Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 5 Books in 2011

This year I challenged myself to read 90 books and I exceeded my goal by 6. This year was a year of fantastic books and total flops. I will actually do a separate post on the awful (and by awful I mean mind numbing, want to erase memory from ever reading certain books). But these are not those books, these are the books I was really impressed with, my go to recommendations when people ask me for a good book to read.
My ultimate favorite this year was These Is My Words. This book is FANTASTIC! I actually read this in the first week of 2011 and was so thoroughly impressed by it. My mother in law had actually told me about this book years ago and when I finally got around to researching it and seeing if it would be something I'd be interested in I found how beloved this book is. People LOVE this book. If you don't think historical fiction is your thing and you write off this book, you'll be missing out on one of the best books I've ever read, and that's saying something. There is something so magical in this book that just works. Please, take my word for it, this book is fantastic. Who knows, you might even be receiving this as a gift this year! Ok, I love Stephanie Perkins and her books. I fell in love with Anna and the French Kiss and read her second novel entitled Lola and the Boy Next Door. These books are realistic fiction with a love story. But they are more than that. The characters are well developed and three dimensional. Perkins knows how to write a leading man that would make any girl swoon, but not because he's perfect but because he's real and he's what every girl wants. Perkins whisked me away and let me sample a world that is not mine but I wholeheartedly would love to have lived. She has another book coming out in 2012 and I just can't wait to get my hands on it. I will say these books are fairly clean so they're pretty suitable for teen girls (older teen girls). I think about this book often, especially of the leading man. This is a sequel to "If I Stay" which is fantastic too. But I felt that this book was better and more heart-wrenching. Forman knows how to write a flawed but incredibly lovable leading man. It was so interesting to read what had happened since the last book, to see where the characters had gone and where they were headed. I think I read this in about a day, I just couldn't get enough of her writing. You do need to read "If I Stay" first to understand the complicated past the main characters have, but be prepared you will probably cry. Who doesn't love a good Zombie book? I think this is the year of the zombies in my life. I read quite a few zombie books as well as some zombie shows (man, who else just LOVES The Walking Dead?). I received this book as a Christmas gift last year from a fellow zombie lover and couldn't put it down. It's just enough gore, action, back story and heart to make you love it. I actually received the prequel this year for Christmas, so back to the zombies I go. I had to add this one. As some know I work part time at Deseret Book. With that job I read a lot of the books we receive, so that I can confidently recommend books. There are some books I come across that are ok, some that are downright awful and some that are so remarkable that I can't contain my enthusiasm for them (Increase in Learning by Elder Bednar is one of those books, go pick it up!). "Letters in the Jade Dragon Box" stood out to me as one of the best fiction books we carry. I loved every minute I spent in this book. The writing is exquisite, the story line is enthralling and the imagery is beautiful. I was transported to 1970's Hong Kong rich with history, food and a beautiful story. This book doesn't have too much of the church in it but it does have incredible heart.
Here are some notable titles that didn't quite make the list but were quite great: Divergent by Veronica Roth (umm... Number 4, you are dreamy), The False Princess by Eilise O'Neal, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
So did you read anything this year that you can't stop gushing about?

Sunday, December 18, 2011


There is something so magical about this picture.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Joe Norby, PE

Joe has hit a huge milestone in his career and we couldn't wait to tell you all about it. Joe recently took the Professional Engineers exam in October. He studied every night for months preparing for this test. We found out yesterday that he passed. I couldn't be more proud of Joe and his accomplishments. There was never any doubt in my mind that he would pass, he's just an incredibly smart man.
I asked him last night what the pass rate is and he told me that it's about 60% pass, that's not too much. I am oh so very proud of my husband.
In May he'll be able to apply to be a professional engineer (he can't apply until he's been graduated for four years). We can't wait to see what the future holds for us. Thank you all for your support and prayers in our behalf, we sure felt that extra strength in our lives!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Snow Days

