Thursday, July 31, 2008

How to keep a toddler busy while you're housekeeping...

Have you ever cleaned a room to perfection, gone on to the next room, then returned to the first room only to see it turned upside down like it was hit by hurricane Katrina? Well, then you must have a two-year-old! As my mom puts it, "if it can be moved, they have to move it!" -no matter what it is: a coffee table runner, toilet paper, books, pots under the sink, fixtures on furniture and cabinets, metal tacks in leather furniture, trashcan contents, clothes in drawers, shoes by the door, and the list goes on.

Here's just a little tip I tried this weekend and it kept Johnny busy as the kids and I did our Saturday chores. I gave him a spray bottle filled with water and a dry rag, showed him how to spray it and pointed to different things he might like to clean, such as trashcans, doors, floors, chairs and other things that he could reach. He had a great time, felt good about himself, and we were able to get our work done!

Now, if only I could get the teenagers to help without the long face!

How to clip a baby's fingernails

This post is listed at...

This is where I humiliate myself. As a rule, I do not clip my baby's fingernails. With my first four, I just never did figure out how. Their little fingers were too wiggly and I was terrified that I would cut their tiny fingertips off. They say that you can cut them while they are sleeping, but once I get to that point, I'm not about to wake them up. Fortunately all of my babies have been blessed with thin, frail nails, just like their mother, and eventually they just kind of peel off at the top when they become too long. Then disaster struck...

When my fourth child was a newborn, I left him in the care of a friend at church while I played the organ. Mind you, we were in the same room, albeit a large one, and he was only in her care for less than half an hour as I played the hymns for the congregation, but during this time she apparently decided that he needed to have his nails clipped. As I sat at the organ listening to the talk, a horrible scream emanated from the congregation and my friend ran out of the chapel, clutching my new baby. During an appropriate lull in the meeting, I left the stand where I was sitting and went into the lobby to see what was wrong. Looking at me with the saddest eyes I've ever seen, my friend told me that she had decided to clip his nails and had accidentally clipped his little fingertip off. I'll be honest and admit right now that this was difficult to forgive, but I did forgive within a few minutes and we continued to have a strong friendship. She even kept coming to her piano lessons in my home, in which she would pay me an exorbitant fee for half an hour and we would sit and talk until my next student came.

As you can imagine, I was truly scarred from this event, an event in which my wildest fingernail-cutting nightmare had come to pass! But then something happened. Something wonderful....

I was given two newborns at once! It was then that I was forced to see the merits of cutting fingernails. These babies got scratched much more than any of my others had and then I figured it out. They were scratching each other! I had to put a stop to this, but how?

My first step was to comb through the aisles of Walmart to see what new-fangled baby nail clippers had been invented since the 70's, since that was the last time I had used them. Actually, not even then, because my mother had cut my nails, not I. To my surprise, I did indeed find "safety" nail clippers. I threw them in my cart, confident that I would have the success for which I had always longed.

When I returned home, I nursed the babies to make sure they had the proper amount of endorphins coursing through their blood, then began the attempt. As I fumbled and flustered and tried to make them hold still, something amazing happened. One of them grabbed my finger tight and wouldn't let go. Eureka! This was it! I would clip their nails while their little hand was tightly wrapped around my finger, like so...

This worked like a charm and all twenty little nails were trimmed within five minutes. So, this is my confession: I finally learned with child number nine how to clip a baby's nails. I post this in the hopes that you may learn sooner. Good luck, my friends.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How to tell if the batteries in your remote control have gone to their eternal rest...

The following is a manly tip I learned from my brother. I will call him Bunky, in order to protect the innocent (or not so innocent). (He is hugging a No Smoking sign because he has been smoke free since June 8, 2008! Go Bunky!) This is a technical tip and I will butcher the explanation, but you will see the merit of this tip in a minute. Let's talk about remotes. When I am visiting my parents, after we become weary of interacting with each other, we will decide that it is time to turn on the TV. The one who suggested it will usually start looking from the coffee table to the end tables, then back to the coffee table, but the remote will be nowhere in sight. One by one, we will get up and start looking for it, and probably spend the next half hour looking under couches and between cushions, pondering who could have lost it...again.

