Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Instructor of the Year

Guess who just won Outstanding Instructor of the Year at Sundance Snowsports School?!?

I know what you're thinking, and, no, the award is not based solely on rugged good looks. According to the certificate, my husband possesses, "extraordinary excellence in instruction, example, effort, and enthusiasm; with both guests and coworkers" (plaque in the mail)

Well done, Darling!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chorney earns her keep

The best part of this whole Froot Loop fiasco (and trust me, this is only a close-up of the havoc) (and, technically, these aren't Froot Loops - they're Tootie Frooties, we're way too cheap to feed our kids name brand cereal, for precisely this reason)?

I spilled these while filling a miniature teacup with cereal for Sasha to feed to Kukla (her doll).

Sometimes you just have to step back and marvel at the oddities of parenting.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Truth in product naming

It's been kind of a tough week. Nothing to complain about, no catastrophes, little drama, just busy and tough. You know that kind of week? The kind of week when any little amusement is like a breath of fresh air to your stress-consumed head?

So today when I went to Ikea to purchase a few more doggie hooks so that leashes and backpacks and coats theoretically have a better place to live than the living room floor, I couldn't help but be amused by Ikea's short description of my three "dog butt" hooks.

Come on, you know that the key-code programmers had a field day with that one! I'm guessing they justified it by pointing out that the hooks come in assorted colors, but I'm not buying the ruse.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Day in Paradise

How I spent my Saturday...And they ask me why I love Utah

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Skiing with the Grands

The best part about a grandparent visit for the boys? Hard to say - it could be the extra wrestling victims, always having somebody to play board games with (I'm pretty sure that more games of Sorry and Mouse Trap have been played in our home in the last week than in the previous year), a new set of folks to cuddle with in the morning, or the requisite spoilage that comes with any grandparent visit. But I think that having a new audience for their skiing feats ranks right up there!

The boys spent Friday up at Sundance with Gramma and Poppop, and boy did they have fun!Blue skies, no school, plenty of snow, and a happy family.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Apparently Daddy was serious when he said that the grill was hot. But an independent girl sometimes just needs to find out for herself.

It must look worse than it feels if she can keep that big beautiful smile on her face!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dinner at the Solitude Yurt

Tuesday night held possibly my favorite meal of the year - dinner at the Solitude Yurt! It was all simply perfect... the kids were in good hands with the grandparents, Steve and I got some much needed quiet couple time, and the food was heaven on earth.

Dinner at the Solitude yurt is a unique experience. You and 15 or 20 of your new friends ski or snowshoe in through the Solitude Nordic Center to the yurt where a chef and server prepare a five course dinner right before your eyes by the light of oil lamps. It's the kind of rustic elegance we really dig :)

And this year's menu?
  • Chicken corn chowder
  • Shrimp in spinach and white wine reduction
  • Arugula salad with grilled kumquats, candied pinenuts, fresh pear and lavender wensleydale cheese
  • Grilled kurobuta pork with garlic mashed potatoes and broccolini
  • Grand Marnier chocolate volcano with fresh cream, raspberries, and strawberries


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Froggy Update - Growing Feet

Look what appeared Sunday on our little tadpole friend - mini feet! They're slightly creepy but also very cool... it's strange how something as simple as little flipper-stubs can be mesmerizingly weird like that. He/she has grown a lot since arriving in the mail a week ago, hopefully our trend of not killing him/her will continue!

And, because I know that your curiosity will not be satisfied by a lone photo, here's a close up from Monday evening of Mr./Ms. Tadpole's front section with feet. See the little toes? Crazy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

How Ponyo has Changed our Lives

The Miyazaki movie Ponyo is taking the Morningstar home by storm, resulting in the following mealtime changes:

1. Sasha is completely obsessed with ham. Unlike Ponyo, she tries to eat it gracefully by spreading each deli slice on the table or plate and smoothing it out (plastering it to the surface) and patting it down before picking up the slice to consume it. Very odd.

2. Ramen has reached the level of "staple food" for Ben. I believe this is actually less healthy than his previous food jags, which included cereal and milk, chicken nuggets, cold dogs (cold hot dogs), cheese, and Diet Coke. Goldfish crackers and milk remain a favorite, don't worry.

3. Sasha has started describing any food that is remotely warm as, "really really hot" (just like Ponyo does in the movie) which is adorable although a little frustrating because then she won't eat it until she blows on it for like 15 minutes. This also generally includes blowing with such gusto that she splatters her food all over her booster seat tray. It's hilarious to watch, though, as she puts her little finger into the air and instructs us in her magnanimous way that the food is "wewwy wewwy ot"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Etsy Store Online!

I have issues. We'll just call it like it is right now. Serious issues. Apparently my hands simply cannot be idle - I think they'd fall off and run to find a new owner out of sheer digital confusion if I ever found myself just sitting and watching a movie instead of watching + creating/gluing/scrapbooking/cardmaking/sewing/whatever. Serious issues.

Which brings me to my latest endeavor and outlet for all of that nervous energy - an Etsy store! Just when you had reached full desperation in your search for handmade notecards featuring photos of Kazakhstan, memories of Japan, warm greetings from Thailand, images from Beijing, Utah vistas, wildflowers of Yellowstone, or supercute fortune cookie greetings - da da da da - Jamie to the rescue!

So if you're looking for an alternative to lame, mundane correspondence options or if you're in the market for a distinctive gift for a birthday, shower, hostess, house warming, or just-because occasion, check out my store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/jamieamstar!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Origami Master

Sam has become quite the origami master of late, and today he took those talents to a whole new level. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present to you what I believe to be the world's smallest cootie catcher! Extraordinary, I know.

Sam has pledged to use his gifts only for good and has also applied his paper-folding prowess to produce various and more traditional origami animals and boxes. But he finds himself returning again and again to cootie catcher creation - when you find your groove, you just gotta go with it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's About Time

After all, the child is almost three and has had a Social Security Number for all of 2 months; what took them so long to send out her first credit card offer?!? And she can even get enough credit for a free flight if she does a balance transfer...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happy International Women's Day!

Happy International Women's Day! We celebrated our first Women's Day last year in Kazakhstan and were stunned by what a big deal it is over there - it's a national holiday! So we decided to bring a little celebration back here to the U.S. of A. and Sash and I went out for cocoa and a cupcake at Starbucks. Perfect.

In honor of International Women's Day, our first early bulb of the season burst into bloom yesterday - how very thoughtful! This was supposed to be a sweet mini photo shoot of Sasha and the first flower of the season...

...but she decided that it was more entertaining to throw bark into the street. Oh well, I guess that Sporty Sasha (that sounds nicer than "Destructo Sasha") replaces Sweet Sasha in the Women's Day photo shoot!

To all of the strong, soft, encouraging, prayerful, playful, and incredibly beautiful women in our lives, Happy Women's Day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Froggy Faces

For his birthday, Sam received a Grow-a-Frog kit (very cool gift, BTW). The tadpole came in the mail last week... which was a little disappointing because we thought that we got to actually grow a frog from a seed or something, but getting a live tadpole delivered in our mailbox was almost as cool as growing one from scratch.

While Sam busied himself preparing the tadpole habitat and shopping for the proper kind of spring water (more complicated than one might think), Sasha and Ben perfected their frog faces.

And here's Sasha, leaning into the poor tadpole in his tiny little shipping bag, making froggy faces and chanting, "Awww... cute frog, cute frog":

The tadpole has survived almost a full week now and is doing swimmingly. I inspect him/her every day for signs of feet or other froggy-looking appendages, but so far he still looks like a little fishy. Sasha named him/her Ponyo, for the star of her current movie obsession (Finding Nemo is another favorite, we're on an aquatic theme this week). I'm sure we'll post regular tadpole updates to the blog, so stay tuned!

Until then, you'll have to be content with the kids' froggy faces...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

March Weather

In the afternoon, we're playing outside in bare feetAnd by morning it's winter again! March in Utah is much like life with the Morningstars - never a dull moment.I'm not sure if this counts like "in like a lion" or not - maybe a really fluffy lamb?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bitter Disappointment

Sam: Mom, piƱa coladas for dinner!
Jamie: [after moment of gleeful anticipation for the best dinner of all time] Oh, you mean enchaladas.

Yeah, those are good, too.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Disturbing Sights

As I walked around the house this morning, I saw the following:

What's more delicious than Elmo eyes? Polly Pocket heads!

A dismembered Santa chew toy - all that remains is one jolly arm

Chorney, I don't know how to tell you this, but you have some gingerbread man brains stuck to your whiskers

Oh no, gingerbread man brains everywhere!

Really, she's pretty good at only chewing on her toys... most of the time. But when faced with an opportunity as delicious as a Polly Pocket head, what's a pup to do?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tubing at Soldier Hollow

What do you get when you combine snow tubing, a lift that tows you up the hill, our whole church family, a 50-degree day, and all five Morningstars? One fabulous fun day at Soldier Hollow! The pictures say it better than one of my infamously wordy posts ever could...

Going up... (I love sledding that doesn't require me to walk uphill)

Can't you just hear her screaming, "wheee" the whole way down?!?

A quick mommy-daughter pic snapped while we waited in line to ride up again

This is the only picture we have of Ben because he abandoned us early in the afternoon to sled with some of the high schoolers (thank goodness for helmets!). We were a little put out until we realized that they were pulling him around so he never had to get out of the tube, and who could turn down service like that? Anyway, this is his "victory pose" from a day of sledding well done

We had a wonderful day - hooray for church tubing day at Soldier Hollow!


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