Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallows Eve

I love the original ideas our kids came up with for costumes this year.

--Tyce is "Super Scout," which he came up with on his own. Love the orange hair. He looks ready to take on the world, don't you think?
--Mary Rachel is the Headless Horseman, which she thought up herself. The head is a carveable pumpkin (not a real one!). She got a lot of compliments and two people even took her picture.
--The twins are puppy dogs, a reprise of last year. Cameron told Bryce last night that he wanted to be a skeleton! Maybe next year . . .

We went to Trunk or Treat at the church first and ate barbeque before passing out candy. The kids had a good time going around. Then we came back home and Bryce took the kids trick or treating in our neighborhood. After only one house he dropped the little boys back home. (Apparently the boys slipped into the house and began looking around, asking what the family were eating for dinner, etc.) They were good sports about being brought home, since they got to eat their beloved CANDY for a while.

This year the Great Pumpkin came to our house to gather all the extra candy from the kids. I told Mary that she could choose 10 candies to eat tonight and 20 others to keep and eat another time. She would donate the rest to the Great Pumpkin and get $5 in return. That deal was right up her alley. In fact, she decided to only choose 10 candies total and get $7 instead. (Of course, part of me thinks: Hey, is she going to use that money to buy candy? Maybe she's outsmarting me.) Tyce, surprisingly, doesn't want in on the deal. He's not big into candy but he's big into combing through his huge stash of goods. I think he's like King Midas with his gold. He was sad that out of all that loot he didn't get any Jolly Ranchers.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A low-ball offer

We got an offer on the old house but is was inconsiderably low. ($45,000 less than our asking price . . . hello. That's a big difference.) Bryce and our realtor, Leslie, say it's just part of playing the game and I do agree, though I'm still offended (!). We countered but the deal fell flat.

Hey . . .

Do YOU want to buy a lovely 3 bed, 2 bath home in sunny Henderson, Nevada? (or do you know someone who does?) Take a look . . .

Today I went to ward council, where I discovered that the RS is doing an adult-only Christmas dinner-and-a-program party the night before our family Christmas dinner-and-a-program party. Bluh. Thanks for stealing our super way-original idea. Oh, and for planning it the night before ours. Bryce thought that maybe doing a Sunday night fireside in the chapel and desserts after might be a good Plan B. It seems that I remember having something like that in Kingwood, a musical Christmas fireside. But was that the actual ward party?

I handed out 72 cookies in Primary today for "cookie Sunday." I was in charge of making them. In case you didn't know, I really, really dislike baking cookies. I wasn't going to babysit the oven for a couple of hours, so I picked up some "gourmet" chocolate chip cookies at Costco. I think spending $18 was worth it. The cookies were really good, and get this: when I was looking at the ingredients label later, I noticed the 2nd and 3rd ingredients in the chips were chocolate liquor and hydrolized chocolate liquor. Wooooooo! Bottoms up, kids.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Walkin' and Rockin'

Yesterday I accompanied Mary Rachel on her class's field trip to the Clark County Heritage Museum. The whole class walked. It was about a mile each way, and boy, were some of the kids whiny. LOL Mary had a good attitude the whole way and I enjoyed talking to her classmates. She and a few girls have a "club" where they do cheers that are very girly and, frankly, hard to listen to over and over. On the field trip the girls were pretty focused on finding wildlife like jack rabbits and lizards and all the kids were interested in the museum exhibits, particularly the "heritage street" where they toured homes from the early 1900's.

Her teacher, Mr. Lavender, likes music. In the classroom, as a reward for good behavior, they sing Beatles and Monkees songs. They read the lyrics and follow along. I asked, "Oh, do you do this so you can practice reading?" She said that no, it's just a priviledge. I don't know. Either way, she knows pretty much all the popular Beatles and Monkees songs now.

(Conversation: Mom, what does "day tripper" mean? Why did it take him so long to find out?

Ummmm . . . I don't know.

Well, I could ask one of them, becauses there are still two Beatles alive. But they're really, really old. Like 100 by now.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mandalay Bay

These are the pictures from when we went to Mandalay Bay with Brooklyn, Cambria, and Maya. It was so much fun to see their different personalities. Cambria really liked looking at the map and actually finding the different fish and sea life pictured. Harrison liked holding the map because it made him look and feel important. Cameron liked holding the map because he could throw it in the air and try to catch it again. Maya seemed to enjoy just being around the interesting sights.

I thought the jellyfish were fascinating and could have stood there all day. The little ones enjoyed trying to pet the manta ray, which were not really interested in being touched while we were there.

It was great and I miss my neices and their mom!

Pictures from the Cooks' visit

Here are some park pictures from when Brooklyn, Cambria, and Maya came to visit last month. In the meantime, my neice has turned 3 (!) and cut her own hair. She is a fun girl. Now you know why the cousins like each other so much.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What we've been up to

Last night was our first ward activity since being called as the chairpeople . . . and, lucky for us, we just helped out. The Scouts were really in charge. It was a soup dinner and cake auction. We got a babysitter for the twins and--I don't care if this sounds bad--I'm glad we did. Since we had to set up and take down, coupled with the fact that the main event was SOUP, we felt the little ones would render us incapable of doing anything but sprint around the building calling, "Has anyone seen a little boy about this high? Possibly dripping with chicken noodle?" Well, the activity was fun and the highest bid was $130 for a hot-dog-and-french-fries cake that was really cool.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My daughter, the wild cat

Out of the blue, Mary said this:

These days I have a hard time believing I really am a human.

