Monday, January 28, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Buttery Goodness

I made these last night for our friends who came over for dinner. They are from the Barefoot Contessa's At Home Cookbook. I have to say that they were too peanut buttery for me, but I do not like peanut buttery things so much. The rest of the people in the room seemed to love them!


Our beloved prophet and leader of our church, Gordon B. Hinckley, passed away last night at the age of 97. He was someone I greatly loved and admired as one of the kindest, gentlest and humorous of leaders. He taught us so many wonderful truths during his time as prophet and I have spent part of the day re-reading some of his counsel that has affected my life. I am certain that today he is again in the arms of his beloved wife, Marjorie who passed away four years ago. They had the most beautiful, loving relationship as husband and wife.

"Now, my brethren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike" Gordon B. Hinckley - Gen. Conf. 1995 Apr.

“Under the plan of heaven, the husband and the wife walk side by side as companions, neither one ahead of the other, but a daughter of God and a son of God walking side by side. Let your families be families of love and peace and happiness. Gather your children around you and have your family home evenings, teach your children the ways of the Lord, read to them from the scriptures, and let them come to know the great truths of the eternal gospel as set forth in these words of the Almighty.”
( “Selections from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Mar. 2001, 64.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Movie Reviews

We don't actually get to the movie theater very often, so the movies we see usually come from Netflicks. By the way, I love Netflicks!!! It has saved us much, much money in late fees and in stress from trying to find the time to watch a movie before it becomes overdue.

Nicholas Nickleby - Hmmm, did not translate so well to the screen. I don't really know how to rate this film. I enjoyed many of the supporting cast (Nathan Lane is fabulous!) and the uncle and the schoolmaster are both played really, really well, but the story just left me feeling a bit unsettled. Not my favorite Dicken's tale. Bryan thought the characters were too black and white. Either they were evil or they were saint-like and there was not much in-between.

By the way, this is the guy who plays the lead and there is a gratuitous scene where he is standing around in a open shirt for no reason I could detect except for the female audience to appreciate his dedication to sit-ups.
Lemony Snicket - Max read this series so I rented to movie to watch with the kids. The story is pretty dark and a bit scary - Sophie had to hide her head a couple of times. The filming is beautiful and the whole thing is well acted - how did they get Meryl Streep to take a role in this film?! Both Sophie and Max thought the baby was hysterical and Sophie has been quoting her all day! I would not rent it with young kids. Max said the movie was "out of order" and used parts of several of the books.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Crafty Girl - I scrapped!

I have not been taking very many photos lately. I suppose it is because it is so freakin' cold and I do not want to go outside more than absolutely necessary! I'll try and take some photos of SOMETHING this weekend so I have a more interesting post for you soon!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Max's Spelling List

We had a week off from wacky spelling lists as last week, all of the kids had to learn to spell the days of the week. Evidently, Max's teacher is back to letting him choose random words out of the dictionary again this week.

1. transparent
2. synonyms
3. imprescriptable
4. impracticable
5. recombinant DNA
6. reconnaissance
7. recombination
8. spanakopita
9. January
10. February
11. March
12. April

I really appreciate the variation of purely scientific terms to Greek culinary dishes.

Funny things kids say

Overheard at lunch today.
Natalie: I've never heard of the wild west.
Sophie: It's in the west. If you go far enough into the west, you'll find the wild west. It's in China.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Genius Mom Ideas

Max and Sophie each have a responsibility chart that they are supposed to get done every day. They both are supposed (cough, cough) to make their beds, clean their rooms, brush teeth 2X, practice piano for 30 minutes, do their homework and then Max unloads the dishwasher if it's clean, brings up the clean laundry and cleans the family room before bed. Sophie brings down the dirty laundry, practices dance (wink, wink) and cleans the living room before bed.

Pretty standard stuff and sometimes they do it and sometimes they don't and well, frankly it's a constant battle. But, the genius part is this: Sophie and Max each have to read Calvin 2 books per day. So wonderful! They get to read out loud and Calvin gets lots of books read to him. Try it, you'll love it!
The kids remained in their pajamas all weekend as well!

Barbie 3D

Sophie's friend Jillian came over to play after school last week as her mom was in Hawaii - an excellent time to go as it was FREEZING here! This is a photo of the 4 kids watching Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus in 3D under a cozy quilt as it is FREEZING here. Sophie even has her scarf on.

