Saturday, December 20, 2008

Greetings and Goodies

Last December we were just moving into our apartment here in Cali so we didn't get a chance to do much of the traditional stuff. In fact, this is the first Christmas we haven't been busy with school and finals or moving! So, we sent out Christmas cards for the first time ever, with CD's of the piano arrangements Boz did (enjoy here) . Its been a blast this year! Elyette is that age now when all the magic really sinks in (which makes it even that much more fun for all of us). She proclaims "I like Christmas" randomly, carries a swaddled doll around as baby Jesus, watched "Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol" almost daily, sings carols almost non-stop -- her versions :), etc. The candy stuffed advent calendar is a hard one for her. Having to wait to eat candy is not a highlight. But she did get to help me make (well taste test mostly) tasty treats and fill the little boxes we made with them. We highly recommend the dipped pretzel sticks! They could not have been more kid-friendly and the milk chocolate peanut covered ones are SO good. Kinda wish I hadn't given ANY away :).

Friday, December 12, 2008

P.S. To the "Christmas Music"

By the way, since Boz didn't say so in his post "Christmas Music", I'll brag for him :). When he says he "put together a few Christmas songs", he means he played and recorded piano arrangements of his own creation. A simple task for him. He's got skills, what can I say!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Music

I'm bunching up six songs of the week into one. I put together a few Christmas songs on the piano, so I put them up here for all to listen to for the next couple weeks. You can stream them directly from here, or you can download them and stick them on your ipod and listen to them over and over again. You even have my permission to listen to them after Christmas is over.

Here are the links to download the songs:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Petite Peas - A Hidden Jewel Amongst a Crowd of Crappy Green Vegetables

I don't know if this is common knowledge or not, but I thought I would share a piece of information with everybody to try to make the world a better place, becuase that's what I do.

I grew up hating peas, naturally. This is because everybody hates peas. Everybody hates peas because they are nasty. So far I have said nothing that isn't known by everybody. But here is the news. There is a type of pea called petite peas. These look just like regular nasty peas, just smaller. But the major difference is that they don't taste gross.

I know you are thinking to yourself, "This is impossible. A pea is a pea is a disgusting food." I thought the same thing the first time Maegan told me they were different. Well at some point I must have given in and tried them, because today I can testify to the fact that petite peas actually do taste good, and do not taste like regular gross peas (Don't get me wrong, they don't taste like Pixies Stix, but they are still good).

I know nothing I can say will convince you that there really is a difference, so I ask that next time you go to buy peas, if this ever actually happens, don't reach for the same crappy peas you always buy. Try a bag of petite peas. They aren't even any more expensive. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sewing: All Dressed up for Christmas

I use every Christmas and Easter as my excuse to get the kids nice new church outfits. Head to toe. Sometimes I buy them, sometimes I make them. This year I decided to treat myself to a new dress too and make us all cheesy matchy matchy. I had a lot of ideas, but after seeing this darling dress at Gap and a little encouragement from my mom to make it myself, my mind was made up. So its not an original idea, but I love it!
Elyette's dress is red taffeta and ruffling on the collar and bodice. A cute bow in front and exposed tulle ruffles under the skirt. Getting the tulle to line up right was a pain, but all in all, the dress worked well.

My dress was modeled after Elyette's. Same ruffling, but made from a medium weight gray suiting fabric with a red taffeta bow. For future occasions I'll change that up, like add belt loops and a belt. My dress was a huge pain, actually. It had a lot of fussy pleats and it fit really oddly. So it took a lot of seam ripping and adjustments to get to a decent looking dress for me...Oh and we made flower clips to wear in our hair.
I made a simple vest for Jack out of the same fabric from my dress. I used a pattern meant for older boys and men as my guide. I eyeballed the size for Jack. He was napping when I made it and I failed to take into account that he has a LONG torso, so it was a rather short (we just hiked up his pants :)). Oh well, can't win them all. As you can tell from the picture, he personalized it with his drool.
And these pictures are just because I thinks she's beautiful!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Stockings

Or as Elyette called them; "boots"... she's still new to this Christmas thing.
Makes sense to me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Give Thanks!

We're thankful for family!
Boz and his siblings.

