"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind... We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith." -- Margaret D. Nadauld

Monday, August 30, 2010

Is Inigo A Serious Athlete?

Today was a crazy, hectic (HORRIBLE) day and Inigo almost missed his football game. I completely missed it due to some scheduling conflicts and I feel TERRIBLE about it! This story was relayed to me by Max, who skipped dinner so he could support our son:

The play was over and Inigo was left with the football in his hand. He walked over to the ref and acted as if he was going to hand the ball to him..

As soon as the ref reached out, Inigo pulled the ball away and didn't hand it over. Then he acted like, oh okay, here's the ball and he extended his hand again.

When the ref tried to reach for the ball, Inigo pulled it away... again.

I guess this went on for about a minute with Inigo laughing and the ref getting madder and madder.

I seriously wish I could have seen this.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some Firsts, Some Seconds

It was a big week in our house!

Inigo played in his first Flag Football game. (He did pretty well considering he missed 3 [YES, THREE] practices including his first scrimmage.) Yes, the official had to blow the whistle and stop play due to some miscalculations my boy made, but it was no big deal.

  • First of all, he forgot it was FLAG football and aggressively tried taking down members of the opposing team (go Inigo!)
  • He panicked when the quarterback handed the ball off to him and he looked up and saw all the members of the opposing team bearing down on him. He immediately shifted into self preservation mode. He threw that ball as far away from his personal body as he could. And since he wasn't quarterback.... they stopped the play. Darn.

(This reminds me of an old joke we used to tell:
Q: Why did they stop the leper football game?
A: There was a hand off at the 50 yard line.) A HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

He had a blast! The hardest part was they played a double header... back to back... and it was a VERY HOT day. He was exhausted at the end.

This week was also the first day of SECOND GRADE!! Woot! What an exciting time! He's no longer the "little kid" on the playground. Lunch is divided into two groups: 1st/2nd grade and 3rd/4th grade... so now he's BMOP. You can bet he and his friends RULE that playground at noon! (He has a REALLY GOOD group of friends and I know that they are very nice to the brand new first grade children!)

Yep! 2nd Grade!

His first day of school got off to a rocky start by missing the bus. It wasn't due to negligence on our part... we were ready to go. We have a new driver this year, and even though the route is the same, apparently she gets to determine what order she picks the kids up. She decided to get our neighborhood FIRST, so she came 5 minutes earlier than we expected (which is actually about 15 minutes earlier than we caught it last year). We had just walked out the door to walk down to the stop and he yells, "MOM! THE BUS!!" He took off running down the street with me behind him yelling, "GOOD BYE!! I LOVE YOU!!" He was almost to the corner when it just drove away. Talk about feeling rejected!!

The consolation was that since she was SOOOO early, no one else made it either. An even better consolation was that he got to catch a ride with his friend's beautiful high school aged sister in her cool pick up. So, it wasn't such a tragedy after all.

**Note: After school I went to pick Inigo up and decided to talk to the bus driver. I told her that she just drove away and left him when he was almost there and she said -- non concerned -- "Well, he wasn't there when I came back." Ummmm..... how do I respond to that?!? We thought she might come back, so we waited another 15 minutes at the bus stop, but we didn't see her! Then I asked her what time she would be picking kids from our neighborhood up each day. She will be here 35 minutes before school starts. We live a minute and a half drive from Inigo's school. He won't be riding the bus. I prefer he had a leisurely morning AT HOME, not sitting on a bus. For the time being, I'll be taking him.


I survived my first Pack Meeting. How would I describe it!?!?



Completely foreign.

Slightly insane.

I have a LOT to learn!

What's worse? Pinewood Derby is coming up IN A MONTH!!! Please pray for me!


This isn't a FIRST or a SECOND... It's a THIRD, but I'm throwing it in here! I am happy to announce that even though I didn't pre-order Mockingjay and even though I live in a small town where book store pickin's are slim, I was able to acquire a copy!! Yippee! But I haven't read it yet. I decided to start the series over and just finished Hunger Games. I'm going to quickly read Catching Fire before I allow myself the luxury of opening the cover of my new book. I am excited to see how it all ends!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nice Side Car

A recent conversation with Inigo:

"When were motorcycles invented?"

