Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Smash the Baby"

Ryan was a pretty physical baby boy. He loved to play ball and wrestle. Uncle Marc started playing a wrestling game that he called “Smash the Baby.” They’d wrestle, and then Marc would wrap his arms around Ryan and roll with him (leaning on his arms rather than on Ryan, just to be clear). I believe other families refer to this game as “steamroller.” Marc & Ryan played “Smash the Baby” until Ryan was probably 5 or 6 years old.

Now Alice & Claire know about “Smash the Baby.” Although, recently when the grandkids were together, it turned more into “Smash the Papa.”

Papa decided he had enough, but the kids hadn’t. So the game became “Smash the Ryan.”

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Swim Team Party & Awards ~ August 27, 2011

At the end of every summer (long course season) the swim team has a huge party. The rec center closes early, and it is just swim team and families in the pools and splash pad. In the grass area around the splash pad, we have a big BBQ and sit and chat. After dinner, we have games, family relays (Ryan was “adopted” by some friends of ours to participate in their family relay this year), a slide show of the prior year, and awards.

Last year, Ryan was awarded the “Most Improved Swimmer” by the coaches. He joined the team at the very end of August 2009 (after the summer party), and one year later, had moved up two team levels!
This year, Ryan received the “Coach’s Award.” I’m sure it’s because of Ryan’s commitment and dedication, as well as his courage to try things that most kids his age won’t – like the 400 IM! Here is Ryan proudly accepting his plaque from Coach Steve Doman.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Videos from Back-to-School/Welcome Assembly

Ryan doing the flag ceremony; pledge; Star Spangled Banner:

The school song (“We are the Loyal Lions”):

And the student council dancing:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back-to-school/Welcome Assembly

As I mentioned in my prior post, instead of having a Welcome Assembly at the flag pole on the first day of school as in previous years, that happened the first Friday of school.

The student council (10 6th grade kids, including Ryan) did the majority of the assembly.

The principal welcomed everyone, and talked a little bit about the 100 year anniversary of our school district. Then Ryan and the only other boy on the student council did the flag ceremony…

Said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang The Star Spangled Banner…

And sang the school song…

Before, during, and after the assembly, I had the opportunity to talk with each of Ryan’s prior teachers (at different points during the program, as I was running from one area to another for pictures, etc.), except his 4th grade teacher, who has retired. Here’s the recap of my conversations with them:

Mrs. Noyce (2nd grade): “Ryan has always been such a cute kid. He’s still a cute kid!”

Mr. Bacall (3rd grade): “Look at your big 6th grader on the student council!”
Mrs. Busk (5th grade): “It’s so fun to see Ryan on student council this year. He’s such a great kid!”
After the assembly, I went into the school to do my volunteer time in Ryan’s classroom, as I checked in on the computer in the office, the principal said, “Ryan is such a great kid! You have taught him well. He is always very respectful.” And as I went into Ryan’s classroom, his current teacher, Mrs. Schmidt, said, “I love Ryan. He is such a wonderful kid!” (I haven’t taken a picture of just the two of them yet, but I will.)

I always joke that more people know me as “Ryan’s mom” than my own name! I don’t mind. It’s an honor.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Ryan’s school did something new this year. They had back-to-school afternoon the Friday before school started. As a member of the student council, Ryan had to be there about 30 minutes early to help direct parents and students to their appropriate classrooms. I should have taken my camera, but I didn’t even think about it that day!

The fairly-new principal has also made some changes so that the first day of school is not so crazy. Instead of having a welcome assembly at the flagpole (that will happen Friday), parents just dropped off our kids. It was kind of weird! I did take a picture at our usual spot.

As I was walking back to the car, the mom of a girl Ryan’s age approached me. She said, “Do you like this new ‘first day of school’ routine?” I told her that Ryan was disappointed that, as a member of the student council, he wasn’t involved with the big welcome assembly on the first day of school. She said, “Oh! I didn’t even think of the poor student council members! That is one of their big things!” Even though they are having the assembly Friday, it just doesn’t have the same excitement as it always has on the first day of school.

Ryan and I have talked over the summer about the importance of being kind and friendly to everyone. He usually is, but (as with all kids that age) there are a couple of kids that he sometimes makes fun of. His campaign when he ran for student council was that he would help make his school the friendliest school by his own friendly actions, and by encouraging others to be friendly.

