Thursday, December 30, 2010

Too much of a good thing!

No, we're not talking about Matthew's candy addiction, (although it's reaching frightening levels now) we're talking about lemons. 240 of them. Here are some of them taking over my kitchen counter. Remember my Beauty in the Desert post about the pretty lemon tree outside my kitchen window? Well, that lovely tree gave me more lemons than I will ever need for lemonade, lemon-herbed chicken, lemon curd and lemon meringue! I've juiced and frozen into cubes 40 of them that I picked before this group. Now what?

Santa's Return Program

Happy Christmas to all! And to all a good ... return line? ...

I wish Santa could get his kids straight. This year, he delivered 2 beautiful black and white bikes (don't ask me how he got them down the chimney without scratches) to Ethan and Matthew that were TOO BIG. What happened up there at the North Pole? Don't they keep measurements on kids? How embarrassing for that poor elf who will have to be fired. At least Santa provides all good parents (yes, they can be on the NICE LIST too!) with a return and exchange program at their local store. Thanks, big guy. Now, can you do something about those long return lines?
At least he came through for Emma with the perfect kitchen and accessories to make the best plastic food you've ever tasted. (Which, ironically, provided some entertainment while Dad spent 5 hours on one of his days off going from store to store to find the right bikes.)

Dad was right... we all should have asked Santa for a Wii! Maybe next year...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Halloween!

My kids said "This was the BEST Halloween ever!" Who needs Trick-or-Treating on a Sunday? (Because I did burst that bubble for them) Nah... you can have the best holiday ever by going to a local Trunk-or-Treat on a weeknight, carving a pumpkin with a group of 1st graders during school, playing countless rounds of Boo! Who!, (the funniest board game ever. Thanks Grandma Orton!) watching It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and inviting the missionaries over for dinner and cookie decorating. All that is definitely worth more than doorbell knocking and candy!
(Except for all those parents - you know who you are - who dive into the chocolate stash after the kids go to bed. You'll have to buy your own case of candy bars from Costco to make up for the lack of choc!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Twenty-Dollar-Wonder

Please meet the Twenty-Dollar-Wonder. Also known as the CHEAP cell phone (Twenty dollars to be exact) I've been using ever since my slick slide phone broke. It looked like a toy, and if I'm honest, it didn't text easily or get reception many (OK, practically any) places. But it could handle repeated drops! I lost it this week. I've never been so sad to lose such a cheap piece of technology before. I have ALL my contacts on it, without storing them elsewhere. So, along with losing my phone I may have lost my family and friends too! So, while I am arranging for a new one, I have no cell phone. Oh, and if you're reading this, please email me your phone number. I don't have it anymore. :( Maybe I'll keep my contacts in a good old address book from now on...

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I've been singing Billy Madison's Back to School song all week:

Back to School!
Back to School!
To prove to Dad that I'm no fool!
I have my lunch packed up,
my boots tied tight,
I hope I don't get in a fight...
Oh! Back to School!

Here are the boys before their first day of school. Both terribly excited to be going back after a long boring summer with me. I must be old if my kids think school is more fun than me!

Ethan bravely faced his fears at a new school head-on. He walked across the field to his class line without us and waited for the bell with a serious look on his face. He may have been nervous, but didn't show it. He told me he was determined to make 3 new friends everyday and I'm sure he meant business!

(Check out all those parents swarming the school on the first day! It was packed with people.)

Matthew cautiously approached his first day. He had already met his teacher and seen his classroom, but asked everyday during his first week if 1. Could he stay home? and when the answer to that was no, 2. Could we come to class with him? I plan on volunteering asap! He has been drawing closer to us since we moved here. However, he is adjusting well to 1st grade and says "I mostly like school but it has too many rules."
(Welcome to life, kid.)

And then there is Emma. She and I are happily sunning the days away enjoying a bit of peace and quiet. In short, Emma is being spoiled with attention from me during school time. Lucky for us, Glen's cousin is in town with us and the 3 of us are loving the girl time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beauty in the desert is

1. The lemon tree outside my kitchen window. It is a cheery reminder of good things to come. I anticipate the day when I find them ripened to a yellow color. 2. The little shrubs near my front door. I have been coaxing them with water for weeks hoping to see them blossom, and I had given up on the thought, until I woke up to these purple blossoms today. They are radiant. They even attracted honey bees! (How nice to find a sweet little insect here that I don't want to kill)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh What Do You Do In The Summertime?

Well, when it's 115 degrees outside, you do this:

(Charge your little sister a plastic nickel to attend you and your brother's puppet show)

When it's not, you do this:
(Sun and swim at the beach! I'm missing the best picture... Matthew completely buried in sand up to his neck! Ha! Ha!)
Whatever you do, it's more fun with family and friends. Thanks to our friends Nate, Kandy, Dallynn and Connelly, our first houseguests. It was a fabulously fun for one weekend!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Missing You

So, Glen and I decided not to make our trip to see family and friends in UT. How sad. We are missing you all! We appreciate the snail mail, email and calls from you. How delighted we are to receive them! Today I explained to my kids, "No trip." To redeem myself to them (and cheer myself up) I made Ellie Krieger's Triple Chocolate Cookies. Chocolate makes everything better! If I could figure a way to successfully ship them to you through the current Nevada heat wave, I would send them to everyone right now. But I have no resources like that. So I am giving you this recipe hoping we can both enjoy them. (separately) And I promise they're not difficult to make. Promise!

