December 21, 2011

Gingerbread SNOOPY houses

Monday, December 19th Family Home Evening (FHE)
Luke and Aleah didn't get to participate because they didn't finish their dinner...they were the spectators!

Jacob's 7th Grade Artwork!

Rachael's Gymnastics Program- BAR

December 15, 2011

Rachael's Art Work !

Rachael is taking art classes each Wednesday with Iraima Otteson (her good friend, Savannah's mom)and loves it!  This was her first water color and I think it is BEAUTIFUL!  They will be doing air-brush early next year and each month is a new focus so she won't ever be bored! 

Charise wrote this story to go with the 15 bean soup mix bag we gave the neighbors for their Christmas gift.  I usually have 25-30 neighbor gifts I put together each December and this year spent over $50 on this idea.  I just hope that the neighbors didn't think it a stupid idea...I thought it was a very practical and deliciously healthy meal to warm their hearts.  Merry Christmas to you all as well!


A short Christmas Story

           Once upon a time, an old man set out in the cold of winter.  His purpose was that of desperation, as his family, which  included five young children, were close to starvation.  His family hadn’t a crumb to eat and their father had not been able to work for the past three months in order to provide for this basic need.  After much wandering in and around the town, he stumbled upon a bag of beans half hidden in the bushes along the roadside.  For a minute, he felt as if his prayers were answered as he slowly and hesitantly picked up the bag.  Only after he had turned to see if anybody was around, did he realize that perhaps that bag of beans was not an answer to his prayer, but that somebody else might need it just as much as he.  It was this thought that changed his mind, and instead of walking all the way home to finally feed his hungry family,  he continued in the opposite direction to see if that bag of beans belonged to any passerby. 

After a quarter of a mile and passing several people who the bag did not belong to, he saw a man hunched over and wiping the eyes of his small son.  The man was just passing the two when he heard the little boy say, “but you said we can eat when we get home and I’m hungry now.”   The man with the bag of beans thrown over his shoulder, stopped, turned toward the father and asked him if the bag of beans was theirs.  To his sadness, it was, and after he gave the father and son the bag, he continued his tired pace toward home.  As he started to make his journey back to the village empty-handed, he heard the voice of the father calling out to him.  The father asked if he would like to join them for dinner that night in appreciation for finding and returning the bag.  When the man told him of his family and their situation, the father told him to bring all his family to their home for dinner and to celebrate the start of friendship and kindness.  For not all would have gone through the effort he had, to find the owner of such a seemingly insignificant yet valuable thing. 

These simple acts of kindness, we see often during this holiday season, but at times, we have seen them extend throughout the rest of the year as well.  The severe wind we currently had was just one of those times when we pulled together as a neighborhood to help those of us in need.  Thank you for sharing that love with us too!  So, whenever you see a bag of beans, remember that love cannot be found in a bag or gift, but comes from a sincere love and desire to help one another!
Written with love to our friends & neighbors!
Have a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!                        

                 The Cooley Family

December 14, 2011

The"Who's of Whoville" Ward Christmas Party!

Nan took this picture after the party when everyone was cleaning up, and her husband, Kirk slipped in this picture giving "bunny ears" to Rachael (wrong holiday Kirk...Christmas comes BEFORE Easter!

 The party wasn't complete without the GRINCH showing up! 
(They hired him from Thanksgiving Pointe park near Lehi, Utah)
The Grinch came to read/tell his story of "The Grinch that Stole Christmas" and he handed out GREEN candy sticks that supposedly were red/white but he licked them all and they turned green...gross!
  Nan was the winner of the best dressed 'WHO' of Whoville!
Before the Party picture...complete with the cotton under Rich's and my upper lips to actually look more like a "WHO" from "WHOVILLE".

Saturday, December 10th, I decided to dress everyone up in their best WHO's outfit, and spent a couple of hours helping get all the hair done and giving us all pink tipped noises and cotton under Rich's and my upper lips.  It was a lot of fun and we got many complements.  Rich and I were the runner-ups for the best costume and our friend, Nan won...she actually sewed her whole costume complete with a hula-hoop sewn under her bright green top!  It was a nice dinner (I made a Waldorf salad and a 3Bean salad) and many others brought salads.  The ward provided the shredded beef sandwhiches and the DELICIOUS brownies for dessert.  It was a very fun evening for everyone!

