Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Keepin’ It Real Wednesday

Sometimes I wonder if, because of these posts, my Wednesdays all seem a little too “real.”  I often find myself easily composing a Keepin’ It Real post in my head……and honestly, in the end, most of those posts are too complaining and self pitying to put into permanent record.  Maybe it is because it is the middle of the week and stress it its peak.  Maybe it is because sometimes if I am looking to write about something less-than-perfect, my whole life seems far-from-perfect.

Shortly before bedtime tonight I declared that we were never ever having any more kids.  It was one of those Wednesdays – when nothing was satisfyingly as- it- should- be.  My patience was thin, my groceries were unbought, my carpet was disgusting, my kids were unruly. 

Maybe it was because it was a Wednesday and I was looking for reality instead of grace, maybe it was because I really do have more on my plate than I can handle and my life is a huge, dramatic failure…….but maybe it was simply because I haven’t been going to bed when I should and have had sick kids and no exercise.

Maybe, just maybe, the solution is boring and simple and even just a little bit my own fault.

Yep, probably.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Meatless Mondays–Bulgur Pilaf with Roasted Vegetables


Have you tried bulgur?  I bought some awhile from Amazon and finally got up the courage to try it out.  Turns out, there was nothing to be afraid of.  It is fast and mild tasting and easy!  I made a recipe from another book my in-laws gave me – Fresh and Fast Vegetarian. I really enjoyed this recipe, and although it is somewhat time consuming to chop everything up, it really comes together easily. 





Cook time: 25 minutes        Serves: 4 to 6


  • 3 red bell peppers, diced (I used red, orange and yellow because Aldi sells the three together)
  • 3 zucchini, diagonally sliced (1/4 inch)
  • 2 large carrots, diagonally sliced (1/4 inch)
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (I didn’t use this much)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse grain bulgur
  • 1/4 cup raisins (this way one of my favorite parts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or 1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts or skin-on almonds (I used walnuts)

1. Place a heavy baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 for 10 minutes

2. Meanwhile, combine the peppers, zuccnini, carrots and red onion in a bowl. Drizzle the vegetables with 3 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.

3.  Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and spread the vegetables on the pain.  Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes.  Stir with a spatula, turning the vegetables and moving them around on the pan so they’ll brown evenly.  Roast until browned and tender, about 10 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet.  Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring over medium heat until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and raisins.  Add 2 cups water and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.  Stir once to blend.  Cover and cook over low heat until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

5. Add the olives, mint, dill, parsley, and orange zest to the hot roasted vegetables.  Add half of the vegetables to the bulgur and fluff with fork.  Spoon the bulgur into a serving dish and mound the remaining vegetables on top.  Sprinkle with the nuts and serve.

So, let me tell you that this was a meal that I had to force my kids to eat.  They were NOT fans.  Also, Chad was sick that night, so he didn’t have any either.  I ended up having a lot of leftovers.  I used some of it to make wraps for my lunch the next day – the bulgur with lettuce and hummus on a tortilla.  YUM!  If I didn’t have kids to fight, this is the kind of food I would want to make every day. 


If you wonder now and then about whether or not to eat those grains or starches, here is a great article that talks about it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Keepin’ It Real Wednesday


Colin had his Pinewood Derby last Wednesday.  As you may remember, he was sick last year, so we didn’t attend, or even finish his car.  So this year we painted it to look like a snake (since it is the year of the snake), and finished putting the weights on.  As I was putting the wheels on the night before (after Colin was in bed already), I thought I should measure it to make sure it met all the official requirements.  We had already weighed it a million times to make sure it was as close to 5 oz as possible without going over, but I wasn’t sure about the clearance on the bottom.  That was the first time it occurred to me that their track might have a tread down the middle.  Some do and some don’t and I had no idea if ours did or how high it went.  Colin had some weights underneath his, and a weight on the back that hug lower than the car.  This could be a problem.

When we got there and weighed it, it was exactly 5 ounces.  I patted myself on the back as Colin put it on the track for a test run.  Annnnnnd… didn’t even make it down the track.  The weights were indeed dragging.  Colin’s eyes turned red and angry.  Chad and I hurriedly pried the weights off and took it over to the pit stop table.  Chad drilled a hole in it for the biggest weight and we used a hot glue gun to glue all the weights in places as best as possible.

I wish I could tell you that after this, his car sailed down the track. It did not. I think it came in second or last in every heat.  By the end, it was wobbling down the track.  And I wish I could tell you it was because of the weight placement, but even the night before I could tell that his wheels just weren’t that fast.


I also wish I could tell you that Colin didn’t care about losing.  He did.  He didn’t throw a fit and he seemed to be happy for his cousins Santi and Evan who came in fourth and third. His accepted his “Most Spectacular” award with a smile. 


But he was mad.

Here’s my problem:  I know there is info out there about getting the wheels to spin faster and all that stuff.  I have read a lot of it. I would love to really dig into it and make his car the fastest car possible.  I feel like…if you are gonna bother doing it, do it the best you can.  Right?  But then I know this: At no point, when we were working on his car, did Colin say, “Hey mom, let’s work some more!”  It was always me bugging him to do things and him doing them as fast he could, or me doing it on my own. I have no problem with parents getting involved, but he needs to be just as involved as me.

So, next year he might care enough to want to work hard at it, and if he does I will jump on board with enthusiasm.  But maybe he won’t, and I am going to have to tell myself not to care more about it than him. 

But maybe I am only saying all of this because I do care, huh?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chad’s birthday

It was Chad’s birthday yesterday.  Since Sunday birthdays are kind of a let-down, we have been trying to celebrate all weekend.  On Saturday we went to Discovery Place, and stepped out for a bit to watch the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.  That evening after the kids went to bed I surprised him by having Lindsey come over to babysit so we could jet out for some dessert.  Out at night! After dark! It was like we were teenagers again. 

Yesterday I made him three different kinds of salsa – Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, Cindy’s “Life-changing Salsa,” and Quick and Easy Blender Salsa (which everyone went gaga for).  We chowed down on chips and salsa so much that we barely had room for the shrimp tacos I made.  No problem, we had delicious leftovers for lunch today.


Chad with his new baseball mitt. He has been practicing baseball a lot with Colin and I also wanted him to have a glove for his trip to AZ this spring.  He is going down there for a week in March to watch some spring training games with his brother Bill!


We had molten chocolate cakes, made with the famous Aldi mix, and his squiggly candles melted inside of his. 


Dinner was followed by some football in the front room accompanied by some very very serious piano playing by Gabe.  So serious that he couldn’t even break a smile when Chad hit the piano.

Tonight we get to use the Ruth’s Chris gift card he got from a friend/coworker for Christmas. No kids, of course.  There is no way in you-know-where we are are taking our kids there.  Would it be weird if I don’t get steak at Ruth’s Chris?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Week Shy of 22 months

This is Carina, waiting for Daddy to come home, and watching “Punzel” (Tangled). 
She is wearing her third shirt of the day.  The first had polar bears on it, the second had a kitty cat on it and said “Puuuuurfect,” and this one has a monkey on it and is actually a pajama top.  None of them got dirty, she just loves to change.  She can take her clothes off now and brings me new shirts to put on– she has just a few with graphics on them, but they are her favorites.  She loves animals in theory only – in reality they scare her.  Even bunnies have her literally shaking with fright.
Every morning as soon as I get her dressed she pats her head and says, “Hair. Hair.”  We head to bathroom and she sits on the counter while I comb through the fine blonde tangles and make her nice and neat.  She smiles with satisfaction at her pretty reflection and then asks for her shoes.  Halfway through the day, her hoodie has been on and off, she has shaken her head “no” a dozen times, and the wisps are hanging in her eyes.  “Princess” or “Wildcat.” Both nicknames are fitting.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Meatless Monday–Three-bean soup from Quick-fix Vegetarian

Today’s blog post is brought to you thanks to my lovely in-laws.  I got a couple of vegetarian cookbooks from them for Christmas, and I got almost all my meals for my menu this week from them.  Today is piano day, which means I pick the boys up from school, drop-off our carpool pal, drive to piano, drop them off, get gas (because it is down in South Carolina, where the gas is always cheaper), go to Aldi, pick them back up, and then drive them home.  By the time we get home, is is 5:30, Ollie and Carina are sick of being carted around, there are groceries to be put away and bedtime is fast approaching.  So what does piano day mean?  It means I need to have dinner ready for us when we get home.

In addition to piano day, it was also a rainy day, so this soup was perfect. 

Three-bean soup

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced baby carrot
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley or cilantro, minced, for garnish

Now that I showed you the recipe, here is the process:IMGP1507

Start by sautéing some bell pepper, onion, and 2 garlic cloves in some olive oil until softened – about five minutes.  I happened to have half an onion and half a red bell pepper in the fridge, so I didn’t measure, I just used them. 

  See that knife in the picture?  It is a Kiwi and my favorite knife – the only one I really use – and I also got it from my in-laws.  It has a couple of chips in it because Chad tried to use it to saw the rope thingie part of our trampoline anchor, which is some kind of braided steel or whatnot.  FYI, it didn’t work.

Also cut up some baby carrots, about half a cup.  Throw those into a crockpot with the sautéed veggies.  Rinse a can each of kidney beans, black beans, and cannellini beans (did you know they are white kidney beans?  I love kidney beans).  Throw those into the crock pot, along with four cups of veggie broth, a can of diced tomatoes, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme and salt and pepper to taste. 


Cook on low for eight hours.  Then, if you like creamier and less-chunky soup (which I do), ladle about half of it into the blender, blend it up, and mix it back in.  I don’t know about your kids, but mine would much rather eat their soup this way – they don’t like chunks of veggies.


Three bean soup

Garnish with cilantro or parsley (we are a cilantro family ourselves).  You will have to excuse  unpinworthy picture, but I was not about to take the time to take a good picture when there were six hungry people waiting.

Enjoy!  It is a very simple and satisfying soup.  All my kids ate it, including Carina. 

Which brings me to a question I have gotten a lot since I started cooking my family vegan meals.  How do you get your kids to eat their veggies?

My answer? I make them!  Simple as that.  Maybe now you are picturing me prying their mouths open and jamming brussels sprouts in, but I promise it is never that gory.  However, they are expected to eat what is put in front of it – at least one helping.   There are no chicken nuggets waiting in the background in case they don’t like it, and if they don’t want to eat it, they can choose to go to bed early instead.  I know that would qualify me as a mean mom in some people’s minds…I have even read a book that said you should let your child choose what they eat so that they can know that their emotions are valid.  But I feel like we make a lot of important decisions for our kids while they are young, until they are wise enough to decide for themselves.  Why shouldn’t what they put into their bodies be one of those decisions?  There are a few things that absolutely make them gag (mushrooms, for example) and I don’t make them eat those, but I can tell when they truly hate something versus when they would just rather not eat something.   Also, their taste buds will change and they will begin to accept more diverse foods if they are challenged a little.

In case I am starting to sound a little self-righteous, please do remember that just last week I posted about going to McDonald’s and Sonic.  We still have a long way to go, but we have come a long way too.  There have been plenty of tantrums thrown and timers set, but there are far fewer battles about food these days.  For anyone who has been guilted into into feeding your kids junk, stay strong! It isn’t torture to make your kids eat the food that is best for them!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Feed My Sheep–Spiritual Nourishment For Our Children

I work in our church in the organization that teaches the children, called “Primary.”  My role is to travel around to the nine different wards (congregations) in our “stake” unit and assist the Primary leaders as they try to accomplish their goals in teaching children the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Last November when we held a training for these leaders, I gave this talk.  I felt very strongly, as I preparing for it over the course of a couple of months, and as I was writing it, that my Heavenly Father was inspiring me.  Not just in regards to something He wanted me to say to others, but with things He wanted me to learn for myself. With that feeling of inspiration in mind, I would like to share it.

