Dec 15, 2009

Stuff we've been up to

In no particular order:
Last night we went and drove through the lights at Thanksgiving Point - we've never done it before and so it was lots of fun and very magical. Their designs are really cute, and we especially loved the Simon Dewey display at the end. The kids were also happy to see some live reindeer (even though they were sleeping). A fun and festive night!

We are saddened by the loss of Mark's wonderful Grandma, Gladys Stum. She passed away Friday, Dec. 4 at the age of 92. She was an important part of our lives and we will truly miss her. She was amazing! We especially have great memories of trip to the cabin with her - I love this picture of her reading a story to Ella - she was always ready to do anything for the kids and they really loved their great grandma. I'm so glad they got to know her.

This is in Bryce Canyon at a reunion - Grandma doing some yoga with the ladies! She was a great example for healthy living.

We attended her funeral this past weekend and were very uplifted by the messages and memories. We were also grateful to be able to see so many extended family members - I am very lucky to have married into such a wonderful family!

Earlier in the month I took Ella and Ammon to the Festival of Trees. This is a fun tradition for me - something I've done since I was about 12. It's a fun way to ring in the season.

We were especially amazed by this gingerbread train. I can't believe how anyone could make this - it's even bigger than it looks in the picture. So neat!

Ammon is obsessed these days with anything that has wheels. This car ramp was given to us when Josh was young and he was never into it, but when we found it in Grandpa's play closet Ammon couldn't have been happier. Nice find! Ammon is always carrying around a few cars, trucks, or trains, and loves to watch "I love toy trains." I think he's definitely all boy!

You never know what you'll get when the kids get their hands on the camera! Mark is quite proud of this cute little Rudolph that he made though

My birthday was this week - Ella was so excited to give me her Barbie Computer. How sweet is that? Of course she said I have to share it with her still, but I love how selfless she was to go and get one of her favorite toys and wrap it up for me all by herself! Sigh!

The little angel herself:
One of Holly's many drawings I receive that day!
Holly's picture, and of course the traditional blueberry cheesecake mark made me - Yum!
Don't mind that I have no makeup on...I stayed home sick from church Sunday with a bad cold, but agreed to photos anyway. Mark gave me a new game - "Manila" - it has been on our "to get" list for many years so I'm really excited to finally have it - it is so fun!
another fun gift was the new Lion House Bakery cookbook. I can't wait to try it!
Lots of more events happening in the next few weeks so stay tuned for more posts!
Happy Holidays!

Dec 2, 2009

Thanksgiving, ETC.

Lots to post about! I just wrote a letter to my in-laws and realized I could copy most of it here for my "journaling" sake if nothing else! We had quite the bout of sickness hit Ammon, Ella, and Holly the 2 weeks prior to Thanksgiving. Yucky colds, sore throats, and coughs. Ammon got it, then Ella, then Holly, then it cycled through all three of them for a second time! We had several weeks there where we couldn’t even go to church as a family. It wasn’t flu, just the yucks. I was ready to scream I was so sick of runny noses & kids coughing all over me, and being stuck at home with sick kids! Luckily everyone seems to be healthy now and we are enjoying being able to get out of the house and enjoy some of the holiday festivities.

Thanksgiving was an adventure for me this year! Doing the whole feast on my own was quite the undertaking. We had for appetizers homemade shrimp cocktail, homemade cheese crackers, and roasted pumpkin seeds. Then for the main meal pumpkin bisque, a brined & roasted turkey, homemade stuffing (from homemade bread), potatoes and homemade gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, roasted yams, spinach salad with homemade cranberry vinaigrette, and homemade Lion House recipe rolls. Oh and of course you can’t forget the homemade pies: pumpkin, and cran-raspberry-pear. Yum! I really wore myself out the few days before the feast, but it was worth it because Thanksgiving day was wonderful. The food all turned out great, and although I wasn’t sure how it was going to be, having just a small group was actually nice. Mark's sister Heidi and my dad were our guests; other than that it was just our little family, and having special time with our kids was great. I guess sometimes as we gather with larger family groups we tend to let the kids play with cousins and don’t even spend that much time with them, but this year we really enjoyed each other. The afternoon was even nice enough for us to go outside and toss a football and ride bikes. Here are some pictures of Holly and Ella helping me make some pilgrims and indians placemarkers for the table:
A picture of the table all decked out:

