Friday, February 27, 2009


My friend Sandra had this on her blog and who doesn't like to get things for free so I jumped aboard. Sweet Shots Photography is giving away 3 free sessions with your pictures all edited and put onto a CD, ready for you to print! WAHOO! Just go to She is located in Logan.
You have to enter on her blog and she is choosing someone March 1st.  Part of entering the contest you have to mention it on your blog so here is my ad.   Her pictures look great!  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Draper Temple Open House

Thank you on all the info on going private or staying public.  Lots of great tips and info!  I think for now I'm going to keep my blog how it is.  
So this last weekend was much funner and healthier then last.  
Deonne had her baby!  We were able to see her in the hospital but because the baby was in ICU we haven't seen or held her yet.  But the picture was beautiful, she has a great head of dark hair. Very uncharacteristic of her other kids.  
We have been very busy this week.  As you can see from the pictures we went to the Draper Temple Open house.  This was a very good experience for us.  I love the beauty and the feeling I had when we were all in the temple together.  The temple binds our families together so it was neat to show the kids this symbolic building.  Samantha said several times, "pretty."  The boys asked good questions about what things meant, but best of all was the quiet spirit as we looked at the beautiful pictures of the Savior.  My favorite room was the bridal room and the matrons room had my favorite picture of the Girl in the Hollyhocks.  I also enjoyed the murals that were painted by a local artist.  The missionary who took our picture in the cultural hall afterward told us the artist painted it at her home first and then piece by piece would take it to the temple and then paint it on the walls.  What an opportunity!  It was absolutely gorgeous.  I truly know the Temple is the house of God.  I have had so many experiences that have strengthened my testimony about my own divinity as well as the eternal nature of my family.  Last time I went to the temple I was inspired to start working on Genealogy Work.  So now I just need to start step by step.  There is at least another week of the Draper open house so if you haven't been yet,  it would be a great opportunity.  I know they suggest having tickets but if no times are available that you can go I think it would be OK to just go.  We didn't have to show our tickets.  
We are all much healthier now.  And we are so ready for spring!  Yesterday it rained good here and today is just a beautiful day.  

Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Set up yogurt

Bottles in water bath the second time with lids on.

Bottles in water bath the first time-lids off

All the ingredients

1 Gallon Milk (any percent you like)
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup sugar (use only in vanilla-no sugar for plain yogurt)
1 tea. cc 773 (USU creamery stabilizer)--can do without-may have something similar at a natural food store-ask about homemade yogurt.  
4 TB Plain Yogurt (be sure it has several active cultures-I like Mountain High Brand)
1 tea vanilla (for each quart of vanilla)

Mix 1/4 of the first four ingredients in blender ( 4 cups of milk, 1/4 cup powdered milk, 1/4 cup of sugar)  and place in glass jars without lids.  Place in water bath and heat milk to 185 F (takes about 45 min) --the thermometer is very important in this.  I have a digital one I really like, it beaps when it hits the target temperature.  This first process is to kill all the bad bacteria in the milk.
Cool in fridge to 105 F (takes about 1 hour) 
Add culture (1 TB per quart jar) This is the good bacteria
Place in water bath and keep water between 105-110 F for 5 hours.
The milk will be about 103-108 F
The longer it sits the more bitter the taste of the yogurt will be.  For plain yogurt do not add sugar.  If you want to have vanilla yogurt add 1 tsp of vanilla at the time of the plain yogurt.  It is always amazing and gratifying once the yogurt is set up.  I just tip the bottle to see if it set up.  See pictures above to get an idea of the step by step process.  It really isn't as hard as it sounds.  
I actually made this batch of yogurt when Samantha was sick and had to leave while it was setting up.  I made sure the temp. was good before I left and came back 4 hour later and the yogurt was all done and set.  I regulate the temperature, when I'm home about once an hour.  I just turn the stove on for just a little bit until it gets back to where it should be and then turn the stove off.  I put a lid on it to keep the temp. at one place for a while.  The pictures are backwards in order.  I am still figuring out how to do this picture thing.  If anyone has a good idea of formatting pictures within your text let me know.  If you try it let me know, it is pretty fun!  I challenge you.  =)   
Money Saver tip.  I pay about $2.00 a quart for commercial yogurt and for the same about of money I can make one gallon of yogurt.  That is 1/4 the cost.  It is a staple in our home now.  We have yogurt parfaits for breakfast, make smoothies, yogurt for lunch, put it in fruit salads instead of cool whip.  We go through about 1 gallon of yogurt in 2 weeks.  I make one quart of plain yogurt to 3 quarts of vanilla.  I use plain in recipes to substitute buttermilk, and sour cream.  Much healthier and cheaper for us.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sick Weekend

