Sunday, November 27, 2011

Homemaker Monday: Images From An American Thanksgiving in Mexico

I've been a horrible blogger lately! The holiday season is a busy time for everyone and I'm no exception. My favorite part about the holidays, though, is Christmas music.... listening to it and making it. This season I am involved in no less than four musical groups who are all holding performances in December. And I absolutely love it! However, it doesn't leave a lot of time to write my thoughts, so thank you very much for your patience. :)

For today's post, I'd just like to share a few pictures of our Thanksgiving dinner. There were about 40 people in attendance, and the most amazing thing was that everything went smoothly and according to plan. I don't think I ever felt stressed out during the preparations at all.... and I don't think that's ever happened before. And I don't know why it happened, but it felt like a miracle. Even my mother commented how non-stressed I seemed and she was right. Even when someone in my family said something that hurt me, I let it go very quickly and cheerfully went right on with my preparations. I've been reading a lot of self-help books lately, so perhaps I can credit it to that.

Anyways, I have never seen so much food in any domestic residence, ever, in my life. There were at least 30 dishes of food, plus 21 pies. It was completely insane. And yes, there were leftovers, but the pies only lasted for 2 days on the counter, what with teenage boys coming in and out all day and night.

All in all, it was a wonderful day, and what made it extra-special was that my mother came into town to celebrate the holiday with us. I hope your day was, as the twins say it, "Weally, weally awe-yum!"

Thanks for listening! :)


(My mother is going to kill me for posting this picture.)


Okay, now it's your turn! What recipes, tips or homemaking how-tos do you have for us today? Can't wait to read! Thanks so much for your visits and links and I hope you have a wonderful Homemaker Monday! :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Homemaker Monday

Crazy, crazy weekend, so not sure I'll get a Homemaker Monday post up, but here's Linky for those of you who did! Thanks so much for your links and visits and have a WONDERFUL Homemaker Monday!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homemaker Monday

Maybe I'll post a Homemaker Monday tip today, maybe I won't, but here's Linky for my faithful and much appreciated followers who did! Thanks so much for your links and visits and I hope you have a wonderful Homemaker Monday!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Having Twins is Adorable


(Left to right: Twin B, Twin A)

As the twins get older, their differences in personalities, likes, talents, and gifts have become more manifest and it is fascinating to me.

Twin A has always been the brainy one. He always thinks before acting, studying a situation out to gauge the consequences before jumping in. As a result, he's had a lot fewer bruises than has Twin B during their first three years. He's also shy and timid, and won't talk to you unless he's met up with you on several occasions, and you've made a conscious effort to befriend him.

His gifts for processing have recently manifested themselves in his ability to learn to use media devices. One of the twins' favorite things to do is to watch Youtube videos. They watch everything from musical performances from Broadway, such was Wicked, to Emmitt Smith's greatest plays, to Dr. Seuss stories being read, to Michael Buble singing "Just Haven't Met You Yet". Twin A has learned to navigate through the videos he wants and he must always maximize them to full screen for the full effect. Twin B seems to have absolutely no interest or need to learn to do this because when he wants to watch a certain video, he simply asks Twin A to click it, and Twin A is happy to oblige. The same goes for using their father's Vizio tablet and the DVD player.

Twin B has always been the social one, always having had a ready smile and he's not afraid to make friends and tell them all about what is going on in his life. In recent weeks, he has become the phone and door answer-er, my secretary, in effect. Without words between them, he seems to be the twin that is always delegated to greet people who might be in need or want of something at the door or on the phone. While he greets, Twin A usually simply continues to navigate through youtube to find enjoyable videos for all to watch.

Now, lest ye judge, just know that youtube time certainly doesn't go on all day, just during the times when I need distraction, such as shower or dinner time. Most of the rest of our days are spent playing outside, eating sweet peas or raw sweet corn from the garden, and playing in the play-place John built for the kids...


...or tackling each other during a pick-up football game while I hang laundry...


And sometimes we go inside and just sit at the island and swipe our fingers all around the bowl covered with brownie batter. To me this is art...


...and thoroughness.

Explanations of how we don't watch Youtube videos all day aside, I just find it fascinating that the twins, as do some husbands and wives, seem to have become two halves of a whole; each developing his own gifts and relying on the other's talents to get things done as a pair. It seems as though I could learn a lot about how to get the most from marriage by watching their teamwork as they grow and learn and live out their daily lives. I thank God constantly for the gift of the twins.

Thanks for listening. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How are you serving your holiday meals?

How about in one of these at 20% off ? :)


For more Flirty Aprons, go HERE and use the coupon code: CHRISTMAS20 (expires 12/6)!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pie Crust Cookies


Just a reminder, that when you make pie crust, it's always fun to make cookies for the kids with the leftovers. THIS is one of my favorite pie crust recipes, and with the portions I cut off the edges of the pie plate, I re-roll it, cut it into squares, brush melted butter on...


...sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top...


...then bake at 400 degrees F for 7 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown....


This plate of cookies lasted no longer than four minutes as it was set on the kitchen island directly within the traffic pattern of many boys and nearly grown men running through the kitchen. What with pie-making season approaching, you'll have ample opportunity to make this. Have fun and thanks for listening!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Homemaker Monday

Here's Linky. You know what to do. Thanks so much for your links and visits and have a wonderful Homemaker Monday! :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Oh, The Joys of Traveling Alone!!!

Now I love a good family vacation as much as the next person. The family closeness in the 15-passenger van for 17 hours, the five fast food meals in a row, the decisions about whether to wake up the kids to go potty while we get gas, or stop at the next gas station 30 minutes away after they've woken up, and carrying three pack 'n' plays wherever we go are all part of the rip-roaring family fun we have together. But seriously, all kidding aside, I do love to travel with my family. Even though there is still laundry to take care of and meals to provide and messes to clean up, at least I am doing it in a different and exciting place and we are creating memories for the kids that will last a lifetime, or at least a few weeks. In fact, just yesterday, the twins, using their newly-formed language skills, were reminiscing on the trampoline while eating sweet peas they'd picked from their daddy's garden about the trip to California we took this summer.

" 'Memmoh wen Dally toot us wide weally, weally bid wale????" (being translated: Do you remember when Daddy took us to ride on the really, really big whale?), said one, and...

" 'Memmoh wen Nanny pu' me in women pool? An' I plash weally, weally bid? (Do you remember when Landon pushed me in the swimming pool and I splashed really, really big?")

It was a joy to listen to them as they remembered the fun times we had and it made the myriad sacrifices spent planning and implementing the trip well worth it.

On the other hand, traveling alone can have its rewards as well, and certainly did for me last week.

It had been about ten years, or even longer (because I actually can't remember the last time I traveled alone), since I took a vacation by myself, and I had been looking forward to my trip to Utah for weeks. For years I had had this fantasy of what traveling alone would be like. I would wear a cute suit and heels, shucking the stretchy breastfeeding t-shirt and practical shoes. I would carry a laptop and watch movies instead of packing board books and crackers. And I would not, under any circumstances, carry a diaper in my purse.

When the big day came, my fantasy was fulfilled, but in a bit more practical sense. I didn't wear a suit, but I wore slacks and a really cute and crisp pink pin-striped button-down with a darker pink tee under it. I wore the cutest pink and silver chandelier earrings and matching necklace and rather than heels, I opted for flat black boots, which look equally awesome and were much more comfortable for walking through long airports.

When packing my purse, yes, I took out the diapers and the Cheerios and I almost left the wet wipes in there, but then I thought to myself, "Self, you are not messy. You do not need to pack a box of wet wipes in your purse. If you should need to wipe your hands, you can use a napkin or go to the bathroom." So I tossed out the wipes, which made room for my Kindle and yes, my laptop.

As I walked into the airport, I did so unencumbered, with a purse over my shoulder and a carry-on bag with all that I would need for the trip, including my Medela breast pump. I did not have to strap a car seat to my back, sling a baby onto my hip, then trip to figure out how to pull my suitcase behind me and somehow carry my backpack with the baby supplies. I felt like I was in Heaven.

But I'm not finished. During the first flight, a fellow passenger asked if I had a long layover and I answered that I did. She offered her condolences, but I said, "No! It's wonderful! I have two hours to just sit and read quietly. I can't wait!" After I told her I had ten kids, she smiled and nodded knowingly.

During previous layovers, I have often walked by fancy airport restaurants in which fancy people in business suits sat, mingling or working on important papers, or of course, their laptops. I had always longingly looked into these restaurants, but had had to keep trudging by like the pack-mule that I was to the nearest fast food center with a high chair.

But not this time! During my layover in Phoenix, I saw a Mexican restaurant called José Roux. See, the name José speaks to those who love a good Mexican meal, but the name Roux is just Frenchy enough to make it sound really classy and sophisticated. So I went in and I ordered the most delicious chile con queso I have ever had, and I ate a salad with ceviche and drank agua mineral and then doughnuts for desert. I leisurely ate and read The Secret Garden for nearly one and a half hours, and was almost sad when it came time to leave for my gate.

During my flight from Phoenix to SLC, I sat next to a fellow-Mormon, and we hit it off so well that we told each other all of our deepest secrets because we knew we would never see each other again, and when we got to the baggage pick-up, as we had walked together from the plane through the airport, she looked at me oddly and said, "Didn't you say that you didn't check any bags?" I hit my hand to my head and said, "Oh my goodness, Yes! I was having such a good time with you that I guess I didn't want to leave!" So we hugged and bid each other well, and I easily walked outside because I wasn't carrying a car seat and a baby and a stroller, and met my daughter who was already there waiting for me.

