Malachi

In case you were wondering what 13 months looks like…

13 months

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Christmas Day

Christmas!!!

Just looking at these pictures makes me sad that it’s over.  There is nothing like Christmas with little ones, and I am cherishing this time!  We began the day with more fun with Uncle Nate!

xm 1 uncle

Papa made it home just in time for our favorite Christmas breakfast casserole.

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Christmas breakfast Casserole:

Ingredients:
1 pound ground pork sausage (Jimmy Dean’s!)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
Worcestershire to taste
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
approx 6 – 8  slices sourdough, crust on
12 ounces assorted cheese, shredded (swiss, cheddar, and cougar are what we use)
Directions:
1. Crumble sausage into a medium skillet. Cook over medium heat until evenly brown; drain.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together mustard powder, salt, eggs and milk. Layer sourdough onto a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover wth sausage, then add another layer of sourdough.  Pour egg mixture on top, then cover with cheese.  Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight.
3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
4.  Cover, and bake 45 to 60 minutes. Uncover, and reduce temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until set.

xm 3 bkfst

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After breakfast, we had our devotion on “anticipation.”  Natalie looked up the word in the dictionary for us.  After our discussion, Allison read the Christmas story from Luke 2.  They were all anxiously “anticipating” getting to the presents!

xm 5 reading story

xm 7 d and me

xm 6 cuddle

xm 8 alli

xm 9 presents Collage

The girls were very patient and I was proud of them for that.  The best part came at the end, when Grandma “remembered” there were 3 more presents in the car.  The girls were given their beloved American Girl dolls!

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Overjoyed!xm 12 thanks

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The afternoon and evening were spent with more family.  There is nothing I love more than a house bustling with family, and little ones delighted to be with family.

xm yahtzee

The girls taught their cousins how to play Yahtzee!

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xm 14 food Collage

Food was awesome, as always!

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xm 16 s and m

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xm 17 good night

Christmas Eve

Christmas eve morning began with the arrival of Uncle Nate.  Every kid should have an uncle Nate; you know, the fun, single uncle…

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ce 2 n and a

We played with some foamies…

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And, each kid was allowed to open one present.  (Don’t tell my kids we got to open all of our presents Christmas Eve when I was a kid!)

ce 4 presents Collage

Most of the time, having your husband work on Christmas Eve is a bad thing; after all, he’s not at home with the family!  But, in the case of my husband where it means we get to visit him at the fire station; it’s an awesome thing! ce 5 station Collage

1.  I don’t have to cook.

2.  We still get to eat yummy food and spend time with Daniel.

ce 6 station uncle

3.  What kid doesn’t like playing in the firefighter lounge chairs?

ce 7 fs chair

It was a wonderful Christmas Eve, and we were so blessed to all be healthy and together as a family.

A Few (more) of my Favorite Things

1.  ‘Tis the season for yummy food!  And, I rarely do holiday cooking; either my husband or my brother or both have the privilege!  Tonight my husband tried a new recipe, and I think it was the best salmon I’ve ever had!

ft2 Collage

2.  Katherine Marie is pretty much the most amazing photographer/ blogger with the most creative ideas.  I love to be inspired by her blog!

3.  I look forward to Thursdays just to see the lovely homes featured on Life Made Lovely.  It feels a bit like snooping, but provides so much inspiration!

4.  You know how it is… when sisters get along, it is precious!  When they don’t… well, let’s just stick with the precious for now!

ft2 sisters

5.  Christmas music boxes are the best!  I love this little old German one we have.

ft2 music box

6.  Try as I might, I could not get a good picture with lights blurred in the back.  Perhaps it was the wrong time of day.  Or perhaps I should stop being lazy and read about how to do it rather than just playing with my camera.  But, playing is so fun!  Maybe I need better subjects who will actually stay still and smile.  🙂  Nah, this guy is too cute to pass up!

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7.  Christmas letters are sent.  Grocery shopping is done.  More family comes tomorrow.  Everyone is healthy.  It is well with my soul!

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Ice Skating Party

I’m not sure how long I can get away with helping my kids choose a theme for their birthdays, but I think I will try for as long as I can!  This year I suggested a “Winter wonderland” theme for Natalie located at an ice skating rink, and she took right to it.  I chose it for several reasons, including the following: 1.  It would be easy to shop for this time of year and 2.  Having a party away from home where someone else cleans-up for me 3 days before Christmas would be priceless!

