Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Week

We took the week off from letters for the holiday, so L will pick up again this week. But, we still had some fun, so here's what we did:
Check out my candy finds from WalMart:

Love it! I have the Edward and Bella ones from Twilight too, this year I picked up a Jacob one so I could eat one, LOL. Lowell can't figure out why I would buy candy I don't intend to eat. Turns out, not very good but they are still fun. They shimmer in the light and there's even an I heart EC one :) The chocolate just must be eaten so of course I did. And then I proceeded to analyze it to death. Jacob's square was peanut butter (rough and warm), Bella's was vanilla creme, and Edward's (that's the Cullen crest in case you are wondering) was caramel, rich and smooth. And it turns out I prefer chocolate and caramel just barely over chocolate and peanut butter. But it is close, a tough choice. Mmm . . .now I want another one. Sigh, I am just getting to the good part of the book again so it has been on my mind all day. As a Christmas gift I asked Lowell to read the book and then go see it in the theater with me--we'll see how that turns out.

On to our holiday--we started at Lowell's parent's house for dinner #1. Here are my cutie monkeys in their Thanksgiving duds (Davis loves Mickey). And that's as far as I got. Just then I got called into work and was there for the entire dinner. Sometimes it's a bummer to work in a lab. Lots of perks but draw backs too. And yes, this happens every year.
Luckily this year we were also eating with my family after I was done being on call. Here is the massive amount of food I won from Harvest Restaurant. We all ate until we were stuffed and everyone still took a big pan full of food home. We're having left-overs tonight in fact. P.S. They make the best ranch ever! C and D holding my nephew Jonny, he seems thrilled. Hillary and Cyndel with all the yummy food (and my lovely china, so nice to pull it out once in a while, and nothing even got broken!) The crew eating This year we are starting the tradition of The Elf on the Shelf. If you haven't heard of it, it is story and this little elf friend. He sits on a shelf and notes if the kids have been good or bad and then reports each night to Santa. Each day he is in a new spot and the kids have loved looking for him each morning. Definitely the first thing they do. Here Davis is talking to him, telling him what he wants for Christmas so he can relay it to Santa. I picked this up at the Emporium at Thanksgiving Point if you are looking for one. The best part of all that food for the boys (who maybe took 2 bites--not big on eating these two) was playing in the boxes the food came in. After dinner we visited, checked and re-checked the ads, played Toy Story Mania on the wii (love it!) and I got Jonny to fall asleep, sweet. Then I headed over to my parent's to be close to the internet. Rumor had it that WalMart would be releasing their Black Friday deals online but no one knew the time for sure. I checked each hour and it turns out 2 am was the winner. I scored a bunch of great stuff all without fighting the crowds. Well, not that crowd anyway . . . Here's lovely Hillary and I before we headed out at 3:30 am. She went to WalMart for me, for those items not on the online sale and was such a trooper to wait in line and pick everything up for me, much of which were her own Christmas gifts. I waited in the cold outside Target with what seemed like 1,000 other people. I was about 2/3rds the way back in the line and it seemed certain I would not get what I came for but after literally running through the store and diving for the last of one item I wanted, I really got almost all of it. One item was missing, but I actually found it there on Saturday. Score for me! Then we met my parent's at Kohl's (they had been at Shopko) and then had breakfast. Back in bed by 7:30, successful morning. :)

Besides that I have just been working a lot, which was good because I managed to get my artscow stuff done and ordered in time for the deadline today (to guarantee shipping by Christmas, they ship from Hong Kong). Check out my photo book: http://www.artscow.com/share/s6zarrghs065 Even with 39 pages I couldn't fit in their birthday this year. Usually I go Thanksgiving to Halloween but no luck. I had made an entire book for their b-day though (and the Disney trip) so that will have to do. Now on to the video . . .

Speaking of videos, here are the boys doing a board breaking at karate. They certainly thought it was pretty cool. The bummer was that the price to continue was way beyond what I was willing to spend. Yikes! Good news is I talked to my kid brother who is a black belt and even has experience teaching kids and we are arranging a class where he'll teach the bubbas. Yippee! If you are interested, let me know.


video

There you have it . . .oh and hooray for an amazing win for the cougars this week. I was so scared at the end but thrilled at the outcome. Pllllbbt Ute fans!

