Saturday, August 27, 2011

i love to see the temple

Today our youth went to the San Antonio Temple. For those of you not familiar with Texas, it's about a 2 hour drive each way. It was such a great experience. Each one of our Young Women's faces glowed and they couldn't stop smiling. It was a first for a lot of the beehives. We had a total of 30 Young Women and Young Men. It was McKay's second trip to do baptism's for the dead.

There was some things that are different. I'm not sure if it's just because this is a smaller temple or if that is just the way they have changed them since I was a youth. The leaders were able to dress in their whites and help with the experience.

The girls went first so when we finished we went down to the lower parking level and had a testimony meeting. It was 105 degrees outside but yet no one said a word about the heat during it. (Plenty was said during pictures though.) Each one of the girls shared their thoughts and feelings. I can't describe how strongly we felt the Spirit and knew of His love.

I love this ward!

P.S. Jake gets to speak tomorrow in church with the topic of a conference talk by David A Bednar: The Spirit of Revelation. I'm seriously so excited to hear it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We survived the big day.

The REAL official "first day of school" picture.
The question was asked, "What was your favorite thing about school today (excluding recess and lunch)? Here is what they answered with:

Katanya: Laying on a towel for rest time.
Cruz: Writing.
Kirsten: The beginning when we did a work packet.
McKay: Not getting lost. (Which I honestly felt sorry for her when I dropped her off and she was left in such a big school and not yet having a schedule and knowing where any of her classes were.)

I think we can definitely handle the rest of the school year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My kids keep growing and growing....

It's the first day of school today for ALL of my kids. I just dropped them off. I'm a little overwhelmed. The traffic is just crazy. They say to give it a couple of weeks and it will get better. I hope so. I didn't expect it to take 18 minutes to go a little over a mile. My friends in Idaho, you have it so easy.
I still wasn't ready to send them off. I have really enjoyed this summer and how well everyone got along. I know I'm not ready for a schedule either, although it will help me get a lot of the things that I slacked the last year caught up on.
I took these pictures on Friday. These two are only a grade apart and their classrooms are right across from each other. I love how close they are and how they can help each other through school.
Over the last couple of years they have learned to really get along and play with each other.
They are so goofy....
but yet lovable.
I really can't believe how these two girls have grown. Especially when we were shopping for school stuff. They are smart, strong willed and willing to learn.
And yet they still try to act so much older than they are.

Back to my kids being gone. I just got home and my house feels empty and quiet. What to do first?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kirsten's special day

Kirsten had quite the day yesterday.
We started it off by taking her and only her shopping. She had wanted to pick out her own clothes and some jewelry. We went down to Forever 21 and she was in love. She picked a couple new outfits and of course....
A necklace and some "danglely" earrings. She has some rather nice taste.
Later in the afternoon she opened her presents and she was surprised. She loves to sing to her ipod and she her only thing on her birthday list was a microphone. I had been thinking that maybe a karaoke machine would be nice but Jacob suggested that maybe the Wii might have something that would work. It did and it works so much better. Plus between the two new games that she got, it has a lot of her favorite songs. She's been singing the past two days.
For dinner she chose to go to Rudy's. For those of you that don't know, this is probably my favorite BBQ place ever. You have to like meat to go here. Here is what we got.....
You pick out the meats you want and how much (in weight), choose some sides, and then they give you bread and butcher paper. It's delicious! I forgot to include a picture of their tasty BBQ sauce.
We started our fast after dinner as our stake, and several others in the area, were fasting for rain. We are in the middle of a bad drought and heat wave. Kirsten wanted her cake on Sunday. It was a good dessert to break our fast. She chose "pie O dirt" for her cake. (Chocolate pudding in a graham cracker crust with oreo's and gummy worms {I used bears} on top.) May her birthday wish come true!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Nine is no longer considered a little kid."

Or this is what McKay has said and Kirsten hasn't forgotten it. As of now, It is Kirsten's birthday....officially.

Nine years ago on August 19th, we helped my parents take their garden out. I was pulling out corn. I remember thinking, "maybe this will help me go into labor." It did. I woke up a little after 2:30 a.m. with heavy contractions and my first thought was, "I have to do my hair and makeup." I didn't want the pictures to look horrible. I learned a lesson after the first. She came less than 4 hours later. We could never decide on a name before she was born. Jacob and I took one look at our sweet little angel and we looked at each other and said "Kirsten." And so it was.

Kirsten Skye reminds me of when I was a little child. I think she looks the most like me when I was that age. Although she is a very strong willed child and a counter just like her dad, she has a tender sweet spirit. She wants to learn and wants to do what is right. She really looks up to her older sister. I am so glad that she is a part of our family.
Happy 9th Birthday Kirsten! I hope this year is fabulous for you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

small fish in a big ocean

Today Katanya went to Kinder Kamp. Basically it was where the parent and child meets the teacher, the child goes in for an "imitation of a short school day," and the parent goes to the lunch room to fill out papers and buy PTA selling fundraisers. Katanya was stoked. She has waited a long time for this. Her new teacher is amazing, too.

There are a few differences between our rural Idaho elementary school and our new Texas urban / community school. One big one is an additional 650 kids per say. (Roughly 1000 students and it's only K-5 here not K-6). Another will be where the bus used to pick up my children right outside my house, I get to drive them since there are no buses here and we are far enough away, (which could be a hassle for a couple weeks or so I've heard.) And lastly, they have all day Kindergarten. Wow! I'm excited though. The school seems great and really structured.

