Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007!

Our family wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Winter Garden a'Glow Video Clips

Idaho Botanical Gardens Winter Garden aGlow 2007

Lochie and I went to an awesome event tonight with our friend Karen & her kids Miranda, Alex, Jeff & Brocc - it was the annual Idaho Botanical Gardens "Winter Garden aGlow" event(if you click the blue text it'll take you to the official website). I got some AMAZING photos - the entire botanical gardens was alight with a gorgeous array of Christmas lights - and on top of that it was lightly snowing - so that combined for some pretty great pics! The kids had a heap of fun running around, throwing snowballs at each other and "skiing" down the cobblestone paths. There were fire pits everywhere and we saw a reindeer and Santa (again!). We all met over at McDonalds for some dinner beforehand then after we all went and had some Molten Lava Choc Cake & Icecream at Chili's (Karen talked me into it - but I HIGHLY recommend it if you haven't tried it!!). An awesome night all round! Without further ado here are some of the pics and video from the Winter Aglow.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cookie Exchange Party @ Karen's

My friend Karen hosted a cookie exchange party on Wednesday night where everyone took 6 dozen cookies packaged up in dozen sets. After having some nibblies and hot cocoa everyone was able to take 6 dozen different cookies home. I made apricot balls & chocolate truffle balls rolled in crushed candy canes (thanks Big Nan for the apricot balls recipe & others!). Karen made pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate with different candies sprinkled on top - yummy!

Karen's house was decorated beautifully for Christmas and her tree was gorgeous! Lochie got all excited when he saw the pressies underneath and asked if Santa had put them there!

We enjoyed the sweet/salty mix of the pretzels so much that Lochie and I made our own chocolate covered pretzels sprinkled in crushed nuts and sprinkles - this was Lachlan's first real cooking activity where he made all of it almost by himself. I melted the chocolate in the microwave for him, but he lay the pretzels out on his tray and when I told him they couldn't be clumped up he spread them out more, then he spooned on the chocolate and spread it out then finished up by sprinkling everything with the toppings he chose! He was very proud of his efforts as you can see by the photo! We had a lot of fun!

The family got elfed too!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Get Elfed!

My friend Keri elfed her family on her blog page and it was so funny I did it for our family too!
Copy and paste the following link into an address bar!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Santa Pictures 2007

Lochie's Blogspot still has his 2006 and 2005 photos! Click here to see how he's grown!

Lochie goes to see Santa!!

Took Lochie to the Boise Towne Square Mall to see Santa Claus today! All Lochie wanted to do was cuddle up to him! And what a lovely Santa he was too - there wasn't a line at all - noone waiting after us and only one child ahead of us. The little baby in front of us who Santa held for a very long time and walked around so the baby could touch the fishing snowman. He was very patient and gentle and jolly too! Lochie told Santa that he wants a Darth Vader Death Star Transformer for Christmas and that he had been a good boy t his year and Santa said to Lochie that Santa loves him very much. Very sweet! Lochie is such a cuddle-bug! Maybe he was thinking of another older, grey-haired man he loves...

I was annoyed at myself when I got to the mall that I'd taken my flash card out of my camera - I even had my second older camera in my bag too- but the batteries were dead! Fortunately my Kodak has not a bad sized internal memory so I was able to still get a very short video and about 5 photos! When we woke Lochie up in the middle of the night last night for him to go to the potty he groggily said in his sleep "And I get to tell Santa I want Darf Vader toy when I wake up?" - even in his half-asleep state he was aware of his visit to see Santa today!! I had a dental appointment this morning so met up with David & Lochie at the mall and he was so wiggly & excited about everything! Right now as I type this I hear him in the living room saying "Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas! I'm Santa Claus!" and he is wearing an orange soccer safety cone on his head for his Santa hat! Only 19 more sleeps to go (yikes, that many?!!)...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dan & Katie's Trip to Boise Nov 2007

Danny, Katie, Carly & Coco
came up to Boise for a visit
this week. I made rice, sweet
mince, thai green chicken curry
and beef & broccoli stir-fry the
first night. Funnily enough my
sister on the other side of the world
also made sweet mince and thai
green chicken curry on the same night
not knowing what I had made!
The kids had fun at the MK Nature
center and we got some great pics.
The both patted a gopher snake and
looked for trout in the river view
windows that lets you look in a real
We had a pre-Thanksgiving feast
at Brent & Cinji's on Saturday night
(unfortunately David had work so
couldn't go) and Lochie was thrilled
to see his "brother" Nicholas!
Carly & Lochie played well together
and Coco is such a sunny baby - all
smiles! Lochie sure enjoyed the
company of his cousins!

