Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry Christmas

Traditionally, I write a blog post that includes an edited version of our family Christmas letter each year.  Here is this year's. (For privacy sake, I only shared the first letter of my kids' names.) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our friends and family!

The picture above is from our visit to see my parents in Virginia. My dad has had trouble with dementia for the past couple years. 2014 has been an especially confusing year for him. One benefit, though, was that during our visit he couldn’t remember any trouble the kids had gotten into in the past. We had a fun time with him.

Our kids are blessed to have dedicated grandparents. Eric’s mom lives near us in Utah and also stays involved with the kids.

Eric still works as full-time editor for a group of private schools. He has now been the bishop of our little congregation for five years. This is a crazy time of year for him as he tries to help those in need. The kids enjoy helping him make visits.

Becky had another book come out in August, but an even greater triumph is that she got Eric to take ballroom dance lessons with her.

E, our oldest, graduated as the valedictorian from her high school. She is currently studying math and health education at Utah State University.

L is a senior this year, so he’ll be flying the coop next. He got his first job this year working at a nearby Boy Scout camp. He still enjoys Tae Kwon Do.

B1 is in 9th grade and has learned to play saxophone as well as piano. This summer, he finished his Eagle project, which involved cleaning up gang graffiti.

B2 is in 7th grade. He and his younger brother had fun being on the same water polo team this year. He enjoyed playing goalie and blocking lots of goals.

N started playing the piano last Spring. He also started cub scouts this year, which has been fun because I'm the wolf den leader.

Our youngest is in his final year of preschool. He is learning his ABCs. He also learned to swim this summer.

We love the words of the Christmas carol: “God rest ye merry, gentlemen,
let nothing you dismay.  Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day . . . ”

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Our Family Wassail Recipe

Wassail is one of our family favorite holiday treats. I like it because it's easy and makes the house smell nice. My kids like it because it's yummy. My youngest affectionately refers to it as "weasle", so if he tells you we're eating weasle over here, you'll know what he's talking about. (Don't tell my kids, but it's also kind of healthy compared to most holiday treats.) Here's my recipe:


1 can frozen orange juice
1 can frozen apple juice
6 cans of water
2 sticks of cinnamon
5 cloves
1/4 cup of brown sugar (more or less to taste)

Mix all ingredients together in a big pot on the stove. I usually heat it at medium until it's almost boiling. Then I turn the heat down to the lowest setting. The longer you leave it on the stove, the better it tastes, but you might have to add more water.

Optional: You can use twice as much apple juice if you prefer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Barely Hanging on in December

My kids have been having fun messing up the Christmas decorations, and this little wise man hanging by his neck from the mantle seems a little too symbolic.It's the first week of December, and I'm really behind. Sound familiar? This week we've had the flu, I found out my dad's in the hospital, my husband is running around like crazy trying to do his church service, and I've got a birthday party to plan. 

Isn't it crazy how hectic Christmas can be? Especially for those of us who believe in Christ. After all, the Savior was born in a stable. I'm sure he never intended us to celebrate his birth by getting stressed out.

I'd like to think I could do without all the material aspects of Christmas. But that's not always the best idea if you have kids. Luckily, I have Amazon. (If I order today or tomorrow, most things will arrive in plenty of time.) Once I get that done, I'm back to the non-materialistic stuff--playing Christmas music, reading stories, and loving others.

I am grateful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. I have felt the peace that comes from His forgiveness and the joy that comes from following His example. This video sums up my feelings about the gift of His love in my life: