Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wii wish you a Merry Christmas

Sitting down to relax for a few minutes before working on my talk. Our family is speaking in Marysville, Kansas on Sunday. I am cheating and using part of a talk I had to give in the Seward Branch in September.

We had a wonderful Christmas. I am going to borrow a little recap idea I saw on my friend, Rebecca's blog.

Best Food: We had Mexican food and desserts when Troy's family came over. Shantelle's Chocolate Chip Cheeseball was the winner!
This sounds like her recipe except she doesn't use nuts because her son is allergic:

Chocolate Chip Cheeseball
Ingredients
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Butter (no substitutes), softened
3/4 cup Confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp. Brown sugar
1/4 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 cup Miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup Finely chopped pecans
Graham crackers

Preparation
1. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Gradually add sugars and vanilla; beat just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Place cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap; shape into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, roll cheese ball in pecans. Serve with graham crackers. Yield: 1 cheese ball (about 2 cups).


The almond coffee cake rolls I make every year, came in close second.



Best Gift To Me: The movie Persuasion- I have been asking for this for years and Cheryl helped Troy order it online- thanks, Cheryl!! I will spare you the puffy eyed, bedhead picture of me in my pajamas with all my gifts! When getting my gifts ready for the picture, I made the comment how I must have been a good girl this year since I was so spoiled. Genna frankly replied, "No, Mom, remember you yelled at us when you got mad." Out of the mouths of babes, lol!



Best Gift Given:Both boys were awake by 4, they were so excited. We held them off until 6:30- thank heavens for the 24 hour marathon of a Chrismtas Story. Of course, their favorite item is the Wii. Genna says her favorite gift was her High School Musical 2 poster book, although you can find her playing with her new Leapster. She loves the art game.




Best Game Played: We played Pit, Sequence and Jameson's new Deal or No Deal. But Pit was definitely the winner. I've loved that game since high school.

Best Song:I told you already how much I loved How Many Kings by Downhere.
But I really enjoyed when helped in Primary on Sunday, signing all the Christmas songs from the Children's Songbook.

Hope your Christmas was merry & bright!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to All and To All a Good Night

What a hectic, but wonderful day. Here's some pictures of the highlights...




1. Broken Glass- a traditional family favorite. I seriously spent the whole day in the kitchen. We had roast beef, pototoes & gravy, and carrots, green bean casserole, homemade rolls and salad. After dinner we had homemade rice pudding and lots of other goodies that Troy's parents and sister brought over. I forgot to put out the broken glass. We'll have that tomorrow.

2.Decorating Cookies for Santa. Look on Santa's plate for Elvis, a missionary and a very dapper Snowman.

3. Elder Olsen and Elder Alder with their gifts. I forgot to take a picture of the stocking I stamped on for them.

4.Day 12- oops, I jumped the gun with yesterday's post. Here are the jammies I made. Except for the crooked "J", I was really happy with how they turned out.

5.Cute little Caleb getting ready to do the nativity.

6. The whole ensemble sans baby Jesus. Anna decided to help me take pictures instead of acting. Acting out the nativity is one of my most favorite parts of Christmas.

7. Hopefully Santa doesn't mind skim milk.

8. Alright Santa, we're all ready...

9. Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

12 Days of Christmas Wrap Up

It's late, I've been busy preparing food and getting a few other things ready for tomorrow night. So, I apologize, the condensed version of the past few days is all you get. But hey, that's better than nothing, right?

Here it is...



1.Gorgeous sunset from Friday morning.

2.A wonderful get together with Tami & Cheryl. I am so blessed to have such dear friends!

3.Shopping for Christmas dinners & get togethers and since Troy's sister Lisa and her family of 6 will be staying with us later this week.

4.A very homemade Nebraska ornament for the missionaries who will be spending Christmas Eve with us.

5.Days 9 & 10. These were sort of lame, but we will use them. It's just been busy we haven't had time yet. We are going to do the almond pretzels and then decorate sugar cookies for Santa.

6.Just had to take a family shot of us all dressed up today after church.

7. Day 11 presents- snowmen ties for the boys.

8. Day 11 present for Genna- candy cane tights.

9. Peppermint Eggnog malts after watching the Muppet Christmas Carol- yum!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Days 6, 7 & 8 and more catching up

I am not doing so great about blogging our 12 days of Christmas. Next year, I'll try andtake pictures before I wrap them all.

Bear with me- this is a packed post. You might want to put on some Christmas music before you settle into reading this. I am listening to this (Sufjan Stevens Songs For Christmas Singalong) and this(Bethlehem Skyline) (make sure and listen to How Many Kings by Downhere- it is my new favorite of the season).

Day 6-
I was at Enrichment this night. We had a soup supper, sang carols and did a fun white elephant game and cookie exchange.



