Wednesday, February 17, 2010

President's Week Tahoe Trip

Some friends invited us up to their time share in South Lake Tahoe for the first few days of President's Week vacation. You haven't heard of President's Week? It could also be called Budget Cuts Enforced Teacher Furlough Week. Well,we'll take any reason to get a break from 6 a.m. seminary around here! Here are some pictures from the trip.

a family shot before we went sledding

Beth, Anna and Adam

Beth and Anna

Jeffrey ready to head up the hill

Jeffrey amazed us! He hung out with a family friend who was 10 and hiked up and went down the hill over and over all day long. We couldn't believe how great he did.

Even Anna went down a little hill on her own!
Mom and Anna--this was the only time I went down. I was content to take pictures and watch.

This was on the first day at the time share. We were waiting for Dad to check us in with the group, which took too long for excited children. After waiting as long as they could stand, everyone piled out of the van and got in the snow. Most of the children were in shorts because it was in the 60s in Folsom when we left. Beth was even in flip flops, but that didn't last long! We found this little frozen pond, which Josh fell through. You can't see it well in the picture, but he got soaked from the thighs down.

Impromtu snowball fight

This was the view of Lake Tahoe from our balcony

Jacob, Katie, and family friend, Lexi, sledding down the hill

Then Daniel got in on the action. Katie said they didn't even know he was there. He was laying on a sled, which you can't see.

Katie and Lexi

Daniel lounging in the snow

Katie having a snack

Anna--such a cutie!

Katie and Jeffrey

Adam and his snowball

We wore her out! Little Anna shows how we were all feeling at the end of the day! The rooms we stayed in had what they called a "full kitchen" but I felt like I was cooking in a play kitchen, or one from Europe, with miniature appliances. Josh was so sick of unloading a tiny dishwasher that he said, when we got home, "I love our house! I love you, dishwasher!" We had a great time, and we were all glad to come back home.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine's Family Night

My friend, Becky, told me about a Valentine's Day tradition they have as a family. They pass out paper hearts, and every member of the family writes down something they like about another member of the family on one of the paper hearts. Then they hide the heart someplace where that family member will find it during the week. They each do one paper heart for each family member.

I decided to try it in our family this week. I was a bit skeptical about what the older boys would think, but it turned out to be very fun! One older boy did put up a little fuss at first, but everyone participated except Katie who went to bed early because she is sick. So we saved some hearts for her. I did preface the whole thing with a "reminder" to keep this to real compliments. Anyone who made someone else cry because of their "compliment" would have to do the other person's Saturday cleaning chore for them.

We spent the first part of the evening secretly writing on our paper hearts and then hiding them around the house. Rich and I helped the little ones. Then the little kids especially spent the rest of the evening trying to find all their hearts. We had chocolate chip cookies for a treat. Some of the compliments were: You are so awesome. You are thoughtful. You are a good cook. You are cool. You are so pretty. You are good at drawing. You are kind. I even noticed that big kids, who had homework and pretended not to care, did casually stroll from place to place to see who the different hearts were for. Everyone loves to hear something good about themselves.

The only downside was that the little kids got so excited by this that they had a hard time falling asleep last night!

Monday, February 1, 2010

February 2010--a sad farewell

Last year, I mourned the loss of my favorite hot drink, Postum. Nestle stopped production based on "lack of sales." I guess the Mormon population of the world can't support the sales on a non-coffee coffee substitute. Now, 2010 brings the demise of another favorite: Necco Sweetheart valentine heart candies. Oh, you may say you see those Sweetheart boxes all over the place right now. Well, we bought one of the bags of mini-hearts a few weeks ago. I was so excited to bring home our favorite winter candy that you can only get from mid-January through Valentine's Day. But we were all shocked by the taste. It looked like the same candy, but it sure didn't taste like the same candy. So I have been hunting at every retail store in the Valentine's section to find my regular Necco Sweethearts. We couldn't find the real ones anywhere--with the Necco name on the front. I even checked the Necco website back in mid-January, which boasted that their candy recipe hadn't changed in 145 years. Huh? So, after all my hunting, I checked on-line one more time this weekend and found that Necco was just a little slow to update their website. Apparently, they not only changed the recipe, they changed the color and the texture! They are now softer and have fruity new flavors. The website says the new candies are "more fun to eat." Well, I immediately had to send off an email, telling them exactly what I thought of their new changes. It's like the New Coke fiasco, I told them. We want our Classic Sweethearts back. I even threatened never to buy their product again if they didn't change it back (and I won't because who wants candy that taste like cough medicine?!)

Well, this morning I got a response. The nice PR lady told me that change is always hard and that they were just responding to the requests they've had over the years for softer, more fruity tasting candy. (I think it's just to save money on ingredients.) They also made the boxes smaller for tiny little hands to open.(Saving money on packaging, I'll bet.) She did ask me to stick with them through this (ha!) and to visit their website for craft and recipe ideas. (Sigh.) The only good thing to come of the email was that she told me where to buy the leftovers that they are unloading at all the discount stores (Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, 99 Cent Only, Freds, Odd Lots, Wakefern, and Sav A Lot.) So I stopped in at the Dollar Tree when I was out this morning. I bought 10 of those packages of 4 boxes each--25 cents each just like when I was a kid. But that is only 4 boxes per person, and then they are gone forever. It's a sad, sad day.

P.S. The picture, by the way, is of the lamo-new box and not the old box. Sigh.