Monday, February 28, 2011

Resolution Check-Up

It's time for my monthly moment-of-truth regarding my New Year's Resolutions.

Lose Weight - February was NOT good for me on this count. I ate out too much (Chandler's birthday, Valentine's, Las Vegas, before Hale Center Theater, etc) I am very sad to report that I gained 5 pounds in the month thus erasing most of the 9 pound loss I experienced in January. Committing to doing better in March!

Read Jesus the Christ - Read another 75 pages (now on page 250).

Climb Mt. Timpanogos - It's too cold and snowy to even be thinking about this goal yet.

Run Ragnar - Yea! I have found a team (thanks, Tonya) and I am going to do the Valley of Fire Ragnar in Las Vegas in October. It's a 195-mile 12-person relay race. I am quite excited about it!

Write My Grandma's Life History - The only progress here is that I finally took my laptop in to see if anything could be recovered. Wish me luck!

Do a Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for a Cure - Decided to cancel this one. Every 3-day ends on a Sunday. I just can't bring myself to justify participating on the Sabbath. I've emailed race organizers trying to work things out but to no avail.

Attend 5 Temples that I've Never Been to Before - No progress. I've attended temples - just not any "new" ones.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

once, twice, three times a great night

Saturday night was perfect! Kevin and I went with friends, Todd and Jill, to Taste of Thai and then to Hale Center Theater.

First, the company was excellent! We shared a lot of laughs and had fun.

Second, the Thai food was yummy! Every one of us really enjoyed our entree. I got the Mussaman Curry and it was delicious! I also ordered Mango Sweet Rice for dessert - to die for!

Third, the musical A Tale of Two Cities was a masterpiece! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Okay, I know you can tell I'm excited due to the excessive number of exclamation points I used in this post, but the entire evening truly was wonderful!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

BBQ Beef Quesadillas

Yum! Another new recipe which my whole family ate and enjoyed!

10 tortillas
1 can refried beans
1 tub BBQ beef (I used Lloyd's)
2 C Mexican cheese

Warm the BBQ beef according to package directions. Spread about 1/4 C refried beans on 5 tortillas. Divvy the BBQ beef among the 5 tortillas and spread. Sprinkle cheese over the beef. Top with the remaining tortillas. Place in greased skillet and cook on each side for 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut into 6 wedges.

Serve with sour cream mixture.

Sour Cream Mixture:
1 C sour cream
1/3 C minced fresh cilantro
1 t lime juice

This was yummy and so very easy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

parent day at OHMS

The PTA hosted the first ever "Bring Your Parents to School" day at OHMS last Friday. Unfortunately, since I was driving to Las Vegas, I didn't get to participate. The entire extent of my involvement was setting up registration tables and welcoming the parents who came in time for the first period (then I hit the road).

I visited with the principal yesterday and was delighted to learn that the school administration considers the day a resounding success! Nearly 200 parents attended classes with their students. They obtained written feedback from parents and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

Yea! It's always a relief when something you've helped plan goes well.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

great song

The principal from the middle school, knowing I have a son with special needs, sent me this link. What an amazing, tear-jerking song.

the essence of meetings

This year I've had to attend a council PTA meeting every single month. After the last one I complained to Kevin that I have to sit through a 2-hour meeting just to get one or two "nuggets" of info that are actually helpful to me.

So, I really had to laugh yesterday when our whole council had to attend a region PTA meeting and when we broke off into councils, the council president complained that we had "just sat through a 2-hour meeting where only one or two items were even applicable or useful to us.

I guess what goes around, comes around.

or, maybe that is just the essence of meetings. (maybe my school PTA board says the same things about my monthly meetings)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Yes, I know, some people have REAL problems. I have no room to complain. Still, Alec was a bit TOO helpful yesterday.

He was awake before I left for the temple at 4 am. Apparently, he decided to put his wakefulness to good use. He washed my whites (even though there was only 1 top, 1 bottom, and 4 socks). Of course, the water was set to cold and the load was set to extra large but whatever.... I'll give him points for trying.

I got home from the temple and noticed that both the garbage can and the recycling can were out. Alec being "helpful" again. It's just that this is not recycling week so I drug that can back to the garage where luckily I noticed that Alec had thrown away my fairly new laptop case. Aargh!

A little later I go to grab the bill for Alec's graduation cap and gown because the good people from Josten's are over at the school to finish collecting final payments. No bill anywhere. That's when I realize that my "paperwork-to-do" stack is significantly smaller than the previous night. Another trip out to the recycling bin confirms my suspicion that Alec has been "cleaning". Lots of important paperwork had been trashed. So, I dig it all out.

