Monday, March 30, 2009

My children are so awesome! Really. They are.

Monday is Laundry Day. This morning when I asked Lily to bring me her basket of dirty clothes, she said, "Lexi already did my laundry." What? My eleven-year old does laundry? "Ya. When Sydney (Lexi's friend) spent the night on Friday, she taught her how." !!! Well, thank goodness for friends!
That was amazing, but was it the end of the amazingness in my day? Not even! Eden had cousin Tori over to play today. They ran in from outdoors with fistfulls of mustard weed. "Look! We've been weeding for you!" And then.....

Samuel came home from school and jumped right into doing his dishes without even being asked! Wow, wow, wow! Truely. My children rock.

Photo Shoot

Off with the dress.
Now it's time to get down to business and help Brother set the table.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I've been bitten by the crafty bug this week. I made these lil' butes. Swanky if I do say so. They required metal hair clippies, ribbon, and felt stickers. Oh, and a hot glue gun and a pair of scissors. If anything would qualify me for the ultra-crafty-mother award, I think these should.

I also, in my super-crafty-ness, "reupholstered" our porch swing. Meaning, I bought a blanket and safety-pinned it on. After the crazy CRAZY winds we had today that kept making it billow out like a sail, I thought it might also need "tied" through the middle, you know, like a quilt. We will see. My crafty-ness only goes so far.


Me? Couldn't be!

Whether it's been stealing Lily's candy, sticking wheat in her ear, or running just-faster-than-Mommy out to the second story deck to drop a ceramic dish over the edge, this little girl has proven herself today, to be

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Girl's Day Out

Lexi, Lily, Sage and I had a shopping day on the town last Saturday. (Eden got to stay home with her favorite baby sitter EVER, Traci, and didn't feel left out AT ALL.)

Sage found something she liked!

Lily liked it too!

Lexi found some dream-on shoes.

We found a great posing nook.

Sage, however, did not want to pose. She cried as though to say, "I like my strawberry stained shirt! I do not want another one! I want to go home!"

So we did.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Flowers!... with a little(lotta!) help from my friends!

You might have to click on this picture and enlarge it to see the paintings on my windows, but they are well worth the click! I am lucky enough to have the valley window painters as my Visiting Teachers! Connie Mortensen, and Courtnie Villezcas, a mother-daughter duo, paint the windows of businesses all through the valley, and even throughout Southern Utah, I believe. Well, Friday morning, they unloaded, at my doorstep, their wagon-full of paint and brushes, and the March Ensign. They painted, and chatted, and shared a lesson on standing in defense of the family.
I had a picture here, just like the next one,
but everyone's not laughing hysterically,
and Samuel is facing away from the camera
and bending over. He was completely mortified
that I published a picture of his heiney,
(he was completely dressed!!!)
and I had to promise
that I would take it off of my blog.
So, it is gone.]

The kids all wanted their picture taken in front of the biggest, most wonderful window, although Samuel wasn't quite ready.

They laughed and laughed that I had taken a picture of Samuel's bum. (Check Eden out! Love it!)

Until he realized it might go on my blog.

Another SPRING-Y masterpiece. And, in case you haven't noticed by the pictures of my six children, I do, in fact, stand for FAMILY!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Momemts from our week

The rule around here is that you have to have your jobs done before you can play with your friends. Samuel's buddies came over and were anxious for his company, so they jumped in and helped. My kitchen was full of working boys. Made me smile!

It took her quite a few tries to hit this seat with her heiney. She kept missing. Oh, the things you learn when you're one.

Eden was sick, and Daddy was distracting her from her discomfort. He looks like he's really struggeing to read this children's book, but in actuallity, he's searching for the hidden elf. Just so you know.

