Thursday, December 31, 2009

Relfecting on 2009, Looking ahead to 2010

A few weeks ago I came across my goals that I set for myself this year and was taken back by how much and how little I did. 2009 really has been a rough year for me. Most too personal to share here, but with the amount of stress I honestly feel I lost the entire year. Yes, there has been some good like my beautiful new Lucy and many new friends! I have much to be grateful for such as the opportunity to be a full stay-at-home-mom, something I wanted for years. I have a beautiful house and a wonderful family.

After a stressful year, more realistic is a stressful 18 months with the move, I am ready to finally settle into my house, get back to my routines & schedules, and try to be a better me.

First, a look back to the goals I set for this year and how I actually did.

1. Lose the weight I gained during the move. Failed, but not entirely on purpose. I had a beautiful baby in October and that means there is weight gain.

2. Cook More. I did well at this for a few months and then failed. Being a zombie during pregnancy followed with bed rest didn't help me any.

3. Potty train Livy. Completed twice! During the end of my pregnancy Livy completed reverted back to diapers. She has done super for several weeks and we are well on our way!

4. Spend less time in front of the computer. Failed again, but not much else to do while on bed rest. Now it's even a harder habit to break but I will!

5. Get our Food Storage. We certainly have added to it with some home canning and other great deals.

What do I want to get out of the new year? I want to look back and feel that I did something, even if very small, that improved me. Something that helped me be a better person.

The biggest goal is to get back into my routines that I pushed aside while pregnant. How ever simple these may be, I want better habits for myself and my family.

I have actually spent months on figuring out what I want to accomplish. (I know "months" may seem extreme, but that was one thing I did while on bed rest.) I thought of the little things that are not working in my day-to-day life, how I wanted to improve as a wife & mother, and what I wanted to work on for me.

Somethings are simply too personal to share here. What it boils down to is that I want to become more what this blog is titled, Classy. Becoming a little more classy can be several things from being more organized, taking care of myself, being a better mother and accomplishing long overdue projects.

A few things that I want to work on in 2010:

  • Take better care of myself! I let so much slide while pregnant and on bed rest. It's time to treat myself better. This includes exercise more, making healthier meals, and never going to bed with make-up on. (I am guilty!)
  • Use better etiquette. I'm fairly good with this, but there is always room for improvement.
  • Have nicer meals together as a family. Actually set the table! In the past year dinnertime seams to be too rushed and I have slacked on the simple things.
  • Limit computer time. I need to focus more on my children and not on facebook or blogs. In a schedule I have created for myself, there will be limited time for these things. I will still have connections to the outside world and fulfill my duties.
  • Bake something new every month. If you know me, I truly do not like to cook. I am hoping that if I try out a new recipe or technique that perhaps I will start to enjoy it more. Plus this could be helpful for my next goal.
  • Entertain more. I said that I would do that this past year and hosted a few dinner parties, but that wasn't enough for me. I would like to invite someone over every month for at least dessert.
  • Organize the entire house. This one is a little lofty, but I want to at least go through every room once during the year and make sure it's functioning for it's purpose. I have boxes to sort through from the move (over a year ago!) and I want to find something that is lost and treasured.
  • Plant a veggie garden. I planted one last year that was taken over by weeds. I should know from my first pregnancy and completely killing that garden too that I can not have a garden while pregnant. This year I want to try square-foot gardening.
  • Preschool with Livy. I purchased activities right before I became pregnant and failed at doing much with her.
There are so many more things that I want to accomplish in the New Year. I am hoping that as I work on various goals that I can post them here. Perhaps I way of checking in on myself to stay on track. There will be somethings that I don't post about and other things that are not listed above. Like I said, my list is rather lengthy. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Many of the things are rather small so perhaps it's good.

My wish for you is a New Year filled with all that you love! May happiness and good luck find you!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Nearly a year ago I read about Strumpfhosen on a blog, The Brandenburg Diaries. I thought the idea of Strumpfhosen was very interesting and I simply had to ask my German penpal if she also used Strumpfhosen.

A week or so ago I received a package from my penpal with a pair of Strumpfhosen for Lucy. I can't tell you how excited I was!!! I'm sure my sweet husband, Eduardo, thought I was acting a little strange with the excitement over something so simple.

These are Strumpfhosen, thick stockings. Aren't they beyond cute!

They are worn under pants in the winter time. When the young child is at home typically they are running around in just the Strumpfhosen and when you head out the pants go on. It's all about layering.

I have always loved reading about other cultures. I love the little things that other people do that are different from me. Things that they might not know is different unless a foreigner notices those things. I'm on the look out for blogs that talks about these little things. Things from everyday life that one might think is normal and another may think find it different. If you know of any, please pass them on!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Recap

I neglected to post our countdown to Christmas for days 23 and 24. I was busy spending time with my family and then I got hit with a clean everything out and get rid of it all bug.

