Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite Things of 2010

To close out the year of 2010, I wanted to post some of our family's favorite things that started in 2010: (in no particular order)

1) Fish Tacos (my sister taught us how to make these Christmas 2009, and we haven't stopped!)
2) The Farming Game (This didn't come until Christmas 2010) when we spent nearly two full days playing it as a family non-stop and had a blast!

3) Blue Bell pistachio almond and mint chocolate chip ice cream

4) Saturday morning Shipley's donuts runs

5) Bath and Body Works orange ginger shampoo, body scrub (mostly me)

6) Yoga (Eric and I started P90X in October and he is still going strong and loving it.  Yoga is his favorite workout even though it is 90 minutes.  I am not doing the workout anymore due to knee problems, but I still do the yoga about once a week.  It makes me feel so good.  It clears my sinuses and takes away all the tension that builds up in my neck and shoulders. Even the kids come in and participate sometimes, especially Jarem)

7) The Nauvoo Pageant (after participating in it this year, it was a highlight of our year)
8) Legos (the kids have all gotten super excited about legos this year.  It is all they talk about.)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mini Gingerbread Houses

One of the days after Christmas, the girls wanted to have a sleepover with their best friends. I happened to see a set of gingerbread kit on sale at Kroger and there were 5 total in the kit which would be one for each including Jarem (Alex was staying the night at a friend's house). It worked out perfectly even though the houses were very mini!

Below: They are working on their houses.  Jarem was really the only one that needed help and Eric mostly helped him.  The rest of them took off in their own artistic directions.  It was fun to see what they created!

Jarem's completed house

Each one next to their own house

Pramika's house

Tessa's house.  She put Christmas lights around the top

Winter village

The back of Jesikah's house was a stained glass window.  This was one of my favorite features.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


A couple of days after Christmas, we decided to make a trek to Nashville and use Tessa's Build-a-Bear gift certificate that she got for Christmas. Eric was working, and Alex decided to stay home, but Jesikah and Jarem calculated their money and figured out that they had exactly enough to each buy one too. We had fun picking out their animals. The Cool Springs Galleria was packed with people, so when we finished with their animals, we walked around the mall just a little, got some Auntie Ann's pretzels and headed back home. They had a lot of fun and were all excited about their new pets.

This was Jarem before we left.  He had gotten up and finished all of his morning routine on his own without being asked.  He was bringing me the Friend so I could read him a story for his morning scriptures.


It only took a couple of days after Christmas for the kids to have all their Christmas legos built and then they started organizing and playing with them.

Below: Jarem's house front and back

Below is The Harry Potter Village.  It includes: Hogwarts Castle, Hagrids Hut, The Burrow, and the train (Hogwarts Express) Below the group picture are close-ups of each

Jesikah's Hogwarts Castle: (completed by the evening of Christmas) It was very detailed on the inside down to the food and cups in the Great Hall

Inside Hagrid's Hut

Hagrid himself
The Burrow
Hogwart's Express (it opens on the top so students can ride to the castle)

Below are Tessa's two architecture lego sets: The Seattle Space Needle and The White House

This set was from the Toy Story Collection and gave them sheriff's dept and jail for their city

This is their other table with their houses on it.  They like to play a lego version of house with their lego people and houses, buildings,etc.  They cleaned this area up better after I took the picture.  They had put down white cardstock for snow.

The kids have had a lot of fun with Legos this year and I hope they enjoy it for many years to come!

Our new car

About a month ago, we bought a new car.  It's a 2006 Honda Civic.  It is in great condition.  The only downfall is that it has 118,000 miles on it, but...we are hoping to get at least another 100,000 on it.  These cars will go a long ways.  But, the best part is that we were able to pay for it upfront, so we are down to one car payment!  YEAH!! 

Eric's lease expires on his Honda Pilot in a few days, so this car will be replacing the Pilot.  Also, we thought it would be a good car for Alex to learn on (since he is now 15 and can get his driving permit anytime).  We spent about a month previous searching for a car that would work for us.  It was a long and sometimes frustrating journey, but we finally found this car and and things worked out.  We bought it off Ebay and the transaction was smooth.  We used to hold the funds while we had a 3-day inspection period before the transaction was final.  It worked out well.  They shipped it to us.  Below, is the day they dropped it off.  Jesikah took pictures to document the momentous occasion. :)

One of the main reasons that we decided to go with Honda again was because Eric is good friends with the manager of the service department at Honda, Loren Richards, and he really takes care of us.  Since we know little to nothing about car mechanics, it is good to know that we have someone we can trust to be upfront with us about what needs to be done with the car.  In the past, I know we have paid for many unnecessary car repairs due to our own naivety, but since meeting Loren, that has all changed. :)  Also, many thanks to Loren for helping us through the buying process.  Eric called him nearly everyday for a month (sometimes several times) to get his advice on this car or that car or have him run a carfax, etc, etc.  I am sure Loren was one of the happiest when we finally found a car. :)  

Monday, December 27, 2010

What a Mess!