That evening I rummage through the now-disheveled paperwork to find Shanley's Oakcrest Camp registration form so we can turn it in. It's missing. Another trip out to the recycling bin confirms that did not overlook that form in my initial "dumpster dive". So, Shanley and I go through Alec's backpack, Alec's room, the kitchen, the living room, and so on. Finally, we find it carefully filed away in a kitchen drawer.

I just don't know how much more "help" I can possibly take!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

too many laws

I read in the paper that the Utah State Legislature is close to passing a low which will ban teens from driving while using a cell-phone (even a hands-free device).

I am for the "no-cell-phone-while-driving-policy" but it makes me crazy that the legislature must pass laws regarding this and similar issues. Why can't we police ourselves? Must we have a law spelling out our every behavior? Do any of us utilize the common sense we were born with?

When Brakston got a cell-phone (at age 16), I thought it was my job as a parent to spell out appropriate use. Kevin and I wrote up a cell phone contract with such regulations as (1) the phone gets put away at 10 pm on weeknights and midnight on weekends (2) no cell phone use during school classes (3) he pay any excess charges and (4) absolutely no cell phone usage of any kind while he was driving. We made Brakston sign this contract.

I can't believe we have to put hundreds of hours of time and thousands of dollars into passing such laws. Sad, isn't it?

Monday, February 21, 2011

yummy recipes

I blogged here about my new recipe book and the "only okay" recipes I had tried.

I tried a couple more over the weekend and they were good! We tried the pizza meatball subs and they were good and something everyone in my family would probably eat (Alec may have a bit of trouble because they're a bit messy).

My favorite was the Penne Chicken with sun-Dried Tomatoes. Yum! So, here's the recipe:

3 3/4 C uncooked penne pasta
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 lb. cooked chicken strips
1 C oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 green onions, sliced
2 C shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta and drain. Put all ingredients except cheese in a greased 9x13 pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5-8 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.

I loved it but I can be sure Chandler wouldn't eat it because of the tomatoes. Oh well. Sometimes you just have to cook what you, yourself, will like!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

highs and lows

HIGH - We started the day out really well yesterday. We all went to the Las Vegas Temple. Mom and I had both been there before but it was a first for Brakston, McKayla, and Whitney. It is a beautiful temple and one of the bright spots of Vegas (Have I mentioned before that I am NOT a fan of Las Vegas?)

LOW - Then it was off to 2 soccer games where McKayla didn't play much. That is very unusual for her since she usually starts. However, in tournament play her team often plays on Sundays and McKayla won't play on Sundays so the coach limits her playing time in all games. I understand why he does this but it is still not much fun to travel all this way (and pay this much money) just to watch her sit the bench.

HIGH - Still, I can't help but be extremely proud of her for living the gospel. She won't lower her standards for anything (even to play her favorite sport).

A day of highs and lows.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

completely spoiled

The drive to Vegas was LONG, uneventful, LONG, squishy, LONG, crowded, and did I mention that it was LONG?

Yes, I realize that it is only slightly over 5 hours but I will freely admit that my family is exceedingly spoiled. With Kevin's flight benefits, we are able to fly just about anywhere we want to go. Driving is just not something we do any more.

Therefore, cramming 5 of us into my mid-size (or is it a compact?) car was a bit different for us.

Truthfully, it was okay. I didn't actually mind it but you'd think I had submitted Brakston and McKayla to torture. We really are spoiled rotten!

Friday, February 18, 2011

new recipes

I love to try new recipes - it is a hobby of mine. Usually I am pretty good at just looking at a recipe and deciding if my family will like it or not.

I haven't done so well this week. I've tried 2 new recipes and have only gotten "it was alright" from family members.

I tried "Sweet and Saucy Sausage Sandwiches". Sounds good, right? They were okay. I also tried "Baked Apple French Toast". Another okay.

I am trying 2 more over the weekend - Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pizza-Meatball Sandwiches. Let's hope I'm more successful with those!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

day at the capital

What is a sure sign that you like teenagers?

spending 6 hours with a group of them and still thinking they're great! (and that includes about an hour cooped up with them on a bus)

I helped take the PTSA student leaders to the state capital on Tuesday. We toured, attended legislative sessions, and went out to lunch. I enjoyed talking to the students and getting to know them.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vegas,here I come!

Let me just start by saying that I hate Las Vegas! That being said, I can hardly wait to get there for the long weekend.


I am heading to Las Vegas on Friday morning with my mom, McKayla, Brakston, and Brakston's friend Whitney. We are going for McKayla's soccer tournament. Unfortunately, the weather is not supposed to be very nice for us - rain and temps in the 50s.

