"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Baby Love

The two kids had their turn, now we get to Baby.

Baby had a birthday. When we asked her what she wanted for her birthday, her only answer was "cake." While I'm all for giving her mounds and mounds of cake, I thought she ought to have something that won't rot her teeth. Then she saw a commercial for those Lalaloopsy dolls…and became mildly obsessed. Any time she got to write a letter to Santa or meet with him, she was begging for those things. I think they're weird but hey, my baby gets what she wants. And now that she has one, she even more addicted. She asked me to make an outfit for her just like her doll's. I can't really sew that well so that's not going to happen. I'm hoping the additional outfits that Santa brought will satiate her need for more, more, MORE!

Maybe she's more like me than she seems.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Oh Boy, Oh Boy!

With only one boy child in the house, I am sometimes left confused as just what to do with him. He will join us for a tea party, but only of his Kung Zhu hamster can come, too. Usually, I throw some Legos at him while I fix the girls' hair. When I get the girls hair stuff or jewelry, I can't help but feel that I'm leaving him out, so I tend to give him the larger dessert or He didn't want to take a dance class but I still wanted him to be active, so I put in him soccer over the summer. Once soccer ended, I was stuck. Then, I found something else he would enjoy: Karate.

This is Boy, earning his white belt. After his first class, the instructor thought he was ready to move to a more advanced class, because he already seemed to know the stances and moves. She asked me where he took karate before. I just smiled like a proud momma and said this was his first lesson. There was no need explain that his skills most likely came from watching hours of Power Rangers.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Spirit of Christ(mas)

May your Christmas be filled with joy and happiness as we celebrate the arrival of our Savior here on earth.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Poor Man's Almond Roca

I've been making candy all week. My mom's recipe for caramels. My dad's recipe for fudge. Then my friend Amanda posted about toffee bars. Mmmmm…toffee bars. My mom used to make almond roca that was to die for but I've never attempted it and didn't have her recipe. So I took a look at Amanda's recipe link, made some of my own changes, and came up with this:

Faux Roca
1 pkg graham crackers
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups almonds, ground up in your food processor

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Use aluminum foil to line a 9x13 pan, then spray with cooking spray. 
  • Use graham crackers to line the pan as close to the edges as you can get. You might need to break the crackers into smaller or skinnier pieces.
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in brown sugar and stir. 
  • Turn up the heat to medium high and bring the sugar to a nice frothy boil while you keep stirring. This should take about 5 minutes.
  • Pour sugar mixture over crackers. Use a spatula to spread it out to cover all the crackers.
  • Place pan oven for five minutes or until the sugar mixture is bubbling. (Took mine about 7 minutes.)
  • Once it's out of the oven, evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and let them melt. 
  • When melted, spread chocolate so it covers everything, making sure to keep it even.
  • Before the chocolate cools, sprinkle nuts over the top until all chocolate is covered. Press them down into the chocolate. You may have nuts leftover and that's fine.
  • Let cool completely.
  • Break into pieces and enjoy!

The crunch from the crackers mixed with the toffee makes for a very similar roca experience and doesn't require a candy thermometer. And you can't go wrong with something smothered in chocolate and nuts.

What are your favorite Christmas treats?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


My eldest, da Boo, is quite an interesting girl. When relatives ask what she likes, I say she has strange tastes but she's pretty easy to please. She wears sparkly shirts while hunting for bugs, invites Lego robot creations to her tea parties, and will read anything she gets her hands on (she even read my Twilight "graphic novel").

One thing she's asked Santa for this year is an amulet that will let her turn into an animal. In preparation for her new abilities, she's been practicing.

Here, she sports a tail. It's really the faux fur trim that unzips from her coat hood. But to her, it's an encounter with the wild and magical, as she anticipates roaming the hills as a wolf. Who else would have thought of that? Well, maybe me when I was her age. Sad to admit it but my dorkiness took root in my early years.

Even with all her quirks, she's still pretty wonderful. In fact, her quirks and wild imagination make me love her all the more! And really, how could I not?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

When Gingerbread is Better Than Horoscopes

I like traditions, especially holiday ones. Some times I get a little too focused on keeping them, that I kinda sorta turn into the Traditions Dictator. It's one of the things I'm working on.

Every year, we decorate a gingerbread house. Well, not exactly. Last year, we made a train, or rather, they fought over which sections of the train they got to smear with tasteless frosting and cheap candy. It fell apart before the kids could eat all the candy off it when they thought I wasn't looking. 
This year, I found a gingerbread village, with five little houses. I wouldn't have to split my time between defending property lines and dividing the scant candy offerings. This might actually be a fun family moment instead of kids throwing tantrums and parents' heads exploding.

