datestampUSESaturday, May 31, 2008

From One Adventure to the Next...

This week I cashed in my Mother's Day gift and went to the Red Mountain Spa in St. George. I could go on and on about how incredible the experience was; but I'll try my best to limit myself. My most thoughtful B surprised me with the getaway and I was able to go by myself. I was nervous at first to be alone for the week because I am such a social person and generally love to do these sorts of getaways with my girlfriends; but the time I spent with myself was absolutely invaluable. I was able to do a lot of contemplating, studying, relaxing, reading, exercising...all on my own timetable with no one else to worry about. How long its been since I've been able to live such a self-indulged existence! (I did meet a ton of great people from all across the country in my classes.) I logged over 10 miles in hikes, took meditation classes, read my book in a hammock, did tai chi and yoga on the red rocks in Snow Canyon...the list goes on and on. I hope to share some of the wonderful things I learned in future posts. The resort/adventure/experience earned *****/***** stars from me. I would recommend it 100% with no hesitation for everyone. The bottom line is, it was one of the greatest things I've ever done for myself and would have never done it without B's thoughtful gift and preparation. (He stayed home for the week to be Mr. Mom.) If you want to see little bits of my adventure, I kept a flickr journal of the week with my iPhone.


datestampUSEMonday, May 26, 2008

Amazing Survivor

This weekend my sister Kim planned an amazing adventure for our family: The Amazing Survivor. It was a perfect blend of the Amazing Race and Survivor tweaked just enough for a large family adventure. We left our house on Friday morning not knowing where the weekend was going to take us. After following several clues, we ended up in the beautiful Capitol Reef National Park in southern Utah. We had a great weekend of challenging hikes, fun games for the kids, smores galore, and cousins, cousins everywhere. Our only hiccups were Josie's ear infections and unpredictable weather - but it wasn't enough to stop us from having a good time. Thanks Smiley family for a terrific weekend.


p.s. I had so much fun with my camera. Life has been at such a hectic pace lately I've neglected my little Rebel friend more than I should. These are some of my favorite shots from our little adventure.

datestampUSEThursday, May 22, 2008

Old Time Rock and Roll

I apologize. I just had to do it for the kids. They are OBSESSED with this commerical. Buggie says, "I'd love to rock out with this guy." Meanwhile the girls are oogling, "He's sooo cute!"


American Idol Finale

We're re-watching the A.I. finale on the DVR for the third time. As expected, we're a household of sad girls that David Archuleta didn't win, but it was still a great show. My favorite part was Jack Black auditioning as a "Pip"; Kalli's favorite part was the Guitar Hero commercial with David Archuleta (which we have rewound at least a hundred times); Ella's was the Jonas Brothers' performance. Here's how our conversation went on that one:

Ella: Mom, the Jonas Brothers are rockers, so why do they always wear suits when they perform?
Mom: So they look handsome for all the girls who love watching them like you.
Ella: Well, it works.
(and then she proceeds to run around the room screaming..."I LOVE THE JONAS BROTHERS!")


Sailing in the City by the Bay

OATV is sailing the San Francisco Bay today...I SO wish I was there. Can we please do this again sometime when I can come along?


datestampUSEWednesday, May 21, 2008

Charlie and Lola...and Ella

Ella has the most stubborn front tooth that will not budge. Unfortunately for her (and our future orthodontic bills) her new tooth is growing in right behind it and now it has absolutely no motivation to move. She's quite freaked out about the entire matter and is reminding me of Lola in this darling book by Lauren Child - "My Wobbly Tooth Must Not Ever Never Fall Out".


datestampUSETuesday, May 20, 2008

Delicious Cupcakes

I had a birthday lunch with a few friends today and here is what I gave all four of them. Beyond the cupcake aspect (which I love of course, and hope they do too) I adored the packaging. Part of me didn't even care what was on the inside - that brown and pink box had me at hello.


More Spring Cleaning

I am excited. (No, not excited - that makes me sound really pathetic.) Let's try again - I am curious to try this sole plate cleaner for my iron. Supposedly it restores an iron coated with goo, to a shiny, goo-free, good as new iron. It can be purchased here.


datestampUSEMonday, May 19, 2008

Making me Happy

(Indulge me in my list-making obsession, won't you please?)
  • kids having fun at the Bonneville Bash
  • placing my red and white flowering pots on the front step
  • dreaming about the porch that will replace that silly stooped step (try saying that 10 times fast)
  • this bird and her sisters that I purchased at the Beehive Bazaar
  • Ikea
  • lunch dates
  • Josie's peach fuzzy hair
  • blogging
  • my marriage
  • all the fabulous reactions to my "I saved a dog's life" story

Julius Cruiser

My friend Kristin got this amazing Julius cruiser from her family for Mother's day. I asked her to ride by my house so I could ooohh and aaahh. Isn't it great?


