datestampUSEThursday, January 28, 2010

Valentine Cottages

If you just plain ran out of time in December to make gingerbread houses (like we did!) Valentine Cottages are the perfect solution.  We took a Sunday afternoon and decorated graham crackers houses with all sorts of pink and red candy, cereals, and frosting.  I even had some luck finding deeply discounted and very useful mini candy canes and peppermint sticks. It was a sugar high free for all for about an hour.  I'm sure even the neighbors could hear us! Everyone built they're cute cottages on white cake stands and they are now on display in the dining room.  We had so much fun doing this, we might purposely scoot this tradition right out of December so we can do it again next year.

datestampUSEWednesday, January 27, 2010

Hey There Salt Lakers!

I got my tickets today!  Will I see you there?

datestampUSESunday, January 24, 2010

Dinner Dress Code

We have no dress code for Sunday dinner (usually it's something warm and cozy - or at the very least comfortable). But something sparked in my silly girls' heads when they found out we were having Indian food this evening.  When I called them down to eat, they came down ready to devour some naan and masala looking just like this.  I laughed aloud and quickly snapped these pictures. Sadly, Bryce and Max and I felt very underdressed in our own dining room for this occasion. Needless to say, the food wasn't the only spicy part of the evening.

datestampUSESaturday, January 23, 2010

I drive myself CRAZY!

I wish I could be a "chapter or two a night" kind of reader.  My children wouldn't get ignored, my laundry wouldn't pile up, and I might actually cook something decent and healthy for my family.  I would just climb into bed around 9 p.m. and read for an hour or so and then pick it up again the next night.  Isn't this what most normal people do? Instead, for 1-3 days (and nights - depending on the book) I completely engross myself in a book, devour it, laugh, cry, wheeze and finish.  I only do what is actually required of me - but nothing above and beyond (chicken nuggets, here we come!) Luckily, this only happens if the book happens to be a good one - but  if it's a REALLY good one (like the latest above) I'm devastated to be done and a totally irritated at myself for devouring instead of savoring. In order for life to go back to normal, I have to take around a 2-3 week hiatus before I start the cycle again. So, with a heavy heart, I'm off to start my first load of whites.

datestampUSEFriday, January 22, 2010

DIY Cupcake Stands

Remember our neighborhood service auction?  This year I decided to try another cupcake themed item. (What is it with me?  You'd think I'd be over this obsession by now.)  I've been seeing these cute diy cake stands all over the place.  They are made from plates as the top - and candlesticks as the base.  So when I went to the thrift store to acquire my goods, I was giddy when I found these white square cocktail plates and these small crystal candlesticks.  After they've been washed and dried thoroughly, a little epoxy (and 24 hours to set) is all it takes to stick them together and transform them into cupcake pedestals.  I added a few red and pink ribbons to gussy them up for Valentines day.  And of course, a red velvet cupcake and paper lollipop as a cupcake topper.  I thought they turned out pretty cute. Watch out friends!  These are so delightful to make, I might be making these for all of you this year!

datestampUSEWednesday, January 20, 2010

Things I miss about 2009

1.Warm weather (Hyatt Huntington Beach)

2. Jim and Pam's Wedding

3. Diet Pomegranate 7-Up - why is it released only during the holidays?

4. Le Grande Orange in Phoenix - yum

5. 11:00 a.m. church

6. DJ Dance Parties under the stars - we've gotta do it again this summer!

7. Taking a break in the shade with my sisters by Tom Sawyer's famous fence right on the Mississippi River

8. Having a one year old - she's growing up too darn fast!

9. Watching our friends and family and neighborhood rally around my kids as they worked so hard to earn money to buy Kalli a new bike after hers was stolen after only 2 days.

10. Being one year younger...bring on the anti-wrinkle cream!

Did I miss anything?

datestampUSEFriday, January 15, 2010

A Look Back: Christmas Day Highlights

The kids woke up and sang carols at the top of the stairs while mommy and daddy made sure Santa had indeed come - and they came racing down the stairs to find their loot. Kalli was pleased as punch with her iPod karaoke, and ugly doll, and some new ds games. Ella wouldn't stop snapping pictures of her new American Girl doll Kit with her new Hello Kitty Camera. Max was so thrilled with his skis he slept with them that night - and Miss Josie Faye (our girliest girl yet) couldn't stop showing off her princesses and their pretty "gip goss" lips. We played and played and went sledding at the golf course, read some of our new books and watched a movie - and of course ate like kings. We feel abundantly blessed to enjoy and celebrate our Savior's birth while surrounded by our family in a warm home with more to be grateful for each and every year. Merry Christmas 2009.

datestampUSEWednesday, January 13, 2010

A Look Back: Christmas Eve 2009

Christmas Eve is always spent at home with our own family. We have a lovely little meal by candlelight of appetizers and finger food and then we host a special family program where everyone prepares a talent to share. Some read a poem, or draw a picture, or sing a song...This year included an orchestra of recorders and pots and pans - simply glorious on the ears. Then we conclude the program with the children acting out the Christmas story while Bryce reads it from the bible.

