Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012


My kids need a quick breakfast on the run some morning and I need something cheap! They love those breakfast French toast sticks so we decided to make some and freeze them.

The trick was getting them sweet so that we didn't have to hassle with syrup in the morning.

Luckily my darling daughter had mistakenly made butterscotch pudding with water instead of milk the day before. I saved it...why? Because I was determined to find a way to salvage this yummy butterscotch liquid. (In case you were wondering pudding doesn't set up when made with water instead of milk, no matter how much you stir, whip or otherwise beat the mixture).

So came this idea of making a sweetened French toast. I used regular bread instead of Texas toast style which is essentially just cut thicker. The end product will not be as fat and squarish but it will still work out for the kidlets (I probably used a dozen medium sized eggs). We have chickens so the eggs are free, well not free but available with no additional out of pocket. Spent a dollar on the loaf of bread and probably fifty cents on the butterscotch pudding, for a grand total of $1.50. There were 24 slices of bread in the loaf and I cut each into 4 pieces. Four "sticks" makes a serving so 24 servings. This is equal to about two boxes of the professional stuff at about $10 a pop, saving me $18.50.

Not a savings for this busy super mom on the go!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Working hard for the money....

I am starting to take some Master's classes this term (as my term doesn't end until October).  Since I am done with my Bachelor's classes they can open up Master's classes for freeeeeeeeeeee! :) So, anyways, I thought, "what the doesn't cost me anything." BUT, after October, if I want to continue then it will cost me.  So I decided I needed to hunt down some scholarship money.  It is a little harder to come by as a graduate student but it is out there if you are willing to put the time and effort into finding it!  Here is an essay that I wrote for a "cyber-bullying" scholarship.  My momma llama wanted to read it. :)

I am a mother of 5 – wonderful, intelligent, maybe even smarty-pants - children.  I worry for them, for what others may say to them when I am not there to hear it.  The world is so different from when I was in school.  When I wanted to talk to someone, I would pick up the phone and call.  I suggested that the other day to my 14-year-old son when he asked if he could text a girl.  He laughed at me and said, “Mom, no one talks on the phone anymore!”

I suppose he’s right.  Why talk to someone when you can text, message, post, poke or video chat?  We are in a whole new world here and I think that as a parent I have the right to be a little scared!  Not that I don’t trust my kids; I raised them right.  I think they understand the world around them and I tried to instill a respect for any living thing.  It’s just that in a techno world I think you lose some of your inhibition.  I am not saying that you are a different person online than in person – but in a lot of ways I think people are!

So the question really becomes how do we teach self control over the avatar that is living in this pseudo society.  I think that it starts the same way that gaining manners starts - in the home.  We need to teach our kids that things that happen on the Internet don’t just stay on the Internet!  This is not Las Vegas, people!  Or more correctly, they DO stay on the Internet…FOREVER (cue scene from Sandlot, forever, forever, forever…). 

The first step in teaching our children cyber manners is in the example that we set for them.  Am I portraying myself as who I am or do I puff myself up for a laugh, a response, a reaction?  Be true to who you are!  If you would not say something out loud, with your parents in the room, then don’t say it on the Internet! If you would never want your mom to see that sexy picture that you took for your boyfriend, then don’t post it on the Internet!  If your parents would be ashamed of the way you just cyber bullied that kid from school, then don’t do it!

Stand up for the best version of you!  Encourage those around you to do the same.  Let your friends know that you have a zero tolerance policy for ignorance in any manner on the Internet or in life!  Make your Momma proud and stop cyber bullying whenever and wherever you see it.  YOU can be the voice for change. YOU can stand up for the little guy.  YOU can make all the difference in the world.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fishing, no likey.

