Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Photo Shoot

While we were spending time with Anton's family for his father's funeral, his mom expressed the desire to have some updated photos of Anton's brother Jakob. He lives in New Zealand and had come up for the funeral. So while he was here I kindly volunteered my camera and my shutter-clicking finger. We managed to get outside right as the sun was setting and had some great picture-taking light. I snapped all sorts of mediocre pictures and managed to end up with 3 pretty good ones. That's my method of getting good photos: the more you take the better odds you have of getting a good one.

It's hard to decide which of these is my favorite.

I like the casual attitude here. This is entirely Jakob.

His mom really wanted a head shot, so I obliged.

See the huge gauges in his ears? I wonder what those will look like when he's 50 years old?

And though I like those other two, I really think this next is my absolute favorite:

The background is delish! And the red at the top is the actual color of the wood, not the sunset. Love it! We printed them out and framed one and gave them to Anton's mom for her birthday on Saturday. We also gave Anton's other brother Kyle and his family a photo shoot for Christmas, so eventually I'll get to take pictures of them too. Such fun!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Funny of The Day

I took Ella to Wal-Mart with me today to go buy a crochet hook I needed for Christmas presents I'm making. And you know how busy Wal-Mart is at this time of year with all the Christmas shoppers. Well, we're walking along towards the craft section, which happens to be in the back corner of the store, when Ella YELLS out:

"Mom, where are the hookers?"

Umm, I don't think they sell those in Wal-Mart. It took me a second to realize she was talking about the crochet hooks. But no matter how many times I corrected her, she kept calling them hookers.

"Mom, can I hold the hookers?"

"Mom, I want to carry the hookers."

Over and over again, all through the store. I couldn't help but laugh, and I'm sure the people who heard must have wondered what kind of a family we are. Oh well!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sick Day

Why couldn't the snow day and the sick day coincide? This afternoon both Anton and I started feeling yucky. By evening it was worse. We both met our breakfasts and lunches again. The only blessing of this all was that the kids seemed just fine. As I sit here trying to recover while watching Pride and Prejudice, I hear a whimper from the kids' room. "Mommy, my tummy hurts." I think it's going to be a long night.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow Day

The kids have been waiting very impatiently for it to finally snow, and last night it did! It's the first time we've been in snow in two years.

See how much there is? A whole 2 inches! There was so much snow that they called us this morning to say they'd canceled church!

These sort of blizzard white-out conditions certainly warrant the cancellation of church. We wouldn't want to be out wandering and get lost.

Anton claims it's because they have no snow removal equipment here and the roads are all ice. But, oh well. Either way, I didn't have to go to church, and that's fine with me.

And I knew that since the kids have been waiting so long to play in the snow, it would happen to be on a Sunday so they couldn't go play in it. However, we had a package to pick up in the office, so we bundled the kids up for a long, short walk over there.

The first thing both the kids figured out was throwing snowballs.

And yes, Ella is in a dress in the snow. She refused to put pants on.

Alex is chasing me with a snowball in his hand. He thinks it's super fun to throw them at mommy and daddy. While Alex was having all sorts of fun,

Ella was busy freezing.

We grabbed our package (it was the Playfoam finally, Harmony!!!) and went back to our apartment. Ella and I made hot chocolate for everyone while daddy helped Alex build his first snowman. It was little and cute and I didn't get a picture.

So hooray for snow and canceled church and kids who love to play in the snow!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Want some FREE toffee?

** Giveaway Over **

Okay, so here's the deal. If you are willing to put a link to the English Toffee Anytime website on your blog or website and leave it there for six months, then you can get a free 1 lb. box of toffee. All you have to do is put this logo

(right click and "save as" to your computer then upload to your blog) in your sidebar or somewhere else appropriate on your website and link it to: Then write a blog post with a link to English Toffee Anytime. Then you need to email with the following information:

1. Your name and mailing address (which will not be used for anything else)
2. A link to your website
3. And what flavor of toffee you would like (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate).

