Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Eve

I kept up last year's new Christmas Eve tradition and picked a theme for the night for this year. It was a Middle Eastern theme. I picked up a book on traditional jewish feasts at the Scholastic Sale and got a lot of ideas there.
Spinach Artichoke Dip with multigrain crackers/chips
Spanikopita (thank you Costco)
Pistachios (and M&Ms, which were so not authentic)
Spinach Salad with dried fruits and nuts
Salmon (not technically middle eastern, but what fish can you get that comes from the Red or Dead Sea here in Utah? Oh, and I did season with Kosher salt ;))
Pumpkin Spice Cake (ridiculously off base, but we had to have a b-day cake for Jesus that the kids would enjoy)

I loved my table setting for the night - yes, I used this year's wrapping paper as a runner. Laura did a great job helping with the nametags - glitter glue rules! And I think the meal went over really well. I was a tad nervous because we invited my bro. Danny's family which, unlike us, has some picky eaters.
After eating until we were stuffed, we sang a few Christmas Carols. Sara helped drown out our bad singing with her assistance on the piano.
Then we acted out the nativity. Laura was once again a fantastic Mary. My bro. Danny was a sport and played Joseph. Yes, Jason was the donkey. And my folks had brought back cool costume additions from their trip.
We ended with some gifts - I really think everyone should get a surprise stocking on Christmas, so we do them for the grandparents each year. Then we sang and had dessert. All the kids took a turn blowing out the candle.
The tradition is continuing and I'm already getting ideas for next year :) What do you think of a Little House on the Prairie theme?

Little Christmas Eve

Andrea and Mike invited our family over for a great party "Little Christmas Eve." Mike's family has tons of Norwegian heritage and they taught us all about this Norwegian tradition. I hope they will write more about it on their blog. But, Andrea M. put a great write-up on her blog HERE!

We had a great time making beautiful and delicious sandwiches and trying all the yummy new foods.
The kids had a wonderful time playing and dancing together!
Naturally, us women had to end up all chatting away together. And, Andrea, you can throw a serious party!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Oh my goodness, it has snowed around here! It was crazy. My nephew measured 11 inches at my parents house that came down on Monday. I don't remember snow like this since I was a kid. It's grand fun! So, naturally, we had to join Danny's family at my folks' house and build a snowman.
The kids also loved the enormous pile of snow from the snowplows in the parking lot! It is so much fun to have more cousins around.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Sunday

I love the Sunday before Christmas. I love the singing of the choir. So did the girls. They were great in Sacrament Meeting. I love the Christ-themed lessons (not necessarily teaching them) and celebrating his life. I love to see everyone all dressed up. And I adore dressing up my girls! Aren't they adorable in their matching red Christmas dresses?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let It Snow

Now that the snoblower is working (Thanks, Dad for teaching me how to start it) I am loving the snow and white christmas. But, the girls like playing in the snow while I am using the snowblower much more than I am loving the beautiful whiteness.

Laura is silly.
Sara is cute.
Laura is fun!
The neighbors couldn't help but join us. Then it was hot chocolate all around.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Spirit

I love how everything in my life right now has turned into a focus on the Christmas Spirit. Beware, this is a long post covering many Christmasy things of late.

Savior of the World
Jason and I went with the YM/YW to see Savior of the World at the Conference Center last night. Thank you to my parents who had a horrid night watching the girls so we could go. It was an amazing Christmas Gift. The program was very high caliber and really drove home the meaning of Christmas. Yes, this means I bawled my eyes out and renewed my testimony.
A major bonus of the evening was that I got to see my good friend Kate and catch up with her, as she was at the performance as well.
Candle Lighting
Every year Jason's Mom has a candle lighting ceremony to celebrate Christmas with the family. It was a great night of food an family. You can read about the tradition HERE on her blog. We exchanged presents at that time and I think Jason's mom was thrilled with her present of a Roomba (phew, gotta love it when I have inspiration!) And Laura LOVED her gift of a new thumb ring.
And, all the girls had a great time playing together!
We went with my folks (Laura insisted they come, precious girl) to see Santa at the Mall. Laura loved the experience. Sara hated the Santa part and loved the reindeer (horseys to her) that decorated the area.
Other than the pretty tree, I made another decorating addition to my house this year. I put garland around the banister. I made the bows myself and after many phone calls requesting advice from my mom, I love the way it turned out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Lesson

With help from Sugardoodle, my folks, and an awesome guy named Ted Sowards, I have what I think is the best Christmas lesson I have ever done. I got my main idea from this lesson on Sugardoodle. Then I added in this poem from Sugardoodle. I made some other additions with information and actual items (frankincense and myrrh) from my folks who just returned from Jerusalem. (If you are not fortunate enough to have your parents give you Frankincense and Myrrh, they are available for a very reasonable cost on ebay)

But, I think the thing that really completes the lesson is this video by Ted Sowards to the MoTab singing "What Shall We Give to the Babe in the Manger" that is embedded below. He was absolutely wonderful and emailed me a high res version so I could use it in my lesson. If you are interested in using it, he now has it on YouTube in HD and Widescreen. Yes, he is awesome!
He also referred me to his Mom's website. She writes Church music and particularly for the Youth. We will now be using one of her songs for our overriding theme in 2009. (That's another post.)

