Friday, August 29, 2008

Yummy Caramel Pumpkin Cookies

I just tried this recipe from my cousin's blog Mom's Purse. Delicious! The cookie itself was so moist and tastey that I wasn't sure I wanted to frost them. Per my cousin's recommendation I used the frosting as more of a "glaze" and it adds just a touch of caramel taste that is so yummy! By the way, I added milk chocolate chips.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Moved to Tears

This blogging world is really quite incredible - a phenomenon really.
I have posted a couple of times about the recent accident of Stephanie and Christian. Well Stephanie was a blogger - and not just a small-time blogger - she had a huge following of readers that grew to love and admire Stephanie for the unique and talented person that she is. Since the accident I have been following friends' and family member's blogs for updates and have been blown away by the comments of love and support they have received - often times from complete strangers who only knew Stephanie through her blog. I am talking hundreds of people.

And then our friend, Design Mom had the ingenious idea to declare today as "Nie Nie Day." And the idea spread like wild fire. In support of raising money for the recovery fund for Stephanie and Christian, hundreds of blog auctions are being held all across the country. I think the current total listed by Design Mom today is 275! And the bidding is reaching well into the hundreds and beyond. There is one auction for a blank canvas to be painted on by artist Paul Ferney that is close to $1000! Stephanie's sister is auctioning off a signed BYU football and helmet and the bidding is above $500 each! Her sister in-law is auctioning off an electric guitar signed by Maroon 5 and some Maroon 5 concert tickets (in Pheonix) - each going for between $200-400 dollars. And the auctions have just begun so the bidding will go much higher, I'm sure.

I am in awe at the generosity of the people hosting the auctions and the people bidding. I believe that most of them do not even know Stephanie or her family personally. I am a small-time blogger so I am not in on the scoop and loop but these are just my observations. I think it is truly remarkable. And I love knowing that there are so many good people out there - ready to rally together for a friend - even if they have never met her. This has been a good lesson for me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

He's at it Again!

Yes - my husband took all last week off from work. To do what? Vacation? Go backpacking? Rockclimbing? Golf? (oh wait he did play 9 holes...). No he took a whole week off to finish the garage. I was a little unclear as to why the garage needed "finishing" - because afterall it is just a garage! But he had it all planned out. Starting from bare studs, he would put up drywall, paint and build shelves and counterspace - primarily for his tools. And what a job it was! He did the entire thing himself and if anyone knows anything about putting up drywall - you will understand that it is not a one-man job. I did help him a little with the painting. We started off using roller brushes and quickly decided to go purchase a paint sprayer. This helped some but he ended up looking like this.
The drywall and painting (which he hated) took about 4 days and then the real fun for him began. He built some shelves for all of our stuff and a work area for him. Although he has a few things to add, he finished most of the work before Monday. Whew! Job well done Hon!
Unfortunately I don't have any "before" pictures but it was just studs with a few nails to hang things on. Here are some pictures before he installed the shelves and stuff. I may post more pictures once it's all finished. But you get the idea...

Mark that off the home improvement list! Besides, it forced us to clean and organize the garage - how good does that feel ?!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Balloon Launch

Saturday evening we went to the balloon launch for Stephanie and Christian. Apparently they have a tradition of letting off balloons for special occasions, birthdays, etc. and the Clarks organized this event in their honor. They sold balloons to raise money for the recovery expenses and there ended up being many more people than balloons. There was also food donated by a local caterer. It was really touching to see so many friends and family gathered together in this cause. We are all hoping and prayer for the best!

And this wasn't the only location of a balloon launch! Stephanie has a huge blog following and there were simultaneous balloon launches happening all over the United States and beyond. You can follow her sister's or brother's blog to find out more. Also, my friend Anna wrote a really nice tribute to the Clark family. You can read it here.

Copper Mine

On Saturday we went with Grandma Jan and Don and Eliott's family to the Kennecott Copper Mine in Bingham Canyon. Weston is a direct descendant of Erastus Bingham (Great, great, great, great, great Grandfather) who was one of the original settlers (1840's) of the area and for whom the canyon is named (actually Grandma Jan told me that it was named after his wife because of her bravery in an encounter with some indians). Erastus' son Sanford was involved in some mining in the area but eventually abandoned the idea for other pursuits. The Bingham Canyon open pit copper mine was officially started in 1906.

All my life I have casually noticed to the West the huge orange and grey mountains of ore and I knew the mine was there - but I had never been for a visit. Well it was about time! I thought the entire experience was absolutely fascinating! I had no idea such an enormous operation was going on. The kids were equally amazed and thrilled that their ancestors played such a key role in the settling of the area.
Here is the familiar view of the mine from afar.

Getting closer

The mine is so large that it can be seen from space.

This tire belongs to one of the huge trucks that haul the ore out of the mine. Each tire costs $18,000 - $26,000 and lasts only 9 months.

This truck is one of hundreds that travel about 10,000 miles each day driving in and out of the mine. These trucks are 23 feet high and weigh more than a jumbo jet. They can carry about 300 tons of rock!

Can you see the line of trucks driving out of the mine? Each one is loaded with about 300 tons of waste ore that they will dump outside of the pit.

Here they come back for more.

We could have watched this for hours and if we would have stuck around long enough we would have been there during a blast (ignite buried explosives in the ground).
The visitors center has some really neat exhibits and there is a short video about the mine and what services the Kennecott Corporation provides to the state. There is also a small gift shop which was fun for the kids.

