Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I took this shot yesterday, my lone little hyacinth popping out of the snow. I love the contrast between the colorful spring flower and the icy white stuff that is just about engulfing it. It's like a promise, even though it's downright frigid out there, this lil guy is promising that warmer times are just around the bend.
Growing up in California, the flowers that came from bulbs may as well have been from another planet. It just didn't get cold enough there to leave them in the ground and allow them to "do their thing" year after year. Every time I visited Utah I was astounded by all the tulips, crocus, daffodils and hyacinth! It was always such a beautiful thing for me to see, being so foreign.
One of the things I love about living in Utah is the constant changing of the seasons. We have wild weather here sometimes. It is far from the consistent weather I grew up with, which was generally between 60-80 degrees, and some rain in the winter. Most of our cars didn't even have a/c because we didn't need it.
The nice thing about 4 distinct seasons, is that you have certain ways of living during those seasons, traditions, if you will.
Here is a list, from a kid's point of view:
In the fall, you head back to school when it is still warm. You mourn the loss of your flip-flops. You rake the leaves and jump in them for hours before Mom and Dad finally decide they need to be bagged and put on the curb until the pick-up day.
In the winter, it gets chilly and you wait for it to snow! Snow means sledding, snowmen, ice fishing, ice caves, shoveling the driveway, and HOT CHOCOLATE! Snow means Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't far behind!
Spring is when it finally warms up enough to not wear a coat. It gets warm for a week around the beginning of March. Out come the bikes and scooters! Out come the short sleeves. Then it snows again and they all get put away for a month more, until the REAL Spring starts sometime around Memorial Day!
Summer is when school lets out. Summer means HEAT and popsicles and swing sets. Kiddie pools and trips to the community pool with friends, burning the soles of your feet as you wait in line for the snack bar. Camping trips and hiking adventures. Visits to see cousins and Grandma and Grandpa's house.
There is something to celebrate about each season, something to appreciate in all. And very much like the necessity of knowing sadness in order to recognize the joy in your life, you must have cold, to enjoy the warmth of the sun. A hot relentless day in order to enjoy the breeze of another. The barren dark days of winter to enjoy the rebirth of Spring. You need contrast. That's what I'm thankful for during this transition of seasons.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wild Weekend

When did this happen? We used to have rather relaxed weekends. Ones when we would wake up (after sleeping in as long as our little hearts desired) on Saturday with the day stretched before us.



Wide Open.

No more, the kids have gone and scheduled us up! Plus, there is a heck of a lot of laundry and dishes that seem to pile up on a regular basis. Whatever!

This weekend was Gunnar's endless celebration...but even without that, it would've been nuts. I have to say as crazy as it was, it was all happy good busy! I am so grateful for that.

Here are a few of the highlights...

Gunnar's 4 HOUR Birthday Party, what he now refers to as the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!
She's got the golden ticket(S)Syd, racing Bayou Boats with Nater!Waiting for the much-anticipated Bumper Boats, after a round of Laser Tag and Arcade games.

The aforementioned Bumper Boats...too bad it was so cold, they had to turn the squirt guns off..

And of course, the presents. He got building sets, books about volcanoes and other natural disasters, chemist style bubble bath set, games, and even some cold hard cash. He was in HEAVEN. In fact at 10:30 that night as I was making my final rounds, he was still playing with everything on his bedroom floor...he was so keyed up from the excitement of the day. Happiest Birthday Boy I've laid eyes on.

Mother-Daughter "Tea" Party:

This is the spread. I was in charge of the Frogeye Salad, and thankfully someone else handled the rest...We made "Spring Hats". I was in charge of this craft, and it seemed like everyone really loved it. YAY! We have some really creative girls.

Savi and her BFF Kenzie modeling their creations.

We woke up Saturday am and were instructed that right after breakfast it was PRESENT TIME, since Dad came in late Friday.

A BIG thanks to Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles who made his day extra special by sending gifts and cards, he LOVED everything!

Another BFF got Baptized, and we wouldn't have missed it for the world! Congrats Rachie!

And to top it all off, I tried out a new recipe on Sunday from one of my fave blogs for Indonesian Chicken. Sydney and I loved it! I'm not saying much about the rest of 'em...apparently they have not developed their palates yet. YUM Asparagus... I'm so glad it's in season!

T-Ball Starts in 3 1/2 weeks....no slowing down here...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gunnar's 6th Birthday!

" Happy Birthday to you! You smell like a zoo, you look like a monkey and you play like one too.

A party today, at Boondock's we'll play! We'll eat cake and ice cream and spend HALF THE DAY! "

"Happy Happy Birthday Gunnar Dear, Happy Days will come to you all year. If I had a wish then it would be a STINKY STINKY Bithday to you from me. "

I sang songs of this nature for the 20 minutes this morning that we were getting dressed and ready in the same vicinity. It's kinda my thing, I'm silly like that. Gunnar tried to grimace at me and act like he didn't like it....but I know he did.

Not only did he get to wear the Birthday Crown at school, he was also the VIP today. We put together a poster of pictures and he provided narration to his classmates. (...in the quietest voice I've ever heard come out of his cute mouth! I didn't even know he was capable of speaking that softly. I actually asked him to speak up for the first time in his life!)

His classmates then got to ask questions:

Q: Why do you like volcanoes so much?
A: Because they're interesting and I just got a book about them at the book fair.

Q: What is your favorite ice cream?
A: Rainbow Sherbet. (REALLY??? That's news to Mom...2nd surprise of the day after the quiet talking..)

Q: What is your favorite candy?
A: Whistle Pops (nice and old school!)

Q: What is your favorite cake?
A: The one my Mom made me last night with confetti. (See below, the coolest confetti EVER!)

I just loved that all the kids' questions revolved around treats. They were too cute! Gunnar picked out Fun Dips to hand out to all his classmates as a birthday treat. I NEVER let him buy them because the dyed sugar always ends up staining his fingers for a week....he crunches through the stick and then has nothing else to dip, but the fingers!

We did the 9x13 pan for easy transporting to the party.

Check that close up! Isn't it so fun and colorful?

These are the "family presents". We'll open these tomorrow when Dad is home. It's killing Gunnar, he's already shaken them all and commented on the strange shapes of a couple of them. He can't figure it out and he's anticipating like crazy. That's half the fun, you know!

Happy Birthday to our FAVORITE son!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Down the Drain

I volunteered to contribute some Frogeye Salad to our Mother Daughter "Tea and Etiquette" Party that is happening tomorrow evening. (I feel compelled to mention that there will not be any ACTUAL tea, most likely the beverage will be a fizzy and sherbet combo pleasing to those of the 8-11 year old set) It will be a fun activity with fingerfoods, my scrumptious side salad, and delicate desserts. We even have a craft planned!

After happily boiling my acini de pepe to Frogeye perfection, I went to drain them. I needed to use my strainer because they are so small, and it gave out on me!!! Arrrrghhhhh! A pound of pasta literally DOWN THE DRAIN. Dumb strainer... I even scalded myself in an attempt to save the stuff!

The only saving grace is that I picked up an extra box to keep in the pantry today. So now I am not as happily boiling the 2nd batch, but I'm grateful that I am not having to make a 10pm run to the grocery store.

When it's done, I will use this little made up contraption below. It's the best I've got for now. Do they make colanders with really small acini de pepe-proof holes? That's what I'd REALLY like to know.

On a happier note...
look what jumped into my cart today and screamed, "I'm only $5, what else can bring you such happiness at that price?" So home it came...and it is already doing a great job.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Springtime Snowmen

Dear Dad,

You missed most of the snow yesterday. It was the BEST kind. We got AT LEAST 9 inches at our house. It makes awesome snowballs, and Syndey ate ALOT of it. Mostly off the grass, but she got some off the running boards of Mom's car before Mom noticed and told her that snow was dirty. We all had a fun day...

Today we remembered that last time we had a storm, you wanted us to make a snowman for you that you would be able to see when you came home from New York. We didn't have a chance that time, so we thought we'd do it this time.

Ta Da!
This is Gunnar's "Boy Snowman"
..and here we have Savannah's "Girl Snowman" (and Sydney helped, but she ate more jellybeans than anything else)
Aren't they cool? We hope you like them, because we built them for YOU (we didn't have any fun at all doing it, none at all...LOL).
Maybe they'll still be here when you get home.
We love you, 3 Critters

Sunday, March 22, 2009


We're about as far away from Halloween as you can get....
I'm not talking about THAT Boo, I'm talking about THIS one...

