Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merrie Miss Reunion

(left to right, top row) Me, Trisha, Adrienne, Sara, (bottom row) Michelle, Becky, Myrna, Sarah, Jessie

About fifteen years ago I, along with all my ward buddies, entered Young Womens. We were a huge group of girls! When I became a Beehive, there were about 30 others on the roll. Imagine being the Young Woman leader over that many hyper, giggling, squealing 12-13 year olds! I have such great memories of my years as a youth, and I feel lucky to have grown up with such wonderful friends and examples.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to catch up with most of the girls from the 27th ward hood, as well as our past Merrie Miss Advisor. We ate pizza and treats (I made snickerdoodles), met each other's families, watched an old home video and gabbed all night. I had a great time; it was wonderful to see everyone again! It was especially cute seeing all our little boys (seven, eight and nine months old) together and getting to see Sarah's prego belly. I'm sending out a big thanks to Adrienne for arranging the get together, and to all those who joined in on the fun.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Terrorists, Rabid Dogs, and Croup are Equal in My Book

Palmer has croup. He woke up on Friday with a barking cough and some serious wheezing. He was too sick to even cry about it; it just broke my heart! We took him to the doctor that afternoon (by then it was really bad and I was getting pretty scared), and the diagnosis was confirmed. We've been giving him Tylenol and ibuprofen round the clock, taking him in the bathroom with us when we shower, and putting him upright in his carseat at night with the humidifier on him full blast.

Today he is doing much better. I am so relieved. I feel that I am a strong person, but when it comes to my child being sick, I totally lose it. Every time he had a coughing fit I started to cry. I was an absolute mess! The experience was truly terrifying for me.

Greg and I were talking about how I am so overly emotionally attached to our little Palmer. When he is crying, my entire body tenses up. I can't do anything but frantically try and comfort him. While on the other hand, Greg can easily tune him out. I don't understand it. Is this a normal motherly response, or am I just an overbearing freak? Hopefully, it gets a bit easier as he gets older. I honestly don't know how I would deal with a broken bone or something more serious.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Merry Christmas

We had a wonderfully merry Christmas. It's true what people say, once you have a child, Christmas is no longer about you. I loved watching Palmer open (he got the hang of ripping the paper after a couple tries) and explore his gifts this year. He was so sweet! It was an absolutely lovely experience, one that reminded me of the true meaning of this season, celebrating the birth of a tiny baby and the joy and life that he brings to us all.

Christmas Eve we spent with the Nichols side of the family. For dinner, we had a ham and a whole bunch of appetizers. I brought green chili and cheese tortilla spirals, artichoke and jalapeno dip and devil eggs (which tipped over on the way there, but we ate the mess anyway). Some other yummies at the feast included: hot wings, Chinese dumplings, a cheeseball and crackers, a vegetable tray, candied almonds, rolls, fudge and pineapple upside down cake. We then had our gift exchange. I received an electric blanket, and am loving it during this icky weather. Greg was given The Simpsons Season Eleven on DVD and some Homer pajama pants. Palmer received a Leap Frog stuffed animal and an outfit. My dad and his wife Betty gave us all money.

Christmas morning we had our own little family celebration. We only did stockings for each other this year because we bought a new television as our main gift. Greg filled my stocking with earphones (for the gym), David Cook's CD, The Dark Knight on DVD, a scrapbook gift card and chocolates. I gave him the new Raving Rabbids game for the Wii, a nice watch, some homemade coupons, and candy. We each bought Palmer a toy; Greg gave him a little toy piano, and I gave him a blow-up penguin bop. He also received a lot of cute toys from his grandparents.














Christmas day we spent with the Hess side of the family. We had a nice dinner of ham, mashed sweet potatoes, crescent rolls, jello salad and cheesy potato casserole. I made one of our favorite desserts, chocolate lovers lovers cake with satiny chocolate glaze and strawberries. We exchanged gifts with Greg's mom (we'll do the gradkid exchange later when the cousins get back from visiting their dad). We gave her a diecut machine and she gave us money.

