Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Nativity

At our Church Christmas party the Primary children had the opportunity to reenact the Christmas nativity. This year we happened to obtain just the right pieces of cardboard to construct the backdrop. It's pretty much all held together with zip-ties. There were lots of skeptics but it held up for several days without any problems!

The cardboard was painted to give it a faux wood look, which under the right light looks ok and better than just cardboard. This is the painting tutorial I used. I chose to not spray paint the black and just used a marker to make the black lines and then went over with watered down white and then brown and then painted black knot holes and streaks. I just used tempura paints and they worked out just fine.

I didn't get a close up of the manger but we used this website as the inspiration. With the all important mitre saw table all set up it didn't take long for Marshall to cut and construct it out of old pallet boards. I love how it turned out and how simple it was.

The great part is that it can all be taken apart and stored for another year!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


It was cold and windy but we did manage to find our warmest costumes and head out for some good old fashioned trick-or-treating. Now our food storage feels more complete :)

I pinned the hat and made it that night...yes, I am that crazy and a serious procrastinator since it was the night before Halloween. I was thinking it would be for Sarah, but it turned out to fit Hannah. And it was a good thing since she needed something on her head to keep warm. Sarah ended up using a sheep costume I made with Aunt Jaime last year for our Church Christmas Nativity.

If I hadn't been such a procrastinator we should have come up with a costume around missing teeth. There's a serious hole in the front of her mouth now and I think another front tooth is loose.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Emily created this piece a little while ago.

Princess Hannah and Princess Emily.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


It is insane how quickly children go through a pair of gym shoes!

We tried to keep Hannah in these as long as possible. I guess when you can see feet it's probably time for them to visit the trash. Truthfully I did not know that they were this bad until I took this picture...yeah worst parent award for me. Don't worry, I found her some nice sparkly sketchers to replace them. I hope they last a whole lot longer than the last pair too!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here's another recipe I just have to share. They turned out just like ones you would get from a bakery.

Good thing most of these went to a school event (same as the cupcakes) otherwise I would have spent this week looking for bigger pants. I substituted some of the chocolate chips with m&ms...yum.

Click here for the recipe. Make sure you melt the butter or margarine, cool the batter, and let them cool on the pan.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I am happy to announce that after many failed attempts, I have found my go to recipe and method for frosting cupcakes! (thanks pinterest)

Isn't it lovely? It isn't nearly as perfect as the ones done by the original source (Created by Diane) but it's stunning enough for me. The buttercream was the perfect consistency, the frosting to cupcake ratio was perfect for me, and using the 2D tip was easier than I thought it was going to be...easy peasy as Emily would say.

Next up...learn to do the two toned frosting application.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weekend with George

We were heading out of town for the weekend and picked up Hannah from school so we could get a bit of a head start. When I went in to get her she was holding a bag with a large Curious George sticking out of it. Yup, she was chosen to "take care" of Curious George for the weekend and write about it in the class journal. At least it wasn't a living animal since we were staying at a hotel!

Curious George was so lucky, he got to go to Washington D.C.! He jumped on hotel beds. He played at the park.

He visited the Washington D.C. temple grounds and visitor center. (To find out more about LDS temples click here.)

Before we went home we snacked on cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, which was loved by all.

But oh no, where is George? Shhh, he spent some of the weekend strapped in a carseat when it just didn't seem appropriate for a 6 year old to be toting around a large stuffed animal.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oh Deer!

Who needs TV when you can look out your window and watch nature?

The ever so observant Sarah noticed these in the backyard and immediately started saying 'Hi!' over and over, which caught my attention. And then I ran to the bedroom window without a screen to try to get a better shot, but they heard me open the window.

Now I think I know why the previous owners didn't have a screen on that window and had two deer head mounts in the basement.

Lucky for him, the only thing I shoot with is a camera.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Riding a Bike

This week we took off the training wheels and after a few days of constant practice, Hannah can ride on her own!

I love that she asks to ride her bike all the time now! The other two are pretty good at staying out of her way and Emily really tries to keep Sarah 'safe'.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Flower Shop

While the weather's been nice and since Sarah has started walking, we've been outside as much as possible.

This year we took out the hostas that the were part of the deer buffet and planted herbs and flowers that are 'deer proof' and they have thrived. The girls love to pick them and since there are so many of them, I don't mind a bit. Emily likes to sort them and run a 'flower shop' or sing songs and throw flower petals all over the place.

Here's a shot of her shop:

Oh, you wanted a better picture of the outfit she selected for herself? She also chose Sarah's clothes that morning...yes, she has a very unique sense of style.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Picture Day

Picture day at school was today, so we snapped some pictures of our own since we don't intend on purchase any of course.

Here's a morning shot:

And just because, we took an afternoon one too:

And because they are so cute, these two got close ups too:

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Saturday mornings the girls like to tag along with Dad to go fishing and today Sarah and I tagged along too.

