A Child’s Prayer

The last two nights, this has been part of our sweet Hannah’s prayer: “…help us to be thankful and nice to people that are mean, that we don’t know…” The first night she said this Rob asked her what that part was about, and she said, “someone was mean to Mommy on the phone and we don’t know them.” I told Daddy how Hannah and the girls helped me feel better and we gave her a big hug.

Hannah was in the room with me when I hung up the phone from Mom #1’s call. Actually, all of the girls were. They asked me why I was crying and I said that someone was mean to me on the phone. They asked who it was and I told them that they don’t know her. Which is true because I don’t even really know Mom #1 or Mom #2. I just know who they are.

We happened to have a Family Home Evening lesson that same day on how being Popular doesn’t matter, and how we should not carry what others say about us in our “backpack” because it will just make our life more difficult. I’ve told my kids not to talk about it with their friends and that Mommy is fine now. I’m a little nervous for Sunday. I hope the Moms haven’t mentioned anything to their kids so they don’t say anything to mine. We’ll see how it goes.

By the way, I love this DVD we’ve been using that’s short presentations by John Bytheway. He’s a youth speaker that I remember hearing when I was in high school too. He has a great sense of humor and a strong testimony that really appeals to the tween/teen age group. It’s called Family Night with John Bytheway. Our kids love it and beg to watch more, but we only do one at a time to keep them interested. Highly recommended!

PS. A new friend dropped by yesterday with cookies for my family. She has an infant and older children in school. She said she took them to be tested for pertussis and thanked me for the notice. :)

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Lunch Transformation

Packing school lunches- so glad we don’t have to do that again for a while. School is out, and I meant to post this when it was more relevant, but now is when I have the time. So here we go.

Here is my wonderful, lunch-making husband. When we moved here we were disappointed that we could no longer walk to school, but had to drive. And on top of that we had to be out the door 45 minutes earlier. Since neither Rob or I are really the type to jump out of bed in the morning, making lunches was almost impossible to do while getting the kids breakfast and ready for school. So we decided that I would be the driver and Rob would be the lunch maker. He decided that it was easiest to prepare a weeks worth of  shelf-safe-starter-lunches on Sunday night and put them in a cupboard. Then each night he would make sandwiches and add in just the refrigerated items. The finished lunches were put on the top shelf in the fridge and we could just grab and go in the morning. (Notice the beautiful homemade bread for sandwiches?! Rob made that. I love it when we run out of bread on Sunday!)

When we made up so many lunches at once we realized that we went through a ton of plastic baggies and paper bags. I don’t count myself as an environmentalist, but it was a surprise to see how much trash we were generating.  As I was contemplating this, I came across a great deal at Easy LunchBoxes.com through Jasmere -a website that provides discounts where the more people that commit to buy, the lower the prices are. It was a little confusing at first that I was actually buying vouchers to use in the store, and not the products themselves, But eventually I got my lunch boxes and we have been using them for a while now.

Usually we stick with the PB&J sandwiches, string cheese, a fruit or veggie, and a couple of cookies as the standard menu. Above is a day that I was feeling adventurous and used pita pocket bread and gave them all cheese and either pepperoni or roast beef to go inside. It wasn’t a huge hit with the kids, but I tried.

So here’s a breakdown of my experience going to the container lunchboxes:

PROS:

  • Not so many baggies and paper bags
  • It’s faster to line up the trays and just drop things in
  • Sandwiches, strawberries etc. don’t end up squished
  • The kids bring them home so I know what they did and didn’t eat
  • They stack nicely, so they take up less space in the fridge
  • Everyone has their own color lid so we can tell which belongs to each picky eater
  • The cooler bags are big enough to add in extras that don’t fit in the tray
  • The lids are easier for kids to open and close than plastic baggies.

CONS:

  • The bags are bigger than a standard lunch bag and are awkward to fit inside a backpack
  • Washing the trays and lids (although they do great in the dishwasher)
  • If we put things like cookies or crackers in the trays and overnight in the fridge, they end up soft the next day. So we still use some baggies.
  • It’s a big initial investment. I wouldn’t have done it without the great deal I got.
  • The trays are just barely the wrong size to be able to put a fruit cup in and close the lid tight. Since you can’t put canned food in a compartment without making a sticky mess that would be handy.
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Our Favorite Hotel

holidayieI’m still trying to get to my Halloween pictures, but in the mean time I thought I would do a quick review of our favorite place to stay when we travel – The Holiday Inn Express! We first discovered it through our AAA (another company I highly endorse) book when we drove across the country for our move to North Carolina. Back in those days (was it really only 7 years ago?) there wasn’t the availability of information like there is now with Blackberries and i phones. So we became members of AAA and loaded up on travel books and maps.

The first time we stayed in a Holiday Inn Express we were very impressed. It was kept very clean, had a nice large rain-down-on-you type shower head, cleansers and lotions that have a slight cinnamonish smell, beds and pillows that are comfortable, and a great little free breakfast bar with things from cereal with yogurt or fresh fruit to eggs with bacon. The best part is that the cost of staying there is the same as their inferior competition. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not magical, but we love how it is consistently predictable in cleanliness and comfort for a family wanting an affordable place to stay on the road.

On this move down to San Diego we had one night in between loading our stuff on the truck and unloading it at the new house. We stayed in the HIExpress in San Clemente and it was beautiful, having just been remodeled, and was just as impressive as the others we have stayed in through our travels.  After another successful stay with them I thought I would give them my official  thumbs up and seal of approval. Next time you’re looking for a great place to stay I suggest checking to see if there is a Holiday Inn Express nearby and if there is, go there!

PS. We are loving our new home and have just the office and garage left to unpack. We miss our friends and family, but have found everyone at church and at school to be super friendly.  It has made the transition so much easier!

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Tradition and Topol

Last night Rob and I went to opening night of Fiddler on the Roof starring Topol! We saw an advertisement in the mall several weeks ago, and were surprised to see that he was still doing the role on stage.  Rob went online and got tickets for us later that day. He and I both love the film, and I remember even liking it as a kid because of the fantastic music. After a little reading I learned that Topol was just 30 years old when he appeared in the film and has played the part of Tevye on stage on and off for the last 40 years! He estimates that he has performed it more than 2500 times, and this is his farewell tour. There is just one more stop on the tour, so if you get a chance to see it, jump for it!

It really was an amazing experience to watch Topol as Tevye. He has such a wonderful voice both when he is speaking and singing, and even though we couldn’t really see facial expressions from our second-row-from-the-back-seats, we could really feel the emotion and personality of his character. And of course the rest of the cast was fantastic as well. It was, I think, the only time Rob has ever, and will ever, voluntarily sit for a three hour performance and not get fidgety. Afterwards, we topped off this unforgettable night with a stop at the Wienerschnitzel-Tastee Freeze and picked up some ice cream. When we do a night out, we go classy all the way.

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Guess What I Am?

I finally got my photo gallery caught up through May, and came across some fun things that I haven’t shared. One of them is the game Guess What I Am. It really is “hilarious fun for everyone.” We love this game because even Sabrina can play along without having to team up with Mommy or Daddy, and we can play it really quickly in just one round when we’re short for time, or do several rounds and make it a full game. It gets you thinking and sorting in your mind because you are trying to figure out which person or animal you are by only asking questions, but it doesn’t feel like learning because it’s so fun. We all highly recommend this game!

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Lights on Broadway

Hunter and Emma just finished their two-week run performing in Lights on Broadway 2008, a production organized by some very talented women in our Stake. It was a great show and Hunter and Emma just loved being a part of it. Everything was so well organized, it was a whole show of Broadway numbers and it was great fun to watch. They practiced for months and it really showed. Amy did an amazing job too, running the kids back and forth for all their practices and getting their costumes all put together.

We got really lucky because one of the weekends that they were performing was the weekend of Emma’s baptism so we had all the grandparents here as well as Uncle Marky and Aunt Melanie and even Amy’s Aunt Jeanette and Uncle Dan came down to see the show.

Emma was in four numbers: I Won’t Grow Up (from Peter Pan), Consider Yourself (from Oliver), Born to Entertain (from ???), and I Just Can’t Wait to be King (from Lion King).

Hunter was in Pick a Pocket (from Oliver).

Of course, I recorded all their songs and they’re here below for you to see how great they did. They were all group numbers so it’s sometimes hard to spot Hunter or Emma in the crowd. I used YouTube’s annotation feature to highlight where they are toward the beginning of most of the songs. We are so proud of Hunter and Emma for all the work they did for the show.

Hunter – Pick a Pocket

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zshEjYmM0O8

Emma – I Won’t Grow Up

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRvDmU6wlyo

Emma – Consider Yourself

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cuxCPSBBKc

Emma – Born to Entertain

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9NwpzvF3-8

Emma – I Just Can’t Wait to be King

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9r2Ehbv718

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