Wednesday, December 29, 2010

'Tis the Season

Well, my Anniversary, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day has come and gone without so much as a peep from me here.  You all know how it is... I've been shopping, cooking, sleeping and playing with some new toys Santa brought me.  (I think the Nook is really going to get me in trouble.  Once I start a book, I have a REALLY hard time putting it down!)

We've had sick kids, and sick moms and dads.  I think that I may go this whole Christmas season without making one cookie that was edible.  I finally gave up on the "Peppermint Whoopie Pies."  I had high hopes, but every time I tried to make them they just tasted - funky.  Then I just ran out of time.  Oh well!  (Oh, and by the way, all of my Christmas cards are still sitting on my kitchen counter.  You WILL get them though, I promise!)

A few days before Christmas, Derek asked Matthew if he thought he was on Santa's "naughty" or "nice" list.  "Hmmmm... " says Matthew.  "I think I might be on the naughty list."  Hearing that makes me question my parenting skills a little.  What kind of mother am I, that my six year old thinks he belongs on the "naughty" list!?  Derek assured him that while he may make bad choices sometimes, he was definitly more nice than "naughty."  I agree. 

Today, he comes up to me and says "mom, you look so pretty."  "Thanks Matthew," I say.  He replies, "no really mom, you are pretty!."  See, he belongs on the "nice" list all year long!

Another fun thing happened today.  Bella asked for "pretty toes."  She didn't just ask, she insisted.  The downer was I used my "Pretty Princess"  (the must have pink) color, and it wasn't dark enough for her.  She made me repaint her big toes red.  HOWEVER, WOOOO HOOOOO!  I have my girly girl.  Love it!

I also wanted to share what I came up with for Sharing Time last week.  I felt really inspired.  The lesson was on returning to live with Heavenly Father someday.  As I was pondering the lesson, I thought of the game Chutes and Ladders.  So, I printed a copy of the game board and reproduced it on a poster.  Then, I printed picutes of some of the "good" choices we make that lead back to Heavenly Father and added it to the "ladder" squares.  Then, of course, bad choices over the "chutes" squares.  Not only was it fun, but I feel the kids came away with a pretty clear understanding of the lesson.  I am SO relieved my first month of Sharing Time in my whole life is over.

One more thing, Tyler left on Trek today.  I'm pretty nervous.   He's been sick and the weather is uncooperative.  Cold and windy.  I heard his "ma and pa" are a couple in the Ward that Derek and I totally trust, but I hope he's okay.  I can't wait to post about his (and our) experience when it's over!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

We FINALLY took our family pictures with Santa Claus over the weekend.  They weren't the best pics ever... as a matter of fact, they were the worst but that's what you'all are getting anyway.   (No complaining...)  I'll post the picture here so that you are all prepared...  Now my cards say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, but judging from the fact we just picked them up a few minutes ago, I would focus on the Happy New Year part if I were you. 

Brace yourself, here are the pictures.  Now of course, my children should be feeling lots of "Christmas Cheer", after all, they are with Santa.  But for whatever reason, they just couldn't find a smile - at least not the little ones.  Tyler and Mike were ready to go.

I'm pretty sure that I should've darkened the picture up before I turned it into a card, but it's done now.  I'll do better next year! 

Only five more days....   (My kids are just oozing with the "Joy of the Season,"  aren't they?)

PS.  We had our second annual "Bethlehem Dinner" tonight, it's a new tradition.  We ordered Middle Eastern food, read Luke 2 and sang Christmas songs.  It was so fun,  I LOVE Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"I Will Take You Home"

OK, another video here.  Tyler wrote this song here at home on the piano.  His friend, playing with him in the video helped him re-write the song for the guitar.  Needless to say....  I am very proud!

Don't worry, I have videos of other children, I'm not done yet! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Concert

I'm going to be posting several videos over the next week now that I figured it out.  Here is Tyler's solo from the Jr. High concert, on December 15th, his birthday.  He did a fabulous job!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fall Concert

I finally loaded the boys video in a You Tube format.  I hope it works this time!  This is a school Jazz Choir that Tyler and Michael sing in.  Tyler is closest to the camera, Mike is the first boy next to the girls' side.  There are three songs and I don't know how to seperate them.  The first one is "Spiderman", second is "Somewhere" and the last is "Hey Soul Sister."  the second and third songs are my favorite!

