Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Humility of a Child

Here's the story: I dressed Kate up in one of her Christmas outfits from Grandma DeAnn. Ryan thought she looked very nice so he said, "You look very nice today Kate." Without missing a beat, Kate said, "Get out!" accompanied by the appropriate arm gesture of pretending to push away the complement. For all you Seinfeld loyalists out there, you might think she's been picking up on some of their lingo, but I'm pretty sure she's never seen Seinfeld. Although she is pretty handy with the controls on the TV, so who knows. We have no idea where this came from, but it sure was cute. So we tried it again, and she did it again.

This is a reproduction, made obvious by the audible, "Ok, go!" at the beginning of the video, but we were still glad to get it on camera.


video

Friday, December 5, 2008

Real Christmas Request

Being a poor college "family" does have its benefits. We can only sink about $150 deep into the materialistic side of Christmas. Although our budget may confine what we spend on Christmas to a relatively small number, our minds, thoughts, and spirit do not have the same definite boundaries. I find myself still cataloging new items to add to my wish list, Kate's wish list, Ryan's wish list, and anyone else I can think of. New stuff is fun!

But "stuff" is not what Christmas is about. When I see the shining, fresh face of my little girl everyday I am reminded what the Savior gave us through His life and atonement: the chance to start anew, make amends, receive comfort, and find love to make our countenances once again shining and new. All the stuff in the world winds up looking like nothing at all when we compare the gift we have been given through Jesus Christ.

So, my request: How do you, or your family, remember Jesus, His life, and gift during the Christmas season?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Joy of Bulgur


No I didn't steal this post title from the most recent title of our ward's home storage cookbook. It's sincere, I really do find joy in eating bulgur wheat. And although this may come as a shock, so do Kate and Ryan.

If you read the word "bulgur" and your mind immediately jumped to weird medical conditions, don't tune out! Bulgur is a grain commonly used in middle eastern dishes. It is so versatile, I love trying lots of different things with it. Although it's not really good with chocolate, at least that's what I hear ;) Also, it's soo good for you! Trivia: bulgur has more fiber than oats or buckwheat!

So you have to cook bulgur like any other grain before you use it. I like to make a big batch and have lots leftover so I can try different combos at lunch.

Here are some of my favorite ways to eat this yummy grain. I apologize ahead of time because the measurements are by no means precise. I just wanted to throw some fun ideas out there for healthy meals. And remember, with all of these you're basically making a salad, so if you like or don't like ingredients there is no problem with tweaking them. I serve all these variations in pita pockets, but you can eat them alone too.

#1 Traditional Tabbouleh
I learned to make this from an Iranian lady I worked with as a teenager. You can find a great recipe on allrecipes.com but here are the basics I use:

2 cups cooked bulgur (1 cup uncooked turns into about 2 cups cooked)

2-3 roma sized tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt to taste

#2 "Greek" Tabbouleh
Really it just has feta, but Greek in the title sounds fun


2 cups cooked bulgur
2-3 roma sized tomatoes, seeded an chopped
1/2 - cucumber, peeled and chopped
1-2 tblsp fresh dill, about 1 1/2 dried
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 - 3/4 cup feta, mmm!
1 cooked, chopped chicken breast (I put lots of seasonings on mine and then just bake it in the oven)
salt to taste
lemon juice to taste

Note : Let the bulgur cool a bit before you mix, other wise the mixture gets gooey

#3 Annie's "Tabbouleh"
Have you ever had "Annie's" shitake mushroom salad dressing? My sister Audrey introduced me and I'm a goner for it. MMM! This is totally just an idea to use up some bulgur, no measurements at all

Cooked bulger
Cucumber
Tomato
Shitake Mushroom Dressing, lots of it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

1st Christmas Present

Kate received her first Christmas present today! The little nativity set came in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa Morgan, they hit the nail on the head with this gift. Thank you!

