Friday, April 30, 2010

resolution check up

Four months into the new year and time for a check-up on my goals.

Lose weight - Doing great on this one. Down one more size this month. Yea! I am not ready to report on total pounds lost but I have exceeded my goal for the year and am on track to meet my new goal by my birthday (June 10th)! In the interest of full disclosure I would have to admit that I've done lousy the past two days (yes, I had some of that chocolate truffle cheesecake from yesterday's post). But, even my brother noticed I've lost weight (I figure if he noticed, it's been a major change!)

Earn YW Medallion - Progressing well here. Close to finishing one of my projects and working hard on the other. I have those 2 projects and 2 achievements left to finish.

Write my grandma's life history - I have spent several hours working on this during the month. Yeah! I am making progress.

Do major projects early
CPE - I did 12 hours this month bringing my total for year to 32 hours.
Christmas cards - I made 3 mock-ups and selected the one I will make. I bought all the supplies and am now ready to get crackin' on this.
nieces and nephews birthday presents - FINISHED!
Christmas gifts - I finished one more.

Write a book - I've actually started. (Haven't made massive progress but I've started - that counts for something.)

Get 7 hours of sleep per night - Week one was good. Week two was okay. Week three was horrid. Week four was pretty good so I'm feeling fairly rested at the moment. I came pretty close to 7 hours on most nights (except during week three).

Conclusion: Again this month I am happy with my progress. It has really helped reporting it this way. I feel accountable and really focus on my goals more. I guess knowing I'm reporting it gives me the extra motivation to ensure I have something good to report (no one likes to look like a failure!)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake


Yesterday I made Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake.

I especially love that they're mini! After Easter I found a set of 3 mini-springform pans on clearance at Target. (Don't ask me why they were on clearance with all the Easter stuff, but I'm not complaining!) I thought they were so adorable!

I can't take credit for the recipe. I got it from my sister, Dawnette. I did change the ganache recipe to use one from Martha Stewart that I like better.


Chocolate crust
1/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 C heavy cream
3 8oz pkgs cream cheese
1 C sugar
1/3 C cocoa
3 eggs
1 t vanilla

Melt chocolate chips in small saucepan and stir in cream. Set aside. Cream the sugar and cream cheese well. Add cocoa and mix. Beat in eggs and vanilla just until blended. Add chocolate/cream mixture. Mix until blended. Pour into chocolate crust in springform pan. Bake 45-50 minutes at 325 degrees. Let cool and top with chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 C heavy cream

Warm cream to almost boiling in a small pan. Pour over the chocolate chips and let set for 5 minutes. Stir well. Let set 10 minutes. Stir again. Let set 10 minutes and stir again. Let set 10 minutes and stir again. Spoon onto top of cheesecake and put into refrigerator.

**Note: Since I used my mini-pans, I got 6 mini cheesecakes and they only needed to bake for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is fast approaching.

We don't really have any traditions for Mother's Day other than I get breakfast in bed. I do love that! Quite often I choose strawberry crepes for my breakfast. Yum!

Otherwise, I frequently invite my parents over for a nice dinner (that I usually fix).

What are your Mother's Day traditions? (I want to know because I am really good at stealing other people's great ideas.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Can I live up to my name?

The meaning is found here and here.

The meanings of Marvelle are marvelous, miracle, miracle to wonder at, and extraordinary.

That's pretty tough stuff to live up to.

What were my parents thinking?

Monday, April 26, 2010

stressful job

I guess I should be more nurturing and solicitous of Kevin. I just read here about the most stressful jobs. Not surprisingly, you find careers such as firefighter, police officer, and highway patrol officer on the list. However, coming in at #6 on the list of most stressful careers today is COMMERCIAL PILOT.

Poor Kevin!

...and to think that he has a wife who often teases him about the "difficulty" of pushing a few buttons and telling the passengers to fasten their seat belts.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Today was an incredible blessing in MY life - Alec received his Patriarchal Blessing.

Without saying anything inappropriate or sharing too much information, let me just say that it was an intensely spiritual experience for me and answered a question or two for me as well.

