Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cost of Living Lessons

At the elementary school today, the third grade was learning about careers, cost of living and living within your means. Each child was randomly assigned a "job" and received a salary. Then the kids had to deal with their monthly expenses (they were given a list), and the goal was to NOT run out of money before they were done. They had to find a place to live and get transportation, buy clothes and groceries and more. Parents were asked to volunteer, as help was needed running the various tables. I was assigned the MEDICAL table. I wore a pair of scrubs I happened to have on hand, and brought some medical supplies and the boardgame "Operation" for props. In truth ... the kids really weren't too excited to buy medical insurance, but just like the new health care reform, some insurance was required for everyone. I handed out some bandaids to those who bought the higher end policies ... surprising how popular a simple bandaid could be. It was fun to go help out at the school and be a part of the kids learning life lessons.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I'm not sure where we originally picked up our gingersnap recipe. It's been in my family for as long as I can remember. They are nice and soft ... not rock hard like the packaged ones you buy in the stores. Our gingersnaps always seem to be a hit whenever we share the cookies and I'm often asked for the recipe. They are so delicious, warm and soft, right out of the oven. Of course the kids love the cookie dough as well, and I like to freeze the cookies then dunk them in milk. Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
4 cups flour
4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
Cream the shortening and sugar together. Add molasses and eggs and mix until blended. Combine the dry ingredients, then add them to the bowl and mix. Form dough into small balls and roll in cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.

Of course ... we always DOUBLE the batch. Eat them as soon as possible, or freeze them. You can keep the dough in the fridge for about a week and pull it out for fresh out of the oven cookies over the next few days too.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Circles

This is my waffle iron ... and I love it. I guess it just makes me feel like a chef. With this waffle iron, we've started a Belgian Blackham tradition of waffles pretty much every Sunday. We call them "Sunday Circles". I'm actually on my THIRD waffle iron in about as many years. The first time the waffle iron broke, it was my own fault. It was stored on the bottom shelf of the pantry and I dropped a heavy pan on it, breaking the handle. So we bought a replacement, and after a year of use (right after the warranty expired of course) a fuse blew and it would not heat up anymore. Gray and Landon tried a fix but we ended up throwing it out. I ordered a smaller Belgian waffle iron and tried it a few times ... but it just wasn't the same. For Christmas, my mother-in-law gifted me with a new "old" favorite and the Blackham Belgians are back in business.

This is my waffle mix ... I know, we should be making them from scratch. But we tried that, and several mixes, and THIS was the winner. It's not cheap, it's not that good for you nutritionally, but it tastes SO yummy! A hint of almond ... super easy ... just add cold water. The boys always try to call "first waffle" and they often end up fighting over it. I always need to "check" each waffle as I serve them to the boys (just ONE bite ... I want to make sure they taste good). Sunday Circles ... with the 11:00 or 1:00 start time, we have our big breakfast before church. When we're on the early schedule, we have a quick and easy breakfast and wait for waffles until after church (I've found I actually prefer this). Sunday Circles ... they are different than Saturday Circles, which will be another post at a later date ...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Pictures

We're not really big St. Patrick's Day celebrators ... but this year the kids did find some gold left by leprechauns and they had some St. Pat's Hats to wear. I got snapshots of the little guys and the big one ... but I didn't get Keaton or Callahan (Callahan refused to even wear green ... but I think the bands on his braces were green&gold... too bad it wasn't a basketball day, the new jerseys are green). Until next year ...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The "Mormy" Book

A while back, Cooper was given a small Book of Mormon. We had a second small one and Colton adopted it as his own. He calls it his "Mormy Book". We actually misplaced his original book, and after much searching, I finally just bought him a new one. Colton likes to take it to church, although more often than not he leaves it under his seat in primary, or in his primary class, rather than remembering to bring it home. He likes to carry it around the house too, and often he'll open it up and "read" from it ... although whatever he is muttering I'm pretty sure isn't actually coming from those pages. Colton seems to understand that we can receive instructions and commandments from this book, and he has actually used this to his advantage ... "My Mormy Book says that you are supposed to let me play with that Pokemon" he told Cooper .... hmmmm, I don't remember THAT being in there anywhere! (Just on a Colton side-note ... I don't know WHAT is up with that silly smile! But this picture does show off his "shortcut" ... aka haircut ... just compare it with the shaggy Colton picture from the recent " nose" post ... same silly smile though).

