Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mission accomplished!

Well folks, I did it. I reached my goal.

Earlier this year I accepted a challenge on a running forum over on to run at least 50 miles each month this year.

Here are my results:

And that means the grand total of miles run in 2009 is...

[drumroll please]


Yeah, that's right.

(Nate just popped his head around the corner and asked if I was bragging.)

Am I?

Okay, yes, a little.

Because back when I bought my first real pair of running shoes in February of this year, I was nervous that they wouldn't get used enough!


Saturday, December 26, 2009

It was a Merry Christmas...

Wasn't it? We had a really nice time.

That's our annual Christmas Eve photo.

Because most of them looked more like this:

Thanks, Zach, thanks a lot.

And this.

I'm not sure why Noah was hiding, but I'm guessing it was because he was sick of having his picture taken by that point..

And the part that really makes me laugh is that for once, I don't think I look too bad in the photos, and it was ME who kept jumping up and reseting the timer on the camera.


And I don't know why the pictures came out so grainy. All the pictures for the last few days have come out that way and I think it's because I was playing with the settings and goofed them up royally. This next year one of my goals is to improve my photography skills.

And THIS is what the boys have spent most of the last two days doing:

(That's a Nintendo DS, BTW, and I think we all agree they are pretty awesome.)

It's really win-win because I see these little devices being great leverage for getting the kids to do stuff we want them to, like cleaning their rooms and doing their homework.


So, how was your Christmas?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

The stockings are hung by the chimney...ahem...the big screen t.v. with care. (How embarrassing. I can't believe I'm even posting this picture. Obviously my decor needs a little help.)

The giant tub of 'Extra Fancy 'mixed nuts from Costco meant to last through the holiday season is pretty much picked over.

And the most Christmas-y image of all - the lemons on the tree are starting to ripen.

Yes, it's that most wonderful time of the year when the lemons are ready for the pickin' and I can finally squeeze their tangy juices into an ice cold Diet Coke poured into the last, lonely survivor of our of vintage, special edition Utah Jazz glass collection purchased from Chevron in St. George, Utah during the early years of our marriage. This particular glass is dated 1997, and is the glass from which all beverages seem to taste just a little bit better.

Man, it just feels like Christmas now!

Zach's gingerbread house

Zach wanted to make sure our blog contained a photo of the gingerbread house he made at school yesterday. Impressive, isn't it?

These aren't just pieces of drugstore candy plopped willy nilly onto graham crackers and globs of Betty Crocker frosting. These are carefully plotted confections arranged to convey his conception of the ideal winter wonderland.

That's not merely a Tootsie Roll standing on it's end, it's the leftover stump of a tree chopped down to provide the cottage with much needed fire wood. And the Skittles and sprinkles in front of the door? That's actually a charming cobblestone path beckoning one and all to enter the adorned chalet to join in the Yuletide festivities.

In fact, it reminds me of the beloved creation we made together last year.

He definitely gets his artistic vision from my side of the family.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Have I mentioned just how much I love...

This squishy dog?

And this cute kid hanging out with the squishy dog?

And this other cute kid with the squishy and ever-so-patient dog?

Just thought I'd point it out in case anyone was wondering.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eggstra eggstra, read all about it!

It was our church Christmas party last night and we had 'breakfast for dinner'. When I originally signed up to help I was told I'd be making biscuits and gravy, neither of which I've actually made before. And honestly, a church party with dozens of hungry people isn't exactly the time or place I want to test out my culinary skills, you know?

So, I was thrilled when I was told that instead of biscuits and gravy, we would be in charge of eggs - eggspecially (<----see how I threw that in there for you?) since cooking eggs is kind of Nate's specialty.

We'd never cooked 96 eggs before. Have you?

Nate always insists on adding cheese. Lots of it.

He's 'egg'stra special, isn't he?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Um. Wow. What's in YOUR wallet?

I was trying to figure out the balance left on a gift card I found in my wallet and realized there were quite a few other gift cards and merchandise credits in there as well.

$329.66 worth, in fact.


Yes, seriously.

And that doesn't even count the IKEA card pictured, because they were no help whatsoever in finding the balance.

Is it any wonder that stores are pushing gift cards and merchandise credit like crazy? I think they're totally counting on dorks like me who misplace and forget about these things.

Well, see you later.

I'm going SHOPPING!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some Christmas images from our house...

My friend Raejean mentioned that last year she'd made a scrapbook layout called "The Images of Christmas", and that this year she hoped to get pictures of the ornaments and decorations she has and type up the stories of each of them.

I totally love that idea, so I'm going to copy it and share some of the things we hang on our tree each year.

These are some of the oldest ornaments I own. My mother went through some kind of crazy cross stitching kick and made a ton of these with various themes for each of my sisters and me. This particular ornament is dated 1989 aand there are others dating as far as 1985.

When we first got married and were starting from scratch our first Christmas, I looked through a lot of magazines like Good Housekeeping and Family Circle for ideas of ornaments and decorations I could make without spending a lot of money. I always assumed that later I'd be able to have a more elaborate, glamourous looking tree a few years down that road.

These 'punched tin stars' were some of the first ornaments I made. It involved tracing and cutting out stars from sheets of aluminum flashing I picked up from Home Depot. I spent hours punching the edges of these with a hammer and nail. The funny thing was, I think I ended up spending more money buying the supplies to make these than I would have spent buying some good quality ornaments.

