Friday, December 31, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird

I really couldn't let this day or year pass without noting that my most favorite book was published 50 years ago, 1960.
To Kill a Mockingbird
It was the only book written by Harper Lee.  She tried to write another novel, but ended up destroying the copy and giving up.  Critics have said that it was the best thing she did.  It allowed her one and only book to stand alone and not be compared to her other works.  After 41 weeks on the best seller list, it won the Pulitzer Prize.
Harper never married.  She still works part time in the law profession in Alabama.  Her given name is Nelle Harper Lee and likes to be addressed by her friends as "Nelle".  She keeps out of the spotlight and a few years ago responded to a request to give a speech by saying, "it's better to keep silent than to be thought a fool."  Good Advice.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." Atticus Finch to Scout, Chapter 3.

"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."  Attitus Finch to daughter Scout, Chapter 10.

"They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."  spoken by Atticus Finch, chapter 11.

"I think there's just one kind of folks.  Folks."   Scout, Chapter 23.

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."  Miss Maudie Atkinson to Scout, Chapter 10.

"Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad."  Scout, Chapter 31.

That last quote was the one that I used to name my blog.  I didn't think it out too heavily.  I just picked a book and looked up some quotes.
One time I was talking with some friends about blogging.  One of my neighbors said, "Oh, I know your blog, I looked at it once.  It's called 'the Neighborhood Boo'."  kind of.  not really.  the neighborhood boo is more of a Halloween thing.  But, I didn't want to confuse anyone, so I just let it go.
The first time I read this book I was 30 and pregnant with Sierra.  I almost named her Scout.  Sometimes I wish I had.  But her middle name is Jean and Scouts real name in the book is Jean Louise so I thought that was close enough.  
It's one of those books that makes you think of different things each time you read it.  I read it in a different light once I moved to Mississippi.  I think it is time to read it again.
And the movie is pretty darn good, too.  It came out in 1962.  I read a review once of the top 5 movies that are as good or better than the book and this was Numero Uno.  I agree.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let It Snow...

Rick was scheduled to get off work at 1 am this morning.

I woke at 2:30 am, and there was no sign of Rick.

I sent him a text asking if I should come get him.  Then I immediately regretted that because I figured that he would run off the road while trying to read my text.

At 3 am, I heard the garage door open, but no sound of a vehicle.  I thought maybe Rick had just walked home from work.  Then when I finally heard a vehicle I realized it was MY vehicle.  So, I went to the front door and this is what I saw...

This was how far Rick made it home last night.  He drove slowly and carefully, timing the lights such that he didn't ever have to stop (he knows how to do that in the early morning hours from lots of experience).  But he got stuck going around that last corner...

Well, Rick was trying to set up the Escalade to pull the Mini up the hill, but could not find a place to attach a tow rope that would not pull off the bumper.

So, he got back in the Mini and slid back down the hill.  I told him to just park on the Nackos front yard and deal with it the morning.  He made it right to the middle of the T intersection and then couldn't move.  With my big, strong muscles, I pushed him half way down the road to 1600 N.  He went around the block, again making sure to not stop until he had circled the block and he was parked safely in the garage. (imagine the movie The Italian Job)

I had run into the house to grab my phone and then I jumped in the Escalade and followed him around the block in case he got stuck again and I needed to rescue him.  But, it turned out that wasn't necessary.

I should have taken a picture of the front of the Mini in the garage.  The whole front end was packed with snow.  It was like the front of a snow plow.

We got to bed at about 3:45 which was good because the power went out at 3:48.

And it's still snowing at Noon.

Piano lessons cancelled.  Orthodontist postponed.  It's definitely a snow day.  I got the house cleaned.  Now I can start baking all of those holiday recipes that I printed up yesterday.  I hope I have all of the ingredients because I won't be going to the store today.