Here's a little video of her enjoying the gift.

video

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Preserving Life



Although finding a life-like objects in the fridge may be a relatively common occurrence in some houses, I doubt they ever found anything this close. Ya know, this is the kind of thing you find when a 15-month-old helps you clean up. Or, as my father-in-law suggested maybe Kate has made the connection that when you put things in the refrigerator, they last longer. It is obvious that Kate loves her dolly when I consider the care she takes of her in comparison with her other toys. Rocking her (at warp speed), placing (throwing) her in the crib, giving hugs (suffocating her). Although she may not have the exact right technique, it sure is darling to see her give love and affection.

The Gift of Giving


Hello All,

I'd like to begin giving a little early this year by giving you a gift idea. My friend Meg makes the cutest bath-time aprons for mommies. She has talents coming out her ears, and this is one that I'm sure you will enjoy.



Go check her out at Etsy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

All the Fixins; not too Shabby

I like my burgers Big, hold the mayo, extra lettuce and tomato and please don't hesitate to throw in all that other good stuff to make the burger whole (mushrooms, onions, cheese, etc.) A naked burger is like a thirsty man in the desert without his smoothy, Jazz without its soul, and Ben without Jerry. Or in this case, the outfit without it its 'fit'.

Of course you have to have something great to dress up....






The meat of life is sure a heck-of-alot more tasty when dressed, sauced, seasoned and accessorized.





Visit Shabby Apple clothing to add some spice to your life!


Friday, October 31, 2008

On the Farm

Audrey, Kate, and I headed down to Hee Haw farms last week join in the fall festivities of looking for a pumpkin, petting the animals, getting lost in corn mazes, etc. When we arrived, there was no one there, not even workers. We figured it was the slow time of the day, so we made ourselves comfortable and just acted like we owned the place.

We let Kate take charge, and show us around.



Kate began her tour in the tractor.



Then we moved to the train to view the sites.




Kate explained that we would have to abandon the motorized vehicles for the remainder of our tour, in order not to frighten the shy animals of bunny village.



The cows were noisy and Kate needed some help projecting her voice, so asked one of the tour group members to act as a podium. Thank you Audrey.



Kate let this display speak for itself.




Of course, we ended with snacks.


I visited the farm's website later and found out Hee Haw farms was closed when we decided to pay them a visit. With no supervision, we went to town on feeding the goats. All in all, I think we fed the goats about 5 pounds of grain. I hope there was no permanent damage. I highly recommend visiting a busy attraction when it is closed, we had no competition for anything!

Marbles between her toes - you weren't too far off Grandpa!


My grandpa always used to try persuade us to eat all the undesirable portions of our meal with the phrase, "Eat up! It will put hair on your chest and feathers between your toes." My immediate, although un-uttered reaction was, why would I want any of those things?

Well, one day Kate sprouted a much more feminine version of Grandpa's old wive's tale. Because she eats her vegetables so well, I'd like to think it's a shout out to grandpa.

Of course, Kate did not spontaneously sprout these marbles between her toes, she had some help from genetics (mom's got monkey toes) and from dad with the mechanics.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Laura Morgan, Come on Down!



You know how you always hear people say, "I never win anything!" Most of the time, I think they're lying. I have been keeping track since third grade, when I didn't win bingo the entire school year, of times when I have entered a contest, drawing, or raffle and I have not won any of them (probably very sad I know) . To bare all truths, I have won merit-based contests and games many times, but when the winner gains prizes by random luck, I have never been that lucky.

Well, the tides have turned and the stars aligned; I finally won something. I attended a Student Entrepreneur of the Year contest at BYU and they give away all sorts of prizes during the event, I was a lucky recipient. It's a pretty good for my first time around, an ipod shuffle! I am very excited about my new toy. Yahoo! I even gave a good yelp when they called my number! Good news, now it's time to keep track of the "wins" in my life.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Halloween




Halloween started early this year! As I have exited our new apartment three out of five mornings, I am greeted by a new spider on our front step. Most of the time, not just one, usually 2 or 3. Not just any spider either, a BLACK WIDOW. YUCK!! Yes, we have sprayed multiple times. Yes, we are so nervous for Kate to be bitten. Yes, it is so gross.

