Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Snow Dancer

Can we talk about nylons for a minute?  Bottom line: I hate them.  I think they are totally uncomfortable and basically useless.  But then the tights - I enjoy wearing tights, especially pink or purple or striped ones.  I mean, they actually keep you warm and have a use.  And now that leggings are in style, I've developed an appreciation for them also.  So, this is what kind of makes me laugh at myself: I hate nylons and don't mind tights and leggings, but what about these footless nylons?  They are basically exactly the same at nylons, but with this foot exclusion.  I quite enjoy these, so what is it about the basic nylon that irks me so?

Don't I look like a ballerina?  I really enjoyed wearing these today.  It was fun.  And look closely at my shoes - they are a gorgeous jewel-toned blue velvet mary jane.  fun!

In other news...  We woke up this morning to much more snow.  It was so beautiful.  Doesn't everything just look so much more beautiful when covered in white fluffiness?

The bushes lining the back of our backyard.  They just looked so cool covered in all that snow...  And by the way, I walked out to get this picture in those cute mary janes... the snow was at least 4 inches deep.

My crab apple tree again.  
Maybe I'll make a little book all about my crab apple tree through the seasons.

There's just something about a pine tree all covered in snow that is so Christmas-esqe.  Maybe it's growing up somewhere without snow, the only time you saw something like this was on a Christmas movie.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's Christmastime!

So now that Thanksgiving is over, it's Christmastime!  Time to put up the tree and the decorations.  Time to start working on your Christmas letter (and hope it makes it out before Christmas).  Time to start watching all those Christmas movies.  And time to start making all those wonderful Christmas treats (and them send them to me!!!).  Here is a photo essay of the first of those things...

DURING the process of putting up the tree and the decorations.  Having Israel help definitely made more of a mess!

AFTER the tree is up and decorations are out.  Isn't it pretty?

Some of my favorite decorations:  My Christmas story/cards book.  It's a Christmas scrapbook filled with great Christmas stories, Christmas memories from my siblings, pictures of our Christmas activities, and all the Christmas cards, letters, and photos we get from our family and friends.  It is a work in progress - forever in progress.

Another favorite:  the beanie nativity.  I acquired this from my mom's Christmas decorations last year.  I had been eyeing it for a few years and she finally just let me take it! 
A favorite ornament.  It was a gift from the Relief Society in the Apache Park Ward, Peoria North Stake, Peoria, AZ.  I think it's so cute.
Some more favorite ornaments.  Every Thanksgiving, my siblings and my mom and I all exchange ornaments.  A couple of years ago both Samuel and I did keys.  Can you guess whose was whose?
Another ornament from Samuel.  A spark plug.  Other ornaments have been coins from Argentina and a rock.

Another favorite decoration.  I found these candlestick holders at a second-hand store and decided to use them as a base for mini Christmas trees.  They turned out pretty dang cute, but they have a tendency to fall over.  One of these years I'll reinforce it with a wooden dowel or something.

So as this wonderful season starts, I hope you all enjoy the TRUE spirit of Christmas...  and pay it forward!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Very Happy Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving!  Here are a few of the highlights...

First things first...  I am totally bringing back the hostess gift!  (That and "Persian Pickle" - 5 points to anybody who knows what that is!)  The hostess gift is such classy and kind tradition that either fell out of fashion, or people just got too lazy (I'm thinking people just go too lazy).  So, I'm bringing it back, making it cool again, whatever.  So, this was the sweet little gift I got Deborah, our hostess.  Just a little cake plate with a gold edge for the holidays.

A couple of my boys.  Isn't my hubbie a hottie - he's holding the baby with a smile on his face!

This was Israel early on in the day.  Still in a good mood and having fun.

Everett.  Or Obi Wan.

Marvin carvin' the brisket.
We had turkey, ham, and brisket.  It was great.  Randal said the brisket gravy was the best beef gravy he had ever had.

The olive and pickle tray.

The green beans.  I'm not a big fan of the green bean casserole, so I was very happy with these fresh green beans with almonds.  And the dish behind it is corn pudding - it was really good.   Something new I'd never had.

The infamous beef gravy.

And can you see just how happy I was that I had used a crockpot liner?  Very.

Now I gotta start preparing for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude Day 18

Today I am grateful for many things.  One, I am grateful that even though I am not with parents and siblings for the weekend, I am able to talk to them while I cook (if I were at home we would all be at my mom's house cooking together), and that we are able to enjoy Thanksgiving with good friends here in Iowa.  I am also grateful that Israel had a good day today - or maybe it's that I had a good day today.  Either way, he was quite pleasant.  It's my old Israel again.  (Since Elijah, he's had a hard time, which is saying a lot because he is an angel baby.)

