You've Had a Birthday!

It's Courtney's birthday today!!! (And yes, I did steal this cute picture from your Blog!)

Happy birthday to you!


Soundtrack of '06

2006 is on its way out, and 2007 is almost here...

After the New Year, it seems there's not much to look forward to after the myriad of parties in December. There's cold weather and the next holiday- Valentine's Day? But, don't forget with a new year also comes-- new albums!

Rumor has it that we'll be getting new albums from Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, Of Montreal, Modest Mouse, Air, Radiohead, Cat Power, Wilco, Patty Griffin, and yes! The Postal Service.

My fingers will constantly be crossed in hopes that these albums are as good as their predecessors.

Until then... I thought I'd reflect on some of MY favorite albums from this past year.

In no particular order...

~Camera Obscura's: 'Let's Get Out of This Country'
Favorite track: Razzle Dazzle Rose

~The Decemberists: 'The Crane Wife'
Favorite track: O Valencia!

~Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins: 'Rabbit Fur Coat'
Favorite track: You Are What You Love

~Beth Orton: 'Comfort of Strangers'

Favorite track: Conceived (tough choice!)

~Cat Power: 'The Greatest'Favorite Track: Title Track- The Greatest

~Yeah Yeah Yeahs: 'Show Your Bones'
Favorite track: Turn Into (Best live show of the year, too!)

~Band of Horses: 'Everything all the Time'

Favorite track: I Go to the Barn Because I Like The

~The Raconteurs: 'Broken Boy Soldiers'

Favorite track: Steady as She Goes

~The Flaming Lips: 'At War With The Mystics'

~"Little Miss Sunshine" Soundtrack

Favorite track: How it Ends by Devotchka

~El Perro Del Mar: 'El Perro Del Mar'

Favorite track: Here Comes That Feeling

I know- not many surprises here. If you look in my album library, you'll find many of these artists previous albums or collaborations. But, I did find some new gems that I really love.

Here's to 2007-Hoping my ears are pleasantly surprised!


Shoes Glorious Shoes!

I wasn't able to wish a Merry Christmas on my Blog this past week, due to my shock at how spoiled yours truly got this year.
Santa/My Husband spoiled me from head to toe (emphasis on the toes)... I got lots and lots of cute, fun shoes- 4 to be exact- with 1 cozy pair given to me by my Mother... Wow, huh?

I know, I know the focus of Christmas should not be on the presents... but, aren't my new shoes cute?!

I think so.


Another Christmas Bash!

Many friends walked through our door last Friday for our annual Christmas Party.

We had a fun White Elephant Gift Exchange (I think the Utah Jazz parka was the favorite.), and a somewhat slammin' Karaoke session... but, best of all, we were able to see friends who live further away then we'd like, and catch up with many we rarely get to see.

Thanks friends for making our party such a memorable, enjoyable time!

Can't wait until next year!


What a Bash it Was!

Every year the Carlson siblings and parents get together without all the crazy Monkeys running around to enjoy each other's company. This year, the party was at the Pappas residence. With a huge help from my husband, who secretly is a fabulous Chef, we were able to pull this shin-dig off! (Just barely.)

We dressed the table with gum-drops and flowers:

We served Cornish Game Hens with stuffing, Twice Baked Potatoes, a Green Salad, Lion House Rolls with Honey Butter, and steamed Green Beans-- Yummy. Polly and Justin brought Crab Cakes for the appetizer. (From what I hear, they too were delicious!)

We were spoiled: We exchanged gifts with each other. (Polly and Justin gave Jeff and I 'The Office' on DVD- sure to be used!) And, my sweet mom knit all the girls beautiful, cozy scarves:

We gave my mom and dad new coats to wear on their upcoming trip to NYC, and thankfully, they were a hit!

We watched Chanse drink liters and liters of Coca-Cola:

We wished Matt wouldn't roast to death in his new sweater:

(Brecke was cold, and poor Matt was dying of heat! His sweater was made out of buffalo-hide.)

We played a mean game of 'Catch Phrase,' and really enjoyed each other's company.

We (Jeff and I) are secretly quite glad we don't have to host this for another 6 years.

But, of course, we had lots and lots of fun!


Catching Snow on My Tongue...

Can you believe all the snow that has fallen?!

Jeff and I attended a Christmas Party tonight as the snow fell.
Leaving, I heared the snowflakes fall on Jeffrey's coat.

The sky lit up as millions of snowflakes fell- silently, quietly.

The soundtrack to this blissful moment Beth Orton's 'Sweetest Decline.'

Tonight, I love this weather.


Pass the milk, please.

The second Tuesday of each month, I get together with my sisters and a group of girls and exchange recipes. Over the past months the theme has ranged from Family Favorites, to recipes including fruit, tomatoes, soups and breads.

This past Tuesday we did a cookie exchange- So, everyone baked at least 2 dozen cookies to share. Then, we each filled our plate (to the brim, I might add) with all these sweet treats. From Mississippi Mud Bars, cookies filled with Rollos, to cookies baked with Vanilla pudding-- my sweet tooth definitely was satisfied that night.

If you're dying to make a sweet treat, here's my sister's infamous Ginger Snap recipe:



Cold Ears, Warm Heart...

Here's a little project I worked on this weekend... I made this accessory to keep my ears warm.

I also figured this crocheted piece could be used as a belt, if I'm feeling really daring.

I'd give you the instructions to this piece, but I made them up as I went along! However, I will tell you this- it's really easy to crochet. Make sure you leave a hole at one end, and then attach a button to the other for the clasp.

(Don't mind my pose... It's hard to take a picture of yourself without looking ridiculous.)

I decided to dive back into my yarn bag to create something, and this little piece warmed me right up!


Guilty Pleasure #8: Xanadu

You know you’re in for a treat when the first line of the movie you’re watching is, “Aw, what the hell. Guys like me shouldn’t dream anyway.”

Last night, Jeff and I found one of my all-time Guilty Pleasures, Xanadu, tucked in the ‘Free Movie’ section on Comcast’s OnDemand. Not intending to watch it in its entirety, we started from the beginning when all 8 Muses (or sisters) danced gracefully out of the wall- and, slowly, but surely, the music and whimsical storyline kept us captivated until the very end.

Regardless of legendary actor's Gene Kelley's role, movie critics have dubbed Xanadu as one of the worst films ever made. But I challenge their opinion! True- Olivia cannot dance worth beans in the movie, and yes, maybe their intentions were to make another Grease, but the music is phenomenal!

Aside from the anthem, ‘Xanadu,’ there are many romantic hits on this soundtrack, including: ‘Suddenly,’ ‘Suspended in Time,’ ‘The Fall,’ and the song I really, really wanted to place on my Wedding Video: ‘Don’t Walk Away.’ (You remember- this was the song when Sonny and Kira turn into animated cartoon characters...
What an amazing scene!)

Being a disco skating fanatic, I started going to Classic with my older sister when I was in 8th grade. And when Olivia Newton John’s voice filled the rink singing 'Xanadu,' it was a true anthem! The wheels on your skates rolled a bit faster, and the dance moves that accompanied were more inspired.

This soundtrack is one of the best sing-along albums ever made. With the help of the Electric Light Orchestra, the songs are breathtaking.

As for the storyline, it may not be as inspired or breathtaking as the soundtrack, but it too is very imaginative. In a nutshell, the plot is the story of a girl (Olivia) who makes dreams come true. (Sure, she’s a muse whose father is Zeus, but the girl can sing!)

Even with some fearless acting by the character Sonny Malone, and inspired dancing by Gene Kelly, you may wonder: how was this movie actually made? It just looks like it takes place in a huge warehouse with an array of different backdrops. But, hang on- you’ll find yourself tapping your toes and aching to strap on roller skates by the end of the movie.

Here's your challenge: Watch Xanadu. Even if you've watched it before, watch it again! It's a very enjoyable movie experience. (Oh, if you know the lyrics, be sure to sing along- you too will feel like a Muse who can make dreams come true. Promise.)


... My Monkeys ...

Look how adorable all of my nieces and nephews are!

There's Elliot, Savannah, Hanna, Kymbal Jane, Cavin, Malory, Sawyer, and Elli. With matching red sweaters, we attempted to get a shot of all of them together on Thanksgiving.

It was Jeff's brilliant idea (really, it was brilliant- the moms loved it!) to place them from oldest to youngest on the slide in my parent's backyard. You have no idea what it took to get the above picture... at least they all are looking at the camera! And, no tears!

Here are some other gems:

These monkeys make me so happy. Whether it's playing Cat Woman with them (Yes, I'm the Cat Woman...), holding hands while playing 'Ring Around the Rosies,' reading them a story, or holding them after they reach their patient hands up to me, I feel like the luckiest aunt... ever.