Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend.

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1) Long weekends spent with my husband and kids.  Love that!

2) Nice long naps in the afternoon.  I actually got one of those yesterday.  It was quite nice!  

From the Camera:

We are getting ready to set up the Christmas Village this year, but we are putting it someplace new this time.  Instead of the Christmas tree right by the front window, the village will be right by it.  The Christmas tree will go right next to the couch in our living room.  Same room as always, just in another spot.  That way we can still use our dinning room table for meals.  


I had to include this.  I love this little scene.  I would love to find this some time and set it up in the house somewhere.  It's so cute!
This was Kevin two years ago as Santa at our Ward Party.  That was one of the funniest moments ever!  It was so funny watching all the little kids chase him around for candy canes.  I laugh every time I think about it and I will never forget that!
From the Craft Room & Other Things:

Look how creative some people have gotten with the plain old white plastic cup!  Check these out!!! Love it.



From the Heart & Spirit:

Three Levels of Christmas
by William B. Smart
Messages for a Happier Life, (Deseret Book, 1989), 33-34.

Christmas is a beautiful time of the year. We love the excitement, the giving spirit, the special awareness of and appreciation for family and friends, the feelings of love and brotherhood that bless our gatherings at Christmastime.

In all of the joyousness it is well to reflect that Christmas comes at three levels. 

Let’s call the first the Santa Claus level. It’s the level of Christmas trees and holly, of whispered secrets and colorful packages, of candlelight and rich food and warm open houses. It’s carolers in the shopping malls, excited children, and weary but loving parents. It’s a lovely time of special warmth and caring and giving. It’s the level at which we eat too much and spend too much and do too much – and enjoy every minute of it. We love the Santa Claus level of Christmas. 


But there’s a higher, more beautiful level. Let’s call it the Silent Night level. It’s the level of all our glorious Christmas carols, of that beloved, familiar story: “Now in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus....” It’s the level of the crowded inn and the silent, holy moment in a dark stable when the Son of Man came to earth. It’s the shepherds on steep, bare hills near Bethlehem, angels with their glad tidings, the new star in the East, wise men traveling far in search of the Holy One. How beautiful and meaningful it is; how infinitely poorer we would be without this sacred second level of Christmas. 


The trouble is, these two levels don’t last. They can’t.
Twelve days of Christmas, at the first level, is about all most of us can stand. It’s too intense, too extravagant. The tree dies out and needles fall. The candles burn down. The beautiful wrappings go out with the trash, the carolers are up on the ski slopes, the toys break, and the biggest day in the stores for the entire year is exchange day, December 26th. The feast is over and the dieting begins. But the lonely and the hungry are with us still, perhaps lonelier and hungrier than before.
Lovely and joyous as the first level of Christmas is, there will come day, very soon, when Mother will put away the decorations and vacuum the living room and think, “Thank goodness that this over for another year.” 


Even the second level, the level of the Baby Jesus, can’t last. How many times this season can you sing, “Silent Night?” The angels and the star, and the shepherd, even the silent, sacred mystery of the holy night itself, can’t long satisfy humanity’s basic need. The man who keeps Christ in the manger will, in the end, be disappointed and empty. 


No, for Christmas to last all year long, for it to grow in beauty and meaning and purpose, for it to have the power to change lives, we must celebrate it at the third level, that of the adult Christ. It is at this level—not as an infant—that our Savior brings his gifts of lasting joy, lasting peace, lasting hope. It was the adult Christ who reached out and touched the untouchable, who loved the unlovable, who so loved us all that even in his agony on the cross, he prayed forgiveness for his enemies. 


This is Christ, creator of worlds without number, who wept because so many of us lack affection and hate each other – and then who willingly gave his life for all of us, including those for whom he wept. This is the Christ, the adult Christ, who gave us the perfect example, and asked us to follow him.
Accepting that invitation is the way – the only way – that all mankind can celebrate Christmas all year and all life long.
From the Kitchen:


Strawberries & Cream Cake
Ingredients
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz) pkg strawberry jello
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, mashed
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese Layer
  • 3 oz of Philly cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, mashed
  • Whipped Cream Layer:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350F
  2. Take 3 round cake pans and spray each with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, put the cake mix, jello,strawberries,oil, milk and eggs and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Divide the cake batter among the 3 pans (they will be thin layers)
  5. Bake according to the cake mix box OR until a toothpick comes out clean
  6. Remove the cakes and allow to cool completely, set aside.
  7. For the Strawberry Cream Cheese Layer
  8. Mix the cream cheese and the butter until smooth- adding the sugar little by little until fully incorporated
  9. Add mashed strawberries
  10. Mix well.
  11. Spread over each cake layer then top with whipped cream layer
  12. For the Whipped Cream layer:
  13. Combine the sugar, vanilla extract in a large bowl or into a stand mixer bowl
  14. If using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment and mix on Med, then slowly add in the heavy cream until fluffy.
  15. Keep in fridge until ready to serve
  16. Enjoy!
From the Schmidt's:

Can you believe it?  Thanksgiving is over and now we are on to Christmas.  It barely felt like Thanksgiving to me.  Honestly, I want to have a do over it was so brief for me.  I mean it!  I think it's because I haven't cooked our turkey yet.  I'm planning on doing it, I just need to give Mr. Gobble time to thaw out.  You see, we went over to my BIL and SIL's home this year.  It was nice.  

