Monday, December 31, 2012

To Grandmother's House We Go

A few days after Christmas we loaded up the car and headed down to Utah to visit my husband's family in Sandy.  The girls just love getting to see grandma and grandpa and are spoiled rotten with attention from aunts, uncle and grandparents.

While we were there we visited the aquarium which they loved!  Lily was being stubborn at first, insisting that she didn't want to go.  But when we pulled up and she saw the posters that indicated what was inside she changed her mind pretty quickly.  Her favorites were the sea horses, sea turtle, red-eyed tree frogs, and the anaconda.  I think that Charlotte liked the much more active otters and penguins the best.
 They have a fun little area for the kids to climb and explore while the tired parents rest for a minute, which is of course the only time that I bothered to pull out my camera.
Most of this trip was spent with family.  The girls have such a fun time playing with everyone and since they are so involved this mama gets a bit of a break from entertaining them.  

As part of that break Tyson took me to see Les Miserables, which I have been anticipating for about a year now.  I was not disappointed.  Les Miserables is my favorite book, I love it, and I have yet to be satisfied with any production of it.  While the musical is not exactly true to the book, in many ways, because of the music, it captures the ethos of the story better than conventional movies.  While not perfect by any means, the new production is powerful and is the best production of Les Miserables out there, by far.

Sunday was the family Christmas party with Tyson's mom's side of the family.  Lily and Charlotte chose their costumes and parts in the little Nativity production the night before and Lily was so excited to be a wise man.  The costume didn't come off until she fell asleep and I took it off of her.  Charlotte got to be a shepherd and carry around a cute little fluffy white sheep.  I left my camera in the car so no pictures, which is sad, because they were just so cute.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Dresses

Like every year I made the girls some new Christmas dresses, but unlike every other year, I remembered to take a picture this time.  Too bad my kids didn't feel like cooperating.

Anyway, you get the idea.  I think that they turned out pretty cute.  I really love the lace overlay on the bodice.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas everyone!

I didn't take a ton of pictures, I never do, I prefer to just enjoy the moment. 
 Lily and Tyson checked out their stocking together.
I'm amazed by this little girl, I thought that these lacing cards would take her some time to figure out, but her fine motor skills are pretty good, she was able to lace them just fine. Charlotte had already made a mess of her pajamas so Tyson put her in one of my t-shirts.
 Lily gave Charlotte a new baby doll, which of course made Charlotte very happy, she loves her babies!
 We made the girls a dress up center out of an old entertainment center, and well, they sure seemed to like it.  They went right to playing dress-up.
After opening gifts and playing for a while we had the traditional Hansen Family Christmas Breakfast of Aebleskivers and sausage.  I'm really starting to get the hang of making them.  I made over 2 dozen this year and didn't mangle a single one, which is quite a success for me.

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24th, Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve!

We spent almost the entire day with my family, all of my family.  My siblings and their families that live out of state were all in town and we gathered together at my parents' home for the day.  The day started with a family photo shoot, which was our Christmas gift to our mom.  It has been over 3 years since we were all together and many new children, and a new sister-in-law, have been added since then so we were in need of an updated group photo.  I'm very excited to see what the finished product looks like.

We then spent the rest of the day cooking, swimming, and enjoying each others' company.  That evening we we sat down together and read the Christmas story from Luke 2.  We then opened our annual Christmas Eve packages, which usually include pajamas and for our kids a new family Christmas story and an ornament for each.  This year I made the girls' pajamas.  They look cozy to me, I should have made myself some too.  I also crocheted some little slippers for them.  
 We also had our cousins' gift exchange and Lily was over the moon with the tea set that she received, I couldn't get a picture of her without it.  Charlotte also got her own tea set which is perfect!  They can have tea parties together without fighting over who gets to pour the tea.
Charlotte loves babies   Have a mentioned that?  She really loves baby Camden, who is a full year younger than her, but the same size, and Charlotte is not a tiny thing by any means.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23rd

Today was crazy busy!  Family in town, tons of last minute projects to finish, but we just might make it.

