We have had such a fun Christmas. First of all, John has taken time off from writing his dissertation and so we have loved having him around all day. This was our first year staying home for Christmas and not going to either of our families homes. Although we would have loved to be with them we decided to make the best of the time and really enjoy each other. I was really excited to make a delicious dinner and so I baked a honey ham, potato casserole, glazed carrots, rolls, and pecan pie. It was WAY too much food for our family but so fun! It was a beautiful, warm day so we took the kids to Mount Trashmore to feed the ducks and run up and down the mountain. It was also windy and so we had to fly kites on the top of the hill!
If you threw the bread up into the air, the seagulls would catch the bread in their mouths before it could get to the ducks. Here Hailey is showing us how it's done!

We had attempted to make Gingerbread houses for Family Home Evening a few weeks ago and although we had a blast...we were not super successful!
First Attempt!
I found a kit and we decided that Christmas Eve would be the perfect time to put it together.
Second Attempt!
We then gathered around the tree and opened up our pajamas and "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." I had secretly made John and me pajama pants so it was fun for us to wear new ones too.
We gathered on blankets in front of our TV and snuggled while we watched the 30 minute show. It was then off to bed for the babes so that John and I could play Santa. SO FUN!!!!! John made a boobie trap down the hall so that the kids couldn't get out to the gifts before waking us up! Here was the note that he attached to it.
Our kids wake up early! They go to bed early...so they wake up early. Christmas was no exception. Hailey came into our room at 5am and she was SO excited. She knows that she has to be quiet because Talon sleeps in our room and so she was SO excited SO quietly. Her whole body was shaking. FOR REAL! I didn't want to wake up Isabella quite yet so I tucked her in next to me to try and hold her off for a little bit. As soon as John realized that Hailey was awake he jumped out of bed and off we went to get our little Izzie! She was also very excited although I don't know if she really knew what she was excited for! Here is Hailey's -OH MY GOSH IT'S FINALLY CHRISTMAS FACE! She is holding the movie Tinkerbell!
Talon loves this "Einstein" Dinosaur! He is just starting to play with things and he is so curious! He has played with this constantly since Christmas! The girls thought that it was so great that they were able to open up Talon's gifts too. What is it about opening up gifts...even if they are not for you? Maybe we should wrap up vegetables at dinner...I bet they would eat them then!!!
By 9:30 we had eaten all our donuts and chocolate milk and we were all ready to go back to bed! By 10:30 most of us were up again and ready to PLAY PLAY PLAY! We lounged most of the day and watched some of our new movies. I made Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole which I got from my friend Heidi's Recipe Blog. It was so good. I used the leftover ham from Christmas Eve-go here to find the recipe plus many many more!

Some other fun things that we have done during this break include John playing school with the girls-
And me getting together with all of my best friends from High School!
I am so thankful for this season! I am thankful to be able to celebrate Christ's birth and to sing beautiful music. I am thankful for sparkling lights and delicious baked goods. I am thankful for reflection on those you love and for finding the perfect gift. And I am especially thankful for a great time to build traditions and forever memories with your family. My memories as a child of Christmas are priceless and I am so thankful for the traditions that have been passed down from our families. I am so excited for the bonding that comes from having family traditions and I think that is one of the most important reasons for the season...to bring families closer together in our fast paced and hectic world. Merry Christmas!!


Christmas Pretties!

I had so much fun making these. I have been saving crystal light containers all year! They were great for gifts for Hailey's teachers and bus driver and perfect as a neighbors gift! I filled them with a Sticky Chex Mix that is so yummy and so addictive!

In a sauce pan:

1 cup butter

1 cup margarine

2 cups light Karo Syrup

2 cups sugar

Boil for 3 minutes and then add:

2 tsp. vanilla

Pour sauce over:

1 17 oz. Rice Chex

1 17 oz. Crispex

1 14 oz. sweetened coconut

2 cups sliced almonds

If you are just making this for you and your family, you might want to half it...because this recipe makes enough to share!!


Christmas Party

We had such a fun evening at our church Christmas Party! So much time and planning was put into this great event. Hailey could not wait to see Santa! The week prior to the party Hailey would tell me all about how she was going to tell Santa what she wanted. We had a discussion about how she could mention only a few of the things that she wanted. She explained to me that she didn't know how many a few was so I told her two or three. She planned out exactly what she wanted and then narrowed it done to a final three. 1) Cupcake Maker 2) Baby that uses the potty 3) Dot Maker Machine (?). Sure enough, she told Santa exactly what she wanted.
We have the best Santa around!!
The primary children sang a few Christmas songs and they did great. I love how Isabella wanted to be up there with her sister (she always has her "burpy" and her "binky" with her!)
Our sweet little Talon. He is a lot of work but all that work just makes me love him more.

Hooray!! Again...burpy and binky make an apperance!

Hailey has grown into 4 1/2 very nicely. As she gets closer to 5 she is becoming more and more fun to have a round. She is very responsible and is always looking to help me out.

Who could resist those kisses? Isabella is still a sweet and snuggly little girl. She loves her family so much and has also built relationships with a few of my friends! These kids really do make this time of year so special. Christmas wouldn't be near as fun without them!

Just a side note: All three of my children were asleep by 6:30 tonight!! That is especially great because I have a newborn and newborns do not usually go to sleep so early! I enjoyed a quiet evening folding laundry and watching a movie while John was helping out at tithing settlement.


It's great when a flight is delayed....

When it means that I get to see the Russells! This family means the world to me and I have not seen them in 6 months!! They traveled here to fly out of the local airport and their flight was delayed by 5 hours! HOLY COW! What a great idea to come and visit us!! It was so fabulous to see them! Lincoln and Paige have grown up so much...so fast! It was my first time meeting Khloe and she is absolutely adorable. She has reminds me so much of Paige! We just hung out and Heidi and I couldn't stop talking for even a second. It was so great to catch up and to have this wonderful family in my home again. I'm already missing Heidi again. Thanks for making my day!

Sweet Lincoln!!

Paige and her Daddy!

Beautiful Heidi!

Sad Talon and Gorgeous Khloe!

St. Nick came to town!

My family celebrates a German tradition where you put your shoes by your bedroom door on the evening of December 5th and you wake up to yummy goodies (only if you were nice of course). My kids loved it and I had a blast getting ready for it.

We told the girls to pick out their favorite shoes and Hailey picked out her red sparkly (Dorothy) shoes. She would wear those every day if I would let her. I am so mean...I actually make her match! We never give our children a free for all with candy and treats but I thought that I would give it a try. There wasn't really THAT much candy so I figured that they could have some fun.

My girls love sweets (what child doesn't?) and they whipped right through their few pieces of chocolate really fast. Hailey got new pajamas and Isabella got the movie The Polar Express. We have started a new tradition in our family of all snuggling up in our King bed and watching The Polar Express together. We have done this for a the last two years and it's really fun.

My shoes are filled with fruit...isn't that so exciting!! I am trying to cut the sweets out of my diet for an added push to get rid of my baby weight. It's amazing how sweet fruit is when it's the only sweet that you are eating!

The kids were enjoying a fun show together. This didn't last very long, but I thought that it was a great shot!


Gobble * Gobble

Although we greatly missed our families, we were able to find joy in many other ways!

We loved having John's brother Peter visit us!

We had a blast hanging out at the Burton's home.
Sharing good food is always great!
We laughed and laughed while playing silly games!

And building great friendships is always a blessing!
I really enjoyed cooking this year and basically lived in the kitchen for two days. I made a turkey for my family with homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, on Wednesday, so that we could enjoy yummy leftovers! On Thanksgiving Day we ate with the Burton's (a family in our ward) and the food was delicious. I made homemade rolls that turned out to be my new favorite! They are from the Lion House cookbook (Lion House Rolls) and they are YUMMY! I practiced for a week to find the perfect rolls and this is definitly it! I also made pie crust from scratch for the first time ever...I know LAME...but I was so proud of myself. I found such an easy and tasty recipe. It was also my first time cooking a turkey (which was so juicy and delicious) so this was a very sucessful Thanksgiving!

I Am...