December 7, 2010

Christmas Cookies and Holiday Hearts

I LOVE THIS SONG!! It represents my childhood Christmas!

My sister and I would put this record on the record player and dance and spin and make up dances to all the songs.
My mom would make cookies as fast as she could,
and then hide them as fast as she made them,
so that I would not EAT them as fast as I could.

I love Christmas cookies! Especially the Lincoln Logs, the snowballs, the nut cups and the cut out cookies with the icing.

What is your favorite cookie? And WHY??

December 3, 2010

Do They Know its Christmas?

I know that it dates me so...but it is JUST NOT Christmas with out hearing this one at least once.  I remember shoppping at the mall and squishing up against the clothes rack to hear it better!!

I was CRAZY for Duran Duran in high favorite, John, is 10 seconds into the video!!!! He plays the bass guitar so you can see him rocking out with the other bass players at the 2 min mark and beyond.  SQUEAL!!!
(OK I'm back...)  Can you even identify all the bands/singers present??

Anyway, enjoy!! I have much to do. Now that I have decorated the blog, I must decorate my home, help in Tallen's class, make cookies, make chocolates, visit with friends, get ready for new babies in the family (no - not me...) the list goes on and on.

Happy Getting ready for the Holidays!!!

what songs, traditions make it "the Holidays" for you??

November 23, 2010

Gratitude - Day 23

Today I am grateful for heat.

We have been fighting with the furnace since we moved in. The electrical was not up to date and there was actually no power even hooked up to run the fan on the furnace. Oh, and someone before us took the blower. (took it away with them) It is impossible to run the furnace under these conditions.

A friend came in and got our electrical all set up for us. He is wonderful! Then, we were given permission to "shop" in the other empty units they are tearing down. Yipee! We picked up a new furnace! Also a few windows, a window air conditioner, a porch light, single cabinet for the kitchen (to hold the spices, microwave & toaster oven), a vent for the bathroom, small shelves for the wall and a complete line of cabinets I may incorporate into the living room with shelves above. Fun! holiday time = project completing time.
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November 22, 2010

Gratitude - Day 22

I am thankful for "bath cars." Tallen will only take a bath if he can have a few cars in with him. My sister gave him these two plastic cars. They don't rust, or leak afterward or anything. Love this.
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November 21, 2010

Gratitude - day 21

Today I am thankful for medicine. I know. SILLY.
Tallen has a cold and had an earache. The doctor didn't give anibiotics for the earache and it went away by itself. THANK YOU!!!!
Steven has also been sick - hacking and coughing - for about 10 days now and the end is not yet in sight. I am ever grateful for the cough meds he takes. So I can a seperate room. 

I will be happier when he is cough free and able to come back to our room. I don't sleep as soundly when he's not there.  I look to the day when all are germ and sickness free.

November 20, 2010

Gratitude–Day 20

I am thankful for technological advances.

My day went something like this:

- 6:00am – Awakened by Tallen squishing in

- 6:30am – Can’t sleep, turned on TV

- 7:00am – 1st call with my cell phone to the Laundromat(I had more to dry than time to do it in) This call was followed by 3 others at 7:15, 7:30 & 7:45.

- 8:00am – dressed for the day and breakfast (pastry in the microwave and tea on the stove)

- 8:05am – load the van with wet clothes drive to Laundromat

- 8:12am – put clothes for the children in ALL the dryers (I didn’t even get to knit,  it went so fast)

- 8:35-9:23am – fold clothes and drive home

- 9:45am – drive quickly to the airport

- 11:05am – girls board plane bound for GA

- 11:55am – giant plane- made of metal takes to the air (impossible!!)

A day full of technology!!

Cell phones-so I could call for hours and to calm the girls stress from afar

TV-to fill the empty too quiet times

microwave-to quickly heat my donut to make it soft and warm-like new again

gas stove-instant heat is wonderful. I didn’t have to chop wood, light a fire and wait for the heat to build.

And don’t forget the heated air to sit comfy in, the hot water just waiting by, ready to use.

vans-that carry my family and our stuff everywhere

dryers-to dry my clothes quickly-it no longer takes all day to hang and dry clothes.

airplanes- that takes the time it takes to get to Atlanta. GA from an long and hard trip of 12 hours down to 2hrs.  Amazing!

