AG: ICK, UGH! AH . . .

Thursday has brought me to another thing I take for granted.  Today I am grateful for my immune system.  Because after using that public restroom earlier, it will be tested.  I am sorry immune system, please pull through.

Boys, Boys, Boys . . .”AG”

I didn’t forget yesterday to be grateful, I just ran out of time to post what it was I was grateful for!  Yesterday I was grateful for boys.  Yup.  Boys.  Specific boys.  Not that the girls in my life aren’t important, but the boys really stepped up to the plate.  And yesterday, I really needed that.

I am grateful to a boy that I have just recently become friends with.  We grew up in the same town, knew the same people, but we never had the opportunity to meet.  Now, 20+ years later we are friends (through Facebook) and seem to click well.  He is a great example to me, and my kids, who call him Uncle Springer.  He enlightens me with his experiences and makes me want to be a better person.  When I am down or struggling, he is there to remind me of my worth and to grace me with titles like “Mandi the Powerful”.    He provides me with literature that hits the spot for me right when I need it.  Every. Single. Time.  He can figure out what I need without me even knowing myself.   He reminds me that neither one of us believes in accidents, that we are here for a reason, and that we have become friends at this point in time in our lives for a purpose.  All from 2500 miles away.  (oh, and he has pizza delivered to my kids when he knows I need to take care of myself for a while, after surgery.)  Yesterday, when I was having a difficult time, he threw on his cape and came to my emotional rescue, again. I can’t wait to meet you.  I am grateful for you Springer!

The second boy is someone I have known for a long time.  More importantly he has known me for a long time.  This is no easy task by the way.  I have changed quite a bit since we first met.  So many life changing events have happened.  Moving, marriage(s), babies, hardships, heartaches, you name it, he has been there.  He will be the first to admit that he can be a biscuit-head and treat others with a little less respect than they deserve.  He will tell you that he is selfish and that he needs to grow up a bit.  I will be the first to agree with him and we can laugh it off and just accept each other for who we are.  There has never been anything romantic between us, more like a brother/sister relationship so it’s easy for either of us to tell the other the truth and be totally upfront.  The cool thing to me with this relationship is that he has known me from when I was a confident, social butterfly, independent teenaged Texas girl to now when I am a less confident, overwhelmed, crazy, homesick, mother-of-five kids living in Washington.  He never lost touch.  He keeps it real.  He reminds me of who I was and who I wanted to be.  He tells me, “you know what’s wrong with you?  you’re a happy person who doesn’t know it.  you need to snap out of it and realize just how happy you are, or could be.”  Greg appreciates how honest he is with me sometimes.  I miss you.  I can’t wait to see you again.

The last man I am grateful for is someone who has made all of my dreams come true.  He knows what I am capable of and pushes me to be that.  He hears my dreams and encourages me to acheive them.  He puts me in the paths of success and holds my hand when I am too scared to get there by myself.  He is my genie in the bottle that keeps granting me wishes, he is my confidant, my protector, my court jester, my nut gallery and cheerleading section all in one.  He is my Mr. Incredible, Mike Holmes, Iron Chef, and Buzz Lightyear.  He is a better wife and mother than I am by a long shot.  He brings an incredible spirit to our home and amazes me with his patience and calm personality.  I don’t know what I did to deserve him.  But I am glad that I did.  I am grateful for you Greg, you will probably never know how much.

There are other boys that I am grateful for as well.  My sons, my brothers-in-law, brothers, friends . . . but these 4 popped up out of nowhere yesterday when I really needed some extra bits of encouragement.  They have been on my mind and I felt the need to publicly let them know of my gratitude.  I’m sure I will have another post about the girls in my life.  There are so many people to be thankful for.  Thank YOU for sticking with me, if you have.  🙂  Happy belated hump-day.

Attitude of Gratitude. “AG” for Short.

Quiz:  which element does AG represent?