The kids actually mixed up the day 6 & day 9 present, but oh well.


Day 7-
Started out with a gorgeous sunrise.


I got a new winter coat. Here it is on a cute model.



Every year the 4th graders decorate gingerbread houses. Ok, so technically, it is a cardboard form, but the creative process is the same. You just don't have to worry about the walls caving in, since you can hot glue them together. Connor and I had a lot of fun working together on his house.


Jameson had his first band concert. The lighting stinks in the gym at the school. All my pictures stink. He was just sitting around playing later that night and I took a few shots then.






We finished up our neighbor deliveries. The sun was setting about that time and I drove the kids crazy trying to get different shots.




We came home and made some puppy chow for Jameson's class party.




Puppy Chow

Ingredients:
9 cups rice chex cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


Preparation Directions:
1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, stir together chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Microwave uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag. (I put it in a large tupperware bowl with a lid and shook it)
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

We were so busy, we just about forget about our 12 days present. I found this at the thrift store the other day and just had to pick it up. We haven't had a chance to watch it yet.


Day 8-
Amber and Josh came down today and we had a great time as usual. We exchanged gifts and hit the cute little shops in town. I got a sugared spruce soy candle. It smells heavenly.



Tonight we went out to Famous Dave's for Troy's work get together. The food was yummy and even though I got stuck at the kids table, it was nice to get out.



Me & my sweet girl!


Merry Kissmoose- photo by Connor

Finally, our day 9 present- a dollar store puzzle

Monday, December 17, 2007

Days 3, 4 & 5

Day 3
The weather did not cooperate. The plan was to drive around Lincoln looking at the lights Troy put up, with a thermos full of hot chocolate and our jammies, but it was too icy. We have to be up in Lincoln on Thursday night, so now we are hoping to fit it in our schedule that day.


Day 4
Activities for a quiet Sunday afternoon.


That evening since Troy had a meeting at church, the kids and I worked on our spritz cookies. The first sheet of cookies pressed out perfectly, but then it all went downhill from there. I remember now why it has been 3 years since I touched that particular kitchen aid. Needless to say, I did not get the 12 dozen cookies the recipe professed it would make.



Day 5
Jameson was a few minutes early for basketball practice today, so we drove out to get a better view of this winter sunset.



Troy read us this story while we sampled a few of the cookies I made to finish up the neighborhood gifts. It is one of my favorite recipes to make at Christmas time.



Becky's Dipped Gingersnaps
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

additional sugar
2 packages vanilla baking chips
1/4 c. shortening
(I actually just use vanilla almond bark and it works perfectly!)

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil, mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in molasses. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into 3/4 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cookie springs back when touched lightly. Do not overbake. Remove to wire racks to cool. Melt chips with shortening in a small saucepan over low heat. Dip the cookies halfway; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper to harden.

Friday, December 14, 2007

the 2nd Day of Christmas

Brought singing, toe tapping and all the extra features. Stay with me though, I promise, the rest of my gifts are Christmasy in nature. This one was just for fun. We will see if the weather cooperates with tomorrow's gift.




Good news, I got all my packages ready to go tonight. Here are some presents that were included in my sister's package. Amber gave me these cute stamps. Originally, I was planning on covering these little boxes with Christmas scrapbook paper, but I had a hankering to use my stamps, so I went that route.




Still left on my to do list:

make pj's for the kids
make & deliver neighbor goodies
wrap all the presents for my family

Ok, so there is cleaning and a few other things I'd like to get done before then, but I will feel really good if I can get these things done before next weekend.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Finished Projects

Ok, I am doing the happy dance because I found my other new battery. I thought I had put it in my purse, but it turns out it was an already used one. So, I can take pictures again. I am sad that I missed all the cool ice storm pictures, but definitely thankful that I can take pictures everyday. I don't want to forget anything about this fun time of year.

So, here are the pictures you were busy imagining...






Plus a couple of fun things I found at the new thrift store that just opened in my town.


The First Day of Christmas




Brought a new book for our overstuffed basket of Christmas stories.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Getting There

I hope you'll forgive me for not updating my blog for the next week or so. Of course, I am busy trying to knock of items from my to do list. (I finished up the I Spy bags,a few vinyl/wood signs, the shopping, except for a few more items for Troy and all the Christmas cards!) Sadly, my camera is out of batteries again. I took about 160 pictures which totally used up 2 photo lithium batteries. I am wondering if the cold weather had something to do with how fast the charge was used up? Anyway, I am waiting on a new charger and rechargeable batteries that I ordered online. So hopefully, it gets here in 4 days rather than 14. So until then, you will just have to imagine my completed projects.

I'll leave with you with a few mouthwatering recipes instead...

This eggnog cheesecake recipe sounds yummy! Plus she's got some incredibly cute ideas on her blog.

