Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Onesie!

One year ago, this little one made her way into our lives, perfectly completing our family.  Time has truly flown and my baby is growing up before my eyes.  I can hardly remember her as the tiny bundle we brought home from the hospital and I know in months to come, I'll barely be able to remember her 8 tooth grin or her barely balanced stance that I see each day now. I want to slow down the freight train of life as much as I possibly can and cherish the everyday.  I want to purposefully live in each moment, soaking them in, and treasuring each one. 
I treasure you Leighton...Happy Birthday Baby!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Nativity

For the past several years, we have put on an impromptu nativity play with the girls on Christmas Day.  My mom gets them really excited about it for several weeks before and they all look forward to it- almost as much as presents.  Brooklyn usually insists on being Mary, but this year made her debut as the narrator.

One year I searched everywhere for a simple Christmas story book but all I could find was this one, The Story of Mary.   However, Brooklyn decided she would change the title when she read it since, "Its not the story of Mary Mom, its the story of Jesus." Amen.

 Adina was the angel...

 And Ellie the wise man...complete with treasure box.

And Leighton got her first lead role as baby Jesus with pregnant Aunt Amy as Mary.  
Uncle Duane was the donkey but unfortunately we didn't get a shot of that one...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12 Crafts of Christmas

Now if you know I'm a crafter, you must know my girls are crafters too- especially Brooklyn.  So this year we decided to do the 12 Crafts of Christmas.  Please note, these projects were all done by 3 and 5 year olds with moderate adult assistance (ie: scissor usage, glue monitoring and some placement coaching).

So here you have the 12 Crafts of Christmas...

For the first craft of Christmas my girlies made with me, 
a Reindeer that's very han-dy.

For the second craft of Christmas my girlies made with me, 
a mitten they'd only need in Tennessee.

For the third craft of Christmas my girlies made with me, 
a stocking so very artsy.

For the fourth craft of Christmas my girlies made with me, 
a beautiful, bedazzled, Christmas tree.

On the fifth craft of Christmas my girlies made with me, 
a poor gingerbread amputee.

On the sixth craft of Christmas my girlies made with me,
a "hand"made poinsettia tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas my girlies made with me, 
the one they expect on Christmas Eve.

For the eighth craft of Christmas my girlies made with me, 
a tissue and button wreath.

On the ninth craft of Christmas my girlies made with me,
a man who from southern California sunshine would flee.

For the tenth craft of Christmas my girlies made with me, 
an angel singing beautifully.

For the eleventh craft of Christmas my girlies made with me, 
a cane that was made of candy.

For the  twelfth craft of Christmas my girlies made with me, 
a star ever so glitter-y.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A night to remember...

Last night, Brooklyn was having a hard time falling asleep.  It could have been the colored lights of the Christmas tree in her room or it could have been her long afternoon nap, but it most likely was the excitement of knowing the next day she would be going to see "Tangled" with Ellie and her cousin Adina.  Whatever it was, she came out after 30 minutes of laying there with no hope of falling asleep.  I prayed with her and tucked her back in hoping she would finally be able to sleep.  I went downstairs to do some chores and flipped on the TV to find the Nutcracker ballet was on.  By now it was 8:40 and almost an hour past her bedtime, but I new her little heart would be thrilled to sit and watch it with me.  So I went back up to her room, found her still awake, and told her to come down with me.  We then spent the next hour sipping hot chocolate (with marshmallows and whipped cream- as per her request) and watching Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy dance the night away.  Brooklyn was beside herself.  It was one of those special times that happen only once in a while but you want to soak it in completely.  I wasn't folding laundry, working on an unfinished project, or making a mental to-do list.  I was fully there with her, doing something that I knew she loved, and I loved it too.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Love

For God so loved the world, he gave His only begotten son...

One of my favorite Christmas songs this year is Jars of Clay's Love Came Down at Christmas.  We can't forget that love is truly at the heart of Christmas.  It was the love of God the Father that originated Christmas, by sending Jesus to earth to demonstrate true love to humanity.  And we have the opportunity to spread that love in so may ways at Christmas.  Simple time we spend and thoughtful gifts we give are among the many ways we can share love.  So here's a fun and easy recipe that lets you spread that Christmas love around this season.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Candy Cottage Construction 101

The girls decided they wanted to decorate a gingerbread house last night when we had some special guests over for dinner.  In the past, I've picked up the kits that have the baked gingerbread, candies and frosting mix.  Well, it seems that the rest of our neighborhood had the same idea, as Walmart was completely sold out of the kits.  So after scrounging the girls candy stash, (I knew that last Christmas/Easter/Halloween candy would come in handy some day) and baking more gingerbread, we made our very own, from scratch, candy cottage.

 This is how Ellie started and ended the evening...eating candy.  I think she did put two pieces on the house, only to take them off a few minutes later and eat them.  This is the girl whose first word was candy...what can we expect.  We also suspect she is the one who has continued to help herself to the candies on the house all day today. 

Brooklyn has a future in architecture or exterior design we've decided.  She planned and executed the entire decoration process down to the most minute detail (like don't let the "S" on the Skittles show).  Pretty impressive for a five year old, don't you think?

 The candy took effect on Ellie and she got silly playing Santa Claus 
(and yes she is wearing a ballet leotard- why would she wear clothes?)


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Handel would be proud

Brooklyn had her first ever school Christmas performance last week.  I'm sure it was quite an ordeal to have hundreds of kids from kindergarten to 12th grade practicing and performing, but it turned out great.  My favorite part was the closing song where the ENTIRE school sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.  Brooklyn had been singing "For thou our God omnipotent reigneth." in the bathtub for weeks (and knowing Brooklyn, she could tell you exactly what that means).

