Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Nativities

Merry Christmas!
As we enjoy this week with our families we thought it would be fun
to share some of the pretty Nativities from our Church Open House last week.

There was a whole room dedicated to just Nativities~
it was so beautiful and peaceful, I just had to snap some pictures of my favorites.

This one was life size and costumes were supplied so families could dress up like the Nativity and have their pictures taken.  Pretty fun!
I was in charge of the kids craft room and Santa.
After searching the Internet for ideas I compiled them into a version of the Nativity story ornament.
I had to prepare 100 kits~which meant 1600 beads~all stuffed into little bags.

I got all my beads from an Ebay store Tandscraft, she was so helpful
helping me put together all the beads and even had white angel beads!

We love the festivities of this Christmas season!
Our Christmas program at church was amazing and thought it would be fun to share this with you too.
Candace found a gorgeous version of the song 
my daughter and I sang with a lovely group of Mothers and Daughters.  Candace is a gifted piano player and was kind enough to come over and help me practice.  She was a life saver!
Click on the picture or follow this link: 

Also a story I had to read by our family friend from our home town, Darrell Smart:

A Small, Snow-Covered Tree

Darrell Smart, “A Small, Snow-Covered Tree,” Ensign, Dec. 2008, 18
One day, shortly before Christmas, our third child and first son, Bay, was born. As I said good-bye that evening to my exhausted but joyful wife and left the hospital, the warmth and joy that accompanied the birth of my son overwhelmed the cold chill of that clear December night.
The following December we celebrated the first birthday of our dark-eyed, dark-haired son. The day after Christmas, during an evening of games at the home of my in-laws, our revelry was interrupted by an awful shriek from my mother-in-law: “He’s not breathing!” She had gone to check on Bay, who had been sleeping on her bed, and discovered his cold, lifeless body. We immediately rushed our son to the hospital, attempting CPR on the way. We were grief-stricken to learn that nothing could be done to save his life. He had died from sudden infant death syndrome.
Since then, Christmas has been filled with a much deeper meaning for our family. Each year on Christmas Eve when we take down our other children’s stockings to fill them, one solitary stocking is left on the fireplace mantle. Throughout the remainder of the holiday the stocking serves as a reminder of Bay.
Each year, around the time of Bay’s birthday, my wife and I drive to the cemetery where he is buried. At each visit we find that someone else has arrived before us and placed something on our son’s grave: one year it was delicate, small flowers; the next year, a stuffed bear; the next, a little Christmas tree decorated with miniature ornaments. We have no idea who is responsible; the gifts, which touch us deeply, are never accompanied by a note or card.
When I hinted to my mother-in-law that I knew her secret, she denied responsibility. The following year while she and my father-in-law were serving a Church mission abroad, we again found that someone had placed a gift on our son’s grave. Even after inquiring with other family members and friends, we were unable to solve the mystery.
Ten years after our son’s death, a series of snowstorms prevented us from traveling short distances. As a result, our annual visit to our son’s grave site was delayed until several days after Christmas. When we finally made it, we saw a small, decorated Christmas tree, mostly buried in the snow, standing bravely at the head of Bay’s small grave. The effort it must have taken for someone to get to the cemetery through the heavy snowfall overwhelmed us. Tears streamed down our faces as we realized that someone still shared our grief and loss.
After that, we were more resolved than ever to discover the identity of our benefactor and thank him or her for showing us such compassion. But as we reflected more, we realized that whoever was doing these acts of kindness did not want to be identified. We decided to allow our friend to remain anonymous. We replaced our need to thank our friend with a desire to simply live better.
It is now harder for us to speak ill of or criticize any of our friends or family members, because any one of them may be our anonymous friend.
Often while doing service, my wife and I pause to examine our hearts: are we doing good things to be seen by others or for the pure love of Christ and of our fellowmen?
For us, charity—humble and never seeking its own—is symbolized by a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, half-buried in snow, resting in a quiet cemetery.

Merry Christmas friends!  Thanks for a wonderful year, for your kind emails and for supporting us through our crafting adventures!
Nicole & Candace

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WYLTC~December Nativities

Have you visited Wood You Like To Craft this month yet?
This month's theme is Nativities and Melinda from Under My Umbrella had
the best idea for all of us to use her original pattern she created years ago
and to do our own version of it.

We are up today sharing our version~make sure to hop over and see what Melinda and Krystal have already shared!  Wendy will round us up tomorrow so check back then to see hers too!  I will have to say what an honor it is to be able to craft with these incredibly talented women.  They are amazing and inspire us!

