12.27.2009

Christmas...cold, but good!

We had a great Christmas here in Colorado, but it really was cold! We didn't get much snow, but we got plenty of COLD wind!

Here are the top 5 things we did over our Christmas break:

5-We worked on and finished two puzzles! These weren't just any puzzle. One of them was a hard puzzle; the picture was of about 25 popsicles piled on top of each other. It was harder than it sounds...see for yourself.
We had a fun surprise on Christmas when we found that Andrew's family gave us two puzzles as gifts. We finished one of those as well but we made record time on that one. Puzzles are a great thing to do when it is freezing cold outside!

4-On and around Christmas, we were able to talk to nearly all the members of our family! It was fun to visit, tell stories, and hear about everyone's Christmas. It really was a lot of people because there are nine kids in Brianna's family and seven in Andrew's.

3-Christmas goodies and caroling! Every year at Christmas, Andrew's family (mom) makes and delivers cookie dough to everyone in town! The list keeps getting bigger every year, and it really seems like she makes 100 pounds of cookie dough! They are really good cookies though. Brianna's family has always made a lot of different kinds of cookies and candy which we then would deliver to people while we went caroling. We decided we wanted to do something too, so every year we like to make a load of goodies and deliver them.
This year, we made 11 different treats and took them to about 20 families. We even caroled...at one house! It is hard to be as excited about caroling when your choir consists of only two people!

A few of the specialty items were: good little almond thingys, butterscotch fudge, russian teacakes (peppermint and normal), truffles, rocky road, and almond roca.
2-One of Andrew's favorite parts of the break were his visits to the garage to work with his tools. As mentioned in a previous post, his parents gave him the other half of a canoe (it is hard using half a canoe). But, what good is a whole canoe if it can only sit or hang in a garage? So he also got a car rack for Christmas. And he had to make a way to secure the canoe to the car rack, so he built a little wooden frame that will fasten to the rack.

The purpose of this wooden contraption is to eliminate the side-to-side movement of the canoe while driving down the road. (In the picture below: in the side view, you can imagine the side of a canoe fitting perfectly in the slot. Then, we will slide the white piece of wood over the edge of the canoe and tighten the wingnut, which will hold the canoe in place.) He also has ample tie-downs in the front and back to ensure that we don't create an airborne canoe while going down the road.

1-So what was the top thing we did over Christmas break? Probably staying up late watching movies and sleeping in! We have gotten a lot of sleep the last few days, and it will be difficult getting back to a regular schedule! All in all, we've had a great time!

Oh yeah...how do you like Andrew's new glasses?

12.20.2009

St.Basil's Cathedral over Christmas Break

Andrew and I have been married for four years and seven months, (well, in three days it will be seven months) but guess what? We have never completed a puzzle together...until today. We felt like doing one at Thanksgiving, but we didn't have any. The other night, we were at the Dollar Store and saw some, so we picked up a few. Here was our first. It was 350 pieces for ages 12 and up, but when we first opened up the package, and saw all those tiny pieces, suddenly we felt like five-year-olds. After a little organization, and getting over our intial fear of the puzzle, we actually had fun and stayed up till midnight before we decided it was time to go to bed. Something happens when it is late at night and you are staring at 350 tiny colorful pieces that all look the same...your brain stops working!
Just so you know, we finished it off the next day. It went a lot quicker when we were awake. Here is Andrew with the last piece!
Ta-da!

Gingerbread trailer house, A-frames and more...

Andrew here: So each year we like to make gingerbread houses just for fun. This year we decided to use graham crackers rather than gingerbread because it is a lot easier and a little bit quicker. It just gives you more time to do the bulk of the fun part: decking out the house with tons of candy and stuff. So here is the shipment of lumber that we used in constructing our houses. We are in charge of the Young Single Adult Family Home Evening Group in our Ward and we though this would make a neat thing to do with everyone. So we went out and got tons of candy and other building supplies so we could create some amazing architectural designs. We actually did this on two nights, so the first night, I created a trailer house. The pretzels on top are the television antenna.

The next time, both Brianna and I made different houses. Here is my masterpiece A-frame:
Here is Brianna's drafty but great gingerbread house:


12.15.2009

O Christmas Tree

Christmas is less than two weeks away! Can you believe it? We decorated our tree on the 1st of December, but unfortunately, we forgot to post it. Here is our beautiful tree.
Great, huh? We love real trees, but the first year we were married, we bought this one at a thrift store for $5! What a deal! We just couldn't pass it up...and it still works great.Andrew and the ornaments...
Merry Christmas! Stay tuned for our gingerbread houses...we just did them last night and had so much fun!

12.01.2009

Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving with lots of good food. Andrew and I love turkey, so we always try to find the biggest one at the store, then we cut off all the meat and freeze it and use it for months. This year, our turkey was 20.83 pounds. It was great...and heavy! Here are some of the beginning stages of our Thanksgiving feast.



The delicious meal, followed by delicious pies.

What is Thanksgiving without good pie? We made two kinds, Incredible Peanut Butter Pie and Tollhouse Pie, which is basically a cookie in a pie shell and a tradition in Brianna's family. Both are extremely rich.

At first, it seemed like it was going to be a long weekend with just the two of us...but there was a surprise in store for Andrew. Some of his family came to visit all the way from Utah, which is a long nine and a half hour drive. Brianna knew about it, but he didn't, and it was so much fun when he answered the door Friday night!

Here's Andrew's version of the story. Just after I finished dinner that night, the doorbell started going crazy, and I was pretty sure that it would be a doorbell ditcher because it sounded like they were ringing the bell with a jackhammer. Right before I got to the door, I stopped dead in my tracks when I heard the unmistakable sound of my dad mooing like a cow outside the front door. [First off, I've got to tell you that my dad has been mooing like a cow for a number of years; it has become his personal trademark. It really does sound like a cow.] Then it hit me...either my family was on our porch or some farmer was missing a cow and it was wandering around in our front yard! I opened the door, and there they were, smiling, laughing, and shivering in the cold. It was an amazing surprise!
They wanted to come visit and deliver my Christmas present, a 15 foot Coleman canoe. When I was about 16, I went in on a canoe with my dad, so I decided I wanted the other half for Christmas this year. I was a little relieved to see that they brought the canoe, because I was a little worried about having a 15 foot canoe on top of our 17 foot car for over 500 miles across the windy state of Wyoming! Even though the visit was short, we had a great time playing games and hanging out with family.

11.30.2009

Something Funny

Andrew here: I often say that something funny happens every day. But I guess sometimes you have days where nothing funny happens and you have two options.

1) You can remember something that happened another day and laugh at it.
2) You can do something funny.


This may have been one of those days where option two was the best bet. We needed to laugh at something and we did...for quite some time.

Have you ever seen the thing when you put little eyes on your chin and flip upside down and it looks like your chin is a little alien blob thing? If you have then you know exactly what I'm talking about and it looks pretty funny. If you don't know about it, then these pics will look even better! Anyways one last touch that helps things look just a little bit better is putting a shirt or a jacket (in my case) over the top of your head. When you hang your head upside down it will get caught on your nose and hold it in place. It really isn't that comfortable, but it sure looks funny. I have seen people do a lip-sync like this before with a group of people and it is great. So here are some pics...hope you enjoy! These pics still make us laugh.

11.18.2009

Halloween

Better late than never, right? I hope so! We had a great Halloween this year and had so much fun planning up our costumes. When Andrew was in high school, one of his friends dressed up like a security guard and shaved part of his hair...the part in the middle, so he would look like he was losing his hair. Since then, Andrew has wanted to do this, so he decided to dress up as an old man. I (Brianna) was a lego block. I was hoping to go as an ear of corn, but after days of planning and creating, I didn't get very far, and changed my mind.

Here are the pictures of Andrew's transformation. At first he thought he only needed 1/4 inch of hair left, but it wasn't enough, so we had to leave only 1/8 inch of hair. We shaved it all off when we got home from our church party. Now, he is always freezing!

