Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Morning

On Christmas morning Charlotte was the first one awake.  She quietly checked out the stockings and looked to see what Santa brought while she waited for everyone else to get up.
 Charlotte started us out by opening her pirate ship.  She has been in a pirate kick for months so I've been really excited to give this to her.
 Lily likes to open her presents on Grandpa's lap.  That is the best spot.
 Gideon's first instinct with this was to chew on its ears.
 The girls started out early sharing their toys.  You might notice that Cinderella and Belle have joined the pirate crew.
 Gideon was such a joy on Christmas morning.  Just a happy boy who made everyone around him happy.
I love watching them all play together, it makes my mommy heart happy.
I didn't take a lot of pictures, but I never do.  I prefer to just enjoy the time.  Christmas with small children is just magical!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24- Christmas Eve

We missed a few days with our advent calendar this year.  Between traveling and everyone getting sick there just wasn't the time or energy to get everything done.  It is really rough for my OCD nature to accept that, but such is life I suppose.

Sunday we drove down to Salt Lake and promptly everyone was sick.  We had plans to go see the lights at Temple square on Monday night, but no one felt up to it so we stayed at grandma's and took it easy.  Tuesday went the same way, we just stayed in side and relaxed.  In the evening the kids were allowed to open their Christmas Eve gifts.
 Every year they are given a new ornament.  This year Charlotte got Cinderella.
 And Lily was given Rapunzel.
 This was Gideon's first time opening gifts and he was much more interested in the paper than the presents inside.
 His ornament was a pair of porcelain baby booties.
 We also open a new Christmas story book on Christmas Eve and that is our bedtime story.  This year's book was "Olivia Helps with Christmas."
The girls loved their nightgowns last year so I made them nightgowns again this year.  Not for Gideon though, he got some pajama pants and an appliqued onesie.
 Afterwards the girls got to decorate a gingerbread house with their aunts.
Before bed Lily and Charlotte put some cookies, an orange, and some milk on a stool by the tree for Santa Clause.  They took a while to fall asleep after being sent to bed, but what else could be expected.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December 21- Lily's Winter Dance Recital

The scripture for the day was John 11: 40-44.  In this passage Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the dead after three days.  This is yet another demonstration of Christ's power, as well as his compassion for his friends.

Today ended up to be just too busy, so we weren't able to get to our activity, which was going to be making snowman and Christmas tree pizzas.  However, we spent the entire day as a family, preparing for our trip to grandma's house, and then went to Lily's dance recital in the evening.

The dance school that Lily attends had their winter recital on Saturday.  I love the recitals, it is fun to watch all of the classes put on their shows.  There are the tiny ones like Lily all of the way up to high school girls so the shows are diverse.

Lily's class did well...for a group of 4-year-olds.  They are always fun to watch.
Gideon was well behaved throughout.
And Charlotte loved watching all of the dancers.  She can hardly wait until next year when she will be old enough to start taking dance classes.
 She's such a happy little ballerina!  I think that her favorite part is when the show is over and she gets picked up from the stage by her dad and he gives her flowers.

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20- Bring Treats to the Neighbors

Things just get busier and busier the closer it gets to Christmas.  I plan well in advance, I prepare early, and yet I still end up feeling very busy.

Today's scripture was Matthew 14: 15-21.  In this passage Jesus feeds the multitude with the loaves and fishes.  We see that Christ had the power to perform miracles and had compassion for others.

This year, rather than making a lot of different treats to give to the neighbors a couple of friends and I had an exchange where we each made two goodies and  then traded, so when we were done there were six different goodies for each plate.

The girls helped me make some chocolates, peanut butter balls, and fudge and then after our swap with friends we arranged some plates.  I asked the girls to each pick a friend from church that they would like to bring some treats to and then we dropped some plates off to some of our other neighbors.
It was snowing and cold, but we bundled up and dropped off our treats on our way the Lily's dress rehearsal for her dance recital.

Seven Months Old

Sometimes life just gets crazy, and these last few days have been just that.  I prepped Gideon's 7 months onesie at least a week ago, but I didn't even realize that yesterday was the 19th, I thought that it was today.  Whoops!

