Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bummed Out at the Bottom of the Year

Well, this is one of those sad pitiful posts. I probably wouldn't read on if I were you but I need to get a little whining out of my system, and I would hate for this to be one of those perfect-all-the-time blogs. So the day after Christmas we had an offer on the house in California. Jubilation! Great celebration! Like all offers in this market it was super low but we were optimistic that it was a starting point, that these folks were trying to get the best deal they could and who could blame them for that? We countered yesterday about half way, we can only go so low before we have to pay them to take it after all. Well word came back from our realtor that they are looking at other houses today, that they may be able to come up a couple of thousand but not more. Depths of despair! Just when I start to think we might get on the road to "real" life again, Poof! It's gone! This has caused me to abandon my plans to start my New Year's resolution early (start eating better, exercise etc.) and revert to my chocolate based diet.
Okay, end of pity party. I know I really am blessed, there are folks with such greater problems. And honestly it has really been fun these last few weeks especially to be at my mom and dad's house. Something in me just naturally wants to be at my mom's house during the holidays I think. But our time with my parents comes to an end the end of January. After that we look for a rental and I abhor the thought of unpacking all our worldly goods two more times. So come on 2009, bring us good news! And really how bad can things be with a view like that one above out the back widows tonight?!
**The relatively happy blog normally found here should be back shortly. Thank you for your patience!**

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas review

Part of my reason for blogging is to keep a record of the events in my family's life. For this reason you have to suffer through our Christmas morning pictures, should you choose to keep reading, that is.
First Christmas Eve. The reading of the wonderful story acted out by Grandma, the kids and some puppets. Singing too of course, loud and lots of fun-if not perfectly melodious.

I love Christmas morning, it is one of the reasons I had kids I think. Christmas mornings were so boring before we had someone to get fun toys for us to play with.

Like baby dolls for me

And nerf guns for Dad (he actually got his own too-what was I thinking?)

You just have to love this boy in his froggy jammies cruising the floor with his little pretend car!

Oh, and this is the quilt I made for Matthew from the pictures he drew on fabric way back here.

Then it was off to my sister, Aunt T-T's house where no toys were needed because we had Uncle Nate.

Here is my dad opening his Indiana Jones hat. Doesn't he have a great happy face?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry, Merry Christmas!!!

I hope you are all having a wonderful day! Instead of visiting you personally to wish you a wonderful day today I am posting this, because I am busy opening presents, playing with new toys and eating lots of goodies! I hope your day is filled with childlike magic and the sweet feeling of peace and love. Thank you to you all for being my "imaginary friends" as my family calls you. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Signs that we are ready!

Okay folks we are ready! Let the fat man cometh!
I spent the day yesterday finishing up the homeade candy and cookies and wrapping the last presents. I finished these baby clothes for my neices too. I have to make baby doll clothes at Christmas, I don't know why. I blame my mom, she always made them for us. I think when Brittany is too old I will have to borrow neighbor children to make them for. It is just part of Christmas for me.

Here is another sign we are ready for Christmas, we have now taken the yearly picture of the kids looking cute and dressed up in front of the Christmas tree.

Hope you are ready for the big day! It is going to be great!

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Christmas Books

Here a couple more of my favorite Christmas books I have been having fun reading lately.

If you haven't read any of the Mitford series by Jan Karon you are missing a great escape. Fun, lovable characters show up again at Christmas in this one. As my friend Tif put it, I wish they could live in my neighborhood.

Two from Galilee. This one is a bit controversial. It is a fictionalized version of Joseph and Mary's story. I love it because it reminds me that they were real people. I have had some friends not love it, feeling it inappropriate to put words in such sacred people's mouths. But I feel it is done well, with respect and faith. Let me know what you think if you have read it. Reading it is a Christmas tradition for me.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow! Wonderful Snow!

So what happens if you take a couple of kids who have grown up with snow and deprive them of it for a year?

You get this:
Kids who love to shovel! Weird photo I know, but it was dark and they still wouldn't stop! We have had some great snow here in the last week and my kids are in heaven. It was one of the great tragedies of their young lives that they missed the record snow-year here in Utah last year. So I am sorry fellow Utahns, that snow that keeps falling? It is my kids fault, they just keep praying for more!

These pictures are from last weekend. One of the great things about my parents neighborhood is that they have a retention pond in case there is ever a flood I guess. It is perfect if you are nine and six and love to go sledding. Your mom and dad do not even have to go with you! Of course I did have to accompany Mr. Joshua and so we have these pictures.

If you look closely you can see all three kids.

And then they fall out!

There was still a lot of this

You have to love a kid who will drag his own sled!
Hope you are keeping warm where you are!

