Monday, December 31, 2012

Jake & Yuki

The two animals wish each other a merry Christmas.


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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jack the Paleontologist

Santa brought Jack a science kit that included a dinosaur digging kit that lets Jack hone is paleontology skills. He spent a good hour patiently chipping and brushing in an attempt to pull out the T-rex bones.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Elle Loves This One!

Elle's expression upon opening Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear (or Lotso as he's known as in Toy Story) is priceless. She just refers to him as "big bear" but she's now got another favorite when it comes to stuffed animals. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa Arrives in Cali!

As we head to bed this Christmas Eve a quick peek into the family room indicates Santa has found us! Jack appears to have scored exactly what he asked for including a science kit, legos and a wallet. Santa continued the tradition of sticking a Beanie Baby at the top of the stocking as well!

























Elle scored an extremely cool kitchen along with a princess doll.
 
























And a close-up of the stockings!

Feeding the Reindeer!

Won't be long now!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Shortest Day of the Year Scores a Cool Sunrise!

Today was the shortest day of the year with only 9 hours and 28 minutes between the sun's rise and set times...but we did score a pretty cool sunrise out of the deal with a storm moving in...

Oh Deer!

Poor Elle wasn't feeling great but still tolerated us posing her around with antlers. She's much better now and the kids are ready for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Ghost of Jacob Marley????

Just the ghost of rack space once dedicated to selling Twinkies, Ding Dongs, King Dons, Cupcakes, Ho-Hos, Pies, Suzie Q's and all the other Hostess style cakes...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Kiddies

Jack's hat seems to channel Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Soft Molasses Spice Cookies

Soft Molasses Spice Cookies
These chewy molasses cookies with all of the right spices are perfect for the winter season. They are reminiscent of ginger snaps, but soft and chewy with the hint of vanilla and molasses. Don't cut back on the amount of sugar called for in the recipe, and don't overcook them or they will come out hard and crunchy. This recipe is from the Cook's Illustrated The Best Recipe cookbook.

Preparation time: 30 minutes.

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling cookies
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsulphered molasses

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Use an electric mixer and beat the butter for 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed. Add egg, vanilla extract, and molasses. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Place remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Working with 2 Tbsp of dough each time, roll dough into 1 3/4 inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake until the outer edges of the cookies begin to set and centers are soft and puffy, about 11 to 13 minutes [I only leave them in for 10 minutes, and without convection... that will mess up the cooking time]. Cool cookies on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks .
Note: Do not overcook. The centers of the cookies should be somewhat soft and spongy when you take them out of the oven, otherwise they will end up hard and dry.

Optional Glaze
When cookies have cooled, lay out over a sheet of wax paper. Sift 1 1/4 cups of confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) and then whisk with 2 Tbsp of milk until smooth. Dip spoon into glaze and dribble over cookies.

Yield: Makes 18 large cookies.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Elle Turns Two!

We celebrated Elle's 2nd birthday this week-end with an Elmo themed party!  

Lots of her freinds came and we had great weather.


















The cake, from Karen's Bakery in Old Folsom, looked much better than it tasted... which is generally true of Karen's cakes.  How they can make a fresh cake so dry is beyond me...but it did look good!

 

Happy Birthday to one of the best little girls around!























Elle is definitely ready for Christmas when it comes to unwrapping gifts. Birthday number two (and a little coaching from big brother!) was all the practice she needed.

Xmas Lights 2012

Not exactly a Lights on the Ridge contestant, but cheery nonetheless.


Day


Night

Friday, December 07, 2012

Jack's First Love Note!

Jack received his first "love note" earlier this Fall from his friend Molly in kindergarten class.   So far he's doing fine in school and is kept relatively busy with homework and "reading".

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Rudolph is in the House!

We did a little facetime activity with Granny and Jack donned his antlers and nose to do a his best Rudolph impression for her!


In case you didn't get a great view of Rudolph here's a cropped version.




 






















And Elle is getting into the reindeer mood as well!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Atmospheric River!

We've floating away out in Cali in what has been termed an "atmostpheric river"....  crazy amount of rain over the past few days....


Chocolate Covered Blueberries

Queen Anne, the chocolate covered cherry people, have embraced the blueberry. Bottom line, however you feel about chocolate covered cherries is how you're going to feel about these. With all the sweet chocolate, syrup, and creme, the flavor of the fruit is largely muted. Whenever I see Queen Anne product, I think of Grandma Patty and her annual Christmas gift to Robert and I. Would she have gifted the chocolate covered blueberry?










Monday, November 26, 2012

ACC Championship Tickets Available! $3.95 a Pop...

There is virtually zero interest in seeing the ACC Championship this year...both Florida State and Georgia Tech come in after humiliating losses means a big yawn from Charlotte and the respective fan bases... If you have $3.95 you can attend!  $5 gets you a pretty dang good seat!



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas Hug!

