Saturday, May 31, 2008

Memorial Weekend 2008

We started out the weekend by going to Winston's preschool graduation on Friday night. It was a cute little program with some funny songs and performances by the kids.

This is Winston with his teacher, Ms. Tanya. She has been such a wonderful teacher and Winston sure loves her. Luckily, he will have the opportunity to attend her preschool again next year as he just misses the deadline for Kindergarten. We are glad he will get to participate in another year because Ms. Tanya goes above and beyond with her curriculum, field trips and activities for the kids. You can tell she really loves her job. Winston has learned so much. He is already adding numbers and spelling short words. Ms. Tanya said he did excellent this year, especially for a first year student. We're so proud of our little Winston.

Saturday morning, we went up to Heber Valley and did the "Day Out With Thomas ". It was such a fun morning and we will definitely be "on board" to do this again next year. (sorry for the dumb play on words)

While we waited for the train, there was a little petting zoo for the kids to walk through. Here is Charlie trying to grab the horse's ear. So sweet! :)

Here is W sporting his totally awesome Thomas tattoo. So cool.

Winston, Dad and Charlie in front of another train before it departed.

Once we got on the train, Charlie had a blast looking out the window. Mom and Dad were happy because the two seats faced each other (so we were knee to knee) and it was really easy to trap Charlie in and keep him from running down the aisle.

Mom and Dad were too lazy to stand in the LONG line to meet Sir Topham Hat so we had Winston stand here with STH in the background talking to another lucky kid. Aren't we the best parents?!

This was a beautiful view of a field of wildflowers (dandelions) from the train ride. This was right before the breathtaking river (irrigation ditch) and the cute little sleeping (dead) kitty laying half in/half out of the water. We also saw some really neat backyards, one of which had a guy in sweatpants, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat mowing his lawn. Thanks Heber Valley Railroad for the picturesque scenery.

Winston enjoying the ride

Once again, Mom and Dad were too lazy to stand in line to get a picture sitting on the front of Thomas. We just went to the end of the plastic fencing and took a picture of us with a kid with much nicer parents getting his picture taken right next to Thomas in the background. At least I don't deny we're lazy. Winston looks like he is about to cry, but deep down I think he was really happy he didn't have to stand in that long line.

Saturday night, we got a babysitter and headed to the sweet Spanish Fork Theater to see the new Indiana Jones movie. It was pretty cheesy but we had a fun time gorging ourselves on popcorn, soda and nibs. Yummy.

Monday morning, we visited my Grandma and Grandpa Smith's graves. I was worried nobody was going to put any flowers on them but there were already 11 pots of flowers when we got there. We added three more and I was happy that my grandparents and Aunt Marilyn's graves were so well represented. It was neat to tell Winston about my Grandparents and Aunt and to honor and remember them on this special day.

On the way home, we hit the Memorial day sales and bought a new lawnmower and some patio furniture. Let's just say it was a tight fit in the van. Winston thought it was really fun to ride in the batcave but Charlie was a little distressed about it.

None too pleased about this situation

To finish off the holiday, we had a street BBQ in front of our house. Unfortunately, our camera had a little run in with Charlie and a rain storm so we had to use our video camera all weekend. The pictures aren't the best but at least we have some. I only got one showing a few people that turned out okay from the BBQ. Oh well. It was fun to hang out with the neighbors and eat some good food. It was a great holiday weekend!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

For our fellow Brian Regan fans...

Brian Regan will be coming to the Thanksgiving Point Amphitheater August 15. Tickets go on sale June 28. Yippee!

For our Washington friends/fam, he is coming to the Marymoor Amphitheater in Redmond on June 27. Tickets are on sale NOW!

For our Idaho friends/fam, he is coming to the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts in Boise, Idaho on June 28. The website says tickets are "on sale" but there is no link to buy them. Not sure what that means.

Have fun everyone!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A ray of sunshine...

We got some great news today. We took Charlie in to a REAL (not homeopathic) allergist today and had him tested for all the food allergies we've been worried about. And the results...drum roll please...NO ALLERGIES! We are thrilled. It was just the boost we needed in the middle of all the other trials he is going through. I'm so relieved we don't have to worry about keeping him on a special diet.

We started him on a new medication today called Keppra. Here is what the pamphlet says about the side effects...

"Drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, tiredness, constipation, and loss of coordination (e.g., difficulty walking and controlling muscles) may occur. These side effects are more common during the first 4 weeks and usually lessen as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: hair loss, neck pain, mental/mood changes, vision changes (e.g., double vision).
This medication rarely may cause mood or behavior changes, such as anxiety, agitation, hostility, pressured/rapid speech, or thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop unusual (possibly sudden) mood changes.
Rare but very serious side effects: unusual weakness, easy bleeding/bruising, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing. "

It also says the anxiety, agitation, aggression and hostility are more likely to happen in children. Charlie cried a lot and did a lot of hitting and attacking to me and Winston today. It's hard to know if it was because of the meds or something else. We'll see how things go. That's this weeks update on our little guy. Thanks again for all the love and support.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Week One - Pterodactyl

I'm a member of One Viral Word, an experiment in viral marketing. As a participant, I'm spreading the word so this can succeed.

I encourage you to help this experiment out, as I am doing. It only takes a second. Simply copy and paste this post, exactly as is, on your blog and you're officially a member. Each week a new word will be chosen to post.

Stats will be provided each week on how many people linked on the website. Each week, with the new word, the counter will start over. The goal is to see how many weeks it will take to get to one million links in a week, and maybe even more.

The viral word for Week One is Pterodactyl.

I know

My header looks stretched and wierd. I'm not that good with Photoshop. It will have to do until I can find our family pictures and have Matt help me. I just had to get that clown background off. It was giving me a headache. Sorry.

Friday, May 02, 2008

April Daring Bakers Challenge - Cheesecake Pops

This month's challenge was hosted Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell. The recipe comes from the book Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O'Conner. I'm a little late posting for this challenge. I waited until the last week of the month and then things got busy. I finally finished it and I thought they turned out pretty good. Once again, I lay no claim to being a good decorator (or photographer) but I did my best.

I really like the cheesecake recipe that was used to make these pops. I think I will use it again next time I make a cheesecake. The flavor was good and it was relatively easy. I did make the mistake of only cooling the cheesecake to room temperature before trying to form them into balls and rectangles. It was pretty much impossible which explains the unique shapes of my pops. If I were to make these again, I would definitely chill the cheesecake in the fridge overnight before trying to mold the shapes.

Once I sort of got some molded shapes, I stuck cut up wood skewers (I was too lazy to drive to Provo to buy sucker sticks) in them and laid them on a cookies sheet and put them in the freezer. Once they were frozen solid, I dipped them in milk chocolate and topped some with graham cracker crumbs (what's cheesecake without graham crackers?), some with sprinkles and some I just drizzled with white chocolate.

My husband and I each tried one and thought they were pretty darn tasty. I think these would be fun for a cute baby or wedding shower if you are good at decorating and could make them look a lot cuter than mine. :) I'll post the recipe below the next picture if anyone wants to give them a try. Don't forget to check the Daring Baker's Blogroll to see how everyone else's Cheesecake Pops turned out.

Cheesecake Pops

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)
Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature.

Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.
(I also forgot to add that I halved this recipe and it worked wonderfully. I knew there was no way Matt and I would eat 30-40 Cheesecake Pops. Yikes! We still won't eat them all but I won't feel so guilty throwing away half as many.)

Another Winstonism

Mom: What do you want for breakfast?

Winston: I don't know. Do you know what I want?

Mom: German Pancakes?

Winston: (with big eyes) How did you know that? Did the Holy Ghost tell you?

Favorite Friday

Yes, it's another cleaning product. I love it so much, I had to share. This Friday's favorite is Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Spray. Why do I love it so much?

-It is gentle enough to use around kids and food
-It kills 99.9% of bacteria: E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus (Staph.) and Streptococcus (Strep.)
-It leaves no harmful chemical residue

I'm a big fan of the Clorox wipes and their fresh, clean smell but I don't really want that smell on my countertops where I am putting food. I don't love using them on the tray of the high chair that my baby is eating off of either.

This stuff is wonderful. I like to bake a lot which often requires rolling out dough on my countertop. It kind of freaks me out what might be on the countertop and that it might get into my food. I don't really want to use bleach water (another cleaner I like to use) or the scented Clorox wipes because I don't want the smell or residue in my food. The perfect solution...Clorox Anywhere Spray. I wipe the counter top off really well and then give it a good spray of CAS and wipe it again and wait a minute until it dries. It doesn't smell at all and my counter is clean and ready for me to roll out my dough.

I also love to use it on my kitchen table and I use to use it all the time on Charlie's high chair. I read once that it is safe enough to spray on a baby's binky. I buy bottles of these 4-5 at a time when they go on sale. I think I might be keeping Clorox in business. :)