Friday, December 30, 2011

The End

If you read this blog, you know all the goodbyes that this year has seen.  To put an exclamation point on it all my baby sister, the last remaining sister in Utah, moved to California today.

To say I will miss Jessica would be a huge understatement.  Aside from my husband, she is my best friend. If you'd told me when I was 12 and she was a new baby that we'd be this close 24 years later I would have surely laughed.  And as I type this it occurs to me that I think every one of our family members would say that Jess is the one they're closest to.  What does that say about someone?

She is the one that listens for real.  You know that kind of person; you don't have to wonder if they really heard what you said, because they remember it all and refer to it later. 

She is gentle and good-natured and funny and forgiving.  Not to mention stinkin' cute.

She is up-to-date on what's going on with everyone, so she is the glue to the family.  She keeps us close.

She has two great girls and teaches them wonderfully.

We have so many things in common, despite the age difference.  She is the perfect mix of feminine and sporty.  She shares my love of board games.  We have a passion for low tech childbirth.  We have tons of wavy hair and both wear contacts. 

She is a fantastic aunt and is more than happy to take the kids when I need help even though her own arms are full.  She loves to do my girls' nails every time they ask.
When I am hesitant to give up my time, she is the one to give hers away. She says yes to everyone. She shares without being asked and gives without keeping track.  I simply love her.


We we fortunate to have the ENTIRE family home for Christmas break last week and it was a riot.  In fact, I dubbed the week "Brown Fest" and we sucked up every possible moment together. 

Wednesday was our final opportunity to see Breaking Dawn, so we went to the movies.  We were missing Ash who had already left for Nevada, but the rest of us had waited to see it with each other so we went anyway.  Here we are after the movie.

Thursday was pack-up-the-truck day and Jess couldn't say goodbye till we'd had one more round of her new favorite game, Carcassone.

These two buds are just 6 weeks apart, and act like sisters.

Goodbye, Jess.  Enjoy San Diego and the new adventures of hubby being in school.  We love you so much and will miss you terribly!  If you're keeping track, I have said goodbye to 4 of my 5 siblings in the last 5 months.  No biggie. 

And so... we are at the end of the year of many many endings.  David, it's just you and me, bro. Gotta stick together.

So long 2011!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas to me!

At last, my dear Strider diagnosed the problem - a bad ethernet port!  I am back up and so happy.

Stay tuned for some catching-up :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blog blues

My computer is officially a mess.  Can't do anything with media (pics, videos) and it makes it pretty pointless to blog.  I get so frustrated with every upload and still get nowhere.

So, till Strider can clear off and restore this machine, I will take a break.  I have plenty of baking, shopping, music concerts, sewing, choir practices and sibling homecomings calling my name!

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 12, 2011


I've changed my thread 5 times today, but I'm thankful.

No, I'm not working an an awesome pair of curtains and I haven't yet sewn the skirt that Rosebud is begging me to make for her. But I am helping my family by doing something I enjoy.

So far today I have:

sewn up a winter coat that was torn in four spots
fixed holes in 3 ripped jeans knees
reattached the cuff on a hoodie
fixed a pouch on another hoodie
hemmed a pair of dress pants that I found at the thrift store for Princess

I am so very grateful for my sewing machine, for simple skills, for the ability to make things last just a bit longer around here before tossing them. The mending pile? It's not so bad.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Preteen in the house

Here is my Bugs, celebrating 12 years!

First was his actual birthday, shared by the pilgrims. How cool is it to have everyone celebrating with turkey and pumpkin pie on your special day! :)

 We had a nice meal at Grandma's house followed by a few gifts from family.

Friday was a day for shopping and partying!  We did a little Christmas shopping and had the other side of the family over.  Among other great gifts, my mom got him a suit to wear for his ordination on Sunday.

 He has this funny habit when opening gifts.  He won't look at it until the whole thing has been unwrapped.  He's so funny.

Happy Birthday!

On Saturday, prior to passing the sacrament for the first time, Potter (his deacon quorum president) talked with him and trained him on what his duties are.  He answered lots of his questions and was more patient than I expected him to be.  It was so cute.

My three resident priesthood holders before heading to church.

He was super duper excited to go to the temple for the first time, which we scheduled just two days after his ordination.

Temple Square is so special at Christmastime.  I'm very proud of Bugs for asking us to take him and for being worthy to go.  His eyes were filled with wonder at the beauty and spirit of the temple. 

We had some good food before heading home.  It was a great week.  He can't wait to go back to the temple this Saturday morning with the youth!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ramped-up wreath

Here is another make-something-out-of-nothing post.

Strider and I pulled out the Christmas decor and I noticed some stuff I picked up on clearance back in January.

I love these berry stems. Tagged 1.99 but at 90% off I paid .19 each. I think I have like 8 of them. First I was going to cram them in an apothecary jar. Then I considered adding them into a tree like a garland. Finally I decided to add them to a wreath.

I wrapped them and wove them into a circle.  And I layered it on top of a rustic pine wreath I got at the thrift store a couple years ago for cheap.  I wired it all together and ta-da!

I think I really love it. But sometimes it looks weird to me. Does it look cool to have two wreaths together, or just kinda dumb?

Join me at Someday Crafts and Creations by Kara!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Last two weeks

Well, I broke down and ordered another $3 camera cord, but in the meantime I will share a few recent things based on pictures I have on my cell phone.

Jedi did a very cute poem about diversity for the PTA Reflections contest and it won the top award at the school level and is headed on to district competition.  He got a real trophy with his name printed on the plate and everything.

His entry talked about being black/white not mattering and that what counts is how we live our lives.  I love it.  I should have scanned it before he submitted it.  I will try to remember to share it once we get it back.

