Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Aquarium, Christmas Tree, and Crafts

Last Saturday we visited the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

Look what I caught!

Not sure which fish to watch....

She was pretty fascinated using the magnifying glass.

So comfortable and sleepy.

Had to get a tree as soon as they were available at Home Depot.
The kids wore their Christmas outfits to church on Sunday.
Evan's first Christmas ornament.

Every year my mom buys all the children and grandchildren an ornament... this one is Hailey's. Some of our other favorites that we look forward to getting out:
Steve's mom made these snowflakes for us.

Got to have a little tree made of olive wood from Jerusalem.

A small nativity scene.
 One year my mom got me a set of 5 little snowmen all playing different instruments. So Cute!

A souvenir from a trip to Nauvoo.

A little wood man all the way from Germany.

One I have had since I was little... my sister Lauren has the same one in pink. I always thought hers was better looking.

Scriptures from Steve's mission.
If you pull the string his wings flap.... Hailey thinks this is fun.

 We now have a small collection of pretty wedgewood ornaments courtesy of my mother.

 This we brought home from the Ugly Ornament Party we attend each year.

Haileys' first ornament.
A while ago I got Hailey this cool box. It is full of 16 little crafts that are already pre-packaged and ready to pull out in a dull moment.

 It is so conveinent to not have to think up little crafts for her to do on my own.

We are decorating a chicken.

Evan had his share of fun too.
We have entered a magor drooling stage.

(Note to Father) This is the look you might get if you wake the sleeping baby to get his daily picture.

This is the look you get when Evan is awake and ready to have his picture taken.

This is what was left to go to Goodwill after cleaning out the kitchen drawers. Mind you I still have 3 large canisters, a drawer full of utensils, and had about 15 new utensils that are going to a wedding shower this week. Ridiculous... I know.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Getting Ready for Christmas Mentally

Every year after Christmas we do a little evaluation. Did we spend too much? Too little? Are we going to use the gifts we received? Where are we going to put all these gifts? How many toys is too many? How much time was spent thinking about what to buy for others or about what we wanted?   When is Home Depot getting their Noble Fir trees in? Where are we going to go to look at Christmas lights? Can Steve put Christmas lights on the roof even though he's working tons and would have to do it in the dark? How much is this going to cost to mail at the post office?  Should Hailey have her picture taken with Santa? How many Christmas parties should we attend? What is the perfect picture for a Christmas card? Most of these things are over thought.  Oh... wait, how much time was really devoted to thinking about the Savior? ....not enough. How many oldl senior people do I know that are spending the holidays alone? ...too many. Are we going to get a food and toy package for the less foruntate together? ...maybe if we have time after everthing else gets done. It makes me sad enough that every year I think we are going to do better the next year.

I find that I always get sucked in. I think in the past we have scheduled too many things to do. Then I feel rushed which means my patience decreases and temper increases.  Last year I was so worked up over our Christmas card that I ended up not sending any... nope not a single one. We call that a waste of time.  Remember how I asked my visitng teachers to wrap all my Christmas presents for me?  But we had so many presents to wrap they didn't have time to wrap all of them.  I really dislilke how commercialized Christmas has become because it is so easy to get caught up in things that don't really matter.

Time really is the most most valuable thing I have. For me that means buying a gingerbread house kit instead of making one from scratch. It means not going to everthing we are invited to. It means not getting out all the Christmas decorations... just the ones we really love. It means there are plenty of teaching moments I can have with Hailey if I look for the opportunity. I don't want to be a Christmas grinch. I really do love Christmas time. I know if I simplify the things I am involved in I can enjoy it a lot more.

One of  the new things we are trying this year is something I read about last year here: putting a limit on gifts. Honestly, I don't think anyone in this house has ever been shortchanged on gifts.... rather I think we have more than we need. Just think about it -- we do Christmas at our house, my parents' house, Steve's parents' house, with siblings on both sides of the family, grandparents, and then with close friends. We love getting together with our friends and family. But we only live in 900 square feet. I don't want our home to feel like a storage unit. Before the holidays my mom and I both do "Operation Goodwill". Last year I got rid of 8 large trash bags of stuff we didn't use or need. This year we are doing 4 gifts per person in our home based on: (1) something you want, (2) something you need, (3) something to wear, and (4) something to read. This makes my life much easier.

Thought this was a cute way to remind us to think of others.
Again, not my own idea taken from

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

I would rather be sleeping in my bed  than camping or shopping at 5:00 in the morning.

Can you believe people wait in lines like this? Steve's headed out for a little shopping later this morning. I  opted to stay home and watch Christmas movies with the kids.

I am afraid that if  I run to Macy's I am going to run out of clean air to breathe, catch a  nasty disease, and get sprayed by pepper spray for looking at a "hot" item that someone else is eyeing.

Mobs of shoppers, if you're not careful you might get trampled to death.

I know plenty of people who LOVE Black Friday. To them I say happy shopping, I hope you save a bundle!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

Steve wanted to get out the fancy china for breaksfast and that was fun.
Then we headed up to Santa Clarita to see the family.
We had a great time -- so nice we forgot about the camera and only have 3 pictures.

Playing outside before the feast.

He likes the carpet... something we don't have at home.
Steve's mom made a really cool jar that we could write things we were thankful for, and  the little kids could draw pictures instead. Since we didn't get the camera out I don't actually have any pictures of her jar. But there are directions on how to make on here: 
Steve's parents got us this terrific little basket from a Young Women fundraiser in their ward.

I love these kind of gifts! I wish I had a pantry full of these.  Soup, Bread and cookie mix.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day Before Thanksgiving

It's supposed to be a cookie mustache.

Playing with cookie dough is an upgrade from playdoh because she can steal a few bites.

So excited!

 Some of those cookies never got frosted.... but the frosting seemed to still disappear.

We picked apples off our tree to share with my mom. My mom's favorite thing to make at Thanksgiving is cranberry sauce.... and it is quite delicious!

Next year we will teach Hailey to make it. She can help stir the pot, throw in the cinnamon sticks and tiny oranges at the end.

It's funny that there are a lot of things that I do becuase that is the way my mom did things. Those things are important to me and remind me of  my mom. I always put cinnamon on fruit salad because that is what my mom does. I was wrapping the kids' Christmas books and I had to write their names and little messages to each of them on the inside cover because that is what my mom does. And hopefully someday Hailey and Evan will use the same recipe and make cranberry sauce with their own children.

I told Evan if he could untangle this apple peel he could stay up and play with his toys a little longer.