Monday, December 17, 2012

Not a hot topic this Monday ...

Hello everyone! How are you? I hope your week is going well!

I know that it has been eight days since my last post ... the longest I have ever gone without a post! With R gone I have the suckiest computer known to man ... It is miserable to use ... at least I have one right ... I just don't like to use it! So we all miss out on the musing of Amy Combe ... sad I know ... ha!

There has been so much that has happened  ... controversy ... tragedy ... I want to comment on it all ... but I also don't want to be just one of the many ... and so I will just say this:

  1. I wore a skirt to church. One of my friends said that church is not a place to protest ... I agree ... if you feel like you need to protest then maybe this church isn't for you because you are clearly not understanding what we are all about. Another on of my friends talked about how she wears a dress because it is her best ... shouldn't we want to wear our best for Heavenly Father ... show him physically that we are all trying to be our best. You should all understand that in our religion we do believe that Heavenly Father sees us as equal ... we are separate but equal ... we each have our divine qualities and responsibilities ... we are separate ... but in the eyes of our Heavenly Father we are equal ... in the eyes of each other we are equal ... that is why I said that you should figure out more about your own religion if you feel you need to protest it!
  2. I send my thoughts and prays towards the town of Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty seven beautiful innocent people lost their lives ... my heart hurts for all of the families involved. I ... well ... I don't feel as if I have the correct words to even give any more comment on this subject. There aren't even adequate words to describe the amount of love and grief I have ... and so I will stop there ... please know that I love you.
apparently I did have a lot to say!

well ... I do have more things I want to talk about ... but mostly ... they belong in a different post.

So I'm going to end this one ... short and sweet ...

Oh! And I want everyone to know how ridiculously excited I am to be going to Texas for Christmas ... I may not exactly be a Texas person ... but I am a family person ... and any chance I get to be in my parents home with my brother, sister, hubby, daughter, and parents I take it ... and so ... we drive! See you Saturday Texas! hopefully you are as excited as I am!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Polar Express Hot Chocolate

So! I totally forgot that my wonderful friend Lauren from recipe group asked me to post a picture of the hot cocoa that I made for them to drink that night ... geez ... simple request ... bombed execution ... at least I'm cute right ... ha!

Ok ... so I found the recipe here on the honey and fritz website ... which is also where I stole the picture ... R was being a good husband and did the dishes ... but he forgot to let me get a picture ... not that I told him I needed one ... but yanno ... this picture works!

Polar Express Hot Chocolate:

Thank you so much 
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 c. bittersweet chocolate (I used chocolate baking bars ... she used chips)
6 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

for crockpot: combine all ingredients and cook on high for at least three hours stirring every so often (chocolate will burn on bottom if you don't at least every half an hour).
for stove top: combine all ingredients in large pot and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring constantly

Now ... I liked this original recipe ... it was so rich and creamy ... the recipe group loved it too ... they said they love the bittersweet chocolate taste ... however, if you have  sweet tooth that is a big as mine it would probably be better if you used milk chocolate ... or ... you could even use white chocolate chips for white hot chocolate!

Either way you like it enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Popcorn

It's that time again ... the holidays are upon us and that means growing waistlines from all the amazingly wonderful treats! It has been a while since I have posted a recipe ... and since I yet again ran out of time get enough recipes down to for the others in recipe group ... it seems as if it were a perfect time to post a recipe ... I do owe it to the others in recipe group! My very best friend made this popcorn for our family and we have been obsessed with it ever since! Not only is it amazing but it is ridiculously easy ... and so I decided to make it for my recipe group ... with me hosting this month I needed something simple yet amazing ... and so since this is all of that it was the winner! With that I present to you:

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Popcorn:

1 pkg microwave (no butter or salt) popcorn
1 pkg white chocolate chips
cinnamon sugar

Cook popcorn and pour into bowl (remove kernals). Slowly melt chocolate (I do this by 15 second increments in the microwave ... stirring each time). Pour melted chocolate over popcorn and spread out on a cookie sheet. Pour desired amount of cinnamon sugar mixture over popcorn (I do a lot!) 

