Wednesday, December 2, 2009

That Time of Year

I want to post a report and a few pictures from Thanksgiving, but I keep forgetting to transfer pictures to the computer. We're currently planning/preparing for a little Christmas party at our house, so when I get home my mind is on cleaning, decorating and baking rather than pictures and blog posts.

In the meantime, I'd love to share/get opinions on the many calendars I've found to choose from this year. There is so much letterpressed, printable and screenprinted loveliness out there!

(This is the calendar I've gotten for the last three years. I still like it, but I'm considering changing it up. Or maybe not. I think the different colored papers is what does it for me!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Sean and Chase Peterson were baptised two weekends ago, on November 7. Kelly and I were lucky enough to be there, along with most of the family. The boys had it all planned out -- one was baptized first, and the other was confirmed first. The near-scalding hot water in the font will definitely make theirs a memorable day. (It's like they were baptized by fire twice!)

Congratulations Sean and Chase!

So, I'm still the newest member of the Peterson family and during the trip I noticed that I shied away from taking pictures of the adults. (Kelly's intense dislike of having his picture taken just might have something to do with this!) But I have lots of picture of the cute Peterson kids as follows. . .

These cute kids are ready for pizza!

Since he was sitting at the head of the table and had a crowd watching, Will decided to put on a show.

He learned this dance from Kung Fu Panda. His older brothers (and Dad) get a kick out of it!

Uh oh, here comes Dad.

Tate and cousin Misti.

Tyler loves her new braces!

Since I'm relatively new to the family, it is fun to spend time together and be there for important events. I might have missed the twin's first six years, but I was there for their baptism!

When I think of my own extended family, I don't think of the in-law aunts and uncles as add-on's. (Even those who's weddings I remember.) They are just part of the family. I don't feel out of place in the Peterson family, (on the contrary, they are great at making me feel welcome) but it's good to know that I won't always feel "new." And each opportunity to spend time together makes me feel less brand-new.

Dinner is Served

I arrived 30 minutes early to a BYU Marriott Society lunch meeting at Planet Hollywood yesterday. I made good use of those 30 minutes at Sur la Table!

After struggling with my old pastry cutter earlier this week, I decided a new one was in order before the Thanksgiving pie making begins. Can't wait to give it a try.

In the clearence section I scooped up a gorgeous turkey-sized plater and these lovely yellow serving platers that match my house perfectly. I also bought the turkey yesterday.
We're ready for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Kelly and I were senoir missionaries for Halloween. It was a fun, easy costume that may be recycled in future years. I just wish I had found suspenders for Kelly and a short-sleeved shirt!

Love his old man expression in this one.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Upcoming Events

Kelly and I are going to see Aida for our second anniversary. It's broadcast in HD from the MET, to a nearby theater.

Monday, October 26, 2009

For the Record

In case it's not clear, I am stating for the record that my blog header is purposefully over-the-top. My intent for this blog is to celebrate all the things that are sweet in my life, and the gooey sweetness of the picture sums it up quite neatly!

Of course, all is not sugar and spice, but keeping my perspective centered on the blessings is the point.

Several months ago, on the verge of a difficult season I didn't know was coming, Kelly gave me a blessing promising that I would look back on this time as a season of joy. The seeming contradiction of the blessing has helped me to recognize the Lord's tender mercies as He has calmed my troubled heart in the midst of difficulties and shown me that I am richly blessed in all the ways that actually matter.

I started writing this post just to tell you that I know my blog header is cheesy. But as I tried to pinpoint why I haven't taken my cheesy header down (even though I've created a couple of good replacements) I realized that it reminds me that, although life is not always sweet, "the sweet life" is always available. It is a gift of the spirit that is available in abundance when I keep life in in the right perspective.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Visions of Sugar Plums

Yesterday, my parents called to suggest that we have Thanksgiving in Las Vegas this year. It feels like some kind of milestone to be the Thanksgiving host! I'm excited to share our new home with the Provo-Orem Wilsons.

In addition to the visit itself, I'm looking forward to the planning: what to make for dinner and where to go for fun.

I'll have visions of turkeys, pies, jello salad and maybe a few sugar plums dancing in my head for the next month. (Last year, my sister-in-law made an amazing turkey that involved a marinade and bacon. I think I'll need your recipe April!)

As for things to do, here's my top-10 list of things to do in Las Vegas (including a few my family has already done):
1- Red Rock
2- Hoover Dam and the new bridge
3- Mount Charleston
4- The Springs Preserve
5- Neon Boneyard
6- Eldorado Canyon Mine tour and kayaking on Lake Mohave
7- Shark Reef Aquarium (haven't seen this, but I want to!)
8- Imperial Palace Antique Car Museum
9- Bellaggio fountains and gardens
10- And, because I'm a water person, the River Mountains Water Treatment Facility and Las Vegas Wash. (I think they're interesting!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

China Ranch

Kelly and I visited China Ranch a couple months ago--- for my birthday actually. These pictures have been uploaded, just waiting for me to curate them.

If you drive 60 miles out of Las Vegas-- 30 miles down Hwy 160 towards Pahrump, and another 30 miles off the highway on the Old Spanish Trail-- you might find yourself at China Ranch, CA.

China Ranch is a date farm built on an spring in the California desert. When I say desert, I mean 117 degrees under a blazing sun. I think that may have been the hottest weather I've ever experienced!

The visit was well-worth a 1/2-day trip to explore, enjoy a date shake, and experience local history outside of the city.

It's definitely hokey, but that's part of the charm.

They had quite a collection of cacti and agave for sale.

And an even bigger collection of random things no one needs.

This must be "cowboy corner"!

And the thrift clothing corner--- of course. (?!)

I really did want this little sombreroed doll, but I didn't have a good reason to get it. It will probably still be there next time!

The date shakes were quite good. Enzo enjoyed the last melted bit of Kelly's.

It was too hot to walk through the date groves (is that what you call them?). We took the driving tour. They had a half-dozen types of dates from all over the world. I believe this one was the Madagascar Purple Date. (I am totally making that up.)

Another cool part of the trip was a freak storm we drove through on the way home. The rain and lightening was great to watch roll in. The temperature dropped from 115 to the high 70's in less than 5 minutes!

All in all, a great day-trip.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Watermelon Cooler

I enjoy trying a 'fancy' drink every now and then. I discovered this recipe from last month's edition of Real Simple. It's perfect for summer, deliciously refreshing and pretty darn easy to make.


Another good one- iced herbal tea with plums and thyme. (I used Celestial Seasonings' Country Peach Passion-- my favorite)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ann Arbor, Michigan

After family reunion, I kissed Kelly goodbye at a Tim Horton's near the airport and jumped in the Gaskin's mini-van to spend 5 days at my sister's home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Ann Arbor is where all the NPR reporters report on the auto industry from.  If I were reporting on Detroit, I would like to do it from the comfort of Ann Arbor too!  It's a lovely little college town with green-green trees, beautiful architecture, lovely neighborhoods, artsy stores and an Ikea nearby!  We availed ourselves of all of these and more.

A good bit of our time (in both quality and quantity) was spent cooking.    It's fun to cook with someone else, especially when you both enjoy it--- and enjoy the fruits of your efforts!  We made lime-chili chicken tacos with homemade tomatillo salsa.  We made egg salad sandwiches with fresh dill and homemade mayonnaise (because we ran out).  We made blueberry muffins and easter eggs with the kids.  Nathaniel made oatmeal-cherry-apricot cookies and I ate them.  Food is a great part of any vacation!  

I also developed a crush on Jeni's grocery store.  I heart Meijers.  She aptly described it as a cross between Target (good design, products and produce) and Walmart (low prices).

In between the eating, we visited some of the local highlights.  Almost all of my pictures are from the Henry Ford Museum (which sounds adorable when 3 year-old Eli calls it by its full name all day!)  

Greenfield Village
My favorite part of the Henry Ford Museum was Greenfield Village, a 90-acre collection/re-creation of American heritage.  What an amazing place. . .  

