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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Article of Faith 3 by Amara

For those who have not had the pleasure of hearing Amara recite the 3rd Article of Faith, you need to watch this 45 second video. I love how she says "o-daminces of ga-poe."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Emergency Preparedness

A friend emailed me this cartoon, and I just had to share it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Family Fun at Monson Farms

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Stephen is out of school for UEA weekend, so we took the opportunity on Thursday to take the kids to Monson Farms in Bluebell, Utah. There was only one other family there, so we basically had the place to ourselves. We've gone to the farm every year that we've lived here in Roosevelt. They have a really cool corn maze which is the big attractor for most people, but our family is young enough that we just enjoy use of the courtyard. Kids 4 and under are free and everyone else pays $3 for use of the courtyard. It is a really cute setup. They have a couple of pvc pipe slides, a huge swing made out of a culvert, a mini maze made of big straw stacks, a dirt box with toys, a shed filled with a several inches of dried corn kernals, a goat petting zoo, and a hay ride to the pumpkin patch. I love fall, and what a way to welcome it in!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Powdered Sugar Donuts Make Us SMILE!

Priceless!
It was a crazy Saturday morning for me- rushing around to get all the supplies to grout my bathroom shower with my dad- so nutrition got pushed down the priority list. I popped open a box of powdered sugar donuts and rushed out the door, grabbing a few for myself and leaving the rest for Steve and the kids. I think you can tell by Amara's and Lily's perfectly powdered smiles that they enjoyed breakfast that day.
The amount of powder on Lily's face as compared to Amara's is typical of their different eating styles. Lily is meticulously careful and concerned about how messy she gets, often times using only 2 or 3 fingers to hold the donut, and being careful not to touch anything else with those "dirty" fingers (not even her cup) until she's cleaned off. Amara takes a donut much like a dog would, as quickly as possible, chewing only enough to not choke, and many times she lives the theory, "if it doesn't fit, shove it," and does the palm press to squeeze morsels through her tiny mouth cavity. I wonder how old she'll be when we get to stop reminding her to take smaller bites and to chew her food more.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Zucchini or "Bikini" as Amara would say

Lily and Amara are trying to make the monster zucchini stand up. They were unsuccessful; however, the whole attempt delivered plenty of laughs.
We're loving being a part of our community garden. We've had lots of zucchinis, some more like the size of a watermelon! One such zucchini, we peeled and shredded and with it made 3 loaves of zucchini bread, zucchini mac and cheese, zucchini tempura, zucchini sushi, and froze 12 cups of grated zucchini. Above is a picture of that zucchini and below is the sushi.

It was a Sunday afternoon, Amara was napping, so Lily and I decided to take on the monster zucchini. We armed ourselves with the grating attachment to the salad shooter, and went to work. It took awhile, but we ended up with a good gallon of zucchini shreds.
More garden love...

The small zucchini is actually about a foot in length, but check out the monster beside it. That one is the largest yet- 10 pounds! Yes, we weighed it. I've used half of it to make a yummy zucchini parmigiana. Some of it also ended up in our garden salsa. What next???

Stucco is on.

September is here and the stucco is completed. Our sheetrock and stucco guys worked very industriously and efficiently, and I love their work. The picture makes the house look more grey than it actually is. In real life it has more greenish undertones to it. The concrete steps and driveway pad are being poured this week, our interior doors and trim are going up, my dad and I will be grouting the shower this weekend, and the painters will be arriving Monday! Yay for progress!

Construction continues...

Ah. Here are a few photos from August.

Roof done. They're prepping for stucco.


Roofing almost complete. Electrical going in.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jaxon's lunchtime snooze...

When we were visiting Micah and Mandy, I had the opportunity to help babysit my cute nephew. Jaxon, fell asleep while eating his lunch. Glad I had my camera handy.
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Monday, August 31, 2009

Jim Lauret, TV Super-Recipe Star!

