Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review

December 31,2010

All over blog land there are these end of year reviews. So, I thought I would join in. I was reviewing some of my photos for the year and a small theme started to emerge. All the photos are of from windows of my house.
Feb 10, 2010

Here is the year by the numbers

Total Number of Posts for the Year -205

October 2010

One Little Word for 2010 -Live

October 25,2010

Most Read Posts

Christmas Tour 2010

Sea Glass - discusses our massive Sea Glass collection and how we are displaying it.

September Book it books discussed are The House of Hope and Fear, The Blind Side, and Eat, Love, Pray

December Book it - Books discussed Border Songs, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Happiness Project, Plain Perfect

Dollar Store Challenge - The pipe cleaner wreath I made for the $5 dollar store Challenge

November 4, 2010

Number of Books Read in 2010-34

December 4, 2010

Top 5 Books Read

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin my review

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows my review

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay my review

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford my review

Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin my review

December 6, 2010

Most Under Read Posts -Also known as I can't believe these aren't the most popular posts. In case you missed these gems, here they are again in all their glory.

Old People are Slippery

What to Show Out of Town Guests


December 29,2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas Season is to look at the holiday lights displays. We had a chance this holiday season to visit several different light displays. The display above is one of the most decorated houses in our town. They go all out with some really cool cutouts and over the top lights.
In Colorado, we visited the Garden Lights at Gardens of Spring Creek in Fort Collins, Colorado. I especially loved the light display that was a flower garden. This display you walked through. I would love to come back here during the daytime and see what regular programs they offered.

We also visited Spanaway, Washington and the Fantasy Holiday Light Display. They had over 300 lighted displays. WOW! It was truly amazing.

4 letter word

I like to play the word game found in the Tacoma News Tribune paper when I am visiting Pappy. They give you a word and you are challenged to make other words with the letters. I am a little addicted to this. All the words have to be 4 letters or longer.

Example: emphasis

phases, maps, shape, peas, spasm, shame, seam etc...

My kids were giving suggestions. Chuckles says, "I know a 4 letter word." All the adults pause because you never know what will come out of a kids mouth. Thank goodness he just said his brother's name which is a regular 4 letter word and not a swear word.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snow and the Woolly Mammoth

While in Colorado, we had a chance to go to Estes Park, Colorado and play in the snow. We went partly the back way through Glen Haven, Colorado. We stopped at one of the little parks and played in the snow. We had fun throwing snowballs. The boys all the boys including the big ones enjoyed dropping snowballs off one side of the bridge and seeing if they made it frozen to the other side.
A few of us had interesting choices in winter clothing such as my Nephew. I nicknamed him the Woolly Mammoth because of his thick leg hair. Thank goodness for that as he was in shorts. We ended up not making it up the back way into Estes. The switch backs weren't very sanded.

Road outside of Glenhaven, Colorado

So we turned around and part of us went onto Estes Park and ate delish hamburgers at Penelope's.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Vacation on Fire!

My Kids and the Cousins

Doesn't that sound dramatic! We were lucky to visit my parents in Colorado all last week. We had a lot of fun. We played with the cousins. We, meaning I, ate way too much of my Mom's delicious cooking. We went to the mountains to play in the snow (more to follow on that). I floated in a inner tube in the lazy river at the new improved rec center pool. Except it wasn't lazy as everyone and their brother, sister and aunt was there. We made sugar cookies and decorated them. Last but not least, I tried not to cringe as my older son as he lighted his church bulletin on fire during Christmas Eve Service. Crisis was averted. It was all good. I hope everyone is having a fun holiday season.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

This is my favorite Christmas Song. This is best sung by Kathy Mathea but this Clay Aiken verision is ok. I just wanted to wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crafty Stress Relief

Sometimes a girl just needs to craft. I saw this pipe cleaner ornament flower here. I thought I would give it a shot. I thought it wasn't bad for a first try. I would like to try multi color ones next. The best part is that I had everything on hand.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa and Santa Cruz

Interesting conversation overheard at breakfast this morning.

Chuckles wearing a Santa Hat : You have Santa on your shirt (points to #1 Son's shirt)

#1 Son: Santa is short for Santa Cruz. I heard that is where Santa vacations.
So there you have it, Santa vacations in Santa Cruz. Just in case you were wondering. It was such a spontaneous conversation that it made me laugh.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I need a Silent Night

Some other Mommies and I were talking about this song. So, I thought I would share. It really hits home at this time of year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Tour 2010

I am once again joining the fabulous Nester's Christmas Tour. Here is my tour last year. We are going to be doing quite a bit of traveling this Christmas Season so this year I am simplifying, I think.

Elf Snowflake/Paper Chain Garland was inspired by the movie, ELF and the one that Hope Studios made last year. This is my version. I made coffee filter snowflakes with the kids. For more details, check out this post.

Shiny Brite Collection- I have two area's I am using for display purposes this year. One is above on my China Hutch and the other is on my shelves near the fireplace.

The framed print of "Wise Men Still Seek Him" on the shelves is a free printable at crafty ever after blog. The Shiny Brites are sitting on top of candlesticks. Candlesticks are one of my collections. Most of the Shiny Brites are my Hubby's Grandmother's but I have gotten some at Goodwill and Salvation Army, too. Here is a link to previous displays.

The Tree is not the usual one I use. Because of all our traveling this season, we didn't think our big pre-lit would survive the rather unsupervised cats. All the ornaments are from the kids ornaments collection either made or collected over the years. . On the tree. I also used some red balls to unify the look. The plant stand is one I found thrifting and it is sitting upside down. I hoping this little tree won't be knocked over by the cats.

Front Door -In my thrift wanderings last year, I found a sled. I paired it with this snowman and lighted wreath. This is at my front door.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Alternate Block Party

We had a little pumping party this morning. The retention pond above our street decided to reach maximum capacity. As a result, we got to call a bunch of neighbors. Somehow, we managed to muster the Giant Man Child, Myself , and Lawn Guy to help lay the hose for the pump the city provided. Our city is big into these runoff and storm ponds.
The excess water got pumped into the lower retention pond on our street. I tried to get my duck of doom to float down the runoff but he kept falling over.

Cookie Stockpile

You laugh at the title but everyone should have a cookie stockpile. The cookie stockpile saved my life on the Alcan Highway. Well maybe not that dramatic but people get cranky when they haven't eaten. It isn't like there is a 7-11 in the woods. It was great to whip out my cookie stash to share. I think the Holiday season is a time when we expect treats.

Today, I saw in our local paper they had the roundup of holiday cookie recipes. I like to bulk cook these or bulk freeze these treats/cookies. I usually do the prep over a couple of afternoons. I have found I am less stressed out when I do it this way. Plus as an added bonus, it is a great way to ration some treats so everyone doesn't over indulge. I wouldn't do that. It is also nice to have some cookies to hand out to share.

Here is my plan

2 batches of World's Best Cookies- chocolate/butterscotch . I will be freezing the dough in dough balls except for the 2 pans I expect to bake. These are the cookies I am most asked to make. (I ended up baking 3 pans and freezing the rest on Friday)

2 loaves banana bread. I will bake both loaves and freeze both loaves. I am still working on the banana farm in the freezer.

Snowflake cookies aka the Chocolate Crinkle Cookie. I will go ahead and bake .

mini donut muffins - these are the first time I have made these so if they taste good. I will go ahead and make another batch to freeze. I have a mini muffin pan I never use. I saw this recipe on cookie madness. So, I thought I would give it a shot.

sugar cut out cookies - My kids are going to do this with Grandma and Grandpa. YEAH!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Tree Rocket

I saw this on the MSN home page and this cracked me up. I just had to share.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Best Ideas aren't MINE!


Big E

We crafted this Monday morning. There was a whole lot of enthusiasm over coloring and glittering some wood ornaments. I got these cute kits at Micheals that included markers(5) and 2 glitter glues plus 4 wooden ornaments. Everyone participated. Big E mentioned that he wanted to make a wreath. I made a few suggestions and gave some technical assistance in cutting out the cardboard. The Diva and Big E ran with this project. Below is the results. This wreath is the Diva's.

Once again proving that the kid directed art projects are the best. They came up with something and executed it. It is better than anything I could of planned. Of course, all of you adults know my best ideas aren't mine.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December Book It

Please hop over to the Life as Mom blog to see what everyone else is reading. I was able to get a lot of reading done over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Reading is my form of relaxation.

