Friday, December 31, 2010


1. No more soda
2. Get to bed before 11pm
3. Find balance
4. Simply
5. Keep moving forward

I have a huge list. A very detailed list. It's so big, as I was looking it over I was feeling a little good for nothing.
So, I've decided I'm keeping my list to 5 and will break them down, as needed, as the year progresses.

What's on your list?

PS - Can you believe that it's 2011 in less than 24 hours?!


I love getting the annual card and seeing how all our families have grown. I always take down the front door last.
This is one of our favorite cards this year. Even better, it's a magnet and on our fridge.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Vegan French Toast
2 cups almond milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
1 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1/2 inch slices

Mix first four ingredients, dip sliced bread and toast on buttered skillet.

I know, I know, you're asking what about the eggs?! You won't even notice they aren't in there. No substitution needed.


On cold and raining nights, why not campout in your living room in front of the roaring fire for a few hours? While you're at it, throw in some stars and breakfast.
We put up the wee one's portable tents and since we knew exactly where our Christmas tree lights were, we brought out the "stars".
BTW, When we put the Christmas items away, I followed Jordan Ferney's tip with the lights and can I just say, 'hello, genius!'. My lights will be stored in balls for now and ever more.

For dinner we made breakfast - cinnamon french toast and seasoned potatoes. (Believe it or not, the french toast was vegan! I"ll be posting the recipe). Update: Recipe is posted here.

A fun and delicious evening!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


knitted by my mother-in-law, will be keeping our noggin's warm this winter.That reminds me, I've really got to finish my knitting project I started last year!


Larry and I pens. They are both from the same wood and are amazing!

This wood is American Chestnut from the Whitmer Farm and is over 200 years old.

To see more of my father's pens, see this post.

I have to stop gazing at my pen so I can finish my resolution list.


were one of the presents my parents made the wee ones for Christmas this year.
Made of PVC pipe and canvas they are easy to set up anywhere, easy to store, fit on their beds and the boys are having a blast with them.
I'm seeing some indoor camping adventures in our future...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This dish is filling, delicious and tastes like winter.

2 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 TBSP light brown sugar
1 tsp grated or minced fresh ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 can kidney bean, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp salt, or to taste
Rice, quinoa or couscous
dry roasted peanuts, garnish
cilantro, garnish

Saute onions and garlic over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, cover and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.

Stir in peanut butter. Add sweet potatoes, kidney beans and tomatoes. Stir to coat. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until sweet potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Salt to taste.

Serve over rice, quiona or couscous and garnish with dry roasted peanuts and cilantro.

For Christmas I received some vegan cookbooks. This yummy recipe is found in The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

Monday, December 27, 2010


White Elephant Party with the family and in-laws was tonight.
It's one of those nights that you know you'll laugh and be merry but you never really know what's going to happen. Tonight was super fun and quite tame - yay family!!


It's that time of year again. Time for resolutions, goal setting and for reflection.
This past year has been full of ups and downs, smiles and frowns, tears and laughter, stress and joy. Looking at 2010, I see our blessings and I don't want to take them for granted. We had a wonderful year!

In January we welcomed the year with open arms, I painted the inside of the front door, made curtains for the bedrooms, won a giveaway to Alice Lane Home Collection, Larry and I found out we are related to two of our friends, I finally got my baseboards - yay me!, Josh came to visit us, I captured a common sight at our house, I accidentally glued my fingers together, I started to learn to knit (I have a confession - I still need to finish that project!), had some glow stick fun with the man clan, Landon wrote a story in preschool, I was thrilled to receive a blog comment from Eddie Ross, I made a fun apron, celebrated mom's birthday in Portland, had a giveaway, saw my first silent film, did the Love Dare Challenge and went on a super fun girl's weekend at the coast with Steph, Kim and Sarah.

In February we did a countdown to Valentine's Day with the 14 Days of Love, I went on a photo walk at Deepwood Estates, did a 6 week fitness challenge, watched the Winter Olympics, I got an awesome steam mop, we celebrated Valentine's Day, Larry and I had a super fun bowling date, I hosted Yaya's, we flew kites, we celebrated Ivon's birthday, attended a black and white movie series at a historical theater, did a photo shoot with Maddie, Lach had need for speed and celebrated Grandpa Joan and Maddie's birthday.

In March we saw the gorgeous cherry blossoms downtown, celebrated Stephanie's birthday, had an impromptu putty party, celebrated Derek's birthday, Larry grew a stache for Mustache March, we celebrated Landon's birthday, made a fondant Mario cake, decorated for Stake Women's Conference, did a virtual talent show, LongBoardLarry boards were part of the gift baskets to the actors of the movie - Straw Dogs, we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a green gala, Larry J got his Life and Laird got his First Class, I went to a midnight dvd movie release party, the MTV Spring Product Guide featured LongBoardLarry boards, we went to the Tulip Festival, completed the living room photo wall, I learned to make chocolate covered marshmallow eggs and we celebrated Sarah's birthday.

In April Mustache March ended (yay!), we celebrated Easter, I completed my first 5K, we celebrated Mary's birthday, I visited Sherri and Kimberly in Pella, did a photo walk at the Portland Temple, made Steve wildlife sugar cookies, went to a Devotchka concert with Larry, Larry was a speaker at the National High School Journalism Convention, we got a carpet for our dining room, I received my grandfather's family bible, we celebrated Steve's birthday and celebrated Kim's 40th.

In May we celebrated May Day, had a family outing at a farm, we celebrated Larry's 40th with a fondant LongBoardLarry Humu cake, we celebrated Mother's Day at home and at Sarah's, completed a fun custom sign, we celebrated Alivia's birthday, had an awesome water fight, I had a sister weekend in San Francisco and our family had a blast in visiting San Clemente.

In June I celebrated my birthday with the Yayas, with friends, more friends, with the family and I even got kidnapped, Derek and Erica got engaged, we celebrated Michael & Michael's birthday, went to Utah and visited my grandmother and stayed with my awesome cousin, ran a 5k with family, had a mini reunion, I took Derek and Erica's engagement photos, we celebrated Father's Day, we celebrated my dad's birthday, pulled out bushes in the backyard, had a sleep over with 7 excited cousins, had lots of trampoline fun, Larry ran his first 5K and we planted our first garden.

In July Larry and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary, we celebrated Independence Day with family, the newest family and fireworks, the Yaya's had our 10 year anniversary, we painted our house and trim, I love my robin's egg blue front door!, the garage door windows got a facelift, Landon had the shopping cart incident, we started harvesting our garden, my man clan beat the heat, we had a lot of dinners at the park, I participated in fun and exciting wedding planning, Erica had a Broadway themed bridal shower, Larry was quoted in The New York Times, LongBoardLarry moved locations and Landon planned a kid party.

In August Laird's face met pain, the kids had a bachelor party, we ate lots of roadside fruit stand deliciousness, Larry surprised me with a unicycle, we saw a meteor shower, celebrated Dennis' birthday, Steve came to visit, I went to the temple with Stephanie, we had our noses waxed, Derek and Erica got married, Miriam came to visit, Laird got braces, Stephanie-Palooza began, I hiked the Trail of Ten Falls and Landon lost his first tooth.

In September Larry J's first year of high school football began, we celebrated Lach's birthday, I became allergic to animal protein and was forced to become vegan, I went whale watching and had a fun sister's weekend at the beach, we celebrated Laird's birthday, made him a fondant ipod birthday cake, went to a Pirate Festival, Jill and John became engaged, we made flubber, Stephanie started saying her goodbyes and dyed her hair purple.

In October I went to Utah with Stephanie to see her off for her Scotland adventures. While I was there I saw some Monterey friends, hiked the "Y", saw my grandmother and aunts, rented a party mobile, went to the Bonniville Salt Flats, met up with an Oregon friend, attended the morning session of General Conference, visited Hatch Family Chocolates, we had a fun going away party for Steph and then I said goodbye to her at the airport. Once home the month long Halloween fun began with spooky food, pumpkins, ghostly shenanigans, hayrides and field trips and costumes. Gaylene visited from Hawaii and Dennis and I celebrated our two year anniversary.