Unfortunately, I was very bad at taking pictures!  Wrong lens.  Wrong settings.  And, hardly any pictures!  I didn’t even get a single picture of our hot chocolate bar.   But, that was about the only flaw… everything else was wonderful, and we had such a great time!  I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

is sign

 is dan ice

This man is an amazing skater and so much fun for the kids!

is grandparent Collage

I seriously don’t know how people throw birthday parties without grandparents.  SO grateful for my parents!

is table

is hugs

is j and e

is lessons

is lunch

is n and z

is nat window

is penpals

is pizza

  is skates

Natalie, you did super-duper!  Once again, happy birthday my six-year-old!

is cake Collage

Oh, Christmas Tree

Just to warn you… this craft is only for those who are crazy enough to buy far too many frames from Ikea and save all the corner protectors they come with.  (Now, who would be that hoardish?)

oct 1

No, that stack is not even all of them.  (Gulp!)  This craft is actually another repeat from 2 years ago.  You can see the original craft, (which was slightly different) here.

oct 2

Grab your paints.  Let the kids choose some colors.

oct 3

Grab your brads, frame corners, tp rolls, and hole punch.  Poke away!  Then, paint!

oct 4

oct 6

oct 7

I think this may be the last Christmas craft of the year!  I actually was going to do a new idea.  Aren’t these snowmen from Pineterest adorable?  But, I gave the girls a choice, and they chose the Christmas trees!  Maybe next year…

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(And on a side note, I do love the 3-year-old marble painting look!  If I recall from my older two, this stage will soon turn into all things painted “brown.”)

Happy Birthday, Natalie!

Today my second-born turned 6-years-old.  SIX!  That means she now needs both hands to tell people how old she is.  Ha!

We had a wonderful day celebrating.  Our morning started off as all birthday mornings do around here… with a present under the bed!

 n6 bed present Collage

Natalie was thrilled with her gifts; footie jammies, a personalized return address stamp, and an art set from Ikea.

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Pancakes with a chocolate chip “six.”

n6 artists Collage

And then it was time to bust out the art set!  Notice it’s not Natalie sitting in the birthday chair.  A certain 3-year-old was having a lot of trouble not being the birthday girl.  Funny how she didn’t want the attention when it was actually her birthday!

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The girls probably could have spent the entire day inside doing art, but it was such a beautiful day we just had to get out!  Daniel suggested teaching Natalie to ride without her training wheels.  I kid you not, in the time it took for me to go inside and find the camera, I came out and found my girl riding!

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I was stunned… and so proud!  Way to go, Natie!  She then went on her first real bike ride without training wheels with her sisters and Papa, while I stayed behind with a sleeping boy.

n6 pencils

Is there anything more enticing than a beautiful new box of 100 sharpened color pencils?  This was a present from our dear friends, and the girls wasted no time breaking it in!

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The afternoon brought baths, and then getting all bundled-up for the evening.  It may have been beautiful outside, but it was still cold!  We headed to Chick-Fil-A for an early dinner, per Natalie’s request.  I can’t go there this time of the year and not order a peppermint chocolate chip milkshake.  That’s just not possible.  So, I did.

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With our bellies full and our hats and mittens on, we finally went to see the famous lighted houses of Thoroughbred.  It is no exaggeration to say we have been wanting to do this for 8 years!  But, each year just flies by and somehow we miss it.  Not this year – hooray!  We made it!

n6 lights Collage There were treats galore, from churros to nachos to hot dogs to corn on the cob.  Kids sold hot chocolate, cookies… even Christmas hair bows for girls!  Alas, I couldn’t resist the kettle corn.  (I know, I know… donuts, Minty Mallows, milkshakes, kettle corn… I think my diet falls under the “naughty” list, lately!)

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Natalie was so excited to find her name, which does indeed mean “Christmas.”  Her middle name means, “Joy,” and she has indeed brought such joy into our lives over the past 6 years.  Thanks for being such a blessing, Miss Natalie!  We love you so much!  As Frosty would say, “Happy birthday!”