Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hot Chocolate Part Two.

Family Home Evening with the Paynters 
facilitated another round of hot chocolate testing. 
We got very scientific:

It was determined that anything mixed with the Ghiradelli chocolate syrup was beyond delicious. We had Irish Cream, Hazelnut, White Raspberry, and French Vanilla.

The favorite, however, seemed to be this simple concoction: Heavy Whipping Cream and Hershey's chocolate bars heated, melted and stirred to perfection. Yikes.

 And the fun continues.

Monday, February 27, 2012

In My House This Morning.

Seriously, after the tumultuous morning we have had (Will and I)...
there is nothing like the smell of homemade bread to calm a troubled heart.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Great Hot Chocolate Experiment.

Grandpa Brown is opening an old fashioned ice cream shop. 
Just because he doesn't have enough to do...
(insert tongue in cheek).
We have been given the assignment to come up with some over the top hot chocolate flavors. 
My oldest two daughters are experts in the hot chocolate consumption experience.
So, we have begun. 
It's harder than you think, but just as fun as you would hope.

The hardest part has been finding the best chocolate base. There is no consensus yet.

We have done lots of mixing...

...and steaming...

...and sipping.

So far this is, hands down, the favorite. White chocolate caramel.
And Grandpa, just so you know, not an ounce of it has hit the ceiling. We're smart like that.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Will And I Have Had A Week.

I love this kid.
I hate that he has been overwhelmed lately with some anxiety issues.
 He is such a happy, well adjusted guy, that it kind of took us by surprise. 
Some things that used to be normal to him are now frighteningly overwhelming. 
He and I have been about pushed to our limit this week. But we have both had some wonderful experiences trying to rely our faith in Jesus to get us through. 
For the last two months this boy has prayed like no other. 
Ditto for me.
He's making progress and hopefully we are on the way out. 
Though it's not a huge deal, it is to him and he could use all the prayers he can get. 
Maybe we both can sleep easy soon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Post Just to Get Cody off my Front Page Because I think He Might Hate It.

This is me temporarily.

But of course that's Pero in my cup.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cody (my handsome nephew) Goes to Prom.

This will be Cody's reaction when he finds out I posted these on my blog.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Happy Belated Birthday.

Due to last week's snow storm, we postponed Janis' and Elijah's  birthday celebration to this week.
It was fun.

I made this cake last week and froze it when the party was canceled. 
Does that make me thrifty or lazy?

The birthday duo.

Elijah takes a turn blowing out Janis' candle,
but  I bet you're just looking at Jordan.

Steve sums up the day,
but I bet you're just looking at Cody.

Happy Birthday Janis and Elijah.
Yeah, I know that's Angie and Kaylie, I just had nothing else to say.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

For the Twins.

First, a word of warning: Pinterest is dangerous. I (almost) wish I had never discovered it. I might have an addiction-but I am working through it. 

Dearest Angie and Alicia-
Here is what you should make the day you are done with your sugar fast (Angie, forget the homemade Twix bars...this looks better):

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar

You see the layers, right?

 Whoa baby!
Pretty self explanatory (cookie dough, Oreos, and brownie mix) but the recipe is found here,
along with the story of how the blogger just lost 30 lbs. Crazy.

Girls, this is an incentive, not a temptation, okay?

Seriously, I should start a blog where I dream up stuff like this.
 I am gifted (or cursed) in this area!
You're welcome.
And just because you're curious...homemade Twix bars here.

A Week Full of Happiness.

Oh, this week was a good one. So many reasons to be happy. Here are just a few:

*I had an awesome Valentine's date with the husband.
*Netflix sent me the the final disc of Downton Abbey, Season Two.
*I watched that final disc uninterrupted while clipping coupons.
*I finished my book club book way early (The Count of Monte Cristo, couldn't put it down!)
*Daughter number two went on her first date (yes, it really did make me happy).
*Son number two conquered a significant challenge in his young life (let's just say that Disneyland took Michaela this week, and he struggled).
Maybe the most joy of all came from a package on my doorstep yesterday that had been missing in action for over a month:

It contained this little beauty:
Merry Christmas to me.
Better late than never!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 14th, 2012.

After a wonderful Valentine's date at the Provo, Utah temple...

...I feel the need to reiterate how much I love the temple.
There is no place like it on earth. 
Maybe it's that I feel the contrast of good and evil so starkly right now, 
but I soak up every minute of goodness in those walls. 
And maybe it's because I just REALLY need it now,
but I feel so intimately how much my Heavenly Father loves me.
Last night He reminded me (again) that He knows the beginning from the end- 
and that even my own family is more in His hands than mine. 
I needed that.
My words seem silly- but I feel them deeply.
Happy Day After.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How Sweet It Is.

My nephew Jacob and his brother Jordo, voluntarily 
took themselves off sugar for 6 weeks! 
Can you imagine an 8 year old having that kind of restraint? 
He and Jordan have been AMAZING. 
But today is the day. 
I suspect they are having a huge Valentine's Day celebration. 
Take it easy, boys.
No sugar induced comas, please.
Happy, Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some Words About Whitney Houston.

Just last week I was trying to explain to Michaela the tragedy of Whitney Houston.
I tried to explain how amazing she was, how she set the standard, topped the charts, and then just threw it all away. How when American Idol judges said "don't sing Whitney" they meant it. No one sings Whitney like Whitney.
Then this weekend, the tragedy was compounded.
It really does make me heartsick.

Whitney was my idol for so many years. I saw her on the Merv Griffin show when she was just 17 and she sang "How Will I Know?" I immediately went out and bought her first album. I may have played that album a thousand times (my family will vouch).
She was the soundtrack to most of my college years. She got me through boyfriends and breakups and late night study sessions.
I saw her in concert back in the day- she was even better live.
I missed her when she disappeared.
There doesn't seem to be an iconic singer for this generation of her standard.
We don't  have a Whitney Houston or a Mariah Carey any more. (Ironically, not even Mariah sings like Mariah used to back in the day).
I feel lucky and blessed to have been influenced by her gift.
But most of all, I just feel sad for way it ended.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Who Had a Birthday?

Elijah turned 14 yesterday.

He went shooting with his dad...

... out to lunch with Kyle...

 ...and played a little basketball.

We had a Sunday celebration that was minus the Backus family, Judie, and Janis due to a little snow storm that lasted all day. 

We're gonna try again next week. 
Happy Birthday, Elijah!
We Love You.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lessons from a Science Fair...

This year, Will and two of his friends decided that they wanted to do a project together. 
They came over, we did the experiment,
took pictures and that was the last we thought about it-
until two nights before the Science Fair. 
So Will and I put the board together, included their names and sent the project to school.
Communication is always key.
Both of the other boys also put a board together.
All three had the exact same project.
Only Will's had all three boys' names on it.
For us, for the judges.
No prizes this year.
Lesson learned.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Love Note.

Conservatism is Alive and Well in Missouri, Minnesota AND Colorado...

Rick Santorum.
He swept those three states last night.

Monday, February 6, 2012

This Weekend I Rediscovered Justin.

Many moons ago Never Say Never was my conversion to the fever that is Bieber... 

 But after a long absence of anything Bieber, 
Netflix offered the movie on Instant Queue this weekend. 
I got sucked in again. 
I love that movie.
I  downloaded all my favorites 
and played them just a little too much.
Then, no joke, during Fast and Testimony meeting yesterday, 
I hear the sweetest little voice belt out:
"Baby, baby, baby, oh..."
Yes, the little 2 year old prodigy behind me was apparently
experiencing Bieber Fever as well.
Coincidence? Probably. 
But it was an awesome end to my Bieber weekend.

And if by chance you are mocking this 46 year old woman , puhleeeeze, have you ever watched this?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Stand With The Catholic Church.

"Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience."

The following is a powerful letter read in almost every Catholic church last week in response to the Obama administration's mandate that employers must include contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in health-care coverage. It will force Catholic colleges, hospitals and other Christian groups to provide these drugs despite their faith-based opposition to them. It's an extremely important and courageous stance:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just been dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people — the Catholic population — and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers,
including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Obama Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.
We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture,
only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.
And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience,to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Obama Administration’s decision.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Alexander K. Sample
Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample

I am proud to stand with the Catholic church. 
Believe me, our turn will come.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Don't Ask Me How Many Times I Have Watched This....

So, when somebody asks you to fill in as the National Anthem
singer at your high school basketball game 
with a mere three day advance notice 
(we're talking the National Anthem), 
the correct answer would be uh," HECK no!"
Well, that's the right answer in my wussy world. 
In my daughter Michaela's world, not so much.
 Watch her rock the rafters :)

(Shout out to Bro.Cope in the bottom right corner for the first 7 seconds...)

Still Recovering.

This Luau wiped me out.
It might take a couple of days to recover.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

This Is Who I Am.

I swore I would never become one of  "those" Cub scout ladies...
It might be time to be released.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ah February!

You deserve a huge celebratory blog post of your own.
The marathon that was January is over.

But I am TIRED.
The Blue and Gold Banquet/ Luau is tomorrow
and I have many miles to go before I sleep...
So this is my pathetic shout-out to February.
Boo yah, we've been waiting ...