Tomorrow is our School Christmas celebration~I'm out in the freezing garage trying to make Santa barricades.  You know, those post thingies to keep the kids in a somewhat organized line....I think it will be a miracle if the cement sets up instead of just freezing.  If they aren't a colossal fail.....I'm may just share them tomorrow!

Happy Christmas scurrying!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mom, Is Santa Real?

Two weeks ago completely out of the blue....that dreaded question came up.
Yes, the one I've been dreading.
Mom, is Santa real?

I heard every one's opinions on the topic whether I wanted to or not.
We had 3 older brothers growing up who didn't let us believe a stitch in magic.
They knew all the best hiding places for presents and were masters of unwrapping and rewrapping.
After a few years of this mischief our parents just hid them at my Dad's office.  No visions of sugar plum fairies ever danced in our heads.

I promised myself as a kid that when I had a kid of my own that it would be pure magic
in every sense of the word.
We love Santa and the Tooth Fairy at our house.  They really are the only ones that seem even remotely real right?  Here is one of her notes to the tooth fairy, embarrassed of the cavity she had.
 I would never lie and I never have, I'm a master of asking round about questions.  "Is Santa real?", "Well do you think he's real?"  "Do you believe in Santa?" "Well do you believe in Santa, do you want to believe in Santa?"  The only time I've walked the line was while we've been in stores shopping with Candace and our kids and I tell them Santa is watching them through all the store security cameras so they'll behave.
Or maybe when I printed out those awesome Christmas pictures secretly snapped when Santa was caught eating cookies.  I hadn't even cleaned off the counter and that sneaky Santa was too impatient to eat those cookies!   If you haven't seen this website Capture The Magic you have to go~it made me giddy creating the pictures!
I've never been more grateful for this cute little letter, a love letter of sorts from a Mother to her Daughter explaining Santa Claus.
It is found here from Cozi.com written by Martha Brockenbrough 

 I think it's one of the very first things I ever pinned and it saved my life.  I didn't know how to even respond at first.  Some people want to believe in Santa, some people don't.  He's the magic of Christmas that loves the children and brings joy through his kindness and generosity towards others.

"You lied to me?"  So how do you explain that you didn't really lie....
My daughter isn't confrontational~she expresses herself through drawings and books.  Her "book" response to me was titled "Santa is a phony, my parents lied to me."  She has since destroyed the book probably because I told her she misspelled some words and she might want to fix that because I intended to keep the book to show to her kids one day.

I quickly printed out this wonderful letter, adapting it to fit her and I and gave it to her.  My hubby and I drove down to get a soda, this was a pain only Dr. Pepper could fix.  My husband's quick fix-it-hat response was "Are you more upset that she's calling you a liar or that her innocence is lost?"

Upon arriving back home her reaction to me was completely different, soft, pleading for answers.  It was a therapist dream session, explaining all my "issues" from my youth and my promise to my child I hoped I'd have someday.  After tears hugs, tears and more hugs everything seemed okay.  I felt so emotionally drained but so grateful for that letter.
Later that afternoon I found her busy hunting down her wish list off of eBay.  I guess as a parent I'm okay...and I've survived to parent another day.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!:)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

For The Birds Birthday Party

My little girl turned 10 a few weeks ago and we had such a fun little party for her.
She is growing up fast and wanted nothing super cutesy so I stuck her on Pinterest and told her to pin her favorite things she found.

The result was an Owl/bird themed party.
We took bits and pieces of all the things she found that she liked and put them all together.
We were inspired by these cute invitations from Olive and Star found here.
The invitations were made from Vellum and paper found at Hobby Lobby.
I found these cute little owl and party hat stickers from Stickabilities.
Yes, they were super cutesy, but hey sometimes I can't help it!
After finding the stickers it was easy to pick out cute matching paper.
The party hat stickers just made everything soooo cute!

We even had to put them on the outside envelope.
And...we had to make cupcake toppers with them too!  These are so easy, I stuck them onto white card stock first because they are translucent.  Then I cut out around them and then cut out a larger outline of them on the coordinating chevron paper.  Using my glue gun I glued lollipop sticks onto the chevron and then glued the little owls on top of the lollipop stick.  Easy and matched everything perfect!
We had to make goodie bags too!
We couldn't decide between our two favorites so we morphed them into one.
Inspirations came from here at Kerry's Paper Crafts and the other is a source unknown.
We found some easy to make Thank You Twwwwweeeeats to make for our guests,
found here from Hello, Good Gravy!
At first we didn't think we would have time to play games and then I double checked the time that the bird flight show started and realized I had some extra time on my hands I hadn't planned for since they changed the time from last year.  Yes, you'd think I would have checked that out "before" making the invitations....

