Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reflections--Magic of a Moment

This year Olivia and Coleman entered the Reflections contest. The theme was "The Magic of  a Moment."

Olivia composed a song and won! She got a cool certificate and a trophy.

Coleman entered in the literature category. He also got a certificate.

Sophia didn't enter, but I am sure that at some point she will enter in one category (or more)...

We got notified a few weeks later that Olivia's entry went on to the next level and she will be compete at the district level... Way to go Liv!

This is the song that she composed:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cookie Party 2012

One of my favorite holiday traditions is the cookie party that my friend Marilynn hosts. This year, I made some yummy Macaroon Kisses... they are delicious (and I usually don't like coconut!)

Macaroon Kisses

1/3 cup butter (softened)
3 oz. cream cheese (softened)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 cups coconut (divided)
48 kisses (dark chocolate)

Cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolk and extract.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add gradually to creamed mixture.  Stir in 3 cups of the coconut.

Refrigerate dough 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle (if desired, I didn't find this to be necessary).  Shape in 1” balls or use a small cookie scoop and then roll in coconut.  Place 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (or until lightly browned.)

Remove from oven and push a kiss into each cookie.  Allow cookies to sit on cookie sheet 2-5 minutes until chocolate is soft.  Transfer cookies to cooling racks.

If you want to check out some other pictures and recipes for delicious cookies, check out the Christmas Cookie blog!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

David Goes To School

One of our favorite authors is David Shannon. We especially love his cute character David. Sophia has loved the book David Goes To School so much that she has it memorized. For a time, she would "read" it to Ryan each night. We thought you might enjoy her reading and her other "activities" while she reads.  She keeps us laughing!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Extreme Makeover--Olivia Edition

This lovely girl got contacts and braces all within a couple of days.

She keeps looking in the mirror and says she doesn't recognize herself.

She looks beautiful, no?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Festival of Trees 2012

Megan pulled off another great tree this year in memory of her boy Chance... the theme was the great outdoors. All of her decorations were of moose, bears, squirrels, and owls. She did such a great job on it! I got to go and help put it together on decorating day.

My mom tied a quilt with Megan and her sisters and many other people contributed.

Me and Megan with my mom and some friends and our Aunt Becky on decorating day.

Meg and Mom

Our sister Lauren wrote a paragraph to help Festival visitors get to know Chance... it read:
Chance was an inquisitive boy. He loved exploring, getting into everything, and playing in the dirt. He would have been an outdoor enthusiast, for sure, if he hadn't gotten sick at the tender age of 2 years and 11 months. Just weeks before he died he was able to go on his first camping trip. What an adventure! We hoped there would be many more opportunities for him to sleep under the stars, be close to nature, and try to spot the wildlife. But God had a different plan and called Chance home. We still feel close to him when we are outside. He is in the wind, the sunshine, the raindrops, the hoot of an owl, and especially in the dirt.

Later in the week we went with my Grandma Cole to see the tree... The kids love being with her and I love it too. She is so good with them (and they love that she usually manages to bring them a little treat :)).

Sophia was in a bit of a funk that day, she finally pulled out of it when we saw the gingerbread houses and there was one from Tangled  (one of her favorite movies).

The Festival is such a great event, and I love that Megan has made it a priority in her life to give back to the Medical Center that tried so hard to save her boy. 

On decorating day I was (again) amazed as I looked around and thought about how much love goes into each tree... there is a story behind each tree and a person to go with the story. It breaks my heart that there are so many in the "club" of people who have lost a loved one (often a young child) but it is heartwarming that so many people work so hard to contribute to such a good cause and bring so much joy to others in the process.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thankful Wall 2012

Every year we put up our Thankful Wall and get to write down all of the things we are thankful for... as our children grow older they are a bit more thoughtful about what they write, yet random things still seem to show up on the list (cups? dishes?).  I love that our kids choose to be grateful for the big and small things in their lives.

On Thanksgiving Day we asked each of the children to say what they were thankful for... Sophia's response: "Bats." Totally not sure where that came from, but it got a few laughs :).

Ryan doesn't believe in writing on the walls, but he kindly added these to our list:

My dear, sweet, loving, thoughtful wife that is always mindful of the details in each of our lives.
A happy, cheerful, always questioning Coleman.
Considerate, compassionate, cool Olivia
Bubbly, smiley, playful Sophia

Thanksgiving 2012

We were so excited that we were able to visit Ryan's brother Scott and his family for Thanksgiving this year. Terri and Bruce flew out from Connecticut as well which made our stay even better.
Our kids loved being together... they played games, played with Nerf guns, played Wii, wrestled, laughed, crafted, played at the park, and loved every minute they had together.

Kristen and I had a great time baking and cooking. We spent Wednesday night baking pies... and managed to catch the oven on fire! I made a pecan pie and Kristen did such a good job making a beautiful apple pie (from scratch!) and we also made a couple of pumpkin pies. While it was baking the top crust from the apple pie broke off and fell onto the element, then some of the ooey goodness dripped out onto it and that caused a whole lot of smoke, and eventually some flames. We laughed and laughed (and felt grateful that the smoke detectors didn't go off). Despite their time in the fire and smoke, they still looked beautiful, so we figured we'd try them out the next day.

