Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Surviving Christmas...

Surviving Christmas...isn't that the name of a movie? If not, it should be. Well, our Christmas has been memorable...and say the least. Starr began it all by breaking her foot on Christmas Eve. The kids were in the backyard playing "capture the flag" barefoot -- (hey, it's AZ!) and she slipped on some wet grass and fractured it. While I went with the rest of the kids to Terri's (Steve's sister) Christmas Eve Party, Steve and Starr went to Urgent Care.

We had lots of food and family on Christmas day...Katie (my sister) cooked up a storm and it was all DELICIOUS!!! We had family coming and going -- and my kids were totally surprised to receive a Wii for Christmas! The Wii was great entertainment on Christmas day ... and will make the best babysitter during this Christmas break! Especially since our broken foot child is confined to a chair and crutches for a while. (Thank goodness for the big furry pink moon chair she received for Christmas - and not the bike we were considering!)

Anyway, our thoughts are with all of you and thank you for your wonderful Christmas cards. We love reading the family Christmas letters and seeing the beautiful pictures and cards.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, I always thought I'd stay 29, but then I started realizing that 29 was really a crappy year for me. I was 29 when we went through that nightmare with Amanda. So why then, would I want to stay 29? I need to pick a better 35 or something. Or maybe I should tell everyone I'm 50 -- that way everyone would say, "50? Dang, you look good for 50!"

Anyhow, I wanted to wear my pj's and lay on the couch and watch movies all day, but not when it's 6 days to Christmas!!!! Maybe I'll do it January 19Th. And can you believe my family didn't fix me breakfast in bed or let me sleep in this morning -- I was up as usual fixing breakfast for THEM and packing lunches. While doing so, I had this conversation with Starr:

Starr: Mom, 40's not THAT old.
Mom: You don't think so?
Starr: Nah, lots of my friends have moms in the 30's and they look like teenagers.
Mom: Are you telling me this to make me feel better?
Starr: Ya, is it working?
Mom: No -- and I'm not sure I know what your point is.

Yes, a typical conversation with Starr I'm afraid. Anyway, after the kids left for school, I ate a nutritious breakfast of chocolate brownies. (Hey, it's my birthday, I can do this!) Then my sweet OLDER sister came over and we took our calloused worn out disgusting feet out for pedicures and and then lunch. My sweet husband also brought me home a dozen roses with a sympathy card during lunch. (Very funny, dear!) Not much planned for the rest of the day, but for those who called, send gifts, cards, left a happy birthday blog, etc, or just even thought of me, thank you!! And this morning, as I was reflecting my life, I did think of one thing worse than turning 40 -- and that would be turning 40 while bring pregnant! UGH!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas....

Okay, maybe not alot -- but perhaps a little more like Christmas. On Saturday, Steve and I took advantage of the break in rain on this cool winter day and decided to put Christmas lights on the house. So we threw on our Arizona winter clothes (sweatshirt and shorts) and worked all afternoon into the evening -- our reward was sweet and we were all happy with the's hard to get the total effect in a photo, but this is the best we can do.

I have to tell you about this photo: Joseph wanted to take of picture of me stringing lights on the palm tree -- after he took the picture and looked at the photo he just took, he commented "Wow Mom, you sure look skinny in this picture." So of course I had to post it! he he

Monday, December 3, 2007

Getting into the Christmas Spirit!

I just pulled a bunch (almost of years worth) of pictures off of Starr's camera...FINALLY Anyway, found these adorable photos she and Jeff took yesterday when we were decorating the Christmas tree. I thought they were pretty cute, so I had to share.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Helpful Hint

Sorry, this isn't much of a post...but had just had to share with you something I learned. So when you see a picture in a family blog that's posted -- one that you really want to keep, just put your mouse over the picture and right click...and choose "save picture as...." option and it will save to YOUR computer. Sorry, it won't work my the onetruemedia slide shows, but works great with the other posted pics.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We're not THANKFUL for the flu!

