Monday, December 24, 2012

Why I love Allrecipes

I was looking for a breakfast casserole recipe for Christmas morning, and I stumbled across one that sounded pretty good. I read through some reviews to see what people thought of it, and this one cracked me up:

“My whole family really loved this dish. I made it on the spur of the moment, and changed a few things to use what I had on hand. First, after reading the reviews here I decided to use a 9X13 inch baking dish. It turned out to be the perfect size. Since I only had 4 eggs, I just used those. I added about 4 ounces of ricotta cheese to the eggs as well, and used a bit less milk than the recipe called for. Also, I didn't have any sausage but did have a lot of leftover ham as well as a few slices of cooked bacon. I sauteed the onions first, added some minced garlic, and finally tossed in the chopped ham and crumbled bacon to heat it through. I then assembled the casserole as directed. I only baked it for about 50 minutes total, and it was perfect. A dollop of sour cream on top of each serving, and we loved it! The leftovers heated up nicely for lunch the next day.”

What part of the recipe, exactly, did she follow? And since it seemed she just made up her own recipe, how did she feel she could rate the original recipe?

It reminded me of this “recipe.” Be sure to read the reviews. I was dying from laughter.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Paul’s Interview for his 6th Birthday

My favorite food is: fish, especially salmon
My favorite movie is: Star Wars
The coolest person on Earth is:
My favorite thing to learn about is: reading
The thing I’m great at is: building stuff
If I could go anywhere, it would be: Hinkle Family Fun Center
My favorite color is: blue
My favorite superhero is: Superman
When I grow up, I’m going to be a(n): author
My favorite song is: the Star Wars songs
A book I love is: my Lego comics
When I was little, I used to: make a mess
My favorite time of year is: Christmas
The snack I like best is: mini cheese balls
One food that I really don’t like is: eggs
My best friend is: Jacob (someone in his class that I’ve never heard him mention before)
If I had one wish, it would be: to fly
My favorite phrase is: dun dun dun dun da dun dun da dun (the Star Wars theme)
My favorite treat is: black forest cake
My favorite toy is: Star Wars action figures

Paul is an excellent student and doing really well in school. His school tries to let the students learn at their own pace, and this has been great for Paul. He's actually been moved up to the 2nd/3rd grade class (technically he's still in Kingergarten) because he was just flying through the material. "My boy Paul is wicked smaht." This is good in many respects, but I do feel that he's picking up some negative behaviors from the older boys, so we're really having to keep an eye on that. I do think that part of it is just the going-to-school transition. Katie went through the same belligerent phase when she started Kindergarten. Of course, we did pull her out of school and homeschooled, so we're not sure how long this will last since we've never let it run its course. When he's not being a stinker, he's a very loving boy. He dotes on his baby Bridget, and he and Katie are still inseparable.  He and Averi tend to bring out the worst in each other, but I'd like to think that they're getting better. He loves his gymnastics class and likes to practice at home a lot.

New bike that actually fits him! And yes, neither our six- nor our seven-year-old know how to ride a bike without training wheels. We’re terrible parents.

Saturday Morning Cartoon Party

We threw Paul’s party just two weeks after Averi’s party. I had the idea for this party a long time ago, and it was super simple to execute. I already had the ruffled crepe paper saved from another party, and the only food prep was popping Pop-Tarts in the toaster after a trip to Wal-Mart. So easy, but so fun.


The breakfast spread. The kids went crazy about being able to pick out whatever sugared cereals they wanted. This is a very rare event in our house. We also had muffins, doughnut holes, Pop-Tarts, bananas, milk and orange juice.


After the first round of TV watching (Phineas and Ferb, I think), we went outside for a rousing pillowcase race. I love Albuquerque September mornings!



Our somewhat ghetto setup. Six-year-olds don’t mind at all.


Present opening. This boy got some NICE presents. I definitely have an inferiority complex about my birthday gifts now.


Rice Krispie Treat “birthday cake.” Easiest cake ever!

Happy birthday, six-year-old! We love you, Paul!

