Sunday, December 20, 2009

Low Country Boil

Friday we hosted Paul's family Christmas party. It is one of our favorite traditions! Every year we choose a different nationality of food to serve. This year we traveled to the exotic deep south USA (OK, OK, so it isn't a different nationality, but I couldn't come up with the right word to use: genre of food, type of food?). In the past we have served: Mexican, Italian, French, Chilean, Chinese, Greek, Hawaiian, and a few others. This year we did a low country boil (among other things). Basically you boil a bunch of food in a big pot, drain off the water, and dump the food on a table covered with newspaper. Then everyone can pick out the food that they want and you sit around and eat. The kids were very impressed with the crabs. It was a great night!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dinosaurs in Disneyland

Last night I had a dream (I remember my dreams almost all the time- but they are not meaningful dreams- they are just weird). We were at Disneyland. I just had Katie and Adrie and we were watching some kind of show (it actually looked like Shamu at Sea World- but we were at Disneyland- you know how that kind of thing makes sense in dreams!). There was an announcement that a dinosaur was attacking Disneyland. I could see this huge T-rex walking around coming our way. In the panic, I lost track of Katie. So then it turned into one of those nightmares where you are searching for your baby. Luckily, that part of the dream was really short- I ran around a corner and found Katie. Some nice food vendor had seen her crying and given her TWO snow cones. I thought "Oh no, oh no! There is a dinosaur attacking Disneyland, we need to run, and my two year old is eating snow cones- she can't run and eat snow cones and if I take the snow cones from her, she will throw a fit." I was paralyzed by the knowledge that if I took the snow cones from her she would start screaming- the boneless, collapse on ground screaming. Then I woke up.

As I told Paul my dream, he laughed and said "Funny how you are more scared of the two year old tantrum then the dinosaur!"

Maybe I do have meaningful dreams after all;-)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Snow plus very cold weather

We have had some snow and very cold weather. When I went outside this week I found that the snow was just drifts of snowflakes. Although I don't like the cold, this AZ girl is always amazed at the beauty of the snow. (And, OK, my pictures aren't that great of the snow flakes. If you click on the picture, you may be able to see them better. I am still figuring out this blogging thing)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Apron Instructions

We made these cute aprons for Super Saturday. I meant to post these intructions a long time ago, but you know how life is!!! Also, I hope the changing cloth doesn't confuse you- the pictures we taken over the course of several aprons!

Materials List:

Two fabric materials: one for the apron square and pocket; another material for the ties, triangle, and pocket. Prewash and iron cloth before cutting.

1: 23 inch square cloth. If the cloth has a specific direction (like a stripe), cut on the bias.

2: Two pockets: One of each fabric 6½ inch by 10 inch, two corners cut off at a 45-degree angle to make a point

3: 3 inch wide ties: two 42 inch strips and two 21 inch strips

4: 2 ½ inch wide ties: two 20 inch strips

5: One small triangle: about 8 inches on the short sides

6: Two buttons

7: Thread

Apron Instructions:

All seams are sewn at ½ inch.

1. Fold under raw edge of long side of small triangle piece about 3/8 inch and iron. Top stitch along folded edge.

2. With right sides together, place small triangle piece onto main apron square, matching a corner. If your cloth has a stripe or obvious direction, make sure that the triangle is on the corner that you want as the top of the apron. Sew along two outer edges of small triangle. Turn right side out to form a corner and iron. Fold flap down and iron leaving 3/4 to 1 inch of triangle on back side. This will be the top of your apron.

3. To hem top two edges of apron, turn under raw edge 1/4 of an inch, and then fold and iron again to create a finished edge. Ease in where the hem meets the small triangle at the top. Topstitch the whole length of the edge, stopping just before the folded flap.

Showing how to ease the hem near the small triangle at the top.

Hemming the raw edge.

4. For neck ties, use the two 2 ½ inch wide pieces. Fold in half lengthwise, with right sides together. Sew along the long edge and across one end. Turn right side out. Repeat with the other piece. Iron both ties.

5. Tuck raw edge of each necktie under triangle flap on the back side, with one on each side of the triangle near the hems. Then fold the ties up again so neckties are up. Pin in place. Turn the apron over and sew straps on under the flap on the front. Once both neckties are tacked on, topstitch under the fold to reinforce the straps along the top of the apron.

6. Find four strips that are 3 inches wide. These will be the trim on the bottom of the apron as well as the waist ties. Sew one short piece to the end of one long piece. Repeat for other tie. We suggest sewing each short and long strip together the same way you make a quilt binding to prevent bulkiness.

