Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

Kyle works a job that requires someone to be there 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  He is on a rotating schedule of day and night shifts.  It just so happened that his rotation fell so that he worked 6 am to 6 pm Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after.  So we decided to do our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions early on the 22 and 23.  We eat Mexican food on Christmas Eve and then come home to read the Christmas Story, and open presents.  Each child gets 3 gifts in honor of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh given Jesus.  I have enjoyed this tradition for lots of reasons one being that it keeps things simple and Kyle and I put a lot of thought into each gift.  Here are some picture highlights.

On Christmas Morning they each have a "Santa" gift and filled stockings.

We had so much fun during our own little early celebrations. Even though we really missed Daddy on the actual Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning, we had fun visiting with family.  We hope you had a Merry Christmas celebrating our Savior, and have a Happy New Year too!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cheerful Giving

One of the character traits we work to instill in our children is cheerful giving.  What better time of year to see those lessons in action.  My husband and I have also felt we needed to take the love your neighbors verse a little more literal and love on our neighbors.  So I decided we could make some yummy Christmas treats and give them to our immediate neighbors.  We live by a family much like ours with small children, two retired couples, and a retired man who is a widower.  One of our favorite homemade treats is Oreo Truffles.  They are a little time consuming, but over all a simple recipe.

Oreo Truffles
  • 1 package regular size Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 package white almond bark
  • 1 package chocolate almond bark 

  1. Using a food processor crush Oreo cookies until they are the consistency of potting soil (at least that is what it looks like to me).
  2. Add cream cheese to cookies in food processor until it forms a ball.
  3. Roll into walnut size balls.
  4. Chill for an hour.
  5. Melt approximately 3/4 package of white almond bark.
  6. Stick a toothpick in an Oreo ball and dip it in the melted white almond bark.
  7. Allow to harden on wax paper.
  8. Takes about 15 min.
  9. While waiting, melt about 1/4 package of chocolate almond bark.
  10. When Oreo balls are no longer sticky to the touch, decorate with drizzles of chocolate and white almond bark.
  11. I just use a fork to drizzle the almond bark, but you could use a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut in a corner.
  Sorry I don't have any pictures of the process but here is our Cheerful Givers with some packaged and ready for delivery.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


All last week Elaine's must haves for bedtime included this little radio, her pink sparkly bouncy ball, and her pink tutu.  She would put on her tutu, set her little radio up beside her pillow, and snuggle under the covers with the ball.  When she woke up, down the stairs she would come carrying the radio and bouncy ball.  No teddy bears for this little girl.  Maybe her big brother is rubbing off on her.  His bed is usually covered in action figures, hot wheels cars, and bouncy balls.  She used to snuggle with a soft little lamb, now its a bouncy ball.  She has standards though, because it must be pink and sparkly.  Now she doesn't even check to see if Lambie is around...but don't worry Lambie,

I am sure you will be back on top eventually.  Andy never really forgot Woody, right?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pipe Cleaners and Yarn

If I am working on anything crafty and my older two children are awake they are quick to "help" me.  So I am usually looking for something they can create with too.  While I was working on the decorations for Levi's Dedication Party, I had two helpers.  I gave them free reign with a bag of neon pipe cleaners and yarn.  I am not exaggerating when I say they played for 30 - 45 minutes.  I was only asked to assist when a piece of yarn needed trimming, or to view a finished creation.  Sometimes we over think what kids need to be creative.  This was so much fun for them and it was not messy.  No glue, paint, or play dough was even involved.  So zero preparation and very little clean up, allowed for lots of creative play.  That works for me!  Here are a few of their creations.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Squares

I am always looking for a new recipe.  For this one I actually just tweaked a recipe that has been passed around in various forms for a long time.  When we brought home Elaine from the hospital a family from our church brought over what she called, "Amish Chicken Squares."  I have also come across recipes where these little squares no longer claim any ties to the Amish and go by "Crescent Chicken Squares."  The recipe for those is usually something like this one from

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend butter with cream cheese Add milk and onion. Stir in chicken. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Separate dinner rolls into four rectangles, pressing perforations to seal. Spoon 1/2 cup mixture into center of each rectangle. Fold over two opposite sides to meet in the middle forming a square. Press the other two edges together to seal.
  4. Brush top with melted butter and dip into bread crumbs. Place on non stick cookie sheet crumb side up.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until browned. 
 I was looking for something new so I made them as follows 

Buffalo Chicken Squares

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2tablespoons butter, melted 
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup Buffalo Sauce (I used Frank's)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 8 ounces Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend butter with cream cheese Add milk, Buffalo sauce, and garlic powder. Stir in chicken.
  3. Separate dinner rolls into four rectangles, pressing perforations to seal. Spoon 1/2 cup mixture into center of each rectangle. Fold over two opposite sides to meet in the middle forming a square. Press the other two edges together to seal.
  4. Brush top with melted butter and dip into bread crumbs. Place on non stick cookie sheet crumb side up.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until browned. 
My husband says he can't eat the regular ones anymore because all he can think about is how tasty the buffalo ones are to him.  These would be great served with a green salad and ranch or blue cheese dressing.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: Homeschool Co-op End of the Semester Program

So I know its not Tuesday, but I was planning to post this yesterday.  The problem was that I needed all of yesterday to recover from Monday night...which is what this post is about.  Stay with me and you will understand.

As this is really my first year of "structured" homeschooling, I was looking for a co-op to participate in that would give Landon time in a learning activity away from home.  A co-op is basically a group of parents that come together to provide "classes" to fellow homeschoolers.   So this past semester he took a martial arts class through a local homeschool co-op.  I was very pleased with his instructor, and he loved going to karate.  I was just as excited as he was that there would be a program to demonstrate what each class had learned during the semester.  This program took place this past Monday night, and he did excellent.  It was fun watching him take this step in his growing up process.  So our first co-op experience was a success and we look forward to participating again next semester.

I forgot our here is a cell phone picture!
So you may be asking, "Why did it take all day Tuesday to recover from such a positive experience?"...well it was the surrounding events.  All Monday I anxiously awaited the time when I would need to feed the children (including nursing the baby), dress all of us, and load the car to make our way to the church where the program would take place.  I found myself going over the process again and again in my head to insure everything would go smoothly.  So at 4:00 I began, first I made supper.  Then while the older two children were eating I got dressed.  Then I washed them up and got them dressed.  Then I asked them to get in the van and buckle up.  I got Levi all buckled in his car seat, and went to get my keys from the diaper bag.  I reached into the pocket where I keep them...not there.  So I check other pockets...not there.  I start looking on dresser tops, kitchen counters, coat pockets, console in van, etc...not there.  I frantically call my Dad who is on his way, but since Landon had to be there 30 minutes earlier, he isn't even close yet.  I then call my husband who was leaving work to break the bad news.  He responds calmly by telling me he will contact Landon's teacher and he will come and get us.  I am in tears.  I feel like I am failing my son who is so excited about his first program.  I decide to check the diaper bag one more time...and I find keys...right where I had looked.  Right where I keep them, in the diaper bag.  So I grab Levi's seat, snap him in the car, grab the brownies I made for the reception and leave for the church.  My van clock said 5:54, Landon was supposed to be there at 6.  So when I get to the church I pull up to the gym door where he is supposed to practice and let him out.  I then watch him go to the correct door, and I proceed to park.  As I snap Levi's carseat into the stroller, I hear Landon yell, "Mom the door is locked".  At the same time I hear an adult say he can go in with us...I vaguely recognize the face from the distance I am away, but what choice do I have?  Leave him out in the cold waiting for me, or the younger two while I try to find his teacher?  So in he goes.  I frantically get Elaine out of the van and run into the building pushing the stroller and carrying brownies.  I am relieved to see Landon sitting at a table with his class.  I make my way to the chapel, finally catching my breath for the first time in about 2 hours.  As soon as the program begins Levi signals he is ready to nurse.  So I excuse myself to find a quiet spot.  Hoping I make it back to see worries.  The program that started at 6:30 did not get over until 8:00, with Martial Arts near the very end.  We let the kids get one cookie each from the reception, which upset Landon because he didn't want to just eat something unhealthy, and upset Elaine because she loves a party.  So we drag two over tired children to the van.

We headed home where the children watched a cartoon while Kyle and I finally ate our supper which I had going in the crock pot.  Then finally it was bedtime.  I think it was 9:30 before the children were in bed.  So yesterday we all took naps.  Landon slept for 3 1/2 hours! 

So needless to say no worries about me stealing the Mom of the Year title.  Loosing your keys, dropping a 4 year old off in the cold, letting him walk in a huge church with ???, and letting your kids watch cartoons at 8:30 pm so you can eat are probably deal breakers. 

How was your Monday night?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Levi's Dedication

It has taken me a few weeks to find time to share Levi's Dedication Service at Church.  At our church we practice child dedication.  The service includes each family bringing their child to be dedicated forward and having the father pray for the child.  They not only pray for the child but also their (and the mother's) role as parent for the child.  It has always been a special time for us as a family as we have brought each of our children before the church and dedicated to raising them in a Christian home.  For us that means living out before our children what it means to live in relationship with our Savior, day in and day out.  This is no easy task, so each dedication service has been a time to really reflect and call on God to not only guide our parenting but strengthen our walks with him.
Father God, we come again praising you for the blessing of another child. Our family asks for your continued guidance as we commit to raising Levi in the Christian faith. We pray that you would move in his life so that he will develop a deep faith in you. We ask you to use our home as a safe refuge where Levi can see you working. Make it a place where love grows continually. Shield us from the Satan's attacks. Equip me to be a father that reflects Levi’s Heavenly Father. We acknowledge that he belongs to you. Give Levi a desire to know and love you so that he will fulfill the purpose that you created him for. We ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
After the service we invite family and friends to celebrate with us.  This time I used a polka dot theme for the decorations. 
After seeing these paper decorations on another blog, I have been waiting for the perfect time to use them.  I think they went great with the napkins and cake.  You can see a how to on them here.  I didn't round the corners of mine though. I hung them with fishing line.  My husband and kids really liked them so we are leaving them up through Christmas.  They are so easy!
We had a great day, and feel so blessed by our friends and family that support us in raising the children God has chosen to bless us with.