Ok ... happy cooking everyone! have a super great night!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hot Topic Monday: Dramatic Conclusion to End All Fit throwing!

Hey everyone! So, it has arrived! Finally! We have reached the post that concludes our families of experiment with the abolition of fit throwing! I can't believe it! What was once supposed to be a month took two ... but the results were even better than I could have imagined!

Because lets be honest ... This face isn't a fun one:

/Es angry face ... lets get rid of it!
If you are just tuning in to this experiment I will summarize it for you (hence why I didn't do a big summarization yesterday):

E had a big problem ... she was (ok ... still is) a drama queen comes with the territory of being so amazingly all girl ... but with this and all its positives came negatives ... she was a fit thrower ... to the max (is that still a legit phrase?) ... it was even worse when she would get back from her moms house (which she goes to every other weekend) ... and so we had to find a way to deal with it ... to put an end to it ... as is I do not have as much patience as a "real" mom ... so we had to make changes ... I mean ... I would never murder a child ... but I may not have had my hair for very long as I would have most likely pulled it all out! So I sent out a cry for help on Facebook ... called for all the moms out there to help me come up with ways to lessen the amount of fits thrown  by lil miss E ... the response was amazing! So many of my friends had amazing ideas for me ... I mean ... I couldn't pick just one ... that't how good they were ... and so E and I set up an experiment. Our quest: to solve our fit problem ... our way to do it: take a week per and test out the different avenues provided by my dear friends, there were four, and we would try them all! E was fully informed each week before we started a new technique ... this was done in order to ensure that the experiment was not done to E but with E ... she is not a lab rat ... I would die if anyone thought that!

First was Ignoring ... this was provided by friends Karinne and Meredith ... E responded great to this technique ... until the second day ... but what I learned from my friend Kaitlyn is that this is to be expected ... It is knows as an "extinction burst" ... It will happen a few times before dying down ... yet it will only die down if you stick to your guns. Es outbursts died out ... but looking back ... having the information I have now ... I felt cold doing that! It was easy for me ... sometimes I still use this tactic when I hit the end of my rope ... but it was totally shutting her off from all attention (I know that is the point) ... but it now feels cold. I said before in my post about it that it seems to bring out a lot of her insecurities ... and after using the others I can now recognize how true this statement really was! I don't think that I will be using this technique anymore with E ... it's simplicity was desirable ... so were it's results ... but its affect that it had on E emotionally was not.

Second came sent to her room to calm down ... given by cute Laura ... this was an amazing way to deal with fits ... E gets her own time to calm down and I get the negative behavior away from me! It was great ... until E got smart ... She outsmarted me with this on more than one occasion ... most notably when we were cleaning the house and she intentionally threw a fit to be able to go up to her room to play. I think that this is most effective for younger children ... by giving a child a book as Laura suggested that they really enjoy will entice them to calm down. When Es fits were real during this week she really was able to calm down when she was in her room. However, I will stick to what I had said in the post previously written, this technique is most suited for toddler aged children.

Third was the ultimatum ... wonderful Amanda gave us this suggestion ... It was successful on multiple levels ... E would stop her fit when she didn't want to clean ... and my floors would get cleaned when she didn't want to stop her fit! win-win right! I think that I am going to save this technique in my back pocket ... I think that this will really come in handy when I have a moody pre-teen ... Fits will be different then ... but my house will still need to be cleaned ... and older kiddos may be more thorough ... yanno ... saving it for purely selfish reasons and not feeling bad about it at all! The only reason why I am saving it is because of the next technique that we tried ... which I will explain now

