Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year, Blizzard and Jazz

Some months have 31 days,
some just 30 ...
How many months have 28 days?

All of them, and this year, February had 29. Leap year ... I hope we all got something accomplished on this "extra" day. Landon's youth group decided that since this day only comes around once every four years, they should do something special. They decided they should go to a Jazz game ... and they did! 

Of course a nasty blizzard also hit that night, I was a bit worried about the boys traveling in the storm, but of course they were all ok. And the Jazz won that night too. A great way to finish up February.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Some Snow

 It's been a really mild winter. Last week we got a little bit of snow and Colton was invited to go sledding with a friend. I had recently been going through the storage and did have a snowsuit, boots, gloves, etc. on hand. I think it's the first time Colton had been bundled up this much ... he had a little trouble walking around, looked like a little penguin. *Ü*

Randon's family came and picked Colton up in their Razor. This wasn't the first time Colton had been taken for a ride in the razor (previous post here) but this Winter ride was different. They went to the little park in our neighborhood, and pulled the sleds from behind it.  Lot of quick turns and spills. When Colton came home, he was beaming and said "this was the funnest day of my ENTIRE life!"

The older boys were actually jealous! They did go out and play in the snow as well though. Cooper got all bundled up, but it actually wasn't that cold out. The bigger boys prepped for a snowball fight, but of course ONE second after this picture was taken,  Landon tried to knock the snowballs out of Keaton's hands, but hit him in the nose instead. Bloody nose and a crying Keaton ... and that was the end of the "fun" for the bigger boys.  Cooper did stay out and attempted to piece together a tiny snowman. He did end up putting arms and a face on, but then destroyed it before I got a picture. Here's one I took as he got started ...
February is almost over ... 
I wonder how much more snow is in the forecast?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another Teenager

It's official ... 
we have another TEENager in the house.

We just had a belated birthday party for Callahan last summer, so no friend party this year. We went up to Maga's on Sunday, with the usual chocolate cake from Sam's Club (I forgot my camera, but Maga took some pictures, I'll try to update when I get a copy). Monday we went to Mountain Mikes as a family, and Tuesday we celebrated at home with an ice cream cake, yum!

The past couple years on the blog, I've included a slideshow of pictures of the birthday boy through the years. I've updated the album, and you can visit it here ... Such a cute little boy! For 2012, I thought I'd include a little history of the birth for each child on their birthday blog post ...

The pregnancy with Callahan was made memorable by me passing out at church ... I continued to have dizzy spells for the remainder of the pregnancy.  It was election season, and someone with the last name "Callahan" was running for office and there were signs with the name "Callahan" all over town. We liked it as a first name :) It was 2 1/2 weeks before the baby was due, when I had a bad night. Little Landon was sick with a cold and I was having cramps that kept me awake. When morning rolled around I realized that the "cramps" were coming at fairly even intervals ... could this be labor? It was a Sunday morning, I called my mom and got her opinion. She thought it could be and asked it they should come out or head to church, I told them to head to church ... what would happen in three hours? She called after the first meeting to check on me, I told her everything was still pretty much the same. I wasn't even positive it was labor.  I hung up - and my water broke. I called the number on the caller id and my mom answered, and they headed out to meet us at the hospital. We had to take Landon with us because all the neighbors were at church. We put a call into Pam but she was at church too. We got to the hospital and they put me in a room for observation. Apparently, when your water breaks you should bring something with the liquid on it that they can test to make sure it is amniotic fluid, otherwise, they don't necessarily believe that it was that and not something else. I was having some pretty good contractions while I was waiting and my mother demanded that someone at least check me ... what do you know, I was dilated to a 9 ... I was quickly admitted and even got an epidural and the baby came. We hadn't even been there an hour. Pam had gotten the message and rushed over, but missed the birth by minutes. Callahan was howling and a nice pink/red in color. He was 8 pounds 10 ounces, so we wondered what he would have weighed had he waited the two plus weeks until his due date! Welcome to the world! Happy BIRTHday Callahan!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidential Pancakes

President's Day ... the kids were out of school (unfortunately, Gray still had to go into work that morning, although he did come home early). I offered to make pancakes, but the kids talked me into taking them OUT for pancakes. Virg's restaurant in Taylorsville is their favorite. Huge portions and reasonable prices. Landon and Callahan get the "smiley" which is one pancake (it's BIG), 2 eggs,  bacon and sausage. The other three boys and  I shared a double stack, a side of hashbrowns and bacon. Everyone got enough, and we didn't really have any leftovers (so often we order way too much). The bill was under $20 and I had a coupon too... pinching pennies on President's Day *Ü* ... I'm SO mean, I made them drink WATER ...

Callahan shared some of his eggs, 
but Landon ate it ALL ...

Looking back on the blog ... we went out to breakfast at Virg's LAST year on President's Day (which in 2011 was also Callahan's birthday)... maybe we'll need to keep it up, and make Presidential Pancakes an annual tradition. Of course the kids also like Virg's for our "Start" or "End of Summer" breakfasts as well ...

Mmmmmm .... breakfast ....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Double Dozen

I've posted about Dunford Donuts before (on Donut Day). We actually hadn't been getting there much, as we were SO busy with basketball games every Saturday. But when basketball ended, Landon suggested a trip in for donuts last week (I obliged, and Gray took some of the scouts in for one after PowWow). This week, I was out running errands and Dunford Donuts was RIGHT on the way home ... it seemed silly NOT to stop. So I did. Grayson was out running errands (and scouts, PowWow again) and he ALSO stopped and bought a box for the family. A double dozen! Oops. Landon managed to snag his favorites from both boxes. He couldn't eat four right away, so with everyone watching, he licked the zebra and maple bar and set them aside for later. Gray and I went out to eat with my folks in the evening, but we skipped dessert and invited them back to the house to play games, visit with the kids ... and eat leftover donuts (Grandma anyway ... Celiac's stops Grandpa from such delights, but we had some gluten-free ice cream for him). 

Gray and I will have to try and communicate a little better before our next donut runs ... or maybe a double dozen isn't such a bad thing ... they did ALL get eaten!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Birdy Blankets

Maga came out on Monday with little Valentine gifts for the boys ... Angry Bird Blankets. They were an instant hit! They wrap around the boys to keep them warm, and the little hood is also stuffed, making a soft place to lay your head. Cooper said "they are a blanket AND a pillow".

When not in use, the blanket portion folds up and stuffs into the hood, making it look even more like a little pillow. Thanks Maga! From your birdy boys ...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cooper & the Kitty

Our neighbors have a friendly kitty who often comes over to say hello. This past week they have been out of town, and while they arranged for someone to make sure the pets had food and water, I think Patches missed the companionship of her family, because she was over a LOT more than usual while they were gone. This morning as I left at 7:30 to drop Callahan off at school, Cooper was outside on the front porch with Patches. When I got back 15-20 minutes later, he was still there with the kitty. It was so cute I had to run grab the camera and snag a picture. After all of Cooper's anxiety issues, just having him sit outside in the morning is a minor miracle itself :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Haircuts: Salon Style

I've loved having Grayson cut the kids hair, it saves not only money (a LOT of money) but time as well. As the boys got a little older, they weren't as fond of the "Blackham Buzz" ... wanting the top left longer so they could spike it with gel. Grayson did try to incorporate this preference into his cutting style, sometimes it looked good, other times ... the boys ended up getting a buzz anyway. I've been taking Landon to a salon for a few years now (or if Aunt Olivia is available, he'll let her do it, because she is a "professional") ... Callahan and Keaton have had their hair cut in a salon a time or two, but the little boys had only had Daddy or Aunt Livi cut their hair at home.

Well, the boys were getting shaggy, they ALL needed a trim. Grayson hadn't quite gotten around to it, and I thought I'd give him a break. I took them all (sans Callahan, who was off playing with his buddies) to Fantastic Sam's for a haircut. 

 The little boys LOVED having their hair washed 
and smiled during the entire experience.

Four clean-cut Blackham boys ... 
aren't they handsome?

I hope the boys still let Daddy cut their hair sometimes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I didn't get around to making cute valentines like I did last year.  Just had the kids write their name on little FunDip packages to give out. I do go into Cooper's class and help out with their class party, and snagged a picture of their valentine boxes.

I was thinking of making sugar cookies, but then Landon got it in his head to make a big batch of chocolate chip ones. He took them to school for his friends the next day.

Here's my gift from Gray ... it wasn't empty when I got it. In the spirit of the current coin collecting trend, he also gave me some chocolate coins, which I shared with the little boys. They ATE them ... I thought they MIGHT save them with their other special money.

I got Gray a little yellow helicopter ... the one we got at Christmas didn't survive Christmas day. This little guy seems to be lasting a bit better :)  ok... not exactly a romantic present, but it's been fun.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Coin Collecting

Grayson wasn't an avid coin collector when he was young, but he had been given some rare coins and a birth year proof set that he had hung onto. A few weeks ago, after he returned from his work weekend (and their little detour to Mesquite for a bit of gambling) he came home with a 50¢ piece, which he presented to Colton. The kids were quite captivated, and thus the collection of coins began. Gray made a trip into a coin store and picked up a few more 50¢ pieces and silver dollars, also asking at the bank for any of the dollar coins available. He grabbed a few $2 bills too ... anything out of the ordinary. The kids seem quite into it!