With that in mind, here’s my favorite back-to-school song – it’s by The White Stripes, but you may recognize it from Napoleon Dynamite. This is my new favorite version (by the PS22 chorus - found on YouTube).


fall is here, hear the yell
back to school, ring the bell
brand new shoes, walking blues
climb the fence, books and pens
i can tell that we are gonna be friends

walk with me, suzy lee
through the park, by the tree
we will rest upon the ground
and look at all the bugs we've found
then safely walk to school
without a sound

well here we are, no one else
we’ll walk to school all by ourselves
there's dirt on our uniforms
from chasing all the ants and worms
we clean up and now it's time to learn

numbers, letters, learn to spell
nouns, and books, and show and tell
playtime, we will throw the ball
back to class, through the hall
teacher marks our height against the wall

we don't notice any time pass
we don't notice anything
we sit side by side in every class
teacher thinks that i sound funny
but she likes the way you sing

tonight i'll dream while i'm in bed
when silly thoughts go through my head
about the bugs and alphabet
when i wake tomorrow i'll bet
that you and i will walk together again
cause i can tell that we
are going to be friends

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Spinach Basil Pesto


1 ½ c. baby spinach leaves
¾ c. fresh basil leaves
½ c. toasted pine nuts
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ c. extra-virgin olive oil


Blend the spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 table spoons olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.

I shared some, kept some in the fridge for immediate use, and froze some in an ice cube tray for use later.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Corn and Tortellini Toss

Two of my favorite things are in full harvest in my yard right now – tomatoes and basil. I love Caprese salad, and could eat that every day, but I wanted to try something new. I found this recipe on the internet. Since it is currently 100 degrees here, something hot did not sound good. I made my own cold version and shared it with the family. It was a big hit!


1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated cheese and roasted garlic tortellini
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 c. chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. fresh corn kernels
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into halves
4 tablespoons crumbled ricotta or grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water.

(After the pasta was thoroughly cooked, I put it in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.)

2. Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add corn; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add basil, cooked pasta and reserved pasta water to skillet. Cook until thoroughly heated. Top with tomato halves and cheese.

(Instead of this step, I mixed everything together in a large bowl, adding olive oil as needed.

The recipe says that it serves 4. But my “cold” version was easily 6-8 servings.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Review of “The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes” (Published on Goodreads)

The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and HomesThe Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by a friend going through some challenges in his marriage. It was a quick read, but at the same time contained many wonderful thinking points. The story of a marriage in trouble can be adapted to pertain to any relationship. The real-life application of the Atonement is very touching and somewhat sobering. This is an excellent book for anyone who is committed to bettering themselves, and more fully understanding the blessings of the Atonement.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Review of “Canyons” by Gary Paulsen (Published on Goodreads)

CanyonsCanyons by Gary Paulsen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We read this book as a family throughout a recent vacation. It was a creative, thrilling book that encouraged all of us to think ahead and predict outcomes. It was especially fun to read about the box canyons, rock fissures, and yucca plants as we were experiencing each of those. This book is appropriate for older elementary school and junior high/middle school students. Younger readers may need help pronouncing some words and discussing some ideas and concepts.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chocolate Raspberry Rice Krispie Treats

I have a book written by a man who grew up in the Bear Lake area. The book includes all kinds of fun recipes using raspberries and other Bear Lake-area foods. I saw this one and wanted to try it.

Raspberry Rice Krispie Treats

1 ½ bags large marshmallows
5 cups Rice Krispies
¾ c. butter
4 chocolate bars
1 ½ c. fresh raspberries

In a large saucepan, melt marshmallows, butter, and chocolate bars, stirring continuously. Take off heat and add raspberries and Rice Krispies. Form into a log, let cool, and then cover with plastic wrap. Serve a big slice at a time.

As I was adding the raspberries, I noticed that the mixture quickly turned to a different texture than normally seen with Rice Krispie treats. I worried that they wouldn’t set up! I even added more Rice Krispies than the recipe recommended in order to thicken it up a little bit. It would have been absolutely impossible to form it into a log as the recipe recommends, so I poured it into a casserole dish as is done in the traditional recipe. I also put it in the refrigerator to see if that would help them set up. That did help. However, the juice from the raspberries had already seeped into the Rice Krispies, so they were not as crunchy as the traditional version.