To finish our story of Christ's birth and early life we read Luke 2: 39-40, which simply tells us that the family returned to Nazareth and that Jesus grew, was "strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him."

Our activity for today was to make Christmas cookies, but in my rush no photos were taken.  My girls love to bake, always have.  In fact, I often wait to bake until they are napping because they can make it a little difficult sometimes.  Someday they will be great little cooks and bakers all on their own.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22nd

We are closing in on Christmas!

Our scripture for today was Matthew 2:19-23 which discusses Joseph bring Mary and the Christ child back from Egypt after the death of Herod to dwell in Nazareth, which fulfilled prophecy.

Our activity for the day was to make Christmas candy.  I grew up making candy every Christmas with my family to give away to the neighbors and friends and I enjoy continuing that tradition in my own family.  Because so much of my family is in town right now we didn't spend all day at it, we just made some creamy caramels and fudge, because those are my favorites.

Charlotte loved helping, but tried at least half a dozen times to dump ground chipotle powder in the fudge...could have been good, but I wasn't willing to risk it.
 Lily wasn't too keen on cooking this year, but she was happy to watch and eat the finished product.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21st

You know what the best part about the holidays is, family.  I love when my brothers and sister who live far away are home to visit and I love going out to visit our family that lives away from us.

The scripture for today was Micah 5:2 which is a prophecy about Christ coming out of Bethlehem that was given long before His birth.

Today's activity is one of our annual favorites.  We went to visit the Idaho Botanical Gardens for their Winter Garden Aglow.  This time we were joined in our advent activity by 2 of my sisters and their families.  The kids LOVED the lights.  That is an understatement, they were transfixed.  My nephew was hilarious, he was just in heaven going back and forth wanting to touch all of the lights.
While there the kids got to see a reindeer and visit Santa.  Lily still won't sit on his lap, but I'm okay with that.    Her being nervous about sitting on a stranger's lap is perfectly fine with me and I am not so desperate for that photo to make her do it.  Besides, I left my camera in the car by mistake so I didn't get any pictures this year.  Charlotte wasn't sure about him, but she sat there and said "hi."  They were well worn out by the end and fell asleep within a couple minutes of getting in the car.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20th

It is amazing how time flies when you just want it to slow down.  We missed our advent activity on the 20th, it was just a crazy day and we didn't end up having time for it.  To make up for that we did our advent activity for the 20th first thing in the morning on the 21st.  

Our scripture for the day was Matthew 2:16-18, which tells of Herod's slaughter of the innocents after the Wise Men didn't return to identify the Christ child.  A little to poignant for right now.

Our activity was a Nutcracker Night (which turned out to be a Nutcracker morning).  With Lily in dance she is very interested in watching others dance so I thought that she might enjoy watching The Nutcracker, I had no idea that Charlotte would like it so much.  She dance around the living room along with the dancers, trying to copy them.  The mouse king scared Lily, but other than that she also enjoyed watching it.
While watching the movie I had some crayons out with some nutcracker themed coloring pages.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19th

Our scripture for the 19th day of December was about one of Christ's teachings, which I think is really well fitting for this time of year.  It was Matthew 25:40 which tells us that when we help and serve others, we are serving our God.  May we all be kind and loving towards all those whom we meet, not matter the circumstances.

Today we made ;little presents for the girls to take to their teachers for preschool and church, which mostly involved baking.  Once the baking was done though the girls got to work coloring Christmas cards  Charlotte loves coloring.
 Lily was feeling a little camera shy today, but she was helpful.  After writing her name on a card she went and wrote Charlotte's name on her card, it wasn't quite spelled right, but it was really good for a 3 year-old writing out such a long name on her own.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18th

One week until Christmas, talk about crunch time!!!

