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December 25, 2008

Christmas Surprises

I still believe and therefore I receive gifts from Santa. This year I got a great jacket and a book. I was surprised that my husband went way over our allotted budget for each other and got me this beautiful painting I had seen by Colett Yarro.

He hung it on the wall in the middle of the night

Boy #1 was happy with his lego sets and thanks to Grandma Joyce and Santa he received lots of them

Boy #2 was thrilled with his gifts and there was plenty of playdough, legos, and tools to open

Merry Christmas to all!

December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve

I pulled out the Christmas CD's after Thanksgiving and one day I played the A Very Special Christmas 3 CD. The boys were listening to it with me and all was calm until track number 5 came on. Track 5 is a song called "Oi to the World" by No Doubt and I have heard it at least 100 times since that day. The boys call it the Dancing Song and they listen to it over and over again. Their favorite part is when Gwen Stefani says, "But Haji had a sword like the guy in Indiana Jones." Boy #2 especially likes to dance to it and Boy #1 likes to play air guitar or use whatever he can as a guitar. Here is some footage I took of them dancing to the song. I don't think I've seen so much excitement about a Christmas song before.

video

December 23, 2008

O Holy Night

I know I have had quite a few posts about Christmas, but it is my favorite time of year, minus the snow and cold weather. Did I mention that I am tired of shoveling snow? Anyway, every year we visit Temple Square to see the Christmas lights. I am amazed at how many lights can be on a single tree. My favorite part of the experience is seeing the luminaries that line the walkway. They have words and pictures designed into the paper bags and they are beautiful.

Beautiful luminaries

Unfortunately, my pictures don't do justice to the lights, however, I was able to remove the smudge on my lens that has apparently been there for days!

Boy #1 enjoyed the lights
So did Boy #2

December 21, 2008

Christmas Open House

In 1998 when I bought my first house I hosted a Christmas Open House. I didn't realize that 10 years later I would still be hosting a Christmas Open House. It is a tradition that is at times stressful and hectic, especially now that the children running around outnumber the adults, but it is worth it for me. Some years it is the only time I see particular friends and it has been a nice way to keep in touch with family and out-of-town friends. This year the weather and some scheduling conflicts kept some of our regular guests away, so there were fewer people here than in years past, although I still counted 29 adults and 31 kids. Thanks to those of you who came and brought yummy treats because it wouldn't be a party without people. I will post a few pictures in particular for my brother who couldn't make it. I was busy in the kitchen for the first little while so I forgot to take any pictures until half way through the evening. For those of you that wanted it, the roasted red pepper hummus recipe is here and the raspberry tarts and the chocolate cookies are here.

The table with cheeses, fruit, veggies, dips, meatballs, mini quiches, stuffed mushrooms, chips, hummus, etc.

Every year I make a baked brie and this year I tried a new filling of onion, brown sugar, cranberries, and balsamic vinegar mixed together until carmelized

Friends from college

December 19, 2008

Domestic Goddess?

I am not exactly a domestic goddess but today felt like a very domestic day. I started the day by learning to bake bread at a neighbor's house. She makes at least 6 loaves each week for her family. It is very good bread and denser than most breads you find in the grocery store. I came home with four loaves of half wheat and half white bread. Then I finished making my neighbor gifts of peppermint bark. Paula Deen's recipe from Food Network is very good and easy. Then my final project for the day was a Christmas pillow. A few weeks ago I saw some great pillows at the semi-annual Beehive Bazaar. Although I do not sew much I can make pillows, so I thought I would give it a try. I am not a perfectionist when it comes to sewing so please do not look closely at my pillow. And thrown into all this was an unexpected trip to the Salt Lake Airport during a huge snow storm. Round trip took over 4 hours. At least we made it home without any new dings in the car.
I love to melt butter on the top of fresh baked bread

Peppermint Bark with a layer of dark chocolate thrown in for good measure

Not a great picture or pillow, but it will do for Christmas time

December 16, 2008

Snow!

