Bubble Dancing

Family lore holds that it was my Grandma and Grandpa Ballard who started the treasure hunt tradition. Every year one of the kids would find the first clue in their stocking and it would lead to a big-ish present for everyone. Or sometimes we each had our own, depending. The year I remember the most was finding a new-to-us Sega Genesis in our bath tub! We have carried on this grand tradition (because you know how I feel about traditions, Traditions!) One year it was a book I wrote and illustrated, last year it was the Love Sac (epicly sized bean bag chair thing). More and more I’ve been trying to move away from stuff and more towards experiences, so when I heard that on the High Roller  kids 12 and under are free and they were running a family deal I squealed. And did a happy dance.

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Each kid got a pair of binoculars and a juice, but since we were the first ones to be there we got our own bubble. That was the best part! It was a 30 minute ride and we did one complete revolution. The view was really nice in the morning, but at night it would be spectacular (but super crowded, which would be not so nice).

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We weren’t sure how the Littles would do (especially Layna), but they all loved it. Corra poached drinks from everyone else’s juice and Layna death gripped her binoculars and danced a lot. So yeah, good times were had by all. There were screens that showed fun trivia, how high up we were, and also played music, so we had an awesome dance party in our bubble.


Sorry this is kind of the only option for camera angle if I want to prove that we were both at an event. Until I teach Garyn how to use my beloved camera, you’re stuck with the couple selfies. We had so much fun and Garyn has already decided that we will ride the High Roller every six months at least.

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Sara and Sally

It was late October when I asked the kids what they were thinking about asking Santa to bring them for Christmas. Little man gave Santa a few options but he really wanted a Lego Minecraft set (which he got and has loved). Little girl, without hesitation, said, “I want Santa’s elves to hand make me a fairy doll but it has to be a mom fairy doll and a baby doll with a cradle (she really meant a carriage) and the mom has to have arms long enough to wrap around the baby and hold her like this and her dress has to be pink on top and blue on the bottom and her hair should be buttons like in a bun but string would be ok too.” And that didn’t change right up to the day she opened the box with her very own “Elvin Crafted” fairy doll with baby and carriage.

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They were named Sara and Sally, respectively.

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I could not for the life of me figure out how I was going to do a carriage. Luckily, there is a huge trend right now of Fairy Gardens. Couple this trend with Etsy and you get holiday bliss for the mom of one very particularly precise five year old. After a quick search I found a wire carriage and when it got to me I whipped up a matching pillow and blanket.

When Naomi told me this is what she wanted, my first thought was, “Ok cool! I have the internet, I can make anything!” By the way, that confidence that borders on naïve arrogance comes directly from my mom. I was raised by a woman who’s rallying battle cry was, “Sure, I think I can make that.” And she could. And she did. And she does. And so I assume that I can too.

I found these tutorials:



and away I went.

Well. Turns out doll making is a fine art and should be respected. I totally screwed up the first one and had to try again. A lady I know who works at my local Joann craft store found me the most perfect wing material. I butchered that and had to go to my plan b material. I lost one of the sides of the wings and had to start over. Shhh! Don’t tell Naomi they are totally lopsided and asymmetrical. Sigh. Here is what she looks like sans skirt (the skirt actually turned out nicely…once again sergers are God’s gift to the crafty), and here is her hair from the back. For the record, if I ever become a fairy, I want hot magenta and lime green dreadlocks just like Sally.

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Yarn is going to be my crazy old lady obsession some day. Stored in huge brightly colored bins, I’ll take it down and call it “My Precious.” But seriously this yarn was exactly what I imagined and gave me the strength to continue after the first horrible attempt at a body.

Anyways, I made up the pattern for Sara (the baby) and I think she turned out ok. Not my favorite and if I hadn’t sworn off doll making forever, I know what I’d want to do differently. It did give me a huge feeling of accomplishment and the fact that Corra loves her maybe even more than Naomi gives me warm fuzzies. Garyn keeps saying how talented a craftsman Santa’s elf must be {Wink, Wink!}. He really enjoyed being in on “The Secret” this year and is a sweet boy to compliment his mom and keep the magic alive for his little sister.

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I am resolved

Here are my resolutions:

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1) learn to make the same face as Naomi in this picture and make it. All. The. Time.

2) Get a post up about our holidays sometime before the end of January. Or February.

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3) Never ever make another fairy doll. But I will show you pictures of the one that I did manage to make.

4) Have a lot more baby mani/pedi dates.

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5) Kiss this guy more. Not sure if that’s possible without getting ourselves kicked out of most of our social circles, but it’s going to be fun trying!

6) Enjoy baby morning breath even more than I already do. Oh wait, that one is definitely not possible. I’m pretty sure her beautiful sleeping face and sweet baby breath is the only thing that makes late nights/early mornings bearable.


7) Laugh at the hilarity of life three times more than I already do. Because farm life gives us a front row seat to that like nothing else can. For starters, Little man named our rooster “Mr. McPompous” and is still trying to figure out how to kick him across the coop when he (the rooster) decides to be a jerk. Anything mating is inherently hilarious. Whatever, you know its true. And when you spill lots of milk because you were being dumb, you have to laugh because crying would be cliché. (Side note: the goats are really enjoying our Christmas Tree. Gives them extra vitamin C and stuff. Who knew, Right?)


