Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Advice to my sons


Disclaimer:  Here is long-winded, preachy post #2.  Skip ahead if feeling weary.

I realized after I posted the advice for my daughters, that there is so much that I would want to say to my sons.  Mothers have a special place in their heart for their sons.  While the feminist movement has it's place, it has done quite the job at cheapening and emasculating men.  As I watch commercials on TV and read news articles, I'm amazed at how often men are made to look like morons who wouldn't last a day in this world without women to baby them and provide for them.  I want my boys to know that just as women are powerful forces to be reckoned with, so are they. The world would not turn without the men in our lives.  


So here is the advice for the little men in my life, also split up into categories as I did for my girls.

GOD
-Cherish your priesthood.  Just as women are endowed with the power to create, righteous men have been endowed with the power to act in His name.
-Don’t sell your integrity for something as cheap as money or the trivial approval of others. 
-No matter what the world tries to tell you, values don’t change, only people do. 

FRIENDSHIP
-Always be willing to give others the benefit of the doubt.
-When you’re struggling to love someone, step back and see them as someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister. (learned from watching your Grandpa Hawkes)
-Standing up for what’s right doesn’t get any easier as you get older if you never did it when you were younger.
-“Be nice to nerds.  Chances are you’ll end up working for one.”  (Bill Gates)
-Be cautious with your words.  Once said, they can never be fully withdrawn no matter how sincere the apology.

ON BECOMING A MAN
-Make sure you always have a physical, emotional, and creative outlet.
-...and videogaming does not count as a legit hobby.
-A man’s masculinity will never shine brighter than when he’s changing a diaper or rocking a baby to sleep.
-The art of being a true gentleman is never old-fashioned and will never be outdated.
-Your father and both of your grandfathers blessed you with phenomenal examples of work ethic. Your father fried doughnuts at 4am for months to pay for my engagement ring.  You are never too good for any type of work.
-I’d rather you be a B or C student with many interests and abilities than a straight A student with none. 
-Develop athletic abilities that you can continue to enjoy as an adult.
-If you decide you don’t want to become an Eagle Scout, then so be it.  But either way, stay involved in scouting.
-Having sisters offers you the opportunity to begin to understand the female mind.   Seize the day.
-Don’t feel threatened by others with differences in opinions or lifestyles.  I have felt the Spirit strongly in a mosque in Indonesia and seen beauty in a disfigured face. What good would Mahatma Ghandi been in India had he been Mormon?  What would have been Mother Theresa’s scope of influence had she not been a nun? 
-For heaven’s sake, please don’t believe things just because you’re told they are so.  With everything from faith to politics, find out for yourself.
-Defend your siblings fiercely.
-Men are to stories about scars what women are to stories about their children’s births.  Sit back, relax, and learn to smile and nod.
-Emergency preparedness is more than the hundreds of dollars you may have spent on portable toilets and MRE’s.  It’s resourcefulness with what you already have. 

HOME AND FAMILY
-Wrestle with your children.
-After you are married, move away from home and develop your own family culture, independent of the expectations of parents and in-laws.
-Tradition and culture have their place but don’t be afraid to break free from what’s not working for you.
-Open your eyes to the magic of childhood.  They are not little adults and shouldn’t be treated as such.
-The evil nature of pornography cannot be overstated.  It will shatter your wife's trust.
- Don’t be another child for your wife to have to care for.  Man up.
-After you get married, your wife becomes the woman in your life.  We (your parents and siblings) will move into the ring of extended family.  Your family now comes first.
-Never let a day go by when your wife and children don’t hear you say, “I love you.”
-Greet your children with kisses, even your sons.
-Let your wife be involved in the financial well being of your home by managing the finances.
-You are the head of the home.  But remember that there is a neck that turns the head. (Courtesy of My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
-If being a mother is your wife’s full time job, allow her sick days and vacation days, just as you would expect from your full time job.
-There are so many men who refuse to change diapers.  So help me if you try to pull that crap on your wife.  If you were a willing participant in the conceiving of the child, then you’d better be a willing participant in the caring of the child. 
-Nothing endears a husband to a wife more than a man who really listens and talks.  She often has little to no adult conversation throughout the day.
-Encourage your wife to pursue an education, hobbies, and a social life. 
-A society is only as good as the mothers within that society.  That being said, women are encouraged to be who they are by the men in their lives.

