Thursday, December 19, 2013

Recents: including ballet's, lights, parties and Santa

We have been pretty busy, but also having a wonderful Christmas time. It feels like it is going so fast this year.

Elanor and I went and saw a local production of The Nutcracker ballet. It was so fun to take her, but made me miss ballet so much.
Elanor is all ready to go into the theatre. She would not make any normal faces....
Cute little outfit, all from my mom.
Elanor just waiting for the show to start.
 We went and saw Santa down at the Gateway and it was very fun and relaxed. We loved this Santa, he was tiny, super old and adorable.

If you live in Utah, seeing the Temple Square lights is a must. 

Elanor's birthday was last week, but she had her party this week, so Tyler could be there. She had a Charlie and Lola party. Charlie and Lola are books by the British author, Lauren Child. It was also made into an adorable children's show in Britain (almost all of the episodes are on youtube fyi). Elanor is pretty much really, really into them (as she would said).

I made a chocolate cake with peppermint frosting (Elanor's request).

Tyler drew this awesome Charlie and Lola backdrop. Elanor is wearing some "Lola" bows I made for her.
We had a coloring table.
We watched one 10 minute Charlie and Lola episode while drinking some homemade pink milk.
Elanor opening gifts!
We have had a fun and busy week. It is not over yet! My mother-in-law got in last night. She came to see Elanor's recital, which is tonight! Then, tomorrow we are driving to Oregon!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Weekly Photo

Yes, I know you have all seen this photo already, but I want it to be part of my Weekly Photos because I am going to be making a photo book of all my Weekly Photos from 2013 and I want this one in it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to This Three Year Old Girl!

Three! Can you believe I have a three year old! One and two are big milestones, but three feels huge. She is not a baby or even a toddler anymore, Elanor is a kid. She does not let me forget it either. "I can put my shoes on, I'm big", "I can turn off my light myself", "It's ok, Mommy, I can get water for myself because I'm grown-up". Not quite, little missy. She has been enjoying the fact that she actually can do so many things herself and does not need my help, which is both liberating and sad for me at the same time.
I talk about Elanor all the time on here (is there anything else I talk about?), but I'll give you a little blurb about this here girl.

She is really so smart. I love reading other people's kids silly conversations and while Elanor does say funny things, she says them on purpose and does not often say goofy kid things because she often already talks like a grown-up. 

Elanor loves to pretend. When we are in the car, she often talks to herself making up stories (which she is a part of). I will ask her what she is talking about and she just says, "I'm talking to myself". Then, I hear little mutterings about witches, monsters, and princesses.

This girl also loves to perform (I wonder where she got that from...). She loves to sing and dance for people and make movies (of herself doing said things). She is definitely a people person and an extrovert. She loves hugging, kissing, snuggling and getting into people's personal space. Elanor does not really have "personal space", she is always ready for hugs, etc.

She has a will of her own ( a good and bad thing). She also does not do so well when tired. For example, yesterday she was throwing a tantrum right before bed and once she was calmed down I asked her what that was all about and she said, "I don't even know. I'm just tired." Well, I admit to having similar behavior...

She is overall such a joy and I feel so blessed to have her, Elanor  specifically. She is exactly what we needed. We love her so much.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Weekly Photo

Nice smile there, kid.
Tyler and Elanor in front of the Polar Express (an old-fashioned train in Heber, UT).

It was so hard to choose a picture this week! We did so many fun things and there were so many cute pictures to choose from. However, almost every Weekly Photo is of Elanor and I wanted to get someone else in a picture. My aunt bought us tickets to go on this Polar Express themed train ride and we went this past Thursday. Elanor loved it! There will be more on this later in the week!

Friday, December 6, 2013

O, Christmas Tree... lovely are your branches.
Elanor loved decorating the tree this year! She was super excited to unwrap all the ornaments and remember which ones were hers,  and to find a place for them on the tree. Decorating the tree is always one of my very favorite Christmas traditions. We have Christmas music on, we do it together as a family, and it is always such a joyful experience.

I also love to sit near the tree at night, with only the Christmas lights on and just look at the tree, with a mug of hot chocolate in hand. It is so peaceful and wonderful.

Also, is there anything quite as adorable as this?:

Micah and Elanor did this on their own (they were pretend sleeping), there was not any posing from me (just picture taking).

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Weekly Photo

Looking for the perfect tree.
{Yes, I would much rather choose a tree from a farm, but we are not in Oregon and Christmas trees do not grow so well in the desert. Also, with Tyler being so busy, we do not have much time to drive an hour into the mountains to go to a Christmas tree farm, unfortunately.}
Yes, I should have had a picture from Thanksgiving, but I took zero pictures. That is correct, zero. There are three reasons: 1-I was quite busy. 2-I was having way too much fun. 3-I just completely forgot (see 1 and 2). I love Thanksgiving and I missed my family, but it was fun to have it with friends (all of whom did not have family near either). The food was delicious (it was a joint effort, everyone brought something!) and it was such a perfect day. We played games, ate way too much, talked a lot, Elanor had fun playing with friends, and we had Tyler here all day! The rest of the weekend was fun as well. Tyler still had to work, but he found time to go get a tree with us and decorate it! 

I love Christmas. I have always been confused how someone could like any other holiday more than Christmas. I, of course, love Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, 4th of July, etc., but Christmas is easily the winner. Perhaps, it is because my family does Christmas so well. I have such wonderful, dreamy memories of Christmas and I want Elanor to have the same sort of magical experience. Plus, does any other holiday (besides Easter) really celebrate anything more meaningful than what we celebrate at Christmas, Christ's birth (and everything else that goes with it, such as giving, being kind, helping those in need, etc.)? No, not really. 

I love the Christmas season (obviously)!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Finally Finished!