Friday, March 12, 2010

What a Racquet ...

Back in college, I took a racquetball class and really enjoyed it. When I was first married, I went and played with a neighbor each week. Last year, I bit the bullet and joined Gold's Gym ... just for the racquetball. It's been great though. Gray and I played 52 times last year. It's a fun Friday night date ... when the movies and restaurants are packed, the gym is pretty empty. Besides playing with me, Gray seems to have no lack of willing partners to play with, and our racquets have really gotten a workout. Gray has gone through two racquets, and mine just broke as well. So it was time for a new racquet (or two) ... is there really a difference between the $300 one (on SALE for $120) and a $20 one? Gray and I stood in front of the racquet display for quite a while, not knowing what to get. We decided to wait for one of the $25 off coupons that come in the Sports Authority ads most Sundays. I researched reviews and prices and finally decided on a nice racquet for Gray. Rather than make a trip into the store, I was just going to take advantage of the no tax and free shipping offered on the website for my purchase ... but then, I hit the list of online exclusions ...

um ..... that is pretty much EVERYTHING ... the racquet I wanted was E-Force, yup, that's excluded. Well, the second choice was Ektelon ... oh, that's excluded too ... let's see ... Head ... they had some of the cheaper ones ... nope, excluded .... Oh well ... I took a chance and went into the store and apparently while there still are SOME exclusions, it's not nearly as many, and I was able to pick up the racquet I wanted, with the $25 off (still ... $100 for a racquet!). Gray and I went to play and he even let ME use his brand new racquet. It was nice, very lightweight, I'm happy that he's happy with it. Unfortunately ... I don't know that I played any better *Ü*

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bye Bye Basketball

It's the end of basketball season ... well, at least until the Spring session starts up ... next week. Callahan has been so happy playing basketball all year round. During the winter months, he played the traditional Jr. Jazz (upper level comp, they came in 2nd place) and also played on a Superleague team (also came in 2nd place, just played that championship game tonight). The pictures here are all from that team... go Utes! Callahan had two practices and two games a week, and he LOVED it. Spring, Summer and Fall seasons are played at the Gene Fullmer Rec Center and I have to say I really like their basketball program. Callahan is our basketball boy! ... THANK HEAVENS for digital cameras! It's so hard to try and get any good shots ... on the court (and off!) *Ü* Check out the Basketball Backlog for the team photos through the years.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who Knows (Nose)

So as I got Colton dressed this morning, I noticed a smudge on his nose. I did the usual "mommy" clean attempt, licking my finger and rubbing ... and it didn't come off ... I realized it was a bruise. I couldn't remember him complaining of bonking his nose at all during the day yesterday. I had been gone in the evening hours, but checked with the kids and hubby, and they couldn't say that anything had happened. Who NOSE ... I mean "knows"? As I was catching up on my journal, I did remember that Colton and I had walked to the elementary school yesterday and after Cooper got out, I had let the kids play on the playground there for a while. Colton did take a tumble off one of the climbing towers. It was a pretty bad fall and he had cried, he indicated he had hit his head, but he pointed more to the back. So I don't know if that fall was the culprit, and it just took hours and hours for the bruise to form, or if something else happened. Who knows ... nose ...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Carpool Chaos