LOVE
Dating
-When it comes to wooing women, never underestimate the power of a man who smells good.
-As you're dating, remember that women are the masters of disguise.  I could tell you stories about some of the girls I knew.
 -Be cautious (or better yet, steer clear) of the girls who are aggressive pursuers.
-Guard your virtue.
-Let women know that you want them to be virtuous.  Back this up by complimenting her modesty and watching where you put your eyes.


Marriage
-Never stop wanting to impress your wife.
-In a marriage, if each partner determines to have an 80-20 relationship (with themselves giving the 80%) instead of the usual 50-50, you’ll have a 160% marriage. (Advice given to your parents by their stake president when they were about to get married)
-Find a hobby to share with your wife.
-There is infinite wisdom in letting your wife get her hair done. 
-After you’re married, keep female friends at a safe distance.  Contrary to what the world will tell you, there’s no such thing as “healthy flirting” with other women after you’re married.
-Watch where you put your eyes.  Women have a 6th sense when it comes to knowing where their husband’s eyes are. 
-Just as men connect physically, women connect emotionally.  Neglect her emotionally and you’ll have a void the size of the Grand Canyon in your marriage.
-Many women have a fragile self-esteem, especially after having a baby.  Reassure her that you love it all- the stretch marks, the sagging skin… all of it.  They are her battle scars that she earned while fulfilling the greatest measure of the female creation and bringing into this world what will be your greatest joy.



Well, that’s it.   If I had to condense this all into one piece of advice, it would be to closely observe and model their own father.  That would be enough to make them into every bit of the man I could ever hope they would be.





Monday, December 19, 2011

Holding up mirrors

The other night, the moment I have been dreading for the past 7 1/2 years finally came.  As I was cutting Camden's hair in my bathroom he kept holding his hands up, pressing in his ears against his head as he watched himself in the mirror.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Just seeing what I would look like if my ears were folded in more, closer to my head," he said.

"Why would you do that?"

"Because some of the kids at school make fun of me because my ears stick out more than theirs do."

Oh, boy.  I knew the day would come when he became self-conscious about this or that and it always broke my heart to think of it.

I have a love/hate relationship with this growing up business.  Self-showering, better reasoning, no diapers- those are all perks.  But the self-consciousness, the awareness of an unforgiving world around them, the  loss of innocence- those are all things I would happily do without.

I have reason to be grateful though.  To my little boy, forts made out of blankets are still mystical caves. Jumping off his bunk bed using the diapers he stole from his sister's room will serve as parachutes and float him gently to the ground.  Holding on to helium balloons can make someone fly far, far away.  Christmas Eve is still the most magical day of the year and his mama is the only woman in his life.

As I talked to him about how Heavenly Father made us each beautifully different,  how people who bring others down to elevate themselves are not to be paid any mind,  and how tough experiences make us stronger and more compassionate- he listened to me with wide, watchful eyes.

With simple faith he believed me and within seconds his insecurity was forgotten as the conversation turned to paper airplanes and his second best friend's upcoming birthday party.

These are the moments that as mothers we pray that we will be prepared for when they come.  Knowing how to use these fleeting moments as tools of empowerment to make them stronger without coddling or deferring.

As he held up the hand mirror to examine the back of his head after I finished cutting his hair, I thought how I wished he could carry a little hand mirror around with him and see himself as I see him whenever the doubts begin to creep in.  To see himself as the bright, thoughtful, resourceful, beautiful little man that he really is.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Pictures

I think what appeals to me about photography is being able to capture emotion, personality, history, and so many things all in the blink of a shutter.  As I've practiced and experimented, I find that the pictures I find the most thrilling are those that tell a some kind of a story rather than posed pictures.

Last night Dennis and the kids helped me to experiment with ideas that I wanted to try out involving shutter speed and lighting.  If there is one thing that I hope to learn in photography it's not only to develop an eye, but to be technically good as well.  I think that's where the years and years of practice come in.   I need to learn to be patient with myself as I'm learning.  I keep looking at the pictures I take and find myself getting frustrated that they're not as good as I'd like them to be.  I have to remind myself to be patient and forgiving of myself as I'm learning.  There are very few subjects that I could sit down and read an endless number of books on, but I find that photography is one of them.   It's been so much fun to find a new hobby as an adult.


With these two pictures, I slowed down the shutter speed and ramped up the ISO's to produce the brilliance of the Christmas tree lights.



