i've been counting down since last Dec 26 ... are you ready? me neither!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

make your own Polar Express!!

The engine is made of 2 candy bars – one cut in half stuck to the one lying flat. You can make the train as long or short as you’d like … I love the idea of each child having their own ‘car’ to decorate. The ‘wheels’ can be any round candy – but if you use starlight mints, I suggest leaving them in the wrapper … so they don’t melt from the moisture in the frosting. Even mini Oreos would be cute! Get creative and go crazy!! The frosting we used was the ready made stuff you can buy at the store ... spooned it into a plastic bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner to make a 'tip' to squirt the frosting from.
This is a great idea for a Family Night – head to your local grocery store's bulk candy section and pick out your favorite edible decorations … and create your very own Polar Express!

Be sure to have a white Christmas with a sifter and a little snow -
I mean powdered sugar!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

today i broke one of my cardinal rules ...

i'm feeling a little like the burgermeister ...

Burgermeister Meisterburger: You brats are under arrest.
Kris Kringle: Wait don't arrest those children. It was my fault I gave them the toys.
Burgermeister Meisterburger: YOU? How dare you! You are obviously a nonconformist and a rebel!
Kris Kringle: Have a yo-yo.
Burgermeister Meisterburger: [gasps and chokes] A yoooooo-yoooooooooo? I love yo-yos. I used to be able to do all kinds of tricks. Ah-wheeeee [laughing]
Grimsby: Excuse me sir, but you're breaking your own law.
Burgermeister Meisterburger: [gasps and chokes] Ooooooouuuuuuu, I've been bamboozled!

bamboozled i tell you, bamboozled into thinking this could be good idea - 10 million people can't be wrong?? OOooo but they can!! in my zeal to 'save a buck', i set my alarm for 4:30AM and arrived at walmart at 4:45 ... only to discover that the line to get into the store was around the building ... and after waiting at the opposite door from the crowd for 35 minutes, hoping that they would open it ... they informed me/us (me and the 25 or so other people standing there ... ) that they wouldn't open it until the line had died down - wow ... this is serious business. and as for Christmas Cheer ... sadly that has no place on Black Friday.

and really ... why is it called 'black friday'? i know the real reason is because the stores are hoping to be back in the black by the end of business ... but is that the only reason? i think not.
we could start calling it "black-eye friday" - there was almost a brawl outside walmart ...
we could call it "black-heart friday" - people can be ruthless ... are we Christmas shopping or what??
or "black-coffee friday" - everyone had one in hand ... starbucks could corner the market!
"black-outside friday" - that's what color the sky was when i left for the store
i could keep going but all i can think of is how awful people were out there today ... so i'm going to stop.

as i rounded the corner to the front of the store, still waiting to get in, i invited 2 ladies to go ahead of me ... wishing them a Merry Christmas! they were so nice and i visited with them as we meandered toward the door. when we got closer, i again invited a woman to go ahead of me ... to which a walmart-nazi said, "nope ... she has to go to the end of the line." the woman tried ... she lied and said that she knew me from work ... but he still was not going to budge. really? are you really going to be like that? what. ever.

note to self: do not do this again - it's not worth it! (even if you can save a few bucks ...)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

in which i'm having an attitude of gratitude:

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. ~Aesop

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
~Author Unknown

We give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. ~Author Unknown

So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart.
~Arthur Guiterman, The First Thanksgiving

He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part;
The full, the true Thanksgiving
Comes from the heart.
~J.A. Shedd

This year i'm happy to announce that instead of being thankful it's almost Christmas ... i'm thankful for the opportunity to think about my blessings and ponder on each one!

that being said here are ...

my 8 things 2 be gr8ful 4 in 2008:

1: my andy - he's my handsome husband, compassionate companion, helpful househusband, strong and sensitive sidekick, a fabulous father, and my very best friend.

2: my family - near and far ... my own little brood and the antics that we endure here, my up close and personal parents and parents in-law, my near brother and sisters, many local extended relatives, and my little big sister who is located far but close to my heart and my extended family in far away places, every single one of them!

3: my friends - i really do have the best friends ever!

4: my Savior

5: my membership in the true Church and knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

6: my body - i can walk, sing, dance, see, jump, type, and run (short sprints/jogs). i'm thankful that my body works properly and that i have the opportunity to exercise ... and if the stars will align, i will be happy to put on a bathing suit come june 2009 (cuz i'll be lookin' fine in 2009)!!

7: my ability to give and more importantly to recieve forgiveness.

8: my opportunity to learn and the knowledge that i have - i hope and pray that i will continue to learn everyday and apply the new found wisdom to better my life!

Happy Thanksgiving to all ... and to all a good night - oh wait ... that's supposed to be "Merry Christmas to all" ... oops ...

Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

finally finished ...

yes ... i took the release of the movie to get me to finally read it -

will it do my imagination justice? probably not.

will i see it anyway? probably.

i just spent the last 2 days devouring the last half of this book - and now i can slow down and take my time with the next 3!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

and then there were 30 days ...

11/1 - Abi's baptism (post complete)

excuse #1 for not posting in november: 7pm Easton started barfing ... and didn't quit until abi followed suit in the middle of the night on the 3rd, elyssa joined the ranks at 5am. thankfully ammon never threw up at all - he's our child that's healthy as an ox. he certainly needs to be taken outside to run around everyday!!

11/4 - Election day ... i was inspired by my good friend Colleen and i started writing my feelings down about the historic election... i want my thoughts recorded for my posterity. the election of 2008 was one that i followed closer than any other. i have never been a political genius - i typically ask Jennalee or my dad which way i should be voting - and it has usually been republican across the board. i am not close-minded ... i just know what i believe and the elephants tend to follow my morals and ideals. as for this particular election ... there was a member of the church running in the beginning and i really wanted him to make it to the white house. Mitt Romney is a great man, politically as well as morally. but when it came down to the last two standing, our choices were an old, white, seasoned, war vet and his strong, smart, spunky, mother of 5 (the last being downs syndrome) running mate ... vs. a young, black, newbie politician and his old, flip-flopping, seasoned, good old boy running mate.

i think what sealed the deal for me was this: Obama thinks it's ok for a man to marry a man and a woman to marry a woman, he also thinks it's ok for a mother to rid herself of a baby growing inside of her ... if she feels like it. out of the mouths of babes ... these are the 2 things that are most vital to my children and family. Abi was certainly the most concerned about these two facts and therefore we, as a family, voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

they were not victorious in the end ... and though it was not the way that i wanted it to work out (and my daughters worry that Obama is going to make it so that they can't marry boys) i feel that this was an election year that will go down in history. and i am proud that i was able to vote. this election was pivotal for 2 reasons: there was a woman running as VP and a black man running for President, for the first time in history! and now - more than before - every man, woman and child can have a dream ... anyone and everyone can run for the most powerful political position in our country (shoot - in the world).

i have a hope for the next 4 years and many more to come ... that the country will recover from this economic downward spiral and that when we look back on this we'll see that history was made and that we had a hand in it.

11/5 - 11/11 - i was consumed with the upcoming enrichment meeting.

11/12 - Circle of Friends Enrichment Meeting!! the only hitch was the green salad that was frozen and yucky ... but i was the only one that was worried about any of that! the comments and conversations were all upbeat, gracious, and more than approving of our efforts! it was wonderful and FUN!

5:00AM on 11/13 - i was awake and getting myself ready to go to the airport. i spent the next 5 days in texas with my little big sister ... attending meetings that she spoke at, chaperoning the youth dance, shopping, hanging out, going to church and most importantly stringing Christmas Lights around her upper roof line and on top of her roof!! (picture coming)

it was a wonderful trip and best of all my family was cared for by the best husband, granny and visiting teacher of all time!

excuse #2 for not posting in november: i was outta town ... (and there's no internet in Texas?! - i know - go figure!!)

11/18 - i returned to the great northwest ... and had to catch up with my life! my house was immaculate - andy's so good a keeping on top of the mess!

11/19 - ammon's preschool was here!! we had 6 four year olds here from 9:30 - 11:30, learning about things that start with K! king, kangaroo, keys, koala, keyboard, etc.

12:00 i picked up my tickets for "The Forgotten Carols"

5:30 time to feed the missionaries

6:00 abi and i leave for "The Forgotten Carols"

6:15 park in 'event $5 parking' near the Everett Events Center by granny - cuz that's where she parked...

