Monday, December 15, 2008

The Madness Has Begun!

I had intended on writing at least a couple of times a week, but I'll just blame my inconsistency on the holidays for now, since we've already had family with us for Christmas for the last week! John David flew from Germany, picked up Cami and Isabelle in Texas, then flew with them to Utah last Sunday. It's been so nice spending time with my brother, as it's been quite some time since we've been able to really catch up. My girls are LOVING having their cousins here, too! They all get along really well--at least for this first week--we'll see how worn down they get in the next two!!! I'm excited to get the rest of the family here on Saturday. THANKFULLY , they'll be staying with Meredith since having 9 people in here is already making our tiny house bulge at the seams!
I really should be taking advantage of everyone being at school and out shopping, and clean my house before they all get back. There's now toothpaste in places I never knew existed, and seriously, who knew milk could superglue cheerios to the kitchen floor? I've already told the rest of my family that I can't guarantee what I clean today will stay that way by the time they all get here, and until my children learn how to fold laundry, clean the dishes and mop the floor WITHOUT me having to redo it, they'll just have to be satisfied with what I get around to doing!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

We Need a Little Christmas

I'm so happy that Christmas is FINALLY here! There's just something about his time of year that brings so much peace, even as we begin frantic shopping and endless get-togethers. I'm so grateful for this time that I get to spend with family, whether from my side or Mike's. This year, my parents and all my sibs and their kids will be coming to Utah--all except Emily & her family, who are a little too far away in Georgia to make the long trek for a short visit. We have lots planned--Christmas lights at Temple Square, a trip to the Planetarium for 14-year-old Alex who has been saving his money for a whole year to finally buy himself some gadgets he saw on the last visit, a traditional King Family sacrament meeting musical number, Christmas Eve caroling to some dear friends and sweet neighbors, LOTS of shopping, eating & of course, talking (my favorite part)! My family has truly become my BEST FRIENDS, and I only hope my daughters will develop the same kind of close relationship that I have been so blessed with. This year, each of us have come across different challenges--some more painful and difficult than others--but through it all, we've been there for each other, which is the greatest blessing any of us could ask for. Maybe the reason Christmas brings so much peace amid so much chaos is that this is the time of year I can say that I already have everything I could ever need or want...and mean it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

King Henry Reunion!

After being on Facebook for a few months, I've reconnected with SO many old friends! As a result of this, a few of us have decided to organize a little (or big) King Henry Reunion, for those who were with Bishop Nick Smith, Bro. Chris Mathews, & Bro. Todd Christensen (I think we could also include those who were with Bishop Craig & Bro. Covey, too!)--tentatively scheduled for the spring of next year, in Utah. The following is a list of people that I know we have been in contact with through Facebook, and I'm hoping that if any of you out there know how to contact someone NOT on this list, you can pass on that info!

Dan Altimirano
Steven Braithwaite
Tara Taylor Brown
Ardie Burnham
Cherie Call Anderson
Emily King Bruce
Miquelle Kendall Crosland
Brittany Wilde Fell
Heather Zahn Gardner
Duane Hager
Penny Redd Hager
Brian Hall
Jill Martin Hall
Karrin Harline
Rich Harline
Jen Knips Hiser
Jen Steffen Johnson
Stan Johnson
Janice Jones Oswald
Molly Jones
Jeff Jones
Christine Jones
Travis Kimball
Marcie Knips Barnhart
Desi Lomax
Jeff McMinn
Amber Payne
Dave Peck
Doug Peterson
Chris Petty
Marisa Mellor Schwartz
Jen Peck Stephens
Mike Stephens
Amanda King Stringham
Lincoln Stromness
Sheri Stromness
Glenn Swanson
Begly Thompson
Becky Ursem Yawney

Thanks for all your help in advance! It promises to be a GREAT time & I hope everyone can make it! I'll be keeping this updated as to dates, times and places, too.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I am thankful today.

