Monday, December 22, 2008


On Saturday, we took the kids sledding for the first time this season. There was only minimal whining and everyone had a good time - especially Henry, who yelled "Yeah, baby!" every time he reached the bottom of the hill.


There is a secret date candy recipe that has been in my family for a few generations. Great Grandma Nana Frederickson invented this treat years ago and it is made only at Christmas. As the legend goes, See's Candy tried to buy the recipe from Nana, but she refused. You must be or marry a descendant of Nana to be allowed to make the candy - even then, you are not allowed a written copy of the recipe until you prove yourself worthy after you've produced a few successful candy batches. The candy must be made in the presence of either my Granny (Nana's daughter-in-law) or someone who has been trained by Granny, such as my mother. The candy can only be cooked in one of two cast aluminum pots, using only fresh dates from a date palm tree (my Granny has a guy in the east Valley, AZ that saves his dates for her every July). The dates must be peeled and ground (twice) in a meat grinder and then placed in the freezer to await their candy destiny later in December. And, the recipe requires twelve cups of pecans (I didn't say that this candy was healthy) that are carefully sliced one by one, not chopped from a bag bought at the store. Well...........this year I was on my own in Utah. I didn't have Granny, my mother, a cast aluminum pot, a meat grinder or a "date guy". But, I must announce to all in my family who have fretted about this Mount Everest of candy-making, that I have dispelled the myth! This year, I bought dates and chopped pecans at the grocery store. I mashed the dates - no grinder. I cooked the candy in a stainless steel stockpot from IKEA. Did the date candy turn out? I answer......oh, I can't answer right now, my mouth is full of delicious, chewy, mouth-watering, perfect date candy! Nobody tell Granny!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

D.I. Treasure

By far, my favorite style for architucture and furnishings is mid-century modern design. But.....I have this strange fascination for things made in the 1970's. So, when Nathan and I saw this armchair at D.I. for $10, it found it's way into our car and then into our living room. I've purchased much 1970's dinnerware, cookware and Tupperware from D.I., but none of it has been put on display. I decorate with the famous orange, rust, brown and avacado green colors from the 70's, but never in my house has there been a piece of furniture that was actually made before I was born. Although the chair is in perfect condition (not even fading or sun damage), I'm still on the fence about whether or not this vintage wonder will be allowed to remain in the house. I would appreciate everyone's honest comments.

And if you have found yourself wondering, "What the heck is mid-century modern?", take a look:

Or you could always google names such as George Nelson, Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, Ralph Haver, Joseph Eichler or Ray & Charles Eames.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Hits!

Winter is in full force! We've had back-to-back snow storms with 20 degree temperatures and wind and snow. Nathan got to shovel the steps for the first time Saturday. All of you AZ people should be envious of our magical Christmas tree lighting, but you are also free to laugh at us while we freeze our butts off!


The Christmas Tree

We decorated our tree last Monday for Family Home Evening. It turned out to be the best tree decorating ever. Just when we finished the tree, we looked out the window to see that it had started to snow. Watching the gently falling snow, the fireplace burning, the glow of the Christmas tree, and the Oak Ridge Boys singing Silent Night truly brought the spirit of Christmas into our home. I couldn't have planned the moment any better than that!

Next, the kids hurried and threw their snow clothes on and went outside. Nathan went out as well and pulled them around the yard in a sled for a while. Then they all came in for hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. We have been finding out that a real winter complete with snow gives the holiday season that extra special touch. The songs White Christmas and I'll Be Home for Christmas also have new meaning. Can't wait to see the fam!

Nathan's Christmas Present.....He Wishes!

I saw this Toyota Landcruiser for sale when I was taking pictures of the Summerhays. I snapped a few shots and told Nathan that it was his Christmas present. Yeah, right! He would love another Landcruiser, especially this one. Too bad.

Photo Shoot

I took some pictures of our friends, the Summerhays, last weekend. I've been looking for a spot that is more industrial, so that I can take some "urban" looking pictures for the photography blog that I'm supposed to be making. Greg actually picked this spot and it was just one mile from our house! I was lucky because Greg and Andrea are a great looking couple with adorable kids. The photo session went smoothly and we got some awesome pics as well!