The first 40 people from my and my sister's blog will get a free box of toffee. This is only available to continental US residents (to save on shipping costs). And that's it!! Free toffee in exchange for free advertising. Yum!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We went hiking the other day and I couldn't believe how cool all the trees looked.

They are all coated in thick layers of fuzzy moss. My dad kept joking before we moved out here that we better be careful not to get lost in the woods because the moss grows on all sides of the trees, not just the north. Well, he sure wasn't kidding.

In some places, branches were falling off the trees because of the weight of the moss. We all had lots of fun and the kids all found all sorts of cool stuff from snail shells to mushrooms to a woodpecker that almost pooped on our heads. Good fun!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thomas the Train Cake Pattern

Here are the instructions for the Thomas the Train cake I posted about recently.

Items needed:
1 - 11x15 inch sheet cake
1 - 6 inch round
Buttercream Icing
Fondant in blue, black, red, light gray, dark gray, white, yellow

Level the 11x15 inch sheet cake (keeping the roundy top) and cut where all the black lines are on the image below:

The gray area becomes your main cake base. Frost the base and cover in blue fondant.

Piece No. 1: I took a piece of the rounded cut off top and cut it the same size as the piece to make it a bit taller and to give it a rounded shape. This is optional. Whichever you choose, frost the piece and cover in red fondant.

Piece No. 2 (2): Cut both No. 2's with a round on one side to match the curvature of the 6 inch round. Frost both pieces and cover each one in blue fondant. I left the side that would be touching the round without fondant.

Piece No. 3 (2): Frost and cover each with blue fondant.

Piece No. 4: Cut the ends into rounds (see image below) and cut the piece on an angle so it is taller on the side that will butt up against Piece 1 and shorter on the side towards the round. I actually cheated on this one too and ended up just using another piece of the roundy cut off top. It had the perfect slope already. Frost and cover in light gray fondant. I left the side that was aginst Piece 1 without fondant.

Piece No. 5 (2): Glue both No. 5's together vertically with frosting. Cut the bottom end to match the curvature of the 6 inch round. Frost and cover with black fondant. I left the rounded end fondant free.

Piece No. 6 (2): Frost and cover each with dark gray fondant.

6 Inch Round: Level off. Frost and cover with black fondant. Place circle of light gray fondant on top. If you are really skilled, you could cover the round in light gray fondant and wrap a band of black fondant around the outside. I'm just not that good.

Assembling the cake: Place the pieces as indicated on the diagram below.

Add accents as in picture below.

The 4 on the smoke stack is the age of the birthday boy and not necessary. I actually placed the piece of black fondant between the round and Piece 4 before I placed those pieces on the cake. I used random rounds lids I had to cut out the various circles. I freehanded the mouth and eyebrows and used small, rolled pieces of black fondant to make the face. You could pipe it as well, but again, I'm just not that good.

I'm pretty sure you could also use a 9x13 sheet cake and a smaller round (just cut down a bigger round if needed). You would just have to cut everything smaller. Frosting and fondanting all the little pieces was a bit of a pain. If you have the time to freeze the pieces first, it would make it much easier.

And that's it! Piece of cake!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Packing Peanut Fun

I got my first Christmas present the other day (which deserves a post of its own) and it came in a box full of packing peanuts. Now, being the indulgent mother that I am, I gave the box to the kids and told them to have fun. I sat down at the computer and proceeded to ignore them. After a while, I looked over, and what did I behold?

A big peanutty mess. I did expect there to be a bit of a mess from them playing with them, but they had them spread into every room of the apartment.

Alex had gotten out his play mop to try and clean them up. Though I ended up sending them to their room while I cleaned it all up since they kept getting more back out after I picked them up.

And let me just tell you, leather and packing peanuts do not mix. Let's just say static electricity. To this day, every time we sit on the couch more peanuts come poofing out of it. Oh well. The kids had fun and I got a Christmas present!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Saying Goodbye.

On Sunday night, Anton's dad passed away after a year and a half long battle with cancer. Everyone was really sad to see him go, but he had been suffering so much that it was also a relief to see him finally free of pain.

