Merry Christmas!

As we are enjoying the eve of Christmas around here with anticipation of feasting with friends and celebrations with family, I hope that you are also enjoying your loved ones during this holiday season.

I have a very special video to share with you – I’ve watched it many times the past couple weeks. I hope you enjoy!

I’ll be back to blogging on a regular basis after the first of the year.

2012 Christmas Card

See you soon!


The mischievous elf

Christmas is over and the decorations are all put away until next year…

and Jingle the Elf has gone back to the North Pole to hang out with Santa and the other elves until it’s time for him to come back to visit us next year.

I thought, though, that I’d share with you the final exploits of Jingle’s visit to us…

I think he really outdid himself this year. I’m beginning to wonder what next year will bring – the more he is with us, the more mischief he gets into.

You can see what I mean:


There were “snow angels” on the kitchen counter (in my flour)


And lights in the hurricane lamps…


A little fishing expedition in the fish tank (that, thankfully, yielded no fish)


And a date with Barbie (he has a thing for Barbies, I think)


Played games with the critters…img_0678

And ate some kisses… which he ate and shared with the girls.


Reading Christmas stories…


Flying with the unicorns in Little Bit’s room…


A zipline (!) in the family room…img_0947

He watched some TV and took over the remote control…imgp3995

Loved on Little Bit’s snowman…


Did some hanging around (while we were gone to Ammi’s no less – SuperMan reported nightly on his activities from the night before)


We came home from Ammi’s to find he’d set up a swing set of sorts in the living room…


The girls were pretty amazed to find this whirling around in the living room.  I wonder what the housekeepers thought when they came that day?

And the final night was quite a blowout party, apparently, with the Barbies and some New Years’ Eve type décor (complete with strobe lights and disco balls)

Oh my.


Tiny game of Uno… so funny!

So, while the girls are missing Jingle this week, I can’t say I’m sad to see him go.  There were quite a few messes to clean up and I’m thinking next year, Jingle needs to bring his own clean-up crew!!

That wee little elf – who causes big trouble!

Our little elf friend, Jingle, continues to cause all sorts of troubles around our house – he has been having a lot of fun the past few days –


Somehow, he ended up INSIDE our hurricane lamp – complete with Christmas lights!imgp3950

The girls were quite perplexed as to how he accomplished this little feat.

Then, he decided to go fishing –


Of course, the girls were a little concerned that he was going to actually CATCH one of the fish in the tank. Thankfully, he didn’t. (can you see the lure in the tank!?! LOL)


Then, he moved on to a quick ride around the Christmas tree with one of Barbie’s friends… let’s hope they obey the speed limits (although something tells me he won’t)  The girls were trying to figure out how he got the Barbie and car UPSTAIRS from the basement – they decided he must’ve built a magic road from the basement to the sunroom.  Hee hee


They’ve also both written letters to Jingle (and Santa)


Big Girl’s is focused on being able to touch Jingle. She can’t stand the fact that the rule is only grown-ups can touch the elf.  She is begging for permission to touch him.

Little Bit’s is much more of the “how are you doing” kind of letter, but I love the fact that she asks very nicely “oh, by the way, please don’t send any oompa-loompas”  How funny!

There are still two weeks before Christmas (and then some) so there is no telling what else he’ll get into… at least there was no flour to clean up this week!

Up to mischief

We have an elf who comes to visit us every year around this time.

You may recall me mentioning him last year?

Well, he’s back.

That little manager of mischief.

Jingle the Elf.

He’s been having lots of fun around here the past week:

  • He welcomed himself back to our house with a hug from the angel that tops the tree in the family room.
  • And moved into the dining room to sneak some candy canes.


  • Then, he rode around the mantle on our reindeer
  • and moved into the sun room where he found another reindeer to play with.
  • Wednesday, he was on the table playing checkers.


And this is what I found this morning.  Ahem.

There’s no telling what he’ll be up to next.