Finally was the "fit chart" ... this came from Elizabeth ... and is the one that will stick! Although E is only four she is somewhat fragile. As I have said before, I don't know how Es life was before she came to live with R and I ... We can only assume ... take guesses through conversations with her mom and with her ... I can say that I don't think that it has been the easiest. Part of me wonders if she may suffer from the genetic depression that her mother suffers from. That is why this method of fit control has been so beneficial for us ... we are not getting angry at bad behavior but rewarding good choices and behavior. What we did was we made a chart where E could put an "x" in a box every time she decided to stop throwing her fit ... when she received a certain amount of "x's" she got a gift. E did outsmart me in the beginning ... throwing fits to get to make an "x" on her chart ... but we adapted it ... made her have to stop throwing her fit and finish out her tasks in order to get an "x" ... and it has worked amazingly ... the only glitch is how many times she asks when she will get an "x" ... but that is worth it! This tactic keeps her self esteem high ... which is a big deal for us!

So ... basically ... we learned a lot these past two months ... again ... I give thanks to all of my dear friends who gave me all of these ideas ... here is what to take away from all of this:

  1. Ignoring is simple and effective ... yet can feel cold. If your child is totally secure in who they are this is a good way to go because of how simple and how effective it is (once you get away from the outbursts). If you notice that this starts to affect your child in negative ways I would disband it immediately for one of the others. 
  2. Sending a child to their room is great for toddler age kiddos ... when they are too young to take advantage of it! If you are ok with children throwing fake fit to get out of something ... then this is good ... I understand ... sometimes you just need a little space yourself and this allows it!
  3. Giving a child an ultimatum is a fantastic idea, especially for those who are older. Your house will stay clean ... and if it doesn't then that means that there are more happy times being had through less animosity in the home. Personally this one will constantly be in my back pocket!
  4. Having a "fit chart" promotes positive behavior. It is a wonderful way to build your children up rather than tear them down for poor behavior. It has helped E enormously! This is the one that I will endorse ... it is the choice that we are making in our family. This will be something that we will use forever ... not only with E but with our other children. I think that it is very important to build children up rather than tear down. As I keep saying ... this is the way to do it! 

Good luck parenting my friends! It is super difficult and there are so many ways to do it ...I hope that this provided some insight ... hope that it will make it easier! Good luck with all of your fit-throwing endeavors

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fit Throwing Be Gone ... Part Five (the fit chart)

It has been almost a month since my last fit throwing post ... I want to report on this and then do a summarization in a separate post. So briefly I will remind you what I have been working on ... over the past two months E and I have been on a quest to discover the best way to handle fits ... She was fully aware that we were doing this experiment ... she was told every week what we would be doing ... This past month we have been doing what we call a "fit chart" ... The reason it has taken so long to finish this final experiment is because of multiple reasons ... first ... the last one went of for two weeks ... whoops ... and second ... I wanted to wait until she got a gift before I posted again so I could understand how E would react after she actually got the gift.

Now ... First we started by drawing a fit chart on our white board (E loves white boards ... it made sense for us that we put her chart on there because she would really enjoy making an x in a box) ... here is what ours looked like:

No, it's not perfect ... but E loves it

As you can see we made a bunch of boxes ... I just drew how many I saw fit ... and then we drew little presents in some of the boxes ... the presents become more spaced out as time goes on ... this way she would really have to focus on her attitude. You should note that the presents ... unless you are able to afford something spectacular ... do not have to be huge ... E and I went to the dollar store to look for Christmas lights ... The little trinkets they have there were enough to get E excited ... so our gifts come from the dollar store ... we take her there to pick out her very own gift.