Chocolate Swizzle Nog, anyone?

I saw a fun idea using this recipe. They wrapped up squares of this in tin foil and covered with Christmas scrapbook paper.

I am wanting try this broccoli chicken lasagna recipe, too.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Today...

I stayed inside as much as possible...


I wrote the Christmas letter...

(photo courtesy of Genna, lol)

I dusted...

(did you know black furniture shows the dust REALLY bad?)

The kids played in the snow...





Our hearts go out to those so close to us, whose lives will never be the same again...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Lists

I'm not talking about a wish list, but a list of all the things I'd like to make happen this Christmas season. I am refusing to get stressed and anxious this year. Ok, so I really didn't do so well on the no stressing part when we were decorating the Christmas tree- but I am really trying hard to go with the flow more. I want it to be a memorable, magical time, not one where the kids remember how crabby and grouchy their Mom was.

Anyway here's part of my to do list:

Take Pictures for Christmas card- done
(Argh!! I just looked at the ones I picked up from Walmart and they have a yellowish cast to them! This happened to me last year, too. Maybe I will learn to check them before I leave the store.)

Here are the outtakes:



Christmas Card Letter

Address Christmas Cards & Mail

Shopping- About 55% done

Neighbor Gifts- I am going to do a stack of spritz cookies roller Christmas cracker style in cellophane, tied off with ribbons. I bought the cellophane today.

Teacher Gifts- these are 1/2 done. I need to make some sort of mix or buy some candy to fill the teacher mugs I got on clearance last year.

Finish Genna's I spy bag and make another one for my nephew. I keep forgetting to buy the self laminating stuff when I am at Walmart.

Make Christmas pj's for the kids

I really wanted to make an advent something or other this year. I still might try to get something done for the 12 days before Christmas. I have seen lots of cute little stockings, like this one. We shall see what I get done.

Scrapbook last year's Christmas pictures.

I recently heard about a neat tradition where a family served one another. After completing their act of kindness, they would leave a wooden star on the pillow of the recipient. Then they would know it was their turn to serve someone else. We did this growing up, only we had 3X5 cards saying that the Christmas pixie had been there. I am thinking this would be a good thing to introduce at next week's FHE.

Go up to the Mormon Trail Center and see the Gingerbread House display.

Drive around and look at Christmas lights.

Ok, what do you think, can I get it all done without going crazy? I hope so!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Soundtrack of my life

I saw this on someone else's blog and thought it sounded fun.

If your life were a soundtrack, what would the music be?

Here’s how it works:
1. open your library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod)
2. put it on shuffle
3. press play
4. for every question, type the song that’s playing
5. new question — press the next button
6. don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool

opening credits:
Clocks- Coldplay
(Eclipse playlist)

waking up:Falling For You- Jem

first day at school:Slow Down- Aly and Aj
(kids playlist)

falling in love:I'm Not That Girl- Wicked Original Broadway Cast
(Broadway playlist)

breaking up:Without You- Asia
(80's playlist)

prom:Knowing Me, Knowing You- Abba

life’s okay:The Reason- Hoobastank
(New Moon playlist)

mental breakdown:The Girl From Rosewood Lane- Joy Electric

driving:Get Free- The Vines
(Alias playlist)

flashback:

Devonshire- Sense and Sensibility Soundtrack

getting back together:
Try Again- Keane

wedding:
Five Little Pumpkins- Raffi
(Genna's playlist)

birth of child:
L.O.V.E.- Ashlee Simpson
(Running Playlist)

final battle:
Love Me Like You- The Magic Numbers
(Eclipse Playlist)

death scene:
I Just Can't Live A Lie- Carrie Underwood
(Troy's Playlist)

end credits:
All These Lives- Daughtry

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Angels


Just wanted to share this story that came along with this sweet angel ornament from the Stake Primary President that I work with. I hadn't heard it before.

A CHRISTMAS GUEST
By David LaRouchelle

One cold and blowy Christmas Eve when I was not so old,
When the wind was full of frost bite, and the sky was thick with snow,
I snuggled warm beneath my quilt with dreams of Christmas day,
Until a knock at our front door swept all those thoughts away.

I heard Mom on the stairway, and hurried to her side.
The cold floor sent me hopping as my bare feet tried to hide.
Mom yawned and opened up the door, we looked outside with care.
Just take a guess at what you think it was I saw out there…

I heard the wind, I felt the cold, I saw a tiny lady.
Here face was drawn with wrinkles; she looked seventy or eighty.
Her legs were bare as icicles, her hair was crowned with frost.
Her coat was thin and raggedy. I guess her gloves were lost.

“May I come in?” she asked my mom, “and warm my hands and toes?”
She winked at me and shyly said, “I think I froze my nose!”
Mom was sleepy; I could tell she wished she were in bed.
This lady should have knocked upon our neighbor’s door instead.
At last Mom smiled and said, “come in,” and drew her in with haste,
Then, went to light a crackly fire in our fireplace.

