Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Living in New Jersey is like learning a new culture, without having to deal with a language barrier.  I'm loving it here, but there are a few Jersey-isms that is going to take some getting used to. 

For example, we have been promising the kids that we were going to take them to the beach ever since we got here and it just hasn't happened yet.  So we decided to use this past FHE as a family night out at the beach.  As soon as Theo got home from work we headed out.  A few friends told us about Margate Beach and how nice it was so that was where we went.

It really is a beautiful beach!  The sand was soft, the water was warm.  We set up camp about 80 yards away from the Lifeguards.  Hannah never gets in the water right away, she being my only child that shows fear of the water.  So I got to work with her building a sand castle while Theo and the rest of the kids headed straight for the water.  It was a nice calm day with green flags, so I had no worries about them being in the water, especially with Theo being with them.  But the next thing I know Theo is telling me that they have to walk down to the part of the water that is directly in front of the Lifeguards.  Apparently while I was busy playing engineer in the sand a lifeguard came to Theo and told him that they have to move in front of them or stay out of the water.

Now Theo and I have to juggle to kids going back and forth from our spot and what seemed like a 10 foot area in front of the Lifeguards that is 80 yards away.  I was really irritated by that, nowhere have we lived (and we have lived on every coast) have we been denied getting in the water because there wasn't a lifeguard sitting right in front of us.  And what I just found out today is that all the beaches are like that here.  Unless you get there early, like before 10 or really late, like 6, there is no free swim. 

It was a great beach, but I'm not sure how much I am going to like these rules.  And I know I am going to get into trouble by my friend Kara, because I have called it a 'beach' this whole time instead of the proper Jersey name for it, the 'shore'.  Sorry Kara, habits are hard to break, but I'm working on it!!!  Love you's! LOL!

Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm A Coco-NUT!

I LOVE coconut!  I use coconut oil to cook with, I use it for body oil, facial oil, I drink coconut milk and even like coconut water.  I even wear coconut underwear!  Ha!  Just kidding...what kind of freak do you think I am?  And what kind of freak would believe that....hmmm...self evaluation time? 

Anywho, I found a recipe on Pinterest for a Mounds brownie.  It looked too good not to try.  But here's a tip when trying a new recipe: you should follow the directions.  I know!  It's a real shocker for me to! 

You make a pan of brownies according to the box, but what I failed to notice was what size pan to use.  I ended up using a 9X9 instead of the 13X9 it called for.  Then another tip is to make sure you specify what kind of coconut you need your husband to buy when he goes to the store, because if it calls for unsweetened coconut and you buy the sweetened coconut kind you are going to have one doozie of a sweet coconut filling.  Then to top it off cover the coconut filling with chocolate icing.

If I was scared I would have just halved the toppings amount, since my brownie to filling and icing would be off.  But I ain't skeered!  So I went all the way! 

Now I'm not one to say a dessert is 'too' sweet, in fact I think people have a few screws loose if they call dessert too sweet, It's dessert!!!  It's suppose to be sweet!  But when I took my first bite of this Mounds brownie I was spitting out a few teeth.  That sugar cut right to the roots!  I have met my sugar threshold. 

Here is the recipe if you want to try it, and I do recommend it, just make sure you follow the directions, they are there for a reason.  Ha! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

London Olympics 2012

In just a few short hours is the opening ceremony for the London Olympics, EEEEEEKKKKK!!!  I am so excited!  I LOVE the Olympics!!  The gymnastics, the swimming, the running...I love all of it!  I used to wish I was one of those talented enough to compete in some kind of Olympic event, but alas I was diagnosed with a severe disease as a child...lazytitus.  It's a real disease that's needs more funding so we can put an end to this horrific epidemic.  So I have been subjugated to being a couch bystander due to this debilitating condition.

But that hasn't stopped me from living vicariously through the amazing abilities of these athletes that have worked so hard all their lives and spent so much of their parents money to make this dream come true.

So even though I can't compete, or even be in the same country as the Olympics, I will be cheering my little heart out in my humble abode.  I may not wear the athletes uniform, but that won't stop my neighborhood from hearing me shout,


Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Patient: Sparkles

Sparkles has hit the 6 month mark, and that means a cat going in heat.  I absolutely hate a cat that is in heat.  They meow all the time and get in awkward positions that tend to spark the curiosity of children.  So instead of explaining the birds and the bees to my kids we took a trip to the vets.

