Monday, September 24, 2007

Sammi Says:

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This post is provided by Sammi's interest in pushing buttons on the keyboard.
Loosely translated, she loves you all and hopes today is fun for all!

Sammi's Ponytail

This is Sammi this morning. Being cute as always!
video

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pumpkin Bread

I love fall! I love the crisp morning air, the warm, breezy afternoons and the fall harvest. We had homemade pumpkin pie tonight made by Robin Luker. It was heavenly. She was lamenting the excess of pumpkin she has and the fact that she is out of ideas for what to make with it. I said I love pumpkin bread and she asked for my recipe. Since this is my favorite fall recipe, especially when made from fresh pumpkin, I thought I'd share it with all. Thanks to my mom for keeping this recipe on hand and giving to me again every year!

Pumpkin Bread
2 1/2 C flour
2 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 16 oz can of pumpkin (2 C fresh, cooked, mashed pumpkin that has had the liquid drained)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Mix all ingredients together and then add 1 C mini chocolate chips
Pout into two greased and floured loaf pans
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/4 hours

Also makes great mini-loaves that are perfect for gift giving.
Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Communicating

Sam is becoming the Queen of Communication. She's moved from just naming objects to saying them in order to communicate some meaning or idea. It's so fun to see. It started with the word "hi" but she was always hit or miss in using it. But she recently discovered "bye" and she has got it figured out! We knew that she really understood the meaning just a few days ago. I don't know who experienced it first because when we talked about it, she had done with with both of us. So I'll tell it from my experience.

Sammi's going to bed routine includes a cup of milk, a few stories and a few songs and then I lay her in her crib and she goes to sleep. It's always been hard to know if she's sleepy enough to just leave her or if she needs another song or whatever. But the other night I read the stories and sang a couple songs then I told her it was time for bed. I put her in her crib and told her I'd sing one more song. Just as I finished the song she raised her hand up to he eye, waved it and said "bye." I accepted that she was telling me she was ready for bed and said good night and left. She didn't fuss at all! She did the same with Brent. If she says "bye" she doesn't fuss, but if we don't wait for her to say "bye" then she'll fuss until she gets what she needs before she can fall asleep (a diaper change, a cup of milk, another song...) I think it's brilliant that she figured out that she can tell us bye to let us know she's ready to go to sleep! It's so helpful.

Other new words include more, bubble, baby (I have no idea how she picked that one up!), something that sounds like bellybutton. She imitates almost every word I tell her. She is so verbal. I view it as making up for her not wanting to accomplish her motor skills earlier! It's so fun to hear her jabbering away as part of the soundtrack for my day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Samantha on the Move

Because of positive response to the video of Samantha walking, Brent graciously put together this video. It was originally entitled Samantha on the move, but was renamed Recent Family Fun. Hope you enjoy!
video

I think it's time we seriously consider an actual video camera. Any suggestions on good ones, or ones to avoid?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Check out this new site!

My friend, Leah, is working on a Federal healthy marriage initiative grant. She says this about it: "We get to make fun, interactive online games that teach relationship education skills. Although our funding is in place to specifically target unmarried expectant parents (40% of births in the US!!!), the skills are applicable across all relationships. We just had our games posted on a great pregnancy website called BabyFit ( www.babyfit.com)." Please visit the site and check out the games. Hope you enjoy and learn something for your family!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cows and Pigs and Goats, Oh My!

We went to the Utah State Fair yesterday. See, we bought the cutest cowgirl hat for Sam and we were just itching to show it off! We packed up everything and even remembered the camera! We got to the fair and I wanted to take a picture of Sam with this huge goose, and the batteries were dead! Bummer.

The fair was fun. Sam was brave and touched a sheep, a cow, a calf, a goat and I even think she touched a pig. There were little baby pigs that were so cute. They could walk right through the bars between their pen and their mom's pen. The pigs smelled a lot more this year than I remembered from last year. Yuck!

We enjoyed looking at all the exhibits. We always enjoy the home arts, the fine arts and the 4-H buildings. I signed up again this year for the Quilt Challenge. The theme this year is "Making Music" and Brent promised to help me come up with a cool design. For lunch we brought some rice and tilapia squished into the shape of a teddy bear. They are very cute and Sam loves to eat them. We also bought a burrito from a vendor there. It was too good to be fair food!

