Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1st

One of our traditions is to decorate for Christmas the weekend after American Thanksgiving. So, after going across the border and hitting up all the black Friday deals we got to work on decorating. We put up what we could which included these lights and garland that Brayden loved seeing. We also had a artificial tree which is in our basement but we really had to wait until today in order to finish. We were waiting for a real tree at Costco. Finally they arrived today so we decided to finish. Here is a look. 
Brayden loving the lights. Fortunately he hasn't bothered with them much. 
The picture is a bit dark, but here is the fresh tree we got from Costco. I love it! It is our first grown up tree. The one in the basement is the kids' tree full of our cheap handmade ornaments that Philip and I painted when we first got married. It is mixed with handmade ornaments from Summer as well as an ornament that we get each year to remember our son Scott. I forgot to take a picture of it. 
I love the red sparkly hydrangea flowers I found. Thanks Joann Fabrics for the awesome sales. 

 We hit up a Christmas party for kids that Philip was invited to. It was a lot of fun. Brayden tried out Bowling for the first time. Five pin bowling is great for kids because the balls are small. I am horrible at it though. I am use to the heavy balls with holes for my fingers.
Summer had a lot of fun. She is working on getting the ball to go a little faster. 
 Of course we have to start December off with a visit from Santa. I didn't realize it until I looked at this picture but my little Summer is not so little anymore. I can't believe how tall she is getting. She had fun sitting on Santa's lap and of course receiving a gift. Santa was very generous.

This is how Brayden felt about the whole sitting on Santa's lap thing. He obviously didn't like it. As soon as I picked him up he stopped crying and waved goodbye to Santa.
 He was not shy about peaking into the gift he was given. He was so excited to push some buttons on the truck. Thanks Santa you made a little boy and girl very happy today.

 Last but not least we can't forget the advents. Philip brought two of these Lindt advents home from work yesterday. One for Summer, and one for me. Summer didn't wait long to open her first window. She came in my room at about 7:30am with a big smile on her face. She is definitely Mary Harvey's granddaughter. I opened my window up and gave the chocolate to Brayden which he loved.
When I saw this Lego calendar at Costco a month ago I had to get one. Philip loves Lego so I thought he would really like it. That he did. He and Summer both put this little guy together this morning. 

So, I hope your December is filled with a lot of Christmas cheer. Remember that Christ is a key word in Christmas. What a wonderful time to reflect on his birth and also his life. I am looking forward to teaching Summer more about it this year as she will understand more and actually remember more details. Merry Christmas everyone. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Crystal Gala

So Philip was invited to attend the Crystal Gala in Abbotsford. It is a fundraiser for the breast cancer center there. He asked me to go along with him. I am so glad I did. It was so much fun. This is as fancy as I was able to get because as you can see I am prego again and my nice dresses are not fitting at the moment.

When we arrived we went upstairs and it was all decorated in Broadway theme. Most of the ladies were done up in gowns and fancy jewelry. I should have taken a picture of the super cute decorations. It was fun and inviting. We enjoyed a nice dinner together that lasted for a long time. Following that there was dancing and more food which we decided to skip because it was already 11:30 p.m. and we needed to relieve Philip's sister and her husband from babysitting our kids. If we would have stayed it would have ended around 1:00 a.m. The majority of guests just had rooms booked which is smart since I'm sure most of them were drunk. Since we drank water and sprite we just went home. As we left we were given flowers and chocolates.

They also had a silent auction which I plan to donate some handmade items to for next years gala. It was a good cause and great to learn about it as well as have some fun.

Thanks Philip for taking me with you. I hope to go again next year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October = Pumpkins

This weekend we enjoyed conference and the refreshing words spoken through the spirit by so many great leaders. Since it was also Canadian Thanksgiving we had a longer weekend which was nice. Summer had Friday and Monday off of school. So, Monday we decided to head to the pumpkin patch as a family. 

Last year when we went it was freezing cold and wet. This year has been a surprisingly nice fall. It was  sunny on Monday which was perfect for the pumpkin patch. 
 We really like this pumpkin patch since there are so many fun things to do there. Picking apples, pumpkins, playing games, hayrides, picking corn, picking pears, drinking frozen apple cider, and much more.
Here are the kids at the entrance. 
 Of course there are several places to hide behind and get your photo taken. There were toys, games, etc. but Brayden was not interested in any of that. He just wanted to run and explore the place. So we just followed. 
 He went straight for the large selection of pumpkins that had already been brought in from the fields. 