Her surgery was today and she is not a happy camper.  They put this cone on her because she was already trying to chew through her stitches.  The problem with the cone is that she can't hide in her little hiding places because they are too tight for her new head accessory to fit in. 

Another big hurdle for her recovery is that she can't go up and down stairs for 7-10 days.  We have a 2 story house with a basement, and she is always going up and down the stairs.  That's going to be a hard one! 

I want to hold her, but whenever you mess with the cone she flips out and starts thrashing. I hate that I can't cuddle her right now, but she will be better soon and I am a firm believer in getting your animals spayed and neutered so as not to add to the animal population without homes.  That's how she came to be in our family.  She was a stray that tried to make her home in the engine of my Suburban.  If we hadn't have taken her in there is no telling if she would have made it.

She may be uncomfortable now, but at least she has a loving home, and I think that is key to her recovery.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Critters...They Rhyme with Licks...

I'm not even going to grace this post with a picture, because what I am about to talk about would just gross you out.

Now, we really like it here in NJ, we were really excited to move here.  The people in our home Ward are awesome and they have already embraced our family as if we have been here for years.  But our part of town holds a dark disgusting secret....


Yes, ticks.  Apparently the area we live in is pretty infested with them.  It is terrifying and invokes my gag reflex just at the mention of them.  I hate spiders and I hate roaches.  But I will take them on if they mess with me.  Ticks on the other hand, I want nothing to do with.  I can't even say the word without vomiting in my mouth.

Since living here Theo has found 3 on him, and Tobie 1.  Just today at the park, Hannah said she had a crab crawling on her leg.  She flicked it off before I could see it, but that's what a tick would look like to a 3 year old. 

It just gets worse, tonight while I was making dinner the girls (Miriam, Emma and Hannah) were freaking out about a bug on the floor.  I thought it was no big deal and just told them to stay away from it while I finished what I was doing with the food and then I would get to it.  When I look over Emma had a lego and was hitting this bug on the floor.  As I got closer I saw this enormous gray bulb.  It was a huge fat tick that must have fallen off my dog, and my kids where messing with it like it was a roly poly!!!  I was MORE than grossed out!!!  Especially since they had managed to make it burst open and blood was now on my floor.  EEEEWWWWW!!!!

After family prayer I gave Friday a quick stroke on her back and felt ANOTHER TICK!  Theo and I went at it with a paper towel and pliers. 

I ain't gonna lie, I'm a little more than just freaked out here!  I'm scared for me, for my kids, for Theo!  All that was going through my mind when we first moved into our new house and I learned about our lovely tick issues was; "Lyme Disease, Lyme Disease, Lyme Disease".  Theo got some stuff you can put in your yard that's suppose to kill and repel ticks, but there are so many trees around here I'm thinking it might be like throwing a bucket of water at a forest fire.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to get rid of ticks around their property I would be MORE than willing to hear them out!!!  And please hurry before my paranoia turns into irrational behavior and I'm stripping the kids down to check them every time they come inside from outside and burn their clothes....and yes, I have already thought of doing that. 

Please save my sanity and my wardrobe bill! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Food Network...Welcome Back!

A Food Network Haiku:

Food Network is great
My palette it salivates
I want to create.

I can't express how much I missed my Food Network.  In Alabama we cut off the satellite and switched to Netflix in the hopes that we would spend less time watching t.v.  And although our wallet felt relief I think we ended up watching more t.v. than ever with the on demand-full seasons of any show we wanted.

So when we moved here to NJ we hooked up the cable.  And let me tell you I have been making up for lost time!  A favorite comedian of mine and Theo's is, Jim Gaffigan, who very brilliantly said "Food Network is porn for fat people."  And he is soooo right!!!  I watch these shows completely enthralled and slobbering all over myself.  But I have to say I get my best inspiration from these shows, and I feel like I lost that when we turned off the satellite.  Now watching the shows I can feel my creative culinary juices flowing and even though my kitchen is a mere fraction of my kitchen in AL it hasn't deterred me from wanting to get in there and bake and cook my little heart out!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Put on the Armor of Righteousness

