Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Brand New Year!

I am wading through hundreds of Christmas photos right now, but in the
meantime... It's almost time to ring in a new year!!

If snacks, treats, and other goodies on your mind too, here are a few ideas for you (and don't worry, calories don't count when you are saying goodbye to a whole year!)
We just made these yummy treats 
(That my 5 year old insisted could double as treats for a Frozen Party):

  All you need is a package of Oreos
(crushed), and an 8oz package of cream cheese. Roll together into balls, and then coat with your choice of candy melts and sprinkles.
A few years ago we made these: 

Oh good heavens, they were delicious!

  You need vanilla candy melts and Oreo Cakesters... Do they make these anymore? Because I haven't seen them recently. 

  Once dipped they're super fun to decorate!!

And last year it was these Jell-O Parfaits:

  Just prepare Jell-O per box instructions, but substitute Ginger Ale for the Cold Water. You'll, of course, want to top with whipped cream and sprinkles!

What are your New Year's Eve plans??

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Counting Down . . . Only Days Away!

So . . . .  Time kinda got away from me.
And I sit down today to type out a "quick" post, and find that the "photo organizing fairy" did NOT do her job organizing my photos.  Slacker.

Well, anyway.

A run-down:
Monday's activity was Christmas shopping with Daddy!!!  Sadly, I didn't get any photos that day. But....

Tuesday we decorated a Gingerbread House, and I *did* manage to snap a few that day.  

My most favorite surprise that day... The Gingerbread House was ALREADY put together!! All we had to do was decorate. You can't understand how happy that made me - the mama who cannot, for the life of her, get a house to stick together.


Wednesday was spent making Gingerbread Men... Annnnd stars!!


On Thursday we drove out to my MIL's office to have hot cocoa and donuts with her (and also to answer her phone, and pound on her 10-Key).
And Thursday night we surprised the girls with a drive to a local light display.

One of our most favorite traditions, we look forward to browsing this awesome display each year.

Friday's activity was a Spaghetti Dinner and watching Elf :)  

And Saturday.
At last!!! Kam has been counting down the days until her recital since September!

Oh how my heart just melts when I watch my girls on stage. 
Kam looked so beautiful.
She just shines up there ❤️
  Sunday, after church, we baked!!

  Each year my mom, sister, and niece come out for a cookie baking party. This year my sister and niece couldn't make it 😢  But my mom came over, and we had fun, just us.

Whew! We are now in full countdown mode. Wrapping the last of our gifts. Enjoying a few more Christmas movies.

What have you been doing?
Hope you are enjoying every memory ❤️
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Little Break From Countdown ~ Alternately Titled: Gettin Real

So.  I'll just jump right in.
This can be a tough time of year.
I mean, it's good.  It's probably my favorite time of year. 
And with all of the talk about counting down to Christmas.  The activities.  The crafts.
The happy, smiling, photographs.  It *looks* like the most blissful, joyous season ever.
And it can be.  But it can be tough too.

And we don't always see that side on social media.
Like.  Is it just me, or do children find it EXTRA difficult to get along in December?
It feels like we need an attitude check, daily.
Me, included. 
This one doesn't need a lot of explanation, does it? 
Finances can be extra tight in December. 
And when you're in love with all the decorations, the pretties, the White Chocolate Peppermint M&Ms {ahem}, the stuff that you're inundated with starting the day after Halloween.  Well, it surely makes it hard not to covet, doesn't it?  {Or perhaps that's just me}.
The missing.
It sure can be difficult to be filled with joy when someone {or multiple someones} are missing from your holidays.  You miss them every single day of the year.  Every single minute of the day.  But, man, the missing seems to be exponential when it's Christmas, and you can't hug them, hold them close, tell them you love them.  And equally painful: not being able to ease that pain for others.  Not being big enough, strong enough. It's a daily struggle, to be sure.  But so much harder during the holidays, when you're trying to hold it together.  Trying to make it magical for the littles.  And you feel like you fail at it time and time again.
And all of the insecurities.  All of the doubts.  All of the worries.
Those don't just take a hike because it's Christmas.
If anything, they are multiplied as well.
I love living in a small town.  And I hate living in a small town. 
I think I'd love it a lot more if I hadn't grown up here ~ so much past to contend with.
Yes, hello, my name is Liz, and at 34 years old, I *still* care {a LOT} about what others think.
And you know what, people can be mean.  And people can hurt.  And I have an extra heaping of sensitive feelings.  
Nope, that's not stressful at all.
So, while we are having good days, making lots of memories, and trying our best to make the most of what we've been given, sometimes it's a relief to just be real.  Not have to paste on that smile.
Admit that it's difficult.  And hold tight to the knowledge that God will see us through.
So, here's a big squeeze from me to you ~ just in case you need one too ♥
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Countdown to Christmas 2014 ~ Day 14

 The fourteenth day of our countdown found us at church for our annual program.

