Saturday, December 19, 2015

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree....

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1)  Awesome neighbors that come to help out when we need it.  We had a leaky valve in our sprinkler system and water has been running down the street for about a month now.  So, our wonderful neighbor, Jackson, came to our aid!  He found the leak and turned off the valve, then he will be back to fix the valve once the area is dry so he can work.  What a blessing he is!  And I can't wait for the lower water bills.  Thank you Jackson!

2)  We got a visit from some pretty cute Cub Scouts today.  They made freezer meals and dropped some off to us, with a couple leather bookmarks that they made.  They are so sweet!  Now all I have to do is dump the contents into the crockpot and voila....dinner!  Thank you so much!  I can't wait to use them during the week.  

From the Camera:

Wise Men Still Seek Him....
From the Craft Room and Other Cool Things:

Isn't this super cute!  Someone is making these and selling them on a Facebook group.  I thought it was adorable and had to share.


From the Heart and Spirit:


From the Kitchen:

Ingredients you’ll need:
2 loaves Rhodes frozen white bread, thawed
1/2 cup [1 stick] butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
Cream Cheese Dip: [easily doubles]
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream [more if needed to thin]
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Directions:
Thaw the bread loaves in the refrigerator overnight.  The dough should be thawed but still cold.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the loaves into 8 strips each. [tip: If you’d like large bread sticks, cut each loaf into 6 pieces] Roll each dough strip into a 6 inch rope. For smaller bread sticks, cut each rope in half.
Mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and allspice until combined.  Dip each piece of dough into the melted butter then roll in the cinnamon sugar.  Place side by side on a parchment lined baking sheet. Shape the ends of the bread sticks so they are uniform in size and will bake evenly.
Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top, and allow to rise in a draft free place for around 1 1/2-2 hours or until doubled in size.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Bake for 25 minutes until golden.  Rest on the pan for 5 minutes before glazing
Use a hand mixer to whip together the ingredients for the cream cheese dip.  After combining, warm gently in the microwave to make it pourable. Drizzle over the bread sticks then serve the remainder on the side for dipping.  Pull apart and enjoy! Yield: 16 medium or 32 small bread sticks and approximately 1 cup cream cheese dip

Cook’s note:
If you choose regular block cream cheese in place of the whipped cream cheese for the dip, additional cream may be needed to thin.  It should be the consistency of thick syrup.

From the Schmidt's:

Today has been a busy day.  It started with a trip to pick up groceries.  Followed by a trip to the Library to drop off books since today was the due date.  Then another trip to the grocery store for a couple of things I didn't get the first trip. 
When I got home we got a visit from our neighbor offering to help with the sprinkler valve.  He was here for a bit.  Took a few photos and then headed off the Home Depot to try to find the same kind of valve.  He wanted to replace the leaky one.  While he was gone we got another visit from the cute Cub Scouts in our Ward.  They had made freezer meals and they wanted to drop a few off to us.  How sweet is that?  Now I have some meals that I can pop in the crockpot for dinner sometime.  Love it!  The Cub Scouts also made some bookmarks too.  They were really cool!  Thank you!

When I got back into the house, Kevin had got up and out of bed.  He came out to see what was going on in the family room and to talk to Lexi and Kyle a bit.  He got to see a little bit of a football game which is something he loves.  While he was up I decided to go pick up a prescription and get gas in the car.  I must have been gone for about 1/2 an hour.  When I got back Kevin was still in his wheelchair and in the family room, which is awesome!  There are some days he doesn't get out of bed at all.  I do love it when he does get out of bed and come out with us for a while.  It's hard for us to go into the bedroom with him because there is no place to sit and he takes up the entire bed with all of his stuff spread all over.  Then he has his wheelchair pulled right up to his side of the bed, so even if we wanted to get on the bed we can't.  I need to rearrange the furniture in that room and make it a little easier for everyone.  Right now it works for one person and that is Kevin.  Time to make it work for all of us.  Maybe after Christmas when the tree and the other decorations are back in their storage spots and the dining room table is back in it's normal place too.  Then I can take everything out of the bedroom and make the necessary changes.  

Lexi and I headed off the the store to look for some inexpensive picture frames for a Christmas gift I need to finish.  You see, Danielle's fiance has this fascination with the movie Top Gun and the planes in that movie.  So, I called my Dad to see if he knew of a way to get some cool photos of those planes.  Well, come to find out my Dad just happened to have a ton of photos of not only of F-14's but all kinds of planes.  So, he printed up a few shots on glossy photo paper and I was all set with an inexpensive gift that I know Danielle's fiance is going to love!  Thank you Dad!!!  Danielle got him some cool things too, but I won't give her gift away.  My gift will go well with what Danielle has planned for her fiance.  I'm excited.  I have to say, I haven't spent much on Christmas gifts this year.  My kids and extended family have been awesome about it too.  We just cannot spend a lot this year because we just don't have it.  At first I was really worried about that, but I have come to realize that I don't have to buy super expensive gifts to make Christmas special around here.  It took me some time to get to this point.  Believe me, it didn't just happen.  No one knows this, but I was pretty bummed about this at the beginning of this month.  Then I was prompted to remember that buying gifts of any size is not what Christmas is all about and I was reminded of that every time I found myself feeling that way again.  It also helped that my oldest son was so determined to "deck the halls", so to speak, around here.  I don't know what I would do without that young man!  He has been pretty amazing.  Lexi has been out of this world too.  Not to mention, Danielle, Curtis and Kevin have awesome too.  Thank you family! 

Tonight for dinner I made crockpot macaroni and cheese.  My kids LOVE it and it is so easy to just dump everything in the crockpot and wait.  Makes my evening a lot easier.  The only bad part is that I started it around 4:30 p.m. so we will be eating dinner around 7:30 p.m. tonight.  No biggie.  We don't have any major plans tonight.  I was kind of hoping we could play a game or two tonight.  Maybe break out Suchi Go or the Settlers of Catan again, but we will see.  

Danielle came by the other night.  While she was here we got to talking about her upcoming wedding plans.  We started talking about a few things.  We have a lot to do.  First thing Danielle and I want to do is to sit down with a family friend who has offered to help out.  She has offered to help and I know she has some great ideas.  I can't wait to talk to her.  
Danielle has been taking the Temple Prep. classes on Sundays.  When her Bishop first talked to Danielle he said she could be going through the Temple as soon as January, but I think he might push it back as soon as they officially become engaged.  It all depends on what he feels is best.  Either way, I will have another child going through the Temple and that makes me a very happy mother!  I get so excited about that that I can hardly stand to sit still.  Then we will just have one more to go.  Lexi is only 16, so it won't be happening for her for a couple of years.  Thank goodness.  I can wait for her.  ~smile, smile~

I still have totes all over my family room and dining room.  Someone must think I should get the rest of the decorations out, but I think we are done.  The tree is decorated.  The lights are on the house and we have a few things on the mantle, and I am calling the decorating done!  I washed the red plaid table clothe we have and as soon as it is done in the dryer we will place it one the table and then.....we will officially be done with the decorating.  Time for the totes to retire to their rightful place again.  ~hint, hint~

I've decided to tell myself, right this very minute, with less than a week to go that I won't stress over what's not done.  I've decided to take the time, no, make the time to simplify.  I'm going over my to do list.  I'm not going to worry about it till after the holidays.  If need be, I can send a Happy 2016 letter after things settle down a bit.  I haven't made the cookies, or other treats yet and can't figure out where to fit them in, and I don't think I will be buying cookies at a bakery or giving baskets of oranges instead.  I've decided to cross off a few to do items and replace them with things like:  Invite someone over for a movie or games.  Read with the kids.  Sit and snuggle by the tree with my sweetheart.  I'm reminding myself that Christmas isn't really about cookies or newsletters, but it's about living and following the Savior's example of "holiday spirit" all year long.  Simplify.  SiMpLiFy.  SimpLifY.  I'll still be alive....and I might even be able to enjoy this next week a bit more!  Give it a try.  I dare you!!!  