For our advent, Day 23 was simply spent together.

Day 24 was Christmas Eve and that meant our Christmas Eve celebration. Eduardo had the day off so we were able to spend the day together. That evening we took our annual pictures in front of the Christmas Tree. It was difficult selecting one. Either Lucy was crying or looking away from the camera or Livy was acting silly.
Eduardo is a fantastic cook and made us a feast! After dinner he read to us from the Bible the Christmas story. Livy didn't do very well listening, but it's something. I know that she will get better listening to the scriptures with time.

Finally it was time for Livy to open one present. As a tradition from my childhood, we always opened one gift on Christmas Eve and it was always new pajamas. I remember complaining as a child that we didn't want new pajamas but there was something special about going to bed and waiting Santa's arrival in new PJs.

Soon it was time for bed. We set out milk and cookies and put one very excited little girl to bed. Surprisingly, there were no protests and sleep found Livy quickly.

Eduardo and I stayed up and played a new game together, Ticket to Ride. Fun game, quick play and fast to learn. I kept an eye on NORAD waiting for Santa to be nearing us so we could head to bed. Livy was too young this year to understand tracking Santa, but I sure had fun with it!

I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On the Twenty-Second Day of Christmas

See the decorated houses in our neighborhood

This was one advent activity that Livy truly loved and looked forward to. For days she's been wanting to go out and see the lights on the houses. I figured, why not turn it into an activity! We substituted this one for a previously planned activity.

We headed out with more goodies to take to neighbors & friends and drove super slow to see every detail. Of course, people probably thought we were being cautious on the freshly fallen snow. (This should mean we get to have a white Christmas!)

This house was voted by us as the best. I'm not a huge fan of icicle lights, but these colored ones were really pretty. The picture doesn't do it justice (they never do).

To see the other activities that we have done to countdown to Christmas: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20, Day 21

Monday, December 21, 2009

On the Twenty-First Day of Christmas

Make a Gingerbread House

This was one activity I wasn't too sure about. I kept thinking to myself that this is going to turn into a huge mess and fight with the candy and icing. Luckily, it was a simple project (I really like those) with very few problems.

I was given a gingerbread house kit after Christmas last year and ended up putting it away. Pulling it out this year, with the cookies smelling like cardboard, I knew it was still good enough to assemble. Since it was so old, I absolutely did not want Livy eating any of it. She did excellent at not sampling it.

Livy took her time adding each piece of candy to their proper places. The focus she had was great.

This is an activity that we will repeat next year (with a new kit)!

To see the other activities that we have done to countdown to Christmas: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20

Sunday, December 20, 2009

On the Twentieth Day of Christmas

Attend our Family Christmas Party

This evening we attended my family's annual Christmas Party. For several years we make homemade gifts to give out. I must say that I have some pretty talented people in my family! My homemade jam (which is super yummy) was nothing compared to the gifts given out this year!

Livy received this from her Grandma. At first it looks like a crocheted bag until you open it.

Inside you find a small baby doll and a blanket. The bag then turns into a bed.

Also from my mom, Lucy received the beautiful purple blanket which matches her room. The multi-colored blanket came in the mail from my aunt.

My sister and her girls made these simple but adorable mushrooms. The top is a sea shell and the bottom drift wood from their vacation to Hawaii. The picture doesn't do it justice! This little guy is a perfect decoration in a houseplant.

For my nieces, my mom made backpacks

And fish bags

I love knowing that thought went into each of these gifts and very little money was spent.

To see the other activities that we have done to countdown to Christmas: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19

Saturday, December 19, 2009

On the Eighteenth & Nineteenth Days of Christmas

Attend the Ward Christmas Party

Every year we like to attend our ward's Christmas party at the church. There is always good food, friends to chat with and a Christmas program. This year they ended the party with a visit from Santa. It's been years since I've been in a ward that has Santa come. I understand they want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, but I believe that if Santa is done the right way he fit's into our Christmas celebration. Santa symbolizes generosity and goodwill, two very Christ-like characteristics. We simply need to emphasize that.

Have a special breakfast

Saturday morning Eduardo made a special breakfast for us. Yummy Santa pancakes!

It would have been better if Livy actually ate her breakfast, but she had fun showing her horses Santa. I guess the thought of eating Santa was too much.

To see the other activities that we have done to countdown to Christmas: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On the Seventeenth Day of Christmas

Watch a Christmas Movie together

We had originally planned on watching "A Christmas Carol" together. Livy wanted to watch "Signing Time" so we compromised and did The Nativity instead.

