Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm "Nesting" again!!!

I went to lunch with some of my favorite Missionary Moms on Monday. As we visited, one Mom (whose son returns from the Jacksonville Mission in May) asked me when I started the countdown. After my first completely honest answer of, "The day she left!" I revised that to about 100 days.

With the Christmas break off from school and Bob taking this week off to be home with me, we decided it would be a good time to get a lot of things done to get ready for Sammi's homecoming. Funny part is, one of the Missionary Moms equated this feeling/obsession/whatever you want to call it with
As weird as that sounds, that's what I'm feeling! There are so many things I want to get done "just right" before she comes home; it feels like I'm preparing for a baby! I guess it's true though...I've given my "baby" to the Lord for eighteen months and now it's time for me to prepare to "get" her back. I want everything to be just right. Yes, I know she was here a few months ago, and believe me, she let us know what needed to be fixed, cleaned, straightened, etc. But now it's MY turn to make sure it's all good. Plus, with her homecoming needing to be inside (instead of out in the backyard like all our other big events), the house needed to be cleaned and many things need to be fixed. There will be a lot of people who I know won't judge me but I still want it "just so." 

So, before the Christmas break, I started my list. It keeps growing but we're also able to cross of a few of the projects. Over the next six weeks (FROM TODAY!!!!), I hope to cross them all off so we can thoroughly enjoy her when she touches down in SLC!

My list:
1. Paint upstairs hallway. CHECK.
2. Hang new individual pictures in hallway. CHECK.
3. Paint white (which also evolved into painting the red) walls in kitchen and stairway. CHECK.
4. Hang new family pictures over stairway. CHECK.
5. Order and hang new wall words over the stairway. CHECK
6. Update Sammi's pictures on the "Mission Board". CHECK.
7. Buy new blinds for the sliding door in the kitchen.
8. Wash all walls and blinds in the living room.
9. Downstairs bathroom:
    a. build wall in hallway to the bedroom. DECIDED NOT TO DO IT.
    b. fix walls. CHECK.
    c. fix ceiling tiles.
    d. paint. CHECK.
    e. buy new towels/rugs. CHECK.
    f.  make valance and curtains. CHECK.
10. Buy new rugs and towels for the upstairs bathroom. CHECK.
11. Clean Sammi's room and find a place for everything we've stored in there for the past 18 months. :(

OK...I'm exhausted now. I know there's more but I'll have to add to it later!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Fun!

We've been really blessed to have some GREAT Christmas activities this year. There are wonderful plays/performances and the LDS Church has several programs in December that you register for their "lottery" of tickets. I've never hit the window of opportunity before and, somehow, lucked out this year!

First Presidency Devotional
First of all, we got tickets to the First Presidency Devotional!! What an AMAZING way to start the month on December 5. After a "sing-a-long" opening song with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, sweet President Uchtdorf gave his talk entitled "Seeing Christmas through New Eyes."

 It was absolutely delightful as he drew analogies between our vision of Christmas and the Grinch. 

How cute is that?? 
He totally pulled it off and really opened our eyes! 

The Choir sang again and then we were able to hear from President Eyring as he spoke on "The Gift of a Savior."

He's always so tender and spiritual...we LOVE him!

Another beautiful song by the Choir led into President Monson's talk, "A Bright Shining Star."

I've used quotes from this talk on our Ward's AMAZING! How blessed we are to have such wonderful men to lead us in the path of righteousness. How blessed we are to be able to sit in the same room and listen to their words and feel of their AMAZING spirit! We're so grateful!!

Our seats weren't the best...Terrace Section 12...but just being there was enough. 
The "set" for the stage was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

We took "the kids" with us...Maddi, her friends Allie Stevens, Andrew Palmer, and our cute nephew Randy.

Walking out of the Conference Center, it was quite foggy. The lights at Temple Square were beautiful but the Temple itself was STUNNING in the fog! The little dots of light in the picture are the flash bouncing off the mist in the air. It was BEAUTIFUL!!

