Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"I Wanna Wish You Merry Christmas"



As many of you already know, Dave and I are big fans of The Killers. Well, despite the temperatures outside, our love does not wax cold during the Christmas season.

May I present to you reason #77 we love The Killers:

Annual Christmas Singles. 

Oh, yes. You read that correctly. Annual Christmas singles. Beginning in 2006, The Killers began releasing a Christmas single each December. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the singles are then donated to charity, specifically Product Red.  The songs touch upon several aspects of the holiday season that we love, from the nostalgia of childhood memories, to the faith of the man who would serve as Jesus Christ's earthly father, to the redemptive power of the Atonement.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

 


 



Our boys' current favorite is "Don't Shoot Me, Santa!"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Best Bread Pan

Dear Sisters,

I have a variety of bread pans. Some are SUPER old and some are somewhat newer. However, I was so displeased with them all, that I went in search of better pans.

Enter the Norpro 10-inch non-stick bread pan. I LOVE THESE PANS. Your bread slides out effortless, no need to grease your pans! They bake perfectly without burning. And I love the size…long and narrow. The size and shape is more similar to a grocery store loaf…no more giant slices.

I love them. Truly. Do yourselves a favor, let Santa know that these are on your list this year.

Love, Kate

Baking, Baking and More Baking…My Favorite Bread Recipe

So, I’ve been busy putting my new Bosch mixer to the test. I’ve tried Dayna’s favorite bread recipe (which is delish and I hope she’ll share it here with everyone!) and a few others in search of a good standby recipe.

I came across this recipe and made a few changes. It is really, really good. The bread is light and soft…great texture and not too dense.

Slice o'bread

Best Bread

  • 1/2 c warm water

  • 3 pkgs or 1.5 T active dry yeast

  • 1/4 c unbleached, all-purpose flour

  • 1 T white sugar

  • 4.5 c warm water

  • 1 c old-fashioned oats

  • 1 c wheat bran

  • 1/2 c flax

  • 2 c whole wheat flour

  • 1.5 T salt

  • 2/3 c brown sugar

  • 1/3 c olive oil

  • 1/3 c melted butter, cooled

  • 1/2 c vital wheat gluten

  • 9.5 c unbleached all-purpose flour

  • In the bowl of your mixer, add together first four ingredients. Mix on lowest setting until combined. Let sit 5 minutes to allow yeast to grow. Meanwhile, in a blender, blend together oats and flax seed until very coarsely ground.

  • Add to mixing bowl: water, oat/flax mixture, bran, wheat flour, salt, brown sugar, olive oil, butter and gluten. Mix on low speed 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of flour at a time until dough pulls away from side of bowl. Amount of flour will depend upon humidity. Dough may be sticky.

  • Place dough in oiled bowl and turn to coat surface. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm spot or on an oven mitt in a 150-degree oven. Allow to rise until the dough doubles in size or about an hour.

  • Divide the dough into 6 small sections (8“ pans) or 4 large sections (9” pans). Slap each section on the table to remove air pockets and form into loaves.

  • Place the loaves in greased bread pans and allow to rise another hour or until the dough is about an inch above the rim of the pans. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes or until brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn loaves out of pans onto rack until cooled.

loaves

bread

Enjoy! Let me know what you think! Happy baking!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fun Saturday Outing

Hi sisters,

Have any of you ever heard about the art projects that the Home Depot does for kids on the first Saturday of the month? I'm pretty sure that it is every Home Depot that does this. So fun! It is free and the kids get to take home an apron and what they make. Alex took the girls for the first time in November and has decided to do it every month. They really have a blast. They went this past Saturday and brought home these cute snowman napkin holders.






Obviously, Eliza needed a little thumb sucking break. :) Hope you are all enjoying this Christmas season!

Molly

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Holidays

We arrived home late Sunday night from a fun week down in Utah with a lot of you. The time flew by even though we were down there for about five days. That's a longer trip than we've taken in a long while, but it went quickly as it always does.


This trip the boys had a fantastic time dressing up in Grandma Gadd's dress-up clothes. They are mostly all "girl clothes," but the boys still thought it was hilarious. By the by, Jeff made it very clear you had better not call him a girl, or he'll take you out.


The babes got plenty of attention from cousins, and they ate it up. They were perfect babies on this trip, sleeping in until 9:00 a.m. on some occasions. Heavenly. They loved every second with all their loving and kind cousins.


