Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hailey's First Birthday

Hailey turned 1!

We hosted the grandparents for cake, ice cream, and presents at our apartment. Hailey didn't like ripping presents open, but she loved having new toys and really loved cake!

Hailey opening presents

Hailey playing with her presents

Caterpillar cake


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Master Menu

Master Menu

Back in June I attended an enrichment meeting and learned about this really cool way to plan meals. It's called a "Master Menu," and the concept is that you create 28 day (or 4 weeks) of meals and every month you repeat the menu. It sounds repetitive, but you only eat each meal 12 times every year- not that often!

Themed Meals

The Master Menu idea gets even better because you organize the meals so that they are intuitive, by assigning each day a theme. For example, Monday is "Beef", Tuesday is "Breakfast", Wednesday is "Mexican", etc. So each Monday you might not remember what you are making, but you know it's beef, so you can anticipate how long it will take to make, and after a few months you do have it memorized because the first Monday of every month is always the same meal.

Side Dishes

The final way to simplify meal preparation is to assign side dishes. If you are general then you have more flexibility and can still have variety without much additional thought or planning. For example, every night we have Mexican food we have corn and rice. Some nights we will have creamed corn, some nights corn on the cob, some nights canned corn, etc.; similar story with rice, some nights Spanish rice, some nights we will have rice in burritos, some nights we will have rice and beans, but I know that I need enough rice and enough corn on the shelf that I can serve it once a week. That makes food storage easier too!

My Master Menu

I like variety, so I've created an 8 week master menu. Here's what mine looks like:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Theme Beef Breakfast Mexican Italian Chicken Other
Side Potatoes
Juice Corn
Green Bean
Garlic Bread
Pink Stuff
1 Hamburger French Toast Taco Ring Lasagna Yogurt Chicken Lettuce Wrap
2 Steak Omelets, Cinnamon Rolls Tacos Calzones Chicken Parmesan Chicken Croquette
3 BBQ Beef Waffles Beef Enchiladas Chicken Alfredo Orange Chicken German Pancakes
4 Kabobs Breakfast Burritos Chicken Enchiladas Stromboli Moroccan Chicken Pork Chops
5 Meatloaf Breakfast Casserole Fajitas Spaghetti Cordon Bleu Ravioli
6 Café Rio Pancakes Nachos/ Taco Salad Spaghetti Pie Sweet & Sour, Rice BBQ Ribs
7 Meatball Sandwich Crepes Mexican Pizza Pizza Chicken Monterey Brazilian Dinner
8 Sloppy Joe Quiche Chimmichanga Stuffed Shells Teriyaki Big Salad

Life happens and  we don’t always stick to the menu, but when it’s time to shop for the week or time to cook dinner, I know what’s on the menu, and I know that we have the ingredients to make what’s on the menu. I also know that when there is a great sale on spaghetti sauce, I should buy enough for at least 8 meals every menu cycle. The master menu has really simplified my meal prep. Another technique that has simplified meal preparation is using homemade mixes.


I have recently started using the Make-A-Mix Cookery book to make my own mix, to further simplify meal preparation. The book lists some “master mixes” which are usually dry ingredients that you mix n a large volume and then store. You make the mix whenever you have time, store them, and when you are ready to make a dish, you add a few additional ingredients to the master mix. It’s all the convenience of a store-bought mix without the extra cost.

I love to have a variety of foods, but it’s not worth all the mess of measuring cups and spoons just to have biscuits for breakfast, or to have rolls for dinner. With mixes, I make a mess when I make the master mix, but when I am ready to make biscuits, I just measure the mix and add water, or to make rolls, measure the mix, add a few other ingredients, and I’m ready to bake.

Future Plans

Bruce interviewed in Houston, TX with Deloitte about 2 weeks ago, and just returned from a interview with Ernst & Young in Houston. Both have offered him an internship in January. He had not decided which offer he will accept, but we do know that we will be in Houston from January until March or April. We will live with Bruce brother’s family while we are on internship. About 90% of internships lead to a job, so it’s likely we will have a job offer following the internship.

