Thursday, February 26, 2009


As many of you know my sister Karli is having an all out BLOG WAR with her husband Mike. Mike is an Internet Marketing guru by trade and has been pulling some tricks out of his sleeve. So the gloves are off! Not to mention he was cheating on her the first day of the war, redirecting her traffic to his site! So all you wonderful bloggers out there - feel free to post about Karli and her blog war, you can even cut and paste her blog about it, she won't mind in any way. Other ideas - post about it on your facebook or myspace profile, email all your friends and family, or you can always email Oprah, I think she would be VERY interested!
Leave a comment on my site or on Karli's to let us know how you are promoting her site and you will be entered into a drawing for a great prize from our home decor store Upon the Shelf, we will ship anywhere! Thanks for all your help, I look forward to hearing about your marketing/spamming techniques you use to promote or Long live Karli!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Soap in the Mouth

Meet Soap:

Meet Gage:
Gage has had the recent opportunity of meeting soap as well. He was having a problem with telling his brothers, "I hate you, I hate this, I hate that", it was an ongoing issue that I was not pleased with. Add to that other gems of words, such as stupid, dumb, and various potty talk so well known to boys. So...after repeated threats and discussions, I finally resorted to soap in the mouth. Iknow, I know...I have seen A Christmas Story many times and like Ralphy, Gage may go blind from soap poisoning. But it has seemed to my detriment!

That's right, my great parenting abilities have worked against me! Now all I hear all day is, "Mom, you said a bad word and now you get soap in your mouth!" I had no idea how often I said stupid, dumb and hate. But with Gage (aka bad word police) around I am reminded constantly. I would have loved to blame his bad language on someone else, those pesky neighbors, brothers, cousins, ANY ONE! But no, I am to blame and it is a hard habit to break.

The boys were discussing in the car the other day what bad words are. Gage confessed that he says bad words every night in his bed. But he says them quietly so I won't hear them. He also imparted more wisdom to his older brothers. Did you know if you say "for example" before a bad word, it isn't bad? I didn't either, but I can just see myself saying "for example" a lot more often now!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunday Dress Ups

This gaggle of boys vastly outnumbers the two girls that have joined them. But it doesn't seem to bother them to dress up in anything that they can find. This time it was teddy bear and doll clothes at grandma's house. The older boys had a hoot dressing up the younger ones in pink girl clothes, but they couldn't help themselves, they had to get in on the action as well. Not sure those little dolly clothes will ever fit a doll again!

Ain't he handsome?

Remind me why the girls at school are trying to kiss this little toothless mug? I mean I love him, but I'm his mother!

Help My Sister Out!

Hello, loyal readers, if there are any of you... My sister and her husband are having a fun little competition to see who can get more people to their blogs this week. She is a SAHM of three crazy little red headed boys and he is an Internet Marketer. So you would think that he would have the upper hand in this little competition, but as of yesterday she is ahead of him, even after he cheated and had her site redirected to his for a few hours, dirty, rotten guy! But she still triumphed. So to inflate her stats, please visit her blog by clicking right here! You can read about the competition, but she also has some great tutorials, crafts, recipes and hilarious stories of life in small town Canada with three crazy kids, did I mention that they are red heads? Enough said! Thanks for helping her out, she will really appreciate it and I guarantee that you will get a kick out of her site.


I spent a lot of time yesterday making vinyls for our store in Canada. I was busy in the basement, Tate had gone over to his friends to play and McCall was asleep. That left Gage and I. He was puttering around playing with Legos and Tinkertoys building all sorts of swords and guns. I asked him to take care of his blankets before they got all dirty from being left on the floor. So he left to go upstairs with his blankets. Ten minutes later when I had not heard from him, I started to call him. I called and called but no answer. I figured, I better go check on what he is up to, silence is always an issue when it comes to that child!
I grabbed McCall and went upstairs, almost tripping on the blankets he had left on the stairs. I called and called again, but no answer! I was starting to get worried at this point so I checked all the doors, they were all still locked so I knew he hadn't escaped the confines of our home. But I still couldn't find him. I searched every room, under beds, in closets, cupboards and bath tubs, all the while screaming his name by now. Still no Gage. I ran to get the phone to call, well I don't know who I was going to was then I remembered the blankets on the stairs.