So we opened the bags of candy, kneaded the bags of prepared frosting, and sat down to build memories. Snowman even joined us. And I saw each of my children's personalities manifested in sugar and stale cookies.

On the far right, we have da Boo's creation. Choosing to not follow the suggestions on the box, she did her own thing, borrowing heavily from what I was doing. And just when she thought she might be finished, she dumped a whole lot more sprinkles on the roof. 

The A-frame belonged to the Boy. He got right to work with the icing, barely letting his sisters get time with the bag. And his visions were grand! Big, big plans he had! Sure, he started out copying me but then decided he had better ideas. Alas, his schemes were more complicated than royal icing and gumdrops could provide. Tears were shed but in the end, he was satisfied with his work. 

Then we get to Baby's house on the far left. The Man attempts to remain an observer but she takes over and gets him to do all the work for her, except when it comes to candy placement. And should she decide that mound of sprinkles doesn't quite work in that location, she moves it. To her mouth. In fact, the following morning, I have the nerve to take a shower, thus leaving my toddler unsupervised for fifteen minutes. And that was all the time she needed to finish off the candy she missed the night before, along with most of the frosting. By the time I got back downstairs, she was the one that needed a shower.

The last two houses belong to me and the Snowman. Can you guess which one is whose? The one on the left is called a "red roof inn" and not the type that normal people know as hotels. These red roofs are all over Philmont Scout Ranch. As a bathroom. If you look inside -- and I don't recommend that you do -- you can see the, uh…seats.

And then I got a little too into decorating my house. Maybe it's because I haven't been able to decorate very many cakes lately.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition? 
(The one you'd gotten a bit fanatical about? Come on, people! Help me not feel like such a freak…)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When Saying Nothing Means "Yes"

Victory is mine. Mine! All MINE!

How, you ask?

Because of the newest member of our family.

This is Matilda. She was our rent-to-own dog. And now? She's mine.

I've had a dog for nearly my entire life, along with a hamster, an assortment of birds, and even a lizard. The Man has never had a pet of any kind. Not even a goldfish. So the thought of having a dog is not a pleasant one for him. But I wanted one. The kids wanted one. Then one of my friends had to find a new home for her dog and it seemed the perfect opportunity.

We'd keep the dog for two weeks, long enough for the novelty to wear off and the real responsibility to set in. The kids and I would share the task of taking her outside for walks (we don't have a fenced backyard) a few times a day, always cleaning up after her. Since she's an indoor dog, she'd need a bath once a week. Her food dish and water bowl would need to be filled daily. It was a lot of duties. There was also the condition that if the dog wasn't what we could handle,  she would be sent back, even we only had her a few days.

After the first week, when everything went well and the kids were completely enamored, I started pleading our case to the Man. Matilda is a mini Schnauzer and she doesn't shed. She's pretty good at letting us know if she needs to go outside. When we're not home, she stays in her kennel. At night, she goes to bed shortly after the kids and sleeps in the Boy's room (the Man rarely needs to interact with her). She doesn't chew on things. She doesn't drool or beg. All she asks is that we give her plenty of affection (and that whenever I sit down, she gets first dibs on my lap). Plus, all of her gear and supplies were free. She is a really good dog.

The Man said nothing. As Thanksgiving - and the end of the two weeks - approached, he started walking away whenever the topic of the dog came up. Since he wasn't saying no, I took that as a yes. Matilda now wears a new collar with a new tag, featuring my information as her owner. The kids are very good about taking care of her and she is constantly within a three-foot radius of me (except when the Man gets there first).

Sometimes, it's just better to ask forgiveness instead of permission.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Once There Was A Snowman...

So, I should probably blog...or something…

We've had a few changes around the G. household, in that we've added two new members. (And no, I AM NOT PREGNANT! Stopping asking! Geesh…rude.) Shall we meet the first one?

This is the Snowman…

…with his adorable girlfriend (who shall be known as Snowgirl). In all fairness, he was fighting off bronchitis when he fell asleep during a movie. And snored. Really loud. So we just had to take a picture. And post it on Facebook.

The Snowman is my nephew. He moved out here to Utah to live with us while working and saving before he goes on his mission (not LDS? Go here.) next summer. So why do I call him the Snowman, other than his utter lack of skin pigment? Because he works at a local ski resort and will freeze his skinny bum off. (And just between you and me? Another reason he's here is so I can fatten him up because that boy has no body fat. Poor thing lacks an insulating layer.)

Per his mother's instructions, Snowman has one night a week when he makes dinner. It's rather nice…I might have to let more people move in just so I can give them a night to cook, too. Among his other talents are his ability to be so quiet we forget he's here, communicating with the outside world purely by text, speed-reading all my books, and giving Baby someone to blame whenever anything goes wrong.

Any words of advice for the Snowman?

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