Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas crafting

Today is the last day of 2012. Man, that went fast. And that means that tomorrow, I have to take down all my Christmas decorations. It's one of the saddest days of the year. Since they're coming down tomorrow, I figured I'd share some of this year's new decorations, including the several crafts I *actually* finished (that NEVER happens!) What did we ever do before Pinterest? I found almost all these ideas there and love that most were cheap and very easy. If you found and tried any great Christmas crafts on Pinterest, please feel free to share! Maybe if I start now I can finish before next Christmas....

Nativity Canvas
Easy peasy! You just need a cheap-o canvas, a couple shades of blue, silver, and gold acrylic paint, a silver paint pen, and chipboard letters and a glue gun. Paint and glue. Tip: Use chalk first for the "adore" to make sure it's where you want it before you go over with the silver paint pen.

Noel and mantle

Last year's mantle had red and green swag. This year I saw this house and sleigh at Hobby Lobby and loved them, so I decided to redo the mantle around them.

It's plain garland that I stuck in silver beads and branches. The silver and white snowflakes used to hang on the wall, but now they're on the mirror (Target - $1!) I think the Santa Dude is from Hobby Lobby, but it's been a couple years.

And I'm not sure how I feel about the rustic "Noel" yet, but we'll keep it around for next year.

2x4 characters

At a RS Enrichment activity a few weeks ago we made this Santa guy and I thought he was so cute! But once I got him home, I thought he seemed so lonely.

On Pinterest, I found these candy bar wrappers and thought I could easily make them into 2x4 friends for Santa.



I liked this on Pinterest, but I forgot how long yarn wreaths take. And I think I should have used a darker red instead of a bright red - it kind of looks like a life preserver!

Christmas cards

I never knew what to do with all the beautiful Christmas cards we get each year. This was the perfect solution! We taped red velvet ribbon to the back of the kitchen cabinets and then clothes pinned them on. I love seeing them all the time and I'll be so sad to take them down!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

31 weeks

**Sorry this is so late!

How Far Along: 31 weeks, 2 days
Size of the Baby: Four navel oranges, 16.25 inches, 3.3 lbs
Weight gain/loss:  I feel like there's a growth spurt going on - my stomach seems to have popped and there's a lot of cramping that feels like growing pains going on. So next week I won't be too surprised to have gained a few pounds. Plus... Christmas. Ya know.
Sleep: Exhausted. All the time. But having trouble staying asleep. I'll sleep a few hours and wake up before I feel like I'm ready. And I'm ready for bed by 7.
Best Moment of the Week: Christmas!! That got it's own post, though, so I don't need to rehash here. But it was wonderful and I can't wait to spend next one with Little One.

Movement: Lots and lots, as usual. During sacrament on Sunday there was one that was so big and looked like a huge Pop! You could see it all the way across the room. Both Hans and I jumped. Lots more hiccups, too.
Symptoms: Same as last week, but getting worse. Morning sickness is back in full force and it's miserable. Hans had to go out at midnight on Christmas Eve to get me ginger ale and crackers.
Food Cravings: Food holds no appeal. Just very thirsty.
Gender: After the ridiculous amount of baby clothes we received this weekend, I'm hoping it's a girl because we'll be all set. Our friend Liz welcomed twin nieces a couple months ago and her sweet sister-in-law sent me ALL of their newborn clothes. We are overwhelmed by the generosity and so excited about the cute little dresses and bows. If not, one of my friends having a girl is getting a lot of clothes from me.
Belly Button in or out: No change
Anything making you queasy or sick: Everything and anything.
Labor Signs: None
Wedding ring on or off: On
What I miss: Being morning-sickness free. I'm back to feeling like a half-functioning human.
What I am looking forward to: Decorating the nursery! I'm off work for the next week and I'm excited about some projects and nesting.
Nursery: On it.
Emotions: Oh goodness. So emotional. I cried a LOT. Friday night we watched What to Expect When You're Expecting and during the labor scene I started completely freaking out and sobbing. We had to stop the movie while I sat there and blubbered "I don't want to do it!" over and over again. I guess it's all starting to feel very real and I'm terrified. A baptism Saturday, some changes at church Sunday (details coming soon) made me cry, and the wonderful Spirit I've felt as we've celebrated Christmas means that I've done more crying in the past few years than I have in quite some time.
Stupid things I have done: Just more clumsy. Lots of dropping things and bumping into things.

4th Annual Gingerbread House

As long as I can remember, my family has always spent Christmas Eve decorating homemade gingerbread houses and watching a Christmas movie. It's one of my favorite Christmas traditions, one that Hans and I have continued even when it meant decorating the house at 3 in the morning after I got off work at the newspaper.

That's why it makes me so sad that we broke that tradition this year. I was so excited about it and made all the preparations and then... halfway through baking the house pieces, I got slammed with the worst morning sickness I've had since the first trimester. I mean, the knock me on my back, send Hans out in the middle of the night for gingerale, hating being pregnant kind of morning sickness. And that was it. I couldn't finish the house. I was lying in bed, half asleep, moaning about how it didn't feel like Christmas because we didn't make the houses.

We did finally get to them, though, on Christmas day, which was still really nice. I've always gone for a very colorful, or a red and green themed house, but this year I just wanted yummy things so I decided to do an all chocolate house! Hans kinda has a rule that he only uses candy that he'll eat later, so his ends up with all his favorite things.

And voila! Now we can officially say we finished Christmas.