They started out watching intently and wanting to touch every fish caught. Occasionally they wanted to try to fish, but most of the time they just ran around.

Sarah spent a lot of time exploring leaves and practicing her walking.

And I chased the girls around and tried to get them to hold still for some pictures.

We even hit some yard sales before and after so I think everyone went home happy!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A new little dancer

We have a new little dancer in our family and I finally caught a bit of it to share. Groovin' to the credits is the best part of movie night at our house!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


We noticed lots of turkey vultures hanging around...a little creepy if you've seen the movie Birds
And when we finally went to collect eggs, we found out why.
Then the girls ran around pretending they were birds.
Yes, this one was impressed.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Excuse our absence! We were without power for a week and then took an extended vacation across the country (more on that later).
While we were gone we celebrated a birthday! Baby Sarah turned 1.
We're so glad that we were able to celebrate it twice with lots of family each time!
We weren't going to light her on fire, it's just the angle :)
Yummy cake! The Too Much Chocolate Cake recipe really is the best.
We love baby Sarah and are so blessed to have her in our eternal family! Here are a few of the things we love about her:
- She pats my back when I pick her up
- She kicks her legs when she gets excited about something
- She loves music and has a cute little dance
- She's developed a unique little scoot and can really get around
- When she is getting into something she knows she shouldn't and I'm watching she shakes her head
- She clasps her hands when it's time to pray and says 'mamen'

Thursday, June 7, 2012


With fruit now back in the kitchen, it seems the little fruit flies are back too. So the trap is now back on the counter.

I bet you're thinking - wow that does not look attractive on the counter. It's an old giant pickle jar. A smaller jar would probably work just fine, this is just what we had on hand.

Now you're probably thinking - what is that stuff at the bottom? It's apple cider vinegar with a couple of drops of dish soap. And it works great. The trap did it's job. All the little buggers were caught in no time and it was super easy to clean up...dump and wash!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cherry Pickin'

We were invited to pick cherries, so we picked a few.

I've never picked and preserved cherries before so I quickly looked some things up and this is what I learned...

1. When picking cherries pick with the stem on to keep the part where the stem is removed from getting brown. (So don't pick as we did...leave the stem on!)

2. Don't have a cherry pitter? No problem! There are lots of methods for pitting cherries, though the creative use of a paper clip is now my favorite. After watching some youtube videos about it, we gave it a try and had the cherries pitted in no time.

3. Cherries are a fruit and can be frozen! So now I have some time to figure out what to make with all these cherries.

What's your favorite way to use tart cherries?

Monday, June 4, 2012


There was a set of fun looking fish next to a hotel at the beach.

They looked similar to those things in the play place...

but it was art and Emily was sad when we told her they weren't for climbing on.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


The day we left Norfolk we drove out to Virginia Beach. It was nice to feel soft sand between our toes again.

The girls loved playing in a giant sandbox and wading in the water.

Emily built several 'towers' along the beach and definitely let it be known to everyone that she did not want to go home.

It was a really nice beach and next time we'll bring towels and stay awhile!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Visiting Norfolk

Last week we visited Norfolk, Va for a couple of days and had a great time exploring. Most of the area seemed very industrial, but we found some really great places to visit. The Chrysler Museum of Art has free admission and a glass studio where they do live demonstrations. The demonstration was fascinating and the museum has a fun drawing scavenger hunt for children.

There was a really great playground outside the Norfolk Zoo where we ate our lunch but it was too hot to play so we opted for the indoor play place at...the mall.

This was really one of the best play places we have ever been to. It was clean, constantly patrolled by a mall cop who pulled the big kids out, and it was huge with plenty of space and lots of things to climb, ride, and slide.

Or pull up and stand. Yes, this is her new favorite trick.

We also visited the Norfolk Botanical Garden, which was beautiful everywhere we looked.

They have a wonderful children's garden with fun educational areas. My favorite was the alphabet garden with herbs, vegetables, and other plants starting with every letter of the alphabet. The girls' favorite were the three different splash areas.

This was one of the smaller ones but just as fun. It was a pretty warm day so it was nice that they got to cool off.

Of course by the end of our visit it was hot so we went back to the mall...again.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


We've had to deal with several issues already in our yard and garden - rabbits, voles, slugs, and groundhogs. The resident groundhog had babies. Two that we've seen already. Emily loves to look out the window and alert us when they are out. If they are too close for comfort, then we go out to scare them back. This time, the new baby wasn't sure what to do.

It scrunched down to hide in the grass and just sat there as Emily plucked flower petals and sprinkled them on it as I ran back to the house for the camera and a laundry basket to contain it.

Still not going anywhere...we tried making lots of noise. I think there was barking and mooing.

So, one step closer and...

cover was blown!

Monday, May 28, 2012


We've been busy in the garden again this year.

We've managed to pick lots of greens already! And I built this for the cucumber.

Hooray for spring, though at the moment it already feels a lot like summer!