Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009

Our house has seen a lot of change this year.  Most of it good...  Here's the synopsis: 

The Boy found this wings this year and left the nest.  He moved into an apartment to be closer to school (and the social scene!).  We miss his fun personality, but he's happy, and that makes me really happy.  High School Graduation was a big event.  We're just waiting to see what comes next for him.

The Princess made a big change and left her dance studio.  She is now studying at a classical ballet studio.  We were surprised and flattered when she was asked to join Provo Civic Ballet, a pre-professional ballet company.  She is thriving with the new curriculum and we expect big things from her.

JJ lost his first two teeth this year.  He loves school, and his teacher has a real soft spot for him.  He wants to start taking hip-hop classes, but his propensity for visits to the ER have discouraged me from enrolling him...  Heaven, help us! 

Max is quite a little reader.  He's made some great friends at school and is always friendly.  He's been cracking us up lately with his home videos.  He's really a ham!  I wouldn't be surprised to see one of his films at the Sundance Film Festival in the future!

Zeke has lost one tooth so far this year, but he's working hard on another.  He's my best helper.  And my biggest, little boy.  He's gonna make a great football player some day!  Unless he decides to go to culinary school instead.  He's a big question mark...  Good at just about everything he does, but not  settled anywhere...

The Mister is still working in the pharmaceutical industry.  He travels more than I like, but he's doing well and he likes his job.  He bought a boat this year and has been renting it out to justify the cost.  It was going great until a renter hit a sandbar and curled the prop...  Oh, the joys of small business...

I'm not sure what I've actually been doing this year.  I'm always busy, but I don't have much to show for all my busyness.  I'm still in real estate, but it has taken a back seat to chauffeuring, chaperoning, and cheffing...  If things go as planned, I hope to do more with photography this coming year.

The Bean Family is healthy and well.  We look forward to seeing what 2010 will bring our way.  We wish our friends and family a prosperous new year, and wish you all the best! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Papa!

I have the best dad in the world.  (Don't argue with me, it's just the truth.)  And today we got to celebrate in his behalf.  I know his birthday was yesterday, but we celebrated today, deal with it. 

We took dad to Flemings for dinner.  If you've never been there, please go.  And don't forget to order the house specialty, Flemings Potatoes, with cream, jalapeƱos and cheddar cheese...  so yummy! 

Dad, Happy Birthday, you really are the best!  We all love you! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lunch on a Diet

I met a friend for lunch today.  She was running late, so I asked the waitress for the nutritional information on the menu items.  Boy, what a mistake.  What started as a casual get-together became a distressing cram session on fat content and caloric totals.  By the time my friend arrived, I wasn't sure I was brave enough to order anything but a cup of water (with a side of ice and a straw).

What is it about the size of menu offerings these days?  Since when does a simple bowl of oatmeal need to weight in at 520 calories?  And why do salads have 490 calories?  And what on earth is anyone thinking when they order a sandwich and side for 1210 calories...?  No wonder we are all getting fat (sorry, I didn't mean you, I should have said I...).

I've been doing the BodyBugg thing for about a month now.  I really like it, because it works for me.  Of course, the only reason it works is because I'm willing to be brutally honest.  In light of my new efforts, I'm going to repost my SkinnyR graph at the bottom of my blog.  Please cheer me on, and no snarky comments when I sneak a cookie is a weak moment!  Wish me luck!  

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's A Real Puzzler.

The Princess got a jigsaw puzzle for Christmas.  By Christmas afternoon, the 550 randomized puzzle pieces had been scattered across our ample kitchen table.  HRH and I fit a few pieces together and walked away, only to return to work on it again.  This process continued for a few days until today, when we finally stayed long enough to fit together the final pieces.  

More than once, I asked The Mister to sit down and help us in our efforts.  He figured he had done his good deed by building all the Lego and K'Nex projects, so he declined.  Even if he hadn't been preoccupied with the Legos, I'm sure he wouldn't have assisted us.  He just can't see the sense in it.

Truthfully, why do I get caught up in puzzles?  If it's not a jigsaw it is a sudoku or a crossword.  I like to think that the puzzles keep my brain functioning, but maybe it's just an exercise in frustration...  Anybody have any better suggestions?     

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Aftermath

I find the days following Christmas to be a little disheartening.  After weeks of preparations, decorations, and a few frustrations, it all comes down to the Big Day, which spirals into the Big Clean-up.  I typically enjoy putting up the tree and flipping the switch to turn on the lights.  I like the sparkle of icicles and jeweled ornaments, the twinkle of lights, the shimmer of beautifully wrapped packages tucked under the tree...

But with the arrival of December 26, the decorations lose their luster.  All that remains are the discarded wrappings and dusty trimmings that need to be packed away for another year.  I'm planning to pack up the tree tomorrow.  It amazes me that what takes days to put out can be packed back away in a few hours.