Josh, Mark, Heidi, Holly, Dad, Ella. If you look close in the picture you can see little tiny glasses (holding our cocktail) as well as salt and pepper dishes on silver trays, something I requested special for my dad to bring out of my mom's china cupboard so we could have a memory of her at our dinner. Bless his heart, my dad polished those silver trays for 3 hours to get off the tarnish! And of course Ammon!
Turkey, cranberry sauce, and Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole, roasted yams, spinach salad, rolls, pumpkin bisque. Potatoes and gravy missed the shot, and darn! I never got a picture of the pies...they were beautiful if I do say so myself
The customary nap after the feast

The day after we headed up into the mountains with two other families from our ward to cut down our Christmas tree. It was a really great day. We followed tradition and went to “The Gateway Grille” in Kamas for lunch, then drove further in and then hiked quite a long time before finding the perfect tree. I think it’s even better than last year’s! There was just enough snow to have fun in but not so much to be hard to walk in. And the temperature was perfect – not too cold. The kids had a great time especially because their friends were with us and we came home that night and started decorating.

Saturday morning Mark and the kids did the whole tree while I was at the temple – what a great deal! I got the rest of the house decorated and that night Mark and I watched a really good movie called “Facing the Giants.” It’s a motivational movie, similar to “Forever Strong.” It’s made by a Baptist church about a football coach/team and was really faith-promoting. I'll have to post pictures of the finished tree soon.
We visited Santa at the mall the other night, and after they all sat on his knee we were having a discussion on whether or not it was the “real” Santa. After a variety of opinions, Josh realized that Ammon had sat on Santa’s knee several minutes without crying (Ammon is usually very wary of strangers) so that was the clincher and convinced them all that it must be the real Santa. It was so cute. I'm glad we still have the magic.
We are all looking forward to a fun and festive month. Happy Holidays!

Nov 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Prep

This year I am preparing the whole feast, for the first time ever. It's exciting and overwhelming all at once. We usually are with family but this year things just didn't work out that way, so we get to do our own thing which will have its advantages. So Monday Ella and I started our preparations - we made cranberry vinaigrette for the salad, and here are pics of making the orange-cranberry relish for the turkey. Yum! She enjoyed "together time" with Mom, but afterward she said "Next time I want to have little-girl together time, not Mommy together time." I guess helping in the kitchen just doesn't compare to playing Barbies!

Pinewood Derby

Josh had his first Pinewood Derby last week! He and Mark had lots of fun making their car and taking it to race...Josh won an award for "Most Futuristic" & took 5th place overall. Great job Josh!

Nov 4, 2009

My kids can't keep a secret

I have been getting a lof of questions lately from friends hearing "stories" from my kids - but who can blame them when it's such fun news!!!! I guess I might as well make it official since the word is spreading like wildfire anyway! That's right, baby #5 is on the way! We are really excited. I figure people would have started guessing sooner than later anyway because I'm sure since this is #5 my belly will be popping soon - I can tell already my body is like, "Here we go again!"
We feel really blessed. Since we have two boys & two girls, this baby will be the tie breaker - the kids are already putting in their bets. It's hard to believe but Ammon will be 2 1/2 when this baby is born - they sure grow up fast! Anway, the good news is - I don't have to feel as guilty as the rest of you when I enjoy those holiday buffets!

Nov 2, 2009

Celebrating October

It's been a busy and fun month - and true to nature I did not have my camera along for some of it - but here are a few fun shots of some things we've been doing:

OK this was probably September - Josh went on a class fieldtrip to Timp Cave
He's lucky to have one of his best friends in his class

Painting pumpkins for FHE Monday before Halloween:

Mark and Ella teamed up to do this scary witch

Josh did a pirate

Holly did a little girl

Ella and friends on Halloween
Ammon - couldn't get him to smile, even though he really does like Eeyore - too bad you can't see his tail!

Pre trick-or-treating (Ammon was too busy running around to hold still for a photo!)
On Friday before school - Holly was Cinderella this time - I think she's got the pose down!
Girls at Gardner Village
It's a tradition for us to go see the witches every year at Gardner Village - this is always one of our favorites. We went twice this year as I took Mark to "Witchapalooza" last Thursday for his birthday - it's a really fun dinner theater - good times!
The fam at Gardner Village
Earlier in October I organized a Fall Festival for my "Horton" family - we had a super fun bounce house (I won the rental at a fair this summer!)

we had bobbing for apples - all the boys really got into this!

Ammon warming up a bit to Paul

We played a hilarious game called Funny Bones - here are my sisters just getting started - yes it gets better!

We also had pumpkin bowling, pass the pumpkin, ghost bingo, guess the candycorns, a popcorn machine (thanks Andy!) and of course what's a party without a fabulous meal! It was a really fun afternoon. I have a few videos to post - check for a next post cuz blogger is giving me fits!