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Showing posts from 2014

The other Christmas dream

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On Christmas Eve, Alison spent a lot of the day cooking and preparing for the evening, so the girls had to amuse themselves. At one point Rea came and invited her to join them for Church. They sat on our bed and took turns standing up at the nightstand (their "podium") and giving talks or testimonies. Alison says it was really, really cute. Rea is getting very skilled at her testimony-bearing, and she's beginning to learn how to do talks, with some help, and Sara has started doing coherent testimonies all by herself. It's so much fun to watch them.

This year we had a really nice Christmas. We woke up at about 6 to find that it had snowed for the first time in December this year. The kids opened their stocking and enjoyed them for about a half hour. They then opened up one present and played with it for another hour or so. It took until about 11 before we were done with our gift opening.

Sara really loved her Christmas candies. She ate them all and then tried to eat e…

The Christmas Dream

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We saw the last Hobbit movie on Tuesday this week. It had a huge amount of fighting in it, but it was also some times funny. Perhaps the best character was Dain. He was not comic relief, but he was very funny.

There were a lot of moments in the movie that felt like they were taken out of a gameplay report of Dwarf Fortress (all the leaders being so much more powerful than the underlings that they were only able to be killed by each other, the leaders all riding on weird war beasts, the general shape of the fortress).

There was also this one weird moment where some of the dwarves apparently leveled up and took the Improved Mount feat so that they could procure war rams out of thin air.

The best part of the movie was perhaps the part where Galadriel singlehandedly defeated all of the ringwraiths and Sauron with a Spirit Bomb attack. I never thought that she was the most powerful person on the middle earth, but it seems that Peter Jackson does. Tolkien did like her a lot, but if she was …

The short skinny week

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This last week we didn't do much to speak of.

We wrote our Christmas website.

We finished a lot of the acorns that we had been working on for forever.

We made fudge, which turned out a little grainy.

Mike did tithing settlements as part of his new calling.

Alison made lovely chili and baked potatoes.

We worked on the rules for Moar Moai since we are prepping it to be submitted to SaltCon's Ion Award (which is a contest where unpublished games are judged and voted on by a panel of publishers. )

Our cheese is moldy.

Alison has been working hard on the kids' physical skills. Timmy can move himself around pretty well now and is likely to start actually getting around the room in the next few weeks. The girls are going for half mile walks most days. We spent a lot of Saturday shortening the monkey bars so that we could move them to a more convenient location, and Andrea can now swing about four rungs on her own. Sara enjoys hanging and swinging.

Perhaps next week will be more i…

The absolutely nothing week

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This week I was sick with a cough. I rarely get sick, so it is weird for me.

We mostly spent this week recovering from vacation.  Timmy is working hard on his crawling skills and getting better every day.  The girls adjusted back to normal life much better than in previous years; there were more cousins, so they had to share the grandparents and play with other kids, so it wasn't as much of a shock to go back to normal life.

Our blue cheese is growing a fairly good coating of white mold on the outside, though there are other species that seem to be competing with it.

I made some ricotta with the intention of making more gnocchi, but our 5 gallon gamma-lidded bucket of wheat ran out, so I didn't actually turn the cheese into pasta yet.

We watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, which was pretty good.  Elder Andersen's talk was really quite depressing when you're trying to use the stories to help your small children focus, but other than that it was enjoyable.

Do as I say, you organic organ!

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This last week we went to California for the Poulson family annual reunion. We had a fun time lazing on the beach, visiting Sea World, and spending time with the Poulson family.


The cousins (mostly Andrea, Sara, Jack, and Max) really got along well together. They would all sit together and tell stories to each other and laugh and laugh.

The babies (Ellie, Lilly,  Timmy, and Kendrick) were all in good health, and seemed to have a fun time.

We brought some gnocchi which was really popular.

We completed our NaNo novels successfully, however they could have been better written. Alison finished hers Sunday night, which was the last day possible.

I also chatted with Chauncey one day and we made a second Naga Demon game. It has sixteen cards and took two hours to play our first game. We plan on shortening that, since two hours is really long, but we haven't played a game with the new rules yet.