During this process, we never actually consider manually turning on the TV ourselves. What has civilized society come to? And what to do when the battery gives out? How do we even KNOW when the battery gives out? Here's how: When the remote control is working, a little tiny light, invisible to the human eye, emits from the little tiny bulb that points to the TV. If the batteries are dead, this light will be nonexistent. But, if we can't see the light in the first place, how will we know when it's not there? This is what you do: look through your phone camera or digital camera at the little tiny light bulb as the remote is facing you. Press any button and your camera will pick up this light! Like this!

Try this! It's amazing! I know, I'm using a lot of exclamation points! But this has brought new hope to me. Now I shall never again look confusedly at the remote, pointing and clicking, then turning it over in my hands, then checking to make sure the kids haven't removed the batteries again for their remote control cars, then pointing and clicking again. I am a new woman! Thanks for the tip, Bunky!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How to Link a Picture to a URL in Blogger

This post is participating in Talk about Tuesday, a weekly feature at Check it out!

Hi Everybody! I just wanted to let you know that I've had a GREAT time reading some of the posts you all are coming up with for my MAZATLAN SOUVENIR GIVEAWAY! You are totally inspiring. I am just DYING to share some of the things I've read so far, so keep up the good work. Remember, if you post more than one homemaking tip, you can enter that one, too. Enter as many times as you want!

Just a couple of things to remember. When you enter, there are a two important steps you must take:

1. PLEASE leave me a comment on the CONTEST PAGE. Click here for that. In the comment, include the URL of the exact page you will be entering. I need you to do this because I will getting entries while I am on vacation and if you don't include your URL, I might get confused and not remember exactly what you entered. Remember, I have "mama" brain most of the time.

2. If you would like to have your name entered 3 MORE TIMES, then you need to copy this graphic...

...into your post AND make it link to my homepage. Here's how you do that:

(Disclaimer: Please excuse the idiotic pictures I took of my monitor to try to show you how to do this. This is DEFINITELY not a tutorial put on by Microsoft!)

A. Right click the image above.

B. Choose "save as..." and save it anywhere on our computer where you can find it, perhaps on the desktop or in your pictures.

C. Open your post.

D. Upload the image like you would any other picture, by clicking on the landscape button in your tool bar.

E. Click on the image. You should see little squares appear on the corners and edges.

F. Click the symbol in your tool bar, right next to the Text Color button, that looks like a chain link with a small globe under it.

(Here's a close-up)

G. A pop-up window should appear that will allow you to input my URL. Type it in. It should look like this:

H. Click OK.

I. Publish your post.

There you have it. After you publish, look at your blog to make sure the link works. Just click on the image to see if it goes to my page.

All righty, then, let me know if you have any questions or if the words that were in my head made any sense. Remember, leave me a comment with your URL so I can go check it out! At the end of the contest, I will go to each post entry, if the image is there I will click on it, and if it goes to my homepage I will enter your name in 3 more times. Good luck and have fun! Those of you who have already entered are doing a fantastic job and I can't wait to feature your tips, ideas and how-tos! Thanks for playing!

Why I loved my 30's more than my 20's

This post is in honor of my beautiful friend, Rachelle, who is turning 30 today. She is not happy about it, but what she doesn't realize is that this decade could be the best of her life so far! The following is a list of 30 reasons why I've loved my thirties much more than my twenties. You know that I usually love to include pictures, but I had a deadline (the end of Rachelle's birthday) so I had to forgo that touch. You'll get over it.

