Friday, June 29, 2012

Sunglasses, Softball Games, and Swimming

I'm telling you, we're doing so much stuff lately I can't keep up with it all. We're welcoming summer with a bang! So enjoy reading about our latest events.

My best friend brought her girls by for a day of fun and we walked to the nearby mall for a day of shopping. While at the mall, I convinced her to buy sunglasses for her three girls and on the way home we had to get a picture of our older girls running together in their sunglasses while holding hands.

Notice how we left the babies behind, abandoned in the strollers. These girls just kept running and so we had to run super far ahead to get a picture of them prancing together in their shades.

A couple days later, Brigham's two step-brothers were playing against each other in a softball game that we went to watch.

I love softball! Both DJ and Tony had some good plays that were fun to watch...

in between dealing with my munchkins.

Don't these lips just look so kissable?

While Ammon started out doing great, I had decided to try out the convenience of spray sunscreen on the kids, and unfortunately it caused Ammon's eyes to swell up and his face to break out in a rash. He was miserable and crying for most of the evening.

Word of advice, when a sucker doesn't calm this kid down, something is wrong. After throwing his sucker on the ground in a fit of rage, I knew he wasn't doing so well.

Lydia, however, kept it classy.

It's what she's good at :)

We still managed to enjoy the game.

Congrats to DJ's team who won. And Tony, you can't win 'em all. Better luck next time :)

Softball games checked off, we've also been swimming. A lot. Even though Ammon seems to be allergic to chlorine and breaks out in a heat rash whenever he comes in contact (I know, this kid!), we've not been swayed and have made good use of our condominium's pool and our season passes to Seven Peaks water park.

Due to cameras not faring well around water, this is the only picture I have thus far of our swimming adventures:

Brigham took Lydia to the splash pad while Ammon and I packed up after a day at Seven Peaks. I couldn't believe how much the kids loved it there. We stayed for five hours - a feat I imagined impossible with a three and one year old! Ammon even fell asleep on my lap in the wave pool for an hour with people yelling and splashing around us. The waves sure did a good job lulling him to sleep.

For being chickens, my kids sure have done better than expected in the water. Now to see how they do with fireworks as we approach Taylorsville Dayzz and the Fourth of July :) HELLOOO Summer!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Place Perks 2 & 3

I've been meaning to get back to this subject for some time, but I've been SO busy that it's been too long. However, it doesn't mean we haven't been enjoying our new place any less.

One of my favorite new things is the spare bedroom. Lydia and Ammon still share a room so we have an extra bedroom to do whatever we want with. Currently it houses a spare bed, the changing table, and our computer desk with computer, printer, and a second TV with DVD/VCR player.

So when it's movie night and Brigham and I want to watch our own movie without the kids running around and screaming during the important lines or touching moments, we do this:

Slide their highchairs in the extra room, throw in a popsicle or two, and start their own movie. Everyone's good to go. It's wonderful after a long exhausting day when we are hanging on to our hats to make it to bedtime. I also love having an extra bed for when company comes over. It's really quite the setup. Also, the view from that window is AMAZING.

Which leads to my next topic. Check this out:

This is the view from our balcony. Being on the fourth floor has it's advantages and we have awesome viewpoints from each of our windows. I love being able to look out and see over the city. While you sure can feel the wind up this high, the trouble is forgotten as you stop and stare at the perfect view of the oranges and pinks of the sunset each night.

And, as you can see, we've discovered that the vantage point for the fireworks this summer isn't too shabby. We aren't sure what the occasion was, but weren't about to complain when these fireworks started happening.

I also love that Lydia gets to exclaim that she can see two temples, each and every morning, as she points to both the Jordan River Temple and the Oquirrh Mountain Temple.

Spare bedroom and awesome views with fireworks included. Yep, definite perks of the new place.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Carrot Mac & Cheese

Recently I bought ten pounds of carrots. This is actually common around here. We like carrots. A lot. And not only are they cheaper when you buy them fresh and peel and cut them yourself, but they taste better and I prefer them that way. Brigham, however, was complaining that he was getting a little carrot-ed out. So to give him a break, I decided to try out a new recipe to include our carrots, but without the typical carrot crunch or flavor. Thank you Pinterest for the discovery of carrot macaroni and cheese.

I was extremely interested to try out this recipe and compare it with the butternut squash mac & cheese recipe I previously made and loved. Unfortunately, things were doomed from the start.

I was doubling the recipe and needed to peel and cut up about one and a half pounds of carrots. So I just guessed about how much that was.

Then I needed to steam them with some water, salt, and the zest and juice of one orange.

I didn't have an orange.

Instead I steamed the carrots with some orange peel zest I had as a spice and estimated about how much lemon juice would equal the juicing of an orange - a couple hefty dashes.

While the carrots were steaming (they smelled really good), I cooked up my pasta.

Only, I was dumb and forgot to save some of the water the pasta was cooked in before I drained it all down the sink. And I needed two cups! So I tried to recreate the starchy water by letting some of the pasta sit in water while the carrots finished cooking. I don't think it worked very well.

I was supposed to have the carrots cook about a half hour and then puree them. However, they probably should have cooked longer because I doubled the amount, and they weren't as soft as they were supposed to be after a half hour. But I pureed them anyways because I'm impatient like that and figured my food-processor would take care of everything for me.

Of course, though I doubled the carrots, I forgot to double the water the carrots were cooked in and were supposed to be pureed with. So it ended up being a big long hassle with me adding lots of extra water to the carrots that did not want to puree. Remember to keep your calculations correct when cooking - not only is that how you're supposed to cook, but it also makes everything easier and taste much better. Sometimes I forget this concept.

So fast forward a half hour and I was returning the pasta back to the pot with the not-so-starchy water and pureed carrots. I was to stir everything up and cook it for about five minutes until the sauce is thick and creamy.

I quickly discovered that my sauce was TOO thick because, apparently, I had way overestimated how many carrots one and a half pounds is. I ended up having to sit there and scoop out spoonful after spoonful of carrot puree from the noodles. It wasn't until I had scooped out over a cup of carrot puree, that I felt the sauce was more normal looking.

Then I added the cheese, and continued stirring.

Next came the seasonings. The recipe calls for fresh tarragon. I didn't have any tarragon. So I went online and read which herbs would be the best replacement and ended up making a mixture of basil, rosemary, and thyme.

I stirred in the seasonings, dumped it all into a baking dish, and added the remaining cheese.

Only problem, I didn't have all the remaining cheese. I ran out and my other cheese was too frozen to use. I was about a cup short. Don't I sound so prepared not having half the ingredients and running out of CHEESE for mac & CHEESE?

Like I said, it was doomed from the start.

Anyways, after baking in the oven for a bit it came out looking like this:

Not too bad.

And this is what it looked like plated up:

We always like our mac and cheese with peas :)

Honestly, it wasn't too bad. The spices were a little strong - I probably overdid my estimation of them - and I could definitely tell it needed more cheese. Besides those two things, it was pretty good. It didn't taste like carrots and it was creamy. When I asked Brigham if he liked this mac and cheese better than the butternut squash mac & cheese, he said he liked the carrot one better. I was surprised since he was so tired of carrots. I much prefer the butternut squash one.

I would be willing to try this recipe again to see what it's like if I actually cook it right. It has definite potential and I like how healthy it is for a comfort food. However, it will be awhile before I attempt it again because it was such a pain this time - even though everything that was hard was my own fault. So if you have extra carrots lying around, try it out!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sunglasses, Face-paint, and S'mores

Boy did we have another weekend packed with fun. I need to document it before we have another one to post about!