And THIS one...

Don't tell me you don't see the resemblance.. Especially when she's got the signature hairstyle going.

I've been hearing it on and off for the past year. Even without the pigs, but especially WITH. Lately her hair has come in thicker and fuller in the back and I can pull ALL of it up, and I am hearing it almost daily...

Pretty funny, I've called her Boo-Bear for a long time, but wasn't ever thinking of the Monsters, Inc. character. I wonder if she'll like that comparison or not when she's old enough to care.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

If you, or yours, happen to be chocoholics, this is the cake for you.

Dense, rich, chocolatey, it's all there. Plus, the glaze just gives it the right touch. The birthday boy prefers his chocolate DARK...and so that was the version we made this time, dark chocolate cake mix (yes, they now make one! We used Duncan Hines) and chocolate fudge pudding mix. You can choose your cake and pudding mix flavors from the broad spectrum that the stores carry now. I couldn't believe how many "versions" of chocolate cake mixes can be found.

Without further ado...

Ultimate Chocolate Cake
(shared with me by my dear buddy and pal, Liz....she rocks!)


Mix together for 2 minutes;

dark chocolate cake mix
small instant chocolate fudge pudding
1 C sour cream
1 C milk
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C water
4 eggs

Stir in 1-2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease bundt pan, bake 50-55 minutes @ 350 degrees

Cool 10 minutes, turn out cake, and cool thoroughly before glazing


2 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
3 T butter
2 T water
1 tsp vanilla

Melt chocolate & butter in 30 second intervals in the microwave until smooth. Cool slightly. Add powdered sugar alternately with water, stir. Add vanilla. Pour over cake.

Note: Mine seemed really thick, and I ended up adding 1/4 cup LESS powdered sugar, and 1 T MORE water....and it was fine. Do what you need to get the consistancy right... Mine still ended up needing to be spread down the sides, but it tasted AWESOME!

Here's the finished product! These girls could NOT wait...we had a few fingerprints in the glaze...

Before the glaze went on. Can you SEE those chocolate chips? Melty.

The batter was thick, just like a pudding and baked up so moist.

Yeah, it was even good BEFORE we cooked it.

I've got some GREAT help around here!
Oh, and I have it on good authority that this cake is EVEN BETTER the next day!

Friday, March 20, 2009

36 years ago today...

...our favorite guy came into this world.

We're celebrating Chris' birthday! The kids have been so excited preparing, shopping for gifts, and wrapping them.

There's not much these kids wouldn't do for their hard-working, adventure-loving, cuddly, game playing, wrestling, fun Daddy!

This same scene plays out most Sunday nights, and plenty other ones too. Dad, the human playground... :)

Each birthday, the person celebrating gets to choose what meal we will enjoy for dinner. Either one that Mom (um, that's me) makes, or ordering take out. On the birthday menu tonight, India Fusion. Then cake, ice cream and presents...oh boy, is he getting spoiled!
Here's hoping and wishing for a year filled with lots more adventure and fun! We love you!

Now, off to make the dark chocolate cake, per the request of the Birthday Boy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Look What I Can Do!

The creation of this "Vintage Peek A Boo Pearl" ring involved:
  • 1 & 1/2 yards of fireline
  • lotsa crystals and seed beads
  • 1 pearl
  • 2 beading needles
  • 2 1/2 hours
  • endless concentration
Love that it has green in it, to match my new wedges for spring. Love that 2 of my friends made one in different colors....
I think I may have found my new FAVORITE bead store of all time! AND they offer a monthly free class where I can learn new SKILLS. I always love aquiring them.
I'm so happy!

For The Record

The Tooth Fairy has been to our house TWICE within 4 days!
Savannah's 2 front teeth are G-O-N-E.

In their place are 2 shiny gold dollars. I was thinking she might leave a bonus for the extra trauma involved in losing them so close together, alas, no. I guess it doesn't work that way.

I was thrilled to discover that her cool teacher, Miss Y, has a Tooth Bag tradition. The most recent "loser" gets to take home a tote of books all about losing teeth. She had it over the weekend, ended up home sick (Strep revisited, don't get me started) on Monday (didn't I say, they come in threes? Manic Mondays, that is.), but ended up losing her other tooth that day, so it all worked out, because she would've taken it home again.

