Hi! My name is Priscilla. I am the wife of a Methodist minister, mom of three, a piano teacher and musician. I feel inspired to share with you stories of our family, especially our cute kids! I also want to include pedagogical thoughts, resources and theories about my piano teaching career. I hope you love the stories, enjoy the tips, and find some things useful.
This was a week filled with winter wonderland adventures! It was a once in your youth experience for those in Arkansas! We received seven or eight inches of snow last Sunday night and Monday, plus another five or six inches on Wednesday! The temperatures were deep freezer cold the entire week so it stuck around. We were fortunate to keep our electricity! However, we did lose internet, which was only a minor inconvenience. I just reminded my self and told my kids that this was how things used to be when I was a kid. We watched what came on the local tv station, and actually used our DVDs. 🙂 We had enough food to last the entire week and so we stayed inside and enjoyed the warm, played in the snow, and did fun snow activities all week long!
The first day we went out in the snow the temperatures and the wind were so cold!!! The kids literally lasted about ten minutes! We spent more time putting on extra shirts, pants, socks, shoes, coats, gloves, and hats than playing in the snow! 😅 Samuel’s reaction the first time out was, “It’s too cold! I want to go back in.” He also didn’t like the fact that the snow drifts were too deep for him to walk in. David, and Emma especially, loved the snow! Emma liked making snow angels, and David wanted to have snow ball fights.
I might have enjoyed playing in the snow just as much as the kids this week!
Wednesday when we went outside it was snowing. The kids were catching snowflakes on their tongues.
Samuel finally warmed up to the snow. He decided to lay down and make a snow angel too. 🙂
The first few days involved going out into the snow and discovering the awe and wonder of it all. For about ten minutes. Then coming inside to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. 🙂
The real fun began about Thursday through Saturday. The temperatures were slightly warmer and we were able to stay out longer. We discovered giant ice cycles and made snow cream on Thursday! Emma had fun scooping the snow for the snow cream and helping me make it. Snow cream is not something I remember vividly from my childhood. I’m sure we probably did, but I just don’t remember it. So making snow cream was a new experience for me too! I was surprised at how easy it was to make. David and Samuel loved it, but Emma thought it was too cold. I enjoyed the taste of it, but I think because it was so cold I found it hard to eat very much.
Friday we went for a walk and found a slope by the pond just perfect for sledding! We walked back to the house and grabbed our beach boards. We don’t own a sled, but discovered that beach paddle boards work great on the snow too! The kids had a blast!! We sledded for a long time. My tail bone was sore on Saturday! 🙂 I took videos of the kids sledding, and I wish you could see it! Pictures didn’t quite do it justice!
Saturday we went back to sled some more! We discovered the snow was melty enough to build a snowman! We built one down by the pond while we were sledding. After we finished sledding we came back to the house and built another one in our yard! David built his own little snow man too! He was proud because it was his first ever snowman. 🙂
Today the snow melted quite a bit as the temperatures were well above freezing. We were able to leave the house this afternoon, and go get a pizza! 🙂 I feel sad that the snow is melting, but at the same time glad to be able to get out and about again.
This year was one crazy Valentines Day!! I say this for many reasons. One, the weather has been crazy! A few days ago we got a bunch of freezing rain, yesterday (valentines day) it snowed. sleeted, and the wind blew so hard all night long, and today we are getting several inches of glistening, fluffy snow! The biggest reason why this Valentines day was crazy is because it was the first Valentines day EVER that Andrew and I have not been together. It made the day a little sad, but for myself it was made easier because I was surrounded by my three little valentines, and friends who risked getting out in this crazy weather to bring us lunch! Even though Andrew and I were not able to be together, I still felt very loved and blessed this Valentines Day.
It has been several years since we have seen an actual…well, anything winter weather related. The kids were amazed at the ice on the ground. This was their expressions when we first went outside. 🙂 Samuel especially was not sure about it. Once we were out onto the street and was able to “skate” on the ice, they loved it. I am excited to see their expressions when we are able to go outside and play in the almost foot of snow tomorrow! Too bad it’s a powdery snow! I don’t know if they will be able to build a snowman, but they probably won’t care.
We made Valentines Day sugar cookies on Saturday. I love making sugar cookies with the kids! They love cutting the shapes out, and then frosting the cookies. My favorite sugar cookie recipe is from Sally’s Baking addiction. I love how soft and fluffy they are. I don’t use her icing recipe, mainly because I know the kids are going to be decorating and I don’t really want to go to all that trouble for kid frosting. I use a buttercream frosting and the kids color it with food coloring. Emma likes doing the food coloring. The last time we used the food coloring I got the lid for the yellow and red mixed up. OOPS! I had intended on having pink frosting, but we ended up with red because we had to use enough red to cover up the yellow we accidently put in first. 🙂
We had a lazy Valentines day morning, and the kids wanted to watch cartoons with a valentines day theme. We watched the Curious George Valentines day episode, and the kids saw that the man with the yellow hat made heart shaped pancakes and waffles for George, so the kids wanted some heart shaped pancakes too! 🙂 Who am I to disappoint?! I got into the kitchen and whipped up a batch of pancake batter! I used the NYT everyday pancakes recipe! I used self rising flour, and substituted a cup of the milk for buttermilk. They tasted amazing, and were so fast and easy to make! I broke out my heart shaped cutters, and pretty soon the kids had their heart shaped pancake breakfast!
A few days prior I had received my traditional Valentines day gift from Andrew. We have a thing where every year he buys me one of the gold plated roses from I Hate Steven Singer. 😍 I believe this is my seventh rose! 🥰💐 It’s really beautiful! The kids and I sent Andrew a care package/Valentines day gift as well. We mailed it last Monday, but to our disappointment he is still waiting for it. It will be a nice surprise next week when he returns from field training!
Friday we had to make a break for the grocery store in between weather, and while we were getting groceries we passed the valentines day card display. David stood there looking for a few seconds and then comes up to me and says, “I want to buy this card for you, but you can’t see it!” He shows me the back of the card so I can see how much it costs. I, of course, say ok. He carries it all through the store, and at the check out asks the lady if he can have the card back after she scans it. He was very careful to not let me see his card until Valentines day. He was so sweet! I have to say, David did a great job picking out his card! 😂 Emma painted me a wood heart envelope, and then made a picture of us at the beach she says. 💌 🙂
The kids usually get their valentines day candy from outside sources! I try to buy them gifts without sugar, as we generally have already made cookies and such. David wanted more Pokémon cards, Emma got a pup pad from her favorite Paw Patrol show, and Samuel got a cool light up spinning top.
My three little loves! They made my day special, and a lot less gloomy!
I am feeling very blessed for this crazy life we are leading. We all miss Andrew terribly, and being far apart on Valentines day was difficult, but we have so much crazy love to be thankful for!
We had a couple days of pretty weather this past week, and we took the opportunity to go outside and soak up the sunshine. On one of our walks we discovered a big patch of dandelions! I always think of the saying, “Some people see a weed, others see a wish”, when I see a dandelion. I am a believe in wishes type, and I still love blowing the little seedlings off the dandelion. David caught eye of a nearby friend and ran off to play with him, but Emma, Samuel and I made wishes. 🙂 Samuel loved blowing on the dandelions, and occasionally tasting them. 🙂 Emma was really into making wishes! She made so many I wish I could remember them all! She wished for our garden to grow food, for daddy to be safe at training, for the field to be full of beautiful flowers, for paw patrol to be real, for a pony, for rainbows, and I can’t even remember the others! It was so precious, and I do remember thinking about how selfless a lot of her wishes were. Emma has such a sweet heart.
Time has passed pretty quickly for the most part this week. I am glad to finally be in February! We are marking the days off the calendar! The days that I am busy, my mind is occupied, and I feel like I am accomplishing a goal, I do really well. I can maintain a positive mood. However, when I find myself unsure of what to do in a day, or if we are in a lull, my mood deteriorates and I start to feel the sadness. I have been trying to make sure I stay focused on keeping our routine, and playing with the kids. I am also trying to downsize the amount of our things. I have had some success in selling and donating quite a bit of stuff, but I still need to clean out some more! Mostly toys that I need to sort through. I will have to be sly to accomplish this! If the kids get the slightest hint of me getting rid of anything that could possibly be theirs, the cause will be lost! If I succeed, they will never miss anything. At least not for a while… 😉
David has been doing well at school, and he made excellent grades this last quarter. He has his days where he wants to be lazy, but once he gets into the work, he does excellent. He loves reading, and can read so well! I often forget just how well he can read. The other day we ran some errands and picked up some lunch. On the way back home we passed a street corner where there was a person standing on the corner holding a sign. We didn’t have to stop at this corner because our light was green, and so I barely even caught sight of this person, plus I am jaded because there is almost always someone standing on that corner. However, David, for apparently the first time, noticed this person and read his sign. David said something to me in the car about that man’s sign said he was homeless. I was focused on driving and I don’t recall even really responding. When we arrived at home, I noticed something was wrong with David. I asked him what was the matter. He said something to the effect of “I am sad because of that man’s sign. He doesn’t have a home”, and then he went into total melt down. We had to have an impromptu lesson about poverty, and homelessness. We watched some you tube videos for kids about it, and we had a talk about it. I must have told our kids a hundred times how we need to be thankful for what we have because there are many people in the world less fortunate; There are people who don’t have enough food, clothes, or a place to live, but I guess it went over their heads because they have never experienced meeting or seeing someone like that before. It also made me think about my actions!!😳 I want to set a good example for my kids, and help make the world a better place for them. Maybe I need to start paying more attention to people on the street corners! I was given an idea from my mother-in-law, and I think I will start keeping a small bag of non perishable food items, and toiletries in my car for just such an instance! My parents also say they sometimes go buy a fast food meal and then give it to someone who says they are in need of food, instead of giving them cash. I told David I was proud of him, I loved his caring heart, and that I wish for him to always care about others like that.
Yesterday we went to Jim and Alesia’s house, or as they are more commonly known around here, Grand-mama and G-pa. 🙂 Emma has really been into having tea parties lately, and so we had another tea party at Grand-mama’s house. Emma wants to dress up on the days we are planning to have tea. It’s so cute, she goes and picks out one of her dresses to wear for that day. The kids had fun playing, and spending time at G-pa and Grand-mama’s house, and we all went for an afternoon walk together too! We spent the night, and the kids loved sleeping on the bunk beds at Grand-mama and G’pa’s house. 🙂
This evening I started a fire in my fire pit. We enjoyed being outside! The temperature was actually pretty nice, however it did start to shower on us just as we were going to roast hot dogs. The rain wasn’t enough to put out the fire, and so I roasted hot dogs and marshmallows anyway! The kids then enjoyed a picnic on the living room floor while watching Monster’s Inc. 🙂
I stole this picture from Facebook. Andrew is leading a briefing in one of his classes. I’m still not used to the camo!
If I had a hundred wishes And only one of them could come true I would wish that, over this distance I could be right there, now, with you.
Since I started blogging a few years ago, one of my main objectives has been to be honest and real in my writing. I want you to know that we are a real family just like all other families with the good, the messy, and the in-between. My personality is that of the glass half full, so I naturally gloss over the smaller negative things in life that others might tend to dwell on, but that is just me. I hope that in all the posts you have read you have felt either encouraged, inspired, or like part of the family! It is never my intention to make anyone think that “I have it all put together”, or that I am “an amazing mom”, or anything even close to that! The one thing I am proud of is that now I have this treasure trove of stories and pictures for my family and I to look back on! I guess I say all this because I want people to know that what we are going through right now is no walk in the park! In the midst of my mirage of smiling pictures and stories, there is a deep down sadness right now. One that I suspect won’t go away until April 24th. I know it is even harder still for my husband, who is not only separated from us, but going through army basic training (need I say more!), and drastic changes in every aspect. I am so thankful that we are still able to communicate with him, and see him through facebook portal! Please keep Andrew in your prayers, and if you are a close friend I ask you to reach out to him and send him a word of encouragement!
Here are a few pictures of us facetiming with Andrew! David loves to use the effects on the messenger app! That’s why I have some kind of dragon on my head. 🙂
For now the kids and I are keeping our usual routine, and are surrounded by family and an amazing community of people that are helping to support us. There is an angel heaven sent who’s name is Pam. She has been coming to our house in the late afternoons into the evenings and helping me out. I’m sure she could tell you a story or two about the Kjorlaug’s! 😅 The kids have actually been doing really well. There has been some boundary pushing this past week, especially at meal time, to see what they can get away with. I pray that I will be able to stand my ground, and still be a loving parent. It’s a difficult balance in my mind, and I find it taxing at times.
Last weekend we went to my parents house. We celebrated my Dad’s birthday! We had a hot dog and marshmallow roast, and went hiking in the woods around my parents house, played games, and had birthday cake! We had a great time, and the kids loved spending time with Papa and Nana!
