Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Morning.

I didn't take many photos on Christmas day, but here a few of the ones I did. These are all from the morning. We had relatives come over for Christmas dinner in the afternoon, but unfortunately I had my camera put away. I really wish I would have had it out, because my cousins have some pretty cute kids!

Christmas came to an end much too quickly. We ate a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and orange and maple rolls with orange juice. Afterwards we opened a few gifts and waited for the church service at 11. I ate too much peppermint bark and cookies so I felt a little sick. My brothers and I tried to go for a run outside, but we didn't get too far because of the polluted air. At least I managed to get a bit of exercise. It was a splendid day shared with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and second cousins.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's Christmas!

Merry Christmas!! I hope all of you had a wonderful day with your family!

The reason for the season is Jesus Christ. He came to earth as a baby so he could live among us and later die for us to take away our sins. Three days later he rose again. My mind can't fully grasp such an overwhelming love, but I'm so thankful.

"Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel-'God with us'." -Isaiah 7:14b

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the anger reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!"
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others-the armies of heaven-praising God:

"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to all whom God favors."

-Luke 2:8-14

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Link-Up: Foods and Tasty Treats

I just shared the recipe for these sweet little Snowmints Snowmen here!

Very Merry Christmas Link-up

Snowmints Snowmen.

It's Christmas Eve, so you've probably already filled up on plenty of holiday sweets, but if you'd like some more, try making these adorable little snowmen!

Making these has become a Christmas tradition for me ever since I found the recipe in a magazine and decided to try it. I make a batch every year and always get comments about how cute they are. The first year I made them with a little help from my mom. Another year I had a snowmen making party with three of my friends. We doubled the recipe and it took us a few hours to finish, but we had a great time and I let each of them take a few home to their families. Last Christmas I was away from my family and I moved several times over the break, so I didn't get the chance to make the snowmints. I was hoping that this Christmas I would get to make the Snowmints Snowmen and the chance finally came yesterday afternoon. I asked my grandma if I could make some, and she said yes, but first we had to go to Walmart to grab a couple of the ingredients. My grandma, mom and I each made a few snowmen while Christmas music played quietly in the background. I'm hoping to keep this tradition going and pass it on to future generations.

Snowmints Snowmen

In a bowl, mix these ingredients together with a fork: 
2 Tbl softened butter (do not use margarine) 
2 Tbl light corn syrup
1 tsp peppermint extract 
1/4 tsp salt

Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar. When dough becomes too stiff to stir with the fork, knead with hands.

Reserve 1/4 of dough for hats and noses.

Make 12 snowmen with remaining 3/4 of dough by cutting dough evenly into 24
pieces; then roll each into a ball. Using 2 balls for each snowman, stacking
each into a snowman.

Divide remaining 1/4 of dough in half. Knead 1 drop blue food coloring into
one half. Wash hands. Divide remaining dough in half. Knead 1 drop red and 2
drops yellow food coloring into other half to make orange for the carrot
noses. Leave remaining 1/4 dough white.

For each snowman, press on 100's and 1000's or small candy sprinkles for
mouth (use 4), eyes, and 3 buttons (leave some snowman without buttons, if
desired). Form a scarf, hat or earmuffs out of blue dough, with white trim.
Form nose out of orange dough. Press features in place.

Store in refrigerator. Makes 12.

I was feeling creative today so I decided to try and create the Grinch. My Grinch snowman looks nothing like the real Grinch, but it's still pretty darn cute. After we finished making all 12 snowmen, I used the extra dough to create an orange Christmas tree with a blue garland, green ornaments, and a green star tree topper.

I love this recipe, because it's easy to change it up and be creative. Dye the dough red and blue for Valentine's Day or split the extra white dough in half and dye 1/2 red and 1/2 green. The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We made it!

After a turbulent, five-hour flight and a two-hour drive, we've arrived at our destination in Southern California!

My grandpa drove down to the LA airport to pick us up. We were accompanied by sunny skies but the wind was ferocious and the traffic was atrocious in places. Well, that's Southern CA for ya... We stopped at a Taco Bell for a late lunch and it was a good break from the road. I just ordered a small sweet tea because I packed myself a pb+j sandwich and cheez-its to eat on the plane. Jon ordered a box of three different items on the menu because he was starved.

We're staying with my grandparents and it's so nice to see them. So far we've enjoyed homemade cornbread and three bean soup and a walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.

I'm excited for tomorrow and the rest of this break!

3 Days Away!

In just 3 days Christmas will be here! My family and I already opened up our gifts tonight since we're leaving for California tomorrow. The gifts my parents gave me weren't very exciting at all, but at least I enjoyed watching my family open their gifts. 

Afterwards I had an online virtual party with friends on a website for cavy owners. I don't own any anymore, but I'm definitely planning on getting more in a couple of years. We had a Secret Santa gift exchange so we got together to open our gifts and just hang out. It was tons of fun and I received great gifts, including a Starbucks kit with a green mug, cookies, and coffee. 

In the midst of all of the bright holiday lights, decorations, and parties, it's easy to be overwhelmed and stressed. Take a moment to relax and reflect on the real reason for Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. 

