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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Salt Lake Wrap Up











On Sunday after Church and dinner with our good friends Trish and Tom, we headed over to Temple Square to catch the Christmas lights and see their daughter Beth perform with her high school choir. Her choir did such a fantastic job. Roman let us know he was not thrilled at all with the cold. It seems like this year was colder than others. I love the statue of the Christus donated to the Church by a Danish sculptor. It calms my soul every time I see it!    Also, while we were in Utah we were able to meet up with many good friends of ours.  Roman had so much fun playing with Alex his heart friend that I met through a support group many years ago and with Kelsey whose mom I met through blogging while in Switzerland.  Jessica invited me to their expat group and we have been friends ever since.  It was fun catching up with Amy a friend of mine from high school who now lives in Provo and seeing Allison who I met many years ago at girls camp up in Alaska.  Originally, we had many more things planned to see and do while we were in Utah, but coming down with the stomach flu kind of put a halt on some of those plans.  I think in the end it turned out to be a good thing because it caused us to slow down a little and now we have some things to look forward to next time we go to Utah.  Well, the New Year is just around the corner, and I hope you have a very Happy New Year!  Wishing you all the best to come in 2012.  Do you have any big plans for the evening.  If so I would love to hear about them.  I think this year we are going to just stay in and enjoy each others company.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Park City






Just as we were about to get out of the car to go ice skating, it started to snow.  Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but it was snowing really heavy.  We sat in the car for about 15 minutes to see if it would stop, but it only continued to snow.  Maybe, if we didn't have the baby with us we might have given it a try, but the rink was outdoors and it was really cold outside.  We thought about stopping at the free Olympic Museum, but with it snowing so heavy we began to worry about getting back to Salt Lake, so we scrapped our plans and began to head home.  Then out of the corner of our eye on the side of the highway we saw a giant tubing park.  This was something we could do that wouldn't take very long and would make everyone happy.  Once we got out of the car, Roman refused to go.  It was so cold!  Nothing was going to stop the big boys though and so they headed up the hill with their rented tubes.  They had a great time!  Maybe, the next time we go to Utah we can go back to this tubing hill and just maybe it won't be so cold that Roman can feel the joy of riding on a tube down a very big hill.  I have so many great memories of sledding in a child growing up in Alaska that I want all my children to feel that joy.

Post edit: I forgot earlier when I wrote this post to comment on how much Park City has changed.  The first time I went to Park City I was 15 years old and was visiting a friend of mine in Utah for a week in summer.  Her family took me to one of those tracks where you slide down the mountain on a sled but you don't need snow.  I can't think of the English word for it at the moment.  Anyway, Park City at the time resembled something of a old western town.  I almost didn't recognize Park City because it has completely changed.  I guess that is what hosting the Olympics does to a city.  It hasn't completely lost all it's charm.  Look closely enough and you will find the old Victorian homes.  Park City is definately worth the 30 minute drive out of Salt Lake City. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Living Planet Aquarium Salt Lake City






One day while Papa and Winston were Skiing the children and I went to the Living Planet Aquarium located in Sandy, Utah which is just about 15-20 minutes south of SLC.  While not a very big aquarium, the children had a good time.  The big hit was getting shocked by the eel.  The exhibit showed how you could get shocked and also showed how the eels produce enough electricity to light up the lights on a Christmas tree.  What fun!  I have to say Salt Lake City isn't really a walking city; especially, in the winter since it is so cold,  but what is nice is that even if you don't ski there are enough activities to keep everyone happy.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Day at the Slopes "Utah"







One of these days, I am going to get back on my skis and ski (it's been 12 years), but until then I am going to enjoy watching my children become better skiers with each trip we make to Utah.  We always go to Alta and the reason for this is that no snowboarders are allowed which makes for better snow and it is the highest ski resort in the Salt Lake area which means they usually have enough snow early on in the season.  The valley can get pretty smoggy in the winter, but once you start climbing the mountain the sky becomes clearer and most of the time you are blessed with sunshine even if the temperatures are in the single digits.  Harris graduated from ski school this trip and Winston is now on level 5.  Winston went from being scared of the mountain to being super confident with a real desire to learn how to ski well.  Unfortunately, Roman never got to go skiing since he caught the stomach flu.  We also think that maybe 4 is just a little to early to start though we so many small children on the mountain.  Next time!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Home in time for Christmas!



The stockings were hung by the chimmney with care
while the children snuggled in their beds
with visions of suger plums danced in their heads

Well, maybe not suger plums since we all at some point over the last 5 days had the stomach flu.  Some of us are still sick, I say this is the answer to not gaining a gazillion pounds over the Christmas holiday.  No one really wanted to eat Christmas Eve dinner since tummies still hurt, but the most important thing is that we are home safe.  We had a great time in Utah, but are all very happy to be home in  our own beds.  We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Aristos

If you love Greek food, then you should try Aristos.  Located up by the University of Utah this restaurant is not only reasonably priced, but delicious.  I have wanted to go to this restaurant for about two years now, and with the older children off skiing it was a perfect opportunity to try it out.  So glad we did. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gateway Children's Museum Salt Lake City



On Tuesday, Frank took the day off from skiing and joined me with the littles at the Salt Lake City Children's Museum.  I think he had just as much fun as Roman.  Making their own animated film was a total hit along with the Beehive.   It was a great place to hang out given that it is just way to cold to play outside this time of year.  If you are ever in Salt Lake, you should check out the museum.  I would say it is for ages 2-9. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Treats!



I am sure you have seen these Holiday Pretzel Treats before, but just in case you haven't they are super simple to make and super addictive because you can't just have one. Seriously, if you are going to give these as a gift you better bag them up pretty fast or make sure you make extra. I had to keep the little hands off them. All you need are square pretzels, Hersey Kisses, and M&M's. Another alternative to this combination is Rollo's and Pecans on top of pretzels. Place pretzels on cookie sheet and top with Hersey Kiss or Rollo then place in the oven for 5 minutes at 170 degrees Fahrenheit. When the 5 minutes are up the candy should be soft but not runny. The top with M&M or Pecan. I don't think you could find a more simple treat to make and Holy Cow are they yummy! Are you ready for Christmas? Only 6 more days!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Snowy morning in Salt Lake City

image borrowed from Google images

The ground is covered in a thin layer of fluffy white snow.  The boys are thrilled despite the freezing temperatures.  As I write, the boys are on their way up to the slopes.  Ski school starts at 9:00 a.m. , so in order to get a spot  you have to be there by 8:30 a.m. This meant they had to leave the hotel at 8:00 a.m.  Roman is cuddled on the couch watching Nick Jr. as he waits for dad to return and his adventure to start.  I think we might go to the Children's Museum or try out this Greek restaurant I have always wanted to go to.  Roman will go skiing next week.  We wanted to give him a couple of day to acclimate to the altitude which is nothing to take to lightly.  Tip number one if you are going to go skiing and coming from a lower elevation: Give yourself a day to acclimate to the environment. Tip number two:  drink plenty of water.  Tip number three: go to bed early.  Tip number four:  Make sure you have your pain reliever of choice on hand just in case you do get a headache.  The sooner you treat it the more enjoyable your vacation will be.  Yesterday, we went to the Living Planet Aquarium.  The penguins are hilarious to watch.  Harris and Roman had fun getting shocked by the electric eel and seeing how they create enough energy to light a Christmas tree.  Did you know there are river stingrays?  I didn't, and they they are really pretty.  They are black with white spots.  Afterwards, we went to my favorite Cafe in Salt Lake called Tulie.    While we were at the Aquarium, Frank and Winston enjoyed a perfect day on the slopes.  They couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. Unfortunately, I left my camera cable back in Georgia, so I can't share any photos from our day.  Ugh!  How is your Friday shaping up?  I am excited because tonight we are going to see a friend from our days at University.  It has been 14 years since we have seen her.  It will be fun to meet her husband and her three children.  Have a Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December




In a couple of hours, I will be getting on a plane for Salt Lake.  It is just a little after midnight.  I am so tired.  Harris homework is just about killing me.  What teacher expects a 12 year old to stay up till midnight to complete their homework.  It hasn't been just one night.  He has done this about 4 nights in a row. 

Addy started eating solids last week.  She doens't seem to love sweet potatoes as much as her brothers.  She loves pear. 

Addy weighs 12 pounds 7 ounces now.  She was 11 pounds 4 ounces last month.

We went to the movies last weekend and saw Arthur Christmas.  It is so cute!  It  is a must see and a new Christmas classic.

Winston performed this past weekend in the annual German school Christmas production.  They sang a song called Weinachts Baeckeri.  He really got into it this year.  He is really doing great at school. 

Roman finally can say the whole alphabet.  He is starting to connect what sounds each letter makes too. 

We have another red belt in the house.  Winston was promoted in Karate on Monday night.  He is so happy.
I hear it is snowing in Salt Lake.  It should make for great snow on Thursday.  Well, I better go.  Incase, I don't get on the internet the next couple days, I hope you all have a fantastic week.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stollen


My husband loves Stollen.  He will cut a slice off the loaf and then cut it into smaller pieces and proceed to dunk it into a glass of milk.  Over the years his mommy would send us a loaf from Germany in our Christmas package along with other yummy treats.  Unfortunately, the shipping cost have gotten way to expensive to send much of anything to us now.  My husband has just about everything he really wants or needs, so I thought it would be nice to make him Stollen from scratch.  It turns out it is much easier to make than I thought it would be, and according to my husband it is the best Stollen he has had in his 46 years of existence.  I think he is just saying that to be nice, but I have to admit the Stollen I made wasn't too bad.  There are several varieties of Stollen, but my favorite has marzipan in the dough. After looking at several recipes, I came up with my own. 

