Friday, November 30, 2012

November 2012 on FB

Nov. 3: Today is the day that I've been waiting for for months! Taking a tour of the Boise Temple Open House this afternoon, having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, and going to the BSU Broncos game tonight with my hubby for his birthday!!! It's gonna be an awesome day!

Nov. 4: I love Winco!!!! Wish groceries in Salmon were that cheap!

Nov. 6: I just finished reading the book "Wicked". I love the music of the Broadway play, but I didn't like the book.

Nov. 10: Josh planted our tulip bulbs just in time yesterday before the snow fell & stayed on the ground. I've wanted tulips for years, and I'm so excited that we finally got some bulbs to plant. Thanks honey!

Nov. 11: I am so thankful for blue skies, especially after living without them for 2 months this year!

Nov. 13: ate homemade French Onion soup with onions from our garden. I only make it once a year, but should make it more! It is SOOO good!

Nov. 14: It's gonna be such a great night tomorrow! Relief society dinner, a high school play, the midnight release of Twilight, and spending time with my bestie! I'm thinking of it as the Last Supper & Final {Fun} Act before my dreaded knee surgery on Friday morning.

Nov. 15: I don't like it when people go so much of their way to create problems for other people. Specifically, I don't like it when people go behind my back and say untrue things to hurt me. It really gets to me, and I hate having to defend myself because of someone else's lies.

Nov. 19: Other than my lopsided walk, i'm feeling so much better today! I could finally remove the bandages and look at the scars and take a shower, and the pain in my knee is definitely bearable now. So grateful to be on the mends from surgery, and just in time for Thanksgiving with family!

Nov. 21: I'm thinking that "Wreck it Ralph" is on today's agenda!

Nov. 23: payday + black friday + bum knee = lots of online shopping

Nov. 24: loved going to the cheerleaders bazaar & the festival of trees this morning. now I'm making pumpkin puree all afternoon as a homage to the end of fall.

Nov. 26: We put up our live Christmas tree today--it's 8 1/2 feet tall! Our biggest tree ever! And I am SOOOO in love. I was super sad that I couldnt' go tree hunting this year, and I'm so proud of Josh for picking the perfect tree even in my absence!

Nov. 29: [from Josh] "Schwedde Balls make a great Christmas Gift" at Season's Eatings with Kala.

Friday, November 23, 2012

the perfect autumn bite

The new recipe I tried in October was Pumpkin Fudge.

I searched on Pinterest for recipes, and tried a few. The one that I found the best was this:

3 c. sugar
2 TB light corn syrup
3/4 c. butter
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice (1 t cinnamon, 1/4 t ginger, 1/4 t nutmeg, 1/8 t ground cloves)
1 12 oz. pkg white chocolate chips
1 7 oz. jar marshmallow creme
1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1 1/2 t. vanilla

Butter a 9x13 dish. Combine 1st 6 ingredients in heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugars dissolve, then continue cooking until mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly. Boil until a candy thermometer reaches the soft boil stage of 234* (about 30 min. of stirring). Remove from heat. Stir in white chips until they are melted & mixture is smooth. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Pour into prepared pan, store refrigerated in airtight container. Makes approx 60 pieces. (I used a smaller pan so that the pieces were thicker, and it made 30 pieces).

My whole reason for making pumpkin fudge was to sell pieces of it at the pumpkin patch. I've made pumpkin pies for the last 2 years to sell at the patch, too, but not everyone likes the texture of pumpkin pie, so I wanted to make something else in addition to it. I sold the little 1" fudge squares for 50 cents each, and I sold out of it each weekend. Everyone kept telling me that it's "the perfect little bite of autumn flavors"! I use my own pumpkin puree that I make from the pumpkins we grow in the patch in both the pies and the fudge, and I think that it makes it that much more delicious!

Speaking of my homemade pumpkin puree, it's on my list of things to do (and make) today...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I {heart} Fall!

