Friday, November 28, 2014

Oven Dried Orange Slices

The day after Thanksgiving. I sit at the table in my jammies. It's hot turkey, cranberry sauce and coffee for breakfast. The kids ask for cereal and ask if it can be a pajama day. We all decide to stay in our jammies and together we slowly put away the fall decorations and start to bring out Christmas.

The kids meet me at the counter, all three of them up on chairs. I thinly slice oranges and they place them on cookie sheets in rows. We sprinkle them with powdered sugar and the house smells like warm oranges, while they bake for 2 hours.

After they are cooked until dry, I run outside in the rain and clip some branches from a cedar tree. A cedar garland is easy to make, if you have a little wire or some string. For our garland, I used string and then wrapped it with floral tape.

I hang the cedar garland and then hang the dried orange slices in front of it. For us, preparing for Christmas is an on-going celebration, not a one day marathon. Today the celebration began.

To Make Your Own Oven-Dried Oranges

You need:
Thin Orange Slices
Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat. Top with orange slices in a single layer, and generously dust with sugar. Bake until the peels are dry and the flesh is translucent, about 2 1/2 hours.

Happy decorating/crafting/cooking/christmas-book-reading, friends. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful List Link Up Vol. 5

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! Let's take a moment and share what we're thankful for right now.
If you want, hit play on this song. It's a peppy remix of a timeless Christmas song and it's what I'm listening to right now.

Right Now....I'm thankful for.....

........Go Fish games with Judah. I don't know how he does it, but he almost always wins. This last time, I was sitting there with like 3 matches and while he laid his 13th pair down, he hollered to Daddy that "Mommy might need a little help!"

.......Over night Pumpkin Butter made with the pumpkins that we grew this summer. We canned jars of this and then the kids and I had the best time delivering it to some of our favorite friends and teachers. Giving away little "Thankful" presents with the kids is definitely on the top of my thankful list right now. In so many ways, I'm flawed as a Mom, but if I can teach them how fun it is to give, I suppose that's worth a lot. 
....For the health of my kids.  Before I was a Mom, I didn't realize how awful it is when your kids get sick. For it being the season that's usually filled with lots of sickness, I'm super thankful right now that we're all healthy. 
......For new books, downloaded right onto my phone from the library, since I wasn't patient enough to wait my turn for a hard copy. This book isn't one I'd necessarily recommend, or maybe I would, I guess it just depends on who I'm recommending it to. So far, I can't put it down. It's a bit on the edgy side, with some bad language, but the story is incredible. 
......For kids that make each other "Christmas" presents, even before December. For paper necklaces from Judah to Paisley.
....For school at home on non-kindergarten days. I set out flashcards, usually 0-40 and have the kids work together to put them all in order.

What have you been thankful for lately? 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmases of the Past

Taking a break from Thanksgiving prep and thinking about getting our tree this weekend and starting the decoration process. I thought I'd share a few favorite photos from Christmases of the past.

Here's baby Pais, back in 2011, before Eliza was even a twinkle in our eye.

She was having the best time until Judah came over and snatched up her Christmas lights.
Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls. One of the best things about Christmas.
 Moving onto 2012.....
 Paisley was a bit older. I was pregnant with Eliza.
 Judah was perfecting his measuring tape skills.
Gingerbread houses fell down, but it's really all about the candy anyway.
Baby Eliza was in there.....gosh, I miss having a bump like that. Not like really miss it, but yeah, I do miss it a little.
Moving along to 2013.....

This was the first year that our Gingerbread houses actually continued to stand. That's a true sign that these kids are getting older.

Happy almost Thanksgiving, friends! Have you decorated for Christmas yet or are you more of the traditional, waiting type? We'll be digging into it this weekend. For now, we'll focus on what we're thankful for, eat with family and just enjoy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

20 Minutes To Write// Us Lately

I'm here, with a huge mason jar of water, a car full of groceries and a couple of sleeping girls. This day is full to the brim, but I'm sitting to take just 20 minutes to share what we've been up to lately.

Thursday night we had the opportunity to take the kids to Disney on Ice. I'd never been and the show was so incredible! Just watching Paisley's face was a gift in itself, although the show was amazing as well. She was so precious sitting there, silently watching those princesses glide around on the ice. I made the mistake of thinking it started at 7:30 instead of 7pm, but although we were late, the experience was still wonderful.

