Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last Christmas post

Ok, this will be my last Chrismtas post for the year. I was just dreading it being over with and now that it is all said and done, I'm actually feeling good about moving on. I think all of our snow melting yesterday had a lot of do with it. Today's agenda is laundry and undecorating the house.

Last night however, Troy and I got to go out with Tony & Amber. We had such a nice time.

We went to Mahoney State Park and had dinner at the lodge then went to a play there called Every Story Ever Told, which was a mishmash of all the Christmas stories and songs. We had such a fun time talking at dinner that we got to the theater and there were no seats left so we could sit together. Troy and I were up front which we thought was nice until we realized they were pulling people from the front few rows to be part of the play. Thankfully we dodged that bullet! But it was cute play and definitely entertaining. It was a nice way to close out our Christmas festivities. The only drawback to the night was that we didn't get to visit more!

Here's Gustav the Green Nosed Raingoat balloon in the Macy's Day parade.

And the 3 talented guys who performed the play!

Thanks guys for being such great friends and for a wonderful evening!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas with the Bennett's

Christmas afternoon we headed over to Tiffany's house. Genna wanted to have curly hair and it turned out so cute! We first opened presents and then ate our traditional soup supper. Tiffany sewed beads on 25 little stockings with our names to be adorable little place markers. Then on top of that she made 25 bread bowls from scratch for us to put our soup in. Check out Creighton's bread bowl filled with candy, his mean mom made him dump it out and put soup in it, lol! We always have so much fun being together. After presents & dinner it was time for games. We played tripoley, hucklebuck & madgab.



Be sure and click on the picture so you can read the captions on the pictures!

Christmas Day in the Morning

What a beautiful start to our Christmas morn- thank you Heavenly Father.

Thank you children for letting us sleep in till 7:30.

Thank you Santa for all the fun presents.

Thank you Mo for being so much fun to watch!

Thank you Hobby Lobby for providing such nice thick wrapping paper. There were no little mice nibbles in any of the corners of our presents. Also a big thank you to the blog I got the idea from years ago to wrap each person's present in their own paper. Then I just don't put tags on the presents and they have to wait to find out which paper their presents are wrapped in until Christmas Eve.

Thank you Target for making an "American Girl" doll named Jenny with green eyes & blond hair for a fraction of the cost of the name brand dolls. Thank you JcPenney's for making a matching doll dress to Genna's Christmas dress, she was more than thrilled to discover she could match her doll.



Thank you sweet children for letting us experience Christmas through your eyes.
Thank you again, Heavenly Father for our jobs to provide for so many nice things.


Thank you Troy for sending me on a fun scavenger hunt and for totally shocking me with such a fun addition to my scrapbooking supplies. Thank you Cheryl for finding such a killer deal for him!

(sorry about the scary picture of my basement & me!)

Thank you Grandma Koski for making the almond coffee cake wreath that evolved into our traditional Christmas morning rolls.


What a blessed Christmas morn!

Christmas Eve 2008

Wow, it's hard to believe that Christmas is over. We had such a wonderful time and made so many happy memories.

For the past 3 years now we've invited the missionaries to spend Christmas Eve with us. Missionaries for our church are gone from their family for 18-24 months and can only call home a few times a year. So we love having them in our home and hopefully making it a special time for them.

A lot of preparation went into the food. I spent 2 whole days in the kitchen chopping, cutting, etc. But it was all worth it. We had a nice dinner, complete with my first ever stuffed turkey(thanks Cheryl). Troy's Mom & Dad and Shane came over and we all had a wonderful time visiting and eating.

After dinner we put on the nativity play. It is almost as much fun getting ready for the production as it is putting it on. After everyone had their costumes, we were ready. Troy's Mom was a the narrator and the play was a success. This is a tradition adopted from my childhood and it is one of my favorite parts of our Christmas every year. We even had a dog this year to help herd the sheep.

After dinner the missionaries- Elder Hedelius and Elder Larson(who will only be in our ward for 5 days) opened their presents. I also sent home some cinnamon rolls and a little stocking for their Christmas morning.

Elder Larson had a conversation piece belt buckle that Jameson was just fascinated by. My boy is always looking for projects to make and this one really caught his eye. I won't show you the 20 or more pictures he took of it, but here is one of them.

The next item on our agenda was decorating the sugar coookies that we'd made the day before. We had to have something to put out on Santa's plate. It was a messy but fun process. Santa's plate was overflowing by the time we were done.

While Troy & his Dad took the missionaries home, the rest of us played a game. Then the kids got our their instruments and we had a little jam session. Troy played and we sang Silent Night. Then the boys did several songs together. Shane even belted out a few songs on the trumpet.

We had just such a nice time with Troy's family. We're so glad they came over. And not just because Betty brought a yummy banana split pie. Johnny keeps us all in stitches. We love them so much. My parents don't get to come back for the holidays from Arizona and so I am so thankful to have Troy's family close by.

After filling up Santa's cup with milk, we set the plate out and read Twas the Night Before Christmas and then tucked the kids in bed. They all decided to sleep down in Jameson's room together.

It was a fun filled evening that will always be remembered.

BTW- several people have asked me about the borders and editing I use and I just play around in Microsoft Digital Image Suite. The snow on my blog I actually saw on someone else's blog and just copied and pasted the code into mine.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas at our House

I had to copycat Kristi's fun blog post about how they've been celebrating Christmas at her house.

So here's how we've been made Christmas special at our house this year:

We've snuggled up as a family and watched:
The Gift (an old BYU production of the story by Pearl S. Buck)
Charlie Brown Christmas special
The Grinch(with Jim Carrey)
The Nativity Story
The Polar Express
Christmas with the Kranks
A Christmas Story

Favorite sounds of the season:
Faith Hill- A Baby Changes Everything- it's on repeat every night in Connor's room
Straight No Chaser- 12 Days of Christmas
Colbie Calliat- Mistletoe
Josh Groban- The First Noel
Jason Mraz- Winter Wonderland
River- Sarah Mclachlan
Silent Night- Troy taught both boys to play it on the guitar


Tales that have made us laugh & cry:
This story in the Ensign
lots of stories from our Advent book that my sister Linda made(my two favorites being Christmas in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck and The Gift of the Magi by O Henry)
Santa Claus
There was no snow on Christmas Eve
The Crippled Lamb
The Night Before Christmas


In the kitchen we've made:
Rice Krispy treats
Sugar cookies (we always decorate these on Christmas Eve)
Peppermint bark
Peanut Butter Kiss cookies
Baked Potato Soup(for Christmas day at Troy's sister's house)
Sausage Dip- sounds gross, but is super yummy
Blackbottoms


And are making:
a turkey, homemade stuffing & all the fixins
green bean casserole
rice pudding
almond filled coffee cake rolls(our traditional Christmas morning breakfast)

Here's our card we sent out:


Crafting was at a bare minimum this year- note to self start earlier next year! I did a few other small projects but forgot to take pictures!

But check out these cute crafts that I got for Christmas:

Thank you, Lor!

Thanks, Amber!

Christmas isn't Christmas without:

Snow

Adopting a family & then ringing and running- this was Genna's first year to run with the boys.

Troy pointed out it probably wasn't very covert to take a flash camera shot as our kids are trying to sneak up to a house- oops!

And finally the reason for the season:


Wishing you and yours the merriest of Christmases!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Concert

Jameson and Connor had a Christmas concert this week. They both did a great job.

Our little drummer boy...


Blow, Jameson, Blow


Here are a few videos for your viewing pleasure. They are each a little over a minute long. Ok, some of you might not find a 5th & 6th grade band on the top of your most wanted to see list. But I figured there are some relatives who will indulge me. Besides they really are bearable to listen to. A few years back I was subbing and the 5th grade concert was so bad I wanted a pair of earplugs. It was especially fun to see how much Jameson's group has improved since last year.

5th grade band(sorry about the wrong angle)


6th grade band

Friday, December 19, 2008

Art out my back window

What's a girl to do when you are stuck inside because it's too icy to go out? The kids are playing games, working on puzzles and playing with the puppy. Me- I'm playing with pictures.

I took this picture of today's icy sunrise.


I was experimenting with some different filters and these are what I came up with.