I love the cold, crisp mornings and nights.
I love the harvesting of the garden.
I love the colorful landscape.
I love the dropping leaves.
I love autumn holidays.
I love the food.
I love fall!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

one good shot, then another

Last fall, Ammon completed the Hunter's Ed. Safety course in preparation for his first hunting season this year, since he turned 12 in January. Josh was looking forward to finally having a hunting buddy--he hasn't gone hunting himself since 2008. One evening in mid-October, Josh took Ammon, and they went looking for deer on the ranch--there's always ample amounts of deer grazing the surrounding hay fields. The boys were gone several hours scoping out their targets. Ammon made a few shots at a buck that night, but due to the twilight, it was difficult to see, and the shots were unsuccessful.
A few days later, Josh was on his way home from work in the afternoon, and spotted a buck in one of the ranch fields. Thankfully, he had his rifle with him, and he took 2 shots at it, and it did the job. His 2nd shot went right through the deer's neck, and Josh was so glad since that meant there wouldn't be any wasted meat. Unfortunately, his phone was dead (because Kanyon had been playing on it), and that was the only camera he had with him, so he didn't get a photo. He got to work gutting it, and lifted the body into his truck to take it home. When I drove home after work, I passed by Josh, who was shutting the gate to that field, and he had a giant smile plastered to his face. It's unusual for him to look so happy, so I knew something was up. After we both got home, he gleefully told me about his successful hunt. Then he got his dad's tractor, hooked the deer onto it, raised it up, and started the job of skinning it. That's when I finally got a picture of his prize meat (bloody and half-skinned, and raised in the air like a pinata!).

The very next evening, Josh took Ammon up to the field just above our house. They had been observing the deer patterns for a few days, and figured this would be the best time/place for Ammon to make a kill. And their observations turned out to be right! Within a half hour, Ammon spotted a buck, took just 1 shot, and the buck was down! The bullet went through its spine. Ammon was so happy, and we felt so lucky to get 2 deer within 2 days!

Josh gutted it for Ammon in the field before the sun went down, brought it back to the house on the 4-wheeler, and skinned it the same way he did his own the day before. 

Josh took both bucks to the meat packing shop in Salmon, and we are anxiously anticipating when we can start eating lots of yummy deer jerky and deer burger! I am so proud of both of them and their successful first hunting season together!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


We got a puppy.

I don't like dogs, and I've always said we will NEVER get one.

But the kids wanted one, really bad. I think Josh did, too. So, I was outnumbered.

One day at school, a kindergartener brought a dog for show & tell. Kanyon cried and told the whole class it was because his mommy wouldn't let him have a dog. So Josh gave in and started looking for a puppy to mend Kanyon's broken heart.

Josh saw some pictures on facebook of puppies, and asked all the boys what they thought (because every time he showed me a picture, I said "NO", regardless of the dog). They all agreed on one that was a corgie/red heeler mix. It wouldn't grow up to be big, it's not a loud barker, it doesn't shed hair, and it could be an outside dog. They were all so excited and looked forward to the day we could get him!

Josh and I have never had a dog our entire marriage. This whole "puppy" thing was so new to us. In preparation, Josh found a doghouse from a friend in Salmon, we bought some dog food, a dog bed, a leash, a collar, and set up a little area for him on our deck. At the beginning of October, we picked up the puppy from an acquaintance in Salmon. When we brought him home, the boys were so happy to play with him.

We call him "Shorty". I came up with the name. He's kind of growing on me. He likes to be petted on the back, neck, and especially the tummy, so I oblige.

The most challenging part of having him for a dog is that he likes to chew. He chewed up his heating pad, dog bed, water containers, and he likes to chew people's legs, shoes, and gloves. But, we're working on teaching him not to!

The only other member of our family who doesn't like dogs as much as me is our cat, Sugar. And unlike me, her affections aren't growing towards him! She growls at him whenever he comes close to her, and she hates that he likes to eat her food. She doesn't come around a lot anymore--she stays down by Grandma's house to avoid him.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jack-O-Lantern Teeth

During the first week of October, Kanyon lost his first tooth at school. His teacher, Mrs. Foote, made a little drawing to attach the tooth to. He was SOOO excited and couldn't wait to show me his tooth!

Within 2 weeks, he went from missing one tooth to three! They were dropping like flies! We teased him that he could go as a jack-o-lantern for Halloween, he just had to paint his face orange!

He was so happy to make money on his missing teeth, and was super excited to put the tooth pillow by his sleeping pillow each of those 3 nights. The tooth fairy rewarded him with a $1 each time.