November 19, 2010

Gratitude–Day 19

Today, what I am grateful for the most is my home. It may not be big, it may not be fancy, but it is mine.

* a bed room and bunk bed = a very happy boy

* a large bedroom for the girls to share = must “communication” over the sharing of space, clothes, and things

* a bedroom for Steven and me = a cozy place to hide away from the children and try to knit and find peace

* the washer and dryer are in the bathroom, so as winter comes on, I’ll be able to put my socks and towel in the dryer to be toasty warm as I emerge from the shower = VERY COOL idea

* a space over in the corner, for my crafts & sewing machine = yippee!!!


* a 3-butt-kitchen = happy cooks and prep kids. (I know our kitchen in the apartment we rented before Tallen was born was a 1-butt kitchen) a small table fits, it seats 4.

* a new gas stove to cook on, and bake in = a relief after a few months of NOT having a stove at all.  How Creative with food can I be??

* a fridge with a water and ice dispenser = I don’t have to remind the children to refill the water pitcher or the ice trays = less stress for Mama 

* a living room just big enough to seat 8 for a cozy  and intimate conversation

* a dining room big enough to have our table opened to seat 8 = still able to host the D&D party.

* a deck large enough to have picnics and cookouts on = family time is great

* a playground and pool in our neighborhood = fun

* the girls are able to be in the same school with friends = happy girls

Like I said, today, I am grateful for my home. It may not be big, it may not be fancy, but it is mine. And we are able to be a family together within it’s walls.

Thank you Heavenly Father, for the blessing that is our home. I appreciate it.

November 18, 2010

Gratitude: Day 18

I am grateful today for knitting! (my one true passion, along with sewing, and baking and card making and...well, you get the idea.) I like knitting best, it's portable.

Knitting brings me such a sense of peace and solitude. And I am able to make beautiful things for the people who mean the most to me. 1454IMAG0122_thumb205140009 

Photo_032409_008  Those who know me best, know that I carry a project with me all the time EVERYWHERE.


I was talking to Beth; a friend and owner of the coolest spinning shop in Michigan, The Spinning Loft; yesterday. I stopped in to check things out and check in with her as she just returned from Peru.

So, we were sitting there talking as she unpacked her treasures. She brought back the most amazing and beautifully worked bags and scarves.  Alpaca that is cleaned, dyed, spun and then woven into beautiful bags, scarves and clothes. Truly renewable products = alpaca and llama and sheep wool.

Beth was telling me how The people of Peru do beautiful work and the real shame is that they work SO hard and make so little money doing it, because people now-a-days do no treasure handmade textiles (or handmade anything) as they should.  She commented that the MACHINES that make sweaters were invented to imitate what HUMAN HANDS have been doing for hundreds of years. And she is right. 

She also commented that that same mass marketed sweater (or shirt, or anything) is disposable. We go to the store, buy it wear it, it wears out and we throw it away in the trash. Then she told me about a bag from Peru, she has been carrying for three years and it isn’t worn at all, because it is made to last and last.

The whole conversation came to a fun conclusion. Beth unfolded a weaving loom that is typically used by the people of Peru. If you “Google” LOOM,

you will see pictures of a large and boxy thing that takes up LOTS of space on the floor.

This is NOT what Beth brought back.

THIS is what the people she learned about use to make amazing products. THIS is what Beth brought back. 

It’s called a back strap loom
(Do you SEE the woven goods hanging there!  They are made on what is essentially a few sticks. I have tears in my eyes.)  AMAZING!!!! (If you happen to be near the shop, stop in. and of course, Beth is posting the bags online as well, go check it out!.)

What a gift it is that we, as sons and daughters of God, can learn such things as knitting and weaving and sewing.

November 17, 2010

Gratitude: Day 17

I am ever thankful for the beauty of the Earth and skies.
This was an Amazing Sunset from July 2010.  Can you even imagine how beautiful the colors were in real life?
God is so good.

November 16, 2010

Gratitude - Day 16

You know what I am grateful tonite? I am very happy to have my hot water bottle. Love it!

On a chilly, cold night in Michigan...warm toes are wonderful!