Hailey continues to grow. She’s really mastered walking. Sometimes I’ll be outside working on a project, turn around, and have to go hunting for Hailey. A few times she have even made it to the house in front of our complex, which is too close to the road for my comfort. She has also started to form some preferences, which she vocalizes. Today when I told her not to play in the toilet and took her out of the bathroom, she arched her back and cried- a little tantrum. She’s cute and we love that she can interact with us.
We’re done mowing, so I’ve just been a stay at home mom. I thought I might get bored, but I’ve found plenty to do so far.
Play Group
We go to playgroup with some other moms and kids in the ward a few times a week. We always have an activity which is funny because most of our kids are too young to do more than toddle around and steal toy from one another. We have had finger painting, a leaf walk to collect leaves and then rub them, Cheerio necklaces (Hailey loved that one. I made the necklace she ate it. Other kids had a necklace, she ate it, too.), mummy hot dogs (for Halloween), and will have hot cocoa this week. I really enjoy the time to chat with other moms and it’s good for Hailey to have the social outing.

She loves going for walks and climbing the stairs!
Every Thursday we go to toddler story time at the public library. Hailey LOVES that. Sometimes she can sit through the whole story time, but usually she wanders around watching other kids and looking at books. A few days ago Bruce and I were in the kitchen when Bruce noticed Hailey in the living room. She was sitting on the floor reading a book all by herself. It was a Kodak moment.
Thanks for the bows, Sarah! We have so much fun choosing which bow to put in her hair (she doesn't like the ponytail, but doesn't mind the bow).

Home Projects
When we are not socializing Hailey, I’ve completed a few projects at home. I made a new cover for Hailey’s high chair and will make a second one, as well as a plastic cover. I made a hooded towel for a friend’s baby shower. I put a plastic cover on the scooter seat so it will be dry (well, mostly dry once you brush the snow off). I put plastic on the windows. We don’t have double panes and have found the srink-wrap window plastic really helps insulate the apartment. I’ve also read a few books and have a stack from the library to work through, and this week I will start some family history work.
School and Work
School continues to be demanding for Bruce, but his boss has found a replacement for him and this will be his last week of work.


Hailey was a duck for Halloween. The costume was so cute, but the soles of her feet were fabric, so she slipped every time she was on a smooth surface. We had a ward party in the gym at the church, so she slipped regularly. We had a good laugh but in the end had mercy and took it off. They broke a piñata at the ward party and let the kids (all 8 that are in our ward) get candy. Hailey picked up as many suckers as she could carry, but dropped them all when she finally got one open. We didn’t go trick-or-treating, so the ward party was the extent of our festivities.
Bruce dressing Hailey in her duck costume (above). Hailey walking in her costume (below).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Usual

This last week was mostly the usual: I mowed , cleaned house, and wrote an abstract for the research project I did last year to submit to a conference.
Bruce worked and went to school.

Big Event Include:
Cami's Wedding
I attended my cousin Cami's wedding in Twin Falls, Idaho. I drove to Twin Falls early Saturday morning, attended the ceremony, and drove home shortly after. Congrats to Cami and

We have been doing a few Halloween activities. We decorated pumpkin cookies and bought Hailey a Halloween outfit.We will decorate pumpkins for Family Home Evening on Monday.

Hailey. 10 months old.

Hailey's first hair do.

Hailey walking out of her bedroom
Hailey getting some hairspray out of the bathroom cabinet. It's her favorite bottle in the whole cupboard to carry around.

You have to love that sweater!

She loves her oatmeal- every morning's a mess!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Internship, Etc

Our Family. September 2010.

Future Work
Bruce was called back for second interviews from 3 accounting firms: Ernst and Young, Deloitte, and Grant Thornton. He will fly to Houston three times in the next month for the interviews. When he has finished interviewing, he will decide where he would like to do an internship, and assuming that goes well, he will be offered a job. We hope to do a winter internship, which would be from January until mid March.

Besides interviewing for future jobs, Bruce has been busy with school and work. He is taking master level courses this year and the coursework has been more demanding than he anticipated. The order classes are taken was changed this year, so some of the classes have not adapted the course load for the change. The result is lots of work. Bruce is working for a small book keeping business. He assists with the accounting for local, small businesses. It has been challenging to find time for play between the demands of school and work.

With Bruce preoccupied with other work, I have been mowing a few lawns for Lawn-O-Matic. John has been mowing the majority but will be leaving on a mission, so I will mow all the lawns for a few weeks.

Rachel & Hailey
In addition to mowing, Hailey and I have enjoyed a few projects, the ongoing demands of an apartment, and playgroup. A few sisters in our ward get together a few times a week for play group. On Tuesday we do an activity and on Thursday we go to the library for Toddler story time. Hailey likes to be around the other kids, though she doesn't "play" with them. She has not been too violent, but does occasionally pull hair, or take things from the other kids. It's cute how fascinated she is with everything around her.

