Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Around the Town Tuesday featuring...Sledding!

We have gotten A TON OF SNOW! I thought it would be lots of fun to take the kiddos sledding. Being from Arizona, we don't have all the cold weather garb that official sledders need. Luckily there's a church, with great hills, just up the street from where we're staying. When the noses got froze, as I knew they would in 15 degree weather, we were just a hop, skip and a jump away from steamy hot cocoa.

Getting ready to "hit the hills".

The concentrating tongue is definitely from my side of the family...

I even got to go down a couple times. There's nothing like a trip down a snowy hill to make you feel your age!

She's having so much FUN!

I love hanging out with these CRAZY kids!

How I LOVE that smile :) Gracie would only go down the hill with Daddy.

A sure sign that we've had enough sledding for the day...

I hope everyone is enjoying their weather, as much as we're enjoying ours!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Countdown Paper Chain

I had high hopes this year of making a super cute advent calendar like the ones I have seen onHomemade By Jill, but alas, here it was the weekend before December and I still hadn't made anything. Maybe next year? While browsing some favorite blogs, I saw a super cute and easy one at d. Sharp's Journal, and really like the idea of having your advent calendar be activity based, instead of treat based. We all get PLENTY of treats this time of year, and I love the countdown without the sugar. Growing up, I always made paper chains, I don't know why I had so much fun making them, but I loved it. So the "quick & easy" in me took over, and I decided to make a paper chain to count down with activities written for each day. I found some super cute double sided paper at Pebbles for my chain.I wrote a fun Christmas activity for each day, some are big, some are small.
I haven't the perfect place to hang my chain yet, above the pantry is where it currently is, but I don't love it there. It needs to be high enough so the baby can't rip it apart, but still in a fun spot.
Below is a list of my activities, they are Christmas traditions from years past, and some new ones we want to start as a family. My family has a "Christmas book" with Christmas stories that my Mother has collected over the years, so we have reading out of that book on a couple of different days. What are some of your traditions? I would love to hear them, please leave a comment below, I want to incorporate different things each year.

Countdown to Christmas activities:

01: Write a letter to Santa
02: Read a story from the "Christmas Book"
03: Watch one of the Christmas Classic movies, Rudolph, Frosty, etc.
04: Church Christmas Party
05: Drive through the neighborhood and look at lights
06: Go caroling at a nursing home
07: Make Jingle Bells
08: Buy a soft toy from IKEA and donate it to Toys 4 Tots. (IKEA donates $1 from every soft toy sold to UNICEF, 2 good deeds in one!)
09: Bake treats and give to the neighbors
10: Go to Temple Square and see the lights
11: Go to the family Christmas Party
12: Read a story from the "Christmas Book"
13: Make candy cane reindeer
14: Visit Ogden's Christmas Village
15: Read a story from the "Christmas Book"
16: Watch Elf
17: Listen to Christmas songs as we travel to Grandma's house down south
18: Christmas dinner with Grandpa & Grandma B
19: Watch home movies from Christmas' past
20: Read a story from the "Christmas Book"
21: Watch Charlie Brown's Christmas movie
22: Make snow globes
23: Bake gingerbread cookies
24: Read the Christmas story from the bible and talk about Christ's birth.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Cyber Monday!

I am pleased to say this weekend was very fruitful for me in the way of shopping. I would say I am about 95% done with Christmas shopping, and got killer deals on the gifts I purchased. I think I only purchased 1 item that was not on sale, woo hoo! Tomorrow is Cyber Monday, and I am excited to see what deals are out there for my remaining 5%. The best part about online shopping is not having to brave the weather and you can shop in your PJ's. One of my favorite blogs, Homemade By Jill, is going to have a promo code for a Silhouette machine, and I am giving my husband major hints about this one. Do you know of any great Cyber Monday deals? If so, please share, so we can all take advantage of the savings! Happy shopping!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

50 FREE Christmas Cards from Shutterfly

If you are doing lots of holiday shopping this weekend like me, here is a great deal to check out.

One of my favorite websites, Shutterfly, is having a fun promo for bloggers!! Hurry over and take advantage of their 50 free Christmas cards, they have TONS of cute cards to choose from, here are a few of my favorites.....

I LOVE these invitations, what a fun Christmas tradition it would be to have a cookie swap with friends and send out this invitation.

How cute is this card?? I am in love with the green paisley print, SO ADORABLE!

These two are super cute, especially if you can't decide on just one print like me.