In case that first picture wasn't enough for you, here's another perspective. I thought we should document at least some of our finds. Aren't they huge?

So the count is up to 12 black widows I have found outside our apartment. So now I always make Kate stay inside when I go out the first thing in the morning while I bend over to inspect carefully for any new bugs, always muttering "yuck, I hate bugs, this is sick." As expected, now every time Kate goes out the door she bends way over toward the ground and points while saying "buggy, yuck"

Monday, September 22, 2008

The "Dirt" on Kate





Playing in the dirt is often pegged as a boy activity but I think there is something therapeutic about playing in the dirt as a child regardless of gender. I remember when my family was building a new house, I was eight and my sister Audrey was 11. We played in the dirt piles made from the dug out foundation endlessly. We rolled in it, shoveled it, jumped in it, threw it, etc. When Kate found the tiny 2 x 2 area of dirt in front of our apartment my instinct was to quickly distract her with a cleaner activity, but I paused to recall the fond memories I have of dirt-time and decided to remove her clothes and let her go to town instead. I think she liked it because she was totally engrossed for about 10 minutes, a relative eternity for our 14-month-old.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Temple

My visiting teachers are amazing this time around. They took Kate and I to the temple grounds to take pictures, it was very fun and sweet of them.






Kate has followed in the footsteps of almost every other child I know and loves to show her tummy, no matter the location or the audience.




She knocked on all the doors we passed, it was very cute.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Family Pics


Can't believe we're having family pics already! Our friend Meg took these and many others, but these are the ones we've seen so far.

Our favorite.

The Big 1


Kate enjoyed breakfast in bed for her first b-day! There's a video below of us waking her up for her day.
video

Excuse the "morning" looks.

Pier 39

Here's Kate and mommy watching the sea lions. She loved to imitate their barking, it was pretty cute. We enjoyed chowder in a bread bowl on the wharf, it was pretty fun.

More San Fran

This was what we did alot of - tooling around watchin the busy people, chasing pigeons, looking for parks to stop at and little shops for me.
The "Ferry Building" was one of our favorites, it had beautiful shops, a gorgeous park, a fountain that Kate thought was a swimming pool, and great restaurants. And it was two blocks from our hotel!
Ryan and Kate on the "trolley" which was really an electric train, but was still very fun. And with no car seat it was practically a carnival ride for Kate.
The lobby of the building Ryan worked at was beautiful with probably 50 orchids and other amazing plants.
Kate and Daddy with the seals. Fun!

San Fran


Ryan invited Kate and I to join him on a work trip to san francisco. We really had such a good time. I was a little nervous in the beginning as I would be alone with Kate for most of the time in a city I didn't know with no car and nobody I knew. But after about 2 days we settled into a nice rhythm and it was great. I was sad to see our return approaching and when we heard our return flight was cancelled I think I was the only person who anticipated flying out in the morning rather than at the scheduled time that evening. Unfortunately, they found a way to get us home that night


This was the little view of the bay bridge we had. Our hotel was gorgeous. It sure was nice to have someone else clean, cook, and make my bed for a week!













Monday, July 7, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer



Grandma's magic touch works on swings too! Grandma Thomas was so nice to swing Kate in Nate and Maile's backyard, before we knew it, she was out! Life is good.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Steer-Wrestling 101

When I try to put Kate's shoes on she defies gravity and transforms into gumbi to escape my grasp. The maneuvers she pulls during dressing-time are only topped by her acrobatics during diapering. I've finally resorted to diapering in stages:

1. Pin Kate, Undiaper, Wipe, Release! (risky, I know)
2. Pin Kate, Re-diaper (the most challenging), Release!
3. Pin Kate, Re-Pant, Release!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Here's How

Busy Mom’s Guide: 

How to do Everything  Faster (and better!)