The Forgotten Carols
In December 2000, I took my Mom and the three girls (ages 15, 12, and 10) to see The Forgotten Carols at Weber State University. I'd heard the music, read the book/story and loved it so I bought tickets. It was a great performance even though we were on the top row of the Dee Events Center. Several years ago, they made a DVD of a performance at Cottonwood High and it's become my tradition to watch it each year. The girls don't have the love for it that I do so I usually watch it alone. When Kenzi joined the family, we started watching it together...she attended a performance years ago and loved it! 

On December 6, I got an email from Deseret Book saying there were still tickets available for the performances at Cottonwood High. I texted Kenzi and we decided at the last minute to go! What great fun!!! We love it!! Such an amazing story, BEAUTIFUL music, and it has such a great spirit throughout the play. We decided this will become our tradition even if the others don't want to go with us. Just us... (Sad I didn't get pictures of us year!)

I did find this on YouTube...I LOVE this song!!!

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert
with David Archuleta and Michael York
The next AMAZING opportunity we had was to attend the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with guests, David Archuleta and Michael York!!!!! OH MY GOSH!!!!! We only got four tickets (the max allowed) so it was quickly decided only the "girls" could go since the "boys" wouldn't appreciate it...and there weren't enough tickets for them.

Reports on the news said the Thursday concert had left many out in the cold even though they had tickets. Evidently, they figure 20% of the tickets for the free concerts go unattended so they over-"sell" tickets by 20%. Unfortunately, David Aruchuleta was a HUGE draw here locally so EVERYONE came! It was sad for those who didn't get in!! It's always recommended that you be there about 45 minutes early and must be in your seats a half hour early so they can let in the stand-by people. Well, that DID NOT work Thursday!! Friday and Saturday concerts seemed to go better (we didn't hear much on the news) but we didn't want to take any chances with Sunday morning. So...we got up at 5:30am, left the house by 6:40 and arrived in Salt Lake shortly after 7:00. We had a ticket to park about 3 blocks away, which I wasn't happy about, so we started looking on the street or for lots closer. Mallorie was going to drop us off across the street from the Conference Center and then go look for parking. Well...there were street spots open right by the gates to Temple Square, covers on the parking meters, so why not? We pulled in and parked right across the street!! SWEET!!! We found out door to enter and ended up the second group in line under the cover the building so we didn't have to stand in the rain (it rains LOTS in December in Utah!! Who knew??). When we were allowed in at 8:00, we ended up first in line at our assigned door to the auditorium! Even SWEETER!! We were able to get second row in our assigned section of Terrace 13 (NOT great but at least we were there!).

Me and my beautiful daughters!
I could not be a prouder Mom!!

They did a complete run-through of the program for Music and the Spoken Word to check for sound, timing, lighting, etc. which was fun to listen to. We could even applaud after each song which you can't do for the broadcast. After that, Lloyd Newell, the voice of the Spoken Word, talked to us, Spence Kinard, former voice for the Spoken Word talked, took a rest, etc. We also were allowed to move down closer to the stage to help fill up the seats. While we couldn't see the choir, I was excited to be that much closer to the "action." An added bonus was David Archuleta entered and exited the stage right in front of us!!

Finally, just before the broadcast started, Lloyd came out and gave us the instructions for behavior and etiquette during the broadcast. As he was talking, a guy walked up to him, whispered something in his ear, and then walked away. Lloyd said something to the effect that, "I'll finish what I was going to say in just a minute. Ladies and gentlemen, we're pleased to welcome our beloved Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson." WOW!!!! How cool he came to see the production with his daughter, Sister Ann M. Dibb!! I'm always amazed at how INSTANTLY SILENT it becomes with 21,000 people in a room when he walks in. It's absolutely AMAZING!! After President Monson sat down, Lloyd continued with his instructions and then the production began. It was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!

The following photos are from the LDS News website.

