Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend review

What a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are so blessed and have so much to be grateful for! Just a few of my many blessings---my amazing husband, my sweet kids, wonderful friends, a nice home that I love, a free country, wonderful parents and parents-in-law, amazing family on both sides, being able to walk, run, see, smell, touch, and read good books! my camera, soft socks, warm robes, chocolate chip cookies, strawberry jam, and a bed :)

Preparing for Thanksgiving. Miss E decorated the "little kids" table, or the table for 2nd graders and under :)

The "big kids" table, or the table for 4th graders and older :)

Look at those hungry kids!

Look at all those people eating in my living room, and not a single one of them spilled on my new carpet! I was so thankful!

Yes, Ben and I got up at 4:30 a.m. and went to the Wal-Mart Black Friday sale. Ben goes every year, and I sleep in, but this year I decided to go since we had a big list, and it was really fun! I think Santa has my gift somewhere in the cart (a cricut maybe?!?!?!?!) I can't wait until Christmas!!! How many days left? Mr J asks me that every day now "How many days until Christmas today mom?" I am counting down too! We need to make our countdown chain tomorrow.

The weekend ended on a GREAT note as we watched BYU BEAT Utah on the big screen at our friends' house. Unfortunately our friends in red are Utah fans, but we didn't rub it in too badly :) Ah, life is good, we can enjoy the holiday season now because the Y won. I am very grateful for that!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2nd grade Feast

Today was Miss E's 2nd grade feast. I got 2 of the turkeys out of my fridge and cooked this morning along with 15 cups of gravy for 40 kiddos. My house was smelling good! Can't wait for Thursday! Miss E was an Indian (aka Bright Moon).
Bright moon waiting to meet her Pilgrim friend then sit down to eat.

Bright Moon meets her Pilgrim friend.

Bright Moon and her Pilgrim friend sit down to eat.

Yummy! Look at all those Pilgrims and Indians enjoying their feast together!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Turkey Time

My fridge is completely stuffed full of turkeys! Ben just brought in our 23 lb. turkey for Thursday to thaw in the fridge. I have 2 eight lb. turkey breasts in the fridge thawing already for the 2nd grade Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday. They asked if I would make the turkey for the 2nd grade feast, but when the teacher went shopping at the one grocery store in our small town, all the turkeys were gone, so she had to get 2 turkey breasts instead. We will be having the 23 lb. turkey at our house Thursday and celebrating with about 20 people including my parents and lots of good friends. Love this time of year! Be grateful, give thanks and enjoy your turkey!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our fire pit

I think fall is the season for roasting hot dogs, making s'mores, and tin foil dinners. We have a fire pit. It was one of the first things Ben and I did to our backyard after we moved in about 4 years ago. I had always wanted one, and I had visions of roasting marshmallows while admiring the stars. I must admit the stars in the country are amazing, and we have roasted some pretty good marshmallows. We can also boast to having some really big bonfires (another advantage of living in the country) which the kids think are "TOTALLY AWESOME!!!" Two weekends ago Ben and the kids did hot dogs for dinner over the fire pit. I was shopping in the city for the day and missed out. This past weekend Ben made tin foil dinners that we cooked over the fire pit. Yummy! Miss O was at a birthday party and missed out, but my they were yummy! Welcome the season and outdoor cooking!!

Nothing like a little smoke in your eyes. . . .

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Crafty Week

I am a huge fan of OrganizedChristmas. A good friend introduced it to me a few years ago, and they have the best Get Ready for Christmas countdown. It started Oct. 25, and by Dec 5 you are all ready for Christmas. It is great. Check it out. One of the things to do on my get ready for Christmas list this week was to get going on the gifts to make. This week I was working on Christmas pillowcases and clipboards. I made 4 pillowcases and have 4 more to do next week. I also did 7 of these clipboards. The same good friend that introduced me to Organized Christmas showed me how to do these awesome clipboards. Aren't they cute? The girls and I decided to make them for their teachers. They picked the colors, stickers, and designed them. I just applied the glue and Mod Podge, and then I decided to make a couple more. Of course, I had to make one for me.
These are the ones I was working on this week. They are super easy. Just get a $.97 clipboard from Wal-mart. Choose your paper, stickers, and designs (it helps with the lettering to have a friend with a cricut :) then glue all your paper and letters down with a glue stick onto your clipboard, then Mod Podge the whole thing. I covered it with about 3 coats and you are done. Super easy.
On all of these I put their names on the bottom on the solid colors, but I didn't have all the names on yet when I took the picture, but you get the idea. Creating things is always fun. It is so nice to look at what you did and think, "Wow! I did that and it looks really great! and I would actually want to give it to someone :)" What a sweet thing! Happy creating!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happenings at our home

Just some pictures of some happenings at our house this week. Life is full and very good. Hope yours is too!
Mr J and a friend at church being sunbeams! Jesus wants me for a sunbeam, to shine for him each day. . .