**Edit...Rick says there may be some exaggeration in this story, but there definitely is not.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas

The girls have been taking lessons with the most talented teacher for the last few months.
Jessica Knight had a recital for all of her students at the Red Barn in Mapleton (where we had family pictures taken for our Christmas card).   Rick has also been taking guitar lessons, but he wasn't able to perform because of work schedule.  bummer.  Here are a few of the pieces that they performed.  After that evening, I decided that maybe I want a guitar for Christmas (and 4 more hours in my day).  (thanks to Rick for figuring out how to get the video on here.  I would have done it, if I had had 4 more hours in my day.)
*the ones where they are each at the keyboard are the 2 songs that they wrote themselves.

Untitled Christmas Song #2

Good King Wenceslas

Untitled Christmas Song #1

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Friday, December 17, 2010

Aprons, aprons, aprons...

Sierra is modeling an apron for me.
This is the third one I've made this week.
I think this fabric is cute and if I have any fabric left over, I might make one for myself.
Because I need a few more aprons, ya know.

Preschool Performance

Cole's preschool went to a care center this morning to sing some Christmas carols.  It was fun.
Here they are at the cross walk, waiting for the green light.
 Singing some songs:

 After they sang, their teaching gave them each a paper chain that they had made earlier in the week.
They got to walk around and give them to the residents to use to count down the days until Christmas.
Cole was standing on the end, so he got a chain first.
I was nearly certain that he would be too stubborn to do anything besides stand there and pout.  
But, he walked right up to this little 80 lb. lady who had the cutest little facial expressions and gave her a paper chain.
 There was one extra chain so his teacher let Cole pass out a second chain.  
He went and found this lady who was watching from the hallway.
 Here they are after singing and walking back to school.  So much fun...

before & after

Summer got her braces off yesterday.
What a beautiful smile.  
She keeps licking her teeth.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We got this cute little cupcake cookbook a couple of years ago that had some really cute ideas for cupcakes.  We tried one idea for a birthday party and immediately hid the cookbook on the top shelf of the pantry.  In my pre-holiday mental haze, I found the cookbook and showed it to my friend, Sadie.  She convinced me that making 20 dozen cupcakes would be a piece of cake for our closest neighbors and friends.
Earlier in the summer (before I was in Young Women's), the YW had a fund raiser and made cupcakes.  Well, I think Sadie thought that I should be initiated into the ward cupcake club by making a million cupcakes.  So, a few weeks ago we spent 7 hours making cupcakes.  We froze them.  Then, last week (2 days after we returned from FL) we spent another 7 hours decorating cupcakes for our friends, neighbors, and anyone living within a 4 mile radius.  Good thing that the girls got bored after decorating about 5 cupcakes because we enlisted their help in delivering.  I just game them the keys to the car and let them go. OK, not really.  But, it would have been easier if I could have.
If you can't tell, they are supposed to be Christmas tree bulbs.  Unless you are a Bray and then they are kettlebells.  We wanted to personalize them.
In all that mess of sugar, frosting, M&M's and gumdrops...I only had 2 cupcakes.  Hurray for me.
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010


All of the characters that we saw were so adorable.  Mulan was so cute.  The girls stood on either side for the picture, then both just stepped away leaving Cole with Mulan.  She said, "Oh, let's get one with just the two of us."  I can't believe he agreed.  He stood there and she looked and Rick and counted to 3 with her fingers and when she got to three she turned and placed a big old kiss on his cheek.  He was so embarrassed.  His face was bright red.  He was reluctant to get any more individual pictures with the princesses.  He would put his hands in his pockets and leave them so that he didn't have to hold hands with any of the Princesses.

The girls were a little old to still be too interested in the princesses.  They were good sports and got pictures and autographs with all of the characters for Cole's sake.  It was sweet of them, but I think they were seriously hoping that if they did it, ALL of the princesses would kiss Cole.
We were bummed that we missed the characters from Cars and Handy Manny.  
Cole would have loved that!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cole's Disney Prayer

Look how tight he is holding my hand.  So funny.  We kinda messed him up when we took him on his very first Disney ride...Space Mountain.  Freaked him right out.
Then the next day the first ride was Tower of Terror.  Here is a snipet of his prayer that night...
Rick was helping Cole when Cole said, "Excuse me dad, I have something else I want to say.  Heavenly Father, please bless that I won't ever have to ride on the Tower of Terror ever again for the rest of my life because that was definitely NOT awesome."  I couldn't keep from laughing.  The bed was jiggling.
He was pretty whimpy for the rest of the week.

Disney World

More about the 1/2 marathon/marathon

you thought you were going to get a Disney World post, not yet.  It's coming.
But after walking around Orlando for a week looking at one fat person after another, I just can't help but say a few things.
So, here it is...I was on the treadmill this morning watching the Biggest Loser.  I was watching the one where the final 4 contestants run the marathon.  OK.  If you don't watch the show, here is the recap.  A whole bunch of obese people tryout for a show where they go to a ranch and workout for 8 hours a day while people cook and clean for them.  They compete for challenges and rewards and at the end of the week they weigh in.  the person who has lost the least amount of weight goes home.  At the end of 3 months 4 people are left.  One of them will win $250,000 next week for being the Biggest Loser.
Anyway, these people were OUT of SHAPE just a few months ago and all 4 of them completed a marathon.  They didn't think they could do it 3 months ago.  And I didn't think all of them would do it when I watched it this morning (Elizabeth).  But they did it.  Even Elizabeth.  So, if they can do what they did in 3 months and complete a marathon.  We can all do a half or at least a 5K, right?  6 months.  We can do it.
Here are some tips that I got from Tony Horton...

1.  Give up the alcohol.
2.  Give up the caffeine.
3.  Cut out the sugar.
4.  Cut out the gluten.
5.  If it has a face, don't eat it.

So, I was reading the fine print about what Tony had to say.  Here is what stood out in my mind.  Alcohol. Empty calories and it is full of calories.  And who wants to be an alcoholic?  Easy enough.
And Tony says that caffeine may give you a little "boost", it's not natural.  You will get a boost by exercising and eating right.  And caffeine is also addictive.
Tony suggests that the only sugar that you eat should come from foods naturally.  Like from fruits.  None of this nasty processed stuff.
He says that the origin of the word gluten is "glue".  Who wants glue in their system?
And last, if it has a face, don't eat it.  So, he's saying to cut out all meat because of all of the unnatural chemicals and hormones added to animals and their diets.  You can get plenty of good protein from other foods.
So, as part of my training I am going to suggest we all follow some of Tony's suggestions.  Pick one and do it or may pick a few and modify your eating just a bit.  I will start by cutting out all alcohol.  Hehe.  OK, and caffeine.
The sugar...seriously, it's Christmas.  What about all the goodies?  I am going to try to significantly reduce the sugar intake.  And eat more fruit for treats.
Tony suggests things to replace wheat.  I don't have dietary issues with wheat, but I like his other suggestions, too, such as quinoa, rice, amaranth, and oats.  I am in love with oats (more about that later.)
And I think it's funny that Rick talks to his chicken when he eats it for dinner because it used to have a face.  This is what I think about the meat thing.  Moderation.  You know, that whole Word of Wisdom meat sparingly.
So, pick something on the list and see if you can't eat a little better this holiday season.  It will help you feel better.
And, the weather forecast in Utah for the next 10 days is looking pretty good for an afternoon run or walk.  Bundle up and get out there while you can.  Seriously, if Elizabeth can run a marathon, we all can.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

June 11, 2011 (part 2)

I'm getting excited.  Mostly for Thanksgiving Turkey, but also because people are going to train and run the Utah Valley Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K.

Here are a few more details...
for my Mom and MIL.  You can do a 5K.  Other people will be walking, too.  It's OK.  At least you are there.  It is $25 if you register before March 10.  I can do it for you if you need me to.  And, if you need anymore incentive, Mom, they are advertising that all finishers get a gift from Sierra West.
It begins at the Provo Town Centre Mall and ends at the Provo Tabernacle Park.

