Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas in Review

We truyly had a wonderful Christmas. Here is a quick recap:

Christmas Eve- Grandpa & Grandma Bennett and the Missionaries came over for dinner. We had lasagna, garlic bread, green bean casserole, salad and rice pudding. I was just starting to make the meringue for the rice pudding when everyone arrived. I panicked when I realized I was out of cream of tartar. Messed up and added the sugar before stiff peaks formed. Sent the kids on a wild goose chase around the neighborhood to find cream of tartar. Borrowed some from the Hendricks, dumped it in the meringue and sent it back to Hendricks, before realizing the error of my ways. Sent kids and Troy back to Hendrick's to borrow cream of tartar again. Note to self, buy new cream of tartar for Hendricks. Anyway, I was frazzled enough that I didn't take any picture of the table set with our special tablecloth and candles that only come out for special occasions. After dinner we put on the Nativity play. Starring roles included: Grandpa Bennett as the Angel of the Lord. Troy & Elder Barfield were Shepherds abiding in the field. Jameson, Connor and I were the totally blinged out Wise Men. Elder Belnap was Joseph with a very reluctant Genna as Mary. Grandma Bennett read the story from Luke 2. There is always a bit of humor that accompianies the home version of the Nativity, which I hope will help my children remember how important it is that we do recognize the real Christmas story. We exchanged a few gifts, the kids opened up their traditional Christmas jammies, we watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance on PBS, put out the cookies for Santa and then sent everyone to bed.

Connor woke up early, but was kind enough to let us sleep in until 7:00. We opened presents and had a fun time just relaxing together. We didn't have to be anywhere until 4:00, which was heavenly! All the kids loved their new bean bags. Santa also brought Genna, a Genevieve Barbie and 12 Dancing Princesses DVD. I spent a good portion of my relaxing day downloading Disney songs for the boys to put on their new MP3 players. I then scrambled upstairs made chicken enchiladas, a chocolate chip cream cheese dessert and failed at an attempt to make broken glass. The red jello was all grainy and runny, so that was one tradition that didn't happen this year.

I did make it out of my pajamas and we headed over to Troy's parents house for dinner. There was way too much yummy food, as we were all supposed to bring our favorite casserole and a dessert. Shane, who is serving in the California Santa Rosa Mission, called at 5:00 and we all enjoyed talking to him on the speaker phone. We ended the night watching Deal or No Deal and 1 VS. 100. We were all shouting at the TV. It was great fun!!

The next day we got ready for an impromptu trip down to KS. We had planned to see a movie before heading down and we were not at all disappointed in We are Marshall. In fact, I would say that is the best movie I've seen all year long. Troy and his brother Todd were attending a stocks & options seminar in Overland Park and so it worked out perfectly for the kids and I to travel down with them and stay with my sister in Olathe. She has been sewing up a storm and so in another post, I will show you all her cute stuff. But we had a great visit. Genna and Ethan played dress up a lot. The bigger boys all were addicted to the GameCube. They grumbled that we made them turn it off to decorate Gingerbread houses. Lorilee and I had a great time finding good deals at the after Christmas clearance sales. It really was such a nice time.

Did I say quick recap? Ooops! I guess I got a little long winded! I am just so thankful for such a wonderful family, so many rich blessings and for a loving Heavenly Father who shared His son with us.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Connor's Christmas Wishes

Connor is my kid that frustrates me the most. He is also my child that makes me laugh the most.

Here are his 3 Christmas wishes that he wrote on a paper for school:

I wish for my family to have a great season.

I wish for the war to stop.

I wish for my family to be safe.

Here is his take on our tree:

My Christmas tree is fake, totally fake. It has white lights and red bulbs. I like looking at the ornaments of my family. This year I got to put on the star. It was fun getting in the attic and getting all our Christmas stuff down. Even though it's fake, my tree is still pretty.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Snowmen aren't forever, but friends are

Please allow me to get all sappy for a moment. Tonight, Cheryl, Tami and I got together. We ate some yummy treats, exchanged presents, visited and even had a good little cry together. We were just discussing how/when our friendship started and developed. We know for sure, it was because of Tiger Cubs that we met. But when and how we got to be such close friends, we can't pinpoint. But I am so thankful for their sweet friendship. We all love to scrapbook, but I think more than anything, I love just getting together and chatting. They truly are dear to my heart. And aren't all of Tami's snowmen so darn cute? I love all her decorations- everything just feels so homey and comfortable! And no, those aren't snowmen in the middle photo- but I think they are pretty darn cute anyway!!
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Ward Christmas Party

Someone please beat me upside the head, if I ever try to blog using Picasa again. Last night I typed up a long recap from our Ward Christmas Party. Watched the little thumbprints say it was uploading my post. Wake up this morning again, no post!

Anyway, here are the photos from our Ward Party. It was a wonderful evening! We started out with a yummy dinner. I brought a double chocolate candy cane trifle using my overbaked cake from Genna’s birthday that I threw in the freezer. I layered the cake, white chocolate pudding, cool whip and crushed candy canes. It was delish- if I do say so myself. It was pretty too, but I forgot to take a picture!

They had a Nativity re-enactment for the entertainment portion of the evening. The Primary Children were all dressed as animals and the YM/YW as Shepherd and Angels. The children all gathered around a really cool manger that someone built that was filled with hay. You can see from the picture of Genna that hay and her don’t get along too well, this was a pre-sneeze shot. She ended up with asthma before the night was over. Anyway, back to the Nativity. There were others of us dressed in costumes, sitting on blankets in our tiny little gym. Mary and Joseph walked through asking each of us, if we had room for them. It really hit me last night as I was typing this the first time, what a poignant question that is. Do we have room for Christ in our lives? Do I make time to learn of Him, teach my children of Him and let His example guide me? I strive to do these things, but still I know I can do better.

After singing a few Christmas carols we then got a visit from the Big Guy. I have to say, I am so thankful my Mom is lending me her camera. I downloaded these pictures last night and there is no picture of Genna on Santa’s lap. I had taken one, but my old camera decided it didn’t want to recognize it. So, sniff, sniff, pictures of the just the boys will have to do. Genna must have noticed how often Santa had to keep adjusting his beard, because she asked me while we were doing cards the other day, “Mom, was that the real Santa at our church?” So, we had a little talk about how Santa has helpers all over the world.

4 sleeps to go!! I can hardly wait!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Happy Dance

Well, I thought I posted last night. Spent a good part of an hour trying to log into Blogger, getting the pictures and text just right and it is no where to be found today. I have hit "save as a draft" before when I thought I was hitting "publish", but nope, that isn't the case today.

Anyhoo, I just had to share a few things. First of all, my poor old camera was laid to rest yesterday after I got a package containing my Mom's old camera. My camera had to be coddled along- the battery compartment had to be taped up because of a chip in the door and I was forever untaping, fiddling with the batteries and taping back up, all while trying to get my subject to hold still. I shouldn't complain too much, it really was a great first digital camera and took really nice pictures most of the time. My Mom's camera is a nicer Kodak with a 10 zoom, a li-on rechargeable battery and a door that doesn't have to be taped. I really am doing the happy dance that I won't have to be messing with the batteries on Christmas morning!

I am also excited because my cards should soon be coming to a mailbox near you! Genna helped me get the labels and stamps finished up yesterday. I know why they had Susan, George's girlfriend on Seinfeld die from licking envelopes- I felt like I could yesterday. After licking 90 envelopes, my tongue was protesting!

Last night, we went to a Christmas party for Genna's preschool. I am still learning about this camera and so I honestly didn't get any great shots. I didn't figure out till we got home that the red dot that was flashing at me was the camera saying, turn the flash on- this camera has a pop up flash. Despite monumental photographic evidence, we had a great time decorating cookies, playing with shaving cream and listening to the kids sing.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Holiday Fun

My sister in law sent me this Meme in an email and I thought I would post it on my blog.
If you haven’t answered this one yet, I’d love to hear your answers.
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Do I really have to choose? I guess year round hot chocolate, but I love egg nog at Christmas time. 2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa always brings the presents that are too big to wrap 3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? All white inside, alternating red & white outside 4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope 5. When do you put your decorations up? The Sunday or Monday after Thanksgiving 6. What is your favorite holiday dish? We usually always have almond coffee cake rolls for breakfast on Christmas-yum! 7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? This is a tough one, I remember gifts b/c of pictures- but a specific memory?? I know I loved going to my Grandma Olson’s house at Christmas time and having lefse, krumakage and rosettes. I loved helping decorate the tree- one year my mom made little clay teddy bear ornaments and I loved getting those out. We always did the ring and run for some families we knew and that was one of the best parts of the season as well. 8. Worst Holiday memory as a child? Getting a book about the bird and the bees when I was 11 years old- how embarrassing! 9. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I think I remember figuring it out b/c Santa’s handwriting matched my Mom’s.Not sure how old I was. 10. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Our kids do- it is always new pajamas, we did this growing up as well. 11. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? First thing we do every year is put on some Christmas music. Our tree is color coated and the boys put it together this year with a little help from Genna. The lights go on next , then the bead garland, the red balls and bows are next. Then everyone puts on their ornaments- each year I do a photo ornament for the kids. The best part is turning out all the lights and admiring our work. Traditionally we have an eggnog toast after the tree is done- but lately I haven’t been organized enough to buy some ahead of time. 12. Snow! Love it or Dread it? If we are all home- I love it. Snow days are the best. But driving or sending my poor husband out to work in it, is not fun! 13. Can you ice skate? I grew up ice skating on the pond in the park behind our house, but my ankles have gotten weak over the years. I did just go in Colorado and had a fun time, despite my sore ankles. 14. Do you remember your favorite gift? Some favorites- strawberry shortcake bathrobe, mork and mindy board game, pink legwarmers, and a doll with it’s own little carriage. 15. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? As a Mom, I hope that I can make this season magical for my own kids, that I can teach them the true joy that comes in giving and that we can all remember the precious gift of our Savior. 16. What's your favorite holiday dessert? Broken glass, rice pudding, these chocolate log cookies that have colored marshmallows in it! 17. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Being with family definitely tops the list! Others- we always try to make cookies on Christmas Eve- so we have something to put on the plate for Santa, going to the Christmas Parade of homes with my two dear friends! 18. What tops your tree? A gold star 19. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Definitely giving. It is so rewarding to watch someone open and enjoy something that you put time and effort in to picking our or making for them. 20. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Silent Night, What Child is This, Mary Did You Know- by Donny Osmond. 21. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I am not a huge candy cane eater, but I do like them. I also like all the fun different flavored ones as well.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thoughts for Thursday

