Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to Gain FIVE pounds in ONE day...

In my family, it's tradition to make candy at Christmas time. For as long as I can remember my Mom has made homemade fondent, almond roca and turtles. Then we dip them in chocolate. And it's not the little box of chocolate you can find in the cooking aisle of the grocery store. Oh no, this is the yummy, imported European chocolate that is a million times better. Once you have had it...you never go back. So here we are dipping turtles.
Jacob was very helpful. When he was told he could help, he declared that when he was done he would lick the spoon. Good thing he knew what order to do it in!

Jacob could not wait until the end though and gave in to the temptation of his spoon covered in chocolate. Doesn't he look happy!
Barry came home from work to a house that was filled with the smell of delicious chocolate.
We are getting near the end of dipping, and drawing quite a crowd here. It's time to lick your fingers!! :)
But here is how you really gain some holiday poundage... Take a clean spoon and fill it with chocolate, then slowly eat the chocolate from your spoon. Repeat with another clean spoon. (Hey! I wasn't the ONLY one doing it!) Then when your mom offers you the bowl, take a spatula and go to town. There was never a cleaner bowl, anywhere, ever. Take it from me, it's a great way to ensure a few extra holiday pounds.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

This year for Christmas Brian and I opened our gifts on the 23rd. We weren't overly anxious (although Brian did jump up and down like a five year old) but we were headed to TEXAS the next day and didn't want to pack up the gifts. None of them were from each other but instead from family who loves us!
It's a good thing this year was too busy to put up the tree or put out our presents, because our cats also enjoying opening gifts. Here is Phanta ripping the paper on Brian's gift.

Then we were up super early on the 24th and caught a plane to Dallas, Texas. Since we fly standby (and free) it's always an adventure to see if we will get on. Not only did we get on, we got first class on the way there!! LOVE IT! We spent four days with Amy, Barry, Jacob, Maddie, Ella, Mom, Dad and Greg. It was a party. Here are the highlights:

Opening presents on Christmas morning. It was sooooo fun to experience childhood joy on Christmas morning. Jacob declared after every gift - "It's exactly what I wanted!" Maddie would get a huge grin on her face and say "Cool!" And Ella just loved to play, play, play.


Here are the guys putting together all the new train tracks Jacob got for Thomas and friends.

Yummy Christmas morning breakfast. We only eat Sour Cream twists for Christmas and Easter and boy, do I always look forward to them! Maddie kept calling them donuts. So cute! They are not pictured however.

Many, many competitive games of Hungry, Hungry Hippos were played.

A trip to the Dallas Motor Speedway. They take you all over the place, up in a fancy suite and even drive you two laps around the track. That was really cool. We all wanted to go faster but they are not allowed. The feel of the angle on the track while you drive is a rush. It would be incredible to actually experience it!

And some random cute moments I couldn't forget to include:

Maddie loves Thomas the train, being a cowgirl and a princess (all at the same time.) I just think she is adorable!

Brian and Jacob just hangin' out!

Maddie helping Nana make rolls for dinner.

Ella loved snuggling with her Uncle Greg. No one else got this many snuggles.

Shopping at Target. These kept the kids entertained for a long time.

We loved spending time with family and enjoyed the 70 to 80 degree weather. And then we came home to almost TWO FEET of snow!! No joke or exaggeration. We couldn't even get in our driveway. Thank goodness we bought a snow blower or we would have died trying to shovel it! My wonderful, fantastic husband immediately set to work snowblowing so I could stay inside where it is warm (and make dinner.) The pictures don't really do the amount of snow justice but the camera died and I couldn't take anymore.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas came early!

This year Brian and I decided instead of buying Christmas presents for each other we would get something we really needed. It's not a baby or anything exciting like that. It's a snowblower! Our driveway is a runway that small airplanes could land on. Okay, not really but it's REALLY long and wide at the back. Last year, after the big storms, it would take us two to three hours to shovel the driveway. And that was with both of us shoveling. We tried to buy one last year but couldn't find one to save our lives. So we hurried and bought one this year before the snow started. Merry Christmas to us!!

We've used it at least four times so far. I can't believe how much snow we are getting here! I used the snowblower for the first time and find it rather thrilling. Here are the pictures to prove it!
This is happy me after it took only 35 minutes to clear away all the snow!!

Here is our wonderful snowblower! LOVE IT!

Here is 1/3 of our driveway. I drove on it so I couldn't get all the snow and by the time I was done, the snow was already starting to cover the driveway again. We got almost a foot this day!

Here is me showing you how much snow I blew away. Aren't my boots sexy??

Here is cute Mokie waiting anxiously for me to come back inside!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fablehaven

If you don't know me well, then I let you know that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read. I would spend hours and hours reading if reality didn't loom in my face. I got my hands on a new series that I just have to suggest. I have been looking for something to utterly grab my attention for awhile, since adjusting back to life after reading the Twilight series and happily fell into the world of Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. Currently there are three books out and all worth reading. I read the first book on the way to Indiana, the second on the way home and then when I went back to work, I have been struggling to find time to finish the third. But I did it and now I can't wait for the fourth book to come out!

