Thursday, March 5, 2015

More Flavor!

 

Every once in a while I am lucky enough to get a phone call from my brother Chip, announcing that he is in town and what are we doing for lunch? Most of the time we hang out at my house and eat and laugh and visit, but today we met up somewhere. We couldn't decide on where we were going to eat, but we knew that there needed to be donuts involved. Maple frosted ones, to be exact. So Chip stopped by our one of our favorite local bakeries and acquired not one, not two, but a WHOLE DOZEN of their amazing donuts along with some baklava to supplement our lunch.

Don't worry, we shared a salad and some sweet potato fries, too. But... DONUTS! They're what's for lunch!

I had Little X with me and was kind of worried about keeping him occupied in a dining establishment, but it was worth the gamble to spend some time with my baby brother. It turned out that I had no reason to worry because Little X found the perfect pastime: adding flavor to his root beer. 

At first he was just dipping the sweet potato fries in his drink before eating them. Then he was submerging them. No biggie, I thought. It's no worse than my mom putting peanuts in her Pepsi back in the day.

And then, well...

It got to the point where there were more fries than liquid. And when I told him that was probably enough he loudly stated, "IT NEEDS MORE FLAVOR!" and shoved a couple more fries into the glass.
 
I kind of thought the whole thing was just a game to occupy his time until he actually STARTED TO DRINK IT!

After which he proclaimed, "Ahhhhh! Perfect flavor."

Salty sweet potato root beer? Maybe it's going to be the next big thing. (But probably not.)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cub Scout Cupcakes


Every year that we've had one of our boys in cub scouts we've had to decorate a cake for the Blue and Gold banquet. Way back when Allen the Younger was 8 years old we had our first Blue and Gold experience and were told that every scout needed to bring a cake for the Cake Contest. At first I took this "contest" seriously because I am a competitive person. The theme was Scouting and I asked Allen the Younger what he'd like to make. He wanted an Eagle cake. So I spent the better part of the day baking, cutting, shaping, frosting and decorating a cake that would make professionals proud. The main thing I remember about this Eagle Cake was that it had feathers crafted from carefully laid out sliced almonds, which took us hours to do. Then we went to the banquet, ready to take home the prize for best cake, and found out there was really no contest. Everyone got a pre-written certificate and we took our entire cake home because even though it looked fancy no kid wants to eat a bunch of sliced almonds.

Since then I have learned that SIMPLE is the key. I ask what they want, and I always figure out a way to incorporate it into cupcakes (because kids LIKE cupcakes and we don't bring any home!). Hubba initially wanted a Plants versus Zombies theme, which we reminded him had nothing to do with cub scouts. So after searching the internet for pictures of zombies in scout uniforms and finding none he decided that pictures of scouts doing "camping stuff" like archery and building fires would be cool.

So we printed out pictures of "scout stuff" and he glued them onto toothpicks, stuck them in the cupcakes and VOILA! He got the "Best Blue and Gold Themed Award".

The story is actually even a little better than that. I was asked to bake a frozen lasagna for the banquet but forgot to put it in the oven until it was time to bake the cupcakes. As in, one hour before the festivities were starting. So I called all of my neighbors to see if I could come bake cupcakes in their oven, but no one answers their phones anymore, so I loaded my cupcake pans filled with batter on to a cookie sheet and went knocking door to door, trying to find someone at home. Our favorite across-the-street neighbors were home and had me leave the cupcakes there to bake. But I let them go a little too long and so the tops ended up kind of crispy. No problem. I advertised them as "cookie cupcakes: cookie on the top, cupcake on the bottom" and they were a hit.

Take that, Pinterest.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Kid-Friendly Valentine Dinner

 
I mostly needed to document this day for my benefit. Allen and I decided to spend Valentines Day with the kids rather than fighting the crowds at the restaurants and movie theaters. Initially we thought of having a nice dinner with a variety of fun courses to make it special. But then I decided to make it a kid-friendly special sort of dinner instead.
 
