Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Ugly Winner

I had to get this post up before Christmas because I just don't think it would be as funny or as festive after December 25th. Last weekend we were invited to an "Ugly Christmas Sweater Party". We had not completely decided to go until the day of the party because I had not been feeling well for the previous two weeks (feeling much better now, thank you). So, as great as Sean's costume turned out, I could have made it so much more hideous had I been fully engaged in the costuming earlier in the planning phase.

As it was, my horridly dressed husband won the prize for "Ugliest Ensemble". Please note the high-water pants. (I would have killed for some red socks to go with those!) The glasses are mine, and do not look in any way silly when they are resting on my nose. We were ridiculously proud (seems fitting, since he looked ridiculous). It was so much fun to put all those finely-honed costuming skills to work in the midst of my child-rearing sabbatical.

Dustin, you should know that you were our complete inspiration and I was kicking myself all night for not getting out to a thrift store and rounding up a nice women's snowman vest to go with that striped turtleneck (maternity wear - gotta love having a current wardrobe that my husband can actually wear - not that he does - at least - I mean - unless it's for a prize).

Merry Christmas to all! Have a wonderful holiday!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Tree

Thanks to Djeryd our Christmas tree is up. This wonderful little man got home from school one day, tromped up to the attic (the attics are very accessible in this house - yea!!), and hauled down all the Christmas boxes, including the tree. He set up and decorated the tree, then hauled every last box back up to the attic and put everything away! What a great kid!

This year we decided (after getting the idea from some friends) to let every single person in this family put the star on the tree. It all felt rather silly to me to keep putting it on and taking it off, but it kept the kids happy. They were all satisfied, and that counts for a lot.

We also took a family picture in front of the tree this year which we have never done. I think it is a neat tradition that lots of families do, but we've just never thought of it before. It was actually rather exciting for me because we got to drag out the tripod and I got to use the delayed release on my shutter. Very fun to play with the camera. ;>
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Glittering With My Girl

A couple of weeks ago Anna and I slipped some glitter into our shopping cart at the craft store, and a whole bag of cinnamon scented pine cones. By the end of the afternoon we had our first sparkle of Christmas magic. It was a very fun and easy project involving only pine cones, rubber cement and glitter.

Anna took her turn at all aspects and did a fine job (at least for a three-year-old). This is one of the biggest things I miss about the kids being in public school, instead of home with me. I miss the projects - all of us all together doing something fun and creative. Occasionally I will put out some art supplies and the kids will delve into it after school, but by the time snacks and homework are over they really just want to run and play for a while.

I hope we can do some fun things together over Christmas. I checked out some fun books from the library and I would like to add some homemade ornaments to the tree this year (kiddo-made, not mommy-made). However I have been forced to cut back on my ambitious projects this year. As my body enters this final phase of baby-making I just can't keep up with myself. So I will take it one day at a time - moment by moment - with a smile on my face. I'll just do what I can, and let the rest fall away. (Thank you, Sean, for picking up all the pieces I am dropping. I love you.)

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I've already been sick for three months of this pregnancy. Will someone please tell me why it is starting all over again for the final three months of this pregnancy?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Drum

I have been thinking about this post for a long time. When I hear the corny, canned 1950's version of "The Little Drummer Boy" I want to either laugh or gag. Thank goodness Josh Groban decided to redo it for his Noel album (see him sing it live). Now, almost everytime I hear it little tears prick the corners of my eyes. I cannot help but ponder what gift I would give to honor my King.

I see myself in many ways in the same position as the Little Drummer Boy. I have nothing fit to give a king - I am very poor and simple in that way. All I have is my little drum - an instrument that is so much apart of me I do not even realize I have it, I do not even realize it is my gift. So what is my drum? It is my life. The little drummer boy gives all of his fine-tuned, acquired knowledge and skill, as meager as it is, as a gift to honor the Savior. I am young and weak and flawed, but the strengths I have come from God and dedicating them to him daily - my life to him daily - is the greatest song I can play for my Master.

Oven Update

Wahoo!!!! He have stove again!!!! Yea for Sean! For the first time ever our stove has the correct heating element, and guess what? It preheats in five minutes now, instead of fifteen. AMAZING!!! I still only have two burners, but Sean is working on that little annoyance (okay, acutally it's a big annoyance - but hey, I have the ability to cook hot food again - so who cares!!). Merry Christmas to me!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Aftermath

We had two wonderful Thanksgivings, and I'm not actually going to blog about them, although I probably should. I thought I would take a moment to mention the Thanksgiving aftermath, however. The day after Thanksgivagain (Friday Thanksgiving with the Wilcox family, as opposed to Thursday Thanksgiving at the Hawkins' home) revealed the potential damage of preparing Thanksgiving dinner using an ill-fitted range. I won't go into all the details, suffice it to say our inherited stove is sort of a hodge-podge of inappropriate parts. To say it drives me crazy on a good day is an understatement. I am a woman who likes to cook, and likes to do it "right".

