I am so so so so so tired.  In fact I believe this is the most tired I have been in a long time.  I have a almost 5 month old who has been waking me up every 1 1/2 to 2 hours at night, a 3 and 5 year old who are up at 6:00 a.m. everyday, a 10 year old who somehow can’t fall asleep until 10:00 p.m. every night despite the fact that I want to be in bed and asleep at 9:00, and last but not least I have a brain that won’t let me fall asleep when I can sleep because it keeps going over all the things I need to be doing.  We are getting ready for a move across the country and every time I start working on something for the move a child needs something from me that keeps me from getting what I need to do done.  In fact right now it is 6:30 a.m. and I have been awake since 4. I have now told my 3 and 5 year old to stay in bed until the sun comes up at least 5 times and have tried to settle the baby back into sleep twice since I have began writing this blog post 30 minutes ago.  Right now being a mom feels like too much!  When the house is finally quiet at night I lay in bed and try to think if I have had more positives then negatives with my children that day.  Did I use every teaching moment?  Did I snap at them when they were doing nothing wrong?  Did I talk kindly to them?  Did I love them enough?  

What can I do to make things right?  Last night as I was thinking and praying about all of this a song from my childhood came into my mind, it is titled Four Hugs a Day by Charlotte Diamond.  The song starts out with the lyrics:

Nobody gets enough hugs a day
‘Cause the minimum number is four
Now if you haven’t got Four hugs today
Then you better get some more….

As I laid in bed thinking about this song I decided that today my goal would be to give my children at least 4 hugs each.  If all else fails today, if I go to bed tonight completely exhausted, if I didn’t get any packing done and my kids have only eaten macaroni from a box, at least I can say that I hugged them and maybe today that is enough.

Mommy’s Hug


My mommy baked a cake today,
But Mommy didn’t hug me.
She made some puppets for a play,
But Mommy didn’t hug me.
She washed the dishes, clothes, and walls.
She picked up papers, shoes, and dolls.
She made my lunch and answered calls …
But Mommy didn’t hug me.
When nap time came, she tucked me in,
But Mommy didn’t hug me.
She saw a tear run down my chin,
And then my mommy hugged me!
She tickled, kissed, and hugged me tight.
I hugged her back with all my might,
And that made everything all right.
I’m glad my mommy hugged me.
Who wouldn’t want to hug these cute kids!  Today is going to be a good day!

Tin Foil Dinner

This is easy to make several of (I usually make enough for 5 zip lock bags), and cooks up really fast for when you are in a pinch!

All you need is:

Veggies of choice (I use Zucchini, Carrots, Onions, Potatoes, and Green Beans)

Precook the veggies until soft then mix them in with the raw hamburger and add ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper to your liking.  Once combined put it into your frying pan to shape it to fit, then slide into a 1 gallon zip lock bag and lay flat to freeze (as you can see in the picture above it is still frozen but fits nicely in my pan).  When you need it just take it out, pop it in the frying pan you measured it in. Cover and cook until the hamburger is cooked through.  The reason I have not given amounts is you can make it more meaty or veggie depending on your preference.  We usually serve it with a big salad.  Enjoy!

1/2 and 1/2 Bread

My family loves this bread!!!

6 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
6 Cups Luke Warm Water
2 Tbls. Yeast
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

Mix together and let rise until doubled and bubbly then add:

2 Tbls. Salt
8-10 Cups White Flour (dough should be pulling away from the side of the mixing bowl and be a bit sticky)

Mix on medium speed for 10 min (the only mixers I know of that can handle this is a Bosch or a Kitchen Aide, but if you use a Kitchen Aide you need to cut the recipe in half).

When done mixing remove dough from mixing bowl and form it into 4 large loves on a floured surface. Place in greased bread pans.  Let rise until slightly above the lip of the pans.  Bake at 350 for 30 Min.  Remove from pans and place on cooling racks then spread butter on the tops of them to soften the crust.  Let cool before placing them in bread bags.  Enjoy!

Fresh Raspberry Pie

I am visiting my parents and my Dad has the most beautiful raspberry bushes.  My Mom makes this pie out of the fresh raspberries and it is so incredibly yummy!

Fresh Raspberry Pie

1/4 cup Sugar
1 Tbls Cornstarch
1 Cup Water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) Raspberry Gelatin
5 cups Fresh Raspberries
1 Graham Cracker Crust (9 Inches)

In a sauce pan, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Add the water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir for 2 min.  Remove from heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved.  Cool for 15 min.  Place raspberries in the crust; slowly pour gelatin mixture over berries.  Chill until set (about 3 hours).  Top with whipped cream. Yield: 6-8 servings

Source: Sheryl Lewis

Chicken Cordon-Bleu Casserole

I love this casserole, I especially love that it doesn’t have any condensed soups in it!

6 cooked chicken breast
      -I bake mine in the oven @ 350 for about 40 min, the first 20 of which the pan is covered.
6 slices cooked ham
6 slices Swiss cheese
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
2 Cups milk
1/4 tsp thyme (I use my Penzeys Poultry Seasoning in place of this and love it)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Place the chicken breast in a 9X13 baking pan.  Place the ham on top of the chicken and the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.  In a mixing bowl combine milk, thyme, salt, pepper, and egg.  In a medium sauce pan melt the butter then add the flour and whisk until smooth.  Add milk mixture and cook on medium heat until thick and bubbly.  Pour over the chicken/ham/cheese evenly.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top then drizzle the butter over the bread crumbs.  Cook at 350 for about 30 mins.  Serve over rice.