Oh well, one day isn't so bad, and this morning he was actually kinda happy!  He cut his first two teeth this last week and he had a miserable time of it.  His eczema is also pretty rough right now so Gideon's struggling.  But he is still cute as a button so despite the crying, screaming, and neediness, I still love him dearly and I can't help but kiss those cheeks any time they come within range.
He is trying so hard to crawl.  He spends a lot of time up in this position, but he isn't quite there yet.
 He is trying though!  It won't be long and he'll be hauling all over the place.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 17- Making Borax Snowflakes

Just one more week until Christmas.  Can you believe it?  Gideon is ready, he just wants to open presents.
Our scripture for the day came from Luke 15:4-7.  This is the parable of the lost sheep, and one of my favorites.  Jesus didn't spend all of his time surrounded by his righteous followers, he also spent time with the sinners, sought them out, and drew them in.  No one is excluded from His love and neither should anyone be excluded from our love and friendship.

 Today we made borax snowflakes.  We made these last year and they were super quick, simple, and a lot of fun.  They however do not keep so we decided to make some more this year.  All you need are some pint sized jars filled with hot water, borax (1/3 c. per jar), pipe cleaners, and some string and pencils.  Since I add borax to the laundry all of this stuff was already in the home and ready to use.
 I let the girls play with the pipe cleans to make some shapes while I "helped" Gideon make his.
 Lily called hers "squirlies" and Charlotte made tear drops.
 My cute assistant munching away at his cheerios.
 We put them in the jars with the string connecting them to the pencils.  You don't want them to touch the sides or the bottom.  We made these around 4:00 this afternoon.
 By 8:30 the crystals were already pretty well formed.  We'll take them out in the morning, let them dry, and then put them up on the tree.

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16- Make Christmas Cookies

Some day are just busier than others and this was one of them.  Actually, I'm not sure that today was busy, it was just difficult.  Gideon is having a difficult time teething which means that I am not getting much sleep at all.  Oh well, the day keeps going and I keep going with it.

Today we read the parable of the sower from Luke 5:5-16.  We learn here that Jesus taught with stories, and why he taught with stories.  It is a very effective method for those who are willing and ready to learn.

For our activity we made Christmas cookies.  At first I planned to let the kids cut out shaped and everything, but I was exhausted!  So instead we tried another new method.  We rolled red and white dough out and then rolled it up together.  I should have chilled the dough first.  I'll do better next time.
They came out really well though, very soft and delicious because almond sugar cookies are just the best.
Lily was happy with them.
And Charlotte couldn't be bothered to smile, she was too busy eating.
And yes, it isn't unusual for my kids to wear dress-up clothes over their pajamas.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 15- Make Christmas Candies

This morning went very smoothly.  Gideon didn't sleep well, I blame that tooth that is working its way through his gums, so I was up early, but not nearly as early as the other day.  He did however take a wonderful nap this morning to during that time we pulled out our star for the day.  Today we read from Matthew 6:9-13 which is The Lord's Prayer.  Lily caught on very quickly and as soon as Tyson finished reading she told us that Jesus was saying a prayer.  This is where Christ teaches us the proper way to pray.

Today for our activity we were to make Christmas candy.  The girls helped me add ingredients to the pot, watched it cook, and kept me company while I waited for everything to come to temperature.  I had Tyson beat the fudge for me because my hands were full and the fudge turned out so smooth I think that I'll have him beat it for me every time from here on out.  
The caramel turned out a little soft so we will be chilling it, cutting it, and then dipping it in chocolate tomorrow.

Since I didn't take any pictures of the kids helping me make the candy I figured that I'd give a preview of them in their Christmas dresses/outfit.  Ever since I finished sewing and knitting these Lily has been asking every week if they can wear them and today I decided that they could.  We even took the time to curl their hair and I think that they are the most adorable girls in the world!
Apparently sewing for boys can be fun too!  Look at this dapper little guy, how much cuter can they get.  He was too fixated on the lights on the Christmas tree to look at the camera.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 14- Elf Night

Another fun day as we countdown to Christmas!  We started the day by reading our daily scripture which today came from Luke 2:42-49.  This is where Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem as a boy and his parents found him a few days later in the temple, learning from the scholars.  Here we see that Jesus sought learning.