 Gray also picked up some proof sets from the year the kids were born
1999 for Callahan (above)
2000 for Keaton (below)
Gray got the quarter proof sets for the little boys, but they still need the other set. And we do still need to pick up the other set for Landon ... they didn't have the new quarters in 1995 when he was born.  There was another trip to the coin store last Saturday, this time the boys went with Daddy, they thought it was pretty cool. They all came home with a Morgan dollar.

We're in the Money ...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Presidential Penny Portrait

... Just HAD to share this masterpiece my brother created ... a portrait of Lincoln made of pennies! He had the idea back when he was in high school. He completed it a couple of years ago and I loved it then, and I love it now. With President's Day weekend coming up ... and today actually being Lincoln's birthday, I thought I'd post it here in my blog.

Here are some random facts about the picture from Shane:
  • Made from 1,638 pennies (1,612 whole pennies and 52 half pennies).
  • Each row has 31 and 1 half pennies.
  • There are 52 rows.
  • The pennies are staggered (so the second row is offset from the first row so each row “fits” into the neighboring row), resulting in the need to have a half penny on each row.
  • There is at least one penny from each year from 1909 to 2009.
  • There is one 1943 steel penny (lower right-hand corner).
  • The US mint is making 2009 pennies with new designs on the reverse – there are 4 different designs: Birth and Early Childhood in Kentucky (aka “Log Cabin”), Formative Years in Indiana (aka “Rail Splitter”), Professional Life in Illinois, and Presidency in Washington, DC. I wanted to use at least one penny with each reverse design (although all the pennies in the picture only show the front); but only the first two were available when assembling the picture, so I’ll swap out two pennies for the other 2009 designs later.
  • I tried to find enough dark pennies, but ended up coloring some pennies (using different methods) to have enough dark and mid tones.
  • The pennies are fastened to a piece of pressed wood (masonite).
  • The pennies were fastened primarily using contact cement; although I did experiment with gorilla glue and liquid nails as well.
  • The picture is fairly heavy, and so I will craft a special mechanism to hang it (once I get it framed).

... as I was browsing Pinterest, I came across an image of people using pennies to tile a floor or table too, cool!  Here's the link if you want to see more penny projects!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

School Lunch

Landon's Lunchbox
With the kids back on track, it's back to making lunches. I used to do it everyday, as Cooper would always take cold lunch. His lunch was always exactly the same ... a CapriSun, turkey sandwich, Doritos, fruit snack and a treat (usually a small KitKat). He's now a little more daring and will take school lunch on occasion (chicken nuggets, corn dog, hot dog or pizza). Keaton likes a few additional items, but there are still many days he brings lunch from home too (no turkey sandwich for him though, he likes peanutbutter and honey ... and he likes Funyons or Hot Cheetos over Doritos).  Callahan takes cold lunch occasionally, but hot lunch is just easier. But Landon ... he's been taking a lunch lately, in his cute little lunch box. It's really nice, because he packs it up himself. He'll still take school lunch sometimes, he's my least picky eater, and he likes most everything. I think he just likes sitting down and eating without having to stand in line for half of lunch. I'll take advantage of it while I can *Ü*

I recently discovered Pinterest  and have pinned some new lunch ideas to maybe shake things up (for Grayson as well as the boys) ... aren't these sandwiches the cutest? Too cute to eat even! Callahan saw these pictures and said "I want THAT person to be making MY lunch!" I don't blame him! That's one creative momma!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Roll Recipe

I love making rolls, the smell of fresh bread, being able to eat them right out of the oven. Yum! I am often called upon to make rolls for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I usually get rave reviews, and I like that too. I'd had a recipe that I liked, but then I replaced it a number of years ago. I picked up this recipe at Homemaking. My neighbor's mother taught home economics at the high school and after years of students making this recipe, she said that it rarely goes wrong. I use it for dinner rolls, breadsticks, sweet rolls (cinnamon rolls and orange rolls) and even scones. It's great, because you can use it the day you make it, or you can make it ahead and refrigerate it (which can be a timesaver for rushed mornings or a great way to spread out your "right out of the oven" rolls without having to make it all from scratch each day).  

