Dec 31, 2017

Too Many Projects

The holidays are almost over and we have been running like crazy to try to accomplish all the things we wanted to do during the time off. Last night we went up to the dance studio and took apart the church pew we loaned them. We really wanted it to look nice for their dance and since we had all the stuff to refinish it, it was just a matter of finding the time. My sweetie brought home all the parts that needed to be sanded, stained, and weather-proofed so they would be ready to reassemble on Monday morning. Dance classes start up again on Tuesday, so we had to get that project finished quickly.

My sweetie also had some things he needed to do for his mom, so we made a trip to Sanpete County. It's always fun to see Grandma! Bossy's family came with us and we shared our lunch and delicious donuts with them. We got home about 5:00 because I needed to make a trip to the grocery store before Beauty and The Beast brought Little Warrior by. It was their 3rd anniversary and they wanted a chance to go out to dinner.

Waiting yesterday at the DMV... we were incredibly bored...

Sport had plans to attend the stake dance and I had another project going on that I wanted to finish. We had purchased two new lights for the family room since we couldn't buy replacement bulbs for the old ones, but when my sweetie took the fixtures off the ceiling, we found two large spots of white paint. That meant we had to find the paint and then stand on a chair to blend it all into the old paint. That got to be my job. After 4 coats, I think it is finally close enough. Sadly, my sweetie is off to bed so the fixtures won't be able to go back up until tomorrow. I'm so excited to have good lighting in the family room again!

I'm also moving full speed ahead on getting things ready for Dog Walker's wedding. Such a challenge to work everything in! I'm sure it will all be fine in the long run, but every little task seems impossible right now.

Dec 30, 2017

Dinner Party

Remember a couple of weeks ago when we had our Girl Scout Christmas party? We had originally planned to do the Dinner Party badge and have the girls shop and cook for the troop, but one of our scouts was sick and couldn't make it and she had been instrumental in the planning, so we decided to put it off until today. I almost changed my mind and put it off again because things have been so crazy here, but I'm glad I didn't. The girls had so much fun!

All of our scouts were here but one, so Drama Queen took them all shopping. They were so careful with our troop money! I had to run to the pharmacy and when I got back, they were all chopping and rolling; making dessert and salad, spaghetti, and meatballs. I was so proud.

Baby Doll and I set the table for the party and when the food was finished, we all sat down to dine together. I sure love these girls. We have been together for about 8 years now and I will be so sad to see two of them age out by the end of the school year. Then next year I will lose 3 more.

They took "plating" very seriously!

We finished our Dinner Party around 3:00, just in time for Crafty and me to run to the DMV and get her driver's license! She passed her road test this morning and just in time. Drama Queen is trying to get some of her things moved to her house this weekend. I'm so glad to have another driver.

Sorry about the sun, Crafty.

Dec 29, 2017

Baby Sitter?

Baby Doll is getting to be such a good baby sitter we might have to change her name! She loves playing with the grandbabies and taking care of them. Last night Beauty and The Beast came over for dinner. Little Warrior wasn't feeling very well and he coughed and fussed until Beauty put him in the car seat and Baby Doll gave him a bottle. He settled right down and went to sleep. I hear he is feeling much better today.

We are missing Twizlet and her sweet and sassy personality. She is in Orlando visiting with her other grandparents for the Christmas holiday. Of course Teach and Twiz are with her. They video chat with us every day and rumor has it that when I come on she "kisses" the phone. I don't know if that is true, but she sure had a big smile for Baby Doll! They will be back home tomorrow, just in time to help Drama Queen move into her house.

Prima Donna is also making a move back to the valley and taking a break from school for a while. She is currently looking for a job if anyone knows of anything local.

I spent 4 hours today at basketball practice, 2 for Scout and 2 for Sport. Yeah, call me crazy, but I agreed to coach both of their teams. Who knows? Maybe it will improve my game...

Dec 28, 2017

Touring the Joseph Smith Memorial Building

I think I've told you before that Grandpa is serving a Church Service Mission at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building just off of Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. He has been there for about a year now and we have been trying to find time to get everyone together so we could go down for a tour. We finally made it today with not quite everyone, but 8 of us, so that's not bad.

