Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I have no business blogging...

Had to pop in to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I honestly have no time to be blogging, but guilt has set in, so I thought I better post. Everything is great here...just clearly not enough hours in the day. I've even cut back on sleep and I still can't get it all done. Crazy!We had our ward Christmas party on Saturday night. Mark is high counselor over the 7th ward and they asked him to be there Santa. Actually our ward asked him too, but their party was the same night and he already told them yes. We did skip out of our ward party early to go help him get suited up and so the boys could make fun of him, as teenage+ boys like to do. I know you probobably noticed a blonde haired Cole in the picture. While I was in the shower, Chad was highlighting his hair and Cole decided to use the rest of the bottle on his whole head. I hate it. He loves it...of course!I even got to sit on Santa's lap. He said I could have anything I want. Isn't that nice?! :o)Yesterday I baked 21 dozen pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and cutely packaged them up with some little candy canes on top. It's a tradition that where ever we live we deliver treats to all the houses on our street. We know loads of people in Maricopa but we still don't know hardly anyone on our street. Hopefully our neighbors will become a little more social. My not so little elves getting ready to go deliver.
Our good friend Jimmy had a birthday and they happen to be moving this weekend, so I got him a gift. He works at the dairy and knows more about cows than anyone I know. When he moves to snowflake he is going to teach agriculture at the high school, so I thought the cute farm animal stack was a perfect gift. The quote on it says The sky is the limit when your heart is in it. I also liked the letter blocks and thought his sweet wife would like their last name spelled out. (and she did) We had their family and our other home teachers family over for dinner on Sunday night. It was so much fun visiting with all of them. We are sure going to miss the Crosby's.

I've really gotta run now. Mark just called wondering why I'm still in Maricopa and not in town getting my errands done before the whole family come over here for the party tonight....So much to little time!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I finally got my wallet sized pictures in the mail for my Christmas cards! Yippee!
What??? You ask if I've even got my cards done yet? ummmm....well no!
I've been running ragged for far too many days in a row and sheer exhaustion got the best of me. At least everything I've been up to has been way fun and totally worth it. I haven't even been home long enough to do any of my chores. Do you think that ANY of the boys have done their chores either? and big NO on that one too! The house is starting to suffer from neglect, so someone had better step up the the plate around here.
Got cramps...took midol...midol has caffeine...who knew?...not me! Should read the labels first.
Wide awake emailing, blogging, printing pictures, writing a letter from Santa to my nephews, looking for girls camp craft ideas, etc. Everything but sleeping at 1:42 a.m and we have an 8:00 a.m meeting at the school. I'm a lucky girl, I tell ya! Off to bed to stare into darkness in hopes I fall asleep soon.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

For the love of

John and darn cute, but far too young to even fathom cooperation for pictures. They were running all over the place and rolling/falling down hills. How could they possible sit still when they were green hills to conquer?! Let me just say, that the big boys were NO BETTER!! I'm not exaggerating when I say that they were goofing off in 97% of the pictures. I'll only share a few of them.

John-the tree hugger


Cody Chad
Kyle-yes, this is what I got out of Kyle.
and this...

and this...and this...until I got this! The apple sure doesn't fall far from the tree, huh?!

Jolene (me) and Mark

Didn't you know nice boys fondle each other? Sick sick children. :o)
In this pose Kyle would move to a different position for every shot and the other boys would pull faces. Cole is doing his Doctor Evil pose. This is one of the best. We're also not centered, but beggars can't be choosers.

This one the babies actually smiled. I love this picture! This is the one I chose for our Christmas cards. I did print some goofy ones for the wall too, only because that is mostly what I got, and lets face it...that's who they are.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Cookie exchange...