However, I am badly in need of a getaway and Vegas will surely do. I hate to complain because I know that everyone is busy but I have been completely overwhelmed. New Beginnings, PPIs, games for a ward party, teaching a merit badge clinic, taking students to a day at the capital, helping with ZAP, orientation meetings and assemblies at the middle school, book fair at the elementary, soccer games, basketball games, school community council meeting, etc. I hit overload a couple days ago.

Tomorrow I will have a chance to pack and prepare for the Las Vegas trip and then I hope to sleep, relax, enjoy a few soccer games, play some games, put together a jigsaw puzzle, watch a video, visit, and sleep some more! Vegas is looking better and better all the time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

school Valentine box

Chandler and I created a Valentine's box on Sunday. I wanted him to just build one using all his Legos (so much easier for me) but he didn't like that idea. He finally agreed to a truck.

Monday, February 14, 2011

chocolate fondue

As Kevin is rarely in town for Valentine's Day, we have learned to celebrate it whenever we have a chance. One of the things I did this year was the 14 days of Valentine's. Every day so far this month, I have given him some little gift. Again, since he's gone so much, I just packed things into his suitcase and labeled which day it was for. I game him candy, cards, a shirt, a neck massage, etc. It's been fun.

Last night we celebrated Valentine's Day as an entire family with a chocolate fondue. Yum!

We had an array of food to dip into our chocolate - peanut butter cookies, toasted coconut marshmallows, pretzels, strawberries, bananas, rice krispie treats, graham crackers, regular marshmallows, and mini chocolate chip cookies. It was quite a feast!

What are you doing to celebrate the day?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

public speaking

I spent 4 hours teaching 2 sessions of a merit badge clinic on Public Speaking yesterday. I think it went well although I only had 2 scouts in each session (too bad they weren't combined). None of the merit badge classes had very many attendees. The Citizenship series had the most with about 7-9 in those. Some clinics had no one (so the instructor got to go home - lucky them!). I do hope we can work out combining the two sessions in a couple weeks when we finish the merit badge clinic. It would be nice to teach 4 scouts for 2 hours and then be done rather than 2 scouts for 4 hours.

I do feel that Public Speaking is an important merit badge even though it is not required. It is certainly something the boys will use their entire lives. You need it for class presentations at school, church talks, church callings (lessons, conducting meetings, etc), job interviews, job duties, missions, etc. A few basic skills in Public Speaking can go a long ways.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

black bean, sweet potato enchiladas

My sister, Dawnette, called me with a recipe suggestion. She'd found it on Belly Bites (a healthy eating blog). I tried it and it was wonderful!

The recipe is for Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas and can be found here. Her pictures of the finished product look much better than mine (I took it before the sour cream and lettuce. However, my picture of the "stuffing" is so appetizing. The colors looked so appealing I was tempted to eat straight out of the skillet!

Yum! I heartily recommend this dish.

Friday, February 11, 2011

soccer ball cake

Chandler wanted a sports-themed birthday party. No surprise there. I made him a couple soccer ball cakes using our favorite chocolate cake recipe.

a popular nerd?

McKayla informed me that she is a finalist for National Junior Honor Society President. Apparently, the NJHS members were given a list of members and told to vote for a president. She received notice that she is one of the top 9 vote-getters. She was pretty excited about that. I'm kinda proud.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

mixing good and evil

Today's media is sure a good example of how Satan tries to make evil things appear good.

I heard Pink's new song on the radio and absolutely LOVED it! I just kept thinking what a wonderful message it was sending. The words go:

Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than,
Less than perfect

Pretty, pretty please
Don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're nothing
You are perfect, to me

Great music, great message, what more could you ask for?

Then, I wanted to listen to it at home so I pulled up You-Tube and discovered the name of the song (in it's uncensored, non-radio version). I don't recommend this. The name of the song should be R-rated. Now I can't get it out of my head.

Yep, Satan loves to twist things. He is tricky and slimy and weasly. I almost can't wait to go to battle against him!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

simple pleasures

I've rediscovered one of the joys in life.

Monday night Brakston had a couple of friends over. There was Chris (who's been back from his mission for a little over a month) and Macy (who's been back 1 week). The three of them were on the high school cross-country team and hung out together.

They invited me to watch a movie with them. Curled up on the couch, with a warm blanket, watching The Bourne Identity with these three guys was BLISS!

Life was back to normal and it was good!

Wonder how long it will last before one of them goes off and gets married?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Joseph Smith in Lectures on Faith said, "Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation."

This week, religion should have sufficient power over me.