I am even going to knit a cover for it...eventually. Right now it wears a onsie. We all have them. Tallen's wears a onsie with trucks on it, Mirnada has a onsie that says "party at my crib" (funny), Sariah's is less is just white. We were going to paint it.

Anyway, I am so happy to have this little bit of warmth to cuddle up to in my bed as I sit knitting until I am tired and then I push it down to my feet. I sleep so much better when my feet are cozy.

November 8, 2010

3, 2, 1, GLOW!!

My all time favorite part of the Howell Balloonfest is the Glow. 


The girls hanging out on the hill waiting.  Tallen wouldn’t hold still for a photo.


You (the public) gather on the grounds and hill surrounding a huge open area near the high school as some of the balloons are taking off. There was a live band to entertain during the wait. Nice. It’s cool to watch the balloons float over and hear the “Whooosh” of the fire heating the air for more lift, but the really cool part is later. Just as the sun has set and it’s getting dark (and the mosquitos are REALLY coming for you) the field by the is filled with hot air balloons still flat and deflated all over on the ground. Then they are blown up, all at the same time it appears, in a rush to be ready.









Then the countdown begins…  the crowd yells and counts…


3, 2, 1, GLOW!!!!

and the balloons go from big dark blobs to globes full of light as the pilots turn on the flames under the balloons.



























Balloonfest 2010
Balloonfest 2010
The pictures don’t really do it justice, so here are some video clips I caught.

Howell Balloonfest

Each June, Howell hosts the Balloon Fest. Challenge. It’s a hot air balloon race of sorts.  It amounts to lots more traffic through town, lots of area churches making the charging to park people on church grounds,  yummy fair food (so not good for you),  and there are plenty of hot air balloons that go overhead. There is also an arts fair and carnival.  Thursday night was “park for free and go to the carnival for $15 arm band night.”  Everything else opens on Friday.


The girls were dropped off early to hang as a gaggle of girls until 7pm when we got there with Tallen.


Tallen was not sure how to do this all and WOULD NOT get on any rides – and we had just paid $15 for the arm band!!

So needless to say, Mama was getting agitated by the boy crying and not riding. 

IMAG0202THEN, I had an “AH HA!! Moment” and pulled Randa off her rides and she introduced Tallen to the joys of carnival rides. 

             MUCH Better!!



IMAG0201Then, for the rest of the night it was hard to get him OFF the rides!

2010-06-24 19.48.53




2010-06-24 19.56.33

2010-06-24 20.10.50









Happy Boys are a good thing!!

Steven and I didn’t go for the arm bands, but I wanted to ride one ride with Tallen. So we chose the Huge Ferris Wheel  

IMAG0205Here is the top most car from the ground. WOW!!








This is Steven taking pictures. We were still on the ground.


IMAG0214Here he is from my view at the top of the Ferris Wheel. (He’s the tiny yellow dot) Boy was it high up!




IMAG0220The plan with the girls was for them to hang in the gaggle of girls and call or text me every so often to check in.  This is actually Sariah dialing the phone to check in with me. 


I crept up and scared them….

hahaha  !! (evil laugh)IMAG0221


I know, I’m bad!!


These girls  are  so beautiful!

I forget sometimes how grown up they are becoming.  I am finding that balance between holding them tight and letting them test their wings…but I digress.

Back to the fun…


Here are the kids while waiting to go on the bumper cars I think.  Sariah and Tallen drove together and Miranda in her own car.  We had tons of fun and stayed until 10pm!!! They rode and rode and rode!  Good value on that arm band.



This is video of the the girls on the tiny roller coaster.

And after of the roller coaster…don’t get motion sick. hahaha

This is one of Tallen on HIS roller coaster – his favorite ride of the night.

October 8, 2010

very cool gloves!

These are SmarTouch gloves by Isotoner. They are touchscreen compatible. VERY cool. For gals like me - totally addicted to their touchscreen phones. I triedthem. They work. Cool. (except that MY fingers are exceptionally short...and don't quite reach the tips of the fingers.) Grippy palms, for driving ease. Warm and fuzzy inside. VERY cool.
Elder Beerman has them...25% off right now... :o)
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September 14, 2010

delayed gratification

This summer FLEW by. I didn't post to my blog. I feel bad, but I'll get past that as I make up for lost time.

