Red and White

I chose red and white for our decorating theme this year.

Last year it was red, gold and green. So since I didn't have alot of white stuff yet, we got to make several different kinds of ornaments for the tree.
The boys had lots of fun doing SALT dough ornaments. I used a recipe from my mom's collection.
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cup boiling water
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
it suggested blending the salt to powder in a blender, but I didn't want to take the time to do that. Add salt to boiling water and cool to room temp. Add flour and knead til smooth ad workable. And you can seperate it into small batches and add food coloring (gel I think). But I just wanted white. Or you can leave them white and then paint them, which is what we will be doing with the christmas trees we cut out. We used star cookie cutters. Some didn't turn out because we didn't make the hole to hang them as ornaments big enuf. So we'll have to do better next year.

I also made several kinds of paper ornaments. I couldn't get the boys to help much with those though, so I didn't get many done, but just enuf that our tree looks good this year :)

I picked the red and white for 2 reasons.
1) because THOMAS LOVES the candy canes.
and 2) to help me remember the scripture in Isaiah 1:18
though our sins be scarlet they can be white as snow

Christ centered Christmas

Using several different hands on/interactive nativities and activities for the boys to do is how I have been able to keep our tradition of a Christ Centered Christmas. It helps me have a wonderful spirit and attitude this time of year.

This year I got out a "new" nativity that the boys are enjoying.
It's a traditional German Christmas Pyramid. I am glad that my parents thought to get one just for me, when we lived overseas.

On the top are the angels with trumpets to announce the christ child. The middle tier has the shepherds and their flock. The bottom has the 3 wisemen and the poor donkey, with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the center.
It's supposed to work with candles all around the base. The heat from the candles would rise and make the carousel turn. When I was young, we lived in Germany, and my family used several different kinds of candles for celebrating the advent, but when we had a candle wreath catch fire, we decided that we no longer needed to use the candles, just to be safe :)

I got this Fisher Price Nativity when Thomas was 2. I like that they can touch it and interact with it. Last year I had lots of issues with baby Jesus being treated poorly and thrown around the room, but this year, they are doing really well with it.

We watched the Animated Nativity (from Living scriptures) for our Family Home Evening last week. As each new character was being introduced, they boys automatically associated them with the toy nativity characters. Their favorite this year is the donkey. The toy donkey has a cart with food. So when Joespeh put some saddle bag type thing over the donkey's back and started to lead the way to Bethlehem in the movie, Grayson was concerend "where is his cart and his food, Mama?" Thomas hopped out of his chair and pushed the angel on the top of the stable when the angel appeared to the shepherds in the show. And I haven't been able to get the 3 Wisemen set of the toys (they cost another $25) - so when the wisemen came, the boys were not as connected to this part of the story. But we did make a big deal out of the gifts that they brought, and explained that it's great when we give gifts to others as well, and they liked that.

Christmas Bedtime stories

We are really enjoying a new tradition this year.
I took all of the christmas books I have collected over the past couple of years, and I wrapped them up, and put them under the tree. The boys take turns picking one book each night. They get to unwrap it and we read it for their bedtime story. I had 12 books already, and I have ordered 4 more from Scholastic thru Thomas's school. They haven't arrived yet, so we are down to our last book tonight (for now).
I decided to start on Dec 1. eventhough we didn't have 24 books, cuz I figure we can just reread them for a while, cuz honestly these stories are all so great!
You may recall that we do not do santa at our house. So a few of the books are just generic "christmasy", but most of them are retellings of the Nativity. I LOVE hearing Grayson talk about "baby Jesus", as we meet him in each story. :)


snail mail...

Last year I decided I didn't want to send christmas cards, just to save myself the hassle and pressure.
This year, I WANT to send christmas cards, and I feel the pressure to do it, but being a card maker, I feel anxiety that I have to make cards that have to be amazing and perfect. Today was supposed to be my card making day, and I got a start on them, but just wasn't happy with anything I came up with.
So hopefully before this christmas season is over, I will have found just the right combo, and get my cards sent out.


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!

around 3:30ish the itty bitty, teensie weensie, tiny snow started to fall.

By dark, we got a cute little SKIFF of white. It makes everything look completely Christmasy!

I enjoyed watching it come down, all bundled up in a blanket, near my fireplace, listening to Pandora internet radio play nonstop christmas music.

Hurray! It's December!

the start of Dec. means for me - "Journal Your Chistmas" - a fabulous online class to help me scrapbook, keep memories, and make the most out of my christmas season. Last year was my first try - after signing up for the class, it's a lifetime "membership", and I now look forward to doing it year after year.

I will be doing the same thing I did last year. I will blog each day, then later when I have the time, I will create a christmas scrapbook to include all the thoughts, pictures and precious memories.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I haven't blogged in sooooo long. I have so much to catch up on, I guess I feel too overwhelmed to get started - but I did want to come here and express my gratitude for all the blessings I have. I am truely blessed with a wonderful family, friends, a nice community, the gospel of Christ, and much much more.

We had a simple dinner here at home. Tyson always gets a gift of a Turkey from work (thank you Walmart!). We got a big 'ol 16 pounder. I keep cooking a turkey simple, because it totally grosses me out to prep it, LOL. So I put it upside down in an oven bag in a disposable tin broiler pan, put one stick of blue bonnet margarine in the cavity, and stuck it in the oven at 350 for 3 1/2 hours. It turned out sooooo good!