Monday, November 23, 2009

K is for karate, Kool-Aid, and Kangaroo Zoo

I would like to say I was saving up Karate for K, but truthfully I slacked off scheduling the boys to try it out until this week and it worked out well to be on K week and when they were running a holiday promotion. Yeah! So here's the bubs at class learning to kick and punch and say "i-ya" Yeah, they loved it. Tomorrow they'll break a board and test for their white belt. I wanted to get more pics but my little boys and an all white outfit did not do well together and I was anxious to get it off of them. Can't argue with the 3 rules of karate-1: Listen to Mom and Dad, 2: No fighting with your brother, 3: Keep your room clean.

K was a little skinny for fun ideas (Kennecott was closed for the winter :(), so we did Kool-Aid mustaches. Jello and Kool-Aid, staples of childhood.


Davis

Carter

Then Friday we went with A and A to Kangaroo Zoo (a bouncehouse place in Lindon, for those of you not from around here). What a glorious time! The 4 boys ran and climbed and jumped and played and required very little assistance from us moms. Reva and I sat and looked through Black Friday ads and then dragged the kids away 2+ hours later completely exhausted (Carter fell asleep eating his dinner that night). We'll be back! :)

Carter

Davis, A and A

Carter

A (for the record, I do know which is which, just trying to preserve some anonymity since these are not my children).

Davis

A

D,C, A, and A shouting K is for Kangaroo Zoo (after yelling I is for ice cream, guess that made an impact).
And some random pics from a trip to the park last week just because I can't get enough of my boys just being 4 year old boys.







Also, for record keeping's sake, Carter and Davis read their first entire book this week. They read books 1 and 2 from the Bob book series, beginning readers. They were pretty proud of themselves.
In other news . . .this week New Moon came out and yes, of course I enjoyed that. I felt this director was fantastic in keeping the movie in line with the book. With a book that so many people have read, I think it is really important to not change major elements (like Angels and Demons). It was funny how tense I was as they approached Italy, I had to remind myself that I know what is going to happen! And yes, I saw it twice opening night and really enjoyed the company I had in Melinda and Hillary, thanks gals! I really second thought the second showing after getting just 2 hours of sleep and being warm in my bed with my darling husband but Hill and I had fun being silly at IHOP at 2 am and the second time through just solidified my enjoyment of the movie.
I am hating winter already, there is just so little you can do in the evening because places close early and it is dark. The dark is the worst part. Ugh! Looking forward to giving the boys some of their Christmas presents that will entertain them inside. Not that the spoiled buggers don't already have enough to do . . .Daddy and his boys have been playing Toy Story Mania on the wii that came friom GameFly today, I am anxious to try it myself.
Christmas prep continues even as I get quite overwhelmed at the tasks ahead of me. Some of the projects I took on are turning out to be quite labor-intensive. Hoping to get them done and that they will be loved by their recipients. Also busy finalizing my Black Friday list, which really isn't too exciting. With price matching I may even scale this year down to just WalMart. We'll see.
Lastly I have picked up a dandy of a head cold that is making me miserable and grumpy. Blech.
Very much looking forward to Turkey day in a couple of days--I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving and that you all know how thankful I am for you and your examples in my life. Loves!

Monday, November 16, 2009

J is for Jonny's blessing, Jungle animals, Jungle Jim's and Jello

Look at this cute bubby! My little nephew Jonny was blessed the Sunday before last and since that fell in J week I have an excuse to post some pics. I stole the little guy away to take some shots as he has changed so much since he was born. A little smile, Grandma was laughing

Silly cute chubby baby

BJ and his family following the blessing
So Tuesday we went to the zoo since we hadn't been there in a while and there are always letters to be found at the zoo. This week we looked for Jungle animals.

We found monkeys (capuchin)

A fossa . . .and then my camera died. We also saw elephants including baby Zuri, a variety of jungle birds and reptiles, and some jungle cats. A big thanks to Cyndel for coming with us.
We of course had to make J E L L O, because face it, it's yummy, it jiggles, and it turns your fingers red.

Then Friday we went to Jungle Jim's with the twin club which ended up just being our best friends A and A and J and B. What could be more fun that 6 4 and almost 4 year olds riding rides and playing!

