Tuesday, December 23

A not so Traditional, but tons of fun nonetheless, Russell Family Christmas Eve, Eve, Eve, Eve

If you would like an explanation of the title read this.

This year our Russell Family Christmas Eve, Eve took place on Christmas Eve to the fourth power and due to the ever increasing Russell family popularity was enjoyed by a few others besides the Russell family...including the newest addition...come on now...say it with me...Jonah Scott Russell!!! I understand if you are getting sick of hearing about him...actually I don't understand that...some things, but mostly people...will NEVER lose their "new shiny red bike" splendor and Jonah is one of the few in my life!
This year my mom's cousins joined us: Anna and Jim and Cory and Ivy, and Tamara. There are seriously some of my most favorite cousins...(and incidentally Anna and Tamara own/run whatever...White Elegance, so if you're looking for a temple dress, etc...check it out). Our friend Jen also attended the festivities.

I was all set to take pictures of the events...Christmas crackers (containing an iTunes gift card...Father Christmas rocks!...or maybe Lorie...probably both)...but all I got was the remains of the crackers.

I did manage to get a picture of the delightful table and delicious eats before we sat down to devour it all...that is our traditional Christmas Jell-O on every one's plate...and yes indeed...my dad is holding a plate of steak and crab legs...it was a break from our traditional steak fondue, but a break that I am pretty sure we all were able to adjust to without too much heart break.

I even got a picture of my mom and Jen as we were about to dig in!
I had planned on taking some pictures of the other guests...but as has been the case lately...my photo snapping mainly comprised of...you guess it...JONAH SCOTT RUSSELL!!! Oh wait...the stockings have been hung by the chimney with care!!!
But that's it...the rest are of my little buddy!
No he did not eat all that rice...in fact I don't think he got to enjoy any of it...just yucky formula...which he later puked ALL OVER HIS MOM!!! Poor Mattie...but hilarious!! (I think Scottie even took a picture).

Yep...still the King of Cute!!

He does need to work on that stellar Russell smile...he'll get there...he is still working on getting teeth!

And even Jen...who claims to be afraid of babies (unless you are talking about her dogs)...got in on the action. *sigh*

It was a Merry Russell Family Christmas Eve, Eve, Eve, Eve with a good time had by all. I love my family so much. I love that my mom's cousins are more like aunts to me than cousins. I love that Saturday night in Tooele I spent the evening with great aunts, grand parents, cousins, second cousins, third cousins...probably thirty times removed...who knows...and I am most grateful to the earlier generations who instilled in me a love for family.

Christmas Trees past II

As mentioned earlier I LOVE Christmas trees! Here are some pictures I took while trying out features on my camera. Once again...I won't be working for National Geographic anytime soon...but I enjoy looking at them!
This is my mom's and dad's tree. I love it!

The window/door behind it makes a great frame when driving at night.

This is one of my trees..chili pepper lights!

The Snowman sits atop the chili pepper light tree.
Santa also adorns the chili pepper tree...actually many Santas adorn this tree.

More chili peppers...I think this is my favorite tree...green balls, shiny, red chili peppers and red and white lights!
A view from underneath the Christmas tree...you can kind of make out the owl that sits overlooking all three trees as well as my living room. (incidentally...lying underneath the Christmas tree is my favorite spot).
Same view, but with the flash...
Pretty lights!
Ok I am done now....maybe...unless of course I fall in love with anymore Christmas trees!

Banana Bread

I have made a recent foray into the fine art of baking. I enjoy cooking, but have always been afraid of flour, and powdered sugar, and brown sugar, and baking soda, and all other main baking ingredients. (I am also a disaster in the kitchen so that is kind of a detractor).

I believe the fear began when I was somewhere between 11 and 13 and I attempted to make these really good Kiss cookies that my mom makes...unfortunately I substituted, unknowingly, powdered sugar for flour. My mom could not figure out what was wrong, until she noticed the jar from which I was taking the "flour". I suppose that is a disadvantage to having special jars for your baking ingredients, but I rather like it, and will just have to take my chances.

I decided that about eighteen years had passed since that incident and and I may be due for another attempt at baking. It began last year, with my work to perfect a chocolate chip cookie...and frankly...I think my chocolate chips cookies are pretty damn good. I have recently moved on to from scratch cup cakes and once again...I am not too shabby. So I decided that it was time to really up my game and make an attempt at banana bread. After FINALLY getting a recipe from my best bud...seriously...I think I had to sign in blood to get the recipe...so don't even think about asking! It is still a work in progress, but too empty plates full at the end of the work day should signify that I made some pretty decent loaves of banana bread.
I am still a disaster in the kitchen as seen here

and my presentation leaves a bit to be desired...

But I am getting there and someday soon the look will match the taste! (the loaf on the left contains chocolate chips)

Friday, December 19

Christmas time is here

This year I acquired...inherited...was given...any...I now have Christmas trees...three to be exact. The use to belong to my parents...then to my brother and sister in law, and now they are mine. I love Christmas trees...I have so many happy memories of sitting in a room lite only by the lights on the Christmas tree. In fact one such evening...oh...sixteen years ago I sat on the couch next the the tree in our living room listening to the soundtrack to Dances with Wolves holding my (at the time) baby sister Kelli (not so much a babe in arms anymore). That night I confessed to my then 3 and half month old sister that I was going to get a VERY bad grade (ie failing) on my science project...mostly because I hadn't actually done it! I remember feeling so stressed out at the time...being so worried what my parent's would say...I had to tell someone...and I knew Kelli would understand :) Well at least she wouldn't tell my parents!
Anyway...I love the trees...even now...my parent's have a flocked tree with white lights and red balls...you can see it from Orchard Drive in Bountiful/North Salt Lake at night, and it is beautiful. Lights and Christmas trees are two of my most favorite things about Christmas...and just in general.
I realize that I haven't quite reached my mom's and dad's high standards of deocrating...yet...but this will have to do for now! (And I am still working on perfecting my photography abilities with indoor lighting...obviously).

Snow and my Camera

Lately I have been learning more and more about how to get the best pictures out of my camera and have discovered that by using the specific settings for different environments I get more bang for my flash...so to speak. I am not going to be making money off of my photographs anytime soon, but the other night I was reminded of how much I love the snow. It is breathtaking when viewed in such detail. I love how fresh and clean new fallen snow is. and the vividness of the white against the black night.

Random and kind of Odd...but pretty

I was driving home from Bountiful the other night after a delightful evening of white elephant gifts, pizza from The Pie and chocolate chip cookie dough pancakes from Village Inn with Shorts...I drove past the capitol and as I was turning right onto State street I noticed one loan pine tree on the lawn of the Capitol building. I flipped a U and drove back up the hill. I had never noticed that before. I wish that my pictured could capture the image...but you'll just have to check it out for yourself...in the meantime...despite the randomness...I do think it was actually quite beautiful.

Thursday, December 18

I know, but come on...how can you not love this kid!

Jonah Scott Russell...Mobs...JoJo...(but not Joanie or Joan)
I realize that I have posted about Jonah quite a bit, but seriously...he is SO cute! And that is such an understatement. I think his good looks probably say a lot about his great spirit as well. Anyway...I won't go on and on...I will just let the pictures speak for themselves!! You can read more details about the photos as well as Jonah on Mattie's (and kind of Scott's) blog.
This is Scottie and Jonah at the BYU vs U game.

Jonah at the U game...guess he is a U fan...he is smiling

Just...the best. LOVE THE DIMPLE! This is so good for my heart!

Getting so big...and happy!


Monday, December 15


He is for sure my favorite little person...and possibly, possibly (it is still a tight race there) my favorite person! How can you not love that face?!?!

So as those of you know who follow my blog, or are in my life regularly...this is my nephew Jonah Scott Russell...who I have decided to call Mobs...because of Jonah and the whale, which turns into Moby Dick...and Mobs is just cuter...anyway...I am just astounded by A) how adorable he still is and B) how much I love him...it is insane...unreal, even! Just looking at this picture and writing this post I am just so happy! He puts a smile on my face when pretty much nothing else can...talk about serious power! He has brought so much joy and laughter into the life of my family and for that I am so grateful!

Monday, December 8

Mom's Mad Skills

So just a quick post to honor my mom's mad cooking skills! I didn't make it to family dinner last night, but my wonderful parents came over later in the evening to see my Christmas trees (I will have to post pictures of those later) bringing with them a gift of the lasagna that they had eaten for dinner. Since I had already enjoyed my dinner that evening I saved it for lunch today, and it was DE-LIGHTFUL, and super DE-LICIOUS!

My mom has seriously got some mad skills when it comes to cooking...she claims that she doesn't but I think that is just her being modest because (other than egg plant Parmesan...and it's not that her's is gross...I just don't like egg plant Parmesan) I have yet to eat something she makes that I don't like. Last week she made penne rustica pasta with shrimp or chicken, she makes great steak, amazing pork chops (and she doesn't even like pork), taco soup, I even like her barbecue chicken...and I don't really like chicken that much! I love her tacos and her homemade chicken noodle soup, her salmon is to die for, I have yet to eat a salad she has made that I haven't liked...I really could go on, and on...I can't wait for Christmas Eve Eve (yes, Eve Eve) when we have her Christmas Jell-O (not that Jell-O is difficult, but I am still excited).

Anyway...thanks for the great lunch ma!