Category Archives: Holidays

A full recap of our 2013 Advent Calendar

Christmas has now come and gone, which is always bittersweet for me. I am tempted to hang on as long as I can, but I also start longing to get the dead tree out of my house and get everything clean and back to normal. The holidays have always my favorite time of year, even more so now that I have kids who are super into everything Christmas.

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To best manage our time and focus during the advent season leading up to Christmas, I started doing an advent calendar with my boys a couple of years ago. I made mine in banner style and it hangs under our stairs, which is the boys play area.

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In each pocket, I write a Christmas related activity for us to do together that day. A little tip: I never write what we are doing until the night before or early that morning. That way, if I need to change plans last minute, any sneaky eyes don’t peek and seek the wrong thing.

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In our home, my goal is to put the focus on celebrating Jesus as much as possible. To set the tone for this, we start each morning reading an advent devotion together. This year, we followed along with posts from The Story Warren, which mostly used our favorite children’s bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible. On school days, we have our oldest get dressed right away and then we eat breakfast and get totally ready for school, making sure to leave 10 minutes for our advent time before we have to leave the house. Then, we squish on the couch and do our reading for the day. After that, Isaiah gets to take the card out of the advent calendar and read what we are going to do that day.

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Some activities were big and others were little, some were about giving and some were about eating or drinking something sweet. No matter what it was, though, Isaiah was excited. I loved that! Every day, he was pumped to do something Christmasy together- to create a memory.

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It made the season not as hurried and me not as crazy. It helped me focus on what was important, as I would have rushed through many busy days without doing something intentional to celebrate with my boys. It helped us be merry, it helped us love each other better and it helped build our joy as we awaited the day we celebrate our newborn King.

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Here is a full list of the activities we did this year, with any applicable links. I hope that this can help inspire your own lists in future years. Ours will change from year to year, but many staples will always be a part of our advent routine.

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Day 1: get our christmas tree.

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Day 2: christmas book marathon (always a favorite- I pack the Christmas books away with the decorations, which makes reading them that much more exciting for the boys)

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Day 3: holiday craft day with nonna (my mother-in-law). There were a couple of days that my kids were with one of their grandmas, so I planned something they could do together.

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Day 4: drink hot chocolate. (easy and quick- but made the boys so happy. Perfect for a busy day)

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Day 5: make christmas legos (Lego sells little $8 sets- we found them at Legoland the month before, but I am sure you can find them online)

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Day 6: Help daddy hang the lights and finish decorating.

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Day 7: listen to the Charlie Brown Christmas book on vinyl (yes- book on vinyl. One of my most favorite thrift store finds ever. This is one activity that will always remain on our advent calendar list)

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Day 8: family Christmas movie night. We had a picnic dinner in front of the tree and watched Elf.

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Day 9: make a gingerbread house (Trader Joe’s sells super easy and cute sets)

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Day 10: make snowflakes. We did some normal ones, but also used these templates to make some Star Wars ones, which were a big hit with this kid.

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Day 11: giving day 1. I try to have at least 2 days where we focus on giving to others and sharing God’s love with those in need. On this day, we went through all of the boys toys, books and clothes and donated what they didn’t need. Isaiah was surprisingly into it. It made this mama’s heart so happy.

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Day 12: make snow globes. We used these directions, but altered them a bit to make it less expensive. I just used hot glue instead of epoxy and didn’t use any anti-rust sealant and they turned out fine. We used them for decor on our dining table.

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Day 13: christmas light scavenger hunt. We had actually planned to go to the Zoo for our activity this day, but Isaiah ended up being a little sick, so we changed our plans around. After dinner, we piled in the car in our PJ’s, freshly baked cookies in hand. We drove to a neighborhood near us (in central San Diego) called Candy Cane Lane to look at the lights. I found this scavenger hunt list on pinterest, but next year I will just make my own. How often have you seen a dolphin in Christmas light displays? It became a big joke for us, as Hudson would look for a dolphin every time we drove anywhere for the rest of the month because he wanted to be able to check that last thing off of the list :) It was a fun way to spice up looking at lights.