I will also say once more how grateful I am for a Heavenly Father who provides inspiration. Several weeks ago I was sitting in Stake Conference when I really felt prompted that it was time for Alec to have his Patriarchal Blessing. It seemed to be further confirmation of this when only a few minutes later the Stake President announced that they were placing the previous Patriarch on emeritus/inactive status and sustaining a new one. Conferring with Kevin after the meeting, he too had felt prompted that Alec should get his blessing.

This happened to us when Alec was 14 and we both felt prompted that it was time for him to receive the Priesthood. It happened to us when Alec was 11 and we both felt prompted that it was time for him to be baptized.

I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who does not leave me on my own to figure things out, for a loving God who doesn't make me second guess my decisions but who guides and directs me in parenting such a special child!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

NO driving!

Conversation today while we were doing the 2-hour drive home from McKayla's soccer game:

Alec: Dad, can I drive?

Dad: No.

Alec: Why?

Dad: Well, let's see. What do you do when you see a red light?

Alec: Go left, go right, go left.

Dad: And that is why you can't drive!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I wonder???

I do not profess to be a deep thinker. I don't spend my time worrying about cold fusion, the ozone layer, or whether dinosaurs really walked the earth.

I tend to spend my time wondering why women are obsessed with shoes and why I apparently am almost the only female who missed that gene?!? I don't own dozens of pairs of shoes in every imaginable color. I would prefer it if I didn't own a single pair of shoes. Seriously. It would be heaven for me if it were socially acceptable to go everywhere BAREFOOT!

And why can't shaving your head come into vogue for women? Why do men get all the ease? Just shower and you're out the door - no need to even towel-dry. Not me. Twenty minutes just to blow-dry my hair and then it still needs to be straightened.

Does anyone think I can start a new fashion trend of bald-headed, bare-footed women?

Nah. I didn't think so.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

where do your kids sleep?

I would have to say that my family has some weird sleep issues. (No, I am not talking about the fact that I keep waking up at 1 am.)

You just never know where you'll find my kids sleeping.

Alec and Chandler are the worst. For months, Alec slept on a mattress on the ground beside his bed. Chandler slept on a mattress on the floor of his closet across the room from his bed.

Alec has been known to sleep downstairs on the floor. This past week I awoke to find him sleeping outside on the trampoline. The past two nights he has spent on the floor in our computer room (no mattress even).

Chandler once spent months sleeping under his bed and at another point he was sleeping between two mattresses.

In addition to the musical bed issue, Alec doesn't seem to need much sleep. He usually doesn't go to bed until about 1 am and then he still gets up at 6 am. Sometimes it catches up with him though. Then I catch him sleeping just about anywhere (like on the floor or in the car).


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Fling

Yesterday the Special Ed students at Riverton High hosted a Spring Fling. The students from both ID (intellectually disabled) classes danced, sang, told jokes, and signed along with their peer tutors.

Hand jive:

Rhythm sticks:

Hip to Be Square dance:


Signing the story Brown Bear, Brown Bear:

The students were really cute but what really touched my heart were the peer tutors! They are incredible! They play with the students, have fun with them, and demonstrate amazing patience! They are totally awesome! I am so thankful for them and all that they do to help my student. Both of the girls who asked Alec to Sweethearts and Prom this year are peer tutors in the classroom. I believe all of the peer tutors are pretty selfless people with big, huge hearts!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

one more free thing

I read 5 more Reader's Choice books at the library so I earned another free book. I had trouble choosing between this one and Love in the Time of Cholera but since that one is already on my to-read list, I decided to choose this one.

His books are usually good for a good cry!

This gives me three new books earned from the library to read during my trip to Dallas the first week of May.

great deals!

Oh, how I love a bargain! I love free stuff even more!

Yesterday, I took Shanley and her friend, Madi, to Down East Home and Clothing where Good Things Utah was broadcasting. We were part of the studio audience which was interesting.

They told all us that all audience members would receive a free camisole or wonder tee. WooHoo!

