Wednesday, June 25, 2014

FaceTiming With My Nephew

This little boy is always making me smile. I love watching him grow up via FaceTime and I love that I can see him often even though we live two and a half hours away. Love you Devon!  

Soon Devon will have a little brother!  Here he is talking to him in the tummy. He was saying, "Hi Tommy."  So cute. 

Lily is 9!

Lily wanted rollerblades for her birthday, and that is what she got.  She also got The flitter fairy from Amara and me, but that birthday gift was somewhat belated since it hadn't shipped soon enough to arrive before her birthday.  
She woke up to a happily decorated living room, and a yummy breakfast. She loves homemade biscuits, so that's what I made and I made banana boats with yogurt a touch of whip cream and sprinkles and dried mango. Lily loved it!
She had found a picture online of a delicious chocolate-peanut butter layered cheesecake when we were searching for birthday cake ideas. The picture looked decadent and beautiful, so I attempted to make it, and...
I daresay I was successful! This is one rich cheesecake. The recipe said it served 16, but since it was her birthday I cut the cake into 12 pieces. That was a mistake. Although everyone loved it, they could only eat half their slice or a little more. If I ever make this again, I will cut the cheesecake into smaller slices.
Just look at the excitement on Lily's face as she holds her cake...

My little Lilly is growing up. She is now in her last year of single digit childhood. She is an absolute joy to have in our family. She is her sister's best buddy, and she is a budding artist and writer. She also likes cooking and generally she doesn't put up a fuss anymore about having to try new foods. In fact, she actually will even eat foods she doesn't like just because she knows it's good for her. If that's not a sign of maturity, I don't know what it is. Lily is a peacemaker, and has a very nurturing personality. She likes fairies she loves playing with animals, especially puppies and kittens. Lily is an avid reader. She has read the first four books of the Harry Potter series over and over again, she zooms through novels, especially the ones that are written for her age. She shares a room with her sister, but she also will often share a bed with her sister. They have a set of bunk beds, but more often than not I find Amara sleeping "upstairs" with Lily. Lily likes to match her clothes, she likes to dress up and look fancy. She also has enjoyed playing times attack, Word games, and tower defense type games on the computer.  As her teacher, I can say that she is a dream student. It is a complete privilege and honor to teach her. 

Below is Lily's blog post about her birthday that she posted on her personal blog at She is quite the Blogger, and I couldn't be more proud!

Lizards and my 9th Birthday

When I woke up this morning, the first thing that popped into my head was B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y! So I sang "Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me..." Of course I sang this aloud, so Amara woke up. She said she had been dreaming that it was her birthday and that she woke up as she was opening a gift. I told her a story just like that, but worse too. I was dreaming that I was welcoming visitors into my house. They each had a doll. They gave me a present, and just as I was opening it, my dad came into the room and said "Get up. It's time for school." And of course with him being a teacher, he had to get there early, so we woke up at about 7:00 and had to be ready at 7:30 so we could leave. I'm sure that gift was a doll.

After I told her that, we went down the bunk bed ladder. You know, there aren't usually decorations, but who knows? We walked out the door into the hallway. I heard Amara say, "That's weird." I looked and saw the laundry room door open. It was blocking out the living room so I couldn't see it. I pushed open the door and a surprise flew open the second I closed the door. My mom grabbed my hand, spun me around, and sang Happy Birthday to me. I saw decorations and I felt so loved. When I saw the breakfast my mouth watered. Banana with yogurt with whipped cream with sprinkles!!! It looked just like a banana split. I saw some V8 splash, grapefruit juice mixed with pineapple juice, and biscuits with 2 different jellys. This was surely a breakfast for a queen. I got a special plate that said Happy birthday on it. We listened to music of my choice while we ate.

Next, it was time for a present. I thought all my gifts would arrive late. I guess not. It was a very large gift. And it was about 7 pounds. That was not too heavy for me though. I carefully set it on the floor. For the wrapping, it had a giant bow. The bow was a little bigger than Amara's head. What could it be? I opened it up and it was a pair of roller blades. I was excited and tried them on. They are easy peasy to balance in. It's like you are just standing. But a bit taller. The hard part was to move in them. I carefully went down the stairs. I crawled up our driveway and stood up. WEEEE! I went down our driveway. It was fun.