So we are grateful for the long weekend where we were able to get well.  Samantha was the most sick.  The doctor told us she had RSV on Friday and said if we were diligent we could keep her home, but if she got worse we would need to admit her to the hospital.  This is the second bout of RSV she has had.  She got it about this time last year as well.  This is the first time oxygen was prescribed.  The home health crew came and brought the oxygen and trained us well.  Samantha did very well with everything.  It wasn't until Sunday that she really fought to keep the oxygen tubes on.  She was feeling so well that she didn't want to just sit there anymore, I can't blame her.  We went to the doctor again today and he said we could have the oxygen picked up from home health.  
Everyone else has cold symptoms but we are doing better and better each day.  

I'm considering making this blog a private blog.  I'm not sure enough about it to make a good decision.  I recently read an Ensign article how members of the church can share their testimonies and be missionaries through so many ways.  It mentioned that writing blogs is one way that people can do that.  So that would be a down side to going private.  An upside is you can decide who you want to read your blog, and you don't have to worry about the safety of your family.  Any thoughts on advantages and disadvantages to having your blog public or private?  I would appreciate your opinions on that.  My mom asked me today if she is suppose to comment after she reads my blog.  I said no but you can and I would love to hear from her.  I like getting feedback, then I don't feel like I'm just talking to myself. (I do that that often enough)  =)  All you have to do is click Comment after the blog entry.  It's fast and easy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Keeping healthy and Happy V-Day!

So the last two weeks the Overly's have all had their bout of sickness.  We are trying to get and stay healthy.  When we think sickness is coming on we get plenty of rest, increase our fluids, make sure we have yogurt daily, put Vicks on our feet at night, hot tang, and lots of TLC.  
The first week we all had some type of stomach flu.  The night of our Concert, Jan. 31st Conrad threw up all over the couch.  I don't think the babysitter knew quite what to do.  Later I found throw up in a bowl on the counter-I didn't know it was throw up and got quite close to it to figure out what it was---YUCK!  Then as I was snuggled in a chair I found that the blanket I was wrapped up in had throw up on it.  Devin and I were way grossed out.  
This week everyone seems to have a cough and runny nose.  Let hope this is the last of it!
We closed on our house loan today.  We opted to refinance our home to a 15 year loan.  Devin and I have been pretty gitty about it because we went from a 32 year loan to a 15 without paying too much for a month.  We will be saving so much money in the long run.  Hurray!
Just a quick update on all the kids.

Traeden is working on getting his homework done before dinner.  He gets two marbles a day if he does this.  If he gets it done before bed he gets one marble.  After his jar is full of marbles he earns his school T-shirt.  
Conrad loves to play Wii!  He is good at boxing and he is good at baseball.  He is working really hard on the violin.  He is trying to memorise some songs and keep his fingers on the tape and have a good bow hold.  Conrad is earning marbles for good violin practicing.  He is trying to earn his school T-shirt with pictures of all his school friends on the shirt.
Samantha is fully potty trained.  She has stayed dry for several weeks!  We are so excited and she has earned a doughnut.  (This is what she said she wants after she earned enough stickers.)  She has a new big girl bed.  This is the same bed I had when I was a girl.  She loves it and asks us every morning to help her make her bed.  
Abigail is so close to crawling.  She is loving solid food.  Her favorite is pears and apricots.  Yesterday I noticed her first bottom tooth is poking through!  I am not sure I'm ready for my baby to be getting so big.  Her new shoes help keep her feet warm.  Deonne suggested to go to Target and get mini star shoes. My mom picked them up for me and I love love them.  
Enjoy these pictures we took recently with our new camera!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What's for Dinner?

