Days 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15… well you get it!

Day 9 :A tradition in our home is drawing names between the 6 of us and buying a gift – for $5 or less. We had a lot of fun doing this – the kids adore being the ones to pick out the PERFECT gift for their parent, or their sister. And you know? I think they did a fabulous job! These gifts we will exchange on Christmas eve.

Day 10:
We spent a good part of the day baking three batches of cookies that we packaged up to deliver to some friends and neighbors. We baked chocolate chip, peanut butter, and ginger snaps (one of my personal favorites). AND you’ll be proud of me – I only ate ONE COOKIE! YES! So, I’m still doing okay for the 10 lbs in 100 days challenge over at my SIL’s blog. (BTW – WAY cute link over there for you ladies with kiddos. Check it out!) I’m down 7 lbs and have been for a few weeks, but at least I’m not GAINING, right?? Okay, just to sabotage all of you, here is the recipe for the gingersnaps πŸ˜‰

Chewy Gingersnaps

4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp ground ginger
2 cups white sugar

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine (I always use real butter – yummo!)

2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together butter and sugar until very smooth. Add eggs and molasses and mix well. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add to the creamed mixture and stir. Roll into balls and dip tops into some white sugar (optional – but yummy!). Drop onto a cookie sheet and press down lightly with a spoon or fork. Bake for 10 minutes (do not over bake these babies!)

DONE AND DONE! Soooo good.

Maybe some day I’ll share my other cookie recipes – I’m a nut for cookies. I’m trying out some white chocolate macadamia cookies today or tomorrow, if I have the time (Ha!).

Day 11:

Simple. We played Santa and delivered those scrumptious bags of cookies to my husband’s home teaching families, and looked at Christmas lights in the neighborhood.

I also had a way fun photo shoot of a gorgeous mom and her son – seriously SO easy to photograph. I can’t wait to finish editing them so they can have them in plenty of time for Christmas! AND I’m glad TJ wasn’t around during this photoshoot – there is no way she would have been able to resist this Brad Pitt in the making!

Day 12:

Day 12 was one of my favorites! I was having a rough day (who doesn’t have those now and then?) and for me – nothing fixes a bad day like time with family and CHOCOLATE! Our treat for day 12 was gourmet hot chocolate (for me and hubby – kids got the carnation brand) and a new Christmas movie – Barbie in A Christmas Carol. It’s fun! We liked it.

I bought the kids some stir sticks from the dollarstore, which were a big hit (until they broke, but that’s what you get when you pay $1 for four~). We also had another cheeseball! I know, I know – how am I still maintaining my 7 lbs loss? Good question. I have no clue – and I don’t want to. It’s just one of those Christmas miracles πŸ˜‰ This cheeseball was a bacon and ranch one. YUM! Here’s the recipe for that one:

Bacon Ranch Cheeseball

2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 pkg of dry ranch dip mix

1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup bacon bits (I used the real stuff for this – if I’m eating the calories anyway, I’m going real, baby!)

Whip the cream cheese together until very smooth. Take your time doing this part – it makes ALL the difference! Mix in the ranch dip mix and cheddar cheese well. Roll into a ball (this part can be messy, but just think of the goodness waiting for you!). Spread the bacon bits into a shallow bowl or a dish. Roll the cheeseball into the bacon bits. Wrap cheeseball in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Enjoy with some crackers or chips!

Remember, as long as you eat it with one or two good friends, it fat free!! HELLO!

Friday was also “Family Day” at my daughter’s pre-K class. They have these every month, and I look forward to them! This time we made these WAY cute snow globes!