If you are looking for great gift ideas they have canvas prints, that happen to be on sale right now (hurry over to get the sale price!) They also make calendars, a couple years ago I had a bunch of calendars made for my parents and in-laws, they have a super cute desk calendar that is new, I am thinking it would look great in an office.

In addition to all these fun gifts; Shutterfly also does baby announcements, baby books, and has a ton of other great products are services. Be sure to stop by and see all of the great deals going on this holiday season! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! We will be spending the holiday with family doing various activities, cooking, eating, laughing, shopping, decorating, and hopefully some crafting!! We are taking the rest of the week off to celebrate, but will be back on Monday with TONS of fun ideas for Christmas! We will have Christmas crafts and LOTS of neighbor gift ideas. Enjoy your holiday and we will see you Monday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Around the Town Tuesday featuring... Kneaders Bakery & Cafe

I know that posting about "eating establishments", two weeks in a row for Around the Town Tuesday, may give you the wrong impression of me. Oh, never mind, I am obsessed with delicious food, which is why I LOVE this little cafe, Kneaders. They have the most delicious baked goods, soups, salads, and their Chunky Cinnamon French Toast IS TO DIE FOR!!! My Gracie and I stopped in this past week.

They were all decked out for Christmas.

We picked up a couple of these...

and Gracie went to town!

I found the french toast recipe online. Beware, you will never want "normal" french toast again.

Kneader’s Over-Night French Toast
1 loaf Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon Bread cut in 8 slices
8 eggs
3 c. milk
1 T. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 T. vanilla
2 T. butter
Butter a glass baking dish generously (9" x 13"). Place the bread flat in the baking dish. Mix all remaining ingredients, reserving the butter and pour over the bread. Cut butter into pieces and dot over the top. Refrigerate over night or at least 1 hour. Bake 45 - 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 8

Kneader's Carmel Syrup
1 c. Brown sugar
1 c. Creme
1 c. Light Karo Syrup
Blend together and heat on stovetop until sugar is smooth.
Serve warm

Be sure to stop in sometime and sample EVERYTHING they have!

742 E Ft. Union Blvd
Midvale, UT 84047

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Grand Thanksgiving Tradition, Homemade Pie.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I love Thanksgiving. I love the season of gratitude, being with family, and eating yummy food. For me, Thanksgiving Day has a lot of unofficial traditions, playing games with family, watching football, and my Mother's home made pie. My Mother is an excellent cook, anything she makes is from scratch and absolutely delicious. Every Thanksgiving Day I look forward to her pies. Apple and Pumpkin with home made crusts are a given, but one that has become a non traditional staple is the Sunny Banana Cream pie. I don't remember when it first was served on Thanksgiving Day, but my late older brother was sure to request it every Thanksgiving Day, it was his favorite. My Mother still serves it every year we are at her house, and my husband has grown to love this tradition as well. We are making it this week and I thought I would share the recipe, though I don't have any photos to post, I can post them after the holiday.

Sunny Banana Cream Pie

2 bananas
1- 8 ounce pkg cream cheese
2 cups milk
1- 3 ounces pkg instant banana cream pudding mix
Toasted coconut to garnish, if desired

Slice bananas onto graham cracker pie crust. Gradually add 1/2 cup of milk to softened cream cheese, mixing until well blended. (With a hand mixer or Kitchenaid mixer.) Add pudding mix and mix remaining milk; beat slowly 1 minute. Pour into crust and chill. Garnish with coconut.

Makes 1, 9 inch pie.

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

12 double graham crackers
3 TBSP sugar
7 TSBP melted butter

Put crackers in a zip lock bag and use a rolling pin to roll into fine crumbs. Combine with butter and sugar. Mix well. Press firmly into two 10 inch pie pans. Chill 45 minutes or bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool before filling.

I love fun, quirky, family traditions. Do you have any in your family? Please share! Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Easy Centerpiece for the Kid's Table: Weekend Website

If you are looking for an adorable centerpiece for the kid's table, then hop on over to One Charming Party for the tutorial on this turkey. Cute, simple, inexpensive, and a surprise inside! You will love all of Brittany and Sara's fun ideas, their parties are amazing! They have several other fun ideas for the kid's table, including some fun favors. I will definitely be using some of these ideas this year. Have a great weekend!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for so many things. First and foremost, I am thankful for my faith. I would not be who I am today without it. I am thankful for the experiences I have every day that help me to grow and become a better person. I am so thankful for my family. For my sweet, supportive, hard-working husband and my wonderful, silly, full-of-life children. I'm grateful for my supportive, loving, extended family and dear friends. I am so thankful to have a healthy body, and I'm thankful that all of my children are healthy and strong. I have been so blessed, and feel humbled by everything that I have been given. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Give Thanks

I am so glad Lynn from The Vintage Nest is hosting her Give Thanks party today. I am thankful for all of you in the blogosphere for your inspiration, creativity, comments, and for reading and supporting us! Please stop by and see all of the great bloggers she has listed and what they are thankful for, it is so nice to reflect on what blessings you have.

