Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas was here

It came, and even quicker.... it went. 
Leaving us a house strewn with paper, bows, new toys, a sugar high, and a warm fuzzy feeling after reflecting on another year gone by.

the weekend went a little like this:
1 happy mother in a teeny tiny kitchen prepping for a Christmas Eve feast
2 crazy kids bouncing off the walls and hanging from the ceiling (and myself joining them a few times)
4000 pieces of glitter and oats scattered around the yard, which supposedly baits the reindeer? I'm not really sure why we do that.....
1 feast with 1 chicken that took 1400 hours to cook was eaten by,
1 small family who stuffed themselves silly.
1 day left of our advent, where we opened 
2 pairs of matching jammies (my kids will be dressed in matching pjs until they leave my house)
We read from Luke 2, and then The Night Before Christmas. 
Cookies, carrots, and notes were left for Santa and the reindeer.
3 minutes were spent outside looking for Rudolph's nose, until toes got cold and raced to bed.
1700 giggles as Robby and I excitedly got Christmas ready. 
27 hours it seemed like we were in bed....just WAITING impatiently for the time we could get up.
Star Wars everything, 1000 color crayons and paints, and 2 of the exact same body butter, from Robby to me, and me to he, because we are super exciting like that.
1 little girl who got 1 hat that hasn't come off her head.....she loves it that much.
What seemed like a few minutes....and it was all over and done. 
1 giant breakfast of strata and sticky buns, 
and then hours of playing, napping, movie watching, and napping some more. 
We topped the night off with a trip to the theater for Narnia, which we LOVED!
(although there were 4 covered eyes through a few parts....but they are still talking about it:)

a few photos, of our very green Christmas...
reindeerfoodtablecakeadventkidsfirecookieswaitingpresentsstickybunsnarnia instax2

.....when can we do this again?

Hope your Christmas was perfect!  

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Our tummies are stuffed from our Christmasy feast. 
Of taters, and cake, and giant roast beast.
The yard has been glittered for reindeer to see-
The children danced 'round the yard merrily.
We read about Christ being born in the hay,
a Star and the Angles showed shepherds the way.
Twas the Night Before Christmas and then off to bed-
(with a peek out the window, to see a nose glowing red).

....and let us not forget....
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
-Luke 2:11

Picture 12

Merry Christmas to you!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Letters

excited? yes.


Dear Christmas, we are now on an hour countdown. Yay!!

Dear Christmas with Children, you are one billion times better than Christmas without Children.

Dear Robby, remember our first Christmas--we had the TINIEST tree and propped it up in a saucepan. It had like five ornaments. 

Dear Time, slow down!!! I love all these exciting moments full of anticipation and's all part of the fun!! Please let tomorrow pass slowly.

Dear Yoga, you were terribly hard today, because all I was thinking about was Christmas.

Dear Child Inside of Me, (no I am not pregnant). Settle down. You are as bad as your kids.

Dear Self, HOORAY!!! You conquered your fear and made toffee!! 1lb of butter and 2 cups of sugar. Stop eating all of it.

Dear My Favorite Gym Instructors, you have your work cut out for you come January.

Dear Snow, WHAT HAPPENED????!!! I thought we had a deal. Lame.

Dear Person Who Answers Rhetorical Questions, how are my kids functioning on such little sleep? They are NOT sleeping at night. They get up early and wander the house sneaking peeks at presents. 

Dear Mail Man, UPS Guy, Fed Ex man, thank you for working so hard--you make Christmas happen.

Dear Scrooges, Grinches, and Bahhumbuggers, cheer up!! It's Christmas!

Dear maid/butler I don't have, I really wish you were here for the weekend so we could skip over all the after-feast-cleanup.

Dear Tara, I ate waaaaaaay too much delicious almond cake. I feel sick, yet still want more.

Dear blogfriends, you are all so nice! Thank you for coming here everyday, putting up with my silliness, and leaving such fun comments! Merry Christmas to you all!

Dear Santa, I've been trying to explain to the kids why Santa doesn't bring stuff to mommies and daddies, and they're not buying it. So why don't you just stop by this year. I've been good, really. I want a new rubber spatula and some hair ties that keep my 100lbs of hair up. See, I'm easy.