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Day 14: christmas in the park. Our local park, Old Poway Park, is awesome. Not only do they have steam trains you can ride on the weekends, but they also have a big Christmas celebration one night in December. We saw Santa ride in on the train, rode the train (where they gave the kids jingle bells- which my boys loved), did free crafts and bought some gingerbread while choirs sang in the gazebo. Be sure to check your local community events to see what fun free family activities they may have planned.

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Day 15: christmas at Sea World. We are blessed to have Sea World annual passes, so we got to go check out the decorations and special holiday programs. We were really surprised by the Shamu Christmas show- it was totally a worship service! They had the words to Christmas carols about Jesus on the screen, a big choir singing and encouraged all the guests to sing along. I thought it was 25 times better than the normal Shamu show. (note: it is only on the weekends during the holidays. I made that mistake last year and went on a weekday)

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Day 16: Christmas bingo, found here. We use M&M’s as markers, because chocolate always makes everything more fun.

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Day 17: craft day. This day ended up being different and more awesome than I could have planned. I had a bunch of different crafts prepped for us, but Isaiah grabbed ahold of our first one and we spent all afternoon on it. I had planned for us to make a nativity scene out of popsicle sticks- which I envisioned as Jesus, Mary & Joseph inside of the manger. Oh no- Isaiah wanted to do the whole shebang. So we made shepherds, wise men, an angel and animals. I helped Isaiah glue and cut the more difficult things, but most everything was his idea. After we had it made, he wanted to use them to perform the Christmas story for my friends that were coming over that night. It was precious. I was able to hear him tell the story of Jesus’ birth in a way that I could have never initiated. This will be one I remember for years.

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Day 18: record their Christmas song with Daddy. Every year, our family releases a 3 or 4 song Christmas album. The boys always contribute and, this year, they each got their own little song. You can hear the album here.

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Day 19: giving day 2. This ended up spanning two days. On the first day, it was pouring rain, so we took hot chocolate to the cross guards during pick up at Isaiah’s school. I couldn’t get a picture because it was literally dumping rain & hailing, but they were so surprised and thankful. Isaiah’s face was beaming. We also: bought McDonald’s gift cards to keep in our car for when we see someone who needs them, paid for the car behind us in line at Starbucks, left a note & treat for our mailman in our mailbox and put together blessing bags to keep in the car for the homeless (we included socks, gloves, toiletries, snacks and water). Isaiah remembered doing some of these things last year, so he was excited to do them again. Once again, this mama’s heart was overflowing.

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Day 20: make cookies.

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Day 21: Surprise day with Grandma- she took them to see Frozen but didn’t tell them until they got to the movie theater. Daveed and I were at a wedding that day, so I was so thankful they could do something exciting with my mom since we couldn’t be with them all day.

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Day 22: ride on a double decker bus to look at lights. This has become one of our favorite holiday traditions. Friends of ours invite a bunch of people over for dinner and then we all load on a British-style bus to drive through several awesome neighborhoods. Daveed brings his guitar on board and leads everyone in Christmas carols. In one of the neighborhoods, we hop off at a house for dessert and hot chocolate. It truly is such a treat for us and we are thankful we get to be included.

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Day 23: watch A Charlie Brown Christmas on the lawn with our next door neighbors. We have been blessed with awesome neighbors who like to project Charlie Brown movies outside on almost every holiday :) Next year, we are hoping to expand this to be an outreach for our neighborhood.

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Day 24: make Christmas cards for family and friends.

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Day 25: we always end our advent activities by singing happy birthday to Jesus. We do this and read the last reading of the Christmas story before any gifts are opened. This is a tradition that will continue throughout the years and it is one of my favorites moments of Christmas day.

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A couple of other ideas that we did in past years, but couldn’t fit in this year:

*California snow day: We did  snow themed crafts all day long (including snow paint, made with shaving cream), watched Frosty the snowman and had snow themed snacks.

*Make Christmas pizzas: buy ready to use pizza dough and use cookie cutters to make it into Christmas shapes. Then add toppings and bake as usual.