The rest of you can get off your butts and pick between the half or the full marathon.  Do it.  Do it.  Do it.

The half marathon begins in Provo Canyon, just below the Sundance turnoff.  If you have never run down Provo Canyon before, you are missing out.  This is your chance.

The full Marathon begins in Wallsburg.  The 1/2 and full marathon end at the Provo Town Centre Mall.

Rick 2009

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving, Service, & a BYU Professor

OK, so you know how when things happen over and over again and you call it coincidence.  Well, it's happened to me lately.  A certain few words/ideas have come up in conversation, reading, the internet, whatever recently.  And these same ideas keep popping into my head.  So, if it's coincidence or a tender mercy or whatever, these same thoughts keep entering my mind, so in order to keep from going insane, I suppose I will write about it for the sake of my sanity.  or for fun.  whichever.
Remember the Halloween party that I co-hosted a few weeks ago?  (well, kind of co-hosted.  It wasn't at my house so I certainly had less work to do. so more like 30/70, but whatever).  Well, I was talking with the other co-host a few days after the event.  I mentioned how much fun the party was and that I was glad that we did it regardless of the hard work.  We talked about how it's hard to do things like that when you worry about who to invite, will they have fun, will it be worthwhile, will everyone come, will no one come, etc. Well, after talking about it for a minute, Amara said something that struck me and I can't get it out of my  head.  She said, "I consider it a service when I do things like this."  And I thought to myself, "what a great way for someone to share her talents with other people by hosting dinners, parties, and other get-togethers."
It made me think immediately of another time when I was invited to a dinner.  This time the dinner was hosted by one of my English Professors at BYU.  It was my last semester at BYU.  I was taking Shakespeare (which I had put off until my last semester because of my loathe of Shakespeare, but I needed the class to graduate).  I chose the Honors class which met on Wednesday evenings not because of the professor or the fact that it was an honors class, but simply because there was a cute boy that I knew was taking the class.  (and his name was not Rick)  The professor was Eugene England.

He was a little on the fringes in that he often wrote and spoke about some controversial issues.  His subjects often included his beliefs, peace, poverty, race, gender, academic freedom and community.  He co-founded Dialogue, the first independent Mormon scholarly journal.  He was born in Idaho.  He served a mission with his wife, Charlotte Hawkins England, to Samoa just a year after they were married.  He studied meteorology at MIT, served in the Air Force, and he was a bishop.  He was hired as associate professor of English literature at BYU in 1977.

When November rolled around, Professor England told us that we wouldn't have class on Wednesday evening as usual--we would be meeting at his home.  He lived by the MTC.  It would be a Thanksgiving dinner.  Everyone in the class was invited.  So were our roommates.  Our neighbors.  Anyone that didn't have a place to go for Thanksgiving--or at least the night before Thanksgiving.
A quote from an online biography reads...As they had done since their mission among the open-hearted, generous Samoan people, Eugene and Charlotte continually opened their Provo home to friends, colleagues, and strangers, hosting numerous dinner discussions, writing and study groups, concerts, receptions and gatherings.
It was one of the most meaningful experiences that I had during my five and half years at BYU.  We didn't talk Shakespeare or English literature or even BYU stuff.  Professor England and his wife talked with us and served us food as if we were longtime friends.  I still tear up when I think of how that evening made me feel.  I was touched that such a busy and important person with 6 children (and grandchildren) of his own would dedicate that important evening to so many people that he barely knew.  It reminds me of this quote:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou)