I took a lot of pictures with my tablet computer thingy (I'm never sure what to call it) but they didn't turn out the greatest. It was a good lesson in why taking the time to use my actual camera is usually worth it.
 
Two of the kids' favorite foods are pizza and hot dogs so I wanted to incorporate those. I made English muffin pizzas with pepperoni that I cut into heart shapes with a small cookie cutter:
 
(before cooking)
 
 (after cooking)
 
I cut Little Smokies at an angle then rotated them to make the heart shape. Here's what they looked like before cooking. After cooking they looked more like angel wings but the kids didn't seem to notice. So if you ever want to make these I would suggest cooking them first, then cutting them and putting them together.


 
I had to have something healthy in there so I made a heart-shaped salad, too. The cucumbers could be cut out with the cookie cutter. The carrot had to be shaped before slicing. The grape tomatoes I cut the same way I made the little hot dogs.
 
No special meal around here is complete without Jell-O so I made these individual parfaits topped with whipped cream and some candy hearts.
 
For dessert I made chocolate covered strawberries
 
And each person got a little cup filled with Valentiney candy at their plate.


 


 Combine that with the candy hearts scattered all over the table and my kids were in candy heaven. They couldn't believe that they could just eat the candy whenever they wanted to during the meal! Needless to say, our table decorations did not stick around for long.

We drank cherry 7-up with maraschino cherries from fancy glasses but used paper plates and napkins.
 

 

The candles weren't out yet, but you can kind of see them in the picture at the top of this post. The kids always think it is such a treat to eat by candlelight with the lights dimmed. Here was our full spread:
Which was made complete with this awesome table that Allen is building for us. It's not quite finished yet, so we've been using it with a tablecloth to cover the unfinished structure. But what a treat to all sit at the same table and enjoy a meal and a fun evening together!

I also found Pictionary at our local thrift store for $2 so we had a great game night after dinner and laughed like crazy.
 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Quick Quips


Allen TY: Who knows the capital of Utah?
Hubba: Provo!
Allen TY: Nope.
Hubba: Rexburg?
Allen TY: Nope.
Hubba: Wyoming?
Me: It's Salt Lake City.
Hubba: I was going to say that.

Little O is getting pretty good at sounding out big words, but a lot of the time he guesses what words are based on most of the letters. We were at a church that had a sign on the door to the children's classroom and he read it out loud to us, "Are you an example of revenge?" (The last word was actually reverence.)

Little O: What day was I born?
Me: May 1st.
Little O: No way! That's the same day as my birthday!

Allen TY brought his girlfriend over to the house. After they left, we were asking the kids what they thought. Here's what they said:
Hubba: She must be pretty hilarious because Allen was sure laughing a lot.
Princess: She wasn't as serious as I thought she would be.
Little O: She is pretty beautiful.
Little X: Well, she is smaller than our house and she fitted through our door.
Me: What does that mean, X?
Little X: She is good.

Little X: If this food that you makeded didn't tasted so yucky, I would eat it allllllll gone. And I love you soooooo much!
(It's so nice that he softened the blow for me there at the end.)

Little X: Mom, can you giveded my toys a swimming pool?


Done.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

More Jokes For Kids

What do you call it when you feed a stick of dynamite to a steer? Abominable!

What is Bruce Lee's favorite drink? WATAAAAARR!


What happens to Pastors who eat chili dogs? They have to sit in their own pew.


Two fish are in a tank. One turns to the other and says: ‘You man the guns, I’ll drive’


A neutron walks into a bar and asks "how much for a drink?" The bartender says, "For you? No charge."

What was Beethoven's favorite fruit?  BANANANAAAAAA!
 
Why was the broom late?  It over-swept!

What belongs to you, other people use it a lot, but you hardly every use it?  Your name!

Why don’t fish go online?  They’re afraid of getting caught in the Net

Why did the turtle see a psychiatrist?   He wanted to come out of his shell.

What happened to the cat that swallowed a ball of wool?  She had mittens.

How do you turn a beagle into a bird?  Remove the B.

Why did the dog get a ticket?  For double barking

Why are dinosaurs healthier than dragons?  Because dinosaurs don’t smoke.

What do snakes do after a fight?  They hiss and make up.

What happened when the butcher backed into his meat grinder? He got a little behind in his work.

How do you make a cream puff?  Chase it around the block a few times.

Why did the banana go to the hospital?  It didn’t peel so good.

Where do sheep buy their clothes?  Lamb shops.

Where do spies go shopping?  At the snooper market.

Why does Superman wear such big shoes?  Because of his amazing feats

Why was the pony sent to the principal’s office?  For horsing around.

How did the flower do in school?  It got all Bees.

Why did the Christmas tree go to the hospital?  It had tinsel-it is.

What's red and bad for your teeth? A brick.

What happens when a frog is double-parked on a lily pad?  It’s toad away.

What did the security guard say to the firefly?  Halt!  Who glows there?

Was the vampire race close?  Yes, it was neck and neck.

What do videos do on their days off?   They unwind.

What’s the difference between a chocolate chip cookie and a whale?  You can’t dunk a whale in your milk.

Where’s the best place to spot a man-eating fish?  In a seafood restaurant.

Is it a good idea to eat ice cream on an empty stomach?  No, you should eat it in a bowl.

What’s the difference between a bumblebee and a mattababy?  (Ideally, the person you are telling the joke to will say, "What's a mattababy?" to which you can respond,) "Nothin' baby! What's a-matta with you?"

Do you think clams are happy?  Have you ever heard one complain?

How do elephants speak with each other?  On 'elephones

What does a skunk do when it gets angry?  It raises a stink.

When is a horse not a horse?  When it turns into a pasture

What clothing does a house wear? Address.

What happened to the outlaws who went skydiving?  They had a chute out.

How does a quiet Hawaiian laugh?  With a low ha.

What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?  A carrot.

Why do golfers take an extra pair of socks? In case they get a hole in one!

How did the farmer fix his jeans? With a cabbage patch!

What did the mother broom say to the baby broom? Go to sweep, dear.

What do you throw out when you need it and take in when you don't need it? An anchor!

What did the light say when it was turned off? I’m delighted!

What has no beginning, no end, and nothing in the middle? A doughnut!

No one wants to have one of these. But when you do have one, no one wants to lose it! What am I? An argument

Why are pirates pirates? Because they just arrrrrgh!

What do you call a famous archer?  A shooting star

Did you know there are 3 types of people?  Those who can count and those who can’t.

Why is Cinderella so bad at sports? Because she has a pumpkin for a coach, and she runs away from the ball. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Random Thoughts

My sweet Elle with her current mission companion at the levee in New Orleans. When we got to talk with her on Christmas I asked her if they drove a Chevy there and she immediately answered, "Yeah, but it was dry." That's my girl.
 

I am 42. Do you know what that means? I am currently the age that is the answer to life, the universe and everything!! (Those who are familiar with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will understand.) I am now two months shy of 43 years on this planet and I haven't been using this past year in the phenomenal way that is implied in the magical number of 42. So I better get on it! And I will, right after I finish some laundry and help Little X build a toast robot out of giant Legos.

I have no idea what a toast robot is, so I might be a while.

Little X talks in his sleep more than any of our kids ever have. This morning he rolled over in his sleep and said, "I want the teeny elephant and a cookie". I wish I could watch a movie of his dreams.

Speaking of dreams, this year on Christmas Eve I had the best dream in my life. Like, so great it was a Christmas gift in itself. Here's what went down in the dream: Allen and I were flying to New York and on the plane he told me, "I got tickets to Jimmy Fallon." I could not contain my excitement. We went right to the show when we arrived in New York City. As we were waiting in line, some of the people who run the show came and announced that they were holding auditions for an audience member to be in a lip sync battle with Jimmy. WHAT? I auditioned with Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and then went to find Allen at our (pretty much front row!) seats. When the show started Jimmy came out and announced that this was a show about making dreams come true. The he asked, "Where's Gerberta?" Since I'm pretty much the only Gerberta I know of besides an Asian girl I found on Facebook once, I ran down to the stage. He tells me that Allen wrote him a letter letting him know how much I love his show and asks if it's true that Allen calls Jimmy my boyfriend. (He does.) He then says, "I hear you have other boyfriends, too?  Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Jeremy Jordan and Christian Bale?" And as he's saying their names, they all walk out onto the stage. I get to sing a song with each of them, do the lip sync battle with Jimmy (which he let me win) and then some kid in the audience starts whispering, can we open presents now? Which wakes me up, because it's actually Little O at my bedside on Christmas morning. I tried to go back to sleep to finish the dream, but it didn't happen. Still? Best. Dream. Ever.

The winter weather has been strange this year. We didn't get our first real snowfall until Christmas Day, which was magical. It just rained a lot before that. And don't get me wrong, I love rain. But I really wanted snow for Christmas. As is our tradition, we made it snow inside despite the lack of snow outside.

And then it snowed for real and now I just want rain again. Yesterday it did rain, all day long. By the time we went to bed the rain had become snow and I grumbled a little bit about that. Which brought on the following conversation:

Little O: Why do grownups hate snow so much?
Me: Because we don't get to play in it, we have to shovel it and drive in it.
Little O: Well, why don't you just play in it then?
Me: Because I don't like the cold.
Little O: Well, why don't you dress up all toasty and then have hot chocolate afterwards?

He had a solution to everything. And he's right, why don't I play in the snow? Because I'm 42 and I think I have something to prove? I'm just a teenager living in a middle-aged body and dressing in middle-aged clothes. I need to make more time for fun. And also for getting dressed before 2 pm.

While Julia was home from college for Christmas we all went sledding up the canyon late one afternoon. The snow was powdery and made the sledding kind of lame, but everyone had a lot of fun. I think the best part was when we hiked up to a huge open field on the mountain. It was starting to get dark, and the moon was shining down on the snow. All we could hear was the crunch of the snow beneath our boots and the sound of the sleds dragging through the snow with the littler kids riding inside. When we had reached the field we all lay down in the snow on our backs, looking up at that big moon, shining bright even behind a cover of clouds. I remember feeling like I was a part of something huge right then. Being a mother to all of these kids who are each a bit of all the best parts of Allen and I and then some, having a husband who is happy to deal with my imperfections and still love me when I'm in my pajamas at 2 in the afternoon or making pancakes for dinner for the third time this week. In that moment I felt like I was enough and didn't need to worry about anything else. I also had a "An American Tail" moment where I thought, even though Elle is in Louisiana right now, and even though I know how very far apart we are, it helps to think we might be looking at the same bright... moon. And it's almost like a part of her is here with us and we're all together. And then, before I could start busting out the chorus to Somewhere Out There, someone said they were cold and someone else asked when we were going home and someone was making snow angels and throwing snow in someone else's face, so we loaded little ones back into the sleds and all made the trek back down to the van.

Well, I'm off to make a toast robot.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Random Kindness


This happened over a year ago, but I was transferring some pictures off of my camera and found this one and had to write about it.

When we were in California for Spring Break, Julia and my mother-in-law and I were searching the thrift stores in hopes of finding some possibilities for a prom dress. As we searched through the racks at one store a woman, I think her name was Lorena, started a conversation with me about how great it was to get dresses at the thrift stores instead of paying full price for one. She asked if Julia was trying to find a prom dress and offered the dresses she had at home, from when her daughters were in high school. We exchanged phone numbers and met up later, close to her home, to pick up the dresses.