Thankful my childern were relatively well-behaved at church, even though Dad stayed home sick and Mom had to go it alone. I'm thankful that my hubby was well enough to get the roast in the oven and dinner rolls made (yes, HE makes rolls from scratch--no freezer buns here!) so that I could "relax" after getting home from church. I'm thankful that Mike loves to make popcorn & orange julius' on Sunday nights, beginning a little Stringham Family Tradition. I'm thankful that my Gospel Doctrine lesson went well today, and that we actually covered ALL of the lesson material I had prepared. (That NEVER happens!!!) I'm thankful for sweet Ward Members who are always generous with their compliments on my teaching, even when I think there was room for improvement. I'm thankful that on Friday, Trick-or-Treating was NOTHING like Trunk-or-Treating this year, and that even though it rained on us a bit, everyone stayed happy & safe--despite a few detours by the girls to chase cats instead of candy.Bridget was supposed to be Hannah Montana, and I even bought her a long blonde wig, but she hated the feel of it, so at the last minute she found the witch costume from last year, and demanded to be a witch instead--go figure!Princess Leia (aka Katie) really got into character as she fended off the storm troopers--okay, so she has no idea who they are, but she makes a dang cute Leia, right?Brooke has been obsessed with our cat, JillyBoo, ever since we got her a couple of months ago. She decided then that she wanted to be a cat for Halloween, and was so excited to wear JillyBoo's real tag from off her collar! (That reminds me--I better get it back on the cat, before the Halloween costumes get put away for the year...)Maggie was first a nurse, then she changed her mind and wanted to be a doctor, then after seeing Brooke dressed as a cat, she decided she was actually a veterinarian. Not that it matters, since the costume didn't change...I guess she was a nursoctorinarian...Right now, I'm thankful that my girls are learning to love the gospel--they are in the background here practicing the song, "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission," as Maggie plays choir director by writing down the words for each of them (none of which can read it), and splitting them into parts. Can't imagine where she got her bossiness--I mean LEADERSHIP--from. Must be Mike.
Anyway, I just wanted express my thankfulness for the things that have made my life a little easier the last couple of days, as I'm FULLY aware of ALL the things that are making my life--well, less than easy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Now THAT'S Talent!

The first couple of summers after high school, I was a lifeguard/swim instructor at my hometown swimming pool. I got to work with Emily and John David, which was such a blast, and we even got really creative and made up our own sychronized swimming routines between classes. None of those compare to the video my friend found on YouTube. Watch and try not to wet your pants!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Questions for My Girls--Maggie (7), Katie (4), Brooke (5)

Just a little programming note...None of the girls heard each other's responses, and none were coerced--no, really...

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Maggie--"Don't do that! Don't do that! Don't do that!"
2. What makes mom happy?
Maggie --"Hugging you. "
Katie--"Getting you an animal."
Brooke--"Me being nice."
3. What makes mom sad?
Maggie--"If we ran away."
Katie--"Your sneezing with the cat."
Brooke--"Me being mean."
4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Maggie--"Tickling me."
Katie--"By giving me a cat."
Brooke--"Tickling me."
5. What was your mom like as a child?
Maggie--"Like me."
Katie--"Like a cat."
Brooke--"The same thing as me."
6. How old is your mom?
7. How tall is your mom?
Maggie--"As tall as my treehouse."
8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Maggie--"Laugh with me."
Katie--"Clean the dishes."
9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Maggie--"Nothing--she just watches TV."
Katie--"Cleans the dishes."
Brooke--"Watch TV."
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Maggie--"Being the President."
Katie--"She would go to Dancing with the Stars."
Brooke--"For being the President."
11. What is your mom really good at?
Maggie--"Exercising at Meredith's house."
Katie--"Dancing and getting Halloween stuff."
Brooke--"Watching the kids."
12. What is your mom not very good at?
Maggie--"Playing dress up, cuz you can't fit into our dress up clothes...."
Katie--"Polishing shoes."
Brooke--"Playing fetch."
13. What does your mom do for her job?
Maggie--"She watches us."
Katie--"You go at the zoo to hunt for horsies."
Brooke--"Working in the basement."
14. What is your mom's favorite food?
15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Maggie--"Nothing that I know of..."
Brooke--"Being nice to me."
16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Maggie--"Sleeping Beauty, cuz you sleep a lot."
Katie--"Higglytown Heroes cuz I love Higglytown Heroes! I want you to be Twinkle!"
Brooke--"Word Girl!"
17. What do you and your mom do together?
Maggie--"Clean up."
Katie--"Both of us clean the dishes, like wash 'em, you know?"
Brooke--"Love each other."
18. How are you and your mom the same?
Maggie--"Everybody says we look the same. "
Katie--"Both of us have ears, both of us have necks, both of us have heads, both of us have bodies, (and she continues to name EVERY body part--in one breath!)"
Brooke--"We have blue eyes."
19. How are you and your mom different?
Maggie--"She's older and I'm littler."
Katie--"I don't have brown hair and I don't have a spray bottle."
Brooke--"You're a mom and I'm a kid."
20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Maggie--"Because she gives me hugs and kisses every night and every morning!"
Katie--"Cuz she kisses me. I'm done Mom, can I go now?"
Brooke--"You give me a hug and a kiss!"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Rant