I have retained a few random bits of information that I learned throughout my college experience such as how to diagram a sentence and that Easter is always the Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.  But some of the most important things that I learned while at BYU were not facts but feelings and experiences like my dinner at the England home.
Another reason that I know that this is really the kind of person that Eugene England was because in 1997, shortly after Summer was born I took another class from Eugene England.  I had been so sick when I was pregnant and I just needed something to do for a change.  So, I signed up for a non credit evening class at UVSC.   I chose a class that was taught by a previous BYU Professor--Eugene England.   The class was Mormon Writers and it met on Wednesday Evenings.  I signed up after the semester had already began, but before the first class started.  Professor England noticed that I had signed up late.  He called me and asked me to stop by his office during office hours and pick up the reading list so that I could be prepared for the first day of class.  I told him that I wasn't currently a UVSC student and that I was working during his office hours.  He asked me where I worked and he delivered the class outline, syllabus, and reading list to me later that day.  I still find that hard to believe.

In 1998, Eugene England retired from BYU and was hired as Writer-in-Residence at UVSC.  However, in 2000 Eugene began to show signs of depressions and fatigue.  He had emergency surgery in 2001 and was diagnosed with brain cancer.  He died several months later at his home on August 17, 2001.
I often thought back of that Thanksgiving dinner at the England home, but it was after my dad died that I thought about it in a different way.  When my dad died, we heard from dozens and dozens of people that my dad had influenced over the years.  Some people called.  Some people wrote letters or emails telling of little things that my dad had done that had made a difference in theirs lives.  I realized that I needed to write to Sister England and let me know that she and her husband were doing good things and had impacted my life.  My only regret was that I hadn't done that before Professor England had died.  But, it was not too late to let Sister England know these things.

Some of my favorite essays of Eugene England are Why the Church is As True As the Gospel and Blessing the chevrolet.  Others can be found here.

So, because of this Thanksgiving season, friends co-hosting parties, this idea of service, I am recording my thoughts here for others to read.  Thanks to the Englands for their hospitality so many years ago and thanks to Amara for reminding me of the importance of sharing your home, food, and talents with those around you.  It means a lot and you are good examples to me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

June 11, 2011

Index: Utah Valley Marathon

June 11, 2011
Are you in?  
I am.

Rick is registered for the full marathon.  I am doing the half marathon.  There is also a 5K.
You have until March 11 to sign up and then the price increases.  
Find out more here.

So, 12 week training starts on March 21.  I use this training schedule.  It worked great for me last year.  You can choose between novice, intermediate, advanced or walk.  I chose intermediate last year even though it was my first half marathon.  And I started at week 5 or 6 because I had already been running for about 3 weeks (although I was running 3/4 times a week for about 3/4 miles at sea level).  But it worked.
AND just so you know.  People DO walk a half marathon. or a full marathon.  And they do it fast.  I know this because I followed a walker for 5 miles down Hobblecreek last summer.  The only reason I passed her is because at the 5 mile mark, she stopped at the port-a-potty.
Now, just so we're clear...I'm not recruiting anyone to train with me in that we will be getting up at 6 am for a daily run.  However, if we are on the same training schedule, I would love to check on you and you check on me and encourage each other.  That's what Amara and I did last spring and it was great.  I knew she would call me or email me when she did her run and then I would report on my training run.  It was awesome.  I am pretty sure I would not have made it without Amara.

So, ask for running shoes for Christmas and let's do this.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall Family Photos part 2

The Colors this fall were so beautiful.
Thanks Shannon for capturing this moment in time for us.

To find out more about our amazing photographer go here.
She might even give you the /Her Love E/ deal. (wink)
She's the best.
Anyone who can get Cole AND Hooee to look at the camera at the same time has got to be good.
And she can even make me lose 10 pounds with photoshop.
I love you Shannon.
(I'll post a few more tomorrow!)

Fall Family Photos part 1

Remember how I said that Sierra looked like Grandma Nan?
This is why...look at Sierra and then look at Nan.
See, I told you so.
More to come.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom

Guess which one is my mom.
Hint: it's the one that looks just like Sierra.

