Saturday, March 31, 2012

draining their energy tanks

We knew this weekend would be long for the kids since we'll be inside watching conference so on Friday, we had a fun afternoon together.  The weather was perfect to practice with Abbi's new bat and glove.  Her softball games start in May!  Noah ran circles around all of us.  We all stood in the corners of our yard with our hand behind our backs to practice with Noah's new soccer ball.  We're prepared to predict that sports might be a big part of his life.  And, we ate at Abbi's new favorite place ... Zupa's.  She can't say it but she can spell it :)  Eating out would have been better if my associate and her boyfriend wouldn't have congratulated Jake on some stuff.  That was awesome.  Anyway... We had such a fun night together and we were all so happy to be able to spend the time with everyone home!  We have learned to really appreciate the time we get together!

Saturday Morning

I loved President Packer's talk about being parents and I loved Cheryl A. Esplin's talk about teaching children during the morning session of General Conference today.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

E is for EASTERS

E is for Easter

Or as I like to call it ... Easters 

In case I haven't shared this before, I have a very poor memory.  In order to preserve what memories I do have, or to remember which ones might be fun to duplicate, I'm going to list my Easter Memories.

  • My mom made an Easter basket for us all to share using a small wading pool and a hula hoop.  Inside, were all over-sized items like a big coloring book, large crayons, big bottle of bubbles, king-size candies, etc.
  • Because Easter is actually celebrating a sacred event, we did not get out Easter baskets on Sunday or have our egg hunts on Sunday.  That made Easter Saturday a fun-filled day but did not replace the meaning of Easter Sunday.
  • Sometimes my mom would refer to Easter stuff as Happy Spring, especially when we were older.  We didn't get Easter baskets after we were out of elementary school.  But we all loved to celebrate Happy Spring.
  • My mom would be so excited about her flowers coming our of the ground in the spring.  I think that must be her favorite day of the year.
  • I barely remember one Easter egg hunt.  It was in my grandparents backyard before Grandpa built his big garage.  I don't have very many memories with my Grandma Stone but (my imagination + this memory) she was pretty happy that day. 
  • Sometimes we got Easter dresses.  I loved getting an Easter dress.  That built in me a desire to always have an Easter dress even though I don't really get one anymore.  
  • Since my siblings and I all grew up, my parents still do one Easter thing.  It's called the eggs of unequal value.  We love unequal value games.  Well, for the last 14 years, I'm sure that Amber or Tiffani has always been the winner.  At least it's not Cody, I guess.
  • Last year, Jake and I took the kids to the Bear River Easter Dance with their great-grandma.  They danced the night away in their cute new clothes their grandma had bought them.  Grandma Ballard had packed a full picnic basket of sandwiches.  It was fun to see them all interact and dance.
  • When I was a teenager, I played the piano for the choir at church.  One year, Sister Lewis gave me the most difficult music I had ever seen, let alone played.  I practiced and practiced but it was never perfect.  Then, on Easter Sunday, I sat at the big grand piano at the front of the chapel.  The bishopric smiled at me while I set up my music.  Sister Lewis did her nod and started to conduct the beat for me to begin.  I played the Easter Anthem perfectly while the choir sang their hearts out.  It was perfect!  I've never played it perfectly again since then.  It was my Easter miracle.
  • I'm sure there are a lot more Easter memories but like I said, I have a poor memory.  Maybe my sisters can comment about what they remember ....

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

General Conference Pins We're Using ...

I made these cards in just a few minutes by printing them and gluing the two sides to the same square of card stock.  I'll have them laminated tomorrow (what if I could laminate at home?) and connect them with a small binder ring on the corner.  This will help us learn about the speakers this weekend and then will be a great addition to our Sunday Sack. 


I printed this from  Abbi is a really good artist so this might be a fun one for her and it will remind us to check out the speakers on the TV rather than just listening throughout the house.

I love, love this idea the most.  I'm still decided what we'll put in our buckets.  Probably pretzels, Swedish Fish, Goldfish, etc.  We're having Easter morning at our house this Saturday so I'm nervous about overdoing it with candy.  I don't know why my parenting decisions are almost exactly opposite of my own lifestyle choices.