"Gosh. I don't know. A LONG time ago!"

"In the 1700's?"


"In the 1800's?"

"No. Probably around the same time they invented cars and motors."

"In the 1900's? Are you sure it wasn't the 1800's?"

"Yes. I'm certain."

"What about Carnal Clustard?"

"Ummm.... huh?"

"You know, Carnal Clustard?"

"No, actually I have no idea what you are talking about."

"Mom! Carnal Clustard is the guy who fought Sitting Bull and he rode a motorcycle with a side car!"

(Inigo thinks the history taught in Night at the Museum is accurate.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wild Wild West

Somehow the end up summer crept up on us and we are in the middle of our last full week of vacation. Ugh. It's no secret that I hate fall and I hate, HATE, HATE sending kids back to school. Schedule? Consistency? Order? Who needs em? I've always done better in chaos and disorder. I like getting up in the (mid) morning not knowing what's coming.

But, I love my children, and as such, need to send them to school simply because (for us) that's where they'll grow, increase their knowledge and improve their social skills.

That doesn't stop me from wishing I could have them home with me all the time. That doesn't stop me from wishing that summer vacation was longer and school months were shorter. That doesn't stop me from cramming a whole lotta summer worth of activities in one short week.

Yesterday we went to The Hole.... you know.... over by the big tall mountains? Inigo and I went with Shackie and Little Miss Dolittle. We went just to explore. We don't spend a lot of time over there and since Shack spent her childhood there, she's the perfect person to take us and show us around!

It was a wonderful day! We kicked back and relaxed and kept no schedule.... Just the way I like it.

Aren't these mountains beautiful?!?!

Here's my skinny kid swimming in one of the shallow (i.e. WARM) lakes. I figured, you only live once, so I let him go all the way in... He can dry out later, right?

Can you see him laid on on the log drying? If it weren't for his shorts, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be able to! Man, he's skinny!

Shackie and Miss Doolittle.

We saw this exciting wildlife! We were hoping it was a wolf, but its tail was too short. It was a coyote. We enjoyed watching it hunt for small rodents while a pronghorn antelope herd was eyeing it warily.

We had a scary thing happen while we were picnicking for lunch, though:

We went to a marshy valley where Shackie usually sees moose. We were hanging around, thinking that if we waited long enough a moose would come out and we'd catch a glimpse of it. We got hungry, so we grabbed our lunches out of the car and walked to a shady spot on the trail to eat. (Who needs a picnic table? We can rough it!!) Where we stopped to eat, there wasn't a very good view of the valley where the moose are, so Inigo and Shackie decided to go ahead on the trail to see if they could see any, leaving Little Miss Doolittle and I behind. We told Shackie if she saw anything, she should whistle and we'd come running.

Little Miss and I were quietly sitting there when we heard Shackie whistle. Cool! There must be a moose! We stood up to go up the trail when we saw Shackie and Inigo, panicked looks on their faces running as fast as they dared. Shackie said, "NO!! Don't come! Get the stuff!! We've got to go!"


She explained as we threw our food back into our bags: Apparently she and Inigo had found a side trail that went down the hillside. It was overgrown and extremely steep. Inigo is an adventurer and wanted to see how far he could get down that trail, so he asked Shackie if they could go. Initially, she said yes, but something stopped her. She told Inigo that maybe they'd better see if they could find out where that trail went before they went down it. Just then, the bushes began moving like a VERY LARGE animal was in them, then they heard a loud growl/snort. They took off running before whatever animal was in there could show itself.

We don't know for sure, but we suspect that instead of finding our moose, they found a bear. The picture blow is where we were. By the time we ate lunch, we were closer to the top right of the picture, where the trees get more dense. I know that moose will hang out on hills, but I don't know if they like to forage in dense brush on a hill that steep. Bears, however, will. We also know that the bears stayed low in the mountains this year. More people have seen bears in our National Park than ever before. It seems that almost everyone who has gone sees one. We also know that bears will grunt and snort a warning before they attack.

