...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Week 2011

This past week has been all full of Halloween excitement at our house.  I love this holiday; it is all about just having fun and I think that is fabulous.

We started the week leading up to Halloween with a trip to Gardner village to see the witches.  This is a family tradition and we all LOVE it!  Whoever decorates that place does an amazing job and we love wandering around enjoying their hard work. 
 Every child has a favorite witch that they look forward to seeing.  But there is so much more than witches to feast your eyes on.  There is something fun in every nook and cranny and the on site bakery smells fabulous so all of your senses get a delicious overload.  It is wonderful. 
Here are a few pictures of our exciting day.

Ellie and Aubrey sharing an old fashioned buggy ride (it was really just them sitting in the buggy and Josh wiggling it a bit, but it was still fun). 
The boys worried about the witch with a boat fully of explosives on the Gardner Village pond!  Yikes!

Logan showering at a witchy watering hole.

 Witches pedaling over top of the cutest kids on the planet (I'm not biased at all). 

It really was a fun way to spend an afternoon.  We all had a great time.

Logan had his pre-school Halloween party on Friday.  After telling me all month that he wanted to be a Power Ranger, he adamantly expressed his desire to be a pirate instead.  So, we put it together and off he went.  He attends the greatest pre-school in the world and has the most amazing teachers.  He had a great day. 

Saturday was pumpkin carving.  We hauled all of our large, home-grown pumpkins in from the garden and set to work.   Our creative juices were wildly flowing as we sculpted our creations.  It was loads of fun. 
 Saturday was also our ward trunk-or-treat activity.  Everyone gathered at the church to collect candy from the back of every one's car.  The kids always love this and Josh has a great time wandering with them and chatting with friends while I hand out candy.

Many people decorate their car trunks.  This one startled Ellie.  The motion activated snake rattled its tail while she snuck a treat.

Here is Logan being treated by a couple dressed as tail gaiters (what a fun -- and warm -- idea).

Josh, Ellie and I dressed as pirates.  Bryce and Parker are "zombie hunters" (that was a tough one, I had no idea what "zombie hunters looked like so with the help of my awesome sister-in-law, Jenny, we made it up).  Aubrey is Hollie Short (a pixie police officer from the Artemis Fowl books).  Gavin is Spiderman (thanks for the hand-me-down costume Cathy) and Logan switched back to Power Ranger for the evening.

Our family got into the dress up fun and we all had a really great week.  I hope you all have a very

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A couple of FuN pRoJeCtS

Holidays are a great excuses to do fun projects with the kids.  Here are a couple that we have tackled the last week or so.

My mom found this cute craft to create jack-o-lanterns using old milk cartons. 

First, drink a whole bunch of milk (or better yet, chocolate milk).  Then clean out the empty cartons and hand them to your children with a magic marker (this is the dangerous part).  Let them use their creativity to transform said milk carton into a pumpkin face.

After the tykes are done you will probably want to go back and fill in their coloring because they will probably leave lots of spaces in their drawings (at least my kids did).  The faces need to be really dark in order to show up well.

Next, buy a couple of strings of orange twinkle lights.  Cut a space in the back of each milk jug and shove some lights inside.  If you are anal (like some of us) count your lights and be sure there are an equal number of lights inside and then spacing in between each jug.  I also painted the lids green so that I didn't have mismatched pink and red and brown caps on the jugs (that really annoyed me).  I sprayed the entire project with acrylic finishing spray to seal everything.  

In real life each individual light doesn't show up quite as much as this picture makes it seem.  The jugs just sort of glow orange, but my camera decided to honor each little bulb on its own so you can see them all...but you get the idea. 

What a fun project, and the kids LOVED it (which is the whole point in the first place).

This is sort of how they look chillin' in our front yard.


Just for fun, we decided to make sugar cookies the other day.  We had so much flour smattered, sticky frosting fun that we couldn't help but share.

First we made the cookies (AAARGH!  A tray of naked sugar cookies!).  My favorite sugar cookie recipe below.
Next we pulled out our colored sprinkles and decorations and we let the kids go wild!

Aubrey did most of the frosting because that was a struggle for most of the little kidlets.  She is such a sweetheart.  I just adore that girl.

This is my adorable niece who was hangin' in our hood
for the day.
Everyone added sprinkles and shapes to their cookies.

 Some added more decoration than others.

But everyone had a great time and finished with a smile (and some crumbs) on their face.  So.  Much.  Fun.

