Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Act 6; Scene 12: Happy First Birthday, Scarlet Elizabeth!

Our sweet, tiny baby


And wearing pigtails. 

 And loves her Daddy more than ever.

She and Tommy are great conspirators

 And the best of friends.

She got two birthday cakes. The first, a tiny "rose studded" (or sea urchin) red velvet and cream cheese frosting cake

...with a blue T-Rex candle...

 Then a mini vanilla mug cake, with a yellow T-Rex candle

And she got some great toys.

 Skiz has 12 teeth, weighs 22 1/2 pounds, and is 29 inches long. She loves eating food, especially if it came off of someone else's plate/fork/spoon/finger. She is starting to make her own jokes (like giggling hysterically when she drops her food on the floor...) and thinks Tommy is the funniest thing ever. She positively loves stuffed animals--gives them big hugs and kisses whenever she sees one. Her favorite thing to do is dance to music, especially the music from Tommy's walker truck and concrete mixer truck. Her other favorite toys are the bath toys. Any time we're upstairs she crawls over to the bathtub and tries to get in. It is amazing to watch a little one grow and learn. We sure love having this sweetie pie around. 

Happy Birthday, Scarlet!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Act 6; Scene 11: How to use Butternut Squash in a Million Different Ways

...well, maybe not a million. But it felt like a million. 

This year I planted one, ONE butternut squash plant. And it exploded similar to the zucchini plants I've planted in the past. It too up nearly half of our garden, I was constantly trimming it down!

Here is a picture of the last bounty we picked before pulling up the plant. Keep in mind, I had picked a bunch of them all season before this group was collected: 

Oh man, it's been fun to figure out what to do with all of these. 

We did a couple different soups

Butternut Apple Harvest recipe here

Roasted butternut squash and bacon

Cream cheese recipe

I did butternut squash lasagna

Many different kinds of roasted squash:

Did this one a couple times
Surprisingly yummy muffins

My neighbor even asked for this recipe
Even a butternut squash pie!

regular pumpkin pie recipe--just used butternut squash instead.
And now--the votes are in, for the two yummiest butternut squash dishes of the season.

Robert's favorite: butternut squash fries!

Whole recipe and great pictures here

These are so easy! Just slice them thin, drizzle in olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven. Then add some parsley flakes (and more salt if desired). I was so surprised to hear Robert say the word "love" associated with any kind of squash, but he said he loved these!  

And now, Carson's favorite: creamy butternut squash pasta sauce!

Delicious recipe here!
I really have no excuse for not taking a picture of this one myself. I liked it so much, I have made it THREE different times! Once for us, once for our neighbors when they had their baby, and once for our New Year's Eve dinner with my parents, it's THAT good! Some extra pepper on top makes it even better. And it makes a lot. In fact, we just ate leftovers for dinner, and we have more left over for lunch tomorrow (yay!). Scarlet, my 11 month old (well, only a week shy of ONE!! Ah!) especially loves this. And that makes me feel great, because butternut squash is insanely good for you.

I have three butternut squash left in the garage, and some ziplock bags of frozen puree. We still have a few adventures to go! If you feel like planting something that will really go far, try a butternut squash plant this summer. Then you will see how much they charge for them at the store, and pat yourself on the back every time you go through the produce isles. :-)

Happy Squashing! :-)

If you have any great butternut squash recipes, please let me know! I'd love to try them!

Act 6; Scene 10: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!!

Only a day late. It's still a new year :-)

Once again, it's time to reflect on last year's resolutions and start some new ones. 

We started out the year well with food storage and emergency preparedness. We now have 5 big buckets of water stored, water purification, buckets of oats, flour, and sugar; a full fledged 72 hour kit for all of us. And I bought a few food storage items for the pantry...which I think we've already gone through. Except the tuna. :-) And  was just typing how the second half of the year was sadly lacking in a conscientious food storage effort, but then I remembered....canning! This is the first year I attempted canning and bought all of the equipment! We canned a whole bunch of pickles and salsa and a few peaches. That's a good start, right? 

Our family goal for this year is:

1. Attend the temple twice a month.

Does that goal sound familiar?? After having Scarlet this past year, we just couldn't/didn't keep up our twice a month attendance. We loved doing that so much the past year, we decided to make it our goal again. So on to 2016 temple attendance!

For my personal goals, I was able to run a 5k by spring! Tommy and I actually ran TWO 5ks together! I think I have done better at being patient, as well. That is a constant struggle! We have definitely done better at having more meaningful, planned family home evenings. We have not been perfect, but I have noticed a huge difference in our effort at FHE and the blessings from that. 

This year, my personal goals are:

1. Not say "bad words" out loud, under my breath, or in my head. I don't mean swear words, although very occasionally I have thought those in my head, but never out loud (thankfully!). But there are words that mean pretty much the same thing, or are vulgar, or sound angry. I definitely don't want words to be my anger outlet, or my kids'
2. Do the 10 pound challenge with Melanie Douglass. This starts on Monday! I don't want to lose 10 pounds, but maybe a few. And I would love to gain some muscle!
3. Be in a play this year. It's time. I want to. And I will find some place that will take me!

That's it for now. I'd better keep it simple so I can focus and actually accomplish these. 

What are your New Year Resolutions?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Act 6: Scene 9: A La Holidays!

Wow it's been hard to keep up my blog lately! I have had so many posts swimming around in my head, but they somehow manage to never make it to the page.

So today it's a photo catch-up on some recent holiday goings. Then maybe after that I can get a few of my more wordy, thoughtful posts out!

The weekend before Thanksgiving we headed to St. George.

Inside the butterfly cave
coming up out of the cave. Tommy told me the butterflies were all gone to find food for their babies :-)
Scarlet's first time eating pizza

The dessert

We went on one trail with dozens and dozens of rocks filled with petroglyphs like this
 And on a side note, we went to the Hogle Zoo on the free day, the last Wednesday in November. While there, I watched this giant boa eat a rat. It was fascinating! One of the coolest things I have ever seen!

This year, the whole McFarland side of the family was together for Thanksgiving. That hasn't happened for a while!
          I brought all the stuff for the kids to make candy turkeys and play Thanksgiving bingo

And what better way to ring in the Christmas season than with a snowstorm? And a snowball fight!

And of course what better way to kick off the season than the Lehi Santa Parade?!

My Christmas cuties

We went to see Father Christmas at Thanksgiving Point farm country. He was so wonderful! He really took his time with the kids and was so gentle and kind. Tommy was nervous to meet him, but managed to get out what he wanted for Christmas, and listened to Father Christmas tell him to be a good boy and listen to his Mom and Dad and help others. Scarlet thought the whole thing was pretty strange, ha!

But Scarlet LOVES the animals!

Tree decorating with the kids is so fun! The tree was bottom heavy thanks to Tommy. And then of course Scarlet would try to pull them all off!

We went to a storytelling concert by Donald Davis, and I got a picture! I was so excited!!!

Scarlet practically falling into the toy box as she tries to reach for the last few things she can throw out of it

Gingerbread houses didn't last long!

He could have eaten the whole thing in one sitting!

Making gingerbread houses

He walked all around the yard making footprints in the snow. It entertained him for half an hour!

My snowman!

Scarlet's first ever pigtails!
 While we were wrapping presents, Tommy got stuck in the chair like this. And it was surprisingly difficult to get him out! I was laughing and he was starting to cry because we couldn't figure a way out! Finally we got him loose :-)

We got tickets to the MoTab concert!!!!

Me and my hot date at the concert
 This Christmas meant a trip to St. George to visit with all kinds of cousins! Tommy is pretty much over the moon about his cousins. I hardly saw him the whole time we were there!

climbing rocks at Dixie Rock

Hiking with Grandpa

Christmas angel!

Sunday before Christmas in St. George

Zion--at Weeping Rock

Of course, she was excited about the food. And her bandana bib is too funny!

A whole bunch of Centers! All the Center boys and their families

 We went to Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo for Christmas Eve, because Sam, my brother, was working there. I'm not sure if this picture can adequately show how coooolllldddd it was!

Christmas morning! Did not disappoint!

He was excited with his longed-for jack-in-the-box. It was actually hard finding him one of those!

After a while Scarlet got the hang of how to open presents :-)

The family bad. Whistle and bells.

Me with the new Amazon Fire tablet. We are now a tablet family! Wow!

Tommy with his shark quilt that Grandma Center made him

Scarlet gave this giraffe a giant hug when she opened it. So cute!

Of course Grandma and Pa McFarland got him a helmet so he can be obsessed with bike riding like they are!
My peppermint Christmas cake

Surprise! Christmas checkered cake!
And those are all of the pictures I have uploaded on the computer now. Plenty!!! Hope you have all had a lovely holiday season, and enjoy the next week of New Year celebrating! 

Merry Christmas!