Today we are celebrating our third snow day in a row. Sunday night the snows started coming and I told Joe I would give anything to have a snow day with the kids. Low and behold the phone rang at 5 am to let us know there was going to be a 2 hour delay of school; then 30 minutes later the phone rang again letting us know that school had been cancelled. We got between 6-8 inches of snow and it was glorious. I figured Tuesday we wouldn't have school either since the roads were complete sheets of ice so I got excited about that. But another surprise happened, we got the call Tuesday night that we had one more snow day as some of the back roads are still icy and some schools are having heating issues and the highs were in the teens. So Blake is home for his 3rd snow day in a row. We've been loving every minute and I'm a little sad to see Blake go back tomorrow. We've been trying to occupy ourselves:
There's been lots of playing in the snow. The kids have loved this part, but mostly Blake. Kalli would brave the outside for a few minutes at a time. She hates being cold and she's cold a lot. Blake's been playing with his sisters and they've all gotten along so well. It really has been a wonderful 3 days. We made sugar cookies and loved it. The kids are getting so big. In years past they help for a few minutes and are done but they lasted the entire time. Blake has been asking to write a letter to Santa so we also did that. I am impressed with how well he is doing with writing since being in school.
These last 3 days have been a tender mercy for me. I am working quite a few nights a week; Blake gets off the bus at 4:15 and we immediately leave so I can get to work. So most days I only see Blake for about 2 hours and that's been tough, especially during the Christmas season. I had been lamenting to myself that Christmas is going by way too fast and I hadn't had time to do anything with my children together. I think that this snow storm was a tender mercy for me to spend time with my children and get some of those precious moments in that I needed. I am very grateful this time of the year to be reminded how much our Heavenly Father loves us and knows what we need.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crawling to the music

Lexie loved music and she especially loves when her daddy gets home from work and starts playing the piano. No matter where she is, she'll crawl over to his feet on the pedals and start playing with him. She just loves when he plays. If she's lucky enough Joe will sit her on his lap and let her play her own song and that brings a certain amount of joy to this little girl.
Because she loves the piano and Joe's playing so much, he's dedicated a certain song to her. Lexie knows her song and as soon as Joe starts playing it she crawls as fast as she can to the piano. Her song is the Jaws theme and our kids think it's so funny that it's Lexie's song. But there is no denying that this little girl loves music, her daddy and especially the Jaw's theme song.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My (and Joe's) addiction to Pinterest

Have you heard of pinterest? Have you used pinterest? I got an invite a couple months ago and am in love with this site. I have found that I only like to pin those things I actually think I'll make or get around to doing, otherwise I find it a little too overwhelming. Joe got in on the action when he found how cool it is. I assigned him his own board that I pin things to so that he gets an idea of the things I want him to make for our house, you know because he builds furniture for me and all. Recently I actually accomplished some pins I had my eye on and it felt quite good finishing them.
I had seen this cute shirt all over pinterest and figured it would be pretty simple to make. I actually had dreams of making this for all the nieces, even bought all the shirts for it, but then the dirty looks from Joe and my incredibly busy schedule told me I probably bit off too much. So instead I made them for my girls. They turned out super cute and can't wait for them to start wearing them next month. These are just made from ribbon that I sewed onto the shirt. One of the other pins was this Phineas pumpkin that I fell in love with. Because this show is popular in our house with not only the children we knew we had to make it. I printed it out for Joe to carve and I was able to mark off yet another item I had pinned on pinterest.
I also find quite a few recipes I would like to try and that I have tried. If you've never heard of pinterest and would like an invitation to join, just leave me your email and I'll send an invite your way. If you're on pinterest, I'd love to follow you, it's so fun to see what inspires people.
Have you accomplished your pins yet?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What we've been up to...

My power cord for my Mac snapped three weeks ago. I ordered a replacement 3 weeks ago and it finally came. It's amazing how much I missed my computer and felt lost without it. Joe recently took his PE exam (professional engineering exam). This test is crucial for his career, so pray that he passed! We'll know the results in January. These are all the books Joe took with him as it was an open book test. But really, why would you want to take a test with all those books, yikes! They all fit nicely into a rolling suitcase. Joe has been studying for this exam every night for at least four months. It's nice to have him back! Joe went out of town for five days for work. He was here, Woodward, OK. All he said about it was that it was very green. We've never lived anywhere green, so that was a huge change for him. Plus, while he was out of town he ate so much better than me. We missed him terribly and are happy he's home again! We went trick or treating three times with these guys. Now we have way TOO much candy. Halloween I was on my own as Joe was out of town. I think I handled it pretty well, especially because Joe hardly ever goes out of town so I haven't had a chance to get good at doing it all by myself. We did our yearly tradition of carving pumpkins, and once again Joe and I did everything. I thought our two were terrific, I won't show you the other two we did.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

All about our Skallywag...

