Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Favorites

Okay, everywhere we look there are lists of favorites or the best or worse of this year 2008. For the sake of my record keeping I am going to do it!

1. Favorite movie I saw: Amazing Grace, it came out in 2007 but I just saw it this year
2. Favorite book I read: The Peacegiver by James Ferrell
3. Favorite kids book(s): Skippyjon Jones
4. Favorite meal at a restaurant: Steak Salad at the Chef's Table--MMMMM thanks mom!
5. Favorite songs: Viva La Vida by Coldplay and New Soul by Yael Naim
6. Favorite activity with family: Thanksgiving Point Gardens
7. Favorite activity: blogging--reading and posting
8. Favorite scripture: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart . . . Proverbs 3:7(&8)
9. Favorite new recipes: Monique's Cracker Candy and Bits O' Brittle Fruit Dip
10. Favorite TV show: Olympics-- esp the mens swimming 4 x 4 relay that they barely won!
11. Favorite things that happened this year--we got sprinklers and my back surgery. it worked!

I'll include some favorite photos that may have not made it on the blog already! Have a fabulous New Year and remember all the best things that happened in 2008 and learn from the worse!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Another Random Update

Just before the "Winter Break" both Emily and Timo had big projects at school. This did nothing for my sleep deprivation problem! Emily's was for the Wax Museum of Heroes at school. She chose Emma Smith. She looked very cute in the curls. It was so fun to go see all the great posters and costumes the kids did--the whole 5th grade.

Timo did the science fair--required but he chose to do one based on statistics and basketball. Can you predict wins based on certain stats. His teacher loved it. He did a great job. He is currently working on a game based on a book he read this is due a few days after school starts. I love the creativity but some things need adult supervision so it makes for late night when little siblings can't destroy projects!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Deck the Halls . . .

Here is a photo of the tree after Santa came. We got wise these last few years--the kids buy one gift for one sibling so they get one GOOD gift, we wrap all their presents in one box or bag so they have 3 presents Christmas morning--with 7 kids that's a way better way to go! So far it seems everyone liked their presents. They played awhile then we ate breakfast. Tim and the older boys shoveled for awhile--we got 2 feet of snow that morning--we weren't sure we'd make it to my parents. We left late, but once the snow stopped we made a break for it. We enjoyed some delicious waffles and stuff there. Of course we were spoiled by Granny and Grandpa and Charl and Katie (they had our family). Then we went to Tim's parents for a yummy dinner and we opened more presents--spoiled! The kids had fun with their Espinoza cousins and we enjoyed watching WALL-E on Tim's parents' new Blu-Ray player. Tim had never seen WALL-E and enjoyed it. Now he knows why I wanted a WALL-E toy from the kids for Christmas--they gave me the book HOST instead which I am sure I'll enjoy! It was a great day! We were glad to make it home safe and sound since the roads were icy. We have soooo many blessings just in our extended family alone! The presents are just fun but not the best part of the day!

Joy to the World

I really felt a strong sense of the Christmas spirit this year. I love Christmas, so it's not surprising in that sense. But for some reason as we anticipated His birth-day this year my excitement mounted. Not in the gifts I was giving but in what it might have been like to be a magi who watched the signs of the prophets and the stars or the shepherds who had heard the prophecies yet they were actual witnesses of His coming that had been foretold centuries before. As we listened to the Christmas carol, "Sussex Carol" by the King's Singers and the MOTAB I got chills of excitement. The Savior, the Son of God was born--do we really rejoice that He lived? I wonder if we get so bogged down in our worries and busyness we forget to feel that joy. The joy the angels sang that night. Each day we should consciously rejoice in Him for he offers us so much, peace and salvation.

Our Christmas Eve was much mellower (is that a word) than usual. We usually get together with our Louw extended family and have a scrumptious, almost gourmet dinner and a white elephant exchange. Because our numbers are ever growing we decided to not to do it this year. We had had a reunion in August and two weddings my cousin Gwen and my brother Keith so we had visited then too.

Anyway, we ate a simple meal on a blanket in the basement--crusty bread, cheese, summer sausage, nuts, fruit and sparkling drink (I got the idea from a story in the Ensign or New Era). We lit lots of candles and dimmed the lights. We listened to the music of the Kings Singers and TAB as we ate. Then we read Amahl and the Night Visitors (the magi). It was a bit too long but other than that it gave us that great simple feeling of the time.