On Sunday, before heading home we took the opportunity to take in the Christmas lights on Temple Square in Salt Lake. They were gorgeous as usual, and I particularly loved the different nativities on the south side of the church office building. So fun! It was the perfect night for it with a manageable crowd and mild weather. After, we had warm cookies and hot chocolate at the Bretzings. What a perfect way to kick off the holidays! Thanks to all our family for making it a great trip.

Unfortunately, Jeff has come down with the flu, something we didn't discover until he threw up in class at school Tuesday morning. Arg. Here's to hoping we don't all get it. So far so good!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Too Long…

Dear Sisters,

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. Between my ongoing frustrations with blogger and our spotty internet connection, I’ve wanted to pull my hair out!

We had a wonderful Halloween and two fabulously fun birthdays. We are now the parents of a 3-year-old and 4-year-old. The time goes by crazy fast when you have kids. I can’t believe they are so big already!

Anyway, I’m a believer that as soon as they are able, kids should be able to choose what they want to be for Halloween, as long as it’s appropriate of course. So, about a month before Halloween, the boys and I started to discuss their costumes. After a few hiccups, they finally settled on D being a chimney sweep and Eric being a pirate.

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We also had a lot of fun this fall playing in the leaves in our yard. I do love the fall. The crisp, cool air is exhilarating.

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Then came the birthdays. For whatever reason, my boys are not into shaped cakes that look like anything other than a cake. We made Eric a monster cake one year and D a bus cake, but they weren’t too into it. They like to choose a flavor and then look at pictures until they find THE ONE. This year, Eric chose a massive caramel cake from the November issue of Martha Stewart Living that I was looking at during lunch one day. The recipe is here. It took me quite awhile to make, but it was insanely good and Eric was delighted.

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Seriously. Yum. We gave about a quarter of the cake away, and I put half of it in the freezer. Slowly over the next few days, I let the boys finish off the rest. That cake was a monster. It was so heavy I had to do some stretching in preparation for carrying it from the kitchen to the dining room. The cake probably weighed more than Eric does.

For D’s birthday, a scant 6 days later, we again indulged in cake. D requested something chocolate and mint. We looked at numerous photos and had many discussions before he decided upon this cake, again from Martha Stewart. After the ordeal of making Eric’s cake, this cake was a single-layer breeze. And it was equally delicious and extremely rich.

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SUPER. DELISH. We also indulged in an ice cream cake with Grandma and Grandpa when they joined us to celebrate both birthdays. We. Are. Caked. Out.

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is already next week. This year has FLOWN BY. We are tasked with bringing an hors d'oeuvre and bread or rolls. I cannot wait to throw my new Bosch mixer into high-productivity mode. It’s just so pretty.

So, that’s what’s new with us. And now that I think I’ve got this blogger thing under control, I should be posting more regularly. Fingers crossed.

What’s your favorite small kitchen appliance?

Love, Kate

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Zombie Babies

As I've mentioned before, the babes are crawling all over the place now. They seem to have an innate sense of where they are not supposed to be, and those are the places they are most interested in playing. The fridge, the pantry, out the front door. The moment one of those doors is opened, or heaven forbid left ajar, they can seriously hustle. It's funny seeing any baby do this, but there's something hilarious about seeing both babies turn immediately and move practically in sync and just as fast as they can with the same unspoken goal in mind. Dave calls them zombie babies because of the way they move together with undivided focus and the fact that they often crawl lopsided (Ben especially), dragging their bodies along.

Braaaaiiiins.

Well, the other day, the door to the pantry was left ajar, and the babies made a serious mess. But they were so enjoying themselves, I had to take a video. Notice Peter eating the cereal right off the ground...baby heaven. It's so fun watching them interact and play together. We are truly blessed by these two special boys...and their three older brothers as well.

video

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mothers Who Know

I know I just posted something similar to this, but I looked up the talk Mothers Who Know this morning. It had been a while since I read this talk, and I think it's one of the great talks that I need to read regularly. It was a good reminder to me and has given me the shot in the arm I need this morning. Maybe it'll do that for you, too.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mormon Channel

Have you guys checked out the Mormon Channel? I love to listen to it while I'm doing the dishes or canning, or whatever it is that seems to keep me in the kitchen all day long. I have especially loved their program Conversations. I recently listened to the conversation with Virginia Hinckley Pearce, and it was fabulous. I have loved so many of them, so you simply MUST check them out. Others that I've especially liked are Heidi Swinton, Elder Holland, Sister Elaine Dalton, Elder and Sister Oaks, and many others. Go there. Now. I was listening to the Mormon Channel live the other day, and there was a speaker whose name I can't recall who said that if we are constantly filling our mind with things of the gospel, the adversary will not be able to tempt us. That really struck me, and I'm going to try to make more of an effort to fill my mind and our home with the gospel so that the holy ghost will always be welcome, and the tempter will not.