This was a great activity for the entire family! If you haven't been - I highly recommend it. The Visitors Center and overlook close October 31 until the Spring. This is something I could definitely do again.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Posters

We all have been loving the Olympics - especially the first week. One night when we were watching the gymnastics, Addie started making this project. She cut out pictures of Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin from her gymnastics magazine and pasted them on a piece of paper. Then she wrote: "Go for the Gold," "Do your best," "Trust Yourself," "Be Healthy," "Try to get into the Olympics," and "Be Confident." She did this entirely on her own. In fact, she was halfway through it before I even realized what she was making. I thought it was really cute.
Not to be outdone, Isaac decided he wanted to make his own Olympic poster. He used pictures of Michael Phelps and the Olympic logo we found online. I had to chuckle when I read what he wrote. I will quote it the way he wrote it. "Jonothon Horton - you can do it!," "Michael Phelpes - Evrey one matters in the Olimpics," "Shawn Jonson - your a champ." So cute!

Curly Girly

Per Addie's request, I put the girls' hair up in curlers last night. For no special reason - just something to do while watching the Olympics. It was a first for Cate and of course she was thrilled. Here they are in their robes, curlers and bandanas.

Here is what it looked liked in the morning - untamed.
Sarah Jane wasn't in the mood for pictures.

Addie denied any hair-doing but we had to spend a little time on Cate to tame those curls. Isaac missed out on the fun. He said - I wish I could put my hair in curlers like my friend Jesse (little boy with red curly hair). "Isaac!" I said, "Jesse has natural curly hair!" I guess Isaac thought that Jesse put his hair up in curlers every night!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thoughts and Prayers

For those who know Steve and Cindy Clark, their daughter Stephanie and her husband were in a plane crash and are in serious condition at a hospital in Arizona - primarily suffering from extensive burns. They have four young children. I didn't know Stephanie very well but I knew her brother Chris and other members of her family. The Clarks are dear neighbors and friends and this is very sad news. Her sister is posting updates on her blog for those who are interested.

Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The First (But Definitely Not the Last) Backpacking Trip

Wes and Grandpa Dave took Addie and Isaac on their very first backpacking trip last week. I must admit I was a little worried about whether my little ones could actually hike 2 miles up the mountain with huge, heavy packs on. I had to block out visions of them toppling backwards down the hill from the weight of their gear. Addie's pack weighed in at 20 pounds and Isaac's was 17 pounds. But I never should have doubted them! They did awesome - pumped up by the excitement of camping with their dad and grandpa. Wes said they were really tough and hiked all the way to camp with minimal complaints. Here they are with Grandpa Dave before the big trek.
There they go up the trail. They look like backpacks with legs.
Awesome hikers!

Fishing was the favorite activity. To Addie's relief and Isaac's disappointment - nobody caught one big enough to eat.

So Dad fixed Ramen instead.
She got just a little dirty!
They hiked to another lake and decided to take a dip in the icy cold water. Isaac jumped in three times!
Can you tell how cold it is by the look on her face?
I will spare you the video of Isaac eating a grasshopper (not the first time I'm sorry to say - I think he gets it from Man vs Wild).
All in all - a great first backpacking experience.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Children's Discovery Garden

I took the kids the the Children's Discovery Garden at Thanksgiving Point. Of course, the water garden was the favorite...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Couple Book Recommendations

I just posted on Desperate for a Good Read about the last two books I have enjoyed. Head on over there for details!

Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King

Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd

Monday, August 11, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

It was one busy, fun-filled weekend! Here is the run down:
The kids took "Streak" and the bunnies to the local city pet show. They had a great time and won a certificate and some treats.
The kids with "Streak" the Green Tree Frog

Cate and Isaac with Mopsy and Flopsy

Here are the kids telling the crowd about their pets. The funniest was when Isaac was listing things about Mopsy and said "She's a boy" (you can read the history of the bunny saga here)

After the pet show we headed for our friend's "We're Dyeing to go Back to School!" tye dye party. It was a blast - such a cute idea! Here we are with our finished shirts.

After the party, Wes had the kids out in the front yard with their fishing poles - teaching them how to cast. He was getting them ready for their upcoming backpacking trip this week. The kids (and Wes) got so excited they decided to dig up some worms and head for the reservior up the canyon. It was threatening rain but we all piled up in the car anyway. The canyon was lovely as always but when we turned up for Tibblefork, we noticed the river was very, very muddy. Seemed a little strange for the light amount of rain we were receiving at the time. Well we didn't get much further when we discovered what was causing the muddy river. There was a huge mudslide that was blocking the road - with lines of cars on either side. We stood out in the rain for a while watching people drive their 4-wheel drive vehicles over the slide. The kids thought it was awesome but were disppointed to miss out on the fishing. Sorry - no pictures!
Made roasted almonds and truffles to sell at the charity bake sale on Saturday. Hosted a family party for the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. It was too late to prepare Chinese food so we just had a BBQ. But it was fun anyway and the ceremonies were spectacular! Stayed up late packing the car for the big yard sale the next morning.

We parted ways and I went to the yard sale while Wes took the kids to the city parade. Addie was in the parade with her gymnastics team but there aren't any pictures. There was plenty of candy though!
They had jumphouses and slides for the kids and who can pass up the cotton candy?

As for the sale, you can see in my previous post that it was a huge success. We raised more than $1000!
Saturday night, we braved the rain again and took the kids to the rodeo. The bull riding ended right when the rain started so it worked out just right.
Sunday we relaxed! One more week until school starts!