Saturday, March 29, 2008

Odds & Ends

This is Owen in his California Mickey Mouse hand-me-down sweatshirt. WAAAAAYYYYY hand-me-down ... it was mine or my sister's or something when we were little. Maybe mom could clear that up for me. Too bad I don't have a picture of the original owner wearing it. Maybe mom/dad could help me out with that, too.

This is the great 1/2 circle window in our bedroom. I love it, but ever since we moved into this house 9 months ago I have hated the way it heats up the top floor of the house. The sun beats in there from the west in the afternoons and the temperature climbs. Our thermostat is upstairs so in the summer the A/C was on constantly and in the winter the heat never came on because it was plenty toasty upstairs, but down on the 1st floor it was freezing. Well, as of Monday, everything changed. We had Jones Paint & Glass of American Fork, UT install low-E glass in all of our windows on the west side of the house. WOW, what a difference it has made! I was very skeptical, even though they said it would improve the efficiency of our home about 30-40%. It improved it AT LEAST that much, but it seems like much more. They were so great, too. They were very knowledgeable, honest, and super fast! I can't say enough good things about Jones and our new glass.
Here I am standing in the sun coming through our bedroom window and not feeling a single bit of heat! I think the kitties are a little disappointed that their basking days are over, but I couldn't be happier! I no longer roast upstairs and we don't freeze (as much) downstairs. THANK YOU JONES!!!

And here is the mirror Casey gave me as a little Easter present. I had my eye on it at Target. It reminds me of one of my favorite paintings, Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding Portrait. Very cool! Thanks, honey!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


It's been awhile since I've posted so today I'll be playing catch-up. Here is what has happened in the last week and a half:

Owen turned 8 months old on St. Patrick's Day. He now sits on his own, babbles and squeals for all to hear, clicks his tongue, and has this great reaching, rolling, army-crawling thing going on. He's still a very good, happy baby.

Evan discovered our long-lost (still sort of packed away) plug-and-play Intellivision "yideo game," which he longed to play 24/7.

My parents and sister came down from Wyoming for the weekend and it was lots of fun hanging out with the whole family. The boys looked pretty cute in their new shirts on Easter Sunday.

Evan spent the entire weekend Wii-ing, thanks to Pata Jones. He was pretty amazing at every sport!

Dad got a new 'do ... courtesy of Emily ...

... who took a nap Sunday afternoon (a la Mama Jones) ...

while Kate recorded the festivities.

Evan found what the Easter Bunny brought him after his nap.

He loved his mini bowling set (the Easter Bunny knew anything Wii-related would be a big hit!)

Owen enjoyed his Target Dollar Spot bowls (the Easter Bunny loves bargains, too, I guess) ...

... and his toys ...

... but his favorite part was what was left after the bowls were taken out of the picture (safe, I know).

Evan loved hunting for Easter eggs out in the backyard.

Auntie Kake got baby duty.

I had to say hi to sweet little Ypsi (pronounced "Ip-see" ... named after "Ypsilanti, Michigan").

Mama Jones took pics of the grandkid while Missy supervised some egg-hunting.

And Auntie Em went for a drive.

Don't worry, Casey didn't leave himself out of the picture (ha ha).

On Monday, we enjoyed watching the roofers put the shingles on the studio. They were so fast I hardly had time to take pictures, but everyone can see the latest updates on the studio here on Casey's blog.

Mama & Pata Jones and Auntie Kake left Tuesday morning (boo-hoo!) and Evan once again discovered that he has toys (as opposed to a Wii). Here he is showing me the "temple" he built.

And Daddy let him pick out his own socks after his bath that night.

Here he is showing me the right one ...

... and the left one ...

Thanks, Daddy. I had to convince him that his green socks were in the laundry getting washed because he wanted to wear them again today.

Thanks for coming for Easter, family. We sure had lots of fun!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Puffy Little Clouds of Peanut Buttery, Chocolatey Deliciousness

I feel it is my duty to share this incredible cookie recipe with everyone. It's been in my files forever (it's from Family Circle 01/20/04!), but I just made it for the first time last night. It's fast, easy, and even gluten-free! So this post--and these cookies--are dedicated to Susie and Kate:

1 cup peanut butter, chunky or creamy
1 cup packed light- or dark-brown sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz.)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In medium-size bowl, beat together the peanut butter, brown sugar, egg and baking soda until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Stir in chips until evenly distributed.
  3. Drop the dough by slightly rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing the mounds about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake one baking sheet at a time in the oven until the cookies are puffed and slightly golden but still soft to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to the wire rack; let cool completely.

NOTE: I used one of those little cookie scoops and baked mine for a little over 9 minutes until they were just turning brown on the top and around the bottom edges. Don't cheat on the cooling time, though. If you try to pick them up after the 5 minutes on the sheet, they just crumble. But after another 10 minutes of cooling on a rack, they are PERFECT!!! I think these would be great (if not better) with milk chocolate chips or a Hershey kiss on top. Enjoy!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pages & Moostaches

I left Evan and Owen up in our bedroom yesterday while I went downstairs for a few minutes. This is usually a safe and harmless thing to do. Well, I finished what I was doing downstairs and came back up to find this:
"Look mom, baby Owen has a page!" [cage]

I think the most interesting part of the whole thing is that baby Owen really seemed to be enjoying himself in his cage. (So then it would be okay for me to allow him to enjoy his cage a little more if I needed to contain him for small periods of time, right???) And yes, I may have grabbed the camera before rescuing Owen from this one, but don't worry, I did decide to intervene when Evan piled 2 pillows on top of Owen and laid on top of him (even though both of them were laughing their heads off).

Even MORE disturbing was the prepubescent "moosetache" Evan was sporting later that morning:

... which is why he will no longer be drinking Walmart-brand grape "Crystal Light." There is still a trace of it left today!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

Many of you saw that we finally had some progress on the Art Studio on Friday. Well, as of Saturday night, they had completed the framing. For the sake of ease, let me just refer everyone to Casey's blog. The most recent post, "The House That Casey Built" (so clever, isn't he), is the finished product thus far. Be sure to check out the bottom picture of our neighbors trying to cut down the tree in their front yard. They sure provided some entertainment that day. Oh, and don't let Casey fool you--most of the pictures of this ongoing project have been taken by yours truly. Although I will give Casey credit for the lovely panorama shot at the beginning of his post that shows the monstrosity in all it's ginormous glory!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bug Out Bob

I guess the resemblance isn't quite as dramatic as I pictured it in my head. In fact, Owen is cuter and sillier and much more squeezable than Bob.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Okay, so I'm taking a break from the usual topic (the kids, if you haven't noticed) because I've had something on my mind lately and I just want to talk about it to anyone who wants to listen. I'm warning you now, though--this might end up being a little lengthy so I won't feel bad if anyone doesn't read beyond this paragraph.

Last weekend we had the opportunity to go to Denver to see an amazing art exhibition: From Durer to Rembrandt : the renaissance of faith in art. It was SO amazing! You can go ahead and look at the portion of the exhibition that they have online (click above), but it doesn't do it a bit of justice. Some of the best works are not even shown. I've decided that etchings, engravings, woodcuts, etc. are things that you have to see in person to really and truly appreciate them.

I was never really a huge fan of etchings (including engravings, woodcuts, etc., but I'll just call them all etchings from now on for simplicity's sake) like I am of oil paintings, but this exhibition changed my mind. Etchings look like little ink drawings, but they are far more complicated than that. I still can't wrap my mind around the painstaking work that goes into each of these different techniques. (If you are curious, this Web site has a great little animation on how an etching is done. Click on the arrow to "Enter Exhibit" then click on the right-hand picture that's up near the top left--the one with the little bowl and brush and such.)

I had never before understood the differences between all of these similar, but very different techniques until this exhibition (not good for an art history major!). It had perfect descriptions of each of the techniques (etching, engraving, woodcut, drypoint, and burin) that were simple enough to grasp and detailed enough to understand the subtle differences between them. (I had to go back and reread them all about 5 times, mind you, but now I've got them down!)

