Monday, October 31, 2011

Snow in the House

The Master bedroom walls are going up!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Feeling Like Christmas

We woke up to snow-covered ground this morning and it continued to snow as we drove to church. We were part of the few that ventured out to church, so we just had Sacrament Meeting. Kristen Speranza was released as the 1st counselor in the Primary Presidency and I was released as the 2nd counselor. I was called back into the Primary Presidency as the 1st counselor and my Mom was called as the 2nd counselor. Fun! Kristen was called to be our Nursery Leader. She will be great and we've needed a Nursery Leader since Summer began, so it will be nice to have that calling filled.

The snow has created a Christmas-like feel today and the fact that I made our traditional Christmas morning sausage and egg casserole and Pillsbury cinnamon rolls for lunch, it really felt like Christmas!

I hope the snow sticks around for one more day, so the kids can go play in it. Noah has been the most anxious to get his hands on it! He did linger outside for a bit when we got home from church, but he could have stayed outside all afternoon!

Harvest Party

This is also known as our Branch Halloween party, but we are trying to focus more on the Fall Season and the Harvest than Halloween. Not everything was Harvest-themed, but we are improving. Costumes will always be part of this activity, though!
I couldn't resist this prison costume that I found at Goodwill. The back of the costume says "GOTBUSTED PENITENTIARY". Matt added the tattoos.

The kids had a great time hitting apples. The activity was a big hit. (Ha Ha) Emily is a great hitter! She had hit the farthest until the young men & leader had a turn.
We had a pumpkin relay.
There was also bowling outside and a witch's cauldron inside and a room set up inside to shoot nerf gun darts at G.I. Joe & Barbie mummies (Matt thought of this great idea). We ate soup & bread and when the kids were finished eating, they decorated treat bags and pumpkins with stickers. We had pumpkin face stickers for the pumpkins. Then the moment arrived that all the kids were waiting for. CANDY!

Families with children were encouraged to load up their kids after they got their candy and head home, so the adults without young children at the activity could do a quick clean up and then leave. When we got home, the kids sugared up, took baths, and Zoe took lots of pictures. Here are a few. Emily was not in the picture taking mood.
Eleanor was!

The kids loved getting little notebooks from the Speranzas!

This is my favorite picture of Noah.
This is Zoe's favorite.
It was a fun evening and the kids are super excited for Halloween tomorrow!

Sunshine & Flowers

While the house building was going on Saturday outside, I was getting ready for the Harvest Party at church. I made a creamy carrot soup, which I had never made before. I wanted to use up some of our carrots, so carrot soup seemed like the perfect soup to bring. Kate tried some at the party and she said it tasted like Sunshine & Flowers. It was easy to make and super yummy! Here is the recipe.


* 1 cup chopped onion
* 1/4 cup butter, cubed
* 4 1/2 cups sliced carrots
* 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
* 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 2 cups heavy whipping cream
* 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper


1. In a Dutch oven, saute onion in butter until tender. Add carrots, potato, broth and ginger. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cool for 15 minutes.
2. Transfer to a blender or food processor in small batches; cover and process until smooth. Return all to the pan; stir in the cream, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until heated through.

Work Party

Matt camped out Friday night in our new house after date night. We went to see "The Big Year", which had a great message, and we ate dinner at Chili's. We also did some Halloween shopping. Matt said he saw the most amazing shooting star that night, which would have been awesome to see, but it was a bit too cold for me to be sleeping outside! Matt woke up yesterday morning to Peter Dauk nudging him. Peter was the first to arrive to help Matt work on the house. Matt & Peter put up this wall to the utility closet and the bathroom.

My Dad, Jason Barrett, Zoe, & Emily also helped him. A few more walls went up. :-)
Two of our bedroom walls went up, but I haven't taken a picture of them yet. In these pictures, you can see the dining room wall without the insulation that Matt put up this week...and you can see my parents and Emily.

Friday, October 28, 2011

School Laptop

Zoe brought home her laptop from school for the first time yesterday. She worked on her essay "What freedom means to me" in the car as we drove home from Young Women's.
Noah wasn't about to let a photo opportunity pass him by!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I was so busy yesterday taking Kate & Noah to the children's museum, taking them to Burger King for lunch, stopping at the grocery store, stopping at home to pick up Zoe's soccer uniform for her to turn in at her soccer pizza party after school, picking up the kids from school, making a bean dip for our Relief Society International cooking night, and putting together my cub scout meeting (we talked about taking care of a minor cut and we played a game of marbles) that I completely forgot about my parent/teacher conference with Eleanor's teacher, Mrs. Gail Wight. Usually if something is on the calendar, which this conference was, then it gets scheduled into my day. I never looked at the calendar yesterday, I thought I had everything covered. Wrong! We rescheduled for today and I will remember today. I will also remember to bring Zoe to Young Women's tonight. The kids and I are going to play in the gym while we wait for her. That is all for today and I know that because I looked at the calendar. I guess that needs to become a morning habit for me now!

Here are a few pictures from the museum. Kate & Noah painted, which they loved! They used glow in the dark paint, but they mixed it in with the regular paint, so it doesn't show up very well. The spot that Noah used with just glow in the dark paint shows up very well.

The museum is changing their 3rd floor to a fitness theme. Kate & Noah practiced jumping at this station.

First, you get your fingertips wet.

Then you jump and touch the paper and see where your mark is. The kids jumped and jumped and jumped.

There is also a snowboarding station. None of us are good at it!

There is also a hang glider station, but it isn't open yet.