As much as my kids love our ward's Annual Trunk-or-Treat, I'm not sure that I want to return again next year. For at least the last 10 years, we do a soup/stew/chili potluck, then let the kids have at it in the parking lot to fill their buckets with goodies. The problem is, any semblance of order has devolved into complete chaos in the last couple of years! I understand that kids need to be kids, but is it naive of me to assume that parents have taught their children that dodging in and out of pews in the chapel dressed as a SATAN is not exactly appropriate? Am I wrong to think that parents who are members of the church will not allow their children to wear a mask in the building? Am I wrong to think that parents have taught their children (and themselves!)to have manners, and wait for everyone to get their food before going to get seconds...or thirds...or fourths? Is it naive to assume that parents will have taught their children not to knock over small children in an attempt to run through the trunk-or-treat line for the eighteenth time??? Maybe it's just me and my "High Ideals", but I think parents have really dropped the ball, and in my humble opinion, are simply not doing their job! It's just plain disrespectful, and my children are learning that this behavior is acceptable! Is it just me or do some of you feel the same way? In any case, it's a good thing I have a whole year to decide whether or not to go again--maybe I will have forgotten this big mess by then, then again, maybe I won't....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mi Vida Loca

It's been a little crazy around here lately. Not much time for new postings--between all the apples that need to be canned, Halloween costumes yet to be sewn, endless meetings to attend and lessons to prepare, I'm about ready to support cloning! The sad thing is, I know that I won't be able to come up for air until sometime after Christmas. From past experience, once Halloween hits, it's a mad dash 'til the new year! Anyway, if any of you have any good ideas for canning apples--you know, besides applesauce, apple juice, apple pie filling, & apple jelly--my family would sure appreciate the variety!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mom's Little Secrets

My friend, Heather, in an attempt to get her house in order, has reached out to the cyber world for answers to some probing questions, so here are the questions, along with my answers!

1. What is a smell that reminds you of home?
No homemade bread or chocolate chip cookies here--definitely green chilies roasting in the oven.

2. How do you keep socks organized?
I never buy the same kind of socks for my kids. They each have a dfferent kind, that way we know on the spot who the culprit is that left their socks in the middle of the floor...again...

3. How do you keep your whites bright?
Are whites supposed to be bright?

4. What is your favorite boredom buster?
It's been about 7 years since I've been for my children...we did a really fun FHE where we wrote down absolutely every fun thing we could think of to do. It's posted on the fridge, and now if anyone says "I'm bored!" we say, "Look at the list!"

