Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Boy's Fairy Tale Life

The following is a letter written on Father's Day by our 19-year-old missionary son to John, my husband and his step-father. This letter is used with permission...

Dear John,

Let me tell you a story.

There was once a 13-year-old boy with an older sister, two younger brothers and two younger sisters. The boy had a father who he didn't know TOO well but who he deeply loved. One day this boy woke up to the news that neither he nor his brothers or sisters would have a father any longer. Of course you can imagine the effect this news would have on a boy of only 13 years and you can, of course, imagine how his life would be drastically different from that point on.

Moving forward from that point, the boy lived on without hope of a father in the future. Who could possibly replace that man who had raised him from his birth?

Well, who would have guessed that just a few months later the boy's mother would meet the man of her dreams and shortly after that they would be married and the man, expecting his first child, the mother, her seventh? Who, then, would have guessed that that same man, for the next 6 years, would provide for and take care of that family of 6, 7, 9 and then 10? And who ever would have guessed that that now 19-year-old boy would serve a mission for the Lord and always look up to that man who encouraged him to do so? That same man who was willing to sacrifice everything when the Lord needed him to bless the lives of a family in desperate need.

I can tell you that that stubboorn little boy sure wouldn't have guessed any of that. But it sure happened and had it not, there might have been a very sad boy with a very sad mother and five very sad siblings who would have, never again, had a dad.

Now, of course, thats not a very detailed or very well told version of the story but it's got the parts that matter and mean the most. And, because of that man who replaced the boys father, there is a very happy boy with 9 very happy siblings and a very happy mom.

Thanks John. Happy Fathers Day.

-Elder Cox

P.S. I know it's cheesy... But I also know you like cheesy things.

Addendum: The P.S. is part of the boy's letter, too.

P.S. My sister and I are finally getting skinnier!

See how we're doing it HERE! :)

A Silly Poem About Twins and Their Twin Owies

Two little boys,
Born a minute apart,
Tried to cut limes
And gave their mother a start!

She lectured them thoroughly
About cutting a finger
And she snatched up the knives,
But then heard the ringer.

She opened the door
And welcomed her friend
And they talked up a storm
Not wanting an end.

Soon her friend left
And she went back to cooking
But after a while
Heard the sound of feet booking

Twin B shouted loudly
“Hyrum has blood!”
And the mom turned around
And it looked like a flood!

Those twins, they had gone
With the knives and the limes
Into their big brother’s bedroom
As they’d done a thousand times

And just like twins do
They cut exactly the same
And they sliced the same fingers,
Learned it wasn’t a game

So mom stuck on band-aids
And cleaned up the gore
Then got out her camera
And started shooting galore.


For mother had learned
That when adventures unfurled
It is better than not
To just share with the world.


Now when the twins
Want a citrus delight,
They go ask their Mommy
And things are just right.


P.S. My sister and I are finally getting skinnier!

See how we're doing it HERE! :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Waking Up With an Idea


(Stunning quilt courtesy of my sister, Kristin.)

P.S. My sister and I are finally getting skinnier!

See how we're doing it HERE! :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Love the Details

It's the little things that get to me when someone does something nice for you, like when my 21-year-old daughter went to the book store in Utah and saw a really cool book she thought the 14-year-old boy would like, but then realized that she couldn't get just him one so she bought all EIGHT of her siblings at home books, but then saw another book that the 16-year-old girl would love, but then realized that she couldn't get just her two, so she bought all EIGHT of her siblings at home two books...


....and she grouped them, and wrote sweet little notes and wrapped them thoughtfully in hemp rope, which are the types of details I'm talking about...


You're the best sister, EVER, 21-year-old girl. Thank you for being you. And probably tomorrow we'll show you how your books were used in our infirmary...


I love you! :)

P.S. My sister and I are finally getting skinnier!
See how we're doing it HERE! :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Homemaker Monday: Consequence Chores

Welcome to the 131st weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" goes to Art+Food+Life for her AMAZING post on how to make strawberry lemonade! And independently of each others knowledge, both my mother and I clicked on her link last week and went out and got the stuff to make this. I ended up taking mine to a birthday party, where it was a HUGE hit, so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Art+Food+Life, for your inspiration. Here, maybe if you look at the picture, you'll see why my mother and I were lured in....


Isn't it lovely? For Art+Food+Life's recipe, go HERE. Thanks so much for your link last week, sister, and we'll look forward to hearing a lot more from you in the future!

MINE: Consequence chores...