I hate to toot my own horn, but I seriously am such a slacker at coming up with cool FHE lessons that I just have to say.....*TOOT TOOT*!  I have been driven by guilt to get it together this week.  And after reading THIS ARTICLE from April's General Conference I figured I needed to get my butt in gear.  My kids actually love FHE, but I am really bad about getting my stuff together and making sure that everyone is doing their part.  But I took on the challenge tonight and broke out a FHE lesson book that I bought who knows how long ago and decided to just start at Chapter 1 and go through the book until I reach the end and then look for another lesson book and just go through like that.  I just get so overwhelmed trying to think of what I need to teach my kids and what is actually in their mental range of understanding, that sometimes I would just rather not do it than bother with it.  I need to change my mindset and acceptance is the first step to recovery, right?

So tonight the lesson plan was about putting on the armor of righteousness.  The metaphor comes from Doctrine and Covenants 27:16-17.  The armor is actually representative of spiritual strengthening through our knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ.  Each piece represents protection from the adversary, meaning Satan.  The lesson plan really broke it down for my kids to understand, and even suggested making the fiery darts to throw at a picture of two versions of a man, one that is not protected and one that is.  In the lesson they used Velcro on the darts and on the men to make them stick.  Well, I don't have Velcro and I thought there was a slim chance my kids would actually get it to stick.  So I came up with a different version using the packing paper and cardboard boxes from the move.

Here is the sad person without armor.  I let the kids take turns throwing little rocks at him while Theo and I held him up.  First they had to give examples of the fiery darts the temptations that Satan will try to get them to do, such as lying, being disobedient and being mean to one another.  When they threw the rocks they went straight through the paper showing them that if they are left unprotected then they eventually be destroyed by Satan.
This guy is happy because he is about to be outfitted in the coolest armor cardboard can buy!

There is his armor ready to be placed on him.  I had the kids take turns picking a piece of armor and placing it on the man.

Here he is all decked out and ready for battle! 

 Just to give you a rundown on his armor and what they translate into for us:

Loins girt about with truth- In D&C 93:24 we learn that truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.  Knowing the truth will help us make righteous decisions.

Breastplate of righteousness- Many of the decisions we make are guided by the feelings and emotions of our heart.  If we protect our heart with a breastplate of righteousness, then the feelings and emotions that come from our heart will always be pleasing to Heavenly Father.

Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace- Learning all the parts of the gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, prayer, fasting, etc.) prepares us for battle against the adversary.

Shield of faith- Having faith in Jesus Christ and believing that he oves us and watches over us gives us peace and protection.

Helmet of salvation- Salvation is eternal life.  The way we choose to live our earthly life will determine what our eternal life will be like.  The helmet (which protects our head) represents salvation, and within our head is the knowledge of the gospel plan which we must follow to inherit the Celestial kingdom.  We must always keep this knowledge safe in our minds if we wish to return to Heavenly Father.

Sword of my Spirit- A sword can not only defend us, but can be used as a weapon against our enemies.  The Holy Ghost acts in the same way.  He is there in our time of need to help us make correct decisions.  He also warns us against dangers and is an invaluable weapon against the adversary.

After our guy was completely outfitted we took a second round of rocks to him.  You can really see the kids chucking that rock as hard as they can, and they still weren't able to penetrate past the armor.  




It was a fun night, even though we almost didn't get to this part of the lesson. With 4 rambunctious kids you really got to keep the talkie talkie to a minimum if you want to keep your sanity.  Just give the kids some rocks and let them go at it, hopefully the lesson pelted their brains as much as those rocks pelted the paper!

Monday, July 16, 2012

One Year Older and Wiser Too!

I had a birthday this past Saturday, and I think the only wiser part of getting older is that birthdays don't seem to have the same kind of importance as when you are younger.  I had the entire day planned out, but absolutely nothing panned out the way I wanted.  I wanted to go to the beach like I do on my birthday every year, but we saw it was suppose to storm around the time that we would have been out there.  Well it didn't storm, and by the time we pulled ourselves together it was too late in the day to make it to the beach.  Luckily for us I made a new friend who gave me the 411 on where to go on the boardwalk that isn't covered in crazies.  So we headed out for dinner on the boardwalk in Ocean City.  This place is pretty awesome!  It reminded me of  the fair, but unlike the fair it's all year long and it isn't full of dirty carnies working the rides.  Also Ocean City is a clean city, which means they don't serve alcohol!  Ergo, a great family activity!

