Holiday Cheer Bucket List


  • Christmas Eve Seahawk's Party with Grandpa Bob and Schillingers
  • Jacobs Christmas Celebration
  • Yanasak Christmas Celebration
  • Solstice Party
  • Carmody-Marshall Christmas Celebration
  • Christmas Caroling + Food Drive
  • Christmas Tree Waffles
  • Pancake Breakfast with Santa & Mrs. Claus @ the Barn in Sudden Valley
  • Gingerbread House
  • Nutcracker Ballet @ Mount Baker Theater
  • Old Fashioned Snail-Mail Holiday Cards
  • Carousel Ride in Downtown Seattle
  • Wish Lists for Santa
  • Santa Visit in Downtown Seattle
  • RACK It!
  • Family Ice Skating Adventure on the Magic Season Ice Arena
  • Snowflake Lane on Bellevue Way
  • Holiday Treats: Christmas Tree Brownies
  • Family Ornament Craft-Time: Snowmen, Puzzled Rudolph, and Cupcake Delights
  • Deck the Halls
  • Christmas Tree Farm Search for the Perfect Famiy Tree
  • Holiday-Themed Books and Movies

Tepker Kids Wrap-Up 2011

What were the greatest things that happened in 2011?
Collin + Owen:  Shaw, Whistler, Train Car, Playing with the Schillingers, going to Wade King, riding Galbraith for the first time, soccer, ice skating, Christmas

What was your favorite trip in 2011?
Collin: Shaw with the Schillingers, the Cyruses, Uncle Jared, G&G Yanasak and Grandpa Bob when we celebrated Eli's birthday
Owen: Going to Whistler and Shaw Island
Kate: The train car!  I like trains.  (Ocean City, Oregon ~ we spent a weekend with Evan and Lisa Lenz and family in a renovated train car, played on the beach, and went in the hot tub.)

What is your favorite thing to do?
Collin:  Go the Schillingers (or have them over to our house) and Hang out with Family
Owen: Play football
Kate: Color

Who are your best friends?
Collin:  Owen, Eli, Kate
Owen:  Collin, Isaac, Eli, Kai, Ethan, Kate, Eli, Mommy, Dad, Uncle Jared, Marley, Taylor, Brannon
Kate: Ava, Marley, Taylor, Owen, Collin, Dezi, Daddy, Mommy, Kacie, 

What is your favorite meal?
Collin: Pizza and burgers
Owen: Boomers Burger
Kate: Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Soup

What is your favorite cartoon character?
Collin:  Phineas
Owen: Phineas
Kate: Dora the Explorer

What is your favorite book?
Collin:  Jack and Annie (Magic Treehouse Series)
Owen: The Bob Books
Kate: Winnie the Pooh

What are you a little afraid of?
Collin:  Caves
Owen: Going to sleep by myself
Kate: Monsters

What would you do on your "perfect day"?
Collin:  Watch football with the Schillingers
Owen:  Eat waffles with syrup, play with Eli, play Madden on the XBox, trade football cards with Kai, go the Schillingers to play football outside and Wii inside, eat a donut for lunch, eat chicken pot pie for dinner
Kate: Color

If you had three wishes, what would you wish?
Collin:  1) Play my iTouch, the Wii, or XBox whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted; 2) Go ice skating every week; 3) Celebrate Christmas every 5 months
Kate: 1) For Mommy; 2) For Daddy; 3) For Owen

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Collin:  A Football Player
Owen: Maybe a dad.  No, a football player.  Maybe both.
Kate: I want to read books.

What is your goal (complete, do, enjoy) for 2012?
Collin:  I want to put all of my football cards into my binder and go to Whistler to play putt-putt golf and do some riding.
Owen: I want to go to Whistler and go riding.
Kate: I want to go the park and the swimming pool and find a waterfall.

21 Questions I asked my Kids

1. What is something Mommy always says to you?
Collin: Do the dishwasher.  Actually, we need to do that today!
Owen: No thank you, Owen!
Kate: Yes.  Yes you can draw.

2. What makes Mommy happy?
Collin: When I do the dishwasher!  Or snuggle.

Owen: A hug
Kate: Smiles

3. What makes Mommy sad?
Collin: When she's asked me like 15 times to do something, like get off the itouch.

Owen: A kick
Kate: When I color on the table, but I don't really do that now.  When I was a little baby, I colored on the table.  Now I'm a big girl.  If you color all over the table, you make bad choices. Or if you hit.  Makes Mommy sad.

4. What does Mommy do that makes you laugh?
Collin: Tickles me
Owen: Tickle
Kate: Play

5. What was Mommy like as a child?
Collin: I don't know.
Owen: Soccer
Kate: Little tiny

6. How old is Mommy?
Collin: 34.  33?
Owen: 34?  36?
Kate: 2 and a half

7. How tall is Mommy?
Collin: 8 foot?
Owen: 9 foot?
Kate: Let me see (spreads hand far apart).  That tall.  Really tall.  Super tall.

