Monday, December 31, 2012

closing out 2012

After a couple of sad days, our family needed to have a little fun.  It  came in the form of matching pajamas. Pajamas that I actually gave to everyone on Christmas eve, but no one felt like wearing.  Yesterday we had kind of a "do-over" of our Christmas celebration.  I made an AJ's tenderloin roast (something we usually have only once a year), mashed potatoes,  and orange rolls ( another holiday favorite).  Then after dinner, we all put on our new polar bear pajamas.  Can I just tell you how thrilled Gentry was that I actually found polar bear pajamas?!  A couple of the teenagers needed some coaxing to wear the bears,  but eventually we all made it in front of the tripod for a quick shot. 

And then a little spontaneous "wrestling/ attempt at a wedgie" broke out. 

And hugging.

And we all felt a little better.  We ended our night by watching Mr. Kruegers Christmas with Jimmy Stewart.  Another Christmas eve tradition.  It's message is beautiful and timeless, even if it's a little "wardrobe" dated:)

Here's something  else kind of fun.  "McKenna Faith and the Believers"  playing tonight at The Mill Ave. New Year's Eve Party  sponsored by Disney.  If you are local, come check it out!  McKenna is absolutely amazing, and Sadie gets to do back up vocal, keyboard, and base.
Happiest new year's eve to you and your family!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

a good horse

On Christmas eve, just as our extended family was arriving, Gregg came in the house with a look of panic on his face. He told me that our horse, Shiner, was in trouble... lying down, and rolling around in pain.  I quickly got on the internet to try and find an equestrian vet that would do an emergency house call on Christmas eve.  By some miracle, I found one.  She arrived twenty minutes later and basically gave her "best guess" of a diagnosis... intestinal blockage.  She sedated Shiner and poured a whole quart of mineral oil down his nose. We spent Christmas eve and Christmas day  waiting and watching Shiner, hoping he'd be okay.  
By Thursday morning, he seemed to be improving, but Gregg decided to transport him to our regular vet located a few hours north for observation. The vet called that night to say that Shiner seemed to be improving, eating and drinking, and that he thought he would make a good recovery.  We all breathed a sigh of relief, especially Gregg and Sadie who are the "horse people" of our family. 

Friday the vet continued to monitor Shiner, and by Friday night, we assumed no news was good news.  Early this morning,  Gregg, Sadie, and Drew got up to go quad riding.  At three o'clock when they arrived home, they all seemed quiet. When I asked about their ride, Sadie and Drew both responded with a very unenthusiastic, "Good."  When Gregg walked in I could tell something was wrong.  He told me that shortly after they left this morning, he got a call from the vet.  Shiner had died sometime in the night.  I was shocked.  We had all been feeling so happy that he was going to be okay.  The vet went on to tell us that they discovered he had a growth on his intestine that over time resulted in a complete blockage. It was something that even surgery might not have been able to correct. The saddest thing to me (next to our kids many tears) is seeing our other horse, Trace, out in the pasture by himself.  Throughout Shiner's ordeal, Trace was trying to take care of him, even licking his head.  Horses are interesting creatures.  I don't know how they conceptualize death, but I have a distinct feeling that Trace knows Shiner won't be coming home.    
I believe our families are forever, even horse families.  Rest peacefully shiner, bless your heart for being a good and faithful horse to my family all these years.

Monday, December 24, 2012

merry and bright

Things that make me happy.

Lights and snowflakes.

"Elfvis" our elf on the shelf. 



And most of all...our kids, and a  letter from Gentry who understands that she has "a loving Father in heaven".  

I wish every child in the world could know that they have a loving Father in heaven.  A Father who loves them so much, He gave them His Son. 
Merry Christmas Eve.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

bake it quick

 There are so many recipes for this treat.  But I like mine the best.  Four ingredients, fifteen minutes start to finish, need I say more?

