Christmas 2012 Cards

**Warning: tons of pictures comin’ your way. Cute ones, but a lot****

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We took Monday to go to Mt. Hood to take some family Christmas card pictures. I love how they turned out. 

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 I have learned that it is very important to keep the ‘kissy kiss’  as I call it, in a marriage.  I really look forward to taking these type of pictures when we’re old and gray haired. Things get better with age.

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Emma wasn’t having a great time. It was either one or the other extreme. Either she was so happy playing in the snow she didn’t want to take pictures, or she was too cold and didn’t want to take pictures. This is why there’s lots of Travis and I.

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I cannot tell you how cold we were when we were done. The fireplace made all the females happier.

(aka: no more drama)

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And of course, Emma and Rylee….

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We went with some friends and got some good shots of them too.

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Their last name starts with  ‘G’, thus the G in the picture.

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***Check out my blog tomorrow for the bloopers. Yes, Amy I said that. muahaha!****

Trouble receiving Gifts

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Some thoughts that’s been bouncing around in my head….

I never used to say that I had problems receiving presents. And at some level I don’t. It’s a love language of mine actually and I feel love when I both receive and give gifts to others.

But I’ve been developing a problem.

I feel guilty.

It really shocked me when I was laying in a spa and resort with other girlfriends having a spa day. My thoughts to  myself were, how can you be enjoying all this luxury when there are millions suffering around the world?! Children are suffering and here I am getting lemon water to drink and a lavender scented soaking tub  to ‘relax’ in.

I think this feeling has, at some form, crossed everyone’s mind. And it bothers some more than others. But here’s the rub about my situation:

The spa day was a free gift that someone chose to invite me to. It was actually their birthday gift and they wanted me to enjoy it with them.

I was failing miserably.

I then imediately felt like I wasn’t enjoying this huge gift of quality girl time. I felt torn. And at the core, should I then never receive gifs because it makes me feel guilty?

No, that extreme is not OK.

God likes, no LOVES, giving me gifts. I believe it’s a love language of His too. So, as His girl, it is my pleasure to receive what He gives me.

It is not my job to judge how little I should receive.

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I will never understand why some are born into extreme poverty. Or why some are born into dangerous life threatening scenarios.

My job is to allow my heart to align with God, receive what He thinks I should be given, give what I have to those in need and stop feeling bad for what I do have.

*Disclaimer: With the same breadth, I also believe in living life within reason. For example, do I need to fill my pantry to the top or go out to eat all the time? Or buy extra craft supplies because it’s on sale? Excess. It’s about looking into our daily life and making whatever changes we can. First for ourselves, but also for the next generations in our home who look at how we live our lives.

Our Christmas Wreath

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My Christmas wreath. Isn’t it pretty?! 🙂  Only in the Pacific Northwest do we decorate with sparkly ferns.

We like our foliage. 

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When I started this I was all alone, had no idea what I was doing or how much yarn it would take. I just started wrapping…and wrapping….and wrapping. My shoulder definitely hurt by the beginning end but it was worth it. Fyi, it is a huge wreath and took only one medium size spool of yarn. Don’t go over board like me and buy too much yarn.

Go ahead and make one yourself. Its fun, takes a little time but adds a little whimsical to your home. 

Our front door won’t close with it on so I am forced to hang it inside. It’s OK, I love it. I’ll also be changing it with every season. 🙂

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Bird Mobile

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I’m showing you a project that I am sad to admit took a little over a month. It’s super easy and simple, I just had a hard time finding the time. It also took a while to find sticks that were the right lengths.

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Material: Birds:$1 store, sticks: from field, fabric: my pile of scraps, twine

Try it out! It’ll only take you a bit, use your scraps for something and get a project done. I think this would be great for a baby’s nursery.

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Rapunzel dresses and new babies

I know I got a lot of people reading this going ‘what?!’ are you pregnant?! Not yet, but…

that is what this post is all about. 