Here is Rosebud, moments after her ear piercing and as soon as she finished crying.  She has been asking about them for a while.  And as my "girlier" girl, she had a much easier time with it than Princess did. She looks so pretty with shiny, gleaming little ears.  Big thanks to my mom who took her and her baby cousin to the mall together to get pierced.

Strider and I were asked to give a special talk on "marriage that endures the test of time" for our Relief Society Super Saturday just before Thanksgiving.  It was a humbling experience but was a total blast.  We have never collaborated on a project of that caliber and it was a ton of fun to compare notes/outlines and then take turns giving our portions of the talk.  We grew closer together just as a result of the preparation, and then as I heard him speak about me/us it made my heart swell.  What a neat opportunity!  Maybe sometime I can share the outline we used.  Gosh, I love him!

After I upload pics I will share things happening with the older boys. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Still here

I haven't forgotten my blog.

1- My computer crashed a little over a week ago and although I'm running again, nothing is working quite right

2- The fantastic Thanksgiving weekend was super enjoyable

3- I lost both my camera's memory card (so I had to put some photos on my tiny internal memory) and the cable to upload (to access the pictures on the tiny internal memory). So frustrating.

But rest assured, we have lots going on here in my little corner. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Science fair and crazy hair

Jedi has worked really hard this last week to learn about electromagnets and get his science fair project completed.

Phew, all done!

And Princess wanted to go all out for crazy hair day today at school. We did the ol' coat-hanger-in-the-braids trick.  I hope she has fun! (Bugs isn't pictured here, but he had me shave a funky design on his head for 24 hours. It's getting buzzed off tonight).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy chicken legs

I love the crockpot, especially on busy days.  I wanted to share one of the things I've been trying lately.  We aren't real big on bone-in chicken, but it's so cheap.  I've been hoping for my family to love it at least a little.

My new favorite is cooking chicken legs in a little bbq sauce all day on low (even from frozen).  Then, about a half hour before supper, I pull them out and put in a baking dish.  I baste with a little sauce (like fake grilling) and throw it in the oven for 20 min or so. 

The sauce gets all sticky and they practically fall apart when you eat them.  It's really good and tastes like it was all baked/grilled.  But you don't have to babysit it all day!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Joe, say it ain't so

This picture of me and my classmates with the Nittany Lion in preschool was printed in the Centre Daily Times on Dec 18, 1979

Most who read my blog know me as a raving BYU fan.  But long before I wore the Y on my shirt, I was wearing navy blue for dear ol' State; the anchor of the college town where I'm from, the alma mater of my dad and uncles, and where my brother currently wrestles.

Penn State has been a part of me since the day I was born.  My dad was a sports writer for the above mentioned paper.  When he covered games my mom and I would sometimes tag along and wait and watch and wait for him.  My other brother and dad still fly back regularly to attend football games in famous Beaver Stadium.  My mom is there right now, visiting my brother Matt.  My family probably owns a hundred pieces of PSU memorabilia and clothing.  It's who we are.

The scandal involving ex-Penn State coach Sandusky (I went to elementary school with his son in State College, PA) is shocking and disturbing.

The knowledge that the head coach reported one incident to his superior (in title only; we all know Paterno is king) is semi-comforting.

The thought that JoePa could have (should have?) done more to stop it is one that leaves me sad and unsettled.

For our family, this whole story hurts so bad.  Read my sister's blog for a more thorough rundown of the legal vs. ethical issue in question:  Life in Limbo

Joe Paterno

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Football playoffs and whoopie pies

Our team has had a great regular season and won their playoff game on Saturday (in a snowstorm!) 37-0. 

When I saw these about a month ago I wanted an excuse to make them really badly.  Post season was the perfect time! 

Loved it!  Cake mix?  Cute?  Easy?  Count me in.  So I asked if I could do game treats last week.

I made the recipe twice (recipe printed below) and for the filling I made one batch of butter cream and added a tub of vanilla icing and a small jar or marshmallow creme.  It was wonderful!  I used royal icing to make the writing.

The shape was tricky and the cookies vary a lot from each other.  But I figured since the players each would be getting their own, it's not like they'd really be comparing them.  Strider was my cookie-pair-matcher-upper so I could make them into sandwiches.  I packaged the finished whoopies in clear cellophane treat bags.

I was able to make 25 HUGE whoopie pies out of the double batch.  That was awesome because I had enough to do the coaches and the two team moms. 

The photos were taken at about midnight, so I know they're crappy lighting paired with old used cookie sheets.  But I wanted to document.

Here is the original recipe:

Whoopie Pies
from a cake mix

1 chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 sticks of butter, softened
3-4 cups of powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, water and oil. Whip together for 2-3 minutes.

On a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet, scoop out batter into round mounds. I used a small ice cream scoop that measured 1 2/3 inches in diameter. Use the back of a spoon to round out scoops of batter into perfect circles.

Bake for 7-8 minutes. Cool.

For the icing, in your KitchenAid with the paddle attachment, whip together butter and sugar (start with 3 cups of powdered sugar, then add more if necessary for thickness). Whip for 5 minutes until light and fluffy (the extra time makes all the difference!). Scoop into a pastry bag with the end cut with a 1/2 inch opening.

To fill, pipe icing (you can frost with a knife but it's hard!!) onto the bottom cookie (wrong side up), then top with another cookie (right side up).

~~Obviously for a football cookie (instead of round) you use a spoon or knife to pull the batter onto a more oval shape on the cookie sheet.  The batter is quite thick, so it behaves pretty well.  But they get enormous in the oven, so go smaller than you think you need!  They come out fluffy and light and yummy.~~

I totally loved doing it.  And I bet you could adapt them for other things.  Maybe valentine hearts in Feb? Baseballs in the summer?  Hmmm.

Next Saturday is the championship game!