Familes are like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts

Gingerbread Creation

So I decided to document the creation of our gingerbread "house" this year. Hopefully it will not get too long. I really enjoy this process - it is totally creative. However, I could not do it with out David's support and huge amount of work and time. Thank you David. I also have the support and help of any of my kids who happen to be around. Kyle has already put in many hours helping. Thank you also.
I failed to get a photo of the first step - designing the house. This took hours/days because first I had to decide what I wanted, visualize it,
explain that visualization to Daivd via rough sketches etc, and then David had to draw up the architectural plans -in other words he had to draw up a pattern for every piece of the house/building so we could cut out the Gingerbread.
The second step was all done by David and Kyle. Between them they made 16 batches of gingerbread, baked it, and cut out the pieces. My only involvement was to help remove gingerbread pieces from the pans (it takes two people to remove the big pieces) and find room on the counters and tables for all the pieces. These first two pictures show some of the results of the first 2 steps.
Step three is to make the windows out of hard glass candy - what you make suckers from. If I decide to decorate the inside of a house, then I don't put windows in all the pieces. This year I put windows in Santa's workshop and part of the Barn. Step 4:
Now my part begins. I usually put the house together first and then decorate walls, but this year I tried it backwards and decorated the walls first. I hope it works. After spending hours in stores looking for appropriate candies etc. and hours deciding what candy I want to use where (and it does take me hours to decide) I finally made some royal icing and set to work. Kyle came to help and we worked together for about 3-4 hours Saturday. We got lots done on Santa's Workshop and Kyle just barely began Santa's house.

And the winners are...

This is Todd's colored pencil drawing of a snake. You may have seen it before. He entered it in a BYUI student art show last month and won 3rd place and $100.
And here is Dad's winning photo of Leslie repelling in Zion's this summer. He entered the photo in a company (Battelle) wide vacation photo contest and won 3rd place. He didn't receive anything, but the photo was published in "Battelle World" an international company magazine. So people all over the world will see Leslie repelling! Don't we have talented family members!

Thanksgiving - great day!

Today has been a very nice day. I am so grateful for my life and all you marvelous people who make my life wonderful. I love you all. I started with a picture of our house lit up for the Season. Dad turned the lights on tonight. I am so grateful for David. He is simply the best.
I can't possibly post pictures of everything or even everyone I am grateful for so these are some of my favorite photos from two weeks ago when many of you were visiting.

The girls (and Elden) were having a great time exercising to "Mousercise" and Todd was demonstrating his new tap dance abilities. It was great. I'm grateful for healthy kids.

Today my dad said "I am most grateful for your mother and then for all the family. Family; that's all that really counts." I agree, and the Lord agrees too. The whole Plan of Salvation is designed to get Heavenly Father's family back to him. My family is fantastic. I really love you all. (I'm also grateful I won our game of phase 10 tonight. I creamed them!)

A Star is born

What a fun week we have had. Charlie was chosen to be "Sandy" in the musical Annie. Brett was also in the show as a dog catcher and a policeman. Shanalee and Tammie were the "dog trainers" and came for 1 1/2 weeks for dress rehersals and performances. I loved having them and their families here.

Brett and Charlie were both listed in the cast. Notice Charlie's full name - Charles Montgomery Schwieder III

Brett looked spiffy in his dog catcher and police uniforms. Annie loved Charlie. They worked well together.

Christmas lights!!!

So I just had to brag!
Our outside Christmas lights are up.
It was nice weather and David brought them up from downstairs and put them up - just like that. He had them all up by Halloween. Isn't he amazing?
(Of course David also says we can't turn them on until after Thanksgiving. I'm okay with that.)

Halloween Fun

For Halloween, our Ward had a Trunk or Treat with the other Wards in our building, so Dad and I "dressed up". He was a "scary scout master" and I was a "well fed pirate". Todd dressed in his medieval costume and stayed out late with Bethany.

Kyle and Tiffany brought the kids trick or treating. Caleb was a very cute lion and Hailey can dance just like a real princess. Notice Addie's scary ghost and Katelyn's great "witch face"