Monday, December 29, 2008

Evaluating Priorities

As I look at heading into 2009, I must admit that my life needs some reorganization. While most of my time is spent wisely, I'm no better than anyone else, and I find myself whittling away time here in front of the computer far too often. While the Internet is a powerful tool (heck, just last month the kids and were able to hop online to research the process of egg production in chickens), it can also be a drain on my time.

The book of Ephesians (chapter 5, verses 15 and 16 for those interested) exhorts me to, "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity...". Quite honestly, a personal blog is not the wisest use of my time, nor is it an example I desire to set for my children.

I have loved this outlet and have much enjoyed the contact it has allowed me with all ya'll. I have not, however, loved the time it has sapped because I have chosen to allow it to.

This, my friends will be the end of my blogging foray. Please know, those of you who have faithfully followed and kept up with me via this site, I will be trying to use the extra time I'll have freed up to send you personal little blurbs w/ pictures. The time required will be less and the contact more personal.

Catch ya on the flip side! Over and out...:)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Favorite Things

If Oprah can put a list of her favorite things together why can't I? I mean the ONLY difference between myself and Oprah is viewership. She's got, what a million plus viewers on a daily basis? Surely I've least four that I know of. And okay, maybe her influence is bit greater than mine. Surely some people find my opinions adoptable and embraceable, JUST LIKE OPRAH!! Whatever the case, just let me continue to live in my little bubble of deception and share with you my holiday must-haves list. Yep, JUST LIKE OPRAH!!

And doing this could really create a good shopping list for any of those wondering what to get that hard to buy for relative. Oh and sure, I'll let you know which of these are actually in my possession and which ones are on my own wish list, just in case one or more of you gets a wild hair and wants to go shopping for me (kidding, kidding...or not)!

First up is the knife I've drooled over for months, the Wusthof. I am absolutely convinced that this very knife would make cooking every night a delight. I must be delusional, huh?:

Next we have the Woolrich blanket that makes my going to bed a beautiful thing. Along those lines I apparently rolled over in the middle of a snore and said to Zack something akin to, "Without this blanket sleep would be a total waste." The BEST thing about it? The silky soft edging is delightful and reminiscent of baby blanket days:

This next item is another saliva-inducing one, the Vita-Mix. I once bought and returned one of these within 24 hours. At the time I simply couldn't justify a mixer that cost $200+. Now, I can justify it all sorts of way: smoothies, soup, my own ice cream and peanut butter. Trust me, I could go on and on:

Of all my kitchen tools, I really swear by this as the best. I encourage everyone who is even slightly interested in the kitchen to get one of these. And the facet I most enjoy? This puppy is melt-resistant. I use this Mix N' Scrape from Pampered Chef for everything, and that everything includes leaving it in my skillet while cooking. Nope, it won't melt folks!:

Next up are the cookies I've never tried but want to travel to New York City for. Well, maybe I have more reasons than these cookies to visit NY, but I'd surely go to the Levain Bakery while there. And at $22 for four cookies, these have GOT to be good, right?:

This here is the turtleneck I've been waiting all my life for. I just bought myself one the other day and I am in love. Remember those strangling tight, itchy turtlenecks of old? Well GAP has come out with the whisperthin turtleneck. It's soft, caressing, and perfect for layering (did I just call a turtleneck "caressing"? Commit me now):

This magazine is perfect for those of us who are Food Network deprived. There's nothing I love more than watching the Food Network as I drivel away my time on the treadmill. There's something slightly amiss with looking at food while burning calories, isn't there? In any case I only get to watch the Food Network at the gym since we don't have cable here at the house. This really is a fun treat for us foodies:

Next up is a movie that both Zack and I greatly enjoyed. Maybe it was just the fact that we made it to the theater for a date night. But I think it's so much more than that. This flick is delightful and feel-good. Watch it and I think you'll agree:

This next favorite thing of mine was introduced to me by my brother and sister-in-law, and is actually my Christmas gift from them this year. It came early, what can I say? Cuisine At Home is a wonderful cooking magazine because each and every recipe is accompanied by mouth-watering photos. And there are no advertisements. Yep, you heard me right, NO ADS!:

