Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas time is here!!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Ours was quiet and uneventful. Very nice. The few days before, Mark had a blister of some sort on his gums so we (Mark and I) were up all night crying. Well..Mark did MOST of the crying anyway. I felt so bad for him. He couldn't suck on his pacifier or bottle and wouldn't even close his mouth. Poor guy! This morning his sore is gone and he is acting like his cute curious self. Hooray!

On Christmas Eve we went to the City Christmas program. It was very nice this year. Sometimes the program is on the weak side, but this year they really did a good job involving the community with an enjoyable program. We then sang songs as we looked at the lights around town. We came home and settled in for the evening. Of course, it was a very long evening as I ended up driving Mark around at about 2am to see if I could get him to sleep. It worked until I brought him home again, then he started crying again. The next morning was delightful to watch the boys open their gifts! The living room became a sea of wrapping paper. Later I had the perfect nap and the boys and I had a lazy Christmas afternoon together.


The best moment of Christmas!!

Lights in LaVerkin. That deer is hung up in the tree by his hind legs. A red string of lights is around his neck and drapes to the ground. What a hoot!! A true LaVerkin resident!!



Ben was very enthusiastic with his gifts. Using every body part available to open the presents.



The stocking that Cory won at his work Christmas party. The kids were really hoping that Santa would fill it.


The making of the candy houses a few days before. I would call them gingerbread houses but I have never made gingerbread and I've been to lazy to learn...so they are grahm crackers covered in candy trying to resemble a house.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Confessions of a Christmas tree Nazi.

Ok Nazi may be a little strong to describe how I am with my Christmas Tree. Well..with any Christmas tree. Years ago I was paid to make Christmas Trees look fabulous. We did trees for the Festival of Trees and we did pieces for the Governor’s mansion. We started the weekend after Labor Day and decorated Christmas trees that filled the store. I remember doing one tree that we did a twelve foot tree with peacock feathers, copper, and lime green. It took three days for the team to get all the lights on! It sold for more than $1200--they were insane I swear! Tons of handmade ornaments, fabric, beads and ribbon. It was my dream job.And it was YEARS ago.

Christmas 2005--not the best picture but you can almost see my insanity wrapped under the tree.

After I started having kids and doing the mom thing, I haven’t actively decorated trees much. That is…except for mine. For the last dozen years or so I have been so uptight about the Christmas tree. I had to have the G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S tree that looked like it came out of a store. This was a great fulfillment for myself. To have something that I felt I was actually good at…I was good at decorating trees. So I was going to do it WELL. The tree may have looked beautiful, and I spent many hours at night looking at the perfect white lights reflecting off of the various snowflakes and icicles. After a few years, the pretty ornaments were getting broke and the kids stopped asking to help set up the tree. (my husband wouldn't even be in the same room while we [aka "I"] decorated the tree. Last year it hit me pretty hard how much the kids didn’t like the tree. They wanted to be apart of the Christmas tradition of the tree and I had owned it completely.

So, perhaps it was because I was 8 months pregnant last Christmas, but I tossed out all of my pretties. The DI received a large amount of d├ęcor that year. When this year came around, it suddenly struck me, in October, that I didn’t have anything to put on my tree! Immediately the Christmas Nazi was in full swing planning colors and designs. But, thankfully, that quiet voice in my head directed me in a different direction. My boys and I have had fun putting together a quaint tree that they love. We made all of the ornaments (still working on some!) and James made a wicked long chain for the tree. When I told the kids that they could put anything on the tree that they made, they were at first very skeptical, but in the end they were delighted. We have had so much fun with the tree. We found bubble lights like I had in my childhood and I even put on colored lights—the first time EVER in my marriage. The ornaments are fun, non-breakable, and we made them all. :--)It is not glamorous, not fancy, not even color-coordinated but my boys love it and I love my boys. I love it too. I have loved sharing this experience with my boys.

And yes that is a ring of 5 gallon buckets of my food storage surrounding my tree with green fabric covering them...I still don't want the baby pulling down the tree..lol.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A year of grocery savings

It has been about a year and a half that I have been serious about saving money on groceries. I have spent less on groceries than I ever imagined I would have. The past 6 months I have focused more on finding deals on fresh food and non-processed food.
This week we went to Smiths to do a little shopping. Albies deals have been a big THUMBS DOWN lately. So sad since I love Albertsons so much more than Smiths. At the bottom of the receipt there is a spot where they print your yearly savings. I was delighted when I read "Savings to date: $1007.38"!! Smiths isn't my main shopping store so I was so thrilled to see that I had saved this much. Granted, I would probably never spend full price for almost anything so I doubt I would ever spent that extra $1000 at Smiths, however it is a nice visual of the effort of saving money.
Happy Frugal Holidays!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Visiting Santa

Last night was our Ward Christmas party. The theme was The Polar Express! We had a great breakfast followed by a little skit. We even wore our pajamas--mine were my favorite ones, that glow in the dark. So exciting I know. Then Santa and Mrs. Clause came for a visit.Mark wasn't falling for the big red guy in the fluffy suit. He wanted nothing to do with him! Sorry Santa!

Ben LOVED it! He talked up a storm! This is the first year when Ben will really understand Christmas and the excitement of it.
James and Luke wanted the candy. And that meant they had to sit on his lap. They hammed it up quite nicely..lol..


The kids had a lot of fun and it was nice to visit with friends from the ward. We are blessed to live in a ward that is very caring for each other. I think of when I had Mark earlier this year and how the ward brought me meals for a few days afterwards, but then gals kept calling and bringing me food. And since I never turn down food, I happily accepted it. I didn't have to cook for over a week. I felt so blessed. Anyhoo, it was nice to share some of the holiday season with them at Christmas time.