Back to my little story. Saturday evening I put a batch of cookies in the oven. After one and half hours the oven had achieved a maximum temperature of 330*. The cookies baked a little longer than called for (at a lower temperature than called for), but turned out okay. We resigned ourselves to replacing the element in the stove and continued to use the cook top. Until last night, when Sean thought he would take a look at the element needing replacement and get it ordered (still not done). In the process of removing the element (which for some scary reason seemed to only be brushing up against the necessary wires, as opposed to completely, tightly intertwined with the necessary wires), the element started breaking into pieces. It also gave Sean quite a little shock (electrically speaking) and he has decommissioned the stove until further notice.

Dah!!!! Suddenly my kids are asking for sweet breads, and I just want to make dinner, and maybe a batch of rolls or garlic toast. No dice. Stir-fry is not even an option. Oh, and pasta! But that's not stopping us. Oh, no. We can make waffles. We have a crock pot. I have even been considering pulling out the reflector oven from our emergency kit and whipping up some biscuits. (Don't anybody hold your breath on that last one.)

So, as far as Thanksgiving goes. I just want to say that I am grateful for a working stove - when I have one - and the possibility of a working stove on the horizon. I'm so thankful to have something to look forward to.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Face

When I showed the finished face to Anna, she gasped and said: "She has a dark mouth and a pink nose and black things up there - did you do that, Mommy?" Can't wait for Christmas!!
Posted by Picasa

FHE: A Tasting Party

Along with songs, stories, and snowflakes, we drowned our kids in hot cocoa last night. My Activity Day girls and I are making little gift jars of homemade cocoa mix this week and I had to find out the best recipe. Enter: idea for a tasting party.

I made up six different kinds of cocoa, based on a single recipe. We had plain, cinnamon and mint - each made with two different kinds of sugar. While the kids cut snowflakes with Daddy to hang in their rooms, I set up the tasting table.

It was so much fun. My favorite part was the quiet after they each drank their swallows as they tried to decide if they liked the flavors and why. One was a doosy - cinnamon cocoa made with powdered sugar. It was surprisingly bitter (although it tasted fine with granulated sugar). All in all it was a very fun Family Night. And I am all set for Activity Days as a bonus!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Before and After: Master Suite

I think we spent a total of one week sleeping in this room when we first moved in. I know for a fact that the color was a dream come true for the previous residents of this room. However, it was not my dream come true. It actually made me want to avoid my new bedroom - at all costs.

Two summers ago, while Sean was at Scout Camp, I spent an entire week repainting and redecorating our bedroom. It was gorgeous! And Sean loved it. So it only made sense that when we moved into this house last spring, that we would replicate the color and design elements of our beloved master suite. The bedroom was painted within a week (Devine Toile - if you're interested), with the help of my sister and her daughters, but the bathroom remained a hideous (again, just not my taste) aqua. Until a few days ago.

My sweet, sweet husband painted our bathroom and we got all the hardware changed out and pictures hung and the cabinet from the powder room bolted into the wall. The Master Bathroom is so beautiful now (the powder room is, too). We are so happy with how it all turned out. I love paint!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Crafting

My kids actually started working on their Christmas presents for our family today. Yea!! Above is the handiwork of Erik.

And I found a pattern and inspiration for a "black apple doll". I am so excited about this one. These dolls retail for $40 on

So, so, so cute. She is not finished and I'm not telling who she's for, but you can bet I will be making more of these sweet things. Anna is already begging for a pink one. I hope all of your Chistmas shopping and crafting is coming along in a way that makes you happy. And, in case you don't hear from me until after the holiday - Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Girly Gifts

November is flying, and so is the needle on my sewing machine. I can't give too much away or no one will be surprised when they open their presents (or watch their children open their presents, as the case may be). I LOVE having nieces - have I mentioned that before? I wish I could talk about all of these projects at length, but that is not going to happen because a.) I don't want to ruin the surprise, and b.) I will have plenty of other things to blog about once Christmas is over - all of this will be long forgotten by me. But I will try to take pictures of my sweet girls opening their presents so that they can be seen in all their glory (the girls and the presents). ;>

This little project shown above is not for Christmas. I happened upon this on a lovely little blog: I had to tweak the pattern just a bit because it needed to be blown up. These our for our new little one on the way. They are fuzzy, cuddly, cute burp cloths - and I love them!!! I already have a little stack in the diaper bag, and another little stack with all of the new baby things that are being gathered. They are super easy to make and go pretty fast. Be warned - if you know me and you're having a baby anytime soon, you will probably be getting a set of these (in gender specific colors, of course) - they are just too cute and easy to pass up as a gift option.

And last, but not least, is a birthday surprise for a sweet niece . . . I can't wait! (Don't you just love all this girly fabric!)
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mad Science Sunday

Meet Djeryd (a.k.a. the mad scientist host of Einstein Online). Something I love about Djeryd is that when something grabs his interest it becomes an intellectual passion for an adventure-filled interval of his young life. On Saturday he went to a chemistry workshop at a local grade school and came home wanting to mix every substance he could find in the house and document his ground-breaking discoveries. On Sunday we were privy to his first ever science show - Einstein Online (clever name, me thinks). He showed off his newly acquired knowledge, until Sean could take it no more and decided to dive in.