Chad and I got to go to the temple Tuesday. I love the peace I feel there. Ah, peace, something it's hard to come by in this raucous Leavitt household, but at the temple, it's a guarantee.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tumblin', Tumblin' Tumbleweed Crackers

And here they are. I harvested my tumbleweed early this afternoon, hosed it off, and left it in the driveway to dry. Chad got home, and he helped me stuff it in a cooler and beat it with a rolling pin. My intent was to break it into pieces small enough to fit in my wheat grinder, but we noticed that spiny seeds were collecting in the bottom. Assuming that was the more nutritious part, we chucked all the stems into the ditch, (so we'll be sure to have a nice crop next fall) and took the seeds into the house. I'd found a cracker recipe that used equal parts ground up oatmeal and whole wheat flour and I figured, oatmeal... tumbleweed... same dif. I got out my wheat grinder, that I have never used before, read the instructions, ground some wheat, and then threw in the stickers. ( I believe I had my gardening gloves on at this point.) Then I mixed it all up, baked it, and Voila! My culinary critique? Edible, but would have been much nicer served crumbled over a SOUP. It left my mouth feeling like the desert; dry, dry, dry. Odd, but appropriate. I shared some with a few members of Chad's family. His sister, Bonnie, said, "That tastes like a tumbleweed!" I would really like to hear about how she knows THAT. Her little boys liked them. Philip even asked for more! So, the moral to this story is, as long as you have a cooler, a rolling pin, and a wheat grinder, in this desert, you will never starve. Chad wished I had made bread with it, but I think my tumbleweed-wacking days have been spent, unless, of course, any of you back East crew come for a visit and want to have a completely unique, not-soon-to-be-forgotten experience, I will get out the grinder and the gloves, and we can go to town. Or at least out to the ditch.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chicken, butter and tumble weed crackers

Chad and I were lucky enough to get to be "Grandparents" (chaperones) at Youth Conference this weekend. We had five boys as our "Grandchildren", and we had the absolute best two days ever!

We set up camp at one end of the wildlife refuge, then trecked to the other side for the opening ceremony. Then we hiked back to camp where our first challenge was to make dinner. We'd been given two chickens, and the boys had to slaughter, scald, pluck, clean out, cut up, and cook them. Quite the learning experience for all of us.
In the course of removing the final feathers, Chandler (in red) squoze his chicken. "It squeeked! Hey, does your chicken squeek?" Casey (in grey) discovered that his chicken also, would squeek upon squeezing. They squeeked their chickens for a bit, and went back to plucking. This may not have been in the best taste, but you know what? It was doggone funny.

After a dinner that was delish, (the cornbread was devine if you left the bottom layer in the dutch oven, the cowboy potatoes were excuisite, and the chicken were as tough as leather. Not even kidding.) we headed down to the dance. We learned three and a half new dances. I danced with every boy there, but this one was my favorite! Just look at him shake it!

After we wore ourselves out at the dance, Chad told us all some bedtime stories about the pioneers who settled this valley. That was to be the theme of the weekend. We learned much about the brave, stalwart men and women who came here before airconditioning and store-bought-bread. Many experiences were provided in which we got to participate in activities that the pioneers would have engaged in in daily life. After sleeping, for starters, under the cold stars, on the hard ground, we had a breakfast of ash cakes and leftovers (thank goodness), and headed out. Our first activity was at the pioneer cemetery. We heard about the local communities, and then removed garbage bags full of weeds from the gravesites. Next, we hiked back in time to...

...get to listen to Loyd Marshall. He is a legend around here when it comes to farming and gardening. Even in a place where anyone who can create a successful garden achieves legend status, he is ultra-legend. He holds in his hand a small scythe that he used to cut down corn stalks when he was a youth . Behind him is a hand-forged plow brought across the plains in pieces, as each wagon was only allowed so many pounds. Many different wagons carried a piece, and the wood was left behind, to be replaced upon arrival. (Looks like they found a piece.) In front of him, is an old yoke.

Brother Marshall gave the youth the opportunity to try out a few of his farming implements. It looked like HARD work!

No pictures of our next stop, the wheat-grinding, bread-making station. A picture wouldn't have done it justice anyway. I would have to learn how to imbed a BITE for you. YUM! Especially when topped with what some other youth had made earlier at THIS station, the soap-candles-BUTTER stop.

These were a few of the candles made early on in the day. By late afternoon, there were many, many more. Aren't they PRETTY!

