Saturday, November 16, 2013

Christmas Wish List and Kids Letter to Santa!

Christmas time is rapidly approaching once again and I put together a couple of fun things for my kids for Christmas this year. I thought I would share them in case anyone wanted to use them for their kids, or nieces and nephews, grandkids, neighbor kids, kids you tend or babysit, yourself, your spouse or significant other, whatever! They're just here if you want to use them! They're both in PDF form and you should be able to download them from here.

The first one is a letter to Santa. It's a "fill in the blanks" kind of thing. When my kids were too young to write the letter themselves I would fill it in for them and have them color a picture to include with the letter.

The second one is the Wish List.  I did a wish list last year but I like this one so much better because in addition to things that the kids want, it includes a list of favorites to think about for gift giving.  Because let's face it!  Everyone's preferences change all the time!  ESPECIALLY kids!  So here is a link to the Wish List PDF!  Enjoy!

*My apologies!  I didn't realize I had the PDF's set to private so that people had to request to download them.  I have reset it so that anyone should be able to download these PDF's from these links without requesting permission.  Thank you, everyone!

Down load the Letter to Santa here ---->  Letter to Santa

Down load the Wish List here ---->  Wish List


Saturday, October 20, 2012


Well, a while back I discovered myself on board a bandwagon that I had kept telling myself I wasn't going to jump on. But seriously, I am SO glad I did! Even though Pinterest is quite addicting, I can honestly say that it has been a LOT more useful in my every day life than so many other things that I've found myself sucked into. I kept seeing all of these great pins with fabulous organizational ideas, which I definitely need HELP with! Something I especially need help with all the time is creative ways to help keep my kids motivated to do their chores! There were literally HUNDREDS of fantastic ideas for chore motivation that I spent countless hours perusing. Of course, when I look for things like this I have to consider that I need something that will cover all my bases, and when I say bases, I mean all 4 of my kids. I had my kids in pairs and the older 2 kids are currently 14 & 12 (soon to be 13) and the younger 2 kids are currently 7 & 5 (soon to be 6). So I definitely wanted to find something that will work for both my older kids and my younger kids. I found the punch card idea on Pinterest and instantly saw the motivational potential that would encompass both age groups. If only I could find a template or already made punch card that would suite my specific needs! Alas, I did not find what I was looking for so I spent a little time outlining what I wanted from these chore punch cards. Then I went onto pinterest and looked at as many of them as I could to get ideas so that I could try my hand at designing my own! I wanted the punch cards to give them the opportunity to earn money for doing extra chores. My older kids, especially, are always asking about ways they can earn money to buy things that they want so I thought this would be a great way to incorporate that. Their opportunity to earn money would also be very nice for me & Rich since it would lighten our house keeping load a bit, which is fantastic for two very busy parents that also work full-time. I also wanted the punch cards to incorporate the regular chores that they do each day as part of their family responsibilities. The kids each have 2 chores they are responsible for each day and they switch off every other week so I made up 4 different punch cards with those chores on them. Then I made up a list of chores that the kids could do to earn money. The list has each chore numbered and when they do one of the chores they just write the number in the punch space. I am really excited to see how well this punch card chore system is received and if it is a good way to keep them motivated to do their chores! I'll have to let you know but in the mean time here is what I came up with.
I posted the Paid Chores List on the bulletin board for them to reference and I think we are going to get this party started!!! *I did save these punch cards as a template that can be fully customized so if you're interested in using it just leave a comment!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Christmas Traditions

I know what you're all thinking, CHRISTMAS! REALLY? Well, yeah. I have been thinking about Christmas a lot lately. I don't know why but I just have. I'm thinking that perhaps it's a desire to be better prepared. Perhaps it's an unconscious fear... of things. Who knows what it is but I've been thinking about it a lot. I've only got a few gifts set aside for Christmas 2011 so far and I haven't even begun thinking about some things! lol

Christmas has been my absolute favorite time of year for such a long time. I love the spirit that surrounds Christmas and the feeling it gives you. I love trying to come up with creative gifts that are perfect for the person that I give it to. I adore everything that comes with, around and about Christmas but this last year was a little harder for me. I had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit and we all know why. I know that it was even expected that it would be more difficult last year but it doesn't change how much I missed feeling the way I usually do at Christmas time. You all know how much I love Christmas, how I start listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies in like September or October and DEFINITELY by November 1st at the LATEST! I start my planning in June. Heck, I've already got a handful of gifts purchased and in the Christmas Closet already! Oh yeah, and then I guess there's the fact that I have a Christmas Closet. Our Christmas Closet is a stand alone closet, the type you would have in your garage, that has double doors on it that lock. We actually have 4 or 5 of these closets in our garage and one of them is dedicated to hiding gifts for Easter, birthdays and Christmas. It's the only one that has keys so that it can be locked. I wonder if someday the kids will discover it? LOL Well, for now, I think this secret is safe.

