Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas' the night before Christmas

and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Ok, that's not true, Ryan and I were stirring and getting things ready for our little creatures who were all snuggled in their bed. We went down to his sister's house in Orem for a German Christmas Eve. Finley played the piano at the last minute in the talent show, Berlin decided not to participate. The best part is that the kids always fall asleep on the car ride home which means once we carry them to bed we can get things setup/put out quickly.

Here is the tree after the elderly elves were done with it. Those poor elves could hardly stay awake long enough to crawl into their own bed. So excited for Christmas morning - but here's to hoping the kids don't wake up before 8 am!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Temple Square Christmas Lights & Candy Windows

We took the kids downtown for Family Home Evening this week to look at the candy window displays and the Temple lights. The weather (40 degrees) was downright warm compared to the past few weeks and it ended up being perfect for walking around outside.


 Schmoozing Santa at the Little America. 


Santa's workshop at Little America.

Fantastic night with the kids & Ryan. It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas - finally!

Holiday Photo Booth 2013

At work I was in charge of the holiday photo booth. So I figured it would be fun to use the same props for our Christmas pics this year. So after church we hung our fresh garland on the barn door and had the kids pose. The kids were silly and it was pretty funny. Until the cold got the better of us.

We hope your holiday is full of laughter!

Love these two. They are the best thing in my life. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

St. Nicholas Day

December 5th - the evening of St. Nicholas Day, we decided to take the kids to the Christkindlmarkt at This is the Place park. They had lots of little booths set up selling Christmas Wares, German snacks & treats, a light parade, even St. Nicholas and his reindeer were there. Despite the 8 degree temps, we had a great time.

Berlin picked out this cute little angel ornament from one of the little shops. So cute on our tree. Ryan scored some Apple Beer for the holidays. l found a cute pyramid to add to our collection, however, I wasn't about to pay the price they wanted. So Finley and I contented ourselves with German Pretzels that were delicious!

Once Berlin couldn't feel her toes, we headed over to Siegfried's to warm up with some German comfort food. Sauerkraut, warm potato salad, Spaetzle, fried potatoes, schnitzel, and sausage ... MMMMM - yum! We loaded up on German mustard and meats for some Abendbrot (the German dinner of bread, cheese, and meat) the next day.

It was the perfect St. Nicholas Eve. 

The next day the kids woke up to goodies in their boots. Ryan and I were even surprised with a new pyramid and nutcracker. Boy, we must have been REAL good.

This is Herr Drosselmeyer from The Nutcracker. Ryan has wanted one of these for a long time, but not just any Herr Drosselmeyer - this specific one, which is vintage and VERY hard to find. Leave it to St. Nicholas to deliver!


I love pyramids, especially the fairytale ones they used to make. This one is darling with Snow White and the dwarfs on the base, Hansel & Gretel and the Witch in the middle. Love it. Perfect addition to our collection.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tis' the Season

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. Sitting by the tree, snuggled under blankets, drinking hot cocoa, watching movies with the kids ... life doesn't get any better! 

The day after Thanksgiving, the tree came up. I had to re-string the artificial tree with new lights as they stopped working. I guess after 9 years that is to be expected. Note to self: wear gloves when re-stringing lights. My hands looked like they were in a catfight - and the cat won. The kids did a great job putting the ornaments on the tree. It is so much fun to talk about each ornament. Alot of them are from Ryan's childhood, picked up on past trips to Germany, or given to us by very dear friends. Some people like their tree color-coordinated and all fancy. Ours is hodgey-podge. Everything on it brings to mind an event or memory. It is a happy tree and I love it. Here she is in all her glory ...

We don't do Elf on the Shelf. I tend to be in this camp: Elf on the Shelf Haters  However, we do have 2 vintage elves that are from Ryan's childhood that we tuck into the tree. They stay there the whole time and I don't have to do any crazy crap, like making marshmallow messes, cleaning up spilled flour, and all the other lame stuff other moms make their elf do.

Creepy & wonderful all in one.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

And so it ends ...

Soccer that is. At least for now, until Spring season picks up. Ryan coached Berlin's team this year as well as Finn's. Being the ever so amazing mom that I am, I didn't get one picture of Finley playing, and barely remembered to grab the camera on our way out the door to Berlin's last game.

The last team cheer of the season ... GO RACOONS!

I have to say that Berlin may be one of the smallest players on the team, but she can run fast and swing those elbows. She's a tough cookie!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fall Harvest

Ryan's mom planted grapevines along the property line years ago. I have always felt guilty that we just throw them away every year. Last year I attempted to make grape juice and it was a disaster. Hand mashing through a sieve and yielding only a cup of liquid, that was super thick and gritty. Wasted a whole day - and after the mess I was left with, I swore I wouldn't attempt it ever again. 

But this year, we had so many grapes and they smelled so good that I decided to try my hand at it again. So I researched a few things and found a juicer steamer that was on sale. It arrived this past Saturday so I got at it and did a test batch. After the first round I knew I had made the best decision ever in buying the juicer steamer.

Sunday, we had our nephews mission farewell, but after we got home, we took advantage of the sunny day and we all got to work picking grapes and washing them. In the end we got 14 jars for our food storage and put 3 in the fridge. I never cared for grape juice as a kid - just too sweet and watery. But this stuff, it's the nectar of Gods I tell you. Or as Ryan called it - Mormon wine. Thick, fragrant, and just the right amount of sweet and tart. I am addicted.