Now ... this fit chart is a fantastic idea ... E loves it ... she has something to look forward to if she shapes up her attitude. However ... there is a con ... there is always a con ... these aren't meant to be perfect ... they are just meant to help you make your decision as to how you will handle fits in your family. Anyway ... back to the con ... I learn more and more everyday that this little four year old has every capability to out-smart me ... and usually does ... E would start throwing a fit sometimes just so she could stop throwing her fit and get an x ... It took a little while for me to be able to tell between the two ... she is so sneaky ... So I had to adapt. Whenever E threw a fit I not only told her that she had to stop but that she had to finish out the task that was causing her fit in the first place ... example ... if she begins throwing a fit over what to wear that day I tell her that if she stops throwing her fit, gets dressed, and comes over so I can do her hair then she can get an x. It may seem like a lot but by adding these tasks ... most of which she will have already been doing ... it has enabled things to go smoother ... she will want an x and therefore she will do whatever she is asked in order to obtain it. Another thing about this is that E asks about the x's all the time ... she always wonders when she gets to put an x on again ... if you can handle that questioning (because I have not figured out a way to make it stop) ... on a daily basis ... then this is the fit solution for you!

What I learned these past couple of weeks:

  1. E really responded to this form of fit control ... she really looked forward to getting her gift and continues to look forward to the next one. I think that by giving children some kind of goal to work towards they are more apt to work their hardest in order to achieve it ... especially when that goal is a gift that they will get. 
  2. Every child is different therefore everything can be adapted. E may have learned fast about how to get x's ... but once I modified the way to get x's her fits became less frequent and she really had to work for an x when she did have a fit. I think that this not only showed E how to control her attitude but it also showed her how to work hard ... she can do hard things ... controlling her attitude to get an x is  hard thing ... and she can do it! 
  3. If you do not have the money to give your child a gift it is ok ... honestly ... a gift to your child could be a nice mommy/daddy date ... or ... something like getting to sleep overnight in a tent out back ... or in a fort in the living room! Don't worry if you can't afford the gift ... make something up! that might be better anyway!

oh my heck ... a week again

The holidays must have me scatter-brained or something ... I cannot seem to write on this dang thing ... oh wait ... I know what has happened ... I have been bitten by the bug ... the video game bug ... Last Saturday R got the new Assassin's Creed ... Normally I don't play video games ... not because I don't like them ... but because I will get addicted ... don't ask me why ... I just really like playing them ... and once I get playing one it becomes all I think about ... therefore I stay away (facebook, instagram, and blog-stalking are all the addiction I need right now) ... So ... this week ... I haven't stayed away ... every night I have made the conscious decision to play ... R thinks it's cute so he likes to watch me ... I get tuckered out by ten anyway these days. So I have played ... instead of written ... so sue me ... I will catch up now ... hello at least two posts ... maybe three!

So ... lets first do a catch up session ... a mini session ... so ... those of you who have seen me have commented about my glasses ... or lack thereof. When I saw my best friend on Thursday I told her the reason I haven't blogged about my eyes yet ... I haven't been brave enough ... I know what you are thinking ... how can someone who bears their soul about everything in their life not talk about the wellness of her eyes? Well ... the reason ... I don't want to sound like a complainer ... losing my sight is dang near the top of my list of biggest fears ... and apparently I could be headed that way ... but I digress ... I will start from the beginning ... I talked about the infiltrates (the white blood cell snowflakes) ... then the bumps on my eyes ... I talked about being stuck in glasses ... but what you haven't heard in the rest ... so here goes ... I went to the eye doctor for a third and final time last Wednesday ... everything was looking good as far as my infection went ... He was about to dilate my eyes for the exam (after he checked to see that everything was back to normal) ... but then he saw something ... He told me that he wanted to take a picture instead ... he told me that he would pay for it (yeaaa ... you know something is up when a doctor tells you he will pay for something) ... so he took the pictures and we went about the rest of the appointment ... at the very end he told me why he wanted to take those pictures ... apparently he is highly suspicious of me having crystals growing in my nerves ... ok .. so what does that mean ... apparently there is a pin hole where nerves pass through and connect to your brain ... my hole is mounded ... there also appears to be little white things inside my nerves ... these things ... if they are crystals ... hold the possibility of growing in a way that will sever my nerve and will cause me to lose my sight ... good ol' doc has ordered me to get an ultrasound on my eyes to see if his suspicious are correct ... here's the kicker ... even if his suspicions are correct there is nothing they can do about it ... the whole eye technology hasn't advanced enough to do anything about ... the best thing he would be able to do for me is give me an eye drop for glaucoma patients that strengthen the nerve ... then we pray that these crystals don't grow too much. So yea ... not scary ... well ... for me it is ... but what I really hate is complaining ... I know in this blog I talk about hard things (and some of it may sound complainy) ... but that is purely to help others in similar situations .. yanno ... get the word out ... maybe make it easier for someone. Either way ... I will just say that is ridiculous that I am falling apart at 24 years old ... especially my eyes ... I don't now how long I maintained it ... but for my whole life I have always said that my favorite thing about myself is my eyes. .