By Genoa Sibold-Cohn

Here are 50 ways to save time by doing things faster, so you can spend more time doing the things you really enjoy with your family.

 

             1.                  Assemble your children's outfits when you put clothes away in their drawers. Then you can quickly grab a full outfit without having to waste time scouring the drawers for a matching shirt and pair of Give your grade-schooler a "homework box" with pencils, an eraser, a stapler, a calculator, and a ruler. Ask her to bring it to the table whenever it's time to do homework.

             2.                  When you see a great toy on sale, buy several and sock them away for your child to give to friends at birthday parties throughout the year.

             3.                  Forget about addressing your party invitations by hand. Go to the United States Postal Service website to create party invitations that can be shipped to addresses you upload to the site. Or, have your own photo printed onto a postcard invitation at Snapfish and they'll stamp the cards and mail them for you.

             4.                  Stock your produce drawer or a lower shelf in your refrigerator with snacks like carrot sticks and apple slices that your kids can grab without your help. Set up a similar area in your pantry with baggies full of dried fruit or graham crackers.

5.Skip ironing and get wrinkles out of a shirt or pair of trousers by putting them in the dryer for 15 minutes with a damp hand towel.

6.Stop wasting time looking for things you use often, like scissors, reading glasses, or baby wipes. Stock up and keep duplicates in the rooms where you spend the most time.

7.Designate 30 minutes after dinner for cleaning — and get everyone involved in folding laundry, doing dishes, and clearing away clutter.

8.Store sets of sheets and pillowcases inside unfolded pillowcases to make bed changes fast and easy and minimize clutter in your linen closet.

9.Program the phone numbers for your favorite take-out restaurants into your cell phone so you can call to pick up dinner on the way home and avoid paying for delivery.

10.Create a file for coupons for your favorite restaurants and file them with take-out menus. Put the coupons that expire soonest at the front of the pack.

11.Set up a box for bills that need to be paid and stock it with stamps and envelopes.

12.Organize your favorite articles, parenting information, and recipes so you can find them more quickly. Place pages from online sites, magazines, and newspapers in page protectors and stash them in a three-ring binder.

13.Store your child's outgrown clothes in large plastic bins and affix labels such as "0 to 3 months", "6 to 9 months", "9 to 12 months", and so on. Once your child has grown out of a size, you can easily store the clothes, loan them to a friend, or take them to a consignment shop.

14.Shop for holiday and birthday gifts year-round. Whenever you see a great

gift for someone you love, buy it and set it aside for giving later.

 

15.Start a monthly meal exchange program with five friends and neighbors. Once a month, cook enough for two dinners. Stash one in the freezer and take the other to meet up with the group and swap healthy, freezer-ready main dishes. Then go home with four other meals, and put them in the freezer alongside the extra one you made for your family. Suddenly you're stocked up with a variety of easy, homemade dinners.

16.Limit personal e-mail and computer time to twice a day.

17.Do all of your errands one day a week, working off a list and taking the most efficient route.

18.Hire a babysitter for a couple of hours on the weekend so you can tackle household duties and errands without kids in tow.

19.Chop all your vegetables, fruits, and herbs for the week's meals at one time so everything will be ready for cooking.

20.Add important appointments and activities to a master calendar in your e-mail in-box and set up reminders for up to one week ahead. This calendar can be shared with family members via e-mail. (Google Calendar, a free Web-based system, even sends reminders to cell phones.)

21.Sort belongings into clear, labeled bins that can be stacked and stowed so your child can easily find things like DVDs and toys without your help. Use brightly colored labels and picture labels for toddlers and preschoolers who can't read.

22.Stop by the post office before 3 p.m. on weekdays, when the long lines usually begin to form, so you can get in and out more efficiently.

23.Keep disinfecting and glass wipes in the bathroom for quick cleanups around toilets, sinks, and mirrors. You could even do a speedy wipe-down while you bathe the kids.

24.Keep a phone book in your car to avoid unnecessary calls to 411 and to quickly look up addresses.