This year my two sweet girls made advertisement posters and pasted them all around the house (including the bathrooms). I thought they were so cute. The poster reads:

"Come to a concert December 24 in the living room."

Of course, the night wouldn't be complete without opening the first presents - jammies from Grammy and Paca, then setting out a spread tasty enough to entice Santa and his reindeer to leave us just maybe one extra present. The kids set up the girls' bedroom for a big slumber party, climb in their beds, and eagerly anticipate the morning.

datestampUSETuesday, January 12, 2010

A Look Back: Christmas Outfits 2009

My motto this past year has been PEACE.

This quote has stared at me and comforted and reminded me all year long from my bulletin board:

It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

Even peaceful styles and colors have infiltrated my home and our wardrobes this year. Far away from my usual "Sunday shoutfits" (remember last year?) this year I was really inspired by the gorgeous Olive Juice Holiday catalog and its calm and serene palates. For the children's christmas outfits, I borrowed from those beautiful icy, wintry, and PEACEFUL looks and here's what I came up with. Pretty and simple, no?

A Look Back: Holiday Goodies

I know I'm not the only one who fell over backwards when I discovered IKEA's amazing Christmas packaging this year. I've got an especially soft spot for anything elf or gnome related so these little wooden guys had me at hello. Here's how I put together a few goodies for some friends. (The pots are simple glass containers I bought from Roberts). I can't wait to see what IKEA comes up with next year. (psst: There is a catch. You have to be willing to buy Christmas goods in October, when they are released in stores - because their holiday goods have been known to sell out in a week or so.) I already miss the busy kitchen creativity that Christmas is known to pull out of us. I have two words: Valentines Day. Is your brain churning yet?

A Look Back: Breakfast at Kalli's

We had 20 or so of her friends over for a bright and early breakfast party on the morning of Saturday, December 12. I lost count of the number of crepes we went through - although I know it was over one hundred. Some of those hungry boys ate ten each!

We are so proud of our girl. She is so bright, fun, responsible, and kind. Or as her sixth grade teacher calls her "a dreamboat girl." Bryce and I couldn't have asked for a better "first" child. She is such a forgiving guinea pig of our jumbled attempts at parenting and a soaring example to her little brother and sisters. Many days she's my right arm. I'll find her stepping in to feed the kids, read with Max, or help Ella with piano - often when I'm making a poor attempt at all three at once! We are excited about the bright future that lies ahead for this one.

Happy 12th Kal! We love you!

datestampUSETuesday, January 5, 2010

Twenty Ten

The Christmas boxes are all put away (new storage boxes for a new attic in new garage for a new year...yipee!)...and it's been almost a month since I've paid any amount of attention to my blog. I don't have to tell any of you how busy December gets...but for me, this year was particularly packed. I hope to do a quick re-cap today in order to get some of my favorite December photos posted, but here's a quick rundown of the months highlights (and lowlights...unfortunately there were plenty of those.)
  • Sixteen days of blissful holiday vacation - skiing, caroling, baking, singing, and sledding and so much more when you have over half a month off from school and the daddy doesn't leave the state one time!
  • My first year in charge of our neighborhood nativity pageant. Lots of work - lots of payoff. There is nothing sweeter nor more humbly attuned to what the holidays are all about.
  • My oldest turned 12! I still can't believe "I'M" that old!
  • My computer's hard drive crashed. BOO! I lost everything from the last year. It's at it's third "doctor" appointment hoping for any amount of retrieval. Back up those drives folks! My Mac Time Capsule wasn't backing up my information and I am still totally devastated.
  • Visits from both sets of grandparents brightened our holidays and couldn't have tickled the kids anymore.
  • I was hit in my suv by a drunk driver. No one was injured - but my car has seen better days. I've been driving a rental for nearly a week while new doors and parts are being ordered. It was so surreal to watch the driver take (and fail) all the sobriety tests and be carted off to jail. We felt like we were in a scary movie. As we watched him get handcuffed Max peeped out from the back seat, "Why do people do wrong things?"
  • Preparing the primary (our church's children's organization) for 2010 was nothing short of all-consuming. New teaching manuals, class lists, birthday presents, classroom assignments, and last minute budget spending had me working up right up until we cried "Happy New Year"! The three women I've had helping me since our first day (November 1) are truly worker bees with loving hearts and serving souls.
  • The girls have been singing with the Salt Lake Children's choir so we spent a great deal of the month traveling around the city watching them perform. If you want to see pictures, check out Bryce's flickr page. My favorite performance was in the beautiful Cathedral of the Madeleine. It was reviewed by the Deseret News here.
  • My favorite camera lens broke (will no longer focus.) So the question is to repair or to upgrade? Is it worth repairing? Any of you had this same problem?
Stay tuned for a few pictures. I'm back and more than happy to be posting. (If I hadn't been posting my favorite photos throughout the year, I would have nothing from the amr crash of 2009. I'm so grateful my blog was up and running and updated fairly regularly so I at least a few documented photos from the year.) Hope your 2010 is off to a great start.