Nov 30, 2017

Sorting and Discarding

My living room has been a disaster for several days now. I told the kids that I was finally going to sort through all the boxes of Christmas "stuff" that has been piling up for nearly 35 years. I let my sweetie know that all I wanted for Christmas was some huge, oversized boxes that would stack better than our old ones and not break as easily. He bought them for me early since I also wanted to (and already did!) sort through all of the other holiday boxes.

As you know, the Dog Walker loves Christmas lights and outside decorating, so I left all of that sorting up to him. Still, it was a huge job! I condensed 8 large boxes into 3 new ones. Drama Queen wanted a chance to go through and pick out her favorites before we sent things to the DI, so when she got home from work, the Dog Walker loaded 4 bulging boxes into her truck and now my living room is finally livable again.

Twizlet loved the singing Snoopy. Yeah, we are keeping this one.

I even managed to decorate the tree. I think it looks pretty good. Homemade ornaments are the best!

Thank goodness my new bulbs will be here tomorrow from Amazon. My village is a little dark.

Nov 29, 2017

Busy, Busy Day

I hit 10 more schools today and put up the last of the posters for The Nutcracker. It didn't seem too bad after yesterday.

All I did was chase around most of the day. I enjoyed a quick trip to Kohl's for a little Christmas shopping and I stopped by Sam's for groceries. We joke that it is the "hundred dollar store," but I think it's true for me. I always remember more things I need when I get there.

I barely had time to get groceries unloaded and the cold things put away before I had to run Crafty all the way up to the Murray Rec Center for her referee training. Things were crowded and busy on the roads, but we finally found the building. I almost decided it wasn't worth driving the half an hour back through rush hour for an hour at home before I would have to leave to pick her up.

I did shave a few minutes off the drive on my way home since I knew where I was headed. In that hour, I managed to help the Dog Walker solve a problem at school as well as get the turkey soup on the stove and the noodles cut so Sport could finish it up while I was back on the road.

Once Crafty and I returned, I had 15 minutes to down a bowl of soup before running Curly to the church for pack meeting. He received a couple of awards and managed to finish his activity of making a card for someone in the hospital before we left to get him to dance on time. I didn't want him to miss since the recital is next week!

Since I didn't take any other pics, I will give my clients some free advertising.

Back home again, I cleaned up the kitchen and checked my email before running off to pick Curly up again. Then I had to be at the church for December Dodgeball by 9:00 pm. I finally got home about 10:15, helped kids finish homework, had scriptures, loaded the dishwashers, cleaned up the kitchen (again), had a heart-to-heart conversation with the Dog Walker, did some laundry, embroidered 4 stockings, a hat, and a pair of sweat pants. (And I still have quite a backlog of embroidery jobs to do this week.)

It must be time for bed.

Nov 28, 2017

Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork

One of our favorite holiday traditions is visiting the Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork. Usually we go later in the season, and tonight for Family Home Evening we had planned a trip to Temple Square, but the rain kept us away so we headed south instead.

Our first stop was Krispee Kreme donuts. The big kids were a bit disappointed that they no longer give free donuts for any scholar older than 6th grade. But all three of my youngest got six donuts each and I bought a couple of dozen for the rest of us so it all worked out.

Then we headed for Spanish Fork. It wasn't really that much further than driving to downtown Salt Lake and being in a nice, warm, dry van was way better. We even took a second turn around the lights so we could see them twice although you have to go before December 8th if you want to do that.

Good thing Drama Queen did all the driving.

It only cost $8 for our carload of 9 people. We were missing Crafty who had dance and my sweetie who couldn't get away from work, but we had a cute friend of Sport's along with us instead. The lights never disappoint and they always have something new that the kids don't remember seeing before. This time it was elephants, tigers, and butterflies.

Dog Walker is working on his final paper now for his multicultural class while I am talking to all of you. I'm too tired to do much more than that. I spent my day hanging posters for the ballet this weekend. I told you I had a dozen? Wrong! I took posters to over 30 schools today and I still have 10 left to deliver tomorrow. It's a good thing I didn't have Twizlet today and tomorrow. That would have made it impossible.

Nov 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Scout

I'm pretty sure I told you that Scout turned 12 on Thanksgiving, but she wanted to have her birthday independent of the holiday. She doesn't love turkey and mashed potatoes and part of having a birthday here means choosing (within reason) what you want to have for dinner.