December 12, 2011

Thanksgiving in Southern Utah 2011/December 1st WINDSTORM

 The ward and neighborhood clean-up on Sunday, December 4th.
Church was cancelled but we did a GREAT service for each other and it was sure fun.  The R.S. brought those volunteers (including Rich, Charise, Rachael, and Qaiden...Jacob watched the 2 little ones at home) hot soup and sandwhiches so we broke our fast early that Sunday.  It turned out to be a GREAT day with all of us helping one another!
Our upstairs window broke as a result of the winds.
 Our 2 pine trees were blown over so Rich took a few days to cut them up in pieces and put them on the roadside for pick-up by the city...which was actually picked up by our Ward members on Sunday instead because we were bracing for another wind storm! 
Our family got home from our Thanksgiving down in St. George, Utah and that Thursday, December 1st was a HUGE windstorm in our area!  The gusts reached 102 miles/hr. and caused a lot of damage.  The swamp cooler you see on the neighbors driveway was actually in our backyard and in several twisted pieces!

 All of us singing...
 Jacob played "Morning" by Edvard Greig of Norway, on the trombone.  He wanted to make his own food, so he decided to make Norweigan Butter Cookies.  They tasted great! (He is such a good cook now and actually made us a delicious bacon, egg and toast breakfast this morning for the last day of school of this year, Dec. 21, 2011.) 
 Charise played "Turkish March" by Mozart but I wanted to do something from Turkey, so I made traditional "Turkish Delight" in which I bought a big bottle of real rose water.  I don't know when I'll use that again, but if anyone needs some, I have a ton!
 Rachael playing, "Love Story" and because in the movie, "Letter's to Juliet" from which this music was made, was the love story of an American and a British boy, we made the delicious, "Cornish Pasties" as a main dish.
Stevie stands in front of the Food from around the World table!

Saturday, November 26th: Our Family Piano Recital has now become a yearly tradition and this year Cheryl planned the 2011 International Recital!  This recital featured music from around the world and food that corresponded with that country.

Stevie taught us all an Italian song, "Yummy Yummy, Noppa Yummy Yaw..." and told us a little about that song and he made yummy tomato, basil baquette sandwhiches with balsamic vinegar on top! 

Cheryl and Dan played a beautiful guitar duet, "La Gitanita" or "Gypsy Girl" and has a nice Russian sound.  Payton did the "Mexican Hat" song, and Ashlynn did "Aloutte" and "Frere Jacques" from France.  So, they made a delicious French King Cake, "Galette des Rois" and whomever finds the bean in their piece of cake gets to be King or Queen for the day...MOM found it, so she got to wear the crown!  They made mexican taquitos as well. 

Mom and Dad did a Spanish song, "Beija me muinto" in which we all joined in.  They showed us a cute Spanish instrument that can be blown and can be a drum as was so cute until one of the little kids got hold of it and BROKE it!  (sorry mom!)  Mom brought back some REAL thick hot chocolate mix and it was DELICIOUS!  She also brought back some nougat, and some ginger-like cookies. 

Paul sang and played the guitar piece called, "The Alamo" from old Americana.  Shelley played a harp piece from Germany called, "Pachelbel, Canon in D".     
 Pilgrims all ate together and the LITTLE Indians ate at the little kid table!  It was nice to eat a DELICIOUS meal together.  Dan Sangers parents (John & Mary) joined us at the end of the table.  We all helped make this Thanksgiving a lot of fun and it was nice that Cheryl and Dan hosted us all...THANKS!  We wish Shauna & her kids, Chantel & her family all could have joined us because it sure was nice!
 Indian Chief Jacob 12 yrs old
 Indian Rachael 10 yrs old
 Indian Qaiden 7 yrs old
 Indian Aleah 4 yrs old
Indian Luke 2 yrs old
Thanksgiving Indian Cousins!
We cut out all the feathers and hats the day before Thanksgiving and all the kids decorated them complete with real feathers as well...that was a long activity but they sure had fun doing them!

December 6, 2011

Aleah's Preschool Halloween Parade

Aleah is a CARE BEAR...Cheer Bear to be exact...isn't she the cutest?!

December 5, 2011

Havasupi Falls Trip

Havasupi Falls Trip in the Grand Canyon
October 10-15, 2011
Richard is a Volunteer with the Outdoor Adventure Program (OAP) at Hill AFB and because of this, he gets to go on all the trips for free!  He also helps drive the vans, guide the rafts, help with any injuries and overall help to make the paying customers enjoy their trip.  The trip was about $300 including a helicoper ride out afterwards.  So, we got 2 trips for the price of 1!  The group consisted of 26 people (Chris-the OAP Director, Dave, Blaine, and Rich were the 3 volunteers.)

The first night we camped right near the ledge and at the top of where the trail begins.  We didn't have much sunlight to set up our tents but we made do.  Our tent was the 2 man camoflauge tent you see on the left. 
 The next morning we got up about 3:30-4:00 a.m. to pack up our gear, eat a quick continental breakfast of fruit, cinnamon buns, yogurt, and hot drinks.  We started hiking about 5:30-5:45 a.m. but it was still a little dark so some people had their headlights on to see the trail. 
 I was the only female to carry their 30lb plus backpack all 8-10 miles!  All the others (except 2 men) had the mules/horses take them to the Havasu Campground.
 Grand Canyon view when the sun was up, about a 1/2 mile from the start of our hike.
 Richard and all the other volunteers got to put their packs on the horses so they would be able to help some of the customers when needed.  Otherwise, Rich would have carried his so as to not have to pay the $25 fee.
 Chris allowed us to stop every so often for potty breaks...this was the girls potty place behind those rocks you see to the right!  The two ladies on either side of me are both LDS as well. 

 When the horses would come carrying packs, we would have to move out of the way fast or be run over! 
 This was the last rest stop before the Supai Indian Village

 This is one of their you see The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sign near the brim of my hat?  I thought that was pretty cool!
 No-name falls was created in 2008 when they had all the flooding and it changed the whole landscape of many of the falls!  The next day, we walked back to these and had fun diving into the water from behind the falls!
 Richard at Havasupai Falls
The reason why the water is so blue is because of all the minerals.  It was so beautiful!
Behind the Havasu Falls is a little hidden narrow canyon in which an old mining cave is located.  We climbed up the steep hill to see inside and saw many crystal-like rocks imbedded within the rocks throughout the whole cave entrance.  We heard you don't want to go in to much further without a rope because of all the hidden holes you could fall into. 
After the last flooding a few years ago, they built these really nice GREEN bathrooms.  After you go, there was a metal scoop attached to a rope and inside a barrel were fine wood shavings to put in there to help break down the waste quicker.  The bathrooms were not stinky! 
The second day was spent exploring, swimming and relaxing.

Richard and I are getting ready to go behind the falls and dive in.
Here we are behind the falls!
Getting ready to hike down MOONEY FALLS we saw someone's artwork and so we got a picture in front of their Havasupai 2011 rock sign.
Not all of the group went down Mooney Falls but the majority did.  Lisa (the girl wearing the bright blue shirt at right) had a hard time getting down but Richard was a GREAT help to her to calm her nerves.  Near the end of the climb down, I was already at the bottom and helped her change her position from facing forward to face backwards to make it easier and less scary.  She was very grateful to us for our help that she made all the volunteers a YUMMY apple pie each when we got home!  I got her recipe from her and she actually entered that recipe in the Pillsbury Recipe Contest.  I decided to make it for Thanksgiving this year when we spent it in St. George area.  It was DELICIOUS and everyone seemed to like it.  Thanks Lisa for the recipe!