Here's mine!
We did so many more things that I didn't get pictures of. We made and "whipped" rope, learned to yodel, and shoot a bow and arrow. A friend, Josh, was helping with the archery station, and he saved me a bow and a fist-full of arrows, and set up my own personal target so I would have a chance to see how Amazon-esque I really am. I hit the target two out of five times. Sounds pretty good, till I tell you that the target was about 10 feet away. But THANK YOU Josh! I felt accomplished. I now know HOW to work on my aim.
Throughout the day, we learned some more pretty amazing things. Did you know that you can make wilderness water drinkable just by putting it in a clear bottle and letting it sit in the sun for six hours? Did you know that green cattail heads taste like asparagus when you steam them? Were you aware that you can eat cottonwood buds when they're new, and if you cook them in sugar water, they taste just like peas. You can also make tea out of absolutely any kind of grass (except cheat grass) and it will be wonderfully good for you. An "infusion" of pine needles is chock full of vitamin C. Tumble weeds, young, are a delicasy in Russia, and dried and ground into flour, they make great crackers. I am dying to try that one out.

Now as I drive around the valley I think, "Look at all that food just going to waste!"
I so enjoyed this weekend of learning the crafts that the pioneers used to feed their families, light their way, and enrich their lives. It was wonderful learning to live with the things we've been given. We had a great group of boys who I think enjoyed it too, and kept us laughing at any rate. Who knew sleeping on lumpy dirt, and working in the hot sun could be so rejuvenating!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy 80th Birthday, Grandpa!

Introducing my Grandpa Bevelhimer.
Today he turned 80!
I love my Grandpa because, he always gives good advice,

he loves my babies,

and he loves me!
I love you too Grandpa!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Family Home Evening

Monday night for FHE Lily gave us a wonderful, creative, thought-up-all-on-her-own lesson on loosing graciously.

Gary was the most reverent he's ever been.

Next, we had a few intense rounds of Red Light, Green Light.

Then we had a blecky treat that nobody liked, not even me, and it certainly wasn't worth taking a picture of.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

lots 'o stuff

Last week was "Reading Week" at school, and to celebrate, the kids dressed up each day. I REGRETTABLY neglected to get out the camera and take pictures of Lex as Cindy Lou Who, Lily as the Fiffer-feffer-feff, of "F...f...what begins with F" fame, and Samuel as, of course, Sam-I-Am. I did, however, get this lovely picture of Lex moments after she took her unicornesque ponytail out after "Crazy Hair Day",

...and this one of Lily on "Crazy Hat Day."

I bought the sheet music for "Bella's Lullaby", much to Alexus's elation. She worked so hard at trying to play it...

...that she wore herself quite out.
My plum tree BLOOMED! So I pruned it. It needed it. And so did our kitchen table.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Catching up

Yes, those are the marks of fork tines in my son Gary's head. Sage, if you can believe it, dinged him today.
Two Thursday's ago, Samuel and I had his stay-up-late night. We like to play Battleship. He is such a charming fellow.

This is Lexi's new favorite spot. Probably because no one has yet proven capable of joining her up there, and personal space can be a hot commodity around here. You should see her shimmy up between the garden shed and the chicken coop/dog house. (Used to be a chicken coop, till the chickens got violent and we replaced them with a yellow lab puppy. She overwhelms the children too, but Chad is training her, and when she's out, we can put her on a long rope, and she can have some freedom, and the children can still play outside. We could never bring ourselves to put the chickens on leashes, so I think this is an improvement.)

Our new deck is, for the most part, finished! You can now step out my back door without plummeting ten feet. Big worry off my mind.
This is me in my borrowed Dorothy-blue-gingham dancing skirt. I've been invited to participate in the Spanish Branch's May celebrations and learn some "bailar folklorica" (I'm sure I will be incredibly embarrassed when I find out how that is actually spelled). No, Sage does not have thighs of steel. My left arm is holding her up, and Lynda Hanks has almost ducked out of sight behind me.

We're off to see the Wizard, of Mexico?