Times and Sorensens

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Very Festive!

We got our Christmas tree and other decorations up and things are feeling very festive around here! We aren't going anywhere for Christmas this year, for the first time ever. We'll be home the whole Christmas season, and I want to be able to enjoy the tree and decorations as much as possible. In years past it has typically not been worth it to me to put up the Christmas tree or decorations because I knew we would only get to enjoy them for a very short time before leaving to visit family for the holidays. And I knew I would not be in the mood to take down the tree and other decorations once we got back, sometime after after New Years. This year however, it is definitely worth it, especially since Thanksgiving was a week earlier than usual.

The boys were very excited about the whole affair. Joshua and I set up the tree and put the lights on while Daniel napped. When Daniel woke up from his nap I told him that I had a surprise for him to see out front. I wish I could have captured his reaction -- he was way excited to see the tree set up and he and Joshua got to work hanging the ornaments. They did a fantastic job, decorating, of course, only the lower half of the tree in bunches and clusters -- so cute! They love to play with the ornaments, collecting them, rearranging them, etc. and they are perfectly allowed, as long as they are "nice" to them.

I've created an iTunes Christmas playlist comprised of all our Christmas music we've accumulated over the years. It turns out we have a lot more than I thought, and it has been great! It definitely contributes to the festive ambiance in our home and it especially helps to focus our minds on the Savior, the whole reason that we are celebrating.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fall Photo Shoot

We had the opportunity to do a photo shoot with our neighbor Mariah on Saturday. We felt very lucky because she is quite a talented photographer! She has been involved with photography since high school and now that her sweet baby girl is a little bit older, she feels she has a bit more time and flexibility to pursue this interest. She is currently taking a photography class at UCSD and asked us if we'd be willing to have the boys model for a portrait assignment. The boys were really good sports about it and she got some great shots! I think she really captured the mood and lighting of the season and I am especially thrilled to have some autumn-themed portraits of the boys! With her permission I'm sharing them here -- enjoy!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving this year has been the first one where we've stayed home and cooked the whole thing ourselves! We were very pleased with how it turned out, even if it was a two-day event: we cooked the sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pies (not pictured, but great) the day before. After that, cooking wasn't too hectic with the turkey, stuffing, rolls, and mashed potatoes and gravy (also not pictured; Leslie's finishing it in the top left of the picture).

Everything tasted great, although if you look at the turkey closely you'll notice my carving skills leave something to be desired.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

One Little Monkey...

I thought people might appreciate one of Daniel (and Joshua's) recent favorite activities:

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It has been a chilly, gray November for us. We are deep into autumn and I am loving it! Making pumpkin chocolate chip muffins seemed like the right thing to do -- perfect for this time of year. It was a great feeling for me when Jake arrived home from work to the cozy, wonderful smell of a batch just coming out of the oven. Since people have asked me for the recipe, I thought this would be a good place to share it:

3/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. olive oil
2 eggs
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
1/4 c. water
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. walnuts (if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray muffin tin.
2. Mix sugar, oil, and eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes (cut time roughly in half if making mini muffins).

*this is kind of a combination of a recipe we got from our dear friend Sara and this one.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Adventures in Trick-or-treating

Sorry these stories are a bit late, but a couple of noteworthy things happened while I was trick-or-treating with the boys:

Some of the homes had a bowl of candy sitting in front of the door, and the boys would take a piece before moving on to the next door. One door's bowl was sitting on a scarecrow dummy, and although Joshua thought it was interesting Daniel didn't want to come close. As he took a piece of candy from the bowl, Joshua vocally noticed that the dummy was moving, at which point Daniel decided he'd rather leave. In an effort to get a piece of candy for Daniel, I set him down and reached for a piece of candy. The "dummy" growled very tamely, clearly not wanting to scare the boys too much. Then, to add to the drama, I gave a little scream. Apparently that was the last straw for Daniel, who started to cry as he backed away. I still feel bad about that, I should have just left it alone. For the rest of the night, Daniel told people about the scarecrow.

A bit later on, we were trick-or-treating at one door when another child arrived with their parent, who complimented the resident on their very spooky spider and web decoration strung cleverly just under a nearby sidewalk lamp. The resident replied that he had not decorated the lamp, at which point we all went to look at the web. On it was a HUGE spider (touch your thumb and index finger together, about that big) with an enormous body. After a bit it started to move, and we could tell from the movement of the legs it was not fake. It was even spookier once we realized it was real!

Daniel Ryan

Age: 2 years 4 months
Favorite movie: The Iron Giant (big time)
Favorite book: The Berenstain Bears and the Baby Chipmunk
Favorite TV show: Super Why (PBS kids)
Favorite sport: baseball
Favorite toy: his tricycle
Favorite vehicle: trains
Favorite mischief: taking bites out of produce at the grocery store while my back is turned

a cute past tense

Joshua wore his glow-in-the-dark dinosaur pajamas to bed last night. This morning at breakfast he told me, "These are my dinosaur jammies. They glew last night!"

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fabulously Ridiculous

It is ridiculous how much candy we have acquired over this Halloween season. I still can't believe how many Halloween activities there have been for us to participate in, even after at least a couple of them were canceled due to the fires (pumpkin patch with a group of friends from preschool and a playgroup Halloween party). Why didn't all this go on when I was a kid?

On Tuesday, we enjoyed what I think is my favorite Halloween tradition around here -- spooky story time and tick-or-treating at the library. It is seriously so much fun, and the librarians make it special. The boys got to decorate trick-or-treat bags and then go around to different stations all around the library, collecting relatively healthy snacks and my very favorite -- books! Free books! And we got some good ones this year.

When it was finally (the actual) Halloween I got to take Joshua and Daniel trick-or-treating on campus! Joshua's preschool was invited to Halloween activities and trick-or-treating around some of the residence halls. I forgot my camera for that one, so sorry no pictures. It's too bad because there was a student dressed as a pirate who wanted a picture with the "little pirates."

I was a little worried that the boys would be all Halloweened out when it came time for the real thing, but my concerns were assuaged by these smiles: Jake took them around our complex in their "pirate ship" (wagon) while I stayed home to hand out candy. Kids liked my witch costume, so that was fun, and it was great to see lots of our friends and neighbors. The boys ended up out-enduring Jake and would have kept going, but by 8pm or so Jake was bushed and called it a night. The boys could hardly complain, given that their pumpkins were just about chock full of loot.

I got to have a bit of Halloween fun of my own, vampire style: a get-together with friends for "Dinner and Twilight" (well, and New Moon and Eclipse too!). It was a really fun group and we enjoyed great conversation and great food - chicken mango quesadillas, yum!