Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our Little Family's Christmas Eve

We started the tradition that we each open pajamas on Christmas Eve. We also opened a game for the family (the elephant game that we're playing in the video) and a movie.

Don't you just love her little nasally voice?

My little family is happiness.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Christmas Eve 2011

I think another reason I've procrastinated blogging is knowing that I still have pictures to post with Jen over last Christmas. I miss her so much.

Anyway, everyone came to Salt Lake to spend time at our place together on Christmas Eve, since James and I were going to his parents for Christmas Day (we try to switch off every other year with each of our families). It was a really special day. It gets harder and harder as we get older to coordinate everyone's schedules together and adding more families and distance and traveling... It was really special. We made lots of yummy food... We made bets on when we thought mom and dad would arrive ;)

Here's Tyler with Raden.

I know these pictures are very similar and very... shadowy... I'm feeling very sentimental...

Jen helping Raden open his gift from me.

Love my nephew.

Doesn't he have the sweetest face?

Sage opening her gift from Aunt Riss.

Atalia opening her gift from Jen.
Bryson seems surprised ;)

Opening their gifts from Boo!

That was all of the pictures I got. I guess I was spending more time enjoying everyone.

Sorry, it's really hard to go back and think this was one of my last times with my sister. It breaks my heart how much I miss her. Miss her SO much.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homemade Christmas Gifts 2011

I made homemade gifts for everyone last Christmas. I love doing that, putting all my love in a gift for someone!

I had an idea for Tali, to make this piece of furniture into a dress-up container.

We found this at the DI (like a Goodwill) and needed to call on my dad for some help.

See how there is that gap in-between the drawers and cupboard? Well, I wanted to switch that up and put that cubby/shelf part on top, so that Tali can reach in and get her dress-up clothes. My dad made it happen!

All better!

...now just need to add about 10-20 coats of paint (it took a lot of coats), some hooks, and mirrors...

Yay! Thanks dad, for lots of help!

We still need to add the grey hooks (found that we didn't have the right size of screws at the last minute) and I've been entertaining the idea of painting the inside yellow or something.

Love it! Also helps contain some other toys of hers.

I made these little I Spy books for my niece, Sage and nephew, Raden.

Here's Sage's.

Here's Radens.

I made coasters for the women in the family... and Tyler...

Cute Heidi and her coasters!

Mom and hers, they've already gotten plenty of use.

Boo and hers! I tried to match her couches in her living room :)

Jen and hers!
Jen and I always had a special gift-exchange for Christmas that we starting doing in Middle School/High School. It's going to be hard not making her something next year... almost just want to do it anyway.

Miss her so much.
Tyler got mustache ones...
There was some miscommunication in this picture...
Mom was trying to use her hair on Tyler to make a mustache and Tyler was trying to use the coaster to be his mustache... instead we got some fun chaos.

Tyler and his!

I got another picture of his to see them better... wish I would have done the same with everyone else's :(

These are the ones I made for my mother-in-law! I picked that paper for her coasters because it reminds me of the children's story telling that they do.

I didn't get a picture of the ones I made for James' Grandma Hansen! They were really cute too!

We don't really send out Christmas cards. Not sure why. I guess, I never really grew up with my family doing it, so I never think to do it. Anyway, I did want my Grandpa and James' Grandpa Max and Armina to know that we were thinking of them... I made some cards and made this little ornament to go inside them.

There's a little slit in each part to slide together to make the ornament.

It looks like this all together!

I made the chocolate bark, that mentioned in my last post, for everyone else!
It wasn't too expensive to make these gifts either, which helps us to be able to get everyone something, which makes me so HaPpY! I love my family a lot and love to try to think of something to give them for Christmas! Already thinking about next year!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baking For Christmas

It feels weird to talk about baking with the past incident still so fresh, but here we go again... forcing myself.

I planned on sharing all the Christmas baking I did from the get go, so here it is!

Some turned out good... some not so good. It's all a learning experience and hopefully I master it by the time I'm really old (hopefully sooner though).

These are the doughnut snowmen I made.

Pretty easy... just add icing. I made the mistake of not sealing them up completely and they were completely stale lol. This was a 'not so good.' I want to try them again next year and make sure they are sealed up tight so they don't go as hard as a rock.

Remember the cheesecake that James made for my Birthday? He made it again to share with his family.

I made White Chocolate Bark for some family and friend's Christmas gifts. I'm not a big fan of cookies and cream, but this made me a believer. It was my favorite! Yum! Yum! Yum! And super easy too! I know you want the recipe, so I'll post it under the picture. You are welcome!

Chocolate Cookie Bark:

- 20 creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos) (about half of an 18-ounce package)
- 2 1/2 cups white or semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, if using semisweet chips

1. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with waxed paper. Coat the paper with nonstick spray; set it aside.
2. In a large bowl, break the cookies into small pieces by hand or with the back of a wooden spoon.
3. In the microwave, melt the chocolate chips according to the package directions. If using semisweet chips, add the vanilla extract. Quickly fold in the cookie pieces with a spatula. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Refrigerate until solid, about 1 hour.
4. Remove the bark from the pan and carefully peel off the wax paper. Set the bark on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the bark into 12 bars for wrapping or 24 triangles for boxing.

I thought the semisweet was a little too rich. Everyone seemed to like the white chocolate better too.

These were the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies I made. I wasn't sure at first about these, but when I added the icing... it was magical. I miss them. Is that sad? Don't answer that.

Oh, did you think I would tell you how good these were and then not post the recipe?! I am not that cruel.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

- 2 cups butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 2 cups baking cocoa
- 1 cup chocolate syrup
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 6 eggs
- 5 cups sugar
- 5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt


- 1 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 11 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large saucepan, melt butter and shortening over low heat. Remove from the heat; stir in cocoa, chocolate syrup and peanut butter until smooth. Cool
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar until lemon-colored. Beat in the chocolate mixture and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add creamed mixture.
Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until surface cracks. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.
In a large mixing bowl, beat peanut butter and butter. Beat in milk and vanilla. Gradually add confectioners' sugar; beat until blended. Spread on the bottom of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies.

Yield: 11 dozen

That recipe makes a lot of cookies (which didn't bother me), just so you know.

I also made this Coconut Cream Pie. I was so sad about this because I was excited to make it for my mother-in-law that likes coconut (I do not), but I made it a day too early. By the time we cut into it, the filling had started to make the crust soggy. That sounds really gross, huh? The cream filling was actually really good though!

Well, that's that! Another post done.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Some December Activities

These are some thing we did in December, before Christmas. (Just a quick rundown)

Put up the tree, of course...

Did the whole chain link count down thing...

We also had this advent children's Christmas count down book. Each page has a scripture and an activity to do with a child, every day until Christmas.

Some days we would paint...

Other days we made paper ornaments...

This one is a Santa angel? It was James' and it cracks me up.

(also James')

We also cut out little hearts to give to people we love. I told her to smile and she gives me the opposite.

Still giving me a sad face instead of a happy... Oh that child...

Finally cracking a smile.

We did a bunch of other things, but didn't get any pictures.