Sugar Cookie Recipe:
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/4 lb butter
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon -- juice and zest (I just use juice)
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup cream
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking pdr
Flour to make stiff dough ( about 4 - 4 1/2 cups)

Refrigerate dough for an hour or so then roll out in a thin sheet, cut and bake at 450 degrees for about 7 minutes.  They are very yummy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

True Blue in Provo

My mom found an amazing deal on BYU football tickets ($5 a piece) so we schlepped to Provo to watch the game.  This was the first college game the boys had ever watched at the stadium so they were pretty excited about the whole thing. 
 We made our way to Provo and accidentally missed all the traffic (not that we wanted to be stuck in traffic, but we had expected it) so we arrived nearly two hours before kickoff (oops).  We parked on Canyon Road and walked to the stadium where the boys explored all the nooks and crannies and could not wipe the gigantic grins off their faces.
Bryce and Parker shot some hoops with the BYU women's basketball team (they were amazed how tall those girls were). 

Our seats were extremely nosebleed, but we were happy to have them. Besides, the boys had a good view of the entire field and that was exciting for them.  Bryce in particular was completely entranced by the game.  He was giddy, it was so much fun to watch him.  Parker was surprised that the field was so small -- it looks bigger on tv. He spent a lot of time on my lap asking question after question about everything around him (football and not so much).  It was a magical sort of afternoon and I'm so glad I got to spend it with three of my favorite guys. 

 By the time we were driving home we were all bushed (some of us may have nodded off, but we won't admit it if you ask so don't bother asking).  Josh and I came home sporting raccoon style sunburns on our faces, but it was so worth it.  What a good trade for such incredible memories.  And it was a two-for-one deal because not only did we have a great time, but also BYU won the game (or rather, slaughtered the other team, it was a bit of a blow out).
What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon in fall.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why life with a two year old is fabulous

Without an adorable two year old to lead the way there is no way on earth that this eleven year old boy and his seven year old brother would dance around the room to "Thriller."  That is one thing about princesses, they melt even the biggest, toughest hearts. 
I love it!

Life around this little face is always worth smiling about!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How to Host a Murder...50's style

Have you ever held a "How to Host a Murder" party?

I am a big fan.  I love these parties in a box (complete with character layouts and plot twists and the whole "who dun it" experience).  I think these parties are loads of fun.  Since we usually ask our guests to dress their part, we thought this was a perfect activity for the Halloween season. 
FYI: You can pick them up at any store that sell board games, but this one I found at a thrift store, fully intact and it cost me a whopping $1.00 (just keep an eye out).  Anyway, there are lots of different games (I highly recommend the Chinese one --Hoo Hung Woo -- or the 20's gangster one -- The Chicago Caper).  The one we played this weekend was a 1950's themes party based in a malt shoppe surrounding the murder of the famous rock star, Rock N. Roley (he's fake, don't look up his greatest hits). 

We did our best to turn the house into a 50's diner (within reason) and invited over the required number of couples (this was the hardest part because it was hard to pick just three couples...we'll have to do it again soon).  From our candy counter to our cheesy jukebox and our fabulous menu (which didn't matter because our waitress wouldn't take orders for anything but roast beef anyway -- that was my adorable nine year old daughter, she was so excited to be part of the fun) we tried to set the scene.   
Josh and I threw together costumes with what we had on hand.  He was a stuffy accountant and I was a 50's now married party girl.  Everyone else got in the spirit of the evening as well and came in a costume fitting their assigned character (thanks guys).We sat around accusing each other and laughing and eating and just had a really fabulous evening (just so you know...Jay was the killer... who would have guessed?).  
Even though it has been several years since we hosted one of these parties, I find that I still LOVE them and I'm really glad we could do something unique and fun to celebrate the Halloween holiday!

Josh and I showing off our 50's duds.  If my belt looks familiar
you may remember it from this recent post.  Just so you know,
no one complained about my belt placement this time around
but Logan did tell me I looked pretty and should dress like
this all the time...think not buddy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Crohn's throws me a curve

Over the past week my little, forever friend, Crohn's Disease, invited a new symptom to come over and play.  Pretty much none of Crohn's buddies are welcome if you ask me, but I didn't get asked so I just get to manage the uninvited guest as best I can (he didn't even call ahead...for rude!).

This very attractive brace has actually been a big help.  It is
sleek and stylish and even offers my sore wrist needed support.
Anyway, it started in my right wrist.  The joint started getting achy and sore and at first I thought I had slept on it funny or twisted it or something.  But the discomfort and aching just kept growing no matter how careful I was with my wrist until I could barely move it and any bump from my one my kidlets had me wincing.  Then it started spreading to my left wrist and then into my ankles (FYI flights of stairs and sore ankles do not mix) and even a little bit in my knees.

After a bit of reading I have become a semi-expert in Crohn's triggered arthritis which is what I've got going on.  This may be my least favorite symptom yet.  I'm not a fan.

