Halloween 2014

The kids all picked their own costumes (well Parker picked about 30 different costumes before settling on this one). Hayden has been really interested in past presidents, and he wanted his costume to be Lincoln’s Ghost. Very creative! Audra always asks for a ballerina, and then we saw this cute witch hat headband so we decided she’d be a ballerina witch. Ella did not like wearing her piggy hood, but she looked so cute in it.

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It’s that time of year again

The day after Thanksgiving is usually the day we get our Christmas tree. Kevin and the kids decorated it last night (while I cheered them on from my comfy spot on the couch). I normally do a lot of the decorating myself, but this time I was more than happy to hand over the reigns. Only a few more weeks until baby! And my body is feeling it…

I had to take a few pics today with the beautiful lights in the background- Christmas lights make a really pretty backdrop.


The Magic is Gone

I hosted Thanksgiving this year, for the first time. I invited my parents and my brother and his girlfriend. I made a 15 pound turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, honey butter, brussels sprouts, roasted acorn squash and cranberry sauce. (Mom brought the pies) I timed everything perfectly, so it would all be hot and ready on time. (and we only ate a half hour later than planned…)

After the rush of cooking was over, we all sat down to eat. The food was good, and I do love to cook, but sometimes I wonder if it’s worth all the time invested. I felt like I was missing something. I used to feel a little magic on holidays, but I can’t seem to keep that feeling anymore.

What do you do to feel ‘the magic’ on holidays? Is it simply because I’m a grown-up now, and I’m the one to has to make it happen?

Holiday Baking- Mexican Wedding Cookies

(Aka Viennese Crescents)

Combine the following:
1             c              ground pecans
1             c              butter
¾            c              sugar
2 ½         c              flour
1 ½         t              pure vanilla extract
Knead to a smooth dough and shape 1 tsp of dough at a time into small circles (or crescents- about 1 ½ inches long)
Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 until slightly browned. (15-17 min)
Cool for one minute. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar. (Tip- I fill up a bag with powdered sugar and shake the cookies in it. Much easier than any other way) Cool completely and roll again in powdered sugar.
My grandmother makes them as crescents, but I don’t want to spend all that time doing that. I use my cookie scoop- probably one of my favorite kitchen tools. Get one- it will change the way you bake cookies : )

Christmas FHE #2

I’m so excited! We are doing a “12 Days of Christmas” for a special family, starting tonight. So this FHE is related to that. And- there’s only one more FHE after tonight until Christmas!!

Opening Song: Away in a Manger (Children’s Songbook pg. 42)

Opening Prayer

Scripture: Psalms 90:12


Twelve Days of Sharing

Jeff Taylor, “Twelve Days of Sharing”, Friend, Dec. 1990, inside back cover
Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts (Ps. 90:12).
One Christmastime my friends and I decided to secretly do the “Twelve Days of Sharing” for a special woman. She loved little children, served in the Primary nursery, and gave out cookies to children in the neighborhood. But she was alone in her home for Christmas.
On December 14 we gave her a small, decorated Christmas tree with little birds on it. We left it on her porch, then hid in the bushes so that we could see the look on her face when she saw it. She looked all around but couldn’t see us. We waited until she went back inside before we ran home.
The second night we gave her two silver bird whistles. The third night we gave her a gallon of apple cider. Each day we gave her something different, and each day we couldn’t wait to see the different expressions on her face. Sometimes she looked concerned about opening the door, but she was always happy to find something there for her.
One night it was so cold and snowy that we thought about not going. But we knew that she would be disappointed—and we would have been too. We climbed over the fence and headed toward the front porch. I had just put the plate of cookies on the step, rung the doorbell, and started to run to my hiding place, when I heard her door opening. I slipped and fell head first into the bushes. Although I was pretty well covered with snow I was still surprised that she didn’t see me. I couldn’t keep from laughing as I headed home.
The Twelve Days of Sharing were special days to my friends and me. Later I overheard her say that that Christmas was one of the best that she had ever had.

Closing Song: Who is the Child? (Children’s Songbook pg. 46)

Closing Prayer

Christmas Family Home Evening

Opening Prayer

Scripture: Mosiah 2:17

Game: Chocolate Bar Game 
There are lots of different versions of this game, but for this one you’ll need a chocolate bar, a timer and some gloves or mittens. Prepare by wrapping the chocolate bar several times in loose wrapping paper. This game is very simplified for toddlers.