Overall, as much as I love raspberries and chocolate and Rice Krispie treats, I don’t think I’ll combine them again. Perhaps raspberry jam would work better than fresh raspberries. I’ll save my fresh raspberries for straight eating!

If anyone has tried/tries this recipe, please let me know if it works for you!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Roasted Peeps

I believe this tradition started when I was in college. Now, so many years later, I can’t even remember exactly how it came about. But every Easter, I buy extra Peeps so I can save them to roast over a campfire in the summer.

Step 1 – Put Peeps on roaster

Step 2 – Roast the back of the Peeps first. As they start to get gooey in the center, gravity takes over and the faces automatically turn toward the fire.
Step 3 – Roast the front of the Peeps
Step 4 – Carefully remove Peeps from the roaster
Step 5 – Enjoy the caramelized sugary goodness. Roasted Peeps are like marshmallows with crème brulee topping on top.
I do not recommend using roasted Peeps in s’mores. That’s just WAY too much sugar! Roasted Peeps are best enjoyed with no additions.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Raspberry Shake Research

Everyone knows that when you’re at Bear Lake, you have to get the raspberry shakes. We’ve had our favorite spot over the years, but I’ve recently heard other people (and a local TV show) saying that others are better. So, we decided to conduct our own “shake study” this year. Here are our thoughts. If you feel differently, I’d love to hear!

Merlin’s: We were disappointed to find out that Merlin’s, although right in Garden City at Bear Lake, does not use fresh Bear Lake raspberries in their shakes. They use syrup. We asked. We automatically disqualified them from the study. In fact, we didn’t even stop at Merlin’s this year. We found out last year that they didn’t use fresh local berries, so we didn’t even bother this year!

Hometown Drive-In: There are always long lines here, often out into the street and winding around. Although they were made with fresh local raspberries, we didn’t feel that there were quite enough raspberries. The shakes are good, just not our absolute favorite.

Chevron (yes, Chevron): It had never occurred to us to stop at the Chevron for shakes. But a couple of weeks ago, Studio 5 on KSL had guests talking about some of the little-known places around Bear Lake. These particular guests said that their favorite shakes were at the Chevron! We went in and sat at a counter (like in an old diner) while the workers individually whipped up our shakes. We thought that they had that homemade ice cream taste – you really could taste the cream. Again, very good and very sweet with lots of local berries. However, we felt that the cream taste was more prominent than the raspberry taste.

LaBeau’s: Formerly our favorite. Still a very, very close second. Lots of local berries with a flavor more of raspberries than cream.

Quick & Tasty: Our new favorite. The only thing that set it apart from LaBeau’s is that it had more berries. And that’s the main reason we get Bear Lake raspberry shakes, after all! The Quick & Tasty also has a large covered area with picnic tables, and a fun tire swing!

What’s your favorite raspberry shake at Bear Lake and why?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bear Lake – Saturday, August 13

We had two more punches left on our mini golf card, so Ryan and I packed our stuff and then went to play a round. On the very last hole, if you get a hole in one, you get a free game. RYAN GOT A HOLE IN ONE! We got the ticket to return for a free game, but we’ll have to use it next year. We were literally on our way out.

While we were golfing, Rara finished the puzzle! Since Rara & Ryan did most of the work, we wanted a picture to commemorate it. It took us a few tries to get an acceptable picture. That’s fairly common with the family clown.

Just like we have traditional stops on our way TO Bear Lake, we have traditional stops on the way home. We stopped at the Pickleville store for a case of raspberries, and we stopped at the Chocolate Bear for our going-home bags of chocolate covered raspberries. We stopped at the Hometown Drive-In for lunch (and our final raspberry shake for the “study”).
When we got into Logan, we stopped at Gossner Foods. I love their mango milk and their dill Havarti cheese, and Ryan loves the rootbeer milk and cookies & cream milk. We always stock up on milk & cheese there, and always pick up a few cases for Marc & Frances & Alice & Claire, too.
As we got to Bountiful, we drove to Ryan’s elementary school (yes, before we even went home). The class lists were posted that morning, and he couldn’t wait another minute to see who was in his class. Four of his very best friends are in his class, so he was thrilled!

After we unpacked, we picked Copper up from the Utah Dog Park. He seemed to love it, and we enjoyed being able to watch him on the webcam throughout the week!

Bear Lake is always a fun way to end the summer. One more week, and then Ryan goes back to school!