I started this quilt for Elanor's bed way back in July or possibly earlier. It took me awhile to cut everything out, sew, iron and then sew all together. I finished it all in September and then trying to work out our different schedules I got it to my friend, Megan, in October so she could quilt it.  However, since this is my first ever quilt, my backing and batting were not quite big enough, so I bought more fabric, sewed some more and gave it back to Megan. She finished quilting it super fast and I got it back last week. The very last thing I had to do was put the binding on the quilt and I finished last night! I have learned so much about quilts and sewing from this project and I know what to do/not do the next time around. I love how it turned out, but don't look to too closely.
 Yes, the lighting it pretty much terrible, but I am impatient. I wanted to take pictures and then get the quilt washed and put on Elanor's bed as soon as possible.
Again, sorry about the brightness.

The backing is a green and white striped flannel, for extra coziness.
Megan did this swirly, loopy quilting, which I love!
I am so glad this is done and I am quite pleased with how it turned out! Next time I make a quilt, it will not be quite so large though...

Have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! We are so excited for it! We are having it at our house with several friends and it should be a lot of fun and such a delicious meal (I have been making pies, and prepping for tomorrow already!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Weekly Photo

I love this photo. I am so glad she decided to smile so nicely!
However, last week was a bit more like this photo:

We have both been missing Tyler a lot. He has a crazy schedule (full-time school for his surgical tech license, every week day 8-12, though he often stays until 11pm or later working in the lab, doing homework, etc.--and it is a 30 min. drive. He also works three nights a week doing 12 hour shifts at Myriad Genetics). The poor guy is getting hardly any sleep, works and does homework so much and is just worn out. It is starting to take a toll on Elanor as well. She misses him a lot and has been a bit more whiney lately (last week was a hard week). We are so looking forward to Christmas, because Tyler has a break from school for almost a month!!! He is done December 12th!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

In the Kitchen

Remember when I used to do recipes every week? I hardly do. Something about summer and well, there is no real excuse actually. I have even taken pictures of food, made up some recipes and baked a lot, but they have just not made it on here. Sorry 'bout that.

I did however, recently make some really, really good cookies. I have this friend who is pretty much a pro cookie maker/decorator (check her out here) and decided to make one of her recipes. She has a recipe for Chocolate-Cinnamon Roll-out cookies and they sounded pretty good and I had some newish cookies cutters I wanted to use, so I made them. 

I was a tiny bit unsure if they were going to be good or not, you just never know with an untried recipe. These cookies are good on their own, but better with frosting. I made a cinnamon cream cheese frosting and the flavors went so well together, which caused my mouth to have a happy explosion. I had to keep giving them away because it was physically very difficult to stop myself from eating them. 
Little goof. We love making cookies together!
This recipe makes quite a few cookies, though is all depends on the size of your cookie cutters (I filled up four cookie sheets). So, maybe this is a good one to add to your Christmas baking list? My frosting recipe is also quite large as it was able to frost all of the cookies and there was still a little left over.

I made up my own recipe for the cinnamon cream cheese frosting. The only problem is that when I make stuff up I just add things until it tastes right. So, I am just guessing on measurements. So, don't make this if you like things to be just so with exactness and all that stuff, because that is just not how I roll. 

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
1-cup salted butter (2 sticks), softened
1- 8 oz. package of cream cheese, slightly softened
2 tsp. cinnamon--this is about the right amount, start with 1 tsp. and go from there. You might even need more than 2 tsp.
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Roughly 3/4-1 cup brown sugar--perhaps there was more or less (just to taste)
Roughly 3 cups of powdered sugar, more or less depending on sweetness and texture

Place butter and cream cheese in your mixing bowl and beat until fluffy, about 3-4 min. Next, add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg. Beat until light and fluffy (5 minutes or so), oh, you know, just to the perfect frosting consistency. Taste and test consistency and add more of anything if it needs it. If it is not fluffy enough, add more powdered sugar, the cinnamon flavor is not quite a much as you would like, add more cinnamon, etc. You can do it. This is how I cook and often bake all the time. Next time I make this, I will try to measure out everything and if you are lucky I will update this post.

A few tips:
--Don't frost all the cookies at once (unless you are giving them all away), keep your frosting in the fridge and frost before you eat. In my opinion, the cream cheese frosting is better fresh, rather than sitting there and getting crusty.
--When rolling out these cookies, and any roll-out cookie, do not roll too thin. The cookies should be quite thick, so roll out the dough to about 1/2 -3/4in.
--Most roll-out cookies are better the next day and keep for quite awhile. I found that to be the case with these cookies.
--Try baking two trays and freezing the rest of the dough for later use (you might find yourself getting it out only a week later).
--After you cut out your cookies, place them on your cookie tray (with parchment paper if possible) and put them in the freezer for 10 minutes. This will prevent your cookies from spreading. 
For example:

You should really try these cookies with the frosting. They are just tantalizingly delicious. 

Oh, and a fun fact about me: When I was a kid (8-11ish), I thought I made up the word "tantalizing". I guess I didn't.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Weekly Photo

Mid-November harvest.

It was small, but still fun to pull out those carrots and beets!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Weekly Photo

Snow day on Tuesday--and strangely enough it has been very warm since.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Snow is My Favorite and My Best"

---as Lola would say. Elanor is really into the British t.v. show, "Charlie and Lola" and today at the library we picked up pretty much every "Charlie and Lola" book they had. One of them was about snow, which was perfect seeing as we woke up to 3 or 4 inches of snow on Tuesday morning. I still get giddy with excitement when it snows and Elanor loves it just as much as I do. We were so excited and planned on eating breakfast first, but our friends were out playing, so we bundled up and went out!

It was fun while the snow lasted and we can't wait until the next snowfall!