Christmas 2009 Memories

Remember the magic of Christmas when you were a kid? The anticipation all throughout dinner on Christmas Eve, pretending to eat your sweet potatoes but really eyeing all your gifts under the tree?

Well, someone please tell me where that magic went, ’cause this mommy is severely missing it.

Really, I mean, they need to publish a “How to Survive Christmas for Parental Dummies”. Seriously, I.AM.POOPED…. and wondering why Christmas just doesn’t seem as fun as it used to?

Ugh.

Ok, venting aside…

Despite my complaining, our Christmas was wonderful…even through “Mommy Eyes”. Jake is really getting the whole Christmas thing and just had the time of his life. It was so fun to watch him be able to open his own gifts. And my baby girl…it was her first Christmas and I hope she had fun?!? She got gobs of gifts, but all she really cared about was the wrapping….

Anyway, a Recap of our holiday:

Christmas Eve

We drove to Santa Rosa to be with the Wollmer Family at my parent’s house. I love those people! It was so good to be with my siblings and their families…we really missed my brother, Brad, who had to stay in London for the holidays. 😦

My mom’s dinner table for the adults. She has had that apron my whole life. I love it! 🙂
The snowball cake that my mom got from our favorite patisserie, Michelle Marie’s
A very tired Brandon and me…

The Wollmer Grand-daughters, Brooke, Brittany {holding Evy} and Emma…
T
he Wollmer grand-sons, Brandon, Andrew and Jake.

Me, my sister Pammy {the very best sister ever} and my Dad. My sister was attempting to explain Catch Phrase to everyone and no one was listening…I had Brandon snap a picture during all the confusion. Sorry its really bad…we’ve been experiementing with the settings, not succeeding, obviously!
 I love you, Pammy!
We played Bingo and Catch Phrase late into the evening. My mom got prizes and we all fought hard for them! 🙂 My dad was so excited to win a gift card to his favorite yogurt joint… He said it was the best part about the whole night. 🙂
Christmas Day:
We spent the morning at my parents opening stockings. Evy and her first Christmas morning loot, sin’t she precious?
Jake with his…
Are these
not the cutest kids on the planet? OMW, I love them sooo much!
Me and my girl, her first Christmas!
After opening our stockings, we drove home to be with the Arthur and Abel Miraflor clans. We all met up at Uncle Abel’s house, as has been the custom for so many years. It was so good to see cousin Brandy, Johnny and Katelynn all the way from St. Louis as well as Brooke and family! Uncle Johnny gave the kids horseback rides….
And then Jake tried to be the horse…
And then Uncle Jon decided to give Uncle Johnny a lift. Hmmm…. we’ll try not to ask about that hand there?!?
The Day After Christmas
On Saturday morning, our little family had our little Christmas together.
It was beautiful.
We read the Christmas story together and watched selected parts of “The Nativity Story” while Jake played with his homemade one. We prayed together.
It was at this moment when the Christmas “magic” hit me. Being with my babies, my husband and in our own little home. Despite the fact that we LOVED being with everyone, there is just something to be said for sleeping in, hanging out in our PJ’s, being together and worshipping our Savior for coming to this earth.
Since we all looked like POOP {ha!} these are the only pictures I will share….the kids with Uncle Brad’s gifts that he sent from London: Evy with her first Disney Barbie and Jake with a Tech Deck starter system. Thanks Uncle Brad!
Later that evening, Brandon’s parents, sister and her boyfriend and brother and wife came over for dinner and presents. It was so good to be with them all, but we missed Brandon’s sister Bryony, David and Scout! We had a great time, though, and the boys played Wii into the “wee” hours of the morning {ha, I know, cheesy}…
Anyway, I was so tired by this point that I didn’t get very many good pictures, and the ones I did get were random…but I will say, Bryony, your glow sea horse and fireman outfit were WINNERS!
I am so thankful for our families. They are a beautiful part of our lives and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the Christmas season than with them surrounding us. I hope your Christmas was wonderful!
In closing, Brandon, Evy and I are in So Cal this week for the Holiday Youth Convention. Brandon is speaking during the day. I hope I get to see many of
you!
And oh yes….
I have something very exciting to share with my friends when we get back. It has something to do with these two pictures….
 