Over the last year and a half, my husband and I have made some firm decisions about the way our family eats at home. We decided to have less of the food that is just enjoyable and satisfying in the moment, but nutritionally empty or even damaging long term (junk food), and more of the food that is going to help us feel good now and in the long term.

We do believe that it is okay to add in food to our diets, every once in a while, that is not ideal – celebratory food or holiday food, or even junk food. But we quickly came to realize that we don’t need to provide that less-than-ideal food for our kids, because they have plenty of opportunities to get it outside of our house –you have probably noticed this with your own kids – they get a piece of candy from their teacher for good behavior, cupcakes for a classmate’s birthday, pizza parties at the end of a soccer season. Then there are holidays like Halloween and Christmas, …the list is endless. There are plenty of chances for junk food without us providing it.

With all of these occasions for eating just plain ol’ bad food, we knew that we needed to give them ten times the opportunities at home to eat just plain GOOD food. Ideal food. The food that is the very very best for them. I have to tell you that were are far far away from giving them ideal food in our home for every single meal, but every time I am able to, I know our health is better for it, and the more good food we eat, the more we all crave it and appreciate it, and want more of it.

So what is more important than their physical nourishment? Their spiritual nourishment. What if we applied those same principles to the children in our home and in our Primary?

We know that they are going to get a lot of spiritual junk food outside of church and our homes. What is that spiritual junk food? Something that might taste good and satisfying in the moment but does nothing for them long term. Something that feeds them in the moment but ultimately leaves them starving. They are surrounded these empty calories – movies, video games, music….technology has made every type of spiritual junk food available each at every moment of the day. Not only are our children fed a lot of empty calories, many of them will be exposed to other things go far beyond that, things that are soul damaging – pornography, violence, cruelty. In our last General Conference, Elder Quentin A. Cook spoke about the poisonous culture we are surrounding by and he told this story,

“President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and I were recently in an Amazon jungle village and observed satellite dishes even on some of the small, simply built huts. We rejoiced at the wonderful information available in this remote area. We also recognized there is virtually no place on earth that cannot be impacted by salacious, immoral, and titillating images. This is one reason why pornography has become such a plague in our day.”

We can’t always help what our children ingest while they are out in the world, and we certainly have no control over what all of our Primary children are fed. But when they walk into our home or our Primary room, we do have control – and that is what is so incredibly exciting about Primary. We have the IDEAL spiritual food. We have the spiritual food that is the very very best for them. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ. We know that it is fulfilling not just now, in the moment, but for every day, and for eternity. Each and every week, when our kids walk into Primary, we get to nourish their souls….just fill them up to the brim with the word of God. They can taste how beautiful and satisfying the gospel is for themselves and begin crave it more than the junk food that surrounds them once they leave the building.

I love that idea. I love that ideal – of what Primary could really really be about. It is a beautiful picture that I have painted, right? But when it comes down to being practical….how in the world do you accomplish that? I don’t have all those answers for you and I am not even going attempt to get specific for how you can accomplish that in your ward or branch because there are no right answers for all of you – you all have different needs and challenges. But, I would like to give some broader ideas that will help you find your own answers.

#1. Before you can nourish the Primary kids, you need to nourish yourself. We hear this over and over and over again. Read your scriptures, say your prayers. We teach it to our kids. But do we truly truly make it a priority in our lives? And I am not just talking about two verses right before your head drops on the pillow. That is a start, for sure, but I am talking about studying, and conversations with our Heavenly Father. Are you feeding yourself spiritual junk food? I am sure many of you will remember Sister Ann Dibb’s talk from General Conference last October – I Know It. I Live it. I Love it. She addressed spiritual nourishment and said, “In today’s world, there are a multitude of activities, subjects, and interests vying for every minute of our attention. With so many distractions, do we have the strength, discipline, and commitment to remain focused on what matters most? Are we as well versed in gospel truths as we are in our studies, careers, hobbies, sports, or our texts and tweets? Do we actively seek to find answers to our questions by feasting on the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets? Do we seek the confirmation of the Spirit?”

