Saturday, June 30, 2012

So I can remember

My husband told me today how much he loves me, and how he knows he made the right choice marrying me. If I could choose all over again, he said, I'd still choose you over anyone else. He made my day. He tells me all the time that he loves me and how wonderful and beautiful I am, but today he was especially sincere and adamant about me knowing it. Makes me want to say in my New Yorker accent, "I gotta pretty good one, eh?" The boys are outside playing lazer tag in the dark and I am currently laying next to Leia so she can go to sleep, and she's squinting at me like a pirate, pretending that her eyes are closed while she watches me. Bye!
Husband's out of town for several days and he forgot to water my really high plants before he left.  They are dying and he's no where near being home.  So after trying to stand on a stool with Evan on my shoulders (and we still couldn't reach high enough to water them), I've resorted to throwing water up there with a cup and hoping it lands mostly in the pot.

Guess what?

Mostly it doesn't.

Fun Activities

I needed a cute/funny outfit for Sundays when I'm in with the young women at church.  We wanted to take a minute to ask each girl for some good news about her week.  So I thought I could be like Tinkerbell- you know- because happy thoughts makes you be able to fly?  That along with some pixie dust.  So I made an apron that looks like this one below, although mine is pink and red, and I don't know how to sew, so I had no pattern, I just did it, and it turned out so cute!  I'll post a picture when I get one.  It took less than $10 to make (1 and 1/2 yards of material and thread only), and about 4 hours, but I'd have a hard time doing it again, since I just did it without a plan. (Pat even had to thread my bobbin for me since I can never remember how.)

Now I know an apron doesn't really go with the whole Tinkerbell thing, but it was cute and I'm not going to dress like Tinkerbell. But after they share a happy thought I sprinkle glitter on them so they can fly!  (Like a couple pieces only because glitter can really get stuck in your hair.)
Recently we also had an activity with the young men and young women combined at church that I ended up being in charge of because some stuff happened, and although the picture below is not mine, it shows kinda what we did.  We played water baseball.  It was so fun!

We have a tiny grass yard on one side of our church building and I wasn't sure if there'd be enough room, but it turned out perfect.  We used a woofle/wifle?  bat, water bombs for the balls (those are the little sponge balls you can buy at Target) and all the bases were some type of water obstacle.

First base: Plastic kiddie pool that they had to jump in and sit.
Second base: Chair with a big sponge they had to sit on.  There was a bucket of water next to the chair to keep it wet.  However by the end of the night as people landed on second base the person there would ring out the sponge on the runners head.
Third base: Crazy sprinkler coiled around the base
Home base: Slip n' Slide into home like the above picture.

Since there were so many kids we moved the batter's spot a bit off to the side from where everyone was sliding into home to avoid collisions. 

The pitcher also had a bucket of water so that they could keep the balls soaked.

And we had Beach Boys music playing in the background.

I brought Pat with me since I didn't want to have to figure out the rules of baseball and keep score.  We decided that anyone could throw the ball at the runner and get them out.  That worked well. The balls weren't too hard.  Either that or we were lucky.

At the end the bases were loaded, the score tied, with two outs and the young men's leader made us end it since our time was up.  So then we ate popcorn and cookies and drinks and everyone went home sopping wet.  It was great.

Around here..

Lately, the boys have been learning how to swim.  I realized D is that age that soon he'll be going away to scout camps where there are pools and he needed to know how to swim!  He had done very well.  S loves it so much that he made sure to hold his breath longer, swim farther, jump higher and float better than anyone.  It cracked me up, because two years ago when we tried to put him in swim lessons he hated it and was terrified.  So just waiting two years and trying again worked for us.  Evan was the most scared, and really belonged in the preschool class, but since he's so much bigger than those kids, they wouldn't let him.  So instead of turning into a little fish, he turned into a monkey.  Clinging to the wall (he couldn't touch the bottom) or to his teacher, or hanging on his teacher's back.  He would talk about how he was going to try something new each day, but when it came down to it, he was too scared.  That's okay.  Leia was funny though.  She would tattle on him whenever he was sitting outside the pool.  It usually went something like this (in her high pitched voice): "Uh-oh!!! Evan!!!", and then she'd go up behind him and try to push him in, making him and his teachers laugh.

Leia and I would do flashcards or be silly together while watching them.   Then we would go eat lunch in the park with the Olson family since our boys all like to play together.  Then we would come home around 1pm and die of 100 degree heat (we don't have an air conditioner) until 9pm when you could finally get your second wind and go to the store or do dishes or something.  It has been so hot!!!!!