We drove directly to a raw vegan restaurant and ate a delicious dinner together, one filled with good, healthy vegan food, reminiscing, planning the future, and just laughing. After we had stuffed ourselves with goodness, she kindly drove me to my hotel..... where I did whatever I felt like I wanted to do, which was walk around in my underwear, because you can't do that at home when you have seven boys, and turn the heat up really high, because I can't do that when I share a room with someone as hot-blooded as John, and read my book.

Strangely, although I thought I would sleep like a rock, I didn't sleep well, I think because it was too hot.

The next day was filled with more good food at restaurants, the mommy blogger meeting, which was the purpose of my trip (read more about it HERE) and my daughter even set up a massage for me in a massage/coffee shop that smelled of essential oils and roasted coffee beans and had walls covered with inspirational sayings and shelves stacked with crystals and books and oils....


(My sweet daughter, while we waited for the massage bed to become available)

The massage therapist was only 20 years old and a self-proclaimed psychic, and I think she was because she was so in tune with my body and knew exactly where I was hurting.

The best part of the trip, I think, was what happened between me, my daughter and her boyfriend on the way back to the airport. I wish I could tell you all about it, but my daughter's boyfriend is somewhat private and probably wouldn't like me to blast our conversation all over the internet. Suffice it to say, we have a somewhat, shall I say, "tense" relationship, but in the car on the way to the airport, we talked with and listened to each other and both genuinely seemed to enjoy and benefit from the conversation. I left Salt Lake City with such a feeling of well-being, both spiritually and physically, and I enjoyed equally wonderful, solitary flights on the way home to El Paso.

And might I say THANK YOU to John, my dearest husband and friend, for encouraging me to accept the invitation to the mommy blogger meeting and for making it possible, both financially, and by taking time off work to care for the dear children. I love you and I really appreciate what you did for me. :) Let's take a trip together sometime, without the kids, and I promise I won't turn the heat up too high!

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

PMS and the 48-Hour Rule

So I'm 41 years old, and only within the last year did I discover I have PMS. I believe my dear husband could have informed me, but I think he knew better.

Recently I've read two fascinating books called The Male Brainand The Female Brainby Louann Brizendine. Believe it or not, the book about the male brain is actually longer than a small pamphlet. It was actual book size, and it was fascinating to read about the hormonal changes a male brain goes through from the fetal stage to the grandfather stage. It helped me accept why my four 5 and under are constantly on the go, competing, fighting and yelling...,


I also realized why my 15-year-old doesn't want to do his school work, and why homework is not even on his top ten list of things to do. And to illustrate how accepting I've become of my boys' brains' chemical makeups, while my mother and I were rebounding for the 16-year-old girl as she made her 300 shots for basketball practice, the 15- and 11-year-old boys started wrestling on the cement. They were grunting and sometimes yelling and the 11-year-old boy's face was red and grimacing, but showing no signs of surrender and the 15-year-old boy was panting and laughing. I stood over them as they writhed to and fro, and, calling across the court to my mother, I said, "See mother? This is healthy and normal!" and I continued rebounding as the boys continued to fight for the alpha male position.

The real revelations came, however, after studying the female brain. I learned why my girls spoke sooner than the boys did (because their communication centers are nearly twice as big as those of boys), why they're innately more nurturing...

...why the 16-year-old girl is giggly/bubbly happy one hour and raging mad the next and sometimes a little selfish, and I learned what happens in my brain a week before my period starts.

It turns out that chemical reactions in my brain create hormones that make it difficult for me to handle everyday disappointments and disillusionments . . . like today. Over the past two days I have become offended on a number of occasions. My innate reaction would normally be to bring the offense to the offender's attention. This practice usually ends with negative results. After reading The Female Brain, however, I discovered the PMS 48-hour rule. To follow this rule one must not act on urges to vent feelings of anger or hurt that occur during PMS until 48 hours have passed. If after this time lapse, the feelings remain strong and the need to voice ones concerns persists, then the issue can be further considered.

I believe that by following this rule today, I have avoided embarrassment, further resentment, and hurting friends, family, and loved ones. As I discussed my new plan with a good friend today, she said she's going to try it, too, which statement prompted me to share this portion of my vast wisdom with you today. You're welcome.

Thanks for listening!

Oh, and P.S. If you feel like you could perhaps be one of the offending parties, please do not ask me to confirm or allay your fears because the 48-hour time frame has not expired. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Heart Face-Painting!

It's really not that hard. We copied THIS photo, and even though we didn't have quite the right colors, we just mixed and matched and added some of my expensive eyeliner, and everything worked out fine.


We also did some emotion shots, which the kids love to look at and mimic!







And happy candy-eating!