datestampUSESunday, May 18, 2008

Afternoon Project

datestampUSESaturday, May 17, 2008

The Good Life

  • selling our old patio set
  • 2 soccer games
  • 2 swimming lessons
  • sharing a red velvet cupcake with a friend
  • freshly mowed lawn
  • lemonade stand
  • pedicure
  • planting pots
  • celebratory slushies at Sonic
  • finding treasures at EmilieJayne
  • Costco with the fam
  • herbert panini and Juno with hubby

datestampUSEFriday, May 16, 2008

My first dabble into craigslist...

has been successful and I can see how it could get rather addicting. Especially after my "spring cleaning" post. I am totally in the "get rid of" mode. If you haven't tried craigslist, I highly suggest you find an item (or 10!) and try it out. If you can upload a picture, you can create a listing. It is that simple.

(WARNING: I'm not going to win any photography awards for these photos, please no insults.)

So far I've sold 2 of these:

datestampUSEThursday, May 15, 2008

Baby J


9 Months
16 lbs. 15 oz.
28 inches

She can clap her hands, she loves her johnny jump up that hangs in the doorway, she can sit-up on her own, she rolls and rolls to get somewhere (no crawling yet and mama knows better than to be sad), and she has a mean crescendo that eventually turns into a scream. She loves all solid baby food, makes the cutest face when she purses her lips, and doesn't give her smiles freely away to anyone outside the 5 faces that live permanently in her world. Happy 9 month day baby J.


Note to self

Dear Anna Marie,
I know each time you attempt to leave the house it is pure chaos. After you've made yourself presentable, dressed Josie in a smashing outfit, and found both of Max's shoes - one in his locker and one in the toy box - you must be certain you have everything ready for your little outing. Do you have your returns and your grocery list? Check. Do you have your reusable grocery sacks? Check. Do you have a diaper, wipes, and a bottle for Josie? Check. Do you have a toy to entertain her in the car seat? Check. Do you have Josie? Check. Do you have your keys, sunglasses, purse, and iPhone? Check. Oh, the battery is almost dead on the phone...better run and get the car charger. Check. Did you make sure Max is NOT bringing his favorite hotwheels? Because if he sneaks them out of the house, they usually end up zooming across the smooth linoleum shop floor, under some fixture, never to be retrieved and thus leading to a meltdown. Check. Okay, I know this can be a little overwhelming at times. The brain space to keep track of all these "things" seems to be diminishing by the day. However, I have a request of one more item for you to remember to bring on your daily outings: your camera. You'll thank me when you find an absolutely stunning red and blue building as you are driving one block from the train tracks (that's another story for another day) and you know it would make a killer backdrop. If you do remember your camera, you'll be prepared for an unforgettable impromptu photo session. (You always have the best subjects; that is if you've remembered to bring them both.) So next time, with your camera bag in tow, you won't have to use your dinky 2 mega pixel iPhone camera to capture what could have been a stellar shot.


datestampUSEWednesday, May 14, 2008

Oh how ye tempt me

Ah now how am I supposed to pass up this delightful little neck candy when they've gone and put my initials on it? There's some other fun stuff here for others who may not have the coolest initials ever.


datestampUSETuesday, May 13, 2008

Cleaning and Organizing

I was asked to give 5 tips for spring cleaning and decluttering for an organizational handout that was being compiled. Here is what I contributed:

1. With small children, I find it easier to do a lot of the decluttering of smaller items while they are at school or at a play date. They never seem to miss what I get rid of. I do have them help me with some bigger items and older toys and clothes because it is a good chance to teach them not to be attached to things.

2. I try use the 3 pile rule when I'm cleaning out a room or closet: 1. Throw away 2. Donate 3. Keep If it is something that I am on the fence about I try to do 2 things. First, I move the location of the item (for example, from a closet to a cupboard or somewhere else where it is more accessible to see if I will actually use it more) and second, I date the package or box it is in. Then, the next time I go through the stuff I can get rid of it if I still haven't used within 6 months to a year.

3. Another motivator I have used to help me dejunk is donating to a garage sale for a cause. For example, for the last few summers my nephew has been raising money for a choir trip back east and they have had a garage sale to help raise some money. Sometimes I have an easier time getting rid of stuff if I know it is going to help someone for a good cause.

4. During the spring, I try and take one room a week so I can get on with life and still get some of that cleaning accomplished without feeling overwhelmed. I do a lot of the decluttering myself and then have my kids come in and help with the actual cleaning of their rooms. Washing windows, baseboards, vacuuming - you name it. I even get Bryce involved! I can't move those beds to vacuum under and behind by myself!

