Sunday, November 30, 2008

Decking the Halls, etc.

Thanksgiving was awesome and the rest of the weekend was nice and relaxing. Friday, Jameson and Troy went to the last Nebraska home game and Connor, Genna, and I stayed home and hung out. We got all the decorations down from the attic. That night we all snuggled under the covers and watched Christmas With the Kranks.

Saturday, we got serious about putting up the decorations. I wish I could say it was just like a scene out of Norman Rockwell painting, but the reality is that it was more like a scene from Christmas Vacation with the Griswold's. The lights didn't work, there was fighting over whose turn it was to put up the star, etc. but the end result was magical.

That night Troy and I were able to go to the temple with his family. We decided we are going to do a monthly family trip. In our session that night, there were only 2 people who weren't part of our family. It was such a wonderful experience to be there surrounded by those you love. It was snowing when we came out.

Afterwards we went out to eat at Carlos O'Kelley's and then did a little Christmas shopping at Walmart.

Tonight we had FHE here at home and then went to visit Troy's Grandma Kastens and bring her a little Christmas cheer.

She was so excited that we sang some songs for her. She couldn't get over the fact that we all had matching hats on. She has a little book where people sign in and we were her only visitors today. Made me sad and more determined that we get there more often.

Last of all, while we were having our treat(Eggnog Shakes) Jameson finally set off his volcano tonight. He made this volcano about 3 weeks ago and it has been sitting in my kitchen, crumbling,ever since. We oohed and aahed as it erupted.

Hope you all had a great weekend, too!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Recap

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. I hope you all did as well! We spent the day up at Lisa's(Troy's sister) house.

We feasted all day long on all the fixings- turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole(my contribution), rolls, pumpkin pie, Tiffany's peanut butter & mint chocolate cheesecakes, etc. I really wished I would have worn sweat pants, lol!!

After dinner the guys all found a spot where they could "watch the game".

But of course, even better than the food was being all together. It was so nice to have Grandma Kastens with us. She cracked us up all day long. We played lots of games: hand and foot, bananagrams, racko, and a family favorite tripoley.

Grandpa entertained us too. He told his famous suit joke for J.J.

and delighted all the children with stories that would make them scream and giggle. It was so cute to look over and see them so entralled in his tales.

Sadly Genna woke up early in the morning not feeling well at all. Her and Cuddles spent some quality time on the couch while we all ate.

Thankfully she did start feeling better. She eventually ate and had a great time playing with her cousins. Rachelle even coached her through pulling her own tooth out.

It was an awesome day where many happy memories were made!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good Things

As I sit at my desk the day before Thanksgiving, my heart is full thinking of all the many blessings in my life. My family, my friends, my faith, my home...the list goes on and on.

Here are a few other things that have made me smile recently...

getting to be there for my niece Ashlyn's first birthday. My sister and I had a lot of fun together, while the guys went hunting. We actually got a lot accomplished that weekend, cooking, shopping and crafting. Click on it so you can see the adorable onesie, Lorilee made to go with the frilly skirt.

gorgeous weather for November

my sweet husband putting up the lights for me

same great guy going with me to Twilight and then listening to me ramble on and on for hours comparing it to the book.

learning how to make bows from my sister. I am so excited that Genna is going through a phase where she loves to have a bow in her hair. We had a 6 month period where she wouldn't even let me touch her hair.

a cub scout that worked very hard and was the top seller in our pack this year. He sold over $1500 and earned the prized rocket for his efforts and also $115 worth of gift cards that are burning a hole in his pocket.

a twelve year old who willing made chocolate chip cookies (and took pictures of the process) while his parents took a nap on Sunday afternoon. It was a heavenly smell to wake up to.

And all of you- I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Birthday Girl

Just a quick post to document Genna's birthday. It is so crazy to think that she is already 6 years old.

Turkey treats that she helped me make to take to school Friday for her birthday snack. She had a ball making patterns with the fruit loops. Our version didn't quite turn out as cute as the original, but that's ok. You'll notice we went for the beakless look. Candy corn is difficult to find 3 weeks after Halloween in this town.

Here she is sporting her fun new slippers from her Aunt Linda. She wanted to do the funny pose and made me take a bunch of pictures of her. Thanks again, Linda for the sweet present!

Friday after school, her friend Halle came over to spend the night.