Wrapping Tips

I thought I would share two of my favorite things to utilize while wrapping presents since that time is just about upon us.

This is my favorite bow trick. I buy about two yards of netting at the fabric store. Then I cut it into strips, wrap it around the present and tie a bow. If I have enough I tie another bow on top of that one and then fluff it out. That is it, and the great thing is these bows still look cute if they get smashed under the Christmas tree or have to be mailed!
Pandora. I have had so much fun listening to Pandora while I wrap. You just sign up for free and then I typed in Christmas and they just keep playing a great mix of music. They have a lot more in their collection than I have in mine and it has been fun hearing lots of different artists sing Christmas music. Forgive the less than great photos, I am in the basement.
Happy wrapping!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm still here!

I am still here blogland friends! Sorry I have been so absent this week. I am so impressed with my friends that have still been posting this week. I am down to the crazy stage. Wrapping like crazy, finishing projects.

This is what happened yesterday.

It is sort of a funny tradition. After I have wrapped all (that would be a relative term) of the presents my kids sort them out and then get to put them under the tree. My sister and I used to do the same thing. I also write tags like "To our girl that loves to read" they are little clues as to what is inside. Okay, usually they are a bit more cryptic than that one. So they have fun reading them as they go. As you can tell from the picture Brittany really gets into it.

I have been meaning to take these pictures all season. I wanted to be able to change my header picture a couple of times during the season.

It is our local green house that I pass on my way over the river and through the woods to take the kids to school every day. They have the most gorgeous poinsettias. And lots of other things as you can see.

Earlier in the season this greenhouse had poinsettias as far as you could see. It was pretty impressive. Still is very pretty.

I hope you are having fun getting ready for the holidays! Should be a busy weekend but I am going to do a better job of posting. There are so many fun things to share!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two Favorite Candies

I thought I would share a couple of our favorite candy recipes. I make fudge and caramels too but we love these two because they are a little bit different and the peppermint bark is especially easy. I blogged them last year too but I have people ask me for them so I thought I would again. First is my favorite mint fudge or the green fudge as my kids call it.

You can find it here. Athough you should know you can't get these chips in California. We missed it so much last year!

Then the famous peppermint bark. Great for neighbors, teachers and kids friends because it is sooo easy and fast. What other candy can you make in twenty minutes or less?

You can find it here.
Hope you are having a sweet holiday season!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Fiction

I have been taking my friend Janice's suggestion and reading some Christmas novels this year. This is probably the best one I have read so far. It had really likable characters, a nice story and just enough sappiness to make me happy at Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

This morning was our church's Christmas party. This was my kids first experience in doing the Christmas story somewhere besides our own living room. It was great fun!
Matthew was a wiseman. Isn't he the cutest wiseman ever? Don't you love the star behind him? The little wiseman to his right is blocking your view of Mary.
Brittany was an angel and she said her part straight from the Bible perfectly and beautifully. Just as an angel should.
And here is a shot(not a very good one-church gymnasiums aren't known for their lighting) with both of them in it. I think this is the sort of Christmas memory kids remember, at least I hope it is. It was a great party, food, kids in robes and such and singing. How can you go wrong?!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fun on the Floor!

Okay, this post is a bit embarrassing but I am posting it in case one day about 10-15 years from now my sweet little Joshua should happen to become a less amusing kid and I need to be reminded of silly fun he and I have goofing off on my mom's shiny hardwood floor. Yes, that is right, the floor. For unknown reasons Josh loves to play on the floor in the kitchen, especially when grown-ups are trying to work. See that picture in the lower left hand? That is part of his current obsession with pretending to be a dog. Scratching his ear, yes he is! So the other night I plopped down on the floor and started messing around with him. The two of us were giggling and tickling. One of us was a tunnel. You truly haven't lived until you have had the giggles with a two year old. Nothing can make you feel better I think!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More projects

Just thought I would share a couple more projects with you! Here are some new dolls I have been working on. I wanted a new nesting/matryoshka doll who didn't need her sisters too. I am pretty happy with them. I popped them in the shop, I priced them pretty low because I think stocking stuffers shouldn't be a fortune and they would be so cute poking out of someones stocking Christmas morning.

And these are projects in the works that will hopefully show up under our tree again only in a more finished fashion. I love the vintage patterns Simplicity is running again! These were all a dollar the day after Thanksgiving so I couldn't' resist. I probably won't get to the stuffed animals or baby dolls right away. But no Christmas is complete for me without making Brittany some doll clothes and my mom requested a cute apron. So wish me luck, lots of sewing to do!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Little Snow Folk

So this is the post that makes it very clear that my kids have been living in California for awhile. Yesterday it snowed for the first time since we moved back. This was a BIG day for my kids! They spent a huge amount of time in the backyard making snow sculptures, not just snowmen.