Today was the first day of real, heavy snow and the boys loved it! Our morning started out with me needing to visit a neighbor that lives up a steep hill. I was running late so I didn't want to take the time to walk. I knew I wouldn't make it up her hill but figured I could make it to the bottom of her hill and walk the rest of the way. Well, the car started to slide even before I got to the big hill, so I stopped and tried to back down the street, but the car slid into the deep gutter and stopped against the curb. With the car nicely parked we got out and walked the rest of the way to our neighbor's house. The boys thought it was so fun to walk and play in the snow. After my visit I came back to my car and another car had slid into the side of my car and dented the bottom section of the back door. Another neighbor pulled my car out of the gutter and then we made it home. I didn't drive anywhere else until the weather cleared up. Next time there is a huge storm I will walk wherever I need to go.

The boys had fun sledding on the man-made hills in the backyard

My good helpers

December 14, 2008

Thanks Aunt Peggy

Every few years I ask my aunt to lend me the aluminum Christmas tree that belonged to my Grandma Pearl. I would love to provide a permanent home for it, but I don't think my aunt is ready to part with it. The tree is still housed in its original box and it is in excellent condition. My grandparents used to put the tree on a coffee table in front of their large front window and I remember blue and maybe green balls for ornaments. If any of my family has a picture of the tree in its heyday I would love to see it. Thanks for the loan and know that I am enjoying the tree.

December 11, 2008

Holiday Tradition

Ever since our kids were small my friend Laura has hosted a gingerbread house decorating party. Usually we all buy the kits from Costco, but this year I decided to build one from scratch. It all went smoothly until I had to put the roof on the house. I was using hot sugar as the glue and it would cool before I could get both ends of the roof to attach. So after a huge scream of frustration I got out the Elmer's Glue and then my husband got out the caulking. In the end I am happy that I made it from scratch, although next year I'm going with a kit!

The naked house ready to be decorated

I made candy glass windows

The end product

December 5, 2008

Silver Bells

Our first year of marriage a friend told me how her mom and dad collected Reed and Barton Silver Bells for each year of marriage. I decided that seemed like a good idea and so began our annual purchase of a Reed and Barton Silver Bell. We have celebrated nine Christmases as a married couple and today I went to purchase our bell. I found the last one in the store and it was on sale. What a great day!

December 2, 2008

What a Week!

Since I forgot to bring my cable for the camera on our trip I thought I would do a photo essay to catch up on the week.

Running on the salt flats on the way to CA

We visited my friend who just got a new puppy

My mom made a small stitchery for the boys to take to the local fire station

Boy #1 watching the ducks at the park

Thanksgiving dinner

Boy #1 and a favorite cousin watching the waves

Playing in the sand with cousins

Playing Wii with Grammie and Grandpa

View of Morro Rock in the distance as we leave CA

November 26, 2008

What Are You Thankful For?

Tree of Utah (Metaphor) by Karl Momen

As we drove 12 hours in the car yesterday I had time to think of some things I am thankful for. Here is a partial list in no particular order.

-Two boys that travel really well in the car
-A young niece who was squished between two car seats and entertained the boys for 12 hours
-A husband who enjoys road trips
-A husband who enjoys driving
-A mom who was taking sweetrolls out of the oven just as we arrived at midnight
-A mom who let us eat her delicious sweetrolls as a midnight snack
-A dad who heard the pitter patter of little feet and didn't tell them to be quiet so he could sleep
-A mom and dad who are happy to babysit the kids
-Family togetherness
-Trader Joes

November 22, 2008

Girl's Night Out

Every month or so I go to the Big City with a group of girlfriends. We usually get some dinner, go shopping, and then we get dessert. I had never tasted a Napoleon until my friend introduced them to me a few months ago. My life has never been the same! The French name for a Napoleon dessert is Mille Feuille, meaning "a thousand sheets" which acurately describes this layered crispy pastry lined with a contrasting butter cream filling and topped with yummy icing. Oh how delicious!