Jonah and Micah have been losing teeth lately, too. They lost an identical tooth within one day of each other! Jonah lost one again the other day, but reported the next morning that the tooth fairy never came in the night. Micah empathized with him, and said "Yeah, one time I put my tooth under my pillow for 5 nights, but the tooth fairy never came, so I just threw away my tooth". Whooops!!! I explained to both of them that missing teeth have to be reported to parents first in order to show up on the tooth fairy's radar!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

out came the smoke, and swallowed up the sun

One morning in the middle of September, I took Kanyon to Idaho Falls for a dentist appointment. It was a nice drive, and after an hour (of the 2 1/2 hour drive to get there), the smoke dissipated, and the blue skies emerged. I was so happy when we arrived in Idaho Falls that day, because I could experience the sunshine, blue skies, and white clouds; it did wonders for my soul.

On the way back home that afternoon, about an hour from Salmon, I could see the the dark smoke clouds looming ahead. The highway from Salmon to Idaho Falls is desolate, so I got my phone out, and started taking photos out my driver's side window. I witnessed the onset of the smoke from the forest fires, and the literal disappearance of the sun. The sun got smaller and smaller in the smoke, until it utterly vanished. With the disappearance of the sun came the doomy feeling returning in my spirit. It was so difficult not breathing clean, fresh air. It was so hard not seeing the mountains so close to our home. It was so challenging to not feel the refreshing rays of the sun when it disappeared during those 2 months.


Goodbye Sun. Hello Smoke.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

when skies are gray...dont take my sunshine away

In August and September, Salmon (a town with mountains all around it) was surrounded with forest fires to the north, the west, and the south. The air quality was terrible and depressing. It was unhealthy and everyone was instructed to stay inside as much as possible, and even then, lots of people got very sick. In the middle of August, we went camping in Montana and we breathed smoke-free air while there, and it was such a welcome reprieve. But when we came back to Salmon, the fires to the north/west of town had worsened, and so did the air quality. I documented how poor it was. There was ashes all over our cars, the trampoline, and the outdoor surfaces. The sky was orange and the mountains that are a mile from our home were not visible. It stayed this bad from the middle of August to the end of September, with only a few days in the afternoon when the winds cleared it out.

This is the orange reflection of the sun on the trampline. See some of the ashes?
More ashes on one of the cars:

The sky was so dark and dreary all day, and the sun felt like a furnace--the heat was radiating in a strange way.

The mountain to the west of us was not visible, but you can sort of make out a hill in this photo:

At the end of September, I was SOOO happy to see clear skies again! I was so grateful that the kids could FINALLY have outdoor recess again. I was glad to breathe fresh air. I was so pleased when it rained and when the wind blew to help the fires and smoke go away. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my soul. What a true blessing it is to see blue skies again!!!

Just to give a greater realization of the difference between what we lived with compared what we have now, here are some Before/After shots:
Field & Mountain to the west BEFORE:
 Field & Mountain to the west AFTER:

Fields & Mountain to the east BEFORE:
 Fields & Mountain to the east AFTER:
Trees & Mountain to the south BEFORE:
 Trees & Mountain to the south AFTER:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

a pirate party

Jonah and Micah turned 9 on September 22. This year it was their turn to have a friend's birthday party (we alternate years between a big family party and a friend's party). They both requested having a Pirate's Party, just like Ammon did several years ago when he turned 10. They remembered his party, and wanted to do some of the same activities we did then. They helped me with the entire process. They each picked 3 friends to invite, and they wrote the invitations and gave them to their friends. The day of the party (on their actual birthday this year!), they helped me clean and decorate the house. They were looking forward to the party with great anticipation, and were such awesome helpers preparing for it! They cleaned the living room, the family room, the bathroom, their bedroom, and I cleaned the kitchen and made a birthday banner to hang in the dining room.

They put together their pirate legos ship as a decoration, and found necklaces in their dress-up box for the display, too.

The first game we played when all the boys arrived was "Walk the Plank". They each had to walk across the plank 4 times. Each time they successfully crossed, they received swedish fish candy. Each time, the difficulty level was increased, making it harder for them to earn swedish fish. The first time, it was eyes open. The second time, it was hands behind back. The third time, it was eyes covered. The fourth time, it was eyes covered AND hands behind back (only one of the boys could complete that one!).

The second game we played was Pin the Flag on the Map; there was a treasure chest in the center of the map that they had to place the flag closest to it. They were each double-blindfolded, and they were given a little flag with tape to adhere to the poster. But by the end of the first round, most of the boys could feel where other flags had been put and they were all really close to the treasure box. So for the second round, I removed all the flags off the map, and gave them a marker where they had to draw an 'X' closest to the treasure box. This was much harder for them, because they couldn't feel the other markings! The winners from each round received swedish fish.