I had a visit with my GI this week and she told me that the joint pain and inflammation is linked to the Crohn's flares.  I mentioned that even being on meds for nearly two months, I still have waves of good days juxtaposed with nasty days (usually evenings).  She informed me that that is because I am not completely in remission yet.  My body is still trying to settle into its new "normal" with Crohn's Disease in tow.  It will probably be several more weeks until the symptoms are really put in their place until the next flare up.  That was actually a relief to hear, things will get better.  Hooray!

The joint soreness/stiffness does seem to be a kind of indicator of what kind of day I am going to have with my gut.  When my joints flare, my intestines seem to as well.  Those are the days I end up hovering in the bathroom trying not to lose my dinner or lying in a bath soaking in the calm that the hot water brings.

Life with Crohn's is no joy ride...well, I guess that isn't really true.  Life is beautiful and good, with or without Crohn's Disease.  Maybe Crohn's is here to help me realize just how beautiful those good moments are.  There is just so much about this life to smile about, even if there are cloudy moments in between (not that I don't do my fair share of whining when it is cloudy over here). I guess that's why God sent us here, though, to muddle through our struggles as best we can and try to come out stronger on the other side. 

And it helps if we try to enjoy the ride.

I, for one, am not perfect at that.  I have days that are a mess to get through where I just wish for the sun to set so the day can be over...but so does everyone else (I think?).  Thankfully, there are more days that I think of fondly than not.  As an added bonus I get to travel these roads with the most amazing people on the planet, God knew I would need them and I'm awfully glad that they are around.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"No pun in ten did"

Yesterday I was grumpy.  Josh felt bad for me, so he called me from work to try to cheer me up.  He read me page full of puns that a student gave him the other day.  I was very somber, I rolled my eyes at most of them and did not laugh (but I felt a little bit better by then end anyway). 

I thought I'd share them with you in case you are a little bit grumpy today too.

*The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was sir Cumference.  He acquired his size from too much pi.

*I thought I was an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

*She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

*A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of mass disruption.

*No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationary.

*A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

*A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France might result in Linoleum Blownapart.

*Two silk worms had a race; they ended up in a tie.

*A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall.  The police are looking into it.

*Time flies like an arrow.  Fruit flies like a banana.

*Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

*I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger; then it hit me.

*A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: "Keep off the grass."

*The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

*The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

*A backward poet writes inverse.

*In a democracy it's your vote that counts, in feudalism it's your count that votes.

*When cannibals ate a missionary they got a taste of religion.

*If you jumped off the bridge in Paris you'd be in Seine. (insane)

*A vulture boards an airplane carrying two dead raccoons.  The stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.'

*Two fish swim into a concrete wall.  One turns to the other and says, 'Dam.'

*Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly so they lit a fire in the craft.  Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

*Two hydrogen atoms meet.  One says, 'I've lost my electron.'  The other says 'Are you sure?'  The first replies, 'Yes, I'm positive.'

*Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal?  His goal: transcend dental medication.

*There was the person who sent ten punt to his friends with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh...no pun in ten did.

Hope you got a little smile out of it...and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

In Search of Fall

Fall has been conspicuously absent from my sweet little valley home (we've had loads of summer and even a couple days of winter, but it is nearly mid-October and still no fall!).  I think my favorite season may have gotten lost (I understand, I do that sometimes).

So we decided to go try to find it!

We headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon to make our search.

What we found was beautiful, and crisp and brilliant...but I'm not really sure we could classify it as fall.
The leaves were just barely starting to change so those deep, rich colors that I have been begging Mother Nature for are still not there yet (booooo!).  There were some yellows and some almost nearly oranges, but that was about the best we could find.

However, the Ghost of Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas had obviously visited the canyon because we found breathtaking views like this (even if they weren't what we were after).

So we decided to make the most of it and we had a fabulous afternoon.  We trounced around in the soggy snow (it was trying to decide whether to melt or not) and had a DeMoux family snowball fight (Ellie did not enjoy this at all).  We even watched some adventurous, possibly nutso, snowboarders shredding it up on the shallow bed of snow on the Snowbird runs.  It was pretty sick (or so say my kidlets).

We climbed on rocks and trudged through the muddy start of trails before climbing back in our Suburban and heading for home.  It was a wonderful outing.

But I am still missing fall. 

Here are s'more pictures from our wonderful weekend excursion.
Josh and I in the confused October canyon.

The boys.

The goils.

Cute little DeMoux hand and foot prints in the snow.

If you happen to run into Fall while you are out and about, please send him my way.  I would really appreciate it.  I miss him.
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