putting it away!

I'm packing up Christmas 2010...

and feeling pretty merry...

remembering the joy...

and more joy...

and smiling at the memories...

of our noel times...

and the ho-ho-ho moments...

blessings all.


Christmas 2010

Out of hundreds of Christmas photos from several cameras, how can I pick just a few to show on my blog? I ended up choosing close ups of my kids and grandkids - because Christmas brought us together with good times and good memories.

Suzie's in-laws have a neat gingerbread house tradition. They get together each year in mid December and make gingerbread houses in quantity (25 this year). Because they have so much practice, they are very good at it. Their tradition is to give the gingerbread houses away - they don't keep them for themselves. This year, Suzie decided that since she was coming home for Christmas, she'd like to give her house to her brother Mike. After much goofing off, I finally got a good shot of them and Suzie's darling gingerbread house. More photos on Suzie's blog here.

Brookelyn hugs Aunt Becky and thanks her for her Christmas gift - a couple of books for Brookie to read.

Bailee and Suzie after Bailee's performance with the little singing group she's in. The whole family went to Salt Lake City to hear her perform.

Carter loved everything about Christmas this year. He's the cutest age - too young to understand Christmas really, but old enough to get a kick out of everything. He is so loving and melts his Grammy's heart.

One of my favorite things is watching a little one year old learn to walk. It was so fun to see Emmett walk more and more each day over the past week - today he was walking all over the house. When he gets that little grin on his face, I could just eat him up.


weekend in Las Vegas

This could quickly become a favorite Christmas tradition...this first-of-December trip with Becky and Aimee to visit Suzie and Winston in Las Vegas.

We shopped until we literally dropped. This photo is blurry, but it's so classic Las Vegas that I had to include it. We're at The District outdoor shopping mall. I loved the gorgeous huge Christmas tree along with twinkly white lights on other trees and shrubs. But best of all were the flowers - still everywhere - pink and white and red real flowers. In December. Heart warming.

My two darling daughters enjoying a fabulous lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe in the Venetian. This was where Suzie and Winston had their first date and now look at her lol.

My idea of fun is walking through the huge hotels and taking in their fabulousness, window shopping the designer stores - we loved Barneys New York in the Venetian - and browsing little shops like the Bellagio's chocolate shop (crepes...yum). Some people like the Grand Canyon; I like the grand hall in the Palazzo.


is it still November?

It doesn't seem like November - Thanksgiving came early this year and there were more days after Thanksgiving than usual. That's good for Christmas preparations - in fact I'm decorating my house today. With a foot of new snow on the ground outside, and brown and orange decorations being replaced by red and green...it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Our trip to St. George for Thanksgiving was bookended by two snowstorms. We drove down the day after "the great blizzard of 2010" which turned out to be kind of a fizzle - we got about five inches of snow, but it was nothing like the weatherman predicted. As we drove south last Wednesday, the roads were clear and dry.

We always alternate driving in 1 1/2 hour turns - so we each drive twice on this trip. The person who drives gets to pick what's on the radio. Scott endures my mix CD's (Debbie's Oldies, Debbie's Energy, Debbie's Over and Over, Debbie's Spark), and I endure the endless episodes on his Ipod of "This American Life." Acutally I like listening to Ira Glass and the gang and have learned a lot and laughed a lot while listening. Free podcast information here.

It was uncharacteristically cold in St. George (usually the warm spot of Utah) - but there were snatches of sunshine and we enjoyed our time there with my parents and Suzie and Winston.

We drove home Saturday night - before the next big storm - and cozied up at home yesterday watching the snow fall ALL DAY LONG. Well, I cozied and Scott and Mike worked outside. Scott and the scouts left church early and shoveled and snowblowered (?) the sidewalks of ten elderly people - and after all that work, by evening you could hardly tell. Mike spent hours on our driveway - but it just kept snowing. By morning the snow had finally stopped and today's blue sky and sunshine along with the cold temperature make the sky look all glittery. It's beautiful out right now!