We're still trying to potty train Leia, and not getting too far.  She really likes panties instead of diapers, but not much beyond that.  We've gotten her to potty in the toilet a couple times, but never poop.  In fact she'll get off the toilet to do that and then when she turns around and sees her poop on the floor she is terrified and screams like you wouldn't believe.  Yep.  It's been fun.

D and I went on a bike ride last week.  His dad had been promising to go with him (that's who he really wanted) for months but one thing after another kept happening, this time it was an injury.  So I offered to go with D.  So we took off- he on his bike- me on Pat's.   Then I realized that the quick trip to Dairy Queen was really 5 miles of mostly up hill.  I obviously am out of shape, but it's hard to exercise when you feel like you live on the surface of the sun.  So we had to get off and walk up the hills.  There were many.  But we rode a lot too.  I was really wishing my rear end had something better to sit on.  D picked a couple of spots that were good for breaks and he carried all the water.  It was fun at the very end because there was a huge almost 1 mile of downhill. 
At Dairy Queen we stashed our bikes behind the sign and got some treats.  As soon as I got my shake I tried to take the lid off and somehow dropped it down the front of me and the whole thing landed upside down on the floor.  Dallas was shocked.  Right then he was really wishing he'd brought his dad.
Speaking of dad, we were about to go ride some more even though it was dark, but he showed up to drive us home.  He was worried about us!  We really had a good time though.  Memories.

The most significant thing that has happened to me recently is that I finally got an answer about school this next school year.  I had been praying about it for weeks both on my knees and sitting up on the swings in our back yard after the sun goes down talking to God about it.  It was so 50/50 for me.  Like a completely equal set of pro's and con's for each decision.  Pat has always been for homeschooling, but lately has been willing to let me put them in the new charter school.  Mostly he just said he wanted me to decide and that he'd support either one.  With summer passing quickly, I set aside a day to fast and go to the temple.  And it's not easy to fast for a whole day when it's so hot.  So after Pat got home from work, I left, and just kept talking it out with the Lord as I drove.  I told him, I think I'll put them in the school, so help me to feel like that is the right thing to do.

As I sat in the session with that thought of school, I looked down at my lap, and was suddenly filled with different thoughts of homeschool.  All these things kept coming to my mind, and all I can say is that it felt like someone was pouring light and joy into my soul.   I was so excited, it was hard to wait to get to the celestial room to just focus on thanking Him.

Gone was all my doubt.  All my worry- gone.  Will I regret some things about not attending the school?  YES!  Especially the really neat families that are going to be there who are and could be friends with my kids.  But I feel at peace about it.  They will have friends, and they will be fine.  And God knows more than I do about what is in their future, and thinks whatever we do at home is more important right now.  Maybe they'll go there next year.  Who knows?  But at least I know for now our course, and it feels so liberating!  Finally I can focus on one thing, and all these ideas I've had before but forgotten are coming back to me along with new ideas about things I should plan to do with them this year.  I am really, really excited.  It's not easy, but knowing that the Lord is behind you makes it worth it.

Now before I go, I just have to say that D just came up to me in a bored voice and said, "Mom, can I do the dishes?"
Ummm, yes? Yes you can.
Then he walked away muttering, "Finally something to do."

(I don't know any more than you do.)

It's almost better in the school year when we have the days planned out.  They're always bored to death in the summer.

But don't feel sorry for them.  Yesterday friends were here for 6 hours and we had hamburgers, mac n' cheese, and homemade yogurt popsicles which they got to eat to their hearts content throughout the day as they played laser tag, went on bike rides, and a bunch of other stuff.  There's just not anything exciting happening RIGHT NOW.

Looks like 4th of July is going to be a bummer too.  It's been too dry and fireworks are practically illegal here.  Not illegal, but neighbors are asking everyone not to do them.  We are just like Colorado.  Too bad.  We were going to have a firework party here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Birthday/Father's Day!

Evan, my baby boy, is waaaaaaaaaaaaay too big!!!  He recently turned six!!  I love this guy!

Evan and Dallas being silly.
Notice this is a Costco cake.  (Mom didn't have time to make a cake this year.)  But Evan picked it out.  All it said on it was DAD so I told Pat to have them add Happy Birthday on top.  I should have told him to add 'Happy Birthday Evan'.    Now it just says 'Happy Birthday DAD' and it's not Pat's birthday nor does he play golf.  Birthday cake fail.  Sorry Evan- I owe you a Lego Star Wars cake!
His brothers got him a Lego Star Wars set, and we got him new shoes and Binoculars.  It took him two days to learn to say that word!

Some things about our Evan.  On his birthday I got out his baby book and said we're going to take a trip down memory lane.  So we looked at all the pictures of him in my tummy and then him as a baby etc.  He and Sam were being so silly I had to yell repeatedly for him to come back and sit down.   "We're taking a trip down memory lane!!!", I yelled.  Then they sat next to me and laughed their heads off at every naked baby picture.  Evan and Sam are too silly together.  Sometimes they laugh until they are quietly shaking.  Recently Evan had to do a talk in primary.  He got up and did a great job.  He is an EXCELLENT reader.  However, the following week they gave him a scripture.  He didn't hide his lack of enthusiasm when the primary president assigned it to him.  You would think reading a scripture would be much easier right?  But he refused.  No way was he going to read a scripture in primary! What a weirdo.
Right now he is in swim lessons and having a hard time of it.  He mostly sits outside of the pool or clings to the side.  We'll see as the summer goes on if he gets any better.  Swimming is another thing he's determined not to do.  That and riding a bike.  I'm pretty sure that by next year all these issues will resolve themselves... he's just at an age where he's still a bit afraid.  Sam used to be super afraid, but we just waited and this year he's determined to best everyone.

Evan does great at practicing his piano, and loves playing in forts and made his own bow and arrow.  He has the best laugh!

(Girls camp food in the background.)

Evan has longish curly-ish hair right now and I love it.  He gets himself dressed everyday including Sundays and does a great job.  He even gets his teeth super white and combs his hair!  He looks sharp! But he also has a style all his own:

Evan and one of his "sandwiches".
 One of my favorite things about Evan is that he's an adventurous eater.  He'll try most anything and likes it.  (Although he is the one with the weird things he eats too.)  His favorite show (and all of ours) is the Avatar.  Right now there's a new one The Legend of Korra.  We love it!!!  His favorite toy is Lego's and he builds his own ships all the time.  He loves video games, and is starting to like dancing to Michael Jackson too.   He's always fun for his brothers and sister to play with.  He talks a lot, but when he's shy or doesn't know what to say, he'll still look at you and smile showing his three dimples.  He likes to spank me and his dad on our bumber (that's what he calls it) if he feels silly.  He's really quite a lunatic he acts so crazy sometimes.  But he's also got a very careful and thoughtful side, and he takes really good care of Leia- though they do fight at times.  He does all his own chores and that includes feeding and watering chickens and some of the cutest times are when he comes inside with a shirt full of eggs.  Then he carefully puts them all in the fridge.  There is something really special about Evan.  Words can't express how much I love him!  (Or any of my wonderful kids.)

Post script: We didn't leave Pat out for Father's Day.  I don't have any pictures since it was Sunday morning and those are always hectic... but we made a list of things we like about our dad and then bought things to go along with it.  For example: He helps us get in bed/pajama pants.  Or he gives me piggy back rides/Pass the pigs game.
Fixes car, works in the yard, helps around the house, ties our ties, is good at camping, etc.  We filled a whole basket!  And because of my calling we made and passed out a little gift to all the fathers at church too.  And the kids sang to all the dads.  In Leia's class they gave candy to the dads too!

Decision Making

I just read an article with this quote from Jim Liske, the head of the nation's largest prison ministry.

One problem he said he saw with the prisoners is that they would make bad choices quickly after being released from prison and end up there again.
"Inmates have been told when to get up, when to eat, when to go to the bathroom, when to recreate.  Their decision-making muscles atrophy."

For some reason this made me think of my mission.  If you know me you know that I LOVED my time as a missionary with all my heart and soul.  But there is that element also of having everything planned out for you.  We had to memorize what to say, had a time appointed for everything, and had to okay everything with leaders, even if those leaders were 19 year olds.  I can remember after coming home wishing my mission president would still make me report to him so I was accountable to someone and had some guidance.  Sometimes it's nice to know what you're supposed to be doing, exactly when you're supposed to be doing it. And to have someone you respect tell you you're doing a good job.

But life isn't like that.  At least not always.  There are so many decisions to make it can cause tons of stress.  All I can say is that it takes major exercising of those decision-making muscles.  But is that a bad thing?  The more I realize I don't know WHAT to do, the more I rely on prayer and the feelings I feel in the spirit.