The third activity was a treasure hunt. I had created 6 clues that were for spots inside and outdoors. Some of the stops also included pirate items that they got to keep:

CLUE 1: Ahoy there, Mate! Are you ready to hunt for the treasure chest? You’ll find the next clue where boys lay down to rest. [under Micah's pillow on his bed]

CLUE 2: ARRRR! Put on the pirate bandana before heading for clue #3. You’ll find that it awaits in a big climbing tree! [outside under the big cherry tree]
CLUE 3: Shiver me timbers! There’s an eye patch for each of you, Put it on and search in the room with the mirror for your next clue. [the boys' bathroom]

CLUE 4: Well Swashbucklers, each of you take one sword, And go to the place where fires are made for clue #4. [behind the wood stove]
CLUE 5: Aye, Aye Captain! Here’s a necklace made of gold, Take it and find the place where campers go when they’re cold. [by the heat vent in the travel trailer parked outside]

CLUE 6: X Marks the Spot! You’ve almost completed your quest! You’ll need to go where white & black keys are planked to find the treasure chest! [under the piano]

Inside the treasure chest was little pirate baggies filled with silver and gold candies: rolos, reese's minis, and hershey's kisses. The boys loved picking up all their pirate gear along the way and had a great time finding the clues. The hardest one for them to figure out was the trailer one, but they got it (with the help of Josh).

Next, we had cake and ice cream. Jonah and Micah had worked together prior to the party picking out what kind of cake and ice cream they wanted from the grocery store. They both liked the multi-layer cake with frosting inside, and they both chose to have chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

We sang to the boys one at a time, and they each had the opportunity to blow the candles out on their joint cake.

They chose to have blue juice served with their cake and ice cream, to go with the theme of the pirate party. All the boys said the cake was delicious!

Next came gift-opening time! Because I don't feel that it's fair for the guests to purchase two gifts, I instructed them all to only bring a gift for the boy who had invited them. Jonah opened up the presents from his 3 friends, and Micah opened up the presents from his 3 friends. It was funny how it all worked out: Jonah and Micah each received 2 legos gifts, and one of the legos sets was identical to the other brother! So they both got similar gifts, even though they had come from all different boys!

I had planned on a 2-hour party, and at this point we were ahead of schedule. The boys requested they go outside and play real pirates, and I said they could for 15 minutes. This was their favorite part of the party, I think, even though it was completely unplanned. There were 4 red-handled swords, and 4 blue-handled swords. They broke themselves up into two teams, based on what color their handle was. Jonah and Micah were designated their pirate leaders, and then they ran around the yard and attacked each other. Boys will be boys! It was hilarious to watch!

The last game we played before I took them home was BINGO. The prizes for bingo were little boxes that were sections of a pirate ship, and each box was filled with spongebob elastic bracelets, candy necklaces, and pirate tattooes. I also had additional prizes of pirate notebooks, and bags of swedish fish. We played BINGO until all the prizes were gone, and then it was time to take the little swashbucklers home.  

All the boys had a great time at the party, even Kanyon who played Lego Pirates of the Caribbean on the wii for nearly the entire time the party was happening! Jonah and Micah had so much fun, and were so happy with how their special party had turned out! And I heard complements from several of the mothers later that their sons had thought our party was the "best ever"! I'm so glad!

We have a tradition that the birthday boy gets to eat what they want for dinner. We ate Micah's choice of Shepherd's Pie the evening before the birthday. Grandma and Grandpa joined us for the meal.

Jonah's choice for dinner was Spaghetti Casserole, and we ate that the evening of their birthday. Grandma and Grandpa, and Uncle Tim & Barb joined us for the meal.
In addition to their friend party, we also had a mini party with family members, too. Grandma & Grandpa, and Tim & Barb stayed after dinner for the boys to open gifts. Cousin Annika came for dessert afterwards.  

Micah asked for a remote control jeep, the wii Sports Resort game, and a new jacket. I went shopping, and found all 3 of his requests. Plus, from grandmas and grandpas and other relatives, he received extra gifts, too.

Jonah requested Star Wars legos, a Pokemon DS game, and a new jacket. I was able to fulfill all of his wishes, too. He was happy with the gifts he also received from Grandma & Grandpa T., Grandma & Grandpa P., and Tim & Barb.

Jonah and Micah both received quite the loot! They had a fantastic birthday!