But once the house is back in order, I hope to salvage the last of the vacation days to spend with my family.  The Lego projects have been built and rebuilt.  The puzzle that has monopolized realestate on the kitchen table is nearly complete.  I'd love nothing more than to curl up on the couch (in the freshly dusted family room) to watch a family movie with the kids.  Of course, that always sounds more relaxing and "Norman Rockwell" than it will turn out to be.  Instead, the teens will flee for the preferred company of friends.  And The Buddies will rush out to build snowmen or go sledding.  But I will hold tight to that idea regardless.  Maybe I'll get lucky this year...  Anyone want to join me for freshly baked cookies and some cocoa?

Saturday, December 26, 2009


We were blanketed with dense fog for a great part of the day.  The moisture was falling out of the fog and looked like fine snowflakes.  But then a beam of hesitant light would break through and turn the falling flakes to glitter.  It was amazing, not a roughly shaken snowglobe, but one in which the glitter is swirling and falling softly.  It was beautiful.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Santa came to visit the Bean family...


and he left notes for all the kids!

JJ was very excited to try out the "hoolie-hoops."


oh, yay...  More Bakugan...


I'm not sure what this is...  But Max and Mike are taking it seriously...


Mike was happy to find that he made his way onto the Nice List.

Zeke was excited for a remote controlled R2D2...

And The Mister played camera man...  as usual...

Merry Christmas!
We wish you a beautiful holiday and a prosperous new year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009

I'm not sure what Christmas Eve is like for other families.  For our family, it's a time to rush around getting all the last minute details finished.  I'm usually hoping that I can get everything accomplished before the clock strikes, and my time is up. 

This year I was lucky enough (trust me, it was luck, not good planning) to get everything done outside of the house by early afternoon.   The Princess and I did a little shopping, went out for a quiet lunch, and came home to do some baking.  We made sugar cookies, coconut bread, chocolate fondue, and deviled eggs.  And we were done with time to spare!

Tonight we went to grandma and grandpa's house for dinner.  It might not be the most nutritious meal of the year for our family.  But it is the most loved.  We had cheese fondue, dips, chips, salsas, and spreads.  There were veggies for those who were pretending to be healthy, and the fruit was offered with a liberal amount of chocolate fondue for dipping. 

Some of the kids were excited to get a gift to open.

 Others wished they had been able to choose their own package... 
What?  Jammies, again?

Upon our return home, we called NORAD for a Santa Watch update.  We were informed that Santa had left Atlanta and was on his way to Utah.  We learned that the reindeer were hungry, and that Santa was accepting all offerings (especially cookies--don't tell Mrs. Claus that he's fudging on his diet). 

We threw special reindeer food from the deck... 

And tucked everyone into bed for the evening. 
Would it be too much to hope that they sleep until 9?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Fruitcake

After contemplating the much maligned holiday treat (I use the term treat loosely),  I decided to take a crack at baking a fruitcake.  Not to be confused with Fruitcake, of course...  I certainly wouldn't want an elf in my oven!

My dad has a great fondness for fruitcake.  I think my grandma used to make it.  Anyway, since she is no longer available for holiday baking, and my mom has politely refused to bake one, I decided to present my dad with a fruitcake of my own.

The first hurdle presented itself rather quickly.  Have you ever tried to find a fruitcake recipe?  I searched and searched...  I browsed the internet, my high altitude baking bible, my cookbooks...  I found date nut bread, banana bread, coconut bread, cranberry orange bread...  but no fruitcake (which, you must know, is actually a bread...  you knew that, right?)  Anyway, I finally found a suitable recipe but it made four large loaves and had some measurements which would be hard to reduce.  I wasn't sure I wanted to sacrifice 10 eggs on a fruitcake experiment, so I kept searching.

After locating a reasonably sized recipe, I had another decision to make...  Fruit or gumdrops?  I bought both but decided to go with fruit.  Too bad that choice was made after I arrived home with a five pound bag of spiced gumdrops. *sigh*

The preparation went smoothly and I was rather pleased with myself, until my family realized what I was attempting.  My sister cautioned me,

Say NO to fruitcake!

And my daughter asked if grandpa was going to eat the whole thing himself.  She assures me she won't be sampling any...

The experiment is nearly over.  The house smells delicious.  My beautiful fruitcake, which I altered to adjust for altitude, rose to become a plump and rounded cake (bread, whatever)...  But alas, as luck would have it, the temptingly full loaf fell.  Let's just hope it's edible, or at least that my dad thinks it's edible...  

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nothing like a white Christmas

It's snowing out there, and it's been snowing and blowing all day.  This is how I think Christmas should be.

I remember being about 5 and having a huge snowstorm right before Christmas.  One of the neighbors came over to help us dig a tunnel through the drifts and piles of shoveled snow.  We built a snow tunnel from the front porch to the sidewalk.

Was there really more snow back then?  Or was I just shorter...?  I like to think there was more snow (no commentary about global warming, please).  And I think that this Christmas could be the one to bring that kind of snowy fun for my kids.  We have the start of a snow fort in the backyard.  I know the boys are gearing up for a snowball fight.  I'm not exactly looking forward to those snow-packed projectiles whizzing past my head, but I do look forward to helping them warm up afterward with hot chocolate and fresh cookies.

I (not so) secretly crave those snowy days that keep everyone at home.  I don't dread being snowed in.  In fact, I would like nothing better.