With our house being on the market, it's been a little hard to get into the swing of the Holiday Season. It's hard not knowing when your house will be shown or if you have one more month in your house or two or three. After a few weekends of feeling anxiety from wanting the house to always be ready for a potential showing, we finally decided that we're just going to relax and if it's supposed to happen, it will. For now, life is going to go on like normal. We'll still hang Christmas lights, get our tree and deck our halls, if you know what I mean. We've always loved Christmas and having our house for sale shouldn't put a damper on that so, we're still here, putting our foot down and deciding that we'll carry on regardless!

Saturday we went grocery shopping as a family for Thanksgiving. We're that family with two carts, navigating the craziness that is called Winco. Prices you can't beat and yet, you don't really want to go there alone.

We're hosting this year and it'll be fun. We'll be making (or more accurately, my husband will be making) the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. I'll be making the rolls (best recipe EVER that my friend Jennifer gave to me. Find it  here ). The rest of the meal will be brought by family. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. 

Sunday afternoon I did a Christmas card photo shoot at a local tree farm for a couple of families that asked me if I'd be interested in taking photos for them. It was such an honor to photograph them. The rain held off and we ended up getting some really special photos. I'm not going to show their faces since these are for their Christmas cards and I'd hate to spoil that, although it's hard not too since, they have the CUTEST kids. While editing their photos, I just couldn't stop smiling. Some kids are just too darn cute, especially when they're sweet as well!
In other news, today Eliza bit into an entire bag of Cloves in the grocery store and it was BAD. Think tears and a red face---cloves are spicy, like ouch! I was getting a few bulk spices for some pumpkin butter I'm making. No longer than 2 seconds after I'd tossed the bag into the cart, she had grabbed it and took a huge bite out of it. I don't even know how she reached it, but I guess I'm not entirely too surprised. She is as busy as they come. If there's something to get into, she's there. No matter what I'm doing, she's next to me on a chair, trying to help. For being 19 months old, she blows me away with what she knows. Unfortunately, today she discovered the Cloves taste awful. Poor baby.

I would give an update on the Country House, but there really isn't much to say right now. I feel like we've done all we can for now and if our house doesn't sell, we'll unfortunately need to pull our offer back. In a way, that makes my heart completely ache, but in another way, I have peace because I know that if it's supposed to happen it will. A few years ago, when we were shopping for this house, I stood on this verse:
Ephesians 3:20 NIV
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

Immeasurably MORE than all we could ask for our imagine. I still stand on that verse, because I know it's true. We have plans, but HIS plans are always greater! If this Country House isn't meant to be ours, there WILL be another. 

A few pictures from the weekend:

The day before I took the family photos, Paisley and I went out to the tree farm to scoop out a good spot to setup and to check out the light. This girl is so fun. Whenever I can, I'm trying to bring her or Judah along with me. The one on one time with them is always so nice. 

When we were about to head back home, I let her use my camera and she took this. Not bad for a 4 year old!

So, how's your week treating you so far? What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thursday Thankful List Link Up Vol. 4

Lately I've been thankful for.....

A house that's filled with singing and dancing. 
That I'm the one that she asks to twirl her. Over and over again, it's "Mama, twirl me!" When I think about it, it really feels like a privilege to be the first twirl.
 Right now I'm thankful for....awesome thrift store mugs.
MOPS crafts that help my children focus on gratitude.
Our once a month ladies hikes.
And....for fun friends who bundle up and  adventure together, even when it's practically freezing outside. I'm thankful for warm donuts afterwards. Haha...I know. We're so hard core.
 Right now I'm thankful for...November sunshine.
I'm thankful for....these kids to bake with. For bravery to cook with them, even though the mess freaks me out. I'm thankful for their enthusiasm and for Judah wanting to take the initiative and scoop the cookies onto the sheet himself.
Lately I've been thankful for....fancy tea cups from Grandpa Rod and for teddy bear tea parties. 
And.....warm apple juice, when my kids discover that they really don't like tea.
I've also been thankful for clean dishes, ready to put away and be brought back out for the next tea party.
For pink sunrises that make me feel like God is intentionally painting a gorgeous new day for us to enjoy.
I've also been thankful to live in a place where it's common to see a huge cow and a tiny wiener dog hanging out together in a field.
I'm thankful for....walks at sunset with my sister and all of our kids.

What have been thankful for lately?


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