We opened presents

and then headed up to Lincoln. We ate dinner at Culvers and then went to High School Musical 3.

Today on her actual birthday we had a lot going on- practice for the Sacrament Meeting Program, a scout service project, and shopping for a new freezer. We did squeeze in time to open a few more presents and a ride on the carousel at the mall.

I just had to look through some old pictures to see how much she has grown and changed over the years. She is such a joy to our family! We love you Genna Girl!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chocolate Enrichment Night

It's been a crazy busy week, but I had to come on here and post about our fun enrichment last week.

Here's the invite that Glenda made-

We wanted to focus on building relationships. We played a game called Fast Friends- which is basically like speed dating. We had a topic and spent a few minutes discussing it before one side of the table moved on to the next person.

We asked everyone to bring a chocolate dessert and a recipe, which we made into a small little book.

Some of the yummy goodies.

Handouts that we could bring to the ladies we visit teach.

I shared this recipe.

5 minute Chocolate Cake in a Cup

4 T. flour
4 T. Sugar
2 T. unsweetened cocoa
1 egg
3 T. milk
3 T. oil
3 T. chocolate chips
splash of vanilla or other flavoring
optional toppings: whipped cream, powdered sugar or ice cream

Add all of dry ingredients in a mug and mix well. Next mix in the egg. Stir in milk, flavoring, and oil. After all combined fold in chocolate chips. Don’t have chips- try a broken candy bar. Nuke on high for 3 minutes in a 1000w microwave- increase time for lower wattages. It will start to crown over the top of the mug- don’t panic it will go back down. Remove and if desired add additional toppings. Enjoy!

Of course, I had to try it out first at home.

It was pretty, good, especially for a quick craving. In my opinion though, it did taste better after sitting for a little while.

And with a little vanilla ice cream.

Friday, November 14, 2008

November Decorations

Ok, I'll admit, I am ready to get my Christmas stuff out. I have started my shopping, I even tried unsuccessfully to find the radio station that starts playing Christmas music the day after Halloween. But tradition holds that we put our tree and decor up the Sunday or Monday after Thanksgiving and so I will be patient.

Even though I am excited for the Christmas season to get started, I don't want waste a perfectly good excuse to decorate for a holiday. Plus, I really do think that Thanksgiving is a very cool holiday. The world would be a much better place if we remembered to be more grateful for our blessings.

So for the record, here are my November decorations.

My entry way shelf. I still would like to find some mini multicolored corn for the little basket.

On top of the entertainment center.

This vintage treasure used to be my Grandma Olson's. She used to read us a book we loved about squirrels who needed to learn some manners and so this little squirrel is precious to me.

The two sets of pilgrims are new this year and I really love them both. They remind me of the gratitude I have for those who came to this country searching for religious freedom. Plus, my old set was ceramic and Mr. Pilgrim's head was not going to be glued on an 11th time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Return with Honor

Ok, cheesy title but so true. Troy's niece Stephanie returned home last night after serving as a missionary on Temple Square for the past 18 months. She is such a wonderful person- we are all so thrilled to have her back home.

Here are the signs we made. Yes, we know they aren't in order. Everyone is holding their own sign and all the little kids happened to have made the welcome part. Plus, it isn't an easy task to get 23 people turned around at the last minute. We took up most of the walkway and attracted a lot of attention. One person even wondered if a nun was coming home.

It was a joyous reunion with lots of happy tears.

Even Genna burst into tears after giving Stephanie a hug. She didn't quite know why she was crying, but that was ok, we understood.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A few odds & ends

I spent yesterday Christmas shopping with Tami & Cheryl. We had so much fun and I actually got a lot checked off my list. It was a chilly day here in Nebraska and so these are our attempts at a picture in the car. As you can see, it's hard to take pictures when you are laughing so hard.

Troy and Jameson had to bundle up for today's Husker game.

Genna wished she could go and help usher too!

I fixed the link from Justin's myspace page.

My BIL just opened his massage business in Utah County- if you know anyone in the area needing a massage, check his blog out!

Thursday, November 06, 2008



(I promise I won't start every post with a sunrise picture)



puzzle started

yummy bread recipe with homemade apple butter

way of eating pudding(during our service FHE)

idea that I think I am going to do for Genna's birthday treats at school- she'll love helping me make them.
cool music up at my nephew's myspace page (link fixed)