I am so thankful for family and what wonderful people I get to surround myself with on both mine and my husband's side. I am thankful that I added a new addition to our family this year, what an amazing joy he has been. I am thankful to be a Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, and Friend. I am thankful for the love that family gives unconditionally, always. I am thankful that on this holiday we gather together as families and reflect on the blessings we have.

Thank you, each one of you, for taking the time to read our blog, we appreciate it!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A giveaway....

The Yellow House
Our good friend/sponsor/blog designer Cierra is having a giveaway at the Yellow house blog! Be sure to head over and check it out, you can have up to 5 entries, so it's a great chance to win. Cierra is such a talented photographer, I love following the Yellow house, if I ever get a nice camera I want to start my own project 365! If you adore her photos like I do and are looking for a fun Christmas gift, then look no further! Cierra has decided to sell her prints to help with some of the medical bills her family is experiencing. She is a Mother to the cutest (next to mine of course ;) ) baby boy, who was born with a rare condition called CAH. CAH has been really rough to her little sweetie and he has been in and out of the hospital quite a bit. Any print you buy will help to cover those visits. Be sure to hop on over to enter the giveaway and check out her amazing work! Also, check out her photography blog below!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wake up your Walls Wednesday

Okay, to be honest, I did start out with a "One Dollar Wednesday" project. Unfortunately it fell flat on its face, so today I'm doing "Wake up Your Walls Wednesday" I also liked "Work on your Walls Wednesday". What can I say, I'm WWWWacky!

So here it is...

My mom got this adorable sign/coat hook. It's been sitting in her closet, waiting for it's debut for some time...

The easiest way to hang a longer piece, with two hanging thingies, is to make a pattern. I use a piece of newspaper.

Hang the pattern, making sure it's level...

For a substantial piece like this, I always use drywall anchors. Stud-finding is beyond me, although I did find one about 15 years ago ;)

Here it is ready for it's debut...

Much better than hidden away in a closet!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Around the Town Tuesday featuring... Great Harvest Bread Co., Salt Lake City

Okay I'm not sure how the rest of you feel, but the clinical research that has been conducted to prove that White Bread isn't healthy, has really thrown a wrench in my diet! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE white bread, and I especially love white bread from Great Harvest Bread Co.

There were samples on my last visit...

and there's almost always a line, I must not be the only carb addict in the valley...

They have delicious preserves and flavored honey...

and yummy, made~from~scratch cookies...

My favorite part is choosing my sample slice, and slathering it with butter...

add a diet coke, and I'm a happy girl. What can I say, I'm a healthy one!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Journal Jar

One thing that I would love to be great at, but constantly fall short, is journaling. I always have good intentions, but then I feel like what I am writing is lame, so I end up not writing at all. The blogging world has helped a little bit, I am documenting fun things here and there on my family blog, but I would still like to be better. My Mother is a good journal keeper, and I love reading through her journal, the stories are so fun to remember. While cleaning out closets the other day I came across my journal jar that I had made a few years back. I brought it out and put in on my dresser, I am going to start small with my goal, and say I will dedicate some time once a week to journaling. Eventually, I hope to make it a daily routine, but I am starting with once a week, so that I am not quickly disappointed with myself. Making a journal jar is easy and inexpensive, and with Christmas coming, a fun home made gift for family members. You can tell mine is from a few years ago, with the raffia bow. :)

To make your own journal jar you will need:

An empty jar (Mine is an old quart size canning jar)
Scrapbook or colorful card stock paper
A fun ribbon or some baker's twine to tie around your jar

You can print out different journaling topics, cut them out with fun scrapbook scissors, and place them in your journal jar. Then once a week or day, pull one out an write about it.
If your giving this away as a gift, it would be fun to find a cute journal to give along with your journal jar.

I am not sure the author of the poem attached to my journal jar, but here it is.

"Preserve you memories..seal them up well. What you forget, you can never retell. But a journal that's kept fresh on the shelf, will help someone through tough times...maybe even yourself."

If you want a full list of the topics that are in my journal jar, send me and email at alilbird3 (at) gmail (dot) com and I would be happy to send it. It's a little lengthy for the blog. Also, if you have great journaling topics or ideas I would love to hear them, please share!
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