There were well over 20 dresses that she gave us. Here we were, total strangers from out of state, and she was more than happy to share what she no longer needed. She insisted that Julia take ALL of the dresses, not just one or two, and share them with her friends at home.

People like Lorena make me happy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hide And Seek

This is a perfect example of what happens when I finally get in the shower in the middle of the afternoon and Little X promises to watch Daniel Tiger on PBS Kids until I get out...
 
 
He plays his own version of Candyland and builds a fort in the front room with every loose couch or chair cushion available. And then he hides.
 
Which means I get to look all over the house for him.
 
I look in all of his favorite hiding places. He's not tucked behind one of the chairs at the computer desk. He's not in the pantry. He's not under anyone's bed. He's not beneath the dirty clothes inside the hamper. He's not anywhere in the backyard.
 
I start to get that little panicky feeling. That sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Did he get out the front door? How long has he been gone? I rush to check the deadbolts - they're still locked. I think to myself, where in the world could he be? Then I turn to do some more searching and hear a contented, sleepy, 3-year-old kind of sigh from beneath the cushion fort.    


 
There's my boy.



Monday, December 1, 2014

25 Days of Christmas Service

In an effort to get my kids thinking more about others as Christmas approaches we are using a different kind of advent calendar this year. For each day from December 1st until Christmas we will choose one of the following acts of service, in no particular order, to do as a family:

UPDATED January 2015: How did we do? I put a line through the ones we actually completed. It was a busy month, but even the small acts of service we did added to the spirit of the season.

1. Leave a note and treat for the mailman

2. Donate some food to the food bank

3. Donate unused toys and clothes to D.I.

4. Do some yard work for a neighbor (rake leaves, shovel snow, pull weeds, etc.)

5. Send cards to all of the missionaries in our ward

6. Make bird food ornaments (pipe cleaners bent like candy canes with cheerios laced on, bird feed stuck to peanut butter on a pine cone, etc.)

7. Do a "trash walk" and pick up garbage in the neighborhood

8. Tape bags of microwave popcorn to the Redbox machine with a note saying “Enjoy some popcorn with your movie!”

9. Leave quarters in candy machines at the mall

10. Donate books to the school library

11. Give someone poinsettias

12. Give a homeless person a blanket

13. Leave compliments for people all over town and give 3 honest compliments to strangers
14. Leave anonymous treats for teachers in the faculty break room


16. Leave candy canes on cars in a parking lot with a note reading 'Merry Christmas'

17. Donate DVDs we no longer watch to KidFlix (or donate them to the pediatric unit of our local hospital if there is a need) http://www.kidflicks.org/donate/

18. Donate gently used stuffed animals to S.A.F.E. (or the local police or fire station if they are needed) http://www.stuffedanimalsforemergencies.org/Where_to_Donate.html

19. Have each child choose a pet toy from the dollar store and donate it, along with a bag of dog food or doggy treats, to the local animal shelter http://suvas.org/donate/

20. Collect pencils for a group of children in need http://www.thepencilproject.com/index.html

21. Pull out the neighbors' trash cans the night before trash pick-up  
22. Pull everyone’s trash cans back up their driveways on trash day

23. Leave a ziplock bag with quarters in it taped to hospital vending machines

24. Leave toy dinosaurs or army men all over playground equipment at the mall playground with tags that say 'Take me Home' attached to them

25. Tape coupons (collected from free mailers) to products at the grocery store
The kids are so excited to get started! Almost as excited as I am.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Quick Quips


Little X: Look, Mom! I see Mowoni! And he's on the temp-o!
Me: Yeah, isn't it beautiful?
Little X: Yeah! And when I get bigger and bigger I will marry you at the temp-o.
Me: Someday you'll meet a really nice and beautiful girl that you will love very much and you will marry her in the temple. But I'm your mom, sweetheart, so you can't marry me.
Little X: But you are a willy nice and butiful girl. And I DO love you vewy much!
Me: (heart melted) I love you, too.