In the Book of Mormon, Ammon and the son's of Mosiah felt led by the Spirit, and decided to be missionaries to the Lamanites who HATED them and would kill any Nephite they saw.  They relied on the Spirit to direct them, and went without purse or script.  They suffered greatly.  Yet there was an amazing conversion.  I love that.

Now, thankfully, missionaries don't memorize the discussions, they just study the gospel and teach as led by the Spirit.  Much better. More like those ancient missionaries.

I like using my intuition rather than just obeying.  I like having room to come up with my own creative ideas.  I like to study things out and pray about them, before I just submit blindly.


I don't even like that when I go visiting teaching, they give me a topic. Yep, I'm a rebel.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, and Grilled Chicken

Photo from My Recipes
I had to post this recipe quickly before I forgot.  I didn't have a photo, so I found one as close as I could.
It's name has evolved.  If it had a name I guess you could call it:
Grilled Chicken in Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette w/Asparagus and Monterrey Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Marinate chicken breasts in homemade ranch dressing (buy the buttermilk version).  It's a packet that you mix with buttermilk and mayo.  Add to the marinade 2 Tbsp Worcestershire, 2 Tsp salt, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp white vinegar, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1 tsp sugar.  Let sit at least 4 hours or make in the morning.  Grill.  (Or if you prefer fried you could pull out of marinade and dip in salted flour and fry).

Mashed Potatoes
Make out of any potato you like.  Peel, chop and boil potatoes.  Mash with garlic butter (sautee at least 2 cloves minced garlic in butter over med-low heat for 5 minutes or so), shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and enough milk to make it smooth, salt and pepper.

Boil or cook how you like until bright green and still a little crisp.

Plate- as shown above (although I always grill mine really dark- not that fried look).  Pour a little bit of Ken's Steak House Sun-dried Tomato dressing on your plate first and set the chicken on top of it.  It's a bright red, sweet dressing that goes great with the chicken and the cheesy potatoes.  As you slice your chicken into bites it will have the dressing on the bottom for just a little more delicious-ness.

It's just a simple meal, but it's always been one of my fav's.  By the way, I buy the smallest chicken breasts I can find because some of them are so big it's disgusting.  Like in that picture above.  I'd be fine with half of that.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Scout Camp

Right away L saw the bikes.  She was very happy even though she had no clue how to ride.

Archery targets.  There were also BB guns a ways down.

D in white hat.

S was having a very bad day.

E was not.

L was on and off.  Here she is upset. She got progressively worse as the day wore on. 

K is happy.  Except for the fact that I look pregnant. ( I am not pregnant.) 

L throwing a fit and marching off. 
So at lunch time, having no lunch, we drove to the nearest kinda in the middle of no where place.  It was super cute!
And the food was delicious!

All the grumpies are gone.  Ice cream works wonders!
 Then we went back to camp.  They scouts had finished their lunches, and we got to watch D play kickball.  Then something I ate (having to do with my egg allergy) got me so sick.  In the picture below, I am dying!

Evan decorated L's hat and we were all forced to wear it.

Hey that's my hat!
At the end they did their skits.  They were pretty funny.  What a tremendous amount of patience these leaders had- who by the way, are all volunteer.  Or in the case of our church, they are given the job as a calling or assignment.  Some might be questioning accepting it.  I think some of them were broken after this week, the poor dears!  I was broken after one day.  Thanks Bro. and Sis. Yancy!

My subjects and some food

On this day, whenever they'd see me, they'd say,  "It's the boss!", and then bow.  They'd hold this position until I was gone so it was easy to take a picture.  They crack me up.

Copied from my SIL Sunny.  The chia seed breakfast.  At night put 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 cup rolled oats (uncooked) and 1/2 cup of milk or almond milk, with 1 tsp. chia seeds in a cup.  Stir and let sit overnight and flavor in the morning with whatever.  A really good breakfast!
Someone in my ward has been teaching me to make sourdough bread which is obviously made with fermented dough instead of yeast to make it rise.  I haven't quite got it down, but almost.  It takes getting used to the sour bread taste too, but is supposed to be better for you.  I am liking it very much!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Strange things around here

I live in a really dry, windy, high desert landscape, which is not easy breezy in any way. It is also really beautiful.  A different kind of beauty.  Especially at certain times of the year like right now!
You'll never believe me, but as I was driving in my neighborhood I saw that someone owns a zebra-horse.  The above picture is not mine, but it looked just like that.  Hard to mistake the stripes on the legs since no horse would ever look like that.  It's kind of neat to look at, but why would anyone do that?