Ok, so I don't necessarily count myself as the girliest girl but there are some things that just aren't my thing. Fishing is one of them. I have motion issues (I can get motion sick walking across a room) - so rocking boats are not really in my wheel house. There is also no love lost between myself and fish. They are slimy, flop around and have big beady accusing eyes. Can you deny it? Nope, didn't think so...
So when it was suggested that my Saturday afternoon was going to be out on the open water with four eager fishers-in-training, I was less than thrilled. I sat and watched, and tried to keep my brain from spinning. I might have freaked out a little when Colton dropped his "catch" in my lap - it was an accident but wouldn't you scream? I won't be able to live that one down.
Here is the wasn't my cup of tea, but you couldn't help but have fun with these kids. They were loving every minute of it, they were smiling and serious in their attempts, they were having fun and dragging me right along. The thing that made it wonderful was the laughter - this beautiful, musical sound that makes the heart of every mother soar and can conquer all of the wrong in the world.
My kids were having fun and I was a part of it! I was part of a family memory that they will remember with fondness. I am grateful for that and for their ability to take me out of my comfort zone and still make it fun.
On the way back to shore our little fishing trip it suddenly went from fun to exciting as we spotted a 6 foot gator. It was fun to watch the kids cast their lines out to see what the gator would do. We thought he would just dive down but that sucker must have been hungry because he stayed up and even nipped at Cannon's frog lure. I am not sure what we would have done if we had hooked him but it was a snap and a miss. Whew. I did get some pretty pics of the sunset though!
Here are some of the pictures:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The "new" Lilly

Everyone seemed broken hearted when we made the decision to give our Lilly to a new home. It was just time. Who knew that someday a new Lilly would come into our lives?
For the next year we are watching over a cute little two year old beagle named Lilly. Since we live out in the boonies we made her a dog house out of an old kitchen cabinet and everyone seemed to think that was a great idea! Haha, country living at its best. We at least painted it!!! And gave it a doggie loft bed too - complete with old pillow.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Cali was in tears this morning over taking the FCAT. The school hyped up the test all week and this was the result. 
 Here is the letter I sent to her teacher and principal this morning...too harsh?:

I am a little concerned over the pressure that is being applied to these sweet little third graders at school over the FCAT. I have been told that the school gets funding based on how many children pass the test - I am not sure if this is true or not...but it seems that the "hype" at school has caused my perfectly intelligent, good testing-taking child to feel that she is somehow not "ready" to take the FCAT and that her whole life "depends" on how she does on this one test. She was literally in tears this morning because of the pressure. She will of course be fine, I have no doubt, and I shared this thought with her, but and perhaps I should write that BUT this test will NOT determine anything significant in HER life and she should not be made to understand that it will.

I assured her that if she did her best, that is all that I would ever want from her - whether that means that she passes or fails is of no consequence to me. Again, I assured her of her intelligence and skill at test-taking, BUT...yes, BUT once again - a child of her age should never be led to believe that this test could make or break her!

I have older children that have gotten perfect scores on the CAT (while living in California), I believe Cali capable of the same - I do not however, agree with the "hype" and the emphasis and the pressure that is put on these children to achieve. I feel that subjecting them to this kind of pressure is counter-productive to them doing well. This sweet little girl is so nervous that it brought her to tears! I am sorry, my friends, but a test, a standardized test, should never be allowed to bring my sweet child to tears.

I understand the importance of this test to the schools. I understand that teachers are put under great pressure to produce results - and that perhaps this has also brought you to tears. It is unacceptable that the pressure given at school (because it certainly was not given at home) should bring my daughter to tears.

I would like to emphasize that I believe she will test well, but if pressure continues I will have no other option but to opt her out of taking the test. This kind of pressure on a 9 year old child is unacceptable. Please let me know the best course of action to ensure the emotional heath of my child is not further damaged.
The principal called and talked to me later in the day.  He explained that they really try hard to help the kids relax the week before FCATs instead of cramming - they had a teacher minute to win it rally, each class had their own relaxation technique the Friday before - Cali's class had a spa day...I told him it all sounded like a bunch of hype.  He took objection to that - said his fellow principals all made their schools cram the last week and that they thought he was crazy, talked about how the try to integrate the 7 habits into their FCAT studies.  Here is my point though, if all of this "relaxation" is done in the name of FCAT then isn't all just hype? The principal agreed that no matter what we call it, the FCAT build up should not produce tears from my child.  He said he would ask her teacher to speak to her to see what was going on.
I will say that Cali's teacher did speak to her in class.  She asked her if she was a little stressed this morning before school? Cali said that she was a little bit (she wondered how her teacher knew).  Her teacher said that because Cali was a little stressed it stressed her mom out a little too. She assured Cali that there was nothing to worry about and that she would do great! I appreciate that she handled that situation the way that she did. Perhaps she is right that Cali stressing out stressed me out.  I know alot of times I react instead of thinking it through and then acting.  The thing that perhaps triggered my reaction so fast was the other schools that I have dealt with in the past - namely when I was in Blythe.  They took CAT testing to a whole new level and I suppose I was still on defense from that...