Triple Chocolate Coo0kies, 2005, by Ellie Krieger, Food Network

1/4 c butter, softened (takes me 5 minutes on the counter in LV, you 20 minutes in SLC)
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1/4 tsp salt, optional (use it, it's so much better with)
1/3 c coarsely chopped dark chocolate (2 ounces, or 8 little dark Dove promises)
1/3 c coarsely chopped milk chocolate (2 ounces, or milk choc chips)
(2/3 c chopped pecans, optional, and I don't recommend them)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mash together the butter and sugars with a fork until well combined. (no fancy-schmancy mixer needed here!) Add the oil and egg and beat until creamy. Mix in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk (yes, whisk) together the flours, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and the pecans and mix well. Using a tablespoon, scoop the batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.

Enjoy eating them and know we're missing you! (Photo: Matthew as a baby)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Please stop touching the produce!

I was in the grocery store this evening. As I excused myself past a woman to reach for a plastic bag, (it will ultimately ruin my local landfill, but that's another post for another day...) I noticed her long nails. 5 inches - at least - of hard, yellow-gray. I tried hard not to stare, but she was shucking ears of corn with her nasty nails to see if it (the corn) was high enough quality to buy. I'm pretty sure that the E coli and salmonella crawling under her nails were more of a concern to me than if her corn had a caterpillar in it! Please stop touching the produce!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

He's a goner!

I feel very welcomed by my new community. They like to hang around my doors to say hello when I take the trash out at night, and try to keep me company when I'm finding that inevitable missing box in the garage. One even gave up his life in my laundry room when he tried to pass the pesticide barrier. (Poor Fred) I'm talking about the native insect community. Cockroaches.

Prior to moving, I've only seen them at the zoo. Behind glass. Contained. Now they're crawling around my yard and garage. They're not welcome. So tonight Glen introduced me to two new ones he met in the garage and while he stood there looking at them, (Really, Glen?) I sent the whole roach community a message to get out. I picked up the nearest thing (Glen's gas can for the mower) and crushed one of them. The other roach ran like hell. I didn't even get to ask him if he felt lucky. That's right. Run before I find another object to kill you with.

On a happy note, I'd like to thank my friend Kandy for her incredible pesticide spraying skills. Not one cockroach has broken the barrier she sprayed and made it in my house! Maybe I'll thank Glen after he sprays the barrier next month. Or kills a bug instead of looking at it...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


We are in limbo! All our "stuff" is in Las Vegas. We are staying with family and friends this week while the boys finish their last week of school.
Shortly I will be sending all you wonderful family and friends our updated address and phone from our new home!

Love you all!

The Smallmans

Friday, April 23, 2010

Home Sweet Home

It's our last week in our Sandy, UT home and I'm getting sentimental.
I'm sad to leave because:
1. I've been in love with the valley and mountain views from my house since the first time I came here.
2. Matthew and Emma were born here.
3. Glen put his sweat and blood into replacing EVERYTHING in this house (yes, even the kitchen sink!).
4. I love my garden areas in this yard. (finally finished most of it!)
5. I feel loved and comfortable in the community of friends and neighbors here. (the reason I cry every 3 days about moving from here)
All I can say about why were moving is: inspiration. Glen and I feel it's right to move although none of it makes practical sense.

It's feeling less like home as everything goes into boxes and we sell the things that we can't take with us. (i.e. the swingset)
Here are pictures of our kids having one last early morning play with it before it was dismantled and sold!

(Note Emma's
shoes: she put
them on herself,
on the wrong

Our temporary home will be around the corner for a few months while the kids finish school and Glen waits for a transfer.

Our Home Sweet Home in Las Vegas, NV. (The kids still aren't sure that the pool makes up for leaving their swingset.)

I'm confident that there are great experiences in store for us in our new place!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

For Sale!

House for sale. Love the house, love the yard, love the valley view, love the location, love the neighbors and friends, love the church, love the schools. Feel inspired to move to LV, NV anyway. House for sale.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sick, on 2 levels!

I hate it when my kids get sick. Matthew has had a horrible cough and high fever this week. After keeping him home from school for a few days and it only getting worse, he finally said one afternoon, "I need to see Dr. Witt NOW!" When do kids ask to see the doctor? Does that ever happen? I did catch this pic of him in a cozy spot on the rug under the table. He looks so sad to be sick.

I found Emma in the kitchen this week making toddler hors d'oeuvres: Cheerios with a light spread of Smart Balance in the middle. I once caught my nephew Michael eating a stick of butter and thought it was hilarious. I'm so sorry for laughing then. It's truly sick!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy Christmas!

We had a wonderful Christmas. Most of our time was spent at home together with movies, games, baking and eating treats. We kept our tradition of seeing the lights at Temple Square on Christmas Eve, and although we've been going for 8 or 9 years, we have never taken pictures. This year Emma was so happy with the lights and huge nativity that she was crying and screaming "Baby Jesus!" as we left. Cute, and embarassing!

Ethan's Matchbox build-a-pirate-ship was his favorite gift.

Matthew's fav gift was his batmobile, batcopter and "bad guy" set.

Emma loved her princess dress ups.

Uncle Richard, Auntie Julie, Meg & Bleddyn gave Ethan and Matthew Nerf ball guns. All of us got in on the combat fun! Emma got a Cinderella barbie, but I don't have a picture of it...

Nana & Grandad sent matching Man Utd sweatshirts for Glen, Ethan & Matthew, a talking, dancing Dora doll for Emma and darling yoga clothes for me.

We ate a big Christmas turkey and trifle for dessert! YUM!

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ahoy Thar Mateys!

Ethan's 7th birthday is coming up and he wants a pirate party. In January. With snow outside. Which means a bunch of kids inside. Glen suggested inviting Ethan's friends over for pizza and to watch Pirates of the Caribbean! I'm worried their mothers wouldn't appreciate that. Any help/suggestions are appreciated!!!

(Aren't Ethan and Emma on their makeshift teeter-totter pirate ship cute?)