The Lego. And trust me, you have to be strong to be a Lego...it really hurt my arms. It was a little awkward, especially when I needed to get a drink of water from the drinking fountain.

And here we are enjoying each other, as always. We've been married for four and a half wonderful years...but it feels like 40!
Here are our pumpkins. We grew them in our garden, so they were even more fun to carve than normal!

Andrew's is on the left, and Brianna's is on the right. Oh, and guess what? Andrew carved both sides! Here is the other view...

10.03.2009

Adventures in the Kitchen

This is Brianna, and as previously mentioned, I love to cook and bake. When I was growing up, my mom had a pasta machine that she used some of the time. Most people would probably love this...fresh pasta! But, I had only one memory of it and it wasn't a good one. I think the meal was chicken and noodles on mashed potatoes (which is one of my favorites) but some of my noodles stuck together in a clump, and didn't get cooked well. So, basically, I was eating a wad of dough. I have never liked eating dough. And after that, making pasta was never in my plans. (Just for the record, I still think my mom is an amazing cook!)

Then, our friends invited us over for dinner, and guess what? Same meal, chicken and noodles on mashed potatoes! With fresh pasta! And, it was good! So, I thought I would try it out. I didn't have the machine, so I rolled them out by hand, which worked...but they have to be really thin. And the dough is really sticky!
The verdict. Well, they were good, but not great. The recipe I used called for a pinch of salt, and I don't think that was enough, but they were okay in the soup. I would do it again, but only for soup or chicken and noodles, or if I ever felt like trying some ravioli. I can't imagine using them for spaghetti...they were pretty thick, even though I rolled them as thin as I could.

But guess what? Same week, different day, we tried another recipe. BYU Mint Brownies. I've never been a fan of mint, at least not peppermint. I like wintergreen and spearmint, but peppermint is usually too strong for me. I have never had a whole candy cane...one lick is enough for me. These brownies have mint extract in them, which consists of peppermint and spearmint, so it isn't too pepperminty. Plus, once you add the word brownie, I am sold.

Anything that starts with this...
and ends with this...
has got to be good, right? Did I mention I love chocolate?

This recipe is supposedly the original, directly from Sugar-n-Spice (located in the Cougareat at BYU). It was printed in the BYU Magazine, so we figured it must be legitimate. You can find the recipe here.

We were invited to dinner yesterday and decided to try it out and hope they really were as good as the originals. Andrew made the mint icing layer, and doesn't it look great? It was, but a little too powerful on its own. He said it reminded him of toothpaste.
The verdict. Well, actually, we tried a little bite as soon as we put on the chocolate icing, and we were a little disappointed. The brownies seemed too tall, and we didn't taste enough mint. We thought they must have lied in the recipe. They were still good, but not the same. We brought them to the dinner a few hours later, and when we had them then, they were better. More minty. Tonight, we had them again...and they were still good. Maybe even better. We think the mint is spreading through the brownie. I do still think the brownies are still a little taller than I remember, but overall, I think they are just as good as the real BYU Mint Brownies. You should try them, especially if you like mint...or chocolate. And because they look really good in this picture.
Oh, and they don't have a recipe for the chocolate icing, but I use this one and love it. I actually didn't use all of it, we didn't want it to overpower the mint, so I left off maybe 3/4 cup or something.

1/2 C. margarine
1/4 C. cocoa
1/3 C. milk
8 large marshmallows
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine all ingredients in saucepan and melt over medium to medium-high heat. Or turn it up for awhile if you get impatient...just don't burn it. When it is all melted and smooth, remove from heat. Add:
2 1/2 C. powdered sugar (you could probably even add 3 cups. Mine was a little runny...but it worked that way; it was easier to spread.)

Oh, one last thing. The mint is really what makes these brownies. I am sure you could easily make brownies from a mix and add the mint and chocolate icing. I love brownies from a mix! I just love brownies!

