Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookie Exchange Photos

Just a couple photos of the yummy goodies at the exchange I co-hosted on Tuesday..Enjoy!!

Christmas Cookies....MMMMMMMM

"While thoughts of Christmas cookies danced in their heads." Ooops, that isn't right is it? Well, for me, I have had thoughts of Christmas cookies over the last 5 days. Last year I attended my first Christmas Cookie Exchange and it was so much fun. This year I'm going again and then my girlfriend and I decided to host a cookie exchange together the day after. Cookies, cookies, cookies. If you have never attended a cookie exchange it is a fun way to fellowship with friends and also get a wonderful selection of cookies to give as gifts or serve at the holidays.

At each exchange we were to bring 6 dozen cookies...we take 5 dozen of the variety of everyone's cookies home since 1 dozen is cut up for tasting at the exchange. Yes, you read it right. I attended 2 exchanges, making 6 dozen each...that is 144 cookies. It took all day on Saturday but it was such fun! I did the baking at the home of my dear friend. She and I were attending the one exchange together and co-hosting the 2nd exchange. I made Peppermint Wands ( a reciepe from Gooseberry Patch) for both that means 144 lovingly hand rolled wands! While my pal and I dipped the finished wands in melted chocolate and then sprinkled them with crushed peppermint candies the kids decorated Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs. I wish the holiday festiviteis could last all year long!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Traditions

We took part in a new Christmas tradition at our house this week- this is our 2nd year making faux gingerbread houses. Sissy is in Girl Scouts and each year they have a mother/daughter gingerbread house decorating morning. The base of the house is an empty milk container and you decorate it with frosting and graham crackers. Last year I inquired if I could take a few empty boxes home to do a craft with the girls - we did and it was much fun. This year we decided to do it again.

We got the added bonus this year that grandma happened to be visiting with us, so even she was able to help. I enjoy watching the girls create memories and especially enjoy when they can do it with extended family members.

And of course, aside from being a fun activity that we could classify as "art class", it provides needed nutrition, right??
Here they are with their completed houses....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Christmas Play

Last year Sissy tried her hand at acting. She decided to try out for our church Christmas play and she really enjoyed it. She only had 3 lines last year and wished she had had more. This year when they asked how many lines she wanted to be responsible for, she said she wanted more than 3. So, imagine her excitement when they gave her 20 lines! (Yes, she counted!) This year our church put on "Bucky Brekenhiemer's Christmas Miracle". It was a hilarious production about a hillbilly family at Christmas. She did really well and had a fun time.
I loved that she played the "twin" sister Bucky who was played by one of the teens at our church. We have an AMAZING teen group with kids who truly demonstrate their love for Jesus. "Bucky" never made her feel like she was "just a kid" and treated her with respect and kindness. We are blessed to be part of a church where the teens serve as inspirations to the younger kids and even the adults.
Here "Queazy" is at the end of the performance standing in front of the hillbilly Christmas tree. See the decorations??? Toilet paper and stapled "strips of bacon"!

Crafting Like The Big Girls

You may or may not know that I am a Stampin' Up! demonstrator and am in my 6th year of doing it. Many times throughout the year I hold classes in our home and the girls are almost always around while my customers are taking part in class. All the girls refer to my customers as "the ladies" and having them come in and especially enjoy seeing the projects I create for the

m to make. We are taking a laid back approach to school this month and baking, decorating, crafting, cleaning and just hanging out together. The girls wanted to send Christmas cards to a few friends of theirs so I had an idea.

I had the girls sit down and have a "consultation" with me about the colors they would want to use on a Christmas card and the pictures they would like to use. I then designed the card, just like I do for "the ladies" and they all sat around creating like my customers do.

We all had a great time and I really enjoyed seeing them feel like grown ups, working the same way "the ladies" do.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Who is Most Blessed?

Yesterday was one of the best days ever. You know, one of those days that you never want to forget. It was one of those days where you heart felt good and you see growth and maturity spring up in your children (at least 2 of them). Today the girls and I visited a local mission in downtown Flint, the goal was to help wrap Christmas gifts. We talked a little bit about how the parent(s) of the children were not able to purchase gifts for their kids themselves so the mission gets the gifts and wraps them up so the kids would recieve some presents. We talked about how by helping we are the hands of God and we are showing His love by working in His name.

We arrived and there were huge tables just FILLED with toys. Everything you could imagine. Sweet Baby couldn't resist grabbing the toys and checking them out. But both Sissy and Peanut were just anxious to get to work.

I think the most enjoyable part of the process for the girls was that they actually got to choose the gender and age of the children and then they got to choose the gifts to give them. There was an information sheet on each family that listed the child's age and some wishes for their gifts. We were able to find a couple sheets that had 7 year old girls in the family and then Sissy chose a family that had a 10 year old and 14 year old girl. It was so sweet to watch my children choosing carefully and putting a bit of themselves into the choices.

Peanut was thrilled to find that one of the girls wanted art supplies (Peanut is my little artist) and the little girl's favorite color is pink (also Peanut's favorite color). Imagine her delight when she discovered that the child likes to read as well (Peanut wakes up from her bed nearly each morning carrying a book with her to read before she does anything else!). I was shocked that Peanut was able to do all the wrapping by herself (except cutting the paper to size, the rolls were too big for her to manuver). Sweet Baby even helped place the tape on many packages.

For me, Sissy (10) impressed me the most. She was sitting next to me wrapping and at one point she said, "Mom, this is fun. I think next year, I don't even want to get any Christmas presents for myself, I just want to come here and do this again for the people who need it." I had to work very hard not to cry. It was at that moment that I realized that as parents, we must be doing SOMETHING right. Her maturity in that statement was amazing.
On the way home Sissy said, "Mom, did you have a funny feeling in your stomach when we were at the mission? Because I did, it felt really good to be helping." This isn't the first time her dad and I have felt she is old enough to be helping people who need it. Our church runs a center that gives free clothing and food to the community once a week. Once a month they do it in the evening so we are able to take her up there, she helps and loves it, but for some reason - yesterday was a day that touched her a bit more.