What I’m Reading Right Now

What I'm reading right nowHaven’t had too much time to read lately. Work has been busy and between that and after-school activities, my evenings are filled to the brim. By the time I finally slow down in the evenings I may read a page or two and then my eyes are at half-mast and I’m ready to crash for the evening.


Here are a few books on my to-read list.  Ones I am hoping to get to in the coming weeks – as things (hopefully) slow down a bit at work and the kids’ activities take a hiatus for the holidays.

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo: Book Cover Heaven is for Real : A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

This book my mom told me about yesterday. I promptly downloaded it to Beatrice and am hoping to read it this weekend.

It’s the story of a little boy who has a life-threatening medical situation and apparently goes to Heaven. While he is there, he meets God, Jesus, his great-grandfather and the sister who was miscarried by his mom.  He returns and recovers and begins to share his memories with his family.

The book is written by his dad and includes quotes from the little boy. I’m fascinated and can’t wait to read it.


The Grace of God by Andy Stanley: NOOKbook Cover

The Grace of God

This is written by the pastor of my church.  Any book of his I have ever read has been thought-provoking, challenging, and an excellent read.






A Simple Amish Christmas

I downloaded this one for free from B&N. Looks like light reading and an interesting storyline about an Amish girl who has been living with “the English” and is now returning home.









Child of the Northern Spring

This was another B&N download to Beatrice.

Looks to be a very good beginning to a Guinevere trilogy. The story focuses from her perspective and this first one on her growing up and becoming Arthur’s wife.








Realistically, I will probably not make it through more than one or two of these, but you never know.  Those are just a few of the books on Beatrice waiting to be devoured.  I have over a hundred books on there now. 

If I could only figure out how to get someone else to do all my “chores” so I can focus on reading!

Enhanced by Zemanta

That mischievous little elf…

Our Elf on the Shelf has been much into the mischief this year…


While he was getting used to us, he hung out in our wreath.


Then, I guess he got comfy, because he TP'ed MB's bedroom

(no pictures for that one,
although it was fun to hear the kids when they woke up!)

Then, he decided to take Barbie on a date:


I guess he figured he was welcome to do whatever he wanted then…

So he ate a little snack:


That is… ate a snack while perched on the ledge above our 2-story foyer

(we think he must’ve flown up there)

It’s a good thing Santa comes tomorrow night.

There is no telling what mischief he would get into if he stayed too much longer.

Oh, Grow Up! (just not so fast)

Today was a little bittersweet for me. 

My youngest daughter (5) had a Holiday program at school. They sang carols and did a few recitations for all of the parents, showed off their artwork and then we had a “reception” where we shared donuts and muffins.

I loved it.  She did such a good job and all of the kids were so adorable. (I love this age) The little boys with their energy just bursting from their little bodies, straining against the structure of standing in a row and reciting in time with the rest of the class… The little girls with their fancy dresses and pretty hairdos, smiling at their mommies and daddies and waving occasionally to be sure they are still paying attention to them.

It was heaven.

And yet, it was a little sad for me.

I couldn’t help but think that this was probably my last Christmas program I’d get to see (at least until the grandkids come along).  So, while I was reveling in every moment, there was a part of me that wanted to hit the “Pause” button.  Stop! Wait! This can’t be it!  Let’s go back a year or two.

Isn’t that funny? 

When our kids are little and dependent on us for EVERYTHING all we can think about is that we can’t wait for them to get bigger so that they can do things for themselves.  We push, we nudge, we cajole and we threaten.

And then, one day, you wake up from the everyday and realize that that time is here.  And, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I’m ready!

One girl entering her pre-teen years, thinking she knows it all already; the other learning she can be independent and it’s ok. Don’t get me wrong… I love it for them. I am proud of my girls.  I am so excited to see their growth and development, to cheer their accomplishments.

I’m just not ready to give up my babies yet.

I know what is coming. I have seen it with friends.  Next, I become the “mean mom” who doesn’t let her stay up all night, texting with friends on her cell phone.  Or the mom who won’t let her meet friends and hang out at the mall (all alone) (as if!)

