Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas!!

I hope everyone has been enjoying this Christmas season. We've been doing our best to make the most of our time together as a family and it has been wonderful!

Our tree search fiasco continued after we put out tree up....it ended up falling over after about 3 days!! It's all good now, though, and the kiddos even posed in front of it sporting matching sweaters made by their aunt a couple Christmases ago!!


We haven't made it out to play in the snow yet, but we've made marshmallow snowmen a couple of times....

...and these popsicle snowmen! Morgan saw a kit for them in the Oriental Trading catalog and really wanted to make them....I was excited because we actually had the supplies to make them on our own! :-)

Morgan has been working on gingerbread in her preschool class. They sent this home (blank) for us to decorate as a family and we had a lot of fun! I wish I could show you some others that kids made in their classes-REALLY creative!!

In her class's newsletter they sent the recipe to make gingerbread dough (to play with), so we went to town making ornaments....

She's also been reading all sorts of different Gingerbread Men/Boy/Girl stories in her class, so when a friend of the family gave our family a huge Gingerbread man, I knew I HAD to make it for Morgan's class too!

We also made a paper chain-it's such an easy craft for a 4 year old! We also made paper snowflakes, when we were snowed in, to hang from it. :-)

The kiddos also get their own Christmas cards from a friend of the family and their Grandma and Papa. This first one is from the friend. Blake got to decorate a tree and Morgan's was a gingerbread house sticker puzzle.

The kiddos grandparents send stickers in the cards for the kiddos too and one sheet had the characters from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I had to laugh at how Blake was using his imagination when he made this...I hope Santa and Mrs. Claus are okay ;-)

We also celebrated Christmas with Rich's parents this past Sunday. The kiddos got to stay overnight and wake up in the morning and open presents. Plus we had a BIG breakfast and stayed most of the day relaxing just as if it were Christmas....it was a REALLY nice time! (Rich's parents and other brother left to be with my brother-in-law for Christmas. His deployment date got moved to Dec. 26th...there was no way he would have been able to come home for Christmas.)

And I have a tree skirt for our tree now!!! We've been using an old flannel sheet for the past 5 years, but now we have one that I think fits our family quite well :-)

I've been busy cooking and baking for the family gatherings we have the next few days. I'm also excited about a very special birthday party for Jesus that I've been planning too! Christmas day, with the kiddos and my nieces, we'll be making a cake that has meaning and verses to go with every aspect of it. We'll also be reading The Legend of the Candy Cane and having a candy cane hunt with rhyming clues to different parts of my parents' house. Plus we'll be reading the Christmas story and coloring nativity print-offs. I hope to make this a tradition. I think it's neat way for the kiddos to always remember what Christmas is really about. (Thanks to Ticia at Adventures in Mommydom for the ideas!)
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas this year! Enjoy time with family and remember that the greatest gift this holiday season is Jesus! :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Remembering....

Pray for Buckland Family


A year ago tonight my friend, Amanda, lost her husband and 2 young children in a fire. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers tonight, and throughout tomorrow, as I'm sure it'll be tough reliving those memories all over again.

Also, in memory of her family, be sure to give your husband and kids an extra hug tonight...or tomorrow....or all the time! :-)

I'd like to share again this poem that Amanda asked to have read at the funeral of her family:

If Tomorrow Never Comes

If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time, I could spare an extra minute or two
to stop and say "I love you," instead of assuming, you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day,
well, I'm sure you'll have so many more, so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance to make everything right.

There will always be another day to say our "I love you's",
And certainly there's another chance to say our "Anything I can do's?"

But just in case I might be wrong and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget,
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day,
That you didn't take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today, whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them and that you'll always hold them dear,
Take time to say "I'm sorry," "please forgive me," "thank you" or "it's okay".
And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no regrets about today.

Author Unknown

Our First 'Real' Snow and a Blizzard Warning!

