October 29, 2009

Jack-o-Lanterns 2009

We had a wonderful opportunity to carve a few jack-o-lanterns this year. David got a pumpkin seed from his Kindergarten class in the spring and that seed produced a couple small pumpkins. David was able to carve one of those pumpkins all by himself. Michelle acquired a couple more (larger) pumpkins that we worked on as a family.

Michelle took charge of the larger pumpkin. Michael was able to assist on the clean out, getting the pumpkins seeds out of the pumpkin.

Donovan took charge of the second pumpkin. I was able to assist on the clean out.

David took charge of his own pumpkin and did everything himself.

It was a fabulously messy experience and everyone had a good time. Michael was able to take charge of the smallest pumpkin so he could do some of his own carving.

Aleky did his best to be involved but we just didn't trust him with any carving equipment. But in spite of not carving he, along with the other boys, enjoyed lighting the jack-o-lanterns.

I hope everyone has a happy Halloween!

October 21, 2009

Do We Have to Eat Dessert?

There are times when my boys simply boggle my mind. Tonight was one of them. We were simply having leftovers for dinner. The boys struggled with the decision, "what do I want to eat tonight?" This was probably an exceptional hard decision because they didn't want to eat it the first time, which is why we have so many leftovers.

Each child finally made a decision and began eating. That was mildly surprising but the real jolt was about to happen...dessert!

What kid in the entire world doesn't want to eat dessert? Each kid ate their dinner and so we wanted to reward them for eating. So Michelle whips out the pie and ice cream. Sounds good, right? Well our boys literally started throwing fits, crying, moaning and wailing about having to eat dessert! More specifically, they didn't want to eat the pie (Razzle Berry Pie). Michelle had cut a thin sliver of pie for each boy, put it in a bowl and added ice cream. The boys acted as if the ice cream had been contaminated. David grudgingly ate his piece of pie but Donovan and Michael couldn't be coerced into eating their sliver of pie.

I really had to fight the feeling to laugh out loud when David first started throwing his tantrum over having his ice cream contaminated by the sliver of Razzle Berry Pie. He started to wail and moan and even created some crocodile tears. Truly an unexpected moment in the evening.

Does anyone else have kids that have issues with dessert?

October 17, 2009

Ward Activity - Fall Festival

Our ward had a fall festival this year instead of trying to compete with Halloween. We have to express our appreciation to all of those people who worked so hard to put this activity together. They did a fabulous job and I think everyone had a great time.

The evening started in the third quarter of the BYU-SDSU football game with the score tied 21-21. But notwithstanding, there was still quite a decent turn-out. We did notice a few of the brethren who disappeared somewhere in the fourth quarter. Their faithful attendance (at least in spirit) to the football game proved enough to claim our school's 500th win (38-28 final score).

Our fall festival started out with the pot-luck dinner. The ward provided the hot dogs and hamburgers and the members provided chips, salads, and desserts. With ample time to eat the activities started around 6:45 pm. The booths that they had included the photo booth, face painting, fishing pond, ring toss, pumpkin derby, bowling and basketball shoot. Also included, but not as booths, were the largest/smallest pumpkin, bottling and pie eating contests.

Here we are at the photo booth. While this was the first booth, it also happened to be our last stop of the evening.

Our friends, the Andersons, were also there for a quick photo opp. at the same time.

Face painting was the boys first stop of the evening after "eating" dinner. While they had been talking about it all week, when the time arrived Aleky was the only one brave enough to get something painted on his face.

After seeing the courage of his little brother, David also summoned the courage to have a spider web painted on his face.

At the end of the evening Donovan finally mustered the courage to have a blue star painted on his forehead. I'm not sure he had fully recovered from the shock of the experience...

Eleanor also finally decided to have her face painted and she got a "bug on the face." While the whole experience wasn't thrilling, she survived and was very excited to see the picture of the butterfly on her cheek.

Another wonderful masterpiece from the Young Women artists (Sister Brienholt). It was too cute to pass up without taking a picture.

The primary's fishing pond was fun as each kid got to go fishing twice. Apparently there were enough "fish" for everyone to get two tries and each kid was success (on almost every cast).

Aleky's favorite stop of the whole evening was the young men's ball toss. He thought that he had died and gone to heaven. He just tossed the balls into the tubes and if anyone missed he was there to help on the rebound.

Michael finally got his turn to go bowling but it didn't quite go as planned. May be we need to let him practice a few more tosses before our next fall festival.

This pumpkin derby was an interesting race. You quickly built a "car" and place a small pumpkin on top (strapping it one with rubber bands) and then you race them down the ramp. My pumpkin came in 4th. I guess I need to work on my pumpkin aerodynamic designs for next year.

Michelle really wanted a piece of pie for dessert. However, all of the pies were being used for the pie eating contest. So she entered. While she didn't win she did get her piece of pie.

Michelle also dominated the bottling contest. The rules were simple, bring one of your bottles with the number of total bottles prepared this year and the biggest number wins. Unfortunately, the word got around the ward that Michelle had really gone to town and so there were only a limited number of entries (why try when you don't stand a chance?). Michelle won 1st place and Autumn Bosley won 3rd place. Samantha Anderson won 2nd place but wasn't there for the picture.