Miss O performing at her piano recital this past week. She did great!

Miss A performing at the same recital. She also did great. She accompanied the children's choir in church a few weeks ago. She is very good at the piano. Somehow Miss E got lucky and didn't have to play at this one. She wasn't too disappointed.

This was Miss E today when she got home from school with her new T-shirt for getting in the 100 point club for Accelerated Reading. At school when they read a book, they can take a test over it. Each book is worth so many points if they answer the questions right--most picture books are worth half a point, so it takes a lot of reading to get 100 points!!! She was super excited about this. Way to go Miss E!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meet the Author--Patrick Carman

Our small town has an awesome community reading program. Every spring and fall they choose a book, buy hundreds of copies, and distribute them for free all over the community. You can pick them up at the doctor's office, the library, the store, etc. You are to read the book and pass it along. It is all funded through a grant and is an awesome thing. They distribute and promote the book for a few months and then they usually have the author come to visit and talk about the book to wrap things up. This fall the book was The House of Power by Patrick Carman. It is the first book in his Atherton series. Patrick Carman came to our town in October and visited the schools and then they had a community program where he talked. Ben and I and our girls had read his Atherton series and really loved them. We took the family to listen to him speak. He was awesome!!! He was very entertaining, a great presenter, and a huge advocate for getting kids to read. He has also written another series which my girls really like called The Land of Elyon series--this fantasy series is about a young girl (11 or 12) who saves her community. He has a new series coming out that is interactive with the Internet called Skeleton Creek. You read a few chapters, and then you have to get on the Internet and watch a movie for the next few chapters, then you read from the book and back and forth. A cool thing especially for those who you have a hard time getting to read traditional books. The House of Power is a great read about a future earth that is uninhabitable because of pollution, so a scientist creates a new planet--Atherton. It is a very quick moving, intriguing, can't put it down kind of book. I would highly recommend it. If you are looking for a Christmas present, I would recommend this series. My 7-11 year olds loved it as well as Ben and I. Check it out.
****Being an English/Humanities major and the daughter of a librarian and artist, reading is a huge thing in my life. We read lots of books at our house, and I thought it would be fun to share reviews of some on my blog, so hopefully every now and then we will have a book review here for you :) And the above picture is Patrick Carman with Miss A, Miss O, and Miss E.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ode to my Grandma DeeDee and one of her awesome recipes

