Thanksgiving is TOMORROW! Sheeesh, I swear Halloween was just yesterday.  Well I have been trying to prepare better this year than in years before.  This will be our third year that we are not in Utah with our big families for Thanksgiving.  I have learned a lot when preparing most, if not all, of the meal by myself. I really am not one that likes to cook.  I like the tradition of food, and I like to eat it, but I am not one that LOVES to prepare it. In the past, I have tried to make everything the day of.  Oh, boy was that a bad idea.  I got so stressed about making everything that I did not enjoy myself at all.  I have learned from these experiences and this year have made a schedule for my meal plan so that I don't have so much to make the day of.  Yesterday, I made homemade cranberry sauce.  I found the recipe here.  It was very easy.

 In the recipe she specifically says to watch it so it doesn't boil over....and what do I do?....Watch it as it boils over.....but its okay, it turned out!

Another thing about cooking and me, I am pretty lazy about it and if I can find a short cut, I will take it. I also made two pumpkin pies yesterday.  The shortcut I took was with the crust.  Two cups of flour mixed with one cube of butter plus a little water to make it the right consistency and viola! roll it out and put it in your pie pan and there you go. I gotta tell you the infamous pumpkin pie story of 2011.  I made two full pies plus a little one the night before Thanksgiving but when I checked them after the timer went off, decided that they probably needed a few more minutes.  I put them back in with out setting the timer again, thinking I would remember them in a min.... Well, a whole movie later, we are getting ready for bed and I have a thought of my apartment burning down and go, "MY PIES!!!!!".... Uh....Ya....needless to say, they were black! Lesson learned: ALWAYS put the timer on, even if its only for an extra minute cause I WILL forget.

This years pies!! Perfect.
Today, I will be making the rolls.  The recipe I used can be found here.  I really loved this recipe, partly because she is very detailed about how to make it and the dough was pretty yummy too! I have to start these early in the day to make sure the dough has plenty of time to rise multiply times.  That is another thing I have learned about bread/rolls that need to rise, I get in a panic when I don't give them enough time to do their rolls get a day all on their own.. I might even make the pudding and whipped cream (for the banana cream pie) today and assemble it tomorrow.

The dough waiting...writing this post!
Tomorrow, the Hub is on turkey duty.  That is another thing I learned, give the husband an assignment! I don't have to do everything. Now, let me tell you what happened last year with the tuuurrkey. I put it in with plenty of time and thought I had read the directions carefully and put the plastic baggy thing over it perfectly. Timer goes off, I go to pull it out of the oven, expecting perfection but instead the plastic bag has melted to the top of the turkey and the bird itself is looking dry and crispy.  I stop and think for a second, look at what the temp of the oven is set at and find out its on BROIL!  It seemed that my 14-month-old had discovered how fun it was to turn the dial on the oven.  After that day, I had lost my appetite for turkey until now. This year, there will be constant checking of the oven temperature while the turkey is cooking!

 These are re-enactment photos
The things I will be making tomorrow are whipped sweet potatoes with brown sugar-pecan topping that I got from my friend, Bacon, Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes that I found here, and stove top stuffing (another thing I do to stay sane, NOT everything is homemade, I like the boxed stuff anyway), and last but not least, steamed asparagus drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

Hopefully this year we wont have any disasters. I am sad that I am the ONLY one of my sibs that will not be in Park City for Thanksgiving but I am very excited because a niece and nephew from the Hub's side are coming to visit us and we have lots of fun things planned.  I am also hoping that Lindsay's post on Friday will have lots of pictures of all the fun they are having. I hope y'all (I live in the south now, I can say that), have a very Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the day. 

I would LOVE to know what your holiday preparation strategies are that help you enjoy your holiday and not stress during the day.  Please leave a comment!



I love holidays, so much. There are so many reasons to love them but I love them most because if you think about it, most holidays are focused on pro-social behavior. How beautiful is it that we have these select holidays in our country that reminds each person to be a better person and focus on the good? I just love it! Sometimes I feel our society is gradually forgetting about the values of kindness, sharing, helping and loving with the pure intent of just making someone else happy. These days we are so inclined to do something good to better our selves or our lives in someway that we rarely take the time to look at our neighbor and make sure they are doing ok. Anyway, before I get on my soapbox I just want to say I am so excited for Thanksgiving I cannot even contain myself. I have already celebrated it with Clark's family which was so sweet and special. We went up to my brother and sister-in-law's in Northern Utah to their cute and cozy apartment, ate some yummy dinner, talked, and played some games. This week my entire family is coming out {except Tiff :( }. It's going to be a HUGE family event and I'm so excited to get to spend so much time with my family!