Oh HOW do I make those? I’m sure you are asking πŸ˜‰ Okay, SUPER EASY! Here is what you need:

– a glass jar with a tight fitting lid
– Glue gun and glue sticks
– liquid dish soap (just a drop will do ya)
– glitter (white is preferable so it looks like snow)
– water
– miniature items to create your scene (look at Wal-Mart, Michaels, or whatever craft or hobby store you’ve got)

Make sure the jars are super duper clean. Remove the lid and hot glue the miniatures onto the inside of the lid. Set aside to dry. Make sure you use a lot of glue – glue them well, especially the little figurines. Take the jar and add some glitter – not too much or it will be too cloudy to see the scene, but enough that it will mostly cover the lid once it settles. Make sense? Fill the jar with water, then add a drop or two of liquid dish soap (this helps keep the snow from floating instead of falling). Screw the lid on tightly, checking to be sure there aren’t any leaks, and your globe is done!

I can’t wait to make these with my older girls, too. I just LOVE THEM!

Day 13:

Our most CRAZAY day this week! It started with my final photo shoot before Christmas, and it couldn’t have been a more amazing one! This family was seriously some of the nicest people I’ve met through my photography. SO easy to talk to and SO fun! And their little girl “E” was GORGEOUS! It was an hour long session, and most babes don’t seem to last for more than 20 minutes tops. Not this one! She was SO happy and it was infectious! It was a pleasure photographing her and her parents. So much so that I went through 2 memory cards just with them! That never happens!

I whittled the photos down from over 400 to 34. Man, that was hard. I mean, this child looks like a gerber baby!

After the photoshoot we went to my hubby’s work children Christmas party at “It’s a Blast!”, an indoor playground that was anything but a blast for me πŸ˜‰ The kids really did have a blast, though, and that was the point right? They got to play on all of the playground equipment, make new friends, and best of all – see Santa and receive their early Christmas gift!We stayed less than 2 hours, but the girls had 2 DAYS worth of fun in there! They each loved their gifts and were ready to go by the end.

Later that night we went to the Ward Family Christmas party at the church for a scrumptious turkey and ham dinner and program. The place was packed full, which is always nice to see, and the kids had a little TOO much fun with the sing-a-long. One thing I can certainly say about my girls – they aren’t shy of performing!

Our girls and our friend’s children performed “Christmas Bells” which went…okay. I mean, they are all under 9 years of age – so they did a good job, it’s just they could have sang louder (and would have needed to because the room was SO full and SO noisy!). But I was proud of them!
Also on the program was this beautiful trio of musicians in our ward who played a GORGEOUS song. I LOVED IT! The girl in the middle, “S”, is so amazingly talented, and so HUMBLE – I admire her so much!
Day 14:

We went to church, which was lovely! One of our new Relief Society teachers gave her first lesson and I thought she did an amazing job. She really knew how to get the women talking, and she seemed quite comfortable. She also artfully kept us going in the right direction, and knew when to end the lesson and HOW to end it. She is a very talented teacher, and I’m so glad we get her!

Later that evening we went back to the church for our Stake Christmas Contata. It is an evening of beautiful music and the spoken word. It was breathtaking! My daughter, TJ, sang in a girls choir and we mothers of those girls sang a duet with them as well. It was fun, and I think it was a great experience for all the girls involved. Since it was in the chapel, I don’t have any pictures of the Contata, sorry!

One thing I need to mention about it. We were all encouraged to invite friends and neighbors to attend, which my husband did (though none were able to make it). TJ asked me if she could invite some school friends, and I kind of shrugged like, sure, whatever. Well, one of her friends came! It was so neat! Her mom and I visited afterwards for a few minutes and I got to know what a great person she is. TJ stayed right by her friend until they left and she said her friend was even singing along to the Christmas carols. So sweet. I was so proud of her for being brave enough to invite her friends at school to come to a church activity. Could I learn something from her there? You bet!

Day 15:

Laundry and editing photos took up most of my day, but for our special treat we decorated a gingerbread house. VOILA!

We went the easy route with a premade kit from Wal-Mart. Nice. It didn’t take long to decorate, though the icing never did harden very well. There is something to be said for making your own royal icing. Next year…

Day 16:

The girls have their school teachers their Christmas gifts today:

Don’t get it? You attach a card that says:

“We WHISK you a merry KISSmas and a happy ROOTBEER!”