Today we read Matthew 2:13-15, which is where Joseph was told by the angel to take Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt to protect them from Herod and to fulfill the prophecy that we read yesterday in Hosea.

Our activity for today came from Pinterest.  We took some little candy canes, formed hearts on parchment paper, the poured some melted while chocolate into the heart shapes, and ended by sprinkling crushed candy canes on top.  Lily had a blast crushing candy canes.  
 We made these as presents for Lily and Charlotte's friends so we packaged them up all cute and have them ready to go.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17th

One week until Christmas Eve!!!  Anyone else freaking out about them, because I am!  I'm usually so much more prepared.  I've just been a little off these last few months and now I'm feeling the effects of it.  Thankfully, today's advent activity was quick and simple.  We started out, as always, with the day's scripture.  Today is was Hosea 11:1 which tells how Israel was led out of Egypt as a similitude of Christ.

I had planned to paint snowflakes today, but it has been NUTS around here today, so I adjusted.  We still did snowflakes, but no paint.  I got out some blue construction paper, glue sticks and irridescent glitter.  I had them use the glue sticks to decorate a snowflake (I drew the basic 3 crossed lines) and then they poured glitter on and moved it around to cover the glue.

 I let my 21 month old pour glitter on her own.  This is what happens when mommy gets 4 hours of sleep, she isn't always thinking clearly.

 Since the project didn't take long, and they were still in a creative mode I brought them coloring books and crayons.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16th

Continuing on with out Christmas story, as part of our advent calendar today we read Luke 2:36-38, which is about Anna, who was also at the temple with Simeon and prophesied about Christ child's future role as the Redeemer of mankind.

For our activity today I had planned to make snowball cupcakes, which worked out perfectly because my mother texted me yesterday asking me to bring dessert to family dinner tonight.  I made the cupcakes while the girls napped and when they got up we were ready to decorate.
 Lily is a pro by now, she knew just what to do and was waiting to help me load up and use the piping bag.
 We just had a couple dozen cupcakes, the best white frosting ever, and some crystalline white sprinkles.
 I piped the frosting on and the girls tipped them upside down into the bowl of sprinkles.  The tops looked just like glittering snowballs (but they tasted much better).

December 15th

My goodness this month is busy!  I'm usually so on top of things this time of year because I plan and prepare ahead of time, but this year, things are just off and I'm behind on everything!!!  We are managing to keep up with out advent calendar though.  Today's scripture was Luke 2:25-35 which is where Joseph and Mary come across Simeon at the temple and he prophesies of Christ's sacred mission.
Luckily our activity today was a simple one, we planned to attend our ward Christmas party (church).  We had a fun time being out for a bit as a family, but we had to leave early because our girls had woken up at 5:30 in the morning and by 8:00 they were done.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 14th

Our 14th day of Christmas started with Matthew 2:1-5, which is where the three magi come to Herod asking where to find the Christ child.  Lily knows that there are three wise men from her nativity set so she perked up when I told her that they came from far away to find the baby Jesus because they saw his star.

Our activity for the day was very simple, we colored Christmas pictures.  Just printed some pictures off the internet and let the girls go at it.
 Lily was very excited about her colorful picture!  And yes, she is wearing shorts.  The girl dressed herself and since we won't going anywhere I let it be for the day.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13th

Today was very busy again, so our advent calendar had to wait until evening.  We started out, as always, by reading scripture, today's passage was Luke 2:21-24 which is Jesus' presentation at the temple after 8 days.

For our activity we painted wreaths.  I cut out some paper plates, put some green paint on a plate, and let them go at it.
 Then we put fingerprints in red all around as our berries.  Lily clumped them all together, but Charlotte spread them out pretty well.
 Lily loves to use GLOBS of paint, so these might be dry sometime next week.

December 12th

Halfway there already?

We are continuing to work our way through our scriptural account of the birth of Christ  today we read Exodus 13:2 which discusses how the first born are sanctified but God.