I made the mashed potatoes with Yukon gold potatoes! After they boiled I mixed them with a little margarine, minced garlic, Mrs. Dash, and a few tablespoons of cream cheese!

This is the first year I attempted to make my own gravy - only because I forgot to get premade stuff at the store. But it turned out pretty good. Nothing amazing, but it smothered the tatoes just fine :)

We also had stove top stuffing, and green bean casserole!

Haven't had the pie yet, but I made pumpkin pie and a dutch apple pie. YUM!!!

Our "centerpiece" on our table was our "thankful tree". For family home evening on Monday we wrote down things we are thankful for on fall colored leaves (cut out with my cricut), and then I tied them onto some branches we picked up on a nature walk last week. The boys have really enjoyed looking at it, and talking about all the things they are thankful for.


my to-do list:

I have been spending a lot of time on Pinterest. for anyone that doesn't know what it is, the easy explainations is that it's a great place to find and collect fun ideas from the internet. so it's a bit addicting for me. And one reason I've been spending so much time, is because I am bored. I have lots that I could be doing, like updating my blog (hanging my head in shame LOL)... but I don't seem to have much motivation lately.
ANYWAY - on Pinterest someone pinned (shared) this idea of decluttering one space each day in a creative way. They called theirs 40 bags in 40 days - I guess since my house is relatively small and not too cluttered, I only came up with 20. So in 20 days I should be feeling much more clean and organized around here.

I decided that I would actually LIKE to do this - so here we go.

Here is my list:
1. junk drawer in the kitchen
2. utensil drawer (all the measuring cups and spoons, and random other things).
3. computer desk drawers
4. magazine basket (living room)
5. coat closet
6. Grayson's closet (it's bad, all the clothes he's outgrown are still in there)
7. Thomas's closet (its not bad)
8. boys bathroom
9. laundry room cupboard (cleaners)
10. my bathroom
11. my closet (clothes)
12. my closet (stuff)
13. under my bed storage
14. garage (just the stuff on the floor that needs to be out of the way)
15. pantry
16. toy room (toys)
17. toy room (books)
18. toy room (blanket pile)
19. my scrapbook desk
20. the "Hub" (thats the catchall spot in my kitchen)

so I guess half my goal will to spend less time on pinterest LOL - so I can get stuff done around here.


I am so proud of my pinata

I like making Pinatas.
I have made one for Thomas's birthday since he was 3 - he just expects one, so this is my third year!

This year we are doing another Car's party theme.
It took me a while to decide what kind of pinata to make. I didn't think that I could do a good looking car, plus I didn't think that whacking Lightning or Mater was a very nice idea. But a bad guy - yeah, we could whack the heck out of a bad guy.
So came the plans for making Professor Z into a pinata.

Here is Professor Z - I don't know why,but Thomas always likes the bad guys.

here is the start of my pinata:
I made it with a big punch balloon and a thin cardboard cereal type box

people might think making a pinata is hard, but it's quite simple - and my method is even less messy than you might imagine too.
I use:
torn newspaper
simple white flour and water for my paper mache' paste (I don't measure but it's something like one cup of flour and 2 cups water)
and sometimes I need to use a little masking tape
And I use small foam brush to apply the paste, so I stay fairly clean

here he is with a layer of white paper just so he will paint easier

he is starting to look like my inspiration!!!

And here is the final project. Thanks for looking!!

Tomorrow is the party, so come back again to see how he faired -- I always wonder how my pinatas will handle their beatings LOL ....


Newton Dam

We couldn't let the summer come to an end without taking a trip to Newton Dam.
We had the beach all to ourselves, so that was a bonus.

Dad's got the best kayaks for paddling around in the water - the kids can manuver some on their own, and some are big enough for 2 people.

The weather was hot, breeze at times, and even slightly cloudy. The water was warm and it wasn't even as dirty as Bear Lake had been. Everyone had a fun time.

The kids had a fun time even out of the water - we weren't quite ready to go yet, so they sat in the back of the truck and van to get warmed up after they got tired of being wet. AJ brought trail mix, and the kids liked picking the chocolate chips out of it LOL. (Rusty is eating rocks not trail mix LOL).

There was a little fighting over who's turn it was to put their head out the window of the truck, but these cousins sure did love playing together. It was a perfect day.


Ok last one Camp #6

all the last pics randomly added here :)

We all went to the river on Monday, all excited to play IN it, do some river walking, and cool off.... BUT it was SOOOOOOO cold. It was Glacier Cold. It hurt instead of feeling nice. So we played in it a little, but could hardly stand how cold it was - that was when we gave up and had to go make our boats (to warm back up) and floated them standing on the riverbank instead of IN it.

we all tried to brave the cold, but it didn't last long

The boys liked the log bridges across the stream -- they made me nervous (but I am not a fan of water - i tried not to let my fears hold the boys back from having fun)

Grayson spent LOTS of time in that chilly water - kids must not have cold sensors developed yet - or they are superceded by their FUN sensors....

ME :)

Alex putting on a show at the ampetheater

Playing at the ampetheater

Bubble Time!
my camera didn't like the low light - but I still was able to get some interesting shots

My first ever dutchoven Pineapple Upsidedown Cake!!! It was YUMMY!

The BEAUTIFUL scenery!