I'm a little behind...

I've been catching up on old posts, so make sure you scroll down.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bree-isms

The other morning Bree woke up and was fake-crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she said, pointing to her temple, "I hurt my feelings."

I've been encouraging Bree to say her own prayers. I'll start her off, and give her an example of "I'm thankful for _____," then I'm quiet and let her take it from there. It's always interesting to hear what she says. Some days, she says a sweet "bless Daddy be safe, bless gramma and papa, bless Mason," etc. And then, for instance, after Halloween, every night for a week, she would say "Thanks go trick or treating, get candy." Last night, she said, "and Santa Claus come down the chimdey, decorations the tree, and be Christmas time. Name Jesus Christ, amen."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A child-proof tree


It is true that with a little effort and discipline, you can train your small toddlers to leave the Christmas decorations alone. This has been my mantra ever since having kids, because I won't be deprived of Christmas ornaments on my tree simply because there are babies around. That being said, a compromise was decided upon last year. We have stored away the beautiful glittering glass balls and breakable snowmen that used to adorn our elegant tree, to be brought out again some day in the future. Instead, we now have a cute country-esque theme comprised solely of wooden, cloth, and plastic ornaments. And candy canes. I love it just as much as the elegant tree, and even more so because Bree was able to help decorate (see her "cluster" method of hanging ornaments, above right). Yes, I am still training my children to leave the tree alone, and they are so good--even 10-month-old Mason! But, with a child-proof tree, I'm better safe than sorry.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving at Gramma and Papa's


Since Chad never gets the holidays off, we celebrated Thanksgiving a little early so we could visit my parents. Bree gets insanely excited whenever I mention grandma or papa. She loves visiting their house, playing with all the toys, riding the tractor and the wheelbarrow, petting Patches, and taking full advantage of her grandparents' love. Mason is now old enough to get excited about it too. He wiggles and reaches for my parents now, and does a lot of that ridiculous grinning (see video). Chad and I were so eager to escape to the middle of nowhere. We ate a delicious turkey dinner, played games, watched movies, I did some quilting (I'll post photos soon), and enjoyed knowing that we were out of cell phone range and unreachable! A true vacation.
video

The best ways to eat pumpkin


Since last month, I've been exploring the uses of pumpkin. I asked myself, "Do I only eat pumpkin pie and pumpkin cookies because 'tis the season? Or do I actually like food made from pumpkin?" As a result, I have discovered and thoroughly enjoyed desserts like Joanna's pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans, my fried pumpkin donut holes with glaze, and Amy's pumpkin cookies which don't need chocolate chips to taste amazing! So for Thanksgiving, instead of the same old slimy pumpkin pie, I made a pumpkin cheesecake, a la Cheesecake Factory. So good! The taste makes you think you're eating pumpkin pie, but the texture is heavenly and smooth. Pumpkin pie used to be the healthiest dessert on the Thanksgiving table...
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar, plus
1 tablespoon sugar
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
whipped cream
Directions
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2 Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 T sugar in a medium bowl.
3 Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste.
4 Keep it crumbly.
5 Put foil partway up the outside part of an 8-inch springform pan. (I didn't do this)
6 Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan.
7 You don't want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake.
8 Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside until you are ready to fill it.
9 In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 C sugar, and vanilla.
10 Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
11 Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue beating until smooth and creamy.
12 Pour the filling into the pan.
13 Bake for 60-70 minutes.
14 The top will turn a bit darker at this point.
15 Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.
16 When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator.
17 When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces.
18 Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream on top.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm In Like

This morning I drove over an hour to the nearest theater with the only other die-hard Twilight fan I could find in Globe to see the 10:00am showing of Twilight. I've been planning on seeing this movie since pre-production stages, and I was pretty excited. I did not, however, let myself expect too much, because that inevitably leads to disappointment. And I didn't read the book right before seeing the movie, since I have discovered that this only causes annoyance when I notice the differences between novel and movie. So, I was all geared up to enjoy myself, but I had already decided that I wasn't a fan of Robert Pattison, who plays Edward (couldn't they have found someone hotter to play the part?). It was awesome to see the characters come to life. I truly was riveted the entire time, and it was over too quickly. Edward actually grew on me (except for some of his more "constipated" expressions, as my sis-in-law put it. He was going for intense but overshot), and I was pretty impressed with the acting of the other characters (I really liked Charlie and James). This particular kissing scene was hot but not inappropriately steamy. All in all, I can't actually say that I loved it, but I really really liked it. I'm looking forward to the sequels, and am trusting that they will get better as we go along.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to Us!