No, these next two don't really tell a story other than that of an over-bearing mother who dresses her child up in ridiculous costumes for no reason other than to squeal over her cuteness.  I don't think a thousand years of taking pictures of this little lady could ever be enough for me.





With this one, I got a strand of multi-colored Christmas tree lights and had Dennis twirl them around Luke in a circular motion.  I slowed down the shutter speed and decreased the ISO's.  
(Idea courtesy of Pinterest- just like almost every good idea is now days)


Our Christmas tree actually has relatively few lights on it, but with the slow shutter speed, it makes it look like the tree is almost on fire.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advice to my daughters

Disclaimer:  This is my most long-winded, preachiest post.  I wrote this primarily for the benefit of my daughters so skip ahead if you are feeling weary.


The other day as I was swimming laps in the pool at the gym, I looked up at the balcony overlooking the swimming pool and saw a handful of men and women, all huffing and puffing along on treadmills and ellipticals.  All of them, perspiring heavily with limbs moving furiously back and forth, reminded me of a bunch of hamsters.  What was most interesting was noting the different sizes of people, both skinny and heavy alike, chugging along, wanting to incinerate as many calories as they could.

I was reminded of the months shortly after Luke was born when I was at the smallest weight that I had been since I had been in 9th grade.  Even at 113 pounds, I would critically stand in front of the mirror thinking how much better I'd look if I could trim a little off here and a little off there.  Meticulously tracking carbs, protein, and fiber, and exercising 5-6 times per week, I was like a machine.  Now here I am, 2 kids later and 20 pounds heavier, thinking how much I'd like to kick my skinny self  from 4 years ago in the tush and tell her to get over herself.  I thought dryly to myself, "I hope my girls don't grow up fretting about numbers as I have a tendency to do.  Fat girls and skinny girls watch the scale just the same. No matter what that number reads, they'll never be satisfied unless things are right upstairs in their heads."

At that thought I instantly had a barrage of thoughts I realized I would want my daughters to know.   Advice is the cheapest things out there and just about anyone, from Oprah to Jenny McCarthy, is willing to give it and proclaim themselves an authority on anything from the beef industry to autism.

So after they've sifted through countless "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books and inspirational, feel-good websites, what is it that I really want them to know about where I stand?  What do I believe and want them to know?

The rest of my time swimming I spent coming up with things I would want them to know- what I truly believe. Not just the refrigerator magnet sayings, but the things I truly try to internalize for myself.  Sadly, I still struggle with most of the things I believe the most strongly in.  I don't for one second claim myself to be perfect, or anywhere close to it, in any of these areas.

I came home and wrote them down and realized they would be more easily read in categories.  With that lengthy prelude, here they are.

