Getting real here.

I came across this article the other day and I feel its value is worth more then words can express. Sexual abuse is not something people talk about very openly. I feel for the most part we as parents are doing the best we can to keep our kids safe but how do we do that if we don’t know how? This article addresses so well how to talk to your kids to help keep potential dangers at bay. She brings up things I had never thought of and in so grateful for her realness.

We are fairly open in my house. I have always wanted my children to feel they could talk to me about anything. I have discussed sexual abuse with them at different stages in their life and we add more to their knowledge as they get older.

I have also tried to help them understand the purpose and value intimacy is meant to bring to a married couple. It really is such a beautiful God given gift to unite a couple in love. My hope is that as I help them see that they will cherish intimacy and save it for the one person they are meant to unite themselves with.

It’s sad to me that satan strives so hard to destroy this loving unity and uses it to hurt and destroy people and relationships.

I hope like the author of the above article that parents will be real with their kids. That they will give them tools to potentially handle a would be attacker. And that if something did ever happen I pray children would feel they could talk with their parents.

Growing up

I’m laying in bed with a headache when in comes Joseph, EmmaLee and Sarah. We got talking about Josephs new school and come to find out some girl in his class likes him. My cute little Joseph who doesn’t want much to do with girls can’t seem to keep them away. This girl had her friends tell him. What do 5th grade girls expect awkward boys to say or do?
Well Joseph told her friends “I don’t care”. To which the girl replies “that makes me sad but I still like him”.
You can tell he is flattered though and it is very endearing to listen to him talk about his life.
It is rather strange my little is not so little. As we chatted for awhile his non littleness became obvious to me. I felt sad and proud at the same moment. Proud of the boy he is and sad he is no so growing up.

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Warms my heart

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Reading opens up the door to such imagination. And sometimes that door takes longer to find. This boy didn’t take to reading until recently. And I love that he now sees the beauty in a good book.

Christmas Part 2

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This years Jammie’s made me laugh. I bought them all onesies. And I’m surprised how much they loved them. Jared’s cape was my favorite! Isn’t that great? He is a good sport.

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I can never seem to get a good picture of the traps we make for the kids. Several years ago a friend of mine told me how her parents would trap them in their room Christmas Eve and part of the fun was figuring out how to get out to sneak a peek. Even as adults her parents still trapped them in. Fun little element right?

We adopted the tradition. Our traps are usually pretty simple and we always feel like we are going to be successful. This year I was so sure they couldn’t get through. We had the security cameras faced on them and everything. We took a painters tarp and attached it to the ceiling and to the floor.

In the morning they let us know it was the easiest trap yet. Fail on our part.
The only compensation I got was knowing I had wrapped everything this year. Normally Santa doesn’t wrap his gifts so Ya, really I win. They couldn’t know for sure what anything was until it was opened. (Insert evil laugh here)

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I decided to enjoy the moment and not take pictures so this is all I have of the morning.

We kept it simple this year and it felt full of peace. And all the kids were really happy with what they got. It confirmed to me that Christmas is not about how much you spend or how much the kids get. It really truly is about our savior. It’s about his love for us. I felt that in abundance this year.

Christmas 2014

Christmas in the desert. It was much sweeter then I could have imagined.
I really do enjoy cooking a big meal for my family. What made this so great was no schedule. No worry about when other people would show up or making sure everything I cooked finished at the same time. I decided to do our bigger dinner Christmas Eve. This helped make Christmas Day very relaxing and filled with the enjoyment of new toys.
We learned our oven cooks hotter then it says. Our turkey was done over an hour early. But somehow I was still able to get everything on the table warm. I decided to get out my grandmas China and make it special for my children. I loved it. We felt fancy.
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Embrace the Moment

Uno is a serious game. It requires lots of laughter, a little cheating, dancing, singling loudly to Jared’s newest iTunes purchase, some cinnamon sugar popcorn (when your out of salt you improvise) and a heart that is filled to the brim with happiness.

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2015

 

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EMBRACE
D&C 84:88
I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

Over the past several years I have chosen a word to focus on.  Something that will help me keep my focus. I have come to love setting goals. It’s a time of reflecting and realigning my will to that of my Father above. It’s a time to seek inspiration regarding my life and what I should be doing to better serve my maker. It’s a time to wish and hope and dream for the future.

Some years I have really big goals, like when I ran the marathon. Other years, I’m content with the simplicity of my life and my goals reflect that. This year feels big. It’s time to step up again and do something out of my comfort zone. It’s time to really get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

As I strive to embrace that my Father in Heaven has more for me then I would settle for I find deep comfort in the above scripture.

I wrote this Subway art to help me remember all that I am hoping for this year, All that I am striving to EMBRACE.