The Spirit of Christmas

This story is mostly about Joshua, but also about having a great "Christmas Spirit" kind of a day.
Here's what you all need to know about Josh.  He is much like his brother Tyler -  Fearless.

Total Tangent Here:   (Side note, I was having lunch with some ladies from the Ward we lived in eight years ago.  One of Tyler's teachers from when he was eight asked me if Tyler was still the same kind of kid.  Just happy and, well, fearless.  I, of course, answered in the affimative.  She said she remembers that he would always ask to teach his Sunday School class.  Too funny!  That is EXACTLY Josh.  Josh even went so far one week as to go to the library for supplies.  At least a have a practice run raising Tyler first....  But I digress.....)

When you give Josh a direction, he may or may not take it.  I mean, he'll listen respectfully most times, but if he disagrees - well, he'll just do what he feels is best. 

Case in point.  I had discused with the old Primary Presidency moving Joshua into the Primay class just older than him.  It has children that are also in his class at school but most importantly, it has boys in it.  His current class had only girls, and poor Johua didn't stand a chance with his teachers (new parents). He was in trouble every week.  Josh said he was fine in his class, but he was mysteriously ill nearly every Sunday.

Derek and I left the situation alone, but I addressed it with the new Presidency members when I was called in.  We decided that we would move him, but didn't absolutely conclude on the best time for it.  I wanted to discuss the situation with his teachers and the teacher of the class we were moving him to.  I then made the error of mentioning to Josh that we were thinking of moving him at some point.

Fast forward to two weeks ago.  Josh, armed with this new information went to his "old" class, informed his teachers that he was no longer part of their class and went into the "new" class, and told the teacher that he would be attending his. AND THIS WAS AFTER I TOLD HIM THAT HE MAY OR MAY NOT BE MOVED THAT DAY!

So how did I feel?  AWKWARD!!!!  Especially since I'd discussed with the Presidency waiting until January (barely over a month) to do it.  Needless to say, Josh and I had a little chat about that, also about listening in general.    Since then, Josh and I have made a real effort to communicate and he has really stepped up and been a better listener.

There's the back story.

Today was the kids last day of school before Christmas Break. 

I missed Josh's fieldtrip this week, so I told Josh that I would TRY (try being the operative word here) to get to his class party today.  He asked at the time, if I came to class would I bring popcorn from our machine?  I said, yes if I come I'll see if I can get you some popcorn.

So this morning rolls around.  It's been a hectic week, school plays, trying to get teachers' gifts done and some Christmas shopping in.  We are getting ready for school and Josh says, "hey mom, you're coming to my party today, right?" Of course, after my week and being up late and in the middle of the night again I say to Josh, "no, I don't think I can.  I told you I'd TRY to come."

A BIG look of alarm was on his face.  "Oh..... mom, I'm sorry I told my teacher that you were helping with the party and bringing popcorn.  I guess I just didn't really understand..."   No whining, crying, fussing or arguing.  I made the decision right then that I was going to his class party and dang it if he wasn't going to have popcorn (specifically popcorn maker popcorn) for his party.

I call Derek and ask for a quick tutorial on where I could find supplies for  our machine somewhere in Coolidge.  He informed me that it didn't seem to be working very well so he didn't want me to use it without him being home.  There is a little place in town, one of the convenience stores that used to sell popcorn so Derek called them for me.  They referred him to our Ace Hardware here in town. 

Derek called Ace Hardware and they said they had a machine.  When he asked how much they would charge for bags of popcorn they said nothing, they would just do it.  So I went to Ace where they'd popped a machine full of popcorn for me to bag and take to my son's Christmas Party.  A really sweet lady named Stella even packaged the popcorn up in easy to carry boxes.  How awesome is that!?  This little town can be so COOL!!

I really feel the Spirit of Christmas this year!  I am a little behind in all of my projects, but I feel so blessed.  I really feel the Love of Christ in my life.  I've been listening to awesome Christmas music and I'm LOVING the Holidays! 