Sunday evening when we returned home from Dad and Mom’s house, we had pizza and movie night with Andrew! We have also played some family games with Andrew this way. For those of you who have similar experiences, what ways do you spend time with family long distance? Is there certain apps or games you use to spend time together? Would love to hear about it!
Monday and Tuesday were unusually warm this past week, and Tuesday I decided we needed to get out and enjoy the sunshine. I took the kids to the zoo, and we spend a couple hours walking around. It was a beautiful day, and a great morale booster! 🙂
While Andrew is away, I am flexing my cooking muscle a little more! I enjoy cooking and it typically is fun for me. One of the recipes I made this past week was an herb roasted pork tenderloin! The meat was so tender and juicy, and it paired well with the peach glaze. The kids really loved it, and Emma especially liked the glaze! I had reserved some and put it on the table. She was dipping her roll, and everything else into it! I may have as well. 😉
I bought Fred and Ethel this cat carrier for later on when we have to do some traveling. They can both fit in it comfortably and I also believe a small litter box will fit as well. I folded it out so they could get used to it. I believe they like it! I have never traveled long distance with cats before. Hopefully they will ride well!
We had a tea party with Grand-mama Friday afternoon! 🙂 Emma was so excited about having a tea party! She has been asking to do it for some time, and I finally took the opportunity. I bought some cute little valentine cookies and brownie bites, made some earl grey tea, and broke out the real china! The kids thought that was something! They have been asking for afternoon tea everyday since! I love a good afternoon tea myself!
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of events! Things have happened so quickly that my head is still spinning! Andrew preached his last Sunday, and I taught my last week of piano lessons. We have moved many times, and saying good bye to people is ALWAYS the most difficult part. This time is different too in that Andrew has already left, but the kids and I will not officially be leaving for quite some time. So we have said goodbye to Andrew, I have already said fare well to my students, and with the pandemic I don’t know if I will see a lot of people before we do leave. I feel like this past year has stolen my time of being with friends and people from our community. It’s so terrible and sad! I will miss everyone here! There have been people from our church community that have been so thoughtful, generous, and shared their friendship with us. Their help in this time of transition for us as a family means so much too! Words cannot express the gratitude we feel!
This is a picture of Andrew preaching at the drive-in service on his last Sunday. I am so proud of him! He has worked so hard this past year. Lately, I have been asking myself if this is the same person I married!? 🙂 In the past year he has made several positive lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier, working out, going through the enrollment process of becoming a military Chaplin, trading in his shirt and ties for camouflage, and getting a much shorter haircut! I mean seriously! In the whole of our married life, I have NEVER seen Andrew wear anything camouflage!! It’s going to take some serious getting used to! He has even influenced me to cook a little healthier, and watch my weight over the last several months! So hey, I might lose a few pounds and get in shape this year too! 🙂
We decided to put our house up for sale a few days before Andrew left. We have moved several times, but I have never had to stage our house for selling. It’s intense! I have never told a bigger lie!! 😂 Our house was absolutely spotless! I had cleaned out corners, closets, and put away anything that made the house look like it was lived in! The kids pictures all came off the walls, and their toys put neatly away! I had to send the kids to a friends house for a few hours to accomplish this task! There is no way our house would have looked like this otherwise. However, God’s hand was surely at work in this process because I have never heard tell of a house selling so fast! We listed our house on a Friday and by Saturday evening we had accepted a generous offer! Praise Jesus! I could not have managed to keep our house in showing order!!! It was way too stressful!!! God knew I couldn’t handle it!😅 We had the house inspection today, and so I am praying all goes well on that front. The good thing is that we get to stay in this house until March 15th! This is wonderful because it gives us some time to live a “normal” life in this house. Moving will also be different this time because the military will come pack up and store our things. I’m not sure how I, as a control freak, will handle that, but it does make it a lot less work! Also, if you where worried about where we will live after March 15, don’t! God has had his hand in that too! I will be sharing more on that in a later post!
I cannot really describe the depth of sadness and emptiness I felt yesterday as we said our goodbyes to Andrew. We have spent some time apart over the years, but never more than a week or two. This is an entirely different realm we have entered, and honestly the days cannot pass quickly enough. I’m usually not one to wish my time away, but in this instance, I’m all for the next few months passing quickly! The kids had been talking about it for a few days, and while I know they felt sad, they handled saying good bye really well. We have been talking to Andrew over facebook portal, and Andrew has read them a bed time story the last couple nights. I’m so thankful for technology! I can’t imagine doing this back in the time of hand written letters, and long distance phone calls!
