Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Young Living Farm Fall Festival

We had the opportunity to go to the Young Living Farm Fall Festival last Saturday and had a great time. We had never gone before and did not know what to expect. However, we were all pleasantly surprised. Even Josh and Tara had fun!
The festival is run by BYU students and at one station they were passing out these masks. They had all sorts of activities ranging from trick or treating, hay rides, rock wall climbing, paddle boats, gunny sack races, fishing ponds, ball pits, and many more that I can't think of right now.
This is at the gunny sack races. I am not sure how we did not manage to get any pictures of Josh in this event, but he pretty much smoked everyone on the field. He must be half Kangaroo.
Emma was like a Spider "Girl" climbing up the rock wall. She was incredible. Even the BYU students manning the event were amazed.
Josh tried the rock wall too and did a pretty good job.
Greg decided to give the wall a whirl, but was not quite as successful as Josh and Emma. But he gave a great try :) You can see in the picture below that Emma is schooling him.
This is were Josh's fairy tale dreams came true...he met Cinderella-ha! ( I did not know that Cinderella was a brunette.)
The paddle boats were by far the funnest. Tara and Emma floated around the small pond with ease...
Greg and Josh convinced me to get in back of their boat and lets just say they struggled. I was not sure they would ever get me back to shore. They got away from the dock and then it was all down hill from there. I did not ever think they would be able to get us back. I am not sure what was so difficult about the whole thing, but they really had a hard time. I think that having the weight dispersed unevenly may have been the problem. At any rate, we probably spent about 5 minutes under the bridge with both of them trying to figure out how to get through. I was laughing so hard. Emma finally got on top of the bridge and step by step guided them through and back to the safety of the dock. Maybe she should be a Bar Pilot on the Columbia River!

This is a great picture looking out from the porch where we had dinner. If you look close you can see the barn way in the background. It was really pretty and peaceful there.
They had bronzes of wildlife all around. Tara could not resist jumping on this poor Buck and having me take a picture.
More games...
And finally the trick or treating. It was really a fun afternoon and everyone wants to return next year for a repeat and bring Christopher and Jenni with us.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Emma's Pumpkin Patch

We had a lot of pumpkins and cornstalks this year so we decided that Emma should set up shop and make some dough :) This is just a sampling of her inventory. The rest she kept in the back yard and would go grab them as needed. She did pretty good and had almost everything gone within 45 minutes. I love how she is sitting there reading a book...not that into it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Flashback

I found this picture the other day and could not resist posting it. This was from Halloween in 1997. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed and how little all of them look. Emma was not even born yet! This picture was taken at a ward Halloween party and one of the members of our ward was a photographer and took pictures of all the kids. Josh won best costume that year. I thought he made a pretty cute little Elmo. I also love how the photographer (Brother Honey) posed Christopher (aka Robin from Batman) in the background. It really fit his personality. It is kind of sad that I only have one child that still goes trick or treating. Time goes by fast.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Haunted Heber Creeper

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Marja and her husband, Curtis and two boys invited Emma to go ride the "Haunted Heber Creeper" up Provo Canyon. They had gone with Emma a previous year and really had a good time. Emma was very excited to go again. She was hoping that now that she is "grown up" that it would not be so scary. She came home only a little freaked out...not completely. Greg was at work and I had a conflict and couldn't go. So, I asked Marja to take a few pictures for me. The one above is Emma and Braige. They really get along great and have been good friends for a long time.
This is Emma playing dead in the little graveyard they had.
Emma and Braige again laughing it up. I had to bundle her up pretty good because it was such a cold night.
This is on the train with Curtis, Brogan (who I understand was under the blanket scared most of the time), Braige, and Emma.
On the train all bundled in blankets, gloves, coats and warm hats. Thank you Marja for the invite and the pictures! They turned out great :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cascade Springs

Our family went up the American Fork canyon a couple of weeks ago to Cascade Springs for Family Home Evening. We were hoping to catch the fall colors up there before it was too late. The drive up was breathtaking. I could not believe how beautiful all of the colors on the leaves were as we were ascending the mountain. We are so blessed here along the Wasatch Front to have the opportunity to experience a beautiful fall season each year. When we reached Cascade Springs, we were a little disappointed and surprised that a lot of the colors had already reached their peak. Greg's parents came with us as well and we really had a fun drive up all together. It was a little chilly way up in those mountains, but it was so worth the drive.

More Vanilla Joy Great Giveaways

Kelsey just keeps coming up with more amazing items to give away on her website. This week she has some beautiful jewelry that is very unique. I love things that are different and this jewelry is just that. Check out her giveaway by simply going to It is one of my favorite sites and I am always intrigued by what I find there.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy 21st Birthday Christopher!!!

I cannot believe that 21 years have passed by already. It hardly seems possible. Christopher James was born at 2 pm on October 15, 1987 in Salt Lake City, Utah after 52 hours (that is NOT a typo) of labor. I really had a hard time with his delivery. He was three weeks overdue and I was more than ready to finally meet this little guy. He weighed 8 lbs 15 oz and was 21 inches long and had a head full of dark brown hair. He had his first haircut when he was 2 months old and I can remember Aunt June chasing him around our apartment during his toddler years trying to cut his hair. He just never wanted to be still. There were far too many things in this life to take in, and he did not have time to sit and not move. Actually, I think he continues to be that way.

Christopher has always been an avid sports fan and was very good at football and basketball. Anything he tries, he seems to excel at. He has been blessed with a treasure of talents. He came home from high school one day and showed me some drawings that he had done in a beginning Art class. I was amazed. They were completely effortless for him and they were all incredibly good.