Our sweet little girl is three today! She started out as Kallibug but has quickly turned into our skallywag. Kalli is one of the sweetest people I know. She loves to tell you thank you and tell you how beautiful you are. She is definitely good for self esteem! Kalli is a very loving little girl and one that cares about the people around her.
She loves princesses and anything super girly! She wears princess dresses all day and loves to wear the crown that goes with them. Kalli is the typical middle child that gets bossed around by her brother, but I think she secretly likes it because when he's at school she just wanders around the house looking lost. She needs her brother to tell her what to do.
Kalli couldn't care less about her little sister and ignores her all day long. She tells me she loves Lexie, but she doesn't really care to be around her. I hope this changes as they get older.
We sure love our little Kalli girl. She's blessed our lives in so many ways and I couldn't love her more. She put us through a lot when she was a baby, with her skull surgery and all, but she's been worth every minute. We couldn't ask for a better daughter. We can't wait to see what amazing things she does with her life as she grows up.
Happy birthday our little skallywag!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another year at the balloon fiesta...

So once again we ventured to the balloon fiesta. Last year was a bust as they cancelled the event we bought tickets to because of high winds; but we did get to see the awesome fireworks show. But last year none of the morning sessions were cancelled so I thought I would change things up this year and have us attend a morning balloon session. That was a mistake. It was a rainy week and so for three mornings in a row they cancelled the morning sessions. Friday morning we woke up very early and got our family out the door by 5:30. We had hopes that even though it was raining that it would clear up and the balloons would be able to ascend. For two hours we walked around the balloon park and saw nothing. It was pretty miserable. By 8 they started inflating the balloons but wouldn't let them ascend. We saw about 10 balloons before we had to leave and get Lexie home to a warm bed. We'll have to see what disaster next year brings us for the balloon fiesta.
This pretty much sums up how Lexie felt about the whole thing. Although she was a very good baby and didn't fuss. These faces are very deceptive. They complained the WHOLE time until the balloons started inflating, which means they were quiet for a half hour out of the two and half hours we were there. We saw this balloon from the very start to the end. It was interesting watching them get it up. Usually this picture would show hundreds of balloons, as you can see that wasn't the case this morning. But we're glad we saw some balloons and we're also glad we didn't go back on Saturday morning because it was the most crowded I've ever seen the balloon fiesta.
Hopefully next year we have more luck, we're hoping to have some family here, so hopefully the balloon fiesta will have no hitches.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

All about Lexie

Lexie is a funny little girl that has funny little quirks we've never run into before. One of these quirks is that she doesn't laugh. By 3 months, our other 2 children were chuckling at every little thing, especially when they were tickled. At 6.5 months, this little girl still hasn't figured out how to laugh. She'll grunt pleasantly when you tickle her, but that's about all you're going to get. I find it odd but yet amusing that she does this. It also throws those people that we see out and about that try to get her to laugh (or even smile) through a loop. They can't figure it out and they leave feeling a bit resigned for trying to get this girl to laugh. She is also pretty stingy with her smiles. She has the biggest smiles for her mom and her brother; sometimes her dad can luck out. But for the most part, she doesn't smile all that often. This isn't because she's an unhappy child, quite the opposite really. She is just very particular about what requires a smile in her life.
Another quirk we've had to deal with is Lexie's hunger strikes. This has plagued our family for the last 4 months now, and just when we think she's outgrowing this, she pulls another hunger strike on us. In a nutshell, Lexie prefers me (her mom) to feed her. If somebody else tries to feed her (mostly her bottle) she just won't eat. Joe would try to feed her before bed and Lexie would squirm and wiggle around looking for me and would refuse to eat. Often he could get her to eat a few ounces and then hand her off to me to finish up the bottle. This weird phenomenon reared it's ugly head when we got Lexie a babysitter so we could take the older two kids to a late baseball game. I left two bottles for Lexie, totaling 11 ounces (her norm at the time). I expected her to eat all of them. We came home late and found that she had only had one bottle out of the two and that she had only eaten 2 ounces out of that bottle. Sure enough, I went and woke her up to give her a bottle and she ate 6 ounces. Although she pulls this on us, there is no crying or fussing. She just stages a quiet standoff to which she pretty much always gets her way.
We sure love this little girl and her funny little quirks.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's that time again...