Think “hoodies”! 🙂
xoxo

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours….
May your day be filled with laughter
And surprises…
And more laughter…
May you spend many cherished moments with the ones you love…
And may happiness shine brightly all throughout your day…
And may you never forget the true meaning of the Christmas season…
 “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
 Luke 2:11-12
We love and appreciate every one of you. May your Christmas be blessed and your holiday season full of love and happiness.
Merry Christmas!
The Miraflor Family
Brandon and Amy
Jacob
Evelyn
All photos were taken by Scott Andrew Photography

Jesus Is the Reason For the Season

We went to the mall last night and here is what I am thinking:

1. Nordstrom’s Christmas decorations are to die for. Seriously made me reconsider my vow to never buy a fake tree cause their flocked ones looked pretty good….please don’t tell Brandon I said that. Ha.
2. Why do I have to love Anthropologie so much? I mean, I could live there. It is my favorite store. ugh.
3. Ok I lied, I could live in Williams-Sonoma too, and oh yes…Target of course.

Anyway, I digress, as usual, sorry. Sheesh…I get so sidetracked.

I said in the last post that I would say more about it, so here goes…Santa and Jesus…. Since I am hoping that someday my kids will take the time to read this blog, and since I’m sure they will really wonder how I feel on this subject {haha}…here’s my thoughts kids:

Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birthday {Luke 2}. Never, ever forget that. There is nothing more wonderful than Jesus, God in flesh. Wow…such a powerful concept. He came so that you might have life abundantly- a life full of peace, joy and love. HE is the reason for the season, hands down. If you never remember anything about me, or my writings, remember this…

Jesus is my all, and I hope He becomes yours too. And I pray that every Christmas you take time to stop, remember, and thank Him for coming to earth and dying for us. If you had to choose one gift at Christmas, take the gift of life that Jesus brought with Him when He was born in a manger 2000 years ago. Nothing like it, I promise you.

Ok, as I wipe the tears from eyes….

Now Santa…hmmm. When Jake was born, Brandon and I went back and forth on how to deal with Santa. Whether we like to admit it or not, Santa will come and go every Christmas…he’s pretty much here to stay. Brandon and I were both raised with Santa, but we were raised with knowing that he was a good man who blessed others with gifts in time of need. We both detest how Santa has become the “face” of Christmas…the current Santa is just a symbol or remembrance of the first Santa. As kids, we never really believed that he was real today {did you hear that SIMEON?} or lived at the North Pole, as fun as it was to pretend. We understood the concept of the first St. Nicholas, or Santa, and it really hit home to both of us. St. Nicholas was very Chrsitlike, actually. If you don’t know his story, I encourage you to do some research. Honestly, we feel that Christians should be more like him…he really puts most of us to shame.

ANYWAY {my fave word, I know}

We came to conclusions that we don’t mind talking a bit about Santa, having stockings, or *GASP*…taking the kids to see Santa.

So last night we took the kiddos. And you know what? All Jake wanted to talk about was this:

That, my friends, is my very last craft for the year because this mommy is PLUMB WORE OUT!
Anyway, they are reindeers, and Jake loved them. In case you can’t figure it out or have never done this project before, they are your hands:
and your feet

traced, cut out and then glued together. We added some wobbly eyes and pom pom noses to ours. We had a whole little science project out of it and I think we made reindeer for hours, literally. I have gobs of them all over the house.

Anyway, that’s all Jake wanted to talk about with Santa. And he was more than thrilled when Santa whipped out a photoalbum full of real life reindeer and showed Jake pictures. This teacher in me could have leaped for joy for bringing home our reindeer concept.