Source: My amazing friend Kym Wood

Cookie Bars

I have trouble finding the energy to make cookies.  I have never enjoyed taking batches out and putting them back in over and over and over again.  Lucky for my kids I found making cookie bars to be much easier and is now pretty much the only way I make cookies.

It is simple!  Take your favorite cookie recipe that makes approximately 5 dozen cookies, follow the directions but add 1/4 cup cornstarch to the dry ingredients (this helps keep the cookies soft).  Press dough into a greased 15×10 inch jelly-roll pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 mins.


Kenny Rogers Corn Muffins

Kenny Rogers Corn Muffins
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2  cups flour
3/4 cup cornmeal (I grind my own cornmeal in my wheat grinder, I use popcorn and it is great)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup tender corn (optional)
Cream together butter, sugar, honey, eggs, and salt in a large bowl.  Add dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.  Add milk while mixing. Add corn to mixture and combine by hand until corn is worked in.  Pour into greased 8 or 9 inch pan or 12 cup muffin pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or till golden brown.

Crock Pot Chicken

This is sooooo easy!  It always comes out moist and delicious! 

Rinse off a whole chicken (I like free range organically fed)
Put in the Crockpot (do not add any water unless the chicken is frozen then add 1 cup of water)
Season with Salt, Pepper, Sage, Parsley, and Thyme
Cook on High for 4-5 hours or Low for 6-8 Hours.
Serve with your favorite sides.

Another reason I love this is because I love bone broth!  After I have taken as much meat off the bones that I can I put the bones back in the crockpot, add 3 quarts of water, turn on low, and let cook 12 to 24 hours (you can also add onions, celery, etc.).  I then strain the bones out and refrigerate or freeze my broth for the next time I make soup.   I really believe that the bone broth has been a HUGE reason my children haven’t gotten sick this winter.  If you get a chance look up the benefits of bone broth and you will be amazed.

Family History

Photo of Marie Garff Gudmundson

I am in the Primary Presidency in my ward and this year the Stake has set a goal that every child  from 8 to 11 submit a family name to the temple.  I was completely overwhelmed by this, thinking how can I encourage these kids to do something I don’t do?  So this last week I started and I am so grateful I did.  It has been amazing to work with my 9 year old son finding out all we can about our family history.  I have truly felt the spirit of Elijah in our home.  I found out that one of my ancestors ironed shirts for Abraham Lincoln, that I have ancestors who came over on the Mayflower, and that many of my ancestors were pioneers who gave up everything for their faith.  My great grandmother wrote a poem for her grandmother thanking her for the sacrifices she made.   This poem touched my heart greatly and made me realize how being asked to encourage the children in primary to do family history is such a small task compared to what others in my family have been asked and were willing to do.  The poem is as follows:



Today we sang the old songs you sang so long ago,
Today I read your history, proud to let my friends all know
That in my veins runs noble blood, so fine so pure and true
Inherited from pioneers, such fearless ones as you.

All is well, I hear you singing by your campfire on the plains,
As the darkness of the prairie vibrates the sweet refrains;
I see your fretful baby nestle closer to your breast,
As those strains of gentle music, lull the little one to rest.

I see the baby start with fear get closer, hold you tight,
As the cry of a hungry wolf pack breaks the stillness of the night,
Perhaps your heart would start to pound and wake him from his sleep
A thousand dangers threatened, as your vigil you would keep.

I see your husband lowered in a hole beside the trail
Watched by weeping children, and you so weak and frail,
The spot obliterated, and a few miles farther west,
In a little prairie grave your tiny girl is laid to rest.

I see you pushing on your heavy laden cart,
Laughing talking with your boys, to hide a breaking heart;
Your hands and face, that in Denmark had been so soft and fair,
Now calloused, blistered, bleeding, and tanned by sun and desert air.

How the memory of your homeland must have caused your blood to burn,
Comparing this with life back home, if you would but return;
But you kept your face turned westward, praying for a helping hand
To guide you and your hungry boys into the Promised Land.

And then your reach that summit of that last steep rocky hill,
And you look down in the valley, barren, desolate, and still,
As you viewed that land of promise you had come so far to gain,
Ah, Grandma, did your heart ache, did you whimper and complain?

No, bravely down the mountain side with blistered feet you go,
Cheered by smoke from chimneys in some mud roofed huts below,
That curling smoke, and those little huts, and the fragrance in the air,
Bespoke of warmth and friendship, that pilgrims long to share.

To the mountain tops of Zion, you had wandered from afar,
Security and freedom had been your guiding star,
But when you go to bed that night, weary sore and weak,
Your bed is made among strangers, whose tongue you cannot speak.

A frail little Danish mother, with hand unused to work,
Must feed four husky hungry boys, you must not could not shirk,
Your money gone and nothing left to feed the little breed,
Your dear dead baby’s precious clothes were traded off for food.

Volumes could be written on the hardships that you bore,
Sometimes it seemed the heavens were sealed, and your prayers were heard no more.
The faith that had sustained you through those long, long weary miles,
Was often weakened, almost lost through unexpected trials.

You passed by ninety milestones, never reached a place of fame,
But you left a great posterity, who honors your dear name.
No earthly goods you left behind, to cause discord or strife,
No bells tolled, nor flags flew half mast, when you passed out of life.

The world moved on without a pause, and when your bit of clay,
Was tucked back into mother earth, and the mourners went their way,
Me thinks I hear the angel ushers, there at Heavens Gate,
Say, “Welcome, and well done Marie, take your place among the great!”