5. What hints would you give a young mother for sacrament reverence?
You'll see that I'm not opinionated at all on this topic...
1. Get to church at least 15 minutes early! Yes, this CAN be done! My husband has meetings every Sun. am, so I get myself and my 4 daughters--all under 7--ready by myself and to the church 20 min. before sacrament meeting starts! Getting to church early gives you more time to not be in such a hurry to get everyone out the door, which helps you be more patient right before you are about to partake of the sacrament. If you are calm and reverent, your children will be more likely to be, too.
2. No leaving the chapel! Use your extra 15-20 minutes to take your children to the bathroom & to get a drink. For some reason, there is a fascination with bathrooms other than your own. Even if they go right before they leave the house, they will want to go again when they get to church. Just plan on it! Obviously potty-trainers could have special exceptions, but usually they should also be able to wait an hour, too.
3. Stay in your seat! Don't let your little ones wander down the aisles, or play with other children. Even if you think you're doing everyone a favor by keeping them quiet, it's still a distraction and almost always takes away from the reverence of the meeting.
4. Nothing before the sacrament! We are trying to teach the girls that the reason we come to Sacrament meeting is to take the Sacrament and to listen to what our leaders have to tell us. We want them to know that Sacrament Meeting is not just a meeting for Mom & Dad that they have to suffer through before Primary, but that it's for them, too. To help them "last" through the meeting, we don't get out any magazines or coloring books until AFTER the Sacrament. Even our 2-year-old knows not to get into her bag until all the boys have sat down.
5. Sacrament Journals! I put together a small spiral notebook for each of the girls to draw or write about Jesus during the sacrament. I usually give them a topic, like, "How do you feel when you think about Jesus?" or "What's one think you're grateful Jesus made?" They can write or draw their feelings (pencils only). As soon as the sacrament is over, the journals get put away. This keeps them special & keeps the girls from getting bored with them.
6. No snacks! Certainly even the smallest child can go for 1 hour w/o a snack. It may take some getting used to, but believe me, there is more reverence w/o them! A lot of Stakes are actually starting to ask congregations to do this, so you might as well start now!
7. Appropriate materials only! No cars or trucks, or anything that can be distracting to others' kids. (please!) There are lots of resources online for coloring pages that are bible-based, and you can get the Friend archived on the church site. They have coloring pages as well as word searches and stories for young readers.
8. Let them grow! As our kids get older, we expect them to act older. When they turn 8, they won't be allowed to get their bags out until after the first speaker, and by the time they are 12, the bags will be gone!
9. Be Patient! Anything you undertake will be difficult at first, especially if you're trying to mold your children's behavior. Just stick with it, and soon they will know that you expect and what they can or can't get away with!

6. What tips do you have for painting?
Hire out!

7. How do you remove hard water and rust stains from sinks?
You can remove that stuff?

8. What's the best way to kill weeds in a flower bed?
Did you want to keep the flowers?

9. What is the best parenting advice you have been given?
Every child is different, so you can't be the same parent to every child.

10. What is the most fun date you have been on in the last year?
You mean ALONE...just me & my kids? I'll have to get back to you on that one...

11. How do you keep a car uncluttered and clean?
I'm still working on the house--the car is years away...

12. What is you favorite cleaning product?

13. Favorite two or three step recipe...easy but good?
Parmesean Crusted Tilapia--I'll post that recipe next!

14. What is the most helpful cook book you own?

15. Any food storage tips?
My friend's Stake does a food storage order once/month for a different food item. The Coordinator finds items in bulk, then takes an order for the whole Stake. So far they've gotten most of their major items (wheat, honey, rice, beans, etc.) in less than a year!

16. What is the favorite thing hanging on your walls?
I have some vinyl lettering around the pictures of my 4 kids that says, "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all"

17. What do you use for Family Home Evening lessons?
General Conference!

18. Grocery shopping hints to save money?
Stay away from the bakery!

19. What is something you admire about your parent's relationship?
They still don't have each other figured out yet...

20. Do you have a family motto or mission statement?
Let's make it through this day without killing anyone!

21. How often do you do laundry?
3X/wk. But I also have a high capacity/high efficiency machine.

22. What is your favorite family tradition or vacation?
Bear Lake!

23. If you had only ten minutes to tidy what would you do?
Pick up the living room, vacuum, & wipe down the toilet & sink.

24. How do you help motivate children to do chores?
They are actually very eager to do's their mother who needs to learn to let them help, even though she knows she'll have to redo whatever they did...
Actually, one thing my kids love to do is pair up socks! It keeps them occupied & helps them practice sorting!
25. What is your most read children's book?
The Bear Snores On & Skippyjon Jones are tied!

