Friday, November 30, 2007

Ode to Aunt Molly - Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Molly! We love you!!
So when the kids first met Molly, the girls thought she was as pretty as a princess and Peanut started calling her "Princess Molly." She LOVED Princess Molly and had lots of fun watching football and hanging out with her. Once Molly and TJ got married, we said Peanut could call her "Aunt Molly" now, but she still likes "Princess" better - hence the sign!

At their rehearsal dinner

Just stepped out of the Salt Lake Temple...the picture of Eternity

The Zahlmann clan at Molly & TJ's reception

At Molly's bridal shower

I am so grateful that Molly is a part of our family. She has such a sweet and gentle spirit. She is kind and understanding and very accepting of others. She mirrors the Savior in these qualities so it's no wonder the kids just adore her! TJ - you got yourserlf a good one! We sure love you Molly!

We really miss you guys!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Birthday to ME

On Monday night, Chris stopped and got a couple of pies and ice cream on his way home from work. He had invited his parents and Jess and Cooper over to celebrate with us. It was really nice! Dad, Cooper, Avonleigh and Jessica

My sweet man! Funny story - no I am NOT 34 OR 43! We didn't have any candles and as we were searching for some, I found a #3 and a #4, so Chris threw them on there - he's just a bundle of laughs.

Jessica, Mom and Christopher

Laethym in her ballet outfit - what a nut!

The pies: Pumpkin cheese pecan streussle and banana cream. Somebody had already dug into the banana cream...I can't image who that would be...

Thank you all for making it a special birthday this year! Love you!

Happy EARLY Birthday to Me

My birthday was on Monday, but we started the celebration early when my mom came up Sunday to cook my favorite meal: Sweet 'n Sour Chicken and Pork-fried Rice - YUM! She also made this amazing cake! How many moms still want to come and cook your favorite meal when you're pushing 30 years old? She's all mine - you can't have her! Mom, you're the BEST!

Disclaimer about the cake (because I promised mom): This is the BEST cake - the frosting is to DIE for! Anyway, the heat in her truck on the 2 hour drive over here melted the frosting into what you see here. She was so disappointed, but I didn't care - it still tasted the same!

Me with my cake! I know I look tired - I was! It had been a LONG Sunday - one where you show up and immediately want to go home! Just before I left for church, I had 3 teachers call in sick from primary. And by the time I got there, we had 3 more that were gone! We have 2 nurseries (and 5 leaders) and only 1 nursery leader was there. Also, a lady from Relief Society was going to help 2 of our teachers with sharing time (it was the teachers' week for sharing time) and she couldn't come either! So I did sharing time on the fly and my dear friend, Sarah came in to help with teaching the kids to tie quilts. ANYWAY, LONG SUNDAY!

Payton getting her first taste of cake and ice cream

The kids around the table - we had Coop join us for a little while!

Chooch thoroughly enjoying that cake!

My mom, finally enjoying the spoils of her labors

Friday, November 23, 2007

Good Thing: Caramel Pecan Pie

This recipe was awesome! I LOVE Pecan Pie (by far my favorite), and this was a really fun twist on an old favorite. Very easy to make, so try it and let me know how it goes!

Caramel Pecan Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 - 55 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

  • 1/2 cup Karo® Light Corn Syrup
  • 28 caramel pieces, unwrapped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked or frozen deep-dish pie crust

1. Melt caramels with Karo® and butter in covered double boiler or in a saucepan over low heat.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, vanilla and eggs. Gradually add caramel sauce and mix well. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie crust.

3. Bake at 350° for 50 - 55 minutes. Pie filling will appear to be very soft, but becomes firmer as it cools.

PS - I doubled this and used a whole bag of Kraft Caramels (it was 51 pieces, but it worked great).

A Thankful Heart

What a wonderful Thanksgiving we enjoyed this year! It was full of good food, great family, lots of laughs, fun movies and some pretty good football! What more could you ask for? It was very laid-back. We went over to Chris' parent's house along with Kym and Alan and Scott and Jessica (somehow I managed not to get a single pic of Scott or Jessica!) and everybody made a few dishes to bring, which resulted in enough food to feed all of our families for about a week! But it was really nice to make a few things and enjoy so many more!
Avonleigh could not get enough of the spinach dip - but only if Papa hand-fed it to her!

Almost all the pies - we ended up with 4 pumpkin, 2 pecan, 1 cherry and 1 apple - YUM!

Good 'Ole Harley!

Some of the spread...

More food

This sweet little girl was just running on fumes, but she was happy! She ate like a champ!

Cooper carrying around his mom's purse.

Payton and Cooper

Payton and Cooper smiling


Alan and Kym "The Newlyweds"

Chrisser being goofy

Chris being a stinker! This was the best shot I got of him!

Laethym and Avonleigh

Payton, crashed.

It was a really relaxing day - I didn't even put make-up on (hence no pictures of me!). But, seriously I was so overwhelmed with gratitude yesterday. My family is immensely blessed: I have an amazing husband (who also happens to be my best friend); he has a fantastic job; we have 4 healthy, bright children; we have The Gospel in our lives; a supportive extended family, a warm home; and a free country. It doesn't get any better than that!

I'm reminded of the scripture in The Book of Mormon, Alma 34:38
"That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NFL Boys Weekend

I have been DYING to blog this special weekend in my boys' lives! It took a while to get the pictures off the phone (I'm kicking myself for not sending my camera with them).

So at the beginning of 2007, Chris noticed that the San Francisco 49ers would be playing the Seattle Seahawks (in Seattle) on Nov. 12, 2007. We bought 4 tickets for Chris and Christopher, Uncle Scott and Papa. It worked out well that Aunt JoAnn lives just outside Seattle, so they had a place to stay (THANK YOU AUNT JOANN!!).

Before the game the guys went to Pike's Place Market and walked around. Chrisser was running up to everybody and anybody wearing red and trying to give them high-fives or knocks as you said, "Go 9ers!" One guy he went up to said, "Yeah, give me 5 little man!" Christopher walked back over to Chris looking befuddled and asked, "Dad, how did he know MY name?!"

The game was set to start at 5pm and the guys got to the stadium at 3pm. Chris has been a 49ers fan his WHOLE life (and Christopher shares in that excitement), so he gave Chrisser his Steve Young jersey from back in the day!. Well that Little Man was the hit of the show! He got sooooo much attention that the 49ers Owner,John York, came over and started talking to them! He gave them an NFL pin and a SF 49ers pin and field passes to come down onto the field and watch warm-ups. He also told them they could come down during half-time for the show, and after the game to get autographs.

Field passes, Game book, pins and stickers

Chrisser in his gear!

A close-up, who could resist that sweet face?

Father and son

This is the quaterback, Alex Smith

Chris spent time hobnobbing with all the reporters and coaches...I think he had more fun than Christopher!

The best part for me, was watching on TV as the camera was on one of the commentators (Chris will die that I don't know which one...) you could see the guys in the background near the stands. And a REALLY good shot of Chris w/ Christopher on the sidelines while the camera was filming Alex Smith warming up! It was so exciting, the girls and I were dancing and yelling while we watched - THANK GOODNESS FOR TIVO!! The guys loved watching it when they got home.

Chris said Chrisser was running up and down the field (on the Seahawk side) with his arms in the air yelling, "Go 9ers!" And the people in the stands were booing him SOOOOOOO loud. Chris said some were yelling rude things to him ("You suck") but nothing fazed him, he was having a fabulous time!

From a 6 year olds perspective:

*Christopher leaned over to Papa on the 5 hour ride home and said, "This has been the best adventure of my whole life!"

*After the 49ers lost (they are NOT very good this year, sad, but true - we still love them!) Christopher was in the lobby getting ready to leave and this Seahawks fan (all decked out in gear) came up to him and gave him knocks and said, "Go 9ers." That brought tears to my eyes thinking of this nice gentleman consoling our son after the loss and Little Man said, "Yeah, he was a flopper!" Nice.

*Little Man was walking up the stairs to his seat and a Seahawk yelled, "Hey kid, you're wearing the wrong colors!" To which Christopher replied (in his biggest voice), "That's because I'm a 49ers fan!!!"

*Because this was on Veterans Day, the Military put on a show before the game and one of them saw Little Man running up and down the field and had him come over and march with them (he even put a helmet on him!) Then they all started taking pictures of him!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Turkey Leftovers

Ok, I know we haven't even gotten to turkey day yet, but I thought this would be helpful for those to start thinking about how they can use their leftovers this year! These recipes look great!



Saturday, November 17, 2007

Good Friends

The Dye boys came over for a little bit the other night. The kids had such a good time hanging out - and watching a movie! Here are some snapshots from our evening:
Alex and THE CAR - so cute!

Glenn - such a little charmer

James and Christopher - Good buddies!

Laethym and Avonleigh - cheeser!

And Payton - aren't those rolls to DYE for?! haha couldn't resist! Why is it they aren't as cute when you're an adult?...

Good Thing: Ginger-Carrot Soup

I saw this recipe here. I made it a couple of days ago and it was phenomenal! So, so, so good! I seem to have a problem where I can't (or choose not to) follow a recipe, so I'll put my changes at the bottom.

2 Tbsp. cooking oil
3 cups thinly sliced onion
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
8 carrots (about 1 1/4 lb.)
1 sweet potato
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half or light cream

1. For caramelized onions, in large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add sliced onion, sugar, and pepper; reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, 30 minutes, stirring twice. Add ginger. Cook, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes more or until onion is golden brown stirring occasionally. Divide in half.
2. Meanwhile, peel carrots and sweet potato and cut in 1-inch pieces. In large saucepan or Dutch oven combine broth, carrots and sweet potato. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 40 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Add half the caramelized onions. Puree until nearly smooth with handheld blender or process 2 cups at a time in food processor. Add cream; heat through. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Top with remaining caramelized onions.