Saturday morning I hosted a cookie exchange at my house. We had 2 dozen girls with 6 dozen cookies each adding up to a whopping 144 dozen cookies! So many tasty treats to be shared. Many girls were up baking till the wee hours of the night. All for the love of cookies and friendship. :o) Mark and I cooked everyone a great big breakfast. We all got to visit while we ate, then everyone got to go around the table to get a sampling of everyone's yummy cookies to take home. I ate my fair share of them later that day and now I'm really feeling the need to go to aerobics. I missed all last week because of this darn cold. It will feel like starting over. I will be made to suffer.
I want to thank all my sweet and beautiful friends and sisters for coming over to share some laughter, friendship, food, Christmas spirit and cookies! I sure do love and appreciate you girls!
Next post will be a "peek" at our family Christmas card pictures that we took today. I don't really think we got even one good one, but we did get plenty of goofy boy pictures. You know...standard George boys type photos.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving stuff...

This year we had Thanksgiving up in Payson at Mark's brother Rodney and his wife Cam's house. They have a beautiful home with a gorgeous view. It rained pretty much all day. I loved every minute of it.
I think we had 32 people there total. This is only some of us. Even with that many people we still had loads of leftovers. I made 5 very yummy pies and other people brought pies, cakes and mini cheesecakes, so there was no shortage of desserts to eat after the feast. Why do I always forget to wear stretchy pants on Thanksgiving? Plus we ate Thanksgiving with our friends the Koozer's on Wednesday night. I'm totally afraid to get on the scale, so I'm choosing not to until I have at least a week of aerobics under my belt. By the way, the Koozer's oldest son, Charl got his mission call. He's going to Rome, Italy!!! How neat to get to learn Italian and share the gospel in Italy for 2 years. It will be an amazing experience for him. We are so excited for him!Me and my hubbyOne of the funniest moments was after we had been there for over 2 1/2 hours, Cole says out loud..."Hey mom, there are 2 Cam's!" LOL! We all laughed so hard. I had no idea he didn't know she had a twin sister. And how did he manage to go that long without seeing them together. It was just too funny!
We were suppose to do the turkey trot on Thanksgiving morning, but I haven't been sleeping so I was too tired to get up and do that and still be able to function the rest of the day. I was really looking forward to it. Me, Mark, Chad and Hunter ventured out for some black Friday shopping after a very hearty breakfast at Bill Johnson's to keep us going all day. I got my Christmas tree up and decorated, but none of the other decorations yet.
We had family home evening last night about free agency and choice and accountability and also discussed household chores and responsibilities. Everyone was assigned new chores, so I'll be less stressed trying to do too much around here by myself. We even assigned dish nights, and since there are 7 people living here I only have to do dishes on Monday's. I'm so dang excited!
So how was your Thanksgiving? Are you busy getting ready for Christmas? I finally gave in to the Christmas music. I refuse to listen to it until after Thanksgiving.
I woke up with a cold this morning. I feel ick! I ran up to the store to get some zicam in hopes to knock it down speedy quick. There's NO time to get sick.
I have a strong testimony of tithing. We pay our tithing faithfully. I write a check every Sunday whether there is money in the account or not. I have faith that by the time the check clears, I will have money in the bank to cover it and I always do. Not paying it just isn't an option in my head. It's been a tough year financially for us due to some properties that choose not to pay us the MANY thousands of dollars they owe us. Plus we were suppose to get a $3,000 tax refund in October, but the IRS decided that instead, we owe them like $5,000. How could that be??? So we've been fighting them on it because we knew that we were honest in our dealings with them. So, today in the mail I get a check from them for over $4,000!!! How cool is that?! and who EVER win arguments with the IRS? I actually cried as I sat there at the mailbox because I knew we were going to be able to get all of our bills paid. I know you receive blessings when you do things that require faith, but I surely didn't expect this. I am deeply grateful to my Heavenly Father for watching over my family and blessing us for being faithful when it was so hard to do. Oh happy day!

FYI...when a boy leaves a pen in his pocket and runs it through the laundry, it tends to explode in the dryer resulting in ink stained clothes and ink stained dryer drum. Magic eraser with nail polish remover does a semi-okay job, but the fumes may very well kill ya.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

boys and eggs

Is it ever a good day when the police are at your door early in the morning? I think not!!! It's especially not good when the neighbors are complaining about having their houses egged and you just so happen to be missing a dozen eggs. Dumb boy with a dumb friend! Grrrrr!!! There's been plenty of power washing of houses happening today as well as sweeping up egg shells. Thank heavens they got it all off without any permanent damage. Eggs have the magic ability to remove paint. (which is criminal damage, in case you were wondering) Being a mother of boys who choose not to use their brains is no picnic, that's for sure.
Back to working on the "pre-lit" Christmas tree that is now only partially pre-lit after numerous years of use. I just added 600 more lights and it still isn't as bright as I'd like...dang!
Thanksgiving re-cap to come...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

best friends, sisters, wrestling, cards...