Recipe - Chocolate Lovers Cake with Satiny Chocolate Glaze and Strawberries

Here is the recipe for the cake I made Christmas day. It is a pretty one and always impresses a crowd. Try not to think about the ingredients too much. It's so bad, yet it's so good!

Chocolate Lover Cake with Satiny Chocolate Glaze and Strawberries


1 package devil's food cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups sour cream
1 cup melted butter
5 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Grease a 10 inch bundt pan. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in sour cream, melted butter, eggs and almond extract. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Blend in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Top with chocolate glaze, powdered sugar glaze and strawberries.

Satiny Chocolate Glaze:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine chocolate, butter, and light corn syrup in a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Spread warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Handmade Christmas

My mother gave each of us daughters an angel figurine every year at Christmas. After she passed away, my sisters and I decided to keep the tradition going in our own little way. We now give each other angel gifts, or in other words homemade gifts or acts of service. This is our second year running with the handmade presents (last year I passed along homemade frozen dinners, London gifted some painted a wooden home decoration, and Sariah created handmade necklaces). I must say, I love this newfound tradition. I love how it brings us together in remembrance our mother who was always so very generous of her time and talents. Here are the goods from this year.


pajama pants from Sariah (London's fabric had cupcakes, mine was princess themed)


a winter themed party in a bag from London (and a coupon for a winter themed cake at such a party)


I framed and decorated my mother's bridal picture and President Hinckley's poem "What Is This Thing That Men Call Death?"


I also added a homemade touch to our other Christmas gifts this year, in the form of handmade gift tags. I found my mother's box of old Christmas wrapping paper in our attic and have enjoyed creating an eclectic arrangement of gifts by wrapping each one in a different paper. Today I crafted a tag to match the paper of every gift under our tree. I truly love wrapped presents (I am very anti-bag). I believe opening a beautifully wrapped gift is half of the of fun when receiving a present.



Temple Square

We went to see the lights downtown for family home evening this week. It was quite chilly, but the sights were definitely worth it. The temple and the surrounding grounds were absolutely beautiful!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Sunday

My mother used to dress us all in matching themed outfits every Christmas Sunday. This went on until we were well into our teenage years. To be honest, I hated it. Now that I am the momma of my family, I think sometime in the future I might have to bring back the torturous occasion... it's tradition.

Unfortunately, this year we were a bit low on funds, so new clothes for everyone wasn't a possibility. My sister, London, kindly bought this darling outfit for Palmer. I am so thankful for her thoughtfulness. He looked absolutely darling, and didn't even mind to hat too much. Thanks to my other sister, Sariah, for watching Palmer while Greg and I sang during sacrament meeting. We are so blessed to have such wonderful aunties!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Luminary

The cemetery where my mother is laid to rest does a luminary each Christmas. They fill the entire memorial park with lighted candles, one for each person buried there. We drove through it tonight. It was absolutely lovely. I was touched by the efforts of property owners. How kind of them to give families who have lost a loved one the chance to remember and commemorate this season. What a blessing it is that people are mindful of the difficulties others face this time of year. It truly is the season of giving, giving gifts, giving time, giving talents and this evening, giving the gift of empathy and comfort in what may easily be a sorrowful time.

Blah, Blah, Blah

Okay, get ready for a completely random post here. I have a few updates that have nothing to do with each other, but I want to document them anyway.

Most exciting news first. Palmer is a sitting boy! Oh yeah, you heard me. My seven month old is finally sitting. The doctor warned us he would be late with this one because his height (he compared Palmer to balancing a tomato on a toothpick), but he's finally met the long awaited milestone. It looks like the crawling might come a bit more quickly. Yikes, I need to baby proof!

Greg is home. Greg has been off of school this week and I am loving having my hubby at home! We had family home evening for the first time in I don't know how long. We did some Christmas shopping. We spent a night working out at the gym (and then cancelled out the hard work with scones from Winder Dairy). He's so fun to hang out with! I just love him! We are thinking he probably will not be returning to school and will just finish his studies at home. We will lose some grant money, but the program is just taking too long, and we miss having our family together. I think it'll be a good move for us.

Guys and Girl Nights. Greg and I each had a nice evening out with our buddies this week. I really enjoyed mine. Thanks to my gal pals out there for the laughs and yummy treats.

Blah. Okay this little blurb really is blah as the post title indicates. I don't know if I got food poisoning from the Golden Corral (not our usual choice of restaurant, it was my sister-in-law's birthday get together) or because I ate something with garlic, (to which I am allergic) but I woke up at 4:00 am this morning absolutely sick. I could barely stand up; it was bad. I am feeling better this afternoon, so I don't think it was the flu, thank goodness. I had the flu for Thanksgiving. I'd be really peeved if I got it for Christmas too.

Extreme blogging. Greg hooked up our computer to our new big screen television, so I am experiencing some extreme blogging right now. Seriously, the picture is so large that it almost gives me a headache. However, it was fun catching up on our missed episodes of The Office with the nice television instead of our small computer monitor.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Card and Neighbor Gifts

I've been feeling so far behind this year in regards to being ready for Christmas. This week has been a mad dash to get everything done in time. I've been baking almost daily and crafting in between oven buzzers. Things are finally starting to come together. I did all my Christmas cards this year in one day's time (through one two hour nap and about an hour later that evening while Palmer played in his jumper). They are very simple since I was so rushed for time, but they are done, and I am pleased with them.


I spent yesterday and today scrapbooking recipe cards to go with our neighbor gifts. We are giving oven mitts this year with a little booklet of our favorite recipes instead of our traditional baked goodies. We can never eat all the treats we receive and so I thought this way our friends will be able to enjoy the sweetness of this Christmas season all the year through.



Now I just need to deliver everything, finish up my homemade gifts for my sisters, buy a couple more presents, wrap a few others, and clean my very, very messy neglected house, and I'm done! Getting ready for Christmas is almost like some crazy high, an extremely rushed flustering high, but a high nonetheless.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recipe - Easy Tuna Casserole

This meal is a staple in our home. We eat it at least once a month. I made it last night and realized I have never posted it. It is so very easy, and always hits the spot.



Easy Tuna Casserole


3 c. uncooked macaroni
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can tuna
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. french fried onions

Cook macaroni. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In 9x13 casserole dish combine macaroni, tuna, and soup. Top with cheese. Bake 25 minutes. Sprinkle with onions and bake 5 minutes more.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

'Tis the Season to Par-tay!

After our Thursday night cookie exchange, our weekend continued in partying fashion. Friday night we had our ward Christmas party. The ward provided the meat, potatoes and drinks and the ward members brought potluck salad and desserts. I brought grape salad, which after making it I was happy to realize it went along nicely with the holiday since it was red and green. After dinner ward members put on a short talent show and then Santa made a visit. Palmer had his first encounter with Jolly Old Saint Nick and grabbed hold of his long white beard as quickly as possible.

Saturday morning Sariah had a stamp party at our house. We made Christmas tags, which saved me from having to do another project this busy holiday season. She passed on her discount on stamps this month, which was very sweet.

Saturday evening we hired our first teenage babysitter for Palmer (which went just fine) and went to some friends' holiday get together. We had a white elephant gift exchange which, not surprisingly, turned out to be a little naughty (okay, I'll be honest, a lot naughty) and also played a fun game where we revealed some very embarrassing moments. As always with our good friends, we had great fun!

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the opportunity we have to celebrate, celebrate good times with our friends and family, celebrate the joy and excitement this season brings and of the utmost importance, celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

So, boo to you humbugs out there, because we here at the Hess home stand by the notion that Christmas rocks! Some other festivities we fit into our busy weekend include: baking goodies, checking out Christmas lights, enjoying freshly made scones with honey butter at Winder Dairy, family pictures with Greg's side of the family, and singing Christmas songs in our ward choir.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cookie Exchange & Recipe - No Bake Cherry Crisps

We are swimming in cookies at the Hess home right now. Last night London and I hosted a duo-neighborhood cookie exchange. Everyone in attendance brought two dozen cookies and 24 copies of the coorespoonding recipe. We all loaded our plates with one of each cookie and munch on the leftovers through the evening as we gabbed and laughed. Thanks to all those who attended; I had a great time, and the cookies were absolutely phenomenal!