I ran back to the blankets, that I had stepped over in fear of tripping, picked them up and there he was, the little angel, fast asleep! What a relief, I was so glad to find him and even happier that he was taking a much needed nap. I am going to have to keep better tabs on that one!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just like her mama...

Some of you may be thinking..."we know, we saw her chubby pictures..." but she also has some fine and dainty features:

She has long, skinny feet and fingers, at least proportionate to her body!

Seven Year Itch

Okay, maybe more like 8 year itch! I bought this dress when I was expecting Connor, we didn't know he was a boy yet. So I waited, and waited, and waited, finally someone got to wear it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tate on turning 5

I find that these two photos really capture the essence that is TATE! He is such a serious little fella, very observant and always thinking. But then he is so silly and snuggly and excited about life. If only I had a third picture of him throwing one of his famous tantrums...but now that he is 5 maybe those are through! That's right, our little Tatey Bugs turned 5 this weekend. Let me tell you about his day...
6:39 am Tate is awake and does a quick walk through the house to see if anyone else is up
6:41 am Tate finds mom feeding McCall and he quickly comes to snuggle up for his morning hugs and kisses. We sing happy birthday, talk about being 5 and all the fun changes that will happen in the coming year.
7:02 am Tate brings the phone to Mom so he can call uncle Mike and wish him a happy birthday as well. Mom explains that uncle Mike will be sleeping because it is 6 am where he is at (you are welcome uncle Mike!)
7:13 am Tate decides it is time for everyone to join in his birthday celebration and proceeds to wake up the entire household.
7:32 am Tate goes to get dressed and in the process removes all size 4T clothing from his closet, as he is now 5 and size 4 does not fit him anymore!
8:18 am Tate wants to call all the pre-school moms to let them know he is now too old for pre-school.
8:33 am Tate goes to pick up doughnuts with dad, his choice for birthday breakfast.
9:47 am Play on and word games on Dad's cell phone
I stopped keeping track at this point.
Tate was very prepared for his birthday, he had all his meals planned out weeks in advance (doughnuts for breakfast, Carl's Junior for lunch, pizza for dinner).
We went to Walmart a few days ago to get some ideas of what he would like for his birthday, he picked out just about anything he saw from hoola hoops to Legos! After giving mom some "suggestions" of presents he told me, "now I am going to forget about all those presents mom so I will be surprised!"
We had a fun day and are glad to have Tate around these parts. He is a fun loving little boy who brings us so much happiness and joy. But I am afraid the tantrums will not cease. Disappointment of not being taken swimming overcame him at bedtime. In his melt down he exclaimed, "I have been planning on swimming for a year!" Here's to another year of planning with Tate!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Little Miss Piggy

This "little" girl doesn't miss many meals, okay no meals. She is now 10 weeks old and weighs 15 pounds. Some of you may not think that is all that spectacular, but considering she weighed just over 6 pounds upon her coming home, I think it is pretty amazing. I can already tell she is going to be an over achiever! That's my girl!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My new crush....

Did I say crush? I mean LOVE! I picked up this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, who is my new favorite female on the planet, this in no way takes away from all of you other favorite females! I tried out her recipe for peach crisp because Ryan loves his peach crisp and wants it all the time, and I love to try new things. So this one interested me. Initially I thought, seriously how good can a peach crisp be?Can I just mention here how horrible I feel about my severe misguidance in the peach crisp department. If you too feel like you have been misguided please try this! You are about to find out just how good life can be!

Peach Crisp with Maple Sauce - Divinely Appointed!

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, cut into bits
5-6 cups, peeled, sliced fresh peaches
Juice and grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
2 T. maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Cut in butter with fork or pastry blender until mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Place peaches in 9-inch square baking pan or smaller baking dish. Gently mix in lemon juice, rind and maple syrup. Top with crumb mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake about 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 to 30 minutes more or until top is crisp and brown. Serve warm with maple cream sauce.
*Maple Cream Sauce

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
5 T. maple syrup
3 T. light corn syrup

Combine all ingredients in heavy sauce pan; cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until thickened and reduced by 1/3, approximately 20 minutes. Chill. Drizzle generously over Peach Crisp, or do as I did and generously POUR it over the crisp!
I did not have a fresh lemon on hand so I used lemon juice, I did not have fresh peaches (it is February!) so I used peaches I canned last summer. It turned out delicious! Ryan LOVED it and I think will only be wanting this version from now on. The Maple Cream is a must! It is so delicious that I ended up having several spoonfuls of that without the crisp! DIVINE!
I will confess, I also had this for breakfast this morning and I liked it even more because the cream sauce had set up more over night and was thicker. So next time...I am going to make the cream sauce a few hours before I bake the crisp. Please try this, you will love me forever, your thighs might not, but it is a chance I am willing to take!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I feel....guilt!

Yesterday my four year old and I had a conversation that went a lot like this:

Tate: "Mom, how many more days until Friday?"

Mom: "Three more days."

Tate: "I am so excited for Friday!"

Mom: "Why? Because it is your birthday on Saturday and only one more sleep?"

Tate: "Nope, because Dad always snuggles me on Friday night, he doesn't have time other nights."

So very sad! But unfortunately his dad has meetings last night and could still not snuggle him. My efforts at compensating were noticed, but they did not replace the good old dad snuggling that Tate craves. We are going to have to change a few things around here before they don't want to snuggle us anymore! But first I need to blog about it...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Meet the Parents

This is Mel & Kathi

Wedding Day 1971

They are my parents, you may now feel some sympathy for them! Okay, enough sympathy, I wasn't THAT bad!

My parents are two very different people. They don't have a lot of common interests, hobbies or activities. While my father loves hunting, my mom loves reading. Dad loves fishing, mom loves decorating. Mom loves movies, dad doesn't. But some how or another they work together and I love them. Everyone should know them a little bit better, so here you go!