Singing on the street corner.  All the employees are attired in clothing from different periods. Whether singing, working in the fields or blowing glass, they really play the part.  

We were there on a sparsely attended rainy weekday and ran into these fellows a few times.  At one point they were singing to an audience of 1.  When they finished a song their fan clapped and one of the singers enthusiastically responded, "thank you, Cameron!"  It was funny. 

We took this picture in a barn filled with agriculture equipment to send to Grandpa Garner who is an agricultural engineer.

 We stopped at this english cottage to step out of the rain and snack on muffins.  
Yum, muffins. 

The brickwork was designed to provide roost for sparrows.  I want little sparrows to live at my house!  It reminds me of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White-- to be surrounded by charming woodland creatures.  

Jeni and Evelyn watching the birds.  The garden was really beautiful!

The oldest windmill in the United States. (Moved and reconstructed on site.)

Next to the windmill was a home farm.  These women were sitting down to a colonial-period lunch that they had cooked-- stew, greens, and raspberry pie.  It looked good!  The meal was made from things grown and raised on property. 

They also spun and dyed wool yarn to make clothing etc. for use in the winter. 

Pretty onions in the garden out back.

Noah Webster's home.  (Author of the Webster's Dictionary)  I was very impressed by this home.  In addition to the dictionary, Webster wrote some of the first school text books.  He felt that the religious value of the Bible was diluted when it was used to teach reading and grammar.  In order to preserve it's role as a moral compass, he suggested that primers and grammar books should be written to be used in public schools (another new concept he influenced).  What a great man!
And to top it off, I was completely smitten by the homemade rug-carpeting in the last bedroom. Isn't it gorgeous?!

I really want to make this rug!

It was neat to see the same rug design, in miniature, among the doll houses on display in the museum, a few hours later.  It must have been a trend for some time--- like puff quilts in the 90's!  
Thomas Edison's Florida laboratory.  Did you know Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were close friends and often vacationed together with their families?  This is the laboratory near their Floridian vacation homes.   

The Henry Ford Museum
When we couldn't postpone lunch any longer, we left the Village and went to the museum for the last few hours of the day.  Evelyn and Eli got fancy car-boxed lunches.  

I love this picture!! Evelyn feels so pretty with her pink car atop her head and Eli is closely inspecting his blue car. 

Massive generator from the electricity exhibit.  These were striking pieces of machinery.  The design could be attractive, especially when they're painted red and yellow. 

Before moving on, I'd like to share my testimony of the Henry Ford Museum.  Okay, that's over-stating it, but I was so impressed by valuable contribution that Ford has made to the community and the country.  That matters.  The man and the organization chose to share of their prosperity with everyone else.  

The vision extends beyond preservation and a cool place to visit, though.  The Greenfield Village operates a school-- somewhat of a historical apprenticeship program.  In one of the houses, a kid-- about 16 or 17 --was sharing information about the home.  He invited us to ask him about anything in the room and said (essentially), "every item has a story and when you start to see the connections and relationships between history and the world around us today BOTH of them become more alive and history becomes compelling."  He was clearly moved.  I was so impressed by the program and the fire that had been lit in this (and I'm sure many other) kids.  Good people doing good things are so inspiring!

Detroit Museum of Art
On my last day, we drove into Detroit to go to the Detroit Museum of Art.  

This is a beautiful piece composed of found wood.  It may seem "typical" of the current green-art trends etc., which is why I love that the artist created this decades ago. (Unfortunately, I didn't get picture of the placard to share his name and the date.)
Not the best photo, but this might be my favorite Degas.  I love the intense yellow, orange and turquoise.  You don't see that from him very often. 

This is definitely my favorite Gauguin.  I didn't even know he sculpted.  It's beautiful.  (Again, not a great photo.)  
Jeni inspecting Bar-T Corral by Conrad Marca-Relli (1958).  The construction of this piece was very interesting with muslin and paint layered on and then removed in sections.  Cool.

That's the end of the photo-tour.  It was a wonderful trip!