Although as I waited for Katanya to come back from her class, it hit me that this was my last one. I've never been one of those parents that cry when there kids go to school and thankfully my kids have all been excited and anxious to start school, but Anya is my baby, my last one, and she is my most independent. I still didn't cry but I ALMOST choked up as I read the cute little survival bag that the teacher gave them. (See bottom, it was just too adorable that I couldn't help but copy it.)

Now that poses another question. What do I do with all that time? Obviously I can volunteer at the school again and help the teachers. Do I find a part time job for a little extra income since things are a little more expensive down here? I definitely need to be home to pick up the kids and be home when they a are home so wanting that would make finding a job a little more difficult. I'm sure I can find (or rather I know of) a couple projects that need to get done, like my filing and books from last year and this year.

So school starts in less than 2 weeks. This summer flew by. We've lasted the heat by being at the pool so much. I've enjoyed having the kids at home. They've learned how to help clean so we can all get to play later and I've enjoyed the lax in structure at my house, like bedtimes and meals and waking up. But, all things must change and it's on to a whole new journey for ALL of us.

Kindergarten Survival Kit
(and then the following things were inside the bag)
* A penny because you are so valuable.
* The cotton ball is to remind you that our classroom is full of kind words and warm feelings.
* And eraser to remind you that it's okay to make mistakes.
* The lifesaver is to let you know that you can go to any adult in the school for help.
* The tissue is for drying your tears and those of others.
* A Band-Aid to let you know that together we can make things better.
* The chocolate hug is to remind you that you are cared for.
* A Smartie because you are so smart you will even teach me many things this year.
* A sticker because we always stick together and help each other in Kindergarten
* A starburst to remind you that you are a Kindergarten star and everyone in this class shines in their own way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sweet Potato Chicken Enchiladas!

Monday night at the grocery store, Jacob looked at me when I put my sweet potatoes on the scanner and said, "Yams? Why are you getting those?" No answer. I've always loved sweet potatoes or yams or whatever you want to call them.

I had found a recipe on my friends blog (Sara Ulrich) that looked worth trying. Last night was my trial night. I didn't tell my kids what I had put in there but simply that we were having enchiladas. They were excited as enchiladas (whether chicken or beef) are a favorite. After they had had one and were working on their second, I asked the kids if they could tell what was in there. They guessed everything but the sweet potatoes. McKay went for a third to try to figure it out. Needless to say when I told them they were amazed. I told them to not tell Dad until after he had eaten them, (as McKay and I had Mutual that night and I wouldn't be able to see it.)

Jacob texted me halfway through and said, "Surprisingly these sweet potatoes in the enchiladas are quite good." He ate his words!

So here is the recipe that all my facebook friends wanted. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


1 1/2 of chicken breast - shredded
1 can of black beans
2 cups of sweet potatoes, boiled and diced
2 cups salsa - (I used Pace mild)
2 1/2 - 3 tsp. ground cumin

Mix these ingredients together in a bowl. Put in a tortilla shell, sprinkle a little cheese if you want (I love cheese) and roll up in a tortilla. (I actually used the small tortillas and it made 20. A regular size would make less.)
Then I put a little of La Victoria Red Enchilada Sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish and placed the enchiladas in it. I then covered them with the rest of the sauce (for this many I used a little shy of medium cans). Then I sprinkled cheese (colby jack / cheddar mix) on top.

Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes (covered with tin foil). The recipe called for 375 but my oven is hotter here so I stuck to 350. Best served with other vegetables on the side.

*This fed our family of 6 plus gave us leftovers.

**The recipe called for La Victoria Red Enchilada Sauce. I had never used this one but decided to try it. It's now my favorite. It was also the most expensive in the store but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Get ready to laugh (or chuckle)

You are probably wondering if all of my dishes are in my old cupboard....
What is in my other cupboards?
When your pantry is only one small door that is 15 inches deep, it doesn't leave a lot of room for your food storage that came from a big-ger pantry.This is how I coped with this situation.
Yep, all of them are filled with food storage.

Bringing a little Idaho to Texas

Finally a few before and after pictures mixed in with our Idaho home pictures.
Above was my kitchen in Idaho. I loved the cabinets. Jacob made them back when he remodeled the house. It was one of my favorite things of the house.
Our new kitchen before we painted (as shown before).
And our new kitchen painted in a light gray. We used our old cupboard (the one section we brought with us) for our plates and glasses.
Again, above is our living room from our Idaho house.
And, this is our new "game" room here in Texas. (I still like calling it a family room but everyone here refers to it as a game room.)
This room was a dark mud brown and it felt boxed in. I didn't take any before pictures but we ended up painting it the exact same color as our living room before. Between the paint that we had brought and what Betsy had left over that she couldn't take to Kansas, I didn't have to buy anything for this room. The colors (and couch) just made it feel so cozy and at home.
This is the before pic of the living room.And this is the new one. We never had a living room in Idaho so we had to take some of our "junk" (the stuff we sold on Craigslist) money and buy another couch. We still want to find a colored rug and some art for this room but that will come as we find the "perfect" pieces.

P.S. The broken Fiestaware count is at two and a loss of $24. This time it was my oldest. I told the kids they had one freebie and then it was over. Over the weekend we also went and bought plastic cups, bowls, and plates that they can use for lunch and breakfast. I can't afford buying a new dish every week.