This is a snow duck created by my duck-loving daughter. Her first word was "Guck" and she has loved ducks ever since. Just to give you an idea of how much snow there wasn't notice the surrounding area. Oh, and Mr. Duck stood all of about 12 inches tall!
This is their snowman, he is about 18" tall. Pretty cute though, personally I like his hat!
I can hardly wait to see what they do when we get more than an inch of snow! Welcome back to Utah kids!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Temple Square

Okay, if you are from Utah and especially if you happen to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) visiting Temple Square is a must for the holiday season. It has actually been two years since we were able to visit the Salt Lake Temple grounds, last year we visited the Oakland temple, which was really great but visiting the Salt Lake Temple grounds to me means we really are home. My mom is out of town this week and my dad has been going for Super-Grandpa. So he loaded us all up in his car, because we fit in it better than our own, and off we went.

We had such a great time! We actually had a much better time than we look like in this unflattering picture of all of us-getting a little cold I guess! William really was there too, he took the picture.

They have a life-size Nativity that is beautiful. Doesn't this one look like it could be a Christmas card?

Of course, I could use this one for a Christmas card too! I just love visiting this beautiful spot!

These little faces has a great time, going to places like this and talking to my kids about why we really celebrate Christmas reminds me of why I love being a mom. I love the magic of Christmas that comes with Santa's visits but watching my kids be absorbed in the displays from the scriptures in the visitors center, loving the lights and explaining the details of Jesus birth has finally put me in the Christmas mood!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Red Friday Update

Okay, I finally managed to get almost everything in the shop I wanted to for the Red Friday update. Sheesh it took me forever! Here is a little sample. Don't you love how you can see my camera and fingers in the silhouette? Yeah, that is how the whole thing went all morning. I am still hoping to get a new design of matryoshka dolls in this weekend. This was such a great idea Tracy had! I hope you popped over here, there were fantastic goodies!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Red Friday!

My friend Tracy at the Vintage Sister Studio has come up with a great way to shop for a handmade Christmas. She is sponsoring a little sale tomorrow. She decided to call it Red Friday because red is cuter than black! She has a special site set up where all the shops participating are listed, it is Here. So I have been working like crazy t0l be ready to join in. I will have new birdie necklaces, Christmas brooches, some paper cut silhouettes and maybe some nesting dolls. I plan on doing my update around 11 a.m. So I decided to show you a couple of my favorite girls who will have things for Red Friday tomorrow.

First Tracy herself. I love her art and she was talking about having these darling carolers in card form tomorrow.

Then there is Christine. She is so amazing. She makes the most beautiful dolls. I am the proud owner of a treasured mermaid she created. She is going to have the gorgeous ornaments, and some dolls too I think she said.

So pop over here tomorrow and go shopping! Hurray for Handmade!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Festival of Trees

Oh, I had the best time last night! My lovely sister-in-law Elizabeth treated her two sisters and myself to such a lovely night! She has donated a miniature tree to our local Festival of Trees for several years now. The Festival is a wonderful event, it is a fundraiser for our local children's hospital. People create the most gorgeous tree they can imagine, often in the memory of someone they have lost or someone who has benefited from Primary Children Hospitals services, and then they are auctioned off. I hadn't been since we went when I was pregnant with my first baby and spent the whole night weeping from one tree to the next-just a bit hormonal- and William swore he wouldn't take me anymore!

I was a bit more well behaved this time although I have to admit to coming home and kissing on my kids afterward. This was a big night for we four girls. Between the four of us we have sixteen kids and most of them are still quite small. So this is the first time we have had a girls night out without out at least a baby or two tagging along. It was great! Aren't we cute without any drooling, nursing, albeit cute attachments?

This is Elizabeth's tree. She is an amazing artist. She has tatted each tiny little ornament and all the little decorations. The things she creates with this lost art are truly amazing!

I told my kids I would look for trees they would like, this fairy one was for Brittany.

We all got a kick out of this life-size Grinch!

This tree absolutely blew me away. It was created entirely from blown and melted glass. It was lite from within and the lights were accompanied by music. So amazing!
It was a great night. I am so lucky to have such great sisters-in-law. I would want them all for friends even if they weren't my family!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Reflections Contest

I have always been a big fan of the Reflections Contest run by the PTA at school. I think it is a great showcase for children's talent and a good builder of self-esteem. Of course that feeling was enhanced by the fact that Brittany always won something. This was our first year back in the Utah system and I guess I am a tad disappointed. My kids had a great time, I mean look at their faces at the awards night. But only Matthew received an honorable mention for his painting. Now I ask you, what could possibly have been better than the entries you see here? Perhaps I am a a bit biased.