Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Dilemma

For many people the Christmas season is made special by their family traditions. Families bake cookies together, exchange gifts, carol, give service--the list is practically endless. For my family making Sedgwick English Toffee tops our list. It is a tradition that has lasted decades, beginning when my mother wooed my father with it, sealing the deal with his wedding proposal. The toffee is THAT good. (OK, the toffee is really that good, even though the story may or may not be true).
So what could possibly be the dilemma then? The problem is that I am on the "Candy Deal" which is another, more recent Sedgwick family tradition where the participants go without eating candy for an entire year. Do you see where I am headed? How can one blast Karen Carpenter singing, "I'll be home fore Christmas" and stand at the stove top for 30-45 minutes (times MANY batches) and make English Toffee if I can't EAT any of it. A couple of my sisters have made exceptions for English Toffee in the Candy Deal. I mean really, can you trust a candy maker's toffee if they refuse to eat it themselves? We have said that we can eat it as an ice cream topping--but that's not working really well. Do I really have to eat a WHOLE BOWL full ice cream when all I really want to do is make sure that the toffee is good enough to give away?? And here is another problem--today when I took a picture of the toffee, I accidentally knocked some off of the table and it fell to the floor. As I cleaned it up I absentmindedly popped a piece into my mouth. What did I discover? It stuck to my teeth!!!!! I made that batch several days ago and hadn't gotten around to giving it all away, and the toffee that was left was not up to par. I know, this is getting serious.
So, I am a in a full dilemma. I don't know what to do. If I make an exception for the toffee, I will feel like I have to justify eating a little toffee after abstaining from candy for 11 1/2 months. If I don't eat the toffee, I might end up giving someone sticky or burned toffee AND end up eating too much ice cream. What would you do??

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thankful for Grandparents

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving break which was made even better by a long awaited visit from Grandma and Grandpa Rowen. We loved spending time together. They hadn't been to San Diego in a long time, so we were determined to show them a good time. We went to the beach, hot tubbing and to Coronado Island. We watched movies, shopped, ate mexican food and played at the park. It was perfect. We can't wait for them to come back!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Work in Progess

Hey there. Sorry for the messed up blog layout. I am trying to learn how to make a banner (without photoshop or any other cool tool) and will likely fall asleep in my chair before I get it figured out. We took this photo this morning and I want to add it to my banner. So, until it works, my blog might look a little jumbled.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We sure did. So much to be grateful for. I'll post pictures soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Sweet Son

Last night I went to bed feeling gross. This morning I woke up (if you can call it that since I was awake most of the night) feeling worse. Mark was sweet and got the kids off to school as I sat on the couch--I was sick of my bed by then. After he left I was worried how I was going to handle the morning with my active little guy (see below post). Well, I learned that he is considerate beyond his years. All morning he let me sit on that couch as he watched Thomas the Tank Engine over and over again. Occassionally he brought me some crackers that I had set out on the table. What a sweetie. Thank you, thank you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Within Minutes

Right now this little guy is resting quietly in his crib. Every day, for at least 2 hours, he takes a really good nap. And it's no wonder, when you take into account how much mischief he gets into in a given period of time. For example, let me just recount the last few days around here. Two days ago, while making dinner Emma came into the kitchen to tell me that Matthew had made a big mess in the playroom. What did I find? Soft, squishy, old top ramen noodles ground into the carpet. Fifteen minutes after cleaning that up, Emma found me again...this time he had gotten into the chocolate chips and had eaten/smirred them all over himself and scattered them all over the couch. The funny thing was that while I was cleaning them up, he was still trying to shove as many in his mouth as possible. My last example: yesterday he wanted to watch a movie so I took the opportuntiy to take a quick shower. When I came down stairs he was still seated on the couch, but with the box of fishy crackers (that he found) in his lap. I figured that I could let that slide since I had a nice shower without interruption. However, I then discovered that he not only got into the crackers, but also into all of the vitamins (thank goodness for child locks). He managed to slide a chair over to the counter, climb on, open the cabinets, then find and open one container and shake them all over the countertop. Of course I had to see if he had eaten, any so I stuck one in my mouth. I had a hard time biting through it and when I did, I was sorry. I was rinsing and spitting for a good long time. Disgusting. Needless to say, I felt safe that he hadn't swallowed or eaten anything harmful. But really, what is he going to get into next? And why don't I supervise my child? It all happens too fast, within minutes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