Also on my mind this evening is exercise of a more physical nature. When do you guys exercise? What's the best time of day for you? I've been jogging mostly at night after the kids are in bed and sometimes when Dave is home for lunch. But with the weather getting colder, I'm struggling. It's harder to get out when it's cold, don't you agree? Help! Share what works best for you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Job Chart

Good Morning,
Nate started preschool yesterday and it's time to get him into a morning routine.  In order to get him started we made a chart on Monday to help him remember his “morning basics” that need to be done after breakfast.  He wanted a picture chart, which I normally do at this age, but instead of doing the basic clip art we decided to actually take photos of the jobs he needed to do.  I turned this part over to him and he loved it.  I gave him the camera and he took the pictures of his bed, toothbrush,  toys on the floor etc.  This gave him something to do and he really enjoyed the process.  Then it was my turn to create the chart.  He loves his new chart.  It now hangs on his door and he’s been very consistent in completing his “morning basics”. So far it's been perfect!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jackson, the Jack-o-lantern

Sisters,

Even though I was a couch potato (quite literally!), it was a great weekend. Alex took the girls on several different outings, one of them to a pumpkin patch. They picked out a huge pumpkin that they carved Saturday night. They named him Jackson and were absolutely delighted with the entire carving process. It was such fun to watch them sit on the table, reaching their hands into the pumpkin to take out his "guts," all the while giggling with delight.


After lighting the candle to set Jackson a glow, Alex put Eliza on his lap and said in a quite voice, "Jackson might just grow a body while we are sleeping tonight and come to life!" I don't think he thought she would take it so seriously. Later that night, about an hour after putting the girls to bed, we heard Eliza screaming in terror. We both ran into their room (well, me a little slower than running). Zoie had woken up and climbed into bed with Eliza. Eliza was startled awake with a body next to her thinking it was Jackson, the Jack-o-latern, come to life! She was crying out, "It's Jackson, it's Jackson! He's in my bed!" It was hard not to laugh. Zoie started crying too in fear that Jackson was somewhere in the bed. It was quite the commotion! It took a few minutes to calm them down and explain that daddy was just being silly. We took them into the kitchen and showed them Jackson... sitting on the table where we left him. But, Eliza has still confirmed multiple times now with me that Jackson doesn't really come to life when we go to sleep. What a sweetheart!


Hope you all have a happy and spooky Halloween!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My First Canning Adventure!

I know, I know, all I've been writing about lately is food! Well, that's what my life is all about right now. I love living in a bigger house so that we have room for some food storage! FINALLY! As most of you already know, Rit and I bought a new refrigerator a couple of months ago. I LOVE THIS THING! I know it's silly to fall for an appliance, but it seriously makes my life so much easier. I love the extra space, the great lighting, and the filtered water in the door. I drink so much more water now! I hated washing and filling up our old Brita filter in the fridge before. Anyway, we also bought a freezer at the same time.

I have never had a separate stand-alone freezer. It's a whole new world. I. Love. It. I have been spending a lot of time lately roasting tomatoes, making soups with fresh local produce, and making vegetable and chicken stock...all for the freezer. I'm thrilled with the concept of being able to use local-produce-based, homemade foods all winter. Plus, as silly as it may sound, I find it really satisfying to "put up" food and to see what I've accomplished from this fresh, local produce. I know where it came from and how it was made. I love that!

After listening to Amy's stories of preserving, I decided to try to dehydrate some hot peppers and make our own chili powder. The peppers from the farmer's market were gorgeous and cheap (remember them from my last post?) We also harvested quite a few from our small garden. So, while wearing gloves, I sliced them length-wise in half and removed the seeds. I then dehydrated them. When they were nice and dry, I put them in my beloved Vitamix blender and turned them into powder.

If you try it, just be careful not to inhale when you take the lid off of the blender. It's potent stuff! But it smells heavenly. We can't wait to make chili this winter with our roasted tomatoes and homemade chili powder! Thanks for the idea, Ames!

The boys are in love with dehydrated apples, so I'm making as many as I can. We purchased apples CHEAP from a local orchard. We actually got a really good variety, too.