So our Santa picture. I must mention that I had a wardrobe malfuction with both kids, neither are wearing what I planned for them to wear…but that’s another long story.

Ok these kids, are they not the cutest things? And that little Jake, doesn’t he looked bored out his mind? He looks just like Brandon actually. Ha! And my precious Evy, she will laugh and smile at anyone. I just love her and her little smilely face!
In closing, {I have no idea why all of a sudden my print has been centered, ugh}…
I have to say, I have been SHOCKED by the amount of people who have either called, texted or emailed me to let me know that they read this blog. Thank you so much for your support! Really, it means so much to know that I have other people laughing and sometimes crying with me on this journey called parenthood. We are in this together- thank you, thank you for being my friends- I hope I can show you as much love as you have shown me.
What shocks me even more is that a couple of you {at least that I know of} have actually TRIED some of my recipes. In fact, one of my close friends said that she is planning on making my Pot Roast for Christmas Eve dinner. I am honored…and just a little nervous! Hopefully you all like it!  That same friend asked for the recipe for my mashed potates and carrots that I serve with the
pot roast. So at the risk of making this post longer than I ever meant for it to be {sorry Babe!}, here they are:
Mashed Potatoes- I’m sorry, I don’t have “real” measurements for this, I just do with whatever I have. 😦
Red Potatoes, with skin on.
I use about 6-8 medium sized ones for our family, but you can never have too many potatoes in my    opinion, so overestimate in that department.
Unsalted Butter, at least 1 stick, perhaps 2
Cream of some sort- I usually use Fat Free half and half, but have used whipping cream or even milk
kosher salt
pepper
Leaving the skin on cut the potatoes into small cubes and boil until soft. You do not want them too soft, or else dish becomes runny and if they are too hard, the potatoes don’t mash, so watch them carefully. When done, put potatoes in mixer then add butter, I usually do 1/2 stick and then add more as need, some cream, salt and pepper {again do a little and then more as needed}. I whip until smooth, tasting, adding seasoning, whipping, etc.
Carrots
Carrots
Parsley
Kosher salt
Butter, melted
Cut your carrots into little sticks-Julienne style, like matchsticks. This video does a decent job explaining juilenne, but I must admit, I DO NOT do mine that perfect, mine are thicker too. Seriously, I’m all about easy! Anyway, steam until soft, but still has some stiffness. Salt, drizzle a little butter, and add parsley on top.
Enjoy everyone! And remember, Jesus is the reason for the season, NOT Santa, Ha!! 🙂
xoxo

What It's Really All About….

It seems this blog is a fantastic way for me to confess things, because I find myself doing that ALL THE TIME. But here goes another one…

I do not have a nativity scene.

This might not be a big deal to you, as it really wasn’t one to me either, until I had Jake. So shoot me, but this family talks about Santa {more on that one in an upcoming post}, has a Christmas tree, sings Christmas carols such a jingle bells, wraps gifts and gives them….but we don’t have a symbol of the one thing that Christmas is really all about…

Jesus. And I want my kids to know Christmas is about Jesus, not all that other stuff, as fun as it is.

So the last couple years, I have gone to pick out a nativity scene, but come back empty handed because the ones I want are sooo pricey. *sigh* Say Italian molded figurenes and you’ll guess how much the ones I want are….Anyway, this year, since money was tight {again}, I told Brandon that we would make one. Ok, I must be honest, Brandon pretty much made this one. I would have not been able to do this on my own. Thanks Babe!

 We worked on it over a course of several days and here’s what we did:

I downloaded coloring pages from different teacher websites of the Holy Family, shepherds, animals, an angel and wise men. I’m sorry I was browsing so much that I forgot what site I got them from! I then let Jake color them at will.