I had the day off on Friday and Monday and the kids were off from school on Monday so we had a long weekend home together. I literally spent the entire weekend in my pajamas, changing only to go to church! It was too cold to go and do anything fun outdoors, so we stayed in watching movies and eating lots of popcorn and reading lots of books. It was lovely really.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Austin Update

Another Sunday, another Austin adaptation on Masterpiece Theater! What did everyone think of Northagner Abby? I admit that I did not have the book finished before I watched the movie and I had never read the book before, so I did not have many expectations. Bryan and I both enjoyed the film - the girl who plays Catherine is darling and just perfect for the role - so young!

I finished the book today and the movie sticks pretty close to the book. The movie was only 90 minutes long and should have been longer. It is not my favorite all-time Austin novel, but I quite enjoyed watching her warnings on "reading quite so many novels".


I've never been tagged - or at least I have never noticed that I have been tagged. But, Kelly tagged me from her blog so here goes: 7 interesting things about me.

1. I do not like mushy fruit. Most people know this. I cannot eat apple pie, blueberry pie, apple crisp, yogurt with fruit in it or the grapes in fruit cocktail. I do not even like frozen berries as they get too mushy as they melt. It's a texture thing. Raisins are fine in cookies but not raisin pie.

2. I have never been to California or Florida. I really do not know why, as I love to travel and would love to take my kids to Disney someday. I guess I've just never had anyone to visit in either state.

3. I collect cake stands and globes. Mind you, both of these items are really inconvenient to collect as they take up a lot of room. I keep the cake stands above the cupboards in the kitchen and the globes are all over the house. I am trying to limit myself to small versions of globes and white and creme cake stands in order to keep the collections under control and usable. Yes, I do use the cake stands all of the time. I love to bake, but that's not really interesting.

4. I love to read cookbooks. I have an entire bookcase of cookbooks in the kitchen and more above the stove. When I sit down for breakfast or lunch, I reach over and grab a cookbook to read while I eat. Some of my current favorite reads are an old favorite of my mother's, Hollyhocks and Radishes a wonderful book calledPure Chocolate which my aunt Sherrie gave to me, Bread for Breakfast, and The Great Book of Chocolate.

5. I love chocolate in all of it's forms. I do have favorites thought. I am not partial to chocolate and peanut butter together, but I LOVE chocolate and orange together. I appreciate and love really good dark chocolate, but when I want to splurge, I need milk chocolate simply because I can eat more of it! My favorite chocolates are from Leonidas, I cannot eat a Nestle crunch bar (tastes like Crisco) yet I can eat and entire bag of Hershey's kisses in one sitting. I try to avoid the candy aisle during Easter as I cannot resist the Cadbury mini eggs or the Russel Stovers chocolate coconut nest with the little jelly beans in them. I eat myself sick over November and December and then get really annoyed when I get chocolate for Christmas because I have set Christmas as my deadline for stopping the downward spiral into fatness and now I have more chocolate that I simply must eat. Chocolate as a Christmas gift is never a good idea.

6. I was on the first student exchange program with communist Russia. I was selected to go with a group called Project Harmony when I was a junior in high school. I spent two and a half weeks in Leningrad and then the girl I stayed with, Nadia, came and stayed with me in Vermont for a few weeks. It was an amazing experience!

7. My first role in community theater was in the show Peter Pan. I was cast as a tree. I was in middle school and it was a really big deal to be cast in this show. It was simply the best experience ever! I was so happy to be doing musical theater! I had a big crush on one of the lost boys.

***I believe at this point I am supposed to tag people so: Tiffany, Emily C., Kim A. and Heather P., you have been tagged!***

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sophie's Cooking Party

I have not blogged for a while - sorry. I got sucked into the Twilight books and reread them this week as it has been ridiculously cold here and all I've wanted to do is wear my flannel Christmas pajamas and snuggle under a quilt with a book.

Sophie decided to have a cooking party for her 6th birthday. She invited all of her closest friends to come over to cook and have fun!

We started by giving everyone an apron and chefs hat and sitting them down to make pizzas. They rolled their own dough and then added sauce and their choice of toppings.

As they baked, we took turns making "smoothies" in the blender.

After they ate their pizzas, we had a cookie time. One group rolled and baked sugar cookies with Koo
while another group helped me make oatmeal cookies.
Some of the boys lost interest and gravitated toward the train set.