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hAppy tHanksgiviNg just passed

“Christopher Robin had a question to ask first, and he was wondering how to ask it.
"Well," he said at last, "it's a very nice house, and if your own house is blown down, you must go somewhere else, musn't you, Piglet? What would you do, if your house was blown down?"

Before Piglet could think, Pooh answered for him.

"He'd come and live with me," said Pooh, "wouldn't you?"

Piglet squeezed his paw. "Thank you, Pooh," he said, "I should love



Thankgiving recipe from Ina

This recipe sounds really good (from the Google landing page), and if I weren't traveling for the next eight hours to St. George, I'd get busy in my kitchen and make it! At first I was a little put off by the banana, but in reading the recipe, there's only one mashed banana and lots of other ingredients, so I think it's probably hardly noticed. AND, I trust Ina Garten - in fact, Ina helps me cook. I really don't like to cook, (but I DO cook). If I turn on my kitchen TV and find an episode of her show, watching her calmly make her recipes convinces me that it's not so bad - and I can get through the meal I'm preparing. She is so soothing.

Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart

From Ina Garten - Barefoot Contessa Family Style

I wrote this recipe for my entertaining series for O, Oprah’s magazine. It was inspired by a pumpkin mousse that my mother had made for years for Thanksgiving. It’s lighter and much more flavorful than that cloying old pumpkin pie. People really do go nuts for it.

Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart

For the crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 ripe banana, finely mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

For the decoration:

  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Orange zest (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides and then the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

For the filling, heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don’t want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.

Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.

For the decoration, whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart and sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest. Serve chilled.

Serves 10.


my last 2010 Scrapbook Challenge!

As editor at Adornit (five years this past July), I've had the fun opportunity to write a monthly article for the Adornit blog. Actually, for the first two years I worked there, we sent out a newsletter called Notable News that I worked on with Georgana and Stephanie Austin. Then for the next two years, I wrote a blog post each month called Beginner Basics. This past year, I decided to do a Scrapbook Challenge called "10 in 2010," with the theme "Bits and Pieces of Everyday Life." For the challenge, I suggested a topic for each month and listed three requirements that had to be on the layouts. It was a lot of fun to see the layouts that different scrapbookers made using the themes and requirements.

November is the last month of our challenge - here's my page and the words to the challenge.

{ Life Is Good, Every Day }

It's time for November's Scrapbook Challenge. I can hardly believe I'm writing this, but it's true - this is our last challenge - our TENTH layout of the "10 in 2010" series. We've been celebrating EVERYDAY LIFE this year, and whether you created layouts and submitted them - or not - I hope you enjoyed thinking about the little things that make life good.

Which brings me to our theme for the month of November: Life Is Good, Every Day. As you think about what you might put on your page, please note that one of the requirements for this challenge is that you use lots of smaller-sized photos. For my layout, pictured at the end of this post, I chose to feature the faces of my family. I love the sweet little faces of my grandkids (especially on their cute school pictures for this year) and the beautiful (or handsome) faces of the rest of my family. It was fun to arrange and re-arrange the photos grid style and add in the darling Adornit embellishments.

So, for this month, I challenge you to create a layout about something that makes life good for you. Maybe it's the scenery where you live or your job or your hobby. Maybe your layout will be about books you read or foods you fix. I can't wait to see what you create!

This month's challenge requirements are:

a grid of small-sized photos

glitter and/or rhinestones

a heart

These elements are required on your layout to be entered in our prize drawing. You have until December 10, 2010 at midnight MDT to create your page and post it to Adornit's Facebook page so we can all enjoy!

Yup, that's it. The last challenge. The last time I use the cute logo (above) that Alison made for me, the last time I go through my list of ideas for challenge requirements, and the last time I create a scrapbook page for 2010.