We were hungry after all that exercising! Here is Kate looking cute and silly at Burger King.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jack 'O Lanterns

For Family Home Evening last night, we carved pumpkins, listened to John Bytheway, and ate donuts with apple cider. :-) Lots of fun!
Kate did very well for someone who HATES to be messy.

Eleanor made her own paw print. Impressive!

Eleanor's paw print, Zach's dragon, Zoe's bird on a branch, Emily's chihuahua, & Matt, Kate, & Noah's vampire.

House Progress

Looking into the Mudroom, Living Room, Kitchen
Looking into our tiny kitchen.
Taking a picture of the Kitchen from the Living Room. Utility Closet will be to the left of the Kitchen and the Dining Room is beyond the Kitchen.
Matt is standing in the Kitchen while I take a picture from the Dining Room.
Utility Closet & Bathroom space

Choose to Become

I had an amazing weekend away, but I am happy to be home now. I came down with a cold yesterday. I am so grateful that I was healthy during my trip and now I can rest at home. Our original plan was to go to the Palmyra Temple on Friday, but we ended up going to the Boston Temple Thursday evening. We made it to the temple and that is what matters.

Time Out For Women was awesome as always! When we were waiting for the doors to open Friday night, I was sitting on a bench in the lobby with my Aunt Tonia & my Grandmother. After telling Tonia how I'd love to take Zoe to see John Bytheway somewhere next year, in walked John Bytheway!

I had a feeling that John Bytheway was there instead of Sheri Dew and I was right. We joked about that because Sheri Dew didn't make it to last year's Time Out For Women either. Here are a few notes that I took from John Bytheway's talk Friday night. He talked about the yummy chicken that his wife had made that week. It was so yummy because she had marinated it in barbeque sauce. So the theme of his talk was What are we marinating in? He read a quote by President Boyd K. Packer, "We are raising our children in enemy territory." Isn't that the truth! This makes me think of another thing that was brought up (not sure by which presenter) during the event. It used to be that evil things were hidden and you really had to search for them if you wanted to participate in them. Now good things are hidden and need to be searched for among the evil. We need to be careful about what we are marinating in.
*We get to choose our response to everything.
*A sister in the ward said this..."I'm going to stop telling God how big my problems are and start telling my problems how big my God is." Isn't that great?!

Dallyn Vail Bayles

An amazing singer! He is also grateful and it was sweet to hear him talk about his wife.

Saturday's program was filled with more wonderful music and talks.
Mary Ellen Edmunds

She reminded us that we are all unique. We are children of God. When we pray, we should take time to listen. Love is the most magical power in the universe.

Hilary Weeks

I could listen to Hilary Weeks sing and talk all day long. I just love her personality and stories! She encouraged us to focus on our positive thoughts rather than our negative thoughts. It will change you! She also mentioned this, which I had never thought about before. "We will spend eternity knowing our children as adults. What a privilege it is to spend this time here on earth with them as children."
In our morning prayers, ask Heavenly Father what is most important for us to do that day.

DeAnne Flynn

The littlest things matter most. Offer our time, talents, and good example.
What can we do to make the lives of our loved ones better? Be Aware. Make eye contact, Listen, Pay attention to the Spirit. Hurry less. Speak less. Expect less. Be more aware. Become less complicated...simplify our lives. We can start over any time. It is never too late to change. Be our best self at home.

Anthony Sweat

Concept of fairness.
1) God tests everyone uniquely & equally.
The purpose of God's plan is To Become Like God
Trials are not synonymous with tragedy.
2) To be fair, don't compare
Doctrine & Covenants 7:4...Key words ~ What is that to thee?
Don't compare yourself to others
3) The atonement of Jesus Christ is the great equalizer
Power of the Atonement
A. Redeeming Power
B. Changing Power
C. Strengthening Power
D. Understanding Power
E. Equalizing Power
Genesis 30:22 ~ God remembered Rachael ~ God remembers ALL of us

Wendy Ulrich

Be Happy (Taught in a humorous way)
1) Stop worrying about your weaknesses
2) Don't try to get motivated to exercise
*Motivation comes after action (applies to everything) ~ Take little steps such as putting on exercise clothes even if you don't feel like exercising.
3) Stop trying to find friends
*Instead, develop the skills of friendship
*Respond to others as they reach out to you
*Have one meaningful conversation daily
*Celebrate others' successes
4) Don't try to feel happy
*Try to feel grateful
*Write down 3 good things that happen each day and why they happened.
5) Celebrate failure
*We grow, stretch, learn, & serve as we fail
*It's better to do something badly than not at all
*Ask yourself & kids...What was your best failure today? Helps you & your children to learn resilience. Helps you learn.
6) Don't get help with your problems
*Instead, help someone else
7) Don't endure to the end
*Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured
*Savor every day delights

Kris Belcher

Funny! Kris has an amazing story. She became blind 8 years ago due to cancer. She testified that trials and tragedies will get better and that Heavenly Father will help us. We can feel Heavenly Father's love during our trials. We can live happily with the light of Christ. Live looking to God. Are we earnestly seeking for light in our lives?

Time Out For Women always goes by way too fast. It was such an uplifting weekend. Not only did we listen to wonderful music and talks at TOFW, but we also listened to music and talks in the car. We were edified for 3 days non-stop. It was absolutely wonderful!

The reception I received when I walked into my parents' house on Sunday was wonderful as well! There were hugs from all the kids, which turned into one big group hug. I felt loved and I want to remember that moment always. :-)