There was plenty going on.
* Balloon Fest
* Family Reunions attended
* Girls on vacation to FL
* Major moving drama (you'll see)
* Buying our first tiny home
* New School year for all

obviously, details to follow...

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June 22, 2010

I am Small...

If I didn't feel small and insignificant before I do now. But not in a bad way, I just feel the huge greatness of my Father in Heaven and the power and majesty of his creation. Enjoy!!

June 14, 2010

Great Father's Day Gift??

I saw this posted on a friend's Facebook page and laughed out loud!  Laughing loudly while at the library is frowned upon but what can I say!!? It's an ad for a PILLOW TIE!!! A tie with a blow up pillow inside!?!  Too Funny!!!!! Is this for REAL??? (Thanks for the laugh Elise.)

I thought of my father-in-law when I saw it.  I think he needs a new tie for church.  Maybe Steven needs one, too. My concern is the clean up. My father-in-law needs a way to keep his ties clean for Sunday dinner. Any ideas?

They actually look like regular ties!!! Not bad for $19.95...I think it's too late to get it this year anyway.  Maybe next year, or Christmas. I only have 6 months, 3 weeks and 1 day to get it all together for Christmas!!! (Ughhh. I better knit FASTER!)

What are you getting your special father-figure-person for this weekend?

to go to the site - just punch on my title up there. VERY COOL...I'm still figuring this all out. 

June 1, 2010

I Love Clean Laundry…

I love the feel of clean, cool sheets and the smell of clean laundry dried on the clothesline.  Don't you???

I made a double batch of laundry detergent on Friday.  I LOVE when I can save my family money and still do my job of being the MOST awesome Mama!!!! Actually, I think the ways I save us money make me an even MORE awesome Mama.
I make our laundry soap, I make tortillas to feed Sariah's obsession with salsa, I get most of our clothes at thrift shops (name brands and so many more choices in one convenient place), we cook from scratch most meals (... but even I give into the call of "Pizza! Pizza!" at 5 bucks on a busy night of church activities.) 

Here's the laundry recipe I used this time. I found all the supplies at Meijer (WalMart would probably have them as well.) 

Here's how it goes:
For one batch, I shred up some Fels Naptha bar soap, melt 1/3 cup in 6 cups of water over medium heat.  
Add 1/2 cup Borax, 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and mix until melty. 
I then put 4 cups HOT water in a big bucket that I don't need for a few days, add the soapy mix and stir it all together.
I add MORE water (one gallon plus 6 cups) and stir again.
Then I let it sit for 24 hours and it ends  up the texture of egg-drop soup.   
You use a 1/2 cup for each load of laundry. That's it.

8-16-12 I have an HE washer now and I use this still.  The detergent DOES NOT foam. so good to go.  LOVE IT!!!  Oh and I NOW put my finished product in a decorative  lidded jar on a table next to my washer. Pretty :o) and not drippy.

*You can leave it in the covered bucket (like a dog food or kitty litter bucket OR a nice one from Home Depot) OR put it all the bottles saved from OTHER detergents previously used. I used to do this. It's easier and less messy to pour from a small bottle and not have it dripping from my hand as bent over to dip in the bucket. I kept it in the bucket the first batch I made last year.) 

Here's my supply....(2 batches)

IMG_1588 I am now calculating how long it lasts me. (I guess that depends on how many loads we do per week...) I think 6-7 months...we'll see. It may be a year supply (we are supposed to be prepared, right??) But even less is ok at less that 2 cents per load!!!

What she said! HAPPY laundry day!!

- Bronwen

3-22-11 UPDATE:
We used the last of this double batch, last week. When we made this post, I asked my family how long they thought it all would last.
Steven said - 7 months
Sariah didn't vote (teenager thing)
Miranda thought - 15 months
I said I thought the bottles pictured above would last a year.
They lasted almost 10 months. with regular washings going on.  Pretty good.

April 25, 2010

Easter Morning 2010

I know, much time has gone by since Easter.  I wanted to document the occasion though, so bear with me.

