Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

And how, you might ask, can I tell that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas? By my expanding waistline, naturally! :-) I've got cookies, gift basket goodies, candy, hot chocolate and other miscellaneous fattening items all over my counter. And I'm home all day, which means that I sit and stare at them ALL DAY!

Since I'm already packing on the pounds, a day making homemade chocolates at Grandma Jones' house seemed appropriate. The Johnson girls ventured to Grandma's house to try our hand at making fondant and caramels for dipping. Grandma Jones is an expert and I think it must drive her crazy to watch us fumble our way through the recipes. It takes a lot of praying...as Camille is demonstrating below. Got to get the temperature just right!
Ash is lookin' good making some caramel. It tasted fabulous!

The dipping part is pretty messy. Camille and Emilee make it look easy!

And here is our fearless leader. I must say that the chocolates all turned out really well. They are sitting in a pretty tin on my counter and I have a staring contest with them every day. They usually win...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thanksgiving, Missionaries and Soldiers

We had a great Thanksgiving dinner with the Johnson clan - I even tried some sweet potatoes and liked them! I did get up at 5:00 a.m. on Black Friday to go shopping. I was home and back in bed by 10:00 a.m. On Saturday, the Hollingsworth side of my family came to Idaho Falls for my cousin Cade's mission homecoming. He has been serving a mission for our church in Argentina for the past two years. They called him Elder Hollywood because the people in Argentina couldn't pronouce his name. The funny thing is...Cade's personality totally fits the "Hollywood" title. He is larger than life and it is so nice to have him home! Cade is pictured below (with the glasses) along with some more of my cousins.

Cute girls - this is Jordan and Laken. Jordan and the rest of her family (plus my parents) stayed at our house on Saturday night. We had 10 people sleeping in our tiny two-bedroom duplex!

Whitney and Jason are expecting a baby on Dec. 25th. We are so excited for them!!

This is Hudson and Channing. Hudson is one of the happiest babies I've ever met - he is a cutie!

In addition to celebrating Cade's homecoming, we also got together to see my Uncle Guy who has been serving in Iraq for the past six months. Guy got to come home for his two-week leave so that he could see Cade.
It was very enlightening to be able to hear some of Guy's stories from Iraq. He has seen a lot of horrible stuff - he couldn't give us many details because most of it is still classified. Guy is on his way back to Iraq for another four months (minimum). I can certainly see first-hand what a sacrifice it is for his family to have him gone. My Aunt Christine said she wasn't even in the mood to put up her Christmas tree - maybe next year. Thankfully some nice girls from her ward (church) came over and put up the decorations for her.
In addition to serving as a colonel in the army, Guy was recently set apart as the Area President for Iraq (similar to a Stake President). This is the first time that the Priesthood has been formally organized in Iraq since the time of Daniel. Guy is going to call some counselors upon his return to Iraq. He says that the calls have to be issued via Skype since it's too dangerous to move about freely and try to contact someone in person. Pretty amazing stuff!
I just want to take a moment to thank all of the military personnel who are serving our country right now and I would like to thank their families for the sacrifice they are making as well. What brave men and women!!