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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