Thursday, December 29, 2011

Note to Self...

Each year after Christmas is all over I think to myself all of the things I want to do differently or things I want to add to our festivities.  But that is the problem...I just think to myself and I do not write it down.  What happens then is that I forget these things & end up being frustrated with myself.

But that changes today because I am here to write a note to myself so that these thoughts are documented.

Dear Kelli:

*  Start shopping September early.  The key however, is to make sure you put all of these early gifts in ONE spot so that you don't lose them before Christmas (remember the MP3 player?).  This way you will not be running all over town trying to pick up gifts in the weeks leading up to'll be able to relax a little and enjoy WHY we are celebrating.

*  And while you are out there shopping early, make sure to pick up a few extra gifts for that person you may have forgotten or that neighbor that needs an additional pick me some gift cards, or candles, or books.

*  And while we are on the subject of early...make sure to start your Christmas cards early.  Because you waited until the last minute you were crammed and you had to limited the number that you sent out this year. If you start early you will be able to pace yourself and do small steps at a time...cut the base one day, cut the accents another day, etc.  In the end you will be much happier.
*  Remember to celebrate Him more during this time.  Read Scripture surrounding His conception and birth. Take time to make sure that you still remember the verses from Luke 2.

*  Make cookies with your children.  So what if it makes the kitchen dirty or if they don't turn out will be something that you will always will be something that THEY will always remember.  Remember how you loved making cookies with your mom when you were younger and how you still enjoy it even now...that's how they will feel too.

*  Go through and donate your kids' old toys before Christmas so that you have room for the new do not have enough space to double the inventory.

*  Go to the little kiosk in the mall to get the kids an ornament with his/her name on it.
*  If you host Christmas Eve again do not wait until after your family leaves to wrap gifts.  If you do, you will  have cleaning up AND wrapping to do and will be up very, very late.  Remember that Mommy and Rondell did not let you get away with not wrapping this year.

*  Buy more eggs...and paper towels...and spices...because you do not want to have to send Rondell out again on Christmas because you are short on eggs (and out of paper towels).  Luckily Mommy had pepper for your "pepper emergency" this year but you should make sure you are stocked on these things just in case.  In other words...plan your meals down to the last ingredient...even pepper.

*  Take a picture of the tree before the gifts are opened.  You always forget this.  See, if you had wrapped the gifts beforehand then you would have had more opportunities to get this shot...just sayin'.
*  Make more treats like these and these.  It was so much fun to bag up those hug treats and give them to co-workers and neighbors.  The jars were SO easy to make and also a big hit...the only change would be to maybe use smaller cards as tags or print off Mel's instructions to add as labels.

*  Lastly, make a better effort to do some fun activities leading up to Christmas...get hot chocolate, go see the lights at the zoo, make a gingerbread house, etc.  As much as you love tradition remember that you are now developing traditions for your family to cherish.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011 Recap

Hi Friends!  Happy Week-After-Christmas :)  Have you recovered from all of your events?  We are still in recovery mode in our house, but I'm sure it will all get taken care of by New Years (well, at least that's the plan)

We had a good Christmas weekend.  This year I hosted Christmas Eve with my family.  When my great-grandmother was alive we would always go to her house Christmas Eve and celebrate.  We have tried to carry on the tradition and this year it was my turn.
Here is my mom and her siblings (minus one)...Uncle James, Aunt Tammy & Aunt Roni
My cousin Shanette (on the right) and her niece Nikea.  Shanette has hosted the last few years, but recently had a baby & was not up for hosting (I'm sure we can all relate to that!).
Here are Shanette's husband Tim, my mom, & my cousin James (Shanette's brother).  Tim LOVES my mom's deviled eggs so she made some just for him and then gave him an OSU deviled egg carrier.
We had lots of yummy food, including the wonderful ham sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls (I have mentioned these a time or two on the blog).  I actually got this idea from Shanette when she had them at her house last tasty.

It was such a nice gathering and I can't wait to do it again next year!

The next morning we all slept until 8:00!!!!  We actually had to wake up Caleb.  I guess that's what happens when you stay up super late the night before.

One of the first gifts handed out was from Jamison to my mom.  She had written a report about her & why she loves her.  I'm sorry I do not have a picture of the report because it is so beautiful...well written, with a picture that Jamison drew of my mom, & it was laminated by her teacher.

While this picture is blurry it actually really does represent what my kids looked like all day...moving around from gift to gift at lightening speed.
My mom gave Rondell a hilarious shirt:
After gifts my mom made our traditional Christmas breakfast...french toast, eggs, bacon & fried potatoes.
Check out the new skillet that my mom gave me!
French toast is just not complete for me unless it is topped with Karo syrup...just like my great-grandmother always had.
A precious moment...Rondell teaching Jamison chess.  She wanted a chess set for Christmas so that she could learn how to play.
I was supposed to make dinner on Christmas, but we ended up just snacking all day on leftovers from Christmas Eve.  I also munched on these...pistachios...with no shells!  Thanks mom :)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you were all able to savor your families :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!
Rondell, Kelli, Jamison & Caleb

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11

Monday, December 19, 2011

miscellany monday

Good morning Friends & Happy Christmas Week!!!  I'm stopping by with a few randoms:

1.  This is what my table looked like the entire weekend...I was a card making machine.  I was SO behind in my card making this year that I had to take almost the entire weekend to get them all done.  It almost crossed my mind not to make any, but I just love making them so much that it is worth all of the "work."
I am going to have to remember this scene so that I do not wait this late ever again :)

2.  Speaking of cards...I am in love with this one that I came up with.  I used a sketch for the idea and I'm so happy with the way it turned out.  I love all of the layers and I was excited to get to use my markers to make a two-tone sentiment.
3.  A new addition.  I have wanted a clock for one of the walls in our entry for a long time and I now finally have one.  Rondell actually picked it up while he was out shopping.  It fits so well in the space & now when we are in the living/dining area we can tell the time (there is no other clock...not even on the cable box).
This is a great start in an attempt to decorate our naked walls :)
4.  I would say that two certain little someones are absolutely ready for Christmas.  This year Caleb is really into Christmas and getting ready for all of the gifts.  Rondell was out over the weekend getting a few more things for our munchkins.  We were grateful that Toys R Us was open until 1:00 am this weekend because we almost forgot about a sale that was going on for one of the items that Jamison has on her list...we remembered at 10:30 Saturday night!
Linking up with the beautiful Carissa :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

1.  Outside my window...sunny, blue skies & COLD.  Cold or no cold, I will take the sun any day :)
This is not a picture of this morning, but the sky looked exactly the same...gorgeous.

I am thinking...about my day and the little things that I want to accomplish.

I am thankful...for friends who can relate to me.  Sometimes it's a good feeling to know that I'm not the only one who (fill in the blank).

In the kitchen...Yesterday I was off and made dinner for last night and tonight...taco bake & cabbage/noodles/kielbasa.

I am wearing...earrings.  I don't wear them often enough...I have gotten so many compliments :)

I am Christmas cards.  I don't think I have ever been this's going to be a crazy few nights.

I am Jamison's choir performance tomorrow night, where...wait for it...she has a SOLO!!

I am wondering...what to make for our Christmas Eve gathering...appetizers or a full meal?

I am reading...the book of Hebrews.  We recently covered this book in BSF but over the break (BSF takes off for Christmas) I want to read it again...there is so much to ponder within those 13 chapters.

I am have my entire house deep cleaned before Christmas (I don't know how realistic this is).

I am looking forward to...Christmas morning.

Around the house...disorder...I don't like disorder.

One of my favorite BSF discussion group.

A few plans for the rest of the the new NCIS with my mom, attend a cookie party tomorrow (we're making those jars where you add the ingredients of the cookies), make my Christmas cards & catch up on shows that Rondell & I have on our DVR.

If you want to share your day go here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ten on Ten - December 2011

ten on ten button small

Yeah...another opportunity to participate in Ten on Ten is here!!  Hope you enjoy a little peek into my day :)

 Waking up to frosted grass and peeking out to the reminder that I need to trim my hostas.
 Getting hydrated for my Christmas shopping whirlwind with my mom.
 Our last stop on our shopping adventure.
 The kids getting into the Christmas spirit as we head out.
 A visit to Whole Foods to see a couple of reindeer.
 Lunch time (thanks Gramma Lee)
 Nap time!  I may or may not have taken a little snooze too ;)
 Time to turn on the Christmas tree.
 Trying to decide which soap to put out...Caleb picked the Gingerbread soap.
Movie Time!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Showing Some {Friday Favorite} Blog Love

Hi Friends & Happy Friiiiiday :)

How is December treating you so far?  Are you counting down till Christmas...are you racing around checking off your gift list...are you doing Advent activities?

There are some blogs out there that really get me into the mood of this Wonderful Season and I thought I would share a few of those favorites with you:

~  One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to make my Christmas cards.  I love looking around to come up with a design and I even enjoy staying up late to get them done {one of these years I'll have them done way ahead of time!}.  There are a few blogs that I enjoy reading as I begin my card-making process...
1.  Erin's card-making post.  Erin does a great job at explaining her process when she makes her Christmas cards.  I love the layouts that she uses and I refer back to this post often when I am thinking about what kind of card I want to design.  She even posted a cute idea of what to do with the cards each
2.  Rach.  She was my inspiration last year to do multiple designs.  I love her style and just love her to pieces overall.  I peeked at her stamping blog today and love the cards that she recently made.
3.  Heidi.  Like Rach, Heidi is another go-to gal for card designs.  I love her simple, cutesy style.  Right now on her stamping blog she is sharing different gift ideas and I have loved each one so far.

~  Another favorite thing to do during this time of year is make cookies.  Recently Mel @ The Larson Lingo hosted a cookie exchange party on her fun is that?  Now I have a few recipes to try...not just for the Christmas season but all year long.

~  A series that I have been been really enjoying this week is one that Nancy @ The Goat and the Kid is hosting...Christmas Is _______.  Christmas is first about the birth of our Savior, but it also incorporates so much more and this series highlights all of those things.  Today you too can join in on the fun :)

~  I have recently found a fun new blog to read...the tichenor family.  The blogger Meredith has been doing such a great job at documenting the fun things she is doing with her boys during this Christmas Season.  I have gotten a few ideas that I might do next opening and reading a Christmas book each day.

~  One post that gives me the warm and fuzzies is this post from Darby @ Fly Through Our Window.  The first time I saw those videos I was amazed at how well her girls memorized Scripture.  Last year it inspired Jamison and I to do the can see our video here.

~  Lastly, {and this is not related to Christmas blogging} I am SO excited to be able to participate in ten on ten tomorrow!  If you enjoy taking pictures I highly recommend this to you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sing Off - Caleb Style

Over the weekend Caleb had his Christmas performance at his daycare.  He had been practicing the songs all over the house for weeks so we were really interested to see how he would do up on stage.  For the most part he did a great job and I was impressed at how well he knew each song.  Here are some pictures from the day (please excuse the not-so-good pictures):
Classic Caleb face...getting ready to get his sing on :)
The performance included a ton of hands motions and Caleb had each one memorized.
Look at those hands go!
For most of the performance he was all smiles...but for 2 or 3 songs he was like this:
We have no idea why...he just wouldn't sing.  Afterwards he said he was tired and that's why he didn't sing.  I guess being a star is hard work!

Monday, December 5, 2011

miscellany monday

Happy Monday Friends!  How was your weekend?  I have a couple of random things to share with you today.