I had been hearing that we may get some snow since sometime last week. I didn't think much of it because sometimes we barely get a dusting when they forecast several inches. So the snow started Saturday night as a Winter Weather Watch was under way . It was a really wet and heavy snow that made the roads slushy and yucky. We passed up on going to church Sunday morning and Rich ended up on a rescue call for a car accident due to the weather. That afternoon was Rich's Fire Department's Christmas party. As we sat in the fire hall, enjoying good food, playing on fire trucks and Santa's visit (with presents!) the weather continued to get worse. The wind had picked up, it had gotten colder and it was just plain miserable! By that night Morgan's school was already cancelled for the following day and we were under a Winter Weather Warning.

The kiddos with Santa and they didn't even cry!
Monday came and I woke to our house freezing! Rich had turned down the heat because we were running low on fuel oil. (I'll tell you more about that later.) I spent most of the day between trying to stay warm and doing snow related activities with the kiddos for Morgan's first snow day! :-) By Monday afternoon, when I thought the snow was going to let up, the National Weather Service upgraded our Winter Weather Warning to a Blizzard Warning. The system was lingering just east of us over Lake Huron, creating lake effect snow, and was staying until about 7:00 am this morning. Zero visibility, impassible roads, 3 feet of snow in some areas as well as 7 ft snow drifts were all being reported. Morgan's school was cancelled again last night for today.

Throughout all of this, a top concern of mine was having heat (as well as electricity since several others in the area were losing power.) We heat our house using fuel oil and we just started on the keep full program this July. I noticed we were running low a while ago and called last Monday for someone to come out, since I figured we couldn't wait much longer. No one came the whole week to fill it. Rich ended up running to the gas station to get 5 gallons of fuel on Saturday hoping that would hold us over until Monday. Well, with the weather Monday, I figured there was no way anyone would make it out, so I called again, told them what was going on and asked that our guy come out as soon as it's safe. The company apologized and hopefully we have someone coming out tomorrow. Rich grabbed 10 more gallons last night from the gas station....we hope that'll be enough to make it until we get more!!

After this storm, and reading and knowing what others have had to go through to make it through, I have to say that it made me thankful that we made it through safe and sound! Rich was always able to make it out with the truck and went to work both yesterday and today. We didn't end up with as much snow as those north of us did. We never lost our power, so there were no complications there. We still have heat (so far) and I pray that we will, because it's bitter cold out now! (I went out to shovel snow today and only lasted about 20 minutes before my fingers were in pain from the cold! That was with doubled up gloves on, since it was -6 with the wind chill when I went out.) Even though the temp in our house is lingering around 58 and we can feel the cold come through the walls, it still feels a TON better than outside....VERY thankful we still have heat!!!! :-)

Hopefully tomorrow we can get back to normal. Morgan should be going back to school....as long as we get our driveway cleared out and the roads are clean of course. She isn't used to the idea of being both snowed in and not being able to play in the snow. It's so terribly cold I won't let her go out to play and she keeps asking if we can go somewhere! LOL! We should have our fuel oil tank filled tomorrow too! That means we can turn our thermostat back up to the 64 we usually keep it at. And, hopefully, I'll be back to my old self and not cuddled under a blanket trying to stay warm all day! ;-)

Although I didn't get pictures of the blizzard, I did get a few pics today...as you can see we didn't get 3 feet of snow or 7 ft drifts...the tallest drift may be 4 feet.

**UPDATE: Still no school today (Wednesday). It's been too cold for the salt to actually work on the roads, so they're too icy. The snow plows stopped working at sunset last too, so many of the roads hadn't been cleared.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TV Time


I had never been a huge fan of the TV...until becoming a parent. I know that sounds terrible, doesn't it? I honestly didn't watch much TV, and neither had Rich, before kids came along and it wasn't something that I wanted my kids to see too much of either. (We actually didn't even HAVE TV the first year we were married.) I don't know when exactly things went downhill, but they did!

There was a point that the kids watched TV constantly! They'd ask to watch something, so I'd put it in for them never thinking that I should offer a different activity instead. The kids TV time is actually much better now. They may watch 1 or 2 shows a day, possibly a 3rd before bed at night but, for the most part, they play a lot now, we have nearly an hour of reading time most days (divided into 30 minute periods), we listen to music more, play games and do activities. I'm actually quite happy with how little time the kiddos watch TV compared to what they used to.