London's gorgeous sugar cookies
My no bake cherry crisps
No Bake Cherry Crisps

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 & 1/3 cups crisp rice cereal
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained, dried and chopped
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup pecans chips
1 - 2 cups flaked coconut

Beat powdered sugar, peanut butter and butter in large bowl. Stir in cereal, cherries, chocolate chips and pecans. Mix well. Shape teaspoonfuls of mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll in coconut. Place on cookie sheets and refrigerate 1 hour. Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Up on the Times

Okay, as said earlier and requested by Lisa (who always finds ways to make me feel good about myself, thanks girl!), I am blogging a list of things I keep up on as apposed to my "Behind the Times" post. This one is shorter and was much harder to think of, but here it is nonetheless.



  1. Cooking and Baking. Rarely do we go an evening without a homecooked meal. I personally think this is pretty cool of me because Greg isn't even home to eat it when it's prepared since he goes to school at night. He does, however, enjoy the reheated meal at 10:00 pm when he gets home and the leftovers the next day at work (which he says his coworkers often ohh and ahh over). I also bake, to the dismay of my waistline, homemade goodies once or twice a week. This week on the menu: cranberry apple pork roast with red potatoes and green beans, sweet and sour meatballs over rice, spinach and ham pasta bake, roast beef shepards pie with warm rolls from the oven, tuna noodle casserole with peas, sundried tomato and chicken alfredo over fetticini with salad, and for dessert: no-bake cherry crisps, and smores bars.

  2. Scrapbooking. I debated putting this one on here, because I am not actually even close to caught up on my books, but I do care about them enough to put an extensive amount of time and care into each page I create. Our albums make me happy and I always feel a nice sense of accomplishment as I look at them and share them with others.

  3. My Religion. I attend church every week, unless we are sick or out of town. We pay our tithing first chance we get, a promise we made to eachother off the bat when we first married. We have family prayer daily. I magnify my callings to the best of my abilities. I could be more dedicated about reading scriptures, but all in all, I am active in my worship. It, conjoined with my family, is the most important thing in my life and I try my best to let my Heavenly Father know I feel so.

  4. Primping. I'll be honest and admit this has gone down a titch in quality since Palmer came into my life (see "A Step Away from Mom Jeans"), but I still do make an attempt to look presentable daily. I rarely leave the house without my hair coiffed and my make-up (even though it is minimal three minute job) done. I do try not to look like the tired and haggard mommy that I actually am most of the time.

  5. Blogging. As noted in my earlier "Behind the Times" post, I spend far too much time making sure our blog is updated and reflects our family events, ideas, and values. I also spend some part of every day keeping up on my cyber-communication, i.e. e-mail and Facebook. However, I will strongly argue this does not make me a computer nerd like my husband Greg. I am using the technology to interact with others, not just to be immersed in databases, microchips, switches and other geeky stuff (love you hun!).

Now that I've spent an entire post bragging about myself (and noticing some of these things I am so proud of are of very little importance), I'm inviting all my readers to post in a comment here or on their own blog something that they keep up on or do well. That way, we can all have some warm fuzzy feelgoods.


By the way, does this remind any of my old young woman pals of that lesson I gave on talents, where we basically spent the whole time complimenting each other? Yeah, it was a bit embarrassing, but admit it, you all liked it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Music

I love, love, love Christmas music! I listen to it nonstop around the holidays. Of course, we want to spread the cheer. Please enjoy the new updated playlist accompanying our family blog. There were a few tunes I wanted that were not available on the website, so I thought I'd link them here in case anyone wants to give them a listen.