We found a Candy Themed Punch game over at Mom Filter found here.
So at the last moment I found a big card board box and put this together the night before around midnight.
Did I mention I am a procrastinator?
My lighting wasn't very good that morning but it turned out great!
My daughter helped me put all the prizes together that I picked up at a local party store.
Most popular were the hillbilly fake teeth from Walmart and the party poppers.  I should have gotten way more of those!
The kids had to answer "bird" related questions, ranging from "what kind of bird do most Americans eat at Thanksgiving" to "What is our National Bird"?  It was a total blast and totally worth making!
I'm not a fancy table setter but we did have some fun with the goodies for the kids!
We had all sorts of stuff that birds would eat and funny descriptions to go along with them.
I found some mini Idaho Spud Bar bites that reminded me of Owl Pellets.  Needless to say they weren't really touched.  I guess they looked too realistic.  Too bad, more for me.:)     
My daughter wanted blue frosting to match all things blue with the party.
We made white cupcakes and filled them with vanilla pudding colored with yellow food coloring.
We thought it was fun to bite into one and have it mimic an egg.:)
We used The Idea Room's whipping cream frosting which is soooo yummy found here.
The stuff melts easily so be careful piping it in.  My hands heated up the bag and we almost had a cupcake failure on our hands.  Thanks goodness for cold refrigerators!
Finally we finished our day out at the Idaho Center for Birds of Prey.
In October and the first part of November they bring out about 5 of their birds and do outdoor flight shows for the public.
It's not only fascinating but so much fun!
They have an outside theater for visitors to be seated in and the birds fly right over your head.
This is Trish Nixon, a Raptor Specialist at the World Center.  She's A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!  
She is holding Wally our favorite bird, a Eurasian Eagle Owl.

After the crazy day we returned home to this.
Yes, this is what happens when boys are invited to the party.
She looks like a zombie in there....
I can't believe that's it's been 10 years already with this sweet girl.  She was so worth the wait!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

WYLTC November Turkey

Come join us today over at Wood You Like To Craft
with November's Thanksgiving/Turkey theme!

I've had this turkey mostly cut out for over 4 years begging me to get around to making him.
Another thing checked off my long list "for me" that I've been working on.
Come see what the other gals have done too!

No school tomorrow~I think I'm about as excited as my daughter is!  Happy Thursday!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Day After Sugar Coma

Yes, Medusa is in the house!
Wow where did this month go?
Halloween was here before we knew it and today we are both
exhausted from all the preparations and parties on Halloween!

But before I crash from what feels like a sugar high~when really I only had like 2 pieces of candy yesterday, I swear,  I just had to post some pictures of my daughters Medusa costume.
 Every year my Mom, my daughter and I gather together to sew "the costume".
I realized that this is really the only serious tradition we have that we always celebrate each year.
The costume was easy to make but it's the talking that happens during the sewing that makes a pattern that should take maybe 5 hours at the very most to put together.....3 days.:)
 She is trying to look evil here, so hard not to smile.
I contemplated making a homemade wig....and then I figured out how much it was going to cost + how much time is was going to take + the gamble of whether it would work out all right.......EBay had me for $19 + free shipping.  It wasn't a hard choice.
Here is my girl with our Dear Sweet Mother.  Oh how I love them!  Last night was quite bitter sweet to me.  My not so little little girl is turning 10 this weekend!  How did this happen?  I realized I'm lucky if I get a year or maybe 2 more of this tradition, of these festivities on Halloween, of staying up late with her counting and organizing all that precious candy.  I cried through my shower this morning just thinking about it.  This thing called "being a Mother" is hard.

Candace's boys wouldn't sit still for pictures again this year~too anxious to run out and get some candy.  She did catch a snap shot of her youngest who is Jake The Pirate.  He refused to wear the wig~it's okay because he's so stinkin' cute!

I survived the class Halloween party and the Church Trunk or Treat I was in charge of feeding 500 hot dogs and bratwursts to.  Candace made 80 sugar cookies for her kid's classes!  I realized I didn't share my pretty wreath I finally made after buying stuff to make it 3 years ago and I didn't get the haunted house painted that I finally got cut out.  November is looking a lot like Halloween craft catch up for me and I intend to paint that haunted house this week!  We hope your Halloween was wonderful!!!  Happy 1st day of November friends!
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