1. In my 20's, I was shy. In my 30's I'm not.
2. In my 20's, God gave me 4 children. In my 30's He gave me 5.
3. In my twenties, doctors treated me like I knew very little. In my 30's they respect me.
4. In my 20's, I didn't know I would look cute in short hair. In my 30's I learned I did.
5. In my 20's I thought that the best way to teach was by spanking. In my 30's I learned that there were better ways.
6. In my 20's I thought that I had to have a perfect body to be happy. In my 30's I learned to be happy no matter what my body looked like.
7. In my 20's I knew little about The Book of Mormon. In my 30's I rearranged my priorities and learned about God's word.
8. In my 20's I thought I could never handle loss. I my 30's I learned that I could.
9. In my 20's I thought that one wrinkle was the end of the world. In my 30's I learned that more wrinkles mean more experience and knowledge!
10. In my 20's I was scared of teenagers. In my 30's I grew to love them and realized that there were no more honest people on earth.
11. In my 20's I didn't know how to make churro beans. In my 30's I learned.
12. In my 20's I lived in a series of really small houses. In my 30's I got a larger one.
13. In my 20's we could only afford to go to the dollar movies. In my 30's we could sometimes go to the regular theaters, and get popcorn and Sprite, too.
14. In my 20's I was judgemental. In my 30's I've learned to look for the good in all people and try to ignore the bad.
15. In my 20's I had to wear heels to church. In my 30's I embraced the Mary Jane and have had fewer back problems.
16. In my 20's I'd never been to Disney Land. In my 30's I went.
17. In my 20's I longed for twins. In my 30's I got them.
18. In my 20's I didn't know how to make fried green tomatos. I my 30's I learned.
19. In my 20's I looked forward to going to the mall. In my 30's I look forward to being a grandma.
20. In my 20's I was afraid to raise my hand in gospel doctrine class. In my 30's I'm not.
21. In my 20's I thought that I would die when one of my children moved away. In my 30's I learned that you miss them, but here is where you experience the REAL fruits of your parental labors.
22. In my 20's I didn't know the importance of keeping the sabbath. In my 30's I learned.
23. In my 20's I didn't know how The Holy Ghost could be a comforter. In my 30's I learned that having The Spirit in times of trial is like anesthesia.
24. In my 20's, I never slept with my babies. In my 30's I grew to love sleeping with them, even two or three at a time!
25. In my 20's I didn't know what a joy it would be to have a son who makes better chocolate chip cookies than I do. In my 30's I learned.
26. In my 20's I didn't know how amazing it would be to read my daughter's poetry and stand in awe of her writing skills. In my 30's I learned.
27. In my 20's I didn't have a teen-aged boy who could fix lots of stuff. In my 30's I do.
28. In my 20's I never knew what it would be like to play the piano while my daughters sing like angels over my shoulder. In my 30's I learned.
29. In my 20's I didn't have a testimony of Family Home Evening. In my 30's I gained one.
30. In my 20's I thought it would reek to turn 30. In my 30's I've calculated, that in 20 years I should have about 30 grandkids. 58 here I come!

Rachelle, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You are going to love the next decade! Rachelle also has an amazing foodie blog. Check it out HERE!

She has such an astonishing knowledge of the culinary delights now, I can't imagine what she's going to be like as a 30-something! Go Rachelle!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Note to Self...Never...

...get twins boys immunized on the same day. If one fussy baby is challenging, two at the same time is nearly unmanageable. Thank goodness for a mom who forgoes extra trips to Walmart, a clean house, and three-hour naps to bounce baby boys. Thank goodness for a husband who forgoes much needed sleep to walk babies at 1 in the morning, then gets up at 4:00 AM to go to work! Thank you, Mama and John!

(I'm happy now, but just wait until 1:00 in the morning!)

(Can I go last?)

And what, you may ask, did I do to make myself feel better? I did what anyone on a diet would do. Boy #3 (8 yrs) was making this...

So I thought I would get some of this...

and pour some of this, unbaked, raw eggs and all...

over this...

And you know what? I don't even feel that bad about it. And I think that is a problem...

Friday, July 25, 2008


All right, I told you it was coming , so here it is...


I'm not sure I know what I'm doing, but, like I said in a previous post, I just wanted to thank all of you for your visits to my blog and your fun comments. They make my day! I also want to see what great ideas all of YOU have that you can share with US! You may be wondering what, exactly, I will be giving away. It's not this......

That's just the colorful background for my announcement. Besides, who among us can play a guitar?

But it could be something like this....

or this...

or even this....

But NOT this...


Here are the rules:

1. Post a blog about a homemaking tip, idea or how-to. Homemaking categories you might want to consider are:

-Raising children
-Spiritual teaching
-Frugal living
.....or anything else that has to do with making your home a better place to live!

Make sure you use some pictures! Some of us with ADD become easily distracted unless there are pictures! Make sure you do this by 12:00 AM on August 16th! I will announce the winner of the random drawing at 12:00 PM August 16th.

2. Post a comment on THIS PAGE, and THIS PAGE ONLY. In your comment, say something nice, then copy and paste the URL of your post so I can go check it out. Okay, you don't have to say anything nice, but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, copy the URL of your post page only, NOT your home page. If you don't know how to enable post pages, just go to your dashboard, then SETTINGS, then ARCHIVING, then ENABLE POST PAGES. That way I don't have to search all over your blog for the contest post. After all, I've got nine kids and don't have time for that kind of nonsense!

3. In your post, please mention that you are posting for this contest and put in a link to my homepage. In case you forgot, it's .



Copy this graphic...

...into your homemaking post and make it link to THIS page. If you're not sure how, click HERE for a tutorial.

