Monday, December 31, 2012

Closing a chapter

We had a marvelous Christmas and had our fill of family and gatherings and love and laughter.

It started with my brother and his new wife coming into town to be sealed in the SL Temple.
We overwhelmed her with our loudness and sheer numbers, but it was great to have them here.   Also visiting were aunts and uncles from across the country.
The sealing was very special.
Christmas Eve this year was with Strider's family.  Three of our kids took part in the program.

Bugs played three songs on the sax.

Potter and Princess split T'was the Night Before Christmas.  Princess learned the entire thing in school, and it was a proud moment for me as she recited perfectly from memory.  Potter crammed and learned the first half of it in an hour (the day prior).  He asked her to do the second half LOL.

All of us with Strider's mom

Strider's Grandma

We did pjs at my mom's, and sibling gift exchange.  Then Santa came.
Ths morning was magical.  We were spoiled. 
None more than me and Strider, as we got a new Canon Rebel DSLR!  Years of wishing has come true.  We are thrilled to be able to record our family happenings in a richer way.  So if you noticed a little higher quality to these photos in this post, you're right.
Today the girls got to wear their new dresses from Grandma.
The best best part of the last two weeks has been sharing time with my sisters and their kids.
Baby Brooke
Rosebud with sweet Sugar

Add in Sam and you have a triple bundle of cousin joy!

And our feelings are mixed.  As one sister continues college, one has to get back to Cali, and the other moves home for good!  But for a brief stint, we were all together for the first time since August.  We feel so complete when we're with each other.
Speaking of feeling complete....
I feel like my time as an active blogger has wound down.  I will miss this creative outlet but I am ready to turn my attention elsewhere.  At least for a while.
Thanks to all who have read my thoughts for the last 5 years!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Family fest!

My siblings are starting to trickle back in town for Christmas, what JOY!

To recap what they mean to me, read So hard to say goodbye and The end.

Yep, life with my family spread all over is tough.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas prep

For a countdown to the big day, I went with candy this year.  We took an evening and put together little numbered packets.

They sit in a basket in the living room and the kids take turns each morning opening one and passing out a hershey kiss or miniature to each kid.

We took tubes of cardstock and taped them sour cream container style.  You know, flatten one end one way, then the other end the opposite way.  Before closing them up we included a joke in each one. 
Scrapbook number stickers mark each day's packet.  This photo was at the beginning.  I can't believe how empty the basket already looks now.  December is flying by!

I am beside myself - I think I neglected to post about my stockings last year.  Now that our family is done growing I was fed up with the mismatched stockings.  I hated them.  I also hated that all cute stockings were $8-20 each in stores.  That adds up. 

I found maroon and cream sheets at the thrift store and made my own pattern and made 7 monogrammed stockings with coordinating boy-girl colors for about $5.  Much better!  And this year I have them hung from the loft which I love.  It's working out well. 
How ever YOU prepare for the season, I hope it's enjoyable!
Now we need a tree...

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's all about the presentation

So, this week I had a chance to wrap some gifts.  I know there are those out there that hate that part of gift giving, but for me it's just about the BEST part.

I love adding simple touches to inexpensive items to make them look more substantial.  Who doesn't love getting something pretty?  It is a great way to use up craft stash.  And if it looks nice it can distract them from the fact that you didn't spend a lot of money!

Subject #1 - get well cookies

A neighbor of ours (and father of 4) fell at work and broke both arms at the elbow.  Both.  Treats were definitely in order.

I piled some cookies on the only disposeable plates I had, which happened to be floral.  Since these were for a guy I dug through my ribbon bits for a dark color to manly it up.
Use cellophane to make it look nicer than just plain ol' choc chip cookies.  Some cardstock scraps make an easy tag. 

Subject #2 - dollar store white elephant gifts

Strider was called to a new position at church this week.  He now is the Scoutmaster and serves the 12-13 year old young men (including Bugs).  This week they did a small gift exchange and I offered to wrap the stuff they picked up at the dollar store.


See, even tiny gifts can look adorable if you do it right.

Here they are all in a bin to travel to the party with. 

Until Bugs got home from school and told me that all those items were supposed to be for one person, wrapped together. 

So he got a plain larger gift bag and stuck them all in together before leaving.  So basically no one saw any of these cute wrappings. 

How fun.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another teen!

Bugs turned 13 a couple days after Thanksgiving. 

I bit my lip and made this silly kid a Utah cake.  It almost made my eyes burn.  :)
We added 13 satellite cupcakes.

He got spoiled, totally.



We love him so much!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December mash-up

It's a new month!!
It has been a great week, as I have gotten back into some routines and started long overdue studying  for my humanities class which has cleared my conscience.
A few random parts of life to leave with you:
I forgot to add these pictures into my HS musical post.  I told you Rosebud loved these performers :)
This is Sharpay, who she totally emulates.
The boys entered the PTA Reflections contest at the jr high.

Potter wrote a poem about, you guessed it, drama.  He is a finalist and moves on to the next round.

Bugs wrote a poem and also drew a picture, which earned an honorable mention.

They got cash for particpating!  $8 for one, $15 for the other.

Jedi won his class Geography Bee.  We are SO proud of him!  He will compete in the school Bee next week.

Princess isn't feeling well today (here she is camping out near the bathroom), but I didn't want to leave her out of this post.  She's doing great in school and is learning a super speed.  As we decorated last night I was playing Pandora  and when a certain song came on she shouted "This is Beethoven!!!"  Um, thank you, new elementary school!

Potter is trying something new.  He joined the swim team three weeks ago. 

He is on starting block #2.

He has made some great friends already, even if he's not the fastest on the team.  I applaud him for reaching out of his comfort zone.  He is trying very hard to be more fit as well and has dropped about 20 pounds since school started. 
And I, my friends, have done all my shopping, ordered my Christmas cards AND decorated the house before December 1.  I have never done any of those prior to the end of November before, but something is strangely motivating me this year. 
Merry Early Christmas!