In the midst of all this craziness, David lost a tooth! 🙂 Bless his heart, he is getting a lot better about not freaking out about it! This one just kind of popped right out, no drama at all! 🙂
Happy New Year!! I have to say that in past years I have not been a fan of making new years resolutions. For the most part it seems like a definite way of setting ones self up for failure. I hate to fail at anything! So why make goals and promises that I probably can’t keep for all 365 days? However, this year I feel differently. This year has already started out a different kind of year for many many reasons. So I actually did make some resolutions this year. In fact, we sat down as a family and made some resolutions together too! I don’t know if I will be successful at keeping all of them, but hopefully it will help me keep in mind some things I want to focus on.
I also have a scripture verse that I am claiming this year! “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7 It has been sticking out at me in various places over the last month, and it has spoke to me each time. I love this verse and hope I can live it this year. Especially with all the uncertainty, and changes that are coming over the course of this year.
Speaking of anxiety…Andrew leaves for training in eleven days! We have started this year by cleaning out our garage, decluttering various places in the house, and we are preparing to put our house up for sale. In some respects I always welcome the opportunity to declutter, organize, and get rid of stuff. Anytime we move I always get rid of stuff. I honestly don’t know where or how we get so much stuff! I pretty much hate stuff! I feel like it multiplies all by itself and I don’t even know! My goal in moving this time is to get rid of as much stuff as possible! I don’t want to take anything non-essential with us. I feel like it would be so freeing to be rid of stuff! Of course the kids are never going to go for getting rid of their toys, so I guess I’ll have to make some exceptions! 🙂
All this cleaning out is actually helping to distract me from the fact that Andrew is fixing to leave for three months. Because of covid we won’t be able to travel and visit him in person! I am thankful we have facebook portal technology! We will be able to see and talk to him that way at least! We will miss him terribly! I worry about how the kids will hold up during this long of a separation. I worry about the emotional effects it could have, and how I can make sure I am supporting them through this. I don’t know how the next several months are going to play out. There are so many things I just don’t know. I am fully putting my best foot forward, and embracing living life on the edge! We could use your prayers…, and if any of you have any life experience of this sort, please share! I would love to hear your stories, experiences, and advice. I am trusting in God, and know that all things will work together for good.
David started virtual school back this week! I resumed preschool activities with Emma, and Samuel likes to sing his abc songs and identifies his colors, etc. 🙂 I have become a lot more relaxed with the whole school at home, and I enjoy the freedom of the schedule. It will definitely be an adjustment for us this fall if we decide to do traditional schooling again. We also enjoyed some special moments of falling snow this week! It snowed pretty hard for quite a while but didn’t stick to the ground. I think there is another chance this coming week for snow, so hopefully it will stick.
Despite everything the year 2020 has thrown our way, we had a wonderful Christmas this year! The few days leading up to Christmas eve was spent in preparation for the big day. We made cinnamon rolls, put up our Christmas tree and decorated it, baked cookies and a cake for Christmas eve/ day. This is the first year in a very long time that I have been with my side of the family on Christmas eve and Christmas day!! Because of both Andrew’s and my ties to church on Christmas eve and sometimes Christmas day even, we typically are not able to be with our families until after Christmas day. This year my family came and spent Christmas with us!! It was a wonderful treat, and really the best Christmas gift they gave us!
I LOVE home made cinnamon rolls, and I am always so impressed with them. You probably get sick of seeing my pictures, but I can’t help it. I’m always so proud that I can actually make cinnamon rolls that taste good. 😂This year I put a cream cheese frosting on the top, and I will probably always and forever put this frosting on my rolls. I loved it!
Cream Cheese Icing for Cinnamon Rolls:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk of choice (or more if necessary)
Emma and Samuel were really into helping me out in the kitchen! They are my taste testers! 🙂 I wanted to bake cookies on Christmas eve, but I didn’t want to stand in the kitchen forever making the dough. This year I made the dough the day before! For the sugar cookies I separated the dough out, and rolled it into three little discs. I then stored it in between wax paper in the refrigerator over night. The kids were able to cut out the cookies, bake, and then decorate the next day. I also did this with the snickerdoodle cookies we made. I rolled them into balls and put them into the refrigerator overnight on a sheet tray covered with parchment paper. The next morning the kids rolled them in the cinnamon and sugar, and then we baked them! I have found my favorite snicker doodle recipe too! I stumbled across this snickerdoodle recipe by Modern Honey and thought I would give it a try. It truly is the best recipe I have found!