1 chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 c. oil

Hand mix thoroughly.  Drop rounded teaspoons (about 1 inch) onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes.  Remove from oven, after three minutes, press hershey's candy cane kiss into center of each cookies.  Let chocolate reset.  I usually put the cookie sheet in the fridge for about ten minutes to help the chocolate set faster. Makes about two dozen. 
* You can make cake cookies with any cake mix.  In addition to chocolate, we've made them using funfetti and strawberry cake mixes too.  

That's it, that's the whole recipe, now you'll just need to decided what to do with that extra twenty-five minutes it would have taken you to make the tradition recipe.

Friday, December 21, 2012

the snowflakes

I'm very sentimental about a few things... my kid's art work and stories,  old letters (the real, handwritten kind), songs (Dan Fogelberg's "old lang syne" always makes a little homesick for my youth), and finally, Christmas ornaments. As we were decorating our tree a few weeks ago,  Drew started quizing me about each ornament,
     Where'd this one come from? What about this one?
He was surprised that I actually knew the story behind each one.  Through the years, we've accumulated a lot of ornaments, many given to us as gifts.  In my mind each one represents a story or time frame of my life, and inevitably each year, I take a walk through some of my sweetest Christmas memories as we decorate the tree.  This is  the story of our oldest, and to me,  most valued ornaments.  Remember, this blog doubles a journal for my kids, and I hope this little story and the ornaments themselves will continue to be passed down through our family.  
     In 1963, there was a young, newlywed couple living in Ventura California.  Like most newlyweds, they were very much in love, and living on very meager finances.  Their Christmas tree that year was a little bonsai tree.  The decorations: six small, intricately hand-cut snowflakes made and signed by the husband. 
       That young couple was my mom and dad almost fifty years ago.  When Gregg and I got married, they gave two of the six snowflakes to us, and two to my sister.  My mom and dad still have the remaining two.
     Each year when I carefully unwrap those snowflakes from a protected envelope, I feel grateful for my mom and dad, and that they love each other, and that they love me, and that my dad took the time to hand-cut those snowflakes so many years ago. 
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad. Love, Your daughter.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

curse the godiva

It always happens late at night, when the rest of my family is asleep, and I'm tired and reviewing my long "to do" list for the next day.  It usually starts out innocently enough.  A  sugar cookie from a plate of treats dropped off that evening, or sometimes a little peanut brittle.  But, after a few bites, I decide that these things are not really what I want.  And, inevitably, I end up pulling out the godiva box ( an annual gift from one of Gregg's well meaning business associates) to lift off that shiny gold lid and investigate.   Of course, the thought of the gift is very kind, but results are usually are not to my benefit.  I do appreciate the illustrated sample map godiva usually includes.  It provides guidance on some level.  But, even the color pictures aren't always detailed enough for me to differentiate, and before the clock strikes midnight, I will try each and every chocolate and finish off more than half.  It's a strange conversation I have with myself after taking that first bite,
     Hmmm... this one is not bad, I was hoping the filling would be a little creamier, not sure it's worth the calories, maybe I should move on, although, the second bite was better than the first....

Most of the time I decide I'm already too far down the road of gluttony, and I finish the job.  That's one thing you count on about me.  I finish the job.  And now, if you'll excuse me, it's almost midnight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

see ya blackberry

I have been loyal to my blackberry phone for many years, and for the most part, it's been loyal to me.  Until recently.  Suddenly, I couldn't get emails, my keyboard was falling apart, and let's face it trying to surf the web on a blackberry is like trying to surf on sand instead of water.  For at least a year my kids have been telling me, "Mom, you need to get a smart phone!"  Gregg echoed the thought a few times, but worried about the learning curve (he sometimes tells me I repel technology). Anyway, my sweet husband finally made an executive decision last week and brought me home the new iphone.  It was somewhat of a strange phenomena as I opened the box.  The kids gathered around me and you would have thought we were attending a fireworks show from the, "Oooooos and Awwweees!"  "Guys, it's just a phone" I reminded them.  For the next week, everyone in the house wanted to hold, play with, talk to, and take pictures with my new phone (case in point below).
 Until I finally had to have a heart to heart with all of them....."Guys, I'm sorry to tell you there in no we in the iphone.  So, stop touching my phone.  And I love you all to the moon and back."

I have to admit, this phone has been a lot of fun, and my favorite part is the camera. 

A few shots from my iphone on the road.
The kids helping out at our church's "Bishop's Storehouse"  

 Sierra's new glasses.

                                                                       Culver's finally in AZ. Try their "butter burger"!!!

And....the parents.

And wow....Christmas countdown......a week from today!

Friday, December 14, 2012

I just picked up our oldest child from the airport.  And hugged her. And said a prayer of thanks that she was home safe and sound.  Then I said another for the families that lost their children today.  Sometimes there are no words.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

a little southwest cuisine

I tried this new recipe last week and I am in LOVE.  Fresh lime and cilantro plus your favorite salsa, some seasoned chicken and black beans....seriously, YUM.

1 pkg. taco seasoning                                1/4 c. water    
4 chicken breasts                                       1 T. cilantro, chopped
2 T. oil                                                       1 T. lime juice (fresh)
1 c. your favorite salsa                               1 (15-oz.) can black beans,
1/4 c. apricot jam                                        rinsed & drained

Cilantro Sour Cream:
1/2 c. sour cream                                        3 T. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. lime zest                                            2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 T. lime juice                                             1/4 tsp. salt

Cut chicken breasts into bite-size pieces.  In large skillet heat oil; add chicken and taco seasoning.  Cook until juices run clear.  Add salsa, apricot jam, water, cilantro and lime juice.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in beans, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  In a small bowl combine sour cream, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, chopped plum tomatoes, and salt.  Serve chicken over rice.  Top with sour cream.

Monday, December 10, 2012

the "Sadie" song

Monday, monday, monday. Laundry day. Regroup day. Recover my "sunday house" day. I'm kind of drowning in my "to-do" list,  so to make this post short and sweet, I thought I'd pass on a little video Sadie sent us this morning. It was great for a Monday morning chuckle.  She takes her last final this Friday, and comes home Saturday (yay!!!).  Her BYU ward had their last prayer meeting of the semester, and apparently, there was some singing to go along with it.  Check out the "Sadie" song here.

Hope you enjoyed that little melody.  Have a fabulous Monday!

Monday, December 3, 2012

the wise men and traditions

Happy December!  Last week Gregg taught the lesson for our family night.  He showed us this video.  I loved it and wanted to pass it on to you. Gregg and I are really trying to help our kids focus on Christ and serving others.  It's so hard to compete with facebook, xbox, and their cell phones.  But, we are going to be persistent and I enjoy a challenge. We started our Christmas jar today.

I also dug out our "service box" last night.  This is nothing more than a shoe box covered in wrapping paper.  Sadie made it during a church youth activity many years ago.  Basically, we take the whole month of December to try and do "secret" acts of service for our family and others.  When someone performs some act of kindness, they write it down (not necessarily when they do it, so they don't get caught), put the sheet of paper in the box, and ring the bell.  On Christmas eve we always open the box and Gregg reads all the papers.  One year, when Sierra was four, she put eighteen sheets of paper in the box that all read, "I played with baby G!" It's also become tradition, through the years, that when someone rings the bell, everyone else in the house yells, "Service!" which makes us all laugh.

I love traditions.  They have helped strengthen and unify our family.  I love that each family can have traditions that are unique just to their family.  It's my greatest hope, that when my children form their own families someday, they will carry on our traditions, and more importantly, start their own. Remember, if you haven't had a chance to start a special tradition in your family, it's never to late!  Just round up your crew and have a family meeting.  It was Sadie that started our "Christmas Jar" tradition just a few years ago.