Then we glued them to pieces of cardboard. We used the Pampers box. 🙂

We cut each figurene out
Using the same cardboard from the pampers box, we cut strips and then put together a “shelter” for the Holy Family. Brandon used the same glue stick and some clothespins to help the glue dry.
Then I let Jake go to town with the glitter, because what’s a nativity scene without a little glitter?
Brandon added cardboard backs to all the figures, and then we put it together with the shelter, added a little moss and a candle. The star was a tree topper that Brandon made for me and my roommate Joy somewhere in the frist couple years of our dating period. We thought it made the perfect nativity star.

So wa-la…I have a nativity scene and to be honest, it hit home so much more to Jake than a store bought one. The entire time we walked him through the Christmas story and he is so fascinated by it all. Oh yes, there are two sheperds because one is Jake and one is Daddy ha!

It’s all so touching that it ALMOST makes me not want a nice one, almost key word here. 🙂 And it ALMOST, makes me forget this:

Uh, yeah, thats one of the gifts from this post I guess I should have taken all that advice I got and waited to put them out. And see that calendar? That was the calendar that I gave to Jake to help him understand we had 5 days left until he could open the gifts. I guess he gave up on that concept.

And in closing, Brandon wants me to make sure to tell you all about this…remember the Apple Cinnamon Ornaments from yesterday’s post? Well, last night Jake came into our room with brown crumbs all over his mouth. I thought he had gotten into the chocolate again, but he said, “Mommy, I don’t like my ornaments anymore.” I realized he had EATEN one of his ornaments.

Yup. Thank God Elmers glue is nontoxic! ha

xoxo

Holiday Stress Relievers…er…CRAFTS

Well, another frustrating Sunday for me. We had a jam-packed Saturday, so we all woke up tired, but when Jake crawled out of bed he sounded like a frog…or maybe a horse?…anyway, he sounded horrible and told me “my throat hurts”. Great. So we didn’t make it to church {we as in me, Jake and Evy…Brandon gets to go rain or shine, sick kids or no sick kids…can you hear the frustration in my voice?!?} . Trust me, a “well” Jake is hard enough to handle on Sunday mornings; I was not about to take on “sick” Jake.

Well, after sacraficing my Sunday morning, about one hour passed and he seemed to be just fine, perhaps a little tired, but no signs of a sore throat.

Figures.

Anyway, on to what I REALLY want to tell you all….

I. STILL. HAVE. IT.

Uh-huh, you heard me, apparently that teacher gene is really hard to kill because this last week I pulled out my best Christmas crafts and tried them out on my little booger, I mean, angel and they were a big, big HIT! So TAKE THAT stay-at-home mommy syndrome {yes, that’s the “where is the ‘OLD’ me” feeling that hits this mom on a daily basis}.

Anyhoo….

We all had so much fun with some of these crafts that I thought I would share them. Today, I will focus on two of them….so I apologize in advance for the length {that’s for you SoShawna, ha!} but I hope you can use them with your own kiddos. They are super fun!

Cinnamon Apple Christmas Ornaments

These are super easy and kids love them cause they get to play with  the dough and get all messy. ha. Not to mention that they smell HEAVENLY! Jake made about twenty of them and he is giving them out to his Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, etc, as gifts{if any of you are reading this post, just act surprised when he gives it to you, please… :)}. He is very proud of them. Here’s the recipe:

This is not my own recipe. It is very popular and you can google it…it will come up on almost all teacher craft sites, like this one. FYI….you can get all these ingredients at the Dollar Tree…

1 C ground cinnamon
1 C applesauce
1/4 C white school glue {I used Elmers all purpose}

I doubled this recipe

Getting ready to start…so excited. Is he not the cutest kid on the planet?!?

Mix them together. If mixture is too stiff, add some water. Knead the clump together and wrap it in plastic wrap to sit for an hour {I conviently skipped this part as it was getting too close to bedtime, haha}.

Roll out dough. I let Jake push and pound on it until it was flat. You want about 1/2″-3/4″ thick. I think it works better thicker.

