Sunday, February 28, 2010

The nicest birthday card ever


Today was Ryan’s birthday.  My dad (pictured above) sent him a card with this, written inside:


Someday your beautiful Daughters will marry worthy Priesthood bearers.  Then you will begin to understand the wonderful feelings I have for you.  It is such a blessing for a father to know that his daughter will be loved, honored and cared for forever.  Jessica is such a special woman, but the two of you together are without equal.  Thank you for the peace this gives me.  As for your children, they are so blessed to have you in their lives.  I wish I had been as good to my children.  My love and respect for you has no limits.  I look forward to many more years and birthdays that will bring us closer and closer.



(Ryan gets choked up about once a year.  This was 2010’s.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Quick Quote #38

Picture 045

Seth, who has been coughing quite a lot lately: "Okay, cough: That's IT for coughing!!"

(It didn’t work.  His cough doesn’t like to be bossed around.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why I don’t have a food blog

At a get together a few nights ago, I said that my dream job would be writing a food blog.  (I LOVE these:  Our Best Bites, Taste Buds, Conversations with a Cupcake.)  When I mentioned that we were having cinnamon puffs for Emma’s birthday, Andrea commented that she’d like the recipe.  Since I had some pre-preparation notice, I thought: “I’ll take pictures and post the recipe on the blog.”

Here it is.

Cinnamon Breakfast Puffs

1.  Mix together 1/3 c. butter, 1 egg and 1/2 c. sugar.  Stir in 1/2 c. milk.

Here’s a picture of the batter:

Picture 035

(Food blogs always have pictures of the baking process.  They also have better cameras.)

2.  Mix together 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1 1/2 c. flour and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Picture 036

(Food blogs DO NOT show their 4 year olds helping.  And if they did, their 4 year olds would have matching pajamas on.)

3.  Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and combine thoroughly

4.  Fill greased muffin cups—I use mini-muffin cups because it makes you feel slightly less sick when you eat 5 mini muffins, instead of 2 regular ones.  I think it’s less calories, too.

Picture 037

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes (if you are using a mini muffin tin.  I don’t know about a normal one.  REAL food bloggers would know that, but with Everyday Romneys, you are on your own.)  They should be golden brown when done

Also, real food bloggers would have a picture of golden brown-ness here:

Picture 038

Instead I have a picture of the world’s messiest kitchen.

(Food bloggers always have 1. sparkling kitchens and 2. non-cracked bowls and non-melted spatulas.  They also put away their fry pans from last night’s dinner and do not leave their bowls in the recesses where their soaking gas element used to be.)

6.  Pop the muffins out.  Immediately roll in 8 T. of melted butter (my recipe says 6 but it looks like this: 6T 8T, so you’ll want to go with my fattened flavored up suggestion). 

Picture 039

(I think I have to get nicer nails, if I want a food blog.)

7.  Roll dripping ball in a mixture of 1/2 c. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon.  I think on food blogs, adults take the pictures because when my kids take the pictures you get this:

Picture 040

Right.  A picture of my hands, with no evidence of popover rolling at all.  Let’s try again:

Picture 041

Slightly better.  (Ignore the staining on my plastic, dollar-store bowls).

8.  Serve warm, definitely.

Picture 042

Oh wait.  That picture’s lame.  Let’s try another picture.  Maybe on a blue plate:

Picture 043

What?  Was I stacking blocks?  And the glare from the counter blends with the muffins.  Lame, again.

Maybe I’ll take some of the happy eaters:

Picture 047

(Ew.  That one looks gross.  He obviously ate them, as you can see, but: Yuck.)

Picture 049

(You might be able to see the popover if her bottle wasn’t in the way AND you weren’t distracted by her Baldness-Caused-By-Bow-Rippage).

Oh forget it.  They existed, the kids ate them and loved them. 

Good ahead and try the recipe.  They are really good, even if this blog isn’t. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Special Events Summary

In the last few weeks we…

  • have had Grandma Dorrie visit us.  She spends so much time with the kids, that some of them (hello.  Faith?  I’m talking to you…) don’t know what to do with themselves now that Grandma isn’t around to pick them up and read to them all of the time.

Picture 001

  • had a Valentine’s Day date.  Ryan and I had a gift card to a nice restaurant here in town and we really enjoyed ourselves.   Here’s a picture of Ryan’s humungous burger.  After the restaurant, I pulled the “It’s Valentines Day so you have to” and made Ryan go with me to the stake dance.  Let’s just say that we had a fun time (less dancing, more amusement at the crowd that type of event draws).