*Deliver Christmas cookies to neighbors

*Each kid gets some one-on-one time with mom or dad at a store to pick out a Christmas gift for their sibling

*Ornament making day

*Buy a gift to donates to Toys for Tots. We did an Angel Tree gift this year, but took care of it before our advent calendar started, so it didn’t make it onto the list.

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It is a fair amount of work to plan these things in advance, but it is definitely worth it. Seeing the joy on my kids faces each morning as we talk about what we are going to do that day helps build the anticipation for Christmas Day and it helps me stay intentional in creating memories for my boys during a crazy busy time.

InstaFriday, sunday style

After a wonderful week of Christmas celebrations and lots of family time, we settled back home today and I finally got my computer (which is on it’s last leg and has not been cooperating) to charge enough for me to use it. Hooray- a Christmas miracle! So, now, I give you, two weeks of InstaFriday on Sunday :)

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I am sharing some of my favorite moments from this Christmas. There are many that are not shown in this post: I am leaving out all of our daily advent activities, as I will be sharing a post tomorrow that recaps all 25 days. Also missing from this post are a couple of dates for our 50 Dates in 2013 project, as I will be posting on that later this week as well.

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Isaiah and I got to take a mommy-son bike ride to our local farmers market. I love being able to do things like this with him now that he is older.

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For one of our advent activities, we went to Sea World to see all of the fun holiday activities and decor. They have a little snow play area (which is basically some ice) and Hudson kept calling the snow “frosting”. Because he is a Southern CA kid. He sees frosting 99 times more than he sees snow.

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Two and a half years ago, I sold my wedding planning company. One of the things that I miss the most is seeing all of my friends in the wedding industry. The past two years, a few of them have thrown a Christmas party for wedding friends who are also moms. It has been so wonderful to still be included in this list and I so very much enjoyed seeing everyone and catching up. My night with them was such a blessing!

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Speaking of weddings, last weekend David and I got to see one of our college friends marry his beautiful bride. The wedding was wonderful- it was held at an incredible new venue in Long Beach called The Loft on Pine. For the second time that week, I got to spend time with dear friends who I hardly ever see. We may have even done an 8-clap during dinner (Go Bruins!). It was such an honor to be able to sing their first dance song for them. I will always remember singing with my husband while watching them dance, singing the words to each other, overflowing with joy.

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This is the photo we chose for our Christmas cards this year, taken by the lovely Megan Ann Photography. I still am in shock that we could get one picture where they both are looking and smiling. I am expecting that to never happen once another little boy joins our family photo next year :)

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A couple more #placeshudsonhasatimeout photos to add to the collection:

Miss Melissa’s front porch (where he goes to daycare one morning a week):

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Please note that the sign above him says “sing a happy song”. He did not get the memo. (In case you were wondering, this timeout was because he wanted to close her front gate himself but couldn’t do it, so a major tantrum ensued. Life is tough when you are almost 3).

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And another one at Pastor Doug’s house, in the middle of a Christmas party:

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Most of the time, he is the cutest thing ever- a total lovebug and a really funny kid. He’s just two. And likes to hit his brother. And is extremely strong willed. I have no idea where he got that :)

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He usually sings while he plays, so when it gets quiet in the house, I start to worry about what he’s getting into. Most of the time, though, I find him just like this: plopped in the middle of a big pile of books, quietly flipping through the pages. It makes me so happy.

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Me & my dapper boys at church on the Sunday before Christmas:

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They are hams and I just love them so much.

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On Christmas Eve, I sing at church both services with my husband, so it is always a little chaotic getting everything ready before practice and rushing home for dinner and gifts and bedtime for the boys. My wonderful mother in law not only comes down to watch them, but she also makes the most amazing paella. It’s serious business- she even has a special paella grill for the backyard. Isaiah enjoyed watching her work:

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Look at all of that incredible seafood! While she was doing that at our house, I was doing this:

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You know that it is Christmas Eve when there are sleigh bells at my station.

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Christmas morning was lovely. Quiet, joyful time with our little family of 4, reading our last advent reading and singing happy birthday to Jesus. And opening presents, of course :)

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We then headed up to Orange County for Christmas brunch and dinner with my family. I have a big family and I love it so so much. There is definitely never a dull moment :)  As we have all grown up and started having kids, the gift list has grown and grown. To help with this, we decided to change up the gift exchange for siblings & their spouses. Rather than giving everyone a gift, we each bring a $25 gift card to anywhere we want. We then tape them up on the window and use Nerf guns to try to shoot the one we want. If you hit it and the dart sticks, it’s yours. Let me tell you- this is a lot harder than it looks! It’s become a fun little tradition for us.

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The next couple of days were filled with more family time and a bit of friend time. I was sad for Christmas to be over, but it was nice to come back home after a very full couple of weeks. Now to take down that very dead tree!

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Happy New Years week everyone!

Instafriday

I just love Christmastime. Even the small moments of each day are filled with so much joy.

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I’m linking up with Life Rearranged for InstaFriday again and this one makes me extra happy because it’s filled with Christmas fun.

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This song came on Pandora the other day and it made me so happy:

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The Stitch Market in San Luis Obispo was great and my aunt’s memorial service went well. After going non-stop for three days, I headed back down the coast. I got home late and was extremely exhausted, but walked into this:

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My sweet husband had the Christmas lights all on and the house clean. He’s the best. And I just cannot get enough of our tree.

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This advent season, I have been reading Behold the Lamb of God by Russ Ramsey. It has been helpful to remind me daily of the big story of Christmas, keeping me focused on celebrating Jesus. I highly recommend the book.

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Speaking of advent, our advent calendar activities have been going along strong. While I was up in central CA, my husband took the lead for a couple of days. They read the allotted portions of the bible together in the morning and then Isaiah got to grab the card out of our advent banner. One day, the activity was to help David put the lights up outside. While listening to Vince Guaraldi, of course.

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The next day, they continued with the Charlie Brown theme and listened to our A Charlie Brown Christmas book on vinyl. Yes- book on vinyl. It is my most prized thrift store find ever.

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My first day back, we needed a mellow family night, so we had a picnic dinner by the tree and watch Elf. So great. Isaiah has been grabbing my phone all week, pretending to answer with, “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”.

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We made a gingerbread house (always one of their favorite activities):

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A big high-5 to Trader Joes for having a great gingerbread house kit. Super easy to use, stays together, homemade frosting and it’s cute on top of all of that.

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On the day that friends all over the rest of the country were talking about snowing and being snowed in, we felt like we should get in on the action by making snowflakes. I found the Star Wars templates online and Isaiah thought that they were pretty much the coolest thing ever. The boys now have a wall of snowflakes in their room.

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We had our first of 2 giving days. We went through all of the boys toys & games and donated a few bags full. It warmed this mama’s heart to see how into Isaiah was. He was just as excited about reading this on the card as he was with any of the other days.

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Yesterday, we made some simple snow globes. Another big hit. Hudson was even really excited about making them, which I did not expect. (side note: his is not all murky like it looks in the picture. The combination of him just shaking it and the lighting made it look kind of dirty).

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Today, we were supposed to go to the zoo, but a sick kiddo meant we had to change our plans. Instead, we took a car ride to look at lights, completely with PJ’s and warm chocolate chip cookies. I printed off a Christmas lights scavenger hunt list and they loved it!

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A customer shared this photo of how she used one of our mini banners on a small wreath she made. I love it!

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For date 45 of 50 (almost there!) we got to go see one of my favorite bands, The Head & The Heart perform. It was so crazy good. Totally worth getting home at 2am and then helping in my son’s kindergarten class at 8am :)

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That’s it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend full of cheer!

InstaFriday! (times two)

Ready for a double dose of Instafriday? Including a birthday, thanksgiving, a 50th anniversary, dates and the beginning of advent? Here we go! Linking up with the lovely Jeannett of Life Rearranged.

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In my last instafriday post, I shared that it was my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. We celebrated that night at dinner with family and their closest friends and it was a really sweet time. You can still kiss after being married 50 years? Gross. :)

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The kids with the parents. We love you mom & dad!