My changes: I used 12 carrots (1 whole 2 lb bag). Some were smallish, etc, but I wanted to use up the bag. Also, I used 3 medium/smallish sweet potatoes (I wanted a stronger sweet potato flavor). I used a large can ( 49.5 oz) of chicken broth. I used 2 medium onions, and in hindsight, I probably should have used 3. They shrink A LOT when they caramelize. I put in a healthy 2 Tbl. of ginger - don't skimp! I used 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk (I made my own half-n-half) because the cream was on sale and it was cheaper that way! And FINALLY, I put in 1/2 cube of butter (4 Tbl) at the end - it was FABULOUS!

A Parent's Thanksgiving List - SO GOOD!

A Parent’s Thanksgiving List

Thanksgiving usually inspires parents to start a diet. But if you’ll indulge with me for a while, I’d rather list a few things I’m grateful for as a mother.

I’m grateful my children demand I talk to them when I don’t feel like talking, feed them when I’m not hungry, and change their diapers even when I’m all dressed up and ready to go somewhere special. I don’t think I’d discover the world outside my own needs without them.

I’m grateful my children haven’t learned how to hold back their tears when they’re sad, laughter when they’re happy, or screams when they’re frightened. They constantly remind me that emotions are for sharing.

I’m grateful my children have broken nearly everything in my home and used a crayon or ink marker on the rest. They’ve taught me that things aren’t important, but people are.

I’m grateful my children start out small and helpless so they don’t become aware of my incompetence until they’re teenagers. By then, we’ve both grown so accustomed to each other, we somehow manage to make it through the rest of life together.

I’m grateful my children get their pants dirty, pick their noses, burp without saying “excuse me,” and quarrel in public so I’ll never be able to get too arrogant, proper, or judgmental of other people’s children.

I’m grateful my children sometimes call me names like “weird” because sometimes I am “weird,” and it helps keep a person humble to be told they’re “weird” when they’re acting weird.

I’m grateful my children occasionally miss the bus at the precise moment I’ve stepped out of the shower, contemplating the well-planned, organized day ahead of me. Experiences like jumping into the car after throwing on whatever’s handy and racing to school have a tendency to loosen rigid plans into something better known as spontaneity.

I’m grateful my children always need new shoes, piano books, prescriptions, haircuts, fieldtrip money, tuition, food, toothpaste, and underwear. That way, I don’t have to waste my time thinking about a new sofa. It’s difficult to get wealthy and think about luxuries when you have to buy toilet paper and milk by the truckload each week.

I’m grateful my children know how to play. My five-year-old asked me to come downstairs so he could “teach me how to play” with his plastic animals. While Jacob demonstrated the subtle techniques for sinking a rhinoceros into couch cushions while pretending it was quicksand, I realized my young son was right. I really do need someone to “teach me how to play.”

I’m grateful my children question my every command and giggle when I get angry. It’s difficult to feel too powerful or self-righteous with kids around to remind you of how funny you look when you’re pointing your finger.

I’m grateful my children insist I hug, kiss, rock, or put my arms around them often. Otherwise, I think I’d forget how the sense of touch is so healing.

I’m grateful each of my children is unique when the same strange, inexperienced mother raised them. Somehow they don’t seem to let me ruin them much.

And lastly, I’m grateful for the gift of children in my life. God willing, I’d like to fill the rest of my days with those interesting people who call me Mom (yes, and sometimes “weird”) but eventually “weird grandma.”

So true!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

From an Interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews

I hate to take up room on our precious family blog, but I was just amazed when I saw this. A perfect example of ignorance; do we want her son running our country?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Greatest Laugh

I have been trying to capture her laugh on video for some time now. This is a really cute little bit of it, but I still didn't get her little giggle that she does. It's hard to describe...her Nana thinks she sounds like a little lamb. Anyway, I'll get it one of these days! In this one, she kept imitating my sounds (I KNOW I sound obnoxious on the video).

So Similar!

This is poor quality (a picture of a picture), but you get the picture (haha). I found this the other day while going through Christopher's baby book. I've always thought that he and Payton looked a lot alike, but I didn't realize how similar they really were until I saw this...

Marching to the Beat of Her Own Drum

Avonleigh is our little fireball! Everything she does is done TO THE MAX! There is no halfway with this child. As long as we can keep her on the Straight and Narrow, get out of her way, 'cause she'll go right to the Celestial Kingdom!

All morning I kept asking "Avonleigh, are you dressed yet?" To which I was told, "Oh yeah, almost." Right. So I was busy doing other tasks and just verbally checked in with her every so often. When she FINALLY came down the hall, this is what she was wearing...notice she also dressed her bear AND packed a toy bag for the efficient.

She's wearing Laethym's shoes and they're on the wrong feet

"Mom, take a picture of my bear, she's cute too!"