7. Fold the end of one of the strips in half lengthwise and iron to find the center. Then iron each top corner to that middle iron mark folding it down to triangles on each side. Use the ironing line as your guide for sewing the strips together. Place right sides of the two strips together and sew 1/4 inch below the ironing lines, starting and stopping 1/4 inch from the edge of the strips. Trim the fabric off the corners and tip and turn with right sides out. Press seams together to make a pointed right angle corner.

This is a drawing of how to make a nice miter corner for your apron binding. It may seem confusing, but if you follow the pictures, it is actually pretty easy.

This is a picture of the two pieces of cloth sewn together. Note the ironing lines (they give you a guideline while you are sewing). Also note that you start sewing 1/4 inch from the edge.

This is the same cloth with the edges trimmed off. It is ready to be turned right side out and pressed.

You are basically making your own casing. Usually you sew down one edge of the casing and then hand stitch down the other edge, but I am too lazy. I just sew it all at once and make sure that I catch both sides of the casing. Note how I turned the edges in 1/8 inch to finish the raw edge. It is a bit of ironing, but the sewing goes really fast.

8. Turn under the raw edges of both sides of the ties under 3/8 inch and iron. Place bottom of apron inside the ties matching up the corner at the bottom. Pin. Start at the corner and topstitch making sure to catch the backside also all the way to the end of the tie. As you reach the end of the tie, fold in the end and topstich to create a finished look. Repeat on other tie.

At this point I have sewn one side of the binding on. The other side is pinned and ready for sewing.

9. Pocket. Sew two pocket pieces with right sides together, making sure to leave a 3 inch gap unsewn. Turn pocket so right sides are out and iron flat. Fold top of pocket down and iron. Place on apron at desired spot. Topstitch onto apron on three sides leaving top open.

10. Sew buttons in middle of flap on pocket and on the center of the flap at the top of the apron. (Note: We used covered buttons. You can find them in the notions department at craft stores [ I found them at Walmart]. They are really easy and turn out so cute!)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Two Sweet Girls

I think my girls have the prettiest hair. They have been growing it out for several years. With four girls, I spend a lot of time doing hair. I enjoy long hair because I can do fun braids and many different styles. I also like short hair because it is easy to wash and style. I guess I am not too picky about long or short hair;-) The girls like long hair, but their hair was getting too long. As Rachel put it "every morning I wake up with brambles in my hair." I told them that they could either get a trim, or we could cut it really short. Rachel has donated her hair before to Locks of Love and she and Skye decided to donate again.
I think they look great!

Spreading a Bit of Christmas Cheer

For a Webelos Art Activity Badge requirement, Joseph needed to draw several pictures on the computer. He called me to come see his latest creation.
(Please click on the picture to enlarge. I can't figure out why it is coming out so blurry.)

Haaaaa haaaa haaaa haaaa heeee heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee heee ha ahahahahahah

To my credit I didn't laugh until I left the room- thus protecting his fragile child ego.

It has been a cheery start to the season.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Only Momma

Katie has a new phrase:

We hear this a lot. Especially when she is caught in the act. Here are a few things that Only Momma can do:

Wear makeup
Pick up Nathan
Crack eggs
Feed Nathan
Pour milk for cereal
Carry Nathan
Flip pancakes
Get Nathan out of his crib

I might get frustrated except she is too cute. She looks at me with those big eyes and says "Only Mommma!"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween and a Birthday!

This week we celebrated little Miss A's birthday. She is a joyful child and according to Rachel, has "the prettiest color of eyes in our family." She wanted a wedding cake (to match the one at Paul's sister's wedding). I didn't attempt a wedding cake, but this one was easy and turned out pretty cute!

We also had a great Halloween. After a freezing week, the weather mellowed a little and we had one of the most perfect Halloween days that I can remember. Don't all Dads carve pumpkins with power tools?

Our little bunny was happy to have his hat off!
This year we had a secret service man, a Hogwarts student, a 1950's girl, a Belle, a bumble bee and a bunny.

Our ward does a trunk r treat and this is Paul's spooky trunk. The older children got to go out trick or treating with a very cool witch and a very hip disco man. Paul and I had a treat because we got to stay home and pass out candy together (thanks Suz and James!!).


