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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Texas Vacay day 2

Day 2 in Texas was incredible. Jacob's washer needed fixing as did his car as was evidenced by the check engine light that flashed on the day previous. Luckily, it was raining outside oh, so it was the perfect day to try to get some jobs like that done. Kelly had to be at a conference and workshop for work.  Jake worked on fixing his washer for a few minutes, and to his astonishment whatever he did actually worked!

We loaded everyone up to take the car to Jake's favorite car service station where they do everything first class. When we came in we were welcomed by an employee who wrote down what was wrong with the car, offered us a shuttle, led the kids to an indoor playground, and offered us bottles of water or hot chocolate.  The kids played while we discussed what we wanted to do while they fix the car. We ended up using their shuttle car to take us to the mall for a couple hours.

We walked around and made our way to an indoor playground where the kids could run around. Steve got stopped by one of those dead sea salt potion salesman.

When we were done with the mall, we picked up the car and discovered the transmission probably had something wrong with it. It wasn't too crucial to get fixed right away, so we took the car back home. When we went home we fed the kids lunch and just hung out until Kelly got back. We made plans to go to one of Jake and Kelly's favorite places called Lupe's Tortilla. Jake made reservations and by the time we got there we only had to wait maybe 15 minutes to be seated. That place was quite popular and the food was delicious!

Just waiting on the patio for our table to be ready.
The chips and salsa and bean dip were awesome! I liked the slightly smoky flavor of the beans, like they were cooked over a fire. I saved the leftover chips and dips and made us all nachos for lunch the next day.
Amara and Brooklyn and Levi all wanted Mac and cheese.
Lily and Steve both ordered puffy tacos.
Fajitas with steak, chicken, and bacon wrapped shrimp! Soo yummy! Jake, Kelly and I shared it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Texas Vacay to see Jake's

A week long stay in a land faraway with family beloved goes by very quickly. I write this post having just left the ground and my heart in Texas. We're flying through the sky back to Denver where we'll stay the night before driving home tomorrow. I miss my brother and his family already.😪  So, I'm going to try to blog our vacation while it's still fresh in my mind.

After I found out we were going to be traveling near Denver Colorado for the Blad family reunion, the thought immediately came to me that I should check if there was an airport in Denver and if so, see how much flights to Houston might cost so I could visit my brother this year. When I looked into it I discovered my entire family could fly on Spirit airlines for less than $100 each, and so my plans began to come forth. We were going to visit Jake's family in Texas!

This was the girls first time flying in an airplane, besides that one time when Lily was a baby. It was awesome. The flight was only 2 hours or so, the kids loved it. We had a window seat which we required the kids to switch half way through the flight so there would be no arguments.

When we arrived in Houston, my brother was ready and waiting next to his silver Toyota Corolla that he would be loaning to us this trip.  He had told us to have our swim wear ready because we were headed to the beach. We stopped by a Chick-fil-A for a bite on our way to pick up some beach items from Kelli's sister, Debbi.  I ordered Jake's usual, a chicken sandwich deluxe (has added cheese, lettuce, and tomato) and it was delivered via a complex conveyor line that went over the first line of drive-thru customers and landed at the window for the second drive thru, the one we were in.  It was cool and there was such a ton of traffic at that Chick-fil-A, yet they got us our food fast.

We changed at Debbi's house and headed to Galveston's family beach just as the thunderheads were moving in. We had a few minutes to enjoy the warm Gulf-of-Mexico water before the rain began, and then it poured and then it thundered. The beach patrol kicked us out of the water after only a few short minutes of being in there, but I have to say it was an awesome experience. I haven't enjoyed beach water that warm, probably ever, even Hawaii waters in July last year was cool compared to this. Plus playing in the rain and not getting cold was incredible.  We headed back to Debbi's house to return her items and stopped at Rudy's BBQ for dinner. That also was a new experience. You buy your meat by the pound, they pile it on butcher paper and give you a few extra papers to eat off of. They load all your side dishes and meat in a big plastic tray and you're on your way to find an open picnic table equipped with BBQ sauce and salt/pepper. The food was quite good and it tasted even better eating it with Jake's family. You just gotta have some BBQ if you're in Texas!

After that, we made our way to Jake's house in much traffic and rain, but with Jakes as our cheuffer, the minutes flew by. We were amazed at all the tall trees. These highways are literally built in the middle of piney forests. It was remarkable beauty I wasn't expecting! I can see why he and Kelli decided to settle down there.💕🌳🌲

When we were closer to home, Jake took us to the famous HEB, his favorite grocery store that I requested to go to. There we bought my contact solution that I couldn't bring on the plane, and 2 flavors Texas-famous Blue Bell ice cream for dessert. I wondered why Jake was being particular about checking the ingredients in the ice cream and he told us Levi has severe peanut allergy. Poor little guy. He has to avoid quite a bit and carry around EpiPens everywhere he goes. Anyway, we got cookies and cream with cookie dough and raspberry amaretto swirl with brownie chunks. That did not disappoint!