We also know that if you see a bear you shouldn't run away from it, but since we didn't actually see the bear, we felt completely confident that we could high tail it out of there!

I am so grateful that Shackie listened to the Spirit and stopped Inigo from walking down that path! Whether it was a bear or a moose or any other wild animal, I am pretty certain that he could have been injured -- most likely seriously.

I gave him a big hug when we got back to the car.

And in spite of it all, it was a GOOD DAY!!!


(This sunset has nothing to do with our trip to The Hole. We were lucky enough to enjoy this beauty Monday night. This was taken from my front yard.)

Your Arteries Won't Snicker At These!

It's been a long time since I've done a cooking/cookie blog. I guess that's because it has been summer and I've had a lack of time combined with a hot house that doesn't have air conditioning. I guess that's one reason -- okay the ONLY reason -- I don't like summer. My house gets extremely hot when I turn on the oven, so I have to seriously curtail any baking that I would normally do.

Most people suggest that August is the hottest month of all summer months, but I beg to disagree. That's simply not true on Florin. As a matter of fact, now that it's August, I can leave my windows open all day and sometimes have to close them at night because the temps are quite chilly. I know I'm not the only person to notice that many of the leaves on our trees already have a tinge of yellow in them. August is certainly the beginning of autumn.... which breaks my heart. Because I LOVE SUMMER!!!

With the dip in outside temperatures I get to increase the internal household temperatures.... i.e. I get to turn my oven on!!! I celebrated this by making a sumptuous dessert.... no, it's not a cookie, it's a cupcake!! But it's oh-so-good that I have to share the recipe! My sisters found it on My Baking Addiction and sent it to me. Wees made these the same night I did... so we were twin baking in the Mid-west and west.

However, before you bake these, I need to encourage you to have your cardiologist's phone number programmed into your speed dial... the recipe has ONE CUP of vegetable oil, ONE CUP of sour cream and 4 EGGS mixed into a cake mix! Well, at least you will die happy, right?!?

Snickers Cupcakes

1 pkg devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 oz) pkg instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs; lightly beaten
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla
24-30 FROZEN Snickers Minis Candy Bars

Preheat oven to 350*.
Line (2) 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners
In large bowl, mix together the cake, pudding, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, vanilla and water.
Evenly divide the batter amongst the prepared pans.

(My Baking Addiction uses a 3 TBSP cookie scoop to fill the papers. I only have a 2 TBSP cookie scoop, so I adapted.)

Gently push a frozen Snickers mini into the center of the batter and smooth the surface making sure to cover the candy bar with batter.

Bake 18-22 mins, or until top is springy and a wooden toothpick comes out clean
Cool cupcakes on wire rack.

(You will find that this recipe acually fills all 24 cupcake liners! I think, you could fill even more than 24. When I make this again, I will put less batter in each liner and fill an extra 6. I found that the cups overflowed when baking.)

Caramel Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter; softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar (I figured that was 4 - 4 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup caramel topping; plus more for drizzling
1/4 tsp salt
(Wees used salted butter and omitted the salt from her recipe and it tasted wonderfully!)

Cream the butter and shortening. Add the vanilla, salt and caramel syrup and combine well.
Begin adding in the sugar, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
(I was surprised that I didn't need to add milk or water, but with that much butter, I guess it wasn't needed!)

After all the sugar has been added and mixed, taste it and decide if you want to add more caramel syrup.
Garnish with chopped Snickers bars and a drizzle of caramel syrup.

The recipe was on iRis the iPad, so I kept it nearby for reference!

The end result is DELICIOUS!! I initially didn't enjoy the caramel icing, but after eating it on the cupcake, I found it was the perfect companion to the chocolate cake.

If you'll excuse me, I have the EMT's waiting at my door with a crash cart.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Now THAT'S Funny!