I’m still enjoying being the mom they WANT to be with. The mom they think is cool (and that they think actually KNOWS stuff)  I’m not ready to give that up.

I want babies to snuggle in my lap, rock to sleep, and kiss their boo-boos.

So, it’s bittersweet. 

While I’m so proud of them and can’t wait to see what they will become, I’m going to miss these little girls of mine.  I love them an awful lot.

Season’s Greetings?

It’s that time of year again, folks… time to get out your mass-assembly-line technology, your address book and a million stamps.  Yes, it’s Christmas card time.

Before kids, I used to have all my cards addressed and ready to go on the Friday after Thanksgiving. (that was before Black Friday was called Black Friday).  They had a cutesy little “newsletter” inside telling about all the things we’d done that year and wishing everyone peace, love and happiness.


I’m lucky if I get them addressed and mailed before the 20th!

This year, I decided to create a photo card.  I did a nifty 4×6 sized card and ordered prints.  I really like how it turned out.

Christmas card - Page 002 

Then came the dilemma.  What do I mail them in?

My husband chuckled at me as I anguished for weeks about how I was going to mail them. They were too big for a regular small envelope.  Too tall for a business one. Didn’t really fit in a card-sized envelope.  Sigh. That is what I get for going my own way.

So, yesterday we were in Hobby Lobby (dangerous place to go) and I saw they had all of their Christmas cards on sale for 50% off.  Hello!

I picked out a really adorable card:

Christmas card_edited-1
and will just put the pictures inside! Problem solved.

I love how this has the handmade look, but that I didn’t have to hand-make it.  I made Christmas cards one year (maybe two) when Ang was a baby.  That was enough for me.  The whole thing was just not a fun experience for me.  First, I agonized on what to create.  Then, I had to figure out what materials I would need and then how much it would cost.  Those adorably detailed cards can get pretty pricey when you are doing 20-30 of them.  (and most of my recipients are not crafty people and do not appreciate the effort, time and creativity it takes to make them)

So, after trying that out, I gave myself permission to go back to store-bought cards.  Why make life difficult?

Last year, I did a photo card as well, but I used one of those templates online where you get the envelopes with the cards – and didn’t have the dilemma I have had this year.

Now, this year’s set up doesn’t equate to the uber-low-cost plan I originally had, but oh well.  At least I have cards, and a plan.  Heck, most are even addressed at this point!

Now, if I can just talk SuperMan into going to the post office for the stamps…

Holidays in Hand

I'm participating in a free class offered by Jessica Sprague called Holidays in Hand.  It's about refocusing on what matters most during the holidays. I 've never taken a class of hers before, so I'm looking forward to seeing how things compare to other sites I've used. 

I'm also looking forward to doing some scrapbooking about the holidays this year. Usually, I am so busy with other things, I just take a hiatus from scrapbooking completely until after January 1st.  This means I have very few pictures from the past few years of Christmases.  I've been more focused on being "in the moment" than on taking pictures.  This is good, but I am noticing the gap in the family storybooks now.

So, I'm hoping this class will teach me how to balance both – being in the moment and capturing the family traditions that make this holiday season so special.

Our first assignment was to capture and document our holiday values and goals.  So, here's mine:


FamilyTogetherness – Happiness – Gratitude – Fun – FriendsFaith

(the alliteration was purely coincidental, but I like it!)

Goals for this holiday season:

  • Focus on the celebration of Christ's birth, not on the commercialization of Christmas
  • Focus on spending time with friends and family, not racing from one event to the other
  • Focus on relationships, people, and making memories, not things
  • Try to spend 20-30 minutes a day capturing my thoughts and memories while they are fresh
  • Take more pictures
  • Less focus on PERFECT, more focus on GOOD ENOUGH

What about you?

Have you ever given any thought to your goals for a holiday?  Share them with me in the comments section. I'd love to see what yours are.