We spent Thanksgiving evening at our place we planned time with each other playing games.  We even ran to the store and picked up a couple bags of chips to snack on.  As it turns out, Kyle and Kevin crashed as soon as their bottoms hit the recliner and bed.  Lexi and I spent the evening talking, reading, and watching a few things on TV, just a quiet night for all of us.  I knew as soon as Kevin went in and went to bed that he wasn't up for games so we cancelled Danielle and Chance coming over too.  Bummer.  Oh well, this happens and Kevin was up a long time for Thanksgiving.  So, we totally understand.  

The next day we watched some football, had pizza (not our favorite meal), and played several games.  Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Sushi Go, and Smart A....short for the games actual name.  It was fun.  Kyle and I went on a quest to find Sushi Go and ended up finding it somewhere we didn't even think of.  In fact, we found both and got 1/2 off the one.  Kyle spent $17.00 for both games.  We have a lot of fun playing all the games.  Now Sushi Go and Smart A are on our list of games we will always play on our game nights.  We are a game playing family, what can I say.  While Kyle and I were looking around we found a few other games we may decide to try out in the future too.  We enjoy this so much that we played games last night too.  It could happen again tonight as well.  ~smile~smile~

Kyle and I have decided to get out the Christmas decorations.  He will do the lights sometime this week and all of us will work on the inside.  Hopefully that will put us all in the Christmas spirit.  I think we need a jump start this year, in my opinion.  

 As I mentioned before, I hit my 10 year mark at work.  I can't believe it has been that long.  Every 5 years the company gives you 4 weeks off with pay.  No, not vacation time, but a 4 month sabbatical in addition to all vacation time.  So, I scheduled that a few months back around the time that Danielle will be getting married so we can plan and prepare for her big day.  I can add two weeks of vacation time to that if I want to.  I might add a week, maybe two depending on if there is a reception in Montana too.  I'll know more in about a month or so.  

The other thing each person's team gets is $125 for a team lunch.  Since there are 4 of us with big anniversaries we plan to combined our team lunch money to do something big.  That should be fun.  Then if we coordinate it with a team outing that would be nice, right?!  

Since this is my 10 year anniversary I also got to order a gift from a large list of things.  There are some really nice gifts on the list.  It was a tough decision, but I ordered my gift last week and it should arrive soon.  It's going to be a huge box too.  Thank goodness Kyle will be here to help me get it into the house.  I can't wait!  

Kevin is still sick.  He says he is feeling a little better, but not 100% yet.  Hopefully he will be completely better by tomorrow.  The poor guy.  I don't think this is anything the rest of us will catch.  I think this is more due to his condition.  I just hope he gets back to normal soon and we don't end up in the doctor's office again, or worse...the hospital.  We don't think we are anywhere near going back to the hospital yet.  Hopefully far away from the doctor too.  

I'm thinking about changing the format of my blog posts for 2016.  I'm throwing around a few ideas trying to decide which way to go.  Hopefully it will come together soon.  I wish I was a stay at home Mom that could share more, but I'm not.  There's only so much I can fit into my schedule  these days.  Especially with a wedding on the horizon.  We have so much to do and I don't even want to think about it all.  Who knows maybe we will incorporate some of the planning and preparing into my posts over the next few months.  That would be fun.  I'm also thinking about a few other directions too.  I'm trying to figure out the best way to put it all together.  Do I go with certain days that I share certain things, or do I include different sections like I kind of do now, but change them up for 2016?  Do I just wing it and share what ever when I can because time will be rough and leave out the sections?  What way should I go?  I need your help and suggestions please.  So, please, help a girl out, would you?

Thank you for your help, in advance. Well, I need to get going.  I have a few things to get done before I go back to work tomorrow.  Take care and we will talk again soon.

From the Missionary:

We heard from our Missionary yesterday, but he was just asking for money.  No Happy Thanksgiving.  No word about how his Thanksgiving went.  Nothing.  I know he was in a hurry and had to get going.  But still.  I'm just kidding.  I totally understand.  I'm sure we will hear more next week.  Love that young man!

Quote of the Day:

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