Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving at Disneyland

I know I've been AWOL for awhile. We just returned from a vacation to Disneyland. We survived the 4 day pass and actually had a great time. I will spare you the blow-by-blow details. (Consider it an early Christmas present from me to you.)

Disneyland doesn't mess around--everything they do is first class. The Christmas decorations were splendid. The parades were awesome and the weather was fantastic. Still, it's good to be home. Here are a few photos from the trip.

The castle by day and by night (weird that we are in the exact same pose on different days!)

The boys in the teacups--my kids love this ride.

I had to include this picture. This is the kind of crap my kids pull in every photo. Notice "It's a Small World" lit up behind us. The entire ride is decorated for Christmas. It was amazing.

The fam with Goofy. I previously mentioned my beef with the absence of the characters. We had more luck this time when we visited Toon Town. I know I look terrible in this photo. It truly is time for an intervention.

My kids love their Mickey ears. They wore them on the plane to California and the first two days at the park. We finally convinced them to leave them at the hotel for the last two days.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Recipe Extravaganza #1 Ultimate Creamed Corn

Shelly Brown of Simple Abundance is gathering holiday recipes. She is asking fellow bloggers for appetizers, main courses, desserts, anything that is great around the holidays. I decided my first recipe had to be my creamed corn.

Anyone who knows me knows I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I like to get in and get out. That is why I love this recipe. I got it from my sister-in-law Annette. It is easy, fast and delicious. It is great as a side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I made this for my gourmet dinner group and they all went nuts over it. Then they all made it for their families who loved it as well. If you like a good crock pot dish--this one's for you!

2 lbs frozen whole kernel corn (I buy the 5 lb bag at Costco)

12 oz cream cheese cut into cubes (can use low fat)

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Spread corn over bottom of crock pot. Top with cream cheese cubes. Stir together remaining ingredients in small bowl; pour over corn and creamed cheese.

Cover and cook on high heat setting 2-3 hours.

Stir well before serving. Corn will hold on low heat setting up to 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Baby Got Back

My family is having a little weight loss contest. We started yesterday and we have until December 17th to drop as much weight as we can without playing dirty (diuretics and the like.) Whoever drops the highest percentage of their body weight wins the pot (a very small sum of money.) Some of us have a few pounds of baby weight to lose, others have a few, cough, 30 pounds of not-baby weight to lose, but it's all in good fun.

Recently, one member of my family insinuated that my little butterball Ryan should be in the contest. I don't know why.

I would never allow it. I think Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without stuffing


and man boobs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Disneyland-the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I love Disneyland--and we are going very soon. The trip is a surprise for the kids. Of course, getting ready for this trip has got me thinking about our past two trips to Disneyland. Like anywhere, The Happiest Place on Earth has its good things, its not so good things, and its downright ugly things.

Disneyland 2006


1-The Magic--Disneyland has a magical feeling that cannot be duplicated. If I was looking for big rollercoasters, I would go to Magic Mountain. I go to Disneyland for the magic and the characters.

Sammie watching the parade 2007

2-The Rides--with that said, I do love the rides. They are rides that I remember from my childhood--Space Mountain, the Teacups, Dumbo, Peter Pan. Then of course, you have the new rides, Soaring over California, Buzz Lightyear, Tower of Terror.

Sammie and Grandpa Paul on Dumbo 2007

Sammie on Buzz Lightyear 2007

3-The Cleanliness. Yes, I know Disneyland is probably the germiest place on earth (well--actually that is probably Lagoon.) But it doesn't feel germy--it looks pristine. I saw workers scraping gum off the sidewalk and cleaning garbage cans constantly. I like that the place feels clean.

Luke and Sammie 2006

4-The Hotel. We stay at an awesome Marriot right across the street from Dland. It has a McDonalds in the parking lot where we eat breakfast everyday. I love walking to the park and not worrying about parking.

Luke and Sammie in the hotel 2006

5- The Calorie burn. You do so much walking at Disneyland that I don't think about what I eat the entire time I'm there--hot dog? Yes. Big Mac? yes please. Chocolate shake? Make mine a large. My favorite restaurant is Rancho Del Zocalo in Fronteirland. I appreciate the opportunity to sit down and eat a greasy mexican meal in peace.


1-The Lines. The first time we went to Disneyland was in July of '06. There were long lines. 'nuf said.

Grandma Linda and Luke on It's a Small World 2007

2-The Characters--I love the characters--this is a big part of why we go to Disneyland. But I have a major beef with the fact that they are very hard to find. They show up and are then whisked away by their chaperones when there are still people waiting in line for a photo. Occasionally, we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time but most of the time, we had to settle for the second string characters like Pluto. If it were up to me there would be 4 Mickeys wandering the park at all times.

Luke and Pluto 2007

3-The Prices--Disneyland ain't cheap. I won't tell you what we paid for four 4-day passes (yes, I know--keep me in your prayers--we are going for 4 days!). Let's just say I could have bought a large piece of furniture or a really great wardrobe with that money.

Disneyland decorated for Halloween 2007


1-The Price of a Diet Coke. I know this is technically under the category of "the prices" but I felt it deserved it's own line. As one who chain drinks diet coke--especially when I have a headache (and trust me, I'll have a headache at Dland!) I will need a diet coke constantly. At $3.50 a pop--I'll have to limit my consumption.

2-I Won't Have a Wheelchair. Last year, we went to Dland with my parents in October. My mother had just undergone a hip replacement in September and was in a wheelchair. Wheelchair at Disneyland=Celebrity treatment at Disneyland. We walked on every ride. It's going to be hard going back to regular status. Plus, she was kind enough to let the rest of us ride in it when we got tired of walking around.

Sammie in Grandma's wheelchair 2007

3-My feet. Every night in the hotel, I'm begging Sam to rub my dogs. It's not pretty.

What are your tips and secrets for Disneyland? I especially need to know good places to eat! Is the character breakfast worth the cost? Where are the best restrooms/mothers' rooms?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tagged Part Deux

So I was tagged a couple weeks ago by my cousin Liz (she is actually my mom's cousin.) Liz is one of the coolest, most talented people I know (she was a BYU cheerleader for crying out loud!) So when she tagged me, I obeyed.

8 TV Shows I Watch:

1-Dancing with the Stars
2-What Not to Wear
3-Boston Legal
4-GAC music television
5-Access Hollywood
6-the news
7-Bachelor (when it starts again)
8-I can seriously go no further--this was even a stretch--I just don't watch TV anymore. Weird.

8 Favorite Restaurants:

1-Market Street Grill
2-Goodwood BBQ
4-Rio Grande

8 Things that Happened to Me Today:

1-Chubby baby woke up with a fever
2-Took Sammie to ballet
3-Went to lunch at Hagermans with kids because I felt bad for myself for having to miss the gym because of sick baby
4-Picked up kindergarten carpool
5-Took all three kids to the post office at busiest time of the day.
6-Took sick baby to the dr. My mom babysat Luke and Sammie at TJ Maxx while I was at the dr.
7-Made pizza for dinner tomorrow night (made tonight's dinner last night--don't ask.)
8-Folded two loads of laundry.

8 Things to Look Forward to:
1-My golden years
2-Family coming in town for Christmas
3-Getting Christmas cards in the mail
4-Disneyland trip
5-My 10 year anniversary trip to Hawaii with no kids
6-My GNO this Friday to see Twilight and go to dinner
7-Getting in bed tonight
8-Getting a massage at Sanctuary Day Spa--whenever my sweet husband decides to spoil me for no reason, wink wink.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I'm been tagged twice in the last two weeks. So I will post one today and one tomorrow (I know, this is so exciting!) Without further ado:

7 Things I can do:
1 – Fall asleep very quickly
2 – Juggle
3 – Make conversation with just about anyone (this drives my husband crazy)
4 – Convince a salesperson to do a return/honor a coupon/give me a deal they are not supposed to do. (I'm a lawyer--I know how to negotiate.)
5 – Bake a mean carrot cake
6 – Coordinate my kids for every major holiday and about every other week for Church.
7 – Jump off the third platform at the Cottonwood Spa.

7 Things I can not do:
1 – Keep my kitchen table free of clutter.
2 – Keep my car clean
3 – Keep my pantry organized--I don't have a mudroom--so everyone's shiz ends up there.
4 - Resist chocolate and diet coke
5 – Go to bed early
6 – Sing
7 – Sew

7 Things I always say:
1 – You know what I mean
2 – Totally
3 – Hey babe (Sam)
4 – Hey dog (Sam)
5 - I'm so tired (said under my breath like a chant throughout the day)
6 - For the love
7 - You're so cute (to my kids and especially my baby all day long)

7 Things I always eat: (this is so embarrassing)
1 – Oreos
2 - Granola bars
3 - McDonald's Chicken nuggets--don't judge me
4 – Protein shakes
5 – Halloween candy
6 - Carnation instant breakfast
7 - Hot chocolate with marshmallows

Tagging 7
1 – Heidi
2 - Lindsey
3 - Ashley
4 - Amy M.
5 - Jill
6 - Jaime
7 – Laura

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's Time to Get Real

I recently caught a few minutes of Dr. Phil where the good dr. was helping a woman who hoarded things. I was disgusted; I couldn't believe someone would live like that. Then I realized. I do it too.

I hoard empty boxes.

I can't help myself. It happened today. A box arrived from Gymboree and I emptied out the merchandise. As I went to take the box out to the trash, a little voice in my head said, "what if you need that box to transport a hot crock-pot to Christmas dinner?" So I took the box down the basement guest room where I store my boxes and threw it in the pile.

I realized right then and there, I never ever throw a good box away. I have little ones, big ones, medium ones. If stores are offering free gift boxes, I'm all over it. Christmas morning, I'm grabbing the boxes back as the kids are opening gifts. If someone gives me a gift in a box, I don't ever throw it away. I have more boxes than I'll ever need in this lifetime. I hate clutter and I am constantly throwing things away, except for boxes.

Am I crazy? Does anyone else have this problem?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dirty Dancing

Did anyone else find Dancing with the Stars completely disturbing tonight? No, it wasn't Samantha Harris' dress--though, that was bad enough. I'm talking about the TWO sibling dances.

First, Lacey Schwimmer and her brother Benjie did a country dance number to "I want to check you for ticks" with Brad Paisely singing live. I love the idea, the costumes, the dance--but I couldn't shake the heeby-jeeby feeling I had about them being BROTHER and SISTER.

Then, out comes Julianne and Derek Hough dancing to "Great Balls of Fire." They are gyrating and blowing air kisses at each other. I couldn't take it. The absolute worst was when Julianne carried Derek (yes, you read that right!) on her shoulders across the floor. I struggle with Derek anyway because his hips move just a little too well, if you know what I mean. Why, oh why can't they pair these people up with non family?

Maybe my discomfort stems from when my little sister Ashley was little Red Riding Hood in a ballet production and my big brother Rex was the Big Bad Wolf. Let's get one thing straight. Rex has no dancing ability, none. He basically wore a big costume and stomped across the stage over and over as she danced around him. But it still scarred me.

For the love, DWTS producers--no more incestuous dancing. Oh, and bring back that guy that danced with Marie Osmond. He looks just like my husband. I'm not kidding!

Have You Forgotten?

Grandpa Poole with Baby Ryan

I am ashamed to say that I forgot it was Veterans Day today. I was driving through McDonalds and KBULL 93 was playing their tribute to our troops. I have to hand it to country radio--they always come through on the patriotic holidays. Anywho, I immediately thought of my own hero, my Grandpa Poole.

He served in World World II, where he was captured by the Japanese and forced on the Bataan Death March. He then spent 3 1/2 years in a prison camp. 3 1/2 years! He was starved, mistreated and nearly died. I have always marveled at how he got through it. He says it was his faith in God, his love of this country and the knowledge that his mother was praying for him.

Today I have been thinking about his mother. For much of that time, she didn't know where he was or if he was even alive. She had five daughters but he was her only son. I can't even bear to think of sending one of my precious son to war.

To this day, my grandpa does not get emotional talking about the war or the way he suffered. He does get emotional talking about seeing his mother for the first time after the war. When he flew home, all of the troops' families were out on the tarmac waiting for the plane to come to a stop. When my grandpa came down the stairs onto the runway, his mother saw him for the first time in 5 1/2 years. She couldn't wait another minute to embrace him. She broke through the crowd control barriers and ran to him. She grabbed him and just clung to him.