Okay, enough of that.  (but a quick shout out of thanks to Mr. Smith for helping me when it came to the pesky Periodic Table.  You were an awesome teacher)

Day #2 of AG.  Have you done any thinking about what you are grateful for?  Have you?  Besides the usual “family, home, cars, jobs, health, education, friends . . .” have you seriously thought about it?  It’s hard.  Here are my picks for today:

I am grateful for books.  I have a list of places that I would like to visit, but they are all in the ‘someday’ category and there are just times that I need to get away now!  Books help me do that.  I can choose to be whomever I want to be, go wherever I want to go, and be in any situation I want to be in.  Right now I am Sadie and Carter Kane in the YA book The Red Pyramid.  I love Rick Riordan.  Oh, another reason why I love books is because I can learn anything that I want to learn.  Sweet!  And have you noticed how many places you can get a book?  Buy it at a bookstore, check it out from the library, borrow from a friend, Kindle, Nook, so many ways to read.  Love. It.  Join me on  and we can talk books.

I am grateful for gas.  Be quiet.  Fuel.   Geez.  I live in my car, bus,suburban, so having a full tank of gas is warmth to my heart.  I don’t have time to go fill it up so my husband is always good to leave me with enough to get me where I need to go.  Gas fireplace warms my body, which seems to be freezing more often lately.  Brrrr.  Gas stove cooks me my comfort food that warms my belly.  Side-note: convection oven lets me bake 3 cakes at the same time for Cake Pops which warms my soul.  (try them, trust me)  Go Gas!

And last, for today, I am grateful for my mommy gut.  Again, not what it sounds like.  Not the gut I got by becoming a mommy to five wonderful kids, oh no, that will be gone – – – someday.  The 6th sense that I have when it comes to my children.   It has come in quite handy often in raising these future world leaders I have in my home.  Thank you mommy gut!

Attitude of Gratitude: Day #1

The English author Aldous Huxley wrote, “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”  Sad.  So, per Pres. Monson’s  suggestion, I have decided to rise to the “Attitude of Gratitude” challenge.  Granted, not everything I am grateful for is earth-shatteringly bright.  But sometimes it’s the simple things that make my life easier.  They should not be overlooked.  For example, today I am grateful for paper plates, HOV lanes, and caller ID.  See, those items didn’t bring a tear to your eye or make you feel overwhelmed with emotion did they?  But, I bet as you read them you thought, “yeah, those are pretty great things!”  I can’t imagine a hot dog roast at my house without paper plates.  No, flippin’, way.  I would rather spend my time doing the s’more thing with the fam than in the house doing dishes.  Paper plates allow me the pleasure of burning my own marhsmallows and eating them one layer at a time.  Fabulousness.  Thank you paper plates.  (and plastic forks/knives/spoons etc.)

HOV lanes.  I cannot tell you how many times we have decided to go on a date that required freeway travel *during* rush hour traffic.  Poor timing on our parts.  However, due to the great HOV concept, we are most times able to fly right on past all of those poor people stuck in the mayhem of gridlock traffic.    Suckers.  Or we decide to go to Greg’s parents’ house last minute and we also get caught up in the Friday bumper to bumper dance.  Once we hit the areas that have HOV, we are all happy campers to slide on over to the left lane and get over that river and threw them woods just a little bit faster.  Thank you HOV lanes!

Caller ID.  Seriously.  I should not have to explain this one.  Especially right now, during election time.  QUIT CALLING!!!  YOU ARE NOT CHANGING HOW I VOTE!!!   I have to say here that phones are a convenience for ME, not you.  If you are calling me and we are eating dinner, in the midst of Family Movie Night, or reading – leave a message.  So, I guess that not only am I grateful for caller ID to avoid the phone calls I don’t want to participate in, but for the ability to postpone the conversations I *do*  want to have, but miss.    Thank you Caller ID, and voicemail.

What little things are YOU grateful for?  The simple gems that you take for granted every day but once you think about them you would feel a bit more frazzled without them.  Aren’t you excited to know that tomorow you’ll find out what else I am grateful for?  🙂  Be prepared, I have a craft in mind . . .

Finn’s Day Home With Mummy

This week is parent/teacher conference week at the kids’ elementary.  That means that Griffin (Finn), who is part time Kindergarten, doesn’t have school at all this week.  Okay, side note:  How ridiculous is this Kindergarten schedule:  all Monday, all Tuesday, every other Wednesday (starting at 10:50 and not the usual 9:25)?  So, he will have gone 11 days without school between last Wednesday and next Monday.  Grr.