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It was my birthday a few days before thanksgiving and I felt so showered with love from my family and friends. The day before, a group of 15 friends went to lunch and to see Catching Fire to celebrate. It is so rare to be able to get this many friends in one place at one time, so it was a great present for me.

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I took this at church that morning. I truly am so thankful for our church family- especially being a pastor’s wife, it is a blessing to be a part of a community that loves Jesus, loves each other and is so real.

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On the morning of my birthday, my boys and I hiked Torrey Pines- one of my favorite spots in San Diego. It was so lovely!

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My sweet husband knew how much I would appreciate a handmade gift so he made me these joy letters:

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How cute is that? He even used glitter- his least favorite thing in the world. What a good crafty guy :)

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That night, I thought I was going on a date with David, but when we got to the restaurant, he surprised me by having a bunch of my dear friends there to join us. One of my favorite places to eat in San Diego (Extraordinary Desserts) with some of my favorite people? Definitely a win. At the end of the night, one of my friends bought me a sparkler candle and they all laughed at my while I lit it. A great end to a great day.

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Thanksgiving weekend was crazy, full and wonderful. We are blessed with amazing families on both sides and I never take that for granted. On thanksgiving, we drove a lot, ate a lot and laughed a lot. Especially at the end of the day when my brother showed the kids Elf Yourself. They were belly laughing for a good 15 minutes watching their faces on dancing elves. My heart was so full in that little moment at the end of a big day.

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No black friday shopping that day, just lots and lots of family time. Every year, either the day after Thanksgiving or the day after Christmas, we have the Cheney family olympics. We all plan 2 games, break into teams and have some healthy friendly competetion all day long. It is a highlight of the year. We are super goofy and there are 24 of us, so it is entertaining for sure. Here is a quick look into some of the activites.

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Daveed always starts off the festivities by leading the group in the most lovely (errr.. off-pitch and loud) version of the star spangled banner, followed by ridiculous and awkward stretches. Normally, we do this down at the park, but the rain kept us inside in the morning. We started off with a bunch of minute-to-win-it style games.

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The next series of photos started like this (throw the cheetos on the shaving cream head game):

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Which led to this (sibling shaving cream fight):

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Which, obviously, led to this (polar bearing in the freezing pool):

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We headed down to the park once the rain stopped for some soccer, basketball and balance beaming:

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After our park games, we headed back inside for name that tune, a cupcake decorating contest and ended the day with the adults playing nouns in a bowl. It was such a fun day and I love that my kids will have these memories.

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Cousin cuddles:

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The next day, we did thanksgiving with Daveed’s family and I totally forgot to take any pictures. It was delicious though! Before that, we got all 24 members of my family together for a big family photo. It was pretty crazy, but went better than I thought. The professional pics are going to be beautiful, but here is a quick iphone snap of my siblings and parents:

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I’m so glad that these people are my people.

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It was so fun to have one of my favorite past brides take our photos. Kelsey, thanks for being brave enough to take on the Cheney family :)

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Amazingly, in all of that craziness, Hudson only had one timeout. #placeshudsonhasatimeout: grandma’s house.

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On December 1st, we got our tree and kicked off advent. Every morning, we read a devotional with the boys (from the great website The Story Warren- which uses The Jesus Storybook Bible) and then Isaiah gets to take a card out of our advent calendar banner. Here is a look at what we have done the first 6 days:

Day 1: Getting our tree

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Day 2: Christmas book marathon (which ended up being not a marathon due to some tantrums and a terrible dinner time… but that’s another story for another time):

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Day 3: Christmas crafts with Nonna (including a playdough dreidel for good measure)

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Day 4: hot chocolate time

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Day 5: Christmas legos:

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Day 6: Hanging the lights outside with Daddy:

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Isaiah is loving every minute of it. It’s just the best. Reading about Jesus together every morning and creating memories. We also do a couple of little things to celebrate Hanukkah, to teach Isaiah about his heritage (on Daveed’s side). I realized this week that he thinks everyone does that as part of their Christmas celebrations :)

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We got a couple of dates in during the past two weeks- we are approaching the finish line for our 50 dates in 2013. For date 43, we walked from my parent’s house up to get some breakfast and grabbed some donuts to surprise the kids on our way back. Those streets are the streets of my childhood- riding bikes to get ice cream, walking to get McDonald’s on long summer days. Walking them with my love was a sweet thing.