7.30.2009

Random Facts About Us

Andrew

-He plays the guitar.
-He loves to tell stories and jokes.
-He is the middle of seven children.
-He can make the biggest frown in the world!
-He has a hitchhiker’s thumb.
-His favorite color is green.
-He likes to eat spicy food, especially Indian Curry.
-He served a mission for the LDS Church in the Canada Vancouver Mission in British Columbia.
-He can make some great paper airplanes.
-He likes to sing; especially in quartets (he is a first bass/baritone).
-He loves to fish.
-He likes to go canoeing. And now we have one!
-His idea of a good day often includes working with tools in the garage.
-He likes to play Ultimate Frisbee.
-He had a green iguana named Bradley (after Shawn Bradley who played basketball at BYU).
-He loves to eat shrimp.
-He can count to three in Japanese.
-He has worn glasses since he was about 3 years old.

Brianna

-She has never broken or sprained any bones.
-She likes growing a garden, but doesn’t like many cooked vegetables.
-She is the middle of nine children.
-Her favorite color is blue.
-She loves to watch movies, because that means she can also make popcorn...and she loves popcorn!
-She loves to read Harry Potter.
-She loves dogs.
-She has Type 1 Diabetes and an insulin pump.
-She loves chocolate and ice cream (not the sugar free varieties).
-She loves to bake.
-She likes using coupons and saving money.
-She loves middle names.
-She has never had her ears pierced.
-She had an albino guinea pig named Squeaker.
-She can listen to the same song, or set of songs over and over again if she likes them.
-She loves to drink water.
-She used to have a stamp collection when she was younger.
-She has better than 20/20 vision...for now.

Jessica

-She was born on the 4th of July!
-She joined our family through the miracle of adoption!
-She loves strawberries
-She loves to dress up, especially if she can be a princess or a bride.
-She loves to read books.
-Her favorite place to be is outside...even in the snow.
-She likes to exercise on the swing set by climbing all over it and trying to do pull ups. She says she is building her muscles.
-She has slept through a car alarm going off right next to her.
-She loves flying on airplanes.
-She loves to watch movies, and does not like to be interrupted during those movies.
-She loves to make faces (like Andrew) and is learning how to move her eyebrows and flare her nostrils.
-She loves to dance.
Her favorite song is "Go away star." Haven't heard of it? Too bad...she wrote it herself.

7.21.2009

Welcome to our Blog

Hello! We just wanted to give you a little introduction into the life of Andrew and Brianna. Recently, we just celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. We are so happy and love each other very much! We met each other at Brigham Young University where we were in the same Family Home Evening group in our ward. Our first date was Homecoming and we continued to date and were married the next year in the Seattle, Washington temple. After we finished school, we moved to Colorado where Andrew began his career working for the Boy Scouts of America.
We both love children and have always wanted to be parents. In fact, when we got married, we said we wanted to have twenty-one kids. Through recent medical tests we found that we will be unable to have children on our own. We are excited to be able to start our family through adoption!

A little bit from Andrew:
I am the fourth of seven children and was raised in Alpine, Utah. We always had a lot of fun growing up and I still love to tell stories about those times today. I served a mission in the Canada Vancouver Mission in British Columbia. After my mission, I attended BYU and received my degree there and graduated in 2006. We then packed up everything we owned in a big U-Haul and moved to Colorado and I started working for the Boy Scouts. I enjoy fishing and the outdoors. I love to sing and am a baritone; I have sung in choirs since I was in 9th grade. I like to work with tools, fix things, build stuff and work on projects. Humor is a big part of my life and I try to find something funny every day. Having a sense of humor makes life enjoyable.

A little bit from Brianna:
I was born and raised in Centralia, Washington and am the fifth of nine children in my family. My family lived on a small farm where we occasionally had cows, horses, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, and dogs. Sometimes it meant a lot of work, but most of the time it was just a lot of fun. When I was 15 years old, I was diagnosed
with Type 1 Diabetes. I have an insulin pump, so I don’t have to give shots…I just can’t eat as much ice cream and chocolate as I would like to! Speaking of food, I love to cook and bake (especially breads). I’m growing a garden and love watching the plants grow. I also like crafts and making cards.

And now...you can read some of our favorite stories and learn about us. We'd love to hear from you and get to know you as well! You can send us an email at andrewbrianna21@gmail.com.