  • had the 14 days of Valentines.  Which included shirts:

Picture 033


Picture 051

(Everyone else got to go to a salon, but we figure Seth’s noggin isn’t worth $12 and Ryan did it at home)

and candy making:

Picture 065  

  • had Seth’s five year old checkup.  I’ve never seen a child more excited for shots.  Seriously, the day before he kept saying:  “I’m so essited.  Tomorrow’s when I get my shots.”  I promise I tried to warn him, gently, that they really hurt.  There was great disappointment on that funny face when the first one went in.   Also of note, the doctor was questioning whether I’m sending him (because of his late August birthday) to school in the fall.  I told him yes, that socially and academically he’s really ready.  He then asked, “Is he able to sit for long periods of time?”  I don’t know why he’s so concerned:

sethcheckup sethcheckup2sethcheckup1

(This is what he was doing the whole time.  Obnoxious.  And he really can sit still.  Ask his primary teacher.)

  • Had Emma’s birthday. It went off without a hitch.  Here’s some pictures of the breakfast

Picture 048


Picture 054

and cake

Picture 057

I seem to be able to only take pictures of the food involved in our celebrations.  (Food=Love, right?)

  • had an extremely demanding and yelling and crying baby.  Argh.  Cute, but bad:

Picture 015 

(here she is pointing to her “shus”.  Yeah, 15 months old and says “shirt”. 

Maybe it’s the smartness that makes her feisty?)

And since, the demanding baby still lives here, I need to go.  She and I are taking a trip to Costco, where we can DEMAND samples to our hearts content.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Quick Quote #37

Jane's Ear Piercing 3

Fashion tip from Jane? 
“The top of the case of being cute is having your ears a-pierced.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We’re going to Party Hearty



It’s Emma’s 11th birthday tomorrow and she’s had it planned out for weeks.

**there is no school tomorrow because the school district made Feb. 12 a “snow makeup day”.  Since we’ve had 4 days of snow this whole winter, we didn’t need to make up anything and the kids just get a 4 day weekend.  Lucky Emma.

Breakfast: Omelets and cinnamon breakfast muffins

Morning activity:  Haircuts (this is the 12th day of Valentines “gift” from me to everyone)

Lunch:  Shells and Cheese (from the box.  I even got the generic brand but she’ll never know.)

Afternoon activity:  Going to the movies to see the Lightening Thief.  We finished it last night and everyone is excited.  (Except me, since I will be paying $7.50 to stand out in the hall with Faith, the Busiest Baby On The Planet.)

Dinner:  the Cafe Rio knockoff salad.  It’s her very favorite, which is awesome because while the kids may looovve Shells and Cheese, I’m happy to be making and eating something designed for people over 12.

Evening activity:  The Daines are coming over for a game night.  And then cousins over the age of 3 are NotSleeping Over.  (Because those Daines do not sleep very much when they are part of a “slumber” party.)

Requested birthday cake:  the big chocolate one from Costco.  (I promise there were no bribes involved from the mother of the birthday girl).

And if there’s anyone who deserves all this:  It’s Emma.  Responsible and good and stylish and kind, we can’t wait to see what she does with all of her awesomeness.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blurb Books Step by Step

Since I’ve had a million comments and emails (okay, maybe not an actual million, I’m not cjane) about how I publish my books through Blurb, and since I need to start a new one anyway, I thought I’d take you through the process.

Things you should know:

1.  Blurb is not perfect.  It doesn’t automatically make the book look like the blog (picture, text, picture, text).  It’s a clunky to manuever, but I know it and I think it’s the best quality for the money.

2.  I am not a perfectionist when it comes to this book.  I know that if I think I have to get every page cute and perfect, I won’t ever do it.  I do the bare minimum (spelling, changing major things so the pictures and text make sense) and leave it at that.  YOU are welcome to fuss with it as much as you want.

Okay. We’ll start at the beginning.  I actually removed Blurb from my computer so we could walk you through it step by step.  (How nice am I?)

Step 1.  Go to  The home page looks like this:


Step 2.  Go to the tab that says Make Books and select Make Your Book.  It will take you here:


Step 3.  Click on the Orange Book that says Blurb Booksmart.  I don’t know what that other blue PDF thing is.  Check it out if you want.  On this post, I’m doing what I know how to do.


