Working with the Elements..

Can you believe the downpour of snow? I'll admit that when I first saw how much snow we had received over night, I was a little discouraged.( I think I even gasped!) I decided that instead of sulking, I would be thankful for the moisture and enjoy it. If you can get past the freezing part, it really is so beautiful.

I bundled up the kids and headed out to make a snowman. Chris offered to stay in with Finley because she was running a bit of a fever. I thought it was so sweet of him, until I discovered there was a game on that he wanted to watch.( How Convenient..) We were originally making one snowman, which quickly turned into two, and somehow turned into our entire family. Although I did most of the work, it paid off. They were rediculously cute.

I got this next idea from the wonderful magazine, Wonder time. It is chuck full of all sorts of fun tips, recipes, and things to do with your children. You just fill water bottles with water and little bit of food coloring, and use it to paint a master piece in the snow. We added the candles and sprinkles, because the kids wanted to make a cake. It was so cute watching them decorate there snow cakes.

Gabe told me that this was the best day ever. It's always nice to hear that they are having a good day, instead of begging for a new mom.

Chandler went straight to work, and didn't stop until her cake was finished.
After they were all worn out, we went in for some grilled cheese and hot cocoa, YUMMY!

Gabe always holds up four fingers to show his age. There are very few pictures with out him raising his fingers in front of the camera, sorry.

They were so tuckered out from a day in the snow, and ready to jump into the book that we have been reading before bed every night. ( I have been reading only a few chapters a night, hoping that the movie will quickly find it's way to the cheap seats!) So far it has proven to be such a cute book. The beginning made me want a delicious bowl of hot soup! We can't wait for the movie.
Over all, I rate this day a perfect 10!!

Here is a recipe that we also got from Wonder time. I know that it is not yet February, but I made them anyway. All you need is a box of brownies, a box of cake mix, and a tub of frosting. I think in the magazine they chose Chocolate cake mix and Strawberry frosting, but I opted for, Red Velvet cake mix and Cream Cheese frosting, and I am so glad that I did. They turned out to be so yummy.

After the brownies cool, use a small heart cookie cutter and cut to the amount of cupcakes.

Add frosting, the heart shaped brownie, and there you have it.

Aren't they cute? I think I'll make some more for our Activity Days meeting.


A New Year..

Just the sound of "A New Year", makes me want to try harder and do better in life. Aside from the usual wanting to be healthy, exercise and lose weight, yadda, yadda, yadda. I wanted to share some of my less depressing and more achievable resolutions.
I call these, " THE FAVE FIVE".

#1-The first thing I wrote when I made my list was, " Don't sweat the small stuff."

I want nothing more than to be one of those moms that break out the camera when the entire bag of flour has been spilt, Or laugh when a whole glass of milk has been knocked off of the table onto the carpet. I fear that this is one of those less achievable aspirations of mine, but I truly want to master the art of making lemonade out of those nasty little lemons that life hands our way.

BONUS...This goal comes with a yummy recipe.

Perfect Lemonade Recipe
1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
1 cup lemon juice
3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)
1 Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.
2 While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.
3 Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.
Serve with ice, sliced lemons.
Serves 6.
My second goal goes hand in hand with the first.
#2- I want to be more thankful for the things I have, and count my many, many blessings.
I went to the movie, "Marley & Me" last week, and this movie basically summed up my second goal. I loved every single part of this movie. It rang so true to real life and how we can get so caught up in the bad things in life that we forget to focus on what truly matters. It was one of those laugh/cry movies. I recommend this to anyone who hasn't already seen it. It is a perfect date movie with your hubby.

My third goal is one of the most important on my list,

#3- Simplify and Organize.

This doesn't only apply to the physical clutter in my life, but the mental as well. I really want to focus on my family more and make them my priority. I feel like they have always been my main focus in life, but I find myself getting so caught up in the busyness of life that I forget that they are the most important part. I want my days to be scheduled around my family and not the other way around. I want to put more effort into our FHE's, and really put an emphasis on the love I have for each individual. I truly feel that "Cleanliness is next to Godliness", and I think that if I can simplify and organize our family will truly benefit from it.

That brings me to my fourth goal. I hope that you know I wrote these in no particular order. I just jotted down what came to my head.

#4- Be Better Prepared/Budget and Save.

I really want to work toward better preparing ourselves. I want to put more toward my children's schooling in the future, and the missions that they may serve. I would also like to put more effort into food storage and into building a better savings. Although I feel that I have inherited my thrifty shopping skills from my father, I think that I could do better to only buy things that we truly need and not just buy things because they have a pretty price...YIKES... I am guilty thrift shopper!

This brings me to the final of "THE FAVE FIVE". This could very well be the hardest, and in order to accomplish it I know that I need to work on myself each and every day.

#5- I want to be the BEST wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, that I can be.

Happy New Year

If it didn't bring you joy, just leave it behind

Let's ring in the new year with good things in mind.

Leave every bad memory that brought heartache and pain

And let's turn a new leaf with the smell of new rain.

Let's forget past mistakes, making amends for this year

Sending these greetings to bring hope and good cheer.

Happy New Year!

(-author unknown)


Wrapping up December.....

I know that I always have these colossal posts, but December was filled with so much fun that I can't leave anything out. Here is our Christmas card for this year. By the time I got finished editing them at Walmart, the kids feet got cut off a bit, but it still turned out pretty good. This picture is before I edited them, and added a border (sorry, T.M.I).

We started December off with FHE at my house. The first Monday of each month my family takes turns hosting FHE at there home. The lesson I chose was on "Love at Home". We talked about the things we can do to keep love in our homes. Then, to go along with the lesson, each family got to decorate there own gingerbread house. I feel so blessed to have my family so close and for the time we are all able to spend with one another. Here are some pictures of our Monday night madness.

I am trying to post things in order to when they happened. Next on the calender was Our monthly recipe group. It was at my home as well, and it was so much fun. Not only did each person bring a yummy recipe, but we also had a "Favorite Things" exchange. Each person brought twelve of there favorite thing during the holidays, and we passed them around. We set a budget of no more than $20.00 for all twelve gifts so that it didn't get outlandish. My favorite thing was to stay warm, so I gave a pair of Christmas socks with hot cocoa and Big Red gum. Some of the other gifts were cookie mix, potpourri, cookies, bracelets, lotion, hand made cards, gum, a Christmas CD, gloves, fuzzy socks, an ornament, a magnetic Christmas tablet, and a chocolate covered pretzel. Thanks again girls for the gifts and the craziest girls night ever!

Gabe was a child from Mexico for his Christmas play. He made the cutest little Mexican ever!He kept saying, "I'm a Mexico", which had us rolling all night. The theme was Children all around the world and for those of you who don't know his teacher Mrs. Di, she is amazing with children and the best teacher ever.

The program was so cute and Gabe acted out every little song so perfectly!

This was our sad little neighbor gift for Christmas. I know it's not a plate full of baked goods, but I couldn't find the time this year, sorry neighbors.

Next up is the Coon family cookie exchange at Aunt Sharla's house. We each baked two dozen of two different kinds of cookies. We ate cookies, drank hot cocoa, read a story about Christmas socks and Aunt Sharla had cute little socks for everyone to go along with the story. I made the Carmel Pecan and double chocolate mint cookies. Thanks to my friend Michelle for the yummy recipes, they were a hit.

A few days after the cookie exchange we had our third annual Christmas Eve party at my Aunt Cindy's house. Each year the family from Idaho get together and sing songs, eat soups (and other various goodies), and have a white elephant gift exchange. My aunt Bonnie and Pat usually make it every year thankfully, but my grandparents were such a good surprise this year. We got a new four generation picture with Finley included, which was my favorite part of the evening. We love you Grandma and Grandpa and it was so nice to see you, Bonnie, and Pat. Thank you for having it at your house Ken and Cindy, and for throwing it Jenn. It wouldn't be Christmas with out our little shindig.

Finally, Christmas Morning. We woke up early and opened presents. Each year gets more exciting than the last to watch the kids open there Christmas gifts. It looks like Santa made a stop at IKEA this year! Every year we have the same routine. We open presents then head over to my parents for Christmas Crepes.

My dad is the crepe king! Thanks daddy for the yummy crepes. Here is the best and most fattening syrup recipe ever. (It is to-die-for good!)

Empey's Killer Homemade Syrup
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cube butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract

Next we go to Chris's families for lunch, more presents, and some sledding.They have the perfect sized hills in their neighborhood for the kids.

The kids thought it was so cool that Grandma and Grandpa even went sledding!

Gabe and Chandler racing down the hill.

Me and the kids on a giant hill of snow if front of grandma and grandpa's house.

The kids playing at the park by the hills.

Chandler and Gabe with there cousin Chase.

Emma all bundled up.

Lauralee and Finley waiting their turn.

Thanks dad and Sandy for lunch, more presents, and the sledding adventure. It was the perfect Christmas afternoon and the kids had a blast.

I am so thankful for the birth of our savior and for his atoning sacrifice. I love Christmas for this reminder and I feel so blessed to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I hope that you all had a beautiful Christmas and an even better New Year! Click on this link to hear one of my favorite songs.