Anywho, we are having friends, fellow Halloween lovers, over for Family Home Evening tonight.  Taco Bar.  Yum-O!  Griffin and I decided that since Colleen and Cameron are giving tonight’s lesson that we’d make the treat.  We got the idea from A Little Lovely.  I saw the picture this morning on her blog, but I didn’t read the directions, I just kinda did my own thing.  I’m not patient.  So, this is what Finn and I came up with:

separated Oreos, a sucker stick , some melted chocolate, and another Oreo to make a sandwich.  (I used the cream side of both Oreos to make it a double stuff)

Dip into the white chocolate melts (I found that these work better than white chocolate chips)  I did end up putting all of this in a tall plastic cup so the dipping was more even and went a little faster.  I put the suckers in floral foam then in the freezer for just  a few minutes to quickly dry them.  Remember that “I have no patience” comment?  Yeah, I didn’t want to work with dripping suckers.

I added the ‘bandages’ with a decorative tip and a frosting bag.  Then I dipped mini chocolate chips in the frosting and added them for ‘eyes’.

Standing in floral foam.

Love how this one surprised me with a mouth!

  Siamese Twins!

The whole fam damily.  Even our one-eyed creation, who Griffin loved so . . .

we gored him up a little bit.  🙂

I couldn’t let the other halves of the Oreos go to waste so I put peanut butter in between them.  I was going to dip them as well, but I ran out of melts.  🙁  Next time! 

6 o’clock can’t come soon enough . . .

This Week’s Treat

I took Atalie and Griffin to the bus stop yesterday and for some reason I started craving pumpkin.  Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate chips, pumpkin pie, pumpkin hot chocolate, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pudding . . . you get the idea.  So, even though I told Greg I was going to go ‘straight back home’ after the bus stop, I made a side trip to Albertson’s.  I grabbed 2 large cans of pumpkin because I didn’t know what the heck I was going to end up making when I got home.  Again, I got sidetracked and also grabbed some Jelly Bellies.  Pear, Berry Cherry, Watermelon, and Tangerine.  For this:

Then, walking down another isle, I saw a box of Mini Nilla Wafers.  {can you hear angels singing?}  I put a box in my basket.  As I was headed to the checkout I remembered a post I saw on a blog somewhere (sorry, I wish I could remember who you are so I could give you credit) and decided to try my hand at the cute and yummy treat they had made.  Back down the isles for some Hershey’s kisses and some dark chocolate frosting.  Yummy!  Oh, had to grab a couple of boxes of yellow cake mix that were on sale – – – you always need those on hand.   (are you catching on to my ADD here?  I swear, you can’t send me anywhere!)  Finally, with all my goodies, I headed home.

I ended up starting with the acorn treats I had seen on the blog.  Take your Kisses and unwrap them.  Then line up your Mini Nillas and make ‘acorn tops’ with the dark chocolate frosting.  (okay, she didn’t do that part, she just put the Kisses and Nillas together with the frosting without the detail, but I wanted more chocolate) and this is what you’ve got:

Do you see where I’m going with this?  I thought you did.  Now put the two pieces together with chocolate frosting and you have:

One is the loneliest number.  So . . .

I got tired of the acorns though, but not tired of the Nilla Wafers or dark chocolate so I sandwiched them together and dipped them in some melted chocolate chips.

Hello my bite-sized delights!

How about some accessories?

You know what?  I never did get around to making anything pumpkin.


Today is an awesome day.  For more than one reason.  10-10-10 only comes around every hundred years, so that is pretty exciting right?  I won’t live to see it happen again so, YAY!

Another really neat thing about today isn’t just the date, it’s what happened today that makes it special, and will forever stand out in my mind.  Today my Keegan passed the sacrament in church for the first time!  He has had the priesthood since he turned 12 in August, but because of vacations, sicknesses, and conferences today was the day that he got to practice one of his special gifts.  Not only that, but Greg and Cameron passed the sacrament with him so I celebrated 3 preisthood holders fulfilling one of their awesome duties in one day.  My wife/mommy heart was so full I could barely contain myself.  Okay, truth be told, I didn’t.  I wept.

I am so happy and feel blessed that I have the priesthood in my home and that my boys are worthy to hold this special and sacred calling.  If you aren’t a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and have no clue what I’m talking about, that’s okay.  The only thing that you truly need to understand is that this is a wonderful milestone. 