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For date 44, we decorated our tree while listening to Christmas records and starting our advent readings together. Such a dreamy way to start off the holiday season.

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While looking at maternity clothes online, I came across these. No. Just no.

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We have become that family that all wears our team shirts on game days. And our boys are perfecting the 8-clap. Go bruins!

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I am currently up in San Luis Obispo for the Stitch Market. If you are in the Central Coast, come see us tomorrow at Grace Church from 10-3.

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How you know you’re a mom of boys: a customer finds a star wars angry bird guy in your box of Christmas banners and then sets it on display:

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How you know you’re a crafter: your 6 year old texts you from his grandma’s phone to ask if he can show her how your cricut works.

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Happy weekend everyone! I’ll try to not post 37 pictures in my next instafriday post :)

Isaiah’s Halloween Birthday Party

Today, I am sharing Isaiah’s 6th birthday party- a halloween party. Yes, I realize that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. At least I am getting it posted before it is Christmastime, right? :)

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Issaiah’s birthday is mid-October and this year he really wanted to have a costume party with his friends. We went with a non-spooky Halloween theme- lots of black and white stripes with orange accents. I found a ton of food ideas on pinterest- you can see the board I put together here.

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He was supposed to be Yoda, but at the last minute, pulled out the spiderman costume from our costume box. The spider man costume that is too small and has a big whole in the crotch. How could I say no when it was his party? :)

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Some details:

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Halloween food:

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I have a vivid memory of going to a friend’s halloween party when I was little and being blown away by the smoking punch. I had to get some dry ice to give my son the same memory, even if it meant calling 10 stores to find some.

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We did a couple of crafts, played pumpkin bowling, and then I took everyone’s least favorite bridal shower game and made it halloween themed for kids. “Make your friend a toilet paper mummy” was a big hit.

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Yes! High 5 to myself for getting this posted before Christmas (and even a few hours before thanksgiving!). Ha!

InstaFriday!

Hello there! It’s been a while…

 

Things have finally started to slow down a bit after Nashville, Isaiah’s birthday, Halloween & Queen Bee Market. I do intend to recap all of those things on here, since I missed many weeks of linking up with Jeannett at LifeRearranged for InstaFriday, but today I am just going to start with the last two weeks.

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I had the privilege of being part of The Queen Bee Market again. It is always so fun and is a great show for me. Here is a look at my booth:

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This year, it happened to fall on the day after Halloween. The night before a boutique tends to be a bit crazy for me, but I was determined to be ready ahead of time so that I could enjoy Halloween with my kiddos. I was mostly successful with that goal, which was awesome. Halloween was especially fun this year because my brother, sister-in-law, their kids and my parents came down for dinner and trick or treating. My bro’s family lives up in the central coast, so we’ve never been with them on halloween before. It was so fun!

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Yoda & Batman:

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Amidst the crazy crafting prep I did for weeks leading up to Queen Bee, I was able to sneak in some time to read Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent series. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was intense. I definitely cried. But I did think that the author ended the series well. Now I can’t wait for the movie to come out in the spring!

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I was able to keep my workload under control, with some help from sweet friends watching my kiddos, so our lives weren’t nuts the week leading up to the boutique (not that they have been in past years…ahem…). I even got to sneak in a little date with this curly haired dude to get some chocolate (he definitely inherited my sweet tooth).

