Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Baking (Gingerbread House, Yule Log, Cookies)


With Michael back from college, we had all the kids together for some Christmas Eve baking of a gingerbread house, a Yule log and some Christmas sugar cookies.

The gingerbread house was covered in chocolate bricks, cocoa and cinnamon cereal. The doors were red fondant and there was a fondant wreath and bow over the door. Around the house were topiary bushes with inverted Rolo candies as the planters and homemade chocolate frosting for the plants.

The trees were upside-down sugar cones covered in green frosting and the reindeer were made with almonds and pretzels. They were the only items that were non-edible since they needed a few dabs of hot glue to stick together. The rest of the decorations (snowman, presents and polar bear) were made with Rice Krispy cereal treats covered in fondant.

Kudos to anyone that noticed the poinsettia on one of the bushes, or what the polar was holding in his paw...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Puzzle for 2012 - Snowflake Maze

Our annual Christmas puzzle is available now. It's a fun maze in the shape of a snowflake. As in prior years, the reward for solving is a video Christmas card, but you'll need to figure out the password by solving the puzzle.

Note: If you need some help, the full answer is posted here, but try solving it without help first... it's more fun that way.

Feel free to add a comment below to let us know that you successfully figured it out (without giving away the answer to others). We are always looking for new ideas for next year's Christmas puzzle, so submit those too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Costume Theme: The Four Seasons


For our 14th year of dressing up for Halloween, we chose a theme that is ideal for a group of 4: The Four Seasons.

You can see a movie and read more details on our costumes by clicking here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Camping 2012 - Grand Canyon, North Rim (August 2012) - Part II

As the second part of our annual family camping, we continued on to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where we camped, hiked and rode mules. An adventurous contingent of our family braved the famous "Rim to Rim" hike starting at the North Rim, descending 6000 feet into the canyon, then another 7+ miles across the canyon to Phantom Ranch. The next morning they hiked the grueling Bright Angel Trail with 9 miles of nothing but up, to reach the South Rim.

Camping 2012 - Grand Canyon, North Rim (August 2012) - Part II from Blaine & Felicia

Camping 2012 - Mojave National Preserve & Grand Canyon, North Rim (August 2012) - Part I

For our family camping trip this year, we drove to the Mojave Desert. We started our trip with 3 days in Mojave National Preserve where we camped, hiked a trail of rock wall hand-holds, went up (and down) the dunes and saw lots of Joshua trees.

After that we continued on to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where we again camped, hiked and rode mules. An adventurous contingent of our family braved the famous "Rim to Rim" hike starting at the North Rim, descending 6000 feet into the canyon, then another 7+ miles across the canyon to Phantom Ranch. The next morning they hiked the grueling Bright Angel Trail with 9 miles of nothing but up, to reach the South Rim.

Camping 2012 - Mojave National Preserve & Grand Canyon, North Rim (August 2012) - Part I from Blaine & Felicia.

For those that are interested in the actual Rim to Rim Hike, be sure to watch Part II of our video.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Family Trip - Lake Tahoe - June 2012

In honor of Dad's 80th birthday, as well as other birthdays in June (Tanya, Sydney, Sara, Amara) the family celebrated at a cabin up at South Lake Tahoe. We had fun cruising the lake, swimming, having a barbecue cookout, riding horses and renting pedal boats. Enjoy!


Family Trip - Lake Tahoe - June 2012 from Blaine & Felicia.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jason's 5th Grade Graduation Slideshow

5th Grade Graduation SlideshowEvery year, Highlands Elementary celebrates the 5th grade graduation by showing a slideshow with baby/toddler photos interspersed with current photos of each of the children.

Since Jason was graduating this year, I volunteered to create the slideshow. After scanning, cropping and retouching hundreds of submitted photos, I spent several long weekends getting the video to look "just right". To watch the video, click on the video image above.

The movie starts with a fanfare introduction and then quickly transitions into the slideshow portion of the video. I made a similar video when Rosemary graduated from 5th grade, but this time I decided to show the baby/toddler photo in a smaller window so that everyone could compare the two photos. The movie ends with a short synchonized fireworks show and some credits.

I hope you enjoy this and feel free to share the link with family and friends that weren't able to make it to the ceremony.

Congratulations 5th grade class of 2012 and good luck in middle school next year! And thank you to the parents and teachers for all their hard work and support.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Photos of the Transit of Venus, extremely rare event!

To safely view the Transit of Venus, we set up a pair of binoculars and projected the image of the sun onto a flat surface. It was really exciting to see the image of the sun with a tiny black dot which was the planet Venus.

A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, becoming visible against (and hence obscuring a small portion of) the solar disk. The event is visible for several hours.

Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena. They occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years.

This transit of Venus occurred on June 5 in our location and is the last Venus transit of the 21st century. The prior transit took place on June 8, 2004. The previous pair of transits were in December 1874 and December 1882. The next transits of Venus will be in December 2117 and December 2125.

Venus transits are historically of great scientific importance as they were used to gain the first realistic estimates of the size of the Solar System. In particular, observations of the 1639 transit, combined with the principle of parallax, provided an estimate of the distance between the Sun and the Earth that was more accurate than any other up to that time.

Click on the picture above to see more pictures from our observation of the Transit of Venus.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rosemary Goes to the Junior Prom in Style

Rosemary recently went to her junior prom with her boyfriend, Justin. They, along with several other friends were invited to a dinner hosted by Chris V. and his mom beforehand.

There were lots of parents taking pictures and we were taking some video of the pre-prom activities.  It was fun to see Rosemary & Justin, Lydia & Zack, Jessica & Conor, Trevor, Chris V. & Chris B. all dressed up in their fancy tuxedos and dresses, then heading off in their snazzy white limo.

Enjoy a glimpse of the pre-prom festivities in the following video: Rosemary's Junior Prom.