Monday, December 20, 2010

jingle jangle

spritz copychristmas copydough copy

I am so happy!! 

The magic has started early this year....these days are just feeling so special--it's only Monday and this week has been perfect. There is so much fun to be had
(alot of which involves butter)

Everyone is home from school. 
bonus. bonus. bonus.

We had a family date night at Settebello over the weekend, and filled ourselves with amazing pizza and gelato. 
We looked crazy Christmas houses with crazy Christmas lights.

Today we decorated cookies.
Spreading sugar on sugar. 
My kids are WIRED.

Our DVR is hard at work recording all our Christmas favorites--It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and The Family Stone (that movie ruins me but I still love it). What are you favs?

I'm still trying to figure out the menu for Friday night....I think I have it about ready, but I'm still stuck on dessert--probably because I want to make 100 different things, but the four of us can only eat so know? What are you having?

Last week Whole Foods had Satsumas (mandarins) for 69¢ a pound. I almost cried I was so excited!! We get them fresh off the trees when we are down at Robby's parents, but oranges are wimps and can't survive our winters here! The store-bought mandarins just do not compare.....but these came pretty close. I'm headed up tomorrow to see it they still have them so I can gorge myself in sticky-orange-easy-to-peel, love.

have you seen this picture? It was taken after the Provo Tabernacle Fire, and it is amazing. You must see it.

Christmas is almost here!!! I really can't wait! Some days I want to give my kids their gifts right now because I AM SO EXCITED!
note: I am also wired.

just a few more days....yay! 

oh ps. I can't stop listening to this song. really listen to it, you'll like it.

Relient K - I Celebrate The Day
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Biscotti

I cannot get enough of this stuff. 
My sister found the recipe a few years back and knocked our socks off with it--and it was my first time experiencing the magic of browned butter. I usually make it around Christmas, and I think I ran out of time last year..... it's been a while, since I've basked it's tasty glory.
So I had a happy little reunion with this stuff last night....I might have accidentally had it for dinner. 
I was in the middle of wrapping them up two by two for teacher gifts and I had to sample every few perfect little cookies. 

Please make them! They are so so good! They are a bit time consuming, but really easy to do. Your family will love you forever.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Recipe from Food Network

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons), browned
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups dry roasted peanuts
1 1/4 cups chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Position racks evenly in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. 
Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt the butter over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally. Continue to cook until the butter browns and gets a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar while beating. Then slowly add the butter and vanilla until evenly mixed, about 30 seconds more. Add the peanut butter and mix until combined.

While mixing slowly, add the dry ingredients to the wet, in 2 additions, mixing just until absorbed. Fold in the peanuts and chocolate pieces.

Divide the dough evenly into thirds, and put each portion in the center of a baking sheet. Shape the dough with slightly wet hands into logs about 2-inches wide and 15 inches long. Bake until set and brown around the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. (For even baking take care to rotate the pans-- top to bottom and front to back--about half way though.) Cool logs on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board. (I cut mine right on the pan)
 Cut logs crosswise, with a long serrated knife at about a 45 degree angle, into 1/2-inch thick cookies (I made mine thicker)
 Place cookies cut side down on the baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 8 minutes. Flip the cookies over and bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes more. Cool biscotti on the baking sheets.


Perfect for dipping in milk or hot cocoa!



Thursday, December 16, 2010

2010 in 5 Minutes

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)


Birthday dinner at Reef's in Park City. The streets were packed with Sundancers, the air was freezing, the food was delicioius.
The boy's birthday, and Easter on the same Sunday! My baby turned 5.
San Diego with Robby, the sand blistered our feet. 
A freezing lake and a waaaaaay a too late night with the Southwells and the Stephens. haha lightshow.
Meeting my Dr. for the first time and feeling like we had finally made it.
The girl's teaparty. I have never seen her so excited. We had 700 cupcakes.
Wasatch Back. Ragnar Hill. Ran it. Boo-yah (I don't want to remember that I just said boo-yah)
4th of July. Homemade icecream. Fireworks in the street and a fire with friends.
8th anniversary. Lots and lots of yummy food. Ben Folds in Park City.
The farmers market.
Gardening finally clicked. I loved our garden!
Camping with my family. Freezing nights. Still fun. Smore's of course.
Beach House. Tidepools.
Two kids and one husband in school. Woe-is-me.
Vegas Ragnar. Best weekend ever!! It's all a hazy blur now because we were all so tired, but it's the best hazy memory I have!
San Francisco with the girls. Another awesome Drs appointment. West Side story and SALSA!
Thanksgiving. Montana. Freezing.
Christmas tree lights, snuggling on the couch watching a movie just the four of us.
Baking. baking. baking.
One week till Christmas.....I love this feeling!

time's up.

Monday, December 13, 2010

11 things

At the beginning of the month, I was introduced to the Reverb10 site....and fell in love! 
They give you a daily prompt to reflect on, and write about your experiences from 2010.
I haven't had time to participate daily (uh, it's only the 14th, whoops) but I wanted to chime in when I could--and maybe even go a bit in to January.
just a little something Christmasy.

This was the prompt from December 11, 
What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

11 Things I don't need in 2011

1. To always be on the go. In 2010 I did about thirty client sessions, including weddings, engagements, bridal sessions, and family photos. This is a tiny number compared to most photographers, but for me it was too much. A lot of those dates are Saturdays--a full day that could have been spent at home being lazy with my family, working on projects, at the farmers market, or out in the yard. Not to mention all the computer time I would spend after that.  I have loved being able to work with some of the people I have worked with, and help capture their special memories. But I have realized at this time in our lives, with the kids so little and growing every day, and Robby in school, I want to spend all the time together that we can--while our kids are still small, and still like us:) I have decided to put a hold on weddings and family sessions for now, so I can have some time to explore some other areas of photography, and have more time at home. Yay for home.

2. Late nights. We are terrible. No more late nights. A 10:30 bed time sounds wonderful.
Why is it so hard?!

3. Clutter. Obviously. Who needs clutter. But I always let it build up so easily....and so fast! Where does it come from?  And then I always put it off until tomorrow....and tomorrow's tomorrow. Then I was really inspired by Natalie's post, where she says why wait until the New Year to make changes? Why not start now.
So I did.
Today I cleaned off my desk. I like it! And guess didn't take long at all. It just takes a bit of motivation, and some good Pandora of course.

4. To compare. Isn't it so hard not to? And Mr. Internet over here just feeds us and feeds us with more things to compare ourselves/our kids/our husbands/our houses/our shoes to. I need to stop the comparing, and start owning what makes me, me. 

Hi. My name is Sheena. I have fuzzy hair, my house is a billion years old (and so are my neighbors), my kitchen is too small, I can't afford to shop at Anthropologie, I don't know how to apply eye shadow, I like to decorate my home with old junk, sometimes my kids wear pajamas all day and let's face it sometimes I do too. And that's me. And I like it....even though it may be different than you.
there is a start.

5. A tiny kitchen. See how I did that? I worked something into this list that I DO need, because I really don't need this tiny kitchen. I'm so sneaky.

6. To not hate Dolphin Pose. (haha and maybe you think the picture makes it look easy, and I am a sissy....but it is the WORST!) I loathe it. Abbey calls it out and I want to swear at her (abbey knows this)! But should I be thinking these things in yoga?'s kind of opposite of the point of yoga actually. And the thing is, I've done it so many times now, it's probably not that bad anymore, but in my head, Dolphin is terrible! I need to let go of those thoughts..... like when I had myself convinced that sushi was something I'd never try.....and then I finally let myself enjoy it, and now I crave it all the time.
I need to get out of my own head sometimes.

7. To wear a bra. No really, I just don't need to. 

8. My kids' mismatched socks. I mean first of all, where do they go??? But second, why do I stress out for weeks about finding the perfect match! I will let one sock sit in a corner somewhere, just waiting to find it's lost mate. I'm done. Sorry little sock, if you sit there for a week, you are gone too.
I feel better already!

9. A baby. Do I want one? Yes. Does it seem like everyone and their mom (not my mom, haha, weird) is having one? yes. Does it hurt when I worry that I might not (but I might!) have another? Yes.
But I have got to let go of the need.
My boy and my girl are perfect and happy and good and easy, and let's admit it, they are ADORABLE!! They are all I need right now, and I will constantly remind myself that.  If someday down the road we are blessed with another, then let the baby needing begin:)

10. Winter Blues. I never think I have them, until spring is finally here and I realize, WOW, I am REEEEALLY happy! Come January, February, March I want to fill my days with nothing but sunshine, sprinkles, and sparkling rainbows. Will you help me?

11. Lyme Disease. Next spring will mark my 3rd anniversary with the nasty little bug. I think it is time for us to part ways....I'm thinking 2011 is going to be the year. Yes.

Your turn to play along! This was really fun to think about, and decide what I really DON'T need in my life. Please feel free to post 11 things here, or a link to your own blog with your 11 things.

11 Things YOU don't need in 2011.....go.

oh bring us some figgy pudding!

Ok this is not figgy pudding.
But I couldn't resist how Christmasy it sounds. 
Although I think if it came down to it, I could resist the figgy pudding itself.

But we are going to talk pudding.

I collect old cookbooks. I love them! They're so cute, and some can be quite hilarious.
I have a stack of old cookbooks sitting in my kitchen, and I've never actually made anything out of I figured why not?

I think I'll try a recipe out of them every now and then--add my own tweaks, and maybe we'll find some new (old) favorites. 

So I chose pudding. 
I found a recipe for chocolate pudding, and made a few adjustments,
hoping it would taste like a big bowl of chocolate Christmas. 
It did.
peppermint pudding

Chocolate and Peppermint Pudding
recipe adapted from the 1941 (reprinted in 1950)  Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
serves 4

1/2 cup sugar
2 TBS cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups milk (I used skim milk and it was INCREDIBLY rich. If you dare to use whole milk your head might explode)
2 egg yolks (slightly beaten)
1 oz good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
crushed candy canes for garnish

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan.
Slowly mix in milk. 
Cook over medium heat (continue stirring), until mixture comes to boil. 
Boil for one minute (still stirring)

Slowly stir half the mixture into the egg yolks, and then back into the saucepan on the stove.
Boil for one minute. 
Remove from heat and add in chopped chocolate and peppermint extract. 

This is where the pudding is to be "molded", you know--poured into your jello molds. 
Well I guess I fail Basic Wifery 101, because I don't have jello molds. 
So I poured them into plain old bowls.
oh heavens!

Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

top with candy cane pieces and enjoy!

***bonus points if you DO have a jello mold!

Friday, December 10, 2010

happy weekending!

snowlake copy

This weekend we'll be
-snuggling by the fire 
-ordering yummy pizza to eat by the Christmas tree....all while watching Christmas movies
-crossing our fingers for snow (c'mon lame's Christmas!)
-online Christmas shopping (I love you www)
-counting down the LAST week of school before break!! yay!!!
-making (and eating!) more Christmas treats (come tell me your fav Christmas cookie HERE)

what are YOU doing?

Happy Weekend! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010



It doesn't feel like Christmas until I'm licking powdered sugar off my fingers after eating a several snowballs. I've been making these every year since we've been married, and before that my mom made them each Christmas season, for as long as I can remember. 

They taste like Christmas, smell like Christmas, they ARE Christmas to me. And I can never get enough.

We call them mom got the recipe in a little generic sprial bound cook book she got for her wedding. They are often called Mexican Wedding Cookies....but these have chocolate in them, because what is a cooke without chocolate?


3/4 c butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla (I like to use mexican vanilla in these of course:)
1 TBS water
1/8tsp salt
1/3 c sugar
1 1/2 c flour
1 c chocolate chips
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts (I like pecans)

Cream butter, vanilla, water, sugar and salt. Add flour and mix well. Stir in chocolate and nuts. Form into 1” balls. Bake at 350* for 20 minutes. Cool for a few minutes. Roll in powdered sugar while still warm. Makes about 3 doz.