The best part for me of all this, spending the time with the kids, side-by-side, in the kitchen. They loved helping out and Finley even said that this was his favorite yard-chore thus far. They cut the grapes from the vines, washed them in the sink, and picked them off the stems. The best conversation comes in moments like these. Berlin had us rolling with laughter, Finley had us wracking our brains trying to remember our science lessons from school eons ago. The three of us standing at the sink picking grapes of the stems, talking about the silliest things and even serious things. I hope that this will become a Fall tradition for us. Ryan remembers his mother juicing these grapes when he was a kid. He used to have to pick them off the vines and stems. I want my kids to have the same fond memories. I will take these sweet moments when I get them.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Halloween Happenings

This past Halloween was hard for me. I usually make the kids costumes, but with working full time I just didn't have the energy or desire to do it all. Luckily, Berlin wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood and was able to squeeze into her German Dirndl, so all I had to do was come up with a cape. Which I decided to make using some fabric from my stash. It turned out so beautiful and even though I was up late the night before, it was worth it. I am glad I did it. Here she is with her fearsome wolf. She was mad that I gave her the ghost treat bag because it didn't match her outfit theme. So she went back in and got this basket that we found in the barn last Summer. It used to be her Oma's. She lugged that basket around all night long. 


Finley wanted to be Finn the Human from Adventure Time. My kids LOVE this cartoon. Me, not so much. So I wasn't super thrilled about his choice. But, I knew it would be easy since I wouldn't have to make much. It was just a matter of piecing things together. We found a shirt and leggings (which I cut into shorts) at Walmart and I made the backpack. Ryan put together the BMO trick-or-treat box (probably the best part). It turned out great and he looked awesome. 

Even though I only had to make the cape and the backpack, I was pooped. The creative energy and desire just hasn't been there since working. I told Ryan that I think this is the last year I sew costumes, even accessories. It just drains me.

We never get trick-or-treaters at our house (just one of many drawbacks living on a busy street). So Ryan and I took the kids and met up with friends for some neighborhood trick or treating. Here they are in all their blurriness. It was fun night in the neighborhood.

Loved this little setup at the neighbors house.

Monday, October 7, 2013


A few weeks ago Berlin set up a fort with the babysitter. This fort was a Puppet Shop. She has been trying to get us to all make finger puppets with her. This past conference weekend happened to be the perfect time to sit down, under the table, and make puppets with her. It was really fun and I am glad that I made the time do this with her.

Here are the puppets that I made (the kids and their halloween costumes):

Finley in the process of making his Link finger puppet and Berlin making a Pink/Purple princess:

And now, FINALLY, we can clean up this mess :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Time for Change

For as long as Finley has had hair (since he was 2), we have always kept it on the shaggy side. We love this look and so does Finley. I have always been the one to cut his hair, but lately it seems like that is all I do. It grows so fast and I just felt like it was time to move-on, try something new and let someone else cut it. Finley wasn't happy with the news. He has always owned and rocked the shaggy do, but he was a bit nervous for the change. I asked him why he was nervous and he said he liked the feel of longer hair. So I asked him if I found some styles with shorter sides, but longer bangs would he like that? He said maybe, so I went and found 4 looks online that I liked and showed him the pics. I told him that he could choose whichever one he wanted. Here are the pics he had to choose from:


Finley wanted #3 (the adult). They are really the same cut just styled differently. In the end, I love the way it turned out and so does he. If anyone is looking for a great hairstylist, visit Sheridan over at 27th Street Salon
(2700 S. 1446 East).


He is so handsome!

I hope they call me on a mission...

Our oldest niece and nephew on Ryan's side recently submitted their mission papers. We had the opportunity to be with them as they opened their mission calls. Such a great experience to see such righteous young people so willing to sacrifice a few years of their life to serve the Lord. Love them!

Brenner B. - Called to serve in the Philippine Angeles Mission.

Renate A. - Called to serve in the Texas Lubbock Mission

Such a great experience to see such righteous young people so willing to sacrifice a few years of their life to serve the Lord. Love them!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to School 2013

Summer flew by this year. It probably didn't help that it was indeed 2 weeks shorter than usual. But really, I don't know where the last 2 1/2 months went! It seems like they just got out of school and here we are starting all over again.

Lucky for me, they were super excited to go back to school. Berlin couldn't wait to be in first grade and stay in school all day like the big kids. She has been wanting to bring lunch to school and eat in the cafeteria and finally she can. Here she is all gussied up for the first day of 1st Grade. When she grows up she wants to be a veterinarian, an artist, and a scientist.

Finley was excited because he finally has neighborhood friends in his class - this hasn't been the case the last 2 years. Here he is all decked out for his first day of 3rd Grade. When he grows up he wants to be an explorer.

I bought him some TOMS for his school shoes this year. He wasn't too happy about it because he said they looked like girl shoes. But, after wearing them that first day, he was hooked. He loves them and are now his go-to shoe. So cute. 

The first day was a success. To celebrate, we went out for frozen yogurt at our favorite place ... Menchies! This tradition is one of our favorite. Finley was so excited to come home and give me my homework. Yep, that's right, I had homework on the first day of school. Darn all those school forms!