Anyway, the exhibition starts with a video introduction (which you can view on the Web site). Then a docent-type person encourages you to pay attention to how each work makes you feel and what emotions it stirs up. They tell you to ask yourself how you would have seen the event pictured and how you would have felt if you were this onlooker or that spectator in the work. Well, as I walked into the exhibition and grabbed my little magnifying glass from the basket, my emotions did run high. But not in the way you might think (actually, anyone who knows me should know I would never really get spiritually/sentimentally/whatever-you-want-to-call-it emotional). The art historian in me came roaring out and I got so intellectually emotional I was just brimming with excitement!

I immediately got to work, scrutinizing each etching like a detective. (When I got about one fourth of the way through the exhibit and realized how many more were left, I started letting some of the details slide!) But every time I would move to a new work, my mind would go crazy: how did he do that? how did he make it look light there and dark over there? how did he get those lines so perfect and straight? how did he get the composition just right? why did he put so-and-so here and that thing there? how did he capture the depth of space like that? how did he capture emotions like that? (I could go on, but you get the idea.) It was all so mind-boggling and exciting at the same time.

I've always been a huge fan of Albrecht Durer, but I didn't realize he was such a great etcher! It just amazed me how the artists' different personalities came out in their etchings. And you knew they were their works because they applied the same techniques in their etchings that they did in their paintings, which is incredible once you understand how an etching/engraving/woodcut is done.
Durer's etchings revealed an abundance of perfectly composed lines, incredible details, and his intriguing and decorative little monogram--all things you will find in his paintings. Rembrandt portrayed amazing emotion and variations of light and dark with incredibly sparse, fluid lines, just like in his paintings. Here is one of my favorites from the exhibition, Durer's The Nativity engraving from 1504.

To top it all off, they had a centuries-old Luther Bible that contained many illuminated pages (although you could only see the one they had it open to). Here is an example of manuscript illumination--very cool, one of my favorite topics in art history:

Everything was truly amazing and awe-inspiring. I can't say enough good things about the exhibition. If you're in the Denver area this month, I would highly recommend checking it out. It's free, but it will only be up for another 5 or 6 days. Check the Web site for details.

We stayed at the Warwick Hotel in downtown Denver. Very nice hotel if you are in the market for one. The staff was very friendly and helpful. It was definitely an older hotel (the hallways were a little reminiscent of The Shining), but kinda ritzy and cool. The room was huge and had a nice balcony with a great view:

The old wooden elevators played cool music and had lovely mirrors in them:

We spent most of Saturday at the Denver Art Museum. BONUS TIP: The first Saturday of every month is free!!! (Normally it's $20 for adults so that is good!) It is a very large museum with a lot of good stuff and it's very kid-friendly.

The Denver Library is right next door to the museum. I spent some time in there while Casey did some drawing in the museum. It, too, is very large and cool:

We really enjoyed Denver (especially since it was 70 degrees out!), but the icing on the cake was seeing my cousin Kim in the Denver airport. I didn't think to notify her that we were passing through town until it was too late, but I thought I could at least look for her at the airport since I knew she worked in security there. Well, anyone who is familiar with the Denver airport knows that would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. It is ginormous!!! So I was bummed, knowing I would never see her, and we checked in and went on our merry way. As I was putting my shoes back on after passing through the x-ray security area, I hear, "Mandy?!?!?" I couldn't believe it when I looked up and saw Kim! I still can't get over it; what were the odds that we would walk through her security line, let alone be in the same area of the airport as her??? We had a nice little chat and it was a great ending to a fabulous trip.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Sometimes Evan gets just a little bit crazy. I'm sure this isn't a newsflash to anyone with a 3(ish)-year-old boy. Well, last night was no exception. Casey and I were trying to watch Idol (yes, we just crossed over to the dark side this year!) and Evan went berserk! This particular episode involved an old Christmas popcorn can that we use for toy storage and a lot of running around and screaming. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

Evan got the rest of the family involved, putting the can on daddy ...

and mom ... (nice self-portrait, huh?)

and, after much convincing that he would be "so soft," he even let Owen join in the fun.

I can't imagine what Owen must have been thinking. I'm sure he thought he had seen his last day. The funniest part of the night, though, was the face that Owen made after he had a couple big sneezes (due in no part, I'm sure, to having his head in a can!).

I think he looks like one of those little stress guys that you squeeze and his ears and nose pop out. I guess Evan is not the only crazy kid here.