Ok ... away from complaining! Lets talk about happy things! The week went on as usual ... we built forts and played with makeup ... we gone to the library and been blessed enough that it has not snowed yet and so we got to play outside with our friends! We went down to Ogden on Thursday and made invitations to my dear semi-sister (my bff's little sister) baby shower (holy cow ... her baby bump is adorable!) ... and saw my wonderful father in law Kirk who had surgery on his knee on Monday! Yesterday was mega fun though ... We ... and I mean as whole family when I say we this time ... got the opportunity to go with our wonderful friends the Swopes down to see the lights on Temple Square ... LOVE! It was so much fun (we really missed you Deans family!) ... not only did we see the lights and go to City Creek ... but we rode the train to do it! I know I keep saying it ... but it was so much fun! First ... the Swopes are great company ... I never feel like we run out of things to talk about ... and they have a little girl a little younger that E ... so we all have people to chill with ... R was a little anti-social ... but only because he has been so ridiculously stressed at work these past couple of weeks ... his brain never functions quite right when he is stressed about work ... we still love him though!

R leaves on Tuesday for New York ... for ten days ... might as well be an eternity ... it is Suffolk county's go live ... usually R goes alone or with one other person ... this time there is five ... needless to say my New Yorkers didn't let me down in the temperament department ... This is a huge project for R and his company ... they specifically asked for R to come out ... and now he is the one they are yelling at ... it is all skeewompous ... stress ... I feel bad for him ... I was going to go with R for a week since this is such a long trip ... but I decided to do the responsible thing and stay ... E will be missing a lot of school when we go to Texas for Christmas (just wait for the recipes coming from the blog when we are there ... I have said my dad is a seriously amazing chef ... you will see) ... and so I decided to stay ... besides ... R will be so busy I will never see him ... he is expected to work until seven at night at the office and then after for things that need to be finished before the next day begins ... he will have no time ... and me being there ... I mean ... I will want to steal him away as often as I can ... I mean ... it is my very favorite place in the world ... Long Island and Manhattan ... love ... I will want to show him everything ... so we have decided that we will make a trip of it together ... that way he won't have to work ... he can meet both people from my moms side and my dads side ... and he can feel the amazing electric energy of the city! We will go somewhat soon ... so don't worry family ... we will be there!

And now ... I leave you with pictures to end this post:

I showed the makeup on facebook ... here is the hair that I did to go with it (after I discovered here)

Soccer player maybe?

Fort ... took up almost our entire living room ... when R is gone we plan on making it again and sleeping in it!


The conductor guy with no teeth let the girls see where they run the train

The girls got a set of seats all to themselves

R and I on the train

City Creek Mall

Girls with tired little legs can hop rides with their daddys! (unfortunately this is practically the only picture I got of the Swopes ... the profile of Jared ... friend fail!)

family in temple square

One more just for fun

This is just one tree ... holy cow ... can you imagine how long that would take?!?!

... I love to see the temple ... 

Girls waiting for the "crazy" train ... aka: the trax that takes us to the other train

This poor guy ... there were no other seats on the train ... the girls were barking like dogs and climbing over the table and asking to play his phone ... good birth control ... he was a good sport though ... and we adults sure got a good laugh out of it!