Today is Chad's birthday, and my gifts to him are #1: his new computer game expansion pack that allows him to advance his characters another 10 levels (thereby ensuring that he'll spend even more time on the computer), #2: the fact that it's 11:00 and he's still sleeping. My mom's watching the kids, so they're not here to wake him personally.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and I thought I'd commemorate it by posting myself a birthday card from the Relief Society presidency (I don't think my secretary will send me one in the mail from myself). There we are, from left to right: Judy, my amazingly organized and on top of things secretary; Amy, my 2nd counselor and one of my best friends and co-young-moms; Marsha, my totally experienced wealth of knowledge 1st counselor; and me, a RS president who feels like she'll never get things totally together. So this is the adorable photo (taken at one of our meetings at my house) that we send to our sisters on their birthdays along with a message that my secretary photo-shopped on there. I could not function without you ladies! Thank you!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Easter! Happy Birthday!

Yes, I realize that I'm like 7 months late in posting these. But when my camera was still fairly new, I took a couple videos sideways like a dummy, and couldn't figure out how to rotate them. Well, just today I installed the CD that came with my camera (I'm usually right on top of those things; I've had this camera 11 months now...), and I discovered how to rotate my videos! I didn't think it could be done! So now you get to be reminded of how cute Bree was at her 2nd birthday/Easter (they were within a couple weeks of each other). Enjoy!

video video

A meme?

This is a new word I learned today, but I'm having trouble getting a handle on a clear definition. It's an idea/value that can change and mutate as it's passed from person to person. I actually ran across the word as I was reading through one of those questionnaires you get emailed to you, where you read your friend's answers, then change the answers to apply to you, then forward them along. Technically, calling these types of emails is not an entirely accurate application of the term "meme," nonetheless, it is quite common apparently. So, here's my "meme" of the day:
Birth Month
If you want to play, go here and copy your birth month. Then strike out stuff that doesn't apply to you (I tried to put strike-out instructions here, but it just kept applying the command instead of showing it. A simple google search will provide instructions)
NOVEMBER: Has a lot of ideas. Difficult to fathom (I think I'm pretty obvious).Thinks forward. Unique and brilliant. Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance (um...clair-whatuh?). Can become good doctors (or nurses). Dynamic in personality. Secretive (I can keep secrets, but I don't like to). Inquisitive. Knows how to dig secrets (again with the secrets). Always thinking. Less talkative but amiable. Brave and generous. Patient. Stubborn and hard-hearted (Stubborn, yes; hard-hearted, no). If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Loves to be alone. Thinks differently from others. Sharp-minded. Motivates oneself. Does not appreciates praises (hello, who doesn't like praise?). High-spirited. Well-built and tough (well-built is a nice way to put it...). Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Uncertain in relationships (not so much anymore). Homely (oh goodness, no). Hardworking. High abilities. Trustworthy. Honest and keeps secrets (more secrets?). Not able to control emotions (so true). Unpredictable (I am a creature of obligation and habit, and therefore entirely predictable).

Friday, November 14, 2008

5th Folder, 5th Photo

This tag was quick and easy, and a fun little surprise. The tag is to post the 5th Photo of the 5th Folder in your MY PICTURES. (I only had 2 photos in that folder, so I posted the 2nd one)

Fran, you're going to love this! Don't cry. Whoops, too late. Remember July 21st, 2005? When your children and grand-children started moving away in droves? Well, you thought it would be funny to pack your granny-rocking-chair in Mike's truck so they'd take you with them to Missouri, Beverly Hillbilly style. And then Chad and I moved to Arizona a few months later. We swear, it was nothing personal! It seems so long ago that we were all in Vegas together. But don't worry, we won't forget you! We're very loyal, and show our kids pictures of you on a regular basis so they'll know who you are. We love you!

I tag anyone who is curious as to what's in their 5th folder!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pecan Tassies

Cookie Days are here again! After half of our group moved away, it took us a while to get it together and re-organize our weekly tribute to baking. Last week we made some delicious pumpkin cookies at Amy's, and today it was my turn. I have been dying to try my mother-in-law's Pecan Tassie recipe (tassies are cookie-tarts made in mini-muffin pans). Chad remembers his mom making these around the holidays, and had been mentioning that I should get the recipe. They turned out SOOOO good! I am a huge pecan pie fan, and these, as Amy said, have the perfect filling-to-crust ratio, since pecan pie is super-rich.
Here's the recipe:


Ingredients:
Pastry:
1 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sifted flour
Filling:
1 egg
1 T soft butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
dash salt
sm. chopped pecans added at final step
Directions:
Pastry: Mix room temperature cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter. Blend in flour. Chill an hour. Shape into 2 doz. 1" balls. Press dough against bottom and sides of mini-muffin tins.
Filling: Beat together everything but nuts. Place sm. chopped pecans in bottom of crust and add filling. Sprinkle top with sm. chopped pecans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 mins.