Muwahaha HA HA HA HA HA HA
He He He He He He
Ho Ho Ho HO Ho HO Ho Ho HO
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha
I got a new calling...
He HE He He HE He He
Ho Ho He He Ha Ha Ha
{{big breath}}
(now can I cry!?!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Am I Old Enough For This?

My daughter is 18, a graduate of high school and a soon-to-be-student at Cosmetology School. She is my eldest child. I certainly don't feel much older than she is. I am, however, a logically thinking person and I know that there is absolutely no way I could be 20 years old and still be her mother. So -- logically speaking -- I am old enough to be the mother of an 18 year old.

Yet, when the 21 year old RETURN MISSIONARY came to the door tonight to take my baby girl on a date, my insides were screaming....

As I shook his hand and introduced myself to him, I was thinking, "Dude, we're the same age, do you really want to take my little girl on a date? Isn't that against the law?!?!"

Besides the fact that he must be some kind of miscreant for wanting to date such a young girl, he seemed quite nice and charming and completely friendly. So I swallowed my protests, put a smile on my face and told them to have a good time as I closed the door on them.

Then I ran to the mirror to take a look. Yep, wrinkles around the eyes, saggy bosoms, plenty of gray hair and a couple chins.... DANG IT!!!

It turns out that yes indeed,

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Here is another funny conversation that Inigo and I had yesterday:

"Mom, is Dad home yet?"
"Where is he?"
"I don't know. I haven't heard from him all day."
"Oh no! ...
Is he gone.....?
Is he dead.....?
(with mounting horror/concern in his voice)
Because if he's in prison, that will make me cry!"

I had to ask him why he thought that Dad might be in prison, and he said that someone could accuse him of committing some crime....

I realized that he watches too much TV.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Michael Jackson Moves....?

Inigo LOVES music. He always has. For instance, when he was a baby -- a very busy baby -- we would be watching General Conference on TV and he would be crawling around, getting into everything.

That is, until the Choir began singing. He would immediately stop what he was getting into, manoeuvre himself to the front of the TV and just sit there, on his haunches, listening to the golden voices sing. The minute the hymn was over, he'd be off on his next mischievous adventure ... until the Choir would sing again, when he would hurry back to watch and listen. He would do this every session, every time.

When he was older -- almost 4 years old -- I enrolled him in a dance class. He LOVED it! He loved that he could move his body to the rhythm of the music. He took formal dance classes until one year ago, when it became just a little "too girly" for him (the ballet part of the dance was NO FUN!)

The last dance recital he participated in was themed on Michael Jackson (the recital was about 6 weeks before MJ's death). That was LIFE CHANGING for him!! He fell in love with Michael Jackson's music and his dance moves. His favorite movie was This Is It and he would sit for hours watching MJ videos on YouTube... until his aunt gave him a DVD of MJ's videos... now he can watch them on TV all day long.

I am looking for a hip-hop dance class to enroll him in... per his request. It's not very easy to find them in our town where ballroom and ballet rule. I've offered to pay for ballroom lessons but he's NOT interested!

Last week there was a street festival in Florin, with a big community dance in the evening. Even though we had been at the festival for several hours, Inigo desperately wanted us to hang out and wait until the dance started. MY BOY WANTED TO DANCE!!! This was an opportunity for a memory that we didn't want to miss, so even though we were tired, we stayed.

The music started....

My boy began to wiggle...

"Come on, Dad! Let's dance!"

Max wasn't quite as inclined as Inigo. Max doesn't have the rhythmic timing Inigo has. He feels a little more awkward about it. Interestingly enough, Inigo didn't ask me...

Buttercup was standing a few feet away with a group of her friends. Inigo ran to them and asked her friend to come dance with him. She willingly came, but she didn't understand his moves and he felt frustrated when she wouldn't dance exactly the way he told her to.

Finally, he just started dancing on his own. I couldn't help but record it. You'll see that he is happily channeling MJ, in the middle of Main Street, in the land of Florin.


He's Got Da Moves! from Witch Valerie on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Blurbing About Outdoor Living

What's the date today?


Yes, August!!! June is over... July is finished... August is here. It's the month that school starts again. It's the month where the weather starts turning colder. It's the last official month of summer.

