Thursday, June 28, 2007

Father's Day Rewind

We gathered at Mom Melin's house to celebrate Father's Day and Rich's birthday with dinner, cake, and gifts. Mom made roasted chickens and we all brought salads and sides. It was great fun. Uncle Mike talks to James as Uncle Davey looks on...Addie, Rich & Heidi are in the background.

Dad Melin opens his new LL Bean shortwave radio with hand crank.
Rich's father's day gift was an apron that says "I love the smell of propane in the morning", a bbq mit, a long basting brush, and laminated grilling tips.
We gave Dad Melin this Tshirt that says, "If you can read this, you must be at the diamond bar seven ranch!"
Rich blew out his candles (with help)...we realized we can use the 3 and the 6 for everyone's birthdays this year (besideds James)--Heidi is 3, Addie is 6, and Rich and I are 36 this year!
Rich also got a shortwave radio...he's very excited. I'm telling you, this is the place to be in a disaster. The Melin boyz are mad about preparedness.
Peek-a-boo, Heidi sees you!
Rich's birthday gift from us was this Coleman kitchen. It has a place for a sink, a little counter for your stove top, and racks to dry towels and hang a lantern.

Happy Birthday & Father's Day to the best Daddy in the world!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Meme-a-holics Anonymous

My new e-friend Kristen tagged me, and to her joy (I hope) I did TWO memes from her blog, Diary of a Shoe Addict.

The first: FOOD. I live in Livingston, Montana, less than an hour from the north gate of Yellowstone Park. Our culture is pretty meat-and-potatoes (literally, since it's cold and poatoes like it here, and there are lots of cows and Bison running around), but there are still a good variety of restaurants for such a small town.

1. Montana's Rib & Chop House: conveniently attacehd to the Chamber of Commerce Building, just a yard or two off the Northern Pacific Railroud tracks, Rib & Chop has straight up delicious food. A great blend of hearty Montana food and healthy gourmet stuff, Rib & Chop hits the spot anytime we can afford it! My favorite? Baseball-cut sirloin (they grillit then pour herb butter on it--to die 4) with a house salad with huckleberry dressing, and TWO sides: squah casserole and wild mushroom stuffing. The charbroiled chicken breast is almost as good as the steak and I get it often, too, and the cedar plank salmon.

2. Fiesta en Jalisco: Proof that God loves this Arizona girl--he sent a huge Mexican family to Montana to (a) buy lots of insurance from my husband and (b) open a yummy authentic Mexican restaurant--they even made me love mole! My faves are their Picadillo soft corn tacos, their cabbage salsa (think mexican kimchi without the rotting), and the chicken mole. Delish.

3. Rosa's Pizza: great pizza, dine in or deliver

4. The Pickle Barrel: great sandwiches, soups (steak chili--mm, mm, good! Melts the Montana winter into oblivion, at least for a few minutes), and beverages.

5. And last but never least, Mark's In-n-Out, the main drag attraction open every spring and summer for the past 55 years. Think Happy Days, but with almost no parking. Lots of walk ups and hanging out, eating burgers, shakes, fries, vanilla cokes and all that classic drive-in stuff.

Back in the Day: A Meme From Kristen

I got this meme from shoeaddict, and since I have my 1984-1989 Journal just sittin’ here, I thought it would be fun to write about THE EIGHTH GRADE. Holy Hannah…1984...