5. Most importantly, I am trying my best to BUY LESS - really evaluating if what I'm purchasing will become that "junk" I'm going to want to get rid of in 6 months.


datestampUSESunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day

When I was in elementary school, I won a Mother’s Day Essay contest and was able to take my mom to a Mother’s Day brunch. I cannot recall what I said in that essay, but I’m sure I was na├»ve enough to believe that I could actually write something that might capture my mother in words. Twenty-five or so years later, I know to embrace that fact that no mother will ever be accurately described or appreciated in mere words. That said, as mother myself I know that words are the most sincere, precious and often the most treasured of all gifts – especially when they are taken straight from the heart and placed onto paper. My humble attempt at a motherly tribute this year goes as follows:

Mom, thank you for…

Teaching me to make homemade chicken noodle soup
Clapping the rhythm over my shoulder during piano practice
Being the queen bee
Not wasting anything, ever
Teaching me to love a good book
Taking care of me after all my babies
Shopping trips to Billings
Insisting on a good education
Your indescribable work ethic
Little surprises in the mail
Countless drives to Lovell
Changing Pakistani lives forever
Implementing the best family traditions
No “store-boughten” bread
Being the best possible wife to dad
Hi-Lighting the T.V. guide
Being everyone’s favorite Cowley girl
Sewing doll clothes for your granddaughters
Loving a bargain
Scones and tomato juice
Nurturing the neighborhood
Balancing Grandma’s checkbook
Your rock solid testimony

I love you.


datestampUSEFriday, May 9, 2008


Happy Birthday to my big brother (seen here with his daughter Jane). Out of personal courtesy, I won't mention his age. But I will use this opportunity to wish him 40 more years of health, happiness, and prosperity ;)


I Heart a Farmer's Market

You know your husband travels too much when his recommended reading is out of an airline magazine. Regardless of its origin, he was right on the money with this one...a fabulous article on the Farmer's Market inside the Ferry Building in SF. We can personally attest to its plethora of amazing food offerings (Remember Miette?) I can hardly stand the fact that he can pop his head in weekly to grab something fresh and delicious. Makes me excited for our own to start up.


datestampUSEThursday, May 8, 2008

Current Crush

The hunt for beautiful kitchen dish towels may be over. I have the perfect neutral - gray and white kitchen that needs some really incredible accessories to pop. Not too conventional, not too traditional...just right.


datestampUSEWednesday, May 7, 2008



I can't get enough of this song...


datestampUSETuesday, May 6, 2008


I am loving that I'm related to this sister-in-law Lisa was featured in an article about teaching yoga in elementary schools around the valley. The link to the story is here. I wish I was in that class with you Mrs. Smiley!


datestampUSEMonday, May 5, 2008

Where's the Rice?

I have discovered that a blog is a great filing system for bits and pieces of information I want to keep. So if no one is looking at or reading this silly thing, I at least have it as a sort of online gathering place for all things amr! In this instance, I found this article from BYU's Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science about long term food storage. With all the craze around the rice shortage, the bee population diminishing, and wheat prices soaring sky high - I'm eager to supplement my supply of long term food storage in my basement. Here is the Q & A from chair of the department.

Q: How long will stored foods stay good
A: There is a wide range in the shelf life of dried foods, depending on the specific commodity. Some commodities should be used within a couple of years, like salad oil and dried eggs. But many dried foods - packaged to remove oxygen and kept at room temperature or below will store well for 20-30 years or more. In our studies, taste testers evaluated aroma, flavor, texture, and overall acceptability of dried foods. Wheat and rice were very acceptable after 30 plus years of storage; beans, dried apples, macaroni, potato flakes, and oats up to 30 years; nonfat dry milk up to about 20 years.

Q: Do foods that old retain their nutritional value?
A: There is a loss of nutrients over time, but there is sufficient nutritional value to justify storing dry foods long term. In a survival situation, you need calories to stay alive, and stored foods provide calories. Vitamin C is another important nutrient and, fortunately, vitamin C tablets retain a high percentage of their potency for more than 20 years.

Q: How and where should I store my food supply?
A: Minimize the exposure to moisture, air, light, and warm or hot temperatures. Of these, temperature is the most crucial.


datestampUSESunday, May 4, 2008

Current Crush

Faux Bois (from the French for false wood) refers to the artistic imitation of wood or wood grains in various media. I have absolutely loved this recent trend in design and have broken down and purchased a set of candlesticks to call my very own. I found a small selection of pieces of this beautiful faux bois tableware at Jolleys (a local favorite drugstore extraordinaire) and can't get them off my mind. You can also find them online here. I'm swooning over that delicate robin's egg blue.


datestampUSEFriday, May 2, 2008

Don't Forget the Kids

And while you're having a look on Red Envelope, check out these hand puppets from dwellstudio. On sale for $15. I love the colors and textures.


Handprint Canvas

I love this idea from Red Envelope. How great a gift would this be for Mother's Day?


datestampUSEThursday, May 1, 2008

Go Girl!

*Photography from Bruce Boyes on SmugMug

I was online this afternoon registering the kids for soccer next season and as I Googled Firebirds Soccer Club to find the registration page, I found a bunch of pictures of Kalli taken by a local photographer. I thought these were so great I just had to share.