Averi’s Interview for her 4th Birthday

My favorite food is: apples
My favorite movie is: Swiss Family Robinson (We just watched it last night, so obviously it’s fresh in her mind.)
The coolest person on Earth is: the prophet Daniel (???)
My favorite thing to learn about is: numbers
The thing I’m great at is: puzzles
If I could go anywhere, it would be: Utah
My favorite color is: fuchsia
My favorite superhero or princess is: Storm
When I grow up, I’m going to be a: mom
My favorite song is: Praise to the Man
A book I love is: Llama Llama Misses Mama
When I was little, I used to: play with baby toys
My favorite time of year is: Christmas
The snack I like best is: fruit leather
One food that I really don’t like is: raw meat (‘cause we eat a lot of that around here…)
My best friend is: Carly
If I had one wish, it would be: to be a princess
My favorite phrase is: (We couldn’t think of any phrases that Averi uses frequently.)
My favorite treat is: Oreos
My favorite toy is: my ponies

Averi is a very independent child. She'll go into her room and play by herself forever, which is both good and bad. It can get very lonely around the house when she doesn't want to play with me! She is my girl that LOVES to cook. The moment she hears anyone in the kitchen she runs and gets the stools to see if she can help. She's very NOT helpful when it comes to most other chores, though. She always seems to pawn most of the work off onto her brother or sister. She does like to unload the dishwasher. She really likes her preschool class, although she has bouts of severe shyness. She's my only child that's ever been shy, so I'm not sure how to deal with it very well. Shy I am not. That trait did not come from my side of the family. She will usually warm up after a while, and when she does she is very charming. She still has the most adorable little voice, which part of why she's quite spoiled. We love our Averi-girl!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Minnie Mouse Birthday Party

It’s difficult cramming in birthday parties for everyone, since we have five birthdays so close together. Bridget turned one on August 19th, and I meant to throw a Minnie Mouse birthday party for her. But between the starting of school, Katie’s birthday, and life in general, her first birthday came and went without any fanfare. Cue “Mother of the Year” anthem here. My mom and sister came for a visit in mid-September, and since it was getting close to Averi’s birthday by that time, we decided to bite the bullet and throw the Minnie Mouse party for both of them. Of course, we decided this on a Wednesday and threw the party on Saturday, which didn’t leave much time for inviting guests and all the other party preparations. Somehow we managed to throw it all together, and it turned out fabulously, I must say. Everyone had a great time, and the girls were thrilled.


Birthday girl Averi wearing her Minnie Mouse dress I made.



Minnie and Mickey Mouse hats all lined up and ready for the guests.


Our menu: Hot Diggity Dogs, Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets from Costco, a pizza shaped like Minnie Mouse, red punch, relish tray, “Oh Toodles” Noodles (pasta salad), Minnie Mouse cupcakes, and a red velvet cake.



Bridget wearing the Minnie Mouse dress I made for her that day.



Bridget with our friend Elma. She LOVES Elma and was thrilled to be with her most of the night.


The Boyles and the Worthens were also able to join us. It was a gorgeous night for eating outside and enjoying the view.


Pin the bow on Minnie Mouse


Aaron did all the lettering with an exacto knife. In a rush to get things done at the last minute, I asked Kiera to glue everything onto the poster board. I didn’t realize that Aaron wasn’t finished and hadn’t cut the centers out of the letters like P and O. It drove him crazy for the rest of the night.


Minnie Mouse cupcakes. These were probably my favorite since they were so adorable. The ears are mini Oreos and the bows are made from Fruit Rollups.



Bridget with her birthday cupcake. Now you can turn one, baby! We’ll just pretend I wasn’t a month late.




The obligatory cake face photo.



Minnie Mouse pinata that Aaron and I made. If I were to do it again, I would spraypaint the base before I glued the tissue on. There were parts of the cereal box showing and it was driving me nuts. Also, cereal box pinatas are hard to break. But that meant that everyone got lots of turns!




Katie having her turn. That girl is growing so fast. Those jeans fit her perfectly in September. She’s already outgrown them!




This laugh-smile is so my mom. 90% of photos taken of her look like this. It’s because she’s so happy all the time! And there’s Bridget’s cheesy grin again!





Sunday, November 11, 2012

Katie’s 7th Birthday

Thought it was about time for a birthday update for my firstborn. I can’t believe she’s SEVEN. How can she be seven? She’s grown into such a nice girl. Here’s Katie’s birthday interview:

My favorite food is: homemade pudding (This was a surprise!)

My favorite movie is: Annie

The coolest person on Earth is: Mom and Dad (bonus points for that one!)

My favorite thing to learn about is: science

The thing I’m great at is: reading and art

If I could go anywhere, it would be: Hawaii

My favorite color is: pink

My favorite superhero or princess is: Jubilee for superhero and Belle for princess

When I grow up, I’m going to be a: fashion designer

My favorite song is: Alouette (she played this for her first piano recital)

A book I love is: McKenna—Ready to Fly

When I was little, I used to: sing the ABCs a lot

My favorite time of year is: summer—for my birthday!

The snack I like best is: oranges

One food that I really don’t like is: spicy foods

My best friend is: Makenna Frost (The Frosts moved to Washington earlier this year, and Katie misses her like crazy. Some day we’ll all go for a visit to see them!)

If I had one wish, it would be: to have a horse

My favorite phrase is: I love you (Paul put this one down last year. We have very loving kids!)

My favorite treat is: homemade baklava

My favorite toy is: Kanani

Katie started second grade this year, and she LOVES school. We just had parent/teacher conference, and her teacher said that Katie is an excellent student. She loves to read and has loved the Illustrated Classics series. She makes friends easily and is very confident. She’s a wonderful big sister and is a HUGE help with Bridget. She’s learning to vacuum and loves the new vacuum we just got. She can be very emotional and is just starting to sulk and scowl when she doesn’t get her way. I have a feeling she’s going to be your stereotypical emotional teenage girl. She loves dressing up and is very excited when she wears a cute outfit, although she does put together the oddest combination of clothes sometimes. She’s lost three teeth in the past year and has another loose one up top. She’s been doing gymnastics for just under a year now and is working at advancing to level three. She goes to the gym twice a week and practices at home most days. She’s very flexible and graceful, but she’s a bit of a ‘fraidy cat, which makes vault practice tricky. She’s working on it though, and we really like the gym she goes to.


Aunt Ashley came to stay with us so we all celebrated Katie's birthday together, even if it was a week late. We’re not sticklers for the calendar over here.



I don’t want to brag, but I make the best carrot cake. Chunky, moist, and supremely delicious.





Monday, November 5, 2012

Still woefully behind…

I feel like when I’m writing in a journal. I never know if I should just skip the last two years of my life entirely (which is usually how long it’s been since I’ve written in a journal), or if I should madly try to catch up and mention the million important things that have happened since I last wrote. So, to share pictures from summer in November, or write about the most recent happenings?

Oh, and speaking of journals, I got this journal last year, and I’ve been better about writing regularly than I ever have been. I highly recommend it.

Since I really do want to document somewhere what happened this summer, I’m going to do a fly-by.


Our cute friends the Worthens had an Olympic Opening Ceremony party. The kids loved dressing up in their patriotic finery and playing fun Olympic Games. We enjoyed the beautiful, but slightly odd, Opening Ceremonies. This worked out well for us, since we don’t have a working television and had a lot of difficulty watching the Olympics because viewing access was so restricted. We eventually figured out a work around, but I definitely wasn’t impressed with how it was covered this year. But go Team USA! Our kids especially loved the gymnastics, swimming, and diving, and Aaron and I found out that the rowing was a lot cooler than you’d think it would be.

The middle of August found the kids and me in Utah. We drove up to celebrate my Grandma Davis’s 90th birthday. We held a surprise party and had people from all over the country show up. It was really an amazing feeling to be part of such a huge extended family. We’re so grateful for my grandma and her decision to raise her family in the Church. It truly has blessed hundreds of lives.

Our time in Utah was filled with Slip ‘N Slides…





and zoos…




and swimming…





and lots of eating…


and Parade of Homes viewing…


(Unfortunately I didn’t have a wider angle lens on my camera, so this doesn’t even come close to how big it actually was.)


and celebrating!



We had a photographer at the event, so these were the only photos I took there. But we have so many wonderful family photos that were taken. The only sad thing is that Aaron couldn’t be there. Darn work! I’m so glad that he encouraged me to go, even if it was a LONG drive by myself with the four kids. Fortunately, Ashley drove back with me and hung out for a week here in Albuquerque. I love being with my family!