Friday night was a date night for Brigham and I at Seven Peaks to try out our new passes. It was nice to ride water-slides without having to worry about drowning babies. Thank you Grandma Sue.

Saturday morning we had a stake carnival to attend. Brigham left early to help set up and to man the football-toss booth and the kids and I met up with him later. Of course we wanted to arrive in style, so we put on some recently acquired shades.

Ready to impress!

The carnival had tons of fun things to do and we immediately stopped by the face painting booth before the line got even longer. Last time Ammon had his face painted, he broke out in hives but I thought he would handle it better since he is older. I told the face-painting dude to just do a small Spiderman something on Ammon's cheek and this is what happened instead:

Half the face of Spiderman - so much for small. But I figured it was fine, no harm done.

I asked Lydia what she wanted and assumed she would want a butterfly like all the other girls that were coming out of the tent. However, she firmly declared she wanted a flower. I was surprised how sure she was about it.

Boy did she love those flowers. She preened in the mirror and talked about it the rest of the day, making sure the neon flowers wouldn't come off until her bath later that night. My sweet flower girl.

Unfortunately, I was wrong about the face painting having less of an effect on Ammon, and I ended up having to take him home early because of a large, swollen eye, sudden rash, and screams of pain and irritation. Poor guy. Luckily, after cleaning off the paint and a long nap, Ammon's eye-swelling went down and the rash didn't reappear until the next morning. Note to self: Ammon has sensitive skin and should NOT COME IN CONTACT WITH FACE PAINT!

That evening we met up with Sam, Caitlin, and baby Abby for an evening in the mountains. It was a bit windy and chilly and I wasn't feeling the freshest, but I decided it would be a good prep for camping trips this summer and wanted to see how the kids would do. Not to mention, we didn't want to miss out on all the fun!

This kid REALLY loves his sunglasses. It's funny how attached he is to them. He got upset at the store when it was Lydia's turn to try pairs on rather than him. He would wear them around all day if I let him.

I was a little afraid of how unafraid this girl was of the fire. Hopefully I can convince her to be more careful.

Speaking of fire, I must say that for men, these two struggled a bit with the fire-management this time.

I think they were too busy chatting and not wanting to bother with it; pretty weird for my pyro husband.

Now for the special shout out to Caitlin for sharing her chocolate for s'mores.

Sharing chocolate takes A LOT of selflessness! Not to mention, it was Symphony chocolate! Thanks for sharing, you are better than me - the self-proclaimed food hoarder and freak who panicked when it appeared as though Sam was approaching her ranch Wheat Thins. Wow, I have issues.

Anyways, it made for delicious s'mores. Ammon agrees, even if he choose to eat his in a slightly uncomfortable manner:

Oh, s'mores, campfires, and mountains how I love thee. We are now ready for summer, I do believe!

Monday, June 11, 2012


This girl just takes my breath away. I wish I could capture her beautiful, smart, sweet, firecracker, innocence in a box so it will last forever. This picture will have to do instead. It does a decent job. I love you sweetheart!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kid Craft Day: Magic Tape Letters

Because we've moved and had a lot going on lately, I've been sadly lacking in the craftiness department. I still haven't gotten all my groove back, but I recently decided to do a fun little project with the kiddos. I've seen a few variations of this project on Pinterest and decided to give it a go.

First step is to take some clear tape and use it on a piece of blank paper to make a design, letters, or whatever you want.

Then you take the paper and color ALL over it.

Ammon did surprisingly good. I thought he would only try to eat the crayons but he actually made a few scribbles on his paper...

And then he did end up having a bit of a snack.

Lydia, colored like a champ even though I had to convince her to not color ONLY on the tape but around it as well, and to use colors besides black and brown (I'm not sure why she was drawn to such drab colors that day).

Jeez, Mom. You're always telling me to color IN the lines and now I'm supposed to scribble all over?!

This is what our papers looked like after taping and coloring:

Can you guess who's is who's and what will magically appear?