Border Songs by Jim Lynch took me a while to read. It is part of the Whatcom Reads Program. Whatcom Reads is a community wide reading and discussion program. This is the third year I have participated. Border Songs is about a Bird Watching Dyslexic Border Patrol Agent who is extremely gifted at finding and intercepting criminals and drug loads. The setting of the book is the county I live in and I thought the descriptions were spot on. I know quite a few Border Patrol Agents and I am not sure if they would agree with some of the characterizations of the Agents. Overall, I thought the book was OK. We are going to discuss this at book club. I am anxious to hear what the other ladies think as this topic of the border hits particularly close to home. I have lived on both the Southern (San Diego) and now the Northern Border. I much prefer living on the Northern Border rain and all. I think the book does a good job of addressing that the trade up here is not people so much as drugs. I don't think everyone who lives across the border is on the take. The book makes it seem like that is the case.

My favorite book this month was the book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary An Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This is a lovely book. The story is told entirely through letters and notes. I am usually not fond of this format but this is beautifully done. The setting is both London and Guernsey after WWII.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen. I enjoyed how Gretchen Rubin mapped out how she was going to meet her resolutions. Her step by step method impressed me. It reminded me how too often we make resolutions without any idea how to accomplish those goals. I also like how she cut herself slack when she didn't quite meet goals. There was loads of inspiration and inspirational quotes in the book. Here is a link to my friends blog where she also discusses the book. Gretchen has her own blog too.

Last but not least, I read Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman. This is a bonnet novel a fictional account of Amish love story. It was OK. It just increases my fascination with the Amish.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Readvent Day 1:Remembering

3 year old Chuckles

I am so totally doing Princess Lasertron's Readvent out of order. I am such a rebel. I am really enjoying her journal prompts. I am committed to doing the ones that really touch me. The journal prompt was, "What did your Christmas look like 5 years ago?" It was good to stroll down memory lane. These were some Christmas Photos/Cards I did that year.
Above is a card with Photos done by #1 Son.

These were taken at our Pioneer Park Christmas Celebration

What do I remember about this Christmas season? Both kids were still in car seats. I hadn't discovered that snow pants were a good thing. I do remember riding in the wagon being pulled by the horses near Pioneer Park. It also was bitter cold. There is something so magical about Christmas when the kids are young. We go all out to reinforce the magic. I hope this year I manage to capture the magic and share it with my kids. Because isn't all about creating memories?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sweet Anticipation

Some people are my house are more excited than others about the upcoming Christmas Season. Can you tell?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Readvent Day 2 organizing

Hey, I am day late to this linky party but for whatever reason the Princess Lasertron's Readvent Journal seems to resonate with me this week. Day 2 was to spend 15 minutes reorganizing a surface, drawer, table to make it pretty. From my desk, I can see this surface. It is one of my kitchen counter tops. It is actually driving me crazy. It has become a dumping ground. The picture below is the before. ***MOM, look away. Actually anyone who has a neat bone in their body should look away, seriously. This isn't for the faint of heart. DON'T JUDGE! I LIVE WITH THE TWO MAN WRECKING CREW AND GIANT MAN CHILD.

Yes, there is a plastic pumpkin hiding behind the box. Honestly just clearing this surface took about 2 hours in between phone calls, homework assistance, and making dinner. I could of used a 15 minute Genie.

Below is the after. There is still a bit of clutter. I have hard time getting rid of that last little bit of stuff. But for the first time this week I could use this for dinner preparation. Yeah. It was very energizing to get this done.

Elf Snowflake Garland

Last year, I made with the help of my minions a snowflake garland in the spirit of the movie ELF.

It is my new obsession. Here is my variation this year.

We made some of our snowflakes out of coffee filters. This was much easier for little hands then the 6 point snowflake we attempted last year. Heck, what am I saying it was easier for me too. Those 6 point snowflake folding even confused me. I all about easy. Because I am not putting up my large tree I used some of my snowflake ornaments. There are some Popsicle snowflakes too made by my children. There are some beaded snowflake ornaments I learned to make at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). Here is a link at Amazing Moms that explains how to make these. Here is the directions to make a woven star. I made two of these. I like the little one better.

Of course you have to include flashing lights. The best part is the cost= FREE. I did buy another silver garland at $3.50 for 15 feet but decided not to use it as the garland I had lights already in it. Everything else I had on hand.