Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Eve

Friday, December 24, 2010

A New Holiday Tradition

This year we decided to start a new family tradition in memory of James' amazing mom. She was an incredible cook and breakfast foods were her specialty! In her honor, we decided to make yummy breakfast foods for dinner every night this past week. We had fun cooking together while trying to recreate her recipes!

(Photo evidence that James actually DOES know how to cook!)

Yummy German Pancakes

Our new Black Friday toy was a Belgium Waffle Maker!

James' favorite breakfast food is biscuits and gravy so I attempted to recreate his mom's classic recipe and I failed miserably! It turned out alright, but it was nothing like the original!
All hail Paula Deen (she's my fav)! We devoured these egg McMuffin's!

This time of year it has been especially hard to be without James' mom. There are so many Christmas memories with her which made this "cooking week" extra special! Miss you, Mom!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blog Challenge #3

Something You Are OCD About...
(This is probably more about us than you'd like to know, ha ha!)


I think this is OCD of me - every time I put on deodorant, I always have to swipe the bar the exact number of times under each armpit - normally 7 times. I think the reason why I do it is so that I am even smelling on both sides. I highly doubt that if I only swiped 6 times on my right side, and 5 times on my left side that anyone would be able to tell any difference, however, it’s my way of trying to make the universe a little more freshly scented. Plus I am the man that your man could smell like if he used Old Spice! (shameless commercial plug)


I am obsessed with paper towels! I saw an episode of Oprah years ago that talked about kitchen germs and it freaks me out to this day. On the show they said that it is cleaner to dip a spoon into a toilet bowl and then eat with it, than to set your spoon in your sink and then pick it up and use it again. Their explanation is that most people clean their toilets on a regular basis with some sort of cleaner containing bleach, but most people hardly ever deep clean their kitchen sink so the combination of germs (like salmonella) sit in a warm and wet environment and multiply like crazy! Yucky, huh! A lot of people use kitchen rags to clean their countertops (it is the “greener” thing to do after all) but then they leave that towel sitting on their kitchen sink and it becomes a breeding ground for germs. Have I adequately grossed you out yet? Introducing: the paper towel… clean, disposable, and fairly cheap. I know that it may not be the “green” way of doing things, but I’d rather save our house from being overtaken by an army of germs!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tis the Season

Since I haven't posted in almost 2 weeks, I'll try to cover everything in this one post! We have been CRAZY busy lately - which is always the case this time of the year! As soon as I finished with our tree for the Festival of Trees, it was time to switch my mode to our house! I love decorating our home for Christmas!
Our Christmas Tree
Once our home was finished with it's holiday transformation, it was time to move my efforts over to work. This time of year I'm super busy with interior design jobs. I have several clients who hire me to design their Christmas trees and so far I've decorated a total of 9 trees. It is definitely one of my favorite things to do as an interior designer!

My next big project was to do the centerpieces for the Ward Christmas Party. I came up with the idea of making the centerpieces edible, by filling them with the dessert. I pitched the idea to my parents (my dad is in charge of the activities for his ward) and they loved the idea! My mom and I got to work and quickly found out that we had bit off a little more than we could chew. After making all of the goodies and assembling one centerpiece, we saw how darling they were and decided that it was worth the effort! My mom basically moved in with me and we worked on them straight for 5 days - 420 treats in total! The work paid off because they were a hit, especially with all of the kids!
Our next Holiday adventure was super exciting. This year, the Dickens Christmas Festival came back to Salt Lake City! I had the awesome opportunity of being in the plays when I was younger and it was a total blast!

The play "Oliver"
The play "Scrooge"
This is the infamous mouse lady! It's been 12 or 13 years since the Dickens Festival was in Salt Lake, but I can totally remember this mouse lady! She makes these little finger puppets of mice - weird, I know! They are actually really darling so we had to buy one for our little nephew Taylor! Going to the Dickens Festival brought back so many memories for me and I'm so excited that it's back in Salt Lake! I hope it comes back for the holidays permanently so that I can share it with our kids one day! As the holidays get under way, I promise to do a better job of posting more frequently!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Festival of Trees

Every year my mom and I decorate a Christmas tree to donate to the Festival of Trees. This year, we named our tree "Soda Shoppe Rock!" and we had a blast with it! It's hard to tell from the pictures, but we used 3 different sized trees and filled them with all kinds of fun ornaments: mini pink Chevy's, ice cream sodas, fuzzy dice, and of course records! We added a fun soda bar complete with a jukebox! We also had fun laying out a checkerboard floor to complete our design!!!
The Festival of Trees in an amazing event! In addition to the large trees, people also donate small trees, gingerbread houses, and Christmas wreaths. Everything is auctioned off to the highest bidder and ALL of the proceeds go to Primary Children's Medical Center. The Festival usually raises over a million dollars each year! It's always fun for us decorators to see who buys our tree each year! My mom and I start working on our tree in January and we work on it all year long. It's hard work, but really rewarding because it's for such a great cause! Many people dedicate their tree to a loved one who has passed away. This year, we dedicated our tree to James' awesome mom, Carolyn. It was an incredible opportunity to really reflect on her life and the amazing person that she was! James and his sisters helped us prepare and even came on decorating day to lend a hand! The Festival asks us to write a little story to be placed by our tree so that spectators can read more about it if they so choose. We asked James to write it this year and this was his story:

Take a walk with us down memory lane to a time when our mom and friend, Carolyn, celebrated her teenage years - a time of sock hops, poodle skirts, and soda shoppes! Carolyn loved the music of the 50's and instilled that love of music in each of her 8 children. Carolyn passed away surrounded by her family in March 2010, due to liver failure. We hope you enjoy this tree that was decorated with love in her memory.

We miss you, Mom!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blog Challenge #2

A Recipe...


This is my classic recipe - Jiffy blueberry muffins:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 box of Jiffy blueberry muffins
1 egg
¼ cup of milk
Mix all ingredients until fully blended. Pour mixture into greased muffin tins or cupcake papers. Place in oven and cook until golden on the top (about 13-15 minutes)

This is probably the first recipe that I ever learned. Every Saturday morning I would wake up to watch Saturday morning cartoons, and around 8:30 I would hurry up and make the blueberry muffins so they would be ready for the 9:00 show - Saved by the Bell. The recipe would normally make 6-8 muffins - I would eat 4, and my little brother would get to eat the rest. To this day, whenever I make Jiffy’s blueberry muffins, I always remember Saturday morning cartoons.


Warm Chocolate Melting Cake
(from Carnival Cruises - soooo yummy!)

8 ounces of semisweet chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
7 eggs
6 tablespoons of sugar
½ cup of flour

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter and cool for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix four eggs with sugar. Then add the flour and whisk. Add the remaining three eggs. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture. Pour this entire mixture into individual ramekins. Bake until just done, about 15-20 minutes (interior will be melting, not set). Garnish with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream. Makes 8 portions.

James and I discovered this dessert on our last cruise. We ordered it the first night, not knowing the decadence that lied ahead. Needless to say, we ended up ordering it every single night of our cruise... it's just that good!