1. Who was your best friend? Susan Shanks (Hi, Sooz!!)
2. Who did you like? At the beginning of the year, I had a crush on Isaac Quinn and Ryan Farnum, and at the end of the year I was “going with” (“going where?…”) Ben Turner.
3. What sport did you play? I was a musical theatre geek, so instead of sports I had 2-hour song and dance rehearsals everyday and instead of games I had shows.
4. Did you buy your lunch? Yep, at the “snack bar” which was cooler than “hot lunch” but much less nutritious. I often got a chocolate shake and either a bagel or a burrito, into which I would smash Laura Scudder’s Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips.
5. It's Friday night, where are you? Sleeping over at Susie’s, watching VHS tapes of shows I wasn’t allowed to watch at home (mostly MTV—especially “120 Minutes” or Late night with David Letterman, which was on at midnight back then so we couldn’t watch it on school nights and would have to catch up with weekend highlights) and eating Doritos or Jack in the Box Tacos and drinking Coke.
6. Were you a party animal? As much as possible in the 8th grade, in middle-class suburbia... no sex, drugs, drinking”—DITTO. People always thought I was on drugs because I was so silly, but I never did drugs, not ever.
7. Skip school? Not without a note from my mom.
8. Did you get suspended/expelled? "Never... the teachers LOVED me!”—DITTO. I’m the girl that missed 162 days of high school and still graduated with a B average.
9. Can you sing the alma mater? We didn’t have one that I can recall.
10. What was your favorite class? I guess it was my music class with Mr. Gabriel since I can’t even remember any other teachers. Oh, except Mr. Sandoval, the funny art teacher.
11. What was your schools full name? Joseph W. Magee Junior High School (Now it’s a middle school, which is the absolute WORST invention of the late 20th century—it should be a crime to take 6th graders out of elementary school—infact, I am an advocate of small K-8 schools myself. Middle schools contribute to the trend of kids growing up too soon and I think it’s tragic).
12. Did you go to the dances? I only remember going to one school dance besides the “8th Grade Prom”—which I attended with Ben in a lavender (could you DIE) dropwaist (I KNOW) dress complete with crocheted gloves (ACK!) and ballet flats.
13. If you could go back in time and do it all over would you? Not for every dime in Bill Gates’ bank account. It was fun and everything, but I’ve enjoyed my adulthood so much more.
14. What do you remember most about 8th grade? I remember my braces, hanging out with Susan, kissing boys, and knowing my family was falling apart.
15. Favorite memory in 8th grade? The California trip with our little song-n-dance group where we performed a bunch of places and wore out the grown ups (my mom was a chaperone and that was so fun).
16. Where did you go most often for lunch? The caff, dude.
17. What did you do on the last day of school? Heck, it was 17 years ago…I can’t remember. I think we left for Disneyland the next day though…my journal says Thursday June 5th and school usually got out on a Wednesday, so…I probably packed!
18. Did you like 8th grade? I suppose I did. I was anxiety-ridden, but I had a lot of good experiences.


Heidi has been obsessed with maturation lately...I can't get her to stop talking about hair in her armpits and boobs. She always asks if she can "feel the pokies in your armpits" (I am hoping that doesn't get blurted out in sacrament meeting).

I overheard this the other morning:

[Rich was changing Heidi's diaper]
Heidi: Dad, when I grow up, I'm gonna have hair on my armpits...
Rich: Yep.
Heidi: And hair on my bum...
Rich: Probably.
Heidi: And I will have big boobs, just like you! High five!

[Rich laughed really hard, but didn't really think man-boobs deserved a high-five. And I did get his permission to repeat this story]

Oh, Yeah...

...I forgot these in my Jolly June post. They were lost in the wrong folder! I've got Father's Day pix, too, so just hold your horses til I get home from work!

My three sillies...the girls were torturing James again with dress-ups. They love to put that hat on him because it's too small for either of them. And ya gotta love Heidi's swim suit over her clothes.

He really hates necklaces (which is great because I won't ever have to worry about him looking like a redneck or a gangsta wearing chains).

...but I think he likes aprons (who doesn't?!).

I think these were taken on Rich's actual birthday, June 18th. James was having fun playing in the girls' room.
Although he hasn't figured out the crawling, James does a great job scooting around on his bum with his feet or just rolling to get where he wants to go. At least he's moving now...a few weeks ago I was getting concerned!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Soak Up Some Sun!

Last Thursday we had our first truly hot day (in the 90's ). I put the kids outside in their swimming suits to play in the sprinkler and invited Cousin Danny over. I cranked up the AC and cleaned my whole upstairs including floors and windows. We had a BLAST!Addie, Danny, & Heidi playing "beach" on the deck, eating carmel corn and invisible raspberry kool-aid...good times!
PS: A certain acquaintance of mine was wondering how I can be both a morning person AND a night person (I love to stay up til at least midnight and I hate sleeping in, and until recently, I hadn't slept past 7am in YEARS). The answer to that query is (cue trumpets)
Yes! We live a siesta culture here at my house. We have long since left the desert heat, but as for me and my house, we will take a nap. My mother in law tells me stuff like, "She oughtta be outgrowing her nap by now," (WHAT?!?!?), and I think to myself, oh, no, it's in her genes--I took a nap until I was----um, almost 36. And even if we don't sleep, this place shuts down after lunch. From 2-4, it's "quiwt time." That's just how we roll. So viva la siesta!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On This Date in History...

My sweet nephew, Raef Hamlin, was born.