Christopher became Elder Williamson 20 months ago yesterday and continues to make us proud. I remember the day he left. It was so hard to say goodbye to him for two years, but it has been so worth it. He has come to love the people of San Bernardino, California and wants his mission to slow down. He keeps telling me he has far too much to do before he returns in just a few short months. He comes home on February 17, 2009 and we are all excited to see him again. We miss you, Christopher and love you very much. Happy Birthday Son! Love, Dad, Mom, Jenni, Tara, Josh and Emma :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Making Grape Juice

This past weekend our family made grape juice with our very bountiful crop of concord grapes. I have always been working and never had the time to even attempt this in the past. However, this year I am home and I was determined to use make juice out of each and every grape! The first step was to actually pick them. I was amazed at how many we had in our small "vineyard". We really do not have that large of space for them, but we were able to pick four bucketfuls.
Next you have to wash them and take them all off of the vines. Tara was a big help with that. I told her that if she wanted to go on her date later in the evening, that she needed to get all the grapes off the vines before she left-Ha! She did an awesome job ( I think she must have really wanted to go on that date). Note the facial mask she has on in prep for the evening :)
Next you place them in a steam juicer. Then you simply place the lid on and let the steamer do the work. It is amazing how the grapes just shrivel up and release all of their juices.
Soon you start to see the juice appear in the surgical tubing. This is where the juice is collected before being bottled. Emma loved watching the juice come into the tube. It was difficult at times to keep her from filling up the bottles a drop at a time. I had to keep telling her to be patient and let the juice gather.
This is a picture of the grapes shriveling as they are steamed.
You then release the clamp on the surgical tubing and fill the bottles. Emma especially liked this part. Her job was to release the clamp and I held onto the bottles. I wanted to make sure that my floor did not end up purple!

We ended up with 13 quarts of juice. Not too bad for an evening of work. It is very concentrated, so when we go to drink it we will have to dilute it. I am planning to save some for Christmas and Christopher's Homecoming in February. Emma was drinking it as I was filling the jars, so we actually had more than 13 quarts. She loved it! I had to tell her to slow down before she got a tummy ache! If you have never tried this before, I recommend that you give it a whirl. It was a great family activity.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


We just returned from Emma's last soccer game of the season. It was snowing...can you believe that it was snowing on the 11th of October? Crazy. Emma is all business when she steps onto the soccer field. She really has a talent. I am a little biased, but she is a very good player. I cannot believe how good her footwork is. She has made at least one goal each game and her team won every game with the exception of today, which ended in a tie. Her goal today was incredible. She was sliding on the ground going one direction and kicked the ball about 25' in the other direction for a goal! For a nine year old girl that was pretty awesome to see!
These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago while the weather was still warm. In the picture above she is waiting on the sidelines to return to the game.
This is her team at half time getting a pep talk from her coach...Aryl. He is a very patient man. He was great with all ten of the nine year old girls. They really liked him.

These are just more pictures of the same game. I can't wait to see how much she improves over the winter. Her next season is in the spring with the same team. Go Emma and continue to be an animal on the field!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This Is A Slug

This is a slug...isn't it gross??? While making the apple cider I noticed this little dude slithering around. I had forgotten about these little critters. You can find them everywhere in the northwest and this one is actually quite small. Some you can find about the size of a large pickle and they are kind of a mustard colored. Those are the truly disgusting ones. When Dayna and I were little we used to take salt shakers around the yard and sprinkle these tiny monsters. When you put salt on them they shrivel up. I can't believe we used to do that!

While in Seaside last month, Dayna and I were on a mission to find me a "Slug Magnet" for my fridge. No luck. If anyone knows where I can find one, please let me know!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Making Apple Cider

While in Oregon a few weeks ago, all of my family met at Kirk and Gina's home to make apple cider. When we were growing up we would do this each fall to sell the cider. The proceeds our family received from the sell of the cider was used to pay our ward budget each year. I recall many afternoons coming home from school and heading outside to pick up apples and make cider. Most of those days it was freezing cold and I can still remember the pain in my hands from having them in cold water cleaning off the apples. BRRRR!

When Mark and Kirk announced to Dayna and I that we were going to go down memory lane and relive this childhood memory, Dayna's comment just about summed it up for me. She had told them "You must have different memories than I do." However, I have to admit, I have yet to taste any cider that comes close to the flavor of juice fresh from an apple press. Here is how we did it...First you gather the apples. We had everything in the picture above plus some in Kirk's pickup truck. It ended up making around 20 gallons.
Next you wash off the apples. Kirk and Gina wash theirs in a kiddie pool...pretty smart.
This is another picture of washing apples. In the background you can see the press. The two wooden bins are were the apples will end up after going through the hopper.
Then you start dropping the apples into the top of the press through the hopper. This chops up the apples into about 1" pieces. They then drop below into the wooden bin.
When the bin is full, you scoot it forward and then use the crank press to start squeezing the apples. This makes the juice come out very fast.
We then let the juice drain into a bucket. (Note: You need a couple of buckets on hand because they fill up so fast). I forgot to take a picture of pouring the buckets of cider over cheese clothe to get out any unwanted pulp.

Then you pour the cider into gallon jars or milk jugs. YUMMMM! This is my niece, Lauren, sampling the cider. I have to say it is pretty darn good stuff.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How YOUUUUU Doing???

Christopher recently sent my home a CD full of pictures from his mission. This was one of them and it made me laugh! You can tell that girls are not completely out of his mind. At least this was a P-Day and he was not dressed in a shirt and tie. Christopher! Stay focused! :)