I bought two dehydrators cheap at a local factory store. They've been running almost non-stop since I bought them a couple of weeks ago. But, in lieu of a dehydrator, an oven can also be used to dehydrate apples. First peel, core and slice your apples. As you slice them, place them in an antibrowning bath. You can make the bath by crushing and dissolving 6 500mg vitamin C tablets in 2 c. of cold water or by adding 1/4 c. lemon juice to 2 c. cold water. After 10 minutes in the bath, remove and pat the apple slices dry. If using the oven method, place the slices on a cake cooling rack and place the rack in a 170 degree oven for about 3-4 hours. If using a dehydrator, place the apple slices on the racks in the dehydrator, careful not to overlap. The time in the dehydrator depends on the type of dehydrator. The slices are done with they are leathery and won't stick together when squeezed together. Cool and then place them in a covered container for one week. If there is no moisture in the container after one week, transfer the slices to an air-tight container and store for up to one year. If moisture is present, try dehydrating longer.


So aside from dehydrating and freezing, I tried my hand at canning this weekend...for the first time! I was a little intimidated, but I read a lot before I got started and I hope I did it right. I have to wait a little longer before checking to see if my jars sealed correctly.


I used a variety of apples. I did core them, but I didn't remove the skins as that is where so many nutrients are found.

I didn't add any sugar at all, just lemon juice and cinnamon. It's delicious! I canned 8 quarts so far and made some to keep in the fridge, which Rit has almost finished off already.

I am loving all of this preserving and I look forward to another week of it. It's getting me even more excited for my big garden next year. YEAH!

Love, Kate

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ramblings

Sisters,

I don't have anything real substantial to post about, just a few random thoughts:

* Isn't this a great quote? “The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”― Marjorie Pay Hinckley

* I just found this recipe on a blog I like to follow and I can't wait to try them. Pumpkin + Ginger = DELICIOUS! I think I will commission Alex to make them this weekend. :)

* I watched this Mormon Message yesterday and it made me cry. I am recommitting to enjoying more of those important daily moments that make up my life. And I'm recommitting to being a more patient, gentle, and fun mother.

* A friend of mine brought us some homemade potstickers last week to put in our freezer and take out as part of a quick meal anytime. I had Alex make this soup on Sunday to go with them. Oh how I love this soup! You have to try it sometime soon. I would strongly suggest using the coconut milk and the Madras-style curry powder (which I think you can probably find at most grocery stores). SO YUMMY!

* I've been looking for fun, easy things to do with the girls while on bed rest. We made these spiders last week and they had a ball making and then playing with them. I love inexpensive, cute decorations that you can make at home!

* When my sister-in-law, Liz, was here helping us a few weeks ago, she convinced me to buy this stick vacuum. Ah-mazing! I LOVE it. This is a really quality, fantastic product. It's changed my days!

* I think you have all probably heard by now the funny story of how we now own 4 vehicles.... a 1966 Ford truck, a 1985 Suburban, a 1999 Honda Civic, and a 2005 Toyota Highlander. It makes me laugh every time I walk out to the parking lot to see our fleet. Anyone want to buy a car??? Seriously. I'm not kidding. (Preferably one of the older ones... ha ha!)

* Thank you again, Michelle, for sending us those fun dress up clothes! The girls spend hours every day playing dress up. They just love it. They have never seen any of the Disney princess movies, but somehow they know all of the character's names and take turns pretending to be different princesses.

Dragons, Soup, and Swap

Dragons. I don't have a picture that relates to my post today, but here's a picture of Ethan with "Legend," the stuffed dragon he got to take home from class today. He gets to keep him all weekend and write in a journal that has followed Legend each weekend over the past 10 years that Ethan's teacher has been teaching. He is super excited.

Legend is a very well behaved dragon. I think Ethan will even take him along to a birthday party this evening...should make a fun story for the journal. Ethan is hoping Legend likes pizza.
Soup. Well, we tried a recipe for the first time this week, and it was delish. It was the roasted tomato soup recipe that your mom emailed to us about a year ago. We just barely tried it, and it's fabulous. Maybe you guys have all made it already, but in case you haven't, here it is with just a few changes I would make.

Aunt Joan's Roasted Tomato Soup

Tomatoes (enough to fill a cookie sheet when halved)
1 Head of garlic
1 Onion
Oregano
Basil
Thyme
Ground Pepper
Salt
Olive oil
28 oz. Chicken broth (I just made mine with bouillon)
1 t. Sugar
1 c. Cream

Half or quarter enough tomatoes to fill a foil-lined cookie sheet. Lay tomatoes cut-side up. Cut the bottom off a whole clove of garlic and set cut side down on cookie sheet. Aunt Joan sprinkles with 3 T. of olive oil, but I just sprayed the foil with PAM. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt.

