Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Well, the rapid strep test came out negative. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Judging from the size of Alyssa's tonsils, an antibiotic would have been really nice. Especially if I catch this thing. Ughhhh... Hopefully it's short lived. How's everyone in your neck of the woods?

Oh and Happy Last Day of 2008!! Can you even believe it? I think it's just going to be a quiet night at home with the kids for us. We might even celebrate with New York at 10 pm and go to bed early. How boring is that?! Hope you all are having WAY more fun.

See you next year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

What Time Is Dinner?

Last night Jarom called and asked what was for dinner. I told him left overs to which he replied, "What? Did you just say you and I are going out to eat?" And then he thought for a minute and started to feel guilty about leaving the kids. Something about "family home evening" and all. So he said, "Let's take the kids to the movies and then we'll all go to dinner."

Well the movie started at 7:10 and my clock said 6:37. We did the throw-on-the-closest-pair-of-shoes-you-can-find-and-jump-in-the-truck maneuver and off we headed to the dollar movie to see Madagascar 2. (Much better than the first in my opinion.) Everyone got their own bag of popcorn and cup of pop and we settled in for the show. (I SWEAR those seats have gotten smaller. I refuse to think that maybe I've grown.) With the exception of having to take Kate potty 3 separate times during the show, we all enjoyed ourselves.

My cupboards looked like Old Mother Hubbard's, so we decided to swing by the grocery store on our way home. We got a few essentials and $75 later we were finally headed home. (Listening to Kate cry the whole way that she had to go potty AGAIN.)

We got home and enjoyed a nice homemade dinner of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese at precisely 10:21 PM. Yes, I served my family dinner 2 hours past bedtime. (Would this count for an entry for Mother of Year?) Then as soon as Alyssa started eating, she started bawling that her throat was hurting. I looked inside and sure enough, NASTY tonsils. It just hit her like a brick. (We'll go to the doc in the morning to get our strep swab. I think the only thing I hate worse than strep is stomach flu, ugghhh!)

So that is how my evening went yesterday. I did get my bathroom (tub included; HATE cleaning tubs) scrubbed and Alyssa and I got pretty far on our puzzle we've been working on since Christmas. (Thanks for the tips Miki, they helped a TON!) What did you do yesterday?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kids' Funnies

I've got to get these kid funnies posted before the year is up. I just keep track of silly things my kids say throughout the year and then post them when I need something to blog about. So here is the latest installment of funny things my kids say or do.

I was trying to get the dishes done and Carter kept asking me if we could play Bingo. I said, "Not right now. I've got to get these dishes done. They stink. Can't you smell them?" He said, " No. Boys can't smell anything."

Kate is going through a growth spurt lately. Her little bum and legs a filling out and are so cute and chubby. The other night I picked her up and said, "Oh you're getting so heavy." Jarom asked, "Kate, are you getting chubby?" To which she replied, "No, I just hebby."

I was talking to Liberty and Kate kept being a squirt and yelling, "Don't talk to my mom!" So I said, "Kate, I'm talking to my niece, so you just be nice." Kate said, "No, I your niece!" I told her she was my daughter, but she insisted that she was my niece so that I'd quit talking to Liberty.

Halle is getting ready to move up to the next class at church. She'll be going to the Valiant 9 class. She asked Jarom the other day, "So am I going to be going to the violent 9's now?" Oh so funny and maybe slightly true.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve we had fun putting together a puzzle from my mom, we enjoyed a nice ham dinner, watched a lot of Christmas cartoons, and then opened our p.j.'s, ornaments, and gifts to each other. Carter gave Alyssa the board game Life and we all had a blast playing it.

Our new ornaments for 2008. Alyssa got another ballerina to add to her collection, Kate got a Cinderella, Halle got another Madame Alexander doll which just happens to be dressed in white for her baptism, and Carter got a marshmallow playing baseball for his 1st t-ball season this past summer.

Isn't it so fun to sleep all in the same room on Christmas Eve? It was so cute to see them all snuggled up in one big bed in the spare room. And believe it or not, with the exception of Kate whom I moved, they all stayed in there the whole night long. They woke us up at 7 which I thought was pretty good.

Christmas Morning:
We haven't seen a whole lot of Alyssa, she's been off playing her DS non-stop today. I think she's pleased with her Santa gift.

Halle and her dollhouse that's as tall as she is. She was pretty excited to see this waiting for her.

Carter and Spike. We've all had fun tormenting Johnny with Spike. It's hilarious, Johnny doesn't know whether to like the thing or be afraid of it. Notice Kate's expression of displeasure. Just a moment before the shot Spike sneak attacked her.

Kate and her "pink" kitchen. She's been cooking up a storm with all the Christmas candy and such laying around. I'm not sure if Santa brought this kitchen for Kate or for me. It's SO blasted cute, I just can't stand it.

And I had to include one of Kate in her cute little apron that she found in her stocking. Santa sends a great big thank you to an elf named Emily for helping him out with that.

Santa even had a few tricks in his bag and surprised me with a new IPod Nano. Now I just need to figure out how to use the thing.

And after all the toys have been opened, a box is still the most fun thing around. Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Time Is Here

Here we are, Christmas Eve, there is snow on the ground, no creatures are stirring (kids are watching all the marathon Christmas movies and the mice I have been raging war against have been obliterated-THANK GOODNESS-) and Santa is ready. Whew....we've made it!

We have been busy enjoying Christmas parties with loved ones. We started off with an evening at Jarom's folks where his mom honored her German ancestry by a traditional chicken soup with butter balls dinner. So delicious. And rivvel kucha (bread cake w/ streusal type topping) for dessert. We enjoyed a talent show and sing along put on by the grand kids and learned Stille Nacht thanks to You Tube.

The night ended with the annual Nativity done by the grand kids. Always so adorable.

We also did the annual Manwaring progressive dinner. This year it was progressive "snacking" where each house served appetizers. Justin & Amber served mini kabobs on toothpicks and fried raviolis w/ marinara sauce. Emily & Brandon served artichoke dip and bacon wrapped water chestnuts. Our house was the next stop with meatball subs to be enjoyed. Then we were off the Ben & Kaylin's where they served up his famous pot stickers. We ended the night at Kevin & Becky's where we got brownie and pudding cups for dessert. We watched the BYU football game and made gingerbread houses with 20 kids. It actually didn't end disastrous and the kids have LOVED their gingerbread houses.

We also celebrated with my family by eating another yummy dinner, having a family nativity, and opened gifts (It has been fun to have a few days to enjoy those gifts and then get to have round two tomorrow with more gifts.). Quin and Natalie drove up from California so we were able to spend time with them and we've been enjoying making fresh squeezed orange juice from the big box of oranges they brought up. We did have a scare when we thought my brother-in-law Bryon was stranded while hunting. We had a horrible snow and wind storm come through and it was starting to get past the time when we felt like someone should have heard something from him. We ended up calling search and rescue only to hear from Bryon a short 15 minutes later. We're just thankful he was safe.

And with all the parties behind us we are now looking forward to the relaxation the next few days will bring. Hope everyone has been having and will continue to have a wonderful holiday.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 Christmas Card

Okay, I KNOW...I stink! (Bowing head in shame.) I didn't send any Christmas cards or newsletters this year. This is the first year I've opted out of the card game. Believe me, I've gone back and forth, send 'em, don't send 'em, send to a few essentials, send none at all. I finally decided to release myself from the guilt and not send any.

AND THEN.....all you lovely people sent me one and the guilt came showering down and collected in puddles at my feet. (Not to mention Miki telling me she had been checking the mail every day for my card cause she just KNEW I'd send one. And then Jarom's Aunt Betty leaving a voice mail on his mom's phone letting her know exactly which children had sent cards and who hadn't.) Ughhhh...and at this point it was much to late to get cards out.

So, I'm sticking with my original decision and not sending any. But next year....I PROMISE I will. SO PLEASE don't add me to the "no-send" list for next year. I love your cards and notes and pictures so much. I just took an eensy weensy break this year. Here's what you might have gotten had I gotten my act together.

Again thank you all for the cards I have gotten; hanging them on my front door is one of my favorite holiday traditions!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tis the Season

I have really been enjoying this season's neighbor gifts. Seems like budgets feel tight everywhere you turn and the good old fashioned homemade goody plate is back this year. Only two of the several gifts we've received so far haven't been homemade. I love to see every one's Christmas favorites that they put on the plate. There's been everything from gingerbread brownies to sugar cookies. My kids squeal every time the doorbell rings.

I got my first carolers today; two cute girls alternated the words of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" while a darling boy did a little jig in his snow boots. They had been delivering neighbor gifts and rang my bell on their way home.

And a Merry Christmas to you from the Critters at our place.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ho Ho Ho Around My Wrist

I've always loved charms. I remember my mom had a silver charm bracelet when I was kid and I LOVED playing with it. (By the way Mom, where is that thing?) I had a plastic charm necklace of my very own when I was little and I wore that gaudy thing all over the place.I loved the way it rattled and made lots of noise. My favorite charm was a miniature toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. Just so cute.