All of these little goodies were found on Pinterest, my long-lost love.  How did I live before Pinterest.  Is this the right place to share my Pinterest theories?  Yes?

Follow Me on Pinterest

I love Pinterest.  I believe a lot of people waste a lot of time with it.  Maybe I waste some time, too.  But I like to feel justified in the fact that I actually use the ideas I find.  I try the recipes, I make the crafts, but I only dream about the outfits I pin.  Anyway, I dare guess that I make at least 3 Pinterest items a week.  So, I can pin away, right?

While I'm on crazy tangents... have you guys seen the social reader on Facebook?  I'm going to put it out there right now as a warning to all of my dear friends and family ... BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU READ ON THERE!  There are some innocent and interesting articles but if you have ever been an adult in my life, especially a leader at church, I don't want to see it post when you read articles about sex.  There.  I said it.  Read what you want, just not on Facebook, please!  I get all nervous and awkward-feeling.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

L O V E city creek in salt lake city

On Friday afternoon, I got to explore and check out lots of cool things happening at the grand opening of the City Creek Center!  I've been anticipating this for a long time because my sister, W., had a special involvement with the project.  It's been an exciting part of her career.  In fact, she's got a super panoramic picture of all of the buildings rising up with the huge cranes all around them hanging in her office.

After parking my van between two other too big vehicles, and climbing out like I was a magician escaping from the trapped car, I ate a yummy lunch at The Lion House.  It's one of our favorite places to eat.  Then we walked across to City Creek for a special tour of the condos!

I posted a few pictures of my favorite things in the condos.  For example: beds, pillows, wall paper (I'm in love), elephants, people, etc.

Love the wall paper!
Love the wall paper.  Also pictured: W :)
One of the many great views we saw from the condos.
My favorite elephant.
Maybe my favorite condo, here. I loved the style and the views.
This fireplace is stacked stone.  It was really cool.
Love, love this.
Loved this idea, too.
An orange bed! Lovey!

The sisters.  Super fun sister weekend, with the parents
My parents, buying us dinner, at Little America.

After touring the condos, we shopped in the Flagship Deseret Book!  Awesome!  And, then browsed through a few other favorite places before we went into Macy's.  My parents bought us each a little something.  Anne picked a scarf.  I picked a pashmina.  And Wendy got earrings, I think.  While we looked at the purses my dad followed us around commenting on how we were all carrying a purse so why did we need to look at purses.  Obviously, he doesn't get it.

After checking in at Little America, and eating at our favorite coffee shop, we took Trax to the Gateway to see Hunger Games.  I was impressed with the movie.  I always get nervous about movies based on books because I love books.  But, I really liked the movie this time!  I don't think I can wait two years for the next one.

I'm so glad I could have this little weekend adventure.  This week was awfully long with work, besides having to go into work on Saturday afternoon to round out six days this week.  I had a lot of cool things happen this week but I was t i r e d.  It's fun to spend time with my sisters and parents.  We've got to take the opportunities we still have to spend time with dad in public because that season of his life will have to come to an end soon due to the condition he suffers from that we like to compare to turrets.

When I got home, I got to see Jake for the first time since Sunday!  That was pretty great and got even better because he brought me Texas Roadhouse for dinner at work!  I love, love him.

Happy Weekend!

St. Patrick's Day Weekend!

Robot went to his room and added to his ensemble.
Painting a dinosaur for his room.
Bug painting a flower for her room.
Barbara and her mini-me. Manda is to my left...sorry no picture :(
Owls from Wood Creations that I painted with the help of Manda and Barbara.
It's supposed to look like a big cupcake.
Daddy wearing Noah's favorite "Grandma's house uniform."
A new Harley for the boy.
Practicing hard on her bike.
Standing by the birthday flag in their front yard.
Cousins lined up with their cones.
Tank and Toby get along nowadays.
Buttoning each other up for church.
Corn beef and cabbage dinner celebrating St. Patrick's day.

All About Me - #12

Yes or No

You keep a diary - kind of, a journal
You like to cook - yes, just not under pressure
You exercise regularly - no
You sketch while you are on the phone - yes
You have read a book in the past month - yes
You replace the toilet paper immediately - no, not every time
You like crossword puzzles - no
You have visited the Eiffel Tower - no, minus the one in Vegas
You have a secret you have never shared with anyone - yes
You wait until the last minute to fill your car with gas - yes, sometimes
You snore - yes
You have been to your ancestors' homeland - no
You read in the bathroom - no
Being sick is a vacation - no
You often have people over at your house - yes
You like America - yes
You can remember jokes - no
You play cards - yes
You fold your underwear - yes, when I do the laundry
You talk in your sleep - yes, a lot
You eat fast - yes
You recycle small batteries - no
You often avoid paying full price - no
You like hiking - no
You like being on the phone - yes
You shave regularly - yes, sometimes
You set your watch a few minutes ahead - no
You are always late - no, not always
You often get headaches - no
You smoke - no, never
A naked photo of you exists - no
You can whistle - yes, one little whistle
You write letters regularly - I try to
You believe in destiny - no, I believe there is a plan
You brush your teeth three times a day - no
You have something you wish to confess - no
You change your bedsheets weekly - no, every other week
You bite your fingernails - no
You are a vegetarian - no
You have eaten in a restaurant alone - yes
You have gone to a movie alone - no
You have taken a vacation alone - kind of
You read the newspaper every day - no, not anymore
You have not used a hair dryer in the past five years - no
You have never used a personal computer - no
You have hit your father or mother in anger - no
When you think you have done something wrong you are quick to apologize - yes
You lose control in heated arguments - no
In the morning when your alarm clock sounds, you get out of bed immediately - no
You generally save letters and postcards - yes
You hate parties - no, not all of them
You have stolen money from your parents - yes, quarters
You have fired a gun -only a b.b. gun
You often have the last word - yes
Less is more - yes
You give money to homeless people - no
Money has influenced your character - no
You know who you are - yes
You enjoy being photographed - no
Life treats you well - yes

Thursday, March 22, 2012

D is for DRAWING

D is for Drawing

A small experiment to gauge my skills.


Abbi, 7 years old

I don't know why I can't draw an animal pointing any direction but to the left.  Abbi and I drew the same animals.  I was curious as to compare my level.  Obviously, she has surpassed my abilities.  Her cow has horns and it's even saying moo.  And, she remembered to put tusks on the elephant!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

super sisters

I have got some pretty fantastic sisters! For example, last night my sister-in-law let her own sister and I set her up for a crazy day taking care of both of our kids. She gave up her whole day. When I picked up the Bug and Robot, they were sad to leave. Noah cried for Amber and begged to stay with her. 

Monday night, Anne met me in Sugarhouse and had dinner with me before she suffered through a horribly long class. 

Tonight, both of my sisters met me for dinner tonight. I'm not sure any of us had a really good day. We got there, and I like to believe it was a hilarious meal. I can't even begin to write all of the snort-worthy and water-spitting one liners that we came up with. Then, while Wendy went to see to Hurley's needs, Anne and I went on a short trip to the Z-Gallery and Anthropologie. And, I barely dare admit, my trip there was sponsored by a sister. 

There's more! Tiffani is using her day off tomorrow to watch my kids in the afternoon. Noah was telling me today that he likes to go there because Elizabeth and Tiffani aren't bad guys. And, Cody isn't a monster. Good to know. 

To top off a week of super sisters, Wendy, Anne, and I are staying at Little America on Friday to celebrate the City Creek opening. I'm not sure how I would have made it through the week with no Jake and seeing kids only for 3 minutes a day if it wasn't for my sisters. All four of them. They take such good care of me and I wish I could give back to them the way they give to me. I love to spend time with any or all of them whenever I get the chance. They make me a happy girl. I can be just as crazy as I really am when I'm alone. I can even tell them how crazy I am when I am alone. Yeah for sisters!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

All About Me - #11

What You Like

Likes: Spontaneously list anything that comes to mind:
my family
my friends
my cats
my iPad
my blog
grilled chicken
diet coke
braids in my hair
not going to work
making crafts
counting money
Real Simple magazine
phone calls, texts, or time with family & friends
good weather
my bed

Dislikes: Spontaneously list anything that comes to mind:
dentist appointments
waking up too early
dog poop
waiting for stuff I don't want to wait for

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I thought I was conservative ...