Here is a copy of my lesson if you would like to use portions of it. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

YW - The Hardest and Best Calling

Okay, so I've never been the RS President and can't say definitively, but I think YW is the hardest and best calling in the entire world. I spend hours and hours each week preparing, meeting, chatting, praying and worrying for this calling. But, really, it is worth it!

Last week I got a note pinned to my door that the "Love Sub" was coming at 7:30 am this Saturday to let me know the 12 reasons I was loved (note that this was done on the first day of Christmas). Jason convinced me I should attend, so I braved the cold and went out to find this. A group of my YW picking up the leaders where we all listened to "Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart".
Then they took us all to one of girls' home (btw, her Mom is the Stake YW President and one of the most awesome ladies ever) where I proceeded to feel loved, spoiled, blessed and bawl my eyes out. The girls sat us down at a beautifully set table.
We laughed and were fed pancakes with the most delicious buttermilk syrup (tasted like caramel, and does anyone have a recipe for this sweet decadence?), yummy hot chocolate and juice.
Then the girls did the most amazing presentation to us of why they were grateful for all that we do for them. This, this is when the bawling began. They did the presentation with these adorable bags filled with kisses and telling us all these reasons why they loved us. Oh, and in case you were wondering if these girls really are too good to be true; they also told us that they were doing this as a value experience for the new value: Virtue. And, they came to their Moms with the idea and then their Moms supported them in implementing it. Yep, unbelieveably awesome! (Please, let me be a mom like this someday)
Then we listened to a CD of a retelling of the Nativity by a little girl (toddler age from a nearby town) that made me bawl even more. How I love these precious YW and their amazing spirits! I am so grateful the Lord called me and trusted me to work with these amazing spirits. I hope my girls can turn out like Mary, Christa and Melissa. Oh, and Pam (the YW President who was at her hubby's graduation in ID), you were sorely missed!

Friday, December 12, 2008


You would think with a pile of leaves this big in our front yard that we had tons of trees. Alas, there are none in our yard, just tons in the common area across the street. It was a lot of work to get them gathered up, but we had a lot of fun in them as well.
Laura and I loved jumping in them and playing!
Sara didn't like the leaves much, so she found other ways to amuse herself.

Jason was grateful for his manly birthday gift of a leaf blower/mulcher. Naturally, Sara thought it was cool too!
We all had a great time outside. And then loved warming up with hot chocolate. I think Laura's face says it all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Looky Looky I Got Book-y

Reading is one of the favorite activities in our house. Sara is constantly asking everyone to read a book to her while she sits on their lap. And, now that Laura is such a great reader, Laura is Sara's favorite person to hit up. Aren't they adorable.
Laura's favorite game right now is library. She goes down to the basement and comes back upstairs with a bag of books. Then, she proceeds to read them all in our bedroom.
So, when Stephanie told me all about the Scholastic warehouse sale, I (a preschool homeschooler, book obsessed mommy) just HAD to go! And, naturally, I had to drag my book-loving friends (Karyn, Andrea, and Deb) along with me. Steph and Deb describe the experience better than I will, so check out their posts on the subject!

There were some amazing finds in a warehouse stacked to the rafters with books. I was thrilled to get Scaredy Squirrel, a bunch of Magic Tree House books for Laura (yes, she is reading these by herself and loving them) on the recommendation of my nephew Joey, The Name of This Book is Secret and a Children's Ballet book for me, and tons of other fun picture books for variety for all of us.
It was a great time and between the four of us, we came away with 93 books and spent less than $300. Amazing, huh?! And yes, I got the most at 34. Thank you Jason for understanding my obsession.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sara v 1.5

Can you believe my baby girl is 1 1/2 years old? She is so much fun that I can't imagine life without her, but I also can't wrap my head around the fact that she grew up so fast!
Here is some info on her at this exact moment in time:
Length/Height: 36.25 inches (so far above the 97th percentile that it's ridiculous...something like the 120th percentile; oh, and it is only 6 inches shorter than Laura)
Weight: 28.4 lbs (92nd percentile and 8 lbs less than Laura)
Noggin: 49 cm (97th percentile)
Activities: Reading, climbing into and onto everything, pushing people around (literally pushing people around from behind), jumping, playing pretend with Laura, taking everything out of it's correct place and tossing it on the ground
Vocabulary: I started to write them down, but got to over 100 words by noon, so I will not list them here. But, some of my favorites are handsome (to daddy), no sleep (at naptime), let go, share, read book lap (always together), candy, WAIT (to anyone leaving the house so she can give them another hug), doodle (she loves to color with a "penny"), thank you (pronounced "lank oo"), soda/coke, and walk hand (when she wants to walk like a big girl and hold your hand...or almost always, Lawa's hand)
Learning: Names of all her family and friends, names of characters, names of animals and their sounds (almost all of them), color identifying - green, yellow, blue, states/locations like in/out or on/off. She learns very quickly and amazes me daily. Guess she's got to keep up with her sister!
Oh, and nursery is not going so well. Thank heavens we have the most amazing nursery leader ever in my neighbor Holly and hopefully we will both be able to attend 3rd hour of church without a baby soon!