Here is what I wrote to Cali's teacher:
I wanted to email you and thank you for speaking with Cali yesterday after testing.  I think that you were right in telling her that because she was upset and stressed it also made me upset and stressed.  I appreciate the way that you handled the situation and I also appreciate your efforts as Cali's teacher.  Cali started off at Harmony a little different than I would have expected, she seemed timid and a little afraid of making new friends which frankly caught me off guard as she has never been so reserved socially.  It seems that you have given her the time and patience to find her place in your class and she is back to her old fun-loving, sunshiny self.  Thank you for all that you do as her teacher, mentor and friend.  She adores you.
Here is what I wrote to the principal:
Although I still feel that a lot of what schools do to prepare for the FCAT is "hype" (this is my word here) - I can see the point of view of the school that you were attempting to help the kids relax.  I just wonder if it comes off as build up, build up, build up and that might be where some of the pressure comes from.  I believe that Cali, after a week of fun and relaxation starting thinking...well, why did we take a whole week to relax, is it really that big of a deal? And then the worrying and fussing really set in.  I think that now that she has taken the first part and has realized that its really not that big of a deal, meaning that she already knows most of the answers - she has finally relaxed. I can see the difference in her countenance that she knows that she can do this.  She is a bright, enthusiastic learner and that is all that she needs to know going in - that is really all she has needed the whole time.

I guess I miss the days when I was growing up in Ohio.  We had standardized testing, it, I am sure, had an impact on the schools, but it was just something we did.  There was no fuss, no pep rally's and pretesting, no practicing how to write an essay for the FCAT or at least not mentioned as we were learning how to write an essay.  The testing came and went as part of our schooling and was never really brought to the attention of the student as anything spectacular or critical but just a part of our regular schooling.  This is why I call things I see in schools across the country as 'hype'. Believe me it is happening in Utah and California our most current resident states as well.  Just the fact that we have to bring the 'relaxation' to the forefront of the kids minds and make it a big deal that we are 'relaxing' for FCATs is where I think things are going wrong.  If you want to give them the week off before FCATs then do it - but don't make such a big fuss over it.  Otherwise it will have been for naught.

Thanks for your time and consideration on this important matter.  I know that you are doing your best to try and balance what is a very difficult situation for the kids, the school, and the administration.  I wish you the very best in your endeavors and will try and relax a little myself.  My ultimate goal is to help the school to be my partner in teaching my children and helping them to grow. I hope that you see that my concern comes from my ultimate goal of teaching and raising them to the best of my ability.
I honestly think that some of my reaction comes from the bad experiences that I had with CAT testing in Blythe, CA.  It was horrible.  In fact, if you read back through my blog you may find my rants about that time - and believe me this experience doesn't even touch how horrible it was then....

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Technology is so cool

Did you know that as I watch the kids getting ready for school I can blog right from my iPhone? That is so cool right? Also Cali forgot her homework at my mom's house so she scanned it in and emailed it. I saved the attachments as pictures and printed them directly from...yep, my iPhone. I haven't moved an inch. I printed wirelessly from my iPhone and Cali ran into the office and got the printouts. And when Mac says there is an app for that! They are right! There are games of course but oh, so much more.
I have a fitness app to track my weight, calories and exercise (I have lost 10#'s), a zillow app which helps me locate potential houses for sale "nearby" my current location, a time card app to track my real estate hours, my social apps including this one from which I blog, reading apps, maps and GPS, picturing taking and editing apps, school apps for college (I go to WGU), educational apps for helping kids with anything from math to sight words, and banking apps to keep tabs on my finances - to name just a few!
But if that weren't enough the church is keeping up with the times as well with a gospel library with access to everything on, LDS tools which is my ward and stake directories right on my phone, LDS youth with inspirational messages for youth and access to the Strength of youth pamphlet, hymns which gives you searchable hymns and shows words or full sheet music, Mormon messages for awesome missionary moments or inspiration on the go, scripture mastery to help kids (and parents) memorize scriptures - those are just the official ones! Oh and heaven forbid I forget my new favorite addiction (that I gave up pinterest for, for lent) indexing! I have been indexing so much that Cali asked me the other day if SHE could try the "name game". :)
So this has been a public service announcement that technology is your friend. Get it, live it, love it. ;)

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