Words can't describe the broadcast and then the "mini-concert" afterward. David Archuleta is absolutely AMAZING and then when you realize he's ONLY 19 YEARS OLD it makes it even more AMAZING!!! He's got an amazing spirit about of sweetness, innocence, and a testimony of the Gospel. You can see it in his face! Michael York is one of my favorites as well. I have a DVD I show my 9th graders when we study Shakespeare of him reciting Sonnet 29, I believe, that is absolutely wonderful! He also plays Tybalt in the Franco Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet. (The kids remember him as Basil Exposition in Austin Powers...I prefer to remember him doing Shakespeare!) He told the story of the beginnings of the Tabernacle Choir and then read Luke 2. It was WONDERFUL!!! Such a GREAT accent/voice!!!

After the performances, they did some presentations and asked President Monson to come up on stage. It was so fun to see him in a relaxed atmosphere...meaning not a church meeting. Even though the Spirit was there the whole time, it was much more relaxed and "fun." It did seem odd, though, to see the Prophet applaud and be able to applaud him after he spoke! It was GREAT!!

I can't wait for the DVD and CD to come out for next Christmas so we can watch it and be able to say, "We were there!!" Three things have definitely become a new tradition at our house! (Providing we can get tickets!!)


Friday, December 17, 2010

Our little peanut--Week 12

We can't believe how clear we can see our little peanut! Can't wait until next month when we might be able to find out what he/she is! Can't wait to "officially" buy stuff!!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The BEST Thanksgiving EVER!!!!!!!!!

Thanksgiving was kinda weird this year since it was Zack and Mal's year with the in-laws. Bob, Maddi, and I decided to go to Bob's mom's for dinner with his siblings. It was fun to visit and laugh with everyone. We came home and waited for Mal and Tom to come over for pie. Maddi invited her friend, Andrew, to come as well so it was just the six of us (Zack and Kenzi stayed in Brigham to do the Black Friday sales). We'd been visiting for a while, had our pie, and all of a sudden, Mal and Tom got up and went outside. Mal had said she made little treat bags for her neighbors and decided she wanted to do them for family this year. She had sent Sammi's the week before with instructions to not open hers until Thanksgiving afternoon. She passed out little white gift bags with green tissue paper in them. (She apologized to Andrew for not having one for him...he said it was OK.) We all pulled the tissue paper out at the same time and screamed!!

How cool is this?!?!?!?!
I screamed, squealed, jumped up and down, you name it. I ran to her to hug her and just couldn't let go! Maddi kept saying, "You lied to me!!" (A couple of weeks ago, Mal told her smells were killing her and Maddi asked her if she was pregnant. Mal said, "No!" We excused her from lying that one time. :) ) Bob was in shock! After all the hugging, we found another little gift in there... our first picture of our baby!!

We'll find out in January what she's having but in the meantime, I'm looking for all kinds of cute stuff and bought my first material for rag boy and one girl. I can't wait and figure whatever it is, I can put the other one away for future use. 

So much to be thankful for!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Time is FLYING!!

I honestly NEVER in a million years thought I would say this but...
As we get older, we realize time is going quicker than it did when we were kids. (There are those times when it seems to drag still...) 

1. It seems like yesterday school started...we're already two weeks into second term.
2. It's been almost three months since Sister Denson c6ame home for "Transfer #10."
3. Halloween has come and gone.
4. It's twelve days until Thanksgiving.
5. Christmas is just around the corner!
6. 2010 is less than seven weeks from changing into 2011.
7. Second Term/First Semester has about seven (school) weeks left.
8. Sister Denson will be home in 87 days!!!!!!!! 

I know I'm not supposed to be counting the makes time go more slowly. But there are things I want to get done before she comes home and for her Homecoming. It's a "Mom thing." Maddi keeps telling me to stop counting because the time will go slower...NOT TRUE!!!!!!!!! I was counting backwards the other day...trying to figure out perspective on how much longer we have. I was tired and evidently miscalculated because I was thinking it was the family camping trip in July. NO!!! It was August! School was starting. Sammi came home. 
HOLY COW!!!!!!!!!! 
That was seriously just a minute ago!! 
I am so anxious to have her back and have our family all together again but...this whole "Missionary Mom" thing has been such an amazing experience! I really didn't think I'd be strong enough to do it...but I have. I didn't think I'd survive missing her...but I have. Looking back, I've really enjoyed it and have grown so much! We've drawn closer as a family. My sweet Maddi and I have gotten to be better friends and have had fun together. Overall, it's really been a GREAT experience!! much as I've loved it, 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Yummy Pumpkin Bars...a sure sign of fall!