I started off the night eating my first Philly Cheese steak while the kids downed some hot dogs. 
We saw this bad boy coming over the bridge into Ocean City and I knew that was going to be my first destination.
Here is the view from the top.  Isn't that just gorgeous!!  Hannah and Emma were the only ones brave enough to venture with me, but by the time we got to this point Emma was rethinking her decision.  She was sobbing by the third go round.  Hannah on the other was giving me a heart attack because she kept trying to get up and walk around while we were in the air.  She had absolutely no fear!
Charlotte was the best baby ever!  She sat quietly and patiently in her stroller while we walked around the park and rode rides.  Before we left we had to treat her to a ride also.  The carousel is just her speed!  She absolutely loved it!  In fact she was crying when the ride was over because she didn't want to get off.  This carousel was built in 1926, and had all wooden horses.  It sure was pretty!
 Even though the day didn't go according to plan I really think it worked out better this way. I've noticed through the years that I'm not too into getting presents for my birthday as much as I am into making memories, and this place did not disappoint!  We will be talking about this place for years!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Whirlwind Travellers

I'm back!  At least for today...our stuff gets delivered tomorrow to our new home, so we have been living in a hotel this weekend.  We've been bumming at friends and families homes and hotel hopping as we drift homelessly northward.  Now we are in NJ, but the adventure isn't over yet.  Hopefully once we get settled in things will begin to normalize, but right now it still feels like we are just vacationing and we will be on our way back home any day now.  I'm sure I will get over that soon, especially when I think of the drive!!  I don't want to do that again for a LONG time!  Although next time we won't be driving 2 cars with a dog and 2 cats to add to our brood of 5! 

On Friday our first stop was a short 4 hours away from Mobile as we stayed the night with some friends in Ft. Rucker.  We spent not nearly enough time together before having to head out the next morning.

Saturday our next stop was Grandma's house.  We spent the entire weekend with her and Grandpa Lionel.   We went to Theo's home Ward, we went to the movies and we hung out with some friends we haven't seen in almost 10 years!  It was such a lovely visit.  We left Tuesday and made our way up to VA where we went to a family get together for the 4th, why I don't have pictures from that I don't know.  It was really great seeing my family from my Mom's side of the family.
Thursday we were off to Washington DC.  We checked into our hotel and then booked it over to the monuments.  Here Tobie is holding up the Washington Monument! Ha!  It was a HOT week, but it didn't stop us from walking about 3 miles between the White House, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the WWII Memorial.
Soaking our weary feet in the pond for the WWII Memorial.  What a beautiful memorial this is!
Lastly for the day was the Lincoln Memorial.  We were all soaked with sweat and worn out, but that didn't stop Theo, Tobie, and Emma from tackling the stairs!  I had to take the elevator because of my double stroller, poor me! ;)  What really made me feel good is when we left for the car Tobie says, "That was totally worth it!" referring to all the walking leading up to the Lincoln Monument.  That's what I hope all my kids will be like, that they will appreciate the good despite the hardship they had to endure to get there.
Friday we figured we would take it easy by going to the Smithsonian.  We needed a break from the heat, but I tell you what, I was more stressed out and frazzled because of the mass amount of people in that place I was eager to get back out in the heat just for some space!  We ate at the cafe they had there in the museum and even though the food was good, despite costing us an arm and a leg, it was so packed I was literally shaking from the stress of finding a table and feeding my whole family!  We just went to the Museum of Natural History so we could see the mummies and dinosaurs.  There are several museums of the Smithsonian, but there was no way we were going to be able to tackle all of them in one day.  I don't think my nerves could have taken it either!
Saturday as we headed up to NJ we had to stop by the Washington DC LDS Temple.  I've seen pictures and I know I have been here when I was younger, but too young to really remember the sheer size of this place!  Pictures seriously don't do it justice! 
The Christus statue at the DC Temple Visitor's Center.
And finally to end our journey, on Saturday we made it to Atlantic City!  We are loving our new surroundings and we have already started exploring.  Tomorrow we are moving into our house, and that's going to be an adventure in its self.  We got the keys to our new home and it is tiny!  I don't know how we are going to fit our family of 7 with all our stuff, but we'll figure it out somehow. 
I'll try to keep you posted on how that goes.