It was a big bonus today to have my own little Christmas Miracle  AND be able to go up to the school and bring Josh his popcorn.  He was SO happy!  What a great day.  Merry Christmas everyone!  Only a week to go. 

PS.  I feel the need to share.  You all have probably heard of the web radio station Pandora.   You can register for free and listen to just about anything. Well, yesterday I discovered that I could do a radio station with the search Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Holiday).  It streamed FABULOUS music into my kitchen all day.  I just kept my laptop away from the cookie batter.  (Or as Tyler called it, "ookie" batter.  He didn't like my cookies, story for another day.  The jury is still out on those mint whoopie pies....)  I hope that someone out there can use that tip!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December Birthdays

My two oldest children were born in the month of December. Michael turned 13- a teenager a week and a half ago.  Tyler's birthday is today.  Our anniversary is also in December, December 23rd to be exact.  (What were we thinking?) 

I remember both of their Birth Days like they were yesterday.  Funny how time flies by so quickly.  I can picture myself in either one of those delivery rooms.  When you hold those tiny infants, you have no idea what kind of person they will become and in the case of Tyler and Michael, I didn't know quite what to do with them.  Babies are such mysteries.

There was someone I worked with once that told me that there\is a special bond between a mother and her sons.  I totally get it.  I just love my boys.  They are sweet, kind and good people. 

We had another Jr. High concert tonight.  The boys performed beautifully.

Tyler just LOVES to be the center of attention.  He was the emm-cee for the concert and kept the crowd entertained between numbers.  Derek and I aren't sure where he came from (although, there is a bit of an actor in him AND in some of my immediate family members, so I'm not totally caught off guard...)    Who knew, when I held that little guy for the first time that he would have such a huge personality? 

As he was hosting, he announced that he would be available after the show for autograpghs.  Well, we were gathering everyone up and guess what Tyler was doing?  Signing autographs.  He even signed someone's hand.  Seriously Tyler.....  (Ok, where DID he come from?)

 Who knew, when I held my Michael for the first time, that he would be so much like me in so many ways?  That he would not only LOVE to learn and read, but also perform and sing in front of an audience and be creative?    I get so many compliments about Michael.  He is adored by people outside our home.  Just a good kid...

I am loving getting to know my children better and better as they grow.  I love to see them really work to find their "niche" and work towards their potential.  I love that they're not afraid of almost anything!  I am so lucky to be their mother.

Happy Birthday Baby Boys!  I love you!

BBQ Pork

OK, an experiment that turned out YUMMY!  Lot of flavor and easy.

7 to 8 pound bone in pork sirloin roast.  (They usually sell this cut boneless, if you use a boneless pork loin, you may need to add some liquid to keep the meat tender.)

1 can diet coke
1/2 to 3/4 C sugar
1 to 1/2 tbsp. rock salt
1/2 C liquid smoke

That's it.  Leave it in the crockpot until it's tender.  I shedded the meat with the juice, because there wasn't much left after the roast was done.  We just used Baby Ray's BBQ sauce on it and served it with rolls and cole slaw.  So Good!



Derek and I were going out shopping yesterday morning and Derek handed me some "Jingle Cash" (Walgreens name for rebates) from his wallet.

Bella watched our exchange, ran up to her dad and said "where my money?"   (She doesn't say much, but she was able to communicate that pretty clearly.)  Guess what!?  Her dad handed her some and helped her put it in her pink, sparkly purse.

How old is this child, like, twenty months?

Her dad is in some SERIOUS trouble.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Christmas Miracle

That's what it will take for me to get all of the little projects done that I'm thinking I want to do.

Just sayin'


I pulled out Grandma's "Peanut Butter Ball" recipe today because my goal is to get them done this week. We were blessed to live close to the Anderson Grandparents most of my childhood.  Grandma made these cookies every year and they were my absolute favorite! I feel close to Grandma when I make them - I feel like I'm passing on a family tradition by making these for family and friends.  Love you Grandma!

So here's the recipe, from Grandma A.

Peanut Butter Balls:

2 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs (or 18 double whole graham crackers)
1 pound box powder sugar (4 cups)

Stir together with:

1 12 oz. jar crunchy peanut butter (equals 1 C plus 2 tbsp.)
2 sticks melted margarine or butter

Mix together all of the ingredients and shape into balls.

In a double broiler, melt 1/2 cake of parrafin wax (Usually found with canning items)
with 12 oz. butterscotch chips or chocholate chips.

Dip peanut butter balls in mixture and place on wax paper to dry.

Makes 6 1/2 to 10 dozen, depending on the size of the cookies.

Pass them on and spread a little bit of Christmas Cheer!  :)

A Little Validation

I received a new calling at church last month in the Primary Presidency.  I have to admit, I feel like a fish out of water. I wasn't very excited about it.  I loved the callings I had for the past two years and I can pretty much count on two fingers how many years of my life I served in the primary and never in the presidency. 

I had to teach my first Sharing Time last week.  I planned and planned and prepared, but I guess nothing can  actually get you ready for you very first Sharing Time.

 I thought it would be fun to have little skits to figure out what scripture story we were learning about.  I organized props in bags and printed the actual script for teachers to say.  In Junior Primary, our upcoming Sunbeams participate with the Sunbeams during Sharing Time.  For some reason, I decided that the youngest children could be "families" in tents, listening to King Benjamin.  What made me think that having fifteen three and four year olds together in a "tent" was a good plan?  I really thought they would listen?

Least. Reverent. Sharing. Time. Ever.

I could actually read the teachers thoughts...  (Can't fix stupid!)  Good thing they were all much too kind to say so...  Even typing out what I did, I can't believe I thought that was a good plan.

Anyhow, fast forward to this week. I planned and prepared again this week and a friend gave me some ideas to help keep kids reverent.  So here they are in case any of my "sistas" are out there working in Primary.  I brought a boy crown and a girl crown and the most reverent children got to wear them.  The other sisters in the Presidency moved the crowns around to other quiet children so several had turns. Worked like a charm.

I gave a  lesson that turned out well and we did a little craft.  I was pretty worried about doing an activity - any activity again, but the kids behaved very nicely.  Complete 360 from last week.

 So, I wanted to ask Matthew how things went hoping, of course, to get a pat on the back.  Who better to get feedback from than one of my own kids and I knew he would be honest.  I asked him, "hey Matthew, did you like Sharing Time today?"  He said, "Mom, I didn't like it."  What!?  (I was surprised and a little sad.)  Then he finished, "I didn't like it, I LOVED it!" 

Funny thing here, my heart leaped a little.  It genuinely made me so happy that he loved it!  I am validated - maybe I'll learn to enjoy this calling after all...

But I will definitely save the tents for camping.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

I love Christmastime!

It is so fun.

Our streeet is slowly "lighting up."  The pressure is on this year!  I went today and spent WAYYY too much money on lights - I had "subpar" lighting last year (single strand lights, brother), and Derek PROMISED that I would be able to get my multi colored icicle lights for this year.

 Walgreens had them on sale this week and now I'm the proud owner of about 2400 lights!  ☺ Yep, no sense I tell ya, but my house is going to look AWESOME!  ☺

Mom and Dad will also have fancy pants lighting this year.  Oh yeah, our houses will match! (Because Derek rocks - just sayin')

Nothing like seventy five and sunny in the day and chillly with pretty Christmas lights at night.

You're all invited.....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Nobody" Strikes Again!

So the Monday we get back from vacation, I'm going through our snack drawers to figure out what I need to buy for lunches.  I usually have something leftover from the few weeks before, and in this case I knew I had about a third of a case of hot cheetos and a box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cakes.

Imagine my surprise when I go to pack lunches and the drawers are completely empty.  Not even a empty wrapper left!  Hmmm....  so I start asking around, questioning children as to the whereabouts of the missing food.  Guess who admitted to taking it?  NOBODY!

"Nobody" causes so much mischeif around here. 

Today, I'm looking for a remote control in the couch cushions - a regular activity.  (Now, I am sure that I'm not the only one that searches for remotes in the couch on a regular basis, right?   I don't want to know if I am, ok?)  When lo and behold, I pulled out an empty cheetos bag.  Then another, then another.  SEVEN empty bags later, I decided that NOBODY was going to be getting hot cheetos for a while. 

And I haven't even checked the other couch yet!