Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Hurricane

The PAST NINE DAYS, in which we celebrate Christmas everyday in every way...

Last Friday, Rich and I had Thai food for lunch at a new-ish restaurant right near his office. It was delicious. See? It was really good and really generous--it made 2 meals.
Niles came, too, and nibbled on tofu. This is also the last time I remember having my beautiful wedding ring on my finger. It has been lost ever since, and yes, we are a little sick about that but fairly sure it's somewhere in our house. *sigh*

Later that night, we went out to the ranch and had Addie's belated birthday party.

There was some break dancing to Beastie Boys

There was some Christmas-crafting--making ornaments and snowglobes--in our jammies, of course.

Busy little bees!

Addie, Dakota, Azalea, Izzi, and Hailey

Izzi with her snowglobe

Later there were gifties

And silliness

And snuggling watching The Christmas Story (dubbed from Norwegian)

Hailey, Sarah, & Izzi

Addie, Dakota, Azalea


The next morning was our church Christmas Breakfast

Sister McCalla read the kids a story after breakfast

James & Heidi in the crowd-o-kids

After the breakfast, we went to Bozeman to shop and play

Heidi & Addie were silly a lunch at Taco Bell

Niles & James

Addie bought this cute hello kitty wallet with her birthday bucks.

We saw alpacas at the mall.

There wer beautiful things made from the alpaca wool, but even the littlest brown wool baby hat I wanted for Niles was $53! Sorry, we'll have to stick with our cheap synthetics for now.

On Monday night, Daddy came home from work with a fun new toy from Germany. It's a little smoker. It resembles a nutcracker, but it burns incense inside and the smoke comes out its mouth.

It smells pretty good and the kids love it.

Here's Niles watching the excitement making a silly face.

I took requests for this week's dinners, so we had french dip sandwiches with veggies for dinner on Monday night.

Addie made these turtles for our treat packages.

For family night we made Christmas s'more kits.

mini-chocolate bar, snowman peep, 2 graham crackers.

(I can email the pdf for the labels if you want to make some)


Tuesday the 13th was St. Lucia Day, so we had Uncle Mike over for dinner and ate Lucy buns. That's also the day the dryer died. That's also the day I saw the orthopedic doc and she diagnosed my tendonitis and ulnar neuropathy in my right arm. You know, the one I DO EVERYTHING WITH!? *sigh*

This is how Addie looked the next morning.

On the 14th we went to the library for the Polar Express party in our jammies, but I forgot my camera.

It was fun, and while we were gone, Rich replaced my dryer for me. Merry Christmas to me. *sigh*


On Thursday I went to help with the kindergarten craft fair.

My boy James was so cute with all his friends.

My friend Kim was so cute with all the kids' gift bags and cards

There are about 100 kindergarteners in 5 classes now at the primary school, so it was quite the extravaganza.

That night, we went out to fast food dinner and came home to watch the original "Miracle On 34th Street" on Netflix. During the movie, Santa Claus came to our neighborhood on a fire engine and gave the kids presents. So they all finished the movie snuggling with new stuffed animals.

On Friday we had our Primary Christmas Party, "Jesus is the Light of the World." The kids visited several different country booths and learned how Christmas is celebrated all over the world.

Sister Weisgerber read them a story then talked about our traditions in the USA. Then the Primary teachers hosted booths from the countries where they served their misisons (or in our case, from whence our ancestors came).

Puerto Rico


Niles with Aunt Jenn Claar



That's me in SWEDEN, telling kids about geography and St. Lucy.

Brother Petry served his mission in Puerto Rico and St. Martin

Brother Roberts taught the kids about Native American culture and how Christianity has impacted their culture.

Brother Jeffrey talked about Christmas in Bavaria, Germany

Brother Westenskow talked about Christmas in France where he served with Elder Neil L Anderson.
(Addie was dressed as St. Lucy).


See? Told ya it was like a hurricane of holiday activity this week.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Treats

Today was our Gitter Done Day for Christmas Treats. I made several cookie doughs over the past 10 days & froze them. Then last week I cut & baked all the sugar cokies & froze them again and baked Russian Tea Balls. The other day Addie made about 100 Rolo Pretzel Turtles and I made another 50 or so yesterday along with the peanut butter kiss cookies & brownie bites. Then this morning we powdered the tea balls, iced the sugar cookies, and baked some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Then we assembled and delivered packages to friends & neighbors.

Addie's a great cookie decorator!

Where the magic happens, folks.

Assembly line!


We also made Teacher Gifts: "Winter [Cold Season] Survival Kits"

We put handy little helping stuff in cute buckets with notes for teachers. Here's what's inside:

Pocket Tissues, Lotion, Lip Balm, Hand Sanitizer, 4 packets of Emergen-C, and a little bag of cough drops and chocolates labeled "don't forget your antioxidants!"