Then while I was sitting down, Amara said, "Lily! A lizard! I'll catch it!" She went outside. After a few minutes I saw her kneeling in the dirt with my mom. I went out and Amara said "Catch it for me Lily! I'm not going to do it." I put on my gloves and chased the lizard into a spot where it was cornered. I grabbed it and we played with it, and set it free.

Then my mom said we would eat at the park. I took off my roller blades and got shoes on and hopped in the car. It wasn't just any park, it was a park in Neola. We ate lunch there and played.

Then we rode our bikes across the street. Apparently there was a free rodeo that was open to anybody right there. We watched two different rodeo thingies. The first one was where kids their horses galloped onto the arena. They jumped off their horses and tied up a goat. I felt sorry for the goat. How would you like giants running towards you and tying you up?

The next thingie was where kids galloped their horses onto the arena and went in and out of poles which looked like giant plungers. One of the girls who did that looked like she was only 6 or 7 years old. Amara spotted a park next to the rodeo and asked if she could go. Mom said yes. We went and rode our bikes around some more.

Then we got in the car and went to Golden Corral for my birthday dinner. Yum!YUM! Y-U-M Yum. We had ice cream and a yummy dinner. We went home and invited grandma over for our dessert pie. We rode our bikes some more. The pie was so rich. What a birthday!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Amara's guest post

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Sunday, June 15, 2014


Maaa-widge.  Maaa-widge is what bwings us togevah today.
If you haven't seen "The Princess Bride," then that first sentence won't make a lick of sense to you, but I'm okay with that.

Can you believe it's been 11 years since that blissful, rainy, wedding day in May when Stephen and I got married?  Psh-yeah!  I guess the saying holds true, "Time flies when you're having fun!"

 And speaking of fun, I thought that it would be fun to do a little "then-and-now" blog post commemorating our anniversary.  So, here it goes, folks.  Enjoy.

Then (May 2003):
Our wedding day.
And now:
Anniversarizing selfie at a restaurant in Park City

What differences do you notice between then and now?

I didn't see any either.

Moving on to the next "then-and-now" pictures.  Here we see Steve back in 2003 in what appears to be him posing with dramatic hand gestures on a mountainside.
Steve hiking Mount Timpanogos

 Compared to now, you will see that he is still posing with dramatic hand gestures on a mountainside. 

Steve striking a "biathlon" pose at the Olympic Park facility in Park City.

Moving on.

Back then, the camera obviously malfunctioned and superimposed an unfortunate facial expression on me whilst I was sitting next to a shockingly attractive man:
Our wedding reception

And now, we see that technology hasn't improved fast enough and the camera is still malfunctioning and superimposing an unfortunate facial expression on me whilst I stand next to the same shockingly attractive man:
At the Olympic training facility
Moving right along,

Back then... the happy couple in front of a temple spire surrounded by gorgeous flowers:
Our wedding day in front of the Mount Timpanogos Temple

 Now... same sweet couple, but with an Olympic spire jutting out from the female's head:
Eh.  Bad shot.  Bright sun in our faces, background of boring, spire of strangeness...

Okay, that was fun.  My, my, the years are progressively and exponentially speeding up!

For our 11-year anniversary, my mom took our children for the weekend to go play with aunts, uncles, and cousins on the Wasatch Front while Steve and I spent 2 nights in Park City.

We stayed at the Peaks Resort and had a nice time, complete with complementary sparkling cider, and $10 off our meals at the onsite restaurant, but we probably won't stay there again.

The rooms were clean and comfortable, the beds were soft, the hotel staff was nice, but the plumbing needs work.  The first night, we stayed in a basic ADA room with queen bed, but sadly the shower had hardly any water pressure and it was cold.  Plus, that room was right across from the pool and was definitely not sound proof, so we could hear all the traffic of every person that went in and out of that pool.  At least the pool was sound proofed, so we didn't hear all that hubbub.

The next night we were in the King Suite with the jacuzzi tub, which is a really nice room,

but I warn you, do not turn on the jets in the tub!  First off, the tub is old and has lots of surface cracks, but it's using the jets that will really trouble you. 
When we turned them on, a horrendous sewer-y sulfur-y smell permiated the place.  Yeah, we're not going there again.