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Timeouts are still coming in strong, thanks to the strong-willed child in the midst of the terrible twos. It’s a good thing he is so cute, cuddly and sweet :)  Here is another #placeshudsonhasatimeout pic: at church during worship band practice;

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One of my new products this year: double sided snarky banners! This one says “hooray!” on one side and “oh crap!” on the other. Another version says “welcome” on one side and “go home” on the other :)

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I loved how this custom banner turned out. It was for a send-off party for a marine pilot from our church. It is super long, so I couldn’t get a full picture, but it says “fair winds & following seas”

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My family is quite large- my parents have 13 grandkids plus all of us kids & spouses, which means a lot of birthday parties. We’ve started lumping together all of the birthdays in one month and celebrating them all together. I love these times- my family is such a blessing to me, especially these sisters of mine:

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Yesterday, I started an instasale of my thankful banners that are left after The Queen Bee. Hope over to @courttoney on instagram to see what is still available. The sale prices are only good today- tomorrow I will be putting them into my etsy shop at full price.

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That’s it for now! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

InstaFriday- Monday style

Oops. I missed Friday. Happy Monday! Linking up photos from my past 1.5 weeks with Jeannett at Life Rearranged.

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We leave in 3 WEEKS FOR ITALY!!!! I’m so excited. We are staying in Grosetto and taking trips to Rome, Siena, Florence and Cinque Terra. Any recs on places to eat, things to see and kid friendly activities? Isaiah is coming with us but we are leaving Hudson with my parents (nervous already to be apart from him that long!). Since he just turned two, it would have been over $1000 to take him on a trip that he would not remember, so we made the tough decision to leave him here. I know it will be better in the long run, but I am going to miss that curly haired character!

Thanks to my friend Jenetta for the fun vintage italy book :)

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Last weekend we had friends over and Daveed taught Holly how to make pasta from scratch.

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Little bits of Spring around the house:

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Last week was spring break for Isaiah. We started it off with a 3 hour park playdate with a ton of friends from church. The boys had SO much fun!

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Later that day, we met up with Daveed at Sea World for a few hours. The boys favorite exhibit lately has been the arctic. Hudson loved watching the walrus and polar bears swim.

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Isaiah had been asking to make a star wars terrarium (daygoba) for a long time. We finally ran to Home Depot and whipped it up.

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He had a tough star to the week with listening. As a result, he ended up loosing all of his star wars stuff. Shirts, books, toys, everything. He still found a way to “play” star wars :)

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When we were visiting my family this weekend, my mom pulled out my old lite brite. I spent so many hours on that thing as a kid. Isaiah loved it! I wish that the new ones were even half as good as the old ones.

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Date #11 out of 50: A hike at Torrey Pines. One of my favorite spots in San Diego and it was such a nice time to connect and enjoy nature. (if you are new to my blog, you can find out more about our 50 dates project here.)

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Saturday was a great day to fly a kite at the park with good friends.

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Since we were going to stay down in San Diego for Easter, we spent some time with my family in Orange County on Saturday decorating eggs. You can bet there were a few star wars ones.

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One of my least favorite things on holidays? Trying to get a good family picture. I’m know that my boys are little, wiggly and full of energy (especially with lots of holiday sugar) but, nonetheless, I still always fight to get a quality picture. At first, I thought that this was the best one we got yesterday, my eyes almost closed and all:

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Then, as I was looking through the photos on my camera, I came across this gem and realized that I like it even better. We are not perfectly posed, but that is real life. This captures my boys personalities and I love it.

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Hudson was much more into our neighbor’s dogs than finding eggs:

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Cookie decorating (the tongue is always out when he is super focused):

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My husband was inspired by a dish he saw Mario Batali make on Iron Chef and he decided to recreate it yesterday. It was his first attempt at homemade ravioli and it was delicious! They were egg-shaped with goat cheese, sage and an egg yolk inside. He cooked them perfectly- when you cut into them, a bit of the yoke ran to mix with the butter & parmesan to create a sauce. I was highly impressed!

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Happy April everyone!

InstaFriday!

I know I say this a lot, but I cannot believe that it is Friday again! This week has been fun but crazy (just ask the half painted bookshelf that has been hanging out in my garage since last Saturday…)

 

On Fridays, I share my instagram photos from the week both to recap life (a little scrapbook of sorts) and to link up with Jeannett at Life Rearranged.

 

Happy day after Valentine’s Day!

