Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I'm not a big fan of shopping. I don't like crowds and driving and parking - especially during the holidays. My kids introduced me to this  website that I love. I was able to buy some really fun Plan toy sets (dollhouse and parking garage)  for Christmas and a few little things for myself - all at half price or less :)

It's called Haute Look and it's free. You just register here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Surfing the Web

Saturday's Deseret News had an article called "Time to waste? Just surf on over" with a list of fun websites.

I surfed and found some I will use:

Pandora - my family love this. It streams music based upon preferences deduced by the songs your choose. I tried it out during Christmas by putting in Bing Crosby's "White Christmas". Then it gave me hours of classic oldie Christmas music - fun!

Retail me not - a great coupon source with a list of each day's best deals.

Slick deals - this wasn't in the article but Jenny (J#3) found great deals on her Christmas shopping through this site. It has a regularly updated list of great shopping deals

Snopes - "where urban legends go to die"

This one is my favorite:

What should I read next? - enter the name of a book you like and it suggests others. If you register you can build a database of books you like and their suggestions.

I love to read and I'm always asking, "What is your favorite book?"  Here's my latest favorite. It's been spreading through the family and multiplying (a couple of kids got it for Christmas) - Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Be forewarned. If you read it, you will rush to buy the sequel - Catching Fire. That one also will leave you gasping for more - and we all have to wait until August for the 3rd book in the series.

Speaking of books - check out these gorgeous editions of  some old favorites, including my all time favorite, Pride and Prejudice.

You can buy them on Amazon. The illustrator is Coralie Bickford-Smith - so just search her name.

We had a dinner table discussion with our family last Thanksgiving about everyone's favorite books. I remembered and then bought most of them as a Christmas gift for Jamie (youngest J). Here are a few I included:

  • Hunger Games and Catching Fire

  • The Road

  • The Thirteenth Tale


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Flourless Treat

I just made these Coconut Macaroons and topped them with melted Sharffen Berger chocolate.

They were wickedly good.

(I added some almond extract to the recipe)

Christmas 2010

Yes - I'm already planning Christmas for next year.

The family grew and changed during our three year mission. So we had to figure out where we fit into their new Christmas traditions.

We tried a few things this year and then asked the 5 Js (our 5 kids all have J names) what they liked and what to change.

Here's the list for next year:

Christmas Day prime rib dinner - fabulous! But make it pot luck next year so I can enjoy the day. And be sure to make this spinach casserole again - yum!

Dessert - Don't fuss so much. Keep it simple. No one is very hungry after dinner anyway.

China and crystal table settings for dinner - too much work!

So I'm collecting fun inexpensive dishwasher-safe Christmas plates for next year. The kids suggested paper - but I just can't eat prime rib on paper plates.

Sleeping over on Christmas Eve at one of the 5 Js house - perfect!

Lisa and Justin cooking turkey on Christmas Eve dinner - I loved it!

Family Christmas party during the week before Christmas - needs some modification. It's almost impossible to keep four one-year-olds involved and happy. Will four two-year-olds be better? Not a chance. We tried a white elephant game with the family and that does not work with little ones. Here is something that does entertain one year olds - a bowl of snow!

Family service project - definitely a keeper

Film family nativity - each year we made a film of the kids acting out the nativity. What a fun collection to watch each Christmas! We need to get some fun costumes and be more organized about it - maybe film early in December. This year's nativity was a bit hectic!

Things to add:

Story book countdown to Christmas - I'd like to give a new Christmas story book to each family in late November to add to their collection. They can wrap the books and use them to countdown to Christmas as they open a book each night for bedtime stories.

Family craft - Find a kid friendly craft to make an ornament for the tree each year.

Read the Gospels - I want more time for the spiritual side of Christmas. Next year I'd like to challenge family members to read the four Gospels before Christmas and come to a family gathering prepared to share something they learned.

I'd love more ideas - what works best for you?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Back in control

I hope!

Post mission adjustment, reconnecting with family, organizing house, learning new calling - all are well underway.

Now maybe I'll be able to get back to regular blogging.

That is the plan for 2010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It’s Christmas!

And I added another year to our Christmas greeting blog.

You can see it here

Sunday, December 6, 2009