Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cabo 2012

Jason surprised me with a trip to Mexico for Valentine's Day! We met my sister Teresa and her husband James in Cabo San Lucas last week and had such a fun trip. I wish I could live it all over again! We had a great time snorkeling, hanging out at the beach, fishing from shore, deep-sea fishing, eating lots of good food, seeing amazing creatures like whales, dolphins and rays, living through many near-death experiences in the rental car and just being together. I wish we could go back! Like, right now.
Cabo 2012!
This is on Lover's Beach. How romantic!

My beautiful sister Teresa and her husband James. They are the cutest!

I miss this! I never get to see my leetle seester these days. It was so great to have a few days together.

Believe it or not, Jason's first love is fishing, not hunting. He couldn't resist buying a fishing pole at Mexican Wal Mart and fishing from shore every chance he got. The beaches were so beautiful! He even caught a few strange fish.
Like this one, for example. It looked fairly normal, until you got up close...
And it had human teeth! It looked like Mater from the movie Cars. Freaky! Jason was afraid he might lose a finger trying to get the hook out, but he finally got the job done. I was too grossed out to go near it.

We decided to go out on a limb and eat at an authentic taco stand. It was good! And, as far as I know, we all survived.
At the airport on the way home!!! Sniff, sniff. It was such a fun trip. The perfect combination of adventure and relaxation. 
Til next time!

Friday, February 10, 2012

My soap trick

Foaming soap is pretty much one of the best things in life, wouldn't you agree? It's soft and luscious, lasts a long time, and doesn't make a gigantic, gooey mess when small children decide to be slightly independent and wash their hands all by themselves with traditional hand soap. We don't want to discourage them by telling them they are doing it wrong, making a huge mess for mom to clean up later, and make them feel incompetent/less likely to fight germs in the future. So, we bring foaming soap into our homes and the battle is won. Or is it? I would venture that it is only partly won, because there is more to win. I'm talking financially here. Did you know you can use your overpriced foaming soap bottles from Bath and Bodyworks for pretty much the rest of your life? Yes, even at 6 for $20, it is a huge rip for a dang bottle of soap. But use my little soap trick, and they can be a great investment. Work with me here.

First, you have your empty foaming bottle. Buy some cheap, generic hand soap. $3 or $4 will buy you a few YEARS of soap. I'm not kidding.

Most of the bottles in my house are Pink Grapefruit. I've been refilling them with cheap soap for years, and I have never had anyone say, "Hey, this doesn't smell like Pink Grapefruit! This smells more like generic Wal-Mart anti-bacterial hand soap! What is UP with that?" I hate to break it to you, but scented soap is a scam. You only smell what you think you are smelling.


Next, just fill your bottle about 1/4 of the way with soap, or even less. This picture actually shows more soap than you really need. I poured too much, then didn't feel like pouring it back into the other bottle. So I went with it. Bring on the foam. Go easy, though, if you get too much "regular" soap the end result is slimy. 

Slowly add water to about 2/3 of the way to the top. You need to leave a little breathing room. It helps to tilt the bottle and pour the water in at an angle, hitting the side of the bottle fist so it doesn't go directly into the soap and create premature bubbles. Put the lid back on, shake it all up, and you are good to go! A brand new bottle of foaming hand soap, for pennies.

It also works with foaming dish soap, which I love. A little bit goes such a long way. Plus, I bought this bottle of Sun for 89 cents and it has 56% more free! I will probably still be using it when my kids leave home. The back of the extremely overpriced bottle of foaming Dawn reads "Refill ONLY with Dawn Direct Foam. Traditional dish liquids will not work or foam." This is true. They won't... UNLESS you only use a little bit of dish soap and add lots of water. Boo ya! I hate to have to say boo ya on a post about soap, but I need emphasis here.  I just get excited when I get a chance to stick it to the man, or Proctor & Gamble, or anyone really. It makes me feel like I have arrived.

And here's a shout out to my two little helpers. Jake is sad because he got shots earlier in the week and his only consolation seems to be following me around and attempting to hang on my leg every waking hour. Bless him. And bless me, with patience.

Abby seems to be saying, "Thanks for refilling the foaming hand soap so economically, Mom, so you can afford to buy me a huge overpriced box of Goldfish for Jake to spill all over the family room!" You're welcome, Abby. You're welcome.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This is why I love Book Club...

 Of course we are all there because we love to read, right? No, I don't think so. I think book clubs exist to give us moms an excuse to get together, chat and eat yummy treats. That's why I go, anyway! Once or twice a year I get to host book club, which means... I get to try out some yummy recipes. Last night was no exception. I love to spend the day in the kitchen, preparing for my friends to come over and hang out for a little while after the kids go to bed (or are at least banished to their rooms!).

These are Heavenly Filled Strawberries from my mother-in-law's cute blog. They are zero Weight Watchers points, if you're counting. Nothing else clocked in at the zero mark, by the way! I figured we could start with something healthy and go downhill from there.
Next was Cinnamon Cookie Crunch Popcorn from Our Best Bites. They had me at "kind of like a chocolate covered cinnamon bear". I have yet to make something from those OBB girls that disappoints. Wow, they are amazing!

There is even a template for a little print out to attach to the bag of popcorn! How convenient. Thank you, Sara and Kate.

The main dish was this White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake from Meili's Home Baked Goodness. Just a warning, don't go to that blog and expect to not come away hungry! I think I want to make every single recipe. 

And oh yeah, I guess the book was pretty good, too. We read first book in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Andrew McCall Smith. I love these books. There are twelve, I think, with another one on the way in April. They are such a fun read and remind me of the semester I spent in South Africa right before I graduated from BYU. Such good memories. It was a fun night! Thanks, girls!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dallin is 9!

Dallin's birthday is always an emotional day for me. I think because he is my oldest and firstborn in the wilderness, it is kind of like my birthday, too. It is the birth of my becoming a mother. I celebrated by buying some purple jeggings for myself at Our Little Store.  It made me feel a little better about my baby turning nine! You can't feel depressed in purple jeggings. The day Dallin was born was truly the most significant day of my life. Not that my other kids' births haven't been significant, but when your first child is born, your life changes forever. Suddenly, it's focused on someone else, and will be forever. Now there are several someone elses, and each one has brought change to our family, but the first one paved the way, nine wonderful Groundhog Days ago. 

Dallin's birthday this year was so fun. He had three parties. Lucky little sucker.

Dallin is obsessed with football this year, so I made him a football cake for his family party with  my in-laws. It is one of the few successful cakes I have ever made. It actually looked like a football! Not that difficult, I realize, but I have issues with making cakes.

Party #1. Opening presents with the Yates cousins.

Blowing out the candles!! If you have more than one birthday cake, do you get more than one wish? This is bothering me. And don't mind the lion behind me. He is actually quite tame.

Dallin requested pancakes for his birthday breakfast. I'm a bad mom and usually just give them cereal before school, so this was a special occasion. I can't believe I have four kids that sit up to the bar! I feel like an official mother now.

Dallin's class singing Happy Birthday to him. Abby, Jake and I brought little ice creams in to Dallin's class for his birthday treat.  

The football party! The kids look wild, but they were actually really well-behaved. I was very relieved because Jason was supposed to do the party but ended up having to work. He organized everything, though, and came up with some great games that the kids loved.

The first was kicking practice. Jason built a goal post out of PVC pipe and the kids took turns kicking field goals.

Next was tackling practice. Jason rigged up a football dummy that the kids got to tackle and land on a mattress. They thought that was the greatest thing ever invented. I was just glad that Jason stuffed the bag with his pile of dirty hunting clothes so I don't have to move them every time I vacuum. Dirty hunting clothes and I do not get along.

This game was a huge hit once I figured out how to attach the velcro so the dummy would come loose when they jumped on it. Where does Jason come up with these things?

The next game was throwing practice. Jason drew a football player on a box and cut out a hole for the kids to throw the ball in. In addition to being an expert party-planner, Jason is also an artist. 

Abby wanted to get in on the action and have black under her eyes, too.

I was still recovering from making the football cake, so I was very grateful to Costco for making a Super Bowl cake that said Happy Birthday on it. It was eerie.  I didn't even have to ask! I hope there is Costco in heaven. I'm pretty sure there is.

After all the friends went home, the Price cousins came over! Dallin opened his presents and was thrilled with everything. He's getting so old! He wanted money this year so he can buy some things he's been saving up for.

Dallin's main present! He LOVES country music and went to the Brad Paisley concert with Jason last week (hey, wait a  minute, that was supposed to be his main present!). He has been begging for a guitar for a while, so I finally broke down and got him one. Now I just have to teach him how to play it!

Our traditional family birthday picture. Each birthday brings a few more changes. The kids are a little bit  different, we are all a little bit older, and hopefully a little bit wiser, too. I love watching my family grow and change. I used to dread having my kids grow up, but in a lot of ways I feel like we are just getting to the fun part. I love seeing the people these kids are turning into, one birthday at a time!