So, let’s rewind a few posts and think of where we have been.  The trip to Kensington Farm Center happened on the Friday before Easter. We colored eggs so the Easter Bunny might be able to hide the eggs.  Tallen REALLY enjoyed coloring the eggs and insisted upon having TWO with his name on them.  He’s funny. Last year we had 2 dozen eggs and this year we moved up to 3.  It is STILL not enough!  Next year we will have 5 dozen.  (I may not boil all 5 but I want to color them all!! I had always heard how hard it is to blow eggs and so decided to try it.  It is not nearly as hard as I had heard.  They turned out great!  I have them still sitting on the table in the center. Next year, I’ll do more of them as well and decorate with them.  OK, back to the children’s Easter.

The weather was BEAUTIFUL for the holiday so the bunny hid the eggs outside this year. Tallen had a tough time finding the eggs before the sisters got there.  (Again, next year it’ll be different.  I think colors for each child that only they can “find”…less hogging then.)

Here are some shots of the fast and furious action or the NOT so fast (first thing in the morning) action.IMG_0725 (2) .

Here are the kids with their Easter buckets. They got candy, a thing of play dough and of course the egg with their name on it.


Miranda got some mousse to help with the lovely, curliness in her hair and a purple fat pen. Very cute.IMG_0727 (2)








 Sariah got some new shampoo to try that she liked the smell of and a green squatty fat pen.IMG_0728 (2)


Tallen got some “Hot Cars.” (Hot Wheels)

IMG_0730 (2)









And the hunt is on!!!! 

IMG_0733 (2)
















IMG_0735 (2)

Hmmm. This must be where the batteries in the camera died!! So I didn’t get any of Tallen as he scampered from location to location trying his hardest to get the eggs before his sisters.


We had the privilege of hearing from President Thomas S. Monson and the General Authorities during General Conference this weekend so after finding the eggs and eating a wonderful breakfast of “Fancy French Toast” (it’s prepared ahead and soaks in the egg mixture overnight!  Then you bake it for 20 minutes.) we went over to the home of some friends and watched General Conference broadcast online.  They have a larger TV than we do.  That too needs to change…  We have more space to sit and what not but, they have the larger TV. So we squeeze in and enjoy the time of fellowship and peace. And then we shared the Easter meal.  They made ham and some sides and we made a sides and dessert.  I made carrot cake!!! 

Get it? Easter…CARROTS???? 

I thought it was funny anyway…

April 14, 2010

These are a Few of my Favorite Things

A friend of mine had a list like this on her blog, so I’m copying you…you know who you are!! I LOVE the idea to keep track of the kids growth and development this way.  The girls’ birthdays are in the winter, so I’ll just do it now. Tallen’s birthday is next week!  Eeek! Where does time go?

Sariah is 13 .  ..a TEENAGER!

Favorite Food: Shrimp

Favorite Color: Aquamarine

Favorite Restaurant: Red Lobster

Favorite Song: Telephone by Lady Gaga/Beyonce

Favorite Primary Song: The Wise Man and the Foolish Man

Favorite thing to do: Facebook

Favorite sport: Cross country

Favorite place to go on a Mama date: Shopping

Best Friend: Ashley & Megan & Makayla & Karson

Favorite clothes: Skinny jeans, mismatched socks, poofy white shirt and her Vampire sweatshirt

Favorite treat: Between Buckeyes & Lincoln Logs

Favorite snack: chips with salsa

Favorite dinner: chimmey-chongas

Greatest wisdom to share: The teenager is the smartest person in the family =)

Miranda is 11 now.

Favorite Food: sweet and sour chicken

Favorite Color: yellow

Favorite Restaurant: Red Lobster & IHOP

Favorite Song: Our Song by Taylor Swift

Favorite Primary song: Baptism

Favorite thing to do: Ride my bike

Favorite sport: volley ball

Favorite place to go on a Mama date: Knitting night and then Dunkin Donuts

Best Friend: Kayla

Favorite clothes: red plaid pj pants and teal top

Favorite treat: Donuts

Favorite snack: BBQ pretzels

Favorite dinner: stir fry

Greatest wisdom to share: Be yourself, and no one else.