We loaded up and left the house about 10:30 this morning. Princess and The Frog spent yesterday and today with us and they were headed downtown as well for a little "Babymoon," or the last opportunity to get away together before baby comes. Can you believe they are only about 6 weeks from holding their little Tadpole in their arms?

But I digress...

We were hoping to meet up with them, but our schedules didn't cross and they went off to their hotel while we headed for Temple Square. We got there just before noon and since Grandpa didn't go on duty until 1:00, we decided to walk through City Creek and see the fountains and have lunch.

An hour and some Chinese food later and we were on our way to the JSM building. It took us a few minutes to find Grandpa and we had to wait for him for another 10 minutes before he could go with us, but then we got an amazing tour that included several floors, classrooms, and dining rooms. My favorites were the chapel and the Legacy Theater. We watched a new church history film about David Whitmer and his role in the restoration. It was awesome!

We said goodbye to Grandpa after that and we made the long walk back to the van. We managed to get out of town just ahead of traffic, finishing off the perfect tour.

The Perfect View

Dec 26, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Perhaps I should have asked Santa for a new computer... I couldn't get anything to load last night. My sweetie says it is time to give up XP...

We had such a beautiful day yesterday. The kids got up at 7:00 am, but we sent them back to bed until 8:30. The first gifts opened were from Grandpa and he gave each of the younger kids a brand new coat. Since we got our white Christmas, they were very much appreciated.

The kids made short work of the gift opening and there were many smiles and a few happy tears shed when Prima Donna discovered that her new purse held a copy of her ticket from the accident that included a receipt marked "paid in full."

I got in a couple of hours of sleep before Teach and Twiz showed up and then Bossy and Gamer. I loved sharing their gifts with them a few grown-up kids at a time. The Dog Walker headed off to spend time the Cat Lover and her family. Beauty and The Beast started a fun new tradition of a Cereal Bar for dinner. They brought the weirdest kinds of cereal for the kids to try...

By 6:30 the kids were heading back to their homes and I was ready for another nap. My sleep schedule is totally messed up, but it's Christmas and I can mostly just stay home and enjoy my family and my sweetie's good cooking for the rest of the week. That's my most amazing gift of the year.

Merry Christmas.

Dec 25, 2017

Happy Christmas Eve

Kids won't go to bed...

Sound like your house? We have had so much fun today with family here. Bossy and Gamer and their kids came over this afternoon and we decorated sugar cookies while my sweetie made us an amazing prime rib dinner. We usually do that on Christmas Day, but this year we decided to make a change.

Teach and Twizlet joined us too. Sadly, Twiz had to work, but we were happy to have the girls with us. We read the Christmas story and opened jammies. Baby Doll, Teach, and Dog Walker taught us all a new dance called the "Santa Claus." The resource kids at her school share it every year at the sing-a-long and we all had a good time jamming to the music.

My sweetie's brother made us another amazing game! It took them a while to figure out how to open it, read the instructions, and then actually play it. It is Egyptian-themed this year and so cool. The dice are sticks like the kind on the Ten Commandments...

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a sweet time with your family and friends. Thank you for supporting our blog. We love you all!

Dec 24, 2017

Gingerbread and The Forgotten Carols

I always love these last few days before Christmas! Today was Christmas Adam and we had several special activities planned. First, Sport has his cute friend over to make gingerbread houses and nativities this morning. I have almost zero talent when it comes to making these houses. Today I was helping Curly with a stable and after about 4 tries, I finally asked the Dog Walker to see if he could get it to stand up.

This afternoon we delivered grape jelly and syrup to our friends in the ward, made fudge, and took a quick trip to the emergency room (turned out to be a problem with scar tissue and no big deal). Then it was time to drive up to Cottonwood High School to see the closing night of Forgotten Carols. It was different this year from the video we have nearly worn out, but the basic story was the same and most of the kids loved it.

The hour is late and I am finishing up some embroidery I promised to a dear friend. We only have Sacrament Meeting tomorrow, so we can spend the rest of Christmas Eve with our families. I still have some wrapping to do, but most of my Christmas is good to go. Ready or not, it is coming anyway!