Some of the other boys decided to play games the entire time (except to take breaks for eating!)

Speaking of eating, Koo made Sophie's cake for her. Sophie drew a picture of exactly what she wanted: a four tiered white cake with pink icing on the edges, with princesses all over the cake and a big heart and a crown on the top. I am still trying to find her photo, but Koo did an amazing job in making her wish come true.
Sophie had a wonderful time and is already planning her birthday for next year!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Christmas Story

I am cleaning the office today and found this great story Max wrote in December. All punctuation and spelling errors are his.

Mrs. Claus was sitting in the kitchen, singing a cookie-cutter carole, when her friend, sharing Shannon burst in. Help me, he moaned. I have frostbite on my toes. Mrs. Claus got a mischievous smile on her face. This will hurt a LOT. But, I think I can handle it. She went over to the stove, and turned it to 100 degrees. Come over here, she said. Uh, kay, said sharing Shannon. He came over, and Mrs. Claus picked him up and stuffed him in the oven. 10 seconds later, she took him out. At that very moment, Santa Claus burst in. (He had fallen into a pit, but he got out) Well, said Mrs. Claus (who had heard the news about her husband) it looks like all of our problems are over at last. The End.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Crafty Kids

Just a quick post to show you one of the cute projects Sophie and Natalie made with Koo last week. Who knows, Sophie may learn to sew before her mom!

Book Reviews

New Moon - This is the 2nd book in the Twilight series. It was a little slow going at first, but about half way through it picked up and I could not put it down! I read the whole thing on Saturday after Sophie's birthday party!

Eclipse - The 3rd book of the Twilight series (is she planning any more?). Susan gave this to me on Monday morning and I read the whole thing before going to bed. I was sucked in again and had to finish! I am kind of sad there is no more - this was a really fun, entertaining series - brain candy really. I enjoy candy - except when it leads to weight gain.

Book of a Thousand Days - I finished this one on Sunday - it is another by the author of Goose Girl. I really enjoy her books and think she is a wonderful writer. They are considered juvenile fiction and I have given Max Princess Academy to read as I think it appropriate for his age as well.

**This week I am planning on reading Northanger Abbey in preparation for Sunday's movie. I have never read the book or seen a version on film so I am excited!

Austin Update

What did everyone think of the new Persuasion shown on Masterpiece Theater on Sunday? I have to say I was a bit disappointed. It was only 1 1/2 hours long which did not allow enough time for character development - especially with Mary and Mrs. Smith. I also found the style of the film annoying - the camera kept coming in for a close up on Anne and then she would look at the camera - ?!
Bryan and I watched it together and then we had to pop in the older version and watch that. It is really close to a perfect adaptation - I cannot imagine anyone else playing Anne or Mary as well.

Rent this version after you read the book!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Taylor the Latte Boy

My sister Heather gave me this great CD for Christmas by one of my favorite singers, Kristen Chenoweth. You'll remember Kristen as the original Glinda in Wicked on Broadway.

This is my favorite song on the CD and I play it all of the time in the car. Now ALL of the kids know the song and sing along with me at the top of their lungs! Is it somewhat weird that my little Mormon children are singing about java?

I love that they are still oblivious to so many things; Max sings "he was playing in a band down in the village in the basement of a barn" (instead of bar). So funny!

P.S. this song drives Bryan CRAZY as it is so hard to get out of my head. I spontaneously start singing it all of the time!

Book Reviews

I have decided to start doing small reviews for the books I have been reading - mostly for myself as I have serious memory issues and a couple of years from now I may not remember I read any of these! There are links to the books on the side bar if you want to know authors etc.

Persuasion - My favorite Jane Austin apart from Pride and Prejudice. I just watched the movie last week and then felt the need to read the book again. LOVE this book! Anne is the gentlest heroine in any of the Austin novels.

The Memory Keepers Daughter - I actually read this a while ago, but it was chosen as our book club book for last month. It was a good read and kept me interested and it made for a GREAT discussion book as we all had such varied opinions about the characters and the choices they made.

The Photograph - never finished. snore.

Twilight - I started this last night at about 11:00 and I just finished it. It is not going to win a Pulitzer, but I have to admit I was completely sucked in and loved every minute of it! Romance, danger, mystery and yet CLEAN - what's not to like?! Susan is bringing the sequel over tomorrow so I'll post a review of it by Sunday!