... and I still am.  I think.  I'm a pretty conservative person when it comes to political issues.  Tonight, my mind got all jumbled up during the Republican Caucus I hosted.  I am a precinct chairman and tonight more than 60 people came to the caucus.  The recent redistricting has really made a difference, plus, there was a lot of encouragement through the media and the Church.  But, tonight, I had to really think about where I stand.  I'm not a democrat, but, I didn't really blend in with the group I hosted tonight, either. 

Q: How can a voter chose who to vote for before they have learned about all of the candidates?

Q: Although there are benefits to re-electing a candidate, and come voters don't believe in term limits, shouldn't we allow other candidates to have a shot?  

Q: What would happen if the leadership of every committee had to be reorganized every year?

Q: What if committee leadership wasn't based on tenure?

Q: How would politics be different if there was a two-term cap on every elected position?

Q: What if it wasn't a career to be a politician, and instead it was a voluntary position?  Let's say I'm senator.  I'd like help with the transportation costs and maybe Diet Coke during the meetings.  I don't think it would be wise for me to run or be elected for office if my family wasn't in a financial position to provide healthcare and the loss of my full-time wages is I wanted to be a full-time politician.

Q: I'm still senator.  Now it's 37 years later.  How could I possibly be in touch with my constituents enough to represent them with my votes in Washington if I have been on the road full-time for half my life.  I couldn't even be in touch enough with my spouse or kids to vote for our favorite dinner by then.

Q: I'm president.  I got involved in politics last year.  How do I fill my cabinet with qualified, ethical, and educated staff?

I hate how messy politics and government can be.  Nothing is straight-forward.  I really like things to be black and white and when they aren't, I get frustrated if I can't figure it out.  What this all boils down to is, I'm not for Hatch.  There.  I said it.  I am for Romney.  I am for term limits.  I wish committees were reorganized every year.  I wish elected officials didn't make a career out of politics.  They should have the experience and knowledge to be elected, they should serve, and then they should go back to the real world where they can continue to be valuable, experienced, and knowledgeable citizens.  

My name is Joey Tracy and I am Unaffiliated.

C is for COOKIE! That's good enough for me!

Recipes for my favorite cookies ...

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening or vegetable oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 12-ounce package of semisweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 375.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer.  Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Beat until mixture is combined.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in any remaining flour.  Stir in chocolate chips.
2) Drop dough on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 8-9 minutes or until edges are just light brown.  Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and let cool.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Grind 2/12 cups of oatmeal in a blender.
In a bowl, cream: 1 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar
Add: 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla.  Mix together.
Add: 2 1/2 cups oatmeal, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Mix.  Add chocolate chips.
Bake @ 350 degrees for 8-11 minutes.

No-Bake Cookies - or as I like to call them, Gorilla Poops
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
3 cup quick oats
Combine the sugar, milk, cocoa, salt, and butter - mix & bring to a boil.
Cover for 30 seconds.
Stir and boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat.  Add a teaspoon of vanilla.  Stir in peanut butter.  Add oats.
Let it stand about 10 minutes before forming the small round cookies.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

All About Me - #10


Your three best qualities - I'm pretty nice, sometimes I'm funny, I like people and stuff
Your three worst qualities - I'm lazy, I love to eat junk, I'm bad at prioritizing
Of the three worst qualities, which one do you struggle with most frequently -  lazy + junk = poor results
Which of the three worst qualities have you tried to change? - lazy

Three words that describe how others view you - friendly, amusing, bossy

Three words you would use to describe your ideal self - happy, organized, in tune with the spirit

Three things for which you are often complimented - blue eyes, my looks (by Noah), my work
Which one of the three is most meaningful to you? - anything Noah says is better than the other two
A special compliment that made you blush - never got one

An insult that made you burn - "You're very smart.  It's like you think like a man."
What was your reaction to this insult? - I took back the deal I just made with the old man.

