Friday, December 31, 2010

Egg nog anyone?

So, on New Years Eve we all went to the commissary to do my big shopping trip for the month. As we walked in we were offered a free 1/2 gallon of egg nog. The commissary was trying to get rid of all of their egg nog.

Then a couple of rows into the trip we were offered another 1/2 gallon by the manager. I started thinking "great, a bunch of soon-to-expire egg nog". If that wasn't enough the manager spotted us again in line to check out and offered us two more cartons! Yep, we came home with two free gallons of egg nog. On further inspection we found that the expiration date was 1-13-11, plenty of time to enjoy the egg nog.

We've had
-egg nog at nearly every meal

-egg nog milk shakes

-egg nog pancakes (yum!)

I think we will soon be sick of egg nog, but since we will not have it for another year that is fine!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just hanging around

We've been enjoying this week after Christmas to rest up and just have some quiet family time around the house.

The kids got the Davy Crocket DVD for Christmas, so most of them have been dressing up as cowboys/frontier men for the last few days.
We all encourage Miss J to ask to watch the DVD since we love to hear her say "baby Chocolat"

Miss C seems to have taken some lessons from Miss J and is regularly helping herself to her "nums" and anything else she thinks looks good in the kitchen!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Some friends came over in the late afternoon for a dessert dinner. Miss E had made a Birthday cake for Jesus (something we do every year).
It was a fun evening of visiting and playing for the kids.

Christmas morning!

On Christmas morning before the kids could open their stockings we did our usual Family Bible Reading time, and then the kids had to wait a bit for Grandpa and Grandma to get up. Durning that time they checked out the gifts that had been left unwrapped under the tree.*poor Miss C was sick with a cold, this is about all the action we got out of her on Christmas morning.
On to the stockings. This is where the kids got some little toys and things that were "just for fun" from us.
Christmas breakfast! Normally I do quite a bit of baking and make special treats; not so much this year though. It sure was easy, but not as yummy!
After everyone was dressed in their cute Christmas clothes we opened presents.

Mr. M's gift took him on a scavenger hunt to find it! He has been wanting a rip stick for quite some time. Nana was so great to get it for him!

Time to play! It was such a pretty day outside, most of the kids headed out to play. Poor Mr. S; the sidewalk jumped up and kissed him on the forehead and nose while he was riding his bike!

Miss J enjoyed hanging out in Grandpa and Grandma's trailer.

Miss E got the boys a bouncy ball making set for Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Gifts and toy management

In the past few years we have really been trying to tone down the "gifts" aspect of Christmas and instead trying to focus on Jesus and the wonderful gift he has given us. We also try to make the season fun and exciting with plenty of fun family activities. Our gift choices for our children are getting simpler and simpler. This year we are giving books---books our children will love and, for the older ones, books we hope will help them develop some useful skills that they are already interested in.
The kids have also drawn names for each other, and it has been so cute to see them think about what their assigned sibling likes and may enjoy as a gift!

We have found over the years that our children are much happier and more content with less stuff. Do they enjoy having new toys? They sure do! We try to guide their interests to toys and activities that will encourage them to think and use their imaginations. Most of all we try to help them develop skills and character that will be useful as they grow. While Miss J loves to play with dolls, the doll house, and dress-up etc., what she loves most is working along side me doing "real" work in the kitchen, caring for a baby or just sharing time together reading a book! It would be better for both of us to encourage this rather than shoo her off to play with a bunch of toys.

Something else we've noticed is that the more stuff/toys we have the more time we must spend caring for all of it. This means less time for each other. Our children are catching on to this concept and are becoming more thoughtful about the things they are wanting to bring into our home. This has been a process for all of us, an ongoing one that we are enjoying as we learn to be good stewards of what God has given us.

I've seen children that get nearly every toy they could ever want; they are given anything their little hearts think will make them happy. They are rarely happy and content, instead they just want more and think they NEED more to happy. This is a vicious cycle. Many of these toys are junk that do not encourage thought or the use of imagination, the kids are not using their brains. Worse yet, they are not learning contentment, joy, or selflessness (to name a few) instead the character traits they are practicing are greed, and selfishness; ones that children (and adults for that matter) do not need help developing in the first place. ;)

That being said we love for our children to have toys/gifts that they enjoy. We have been blessed with very generous parents that love to give our children wonderful gifts! We are very grateful for their generosity and thankful that they also consider the hearts of our children as they make their gift choices for our children.

Christmas Eve

This year my Dad and step-mom came down for Christmas, but first we met them up in San Francisco for all sorts of fun! This was their Christmas gift to the kids, and it was a GREAT one!
Driving into town we passed Lombard Street. Rob just could not pass up the chance to go down, so down we went in the 15 passenger van!
We met them at the Mechanical Museum and spent about an hour playing all sorts of fun games or watching the machines put on their shows.
Grandpa treated everyone to lunch!

We headed off to Pier 39 after lunch. We had fun wandering and looking in the shops. Rob spotted Mrs. Fields, and Grandpa treated everyone to cookies! Fun!

*I guess we were too busy eating to get any pictures of the frosting covered cookies that the kids picked out!

Miss J was just about asleep, the cookie awakened her a bit, but not nearly as much as the sight of the carousel! It did not take much for her to sweet talk Grandpa into a ride, and then one more!
We spent some time watching the magicians show.

After a bit more wandering around and checking out the sea lions it was time for Grandpa and Grandma to catch the ferry back to the campground where they had left the camper. We all met up again back at our house.

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

Christmas lights

For the past few years we've made a tradition of going to see Christmas light with the kids. On this night they get to choose a few Christmas treats and have egg nog in their travel mugs. This year it was an extra special time since some friends of ours were able to join us!While the kids do enjoy looking at all of the houses that decorated with Christmas lights on "Candy Cane Lane" the big hit is the little park in the middle of the neighborhood that the kids can play around in.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Starbucks cards

The kids each received $10 starbucks cards from Great Gram last week (yep, right down to Miss C). They were all itching to use their cards so we finally managed to take them today.
They each ordered their own food/drink. It was so cute to see. Then they all lined up on the tall chairs to have their lunch. They had so much fun!
Thanks Great Gram! We love you!

Surprise guests!

When we got home from church on Sunday evening we were pleasantly surprised to find out that some friends of ours were in town visiting family! Would we be able to get together?

We were so excited to spend the afternoon and dinner visiting together! What a sweet time of fun and fellowship (with food of course).
The boys had a pillow fight. There were injuries of course, but only minor.

Miss E and her friend blessed us all by making up some "Christmas mice" to share after dinner.