Today we did Santa pictures with Jack and Elle... Elle was still scared so she sat on the sidelines. She finally got into the groove once we got home.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Vacation Ornament Fraud

Many of us are fans of the Chevy Chase movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. While looking at the 2012 Hallmark Christmas ornament collection, I was excited to see a new Christmas Vacation ornament featuring soundbites from the movie. Unfortunately, I immediately recognized that the soundbites are not from the movie. Instead, they are bad impersonations of the actual actors. This video shows the scene from the actual movie, followed by the audio clip from the ornament. I consider this video a public service announcement. Beware Christmas Vacation fans! Do not buy!

To Hell With Georgia!

A friend found this on Pinterest! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Barb's Blender Breaks



Not to worry however. Rick had a solution in place quickly.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Chair Fun!

Jack and Elle like to tip and fall in Jack's little foam chair!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Star Wars in Legos

Jack received a fancy Star Wars Imperial Cruiser lego set for his birthday and we finally built it. While it was non-trivial to build, Jack kept a positive attitude and kept commenting, Daddy, we'll get through this. Indeed we did!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pepsi X

Pepsi has released a new product called Pepsi X in a joint promotion with the music show X Factor. The bottle describes it as a dragon fruit flavored cola. I don't agree with that description. I would describe it as a persimmon flavored cream soda. You can be sure this product is heading for a Crystal Pepsi type fate. Gone and largely forgotten. I would recommend you try it once so you can say you've tasted persimmon Pepsi.






Soccer

I think we are collectively happy to have the season draw to a close.  Two practices and a game every week is pretty challenging.  We did successfully introduce Jack to soccer though it isn't something he seems very excited about just yet... we'll see in the future.  His official picture looks good though!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Funny Fox

We missed this becauase we were watching NBC on election night....but it is pretty funny.



Poor Fox didn't know what to do when science won out over emotion and gut feels.... And if you want to watch more idiocy catch this guy!

Be careful though - he's a professional...

Friday, November 02, 2012

Halloween Footage!

Here's a quick video of Jack and his friends just before heading out to Trick or Treat.



And here's one of my favorites of Jack and Elle. Jack retained his cowboy costume while Elle toggled over to a Ladybug costume.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Jack's Candy Haul! Halloween 2012

We went trick or treating at more houses than ever last night and Jack came away with a nice haul. Elle, who did her best to keep up, did almost as well if not better as a lot of the kids got "extra" candy for her.
Note he even scored a toothbrush and toothpaste!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

from the artist presently known as Jack!



 

As an aside Jack did this entirely on his own. We're impressed by his creativity and even his ability.... more of Jack's art next month!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What's Inside a K-Cup?

My Keurig machine failed so I've been cutting the coffee out of my remaining K-cups for use in alternate coffee makers. The inside of a K-cup is interesting. It's about half full of coffee. The coffee is held in a tiny basket-shaped filter.









Alright Tigers....Let's Go!

Here's a pretty cool thing happening in Detroit!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Costume Trial Run...

Here's our picture from the recent Harvest Festival at school.  That hat I'm wearing is the famous one from Scottsbluff that Uncle Bob payed the sales tax on!  She's a 5X I believe.  Elle's hat is the weakest as it came with her costume and looks more like a flapper hat than a cowboy hat...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Apple Hill Field Trip

I pulled my first chaperone duty earlier this month when I accompanied Jack and his class to Apple Hill.  The trip featured and trip into the orchards where we got to pick Red Delicious apples off a tree along with a special behind the scenes tour into their kitchen.

Jack positioned himself within reaching distance of the pie assembly line!  That's my boy!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Why are Two Better Than One???

Cause you get something like this about every day.... Now in a few years when they are fighting over things kindly remind us of these days!

The Word Wall

Jack beams with pride at his sight "word wall"

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Zombie

Jack the Zombie looks quite ghoulish as he exits the stage from his Sea Turtles performance of Thriller at the Winter Show last January.



Happy October!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Monday, October 01, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Halloween time here already??!

Here's a snap from last year's pumpkin trip of Jack loving on his sis'!


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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Elle Enjoys "The Wiggles"

Elle had to stay home from school today as a result of a stomach virus. She passed her time by watching Sesame Street, Clifford the Big Red Dog and The Wiggles. and seems to be feeling better....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hot Cheetos & Takis

About a month ago, I heard about a rap song and video that some kids made over the summer that went viral on youtube. The song is called "Hot Cheetos & Takis". I watched it and pretty much forgot about it, although I never knew exactly what the kids meant by "Takis". Well this weekend, I figured it out when I happened to see them at Walmart. Takis are a kind of corn chip snack, the kind of thing you see down in Mexico. I bought a bag to check them out.
I also picked up a bag of Hot Cheetos in order to really experience the snack that these inner-city kids loved so much.
So what are Takis like? Pretty awful. It's like a Frito rolled into a tight tube and saturated in greasy chili powder which is overpowered by an oily, fried aftertaste. Takis are bad, and the people who make them should feel bad.
So when you combine Takis with Hot Cheetos as these kids do, the snack you get is pretty much (bad) x (2). These things don't go well together. They are largely the same thing! I'm left wondering who the parents are letting these kids eat this crap! Let's hope their next hit single is "Capri Sun & Apple Slices". Here's the video in case you haven't seen it.

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