BEAUTY
  • Less is more.
  • No amount of expensive makeup or fancy clothes will ever compensate for bad hygiene.
  • Don’t slouch.  No really...don't slouch.
  • Don't EVER EVER EVER leave the house in pajamas and slippers- unless the house is on fire.  I doubt there's any other country in the world where you'll see people at the store and in school sporting their nightly attire.  
  • Never stop wanting to look attractive to your husband.
  • Floss, floss, floss.  
  • Don't buy into all that anti-aging marketing crap.  Some of the most beautiful women you'll ever see are laced in smile lines and wrinkles.
  • You'll likely spend more years of your life coloring your hair than not.  Enjoy your natural hair color before you go gray.
  • Always buy the best quality you can afford.
  • Self-confidence is a woman's most powerful beauty secret.  But be cautious: cockiness is just a half step away.
  • The difference between self-acceptance and apathy is a very fine line.  
  • Short legs, small chest, whatever it is...there's  darn good reason God made you that way so learn to love it.
  • A classy woman, both in appearance and mannerisms, is a powerful force to be reckoned with.
LOVE
  • As you date boys, be gentle.  Treat them the way you'd want girls to treat your brothers.
  • If you want to be treated like a lady, then treat him like a gentleman.
  • You have the rest of your life to be married.  For heaven's sake, don't act like you're married to your 8th grade boyfriend.
  • That being said, dating makes for good practice runs for marriage.  Mistakes made in those relationships, if you learn from them, will (or at least should) make you a better wife.
  • Marry a man who talks and really listens to you.  I've observed countless friends struggle in marriages where the mister doesn't communicate.
  • Treat your husband the way you would hope your children's spouse would treat them.  They will likely observe and mirror the relationship with their future spouses that they observed in their parents'.
  • If you need to duke it out with your husband, so be it.  But do so in private.  Don't EVER, EVER let your kids fall asleep at night wondering if their parents will still be together in the morning.  That can be one of the most terrifying and scarring things for a child.
  • The butterflies and fireworks will likely fade.  If they do, don't fret.  It's likely a sign of a deeper, more meaningful love.  Fireworks and butterflies by nature have a very short lifespan.  
FRIENDSHIP
  • No one trusts a gossip
  • Unless you know what you're talking about, keep your mouth shut.  Most people can spot a windbag a mile away.
  • Pouting is the worst way to get attention.
  • Be selective and cautious in your choice of friends no matter what your age.  Some of the most challenging friend choices I've encountered have been in my adulthood.
  • Never suppress a generous thought.
  • Many woman proudly proclaim they get along better with men than women.  Hmmm...that leaves them in a bit of a pickle after they're married.  Learn to get along with other women or your friends will be in short supply (or possibly dangerously inappropriate) after you get married.
  • Open your eyes to finding friendships in unexpected places and in unexpected people.
  • The concept of leveling is a powerful one.  In essence, it's human nature for people to attempt to "level" the world to their line of sight.  If someone views themselves poorly, they unconsciously attempt to drag everyone around them to where they view themselves.  Adversely, if someone sees themselves positively, they'll optimistically see the best in others as they do in themselves.  Once you become aware of this, you'll see it constantly happening around you.
  • Before you do or say something, turn the tables and see how you'd like it if it were said or done to you.
  • Just let it go.
  • Women have a tendency to tell, re-tell, re-tell, and then re-tell again their birth stories in an almost competitive nature. Get comfortable, sit back, and learn to smile and nod.
  • Don't hand the control of your social life over to others on a silver platter and then sit home and agonize if you're not invited to come along.  If you want to participate in social events, more often than not, you'll have to be the one planning and organizing it.    
  • Make self-honesty one of your best friends.
  • Err on the side of generosity.
GOD
  • If you feel distant from God, it’s you, not Him.
  • Share your testimony often with your children starting from a young age, even when they don't understand what you're saying, to avoid the awkwardness that will inevitably come if you start when their teenagers.
  • Write down impressions as soon as you get them.
  • Learning to recognize the Spirit is the most important skill you can learn as a mother and wife (advice courtesy of Sister Beck).
HOME, FAMILY, WIFEHOOD
  • Few things drive out the Spirit faster than disorganization, clutter, and filth.
  • After you have kids, find a hobby and hold on to it for dear life.  Your sanity may depend on it.
  • There is no shame in pills, seeing a therapist, or admitting to poor mental health.  The only shame is being unwilling to help yourself and hurting those around you in the process.
  • Parents are learning too.
  • The emasculating of men is rampant epidemic.  Cherish the men in your life.
  • Per Sister Beck, "You are the lioness at the fortress."   Fiercely guard everything that comes into your home.
  • Read to your children in silly voices.
  • You’ll have children in your home for very few years in relation to the rest of your life.  Hang in there. The days are long but the years are short.
  • The phrase, “Thank you for the food.  May I be excused?” inherently carries a host of values.
  • An absent mother in the home is worse than a working mother outside the home.
  • If you’re a stay-at-home mom there should be a certain amount of STAYING AT HOME that should be done.  Don't drag your kids around to countless lunch dates, shopping trips, and crafting sessions.
  • Organization is a frame of mind.  It's not found in the number of bins and gadgets you buy.
  • Teach cleanliness and organization young to your children and set the bar high.
  • Just as your husband has a job, being a wife and mother is your full-time, unpaid employment.  Treat your role as a job of sorts.  That being said, just as your husband works a specific shift at work, pick your shift when you'll give your all, whether it be in the morning getting the kids off to school or helping them in the evening after they get home with homework and dinner.  No one can be expected to give 110% 24 hours per day without a quick burnout (also courtesy of Sister Beck).
  • Have a trade or education of some kind.  Base that around your likes and strengths, not just it's money-making power.  This may be a controversial thing to say, but your husband and children will respect you more if you have your own specialty and self-sustaining capability.
  • The first rule of household finances: Pay your tithing.
  • The second rule of household finances:  Run your home finances as if you were running a business in meticulously budgeting and a tracking expenses. This is your business and the most important one at that where what is at stake is the highest.
  • When you’re feeling impulsive on a purchase or big life decision, think about it for at least a week and then decide.
  • Activities and things you take upon yourself works in a conveyor-like fashion.  For everything new that comes on, something will drop off whether you like it or not.  Decide whether that new endeavor is worthy of something dropping off your conveyor belt and what that thing will be that drops off.  If you don't choose what drops off, something you may not wish to be will be sacrificed.
  • When deciding on a job opportunity, take three things into account: location, pay, and job satisfaction.  If the job fits two of those criteria, then it's a good job.  If not, keep on looking (advice courtesy of Bill Hawkes).



