Monday, December 28, 2009

amongst friends #8

The Letter E

Some weeks it is just flat out hard to come up with a connection to a letter. I struggled with the letter E. And I know Kelly did too, a little. This has turned out to be very fun for me and the others too. I love to see how everyone else decides to get their pictures. Often it turns out that the best you can do is look in the dictionary, pick a word and go take a picture. And that's OK. Sometimes there is more meaning behind the picture, I guess everyone uses the project differently. So what would you photograph for "F"? If you think of something be sure to share it with us.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from Scott Chris Cori Cassi Cali

Wishing you Joy this Christmas
& Peace on Earth for us All

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

amongst friends #7

The Letter D

I split the pictures into two parts this week. I wanted you to see my picture in a wider angle and close up.
Do you see the D connection? I have edited last weeks pictures with the descriptions. Did you guess correctly?
Join us for The Letter E, next week!

Jenny-She used Disney or it could be decoration.
Frank- He was still holding onto the cop-connection with donuts.
Kelly-Hers was the obvious with dog.
Christie-Mine was dangerous. I didn't think most of you would have ever seen a danger warning for snowmachining. They are everywhere here in Alaska.

Annual Christmas Band Concert-Part 2

This is NOT the video Cori wanted me to share but it is the ONLY one that would load. Still they are doing fabulous.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Annual Christmas Band Concert

This is Cori's second year in band; Cassi's first. Both girls seem to be doing well. In fact their band director tells them they are STUDS!

I didn't really get many pictures since the lighting is so horrible in the gym but I did record each of their songs.

Here is one from each of them.

This is the younger group playing Blues Adventure.

***Edit- I have to put the older group in a second post; blogger is giving me grief having both videos in the same post. :(

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making Friends

Last year the girls and I participated in our first ever swap. I thought it would be a nice experience for them, kind of along the lines of a pen pal. I also thought it might be fun for whomever we were matched with since we were from Alaska and I imagined it wasn't everyday people met other people from here.

It turned out so fun. Our first swap was a Christmas book swap. Cali was matched with a little guy from down South. Actually not too far from where our Grandma lives.

After the swap Cali talked often about Sam so a few months later his Mom and I decided we would swap a little package again. And a new friendship was created. Cali still talks about Sam, like she's known him forever!

We decided to do a little book swap again this year. Cali received hers from Sam the other day. She was so excited. I sat her down in front of the tree and she went to town on the package.

It included a book titled Stick Kid and also It's a Wonderful Life for Kids. The Stick Kid book rolls off the tongue so easily and it has instantly become a Cali favorite. I hear it is also one of Sam's favorites and I can see why.

It's a Wonderful Life is my most favorite Christmas movie ever so it was extra special to read the book to Cali.

I am so glad we leaped into doing the book swap last year. I really believe Cali will have a far-away friend for years to come. And what a nice family to befriend!

Wordful Wednesday 12-16

This tradition was started for us by Holly. She started taking oranges and peppermint into Wren's class every Christmas. When he moved to our school years ago, she did it there too. When he left for the big city the year after my girls longed for the tradition so we decided to do it ourselves. And so it began that every year since we have taken in an orange and a peppermint stick for each child in the class.

This year I had to buy almost 60 oranges. I wish you could have seen my buggy in the store. And the people staring at me as I kept adding more and more oranges. I decided to take them into school early to give the teachers opportunity to use them as a bargaining tool. When I dropped them off I could here the giggles and squeals of the kids. They were excited. I suppose it's become tradition they look forward to also.

If you've never done it, here's what you do:

Roll your orange on the counter over and over until it gets nice and juicy. The skin will be weaker now so dig your thumb into the skin making a small hole; too big and you'll be wearing the juice. Poke you peppermint stick into the orange and start sucking. The juice will melt the peppermint stick enough so that it becomes the straw. Drink until you can no longer.

Enjoy your new Christmas time tradition.

***You can only use the old fashioned peppermint sticks for this, NOT the ones you hang on your Christmas tree.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Annual Silly-Gift Christmas Party

Well, we've done it again. And it was a success!

Our annual silly-gift Christmas party was this past weekend. As usual, it was a blast.

Lots of silly gifts, Tons of laughter and many, many wonderful memories.

If you've never heard, every year we have this party and every year some of the players are the same and some different. This year there were 25 exchanging participants. Our biggest group ever.

We do 2 rounds of exchanges, one less expensive and one in the twenty-ish range. Usually, everyone goes home with a nice (or decent) prize and one could easily be questionable.

There is always the contest of bringing the most coveted gift. And there are a few other notable categories too.

This year, my own personal favorite gift, which I did not take home I might add, was the singing, dancing Christmas Tree hat. I loved it!

As for the most coveted present of the evening, I would say it would depend on who you asked. Holly ended up with a picture frame full of group photos from past years get-togethers. It was definitely a trip down memory lane. It seems to have gone so fast.

Grandpa seemed to be the leader in choosing the best gifts this year. I was the winner of a HUGE bottle of wine. The bottle is easily 2 feet tall. I didn't get a picture but since I will be sharing it with Grandpa on Christmas, I will be sure to take one then. He also contributed a quesadilla maker and an awesome hand-crank lantern.

Oddly enough, the huge root-beer mug we brought was a hit with the younger set. And bacon flavored jelly beans had to be the weirdest gift of the evening.

Regardless of who got what, we do our best to make sure the kids leave with something that makes them smile, so there is always some after swap trading going on. The kids had fun and everyone got something cool, silly-fun, amazing or awesome.

There was also some singing and dancing happening. Look out American Idol! If I can figure out how to load videos again. I may have to share one with you.

With 5 of the kids graduating this year and 2 of them already in college, (We were grateful they still came this year!)I wondered aloud how many more of these parties there would be.

Then I realized that there are still a few in elementary school and middle school. We might squeak out a few more, Lord willing. I have such a great time when we are all together and I know, even if they don't right now, that one day my kids will look back on these days with laughter and joy. They will know what it's like to enjoy the love of great friends and at the end of the day, it's one of the few things that actually matter. The rest is only details.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Most Darling Giveaway...EVER! Monsterously CUTE!

OK, I shouldn't be spreading the word 'cause my chances will be fewer but (hint, hint) if enough people ask, maybe she will start selling these little buggers in an etsy shop.

So, head on over to 5 Orange Potatoes and see the cutest-ever little goblin-like softies she is giving away. And you will think good thoughts for me too, won't you?

Don't you just love him?!

amongst friends #6

Be sure to click on this picture to see a better view of everyone's interpretation of "C"
***Edit-Cassi's picture was a CUPCAKE dropped perfectly in the school parking lot. Franks picture was CUFFS. Mine was fairly obvious with Church. Jenny's was COLOR and Kelly's was a plant called a CROTON.

We are still going strong. amongst friends has become one of my most favorite challenges of the week. (Taking a second only to "A Little Gratefulness) My kids have gotten involved and often look for photo opportunities. For my friend Kelly, I think it has almost been a healing process. It's given me the chance to become better friends with Jenny and Frank for which I am very grateful. And more than anything, my children and I are looking around our world with new interest. Now if I could just get Scott to get involved. ;) I'm going to work on him next. And how about you? Would you like to join us? Leave a comment and let me know you have. I'd love to see your photo next week- The Letter is "D".

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

They are growing up TOO fast!

Seems like yesterday they were in preschool painting cute little Christmas pillow cases.

We still get them out every year. I really should have Cali make one of these.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Wordless Wednesday 12-09


A Night for Princesses

The girls had their annual school Christmas Show last night. It was Cori's last one. Man, I don't typically get goofy about the girls growing up but there are a couple things hitting me rather hard lately. Just looking at them last night pulled at my heart strings. Yikes, gotta keep it together!

I took them to have their hair done. I don't usually do that but being older, I thought they might like it. The little-bit didn't go but I don't think she would have sat for it anyway.When I picked them up, they were glowing.

A couple notable quotes from the evening-

Cassi- Oh My Gosh Mom! I LOVE my hair, the wedding is tomorrow!

I also took the girls for dinner after the show. We went with Cori's (boy-shhh!) friends family. On our way home I asked her, did you feel pretty tonight? You sure looked beautiful.
She replied (with all her sporty-girl sarcasm) "Well, I didn't get all princessy feeling like Cassi or anything, but yeah, I felt good."

And Cali's for the night- "MOM! When does this thing end! I am ready to go now!"

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

"A" Little Gratefulness

I hope you will consider joining me in this gratefulness challenge. You can read more about it here.

Here goes it for this week:

Independence- You get this right? To live in a free country is amazing. There are so many countries in which one can not feel free to simply BE. I am grateful that here in the USA, we can. I am a woman, I am grateful that I can be a woman in my right. I don't have to be married, I don't have to follow someone else's rules. I can make choices, all on my own. Man, am I ever thankful for that!