Dec 23, 2017

The Twelve Party

Last year Drama Queen came up with the idea of the "Twelve" party which included an evening at the church where we had some sort of show, dinner, and then basketball to wrap it up. I always love having my kids around me, but my favorite part of this one is that I don't have to be the host.

Drama Queen assigned out all the food and asked each family to provide at least one talent. It was fun watching Baby Doll and Crafty dance, Scout and Prima Donna sing, and The Frog play the piano. Beauty got on stage and showed us all how she finally has full control of her foot again and we all erupted in applause and cheers.

Too fast for my phone's camera...

Taco, Burrito, and Curly sang for us and Curly also played several songs on his recorder. Gamer shared some jokes and I even gave an encore performance of my solo from the care center. Teach, Twiz, and Twizlet danced and Grandpa shared a message. My sweetie offered prizes for a paper airplane contest, but I think the favorite of just about everyone was when the Dog Walker danced to Jingle Bell Rock.

We shared egg nog shakes with a Nut Prize that turned out to be a couple of tiny drones. Prima Donna was shocked and thrilled when she happened to be the winner and she spent the rest of the evening on the stage getting them to fly.

We played a few rousing games of dodgeball and finished up with basketball. It was happy and fun and full of love, laughter, and music. My favorite kind of days... the kind memories are made of.

Dec 21, 2017

Class Parties

I've had so much fun helping out with the Christmas parties in the classes this year! Yesterday was Curly's Santa breakfast. He is in the 4th grade and they have a tradition of eating Santa waffles made with Eggos, strawberries, and whipped cream.

I'm not supposed to tell, but I'm pretty sure he ate 3 of them!

Then today was Baby Doll's class party. Twizlet and I barely got there in time after getting stuck at the grocery store. It was a good thing I had everything ready. I was in charge of a craft station and teaching 1st graders to lace a stocking was much harder than it looked. But they are so cute; we still had a great time.

Lastly, Sport just brought me this amazing nativity that he designed out of Lego. He has a real talent here. It's too bad they don't have more jobs for Master Builders. 

Dec 20, 2017

Christmas Carole Singalong 2017 - Temple Square

We had so much fun yesterday at the Christmas Carole Singalong at the Vivint Arena downtown! There were almost 20 of us between our car and Bossy's. Traffic was bad and we missed the first 2 songs and the donuts, but it was still well worth the drive. I have never seen so many people at the singalong before. We had seats in the upper bowl and even that was more than half full.

After we finished singing, we gathered our group together and walked the few blocks to Temple Square to see the lights. There were SO many people! We held tightly to the hands of the little ones as we made our way across the square to the reflecting pool. We stopped for a moment to take a family pic and then Dog Walker and Cat Lover posed for a kiss. That is the temple where they will be married in March.

We sang our own carols all the way back to the parking lot. Love being with my family and Temple Square is so beautiful. If you get a chance, you really should take your loved ones and go see the lights.

Dec 19, 2017

Shredding the Meat

On Saturday, my sweetie got in on the 99 cent per pound pork loin deal at Smiths. It was such a blessing with all those people coming for the Christmas party on Sunday. He put 6 of those half loins into our huge roaster and let them slow cook all night long.

He upped the heat when we left for church and by the time we got home, they were perfect and ready for shredding. A couple of weeks ago, my friends at Cave Tools sent me their brand new meat claws and we were excited to try them out. We already love their original version and these super heavy duty metal ones looked even better.

They easily lifted the meat from the roaster and onto a shredding board, and within minutes, we had an entire roaster filled with perfectly shredded pork. The metal claws pulled easily through the meat and Drama Queen even used them at one point to pull a rack from the oven (not sure if that is a sanctioned use, but it worked great...)

My sweetie is still a fan of his original pair of Cave Tool meat claws mostly because he preferred the grip of the handles, but these others are amazing too as is almost everything we have ever received from Cave Tools.