Oh well, live and learn.

And it turns out they're not exactly child friendly. They're actually quite sharp, and the kids love tossing them across the room like Chinese throwing stars. It may be time to retire the things before somebody loses an eye around here.

These fabric yo-yo's were another project of mine. I promise, they look better in real life, although they SCREAM '1996 craft project' like nothing else. I think this is when I (and every other 90's crafter out there) truly discovered the many uses of raffia.

As long as your little ones can't chew through raffia fibers to ingest the jingle bells, these are totally kid friendly and make a pleasant tinking sound for all to hear. :) Plus, everytime someone shakes them, an angel gets it's wings!

Here's another version, extra heavy on the raffia:

I love the look of strung popcorn with cranberries, but didn't want the mess of the cranberries themselves, so years back when I found some bright red wooden beads that looked like berries in a dollar store, I thought I'd hit the jackpot! The beads were a little too fire engine red for my taste, so I layed them out on layers of newspaper and spray painted them a dark cranberry color. For years I had strings of popcorn with these beads on my tree and people who saw our tree often commented how pretty they were. The stringing of all that popcorn is a little labor intensive, so one year I carefully packed them in ziptop bags and discovered they could be reused for several years in a row. Sneaky, huh?

Here's a tip though, don't hang popcorn if your kids or critters are apt to eat it.

When I was growing up, I remember we strung popcorn a few of the years. One year we couldn't figure out why the strands seemed to be falling down so much and just where the popcorn was disappearing to. I finally figured it out when I walked in to see the little poodle we had at the time contentedly munching on the side of the tree.

So, just for review, dogs, probably cats, and possible very hungry children and popcorn strands do not mix. This is why we're laying off the popcorn on the tree for a while, but I miss it.

Back before I had kids, I was a little concerned about what I was going to do when my children started bringing home those delightful ornaments they crafted at school because I didn't think they would, um...mesh well with the elegant tree I envisioned having someday.

I know some people solve that by having a kids' tree and then another tree that's more for show, and if that's how you do it, more power to you. As it turns out that my kid's ornaments are some of my favorite parts of our tree because they help tell our family story.

These are some paper gingerbread men that Zachary made a few years back. I wish I'd written the year on them...I'm guessing he was in Kindergarten, but I'm not sure. He still enjoys putting them on the tree each year and I love seeing them.

Gotta love the beads and the googly eyes, right?

An ornament Noah is quite proud of and appears to be made from sparkly Moon Sand.

This is the ornament we picked up the year we took the kids to Disneyland, which can be read about HERE.

I really like finding ornaments that go along with trips we've taken and special things we've done during the year. That's why this is one of this year's new ornaments. It's supposed to represent our recent trip to San Diego.

I bought this ornament last year just because I liked it. My dad has always had a motorcycle as far back as I can remember, and when we were kids he used to take us on motorcycle rides around the neighborhood while we wore a giant, bulbous, orange helmet.

This is a new ornament this year that I liked because it's a sparkly cookie and happens to coordinate with the dark red color I like to use on our tree.. I'd make real cookies, but once again, we have a giant beastly dog that eats everything she finds and would have no problem knocking down an entire tree to get a snack.

An ornament from the year we bought our first house.

Here's one of the ornaments from Zach's first Christmas.

And another someone gave us.

And from Noah's first Christmas. (Poor kid will forever be saddled with the unfortunate problem of receiving Noah's Ark related junk for the rest of his life!)

And a token from the Thomas years...

And I bought this because it makes me think of Nate.

This is from last year when we got Thelma.

This is an ornament I stamped in an attempt to be crafty.

And maybe I'm crazy, but I love these cheap plastic icicles I picked up at the grocery store one year. They totally remind me of the elegant glass icicles my friend had on her flocked tree when I was really young.

This was something they passed out in Relief Society something like 10 years ago and I just liked how homey and crafty it was.

Some glass hearts I bought from Oriental Trading Company. I bought a few dozen of these but they're dwinding every year.

The rest of tree is filled in with lots of dark red and gold balls and stars and other random things I've picked up over the years.

And lastly, this is what Thelma did while I took pictures and typed up this post, and later, she actually moved to her bed in front of the tree.

It's a Christmas miracle!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Yes, we celebrate holidays...

I just don't always get around to blogging about 'em.

We had a great Thanksgiving. We stayed home and celebrated with our little family. We talked about actually going out for dinner this year, but we had a hard time figuring out where to go, and most people we mentioned our plans to completely freaked out at the very idea.

Okay, mostly the men. The women seemed a little jealous.

But, Zachary was talking about how much he was looking forward to staying home and eating turkey. And ham.


Yes, ham. Because we've had ham at big family Thanksgiving dinners before, so he feels that ham is an important part of the holiday now.


So, our menu included turkey AND ham, for 4 people, one of whom doesn't eat meat other than IKEA meatballs.

And I made buttery rolls from scratch, something I don't do very often. And in such a huge quantity. Man, we had rolls coming out our ears.

And we decorated the table with real napkins and a tablecloth and fancy glasses. See?

And while the kids liked our table decor, they kept questioning if someone else was coming over for dinner.

And Thelma kept coming into the kitchen while I was cooking and sniffing the air, and finally plopped down there in the middle of everything to make sure I didn't forget about her when it was time to serve all that glorious meat.

Here Noah is trying to console her.

And we got the tree put up early this year, which is a first.