On the way back home we listened to an audio book of "Thief of Time", which was real…

The Hungry Oni and the Dire Blue

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This week we discovered the true meaning of infinite sickness (or endless hopeless bleak despair, either one really). Sara and Rea have been coughing for a long time. Fortunately they don't act too much more sick than is usual. Sara has been a bit fussy, though.

We went to a play on Thursday. It was 'one man and two governors' (or something like that) The play was ok, but honestly the Off Broadway Theatre would have done a much better job at it because they are way better at keeping a straight face when faced with improvisation.

They were stumped by a hummus sandwich.

Saturday we got the first snow of the year, which was a bit surprising, but the girls wanted to play in it anyway.

In response to the snows we have been having fires in our fireplace. It is great to have a fire. Timmy (and everyone else as well) loves watching the fire. He says "I love you! Hello!" to the fire (as well as a lot of things we do not understand.)

He has been babbling a lot lately. It is…

Gnocchi-Yaki

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Alison and I are still not behind on our Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) novels. That means that between the two of us we have written more than 24,000 words already. So far there are a few decent parts of my novel and a whole bunch of horrible parts.


I need to get back in to practice when it comes to writing.


This week we tried to make our first blue cheese. The make went pretty much terribly. Somehow we forgot to turn on the timer multiple times and we also forgot to turn on the temperature alarm during this second heating of the milk It ended up that the curds were much much firmer than anticipated. We are hoping that the Penicillium Roqueforti (blue mold) will still colonize the cheese even though it is not perfect. We are also hoping that the mesophilic bacteria did not die when the curds reached 101 degrees.

This Saturday as we worked on the cheese we also made another batch of granola. This batch came out pretty good. We made a double batch, so it will probably last o…

A Sixteen Burrito Fast Sunday

We are starting up NaNoWriMo. Our stories this year are "broken fairytales". So far we are both on track.

Since I have decided that Halloween is a terrible holiday as it is implemented I decided to change the way our family does it. We went to about four houses and let the girls eat all the candy immediately. They currently have one single piece of candy left between the two of them, and the less candy that is in my house the better.  Rea ended up dressing as a Indian fairy princess, and Sara as a penguin.

On Sunday we were invited in to meet with the bishop and released from our callings as ward missionaries/leader. Alison has been called as primary music leader and I have yet to get a new calling. Perhaps I'll join the board game design guild :).

Saturday we had our annual Halloween RPG. We had 8 players, so the party was split a lot. We ended up telling a story about a ski lodge that was attacked by extra dimensional dwarves and dragons who had time magic. Three of us…

Cookie-Like Bars

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This last week Sara got sick. It seems that this sickness is working its way around the family. Fortunately the symptoms are pretty mild.

This Thursday the preschoolers went to a Museum in south Jordan called the Gale center. It has a fun house and school like Utah had in the late 1800s, and it's free! We will probably go back in the winter. It was lots of fun.

Timmy started eating solids this week. He is 4 months old, and that is the lowest recommended age. He has been trying to steal our food for weeks now, so we were just holding off for as long as we could. His favorite food so far is refried beans, but he has also liked rice cereal and broccoli. He makes horrible faces every time he eats a tomato.

We were able to go to the temple for the first time since Timmy was born. We had a young woman from our ward babysit for us. It was good to go back.

This Sunday was our primary program. Andrea participated for the first time. We worked very hard so she could memorize her part. Then …

Acorn muffins

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It all started on a mild fall day when Sara went in for her regularly scheduled doctor checkup. The girls saw acorns on the ground, and gathered them to take home and play with (I realize that a preposition is not the kind of thing that you want to end a sentence with, but the sentence flows so well that I am going to leave it).

When I got home I saw the acorns and remembered a scheme that I had a few years back to look for butterflies that sleep among the wheat; and make them into mutton pies, and sell them unto men who sail on stormy seas.... no... that wasn't it. The scheme was to prepare and eat wild acorns.