Internet- The internet has been a beautiful thing for me. It keeps me close to my family even though we are thousands of miles away. I have found friends I haven't had the chance to talk to in years. I have made friends I might never have known. I am a blessed blogger. :)

Icicles- I struggled with "I". And I wouldn't have probably ever said I was grateful for Icicles (or ice) as it may be but this year I have learned some really fun and lovely things to do with it, so icicles (ice) it is! :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

An Amazing Giveaway

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?
I have a hard time thinking of things I'd like for just me. I do want a new set of all white dishes. I saw some at ikea that were nice. I think I am liking simple things more!
That being said, while I would not likely ever buy a the things being given away here for myself until my girls are older. I Would LOVE to win these items then I wouldn't have to ask for a thing anyway. :)
2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
I think it was the snapshot of my girls that my husband framed with a special poem written on it.
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?
I want to learn to sew. That's a gift I would like, the time and a place to learn to sew.
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?
Not as a child, but as a teenager, there was once a certain brand name pair of shoes that were quite spendy and I never thought I'd get them. My Mom splurged and bought them for me. I LOVED them!
5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year?
UGGS,Danskos, iTouch, Cali just wants TOYS!!!
6. What is your favorite holiday food?
Green Bean Casserole
7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?
Not sure. We are making ornaments though.
8. What is your favorite holiday movie?
It's a Wonderful Life
9. Favorite holiday song?
The WHOLE Niel Diamond Christmas Album and The WHOLE Alabama Christmas album. And my Most Favorite, Oh Holy Night.
10. Favorite holiday pastime?
Sitting in Silence or with soft Christmas music and a glass of wine looking at the Christmas tree. :)

To enter to win all these cool prizes below simply answer the questions in this meme, make sure to post links back to and Provo Craft (use this link: ) and tag your friends!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

amongst friends #5

The Letter B
You are invited to join us. Look around your world, find your connection and share your picture.
Next week, the Letter "C"
*Isn't it awesome that the kids are joining in. :)

Cori-Beautiful & Blue
Christie-Black & Ball
Kelly- Book
Cassi- Blue

Friday, December 04, 2009

Wrap it Up

I know I've posted about this kind of thing before. I just thought you might like the reminder. Since most of us will find ourselves in a crunch some time during this holiday season, it's good to know there are a few tricks that will save the day every now and again.

I didn't take step by step photos because I am certain you can figure this out.
But here is our finished product. For the record I was not actually in a crunch. I was trying to find a unique way to wrap a gift without the recipient being able to figure out what is was based on the size or shape of the package.

We have a family/friend party coming up next Saturday and we do a gift exchange. We do one for twenty-ish that is a good gift and one for five-ish that is a silly gift.

I have a really hard time spending my money on an item that the recipient will throw away when they get home so I try to make it fun or silly but not ridiculous.

This gift contains a good gift. :) And pretty great right? No chance you are going to figure out what is in it.

Anyway, this started out as a hot chocolate container. This afternoon I sat Cali down with a bowl of modge podge and a large sheet of red and green tissue paper. I didn't even paint it first because I knew she would likely layer on mountains of shredded paper. And I was right.

I noticed one spot that I could see some wording so I drew silver stars all over it and wrote Merry Christmas on it too. Now I don't notice a thing.

And I can tag it: Frugal, Recycling, Craft for All Ages, Homemade and so much more. :)

Some Really COOL Furniture

I thought I would show you some really cool furniture I found the other day.

There was a rather comfy couch, and who needs tv when you can view the stars.

Then there was this amazing double sided chair. one piece of modern furniture that seats two. AWESOME!

These are some fine artists. They work super hard and make great furniture.

And they are fun to watch!

***I've linked this outside adventure to the MAGIC ONIONS Friday's Nature Table
Go check out lots of other great explorations, adventures and nature inspired crafts there.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cori's Free Throw- SWOOSH!

Something easy to get us in the spirit.

About two weeks ago I filled a small plastic pitcher full of Christmas colored pom poms and put it in the car. I also threaded a large not-to-sharp needle with a long piece of thread. Then I showed Cali how to push it through the pom poms.

This has to be one of the greatest things I've ever done to keep her busy in the car. Since she has two big sisters, we are in the car a lot, getting them to games, music lessons, school, you name it. It adds up to a lot of traveling.

With this project she had something to do anytime she wanted and she could visibly notice her efforts a little more each trip.

We replaced our bead and apple garland with this.

Today I saw the ball on One Pretty Thing (which led me to THIS post on Zakka Life and decided it would be the perfect center to our garland.

And here it is.

So easy, simple and perfectly Cali Cute!
***I've linked this to Ramblings of a Crazy Woman We Made it! Friday Showcase. I promise you will find some crafty inspiration there if you are looking.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009