I have only known Anton's dad for 5 years, the time that we've been married, but in that time I've been able to see what kind of man he was. I asked Anton what he loved best about his dad, and he said that he was always wanting to go on some adventure. But not only did he dream about adventures, he was always planning and going on them too. He wasn't the type of man to sit idly by dreaming. He was a doer. Just in the time I've known him he has ridden his bike across the country to benefit the American Lung Association.

Ironically, while riding to raise money for lung cancer, what he didn't know was that he had lung cancer himself.

His next adventure was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. This is something he and Anton had planned to do together. When Anton and I got married, his dad told me that I was ruining all his fun. I'd taken away his adventure partner. So instead of bemoaning it, he just went on the hike himself. Sadly, he got really sick just a couple weeks into the hike and had to come home, but he would've gone back and tried again in hearbeat.

Anton's dad was an avid listener of oldtime radio and the Paul Harvey show. He did lots of family history and was an active participant in Clan Little. He would eat waffles or pancakes for breakfast almost every day. He was a great harmonica player.

Here he is just after we caught him in the dark at Fort Casey playing his harmonica so it would echo through the empty cement bunkers.

He leaves behind his beloved wife.

She will miss him greatly. And so will his 5 children, 5 children-in-law, 6 grandchildren, and many, many more extended family and friends.

He was not afraid to live and follow his own beat, and I know he will continue to do so from up above.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Anton just left to take the kids to his parents' and what's the first thing I did? Dragged a chair over my toe and flipped my toenail up. It bent over halfway down my toe and I had to flip it back down. I think the grossness of having to flip my own toenail down was worse than the pain. And since I know you all want to see it (except my dad) I made sure to take a picture of it.

Now that you are all cringing and have tingles going down your spine, have a happy Sunday night!

Friday, November 28, 2008

This Makes Me Sick!

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death by Customers

I sure hope that Wii those people bought was worth it, because it cost a human life. The greed of the general American populace makes me sick. I hope those of you who went shopping this morning showed a bit more decorum than this!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I made another Thomas cake.

I haven't gotten to make a cake since we moved. Anton's nephew's birthday (does that make him my nephew-in-law???) was last week, and I volunteered to make the cake. He was having a Thomas birthday. If you remember, Alex had a Thomas party for his birthday this year too. I had the hardest time coming up with a good train themed cake for Alex's party and ended up with this monstrosity:

And no matter how many people tell me it's a cool cake, I'm just not going to agree. I know what my mental image of this cake was, and it was nothing like this. So you're just going to have to nod your head and smile and say, "Yes, Amanda, it was a HORRID cake." Thank you. Let's move on.

So when my sis-in-law told me her son was having a Thomas party, I had a moment of panic. I've been through this before!! How am I ever going to make a decent cake for him!?!

And then I had a moment of what I can only call divine inspiration. Why this didn't pop in my head for Alex's birthday is beyond me. And this cake, I am very pleased with the end result. Here it is:

Now for those in the know about Thomas, I know his number is not 4. That's how old the birthday boy was. I made the cake with a sheet cake and one round. I cut the sheet cake into all the various pieces, frosted them, fondanted them, and assembled. The cake was white almond sour cream with coconut buttercream. I was going to post the pattern for the cake, which pieces to cut out and such, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. If you are interested, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

So there you go. My first Washington cake.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Toffee Testing

My dad is good friends with some people who run a chocolate company. He helps them with their business from time to time. The company is getting into selling toffee online, and they needed people to be shipping and tasting guinea pigs. Not one to ever turn down chocolate in any form, I readily agreed.

The package arrived in pristine condition with the toffee inside looking super delicious.

Ella so kindly provided the artistic background.

This toffee is of the dark chocolate variety, and it didn't take long for the box to go from the above, to this:

Sinfully good, just ask my hips.