So all I have to say is this...  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Fruitcake, that name is something that puts fear into the hearts of small children.  At least my small children.  What's so scary about Fruitcake?  Well, it's not the gooey gumdrops.  It isn't the sweet and sticky bits of fruit.  It has nothing to do with the crunch of chopped nuts...  In fact, when you say the word Fruitcake, my children don't envision this:

But since we're on the topic, when was the last time you sampled a fruitcake?  This happy holiday is hallmarked by the most sinful sweets and tasty treats.  And while I've sampled many things this week, including white chocolate eggnog fudge, gourmet chocolates, cinnamon buns, fruit tarts, Nutella-filled ebelskivers, chocolate and caramel covered pretzels, I have to admit that there was nary a fruitcake in sight.

But I digress, because we aren't really talking about fruitcake, we're actually talking about Fruitcake...  Meet Fruitcake:

He fills the hearts of children with fear.  He has even been known to startle an unsuspecting adult...  And yet, he's a holiday fixture (albeit one that's been banished to a room where his presence is unlikely to startle the uninitiated).  I guess every family's got a Fruitcake of sorts, ours just happens to be a holiday adornment, and not a member of our family tree.

I hope you enjoy your fruitcake as much as we will continue to enjoy our Fruitcake.  Happy Holidays to All!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Spirit

Saturday, December 19, 2009

'Tis the Season

I love this time of the year.  I love the new-fallen snow, the gentle silence of the evenings.  I like bundling up in cozy sweaters and sipping hot drinks by the fire.  I love the twinkle of lighted trees and candles in windows.  But most of all, I like the spontaneous gatherings of friends and family.  I love the warm hugs, the cheerful voices, and the happy smiles.  It's the time for friendships, charity, and kindness.  It's Christmas time!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

I have a guilty pleasure.  It's not chocolate (although that is certainly in the running).  It isn't sleeping late during the week (I wish it were, but I have 4 kids to get to the school bus).  It's that moment when I pull back into the garage, after waiting for the bus with the kids at the top of the street. 

Every morning I breathe a sigh of relief as I close the garage doors. That moment heralds a brief interlude in the hectic pace of my day.  Because I'm not a morning person, I try to avoid scheduling anything during that first hour that I'm alone.  I take pleasure in puttering around the house...  Doing laundry, or not.  Washing dishes, or not.  Sometimes I just sit on the couch and daydream for a few minutes.

I love that time of day...

*Funny that my musings brought me to this topic today.  The remainder of this post was written 2 hours after the initial sentence was scripted.

Today I pulled in to the garage fully anticipating a few minutes to myself.  I put off making the beds in favor of reading my favorite blogs and updating Facebook.  I sat around in my pajamas (I had showered, but neglected to find anything more comfortable to wear).  Suddenly, the phone rang.  The caller ID hinted that this wasn't going to be a good call.

JJ had fallen after getting off the school bus and was in the  front office.  It appeared that he might need stitches in his chin.  Ugh.  There goes the morning!  I ran out the door (yep, still in my jammies), with wet hair, and no makeup.  Oh, the start of a beautiful day...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You call that an age difference?

I was out and about with The Buddies today.  At one point in the day, we were in a situation which required them to be interviewed.  The interview was casual and friendly, but the repeated question was,

Who's the oldest?
I always smirk when strangers ask this question of my triplets.  Because they always answer it the same way.  They inform the inquirer that their other brother is the oldest.  This starts a whole cycle of circular questioning... 
I know your brother is 18, but who is the oldest of you three...
We're all six!
I know that, but who was born first... 
We were all born the same day, we're triplets!

I just sit back and smile because they will never give up the answer.  Especially since they don't know the answer!  I always felt that birth order was irrelevant for multiples.  I think it's life experience and sibling influence that makes a difference in how certain first, second, or third children turn out.  And I don't think that 120 seconds qualifies as more life experience...  And besides, do you really think it's fair for one child to claim the title of the youngest of five  because of 120 seconds?  No, we didn't think so either.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

He Thinks This Is A Good Idea

The Mister has the benefit (nuisance) of working with doctors all day.  This association means that he is often subjected to the "expert" opinions of those aforementioned physicians.

The Mister has been trying to get in better shape.  He's watching what he eats (most of the time), and he is getting up early to work out.  I'm supportive of this effort, well, not the weight loss efforts, but the getting-in-shape efforts.  For those who don't know him, The Mister is of a rather slight build.  As a woman of a more average build, it is to my extreme disadvantage to have The Mister lose weight.  That having been said, you must understand that weight is something of an issue in this house.  I'd like to see The Mister gain a little weight (in all the right places, of course).  At the same time, I'd like nothing more than to shed a few of my extra pounds.  I prefer there to be a distinct difference in our sizes...  And obviously, I'd like him to outweigh me at any given time.

The Mister made an announcement at large today.  He wants a body fat measuring scale...  He related that after speaking with a doctor about the changes (or lack thereof) on the scale display, he needed a better way of measuring his progress.  He's convinced that he isn't losing weight, despite his workouts, because he is gaining muscle mass.  Yippee!  I hope that's the truth.  But now he wants the body fat scale to confirm that he is correct in this supposition.   