We shopped a bit after the show and Shanley found some great $50 white jeans on sale for $12. We went to pay for them and pick up our free cami and found that the jeans were on final clearance and were marked down even cheaper. Shanley selected a red lace cami as her free item (I selected a cream wonder tee).
The total cost for this cute outfit was (drum roll, please!)


No kidding. And that's with tax. What a deal!

I spent the weekend buying Quaker cereals for 40 cents a box (yep. I actually bought 50 boxes of cereal for $20.00). This morning I bought $57 worth of groceries for $16. At the moment I am feeling pretty proud of my shopping skills.

Monday, April 19, 2010

God's love

God doesn't love us because we're "good."

It is due to His infinite goodness that He loves us! It is His nature to love.

--scrappinsoccermama just thinks sometimes we all need reminders that we're loved no matter how unloveable we feel

Sunday, April 18, 2010

random musings (this and that)

I wrote here about McKayla's teammates all attending rival school Bingham High. Yesterday we received more "bad" news. The assistant coach at Riverton High (the coach we really, really like) has accepted the head coaching position at the new Herriman High. Ugh! (Happy for him, very sad for McKayla).


Sometimes refs are stupid. No, I am not talking about a missed call. That happens. They are human and make mistakes just like the rest of us. I can live with that. I am talking about the ref yesterday who gave McKayla a yellow card for an inadvertent handball (she was shoved from behind) at midfield. Again, I can live with the ref missing the shove but the handball is not a cardable offense. The ref needs to read his handbook. This is the same ref who when one of our players was on the ground moaning in pain yelled at her to get up. I find that kind of behavior/attitude from refs to be inexcusable and irritating.


I truly like my siblings. I had a lot of fun talking to my brother, Todd, yesterday at our family get together. Children should listen to their parents when they tell them that their brothers and sisters will be their friends for life.


How come when I get some "fantastic" idea that I think would be so much fun and so great for our family no one else agrees with me?

Yesterday while jogging, I had this mental image of our entire family training for the Riverton Town Days 5K. Can't you just picture all of us crossing the finish line together? I could. I was so excited to share this vision with my children. One big happy family celebrating success together!

My bubble was completely burst the moment I shared this idea with my children. Not a single one of them is buying into it. Hmmm...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

must. have. sleep.

One of my goals for this year was to get more sleep.

This week has been my worst failure yet! Every single morning I woke up early. As in between 1 am and 3 am. Never could get back to sleep. Also, this was usually after waking up 2-3 times during the 3-6 hours sleep I did get.

Finally last night I slept a full 8 hours! Woo Hoo!

Here's what happens to me when I actually get sleep: I woke this morning feeling great so I went running. I ran a few miles and then got ready for the day. McKayla had to be at her soccer game an hour early and I had too much energy to sit there and read/visit so I got a few more miles in.

I still feel a bit too much energy. We're headed to Chandler's game now - maybe I can get another mile or two in before his game starts.

Wonder what I could do if I got 8 hours of sleep every single night?

Friday, April 16, 2010


McKayla is feeling a bit left out.

She loves her soccer team but almost all of her team will be attending Bingham High (a rival school). There are 17 members of her soccer team. Eleven are going to Bingham, 1 is going to Copper Hills, 1 is going to Hillcrest, 1 is going to Herriman, 2 are going to Riverton (McKayla included), and 1 is a year behind in school because her parents didn't send her to kindergarten until she was 6.

Now, obviously, she is not the only one who is not attending Bingham but all of her friends on the team are going there. She's feeling like the odd-man out.

It's quite a difference from Brakston's club team where 8 went to Riverton, 8 went to Bingham, and 1 went to Hillcrest. The Bingham-Riverton rivalry was really fun for those four years (especially since Riverton won EVERY time!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

books I've read in the past month

Here's the list of books I've read in the past month. Number the Stars is a good YA novel but nothing else on the list would I highly recommend. They were all fair to middling reads.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Never Tell a Lie: A Novel of Suspense by Hallie Ephron
The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian
The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Hiroshima by John Hersey
A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton
Hello Goodbye by Emily Chenowith
Old City Hall: A Novel by Robert Rotenberg

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

the good, the bad, and the adorable

I can't tell you how much time I wasted yesterday hunting for pretzels!