Yesterday, Bob and I saw an old friend/wardie, Biffy Turner. After chatting a minute, she offered us a Pumpkin Bar. Who's going to turn one of those babies down? NOT I!!
So, in my grocery shopping adventure, I made sure to pick up a few cans of pumpkin and cream cheese. Can't go wrong with those two ingredients. {smile} The house smelled FABULOUS this morning as they were baking and they were even better tasting than I had remembered. Thank you Biffy for reminding me how much I love these little gems and Paula Deen for the great recipe!! 

Pumpkin Bars


4 eggs 
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar 
1 cup vegetable oil 
15-ounce can pumpkin 
2 cups sifted all purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. 
Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. 
Spread the batter into a greased 13x10 inch baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes. 
Let cool completely before frosting. 
Cut into bars.
To make the icing:
Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined.  Stir in the vanilla and mix again. 
Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.
Recipe Courtesy Patty Ronning as adapted by Paula Deen
Servings: 48 small bars or 24 larger bars
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Difficulty: Easy

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup

For as long as I can remember, I've loved Homemade Potato Soup! My Mom made it when I was a kid,  I've made it all our married life, and my kids request it when they come over. There's just something incredibly comforting about it on a cold, blustery day or when you don't feel good. Whenever I make it, we end up with LOTS of leftovers which makes for great lunches for a while. In fact, a week ago Saturday while Bob and Zack were deer hunting, it was cold and rainy so Maddi and I whipped up a big potful. I took it to school every day for the rest of the week and shared it with other teachers. YUMMY!!

While checking out The Girl Who Ate Everything blog, I found a new variation of the old stand-by. Can we all just say FABULOUS??!! I love the added vegetables without it taking a lot of extra time to cut them up. We always add cheese, preferably "block" cheese that you cut into cubes. (Personally, I'm good with grated cheese but Bob insists on cubes of cheese in his. Silly guy!) Maddi bought "sharp" cheddar cheese last night and I was a bit concerned it was going to be too strong. NOPE! DELICIOUS!!!

Try this won't be sorry!! Oh, and thanks for the picture Christy! :)



3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup carrot, diced (optional)
1 cup diced cooked ham (buy a ham steak in the deli section)
3 1/4 chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk

Note: I added some carrots that I had and Becky said she adds a can of corn too which would be good.

1.Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, carrot, ham and chicken broth in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper. 

2.In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk so that lumps don't form and until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes. 

3.Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. 

4. Top with cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon if desired. Serve immediately. 
5. Makes 6 servings 
Source: adapted from Allrecipes

Darn Good Chocolate Cake

First of all...This recipe is NOT from The Girl Who Ate's from my good friend, Julie. It's absolutely AMAZING!!
We make it for birthdays, Sammi made it for the Elders in her Zone,  make it for the heck of it and ESPECIALLY when you need a HUGE chocolate fix! I wish I had a picture but we've eaten it too quickly. Next time I make it, I promise a picture. 

from Julie Sargent

1 box devils food cake mix
1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs beaten
½ cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350, mix cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, warm water and oil in large mixing bowl.  Blend on low for 1 minute, scrape bowl and blend on medium for 2 more minutes.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour batter into greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake 45-55 min until cake springs back when lightly touched.  Place on rack to cool for 20 minutes.

Frost with favorite chocolate frosting or use this one:

Melt 5 TBSP butter with 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup milk.  Boil for 1 minute.  Take off heat and stir in 1 cup semi sweet (we prefer Milk) chocolate chips.  Drizzle on cake.