Truthfully, I have been experiencing some success on the weight-loss front myself.  But even considering that, every morning our bathroom scale yells at me to "get off!"  I really don't think I need another device in my life that's sole purpose is to tell me just how fat I am.  (Not matter how much padding I may or may not be carrying!)  Really, do you think that's necessary?

And BTW--if anyone gets him one of these monsterous devices for Christmas, that person will be crossed off my gifting list for the rest of his or her natural life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Comments from a Previously Frustrated Baker

I love to bake, or more accurately, I used to love baking.  Lately, all my efforts at baked goods have fallen flat (quite literally).  My muffins spread out across the top of the muffin tin.  The cupcakes are only pretty with mounds of frosting to hide their inadequate volume.  Cakes are sunken.  It's a depressing predicament.

In frustration, I tried a little experiment yesterday.  I modified my favorite banana bread recipe with suggestions from a book on baking at high altitude.   Success!  The bread batter had a beautiful rise and it didn't cave in at the last possible moment.

I quickly followed up on that success with a loaf of pumpkin bread.  It looked pretty, I'll have to check with the new neighbors to see if it tasted good!

I'm now scouring the web for high altitude recipes.  If you know of any, please share!  And fair warning,  if you live in my neighborhood, look out!  I've missed my parchment paper and loaf pans.  I may not be able to stop myself, and you might all be inundated with baked goods!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Santa Claus is coming to town...

The Buddies were excited to meet this jolly, old elf!  I think this is the first year that the smiles  weren't secretly hiding trepidation.

These guys have made out their lists, and they've checked them twice. 

Now let's just cross our fingers that they'll avoid being naughty--we much prefer nice!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


What a way to wake up!  Snowed in...

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I've always thought that Nutcracker was a great tradition to open the holiday season.  This year I was excited to watch my daughter perform in the Classical Ballet Academy production.

*HRH and Friend (the Jester)*

She danced the part of (the cutest ever) Doll, the Spanish soloist, Sugar Plum courtier demi soloist, and a member of the Candy Cane court.  What a fun way to kick off the season!

Friday, December 11, 2009


I saw something today that I never in a million years would have anticipated seeing.  It was an advertisement.  I know, advertising is everywhere...  Billboards, magazines, tv commercials, radio ads, the backs of t-shirt, hats...  The list in endless.  But this was a particularly unique service being advertised.

Gay and Lesbian Bridal Fashions...  Just think about that a minute...

It doesn't say wedding fashions, it says bridal fashions.  I can grasp the desire a lesbian couple might have for appropriate bridalwear...  But why is it necessary to include the words gay and lesbian?  Does that insinuate that male couples need bridal fashions, too?  Really, do they?  And beyond the whole gender issue is this question...  Do lesbians have different bridal needs than straight women?  Really, I want to know.

While I admit to being out of the loop when it comes to this specific lifestyle, I'm not being antogonistic.  I'm just really curious.  Does anybody have any answers for me?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pocket Protectors Optional

I am willing to concede to being a bit of a technology addict.  Interpret that statement as you will.  I am familiar with the terms geek, nerd, dweeb, and techie, and you can feel free to add to the list. 

The truth is, I love the newest gadgets, and I love to be the first to get the latest upgrade.  I talk hands free  in my car via Bluetooth (I set it up myself).  I have XM Satellite Radio in my car.  Our house is wired for video, internet, and sound, all set up to work wirelessly.  I can run the EyeTV, Apple TV, and our 2 plasma TVs.  We have 2 mac computers, a PC, 2 laptops, and a netbook, all of which I am adept at operating.  I use iTunes, YouTube, and I can modify my blog template and backrounds.  I'm not an idiot!       

But I'm embarrased to admit that I was seriously stumped this morning.  My cleaning ladies were here yesterday.  They are a nice group of Spanish-speaking ladies (accompanied at times by a single guy...).  Several months ago they politely asked if they could turn on the whole-house speakers to listen to music while they worked.  I didn't see any reason why that would be a problem, so I agreed.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?  These quiet, mild-mannered ladies proceeded to crank up the music on their favorite All-Spanish-All-the-Time station.  I laughed a little to myself, and then promptly left the house before irreparably damaging my hearing.  I had forgotten all about the Spanish station, until this morning.

Somehow, in the process of changing the station and the volume settings, the ladies had also reset the clock, and programmed the radio to come on automatically at 9am today.  I was just stepping into the shower when a very loud, and unexpected noise blasted through the speakers from nearly every room in the house.  I smiled and proceeded to take my morning shower.  When I got out of the shower, the music had transitioned into some sort of talk show.  Although I don't speak any more Spanish than "si" and "gracias" it wasn't hard to find the chatter annoying.  Wrapped in a towel, I traipsed through the house to the master control console to turn off the music.  Boy, was I surprised to find that I couldn't turn it off!  I reset the clock, that didn't help.  I reset the starting time, that didn't help.  I reset the ending time, that didn't help.  I was dripping wet, frustrustrated, and contemplating the use of four letter words when I somehow got the noise to cease.  The biggest problem now is that I'm not sure it was a permanent fix.  I'm dreadfully afraid of a repeat event tomorrow morning...  Actually, since I changed the times, I hope it doesn't blast us out in the middle of the night!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


When life gives you lemons you are supposed to make lemonade.

When life sends you snowflakes, are you supposed to pelt someone in the back of the head with a snowball?

Just asking.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside!

The Buddies and I were discussing the temperature on the way home from Grandma and Grandpa's house.  When we climbed into the car, the digital readout said it was 12*.  By the time we got out of the driveway it had dropped to 10*.  We hit 9* by the corner...  As we proceeded up the hill to our house, the temperature fluctuated between 3* and 7* finally settling at 5* just as we pulled into the garage.

It took some persuasion for me to convince The Buddies that it was actually getting colder when the numbers dropped.  They were convinced that the on board thermometer was only measuring cold.  They thought that the bigger the number, the bigger the cold.  But JJ confirmed that he understood the concept.

Max asked,

So what does it mean when it goes from 3* to 5*?

It means that it's still reeeaaallllly cold!

Smart kid.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Irrational Fear

Fear is a tricky thing.  It can be helpful if it keeps you from doing stupid or dangerous things.  I'm pretty sure that the fear of getting caught kept me from trying many of the things my friends did growing up.  I know it was instrumental in my getting good grades.  I feared disappointing my parents.  Not that they would have done anything to me, but just that I didn't want to disappoint. 

Conversely, fear is sometimes irrational and unexplainable, and it can be an obstacle to success.   I'm sure I missed out on more than a few opportunities because of the fear of failure or embarrassment.  I'm sure that just about everyone has something they fear, rational or irrational is debatable. 

The Princess has a fear of geese.  We don't know why she has a "goose problem" as she calls it, but it's there nonetheless.  We gave her a really bad time for a while after she read The Goose Girl.

Zeke is afraid of flies.  Not flying...  Flies.  Specifically, the common, house variety.  You'd think they were miniature, flying weapons of mass destruction the way he carries on...

The Boy is terrified of shots.  When he was 16, we had to get an over sized nurse to sit on him just so we could get his flu shot in his arm!

And then there are my irrational fears...  I can honestly say that I don't believe I'm a fearful person.  I love roller coasters and scary movies.  I scuba dive and love the challenge of a Black Diamond on my snowboard.  But here's my secret...  I can't stand to open those biscuits that come in the cardboard tube.  I feel the dread building even as I start unrolling the cardboard.  But what could possibly happen?  I mean seriously, death by dough is hardly probable.

And another thing I fear, although I love to scuba dive, I am a frantic snorkeler.  I can't help but envision wave after wave splashing down over my snorkel tube, causing me to inhale the salty water which will lead to my watery death...

But my newest fear may beat them all.  It goes hand-in-hand with another of my fears.  I have always had an unexplainable fear of losing my teeth.  I don't have nightmares of monsters or gouls, my nighmares revolve around being somewhere important, only to discover that I'm missing my front teeth.  To clarify, I'm not afraid of the dentist, just what may happen if I don't heed the advice of my dentist.  And to diminish the probablility that I may eventually lose my teeth, I have invested in good oral hygeine.  The problem is, I have inexplicably found myself fearful of my new Sonicare toothbrush.  And, as if my fear wasn't bad enough, I just had to read the directions.  That vibrating, scrubbing thing that is does in my mouth is something I can barely stand.  And now the directions inform me that after the 12th use, the vibrating will become more intense.  Apparently it scares lots of people, so it's programed to ramp up as you get used to the experience.  Truly, I'm not sure I'll survive it.  My teeth might be shiney and white, but I may find myself in need of a Valium...  Yikes!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Devotional

I spent this evening with my family.  We gathered at the home of my parents, and I was happy that The Boy came to join us.  We sat (not exactly reverently) in front of the fireplace and enjoyed some time together.  The goal was to watch the Christmas Devotional by the leaders of the LDS church.  But what I enjoyed the most was spending time with all of the people I love.

My wish this season is to spend more time enjoying my family.  I hope that today was a glimpse into the days to come.

A link to the devotional follows for anyone who would like to listen.

First Presidency Christmas Devotional

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Studio Posh Tots

This is my beautiful daughter.
We had some fun photos taken of her in some of her dance costumes.

An adorable new friend of mine is a photographer in Draper.
If you're looking for clever photos, she's your girl!


 She did these photos for us just last week! 
To contact her, go to

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cooking for the masses...

OK, so maybe cooking for a family of seven isn't really cooking for the masses.  I think cooking for the masses might be easier. 

Something about the term the masses makes the situation seem a little dire.  I think the masses would be more appreciative of my cooking.  But around here, the masses have distinct opinions.  It doesn't matter what I cook, someone is going to grumble and complain.  I figure it's a good day if the eaters outnumber the grumblers.  Sometimes I get lucky, but most often it falls upon The Mister and myself to come up with something additional for at least one picky eater.  Additionally, it seems like the more one child likes my entree, the more his brothers dislike it.  It's a no-win situation for sure.

