Gingerbread houses

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sydney had been bugging me for weeks about making a gingerbread house together. Finally I said we would do it and to sweeten the deal, I let her invite a few friends over to make one as well. I figured if I was already buying candy for one house and cutting out gingerbread pieces...I mind as well make a few extra houses. Of course you can see from the pictures, the houses were very small tract homes. Nothing fancy about these gingerbread houses. They didn't even have two car garages! Although, I think they turned out well, since I had never made gingerbread before until this particular time. I found a good recipe online and it worked out well.
Each girl had a TON of candy and frosting to complete their house. I had royal icing in a decorator bag to pipe wherever or however I was directed! I decided to let them just do exactly what they wanted to their house (and eat as much candy in the process as well). I think they had a blast. We had gumdrops, tiny pink, yellow, and green mints, holiday M&M's, skittles, peppermints, candy canes, cinnamon hots, white chocolate chips, and a few other candies that I don't really know how to describe. I also made small gingerbread people for each house with the leftover scraps and then I made my ginger cookie recipe (so the girls could snack on ginger cookies while making their houses, instead of trying to eat the house).

Here are a few pictures of their creations. Honestly, even though it was a bit of work the night before...I might have to start this tradition because I really did have fun designing the houses, cutting out the pieces and icing them together. Plus it was worth the look on Sydney's face when she came home from school and saw all the houses ready to decorate! Sydney loves doing creative activities and this one was fun because she was able to do it all by herself.


Waiting in line....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

...for SNOW! Last Saturday night, we attended a community event that Sydney was performing in. One of the main attractions was the snow. There were three areas fenced off with snow for the kids to play in. Mark and I waited with the girls for almost 30 minutes so they could play in the snow. What's even funnier is Sydney wanted to get back in line after her turn and wait all over again. I couldn't help posting a picture of the line to play in the snow (for those people where snow is abundant and no one would even dream of waiting in line to play in it...much less look at it). Notice there is some guy in the line in shorts and a t-shirt. Typical Arizonans! I still can't get over the fact that I waited in a long line to play in some snow...

Finally it was our turn for the snow. I completely forgot to bring mittens for Sydney (or buy some since we don't have any). She had fun anyway. She observed that snow is indeed cold.
Sophie also liked slipping and sliding around. I was so afraid the girls were going to be all wet, right before Sydney's show. I had to keep picking Sophie up off the snow because she wanted to sit in it.

Here's Sydney with her hat and scarf before we went over to the stage where she was meeting her group for their dance.
All the little girls had to line up and stay together. She did such a good job on her performance. I guess it's a good thing that she loves dancing so much, because she has yet another show to perform in this weekend. Sorry I didn't get any good pictures of her on stage. It was really dark and since this was an outdoor event, the lighting was not the best...therefore the pictures on our camera didn't come out very well.
So just a little bit more about Sydney and dancing. We have noticed that she loves to dance. For example, one Monday night we had just come home from her weekly 2 hours at the studio (where she has dance and acro). You would think after that much dancing she would be ready for a break. But not this little ballerina. She insisted that I put the Nutcracker music on and then proceeded to dance around the livingroom for the next hour. She frequently puts on her ballet slippers to dance...whenever there is music on. We have also noticed that she has a difficult time just "walking" when we are out. She is always dancing and hopping and skipping around (although, that is probably just a 5 year old thing). Also, if she hears a song she likes while we are out, she always tells me to bring that song in the house so she can dance to it. And so because I can tell that she loves to dance so much, I endure going to dance week after week and allowing her to participate in any opportunity to dance!



Monday, December 1, 2008

Sydney said her prayers tonight and had some specific instructions...she blessed Santa to bring her a cupcake maker.


Sometimes I get hungry!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Start with hot pinto beans from the crock pot...
Add some cilantro-lime rice...

Top with a generous portion of slow-cooked sweet pork...

Don't forget lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and avacado...

Last, but definitely not least, drench with tomatillo dressing!

Love! Love! Love!
For recipes click here to my recipe blog. Or if you live near a Cafe Rio or Costa could just get one of these by parting with a small amount of dinero!


Halloween Parties.

Monday, October 27, 2008

We have had a blast so far dressing up for Halloween parties! Mark and I went to the annual Halloween party our friends host. It was an 80's murder mystery so we had specific people we were supposed to be. I was Vanity Shuetz (a celebrity photographer) and Mark was George McFly (a karate expert and nintendo game champion). I had to dig deep in the bathroom cupboards to find some hairspray to try and do big hair!
Here's Mark with a signature Karate Kid pose. He looked pretty sweet...with a headband that had either Japanese or Chinese symbols on it and some dark eyeliner (that I put on him of course) and a nintendo shirt. We printed off some nintendo logos and pictures a few hours before the party and I glued them to this shirt with tacky glue! I also helped him pin his pants and roll them at the bottom, in proper 80's style. We had a blast and enjoyed all the great food and company!

Then Saturday night we took the girls to the ward Halloween party. Here's Sydney with her friend Maddy (a.k.a. Batgirl)!