Now is where The Girl Who Ate Everything comes in. I found the most intriguing frosting recipe on her website. I just had to try it and even though it's not chocolate, Bob and I thought it was AMAZING on Darn Good Chocolate Cake! (The pictures are from Christy's blog because, again, I don't think of taking pictures when I cook.) 


5 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup granulated white sugar (not powdered sugar)

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. It took me around 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. You can place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools if you are in a hurry. Stir in vanilla. This mixture must be completely cooled in order for the frosting to work.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat until it all combines and resembles whipped cream. Make sure you scrape down the sides every so often so that it all gets incorporated and whipped. If it's not looking like whipped cream, keep on whipping. This frosting is great for piping. Best served the same day.

Cooking Confessions

OK, I admit it...I LOVE TO COOK! However, I HATE shopping, HATE the clean-up, HATE coming home from work and doing it, etc., etc. Therefore, I rarely fix anything very spectacular. During the week, the common dialogue between Bob, Maddi, and I consists of the following:
"What's for dinner?"
"I don't know; what sounds good to you?"
"I'm not hungry." 
A few minutes later:
"So...what's for dinner? It's getting late." 
"Nothing; what sounds good to you?"
"I'm still not hungry...I'll get something later." 

It's RIDICULOUS!!!!! We usually end up with something out of a box, running to the store where it costs WAY more than it should know run in to buy milk and come out $50. later... Bob will stop at Ream's on the way home and call me. Same thing, different day. I HATE IT!

A while ago, I found the most AMAZING food blog called "The Girl Who Ate Everything." I have a friend I work with who has a sister-in-law that lives in Ft. Lauderdale (actually in Weston which is a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale. She was in Sammi's mission president's ward in Plantation until a couple of months ago.). Her husband plays football for the Miami Dolphins. Of course, anything related to South Florida, Ft. Lauderdale Mission, Sammi, I have to get all the info/details I possibly can! (It's a "Mom thing.") Anyway, I found Christy on Facebook and saw she has a couple of of them being TheGirlWhoAteEverything
The Girl Who Ate Everything
Sounds intriguing, right? OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!! Here she is, a mother of three little boys, has a football playing hubby, faithful member of the Church, and absolutely adorable! She LOVES to cook and then she shares her fabulous recipes! I've spent hours perusing her blog/recipes and reading her cute commentaries. 

Finally, yesterday I decided it was time to try some. HOLY COW!!!!!!! They're AMAZING!!!!!!! The thing I like best about them is they're made with "normal" know, stuff you have in your cupboard. Well, that is if actually go grocery shopping for more than one meal at a time. So,  I made a list and headed out to the store. I've been so excited to try these recipes and honestly, the ones I've tried have NOT let me down!! 

I'm going to use this as kind of a "recipe book" of my favorites so that when I want to make them again, I can just find them on here. I dare you to try them!! You won't be disappointed and please give Christy and her blog ALL the credit!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Twinners!!!

WOW!! Twenty-five years ago today, we became the overwhelmed parents of the most adorable twins!
Mallorie and Zack at cousin Melissa's blessing in February 1986. They were about 3-1/2 to 4 months old here.

Now they're big, married, and AMAZING adults! We love them so much and are so incredibly proud of both of them.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Family Pictures on Antelope Island

Miyo Strong from Busath Photography took our family pictures on Saturday at Antelope Island. These are just a few of the AMAZING photos she got. Can't wait to see all of them on my walls! :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Conference--October 2010

We had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Saturday Morning session of General Conference. We were so excited to have secured six tickets from our Stake Presidency and Bishop. It's so amazing to be in the same room as the Prophet, Quorum of the Twelve, and other leaders of the Church.

 The Conference Center prior to the session. It's BEAUTIFUL!!

 Three-fourths of the family...
Bob, Michelle, Kenzi, Zack, Maddi, and Sister Denson
We missed Mal and Tom!