Tonight I made quiche.  I thought I was a safe bet as everyone has claimed to like it in the past.  Of course that wasn't the case tonight.  Max loved it.  So, of course, JJ couldn't tolerate it.  Zeke was fairly ambilvelant, he ate some of it then requested to leave the table without finishing his meal.  oy.

Maybe I need to shake things up a little more.  I could always try some entirely new dish about which nobody has preconceived ideas.  The danger is that nobody will eat it.  Oh well.  I guess I could always just make dessert.  Nobody ever turns that down!  Actually, that's not entirely true...  Max won't eat ice cream...  how can anyone not like ice cream?

If anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them.  What does your family eat?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine

The Mister was afraid that I had forgotten how to use our kitchen appliances.  It's been so long since I've used the kitchen for anything besides sorting bills...  But I cooked dinner tonight.  The Mister was relieved to see that I still knew where to find the pots and pans.  And I think he was at least moderately impressed with my endeavor. 

I minced and sauteed a whole head of garlic.  I threw in a little red pepper flake.  I seared the shrimp.  I used a lot of alcohol--and yes, it all made it into the dishes.  You should have smelled my kitchen!  Delicious!  I may never cook like The Pioneer Woman, but any improvement in my cooking is a welcome one.  Right?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fall has fallen.

Autumn came and went so quickly this year.  The colors have faded to a dreary shade of bland.  The wind no longer rattles the dried leaves, those leaves have long skittered away.  I nearly fooled myself into thinking it was still as warm as the sunshine made it look.  But the thermometer informed me that it was only 26* F outside my window this morning.

My brief walk to the bus stop to greet The Buddies was undertaken in a full winter coat, and I still found it to be nearly unbearable.  The wind was blowing with an unkind chill.  I feared my ears were becoming brittle in the wintry air.

The only vestige of the departed season that I could find was this tree.  The apples are withered and hang on the branches with a sense of desperation.  I fear that tomorrow will herald the true end of the season for this tree.  And with winter ready to surge into the valley, this remnant of Fall will soon be shrouded for another season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy XXth Birthday, Mister

I believe that you shouldn't ask a question if you don't really want to know the answer.   Case in point:

It's The Mister's birthday today, and he asked The Buddies how old they thought he was.  Z was quick with his response,

Sixty-four, right dad?

M was right on top of it with his answer,

JJ took his time (ever the thinker), he waited to see the response his brothers received...

At that point I don't think it mattered to The Mister what they thought.  He was just wishing the true number was closer to 40 than 50...  Right Mister?

Christmas Lists

I asked The Buddies if they knew what they wanted for Christmas.  I thought writing letters to Santa would be a fun way to practice their handwriting skills.

Z was quick to give me his requests, although the majority of his items aren't exactly age-appropriate.  The toys he wants are either Lego sets that are too advanced, or just things that I'm pretty sure he won't really enjoy.

M was definate about what he wants.  I think he'll be bored by Christmas afternoon, but what can I say?

In my opinion, JJ gave the most thoughtful answer.  He informed me that he hasn't watched all the toy commercials yet and he will have to get back to me with his decision.  I think I'm gonna be in trouble here...

Sunday, November 29, 2009


The elementary school that my children attend has been very proactive in trying to keep the kids healthy.  The teachers encourage the kids to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and they discourage passing germs through "high fives" or other hand-to-hand contact.  The use of disinfecting wipes and sprays in prolific, and the proper washing of hands has been reinforced.

JJ has taken the hand-washing tips to heart.  His teacher suggested that an effective way of making sure you have washed long enough is to sing the ABC Song twice while washing.  We frequently hear this refrain as he sings along to the sound of the water gushing from the bathroom faucet.  Of course, it's interesting that the singing seems to be the only part of the lesson that took hold in JJ's head.  He totally missed the part where you apply soap and rub the hands together vigorously.  Instead, he clasps his hands together and holds them, unmoving, under the running water.  Sometimes, he even holds his hands as though they are around an invisible tube.  The water rushes through the nonexistent pipe and never even touches his hands.  He completes his hand-washing session having run the water, but having never actually gotten his hands wet!  

The funny thing is that JJ has become a hand-washing fanatic.  On several occasions I have heard him tell his brothers that they didn't wash well enough because he didn't hear them singing.  He then ushers them back to the bathroom where he insists that they wash and sing.  If they refuse to sing, he promptly starts the singing himself and accompanies their washing.

I wish I could convince all three of them to wash effectively and efficiently.  But I guess this is a start.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The pecan pie was awesome (if I do say so...).  The chocolate pudding cake was tasty.  The yams were as good as always.  The Marie Callender's pie stayed in the fridge at mom's house and nobody missed it.  All in all, a success!

I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends.  Thanks for contributing to this beautiful day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Food Assignments

Mom, if you're reading this blog post before my arrival for Thanksgiving dinner, please stop reading now.  Really, you'll be sorry if you don't exit this window...  Quit reading now...  Please!

Now I can finish my posting without causing undue alarm for my mom.  She'll be glad she didn't have this information.  Trust me.

