Wednesday, December 30, 2009

True Love

My husband got me Keurig coffee maker for Christmas.

I love it. I drink about five cups of coffee now a day. I figure I am getting my money's worth out of those little cups by always making the largest cup possible.


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy baby!

12 Days of Christmas...Projects! no.7

Paper Barn Stars

I know Christmas is over, but gosh...I feel like I just finally have a chance to catch my breath! People always ask me about all my Christmas stars and are always amazed when I tell them they are just made out of paper. You can make literally thousands (which I am getting close to) for just a couple of bucks and lots of free time.

First, trace your star out on a piece of heavy cardstock. I used an actual metal barn star for my pattern, but you can also download a template of a star from the world wide web. It is nice to have a couple of different sizes.

After your star is cut out, you need to draw a line from the point of the star to the V that is opposite. I use a ball point pen and push hard on a magazine because this will help you bend it into shape. I have also used a bone folder before to save on my pens! Here is an example of what it will look like after your lines are drawn:

(and yes, that is a gigantic cat hair on my star...welcome to my home!)

After you have all your lines drawn, fold on the creases you made and you sort of have to finagle it into your barn star shape. I always thought it was nice to have an example to look at.

And there you have it! You can add some gold paint or glitter or just leave them plain!

Monday, December 28, 2009

More Christmas

Here are some more Christmas photos for you to enjoy! We had such a great time!

I am working on assembling the photos into a small shutterfly book. Wouldn't it be fun to have a book for each Christmas so you could look back at them through the years?
I really love the ones I did this summer!

Finally, I got some photos of my holiday decor. I had two trees this year: one upstairs and one downstairs with the presents!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I did it!

Christmas 2009 was a success. Everything went very smoothly and everyone seemed relaxed, happy and FULL!

I feel like I always over plan on the food and I didn't let myself down this time. We have tons of leftovers and there was plenty to go around. In the words of my husband "We don't do anything half-assed around here!"

I'll start with the things that could have gone better:
  • Church was a huge mob of people and we couldn't all sit together. We left our house before schedule, about 50 minutes before the service started. There was a traffic jam in the parking lot and we got separated. Scott and I got to sit in the front row (something I've always wanted to do!), but everyone else had to sit in the overflow. I hope it didn't affect how they viewed our church or the was very moving and I had to try hard to keep it together!
  • Outdoor activities: we didn't make it ice skating or snow tubing because of the weather and because of people leaving. I was really looking forward to them!
Things that went well:
  • Christmas Dinner: I started the sides in the morning and kept them warm in crockpots until the roast was ready. People ate their salads and bread while I sliced the roast and then brought plates out to people. We actually sat in our dining room, which felt nice to be out of the mess and clutter of the kitchen.
  • Gingerbread houses: I assembled these and the kids decorated them. It was super fun and killed some time!
  • Beer. Enough said! :o) I think everyone relaxes a little bit when they have a nice beverage in hand...and we have plenty around here!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Here's the Plan, Stan

Just in case you are curious as to what I will be up to the next few days...

Oy Vey!

Family arrived early this afternoon so we are in for more than I had originally planned. I made one MORE trip to HyVee today to pick up decorating supplies and additional lunch items. Luckily, I have stuff on hand for the extra meals that popped up.

We had a nice night out at Ruby Tuesdays...Michael was very good in the restaurant. I ate a lot- salad bar, burger and fries. But also, I skipped lunch. And by skipping I mean I finished my bowl of oatmeal that had been sitting on the counter since breakfast. Motherhood-it's glamorous. :o)

In other news-the house is clean, baby is happy and momma is showered and even plucked her eyebrows. It's going to be a great Christmas!

Christmas Itinerary

Tuesday, December 22: Inlaws arrive; go out to eat at Ruby Tuesdays

Wednesday, December 23rd:

  • prep: fruit salad, pizza toppings, veggie pizza, chili, graham cracker houses, cornbread
  • Lunch: soup/salad
  • Dinner (Susan, Jen, Ellie arrive): BBQ pork sandwiches, chips, lettuce salad

Thursday, December 24th – Christmas Eve

  • Breakfast: eggs/bacon, orange rolls, grapefruit
  • Morning activity: graham cracker gingerbread houses or decorating sugar cookies
  • Lunch

    • Sandwich & Salad

  • 3 pm- Christmas Eve Service at Church (will need to leave house by 2:15).

    • Simon Estes is singing at the 3 pm service. There are also 5pm, 7pm, 9pm, and 11pm services, but I thought this would be a nice time for dinner/bedtimes

  • 5 pm Appetizers- meatballs + veggie pizza

  • 6 pm Dinner

    • Chili, chicken chili + cornbread and fixings

  • 7 pm Christmas Carols, coffee, cookies

  • 7:30 pm family games or movie

Friday, December 25th – Christmas Day

  • 8 a.m. Hot Breakfast

    • Baked french toast, sausage, eggs, kolaches

  • Presents and stockings! (after Steve, Julie, Lauren and Andy arrive)

  • additional morning activites: craft or playing with gifts

  • 1pm- Christmas Dinner

    • Prime Rib, potatoes, salad

  • afternoon activities: games or wii and naps

  • 5pm – Ice Skating downtown Des Moines? (hours: 5-9pm)

    • Brenton Skating plaza (

  • 7 pm Make your own mini pizzas dinner + family movie

Saturday, December 26th

  • 8 am Cold Breakfast

    • kolaches, muffins, yogurt, granola, fruit, juice, coffee

  • 10 am Snow Tubing at Seven Oaks in Boone? (opens at 10 a.m.)


    • can rent tubes for tubing hill, also lodge area for adults to relax if they aren't tubing

  • Lunch

    • casserole, salad, bread (Susan and Jen)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Favorite Things: Soothies!