 I spent a good part of the afternoon making Brooklyn a stunning headband 
only to see her on stage in the shiny red Santa hat. Oh well. 

 Obviously not everyone has a beautiful singing face.

 Leave it to kindergartners to have a bit of a choreography mix up... 
was it rub my eye? pick my nose? or act like I'm sleeping?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Days 'Til

Inspired by this, a friend and I created these as gifts for a few special people this year.  And since the one I'm giving it to wishes it was Christmas 365 days a year, I'm thinking its the perfect gift.  Get a head start on next year (or make one to count down any special occasion) and make one now!
PS- you don't have to use vinyl letters, just print the letters out out on full sheets of shipping labels and cut them out- but don't sick and restick too many times or the paint will run under the letters making more work for you- found out the hard way...

Monday, December 13, 2010


I have a major thing for peppermint/chocolate.  So obviously this is the perfect season for me. Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks, peppermint brownies, chocolate covered candy get the idea.  I have great plans to make a peppermint white chocolate cheesecake for Christmas dinner even.  This afternoon I indulged (actually shared with the girls) in one of my faves.  Peppermint chocolate chip milkshake from Chick Fil A.  And since it has been in the 80's this week, it made it all the better.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gingerbread Fam

It started off as a gingerbread man craft (more to come on that later...) and ended up with Brooklyn insisting we make real gingerbread men.  I was afraid she would be disappointed when she realized they taste very different from the sugar cookies she is used to making and decorating.  But when she couldn't stop eating the dough, I knew we had a fan of the spicy sweet gingerness on our hands.  Ellie on the other hand licked off all the frosting and after taking a couple bites said, "Let's make cookies that taste good next time, Mom."  Classic.  Anyway, if you want to try to create your own, here's the recipe ( I just made a 1/2 batch).  The only problem I had was that several of the men lost their heads or  lower torsos because they were so soft, but I think they taste much better soft.  So if you are going to make them for just decorating and not really eating, cook them a bit longer. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ornaments: Part 3

 A few years ago I picked up a bunch of frame ornaments for super cheap form Aaron Brothers (I love their sales!).  I love the idea of pictures hanging on the tree (but no so much the pictures that come with the frames- that had been in there since I bought them).  Last year I decided to add another family ornament tradition and place our Christmas card photo in one each year.  Do you know how tricky it is to get 5 people in a 1X2 inch frame?  Anyway, go ahead and take a walk through memory lane...






Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ornaments: Part 2

As my mom's Christmas tree hot heavier and heavier, she decided to part with some of the ornaments that belonged to us kids. 

I actually made this ornament myself in 5th grade.  I joined the official cross stitching club (hey, it was cooler than it sounded) and we worked on various cross stitching projects at lunch recess.  To be honest, I only joined because it was freezing on the playground at recess and the club got to meet inside the cafeteria and stay nice and cozy. 
This ornament hung on the tree as long as I can remember.  It was given to me for my 4th birthday.  Which means it has seen 31 Christmases come and go.  Practically an antique I tell you.

Ornaments: Part 1

We had a family tradition growing up where my mom would buy us kids a special ornament each year.  She would pick out an ornament that had significance in our life at that time, and she would surprise us with them when we decorated the tree.  Having these special ornaments that we could look back at and remember each year, made the tree decorating experience so much more than putting silver balls on a tree.  So we have carried on this tradition with the girls and hope they find it just as special as I did as the years go by.

 Leighton's first Christmas

 Brooklyn starting school

 Ellie's first ballet class

Monday, December 6, 2010


Poor Brooklyn has been really sick for 4 days now.  I feel like she has been sick so much since she started school (already ruining her chances of perfect attendance).  This time she has used every tissue in the house, polished off a bottle of cold medicine, and barely moved off the couch.  She had a ton of work to catch up on today, and as I was looking over her weekly newsletter, I noticed she would have benefited greatly from her health lesson last week- "how to keep from spreading colds".  Too little too late.  So now we are restocked on tissues and bracing ourselves for another round with the rest of the family...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hostess with the Mostess

Had the annual Women's Christmas brunch this weekend.   I have been known in years gone by to totally stress out about the table I was decorating/hosting.  One year I tried to go cheap by forcing paper white bulbs in various vases I already had. Unfortunately they grew like Jack's beanstalk and bloomed early.  I didn't have time to do anything else so I had to prop them up with sticks and pray the 3 blooms they had wouldn't fall off of the way there.  The whole thing ended up looking like green onions in vases.  Not pretty.  This year I was determined to A. not spend a lot,  B. use everything in my Christmas decor at home after the brunch, and C. not stress out (I left that to Brett who had to watch the girls for 7 hours while I was there).  I'm not really the type to go all out with chair covers, chargers, taper candles and the like. So I decided to go with a anthro-esque look and wrapped Styrofoam cones with various paper, fabrics, yarns, etc.  And I couldn't resist glittering it up a bit with stars, candles and a few rhinestones.  And in the end I spent little, have a new home for the trees on top of the piano, and relaxed and enjoyed myself.

I pray that God, the source of hope, 
will fill you completely with JOY and PEACE 
because you trust in Him.  
Then you will overflow with confident HOPE 
through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I love picnik

So you don't have to be a professional photog to get amazing pictures.  Check out what you can do on cool.- thanks Steph!