The one at Gourmandise is the best I've tasted so far

Yes, I ate the whole thing

November 20, 2008

Doughnut or Donut?

Today while the car was getting an oil change I walked with Boy #2 to the yummy doughnut shop. He loves to watch the doughnuts being proofed, flipped, and glazed. Of course he also loves to eat them and so do I.

November 17, 2008

Here Goes the Sun

Well today it happened. The wall closest to our house went up on the house our friends are building next door. It will take a little while to get used to my new view, but I'm sure after a while it will feel like it's always been there. One thing that I was not prepared for was the absolute loss of sun in my living room. In the winter I love to sit on the floor in the sunshine coming through the windows. I'm glad I did that the last two days, because it will be difficult to do again. I guess a positive thing is people won't see the awful streaks on my windows anymore.

Working on the wall

Going...
Going...
Gone

November 14, 2008

Nutella and a Two Year Old

Today I fixed a waffle for Boy #2 and gave him a plastic knife and fork. I started to put the Nutella on his waffle but he insisted he wanted to do it himself. He is usually pretty good at stuff like that so I said okay and started to load the dishwasher. A few minutes later I looked over at him. This is what I saw. It was straight to the bathtub for him!

He is licking his lips so he doesn't waste any Nutella

November 11, 2008

Thank You Veterans

Today there are flags on all the lawns in our neighborhood, so Boy #1 asked what the flags were for. I explained that today is Veterans Day which is a day to honor all the men and women who have served our country. Boy #1 then said that was what his Grandpa Frank did and that meant that Grandpa Frank was a veteran. He was very excited to tell his friends that his Grandpa was a WWII veteran. So here is a picture of the boys with Grandpa Frank, their very own WWII veteran.

November 7, 2008

Worst Haircut Ever

I decided to try a new place for the boys to get their haircuts. It was close to our house and on Wednesdays they only charge $5. I'm glad I didn't pay more because they got an awful haircut. As I was watching Boy #2 get his haircut the hairstylist was chopping Boy #1's bangs and then when I looked back to Boy #2 the other stylist had chopped his bangs! Oh my, what a disaster. Their haircuts were choppy and uneven. The good news is that they won't need haircuts until Springtime!

They are still cute even with bad haircuts


November 4, 2008

Yes We Can

My husband has been very excited about this election and so we had an election night party tonight. There were 18 adults and 13 kids here to eat yummy food and watch the events unfold on the television. I hadn't thought that the concession speech could happen so soon, but it did and so our party wrapped up sooner than I thought it would. I was impressed with both McCain and Obama's speeches, but what was Michelle Obama wearing?! It looked like she had a red apron over her black dress and it looked fuzzy. Not a good look for the next First Lady. But back to the election...the historical significance of this election is still sinking in for me. The campaign lasted so long that I can't believe it is now over. I am looking forward to the next four years.

The adults watched the television screen

The kids watched the computer screen

I tried a new chili recipe

November 2, 2008

Daylight Savings

The setting back of the clocks used to be my favorite day of the year because I would get to sleep for another hour. That was before I had kids. Now my kids just get up at their regular time, which is now an hour earlier, and there is no extra sleep for me. Which makes me wonder, why do we still have daylight savings? It seems that life would be a whole lot easier if our time always stayed the same, plus I wouldn't wonder if we were an hour ahead of Arizona or on the same time. Too confusing. As soon as the boys have adjusted to the new time it will be time to spring forward.

November 1, 2008

Hallowmas?

Yesterday as we were trick or treating Boy #1 asked what Halloween represented. Since I had a vague answer for him about All Saints' Day I decided to look it up. If you are interested in the origins of Halloween you can look here. I found it pretty interesting and it even explained why we often bob for apples at Halloween parties.

Anyway, we had a fun night and the boys didn't get too much candy. It helps that we only went down our street and then drove to a few relatives' houses and had yummy doughnuts.

A cowboy and his dog

Ready for trick or treating with friends

The little doggy was always catching up with the others