On a side note, today's get-together was slightly hindered by the fact that my oven's bottom heating element is broken, and I didn't find this out until my gorgeous hand-made rolls made from freshly-ground wheat flour (I was so proud) came out of the oven nicely brown on top and soggy and disgusting on the bottom. So. Sad. Heather suggested I flip them over to cook the bottoms, which I did, and so they were edible with a nice flavor but chewy/crusty texture. Luckily I have several friendly neighbors, so at least I was able to take the tassies across the street to bake!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall is here! (knock on wood)

So yesterday marked the first day so far this season that the A/C hasn't kicked on! So...drum roll... I turned the A/C off! Wow, it only took until November 4th for fall weather to start. I'm optimistic because the weather report says that we won't break 75* all week! Yay! So, even though it's not quite cold enough to light up the fireplace yet, we're getting closer. Maybe I'll get to start wearing my long-sleeves by the time Christmas comes around...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Is life over?

I guess I didn't think that America would be dumb enough to do it, so I didn't consider the fact that Obama could actually be our next president. Frankly, I'm a little concerned about the future of our country, not to mention the future of Joe the plumber. I can't think about this tonight. I'll think about it tomorrow.

Chic Shawls by Megan

So, I sent off a homemade baby gift to my sis-in-law yesterday: a cute and convenient nursing shawl. They are all the rage in Globe! My friend Amy was the first to sport one, and then she made shawls for Elise and me because we just HAD to have one. So I'm just passing it along! Using this is way better than nursing under a blanket--much better all-around coverage. I keep telling Amy she should go into business...maybe we could be business partners...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

3 Nights of Halloween

This was a big year for Halloween festivities. It started Wednesday at the church Trunk-or-Treat. Bree was so excited at the idea of dressing up and going trick-or-treating--this year, she actually had some concept of Halloween from books and videos we'd been watching. And she loved her Tinker Bell costume! (on a side note, this was a big year for Tinker Bell costumes, because of the new Tinker Bell movie, but I hadn't thought of that--I just wanted Bree and Mason to have cute coordinating costumes.) Anyway, Bree was sort of dazed as we walked around the parking lot getting candy; there was so much going on, what with the scary trunks, music, games and food. She got a tiny bottle of bubbles from the fishing pond, tried her hand at the beanbag toss (sadly, she has no natural throwing ability), and won at the cupcake walk (she took a couple licks of her cupcake frosting and was done).

video video

On Thursday, we had night number two of Halloween festivities, when we went to our local Fry's grocery store's Midnight Madness event (not sure why it's called that; it started at 4pm and ended at 11...). This was a neat little bonus, since I needed to do some grocery shopping anyway, and when I have to take the kids with me they're not always thrilled or cooperative at the store. So I dressed the kids up and off we went. It turned out to be really cute. All the Fry's employees were wearing costumes. There was trick-or-treating all around the store at the many booths: ring toss, beanbag toss, cookie decorating (this was the one Bree was interested in), and free donuts and cider. So, the kids happily ate their sugar while I got my shopping done, we enjoyed some delicious caramel apple and pumpkin donuts (both of which were surprisingly delicious!), and I got a killer deal on some Halloween candy. Oh, and I got some adorable pictures!






Last night we had our big Halloween finale. Bree got to trick-or-treat at actual houses, which was a whole different experience. We started with a few of our close neighbors--just the ones we know, and they thought Bree was so cute, she got whole handfuls of candy. Then we drove over to our friends the Huishes for dinner and more trick-or-treating (our neighborhood doesn't have many houses that hand out candy; plus it's really hilly). Bree and Calan had a blast running around from house to house, while Mason and Cora were content to ride in the stroller. That neighborhood was packed with people! I've never seen anything like it in real life; it was a zoo of trick-or-treaters. The Huishes actually ran out of candy long before the night was over. Well, by the end of the night we were all hopped up on candy and pumpkin donut holes that I made (yummy!). The kids were exhausted and hysterical when I loaded them in the truck to go home, but they fell right asleep when we got there (no energy for a bath, so they went to bed slightly sticky!).

video
What a fun few days of festivities! It's silly how much fun I have watching my kids experience these things. They are growing up so fast, but I truly am "enjoying while it lasts" as everyone and their mother likes to instruct me! Now Halloween's over; next stop: Christmas! Oh, wait, no: Thanksgiving. Sorry, got a little over-excited there!
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