The on-site restaurant we looked forward to for our breakfast, and they served us good food.
Steve got the breakfast buffet special

I got a version of Eggs Benedict with sauteed spinach and tomato served with roasted red pepper hollandaise on the side.  The poached eggs were cooked perfectly.
But, sadly, when we went to use our food vouchers, the restaurant was flustered that we were using it and made us feel bad because "it's a good deal for the hotel, but a bad deal for the restaurant because they actually lose money on all the voucher users."  Sad, sad, sad.

Speaking of restaurants, there were many eating options in Park City, especially compared to where we live.  So, the first night, Steve didn't eat all day to save up his appetite, and we went all out and ate at the Red Rock Brewery, which turned out some expensive and delicious food.  We ordered the sweet potato canneloni and wild mushroom polenta to share.
Menu at Red Rock Brewery
The food was super-yummers and cheesy-rich, but it also came in "fancy, fine-dining" portions, so Steve was still hungry afterwards.  When we finished at the restaurant, we literally drove around the corner, where Steve ordered a burger and fries at Five Guys.

Funny us.

The next day for lunch we ate at a deli on Main Street that had decent prices and decent food.

And for dinner, I picked up some ethnic-y food from Whole Foods Market and ate it at Taco Bell where Steve ordered his favorite Doritos tacos and beefy 5-layer burrito.
Thai Chicken Spring rolls with peanut sauce, a few greek olives and stuffed grape leaves, and spinach salad with red onion, feta, pecans, and cranberries.

mmm... tacos!

We went to the Olympic Park and looked around at their facilities and small museum.  We were going to go on a tour there, but the tour filled up with only one seat remaining.  We opted to just walk around.

We also watched a movie at the theater- The new spiderman movie, which was not very good in my opinion.  I don't remember why, I just remember having to walk out because it was too disturbing for me.  We went to another theater and watched "Heaven is For Real."  It was okay.  Steve loves movies, but it is really hard to please me, especially with all the gunk that they throw in them these days.  'Nuff said.

We perused some shops on Main Street.
Cool, HUGE Amethyst
But we mostly spent our time at the Park City Museum learning about the mining and the skiing history behind the now resort town.  I really loved the museum and I learned a lot.

The World's first underground ski lift, a failed venture, but holds a fascinating history.

A mining bike that would ride the tracks in the mine.

Can you find the snowboarder we made for Lily and Amara?  Their names are on the snowboard.
We've heard tell that Steve had an ancestor that settled Park City during the mining time and that nearby "Snyderville" is named after him.  We think "George Snyder" might be the guy.  He has his own feature at the museum.

All in all, we had a wonderful anniversary celebration.  On Sunday we visited the Family Search center on Main Street in Park City, and got a tour, watched a nice video about families, then we went to a single's ward, which was fun, before we drove home.  Consider us officially "Anniversarized!"

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Happy 55th Grandma!

My mom celebrated her 55th birthday this past April.  She is such a joy in our lives and we are so thankful she lives by us!

Amara and Lily made her necklaces and a card that you can see in the picture above.

I made her a semi-homemade chocolate cake with a vanilla-almond ice cream layer and brown sugar frosting with almonds and mini chocolate chips.   I've made ice cream cakes in the past, and I particularly like this ice cream recipe.  All you do is whip up 2 pints of whipping cream until it's fluffy.  Then stir in 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and a teaspoon each of almond and vanilla extracts.  That's it.  Just pour it into your container and freeze.  I use a round cake pan lined with plastic wrap.  It takes 6-8 hours to freeze, so it's best to make ahead of time.  It's so soft and creamy... just thinking about it makes me want to eat some now!

 Since she turned 55, she can now order off the senior menu at Dennys!  She has been waiting 55 years for that day!  So, good thing they just opened a Denny's in Vernal so that we could go there on her birthday!  Lily and Amara took pictures of the kids menu.  Not sure why.

Since our family went to Vernal a little earlier, we took a quick drive up to Steinaker lake and took in some fresh air and went on a short, yet lovely, nature hike. 

After our hike and dinner at Denny's with mom and Tom, we headed back to our house to sing to Grandma and eat the cake.  And for those who missed it, here she is blowing out her candles: