Saturday, September 22, 2007

Carrot Cake recipe

If you know Laren at all, you know that he is NOT a cake fan. In fact, it was like pulling teeth (as my mom would say) to get him to even eat a bite of our wedding cake 10 years ago. Well, a miraculous thing has happened in the last year...Laren has actually started to LIKE cake! He has enjoyed several kinds of cake, but his new favorite is carrot cake. (You'll notice that it's one of our "favorite things" here on our blog.) I found a fabulous recipe for it online and thought I'd post it here for all to enjoy.

Carrot Cake

1/2 c applesauce mixed with 3/4 c canola oil
4 eggs
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
3 t vanilla
2 c flour
2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 8-oz can crushed pineapple (drained)
3 c grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9"x13" pan.
In a large bowl (I use my KitchenAid) beat together oil/applesauce mixture, white and brown sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir in pineapple and carrots. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.


1/2 c butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients and beat until mixture is smooth and creamy. (You may add up to 1/2 c powdered sugar for desired consistency.) Frost cooled cake and enjoy!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Celebrity Look-alikes

This is a fun site that will tell you which celebrities you look most like! Not too accurate, obviously, but still fun!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Classic BJ!

This little video of BJ when he was 6 months old is so classic that I had to share it with you! As always, though, it's sideways, sorry! (There's got to be a way to fix that, right?)

Cousins Are the Best!

I thought I'd just post a few of my favorite pictures of my kids with some of their cousins!

We enjoyed having our cousin Derek (Sharla's oldest) with us this last weekend. The kids adore him! And he was such a great sport with all of them! Jumping on the trampoline and playing Nintendo are just a couple of the fun things they did together!

I love this picture that was taken this summer of Abbie and her cute cousin Faith (Vanessa's 2nd). They are wearing matching dresses give to them by Aunt Mindy, brought over from Thailand. Aren't they beautiful?...both the dresses and the girls!

This picture was taken this summer up in Park City during our Rich Family Reunion. 10 grandkids and Mimi & Papa still look GREAT! We sure do love all these sweet people!

Faith just went crazy over baby Amelia. She was a sweet little "mother" to her and enjoyed every second of it, as you can see by her sweet expression!

Wow! Cute Faith was in a lot of our favorite pictures! Here she is with Christian at Temple Square. We had a fun day being "tourists" and seeing all the things we don't normally take the time to see.

We had so much fun with ALL our cousins this summer! Thanks for the memories! We hope to make more of them soon! We love you all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

All Clean!

What a fantastic weekend we enjoyed as our oldest daughter, Maren Abigail Hawkins, got baptized! We are so proud of her choice and her great example to her younger siblings.
We are blessed to have her in our family!I'm so grateful that Laren is worthy to hold the priesthood and was able to baptize our little girl!

We appreciate all friends and family who were able to come and support Abbie in this special day: Great Grandma and Grandpa Ottley, Mimi and Papa Rich, Grandma Hawkins, cousins Derek Wood and Ashton Chatham, Uncle Jesse Rich, and, of course, brothers Christian and BJ, sister Amelia, and Mom and Dad! (Also Jesse's friend, Danielle, who was taking the picture, and our dear friends Todd and Heather Harris and their daughter, Haven.)

We are definitely proud parents of this 8-year-old!

After the baptism we all came back to our home and enjoyed a brunch of crepes and watermelon. YUM! Then we were able to hear a concert featuring Abbie and me on violins and Papa Rich on the guitar. This picture is Papa performing "San Francisco Bay Blues", a Rich family favorite. We love the music, but also really like the way he looks with the kazoo in his mouth!

This last one is a video of Abbie and me playing together, which hardly ever happens. We hadn't practiced this at all, so I was impressed by how well she was able to do with me playing harmony. Way to go, Abbie!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this important day even more special! We wish all of you could have been with us. We love you!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Happy Birthday! and more stuff...

Since our last post, we've had a lot of fun, which means a lot of smiling faces! First things first: Abbie turned 8 years old! (Before I forget, I need to announce that she will be getting baptized on September 8th at 9:00 a.m. We'd love to have all family and friends join us for this exciting event!) Anyway, for Abbie's birthday, she enjoyed a fun "crafty" birthday party with a few of her friends at Michael's where they made their own jewelry. She loved it! She especially liked hearing us all sing "Happy Birthday" to her over the store's intercom! Her favorite part of the day, though, was opening her present from Laren and me because she'd been asking for it FOREVER...a new iPod shuffle! Here she is (with cute brother BJ) listening to it while holding birthday flowers from her daddy. She had waken up on the morning of her birthday with her face, ear, arms, and legs swollen from mosquito bites...and I mean SWOLLEN! But nothing was going to stop her from making the most of this fun day! After her party in the morning, she spent the day riding her new bike, putting some tunes on her iPod, and listening to her iPod. We had Mimi and Papa over for dinner that night and then our friends Todd & Heather Harris came over for birthday root beer floats. What a fun day for all involved! We are so blessed to have this sweet girl in our family. She's such a wonderful person with a very tender heart. I am constantly amazed at the way she is able to stay happy through all the craziness that goes on in our house! She is definitely a great friend to me and a fantastic example and loving sister to her brothers and sister!

On the day after Abbie's birthday, we were able to go and celebrate the Grandview 6th ward's birthday at the Scera Pool. I snapped this picture of BJ wearing his floatie. I told him to show me his muscles and this is what he did. I just love the look on his cute face!

Abbie's first day of school was on the following Tuesday. It's so hard for me to believe that she's in 3rd grade! Yikes! I'm definitely getting old! I love this picture of her SO much! She's lucky to have not one but TWO great teachers this year. They team-teach (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and Abbie says she loves both of them! I was a little concerned about this break from the traditional way to do a class, but I've heard great things about these two teachers, so I'm sure all will be well.
Christian was a little bummed that he didn't get to start kindergarten on the same day as his sister, but was happy to start the following week. Here he is standing outside of the school before school officially started. (Doesn't he look tiny?) And here he is inside the classroom showing off his first assignment, making his name in Play-Doh. He never said anything about being nervous and only showed total enthusiasm, but I could tell he was just a tiny bit unsure of what to think in that first 2 minutes of his first day. Since then, he has loved every second of school and his wonderful teacher, Miss Sechrist. He is actually sad that he won't be going to school on Labor Day! What a big boy!

I had to post this picture of our cute Amelia wearing an adorable dress given to her by her Aunt Mindy who lives in Thailand. I can't tell you how many people stopped us at church to ask about this dress! It was fun to be able to tell them that it is an authentic Thai dress! We think she's cute stuff!

I couldn't pass up posting this picture, too, because it completely shows Amelia's fun and sweet personality! She's always ready to smile and laugh!
And this last one is a video I took today of her saying her first word. I'm glad I was able to catch it on camera! Sorry it's sideways...if anybody knows how to rotate a video PLEASE let me know! Thanks! Enjoy!