McKenzie and Elyette

We're thankful for the outdoors!
Riding down to the canyon. Elyette is really good at off roading.
She was hanging and even swinging from the top bar of the Jeep.

Our little family picnic in the canyon.

We're thankful for food. :)I think we'll all agree the cows were Jack's favorite.
He was squealing and chasing them with out stretched arms anytime one was in sight.
Elyette claims "Jack wants to eat them".
Mmmmm, me too, dude, me too.

We're thankful for Photoshop.Good ol' family picture attempts. Pre-edited.
We had good time at the Ranch this Thanksgiving.

We're thankful to be home!
We got home last night and put up our little Christmas tree and read a story about the First Christmas. We're so excited for Christmas and we're glad to be home!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fall Sewing: Black and White

Not much to say about the skirt. Simple. Easy. FREE. Ok, except the zipper, but the fabric came from an old drape sample from FabMo. The fabric for the blouse was not a bad price either. Just $3/yard from Eddie's Quilting Bee. I loved the swiss dot texture. This was my first "blouse". I adapted a pattern I got to change the neckline and make it a tie front instead of a high collar. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. Most button up blouses just don't fit me right. Its nice to have one that fits well!

Sorry the pictures are really noisy. I'll try and retake them when I have better lighting...maybe, its rather painful for me to "pose" for these things, so it just might be on a hanger.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just Another Reason to Love November...

November 2003

November 2004

November 2005

November 2006

November 2007

November 2008

Good times...
To MANY more Novembers to come, Happy Anniversary. I love you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday to Elyette

You've been anxiously awaiting this day, Elyette, when you'd be the wise old age of 3! And that you are. You've been through and experienced more than many 7 year olds!!! :).The first 6 weeks of your life you endured being traded back and forth between mom and dad in a baby carrier on campus. Mom even rocked you in your car seat while you slept during one of her finals! And despite your colic, you didn't even cry 'til she finished. You've always known what Mom needs. The next year and a half of your life, you came to know BYU's campus WELL. I'm sure you cheered the most when Mom and Dad graduated.

Shortly after that you welcomed your little brother into the world. I'm sure now you can't remember your world without him. You became quick friends and you've always taken good care of him and been a HUGE helper for Mommy.

We learned a lot together when we moved and entered the "real" world just 1 year ago. I know it wasn't easy for you and you even broke your arm during the whole process (you are one tough cookie, I can't believe how brave and strong you were through that), but you learned courage. And, like always, supported us through it all.

You are strong, thoughtful, talented, smart, beautiful, fun, compassionate, elegant, silly, tender, feminine, brave and growing into a fine young woman already! Thank you for being our cheerleader, parent, teacher, savior, and friend. We love you! Happy Birthday Monkey/Slimmy/Elyette!

-Mom and Dad

PS: Did we mention you're insane?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Insect Infestation!!!

Saturday morning, we woke up to quite a sight! Bugs of all kinds were EVERYWHERE! And more just kept coming. They were scattered across our table and buzzed all over the living room. They ate dirt and even each other!!! At one point, I even thought I heard them singing... Then, I discovered what was at the heart of this infestation.
The Queen Bee herself!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

To Do List - Halloween!

-put together costumes (new and recycled)...check.

-pumpkin patch...check.

-make Halloween cut-out cookies...check.

-carve pumpkins...check.

-eat "spooky" dinner Halloween night (Jack-O-Lantern Calzones)...check.

-Trick or Treat (with cousins!)...check.

-inhale sugar...CHECK!!!

and now, onto MORE holiday fun...

We Support Proposition 8

"We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children...

... we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

- The Family: A Proclamation to the World (1995)

For individuals, communities, and nations, as well as our families, vote YES on proposition 8. We will be.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth...

Here's what we did earlier this week :)...
DISNEYLAND!!! Aside from Elyette trying to jump off a car statue and splitting her chin after riding only ONE ride, we had a great time. Don't worry, it was pretty minor and a Disneyland nurse took good care of her and even gave her a Cinderella band aid.

Jack's Highlights:

-Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show : He clapped, laughed and danced the ENTIRE time.
- Winnie the Pooh ride (see picture).
- The goats at Woody's Halloween Roundup: He got really excited when they walked around him (almost knocking him over).