25.Set up two folders related to your child's schoolwork — one for school notices and the other for schoolwork you want to keep.

26.Skip folding laundry and instead hang up all clothing except for socks, underwear, linens, and towels.

27.Grocery shop on the weekends or, if you don't want to waste precious weekend time, go to the store after the kids are in bed. You'll whiz through the store with much less frustration because you're not also feeling the pressure to get dinner on the table and everyone into bed on time.

28.Choose meats or other proteins that can be used for several meals during a week. A store-bought rotisserie chicken can be shredded and used for several dishes, like chicken enchiladas, homemade chicken soup, and chicken salad. Slow-cooked pork tenderloin can double as barbecued pork sandwiches with just a bottle of barbecue sauce. Cooked beans can go in salad, tacos, and vegetable soup.

 

29.Open mail with the trash can (or recyclying bin) nearby so junk mail and catalogs can be thrown out immediately. Even better, sign up with a free service for reducing junk mail like the National Do Not Mail list

 

30.Keep cardboard boxes labeled "donate," "trash," or "consign" in the garage or storage closet to routinely rid your house of unused items and clutter.

31.Save time and money on routine shopping trips by buying items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, light bulbs, and batteries in twos when they're on sale.

32.Keep an overnight bag in your car with an extra outfit for each child, including diapers or underwear, nonperishable snacks, and toiletries. In the event of an emergency, messy meal, or whirlwind overnight trip, you're set!

33.Stock a binder or folder with a list of emergency contacts and household instructions for things like watering plants, pet care, and mail collection so you won't have to write everything out each time for a house sitter or babysitter.

34.Designate a cabinet in your kitchen for medicine so you'll have easy access to everything from pain reliever to bandages when and where you need them. Make sure it's secured with a child-safe lock.

35.Sort medicine into small, labeled storage bins — one bin for children's medications, one for adult cough and cold remedies, one for first-aid supplies, and so on, and keep them in the locked cabinet.

36.Tape the dosage instructions for common medications like children's acetaminophen to the inside of your medicine cabinet.

37.Splurge on a super fast-drying hair dryer and cut hair-drying time in half.

38.Keep a pack of thank-you cards in the glove box of your car or in your daily planner so you can write notes while sitting in the car or waiting for a doctor to see you.

39.Turn your hangers backward at the beginning of every season. Anything left hanging on a hanger that's still turned backward at the end of the season hasn't been worn — give it away

40.E-mail your thank-you notes instead of sending a card.

41.Schedule your child's doctor's appointments for first thing in the morning when you're less likely to have a long wait.

42.Get rid of one bag of clothes, toys, and books for every bag that comes into the house. It means less stuff to clean up.

43.Write down or print out all-important phone numbers — for people like your child's doctor, the next-door neighbor, your veterinarian, and so on — and place the list in an inexpensive picture frame that you keep in your master bedroom or the kitchen. This way, you won't need to write out contact information for a sitter or grandparent — just point out the list, and they'll know who to call in case of emergency.

44.Fill a basket with socks and keep it near the front door so kids can quickly grab a pair. Put the shoes they wear most often next to the basket.

45.Order diapers and wipes online — no more lugging big boxes home from the store.

46.Label shelves in the linen closet so family members know where items like beach towels and guest room sheets belong.

47.Keep an assortment of greeting cards on hand, filed by occasion. You'll save time on trips to the store, and you can quickly take care of an unexpected birthday or send off a heartfelt condolence.

48.Forget sorting laundry. Wash everything in cold water.

 

 

 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Food Connoisseur



Kate never ceases to amaze us with her amazing appetite and general love of food.  She likes it all except of course those foods labeled "baby", that is way below her.  

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm cute





One of Kate's talents that we've discovered is her ability to receive really cute gifts.  We consider ourselves very lucky to have that talent in our family.  Here she is ready to display her talent with a present from Grandma Morgan. 

Here's the gift, sure is cute huh?