Now that's a lot of wind and I must be a bag.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Baby Chubs

Good grief...you'd think I have nothing going on in my life other than blogging. 5 posts in one week is a little excessive for me, I think. Especially when 4 of the 5 posts are just pictures of my kids. I really do have a life.  I just can't get enough of this little lady if you can't tell.   Fortunately I've had some extra time on my hands this weekend along with a superhuman husband.

I took these pictures with hopes of capturing her little rolls and chubs.  How I love this little girl!

Wouldn't it be great if as adults people giggled and squealed every time they saw our rolls and cottage cheese?





Favorite Things: Christmas Edition

For this edition of our Favorite Things Party, I asked that everyone bring their favorite things surrounding Christmas. They could include favorite recipes, family traditions, inexpensive gift ideas, ways to keep the holidays simple…anything.



I loved the ideas everyone brought! I will definitely be using quite a few of these in my family! Thanks for once again allowing me the opportunity to mooch ideas off other people.  :)


To start with, Stephanie brought this Christmas pillowcase.  Her grandmother has made a tradition of sewing one for each grandchild every Christmas to be opened on Christmas Eve.  I love this because it’s exciting for the kids and it’s so easy and cheap!  I’ve also heard of this done with a pillowcase for each major holiday (Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, etc.) that is changed throughout the year for the kids.


Janetta  showed us how she wraps Christmas books to be read each day leading up to Christmas as an advent calendar of sort.  Each book is marked with a number indicating the day leading up to Christmas. The closer they get to Christmas, the more pertinent to the true meaning of Christmas the books become.



 Michele brought this Christmas ornament which she has had since first grade!  As if that weren't remarkable enough, it's actually made out of a blown egg.  Whoa.  She has hung it on her Christmas tree every year since.  She suggested giving handmade ornaments as Christmas gifts.

Although this isn't Christmas-related, she also suggested having a birthday stocking for the each child with gifts to be opened on their birthday.

Michele also suggested making a pillow or blanket out of old shirts or clothing that hold meaning.  She spoke of having made a pillow out of shirts that her father had worn before he passed away.


 Throughout the year Cynthia and her sister-in-laws have been working on creating a "Birthday Box" for their children.  In it are special things that can be put up around the house to celebrate the week of the child's birthday such as this balloon wreath, a special birthday plate, banners, and other things. 



Cynthia also brought this book which her mother created for her with stories relating to Christmas.  The books are covered with special fabric and are kept handy during the Christmas season so that a story can be read from it in the days leading up to Christmas. 


Julie and Cindy brought this Christmas Memories book that their mother gave them.  In it they journal specifics about the events surrounding that year's Christmas, what was given and received, details about Christmas dinner, etc.  They also put in picture collages of each year's Christmas season. 

Cindy pointed out that it was also a family tradition to have the entire family (even the extended family!) in matching pajamas on Christmas Eve.


Julie made this beautiful Christmas wreath from the leftover branches that were from the fresh Christmas tree she bought at Lowe's.  As they clipped away the branches from the bottom of the tree when she purchased it, she simply asked if she could take them since they would be thrown away anyway.  They gave them to her for free and from them she has made a number of these beautiful, awesome smelling wreaths.


 The jaw-dropper of the night were these amazing hand-made stockings that Natalie has made for each member in her family.  Each stocking reflects hundreds of hours of cutting, sewing and stitching.  The detail was amazing!

She also suggested the "Elf on a Shelf" tradition which is a toy elf that sits around the house, with it's location changing each day, watching the children to report back to Santa on their behavior.  She said this does wonders for her children's behavior during the month of December. 


Joanne got her inspiration for the gift for her brother this year from our Favorite Things party that we had earlier this year.  For Christmas he'll be receiving a gift basket with all of her family's favorite things.  Nice!