What a fun day! Halloween is always a lot of fun around here. Did some one say, "that's because you are a candy addict--or at least used to be?" Did someone say that?? I thought I heard someone say that. Hum. Anyway, I wasn't sure if Halloween this year was going to be as much fun since the girls and I are on the "candy deal" (NO CANDY for one year). But the day was full of fun activities, a party and trick or treating. NO one missed eating the candy (OK, the girls didn't miss eating the candy--I am still cryin inside). Abbie and Emma while sorting out the goods.

The family gathered for a picture while our pre-trick-or-treating party got underway.

" Spooky Soups" with our neighbors and friends was a fun way to kick start the night. I've already got a plan for next time. How's this...a "Hallo Wiener Roast"

Pumpkin carving is such a mess. But worth it, not only for the cute jack o lanterns, but also for the Parmesan roasted pumpkin seeds that Mark made.


After a two and a half year long break, we finally made it back to Disneyland! What a great place. We had a wonderful time, the kids were in heaven, no one begged for treats and souvenirs, the weather was nice, Mark was with us...perfect days. Our one and only family picture at Disneyland.

Dia de los muertos was being celbrated while we were there.

I know I look frightening, but this picture tells a great story. Here we are in line for our very first ride. Matthew spotted the rockets and HAD to jump aboard. Thank goodness the line was short because, as you can see, he is very excited. It took all of my strength to keep him from climbing over the railing.
So sweet.

More Fall Break

Our school district has a funny schedule. We have a shortened summer (only 8 weeks) and a couple of longer breaks throughout the school year. Modified Traditional. Apparently, during the fall break (this one) is when we are supposed to go to Hawaii along with the rest of the families in our elementary school. Being new to the school, we didn't get the memo in time and had to enjoy our break closer to home.

Mark took a few days off of work so we could all enjoy some time together. We went to Newport Beach for a few days. Though we did spend a lot of time in the MAgic Kingdom, we also enjoyed swimming, the beach and Balboa. The beach pictured above is in Corona Del Mar off of Poppy and PCH. It was beautiful--a great place for tide pools and to watch the sun set over Catalina.

We strolled along the water front on Balboa Island. The little (and not so little) houses on our path were decked out for Halloween.

Matthew and Emma enjoying a quiet moment at the dock.
Show cones the SIZE OF YOUR HEAD!!

It has been such a long time since I have been to Balboa--years. I used to go all of the time in my teens. Things have really changed. But, thank goodness one thing has not--Balboa Bars!! They are still ice cream, chocolate and nut heaven on a stick. Though only Emma and Abbie are pictured here, I am sure you can use your imagination to see me scarffing down my ice cream bar on the other end of the camera.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

How quickly time passes. It has been over a year now that we have moved to Carlsbad. In honor of this milestone, I looked through some of the pictures we took this year and came up with a few of my favorite things about living here. This post has taken a while to publish because I was going to take a few more photos to add to the blog. It never happened and I had to move on. So, as you read on, also try and imagine the hot pink utility boxes around town, the sparkeling lagoon I pass every time I go to the freeway and the San Diego Temple--only a 20 minute drive away. That should complete my list. Here are a few of my favorite things (isn't that a song)... We get lots of visitors--and LOVE THAT! In this picture we are with the Price family at La Jolla Cove.

I love the strawberry fields and flower fields in the spring. Both with an ocean view.

Beautiful beaches within minutes in every direction.

So many fun, new, and not so new places to eat. We were stoked to discover that the Oceanside Pier has a Ruby's Diner at the end of it-like the diner in Newport Beach that I went to all the time in High School.

This has got to be one of our very most favorite thing about our new home. Every evening during the weekend we can go outside and see as many as seven hot air balloons floating above our backyard waiting for the sun to set.

We LOVE being close to our family. COUSINS, COUSINS, COUSINS!!

So much to do. In this picture Mark and I are enjoying a free concert on a boat in the San Diego Harbor with some friends.

An Unfortunate Haircut

Oh, the poor little guy. If he was any older or any less adorable, this haircut might have given him serious issues. But instead, luckily for him, I am the only one who won't sleep tonight. I know it's terrible. You should see the back. It doesn't look much better. This doo is actually the product of three different attempts over the course of a week or so. The first two tries were successful only as long as the roll of Smarties lasted. This third and most horrendous stab was done after he actually asked me to put him on the counter to cut his hair. I wasn't prepared with Smarites and this is what we got. Moral of the story... I think it is obvious.

Holy Mackeral!

Our friend and home teacher Randy, and his wife Laura, took us out fishing on their boat on Saturday morning. We had such a great time. We loved being out on the ocean, learning the difference between seals and sea lions, seeing the kelp beds and the Point Loma light house. We even saw a submarine that was above water (behind a curtain) being serviced. Abbie and Emma caught a few fish near the bait station just outside the launch ramp. Fisherman who are heading down to Mexico to do some serious fishing load up here first. The girls were happy just catching the mackerals.

Watch out, Emma is behind the wheel!
Emma getting some fishing tips from Randy.
Now Abbie is behind the wheel. She went for some serious speed. Mark's face sums it up!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Trouble with Bananas

Am I the only one out there, or is it almost impossible to guess your family's banana consumption? I am either purchasing bananas three times a week because my family is eating them like crazy--in lunches, smoothies, snacks, etc. Or I decide to buy a bunch more than usual and they sit and sit like the brown bananas above. Don't get me wrong, this really isn't a rant. I dont mind throwing extra bananas in the freezer, or making an occasional banana nut bread with yummy chocolate chips (as is baking in the oven now while I type). I just wondered if I am alone in my inablity to guess. It drives me bananas!!

First Day of School

One of life's ironies...we live in a place like Carlsbad, and end up with the shortest summer vacation of anyone we know. After just eight weeks of a purely wonderful break from school, the kids were ready to CHARGE!! Abbie to fifth grade and Emma to first. Man, are they growing fast *sniff*.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A CraZY buNCh of COusiN's

Another year of Cousin's Camp is over. Once again, it was wonderful beyond our expectations. Three full days and two nights of singing, archery, swimming, hiking, crafts, FOOD, fun, play rehearsals, trampoline, big buddies etc etc etc. If they weren't a crazy bunch of cousins when camp began...they were when it was over!! All fifteen campers! This years theme as HEROS.. Each day the aunts gave devotionals sharing experiences and ideas about heros--heros among us, the hero within and the ultimate Hero.

Ruthie, Emma and Lucy settling in to sing some campfire songs.
Monica--the craziest camper of them all. Cousin's Camp would not exist without Monica. She is definitely a hero to us.
Aunt Cathy taught the kids how to tie dye. The shirts were so bright and colorful. The campers were thrilled.
Aunt Sarah, Mary Markoff, Uncle Jake and Grandma.
Madison was always smiling.
Matthew and Hannah enjoyed a few friendly games of tetherball; but they enjoyed the licorice they seemed to be constantly eating even more.
Mary taught Abbie, Anna, Ruth and Madison a synchronized swimming routine.
The barn on Empty Saddle--where all of the fun takes place.
This year Anna created this hang out for the girls.
The last night of camp is always the uncles fireside. The kids look forward to this as much as anything else because their uncles always have the greatest, most inspiring stories to tell.
Camp would be incomplete without all of the singing...
...and without the Ukelele.
Love my girl!
Putting on a top notch play has become a highlight at camp. This year uncle Greg wrote a hilarious (and possibly somewhat political) play about who heros are, and who they are not. The kids had a great time hamming it up!
Dave played Nephi (definitely a positive hero) who came to Wendy (of Peter Pan fame) because she was afraid of growing up. He introduced Wendy to many would be heros and guided her through the process of deciding which examples to follow in life. You wonder why Nephi is playing an electric guitar??? To quote a line from the play, "you've heard of teh sword of Laban, this is the the AXE of Laban.
Harry and Hermione--they show courage and fight the bad guy (that's heroic), but are they really good role models???

Every moment of camp was wonderful. As a mother, I am so grateful that my kids have this opportunity ever summer. They come home talking, laughing and reminising about all the funthey had, but the also come home with a stronger testimony of the gospel and strengthened family ties. You can't beat camp!!