It's about a brother and sister who end up having to spend several weeks at their grandparents house they have only seen a few times in their lives. It turns out to be a refuge for magical creatures. It's such a fun twist on reality. Where we see butterflies, goats, trees, etc. the characters in the book see fairies, satyrs, and nymphs. There are twists, turns and magic everywhere.
You have to read them. Trust me! Book four comes out in April 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cookie Exchange

A few years ago I was invited to a cookie exchange and LOVED it! So I convinced my friend Tammie to host one with me this year. We sent out our invitations, had a fun turn out and enjoyed trying new cookies.
For those of you who have never been to a cookie exchange what you do is have everyone bring 2 or 3 dozen cookies (depending on how many you invite) and the same amount of copies of the recipe. Once everyone is there, you give everyone a plate, they take one of every cookie and the recipe and enjoy! It's really fun and a great way to get new recipes!
I brought White Chocolate Black Raspberry Cookies! YUMMY!! The picture didn't turn out too great because I left the "ugly" ones at home and forgot to take a picture of the "pretty" ones.

Here is the recipe:

11 ounces of white chocolate
1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup blackberry raspberry jam (or any flavor)

Melt 4 ounces of the white chocolate. Set aside to cool. Beat butter in a large mixing bowl until softened. Add the sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat until combined. Beat in the eggs and melted white chocolate. Beat in the flour. Chop 4 ounces of the white chocolate and stir into the batter.
Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool.

Right before serving spoon 1/2 teaspoon of the jam on the top of each cookie. Heat the remaining white chocolate and drizzle over each cookie. (I was in a hurry and just put a spot on each cookie.)
They are soooo yummy! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If I were a collector....

You may think me crazy but I have seriously wondered what I would collect if I were rich. I have always stuck my nose up at people who collect cars, or coins or expensive art pieces. Blah! Boring!! What is the fun in that? Who cares if it gains more value or you can drive it around freaking out that someone may hit you. Once again, I state, BORING!

Finally, though, I have discovered what I would collect...

JACKETS!!!

I would love a huge closet full of jackets. Cute pea coats of every color, that super cute black and red plaid jacket with the big black buttons I saw the other day....a jacket to match every outfit, mood and day. Ohhhhh.....I would love to be a jacket collector.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rantings of a Fifth Grade Teacher

Warning - this is a loooong one.

After spending four extremely busy, filled to capacity weeks off of work (I teach year round school) - I sadly headed back to work. Okay, so I like my job and it's really growing on me. But who doesn't like four weeks off paid??

Anyways, I find these fifth graders more and more enjoyable as time goes on. It's sad to think the year will eventually end and I have to start all over again. I kind of like them. However, I'm beginning to wonder if I am a fifth grader myself because I feel like I fit in with them. Seriously, and it's starting to scare me. Sometimes, I actually have to remind myself that I am the teacher.

So I bought an MnM dispenser because the students can earn MnM's as a reward (Mrs. Morris = MnM...get it??) It's a genie that works like an 8 ball. You ask the genie a question, push the little ball, the MnM's come out and a little die bounces around and tells you the answer to your question. Fifth graders are hilarious. From the very first day they have regarded this genie as a higher being of power. Mulitiple times a day students are begging me "Mrs. Morris, pleeeeeease can I ask him a question? I don't want the MnM's. I just neeeeed to know the answer." To which ensues many hilarious questions that I laugh about whenever I think of them. For example: "Will I become popular with my ventrilaquist act?" When the die answers YES, the student jumps up and down in pure excitement proclaiming some sentence about how excited they are for their future. Some other examples are: "Mr. Red MnM (the genie is the red MnM) are you dating the Green MnM?" "Does (many names have been said here) like me?" "Will I be rich when I grow up?" "Am I going to pass my test?" And I could go on and on. The funniest is how much they truly acknowledge the die's answer as truth. You probably have to see it.

This year is the year they are all starting to like one another. Although I think they are too young, it is so funny to watch. Girls come running into class telling me they are going out with so and so.
"What does going out mean?" I ask.
"You know, you talk at recess and stuff."
"What kind of stuff?" I question.
"Well, you like...I don't know. I've never done this before."
"So if you are going out with him, why don't you sit by him in class?" I wonder.
"What? Sit by him? Then everyone would know that we like each other!"
Hahahaha! So I figure as long as going out means they shyly look at each other but go to great efforts to avoid each other, it's all good.

They can be so cute too. Like the other day when I am giving the spelling test. (Yeah, I give spelling tests. It's still surreal. I'M the teacher!) One girl raises her hand. Usually students ask a stupid question, such as how to spell the word I just said, or they ask for a missing word. However, this girl just declares, "Mrs. Morris, you are really pretty." Ahhhh...so sweet.

