Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We were very blessed to have Thanksgiving with Arianne, Gary, Madsen, Eden, Aspen and Rhys.  They invited us to their house but I asked them to come to our home, because it is bigger.  We love this family and Arianne and Gary prepared lots of delicious food.  Todd and I can truthfully say that the turkey was the best that we have ever eaten!  Arianne did a terrific job on that 27 1/2 lb bird.  She put it in a salt brine,  put butter under the skin on the breast and had it seasoned with herbs from her garden to perfection!  Then her stuffing made from homemade whole wheat bread was so good that even Shay had seconds and he is not a stuffing guy.  Gary had a fruit salad and a delicious shrimp salsa hors'devor, they also brought spiced corn and apple and pumpkin pie all from the bounties of their garden.  Todd made his Hamblin fruit salad and we made the spinach salad, lemon meringue and pecan pie, ham, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes to go with Ariannes delicious gravy and it was a majoy FEAST!
 This is what the Hamblin's do on Thanksgiving morning when a good song comes on.  Devree is dancing and Shay is emptying out the dishwasher and Todd is frying bacon for our spinach salad.
 Devree is dancing to "I'm sexy and I know it!"
 Dane is laughing at Devree and her antics as she is dancing.
 Todd is making sure that bacon is just crispy enough.
 Shay barely waking up without his shirt of course.
 Here I am doing my "I workout" on the same song.  I am pretty proud of myself.  I have been consistently working out for the last 2 weeks at 6 times a week.
 Devree made our turkey cheese ball with raisin eyes, red pepper waddle and candy corn beak.
 Another view.
 We have our "Elder Hamblin Bear" sitting at our table already to eat.  This bear was given to us annonymously last year for Christmas.  It has Noble's voice telling us Merry Christmas and he is dressed as a missionary with white shirt, tie, nametag and he is holding a Book of Mormon in one hand.

 Devree and Aspen showing her missing teeth she is proud of.
 From left and right there is Dane, Shay, Rhys, Eden and Madsen having a pillow fight on the trampoline.
 Todd finally getting to relax after a lot of working getting everything ready.  The puzzle table is set up in the background too.
 Gary and Arianne brought lots of delicious food.  Arianne cooked the turkey.  A 27 1/2 lb turkey!

 This is getting the family ready for their picture.
 Now we got the whole family.   And what an adorable family!  Rhys brought his hat he made.
 Trial one.  Todd closes his eyes and Dane mades a face!
 Now this one may go on our Christmas card.

We did puzzles, played games and lots of jumping on the trampoline for the kids.  It was a peaceful, thankful kind of day.  We are truly blessed with everything anyone could want in life.  The gospel of Jesus Christ, food, clothing, and great friends.

How to prepare turkey from scratch

Here is the smallest turkey we picked out of the pen.
Ready to hang her up.
Ready to go.
Shay practicing on the chopping block to get the hatchet just right with the right swing.
A good clean blow.
No one wanted the head.
Todd posing with the head.
Already plucked and ready to gut.  Dane poses with the prized turkey feet and says "Look I am a Tyranasaurous Rex!"
Todd serves as a high councilor in a different ward and one of the families asked Todd if we would be interested in buying one of their farm turkeys for our Thanksgiving.  We decided to let the boys experience the whole process of getting the turkey ready to eat.  We arrived at their farm and picked out the smallest turkey and Shay practiced with the hatchet on a wood block and with one "whack" the turkey was ready to pluck.  I was proud of Shay because he wasn't really interested in this part but decided to gird up his loins and do the business.  Dane hid behind the barn the first time but then there were 2 other turkeys to do and he watched that process.  The Miller Family had a huge pot boiling on a propane fire and we dipped the turkey and plucked it and watched as he showed us how to gut it and we were surprised that our turkey weighed 27 1/2 pounds after cleaning and gutting. We had lots of fun trying to get all of the pin feathers and getting it beautiful for roasting.

Ghost Town hunting

This is the great little restaurant we found.  Dinni's Diner with mile high banana cream pie.
Todd holding pinion pine cone right next to a slag heap from the old mine.
Already snow up there.  We tried to harvest pinion pinenuts.
The old School house is still in good shape.

Part of the mill equipment left behind.
This was the old boarding house and the bottom part has been filled in with blowing dirt so it is really short.  In the old photos it had a beautiful balcony on the front of this building.

We found a lot of mine holes.  We could tell people have tried to go in them even though it is not safe.

Todd has 2 new interests.  He downloaded on my phone an application called "Billion Graves" and so you find cemetaries and you take a picture of each gravestone on your phone and it gets collected for family history.  Well Then Todd bought a comprehensive book about all of the ghost towns in Nevada.  There are over 600!  So then we find these ghost towns and take pictures of all the gravestones we can find.  It is sad that most of these ghost towns have been vandalized so much but in the book that Todd has it shows photographs of the time when these towns were in their hey day.  It is interesting to find the actual buildings we can see from the photos.  Then on our way there we used my Urban Spoon ap and found the best little restaurant with "Mile High Banana Cream Pie" which was delicious.  Shay chose not to go with us, but then regretted it because it took us all day and we had way more fun than he had.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Steve Swapp visits

Todd's cousin Steve came to visit. He was in Hawaii when Todd and I married and Todd and I graduated over there.  Steve has a great love of travel and even gives people personal tours all over the world.  He was giving some Brits a tour of Death Valley and Yosemite and then dropping them off on a plane in San Francisco so he decided to travel back our way to his home in Southern Utah.  We went and visited Virginia City with him.  We had a fun time shopping and eating dinner but were sad we didn't get to Grandma's Fudge before it closed.