Around the House
She loves helping around the house by emptying the kitchen drawers, the bathroom cupboards, and anything else that she can get into. If she can't take something out of it, she helps by climbing into it.
Hailey in Scott and Lisa's dishwasher.
She loves playing outside, but will not venture down the step from our apartment to the landing. She gets frustrated and will make a fuss when I am outside and she wants to come, but must first get down the step. Cute.


Hailey's first taste of chocolate ice cream on August 27, 2010

The chocolate mustache is evidence of her approval.

Sharing Dad's ice cream, and Mom's water jug.

Messy, messy!


She loves to take bathes, and eat food. Eating usually results in a bath!

Hailey eating a bran muffin from the floor after dinner. Really, we do feed her!

Friday, September 24, 2010


Bruce, John (Bruce's brother) and I competed in the Kokopelli Triathlon in St. George, UT on September 18, 2010. Here is our tale.
Scott applying a bungee cord to the stroller. When we took it out of the car a piece was broken, so Scott used a bungee to reassemble it.

Bruce, Rachel, and John before the swim. Bruce and John had wetsuits to increase their buoyancy. I considered using one, but was undecided, so when we couldn't find the third one I just swam in my suit. The water temperature was great!

Rachel running from the water to the transition area to get ready for the bike ride.

Bruce finishing the 20 mile bike ride.

Rachel finishing the bike portion.

Rachel about to cross the finish line.

Bruce approaching the finish line. Look carefully and you might be able to see his vomit on the road a few paces back. Sick!


We left Provo a little late and arrived in St. George Friday evening. We checked in for the race, stopped at the hotel, and then went for an 8PM dinner at the Pizza Factory. After dinner we went swimming in the hotel pool. Hailey loved the pool and wanted to "swim" on her stomach all around the pool. She's pretty cute.
The next morning we were awake shortly after 6AM, had breakfast, inflated the bike tires, and drove to the race. We parked our car a few miles away and all piled into Scott and Lisa's car to enter the State Park. John's bike was in the car which meant there were only 3 comfortable, 4 possible seats in the car, and since the race was in a State Park and they required the normal entrance fee we wanted to minimize the number of cars we drove into the park. So, I sat in the back of the car (no seat) and John, Bruce and Hailey squished on the back seat for the short drive from our car to the race.
When we got Hailey's stroller out of the car, a piece was broken so Scott maneuvered a bungee cord around the stroller to hold it together while we gathered our equipment.
At the start of the race we were nervous and felt a bit our of place surrounded by hundreds of serious athletes, being amateur ourselves. The race was structured with different start times based on age and gender, so Bruce and John started 10-20 min before me. We swam .9 miles, ran to a the transition area where our bikes were, geared up and biked 20 miles, dropped off the bike in transition area, and finished with a 6 mile run. When Bruce got on his bike he realized that he had a flat tire, so he had to run back through the transition area and go to a service trailer to get it fixed. The whole ordeal cost him 15-20 min. In addition to the bike trouble, on the last 1/4 mile of the run, when he had reached the top of the hill and was within sight of the finish line he threw up, not once, but twice. I would have walked in, but he kept going and finished in about 3 hours. John an I also finished in about 3 hours.
Special thanks to Scott and Lisa who watched Hailey and took pictures!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Real Girls Mow Lawns

To celebrate Labor Day, we trained for our triathlon with a 20 mile bike ride followed by a 6 mile run. Then I canned tomatoes and made salsa with Lisa Sommerfeldt while Bruce, Scott, and John prepared the roof of the shed for shingles. Bruce did some studying, and Hailey napped, ate, and played outside. While we were outside she discovered the toy car. She can open and close the doors and can push the whole car by pushing the door. She is so proud of herself when she pushes it.
She also discovered another toy: a lawn mower. It wasn't weighted so it would tip over, but she could push it when she was holding on to something else. It was pretty cute! Hailey and I both mow lawn- I mow real ones, she mows fake ones because after all, Real Girls Mow Lawns!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Colorado Visit, Triathalon, Work

Colorado Trip
We drove to Colorado with Bruce's parents to help Michelle, Bruce's sister, install a new sprinkler system and visited Garden of the Gods.
Bruce and Hailey at Garden of the Gods

Bruce, Ben, John, Rachel climbing


Saw Lindsay's freshly painted condo in Colorado Springs.
I stayed an extra few days to visit my family before flying back to Utah with Hailey. It was her very first flight!

