got really excited for me to take a picture of it.  But practically a foot away, we saw this:

And they decided that was even more exciting.  Decayed deer.  Yippee.  But then, Melinda went up the mountain a little more and said, "There's an even better one up here.  It's really gross.  I'm not going near it!"

She was right.  That is even better.  The kids were convinced it was attacked by a cougar.  I didn't get close enough to examine the body, and look for teeth marks on the bones.  I just took a picture.  I think it was either a baby or a juvenile, though.  It wasn't really that big.

We made it!  Ben kept saying, "It's just through these trees."  He was right.  A trail would have been nice, though.  Once, here, it was rock climbing!

The older boys climbed to the top of the "B" and back to the bottom before I even got to the bottom.  I'm a slow poke.

Riley and Zach waving at the top.

Kaleb made it!

This could be their engagement picture. :D  Hee hee hee!

Taking a break at the top.  Emily took a panoramic 360 degree picture for homework.  She could tell you the official name.  I don't remember.

This could be a great family picture for our Christmas cards!  The white paint looks like snow, right?

Mitchell brought binoculars, and let the boys take turns.

When we got up the mountain, it was lunchtime.  I thought we would be back by lunch!  Emily and Ben brought granola bars, and fruit snacks, though.  Hooray!

Emily has blue hair! :)

I guess throwing rocks isn't manly enough for Ben.  He has to throw a freaking boulder.  Thanks for the great example set for my children.  I was yelling, "Don't throw the rocks!" and what does he do!

I guess he was trying to eat her face.  Aw!  So cute!

He made it back down the "B"!  Such a trooper!

On our way down, we saw a helicopter.  He hovered by a telephone pole and moved on.  Ben said he did that at all of the telephone poles.  I wonder what that was all about.

Almost back to Grandma's.

Here's our silly monster!  :)  Look at Kaleb's left hand.  No, Kaleb's left - not your left!  Hee hee!  Sunday night he must have been bitten by a mosquito because when he got up, it was swollen and puffy.  He said it hurt too.  So we are so proud of him for coming up with us even when his hand was not feeling awesome!  Go Kaleb!  (Clicking on the picture will make it bigger if you want to see it better.)