In the Jolly Month of June

I have lots of catching up to do as far as photos go!
Here are some fun things we've done so far in June:
The Elders' Quorum "Father-Offspring Campout" was held June 1-2 at Pine Creek.Addie roasting marshmallows
Heidi eating raw hot dogs
Watching Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons with the Bates Kids
Beddin' Down in the tent.

Sarah Bates & Addie exploring on Saturday morning
The new pavillion at Pine Creek Campgroud...I smell a family reunion!

My Lovely Mom-in-law turned 60 on June 10th.
We celebrated with a family party at Angie's House
(my SIL across the street).Ang made a beautiful cake...
...and Addie made a super cute card which she addressed in her own handwriting "To the Brithday Girl"--we all got a kick out of that! Our gift was a flower pot with gardening tools.
Angie serving up birthday cake
Mom deserves a cruise, a massage, 6-dozen roses, and a tiara for being so awesome. This party full of love and loved-ones was probably just as good for her...she is the best Grandma and the mother-in-law of my dreams. I am so grateful for all she has taught me and for her example of always seeing the best in others and never giving up on anyone.
She's terrific and we're so glad she was born!
Thursday, June 7, 2007 James loves his new cup!
"See me drink like a big boy!"

Monday, June 18, 2007 was Rich's Birthday.
We celebrated at Chico Hot Springs.
Happy Birthday, Daddy!Addie & Dad at Chico 6/18
On the way to Chico, we stopped at the ranch. I saw these horses grazing on a hill...
....they looked cool.
James was exioted to go swimmin'!
Gram Melin got to come with us and the girls in the backseat watched "Cinderella 3"
Gram swam with James...

Look at his little pink piggies!
---I didn't get a photo of Heidi, I guess, but I got a video, which I will post soon!
It was a fun night and a great way to celebrate the birth of somebody wonderful.

Tuesday, June 19th we had a SUPER FUN Primary Activity Day. The Primary Bike Rodeo was the brainchild of my friend Jennifer and it was tons of fun! It was the perfect day, we had a really nice police officer speak to the kids, and then they did an obstacle course. There was sidewalk chalk and bubbles for non-bike riders, and the kids who did the bike stuff will get little bike drivers licenses on Sunday...Good times! The Flyer
My cute little Addie Rose trying to get up the courage to go up and over the little bike jump on the obstacel course...she had a ball!
Kids lined up to ride the course--it was so much fun thanks to Summer Orton and all the cool stuff she found on their ranch. Our Primary is so cool!

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Birthday Love Song for My Rich

um, hi...

I been chillin over at the new family blog, so I haven't posted here in forever, but I have lots coming down the pike when I get a minute.

Jill posted the JCP father's day ad at her site--they must have a rockin' marketing comm. department over there! You can listen to the whole song here. What a great break for that band! I thought the singer sounded like Katie Melua. Click both links and enjoy!

More to come, after I celebrate my hunny punkin's birthday in style...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Perfect Day

When the wind stops blowing in Livingston, it's time to get out and celebrate! Today it was 75-degrees and sunny and the wind was "7-10-mph." So I packed up the kiddies and we were off like a herd of turtles at 10am to play at Sacajawea Park and feed ducks at the Lagoon. Look! The water is like glass, and there are NO DUCKS or geese anywhere.
The girls were so excited!
James thought the ducks were so cool!

The girls were thrilled when they finally had some ducks to feed, although they enjoyed eating the popcorn, too... hmm...I really do wonder where the geese are. They practically mauled Addie when she was little and we could come feed them.

Bye, bye duckies!

PS: Looking at these photos, I was reminded of's so green and lush, it looks like we're down south. But I just wanted to add this exquisite piece of information: it's nothing like the south because there is almost NO HUMIDITY! And therefore few bugs and little sweat. YAY THAT! I think I was sweaty every second Ilived in North Carolina, even in the shower!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What's Cookin'

When I got married, I was a decent cook. I didn't enjoy cooking because I HATE making messes, but I 've come to terms with it. I used to make lots of food I had grown up with (Mexican) and recipes Rich's mom gave me when we got married (casseroles), and they were good that each of us has gained about 60 pounds. So since I am in charge of the food around here and I can't stand for my menus to be boring and our bodies can't stand for them to be unhealthy, I have been on a year-long quest to improve our eating, especially by tripling the amount of vegetables & fruits we consume.