Here is the little skit that was performed. (Sorry it cuts out at the end...outta space at YouTube.) Luke had one of the parts and was SO excited for it. He really enjoyed being on stage. When he was singing I was so shocked! I knew he could sing..but I didn't know he has such a nice clear voice. It would be nice to get him some lessons someday.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy Birthday James!!!

Today my James ventures into the double digit world and arrives at the age of 10! James has been an adventure since day one. When he was little he was our little escape artist...he would get out of any situation we would give him. He could easily climb out of his playpen before he was a year and a half, he ran our of nursery, climbed out of his crib, out the bedroom window..oh yes..and I even remember when he was 4 and seeing his little feet hang off the side of our house when he was trying to get his toy down. James has definitely been an adventure!




I love you James!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oh one more thing...



I just want to say that I have a great Dad that I am so thankful for.
Thanks Dad!
I love you!

Inspirational Story



This story is very inspirational to me. We all have challenges to overcome in life. In the scriptures it tells us that our weaknesses can become strengths. --Ether 12:37. I believe that this includes our learning challenges, our struggles, everything.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teaching Self Government

A friend of mine has had an extraordinary journey to get her to where she is at. She has been a foster mom for the teenagers that everybody had given up on. The wild teenagers that had every issue imaginable. She also teaches parents how to have their family self govern. It is an amazing process that helps kids see the potential of themselves and for the family to see the long term vision of the family. A couple of years ago I hosted one of her seminars locally and it was an amazing experience that I am so glad I was able to be part of.
Anyway, this past spring the BBC contacted her to be part of a reality series. The series involved sending 2 extremely rebellious teenagers to her home to live with her family for 10 days. Well, it is a very profound episode. In such a short amount of time, her family was able to really help the kids.
I want to share her episode with everyone I can. So I posting it here. :--) Nicholeen has a website that has lots of good information and tips on parenting. She also has a book coming out soon. Woo! Can't wait for it!
Thanks Nicholeen!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grocery savings




Its been a while since I have posted about my grocery adventures. I am not able to spend a day going to all of the grocery stores very much. Last night, late last night, I was able to get to Smiths to take advantage of their sale. This is a sampling of what I was able to get.

Ziplock vacuum starter kit
2 Snuggle fabric softner
Downy ball
14 cans of Carnation evaporated milk .49 each
8 boxes of tylenol
4 coffee mate creamer--Its for hot chocolate..mmmm yummmy...
2 packages of Keebler Cookies
2 loaves of bread
5 packages of cream cheese

Before sales and coupons: $111.52
Actual amount paid: $35.70
It was a lot of fun and it was really fun to watch the numbers keep going down. With Christmas coming right around the corner, we need to save every penny we can!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy day after Halloween!


Ugh...no more candy! I'm not even eating it but I'm SO tired of it everywhere! Well..correction..I'm tired of the wrappers everywhere! Thankfully, my boys detected my disdain and they cleaned up those wrappers. It was a fun quiet evening. The boys and I hung out, had pizza, and watched movies. This was the first year that I let the older boys go out on their own.




Luke was..no not a character from Star Wars..but he was..Hamlet! Ok so we've been reading a lot of Shakespeare lately. When people asked him " So what are you suppose to be?" he would reply " To be or not to be...that is the question!"

James was the evil Darth Vader! Ok he wasn't very evil, he was probably the first sweet Vader, but he still had fun.


Ben was O-B-1-Kanobe...yeah I don't know how to spell that one..lol..



I made this robe for Cory 3 or 4 years ago. Every Halloween since the first thing he says when he wakes up on Halloween is" "Woo hoo! Today I get to dress up as a Jedi!" It makes my day every time!


Mark and myself didn't dress up. Normal was scary enough.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

9 months old!!


Marky Mark is 9 months old!! He is already crawling around pretty fast and he really loving food. Cheerios seem to be his favorite.




Summitt

Another Summitt was last week. My boys had a great time! Luke has been practicing his sword fighting skills A LOT this last year.--Thanks Uncle James for those lessons! His practice paid off since he WON to be the Queen's Champion. They successfully defended the kingdom and were COMPLETELY worn out by the end of the day. I was even able to be involved and share a couple of storied from my family history--thanks Dad!






Rising of the flag in the morning. They also did a marching demonstration.


Luke in the championship showdown.

Yeah! He won!

Here he is being named Queen's champion!


And the battle ensues!!

It is up to the queen's champion to defeat the dark knight after he is captured by the other brave knights.



The victory parade!!

Sir James



Sir Luke


Love you boys!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Its a wedding!!

Last week a "friend" of mine asked me to help her out. She had been asked to decorate for a last minute wedding reception. And since I can never turn down a good adventure, we went at it!

This afternoon was the big day for Tana and Clint. Thank you everyone that helped out!!! We begged and borrowed a lot but it was the only way we could have done it. THANK YOU!

Here is what we finally came up with.



The happy couple!! Congratulations Tana and Clint!!

We attempted to do a music theme. After much trial and error this is the centerpiece. We rolled up music and tied them with ribbon. Then we placed some garland around them and the flowers that Tana made. SO inexpensive but the most talked about item of the day!!


A little closer view of the music.

This was obviously before we cleaned up...how embarrassing... a FABULOUS gal in the ward donated the wood for this sign and another FABULOUS gal made it so PERFECT! It fit right into the theme of music. THANKS KENDRA AND KERI!! They LOVED it!!

The quilt that Tana and her grandmother made. It was BEAUTIFUL!! On it was embroidered a picture of the St.George temple along with Tana and Clint's name.

Close up of the back drop.