Well, what can I say that the title doesn't? And yes, the flu hit us in the midst of Turkey Day! Baby Josh came down with it the night of Joseph's birthday and then just as we were getting ready to head over to Mignon's house for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Joseph got sick. Poor Steve had to skip out on dinner and stay home with him while the rest of us went on to Mignon's. Then I came home around 5pm to trade places with Steve so he could go to Mignon's and watch football with the guys and about 1/2 hour after I arrived home I became ill with the stomach flu. (Yes, that means I had to miss BLACK FRIDAY sales.... ) I came out of it enough to spend a little time with family on Friday night - but that's when it hit Jeff. As of this moment no one new has gotten it in the family...knock on wood. Regardless, my kids really enjoyed their cousins - and it was great to see all of my long lost cousins! Can't wait to do it again in 2 years. And hope we didn't get anyone else out there sick!

Joseph turns 5!

As you can see, we had a busy week, so I have some catching up to do! Well, Joseph turned 5 on Tuesday. He's growing up so quickly and is so stinkin' adorable, we can all hardly stand it! For his birthday, he had a small birthday party at a park close to the school he goes to -- (gotta love these winter birthdays in Arizona!). He only invited 3 other kids plus baby brother. They enjoyed playing at the park and eating McDonald Happy Meals and cupcakes before heading off to afternoon pre-K.

His brothers and sisters also wanted to celebrate with him, so after school, we all went to a new Build-A-Bear at the new San Tan Mall where he "built" a monkey that he named "George". Joseph is crazy about monkeys!!! He also picked out a spider-man outfit for the monkey to wear, so the monkey's new nickname became "spider monkey". The 2 of them are so cute together and have since become quite inseperable.

After the monkey thing, we ate dinner at the mall and just strolled around and let the kids play in the play area. Then it was back home for more cupcakes and presents. What a day!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Amanda!

First of all, I don't want this post to be depressing. I guess perhaps I just wanted to do something public to acknowledge her 15th birthday since every year I struggle with a way to celebrate it. Not much planned today -- Steve and I will go out to dinner tonight (a rare date for us these days) and spend some time with each other reminiscing. Maybe a small cake with the kids before we go. Wow, can you believe she's been gone almost 10 years? It just seems like a different lifetime ago. I'm just grateful for the peace I have and the knowledge that I have that we can finish raising her during the Millennium if we stay worthy... And I'm especially grateful for FOREVER FAMILIES!!

I was hoping to scan better pictures, but not having much luck.... oh well.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fancy Hair!

Seems like with 5 kids there's always something to blog. In other words, never a dull moment around here! Tonight while the Jeff and Steve were at basketball practice, I took the girls and little boys to San Tan Village, a new outdoor mall that just opened last week. There is this adorable little store called The Glitter Box that will give little girls free "up-do's" on Monday nights. The girls were thrilled with how their hair turned out -- you can't tell from the pictures, but they saturated their hair with glitter....hopefully, with as much hairspray as they used, their hair will still be cute for school tomorrow. While the girls were getting their hair done, the boys played in the water and on the soft toys at the mall. Made for a great FHE.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I believe we experienced a "Halloween hangover" this morning. Boy, was it hard to get the kids up and going this morning. And I can only imagine what the poor teachers at school are going to go through today. I think they should change Halloween to the last Friday of the month -- just like they have Thanksgiving on the third Thursday of November. It should would make things easier for everyone.

ANYHOW, we had a great time last night. We attended a HUGE (bi-ward) trunk or treat across the street from our house in our church parking lot. Cousins Jessica and Becca joined along with us. Along with trick or treating they provided hot dogs with all the fixins and a D.J. for some additional entertainment. I could hardly pry Emi off the dance floor at the end - she was having a ball with her 2 little girlfriends dancing away. As for costumes, Emi went as a rock star, Starr a movie star, Joshua was Superman, Joseph was some Star Wars guy, and Jeff....we're not quite sure if there's a name for him, he just threw on some stuff. As for Steve's costume, he couldn't resist dressing as a hippie basketball coach. Oh, and Katie is in a picture..see if you can find her. Enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pumpkin Carving

For FHE on Monday we carved some here's some of our beautiful creations!

Check out this little guy and his pumpkin with the matching "chompers".

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What a week!