My mom is a really great cook, you can ask anyone.  And lucky for me, she's willing to host Thanksgiving dinner pretty much every year.  While I can cook a turkey with all the trimmings, I'm ever so glad that I don't have to do it!  I do, however, have my assigned dishes to deliver.  I've been asked to provide the pies, ironic since I don't/won't eat cooked fruit, which typifies pie, but that's an entirely different subject.

So, I have spent the past couple of weeks searching (seriously, searching) for the perfect pie recipes.  After much deliberation, I have settled upon amending my assignment from pie to dessert.  Now, there's no need to worry.  I will fulfill my pie-providing responsibilities for those of you who are stubbornly traditional pie require-ers.  But this is my game plan.  I am baking a pecan pie and a chocolate pudding cake.  I have also acquired a lemon cream cheese pie (haven't found a recipe as good as Marie Callender's...).  My mom has a favorite pumpkin pie, so she has agreed to provide that customary offering.

Here's the problem...  I have all the recipes, and I have the pie from Marie's, but I still haven't made it to the grocery store.  And that is why I hope my mom isn't reading this before dinner--you aren't reading, are you mom???  We have non familial guests coming to dinner.  And I'm pretty sure that the fact that I don't have my desserts cooked nor do I have all the ingredients for them, will elevate mom's stress to an unhealthy level.  If she knew, she'd clambor back into the kitchen to make the desserts herself.  The fear of sending her guests home after a lovely dinner sans dessert would be inconceivable to her.  (I know, we'd still have pumpkin pie and Marie's pie, but I'm sure that wouldn't suffice...)

But the truth is that I am better under stress.  Although acquiring the ingredients may prove challenging, I will step up to the plate (ha ha) with desserts in hand when the time is right.  And hopefully I will be delivering desserts made to the exacting standards of my well-researched recipes.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  Wish me luck!  And I hope you have a fabulously delicious Thanksgiving--I'm sure we will!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

False Advertising

Creative license aside, can we just call it as we see it?  Hyperbole has become so acceptable, in fact even expected, in marketing today that advertising would be undone without it.  And there is no better example than what I witnessed just this evening.  The truth is that even the name defies accurate representation...  IN-N-OUT Burger...

I was on my way home from Provo today (no, I did not attend the BYU v. Air Force game, although if I did I would have been cheering for the losing team... )  I had the great misfortune of crossing paths with the throngs of people who were desperate enough for a burger that they had formed a line that completely encircled the block.

The cars were queued one zigzag after another, across the parking lot, and around the block, behind the strip mall, and down the next street.  What these people don't realize is that not only are they waiting for burgers to be served to those in the cars ahead of them, but burgers will also need to be delivered to those who are shivering in the cold as they form additional queues surrounding the building...  This is where the false advertising becomes obvious.  With a name like IN-N-OUT Burger there is some expectation that you might actually be able to get inside the joint.  And following that assumption is another that leads a person to believe that getting in to pick up your burger and then getting back out might be done in a timely manner.  Therefore the in-and-out reference.  I hardly believe that alacrity is a word that could be used in this situation, although that is what in-n-out seems to suggest. 

This is not to say that I don't appreciate a good burger.  I understand the desirability of a fresh burger with an accompaniment of salted fries and a thick shake.  Truthfully, I have previously enjoyed a hot IN-N-OUT Burger or two.  I have frequented several locations, the favorites being Las Vegas and Barstow.  And I'm sure that in due time I will take my turn at the newest IN-N-OUT Burger drive-up window.  But you can be sure that when I do make that detour through the drive-thru line that it will be done when the chances of a quick entry and even quicker exit are more assured.

IN-N-OUT Burger, welcome to the valley.  I look forward to your shortened lines and a quick lunch to-go!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dance out Loud

After three years of dancing with TDC, The Princess left the studio and is now studying classical ballet.  The move was a hard one, and we hoped we were making the right decision.  I worried that HRH would get bored with all the focus being on ballet.  I was sure she'd miss the other forms of dance, especially contemporary.

While the ballet is going very well, we recently had the opportunity to work on a contemporary group number with Nicki Loud.  It was a diversion from the ballet technique and a fun change of pace.  I think we made the right decision moving to a ballet studio, but it was nice to have a temporary respite.  What an awesome experience to work with such a great choreographer and with such an amazing group of dancers. 

HRH loved working with Nicki so much that we had her do a solo piece as well.  She'd such a great person to work with.  And the girls loved the evening we spent with her at Los Hermanos.

Darby, Jenny, Tiare, Nicki Loud, Courtney, Jorgen, The Princess

The girls competed their "Nicki Loud Number" aka Shirk at NYCDA.  They were nominated for Critics' Choice and other top honors.  Congratulations!

A Trio of Turtles

Sometimes something just hits you funny and you can't ever get it out of your head. 

At the beginning of the school year, we bought new backpacks for The Buddies.  Every morning, as I follow them up the sidewalk to the bus stop, I can't help but grin.  The image of my little boys scuttling along always reminds me of a little trio of turtles.  The backpacks are turtle green and a little large for the boys.  In fact, they are so large that they nearly hit the backs of their knees.  All I can see are these "green shells" with heads bobbing atop, and arms and legs flailing out from each side.

Now that the weather is changing we'll start driving to the bus stop so we can wait in the car.  I'm going to miss our little trek up the hill.  I'm sure gonna miss those little turtles!