Today we watched one of my favorite Christmas movies, Elf.  We also read the book Elf: A Short Story of a Tall Tale which was really cute and all about how it is our differences that make us special.
 For our refreshments during the show we followed the four food groups of the elves; candy, candy corn, candy canes,
 and chocolate syrup mixed in with their milk.  Some days we just don't quite manage a good picture, oh well.  Here are my crazy kids.  And don't worry, Gideon didn't get chocolate milk, just some water with a bit of apple juice.
 In other news, Gideon's first tooth broke through today.

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13- Making Homemade Candy Canes

This morning started earlier than it should have.  It seems like once every 2 weeks or so Gideon decides so wake up for the day before 4 am.  It is exhausting!  I get a lot done in those early morning hours, but by early afternoon I'm so tired!  I had planned today's activity for quite some times, but I was seriously reconsidering given how early my day started.

To make the best of things we got started on our advent activity earlier than usual.  We read from Matthew 5:2-16 which is a portion of the Sermon on the Mount.  Not only do we learn what Jesus wants us to do, but this shows Him as a teacher, and a great one at that.

For our activity we had planned to make homemade candy canes.  I decided to go for it and got everything together.  Lily helped with adding the ingredients to the pan.
 Charlotte preferred to stir.
 And Gideon sat next to me looking cute.
 Seriously, look at those big eyes, he's so cute I could seriously devour this kid.
 Well...I stepped away for a minute, and as anyone who makes candy knows, that is a bad idea.  I swear that the thermometer was at 250 degrees when I walked away and when I got back it was at 320 degrees,  That's a problem when you are supposed to remove them from heat at 280.  So, I poured the burnt sugar into an old jam jar that I could just throw away, because seriously, what else was I going to do with it, and then started over.  Whoops.
 The second time I watched the thermometer like a hawk and boy was it BORING!  It took ages.  But eventually we got there, I poured it out and added the coloring and flavoring.  I had intended to make a green stripe too, but I grabbed the red food coloring because I wasn't paying attention so I had 2 batches of red instead of one.  Whoops.  I tell you, I need sleep.
 I worked it all together and low and behold, it eventually looked like candy cane material.  I started putting it all together a bit too early though.  If I make them again, which I probably will, I will wait until it is a little cooler.
 I cut it into strips and the girls ran with them from the counter to the kitchen table and shaped them into all sorts of things.
 They were pretty proud of all of their candy canes.
 They turned out pretty well, not too bad for the first go around, even with a burnt batch.
If you'd like the recipe and tutorial I found this one here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12: Painting Snowflakes

We were home bound today.  Charlotte is running a tiny fever and the car started making noises last night on our way home from dance class so I'm not packing my kids into it until Tyson has a few minutes to look it over.  I'm just not willing to risk breaking down in freezing temperatures with my 3 little ones in the car.  It is probably something minor, but I"m being careful.

We started on our calendar early today.  I guess that is what happens when you skip preschool and there is time.  Our scripture for today came from Matthew 3: 13-17.  In this passage Jesus approaches John the Baptist, asks to be baptized, and in doing so fulfills the will of the Father.  Christ was perfect, he had no need for baptism to redeem him from sin, however he set the path to follow and submitted to his Father's will.  Christ was obedient to God's laws.

Today for our activity we painted snowflakes.
 I let the girls pick out their favorite snowflakes for a font that I had and then cut them out in vinyl.  I put the vinyl on some 8x10 canvases and put out 4 different shades of blue for them to paint with.
 Lily set right to work.  She started by painting all around the vinyl snowflake, but not touching it at all.  It had to explain to her that she needed to cover all of the white and that it was okay to get paint on her snowflake.  Charlotte on the other hand started out painting all over her snowflake, but had no desire to do the area around it.  It took some convincing and even then I did a tiny bit of spot filling for her.
  When they had covered all of the white canvas, I pulled off the vinyl snowflakes.  Charlotte was very upset with me at first for pulling off her snowflake, she cried, she wanted it to stay on.  Some cuddling seemed to make it all better.
 After they were dry I took them outside, sprayed some spray adhesive on them, sprinkled some glitter, and then sprayed them with some clear sealant.  Charlotte was eager to mix the various blues together, much more than Lily, and I love how the color turned out.
They are now hanging on the wall in the girls' room.  They are loving them and had fun picking a place for them to hang.

We did most of our activity during Gideon's nap, so he sadly doesn't appear in any photos.  I'm excited for next year when he will be old enough to really get to participate.