Yes, that's right - pretzels. My children love pretzels in their lunch and I'd bought a HUGE bag at Costco. They were sitting on the floor because I hadn't gotten around to making room for them in the cupboard. I woke up the next morning and went to pack lunches and the pretzels were nowhere to be found. I asked my children (those still at home) and no one knew where they were. I called my husband and he didn't have a clue. You'd think that with such a large bag they would be easy to find but you'd be wrong!

Then last night I went to stick some clean socks in my Jazzercise bag and it was gone too!

I asked Alec about the pretzels and he went and dug them out of the storeroom where he'd hidden them amongst the stored clothing?!? So, I asked him about my Jazzercise bag. He came upstairs and showed me where he'd stored it in Chandler's closet. While in Chandler's closet I noticed my church bag (the one with all my manuals and so forth) which I would really have needed by Sunday. He'd hidden it in Chandler's room as well.

I just have to really wonder sometimes about what goes on in that kid's head!

Then I look at his Prom pictures and am reminded that he really can be adorable!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

cute girls in my life

On Sunday we traveled to my sister's home in Idaho to attend the blessing of her baby, Rebecca.

My own daughter just bought this jacket.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. McKayla is the most delightful contradiction. She loves clothes, fashion, and looking good. She also plays a pretty rough game of soccer (with prettily-painted toenails) and will battle pretty hard to beat even the boys in the 1-mile run in PE. She's also a pretty good student. She's fairly quiet and reserved and shy but is so tough that she refused to cry when both arm bones were sticking out of her skin.

I guess she doesn't want to be easily pigeon-holed or stereo-typed.

the goods

Previously I posted about my awesome winning month.

Yesterday, the tie arrived.

Kevin will look so hot in it!

Many thanks to this blog for their awesome giveaways!

Monday, April 12, 2010

just say no

A few things that just shouldn't be allowed:

1) pants on guys that sit so low you can either see their underwear or their butt crack (not attractive!)

2) one more reality show with little children (parents quit exploiting your children!)

3) fake chocolate (use your daily calorie allotment for the real thing or don't bother!)

4) required summer reading for high school students where the selected book is just plain boring (there is a lot of really great literature out there, why ruin a student's summer vacation with a horrid book?)

5) PTA meetings that last 2 or more hours and nothing was really discussed or decided (if it can't be done in an hour, it shouldn't be done!)

What would you like to "just say no" to?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

five for five

It was a good sports week for my children.

Shanley is playing softball for the first time this year and had her first two games this week. Her team won both games. Shanley has singled every time at bat so she's happy about that.

McKayla's soccer team had two games this week and won both fairly easily.

Chandler had his first soccer game of the season yesterday. His team won.

If you're keeping track, that is five games and five wins!

Too bad Alec didn't have a track meet this week or maybe we could've been six for six.

I know that losses build character but it sure is fun to watch the wins! Maybe we can just sneak in the character-lessons some other time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

one extreme to another

I spent last weekend in Texas. It was warm!

This weekend I'm heading to Idaho. I'm expecting it to be a little cooler.

Oh well, at least I get to see my newest niece.

What are your exciting weekend plans?

Friday, April 9, 2010

your kids may move away but...

The memory card from Brakston's camera proves at least one thing - your children may get older and move away from home but that does NOT mean they have grown up!Yes, that is a fort made from his mattresses and bedding.

Your sons still like creepy, crawly, slimy creatures.

They are suckers for fat, chocolately characters!

Definitely a face only a mother could love!

Still finding ways to get into trouble!

You other mothers better not be laughing too hard - your sons are silly too!

And yes, despite all the silliness and wackiness and slimy creatures, you are still adorable and we love you!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

the best

Yesterday I concluded what was probably the best fast of my life. During a planning meeting in January, the young women in our ward proposed that we do a "Fast and Feast". The idea was that we all fasted together for some purpose and then met to break our fast and enjoy a "feast".

