Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas at our house.

This year Christmas was kinda different. We made gingerbread houses like we always do, but had an extra twist of having the Singles ward come over and make houses as well. Then they left. And left their houses for us. So our village was pretty big! (for us anyway)

The required item this year was a peanut. Tara's friend Jake won. He carved it into a turtle shell which you can see in the pond here if you make the picture bigger.
Mark's house. His peanut was eaten before his house was finished. He lost.

Tara's house and Geremy's house. Geremy's peanut was pretty creative. He made a hot tub, and the peanut, in his own words, was a "floaty". Boys!

Tara's house. Her peanut was siding on the root cellar.

This is the whole village, and my house is the one on the bottom left corner. This is the best picture we got of it. I used many peanuts in the walkway, along with pinto beans. A very good effect.

Christmas Eve was a little different spent in the ER with my good friend and neighbor while Mark went to the airport to pick up her son. Her husband fell off a ladder while getting off the roof and broke several bones, and was later flown to a SLC hospital. I was glad we were able to help!
Nickell and Aaron came over for Christmas Eve and spent most of it here alone. It was kind of a bummer for them, and once we got home I'm sure we were not super great company. They left early and we watched Mr. Kruger's Christmas, read the Christmas Story from the New Testament and went to bed. Poor Tara. She is stuck at home with just us two boring parents!
On Christmas morning we awoke to find that Santa did visit our house. He left an extra lot of things for me. But the best part of Christmas was talking to Spencer on video Skype! He looks way too skinny, and he loves his mission.
Then we got to go to Kirstie's house for games and puzzles. Mark's mom and Dad were both there.
On Skype, Spencer showed us his permanent sunburn line, and sent us these pictures on the Monday after Christmas, even though none of us had written to him (his p-day is supposed to be on Tuesday, silly boy). On Christmas Eve, he got to open his present that I picked. Seriously it took these kids until they were about 10 and 11 years old to figure out that it was always and always will be pajamas. His match ours, except we have warm tops that are flannel and he has a t-shirt.

Mostly I wanted you all to see the "Christmas Corner" behind him. Do you recognize the ornaments?

And this is Spencer wearing his pajamas. He is very skinny. Please send him fattening foods.

The beginnings of a backyard ice rink - Again.

Today, Mark decided, was a good day to try the ice rink in the backyard again. Sometime I just think of Mark and laugh. I sure like him! He is filling it even now. He hopes to be able to skate on it on new years day.

Building the frame.
Talking to Dave while it's filling.

The ice rink. Day 1.

The ice rink. Night 1.

My Greenhouse Today

Here is my greenhouse today. Cool icicles, eh? There is ice in the track of hte door, so it's pretty hard to get into. I can only get it opened a few inches, then I have to squeeze my big old body into it.
And here is what is growing in my greenhouse. It's pretty cold so they are growing very slowly, but I have radishes, lettuces, spinach, chard, beets and peas. I decided today that I'm going tostart a small compost in the greenhouse to help keep it warm and have good soil as a bonus. :)

What? No greenhouse pictures?

I just looked back an realised I have not put up any greenhouse pictures. Crazy me! This was a huge project that included moving our 5 ton shed (that may be an exaggeration, but we did need to get 8 young men in our neighborhood to help move it), putting in a concrete slab and pretty much making the shed all over again since most of it was rotten. Here is the process in photos:

The shed is moved. Yes, it did kill the grass. Mark had to go to India before we were able to finish this project so the shed sat here for just about a month.

Digging out the cement pad area. Whew, it makes me tired just thinking about it. On this day, Mark and I finally admitted we are getting old.

I can't find any pictures of the concrete party we had. I wonder if I took any? Anyhow, Marks brothers Lorne and Dave and his nephews Mike and Chev and his great-nephew Michael were here to help. They did a great job and all I had to do was feel them! KFC! I love it!
This is the first day of setting up the greenhouse. It was a Saturday and we got the entire frame up before dark, and I believe we got some panels on. Maybe we put the other panels on it on a Sunday, thereby breaking the sabbath. But it was so much fun, and we had bruised thumbs for about a week as a punishment for breaking the sabbath.

The frame all put together. I got really good at reading chinese american instructions.

And the finished product, although the project was barely half completed.

Part 3 of the project was to repair and reside the shed. Ugh!
We did not have to redo the roof. Yet. Thank goodness! It looks like it would have been easy enough, and it probably should have been easier than it was. But it took us several weekends to complete this chore.

And we still have to put the trim on the shed. That will be done in the spring, since now we are working on making an ice rink in the backyard and there is snow everywhere.
Here is the finished product. Aren't they pretty? (Try to imagine the shed with nice trim aroung the base, the door and anywhere else that is ugly)

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot . . .

Like Gingerbread Houses!
Holly pinged me at work today to tell me this was the last night of the gingerbread festival. It's usually at Thanksgiving Point, but they had it in Orem this year, and closer is always better, so we went. Here are my favorites for this year.
The Three Little Pigs (the pigs had friends in the backyard in a hot tub)

Notre Dame - Quasimodo is between the towers in the front

The UP House. Open this one big and look at the detail. It's incredible! The weather vane, the birds, and around the outside edge are a bunch of merit badges. The Boy Scouts put this festival on every year. And best of all, guess who made this house? Inmates at Utah State Pennitentiary! I guess they do have a lot of time on their hands.

"Sorry Santa, I peeked". I just thought this was cute.
Christmas at Falling Water. Katie Grierson once made this at our house. This one was incredible!!!

And my favorite of all - Candy Land! Yeah, this is what Gingerbread Houses are all about!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Farewell to the Queen

Today we had to put Dolly aka "Tiny Spicy Kitty" down. She was the queen of the backyard and the basement, and pretty nice for a cat. I will miss the neck rubs.

Just so you know, she was not the retarded one. We are pretty surprised that Molly outlasted her, but apparently age caught up to her a little faster.

This is a poem Tara wrote, I think about Dolly. I wil call it

Dolly's Pride

A majestic figure, so quiet, serene
Strutting about on soft silken toes,
Enter the kitten, nay, The Queen!
To grace us with her stately pose.

A simple cat, but to her eyes,
(Bright crystal gems of emerald hue)
A lioness of strength and size,
Ruling her castle, her domain, her due.

A rolling purr and swiftest glide,
The very sound her beauty gloats;
She lies with grace upon her side,
And mockingly preens her velvet coat.

Thus vanity will be her fate,
This tiny cat so proudly vain!
To which some mortals can relate,
Is wisdom's loss, but beauty's gain!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mark's India Excursion

Mark decided to go to India without me. He got home last week, and got Giardia. I think it's payback for not taking me to India. That wasn't very nice!!

Here are some cool India pictures. He says it was a very scary place, and if you look up scary India drivers there are tons of videos to prove that it was pretty scary. But mostly it was India, so it was just cool.

India Friends.

Just about the coolest tree ever.

The topiary garden
And the scary monkey that tried to take Mark's camera.

No, this one is the coolest tree ever.

Mark at the Hindi temple. Notice he is barefoot. Funny!

A monkey statue. He might be one of their gods, Mark isn't sure.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Fun

Tonight we went to Hobble Creek Canyon to look at and collect leaves. It's a tradition, and with Tara here now I am not allowed to break any traditions. It's a pretty fun one, anyway.

Well, there is a ranch in the canyon right near the campground. We have actually been camping there during a cattle drive and it's quite an experience to be right in the middle of it.

Tonight they were driving the cattle back to their ranch, and again we were right in the middle of it, although this time we were inside a car so it felt less threatening. Here is the video Tara took:

AND, here are a few leaf pictures. We love them!

We like to gather them and bunch them about the house. Mostly above the coat closet. Pretty!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jeny's day to celebrate

We won't say why she was celebrating, just that she did. On September 11 I was able to sleep in as long as I could because it was a Saturday. Beautiful! I slept in until 8! Then I did a whole bunch of laundry and did the grocery shopping so that could get out of the way. Mark was out doing a bit of shopping of his own, and look what he got me!!!

Yep, that really is a greenhouse. It's a little one, so the neighbors shouldn't be too upset (we do have some picky neighbors) and just right for my needs. Now we get to move the shed, put down a concrete pad big enough for the shed and the greenhouse, and assemble this. Such a great idea! I love it!

Tara and her friend Casey hung out with us for the rest of the day. We went boating on Utah Lake, Geocacheing until the mosquitos got so bad Mark was about to use a bad word (maybe darn, or something like that), then we went to dinner and came home for a rip-roaring game night of Rumoli. What a great bir . . . uh, day of celebration for me!

Jeny on the boat.

Tara gave me a great puzzle of fantasy like creatures. Maybe she likes it enough that she will help me with this one? And that's Casey in the background.

A Day at the Races

Mark had a guy from the Bonneville Speedway come to his work yesterday to help with some radios he had purchased for the Speed Races this week. He brought along several tickets and other goodies for the races. Since we are responsible adults with jobs that rely on us to get things done, we took today off and went to the salt flats. I have driven through there, but I have never gone to the state park (woohoo! flat salt land as far as the eye can see.) and certainly never to see the fastest cars in the world zip by.

We did not have much time (it tool 3 hours to get there, and Tara didn't get up until 11) so I didn't get the pictures of everything I wanted to, but here's what I got.

A really fast car. I think this one went about 180 MPH. It was not the fastest car we saw. We saw several that went over 200 MPH, but they were too fast for me and my camera.
Our feet on the salt. All that white all around us is just a big field of salt.

Tara's favorite car.

Jeny's favorite car. We didn't have time to get Mark with his favorite. It looked like a giant red bullet.

Now, don't laugh too hard. I was trying to get a still photo but apparently the camera was in movie mode. But it was the best movie of fastness that I got.