I need to first explain Emma’s obsession with the Tangled dress. More specifically, the Disney store Rapunzel dress. And she’s wanted it for about 2 months now. She describes the poofy sleeves as well as the long sleeves and the matching shoes. Her voice gets all dreamy sounding and she discribes how she will wear it to her purple Tangled birthday party. (which is in April)

Even though she’s killing this subject DAILY I am constantly reminded by God that Emma’s Rapunzel dress is our 2nd baby. There are obvious comparisons. 

I get all dreamy ( 🙂 ) sounding, I want it NOW, I imagine my life with another one and how wonderful it would be. God then asked me why I’m  not giving Emma her dress now. And the obvious answer is that it’s not Christmas. Travis and I have planned that she would get it for Christmas and Emma is expecting to get it soon. (the sooner the better) 

Like wise, I know that we will eventually be given another baby. And although I have my moments of sadness and disappointment, it’s really helped me to know that He has a certain plan about how He wants to give us our second-and that comforts me.

I see all the lessons Emma is learning while she is forced to wait for ‘the dress’ and I am so proud and amazed. I giggle and smile when she whines she ‘WANTS IT NOW!’

because I totally know how she feels.

**I for one would be VERY happy if we got a baby for Christmas. I could just imagine God laughing and smiling in anticipation as I give Emma her dress and He gives us our babe**

Only 3 presents for Christmas this year?!

 This year, I am planning on making ‘hopefully’ 80% of my presents. Mainly because I want the person know how much they mean to me. Secondly, I don’t want to fall into the trap of buying everything and spending a fortune.  

*it’s not really what Christmas is about anyways*

 

With this mindset, we have also decided to give each other (Emma, Travis and I) 3 presents this year  for Christmas. And only 3. This was done with much thinking but really wasn’t a hard decision.

It’s pretty simple really.

1. Christmas is about Jesus. His birth and the celebration of who He is. We want our family to have a focus of why we are really celebrating this holiday. We read the birth of Jesus from the Bible to Emma at night time with some hot cocoa and snuggle time. The three of us. It’s a something we want her to catch onto. It’s about Him. Not the presents. (and we know she’s 3, to be excited about presents is normal. Heck I’m 30 and I still love opening presents!)

 

(adorable picture right?!)

2. Jesus got 3 presents. Not being legalistic with it, but we see it as an example to work from. If we decide that 5 gifts is better in the future then fine, but we really don’t want to distract from Jesus, our friends and family.

3. Our heart is for this season to be about giving. We are already talking about the different gifts we could give our friends and what they would like most. It’s about the relationships we have around us and taking time to show them how much we love them.

3. Just because we’re giving her 3 presents, this doesn’t limit any other family member. She will get many presents I’m sure from grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, but here in our home we want the presents for others to out number the ones for ourselves . 🙂

 

4. What a perfect time to teach Emma how rewarding it is to help those around us. We are taking a family from a blessing tree and will do our best to get them what they wrote down. Last year she loved giving the gifts we got to the mother of a family. This is a HUGE thing I want seeded in her. The gift of giving to those in need is an open door to sharing God’s love. (too cheesy? oh well.)

 

Cinnamon Roll Cake

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We had a friend stay the night this weekend and I decided to make this cinnamon roll cake for breakfast. I like making things for people when they stay over. And girls like the cinnamon rolls! 🙂

I’m a little lazy and am on a mission to make some kind of cinnamon rolls without the yeast. We’ll see what I find. In the mean time, I can say that this is more like a coffee cake.

Blows Starbucks coffee cake out of the water.

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Here’s the recipe, it’s fast to make.

**I only used 1/2 Cup for the topping. And it turned out delicious! Any way to make it even a little better for us.**

Cake:
3 c. flour
1/4 tsp.salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

Topping:
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9×13 pan. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

Glaze:
2 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake. It’s awesome!