 Summer loves helping her brother have fun. She is so good to him. 
 We skipped the hayride this year and took the wagon to the field instead. Brayden only lasted a few minutes before trying to climb out. Finally I just took him out and began the chase. 
 I managed to get him to look through the hole in the pumpkin to quickly snap a photo before he was off again. 
 Brayden and his dad. 

 The kids got to feed the baby goats. 
Brayden thought it would be a smart idea to climb in the bottom of the pen and sit close. Then the sheep came right up to him and he quickly fled. 

It was a lot of fun and I'm so glad it wasn't raining or muddy. We found some nice pumpkins. This year Summer even picked a large one. Usually she goes for the tiny ones because they are so cute. I love October and all the fun festivities that follow. This year Summer is going to be Rapunzel for Halloween and Brayden a ninja. Should be fun. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Seattle for the First Time

We have driven past Seattle many times going into the USA to visit my family in Idaho. However, I have never actually stopped and checked it out. 

Since we were there picking up a family member we decided to see a few things. We didn't see a lot, but what we did see was entertaining. We went down by the piers and walked along and made it to Pike Market. This was a lot of fun. They had the most amazing giant peaches, apples, and many other fresh fruits and veggies. Of course there was the fresh fish that was thrown to the back to get packaged up. I Wish I could have purchased a nice fat salmon. 
 These were some chili pepper arrangements. I think they just hang in your kitchen and dry out and then you can use them dried or just for decor. 
 We saw a guy with a parrot on the street. The parrot was quite amazing really. It reminded me of America's Got Talent. The bird could do handstands, back flips, meow like a cat, bark like a dog, and here it is playing dead after someone pretends to shoot it with their finger. You can see that Brayden doesn't quite know what to think. 
 The best part for me were the flowers. Several shops selling unbelievably beautiful arrangements for $5, $10, and $15. Here is the one I chose for $10. I really can't believe how inexpensive they are. They are really nice big flowers with no wilting. If I had this market at home I think I would always have fresh flowers. Wouldn't that be nice. 
  They are much nicer in real life. 
We walked through some other streets were they had some nice shopping but we didn't really actually shop. We mostly people watched as there are plenty of interesting people there. Same within the city of Vancouver. There are plenty of weirdos there too. It makes for great entertainment. 

It was actually fun and I can't wait to take my mom and sisters there. I was thinking if I ever took my brother-in-law Jeff he would not want to ever leave his home again. I think he would never return to the city. We will make sure to take him outdoors instead of seeing weirdos in the city. Haha. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On My Soap Box

So, usually I don't get up on the public soap box. Don't get me wrong I do have opinions, I just tend to share them with close friends and then let it go. However, I feel I can't just sit and say nothing about this current frustration I have.

Since posting this as a status on Facebook would be much too long I have reverted to my blog which I need to update more frequently anyways.

So all year long kids at school are given a bunch of fundraisers to obviously raise money for the school. As if they aren't annoying enough sending these home trying to get my kids to sell as many as possible so they can earn a prize of a silly dollar toy that will likely brake the same day. Seriously my daughter is always so excited to earn the biggest prize which is usually not likely to be reached. She doesn't ever know what the real purpose of the fundraising is for. Anyhow, this latest fundraiser sent home today was of course the Entertainment books. The ones filled with the coupons and are an outstanding $46 per book. There are of course the regular cheapy prizes which the kids get excited about trying to reach. However, for the second year since we have been at this school there have been extra prizes. Some are good normal prizes that I have now problems with like pizza parties, free front row tickets to the Christmas Concert, etc. The prize that frustrates me and I completely disagree with is that if the students sell at least 375 books as a school combined the principal will dress as a woman.