Brother Jaccard wrapped up the evening with story time. He did a great job for the 3 minutes we were there. But the boys were more excited playing with the balls from the various booths that they weren't too concerned about the story. It took us the whole story just to round them up.
We all had fun. BYU won. What more could you ask for on a beautiful Saturday evening?

October 13, 2009

Aleky's Birthday Party

Better late than never we decided to have Aleky's birthday party when we could have a lot of friends come over and when we could have time to put the party together. Ironically, we didn't have very much time today but Michelle worked very hard and had a little family miracle. And before we knew it all of our friends had arrived.

We started with letting the kids run wild in the back yard while Michelle quickly put the finishing touches on the cake. With the guidance and assistance of our resident pilot, Matt Badel, we were able to create a virtual replication of a modern day war plane...almost.

Next, we rounded up the kids for a quick art project. They had to decorate their luggage (goodie bag) and check it in. This went pretty well except everyone wanted the red marker at the same time.

Once they everyone had their own marker they really went to town. We just ran out of room so some of the kids had to find additional space elsewhere in the room.

After checking in the luggage we sang "Happy Birthday" to Aleky and then moved to the kitchen to eat the cake and ice cream. Our boys loved it, especially since they didn't really have time (or desire) to eat dinner!

After opening presents each kid picked up their luggage at the baggage claim. It was so wonderful to have so many friends come to support us with Aleky's birthday party.

Happy Birthday Aleky! You're growing up so fast. You won't be our little baby boy much longer but we still love you.

Airplane Birthday Cake Frosting Recipe

8oz. cream cheese, 3/4 cup powder sugar, beat with electric beaters until smooth and creamy. Add 8oz, cool whip and mix till you can't resist the urge to lick the beaters. (about 1 min. MAYBE LESS!)

October 10, 2009

Final Bottling Party

Today was the final bottling party for our ward. While these parties have been fantastic and these woman have worked miracles, it has still been a long process, long days and I'm grateful that they are done for this year's bottling season.

This particular bottling party was focused on grapes! There are several families in our ward that have grape vines and wanted to learn how to bottle grape juice. While 2 different processes were used the steamer was the more efficient process and seemed to process the quickest.

Here Michelle is explaining the way to prepare the grapes for process. A quick rinse/wash and strip the grapes from the vines and put them in the strainers.

(This is a grape...)
This was the first wave of women to arrive at the party and they were put straight to work getting the grapes ready. We had some more apples as well so a second table was set up to prepare apples for bottled slices and applesauce.

We ended up with 6 stoves fired up simultaneously to process the grape juice as quickly as possible. (It certainly goes much faster with 6 stoves instead of just one!)

Once the juice was ready they drained the juice put it in bottles. The did the applesauce and slices processing on different stoves at the same time. It still took until after 5:00 pm to finish the processing and clean up the bottling tools and stoves.

After the three bottling parties these woman bottled over 300 quarts of fruit:

Apple Sauce - 64.5 quarts
Apple Slices - 46.75 quarts
Pears - 83 quarts
Nectarines - 55 quarts
Peach Jam - 12.75 quarts
Plum Jam - 2 quarts
Grape Jam - 3.75 quarts
Grape Juice - 42 quarts
White Grape Juice - 9 quarts

Total: about 320 quarts (80 gallons)!

October 4, 2009

General Conference Weekend

We had a wonderful conference weekend. Our boys were spectacular, beyond our best hopes and dreams. I'm not sure exactly how we did it but our boys sat through 3 1/2 sessions of conference and were nearly quiet and reverent the entire time!

While the boys weren't in the mood for a nice picture (we tried about 5, this was the best one) you can see our elaborate scheme for ultimate concentration during each conference session. We used conference bingo! In front of each boy is a bingo card with various gospel topics in random placements. Since each boy got to use money it really helped to keep their attention. Last conference we tried cheerios and jelly beans the boys lost interest after they at all of the food. It's a little harder to swallow pennies.

We set it up where the boys would get a treat for the first two bingos and then they had to clear their cards and try for a blackout in order to get the next treat (which was virtually impossible!). The boys really wanted those treats so they paid attention and would catch even the mention of a gospel topic listed on their cards. Aleky wasn't really interested but none of the boys would play with him so he just hung out with the family.

It was like magic! The boys finally ran out of enthusiasm for conference bingo during the middle of the 5th session on Sunday afternoon! We couldn't have been happier or felt more blessed than to have our 4 young children pay attention to the entire 2 days of general conference! With our boys focused on conference Michelle and I were able to concentrate as well and felt that this was a wonderful and much needed spiritual recharge. The talks were amazing and truly inspired. We are grateful to all of the Lord's servants who participated in the conference and have blessed our lives.

October 2, 2009

One Step Closer to a Working Bathroom

We are making progress on our bathroom sink. Grandpa Petersen has completed the steel frame (designed to hold up to our boys vigorous activities). He's also added the front and side panels. He came down to install the frame in our bathroom so we could finish adding the tile to the top and install the sink.

The next step was to add the counter-top. The boys were very excited to help add weight so that the counter-top could be secured to the frame. They were very patient and I worked in that small space to screw the frame and the counter-top together.

The next step is to determine exactly where the sink goes, cut out the sink hole and then tile the counter-top.