Her choice was ribs. She almost crossed the line by choosing something that was too expensive, but we bought them at Sam's Club and the butcher gave us a good deal, so she got her wish. We have also started a fairly new tradition of giving the kids the opportunity to decorate their own birthday cake if they want. She did a great job!

Twizlet's first time with a frosting beater.

It was so easy to keep giving her gifts early... she barely had anything to open today, but it all worked out. She was happy. I think her favorite gift was the caramel apple dip from Teach and Twiz. She didn't seemed inclined to want to share it at all.

We've been working at getting the Christmas tree up and that severely limited our seating area, but none of the kids complained and we had a great time laughing and teasing and telling stories. Now we are off to another busy week. Curly and Crafty are performing in The Nutcracker this weekend and that means final rehearsals and costumes and such. I also have a dozen or so posters to try to hang by tomorrow night. School is winding down for Dog Walker and he has a bunch of final papers to write.

Curly needs to work on his picture-taking skills...

The holiday is definitely over.

Date is Set

It's finally official; Dog Walker and Cat Lover will be married in the Salt Lake Temple on March 2, 2018. I'm having a hard time believing we will be planning another wedding right after the holidays. It's a good thing the Dog Walker isn't.

A few days ago he invited Cat Lover over for a special surprise. He had bought some of the sugar cookie dough with pictures in them and he wanted to make cookies with her. I watched them for a few minutes and when I turned to leave, the Dog Walker whispered, "Don't you want to take a picture?"

I figured he meant so I could share it with all of you, but instead he surprised me by whispering rather loudly this time, "For the wedding video?" There was definitely a "duh" intended at the end of that sentence although he was too respectful to say it out loud especially in front of his fiancee'.

So I dutifully snapped a couple of pics and went back to whatever was occupying my current state of mind that was not a video that I would have to have ready in time for a wedding on March 2, 2018.

Nov 25, 2017

Black Friday

Did you get up and brave the crowds this morning? Not me. I stayed in bed. I already did most of my Christmas shopping online.

My sweetie and I had a date tonight. We went for Chinese food and finally broke down and bought a fake, pre-lit tree. It really is beautiful for an artificial. I wish I could say that my health were at 100% and I felt up to trudging up the mountain to cut one down or even up to watering a live one every day. Things are just a little dicey for me until I get off the blood thinners in January and I'm trying to simplify my Christmas season.

As much as I know how to simplify anyway.

Beauty and The Beast were painting at their house today so I got to play with Little Warrior for a few hours. He is such a sweet guy; just like his daddy.

Check out these fun pics from Thanksgiving. Beauty crocheted this cute pilgrim hat for him. Can you believe he is getting this big? Three months old already!

Nov 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a crazy, crowded day!!

I love having my family around me and today was one of those days when we had everyone here... just not quite all at the same time so we couldn't take any pictures. Lil Sis and her family also joined us for the day and the fun. The total number of people who ate or passed through my house today was 34.

We started with our Charlie Brown Thanksgiving feast about 12:30. The kids had been eating pie and picking at the rolls all morning, so they weren't as hungry as usual. Scout played Peppermint Patty since today is actually her 12th birthday.

Hungry, Scout?

After we cleared away lunch, I helped my sweetie with the potatoes and the kids played games. It was so beautiful outside that most of the kids played football and basketball or jumped on the trampoline.

Twizlet and I took a little nap for an hour during the middle of the day and when we got up, we were in full time feast preparation mode. It was 6:45 when we finally got everyone seated. I (as Grandma) chose to keep the little ones all together in the kitchen and we had way more fun than those who were at the big table.

Things are finally cleaned up and most of the kids have drifted away to their own homes or off to shop somewhere. I am boiling down the turkey for soup and the ones still here are playing board games. Grandpa, Dog Walker, and Cat Lover are all watching It's a Wonderful Life. Princess and The Frog are staying the night again tonight and Sport and Curly are staying at Bossy and Gamer's house.

I hope your family enjoyed being together, sharing food and love and building memories.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us.

Nov 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving Eve

Princess has been cooking up a storm! She and The Frog are spending the night with us and first they made these yummy dinner rolls that were impossible not to snitch.

Now she is making pecan pies and the shells for Crafty's peanut butter cup pie. I, on the other hand, am having a difficult time getting into the baking spirit. It just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving here. We have had unseasonable highs and I ran around to stores and other errands in shorts and a t-shirt.

