Thursday, December 30, 2010


We took these two little monkeys to the airport on Monday.
It was such a gift to have a couple of weeks with them.
We certainly miss their voices and giggles. Thank heavens for

We are savoring the last week of the year. It's so nice that
it feels like time just slows down after Christmas. Our beautiful
valley is covered in a snowy white blanket. The girls and Mark have
enjoyed some really sweet ski days...and Davis hopes to get up there
soon! He has been a hard working boy. We are thinking of the new
year just around the corner. Plans for trips and personal goals and projects are in the works. Life is good.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Magic Was in Our Home

Are families not the best?! They are certainly evolving and change is
a constant within them. But so is love. Last year little Liam was two years old and these adorable little girls weren't with us quite yet. It feels like we have had them all forever. We were blessed to be together for Christmas (missing Janell for the big day). As time passes and education and jobs call - you don't really get a repeat of sweet times like this. It was wonderful to have the magic in our home and see the joy and delight in the eyes of the little ones. The pitter-patter of their little feet is gone for a time, but we certainly made some wonderful memories with all of you.

Telestrations is a new family favorite game!
(thank you kindly Sir Benjamin)
We very much had our fill of Prime Rib and Clam Chowder...
Avacado-Orange dressing...homemade caramel and gingerbread men...
soaks in the hot tub...a wonderful day of creating art...great conversation and laughing,lots and lots of laughing.
Sipping hot cocoa...Surprises from Boston...Molly dancing on command
Late nights talking...Elsie singing at every opportunity
Listening to Davis make music...A party with Bingo and Cheese Fondue
Liam's hope of getting his Toy Story family back together
Christmas Pudding Cake in the mail...(thanks Uncle Len!)
and happy birthday Lindsey...
ahi tuna and avocado spring rolls @ Elements deemed perfection by Dani.
secret Santa duties...shhhhh! Tangled - a great movie!
But maybe not enough time in the snow...yet.
It has been a wonderful Christmas and such a blessing to have time to reflect on the birth of our Savior.

On their way back to Portland

Don't miss the photos of our collage night in the post below.
We will update them as they are completed.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Boston in December

Mark & I have made several pilgrimages to Boston. We love it back there. We love the American History, the quaint architecture, the amazing restaurants and my family roots from the New England area. My mom grew up about and hour south of Boston. This December Mark attended a conference there and we went with our dear friends the Harkers. It was their first trip to Boston and we had a blast seeing it with new excitement.

Months before the trip I was doing some poking around online to see what was going on while we would be back there. To my surprise and delight I discovered one of my favorite artisans, Sally Mavor, would have some of her work on exhibit at Danforth Museum near Boston and she would be there doing a book signing while we were there! What a treat that day was! Stacey & I got ourselves train tickets to Framingham and after one wrong turn and walk through a dicey neighborhood - we got ourselves turned around and enjoyed the sweetest afternoon. Photos do not do justice to her incredible work. Seeing it first hand was remarkable and I was even quoted in a local newspaper article!

Photos are coming!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Soaking Up Every Minute of This Month

This is Miss Elsie! We have had the best time bonding with the little princess!
She is the happiest little baby you will ever meet. She loves music and will sing along
every time. We were lucky enough to witness two milestones with her. She cut her first
tooth and crawled! She is seven months old and we have treasured every minute with her.
This has to be one of my favorite photos ever! It completely captures her joy for life and
her cute little first tooth! True love.

The many faces of Elsie...being sad just isn't on her menu...
even while cutting teeth.
I love the one where she goes in for the
kiss on her brothers cheek!
More photos to come....
Janell is playing with placement
Liam jumped right in and loved every minute!

Ben is working on this cool pinhole camera - a gift to Emily.

Lindsey & Jake have been developing the background.

Camber studies the egg...
Danielle's is complete! She even incorporated some photos of flowers
from her beautiful yard in Michigan.

Really nice texture, Janell!

The process of creating was wonderful to watch. It was a messy situation with so many of us working but really fascinating to watch it all come together. We all enjoyed the gallery show at the end of the night and talking about each piece. Time very well spent together!
Everyone didn't finish that night and Nana was helping with the little ones so she still
needs to finish hers. We will try to get pictures of the finished pieces. Next time we might have a theme or word that everyone will need to incorporate into their art.

The Bird Collage was by Emily - Mark found the real feathers in his fly tying drawer and they matched her bird perfectly! We think she did a wonderful job with the color and light in her painting. Double click on the picture for a better view Blogger isn't cooperating
tonight with regular photos.

Mark's is the biking one. We love how he used the two photos of his grand fathers. It was fascinating to see how the colors he chose to paint with ended up matching
the biker image so well!

