Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas with Family

On Christmas Adam, Grandpa Kelly and Grandma Kerri came to town, and the Hess side of the family got together for dinner at our favorite local Mexican restaurant.  I sadly didn't think to take a picture.  After dinner Grandpa and Grandma came back to our home and we exchanged gifts.  They spoiled the grandkids with some fun stuff like: motorized cars that ride on a track for the younger kids and Google play cards for the older boys.

We spent Christmas Eve night with the Nichols side of the family.  We had a meal of various appetizers and cake (I made caramel praline torte).  The children all received some little gifts sent in a package by Grandma Betty and Pappy, and cards with money.  Grandma and Pappy kindly sent the adults some Christmas money as well.  Then we had a gift exchange, where everyone opened one gift, opened by the youngest up to the oldest.  We ended the evening opening homemade gifts between us sisters.  London gifted service coupons, Sariah gifted homemade cooking extracts and I gifted the game Outburst with a special version of the game with top ten lists based on our family members.  We played the family game that evening.  It was really fun!  I think it's my favorite angel gift I've ever made.

On Christmas evening we went to Aunt Emily and Uncle Aaron's house.  Our kids were all so tired when we arrived, they just passed out on the couch.  Emily made a meal of prime rib, potatoes and other yummy sides.  We brought homemade rolls and scalloped corn.  After some sustenance, the kids perked up a bit and exchanged gifts and played a board game.  Grandma Nancy and Grandpa Randall had planned to join us, but they both were very sick with pneumonia and stayed home to rest.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Twins and Their Extracurriculars

We had a busy Saturday morning!  Archer had his last basketball game and Avonlea had her dance recital, at the same time, in different cities.  We were able to make them both by leaving one event early and going to the other later.  And thankfully Auntie Rie came to the rescue and helped us get out the door by doing Avonlea's makeup as I did her hair and then took Archer to his basketball game, and cheered him on until we could arrive.

Avonlea did awesome at her recital!  It was so cute watching her on stage.  Even before the lights and music came on I could see her silhouette jumping up and down in excitement.  She is one of the youngest in the class, but she kept up great, and danced with a lot of enthusiasm.  She has been taking dance since the school year started with her friend Emily.  She loves dance class and looks forward to it every week.  She loves to wear her dance clothes, and she was thrilled to wear make up for the performance!

This was Archer's first try at basketball and he has been a natural!  He has really loves the sport and asks throughout the week how many more days it will be until his game.  We have all enjoyed going to his games and cheering him on.  He always makes a couple baskets each game.  When we arrived on Saturday, just after half time, he had not scored any points yet.  When he saw us in the bleachers, he became very determined and made sure to get a hold of the ball and then charged his way to the hoop and scored.  As he got his medal he told me he was crying happy tears!  Haha!

 Good job Twinkies!  We're proud of you and your hard work!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Gingerbread Houses

We decorated gingerbread houses.  It is always one the the kids' favorite activities each Christmas season.  Violet was to excited about the gingerbread and dug into hers right away.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Visiting with Santa

The "kids" (I write that with quotation marks for a reason, you'll see why as you look at the pictures) visited with Santa at the Ward Christmas party.  Palmer asked for Santa himself so he could ask for anything all year long.  When Santa said that wasn't possible, Palmer asked for a candy cane.  And when Santa handed him a candy cane, as he was giving all the kids, Palmer remarked that he got his gift already (He thinks he's so smart and funny at nine years old!).  Brody asked for Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch.  Archer asked for a PJ Masks Headquarters toy and Avonlea asked for a Barbie Camper.  Violet did not like St. Nicholas!  However, Greg did!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Within Reach: Reflections 2017

The kids rocked Reflections this year!  I'm on the committee, so I usually see a list of the winners before the assembly and have an idea of who is winning what.  But this year, I only happened to see a list of the photography and literary arts winners before arriving at the school.  So I was utterly surprised that all our children won an award.  I was so happy for them; they were so excited!  And if you can't tell from the pictures, it was crazy hair day at school, haha!

Palmer won an Award of Merit in Music for a song he composed entitled "Happy," and an Award of Merit in Photography for a picture he took, "Night at the Fair."

"Night at the Fair" by Palmer Hess

Brody won an Award of Excellence in Film for his short film "Playing with My Baby Sister" and an Award of Excellence in Photography for his photo "Playing Piano."  Both of Brody's entries went on to win Merit Awards at the Council level.

 "Playing Piano" by Brody Hess

Archer won an Award of Merit in Visual Arts for his painting "My Rainbow Hand."

"My Rainbow Hand" by Archer Hess

Avonlea won an Award of Excellence in Visual Arts for her drawing "Ballerinas and Flowers Dancing."

 "Ballerinas and Flowers Dancing" by Avonlea Hess

For sure we have talented and creative kids.  However, I am even more proud of the thought, time and effort they put into their projects each year.  They are pretty cool kids!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017

The kids were all on board to be Ghostbusters (and Violet as Slimer) this year.  I had the idea, but wasn't sure Avonlea would go for it; she is so girlie and loves all things princess.  I had asked her first so that if she wasn't interested, I wouldn't get the boys all excited about it for no reason.  She asked if she could be the girl version, and I said of course, and so she excitedly agreed.  They all looked so cute running around with their matching jumpsuits and proton packs!  The kids wore their costumes to the school's Monster Ball, the ward's Fall Festival, the school's Halloween parade and trick or treating. We got a lot of compliments this year on the costumes.

This was the first year that Archer and Avonlea trick or treated for more than a couple streets.  They were getting cold and tired of walking, but they insisted that they wanted to keep going.  They are getting the idea that a little discomfort is worth more candy!  Violet went around with us for a couple streets but then went back home to keep warm.  Greg and I took turns walking the kids around and passing out candy at the house.  The kids trick or treated for a couple hours and gathered A LOT of candy!  It was a very fun, successful Halloween night!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Carving Pumpkins with My Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins is one of our kids' favorite yearly traditions.  This year Palmer and Brody pretty much did their whole pumpkin by themselves.  Greg helped Archer create his and I helped Avonlea.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Brody's Baptism

Brody was baptized a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today.  It was a beautiful day for our beautiful boy.  He was baptized by his dad.  He didn't get totally submerged the first time around, so he had to be dunked a second time.  Palmer said Brody was lucky to get a "double dip."  After his baptism, his father confirmed him and Brody received The Holy Ghost to be his constant companion.  We are so proud of Brody and his choice to be baptized into Christ's church!

Many family and friends came to support Brody on his special day.  We held a brunch at our home afterwards for those who attended.  We had a yogurt parfait bar, omelets, muffins, juice and water.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Brody's Birthday at Jump Around Utah

Brody chose to have his eighth birthday at Jump Around Utah.  It was a fun choice, not only because of the bounce houses but also we had the whole facility to ourselves.  We were able to invite a lot of kids!  Over 30 kids showed up to celebrate with him.

We spent most of the time jumping, but did take a short break to eat some cake and open presents.  All the kids left red-faced and exhausted and most of them didn't get hurt in the madness, so I'll take that as a win.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Recipe - Mickey and Minnie Mouse Cookies

Our kids like to take turns helping me make our Family Home Evening treat.  It's a great little one on one activity we can do (something that doesn't happen enough in a family with five children), and they take such pride in their finished product.  I really enjoy baking with them.

Avonlea had been asking to make Mickey and Minnie Mouse cookies for months, and I finally got around to getting the supplies to do so.   My favorite part of making these cookies was listening to Avonlea talk and talk!  Some of the comments I enjoyed most include:
"I'm a Goofy!  Goofy is funny."
"I love making stuff.  I want to make everything."
"Why does Mickey always wear red shorts?  I know, because they look good on him! ... I wish he wore pink."
"Mickey looks awesome.  He is awesome because he's the boss of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Because he says the magic words. I wish Minnie were the boss."

These little tidbits of conversation here might give you an idea of the type of girl we are raising.  I have no doubt that our spunky, girlie-girl daughter is going to take this world by storm, wearing pink and being a boss!   

If you happen to have your own sassy little one who'd like making Mickey and Minnie Mouse cookies, here's how we did it.  They were simple to put together, and they turned out so cute.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Cookies

Double Stuffed Oreos
Mini Oreos
Chocolate Melts, red and pink
White chocolate chips
White nonpareil sprinkles
Bow chocolate mold (I used this one)

Remove cream from mini Oreos and place one side of each cookie inbetween the outer cookies of the Double Stuffed Oreos.  Dip bottom half of each cookie in corresponding colored melted chocolate.  Decorate Mickey cookies with white chocolate chips, decorate Minnie cookies with sprinkles and molded chocolate bow (use melted chocolate as glue to adhere the bow to the Oreo).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

First Day of School 2017

Palmer - 4th grade

 Brody - 2nd grade

 Archer - Kindergarten

Avonlea - Kindergarten