Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 in Pictures

In the past 2 weeks, my family has been to the doctor 5 times: we've had 3 cases of influenza, 2 strep throats, and one badly broken ankle. (before you feel sorry for me, know that I've lost 6 pounds in the month of December. Normally, I would probably have gained 6, so I am counting that as a net loss of 12 pounds. Spending a week on my death bed does have its benefit) Needless to say, I'm a little behind in my Christmas preparation. So, once again, I'm doing an electronic Christmas card, combined with my "Year in Pictures" blog post. So, without further ado . . .

In what is fast becoming our New Year's tradition, we spent the day sledding. Only this year, I did not allow my child to hurl head-first into a tree, so thankfully we did not spend the afternoon in the ER. This is one of my favorite pics of G - I'm not sure why. It isn't "that" good of a picture - I think maybe I just like the hat.
Bryn turned 4. I still cannot believe that my baby is so big - and so bright, loving, and kind - and she loves LIFE. She is an artist, a dancer, and the most giving person I've ever met. I love her so much.

Not much happened in March. It was kind of a non-eventful month. The girls continued to work on me to get a dog - they REALLY want one. And I was almost convinced with this little girl. She was a sweet puppy and loved Bryn. But, then I reminded myself that I'm NOT a dog person. . . my poor kids.

We spent a week in California. I convinced the family to spend 2 days at the beach to make up for spending the rest of the time at Disneyland. Grace turned 6 while we were there, and got to have her birthday in Disney. She got to choose the entire morning of her birthday, and she rode California Screamin' nine times in a row. I think she would have gone more times, but neither Mommy or Daddy could take it anymore. She is such a fearless girl - and so big and smart. She is such a good reader, and can read a big kid "chapter book" in just a couple of days. She's also started in precompetition level gymnastics and dance every day after school, which makes for a busy life.

In May, we spent a few days with our fun friends at their cabin in Central Utah. The kids got their first time on the 4-wheelers, and Bryn still talks about it. In fact, she asked for her own pink 4-wheeler for Christmas.

I can't pick just one picture for June - it was a busy month. My sweet, beautiful Bryn had her first dance recital - after which, she informed me that she belongs on stage. And, really, she is a natural. She's such an artist and a performer. (and of course, every parent thinks their kid is the best, but she really is)
The girls also got to finally run their first race - they've been there to support mommy countless times, and it was their time to shine. This was no wimpy kids race either - it was a mile run, which is quite a distance when you're 6 and 4. And, coincidentally, G came in 4th and Bryn came in 6th.
June also meant that my flowers were in full bloom. I love flowers - my garden looks a bit unkempt, because I have to plant one of everything. I think the lilies were my favorite this year - especially the orange ones.
The girls started soccer in July. Grace, in her last year of co-ed soccer, and Bryn in her first year. Grace doesn't love it - I don't think she'll play again. But Bryn really likes it - she scored in every single game.
We spent lots of time in the mountains in August. The girls love to hike. Grace even accompanied mom and dad on a 6 mile (round trip) hike to Lake Catherine, which is a difficult hike for an adult. This particular picture was taken on a much shorter hike to Cecret Lake. I just love this picture - it is SO Bryn.
In September, I got the opportunity to participate in the Red Rock Relay - a 12-person, self-supported relay in Southern Utah. Its a 186-mile race - and yes, it was fun! In fact, it was one of the best weekends of my life. I've already signed up to run another relay in 2011.
Another busy month, with all the Halloween activities. I chose this picture because it shows what good friends and sisters my girls are. They do have the sweetest friendship.
I can hardly believe that I only have 5 pictures on my computer from November - and they are all terrible pictures. This one is embarassingly bad - but I feel like I had to post something. Ben and I both look terrible here, but at least its a picture of us together (and Grace took it, which makes it kind of fun).
I couldn't pick just one December shot either. I just love both of these pictures of my sweet girls, taken in Daybreak, when they tagged along on a photo shoot I did for my sister and her husband.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I'm not an artsy/crafty person, except during the holidays. Once December hits, I break it all out - trying to make up for a year of being boring. My kids love crafts, so I try to make them part of our holiday traditions. It starts with the trimming of the tree (my least favorite):
After the ornaments are on, we always paint something new.
I also made the girls hair bows. I did them late at night, and I"m sure next time I attempt them, they'd be much cuter. But, here's the finished products:
This year we also went crazy making magnets to give as gifts to teachers, friends, etc. A little scrapbook paper, Modge Podge, and glass globs.

We still have the annual gingerbread house and christmas cookies to make. Photos are forthcoming.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Grandma Betty's Granola

This is my grandma's granola recipe. I stole it from her - hope she doesn't mind that I'm sharing it with all of cyberspace ;). I don't have a picture to go along with this - you'll just have to use your imagination. But really, all granola looks the same, right? This recipe is VERY healthy. Extremely healthy. And I think tasty as well. I eat it every morning, with kefir poured over the top. And its super easy:

Betty's Granola

3 cups oats
1 1/2 cup coconut
3/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup sunflower, saflower, or light olive oil
1/2 - 3/4 cup honey (I add this last, and keep adding until its all moist)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

**Each time I've made this, I've used a different combination of nuts/seeds. Its yummy every time

Combine all ingredients in a 9x13 glass dish. Mix well (should all be coated with honey - if not, I add a bit more). Bake at 300 for 45 minutes, mixing occasionally. Bake to desired brownness. Also, all the seeds/nuts that I use are raw, and they roast nicely with the rest of it all.

Its delicious with kefir, but of course any yogurt works well too. It keeps me full and satisfied all morning, and I only eat about 1/2 cup. Its very filling.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I have very alturistic kids

The other day, Bryn and I were riding in the car. Out of nowhere, she says to me:

"I feel bad for the kids in Haiti. Don't you mom?"

"Yes," I said, trying not to smile. "What made you think of that?"

"I don't know," she said. "But I want to do something for them."

"OK. Like what?"

"I want to give them shoes, and toys, and things they don't have. Things they lost in the eart-cake."

"That is nice," I responded. "How will we get it to them?"

"Drive there. Duh!"

"But we can't drive there over the ocean. We have to take a boat or an airplane."

"Or a submarine! We could take a submarine and go under the water."

"Yep" I said. "That would work too."

"Oh, and we can see things like sharks and octopusses through the windows."

And then it was done.

We're now preparing our things, and we'll be boarding the submarine next week.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yummy Halloween Cupcakes

Its a lazy Saturday afternoon. Nothing to do, other than watch college football. So, we decided to make cupcakes, lest you think, after that last post, that I'm super-duper healthy (I really only eat all that veggie soup, so I can justify dessert). Only, I didn't have a cake mix in the pantry. Luckily, has always been a good stand-by for easy recipes. I picked this Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe - the very first one that came up with a search. I'm not much of a baker, but this one seemed pretty simple. The girls and I pulled out the mixer, and went to work - each girl adding ingredients one at a time (we have to take turns). I even had a healthy supply of Halloween cupcake wrappers from last year. Perfect.

The girls love to help dump the ingredients in (this is a very easy recipe). They also love to lick the bowl - maybe too much. Check out Bryn's eyes - those are CRAZY eyes! No doubt, made crazier by an overdose of sugar and chocolate. I hope this wasn't a mistake . . .

Also, notice how matchy/matchy my girl are. This was a total accident. I promise ;-)

The cupcakes go into the oven, and I had to cook them a couple minutes longer than the recipe called for. I don't know if that is because of the recipe itself, or just high altitude (I usually forget to adjust for this).

While the cupcakes are baking, I mixed up some cream cheese icing, dyed orange of course. I don't really have a recipe for this either (are you sensing a pattern yet??) But, its basically a bar of cream cheese (fat free of course), 1/2 a stick of real butter, a cap-full of vanilla, and powdered sugar. Oh, and food coloring of course. Of course.

Now its time to decorate! This is serious business. Notice the lack of CRAZY eyes?

The girls' cupcakes turned out very unique, and covered in candy. Ew. We'll be sharing the ones that mommy made (see top of page) because I can't be sure these are safe.

Note to self: orange frosting looks a little on the peachy side. Next time, more food coloring!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Vegetable soup

What do you do on a gray October day? You make soup, silly! Delicious, healthy, vegetable soup. Its not exactly vegetarian, because it does have chicken broth. But, it is only about 100 calories a bowl, and delish! I have actually been making it every Friday, and eating it all week. I'm kind of addicted, truth be told.

So, if you want to make some of this delish, addicting, veggie soup for yourself, here's what I do. I can't actually call it a "recipe", because that would imply that there is actually an order to my madness. But here's what I do:

Assemble the ingredients. I use an entire box of Pomi, and an entire box of chicken broth. The olive oil is to drizzle on the zucchini and squash, which will be roasted in the oven. I'll show you that part in the next picture.

I sliced up 4 zucchini and 4 small squash, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and the broil for about 10 minutes in the oven (or until the edges begin to turn brown).
Next, I chop 4 large carrots, a small head of cabbage, one medium onion, and some fresh green beans. Delish!
Then comes the hard part: dumping it all into the pot. I added a bit more salt and pepper, parsley, Italian seasoning, and celery salt. Heavy on the celery salt. Then, it simmers together for about 45 minutes (I like my carrots still pretty firm).

I tried adding some small shell pasta once, but didn't love it that way. I prefer it just all veggie! mmmmmm.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Red Rock Relay

**These pictures are out of order, and I GIVE UP trying to make them cooperate.
I have a love/hate relationship with running. Really, I mostly hate it. But, I put up with it so that I can enjoy those few wonderful runs. A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those experiences where all the running paid off. I was able to compete in the Red Rock Relay, a 186 mile, self-supported, 12-person relay in Southern Utah. My team, the Herriman Hotties, was comprised of me, and 11 other of the most amazing women I have ever gotten the chance to know.

The race started at Brian Head Ski Resort - at 11,000 feet - the top of the slope. It was freezing up there. (like in the 40s with wind) I tried to save up the coldness, because I knew by that time the next day, it would be in the 90s, and I'd be wishing I was colder.

Since the race is a relay, one runner goes at a time, and the switch off is made at designated chutes. The team was divided up into two vans: runners 1-6 in the Snow Van and runners 7-12 in the Sun van. I was runner #8, so I had a few hours to kill before our van got to run. Luckily, Cedar Breaks was close-by, as was our friend's cabin, where we got the chance to "chill" while we waited for our turn.
Finally, it was my turn - I felt like I had been sitting around all day, and it felt sooo good to finally RUN. My first leg was only about 4.5 miles, and honestly, I wasn't that worried about it. But OH how wrong I was. What had been described by the race website as "gentle rollers" really turned out to be big, fat hills at 10,000 feet. With an icy col headwind. I was freezing, and could. not. breathe. But, somehow, I found a way to finish (barely) without puking on my shoes. In fact, I didn't puke at all. :)
By the time runner #11 got a chance to go, it had already gotten dark. The last 2 runners in our van had to run down the canyon into Cedar City in the dark. A windy, steep, road, with barely any shoulder. It was none too safe - but luckily they survived.

We made our second van exchange at about 10:00 pm on the Snow College campus. We hit up Denny's for the most delicious meal I'd ever eaten (I'm not kidding) and then actually had about 3 hours to sleep in a hotel. It felt so nice to lay down, but I never fell asleep. I felt like my heart was still racing, and my calf had a cramp.

About 3:00 am, we got the call that it was time for the next van exchange. We met them in the middle of the night. My turn came quickly, and I got to run a short and easy 3.5 miles in the dark. It was amazing - the stars were so bright, and I felt alive. I didn't feel like I'd had no sleep, and I especially didn't feel the Denny's in my gut. Other than the feeling of being watched (and the strange sounds behind me that made me feel like I was being followed) it was a perfect run. Whoo hoo. 2 down, 1 to go.
I'll spare you, dear reader, of the boring stuff that led up to my last run. Let it suffice to say that, by the time I got the chance to run again, it was about 1:00 pm and 95 degrees. My last run was 6.7 miles - the first 2-ish downhill, and the last 5-ish all. up. hill. In the 95+ degree heat. (and yes, I still had not had any sleep) I actually felt fresh and really good for the first 2-3 miles. I was running fast, and my legs were strong.

I think that because I felt so good, I pushed it a bit too hard. Because, around mile 4, I hit the wall. Just in case you've never heard this term, here is how Wiki describes it:

In endurance sports, particularly cycling and running, hitting the wall or the bonk describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by precipitous fatigue and loss of energy. Milder instances can be remedied by brief rest and the ingestion of food or drinks containing carbohydrates. The condition can usually be avoided by ensuring that glycogen levels are high when the exercise begins, maintaining glycogen levels during exercise by eating or drinking carbohydrate-rich substances, or by reducing exercise intensity.

I'd never had this happen to me before - I even thought that because I run so slowly that I may be immune. But, alas, I'm not. I hit the wall and wanted to die. I actually thought that maybe I was dying. My head pounded, my legs felt like lead, and I had goosebumps (despite the heat). At the time, I attributed the was I was feeling to the head, but in retrospect, I think it had more to do with the fact that I'd eaten less than 200 calories since my Denny's meal 14 hours before.

Since the race is self-supported, our van would drive ahead a mile or two and wait for the runner to come up - offer drinks, etc - and then drive ahead again. By the time I made it to the van, I wanted to crawl in and close my eyes. Instead, I took some Gatoraid and trudged on. By this time, I was only managing a slow walk - running was out of the question. I told the van to go ahead a mile, and by the next mile I was feeling worse.

Thankfully, one of my team members Jen jumped out to walk along side me. She was amazing, and really helped. She even pushed me to try and run a bit - which I could only do for about 30 seconds. Sadly though, I didn't finish. With less than a mile to go, she finished my leg for me.

Within 30 minutes of eating (I'd gotten a Subway sandwich) I felt better, and I was literally kicking myself for wimping out. That was truly the only black mark on the entire race.
We finished in Springdale, just outside of Zion National Park about 5:00 pm - the happy/sad ending to one of the best weekends of my life.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Goin' private

Its been a long time coming, but I'm going private. I need a place to vent my private inner-most thoughts without worrying about it all being out there. I plan to lock it all down in one week: Thursday Aug 12. If you want an invite, feel free to send me one at christie (dot) hutchings (at) gmail (dot) com.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Twinkle Toes

Two posts in two days. I can't believe it myself. Just getting caught up - and this one is just three weeks old. Brynlee had her first ever dance recital. And what a beautiful dancer she is. Brynlee is an expressive, artistic, free-spirited girl. She LOVES to dance. And, of course I'm a bit biased being her mom and all, but I think she shows talent.
She's front and center, and notice how the other girls just seem to be watching her. She knew both of her dances perfectly - even counting out loud to make sure she did it right. The other kids followed her. She did a tap and a ballet routine, and smiled every second.
She told me afterwards, that she belongs on stage.
She definitely has the 'tude for it - I think she's a natural performer.
Peace out!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Gracelin's birthday (2 months belated)

This lucky girl got to turn six in the "Happiest Place on Earth". And it was a surprise. She had no idea that was where we were headed.

I just can't believe I have a six year old. She is so smart, and so grown up. She recently finished kindergarten, and in every category she was above grade level. She's kind, obedient, and so much fun to be around. I couldn't ask for a better daughter.
We actually spent several days at Disneyland, but on the day of her "real" birthday, she got to choose any ride she wanted. Her choice: California Screamin' seven times in a row (I think. I kind of lost track) She's a daredevil! And yes, she really does keep her hands up the entire time.
Brynlee had fun at the park too. She was finally tall enough to ride the majority of the rides. Her favorite was Tower of Terror.
We also spent 2 days at the beach, soaking up the sun. Those were mommy's favorite days. We even saw a dolphin swimming laps across the beach.
And two nights were spent (one each way, as we drove) in the Excalibur at Las Vegas, because where else does a princess sleep if not in a castle.