And here is the Evolution of Life by Brady - nice use of the color red. Really interesting to study. Camber did the Bird Nest. The nest is out of a paper bag. She tried several layouts. We like how solid the nest it but also how fragile the branch is. it provokes many feelings of home and family.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hearts Full of Thanks

We've been thinking back on holiday memories and for nearly 30 years I have heard about
the infamous Carrot Pudding and Hard Sauce that Mark's paternal Grandmother made every year at Christmas. His family LOVED it! Sadly, the recipe was never really made much after she
passed away in 1978, I believe. A few years ago I had been over to visit Mark's Aunt Jana and she shared a few recipes and family stories with me. I found the notes I took and did a little research on Carrot Pudding. Mark's mom and I came up with what we thought would work well and we DID IT!
It was a fun experiment to try - but the overall vote was...
Our family likes our favorite Apple Cake & Caramel Sauce better.
Lesson learned: Keep those family favorites alive and share them!
Having never tasted the pudding or the hard sauce I just went with what I was told.
The hard sauce was described as a thick, stiff, butter-cream type sauce that was a little yellow.
Because I didn't have an old coffee can laying around - I had read where some people steam their pudding in mason jars. That's what we did and it worked beautifully!

We covered the jars with parchment and the pudding streamed for
about 2 1/2 hours in a large pot covered with a lid.

The finished product! Wish I had snapped a photo of someone eating theirs with the hard sauce
but I didn't. It was tasty and fun to try. We will absolutely be sharing our favorite Apple Cake recipe and teaching our children to how to make it. Long live tradition!

Here is the roaster that our 22 pound turkey almost fit into! We had to place weights on the top to hold the lid down. He was baked to perfection in about four hours! The poor bird was falling apart. It was probably the juiciest bird we have ever roasted!

Emily typed up our menu for us and we include it here for reference:

Firth Family

Thanksgiving Feast

Herb Roasted Turkey

Fresh Mashed Russets with Grandma’s Famous

Turkey Gravy

Three-cheese and Bacon Stuffed Mini Portabellas

Sweet Potato Surprise

Boston Parker House Rolls

Served with Hidden Village Honey and Homemade Jam

Caramel Pecan Rolls

Deer Hollow Stuffing with Apples and Pine Nuts

Jason’s Self-Dressed Garden Salad

Raw Vanilla-Cranberry Sauce

Rosemary-JalapeƱo Hummus with Organic Crackers

Freshly Steamed Peas and Asparagus


Heavenly Lemon Meringue Pie

Mandy’s Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Grandma Dorothy’s Carrot Pudding and Hard Sauce

We actually served the Carrot Pudding on Thanksgiving Eve. The Pumpkin Cheesecake was so yummy. I used real ginger cookies from a favorite bakery for the crust. And I will confess that Mark & I enjoyed the leftovers of the Pecan Pie for several breakfasts following Turkey Day!!

We set an eclectic table featuring our favorite pewter goblets and these very sweet plates given to me by Grandma Doris many years ago. They came from England and we love them. (long live the Queen :)

Grandma Marie gave Lindsey & Emily a lesson on making a perfect batch of gravy
because she does, every time!

And Mark took notes from Grandpa Ronald as he prepared his famous mashed potatoes!

So sorry I missed Molly in this can catch the tip of her head. She loved her
1st Thanksgiving meal, especially the sweet, green peas. (Camber really is happy) And we
loved having Uncle Jason here to share the day with us! xo Our hearts are full and we feel very blessed as a family to have a warm place to be and each other. {We missed our kids in Portland and Maryland very, very much today. We know they were sharing love and traditions as well.}

Everyone's favorite!

Lindsey's first try at a Lemon Meringue ~ Well done!

I am thankful for adorable little grandchildren that take warm, sudsy baths in our tub!
Molly found curlers in a drawer and presented them to her mother. What a girlie she is!

How we all felt after our delicious meal.

Winter has arrived and we won't be picnicking at our table for awhile.

Instead we will enjoy walks in the snow....

Below Sandor & Mark

(Sandor is one of our favorite people!)

Tying flies...

(Don't you love how they have maneuvered the desk to have view of the game?

And creating cute things!

Spoiler Alert !



for Miss Elsie and my cute little niece in England, Miss Felicity and their mamas.

Lindsey and I had so much fun making these little holiday dresses for Molly & Elsie!

And a peek at what is going in the mail to Felicity - today!

(And Dani, Elsie's Blue Dress should be finished soon!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Good Shepherd

After just over 5 years of service, Mark was released as Bishop.
It was a sweet meeting yesterday. We are really excited for the
new Bishopric and so grateful for the two sets of counselors
he was able to serve with and the countless members
he has worked with over his years of service.
He always said our ward was the perfect ward to be a bishop in.
Really sweet people.
(in blog land, sometimes I don't
want to be too specific with names & places - privacy issues)

It has been a sweet time for him and our family. He is a remarkable
man with a gift to work with people. He is also an amazing
teacher and mentor. We love him and are so glad he is ours!

His woodwork is calling his name...and NO meetings this week!

As I drove into our neighborhood yesterday after our meetings,
I saw this tree in front of our drive standing out in the winter landscape.
She doesn't want to give up her leaves like all of the other trees have.
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