Tuesday, December 28, 2010

random christmas day snapshots

An elephant book for Olivia, yay!

Will "playing" with some of his toys that Santa brought for him.

Ben's crystal garden from Grandma Becky. It started out as a paper landscape, then as the paper soaked up the water from the tray underneath, all these colorful crystals grew within about 8 hours! Ben was LOVING it. We have some time lapse photos he did of the whole thing. The crystals were soft and fuzzy like cotton candy, and they would crumble when you touched them.

It looks like the bath crayons were a hit with Hannah and Nina!

The day after Christmas...Nerds for breakfast anyone?

We spent Christmas having a nice big breakfast at home with the kids, then we went to Papa Steve's and Grandma Ruthie's in the afternoon. Then we went to Mormor and Poppy Per's to open gifts and have leftovers from Christmas Eve. We stopped in at Mom and Dad's for a bit before heading out to a movie with Kerstin and Brian and their kids...the boys all went to Tron, and the girls all went to Tangled {and loved it!}. Fun, fun day. :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

millions of little lights

These trees are absolutely stunning in Draper City Park. Fabulous job, whoever did this! On Christmas Eve, my kids wanted a closer view, so we pulled over and I let them run over to the tree out in the middle. They stood under the glowing branches with the soft light illuminating their faces. Beautiful, beautiful.

Friday, December 24, 2010

a merry christmas to all

Since I didn't quite get the cards out this year, here's something for all of you, sent without postage but with plenty of love. Merry Christmas!

party time!

It's that time again for the line up of family parties! Here are a few highlights from this year's festivities...taken with our little point and shoot because I was too overwhelmed to pack in my good camera with loading all the kids, diapers, gifts, food, p.j.'s, etc. Dang it.

The annual Nativity put on by the Tycksen grandkids at my in-law's house.

Clayton and all the brothers {minus Erik who is in Kuwait}, brothers-in-law and our friend Joey surprised Ruthie by singing a few carols. She loves to hear them sing, and I thought it was really sweet they put that together.

Needless to say, the white elephant game ended in tears.

Little Will overwhelmed by the chaos. Or maybe he's enjoying it, I'm not sure.

My kids spent at least an hour on their gingerbread houses!

Liv decided to paint her fingernails with the frosting...

...and her toenails! I love that she's wearing her angel costume in these pictures.

So pretty!

Casch and Ben at my mom's dinner party. We always have "crackers" that pop with toys, lame British jokes and crowns inside.

Grandma reading her joke...I love that she's wearing a crown too!

Me and "Willoughby."

My BFF, Emily, came to town for the holidays...we had a sleepover at my house, soaked it up in our "KSL Hot Tub," and went to the Carl Bloch exhibit at BYU.

All the girls {minus Cami} at my grandparents' house on Christmas Eve.

Little Norwegian girls! Nina, Olivia, and my niece Bria.

Poppy Per making faces in the background, haha!

Baby Casch sporting his Norwegian costume. I love him!

Every Christmas Eve of my life {except for one} has been spent with my dad's family, gathered around a constantly expanding table for a Norwegian Christmas dinner. It's my favorite meal of the whole year! Clayton was sick this year and missed it, poor guy. He loves the dinner too. At the end of the night, Poppy Per drops one blanched almond into the giant bowl of riskrem {rice pudding} and whoever ends up with it in their bowl wins a tall chocolate Santa. Guess who won this year? Our own little Olivia! Hooray!

Here's the recipe if you ever want to try it for yourself...it's super delicious.
{Norwegian Christmas Rice Pudding}


3/4 cup long grain white rice {not Minute Rice}

1 teaspoon salt

1 quart whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups heavy cream, whipped and sweetened to taste

1 whole almond

Raspberry Sauce {recipe follows}


Cook rice, salt, and milk in double boiler until rice is soft and mixture is thick - about 1 1/2 hours. Fluff the rice a few times for the first half-hour to prevent lumps on the bottom. You want the rice to be nice and fluffy.

While still hot, add sugar. Cover with plastic wrap, directly onto the rice to prevent a hard film from forming on the top, and chill. When completely chilled, stir in almond extract. Fold in the whipped cream. Add the almond and stir to hide it. Serve topped with raspberry sauce.

The person who receives the whole almond receives a special gift {often a marzipan pig or a chocolate Santa}.

Raspberry Sauce

1 pkg. Danish dessert {near the Jello at the grocery store}

3 1/2 c. cold water

small pkg. of frozen, sweetened raspberries

Cook the Danish dessert and water until thickened. Cool, but do not refrigerate {if you do, it will jell too much}. Add desired amount of raspberries with some of the juice and serve on top of the rice cream.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

little boy

All bundled up and ready to go out the door, I couldn't resist taking a quick picture of this sweet little face. I can't believe he's already 4 months old.

I love you, little baby!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

counting down...

I love this colorful chain, made exclusively by two of our in-house artists, Hannah and Nina.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

nina's santa

This is my favorite picture of Santa ever. The skinny hat. The 5 o'clock shadow. I love it. My sister Hailey and I had a good laugh over this one, and she took a picture of it with her phone because she loved it too.

Friday, December 10, 2010

o christmas tree

Say hello to my little Christmas tree! This was the first year that we didn't do a fresh cut tree. I never thought I'd be one of "Those People" who only do fake trees {no offense}, but here I am. Just like I swore I'd never drive a minivan, right? I did miss the smell of the fresh tree, but it was sure nice to not shell out the money for it. And even nicer to not have to vacuum up pine needles for two months!

We have quite the collection of ornaments around here. My cute mom-in-law gives each of us a new ornament every year, so now that's 7 a year for our family! She lets us each choose one from the Hallmark catalog. They are so great! This year Will's is a miniature version of the old Fisher Price Little People airplane. The door even opens up and you can see the tiny people in it! The kids will take their ornaments once they've moved out, of course, but for now it's a lot of fun to plaster them all together on the tree.

Last year I bought a box of blue and silver ornaments on clearance at IKEA, thinking, "Hey! These would be perfect since I have blue walls!" I put them on the upstairs tree this year, but it just wasn't hitting the spot. I just couldn't do without red and green. So I decided to decorate it with all my Norwegian/Elf/Woodland themed ornaments instead, and it's a keeper. Some of the ornaments were brought from Norway years ago when my sister Cami went there to study abroad. My parents gave me a few from Norway too. The little green elf is part of a collection made by my super awesome friend Julie, and she gave me the little grey-bearded elves from IKEA too. Others, including the Norwegian flag garland, were purchased as newlyweds from the Scandinavian shop downtown {when it was still in business, so sad it's gone}.

I let the kids decorate the other little tree in the basement with all the ornaments from Grandma Ruthie, and we love it! Ben even made a popcorn string for it...too bad Olivia ate most it.

That's the story of this year's Christmas trees. I think we'll do the same thing next year!

Monday, November 29, 2010

a turkey day of our very own

Hannah stuffed and stitched this felt turkey head at school, isn't it great? Haha! I think we'll use it every year. Her teacher, Ms. Dains, said she made them with her grandma when she was little and they'd always pin it on a pineapple as a center piece. I love that she passed such a fun little tradition on to her students.

Oh, please pass the rolls! I was so happy they turned out! See below for my mom's recipe...the best rolls I've ever had. Ever.

I had the kids make "place cards" for everyone using little tags tied onto fresh pears.


My brother-in-law, Jon, at the cabin over Thanksgiving weekend. He was last in line on spaghetti night, but he said was thankful anyway. Haha!

A few years back my mom decided to switcheroo her year to do Thanksgiving to accommodate certain siblings {you know who you are!}. For us, that means that we have Thanksgiving every 4 years with my family, every 4 years with Clayton's family, and with no family in between.

This was the "off" year and we had nowhere to go. We decided to give it a go ourselves. Thanksgiving at our own house with our 5 little kids.

I had never cooked a turkey before, but it was the easiest thing ever with the help of one of those oven bags. I cheated and did boxed stuffing and powdered mashed potatoes just for the sake of time and the fact that my kids were only going to take two bites anyway.

It was a lot of work, but super cozy and I was excited that I pulled it off, including a homemade pecan pie {my favorite!}. After we cleaned up we headed off to the cabin for a couple days with Clayton's family, then to my mom's for Thanksgiving dinner again on Sunday.

Okay. You HAVE to try these rolls. It's my mom's recipe that she got from her friend Lora years ago. Lora got it from her grandmother and said that the recipe is over 100 years old.

Becky Jo’s Favorite Dinner Rolls

{aka Lora Bingham’s “Grandma’s 100-Year-Old Refrigerator Roll Recipe”}

Makes 2 dozen.

2 1/2 tsp. yeast

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 c. mashed potatoes (I use instant)

1 c. scalded milk

2 eggs, beaten

5-7 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Mix butter, sugar, salt, mashed potatoes, and scalded milk together in mixer bowl. When cooled add yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly and add eggs. Knead dough in mixer, adding in enough flour to make a stiff, yet slightly sticky dough (5-7 cups). Knead the dough until it pulls away clean from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes on a high spped. Place dough into a large buttered bowl or container and cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. Let rise in refrigerator 4-5 hours or overnight.

Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough out to a 1/8” thick circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut across the circle 6 times to form 12 triangles (like a pizza). Roll each triangle from the outside in to create a crescent roll. Place a dozen rolls each onto 2 greased cookie sheets. Cover with a light dish towel and let rise 2 hours in a warm place. (I preheat my oven for a minute just to get it warm then turn it off…it makes a great place for the rolls to rise).

After the rolls have risen, bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until light golden on top. Brush with butter while still hot.

For cinnamon rolls:

Add extra 1/2 c. sugar, 1 Tbsp. vanilla, and 1/4 tsp. ginger. Refrigerate overnight.

Roll out 20” long by 8” wide ad 1/2 inch thick. Spread with softened butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll up and cut 24 rolls. Let rise 1-2 hours. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. For frosting when cooled, cream together 1 bag powdered sugar, 1 stick of butter and a teaspoon vanilla.