Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite Feeds Friday

Ready to ring in the New Year?  Me either, but here we go anyway.  Here's some fun posts to check out from some of my favorite blogs.
  • The Top Ten lists have begun.  Check out Think Fast's Top Ten children's books.
  • Crazy Domestic has her Top Ten posts of the year
  • Somewhat Simple has her Top Ten projects of the year.
  • Vote which version of Peace Is Coming you like best on Seth Adam Smith's blog.
  • Is weight loss on your list of resolutions?  If You're Happy & You Know It has a Biggest Loser challenge that might be the motivation you need.
  • Finally, if your crew is into football, these tasty little numbers would feed your gang during the big game.
I hope all of you have a safe and healthy New Year having fun with your family and those you love!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Scripture Study for the New Year

We finished reading the Book of Mormon just before Christmas.  My kiddos want to study the Old Testament next.  I read most of the chapters we discussed in Sunday School this year and part way through 2 Chronicles consecutively.  I've learned so much from my study and I want to give that to my children, but it's so long and parts of it are very repetitive.  I can't imagine keeping their attention reading it from beginning to end.

I looked around online for a schedule that would be appropriate for elementary school age to teenagers - I didn't really find anything.  I've been using Scripture Study for Latter-Day Saint Families for the other books of scripture; I love the quotes from modern day prophets.  It looks like this will be a good guide for the Old Testament too.  On the chapters could be too much for children, there's a simple summary that I could read and we could go on to the next chapter.

Have you read the Old Testament as a family?  How did you make it work for your family?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Keeping the Kiddos Busy

There's still plenty to do between Christmas and New Year's, but I've already heard "I don't know what to do" a couple of times.  (Do you like how my kiddos stopped telling me they are bored?  Maybe they got tired of my suggestions of scrubbing toilets and floors.)  I posted some of our favorite activities over at Arizona Mama.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Good Friend Is Honest

In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas celebration, I had an encounter with someone where I felt unjustly attacked but I also knew that I offended the other person, even thought I wasn't sure what I did.  Talking to a friend who witnessed the exchange, she very nicely told me that I did sound snippy at the start of the conversation with the other person.  

That immediately changed my perspective.  I knew I was stressed and grumpy, but I thought I'd done a decent job putting it aside to do what was needed.  My friend's words changed my perspective of the situation, and because of that change I was able to sincerely apologize.

The more I thought about my friend's words, the more I wondered if I would have the courage to tell any of my friends they were wrong.  There's not many people I trust to tell me something like that, especially not with kindness. Would my friends trust me to tell them the truth they don't want to hear?  When I offer suggestions for improvement, does the love I have for that person come through?

At Wood Badge, we learned that feedback is a gift - it needs to presented as a gift (spoken with love) and received as a gift (with an open heart).  Another life lesson put to the test by real life!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Family Home Evening: Something a Little Different

For Family Home Evening, we had a nice family dinner before heading off to the enjoy the Temple lights.  There was beautiful music playing and scriptures being read at different spots.  We enjoyed being together as a family and topped off the night with Hot Cocoa!  It was truly a spiritual and family focused evening!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Saturday Sentament: Christmas

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.  Don't clean it up too quickly.  ~ Andy Rooney

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve and Favorite Feeds Friday

We made our last run to Wal-Mart on Tuesday and I finished up the grocery shopping on Wednesday (hopefully).  Yesterday we wrapped and delivered our gifts to the neighbors.  Today I have a little wrapping left, some cleaning and of coarse cooking Christmas Eve dinner.  For the most part, I intend to relax and enjoy Christmas Eve.  Apparently so do most of my favorites in Blog land, so today's Favorite Feeds Friday is a little light.
I better get back to my to do list so I can enjoy movies and our Christmas Pageant.  We usually watch the Forgotten Carols on Christmas Eve, but since we just saw the play I think we'll watch another old favorite The Christmas Box.  How do you wrap up your Christmas Eve?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Final Advent Drawers, Christmas Picture Search and Forgotten Carols

This should have been three posts, but who has time for that on Christmas Eve eve?  Let's start off with the last three advent drawers. (I know we still have one left to open,but the 24th is always the same.)