The theme I chose was inexpensive, meaningful gifts.  The next few pictures are ones that revolve around this theme.  The first is to give family heirlooms to those that might appreciate them.  Above you'll see my passport from when I was about a year old, my first Sunday dress, a hat my grandmother used to wear, and a pillow that my grandmother knitted.  Instead of letting keepsakes sit (and rot at times!) in boxes for years and years, give them to those you think would enjoy them. 


I realized one year that the last portrait I had of Dennis' parents was taken in the 80's.  I asked them if they would agree to going to JCPenney to have their pictures taken together.  I paid for the session and the prints, which after coupons was very inexpensive but meaningful for me and them. 


 After a particularly hard day, my brother Percy called to ask how I was doing.  I shared with him some of the struggles I was going through.  A few days later I received this card in the mail with pictures he had seen in magazines that reminded him of me.  On the front side is a picture of a mother and a child, and on the back is a scene of nature.  It meant a great deal to me that he would take the time to do this.


One year, Percy also burned his favorite songs on a CD and distributed them to the family as Christmas gifts.  Wonderful. 


 Another year Percy bought me a subscription to Runner's World.  It's the gift that keeps on giving and is very affordable.  I also suggested that you could give a subscription to the Liahona (foreign language version of the Ensign) to your loved one in the language that they learned while serving their mission.  This gives them a chance to hear the gospel once again in the language that they worked so hard to learn.


A few years ago, Stephanie gave me a compilation of her favorite recipes.  She had created the gift for her sister when she got married and gave me a copy.  It's always so helpful to get fresh ideas for recipes, especially if they belonged to someone who is a great cook! 


I created this book with my children in mind a few years ago.  It's a children's book version of the story of each of our childhood's leading up to when we met and then wed.   The wording is simple in large letters with lots of pictures.  I wrote in a "Once upon a time", third person format.


A few years ago, my brothers and sisters submitted memories and stories from their childhood experiences and I compiled them into a large book to give to my parents.  It's a pretty thick book with lots of awesome stories.  When we split the price of their book between each of the siblings, it was quite affordable as well.


This is one of my very favorites.  For my 30th birthday, my sister Cristina gave me this picture of me and my mom when I was about a week old.  If you'll notice, the matting is made from a piece of the dress that my mother is wearing in the picture.  I almost cried when I got it!

As a final addition to what I brought, I also added that I was inspired by Elder Nelson's talk in General Conference in which he talked about making an audio recording of himself reading the Book of Mormon aloud and gave it to his children.  Immediately I asked my parents if they would consider working on this for next year.  I asked that perhaps my mother read in Spanish with my dad reading in English, alternating turns as they read, or however they choose to do it. 

Last but certainly not least, Jennifer suggested putting Mod Podge over your children's paper crafts and ornaments to make them more durable and to withstand the test of time.

Jennifer also talked about a little Christmas ornament named "Pokey the Pine Cone" (a pine cone with a face on it) that served to guard and protect the presents under the tree from curious little hands.

She also talked about how her parents make audio recordings of them reading children's stories aloud.  She said her children love falling asleep to the sound of their grandparent's voice reading stories.  LOVE THIS!

Caylee said that as a family tradition, her family selects a Christmas ornament that is relflective of the year that has passed to be hung on the tree.  These are the only ornaments on their tree (other than a few balls) and they buy a new one each year. 

Since she and her husband decorate the large family tree, she buys a small tree for Baylee to be able to decorate and play with each year with decorations of her choosing.  This brilliant idea gives her daughter a chance to be creative on something other than the family Christmas tree with it's fragile and meaningful ornaments. 

Cynthia provided a recipe for some delicious Christmas sugar cookies that she brought to share with everyone.  She said making and decorating Christmas cookies is another family tradition. 

Merry Christmas Cookies

Preheat oven to 375.  Bake 8-10 minutes

1/3 cup shortening
1 tsp. lemon flavoring
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 3/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup honey

Mix shortening, sugar, egg, honey, and lemon together.  In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add flour mix to other bowl.  Chill dough.  Roll to 1/4" thick and cut shapes.


Thanks to everyone for coming and participating!!!  It was lots of fun!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Half Birthday

Happy Half Birthday to my sweet Calista! 
Lauren helped me throw together this impromptu photo shoot for Calista this morning with things we had lying around the house.