We went out two times and picked acorns off the ground at the hospital. They had two trees that were bearing acorns fairly abundantly, and we got quite a few acorns. We have since then shelled most of them, and soaked them in water. It takes a week or two to soak them, so we are not entirely done, but we did do a faster method for some of the acorns to make sure that we lik…

Not a Gentleman

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Firstly: the Saturday after Halloween (the first) is the date we have picked for our annual Halloween RPG. We will be starting at 10:00 AM. Anyone who wants to come is invited. The kids can exchange candy if they want to (The grandparents can come and chat if they want to, or play with the kids). If we get a lot of kids RSVP'd we will hire a babysitter to take them on a walk or something. We will provide chili and cornbread (both recipes are coincidentally GF). Please RSVP if you want to come. The RPG will be vaguely spooky.

This week Alison was in charge of Rea's prieschool. It was a farm theme (apparently our house is very well equipped for that (weird, huh)). The kids loved picking tomatoes and feeding the goats. Rea was very happy with preschool at her house. This coming week is our fall break, so Alison has some more time to prepare things for next week's preschool.

On Wednesday was Rea's fourth Birthday. She got four gifts for whatever reason. One was a chair tha…

A Hobbit

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When deciding what to write in the blog Rea said that we should write "Baby Timo is a big baby". Timo is her name for Timothy (the baby, not the animal food). She also said that we should write that "Clarabel is giving more milk", though I have not actually noticed that to be true.

We made some more sorry food this week as a dessert for the girls. They think that it is a great dessert, and since it has nothing unhealthy in it we are willing to give it to them freely.

We went around on tuesday inviting a lot of people to attend General Conference with us. Only one family showed up in the end, but they were a family of 6, so we ended up having a decent amount of people over.

On Wednesday and Thursday Alison baby sat the Dalyias. She loves babysitting them; she gets a ton done, because the big Dalyai kids (they're 10, 8, 6, and 4) take care of their younger siblings and Andrea and Sara too. Rea and Sara also love having so many playmates. Rea really wants to invit…

The accidental vegetarian

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On Tuesday I found evidence that my mushroom log is definitely not (entirely) dead:

Also on Tuesday I found a book by Tom Brown at the DI. It sounded interesting so I read a page of it. I liked it enough that I bought it. Since then I have read most of it in small chunks. Tom Brown writes in such a way that he makes me want to move back east where I can enjoy a non-arid landscape again.

Alison and I continued our ongoing discussion of the merits of moving back to Michigan (or, for the first time the Appalachians). We are currently leaning toward moving close to Andy some place near the eastern seaboard. If we were to do that and Becky and Chauncy were to move to New England then we would have the majority of the Poulson clan living out east again (perhaps that would be enough to convince Craig and Julie to move out there as well).

If we were to move out there we are talking about getting a few acres and building a small home and farming and foraging for most of our food. I would becom…

Over steep ways to the stars

This last week we dried more apples. We are getting very good at it. We are almost entirely done. I figure that we have five more batches, so probably we will have finished them all by next week.

After that is done the next goal would be to process all these peppers that we have been given. We intend to make a lot of salsa this year, and with our new food processor it should be much easier than it usually is.

We went down to the cabin over the last weekend. We had a fun time (though sleeping with kids in the room is always rough). we went to Twelfth Night at the Shakespeare Festival as well as the Ninja Japanese Steakhouse. I would recommend both highly.

One of the great parts about the cabin that I didn't get as much of as I would have liked this time was seeing the milky way. When you are out at night in apple valley you can see way more stars than you can see anywhere else.

We played some Avalon (card game), Bubble Bobble, and Rampage (NES games). We also helped weed the yard a…

The work of eternity

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This week we dried more apples. We are working on filling up our second 5 gallon bucket of dried apples, but still have a decent amount of space left in it. Hopefully we can get through them some time soon, but until that happens the girls are enjoying immensely taking a single bite out of each individual apple and then grabbing a new one.

We need to figure out how to stop them from doing that.

They have also been enjoying the empty apple boxes.
We finished up building our shoe bench this last weekend. It still needs to be painted and to have the cushion top attached more solidly to the body of the bench, but it is structurally complete.

We also ate Indian food, went to the flower garden at Thanksgiving Point, and made some cheeses (paneer and mozzarella). We got a lot done and had a pretty relaxing time.
On Sunday Alison gave a talk at church and I and taught a lesson.

We had a family dinner at my parents house after church we mostly talked and ate food, though I did talk to Dave ab…

Villainous Saturday

This week Rea started her preschool again (Tues/Thurs morning).  She goes back and forth saying she likes it or doesn't depending on her mood, so we'll see how this goes.  Sara really misses Rea and wants her at home, and if Alison plans fun things with Sara then Rea decides that she hates preschool and wants to stay home.  We hope things will get better as we get into the routine.

On Wednesday, the Dalyais came over and visited for a while.  Alison really likes their visits; the Dalyai kids teach Rea how to play better with other kids and Sylvia is lots of fun to talk to.  They're looking to make it a weekly get-together.

Wednesday afternoon Timmy went in for his two month checkup (two weeks late, oops).  He is a whopping 16 lbs already!  We're pretty sure Rea hit 16 lbs at around nine months and Sara at a year.  No wonder Alison gets so tired holding him!  He can wriggle his way across the floor already, so we're hoping he sits and crawls early so we don't ha…

A Bad Barbecue

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The missionaries came over this week (like they always do (what with me being the ward mission leader and all)), and Sara was really excited about it. She later listed it as one of the best parts of the week.

We have been discussing what to do with our front room for a while.  I (Alison) wanted a table with a corner bench, and a window seat.  We decided to combine the two and make a bench that wraps around two walls of the room.  We put five gallon buckets of food storage around the perimeter of the room, set a piece of plywood on top, and upholstered it with two inch foam and grey vinyl cloth.  Then we put white panelboard in front of it to hide the buckets.  For a little over a hundred dollars and a Saturday of work, we now have seating in our front room.  We're all enjoying it.  We also built a shoe rack into the part closest to the door, so it's very functional.

We bought a six foot folding table this week, and with that, our benches, and our current chairs we can seat at l…

We cannot understand it at all

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While I was writing this post, Sara decided that Timothy needed a diaper change.  So she yelled at me, "CHANGE. HIS. COUCHE!" Then she smiled sweetly and said, "I said it politely."

Rea came up with a plan that she pitched to us the other day. She wants to invite everyone in our family over for a sleep over camp out in our back yard. Alison persuaded her to make it a late over: we'll set up tents and play in them, but at bedtime anyone who wants can go home. We're looking for a good Saturday for everyone to come over in the afternoon. We'll borrow the poulsons' portable grill and make hot dogs and s' mores. Expect invitations soon.

Saturday was my work party at thanksgiving point. This year it was pirate themed. The girls liked riding on a barrel (on wheels) propelled by oars (toilet plungers). The pony rides and petting zoo are always big hits, and this year rea loved the bounce house and Sara liked a spinning teacup ride. It was shortened beca…

Who writes a post without a title?

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We finally got a picture of Timothy smiling!

I have made an Android phone app for Sara to practice her colors. All you do is press a button and the phone says the name of the color. If you have an Android phone (any smart phone that is not an Iphone or a windows phone), then you can download the app here.

It has been tested on two phones so far and seems to work ok. If you press the buttons too fast it crashes, so I have to figure out why that is.

This weekend we made gyros for dinner to use our home made feta. I didn't originally think so, but the feta wouldn't be harmed by more salt.

I have posted my card designs for dancing robots online, and have been getting a lot of feedback. I decided to give in to everything that everyone told me to do and then once I am done going back and making it look like I want it to. The thread is here.

So far they have changed a huge amount of the card. Here are the before and (current) after:
I will contine to work with these people as long as…

A long post

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On Friday we got a load of hay. We ended up getting 25 bales (that is what fit in the trailer that my parents lent us). We were hoping to get more, but 25 bales will last us a long time. We got it from a place in Riverton, although in the future we might get some hay from a place in Highland that we recently saw because it would be less driving. The big question is how much would the hay cost (the current hay is costing $9 a bale (which is good for the Salt Lake City area), and is very good quality)

I took it home and stacked it up in the car port. it ended up stacking clear to the roof (which means that if we had gotten more we would have had a hard time storing it).

As a side note, I discovered that you want to get hay from the second crop of the year because it is better for goats.

All last week I had been working on building a manger for the goats. I finished it Thursday and the goats have been enjoying it ever since. One benefit of the new manger is that it conserves hay, and ano…