I have added a little gadget on the right column with this title "Whats for Dinner".  I am only going to put up a weekly menu because I really only cook one meal a week.  (If you are ever interested in a recipe let me know and I'll post it.)
I cook only once a week because yes I'm still in a dinner group.  My grandma will ask me everyone in a while, "Are you still doing that dinner thing?"  After I say yes she says I've got the best recipe for you.  Its great.  This has been so great that our group started about three years ago and were still doing it.  Out of the four originals there are two of us still going strong.  I love, love it!  I cook every Monday for three other families and deliver the dinner to their homes.  We cook/prepare at least two things.  A main course and something to go with it.  We have such a great group of girls who aren't afraid to try new things and are so understanding when things don't go as planned.  They are all such great cooks.  I love that on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, dinner just comes and we eat.  No huge prep work, or clean ups, and yet we eat a homemade meal around our dinner table every night.  Tonight we had delivered pork burritos with green salad.  It was so yummy!  We usually have enough that we eat leftovers for lunches and weekends.  I'm so glad my husband is happy to take leftovers for his lunches everyday.  It saves us a bunch of money!  Yes I do end up cooking some simple meals on the weekend.  I usually cook things that I can make from ingredients already in my pantry.  
FYI... The picture is of three of us who were asked to have a little table at an American mothers conference a couple years ago.  We shared some recipes and our dinner group idea.  Most people look at us like, "Are you crazy?"   I guess we are, but we like it.  

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Top Ten Party for 2008

Deonne gave me this great idea to have a Top Ten Party.  So I did.  I invited about 20 people to bring a list of their top 10 ideas that revolutionized their lives that year.  Each guest also brought a food item they made with the recipe.  This turned out to be so fun.  We had 11 of us who met around my kitchen table and shared with each other things that made the year great for us.  Devin took the kids to McDonalds so we could have the house to ourselves.  Thanks Babe! We got money tips, parenting ideas, cleaning/organizing tips, beauty helps, spiritual enrichment and so much more.  Just to keep things moving I used a timer and let everyone have the floor for 10 minutes, which seemed to be enough time to share and have people ask questions.  We laughed, cried, visited, and ate yummy foods.  The majority of the food people brought was desserts.  No complaining here! 
Now I've got some great ideas from 11 amazing moms and women who I adore.  I'm excited to get busy.  

I had a really hard time narrowing my list to ten things but Devin helped me cut out so I could get it to ten.  I will share with you all 20 of my ideas.  I'd love to hear some of yours as well, you may want to have a similar party.  I think I'm going to make it a yearly tradition.  

1.  Online passwords—I hate to remember all my passwords.  Now Devin and I have a secret series of numbers and letters that we both remember and keep the same for all passwords but we just change the ending depending on the website.  Example for Qwest--**********QW

 2.  Extra Insulation for cheaper—we are going to get more insulation for a great deal because of the rebates Rocky Mountain Power (only if you have central air) and Questar Gas.  Find the rebate forms online.  It will end up paying for itself and in some cases you will get more money back then what you paid for.  It’s worth getting a bid.  We called Allsop Insulation who we have heard good things about.

 3.—Want to see if you are getting enjoy fruits and vegetables or want an easy way to see how many calories you are getting in a day check this free site out.  It will even keep track of your daily exercise.

 4.  Kids Jobs on the fridge—I put a weekly job chart on the fridge where the kids mark with a dry erase marker.  I love the no mess list, only really works if your kids can read. We have a rule of no brain drain or friends until their chores are done.  Some days they are more motivated then others but when they want to go play they are very quick in getting jobs done and I love it!

 5.  Book- 123 Magic by Phelan- This is something I just started with our kids and I really love it because I have arguers.   It takes out the arguing and anger out of disciplining.  I would recommend getting the CD set from the Library or Family Information and Resource Center(50 South 400 East Logan, 755-5171).  Devin said this is the first parenting technique he really likes.  I’ve tried several so this is saying something.

 6.  Freecycle Yahoo Group

I have loved this.  We have given away things to people who are so grateful.  I even gave away zucchini when all my neighbors were sick of it. =)  We have got some fun things as well.  The nice thing is they pick it up so you save on gas, and for us we always have to borrow a truck when we need to haul things away. 