Lots of pretty colors! Jelly beans, sweet tarts and sour candy tape. I'm surprised any tape made it onto the house... he ate most of it while decorating.
Chocolate covered raisins, mini reeses cups, pumpkin pie almonds, and chocolate stars - my chocolate-y house! 
I had extra chocolate covered raisins. This seemed like a good solution.
Reeses and Hershey's make Hans' favorite roof

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Pic Picks

Despite the return of my morning sickness, we still had a marvelous, peaceful holiday. We always plan on spending it just the two of us and I think people think this is sad for some reason. We get a lot of "oh... " followed by awkward silences, I think while they are debating inviting us to join them. We are always quick to assure them that this is by choice, not by lack of options. While we love spending time with friends and loved ones, it's also glorious to sleep late, take our time opening presents, nap, and cook a great meal together. It's nice to step out of the hustle and bustle of chaos and just enjoy our time together.

As usual, we feel ridiculously spoiled. Thank you thank you to our wonderful, generous families for giving us so many wonderful things for us and baby.

And thanks to my sweet husband for gifting me with so many things I'm still giddy over.

I hope that you and yours got everything your hearts desired and spent a wonderful, relaxing day with those you love.

Christmas Baking Part II

I love testing cookie recipes. Not just the baking - the eating :)

For neighbors and friends, we always take around a plate of cookies. Here's this year's selection and my thoughts on all three.

Disclaimer: You WILL want to go make these after I'm done describing them. I can't pick a favorite and neither can Hans. And I can't stop eating them...

Grinch Cookies (AKA mint chocolate chip)
I saw several of these floating around pinterest, but I already have a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe that I love. So, I used my favorite recipe (get it here!) I added green food coloring (doesn't show too well in the pic) and then swapped regular chocolate chips for mint chocolate chips. I had intended to add some peppermint extract to the recipe but forgot and I'm kinda glad - I think the mint woulda been too strong. The mint chocolate chips were the perfect amount. This recipe makes about 50.

Cherry Chocolate Shortbread - (The Curvy Carrot)

Hans proclaimed this one as his favorite. It's very buttery, but not overly sweet. The cherries add a wonderfully tart flavor to it. And I just love eating the extra cherries while I bake :) The recipe calls for regular Hershey kisses, but when I was at Target, I saw some cherry cordial kisses that I figured would go well. Oh. My. Gosh. Way to go Past Me - I think this made the cookie. Use these if you can find them. They're amazing. One last note: The recipe says to put the kiss in the middle immediately after you pull them out of the oven. Don't do that. I learned that the hardway with pumpkin kiss cookies a couple months ago. They get to melty. Let the cookies cool a couple minutes before pressing the kisses into the center. This recipe made the least... maybe 28. Hans was sad.

Hot Cocoa - (Pip and Ebby)

I think this one was my favorite. It's so fudgey and gooey and wonderful. I can't wait to make it again. It's very simple to put together and what you can't see in the pic is that it has melty chocolate in the middle. Only thing I'd suggest is that the recipe calls for 12 oz semisweet chocolate bars - I just used chocolate chips and that worked great. I used semi-sweet baking bars for the centers and garnish, but I think regular ol' Hershey bars would be great, too. This recipe made 32 for me.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Sunday in Young Women's, we watched the video of Christ's birth. After watching it, the teacher shared her thoughts about the Christmas story in a way that I hadn't quite heard before and it really struck a chord with me. She asked a very simple question "What about Mary?"

I had been having the same thought. In nine short weeks, I'll be giving birth in a hospital, surrounded by a team of doctors and wonderful medical care. And I'm still terrified. As I watched the video, I saw the stable and the manager with new eyes. I heard the flies buzzing around and looked at how dirty it was and thought about how alone she was to go through this ordeal.

What great faith Mary showed. She put her complete trust in Heavenly Father that the delivery would go well and that the Son of God would be born unto her. No where do we read a verse "And Mary complaineth." She turned her will over to the Father and led where he would have her go.

What a beautiful example to me of how we should all strive to be. To let go of what we might think or want and trust that the Lord will guide us and all will be well. As we celebrate the holiday season and the birth of our Savior, may we all have as great faith as Mary - no complaints, just rejoicing in Good Tidings of Great Joy.

Merry Christmas to all of you, with all our love.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Things from this week

One of my favorite, most memorable YW activities from my youth was going to see the Nutcracker as a group. Fortunately, our budget this year allowed us to do it again, so Thursday night we took a group of 41 to see the Austin Ballet performance. We had a great time and I think only one or two of the young men fell asleep.

We came home and discovered that one of our jerk dogs (cough cough Oliver cough cough) had thrown a little fit and eaten the sole out of my favorite shoes. Anyone want a dog for Christmas?

And THEN....

So I was working on a crafty craft a few days ago, on the coffee table. We left for a bit to go to dinner and when we came home I noticed that I'd spilled some paint on the table. I was kinda surprised, because I didn't remember seeing the spots when I'd cleaned up.

Then I looked over the whole table and noticed.... they were everywhere. All over the table, including areas I hadn't worked on. And they were all the same size... and fairly evenly spaced.

Closer inspection of Hudson's paws revealed the culprit. What motivated him to walk all over the table, I'm still not sure.

And just for funsies, today was a great start to winter break celebrated by lunch and pedicures with one of my favorite former young women :) So glad she's home!

our first attempt at this pic didn't turn out.... all we got was the bump!
Lean back... there they are!