We made one for each of their school teachers (which meant 5 since two of my girls have 2 teachers in their classrooms) and one for each of their primary teachers (another 5 since JJ has 2 nursery leaders). I love this gift idea, and it’s super DUPER simple!

I hope you are enjoying this Christmas season thus far. I have been more and more each day! I can’t believe it’s getting so close to Christmas! And even closer to my birthday – the big 3-0! YIKES! HOW did I get so old? πŸ˜‰

Take care and I’ll be back later in the week for a new free Photoshop action and a special request for my birthday! Ciao!

12 thoughts on “Days 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15… well you get it!

  1. OH MY GOODNESS! Great minds think a like… I came up with the SAME Christmas craft idea (that your daughter’s pre-K class did) for mine and my husbands kids (we teach primary)… but instead, we’re going to use baby food jars, rather than a regular glass jars. Either way, I like the tip about the soap drops. Tee Hee πŸ™‚ Thanks!And, I LOVED your kids Teacher gifts this year. Super Cute. May I use that idea for gifts for next year? (I will totally give you the credit for it!) Glad to hear your family is great spirits and health. Congrats on the weight loss! Have a very Merry Christmas xox


  2. you exhaust me !! but oh what fun the days before christmas are eh??? those teacher gifts are fun and those pics are adorable( i love the gerber baby). have a great christmas and drive safely! you can always stop here for a “p” break if you need!


  3. Phew!!!!!AWESOME post!! Thanks for the recipes! The inspiration! The upbeat attitude! The fun stuff to read! And the pictures to admire!Love it! Merry Christmas!


  4. Okay, day by day:9) Cute gifts! It’s sad how finding gifts 5$ or less is so difficult nowadays, hey?10) Are those gingersnaps ACTUALLY chewy? Because I hate hard gingersnaps!!! And I have a GREAT Macadamia White Chocolate cookie recipe, in case yours isn’t great. The one I have is sure to please!!11) Okay, that boy is a heartthrob, you said it! Holy, if only I were, what, 20 years younger??!! Whoa baby! πŸ˜‰12) too bad the stir sticks broke– they look cute. Yah, I love cheese, but not so much cheeseBALLS. I have good cheese recipes too– we should share our faves. And the snowglobes are cute. I have seen those before, they’re always fun.13) Cute baby! Gerber is right! And ward parties are always fun.14) That’s awesome about TJ inviting a friend that came to the Cantata.15) we’re making the same Walmart gingerbread house today. 16) SO stealing the gift idea for those ‘extra’ gifts– the kids have, like, 3 teachers each!! yikes.


  5. I have been reading, bt not commenting. You know you are one of my fav’s. Time has just had me in a reading rush lately, but I just have one question for you. How many hours are in your days? How do you fit everything you do in? You are amazing! And I am probably going to use your root beer thing for some of my neighbors. That’s very cute!


  6. You are all very sweet! Jenn – the same 24 hours, and the only way I fit it in is through the grace of God (and a lot of planning ahead)! LOL! Most of what I do is very simple.Debbi – HELLO! YES I want yout recipe~! I ALWAYS want new recipes!!! And YES those gingersnaps are chewy – YUMMO chewy. I hate hard gingersnaps, too.


  7. wow- that’s a lot of things going on.Love the gift idea. I need one, so I think I’ll have to use it.Great photos!And sneaky sneaky trying to get those links to win the prize.


  8. Sorry- i forgot one thing. I looked ALL over for those cellophane bags. Where did you get them??? I didn’t think it would be so hard, but I looked everywhere. Finally had to resort to a plate and wrap.


  9. What a blessing you’ve had in being able to continue growing your photography portfolio! You have done an amazing job. I love the teacher gift. Great idea.


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