Tons of people around here have alpacas. 
And I'll never get tired of the deer that I see when I'm driving driving at night. They jump out right in front of your car and they always surprise me as to how big they are. When I don't see them on the road, I see their foot prints in the yard everywhere.  Oh and do you have any advice on getting goats or sheep?  We would like one (mostly for weed control, but we wouldn't mind some milk, or eventually meat).  We've been researching on it, but if you have any advice feel free to share!

Monday, June 11, 2012

April D & S Talent Show Performance

From Pat: Sorry for the watermark, I tried several different ways of getting this video in a compatible format and had to settle on a "free" version of some software.  This is from the talent show a few months ago, Karisa had one job and that was to record the performance but she forgot so we got this video from a friend and I had to jump through hoops to get this one converted to a format we could use.  Enjoy!

From Karisa:  I forgot because I was laughing so hard.  They totally learned this dance on their own (Wii Michael Jackson) and the only thing I told them before they performed is to smile no matter what and to have a good time.  Even if they fell down, or people laughed at them, etc.  I was laughing so hard (quietly though) because they did great!

A note about Dallas

Dallas has some funny things he's into.  He is always drawing mazes.  Very intricate detailed mazes.  Then he lets his brothers test them and do them.  He has probably at least 100 mazes right now.

The other day when he was taking apart the old swing set I heard him mutter under his breath, "Swing set, meet your worst enemy.  The adjustable wrench."

Lately he's also taken to watching the news.  He'll wake up early to watch it.  He just asked me if we could go watch the play Mary Poppins- something he saw on the news.  "It would be so neat to see people doing Mary Poppins right in front of me", he said.  I had no idea Mary Poppins was even here in Albuquerque.  I go online and yep!  Cheapest ticket was 78.00.  Blah.  I told him no we couldn't go.

Then he said, "That's okay.  Did you know Florida is flooding?  They've got water up to here (points to his knee)."  No I didn't know that either.  Then he wondered if the businesses would open and told me that some people were just driving around like the water wasn't even there.

Then he told me he's been keeping up with the two wildfires here in NM pointing in the direction where each of them are from our house.  "Oh and did you know someone turned 100 years old today?"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tender mercies

Brother P completely made my day today. He asked if I was going to do the music group again this year, and said he hoped I would. This is someone 10 times better at singing and leading music than myself, so it meant a lot. And it was a big sacrifice of time, so for anyone to actually want to do it again... I was just smiling all through sacrament meeting today after that. I keep feeling prompted to contact musical people in the other churches around here since it is a community group, but have been feeling unsure if the original group would come back. So thank you for answering that. Whatever made you speak to me today, out of the blue, about our community Christmas choir- it was sure a happy blessing to me. If I could do a cartwheel... Wheee!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

School ends, soccer ends, girls camp ends followed immediately by a week of scout camp, 4-H stuff, other commitments, self reliance fair, Young Womens stuff, illnesses, potty training, Pat out of town, oh, and really need to do yard work and get the garden in before swim lessons start next week.
And I ate something for lunch yesterday at scout camp that made me so sick I thought I was going to die walking around out in the heat.  I tried to sit in the shade and hold very still, and thus I mostly avoided death.  (But I died a little inside.) 

I'll post more about the later, but right now, my only goal is to take a week long nap. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Life without Mom....

My mom went  to girls camp last week so I am going to tell what happened  here. Most of the time we played on the slip slide and we cleaned a lot we even moved everything around in the bosses room. [scary things live in there.]  We got the ground ready to plant  carrot seeds.

The above was Dallas and Dad is going to finish the rest:
The biggest thing that happened while Karisa was at girls' camp was that our whole bedroom got reorganized.  Nothing ended up in the same spot.  It started with cleaning and just changed into putting things where I thought they should go.  When I talked to Karisa she seemed nervous about that but when she got home she loved the new room, said it made it more fun.  Whew, those things were heavy and I didn't want to move them back.