So today (see earlier post) I had a cranky baby in HyVee. He even spit out his pacifier out of his carseat and on to the ground! How can this even happen? And it was the only I had! :o(

But then, I stumbled across this genius thing in the baby aisle! Hallelujah!

I have never seen a little clip for a Soothie before! And blue Soothies! Yay!

Staying Afloat

Wow, it was a busy weekend.

This weekend was a HUGE blessing for me. I joined Hope Orchestra at my church this fall and this past weekend we did our big performance- the Christmas Cantata. The orchestra and choir joined together and performed a whole service's worth of songs. The music was so powerful and it was so awesome to be part of something that touched many people!

I didn't take any photos, but I stole this one from my friend's facebook! (and I actually ran into her after the last service-so great to see her!) Hopefully I will be able to hunt down some more photos in the future to share!

On Saturday my parents came to visit for the day. It was nice to see them even if it was just for a short bit. Dad helped Scott in the basement while Mom and I played with Michael and tried to finish decorating for Christmas. Later that night they came to church to see the cantata with my aunt, uncle and grandparents who were in town for the weekend also. After the service we went over to my aunt and uncle's house for prime rib and cheesecake! It was so fun and it really felt like Christmas!
Do you ever just have those days where you feel so full of joy and don't want it to end? That was one of them...I couldn't fall asleep for a long time that night! I was so happy to be able to share the music and the message with my family. They had never seen anything like it before! Next year...I am inviting everyone I know. :o) So, hold me to it!

Sunday I played at three more services and then we had Scott's office out to the house to see our new (still unfinished) basement. I hadn't seen everyone for a long time and so even though it was a last minute gathering (I'm pretty sure Scott didn't tell me until the day before!) it was a good time had by all. I wish we could see everyone who is important to us during the holiday is such a great time to reflect on another year gone by.

So after the very wonderful and joy filled weekend, we get to today. I watched the noon news and they told about seven variations of a huge storm coming this week. The newscaster even said to do your Christmas grocery shopping today and don't wait! Do you think that is some sort of ploy by the media to boost the economy? So I went out to HyVee and Costco and was a madhouse! I had never seen either place so busy ever, let alone at 1 on a Monday! It was really stressful, especially since I had a cranky baby in tow.

I absolutely hate how stressed out I get in preparing for the holidays. I have everything planned out to make it easier for myself and a huge list of things to do every day so nothing sneaks up on me, but still it doesn't feel easy. How can I simplify the holidays? Does anyone have any tips?

I finally got a moment to collect myself, while eating a McDonalds hamburger in my garage with a sleeping baby in his carseat. I read through some Christmas letters and my favorite was from Scott's aunt who sent a reminder that even though among all the hustle and bustle of Christmas the best gift is the free gift of God's forgiveness and an open door to Heaven for all those who choose to unwrap and accept it. It was just what I needed to hear on a day like today!


May all of you have a peaceful time leading up the big day!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

12 Days of Christmas...Projects! no.7

Do you love your Christmas cards as much as I do? Are you looking for an easy and beautiful way to display them?

Well, look no further!

Today's project is a DIY card garland, and it is super easy.

As soon as you get a nice card in the mail, punch a couple of holes in it and string it up! I used brown craft twine, but that is just what I had laying around. I also thought this would be pretty using ribbon and little clips. Maybe for next year?

I love seeing all my cards displayed and spending time looking at all the nice photos people send. It really warms my heart! :o)

The secret to hanging my garland is mini 3M hooks. They are wonderful! I use them in practically all aspects of my holiday decorating because we are anti-wall holes in our house!

How do you display your Christmas cards?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling...

..a ring jing jingling jing!

It's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you!

This past weekend the exceptional riders program had their Christmas party for families and volunteers. Since I had been pregnant with Michael all summer, I thought it would be a great chance to show him off to everyone!

You could go on a sleigh ride and it was so much fun! I had never been on one before and I just wanted to burst out in Leroy Anderson the whole time!

Michael also got to meet Santa! Hopefully he's been good in his short two months of life so that Santa will bring him some good presents! :o) Like diapers!

Michael was out cold almost the whole time so we thought it would be fun to pose him on the wagon. I don't think he was too into it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12 Days of Christmas...Projects! no.6

Project no. 6: DIY Greenery Swag

We're halfway there with our Christmas projects! Thanks for sticking with me!

Have you seen those beautiful fresh greenery swags at stores? Well, I made mine for free! It doesn't get any better than that!

When we went to pick out our tree at the tree farm we asked the guys working if they had any spare branches around for us to take since they trim the bottom of your tree for you. In the past I had just wandered around and picked up branches I saw on the ground, but this year the guys at the farm directed me to a MOUNTAIN of tree branches. It was huge! How had I never seen that before this year? Maybe it was the time of day we were there? I have no idea!

So I grabbed an armful of branches, threw them in the car and off we went.

For this swag you need about 4 or 5 nice full branches.

I used my garden clippers and some twine that I had in the garage from my monster tomato plants. You could use pretty much anything you had in the house to cut and tie the branches together.

I trimmed the ends of my branches so they were nice and neat and then I just tied the branches together with the ends facing in.

You can then decorate it however you please! I of course, added a brown star! :o)


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Monday, December 14, 2009

12 Days of Christmas...Projects! no.5

Project No. 5

I am cheating with this Christmas's not really a project at all!

I thought I would share with you some photos from Christmas' past.

Here are some from Christmas 2008:

The theme for 2008 was brown barn
stars and poinsettias.

I bought some poinsettias for our Christmas program at school and it was all downhill from there!

Christmas cards hung in the window

Stay tuned for Christmas decorating 2009!

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