On Thursday we had mini pudding pies for the kids and grandparents for breakfast (tradition!) and we spent the next several hours making a delicious dinner. It was so fun to be together and share the cooking and dish washing responsibilities... Kristen is a wonderful cook and had several fabulous recipes. The kids had their own table which they loved... Alyza and Olivia had gotten up early to make table decorations and bookmarks for each of us :).  We ate until we were full (and then we ate some more) and waited a brief time before we went for pie. The pudding pie and the pecan pie were hits... the others had an odd smokey flavor :). It was bad, really bad. They tasted a bit like what we imagine an ash tray might. We decided that we couldn't do it... as much as we wanted to, we just couldn't eat the apple and pumpkin pies, so when we went out later that night for a few of the sales we hit the deli (through the crazed DVD shoppers) and picked up a couple of pumpkin pies... and wouldn't you know it, I got sugar-free... not as bad as the smoked pies, but still not great... thank goodness for Costco apple and pumpkin pies... they were purchased and consumed the next day :).

On Friday we did a little shopping and I met up with my friend from high school for lunch who lives in the area. We went to the Denver temple grounds and spent some time there. Sophia wasn't too happy to be there (she needed a nap desperately) but she finally got her cheer back when we encouraged somersaults (and joined in).

We had great weather while we were there... We visited downtown Morrison which has cute shops and great ambiance. Scott and Kristen shared with us a fun place for dipped ice cream cones.

Before we went home (to eat more pie) we stopped at the Red Rock amphitheatre to see a beautiful sunset.

On Saturday we drove to Colorado Springs to visit Garden of the Gods... it was so beautiful! There were lovely clouds and the rock formations were breathtaking.

The kids enjoyed walking on the trails and climbing in and out of a very small opening in one of the rocks. Bruce and Ryan took some great photos (Ryan didn't even have his good camera, but was making the most of his iPhone :)).

Lovely, no?

We had such a great visit with Scott and Kristen and Sam and Lyz. We were so glad that Terri and Bruce were there also... it was so fun to spend time with everyone and celebrate the holiday.

The whole gang... minus Bruce who was taking the picture... Our cute girls Lyz and Soph were so sad to say goodbye, there were real tears shed over the thought of parting... we'd had such a good visit! We were so glad to see where Scott and Kristen live. It is obvious why they love it so much... they have a beautiful home and neighborhood and so many wonderful things to do nearby. We can't wait to go back and visit again!

What a sad, sad girl sitting in the middle there (the one by the window is hiding her face from the camera because she isn't too happy either.)

(We are happy too that we all fit in our little Prius which makes road trips super affordable.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kate's Blessing

In November Lindsey and her family came up to our town to bless their cute baby Kate... it was a good midway point so that both families could be there.
We love baby Kate!

Duet Festival Fall 2012

Olivia competed in a duet festival this year with her cute friend Julia...

They played really well together, despite the fact that Olivia had strep throat and hadn't been feeling well all week. We used a whole lot of hand sanitizer to make sure she didn't spread disease :).

Their first song was "Spanish Gypsies" by Martha Mier:

Their second song was "Broadway Lights" by Robert D. Vandall: It It is so fun to see them progress. She practices for 50 minutes a day (most days) and loves it!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hey Ferb, I know what we're going to do today....

 Trick or Treat!!!

Happy Halloween to all.... This year we decided to continue on with our love of Phineas and Ferb...

The Flynn-Fletcher Family... Sadly, Lawrence didn't make an appearance... and Ferb had to be on Coleman's bag since we couldn't convince any of our neighbors or friends to join our family for the night...

Liv made an excellent Candace... she doesn't often try to "bust her brother" and isn't in love with someone named Jeremy (lovely bag, no?) but she still pulled it off. She had a parade at school that Sophia and I got to go to. She had to explain to people who she was... but if they were fans of the show, they totally got it as soon as she said it. Sophia loved being there because all of the kids would point to her and say, "Hey, look! It's Perry!" She felt just a bit famous :).

Coleman loves, loves, loves this show. I love that the the characters are mostly nice to each other, tell the truth, and are quite intelligent. The plots are simple enough that Sophia likes it but witty enough that Ryan and I even sneak in an episode or two after the kiddos go to bed. People who know the show loved the costumes and recognized us immediately... those who didn't... well, they didn't. Some thought Coleman was a rooster! Sophia and I went to Coleman's class for his party.

Ryan made a great Doofenschmirtz... all evil and ugliness aside, he at least had the clothes down :). Sophia's debut as Perry the Platypus was great. We've been planning this for weeks... and a couple of weeks ago Soph decided she wanted to be a cat instead. We finally convinced her to put on her Perry costume by telling her she would be a kitty cat that looked like Perry the Platypus :). In the days leading up to Halloween we kept asking Sophia what she was going to say at the door... her response: "Me want candy!" I think she caught on to the whole idea of trick-or-treating... when they got home I asked her if they had gone to a few houses... she answered with, "No... a lot!" and then I asked if she got a few pieces of candy she said, "No, a lot, a lot, a lot!" She's been chowing down ever since.... She loved her Major Monogram bag and kept calling it "my Major Monogram bag."
Ryan rigged up speakers and played the "Doofenschmirtz Evil, Incorporated" jingle from his lab-coat.  We brainstormed about what "inator" he could carry around but never built one.... we should have made the Trick-or-Treat-inator to suck all of the good candies out of trick-or-treaters bags...