Monday, November 9, 2009

When is a carved pumpkin not a Jack-o-Lantern?

We didn't carve pumpkins for Halloween this year.  Grandpa grew some fabulous pumpkins and even delivered them to our doorstep.  We had every intention of getting them done, but things just didn't go our way this year.  With The Boy being away at school, HRH being busy with dance rehearsals, The Mister suffering through H1N1, and other assorted maladies, we never did get our pumpkins carved for Halloween.  Of course, given that we didn't even get one trick-or-treater, it's not like anyone missed our absent display of glowing gourds... 

But this weekend The Boy came to spend the day.  He was distressed at the sight of whole (unadorned) pumpkins sitting atop our stoop.  He and his friend helped The Buddies to remedy our pathetic pumpkin predicament.

But the question remains...  If you carve faces into your pumpkins in November, are they still Jack-O-Lanterns?  Maybe we need to come up with a more appropriate term.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not a Halloween costume...

I only know that this Little Buddy was watching TV.  Why the goggles?  Maybe he was watching something questionable...  I don't really know...  Really...  I don't know...

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Un-Lost

After my little mishap with The Boy's dress pants (post graduation), I thought I would never again see The Boy all spiffed up.  As luck would have it, I have actually found his "missing" dress pants.  The only negative is that I didn't find them until after buying him a new suit.  Can you believe it?  Those pants have spent the last 5 months not in the landfill, but hanging in the back of my closet.  How do I explain this?  Simply said, I can't.

The Boy called me last week to inform me that he needed a suit.  This is the same boy who has never owned a suit...  Has never worn a suit...  Has never had need for a suit...  Actually owns a t-shirt that says "Suits Suck."

After much creative negotiating (on my part) I consented to buying The Boy his suit.  He is now the proud owner of a gray suit with pinstripes.  And I have to say it, he does look handsome in his suit. 

The Boy donned his new suit, put in his new contact lenses, and knotted his tie.  He looked so grown up!  Of course, he is in college now, maybe he actually is growing up...  What a thought!

But now, on any given occasion, he has his choice of dress pants or a full fledged suit.  Who woulda thunk...  And how many of those occasions do you think will come his way?  Plenty, I hope!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Look at those Buns!

Remember my disheartening search for the perfect jeans?  Those jeans that would shape and uplift my buns?  Well, you'll be happy to know that this post has nothing to do with that!  This is all about The Princess' Buns.  No, you perverts--not those buns...  These buns!

HRH decided she had to have freshly baked cinnamon buns last week.  Since I've not been feeling well, I told her the only way she'd likely get her yummy little treat is if she made them herself.  I thought that would be the end of it.  Or at the most, I thought she'd nag The Mister to go to the store for frozen rolls she could just thaw and bake.  Never did I imagine that she'd get a recipe and set to work in my kitchen.

I think I've got a baker on my hands.  Now I've got to convince her to make some pumpkin bread with chocolate chips!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

In my own back yard.

I certainly don't have to go very far
to find something interesting to photograph.

The Mister and I were checking out the yard today.

I love acorns in the fall.

But I know from experience that the acorns look better on the tree
than they do in my kitchen.
Did you know that little worms live in those charming little nuts?  Yuck!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Out of Circulation

Although I haven't been able to get out much lately,
I suppose I shouldn't complain with this as my view.

There's no doubt about it. 
It's hard to find anything more beautiful than Fall in Utah.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hike to Timp Caves

What happened to my tranquil morning?

The last thing I remember is the perfect luxury of a steamy shower.  I was enjoying the fact that I had been able to sleep in (at least a little) later than usual on a Saturday morning.  I was contemplating the many tempting options available for whiling away my weekend...  I'm sure I did nothing to prompt The Mister's suggestion for our Saturday activities.  I'm still trying to ascertain the inspiration for The Mister's Grand Plan for the day.  The unfortunate reality is that the Grand Plan crashed in upon my relaxing ritual without invitation.

The Mister revealed his desire to take The Buddies on a hike to the Timpanogos Caves.  Really?  Yes, really.  According to the weather man, this could possibly be the last weekend to enjoy our beautifully rugged mountains emblazoned with autumns colors.  And with the potential of a snow storm on the horizon, he didn't want us to miss this opportunity.

A quick call disclosed that American Fork Canyon and the caves were fee-free for the day.  That pretty much obliterated any real argument I had regarding nixing the idea...

So, off we went on our (all day long!) adventure where we were met by Forest Ranger McGrumpy at the bottom of the trail.  After being granted passage by the gate-keeper, we were on our way.  And these were the sights we saw...


These sights were overshadowed somewhat by this disconcerting warning.

Not that any of us are under the care of a physician...  But still, it did give me pause.  We were, after all, hiking with three six-year-old boys!

My reservations about this adventure were realized as we became human tow-ropes for the steep sections.  We were, however, able to find moments of pleasure along the way.  Moments like these:

All in all--a most enjoyable day!  Upon first hearing The Mister's Grand Plan, I flately declined to participate.  I'm so glad I changed my mind!  What a perfect way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon.

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