Last, but certainly not least is the ever-important stocking stuffer item. This Bath and Body Works lotion is a treat to the senses, in a bottle. I could have my entire stocking stuffed with these (and sometimes it is) and be blissfully happy. Not only are you treating your skin right, but you'll smell oh so lovely in the process. Husbands love these too!:

That my friends completes my holiday list of favorite things. And would ya do me a little favor? Whatever you do, DO NOT let Oprah know in any way, shape or form (since I know SO many of you have the ability to dial her right up) that I said in relation to myself, "JUST LIKE OPRAH". I'm not so sure she'd appreciate the humor... And no, my list may not be as well designed or as indulgently gifty as hers, but it compares well, right?

Happy shopping ya'll, and DO be sure to let these companies know I'm touting their products. Maybe I could get some sponsorship and make it big time! One can dream...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Better Than What You'd Buy

Do you ever have a hankering that just won't quit? A hankering you know you MUST satisfy. A hankering you know will NEVER be satisfied unless you, yourself, make that which will satisfy the empty hole in your stomach yearning for some goodness?

Well behold the product of my hankering, ta-da:


These cookies, my friends, are nearly beyond description good. Talk about melt in your mouth AND in your hand! These cookies are better than, well, anything you could get in the store for sure. Make these and ya'll can thank me later. Trust me, you won't be sorry:
(just copy and paste this link, but don't say I didn't warn you!)

And the only modifications I made are as follows:

1) To heighten the whole grain value I substituted 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour for one of the cups of all purpose flour.
2) I used organic cane sugar in place of the granulated.
3) Last but not least, I replaced 1/4 cup of butter with 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, sacrificing the fat but definitely not the taste.

Happy eating my faithful readers!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


So it's probably pretty darn awful that I've not taken any pictures of as late. Life gets busy, and you know, things fall to the wayside. No of course not, my kids don't fall to the wayside, just taking pictures of them!

Lacking photos means I have to make up what's missing in visual stimulation with verbal stimulation. Soooo, let's see...

I know what I'll do. To tide you over till what I hope will be a very soon photo, I'll share some of the cute things that have come from the kids' mouths. Oh from the mouths of babes, right?

Starting with Garrett:
1) As I was cutting his hair in the bathtub tonight (which we do unclothed) I asked him if he thought he'd be naked, getting his hair cut as a teenager. His response? "I sure hope not, I'll at least have to have underwear on."

2) Heard by me as I peeked around a corner, while he talked with Ashlyn. He held Ashlyn's hand wedding ceremony style and said with the utmost sincerity, "Ashlyn I would marry you if I could because you are so funny." Awwww!

On to Brody:

Hmm, in typical mother-of-middle-child fashion, I cannot for the life of me think of one, single specific thing. Don't be hatin'! Just know that Brody is, in general, the most quirky/funny kid on the block. He is daily busting us up and has truly made us belly laugh nearly daily since he could talk. Enough said, right, I've made up for my motherly fuax pas, RIGHT?

Finally, Ashlyn:
1) "Mom, who has a bigger brain, boys or girls?"

2) After I reminded Brody at dinner that he needed to eat, I told him I should just make a recording of me saying, "Brody, eat!". Shortly thereafter I looked at Brody and said in my motherly tone of angst, "Brody what am I going to say?" Ashlyn answered for him, as she so often does, "Eat up buttercup"!

3) "Shnashnics are my favorite." Interpretation? Gymnastics are my favorite. We just LOVE the baby pronunciations she still has left! We'll hang on to any bit of baby remaining! Other fun pronunciations are: panjees (chimpanzees), guts (for gutters, as in the type on a house), bitamins (vitamins), and somesting (for something).