Okay, who wants to attempt "The List" next? You can just answer a few if you can't get to 'em all!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


We took a trip to the dollar store today--each girl with her dollar clenched in her tight little fist, so excited to buy a Halloween decoration you'd think we were on our way to either Disneyland or High School Musical. After at least 500 mind changes, darting back & forth between 3 aisles and close to 30 minutes later, Mike was ready to poke his eyes out. (5 minutes of shopping gets Mike's drawers in a twist...) Finally after some coersion, and I'll admit, some threats of bodily harm, they settled on their decorations, and we walked out of the store and into the first snowstorm of the year. With Halloween decorations in-hand, Brooke says, "Mom, look! It's Christmastime! It's Christmastime! Can we go home and put the tree up?"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pasta e Fagioli

Since I've had a request for this recipe, and since I will never have someone actually pay me for this or any other, I decided not to disappoint my fans and post it for you! Let me know how you like it!

Pasta e Fagioli

1 T olive oil
1 lb. italian sausage (doesn't matter what kind--spice it up or tone it down!)
1 sm. onion, chopped
3 med. carrots, grated
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 c chicken stock (bouillon or broth works fine, too)
4 c tomato juice
1 can diced tomatoes (or 2 med. tomatoes chopped)
1 can white beans (canellini, northern, navy--whatever), drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
2 T dried parsley
1 T dried basil
1/4 t ground cayenne (a little goes a LONG way--add according to your tastes!)
2 T white vinegar (apple cider would probably be ok, too)
3 t sugar
salt & pepper to taste (shouldn't need too much, if any)
8 oz. small pasta (small shells, salad macaroni, etc.)

Quick tip: If you have a really big, really good stock pot, you can probably brown everything in it w/o having to transfer from another pan. Since my stockpot is pretty flimsy, I brown my meat & saute my veggies in a separate, heavy pan, then transfer to the stock pot when I add my liquids. The following directions will be according to how I cook it w/my own--less than stellar--cookware! :)

1. In a heavy pan, brown sausage, then transfer to a large stockpot (6-8 qt. capacity)
2. In same heavy pan, heat olive oil on med to med-hi heat and add onion, carrots, celery & garlic. (You can use less oil if there's an abundance of grease in the pan from the sausage.) Saute the veggies until the onions become transparent, then add them to the stock pot w/the sausage.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the stock pot, EXCEPT THE PASTA and bring to a boil. Turn heat down, cover, and simmer for 45 min.
4. Add pasta & return to a boil until pasta is al dente. (About 15 min. or so, depending on your pasta.)

This makes a LOT of soup, but believe me, the leftovers themselves are worth it, and they freeze very well--if it makes it that far! ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The King Family 2007

So this is the most recent picture of the David Lee and Glenda Rae Martindale King Family, taken at the Mesa Arizona Temple in May 2007. Standing: Allison & John David King, David King, Mike Stringham, Jace & Emily Bruce. Kneeling/Sitting: Tyler & Meredith Lowe, Glenda King, Amanda Stringham, Julianne & Rick McCracken. Ok, so right away you'll notice some really poor photoshopping (done by yours truly), but since Rick wasn't able to make the trip, and since we NEVER get professional pictures, I figured we'd have to wait at least another decade for this kind of opportunity.

Despite the missing link, the trip to AZ was everything we could've imagined--full of laughter, tears, hugs, and of course, lots of enchiladas! We all left our kids home for the week and flew in for John David's graduation from Dental School. It was an emotional day as we all beamed with pride for our brother's accomplishment!

Not to take anything away from the celebration of JD, but it was not the ultimate highlight of our trip. That honor goes to the day we spent doing work in the Temple for the King Family. This included my grandparents, John Milton and Hazel Marie Edmondson King, their parents and grandparents, and for my uncle John Jr., who died in infancy. It ranks as one of the most incredible experiences of my life!

My Big Debut!

Well, I bit the bullet and finally started a blog! The ball began to roll a few months ago when I opened up a Facebook account and to my surprise found SO MANY of my long-lost friends and classmates. While FB has been a great way to keep in touch w/ everyone, I was also looking for a way to keep a sort of journal that the format of a blog really lends to. I hope to better be able to keep track of my ever-fleeting thoughts, as well as give my children some insight into who their mother really is. I fear that right now, they are living with "Carpool Mom" and "Mean Mom," which lately has been one in the same!