The family heads back to Southern
California today after a week-long

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fall Foliage in Boise

The colours in Boise this time of year definitely rival those of New England, in my opinion! I've never BEEN to New England but of course I'm biased towards Boise anyway!

Lochie and I went to check the post office box for my new business a few days ago and it is opposite a beautiful look-out on Federal Way. When I first drove past the mountains were a gorgeous purple hue but by the time I returned after checking the mail, the dusk was already turning into dark.

Lochie and I went to Shopko to pick up some stuff and he found this BSU supporters hat - he really, REALLY wanted it! He was pretty cute in it so I took a quick picture but I think that hat would be pretty dorky on a grown-up! Would definitely keep your ears warm though!

We've been slow-cooking a lot in the crock-pot - stews and pasta sauces mostly but I tried a spinach Indian curry last week and simmered the meat in the curry sauce for about an hour and a half and it was delish!! I have been cooking heaps lately - taco salad on Monday, Italian Meatballs on Tuesday and today we're making a potato soup. I have a cold right now so might make a chicken noodle soup instead but it is soup weather right now - it was so cold today it felt like it could snow but forecast said it will only get down to 42f today - low of 36f on Saturday so looks like we didn't have much of a Fall this year - pretty much went from Summer to Winter it feels! Glad we're taking Lochie to the Harvest Festival at the Idaho Fairgrounds for Halloween - it is a huge event out church sponsors and its free popcorn, sno-cones, cotton candy, rides, games, etc. It was so cold on Halloween last year so we were glad to be in a nice heated pavilion at the fairgrounds!!

Lochie & I are going to go snuggle and watch a DVD with some warm popcorn now...

Jack-o-lantern Video #2

Lochie's Adventures in Pumpkin Carving!

We had a great day today - Lochie had his chance to carve his pumpkin! This is the first year he's been big enough to actually do most of the work himself! I helped him with cutting the top but he scooped all the pumpkin goop out himself, and after I shaved it down inside on the "face" side to make cutting easier for him, he drew his own design and carved it himself! And I think considering the puny kids knife we gave him he did a pretty good job of it! And I actually accidentally invented a new use for the pumpkin seeds! I rinsed and removed as much of the pumpkin from the seeds as I could then soaked them in water for about 20 mins. I read on the internet about honey-roasting pumpkin seeds so I used a cast-iron skillet and toasted the seeds in some butter until they "popped" a bit and got toasty looking - then I thought I could skip the whole roasting part and honey-roast them in the skillet (duh!) so added golden syrup from Australia (like a cross between molasses and corn syrup I think for you yanks!), white sugar and cinnamon and before I knew it, it took on a toffee consistency and was hardening faster in my nice cast-iron skillet than I would have liked! So I threw the whole mix down on a baking sheet and put in the oven on low (250f) for about a half an hour and voila! Pumpkin Seed Brittle!! The boys LOVED it and it had kind of a nutty flavour like peanut brittle but a little more chewy. Lochie thought it was the best and we plan on doing the same thing with the seeds in the other pumpkin. Lochie wants me to carve a "Yoda" pumpkin - I did a pretty fancy Spongebob on a watermelon last year - I practiced on the melon and it was so time-consuming I didn't have the energy to recreate it on the pumpkin so Lochie had a Jack-o-melon last year! Will give Yoda a shot for him I guess - but if it becomes too much effort I'm just gonna punch a bunch of holes in it and we'll call it the galaxy!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The object used to carve the pumpkin was a child's blunt, serrated pumpkin carving knife! We wouldn't let Lochie use a real knife - but in the blurry images of the video we just wanted to establish that it's actually quite an innocuous piece of weaponry! (in other words, Mum & Dad don't have a heart attack when you see him making violent stabbing motions with it! It's pretty blunt - thought you would like to know that!)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Pumpkin Patch Video Clip #1

It was windy so the audio isn't the greatest - WARNING.. might want to adjust your volume down before hiiting play so the wind sounds don't blast you...!

