Friday, December 28, 2007

How to Make a Snow Angel

We finally got our new computer up and running so I am finally updating! Here's a how-to video we made last week:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Something Funny ...

I know everyone receives those annoying emails that only contain forwards, but occasionally there is a funny one amidst the trash. Here is one that my boss sent which gives a funny insight into the differences between men and women.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ask the Jedi Master

Just so you know, Yoda doesn't know everything. I won the opportunity to have a talking Yoda at our house until a future game night in which I shall have to defend my right to keep him. The advantage of having Yoda live with you is that you may ask him a yes or no question whenever you are faced with a dilemma and he will search the force for the truth and answer. Abby loves Yoda and has been conversing at length with the little Jedi Master. Yesterday, they got into a bit of a squabble; Abby asked if she will like her presents on Christmas to which Yoda replied to the negative... three times in a row. Abby hung her head and covered her face with her hands and started to whimper. She has recently learned to fake cry so we thought nothing of it until she looked at me with tears streaming down her face (now in full distress mode) and cried, "Yoda said no!" and dramatically ran into my arms wailing. Paul and I reassured her that she would, indeed love her gifts and that Yoda was fake and didn't know anything. Sometimes, we forget how real everything is to her. Now, she has learned that persistence is the way to go with Yoda as he will "change his mind" about things if asked often enough... "When 900 years old you reach, answer as well you will not!"

Also, our desktop went the way of the world so I have no new photos for the time being. Our new one will be here this week. Yea!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Some Enchanted Evening

Yesterday, I took Abby to see, "Enchanted" with her preschool buddies dressed-up in full princess attire. When we got there, the kids were so excited they just ran around in circles squealing until everyone else arrived. It was hilarious. The movie was surprisingly good with many nods to previous "princess" movies but I just could not get past McDreamy's crazy hair! The girls were obsessed with Giselle's crazy cartoon hands but Abby's favourite part when I asked her was this little obscure part at the beginning (cartoon mode) when this troll is trying to eat the heroine. It's just soooooo her.

When we got home, and our little darling was put down for the night, I watched another lavish Disney musical... "High School Musical" to be exact. I've been dying to see what the buzz is all about. It was really fun first of all... cheesy and squeaky clean but the biggest downside was the casting of Gabrielle, the main chick. She has this fake baby voice, she's a terrible actor and worst of all... Oh My Nasal Voice! That really was the worst part, but it did not TOTALLY ruin it for me. Paul LOVED the choreographed singing and dancing basketball practice routine (I hope everyone picked up A BIT of sarcasm there). I won't be buying the soundtrack, but I think the movie itself is too fun to pass up!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Little Helper

A couple of years ago, I bought a bunch of Christmas garland for really cheap, but there was so much of it, I never really found a use for most of it. This year, I bought a hula hoop at the dollar store made a wreath with all the unused garlands and it turned out really well. Abby helped me make it and do you know what? She really helped; as in, she made things easier! I KNOW!Today she had a birthday party to go to and she had such a great time. The invitation said to come dressed-up so that was the best thing ever according to her. She was so excited to give Aaliyah (ultimate Mormon name) her gift and the only thing that was more exciting than that was the snow!!! Our first one of the season. Abby insisted we walk (luckily it's only a few houses down) and had so much fun stomping around and catching snow flakes on her tongue. At the party, she made her own pizza, went on a treasure hunt and got a tiny My Little Pony, helped blow out the candles (a-hem) , ate cake and made her own ice cream sundae. What an awesome party for a little girl. On the way home she said, "Next week I can go to Aaliyah's house and help her play with the weird Kelly doll (what we got her)." It wasn't a question. She is also going to help her other friends watch "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" and help me eat the cookies I got at the Cookie Swap last week. She really is a very helpful child.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

After a fantastic Thanksgiving with the Woolstons and Hulmes (huge!), we officially began the Baynes Family Christmas season by busting out and decking the ol' tree. This is the first year Abigail was actually able to help and we had a great time. We started a few new traditions this year. The first one was collecting and hanging ornaments with our names on them... I know it's a bit "Days of Our Lives" and I admit I got the idea from there... but it was still fun! Also, we made a paper chain advent with something Christmasy to do everyday written on each link (thanks, Jenny). Finally, my favourite, Abby and I wrapped 25 books... most of them Christmas or Winter themed and numbered them 1-25 and we'll have fun opening one and reading it everyday of December until Christmas Day (that is until I can find a Boxing Day book, I guess). I cannot wait for all of our family to get here... I'm definitely the most impatient in the family.Abby was invited to a birthday party this Saturday and was DYING to wrap the gift. Well, I told her she would have to wait because we didn't have any birthday wrapping paper. Well, this conversation has been going on a couple of days now. So, this morning, she said, "Mummy, I want to wrap the present now!" and without looking, I just repeated the thing about not having the right kind of wrapping paper to which she replied, "I made some, look!" Sure enough, she had drawn birthday cakes all over a piece of printer paper. I had her do another piece so it would fit and we wrapped it up and tied it with a pretty pink bow. She was so proud (and so was her father and mother).Oh, and by the way... she's still sleeping in a box.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thinking Inside the Box

My wonderful, amazing friend since 8th grade, Dawn, sent Abby and I two huge surprise boxes full of girl clothes and kitchen surprises last week. Paul was really excited because I had just told him how much Abby needed pajamas and cute dresses for church (yeah, I know I need to review the definition of the word need). Well, it was like Christmas had come early and it totally rendered my shopping trip moot. Here were the problems that followed:

1. I had to completely go through all Abby's old clothed to make room for the new so that involved a lot of organizing and packing up and it took me three days to do it. But that was a small price to pay for my friend's generosity and it needed to be done anyway.

2. Abby has moved out of her room and into one of the boxes. She made her friends play in it with her. She wrote her name all over it, she put blankets and her stuffed animals in it and played all day in it... for going on 3 days now. Finally, last night she insisted she sleep in it... and she actually did. Paul and I moved her to her own bed later as she looked so contorted and uncomfortable. I wish I could just fall asleep anywhere.
I think I know what Abby's favourite Christmas prezzie will be... boxes and boxes and boxes...

On a different note, some friends and I made up a new holiday called "Friendsgiving". It is basically the opportunity to eat good food with our friends before the family get-togethers on the actual Thanksgiving Day. It was sooooooo good and I am REALLY full and won't have enough room to eat anything on Thanksgiving... well, that's a lie, but it was great tonight and I hope it becomes a tradition. Abby said her favourite part was "laughing and jumping on the bed with my friends." Uh, yeah, well, we did just kind of leave the kids to themselves until one or more of them started crying... which was fairly often. Sorry about the bed jumping thing, Heather.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Soup, Salad and Breadsticks

Today, my dear friend Cheri took me to the Olive Garden for lunch (do you think I could extend my birthday any longer?) When I got home I was so stuffed (mmmmmm....) but desperate to try to recreate the Zuppa Toscano! I mean, I have tried many times in the past but I just cannot get the broth quite right! Luckily, for only $5.95 (+tax and tip), I can have it whenever I get the craving. I also noticed that if you go on the Olive Garden's website, they have recipes for some of their food. I think I just may have found my culinary inspiration for the week...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Am I Bothered?

Saturday, Paul had some friends over for pizza and games. We started watching some funny Catherine Tate (British comedian) videos on YouTube. Well, one of the characters she does is a chav girl named Lauren Cooper (look it up... it's funny) who's catchphrase is, "Am I bothered?" Well, that was fun and we all had a good laugh until Abby started acting up and I reprimanded her so do you know what that little stinker did? That's right, she said, "Am I bothered?" sounding like a right chav! Yeah, we're great parents. The thing is, I couldn't even follow through with the reprimand because we were all laughing so hard. That's a good lesson to learn - "If you make them laugh, you won't get in trouble." That's all we need!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween with the FRIENDLY Ghost

Abby decided early this month that she would be a friendly ghost for Halloween... and then she learned about Casper and she knew she had to be him and as Abby often does, she became obsessed (a couple of weeks ago, it was pigs)! At this same time, she also became obsessed with writing words- not just letters- so as a result, I found papers all over the house COVERED with drawings of nice ghosts, practiced letters and even words all over them. She can write Abby, Paul, pig and dog easily now and she is working on cat, I [heart] you and, of course, ghost.For Halloween, she went with her preschool class to the hospital to take a tour (Teacher Hannah's sister, Sarah, is a baby nurse). They came dressed-up and on the way there (we walked as the hospital is only 2 blocks away) the postman stopped us and gave her candy, and random people on the street were slowing down to tell her how scary she looked and she would say, "No! I'm a FRIENDLY ghost!" At the hospital, they got to see the babies, use instruments to check ears, eyes and heart, and afterwards, they ate doughnuts. At one point, I heard Abby and her friend Savannah arguing:

Abby: I am Casper!
Savvy: No, you're Abby!
Abby: No I'm not, I'm a FRIENDLY ghost!
Savvy: But you're Abby!
Abby: I'm Casper!
It was hilarious!