This is a beautiful show with very little speaking and only 5 minutes long. I have seen it dozens of times and each time it brings tears to my eyes. I love being able to remind Livy that even though Santa and getting presents are fun, that there is something else that we are celebrating. The true meaning of Christmas! The birth of our Savior!

I was able to find it on YouTube. Enjoy!

To see the other activities that we have done to countdown to Christmas: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16

Free personalized video message from Santa!

I just came across this on another blog and simply had to create one for Livy. This is a free video message from Santa! I entered some simple information like her name, age and where we live. I selected something that she's been working on (being nice to her sister) and what she will receive for Christmas. Super cute! Livy thought it was the neatest thing to see a message from Santa and to see a picture of herself in Santa's book!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the Sixteenth Day of Christmas

Play in the Snow

Wednesday's advent activity was supposed to be a snowy fun day outside, but instead we thankfully were hit with some warmer temperatures and melting snow. We did do some playing on Sunday after a storm (I can count that right?!)

Instead of doing an actual activity, we spent the day at our last Kindermusik class for the year, grocery shopping, and reading books.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On the Fifteenth Day of Christmas

Go to the bookstore, pick out a new Christmas book and read together

Another simple advent activity, but something that we love to do. A few weeks ago while out Christmas shopping, Livy and I stopped in the bookstore to pick out a new Christmas book for our family. For several years we always get a new book to share together. The Night Before Christmas was Livy's choice (no surprise considering she loves Santa). Tonight we cuddled up together by our Christmas tree and enjoyed the pictures in this fun classic.

My good friend shared a fun tradition that she does with her family. Something that I may have to try next Christmas! She takes 24 books (or more if you start the day after Thanksgiving) and wraps them all up and places them under the tree. Every night the children get to choose one "gift" to open and they read it together. I love this fun way to count down to Christmas, plus it probably helps the children who are so eager to open gifts. Oh! I just had a thought with this, how about making it to where the last book chosen under the tree was the bible and on Christmas Eve you share the Nativity story. We always like to read this on Christmas Eve!

To see the other activities that we have done to countdown to Christmas: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Traditions: Pillowcases

Last year I was inspired by several ideas in the book "Twelve Days of Christmas: Ideas for a More Meaningful Holiday Season." One idea was to give each person a special Christmas pillowcase. I thought, what a wonderful idea but why limit it just to Christmas?!

In my mind I thought as a child, eager and excited to sleep on a special pillowcase only brought out once a year. Something that would remind me of traditions and special celebrations. I want this for my children so slowly this year I have created several pillowcases for Livy. (Valentines, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween).

To continue the magic I hope my children feel around the various holidays, I finally made Livy a Christmas pillowcase.

Livy literally couldn't wait to try it out.

On the Fourteenth Day of Christmas

Family Game Night

We love games at our house so it was only natural to include it in our family advent! Livy chose to play Mighty Mind, which is challenging and educational.

To see the other activities that we have done to countdown to Christmas: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13

Sunday, December 13, 2009

On the Thirteenth Day of Christmas

Dance to Christmas Music

Today we had a very simple activity, something that Livy loves to do. (I love how she puts her leg up when she dances. Perhaps she will be my ballerina in the future.)

To see the other activities that we have done to countdown to Christmas: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12

Saturday, December 12, 2009

On the Eleventh & Twelfth Days of Christmas

Decorate Cookies

For Friday's advent, we finally got out of the house and went to a friend's house for a play date. Livy and her friend decorated sugar cookies. I think she preferred eating the frosting than decorating. We had a great time!

A Santa Day!

Saturday was a very special day, filled with two visits with Santa!

One thing that I love about where I live is that during this time of year Santa comes to town to visit the kids. He rides on the back of a fire truck and goes up and down every street. While the siren calls out his arrival, the children gather outside their homes for a chance to wave to Santa and get a special treat.

I was hoping to get a good picture of Santa on the firetruck, but I was too busy waving with Livy. Here you can barely see him on the truck and the people out to meet him.

After our morning visit with Santa, we headed to the city for Eduardo's Lodges Annual Family Christmas Party.

There was plenty of food, crafts and a fun bounce house for the children. And a special visit from Santa.

When Santa entered the room, Livy's face lit up with a huge smile. She quickly got up and ran to give him a hug. Later when he was getting settled she came back to the table where we were crafting, to get an ornament to give to Santa. (I will remember next year not to dress the girls in red when taking pictures with Santa, they blended right into Santa's coat.)

I don't know if Livy was nervous or extra excited to see Santa, but whenever he would ask her a question, Livy would smile (huge grin) and nod her head. He could have asked her anything and she would have agreed to it.

Livy loves Santa. I hope that she will always love him and what he symbolizes; generosity and good will and make that a part of her life.

To see the other activities that we have done to countdown to Christmas: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10