Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful Christmas including the following highlights: Hatch party with Santa Claus. Christmas eve at Oma and Opa's (minus driving through the blizzard in the minivan on the way up), Lots of yummy food and treats, and fun new toys. My best surprise was telling everyone that we are having a boy!

Las Vegas Bowl

We joined thousands of other Cougar Fans for a pre-Christmas road trip to Las Vegas for BYU's bowl game. We had fun staying at Kimberly and Robert's new home in St. George on Friday night. On Saturday, the whole family went down to Las Vegas and we stuffed ourselves at a buffet on the strip before the game. We were lucky to find a good babysitter in Las Vegas so that our kids did not have to sit in the cold. BYU was even luckier to win the game by blocking a last minute field goal attempt by UCLA. We rushed the field with hundreds of others to celebrate. GO COUGARS!

Christmas Cookies

We had a fun cookie making and decoration party here a few weeks before Christmas. We had large gingerbread boys and girls, sugar cookies, and I made a garland with some of the smaller gingerbread men. (I felt like the "elf" when hanging up the garland.) We froze a few cookies to decorate on Christmas eve for Santa. A few days later, the kids and I decorated a gingerbread house.

Here is a good tip for gingerbread houses my neighbor told me: If you don't ever plan on actually eating the house, then first decorate each piece of the house. Then assemble the house together with a hot glue gun. This held great and was very easy. We covered up some of the hot glue with our extra frosting.


We had a great thanksgiving feast at Oma and Opa Wirthlin's house. Every dish that was there was delicious. Dad made the best smoked turkey. I had a lot of fun cooking for 2 days before Thanksgiving, I made the following dishes: fresh cranberry chutney, rolls, sourdough bread, pumpkin pies, oreo custard pie, spinach artichoke dip, stuffing, and I also made 2 dozen bagels to have around the house.

We were so glad that Suzanne and Scott came for Thanksgiving and stayed with us. Abby and Alexandra had fun going to the same church class and wearing their matching Costco dresses. They were lucky to be here for a big snow storm the day before they left to go back to sunny Arizona.


Disney World!

We just got back from a week in Orlando, Fl, where we spent 6 days at Disney World. It was a great trip and the kids are allready asking to go back. We really wore the kids out as you can see by the last picture of us on the way to the airport. There were so many fun things that we did, but here are just a few of our trip highlights:

Spending time with John and Kaley. See John & Kaley's blog for more pics. http://jkwirthlin@blogspot.com/
Getting free upgrades on both our rental car and our timeshare room.
Princess breakfast
Pirates of the carribean and hearing Anthony sing "yo ho yo ho a pirates life for me"
Buzz lightyear ride
The petting zoo at Animal Kingdom
The Safari ride with real African animals
Jedi training - watching a live fight between Darth Vader and Jedis
Abigail in her Pocahontas outfit.
Tom Sawyer's island - Anthony and Andrew loved exploring the caves there.
Paul doing most of the pushing of all three kids in the stroller at once.
Seeing fireworks almost everyday.

Happy Halloween!

We had a fun Halloween and the weather here cooperated so the kids got lots of candy - they loved Trick or Treating. For Anthony, I wanted to use an old Tigger costume that I have, but every time someone asked him what he was going to be for Halloween, I said "Tigger", Then Anthony would say, "no Tigger, I pirate!" So, Paul thought I should get him a pirate costume and I'm glad I did because he was the cutest little pirate ever.

I spent a day and a half carving the seven pumpkins you see there - the most dificult was the pirate ship. I broke 2 pumpkin saws because those pumpkins were so big and thick. But it was worth it after it was all done, they looked really good lit up at night and all of the trickortreaters loved them.

I also toasted 10 cups of pumpkin seeds using Emily's recipe. They are pretty good:

Pumpkin seeds

2 C pumpkin seeds 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. butter (melted) 1 tsp. salt

Boil washed seeds in salted water for 15 min. drain mix with butter and Worcestershire sauce and salt. Pour in pan toast seeds 250° for 2 hours stirring often.

Anthony's 2nd Birthday

We had a fun combined 2 year old birthday party for Anthony and Phillip. The best part about it was staying up until 1:30 with Cathy making the train cakes.


Go Cougars!

Here is our nerdy BYU family at the BYU Homecoming parade. We camped out in the trailer the night before and then walked over to the parade. We got a lot of attention and candy because we were so dressed up and because I had this big comfy swivel chair. This picture was taken by a random photographer from the Alumni Association. He thought we were great cougar fans. We ended the day with a great football game with BYU beating AirForce (and Utah losing to UNLV). The kids have fun at the game - they love singing the fight song. We had a little bit of a scare at the game - I took all three kids by myself to get popcorn, Andrew turned the wrong direction and was out of my sight. I started looking for him the wrong way and couldn't find him. Someone took him to the security office and we recovered him about 10 minutes later there. We were all very shaken up, but glad to have Andrew back. Later when talking about the experience, Andrew said "Mom, which way did you go?" I told him, then he said..."oh, I went that way."