When we got home, I let her watch Scooby-Doo on the Cartoon Network and all of a sudden, I heard screams coming from that room. I ran in there expecting a huge drama and instead, I found Abby jumping up and down on the couch with the biggest smile screaming, "This is what I wanted to watch today! Look Mummy! The FRIENDLY ghost! It's really him! It's Casper!" And it was. It was a new Casper movie called, "Scare School" so we watched it together and she had a smile on her face nearly the entire time.

That night, we went to my friend Heather's house for Hawaiian Haystacks, trick-or-treating and Jenny's delicious homemade doughnuts (who says there's a limit on how many doughnuts one can eat in a day? Especially on Halloween?!? Plus, everyone knows that if something is homemade, it's really good for you anyway!)
The kids all looked so cute! James was a pirate, Daphne was a ballerina, Savannah was a princess, Ethan was a frog prince and then there was Abigail. Ethan loves Abby and is always trying to do the things she does... I feel sorry for his mom, yet she is still my friend... that's loyalty! This was the first year Abby actually got it! The three older kids just ran from house to house saying, "Trick-or-Treat! Happy Halloween!" - sometimes before the door even opened! That night, when we got home, she only threw a little fit when I wouldn't let her eat all the candy at once; she only kicked and screamed a little while when I told her she had to brush her teeth extra before she went to bed; and she only cried a little while when it was finally time to go to sleep (although I did let her sleep in her "Casper" shirt- you have to pick your battles sometimes). She woke me up first thing this morning asking for her candy corns... well, who can blame her? I got up and ate a peanut butter cup.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Home from California

Abby and I finally got home from our trip to California last night... just in time to shower and make it to Book Club! We had such a good time but missed Paul terribly (Although he kept busy playing tennis and football, going to a Real Salt Lake game and hanging out with his friends all week).

Abby loved picking and eating all the walnuts and pomegranates and got them all over herself (Important note: Pomegranate stains do not come out of clothing... we tried it out on many of her clothes unfortunately before we knew for sure... slow learner I guess). She also was given farm chores: Feed Bubba the dog and Ginger the horse which she could do without any help.

We visited Bishop's Pumpkin Farm and had a great time playing, eating, riding the train, petting animals and running into people we knew (it always happens in Wheatland).Abby had many adventures with her grandparents. Reading books, having talks and riding the horse with Grandma was fun, but she is really turning into such a Grandpa's girl. He took her out to the flight line on the Airforce base and she couldn't stop talking about the jets. Her favourite thing though, was going fishing (see picture at the top of the post). Grandpa takes her to their special fishing hole every time she comes to visit and this time she caught 2 fish! (Grandpa didn't catch any.)

We had lots of visitors. It was so nice to spend time with my friends and their kids... and now that our kids are older, they babysit each other so we can talk. Although I did catch Abby and Truman (age 2 and 360 days) sitting back to back on the quad with the key turned so the lights were on... it was just a matter of time before that could have turned into disaster.

My Uncle Rex's Memorial turned out so well. There were almost 30 people there (we had expected about 15) to remember him. We shared stories and Mom wrote them all down. Carrie and I had scrapbooked his life and there were collections of letters he had written and artwork he had created for all to see. It was really nice but we are very happy to be back home now.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mission Reunion

Friday, Paul and I went to our first Clegg Mission Reunion in Park City. My three-time companion Rachelle stayed with us for the weekend so we all went together… without kids. Since we were at the tail-end of the Clegg’s “reign”, it was nice to have a guarantee of knowing someone there. In total, there were about 6 of us from that time period and we had fun reminiscing, catching up on who we knew in common and bagging on whoever decided not to come. It was really nice and we stayed out much longer than anticipated but we got to have a fantastic conversation with President and Sister Clegg after most people had gone home so it was worth getting home at a quarter to three (our poor little babysitter). I think Rachelle and I didn’t get to sleep before 1:30 any night this weekend, but we needed a refresher on all the crazy things we did so we spent a lot of time remembering people and places, good times and bad, sister-haters, AP’s , skits, songs etc. I am so lucky to have had such a wonderful mission- to have friends for life (not to mention 1 awesome husband) and enough stories to last a lifetime of sacrament meeting talks and church lessons… then, at least, I’m guaranteed a “captive” (literally) audience. (insert evil laugh here)