When one can't sleep...she blogs, of course! Darn restless leg syndrome has me up, plus I knew I was in trouble this morning when the aerobics instructor announced she had some pent up aggression she needed to get out. We all paid for that with an extra hard work out. As hard as it was, it's kind of nice to be challenged like that. The weight is coming off SO SLOWLY now. I'm down 25-26 pounds depending on the day. I've gotta get through the holiday eating fest and at least maintain.
We had out best friends, the Koozer family over for dinner the other night. It was so much fun. We just love their whole family. I made chicken cordon bleu lasagna casserole. It's so dang good and it makes a ton so I only make it for company and parties. I also made the garlic bread and Missie made a normal lasagna (for those non alfredo sauce loving people) and salad. We had such a great time visiting. We laughed so much. Hal is the most genuinely funny people I've ever met and it's so nice to see how much he loves his sweet wife. While we were all talking we discovered that I am good friends with Missie's sister Carrie and didn't even know they were sisters. Such a small world. Crazy thing is, they look so much alike and often times talk alike too. The first time we saw them in church Mark leaned over to me and said "she looks like Carrie" I said, "I guess she kind of does" After that I never thought about it again until the other night because I got to know her just as her instead of as Carrie's sister. Now that I know, so many familiar things just pop out at me. It's just too funny!
I posted the recipe a long time ago and I don't know whee so here it is again...
This is the recipe from memory...I'm not big fan of measuring. I'm more of a dump it in, that looks good kind of girl.
Chicken cordon bleu lasagna casserole
6 chicken breasts cooked and diced or shredded (I bake them with water in the jelly roll pan. Olive oil on top and season with salt, pepper, lawrey's, onion powder, garlic powder. They stay moist that way)
2-3 cups of diced ham
2-1 pound boxes of pasta Whatever shape you like. I use penne or bowtie
1-16 oz container of cottage cheese
1 container of ricotta cheese
1-6 oz container of shredded parmesan cheese
1 pound block of mozzarella cheese-shredded
1 pound block of swiss cheese-shredded
Alfredo sauce
2 sticks of butter
4 oz. of cream cheese
1 quart of heavy cream
1-6 oz. container of shredded parmesan cheese
2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
If you are making alfredo sauce to eat on pasta make it normal, but for this recipe add in 3/4 to 1 cup of milk. It helps keep it moist and saucy.
Simmer butter, cream cheese, heavy cream and extra milk. When melted add parmesan cheese garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Simmer until cheese is melted. Cook your pasta until tender and drain. Dump everything into a large bowl and pour the alfredo sauce over the top and mix well. Pour into a large pan or two 9X13 pans. Reserve half of your mozzarella and swiss cheese to sprinkle on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Friday we had our "sisters day"...minus Rene' who had to work. We met up at Coleen's house and went to Bill Johnson's Big Apple for breakfast. It's my FAVORITE place to eat breakfast! I love it! Plus it's such a hearty meal, we're set for a long day of shopping without getting hungry. Notice the picture of us girls together. I'm 5'4" Coleen WAS 5'2" and Julie WAS 5'3". They shrank! I'm honest...they really did! I look huge compared to them. Then there is little Rene' who is only 4'11". I tower over her and I'm not a tall girl.
Did you know that I have mean sisters who play slug bug with like real hard punching and everything? They don't even care when you say "I don't play those kinds of games and I bruise easy." My heart was racing because they have trained eyes too look for those stupid cars and I just knew they'd see them before me. It made my stomach hurt. After being punched HARD in the arm twice I opted to sit in the back seat and let Julie and Coleen smack the crap out of each other as they called out "yellow slug bug...white slug bug" My arm still hurts! Dumb girls! We did had a great time shopping all over town. I'm looking forward to black Friday shopping. Not so much the getting up at O' dark thirty or standing in line in the cold, but the excitement of the day is pretty fun. To me it's the kick off to Christmas.

