Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happy Holidays 2012

So I tried printing out my Christmas cards today but the cards came out all dark for some reason. So I thought I would at least post my work online.
It is always so fun to watch the holidays approach through Nicole's eyes. She often tells me, "I just can't believe that some people don't believe in Christmas". I'm happy that she still does.
It snowed last night and actually stuck and she has been so funny. She said she is building a cave out there so she can live in the snow. I'm thinking that might be kind of cold, but who am I to ruin her fun?!!
I love my little girl and her excitement!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

First day of snow

Yesterday was the first day of snow that we've gotten. It only snowed for about an hour and it didn't really stick. But Nicole was so excited, she was still in her jammies, she bounced up, got dressed real quick and before I knew it, was outside enjoying the snow. I got some good pictures of her and Tank.

A close-up of my little princess...

It seems funny to me that you can't even see the snow in this picture. So I changed locations.

Here you can see a little bit of the snow around the bottom of the tree.

I love this picture of her and Tank. He loves having her in the back yard with him.

Getting close to Christmas...

Well here we are a couple weeks away from Christmas. We had our Christmas party at church last week, which was pretty fun. We had lasagna for dinner and tons of different desserts, which is always good. I got some great shots of Nicole.  Here she is waiting in line with her bff Phoebe waitin' to see Santa.

A couple seconds later...

Made it to the stage, one step away from Santa...

Her dress looked so awesome, like she was the grandaughter of the Claus's.

Finally made it to Santa's lap...

Now she must be getting serious, talking about all the toys she wants...

Looks like she's having a good time there on Santa's lap.

Ah, such a great little picture!!

Needless to say, Nicole is getting super excited for Christmas!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler

I just finished this book last night. It was really a warm fuzzy wonderful book. This guy finds out he has a really rare sarcoma cancer in his leg. In front of him he faces rounds of chemo and leg surgery, then more chemo. He calls it his "lost year". He comes up with a wonderful idea. He will choose 6 men, who embody certain traits that he has and finds very important as part of who he is, to act as father figures in case he doesn't make it. The book's chapters are intermittent talks about these men and what is important about them and what they would say to his twin daughters if anything were to happen to him and his own letters to his friends about what is happening with his health and his family. I finished this book feeling such admiration for the author, thinking what a great gift this is for his girls. At the end, he survives the year with great possibility and his daughters have these 6 great men in their life, including their father. My favorite line from the book is when the author is retelling the birth of his twin daughters who were born on April 15th, tax day. He called them Early Feiler and Late Feiler. Ha, ha - that cracks me up!!

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

So this guy I work with who loves books like me, told me I needed to read this book. I was so glad I did. It's based on a Grimm's fairy tale, which I've never heard of before, but it has all the classic elements of a fairy tale. The evil step-mother, the prince whom she's being married off to. Her real true love is someone else. So she works in the shadows as long as she can as a goose girl. Meanwhile she falls in love. It is such a great story and one that I really couldn't put down. There are three other books in the series and I totally have to read them now!
Really, what is better than an awesome fairy tale? The great thing about fairy tales is this: a wrong is done to a righteous person, but that person is able to overcome the evil-doing and the evil force is held accountable for their deeds. And I think this has been a story line that has been popular for the ages.

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

I started out wanting to read this book because I thought it would give me some insight into the crop insurance program (my current profession) and maybe even into why it was so important for the farmers in the midwest. All I could say when I was finished with this book was wow, wow and wow. It's hard to believe or imagine such a difficult life for so long as is described in this book. A decade of hardship, death. Dust bowl. Black blizzards. No income for four years or more. Planting crops year after year only to see them fail for one reason or another. Ten years of drought following the depression. Children dying of dust pneumonia. I wonder if this is our just dessert after running the Indians off the land. Tearing out all the grassland and running the buffalo off the land, to plant wheat and corn. I keep thinking about this book in the recesses of my mind even after I've finished it. I've been looking for pictures of Dalhart, TX on the internet, which is one of the largest cities hit. I think of those people that complain/abuse the federal crop insurance program and I think they should read this book. Some fo thephotos in the book have etched their way into my mind. Having been in a few dust storms myself, where you can't even see in front of you, it's very scary to think of decade of these daily. There were so many factors that led to these dust storms. Man's misuse of the land, and the subsequent abondonment. This is one of those books that makes you think and makes you want to know more. FDR seems to have had such an important role in bringing the midwest out of this (besides the rain coming back) that I want to read a book on him next and maybe some more on the dust bowl.

For you fellow cinnamon roll lovers

For you fellow cinnamon roll lovers out there, I have found the most wonderful recipe and it has never failed me. What could be better than the smell of yeast along with cinnamon and sugar? Best part: the way the house smells. Worst part: Mike eats them all!! Ok, maybe not all of them, and maybe this isn't a bad thing since i don't need to be eating a whole bunch of them! LOL


1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp butter
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg

3 tbsp softened butter
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp milk


1. In saucepan, heat 1/2 cup milk, water, and 2 tbsp butter until very warm. Place milk mixture, salt, flour, yeast, sugar, and egg in the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle. Press start.

2. Once Dough cycle is complete, remove the dough from the bread machine and punch down. On a floured surface, roll into a large rectangle. Smear with the softened butter. Combine the cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar. Sprinkle over the rectangle.

3. Roll the dough up into a log starting at the long side. Cut into slices. Place the rolls cut side down into a greased baking pan. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the confectioners' sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, and milk into a thick frosting; set aside.

5. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool 10 minutes. Spread frosting over baked rolls.