Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Slither

Last year, Lady Mortimer missed her chance to climb the Christmas tree.
This year, as I was setting up the tree,
I turned her loose in it for an hour.
She liked it,
but seemed disappointed that the tree wasn't taller,
as evidenced by her forked tongue sensing to see if there is anything else to climb on.

Friday, November 27, 2009

More Conventional But Still Very Nice

Not ALL of our cookies were crazy.
My sister decorated several in a very conventional
but very lovely way.
(I can't decorate my way out of a paper bag.
I can't color between the lines, either.)

And the Cookie Winner Is....

This was my favorite.
A skeleton gingerbread man.
Creative blue ribbon to Thomas, age 13.

Cookie Creativity

My nephews are Very Creative.
And highly unusual.
Forget making basic gumdrop buttons on their gingerbread men.
how about mathematical signs like pi?

The pair below was the contribution of Hyrum,
who decided that in addition to nibbling one gingerbread man
down to a peg leg,
he would decorate the other with vegetables
(he stopped short of using Ranch dressing for frosting,
but the broccoli hair just cracks me up):

My mathematically inclined nephew Caleb also plays the bass,
so after carefully carving away excess cookie
(I believe the original was, appropriately enough, a tree)
he came up with this:

Here's Caleb's entire array of cookies:

If you enlarge the picture you can see the bottom pair
have strange blobs and dots on them...
these are various atoms from the periodic table.
One is H20, the other?

Once a Year

Once a year, I like to do something a bit crafty.
And right after the holidays seemed a good time to get my nephews
(and a couple of nieces) involved.
So I hosted a cookie party.
My sister and I prepped by making the sugar cookies
and gingerbread cookies
and rolling them out and cutting them,
and then baking them.
We used my aunt's kitchen
(which is huge and has granite counter tops and a double oven)
to roll out and bake the cookies
and also to mix up the frosting.
Then we carted it all over to my house,
put both leaves into my table,
taped a cheap disposable plastic tablecloth to the surface,
and set up for the kids.
We had 11 kids and 7 adults
(though not everybody stayed for the entire time,
and some of the younger kids got bored
and their Grandma took them to the condo play area.)
But all ages from quite young to late teens
had a great time.

We had gingerbread men,
and tree and candy cane shaped sugar cookies.
I forget where the sugar cookie recipe comes from
but they use a lot of butter
and they are marvelous
(especially topped with butter cream icing).

Several of the older kids were very good about helping
younger siblings and cousins:

Our merry group!
I went a bit overboard on the amounts of cookies,
frosting (especially frosting-- I used 2 pounds of butter)
and decorations.
If I do this particular project again next year,
I will have a more realistic idea of the number of cookies to make.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spiral Jetty

I have been out to Spiral Jetty once before,
five years ago.
At the time the lake had receded enough to see the jetty,
but there was still water around,
and the jetty was covered with salt crystals.
The salt has been scoured off somehow,
and the dark rocks were beautiful against the November landscape.

Homeschool Outing

My sister the Birrd and I took her kids and a couple of additional nephews out to Promontory Point today, on our way to Spiral Jetty.
Promontory Point commemorates the joining of the Transcontinental Railroad,
on May 10, 1869,
which date I remember from a cheesy song I had to learn in 3rd or 4th grade.
Anyway, here are the kids
at the Golden Spike site.
It was colder out than I thought,
but fun to visit.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fruit Cup, Or, Virtue Rewarded

I went on a field trip with my seminar students today,
up to Salt Lake City.
We visited St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral,
and after our visit,
we went to the Bakery.
The Bakery is officially called Gourmandise Bakery,
but to our family, it's just The Bakery.
It's amazing.
It has some restaurant seating in addition to the gorgeous glass dessert cases,
and we had lunch there.
I was trying to be good,
so instead of the usual side chips with my (half size, vegetarian) sandwich,
I ordered the more expensive cup of fruit side.
I figured it would be the usual blend
of unripe cantaloupe,
bland honeydew and tired grapes,
but to my surprise and delight,
the fruit turned out to be at least a cup
of fresh cut up strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
Yum, yum!
(Then, to balance all the healthy aspects,
I bought some cake slices to take home and share with my sisters.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Again

Practicing dressup before trick-or-treat...
with the snake.
I wear Lady Mortimer around my neck
when I answer the door and hand out candy.
She's a very effective prop.

Halloween Costumes

Here is my niece the Rabbit in her lion costume.

My nephew Fish was delighted with his snake costume--
until he saw his brother's pirate costume.
Then he sulked.
(Apparently the problem got solved,
when his brother lent him his eye patch,
so that he could be a Pirate Snake.)

My niece Sophie was a Mermaid Princess.

And for years we have been telling my brother Joe
that he should be Aragorn.
So this year he finally got an outfit for it.
We thought he looked pretty terrific!