Whala, the mystery is solved!

Lydia really enjoyed this project.

I mean, REALLY enjoyed it.

Oh, that picture makes me smile every time I look at it.

Ammon liked our project until I took his snack crayons away.

Then he just got sad and angry.

And then even sadder and angrier.

Oh, that picture makes me laugh every time I look at it. How dare I ignore him to try and get a good picture!

And that's my latest crafting adventure. The taping of so many letters on the paper actually was a little tedious and took me about twenty minutes to do, while the coloring also lasted about twenty minutes. A nice, neat, free, forty-minute project that we all enjoyed. Well mostly. I definitely recommend this for a rainy day in to entertain the little ones with magically appearing designs.

If you would like to view the original masterpieces they are currently on display at the Tappana Household in exhibit: Side Of Fridge. For hours and rates contact :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cram It All In

Many of you may know that the kids and I will be leaving to spend a month or so with my family in Washington State. Unfortunately, Brigham has to stay in Utah to keep a paycheck while we are gone. Because we're going to be gone the majority of summer I feel like we need to cram in a bunch of family activities before we go so Brigham can have a sense of family summer fun.  This weekend began the cramming. Not only did we do a lot, but I took A LOT of pictures (I love pictures). So not only am I cramming in activities, but we'll see how many pictures I can cram into one post :)

To start out the weekend, on Friday we went and fed the ducks with Aunt Caitlin and baby Abby at the Jordan River Parkway and then had a picnic.

I couldn't believe how hard it was to feed the baby ducks. Even the mommy ducks would steal the bread away or peck at the babies if they happened to get to a piece first. It made me mad, sad, and determined to feed the little babies. My mother bear instincts definitely came out.

Throwing bread, cheesy grins, and playing in the grass after eating.

Despite the mean big ducks, it was a great time! We're going to miss the Tappana family this summer.

Saturday morning we packed up and headed to Liberty Park. One of the things I love about Liberty Park is that there is so much to do there! We were entertained for hours. First we romped around the playground.

Sliding and swinging - our favorites.

But soon the excitement of the playground was dimmed by the thrill of the splash-pad nearby. So a quick swap into a swimsuit for Lydia and we were off to activity number two.

Lydia's uncontained joy splashing around, Ammon's wet bum mark from falling, and his favorite approach to water - contained and in a sippy.

Lydia couldn't help but scream constantly with excitement while running around at the splash-pad. Ammon would bravely run to the water, feel it splash on his head, and zoom back out - running faster than I've ever seen him go. Over and over again, he went.

After Lydia was properly soaked we decided to head over to the part of the park that has water running down little trails that you can wade and splash in.

Drinking the water, siblings, wading, and family foot picture

Ammon loved this part of the park. I guess water that he can splash in and suck off his fingers is much more preferable to water being sprayed over his head. Lydia was all over the place, jumping from path to path and fountain to fountain. Brigham kept his eye on Lydia while I stopped Ammon from eating the bugs on the rocks and nearby mud.

A bit water-logged, we changed the kids back to dry clothes so we could continue on.

Next activity: feed the ducks.

Throwing bread and a tuckered out little boy.

Lydia has become a pro duck-feeder by now since she's been three times in the last week. Ammon still only wants to eat the bread himself, but this time he was worn out and slept instead. These ducks didn't seem to care very much about our bread which was a real change from the ducks the day before. 

Once the bread was gone we went and checked out the new City Creek Mall walking around for a bit, got lost in the underground parking garage, and tried out some Mexican food for dinner at Blue Iguana. 

Then we headed home for baths and bedtime. Boy were we exhausted from our fun, long weekend. I'm looking forward to more weekends like this to come! Do you think I can cram anymore pictures in this one post? You bet I can :) Here are some extras.

Lydia at the dino-playground in the food court at the mall, Ammon cheesing it up, I do love my boy, and the one picture that proves that I was, indeed, there.