Roast for 1 hr. Cool for about 30 min. or so.

Add 1 T. of olive oil to a large soup pot. Add diced onion and some more salt. Sweat over medium low heat until the onion is tender. Add your choice of spices for the last minute or so. I used oregano, basil, thyme, and fresh ground pepper.

Once the garlic has cooled, squeeze roasted garlic out of peeling and add to the onion mixture along with the roasted tomatoes and 28 oz. of chicken broth. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Then blend the mixture in a blender. Return the soup to your pot and add 1 cup of cream. Serve.

We did make it with the full cup of cream, but I think it would be just as good if you substituted some milk for the cream. Maybe 1/2 c. cream, 1/2 c. milk. It's up to you.

Swap. This week, I participated in a toddler busy bag swap. I know many of you don't have toddlers anymore, but I think it works well for pre-schoolers as well. The gal who organized it sent us this site to choose what activities we wanted to make. We didn't have 20 people interested in participating. We only had 5, so we each chose 2 projects, made 5 each, and then swapped. It was great. Now I have a little bag full of fun activities for Sam. It's great for keeping him entertained, and many of them will work awesome for church as well. Give it a look.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Aye Thar Matey!!

I thought I'd share some of our fun this past weekend with you.  Nate turned 5 on Saturday and he really wanted a party.  After a brainstorming session, we decided a pirate party would fit.  We had a great time planning and then partying.

The invitations were scrolls with a treasure map background.  I soaked the papers in herbal tea after printing them (you need to use a laser printer) and then baked them for about 8-10 min to dry them out.  Then we rolled them and burned the edges.  We gave each of the invitees a pirate name.  When the kids arrived they made pirate hats.  All the pirates were then put through training before they could claim their pirate name, so they had to:  pin the chest on the treasure map, walk the plank, have a cannonball combat, disarm cannonballs, learn about the islands in  musical island and see if they could read clues on a treasure map during a treasure hunt.  The pirates received a skull necklace, balloon swords, their hat, eye patches and a loot bag from the treasure hunt to signify their success.  They had a great time. Here is our party in pictures...





 

You can't have a pirate party without a treasure chest cake.  Nate thought it was great!

I once again realized how much I love planning and having parties.  I think I sometimes shy away from them because I know they consume me and take so much time, but I do love it!  I've decided some of my kids may need to have a Halloween party next!!

Party on!
Amy

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

'Tis the Season!

I LOVE this time of year. Seriously, LOVE. I can't get enough time outside. I love when the air starts to turn a little crisp, a little cool. But the sun is still shining, the sky is still blue. And the leaves...THE LEAVES! They are stunning this year, breathtaking, the colors startlingly vivid and vibrant. I LOVE IT!

I guess it's the part of Dad I have in me, but I long to jump in the car and go for a long drive to drink in the spectacular color. I love driving up to Door County, reveling in the color, and stopping in the small coastal towns for some yummy treats: fresh apple cider, pick-your-own apples, homemade caramels, delicious fire-roasted tomato salsa, baked goods.

I also love the farmer's market this time of year. Since we have never had a very big garden of our own (that will change next year...FINALLY!), we've relied on the farmer's market to supply most of our fresh produce. This fall, the farmer's market has been spectacular.

This was some of my take from our trip last weekend. I'm in a preserving frenzy right now, which is all very new to me. I'm loving it.
tomatillos for fresh salsa

fresh organic garlic from a local farm
yummy hot peppers

just a few of the five-gallon bucket's full of tomatoes

Fresh apples from a local orchard
This is just a little of what my kitchen is filled with right now. I also scored a free-range organic chicken and a couple of dozen farm-fresh eggs. They're so pretty! So far, I've made fresh pico de gallo (We tend to eat this on and with everything.) and a lot of roasted tomato sauce. I saved just enough tomatoes from this load to make some Carrot Tomato Soup (under Tutorials on Soule Mama's website) with the fresh carrots I bought.

Today's agenda: finish planting the plants I can't seem to stop buying and clean out the pots to ready the truck for a trip to the compost. Later this week: tomatillo salsa (thanks for the delish recipe, Ames!), roast peppers, can applesauce, dry apples using my new dehydrators, and get the carrots ready to freeze for use in smoothies. LOVE this time of year!