So, Tuesday night at 6:30 pm we all met at the YW President's home to begin our fast. We discussed fasting (why we do it, how we do it, etc). We told the girls we would fast for a specific girl in our ward who is facing some challenges (the name has been withheld to protect the innocent). We then knelt in prayer. The Spirit was incredibly strong.

We met Wednesday night at 7:00 to have a prayer and break our fast and then we enjoyed a "feast" of lasagna, breadsticks, tossed salad, jello, and cheesecake.

Over and over the girls kept saying they couldn't believe they had gone 24 hours and they didn't even feel that hungry. I think it was a good experience for them.

It was an amazing experience for me - probably the best fasting I have ever done in my life. What an incredible power fasting brings into lives and hearts. Thank you to whichever of the young women suggested it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Anyone who is acquainted with me knows that I love free stuff so March was a banner month for me!

The local library sponsors a Reader's Choice promo twice a year. For every book you read, you can enter your name in a drawing for a $15 gift certificate. I read numerous books and never win. However, this season they also added a free book giveaway for every 5 books you read. I have earned two free books so far and am well on my way to earning a third one before the promotion is over.

I selected the following books:
I haven't had a chance to even open either one so I don't know how good they are but hey, they were FREE!

In addition, one of my favorite sites to visit every day is found here. I won a set of Martha Stewart cookbooks.

I had to try the Chocolate Truffle Brownies recipe from the Cookies one. They had a ganache topping and were sinfully delicious!

In addition, I also won a tie from Give Away Today as well. My husband is happy about that one (oh, who am I kidding? He was happy about the Cookies cookbook as well). I don't have the tie yet so I can't include a photo - maybe later.

Free stuff is good!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

more fun in Texas

On Monday we headed back to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Luckily, the water was on this time. The kids had a great time hiking "into the waterfall". Chandler ran laps around and around from stone to stone.

We also went to the Historic Stockyards. The kids did the cattle pen maze. It took McKayla 18 minutes and Shanley 23 minutes and Chandler took 20 minutes.

Alec spent some time in jail.

And, of course, who can go to Texas without a longhorn cattle drive?

Lots of fun and warm temperatures before we caught an evening flight back to SLC. It was 82 degrees when we left DFW and we arrived in SLC to 35 degree temperatures and a snowstorm. Welcome home!

Monday, April 5, 2010

April Fool's Dinner

One of our family traditions is a silly dinner for April Fool's day. The kids expect it so it doesn't "fool" anyone but they still enjoy it.

This year's menu was "grilled cheese sandwiches" (grilled pound cake with orange frosting between slices) and

"suckers" (glazed meatballs on sucker sticks).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter thought

Happy Easter!

My thought for this special occasion:

Jesus chose to become like us,
so that
we can choose to become like Him!

Easter Egg Hunt

For years the Easter bunny has visited us on Saturday morning (You see, I can make special arrangements because I "know" people - heehee!).

So, yesterday the kids awoke to Easter baskets and a huge egg hunt.

They've probably been on a sugar-high since!

Fort Worth Water Gardens

On Friday after the museum we stopped at the Water Gardens. Unfortunately, the water was turned off.

However, the kids had a great time climbing "The Mountain."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fort Worth Science Museum

We had so much fun yesterday at the science museum. We started off our afternoon with the IMAX Theater productin of Forces of Nature. Other than me getting motion sick, it was pretty incredible.

We rode a 4-D ride regarding energy and then saw the ENORMOUS Universal Vibrator machines they use to locate natural gas.

Everyone loved the outdoor water toys.

The highlight for me was the special exhibit - The CSI Experience. We got a case file; got to examine the crime scene; get test results back from toxicology, DNA, fingerprinting, etc; got to view the autopsy; and then got to make our "guess" as to what the evidence showed. I really enjoyed it (but then again, I am a huge CSI fan).

The group shot under a tinkertoy sculpture (Hannah is not included because she got distracted and wandered off - imagine that!):