The most fun tradition??

The donut fry afterward.

 Sometimes it's fun to pretend we have five girlies :) ♥
 What is your most favorite tradition?
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Countdown to Christmas 2014 ~ Days 12&13

It is impossible for me to believe we are more than halfway through our countdown to Christmas.

This season flies by every year!

December 12th was wrapping day!

It seems like a simple activity, but the girls LOVE it!

 All that tape. And wrap. And ribbons.

Mostly Tay just likes un-decorating the tree every day.
And then playing with all of the ornaments ;)

After a busy week, we were happy to spend another day at home.

So, on the 13th our activity was a Hot Cocoa bar and cinnamon rolls.
 What activities have kept you busy??
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Countdown to Christmas 2014 ~ Day 11

On our eleventh day of Countdown to Christmas we were *supposed* to head to the Pittock Mansion with both the Nana and the Grandma.

But after a lot of discussion with the girls, most decided they'd rather do something else.

So we brainstormed.

And came up with a trip to the Oregon Garden for their "Christmas in the Garden".

Then came the weather forecast for high winds and rain . . .

So. Back to the drawing board again.

I asked the girls what they'd like to do . . .

And surprise, surprise, they wanted to go shopping!

Not necessarily a new, exciting adventure . . . but one that they enjoy <3 p="">

We picked up the Nana, and we picked up the Grandma . . . and we were on our way.

One of our first stops was Claire's. 

And as soon as we set foot inside, Kam was begging to have her ears pierced.

{I realize it looks like she's scared out of her mind in the above picture, but truly, she was so excited.}

Yep, there's the excited face!

Of course, when she heard the words "slight pinch", she worried a bit again. 

But two seconds later, it was done, and my smiley girl was ESPECIALLY smiley! 

She's been looking in the mirror to admire them about once every 1.8 seconds.
Tay found herself a little "makeup filled phone" that she's been toting everywhere. She thought I might want a photo of that ;)

And even one of all four... Not even a meltdown!!

  After we shopped and shopped, till we could shop no longer, we took a lunch break, and headed home before the winds whisked us away.

  We dropped of the Grandma and the Nana, changed into our comfiest Jammies, and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

How about you?? What have you been up to?
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ten on Ten ~ Oh how I've missed you & Countdown to Christmas Day 10!

It's been such a long time since I've participated in Ten on Ten . . .

ten on ten button

Ten photographs, one every hour, on the 10th of the month, to document your day.
I think I'll try to make time for this today ♥

Join in, won't you? 

Link up at A Bit of Sunshine

Be back later :)

At 8:45ish we rushed to our countdown tree to see what today's activity would be.
{We're baking cookies, and making tea, and watching the American Girl Samantha Movie}


At 9:45ish, Kam and I were learning to read ;)
{This is the third time I've used the book: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. With success!} 

And around 11ish I couldn't stand being cold any longer.
I brought up some wood to start a fire!

At noon, we started our Countdown to Christmas activity for the day:
Cookie baking, tea-making, and movie watching.

We got started with our movie

And later in the afternoon had cookies


and tea!

If you're drinking tea, you *must* stick your pinky out, as Miss Tay says ;)

And the rest of my day went undocumented, I'm sad to say.

Jeremy and I had a company dinner to attend, so it turned out to be a pretty busy evening.

Maybe I can attempt a 10 on 10 next month!  
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Countdown to Christmas 2014 ~ Day 9

Countdown to Christmas is in full swing here!
Day nine's activity was to decorate at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

It is a tradition each year to decorate at both grandparents houses,

and the girls LOVE it!!

Miss Kam had to take a cookie break {or two}.


There was some huggin'

Some liftin'
Lots liftin'.

And some picture takin'.

What?  Where is Tay, you ask??
 Well, she doesn't enjoy having her photo made, don'tcha know.

What is YOUR favorite tradition???
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