And can I just tell you that Garrett made me a sign and taped it to the door between the house and the garage? He wanted to be sure I saw it when I arrived home from a Pampered Chef party Sunday afternoon. The gist of it is that I am the "best mom", and he made a graph chart indicating my level of goodness at 100%. Oh if he only knew! It's too bad we mothers tend to fall from glory in our children's eyes as they age. I'll just hang on to that sweet little sign and read it on those days in the future when I'm the, "worst mom ever"!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ho hum

So here's the scoop:

The kids and I were suppossed to be in Cody, Wyoming visiting with my family while Zack and his cohorts are out enoying their manly fall weekend. The guys hunt (shooting big game and stocking the freezer does amazing things for a man's ego by the way) and we were going to be hanging out with my mom, dad, and brothers, one of whom travelled all the way from New York to be there. So why didn't it happen? Sick. Did I say sick? Oh yeah, sick!! Turns out we've got influenza going around our house, and the last thing we want to do is give the lovely virus to my nephew, Phoenix, who flew 10+ hours along with my brother Justin. So alas, we spent the weekend at home, cooped up, picking our noses. Not really, our noses are too runny to pick!

No for real, we've kept busy with multiple crafts. The kids have been inventing all sorts of goodness and I've been sewing. I'd love to share with ya'll but Christmas is 'round the corner and some of you will be getting said sewing project. I'm excited about how these "things" are turning out though, and I have actually enjoyed being home doing nothing but hobbies.

I never blogged about Halloween because we don't do much. We've bucked the system, gone a different way from norm (What does Norm have to do with this? Ha, ha, I kill myself), and we stay home. Now we don't just stay home we also have plenty o' fun. We carve pumkins, eat candy to our hearts' content, and we usually make caramel apples (ran out of time this year though). So here are a few pictures of Halloween night since I can't share the REALLY good crafty pictures with you:

And although carving pumpkins has lost some of it's fun now that I make the kids gut their own pumpkins, they were mightly pleased with what gutting resulted in:

Till next time, peace out!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

All Is Good And Right In The World

No the election results haven't been miraculously reversed, so okay maybe EVERYTHING isn't good and right but some things sure are.

The following photo is music to my ears and beauty to my eyes. It's the wafting of freshly baked apple pie to my nose. It's...okay you get the idea!

When relatives come visit I often hear, "Oh, things are getting so much better Jennie!" Sometimes I shrug my shoulders and think, 'Yeah right you don't live here. You're just visiting and you have NO idea.' Other times I think, 'Better? What do you mean, things were never bad!' And yet other times I think, 'Oh, so you were miserable the other times you where here?' (just keepin' it real, by the way)!

These well meaning comments came from loved ones who had witnessed the busyness, no scratch that, the absolute insaneness of my life. For a blur of time I had a three-year-old, a fifteen-month-old, and a newborn baby. To say life was crazy is an understatement. Then I had a toddler, a two-year-old and a four-year old. Had anybody told me that stage would have been more difficult I wouldn't have believed them. But then I experienced it and mercy, the sibling rivalry was nearly unbearable.

Enough of the past! As much as I treasure those days of little ones under foot everywhere I'm also cherishing where the kiddos are at now. And "now" is more peaceful, more fun and much more enjoyable as a mom (again, just keepin' it real)!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Morning Commute

In no particular order I bring you a bird's eye view of my morning commute!

Mind you, it lacks a bit of it's impact for a few reasons, but really that's minor, right? For one, you weren't there to experience the crisp fall morning that added to the allover allure of starting the day. Second, you weren't actually there with me in the car to see first person what I saw. And last but most importantly you missed the commentary by all three kids.

Just so you don't feel like you missed out on TOO much let me share with you some of the quips I heard from the front seat:

"Oh my goodness, we're going to drive off the road!"
"Mom, there's a car coming!"
"You're driving crazy, Mom!"
And my favorite, "We're gonna die!"