Ok, so it is almost Friday- but I tried posting an hour ago and blogger was not cooperating. Just had some random things to share today.

The gingerbread house decorating at Jameson's school today went well. It was pretty cool b/c the high school sent down their home ec kids to help out the kids whose parents couldn't be there. I think Jameson's house turned out really cute! It is hard as a parent sometimes to sit back and let your kids do it their way, but it is definitely important. Next year when it's Connor's turn to decorate a house, I think I will suggest that less types of candy is better with more repetition. Not that he will listen necessarily, but hey, I'll feel better offering that bit of advice.

I am reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. I love this book. I love my copy even more because it has written on one of the first few pages a little note by my Grandma Olson that says, "this is a real good read".

I think I knew this before- but boy, sometimes I am really good at wasting time when there is a lot of work to do. I guess I know where Connor gets it from :P On a positive note, I got 15 of my 30 handmade cards done and the infamous Christmas letter written and printed.

One last thing before I turn into a pumpkin- my friend Cheryl and I did the OAMC thing last week and I am LOVING the results. It is so nice to just take out a meal the night before to thaw in my fridge. When 5:30 rolls around I just reheat, add a side and woila, dinner is served. Seriously, even though it was a ton of work, I will definitely do it again. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Santa's Helpers

I am not usually big fan of forwarding the story emails that come along, but I got this story from one my sister in law sent me yesterday and it was too good to not share! I think it totally exemplifies the spirit of the Christmas season!

Adventures with Grandma

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!" My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true. Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go." "Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous, cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's. I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, and the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!
I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes," I replied shyly. "It's .... for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas. That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it -- Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby. Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team. I still have the Bible, with the tag tucked inside: $19.95.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Gingerbread Artists

Last night for FHE we made our annual trip to see the Gingerbread House Parade at the Mormon Trail Visitor's Center. We were amazed as usual. Connor kept walking around saying, "This had to be made by a professional." Have you ever tried making a gingerbread house? We have done a few here at home and it is no easy feat to keep it nice and neat, or standing for that matter. So I tend to agree with Connor some of these people are truly Gingerbread artists. We took lots of pictures this year since Jameson and I are going to be making a gingerbread house at school on Thursday. We'll let you know how it turns out, we got a ton of great ideas. One thing I am going to do a better job of next year is saving all the yucky halloween candy for Connor's gingerbread house. I tossed a bunch this year and now I am kicking myself since I am going to have to go out and buy some candy for Jameson's house. By the way, I got that great idea from the lazy organizer's blog- check her out her son's gingerbread post.
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Monday, December 11, 2006

Mountains & Missionaries

We had a great trip this weekend to Colorado. We got in late Friday night. My niece Undrea just got back from her mission to Portugal. It was so wonderful to see her and the rest of my sister Linda's family! Genna latched onto Undrea and couldn't get enough of her.

Like I said, it was late on Friday when we got in and so Saturday morning driving from our hotel over to Linda's house, I was awestruck for a moment because of the beauty of the mountains. I really do think Nebraska can be beautiful, but we definitley don't have anything as majestic or breathtaking like these snow covered mountains.
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Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

Can you believe we are already 1/4 of the way through the month of December? As crazy as this month tends to get, I love this time of year so much! And even though decorating our tree and house is always a little more on the chaoctic side than the picturesque side, we still have a fun time doing it. And then there is something magical about turning off all the lights and enjoying the glow from the tree.

It wouldn't be Christmas around our house without a yummy peppermint candle on the warmer, lights hung from the children's curtain rods, a basket full to the brim with Christmas books we've collected over the years, garland & bright red bows on the bannister, and last but, definitely not least a carefully arranged nativity. Our favorite Christmas CD's from years past add the perfect accompianment to our holiday splendor!

This really is the most wonderful time of the year. I am so thankful for our dear Savior whose birth is the reason for the season! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Genna Funny

The other day at the breakfast table, Jameson had hair sticking up every which way. Either Troy or I commented about his rooster tail and sent him off to comb his hair. This morning, Genna looked up at Troy's messy hair and said, "Daddy, you've got a chicken on your head!"

PS. This was taken last night when we did a photo shoot in our basement for our Christmas card pictures. My goal is to have the Christmas letter, stamps and address labels all ready to go when they cards come in next week.