So this brings me to the reason for this post. I know it seems out of place to be writing about Christmas in May but it's been a long time since I've posted so I figured I have to jump in somewhere and this is what I've been thinking about lately. For the purpose of not forgetting, I started making a list of all the Christmas traditions that we have started with our family over the years. It was fun really thinking about all the little things we do. I decided to make the list because it seemed like every year I am always worried that I'm forgetting something and every year I almost always do! The other reason I wanted to make this list is because there were a few traditions that I still wanted to make. The biggest one for me was our Christmas Eve dinner. For years I've been wanting to set a traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Every year I'm so busy on Christmas Eve getting neighbor gifts delivered, upholding other Christmas Eve traditions and making sure everything is ready for the next day that I am always scrambling to come up with something for dinner that night and I don't want it to be lame. When I was growing up we always had pizza for dinner on Christmas Eve, it was fun and unorthodox and we loved it! We had pizza because it was easy and fast and we were so busy with tons of other stuff that day. So I wanted to come up with a traditional Christmas Eve dinner and during the course of the few days that I was working on the list of our family traditions I thought of something perfect! So, this is also a list of traditions I would like to start!

I would also like to say that I would LOOOOOOVE to hear about everyone's Christmas traditions. I am always curious to know what kind of things other families do. I also would love to know how other families plan their gift giving. Most people I know adhere to strict family budgets and I'm sure that has to extend to Christmas for most. So I wonder what solutions other families have put in place to accomplish this and what kind of traditions have been set.

So, with no further ado, here it is. Our Family Christmas Traditions List (in no particular order)!

- One night of driving around to look at Christmas lights as a family
- Group photo of kids in front of Christmas tree and other decorations
- A night at the dollar store so the kids can pick out and buy gifts for each other
- Calendar gifts for Grandparents
- 5 individual gift limit (3 from Santa, 2 from parents, we're thinking of changing this to 4 total, just 1 from parents)
- Rhodes Dough orange rolls for Christmas Morning Breakfast
- 1st Christmas Story and Pajamas on Christmas Eve
- Funeral potatoes and ham for Christmas Eve dinner (*NEW!)
- Dinner for 2 families the week before Christmas
- Make and deliver neighbor gifts with the kids
- Christmas cards, in envelope, marked with the year, stored with the decorations
- Christmas photo albums (*NEW!)
- Christmas letters to grandparents (*NEW!)

I'm sure I will add more to these few as time goes on and I remember more but these are the results so far.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sawyer's Birthday, Kaiden's Birthday & Christmas

Well, here I am playing catch up with the blog again! I'm not sure but I've had a hard time settling down to work on it. So here is a quick catch up of things. I know we're practically half-way into March but I'm going to try!

Here are some cute pictures from Sawyers 3rd Birthday! It's just so unfair that my baby is 3 now! Sometimes I wish we could make them stay little for a little bit longer!!

Richard is the cake decorator at our house. He made Sawyer a Kipper cake. Sawyer loves the Kipper cartoons & he loved his cake!

Sawyer LOVES hats so Rafi got him a cool captain's hat and a package that had fake, adhesive mustaches! Everyone loved them and tried them on! How awesome is that!

Kaiden's birthday this year was, once again, 10 days before Christmas. Funny how that works out every year ;) lol Anyway, we had a pretty fun day and capped it off by having his favorite dinner and cake and presents.

He got this jean jacket that he had been wanting. Looks pretty sweet!

Rich showed his decorating talents once again when he made Kaiden this awesome Bulbasaur cake. (for those of you that don't have Pokemon obsessed children, Bulbasaur is one of the original 150 pokemon)

We really did have a pretty great Christmas this year even with the tragedy of loss one week before. The kids had a good time and we did manage to get a few pictures on Christmas morning. Somehow, we usually seem to forget to take pictures of Christmas morning but we remembered this time and I'm glad!