I'm so proud of my daddy! Today he was featured on Channel 2 News at noon for his Southwestern Sushi Roll recipe. He is contestant #5 in this recipe competition involving Utah's Own ingredients. With $1000.00 awarded to the winner in mid-September, you better believe his sushi roll can compete against the other submissions. His recipe is altogether unique, crowd- pleasing, and scrumptious. The roll is already a winner because even Steve goes back for thirds.

You can help him win by downloading his recipe from 2 news website. The top 2 downloaded recipes will be sent to the state fair, where they'll be judged. Go and download now: http://connect2utah.com/content/recipes/story?cid=48292
The following is an edited copy of his recipe (the original submission had a few errors in it):

Utah’s Own #5: Southwestern Sushi Roll

Components:

4 Cups cilantro lime rice (recipe below)

12 roasted Jalapeno peppers skinned and seeded

1 zucchini

1 avocado

1 turkey breast (Norbest) seasoned with 1tsp each Grandma’s Hickory Smoke Salt, taco seasoning, and chili powder

4 Large Flour Burrito size Tortillas(Don Julio), edges trimmed to make the tortilla 6" square

Tempura batter (recipe below)

Oil for deep frying


Dipping Sauce

6-8 oz plain or key lime yogurt(Meadow Gold)

Cilantro

Juice and zest of 2 limes

½ cup honey(Miller’s Honey)

½ cup olive oil

½ tsp salt


Tempura Batter

12 oz. Apple beer (Apple Beer)

2 cups flour (Lehi Roller Mills)

½ tsp. garlic powder (Grandma’s)

½ tsp. onion powder (Grandma’s)

1 tsp. ginger powder (Grandma’s)


In a bowl mix flour, garlic, onion, and ginger powders, and 12 oz of Apple Beer. Refrigerate until ready to use. You can add ice to the batter to make it cold quickly. If this is done, add a little more flour as the ice melts to keep the batter at the same consistency. The greater the heat contrast between the batter and the oil, the fluffier the tempura coating.


Cilantro Lime Rice

2 Cups sushi rice (can be Calrose, Pearl, or any short-grain variety)

2 cups water

2 tsp. chicken bouillon

Zest and juice of 1-2 limes, depending on size

¼ bunch of cilantro, finely chopped


Wash rice. Add water and cook (cover, bring to boil, reduce heat to low and let cook for 15 minutes covered without checking, remove from heat and let sit another 5 minutes covered). Sprinkle bouillon on top or rice, add cilantro, finely chopped lime zest and lime juice. Mix rice thoroughly.


Dipping Sauce

Roast jalapenos, peel and seed. Slice six into thin strips for sushi and set aside. Place 6 of the jalapenos into a food processor, ¼ bunch of cilantro, the juice and zest of two limes, ½ cup honey, salt and yogurt. Turn on the food processor. After about 15-30 seconds, slowly add the olive oil while still processing.


Sushi Preparation

  1. Season turkey breast and grill until just done and cut into ¼" strips.
  2. Heat oil for deep frying. Slice zucchini in ¼” square spears. Spears should be about 6” long (the width of the tortillas). Dip in tempura batter and fry in oil. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Peel and slice avocado.
  4. Cut tortillas into 6" squares.
  5. Place a tortilla on a sushi mat (Tip: place sushi mat in a gallon sized ziplock back for easier cleanup). Spread ¼ of the rice evenly on 2/3-3/4 of the tortilla leaving the far edge free from any rice (Tip: have a bowl of water available to dip your fingers into, wet hands make spreading the rice easier. You may also use a little water to wet the riceless edge of the tortilla to help it stick to itself after you roll it). In the middle of the rice, place a strip of turkey, a piece of zucchini, avocado slices, and roasted jalapenos strips from edge to edge of the rice on the tortilla. Create a sushi roll by folding the rice edge of the tortilla over the turkey and other ingredients using the turkey as the axis to roll around. Using the mat you can make a firm roll by putting pressure on the entire roll at once. After making the four rolls, dip each roll in the tempura batter and deep fry for 2- 3 minutes. Cut each roll in ¾-wide pieces and serve with the dipping sauce.