It's been a pretty quiet day other than that. I went to Smith's 3 times, so I hope I finally got everything we need. I spent the evening in my room wrapping Scout's birthday gifts first and then Christmas stuff afterward. My sweetie put on a sappy Christmas movie (which I thoroughly enjoyed).

We have all of the family coming up tomorrow and Lil Sis and her family. We are planning to eat around 5:00, so we have plenty of time to get things cooked up in the morning. I think I'll head back upstairs and turn on another Christmas movie...

Love Those Kabobs

You all know that Cave Tools is my favorite brand for barbecue tools, so I was pretty excited when they offered me another new product to review... their Kabob Set. We have had kabobs before, but my old skewers were hard to use and even harder to clean. We always had stuff fall off and land down in the grill and that made for even more cleaning.

One of the best things about Cave Tools set is that it has a little rack for the skewers to lay on. It keeps them off the grill (so things don't fall down in or get stuck) and it makes everything easier to transport from prep area to grill to table.

I must confess that my sweetie did all the cooking the night of the kabobs. I did help him skewer the veggies a bit, mostly so I could see how easily they pierced right through raw carrots. We even put on cauliflower just so we had a challenge and it went on easily without breaking things up. My old skewers would never have done that!

My compliments to the chef!
Things were easy to turn and even easier to push off when we had them at the table. I was surprised how quickly they were cool to the touch. In fact, I was pretty impressed with the entire setup. The only problem is that we didn't have enough skewers for everyone. I just might have to get a second set for my sweetie for Christmas.
Those mushrooms were my absolute favorite.

And you know I have a coupon code so we can all save a nice little chunk of change at the Cave Tools website. Just click here to order directly from Cave Tools and use the code KABOBSET15 to save 15% or if it's more convenient you can click here and order the set directly from Amazon.

Happy grilling!

Nov 20, 2017

Cookies With Santa

Our city advertised Cookies with Santa at the Gale Center for tonight. Teach wanted to take Twizlet over so I offered to bring Baby Doll and come with her. As it turned out, the Dog Walker, Scout, and Curly all piled in the car with us.

When we arrived, the line was incredibly long! Santa was only supposed to be there until 8:00 and that left us about 35 minutes. We climbed out of the car anyway.

Just waiting...

It wasn't long before the lady in charge came out to tell all of us that Santa was leaving right at 8:00 and it was possible that we would not make it through the line by then. We discussed it for a minute, but then decided to take our chances. No one else left either.

More waiting...
By 7:45, Teach was getting nervous. She sent Scout and Curly inside to check the progress of the line and make sure they still had cookies. (As it turned out, there were no cookies... it was simply a ploy to get us to vote for our favorite gingerbread house.)

At 8:00, there were still about 5 children in front of our group. Baby Doll started to panic, but that sweet Santa remained until every last child had a turn. Our group crowded together for a quick pic and then Teach put Twizlet on Santa's lap.

She took one look at him and screamed as loud as her little lungs could possibly muster.

Now we know why Santa wears that big furry hat down over his ears. Maybe someone should have given her a cookie...

Happy Birthday, Taco

My oldest biological grandson turned 13 today. I remember when Bossy first came to me and told me she was pregnant. She and Gamer weren't married at the time; in fact, I don't think we had even met him yet (although I'm sure she will correct me if I'm wrong).

Bossy and I were struggling in our relationship. She was angry with me because I wanted her to share a room with her sisters, and she was certain that after living on her own for a year that going back to her childhood room would be asking too much.

So we found ourselves finally talking and she told me about the baby. She wasn't very far along then and at that point, Gamer wasn't sure he was ready for commitment. I offered to take the child and raise it as her sibling, but not as her child. It was a scary time for both of us, in uncharted waters, but the thing that ultimately sustained us all was love.

Gamer came around and asked Bossy to be his wife. We agreed and began planning a wedding. Then the unthinkable happened. It appeared that Bossy had lost the baby and I must confess, we were all pretty devastated; except Gamer. He calmly told me that it didn't matter; he still wanted Bossy to be his bride.

We scheduled one last doctor's visit as final proof of fetal demise. Bossy and I went together since Gamer had to work. Imagine our surprise to see that tiny heartbeat pounding away on the screen!

Taco has been a bright and sunny spot in our lives ever since. We love him and we are so happy to welcome him to teen-hood. Now if he could just learn to take better care of his phone...