Being the designated chauffeur for the family, it's very nice when we're able to create a carpool to help eliminate some of the running around. Getting the kids to and from school is one of the main tasks. There isn't a bus, but it really is too far and unsafe to have them walk, so ... carpool. Sometimes it's easier said then done, especially if you have a large family. We have a suburban, but, we pretty much fill it up. If I don't have hubby or #1 son, I can fit in ONE extra ... two if one of the kids sit in the front seat. But anyone I carpool with needs to have room for THREE of mine. Luckily, I can usually find someone to work with. This year, I get my mornings off and I'm on pickup duty. Last year, my extra seats were filled by a couple of the girls next door. They had a very orderly rotation of who got to sit where (nobody wants to sit in the back). This year, with a couple of neighbor boys ... it's anything goes! It's a mad rush to the car, a race and push to open the door and plop into the prized seats. I've suggested taking turns, but to no avail. I have had to tell them to wait until I at least stop the car!

Unlike the school carpool, the preschool boys actually prefer the back seat! As I pick up a couple extra little boys on the way to and from preschool, they all move to the back ... the center seat, squished between the two carseats is the favorite spot. Go figure! The conflict comes when it is time to get out of the car and ring the doorbell. I try to keep track of who's turn it is, but with three kids and preschool just twice a week, it's hard.

Then there's the SCOUT carpool ... FIVE eight and nine year old boys! Even though it's a very short trip ... it is CRAZY!

And finally, basketball carpool. Callahan was asked to join a Taylorsville Superleage team. It's been a great experience, made better when his basketball buddy also made the team. I was happy too, I'd have someone to carpool with! And I even lucked out on my leg (the drive home), as the practice let out about the same time Daddy heads home from work, and it's right on his way... so I seldom even had to head out for these particular practices. The carpool also came in handy for a couple of games (benefiting both sides). I don't know if it's because the boys are tired after practice, or because there are only two of them ... but THIS particular carpool ride ... is very quiet, especially compared to any of those listed above!

I'm very grateful to have people to carpool with. Let's save a little time and gas where we can.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

No ... this isn't a post about the book or the movie "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" ... but rather a note about a certain little Blackham boy who has a well-worn, much loved, pair of striped pajamas. I can't recall if these were handed down from older brothers, I don't have a picture (in my head or otherwise) of Landon or Callahan wearing them, but that could just be influenced by the MANY actual photos I DO have of Keaton in them over the last couple years. These are just a few I found ...
This was Father's Day breakfast in bed ...
Decorating Easter eggs ...

With all the brothers (above) and camping (below) ...
The striped pajamas have made the rounds...

Now Keaton kept getting bigger, but the pajamas of course, did not. They are a size 7 ... he is now 9 ... but he just could NOT give up his striped pajamas. Part of the problem was that he didn't really have any replacements. As the older boys got bigger, they stopped wearing pajamas and just started putting on basketball shorts and a white t-shirt for bed. While Keaton would do this occasionally ... he would always revert back to his striped pajamas. About a week ago, after doing his laundry, I took the pajamas and put them in Cooper's jammy drawer. Not being able to find his striped pajamas, Keaton did put on his red basketball shorts and a white t-shirt without a fuss. But then, a night or two ago, Cooper found the striped pajamas in his drawer and came out wearing them... Keaton did NOT handle it well. We actually had to have Cooper go take them off. The last couple days, I've been looking all over to try to find some NEW pajamas for Keaton. After a couple of tries (I had to make some returns & then still had to put my sewing skills to use changing "pants" to "shorts") I think he is comfortable in a new pair (or two) of pajamas and perhaps ... at some point ... he'll even be able to say goodbye to his striped pajamas... but not quite yet.
Right now ... the striped pajamas are still in Keaton's drawer. He's not quite ready to see them on Cooper yet (and Cooper really does have plenty of pjs). Maybe I will take the striped pajamas and pack them away in the box that holds Keaton's baby stuff and treasures through the years. Keaton did NOT wear the striped pajamas last night, he wore one of the new ones ... and he looked different ... older ... bigger,
...and *I* miss the little boy in the striped pajamas :)
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