On a lighter note, I ordered a bunch of snow boots from an online company with free shipping and free returns. I have yet to own a good pair of snow boots during my time here in Wisconsin and it makes my winter experience less than wonderful. My toes get wet and go numb oh-so-quickly. So, my quest for the perfect snow boots has begun. Snow boots are large, right? I was stunned to see that this online company shipped ALL of the snowboots together in one GINORMOUS box. Like, coffin-size. I was on the phone with Dayna when it arrived. I genuinely believe that both she and I could fit comfortably together in said box. IT'S THAT BIG! I almost couldn't get it in the house by myself and I've got some muscles.

The photographic evidence:
whatever...the photo does not seem to want to be righted. Just tilt your head, okay?

On the up side, amongst the many boots it contains, this box holds two very promising pairs of winter boots for moi. Now to whittle it down to one pair.

Now for the gratuitous cute picture of the boys. They love to dress up...every day. They love to put on random items of clothing and hats and blankets and aprons. Here's yesterday's get up:
Again, I can't get the photo to want to stand upright.
Anyway, enjoy the season!

Love, kate

Friday, October 7, 2011

Party Animals

It feels like we've been having one party after another around here lately. First, we celebrated Sam's 3rd birthday once Dave got back from Wisconsin.


 True to form, I made a Spider-Man cake at his request only to have him tell me once it was done that he wanted a dinosaur cake. Wonderful. Ah well, he got over it and seemed to enjoy himself just fine.
 
Then last Friday night I hosted the First Annual Girly Gadd Pajama Party. When we lived in Moscow, ID, I had a friend named Angela Boyle who hosted a party for all her girlfriends every year at Christmas. She made dinner for everyone, and we did a white elephant gift exchange. It was fabulous, and I've always thought it was a great idea to get all your girlfriends together once a year. Especially now that we've moved to a different part of town, I thought it would be a great way to maintain contact with dear friends that I just don't see that often anymore.


I knew that if I didn't just set a date and invite people, it would never happen, so one afternoon I set a date and used evite to send email invitations to everyone. I also knew that me making dinner for everyone this year just wasn't going to happen. Maybe I'll do that some year, but I just wanted (and could handle) to get some friends together for some goodies and chitchat. So for fun I made it a pajama party and served little open-face cucumber sandwiches, raspberry salsa with chips, and macaroon brownies. Dave put out a bowl of Skittles, and they were a hit. I think I might do different kinds of candy in the future...kinda fun.


 Even though I tried to prepare all day, it was still (is always) a bit of a scramble at the end to get everyone fed, nursed, dishes done, etc. So the only picture I have of the spread is one that Sam took at his eye level. I decided to finally try an idea I've wanted to do for some time.  Some nice people from church have given us quite a lot of unexpired baby food that they don't want anymore, so I have a TON of little baby food jars that I've kept to turn into little candle holders. I bought a couple bags of tea lights at the dollar store. Sixteen tea lights for $1. Booyah. I pulled the label off the baby food jars and got the sticky residue off with some GooGone, also found at the dollar store. I just plopped a tea light in the jar and lit it. These would also be really cute with some jute string tied around the top, but I didn't get around to it.


Then we had General Conference weekend, which I love. We are so blessed to listen to the words of the prophets and apostles who have inspired counsel from our Heavenly Father. Dave let the kids set up their individual tents they got for Christmas last year and had them face the TV. We felt very King Benjamin.


Now the kids are enjoying their fall break from school, and they decided they wanted to have a party last night (and tonight.) So they strung up some lights and made up some games for us to play last night before we went down to the fort they made downstairs to watch a cartoon. I love how at my kids' ages all it takes for a good time is a string of lights, a fort, and a bag of popcorn. It's awesome. 

And right in time for fall break, we have had a serious change in the weather. How did we go from shorts to wool socks in 2 days? Anyway, since it turns out you need a gas meter at your house if you've changed over to a gas furnace (Go figure.), we will be without that convenience until Monday. So we will have fires (and space heaters) blazing this weekend.  In the above picture, you may notice the space heater on the table. Babies like to play with space heaters. Tonight for dinner, we decided to take advantage of the coals from the fire we've had burning all day and make tinfoil dinners. Pretty fun. I think I'll do them more often but in the oven to prevent burning. There are so many fun variations, and it's kind of a novelty for the kids.


The heating company's snafoo is kind of annoying, but the fires have been pretty fun. With this cold snap in the weather, I feel so festive and ready for the change in seasons, and now our house feels that way, too.