Thursday, December 24, 2009

Breakfast With Santa


This year marks the 4th annual "Breakfast with Santa" tradition for us. It's a fun morning out with amazing food and my favorite part, Santa! He comes in while we are eating, greets each table, talks to the kids, and later they sit on his lap and we get a family picture. This is the only Santa Sophia has ever known, and she and Mrs. Claus are tight now . . . as opposed to the first year when Mrs. Claus held the crying baby! : ) Sophie ran right up to them and climbed up--and even got her own picture!


He's coming!
Micah sees him!

New Favorite Videos!

Daniel's Version . . .



Livia's version . . .




Sophia's attempt and Micah's subsequent version . . .

Lessons Learned Many Christmases Ago . . .

A long long time ago, let's say about 18 years or so (gasp!), there was a little girl and her brother who were getting ready for Christmas. They had a younger brother who was a truck-and-tractor lover, and when I say lover I mean he was infatuated to the nth degree. You all know little boys like that--their lives revolve around dirt and rocks and big yellow toys and "bbbbppppttttthhhh" sounds while they play. Well, the little girl and her brother thought it would be fun for this little one to have a tractor of his own, so they worked in their secret basement lab many many nights, creating a cardboard masterpiece. It was truly amazing . . . complete with working controls, a door that opened, keys that turned, a real operating backhoe, and a big shovel on the other side. They were so excited to give it to their little brother on Christmas!

When Christmas Eve finally came around, they anxiously waited for their little brother to go to bed (getting to stay up late never had so many perks as this night!), carefully brought the cardboard tractor upstairs, and set it where it would be seen first. Well, that was a restless night for them in more ways than usual! The next morning, excitement filled the air as they ran to see what Santa had brought for them, and what their little brother's reaction would be to his life-size tractor. When he came in, he had all the appropriate reactions for about three seconds, then ran to the Tonka truck that was waiting by the tree. Well, that was just about too much for the older sister. She had worked so hard on the tractor, and all he wanted was the Tonka truck!?! She ran, crying to her room, disappointed beyond consolation. Her mother came in soon with soothing words and hopeful thoughts, and soon all was okay, if not completely right. The little girl was able to forgive her little brother for not being as excited as she wanted him to be, and to realize that he was just little, after all!

Jump to present day . . . for obvious reasons I can't go into great detail here, but this year I decided to make some homemade gifts for my kiddos. A lot of time and energy and money has gone into these projects, without any knowledge or expectation on their part. (will the promise of pictures after the fact suffice for now?) In order to avoid the aforementioned disappointment and emotional ending (although, I would hope that I have grown up a little bit since then!), I have come up with a strategic way to ensure the "homemade tractor" gets first dibs. See, Santa wraps all his gifts in Santa Paper, so everything is disguised under layers of wrapping paper when we come down Christmas morning. If, however, one gift is left out, say . . . UNwrapped, then for a small moment (admittedly it might be very small!), all the attention will be on this one present, and the giver might get the excitement of Christmas morning and the surprise of the creation and maybe . . . if expectations are low enough . . . feel a little bit gratified to have spent so much time and energy creating them . . .

I'll let you know how it goes . . . : )

Change is Constant

The one thing we all know is that nothing is as constant as change. Recently, Modbe Clothing has closed its doors, leaving me without my Regional VP status, a side income, and many girls' nights out. : ) I truly have enjoyed working with Modbe, and have met many wonderful and inspiring people. It has been a little sad to pack up and sell off, but I really am at peace about it now. I have enjoyed being able to support my husband in his crazy times at work, and my kids in their increased activities, so that Modbe really has had to take a back seat lately anyway. I will miss my cute friends, and the income of course ; ) but am totally ready to not have any distractions from my main job: being a mom!

It's funny how when one priority drops out of your life, there are always many more ready to take its place. Not doing boutiques and shows has allowed me to obviously be home more, be a little more relaxed in the evenings, and start working out with Dave! We started going to a trainer in September twice a week, and the results have been amazing! Dave has lost over 30 lbs now, and looks incredible! I have lost 8 (I know, the comparison is shoddy, but I have toned up quite a bit, and 8 lbs from my belly has made me more excited than ever for swimsuit season!), and I feel increased energy and ability, we eat so much better, and our overall well-being has increased so much that I wouldn't trade where we are now for where we were before, side income and all. Maybe I'll even be able to update the blog more often ; )

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Football Fanatics

The greatest fans of all time . . .

watching the cutest football player EVER . . . #37! Go big D!


the half-time entertainment was pretty exciting too--Micah had both his uncles all to himself for a little game of toss

Fall Cooking is THE BEST!!!

I love comfort food. ALL of it! I love cooking when it's cold outside and you want to snuggle up to your stove. I love eating my creations with my family . . . even if they don't appreciate them ; ) and I love sharing a new fabulous find with my friends! So here you go: my latest find. It's PHE-NOM-IN-AL. Seriously. Melt-in-your-mouth loveliness. In pancake form. : )

Pumpkin Pancakes
1 c. flour
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
3/4 c. milk
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
1/4 c. plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients together in one bowl; wet ingredients in another bowl. Stir together just until evenly moistened.