Step 4.  Click on the Orange button that says “Download Blurb Booksmart”.  It will take you to this screen:


Step 5.  YOU will need to register and go through those steps.  I just registered Ryan (sorry, hon) so that I could walk you through every step. 


Step 6.  Click the Orange button to download the software.  This will come up:

image   Hit Run and let it download.  It took my computer approximately 90 seconds.  Another box will come up:

image Hit Run again and it will have an Install Wizard come up.  Follow the steps it takes you through.  This will take 2 minutes.  Read some blogs or wipe your 1 year old’s nose while you wait—that’s what I did.

Step 7.  Click on the Booksmart icon on your desktop.

Step 8.  For some reason, despite my re-registering and everything, it brings me to my latest book.  I don’t know why, but it makes you think that they have stuff saved pretty well, huh?  Anyway, I just I just went to the File tab and clicked on new book and this is how my screen looked:


Step 9:  Start your book by creating a working title (you can change it later) and selecting a book size.  I use Standard Portrait.  It’s a 8x10 and fits on shelves, etc.  As you click on the different book types it will show you what they are.  Hit continue.

Step 10:  The next page


gives you book layout options.  Choose BLOG TO BOOK. And press continue.

Step 11:  This is where you tell Blurb where to find your blog

image   Enter your info and hit continue.

Step 12:   Here it will ask you what blogs you want to draw from.  I belong to a few different blogs, but I only want my family blog, so I UNselected all of them and just checked Everyday Romneys. (It also gives an option to add blog addresses if you linked somebody.  I am UNSELECTING that.  I don’t like how it looks at the bottom of my page and think it’s pointless in a family journal setting.)  Hit Continue.

Step 13:  This is a time consuming part.  On this page


you select all the posts you want to include.  I do 2 books a year (Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer), because I post 10-15 times a month and it’s a manageable size for me.  It usually is about 80 pages long and costs $55 dollars (about) with shipping and tax.  The length of YOUR book will all depend on how you format and how many pictures you have. 

So select whatever posts you want to use.  I’m starting at April 2009 and going through September 2009. 

Hit Continue.

Step 14:  THIS IS CRUCIAL.  This is where you have the option of “Autopopulating” your book.  Autopopulating is where Blurb grabs your stuff and automatically formats it all for you.  I’ve tried it and HATED it.  It comes up all weird and I can’t even find my way around.  I ALWAYS click the button that says “No, I’ll drag and drop the entries myself”. 


Step 15:  Pick your background.  I always do simple so I pick the first one.


Step 16:  The next screen will say “ SLURP!”. 


This is where is pulls your pictures and text off of your blog.  It will take a while.  Mine took 5 minutes.  Go feed Faith some more marshmallows in her high chair so she’ll leave you alone while you wait.

Step 17:  You are now ready to work on your pages:


I always skip my Cover and inside flaps and get right to work on the entries.  (I like to do the cover, etc. at the end).  So hit the arrow buttons (in the middle of the page) till you get to page 4. 

Step 18:  Click on your first entry.  It’s on the left hand side of the page.  Then push the button above it that says “Add to book”.    It will come up in your large window.

This is where you play.  You can edit by clicking on the screen.  You can change the layout by clicking Text Layout or Photo layout in the top left hand corner.  You can do any font, sizing, deleting that you want to.  You can crop, minimize, etc. your pictures.  When you are done, click on your next entry and push the button that says “Add to book”.  Do it over and over again for weeks.

One little note:  if you have low quality pictures (like from a phone), a yellow warning triangle will come up.  I have ignored those and ALWAYS been fine with how my books looks.  Again, I’m not picky.  I want it done and sent to the printer as quickly as possible.  You decide.

Step 19:  Finish your book and cover.  Preview and Edit.  You are out of luck once you order it, so make sure it looks good.  I always select the cover that is NOT the dust flap.  The picture/writing is part of the book and I always select hardcover because my kids look through it all the time.  They ship it really fast.  Within a week, EVERY time.

Step 20:  Savor the sweet feeling that comes over you.  Every time I have ordered this book,  I feel a happy feeling that I know is Heavenly Father telling me what a valuable thing I have done by keeping this family history and getting a hard copy for our family to enjoy for years.  It makes all blogging time worthwhile and I know it’s a GREAT thing for me to do.