I have to say, I absolutely LOVE being able to shop online!  That is about the best thing ever!  If I do say so myself.  I think I have only been to maybe two stores outside of Amazon this holiday season and that is a-okay with me!  I have to laugh at friends that spend hours at the mall or worse yet, fighting the crowds on black Friday.  This is my second year shopping online and I just LOVE it!  I highly recommend it to everyone.  Oh, how Christmas shopping  has changed from years past.  Honestly, I can't help but think that with all of our modern day conveniences that we are missing out on something pretty special.  What do you think?

Are you looking for a good book to read to your children this holiday season?  Try this one....

Always Room for One More by: Sorche Nic Leodhas
or
Who is Coming to Our House?  by: Joseph Slate


Lists.....

Ten things I am celebrating today!
1) Hooray!  My shopping is done.  And best of all, I did not go into debt for anything and my budget is not blown to smithereens either. 
2) One week left and Christmas will be here and I am one happy Mama!
3) I'm loving Madam Secretary, the series, all over again.  Thank you, Nextflix and Hulu!
4) The leak out front has stopped!  LOVE IT!!
5) The weather outside is warming up just a little. . . It's still cold, but not freezing. 
6) Game night with the hubby and kids!
7) Hot Chocolate! Love that!
8) I got to sleep in until 9a.m. today!  Love that!
9) I just found a balance on my iTunes I forgot about...time to download a few tunes!  YES! 
10) This beautiful holiday season and the reason for it all!

Nine things I'll be cooking over the next week:
1) Turkey
2) Mashed Potatoes
3) Pumpkin Bread
4) Stuffing
5) Homemade Toffee
6) Cookies
7) Pumpkin Pie
8) Pretzel Salad
9) Homemade Rolls!

Eight things I have to do today!
1) Finish the Christmas Day Menu
2) Get to the grocery store
3) Get to the "big box" store for picture frames
4) Pharmacy
5) Gas station
6) Wrap the last three Christmas Presents
7) Clean
8) Make Crockpot Mac N Cheese

Seven things I'm looking forward to over the Christmas holiday:
1) Hanging out with my children
2) Having a 3 day weekend
3) Watching a lot of Christmas movies
4) Playing a new family game
5) Watching the kids open their gifts
6) Seeing the Christmas lights on the Temple
7) Making a big dinner for our family

Six things on my Christmas wish list, my list is more about things you can't get from a store:
1) Kevin to make a FULL recovery from his SCI (spinal cord injury)
2) That our family will have a memorable Christmas together
3) NO DRAMA!
4) That 2016 will be full of joy!
5) That my house will be company clean by the end of this week.
6) That Danielle and Chance will finally "officially" announce their engagement!

Five critical things that I need to do that have nothing to do with Christmas:
1) My Visiting Teaching
2) Pay some bills
3) WALK!!
4) Get into work early on Monday to unpack my new office.
5) Make it church tomorrow.

Four songs I've listened to today more than once:
1) All I Want For Christmas, by Mariah Carey (radio)
2) The theme song to Lie to Me
3) Jingle Bells (radio again)
4) Mary Did You Know (Facebook)

Three places I'll go today:
1) Library
2) Walmart
3) Gas Station

Two things I have to do today because it's the last day of Christmas prep for me....I work all next week!
1) Find picture frames
2) Get presents wrapped!

One thing I'm very happy about today!
1) Even though I wasn't able to buy presents for everyone this year, or buy everything I wanted to buy for everyone, I feel good about the things I've found and the people I've purchased gifts for, and that I am done and I won't be running around last minute for anything!  Love that!  Merry Christmas to me. HAPPINESS!!
From the Missionary:

Curtis sent us a few photos and a video today.
The missionary on the far right and the one all in white are his roommates and his zone leaders. 
They baptize by day......

and this is what they do in their free time.
Obviously, the must not get much free time.  Ha Ha!

When I asked Curtis where his video was we got this photo of him serving in the Bronx....

Then this photo of him stuck between two cars.
Silly kid!

Quote of the Day:
 photo ae61ba47-7d78-4151-a87a-fbdf53851081_zps246d8efb.png
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