That's all there is to it! I will simply do a RANDOM DRAWING and the winner will get the random MEXICAN SOUVENIR! You may enter as many times as you would like with different posts. On the day I announce the winner, I will feature her (or his) post and I will also reference my five other favorite posts (if I even get that many entries). Don't worry if yours doesn't get mentioned, because if things go well, I will feature a guest post once a week, so I'm sure your turn will come!

So....go and start blogging! Thank you again, for being here and making my world a better place!

P.S. If my rules are too vague, leave me a comment and I will answer any questions you might have. Unless I'm on the beach in Mexico, then you'll have to wait until I come home.

P.P.S. Okay, I"m back from my trip and this is what I got for you...!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Homemaking Tip: Demolish the Catch-All!

If you're coming here from The Nesting Place, an amazing site, by the way, please accept my apologies for misreading the carnival rules. I was too bleary-eyed at one in the morning to do a good job of comprehending them, and I thought I was supposed to post on ways to improve our space! So, I did that instead of actually using "mistreatments". Unfortunately, there are no mistreatments of any kind here. Now, if you want to keep reading, be my guest. If not, hit the back button and read some of the other amazing posts! You guys all have some GREAT ideas!

This post is listed @...

The first time I lived in a house with an island in the kitchen was when I was 32 years old. I was excited beyond belief that I would have this new plethora of counter space in which to experience all manner of culinary creativity. I expressed this to my then husband and his response was, "It's just going to become a place where you pile everything you don't know what to do with." Of course, he was wrong, and I would prove it! Never, from that day forth, did I EVER put anything there that didn't belong. In fact, I made a cute little plaid runner to put in the middle of the island, and on that set a large colorful bowl filled with tempting fruits of the season. I freely admit, that had he not said what he did, my island would have, indeed, become a catch-all!

Do you have places like this in your home? I do...and so does my mother. In case you haven't figured it out, I have been staying with my mother for an extended period this summer. It started out for just two weeks, but as I realized the merits of having her hands as another pair to carry, bathe, clothe, sooth, pat, burp, bounce, and hug the twins, I just kept staying and staying....and staying. I kept thinking I should go home, but then I thought...why? I was happy, she was happy, Joseph and Hyrum were happy, so I am still here. I'm not sure she's still happy, but that is not my problem. Why do I tell you this? Because she has a place where things collect, too. Her place is an antique hutch right inside the entrance to her house. All manner of items collect here, such as: Off bug spray, keys, mail, Tylenol, outlet covers, Coke cans, pens, trash, items that need to be taken to the car or that have been brought in from the car, extension cords, pork rinds.....the list could go on and on.

The problem was that this is the first place anyone saw upon entering her home and it was always an eyesore, so we came up with this solution:

This classy sign my mother created serves as a reminder to all that this is NOT a place to drop your things when you come in. I found myself CONSTANTLY going to put something on the hutch, then catching a glimpse of the sign and quickly jerking away the hand that was holding the offending item. Other family members found themselves doing the same thing. As a result, for FOUR WHOLE DAYS, the hutch has stayed looking like this...

Please excuse the small amount of dust on the top shelf. We've had a rough week, okay?

Hopefully, we will be able to remove the sign, but since they say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, perhaps it will occupy the premises for 17 days more.

Let me know what results you have with this technique!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You Asked For It

I have been enjoying having polls on my blog as of late. The first poll I added to my side bar was an opinion poll as to whether Joseph and Hyrum are identical or not. The latest poll is at the top of the sidebar. I knew that "Kids Working at Home" posts would be popular, but I had no idea that so many people would be interested in the "A Day in the Life of Me" posts. I have only one question: Why? I added that type of post to the sidebar as an afterthought and that selection is winning by a landslide! Perhaps some of you come to hear about our family's antics because it helps you to realize that your life could be even more stressful than it already is? Who knows?

What I will post tonight will be short; just a few moments of a day in my life.

I went on a walk this morning. Normally, this would not be something blog-worthy, but it is the first time I have exercised AT ALL since the twins were born five months ago. My mother encouraged me to go with her, and I begrudgingly obliged. I should try to be more like her, though. If I was, perhaps I wouldn't need to complain so much about my fatness. She is 5'8", like I am, but is two dress sizes smaller. She is beautiful. If you'd like to see a picture, scroll down all the way to the bottom of the sidebar under "Some of the Ladies in my Life". She's the first and most important.