Visiting Grandpa Kelly

Kelly, Greg and Palmer Hess: three generations of very tall men

We took a road trip to Ely this weekend to visit Greg's dad, Kelly. It was a pretty laid back visit; he had just bought a home and moved in the weekend before and it was too chilly to do much outside with his four wheelers and no snow yet for his snowmobiles. So, we took it easy and played some games (introduced him, and his friends to the Wii), visited the local Christmas craft show, and ate and ate and ate some more. We are fed unbelievably well when we visit. Friday night we were treated to a three course meal at a nice restaurant. Saturday morning Kelly's girlfriend, Mary, made us sausage gravy, biscuits, fried potatoes and scrambled eggs for breakfast. We had deli meat and cheese sandwiches and tortilla chips with jalapeno cream cheese dip for lunch, and for dinner, the most succulent steaks with baked potatoes. That evening they used a funnel cake batter to deep fry Twinkies and Snickers bars for us (which surprisingly, I really enjoyed). Sunday morning Mary made another scrumptious breakfast; this time of French toast and bacon. Seriously, I'm so full I can barely move. I will have to hit the gym super hard this week.

We had a lovely time, and I'm so glad we were able to visit Kelly around Christmas time. Palmer was a bit fussy there and the last half hour of our drive there and back. I think his ears might have been hurting him with the altitude change, and I'm sure he was missing his crib at night because he didn't sleep as well as he normally does. He did love their dog, Felon, and laughed at her often. He seems to be much happier now that we are home. We walked him into his room and he looked around in disbelief. He touched Greg's face, as if making sure it wasn't a dream, and then started laughing and squealing. Silly boy! We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and had a lot of fun, but it's always nice to come home.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

O Christmas Tree

We attended the Festival of Trees this evening. I make a tradition of going every year. I love it; it is one of my favorite holiday outings. I love all the colors, the creativity, the yummy treats and the stories behind the trees (I get teary eyes every time). Our favorite trees this year were a tree made of blown glass and another tree that had a marble maze running throughout it. Both had amazing craftsmanship and were so very creative.



This year, as an added bonus, we were able to see Palmer also enjoy the lights, festivities and all around magic of the festival. He had a blast. There were a few trees he was absolutely enthralled with. His eyes lit up, he smiled real big, squealed and kicked his feet like crazy. We had several people comment on how cute he was being. I'm so grateful we have such a pleasant natured, happy little guy. He makes everything so fun!

Here are a few other visual treats we found.

Although the trees at the festival are unbelievably beautiful, I love our tree the very best. I know I am biased, but it has so much meaning to me. First off, the tree was a gift to us for our first Christmas as a married couple from my parents. And secondly, all the ornaments on the tree are from Greg and my wedding. We were married in January and decorated the cultural hall with 30 white lighted pine trees, each with a different set of ornaments. It was my fairy tale wedding, and I love recreating it every year with our lovely tree.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Seven Months

Holy moly, my little boy is seven months old today; that is closer to one year of age than to his birthday. He is no longer my little baby, but now a big babe with a personality all his own. He still is not yet sitting entirely by himself because he is so very tall, and has a lot to balance, but he squirms all over the place. He is so strong and so determined that I can hardly hold him now! I don't know to where he thinks he is going, but he is anxious to get there. Here is what is going on with Palmer at seven months of age.

He has learned: to play peek-a-boo with a blanket, to hold his bottle for a short period of time, to babble, to spit (not liking this one at mealtime), and to take off his socks and winter hat (it even ties around the neck and he can get it off, little stinker)

He likes: splashing in the bathtub, sucking his thumb, rice cereal, pureed vegetables and fruit, his jumper, toys, lights (so far he is loving the Christmas season), being outside, wind, and being held

He dislikes: pureed meat, being left alone, being in one place too long, and wearing his winter coat

Things he does that make us laugh: yell inbetween bites during mealtime, baby babbling, huge smiles and hearty laughs

Monday, December 1, 2008

Family Pictures

We had these taken at JC Penney for Palmer's six month photo shoot. We have another shot of the family that is too small for me to scan, which we will be sending out with our Christmas cards this year. The photographer commented on how Palmer looks like an X-Man in the second picture. Palmer is always spreading out his fingers like that now. The stages kids go through are so funny.