Me: So, O, your music teacher called me today. And it sounds like you were being pretty disrespectful in class. You want to tell me what happened?
Little O: (looking nervous) I don't really remember.
Me: I think you do, and I need you to tell me why you were behaving that way.
Little O: I got put in time out.
Me: I know. But why? What were you doing?
Little O: Bad stuff.
Me: Why? You aren't usually like that, O.
Little O: Um, I don't really remember.
Me: Come on, O. You remember. Tell me the truth.
Little O: SIGH. I was trying to make someone laugh. A girl.
Me: (hiding my laughter) Oh, Little O. Life is not all about girls.


Little X: (singing as he plays with Legos) 
There was a horse on a farm, E-I-E-I-Ho.
There was a 'nother horse on a farm, E-I-E-I-Ho.
There was a owl on a farm, E-I-E-I-Ho.
There was a baby on a farm, E-I-E-I-Ho.
But the baby should be in a house, E-I-E-I-Ho.


All-a-Boy came home from school with this taped to his shirt:
Need a closer look?
He saw it on a pizza box at lunch time and just couldn't resist.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Namaste

 

I've been trying out a bunch of the fitness classes at our local recreation center over the last week because I'm not getting any younger and my body's not going to get into shape without some effort on my part. We all have underused memberships and I know I have more fun when I'm not just walking laps around a track or standing on a machine so I figured, why not?

First I tried Zumba. I've always thought it looked like a blast, I love music and "dancing" (I use that term loosely), so win/win, right? I got to class early to ask the teacher how intense her class was. She assured me that it was easy to follow. As other class members started to arrive I felt more confident. There were two guys who were at least 60. One was wearing a t-shirt that said, I Believe In The Right To Bear Arms with a picture of a bear holding a gun. The other guy had on a Harley Davidson tank top and a handlebar moustache. I decided I'd hang out near them because if they could do it, so could I! The first 10 minutes were awesome. I was a little behind but I could follow the teacher's basic moves and was getting a good arm workout. And then she said, "Great warm-up guys! Now let's get moving!" Huh? I thought we were already moving. What happened next I have no words for. But those 60ish year old guys? They were ROCKING it! Me? I stood in the back, a dazed expression on my face, limply lifting my arms and lamely tripping over my toes in an attempt to follow the dance moves that utilized muscles I didn't even know existed and required movements I just couldn't master. I walked out 20 minutes into class. A dancer is something I will just have to be content to be in my dreams.

Next I tried a spin class. Riding a stationary bike? Now this I could do! And I was doing really well until the instructor mentioned those words I was learning to dread: Great warm up! This class was actually doable since no one sees what level anyone else's bike is at. As long as I stayed about 8 gear levels behind what the teacher told everyone to switch into I looked like I was doing amazing. And then she told everyone to stand up. You know, like you used to do as a kid on your banana seat bike?  In case you don't know, that hurts now. I don't remember it hurting when I was a kid. It just made me go faster back then. But on these stationary bikes? Ouch. Even if you discreetly switch down another 4 levels. I was on 2 while everyone else was pumping their hearts out at 18 and I looked worse off than every other person in the class. The worst was when the guy next to me tried to look over at my bike to see what level I was on because he lost track of which gear the teacher said to shift to. I just gave him a nervous laugh and told him I was the wrong person to ask. I was on 4, everyone else was on somewhere around 12. I'll probably try this one again since I have friends in the class. But it's not exactly a class where you chat while you ride. People just let out an occasional "WHOO!!" when they're feeling the burn. So, that's kind of fun. The only thing I really said the entire class was WHAT? when the teacher said we had a great warm up.