I say up like a cat, I hunt for midnight snacks like a cat. I don't think a wild cat would eat bacon too much though.

Maybe I'm half human and half animal. I'm teaching Sara to run fast like a wild cat but she's not very good yet. You know, cats, they like to mess around. And when cats do something wrong they don't want the consequences. That's just like me. Also, I don't like to wear shoes, and neither do cats.

Then I asked her to show me what wild cats do, and she did.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sweet Potato Bread recipe

Finally I write out my sweet potato bread recipe that was published in Taste of Home. I think it's the hint of orange that makes it so good. Here it is:


1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (about 2 medium)
1/2 cups vegatable oil
6 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In a small bowl, whish eggs, sweet potatoes, oil and orange juice. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in pecans. Transfer to a greased 9-in. x 5-in.. x 3-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350* for 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf.

More pictures from our Utah trip last month

Better late than never!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Super Saturday

I went to our RS Super Saturday this morning and did three things: some beaded earrings, a tile with a saying, and a toll-painted pumpkin. The whole morning left me feeling like a 10-year-old, wondering why my juvenile attempts at crafting weren't producing better results. I'm just not very skilled in that area, and what was I thinking when I signed up to toll paint something? I showed my pumpkin project to the family (a toll-painted can with a "cute" face) and they laughed. Not in the nice, "wow, that is so CUTE!" way but more in the "holy cow, that is one weird-looking pumpkin" way. I'm not blaming them, because it is truly hideous. It is in the garage. I think it might stay there.

Later we went to the BYU v. UNLV game, as mentioned in my previous post. There were a LOT of Cougar fans there, perhaps outnumbering Rebels. I have to give the local LDS non-Cougars props for their clever red t-shirts that had a CTR shield emblazoned with the words "Choose the Rebels". Tyce and Mary Rachel came with us, as well as Grandpa Al, while the twins stayed with a new babysitter named Brooke.

(I called home at 9:30 and Brooke said the boys were still awake, after trying to get them to sleep for a really long time. She looked pretty happy when we came home. I don't know if she'll agree to sit for us again.)

The Cougars won 24-14, so there was a festive mood throughout the section we sat in (which included the Shapiros and their extended family). Tyce knows how to do one of those very loud whistles now and employed his talent during the game.

Bryce, Tyce, and I are giving talks tomorrow, our first in the Palo Verde ward. I never mentioned listening to General Conference, but I really enjoyed the Sunday sessions. (I was out with Mary during the Saturday ones.) My talk tomorrow will be based on Pres. Eyring's talk called "O Remember, Remember"--he wrote daily how the hand of God had blessed his or his children's lives.

Well, I've played around enough and now it's time to get to work.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Activities, and Cam Quotes

Yesterday Mary Rachel, Cameron, and Harrison went to a party at Pump It Up for a new friend at church. Of course the kids had fun and I enjoyed getting to know some of the parents better.

Tyce went a football practice with his friend Dalton during the party. Tyce wants to join the (flag football) team. I am not so sure about it. He's also trying out for the school basketball team, has Scouts, band, and piano practice . . . I think he's spreading himself too thin. And he's really grouchy to me when he's stressed out, which I witnessed this morning when he had homework to correct and very little time to do it.

So, we will see about flag football. The good thing is that there's just one practice a week and one game a week, and the season isn't all that long (after Thanksgiving?). I'm sure he would be overjoyed to play but . . . well, all the stuff I just said.

Bryce is doing well now that September 30th has come and gone and the big deadline at work isn't looming overhead anymore. The BYU v. UNLV game is this weekend here in Las Vegas and Bryce's dad is coming down for it. Heck, even *I'm* going.

The three younger kids and I walked Mary to school this morning and then the twins and I played at the park next door. The weather is really nice lately. As a bonus, I saw 4 people I knew at the park so I got to "play" with my friends too.

Now for the Cameron quotes.

Cam: Mom, I'm ready to go to the park.

Mom: You're completely naked. We need some clothes for you.

Cam: Okay. Mom, put this bib on me so I will not be naked anymore.


Mom: Phew, it's hot in this garage!

Cam: Not for me. I'm a tough guy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Day With Miss Mary

Well Saturday was a girly day with my girl and we had a blast. Here's what we did:

We went to the nail salon and got pedicures. This was M's maiden voyage into the world of the spa foot bath (she's only 7!) I was 24 when I got my toes painted by someone for the first time. I chose bright red. Mary Rachel chose pink and blue (every other toe). I called her "Skittle Toes" for the rest of the day, which she liked.

Got lunch from Subway. This lunch is "The Mary": Ham and American cheese on white bread (plain), chocolate milk, and a cookie. Our sandwich artist gave us 3 cookies ON THE HOUSE. And TWO TOYS. Man, we must have turned on the charm somewhere along the way to get such special treatment.