Sometimes you can't help but like them. Other times, you wish throwing things at them was legal. What I'd really like to do is get in the habit my high school English teacher had. To slam a ruler on the desk of the offending person and scare the bahgeebees out of them.

My biggest problem, however, is being the teacher. I can teach, I love teaching and I think I do a pretty good job. Sometimes though, it's more fun to have fun with the kids. Who needs to do math anyways?? And sometimes they are so funny, I don't want to stop them. I just want to laugh right along with them and forget all about lesson plans and assignments. But alas, I remind myself that I am, indeed, the teacher and awkwardly pull myself into teacher mode, stop the laughter and move the lesson plans forward.

It's a love/hate relationship...what else can I say?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Turkey-Lurky weekend

Happy Thanksgiving from the
Morris' Turkey!!
Isn't he cute?? For Thanksgiving, we drove up to Idaho to spend the weekend with Brian's family. We got there just before everyone else on Thursday and enjoyed all the turkey festivities. Brian made a special trip out to the car to get the camera for me but I still forgot to take pictures. (Obviously I haven't bonded with my piece of crap camera.) Brian's entire family was there and it was fun to hang out, catch up and eat good food. Later that afternoon all the older nieces, all the Aunts (except slacker Aunt Amy), Brian and I went to the Twilight movie (my second time). I like the movie but feel it lacks a lot of the story. And what was up with Edward's lip color???

Anyways, we had a lot of fun over the weekend playing cards, shopping on crazy Black Friday (and not buying anything - what's up with that??), and lounging around. We also visited with friends in Idaho Falls and once again, forgot to take pictures. Thanks Emily and Brandon for the fun times!

Erika and mom planning their next moves...
Aaron, Amelia and Brian - Brian was the biggest cheater, looking at everyone's cards


The water on the table later became a dangerous weapon when several cups were knocked over


And here is lounging central
Several of the kids were trying out their dancing skills

This is Whitney's signature move

And Abbie's killer twist move...

And I made Brian promise me we would go to Craigo's in Rexburg next time we went to Idaho. We drove out there and found it closed! I was so sad. It was a restaurant right next to my apartment at Rick's college. I LOVED Craigo's. Not only was the food super good (the pizza was cooked in a brick oven) and inexpensive - there were live bands and many memories. So we drove to find another place to eat and found the new Craigo's!! Happy me! It is totally a family restuarant now and reminds me of Brick Oven in Provo. We all got the salad bar which included lots and lots of pizza, salad and the yummiest pasta with homemade sauces. And this dessert oreo pizza....oh my! Here we are, enjoying the spoils.
There were a few people in our group who thought by not eating the pizza crusts, you were ensuring more room in your stomach to try another delicious slice of pizza. I had to capture the moment.
We loaded up Sunday morning and headed home (after much visiting and stops). It was great weekend. Thanks everyone for the wonderful time!!

I'm getting new teeth!

Okay, I'm just kidding. I forgot to post this picture when I did my Indianapolis post. Stacey and I took the girls to the mall to play and all the jewelery stores were selling grillz for your teeth. I had to take a picture! Too bad I can't afford one. It sure would add to my sexy appeal!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fun in Indianapolis!

I got to spend several days with Stacey, Brett, Olivia and Mallory in Indianapolis! I LOVE having free flight benefits!! I had so much fun! Now it's even more sad to be back in Utah remembering that we use to live about 10 minutes away from each other. I can't believe how much the girls have grown up since they moved. And now Stacey is expecting a boy in about two months and this will be the first baby I miss being at the hospital for. When are they going to invent instant time travel?? So here are a bunch of pictures highlighting our time together!

Livy and Mally LOVE to be princesses. Here they are all dressed up.

Here are the girls playing in their car. I had to include this one because Livy was "getting pretty" when I took the picture (at least that is what she told me when she looked at the picture) and look at cute little Mally's face!Here is cute Mally with her B (that is what she calls her blanket!) and her pluggy wuggy. Poor girl is getting molars and chews on the plug to make her gums feel better.

Stacey discovered the girls LOVE to vacuum so she sets them to work under the table vacuuming up all the food that drops there. They are hilarious! The point out to each other the food saying "get that" and they take turns actually vacuuming. That is one smart momma! It keeps them entertained for about 1/2 hour and then Stacey can get some more cleaning done while they are busy.

Brett cooked us some delicious food while I was there. (Well, the verdict is still out on the pancakes! hehehe)
I brought a princess cake mix with me to make with the girls. Here we are getting ready to make it. Such CUTE faces!
Getting ready to mix it all together.
Livy enjoying the fruit of her labor.
And here we are about to enjoy the cake! The cake tasted good but was a strange texture. It was really hard to ice and there was one part of the cake the icing would not stay on. It just kept ripping the top of the cake. So I put the big princess decoration over that spot. Livy gets all excited and says, "It's a bandaid!" Adorable (and so true!)
It was a fabulous time and it went by way too quickly! Thanks for everything Hansen Family! Hopefully we will make it out when the baby is born! LOVE YOU!!