This was the half way point before heading down using the wet chains and ladders...
The Donovan's were an LDS couple that were celebrating their wedding anniversary.
Richard helping Lisa down the rest of the way.
Chris (the OAP Director) is the end of the group but he had a bum knee and stayed at Mooney Falls with Lisa and a couple of the others who didn't want to chance the long hike to Beaver Falls. 
Mooney Falls was originally called "Mormon Falls" because the first white man down to the village was a Mormon, but a guy by the name of Mooney was climbing there and fell to his death.
After the hike down to Mooney Falls, we started our long hike to Beaver Falls.  It took 2-3 hours to get there but it was a beautiful hike.  We had to take our boots off and cross the river several times and we had to do a little rock climbing with a rope as well.  It was my favorite part of the whole trip I think!  I love doing these kind of trips!

"Beaver Falls"
Hiking back to Mooney Falls (which you see in the background).
Our hike back up to the top of Mooney Falls and the Campground.
The next day we hiked back to the village and took a helicopter ride back to the top of the canyon.  I would have been fine hiking back out, but they wouldn't let us go seperately.  It wasn't that bad of a hike in at all and many people hike back out just fine.  Oh well, maybe next time we go we'll do the whole trip with our packs without taking the easy way out!
Rich on helicopter
Charise on helicopter
The view from above of the people hiking on the you see the little people?
We're back at the parking lot at the top of the canyon!
All of our backpacks made it safely and were dumped at our feet...LITERALLY!  I thought the helicopter was coming right at me and was going to dump them on top of me!!!  After we loaded the 2 16 passenger vans with trailers, we headed to the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino for the night, located just outside of Las Vegas.  It was a junky hotel, but was included in the price and so I guess not too bad.  It included the all you can eat buffet but I'm not a fan of all you can eat buffets because the food is not that fresh and you tend to eat too much.  The next morning we woke up and left about 8 or 9 a.m. but with all the stops along the way, we didn't get back to Hill AFB until after 7 p.m.  Right when we got home, my parents (who were so GREAT to have watched our kids that week) had to get to Shelley's house in Woods Cross to watch a BYU game (I think) and the next morning they headed off on their trip to Spain, Portugal, and the Canary Islands.  We would not have been able to take this trip had it not been for them watching the kids.  So, we really appreciate their help! 

Funny Kid Moments!

December 20, 2011- We were all in the kitchen making gingerbread and I had just taken out the first batch of the gingerbread boy and girl. As I attempted to scrape up the girl on the spatula, she was too soft and started to fall apart as I quickly placed the mangled mess on the brown paper bag! Qaiden pointed to the messed up cookie and said, "Ladies first!" and "Mom killed her!" It was just so funny I changed from being really upset that I had ruined the cookie to laughing so hard at the random funny comment! I keep telling the boys, "Ladies first", and I guess it is sinking in!

November 2011- I like to recycle plastic containers and so I had just washed out one of them and placed the plastic lid on top the toaster (near the sink) to dry. Jacob went to put some bread in the toaster and while in there, the lid melted! Just a little while later as I was getting dinner prepared, Qaiden sat on the stove counter right next to the hot stove top. I told Q to get down off the counter but he was slow to obey. I had turned off the stove, but one of the burners was still hot and so as Q sat there, his coat was lying on the still hot burner and his inner part of the coat melted. I was a bit angry with him for not being obedient and was pretty frustrated. At this point, I turned to the boys and said, "Ok, and the winner for the 'NO-BRAINER' award goes to...drum roll please...QAIDEN!" I changed from being angry to laughing because of how funny my own comment seemed to me! ;) (Sometimes you just gotta laugh at yourself!)So, whenever we do something stupidly funny, we call it the NO-BRAINER award! It's become quite funny to see some of the silly things we do each day!

May 25, 2010- As the kids got ready for school this morning, I asked Rachael if she remembered to get a leotard for Gymnastics today after school. Qaiden overheard and said "'s NOT Aleah-tard, it's a Rachael-tard! And I would wear a Qaiden-tard!" Ohhhh the silly things that kids come up with!

Jan 20, 2010- I was in the middle of winding the cord of our kirby vacuum cleaner while singing 'Ring around the rosies a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes we all fall down'...and Aleah just standing there all the sudden dropped to her bottom without bending her knees (looked a little awkward). It was just one of those moments that made me laugh because it was so unexpected!