Reminiscent of last year we had a couple major diaper changes. Fortunately this year we were prepared with extra clothes. Sam looked so cute wandering around in her cowgirl hat. She had the most fun, though, trading hats among the three of us. She always made sure everyone had a different hat. Most of the time Brent wandered around with his baseball cap and then Sam's hat on top. We had a short-lived, frenzied search for her hat at one point till we realized it was on Brent's head!

It's so fun to watch Sam as she explores her world and discovers new things. She is really good about being brave, even if she's a little scared. She is definitely a social butterfly and followed several different children around until they got a little scared of Sam and we redirected her elsewhere. It's so fun to sit back and watch her walk around and do things on her own. She's growing up so much.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Canning Peaches

I have watched, and yes, even helped, my grandma can peaches lots of times. She does it perfectly every time. She left me with the impression that it was easy to get perfect, beautiful peaches. So, since our trees were dropping peaches like crazy, we decided it was time to try our own hand at canning peaches.
Which of these does not belong?
The first batch went off without a hitch. Brent helped me do the whole process. They were very pretty peaches. But, unfortunately, there were still peaches to can. So, I spent the next day trying to squeeze as much canning into my day as I could, around taking care of Sam, playing with Sam, teaching my classes, and so on. So, it was around ten at night, the sink was half-full of peaches that had been sitting there since sometime in the afternoon. I continued peeling and cutting them up. (I already had two or three jars filled with sliced peaches.) And it just got later and later. I needed to make the syrup and I just thought, there is no way I'm going to get this all the way finished tonight. So I decided to cut up all the peaches and get the jars filled. Then I covered them and went to bed.

The next morning I was shocked at how ugly they were! I doubted whether it was even worth finishing the project. But, following the advice of my ever-knowledgeable mother-in-law, I made the syrup and canned the peaches. Most of them turned out alright, but there were two jars of UGLY peaches. They are the most appalling sight I've seen. Fortunately some turned out nice.

Canning lesson learned: Air is bad for cut peaches (and most fruit I've found)
Life lessons learned: Don't procrastinate. It's always better to finish a job you start.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Laundry

Today I learned a lot of useful tips about doing laundry. First, I was surprised by how many people don't already know to sort laundry into color families! That was the first lesson I remember learning about laundry. Second, I was surprised by how much there is to say about doing laundry--the class lasted just over an hour and fifteen minutes!

Okay, now for useful stuff!
  • Don't overload the washer. My grandma hounded me on this but I didn't get its usefulness until today. If the washer is so full that the clothes can't be moved about freely by the agitator, then the clothes don't get clean!
  • Fabric softener can create a "waterproofing" effect on your clothes fro the buildup. Therefore, don't use it on towels!
  • It's also good to do a second rinse cycle, especially with whites, to remove all the soap and help keep laundry from turning gray and dingy.
  • Diaper wipes are good "on the go" spot removers. They get out quite a bit of stuff, including make-up (think dressing rooms!)
Like I said, the class went on for quite some time, but these were the highlights, in my opinion.
Happy Laundering!
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Monday, September 3, 2007

What I learned today!

What do oatmeal and sweeping have in common?

Today I discovered that it takes the same amount of time to A) microwave a bowl of oatmeal and B) sweep the kitchen floor! Great use of shadow time, don't you think? Apparently oatmeal is the patron saint of sweeping (as evidenced by its halo in the picture above!)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Spotlighting Cailtyn

Following our wonderful vacation my heart has been full of good feelings and joy over Caitlyn. I stumbled upon an opportunity this week to let the world know just how great I think she is. She is a finalist in a "Spotlight the Youth" contest sponsored by Anne Bradshaw. Please check out her blog where the finalists are posted and submit a comment for Caitlyn! You only have until September 13th to vote, so hurry! There are some pretty amazing youth out there, but I still think Caitlyn takes the cake (of course it's the one that's wheat, corn starch, dairy, potato starch, and chicken free! Yum, yum!)

We love you, Caitlyn!