The day after Christmas(Sunday), we headed to church despite the snow.  Since it was snowing, hardly anyone was at church.  Eric was conducting and the organist hadn't shown up, so he was in a bind and asked me if I would play as the meeting was about to start.  I agreed and played the music on the piano since I haven't played the organ in years.  I was a little stressed just because I hadn't gone over the songs before, but it went well.  And amazingly, the kids were very well-behaved sitting by themselves the whole meeting.

Just after we got home from church, I went to frost the second almond roll as an after-church snack and accidentally dropped the whole plastic container of powdered sugar on the floor.  It covered my new Ugg boots (first pair ever) that Eric gave me for Christmas.  I was so mad!  There was fine powder everywhere and both of my new boots looked like this:

It took me nearly an hour to clean up everything, and although my boots are suede, they were water-proofed, so I was able to wash them off with a washcloth.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

I've decided to follow my good friend, Linda's example, and approach my Christmas post by way of some of my favorite things.

Some of my favorite things about Christmas day were:

1) Waking up to a white Christmas. My kids had done the math a few weeks before Christmas and figured out that there was a 5% chance that we could have a white Christmas. That was pretty exciting when it really happened!  It started snowing on Christmas Eve and snowed all day Christmas and part of the day after.

2) Having breakfast together.  After the kids see their Santa gift and look in their stockings, and before we open presents, we always have breakfast together.  We do this every year, and I love it.  My parents started the tradition of having breakfast together before we went into the room to see what Santa brought.  We have revised that somewhat because we let them see their Santa gift and stockings first.  We always have the Danish almond roll along with fruit from their stockings and hot chocolate.  It was especially warm and cozy this year with it snowing outside.

3) Seeing the kids excitement about giving.  This year more than ever, the kids really put a lot of thought into their gifts they gave each other, and they used their own money.  They were very anxious and excited when people opened gifts from them.  Since starting the token economy last spring, they have been earning their own money, and they were very generous.  Eric and I both enjoyed shopping with them for each other's gifts. 

I took Jarem and Jesikah shopping one night and they were being so careful to keep things from each other and me.  It was a tender mommy moment for me when Jarem only had $5 left and he really wanted silly bands.  He still had one more person to buy for.  He was laying on the floor in the store crying because he wanted the silly bands.  We are trying to let the kids make their own decisions, so I told him that he would have to make a decision.  He could buy the silly bands for $5 or buy a present for Mom.  He laid there quiet for a minute and then he said he made up his mind...he wanted to buy a present for Mom.  He immediately went and put the silly bands back.  Jesikah grabbed his hand and said she knows just the kind of things that Mom likes and they ran off together to secretly find something.  I had a tear or two in my eye seeing my 5 year old have that internal struggle and come to that decision.

Alex selected Jarem's first gift to open and it was the one from him.  It was a 3 pack of nerf guns.  Alex chose this gift because it was something he knew he loved at that age.  Jarem loved them.
This is what followed
4) Hugs. We had lots of hugs this year as the kids opened each other's gifts and gave hugs for their appreciation.  It was nice to see lots of hugging because, believe it or not, on regular days they often argue more than hug. :)

Jesikah got makeup from Alex.  This was definitely something she wanted and she was surprised that Alex knew.

This is a particularly rare moment when Alex and Jesikah hug.

Tessa's gift to Jesikah, a snowglobe that lights up and changes colors.  Jesikah collects snowglobes.
Tessa opening her present from Jesikah. Jesikah and Tessa attached big bags of candy to each gift they gave. Jesikah had Tessa her pink puffy vest (which was still in great condition) and a 2010 brown fluffy bear.

Eric opening a gift from one of the kids (Jarem I think)
Hugs for the church socks Jarem gave Alex

This was my only picture of the day.  I was opening my gift from Jesikah.  She was very generous, as is her way.  She gave me a 2-pack of gloves, vanilla shea-infused socks from Bath & Body Works, vanilla buttercream cupcake body butter, cute boot socks, and a lemon cupcake B&BW antibacterial hand sanitizer as well as a bag of candy.
This was particularly tender.  The card in the middle is from Jarem.  He wrote I love you Dad, and inside there were several coins.  Eric seemed a little confused and Jarem instantly explained that he heard Eric say that he didn't have any money so he gave him all his money so he would have some.  It was so sweet!  The card to the left was a card Tessa made for Eric as well as the little Christmas tree to the right (which Tessa made out of Pixos). 
Hugs from Jarem for Tessa's gift: Star Wars Legos
Tessa showing off her snowglobes from Alex.  Alex and I looked in several stores to find a snowglobe for Tessa.  In the end, we found a sale and he had enough money to buy her two.
Alex's necklace from Aeroposale from Jesikah.  She also have him body spray from Aeropostale.
Jarem opening his gift from Jesikah. She got him two little Lego sets and SILLY BANDS. She had already picked his gift when he had the "silly band trauma" but after she saw his dilemma over the silly bands, so added those to her gift as well.
Jarem giving Jesikah hugs for the gift

Probably one of Alex's favorite gifts was from Tessa.  It was a big, soft blanket.  Alex is always cold and taking everyone's blankets around the house.  He loves this one.

Feel the love!

Hugs for Tessa

Showing how many people can was a twin size

Jarem's gift to Tessa.  It was paintable bobble head figures.  She enjoyed painting them.
5) Legos! Legos! Legos! I know most of you probably hate Legos because you are always stepping on them and they are always all over the floor.  You might even be happy when you vacuum them up. :)  But as for me, I love Legos.  Our Lego love started about 4-5 years ago when Alex got several boxes of random Lego pieces for Christmas that I bought on Ebay and cleaned and sorted.  (Before that, Alex loved Legos, but we always bought him the sets and Eric would help him build it the first time and then he would take it apart and make other stuff.  I would get frustrated because we paid more money because they were specific pieces for the sets...he mostly cared about the guys and the cool pieces). Anyway, ever since then, the kids have all started to love Legos.  Alex had been into Legos for several years even before that.

Enough history though, ever since we moved here and have a place downstairs for them to play Legos, they all play together.  They make villages and towns and for Alex bases and forts.  This year was the first year that Alex felt like he had outgrown Legos (sniff, sniff).  He didn't get any for Christmas.  The rest of the kids though, all wanted Legos.  Here are a few of the sets they got:

Jesikah got 3 sets of Harry Potter Legos.  She asked for Harry Potter Legos last year and they were nowhere to be found, but this year there were new sets out.  That said though, I waited too long for a really good sale and they then became hard to find and even more expensive so I wasn't going to get the castle or the train.  Miraculously though, less than a week before Christmas, Linda found out about an unadvertised sale at the PX.  40% off all toys until 4pm that day!!  We made a quick run up there and found the castle and the Hogwarts Express 40%!!!!  (Tessa got the Hogwart's Express). Hanging around Linda almost always brings me good luck...(we won't talk about the little fight we almost got into in line though).  I will miss her when she moves! :)  We had the Lego advent calendar last year and I procrastinated getting it this year until I also found it 40% off even though it was only a few days before Christmas, the kids enjoyed opening lots of pieces at once and adding to their Lego Christmas village.

This was the set Jarem asked Santa for at the church Christmas party.  The funny thing was, Alex always makes up funny names for things and Alex, Jesikah, and Tessa each already have this set and they call them "Pingoes jumpers" when they play.  So, Jarem asked Santa for a "Pingoes jumper". :) Jarem got several other smaller sets from his siblings and us.

Seattle Space Needle...we moved from the greater Seattle area about 2 1/2 years ago, so I thought this would be a cool piece to add to their collection

Tessa loved the White House when we went to Washington DC, so we thought she would enjoy this one.
6) More Good Movies.  We like to watch good movies together as a family when we have the chance.  Each of the kids got a new movie for Christmas as well as Eric!

Jesikah's movie: Guardians of Ga'Hoole and a set of beanie baby owls that go with the story.

Tessa's "How to Train Your Dragon"

Jarem got Toy Story 3.  Alex got "The Last Airbender" and Eric got "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
7) Sonic Toothbrushes.  Alex and Jesikah both got a Sonic toothbrush.  With braces, it makes it a lot more difficult to keep their teeth clean, especially for Alex who doesn't put the effort into it.  These toothbrushes have made an amazing difference in their teeth...especially Alex.  I don't have to nag him about brushing all the time anymore and both of their teeth are already much whiter.  I am ready to buy myself one. :)
A Sonic toothbrush for Alex
7) Seeing the excitement of the kids opening gifts

Alex's gift from Santa

And something to go with it

Tessa with a couple of new petshops
Jesikah opening a Miche purse with three magnetic removable covers
We always get each of the kids books

A beanie hat for Alex

More Guardians of Ga'Hoole books for Jesikah

Boots for Tessa

And Jesikah

Each of the kids (except Alex) got one of the Zhu Zhu pets and have had a lot of fun with them.

Books for Eric

A remote control car for Tessa...

...And Jarem
A tie for Alex

Headphones for Eric...Alex was jealous

Jacket for Jesikah

Alex getting a few pics of his own on his I-touch
8) Relaxation, Legos, movies, and games for the rest of the day as well as phone calls from family.