Our country is going through some rough times right now. It seems all I ever hear about is how bad the economy is and all of the problems with the United States. But I just want to say how much I love our country and how grateful I am for our freedom--even our freedom to complain. I'm grateful for all the mothers throughout the history of this country who sent children to war, especially for the mothers whose children never returned home. Today is their day too.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall Photo Shoot

My chubby baby Ryan is 8 months old. I think it is the cutest age for babies--especially for naked pictures. A few weeks ago, I took him (and the other kids) to one of my favorite photographers, Jennifer Fairbanks to get some pictures taken. I already wrote how stressful photo sessions are for me, but she is so relaxed and easy going--it was almost fun! There were so many cute pictures of Ryan, I had a hard time narrowing them down for the blog. Jennifer also took Ryan's 6 week photos and I included some of those at the end. He was chubby even at 6 weeks! Jennifer is soooo good with babies. If you would like to check out her website, it is

Ryan at 6 weeks--he has grown up so fast!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Ashley!

My little sister Ashley is 2 1/2 years younger than me and about 2 1/2 times smarter, cuter and funnier. Anyone who knows the two of us, knows this is true. The funny thing is, even though I have every reason in the world to be jealous of her, I've always just been very proud of her. She lives in California and I miss her like crazy. Here are 29 reasons why she is the best sister in the world (she is 29 today!)

1. We look like sisters but definately not twins--yet some people still cannot tell us apart.

The two of us with our baby boys in July

2. She is very bright--I won't embarrass her by sharing her test scores but I will tell you she was accepted to Harvard.

3. She graduated from BYU in American Studies and attended law school at BYU.

4. She was a DA in California until she had her baby and quit to stay home and roam the malls.

5. She has two adorable red heads--Charlie who is 2 and Max who is 9 months.

Ashley and her family at my brother's wedding in August

6. She loves a good chain restaurant (Chili's, CPK, the OG!)

7. She loves Pottery Barn Kids and buys a lot of holiday decorations there.

8. She cries watching the tv show "The Biggest Loser."

9. We took ballet together growing up and we got in a lot of trouble playing around in Fashion Gal and the Dollar store while we waited for my mom to pick us up--my mom was always late.

Ashley, me and my mom

10. We shared a room and would stay up late every night talking, laughing and playing games.

11. When I was a Senior in High School and she was in 9th grade, we were in the same math class. (I told you she was smarter than me!) She had it first period and I had it third period. She would meet me by the vending machines every day and we would exchange calculators. She had all the quiz answers saved for me on her Ti85. One time, I scored 1 point higher than her on a math test because I got the extra credit point and she didn't. I put both of our tests on the fridge and lorded it over her. She got upset and refused to cheat for me anymore. My dad pulled her aside and told her she had to keep doing it. She got me through trig!

Ashley in her mathlete days--don't kill me for sharing this photo!

12. We worked at Golden Swirl together and used to race our cars home after midnight. It's a miracle we are both still alive.

13. She is a horrible driver. So am I. (We're Warners!)

14. Ashley and her husband are very creative and enjoy making gingerbread houses, costumes and Pinewood derby cars.

15. We talk on the phone every day. She still uses her cellphone in the car, even though she lives in California because it is the most convenient time to talk. If she hangs up unexpectedly, I know it's because she saw the fuzz.

16. Ashley always had a boyfriend from about age 14 on. Every one of them thought they were going to marry her. She's never been "dumped."

17. She has opinions on everything from baby showers to Halloween costumes for adults.

18. She loves Oreos.

19. She would never drink her calories--she does have a diet coke with breakfast every day.

20. She teaches early morning seminary. She has to be there at 6:00 am. She is a good person.

21. She had a crush on Brad Paisley until I told her he was a small man. She didn't believe me at first, had to google it, and then was over him. Never looked back.

22. When I was in college, she taught me that calories are the only thing that matter. I still thought it was all about fat grams--changed my life.

23. She grew out her bangs first and started plucking her eyebrows--I copied her. Changed my life even more.

24. She makes the best rolls.

25. She is terrified of the "big one" hitting California and is constantly acquiring food storage--even though she has no where to put it.

26. She is genuinely interested in my kids and will play ninja turtles or build a fort with Luke when she comes to visit. My kids adore her.

27. She met her husband at a costume party in college. They didn't see each other for two years. Then he appeared at her door step one day. He had come to home teach another Ashley and got the wrong apartment. The rest is history.

Ashley and Tyler on Halloween this year--she is Baberaham Lincoln.

28. She is the most kind, genuine, caring person I know but won't take any crap from anyone.

29. She has the best blog on the planet.

Happy Birthday! I wish I was there to take you to Olive Garden. We'll do it in December!