The other big thing was that soccer is done, yay!  Two days a week that I get free time back.  The last practice was great, I always have the kids play against their parents and it went great this year.  With the parents up 8-6 and the Ninjas about to kick off I yelled that it was half time and we needed to switch sides.  Sam kicked the ball off in the opposite direction and scored an uncontested goal since all the adults were on the other side of the field.  The Ninjas eventually won 9-8 and everyone had fun.  After the game on Saturday (another lopsided loss, this one was only 8-2 though since we were playing 8 vs. 6 the whole poor team) we had a potluck party and it was great to finally talk with the parents in a relaxed manner.  I chatted with the lady from Juarez in Spanish and got to know the couple from our neighboring ward a little better.  I got a Tim Lincecum figure for my desk at work from another parent who had it sitting in the car forever (glad I wore all my Giants' paraphernalia that day) and ate lots of yummy treats.

I don't know what Dallas was talking about that they spent most of the time on the slip and slide, they spent some time out there but we spent most of our time wasting our time (one of my favorite signs I've seen recently says something along the lines of "If you enjoyed that wasted time it wasn't wasted) with video games, movies and sugary cereals.  We did that though while keeping the house almost perfectly clean, getting the garden ready for the few seeds we have, digging wells for our fruit trees and getting the boys piano songs down perfectly!

We all enjoyed the bachelor's life but are really, really glad that Mom is home!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

GC 2012!!!!!

Almost 5 months after camp, and I finally got some pictures!  I'll be moving this post shortly back to May where it belongs.  But in case you're interested, here's the girls camp post.

Gorham Scout Ranch near Santa Fe, Pojoaque, Nambe and Cundiyo.
I'm red shirt with red cape.
I was so blessed this year with girls camp!  I knew, having done this twice before, that it is incredibly stressful, that it can never be precise, and that with food there are a lot of things that can go wrong, people with special needs, etc. I went days not being able to sleep and having nightmares about things going wrong.  I practiced and planned for months about what should be served. We have gluten free people, dairy free people, vegetarians, you name it.  I don't plan around them, but try to have things at each meal that they can eat.  It's like a challenge to me, and I love it.

I LOVE making menu's.  I went through several before I decided. I have to think of it from every angle- like I wanted to do sliders one meal, because girls love anything mini, but realized that it would slow up the line too much to have each girl decorating their mini burgers with the toppings they wanted.  But I refuse to compromise on quality, and that's not always easy on a budget.  I HATE garbage cheap food.
Writing out my shopping list and color coding the different stores to buy everything from. 

The recipes.  I always think about what would happen if I broke my leg or had to leave camp suddenly for some reason?  I shouldn't be the only one who knows the plan.  I plan the menu on my own, and send it out to everyone before camp, and then put the recipes in order for each day, and the crew can see exactly what needs to be done, and what's coming up. 
Most importantly in preparing for girls camp, I knew I needed God's help. So I prayed every morning and night and made sure that no matter how tired I was I read my scriptures each night.
The accumulation of stuff begins at my house.
By the last week, there isn't a free spot left in the house.

I am happy to say, that it made a huge difference.  It was the best year at camp ever!

A double recipe of cinnamon rolls in each bowl.  I made 160 cinnamon rolls at home and froze them on cookie sheets and then popped the frozen dough spirals into huge ziplock bags and kept them frozen until the night before we needed them for breakfast.  Then I just had to set them out on buttered cookie sheets (huge ones, thankfully), cover with plastic wrap that had also been buttered, and then let them thaw and rise all night to put in the oven in the morning.  Thankfully they turned out perfect!  These are the types of things I practice at home first in the months leading up to girls camp.  I'd never done the whole freezing/thawing overnight thing.  I knew it would work, but I didn't know.  Ya know?
We have our old fridge in the garage.  When you plug it in, it stays the right temperature for about 3 days.  After that it starts to get warm.  But I only need it for the 1-2 days before camp when I start to make whatever food I can ahead of time.  Bags of sauce, the chopped up meat from 15 de-boned chickens, the beautiful roasts shredded in a homemade mushroom stroganoff sauce for beef stroganoff night.  Wow! I'm getting hungry!
Mixing up the dry ingredients for blueberry corn pancakes ahead of time so that I just have to add the wet ingredients up at camp.  I love prepping as much as I can at home, because then I can enjoy camp more and am not so stressed out in the kitchen.

Camp was soooo fun.  I got to hang out with so many wonderful people.  There were some minor problems due to the dumb ovens and cook surfaces, but everyone LOVED the food and told me so so much that they made me feel like a rock star.  And I didn't break my budget!

There was one day I'd rather not re-live.  It  was when we made 170 breakfast burritos on top of that day's breakfast, lunch and dinner.   We had to get them ready because we wouldn't have had time the next morning.  I was up and on my feet for about 20 hours straight (2:30am- 10pm).  My hands were raw from being burnt over a stove for so long, and used so roughly, and washed so frequently all day.