It's not too late to get some of these for your sweetie for Christmas. They are available at Amazon and if you want to get them directly from the Cave Tools website, of course I have a 15% off coupon code for you: MEATCLAW15. Happy shredding!

***We received a set of Cave Tools Heavy Duty Meat Tools for our open and honest review.***

Dec 18, 2017

My Big Extended Family

We had a great time at our family Christmas party tonight! My sweetie made pulled pork sandwiches for everyone and not counting babies, we had exactly 50 people here. I know, because that is the number of plates we had in the package I bought.

The party started at 6:00 with dinner. It was pretty chaotic, and coming from me, that is really saying something. Buffet-style is the only way to go with a group this big and by 7:00 we were ready to clean up some of the tables to make room for our special visitor.

My sweetie always does a fantastic job as Santa's helper, but even though he whispered softly to her, Twizlet was having none of it. I'm afraid we have totally traumatized the girl.

We finished up the evening with our traditional eggnog shakes and sharing of gifts. I love having my brother and sisters together and we always miss the two that live far away. It makes my dad so happy to see the grandkids, and now that I'm a grandma myself, I can understand the joy that comes from gathering everyone close around us.

Little Warrior isn't afraid of my sweetie...

I always know that Christmas is getting close when this annual party is over. This week promises to be busy and fun. This is my favorite time of year.

Dec 17, 2017

Getting in the Spirit of Things

Today was a wonderful day with only a couple of basketball games and then getting ready for our big extended family Christmas party tomorrow. It has been icy and snowing, but very little has stayed on the ground.

We had Twizlet while Teach took a quick trip to the emergency room. It seems that she has been diagnosed with shingles...Twizlet had lots of fun with us, rocking out to the Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas songs. She was definitely getting into the spirit of things.

It's probably not a good time to make a bad joke about "Up on the Housetop" to Teach...

Dec 16, 2017

Yule Log

Here it is another late night again.  It seems I'm always staying up a little later for one of my children or the other.  Tonight, though, it was Drama Queen.  Where she works evenings now, all her projects get started a little later.  It seems she needed a treat to take with for a Christmas potluck tomorrow, but where I would have made a plate of cookies and call it done, she had to go be an over-achiever.  I walked into the kitchen just a few minutes ago to find her putting the finishing touches on this fancy jelly roll. 

She called it a Yule Log, and of course she knew the whole story that went with it.  In France, it seems, it's an old tradition that on Christmas night or the winter solstice, the wealthiest man in the village would bring out a log that everyone would then make a wish on.  As the night came on, they would start a big bonfire with the Yule Log in the center, and as long as the fire burned all the way until morning, then everyone's wishes for the new year would come true.  Now, she says, they just make cakes that are decorated to look like logs. It does seem like an awful lot of work for one small cake, but it's a cute story.  Plus, I got to sneak some of the extra frosting since calories don't count after midnight...right?  Thanks for the treat, Drama Queen!

See how it's got bark and the little leaves?

Dec 15, 2017

Guest Blogger: Light the World with Happiness, by the Dog Walker

  It's finally the moment you've all been waiting for! Christmas Light Display of 2017! It's been quite a challenge for me, because I've been busy with school and trying to finish the semester. There have been a lot of those times just like from the previous years when I felt either too slothful to put up anymore or I'm just running out of ideas on how to put lights up. I've also have been encountering some cluttered junk that we didn't need and I also encountered a lot of strands that had to be thrown away because they were broken. I even had to make sure that things were cleaned up in the yard before setting up. It was quite easy to make a mess of things and hard to decide what should be put up and to make sure that a whole strand of lights works. We've been going through a lot of our storage and it just felt like that we needed to reevaluate it for the upcoming years of the next holidays. I don't know what else to say about all of this, but I put this display up on KSL and that it can be shown to about everyone around Utah to come see it and to know that I did this all by myself and I hope that all of you would have a chance to come see it anytime you have before Christmas or even after that. I also hope I'm not just lighting Utah with happiness but that I'm also lighting the world with happiness by announcing that Cat Lover and I are still getting married on March 2, 2018. It's been a big blessing for the both of us and we're looking forward to the biggest opportunity and ceremony in our lives. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!