Then we opened one present which is always pjs. It's fun even though it's not a surprise--I actually forgot to wrap Tim's!
Owell. I have a friend who color coordinates their pjs--that's way too organized for me! Tim said that he thinks I am capable of such a thing! Then the little ones wanted to go to bed so Santa could come. But they were so excited they didn't get to sleep until about 10:30 PM 2-1/2 hours after they went to bed! The three oldest worked on a gingerbread house kit my mom gave us. The little boys could have joined in but they insisted they wanted to go to bed. Then we sent them all to bed and got going on helping Santa. Luckily we had organized and wrapped the night before it still took Tim 3 hours to help Santa with Gwen's kitchen. I watched the actual concert of the King Singers with MOTAB and A Lutheran College Christmas Concerts while filling the stockings. Then I watched the movie The Nativity that came out a couple of years ago in the theaters--it was very good but a little scary for kids that's why I previewed it! We were beat when we finally got to bed at 3 AM!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas The Night Before Christmas. . .

Right now it's just Gwen and I all through the house! Tim has been driving the kids around delivering treats to their friends. He took Gwen earlier with the little boys to give her nursery teachers something. The little boys are sledding, again. Pretty much every day! We lost a sled and broke one so we will need to get some more but not today! Tim had to go to the store this morning for vacuum bags--bummer! He is such a trooper. It's 2:30 PM and I'm still in my jammies. I have been busy with helping organize the kids and their treats (just soda and popcorn). I like them to do it today because they think less about themselves for a little while! It does make today hectic but I also don't want anyone to feel obligated to give my kids anything either! It's their chance to really think of others--they buy the treats for their friends. Sorry I am rambling. We have had some fun things happen lately in our festivities. Sunday we celebrated my niece Holly's first birthday, we acted out the Nativity as part of that night, Monday we had the Pew side over for Family Night organized by Erika (our niece)--we sledded, ate dinner, painted cookies and had a lesson, last night we gathered with the Louw side for Joseph Smith's birthday & our white elephant party. It has been just a great experience overall and makes me so grateful to have family nearby! I will include some photos from these fun times--to get caught up before tomorrow! Have a very Merry Christmas!

PS The last photo is Emily and Gwen in their Christmas dresses.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dashing through the snow . . .

So here are some photos from sledding. They have been sledding almost everyday--hours at a time! I will try to get some photos of Micah and Emily to post. Gwen loved sledding with Timo. Izak's gotten fairly good at the snowboard, maybe someday when the house is paid for we can get him an actual ski snowboard! Zane is the small dot at the bottom of the hill by Timo and Gwen--he was going down the opposite side so I couldn't get a closer shot. Taran went sledding with the Teacher's Quorum but isn't into winter at all so he tends to play the piano when he has spare time instead.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Welcome to the blog world!

Fellow bloggers we have a new addition to our forces, my daughter. She is an avid writer so this will be a great outlet for that interest and it gives me leverage! What do you mean? No, you can't blog until you clean your room or put away your laundry, see what I mean! Here is the link:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Preschool Holiday Fun!

Here are photos of Zane at his preschool Christmas performance and with his graham cracker house he made at preschool. I took more video--they were a hoot but I thought one song would be enough!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Monique's Cracker Candy

Here's the latest craze at our house! I discovered this recipe in a cookbook I bought from my niece Erika--she's in a catering class in high school. It's full of awesome, easy recipes and I just had to try this one. I made it first for choir (we have treats every week but Fast Sunday), then a couple of family parties after that, pack meeting, 2 Christmas parties . . . my kids love it and people have been calling for the recipe so I thought I'd post it! It takes about 15 minutes to make but must harden. Enjoy!

Monique's Cracker Candy by Laura Lewis

1-1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 normal bag of milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup of peanuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Place one layer of crackers in pan. Melt butter and boil butter and brown sugar for 4 minutes. Pour over crackers and bake in the oven 5 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips over crackers-spread evenly once the chocolate chips are shiny. Add nuts if you are using them and press into chocolate. Refrigerate until hardened (at least an hour)and break into pieces.