When the news came on, I had my camera ready and I tried to snap as many photos as I could of the little teasers preceding the segments of his actual cooking demonstration. In case you missed it on TV, here are the photos. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to find the video of his cooking segments.Look at that smile! Chef Wooley obviously likes dad's recipe the best.
Work it dad! You're a recipe rockstar!

Sweet knife skills! I like the Santoku.
(Warning: may cause enhanced cravings and excessive saliva production. View at your own risk.) Also, please excuse any background noises and comments from the peanut gallery. I was video taping it live, while trying to keep the kids quiet enough to hear the TV and fending off the wicked remote that has tendencies to randomly flip channels. Sit back and enjoy the segments.
As a side note, the news station also posts the video (better quality) and unedited recipe; go to: http://connect2utah.com/content/recipes/story?cid=48292

Segment 1 (first 1/2):

Segment 1 (second 1/2):

Segment 2:
Because the last video is larger than the maximum MB allowed for a blogger video, you'll have to watch the 2nd half on the 2 news website, follow the link then click where it says "click here to watch part 2." Go now: http://connect2utah.com/content/recipes/story?cid=48292

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our house grew!

Before we left for our 3 week excursion to Utah Valley, that was near the end of July, here's what our constuction looked like (front view):


I went over to meet the electrician this morning, and I brought my camera along to snap a few photos. Here's the house now:

Lily and Amara have fun whenever we visit the construction site. Yesterday at church, Lily told me about the picture she drew, "Look mom! I drew our new house and the big land." I'm happy with the progress of our home and it's fun to be a part of the process.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Little Laughs

In the car the other day Lily told us, "Amara is magic because sometimes she touches toys and they disappear!" I concur.

Amara's favorite word is NO! She loves to use that word to assert her control.
Steve: "Do you want a piece of cake?"
Amara: "NO! ...Okay, yeah."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

DINOSAURS!

The days leading up to the 4th of July, our famly traveled to the land of Dinosaurs for a Christensen family campout (Steve's family). That's Vernal, Utah, for those wondering. We had a lot of fun visiting, picnicking, swimming, hiking, and camping. I didn't think to take pictures as much as I should have, but I did remember to bring our camera on our hike at Dinosaur National Monument. So, here's some photos from the hike.

Cool rock formation above.

Lily and her cousins played with some toy dinosaurs while the park ranger gave us interesting information about the fossils and formations that we were hiking amongst. Below is a picture I took of a dino bone embedded in the mountainside. I think the ranger said that it was an arm bone of a very large teenage dinosaur.

It's fun being around cousins.






How young is too young?


Well, my mom didn't allow me to start wearing makeup until 9th grade. I was mostly okay with that. Then, when the time came that I could wear makeup, my mom had a MaryKay lady come over and teach me how to wear makeup. Well, Lily and I needed something to do one day, but we couldn't leave the house because Amara was napping, so we did virtual makeovers on the MaryKay website. I let her pick all her makeup and her hair. Here's her stunning before and after. Unfortunately, I can't find my before and after photos.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Curse the Mosquitos!


Really, what are mosquitos good for? Anything? Poor Lily got her legs eaten alive by an army of monster mosquitos when we went to look at our land the other night. Curse those bloodsucking annoyances and the misery they spread! It seems this year has been particularly fertile for the breeding of mosquitos. Maybe it's because of the wet season we've had or something, but I've noticed that mosquitos are strong and plentiful this year. Stock up on your repellants early- they're out to attack! And, it's a good idea to purchase some good anti-itch sprays and creams while you're at it. My little Lily was scratching her bites so hard in church that they started to bleed and she started to cry. Once again, curse those mosquitos!

Recitations and Joyful Tunes...

A couple weeks ago, Stephen and I started reciting an Article of Faith each night before the girls went to bed. It's amazing to me how quickly our children learn. Lily can now recite the first and second Articles of Faith. Amara is even picking up on it a bit. Her version is "We believe... Eternal Father... and Holy Ghost! Here's a video of Lily reciting what she knows.


Amara has become quite the singer. Our nursery at church takes the children into the primary room for a 10 minute singing time in between the senior and junior primaries. Today, when we went to church, she ran straight into the primary room instead of the nursery. I told her that we had to go to nursery first, and she said, "No! Me want ta sing!" So, I picked her up and carried her towards the nursery and tried to explain to her that they would go to sing pretty soon, but she had to go play with toys first. She cried and cried. She just wanted to sing. Here is her version of "I love to see the temple."

See-a temp-o,
Goin' someday,
Fee-holy pow-it,
Liss-n ad obey-ey,
Fo a temp-o hows a god,
A pace lud an boo-tee,
Pen my-sewf,
My-ay-yun,
Dis is sayk-kid duty-ee!

How firm our FOUNDATION!

That's right, folks! Our foundation to our home is underway. It was very exciting to come back to Roosevelt after 2 1/2 weeks in Utah Valley and find that some progress had been made on our home.

Below is a view from the back corner of our home.
The photo below was taken from the back of our lot. You'll probably have to click on it to make out any detail.
Below is the view we have of the mountains and green field from our backyard.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lily's birthday at Chuck E. Cheese...

Mandy posted some darling photos on her blog of Lily's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Thanks Mandy for taking pictures! I had forgotten my camera, so I'm glad you got some really good shots. Below are a few of the pics. See mmandj.blogspot.com for more of the pictures.

Chuck E. Cheese came around once for hugs and high 5s; however, April, my sister, said she saw him a lot. Everytime she turned around he was there. I think he was following her. I only saw him once.
Lily really loved the clock ride, you can tell by the big smile on her face.
Amara was really "driving" the car ride as fast as she could; it was as if she was competing against her cousin, Jaxon, to see who could steer faster.

Thanks to all who came to the party, and thank you again for the fun gifts and almost 600 well-earned tickets. Lily is so loved.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rachel's Wedding at Wadley Farms


We enjoyed going to Wadley Farms in Lindon, Utah for Rachel's wedding. We weren't going to be in town for it, but we decided we could prolong our trip in Utah Valley to support my cousin. It was a really pretty place, and both the wedding and reception were beautiful. I'm glad we stayed. Of course, I couldn't leave without using this opportunity for a family photo shoot. The weather was so nice, and the landscaping was all so gorgeous, I just couldn't leave without capturing it!



Yes, there's a cow on the other side of that fence. Actually, there were a few cows, but one in particular must've thought we had food to feed it, because the second we approached the gate, he walked right up to us. I think he waited a minute or so before he lifted his tail... then it was time to leave.
I love it when my girls are nice to eachother. Aw, so cute.



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lily Turns 4 Years Old!

Lily is now 4! She is so loved by so many that we actually have celebrated her birthday 3 times this year. The first celebration was on her actual birthday. I held a combined preschool/birthday party for Lily at our little apartment in Roosevelt. We learned about animals and played games around that theme. It was fun to have my mom there, even though she probably shouldn't have been because she was unknowingly fatally low on blood. What a trooper! We had fun! We own a mini parachute and I had all the girls bring their favorite stuffed animal and we bounced them on the parachute outside. Then, we used it as a picnic blanket and ate cake.

Speaking of cake, Lily picked out a cake design from a book that I had found at a yard sale for 25 cents. I followed the instructions, with a few of my own variations, and I think the cake turned out very cute.
Here's a snapshot of the teddy bear cake before it was presented to Lily.
We made monkey masks for an activity. The eyes have mini holes poked out, so the girls can see through the mask.
This was a little game of "I spy" that we played, using toilet paper rolls as our telescopes. I had posters of various animals taped to the walls around the room, and each girl took a turn finding an animal for everyone else to spy.