The thing is, it's still a problem for me...

I LOVE my down time each night after the kiddos go to bed. I tend to turn the TV on at 8 or 9, depending on the night and what shows are on, and watch until at least 11:00. I don't think a little TV time for myself is bad, but the amount I feel like I watch is getting to be TOO much. On top of that, I end up snacking and by the end of the night I feel fat and lazy. :-/

On a positive note, at the times that I'm not snacking, I do get some cross-stitching done. Also, I'm proud that we only have one TV on a little TV stand in the corner, and Rich and I have agreed that we will never get more TVs for our bedrooms. We feel TV takes away from family time enough without having it separate the family into separate rooms to watch their own shows too.

So, I'm hoping that I can just take the plunge one day soon and stop watching TV so much...cut back to a couple shows a week and, in turn, make more time for working out, spending time with Rich (and the kids), reading and studying the Bible, etc. I think it'll help make the days more fulfilling and create a stronger bond as a family....maybe for a New Years Resolution?! Then the next thing to tackle will be this computer time!! ;-)

K-Mart Gift Card Giveaway at Flying Giggles and Lollipops

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Michelle at Flying Giggles and Lollipops has an amazing giveaway going on right now for a $500 gift card to Kmart! Can you imagine all that you could do with that? I think I'd finish my Chrismas shopping (I don't have much left-yay!) then grab several names from Salvation Army's Angel Giving Tree and go to work shopping for them! Or, if the giveaway ends too late for that, maybe buy a bunch of groceries for those who are less fortunate. Either way, it would be awesome to have the opportunity to help others in my community to have a Merry Christmas this year :-)

Be sure to stop by and get your entries in. And while you're there check out the giveaway for a $500 Sears Gift Card as well!! Even more awesomeness, right? ;-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our Christmas Tree Search Adventure

Yesterday we decided we'd brave the cold and go get our Christmas tree. Rich's mom mentioned that the field they are cleaning out to farm has some nice trees if we'd like to get one from there. So the four of us jumped into the truck and headed over to the family farm planning on getting a free Christmas tree and helping clean out the field at the same time (not that it was going to be a lot of help, but it'd be one less tree to clear out.) We first had to stop at Rich's parents' for a saw, then to his grandma's for a key to take the chain down in the entry to the field, then into the field where the real adventure began....

It was SO COLD yesterday, that we wanted to drive to where the trees were, which happened to be across the field that had already been cleaned out and worked. Rich slowed down near a low spot to put the truck in 4-wheel drive, but apparently thought about it a little too late...

The truck sank in the mud and we were stuck...

Rich's uncle came to the rescue....

And we were free within 10 minutes.
Blake missed all the excitement, but woke up to a little boys dream of trucks, tractors and MUD! LOL!
Needless to say, we gave up on that field and went to the hill behind Rich's grandma's for our tree. (If it looks like the kids are standing funny it's because it's a fairly steep hill and they were trying not to fall backwards into the tree.)

And our free tree wasn't so 'free'....it ended up costing us $11....at the car wash....getting all the mud off the truck!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dollhouse Giveaway at Mom Spotted!

Morgan asked for a dollhouse this year for Christmas and they are SO expensive that I'm not sure that it will happen this year...unless I'm lucky enough to win one!



Mom Spotted has a giveaway going on right now for a Melissa & Doug Multi-Level Solid Wood Dollhouse.




Isn't it beautiful!?

Morgan would absolutely LOVE it! And I love that it's wood. It could be something that she keeps and hands down to her daughter someday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!! If you'd like a chance to win for a little girl in your life, just stop by Mom Spotted and follow the super simple rules to enter. :-)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Event at Hip Mama's Place!



LrgImOnHipMama


Hip Mama's Place is currently hosting a 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Event where you could win some AWESOME prizes. Some of the prizes include several gift cards to K-Mart and Sears to help with Christmas shopping this year! :-)

Make sure to stop by Hip Mama's Place before midnight, December 11th to get your entries in. You really won't want to miss out on the chance to win!! :-)
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