It's August and this weekend was the FIRST weekend in the summer of 2010 that our family could go camping!

GAH!!! That's terrible!

Since Buttercup is 18 now and since she just loves camping (NOT!), and since she just started a job, we left her home and the three of us (plus Lola dog) headed to the land I love best. I also took along iRis my iPad. (Yes, I named my iPad.)

Usually, I'm EXTREMELY OPPOSED to the use of electronic devices while we are in the mountains. Thankfully there is no cell coverage where we go, so that is never an issue. Also, I'm vehemently opposed to TV's, and DVD players of any kind while we're up there (I laugh at people that take their portable DISH satellites and hook them to their RV. I don't understand why they would take all the time and effort to drive up to the mountains, just so they can sit inside their motor home or 5th wheel and watch TV. Can't you do that at home?)

I took iRis because that's where the book I'm currently reading is located (Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter). And since I had iRis, I thought, why not do a little Facebook/Blogging about our camping trip? If I used Twitter, (which I don't) these would have been my Tweets during the weekend:

  • Dang mosquitoes! Whoever told me they were dead is a LIAR!!!
  • I am so happy to be camping in Montana
  • If you pull into a campground after 10 pm, and if you drive a diesel truck, please turn it off!
  • I am happy to be camping in Montana!
  • I miss Buttercup!
  • $@#!! mosquitoes (and horse flies)
  • Terrible night sleeping. Stupid knee hurts and we blew the air mattress up too much and it's too hard.
  • Yummy breakfast casserole!
  • I HATE MOSQUITOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Inigo, please pee on a tree FAR from camp!
  • $#@!!!! horse flies!! Who invited you along?
  • Just watched 3 bald eagles flying. Was that a baby with them?
  • There is an osprey fighting the eagles!!
  • So beautiful
  • Trailer awning just about took my head off in a gust of wind. Maybe I should move.
  • Smoke follows beauty. (cough, hack, cough)
  • Thunder storms in the mountains are WONDERFUL!!
  • Jiffy Pop popcorn cooked on the camp stove and eaten around the fire.
  • Star light, star bright... There are a gazillion stars in the sky when you don't have the city lights dimming them.
  • Going to bed at 58*. No, wait... is it 61*? Oh, the clouds are rolling in.
  • Reading a passage from my book to Max was met with deafening silence. The two paragraphs that I found stirring and beautiful, put him to sleep.
  • Laying in bed with a throbbing knee, listening to all the sounds outside. Hoping there isn't a crazy bear on this side of Yellowstone Park that wants to drag us out of our trailer and eat us. (No disrespect to the poor families of those who were injured and killed last week in Cooke City.)
  • Did we get the fire put all the way out? Mostly certain. Too cold to check.
  • I miss Buttercup. I hope she is feeling better.
  • Next time we come camping, if Buttercup doesn't come, we are leaving Lola Dog home with her!!!
  • Don't forget to check for ticks!
  • Ummmm.... WHO STINKS!?!?!
  • I love the second night of camping! I usually sleep so well!
  • Miraculous Ibuprofen! It's almost like I have a new knee! (Well, it's about 80% better.)
  • Shooting the pellet gun... I'm the only one to hit a target! Two shots = two hits! ... Make that three for three! How many have you hit boys? (None!) tee hee

Shortly after we put the pellet gun away, we left the campground and came home. What a great weekend! We are debating whether or not we'll go again next... maybe every weekend during the month, to make up for lost time!?!

My two favorite pictures from the weekend.

This is the culvert we climbed in for the pictures. It's right off the highway and it has a beautiful DEEP pond that is fed from the beautiful stream and waterfall (next picture) -- snow melt. I've wanted to stop here and take pictures for YEARS!

Another of our stops. Of course Inigo couldn't take the designated path to the top. It's all about exploring. (And he chose to take and wear his pirate outfit this weekend.)

This is Inigo's redneck/pirate/angry face with a pellet gun picture.

Finally, this is how Inigo hit his target! HA HA HA HA!!!

"The awning that tried to take my head off."