An update is long, long overdue I suppose. To anyone still reading, I must admit that my blog is no longer much of a priority in my life these days. I will post soon on the new direction in which I'm being led, but for today, I'll just take time to share some photos and some of what we've been up to the last couple of months.
All of the following pictures are from my IPhone, so not the best quality, but I seem to always have it handy, and it's so much easier than dragging out my big DSLR. You've probably seen most of these if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter :)
We've been doing lots of things to celebrate the season. The boys each received a personalized video from Santa....here they are watching their videos!
If interested, you can check out their website at www.portablenorthpole.com
After the boys made their own individual ginger bread houses out of graham crackers, Emily made us a real one....
The homemade ginger bread is SO much better than what you get in a kit, and we were actually able to eat the house instead of just throwing it away!
Matthew lost his first tooth, but it came out in a bite of food, and he unknowingly swallowed it! So he wrote this note to the tooth fairy ;)
Our Elf on the Shelf has been up to no good....
We found him in our fridge one morning with a half-eaten cup of pudding!
Jacob sang in his preschool Christmas concert. So sweet :)
Our precious little angels :)
Buddy, our elf, found yet another unique hiding spot....
And Jacob finished his first season of basketball!! He loved it and is looking forward to playing again next year. We were so impressed with his skills and his ability to dribble the ball when all the other kids just raced down the court with the ball tucked under their arms ;)
Sophie's passport came in the mail last week. She's headed to Africa in March with my parents. More specifically, she's going to Tanzania on a safari!!! If you've been reading here for a while, then you know that my parents have pledged to take each one of their grandchildren on a trip anywhere in the world that they want to go (within reason, of course!). Emily went to Ecuador several years ago to the rainforest, and Allie went to Paris and London the summer before her senior year in high school.
Since raising 8 children doesn't allow us the opportunity to travel outside of the country, or even to fly anywhere at all, we are very thankful for this gift to our children! Josh is already planning his trip and is considering places like Borneo, Alaska and Italy :)
Caleb found some fun hand-me-down Christmas jammies, and he absolutely LOVES them :) It's so cute to watch him wear the hat the entire time....he's a hat kid!
Our church gave us a way to remember to keep Christ as an important part of our holiday season. We are lighting a candle and placing it on our front porch to burn all night after reading scripture relating to Christ bringing light into our lives. The very first night we lit our candle, we chose to light it in remembrance of the victims of Sandy Hook.
Speaking of scripture, the boys are each responsible for writing and remembering a bible verse each week. This past week, I decided that I wanted them to learn the 10 Commandments....5 at a time. So Matthew had a lot of copy work to do ;) This picture is of the sheet that I wrote for him to copy....his isn't quite so neat ;)
We've been busy with our holiday baking. On this year's list:
chocolate thumbprint cookies
chocolate almond biscotti
peanut butter fudge
frosted sugar cookies
Emily did most of the baking, and I was happy to let her :) I did quarter 4 cups of gumdrops for the gumdrop cookies however....a VERY tedious job!
Here's the biscotti.....just YUM :)
Josh is finishing up his finals today. I snapped this shot of all the girls helping him study for his history final the other night.....it takes a gang ;)
Here's a shot of the pile of sugar cookies we made....we will spend today frosting them, and I'm going to post my best frosting recipe at the end of this post for anyone interested!
A final shot of just some of what we've made....
That's it for pictures, but I wanted to give some updates about some other things too.
It seemed like it took forever for Allie to finally land a job, and now she actually has TWO! She was hired on initially as a cashier at Kohl's, but it was only for the holiday season. Knowing that she wouldn't have anything come January, she went ahead and applied to Panera when they were hiring, and she was able to get a job as a cashier with them as well! She's currently juggling both jobs, working full-time at Kohl's while training part-time at Panera. Her last day at Kohl's will be Sunday, and then she will have a break until the first of the year to join us on our family vacation. We have missed having her around, but are thoroughly enjoying the stories she comes home from work with each and every night.....WOW....people are crazy ;)
Speaking of vacation, we are so excited to be heading north to Tennessee the day after Christmas. We will be staying in a log cabin for the week between Christmas and New Year's, enjoying skiing and snow tubing....oh, and just relaxing!!!!
And we'll need the rest, because when we return, we will begin to pack up our house once more. We are officially in our lease through March, but my husband is in the final stages of interviewing with 2 separate companies and is expecting to have at least one job offer within the first 2 weeks of January. One job will keep us here...one will take us to Chicago!
We are very hopeful for the job here, as we love the area, love being close to the ocean and love the mild weather. We do miss the snow, but we can get our fix in Tennessee when we really need one ;) We also love our church and are very involved in the children's ministry, so it will be nice to stay. We have already found a house here and are putting an offer on it today. It will be contingent on Zack getting the job here, but it's a place to start. We're really excited about it as it's way north of our current location- that means out of town and out of traffic! It's also on 3 acres with farms all around. You can see and hear the cows just across the road :) We're ready for some real space.
We bought our first gun over the Thanksgiving holiday, and we are about to become official members of the NRA....can't wait for the comments I know are coming on that one :)
Well, that's all for now! Don't know that I'll post again before Christmas, so let me wish you all a wonderful Christmas!
And, in case you happen to be frosting sugar cookies in the next few days, let me leave you with this fabulous recipe for frosting:
1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
4 tablespoons water
2 lbs powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder (Wilton- can get at Michael's)
Mix butter and shortening in mixer until no chunks- add all liquids-add powdered sugar-add meringue powder
I double this recipe, but then, we need LOTS of frosting ;)