I have been blessed with 2 sets of amazing grandparents that I love dearly. I have never lived close to them--most of my life I have lived about a 2 days drive away, except during college when I was 45 minutes away. They have all had a huge impact on my life and influenced me in so many ways even though we never lived close. This should give hope to those who do not live near Grandpa or Grandma. You don't need to live close to make them an important part of your child's life. Anyway, today I want to tell you about one of my amazing grandparents--DeeDee, my grandma. Legend tells that the name DeeDee came from me. I was privileged enough to be the oldest of many grandchildren on that side, and when I was starting to talk my family members kept trying to get me to say "Dearie" for DeeDee because for some reason the women in my family don't like the name "Grandma" it makes them feel old, thus we have a Dearie, a DeeDee and a Nana instead of Grandmas on my mom's side. Anyway, DeeDee's mom was called Dearie, and she wanted to be called the same, but being the young tyke I was, I couldn't get Dearie out, instead it came out "DeeDee", and she said "That is good enough" and it stuck. Any of my family members can correct me on this story if I am wrong, but that is the way I was always told it :)
DeeDee is an amazing person. She is the stuff legend is made of. If she had one penny for every cookie she has made in her life, she would be a multi-millionaire--I kid you not. She can whip up a batch of the world's best chocolate chips cookies with her eyes closed in no time flat. She would have a small fortune for all the money she has spent on chocolate chips. Many of you have not met her personally, but you know of her amazing generosity and talents, cookies, hot pads, pillowcases--just to name a few. A few years ago she called me up and asked how many friends I had and how many kids each of those friends had. For years I have been in a Girls Night Out group where we get together once a month. DeeDee knew of my GNO friends, and so I counted up friends and kids and gave her the number. In a matter of weeks I received a box full of 24 handmade by DeeDee Christmas pillowcases with a special poem that goes with them (the poem and pillowcase story will have to wait for another post--it is great). So I got to play Santa and hand out Christmas pillowcases to all my friends' kids. Then a few years later she called me up again with the same questions "How many friends do you have?" I gave her the number, and a few weeks later I received another box full of sets of crocheted hot pads. Again I got to play Santa and give out homemade hot pads to all my friends. My friends like DeeDee, I think :)
DeeDee's cookies are amazing. She has made them and sent them all over the world when different children and grandchildren have gone traveling, or to different friends all over the world. Growing up we always got packages from DeeDee filled with individually wrapped chocolate chip cookies or her frosted sugar cookies. Individually wrapped--you know you are loved when you get an individually wrapped cookie! She has probably spent a small fortune on plastic wrap too. DeeDee is so great at sending packages. I remember once when I was in high school I was away from home for a month in the summer at a nerd camp. DeeDee sent me packages while I was there. One of those packages had a big package of blue and white BYU labeled peanut M&Ms. Where did she find those? I have no idea, but I still have the package wrapping in my scrapbook. It was just awesome beyond words to get those being so far from home, and you all know what a big BYU fan I am :) I think I cried. Anyway, the point of this post is to honor an amazing woman, and I hope to be like her when I grow up. The last couple of years have been challenging for DeeDee because she lost the sight in one eye, but she didn't let that slow her down. She still makes cookies, hot pads, pillowcases, and sends packages. Her faith, love, and generosity inspire me and my family. This Friday she has to have surgery on her shoulder from the fall she took when she visited us last month (see my older posts), and I know she would appreciate your prayers. She is amazing--like I said, the stuff legend is made of. My cookies never taste quite as good as hers, but I keep trying. I haven't meet a chocolate chip cookie I didn't like, but I wanted to share with you her sugar cookie recipe. I have tried many different sugar cookie recipes, and this is by far the best. DeeDee always frosts them with a cream cheese frosting, which makes them just divine, but a butter cream works well too if no cream cheese is to be found :) When I was making my pumpkin shaped cookies last week, this is the recipe I used. I hope you enjoy and feel the love from DeeDee!
DeeDee's Sour Cream Cookies (okay, I have no idea why they are called Sour Cream cookies, because DeeDee never uses sour cream in them, but if you ever ask her for the recipe she will call them Sour Cream cookies, so I am just passing it on. . .)
1/2 cup blue bonnet margarine, or butter
1 cup sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tes baking powder
1/2 tes. soda
1/2 tes. salt
1/4 tes. nutmeg
1/2 cup sour cream (but DeeDee and I don't use that, we use 1/2 cup milk plus 1 Tbl vinegar mixed together)
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg. Add dry ingredients alternating with milk/sour cream. Flour surface and roll 1/4 inch thick, but with cookie cutters. Bake 425 for 5-6 minutes--bottom should be a pretty golden brown--not dark.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tricks and Treats--Signs of Halloween

Getting ready to go Trick-or-treating, our Chinese Girl, Charlie Chaplin, our Alligator Hunter, and our Train Engineer
Our Chinese Girl during the Halloween parade at school. She wore those shoes the whole block, ouch!

Ben took the kids to the Buster Keaton Silent Film Festival the end of September, and they showed some Charlie Chaplin films, and the kids loved them! Miss O came home that night and said she wanted to be Charlie Chaplin for Halloween.

Our spooky jack-o-lanterns

Miss A, dressed as a tree for our FHE family Halloween party, shows off her carved pumpkin.

Miss O and her pumpkin

Grandpa came to our party too dressed as a letter (see the stamp on his head?) and Miss E requested that he help her with her pumpkin. They made a cyclops. Cool, huh?

Mr J and Nana show off the pumpkin they did.

One of the 3 batches of pumpkin shaped sugar cookies I made last week. I use my grandma's recipe that I will have to share sometime. It is the best!