Yes, that is my love surfing "easy home science experiments" on his iPhone. Yes, I roll my eyes, but I love it, too. ;> Once Daddy got involved, Erik was right behind him as a handy assistant.

The results were (aside from a very fun Sunday afternoon for the entire family) a colorful illustration of density ("Lorraine, you're my density." - you go, McFly!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Sorry it has taken so long. Here are the much-requested recipes (and I seriously hope I am not violating copyright laws).

These croutons are wonderful in creamy, savory/sweet soups - like a squash soup. They are also addictive little munchies.

From Capriel's Soup and Sandwiches
Makes 4 cups
(directions, not ingredients, modified slightly)

1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 baguette or loaf of sourdough, cut into 1/4" cubes

Preheat oven to 375*
In small bowl, stir together brown sugar and spices. Melt butter in microwave and pour over bowl of bread cubes. Stir until well coated. Then pour sugar/spice mixture over buttered bread and stir until well coated. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out croutons evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before storing. (*If your croutons need a little crisping up the next day put them in a 300* oven for 20 minutes, or so. Then let cool. They should crunch up quite nicely.)

From an episode of Giada at Home
Makes enough for about three slices of cheesecake, double or triple as needed
(again, slightly modified by me)

Juice from one lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
(You can actually use one cup of any fruit you choose - I find the lemon-blueberry combination is amazing! (which I discovered quite accidentally while making lemon bars last summer during blueberry season - what does one do with all those fresh berries??))

Boil lemon juice (seeds removed) and sugar in a small saucepan over med-high heat. Boil for four or five minutes. Keep an eye on it so it does not boil over, stirring frequently. Stir in blueberries and bring back to boil, then turn off heat and cover for ten minutes. (You could probably keep the heat up and stir the berries a lot and it would be done sooner, but it will compromise the texture of the whole berries.) Ready to serve! I like it warm over cold cheesecake. YUM!

Bon appetit!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 9, 2009

FHE: Mother, May I?

A favorite Family Night game: Mother, May I? Here is a sampling of tonight's many rounds:

"Mother, may I take three big hops?"

"Mother, may I flibberdee-hollen ten times?"

"Mother, may I carry my brother two steps because I just whacked him on the foot and our Family Home Evening lesson tonight was on showing that we're sorry and not just saying it?"

As an end note, having nothing to do with Mother, May I?, except perhaps my husband saying essentially those words as I probed for the fourth time if he was sure he really wanted to keep the kitty - here is the newest addition to our family. Meet Gigi - the creative spelling for G.G. - the creative acronym for Grey Girl. She is a very sweet little kitten and everyone is taking to her quite well. Anna still screams occasionally, but there is a much more delighted tone to the scream now, instead of a purely terrified tone.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bathmat and Blanket

With Halloween costumes finally out of the way, I am headed into some serious Christmas crafting. Last year we decided to do more homemade gifts for Christmas this year in an effort to make the season of giving a little more meaningful to us and our children (and let's just say if you're on my Christmas list this year I am totally jealous!). I got the craft room finally whipped into shape last week (to finish up those costumes) and I am ready to get down to business. But before I start, I have a couple of projects to finish. I completed two of them this morning - yay!!!

First off is the lovely bathmat you see above for my kiddos bathroom. We finally got the thing painted, but have done NOTHING since then (we are talking no hooks for towels, no pictures hung, nadda). I think the mat will provide great color inspiration for the rest of the room. (WARNING: Do not blow up this picture to get a better look. Djeryd has been cleaning the upstairs bathroom by himself for the past couple of months - enough said.)

The other project I finished this morning was a knit patchowork blanket for Anna's dolls. I have had the squares done for months, but the idea of sewing them all together (something I have never done with hand-knitted fabric) was very intimidating to me. Well, I found some easy instructions in a children's craft book, took needle and thread in hand, and dove in. It turned out so great. I'm very excited because I have been knitting squares for a grown-up size blanket since March and I'm relieved to have reason to hope it may actually get made. ;>

And a final special treat of the morning is I think I found a new favorite picture of Annaliese.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Humanizer

Hi. My name is Carmel, and I'm a humanizer. You know my type. I waltz into your life, unannounced - just show up on your doorstep and you're fool enough to let me in. I'm everything you never realized you wanted, and when I'm gone you realize you'll never have everything again. No kitty can purr like this little motor box I've got inside me. No kitty will ever again snuggle in your lap just the right way. No kitty will take to your kids like me. No, you'll never find a kitty like me again. And too bad, so sad for you; now I'm gone. In just 24 hours I've left a hole in your silly human heart so big you actually cry over me.

But ya gotta understand, I'm a humanizer. That's just my way. I can't be tied down to one person, one family. I need my freedom, my space, my chance to explore life without any strings attached. You would have just slowed me down. I would have become angry, frustrated - it wouldn't have worked out between us. You'll just have to get over me. But, oh, I know you won't, not really. I might see you again someday. I might not. That's how things roll with me. I've got a million hearts out there to break. Love 'em and leave 'em. That's what I do. I'm a humanizer.
Posted by Picasa
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...