1.  Big Guy.  I don't know if you know this or not, but I am married to a tall man.  Rondell is 6'5"!  When I first met him one of my reactions was "wow, he's tall!"  I love that he's easy to find in a crowd :)  I have gotten used to his height over the years, but there are times when I am reminded that he is tall. 
One thing that has us tickled lately is a little girl who attends the same daycare as Caleb.  Whenever Rondell walks in she says "Big Guy!"  
I finally got to see her this weekend at Caleb's Christmas performance and heard her say "Big's Big Guy!" with such excitement.  It was adorable :)
My "Big Guy"

2a.  Cookies...cookies!  
Yesterday I went to my friend Lyndsey's 5th Annual Cookie Exchange.  I forgot my camera (again), but you can go here to see where I posted about the 2nd year & the picture above is from the 3rd year (I made snickerdoodles that year).  This year she and her mom asked me to sell a few cards and I was happy to do just that.

2b.  My cookies.  I try to make a different cookie each year & this year I made a lemon cookie.  You can find the recipe here.  I saw it first on Paige's blog a few months ago and knew right away that I wanted to make them because I love lemon.  I did not ice them though...but they were still good.  Here they are in all their glory:

2c.  The greatest discovery EVER!  So, see what my cookies are sitting on...that, my friends, is parchment paper.  This recipe called for using parchment paper, which I have never used before.  It is now my new best friend and I do not know where is has been all my life.  The cookies came off so easily and I didn't have to wash pans between each batch. :)

3.  I think that's all I've got!  Join in on the fun over at Carissa's blog.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday {Thanksgiving} Favorites

Hi Friends :)  Do you know that this is my 900th post...crazy!  For my Friday Favorites I thought I would take the time to be thankful for our relaxing Thanksgiving (and a few other things in between).  

~  I am thankful that I was able to provide a meal for our family.  This year we decided to keep Thanksgiving low-key, stay home and have our meal here.  It was a very relaxing day...with yummy food :)

~  I am thankful for Kroger...for providing our delicious turkey.  Anytime I have a large meal with a turkey, for as long as it is offered, I will get my turkey here and let them do all of the work.

~  I am thankful for my laptop.  When I cook or clean the kitchen I like to watch shows or listen to music.  So, I can watch this:
 {Yes, I was catching up on Y&R}
...while I am doing this:
 ~  I am thankful for my new cooking utensils from Pampered Chef...they are bamboo.  I learned that wooden spoons keep a lot of bacteria but bamboo spoons do not.  Or as Rondell says 'I got scared into buying them.'  Maybe I did, but so far I love them.

~  I am thankful for Mrs. Keys (my good friend Melanie's mom) for sharing her dressing recipe with me.  And while I may or may not have added a little too much sage this year, it is by far my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner.  If you want the recipe you can go here.

~  I am thankful that Rondell was brave enough to light our fireplace before dinner.  See, we have lived in this house for over fire years and we have never lit the fireplace...gasp.  I just knew there would be something living in there, but all was OK.  Isn't it pretty?
 ~  I am thankful that the one "craft" that I ended up putting together was a big hit.  I love the everyone got involved.  It was a coloring sheet that I found online (thanks Erin) and there was a space on the side to write the things for which we are thankful.
 {Wanna know something about that handsome guy in the picture above...he got a new job!!  Talk about thankful :)}

~  I am thankful that we were able to slow down and enjoy one another's company (minus Caleb, who decided to spend Thanksgiving with his grandparents...but how wonderful that he has grandparents who love on him in that way...though he was truly missed).

~  I am thankful for Jamison's love for writing.  She is constantly writing a story or a news report.  Here she is presenting her "I am thankful" presentation:
 {Sorry for the blur}

~  I am thankful that the one new recipe that I tried was a hit:

I followed a recipe from (which I can't seem to find now).
I boiled my yams and then peeled and sliced them, placed them in a 9x13 dish and sprinkled them with cinnamon, nutmeg and some pumpkin pie spice.
I made a simple syrup (I like saying that) using 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, and about 1/3 cup of water.  I brought it to a boil and stirred until the sugar was dissolved.
I poured the syrup over the yams & then added butter to the top.
I baked them @ 350 for about 30 minutes...basically until they start bubbling around the side.

Share your Favorites...come on, it's fun :)

friday favorite things | finding joy