Archive for November, 2008


Friday, November 28th, 2008

Today was Thanksgiving.  Nick made the pumpkin pies.

Carol prepared the tables beautifully, and we used the nice plates and silverware.

The nieces liked the fancy napkin folding, so Carol taught them how to do it.  She’s a really good teacher, very patient.

And here’s one of the nieces with her finished product!

We really have a lot to be thankful for.  Before the meal we mentioned a few things, like our family and friends, and the blessings that let us live comfortably and happily.  Nick said a nice prayer of thanks for our blessings.

After the meal, and after the dessert, we played a fun game with color-coded cards.  With so many people in the house, it was a little hot inside, so some of the children went outside and played on the front lawn.

Christmas Lights

Friday, November 28th, 2008

In the past, I’ve tried several kinds of Christmas lights.  None really looked very good, and they were a real hassle to install.  Every year I had trouble with some of the lights, and they always made droopy lines, not sharp, crisp, evenly spaced lines.

This year Carol wanted me to do a better job with the lights.  She and I called a neighbor who always does really good lights, and we asked him for instructions.  Afterward, we went to the store and bought some different clips for installing the lights.  Carol went to the store the next day and bought the lights we needed.  She and Jacob and I screwed in all of the light bulbs, then Andrew and I climbed on the roof to install the clips and wires. Our lights are alternating white and red colors.  Carol and Nick decorated the trees.

So while I waited for that (disappointing) BYU-Utah football game to start, we all worked on the Christmas lights.  Here are some pictures of the installation process

Nick even put lights on the trees. You can’t see Carol in these pictures because she was running the camera.

And we turned the lights on for Thanksgiving evening!  Now the Christmas season is really beginning.

Carol’s Kitchen – First episode now online!

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

We wanted to show our friends in China how to bake an American cake.  After writing up the recipe, we realized that many of the steps are probably unfamiliar, because ovens and baking are not common in China.  So Carol and I decided to demonstrate how to bake a spice cake.  Spice cake is my very favorite kind of cake.  It’s the kind I usually request for my birthday cake. It seemed like a good place to start…  But Carol made the mistake of letting me run the camera 😛

It turned into the first episode of of a new cooking show called “Carol’s Kitchen,” complete with guest appearances by each of the boys and a few words from our “sponsors!”  It’s 25 minutes long and includes plenty of unnecessary silliness.

Here’s the video:

And the recipe:

 Recipe (Microsoft Word Document)

Bonus content!  Carol’s Kitchen goes global!  Here’s the Chinese translation of the spice cake recipe, courtesy of our friend Mabel:

 Recipe with Chinese translation (Microsoft Word Document)

Andrew’s Award

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Last year, Andrew tried to help his High School redesign their web site.  He’s good at doing layouts and making pages look attractive, but he needed more time to make it easy for teachers to enter information.  So he talked to the High School counselor and web site administrator, then applied to take a “custom class”.  His custom class was approved, so now he spends one class period each day, plus a lot of personal time, working on the web site.  In return he gets a grade for the time he spends on it.

The tricky part is that that the school web sites are controlled by an IT department, and that IT department is very particular about how a school web site can be built.  They want to be very careful to restrict what can be posted.  This caused some trouble for Andrew, because he wanted to do some new, innovative things, and the IT department was a little cautious.

Fortunately, Andrew was able to keep cool when the IT department began to block his plans.  He responded carefully and politely, and eventually found an ally in the IT department – a manager who is also a neighbor, and knows Andrew.  Now the IT department has Andrew running the whole project.  He has presented survey results to all of the High School department chairmen, he has updated the district’s content management system, and he has demonstrated the changes to the teachers.  His new design looks very modern and attractive.

In appreciation for his work, the school named him “Student of the Month”.  Here are a few pictures of the sign in front of the school, showing his recognition.  Congratulations, Andrew!


Thursday, November 20th, 2008

The company where I now work has a lot of University of Utah football fans.  I’m a BYU fan.  Those two teams are fierce rivals, and Saturday is their big game.  So to support my team, I dyed my beard blue!


Then I bleached it…

And colored it!

Everybody keeps asking whether I used permanent dye.  The answer is YES.  The dye is permanent.

It’s just the beard that’s temporary :)