Now those of you who think this is OK will probably disagree with me, but I have an opinion too and it does matter! I do NOT think in any way is it OK to cross dress especially in a school or professional setting. What kind of idea does it give our children. The only thing my daughter repeated over and over all year last year was how her principal dressed up like a woman and went to each class room saying "I'm sexy and I know it." Now you might not think it is teaching them anything wrong, but when my then first grader asks me what does sexy mean and I have to try to explain it. Therefore it obviously creates thoughts and curiosities far above what students let alone elementary kids should be thinking about. I am already shocked that complete sexual education is taught in kindergarten. I was not ready for that one.

I firmly believe that kids are exposed to inappropriate sexual behavior at younger and younger ages and it does influence them. So I will not be supporting the Entertainment books and I will be writing a personal letter to the principal. Who knows if my disproval alone will do anything, but its better than not saying anything at all.

So there you have it. I am off my soap box and have probably offended some of you, but I listen to many of you speak your mind so I thought I would share what is on mine.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Canning and Baby Alligators

Let the canning begin. I hope to have a garden one day where I can can things that I have grown myself. For now I will stick to the farmer's market and the orchards for that.

A few years ago a couple good friends from Houston and I tried out canning peaches for the first time. I think I only made like 12 jars which were eaten fast. This year I wanted to try it again. I did a few things different than before and it went much smoother. My friend and I only did 14 jars to start as a trial run but plan to can 100 lbs next week. Cross your fingers they all seal and everything goes as smooth as this small batch. The peaches are so so good and came right from the Okanogan where apparently they are peach and cherry experts. 
 Here are the jars ready for the seals and then the water bath. 
 The finished peaches right out of the bath. I look forward to making some peach pie, some blueberry peach cobbler, and just eating them out of the jar.
 Next I wanted to try something new. Can you guess what I wanted to try? Pickles anyone? Philip hates pickles so much and has always referred to them as baby alligators. I guess they do kind of look like baby alligators. 

Even though he doesn't like them I wanted to make them anyways. More for me I guess. I have memories from my childhood of people giving us canned pickles and absolutely loving them. There is no comparison to store bought pickles even though I like those too. 

This time I was on my own. I went to the farmer's market with my kids and purchases all the supplies I needed. The dill weed sat in a vase overnight which gave the house a dilly aroma when we woke up. I cut up the cucumbers and had Summer help me put in the spices. It took me about three hours including clean up. 
 In the water bath. 
Finished and ready to sit for 3-4 weeks. I guess I have to be patient. Well, I must like pickles a lot because it made 21 pint jars. It was fun and now I know that I can do canning projects. It really isn't that hard. Now a pressure cooker is a different story. I would need a tutorial on that kind of canning.  Anyone want to teach me? What do you can in a pressure cooker anyways?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Long Road Trip

Well we are trying to get use to the late let out of school. We finally started summer vacation on June 29th. It seems so weird to have Summer in school for so long, however, the weather here was not summer weather in June anyways. 

After Summer enjoyed a week of horse riding camp we were ready to hit the road for our super duper long road trip. This time Phil took two weeks off so we had more time to squeeze in more places.

To start of the road trip we had to drive of course. It is a 16 hour drive to Provo, Ut which was our first destination. Add a couple hours when you drive with kids and it makes for a long road trip.

We left our 74 degree weather and as soon as we got out of the car in Oregon we felt quite a bit different. It was so much hotter and dry like being baked in an oven. I think I've been away from the Houston heat too long because I've become wimpy. 
 Anyhow, along the way we stopped at a rest stop in Idaho. Summer picked up a tumble weed and was so amazed by it. She brought it to me to show me what she found. Growing up in windy Idaho I have seen plenty of these things and have even hit a few with my car. The kids liked them but I insisted the souvenirs had to stay at the rest stop. 
 We enjoyed visiting Philip's aunt and uncle in Provo. It is always nice to see family that we don't often visit. We also went to BYU campus and looked around the bookstore. I reminisced my days of being a student there. It was fun being back. 
 Next we went to my grandma and grandpa's cabin a bit east of Heber. Philip has never been and I hadn't been in years. It was so so nice to see my family. I miss them all so much and it feels so good to see them again. I have so many memories of going to the cabin during the summer. Often times on or near my birthday. 
 As soon as we arrived Brayden found some mud. Philip decided to strip him down and let him get muddy. This is one boy who LOVES mud and dirt!