Now.  Leave me any comments or email any questions and I will try to help you further!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Universal Parenting Truth #19


Raise your hand if this happens to you…every freaking day.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I just finished my 5th Blurb book and realized that my favorite entries were actually the ones I thought the most boring when I posted them:  Summaries.  I want to to try to be better about doing weekly summaries (sorry!) which means I’m going to have to take more pictures, because I have no pictures for the last few weeks.


Family Reunion 2004 009

(getting ready for a run a few years ago.)

I think you got enough of me last week, but I did start my Marathon training program and I’m really excited.  I have never wanted to run a marathon, but always thought I should (because I’m a runner, and all that).  This year I just got really pumped about doing it.  I’m doing the Less is More Training approach and it’s been fun (hello.  It’s week one.)  May 15th is the marathon…it’s here in Spokane.  We’ll see how it goes.

I also wanted to include 2 movie recommendations:  “Raisin in the Sun” and “Adam”.  We loved both of them.


Family Reunion 2004 002

(Ryan, stretching with my brother Matt, for a run a few years ago.  Matt’s not running the Marathon, though he’s invited.)

He’s also training for the marathon, though not with me, as I am too slow.  He had a stomach flu last week (along with everyone else in family, except Jane) and he stayed home from work sick.  I think that is the first time in our entire marriage he’s missed a day of work due to illness.  Those Romney genes have major immunities.  He had a constituent call about a problem she is having with the city and he has gone to work figuring it all out.  I’m impressed with the honesty and effort he puts into the City Council.


Picture 037

(Meditation does wonders for your babysitting and school skills.  Not to mention your curling iron skills.)

She has actually figured how to do her hair almost as well as me.  I can even have her do Jane’s.  It has revolutionized my Sunday mornings.  She’s also babysitting for friends and neighbors like crazy (it helps to pay for the retainers she’s constantly losing!) and does a great job.  We have been so thrilled to see her homework, specifically in math, improve immensely. (She missed an entire month of screens due to poor homework skills).


Picture 066 

(what boring Sunday mornings do to you)

I taught Gabe how to dry and style his hair—when it’s long, it needs more than a comb.  Emma came downstairs the day after, saying:  “Um.  Do you know Gabe is using the blowdryer?  And MOUSSE?!”  He’s on the math team, which is so hard that we are really hoping the competition is fun, so he doesn’t swear off math forever.  He’s been having a hard-ish time at recess, since he doesn’t play ball sports so much, so we’ve been inviting classmates over for games and food.  I hope it’s making the friend thing easier…but there’s only so much you can do, you know?


Picture 005 

She gets to CHANGE HER EARRINGS in 5 days.  Which is a reaaallly big deal, just so you know.  She has lots of friends and birthday parties and play dates, but one of her favorite things is when the 4 year olds (3 girls plus Seth) from the neighborhood come over and she gets to be the complete boss over all of them.


Picture 027 

We do a 15 minute “learning time” after the big kids go to school.  We use, print out the alphabet sheets and use number flash cards.  He LOVES it.  And he’s actually getting his kindergarten stuff down.  I’m sending him to school (he’ll be 5 and 8 days when school starts) and was worried about him being an August birthday, so I thought I should do some extra prep.  I’m not worried at all, anymore, about him being a “young” kindergartner.


This is what Faith does whenever I try to put her down:

Picture 051 

(do you see her wrapping her legs around mine in attempt to stay attached?)

That pretty much sums up Faith.  She wants to held or played with AT ALL TIMES.  I’m not very accommodating, so whenever Emma’s home she follows her around, because Emma gives in and picks her up.  She also does this:

Picture 059

when you ask her where something is.  It’s beyond cute.

She’s a huge talker.  I’m not lying when I say she says 15-20words.  They include:  wa-wa (water), na-na (night-night), Ses (Seth), men (Amen), dah-tah (belly button), eye (eyes), no (nose), mow (mouth), ba-ba (bye bye), hi (every time the phone rings).  She also knows 5 animal sounds/motions (sheep, elephant, dog, fish, whale).  Okay, Baby Book Segment over.

January was nice…we had more nights together, fun TV to watch (American Idol, Emma on PBS), parties to go to (adult and kid), lots of yummy food (I’m becoming quite the bread maker), and amazingly mild weather.  We’re keeping fingers crossed for good February:  holidays, birthdays and guests should make it a busy, fun month.