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you,
one whose origins are from the distant past.
The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies
until the woman in labor gives birth.
Then at last his fellow countrymen
will return from exile to their own land.
And he will stand to lead his flock with the LORD’s strength,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
for he will be highly honored around the world.
And he will be the source of peace.

-Micah 5:2-5

If you're looking for some new tunes to listen to this Christmas season, I have just the album for you! A Merry Mixtape has six songs and it's free on NoiseTrade! My favorite song on the album is While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks with Hallelujah. Let me know what yours is if you download the album!

The next time I post I should be in California!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Visiting Grandpa and Grandma.

My dad, mom and I went to visit my grandparents and give them Christmas presents since we'll be in California for Christmas. It's nice that even though my grandma has dementia and has to live in a nursing home, my grandpa is able to live right next door in assisted living. I hadn't seen them since August so it was good that I could visit them. My grandma recognized me and even gave me a kiss on the cheek before we left, which was really sweet of her.

Day 4 {December 19th} of Adventures with Twitch:

Day 5 {December 20th} of Adventures with Twitch:

Sorry that these photos aren't very good. I was meaning to take better shots, but I kept on forgetting to take them earlier in the day so by the time I took them it was late at night and I had very few options. Hopefully tomorrow's picture will be better!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Church and Silly Sunday Nights.

My family usually attends the early 9 am service at our church, Grace, but this Sunday my mom told me I could sleep in and we'd go to the later service at 10:30 am (actually, my parents and brothers had classes to go to then and we went to the 12 pm service, but I went to both services because I wanted to). My friend Bethany saw me looking for someone to sit with and generously offered to let me sit next to her and her boyfriend.

Pastor Jonathan's message hit me square in the heart, like so many others have in a convicting, reviving way. Yesterday his message was taken from John 4-5 and he talked about how we need to ask for healing and being set from sin. Often as of late, I have been struggling with knowing why we should pray, but the message just affirmed exactly why we need to. Read the rest of the story here.

My brothers can become so silly it gets rather out of hand in a maddening sort of way. Tonight was one of those nights. Christopher and I played Boggle in the hall while Jon sat and watched us, singing along with the radio and dropping hints about hidden words. In our last round of Boggle, Christopher set the timer for 20 minutes, or some other outrageous amount of time, and eventually he broke the news to me. We ended up with a longer list of words than usual, and both of us quit writing early because we couldn't find any more words.

After the game, Christopher gave me tons of hugs and kisses and tried to figure out what his Christmas presents are. He was unsuccessful for the most part, even though he groped around inside the bags that his presents are packaged in. (We actually get to open our gifts early on Wednesday because we're going to California later this week and it would cost too much to take them along.) Then he plucked a plastic icicle from the Christmas tree and ran around the room attacking Jon and I with it. Eventually he grew tired and took a nap on the couch. I jokingly said that he was waiting for Santa Claus to come. He's just a few days early. Six to be exact. ;)

Sweet dreams, Christopher!

Day 3 {December 18th} of Adventures with Twitch:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Adventures with Twitch.

Just for fun, I've started a little project. Every day until the end of 2011 (or maybe until the end of break, if I decide to continue that long), I'll take a photo of Twitch, my little ty stuffed animal, and share it here. Some days I'll share stories or updates and other days I may just post the photo by itself. The first two days are already done and here they are!

Day 1 {December 16th}:

I got back home after a 3-hour drive and hung out with my brothers for a while. They gave me tons of hugs and whispered silly secrets in my ears.

Day 2 {December 17th}:

Yesterday I slept in late, wrapped several Christmas presents, took photos of Christopher playing in the snow and played the Paper Game with the family we had over for dinner. We spent the evening whispering, laughing, poking one another, and talking about Justin Bieber. Lol.

The Grinch has captured Twitch and is about to make her carry his sleigh full of presents up to the top of the mountain like he made his dog Max do before, but Twitch is planning on escaping before he does...

Where is one place you would never expect to see Twitch? I might just try and attempt the best idea you can give me. ;)

Scavenger Hunt Sunday: December 18th

1. What is it?

My brother Christopher wanted to do a craft with me yesterday afternoon. We didn't have much time before dinner, but I surfed Pinterest and found this easy tutorial for making paper snowflakes, so we decided to make a few. I think Christopher enjoyed himself. This is part of one of my snowflakes.

2. Children/Fur Babies Sleeping

There are no children or fur babies around to capture, but I went back through my archives and found this photo from July when I was staying with another family who have a cute little white dog named Ixi. She doesn't look asleep here, but I think she was about to doze off...

3. Joy

Joy to the World, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

The Savior of the world has indeed come! He entered this world as a baby, and lived among us {the human race}. There is no greater joy than knowing Jesus Christ as LORD.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” -Luke 2:8-12

4. Window

Jingle bells on the window sill and snow falling peacefully outside remind me of the Polar Express. If you haven't seen the movie, you should! It's one of my favorite Christmas movies along with Santa Claus and Kristmas with the Kranks. I especially love the song When Christmas Comes to Town.

5. Half

One night during finals week I was in a really strange artsy mood so I decided to give myself two temporary tattoos and this is one of them. It's stretching the prompt, but I think it counts because only half of both of my feet are visible.

Scavenger Hunt Sunday