 7. Blog- I have enjoyed writing our family experiences and photos for friends and family who live far away. Setting this up is fun and easy.  It’s a great way to do your family history. 

 8.—music online.  The music is based on your favorite music.  You type in an artist or song you really like and then they play music that is similar to it.  It is really fun.

 9.  Food Storage Coop—we are getting our food storage little bits at a time and this group helps by ordering things in bulk.  I’ve gotten some great items at a great price and they even deliver it to my house.

 10.  Recipe

Egg Rolls

1/3 package Rice Sticks (soak in warm water for 10 min, drain)

1/3 lb ground sausage, browned

1 large carrot diced, sautéed

1 stalk celery diced, sautéed

¼ onion diced, sautéed

2 eggs

Mix all together in a bowl.  Roll ¼ cup mixture in egg roll wrapper and cook in hot oil.  Dip in Sweet Chili Sauce (Mae Ploy brand or Buddha brand at oriental store) and enjoy.

My other ideas which didn't make the list this year

11. Scripture Study- Marking Scriptures with color coding—I have started at the beginning of the Bible and use certain colors to mark different languages and doctrinal helps. 

“GR” with green, “OR” with orange, “HEB” with blue, the “IE” with yellow, and the “JST” with red.  I have learned a lot this way and I understand the scriptures better.

12.  Babysitting Swapping--I have several little swaps that make life so much easier.  I trade with Lisa for Relief Society Temple day.  This way we go every other month.  Devin and I like to go on a date so we swap often for this.  I even swap for volunteering at the school.

13. Coupon Binder—I got this idea from Alison Ellis and I love that I can find a coupon anytime I need it.  It’s a zip up binder with baseball card holders in it and alphabetized tabs.  You cut coupons and file them under the name you can remember.  I have about two card holder behind each tab.

 14. Refinancing our home to a 15 year mortgage—we found with the lower interest we can afford to go to a 15 year mortgage for about $60 more a month.  We found the best interest at Bank of Utah.  They have been so great to work with and on the ball!

 15. Family Information and Resource Center—free parenting books, toys, videos, and audio tapes.  It works like a library but everything is geared towards parenting and supporting childhood development.  They also do home visits that I enjoyed for many years with my two oldest children.

16. Pandora—music online.  The music is based on your favorite music.  You type in an artist or song you really like and then they play music that is similar to it.  It is really fun.

 17. Planet Fitness- Going with friends makes all the different.  I love the price and how close it is.  I also love to carpool with neighbors so if you are interested in exercising at 5:30 in the morning let me know!

 18. Edamame—Easy, inexpensive and healthy!   I like the Pica sweet brand.  Cook in microwave and put in a bowl and toss with rock salt.

19.  Hymn Singing—we have tried on and off and hopefully lately we will be more on in singing a hymn as a family at the end of the day before family prayers.  Our boys are getting to know how to sing hymns and will hopefully help them sing more in sacrament meetings.

 20.  Sunday Recitals—we have been doing Sunday recitals were all the kids play a song for the family.  They announce their name and even bow at the end.  I also play a song too which is really good for me.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Balancing Time as a Mother

"A mother's purpose is to care, prepare, To nurture and to strengthen all her children.  She teaches children to obey, to pray, To love and serve in the family.  God gave us families to help us become what he wants us to be.  This is how he shares his love, For a family is of God" (Family Is of God by Matthew Neeley)

This is the primary song we have been learning for the past month.  It's a beautiful song with a poignant message for mothers, fathers, as well as their children.  For the last few weeks I've been milling ideas in my head about how should I as a mother balance my time with the necessary things.  Sometimes in my life I feel more balanced then other times.  There is so much that can be done, how do we decide what are the right things to do.  In the past 8 years I have found that no matter how hard you work you will never get done with everything that you want or need to get done.  This can make mothers very discouraged.  But the longer I try to get it all done the more I'm convinced that it all can't be done.  In reflecting at the end of the day it helps me to think of one thing that happened and say, "It was good enough.  My day was not perfect but it sure was great because I did this and this and this.  I will never be perfect, and my house will never be completely clean and organized, and there will always be another project or nose to wipe." 
What is the most important?  That is up to you to decide.  Once you figure that out it makes it easier to choose to do the right things.  The right things are the things you deem the most important to you and your family.  I also think as years and months go by, things may become more important, so you adjust.  
For me a clean house is important but not more important then my husband, children, my responsibilities as a member of my church.  In knowing this it helps me make a little schedule of my time that I try to follow throughout the week.  
Some days if all I do is read my scriptures, take care of my children and husband, and maybe get a shower in I call that day a success.  Honestly having four children can be a huge responsibility. Especially when one or two are sick or having some behavioral issues.  I'm grateful for wonderful church leaders who help us by reminding us what is most important.   I appreciated President Perry's remarks in the Feb. Ensign.  He talking about balancing our time.  I especially liked this part:

"President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) outlined the responsibilities we should consider when allocating and balancing our time to achieve success:
  • • A responsibility to our families.

  • • A responsibility to our employers.

  • • A responsibility to the Lord’s work.

  • • A responsibility to ourselves.

    This was particularly interesting to me. President Hinckley noted that we must allot time for rest, exercise, recreation, study, meditation, and temple worship in order to be balanced in our lives."

    One thing I find that the world often says in self help magazines and articles that you need to take care of yourself.  I wholeheartedly agree but I think you can get carried away.  I notice that the Prophets council puts our family, work, and the Lord first.  I honestly believe this is not a coincidence.  I know for me when I'm serving others and the Lord, other things fall into place and I am so much happier. 

    But I also have seen others (including myself) who give and give and give and don't take the necessary time for yourself and collapse in exhaustion.  Everyone is different in what they need:  For me I need time to exercise before my kids get up.  Because this is a priority for me, Devin and I work together to make that happen.  With a nursing baby, it can be challenging but we work through it.   I also enjoy some quiet time while my kids are napping to do e-mail, blog, read a book, or even sometimes take a nap myself!  

    I remember when I only had one baby and I use to long to get out of the house.  Even just to grocery shop.  Now in my life, 8 years later, I get excited when I look on the calendar and see nothing down.  I get to stay home all day and not have to go anywhere!?  

    Being a young mother only comes once.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity and I hope I make the right choices today.  I would love some of your ideas in how you keep a balanced life as a mother.

Helpers in another Accident!

Jan 31st on the way to Macey's Devin and I had another experience helping in an accident.  I saw the accident happen and watched one car (V1) who ran a red light hit another car (V2) who ended up plowing into a river bed off the highway.  I immediately brought it to the attention to Devin who pulled over and started into action.  Devin identified who was in the accident, the drivers and all passengers (awesome job babe!).  Sometimes in an accident someone could be ejected out of a car and no one knows.  Also it's best to have all victims sit down because they could be injured even if they don't think they are.  They could also go into shock.  The vehicle which was in the ditch had the most injuries.  The man driving cut his cheek pretty good and hurt his arm.  They had a dog in their car who flew up in the front seats when they got hit.  It took a few people to help get the couple and dog out of the car since the vehicle was in the water a bit.  Devin got out our blanket and we had the couple and their dog sit on it.  The driver in the other car who caused the accident was an older gentleman who did not want to sit down even after Devin told him to.  He didn't seem to have sustained any injuries.   All he wanted was his coat which Devin got for him.  Devin and another guy started directing traffic and I got out our first aid kit and gave some gauze pads to stop the bleeding of the man (v2) on his face.  While I was standing there he stood up and he felt his left arm tweak, I told him he better stay put until the ambulance gets there. He may have broken his collar bone or dislocated it.  The paramedics showed up soon after and took over.  Devin and I hung out for a bit so we could get our blanket back.  While we stood there both of us were shaking because of all the adrenaline that we both had.  This was such a better experience for us then the last accident.  There were no deaths and we were much more prepared.  What I wasn't prepared for was how hard it was to think of everything that needed to happen.  Especially because there were so many people who were freaking out.  There was one lady who was not involved in the accident but her car almost was hit.  She got out of her car and was running all over and jabbering uncontrollably.  I dealt with her first and told her everything was fine and she could calm down and get in her car.  Devin had to tell a lady who was frozen stiff in her car to move her car out of the way because she was just sitting there in shock.  
I am trying hard to always pay attention to the road and the cars around me.  Accidents effect so many people.