The lady huddled near the fire, reaching toward the heat.
The flames began to thaw her hands and warm her frozen feet.
“That’s better now,” she said to me; her face looked warm and pink
“But the blizzard’s still inside of me. Have you something hot to drink?”

There was a box of cocoa that I’d hidden on a shelf,
A box of thick hot chocolate I’d been saving for myself.
I thought a bit, then, finally said, “I’ll have to check and see.”
I got the box and came back in, with mugs for her and me.

At last the lady took my hand and gently squeezed it tight.
“You’re very kind,” she told me, “Now it’s time I said good-night.”
She wrapped her coat around her and turned slowly toward the door.
I caught her arm and whispered, “Could you stay a minute more?”

I opened our front closet door and climbed up on a chair
And searched until I found my scarf, my favorite thing to wear.
I gave it to the lady. “This is soft,” I said, “and warm.”
“The cold will not come near you when you go out in the storm.”
“Merry Christmas,” I wished her. She smiled at me once more.
“Merry Christmas,” she said warmly, as she stepped beyond the door.
The house was quiet. So was I. But then my mother said,
“Your bedtime, dear, is long since past. You’d best get back to bed.”
With thoughts of our strange visitor, I headed up the stair,
And when I stopped to look outside, I saw a wonder there!

Amid the whirling snowstorm, in the nighttime, in the cold,
I saw an angel like a star, all dressed in light and gold.
Her sudden brilliance lit the dark, here presence filled the night,
And there, around the angel’s neck, my scarf danced wild and bright.

In seconds she had vanished. I wondered what to do.
I’d never had an angel visit me before – had you?
I pressed against the window; at last I shook my head
And decided that it might be best to go on up to bed.

But when I reached my room I was amazed at what I found;
There on my bed a small box, with ribbons wrapped around.
I slowly lifted up its lid, and then my eyes grew wide;
A tiny angel made of gold lay glittering inside!

Now every year at Christmastime, when winter winds blow cold,
I place high on my Christmas tree that angel made of gold.
I sip a mug of cocoa as I gaze up at the tree,
And think about the angel who spent Christmas Eve with me.

Is is still November?

Gosh, it doesn't feel like it, with Thanksgiving coming so early this year. I sat down and wrapped a few presents today- which I think is a new record. I tried taking some pictures of the tree- but upon closer inspection they are all blurry and so I'll give it another go tomorrow.

I did finish up my November Swap cards, just in the nick of time. Thank you Melissa, for the inspiration, again! I just love this patterned paper- it has such a fun vintage feel to it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Catching Up- Mega Post

Just wanted to catch up on the past couple of weeks. I am sorry I haven't really posted for a few weeks. I'll try and share what's been keeping me busy...

A few more of my craft show projects:




Now look at Jen & Amber's cute stuff.


It was a madhouse at the craft show and their booth was no exception.


We went and saw Brad Paisley- a concert Troy has been wanting to go to for several years. I don't really love country music- but it was a great concert. Very entertaining. Plus I could sing a long for most of the songs- when Troy does dishes or makes breakfast- he always gets out his Brad Paisley CD's.



Our sorority's annual shoppping trip. Our shirts say "sisters out shopping". It was funny how many people thought we were all actually related.


That brings us up to last week-

We had our first real snowfall- it's just too bad we got the bulk of it when I was traveling to and from Amber's house. It wasn't much fun to drive in.


But the effects of it were beautiful.




Genna turned 5 years old on the 22nd. I can't believe how much she has grown up this past year. She is so into coloring and writing these days. She has a very long attention span and will spend hours working on her artwork. We celebrated her birthday Wednesday night. We went to Godfather's for dinner and ice cream and then home for presents and a movie of her choice.



Then Thursday was Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful time over at Troy's sister's house. I had to bring rolls and green been casserole. Of course, we all ate too much, but we had a great time playing games and just being together.



Friday we to Kansas to visit my sister, Lorilee. Her daughter Ashlyn Sofia was born on the 15th and we couldn't wait to meet her. She is an incredibly sweet baby. We had such a fun visit. I am so disappointed my camera battery was dying and so I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked.



Yesterday, we had Genna's first friends birthday party. Genna loves to draw rainbows and so it was a perfect theme for her party. She had 5 little friends come and it was a blast!





Phew! Sorry for the monster post- it really has been a couple of busy weeks. Not pictured were 2 primary programs, another chest x-ray- thankfully no pneumonia this time, a cub scout presentation on shadow puppets, and me getting utterly and completely engrossed in the Twilight series.

Yep, I think that's it! We did actually get the house decorated for FHE last night, but I'll share those pictures another day!