Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rainbow Valley

Rylee and I went to my mom's house three days in a row to play in "Rainbow Valley" (aka the leaves). Rylee enjoyed collecting leaves of various shapes, sizes and colors and arranging them in bowls. She worked hard raking the leaves into a pile and then loved jumping in them. Yesterday the lawn mowers came to mow my mom's yard and took all the leaves with them. Rylee was devastated. It reminded me of when we had to explain to her why snow can't last forever. Luckily, there are still a lot of leaves in the trees so hopefully Rainbow Valley will be back before too long!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat, without the treat please!

For Halloween our apartment complex has a door decorating contest. Our friends, the Gertsch's, entered and went all out! We were really impressed with their skills and creativity! Rylee was their first trick or treater and they were her first (and best) house. We knew it was going to be a blast so we got it on tape!

For more details and pics on the Gertsch's great door (including pics of Rylan helping drill some holes) look here. Needless to say, they won the competition and some sweet prizes! They totally deserve it!
After we visited Matt and Doreen, we headed off to trick or treat in the Bush's neighborhood with a big group of friends. We had a great time! Rylee did get a little overwhelmed when she had filled her pumpkin with candy. She still wanted to trick or treat just didn't want anymore candy. She really confused one lady when she rang the doorbell, said trick or treat, and then politely turned down the candy. I think the lady assumed Rylee was just trying not to be presumptous. So she kept trying to convince Rylee it was ok but Rylee kept insisting that no, she simply didn't want the candy. The conversation went back and forth a few times with Rylee holding her ground (as always) and so we apologized to the lady for the confusion. As we were walking away, we explained to Rylee that she was confusing people and taking the candy just made life easier on everyone. Leave it to Rylee! Anyways, here are some pics from the night!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween Ya'll...

Well, there's nothing like Halloween to kick off the fall season. Rylee dressed up as a black cat this year. As you can see in the pictures we made sure that she was barely visible to anyone looking out for a tricker treater on the road. Those are some awesome parenting skills... Seriously, what were we thinking. Good thing I was walking with her. But the fur on that costume is slightly reflective...maybe. I'll be smarter next year. But she does make a very cute kitty.

The night before Halloween, we have a tradition of carving a pumpkin. Next year Rylee is going to attempt her own pumpkin... and I'm moving on to carving 3-D pumkins. After carving teeth all day, this was a nice break.

It took a while to convince Rylee to get her hands dirty, and even when she finally did, she kept going to the sink every five minutes to wash her hands. Every one who is close to me will completely understand where she gets this from.

This year she still wanted my help, and this is what we ended up with. She picked out the pattern, scooped out the guts and complained that it took me too long to carve it out. Typical.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fried Delacacies, Carnies and other stuff...

Last week we had the chance to attend the NC state fair. We didn't get to go last year for whatever reason, so this year was highly anticipated. I'm not sure how it is at the Utah fair these days, but out here, they like to fry everything...and candy bars are definitely at the top of the list of favorites. I also found fried pecan pie, fried PB & J, fried pickles, fried hamburgers, and the list goes on and on. AWESOME!!!
Here I am with one of the classics, the fried Snickers. But if Snickers isn't your thing, you can choose from, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Oreo's, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The trick with these is just not to look at it as your eating it. The inside is melted and brings back memories of changing diapers.
Looks like a corn dog...but don't let that fool ya. This is one of the un-natural wonders of the world.

Rylee and I had fun playing in the UNC tv cut outs. Oh, by the way, Rachael was with us at the fair but somehow escaped all of our pictures, she usually ends up taking all of the pictures. Probably because her camera skills are better than mine.

As soon as we told Rylee we were going to the fair the first thing she said was that she was going to get some cotton candy. So here ya go for all of you who think we don't let Rylee have any sugar...a stick with nothing but sugar just for her.

Rylee was so excited this year because she was tall enough (aka 42") to ride the all (kiddie) rides by herself.

She's so smart too! Here she hurried to the front of this roller coaster so she could have the best seat on the ride.

And this was her reaction every time a ride ended and we told her she had to leave the ride. I can't really blame her, the rides are pretty short!

And finally! What do Carnies do for fun? Well, we know from the Simpson's that Carnies are clever folks. This Carnie has figured out how to draw huge crowds for racing his barn animals. Hogway Racing Pigs was a lot of fun to watch. But my favorite part was watching how much people were getting into it...like it was a Nascar race or something.
Here are the pigs racing around the track. They were actually really fast.
My favorite was watching the ducks race. I had no idea you could teach ducks to race around a track. Apparently, I really need to get out more.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I stumbled across a great blog the other day which I thought I would share. It is called A Year of Crockpotting. The author has been using her crockpot everyday in 2008 and blogging about it. Check it out! She has some great recipes for Fall. Her pictures/recipes are mouthwatering and have definitely made me want to pull out my crockpot more often.

