Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Laurel's First Primary Talk

As a child, my parents made sure that we were comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people, and I think Luke is so sexy when he's expounding from a podium, so when Laurel came home from Primary with her talk assignment taped to her wrist (brilliant Primary leaders), we were completely stoked. Her topic was the Restoration of the Gospel. That night we watched the Joseph Smith church video, did a family home evening on it on Monday and Tuesday we had her "write" her talk. She told me eight things she remembered from the video/family discussion, and then I used the tried and true Tammen family pre-reading talk trick: Divided a piece of paper into 8 squares, wrote the short sentence on the bottom of each square, and used the rest of the space to draw a picture that described the sentence. Each night during scripture study Laurel gave her talk, and we were curious to see how Sunday would go. Can I just say that Laurel owned that podium! She hopped up there, realized that she was the center of attention, and gave her talk ten times better than she had practiced at home. We were so proud of her, and amazed that she had memorized so much of it! Granted, there are more important things in life than being able to give a good church talk, but we were a little smug that the apple didn't fall too far from the tree!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Field Trip

We made the two hour trip down to Mount Pleasant for Luke's nephew's baptism. As it was at noon, we stopped at the local Wasatch Academy for a picnic lunch beforehand. (Wasatch Academy: a private college prep boarding school. Tuition for one year is $43,000! Yikes! As much as Luke's Harvard tuition, for which he was fortunately on scholarship!) It's a beautiful campus nestled in the middle of nowhere, Utah. At the family gathering afterwards, Dean was in heaven when he was actually allowed to play the piano. He's the todder who, during Relief Society, makes guerrilla end runs around me, trying to accompany the pianist. And a photo of Luke and his brothers.

I've actively been trying to be more creative with Laurel, whether that be with crafts or baking. I found a box of frozen pie crusts that I had bought as a "just in case" over Thanksgiving and had never used. (I almost always do homemade crusts, unless I've failed to plan ahead well and run into a time crunch.) I knew I wasn't going to make pies with them, so I decided to turn them over to Laurel to make shapes out of and bake with cinnamon sugar. Laurel had a blast, and it reconfirmed for me why it's worth the effort to make homemade crusts...all I could taste was the vegetable shortening. Yuck!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

April VT Message

It seems that about every decade, there's a Visiting Teaching message in the Ensign that just hits me. I haven't been able to get April's out of my head, in particular Sister Beck's encouragement to "increase our offering". I confess my first reaction was "I have so much on my plate, what can I do more?". But of course this message comes from a place of love, and isn't an attempt to induce guilt-motivated behavior. So from this place of love, what offering can I increase? For me, at this time in my life, it's all about being more present with my children. There is so much to do! Sometimes I envy the simplicity of earlier times - yep, churning butter and cooking over a fire would be tremendously draining, but they didn't have to deal with essentially frivolous demands on their time. And they couldn't have done that much multi-tasking. I'm so good at multi-tasking, but as numerous scientific studies have shown, multi-tasking sacrifices quality in favor of perceived efficiency. And my kids are certainly quality. So I'm really trying to focus on being present with the kids and being more playful with them. When they want to play, of course I'm in the middle of doing dishes or cooking or...Last week, Laurel asked me to play with her while I was in the middle of doing the breakfast dishes. Normally I would have said "Let me take care of these dishes first", but by the time I finished she may have moved on to other things, and the opportunity would have been lost. So when she asked, I paused, pulled off my dish gloves and got down on the floor with her. It was the best! And I have to recommend Playful Parenting as a great resource for those of us who tend to be task-oriented in our relationships!

Create your own Mix

Have you seen Grooveshark? Sooo much better than Pandora! Try it; it's free!

Easter 2011

Gosh, I love Easter. I love living back in Utah, but my favorite holiday tradition by far is the one that we started back East of having people over for Easter. Although Luke's family made Easter Sunday plans, we weren't about to forego our tradition, so we moved it to Saturday night. Melt-in-your mouth pork loin, homemade rolls, and lamb cake. What's not to love? Btw, homemade rolls. People, I have been foolish enough to try to rely on Martha Stewart and Nigella Lawson yeast roll recipes. They're good but just not...delectable enough. On a whim, I tried this recipe, and it's yummy! Next year I'm going to try the traditional butterhorn recipe that apparently every elderly Mormon woman uses. Thanks, Rosalee!

Really, one day I'm going to pull out my tips and actually decorate this beast. In the meantime, we love our puppy cake!

Wiggly Kids and Cameras....Sigh

My parents visited in April and it was such fun to share our Alpine spring with other words, it rained and was freezing while they were here. Isn't my mom so pretty?

Handsome Devil


Cristie came up so that Luke and I could attend a UVU Alumni event, and she brought Luke's brother's children with her. It was so much fun! I took the kids to the local "department" store (King's, for any of you who live in rural Idaho) and picked up cheap Easter baskets and decorating supplies. Laurel and Sophie had a blast with ribbon and feathers!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

More Play-doh Fun

This time Laurel requested a plane sculpture with a squirrel pilot. Love a 3 year old's imagination!