Ryota expereinces an American Birthday party

This last week we hosted a Japanese exchange student. This is our second year hosting a student and it is a great experience. I must admit it is a bit out of our comfort zone to have a complete stranger come stay with us, but we have had so much fun with these exchange student. These boys come from a prestigious private school in Nara, Japan. There are about 250 boys that come over for their "graduation from eighth grade" trip. They spend a week in Utah and then travel on to southern Utah and CA. The main point of the trip is for them to experience American culture, practice their English, and specifically see how a typical American family functions (ha ha more on that later;-). The boys are all very smart, very polite, and very normal 14-15 year old boys. The main question I hear about this program is why they would come to UT? Once you start thinking about the requirements, you find the answer: where else can you find 250 host families within a 20 miles radius of an University (that has a large supply of students that speak Japanese)? Furthermore, each family must have a boy in the home between 8-18 years old. Utah Valley is a perfect match! However, I do question whether the boys will really experience true American culture! After their week in America, most of the boys will think that all Americans: drive big cars, have lots of children, and pray a lot.

Last year our student spoke perfect English- we had a great time talking about everything from the driving age in the US to WWII. This year our student Ryota, spoke very little English, but was so much fun. We got along doing a lot of sign language and smiling. He had a wonderful time with the children (he is an only child and so 6 kids was a big change for him) and they love him. Eleven other families in our neighborhood also hosted and it was nice to be able to share carpool duties (yeah, try and explain carpool to someone that doesn't speak English and doesn't even understand that there are other students staying right next door!).

Paul teaches the boys a little Scout pioneering.

Dessert was an expereince. I made apple crisp and served ice cream. American food is way too sweet for most of the Japanese. The boys were polite and tried the food. A few of them liked it. Most of them will be grateful to go home and eat normal food again!

Kanji anyone?

Our Japanese exchange student (post to follow about our fun week!) gave us these really beautiful Kanji characters. I wanted to frame them and put them up, but I don't know what they mean. We tried to ask our student, but his English was pretty minimal! Before I hang them in the house, I would prefer knowing they say something like "Family" or "Happiness" instead of "Brown Dog." So, does anyone know Kanji (hint hint Tiffany;-)? Can you translate?!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two Chompers

I may stop nursing.
Isn't this the best little chair?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Walk in Bryce

Last weekend we were here. There are many beautiful places in the world, but I don't know that anything quite measures up to Southern Utah. I may be a little biased;-)
We had a great time, despite missing the memo about who can visit Bryce. Apparently to visit, you need to fit one of three categories: slightly older couple (no children), young REI yuppie person (no children), or person from another country (no children). We stood out with our group.All the children did really well hiking although Katie spent a lot of time doing this:
"Pick me up Dad!"
Fortunately for her, Paul is a sucker for those big blue eyes and carried her most of the way. BTW, she has been eating licorice and is not bleeding terribly.
At one point we came across a mini Bryce Canyon where people had built all these little cairns. We added our own to the collection.
I particularly loved these trees growing out of the canyon. I also love the colors of the rocks. I told Adrie "These are perfect rocks for you because they are your favorite color!" She said "Mom, pink is not my favorite color anymore. I like blue. And periwinkle. But I still like these rocks."
Nathan was quite worn out from all the walking he did.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Bubble

Little Miss A loves gum. A pack of gum is not safe in our house. I completely understand the dangers of children chewing gum (gum in hair, gum in carpet, gum in sister's hair, gum in stomach for seven years;-). However, for my children to stop chewing gum, I would need to stop chewing gum first. It is a habit I picked up in Jr High and have never stopped. I try to keep my chewing within socially acceptable bounds (I understand that many people argue that any gum chewing is not socially acceptable). I do find it funny that my children will copy many of my less desirable behaviors and not pick up on the nice ones- like washing dishes- I do it all the time, but none of my children feel a great need to copy this behavior. I think I will call it: Selective Mimicry.

I love to watch my children's obsessions with learning certain things like whistling, cartwheels, handstands, stacking dominoes, etc. They are persistent in attaining these important skills. In their eyes, the ability to blow bubbles ranks among the top desirable talents. They ask me countless questions about how to do it, they practice whenever they get their little mouths on gum, and until recently, none of them had achieved the feat.

In our family "first to blow a bubble race," Adrie has blown away the competition.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Amazon Women

Last night I was able to get together with my best friends from AZ. We grew up together and have some fantastic memories. One of our YW advisors always called us the three Amazon Women because of our love of all things adventurous. I don't have any pictures of us hiking or rappelling, but I do have a picture of us on the first day of our senior year.One memory we discussed was a conversation we had about 15 years ago while walking home from church. We were dreaming and planning as teenage girls do, and decided to predict what our futures held. It was fun to look back over the last few years and see how those predictions played out. We didn't predict the next 10 years, but hopefully we will be able to get together to discuss them anyway!

I love you girls!