6:17 discover that we're supposed to be at the Everett Civic Auditorium because there's a hockey game about to start at the events center ... guess who didn't look at her tickets and gave directions to everybody leading them to believe that we were supposed to be at the events center - yours truly

6:20 stop at Taco del Mar for dinner

6:25 hoof it, in the cold, east 2 blocks and south 4 blocks to the civic auditorium

6:45 discover there are a ton of free parking places near the correct venue ...

6:50 get in line with 100 or so other people waiting to find their seats

7:30 - 10:00 enjoy the most wonderful start to Christmas there could be! this is going to be my new tradition! what a perfect way to kick off this holiday season! i bought a souvenir book for abi (this musical was part of her birthday present) and we had all the actors sign the inside cover.

10:15 while driving home remember that i had my camera with me - even took pictures of us before the show - and didn't take any of abi or myself with Michael McLean!! DUH!

excuse #3 for not posting in november: shoot ... i can't find time to sleep let alone blog!!

11/20 - enrichment third thursday craft night ... but nobody came - so robyn and i visited and she showed me how to do vinyl lettering so that we can do it for our january craft night!

because i had the time ... i called kedra and asked if she and nolan were up for visitors. i went over and got a baby-fix for about a half hour.

11/21 - YOGA finally, after missing 9 classes - 3 weeks! then andy came home during naps and quiet time so i could go with my mother-in-law to a craft fair!

that evening i did some presentations for a company that i'm starting to work with ...

11/22 - 10am-noon a meeting down near IKEA, home about 2 ish and then robyn and i went and delivered our visiting teaching message. i had planned for andy and i to take the girls and see High School Musical 3, but andy's sister offered to take them - she wanted to see it too! so we dropped them off and we took the boys to costco. they were having a boeing employee/BECU event! the place was PACKED!! but there was free food, goodies, samples, gift certificates and wow it was awesome! especially because we signed up all 4 of our kids up for savings accounts and got $25 gift cards to costco for each! Merry Christmas!!

11/23 - i forgot until i bolted out of bed at 8:05 that i was supposed to be practising/warming up with the choir at 8:25!! andy has been a real trooper these last few weeks while i've been otherwise occupied - he's the BEST husband EVER!!

11/24 - started this post ... and you can see by the length - if you are still with me - that i couldn't finish it all in one day!!

thank you for your friendship through my incommunicado state this month!
and the reason for the title: i am SO behind in my preparation for Christmas! this is the first time in my 9 years of marriage that i am not finished buying, decorated and ready to just enjoy December!! and now i only have 30 days!! wish me luck!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

slacker = me

november is winding down and i'm a little behind - but i have a big one (not big behind - a big post) and i'll have it up for the world to see as soon as i can! don't write me off yet!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

a special day indeed.

there's nothing quite like watching your children grow up right before your eyes ... i recently finished (finally) my mini scrapbook entitled "Our Babies: Birthdays and Blessing Days" and looking back on each of them was remarkable, surprising and even a little bizarre. our minds play tricks on us - me especially since i'm only 18 and i have 4 children ranging in age from 8 to 2 and i've been married for over 9 years ... that's over half my life time!
i was perusing thru my mini-book and discover that i can remember a whole lot about each day ... and still i wish i could remember more. i laid in bed the other night tears streaming soaking my pillow thinking about my tiny baby abi ... she's growing up to be such a bright (in all senses of the word), courageous, sensitive, spiritual young lady. she got a book of mormon reader from grandma shaw around the beginning of october and we couldn't get her to put it down. she was determined to finish it ... and when she got to the end, she read Moroni's Challenge and took it to heart. she knelt and prayed, all by herself. she didn't need any coaching from me ... she knew what to do. she asked her Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true. when she related this story (after the fact) she stopped there - she was so matter-of-fact about it. she was just reporting that she had done it.
so i asked her, "and what did Heavenly Father tell you?"
abi: [shrugs shoulders] it's true.
me: how do you know?
abi: i felt good inside - the Holy Ghost helped me know.

out of the mouths of babes.

she made the decision to be baptized and today was that special day. it was extra special too because she didn't have to share it with anyone. it was our stake's baptism day ... but she was the only one! we had such a wonderful group of family and friends there!! it was exceptionally fantastic!

looks like i'll be adding another 'B' to my mini-book: Baptism Day ...