Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

During the morning/afternoon of December 24th, we spent some time prepping foods for not only that night's dinner, but also for Christmas morning breakfast. Jane helped me make our traditional whole wheat and spelt cinnamon rolls, and since a few of us didn't feel well after our junkie thanksgiving day breakfast, we thought we should probably start Christmas with some real foods before we dug into our cinnamon rolls, so we also made an egg casserole which was delicious and I think will become another Christmas tradition. I love Jane's cute little Christmas Eve dress in the picture below, and my hoodie and jeans :), yep, that's typically how things go around here :).

Once both dishes were all prepped and ready, we covered them and stuck them in the fridge. When we woke up we pulled both dishes out, preheated the oven, opened stockings, put the eggs in, and then opened gifts while it cooked.

Christmas Eve we had the missionaries over for dinner again; we loved having them with us last year and so it was nice to have them again. We made stromboli for dinner, each adult rolled out their own pizza dough and put whatever toppings they wanted inside. 

 After dinner we baked sugar cookies (we made the dough earlier on in the day),
 and then we acted out the Nativity. Scott decided to let our rocking horse be the donkey this year (it's typically dad's job :)), and Scott was Joseph.

 Our frightened shepherd upon seeing the angels.
 Our wise men.

 Jane was baby Jesus; she's a bit big for a baby but she had her heart set on the role.

 Nora was supposed to be a sheep, but she didn't really go along with the program :). And I was the narrator.
 The elders were over from about 430-730pm; they got permission to stay longer since we had several things planned for the evening(same as last year...and apparently the elders in the area talk about 'Christmas Eve at the Smith's' in a bragging sort of way, which makes me feel like they enjoy it :)).
 Once they took off everyone got ready for bed, we put the two little girls down and the older kids went to bed around 9. Scott and I had wrapped all the gifts before hand (too many to wrap all on Christmas Eve and still feel cheerful :)), and they were sitting in our closet in big boxes, so once everyone was asleep we pulled those out, set up the new digital piano and the portable soccer goals,

 stuffed all the stockings (each person got an art project with their stocking), and were in bed by 11pm. We slept okay, I think I only stirred once, which is an improvement from years past. I try not to think about it too much, the family seeing their new fun things, before I go to bed, because if I do, I'm up for hours!
 The three oldest got watches in their stockings. Since they're in school and piano, and watch the time when mom's late, which is kind of normal, I felt like they should each have one. I didn't get them anything expensive, I think I spent around $30 for all three, but they do what we want them to do.

 As Elisabeth walked out of her room in the morning and down the stairs, she spotted the new digital piano and unknowingly passed her stocking because she was focused on the piano. That was and still is the favorite gift for the kids. We keep both pianos on the main floor level and we got this second piano for a couple of reasons, 1.) we have three kids who practice daily and so it'll be nice to have two be able to practice at the same time and 2.) A digital piano has a volume control and we can plug in headphones so they can practice when Nora and others are sleeping.

One of my favorite/surprise gifts were these homemade perfume balm/lotions from Scott made with essential oils, beeswax and jojoba oil. I also love my essential oil diffuser, and my new kitchen appliances from our parents (immersion blender and belgian waffle maker).

 I went for a jog that morning and then the Elder's came over in the early afternoon; they got permission to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and wanted to watch it at our house, so we started that movie after we played outside for a bit. While watching I remembered that I really don't like that movie very much. Most of it is pretty depressing, until the very end for like 2 seconds...not really a happy feel good Christmas movie.
I love baked Brie! We made it when we had our work party, and I decided to make it again on Christmas day, but a smaller version, using the triangle brie so that I wouldn't eat so much :). It's fabulous with apple slices and crackers.
 Annabelle got started on painting her russian nesting dolls right away.
 Charles got in his new BYU jersey and took his new football outside to throw around.
 The three oldest and Scott, all got BYU clothing, one item a piece. Everyone got new clothes as one of their three gifts.
 Scott got some workout items(weights and clothes) and some things for his guitar (picks, new strings and a digital tuner) and the Mormon Guitar cd his friend Ben Howington has out at Deseret Book...which he says was his favorite 'surprise gift'.
 For dinner that night, Scott and I made tamales. This is a dinner I had for Christmas many times growing up since my dad is from Mexico. I remember my sister's Mom, Charmaine, who also married someone from Mexico, would make tamales and bring them over, or we'd all sit down around the table and work on them together. It takes a long time to make tamales so Christmas is the perfect day to put it all together because you have the family home to help put masa in each corn husk and lots of time at home to steam them for the hour and 30 minutes they require. They are SO worth it! For the filling we put chicken in half and mozzarella and jalapeno slices in the other half. So yummy!
 All of us have been having fun with the new piano and all it's sounds and features. I love that it will record songs and do a playback and allow you to transfer the on an SD card. We also got a boom stand microphone for Christmas since Elisabeth (and hopefully the other kids in the near future) like to sing while they play in front of audiences. I can pack up the boom stand and plug it in at our church chapel, bringing it up to the piano, which will be convenient.
 Christmas night it started to snow and by the next morning we had several inches. We walked down to a hill at a park near our house and went sledding for a couple of hours. So fun! Though after going over one bump/jump I decided it'd be best to avoid future jumps on the hill as I'm in my thirties now and you feel things more when you land :).
Having Scott home for this week was wonderful! Cooking, cleaning, sledding, shopping all of it together was so nice! I loved all the extra time we got to spend together. I'm so grateful to have him as my eternal companion. I am so grateful for our little family and for our Savior Jesus Christ who made eternal families possible! I'm grateful for his birth, his life and for his sacrifice. What an amazing gift! Just knowing that we have a loving heavenly father and brother, who care for us, who help us become better, and who have a plan for us, is such a comfort. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mini Van Polar Express

Last week, a couple of days before Christmas, we used the free passes the kids got from school and took them roller skating. I took the four oldest once Nora was down for her nap, and Scott stayed with her. Did I mention the entire week off from work over Christmas? It was a dream!
The kids haven't had much skating practice, I think we've only taken them once before, and you can tell :). They stayed on the carpet for awhile and once they ventured out onto the floor, three of the four kids hugged the walls or found these white rolling trainers to hold on to.

Elisabeth was the only one that went out on her own, though she's the oldest so it makes sense. They all had an enjoyable time, and Annabelle was the only one in tears this time around which was better than last. Her bum hurt from falling on it so many times.

That night during dinner, we told the kids they were going to bed early since they stayed up late the night before. We asked them to get their pajamas on as soon as they cleaned up dinner and meet down in the living room for our Christmas Devotional (Christmas story/scripture/song). While they were singing, I dropped this on each of their pillows:

You can find printable Polar Express Tickets here. After our devotional, we told the children they could take a book(or several for the small children) up to their beds, and once they brushed their teeth, they could read for a few minutes before going to bed (it was 730pm). When they dropped their books off on their beds, they found their polar express tickets with their treats. They were excited about the treats, but didn't get the tickets until I offered a further explanation. Then we got in the van, with our jammies, stuffed animals and snacks, and drove around town to four houses we'd mapped out that had the best lights.

This one had a large carousel in the driveway amongst a million other beautiful lights and decorations! 1188 Clubhouse Dr, Broomfield CO
At all these houses I wondered where in the world they keep all this stuff when it's not out on display? Storage unit? Some of these things are HUGE and there is so much. We loved this house! 13910 Tincup Circle, Broomfield CO

This house was as big and grand and didn't have as many lights, but it was probably our favorite, and we definitely stayed the longest because we got to listen to music at 104.7 FM that went with the Christmas lights at 6330 W 110th Pl, Westminster (Broomfield address on my google maps on my phone).

And the last one on our stop: 3566 W 101 Circle, Westminster CO

We came home and finished off the night with donuts and hot chocolate, though I skipped the's been 12 years now since I've had chocolate(I will eat white chocolate but it's not as tempting so I still don't have it much)!  

By the way, loving all the Christmas cards on our coat closet door! I think I'll keep them up for awhile past Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Bella Notte Christmas Concert

It's Christmas Eve! I love this time of year. The lights, trees, and music! Speaking of music, every Friday from 930-11am, for the past year, I've been singing with these lovely ladies. Megan and Chelsea put this group together, several of which are in their ward, and then there's three of us from other wards, and three women who they knew in the community: neighbor, Megan's daughters' piano teacher, school friend. We practice at one of our homes, and we rotate through about 5-6 of our houses, so we have practice at my house about once every 6 weeks.
Between the 12 of us (one is not pictured here because she's playing the piano; we have three women that play in our group), we have 29 kids; and between just me, Megan and Melonie alone, we have 15 kids :). So we have our little ones with us during our Friday practices,  the ones not yet old enough to be in school, and there's usually about 15 of them. They play and run around the house and many times just sit on our hips :).
It has been wonderful getting to know these lovely ladies, I love them all!
They are all such fun, amazing and delightful women.
We performed in Longmont last week at a Methodist church, the Longmont men's choir had invited us to perform half way through their annual Christmas concert (Megan is married to the Longmont choir director). We sang 6 songs. After our performance last week, several of us went to dinner at Chilis; it was a late night but we were starving and knew all our kids would be home in bed anyway because it was so late. Dinner was nice and the company was even better.