Monday, February 02, 2015

Three Valentines

Last year around Valentines time, we were still living with  my parents (just past two months). So, we were still living out of boxes and suitcases and I'm completely surprised that I even made valentines for the boys last year. But somehow I did. I never shared them though. And since we're back around to that holiday time this year, it's time to be thinking of those valentines again. 

The real catalyst for last year's Valentines was finding a big bag of bouncy balls on clearance at Hobby Lobby that were supposed to look like Earth. I don't know why the idea struck me, but I immediately thought of doing an "out of this world" valentine. And kids love bouncy balls.

So, I made a simple bag topper that my boys could personalize with their names to give to their classmates. Really, really simple and quick. Of course, my boys were concerned that they got to keep a bouncy Earth ball too...we had plenty of leftovers. I'm still finding them in random places around the house. 

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For this year's valentines, I was again struck by something I spotted in a store. This time it was Target and in the Valentines candy aisle. I was looking at lollipops and sweet tarts when the Pirate's Booty bags caught my eye. My boys LOVE Pirate's Booty. They probably have it every single day. And as such, I thought it might be fun for them to share their favorite treat with their friends as a valentine. And the "matey" idea popped into my head too. 

So, two bags of Pirate's Booty later, and a little piratey topper...and we've got some swashbuckling valentines for the boys classmates this year. 

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And finally, we wouldn't want to leave out the teachers. The pink lip gloss and hand lotion that's so fun and at every Target checkout counter is kind of appropriate for this pink and red saturated holiday. So, I got one of each for all of the boys' teachers as well as some heart-shaped Dove chocolates. Again, I made a generic (and pink!) topper for the teachers' Valentines so we can show them that they are loved too!

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Friday, January 02, 2015

2015 Book List

East of Eden by John Steinbeck (7)

Paper Towns by John Green (6)

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows (novella)  by Diana Gabaldon (6)

Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes (7)

Far From the Maddening Crowd by Thomas Hardy (7)

God Loves Haiti by Dimitri Elias Legar (5)

Sacred Marriage by Gary L. Thomas (7)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (7)

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (8)

Cress by Marissa Meyer (8)

Fairest by Marissa Meyer (7)

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner (8)

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (7)

Glittering Images by Susan Howatch (8)

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015 Goals

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I wasn't sure if I was going to "do" goals this year or not. Not because they haven't been helpful in past years. Or because I don't think I'll follow through (I've released myself from that pressure anyway). But more just because I wasn't sure what I wanted them to be this year. I had to stop and think about it. As always, I consulted last year's goals as a reference. And this is what I came up with for 2015 (kind of on the fly...but I like the list):

1. Be generous. Make a difference in the lives of others. I don't have concrete ideas in place for this, but sometimes they materialize and I just want to say "yes" to the opportunities.

2. Keep reading. I surpassed my goal of two books per month this past year. In fact, I doubled that amount. And I loved it. I'd just like to simply keep reading.

3. Complete some photo books. For the love....I'd really, really like to actually do this. If it means taking a season "off" from photography (business, not personal), then I might have to do that. Or reading slightly less books? 

4. Knowing when to say "Yes" and "No." And I should add...without guilt. For me, I think this means saying "yes" to building Legos and going to the park. And "no" to other things that I sometimes do out of guilt or because I think I have to.

5. Teach Life Skills. To my boys, I mean (cooking, cleaning, laundry). They are on their way, but I realize that I have to be really intentional in this area. My default is to do things as quickly and efficiently as possible. And it is WAY too easy for me to just do it for them. Definitely easier (and faster) than teaching them and giving them the space to learn. But that's sort of my job as their mom. 

6. Travel. With the kids. With Casey. Doesn't matter where...I just want to go. We already have some plans set for this next year, but I want to add at least one more trip to our agenda. 

7. Be active. I'm thinking that this year, I'd like to make sure I go outside more with the boys. Explore the trails around our house more. Bring Duke along for some longer walks. I don't know. I'm just thinking about integrating this more into my every day routine. Nothing concrete, just be active.

8. Organize the garage. I will reward myself with something when this is done. I don't know what. But, I do know that I am constantly putting it off. It's already been a year. It's time. Heaven help me. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

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I think it's fun to reflect on the year that is about to come to a close. So, here I sit on the last day of 2014 thinking about all that we did and all that happened this year. We really had a great year.

We closed on our new house in January. 

My mom and I went to Charleston in March. (1, 2a, 2b, 3, 4)

Right when we got back from Charleston, we moved into our new house (finally).

We went to Disneyland, which may be my favorite thing we did the whole year. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Ethan went to (day) camp for the first time while Logan and I (and our friends) puttered around Abilene for the week.

The boys took swim lessons again and Logan learned how to swim on his own this year!

Casey and I went to St. Thomas, which may be my second favorite thing we did the whole year. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

We spent a weekend at the lake house with the Cookes.

The boys started a new year of school. (Ethan, Logan)

Ethan played baseball for the first time.

We went to the ICE exhibit at the Gaylord Texan, which was a new Christmas activity for us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Cookies | 2014

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Making cut out sugar cookies at Christmas is one of my favorite traditions. I'm not sure involves several steps, lots of flour and sprinkles everywhere, and a huge clean-up. But, I still love it. 

The boys look forward to it too. Ethan is throwing the butter into the bowl with a flourish. 

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Then carefully adding the almond extract. We use this recipe from Bake at 350. It's the best. 

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Logan adds the vanilla. They take turns adding ingredients. 

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This year they got to take a turn with the hand mixer. Yes, I am old school and still don't have a stand mixer. 

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They did a really good job with it. 

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Then we added dry ingredients. 

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Rolling out the dough is fun. We have to take turns since we only have one rolling pin. 

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Ethan rolled his out all by himself this year. 

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It's not really fun unless you're covered in flour. 

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After the cookies had baked and cooled, we returned for the decorating part. 

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I always use store-bought icing. Like I said, these cookies already have a lot of steps. I don't like to add to that by making the icing too. 

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They each decorated several cookies. I asked them to choose their three favorites that they did and show them to me. Here are Logan's...

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Then, they got to choose one of their cookies to eat. Logan approves of the taste.

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And Ethan's cookies...

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What a cutie smile. I love baking with these two. 

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Lights | 2014

This year, for a project at school, Ethan listed "looking at Christmas lights" as his favorite Christmas tradition. So, even though we left it until just a few days before Christmas, we were sure to include it in our Christmas activities. We live so close to one of the best neighborhoods in Dallas for light-viewing that it would be a shame not to go anyway.

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This was their favorite house because of all the Disney characters. It also won kids' favorite for the neighborhood awards. I didn't take many photos this year...especially of the houses. I was just enjoying the ride. 

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