Cole had a wrestling tournament this past Saturday. He had to be at the school at 3:30 in the morning to be in San Manuel in time. I've never even heard of that town, but it's far. Mark went there to watch and take pictures. Most of them were really blurry because he was sitting so far away. They competed against 16 schools and Cole came in 6th in his weight out of 36. Not too shabby for his first tournament. They didn't get home until after 8:00 at night....and that was early compared to the kids who had to ride the bus home. Cole rode on the back of the motorcycle and left 3 hours before the others. Talk about a bunch of tired kids.Some of you have been asking about Christmas cards. I didn't think I was going to be able to make them this year because of lack of time and budget. I normally start on them October 1st and already have the family picture taken. Plus I normally make 300. I just don't have it in me this year. I was forced into only making 125 of which only 50 are done so far. My friend Cathy invited me to her house on Saturday to scrap so I worked on them there. It's been a long time since we've gotten together. We had a lot of fun visiting while we worked. Her kids are so big and her girls are beautiful! Makes glad to have boys. My stomach would hurt thinking about them dating boys. We still haven't even taken the family picture, but it will be printed in wallet size and stuck in that white spot on the front. These are the most simple cards...kind of boning. With time being an issue, fancy just wasn't going to happen. The quote under the family picture says
"The best things in life aren't things.
Share the gift of love this year."
I printed the family message on the inside of the card. I'm hoping to gather my children and grandchildren this weekend for a little photo shoot. Wish me luck!'s going on 3:00 a.m. and I won't be able to survive aerobics or even function tomorrow if I don't get a few hours of sleep.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

photo shoot, bike, layout, craft instructions...

My sister Coleen wanted me to take her family pictures. Let me just say that it was NOT an easy task to do. There are far more bad shot than good ones. Her oldest son is autistic as well has having other issues. He is smart and funny as heck, but doesn't always cooperate when he should. The 3 younger are all foster kids and boy do we love them. They were all born with some sort of disadvantage. For the most part, premature deliveries and addicted to drugs, so they have been a bit delayed, but Coleen works really well with them and they are all such good kids....Just don't sit well for pictures. I did take 118 so she'll have plenty to choose from. I think she needs to print some of the ones where their goofing off. It demonstrates real life. :o)Mariela and Angel didn't smile in most of the pictures, but look how happy she is when she is trying to rip off Eric's nose. LOL!

Cisco isn't paying attention to anything, but I love this one anyways.

The girls

The boysKaden



Aren't they the cutest little kids?!

This past weekend, Mark sold one of his motorcycles. I actually cried because it's such a pretty bike, plus I know how much he loves it. Mark rode with the guy who flew in from Texas to buy it to Casa Grande then gave him instructions on how to get home from there. He said it was hard to see it ride away. Makes me sad. The guy called when he got home and said how much he loves it and how every place he stopped a long the way he got compliments on how nice it is. I think that kind of made it worse in Mark's head. He is glad it will be taken care of by someone who really wanted it.

I actually got to scrapbook on Friday night. I went to my friend Stacie's house and got ONE whole layout done of me and my goofy man. It's way too hard to be creative when you rarely scrapbook. It's true that if you don't use it you lose it. This layout was created from stuff that was part of a page kit, then I added some of my own things and tweaked it till it was my own.

Yes, these are the glass blocks you buy at home depot or Lowe's. To drill a hole in the bottom use a glass bit--also found at Lowe's or home depot, $15.00 ish --it looks like a tip--does that make sense? Put in sink, turn water on cold to a steady small stream on block. Drill hole, be firm but don't push it too hard, let drill bit do the work!!! Only takes 15 sec or so. Let the water drain out and dry. Carefully shove a 20-35 count strand white lights in the hole leaving out a long enough end to plug in. Apply the vinyl, which can be bought here. She has a real cute blog with lots of crafty ideas. It's actually cheaper than where we got ours. Wrap ribbon around the block. Tie a big bow and hot glue to the top. You're done!