I looked in on a class called something like Super Insanity RIP Kick It Pilates and they all looked like ninja warriors compared to what I can do. Also, I'm pretty sure they were just warming up. Plus I try to avoid classes that have R.I.P. in the title. So I avoided eye contact, pretended I was looking for someone, then turned around and just walked away. With no regrets.

Another day I tried yoga. As I walked into the classroom I worried I had come at the wrong time because the lights weren't turned on. I went back to the front desk to ask if I had the right room and they assured me that I did. I went back in and saw two women laying on mats with their backs and necks propped up on foam blocks, talking quietly in the dark. I grabbed myself a mat as the teacher came in and turned on some music that sounded more like sounds of nature - waterfalls, an occasional chirp from a bird and wind blowing through trees interspersed with earthy flute sounds. The teacher promised me that this was a gentle yoga class and she was right. The only time I didn't feel calm and relaxed was when she told everyone to get into Happy Baby Pose, and all I could do was picture everyone in class like this:
I kind of wanted to giggle and say "we're happy babies!" but then suddenly my spine felt amazing with this awkward-looking massage I was giving myself so I snapped right back into relaxed mode and went with the flow. You know what they say - when in Rome... At the end of our session the teacher had us all lay on our mats with outstretched arms for like 10 breath cycles (I'm still trying to figure out what that means because I breathe in and out a lot more than she says is a breath cycle). I kept thinking, there is no way this is really exercise. But I like it. When the class was over the teacher said Namaste and everyone repeated it back to her. Except for me, because I had no idea I was supposed to. But you better believe I will next time! Because guess what? Yoga IS exercise you guys, not just stretching and getting into crazy positions! The big reveal happened the next day when I woke up with sore stomach and arm and leg muscles!

And as a bonus, the people in this yoga class are super friendly. One gave me a dozen fresh eggs that she had just gathered that morning in exchange for a promise that I would attend her handbell group's Christmas concert. And would I like some walnuts? Another mentioned that she and her husband have bees and is anyone interested in honey? It was like this class was made for me. I was tempted to look for a hidden camera. I was in heaven. Farmer's Market and yoga all in one?

Namaste.

I have found my exercise class.

 
T-Rex found here
Baby photo found here

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween is always fun here at our house. Some years we go crazy and turn our entire house into a spook alley for the neighborhood, but not this year. Maybe next year. It's been like 4 or 5 years since we did that last and I need to work myself back into the idea of it.

I put together a few of the kids' costumes this year. Some were easy, some... not so easy. But all worth it. Want to see? Okay! 
 
Allen the Younger decided on the morning of Halloween that he could be an elephant, wearing the hood I cut off of an old size 3T footie elephant costume last year. It's a little blurry, but it's the only picture I got. It cracks me up that he wore this at school all day.
 
All-a-Boy was Flint Lockwood from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Or, as we like to call him, FLINT LOCK-WOOOOOD! (If you've watched the movie you'll probably know what I mean.) We didn't have time to make spray-on shoes so he just carried a can of it instead. And now that Halloween is over he finally agreed to a haircut so he could have normal looking hair again. 

Cowgirl always knows way ahead of time who she's going to be. This year it was Vanellope Von Schweetz from Wreck It Ralph. Her costume was the hardest one to make but also one of my favorites. We lucked out on finding the right color of sweatshirt but had to order the tights online. The tights were the part I hated making. Painter's tape does NOT stick to tights well, in case you were wondering. Once the costume was all done she tried on the skirt she had and realized it was way too short. So we ran to the thrift store and found a long brown skirt that I cut and sewed into what she's wearing in a 30 minute time frame. It's not exactly right but it was good enough! We made the licorice knot in her ponytail from pipe cleaners (hooray for simplicity!) and glued circles and confetti that we cut out of foam to clips to create the candy stuck in her hair. We were both pleased with the result.