A huge thank you goes to my great kitchen crew.  I chose each one of them for different reasons and they were all perfect.  Susan and Cumorah had helped me the previous year, and President Blasure and I did the food for girls camp 4 years ago together.
President Blasure and Cumorah
They all worked their tails off.   Susan was on top of all the dishes because she can't stand having dirty dishes.  She is a super hard worker and tells me how wonderful I am pretty much non-stop so I'm trying to convince her to move in with me.  I mean, could you have a better assistant than that?  Plus, every time I say, "I can finish this up.  It'll only take 10 minutes. Go get some rest", she never leaves me. And what I thought would take 10 minutes takes an hour and I'm so always glad she stayed! 
Cumorah is super fast at everything she does and a grill master  She is only 20 so she was just barely at camp!  She has a lot of fun making mischief in the night with the other crazies, which makes it hard for her to show up at 5am in the morning to the kitchen, but she is fun to have around and makes up for it with her mad skills.  Pres B has the muscles and loud voice that I needed and makes the girls happy.

So many miraculous things happened to help me this year.  For instance, on one of my shopping trips I had my basket full and went to check out when I realized I'd left my wallet at home.  That never happens to me!  I had my kids with me and it was horrible.  We were so tired and just wanted to be done shopping!  It would take more than 1/2 hour to go home and come back again.  So I put back the frozen stuff and begged them to not let anyone touch my cart while I ran home for my wallet.  Suddenly my neighbor José showed up behind me, learned what was going on and paid my almost $200 dollar bill.  Can you believe that?!  I immediately went home and got the cash and paid him (well his wife Toni) back since he was just on a work break, but can you believe that?! 

Also Pat was out of town for the few days before I left for girls camp for Amanda's wedding and Rick's sealing.  I was thinking I was a fool for letting him go, but God worked that out too somehow and I was glad that he was able to go.  My kids are really wonderful helping out with caring for Leia and just understanding that I was needing to cook.   They'd make all their meals and everything! (And they got to watch more shows and play more video games than they had been allowed to in the whole year.)

Another miracle was that somehow we fit 10 coolers, and three shopping carts from Costco full of stuff into my van.  (Thank heavens for Pat meeting me at Costco just to pack me!  That's something I would not have been able to do alone.)  Someone was supposed to help me bring up stuff so I didn't have to take it all, but flaked and went to camp early, so my van was stacked to the ceiling and I could barely see out the windows.  There was quite a bit of worrying going on in the parking lot at Costco about whether or not we'd get it all to fit, and NOBODY wanted Pat and the kids to have to drive 4 hours up and back just to bring me what wouldn't fit! 
The kitchen.
Walk in fridge and freezer.
Getting the shelves organized.
Then for the 2 hour drive up there I had to drive SO slow.  For some reason I kept turning the wrong way, and even went down a street going the wrong way!  I guess I was just under a lot of stress because I'm usually not that ditzy.  Or maybe it was because I couldn't see out my windows.

Cumorah and Susan working.
I should mention that at camp the girls did zip lines, hiking, repelling, swimming, shooting, all sorts of games and songs and activities.  Most of it I wasn't a part of since I was in the kitchen, but I was near the crafts people and they did a superb job of coming up with crafts that even non-crafty people like me enjoyed.  The best part is they all were useful and taught the girls skills.

Friendship bracelets, necklaces, cards, a Christ block to display in their rooms.  And the girls each made a blanket for project Linus for which they had to learn the blanket stitch.  And aren't these temple lanterns wonderful? And my friend Julie got to come up and help with crafts for a couple days!

Temple Lanterns
Now, about the skits.  Every year I want to do a skit with just the kitchen crew, because I think it would be fun, but we're so exhausted that there's just no way.  But this year, I told myself that we were going to do it no matter what and I warned my crew and emailed them some ideas that I had.  Nothing much came of it though.

Then one night at closing ceremonies, I joined everyone outside, but having been up since 2:30am the exhaustion overwhelmed me and I just laid down on the rocks.  (It was so cold I couldn't sleep so I just went into the kitchen and started working).  By the end of the day I just couldn't stand anymore so sunk to my knees and then I laid down.  And since I don't mind laying on cement and other hard surfaces, I was so comfortable I was ready to sleep there forever.