All the boys on the "bumper-car Jeeps".

I bribed them all with a piece of candy and it worked-- a shot with all our friends

Carter boy on the bumper cars--what a hit! P.S. Thanks to Jess for yet again bailing me out as I left my camera. We then had lunch at Fazoli's and headed home. It was Friday the 13th but I thought we had already caught our bad luck in the form of an accident on our way up that we easily bypassed on the frontage road. I was wrong. We got on the on-ramp to the freeway and that's as far as we got for over an hour! They had shut the freeway down due to a roll-over accident ahead of us and everything was backed up and crazy. Luckily we had the movie "Up" and the boys were content to watch that for a while and I was glad to have Reva in the car to talk to but then all the boys needed to pee. Now. So Reva was coaxing one of her boys to pee in a cup and the other one wanted to pee on the road. (I really thought it would have been amusing to have all 4 boys peeing on the little bank of grass leading up to the freeway next to us, there's a picture for you!). So Reva stood him on the ledge on the van with the door open and just then everyone around us started to turn around and go down the on ramp. It looked like our only way out and we had boys who needed a potty so Reva held A and I worked on turning around. So, let's see how many laws I can break at the same time, I am driving down the on-ramp with one of my van doors open with a 4 year old still trying to pee hanging out of it. My! At least it will be a funny story one day. Reva was able to get A safely seated and though working against all the lights we were able to get down the on-ramp and to the nearby McDonald's where all the boys got to go potty. I don't think I will plan another play group on a Friday the 13th!
In other news . . .
I am on a winning streak! I won a catered Thanksgiving dinner for 10 from the Harvest Restaurant at Thanksgiving Point and 2 tickets to a sneak preview for New Moon (in separate contests). Yeah for eating a faboo meal with my family and now I get to see New Moon before it comes out and again after . . .I already had tickets for 3:20 am so I am going twice. Yes I am crazy. I finished Breaking Dawn and will start New Moon tonight. I also got to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner preview with the twin club this week (yum!) and work on file folder games Jess put together--thanks again Jess!
We also made it to the gardens one last time (it was officially closed but the weather was still nice enough to visit). Last year I got a cute back shot of Lowell and the boys walking so I asked him if I could get a repeat shot this year. This is what I got:


Oh those boys will do anything Daddy is doing!
That's better!

Davis in the leaves

Carter too

And finally here are my 2 little chefs making Rice Krispie treats. It was part of our liquid vs. solids project this week--Jello starts as a liquid and becomes a solid. The marshmallows started as solids and became liquid. Oooh ahhh.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A few of my favorite sites

The holidays are upon us and with them the inevitable shopping rush. I almost enjoy it I am such a sale hound. I love giving fabulous gifts that cost half what they are worth. I have had a couple of people ask me to watch for certain items for them (happy to help) but thought I would share some of my secrets with you all so you can find the great deals too--but you can still ask me to watch for things, I'd be happy to.

http://www.woot.com/ -A daily deal that is often electronics related and frequently an amazing steal. Shipping is always $5 (even for a massive TV) though not the fastest. By the first week of December I'll probably be done shopping there to ensure everything arrives in time. Over time they have added wine woot, shirt woot, sellout woot and kids woot, all from the homepage and each is worth checking out for your own list. Kids woot is a curse of mine, I have 2 boxes coming from them this week . . .Check out the blog to see prior sale items. New items show up at midnight Central time (11 here) and sometimes sell out by 1 am so it helps if you are a night owl like me.

http://www.froobi.com/ -Another daily deal site, refreshing at midnight Eastern (10 here) and usually selling electronics as well. Not as cool as woot, but worth checking if you're up.

http://www.buy.com/ -The best place for TV mounts and HDMI cables by far. If you're shopping for a big TV this Christmas, don't let the sales men talk you into buying their mount and cables! Lots of other fun on this site too.

http://www.walmart.com/ -Always a fav but this year they have a Value of the Day item which changes at midnight. They also have the top 50 best selling books at 50% off and if you are pre-ordering them you'll find an even better value and free shipping (I just got the new Stephen King book for $8.98). Also they have the top 10 soon to be released movies for under $10 and free shipping. You're not going to be beat that in the store.

http://www.bfads.net/ -I love this site, they leak all the Black Friday ads as they get them. Some places have blocked them from doing so (cough WalMart cough) but they will still release that before you'll see it in the paper. And some places, like KMart are starting their Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving so if you wait for that paper you'll have missed out on valuable shopping hours. Can you tell I'm a Black Friday fan?? I hate to buy something and find out I could have gotten it cheaper later so it's nice for a head's up on what to watch for. They added Target's today :).

http://www.oldnavyweekly.com/ -You have to move things around and "search" this site for coupons but they add up. They often have $75 off $100 or $50 off $100 but only a few to the first who see the site change. Yes, I check often and no I've never gotten that good of a deal. But I have had 20-25% off everything I've bought lately. Only in-store though, such a drag shopping with the kids!

http://www.amazon.com/ -Amazon is still my go to site to compare prices and read reviews. I like to see what price they have before buying from the other sites and how many stars it has. Several times I have cancelled a purchase after reading bad reviews. Amazon is also fab for its free shipping over $25 and sometimes has some outstanding values of its own.

www.ebay.com -Sometimes ebay is the best place to find a great deal, used or new. I check their prices against other good sales also.

www.artscow.com -Yes I love artscow, for all things photo related it is definitely my go-to site. Headed there next to make up our Christmas cards.

There you have it, probably not all new to you, but if it aids your shopping this season, mission accomplished! :) PLEASE share your fav sites with me!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Yummy Bread Recipe

This turned out so well I really must share. Hope you don't mind Lyndsie:
Wheat Bread
2 T. Yeast
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 c. warm water
Place these ingredients in a medium bowl, mix and set aside to proof yeast
In a large mixing bowl combine:
2 T. salt
2/3 c. oil
2/3 c. honey
5 c. hot water (110 degrees)
1 c. instant powdered milk
Mix together well.
Add:7 cups of flour and yeast mixture
Let sit for 8-10 minutes, then add:5-7 cups of flour (save the last 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour to use when you knead)(You will have 12-14 cups of flour total. I usually do half white flour and half wheat flour)Mix well.
Knead (with last 1 1/2-2 cups of flour) for 5 to 10 minutes on a floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, flip dough to lightly coat with oil. Cover with a clean dish towel. Place in a warm place away from drafts to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Just until dough had doubled in size.
For Bread:Punch down the dough and split dough into 4 equal parts and form into loaves. Place each 1/4th in a well greased bread pan. Cover and let rise until dough is slightly above pan.*Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 350 and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Let bread cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Let bread cool completely on cooling rack before packaging.(If you are using dark or glass bread pans. Lower the heat from 425 to 400 in the 1st 15 minutes or skip that part altogether.)
For Dinner Rolls:Punch down dough and split into 4 equal parts. Each 1/4th will make 12 dinner rolls. Form dinner rolls by making dough into a mushroom shape tucking ends of dough under the "mushroom". Place rolls on a well buttered 9X13" pan or a large pie plate. Let rise until doubled.*Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.
For Cinnamon Rolls:Punch down dough and split into 4 equal parts. Each 1/4th will make 12 cinnamon rolls. Roll dough into a rectangle. Spread softened butter all over the top. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins (or whatever yummy filling you want)[I added 1 cup finely chopped granny smith apple-HP] and leaving about 1/4" around the outer edge. (While bread is rising the first time take raisins and put them in a bowl covered with water. Place in the microwave for 3 minutes to plump the. Drain and let cool while bread is rising.)Roll dough into a log length wise. Using dental floss to cut 12 slices. Place slices onto a buttered 9 X 13" pan. Let rise until doubled.
*Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes. Just until lightly browned. Cool and cover with frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese
2 c. powered sugar
1/3 c softened butter
1 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
(I double this because we love frosting!!!) [I like a thicker frosting so I omitted the milk and it turned out thick and oh so yummy-HP]
****When I make this recipe I usually take 1/4 and make into bread and the other 3/4 into dinner rolls or cinnamon rolls.
Freezing dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls.After you have formed the dinner rolls or cinnamon rolls you can freeze them. I place them on the buttered pan covered with plastic wrap and freeze. Once they are frozen I take them and put them into a ziplock freezer bag. Days or weeks later when you go to make them, take the rolls out a good 5 to 6 hours before you want to eat them. Place on a buttered pan and cover with a clean dish towel. This will give the rolls time to defrost and rise the 2nd time. Bake as directed above. This is nice because you can just take out as many as you are going to eat.

I is for Island, Ikea, and Ice Cream

This week I had planned to go ice skating but my dad talked me out of it and into going to Antelope Island instead. Neither of us had been (and he has lived in Utah for most of his life) so I decided it was a good idea, as long as he came along. Any outing with my Dad is bonus enough to do it. It was much more of a drive than I realized (how far is Layton anyway?) but it gave me a chance to discuss books with my dad and for Davis, shocker to take a nap in the car at 11 in the morning. They sure keep me guessing. I was so busy chatting that I forgot to stop for gas even though my low gas light came on just after I picked my dad up in Lehi. So . . .once we finally got to the island we didn't do a lot of driving around for fear of having to hike back to the mainland for gas. Instead we hiked up a little rocky point overlooking the lake.

Strong Carter
Davis and the scenery--they say Antelope Island has some of the oldest rocks in the world!
Davis at the top of the little peak and Grandpa's hand, the only proof he was there
Carter too, then we hiked back down to the beach. The bubs were quite excited that we were going to an island as they were sure there would be treasure and an X somewhere and thrilled to be going to the beach but couldn't figure out where the sand or waves were. I guess my attempts to hype the trip weren't very helpful. In place of sand we found this:
Just tons and tons of the stuff which upon closer inspection we decided was brine shrimp. Either dead ones or maybe they molt?? Weirdest thing, there was SO much of it.
And a few live ones swirling around in the "tide pools" as well. We spent an hour and half climbing and exploring and throwing rocks (watching Grandpa skip some) and that was about as good as it gets for my kiddos. We saw a few buffalo too and then headed back (before we ran out of gas, whew!) and picked up some yummy lunch on the way. Thanks Dad!

Then this afternoon Reva and I took all of our boys to Ikea. What a cheater way to do I! :) We dropped the boys off at the playland and then had a leisurely lunch and shopped. Fabulous! And in case you were dying to know, here is what 4 4 year olds look like in 1 Ikea cart:

And here they are showing off their ice cream, they were chanting, I is for Ice Cream!
If it sticks with them, it was worth it. I have to say I am enjoying our little field trips and I think the monkeys are too.

Some other notable items from the week. Davis displayed his engineer side the other night. He found a picture frame from Las Vegas and apparently is just in love with it. So much that he really wanted to have it hanging in his room. He tried a variety of methods to accomplish this but he finally worked out this one:


The pic doesn't show it well, but he found a musical triangle, hung it on his doorknob and then hung the photo frames stand on the triangle. Not a big deal, but Lowell and I thought it was pretty clever.

Carter also shared with us his artistic side with this little beauty:

That's me in case you were wondering, can't you see the hair? The down side is that this is about 2 feet tall on Carter's wall and was joined by skillful representations of trees and roller coasters, or so Carter told me they were. Most have been scrubbed off now but C man has thrown a fit and doesn't want Mommy erased. We're going to be painting soon so I guess it can wait a little while.

Today we also had A and A over for preschool and during circle time we talked about bones and did a bone puzzle. Here is how Davis compares to the puzzle, pretty close actually. And here are my boys with the skull pieces as masks (which later they taped to their faces and played pirates???)

Other than that I did an unfortunate amount of shopping this week. I just found such good sales, hard to turn it down. Hoping to knock out my Christmas shopping early this year. Lowell did a bit of shopping as well and picked up an early present for himself, a 50" plasma TV to replace our big screen downstairs that has been on the fritz. Boys and their TVs. He's thrilled and I still don't get why we needed a new one but oh well. Now we can wii in style I guess. I also made Lyndsie's yummy bread recipe and it turned out so great. I made one portion into wheat apple cinnamon rolls. Hearty and delicious and if you ignore the incredible cream cheese frosting on top, even good for you. Mmmmm I made them up for Baby Jonny's blessing on Sunday, we're very excited, I'll post some pics soon. Loves!