Saturday, December 31, 2016

Grandparents are here, Piano at Macey's, Christmas, top 10, Books Read

My friend Lindsay told me about Macey's piano they put out at Christmas and allow people to come play Christmas music for tips. So I went when they had their sign ups and signed our kids up for an hour and a half slot. When the day arrived, Charles unfortunately was throwing up all night and couldn't make it, so we let Jane do her Jolly Old St Nicholas number a few times throughout the hour and a half and then Annabelle had several Christmas songs she'd learned that she played a few times throughout, and then Elisabeth played through 4 of our Christmas books, and she filled the majority of the time.  They ended up making $46, and we divided it up by time played, so we gave Elisabeth 21, Jane got 5, Annabelle got 15 and we gave Charles 5 as well since he'd worked hard to learn multiple songs to play for this event even though he couldn't perform the day of. 

They really enjoyed this so I think we'll do it again next year. Grandma and Grandpa had arrived the day before from NC so they were able to come and listen for awhile too, and then Scott took them shopping. 

 We loved our time with Scott's parents, exercising, playing, visiting, doing the Wii, dancing etc.

 Elisabeth invited a couple of friends over and we made Christmas sugar cookies one afternoon.
 I love these pictures of the family playing telestrations. They got in lots of good laughs!

 And Elisabeth and grandpa playing Master Mind

 Scott and I made our traditional strombolli on Christmas Eve.
 And we performed the nativity.
 And sang lots of Christmas songs in between each scene.
Sunday was Christmas. Jane and Nora started coming into our bedroom at 1230am, and then every hour! I guess they went downstairs at 1am and grandma brought them back up. We had told them no earlier than 530, so they waited until then to do stockings, but they had a hard time sleeping. We all were up by 6am and we did stockings and gifts, then had an easy breakfast (cereal mostly) and went to our 9am church which was only 1 hour. They had a special musical program in which Elisabeth played O Holy Night on the piano, dad did a trio to We Three Kings, and all three of us sang in the choir for three songs. It was beautiful. After church we came home put the traditional cinnamon rolls and egg casserole in the oven and had a brunch. 

These cinnamon rolls are whole grain, and SO super yummy and soft! You can find the recipe on my website, click HERE for the recipe.  

 Annabelle got a sewing kit and sewing lessons for her Christmas present and she wanted to get started early (her lessons aren't until February; 4, 2-hour lessons).
 Annabelle also got a water color set for Christmas and we all sat down to paint a couple of times. This is my first water color painting (I tried to copy an image I found on my phone), and Scott was so proud he wanted to take it to work((I thought he was making fun of me, but he seems serious enough) so I asked him to snap a picture first.
 The hazards of cooking. While pulling a thermometer out of a loaf of bread, I accidentally skimmed my finger on the top of the 350 degree oven and it instantly blistered. Now it looks more like an open wound.
 Anyone else find something off about our dinner setting? Footballs and other toys sometimes find their way onto the table; usually the kids set them down there as they are setting the table and forget to pick them up again.
 Charles got hives this week on his arms and legs. We're not sure what it was from but he had it for a couple of day. We gave him some allergy medicine and rubbed lavender essential oil on him which seemed to help.
 December 31st I finished reading the Book of Mormon! I started in the end of July this year after I'd finished the New Testament (which I started 7 months prior). I kept a journal with me as I read each day and wrote down the precepts/principles and LOVED it! I learned so much.
2016 was a good year! Probably our top 10 from 2016 would include (but not in this order):
1) our move
2) visits from family
3) vacations to visit family in WA and ID, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, St George
4) our half marathons
5) kids reading the book of mormon on their own for the first time
6) elisabeth starting YW and going to the temple
7) our triathlon and other races
8) home improvement projects in the last house and this house
9) BYU education week with my mom and brother
10) recitals and performances from all the kids hard work in piano and other activities

Books I Read in 2016:

1. Old Testament*
2. Book of Mormon*
3. The invention of Wings by sue monk kidd ^*
4. Willpower: rediscovering the greatest human strength by Roy Baumeister
5. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage*
6. The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict by Berrett-Koehler Publishers ^*
7. Your Anxious Child: How Parents and Teachers Can Relieve Anxiety in Children by John S Dacey
8. A Lion and a Lamb by Rand H. Packer ^
9. Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Belin Olympics by Daniel James Brown ^*
10. Young Runners: The Complete Guide to Healthy Running for Kids from 5 to 18 by Marc Bloom*
11. Holes by Louis Sachar (audio book w/kids)
12. Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale (audio book with kids)
13. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
14. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson *
15. The Rent Collector by Camron Wright *
16. The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet: An Innovative Program for Ridding Your Body of Acidic Wastes by Felicia Drury Kliment
17. Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites by Chris Heimerdinger (audio book w/kids)
18. Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath
19. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo *
20. The Beauty Detox Solution: Eat your way to radiant skin, renewed energy and the body you've always wanted by Kimberly Snyder *
21. The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke *
22. Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey*
23. Dressing Your Truth by Carol Tuttle

^ book club pick

Dance and Piano Recital, Cubs Caroling, Class Christmas Party

Nora is in two dance classes (tap and ballet) with a couple of her friends from our old neighborhood, Evy and Anna. 

 Annabelle takes jazz from the same studio so they had their Christmas recital together. Poor Annabelle's class couldn't get their music to work so they ended up performing their number to counting out loud with no music, but it was still good.

Elisabeth had her Christmas piano recital the Tuesday before Christmas. Stacey Haggin, our neighbor and good friend, met me there (Scott and I rarely go together to her recitals because children under the age of 6 are not allowed so someone has to stay with the littles). She played O Holy Night and did a beautiful job. She also played this number again on Christmas for our sacrament meeting program...and she played it the Sunday before for her Young Women's group when they asked her to do a musical number. 

Here is the video I took. Sorry if it's a little shakey; note to self: next year do not lift arm weights the same day I have to hold my phone camera steady for a 4 1/2 minute video of Elisabeth. 

Elisabeth and Sara performed a duet to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It was so fun having them play together as we've known Sara since she was a baby.
Here they are at our house practicing the number(you can tell they both come from large families as they're unphased by all the distractions and noise around them caused by their siblings):

 I'm the webelo leader and all the cubs went caroling at a senior care center which is always neat.
 I am the room mom for Charles' class so I put together a Christmas party on their last day of school, Wednesday the 22nd. We had a craft, we played Christmas pictionary, bingo and matching, and we did a book exchange to the Night Before Christmas story with a bunch of 'rights' and lefts' thrown in there so they could pass their books around.

December was a crazy busy month with SO many activities, but once we got to a couple of days before Christmas, things really slowed down which was nice and we were able to enjoy our time with grandparents (more to come in the next post) and Christmas with the family.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Breakfast Cookie, Arkell Family

We don't often get rain here in Utah, and especially a rainy 'day', where it rains throughout, but we did have one of those last week and it reminded me of home in Seattle, so I had to take a picture :). 
Scott and I don't normally subscribe to magazines, besides the church's Ensign, but my nephew was doing a fundraiser and we wanted to support him so we picked out the Runners World magazine, which we've actually been really looking forward to receiving. They had awesome advice and tips for runners, plus some of the issues have recipes. This week I tried out these gluten-free, vegan Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies that we loved! I'll share the recipe on my food blog soon. 

 Gina here was my visiting teacher 13 years ago, when Scott and I were first married. She and I walked together most days back then, while pushing our strollers. We also took cake decorating classes together which was fun. We've stayed in touch over the years and we get together every so often (they live about 1/2 hour away).
And Elisabeth takes from their same piano teacher, and in fact, Elisabeth and Sara are doing a Christmas duet for their recital this week! Can't wait to hear it! We love the Arkells!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Tumbling and School Christmas Performance

We learned a new game in scouts a couple of months ago called, "land, sea, air". We've enjoyed playing this at home with the kids; and I think you could do it holiday style by changing those words to holiday words. 
 Nora and I went to the post office one morning last week to mail a package and the line was ginormous! We waited in line for 40 minutes. Nora did great and entertained herself by climbing on ledges, talking to babies and wandering the room. Note to self: next year, only send packages through online sources like Amazon.
 Jane had her first tumbling recital this past week and she did fabulous.

 Annabelle had a school Christmas performance this week called How to Train Your Reindeer.
It was fun to hear the songs they've been working on and watch her dance. 
 Charles attended his first court of honor this week through scouts (since he recently moved up from cub scouts to boy scouts in the 11-year-old scout group).

This year we've made poppy seed bread and chex mix as gifts for neighbors and teachers, which are a couple of our favorites and a little healthier than some other holiday foods, so we've been able to enjoy them as well. We sweetened the poppy seed bread with honey and there's some applesauce as well.