We need to be more deliberate with what we feed ourselves. Start by cutting out some of those empty calories – things that are an easy break for your mind but don’t really do much for your spirit. But then after you have cut those calories, don’t stop there - replace them with the word of God. Scriptures, hymns, general conference talks, the Ensign, the Mormon Channel….there are so many available resources that we can just gorge on.

What will happen when you dedicate yourself to your own spiritual nourishment? Our Heavenly Father has promised he will bless us – this kind of dedication will take your time, but it will give you more time in return. It will take focus, but it will give you more focus – better focus. If you tell your Heavenly Father, “I am going to be as spiritually fit as possible so that I can be a better tool for YOU. I want you to be able to use me to bless others, so I am going make sure I am prepared to do that”…..He WILL use you. He will accomplish his work through you –work that is more glorious than any work you could do alone. He will answer your questions about how to best bless your primary children. He will let you know what you should be focusing on in sharing time. He will help you figure out how to bring more reverence. The more spiritually nourished you are, the better tool you are for him.

Which brings me to my next point:

#2 Remember that we are not the true teacher, the Holy Ghost is.

Elder Craig Christiansen told a story during general conference that illustrated this point perfectly. He talked about taking his children to the Bountiful Temple open house.

“We labored diligently to prepare our children to enter the temple, praying earnestly that they would have a spiritual experience so that the temple would become a focal point in their lives.

As we reverently walked through the temple, I found myself admiring the magnificent architecture, the elegant finishes, the light shining through towering windows, and many of the inspiring paintings. Every aspect of this sacred building was truly exquisite.

Stepping into the celestial room, I suddenly realized that our youngest son, six-year-old Ben, was clinging to my leg. He appeared anxious—perhaps even a little troubled.

“What’s wrong, Son?” I whispered.

“Daddy,” he replied, “what’s happening here? I’ve never felt this way before.”

Recognizing that this was likely the first time our young son had felt the influence of the Holy Ghost in such a powerful way, I knelt down on the floor next to him. While other visitors stepped around us, Ben and I spent several minutes, side by side, learning about the Holy Ghost together. I was amazed at the ease with which we were able to discuss his sacred feelings. As we talked, it became clear that what was most inspiring to Ben was not what he saw but what he felt—not the physical beauty around us but the still, small voice of the Spirit of God within his heart.”

When we have talked as a stake presidency about what we want most for the children in Primary, we always circle back to two things. First, we want to provide them with opportunities to feel the Holy Ghost. Second, we want them to learn to recognize when the Holy Ghost is speaking to them. These two things are what convert them for life to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This principle helps us so much in determining how to go about teaching Primary. Just like the story, we need to do what we can to invite the Spirit. We can prepare stellar sharing time lessons and engaging singing activities, but they should all serve to teach about the Savior and to invite the Holy Ghost. Just as Elder Christensen’s son didn’t walk away from the temple just remembering the architecture, we don’t want our kids walking away from Primary just remembering our cute bunting.

When we talk about every child learning this year’s theme, we mean that we really want them to learn it. We want them to learn it in their mind and their heart. We don’t want them to just be able to repeat it back to us. We want each of them to know for themselves that they are truly a Child of God. This knowledge will help them make good choices outside of Primary.  This knowledge will affect them for the rest of their lives.

My last point:

#3 These are God’s children and This is His work.

Elder Holland gave a very powerful talk during General Conference.  He talked about what the Savior taught his disciples when the Savior returned as a resurrected being. Elder Holland elaborated on what is in the scriptures. He talked about what the Savior said to Peter when Peter answered for a third time that he loved the Savior. This is what Elder Holland said,

“To which Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my nonscriptural elaboration), perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”

Listening to this talk, I was sure that a lot of people thought of missionary work, but I immediately thought about our Primary children. Every week, we are feeding His sheep. Sharing time is not a feeble message. Teaching the Sunbeams and 11 year olds is not hapless or hopeless. Primary is not a throwaway calling. It is the work of the Almighty God.

What an incredible work it is we have been called to do! I hope we can inspire all of our leaders about how important and awesome this work of feeding His sheep is. I hope we can pray for specific actions we can take to accomplish His work, and for specific answers to the problems we each face. I know that as we feed them the best spiritual food available – the word of God- they will learn to love and savor it. The Holy Ghost will help them recognize the truth they hear, and they will want to feast on His words. The spiritual junk food that the world offers them will lose its appeal.

I know that these are His precious children and I know He will guide each of us as we spiritually feed His Sheep.

I testify these things in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.


Thursday, January 10, 2013


Oliver and Carina had well-child visits yesterday.  This probably should have been a Keepin’ It Real post, because Ollie’s was his four year old checkup and he is four and five months old, and Carina’s was her 18 month checkup and she is 21 months old.  But honestly?  I don’t really care and neither does their doctor, which is one of the many reasons I love him.

Another reason I love him?  He had Oliver smiling and laughing the whole time, and though Carina was hysterical before she was even weighed, he got her to smile and giggle nervously a few times through her tears. 


  • Length: 32 inches, 25%
  • Weight: 23 lbs 5 oz, 10-25%
  • Head: 48 1/2 cms, 75-90%


  • Height: 40 3/4 inches, 25-50% (a jump for him!)
  • Weight: 35 lbs, 25%
  • Body Mass Index: 14.82
  • Blood Pressure: 96/64

I told Ollie that if he was good for his shots I would take him to McDonald’s afterwards.  He was so excited about it that he actually hopped up on the table when it was his turn.  By the second shot he was singing a different tune. 

At McDonald’s, Carina did her charming early-terrible-twos move where she grabs the soda and yells “MINES” whenever anyone tries to have a sip.  We share sodas in this family.  It’s part of our code of ethics.  So I do the calm-and-cool veteran-mom thing where I remind her over and over again not to yell and urge Ollie to sip like his life depended on it.  It was bad enough that a gentleman approached us and asked if I would like another cup for her.  I might have sounded a little condescending (hiding my embarrassment) when I assured him that it was okay for her to learn how to share.  For the rest of the meal we told her to look out the window at the cars whenever we wanted to sneak a drink, or more fries, or the chicken nuggets she wasn’t touching. 


And now this post really feels like it should have been posted yesterday.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sky high


Have you read about those studies saying that sugar doesn’t cause hyperactivity in children?  I have.  I’ve even quoted them to Chad.

But last night after dinner, I fed the 10 children this hot chocolate…..with two cans of sweetened condensed milk and two bags of chocolate chips, with marshmallows on top…..

And the results were astounding.

Ollie tackling Lily and Lindsey.  Carina pushing Leslie to the floor and literally running in circles.  Mayan kicking her feet out of her boots time and again when it was time to go. 

Maybe our kids are just a special exceptions?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My date tonight


I drew Colin’s name at Christmas.  I know my boy, and I know that what he what appreciates most of all is time and attention. I decided to give him both – I got him a Sonic gift card, with the promise of an afternoon of geocaching, followed by dinner out. 

Unfortunately, the geocaching app I downloaded today did not work properly.  After following the ever-changing arrow that lead us in circles and couldn’t make up its mind about what direction we should go, we gave up on our first geocache, drove to another, and then gave up on that one as well.  Colin was easy-going and good-humored about it and anxious to get to Sonic, so it was really okay. 

Colin was funny about the ten dollar gift card.  I don’t think he has ever been to a fast food restaurant and been allowed to order whatever he wanted.  So I could tell he was torn between being practical with the card and getting what he really wanted.  He was waiting to decide what he wanted until after I decided, so that he would know what his budget was.  I purposefully got one of the cheapest burgers so that he could go crazy and he did.  He couldn’t even finish his double bacon cheeseburger and ice cream – which is saying something because that kid can eat.

Colin kept commenting about how nice and quiet and relaxing dinner was without the little kids, like he just couldn’t believe the contrast.  I had to agree, and I realized that he gets very few moments like that these days, with just a parent and no younger brothers or a demanding sister vying for attention.  The fact of the matter his, he was so much calmer and quieter than he ever is when they are there.  Maybe he is often doing his own vying for attention?