School Projects

The kids' school always has neat extra-curricular events, projects, and activities. Last week, Samantha had Business Day. Her group consisted of her two best friends, Tiana and Ashley. They had to come up with an idea for a business, make a business plan and have their parents sign a "business permit". They decided to create Candy and Hoops. On business day, the six-graders would run their own businesses, while at the same time being customers at other students' businesses. At Candy and Hoops, students would pay $15 in pretend school money (this money is earned by students throughout the year by doing well in schoolwork, behavior, etc.) to shot a basketball through a hoop and win candy or soda. The further back from the hoop the shot was made, the bigger the candy prize. Candy and Hoops earned over $200. I saw some other clever businesses. One kid was charging $5 to spray students' hair with colored hairspray. Other popular businesses sold fresh-popped popcorn or snow cones. Some students had purchased $1 items from a store to sell. The most popular product sold was candy - of course!
Something else that Samantha has been working on is her Medieval project. She's been drawing architectural plans for a castle, making a poster proclaiming the arrival of the newest court jester, and taping a newscast that would have aired in the year 1422. She wrote the entire newscast herself, basing her information on actual events of the Middle Ages. I helped with the taping and editing. Since Samantha goes by the name Sam, and her friend Tiana's last name happens to be Sam, they titled their newscast News with the Sams.


I haven't had a nativity that I have picked out and purchased since I've been married, but I've always wanted one. When I found this one at Robert's Crafts (like Michael's, but better), I had to bring it home with me - especially at 40% off! I think it looks great on the mantle!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Thanksgiving was different this year. Instead of a crowd, it was just the six of us here at home. Instead of just making a salad or a casserole, I made it ALL. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, corn, rolls, orange salad, shut-the-gate salad, and two pies - and I did it all with the flu! I was a little worried about producing Thanksgiving dinner on my own, but everyone helped and it turned out yummy.

Lemon Cream Pie w/raspberries and Grandma Cothrun's Apple Pie

Happy Birthday Elliot!

Elliot celebrated his 7th birthday while Nana, Papa and his cousins were here. He received a bicycle, Nerf gun, pogo stick and $ from Nana, Indiana Jones guys from his cousins, and new pajamas, clothes and shoes. He actually really likes getting new clothes and shoes - and starting to care about what he wears! He's a mini-Nathan! Elliot is definitely turning into a little man. He has grown to the point where he has passed Gillian in clothes and shoe size. He wears two shoe sizes bigger than her! He's getting very interested in sports and is pretty good at the ones he's tried so far. He can be loud, but he's also very sweet and funny. He's a great student and good friend to his classmates at school. And handsome! We love you Elliot!

Chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast - with cream!

Opening presents

Riding the new bike

Sunday, December 7, 2008

More Guests!

Six days before Thanksgiving, nine new house guests arrived. Nathan's oldest brother and his family came for a visit all the way from Boston. He and his wife have five kids, so we had quite a house full! What was more exciting is that Nathan's parents decided to come up from Arizona to join the crowd! All of the kids had such a great time together - they don't get to see each other very often. Their favorite things to do were playing Disney Scene It and playing outside on the pogo sticks.
Nathan set a record at 500 jumps. At one point, Papa decided to get in on the pogo action. I think he ended up regretting it!

Papa hurt his wrist and finger and bloodied up his pants, but he was okay. Mason and Gillian were good pogo jumpers so they wanted to try and beat Nathan's feat. They quickly passed 500 and soon they were head to head in a pogo contest! Gillian passed Mason with over 1,000 consecutive jumps, but Mason was determined to reign supreme. He waited until Gillian was at school and went outside and jumped to a grand total of 1,306. After that, Gillian was unable to catch him!

Watching Bear in the Big Blue House. That's uncle Ben under the covers!

We had a lot of fun with Ben and his family. We did some shopping (well, the women did), playing, saw the elves at Gardner Village, spent an evening at Classic Fun Center skating bouncing and playing laser tag, and even squeezed in a photo shoot.

The kids were sad to see their cousins go, but they'll be back...someday.