We happened upon a great sale at Bath & Body Works last weekend, so we let the kids choose sale items for their teachers, but you could find things that are just as cute and useful in the rx section at Walmart. Before we found the BBW sale, I found these cute hand sanitizers at Walmart's rx travel section, and that's where I got the Curel lotion as well (all for 97 cents each!). (The chapstick with the blue label is actually my favorite for winter). The gift buckets are from the dollar section at Target. I bought a bunch for the Primary activity last night, too. They are GREAT. So for about $6, you can give this sweet little gift to just about anybody!



Russian Tea Balls
1 c soft butter
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 c white flour

1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c chopped pecans

Cream first 3 ingredients. Sift together flour and salt, then stir into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts. Roll into balls and bake 9-11 minutes at 400 degrees. Toss in powdered sugar after removing from oven.

Kelli's Sugar Cookies
thoroughly cream: 2/3 c shortening+3/4 c sugar
add in: 2 tsp orange zest, 1/2 tsp vanilla
beat in until fluffy: 1 egg
stir in : 4 tsp milk
add after sifting together: 2 c flour, 1+1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt

to finish: divide dough in half, chill for 30 1 hour. on floured surface roll to 1/8 inch and cut cookies. bake on greased cookie sheets at 375 for 7 minutes. cool & decorate & share!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp b.soda
1 c shortening
¾ c brown sugar
¾ c white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
2 cups chocolate chips (or 1.5 C white chocolate chips + ½ c dried fruit bits)
2 c rolled oats (or 1 ¾ cups oats + ¼ cup flaxseed meal)

Sift dry ingredients
Cream shortening & sugars
Mix in eggs and vanilla
Stir in dry mixture, then add remaining ingredients
350/ 12 mins

Thursday, December 15, 2011

War Is Over

I'll be back with a family update later (so many pix!), but I had to say something about the end of the war. I kinda didn't really believe it or think about it until last night. I was wrapping gifts by treelight, watching The Colbert Report. Stephen's guest was General Ordierno and he first interview question was, "So, is the war in Iraq over?" and the general answered, "Yes!" All of a sudden I got a lump in my throat. Almost my whole married life, all of my kids' lives, we've been fighting there. My brother went. And it's over? It's over. Welcome home, troops, and thank you all--soldiers and families--for your decade of sacrifice. I am in tears, humbled and grateful. And so happy Christmas...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christmas, Livingston Style

The first weekend of December is always a fun "kick-off" to the hoilday season in Livingston. On Friday night we had the Downtown Stroll and on Saturday we had the Holiday Craft Fair. We had a great time at both events (I was especially glad I got to go since I had to miss both last year since I was neck-deep in morning [all-day] sickness).James with Santa at Truex Furniture

Niles with Santa at Truex
(The girls got their pix taken by teh Chamber Photographer, too, but I snapped the boys with my own camera because I needed to put their pix in a frame at home right away ;) I'll post the girls' when I get them)

We saw this cute Mini with the best name--thought of little Peeps Mayberry

We saw Frosty at the Title Building and our cheeks were all rosy from walking around in the cold.


On Saturday, Rich set up a booth to sell his log beds.

Niles was excited to see him! (as always) "Hi, Mini-Me!"

James on daddy's horse.

Santa was right next to Rich's booth, so we gat another picture of James with Santa.

And Niles, too!

Addie got holly face paint

Heidi got a penguin

James got Rudolph

The girls bought these super adorable dolls that come in a bassinet-purse with a blanket and a change of clothes--all crocheted. They are SO CUTE. I thought this one looked like Niles!

Niles thought the dolls were yummy! (caption expecially for Aunt Laura)

By the way, last week at Niles' check up, he weighed 21 pounds and is 27.5" long. Off the 6month charts, my sweet little butterball!


We had a lovely weekend except we caught a tummy bug that affected everyone to varying degrees (but nobody barfed more than once). I also hurt my elbow somehow (in my sleep?)-- it hurt Sunday then I couldn't close my hand by Monday. I had the tummy sickness Tuesday (with Heidi), and by Wednesday my arm was 90% better. It still hurts like a sonofagun, but only in one spot and I can use my hand. YAY that. Hopefully that will be the extent of our holiday ailments (knocking on wood). By the way, I was thinking the other day how rarely we get sick anymore. It's really a miracle especially considering my compromised immune system. I give partial credit to using a chlorine sanitizing rinse in the kitchen and bathroom (like you're supposed to do in food service, etc.) and pumping the whole family up with Emergen-C. We are all so much better the past 18 months, and that's where I'm puttting the credit. And also just giving thanks because illness--namely mine--was getting OLD. I am so thankful to be up and around all day with my family. It's such a blessing after several hard years. (more knocking on wood)


So this coming weekend is Addie's much-belated birthday party with her friends out at the ranch, followed by the ward christmas breakfast on Saturday morning, then St. Lucy's on Tuesday (Happy Birthday, Sara!) Polar Express PArty on Wednesday (Happy Birthday, Brent & Steven!). All fun things! We will be baking and doing fun things with family and friends for the next week or two and I look forward to it all. Very Merry.


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                         1...