I was so excited for their costumes this year! I actually bought them back in July when we were up in Provo at the bookstore. It was so much fun to dress them up and do their hair...and watch them bounce all over the house! I still need to dress them up and at least attempt to do proper pictures because these will probably always be my favorite Halloween costumes. Neither of them were interested in smiling or staying put for even a few seconds because they wanted to get back to the these are the best pictures for now!

Actually this one turned out pretty cute! They were both pretty tired and came to sit in the trunk to see what candy they got!

Here's one last picture (I know, totally out of order) of the Halloween party Mark and I went to. Don't we all look pretty cool! If you want to see all the cool details (because my friend really put a lot of heart and soul into this party) you can click here to Summer's blog. Everything, right down to the invites was amazing. And the food was soooo good! I think we both came home absolutely stuffed.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I have been debating whether or not to get a flu shot or not. Personally, I HATE shots...even though, obviously after two kids I can handle it! Also I am sort of the opinion that maybe less is better in terms of medicine. But lately I seem to get sick every 2-3 months with colds or whatever and it takes me forever to get rid of them. It is so frustrating. Currently I am going on 2 weeks with the current cold, although it isn't as bad as when I first caught it.

So I would love some comments or thoughts about flu shots and if they are even worth it!


Halloween's of the Past!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Wishing I was there...

Friday, September 12, 2008



Sunday, September 7, 2008

I recently bought a mini cupcake pan and have had soooooo much fun cutting down different recipes for cupcakes. I like to make between 8-12 mini cupcakes and frostings. Just perfect for me and the girls. One night when Sydney probably should have been going to bed, I let her stay up and make coconut cream cheese cupcakes!
They didn't last too long. Plus since they are so little, you can have more (at least that's my philosophy)! I have also made some chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream...those never got a photo op. because we ate them too fast!
One day after school (but before dance, which is why Sydney is in her leotard) I peeked in Sydney's room and she informed me she was "playing school". She was reading to all the stuffed animals--Go Dog Go. But I heard her in there earlier counting with them and practicing phonograms!
This probably should have gone with the last post, under Sophie's obsessions. This is the funniest thing and I really wish I knew what was going on in her head... She likes to weigh the soaps. Everytime she can sneak into the bathroom or if I'm in there getting ready, she comes in to weigh all the little boxes of soap. Here she is getting them out of the drawer.
Then she carefully walks over to the scale and places them one by one, on top. I think it is the funniest thing. Then I'll put them away and she will get them all back out again and put them back on the scale. Hey whatever entertains her!


Sophie's Obsessions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sophie LOVES necklaces (and bracelets)! No matter how many times a day I take them off her...for naps or mealtimes, she always puts her necklaces back on the second she is free. They are all over the house. She likes to wear them out and I really don't care anymore at this point! Afterall she is a girl.
See, first thing in the morning after I get her out of her crib...she finds her necklaces and then goes off to play.
I thought this was so cute. Sydney went to a friends birthday party, a Very Hungry Caterpillar party and they made butterfly wings and headbands. She likes to wear these all over the house!


The Closet

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I love home-improvement projects. They keep me busy (or at least give me a distraction from regular "chores") and they challenge my brain just a bit! I have learned that most projects I tackle are more about problem solving. Sometimes there are studs where you want them to be but most often they are not in the right places so you have to figure out how to implement a design and provide the max amount of safety possible! And I have to admit, I kind of like doing I love the results! So the project I decided to work on was remodeling Sydney's closet. It was just one of those standard reach in closets with the shelf and clothes bar that went all the way across, and according to my observations a huge waste of precious space. Her closet is only about 5 feet by 2 feet so I didn't have too much to work with. The first day I ripped out the existing system.
Then I repaired the drywall and sanded down everything and then painted the whole closet white so you couldn't tell that anything else had previously been there. That was the easy part.
Then I bought some Closetmaid shelving and a whole bunch of parts and started working! I ended up installing adjustable shelving on one side of the closet, a shelf on the very top that went all the way across the entire closet, and two clothes bars on the other side.

For the clothes bars I made sure they would fit standard measurement for adult clothes and also the top clothes bar extends farther over than the bottom clothes bar to accommodate long hanging items.
Here's the finished project with all of Sydney's clothes and toys! I can't believe how much stuff we were able to fit in her closet.
The best part is all the toys and art supplies have a place and don't have to be out in the room anywhere.
And then I can just shut the closet doors and everything is nice and clean! One of the main reasons I did this is because we decided to separate Sydney and Sophie...mainly because neither of them were sleeping very well together. Don't get me wrong, the LOVED sharing a room and I think they were very sad for a few days, but since I have separated them, they are both sleeping through the night and even sleeping in again. So it was worth the work.
Sorry I had to brag just a bit about the closet because I was excited I figured it all out. I have a long list of other "projects" I am hoping to tackle in the next couple of years. And just to note, even with tons of planning and measuring and re-measuring, I still ended up going to Lowe's 3-4 times to complete it was not without problems!


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