I had never heard of Brighton jewelery until I found a piece on some one's blog. I can't remember who. (Kat was it yours?) But ever since I have been a fan and have wanted a big gaudy Brighton charm bracelet of my very own. I can spot someone wearing the stuff from a mile away. It's just so cute.

I briefly mentioned to my hubby that someday when he needed a gift idea, he could buy me a bracelet from Brighton. Well guess who was listening and is ever so clever? My hubby. Look what he surprised me with yesterday.
He gave it to me early so that I could get a little use out of it before Christmas.

It jingles and rattles when I walk. I LOVE it!

Look how cute those little (okay big, this thing weighs a ton) charms all are!

Thank you honey, I adore it! (And I have a feeling that Santa just might bring me another not so seasonal piece in my stocking. Woo-hoo!)


These are my most favorite Christmas cookie of all time. My mom made them when I was little and I continue the tradition every year at my house. These take a little time, so pop in a Christmas movie while you bake away. But they are SO worth the effort, I promise.

Snowball Kisses

1 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream together, then add:

1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. pecans finely chopped (if you don't add these, use a little more flour)

Mix together, then chill for 2 hours.

Shape about 1 Tbsp of dough around a chocolate kiss, making sure no holes are in dough. Roll dough in hands to form a ball.

Bake @ 375 degrees for 10-12 min. until bottom edges are golden.
Let cool then roll in powdered sugar.

And as you can tell, the best part is the little bit of love in the middle.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Ellie

Happy Birthday to my beautiful niece Ellie. This little girl is gorgeous. The exotic kind of gorgeous that could make her millions. But don't you worry, you will never catch this kid wearing anything inappropriate. She is the most modest person I've ever met. Such an example to us all. This is her big number 8 which means she gets to get baptized. Yay for Ellie! Hope you have a wonderful day and we can't wait to see you at the Christmas party this weekend.
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow Shoveling for $3

Halle and Alyssa have been conjuring up a business for about two weeks now. They had all their little friends in on it too. When the snow came, they were going to offer their services of shoveling for the big pay off of $3 a house. Alyssa is like her daddy, she had worksheets all made up on who was to work which days and when, what their delivery lines were to be ("We'll do this as a service, but if you want to pay it'll be $3."), and all the other little importance's of owning a business.

I didn't have the heart to squash her hopes so I made a deal with her. She had to shovel our walks first to see if she could even hack it and THEN she could continue with her snow shoveling money maker.

I woke to squeals of delight this morning when the girls saw that the walks needed to be shoveled. Then came the banging, crashing, and mess making sounds of kids finding snow clothes. And off they went to show me just how little I as a mom know. They could shovel walks; easy peasy.

I peeked out the window and this was the scene that greeted me:
I guess shoveling walks was a little harder than they thought it would be.

It was much more fun to make snow angels.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Few of My Favorites

I am an ornament collector. My mom gave me one every year growing up and I do the same for my kids. I also get an ornament from every place we visit. Or if Jarom goes somewhere cool without me, his souvenir for me is always something to hang on my Christmas tree. I absolutely love to pull out the ornament box and go through all the stories that belong to each and every ornament hanging on my tree. Here are a few of my favorites from the "grown up tree" (not Cousin It tree) that I wanted to be sure to have pictures of in case an unfortunate event were ever to occur to any of them. Be sure to click on each collage to get a close up view; they're so fun to look at if I do say so myself.
My pineapple from Hawaii, seahorse (he's jointed and bends all over) from our trip to the Oregon Coast (we went to the Newport Aquarium), Chinese Santa Jarom brought me from China (check out his cute little slanted eyes), and the one you can't see very well is our pickle that we hide in the tree each year (a fun little tradition handed down from Jarom's mom).

My blue Delft Santa from Holland (probably my most expensive ornament on the tree, I have to hang him up high), a paper mache ball Jarom brought from India, the Merlion bell from Singapore (India and Singapore were our most difficult Christmas ornament finds) and tucked deep in the back of the tree, a polished coconut from Costa Rica.

These are a few of my favorite homemade ornaments. The little soldier and lady my mom made for my very first Christmas. They are made out of popsicle sticks and if you pull on a little string their arms and legs come out like a jumping jack. I really think I need to make a set of these for each of my own kids. And also, my little baby sleeping in a walnut shell that my mom also made. And notice the cute little paperclip skate in front from Little Momma.