Tallen …we’ll do that another day. (when WE are not so tired)

April 10, 2010

Farm City Day…

When I was a girl, my sister and I would visit my Mother in Pennsylvania on the dairy farm she and her husband ran. There were like 200 of these:


So Megan and I got to feed the calves their bottles, feed the “teenager cows” feed and water (I loved the water dispensers…VERY cool to a kid) and even GOT to help in the milking parlor in the evenings and clean up the parlor and scrape the manure afterward (to put it politely) into the barn to later make it into the pit out back and into the fertilizer spreader later.  Being on a farm was a vacation for me until I graduated from high school and moved there to live and was expected to do my part…but that’s a different blog entry all together. 

During the summers, there was a thing called “Farm City Day” when the kids from the city would come out and play farmer for the day. There were milk drinking contests, hay rides, goat milking, and other fun farm stuff.

My children would be THOSE city kids! 


How foreign farm animals are to them!!

We started off Spring Break 2010 by going to Kensington Lake Metro Park.  They have a Farm Center there with a barn full of animals downstairs, where all the babies are born and an educational area upstairs and then the more open farm areas outside. 

Sariah made a point to tell me “I’ll go see the baby pigs but I DON’T want to walk around and see the other stuff.” (Where did she think she’d be while the rest of us were wandering?? Needless to say, I put her in charge of photos and she was all about walking around to EVERY SINGLE ANIMAL!)


Checking out the goats






Trying to PET  the goats







      He isn't so sure yet about touching them.IMG_0575








Before you look at the next photo, let me tell you a bit about this girl.

Sariah is my “Ultra Clean” child.  She doesn’t like to be dirty, WOULDN’T finger paint as a small girl…not even with Chocolate pudding and is allergic to soft and fuzzy animals.  Her eyes puff up and tear. And remember she “wasn’t going to LIKE seeing all the animals”

Here SHE is:

(OK – you can look now)

I happen to adore the look on her face! IMG_0630

It says:

“Look at me!! I am TOUCHING A REAL LIVE, UP CLOSE    C-O-W!!!!”




Now Sariah is so COOL with it. 

“I do this all the time. This is so old hat!









Miranda and the same cow.









They spent about 10 minutes with this cow taking bunches of pictures as she was eating her dinner.









Then it was on to the pigs. 

Ask Sariah what she thought of the pigs…it’s a funny story but I don’t want to embarrass her here.IMG_0633







Spring is lambing time.








Mama… a.k.a. Mrs. Ewe







1 day old lambs! So Cute!!IMG_0600






And oh so soft!







Dinner! Come and get it!







There were plenty of other lambs with their Mamas and other animals to photograph as well…















































Usually there are quite a bunch of piglets, but this year there are only 4.  They are cute and so funny.



The kids had to show off their strength and try out the pulleys. When you lift 20 lbs alone it’s REALLY heavy, when you use pulleys they pulleys do some of the work for you.  The more pulleys, the easier it is on you.

Here is Tallen demonstrating the pulleys

Getting ready…IMG_0581








One pulley…









Two pulleys…    

(so much easier)









Three pulleys.    

so easy he almost fell pulling the rope.









 Miranda just showing off!

She is so strong!!







A lot of gals have to WORK for arms like this…I tell her to keep it up. Stay active and healthy.IMG_0584


Ready to carry milk into the house from the barn.







 Oh…, right, we don’t hand milk cows for milk.  But they are ready!









How many hands high are you?? IMG_0597      










    Sariah is 15 hands high


    Miranda is 14 1/2 hands highIMG_0596






    Tallen is 12 hands highIMG_0599






It was a great day out with the children.  After the farm we stopped for a little while at the playground. Very fun. Sariah sat in the van and listened to her Mp3 player, Miranda and Tallen played and I was able to sit for a spell and knit.

















Tallen’s new favorite activity





























 Today, was a good day. I was able to enjoy the nature around me…








…and to just BE with my kids and not have to worry about the laundry, the dishes or the rest of the chores








Tomorrow I will go back to feeling a little like this chicken

(I feel this way often actually…)








    The children will keep     growing older…








   …and need me less and less…IMG_0665







    …and grow further and further  from me.







    But this is how God intended it to be.  It is the circle of life! We teach them and then they go out on their own…IMG_0667









I am glad they’ll always have each other!!!

But for now they are still up close and personal and oh so beautiful!





























(I give up!! I put it in the program and TRY to upload my beautiful and creative entry and it ends up looking like this…..SORRY, I did the best I could.)