My kitchen post cooking this evening.
I'm grateful for this because it's actually cleaner then when I started.  My mom would be so proud, except that it is pretty messy - so that would appall her that it was that messy to begin with.  *sigh*  Plus, Israel helped a little - he put the silverware away when I was unloading the dishwasher.  I wish I would have gotten video of it, it was very very cute.  Maybe next time.  I am also posting this picture so that all those people who think I do it all (which isn't many anyway) will know that THIS is a clean kitchen in my book.  You can't have it all!

Ahh, stuffing.
I found a couple of recipes that I sort of created a new recipe from.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  Plus, hello, crockpot means I can do it the night before!  Hallelujah!

Mmmm, jello pretzel salad.
It's not what you would typically think of for a Thanksgiving dessert, but we always have it.  My sister Jenny usually makes it.  Oh, the nostalgia.  Plus, it's best served cold, so another make ahead one.

Crockpot mashed potatoes.  Yummy.  I can't wait to dig into these!

The one thing I'm not doing tonight - the salad.  But here's my pretty bowl just waiting for me.

So, that's it.  I'm exhausted, but excited.  Tomorrow morning I can wake up and not have to worry about anything but watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and getting ready.  Plus, we're not eating until 3, so lot's of time for that!  I'll be spending most of my time thinking of my family and friends that we don't get to be with this year and being grateful for the many many blessings in our lives this year.

Now, I'm going to bed!
Oh, shoot.  I just remembered I have to make cranberry sauce!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gratitude Days 16 & 17

My camera.

And Google Reader - but I don't have a picture of that...  Wait here's one of me reading Google Reader:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gratitude Day 15

Hot Chocolate.
(And being able to drink and not have to turn the AC on.)
And snow still on the ground this morning.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gratitude Day 14

Israel's first time playing in snow.
He loved it.

He's running at me to peg me with a snow ball, which evolved into just rubbing the snow on my pants.  He thought it was hilarious.

He was trying to catch a snow flake on his tongue.

My crab apple tree.  Even prettier with snow!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gratitude Day 13 & the Twilight Movie

Love this stuff!

And on a side note, I did go and see Twilight last night.  And while I really liked it and totally thought it was worth it, be prepared for some overacting and cheesiness.  But, how do you not make a hokey book into a hokey movie?  Robert Pattinson (Edward) was really very handsome in the movie.  I think he may look better super close up than at a normal distance.  Kellan Lutz (Emmett) did a great job!  And Anna Kendrick (Jessica Stanley) was perhaps the actor best suited for the roll she played.  She was great!  Billy Burke (Charlie) was really quite funny.  I laughed at lot at the way he delivered his lines and he looks like he could be Kristen Stewart's dad.  Anyway, so overall: It was a cheesy movie, but what did you expect?  Go see it!!  It's worth it.  Oh, and I LOVE the soundtrack!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gratitude Day 11

Today I am so grateful for "my" girls.  In church, I teach the 12 and 13 year old girls and I just love them!  All of the girls 12-18 are grouped together into one organization and divided every two years (12-13, 14-15, and 16-17 - you graduate when you graduate high school).  So I get the youngest ones (called the Beehives - how cute is that?) and they are the best!  Tonight for our activity we were all together though.  We embellished beanies and had a blast!  All the girls are so fun - I forget how much personality teenagers have!  The other leaders are really wonderful too and I love spending time with them (in fact, I'm going to the midnight showing of Twilight tomorrow night with one of them and her daughter).  So, here are the pics from our activity tonight - one of the other leaders was in charge and she took my beanies that I did flowers on and modified it - she did a GREAT job.  LOVE IT!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gratitude Days 9 & 10

Elijah's eyes seem to be sticking to a darker blue - more like mine and less like Randal's.

Sleep talking.
Randal does it.
Israel does it.
And now Elijah does it.
(It reminds me of home too because Samuel, my brother, does it.)

A really beautiful sunset tonight.
Also reminded me of home.  If it weren't for the leafless trees and the green grass, it would almost look like Arizona.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gratitude Day 6 & 7

My hubbie.
Yesterday I was sick - yuck - which is why Day 6 and Day 7 are together.  Anyway, Randal was so good about loving me even though I was being crazy.  I was laying in bed shivering and he kept on getting me more socks or blankets or Tylenol or whatever I needed.  It was sweet!

Drums (and Aaron to play them).
Randal plays the guitar and and is always looking for someone to jam with.  Well, he found a whole band worth of people to jam with in our ward.  Aaron plays the drums (which have been moved to our basement), Nick plays the guitar, and Chip is on the bass.  Almost every Saturday they get together and jam (Nick and Chip didn't come today) in our basement.  It might seem unusual that I would be grateful for a bunch of loud boys playing loud music in my basement, but I really am.  They sound pretty good when they play and although I like listening to just Randal play, it nice to have something different and more complex to listen to.  And I really just love the drums!  Plus Aaron harmonizes with Randal and they sound hot!

My crab apple tree.
All the leaves have fallen off and just the little apples are left - I think it looks pretty cool.

Here are the little crab apples with rain dripping off them.  I took this at dusk with the flash on and the apples look kind of like Christmas lights.  Fun.