Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Highlights of the big day:
A pheasant topped the lovely table this year

The Pilgrims

She designed and completed her very own Thanksgiving craft

And so did he! He made this shirt that says: "My family's love is bigger than a dinosaur!"

The turkey was just the beginning of a scrumptious meal!

We had a three course feast, the little ones sang some Thanksgiving songs, we celebrated Allie's 17th birthday (17 years old!!!) and then it was off to the movies. We saw Bolt and it was a real treat! After the movie it was back to Grandma's for a pancake supper. It was a wonderful, wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Let the Holidays Begin!

From our turkeys to yours...Happy Thanksgiving!

To see our "Turkey Wall" from last year - click here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Taste of India

I finally made Chicken Tikka Masala! I used this recipe with a few modifcations. I eliminated the jalapeno pepper and I couldn't find garam masala at the store so I skipped that too. My kids still found it too spicy (should have reduced the amount of Cayanne pepper) but the adults thought it was great! A real stretch for my parents who don't really like this kind of food. They both had second helpings! Wes has tasted his fair share of this dish (after living in Toronto for two years) and he really liked it. He even sported his turban for the occasion!

I took the opportunity to turn it into an educational experience for my kids. We pulled out the globe and found the country of India. I explained how this dish was actually created as an attempt to make Indian food more palatable to the British. And we talked about the several different spices and flavors that were used - and I had the kids smell each one. They got a kick out of it but didn't really enjoy the food. What was I thinking? 2 teaspoons Cayanne pepper? I should have known better!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Does Anyone Need?

Does anyone out there use these products? Or do they know anyone that does?

I have 5 bottles of the revitalizing toner and 9 bottles of the repairing lotion. These are not cheap products so if anyone can use them - they are yours! I have seen them being sold on ebay but I don't really want to go to the trouble. But I don't just want to throw them away if someone can use them!

Just let me know in the comments or email me.

C0ldplay Once Again!

Saturday night was the long-awaited C0ldplay concert! Wes was torn because he was missing the big red/blue football game but he was able to catch bits and pieces on the radio and at the restaurant. It sounds like he was better off not watching it anyway!

We went with our great friends Rob and Anna and had a blast! We did have a little adventure at the restaurant. Wes took a bite of the walnut shrimp and after biting down on something very hard - he pulled a rock out of his mouth! A rock! He had actually bitten a piece off the rock and it had chipped his molar! Our waitress got the manager and he was so apologetic. He offered to pay for any dental bills, took the walnut shrimp off our bill and paid for two yummy desserts. Random! (that is the rock on his tongue)

On to the concert! The opening band wasn't bad but then there was this guy with a synthesizer thing that played techno club music with psychedelic animation going on in the background for about 20 minutes straight! It was almost torture! But it was worth it because when C0ldplay started it was definitely worth waiting for! Totally awesome concert!

We were kind of bummed because at one point they actually came into the audience and they were exactly where we were sitting - just on the opposite side! If only...!
I didn't have my camera so I stole some pictures from Anna's blog. Thanks guys for a fun-filled evening!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Delightful Theater Experience...

This only goes until the end of November but if you have any interest at all - GO SEE IT! We took our older three last night and we were absolutely delighted! The talent was amazing and even though it was a done in a small theater-in-the-round, the staging and sets were really cool and creative. I think it helped that we were familiar with the music and the story but even if you are not - it is still worth seeing. The second half was a little slower than the first and it did go a full three hours so keep that in mind. Ages 5 and up are allowed in the theater so this was a really exciting thing for Cate as normally she is not old enough to attend these types of performances.
Showing at the Hale Center Theater in West Valley.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Forgetful Tooth Fairy

Spoiler Alert - post not to be read by children who still "believe!"
Isaac lost a tooth last week and it accidentally went down the drain. He was so heartbroken that Wes decided to take apart the drain pipes to see if the tooth could be found. No tooth! We assured Isaac that the Tooth Fairy would still bring him some money even if he didn't have a tooth under his pillow. At that point the "Tooth Fairy" completely forgot all about it. Yesterday, Isaac sadly showed us the note that he had kept under his pillow for days with no visit from the Tooth Fairy. Ugh.

We have always been anxious to end the "Santa," "Easter Bunny" and "Tooth Fairy" charades with our kids (is it uncomfortable for anyone else to "lie" to their kids?) - and this would have been a great opportunity to lay out the truth for our boy but we just couldn't do it. He was so hopeful and really wanted to believe! I think deep down he probably knows but he doesn't want to admit it. I am almost positive he still believes in Santa. Addie figured it out last year and I will never forget her face on Christmas Eve. As the evening came to a close and the anticipation grew with talk of reindeer hooves, the logistics of coming down the chimney and wanting to leave cookies for Santa, Addie turned to me with a look of pure disappointment. I felt sorry for her and in some ways understood how losing that belief really does take some fun and magic out of Christmas. I remember that when I was a child - even after the truth was told - I didn't want to believe it. I held on to the hope that the myth was real for a long time. I guess in some ways I want my kids to "believe" as long as they possibly can or will. That is why we slipped a dollar bill under Isaac's pillow last night. How could we not???