We'll be having Cake & Ice Cream this weekend.
My mom is making her own cake.
I can't wait.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A quilt top and a question

a quilt top:
This was kind of an afterthought of a project.
I was helping BK find some fabric for a project that might be a Christmas gift.
She was putting together these colors.  
I kinda liked it, so I went back and got some of the prints that she was using.
Some of them we no longer available so I mixed and matched and came up with this combination.
Then we realized that it would match perfectly in Summer's bedroom. 
That is why we added all of the extra borders.  
I think it turned out cute.
I would have done it all differently if I had known that it was going on Summer's bed from the start.
Oh well.  
Now I have to put the back on it and do the binding.  Maybe I'll finish for Christmas.
If not, then it might possibly turn into a birthday present.  (August 5)

and now for the question:
you have all given me good ideas in the past when I have asked for help with YW activities, camp idea, or Cub Scout Pack Meeting ideas.  Now I need help again.  I am the YW secretary.  I need help with this whole conducting thing and opening exercises in YW.  I have only had one other stint in YW and it was in this same ward so I know nothing else.  We are currently suffering from some serious disorganization.  And when I say "we" I mean "me".  (sorry for all of those pronouns in that last sentence!!)

Here is the specific example that I am talking about.  I appears that the YW who is the Laurel Class President does all of the conducting.  I realize that the YW are supposed to be in charge, lead, plan, carry out--all of those things, but heaven help us!  The LCP was not in the YW today, so the 1st couns. caught me in the hall RIGHT BEFORE YW and said that she thought that maybe she was supposed to conduct because the LCP was not there today.  However, 1st. Couns. had to take her sister home because she needed some pain meds.  (I realize that the YW are supposed to conduct the meetings, but it seems odd that only the LCP does all of the conducting for all meetings and activities.  It's just ends up all weird when she doesn't show up and nobody else knows what to do) 
So, here I am 30 seconds before YW is supposed to start and there is no one conducting.  I see the Laurel class sec. and ask her if she will conduct.  She says no, the 2nd Couns. should conduct.  I find the 2nd Couns. and it takes another 2 minutes to convince her to conduct.  Seriously, I was about to cancel the whole meeting and dismiss everyone to Winchell's for donuts by this time.
I was trying to explain the announcements to 2nd Couns. so she could announce them at the right time.    In the meantime, there is no music planned.  So, I ask the pianist what song she is planning for the opening song.  Keep in mind the lesson is on optimism.  I am thinking "What page is There is Sunshine in my Soul?"  But the pianist only knows Nearer My God to Thee.  which is a great song, but wasn't what I had in mind.
I'm trying to find the YW chorister to see if she will lead/find someone to lead who actually knows how to lead 4/4 time.
Then I am having a few more announcements thrown at me, which shouldn't have been a problem, but I was still trying to find someone to pray.  And then the girl that volunteered happens to be the same one who has prayed for the last 3 weeks.  
And a member of the bishopric was there to present a message.
And then we forgot to do the theme.  
FORGOT the theme.  
It's right there on the outline for the person who is conducting.
Just skipped right over it.
And then it only left like 10 minutes for the poor leader to present an entire lesson on optimism. 
I am about to cry just thinking about it.

some other random things:
I found on the internet a list of lessons and hymns for 2010 so that the lesson and song coordinate.  Brilliant--No?  Is that so too much to ask?  Does anyone else do this?  Seems pretty logical.  I mean, I know some hymns are harder than others, but we have several girls who play the piano--2 of them actually play for sacrament meeting so there isn't necessarily a lack of talent.  If the girls know weeks and weeks in advance and they rotate who plays, it shouldn't be too much to ask, should it?  How do you do this?
Do you all have a YW who is called to be the pianist or the chorister?  How does this work?
And when the girls get up in front of the group they always act so silly.  I just cringe sometimes.  I mean,  they don't get up in General Conference and flip their hair and giggle and laugh.  Not that EVERYTHING should be compared to GC, but still.
Summer told me today that when she went to a different ward last week, they have their prayer/song/theme all assigned out a month at a time and each month a different group gets a turn.  It's on a little chart that they hang up that looks like a typical FHE job chart.  That sounds like how they do it in Primary in this ward.  Maybe I need to coordinate with the primary secretary and get a copy of her game plan.
Seriously, I'm just overwhelmed.  I'm reading the handbook.  I'm reading on the website for serving in the church and YW.  I'm trying to figure out how it all works in a practical way.
And since we're on the do you all come up with/plan weekly activities?  and how do you deal with/coordinate/track Personal Progress?

email me or call me if you need to.  I'm afraid that I'm about to be fired...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Neighborhood Halloween Haunt

What started out as a Mississippi Halloween tradition (thanks to the Joyners)
has now become a Utah tradition.  It was one of the first "get-togethers" we did after we first moved to our current home.  
So Much Fun.
We decided to make it an annual event.
Last year we were out of town the week before Halloween and we totally missed out.
So, we wanted to make sure we were in on the action.  
Amara and I decided to co-host a Halloween Party.  Good Idea.  
We put Summer and Tia in charge.  Another good idea.
Here are Amara and Tia (L) and Kelli and Summer (R)

 Above is the donut eating contest.  
I don't think Sierra is supposed to be using her hands.
(Note to self:  next time do not buy 12 dozen donuts.  
There will be enough junk on hand that most people will NOT want to participate more than once!!
Although a good hostess wants to be sure to always have enough donuts.)

The food was great--of course, it was at Amara's!

And unlike our Street of Treats weather, the party weather the week before was perfect.
Well, except for the clouds.
We wanted to be outside because it was a full moon and Ari had just gotten her telescope.
But the clouds covered the moon most of the night so no luck with star gazing.
But we did have the donut contest outside.
Amara had set up a hot chocolate bar outside that was fantastic.  Too bad we didn't get a better shot!
There were also candles around the yard in various class containers.
I think that since I cannot recycle my glass locally yet, I will save my glass jars and use them around the yard for candles for the next neighborhood party that we have.  It was totally cool.

Seriously, the hardest part (well besides the costumes, food, decorations, and planning...)
was the guest list.
We kind of left it up to the girls and then looked it over.
There would have been about 40 kids if we hadn't whittled it down a bit.
We just closed our eyes and crossed off a few names and called it good.
Thanks to all of the fun people who did come and participate.
So Much Fun.
Read more here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Sierra bought this Halloween headband with her own money--$6.
She is a headband girl.
Especially if the headband contains reindeer antlers or bunny ear or spiders.

Dream Whip Frosting Recipe

Rick found this recipe and good for me because when we need a good frosting recipe I just put him to work.  He kicked it into gear and helped me out this weekend with the Halloween S'more Cupcakes with this recipe:

1 8oz. package cream cheese
2 T. butter, softened
1/2 t. salt
1 pkg. Dream Whip
1/2 t. almost extract
1 t. vanilla
about 3 c. powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and blended.  Add extract to a small bowl, mix in the salt to dissolve then add mixture to cream cheese.  Add Cream Whip and mix well.  Finally, add the powdered sugar until frosting is desired thickness--it will stiffen once you refrigerate.
Chill frosting and cupcakes for at least an hour before piping frosting on top.  Even better if you want refrigerate overnight so the frosting won't be grainy.

**for this recipe, we added a jar of marshmallow topping and then enough powdered sugar to get the consistency we needed.

**Rick thinks that he is good enough to work at Sweet Tooth Fairy Bakery.  But then he remembered how much he likes cupcakes and decided to keep his day job.

Halloween Meal

S'more cupcakes (marshmallow filled--like a ding dong, with marshmallow dream whip frosting and a graham cracker base with graham cracker sprinkles on top):
 Mummy pretzels (the only way to eat pretzels, in my opinion
 Spinach salad & the toppings for homemade chili 
(check out the cute pumpkin bread bowls in the background on the left):