I am very sentimental about my ornaments. I absolutely cherish each and everyone and the memories behind them. Do you collect ornaments or anything sentimental? Have any favorites?

Happy Birthday Gregg and Benjamin!

I've been so bad about missing birthdays lately. I don't know what my deal is. So today is my brother-in-law Ben's birthday. Ben is Jarom's business partner and is quite talented with a computer. If you need yours fixed, I know just the guy to do it.

Also, happy late birthday to my father-in-law, Gregg. His birthday was last Sunday and we celebrated with the traditional clam chowder and red velvet cake. Always so good. Thanks for letting us share your day with you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Make sure you don't have Carter around to dial for help if you need it. Today he was playing around with the phone and I said, "Hey, don't do that. What if you accidentally called the police? You can only call them if you have an emergency." So he said, "Oh, call them like this?" And he proceeded to dial 9-0-1. Thank goodness he was wrong, but now I don't know whether to teach him the real number since I know he'll go ahead and dial it. The little stinker.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

O Cousin It?

I usually do a "kids' tree" where we hang all the fun homemade ornaments, paper snowflakes, candy canes, and all the other goodies (toys, stuffed animals, etc.) the kids come up with. I've had this tree for the past 11 years. By the end of Christmas last year, it wouldn't stay standing and the branches wouldn't even stay in it. So I threw the tree out. Or so I thought.

Apparently I only threw away the lower half of the tree. This didn't deter the kids from setting up and decorating their tree anyway.
I was slightly shocked to find "Cousin It" in my basement. He was being held up by the art easel, the lego box, and the wall. He had no bottom branches and my kids thought he was glorious. Carter took great pride in decorating our Cousin It.

Seriously, do you see the similarities?

I just planned on ignoring this tree and letting the kids bask in their glory until the after Christmas sales rolled around. Then I could score a new tree for cheap to use next year.

But my mom called the other day from the D.I. and said, "There's a really nice, pre-lit tree here for $12. Want it?" Bells and choirs rang down from heaven. Hallelujah! Cousin It was dismantled and this new "pretty" now sits proudly in my basement. I still let the kids do the decorating (minus the hoola skirt) and we are all very proud of their new kid tree.

Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Week Two of Christmas Cookies T-I-T's. It's just not Christmas without a month full of goodies. Sorry, I don't plan to help anyone (including myself) keep the holiday pounds off.

These are my kids' favorite cookies to leave out for Santa. I was told yesterday as I made them, that we have to make them again on Christmas Eve. I think Santa is a-okay with that idea.


1/2 c butter (real butter please)
1 c sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour

Cream butter and sugar, add baking soda and cream of tartar. Beat until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour and mix until combined. Cover and chill 1 hour. (Or if your impatient like me, put in freezer for about 10-15 min.)

Now here is what I think makes my cookies extra yummy (and glue for the hips, but we won't talk about that).

Yep, roll those cookie balls in butter BEFORE you roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture. I am a firm believer that butter makes everything taste better. But seriously, the salty butter taste with the sugar, mmmmm, so delish.
So roll dough into balls, then roll in butter and next in sugar/cinnamon mixture. I used about 1/3 c. sugar and 2-3 tsp. cinnamon.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Don't let them get brown. Cool completely on wire rack.

This recipe is kind of small, it only makes about 20-24 cookies depending on size. I was in a hurry and thought I'd be smart and squeeze all the cookies on one pan.
Yah, learn from my mistakes, don't do that. But funky shaped snickerdoodles taste just as good as round ones. I would know, I just ate 4.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Halle's Baptism

Halle was baptized on Saturday, Dec. 6. She has been so looking forward to this day and understands the importance and significance of her baptism. It was held on a stake level so another ward took care of speakers and music. All we had to do was show up on time, pick out her white clothes, and get her baptized. It was all very nice.

Aunt Mimi came early and did Halle's hair so pretty. I think Halle looked like a little angel or princess.

Wearing her pretty new dress.

Wearing the cute little white dress to be baptized in. Doesn't she just look beautiful? She's such a teeny little thing, but looked and acted so grown up. I was so proud to be her mom.

Daddy and Halle getting ready.

What a wonderful day. I am so thankful that Halle knows that her Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ love her and want her to return to live with them again someday. Afterwards all the extended family came to our home to celebrate by eating the lunch and dessert of Halle's choice. She wanted potato soup and apple dumplings. It was the perfect ending to such a neat event. She has been on cloud nine ever since; she sure felt special and loved on her very important day. I love you Halle!