You know it's a slow newsweek here when I post pictures of Starr taking out her hair braids from Mexico...not to say my house wasn't exciting last week, we had a week of parent-teacher conferences, half-days of school, basketball games and practices, scout campout, a 50's style daddy-daughter Activity Days event, a well baby check-up for Josh (who is weighing in at 22 lbs), and RS Super Saturday. (That was fun--mainly because it was for me!) I also picked up apples from my fruit lady on Friday, so now I have 40 lbs of apples sitting in my kitchen I need to figure out what to do with. So far we've had apple crisp, apple cake, apples and carmel, and I'll probably end up drying some apples today if I can dig out my house from the weekend. (Are your mondays like that, also?) Anyway, any other suggestions of what to do with all of these apples would be welcome.

And Starr at her first basketball game... so much for an undefeated team, I think they lost 6-34 (ouch!) But she looked adorable! Unfortunately, Jeff's team also lost their first game (better luck next Saturday).

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Well, we survived Mexico once again this year. No children were kidnapped, no adults taken to jail, just a great vacation. And a recap for those of you who don't know....every year during fall break, a huge number of families, mainly from our ward (this year there were over 20 families), head down to Rocky Point, Mexico for about 4 days and camp near the beach. A few, however, opt out and stay at the beautiful resorts, but we have a blast hanging out with everyone camping. On the way home, the family came up with 10 reasons why we love going to Mexico so much:

10. The water is so nice -- warm, perfect for swimming. Steve and the kids love to go snorkling in it because the waves aren't very rough.

9. The weather is usually very nice -- highs in the 80's and low in the 60's. Perfect for sleeping in a tent -- not too hot, not too cold.

8. Oooh la la...those fresh hot tortillas sold about everywhere....need I say more?

7. Seashells...they are EVERYWHERE!! In California, we're excited to find a broken remnant of a shell, but the beach is full of them in Mexico!

6. It's only a 4 hour drive from Mesa!!! (That would be 2 1/2 disney movies in kids time.)

5. The girls always look forward to getting their hair braided -- and I love not having to fix it everyday. In fact, even when we return from Mexico, their hair looks good in the braids for at least another 2 weeks.

4. The shopping -- stocking up on vanilla, cheap designer goods, fun sunglasses, jewelry...they have it all!

3. Steve enjoys being able to speak to everyone in Spanish...and believe me, he uses it all the time there - and loves it.

2. The beaches -- we go beach hopping--each day finding a new place to play. So much fun to make sand sculptures, play flag football, play in the sand, shoot off fireworks, and for Jeff, blow up fish they had caught earlier in the day with fireworks with the other teenagers when no parents were around....hummm.....

1. Camping with friends -- it's the best not having to be the ones to entertain the kids. They always seemed to have a friend or two at their side.

Monday, October 8, 2007

This n' That

Not much new is going on at the Hartman home. We enjoyed our "layed back" weekend watching General Conference -- as I get older, it's become something I look forward to even more. The kids are on fall break this year....why, do you ask do we have fall break? I have NO idea. Isn't it something they have in farming communities so the families can all harvest the crops together. Anyway, my kids are out of school all week and we're busy getting ready to leave for Mexico on Wednesday. It's the highlight of the year for the kids -- and a fun tradition we started last year. As a side note, I'll share this with our mischevious child....I'm sure you can all guess which one, without our knowledge, was calling 911 and hanging up. I'm sure you can guess what happened. Yep, she received a visit from Officer Debbie (or whatever her name is) who gave her a little talking to. Actually, she was a very young officer (early 20's) who was trying to be stern but all of the kids were watching and she kept getting sidetracked by them and kept commenting how cute they were. They probably should have sent and old sern man who couldn't be swayed by cute innocent children -- that would have really scared her! Anyway, lets hope she learned her lesson.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Shootin' those Hoops!

I have to give you a quick report regarding Starr playing basketball this season. She went for her first practice last night and was absolutely MORTIFIED to learn she is the only girl on her team ... not to mention a foot taller than ALL the boys. If this were to happen in another 5 years, I think she would be in heaven, but as a 9 year old, she's already wondering how she's going to survive. Oh, the drama!!!

As a bonus, here's a quick recipe I received during the days I was doing Weight Watchers -- I love these, very low calorie, high fiber, and satisfies that sweet tooth.

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

1 Box of chocolate cake mix (or any type)
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1/4 cup water

Mix all ingredients together well, Place into 18 cupcake tins. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until done.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


There hasn't been much going on this week .. well, that is, if you don't count the Arizona Diamondbacks making it to the doesn't get much better than that at my house! We're a bunch of D-Backs fans if you can't tell.