^^^ Yummy fruit tray we prepared for our dinner with the Brimhalls^^^

As Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away I really just wanted to write about my top things I am thankful for this year. I'm sure most do, but if you haven't yet, take the time to write down a few of the good things in your life that you are grateful for too.

K, I know you can see how obsessed we are with our family but seriously, I am feel so lucky to have the people I have in my life which includes my parents, my grandparents, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my siblings, my in-laws, my nieces and nephews and of course my sweetheart, Clarkie Bear :). Over the weekend I was at my grandparent's house with some family and on the drive home I just contemplated the importance of families and the impact we have on each other. You know, it really is interesting to think you have this instinctive bond with these people that you love and think the best of. I seriously need to have my family times. It gives me such a confidence boost in who I am and I feel so energized from the love I get from them.

MY RELIGION, and yours
I am so grateful I live in a country where I can worship in the religion that makes me happy. I am also thankful that others can practice in the religion or denomination that makes them happy or choose to not practice a religion at all. I think we as humans should all have the right to believe and think and hope for those things that make us feel uplifted and full without the fear that others will condemn us for it. The sad thing is there are many out there that cannot believe as makes them happy. I am SO grateful I can.

You all that are close to me know that most of the time I feel like Julie from the movie Julie and Julia when she is at work speaking on the phone with customers {please tell me you've seen it... I couldn't find a clip online!}Anyway, even though my job isn't the most glamorous, I still am sooo incredibly grateful I have a full-time job and started 2 days after I graduated (coming on a year!). I am also soooo grateful my job is at the University of Utah. They offer amazing benefits here for full-time employees and I get to eat lunch with my hubby everyday since he is a student here at the U! Plus I feel pretty cool that I am the sugar-mama too.
^^^ Just a BYU girl workin at the U^^^

I do not know what I would do without music these days. I am constantly listening to it at work when I am sitting in my cubicle or at home washing dishes. I also just received a responsibility at my church (also referred to as a "calling") where I teach music to the children age 12 and under. I know I know, it's pretty hilarious but I have learned to love hearing these sweet children sing about the things they love. Music has a way of moving me emotionally and I am so grateful to have it in my life.
^^^ Listening to this right now^^^ 

I am obsessed with pictures. I love love love looking at them, taking them, editing them mostly because I love reminiscing on memories and things that have happened in my life as well as things I have never seen before or have heard a lot about but never experienced (such as things in my husband's life before I met him). I recently have gotten a hold of my grandparent's old pictures and it is so fun going through and seeing what my grandparents looked like when they were young as well as the different things they did together. I love pictures and am so grateful that moments can be saved and shared forever.
^^^ Some fun pics on my phone as of late^^^

This is going to be the last one I write because I could seriously go on forever, listing the things I am thankful for. I want to end with children though because they are seriously the sweetest beings in the world. We recently just had a slumber party with two of my nieces which was of the most fun Friday nights I've had. The pure innocence of a child is such a good reminder to look at the simple things and not fret about too much in life. Have you ever just sat down and taken the time to sit and talk to a child? Have you asked them about their dreams, hopes, things they love, or ideas they have? It is probably the most adorable thing I have ever experienced and very enlightening as well. I love children and am grateful for their sweet spirits and all that I can learn from them.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving! This time of year can be a bit stressful but please take the time to reflect on what you are grateful for and the good in the world, because there is a lot of it if you really take a second to look.
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In our society the term mother is not only becoming more unimportant but it also becoming a little degrading.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful to be a mother. From the time I was young, moms have become the butt of a lot of jokes; "your mom" jokes, "fat mom" jokes, and probably others that I can not think of right now. While I admit that I have laughed at many of these jokes and I have never taken any of them personally, I find it very sad that society has made a mockery out of mothers.

I received a book entitled, Heaven's Touch; A Tribute to Women, for a Mother's Day present one year. This book is a compilation of quotes about the importance of women. The following gives the importance that I wish to convey:

"Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels." -James R. Clark

In this world, money is becoming more important than being a mother. I understand the need to be financially stable, but placing the importance of having material items above raising our children, is selfish and sad.