8. What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?
Collin: Play with me
Owen: Clean the dishwasher!  Ha!  That's not really you're favorite!!  Playing with us is.
Kate: Play

9. What does Mommy do when you're not around?
Collin: Go to work
Owen: Go to Whistler
Kate: Look for me

10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
Collin: I don't know.
Owen: Cleaning the dishwasher!!
Kate: You are great!

11. What is Mommy really good at?
Collin: Helping me.
Owen: Dishes.  What?  You are!
Kate: Driving

12. What is Mommy not very good at?
Collin: Gymnastics!
Owen: That's hard!

13. What does Mommy do for her job?
Collin: Go to court.
Owen: Go to work.
Kate: Take your purse.

14. What is Mommy's favorite food?
Collin: Chicken Pot PieOwen: Chicken Pot Pie
Kate: Chicken Pot Pie

15. What makes you proud of Mommy?
Collin: That she can do the dishes everyday and still be happy about it
Owen: When she lets me grab her throat
Kate: Your smile

16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Collin: WordGirl
Owen: The mom on Phineas and Ferb
Kate: Dora

17. What do you and Mommy do together?
Collin: Read
Owen: Play with Eli
Kate: Play ~ teaparty, dolls, color

18. How are you and Mommy the same?
Collin: We both have the same colored hair and neither of us have birthmarks!
Owen: We both have a body
Kate: We look the same.

19. How are you and Mommy different?
Collin: I'm young, and she's an adult.
Owen: We have different colored hair.  I have blond, and you have brown.
Kate: We don't look the same.

20. How do you know Mommy loves you?
Collin: Because she hugs me and kisses me.
Owen: Love - hugs and kisses
Kate: You really do love me! (How do you know?) Because you love me really much!

21. Where is Mommy's favorite place to go?
Collin: Whistler
Owen: Grandma and Grandpa's Property (Shaw)
Kate: The park

*I borrowed this idea from another blog, and I loved asking my kids these questions today!  I can't wait to ask them the same ones about Kevin!


Toilet Bowl: The Sequel?

Sadly, Owen has been ill for the past two and a half days, and he just came downstairs as we were finishing our movie (The Hangover II), snuggled in with me, asked for a glass of juice and said:  "I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but I threw up in your bed before I came down.  On dad's side."  (lordy, lordy!)
(Kevin cracked a joke about the stunt on his side of the bed, and O just grinned.  It was classic!  Thankfully, my camera was right there, so I caught a quick shot while it was still genuine!)

I sure hope this doesn't match the historic landmark of last New Year's Eve!  EPIC!!  Looks like we may send out 2011 the same way we brought it in ... over The Toilet Bowl.  Click HERE and HERE for a refresher (wish we could forget it)!

Many cheers and happy times!  To 2012!  

Soft Molasses Cookies

We had a fabulous holiday, and it included some delicious food!  Here is a recipe for soft molasses cookies that were delightful!  Let's put it this way:  the recipe yields about 5 dozen.  Lani made them Friday.  We showed up Sunday night, and there were only three cookies left.  Clearly, my dad would agree with the quote highlighting the recipe, which they found online and forwarded to me:  "The best soft molasses cookie I've ever eaten!"

Soft Molasses Cookies
You may substitute 3/4 cup undiluted evaporated milk with 3/4 tablespoon vinegar for the sour cream. Cookies can be iced with a mixture of confectioners' sugar and milk, or just sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.
Prep Time:
15 Min
Cook Time:
12 Min
Ready In:
55 Min

Original Recipe Yield 5 dozen

  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. Cream butter, and gradually blend in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Mix in sour cream alternately with sifted dry ingredients. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven. Transfer to wire racks to cool.


Caroling Food Drive ~ Take 2

 We head out for a second night of Caroling and Food collecting Wednesday night, and it was another huge success!  We collected 103 pounds of food!  Both neighborhoods and our carollers donated a total of 253 pounds of food!
 Mark is laughing at Kate, who was belting at the tunes so loudly!!  (She didn't have much tune at this point though, so she was almost shouting the songs!)


Family Unites for Annual Christmas Celebration

What a day!  As I scanned through the pictures of our Christmas gathering, I realized I had a soundtrack running on repeat in my head.  Bryan Adam's "Christmas Time" was the featured tune:  

We waited all through the year
For the day to appear
When we could be together in harmony

It's the time of year when everyone's together
We'll celebrate here on Christmas day
When the ones you love are there
You can feel the magic in the air- you know it's everywhere

I couldn't have termed it any better!  This is a day we all look forward to ~ a day to relax, to enjoy, to catch up, to see who's doing what, where, and when!  Oh - and checking out the new babies is also a yearly treat!

Joe and Tiffany hosted 2011 Saturday, and it was AWESOME!  They just moved into a new home, and it was a fabulous venue.  *I told them in no uncertain terms:  if they will host every year, we'll rotate who does the food, we'll look into housecleaners, etc.!  Upstairs, they had a bouncy house for the kids.  On the main floor, the great room connected to the kitchen (always a hub).  Downstairs, two air hockey tables and a big screen entertained both big and little "kids."
Tepker Kids
 Uncle Jared tossing Kate all about
 "Hey, that's MY favorite blankie!" Tug-of-War between Uncle Jared and Eli
 Every little kid seems to love olives!  (That's Kate.)
 Nella, Christina, and Great Grandma M enjoy Kacie's little coos!
Bob, Marie, and Baby Ben catch up on the family's latest move:  back to the Northwest!  Welcome Home!
 Alex and Eli are only a few months apart.  They enjoyed taking cups out of the kitchen cupboards and playing kitchen!
 Joe rolled that huge beanbag over the kids, and the kids LOVED it!
 Eli at the Top of the Bouncy Slide
Bob's Grandkids
The Cyrus Girls
 The Cyrus Family ~ Tracey, Christina, Marley, Taylor, Kacie
 Uncle Mike caught the kids and tossed them over the the wall and into the bouncy house!
Uncle Mike lifted Kate by her ears!!
Alex, Gabby, Megan
 Piper was caught in the act!  Yummy brownie!
 James the Elf
 "Wait, here I am!  Don't take it without me!"  - Jim
 ("Not that I'm going to pay attention as you're taking the photo." - Jim)
 In all honesty, I did not mean to or notice that he then was cut OUT of the next photo (the one where I set the timer and jumped into it as well)!  Sorry, Jim!
Back Row:  Brannon, Lucas, Brian, Aimee, Bob, Theresa, Jordan, Kathy, Kevin, Marian, Tippy, Tracey, Piper, Aaron, Eli, Christi, Jared, Alex, Todd, Don, Marge, (and Jim)
Next Row:  Mike, Evan, Ben, Reason, Kim, (Rob is there in the other pics?), Lisa, Morgan, Nella, John, Sarah, Gabby, Scott, Megan, Joe, Marie, Tiffany, Kacie, Loren
Front Row:  Sammy, Brooklyn, Michelle, Haley, Owen, Christina, Marley, Kate, James, Taylor, Jenny/Me
Owen, Marley, Kate, Taylor, Sammy (and the back of Collin's head)
Eli purposefully and successfully went down the stairs head first for the first time!  (Ironically, in 2008 at the Christmas Party at Brian and Christi's, Kate climbed UP the stairs for the first time!)
 Kim played a tag game with Reason and the girls!
 The little kids did an ornament gift exchange.  Very cute!  They were SO excited to open their gifts!  *I had my kids decorate their own gift bags.  That was NOT appealing apparently!  The fancy wrapped packages were all picked first.
 James was so excited about his ornament that he rushed up to hang it on the tree!  So sweet.
 Kevin stuck a bow on Owen's back unbeknownst to O.
 (When he saw this pic, Owen said:  "Mom!  Why do I have that face?  ...  Oh.  I'm eating a candy cane!")

This "Guy" was my favorite wrap-job of the season!  It was a "Man Gift" or I'd have snagged it up for sure!!  Turns out everyone was afraid it housed "The Bear," a golden plague that is regifted as a gag every year.

But in the end, Loren opened the gift with "The Bear," and the man was made of candy bars, pistacios, and a Visa gift card!)
As it approached 9:00, Kate perched on Kevin's man gift and nearly fell asleep.  We immediately got her in jammies -- and she got her second wind and raced upstairs to the bouncy house.  :-)
 Brannon and Kim
 Baby Ben
"One dark night in the middle of the day, two dead boys got up to fight.  Back to back, they faced each other, drew their swords, and shot each other.  A deaf police man heard the noise.  Came over and shot the two dead boys.  If you don't believe this lie is true, ask the blind man, he saw it too." - Bob Carmody

Ok, that's not really what he was saying there, but I'm sure it was something similar!!  He taught us cousins that tale of opposites on a camping trip when we were little.  :-)
 Tiffany and Joe ~ Our Hosts
 (Jared admitted that he'd made the Candy Man ... moments after Tiffany declared "only a woman could be behind a wrap-job like that!"  Quite contrare!  The Carmody/Marshall men are famous for their "jerry-rig" antics!)
 Christina and Jared (my siblings are looking good!)
 Kathy and Granddaughter Gabby
 I thought it was ironic that Kevin's Male Gift was wrapped in a diaper box ~ and that Eli opened it!
 I love this photo.
 Joe and Brooklyn
My grandparents have lived in Eastern Washington (first Leavenworth where they ran a quaint, beautiful Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast, then Wenatchee after they closed the B+B).  But they have put their house on the market and are hoping to move back to the West side!  For Christmas AND for their 50th Wedding Anniversary, the family pitched in to raise a little money to help them afford professional movers and other travel expenses!
 Merry Christmas, Everyone!!

There's something about Christmas Time
Something about Christmas Time
That makes you wish it was Christmas every day