In November we visited Erica and Derek in Idaho, while we were on our way to Utah to pick up Lily. Larry participated in No Shave November (uggg), he made me an awesome coffee table, we celebrated Erica's birthday, Larry took me to a Brandon Flower's concert (I'm still swooning!), we celebrated Larry's birthday, we celebrated Thanksgiving, dad and I decorated his tree, Adam Colton and Adam Stokowski came to visit and there was a lot of wrestling, yoga, a voodoo challenge, biore strips, skating and snow.

In December No Shave November was over (yippee kai yay!), we had our annual peanut butter ball making, I received the coolest ornament, our community had a live nativity, I made a fondant birthday cake, we had an employee Christmas dinner, got an awesome Christmas tree at Brent and Juli's, I had the worst day ever of 2010, we celebrated Grandma Joan's birthday, my father made incredibly beautiful handcrafted pens, I had an attitude adjustment, we celebrated Christmas Eve with Papa Ivon and Mama Nanny and celebrated Christmas Day with Grandma and Grandpa Joan.

What a wonderful, wonderful year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


with the Christmas hoopla this year, but I'm going to bring my A-game next year.What I'm really trying to say is, please don't take me off your Christmas card list since you didn't receive one from me.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Grandma and Grandpa Joan.
The little cousins had a blast with zhu zhu pets and remote control cars...

We ate delicious food, opened awesome gifts, laughed A LOT and had a great time.

Lily and Mary Jane had a blast together. It was hilarious!

I hope your Christmas was merry, full of family, friends and lots of food.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Papa Ivon and Mama Nanny...
The kids decorated graham cracker houses with loads of frosting and candy....

The men folk arm wrestled. Seriously, what Christmas celebration is complete without arm wrestling?

We got to talk with my Scotland livin' sister, Steph....

Erica got many consultations from the young ladies of the family....

The kids had so much fun with grandma and grandpa...

Erica and Derek are in town - yay!

Ivon shared his uncle awesomeness....

We laughed, ate way too much, Lach was completely inappropriate, we exchanged gifts and the cousins had so much fun together. Hopefully all the kiddos will sleep well so Santa can come!


Every time I hear Carol of the Bells, this version pops into my head. Thanks Steve, thanks a lot.


Silent Night

painting by liz lemon swindle

“This little child, born in a stable and cradled in a manger, was a gift from our loving Heavenly Father.” —President Henry B. Eyring

Thursday, December 23, 2010


of holiday joy and so do expectations.
I've been a little "grinchy" this past week. I've been so disappointed with myself in not being prepared this year for Christmas.

Even though I have a year to prepare, it came at me fast. LIFE has been happening at our house and has been a little overwhelming. I know there can always be a good excuse for not doing things but the Christmas hoopla is something I love.

I love Christmas cards. I love the family photo. I love the driving through lit neighborhoods, ooohing and ahhhing while drinking hot cocoa. I love finding snow so we can build a snowman. I love baking and delivering yummy treats. I love creating the Christmas scenes I have in my head, knowing my man clan will "always remember these family memories."

Thankfully, I came across a Corey Allen article that snapped me out of it.

Who cares that some, okay most, of our yearly traditions went to the wayside this year. I don't think they will remember. I am going to focus on being grateful for my family, the things that we HAVE done this Christmas season and the family memories we are going to make the next few days with our extended family celebrations. No more wallowing for me. I can't rewind the clock so I'm going with the flow and will be in the moment, enjoying it all.

"Gratitude is the key to happiness and anything that undermines gratitude must undermine happiness. And nothing undermines gratitude as much as expectations. The more expectations you have, the less gratitude you will have." ~Dennis Prager

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


She has dreams of being a greyhound and Alaskan husky.
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