It's a new word my kids are learning to hate, like jurisdictions, and kitchen quadrants. This is how it works...

I have come up with a list of 40+ chores, each requiring ten to thirty minutes to complete, one of which will be assigned for almost any infraction, such as....

Not finishing a chore during an allotted time
Coming home past curfew
Leaving messes
General disobedience

....and the list could really go on and on.

When the kids saw my consequence chore list, they staggered at the fact that I could think of so many mundane things for them to do. As the 14-year-old boy was reading the list out loud in astonishment, the 11-year-old boy said, "Put it down, 14-year-old boy. You're just encouraging her."

So here's the list. Feel free to make one of your own. It's easy. As you're walking your home putting things away, just observe something dirty that's bothering you, such as a dirty light switch or a finger-printed door frame, then write it on the list. It's fun! Here, take a look...

1. Dust 2 ceiling fans with the ceiling fan duster
2. Vacuum under the sofa cushions of one sofa
3. Dust and clean 2 food storage shelves
4. Pull weeds for 10 minutes
5. Sweep my bedroom
6. Clean and sweep twins' room
7. Clean my toilet
8. Care for Baby Hippo for 20 minutes
9. Clean microwave, inside and out (For a microwave-cleaning tutorial, go HERE.)
10. Clean out van
11. Clean guest toilet in big bathroom
12. Pick up dog poo for 10 minutes
13. Dust hallway closet doors
14. Clean french doors
15. Clean windows on entryway door
16. Clean glass of cabinets in entryway
17. Pick up toys and trash in courtyard
18. Sweep courtyard patio
19. Clean playroom
20. Sweep and dust mop playroom floor
21. Clean silverware drawer, including crumbs
22. Windex all large silverware appliances
23. Iron one twin church outfit
24. Iron one 5-year-old boy church outfit
25. Iron one Baby Hippo church outfit
26. Clean range hood
27. Clean right stove top
28. Clean left stove top
29. Clean window over kitchen sink
30. Make cookies
31. Clean trashcan, inside and out
32. Match 15 pairs of little kid socks
33. Clean wall behind high chair
34. Clean wall next to baby table
35. Windex stainless steel canisters
36. Clean behind stainless steel canisters
37. Windex snow cone machine
38. Clean popcorn machine with Mr. Musculo
39. Clean doors for 10 minutes
40. Clean light switches for 10 minutes

...and finally...

41. Read the twins books for 20 minutes

Lastly, you may be wondering how I could possibly choose from such a comprehensive list of chores. The answer is I simply list my minimum and maximum chore numbers, then hit "Generate". Or, if something dirty is really bugging me, I simply assign that specific chore. 

Now that summer's here, and my kids are home to mess up a lot, my house is so clean. :)

Thanks for listening.

YOURS: Okay, now let's see what homemaking tips, recipes and know-how you have to share with us! Can't wait, and thanks so much for your visits and links. Have a great Homemaker Monday!

P.S. My sister and I are finally getting skinnier!

See how we're doing it HERE! :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Heart Photographing Family Parties!

 I consider myself a beginner/amateur lifestyle photographer. A lifestyle photographer does a lot of candid shooting, and tries to capture emotion in a natural setting. Family get-togethers are the perfect place to practice because there is so much going on and a lot of emotion to go with it.

The following is the posthumous birthday party of my late mother-in-law. We recreated her favorite recipes and remembered our favorite times with her, and the kids did what kids do.... had fun!

And there is nothing lovelier to photograph than children or all ages....


(I really only posted the above photo to publicly mock my son for his choice of attire.)


And where there are kids, there is lots of action, like hula-hooping...



...and one of my all-time favorite events to photograph.... pinata time! It's kids, color and emotion all at the same time. Some of what I love most about the following photos are the expressions of the kids in the background, patiently waiting their turn in line...


...and we can't forget about the pinata spoils!...


As far as real food goes, there were grilled hamburgers and hotdogs...


...and, among other things, made-from-scratch strawberry cupcakes. This was a project I was supposed to finish, but I ran short of time and ended up having to leave for the 16-year-old girl's basketball game in the big town. Because there was no other option, with great trepidation I printed out the recipe for the cupcakes and fresh strawberry frosting and left the 14-year-old boy to his own devices. He succeeded capitally, even choosing to apply the frosting with the special frosting dispenser! Look....


The recipe's HERE if you care.

All in all, we had great time...


...and we're looking forward to the next excuse to get together!


Thanks for listening!

P.S. My sister and I are finally getting skinnier!

See how we're doing it HERE! :)