Below is a video of Lily's reaction to the balloons we scattered on the walls for her birthday. Steve and Uncle Geoff blew up the balloons and taped them to the walls the night before. So when Lily woke up, she had a happy birthday from the get-go. Amara calls the balloons "moons." Sorry that I was a little out of it and I filmed the first 1/2 of her reaction with my camera turned on an angle.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Children's Prayers

Amara the other night was saying goodnight prayers:
Steve prompting Amara: "Please bless..."
Amara: "Seep." (Sleep)
Steve: "And bless..."
Amara: "Unko Deezus" (Uncle Jesus) 

That was the first time I had heard that one.  Both Steve and I peeked at eachother and laughed silently.  It's one of those cherished moments that come as a blessing of teaching your children to pray.  In past prayers she's blessed several of her uncles (including "Uncle" Missy and "Uncle" Mandy (My brother's wives)).

Also, earlier Lily had asked in her prayers that all the dinosaurs could come alive again because right now they are just bones.  

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day Cards from Lily and Amara

Steve helped Lily and Amara write cards to me for Mother's Day.  Here's what the girls had to say:

From Amara:
Steve: Do you love mommy?
Amara: Yeah... Uh huh.
Steve: What does mommy give you?
Amara: Daddy!

From Lily:
"I love mother because...
You see her eyes.
My mother always loves me and I love her and everybody loves everybody.
She always knows my name and comes home with us.
I love her so much."
Then she drew a bunch of squiggles and scribbles.  When asked what a few of them were, here's what she said,
"It's my owl's toys."
"That's a big huge mountain!  It's my mother's mountain."
"Present I'm going to give to my owl."
"That's my name.  I tried to write my name, but it says nothing."
"Her [mom's] foot."

I just love my girls.  These cards are precious.   Thanks to all who wished me a happy mother's day.  Being a mother has been my biggest responsibility and privilege ever and I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be one.  I like to tell people that I've found motherhood to be the job that I've always wanted, but never knew it until it happened.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Sweat" and the "Wrong Thing."

Lily is potty trained, but she doesn't always want to interrupt her day to go and use the bathroom, so she holds it as long as she can, then sprints to the bathroom and in a frenzy she tries to remove her clothing to make it on the toilet in time.  I've been trying to command her to use the bathroom when I notice that she's holding it.  
One such instance happened the other day.  It was after lunch and I noticed Lily looking quite uncomfortable crossing her legs tightly, slightly bending over, and bouncing a little.  
"Go to the bathroom, Lily."  I told her.
"No thanks, Mom."  She replied.  "I think I'll just bounce and sweat."
I'm still laughing at that.

------------------------

The girl I babysit doesn't always listen to me.  One day I told her not to go in the bathroom and take out Lily's hair accessories without asking me.   A few minutes later, she was taking Lily's hair things again, so I told her, "Katie, when I ask you to do something and you don't listen, you're doing the wrong thing.  You need to ask me if you want those."
She responded, "Lani Christensen, can I do the wrong thing?"

Friday, May 1, 2009

50th Birthday Party for Mrs. Mapother!


Mom's kids all emailed me something to put in a birthday card to her.  
It made her cry, so I think we did our job.

Lily was just pretending, but Amara wasn't.

It was fun to throw a birthday celebration for my mom.  It being her 50th, it had to be memorable.  So, we had a festive birthday dinner, showered her with flowers and love notes, and topped it off with a yummy homemade cake.  It was fun.
~Mom's Birthday Menu~
Appetizer- Shrimp Cocktail
Drink- Pina Colada
Entree- Grilled Steak, Seafood Scampi, Broccoli, Rice, Rolls
Dessert- Caramel-Soaked Choco-Butterfinger Layer Cake with
Whip Cream Frosting and Caramel Drizzle!

You'll notice in the video below that Amara already has some whip cream on her lip, even though we haven't started to sing to Grandma yet.  We put a bowl over the cake to prevent the kids from getting into it again, but that was temporary.



This next video is Amara mistaking herself for Grandma and mistaking this for her very own 50th birthday, thus, her cake, her candle, her moment.