We had the best accommodations too as Parker and Brooklyn both gave up their rooms for us!  That means they were having a sleepover in Levi's room. Jake and Kelli even bought brand new pillows for us! Talk about hospitality! We slept so well that Jake had to knock on the door to wake us up the next morning!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Christensen Online Art Show

This post is dedicated to all the artsy people out there, including every member of my family. Most of the following art work has been done by my husband Steve, but there are a few pieces that were done by one of my girls when they were in public school. These beautiful pieces of art have become more of a pile then a showcase, so we decided to take pictures and then retire the work to make room for our lives. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

April Fools! and FHE

 Lily and Amara concocted a plan to fool grandma, so before she got up in the morning, the kids took yarn and taped it all across her door in a criss-cross fashion. Grandma loved it and laughed when she opened her door.  Then she crawled out the bottom so she could keep it up!  That got old fast, so a few hours later it came down.  But she loved that someone remembered her on April Fools day!
Fierce Amara

Cyborg Dad

Unicorn Abby Taylor

Fierce Grandma

Masked Amara

Spectacled Lily 
Amara was in charge of FHE.  Yay!  That means games!  We invited over the Taylor family, a family that we minister to.  We first had dinner which was taco soup.  Then for Amara's lesson, she created a game about deception.  There were 6 plastic Easter eggs, each had a poetic riddle she created leading you to the next egg, and each egg also had a scripture challenge.  One that I remember was "look up a scripture, or quote on deception and share it."  I thought that was fitting for April Fools Day to get to solve riddles and learn about deception.  

Afterward, we went inside the house and played WhooNu together while eating the dessert popcorn Tami had brought.  It was delicious!  She made it by heating up 2 bags of microwave popcorn and stirring it up with a bag of melted peanut butter chips.  She also did one with butterscotch chips.  That dessert was so delicious!  We love doing family home evenings with the Taylors!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Wonderful Moments From March

Amara and I went on a date to the temple one morning.  We should do it again soon.  Lily was sick so she stayed home to rest.

The snow took it's sweet time melting this year.  We are thankful for that because too quick of a melt means flooding for us.
 I love ward activities! The ward auction is a big event.  They feed everyone a spaghetti dinner, people bring mystery bags for silent auction, and there's a bake sale and live auction as well.  At the end, you pay whatever donation you'd like for the dinner and any of the items you purchased throughout the night.  The relief society was asked to arrange the bake sale.  I made the fliers and on them included a picture of some really tasty no bake preacher cookies that we made for Lily's mutual activity one night.
For our mystery bags that we donated to the silent auction-
Amara created a dog care kit: collar, leash, dog treats, dog toys
Lily made a babysitting bag: toys, waterbottle, book, coloring stuff
I made a peanut butter lovers bag: peanut butter, 3 peanut butter recipes, a batch of PB no bake preacher cookies, Reeses peanut butter cereal, Reeses candies.
 The bake sale was at the back of the gym, the mystery bags were along the edges.  The live auction was at the front.  The spaghetti dinner was in the middle.  The gym was really packed.
 Amara was in charge of helping with the bake sale. Lily was in charge of helping serve food for dinner.

We were so pleased to see that Heather and Alex welcomed baby Solene into the world that same night as the ward auction.

Steve asked the girls and I to be judges at the 5th grade science fair.  We enjoyed getting to judge one of the classes and see the projects.  The overall winner did an experiment where she took eggs and immersed them in different things overnight (gatorade, grape juice, dr. pepper) to show what could be taking place to our teeth if we don't brush them and they sit and bathe in the sugary substances we consume.

St. Patrick's day was on Sunday.  I loved St. Patrick's story and his Lorica.  To me it was what we really should be celebrating, not silly leprechauns, clovers, and green.
 I love our traditional St. Patrick's day dinner.  I'm the only one  that likes corned beef apparently.  Too bad, though.  I'm still making it because it's tradition that goes back to my great-grandpa!  I suppose it's sorta like my dad- he makes fruitcake every December, no one really likes fruitcake except him, but it's tradition!

 Amara decorated the table with some cute homemade decorations.  She used yellow playdough stuck to pennies to make gold for the centerpiece and drew each of us our own namecard.  She also drew a couple comics.

Amara and Lily have been using their creativity to learn different things.  Amara taught herself to crochet  using a youtube tutorial.
 Lily has been creating new hairstyles on her long gorgeous hair.

Steve and I offered a 10 week photography class and had a small group of 4 awesome teen girls.

My committee and I put together a really enjoyable evening for our Relief Society birthday party.  We had dinner (Indian tacos), Birthday cake (people signed up and we had them as our centerpieces and dessert), we had an inspiring speaker talk about Pres. Nelson's plea to the sisters to participate fully in relief society, and we did a game (the cold wind blows) to do a service exchange.  It was great fun!

Amara was a sweet heart and made me breakfast one morning.  She went out and picked me a fresh spray of what she could find, dried sprigs of this and that.  Then she made me toast with jam and an adorable clementine elephant.

One of the fun days we did for photography was composite pictures.  Here was one Steve put together as an example.

The girls and I had dresses made for us from Steve's cousin, Chelsea Fox.  She has a facebook business and custom makes dresses.  We got to choose everything from the fabric to the cuts, lengths, and fitted exactly to our measurements.