Anyway, to go on our outing we were accompanied by my toddler and twins. This is vehicle in which we pushed them...

I LOVE this thing! It's called the Joovy Big Caboose and that is no misnomer. When we take it in public places, people stare and we usually hear a comment that goes something like this: "Mira! Parece un tren!" (Being translated, "Look! It looks like a train!") And these are the comments made in the US. I chose this stroller when I was pregnant with the twins because I really wanted something that would hold two car seats (see the bars in front of the babies that are removable; I just haven't figured our how to remove them yet) and would have a place for Johnny. He can stand, like shown, or sit on a little pull-out bench. And look at all the cargo space! It is actually more practical to take the Caboose into Walmart than it is to use a cart, as you can see by referring to THIS post.

Next, we have a photo of a stack of cut zucchinis. Why my thirteen-year-old restacked them after cutting them is a mystery to me, but it does look really cool, don't you think? My mother made a superb zucchini dish with these. I will post the recipe later.

This next photo is the same pile of zucchini, only water colored in Microsoft photo editor. I guess I have nothing better to do. Pretty awesome, though, right? If you want, try clicking on it. It looks even neater then!

The last moment I would like to share is something that goes on in our home a lot. I mean...a lot. I have a rule that I sometimes follow that goes something like this: no TV, computers, PSPs, phone games, Play Stations (okay I think that's it) unless you are caring for a twin. You wouldn't believe how often the kids come up to me to request that they be able to take care of a baby. How did I get so smart? (Or, why didn't I figure this out until the ninth child?)

Thanks for watching!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Homemaking Tip: Deep Dish Pizza

I am pleased to list this post @...

...a delightful site for lazy organizers like me! Click the pic to see more "Talk About Tuesdays"!

Something that strikes fear into the heart of men (actually, just mostly women) is the first time your daughter asks you if she can cook a meal. You want to teach her to be the perfect homemaker, like you are, but your mind starts to wander to what will actually take place during this first lesson. There will be the confusion about what kind of utensils to use, what kind of bowls and pots, where you have the cream of tartar (what IS that, anyway?), and complicated mathematical fractions will have to be solved as the measuring cups and spoons come out. And the mess....the mess....Need I say more?

Let me assure you, faithful readers, if you can try to get through this most difficult of homemaking challenges, you WILL see the fruits of your labors. The following is a chronicle of how my thirteen-year-old created a deep dish pizza completely unassisted...and it was the BEST pizza I've EVER had in ALL my life!

Disclaimer: Kyla and I take absolutely NO credit for creating this recipe. She found it on The Food Network, one of her favorite places to find good ideas. Here is the link.

Disclaimer 2: I haven't read enough of these kinds of cooking posts to know what I'm doing, so bear with me.

Okay, I just looked at the recipe again and it says it's copyrighted, so I will just post pictures of my daughter creating this meal without telling you the exact ingredients. Just click the link above, where it says "here". Okay, fine, you can click here, too. Hopefully the pictures will serve their purpose in causing your mouth to water and encouraging you to teach your kids to do this, too!

The dough, mentally preparing to rise (and I can say that because the yeast is truly a living organism)...

The onions, garlic and bell peppers...

The onions, garlic and bell peppers sauteing. This smelled unbelievably good.

The cornmeal, just because it's in a cute bag. Actually, you sprinkle this on the greased cookie sheet to make for easy removal of the pizza.

The pizza right before it's entrance into the flaming inferno. Actually, it was an electric oven, so there were no flames.

An action shot of Kyla introducing the pizza into the oven. For some reason, the 12-year-old is about to eat a spoon of the corn meal and the two-year-old is about to open Grandpa's jar of jalapenos. I JUST realized that just now as I was looking closely at the photo. Now, I can tell you that he never did get the jar opened because I don't remember any forlorn screaming that night. It was a good night.

Kyla reviewing her recipe to make sure she got it right...Reid actually eating the cornmeal, and Johnny moving onto the the Vlasic pickle jar. Thank goodness for pickle distraction or there could have been a jalapeno fiasco.

Reid's face after trying the cornmeal...Johnny giving up on opening jars altogether and I don't know what Kyla is doing.

Here is what this baby looked like when it was finally finished. It was to die for. While it was cooking, Kyla also made a fresh peach pie for dessert. All of this took three hours, and we didn't actually sit down to eat until 8:30 at night, but it was a night to remember!

And since she worked so hard, I cleaned up the mess...and that was okay.