We got to talk about little things and took a trip to Target when we were done.  He saw some batting gloves he wanted and I started teasing him about the fact that he has already spent all his Christmas money by singing, “Hey, big spender.”  Then I realized how incredibly inappropriate that song was and quickly shut up.  Kind of a Maeby and Michael moment, huh Chad?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Books I read in 2012

cov title author

avg rating
rating shelves date read Down_arrow date added
Walk Two Moons
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
Dec 20, 2012 [edit]
Dec 21, 2012
Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Dec 16, 2012 [edit]
Dec 21, 2012
Digging to America
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Dec 12, 2012 [edit]
Dec 21, 2012
My Life Next Door
didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it it was amazing
Sep 2012 [edit]
Sep 25, 2012
The Scorpio Races
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
Sep 2012 [edit]
Sep 25, 2012
Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it it was amazing
Aug 2012 [edit]
Jul 14, 2012
The Fault in Our Stars
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Jul 16, 2012 [edit]
Mar 29, 2012
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
Jul 12, 2012 [edit]
Jul 14, 2012
The Night Circus
didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2012 [edit]
Jul 07, 2012
An Abundance of Katherines
didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it it was amazing
Jun 17, 2012 [edit]
Jun 18, 2012
Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Jun 2012 [edit]
Jul 23, 2012
Pathfinder (Pathfinder, #1)
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
May 16, 2012 [edit]
May 16, 2012
When You Reach Me
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
Apr 28, 2012 [edit]
Apr 28, 2012
Belong to Me
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Apr 22, 2012 [edit]
Apr 22, 2012
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Apr 15, 2012 [edit]
Apr 19, 2012
didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it it was amazing
Apr 02, 2012 [edit]
Apr 03, 2012
Sundays at Tiffany's
didn't like it it was ok (my current rating) liked it really liked it it was amazing
Apr 2012 [edit]
Apr 03, 2012
Crossed (Matched, #2)
didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2012 [edit]
Feb 18, 2012
Rachel & Leah
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Mar 07, 2012 [edit]
Mar 14, 2012
Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Feb 25, 2012 [edit]
Jan 03, 2012
Peace Like a River
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
Feb 22, 2012 [edit]
Feb 27, 2012
Ender's Shadow (Shadow, #1)
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Feb 10, 2012 [edit]
Feb 27, 2012
The King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #3)
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Feb 07, 2012 [edit]
Jan 13, 2012
To Kill a Mockingbird
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
Feb 04, 2012 [edit]
Jan 03, 2012
Out of My Mind
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Jan 31, 2012 [edit]
Jan 03, 2012
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2012 [edit]
Feb 01, 2012
Red Glove (Curse Workers, #2)
didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2012 [edit]
Jan 30, 2012
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
Jan 24, 2012 [edit]
Feb 01, 2012
Stuart Little
didn't like it it was ok (my current rating) liked it really liked it it was amazing
Jan 15, 2012 [edit]
Jan 16, 2012
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
Jan 13, 2012 [edit]
Jan 03, 2012
The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #2)
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Jan 08, 2012 [edit]
Jan 13, 2012
Little Blog on the Prairie
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
Jan 07, 2012 [edit]
Jan 07, 012


Looking back at this list, I know there were probably a few I missed (in fact, I see that I forgot “Xenocide by Orson Scott Card, which was a five star book), but things definitely slowed down in October and November, when I was always editing photos.  I am happy with my five star ratings – I still look back those books as the ones that impressed me the most and stuck with me most.  My most surprising five star book of the year was “The Scorpio Races.”  I don’t know if I could even explain why I hold it in such high regard, but the author, Maggie Stiefvater created such a strong mood and setting with her writing.

For more in depth reviews of some of these books, here is a blog post I wrote last summer for my cousin Olivia’s blog, Gnome Sweet Gnome.

So did you read any of these books?  What are some “five star” books that I HAVE to read in 2013? Please share!