It was that time again to get our family pictures done. This is something that I like to have on high priority. It's amazing seeing how much our family changes from year to year. We had our friend take them, she has also taken Kalli's one year pictures, family pictures last year and Lexie's newborn pictures. She's quite fantastic and I was incredibly happy with what she got this time.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sky Mall Top 5 - 2011 Edition

So a couple years ago I posted my Sky Mall Top 10. Since I am that bored when I fly, I guess I will do an updated list. Since the previous top 10 are still being sold on Sky Mall (surprisingly this stuff sales), I will give my new Top 5. If you want to see my previous Top 10, look at these links:
#5 - Orbit Wheels - Only $99.99. I don't know how these are supposed to work without your shins rubbing against the wheels? For those still interested in seeing how these work, go to the sky mall website and see the video.
#4 - Cap/Sun Glass Combo - $24.99. Hat plus Sun Glasses, how could you go wrong? Yes, the glasses fit down through the visor.
#3 - The Peddler - $24.99. Gives new meaning to stationary bike. Hello new exercise program!
#2 - U-Watch Drain Cap - $9.99. Yes this is a bargain, but if your drains look like ours (all sorts of nasty) you will not be able to see in there to look for your ring, nor would you want to! Some things in life are better unseen, the funk in the drain is one of them!
And this years #1 pick - The Pillow Tie - $19.95. In case this flight turns into a cruise, your tie may be used as a floatation device! I am guessing it is not a comfortable pillow. Stick to the old fashion way of sleeping on your arm, or roll up your coat and sleep on that.
Bonus Item - Giraffe Toilet paper holder - $29.95. I knew they had long necks for a reason!
Disclaimer - I am not paid to poke fun at these products or any other sold in the Sky Mall magazine, although anyone willing to pay me for my thoughts, please feel free to make checks payable to.....
And, because Kristen always gets mad at me for not stating it, Joe is responsible for this post. I think she get embarrassed by my posts and doesn't want to be associated with them. I proudly accept responsibility for the above content.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'll give you five dollars....

Since we read to the kids every night we get pretty sick of some books and have found that we really enjoy reading others. If I have to read "Dogs Colorful Day" one more time, I might just cry (and in fact Joe has been known to hide that book from the kids). But when a book comes along that I look forward to reading with the kids and makes me laugh all the same, I get it often. We LOVE the pigeon books by Mo Willems. We recently just checked out "The Pigeon Wants a Puppy" and oh man did I laugh. I also find myself getting caught up in narrating the book and making it more fun. Blake often quotes from "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" which I find amazing. These books are just so fun, entertaining and overall a great read. Check them out if you haven't read these.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

16 x 16 Creativity

I recently figured out how to create my own Blogger Favicon (look up next to the web address if you do not know what a Favicon is).
This is how you do it. Try it out and see how creative you can be with your own 16x16 pixel design.
1.) Go to and get started. (there are other free sites to use as well)
2.) Design your favicon in the 16x16 square or try to import a picture to create from.
3.) Save this design to your hard drive (no need to copy and paste the small piece of code as they instruct you to do).
4.) On Blogger, go to your blog design page. At the top you will see where you can edit the Favicon. Locate where you saved your favicon and choose this file.
5.) Unfortunately, Blogger takes about half a day or so for this setting to take affect. But when it does, you will see your new design next to your blogger site as will everyone else who visits your site.
As a Note: Unlike instructions from other pages, there is no need to copy or paste any code to the blogger to get the favicon to show up.
Hopefully these instructions are simple enough to follow. We look forward to seeing your wonderful designs. Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hi Ho... off to school we go...

Last week Blake started Kindergarten. He was so excited as was I. Joe and I took him to school that day to help him find his line and to feel comfortable. His teacher let the parents come in while she read a story and then we said our good-bye's. I won't lie, I teared up as I left and I couldn't stop feeling anxious all day. That afternoon Kalli and I walked up to the bus stop to meet him and he was so excited from his first day. He now rides the bus in the morning and afternoon, only because his friend rides it too and she's also a kindergartner. It works out well and he still loves school.
Lining up. So excited! Blake was chosen to be put in an inclusion class as a peer mentor. This means he only has 15 kids in his class which means Blake gets much more attention. I was talking to a friend of mine and her daughter is in a class of 28! That's insane for kindergarten. We love his teacher and her aide and have already seen a great improvement in Blake's behavior and learning. It's nice to have one in school now, but now we have to wait 3 years till Kalli can go!

Monday, August 15, 2011

All Hail Emperor Kang

Where would Roswell be if it weren't for the famous UFO Incident of 1947. That's right, almost 65 years later, the town sure thrives on its short-lived fame and glory and the hundreds of hopeless tourist that come to visit. The town has really been taken over by aliens, such as this one, who guards the local KFC.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Simply and utterly fantastic! Broke my heart multiple times while laughing all the while. Poignant, important and real. If you've read the book, you'll be very happy with the movie, it's as good as the book (which is hard as the book is one of the best books I've ever read!). If you haven't read this book, you'll still love it! Little Mo Mabley steals the scene every time she's on the screen. I fell even more in love with the characters after seeing them in the movie. I just wanted to give Cecilia a big hug and cry with her. And how great is her husband? Seriously, go see this movie! Now!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ready to make your home/office smell amazing?

