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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas Highlights 2017 (back-dated)


As per our children's request, we skipped some of the Christmas festivities with our extended families to enjoy Christmas in our own beds and at our own home this year.  We did miss out on some things, but there really is nothing like a quiet Christmas morning with your own little family, something we haven't really done very much of.  It was absolutely wonderful. 

Christmas Eve was on a Sunday, and church services consisted of just sacrament meeting.  One awesome thing was we had our Christmas Eve dinner provided for us by Jason Phelps.  At our last ward auction, my mom bought a smoked turkey from him, and he figured this would be a good day to deliver on that.  It sure did not disappoint!  There was flavor all throughout it!  I think he may have actually injected it or brined it.  Anyway, we threw together a few sides to accompany that giant turkey he made.  We had so many leftovers, we decided to freeze half the turkey for later.

Amara and I planned what sounded like a fun Christmas Eve.  After dinner, we played some board games as a family at the table while enjoying a hot cocoa bar. 

The girls then opened their pajama gift and got showered up so they could be all ready for bed.  This year they got matching hogwarts pajamas.

 Then we piled in the car barefooted and with blankets and headed out to look at Christmas lights.  We ended up driving to a Christmas house that you can walk through their yard and enjoy their setups.  Since the kids were barefoot, my mom gave Lily her boots, she took my slip on shoes, and since Steve was still recovering from his appendectomy, my mom gave Amara a piggyback ride.  I stayed in the car because I had already seen all those lights a few days previous when Amara and I went there for a fundraiser for a family that had lost their baby girl to an accidental shooting.  It was so tragic and I'm glad Amara and I got to go and give a little money to help them at this time.

When we got home it was time for scriptures and prayers, and then the kids and grandma went to bed while Steve and I snuggled on the couch and watched an old movie with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire called, Holiday Inn.  It was a cute movie, and we showed it to the girls the next day.

Santa came and brought some fun things including a cat bed for Smokey!

It was a pleasure to witness the joy of giving as Amara had Lily open the gift she had carefully selected and purchased online for her.  Both of them were absolutely beaming and they gave eachother the sweetest hug afterward.

Amara also made Steve a Christmas tree out of tape and money!

Steve and I surprised the girls by purchasing something VERY amazing in the game, Star Stables.  They both love that game and look forward to playing it almost everyday.  We got them 5000 star coins and a silver mist fox that runs beside their horse.  Before they could only get 100 star coins per week and you need those coins in order to buy tack and other horses, so we basically gave them a pony for Christmas, albeit virtual.  They really did end up purchasing a pony!

Our Christmas at home was magical and I'm so glad we stayed and did that.  We did have time in the following days to go spend time with family, which was also very nice. 

Something fun we got for Steve's mom was a lap blanket customized with a picture Steve took of one of her cherished peace roses she grows in the front yard and little poems he wrote.

We also gave my dad and my brother a cookbook of Lauret Christmas Food (not pictured).  Steve took the photos from last year's Christmas dinner and I compiled the recipes into smilebox .jpgs and created the photo book using Google photos.

We've been abundantly blessed to be able to carry on such fun and memorable traditions.  I loved the glitter and giving of the season, and I loved the peace and joy of remembering our Savior and all He has done for us.  Christmas is still in my heart today (Jan. 19, 2018) and my tree is still up and I haven't felt like taking it down quite yet.  I'm still enjoying it and the glow of the lights. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Jesus Forgives Sins

Merry Christmas!  It is only 3 days until we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, and in an effort to remember Him this season, our family has been trying to #LIGHTtheWORLD, just as Jesus would have done if he were on this earth.

Today I share my favorite teaching of Jesus.  Jesus forgives sins.  This is a truth that if humankind embraced, there could be so much more hope and healing in this world.  Sin is a real thing and it has real consequences, and there is not one person on this earth who is without sin.  I like the quote by David A. Bednar that says, "Guilt is to the soul as pain is to the body."  Because we all make wrong choices, we all have carried the burdens of guilt, heartache, loneliness, regret, and shame.  Untrue are the misconceptions that time will forgive sins.  Suppressing our feelings doesn't heal our wounded soul.  Only Jesus has the power to do that, and he is ready and willing to take our sins and all the burdens that come with them as soon as we are willing repent, ask and change.  What a beautiful teaching and life-altering truth.

I have felt the joy that comes from the forgiveness of sins.  I hope you too will find time this holiday season to remember Jesus and his teachings and implement them into your life.  I know that doing so will bring you joy as it has for me!

I love you all!  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Lily's 1st YW in Excellence

We started November off with Lily's first Young Women in Excellence!  She showcased our garden for her choice and accountability project. Her project had to be something that was 10 hours or more, and the garden for sure took more!
The girls set up their displays around the gym and their families and other ward members got to go around and talk to them about their projects.
The young women were also supposed to bring a pie for dessert. Lily got to bake her first pie from scratch! She made an apple pie with a pecan crumble topping. She made her own pie crust and filled it with canned apple pie filling and then she made the streusel topping. (In the picture below, her pie is the one under the pumpkin pie)