Stollen
1 Tablespoon of yeast dissolved in 2/3 cup of warm milk plus one Tablespoon of sugar to feed the yeast.  Once yeast is dissolved, add 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.    Add one beaten egg and 1/2 teaspoon of salt along with almost 6 Tablespoons of melted butter.  Then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla or if you like 1 teaspoon of rum extract.  Then add 2 1/2 cups of bread flour  along with 1/3 cup of dried dates, 1/3 cut dried citron, and 1/3 cup currents, and 1/3 cup dried cherries then chop up 6 ounces of marzipan into bite size pieces and add to dough. Traditionally, you are suppose to roll the marzipan into a rope and fold the dough around the rope with the marzipan in the center.  I like it throughout the dough.  Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.  I forgot to add nuts, so if you like you can add 1/3 cup of chopped pecans or your favorite nut to the dough too.  Dough will be slightly sticky so flour up you hands and kneed is ever so slightly.   The place dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise for one hour .  After an hour punch dough down shape into a free form loaf and place on baking sheet to rise a second time (about 1 hour).  Bake loaf for 10 minutes at 350 degree and about 20 minutes at 300 degrees until loaf is golden brown.  Take out of the oven and allow to cool, but just before it cools  brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with powder sugar.  Now you have a piece of  Weinachten.  The history of Stollen goes back to the year 1329, but may go back even further.  Today the loaf is supposed to represent the baby Jesus.  Originally, the recipe did not include butter or milk until the King of Germany petitioned the pope to drop the ban on using these ingredients during Advent season.  Thank goodness, because I think this cake would have tasted like a brick.  If you ever have a chances to go to Germany during the holiday season do it because the Christmas markets are so amazing. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ho Ho Ho


Here is the photo with Santa I spoke about the other day.  I guess I worried for nothing because you can't even tell that Addy threw up all over her shirt.  Though I think Roman looks kind of funny.  I kind of wished I had spoken up more with the photographer  and had Roman stand next to Santa.  Roman came home from school on Tuesday and decided that we are Jewish.  He told me that we needed to buy a Menorah.  He sang the song dreidel dreidel dreidel we made it out of clay all day long.  This made Winston very mad.  He thought Heavenly Father would be mad at us because we believe in Jesus and Jewish people do not.  I explained to him that it was OK to learn and celebrate other religions and cultures without having to give up our own.  That this would make God happy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Merry Christmas

In exactly one week, we will be heading off to Utah for our annual family vacation. The boys are so excited to go skiing. Roman wants to go skiing, and so we will sign him up too. However, I am not sure if he will last the whole class or not. I guess we will just have to see. Anyway, 2011 has been an exciting year for our family. Our oldest son became a deacon in the church, we moved to a new house, my husband finished a major business project, and we added a new member to our family. I can't wait to see what 2012 will bring us though I am not sure it can top 2011. If only happiness and health knock on our door in 2012, I will be completely happy. I wish the same for all of you.




Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A blessing!

Yesterday was a very special day for our family. Addy was blessed and introduced into the church. Her dress was made by her grandmother using fabric from my wedding dress. Afterwards, we had our friends the Atkinson's over for dinner where we enjoyed a feast of ham, roasted potatoes, roasted green beans with Parmesan cheese, rolls, flourless chocolate cake, and sparkling cranberry juice. The children also decorated sugar cookies as we listened to Christmas music.







Genesis 49: 25
 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the aAlmighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the bwomb:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Operation Christmas

 


The last few days we have been in full Operation Christmas mode.  I think I am on sonic speed mode since I have so much to fit in before we leave for Utah to go skiing. It all began on Sunday with the lighting of the first candle for Advent. Christmas music filled the air, hot cocoa with marshmallows and the traditional gingerbread house was erected. Monday it was off to Joanne Fabrics to pick up craft supplies to complete a ribbon wreath I saw on the blog Little Birdie Secrets. I will keep one for our tree and one to give away for an ornament swap I signed up for on another blog. Unfortunately, I didn't find everything I need to complete the crafts I have in store, so it is off to Michael's. Christmas cards still hadn't arrived, so I spent some time on my knees praying that they would come the next day. Since we moved, I wanted to get my cards off early to let everyone know we moved. I spent much of Monday working on my craft. Tuesday, I worked on teacher gift, neighbor gifts, and gifts for people who provide our family service such as our pediatrician and cardiologist. This year I decided to go with Cookies in a jar and Homemade Hot Cocoa. Recipe for cookie idea came from Bakerella and the Homemade Hot Cocoa came once again from Little Birdie Secrets. I think by making homemade I saved about $100. Plus, I don't know about you, but don't you feel more appreciated when someone gives you something homemade. Tuesday evening our Christmas cards arrived and by some miracle the baby actually slept early that evening and I was able to get them all address. Wednesday, I completed the cards and was able to get them off in the mail. I feel like I can now rest a little. We went to our first Christmas party of the season for my sons Sunday school class and thankfully all the cookies disappeared. Thursday, Roman and Addy had there picture taken with Santa. Sadly, I am not sure if it is going to turn out. Roman has a rash around the bottom of his mouth from licking it with his tongue. Addy had her first baby acne and to top it off she pucked on her shirt. I thought of canceling the whole thing, but I am not sure we will have another chance to see Santa. Well, I have to just gross my fingers that the her wet shirt won't show and that the photographer can Photoshop out the rash and acne. Every day I am jamming out in my car to Christmas music. How about you? Are you listening to Christmas music yet? To say the least I am exhausted so I am off to bed. Good Night!