Monday, November 30, 2009

Family Traditions

Yesterday our family spoke in church; the topic was gratitude. Since I preached over the pulpit that we should all be grateful, I figured I better practice what I preach and post what I have been grateful for lately. The talks went well, despite my severe nervousness (why do I do that to my self?) and that Tavish announced my blog to the whole ward. The kids did a good job and even sang a song :) I sure love them.

This week I am grateful for family and family traditions.

When I was a teenager my family started making gingerbread houses. My mom had a friend who was the gingerbread house queen. She made beautiful, elaborate, gingerbread villages. She taught my mom how to make them (although we never were near as talented and elaborate as she was), and we made them as a family during those teenage years. As we all grew up and left the house the tradition kind of died out. The past few years, though, I've tried to keep up this tradidtion and share it with the inlaws.

We like to do them early so we can have them for the month. I have to admit that I was pretty stressed last week getting everything ready. I had to bake gingerbread houses, bake some things for Thanksgiving (luckily it wasn't at my house), make frosting, organize candy, set up extra tables and chairs, worry about keeping everyone happy, and the most stressful thing of all: get my house clean. I know- that's sad that it is such a chore for me to get a house clean, but for me it's a major accomplishment. If any of you have a secret to keeping your house clean, please share it with me.

As I was preparing for the gingerbread house day, the thought crossed my mind, "Maybe we should quit this tradition; it's too much work..." Luckily I have some very good inlaws who helped make frosting, picked up dinner for us all, and helped clean everything up after. It turned out to be lots of fun and good family time. The kids had fun together too. Later that night I thought, "That was worth it."

I think activities like this and other good family traditions strengthen the family. Something that I have learned, and am still learning, is that something of worth takes work and sacrifice. A good strong family doesn't just happen on its own. So, I'm going to try to remember that when I'm whining about this whole motherhood thing being too hard. I know it will be worth it.

This year I took pictures to document our Gingerbread House process. It probably won't be too interesting to you all- oh well ;)

1. Make the dough (this year I skimped a little too much on the flour- made the housed a little soft) I'm grateful for my Bosch!

2. Roll the dough and cut the pattern before baking. (I looked all over for one of these rollers and finally found it from Pampered Chef.

3. Cut and remove the pieces. You have to do this while it's warm or it gets hard and breaks. ( I feel like I'm doing a cooking show)

4. Make royal icing, put the house together with the frosting (attatch to a base too), decorate how you want. Sorry- didn't get pictures of all of that.
Decorating tips (I probably shouldn't give decorating tips): frost the roof with a butter knife and decora side at a time. Covering the edges with frosting (with a decorating tip) makes it look better.
The finished product
Chris's playhouse
Grandpa with his Grahm Cracker house

Chelsy's family made some really cute houses out of cardboard

Decorating a store bought gingerbread house
I don't have a finished picture of this; it was really cute.

Sara's house

Andrew's house

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Girl Time

As I ponder the day... I think how grateful I am to be blessed with a daughter. Don't get me wrong- I love my boys. They are full of life and keep my life interesting. I think mothers have a special relationship with their boys. But..... my one-on-one time with Sara during the day is very refreshing. I like the girl time Sara and I spend together. Of course, our girl time isn't usually painting our nails, doing our hair... all of that (even though we do that occasionally), it's other things girls enjoy.

One thing she likes to do is school with me (something that I always liked as a kid and still do- I think I'm a little nutso when it comes to that). She likes to play these file folder games that I made a long time ago. I have a bunch more that I've been meaning to put together, but you know... that's something I just never get to. So today, I said to Sara, "Do you want to help me make file folder games?" She was very excited (How many boys would be excited over that?). So, we cut, colored, glued, ate lunch, then came back and cut, colored, and glued some more. She's a very determined little person- it was her idea to do it again after lunch. Now we have 4 1/2 games ready to laminate (we ran out of glue).

We also went to the music store to buy a piano book for her. She's been bothering me to teach her for a long time. We'll try it and see how it goes. It was just nice spending the day with someone who had the same interests as me, even if there is a 27 year age gap.

I'm glad I have my little girl. I hope we can be friends forever.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Well, the past few days I've felt this heaviness in me. I don't mean physically, like my weight (although I do feel that too). I mean just kind of sad. My aunt passed away a few days ago, and I just seem to keep thinking about it. I feel bad for my cousins that lost their mom, and her sweet husband. Life really isn't fair, but what can we do about that?

Yesterday our relief society president gave a lesson about "What Matters Most". I think it was just for me. When someone you know dies it seems to bring us back to that question doesn't it? What matters most? Who knows when our time, or the time of others around us, is up here on earth. I've been thinking about what matters most and am trying to spend my time on what matters most. I know, it's only been a day since that lesson, but hey- one day spent on what matters most is better than no days right? Here's a video clip about what president Monson has to say about what matters most:

from Finding Joy in the Journey

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Wedding

This past weekend I've seen the hand of the Lord in my life and my family's life.

1- We were healthy to attend the wedding: The last couple of weeks there has been lots of sickness going on around us at church, school, work... So, I have been praying and hoping that we could be healthy for my sister's wedding in St. George. I was thinking we had made it when Sara woke up with a fever and a headache on Thursday morning (the day we were leaving). Great!! Just our luck. Of course I began to worry about the Swine Flu that is all around us. Well, it turned out to be not much really. I don't know what she had, but the fever went away by Friday night, and she was fine. I was so relieved and grateful. I know my mom had really prayed for her, and I really think our prayers were answered. We were all able to enjoy the day, and Sara was able to go trick-or-treating with grandpa on Saturday. (She was worried about missing Halloween being sick)

2- Mary got Married: Over the years I've seen Mary date, and not date... nothing working out... over and over again. Then she met Ryan, and everything just worked out. He is such a kind and caring person. He treats Mary so good and has made her happy. I love to see them both so happy! What a blessing.

The wedding was just perfect. I think there is nothing better than being in the temple with the whole family. It was great!

My dad really seemed to want to go trick-or-treating with the kids. He missed his school Halloween party day this year because of the wedding. He loves that day- he always dresses up and goes class to class to read scary stories. I guess going out with the kids helped make up for it. He makes a pretty good gorilla- don't you think?
This is the only picture I got with my dad standing up in the background. I thought Tavish's tail was pretty cute too.