= fall yard visitors =

We haven't seen Freddie pheasant for a couple of years - had almost forgotten about him - and then, just last week, he and his friend appeared in our back yard again.

These beautiful pheasants used to spend a lot of time around here (we always name them Freddie), and we're glad they've returned. They seem to like pecking at the fallen crab apples in our back yard. It's fun (and calming) to just sit by the window and watch them.

We also have a lot of deer here - they wander across our backyard or run through the area exploring everyone's yards. I took the photo above from my front sidewalk looking into the cul-de-sac across the street. There were two big deer and four little ones poking around the neighborhood that morning. It's a sight that never ceases to surprise me, even though we constantly see deer.
Now, here's a sad story. This happened about a month ago in our front yard. We think that something frightened this doe, and she ran full speed through our yard, leapt up over the rocks and bushes, and slammed into the metal fence that runs along our side yard. Coincidentally I let our dog out right after it happened and his immediate and loud barking made go outside to see what was wrong - and then I saw the stuck deer.

She was trying mightily to get through the fence, but it was impossible for her to go either backward or forward. I called Animal Control and the officer came (thankfully, quickly) and tried and tried but could not budge the deer.

Another friend was walking by and suggested that I call our next door neighbor to see if he would cut the fence. Luckily he was home for lunch that day. He came out with gloves - and experience. I guess this has happened before in the fence on the other side of his house. Together, he and the Animal Control officer pushed and pushed and got the poor deer's shoulders back through the metal posts. Once free, the deer took off in a panicked run through our backyard and into the field behind our house.
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- moms and daughters -

Fun weekend with Suzie and Becky (and baby Emmett too!)

Suzie came from Las Vegas for a few days to visit. Becky came from SLC to be part of the fun...starting with lunch at Costa Vida! (The next day these two lucked out and got free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches from Logan's newest fast food store that is just about to open.)

Becky and Emmett shared the Sweet Pork Salad. The tortilla strips on top were perfect for munching on then dropping on the floor.

Georgana, Jacquie, Carolee and Alison (mom and three sisters)

Then we were lucky enough catch all the McMullin girls (the original Adornit girls!) at the local Holiday Boutique gift show. The Adornit booth was huge and filled with stuff - which was flying out of there as the days went on!

I had been very excited to see the Adornit booth because Alison - with her fun, creative fashion style - has ordered wonderful bags, wallets, jewelry and hip, unusual, boutique-y style clothes. I love watching her go through the boxes and happily showing me the unique things that came in. (You can see their cute sister-in-law Stacy peeking around the corner.)

Here's Jackie at the register keeping all the customers happy.

The booth looked awesome - jam-packed with "stuff" including darling handmade items (a rare thing to see nowadays) such as these Christmas wood plaques for holiday decorating. Made by Alison, the wood decor pieces are adorable in real life with glitter and dimension. They'll be sold at the store - Carolee's Creations on north Main just south of the Hyde Park stoplight where the shopping fun continues.
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= just following the fabric trends =

Out with the old...

...and in with the new.


{ quintessential fall }

We've had the most amazing fall this year and since this is the month of thankfulness, I want to express my gratitude! I'm grateful for the beautiful weather we've enjoyed and for the colors that have been astounding the past few weeks. From the leaves to the landscapes to the sunsets - each day has been breathtaking.

I was working in the back yard, cleaning out the flower beds and raking leaves. Max, our little shih tzu, insisted on being right by my side (arghhh - not a dog person).

I said to Max, "This has been the quintessential fall. Every day has literally glowed with sunshine and golden maple leaves." Max doesn't know what quintessential means.


Adjective: Representing the most perfect or typically best example of a quality or class.

Speaking of colors, the cloudless sky is the bluest of blue.

Even the giant crows that hang out by the canal down the road had to stop and take it all in.

And the cows in the fields north of town.

The sunsets are incredible. We were on a bike ride last Friday night and Scott shot these photos of the sunset as it progressed from dusk to darkness. Ahhh.

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