Sunday, November 27, 2011

To The Moon and Back

We fit together like a glove...
Eternally Yours!!
Happy Fifteenth Anniversary!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gobble, Gobble...we are thankful

Thanksgiving 2011 will go down as one of our family's favorite holidays. We spent the day surrounded by family and friends, focusing on what we are thankful for -- not to mention grazing on food all day long.
Cousin Sage and Chloe LOVED every second of making their oreo cookie turkeys.
Can you tell this was a popular activity? Nate and best bud Chase had so much fun too.
A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I were watching an old episode of The Food Nanny where the chef showed how to make these cute rolls shaped like a turkey. The kids were all dying over them and begged for me to make them for Thanksgiving. They did turn out pretty darn cute. (behind the roll is the cornicopia waffle ice cream cone filled with reeses pieces and runts).
We were all too busy eating to get a tasty picture of our most delicious turkey dinner. Mila was in love with Alex's special jello dish that he made.
We felt so lucky to have this dear family join us for the day! Our kids are sure to always say, "the Coxes are practically family." Our friendship goes back eleven years ago -- as their daddy and our close friend Mark passed away suddenly five months ago we have been reminded how our families have been woven together for years and this close friendship has brought us joy but also an unbreakable union. The Cox Family is AMAZING!!! They were amazing before Mark died but their love for God and their family shines even brighter now. I love to see how Mark is able to still be apart of their family from the other side. It is a true testament of live after death. We feel blessed to call them friends--and if they ever wanted to change their last name to Ditto it's guaranteed that no one in our family would complain.
Birch drew our traditional "Thankful Turkey" that we all added our gratitude leaves throughout the day. Our list included:
  • clothes and a house
  • food and water
  • school and church
  • my relatives
  • hot showers
  • living by family
  • my parents
  • the Book of Mormon
  • computers and phones
  • eternal friends
  • turkeys and thanksgiving
  • scriptures
  • the Cox family
  • friends
  • nature
  • the priesthood
  • everything
  • my family
  • that family's can be together forever
  • school
  • Jesus
  • Grannie
  • Sara
  • My Lover
  • My girls
  • trips
  • church
  • food

This past year we have been so lucky to have Emi, Ryan, and the girls live just five minutes away. We regularly swap kids, double date occasionally, enjoy many dinners together, help each other with projects, and talk several times a day on the phone. Mila is in love with Birch and loves her kisses from Aunti Sara. It's looking like they are going to spread their wings and move in a few months. We're going to miss them BADLY. Thankfully they are not scared of a little car drive so hopefully their visits here will be frequent. It was a treat having them (and their co-worker) join us for Thanksgiving.

The evening was spent putting the house back together again and then watching the debut of the movie I put together of the "Cox and Ditto's Sheep Lake 2011 Camping Trip." Both of our families do not do sleepovers but we do occasionally babysit each others kids overnight. Thanksgiving night was one of those nights -- the Cox family stayed overnight so Brooke, Emi, and I could head out for same late night and early morning Black Friday shopping. We joined the crazy Walmart crowd and cashed in on some great deals (especially price matching with other store's Black Friday deals). The kids loved spending most of Friday together too.

Lastly, I must share the most delicious and fool-proof turkey recipe.

Smoked turkey

1 turkey

2 c. tenderquick (in the salt section in a blue bag)

1/2 c. rock salt

3/4 small bottle liquid smoke

2 gallons hot water.

1 large syringe and needle (it's recommended to get the largest guage needle you can find. You can find them at places like coastal farm or other supply stores. I used a 16 guage needle. They are really inexpensive, $2-3 and you can use them forever)

I got a bucket from lowes for about 2.00. Fill the bucket (we put our turkey in a cooler) with the hot water, tenderquick, rock salt and liquid smoke. Stir until everything is dissolved. Place the bird on a cookie sheet with sides (jelly roll pan) Shoot the bird with 6-8 cups of the brine, or until the bird starts to leak. Then submerge the turkey in the brine/bucket for 24 hours. After 24 hours put bird in a paper bag and roasting pan and cook @ 200 degrees for 12 hours.

Tip: I lightly sprayed the inside of the bag with Pam so the bird wouldn't stick. Bird will look more pink than a regular cooked bird, but it is done and delicious.

**the only drawback to this recipe is the gravy isn't very good -- it's too salty.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's been going on at our house this month...

Cross Country Meets for Alex --This kid is on fire. He says he "doesn't love running but he is good at it." Alex surprised himself each meet with being able to beat his previous time. Not sure if he'll be back next year but this year was amazing! It was FREEZING at his last meet.
Enjoying the last of the warm days...
Alysee filled each warm fall day out catching praying mantis, playing with our friend's kitty, wishing she had a pet, and begging for a pet.

Dirt Biking for Tyler and Alex --
Right near where Nate plays soccer every Saturday there is a great dirt biking course. Tyler has had a great time going off of jumps and getting flat tires from all the goat heads.

Soccer and more soccer for Nate --
This kid is on fire too! Nate is amazing to watch and even made those chilly Saturday mornings worth it. He can't wait until next season.

Pumpkin Carving time--
I told the kids that they were on their own this year with cleaning out the guts. Everyone got on their brave faces and dug in. (please note Coop's cool hair du -- every day he surprises me with something new)

Candy and more candy for Chloe (oh yeah, and Halloween fun)--
Chloe, our candy-fen, loved every minute of Halloween. She exclaimed to Birch, "I just LOVE this day" as she truck or treated to each car.
Halloween 2011: Tyler - skateboarding gangster dude, Nate - ninja guy, Coop - rock star, Chloe -- fairy, Alysee -- Little Bow Peep, Alex -- solemn teenager.
Halloween night we had a super spooky dinner. The kids each picked five items from the menu of: brain goolash (jello made in a brain mold), moldy spider web (salad), witches finger (bread sticks), Boogers (Parmesan cheese), Pooper Scooper (spoon), worms (spaghetti noodles), Eye Balls (meatballs), Fish Eyes (pomegranate), Blood (spaghetti sauce), Vampire Venom (milk), Pitch Fork (fork). I remember doing something like this when I was a kid and loving it -- our kids did too!

Cousin time --
Emily and Ryan went on their anniversary get-a-way ten months late and the girlies started at our house. They were champs and even slept in way past their usual morning wake up time. The cute dresses the girls are wearing all had personalized applique work that Emi did for each of them -- super cute!

Rock Climbing Trip for Daddy --
Birch and his friend headed to Sunshine Wall for a morning of climbing fun. Looks way to high for me!!! We've got a second rope now so we're planning for more family climbing fun when it warms up again.
For me: Lots of photoshoots (and hours of editing) with my hubby, organizing 104 hygiene kits to be made by wonderful women at church, read the "Last Lecture" and loved it, went on a long awaited date to see "Courageous" with my hubby and LOVED it (GO SEE IT), designed several holiday cards and posters for events, helped put on our elementary school jog-a-thon that raised over $11,400, and did a presentation on Organization at our church's Women's Conference filled my days. I will admit I filled my plate way too full this month. I'm trying to go on a diet (of activities) this month and focus more on my loved ones. Pass me the Slim Fast please!

A little re-cap of some Ditto entertainment too:

Click here if you can't see the movie: