Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Advent Days 8-14

December 8: Pictures with Santa. We went to CheapShots Photography again this year. Peyton said she was going to be brave, but got scared the minute she saw him. Maybe next year...

December 9: Decorate our Window. Just an easy, fun one that the kids were really looking forward to.

December 10: See the Lights on Temple Square. We rode Frontrunner and TRAX up and met Rog at City Creek. We got dinner at Kneaders and then walked around Temple Square. It wasn't freezing cold and it wasn't very crowded either - I think we picked the perfect night!

December 11: Sub for Santa (or Angel Tree or whatever you want to call it). Corbyn picked out a Lego set for a little boy in our ward and Peyton picked out a couple Frozen toys for a little girl in our ward. It wasn't their favorite activity, but it was a good one to teach them about giving and the true meaning of Christmas.

December 12: Make Neighbor Gifts. We made Peppermint Cookies & Cream Popcorn. The kids were our official Oreo and candy cane crushers. Our Best Bites posted the cutest (fully customizable) tags just in time and saved me from having to design my own!

December 13: Deliver Neighbor Gifts. Dolly got to come and Peyton pushed her almost the whole way.  It was pretty nice when we set out, but a storm came in that made warming up with a cup of hot chocolate necessary when we got home!

December 14: Open and Read a New Christmas Book. We got Sam's Christmas Wish, a cute book about how the spirit of giving is able to change one man's attitude towards Christmas.

Other highlights from the week:

We went to a Community Christmas Creche put on by our Stake. (I took the kids Thursday night with my parents while Rog was at school and then Rog took the kids again Friday night while I was at a Relief Society Activity.) I donated one of my nativities to have displayed. It was fun seeing it among all the many nativities from all around the world.

Rog finished up his classes for the semester!

As mentioned above, I went to our Relief Society Dickens Christmas dinner Friday night. They had a nice program with beautiful Christmas music and excerpts from A Christmas Carol.

My mom and I threw a bridal shower for Cailey. We invited a lot of people, but weren't sure how many would come with it being right in the middle of the busy Christmas season. I wanted to make sure we had enough food regardless of how many came, so I cooked and cooked and cooked. We definitely had enough with a good amount leftover for dinner that night. We had Wassail, Chocolate Milk, Orange Juice, Breakfast Taquitos, Mexican Eggs, Mini Quiche (from Costco), Maple Bacon, Applesauce Oat Muffins, Peach Muffins, Mixed Berry Salad, Fluffy Orange Fruit Dip with Fruit, Monkey Bread, and Mini Cheesecakes (from Costco).

The invitation.

The guests.

Kiera tied all the bows from the presents in Cailey's hair. The classic bridal shower picture!

While we were having the shower Rog took Corbyn and Peyton to the Bean Museum at BYU.

It was a busy and fun week!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Advent Days 1-7

We've been having so much fun with our daily advent activities. The very first thing Corbyn wants to do when he wakes up is see what ornament and activity are waiting in the advent calendar. Most of the activities are things we would have done anyway or fun, easy things that don't take a lot of effort.

December 1: Pick our Christmas Tree. 

December 2: Decorate our Tree.

December 3: Write Letters to Santa. I found the Santa letter template here. I also tried this method of getting a letter back from Santa. We'll see if it works... I figure they will be thrilled if they get a letter back, but if they don't, it only cost me a couple stamps and they'll never know the difference.

December 4: Make a Gingerbread Man for Corbyn and a Necklace for Peyton. I got these kits from the dollar bins at JoAnn. I tried to be sneaky, but Corbyn saw me buying them and was dying to do this activity! He insisted we do it on the 4th because he is 4.

December 5: Cookie Party with Friends. Roger's mom always did a cookie party for the neighborhood kids and we decided this year our kids are finally old enough to do it with their friends. We did it when it was our turn to watch the kids for our date night exchange and it was a little crazy, but mostly fun.

December 6: Pick out this Year's Ornaments. Corbyn picked Spider-man and Peyton picked Doc McStuffins. 

December 7: Watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. We want to keep our Sunday activities focused on Christ as much as possible - even though the kids didn't do a whole lot of watching or listening, they knew the prophets were talking about Christ and Christmas. I made Stove Top Kettle Corn to snack on while we watched. 

Other highlights from the week:

Christmas Pajamas!

We went to Cheesecake Factory to celebrate Cailey's birthday. Their Peppermint Bark Cheesecake is a holiday must and I enjoyed every last bite!

I hit the 24 week mark in my pregnancy. Not much to report - enjoying the 2nd trimester, feeling good (for the most part), and dreading the 3rd trimester (when I will have to be serious about no carbs or sweets if I want to avoid another 10 pound boy).

I got our Christmas cards mailed out.

I finished reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell. It was an easy, fun read and the perfect book to read at Christmastime (because it takes place the week before Christmas).

We went to our ward Christmas party. It wasn't a dinner, just a fun activity with a little program, glazed donuts (that seriously hit the spot for this pregnant lady!), Santa, and some games for the kids - perfect for our ward with a million little kids!

The Primary kids were supposed to dress up as shepherds or angels for the song they sang as a part of the program. I threw Corbyn's costume together in 10 minutes or less using a couple old towels we had. He didn't know the song, but looked completely adorable!

Peyton would have nothing to do with Santa, but Corbyn was so into sitting on his lap and telling him what he wants for Christmas.

Fishing for treats was much more Peyton's style.

And that was the first week of December!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner

This was my second Thanksgiving (my first Thanksgiving here), so it was a little less intimidating. I did almost everything the day before (everything that I could) which definitely helped a lot. We had a slightly bigger crowd - Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Ririe, Great Grandma Ford, Grandpa and Grandma Ririe, Rog, me, Taylor, Martha, Jared, Cailey, Corbyn, Peyton, and Mae (although she didn't eat anything). We fit two long, skinny tables in my parent's dining room, so we could all sit together.

Corbyn and Peyton got their own little table.

We covered it in kraft paper and let them color to keep them entertained a little longer while we ate - perfect because they hardly touched their food!

We didn't take any pictures of the food - major fail.


Shrimp & Cocktail Sauce (Great Grandma Ririe)

Main Meal

Pear and Pomegranate Salad (Our Best Bites' Savoring the Seasons Cookbook)
World's Best Dinner Rolls with Cinnamon Butter
Green Beans (Martha)
Turkey and Gravy


Pumpkin Pie (Cailey)
Pecan Pie (Cailey)

I've already got ideas for what I'll do differently next time I host (#1 on that list - take more pictures!), but for the most part I think it was a success!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

End of November

The end of November was packed full.

*We continued our Friends Thanksgiving marathon tradition - one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. We've done it so many years now that we can pretty much quote all of the Thanksgiving episodes.

*I thought my Thanksgiving decor needed some pilgrims and indians, so I waited patiently for Rod Works to put their Thanksgiving on sale for 50% off and then raced over there as soon as they did. These three (along with this Thanksgiving sign from Just Add Sunshine Inc) were just what I was looking for!

*Corbyn boldly declared one day that Megaman and Spider-man are cool and Batman is not cool anymore. That night Rog found him asleep with socks on his hands to be like Megaman. I don't think Batman is totally out, but he definitely doesn't get the attention he used to!

*My friend, Kelli, and I both won $25 gift certificates to Wood Connection on Instagram, so one afternoon we packed up 3 of our 4 kids in her minivan (her oldest was at school) and made the trip to American Fork. It was delightful until the kids decided they had enough of the toy room and ran crazy around the store. I got some fun Christmas crafts that I may or may not get to this month, but they were free! 

*Rog got a terrible cough from Peyton that had him up until the early hours of the morning coughing. He spent many nights sleeping on the couch to not disturb me. 

*We took family pictures for our Christmas card. Looking at all the outtakes, it was a miracle that any of them turned out. (Also a miracle that I don't look too much like a cow either - that scarf did wonders to hide my growing bump!) A few of our favorites...

*We took our turn watching the kids for our date night exchange. At one point, Peyton and Elsie were upstairs watching Finding Nemo while all the other kids were downstairs watching Ninja Turtles. Rog went to check on them and found them like this. They are seriously the cutest friends ever!

*Rog's mom came into town for a quick visit. It was fun to see her if only for breakfast at Tay and Martha's and dinner at Outback.

*It was supposed to be raining all day, so we decided to watch the BYU vs. Savannah State game at my parent's house. Turns out the rain let up just for the game, but Rog got in a spectacular (and much needed) nap. 

And I finished up a few crafts I had been trying to get to all month.

(We won 64-0, so it's not like it was a nail biter by any means!)

*I made Nantucket Cranberry Pie for dessert the Sunday before Thanksgiving (to spread out the cranberry) and it was pretty much amazing. My new favorite pie and I don't think it's just because of my recent cranberry obsession.

*We made thankful turkeys for FHE - another one of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions.

*I spent the Tuesday before Thanksgiving making pilgrim hats...


And turkeys for our place card holders. As well as acorns for our centerpiece.

*I cooked all day long on Wednesday prepping for Thanksgiving. And while I cooked, my mom did dishes all day long trying to keep up with my mess!

*On Thanksgiving Rog made up for not being around on Wednesday by being the best helper. I'm pretty sure his favorite part was injecting the turkey.

*After our Thanksgiving dinner (that I will be posting about in more detail soon), my mom and I hit the stores for some Black Friday shopping. I got new Christmas lights for 50% off at Kmart, a whole bunch of Blu-Rays for super cheap at Walmart (after waiting in a 45+ minute crazy line), and some miscellaneous deals at Kohl's. I feel bad that Black Friday gets earlier and earlier every year and that people have to work on Thanksgiving, but it was kind of nice to do all my Black Friday shopping during more normal hours rather than in the middle of the night and early morning.

*Because I got all my shopping done Thursday night, we were able to put up our lights and go to the temple on Friday. We decided to put some lights up on the back of our house because we never get to enjoy the ones on the front of our house. This way we get to see our lights as we pull into our garage at night (that is of course if we go somewhere at night which doesn't happen all the time, but I have a feeling it will happen more as Christmas gets closer).

*On Saturday we watched the BYU vs. California game. It was a close game and it was fun to see BYU come out on top (42-35). This time it was Peyton who got a spectacular nap. She sat down next to me and I looked over a few minutes later to see her nodding off (which never happens).

*I finished my advent calendar on Sunday - just in time to start using it Monday morning. It has been a huge hit (especially with Corbyn) and I'm so glad I put in the effort to get it done by December 1st. It was fun because Rachel made this advent calendar a few years ago and I made my ornaments last year. And this year we switched places - she made her ornaments and I made the advent calendar.

And that was the last two weeks of November!