10-10-10 (the date)-3 (priesthood holders in my home that passed the sacrament today)-1 (proud wife/mom)


It’s no secret that I love baked goods.  When I found Bakerella online I was in total and complete awe.  I mean look at this:

Those, my friends, are heaven on a stick.  Basically you bake a cake, when the cake cools you crumble it up into a bowl and mix it with 1/2-3/4 of a can of frosting.  Refrigerate them, shape them, put them on a stick, then dip them into melted chocolate (or those candy melts for different colors).  I try to eat them in more than one bite, you know, to savor them.  But that only happens on the first one.  Any that I eat after that go down in one bite.  Disgraceful.  Our favorite combination is lemon cake with lemon frosting.  Thank goodness my computer is drool proof.

A couple of weeks ago I heard that Bakerella was going on a book signing tour and her second stop would be the Williams-Sanoma in  Bellevue, WA.  A mere 35 minutes away from me.  My old stomping grounds.  SO SUPER EXCITING!!!  Greg took the day off so we could go together, then spend the day putzing around.  He knew how fun book signings could be, he stood in line at a Costco to get a book signed by someone he looks up to, Alton Brown.  We love Alton.  I was glad that Greg did take the day off because unexpectedly we had a tag-along.  Griffin still wasn’t feeling well so he made the trip with us.

I was number 33 in line.  As we waited the staff of W-S would bring out samples of pecan pumpkin bars.  Sinful.  Evil people.  Bring out more, please!  At noon we were all rounded up into the store for 20 minutes of Q&A with Bakerella.

It was a small store, with other people there to actually shop and there were a lot of us gawkers, and Bakerella is short.  Thankfully Greg had the camera and was able to take good pictures.  She faced his direction a lot answering questions.  Even though there was only one person between me and her that one person was large.  Large people should be in back.  Just a thought.  Angie, Bakerella, brought her own photographer that kept snapping pictures, and the people who worked at W-S took pictures too.  I hope that I am in one of them since I was so close.  After the 20 minutes or so we were all told to go back outside the store in the order we were given and we would be brought back in for the signing 12 at a time.  Greg had been so great keeping Griffin happy.  They found the ship to play on, and Godiva chocolate.  Griffin brought back a wrapper from a free sample there, handed it to me and said, “scrapbook this.”  Okie dokie then my little memory keeper!  When it got to be my turn to go in the store Griffin wanted to have his picture taken with Bakerella too.  So . . .

Then I quickly shoved him to the side and said, “Alright, it’s mommy’s turn!”  Bakerella was gracious enough to allow me another picture with just she and I.  And, the fact that I literally pushed my child away for another picture made her laugh.  It sounds mean, but this was supposed to be my thing! 

Thank you Bakerella for being so inspiring.  Your story and experiences amaze me and your humility warms my soul.  Your creation of Cake Pops is genius and I appreciate the simple process of such a wonderful and versatile dessert.  My kids from 6-16 love them, and my friends from . . . well, I’m not going to tell you their ages, also love them.

Thank you Greg for taking the day off to spend it with me at a book signing.  I know that you  had fun as well, but it was really nice to spend that crazy time with you.  And lunch, back at the place where we had our first date (even though it was after the fact that we remembered), and driving around to all the places we used to hang out in.  You are the best friend ever.

And thank you Griffin.  You were such a trooper.  You totally deserved that Star Wars Leggo set we bought you.  And the $10 chocolate covered Oreos from Godiva (thank you for sharing), and the lunch at Red Robin with the blue balloon.  It’s not just any kid that would play along with his parents crazy whims.  You were spoiled because you help us spoil ourselves and you didn’t complain about the line being long or not liking where we were or that you were hungry or tired.  And you could have completely complained about all of that because I know you weren’t feeling well still.  So I thank you again.

Now, everyone, go buy the book or visit and go make some Cake Pops!  You will be addicted!

Cutco Knife Owners: Beware!

This is my Cutco Spreader. And this is my caution to all Cutco owners who love to use their spreader as much as I do (especially for PB&J):  DO NOT PUT THE SPREADER IN YOUR MOUTH AND PULL IT OUT TO GET ALL OF THE EXTRA YUMMINESS OFF OF IT!!!!  You will be tempted, but just put the spreader down and leave it.  I don’t know if you can see clearly or not, but there is a serrated edge on one side.  Note: THAT SERRATED EDGE *WILL* CUT YOUR MOUTH AS YOU SLIDE IT OUT.  And it will hurt.  Trust me.

You have been warned.