The only way to have these pancakes is with homemade vanilla syrup. We actually have to keep a bottle in the fridge at all times, because it's fabulous on everything from these pancakes to regular ones, especially if you add bananas and pecans . . . or anything fruit . . . or just straight from the bottle on a spoon (I don't ever do that . . . just the kids . . . ) ; )

Vanilla Syrup

3/4 c. butter
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. buttermilk (cool side note here: did you know that if you don't have "real" buttermilk you can substitute 1 T cider vinager + milk to make a full 1 cup? I usually do 1 t of vinegar, though--it seems like enough)
3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
3 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. vanilla

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Remove pot from the burner; add baking soda and vanilla. Mixture will froth up and rise considerably. Stir regularly and let sit until the syrup settles and bubbles are gone. Serve warm.

Lick-your-plate-clean. Seriously. Enjoy!

I do have to give credit to Misty and Carla for the find--thanks gals! from the bottom of my stomach . . . : )

Friday, October 23, 2009

Micah's Love Carrots!!


We started a garden this year, and Micah was in charge of the carrots. We got some seriously-funky-shaped ones, including these "love carrots." Micah is super-proud of his carrots!

Oh dear . . .


here we are in October and no dress day pic yet! ok, here you go:

Friday, August 21, 2009

First Days of School!

We started another school this year that has a uniform policy--makes getting dressed in the morning a cinch! My favorite part is that Micah wants to match with his siblings SO BADLY, and now he can without them even knowing! ; ) Monday is a "dress" day, so they'll wear their nicer uniforms and I'll post that picture then.



Love this hair!



Check out Micah's hair--he's dancing at my cousin's reception. ; )

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Napping-Not-So-Much

This was Micah and Sophia's attempts at napping together--I snuck in the room and they were telling stories, then ran to get the camera. When I got back, Micah was saying, "now go to sleep!" I started taking pictures and they happened to notice . . .


Sweet idea, but foiled by the mom. Better luck next time, kiddos!

What do we do in the summertime?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fun Handcart Days Pictures!









From playing with the neighbor's puppies, riding ponies at the park, eating popsicles at the parade, and jumping and spinning afterwards, it was a fun-filled day!

Mean Mom, Nice Mom

Sometimes I am a nice mom, and let my kids ride on a scooter all by themselves, (with a helmet, of course!)
Sometimes I'm not, and I make them pose for pictures without giving them the money to actually make the rides go . . .
and sometimes while I'm taking those pictures, one of my friends drops by with her grandkids, and pays for them to ride the carousel . . . with two extra seats. (Thanks Karen!) Chalk it up to cheapskate in me . . . : )


and sometimes, my kids will play on my computer without asking, and get some interesting results (along with being banned from said computer)

it all evens out, right? (and we get some great pics in the meantime!)

Happy Anniversary!


Ok, so this post is a little late, but it was so sweet I couldn't resist! On the morning of our anniversary (13 years!), I was getting ready in the bathroom, and Livia came running in and asked what I was going to do when I was done. "Make my bed," I replied. "Don't make it yet, Mom! Just sit there and wait for me, ok?" What could I say to that? Okay . . . what's going on? : ) Well, I finished getting ready and actually forgot, and made my bed (old habits die hard). But then Livi came back in and, after getting after me for making it, told me I had to at least sit on it for a minute until she came back. She returned soon with Daniel, complete with an extra shelf (gold stars for inventiveness!) and this fun surprise:


They made me breakfast in bed--ALL BY THEMSELVES! Notice the hearts cut into the toast--how darling are my kids!?! There's a note (bottom right of pic) that says: "Happy Anniversity Mom! We love you!" Seriously, that's just plain awesome.

How cute is my son?

What Daniel does with M&Ms in his spare time . . . ahhhhh. Sometimes it's all worth it!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Little Slugger!


To say that Micah loves baseball is putting it very, very mildly. He LOOOOOVVVEEESSSSS baseball! : ) Here are some pics of his season with one league--another one is starting next week. No, there's never enough games or practices scheduled for his taste and yes, he does wear his jersey and baseball pants 24-7. To all Daniel's games, whenever he wants to play baseball in the backyard, and of course, right after I've tried to wash it. His favorite thing in baseball is sliding. Into every base. Grass or dirt. Every time. : ) He's TOTALLY AWESOME!!!


Thumbs-up for Mom : )
Posing for the camera--what a stance!
in his Sunday clothes . . .
With his friend Isaac

Birthdays-A-Go-Go!

"Birthday Season" is finally over, and I can rest and regroup and prepare for next year! With five birthdays in two months, right at the beginning of baseball season, life at the Mortensen household gets a little crazy! Here are some highlights from this year's festivities:
Daniel and eleven friends had pizza at our house, went to Kangaroo Zoo, and came back all gross and sweaty for cake, ice cream, and presents! Twelve ten-year-olds make quite the ruckus, but lots of fun was had by all, and they slept really well that night! ; )


Livia had ten friends over for a "jewelry making party." Everyone made a bracelet with their name or initials on it, we had a cupcake line-up for the birthday cake, and danced to some fun music!

Micah's cake was my favorite--it's a small eight-inch round on the bottom, and eleven cupcakes for the pyramid-top. He loved it, which was the whole point, right?


Sophia wanted a brownie for her cake, so we did this fun and easy creation in a snap! (whew!) This is her "pickle face" (see earlier post about that)--she's such a cutie!

Livia's Baptism!


Such a gorgeous girl on a gorgeous day! She looked so radiant and peaceful. I am so grateful for her sweet and loving personality and the joy she brings to our home. She has been so excited for this day for a long long time now, and I know her testimony of our Savior is strong. Congratulations, Livia! We love you SO much!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Pics!

Here are some pics of our Easter!

The girls  (thanks Cathy for the flowers!)
The boys--how cute is this?  Totally not posed : )
love the checkerboard effect ; )