Since Tyson worked a day shift today and was actually home in the evening I decided to have our "Grinch Night" tonight.  We borrowed a copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and settled in to watch it while snacking on green popcorn and Grinch Punch, just a blended mixture of lime sherbet and 7-up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11th

I love how involved my girls are getting with the advent calendar.  They ask to do the calendar climb up on the couch and open the package, hand me the card with the day's plan and eat their treat while we read our scripture for the day.

We continue to work our way through the Christmas story.  Yesterday we talked about the angel's visitation to the shepherds and today we read Luke 2:15-20, where the shepherds came to see Mary and the baby Jesus and then left to spread the word about what they had seen and heard.
Our activity for today was a snowman dinner.  Tuesdays are very busy days for us between preschool, dance class, and everything else so I had planned an activity that could be done during the evening.  We started out by making a snowman pizza complete with a carrot nose, though we substituted olives for the traditional coal.
After dinner was cleaned up we had snowman ice cream for dessert.  The girls were so excited by the little faces on their ice cream.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10th

10 days in and we are still going!  After nap time today Lily asked to do the calendar so we pulled down the bag for day 10 and read Luke 2:8-14 which is the angel's visitation to the shepherds announcing Jesus' birth. Lily and Charlotte play with their nativity sets all of the time so Lily already knew the shepherds were there because of the angel, such a bright little 3-year-old.

Today we decorated felt Christmas trees for our activity.  I simply cut the trees, a couple of stars, and some ornaments out of some felt and let them go at decorating and then redecorating their trees.
 Lily was very focused on getting the ornaments all in the right place.
 Charlotte was a little more random about where she placed her ornaments, but she set them in place very carefully.
It was a fun way to spend some time this afternoon.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 9th

On the bright side, both of our girls seems to be happy and healthy again,their parents on the other hand...

Today's scripture was Luke 2:1-7 which is of course Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus.  It is interesting that after having 2 children my perspective has changed when I hear this story.  Riding for miles on a donkey at 9 months pregnant, not having a bed to sleep in, laboring and delivering in a barn, how miserable!

On Sundays I like to keep our Advent activities fairly simple since it is the Sabbath.  Today we did puzzles.  I just printed off an image, cut it into pieces, and laminated it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 8th

Today was a crazy busy day!  We were booked from morning to late at night and it was just go, go, go!!!  We missed our scripture for today, which would have been Luke 1:39-56.  We will have to incorporate it into Sunday's Advent activities.

The plan for today was to host a Christmas party.  The girls and I had my primary class, which consists of 10 year-old girls, over for a party.  We decorated pine cone ornaments and finished up the rest of the cinnamon ornaments from earlier this week.  We also cut out and decorated sugar cookies.
My girls loved it!  They had some really sweet girls who loved playing with them and entertaining them around and got to fully participate in the cookie cutting, baking, and decorating.  They were sad to see them all have to go at the end.

I slacked on pictures, I only got one of Lily after everyone left with her snowman cookie family.  I was too busy with the goings on to take pictures.

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7th

One week in!  Today we started out by reading Matthew 1:20-25, which is when the angel visits Joseph and tells him about God's plan for Mary.

Our activity for today was decorating gingerbread houses, but our houses weren't made of gingerbread, or graham crackers for that matter.  Instead I formed them out of rice crispie treats and it worked so well!  No collapsing walls to worry about.
 I didn't really get many action pictures because me camera battery died after 3 pictures so it charged while we decorated.
 Lily took her sweet time though so we did get some pictures of her hard at work on her house.
 Lily had a great time sticking candy on her house.
 Tyson wins the prize for using the most candy on his, but he seemed to rather enjoy designing it.
 This one is mine.
 Charlotte lost interest in decorating when she discovered that the decorations were candy.  She pretty much sat and munched while we did ours.
 Tyson likes to add in lots of detail, that or save candy for later.
 I sure do love my family!