Then with cookie cutters, cut out shapes.

Using a pen, puncture a hole in the top for the ribbon and wire hanger.  I know I have cinnamon on my nail…sheesh

You can let them dry naturally for 3-5 days, but come on, let’s be honest, who has that much time?…so I baked them at 200 degrees for 2 or so hours until they were dry. REMEMBER TO FLIP THEM…. and by flip them I mean take them out of oven and turn them over so the backsides get baked as well. I forgot to do this so I had to rebake them and burnt them a tad…shhhhh! 🙂

Note the gloves from this post, they are still around, ha!

Once dry you can decorate them with glitter, etc., but I usually just add some curling ribbon and a hanger. I feel the beauty is the child’s craft and yummy smell.

The finished product, all wrapped and ready to go…

So there you have a very easy kid gift for your loved ones!

Immediately after we made these, Jake was shipped off to bed and I did a little craft of my own as a STRESS RELIEVER! ha…no really, it was super easy and so rewarding due it’s yummy factor! Monica H., I included this one for you! 🙂

I found the recipe on this blog, who had found it from this blog, blah blah, you know how that goes. All I’m trying to say is that its not my recipe, ha! And mine didn’t turn out half as cute as theirs did, but it was SOOO good that I highly doubt anyone will care what it looks like.

And yes, facebook friends, this is what I did with those 4oz Ball jars that I was searching all over Stockton for, thanks so much for your help- OSH had them! 🙂

Cinnamon Honey Butter

2 Sticks Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 Cup Honey
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

Whip butter. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer which is the ONE kitchen item I absolutely CANNOT live without…

ANYWAY, add, the honey, sugar and cinnamon, whip some more, scrapping sides to make sure you get all the honey. I let the mixer whip for a while until smooth. Then {with Brandon’s help :)}, I poured the mixture into a large Ziploc bag, snipped off the end, and pipped it into the 4oz jars, like this:

This batch filled 11 of the 12 jars. I used scraps of material I had laying around to decorate the tops and added some Christmas tags. Here it is all dolled up, in my usual simple, no frills way. 🙂

PLEASE don’t look too closely at my grout. 😦 Someday I will have granite countertops, and hardwood floors, and ….

anyway {AGAIN}…

I had so much fun doing these two “crafts”….they really made me stop and think about what Christmas was all about. I mean, I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to finish all my shopping, wrap gifts, etc., that I haven’t once stopped to enjoy the little things, like spending time with my babies or making something I enjoyed. I don’t think Jesus would be very happy with me about that would, now would He? ha.

Anyway, that butter is divine! {The butter is best at room temperature, BTW} I have eaten it the last two mornings on my toast. It makes you want to have three pieces of toast instead of two, but I refrain. Instead I have been helping myself to my chocolate chip cookies that I have been making this weekend. That’s a better choice, don’t you think?

xoxo

Santa Has Come!

Well, ok, not really….

Mom and Dad just worked really hard, that’s all. And we are pretty much done with the kids gifts! They are wrapped and under the tree. Dear Lord, will they last for one more week? It will be very interesting to see how Jake does with the suspense until Christmas. I wonder if these gifts will STAY wrapped? ha!

And here is our little Santa. Oh I love this kid! Last night after his shower and just before bed, he pulled up his little Cars chair, untied his horses bow to make “reins” and said, “Look at me, I’m Santa!” except his “look it” sounds like “book it”…which we love and think is so cute!

So tell me, do you put your gifts out before Christmas, or on Christmas Eve, and if you put them out, how do they fare?

xoxo

Beautiful Girl

How precious is my little baby love? Here she is wearing Target sale items with a Lou and Lee headband. Gotta love Target!

This little girl is such a blessing! She smiles constantly, laughs at everything, and is such a calm spirit. I am so thankful, as God knew I couldn’t handle another go-getter! I love you Evelyn!