 

Last Saturday, we had dinner with friends and ended the night making ice cream with liquid nitrogen (thanks to my friend’s husband). It was really cool- definitely the first time I can say that dessert came from a science experiment :)

 

They approve of the ice cream:

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I don’t have a picture of this, but my husband preached on Sunday at our church. It was awesome! If you want to hear his sermon, you can hear it here.

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That night, my husband and I had date #5 out of 50 (our goal is 50 dates in 2013!). My husband, who is an incredible cook, made my favorite pasta from scratch. Here he is teaching Isaiah how to make the pasta dough:

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Side note: Daveed had always wanted to learn to make his own pasta. For Christmas 2 years ago, I signed him up for a class at Sur La Table. He loved it and has been making me fresh pasta ever since. The gift that keeps giving back to me :)

It takes a looooong time, so we fed the kids and then had our own dinner after the kids were asleep. He also made us tasty drinks and artichokes and we watched the Grammys while enjoying our amazing meal. Thanks babe for being awesome!

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Isaiah watched Mary Poppins for the first time (one of my childhood favorites!) and when the song “Step in Time” came on, he couldn’t help but get up and dance all over the house. It was hilarious!

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He found this book at the library and is so stoked to get crafting:

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The first line of the book is “may the glue gun be with you”.   :)

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Living in San Diego is great. It was 75 and beautiful today. I thought about going to the beach. In February. Also, there are so many cool things for kids to do here. All of the kindergarteners from Isaiah’s school got to go to Sea World this week for a field trip. He talked about it for weeks leading up to it and I am sure we will be hearing about it for weeks to come.

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I am so glad that I got to go with him. He held my hand often and wasn’t embarrassed in front of his friends. I know that is going to change some day, so I fully enjoyed his excitement over me being there.

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Isaiah’s valentines:

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I call this giving the kid what he wants while still making it crafty and homemade. I saw the idea on the blog Inchmark and he loved it, only to find (2 days before valentine’s day) that there was no downloadable template. Enter superdad and his photoshop skills.

At first, the perfectionist in me cringed a bit when Isaiah wanted to color all over them. I loved his sweet little hearts though. Makes star wars a bit cuter :)

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Valentine’s Week breakfast:

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The day before Valentine’s Day, we headed up to Santa Barbara to visit my husband’s grandma. She’s been sick and Valentine’s Day was her 85th birthday, so it was really special to be able to see her and share some love. The boys love their GG.

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When I married my husband, it was a great added plus that I got a grandma. I grew up without any grandparents, so it has been really special to get a grandma in my 20′s. She is wonderful and treats me as her own. We love you grandma!

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Thanks to my wonderful mother in law, we got to sneak away for the night and had brunch for our Valentine’s date (also date #6 of 50). Breakfast was delicious and we even had enough time to walk around State Street and shop a bit.

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I am so thankful for my man.

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It was a whirlwind trip, as we were back home less than 36 hours from when we left. Fun and good, but I am glad to be back at home, ready for a mellow weekend.

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I hope the love of Valentine’s Day spills over into the weekend for you friends!


merry christmas!

Merry Christmas! Our family wishes you a beautiful day, reflecting upon the amazing gift of Jesus.

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photos by the wonderful megan ann photography

Our album and a black friday instasale!

Thanksgiving is over, which means christmas time!!! It also means christmas music. Which also means that OUR CHRISTMAS ALBUM IS NOW AVAILABLE!!!! Woo~hoo!!!

 

My husband and I released a Christmas album last night and I am so proud of it. You can order it here.

 

To entice you a bit more, our kids sings on it. Cutest thing ever :)

 

My husband is having a black friday sale as well: if you purchase the Christmas album (“Bright Bright Bright” ) you can get his worship album, “Broken Hallelujah” for 50% off!

 

Also, today some of the vendors from the Queen Bee Market will be having a black friday sale on instagram. Look up the hashtag #qbmblackfriday and you’ll find lots of great stuff you can claim right there on instagram! I will be selling some of my holiday banners at discounted prices before I list them in my etsy shop. My instagram is @courttoney

 

Happy Christmastime everyone!