22 - Christmas Journal activity.  I found these cute journal pages at Grace is Overrated.  We all filled in the blanks and colored the cute stocking.
23 - Gift exchange with our awesome neighbor!
24 - Christmas pageant

I promised more information on our Christmas Picture Search.  It's posted over at Arizona Mama!

Finally, we were able to see the Forgotten Carols live last night, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa.  We've been watching the DVD on Christmas Eve for the last few years and love the story.  The energy and the after the play performance were amazing. I wasn't sure how my kiddos would like watching it in a theater; they were riveted!  The only thing they liked more about watching it at home was being able to talk during the performance.  My favorite part was the entire auditorium singing Silent Night a Capella!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It Finally Feels Like Christmas

I've been struggling to find more than glimpses of the Christmas spirit this year.  I know I can't fake it, and I worry that my kiddos notice. 

Yesterday there was a flurry of wrapping and many more gifts were placed under the tree.  One of my children said, "There's finally gifts all around the tree.  Now it feels like Christmas!"

Who knew it was so easy?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Third Week of Advent Drawers

I hope you are ready, because the big day is almost here!  We're still busy, but now that the kids are out of school we've been celebrating more!  I know you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to see what kind of Christmas shenanigans we've been up to, so here you go.

15 - Visit with the Bishop for tithing settlement.
16 - Christmas caroling with our Cub Scout Pack.
17 - Make Christmas ornaments.  I found the ones I lost last year, so I was ahead of the game on the planning!
18 - HOA Christmas party.  There was snow, soup and Santa!  We even won a few things in the drawing.
19 - Temple lights.  The Mesa Temple is decked out with lights galore and they have an amazing nativity!
20 - Christmas Photo Search.  I'll post the details of this fun game soon.
21 - Read the Christmas Blizzard.  This is my favorite fun Christmas story.  I love to read it every year.

How have you been celebrating Christmas this last week?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hot Chocolate Cookies

I love cookies, but lately I've been craving something new and different.  Even though  I had cookies in the freezer and I made No-bake Cookies for my son-in-law; and despite the fact that I was in the kitchen most of the day baking a cake and making a big family dinner - I took the time to make Hot Chocolate Cookies for the ladies I visit teach.  Boy am I glad I did!  These were just what the doctor ordered!  They were delicious and different and not that time consuming - especially since I left out the part where I was supposed to chill for 30 minutes.  I broke my wooden spoon mixing in the chocolate chips and I didn't want the dough to get any firmer!

I found the awesome recipe from the even awesomer Leanne from Your Homebased Mom.  (I would love to eat her cooking all day long -not that I have ever tried her cooking, but she has so many great recipes!)  If you're feeling a little restless with the same old cookies, these are definitely worth a try!

Do you have any new cookie recipes to share?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Family Home Evening: Christmas

We had a fun and simple FHE.  For our lesson, we watched Mr. Kruegar's Christmas.  It's such a sweet movie!  We followed that up with a Christmas Scavenger Hunt for our activity which led us to our treat of homemade English Toffee!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Sentament: Christmas

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.  ~ Burton Hillis

Friday, December 17, 2010

Favorite Feeds Friday

You can tell Christmas is close by most people's blog posts!  I hope these ideas will help bring holiday cheer to you.
  • Somewhat Simple has not one, but five giveaways today! 
  • Crazy Domestic shares seven great Christmas projects from homework. 
  • I decided to check out what homework had posted today and found pretty napkin rings for your next winter party.
  • I'm sure my kids would love Joy the Baker's Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies.
  • This Christmas story might right up my alley.  Thanks to Booking Mama for sharing the review.
Have you found any helps for this week before Christmas?  Please post a comment and share with the rest of us!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts always add a little excitement to a normal day, so what could be a better way to celebrate the excitement of the season?  As I mentioned in a previous post, we found a scavenger hunt in one of our advent drawers earlier this week.  I have our clues and the rest of the details up over at Arizona Mama for your reading enjoyment. While your there, leave me quick "hello" in the comment section!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Never Give Up

I'm not sure why, lately the smallest amount of bickering or sassy voices sets me on edge.  I've been on edge a lot lately!  Everything came to a head on Sunday.  After chewing everyone out, I was ready to go lock myself in my room and spend the day observing the Sabbath as I saw fit.  I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere with teaching my children the importance of keeping the Sabbath holy - among other things.  I wondered if I was asking too much; lots of other parents don't seem to be teaching their kids, so why should I?  I was pulling out all the decorations for my own little pity party.  Fortunately, there was too much going on to fully wallow in it.

The next morning's scripture study was very clear on my responsibility.  Moroni 9:6 states "And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God."

The prophet Mormon spent his time teaching a people bent on destruction, but he kept trying because he loved his people and so he would not be under condemnation.   Even though I'm not a prophet, I think the charge also applies to me as a mother.  Even when I don't feel like my children are listening, I need to keep teaching and loving.  Even when I see them choosing paths that break my heart, I need to keep teaching and loving.  

I'm grateful that my Heavenly Father keeps teaching and loving me!  I'm grateful the words I needed to hear came to me when I most needed them, that He encourages me and shows me the right path.  I'm sure He is often disappointed when I don't listen to Him or when I choose a path that breaks His heart.  He knows how I feel and He knows the path I need to follow.  I need to listen and keep on keeping on!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Second Week of Advent Drawers

Can you believe we are two weeks into December?  We have two weeks of advent drawers under our belts.  We found a couple of new-to-us activities last week.
8.  We learned about how Christmas is Celebrated in Spain, thanks to Chocolate on my Cranium!
9.  Candy
10. Our Ward Christmas party
11. Candy
12. A Christmas scavenger hunt - I'll post more about that soon.
13. Candy
14. Candy

Another busy week, but we still managed some celebration, family time!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Drawing Game on Arizona Mama!

Want a fun activity for kids of all ages?  Head over to Arizona Mama for the instructions for a drawing game that is sure to bring plenty of giggles and snickers.  We had a lot of fun with it and I'll bet you will too!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Family Home Evening: The Good Samaritan

While not a typical Christmas story, our lesson about the Good Samaritan fits well with the Christmas season.  It's a story of kindness, compassion and service.  Isn't that what Christmas is supposed to be about?  I don't know about you, but this year I'm struggling to keep the excitement and joy of the season in my heart.  That's why I especially appreciated reading the parable of the Good Samaritan.  After we read the story, the snowflake ornament Grandma sent last Christmas was pulled out and is currently floating around the house with many simple good deeds.  

Our activity was decorating the Christmas tree - and the banister.  I think my tree is shrinking; it can't seem to hold as many ornaments as last year!  When I worked in the Christmas department at Macy's before we had children, we were trained how to load the branches with more ornaments than seemed humanly possible.  Next year, I'll have to train my kiddos to do the same to fit all our precious ornaments on the tree - and the banister.

We enjoyed some Christmas fudge for our treat.  I love the recipe on the marshmallow cream label! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Sentament: Peace

If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having.  
- Henry Miller

Friday, December 10, 2010

Favorite Feeds Friday

Our Christmas celebrations are in full swing, I just wish the rest of life would stop interfering!  I found some great ideas from my Google Reader feeds this morning.  Here's my favorites.
  • Kendra at My Insanity has some beautifully painted Butter Cookies along with a cookie recipe link party.
  • Not necessarily Christmas, but definitely nostalgic, Booking Mama celebrates 50 years of Green Eggs and Ham.
  • There's a great teacher gift idea at My Spare Time.
  • Your Homebased Mom has really pretty and simple gift wrapping ideas.
  • It gets cold in the winter, even here in Arizona (at night anyway).  Joy the Baker shares a yummy Hot Chocolate recipe to go with her homemade marshmallows. ( There's something else on the list I want to make someday!)
  • Having a party?  I love this foodie Christmas tree decoration at Celebrations at Home!
What are you doing to celebrate?  Or what cool ideas have you found in Blogland to share?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brownie Covered Oreos and Cub Scout Meetings

I work with our Pack's Cub Scout leaders to keep the Pack running smoothly.  We had our monthly committee meeting last night.  Since I had to change the night of the meeting from Thursday to Wednesday, I made an extra special treat, Brownie Covered Oreos I saw over at the Picky Palate.  I used my homemade brownie recipe, minus the nuts.  They were extremely yummy!  I can already hear my kiddos asking for these warmed up with ice cream and chocolate sauce on top.

I also learned that if you cook brownies in muffin pans, they cook much faster!  It's always good to have the ability for faster brownies.

Our meeting went good, we ironed out the details for this month's Pack Meeting - caroling.  We also pulled together more details for the Pinewood Derby and the Blue and Gold Banquet!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Christ Centered Christmas

We had a lesson on Christmas at church last Sunday (shocking, I know!)  Several ladies shared their Christmas tradition.  I had heard most - half of them were part of our family's traditions too.  

One stood out.  One woman displayed her nativity set, manger and all, under the Christmas tree.  She added a piece to the scene everyday.  It wasn't until all the pieces were displayed that gifts could be placed under the tree.  Their family drew names and everyone received only that one gift.  This family focused on Christmas celebrating the birth of our Savior, even to the extent of singing Happy Birthday on Christmas day.

I would have a hard time with only giving one gift, but I love the idea of keeping the gifts stashed away until just before Christmas and keeping the manger scene under the Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The First Week of Advent Drawers

Only 18 days until Christmas!  My kiddos opened up a week's worth of drawers in our advent calendar.  I thought I'd share what we've found in our drawers so far. 
  1. Christmas chains - (really a paper that said "Christmas chains".)  We made them while watching a Christmas show before bed.
  2. Letters to Santa
  3. Candy
  4. Candy
  5. Christmas Devotional
  6. Christmas word search 
  7. Candy
I like the activities more than the candy (actually I like both, if I was a festive mom...but there is so many treats around as it is.)  Some nights are just too busy for an extra activity.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Gifts for Jesus

In an effort to focus on the best part of Christmas we're expanding our tradition of giving gifts to Jesus.  Please read my post on Arizona Mama for the details. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Sentament: Christmas

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.   – Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, December 3, 2010

Favorite Feeds Friday

Ah! The first Friday of December; too soon it will be the last Friday of December and the end of the year.  Buckle up and hang on through the Christmas rush.  Enjoy the season and the year-end with some of these great ideas:
What are your fine finds this lovely Friday?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Is More Than the Gifts!

This morning I was reading a series of short Christmas stories on Latter Day Woman.  There was one story called A Happy Christmas by Lori Nawyn that especially touched me.  She talked about there being two kinds of people at Christmas, those who focus on the gifts and those who focus on gratitude.  I'm not sure the distinction is so clear.  I know there are times every Christmas season that I yearn to give more and there are times when I can focus on the joy of the season.  But I do agree that I feel His peace and comfort when I focus on the greatest gift of Christmas.

This is the gift I want to give my children at Christmas, the Savior's birth is the gift - everything else is the icing on the cake!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Numbered

November has come and gone, and way too quickly, I might add.  This has been a month of ups and downs - when it rains it pours.  Fortunately there was a lot of good raining down with the challenges!

1 - Successful giveaway!
2 - Books read.  Hoot by Carl Hiaasen and A Light in Zion by Bodie Thoene.  It was so good to read for pleasure again!
4 - Family history names checked for accuracy.
5 - Pies to enjoy on Thanksgiving.
8 - Articles written for the Homemaking Cottage and Arizona Mama
12 - Happy faces around the Thanksgiving table.
14 - Scrapbook layouts completed - only 6 short of my goal.
27 - Blog posts.
30 - Leaves on our Gratitude Garland.
45 - Christmas cards crafted in about an hour!
817 - Page views!  Not only was that another record, it was more than 200 above last month!

What made your November?


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