My kids are anxiously awaiting basketball season to start next week. By process of elimination, Steve will once again be coaching Jeff's team --- he usually coaches his baseball team, so this is a whole new challenge - but we all know he'll do a terrific job. The good news for mom? Well, the coach usually picks practice locations -- and Steve is setting up practices at the park near our house --- hurray...that should save me a ton in gas! Starr will start B-ball also -- her FIRST Season. Steve attended the parent meeting and she'll be attending an "established" team that holds a 3 year undefeated record.... hummmm...... should be interesting to see how that ones goes. I'll keep you updated. It's been nice to not have my kids in a TONS of things this year. The girls are enjoying NOT dancing and having more free time to play with friends. However, I am feeling some guilt about not starting piano yet this season with the older kids. I'll have to remedy that soon.

Oh, and I have to add....Josh started going to nursery at church today!!!! I can hardly believe he's already 18 months old. It was a good day!! YEAHH!!!!!!!! Sunday I come!

Monday, September 24, 2007

All in the Name of Family Fun

I can't believe how much work it takes for our family (a family of 7) to go camping for 24 hours. I have to admit, I kept asking myself the whole time preparing to leave for our Ward Family Campout if it was worth it, but all in all -- I suppose so. We did all come home sleep deprived - but isn't that normal? Afterall, I did tell my 9 year old, "We don't go camping to get a good night sleep." Our sleep would have been better if Emi didn't wake up in the middle of the night telling us she felt like we had to "throw up". So I walked her to the outhouse (that smell alone would make you want to throw up), and we walked around, but she didn't get sick. After I tucked her into bed, I had a hard time going back to sleep thinking she was going to puke all over the inside of the tent. I have to admit, if she did that - I'd have to throw the tent away - I don't think there's getting rid of that smell! But anyway, she was fine the rest of the night. And all in all, we got out of town and broke up the "same of thing" type of weekend and my kids were able to just hang out with friends and play with sticks and rocks - the area was beautiful.

Sunday we were able to attend Nate Johnson's mission farewell --- he did a fabulous job! He shared with us some of his Nauvoo experiences during the summer -- if you didn't know Nate and you were listening to his talk, you'd have a hard time telling if he was coming or going. All in all, we hung out with family all day at the Johnsons and thanks to Aunt Jackie, received some awesome foot rubs as an extra bonus to the great food. Anything's great when I don't have to cook. (No offense, Mignon.) I didn't take my camera to Mignon's but Bert was taking pictures and will hopefully have those posted on his blog. (hint-hint)

And now as a side note to those wanting to make those orange balls. Evidently, the recipe came back to mom when she saw my post and said she did add a small amount of powdered milk to the orange balls at the end to give them a firmer texture and roll into balls more easily (they were pretty sticky when I made them). I'll have to give them another try - my family's already asking for more!

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Nickname is born...

My kids have to actually earn thier nicknames. Poor Josh has been the last kid without one -- until now! My I introduce to you - MR. CHOMPERS. Check out those pearly whites!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Okay, first off – right after I wrote my last blog, the weather did cool down. In fact, the newspaper said this morning that on Tuesday at 6am, the temperature dipped to 71 degrees – the coolest it’s been in the valley since JUNE 8! See why I was sooo depressed. But our mornings and evenings are so beautiful now. Anyway, had to clarify with hopes I didn’t scare those coming down to Arizona for Thanksgiving too badly.

Anyhow, back to the title of my blog. My sisters and I have been talking off and on (for YEARS) about this orange candy my mom used to make when we were all kids (this and peanut butter balls were a staple in our home). This topic came up again Saturday night when Katie was over and said she was craving it. We’ve tried asking my mom, but she can’t seem to remember what was in it. Saturday night, I googled the ingredients Katie and I could remember – which was only the orange juice concentrate and the powdered sugar and I stumbled across it – sorta. A version of it anyway. Well, yesterday I made it and YEP, it tasted just the same as I remembered as kid, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you….and no, it’s not figure friendly – inspite of my husband’s comment when he tasted it…”this taste healthy!” I had to correct him on that one, quickly before he wolfed down 5 more. Not that he could, WARNING: They are very rich. Oh, also, all of the recipes I found have crushed vanilla wafers in it – and the ones we grew up with didn’t. I’m sure we just couldn’t afford the wafers so mom omitted them – I’ll have to ask her about that. I did, however, make them with the vanilla wafers and it added an interesting texture… more cookie like than candy. And all of my food critics loved it – except for Emi who thought they were too sweet. And I did take some over to the Urie family – but not sure how they like them yet. And Katie, I have some in my fridge waiting for you!!

