Thursday, December 24, 2009


Benji (almost 12) has enjoyed scouting this year with his dad as scout leader.  He is full swing into "preparing" for junior high school--at least that's what his sixth grade teacher calls it.  He also became the designated Pack family babysitter.  Hmmm...are these really perks to growing up?

Ally (10) hasn't relinquished her place as Miss Creative.  She has also officially "caught up" to Benji in school by joining the 5th and 6th grade combination class.  Hyrum is the apple of her eye especially when he gives her all of the hugs and kisses that she requests.
Kayla (8) celebrated her eighth birthday by being baptized.  Her sparkling smile after coming out of the water gave us all a glimpse into her heart.  She also proved that she can do just about anything without much effort--gymnastics, tennis, math, reading.

Sammie (5) officially joined the throngs of big kids.  She loves going to kindergarten.  She also enjoys a regular diet of drawing, coloring and painting.  (We are accepting paper donations.)  

Hyrum (2) has a very curious, helpful nature.  He helps us by pouring his own cereal and milk (even if it goes all over the table).  He has redecorated the tree by eating all of the candy canes within reach.  He appointed himself our family photographer.  He's particularly good at feet and eyes.  In short, he makes us all smile!

(House painters)

Chris (middle-age) has enjoyed having Ben around more the past five months and appreciates his completing some of his year-long projects (the yard is now complete and at least the outside of the house is painted).  She has enjoyed serving as primary chorister--her dream calling.  Crocheting is her new-found hobby.  Could this be a sign of aging?

Ben was laid-off in July and is still trying to determine which way life will take him next.  He has enjoyed doing things for his wife (waking up with the kids, projects, cooking), finishing his own projects and being able to 'take' the holidays off.
The trials of life continue to refine and the Lord continues to bless.  Love to you all,
The Packs

Friday, November 27, 2009

Superb Days

We have had three superb days in a row thanks to my husband.  He sat our family down on Wednesday morning and together we decided what could go into a superb day--playing games or sports, visiting friends or family, watching movies, reading books, limited computer time, good morning devotional, learning something new, walking, service, prayers, baking/making goodies, dates, good food, projects (humanitarian, craft, home), puzzles, limited tv time, etc.

Then we all voted on what should be on the top of the list--prayers, scripture study (personal and family on both), fabulous food and sweets (a definite must), limited computer and tv time (20 min. for games or work on the computer and only 1 movie per day), and reading good books.

Once the shoulds were complete then we chose one fun activity we could do together as a family.  Otherwise it was free time to do the "Bs"--second priorities. 

So now you know the secret ingredients for having a SUPERB DAY! 

We also worked on being respectful of ourselves (don't get down on yourself which, in turn, may reflect badly on others), being respectful of others (don't say or do anything that would harm another), and being respectful of property (don't damage or misuse your own or another's property).  I realized after requesting this of my children that Ben and I play a major role in accomplishing this goal.  Some of you would probably say "no kidding", but it takes me a little longer.  

As parents we are not exempt from having to show respect to our children.  Discipline can still be accomplished with respect.  It will also be much more affective if our children know that we will love them  even through the bad times.  It's during those bad times that they need us the most.  

I am THANKFUL for my health, for having enough and even plenty, for friends, for family, and for a patient Heavenly Father.  


This picture of me and my littlest just about sums up my life!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Breakfast--the Best Meal of the Day

My mom would tell you that breakfast was my favorite meal of the day.  It's still true!  Now that I have my own family I can't help but serve it any time of day.  I should call it CHOP--Christine's House of Pancakes!

Here are a couple of recipes I love:

(came with my parents belgian waffle iron; I'm not sure of the brand)

Mix:  1 egg and 1 cup milk
Combine, add: 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt
Lastly, mix in: 1/4 cup oil (if doubling the recipe use only 1/3 cup oil)

Beat until smooth.  Pour in waffle maker until appliance indicates it is done.

This next recipe I found after I was craving some "brain" food.  I add 1/4 cup freshly ground flax seed as well.

It is probably very obvious that this is by no means comprehensive, I'm sure there will be many more breakfast delights to come!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Countdown to Christmas Already?

Well, no, not exactly.  But here's a great way to get rid of the Halloween candy that comes home with the kids--Countdown to Christmas Chains!

I tell the kids to pick all the candy they want to put in the chains (1-3 candies per day).  We place the candies down the middle and a couple of inches apart on a very long piece of saran wrap.  Hint: Pick the biggest and best for Christmas day.  

Get lots of helpers and fold one side of the wrap onto the candy and then the other side.  

Twist between each "day" and staple (for a better hold).  Place in the freezer to keep candy fresh until Dec. 1st.  Pull it out and decorate with ribbons (helps distinguish who's whose).  Makes a great garland for the family Christmas tree.  


Friday, October 30, 2009

Look if you dare!


(Ally, Hyrum, Sammie)

(Benji, Kayla)


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies courtesy of George Duran (Food Network)

My latest decision has been to post recipes that I fall in love with. My paper recipe book, where I'm supposed to organize new recipes, has been failing so I'm trying the technology way.

I've tried multiple pumpkin cookie recipes and finally found one that isn't too caky or bland. They were easy to make and when it came time to eat them, well, my family just couldn't keep their hands out of the bag. Hope you enjoy them too!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe courtesy: George Duran
Cook Time: 
15 min
: Easy
60 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree [I used cooked, drained, blended fresh pumpkin!]
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet
Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.
Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

The Pack Family, July 2009
(my attempt to fit every cookie eating family member into the picture)

Oh, and if you need a NEW idea for store-bought cakes, check out
It was good looking, very moist, and delicious!

Here is Neal with his Nothing Bundt Cake.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I finally found a recipe for a similar cucumber salad I remember eating in the Czech Republic. I minus the garlic (but if you want to try the Hungarian version go ahead). You can also use a small amount of dill seed which accomplishes the right flavor, if you don't have fresh dill. I found this recipe at

Cucumber Salad

Also known as uborka salata in Hungarian, this salad is a common side dish that can be served with a bowl of goulash or a plate of chicken paprikas. It has a very light and refreshing taste. I always love to eat this during the hot summer months.

Serves 4- 6.


For the dressing

5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups water
½ cup vinegar

For the cucumber salad

3 large cucumbers peeled and thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped (optional if you prefer a stronger taste)
¼ cup of fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste


For the dressing, use a small bowl to dissolve the sugar in water. Add vinegar and complete the dissolving. Set aside.

In a large bowl, wash, peel, and thinly slice the cucumbers. Season generously with salt. Let stand for 15 minutes. Pour dressing over the cucumbers until just covered. Add the garlic and dill. Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight if possible before serving.

Serve chilled.

Friday, August 21, 2009

So you're turning ten?

You don't believe me?
Ha, Ha!
It's really true!
Happy Birthday, ALLY!

Friday, July 17, 2009

'cause Daddy said!

Ben claims that he had this fun tradition as a kid to play with shaving cream on the lid of the toilet. When my kids asked me if they could play in shaving cream, I didn't see any harm in it.




Not even Hyrum thought it was a good idea by the end.

Little did I know they would give me a really good reason to give the table a good cleaning!

I have to admit that face painting was my idea. Each of the kids had a go at my face. Okay so even I let down my guard sometimes...

Sammie's a pretty good artist don't you think? This is her "bee" turned "butterfly"!

Ben and I may not always agree on what's fun and what's not, but we can always agree that the kids will make the most of it. Fun, in their case, is an understatement!

from the eyes of a child

I would have never even considered letting "Bubby" (aka. Hyrum) use the camera if we would have still been in the "roll of film" era. But as you can see he's a pro, as pro as most 2 year olds go!

Test of Patience

I thought my kids tested my patience, but this "new" house thing is getting the better of me. There are still no formidable answers, but we decided to document it anyway. (Notice that the grass is dead. It's taking them--the mortgagers--too long to decide if we are a good fit.)

Here is our DREAM:

Here is how we are feeling NOW:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

God Bless the U.S.A.

AMERICA, a place where you can grow up to be anything you want to be!
AMERICA, a place where anything is possible!
AMERICA, a place where we DON'T have to use hot air balloons to escape!

AMERICA, a place where we can walk hand-in-hand!
AMERICA, a place where justice prevails! (Kayla, what are you doing in there?)
AMERICA, a place where freedoms are celebrated!

AMERICA, a place where dreams are realized!
AMERICA, a place where people from all walks of life and places are welcome!
"AMERICA, we pledge allegiance to thee!"
AMERICA, a place of plenty!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sammie turns the big 5

(The Party planners)

So before you know what became of Sammie's birthday party, I felt I had to quote her today saying, "Well, I didn't even get to plan my own birthday party. Everybody else did it for me." I'm not sure what compelled her to say that, but I must disclose that everything we planned (meaning the older kids and I) was agreed to wholeheartedly by yours truly.

Now that you've had the 411, just sit back relax and enjoy...drum roll please...SAMMIE IN WONDERLAND!

Hot teapot, Hot teapot, Who's got the teapot?
If you've got the Hot teapot, you are out!

Sammie and her cake before the tragic attempt
at lighting the candles in a windstorm.

I finally convinced everyone to move inside
where SHE was finally able to blow out her candles.

You're welcome, Sammie! Have a great year!