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Go check out my farm blog for my newest culinary favorite thing ever!


ps. there are baby bunnies too!

Merry Christmas!



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10 years ago…

my now husband came up to spend the weekend with us and he asked my parents if he could marry me. We were at the same cabin, same resort, for the same holiday this past weekend.

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So ten years has brought us short/receding hair, four kids, a farm, and most importantly…I’ve given up my penchant for tight hemp chokers. Whew! That’s progress, man!

I grew up with my Grandpa’s cousin’s cabin, tucked up above the Sundance Ski Resort (also think Sundance Film Festival), as being this supremely magical place. And I know I use the term magical casually, but this place is almost my definition of magical, especially to a 5-8 year old. There is a ship’s window (round with big brass fittings) in the wall, real spears and other exotic weapons, a whole cabinet full of antique locks and keys, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface. My “uncle” (much easier than typing out the actual relationship) traveled as a political science professor for BYU. He spent a lot of time in China (did I mention the artillery shell that was almost taller that Naomi in the kitchen?), and as a result of their travels the Cabin is filled with the coolest treasures ever. There is a hidden loft and a fairy bathtub (the bathroom is high enough that it could be entirely surrounded by windows and not be a privacy issue, so it’s like taking a bath in a tree). We saw Stellar’s Jays and Black Capped Chickadees. We played in snow, ate good food, and watched Christmas movies. It was everything I wanted and a lovely way to reflect on gratitude.

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He’s a fish most of the time and a monkey the rest of it. But we discovered his latent abominable snowman on this trip.

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Her great grandparents are way nicer than her mother…especially the Grandpa guy.

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I know all mother’s think their daughters are the most beautiful beings to ever drop on to the planet…and this girl…wow, I think she’s pretty.

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Of course this one hated all the love and attention that was showered, nay lathered on her the whole weekend. See that smile? She is being stoic and tolerating it for the benefit of her aunts. Corra is thoughtful that way.

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Oh and the wood burning fire place? Yeah, that’s instant ambiance right there.


Gratuitous artsy picture because I’m in love with my camera.


At least 2/3 of us are looking at the camera. I hope you had a great time doing whatever it is you do on Thanksgiving. I did. Oh and aebleskivers happened, and there was much rejoicing! What are those you ask? Only a culinary delight so fantastic they warrant their own post!   …stay tuned…


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Have you ever had an entire conversation in just questions? Just because you could? Don’t you think some phases in life are just better expressed in questions because answers are few and fleeting?

But WHY did you drop all the contents of my wallet behind the couch and be so busily distracting that I didn’t notice until we were at the gas station? Is it so difficult to remember that “helping” your sister when she empathically does not want help, is not very helpful? How did I never fully appreciate the awesomeness of fat baby legs in jeans? I have no idea how to make a mob trap in Minecraft, can we ask your Dad? What is that all over your face? Why with the eggs, again!?

Did you get completely blindsided by the holidays too? Do you stare at the second half of this month like a deer about to get hit by a truck full of pre-lit, flocked Christmas trees? If you had to go, wouldn’t that make for an epic death story? How do babies manage to shift the perspective from “Holy Crap! Your homemade doll from Santa’s Elves looks terrible so I have to completely start over and not screw it up this time” to “Sparkly lights! Mom, Can we walk under the water jets? I love this place! Life is awesome!”?

What did I do to be so lucky? Can I share some holiday cheer with you, because the magical kid perspective is really all that matters at this point?

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This is why…

…the holiday season is so stinking stressful. We (mostly meaning me, but if you do this too then I’ll feel a lot better about life, the universe, and everything) create a sense of urgency because we have a schedule in our heads that must be met at all costs. I’m not even talking about Sam’s Club sporting Christmas trees in September. No, No this is completely in my own head. For example: I have yet to blog about Halloween (about to be remedied) but it’s already a week into November. So not only am I behind schedule, I’m [GASP!] late.  I don’t do late. Like ever. In fact, when I try to be late out of respect for the host/ess, all I can manage is exactly on time. As a blogger who has been “late” the last few months with everything, it’s all I can do to not hyperventilate into a paper bag every delinquent day . Needless to say when there are so many events to document and no time with which to do it, I’m going through paper bags at an alarming rate and we are only a third of the way through the trifecta of holiday awesomeness! It’s ok though. I’m slowly coming to terms with my crazy, thanks in large part to my husband who laughs at me and hugs me.

He also buys me nice cameras when my old ones get filled with sand. Don’t know what idiot left it in the bottom of the sand-filled diaper bag with it on (and thus with the lens exposed)…gosh! I’m still learning how to use this sucker, so the picture quality is kind of weird. But my camera is purple, so I still win!

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We went to our Church’s Trunk-or-Treat event and for all my complaining about not being able to do this and real Trick-or-Treating, this was great. They went all out and someone was dressed as a werewolf with a very gruesome mask which took care of Garyn’s freaked out quota for the evening. Seriously, he knew where that person was every moment we were there.

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Love this guy…

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And he plays a mean game of “eat the donut off the string.” Layna was the first to win a cupcake at the cake walk and was very particular about where she was going to sit to eat it.



Hope your night of massive candy acquisition left you feeling this pensive and reflective. Or, you know, hope you got to see a sheep.

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