Next we went to the euphimistically (sp?) named Crystal Palace skating rink. It is pretty old and pretty delapidated. You might be surprised to learn that I'm a pretty good roller skater. However, since it's been a while since I've been in a rink, I was very paranoid about two things: 1) kids cutting me off, and 2) kids crashing in a heap right in front of me. These two things happened fairly frequently but luckily I was able to avoid falling myself. Mary zipped around rather recklessly and I wanted to skate more with her but as far as cutting me off and crashing were concerened, she was one of the chief offenders.

After skating we drove to UNLV for the play. It was in a very small theater and was a theater in the round, which I love. Mary was pretty good during the play but fidgety and hungry. Somewhere during the first act I realized this wasn't a play for small children, as the themes (though over her head) were quite adult. I convinced her to leave at intermission, though she wanted to stay. The line that clinched it for me was when the teacher, Miss Brodie, dramatically declares:

"Yes, one day Jenny will be famous. She will be famous for SEX!"

The highlight of the day for Mare was when we went to paint pottery. She chose to paint a turtle box. I chose a round Christmas ornament. She really, really went to town on her turtle. I don't think there was any speck left unpainted. She had ball choosing her colors and making it just like she wanted. We had to leave the pieces there to get fired up, so we pick them up on Wednseday.

Dinner at Carrabba's--great. Dinner at Carrabba's with a gift card--awesome! Our waiter made a fuss over my Mary and so I had to give him a big tip, of course. I always think of our dear friend Mary Carrabba when I eat at her restaurant.

We had to get in our shopping, so after dinner we went to the mall. Mary bought three pair of earrings at Claire's that are very 7-year-old-chic. They are all dangle earrings: dolpins, stars, and rainbows. She was pretty pleased with her choices. I bought some earrings too (but not at Claire's!) and also took advantage of Clinique's bonus time at Macy's.

Finally after a trip to the 99 cent Only store ("What--this is even cheaper than the dollar store, Mom!") we made it to the shopping mecca that is Super Wal-Mart. She bought a make-your-own jewelry box for her new prizes and talked me out of buying some cinnamon-spiced pinecones that we both really wanted but didn't need (oh the temptation!).

When we left the parking lot it was 9:45 p.m. Mary said, "Mom, I had budgeted to stay out until 11 p.m., so just drive around for an hour." (!!!)

Well, we went home instead and tried to wind down from our very fun day. This was our conversation:

"Mare, when you were little we were always together, and now that you're in school I'm sad that I haven't spent as much time with you."

"Mom, I remember all those times as if they were yesterday. All we can do is be happy that at least we have today."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sorta Famous

If I had a jazzier, more unique name you'd say, when you read your latest issue of Taste of Home, "Holy cow! It's Rebecca Jones! Her name popped right out at me when I saw that recipe for Sweet Potato Bread."

Well, *I* was really surprised to start reading and see my very own name attached to a recipe I'd submitted a while ago. At first I saw the recipe title and thought, "hey, I have a good recipe for that very thing." Then when I looked closer I realized it was MY recipe. The other two times my recipes have been selected,people at the magazine made a big deal about it, telling me in advance and asking for a picture to print. I guess they thought by now I'd be jaded by all the attention. j/k Ironically, one recipe is being printed in the December/January issue, *after* this one, and they made a big deal out of that one. Who knows.

Anyway, this picture isn't the cover of the current issue, but I will print my recipe for you. Do you know how to scan something, and then post it to a blog? I don't.

Actually, I will write out the recipe tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Girls' Day Out

At Bryce's suggestion, Mary Rachel and I are having a special "girl" day this weekend. Bryce had suggested some big things, like going to Disneyland or Sea World, and even found great hotel prices. I was up for that, or whatever else she had in mind.

When I asked M. what she wanted to do, her face lit up. "Okay, we definitely need to eat lunch at Subway. Oh! And how about going to a store or something, like Wal-Mart? I also want to go to the dollar store, because I have $7 and I can get some good stuff there. Maybe we could also go to Food 4 Less because they have lots of flavors of Gatorade. Then come home and play some games or something."

Can anyone explain why that made me tear up and almost cry?

I think there are two reasons: 1) She is so easy to please. I think I appreciate and admire her enthusiasm for simple things and wonder where that gets lost in most people. Like myself. 2) I've raised a child who thinks going to Wal-Mart and Food 4 Less are high class venues. j/k

Anyway, we talked later that day and expanded the outing to include the following (written by her):

Saterday Octeber 6, 2007 morning til 11:00 pm clok

3 plasis--Doller store 10 min.
mall 20
Sooper Wall Mart 20 min


Sports--boling 1 hr

Spesil (*translation: special)--nals panted (*nails painted)

tret at mick donelds--ice crem--1 minit


to to diner

go home

go to bed


I will let you know how well we stick to the "schedule." I have tickets to a play at UNLV, "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" which is what is meant by "play" towards the end of the list. I am really looking forward to an afternoon with my girl.