Abby's 5th birthday and Barbie Cake Tips

Abigail had her 5th birthday celebration at Grandma's pool. She has enjoyed riding her new princess bike for the past couple of weeks. She loved her barbie cake. The morning of the party, she sat and stared at it for quite a while. She was a little worried, however, that Cinderella was going to get all ruined and sticky.

Tips for making a barbie cake:
I used 2 cake mixes: The first one is a double-layer cake (2 9 inch pans) - bake as directed on box and remove from oven and cool on racks. The second mix I baked in a Pampered Chef 2 quart batter bowl. This glass bowl is perfect for the job. Make sure to spray the bowl well. (I used the spray that has flour as well). Also, don't be surprised if it takes forever to cook. I think this one took about an hour.

Let the cake cool in the glass bowl - this is important. If you dump it out while it is still hot, it may crumble and the edges will fall off.

When completely cool, make hole in center using tongs. If you don't hollow it out a little, the cake will crack when the Barbie is inserted.

I placed the two round cakes and the one from the glass bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes to chill them before frosting. This helps them keep their shape.

Place a big blob of frosting on a cake plate and put a leveled 9" circle cake on top.
Lots more frosting then the other leveled 9" circle.
More frosting.
Skirt cake on top of that.
Wrap Barbie tightly in saran wrap from chest down - this will keep her from getting dirty from cake and frosting.
Insert Barbie into the hole until the cake is at waist level. The reason I added the extra cake is because the batter bowl makes a cake that is a little shorter than Barbie's legs.

Now frost the entire cake generously and smooth it out. Put in fridge or let sit until that frosting is set before you begin decorating.

For decorating, I only used 2 colors and a couple of decorating tips. My secret to making this look pretty was to buy the pre-made flowers from the candy factory outlet. These were inexpensive and makes the dress look great without a lot of work.

Butter cream frosting:
1 stick butter (you can use up to one half shortening)
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
a couple of Tablespoons of milk - to desired consistency

Whip butter - add vanilla, slowly mix in powdered sugar. Then add milk - one TBSP at a time and whip till creamy and the consistency you like.

If not using any store-bought frosting, you will have to make a couple batches of this for the Barbie cake.

Summer 2007

Highlights from of our Summer 2007:

June: Week long trip to St George with Cathy, Suz, and Al all coming at different times. See picture (11 kids being fed around one table). We ended the trip by touring Bryce Canyon Natl park on the way home.

Bear Lake - we made 3 trips to Bear Lake this summer: 4th of July with Mom/Dad and Al and her family.
Paul took the kids to his family reunion right after my surgery.
And we went with Suz for a week - just two weeks after my surgery. We love Bear Lake!

Family reunion - great times, good food! (See pic of kids with ice cream)

Lake Powell - We went on a week long trip on a houseboat with Paul's family. We did lots of water sports, the kids liked playing in the orange sand, and we took a boat ride and hike to see the Rainbow Bridge.


Hawaii Trip April - May 2007

We went to Hawaii for a week with our kids and with Debby, LaMar, and Tyson. We stayed at a condo on the beach in Kahana, Maui. It was such a fun trip and we were so glad to have the kids with us. Anthony loved seeing the water and as he first saw the ocean from his seat in our rental car, he screamed out "Yo, ho!" and he would sing the pirates "yo ho" song everytime we saw the ocean. All of the kids loved playing in the sand and they even swam in the ocean with their floaties on. We went to a Luau for Andrew's 3rd birthday and we also took a boatride to go snorkeling at Molokini crater.

March and April 2007

We have had such a fun, busy year and we are way behind on our postings. Here are some pictures from some of our trips during March and April.
We spent a week in Phoenix, AZ and hung out with Suz and Scott and took the kids to rawhide villiage.
In March we went on a trip to a really nice all-inclusive resort in Jamaica with some sales people from Printech. This was a fun trip and a nice getaway for a few days without the kids.
The last picutre shows the kids with their cousins about to search for Easter Eggs.


Sick/Snow Day

I did not go to work today because Anthony has been throwing up. (Also, I have no cooking to report on because I had stomach flu all weekend as well.)

So I let Abigail and Andrew enjoy the freshly fallen snow. They thought it was fun making snow angels because they have never made these before. (Poor, sick Anthony is sleeping and could not enjoy the new snow.)