Merricks & Wrigleys @ Linder Farms Pumpkin Patch Oct 2007

We had a great outing at Linder Farms in Meridian with the Wrigley family today. Lochie found some real nice pumpkins but in the end he said he wanted some little gourds instead! We'll probably go out to the Berry Ranch sometime in the next few weeks anyway and pick a pumpkin out so he can carve it. I think he thought the pumpkins would already come carved because on the drive out he said "Mum can I get a pumpkin with a happy face?"! The sun was out and it was a beautiful day if not a bit windy and the smell of fresh hot donuts was in the air (and in Lochie's tummy - thanks, Darren!). We had a great day and agreed we need to get together with the Wrigleys more often! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The ever-changing Bat...

Our new hermit crab named Bat (Lochie named him) is very interesting to watch because he has been changing his shells a couple of times a day lately! We had purchased some assorted shell sizes from - a really cute hermit crab online store - and have had them in the crabitat for ages waiting for Cranky to go into a prettier shell (she's the one riding the dinosaur!). The shells they come in naturally are not so attractive and have little barnacles all over them and the new shells are SO adorable!
So you can imagine my excitement to discover Bat had changed shells - not only once but several times now! He was in a cute whale-eye shell last night (see picture) but as soon as I finished filling the water & food bowls etc and put him back in his crabitat he rushed over to a few new shells I had put in there and crawled into ANOTHER one! So far he has been in the pretty green "tapestry" shell with the flecks of mother-of-pearl second from the left, the jade turbo shell on the far right, the whale-eye and the exotic king crown shell in the bottom picture. And when I checked on him this morning he was back in the whale-eye shell again!
He is fun to watch because he puts his large pincher in the opening of the shell to see if it fits, then he turns the shell over and over to make sure there isn't a crab already in it, then he quickly heaves his soft, muscular abdomen into the new shell - this is how they hang on to the shell. Then he goes over to the salt water pool and sits in it a while - I think he is getting more "shell water" into his new shell. It has certainly kept us entertained and before we got the crabs for Lochie's birthday I didn't know much about them - I kind of thought their intelligence level was about that of a bug or something. Now they have been our pets for the past month I can TOTALLY see that is not the case as we have witnessed them helping each other (Cranky reached out and helped Crabby right himself up once) and last weekend when I cleaned out the crabitat and put Cranky & Bat into the shallow cardboard container together they were TOTALLY working with each other to give each other a boost to try and escape! I set Lachlan on sentry duty while I was busy cleaning and he said "Mum, Cranky is getting out!" - sure enough Bat had let Cranky crawl up on him and he held still while she found a foothold in the fold of the carton and hoisted herself up and was sitting on the edge! To make sure it wasn't a fluke I positioned them away from each other and watched - sure enough they sought each other out and marched single-file around the carton until they came to where the cardboard folds were that Cranky had just climbed (Cranky seemed to be the instigator). Bat stopped and they put their feelers out at each other and seemed to communicate silently together for a moment with the feelers going at lightening speed - then Bat positioned himself and Cranky crawled on top of him and tried to hoist herself up using the ridges/joins of the cardboard! It was really amazing to see and the first time I realized that hermit crabs can think and strategize on some basic level - they can also communicate somehow. It was fascinating to watch and now I am such a crab-fanatic! Lochie really loves his crabs and today he even made a tribute to Crabby who died a few weeks ago (he was kinda sickly since we got him - unlike Cranky & Bat who have always been really active & personable - they come out of their shells and walk around on us, eat out of our hands etc - Crabby never did that). Lochie made a craft project Hermit Crab and told me it was for Crabby. I reminded him Crabby was dead and he said "I know Mum... it can still be for Crabby" which I thought was really sweet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fall is here!

That means:

  • Awanas starts up again at church!
  • time to clean out the fireplace!
  • get the winter clothes down from storage!
  • Pumpkin Patches & Harvest Festival/Halloween!
  • warm crock-pot stews and soups that heat the house while it slow-cooks all day!
  • fall foliage turning to gold, oranges, browns all along the Boise River!
  • Going out comfortably in long sleeved tops and jeans - light jacket weather!
  • Morning frosts and afternoon sun!
I LOVE the Fall - it is my favourite season!!
This is Lochie in front of our church (Calvary Chapel Boise) on Wednesday night for Awanas - he earned two patches last year on his vest and was very excited to start back up again! He is in the same class with many kids he knows from Sunday school and also saw some of our friends kids from bible study group, Grady & Wyatt.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lochie's 4th B'Day Cake!

Auntie Polly got Lochie a great Spiderman birthday cake from Albertson's - it was a really cool, detailed cake and even had a Spiderman toy he could keep afterwards! Lochie is STILL talking about his cake two weeks later...