Today we had preschool at my house and the theme was bees. It is so fun when all the kids get together. They are really learning good social skills and they love hanging out together. I think I might need to clean my house today. We’ll see how that goes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Autumn is Officially Here

It has been so chilly lately, we decided it was time to turn the humidifier to the winter setting. Momentous! Paul has been in a better mood which is always a sign that the weather is getting colder and rainier. It actually snowed the other day!! Snowed! It didn't stay on the ground, but it was still really cold. It is just about time to go through our clothes and switch them over for the new season. It's time to turn off the outside water so the pipes don't burst. It's time to get the last of the summer's harvest (tomatoes and raspberries) and my favourite: It is time to start cooking more stews and soups and slow-cooker meals and pot pies... mmmmm. Warm autumn food!

So Abby was lovely at church as she screamed bloody-murder and kicked her little legs out as I escorted (read picked her up and forced) her to the corridor and gave her a stern talking-to. That was fun. What went wrong? Well, I told her for the bajillionth time to whisper instead of talk really loud to everyone around us. The last straw? When she said, "I don't have to talk quiet!" I really don't know where this talking issue comes from, I mean, just because I got in trouble for talking in class my entire life (it's one of my very first and last school memories)... I'm sure it comes from Paul's side of the family.

This week: General Conference and Mission Reunion.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back on Track

Last Thursday, we were surprised (but happy) to find out our car was done earlier than expected! Abigail was so excited to have Lightning McQueen back. Well, we walked the 2 1/2 miles to the shop to get him (the car) and as I was pushing Abby in the stroller, we hit a bump and over she went. She and I both got bruises and scrapes on our legs and she got an awesome bruise on her forehead. Yeah!

Also, Abby learned about "Stranger Danger" at preschool yesterday so when I went to pick her up, I quizzed her and her friend, James on what to do if a stranger offered them candy. They both yelled, "No, Thank You!!" It was so funny to hear them yell so politely. Funny kids.

I am about half-way through reading, "The Forsyte Saga" by Nobel Prize winner, John Galsworthy. I had no idea the volume I picked up actually consisted of 3 books and 2 short stories in 1. I just wanted to see the TV series and I like to read things before I see them. It is really good so far, and I finally found something I won't finish in a couple of days- plus there are some people named, "Baynes" in it. One commits suicide, but...

Paul has actually had time to keep up with his classes this semester and it has been great for the whole family. Abby has turned into such a Daddy's girl lately. She loves getting him to act silly with her. Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Raspberry Days

The raspberries are at their peak right now so that makes snack-time easy... we just go outside and have at it. The weather is also cooler so we can go in the middle of the day for hours. (Notice the shoes on the wrong feet).

So here's something ridiculous: I called our media provider to get a downgrade on our cable to save a little money (we only had the highest level so Paul could watch the football from England and now, they have the rights to so few games, it's just not worth it anymore). Well, it turns out that the package we subscribe to was such a "deal" that if we downgrade now, we'll actually have to pay more. So if anyone needs to watch a program on some obscure channel, you can bet we have it... just let me know and we'll tape it. We've already recorded "Krakatoa: Volcano of Destruction" from the Science Channel if anyone's interested.

Also on our list of "things we have to deal with but don't really want to" is our car transmission going out despite the fact that it only has 62,000 miles on it. Thanks to Dad finding us a used one, it is now here in Utah, but won't be done for another week. We don't mind walking more- in fact, that part has been nice- it's just that we can't bring Abby anywhere until we get it back. Oh well, a week's not too long, eh?
Good news: My tomatoes are finally ripe after having to plant them so late... mmmmm there is nothing like fresh tomatoes! I foresee lots of chips and salsa in my future!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

First Day of School

So both Paul and Abigail had their first days of school this week. Abby loves her little preschool playgroup and learned all about Alaskan animals; specifically bears. Paul is taking a bunch of Geography courses and is set to graduate next December (finally!). There were some major thunder storms over the last couple of days and all Abby could think about (besides the excuse to come and sleep with me in the morning) was finally wearing her shimmery pink raincoat. All Paul could think about was how the weather was perfect for football. I guess I was the only one who felt dreary. The best thing about the storms was the cool weather it brought with it. Autumn is just around the corner and I cannot wait!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

European Cars are Here at Last!