Eric lived in Utah for a month.

Bruce and I are doing an Olympic Triathlon in St. George on September 18th! The race is an open water, one mile swim followed by a 26 mile bike (with a one mile stretch which has a 6% incline.... not too sure about that), followed by a 10K run. The swim should be okay. I can swim a mile now, so I just need to train to get my time down and increase my endurance a little since open water will have more turbulence. We bought a month pass to the city pool and went swimming 3 days a week to train for the Trithalon. Hailey loved the pool!
The bike might just kill me. We've been casually looking for a second bike. We used to have 2 but one got stolen from our apartment so Bruce and I alternate who rides everyday. It works well now, but a little closer to the race we will want to train on the same bikes we will ride, plus longer rides are more fun with company. We borrowed a bike trailer from one of Bruce's relatives which I use when I ride with Hailey. She doesn't really like it because it's so roomy that when I brake, or turn she tips over and can't get back up. I saw someone else with a toddler car seat in a trailer, so I've started looking for a car seat that we could put in the trailer the help her stay upright. We'll see if it works, assuming I can find one at a price I want to pay. As for the run, I've been doing 3-4 mile runs and feel really comfortable, so the 10K distance should be okay, the real question is can I do it after a 26 mile ride and a mile swim. The race is really expensive ($90 each!), but I've enjoyed the training so far, and I think that we will really enjoy the race. In the future I think we'll look earlier in the season and try to find a cheaper on, but since we haven't been training that long and the end of race season is approaching, it was our only option.

Ernst and Young, Texas Trip
Bruce went on a trip to Texas this last weekend to visit the Ernst and Young Accounting office in Huston. He said he enjoyed the trip and he learned some good information about what they are looking for in an employee which will help him make some decisions about pursuing a Masters. He had not been accepted into the Masters program when he left for the trip, and was considering other options, but has since been admitted!

Hailey is doing great. She is growing, and becoming a little person more and more. She has all her front teeth, can crawl very well. She walks with help and will crawl into the room where I am at just to pull herself up on my pant leg and get help walking. She can stand for a few seconds without help and can walk around tables, chairs, and anything else that looks stable. Today she was super cute- she was rolling this giant ball and every time she would roll it she would look at me for praise. I would simile, or say "yeah" and she would get this grin on her face. So cute!

The other place that Hailey has been so cute is in the pool. Because neither of us are currently BYU students we can't use BYU facilities, so we purchased a 1-month pass to the Provo Rec Center. I take Hailey in the baby side while Bruce swims laps, and then we switch while I swim. Hailey loves the pool. She has gotten pretty brave and will crawl all over the stairs by herself. I sit close so I can rescue her when she topples over, but she's pretty independent. She's really social. When she sees someone who she thinks is interesting she leans toward them and turns her head to stare. I usually let her direct where we go based on her head jerking and I think she likes it. She hates to be on her back in the water, but loves to be in a swimming position. She also love to splash and has a floating toy that she wants in and out of all the time, probably just to try my patience :)

I've been helping with the family lawn business. I mow with Bruce on Tuesday and Wednesday, assuming that Grandma can watch Hailey, then do sprinkler repair and weed some customers lawns on other days of the week. It's nice because I can take Hailey for everything except mowing (too noisy for little ears) and it gets me outside and busy. Hailey loves to eat dirt whenever we are in a flowerbed or have a chunk of grass with the dirt side exposed. It was really cute the first time, but she does it all the time and I don't want her to get botulism, so now we fight about it. I move her a way, she crawls back and eats until I catch her again. :) Some weeks get really crazy with Bruce working at his other job 3 days a week, mowing 2 days a week, and doing sprinklers as often as we need to. In addition to all that I've been subbing at the job I had last summer doing water checks, so I work an average of 1-2 days a week. Like I said, it makes life busy, but we've enjoyed it thus far.
I tried to fix up a bike from the neighbors dumpster but it was going to cost so much in new parts it wasn't worth it. Bruce started looking online for used bikes, but demand is high in Provo so most the road bikes we were interested in were about $200. We decided to get one on Amazon that was $160. A lot of money, but hopefully we use it enough to justify the expense.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Scott's Shed

Scott decided to build a shed for bikes, lawn equipment, etc. One Saturday we helped spread concrete, and another we helped build and secure some walls.

Pouring concrete

Spreading concrete

Raising the wall