In this day and age where morals are being taught less and less is a time where spending more time with our children is important. They are being taught so many things outside of the home that we have no control over, we need to spend as much time in the home teaching in order to help them learn the things that we find important.

In order for motherhood to become more significant to our society we need to put more value in its importance.

"Kristen was finishing a graduate degree and had recently given birth to her second child. She felt the other graduates had accomplished so much more and was reluctant to attend the graduation dinner. Her fears were confirmed when, at the dinner, the students were asked to list their professional accomplishments. Kristen recalled: "I suddenly felt embarrassed and ashamed. I had nothing to call myself, no lofty position, no impressive job title." To make matters wost, the professor read the lists as he presented a diploma to each student. The women ahead of Kristen had many accomplishments: she already had a PhD, was receiving a second master's degree, and she'd even been a mayor! The woman received grand applause.

Then it was Kristen's turn. She handed the professor her blank sheet, trying to hold back the tears. The professor had been one of her teachers and had praised her performance. He looked at her blank paper. Without missing a beat he announced, "Kristen holds the most critical role in all of society." He was quiet for a few seconds, then declared in a powerful voice, "She is the mother of her children." Instead of a few courteous claps, people rose to their feet. There was just one standing ovation that night; it was for the mother in the room."  -Bonnie D. Parkin

I believe that if mothers put more importance in their roles and responsibilities that our society and world would be changed for the better. I am thankful that I am a mother. I am thankful I know how important it is for me to be a mother to my children. HAPPY THANKSGIVING :)

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Can I just have a whole blog where I start out saying how much I love my sisters? Yes. Yes I can. I can't go a day without talking to one of these girls. They have been such a strength to me throughout my life. If you don't have sister, just find a good best friend that's a girl. That works.

I'll start with Tiffany. Tiffany is the boss mamma. My grandpa gave her that nick name when we were in high school and it has stuck and has never been more true. But she also goes by the Fliffy Fluffer. Flannel Pants. T-Fan. Tiff. Fanny Pants. She was always the cool big sister growing up. We always wanted to be with her, hang out with her, wear what she wore, do our hair like her. If Tiffany did it, so did we. She's the only one of us with a widows peak. Has the second thickest hair out of us and is probably the best at sewing.

Next is Ashley. I haven't called her Ashley in years because we refer to her as The Wig. She goes by the Wig, Wiglet, Wig-dig, Wiggy. As long as it has WIG in it you can't go wrong. She got the nickname because she was a wiggly child. The Wig is the middle child. Yes, growing up she suffered from middle child syndrome where she missed out on random family gatherings and we're not sure why. But the Wig knows how to make friends anywhere and with anyone. She's really outgoing and loves to laugh. She's also kissed the most boys and knows everyone in the family's birthday. She has the thickest hair, hair like a horse.

And last (well technically I'm the last) is Kaylee. Kaylee has a couple nicknames but the one that has stuck is Big Big Kaylee or The Biggs. She infamously swam across the swimming pool all by herself and my Dad gave it to her for being a big girl. Kaylee is the sweetest. She knows right from wrong like black and white. Kaylee is a genius as well. It was always nice in high school to be known as Kaylee's little sister. She loves getting to know people and is such a good true friend. She really does have the best heart.

As for me I guess I will share a few nicknames I have received. Linny Pinny, Pin Pin, Pindsay, Wendel, and because I told my husband Wendel was one of my nicknames he thinks its funny to call me Wendezels. I'm the baby. I have had the privilege to look up to these sisters growing up. Watching all of them hoping to be like them. I try to make my sisters laugh by doing the infamous Chris Farley skit  "So what if my clothes are too tight..." but I use their names and qualities instead.

Now, it may seem like we're the perfect set of sisters. That we get along all the time and are best friends all the time. But we have had our struggles. Usually when we all get together someone is crying, or  offended but it always ends with us all laughing together because we get over everything pretty quickly. Because of this we have realized we need each other. We all have different unique qualities that really bring us together. And we wouldn't be us with one of us missing. Whenever we are not all together we can tell something is missing.
Who do you think looks the most alike?



And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
                                                                                                  -Matthew 25:40

One thing we learn from Christ's example has been service. We believe in serving all those around us. After the typhoon hit in the Philippines, the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stepped in to help.