And if you want to get in on the toffee action, you now can. Their website just went live. You can even order a free sample as long as you pay the $2 for shipping. Check them out here. It's good stuff. You won't regret it. I know a few court reporters that will be getting it for a Christmas gift. They will love me forever. Though after eating a full pound box of this stuff and stepping on a scale, they may not love me so much any more. Why is it that you can eat a pound of chocolate and end up gaining 5 pounds? Life mysteries that will never be solved.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Where have all the fishies gone?

A couple weeks ago we went to some locks near here to try and see the salmon swimming upstream. We walked through a park on the way there and they had little metal circles set in the sidewalk with a fish pointing the way to go.

The kids had more fun searching for the next circle than anything else the whole day, I think.

Another fish!!

We made the kids wait to see the fish so we could watch some boats go through the locks.

The kids thought this boat elevator was a bit too slow. but I thought it was pretty cool. Then we took a stroll over the dam.

They've had to build a special fish ladder so the salmon can swim upstream since the dam blocks the way. They have a viewing area underground where you can see the fish all swimming by.

We saw one fish. That one there. He hung out in that spot the whole time hardly moving. I'm convinced he was animatronic and put there just to entertain the tourists.

It's a good thing the kids didn't seem to care, real fish, tile artwork fish, it's all the same to them.

Afterwards we started to have a picnic, and then it started raining just a bit too much. And while I may live in Washington, I've not yet acclimated myself to doing everything in the rain, so we left. And that was our fun fish adventure!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Anton's Last Race

Anton had a good time being on the school's cross country team this quarter. He wished the races were a bit longer since that what he had been training for, but he enjoyed having other people to run with.

A couple weekends ago we went to his final race, the regional finals. Since he goes to a community college, this is the highest level of race there is. It rained the whole time we were there, which made for a muddy race, but the runners didn't care. They lined up at the start, and they were off!

There he goes! They did a few loops so we were able to stand in one place and watch him come by a few times.

Ella got really good at yelling, "Good job!" and "Keep it up!" It was cute.

Go, Anton, go! While he was on the back side of the loops, I was taking pictures of the kids.

Is he cute or what!!

They were both having so much fun playing with their umbrellas.

And then while we were waiting by the finish line I was playing with my camera getting it all ready to take pictures of Anton coming in for his big finish. I happened to glance up, and there he was!!

I almost missed getting a picture of him. Oops. He improved his time yet again. Great job, babe, we're so proud of you!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

October In Review

So as I continue to be a blog slacker, you are getting another catch-up post. Here are the things we have done in the end of October:

We finally finished picking the last of the apples from Anton's parents' tree.

We are set for at least the next year on all things apple.

We went with the cousins to a pumpkin patch.

After which we had a pumpkin carving party.

Anton and I are usually crazy pumpkin carvers, but this year we were big slackers and only helped the kids do theirs. Then I cooked the uncarved pumpkins and we ate one and froze the other. The kids were very particular about what they wanted their pumpkins to look like.

Circle eyes, triangle nose, and a smiley mouth. That was Ella's request.

And since that's what Ella wanted, guess what Alex wanted too? Yep, circle eyes, triangle nose and smiley mouth. We carved their names into the backs to tell them apart.

In a fit of madness I decided it would be fun to do a Halloween craft with the kids. We made egg carton bats.

Alex thought painting the paper was more fun than painting the bats.

Ella liked starting a bat but not finishing. Guess who did them all? Me. But I think they turned out pretty cute.

We hung them off the back of our car for the trunk or treat at the church.

Ella dressed up as a princess and Alex as a dragon. If it seems vaguely familiar to you, it's probably because that's what they were last year too. Though Ella did break from the norm to be a ballerina at the party we went to on Halloween. Sadly, I took no pictures.

We made sure to buy just enough candy to last while the kids did their rounds of the cars at the trunk or treat, then when they got back to the car we handed all theirs back out. Well, at least the gross stuff like suckers and laughy taffy. We kept all the chocolate.

And that's about it. We've been doing the usual working, schooling, etc. I got called to be the Enrichment Leader in the ward at church right in time to plan the December activity at the last minute. We'll see how that goes. So yeah, that's it.