I am sorry for the overload of pictures in this post, but I have captured so many good memories that I want to keep and share! I simply can’t choose!
Since Andrew and I have been married we have always bought a real Christmas tree. I didn’t grow up with real Christmas trees, but Andrew did. The first couple years I was skeptical, but I am a total tree lover now! 🙂 I LOVE a real Christmas tree! They always look so beautiful and smell so good! Yes, they are a little messy, but totally worth the little extra effort.
David was super excited to put the star on top of the tree. The tree was too tall for him to reach the top to put it on, so the next best thing was getting to plug it in! I love David’s face when he lit up the star for the first time! His facial expressions this year were priceless! 🙂 One of my favorite things is unwrapping all the ornaments and decorating the tree. I love looking at the different ornaments and remembering different people, places, and memories.
Christmas eve was a fun filled day spent with family!🥰 It was wonderful having Leah and Brandon, and Dad and Mom here! We ate tacos for lunch on Christmas eve! We played games, and later that afternoon unwrapped presents from Uncle B and Aunt Leah! The kids are at the perfect age for gifts! Their face expressions and exclamations of surprise are prime television worthy! 🤣 Especially David’s when he opened the packs of Pokémon cards from Uncle B. Later that evening we settled down to watch some Christmas moves featuring The Grinch, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and finally the Christmas eve service live stream from our church. We missed Andrew that evening at dinner, but he was with us on tv, and then joined us later. 🙂
After the kids were all tucked in bed, we then went about setting out all the gifts under the tree! I like waiting to put the gifts under the tree on Christmas eve because I like to see the kids eyes light up and their expressions the next morning! (Okay, let’s be honest. I am still in bed when the kids wake up on Christmas morning!) However, I could hear the shrieks of delight and imagine the sparkle in their eyes as I lay in bed. 🙂
We have a tradition of always reading the Christmas story before we open presents. It stems back to when I was a kid. I am glad we are continuing that tradition with our children. Since we opened gifts both on Christmas eve and Christmas day, we read it twice. Dad read it from Luke on Christmas eve, and Andrew read it from Matthew on Christmas day. The kids then tore into their presents! Once all the gifts were unwrapped, then came the task of opening and putting them together! Dad started working on helping Emma put her Barbie doll house together, Andrew worked on Samuel’s little people race track, and I put David’s hot wheel Scorpion track together. I had cinnamon rolls hot and ready, and we all just ate sporadically between putting toys together and playing! 🙂
Before we knew it, it was almost lunch time! We made roasted beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and steamed green beans for lunch. I also made a coconut cake for dessert! (Actually I made the cake and frosting on Christmas eve morning. That way all I had to do was frost the cake Christmas day!) I am so thankful that my parents were able to be with us on Christmas day! We had a wonderful time, and it made Christmas feel that much more special!
After my parents departed, we took a nap. 🙂 We then spent the rest of the day relaxing!
Christmas with the Kjorlaug family then took place the next day! We were able to gather with Jim and Alesia at their house along with Chris, Beth, and their two boys. We had another wonderful Christmas celebration! We had brunch! Sausage and egg casserole, fruit trays, ham and cheese tray, cinnamon rolls, and Danishes; it was so good!! I have totally got to start the new year on a diet! 🙂 The kids always have fun with their cousins! We had a great time of adult conversation too!
Can you see David’s surprised expression! I was able to get it on camera! 🤣 Too bad the sound he was also making can’t be heard! Emma got a paw patrol tower, and when she opened it she said, “This is just what I’ve always wanted”!!! HAHAHAHA!!! Samuel just likes opening gifts at this point! It was so hilarious!! I love it!
We had a lovely time opening gifts and visiting afterwards. When Chris, Beth and the boys were fixing to leave, Samuel gave aunt Beth the biggest hug! She asked him if he wanted to go home with her, and he really was going to go! At least until they got outside, and then he wanted to get into our car instead of theirs. 🙂 He’s so funny!
Two years ago in the middle of Christmas preparations, we had a beautiful baby boy!! Samuel was born around 10 p.m., 8lbs, 8oz and 19.5 inches long. He had a head of dark hair! Samuel’s hair has only gotten more thick and curly. He was the best Christmas gift!! I can’t believe it has been two years!!! He has grown so much, and developed such a personality!! Samuel is such a funny and sweet boy. He loves to cuddle, hug and kiss, is super smart, and can be very stubborn. He tries to keep up with David and Emma and is learning things so quickly because of it.
We had a small party today for Samuel. He loves Curious George and so we had a curious George theme. I made a chocolate sheet cake, and decorated it with yellow frosting, m&m’s, and a curious George figure and candles I bought. The cake is delicious! It is like a fudgy brownie cake. You can find the recipe for it at https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/recipes/a11901/best-chocolate-sheet-cake-recipe/ ! Samuel loved it, and blew out his candles on the first try!
Samuel mostly loved spending time with his Nana and Papa, and playing with his new toys. 🙂
David and Emma also had fun helping out with preparing for Samuel’s party, playing with Samuel’s new toys, and visiting with Papa and Nana. 🙂 David likes to talk Pokémon with Papa, or anyone who is interested really. 🙂
In other events of the week, we made Christmas ornaments! For the last couple years I have wanted to try making salt dough ornaments with the kids. Well, we finally did it this year! It was a lot of fun, and the kids loved cutting out the shapes, and then painting their ornaments. First we did hand prints. I took charge of the hand prints because I wanted to preserve them for future years. I painted, wrote names and the year on the back, and then sprayed them with a sealer. The other cut outs, I let the kids take charge and have fun!
It has been pretty cold outside this week! I have discovered a new favorite brand of hot cocoa. Land O’ Lakes Hot cocoa mix! Last year I used Trader Joe’s and loved it, but we haven’t gone to Trader Joes this year because of the pandemic. So I had to try something new. BOY am I glad I did!!! It is so rich, chocolatey, and delicious! The kids have requested hot cocoa this week after playing outside! So I had to take pictures of the first hot cocoa drinks of the season. 🙂 Samuel liked it, but really just wanted to eat his marshmallow.
It’s hard to believe Christmas is less than a week away! I am excited for the events of the week; getting a tree and decorating it, wrapping presents, baking cookies and cakes, spending time with family, and taking time to remember Jesus and feeling the hope, peace, love and joy he brings in our hearts.
Last Saturday we put up our Christmas decorations! Now let me be clear, we decorated the fireplace mantel, hung up a wreath on the front door, put candles in the windows, and put out some Christmas nick-nacks. Traditionally we wait to put up our Christmas tree on Christmas eve, so we still have that left to do. However, it does still look a lot like Christmas. I love this time of year, and the kids have a special light in their eyes with any Christmas activity we do. It’s so special to see them love Christmas. It is a busy time of year preparing for everything. It is so important to keep perspective and not become overwhelmed by all the to dos. I had to take a step back and remember the joy of Christmas is in the preparation, and the time we spend with our loved ones. I always want Christmas to be a time of joy, laughter, peace, giving and gratitude. A time of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus!
One of my favorite traditions has become our advent wreath. We light the advent wreath before every meal, and there is something peaceful about having the candles lit while we eat.
Something very interesting happened after we finished putting out our Christmas decorations. A little bird landed on our front door wreath. I was sitting on the sofa admiring our work when it came, and I thought how curious! It sat there long enough for me to get this picture! It is almost as if the bird were approving our decorations. I like to think of this little bird as a gift. Perhaps it was an angel peeking down from heaven.
This weekend we took the kids to see Christmas lights! This is one of my favorite things to do. It stems back to my childhood when Dad and Mom would take us on a drive to see Christmas lights. Some neighbor hoods we drove through would decorate exquisitely, and we looked forward to seeing it every year. Not far from where we live there is a place called the Lights of the Delta! It is on a former air force base, and you drive through and see all the light displays. It is amazing!! Andrew first took me to see it when we were dating!! I was thrilled to get to visit again all these years later with our three kids!
I tried to take some pictures, but with the lighting and the slight drizzle of rain, the pictures don’t do it justice! The kids were in awe! There were “oohs” and “aahs”, thrilled shrieks and “look at that” ‘s ringing through the car. It was definitely a highlight of our season!
Today we decorated ginger bread houses! I cheated and bought the ginger bread house kits. I have made ginger bread before, but I honestly don’t like ginger bread, and it seemed more work than it would be worth. Besides, the kids really just want to decorate and eat the candy anyway! We had a great time and it took us a good chunk of the morning to do it. I helped David and Emma put their houses together, but they did all the piping and decorating. I decorated Samuel’s gingerbread house, but Samuel ate most of his gummies before we could decorate with them! 🙂 This was our first time to build and decorate ginger bread houses. I think it might become a new tradition!
We had a great Thanksgiving week! It started off with the kids and I doing some Thanksgiving crafts, coloring pages, and watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving show. It is one of my favorites! One day the kids had their “Thanksgiving Feast” inspired by the Charlie Brown show for a snack. We did gram crackers, jelly beans, marshmallows, and pretzels. 🙂 It was a lot of fun, and the kids liked making their own plates.
We spent Thanksgiving day at my parents house. It was great to be around family and spend time with them. My mom did a stellar job on the Thanksgiving day feast. She always out does herself, and goes way above and beyond! Most people are satisfied if they can cook a turkey and a few sides, but not my mom. She not only cooked A turkey, but TWO turkeys (One wild shot by my dad, and one store bought), chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, dressing, corn, macaroni and cheese, green beans, stuffed eggs, rolls, a cake and pie!! Talk about being stuffed! 🙂
It was a house full! It was a fill your plate, and sit where ever you can find a spot! (Photo courtesy of Leah 😉 )
The kids had a blast going to Papa and Nana’s house. It had been quite a while since we had been there to visit, and so they were super excited to see Nana and Papa. I took some good pictures of them and the kids together. One of the many blessings I am thankful for is my parents! I love seeing my kids spend time with them.
My parents recently bought an ATV, and it was the kids first time to take a ride on it. They of course loved it! Both Dad and Mom “had” to take them for a ride(s). They loved it! I am so glad the weather was really nice on Thanksgiving Day. We were able to go outside and enjoy the sunshine.
Here is a picture of Leah, Mom and I! Samuel snuck in too! 🙂 Samuel doesn’t want to be too far from mommy, plus he’s a ham!
Sadly, Andrew’s family was scattered around due to Covid, and so we missed celebrating with them. We were however, able to have a small thanksgiving lunch with Jim and Alesia (Andrew’s parents), and our good friends Chris and Laura on Saturday. Andrew cooked the Turkey, he spatchcocked it and roasted it. I highly recommend cooking a turkey this way because it cooks in half the time, and tastes amazing! Of course it doesn’t give you the traditional whole turkey look, but if you don’t mind plating the turkey, it is so much quicker to cook! Especially if you are doing a lunch time meal, instead of dinner time. I made steamed green beans and carrots, and heated up frozen rolls. Yes, I took the easy way out this year!! I did make a French silk pie for dessert though! (too bad I forgot to take a picture! It was amazing!) Our guests brought the other side dishes! We used paper plates and napkins! Honestly, I think it was the most relaxing meal I have ever hosted!
We do have a lot of leftover turkey! We did grocery pickup, and ordered about an eleven pound turkey. They were sold out of that size, and gave us a twenty pound turkey! Needless to say, we have a lot of turkey on our menu this week! So far we have had Turkey chili and turkey nachos. We will probably have turkey paninis, and there is this creamy turkey pasta Casserole recipe that I want to try. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
Advent is here! It has caught me by surprise this year, and I don’t have a thing planned! I did manage to buy this cute advent wreath with the candles. I love that the candles have the words Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love on them. It’s good for “us” kids 🙂 I did do a quick browse today to get some ideas, and I found this blog about teaching through the nativity. I thought it was a cute idea, and we have one of those little people nativity sets that would be perfect to use. I think I will try it and see how the kids respond! Sometimes I feel like we are the only ones who do Advent. I would love to hear some of your ideas and activities for Advent if you are one of the rare few who still celebrate or prepare for the birth of Jesus in this manner.
We are still attending worship via drive in! Sometimes it helps to get dressed up even though you are sitting in the car! Emma put on her Sunday best this week. She had a new dress from Grand-mama that she wanted to wear. 🙂 I know it is only Tuesday, but it feels like a really long week already! We have had such a difficult time getting back into our routine this week, David especially. I am thankful that so far this week the school assignments have been really light, because David has not wanted to do much of anything. He is already in full swing Christmas break mode!😬 It’s funny how at one point during the day I will want to strangle him, and then later I catch a sweet moment like I did this evening that just melts my heart. David was reading a story to Emma and Samuel! 🥰 My three blessings!