Kathi -

  • Raised 9 kids in rural British Columbia, Canada, no small task. We spent the majority of our childhood outside whilst mom was inside baking, cleaning, doing laundry and taking care of who ever the baby was at the time. Our outside recreation will need to be discussed further at another time.
  • Mom loves movies, or is it the movie popcorn? Hard to tell, but I think she has seen almost every movie ever made. She often asks me, "have you seen...", to which my answer is almost always, not yet! We have often suggested that she start a movie review for the local paper, maybe she could start a blog?
  • As children, mom used to sew all of our clothing and for years we would find fabric with patterns attached and all ready to be cut out and sewn into some kind of polyester wonder.
  • My mom has a knack for floral arranging and decorating, although we are beginning to wonder if her taste has leaned more toward the grandmother side of things now...
  • Mom loves history and anything to do with it, she is always reading some kind of history book and has begun taking history trips around the world - Jerusalem, Guatemala, Eastern US, etc. Mom and the girls took a trip to Pennsylvania this fall and we had a great time there.
  • Mom reads just about anything, she can always be found with a book in her room, although more often we are finding her sleeping with her books than reading them, must be getting on in age. :)
  • Mom takes a good joke pretty well - thank heavens or we would never be invited over!
  • Teaching seminary - although I was not always appreciative of this (around 1992-94), my mom is a great seminary teacher and loved doing it. She also excels at Sunday school and just about any lesson she gives.
  • Scriptures - my mom is a pretty darn good scriptorian!
  • Goodies - mom has always had a goody that she gets hooked on. In the past it has been M&M's, coconut cookies, oreo's, screamers, Dr. Pepper...we always tease her about her current addictions.
  • Creative - mom always helped us come up with some pretty great Halloween costumes, science fair projects and activities to keep us busy.
  • Cook - mom is a great cook. As children we often came home to a pot of hot soup on the stove, home made rolls and cookies. To me that is the essence of winters in Canada, thanks to my mother. She can also make a casserole or soup out of anything!
  • Shopping - I don't know anyone who shops like my mom. Good thing she hasn't figured out the internet quite yet!
  • My mom doesn't like - mud, crowds, entertaining, camping, noise, riding three wheelers or horses. She also doesn't like her daughters to go through her closets and "organize", it's just a nice way of saying de-junk, and we are all great de-junkers!
  • Also raised 9 kids in rural British Columbia, Canada
  • Raised thousands of pigs, chickens and cows over the years
  • Loves to work! Nothing is fun if it doesn't involve work. Dad works more than anyone I know and enjoys it more than anyone I know. He is happiest when working on his ranch, driving equipment, clearing land, working the cows, stacking wood, etc. He has taught each of us kids the importance of hard work!
  • Loves hunting and trapping. The guy can hunt! He has his own trophy room up at his shop, it is the biggest room in the office and contains everything from a muskox to a polar bear to some sort of sheep hunted in New Zealand. He has been all over the world hunting, Tajikistan, New Zealand, Alaska, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba (Northern), Alberta, Utah...probably more that I don't know. I imagine a safari will be next on his list.
  • Loves fishing. Dad loves deep sea fishing, he has his own boat now and spends a lot of time out on the ocean during the summers. We don't complain though, who can when there is plenty of fresh salmon, crab, halibut and prawns? Thanks Dad!
  • Trapping - ughhh! My poor mother has put up with trapping and all the glory that comes with it, especially when dad was teaching Jared how to skin the animals, a few too many scent glands were knicked during the process - YUCK!
  • Card games - it is a good thing Dad doesn't live close to Vegas. He LOVES card games, Rook, Mennonite Rummy, etc. He is a great card player and very competitive, he has a hard time finding a Rook partner these days, now that all of us kids are grown and do not have to play with him! It's always fun to beat him though, all though rare!
  • Games - he actually likes almost all games, Dominoes is a favorite though.
  • Saturday Soup - Dad makes soup every Saturday, it is always the same soup. Over the years it has turned into Saturday thru Tuesday soup because there are fewer people to eat it and he hasn't decreased the quantity just yet.
  • Farming - dad likes farming, not sure quite why?
  • Logging - I have fond memories of riding in the log trucks with my dad and spending time out at camp with him. I would hate to do it now, but as a kid it was the best!
  • Sports - like I said Dad is competitive and would cheer rather loudly at our games, then the tutorials in the kitchen afterward were always so embarrassing, but so fun to laugh at now!
  • Journals - dad is pretty darn good at keeping his journal up to date.
  • Scriptures - like Mom, Dad is very good with his scripture knowledge, he too taught seminary for several years. Jana and Jared were his students and he was able to teach Jana about many things, not really scripture related, in his class. You'll have to ask Jana about this!
  • Sweet tooth - Dad has a sweet tooth for any home made treat, but his favorites are those his mother makes, sugar cookies (no frosting), snicker doodles, home made doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and blueberry pie. Us girls are trying to get those recipes down, but no one does it like Grandma!
  • Bargain - loves a good bargain, if it isn't on sale, he dickers and gets a better deal
  • Dad doesn't like - waste, anything can be re-used for something. Jana and I learned this just a few years ago when we cleaned out the basement at mom and dad's only to have dad go through our mountain of a garbage pile and re-claim half of it!

The years have been good to them. They are great parents who have managed to get all their boys out on missions, all their kids married in the temple, raised two class valedictorians, three amazing daughters (I had to put a plug in for us girls!), and taught us to love one another and that family is always number one! Love you Mom and Dad!

Shout OUT

This is for Tom, my supportive father-in-law who consistently checks out my blog, but has yet to leave a comment :) He mentioned to me the other day that he has not yet appeared on my blog. Well, this one is for you! Thanks for visiting!

My Current Thoughts

Caution, this may be disturbing to some, I apologize grandma and Lani! Lately I have been feeling like I should be exploring my creativity a little more. For some reason I have been feeling a whole lot more creative since blogging more. I have given up scrapbooking, sewing (didn't really start it at all), journal writing, etc. all for the love of blogging and photography. But I am feeling like I want to take it further, branch out and do a few blogs so I am going to have to learn a whole lot!
So...I have started a few blogs, many of you already visit our growingupgulbranson blog. It is a "blogimony" of our experiences as children growing up in our household of 9 kids, various pets and animals, stay-at-home mom who we undoubtedly drove crazy, logging father, farming family and daily antics committed by all. We had a great childhood and I am excited to get this going a little more, if only my lazy @%#@& brothers would leave a comment or post once in awhile, love you guys, but don't push me to torture as we did as children!
In another effort to explore some creativity and serve my ever increasing need for affirmation and popularity I have started a wedding blog, warning it is in the VERY early stages. But I am pretty excited about it. So if you see something fun at a wedding, get a shot of it and email it to me and I will post it on the site, now to figure out how to get a bunch of traffic there...
Another thing I would like to do...I frequent this blog that makes me laugh and gives me some great recipes, everything I have tried has been GREAT so far! She has some great photo tips, etc. She also wrote a "book" online and it is titled "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels", she grew up in the city and now lives on a ranch in the plains. Well, I got thinking, I'm not too much different, I love cooking, photography, blogging, etc... But there is one great difference, I grew up on a farm/ranch and moved to the city, she was opposite. So I was thinking, maybe I should write about my childhood on the farm and my subsequent move to the city, I thought of maybe calling it Sh%&#@ Kickers to City Slickers. Let me know your thoughts on that one. Only I am afraid most people wouldn't be interested in a book with that title! I'll have to ponder on it for awhile longer...
I am apparently in quite a mood today, so I apologize for the potty talk, but that's what you get from a farm girl.

Boy Nerds

Start them young is our theory here. The boys take after their father when it comes to computers, they beg every day to be allowed to play online, their favorite site is Of course it is probably the only one they know about so far. They also love to see themselves on the computer so my blog is frequently visited by them!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Immaginative Boys

Our boys love to use their immaginations to dress up and play make believe. We are constantly picking up costumes around the house and putting them away. They have an entire box of costumes in the toy room and they are the most played with "toys". All the boys were home today and enjoyed playing and dressing up together all morning. We got a few pictures and a video of their antics. Enjoy!

Bob the Builder

McCall video

This poor little girl has been sick for 4 days now, but you wouldn't be able to tell until she sneezed the snot bubble! She has been so pleasant and easy going even with being sick.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I give up! Every time I try to take McCall's pictures in her blessing dress she is in a fowl mood. Although this time I can't blame her, she is such a sick little girl right now. She has a horrible cold and is struggling to eat, breathe, swallow, etc. It just doesn't seem right that some one so tiny should get sick. She hasn't complained at all, no fussing or crying, unless I am trying to take her picture! In fact, she has slept better since being sick!
Anyway, today was a great day to take pictures so I gave it another go. I am afraid this is the last time I attempt in her blessing dress as she is about to pop a few seams (even with being sick she gained another pound in the last 10 days, almost 15 lbs now).