Princess wanted to be a mail person. I am lucky enough to have an amazing friend who works at the post office who was able to find me a shirt, hat and satchel from her friends who deliver the mail. We got her a pair of dark blue pants and we were done. Easy peasy!
She also had to dress as an Egyptian escort person sort of thing for this tradition they have at her elementary school where they drag one of the 6th grade teachers around on a cart in a cardboard sarcophagus as an Egyptian mummy. I don't understand it, but whatever. She looked cute and had fun and was really excited about it. Thank goodness Julia had made this tunic for an extra credit report a couple of years ago. I love having a costume bin!
 
Hubba was going to be a ninja but I ordered his costume online and when it arrived it was super lame. We both pretended it was great for a couple of weeks and then I asked if he wanted to try something different and he chose Fix It Felix, also from Wreck It Ralph. I think his costume was one of my best creations. I printed the hat and shirt patches onto fabric printer paper and sewed them on to the hat (from the Dollar Store) and shirt (from his closet). I had a hard time finding a hammer to spray paint gold but finally broke down and bought an entire toy tool set that Little X will get for Christmas (minus the hammer). I love how this turned out!
Curly wore a pirate girl costume that has made its rounds with our girls. I love it when someone wants to wear something we already have! Elle had sent her these necklaces for her birthday and she was really excited to make them a part of her costume. She was even more thrilled when she found out that all of the 2nd grade teachers were dressing up as pirates as well.
 
Little O was the most perfect Peter Pan! I got tired of making costumes and bought his at the Disney Store. They were having a 40% off sale and I figure that Little X can wear it later. This costume fit his personality so well!

Little X wore the same ol' pumpkin suit he wore last year. That was perfect, because I didn't have to make it! The only picture I got was of him wearing Allen's wig at the elementary school carnival. But here's last year's picture, in case you didn't see it. He's a little taller but looks pretty much the same:

 
At the last minute Allen called me from work (the night of our church's Halloween party) and told me he needed a black afro. Here's a simplified version of his costume:

Me? I just wore a simple Christa McAuliffe (the astronaut) shirt I made for a report Elle did in the 5th grade. It's a bunch of patches copied from the internet and sewn onto a blue scrub top. It was the first thing in the bin that fit me and I was good with that. Sorry, I forgot to take a selfie.
 
Julia wore a pirate costume to a Halloween party and she and her roommates dressed as Hogwarts students from each of the 4 houses. In true Julia fashion, she made their robes. Because she's off to school in a land far, far away I had no pictures. But thanks to the magic of Facebook I was able to steal these two:
 
 

Oh, we can't forget Elle! She dressed up as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Same thing she's worn every day for the last 9 months. Pretty much the best costume, ever. Here's a shot of she and her companion trying on hats and glasses at a store with one of the people they are teaching.
 
Hooray for Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Autumn Leaves


Over fall break I took some of the kids up the canyon so we could get outdoors and enjoy the colorful leaves and perfect weather that come with the change of seasons at this time of year.


The almost glowing brightness of the aspen trees was seriously breathtaking. I kept wanting to pull over and take pictures because around every bend was another burst of color. I fought the urge to load a bunch of the fallen leaves into the back of our suburban to scatter around our yard at home.


When we arrived at Cascade Springs we were surprised to see how crowded the parking lot was! Everyone was out enjoying the colors and the crisp air. We were a little disappointed to find that half of the trail was closed for repairs, but the boardwalks were open so we explored for a while, took a couple of pictures and then headed toward another canyon to take in the vibrant views there as well.



I love living in a place with changing seasons and autumn is by far my favorite of them all.

I don't know if it's because it's my favorite time of year that it seems to be so short, just a beautifully orchestrated colorful afterthought sandwiched between summer and winter. It's confusing at times with the heater kicking on in the early hours of the morning but welcoming that same crisp air into our home through open windows later in the day. Yet every year, before I realize what's happening, the winter cold creeps in and autumn... leaves.



We're going to enjoy the beauty of the earth in autumn and this awesome weather while we can.