Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Grapevine Wreath

My free Grapevine Wreath is finally decorated and on my front door.  I didn't buy anything for it - I only used things I already had:

I don't love it, but it works!  =)
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Light Bulb

I haven't done my Visiting Teaching this month, so I read the message and came up with this craft idea:

It's a glass ornament ball turned upside down and glued in 2 tea lights to resemble a light bulb! The message is Jesus is our light - we find HOPE in Christ through the Atonement, Resurrection and Eternal Life.
I added tiny sticks (hay) behind the paper to hold the picture in place.  I thought yellow paper would help the 'light bulb' look.  It was pretty tough to get a good photo - really reflective lighting because of the ornament - I hope it's not hard to see what it is in real life - LoL  I will drop these off to Kendal & Jodi tomorrow - yup, last day of the month this time!
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Sweatshirts

We had Christmas with my mom tonight - and she brought over new sweatshirts from Zumiez for the boys:
I was trying to get 1 picture of both the boys SMILING, but these shots turned out funnier ;)

And she brought everyone a stocking too! Jonathan & I got a gift card for home improvement - we love that! Thanks Mom/Grandma =)
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cooking Day

I cooked all day today - pork for fajitas, shredded pork & shredded beef (kept them separate from each other) with a homemade barbecue sauce, stew beef, sliced beef for sandwiches, potato soup, taco meat, italian meat (for spaghetti, gravies, etc.) and sausage - labeled them all with contents and dates.

Now, we can pull something from the freezer and make it super fast!  I will cook up some chicken another day - I'm tired and my feet are super sore!
I love ziplock bags - honestly, they are one of my favorite things and if I would have gotten some under the tree as a gift, I'd be thrilled ;)

I drove the boys to basketball practice up to the high school in the snow today.  A lot of the snow has melted - it's super warm out and the icicles have melted too.  The piles of snow on the roads are super slushy!  But that is not the story worth mentioning ;)  The slush was insane - I've never driven in worse conditions.  So, it felt like an arcade racing game (perhaps only women can relate - I think using a game controller on a racing game is a natural thing for a guy) and you feel very inadequate to be using the controller because although you are only going 25 mph on screen, you are wobbling over the whole road every 2 seconds and doing four 360's in a row - except you realize that there's no 'play again' in a real vehicle - it's just game over!  ;)  Every single car that was out driving around was sliding uncontrollably whether it has chains on or was a big truck!  Absolute craziness.

We ate dinner and played games at the Collinwoods tonight, we learned that everyone in their family loves candy, but especially chocolate!

Darren really enjoys singing on Rock Band - it was so funny to listen to them all.  Next time I'll bring the camera so I can videotape a bit - LoL  I took this photo on the cell phone.  Melissa was babysitting, so we missed visiting with her.  Laura & Leroy are giving talks tomorrow on service - and there's only 1 hour of church tomorrow because of the roads!
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Jackson & Koby

I have 2 nephews born on December 26th - Jackson turned 6 today and Koby turned 12!  
We went to a bowling party for Jackson:

The fries were the best!  Couldn't get anyone to smile decent for a photo though:
Jackson with his cake:

We went and saw Valkyrie with Grandma afterwards.  Good movie!  All 5 of us enjoyed it.
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

m E r R y C h R i S t M a S

Merry Christmas . . . . to all who read this ;)  This year I've noticed that store employees are saying Merry Christmas to consumers and I love that they're not afraid of the 'offended groups' any longer - it's great!  It can be Happy Holidays with a cherry 'Merry Christmas' =)
Boys posing with their favorite gift - an x-box game, so they are happy =)  

Christmas dinner wasn't typical this year!
Chips and Pico de Gallo - both homemade:

Carne de Sada (pork):
Jonathan had only one, pork, pepperjack cheese, carmelized onions, cilantro and sour cream:

Because he was really saving room for pumpkin pie and whipped cream - both homemade too:

Yeah, he had a quarter of the pie - I just thought he wasn't hungry at dinner time:
It's a white Christmas today - it snowed huge flakes for awhile.  Some of our neighbor friends have no power - luckily we still do!  Hopefully our circuit board piece comes in the mail tomorrow so we can get the main heater working.  We are toasty with a few space heaters and 1 that generates from a propane tank - Mr. Heater radiates heat like no other and I recommend it highly!
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

I made the boys build another snowman . . . okay, so the bribe was if they made a real snowman (as opposed to the one they tried to pass off before), then they got to open a present tonight!
They recycled the arms and eyes from the snowman that was buried under 6'' of snow, I guess we'll have to see if we can find it a mouth in the day light ;)

Brady measured 17'' of snow:
Is more snow on its way?

Today while driving uphill we slid into the side of a bank of snow and got stuck - our wheels were just spinning.  A pickup truck came by and offered to pull us backward down the hill into a parking lot about 25 feet away.  A good Samaritan =)  Sounded good, except he pulled us right into the ditch.  So, that pretty much stressed me out!  The 4-runner was at a 90 degree angle to the road and the more we tried to get the car out, the worse it got stuck - the Darringtons and Gessels (more good Samaritans) were shoveling snow out behind our tires and it helped a lot and then a monster truck came by and pulled us right out - thank goodness!!  We just needed the 'right' tool =)  We even ventured all around town after that and then went to Costco 1/2 hour away!

What's up with the snow plows around here - I've driven past 5 in the last week and not one has been scraping the snow - why bother driving it around like another car?  I've seen more sanded roads than cleared off ones!
No garbage trucks for 2 weeks - but we did get to take all our garbage and recyclables to the city's dumpsters today!  Mail wasn't delivered 2 days in the last week and I got to stand in line for 30 minutes today to get my parcels ;)  Airlines have been delayed and so the boys aren't able to fly standby to Texas to see their dad - so they're homebound for the entire Christmas vacation.  It's been a crazy winter!  I guess they won't be missing any basketball practices - which is a good thing.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow Ice Cream

I made my own version!
Beat together:
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Add 12 cups snow:
Mix snow into milk mixture:
Store in the snow to keep frozen, doesn't do so well in the freezer:

Be sure to use inner layer of snow - scrape off top layer but don't go to the bottom of the ground either.  ENJOY =)
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Heater Broke!

Inside our house it's 48 degrees (but I really want it to be 70) - our heater broke on Saturday night when the power went out briefly - but we were staying over at our friends Stephanie & Bryans (because of the wind storm prediction - which was supposed to be gusts of 75 mph and was maybe 20 mph at the highest).
Brady & Keaton stayed the night with Jordan Sunday night, but when I came inside from the studio this morning at 7 am, Keaton was home bundled up watching a movie:

Keaton said he got hungry (too funny!) and walked home in 2 feet of snow.  He is wearing 2 layers of clothes with mittens and has 3 blankets on and says he is cozy!
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Opened a Christmas Gift Early

What else do you do on a snow day - you give in and let the kids open a present:

Of course since it was Sunday, I choose the gift - so it wasn't an X-box game or something they couldn't use on the Sabbath ;)  They like their new sweatshirts though - nice they enjoy receiving new clothes!
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gingerbread House

A snowy day for staying indoors and creating a gingerbread house, Jonathan did all the piping:
Candy Stash (though there were a lot of M&M's to start with and none made it on the house, there was only a handful left when we stopped)  Another thing I do is buy most of the candy after Christmas on clearance and save it for the next year - cheap. . . and apparently still edible!
Keaton & Brady's side (the word 'peace' started going up, however a friend came over and P and most of the E was all that got glued on):
Jonathan & Cheri's side:
A lot to be done still, but this took us 1 1/2 hours - hopefully we come back to it!
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Homemade Donuts

When one is stuck at their house because of snow conditions, one finds time to make homemade donuts (and not just circle shapes!):

All fried up - they don't look all that pretty ;)
But they were tasty:

We fried up the scraps too and put powdered sugar over those instead of icing and they were yummy too.
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Thursday, December 18, 2008


I told the boys they had to build me a snowman!  But I guess the snow wasn't packable =(  I got a 1-story snowman that was a head:
You can see the snowflakes still coming down - it snowed for a good 10 hours today!
Brady posing with the snowman or maybe 'running' behind it?:
Funny photo with Nick G. 

We measured 12 inches in different places today.  Craziness for snow amounts in the Seattle area.  I saw a hummingbird 2 days ago and defrosted the nectar and put it back out during the day time but haven't seen him since.  But this little guy was around a few times today:

Our week consisted of: no seminary all week, 2 hour delay for school on Monday & Tuesday, no school on Wednesday in anticipation of snow (and there wasn't any, nor was it icy!) and no school today or tomorrow & no basketball Wednesday-Saturday either.  Early Christmas break - all is HAPPY because tests, essays and homework are delayed =)
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hot Cocoa Anyone?