I love to get a picture of the tree after Santa has come but before the kids get up in the morning.

All of the kids got these cool Pirate Patches & earrings in their stockings.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Today is Christmas Day and I am glad to be home to celebrate it with my wonderful husband, children and brother. I got in yesterday afternoon after several blessed events that got me into Salt Lake much earlier than I should have originally arrived. We've had a great Christmas morning and a relaxing day. It has been so nice.

As many of you know I lost my sister very unexpectedly exactly one week ago today. Katalin passed away after giving birth to her first child. Even though, technically, Katalin is my stepsister she and her sisters have been a part of my life since she was a baby and I never refer to them with "step" in front of "sister" because I just don't think that way.

Right now I am still very numb. Sometimes, over the last few days, when there has been a lull in things to occupy my hands and mind despite my efforts to keep myself constantly busy; I find myself wondering how it is that life outside of this tragedy has continued to go on? When I think about it I don't understand how it is that the world around me has not completely ceased to function. I know, of course, the answer to this question. I have people in my life that still need me, that need life to continue as normal. Just as everyone does. We all need that and now there is someone else in my life that needs that too. Katalin and Oscar's son Benjamin is doing well and needs his world to continue even if it can't include his beautiful, caring and vivacious mother.

I know these thoughts are so random and may not make any sense but I feel I need to say something, I need to get it out.

While I was in North Carolina trying to be of some help to my family during this difficult time I was privileged to be able to create the video slide-show that was displayed at Katalin's viewing. It was not easy to look at all those pictures and remember her and then realize that I would not see her again for a long time, that she would never get to see her son grow up and I almost couldn't finish it. But I knew everyone was counting on this so I had to find some way to make it through it. I decided I had to see those pictures and remember the wonderful things about her and think about how her son needed to see this someday and know as much as possible about his mother and know without a shadow of doubt that his mother loved him dearly.

Here are a few pictures of Benjamin. He is still in the NICU but is doing well and the night that I left Wilmington I got to hold him! I didn't have my camera with me at that visit but Oscar and Christy took some pictures for me so as soon as I get those I will post them. Here are some pictures that I got of him a few days before.

I thought I would share the video with you. It's just a very simple slide-show but it shows how beautiful my sister is and there are a few pictures of Benjamin at the end but for some reason I can't get it to upload so I will keep working on it and post it as soon as I can.

In the meantime, isn't Benjamin beautiful?!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Playing Catch Up!

Well, I have been just horribly neglectful of the blog for the last several months but it really is time to make it up. So I'm going to play catch up in a little bit of a different way.

Back in August we took the family camping to this great camp ground in Idaho! I was SO excited! It has been FOREVER since the last time we went camping! This camp ground that we went to is very close to where Rich's grandparents used to live and when Rich was young and they would go visit his grandparents they would sometimes camp there. It closed several years ago but has just reopened again. It was a very lovely campground. We had a nice large campsite big enough for the kids to have lots of room to play. And the biggest highlight is their pool! They have a pool that is fed by the natural hot springs in the area and it is awesome! So even early in the morning when it's still pretty cold you can go swimming and it's pretty awesome because the water is SO nice and warm! I thought it was very nicely priced and we really did have a lot of fun!

While we were there we visited with one of Rich's Dads cousins and his wife. They live on a farm and it was such a treat for us! They pretty much live in the middle of nowhere in this hundred year old farm house. They were so nice to us and gave all of us a hayride! We had such a great little family vacation! It was a great way to spend our 12th Anniversary!

Here are some of the Pictures we got from our Camping Trip, enjoy!

Brenna's Birthday, Halloween & Rich's Birthday

My baby girl turned 4 back in September! I just can't believe it! Shortly after that we have Halloween and we had a blast this Halloween going trick or treating with cousins! It was awesome! A few days after Halloween is Rich's birthday. Here are some pictures from all of those events, hope you enjoy them!

Friday, July 24, 2009

We are Family!

Have I mentioned that I love my new job? Well, I do! It is so much fun to look at pictures of all of the Weddings and families and Brides and kids. Of course, my job is not ALL just sitting around looking at pictures but it is one of the nice perks! Well it's been well over 2 years since we've had a family picture done so I thought... what a perfect opportunity! We have a lot of great photographers at work so I asked Sarah to do our pictures. She is so fantastic and I thought the pictures turned out great! Hope you like them as much as I did!