The Goose Girl - This is our book club choice for this month. It is a juvenile fiction book and my favorite by the author. It is another that swept me into this world and kept me interested until the very end. It has everything a juvenile fiction book should have and again, it is CLEAN which I so very much appreciate. I am planning on reading the sequel this month before book club.

Geek Love - I thought this would be quirky and interesting after reading reviews of it. Instead it is disturbing, sluggish and really quite vile. I never finished it and refused to let my sister read it. It's going in the trash.

More to come!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Crafty Girl - I scrapped!

I scrapped again! I set a goal for myself to scrap 31 pages in January and joined a free online group of scrappers (Big Picture Scrapbooking) all with this same goal. I did not join the group until the 4th so I am already behind, but I have been scrapping a lot more than usual so I am grateful for that!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Max's Spelling List

The kids went back to school today and Max came home with another typically wacky spelling list.

1. delegitimize
2. delectation
3. degenerate
4. fajita
5. stagger bush
6. salol
7. synagogue
8. systematize
9. syzygy
10. resolution
11. hydrogen
12. Hawaii

I would like to point out that spell check is telling me that 4 of the above words are spelled wrong. They are not - no really, I just looked them all up on Max thinks it's hysterical that he knew that syzygy means three celestial bodies in alignment and I had never heard of the word. I told him that I could make a mean cheesecake, and he couldn't, so there.

Crafty Girl - I scrapped!

I scrapped last week! Here are a couple of pages from 2005.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

And the sick goes on . . . and on . . .

It was sweet little Sophie's birthday yesterday. It is hard to believe she is already six years old! She is still a tiny little thing - we weighed her yesterday and she is 33 pounds!

Sophie started to feel under the weather on Thursday and by the morning of her birthday had a full-blown fever and looked quite similar to Calvin's sicko photo several posts ago. Poor thing. She spent the day trying really hard to enjoy her birthday, but she couldn't eat anything and just wanted to sleep or be held. I did make a cake for her - she chose an ice cream sundae cake. It is a chocolate sheet cake filled with mint chocolate chip ice cream and served with hot fudge sauce and whipped creme. She took one taste and went to bed with a dose of Motrin. Before she went to bed she looked up with big tears in her eyes and said "Mom, this is not how I planned to spend my birthday. This is the worst birthday ever!"

Luckily for her, she is having a party next Saturday and hopefully she will be feeling all better and be able to enjoy herself!

I wanted to post this beautiful gift my friend Vickie gave me for Christmas! She made this frame with sheet metal inside and clear magnet photo frames. I think it is amazing and filled it with some of my favorite photos from 2007. It is in our living room on top of the piano. Thank you Vickie!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Crafty Girl: Birthday Class Gifts

At our elementary school most of the kids bring in a little gift for each of their classmates on their birthday. We are not allowed to bake anything or bring in cupcakes from the store, so this was my thrifty solution for Sophie's class. The highlighters I bought on sale for $0.50 (I used four packs). The bags I bought on clearance at Michaels for $1.00 (for a pack of 50). The lollipops I had left over from potty training and the mints were leftover Christmas candy. I made the little header thing in power point, printed them off and stapled them on and presto - cute little gifts for a total cost of $2.50 plus ink!

Low Key New Years Eve

We had a very low key New Year's Eve this year. We had plans, but Calvin's little sickness kept us home. We had a little celebration with the kids complete with a ginger ale toast and some family resolutions. Then we sent the little ones off to bed and Bryan and I played games until midnight. We turned on the TV at 11:55pm and watched the ball drop over times square and then toasted in the new year.

Here is the caramel popcorn I made for New Years. I did not have any salted peanuts, so I left them out.

Here is our favorite new game obsession, Carcassone. LOVE this game! Bryan and I play it at night quite a bit and we both bought each other the same expansion for Christmas. It is great to play with just two people and loads of fun to play with up to six with an expansion.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Christmas Snowshoes!

On Saturday, Koo and Bryan took Max and Sophie out for a hour of snowshoeing in Lebanon Hills Park fallowed by another hour of sledding in a near-by park. All three kids received snowshoes form their Auntie Heather and Uncle Ross for Christmas. Max became frustrated with the snowshoes early on as he kept tripping in them, but Sophie wore them for a long time and they both had a ton of fun playing in the snow!

I was not there which explains the mysterious lack of photos of this outing.