Also, here is the whole wheat bread recipe that I have been using that I learned from my friend Wanda Molnar. I wanted to be sure to mention her name so as not take credit for it, but I did have a few people who were interested in having the recipe:

100% Whole Wheat Bread

2 2/3 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons baker's yeast
2 tablespoons gluten (look for "vital wheat gluten" in the bakery isle if this is an unfamiliar ingredient to you)
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
6-7 cups whole wheat flour (which is about 4 cups whole wheat, ground into flour)

Put all ingredients together in bowl. Knead in Kitchen Aid for 5 minutes or by hand for 20. Let rise, approximately 15 minutes. While the bread is rising, grease two bread pans. When dough almost doubles in bulk, form into 2 loaves (assuming you are using 1 pound loaf pans). Let dough rise in pans. While dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350. When bread has risen 20 minutes or about 1" above the pans (this is where having the right size pan matters) bake for 40 minutes. After baking, brush the tops of the bread with butter or oil (optional...I omit this step). Enjoy!

The thing I like about this recipe is that the gluten makes a softer, less crumbly loaf. It also freezes well (I freeze it unsliced). Also, the rising time is super fast...it only takes 1 hour tops from when I mix the first two ingredients and when I am putting it in the oven. Might sound too good to be true...but it works, trust me! And since the rising time is so short the dough does not need to be covered or oiled. All things I like...but what I love is the taste!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008


When I finally recovered from the morning sickness phase of this pregnancy and began cooking again, I decided I wanted to learn how to make bread. I took an enrichment class, tried multiple different recipes (white, half wheat-half white, 100% whole wheat), spent time searching U-Tube for different demonstrations on how to knead, using a kitchen aid mixer, how to shape the loaf, what temperature the water should be, etc. To say the least, making bread was not something that came natural to me, but I was determined to figure it out and incorporate it into our weekly routine. Finally, I spent a morning with a friend at church who makes bread for her family (including 4 kids) every week. And just like that...success! I love her recipe! It is 100% whole wheat (which I grind at my mom's house) and very tasty! I would dare say it is easy (compare to other recipes I have tried anyways). So now it is my personal goal to eliminate store bought bread and make my own bread once a week. We will see how it goes, but nothing is more motivating than the smell and taste of warm homemade bread! Yum!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rescue Rodeo

Last week was the annual Rescue Rodeo at Baity Hill. This is when the rescue services from UNC and Chapel Hill come and teach kids about safety. We got to see this "police dog in action"... (that's in quotes because I think that officer just brought his dog from home). Not to say it wasn't a great dog, because it was very nice, but I might not count on him to take out hardened criminals or sniff out any bombs or drugs or anything. But he might lick someone to death.

The fire engines were the star of the show. Nobody really wanted to see inside of the police cars, but now lets be serious does anybody ever really want to see the inside of a police car? "Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?"
The best part of the day was that the police and fire departments had free bike helmets for all of the kids. In all honesty, this was the whole reason for attending the rescue rodeo in my opinion. Rylee was finished looking at the vehicles and the dog in about ten minutes and I had to wait in line for 45 minutes just to get a free helmet. So by the time we actually got the helmet Rylee was tired and didn't even want it. Oh well, I got what I came for.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ring of Fire

Several months ago I taught Rylee the lyrics to "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash and it became one of her favorite songs. Tonight she was going to town singin in the tub so we took this video while she wasn't looking.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

BBQ is not a Verb

This is a link to a video that Mark and Daina sent me. It splains BBQ for all ya'll from the west that just don't understand what BBQ is all about... Check it out.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Highlights from our trip to Utah

We recently went to Utah to visit family and friends. We had a fabulous time! Here were my favorite things about the trip (in no particular order!):
#1: Getting to meet our sweet nephew Jordan for the first time. He was so happy and smiley! Being able to spend time with him made me excited to meet our own little one in a few months!
#2: Visiting Great Grandma Staubus. A few weeks before we left for Utah, Rylan's Grandma had a close call and so we felt blessed that she pulled through! She was as funny and witty as ever!#3: Little to no humidity. We went on picnics and played at the park in the middle of the day. As long as we sat in a shady spot, we felt perfectly comfortable. That never would be possible in NC in August! #4: Visiting and playing with cousins and Grandma and Grandpa! Especially when Grandma stepped in the pool and everyone soaked her!
#5: Our trip to Bear Lake! According to Daina and Rylan (who grew up regularly going to Bear Lake) the water was warmer that day than ever before! As an east coast girl, this mountain lake was still felt freezing, but we had a blast! The lake is so blue and beautiful, unlike many of NC's brown lakes! The icing on the cake was that Mark and Daina rented a jetski. I love those things! Rylee even rode it and loved it. Ry drove her around as fast as he drove with me and she was not scared at all!

#6: Getting family pictures taken. It was the first time the entire Kenyon Hansen family had all been together in 2 1/2 years. #7: Playing Rockband with Tyler and Tara! We always have fun with T&T! They have a 4 year little girl too, so Rylee and Breklynn played while the "grown ups" played! I had never played Rockband before and wasn't sure it was my thing...until I got that drumstick in my hand! Then I was sold! I also liked the guitar but the drums were my favorite! Rylan liked doing vocals and guitar. Some times it just feels good to release your inner rockstar!
#8: A party with friends and family! Rylan's parents knew how many people we usually have to cram in visits with when we come . So they got tons of great food and threw a party and Ry was able to invite his friends. We really appreciated this because it really took the pressure off the rest of the trip. Here is Ry with Thomas and Adam, his best friends from high school. We had a great time and it was fun to see everybody!

As you can see, we had a fantastic trip. And I didn't even include everything. I am glad I posted this because it reminded me of what a great time we had and how blessed we are with good family and friends, even though we don't get to see many of them as often as we would like! Hopefully it won't be too long until we get to go again.