I recently signed up to sell Scentsy. I was introduced to the product last year and quickly fell in love. I thought the best way to contain my obsession is by selling it myself. I started off slow with one warmer and a couple scents and my collection has grown rapidly. If you're interested, go to the website and browse around. It's a wonderful product and one that I love wholeheartedly. You can order online anytime. If you want to have a party we can do that too! Even if you live out of town we can still work out a party. Enjoy and tell me what you think!
During the month of August everything in the catalogue is 10% off. Stock up!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our dilemma...

Joe and I are having trouble with something, do you want to help us? When Kalli was 4 months old we had her ears pierced. There a couple reasons we did this: I had mine done when I was about the same age, Kalli had her helmet which meant I couldn't put bows and such on her head so I really wanted to do the earring thing to make her look more girly, and we also thought that if we got them done early on in her life we wouldn't have to worry about her pulling them out (we were wrong about that). So Lexie is now 4 months old and we still haven't figured out if we're going to pierce her ears this early. The good thing about Kalli's ears being pierced is that they're done and we don't have to worry about it now, but she went through a period where she always pulled out her earrings and made her ears bleed.
We thought maybe just do it now with Lexie to have them done. Also I see a potential fight in their future that we pierced Kalli's ears but not Lexie's. It's something we've been talking about a lot lately and we still haven't come to a conclusion. I will also say that I always got this feeling that Kalli is super girly, even early on, and she is! But I don't get that sense from Lexie. I put headbands on her and it just doesn't look right. So I just don't know if earrings are going to look funny on her like the headbands do. See, you can tell I've put way too much thought into this. Help, please...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In honor...

In honor of my date with Joe today to see Harry Potter 7.2 I thought I would bring you this to look over. Every time I see Lucius Malfoy...
I think of Michael Bolton. Every. Time. I don't know why. I'm weird. Enjoy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

He's been waiting a whole year for this...

Ever since his last birthday he's been asking to turn 5 years old. Well, it's finally here. We are celebrating his big day with birthday doughnuts, a trip with his dad to the driving range (thanks to papa Rick for his brand new golf clubs!) and dinner out at Red Robin. Tomorrow we will party hard with all our friends. I just love celebrating my kids' birthdays, being able to celebrate how much I love them and how grateful I am that they are a part of my life.
I would never be able to express how much I love this little boy. He has his quirks that can drive me nuts, but that makes him Blake. I've never seen a boy love his sister as much as Blake loves Lexie. Lexie and Blake have a special bond and sometimes I think Blake loves her as much as I do, and that is a lot! I'm so grateful for this little boy in our lives and all the joy and happiness that he brings his father and I.
Happy birthday Bubba boy, you stole my heart the moment I saw you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

This is Kalli. Kalli LOVES corn. And when I say she loves corn, I mean she really, really loves corn. But as long as it's on the cob. In her book it's the only way to eat it. I know that when I plan to make corn on the cob I need to make sure Kalli will have enough. The other night I gave her half a cob, just because I didn't think she was hungry enough for a whole one. Boy was I wrong. She ate her half in about 2 minutes (and she eats every single kernel off) and was ready for another one. So Joe gave her the rest of his cob which she proceeded to demolish. Again, she got done and was ready for another one. After some pleading on her part I gave her a whole cob and she ate the entire thing. I think both Joe's and my jaws dropped to the floor with how much corn she had eaten. When I'm preparing my corn and she sees me, she does the corn happy dance.
Oh and I found a new better way to make corn. Instead of salting the water you put 2 T sugar and 2 T vinegar into the water. Let the water come to a boil again. Drop in the corn, turn off the heat, put the lid on and let it sit in the covered pot for 10 minutes. So yummy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Meet my new best friend in the kitchen. If you bake a lot, or even a few times a year, you need to buy this! One of the things I hate most about baking is buttering the pan and then flouring it. Which usually means that I don't do it and just spray it with Pam and then regret it afterwards. A very reliable food blogger turned me onto this product and I'll never go back. Baker's Joy is a greaser and flouring agent all in one. So when you spray it in your cake pan or bundt pan or any pan for that matter it is greasing it as well as flouring said pan. And it's been a heaven send in my kitchen ever since I found it. It also took me a couple trips to the store to find it. I did find it at Smith's (Kroger) but haven't looked anywhere else for it. Your cakes will thank you for buying this product...