Wednesday, December 30, 2009

if it weren't for iphoto!

Thank goodness iphoto keeps track of the dates my photos were taken or I'd have no chance of keeping up on dates of events. Yes, I have slacked big time on my blogs, but it's been a crazy fall/winter. We've had five birthdays (out of six), one baptism, three major holidays, several vacations, and a partridge in a pear tree! I will briefly summarize the last three months with photos and then try to do better at not using Facebook to micro-blog (even though that's really what I've been doing) in the future.

We picked Nellie up from the airport and were so excited to bring her home- she is a lovely furry addition to our family.

Cayden turned 12 along with three other boys in our neighborhood. We threw them a birthday bash they will never forget. We rented out the BYU practice facility and sixty of the boys friends came and had a blast!
My baby brother got married in Virginia at a beautiful vineyard, the only bummer is that it was Freeeezing that day and so the wedding was moved inside, but it was gorgeous nonetheless, and that was a momentous occasion.

Halloween was fun this year, It was a little crazy since Cayden's party was on the same day, but what would life be if not busy. The little girls were so cute in their hot pink leotards.
Maddy turned eight and was baptized by her daddy. We are so proud of her for making that special choice. I know every baptism is special but that day was so tender.
We did the annual Ottley family Christmas party and everyone participated. I feel that I now have blackmail material on Cayden when he gets older.
We spent Christmas in LA with my family and enjoyed the warmer weather. We saw Mary Poppins the musical at the Ahmanson and had a fantastic dinner at the Biltmore hotel after. It was lovely not having to make dinner, a welcomed reprieve.
The line up Christmas morning...even Nellie got a stocking, which she proceeded to attack- it was a singing moose.
My mom and I cooked side by side Christmas day and had so much fun. I feel like a little kid in a candy store at her house with all her china and crystal. She has enough place settings and variety to seat 80 for Christmas alone and it's always so fun to come home and see all the new and fun things she has purchased for the season.

Whew! Now I'm caught up until our next event. That's a glimpse into our life for the last three months- just the facts. It's been three months filled with fun and craziness...but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I hope that everyone has had a fantastic holiday season so far!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September Recap

My parents walked into my bathroom I started screaming...I had no idea that they had flown in to surprise me for my birthday (so they did a good job)- that was a fantastic weekend! My dad played football with Cayden and taught him some new moves...
Daddy and Eliza grew a 24 lb watermelon...actually five of them...WOW! They were so proud (and we loved eating them).
Cord and I had a great time going out over and over again for my birthday- I was totally spoiled- I had Kenzi take a picture of us before we left so I'd have a snapshot of the two of us.
I'm wearing ALL of my birthday once. I think my favorite is my reclaimed leather handbag- so cool!
I liked my happy birthday in, it was cute- but I don't know that I love advertising that I'm getting another year older~
Eliza's first day of preschool....
Zander even saved a place for her.
Hannah's birthday at school- her real birthday present comes this Tuesday when we go to the Miley Cyrus concert and then stay in SLC for the night- she is soooo excited
We had to do a "take two" because the bakery shorted me a dozen cupcakes so we did ice cream sandwiches...gotta roll with the punches.
ahh! I hate decisions. I had to choose which dress to wear for my brother's wedding (I'm in the wedding). I came up with three good choices and had cord take pictures so I could see what they really looked like- once this first one gets altered, it will be the winner!

Eliza's first field trip was to Wheeler Farms this past week. She loved chasing the geese who were as big as she is. They were not afraid of her in the least and she can't wait to go back and feed them again.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I love Shirl!

From the moment I met the Ottley's and sat on Linda's bed that night, I knew I was going to fit into Cord's family without too much difficulty. Not too long after we were engaged, my spring contract was over and I needed a place to live until the wedding. Instead of renting an apartment clear in Provo (Cord lived in Highland 1/2 mile from where we live now), Cord's Grandma Shirl invited me to live in her basement which was completely empty and set up like an apartment. I accepted and lived with her for about a month. During this month, I quickly fell in love with Cord's Grandma the way I had fallen in love with him. She was charismatic, charming, loving, intelligent, funny, and full of life. She was a night owl just like I had always aspired to be (but my parents always wanted to go to bed at 9pm).

Shirl now lives in St. George with Cord's Grandpa Milt, whom we love and adore. She has written several books geared toward teenagers and young adults- but her messages are relevant for all ages.

In church two Sundays ago, there was a discussion about moral decline. I found it so interesting that this is exactly what Shirl had blogged about maybe three days prior? She has a true gift and I hope you enjoy reading her blog and I believe she will talk about her books.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I got pinned!

Last night was Cayden's court of honor. He received his Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class last night. He's well on his way to being able to drive now. Our goal is actually help Cayden get his Eagle by the time he is 14, so here we go!

He got these awards with many of his good friends...such good boys!

Just before the event started, his leader asked him to recite the scout oath or motto...Cayden did both from memory, then Brother Bruschke asked him to add turning the light bulbs with each character trait, and that messed Cayden up a bit...Britt to the rescue!!! Here is Cayden reciting the oath (i think) and Britton the motto (i think) or vice versa.

The comic relief of the evening was the color guard. I had gone to the back of the culteral hall because Eliza was being so naughty. I decided to do something useful so I started to cut the cake during the slideshow. At the very end, during the color guard retreat, Cayden was in charge of the flag and his friend Daxton was calling things out. Cayden got to the flag and Dax was at the front and they both froze. Cayden felt like he should say something so instead of just walking down with the flag, he said, "ready, begin..." and led the audience in the pledge of allegiance again. Cord said he was laughing so hard that he literally could not recite the pledge. Cord said later he said he felt a little disrespectful (but that he wasn't the only one laughing that hard!). I couldn't see Cayden from the back but I could hear what was going on. When they got to the back I just gave Cayd the thumbs up...what are you gonna do right? at least the pledge was said twice and not at all I guess....ha! I love that when we got home Cayden was laughing just as hard at himself as we all were!


Cayden is playing football this year like I've talked about and we're all enjoying the experience. It's challenging and exciting and he's working hard to make his coaches proud. Cord and I are not aficionados so we're not taking him home from practice talking about plays and how he could improve them and sometimes I feel like I have let him down...maybe I need to take a football class- do they have those for moms???

This is Stockton- Cayden's closest friend. He's also the coaches son and our neighbor. Stockton spends his time telling Cayden about all the positive things he's doing in football and maybe what he could do to improve a few things as well. He also spends his time entertaining us with a little R & B dancing now and then...we love this kid!

Isn't he handsome?

First day at practice, he didn't have a jersey yet and this one obviously didn't fit him.

The rest of football season has been spent blowing up bottles with The Works toilet bowl cleaner and having boy/girl parties at our house (which I lost my camera mom was dying). We've had such a blast these last few weeks and I wouldn't trade this time for anything in the world. He has the sweetest friends who obviously have great families- they come up to me on Sunday and thank me for having them over the Friday before. It's a party at the Ottleys.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Yummy Stew

As promised! Here is my first recipe. It's easy, and I'm sure that a lot of you have similar recipes, but it's so good that if even one of you makes this as a new recipe for your family it will be worth it.

My Slow Cooker Stew

Serves 8:

2 lbs stew meat
6 potatoes, roughly diced
1 lb baby carrots or 4-6 large carrots, roughly diced
1 onion sliced thinly (optional to taste)
1 (10 3/4 oz can) Cream of Mushroom soup
2 packages brown gravy mix (dry)
2 packages onion soup mix (dry)
8 cups water

In my nifty slow cooker, I brown my meat in my insert, but since most slow cookers are not stovetop worthy, brown your meat in a pan, then transfer to the cooker (and I do think this makes a difference in your stew). Add potatoes, carrots, and onions on top of meat. mix remaining ingredients together in separate bowl and pour over vegetables and meat. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6. Sometimes I cheat and leave it longer on high. This doesn't hurt the stew, it just makes my meat really really tender, which is never a bad thing in my opinion. This stew makes my entire house smell so good! I love this recipe, especially on a day like today (here in Utah, even though it's warm(ish), it's overcast. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Football Crockpot Series

About three days into football practice, Cord started to get really sad because he was missing out on home-cooked meals. The "sadness" with a little whining got to be a little much for me at the end of week one. To be honest, I welcomed the week of no cooking, although I understood where he was coming from...dinner at 8:30 was crazy and then a party at our house afterwards with the entire neighborhood (although so fun) was getting to be too much for my melancholy husband to take. I decided to take control. I made a compromise that if I would make dinner, we could still have the neighborhood over to make toilet bowl cleaner bombs if he had homemade stew first?!?! He agreed! My sanguine personality was satisfied!

Thus, with a little inspiration from Cindy, a fellow football mom going through the same anguish, I have decided to post some recipes that I love in hopes that you will enjoy these this fall...or any time of year. Some of these recipes will undoubtedly come from as I love Stephanie's innovative ideas...and others will come from my little "Mormon" collection, because I love three-five ingredients dumped. Others still come from trial and error in my own I guess you'll have a variety to choose from, but they will all have been eaten by our family first*.

I hope you enjoy reading and tasting these as much as I enjoy posting these for you!

*My kids are NOT picky eaters so watch out!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Oh what joys we find on Google! (long post)

By raise of hands, who's seen Confessions of a Shopaholic? Well I've been compared to Rebecca Greenwood more than friends and family. I don't take that as a compliment by the way. I am working hard on controlling my spending habits and have done much better in the last couple of years thank you very much!

This morning Cordy and I were up way before the sun and we were lying in bed chatting about canning, school time for the kids, work, and started talking about Linked In. He mentioned that his profile was not showing up even though he had just gone to the trouble of creating it (and it IS trouble for him because he doesn't do social media). I told him I'd check Google and see what came up and so I did. I laughed as his Amazon wish list popped up as did his Facebook profile (which he's never on). Then I saw something I've never seen before (although I've never googled his name); I saw an article in the Des News and I clicked and found something that made both of us giggle and thought I'd share it (mostly for journaling's sake as we use this blog for some of our family memories).

"Magnets, Phones, Pots star at Show"
by Kersten Swinyerd

Janine and Cordale Ottley went to the Deseret News Home Improvement, Remodeling & Decorating Show looking for silver polish. They left with nearly $500 in merchandise — and no silver polish. That $500 represented a little of everything: CD-ROM games for their 3-year-old son, Cayden, a new set of cookware for Janine and a Halloween candle for the whole family. While mom and dad (and grandpa, Doug Hansen, who was visiting from California) browsed through displays on windows, vacuum cleaners, floor tile and pots, Cayden and his 1-year-old sister, Hannah, were occupied by the free candy and food samples from salespeople trying to entice the family to buy, buy, buy.Well, it worked. Janine was taken in by a display of the "Greater Grater," and Cordale muttered good-naturedly that "she'll stop for any kitchen utensil — we don't get out of a home show without at least one kitchen utensil.
They also looked at displays that featured closet organizers, ink-jet cartridges, concrete styling techniques, cellular phones, vinyl fencing, mattresses, food storage, gas fireplaces, magnets, shoe polish and cookbooks. "We have about 30 cookbooks at home," Cordale said. That's probably why a cookbook didn't make it into the back of their stroller.

At the end of their day, they had as many pamphlets and business cards from home-improvement companies as they could ever want — but they also had the ideas they needed to get a start on their house.

Just goes to show, you never know what you'll find out there and what's more, Cord and I have no recollection of her ever following us or writing an article about our shopping habits at the home show. This was a good laugh for both of us.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Caydens Braces

One last hurrah!

It was so fun to enjoy our family time together for a week or so. We slept in, watched movies, swam until our ears were full of water and the kids even taught me how to play marco polo (wink wink), ate way too much great food, and took fabulous pictures. But most of all, we squeezed every moment of sheer joy out of each other and it was a great close to summer.