As a poor student family it is unrealistic (not to mention depressing) to think about owning a new car, but there is good news on the horizon. American car manufacturers are at last coming to their senses and will build European cars for the American market. These cars will actually be fun to drive and wont make you feel like you're throwing your money away like you would if you purchased a Taurus. Feast your eyes on the Baynes Family's second new vehicle (hopefully). For those of you with an ounce of curiosity the above vehicle is the new Saturn Astra on sale in September 2007.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Good, the Sad and the Delicious

So the last few weeks have been crazy around here... very up and down.

The sad:
My dear Uncle Rex passed away and was found in a bush by some passers-by a couple of weeks ago post mortem.

Well, I guess that's all of the sad news.... but it's really sad so it counts as more. Seriously, I learned so much from him and he led such a humble life. It was great that he was buried next to my Grandma and I am really looking forward to his memorial in October.

The happy:
Paul's sister Lauren had her little baby boy and everyone is good and healthy. His name is Ryan Joseph Haverley. Yea! Abby has a cousin!!!!

Abby is 95% potty trained... FINALLY! She still wears a pull-up at night but other than that, she's doing great. What will that be like when we don't have to buy nappies anymore? It is one phase in her life I will not miss.

The fun:
Abby has had a blast playing with her little friends and we have taken a few field trips: The Living Planet Aquarium and The Hogle Zoo where we got to watch a training session with a tiger. I think I picked up a few ideas for training children; give food rewards (for me, obviously whenever I do some good parenting, and chocolate instead of raw meat, of course) , positive reinforcement for the child and train them to stop making noise when I raise my hand.

The delicious:
We had a Greek/Italian theme for book club this month with amazing results. Almost every dish featured tomatoes and lucky for us... most of them were out of gardens. The difference is amazing- like its a completely different food altogether! I made Greek Lamb Kebabs (BTW... making friends with your local butcher equals happiness) and they turned out great- thank you Martha Stewart. Also, we had 4 different types of hummus! Mmmmmmmmmmm!

After the zoo, I got to try out a DELICIOUS bakery/patisserie in Salt Lake City- Yummy. Here is some advice: When you go to a delicious bakery, it is wise to bring a friend or two so you get to try more than just a couple of things. It also lessens the guilt factor about the money you're spending and the caloric intake. I do not agree with those who consider pastry "bad for you" however. I prefer to look at it holistically. Sure, butter and sugar, etc. have had a bad rap as far as health is concerned, but that is just looking at it from a bodily perspective. I believe the mental and emotional gain more than offsets the negligible health issues. Go forth and eat pastry!!!!

One more thing: I just tried the potsticker recipe from Sunday's episode of America's Test Kitchen and it was FABULOUS! I also have an ATK recipe book and it has NEVER failed me!! I fully endorse anything they do! Yummmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Books, books, books...

So, this has been quite a couple of weeks reading books for me... my poor family and house. I blame Harry Potter for some of it, but mostly it is the fault of some good friends who keep giving me good things to read. Case in point: the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. A teen romance about the "new girl" in school falling for this HOT vampire. Yeah. I NEVER would have picked it up from the bookstore... romance?... teen?... VAMPIRES????... but I got obsessed and read the first two installments in 2 days. Luckily, the third came out Tuesday and my lovely friend, Jenny, and I were at Costco at opening time to get our copies of Eclipse. Last night, we had our regularly scheduled book club and reviewed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and had great food and discussion (sans children of course). Now, it's Corelli's Mandolin again for this month and then... any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Welcome to our new blog!

We thought we would try our hand at a blog to keep all of our friends and family informed about our adventures. This summer has been pretty eventful so far. We spent a month in England and got to see all of Paul's family! His brothers and sisters haven't been all together in the same place for years and it was so nice for Abby to spend time with them all.

We then came home for my sister, Carrie's wedding. What a party that was! Abby loved stealing the microphone away from the DJ to sing (unembarrassed I might add) "Baa Baa Black Sheep" to everyone. Carrie looked so beautiful and it was so nice to be able to add Justin, Collin and Jacob to our tiny (but slowly growing) family.

The rest of the summer has been work and football for Paul, gardening and church for Bethany, and potty training and play-dates for Abby. I know, you'll tune in everyday with the promise of reports from those activities!!