The quest for F&V led us to lots more Asian-inspired foods and vegetarian recipes. Of course we have always been smoothie fans and our girls are, too. Addie comes up with the best smoothie recipes! We try to keep a big tub of vanilla yogurt on hand as well as lots of frozen fruit (we got lots last September marked down, cut it up and froze it)--we LOVE the triple berries from Costco and their blueberries, and of course summer brings so many strawberries and peaches--yay! Rich made smoothies last week that were just peaches, blueberries, and apple juice and we loved it.

I discovered this great recipe for Kahlua Pork cooked in the crock pot. Costco has great little pork roasts, sold in three-packs for around $10--they're so great and usually make 2 meals each. Anyway, you can cook them overnight with just three ingredients: a splash of olive oil, 2-3 tablspoons of liquid smoke (hickory or applewood), and a few shakes of salt. Keep moist by adding a bit of water as needed and in about 8 hours, you've got a luau!

I made up a great recipe for the leftover pork: egg rolls a la Sister Gunn!

I know it's blurry, but the filling is just shredded pork, 1/2 head of cabbage chopped, and 2 carrots grated. Then I put in about a tablespoon of crushed ginger root, a tablespoon of crushed garlic, and 1/4 cup of Shoyu sauce (recipe below).
Then we wrapped them up in won tons and fried them in a little canola oil. YUM! We had the rest of the cabbage with mushrooms and broccoli steamed with Shoyu sauce on the side.

And it was DELISH.

My friend Megan gave us the recipe for Shoyu chicken and I love it because (a) it's tasty (b) I can buy dirt-cheap chicken legs and make a good dinner out of them and (c) I can freeze the sauce and use it in TONS of other recipes.

So here's how you make it:

1 cup soy sauce
1 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 piece crushed ginger
2 cloves of garlic mashed
4 whole green onions
3 pounds of chicken thighs or legs, bone in

Mix ingredients in large saucepan, bring to boil, add chicken, simmer til chicken is tender (falling off bone--about 30 minutes). Then remove chicken with tongs. Allow sauce to cool then strain with collander and pour into ziploc bags to freeze for future use.
(The snack size ziplocs are the perfect amount of sauce for micowaving veggies--just put the veggies in a covered casserole dish with the frozen sauce and microwave for 3-5 minutes [or until tender--microwaves vary], stirring half way through. Carrots are so good if you cook them like this, and then drizzle with a mixture of honey and a little crushed ginger).

Here are some MUST HAVES (hot sauce & cruched ginger from Christpher Ranch--I love the CR garlic, too). We love them!(we have found that if food is flavorful, it's more satisfying--kimchi is a great example: lots of flavor, very satifying, but it's really just cabbage!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Never Too Young

Rich and I have this running joke about assisted living (actually, it's not a joke because we are freaking SERIOUS): the very second we are eligible, we are moving in! We can't wait!

And we cannot for the life of us figure out why people want to live alone in the middle of nowhere when they are 80-something and in precarious health. I love the idea of having lot of Yahtzee partners around, being able to choose to make dinner or go downstairs to the in-house Luby's, not having to take care of a yard, and having medical care within 100-yards at all times. I may feel differently when I'm 59, but right now, its sounds AWESOME.

So you can imagine how loud I laughed when I saw this excellent Anne Taintor magnet (above). She is fabulous; I love her stuff. Take a peek. I'll be making more "A.T." dedications in coming weeks--but this one goes out to my husband. Hunny, sorry I can't check you in to assisted living for your birthday this year (his bday is 6/18!)....but you're one year closer!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I'm Everywhere...

...but here!

I've blogged at Segullah today...take a peek.

I forgot to tell the blogosphere that I started working at the Comfort Inn 3-4 evenings per week from 5:30-8:30om to help with check-ins in the busy summer months. It's the perfect little job for me and I quite like being the hostess-type person in any situation, so it's been fun so far. We'll see how I juggle it with the family & home stuff, too.

We still have no chorister in Primary and only half a pianist (she's gone a lot) and we are fresh out of musical talent in our ward, so I am struggling to do the music in there. It's new to me and it's kinda hard to juggle with the secretary job and having James in there, but we are getting by.

I'm pretty busy but life is good. I'll try to post pix and tell some stories soon. In the meantime, happy family night and have a good week!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Well, Whataya Know?