This is Ryan:

  • TiVo - can't live without it, claims it saves time...well, maybe, but so does having no tv!
  • Reading - Ryan is always reading at least 3 books at a time, don't know how he keeps track of them. His favorites are spy/political corruption/mystery.
  • Technology - all the new gadgets are so intriguing & amazing
  • Lasagna & Spaghetti - bad day? It's all good with a good old fashioned plate of spaghetti
  • Waffles - breakfast isn't really breakfast unless you can pour syrup on it!
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies - no explanation needed, just pure unadulterated LOVE
  • Farming - can't explain this one, but it's true
  • Football - anything to do with it, but especially BYU football
  • Family - his boys, his little girl and his wife, he is so good to us all
  • Sunday afternoon naps - they don't happen often but when they do...HEAVEN
  • 24 & The Office & Prison Break - the guy loves his action movies
  • Friends - catching up with friends is one of his favorite past times, but never enough time to get caught up!
  • Politics - a new found hobby, 2008 Utah state delegate
  • Travel - anywhere and everywhere
  • Games - Settlers of Catan, Dominoes, Rook, Monopoly, you name it he likes to play it
  • Red Sox, Broncos, Jazz, BYU


  • Drama - television drama is okay, everyday people drama is not
  • Nancy - Pelosi & Grace, might be the name but mostly women in politics???
  • Bandwagon Ute Fans - die hard fans are okay, but bandwagon, I don't think so
  • Cold Weather - I am not sure how he made it through 5 Canadian winters
  • IRS & Revenue Canada - come on, who gets audited three times in 5 years?
  • Allergies - allergic to so many things, pollen, grass, hay, dogs, cats, coconut, cantaloupe, his own body heat, bananas, and anything that makes his lips tingle!


  • Ryan is such an easy going fella, he willingly goes shopping, re-arranges furniture, cleans bathrooms, makes weekend breakfasts. I could go on, but really he does so much to make so many people so happy.
  • No a lot of fashion sense. He actually asked for index cards with pictures of outfits that work together for Valentines Day...I don't think he is THAT bad, but apparently he does.
  • Entrepreneur - Ryan is always coming up with ideas for businesses. I married a pre-med, soon to be going to medical school student, three years later he graduated in business, and from the U! Talk about deception!
  • Coach - Ryan really enjoys coaching and has coached baseball, basketball and football. I think he especially misses the football coaching...but we had to move...maybe this year with Connor.
  • Predictable - Ryan enjoys things staying the same and is very predictable. I think I can order from any restaurant what he would want, he likes the same things over and over again, drives me crazy because I like to try new things and if he would try a new dish, that means I get to try two! But so nice in so many other ways.

I love this guy!

Baby Jeans

I don't know what it is about a pair of jeans, but these little jewels are so darn cute I just had to take pictures. It might be the pink stitching, or the tiny pockets, or the fact that the cuffs are ruffled...but I think all can agree that little girl jeans are just so adorable. It doesn't matter if your belly hangs over the top, as seen above, or that you have diaper bottom, it all works with a little pair of jeans.

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day one and all. We had so much fun decorating cookies, not as much fun cleaning up the mess, but oh well. Memories! The boys are very into Valentines this year. Connor spent hours creating his Valentine box for school, it turned out very...interesting! He came home with a slew of valentines from his class and was so excited by how much candy was involved. Tate and Gage had a pre-school valentine party at our house where we decorated cookies and made valentine bags with the six boys from pre-school and some of their siblings. Fun was had by all and I was even able to enjoy myself amidst the mess, for those of you who know me well know that is no small feat for my overly obsessive clean freak personality.


I am now a believer...warning, some of the images posted may appear disturbing to some, especially those who already had to live through the 80's once. I apologize for the hairstyles, no one bothered to tell me...

Why oh why? That's all that needs to be said! But I must defend myself. What is a teenage girl to do with insanely curly hair? Oh, I know - let all her friends comb it out at girls camp and on basketball trips, then take pictures. Not a smart idea, but I hope it provides a good laugh for everyone who gets to see it. I know many of you will want to know if you can borrow some of these images for advertising, etc... I say, sure go ahead, I can laugh at my hideous self!
We won't discuss the clothing choices here, that is a whole other post.. but evolution just the same!