No, I don't recommend photo sessions while driving but they sure epitomize mulit-tasking!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Simple ingredients, right? And yes, be still oh hearts, you did in fact see two sticks of butter. Repeat after me, "butter is my friend"! Butter and myself have a love affair of sorts, and if ya'll can't handle that depth of relationship then you may want to search for a new recipe. In any case, simple ingredients lead to wonderful results:

These are the resultant shortcakes which we topped with sugared strawberries, vanilla ice cream, and homemade whipped cream. I think it's fair to say that these were well enjoyed by us as well as by our dinner guests. It was a bit of summer goodness at the beginning of fall.

The next picture was taken during Brody's kindergarten Creation Play yesterday. It was absolutely adorable and I caught on film, many-a-times, his classmate looking up at Brody with admiration. I don't know what it is but wherever this little guy goes the girls go ga-ga!

And last, but surely not least is the picture I captured as I herded the kids out the door for school. Living up north, surrounded by mountains heralds the most incredible, breath taking sunrises. The trick is to be up early enough to see them. Thank God for motherhood because I don't ever have a problem seeing the sun rise!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Can You Hear Me Giggling From There?

*tee-hee* I'm trying to contain myself, really I am. It's just that EVERY, SINGLE time I look at this photo I giggle with adolescent glee. Is it really that funny? I would agrue yes! You can *tee-hee* judge for yourself *tee-hee*.

Photo credits go to Auntie Irene, who entertained the hooligans for nearly an hour with her nifty Mac program. You've gotta love Aunties, I sure do!!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

To Hang In There Or Not To Hang In There?

Sure, to me the above title may sound much like the deeply profound "To be or not to be", but then again I'm pretty dang simple minded!

Anywho, I'm curious. Really, I am! Obviously I've been a slacker when it comes to posting. It's not that I don't have material to blog about. Between myself, Zack, and three silly bambinos I've got PLENTY o' blog fodder. It's just that...well...I'm kinda uninspired as of late.

What I'm wondering is: do I have any readership? Is there anyone out there that really thinks I should keep this up? As much as blogging is an outlet for me it's also a way for me to keep in touch with you. Am I keeping in touch with anyone? If so, it's worth the doing. If not, I'm simply talking to myself and as we all know that's just crazy. Oh wait, I talk to myself all the time, don't I?

So humor me. If you HAVE been checking in, post a comment. If I get comments I'll continue blogging. If not, I'll call it a fun had-been foray into the cyberspace world and get on with me life. I must admit it'd be sad and all, but....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Off To School We Go, Part Deux

Could it possibly, is it truly, is there any way that you, my little Brody Deanie, could be a Kindergartner? *SIGH* If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times -where has the time gone? I am so happy to report, however, that we have a little school-lover on our hands. At bedtime tonight Brody wished he could go to school every day just like Garrett. Oh, it'll all too soon be a reality my little man!

And Ashlyn is now our big girl preschooler. She'll be going Mondays and Wednesdays from 9-11:30 a.m. It's not so much time that I don't know what to do with myself but just enough time that I'm not pulling my hair out trying to run errands with one or two or three kids lamenting my carting them around.

Life is, indeed, good! Speaking of good, we FINALLY have progress on our house repair. The drywall is up and taped and it looks as though things are a rollin'. For those that don't know, we finally came to the decision to repair the basement, put in an extra sump pump (we'll now have two which definitely trumps the fact that we didn't even have one when the flooding occurred), and pray for the best. The positives? First, no more staying in the condo. WE ARE READY TO BE HOME (could I possibly say that with more emphasis?)! Two, we have decided to majorly refurnish the house vs. redoing the floor plan. We're thinking that strategically placed pieces of particular furniture will greatly improve the workability of our floor plan. Do you know what that means for me? SHOPPING!! Need I say more?

Anyway, I've got, as always, so much news to share, not the least of which has to do with scrambling, poaching, and frying. Any guesses? Anyone, anyone? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Off To School We Go

Where, oh where has my baby gone? Second grade? Life happens all to quickly. Those of you with teeny ones, hold em' close while you can. Before long they'll be embarassed by many of the things you do and holding them will be a has been. BUT, ah that's not the case for me quite yet. Right before leaving Garrett's classroom this morning, when all the kids had arrived and were seated, I asked for and received (without hesitation I might add) a lip kiss. Maybe there is some baby left?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I Forgot To Mention...

...that I'm still wiping bums; doing dishes and laundry; and stepping on sharp well-hidden toys, so it's not all fun and games. Just a little in case you wanted to know!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Going back to Cali, To Cali, To Cali....

Hey all! Wanted to drop in from the land of beach days and patio evenings to give everyone a big shout out. Contrary to my intentions I have only had spotty internet access, so blogging has, obviously, not happened.
If you wonder what's going on here it is: tanning, boogie boarding, sand castle building, swimming, Sea World, Lego Land, eating out, parks, shopping, ice cream, bike rides, reality shows (anyone else watch "So You Think You Can Dance"), traffic, battling CA pests - flies and ants, free movie days, bbq's, air craft carrier tours, beach-front walks and so much more.
We are having more fun and relaxation than should be allowed! Getting back to reality next week will be tough but we miss Bozeman and all our friends there. Don't be too sad for us though, we're faring okay! :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blogging, What's That?

There is NO WAY it's been an official month since I last posted an entry, no way. Alas, as Wayne and Garth (of Wayne's World, of course) would say, WAY!!!

Sigh, there's been SO much going on, so much worthy blog fodder and a sincere desire to blog on my part. So what's the problem? Time! Time, the precious facet of life I'm sure we all find ourselves wishing for more of at one time or another. And I have to ask, did anyone miss me?

For the sake of summary and since I'm on Zack's laptop and don't have access to any of the pictures I've uploaded recently, here's a bullet list of the goings-on of the last month or so.

* You know about the flooding, what you may not know is that we've now been living in my husband's company condo for the last month. Boy do I miss home.

* In terms of remodeling we're at a stand still. We're not currently doing construction of any sort (unless you count the laying of sod that Zack did to cover a 4x6 ft. hole that had to be dug in the middle of our back yard. Long, long story folks and I'm just not up to telling it.)

* A very dear, very loved family that is friends of ours lost their 4-year-old son suddenly. Blaze was the sweetest of sweet, the cherry on top, the icing on the cake... just the neatest little boy who gave the BEST hugs. We miss him deeply and continue to grieve with our friends!

* Brody lost his first tooth. And can I just tell you that inflation is an amazing phenomenon? What kid gets $4 for a tooth? Brody, that's who!

* We've had golf lessons, swimming lessons, a summer science camp, ballet camp and more fun times with friends that I can count.

* We traveled to Cody, WY for the 4th of July. Anyone been to the Stampede Rodeo there in cow country? If not you're missing out, really! We attended the Bull Riding Extreme Competition that'll be broadcast on ESPN in early September. Check your local listings for the date and time and see if you can find the Graham family in the grandstand!

Suffice it to say that's just a very brief recap of life over the last month. My goal is to disipline myself so as to provide you with photos, posts, and the ever-present Graham kid antics that will keep you checking in every day.

Stick with me folks, because this girlfriend's back!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

When The Flood Waters Rise

If this title sounds strikingly familiar it may be because not too long ago I titled an entry something to the effect of "The Storms of Life". Well wouldn't you know it, we're again enduring a storm and this storm involves a flood (hence the oh so clever title above...or not).

I've often times wondered at what the Graham family response would be in times of staggering loss. This spring has brought what seems plenty of opportunity to test that wonder.

We have truly been blessed!! Over and over again God has shown me that He has, indeed, given to me beyond my wildest imagination! How you ask? The list is endless but let me attempt to lay a portion of it out:

1) I've been given a husband who is all about giving God glory. Through his father's death and most recently, the loss of the bottom half of our home, Zack has been a pillar of strength. His outlook, at times when his faith could rightly be tested, has been and continues to be, "God is good." This outlook spurs me toward faith and trust that God does work for the good of those who love Him.

2) We have been blessed with the richness of deep, abiding friendships. The love, concern, and service of our cronies has blown my mind. If I ask it is done. Even if I don't ask it's done. I can't even begin to line our their service to us but let me say that it is above and beyond anything I could have imagined.

3) Our family has been a source of encouragement and strength as well. Their prayers and words of comfort have been like a salve to my soul. We truly feel the covering of protection that comes with the prayers of loved ones!

4) We could not ask for better kids. You would be amazed at the resiliency with which Garrett, Brody, and Ashlyn have weathered the storms that have moved through our family the past few months. Their eternal outlook is inherent and without question. Their view of God encourages me to trust with a childlike faith. Their perspectives of fun and adventure spur me toward rolling with the punches.

5) God's provision in our life is also, undoubtedly evident. I really believe that so many circumstances have been lined out for such a time as this. Nothing is beyond His view nor out of His control, and resting in that is where we find our comfort and strength.

Really, I could go on and on. And couldn't you? Circumstances like a death in the family and flooding that results in the loss of your home lead you to reevaluate your life and those things that you hold most dear. I pray that you would be able, by the grace of God, to find yourselves as blessed as we have found ourselves!

Nahum 1:7&8 says:
"The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in
But with an overwhelming flood
He will make an end of Nineveh;
He will pursue his foes into

May you be found trusting, and may you find refuge in the most secure of ports during the storms of your life!

And for those whose curiosity is piqued, I'll soon be posting update pictures of the house as well as an outline of how things will most likely look for the next six months or so. Stay tuned for for an update!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

When It Rains It Pours (Pun Intended)

Guess what I woke up to this morning? Increased flooding in my basement. I say increased because I discovered the problem on Tuesday afternoon and had remedied it with a few stratigically placed towels and furniture pushed to the center of each room. Or so I thought until 10 am this morning! I went downstairs to check on the water level and lo and behold there was standing water everywhere! Murphy's Law was really intact in this situation because Zack has been on the east coast the entire week for work.

So what's a woman to do with her man out of town? Well I shifted it into high gear, and called in the troops. The combined effort of all our wonderful friends had the basement cleared of belongings within an hour. Suffice it to say that we have been battling the onslaught all day and we now have a nearly demolished basement to show for it. Wanna see? Sure I'll share pictures because then maybe I can garner your sympathy, right? RIGHT?

Previous to this we had beautiful ash colored laminate flooring, floorboards and a somewhat tastefully designed basement complete w/ a play room:

How It All Began

The Family Room Now

Boy's Room (yes the entire floor is covered with wata)

The Bathroom

Standing water w/ our trusty pump that now ejects water

I would show you my ever-growing laundry pile, the line in our homeowner's insurance policy that excludes ground water intrusion (which this is), or even my weary face but ya know, I don't want to garner too much sympathy now do I. Or do I?

Over and out ya'll. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, June 6, 2008


Now, I wouldn't define getting a flat in the middle of podunk Montana as fun, but to each his own, right? If you asked my kids what they thought of our flat tire experience they may just tell you that Ken's Tire in Hardin, Montana was the only fun they had on the entire trip. Heck, they may even tell you that climbing in and out of stacks of tires is more fun than an amusement park. And they may even tell you that we force feed them ground up night crawlers, but that's neither here nor there. My point is that a child's perception isn't always accurate or reliable, and furthermore my point is that our delay in Hardin seemed like nothing more than a two hour delay to an already long road trip.

But whoa, was I ever wrong. If we hadn't been delayed by our two hour tire fiasco I would have missed an exceedingly incredible photo op. It's photos like these that make me sit back, take a deep breathe and even praise the Lord for flat tires (did I just say that?).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Colorado Trip Part 1

Hmm, how would I describe part one of our Colorado trip? Fun In the Boonies? How Many Males Does It Take To Change a Tire? Hardin, Montana...The Middle of Nowhere? Oh I don't know, I'll just let the pictures do the talkin'.

Colorado Trip, Part One a.k.a. Whence We Happened To Get a Flat:

But, I know what I'll call my next post and that will be "Redeemed". And you wanna know why? Ha, you wish. Hang in there for my next installment.