People were a bit worried, but I assured them I was fine.  I really could have slept there happily.  But I mustered a bit more strength and just sang songs and participated with them while laying on the rocks.  It got to be quite funny, and kind of became a joke.  We were posing for a picture for the 100th year of girls camp, and I did get up for that.  I'm in the front row on the far right. But then I laid back down.

So a couple days later, for skit night, the idea came to me, why not sing that Veggietales song 'Pirates Who Don't Do Anything'?  I mean I HAD been laying around.  The crew liked the idea, so we wrote some verses.  We all had our aprons and kitchen stuff in our hands.  And I rolled around on the ground like I was relaxing while they all lounged in camp chairs.  I did get up to sing my part, but rolled around relaxing during the rest.  Huge applause!  Everyone loved it!
Here's what we sang:

We are the Camp Cooks who don't do anything
We just stay at camp, and lay around
And if you ask us to do anything
We'll just tell you, we don't do anything!

(B)Well I'd rather be fishin' and I'd rather be sleepin'
(C)But I'm stuck here in the kitchen and can't have no fun at all!
(S)I refuse to do the dishes and I don't care what's for breakfast!
(B)I ain't gonna do nothin' at all!

We are the Camp Cooks who don't do anything
We just stay at camp, and lay around
And if you ask us to do anything
We'll just tell you, we don't do anything!

(Karisa's verse)
Well I don't care if you're hungry and I don't care if you're thirsty!
I'm just tryin' to get some rest and you can't have no snack at all!
So don't ask me what's for dinner cause I haven't even started!
I really just don't feel like it at all!

We are the Camp Cooks who don't do anything
We just stay at camp, and lay around
And if you ask us to do anything
We'll just tell you, we don't do anything!

Right here I'm helping Susan because she forgot her line, and then I rolled back onto my back and draped my arms all over.

What made it even more funny was when the stake did their skit in which they made fun of everyone in the stake, and the camp director played me.  Here she is below, rolling around on the ground with her mixing bowl yelling, "I don't do anything!", throughout the whole skit.

The whole thing was so funny I was dying laughing.  The fourth years are coming!  I have 60,000 feet of rope in my trunk!  Julie playing Andrea and Chantelle.  Andrea playing Lindsey.  It was so funny.  Here's Chantelle playing Cindra and telling the girls how to use a pinecone for deodorant and other helpful tips.
And here's Andrea playing Lindsey, and I love this picture because her mop hair matches Lindsey's perfectly!

Anyway, I just felt really happy because I felt like I finally did what I should have done which is to have fun, like I'd wanted to from the beginning.  And I know that that fun and happiness makes the girls and the whole spirit of camp better.  I know the girls SEE us and they take note, whether they know it or not, if we are happy.  It's not like I'd done it wrong before, I always did my very best.  There's just a learning curve and you get better at things as you go along, and especially as you learn to trust God.  And I finally fulfilled something in a blessing when I was set apart as camp cook 2 years prior so I felt a sense of completion.

Angel's girls.  They're the youth camp leaders and Angel had her hands full with them!

I joked with the leaders about who was going to be the camp cook next year so that they would know that I was done.  They all laughed.  I mean of course I would do it again if I was called.  It's one of the best jobs at camp.  But I definitely feel like I'm done.  At least for a good while.

I'm just really thankful to Eileen and the other leaders who were so organized and listened to the Spirit and made camp so wonderful for the girls.  They did such an outstanding job.  Whenever I felt sorry for my plight and all my hard work, I would see what they had to deal with and realize I had it easy.  To think of all the sacrifice from the leaders is overwhelming to me! 

These girls are from my ward group.  I love them!  And I made their flower hair things!
And all this in the hopes that the young women learn to have a testimony of their Savior.  To come through difficult times by relying on him.  That He will help them to make the right choices to have true joy.  They will not have easy lives.  Trying to be righteous in an increasingly evil world- is definitely not the easy path.  It often requires sacrificing something you love for something better to come.  Or for someone you love more.  After all, He loved us first.  It takes courage to follow Christ and see through the counterfeit happiness.  And to be an example of His love.  To love, when everyone else is trying to be hard, coarse, and rude, takes great strength.  It's something I will be working on my whole life. 
Making deviled eggs.  I thought not many people would want these, so I only made a half and egg per person, and then I got mobbed by people wanting more.  Apparently, other people love deviled eggs too.  We had these for lunch one day along with huge croque madame sandwiches, which is like French grilled cheese and ham sandwiches.  And fruit and vegetables.  Always tons of fresh fruit!