....and just curious....what is your very favorite Christmasy cookie? Share the recipe if you like!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bean and Bacon Soup

Soup soup soup.
It's all I think about these days.
I am not a bacon lover by any means.....but this--THIS is one of our all time favorite soups!
I can never seem to get enough. 
bean and bacon soup

Bean and Bacon Soup
recipe adapted from Real Simple

3 strips (nitrate free!) bacon*
2 large carrots, chopped 
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 15 1/2oz cans great northern beans, cannellini beans, or black eyed peas (we like to switch it up depending on what we have)
3 cups chicken broth

-In large saucepan over medium hight heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and let cool on paper towels. After it's cooled, break into small pieces.
-Strain most of the bacon drippings out of the pan, leaving just enough to saute' your veggies.*
Add the carrot and onion to the pan drippings, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.
Add the garlic, and cook for about 3 more minutes (making sure to stir it)
Add the beans and broth.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. 
You can let it simmer for about 15 minutes and you'll have great soup if you are in a hurry.....I like to simmer mine for an hour or two and really let the flavors come together. 
Uncover and, with a potato masher or large slotted spoon, partially mash the bean mixture until it thickens slightly.
Salt (with the broth and the bacon you shouldn't need much) and pepper to taste. 
Top with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped parsley.

*if you are a bacon lover: the original recipe calls for 4 strips of bacon, and you use ALL Of the pan drippings in the soup. 

serve with a simple salad and some good crusty bread. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

o christmas tree....

The Christmas Tree Hunt.

As kids, it was the biggest adventure of the year. 
Both Robby and I grew up bundling up and heading off to high on a mountain top to find the perfect tree, cut it down, and bring it home. 
There was sledding, and cocoa, and powdered donuts.

Well. Not really the case living in the city. A city that sits in a dessert. 

Yes there are tree lots, with their jingle and jangle and Santa and such.....but you also pay waaaaay to much for a little tree. 

So we make our own adventure. 


Once upon a time, in a far away land, lived a little family in their little red house. 
The day had come for the annual Christmas tree hunt, so they bundled up, hopped in the car, and headed to the magical forrest of.......

Garden Center.

The forrest was huge! Acres of trees, as far as the eye could see!
All perfect, and how strange.....lined up by size.

The family hunted and hunted for THE perfect tree. 
However would they find it in such a large forrest?

Finally! The One was found. The perfect tree they would take home and adorn with holly and jolly and tinsel galore.

A nice forrest gnome appeared, to help package the tree before it left on it's long journey home, atop the family car.

The Tree had found it's home, and made merry and bright. 

and they all lived happily ever after.
the end.

Holiday by Vampire Weekend

can you spot:
-the boy licking the sap off his fingers (yep)
-robby continually moving the girl's ornaments (that all cluster in the exact same spot)
-a polaroid
-everyone staring at the movie that was playing
-a family of four in their jammies on the internet....whoops.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An Advent Calender for the Procrastinator.

I procrastinate everything, which is why we are starting our countdown to Christmas at 20 days rather than the classic 25.

But really, who says it has to be 25? I say even a 5 day countdown is better than no countdown at all....right?? So if you still haven't got around to finding or making an advent calendar this year......fear not!
 This one took me less than an hour (and I watched tv while doing it--bonus points for multitasking), and it cost dolalrs--dollars!

What you'll need: 

-Cardstock/Paper to make tiny envelopes.
-Tiny clothespins (I got a pack of 30 at Hobby Lobby for $2something.)
-A wall
-Your wildest imagination to come up with activities to fill the envelopes

To make envelopes:
Cut paper into various sizes of squares.

Fold opposite corners in so they touch.

Fold up the bottom, and glue it to the sides you folded in (keep the glue on the edges as not to glue the envelope shut)

Fold the point under, fold the top down.

Tiny envelopes!! 
Number your clothespins, and attach them to the string, counting downward.
For some of my paper, I googled vintage Christmas wrap, and just printed out a few sheets so I had a variety of envelope designs.

Done! Easy! 
Some ideas for inside each envelope (which I fill right before the kids open it, so I can make sure I'm prepared:)
-watch a Christmas movie together
-read a scripture about the birth of our Savior
-read a Christmas book
-go look at Christmas lights
-decorate cookies
-sing a Christmas song
-make a gingerbread house

.....all things we were planning on doing anyway....this just makes it a fun surprise for the kids! 
This calendar only counts down to two days left, and on the final day I have a large envelope, with an extra large clothespin, and they'll get they're Christmas Eve jammies.

have fun!