 Sister Call (Meryl) was one of Sammi's companions in Boca Raton. They became "BFFs" while they served in the Florida Ft. Lauderdale Mission. Meryl came home in July. It's been so much fun for them to spend time together and text constantly while Sammi's been home. They're really going to miss each other but it's only for four more months...

 Meryl and her cute boyfriend, Ryan Farr.

 While we were hanging out on the Deseret Book Plaza after conference, we saw Alex Boye (an AMAZING singer!!) walking around. Just had to take a picture with him. He was excited to meet a Sister Missionary...he told her to get back to Florida and find some black people to baptize...we need more blacks in the Church!)

 Sister Denson needed a picture with the famous author, Jason Wright. Of course, he had to be "arms length"... LOVE the look on her face!

 Jason's caption on this picture on Facebook: "Oh, Jason...You're so funny! Such a delight to meet you!"

 Such a great picture! It was fun for them to finally meet.

 Zack and Jason have a very "special" friendship.
(Check out the look on the guy's face behind Jason! hahaha)

Jericho Road performing on the Plaza. They still sound GREAT!

It was an amazing day! So much fun to watch Conference in person at the Conference Center, meet amazingly wonderful friends afterward, and do a little "star-gazing." PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jason to describe the experience?...

Over the past three years, I've had the GREAT opportunity to become good friends with Jason Wright, author of Christmas Jars, Christmas Jars Reunion, Penny's Christmas Jar Miracle, The Wednesday Letters, Recovering Charles, The Cross Gardener, The James Miracle, and his newest, BEST book, The Seventeen Second Miracle. He spoke at my school on a tour in November 2007, at a fireside in our stake last November (it was AMAZING!!),  and then I've seen him several times at book signings, etc. We've developed a GREAT friendship; it's been a lot of fun!!

Friday, he was the guest speaker at an assembly for our school talking about service and performing a "Seventeen Second Miracle" which can change someone's life for good. He had the kids (all 1200 of them) eating out of the palm of his hand!!

Yes...that's 1200+ students completely mesmerized!

He had them eating out of the palm of his hand!

He called these students up, spur of the moment, and asked them what they were going to do for their Seventeen Second Miracle in the next 24 hours.
He asked teachers and administrators what they had done in the past 24 hours for their "SSM." SCARY!!!
Just watchin' the show...

In addition to the assembly, he worked with the 9th grade English classes on the importance of writing in our everyday lives, the writing process, and answered questions. He was exhausted by the end of the day but it was so much fun! The kids LOVED it!!

For some of the classes, he had impromptu skits then the kids had to write what they saw. It was a GREAT lesson on 1st draft, 2nd draft, etc. In this one, Maddi & Sammi had to portray a "conflict." They are driving down the road and Sammi doesn't want to listen to Lady Gaga on the radio anymore. Maddi is adamant they're going to listen to her. It went from there...a little freaky because it was SOOOOOO reminiscent of times gone by! 

FIGHTING over who gets to choose the station...the driver or the passenger...

Sammi wanted to listen to Keith Urban because he's "hot" and has a GREAT accent. The kids got such a kick out of that!! :)

My "Drama Queens"

...and "Best Friends"!!

He talked about what a first draft of a passage from Christmas Jars would have sounded like and then how he would have improved it through various drafts. 

Then reading the final draft. Amazing how the process works!

He also had some kids come up and talk about the profession they'd LOVE to have as an adult. He'd give them some exotic name (this guy's was "Jehoshaphat" (or however you spell it...they called him "Phat Joe" for short...) and then gave him a beautiful, model for a wife (her name was "Roxanna" and every time her name was said, he had to do a little butt-wiggle. HILARIOUS!!). "Phat Joe" wanted to me a pro-golfer so Jason explained how he'd need to write contracts asking for sponsors. It was so effective and fun!!!!!!!! The kids really "GOT" it!

By the end of the day, Jason was absolutely exhausted but had a great time talking with the kids. I have overused the "Thank Yous" and superlative "amazing" but somehow...someday...I want to be able to express my appreciation for him coming. What a GREAT opportunity for all of us!