 This is down by the river that we always use to explore and play in when I was a kid. Summer loved it. 
 Summer and Brayden were pretty content with the cabin life. So much to explore outside, and occasional animals to see. 
 Summer especially loved the outhouse. I don't know why she chose to use it. It still scares me. Fortunately the cabin has normal flushing toilet and has had for a long time now. They still keep the outhouse though I guess for and extra bathroom. You won't catch me in there. Now that I think of it I am probably scared because of a story my grandpa use to tell us about an Indian that fell down and had to stay there for many many moons. Haha. As a kid I guess I really thought I would fall down. 
 I am so glad we were able to visit and show our kids the fun adventures outdoors. I love my grandparents so much and feel so fortunate for the visit we had with them. 
 Next we headed to Salt Lake City. We went to temple square for a while. I bought some really yummy Lion House rolls and honey butter. 

Summer thought it was cool to see the Salt Lake Temple. The grounds are always so pretty and full of flowers. We were able to go on a few tours we didn't realize they had. It was enjoyable. 
 Standing next to the Joseph Smith statue. 
 Of course we ended our trip in my home town of Rigby, ID. It was fun! We have not been in the summer time for four years, so we were able to do fun things. We went to the lake which was fun. Here is Brayden playing in the dirt again. He even loves to eat it. See.
 Yum Yum. 
 Summer wanted to be buried. So here she is deep in the sand. 
 Just playing.

 My nieces and nephews have always liked Phil because he usually joins them for fun. This time they pulled him on a blanket through the yard. They are all growing up now. It is weird to see them as teenagers. My oldest niece even has a baby now. So crazy! What is even more crazy is that my sister is a grandma. 
 Philip had never been to Yellowston National Park. I insisted that we finally make the 1 hour trip and go. The first stop was Mesa Falls. Here is my mom and Summer in front of the lower falls. 
 Us of course. 
The really big and pretty one is shown in a collage picture a bit below. It really is spectacular to see all of the pretty things that are in nature. 
 All Phil wanted to see was at least one buffalo or a moose. Well if you look really hard you can see what looks like a giant rock. It is actually a buffalo. 
See up a little closer you can see. 
After the day was over we were headed out of the park and saw it right up on the road. I couldn't get my camera out fast enough to take a picture of it right by the car but you can see how close it is. 
Yellowstone was really amazing. It is just so interesting. It was stinky like rotten eggs, but beautiful and mind boggling.  
 Philip is always teasing Summer about raccoons. Really he just likes to scare her and make her think one is going to come in the house. When we saw this stuffed one with sunglasses on in a gift shop we had to let her meet the little creature. She obviously didn't think that was a fantastic idea. 
 Perfect raccoon face. I should have bought the hat for her as a secret present from her dad and put it under her pillow. 
 Cowboy Brayden. 
 My nephew wearing a pair of boots that have survived so many kids at my moms house. They are a favorite among all the kids. In fact I know at least one of my older nieces would probably still wear them if the fit her. 

We were so busy the whole time that we really didn't get to visit any friends. Too bad because it would have been nice. Next time. 

Sadly we had to head home. That was another adventure. Brayden has an ear piercing scream that is going to make me go deaf soon. He usually does it in his high chair when he wants more food or is done eating. It is so loud and obnoxious. I don't know how to get him to stop. Anyhow, he decided that the car seat was another appropriate place to shriek. Lets just say he is not a good little car rider. 

We saw this car burning up and said a prayer that the people were out an OK. Then, thought how lucky we were that it was not our car. So scary. 
 Finally our adventure home hit it s climax when just outside seattle Brayden had a blowout all over his car seat. Fortunately I was in the back seat and saw it otherwise I am sure he would have been creating an art project on the window. We had to have an emergency pull over at some park and ride of the freeway. Philip had to strip him down, then held him poopy and naked up in the air for all the cars coming off of the freeway to see. I cleaned him while Phil held him. And of course we saw many spectators laughing at us in their cars as they drove past. It was awful. I will spare you the picture I took to show his wife someday. 

It really was so nice to have a longer vacation and to see so many people we have not seen in a long time. The car ride was long, but definitely memorable. We look forward to our next adventure.