Elyette's Highlights:

-The Pinocchio ride: Not sure why she was so set on this ride, before we went to Disneyland even, but we rode it 6+ times.
- Getting dressed up: She got some good use out of her Cinderella and Tink (from last year) costume.
- The Princess Faire: She got to twirl and curtsy with Belle (Belle was REALLY cute with her) and chat with Aurora and Ariel. I was kind of mad actually, because Cinderella wasn't there. Elyette had her little heart set on seeing her. We got to see her on stage. I was hoping that would have been satisfying for Elyette, but when we started to wave and say good bye to Cinderella, sweet Elyette burst into tears and sobbed "I want to kiss her cheek!". Talk about a heart breaker! I was ready to run up on stage and grab Cinderella. It turned out ok though, she was a brave girl.

Boz's Highlight: Beating Elyette's score on the Buzz Lightyear ride.

My Highlights:

-Going on Tower of Terror with Grandma Rae (Boz's Grandma) :)
- Messing Boz up on the Buzz Lightyear ride.
- The "Nightmare Before Christmas" version of the Haunted House.

The biggest highlight though was seeing the kids have the time of their life!

It was a long night home Tuesday, but the kids were good natured. Elyette wore her Cinderella dress on the plane and everything. You can imagine all the turned heads and smiles that brought on. A few people asked to take her home with them :). She's a doll. Jack made buddies with some of the San Jose Earthquakes soccer team players and his uber cuteness earned him a free cookie from a Starbucks by our gate (nice flirting dude)!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How Great Thou Art

I've been playing the guitar a lot lately and ignoring the piano, and I think I started getting bored of it, so I thought I'd throw in another piano song. How Great Thou Art.

When is it ok to start doing Christmas songs?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall Sewing: Slimsterella

Slimsterella: That's what daddy calls this fuffy, twirling, blue muffin anyway. After given a few suggestions for Halloween costumes, Elyette, unwaveringly, wanted to be Cinderella. It was really hard to explain to her that "mommy has to work on it" and she must wait. Anytime Cinderella crossed her mind she'd say "have to work on it, mom". She's been talking about Halloween for weeks and weeks now, and she's learning patience. Her costume came in phases.

Phase 1: Fabric. We waited for sales of course. She had a blast with me picking out what we needed, but then she had to wait some more...

Phase 2: The petticoat*. I didn't have enough lining fabric so its very "pieced" together, but hey no one sees it anyway. This costume development held her over well. Elyette has wore the petticoat literally everyday. Even slept in it.

Phase 3: The dress. This one took a lot longer to get started on. When I have a "project", I have to mentally pound it out to see what it is that I want and how best to accomplish that. And in some cases it takes me little while to get the motivation to just do it (mostly due to fear of mistakes). Elyette's been very patient and I finally got to it and finished it 2 weekends ago.Phase 4: Accessorize! Gloves, earrings, choker, headband, and of course, glass slippers. I was hoping to find some affordable clear jellies. Now I've got skills in online deal shopping, but it just wasn't happening. The ones we got are big so they'll make good church/Easter shoes. Plus, Grandma Millar found some light up ones at the Disney store we are so looking forward to seeing.

The accessory details were all Elyette, by the way. She meticulously studied Cinderella thankfully I talked her out of "fingers" for the gloves and wearing the headband OVER her ears...

All in all, it was not mistake free by any means and of course, I had my frustrating moments, but in the end this was BY FAR my favorite thing I've made. Any disappointments melted away when a beaming little girl put on her masterpiece. I'm still totally a beginner, but I'm really LOVING this sewing thing, especially for such an easily pleased crowd. Its VERY rewarding! And she looks DARLING!!!

-Um, in case anyone notices she's wearing only one earring in the picture, she lost one already (hopefully that will show up).

*Ok, so for those that are thinking, "a petticoat even? Geeze, a little overboard, don't you think?"- Yes, I totally agree :). This costume is "DELUXE" because it was fun for me :). Elyette would have been happy with anything, but I really wanted to try my hand at something a little more elaborate than usual. I didn't cost much more and I had the time (or so I thought:)), so why not?