Orange Balls

1 12 oz box of vanilla wafers
4 cups powdered sugar
½ butter, softened
1 (6 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed – or buy a 12 oz and divide it in half.

Crush vanilla wafers to make fine crumbs. This works best when using a food processor. Or if you’re like me, put them in a gallon size ziplock bag and beat the begeebers out of them with a rolling pin. Add sugar, butter, orange juice concentrate. Mix well.

Shape into small balls and refrigerate at least 1 hour. They will become more firm as they are refrigerated.
Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
1 ½ cups dry powdered milk
In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter and honey. Add the powdered milk and mix until well blended. Roll into walnut sized balls and serve.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Is it fall yet?

It's suppose to be 105 today, so I wouldn't know if fall is here or not! Someday it's gonna cool down - hopefully sooner and not later, and then we'll be out at the parks again riding bikes and enjoying the outdoors after a long summer. It's so close, I can just see it now! My weekend has been uneventful, and I've been very unmotivated lately. It probably has something to do with Steve leaving on a "business trip" Thursday for a few days. I get so lazy when he leaves -- it probably has something to do with him getting "smoozed" on this trip by flying first class to Ohio, eating at restaurants other than McDonalds and Chuckee Cheese, going to a Cleveland Indians game, museums, and staying in nice hotels in a room by himself with no kids in his bed. Do I sound bitter? Naaahh, at least one of us should feel rested by next week.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007



It's been a busy month for birthdays this past week (see photo's above). Jeff turned 12 on August 30th and was ordained a "squeekin' deacon" on Sunday. He chose to have a family party since his grammie and grandpa Hartman were in town. Then a few days later he and a couple of friends were dropped off at SunSplash -- by themselves-- for the afternoon and had a great time! He was more than pleased to do a waterpark with friends over a friend party. Then while grammie Hartman was visiting - we celebrated her birthday on Labor Day. It worked out so great with everyone out of school and no work. We just spent a nice day all together.

Thursday, August 23, 2007's it goin'?

Okay, here's a quick update. Emi likes school now (thanks to efforts of her new teacher and old teacher) - so tummy issues are now officially closed! I'm still not doing anything for myself, because I can't seem to unbury myself from summertime clutter -- maybe this will happen when the last one turns 18. In the meantime, I've resigned myself to the knowledge my house will never be clean until then. And anyone that knows Steve is wondering what "house project" we have going on now. Well, we are almost done..... can you believe it!!?? Is there such a thing as done with house projects? Okay, well the money for house projects have run out - how's that. So anyway, his current project has been to extend the boys bedroom about 2 feet -- yes, breaking down walls, resheet rocking, etc. So it's been 2 weeks now and the room is painted. Are you ready for the paint colors? Okay, let me explain first. Joseph's most favorite color is ORANGE.....he really really loves the color and when we were choosing the room color - he let us know he wanted it orange. Well, Joseph is so darn cute - we couldn't turn him down so we decided we would do the orange and add a stripe of purple to it also - and make it a Phoenix Suns room! In this case, Jeff (who will share the new room with Joseph), and who is my sports fanatic, is happy also. Anyway, Steve has been busy working every night after work painting baseboards, and molding so the room can done before our company arrives next week. And that's our update. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Now that summer is over and school has started, I found a few minutes of time here and there to start this blogger about our family and to post a few pictures of summer. I can hardly believe school has started already. Jeff is in 6th grade, Starr is in 4th, Emaree 2nd, and Joseph is in pre-kindergarden (half-days). This just leaves me and Joshua most of the day. The kids all enjoy school (sort of), however Emi has been stuggling with change (mainly having a new teacher when she adored her teacher from last year so much). But each day we see a little more progress, and her anxiety seems to be less each day as she and her new teacher bond.
As for myself, I stuggle with feeling restless and so with this opportunity of a few peaceful hours each day (when Josh is napping), my goal is to do a few more things for myself.... wish me luck with that!