2 Tbls. Yeast
1 Cup Warm Water
2 Cups  Milk
1 Cup Shortening
2 Cups Reconstituted Instant Potatoes
1 Cup Sugar
2 Tsp. Salt
4 Beaten Eggs
10-12 Cups Flour

Dissolve yeast in water and set aside.  Combine milk and shortening in pan and scald. Mix up the potatoes ... let the milk and potatoes cool to lukewarm. Add milk, potatoes, sugar, salt and eggs to the yeast mixture and mix.  Add flour until the dough pulls away from the sides. Knead. Cover and let the dough double in size (or place in refrigerator until ready for use, up to a week). Shape into rolls and let rise until double.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes... ovens to vary, so I always keep an eye on them, leave them in until they are golden brown on top. Spread melted butter over the tops as soon as you pull them out of the oven.

For dinner roll shapes, I like 
  • Crescents: Roll dough into a large circle and spread butter over the dough. Using a pizza cutter, cut into pie-shaped pieces and roll up, starting with the larger end. Place the rolls on a large, buttered cookie sheet (with sides), cover and let them rise.
  • Butterflake: Roll dough into a large rectangle and spread butter over the dough. Cut the dough into strips about 1 1/2 inch wide. Stack four strips and then cut into individual rolls. Place in greased muffin tins to rise.
  • Breadsticks:  Roll dough into a large rectangle and spread butter over the dough. Take a large cookie sheet (with sides) and spread butter all over the pan. sprinkle garlic salt and Parmesan cheese over the butter in the pan. Cut the dough into strips and lay them side by side in the pan. Sprinkle garlic salt and Parmesan cheese over the dough and let them rise.
For sweet rolls
  • Orange Rolls:  Roll dough into a large rectangle and spread butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with sugar and orange rind. Roll the dough (jellyroll style) and then cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Place them in buttered muffin tins to rise. Bake. Make icing from powdered sugar and orange juice. Spread over cooled rolls.
  • Cinnamon Rolls:  Roll dough into a large rectangle and spread butter over the dough. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the dough. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the dough as well. If you like raisins, add them at this point. Roll the dough jelly roll style. Cut into individual rolls (about 2" thick) and position them on a buttered cookie sheet. Leave space between the rolls for them to rise. Bake. Make icing from powdered sugar and milk, or top with cream cheese frosting.

For scones ... I simply roll out the dough, cut into strips or squares, and fry them in hot oil. I do have another recipe specifically for scones (which calls for them to rise) but this "frybread" seems to be a hit with our family. Top with butter and sugar.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Superbowl Sunday

Superbowl Sunday
 ...remembering our yummy meal last year, I sent Grayson out to buy steaks yesterday. We did not have our usual Sunday Circles but instead saved room in our tummies for steak, chicken, taters and rolls/breadsticks.  I know, it's very "white", needs some veggie color. This has got to be my favorite meal though. YUMMY! I had made the roll dough yesterday, but with early church, I did have to get up and get them rising before the meetings. 

We did actually turn on the game. I don't understand football at all though, and the first two points there right at the beginning had be quite confused. Cooper also had questions, he asked "Is this FLAG football?" ... with the bodies hurling and smashing each other I wasn't sure what gave him that idea, but he continued "I saw them throw a flag" ... that's true, they did!

As a non-fan, like many others, I enjoy the commercials more than the game. As I didn't watch the entire game, I had to catch some of the commercials online afterward :) ... I have to admit I thought the Ferris Beuller references were great (although the kids didn't get it) ... not sure if they understood Seinfield's spot either, those were for older audiences I guess. The kids laughed out loud at the M&M's "Sexy and I Know It" dance though! Keaton's been watching all of the E-Trade baby ones on YouTube, Landon loves the Doritos commercials (this one wasn't one of the ones aired, but it was Landon's favorite). The "Happy Grad" by Chevy made everyone grin. I don't know that any of the commercials will make us go out and buy the products, but one commercial DID make Gray go out and buy the song featured on it ...  apparently many others were influenced too, as it is now in the Top10 on Itunes.  Here's is the commercial  ...

This song has been playing a LOT ... on the Ipods and in my head ...
Gray downloaded four different versions (including the Glee version)

If YOU like the song, Chevy is offering FREE downloads (while they last, just follow the link on the video). Also if you have a SLCounty library card, you can download the Glee version free on Freegal.