Here is a cardinal and a junco perched in the tree.


I know these aren't gallery quality but they sure are making me happy today!

Snow Day

Last night we got an early Christmas present- no school today. I guess I should clarify, my two younger kids were actually a little bummed at hearing the news because they had parties planned and a magician coming this afternoon. However, Troy and I were happy to not have to drive out in the ice that we got on top of the snow we received a few days ago.

Genna has been the most excited about the snow this time. Last week, they had predicted a big storm that missed us and she was so disappointed. So this week despite temperatures in the teens, she spent over an hour playing outside in the snow.



It was good snow for a snowball fight.

Even Mo liked the snow- we needed the leash b/c our neighbors big dogs were out and they like to play pretty rough.


It's definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Feliz Navidad

Our ward activities chairperson decided to steer away from the customary decor and fixings for the annual ward Christmas party. Instead we had a Feliz Navidad celebration. It was such a fun night. We had a ton of yummy food, a pinata and we sang and learned about how several of our Christmas carols came about. It may not have been the traditional party, but was a great way to commemorate this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kids!

Every year at Christmas my friends, Cheryl, Tami and I get together to exchange presents and sit down and catch up with each other. It was my turn to have everyone over and so we set the date for last Tuesday when the kids didn't have any school.

My children had strict instructions to stay downstairs and keep themselves occupied. Connor ended up having a few friends over. They brought the puppy inside and inevitably he would come up and visit- sometimes bearing gifts- like pizza crust that he'd found on the floor. Then four boys would follow after him and try to persuade Mo to go back downstairs to play.

Meanwhile, Genna was having a hard time not getting in on the girl time, despite the fact that she was sitting as close as possible to us, on the steps, playing with toys. She eventually made her way into the room and into the conversation.

I was mentioning how she'd been struggling a little bit at school with being silly and getting her work done in a timely manner. I also shared how on her birthday, mysteriously every single one of the presents she was waiting to open, got a small hole in the corner.

Because of the peeking and the troubles at school, we decided to have her earn back a few of her presents. She did work hard at school the next week and so she was able to open a set of markers. I told my friends how the last present was a pair of pajamas and she knew it, so I didn't think she was working very hard to earn that one back. However, the day before at school, her teacher shared with me how she was really doing a much better job and trying to be a leader instead of a follower. So while we were sitting there visiting about this situation, she ran up and grabbed the present to show them. I decided to let her open it, and secretly hoping to buy some time if she went to try on the new pajamas.

She opened them and was so excited about her new cheetah pajamas. Before modeling them for us, she ran upstairs and brought down Mommy's "cheetah pants". It's probably one of those things that you had to be there for, but it was just so funny. I had tears coming out of my eyes, I was laughing so hard. I certainly never referred to those pajamas as my cheetah pants. Besides, in our conversation that day, there had a been a few moments where we were all teary eyed, so it definitely felt good to laugh so hard we cried.



Later on she did put on her own pajamas and is totally loving them. Last weekend I caught her wearing them under clothes. Silly girl!


Life certainly is not dull with children around.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Decor

Finally getting around to sharing a few pictures of my Christmas decorations...

my little entry shelf- (a work in progress as I really am not loving this as much as I have in past seasons)

Christmas cheer in the kitchen

on top of the entertainment center

little red chair

little black shelf

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas List part 2

My 2008 Christmas list is dwindling...and even though I really do love the doing of all the things on my agenda- it still feels good to check them off and get a step closer to December 25th.


Here's what we've been up to:

family temple trip- check


drive around and look at lights- check

this one had music to go along with it


this one was just crazy!!!


help out at our local food pantry- check


make and deliver neighborhood goodies, caroling as we go- check

(it was a balmy 6º tonight when we went, we came back and warmed up with hot chocolate)

presents all wrapped- check


get together with my dear friends- check

12 days of Christmas presentation with pictures for Enrichment- check

Southeast Seamless Christmas dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise- check

yummy chocolate nachos


great minds think alike


We also started our 12 days of Christmas. Last year, I did a gift for each day, but this year, we're only doing gifts every couple of days and then reading our Christmas books on the other days.

What's left on your list?