My Ol' amiga, Stephanie Ingermanson Lund left the following comment for me today:

So, this is off the topic, but I thought I would say I enjoyed your COVER article on! I go there every so often to see what they have and I was so happy to see your article!! It was very well written and what I need to be reminded of everyday, but especially today. Thank you! And since I am commenting I should also say that I heart your new banner. I was in Tucson last weekend and stopped by the East Stake center and thought of you! :)

Awww...thanks Steph! I think of you as a missionary when I go to Missouri, and try to imagine you have a dinner appointment with my parents, or imagine you throwing sandbags up to save the Arch from the flood of '93! Anyway, I did not know that mormonchic was re-publishing that article I wrote almost three years ago. Cool Thanks for the heads up! I have been so busy at Segullah, I haven't checked Mormonchic in a long time. Viva the 'zines for LDS mujeres! I urge you to click around those links and get inspired. And if you or anyone you know has some gospel perspective to share, Segullah is accepting submissions until Sept. 7 for our Spring Issue, "Roots & Branches."

PS: I miss you, Steph!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

How Now Brown Cow

Sorry--it's been a busy week, and I was getting a bad attitude about the computer--I needed some space. So I took some time and we've made amends. I had to make some Primary stuff today, so I also took the time to make a new banner for my blog. I have mixed feelings about it, but I think it'll stay (photo credits go to my awesome husband, and Addie took the one of us beng silly).

So Monday we had FHE at the park with a picnic, Tuesday the kids had a date with Grandma while I trained for my new job as a front desk clerk at the Comfort Inn (4-5 evenings per week from 5ish-8ish over the's crazy town with the Yellowstone traffic), and I also had a parent-teacher conference at Addie's school (so fun--her teachers were so cool), and Rich had to help people move that night , so we ate tortillas and hummus and berry smoothies for dinner and went to bed early. Wednesday we got up at 5am and left for Helena at 5:45am, so Rich & Dad could attend an ainsurance conference and I could visit Lehmans & Posts! It was a busy, rainy day, but we had so much fun --the kids LOVED seeng their cousins and riding the carousel and I was so happy to see Matt, Amie, Laura, Darrin, & their kids! It continued to be rainy and cold, so I snuggled up with the kids when we got home at 3pm, then made a yummy dinner and went to teach a family with the sister missionaries. I watched CSI with Rich for the first time in like 5 years, and we crashed. Today (Thursday) was house cleaning and babysitting the Westenskow kids. I have a little more house work, start dinner, read with Addie, and then another night home alone while Rich attends a Stake meeting in Bozeman, and Friday is all about Primary Presidency stuff and helping the Warren family clean, pack, and move to Bozeman. Hopefully I will have done enough around here to allow for some fun on Saturday--we can play and get ready for Grandma Rosalie's 60th birthday on Sunday!

So that's al the news for now. I'll post a few pix later...I don't have any of yesterday in Helena cuz my camera was DEAD. Shucks.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Things...

...links, that is:

I love the Proclamation, and here is a lovely breakdown, done all this week by Stephanie Nielson (sister of Courtney of Apron Week fame).

My dear friend, Lisa (who is 364 days older than me) cracks me slam up here (and all over the place, really).

Miss Kelly continues to light my embroidering fire here.

The North Dakota Melins posted great pix of last weekend (which I haven't had time to do). Enjoy Here.

Of course, I love seeing all my family blogs, so thanks sibs, cousins, mom, for updating. Check out their links to the right for fabulous pix and updates on my awesome nieces and nephews.

Freaky Friday

Tonight is the Father-Offspring Campout at Pinecreek. The girls have gone up the mountain with Rich for the night, so here's the to-do list for me & James:

-eat toasted whole wheat tortillas with broiled roma tomatoes & hummus for dinner (just me--James is having peaches and oatmeal)
-watch tivoed Oprah
- go to bed at 8 pm (just James--I'm staying up)
-stay up late scrapbooking
-sleep in
-mail packages

YES!!! As you can see, I have a lot to do, and that hummus is calling!

Have a great weekend!

Goodbye May, Goodbye School!

Yesterday (Thurs.) was the last day of pre-school for Heidi AND for Addie. Addie didn't have a graduation ceremony at school, but she saw the pictures of Belle's, so she cried until I gave her her own graduation party at the house on Thursday night.I made her a hat and some cupcakes and hung up her school art. Grandma Rosalie brought her a card and a gift...what a special day!
Heidi's excited for CUPCAKES!
Our Special Grad (after cupcakes)
Congratulations, Addie!
You'll do great in Kindergarten next year!

Behold The Cuteness: Baby Genius

James tried on Addie's Graduation Hat...

James has graduated from toothlessness!
(his two wee bottom teeth came through two weeks ago)


Dear Loved Ones,                      This week has been a lot of work. Kids have been home sick with colds, Heidi was home on grievi...