LOVE awesome teachers!

On another note, as I was checking her throat for Strep on Monday, I noticed her left earring had "fallen out" or so I thought. I saw the earring's back on her ear, and went to look at it....noticed the post was still THOUGH the back. The front of the earring had gone INTO her ear! I had to push it back out through the front.

Can you say OUCH?!?!

So, at the Dr we had a stronger antibiotic prescribed that will take care of the Strep AND the ear trauma, not to mention the teeth that are forcing their way in. She's back to normal now (toothless wonder that she is)...

But if I have another Monday like the last 3, I'm gonna boycott.

Traditions - St Patrick's Day Style

What is a holiday, without festive food, I ask you? Corned Beef and Cabbage, the traditional meal O' THE IRISH.

My Dad always prepared this with a mustard and brown sugar glaze, and I don't like it any other way. I also used to request this as my "birthday dinner" growing up.

It's so tasty, and I thank the heavens for the Irish every year as I get ready to prepare this meal! I especially like the carrots, they remind me of gold coins at the end of the rainbow.. YUM!THE GOLD HUNT! Look at all the green on those kids. Our neighbors host this each year, and it is always highly anticipated.

You collect the gold, you trade it for a Sack O'Candy.
Check out the adorable guardians of the potluck Pot O'Candy. Cute, but very protective!
The leprechauns hid SO MUCH gold this year that the bag broke before we were through.
Savi had half a bag full by the time I caught up with her.
Gunnar bit some to see if it was the real deal. "Yup, it's hard as a rock, must be real," says he.
Our little friend Lissy was the lucky finder of a golden egg, with real cash inside.
If we ever move, we're going to have to introduce this custom to a new neighborhood. It's super-fun, and magically delicious!
My kids were hopped up on sugar for hours.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tooth Drama

Savi was late getting her teeth. She was about 9 mos old when the first one decided to finally break through, although she had been teething for 3 months. It was a long haul.

She didn't lose her 1st tooth until last year, the 2nd one followed the week after...then nothing. The last couple of months she has been complaining that her top 2 are loose. So much so, that some days she will not eat a sandwich because they hurt. But it's been coming and going, pretty strange if you ask me.

The last couple of days I had been hearing about the teeth bothering her so much I had just about had it. Then, at the dinner table, she is saying, "Look Mom", and wiggling this tooth, back and forth, forward and backward, and it was totally grossing me out. I mean, I was trying to eat....I'm not a DDS. I informed her that I didn't want to see it anymore, and I really was tired of hearing about it. She complied, for a bit.

After dinner, she wiggled it some more and came and showed it to me again. Oh JOY. I looked though, and noticed that it was completely detached in the back and hanging on by the teenisiest thread in the front. She said it wasn't ready to come out. "OH, YES IT IS" I said. "If only so I don't have to hear about it all day!" I told her to go get a napkin and bring it to me.

The drama began.



Collapsing in a heap on the floor.

All the while hollering, "It's MY tooth, I get to decide!"

I calmly said, "Savannah. Come over here. I will not hurt you, I am your Mom. Why don't you trust me?" Later she would relate to her Dad over the phone that I said, "Come over here, or I WILL hurt you!" Not true, but in her hysterical state, you can see how she may have thought she heard that.

Finally I stood her between my legs and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. With the other hand I wiped her tears, and told her to calm down. I then put the napkin on either side of the tooth and with the smallest amount of pressure, I pulled. Out came the tooth.

She couldn't believe it. "It's out?"
(big smiles and hysterical little giggle)

Oh, the drama!

This was 5 minutes later, you can still tell she had been crying. I CAN'T WAIT for the hormones, can you? (The 2nd one is a week behind I think....hopefully close enough that she'll remember she can trust her Mean Mom).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Color therapy

What is it about this color lately?

I am seeing it EvErYwHeRe. Cute tees, floral print dresses, kids rompers....I think it might be THE color for Spring. Not to mention, it's the color of all those tantalizing little shoots sticking out of the dirt...

So, when I saw these, I knew they had to come home with me. I can already see them with a black dress, jeans and a similarly hued blouse, a white tee and khaki capris, or a frilly white skirt. If I couldn't wait for Spring before, I don't know how I feel now. One thing is certain, I will be rocking them come next Tuesday while I prepare my traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage!