Christmas On Cherry Lane 2011


Before Christmas

Christmas Eve.

Santa Stop Here! (He Plays "Connect Four" With Mrs. Claus and They Set Things Up.)

Christmas Morning ("I loooove Santa!" --Lily Purcell)



Secret Santa (We found some gifts on our front porch. Not sure who they are from, but thanks, whoever you are.)

Fauneil bought me tickets to see "Wicked" with her in June. Score!

Work Mode (Both Fauneil and I Work At the Hospital. No Days Off. Even on Christmas.)

The Aftermath ("It's like a Christmas bomb went off in thehouse." --Fauneil Purcell


Thousands And Thousands Of Cookies


Today we had our first-ever Cherry Lane Cookie Exchange Party (Although, our parties have expanded past Cherry Lane lately). There were more delicious cookies than I could count.

Pecan Squares

Even better than the cookies was the company.

Here are the recipes in alphabetical order. You can double click on them to enlarge the picture. That way you can read them better.

Chocolate Dipped Short Bread By Lori Meisinger

Chocolate Mint Snaps By Fauneil Purcell

Cran-Orange Awesome Cookies By Amanda Jex

Lemon Ginger Cookies By Fauneil Purcell

Mrs Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies By Emily Craig

Pecan Squares

Pecan Squares by Diana Turnbow

Peppermint Sugar Cookies by Eliza Hawkins

Toffee Cookies By Sarah Fox

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies By Liz Ellis

Chocolate Fudge Crackle Cookies (Not pictured above, but one of my wife's favorite cookies.)

I Had To Run To 7-11 Thanksgiving Morning, and I Forget To Add Sugar To Our Pumpkin Pie


Every Thanksgiving we are in charge of the pies.

So, the day before, I pulled out my pie crust cooking tools like ramekins and...

rolling pins.

Pulled out my ingredients like butter and...


and started making pie crusts.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving morning: I started on the fillings. Apple pie ingredients, check. Banana cream pie ingredients, check. Pumpkin pie ingredients, check. Squash pie ingredients, check. Peach pie ingredients... oh crap. I forgot to get the peaches...

I quickly ran to 7-11, at first morning light, and bought peaches. Oh thank heaven for 7-11.

Anyway, after that tangent in my pie baking plans, I got the fillings made. Here are the mini peach pies ready to put the crust on top.

Here is the pumpkin pie filling ready to be poured into the pie crust. We got the pies into the oven.

While we waited for the pies to cook, we dressed up...

and played with the Google Thanksgiving doodle. Here are a few of the 12 variations we found.

The Google Thanksgiving Doodle - Wizard

The Google Thanksgiving Doodle - Pirate

The Google Thanksgiving Doodle - Disco

The Google Thanksgiving Doodle - Surfer Dude

The Google Thanksgiving Doodle - Football

And my personal favorite. The Google Thanksgiving Doodle - Tofu Turkey for all you vegetarians out there.

We pulled the pies out. They looked great. Oh wait...

What's wrong with this picture? I'll tell you. On the right is the pumpkin pie. On the left are the sugar and spices that were supposed to go in that pie. Doh! I had to redo the pumpkin. Well, I finally got some pies baked. Here we go...

Mini Banana Cream Pies

Acorn Squash Tarts.

Sweet Potato Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Mini Peach Pies

Oh, by the way, when I went to get the potatoes, I found a grocery bag with -you guessed it- my peaches for the peach pies. Guess I didn't have to go to 7-11 after all.

Cherry Lane Block Party 2011: Sneak Peak at the Behind the Scenes Preparation

Every year we throw a block party for our neighbors on Cherry Lane. There is a lot of prep. work that goes into our block party.

We needed to mow the lawn...

Water the lawn...

Sweep the patio, and pull out the tables (you can see one in the background)...

Then we went to grandma's house and hauled her tables and chairs over to our house.

Lily couldn't help us, because she was pretending to be pregnant. Gotta be careful about lifting things, when expecting.

Once we got the tables and chairs over to our house, we got them set up.

We set up tents for the kids to play in tomorrow.

And another tent.

Plus our Tee Pee that my sister-in-law Sheri made for Lily and McCann.

Since we are the hosts, we are in charge of all the deserts. McCann insisted that he help me.

We made orange cake.

Cheese Cake.

Strawberry Gratin.

Chocolate cake.

And, we had to make cherry pie. After all, this is a Cherry Lane block party. Can't wait for the fun to begin, tomorrow.

My Beautiful Lily Has a Birthday

My beautiful Lily turned eight this year.

So, she was baptized this year. (We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and we baptize kids at age eight rather than right after birth.)

We had many friends and family at the baptism.

We then had a family party to celebrate the birthday and baptism.

We had lots of yummy food.

This is Grandma Gleason's famous recipe.

It was nice weather, so some of us ate outside.

Of course, the birthday girl had gifts to open.

As always, Fauneil made a killer birthday cake.

It is really a bunch of cup cakes put together.

Here is one of the babies.

Can't forget the candles.

It was fun to get together with family. I can't wait till the next birthday, so we can do it again.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we played zombie tag.

Mini-Vacation Day 4: Pioneer Day Celebrations At Mapelton and On Cherry Lane

We had big plans for today. We were planning to spend all day in the small town of Mapleton at their Pioneer Day celebration, starting with their pancake breakfast at 7:00 A.M.

Then onto their parade at 9:00 and other activities. But...

McCann was exhausted and asleep in bed. Probably from our first three jam-packed days of mini-vacations. I decided to bag the breakfast and the parade and go to Mapleton late.

We ended up just hanging around the house until around noon.

We finally got over to Mapleton Park around 1:00 P.M.

We got our tickets.

And played games.

Won prizes.

Of course the kids had to have cotton candy.

Notice McCann is wearing his "Santa I Believe" pajama top. Must be some sort of Christmas in July thing.

Brandon was exhausted, having just returned from a week long camp out. I should have left him home to rest.

Of course the kids saw these bouncy play houses and had to play on them. I actually hate these.

The reason I hate them is because Lily always wants to play on them, and it breaks my heart to see her much slower and off balance than the other kids. Having Prader Willi Syndrome gives her low muscle tone. She is especially off balance with the soft surface of the bouncy house.

She practically gets run over by other kids. It kills me. Many times she just sits there and watches the other kids run back and forth past her - like in this photo.

She always has a hard time climbing the steps to the slide and sometimes can't make it up. Like I said, it kills me.

McCann, on the other hand does just fine. Never worried about him.

Lily wanted, so bad, to be on the dunk tank. I promised her we would do it on the way out.

She got dunked and was happy as a clam (a wet clam, of course).

Every time we are in Mapleton, we have to stop by the Black's house to say hi.

We swung on their swings.

Played basketball on their hoop.

We had to spend time in their beautiful garden...

And raid their strawberries.


While in the garden, we discovered a quail's nest. Very cool.

Unfortunately, McCann picked one of Hal’s pears before it was ripe. Sorry Hal. He knows better now.

Our last stop, of the day, was the ice cream social our church has every year on Pioneer day. Lot's of homemade ice cream, cookies, dressing up and fun. (In case you are not from Utah, Pioneer day is the day Utah celebrates the settlement of Utah by the first Mormon pioneers.)

Here is a young cowboy on his noble steed.

And a young cowgirl on hers.

Then all the pioneers, cowboys and cowgirls, dudes, and guitar players went home.