The first person to start puts on the mittens and tries to unwrap the chocolate bar with their hands before the timer runs out. Then you go around the circle until the chocolate bar is unwrapped and everyone shares!

Keep these questions in mind as you read, and ask them after or during the story.
  • Why did Kathy want to give her own presents away?
  • How did Melissa’s family help Kathy and her family?
  • How did that make them feel?
  • How can we help others this holiday season? 
Christmas Eve Drop-Off

Lisa Harvey, “Christmas Eve Drop-Off”, Friend, Dec. 2010, 4–5

Freely ye have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8).

Melissa ran her fingernails over the frosted bus window, making designs. It was so cold outside that the window soon frosted over again. Camille poked Melissa. “Look what Kathy is wearing today,” she whispered, giggling.

Melissa’s eyes followed Camille’s pointing finger. Kathy sat by herself, her tangled hair sticking out of an old wool hat. Her coat was too short in the sleeves. Her canvas shoes had holes in the toes, and she wasn’t wearing socks. Kathy’s eyes were downcast.

“We shouldn’t be mean,” Melissa said. “I think her family must be really poor.”

“You don’t have to be rich to brush your hair,” Camille said.

“Shh!” Melissa warned.

When the bus stopped, Melissa watched Kathy get off the bus and walk with her little brother toward a small house. No Christmas decorations were visible. No lights. No tree. When Melissa got home, Kathy’s sad face wouldn’t leave her mind. It didn’t seem fair that some people had so much and others so little.

After dinner, Melissa went to their Christmas tree and picked up each of her presents—one from Grandma, one from her best friend, and one from her little brother.

Melissa took her presents over to the table where her parents were talking. “I want to give these away,” she blurted out, before she could change her mind. 

Mom and Dad looked surprised. “Why?” Dad asked.

Melissa told them about Kathy. 

“I know her family,” Dad said. “Their father died a few years ago, and there are four children in the family.”

“May I give her my presents?” Melissa asked.

“We can do even better than that,” Dad said.

Mom smiled and nodded. “We certainly can.”

Melissa’s family spent the next two days in a frenzy. They cut and decorated another tree, baked more Christmas goodies, and bought food for another Christmas dinner. They gathered clothes for the children—socks, shoes, hats, coats, gloves, shirts, pants, and dresses.

Then Melissa and her brothers opened their presents and rewrapped the ones they wanted to give away. Melissa’s present from her brother was a doll she had been wanting since September. She thought about giving Kathy one of her other presents instead. Then, thinking how happy it would make Kathy, she wrapped the doll in the prettiest paper she could find and put a big red bow on top. 

On Christmas Eve, the family loaded all of the presents into the van. Dad drove slowly past Kathy’s house and stopped the van behind a big bush.

Melissa and her older brother, Trent, loaded their arms with presents and followed Dad up the walk. Melissa heard the snow crunching loudly under her boots.

“Please don’t hear us,” she thought.

When they reached the front step, Dad set down the tree in its stand and a big box filled with food. Melissa and Trent hurried to set down their armloads too.

Dad rang the bell and whispered, “Run!”

Everyone ran to hide behind the bush. Melissa tried to quiet her loud breathing as she watched to see what would happen.

When Kathy’s little brother opened the door, he looked around, his eyes huge. Then he yelled, “Mom, Kathy, look! It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas!”

Then Kathy came to the door, looking astonished and happy. Melissa had never seen her smile like that before.

On the way home, Melissa felt like she was going to explode with joy. “This is the best Christmas ever!” she said. 

“There are those throughout the world who are hungry; there are those who are destitute. Working together, we can alleviate suffering and provide for those in need.”
President Thomas S. Monson

*Come up with a game plan to help out a family or individual. Bake someone some goodies, or help someone out anonymously. Follow up and talk about how you felt.

Closing Prayer

Cow Appreciation Day: A New Tradition?

July 9th, 2010 was Cow Appreciation Day. A day to dress the a cow and git free chikin. (oops- I meant get free chicken). A day to honor cows by not eating them and instead eating their little feathered friends.
The deal was, if you dressed head to toe like a cow, you got a free meal. If you wore anything cow (scarf, belt, etc.) you got a free entree. I was all for going all the way, but my better half was chicken (hahaha). So we put on some amazingly lifelike ears (made by yours truly) and went through the drive through for our free sandwiches. 
I guess I didn’t get any pictures of Hayden, but he was a grumpy cow.

“Say MOO!”