On November 8, 2013 one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, with sustained winds nearing 200 mph, struck the Philippines. One of several landfalls was south of Tacloban. The next day missionaries from the Tacloban Philippines Mission gathered in Tacloban to offer assistance to those in need.
Click on the link to learn more about what the LDS missionaries did. 

The LDS church has a very good humanitarian aide that goes to many different people all over the world. They not only assist in natural disasters but with; wheelchairs, clean water, emergency response, food, vision care, neonatal resuscitation training, and immunizations. 

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
                                                                        - Mosiah 2:17

I am so grateful to have been brought up in a church that values serving other with such a high priority. In serving those around me I feel so uplifted and such happiness that one can only feel through serving others. I urge all who are ever feeling depressed or like their life has little worth to find a way to serve those around you and you will see your attitude and demeanor change. 

What are some experiences you have seen where you have served and felt more at peace?



This is our brother.  Yes, he is Superman! Well at least to four little sisters he is.  He was our Superman growing up. And while he is not included in the title of our blog (we just couldn't fit the J in there), he will probably be showing up a lot in our posts and if we are lucky, we might get him to write a few himself!

 Justin is the instigator of clowning around and having fun in our family! And ya, those mustaches were done in Sharpie!

Justin is SO blessed to be surrounded by beautiful women in his life.  He has four little sisters, a wonderful wife and three sweet daughters!!

Justin with his wife Christina and his three girls

Justin graduated from dental school at USC and is currently doing his residency to become a maxillofacial surgeon at Walter-Reed near Washington DC. He is also a Captain in the Army. He is about a 7 hour drive north of where I live and I have enjoyed being able to visit him a few times a year.

He loves teeth!

Ashley here! Oh the many reasons why my big brother is a super hero to me! First off one time when I was little and him and I were the only ones home, I got scared and he let me sleep on the floor in his room! :) It was really nice! Also he taught me to throw a football; I'm pretty certain he made sure that all of his sisters knew how to throw a football. Mostly he has always been a good example. He has always made sure that my sisters and I weren't being dumb. Hahaha I always looked up to him so if he told me something I was doing was dumb, I would stop! Love you Justy!!

My (Tiffany) fondest memories with Justin include playing board games! He taught us how to play Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride.  We are VERY competitive when we play games! There are often tears and name calling when we play games.  Some of the in-laws refuse to even play with us.  Justin almost always wins!  It's a lucky day when one of us beat him.  Ticket to Ride is one of my favorite games because it was one of the first (if not only) games I beat him at! I love Justin very much and am so grateful to have him as my brother.  He has always been there for us and I know he always will be!

Hello, it is Kaylee! I owe so much of who I am to not only the example my brother has been to me but also the friend he has been to me too. At a young girl of 12, my brother had just graduated from high school and was about to leave for a two year mission for our church. Out of all of the sisters, my brother picked me to stay at our cabin in southern Utah with him and his 3 other friends for a few extra days... just me! The fact that my brother let his little 12 year old sister tag along with him and his 19 year old friends meant the world to me. I had so much fun and have always kept that memory dear to my heart. My brother has always been there for me for any advice I need as well. He helped me a lot with deciding what I should major in, how to be successful in college and if it was right to marry Clark. I look up to him so much and use him as my number one guy for serious life advice. We always joke around that in heaven we were the left overs that needed to be in a family and Justin was right there as the captain of the team picking each of us sisters out individually and telling us we would each make a special contribution to the family. I love him so much and really look up to him as the true leader and captain of the Olsen Clan.
P.S. I love his and Christina's example as a beautiful and happy marriage. If Clark and I could love and make a fraction of the family they have I know my life will be successful.

  ^^^What kind of brother will participate in making a star with his feet??  A good one!!^^^

I'm not going to lie because I (Lindsay) am the youngest and Justin is the oldest, we've always had a connection that was different from the others. I think mostly because people say we have a similar sense of humor and I think we look the most alike. We also know how to have fun together whether it be watching college football, laughing on the couch until 1 in the morning looking at awkward family photos or just hanging out with his girls, we always have a blast.

To say the least he truly is one of my best friends. He's been a friend I could turn to about guys, school and my future. He help set the way for the rest of us crazy gals, and I don't think I could have even hoped for a better older brother.

We have been through some rough times as siblings but even though we have grown up most of our lives apart, we are so close.  We cherish the times we are able to be together and we have a blast!  And yes its the cool new thing to take pics with your eyes closed!  Hope you enjoyed getting to know "The Brother".