We all know that Linda and Heinz didn't end up together... but they did go on that one date... :)

It definitely wasn't my best year for creativity in the culinary area, but we had a few yummy Halloween treats... My headstone cakebites didn't work as well as I hoped (the white chocolate seized up, likely from the food coloring I added?) so we turned some of them into ghosts... We made some mummy pigs-in-a-blanket, spiderweb salsa with chips, and had some jack-o-lantern slush. The cake in the top right corner was made by someone at Ryan's work and I loved it... they just used strawberry pieces to make a pumpkin. I loved the Frankenstein rice krispy treats that two of my friends made for our pack meeting this month. We didn't have very many trick-or-treaters this year, which was strange because we had beautiful weather... 71 degrees! The ones that did come to our door got to take some Perry fruit snacks, Smarties, Nerds, or Dum-Dums. I am quite sure the significance of the candies was lost on everyone but me and Coleman (and Liv after we explained it to her) but that is okay :).

They got home with so much candy and spent a bit of time trading and paying the 'mom and dad tax.'

They taught Sophia how to say "Happy Halloween!"

Hope your Halloween was great too!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Second Miler Award

Ryan's been in Scouts in one form or another for the last 10 years. He was just awarded by our District with the Second Miler Award.

They served a delicious baked potato banquet and presented Ry with this nifty certificate.

He's standing up there with our former bishop (who received the same award) and a few of the council leaders.

Ryan tries so hard to help all of the Scouts and leaders in our ward do their best. The award was well deserved!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cute Kate

We got to go to St. George for a quick visit to see my sister Lindsey's new baby Kate. My sister Erin came with us too. Kate is adorable... Lindsey is too... and while we are at it Lindsey's boys Jonah and Jaxton are also. We were hoping to have some sunshine so we could go for a swim, but the weather was rainy and chilly. The kids loved playing with each other and did some fall crafts and watched some movies. Lindsey and Erin and I made yummy food and ate it.

I loved snuggling that cute girl... so did Olivia and Erin and Sophia and Coleman too.

We made the first batch of caramel apples for the season... Lindsey's boys weren't sure about them and took a little convincing to get them to try them. In the end they decided they didn't love them. What?!?! More for us!
We got to hand deliver Jonah's birthday gifts! The kids liked exploring all of the new wildlife outside... the rain in St. George brought out all sorts of cockroaches. I love seeing my kids with their cousins... they love to  be with them!

Hooray that Lindsey lives close enough to run down for a day or two!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rocket's Away

One of the most anticipated activities at Olivia's school is the 6th Grade Rocket Launch. According to Liv all of the students can't wait for the day to come when it is finally their turn to buy (cha-ching!) a rocket and some motors, assemble it with specialty plastic cement (that may or may not be available through the school), and launch it into the heavens in front of all the other sixth graders and their cheering families. She picked out the rocket she wanted and built it herself (with minimal supervision from Ryan). Today Sophia and I got to go and be the cheering family and we got to watch Liv and her friends (and all the other sixth graders) launch their rockets. Olivia had a great time and when I asked her if it was as wonderful as she thought it would be.. she said it mostly was, but she regretted that her rocket didn't do anything crazy like spin out of control or burst into flames... maybe next time around, Sweet Liv.

There's a Bear in the House

Coleman's ninth birthday meant rank advancement in Cub Scouts. He went from a very fun Wolf Den (where he worked hard and completed all of the requirements and earned several arrow points) to a great Bear Den where I know he will have just as much fun. His new den buddies gave him some bear paw stamps all over to show their warm welcome and he got to sport the awesome bear hat for almost all of Pack Meeting.


This handsome boy turned nine in September!

He is such a fun kid to be around. He has a funny sense of humor, he loves, loves, loves reading and Legos. He loves to be with his friends and goof around and invent games. He is thoughtful and sensitive and kind. He loves playing games of all kinds... video games, board games, iPhone and iPad games, word games, logic games, riddles, math games, you name it, he loves games.  He also loves the Disney show "Phineas and Ferb" and the rest of us love it too.

I made some Perry the Platypus cupcakes for his soccer team and for our family gathering. We were so excited that some of our family members could come and celebrate with us! On Coleman's birthday Ryan made colorful pancakes (and carried on the Phineas and Ferb theme) and later in the week Coleman invited a few friends over for a late-night. I did my best to make Phineas' and Ferb's heads for the cake and we had to have another Perry to go along with them...

We are so grateful to have Coleman as a part of our family... he brings so much happiness to our family!

(Stay tuned for more Phineas and Ferb excitement in the coming months...)