I made up a recipe for homemade Hot Cocoa:

Melt together over stovetop:
     7 cups milk
     1 cup heavy cream
     6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and add to milk mixture once chocolate has melted completely:
     1 cup powdered sugar
     1/2 cup cocoa
     1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

Added a bit of mini marshmallows and it was SUPER yum!
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Monday, December 15, 2008

I got paid for doing the Laundry!

Who didn't empty their pockets before putting them in the dirty laundry?
Actually, does it really matter if I'm the one doing laundry?  It's mine now ;)  And how do the bills get sucked straight to the vent?

Ahhhh, not all bills were sucked to the vent - Jackpot - there's a $10 bill!  =)  
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa Chief

We attended a Christmas party last night and I snapped a photo of some of the teenagers coloring with the little kids, or should I say instead of the little kids. The coloring sheets were meant for the kids, but the younger children were happily eating as much sugar as possible from the goodie table (because they were not being monitored while the parents visited with one another) and running around the gym & stage with their friends. I guess the youth needed an activity too:

Oh, and Audrey asked everyone 'did you make a funny face?' after I snapped the photo - she must have assumed everyone else would be making a silly face =)

Keaton was so into his drawing he didn't even hear me say 'show me your picture'! But I should have know that he was busy detailing his own creation - he drew this:

Are those ice skates he's holding?  It's still a Halo character, just in a Santa suit!
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Basketball-Brady's block & layup

Brady's play of the night - he blocks a shot - #34:

Keaton was fouled and hurt his tailbone (coccydynia) a week ago, so he's basically benching it until it heals:
Uh, can I get a refund for Keaton's sport fees by chance?

Brady's layup shot:
They played Bellevue Interlake High School and won 40-39 thanks to Nick who stole the ball and made his layup in the last 13 seconds of the game! WTG
No, it's not your imagination, the videos are unusually shaky - Jonathan was massaging my back while I was filming - I guess I need a tripod for our camera ;)
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Simmering Spices

I made a mixture of a few spices and put them into 4 oz square tins for a few Christmas gifts:
I decorated the tin with a strip of paper on the bottom and ribbon on the lid, tied it up with smaller ribbon & jingle bells and attached a card:
I added directions to the card and also the recipe in case they want to make it again:
2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Ground Cloves
1 Tablespoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Anise Seed
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 cinnamon stick
Simmer together with 2 cups water or apple cider. Can reheat until scent diminishes.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Homemade Lotion

Surprisingly it only looks as tasty as frosting ;)  It's lotion!
I made a winterizing lotion concoction using: 8 oz Vitamin E cream, 2 oz Vitamin oil, 13 oz Vaseline, 27 oz Baby Lotion & 6 oz Arbonne Body Lotion (the original recipe is 16 oz Vitamin E Cream, 15 oz petroleum jelly & 32 oz baby lotion).  I bought all my stuff at Walmart - cheap for name brand products =)
Whip it all up together with your mixer:

No one fighting over who's licking this beater ;)
And may I suggest using a jar so you can spoon it in - the recipe idea mentioned that - but I thought a bottle (I did like this web site for my ordering though!) would be much better - uhhh, not really - it was VERY time consuming funneling the lotion into the bottle (pounding it on the counter to get a drop or two at a time to go into the container). I guess I didn't think about not having a machine (like the manufacturers) to do this part for me ;)
The final product (it made seven 8 oz bottles):
And I made up a poem to go with it, which I will post below, BUT first I want to show you what my options were (written by someone else, and I apologize if they ever read that I made fun of it on my blog - but they are pretty bad!) I sort of figure it's okay to laugh (not nice, I know!) because I don't know who wrote them - there are no names claiming these poems:

Make yourself really happy,
Use this homemade lotion,
But only use a dabby!
When your feet are feeling cracky
And your legs are lookin’ scratchy
Reach for my homemade lotion
It's a magical potion
Reach for my homemade lotion
Whenever you get the notion
You sure will be glad you did
‘Cause rough skin you'll be rid

Not that I am a poet, and it did take me a long time to write mine - but hopefully it's better than the previous choices:

I wanted to make you a potion
So, I got this exciting notion
To generate some homemade lotion
And show my enduring devotion

My dear friend, it’s more than emotion
Sweetness larger than any ocean
How you rouse a cheery commotion
Always with best intents, I’d motion

Yes, pretty silly sounding too when I reread it - but I gotta post my silly ideas if I'm going to make fun of others =) I taped on the poem so it's more waterproof - I don't know how long it will last on the bottle though.  I made 2 batches (one scent was the cucumber melon and the other scent was vanilla oatmeal from the baby lotions) of this - if I do it again, I will use 4 oz containers and use jars.
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