Every single day will have time devoted to church callings. Sunday was church and teaching the YW, yesterday I was at the church setting up for New Beginnings and then back over there later for a New Beginnings practice. Today is New Beginnings. Wednesday is PPIs with the Bishop. Tomorrow is a church ball game and Special Needs Mutual. Friday is an adult ward party. Saturday I'll be at a Worldwide Leadership Training at 6 am and then teaching a Merit Badge class from 8 am to 1 pm. Sunday will be back to church.

PTA is almost as bad. Today I am helping at the middle school with a ZAP (zeroes aren't permitted) activity. Tomorrow I am helpng with a student of the month breakfast at the high school. Thursday I am helping with a 6th grade assembly then helping with PTA day at Harmon's and then talking at an orientation for parents and incoming 7th graders.

My dad always says, "There's no rest for the wicked and the righteous don't need any."

I'm pretty sure I fit in one of those categories.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Last night at FHE, my sister Jolyn shared a funny story from one of her Primary children. They were discussing repentance, forgiveness, and having a remission of sins. One of the children defined remission as "when you don't do your mission right the first time so you have to go on another one."

We had a great time teasing my parents about their "re-mission" to the Washington, D.C. temple. After all, this time they only have 12 months to get it right!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

a weekend of laughs

I love things that make me laugh! I truly believe we all need to laugh more. This weekend I enjoyed a few more funny moments than usual.

Friday night Kevin and I watched "Knight and Day" with Brakston and his friend, Whitney. That movie just cracks me up!

Last night Kevin and I went to Hale Center Theater with Todd and Jill. We saw "Born Yesterday" which also made me laugh.

Laughter really is the best medicine.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

double digits

My baby has now hit double digits - yep, he's the big 1-0 today!

Chandler kicked the bejeepers out of me when I was pregnant with him. He never stopped kicking. I couldn't get any sleep. He hasn't slowed down at all. He is still always in perpetual motion.

Chandler is very funny! He says the funniest things and uses big words. He is very analytical and I could totally see him becoming an engineer or some such thing someday.

He is extremely social and thinks he should be surrounded by friends at all times.

He loves sports and is a bit too competitive.

Chandler is also really naive. One would think with 4 older siblings that he'd be more "savvy" but he is totally innocent. Yesterday we found out that he still thinks it is impossible to have children if you're not married.

I can hardly believe my "baby" is 10! (He hates it when I refer to him as my baby).

Happy Birthday, Chandler!

Friday, February 4, 2011

damaged goods

You send a perfectly good child to school and look what you get back:
Love that shiner!

And, believe it or not, it was his TEACHER that did it to him.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

oldest and youngest

Here's the oldest and youngest of the Lawton family grandkids:Brakston just returned from his mission at age 21 and Ben's son, Isaac, who is about 8 months old. Don't you just love his cute little "Future Missionary" name tag?

Of course, Isaac won't be the youngest for long since Dawnette is expecting in March.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

good deal, great deal

I love getting a good deal and felt like I got one yesterday when I paid $3 for 2 bags of M&Ms (the big bags). Walgeen's had them on sale 2/$5 but they also had a Walgreen's coupon for $1 off 2. Combine that with my manufacturer's coupon for $1 off 2 and I paid $1.50 a bag. Yea!

However, everyone knows there is one thing better than a great deal - that is just plain free stuff!

Yep, I got the 4 packages of Butterfinger Stackerz for free. Walgreen's had them on sale for 25 cents each and I had a manufacturer's coupon for $1 off 2. Total cost = $0. Love it!

Too bad I'm dieting and can't eat any of it but my family is sure loving it!

let's get comfy

or NOT!

I guess when you're tired, any place will do.

I can relate, sometimes I feel tired enough to sleep anywhere too!

Still, it's nice to see him be still and peaceful. The school is stresing me out right now because I get daily calls about his behavior. The school really wants me to get him into a psychiatrist because they think he is exhibiting schizophrenic behavior.

On top of Down syndrome and autism, I don't feel like Alec needs one more diagnosis. However, it's probably time to get him help if he needs it. Guess I'd better face the music and make some calls today. Besides, I'd like to stop the daily calls from the school.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

books I've read in the past month

Blame it on Brakston coming home, a new year, or whatever other good-mood-inducing thing you want, all I know is that I enjoyed almost everything I read this month. Some of them were just light-hearted easy reads but they were pleasant none-the-less.

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner
A Vintage Affair: A Novel by Isabel Wolff
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Truly, Madly (Lucy Valentine, #1) by Heather Webber
29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali

I would recommend any of them except "Olive Kitteridge". It was dreadful! "The Scent of Rain and Lightning" was only okay.