I have been working on this as I sit in the same room with a bunch of teenagers. It’s my way of chaperoning with stealth. I really do love listening to them having fun. Having teenagers is way more fun then people let on.

 

 

Christmas Baking

I’m behind in my blogging because I have been having so much fun with my family all home. (That and I’ve been sick and recovering from the Christmas high)
This year I decided not to bake much. I’m trying to eat better and a house filled with my favorite unhealthy treats didn’t make much sense.
Ryan however feels Christmas season isn’t the same without sugar cookies. Since I don’t love most sugar cookie recipes that was good with me. Sarah decided to surprise him while we were at the temple and got his moms sugar cookie recipe from her. Unfortunately something got lost in translation and they didn’t taste like moms cookies.
But then my neighbor Juli brought us some. They were the way I like them. Super soft and melt in your mouth.
For the love of my husband we had to make them. My friend told me she got the recipe from here
Seriously a new absolute sugar cookie recipe. I did not use her frosting instead I made a basic buttercream with added vanilla found here. Umm perfection in a cookie.

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The frosting was soft and the cookie melted.
Ryan might have eaten his fair share. The rest went to home teaching families and it’s a good thing. Those babies were tempting.

I decided for our Christmas meal I would make one dessert. I wanted it to be something I really loved. My friend Cheryl was nice enough to share her recipe for Avalanche Bark. It’s also amazing. It is not possible to makes those dairy free.

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AVALANCHE BARK

Ingredients:
3 bags of white chocolate chips
1 bag of mini chocolate chips
1 bag of mini marshmallows
7 cups of rice krispies
2 cups of peanut butter

Heat the white chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat this 3 times or until melted.
Mix in peanut butter.
Mix in rice krispies.
Mix in mini marshmallows
Mix in all but 1 cup of mini chocolate chips. (keep the 1 cup off to the side.)
Lay out in cookie sheet. Flaten out.
Sprinkle the 1 cup of mini chocolate chips on top.
Let set for 1 hour.

If you want to speed up the process then stick in the fridge for freezer for 15 minutes.

Cut up and enjoy!

The only other thing I made was some cake pops for my Young Women at church. I don’t like cake pops so no temptation there. Haha.

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I used a box mix an added an extra egg and almond milk in place of water. I cooked it in a jelly roll pan just for quickness. I had leftover canned red frosting. I don’t try to make red frosting. It never tastes right. So although I am a frosting snob I make an exception for red. I added a huge heap to my cake and crumbled it in my kitchen aid. The cake pops kept the vibrant red. I then rolled them into balls and stuck them in the fridge for about 30 minutes. I melted the white chocolate in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until fully melted. I dipped the end of the straws into the chocolate then into the cake balls. This helps the straws to stay in place. Ito the freezer they went for another 30 minutes. I used the white chocolate to dip them in and added the gold sprinkles while the chocolate was wet. The cute straws Santa brought me in my stockings. Santa sure knows me well.

Favorite Things

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I threw myself a little pity party a couple weeks back. I missed California and my friends and family. I felt like I didn’t have any friends here and it made me sad. Then, I believe with Gods help, I got an idea. I decided to plan a Christmas party and invite ladies from church that I would like to get to know better.

Last year I had been invited to a favorite things party and I loved that idea so a party began to be planned. I then worried that somebody here already did that and maybe I was stepping on toes. I text one of the ladies and asked and then I instantly had two friends that wanted to help plan a party. That made it even more fun. They helped me think of who to invite (I didn’t want anyone to feel left out) and they put together a yummy hot cocoa bar. I wish I had taken a picture.

I made these cute little bags for the ladies to put their new favorite things in.

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Once they arrived they would replace their bags with the gifts they had brought. I also had name tags for them to wear. I’m horrible at names and having the name tags really helped me out. I mean a lot. I made a point of saying everyone’s name every time I talked to them. Im hoping that helped it to stick.

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I taped these onto labels. I also used these name tags to attach onto the cute hot cocoa cups I had found.

Everyone brought a favorite finger food to share. For the first hour my home was filled with laughing and chatting and it made my heart happy. Then we got into the game. After reading several ideas on how to go about the gift getting I came up with my own version.

I used this template I found on Pinterest and printed it on brown card stock.

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I adapted my game idea from here as well.
Everyone filled out their favorites then compared. If your answer was unique you circled it. The person with the most circles won.

What did they win? The right to pick the present they wanted first. In a jar I had all these numbers cut up

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I left out the number one for the winner of our game. Everyone then drew a number and picked one present off the table in order. We put the numbers back in the jar and picked fresh for each round.

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Once all the gifts were picked we went around and explained why the gift we brought is a favorite thing. And then those who had that present opened it. I got to know the ladies much better and it was so much fun. I think it needs to become an annual event.

My only regret is that I didn’t take more pictures. I was having so much fun I forgot.

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