You are far better than most people you know at - putting my foot in my mouth

The animal that best describes you - I'd say an owl for wisdom

You are embarrassed when others - are publicly stupid in an unfunny way
You are embarrassed when you - don't have something done I meant to have done

The greatest amount of physical pain you have ever endured - was miserable, so I rolled around on the floor for a while

The greatest amount of emotional pain you have ever endured - was waiting for "the letter" to come before the happiest day of my life

Your proudest moment - is when Abbi and Noah can repeat what I have taught them

The moment you are most ashamed of - when people realize I'm not as good as they thought I was

When discussing your career with others, you tend to - be factual or understate

When discussing your love life with others, you tend to - I don't discuss it

When telling stories or relying the details of your day, you tend to - understate or be factual

If you didn't have commitments to others, you would - pursue politics or crafting

The numbers of drinks that constitutes your limit - no drinking, but I have no limit for Diet Coke and hot chocolate

Your best physical feature - my blue eyes

You have considered plastic surgery - Yes

At your best, you are most like this famous person - Tina Fey

At your worst, you are most like this famous person - Mrs. Hannigan

Create a newspaper headline you would like to read about yourself - "Local Stay-at-Home Mom Achieves Wealth, Success, and Fame With Her Creativity, Now Top Aide to George W. Bush"

Your most recent selfless act - rubbed Toby's tail with baby wipes to get the poop off of it

Saturday, March 10, 2012

La La La

Lately, we've been working with Noah on his sounds while he speaks.  Even though I love how he sounds now, I know he's got to practice saying things the right way, too.

Some of my favorites ....

"I need a tiss on the yips!"
Singing ... "Mary had a yittle yamb, yittle yamb, yittle yamb."
 "I want some yunch, Mommy!"

The other day Noah was begging for fruit snacks, which we didn't even have.  While I was trying to round up some "yunch" for the boy, I was practicing with him, "La la la lunch.  La la la lunch."

Noah yelled back at me, "La la la FRUIT SNACKS!"

It was hilarious.  Jake and I laughed and laughed.  So today, we bought a Costco size box of "la la la FRUIT SNACKS."

I like happy stories.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Average Thursday Night

Tank with drug-induced, glazed over eyes.
Tank must have found Toby's secret hiding spot.  Why my pajama boxes?
Toby in his usually location .. always against my wishes.
Tank.  He's such a big, cute kitty.  Right now he's got kinda bloody paws from getting his claws removed.  I figure it's cheaper to do that than to replace a couch.
He picked out all the brussel sprouts to eat first....I don't get it.
Abbi isn't pictured because she ate her dinner like a speed demon.  She asked for broccoli, brussel sprouts, and macaroni tonight.  I love how they enjoy their dinner and they both always say "Thanks for dinner, Mom!"  Such polite kids!

Dinner makes me angry, too.

Abbi had homework instructions to "Write 3 sentences about a time you did something hard.  This is a personal narrative, so include the word "I" and tell how you feel."

I really identify with her.  But because I'm the mom, I guess I can't tell her that until she's older.  Does this tactic seem familiar, Mom?  Mrs. "I ate my vegetables at the stove?"


Today is sponsored by the letter ... B


Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  Really, it's my favorite meal for any time of the day.  I won't be bound by social norms for when to eat my cereal, eggs, or pancakes.  Because I love everything about breakfast (minus sausage), I have decided to post a few of my favorite Pinterest pins concerning this matter.
(p.s. don't be afraid to  Follow Me on Pinterest)
Blueberry Breakfast Cake - I made this in cake and cupcake form for a bridal shower.  It was y u m m y.

Beautiful cinnamon roll size monkey bread.  I love cinnamon rolls.

Loved doing this omelet bar at a bridal shower!  It made prep and serving EASY!  Plus, everyone loved being able to personalize their own omelet.  Boiling the omelets in freezer bags worked like a charm!

I love, love, love Mormon Muffins.  I'm usually a "sweets" kind of girl, but these bran muffins are TASTY!
 And, if instead of making your own breakfast, and you just can't take another box of the less-than-favorite assortment of donuts, go to Old Grist Mill in Ogden, Brigham City, or Logan and order yourself a Raspberry Roll.  I would trade my two front tires for one of those!