Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dreyton turns 12

Dreyton turned twelve in April. He was very anxious to turn twelve, because he was excited about leaving primary and becoming a Deacon. He was also looking forward to being in the Boy Scout troop with his dad. Donovan is the Scoutmaster.

I attempted the red velvet cake again, and I just can't seem to get the frosting right. My mother-in-law has shown me a few times how to make this cake from scratch, but I am terrible when it comes to making red velvet cake. I think I will just have Anne (my mother-in-law) make it in UT and each time she visits us. I'm not meant to make this cake.

Below is a picture of Dominique before the band concert began. I was able to get a quick shot of Dominique, but I could not get close enough to Dreyton.

Both of my boys performed in the spring band concert. Dreyton plays the trumpet in beginning band, and Dominique plays the trombone in the symphonic band. They did a great job!
I can't believe both of my boys are in middle school and growing up so quickly. It seems like just yesterday when they were little toddlers that I could watch over like a mother hen. My boys are changing so much and becoming more independent each day. Dominique will be starting high school in the fall and that means he only has four more years left in my home. Dominique has informed me that he will not be living in Florida, but he "will come visit." I'm constantly reminding my boys that they always need to remember their mom. The other day I told my boys that they couldn't get married to a girl until she went on a family vacation with our family. I told them that when they get married they would inherit another family and they should make sure their wife knows she inherits our family. Their response is, "We know mom!" They better or I will be showing up on their front door! **And you know I will!**

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Strawberry Picking at Roger's Farm

On April 24, I went strawberry picking at Roger's Farm. A few friends had told me about a great place to pick fresh strawberries. Florida (and the Newberry area where we live) grows a lot of strawberries. I remember picking apples in St. Louis and thought it would be fun to pick strawberries. Everytime I see a strawberry stand on the corner here in town, I want to stop and buy a case to make fresh strawberry jam. I was introduced to freezer jam several years ago from Donovan's Grandma Lott and his mother. It is the best stuff ever. Anne has come to my home several times to watch my kids, and she has made us several batches of this wonderful stuff. I decided I was going to try and make it. I took my girls and Jasmine's friend, Morgan. We picked six buckets in no time at all. We even ate a few along the way.
We wanted to keep picking, but one can only do so much with fresh strawberries.

Jyllian picked a whole bucket by herself.

I think I should have only picked four buckets. I ended up making two different batches. I made eight containers of freezer jam and twelve jars of jam. They both turned out yummy. We had strawberry jello, strawberry shortcake, and strawberry shakes too.

The girls wanted to go back again...maybe next year.

Spring Break/Day Four Animal Kingdom

April 10, 2010
Our final day of Spring Break in Orlando was spent in Disney's Animal Kingdom. We had asked each of the kids which of the four parks they wanted to go to during spring break. I got four different answers. We had to go with the majority since we weren't going to all four parks in one day. Somehow we keep spending our spring break in Orlando. It usually falls on or right around my birthday. Whenever Donovan asks me what I would like to do for my birthday, I usually say let's go out-of-town for a few days.
The safari ride is one of my favorites at Animal Kingdom. I think we saw more animals this time then on previous visits.

Disney really has spent many hours/months/years creating this park.


The tree behind me is not real. It's actually part of It's a Bugs Life (which is a 3-D show). My kids love it.

Dominique gave a thumbs up to Mount Everest. It is a roller coaster ride, and it's great! I was truly surprised that he rode the ride and liked it. I think he is finally overcoming his fear of big rides. Dominique usually is our Jyllian watcher for the rides. But two things happened this trip: 1 ) Jyllian is now 40" (which means she can ride almost all of the rides), 2) Dominique decided to ride the rides. We didn't have to get a child swap card for most of the rides, and Jyllian had a great time...except for the river rapids ride. She sat next to me for this ride, and we happened to be seated in the seat that became drenched. I always carry a change of clothes for her, thank goodness. After getting drenched, she was not happy to be wet and didn't want to ride that ride ever again. I remember last year she tried to stand on her tippy toes to try and ride.

About 3:00 the kids started to get tired and wanted to go home. I couldn't believe it! Who gets tired at Disney? I guess everyone but me. We did leave early and grabbed some McDonalds on our way home.

Jasmine wanted to take our picture, so she tried.

She also took a few pictures of the pink flamingos. Do you know why flamingos are pink? Because of the shrimp they eat.

Spring Break/Day Three Magic Kingdom

This year, Disney offered one free day to the park of your choice for each individual that volunteered his/her time to a non-profit organization. Of course I was immediately checking into a way to go for one free day of Disney. I signed our family up to work on at Heaven's Special Children (see http://www.heavensspecialchildren.org/). This organization offers various forms of therapy not typically covered by regular insurance to children with special needs. One service they offer is hippo therapy. Hippo Therapy is where horses are used in providing therapy. Our participation included helping to clean up some of the grounds where the horses were kept. After we completed our work, we were able to print off vouchers and present them at the Disney park. However, I discovered that the tickets were upgradeable, which meant we had an eighty dollar voucher that could be used towards different types of passes. Disneyworld was offering Florida residents four days of Disney for $99. I asked if we could upgrade to a four day pass. We were able to get a four day pass for $19 per person. I have never seen such a great offer from Disney, and I could not pass up this kind of sweet deal! A four day pass is usually $225 per person (for a Florida resident). You can see the savings and understand why we didn't purchase passes this year. Our annual passes expired last August, and we just couldn't afford another year of Disney. Plus we want to go and see other parts of Florida for our vacations.

On April 8, we were able to got to Magic Kingdom. It is our favorite park, and we wanted to ride the newly remodeled space mountain. Dominique rode space mountain for the first time. Finally, he decided to ride! This has been a long time in coming. After riding, Dominique said he would go again.
We rode the Buzz Lightyear ride. On our way out of the ride the kids decided to pose with Zurg.

I asked Dominique not to spin Jyllian and Jasmine too fast on the tea cups, but he didn't listen. The girls were wishing they rode with me instead.

Throughout the park there are spray fountains that people can walk through to cool off. The kids decided to get a little wet to cool down too.

Below is Donovan snacking on some twizzlers and listening to his ipod. He probably doesn't want to listen to the kids whine throughout the day.

Here the boys are on the jungle cruise.

This is our favorite place to stop and get an ice cream snack. It serves pineapple ice cream floats, and they are DE-LISH. I think we stop here every time we go to Magic Kingdom.

The famous Cinderella castle.

I'm sure you are all familiar with the rides at Disney. The exit of the rides go through a store, and the kids all think they need to buy everything they see. Here is Jyllian picking up princesses in a box.

Spring Break Orlando/ Day One and Two

April 7, 2010
On the first day of spring break, we packed up the car and headed to Orlando. We drove straight to the temple and decided to take turns watching the kids. Donovan went into the temple first, so I walked around the temple grounds and fed the kids snacks. The first half hour was fine, but then the kids started to get bored. They were not very happy about hangin' in the minivan (I mean, what cooler place exists to hang out in than a mini-van?!). When Donovan came out of the temple and I went in, he took the kids for ice cream and to check-in to the condo we had reserved for three nights. I don't think they complained a bit about getting some ice cream. Donovan tends to get the "easier shifts" tending the kids.

I took a few pictures of the kids outside the Orlando temple grounds.

It was a beautiful day, and just a little warm, but I am not complaining about the gorgeous spring weather we had during the month of April.

The kids were asking me, "How much longer?" You know that's the question all kids ask. I just kept telling them that classic parental reply: "Just a little longer."

After finishing up at the temple, the kids went swimming in the pool at the condo. Then we went to Cici's pizza for dinner. I know it's not the best food, but it was a request by the kids. Can you say all you can eat pizza??

Day two: I promised Donovan that we would have one "down day" on our Spring Break. His idea of a vacation and mine are completely opposite. He thinks a vacation should be relaxing and not running all over to cram in as much "fun" as possible. However, I do enjoy his idea of a vacation too. On day 2, the kids were able to swim and watch some TV (something very unusual for them and their daily routine...not!). We had a great dinner at Sizzler. That was my pick as I had not had Chicken Malibu for several years. I think our kids are now Sizzler fans too!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Easter Festivites 2010

I posted about this same event last year. But the girls and myself went back to the annual Easter egg hunt held at the grounds of the local mortuary. The girls were able to ride on this train, eat hot dogs and cookies, pet a few animals, play in a bounce house, and gather eggs full of candy.
Jyllian had fun chasing the bunny around the pen.

Jasmine and her friend Mackenzie met up at the event.

Jyllian didn't want to leave the petting zoo. She didn't get frightened by the goats like she did last year.

Jasmine and Elesse (our neighbor) were trying to decide if they wanted to pet the animals.

Jyllian had so much fun on this slide. She kept running back to get in line to do it again.

It's fun to see Jyllian really start to enjoy coloring Easter eggs. She insisted on coloring them all by herself. Hence, her hands dyed all colors.

Jasmine had a good time coloring her eggs and helping her sister.

The girls wanted to color more eggs, but I told them we didn't have that many people to eat the eggs. Even though we are an egg eating family, one can only eat so many eggs.

Jasmine's Skate Station Party

March 13, 2010

Jasmine wanted to have a party at the local roller skating rink. She invited a few friends from school and a few girls from our neighborhood. She wanted to have a sleep over too, so I told her she could only have five girls. I don't really like slumber parties (the last thing I get to enjoy during them is an actual slumber), but I know the kids enjoy them. In the picture below are Sydney, Jasmine, Mackenzie, and Grace.Of course, we made the boys come along to the party with all of the crazy girls, and they were very reluctant (I don't know why....I mean, my older brother always liked hangin' out with me and my 9 year old friends when he was a tween). I told them there would be so many people there and no one would know they came with a bunch of girly girls. Donovan strapped on his roller blades and really got into skating. Who knew he liked skating so much? I guess he was reliving his classic skating days (and his affinity for the Bee Gees).

Dominique and Dreyton were having a much better time then I think they would admit.

Morgan is our next door neighbor and Elesse lives across the street. Jasmine has a great time with these two girls. At the beginning of the night, these two girls could barely stay on their feet. But by the end of the evening, they were skating around the rink. In fact the next day, they each went to the store and purchased roller blades. Jasmine and these two have been ripping up the neighborhood. It is amazing what some friendly coercion and positive reinforcement can do to motivate kids to go and go and go to learn something new (even if they fall down hitting the cement floor with their hind ends several times!).

The girls sipped a few slurpees, which I'm sure just added to their sugar intake (and inability to stay still and let me slumber later that night).

Jasmine and the girls were up late watching crazy youtube videos with Donovan. Jasmine is very much like her daddy. It's scary!

The next morning, Morgan wanted to give Jasmine a facial. Morgan used yogurt (with fruit on the bottom) for the face and cucumbers for the eyes.

The girls painted their nails and just pampered themselves like the divas they think they are.