Christmas Feast Christmas Beast

Merry Christmas!! So we had Roast Beast just like in Whoville. The menu also included Browned Split Potatoes ala Jacques Pepin, Honey Carrots, Dixie Pomegranate Salad (recipe follows), Soft Ginger Cookies, Cheeseball/crackers, and my Red Hot 'n Prickly Punch (recipe follows). The kids got goodies from Santa (Ellery got an art desk, Nintendo DS, American Girl Doll and paraphenalia, alarm clock)(Soren got a PSP and a combo rifle/shotgun). I got an office chair, some sweaters, reading glasses (I look old in them) and the Cooking Mama Wii game. And I got Nike's!! (My old one's are a YEAR old). Most of Cyler's stuff was "unwrappable" so next year I am going to have to do better at having things for him to unwrap the morning of. He's sick today so he's getting some uninterrupted video game time in.
Dixie Pomegranate Salad
serves 6-8
2 pomegranates, seeded
2 apples, diced
2 bananas, sliced
Whipped cream with a bit of powdered sugar added
Mix together, slicing and adding the bananas right before serving.
Red Hot 'n Prickly Punch
Serves about 6-8
1 64oz bottle Cranapple Juice
2 lg oranges
whole cloves
Red Hot candies
Press whole cloves into skin of oranges about 1" apart all over. Pour Cranapple juice into a crockpot and turn on Low. Cut oranges in half and squeeze juice of orange into crockpot. Place oranges into crockpot. After crockpot is warmed, sprinkle a good handfull of Red Hots into crockpot and stir to melt.


American Girls or Hunting Widows?

The boys went hunting (Soren got one.) So we spent Fri. afternoon and evening at the Galleria Mall ice skating and trying clothes on in Saks and Macy's. Then on Sat we dressed up and went back for seconds. We went to the American Girl Doll Mecca. We had lunch there, shopped, then went to Nordstrom. Then we RETURNED to AGD and had rootbeer floats. So much fun. (I got the doll that is the WWII friend of the one Ellery has already but she doesn't know it yet.) Above is Ellery jamming with the brass group playing in the mall. She was not sure of all the attention she got with her cute matching outfit with her doll. I was beaming though. It was so fun for me to see her dancing around and shopping with her dress on and her doll.

She says AGD store is her favorite place. I can't argue. We missed you this time Mom and Dad. Today I played a couple of pieces on the harp for the church Christmas program. I have fun but I get nervous. Need to work on that. Ellery was a good page turner except once when she turned two pages' worth instead of one. It took me a moment to get back on track. It was fine though. Becky, let's do something for Easter, wanna? Hollie Young was nice enough to transport me and Grail in her minivan. I seriously think that is going to be my next vehicle. I just can't believe I'm saying that. But anything for Grail, and I can't keep depending on my friends even though they are so accomodating. The minivan is so nice--lower to the ground than an SUV and all the seats can disappear. Perfect for a harp!


Tis the season for the Tea

Ellery and I are lucky enough to be friends with girls and their moms who do a Christmas Tea every year. This year I hosted it. Us moms wrap a gift with the same theme and price range so the girls get what they want and it's all equal. They dress up too. This year the theme was Lil 'Kins.

We had an etiquette quiz where the girls read hard questions about what to do in certain situations. When the question was asked "Which fork do you use at a fancy restaurant?" a girl said "The clean one." I made white hot chocolate, Becca brought cheese/crackers, fruit, Sandy brought a sweet pretzel and popcorn mix. I put the extra leaves in the table and angled it diagonally so all the girls could sit together. I made name placecards out of green sparkly snowflake ornaments. The centerpiece was a snow lady I made last year. She has pipecleaner branches, fake eyelashes, big crystals for earrings and a wedding ring, a silver poinsettia brooch and an opalescent ribbon for a hat. The color theme was lime green. We made a baby Jesus in a manger craft and talked about doing nice things for your family this season. Then we hit the piano and sang "Rudolph" and "Frosty."

Tonight the boys are going hunting till late tomorrow night. If Soren brings home another deer, we are jerking the whole thing out. So, I am thinking I'll take Ellery ice skating at the Galleria Mall in Dallas. Of course she wants to eat at the American Girl Doll store. I just want to go and have her try on cute clothes (and me too.) She is going to be my page turner during the church Christmas program. If I can remember to que her right, she'll do an excellent job.
Soren said I could post his letter to Santa:
Dear Santa Claus,
I have benn very helpful and nice most of the time. So this is what I want for Christmas:
A combination hunting gun, a compound bow with new arrows, Boom Blocks for the Wii, some of my debt paid off to mom and dad, new targets, a PSP with Turok game (if you can) and a pit stop remote control race car track. I hope this isn't too much. If it is you can just take 3 items off the list if you want.
Soren Campbell


Sample Quiz

Ellery's school is doing "Get to it" week which focuses the kids on making a goal to go to college. She had to take a picture of her by, or wearing, something having to do with a university. I dressed her up in my garb. Looks great doesn't she?

I am having Soren take unit tests in his main subjects tomorrow. Here is the History/Geography quiz I just built.

1. Does the set below describe Aryans or Indus River valley inhabitants? Who conquered whom?

Had public restrooms, sewers
Did not have a trained professional army
Cities laid out like grids
Tall fair-skinned nomads
Divorce was illegal
Believed fire released soul to afterlife
Were not builders
Lived off cattle

2. An Egyptian Pharoah calls a relative to help him govern. This is an example of:

True or False Egyptians, like other ancient peoples, were afraid to criticize or disobey priests for they feared that it would anger the gods.

What Central American ancient people believed the same way?

Egyptians paid taxes in ______.
gold bars
dollar bills
acts of kind service to the Pharoah

The Toltecs spread a particularly gruesome sacrificial ceremony throughout ancient Central America. Explain it and other types of sacrificial ritual or torture.

The legendary ________________ was a king/priest who was forced to give up his throne. He promised to return in the year 1519.

Name some of the many foods available to Mayans.

What types of daily activities would have taken place in Chichen Itza?

Mayans used boards to flatten the forehead of a baby according to their standard of beauty. What other body modifications or ways of dressing would they do to show beauty or status? List as many as you can.

Mayans threw conquered men and children into the __________.
Lago Arenal
Tamarindo caves
Cenote Sagrado

Mayans were lucky that their honeybees:
had no stingers
could talk
built huge hives on the ground

Mayans could not build buildings with wide-open interiors like Romans could. Draw the corbelled arch of the Mayans and draw a Roman arch. (Hint: one is angled (geometric) and one is curved (organic)).

Aztecs became strong by: (circle all that apply)
· Collecting tributes from conquered provinces
· Training a strong professional army
· Controlling ownership of the land
· Sacrificing victims to the god of Spring, Xipe Totec
· Changing alliances in the middle of a war to defeat former allies
· Encouraging education, farming and military service
· Believing that Quetzalcoatl would come back.

Explain why Monteczuma, the Aztec king, did not fight the invading Spaniards right away. What were the positive and negative effects of the Spanish coming to the Americas? (Use your composition notebook.)

Match the Country on the left to the appropriate Capital on the right,

Costa Rica Brasilia

Paraguay Asuncion

Canada Lima

Honduras Bueno Aires

Brazil Ottawa

Argentina Bogota

Colombia Tegucigalpa

Peru San Jose


Decking out the Deck

Stocking hangers have kids' and Cyler's pics in them.
White porcelain Nativity scene on the buffet. I like using these globe lights.

These are new this year. I made three angel wreaths to put in front of the newel posts--the garland with lights is wrapped around the banister. I think it turned out nice,--I think.

Ellery's tree is fiberoptic multi-color whimsy. Katy, the dress ornaments you gave me are on this tree:)

This wreath I made while still working at Design Showcase in LV.

My tree--angels, gold white, ribbon from my wedding. I would like to do a tree based on the items from Sound of Music, 'My Favorite Things.' Maybe next year.

I had Mary and Joseph but they became casualties of Soren's toddler years.

Poinsettias that will be given to teachers, mailwoman, hairdresser etc.

It's amazing how Christmas decorations have consumed my life this past week. The Nativity Exhibit for our church displays 800 or so sets from all over the world, made of all sorts of materials. I helped out a bit and it was very labor intensive. But the kids like seeing them and the display is very well done. (But how many temporal needs issues could have been taken care of with that many man-hours? Oh well-not up to me I guess.) So then I was all about the above decorations at my house. I have evolved a theme of angels I guess. I don't know how that happened. The only thing I can think of is that angels are the only appropriate symbol for divine feminine power in Christianity (sad). Again, oh well-not up to me I guess.
On a happy note, we are hosting Ellery's Christmas Tea this year, and the choir is coming over to practice and potluck the Sunday before so I will have some festive events to look forward to. I would like to do a music FHE with you Becky too. Happy decorating ya'll!

Happy Birthday Dad

My Dad is 70-something today. I don't keep track anymore because I am in denial about the age of my parents. So, for you Dad, in retribution for all the blonde jokes you told at the reunion--here is a joke for you. Maybe you can use it in one of your talks. I cracked up so hard when you told a "Say No to Crack" joke at the 28th ward reunion testimony meeting. I loved it!

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?' And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

For being a memory maker, funder, and fellow 'late-bloomer,'
I love you.

Oh, and the reunion

In the excitement over buying property (maybe) I forgot to post some pics of the reunion. I will have to post the itinerary my dad sent for the reunion--all planned out with awesome prizes for the shooting contest to boot. There was also a talent show, rented theatre for movies and popcorn, good food and paintball. It's fun to see my siblings' kids grow up and be friends. They are fun to watch--to see who they take after, to see how they are 'Ence.' BonnieCate, Gracie, Ivy, Bridget, and Ellery. Bridget and Ivy I know better than Gracie and Ivy. BC is independent minded (love that) and her dad calls her "Beans" which I think is so cute. Bridget has an artist/scholar soul--she writes fantasy novels and is already published. She can play the harp too.

Ivy and Bridget.

Ellery, Gracie, BonnieCate. My other nieces are Rachelle, Laurel, Paige, Sierra, Simone, Brianna, Chloe, Natasha, and Julia.

My eldest sister Shannon with her 2nd grandchild Preslee (who is a dead-ringer for Betty Boop!) You just want to kiss her cheeks and her bow shaped mouth. Shannon is a nurse--she's smart and sweet-tempered. She's gonna come visit me (Me!) in January. It's a strange thing to hear your sibling be called Nana. (The name my family uses for grandma.) My mom is now "Great Nana."

Zane (BonnieCate's bro and lover of all things "Cars"), and Lars (smart, independent and can't understand why he doesn't get to do what he wants all the time--I feel the same way a lot). He was crying in his carseat so I made a face by drawing on the side of my hand (you know, with the thumb moving up and down for the mouth). It was named Bob and Lars talked to that thing like he was real!
I have more nephews too--let's see there's Lance, Morgan, Bryant, Chase, Braden, Danny, Shayne, Ian, and Jason. Some of these have wives and kids of their own. Long live the Ence clan.


Post-Reunion Musings

It is between St George and Cedar City UT. Could I raise my kids in a small UT community? I would have horses. Could I still travel? I would see our families more. Could I leave our Texas friends? (That thought makes me feel like I just got punched in the stomach) Cyler says I change when I go back home, and not for the better. I revert back to my old insecurities and apocalyptic perfectionism. He says it's not pretty. But New Harmony is pretty. I could build my dream house. Would we be able to sell ours? Cyler could be a mountain man and I could still have a social life (somewhat). Cyler would be 40 min from the St George Airport. Would my kids adopt the narrow, fatalistic views of humanity I have worked so hard to eradicate from my household? Soren could fish, hike, four wheel, hunt to his heart's content. What would you do?