Thursday, December 23, 2010

this is it.

If you need a last minute treat to give away or if all of the holiday stress has gotten to you and you need a chocolate fix, here is the perfect solution.

Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies.

They are divine.

-2 sticks butter at room temperature
-1 C sugar
-2/3 C packed light brown sugar
-2 whole large eggs
-1 t vanilla
-3 1/4 C flour
-4 packages (1 oz. packets, NOT sugar free) hot chocolate mix
-1 t. salt
-1 1/4 t. baking soda
-1 C white chocolate chips
-1 C milk chocolate chips
-1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.
2. In a separate bowl. combine flour, hot chocolate mix, salt, and baking soda. Add to wet ingredients in 3 to 4 parts, making sure it is all combined.
3. Fold in chips. Chill the dough for 30 minutes to and hour to firm up the dough. Don't do it longer than this or else the dough will become as hard as a rock.
4. Use a 1/4 C as a scoop (or ice cream scoop) to scoop dough onto baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

copius christmas concerts

We found out about Luke's concert while we were eating dinner 15 minutes before it started. I had to work that night so Justin carted the boys up to the school to watch it. We did not capture any moments of his delightful performance for posterity but I am sure he did a great job.

Next on the list was Liam's preschool program. He makes the most adorable Rudolph don't you think?

His class was so cute. It was obvious that they worked very hard on this program. They knew quite a few songs complete with actions,

delighted our ears with melodic melodies made with bells...

...and kazoos.

After his concert we ran some errands with his little red nose still intact. It was fun to see how many smiles my adorable reindeer brought to others.

The next night Nick and Andrew delighted us with their talents at their violin Christmas concert.

Nick played in the advanced group this year playing Ode to Joy. It was like a dream come true. Well, my dream is actually when my 4 boys will play this for me when I am old and withered on their various instruments. See, this is why I have so many kids. To play to my whimsical fantasies and to have more toenails to clip. It is so satisfying.

Bravo to all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Luckily the night we decided to see the lights at Temple Square when it was unseasonably warm--like 50 degrees. At night. In December. In Utah. Weird.

Luke was running around without his coat on for much of the night and I felt like it was my shining moment as a mother. I just knew there were those perfect moms out there that were looking at him wondering who and where his mother was. I didn't worry about it too much though.

While we were waiting for my family to get there we hung out in the North Visitor's center and went to see the Cristus and walked around downstairs. I haven't been in the building for years I am pretty sure and they have done an amazing job renovating it. I want to go back for FHE one night and spend more time there when there aren't so many people.

As always the lights were beautiful and the company delighful:

Love it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

busy little elves

We spent an evening working hard to create new homes for the population of the 2 inch high variety. Some were fixer uppers from the get go and there were a couple high end homes thrown in as well.

I am not quite sure if Luke put a fireman's pole to assist Santa in getting down the chimney or if it is a device to get really good reception for the T.V.

I guess Liam thought it was a pretty sweet set up too.

Nick's is pretty darn fancy.

I like Andrew's the best. Very North Pole like. Couldn't you just imagine a little elfish person on a ski vacation enjoying a little hot cocoa by the fire? I sure can!

This is mine. Can you see the sugar chandelier? This was before Justin thought he was fixing it and broke it. Darn men.

Justin's was on the fancy side too. The M&M detail probably costs a fortune.

Friday, December 17, 2010


We flashed back to my high school days for Nick's 12th birthday party. He invited his entire baseball team and we hit the original Hires Big H in Salt Lake and then went bowling. Two of the guys couldn't come which was a bummer but it was sure fun seeing all these boys in the off season. They are a fun, good group of kids and they are super close friends.

I was a little worried as we entered the restaurant because it was a little tamer than I remember back in the old days. Or maybe I was just an ignorant teenager that didn't realize that my friends and I could have been the loud, annoying ones while everyone else was quietly eating. Either way, it was just small families enjoying their evening with no sight of unruly high school kids and we walk in with ten 12 or so year old boys. They were actually well behaved and the worst thing they did was try to sniff pepper off the table.

As we were leaving we had at least a dozen people ask "Is this a birthday party?" and then commend us for being so brave. So maybe now I was just an ignorant adult not realizing how loud we truly were. One of the comments was from this poor couple seated behind us.

Oh well, we tipped the waitress well and didn't break anything so I feel it was a successful evening.

Then we were off to the glamorous All Star Lanes to get gussied up in our bowling gear.

I think one of my favorite things of the night was watching the different bowling styles of each of the kids.

Here is the anticipatory nervous watcher with the smooth operator in the other lane:

the flailer:

the aloof walk away:

the cheerleader:

I just put this in because this kid is usually so quiet and he was laughing the whole time:

My boys just had fun.

Look at these cute bums:

There was a ton of celebrating. Lots of hugging and high fives. So cute.

Liam smoked everyone...I am pretty sure this was after his fifth strike. No barriers--just a bit of help from good old dad.

Then they decided to make fashion statements as they showcased their skills. And what man's party isn't complete without showing off your sixpack?

Then it was bowling like you were a nun:

And the old school Karate Kid with one pant leg up.

I didn't even break 100 and Justin beat me both times but it made me feel better that he didn't break 100 either.

I am excited that baseball season starts soon so we can see these boys more often. Please remind me that I said this when I want to take this statement back in a few months.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

need a little christmas

Bah Humbug.

That has been my attitude lately. Usually I adore this time of year. But this year I just couldn't shake the funk and I am so sick of listening to Mariah Carey rock around the Christmas tree in Christmas shoes I have boycotted the radio.

So, we did something Christmas-y. Old fashioned, back in time Christmas-y. We headed up to This is the Place State Park for their Candlelight Christmas. It was just what I needed.

We were greeted by reindeer and a darling thatched roof hallway that led to Father Christmas. As I was walking down that hallway, drops of rain would reach us and I thought about having to sleep under a roof like that in even worse weather. I sometimes grumble about our living quarters now but it is warm, cozy, and happy. Not to mention it is equipped with heaters for those chilly nights.

The next house was the elves village. The boys were able to decide to put their names on the good or the naughty list. Here is Liam deciding that he had been pretty good this year.

Across the way was a live nativity.

There was a wise man who opened the gate of the pathway to the stable. He said: "We welcome you to Bethlehem and rejoice with us as we welcome the infant king." There was a stable up the hill with goats and sheep wandering around and it was hard for me to hold back my emotion. It was like I was truly there to see the Christ child. It was quiet and peaceful and cold and humble just like it truly may have been so long ago.

I felt this same way as I did sitting in the shephard's fields in Jerusalem listening to Oh Holy Night. I was so overcome with the overwhelming feeling of the truth of this event and how much love our Savior has for us.

This is what Christmas is about.

The rest of the night was just icing on the cake.

We made paper chains to decorate the schoolhouse Christmas tree, watched a puppet show, rode the train,

printed our own Christmas card,

wrote letters to Santa and burned them so the ashes would carry their wishes to the North Pole,

listened to carolers,

made ornaments,

and just had a wonderful evening stepping back in time remembering why this wonderful time of year happened in the first place.