Nov 19, 2017

Powderpuff Pinewood Derby

I just realized I never told you about last Saturday's Powderpuff Pinewood Derby! My sweetie spent several evenings helping my cute niece and Baby Doll make their cars. Scout decided she was going to race one she had recently helped make for Curly's pinewood derby, so hers was easy.

I was recruited to help weigh and label cars the minute we walked into the church since I am on the Leadership Team for our Girl Scout Community. They had the race split into two age groups, one for Baby Doll and her little cousin, and Scout was in the other one. The little girls raced first.

I was still manning the table, so when Baby Doll's name was called over the microphone, I would take a dozen steps closer so I could watch her race. She took first in all 3 races, including the one with her cousin, so she was thinking she must have done really well, even to the point that she was a bit disappointed when her name was called as the 3rd place winner. She received a gift bag full of cute scout prizes, a journal, markers, and various other little trinkets.

Then it was time to settle back and watch Scout's race. I didn't have to check in any more cars, so I was able to sit with the rest of the family and simply enjoy the races. Scout's car finished 2nd in one race, but 1st in all the others. This time we had Curly watching the times so hopefully we could see just about where she would place.

It was hard to keep track of the really close races, but when all was said and done, her times put her in 2nd place and she received a gift bag with exactly the same things that were in the 3rd place bag so I guess it didn't really matter. Both girls went home happy and I was just relieved to have it all over for another year.

Silly kids!

Nov 17, 2017

A Thanksgiving Birthday

Scout's first birthday was on Thanksgiving and it was so hard to decide if we should have birthday cake or pie. We finally chose to have both.

Next week will be the third time she has had to celebrate her birthday on Thanksgiving, but at 12, she will be old enough to make all of those hard decisions (like cake or pie) by herself. She has opted to have pie on Thursday and a totally separate family party with cake on Sunday. (I told you she was a smart girl...)

Cutie Patootie!
 One other thing we have learned over the years is that if she wants to have friends actually show up to a party, she needs to move it away from the holiday. That is why we had a party for some of her very best friends today, 6 days early.

She had great attendance, with only one girl who was unable to come. We did hair and nails and had a terrific time. Nobody even got burned on a curling iron.

Twizlet's First Haircut

I have been hounding Teach and Twiz to cut Twizlet's hair for a couple of months. The poor girl had bangs almost to her mouth and that is rough for a 9-month-old. It seemed that she always had a few bits of Cheerios or some sort of food trying to attach itself to her cute black hair.

So today I caught Teach in a moment of weakness and she agreed to let me get out the scissors. Twizlet had just come from the doctor and she was not a happy girl, so it was a real fight to get her to hold still. Maybe those scissors looked just a little too much like the flu shot she was still stressing over.

We got the before pic, then staged the scissors to the forehead one. Teach didn't really want to do the cutting; that was my job. It was probably easier than getting her to hold still!

It only took a minute and now our little sweetie can actually see again. She looks like a whole new kid.

I hope Twiz wasn't too upset with us...

Nov 16, 2017

Another Birthday for The Frog

It's November and that means we party all the time!

On Sunday we celebrated The Frog's 28th birthday. My favorite things were the dozens of rolls he and Princess made for all of us. My sweetie made his famous barbecue chicken and to make it easy we also had baked potatoes.

The Frog doesn't like cake much, but we made one for him anyway. He is all about the ice cream so we made sure we had six different kinds for him to choose from. It was a fun and casual party with much laughter and love.

We missed Prima Donna and Bossy, but the good news is that it is still November! Another party this week for Taco this time. Can you believe he is turning 13? And I must say that he is becoming quite the good little volleyball player...

Nov 15, 2017

Banquet at The Pie

Tonight was Scout's football banquet at The Pie Pizzeria. Her coaches invited everyone's family members and all they asked for was a headcount and a treat. We brought a plate of brownies and 7 of us to enjoy one last time being together with the team.

There must have been at least 75 of us there and someone picked up the tab for the whole group!

After we feasted on delicious pizza, salad, and breadsticks, we watched a highlight video and then the coaches brought up each kid and presented them with a fleece Bingham blanket and an inspirational saying on a wooden block.

Scout was lauded for being the only girl as well as a good player. When Coach Coates asked her if she would rather play football or dance, she emphatically replied (in front of everyone), "DANCE!" I'm not sure her teammates agreed with her.

It was a terrific football year, but I'm ready to move on too. I picked up my Jr. Jazz uniforms tonight for Scout's team. Yeah, I'm coaching again... but only one team, I promised my sweetie I would try to cut back on my activities.