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recipe Sharing

Don't get me wrong. I like to cook. And I think I learned a pretty good skill set from my mom, who is a wonderful cook! But at this point in my life, the recipes that appeal to me most match the following criteria:
1. Quick and easy (or prepared in the slow cooker)
2. Few and simple ingredients
3. Kid-friendly

This recipe that I found on A Little of This and Some of That fit the bill.

Southwest Burritos

4-6 frozen chicken breasts
2 c. salsa
1-2 cans black beans, rinsed/drained
1 can olives, drained (whole, diced, or sliced)
1 c. frozen corn OR 1 can of corn, drained
package of cream cheese - I used about 1/2 package
I also sprinkled in some salt and pepper, cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper.

Place frozen chicken on bottom of crock-pot. Then add remaining ingredients, except the cream cheese , and cook on low for 6-8 hours (or on high for 4 hrs). 20 minutes before serving stir in the cream cheese and shred the chicken. Fill tortillas and top with cheddar cheese and any other favorite burrito toppings. (***Don't forget to buy the cook-at-home tortillas. They are so yummy!)

Cooking Side note: After a splendid Indian dining experience in New York City I decided to branch out and make Chicken Tikka Masala. Time to stock up on some new spices - some of which I will probably never use again in my life. I came to learn that the spice coriander is actually the seeds of the cilantro plant! Cool! Also, I was blown away by how expensive cardamom is! For one of the spice jars at the grocery store it was just a little less than $15.00! I decided to skip out on that one. Anyway, I haven't made it yet, but I will let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Looking Back...November 2005

Looking back to November 2005...

When she liked to stick the Mr. P*tato Head parts in her own head

When the kids had free reign of mom's hair!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Highly Recommended

We took our two older kids to this and we all loved it. It was absolutely amazing! I have heard that some people found it disturbing but we felt like it was a very appropriate mix of science and art. I guess we are a little biased given our backgrounds.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our Little Musicians

The kids turned in their submissions for the Reflections contest today. I think they did a pretty great job! The theme was "Wow!"

Click on the link below to hear A's composition entitled, "The Grand Canyon" (This might be a little confusing but once you get to the page, look for the "audio files." Then just click on where it says "703KB" under the word "WAVE." It should play on your media player).

photo from

Clink on the link below to hear I's composition entitled, "Dawn and Sunset" (in this case click on "428KB" under the word "WAVE." I am sorry I am not smart enough to embed the file right into my post. Can anyone tell me how to do that?)

photo from

The kids composed the pieces, but it is actually me playing the piano for the recordings.

I-man also submitted a sketch entitled, "Mt. Rushmore" that was really cute. I will have to get a picture of that later to post.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Saturday was a very special day for our family because Isaac was baptized. The baptismal service was so nice - with sweet talks and music and wonderful family and friends that were there supporting our little guy. After the service we had a lovely lunch at our house. We had so much help and wonderful food - it felt like Thanksgiving!

Everything went so well except that I forgot to take pictures. Luckily Grandma Connie had her camera and snapped a few for memory's sake. Thanks!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Memory of Grandma Beck

Does anyone else remember Grandma Beck reciting this?

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an'
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an-
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun,
A-listenin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

I had completely forgotten about this poem until I heard it at a church function the other day. Memories came flooding back of sitting in my grandmother's lap listening to her recite this poem. I used to giggle with anticipation for the part about the "gobble-uns" and how they were going to git me! Hearing this again sparked my curiosity about this old story. So I did a little research...

This is actually just one small part of a long poem written by James Whitcomb Riley in 1885. Riley, also known as the "Hoosier Poet," was born in 1849 in Greenfield, Indiana. His parents named him after the Governor of Indiana, James Whitcomb. He was able to pick up the cadence and character of the dialect of central Indiana and the travelers along the old National Road, which came through in the many poems he would go on to write. One particular visitor was Mary Alice Smith, who would eventually stay to live with the Rileys. Mary Alice ("Allie") Smith would be the influence to Riley's poem, Little Orphant Annie, which was originally to be called Little Orphant Allie but a typesetter's error changed the name of the poem.(wikipedia)
Fun memory that I had completely forgotten about. There was another story she used to tell about a dromedary...