Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas creation countdown

(These are the actual numbers produced not the order in which I'm rating them)

12 Steaks a-sizzling (Yes folks, it was a regular Surf-and Turf Christmas eve complete with New York Strips and Lobster tails!)
11 Songs a-singing (a night of caroling with the neighbors)
10 Art projects starting
9 Bags a-covering (I made some extra Christmas bags this year out of Zach's old PJ's for wrapping up gifts
8 Children playing (our 3 kids plus Ben and Joy's 5)
7 chairs a-covering (Zach recovered Joy's dining room chairs)
6 Bags a- candying (homemade fudge and caramel)
5 Golden Bow ties (actually they are quite colorful and they are all for Zach, no little boy ties)
4 Plates of cookies
3 Bread loaves steaming
2 Jars a- jam'ing (blackberry jam from this summer that I forgot with the first bread-loaf delivery)
1 Blog- a printing (Zach formated the first year and a half of my blog into a photo album for me, it took him 20+ hours to do it)

We spent a lovely Christmas eve over at Ben and Joy's enjoying an indulgent evening of Grade A beef and shellfish. We were also pleasured to see Tina, James, and Jeanette who spent the night there while we trotted the little ones off to their own beds. Christmas morning was a small family affair here in our own little basement apartment opening gifts and taking them for a test drive. Later in the afternoon we hopped back over to the Lindon Hutchins' for some more Christmas R&R. Wish you all could have been here with us.

Merry Christmas to all and to all A good night!

Playing with Aunt Tina

Whoa! Thats some serious seafood

He's the only one allowed to get into this Christmas decoration

Finding a new use for our Christmas bags

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Holy and the Jolly

In a great memorandum that John S. Tanner recently sent out to BYU faculty he explains how his parents divided what his Mom called the "holy" and the "jolly" time. And how there was room for both.The article reads in part:

"So much art depicts Christ as a man of sorrows. He is portrayed in suffering, solem, or serious mien. But surely Jesus smiled as well, and even laughed. His teachings are replete with references to feasts and reveling; his parables are populated with party-goers. And he himself is portrayed as a frequent guest at feasts. Indeed, he performed his first miracle at a wedding party, where he turned water to wine. And he was censured by the Pharisees for failing to fast and for eating and drinking with the sinners. Is it incompatible with his character as Savior to imagine Jesus as jolly? If 'jolly' conjures only Santa in the modern mind, how about a 'merry' or 'mirthful' Messiah?

"To be sure, some forms of merriment deserve censure and should be eschewed. Some revelry resembles the drunken Bacchanalia of many New Year's Eve parties rather than a merry Dickensian Christmas party. Some partying indulges in 'loud laughter' inimical to the Spirit and 'riotous living' of the sort that the Prodigal Son regrets- but not all. Remember, the same parable that condems a son's riotous living, depicts a father celebrating the returning prodigal by throwing a great party. The fater kills the fatted calf and invites the whole household to 'make merry' in a celebration that seems to perfigure the joy and merry-making in Heaven over the repentant sinner....

"Christmas reminds us that we embrace a gosple of good cheer...It reminds us that jollity merriment, mirth, and cheer have an honored place in Heaven and on earth."

So Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Child's Prayer

David (2 yr 10 mo): ...."Please bless us coming to our new house, please bless Uncle Ben to get better, please bless the food. Please bless daddy to do good work today. And please bless mom to do some work today. Amen"

(I wonder what he thinks my job is- or if I even have one?)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pavlov's Bell

In a famous experiment Ivan Pavlov (1927) used a bell to call dogs to their food and, after a few repetitions, the dogs started to salivate in response to the bell. This is refered to as
Classical conditioning (also Pavlovian or respondent conditioning, Pavlovian reinforcement) It is a form of associative learning. The typical procedure for inducing classical conditioning involves presentations of a neutral stimulus (the bell) along with a stimulus of some significance (the food).

This is well trained puppy dog #2

All cozy together

THE bell. I use it probably every single day instead of having to call out that it is meal time. The boys respond better to it than my voice, which they have become adept at tuning out. Its especially nice since the hope of getting to ring it themselves still apeals to their youthful zeal. If they come quickly their their fairy-good-mother grants their wish.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Gem from the Ensign

"In her epic poem, Aurora Leigh, Elizabeth Barrett Browning expressed the eloquent thought:

Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.

May each of us unlatch our shoes and cram our labors with the essence of heaven, and may none of us be found plucking blackberries when a much grander, loftier work needs to be done."

As quoted by Elder Spencer J. Condie in an excellent article "Handel and the Gift of Messiah"
Dec. 2010 Ensign, p 27

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Handy Dandy Christmas Tree

This is a tree made out our family's hand prints. The original thought was to make these into Christmas cards for the grandparents but then I didn't know how to send it without folding it all up. Now it has just turned into festive wall decoration. Just zoom in real close grandparents, its almost the same.) I was thinking that this will be twice the size when we have 8 kids! Now our family has five people but then it will have 10. A good family home evening idea for anyone looking for an activity. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I admit it, I am addicted to cookies. Usually the classic chocolate chip walnut variety but I've been branching out since Zach can only take so many of those. It is a rare day NOT to find homemade cookies in my house and it is usually a good indication that some will be in the works/oven soon. Yesterday I splurged and made white chocolate chip macadamian nut cookies. I say splurge because if you are the shopper in the family you know that Macadamian nuts cost over 5 dollars for a tiny bag worth about one cup or one recipe's worth of nuts. Oh, but they were good-no better than good- wonderful. So wonderful in fact, I may or may not have eaten 6 cookies in the process and had to wake up at 6:00am this morning to P90X some of those calories off.

Old Faithful

(actual picture of cookies I made)

These are a change of pace- an orange shortbread cookie with melted chocolate on top. Other favorites include triple chip butterscotch, oatmeal raisin, sugar cookie, and gingerbread. This does not include any of the other pies, cakes, fudge, caramels and variety desserts that frequent my kitchen. Now that I think about it, my BMI should be somewhere in the obese range.... hummm...maybe I should cut back a little. Well perhaps after the New Year. I can't back down now, just when the baking frenzy has begun. We are 6 and counting for goodie deliveries this season and going strong. Just call me Mrs. Fields. Happy Baking People!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gabe's first Primary talk

Out of the mouth of babes.

I have a cousin. His hame is cousin Roger and he is going on a mission to Panama. When he gets there he will teach the people about Jesus. This is the Missionary book "Preach my Gospel". It helps the missionaries know what to do and say. We can be missionaries too. We can invite people to church just like we invite our friends to our house or to a birthday party. We can share our testimonies about Jesus or make good choices and be a good example of keeping the commandments. It is important to love them like Jesus does. I believe in Jesus and Heavenly Father and I know they love me. The devil and his people don't follow Jesus and Heavenly Father. I know the church is true. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.