What were your favorite commercials?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Junior Jazz Wrap-Up

The official Junior Jazz season is now over. It made for some crazy Saturdays, but it was a lot of fun! I thought Callahan and Keaton looked exactly the same in their pictures last year! Picture day is always  stressful, a big thanks to some friends who helped take the little boys to the photoshoot (as I was off to other games). I wasn't sure the older boys were going to do pictures, (one of Callahan's teams didn't), but I'm glad they did (although Keaton's team didn't show! I had to snap a team picture later in the season). I just get the cheapest package (just the teammate + one wallet ... $10). I do love having the little wallet magnets on our refrigerator.  

Callahan was "0" on both of his Junior Jazz teams. His 7th grade team demolished everyone. His 8th grade team did have some stiff competition but had some great games and came in second. Keaton's team was undefeated in the season, but lost in the championship round. They don't really keep score in the little one's games, but both boys always managed to score at least one basket each game.

Landon reffed this year again. He moved around a bit, starting with the 6th grade team division, then the 4th grade team division. He also reffed at Columbia a couple of times (so he got to ref both Colton and Cooper) and he also reffed one of Keaton's games. With Callahan's age group being older and more competitive, they have "official" (non-kid) refs for those games, but Landon DID ref Callahan once last year, so he has reffed all of his brothers. 

I'm not sure yet what the plans are for Spring ball for the older boys (I haven't found anywhere that offers basketball year round for the younger ones, I'm really going to miss seeing them play). There has been talk of a Junior Jazz tournament for Callahan's teams. Both boys will probably play Spring ball at Gene Fullmer, and maybe in a competitive league too. We'll see ...

For links to ALL the games, check out the Hoop Dreams blog ... but I do have to share one favorite video here (Cooper'sCrew). Now when I make my videos, I rename all the clips 1, 2, 3, etc. and then I go through them, and delete all the ones that don't have anything special in them. Callahan usually goes through his, which saves me a lot of time. I had started looking through Cooper's when I had to leave, but Cooper still wanted to  look at them. I mentioned he could write down the numbers on the clips where kids made baskets, hoping that maybe I wouldn't have to go through them all myself. When I got back I was confused, as he HAD written numbers down ... 40, 10, 40, 10, 40, 40, 10, 10, 10  ... I couldn't figure out why he had written those numbers ... until I watched the clips. Can YOU figure it out? *Ü*  He DID write down numbers ...

This game was the Marc and Cooper show!

I shared a couple videos at the start of the season ... with the full season behind us, here are my favorites from the rest of the year. I still need to look through the remainder of Colton's clips and make an actual "muvee" for him (I'll update here when I do) ... hmmm, must have been something good about game #4 ...

Keaton's 5th Grade ... Game #4
Callahan's 8th Grade  ...Game #4
Callahan's 7th Grade ... Game #4

I don't think we have ONE basketball game this coming Saturday ....

Friday, February 3, 2012

OT Activities & DiFran Family Fun

It feels like the kids were JUST off track (it was back in Oct/Nov), but the long Christmas break feels like off-track time. We go back in January for just two weeks (even less, with our boys getting sick) and then it's out of school AGAIN. But I have to say, I have never enjoyed an off-track time more. We filled it with FUN and the DiFrancesco Family!

I'd run into Kiana and kids a few years ago as we volunteered in the Columbia classrooms. It was mostly in Cooper's (her son Marc was in the same class). We also figured out that her son Tony was in Keaton's class and that they were good buddies. Then we happened to get Colton and Mara on the same soccer team (and they are now in the same kindergarten class).  It was last year (Spring Off-Track) when we got together for our first playdate at the park. The kids got along so well (and Kiana and I enjoyed chatting) so we continued to get together  from then on. 

Last summer we hit Jump N Bounce a LOT ... and we did it again this off-track time. I'm always watching for the specials offering a month pass for $25. It's such a great deal and we really made the most of it. I think we went six times during this off-track. But it wasn't the only fun place frequented ...

I had also picked up some coupons to Fun N Motion ... Laser Tag and Laser Maze. Another fun day with friends. There are also arcade games there, but I try to tell the kids to save their arcade play for someplace like ... NickelMania ...

Keaton said he actually enjoyed NickelMania more the Fun N Motion, so next off-track we might try to hit it more than once. Look at all those tickets (they actually got about as many at Fun N Motion too). I'm never sure if the kids are actually playing games, or just trying to get tickets! They always love redeeming them for the penny prizes. 

We also invited the DiFran family over for breakfast one morning. I made french toast and then the kids played for a couple of hours. We'll definitely be doing that again too. 

Of course, off-track time is also a good time for various appointments and such, without having to pull the kids out of school. So both Cooper and Colton had visits to the dentist (and they both did SO great) and Cooper had a followup with the pediatrician.

Back to school on Monday ... back to the routine!
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