Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Christmas Break December 23, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Cooking Experiments,Family Time,Getting Creative — Amy Scott @ 2:24 pm

We are a week into our Christmas break and it really has felt like a break. Our family has slowed down considerably. We’ve spent a majority of the week around the house resting. We’ve also had some festive and fun outings. We kicked off our break last Thursday by hitting the grocery stores and stocking up for our time at home. We also had the boys go Christmas shopping for each other. It’s neat to see what they pick and if they can keep a secret from each other. Every year they’ve managed to keep their gifts a surprise and I’m always impressed! I know how tricky it can be to keep a special gift a secret.

Jeremy and the boys have blessed me with some time out of the house to visit with friends. I got a Starbucks Red Cup of peppermint hot chocolate with a friend last Thursday and enjoyed a Christmas-themed book club on Friday night. On Monday night, my forever friend, Christa, and I got dinner together. I love getting together with friends this time of year. As a family, we drove through a local Christmas light display at a park and celebrated our nephew’s birthday with a bowling party.

Our time around the house has been filled with holiday movies and shows. We watched White Christmas over the weekend and Jeremy has had the Christmas episodes of The Great British Baking Show on. We’ve done lots of baking over the last week. Jeremy and the boys have made two loaves of French bread and I’ve made dozens of cookies. These days at home have been filled with reading, games, LEGO building, and tasty treats. The change of pace has been appreciated (especially, by me – the most introverted, homebody of the family). I’m truly happiest at home! It’s been nice to take a break from routine and just chill.

We are currently waiting for temperatures to rise after a storm covered our area in a layer of ice overnight. We were prepared for the power to go out, but thankfully, it didn’t (at least, not yet)! I’ve love time at home, but it would be less fun with no heat. The weather inspired me to get my Christmas baking done yesterday before the freezing rain moved in. It’s a blessing that we have nowhere pressing to go and we can wait out the wild weather. Even now, freezing rain falls outside my window and I can’t help but be disappointed that it’s not snowing! Freezing rain, while interesting, isn’t my favorite form of frozen precipitation. On that note, I wish you a warm and wonderful Christmas weekend! Merry Christmas (Eve Eve)!

This might be one of my favorite parts of Christmas! I love them thinking of each and excited to give a special gift.
All ready for book club! Gingerbread bundt cake, a wrapped book for a gift exchange, and a stack of books to talk about!
The Scott men are working to perfect their favorite French bread.
Snuggled up watching White Christmas. A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, White Christmas, and While You Were Sleeping are my all-time fav hoilday movies.
Enjoying a bowling birthday party!
Frist time making salt dough ornaments as a part of the church scavenger hunt.
First time making Egg Nog Fench Toast
Chocolate chip cookies with Christmas M&M’s
I love boxed mixes. I have no judgement for shortcut baking. These gingerbread cookies are so yummy!
Since I didn’t see any real snowflakes during this cold snap, I guess the sugar cookie version will have to do.
 

Gingerbread and Snowflakes December 14, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Getting Creative,Homeschool Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 7:05 pm

We are officially on Christmas break! Christmas traditions, festive foods, time with friends and family. Bring it on! Actually, as you can guess, we’ve been in full holiday season mode this whole month. It’s just nice to take school out of the mix for a bit. I love homeschooling my boys, but this teacher is ready for a rest! The kids might be a little excited, too. They worked extra hard this week so they could start their break today instead of tomorrow. We’re all ready for a change of pace.

Some of the festivities this week revolved around gingerbread. Every year we buy the gingerbread house kit from Costco. Owen informed me it’s actually a gingerbread mansion. (It’s important to get these details correct.) I love this kit because the house (aka mansion) comes pre-assembled. No struggles with structural integrity. Hallelujah! We always purchase the kit in November to make sure it doesn’t go out of stock and the kids beg to do it right away. Waiting for December is hard. This Friday was a home day and the perfect day to dive into our gingerbread kit. My favorite part is Jeremy’s icing snowman that literally melted within minutes of him making it. It feels very authentic and a unique touch. More fun with gingerbread this week included decorating gingerbread cookies with friends and a foam gingerbread house craft for school. I’m hoping to make some gingerbread myself in the next week or so. Graham is my cinnamon kid so he is just as excited as I am for this spicy, sweet treat!

Now for the snowflake bit of the week. On Saturday, we traveled up The Bellevue Collection to watch Snowflake Lane with friends. We love this parade filled with music, dancing, costumes, special lights, and (my favorite part) snow! Well, the snow is actually soap, but the effect makes me so happy that I don’t mind it’s not the real deal. We don’t make it up to Snowflake Lane every year, so it’s always a special celebration. This was our second time meeting friends for the event and that makes it even more festive. This time we met early enough to have dinner together and then grab treats from Starbucks before finding our spot on the road. Saturday was a rainy PNW day, but thankfully, it dried up in time for main event. A visit to Snowflake Lane is always a favorite Christmas experience. “Snow” much fun!

Another highlight of the week included Graham losing his second tooth. He swallowed his first lost tooth and now his second one went down the drain! What are the odds? The kid hasn’t been able to leave a tooth for Tooth Fairy yet. Thankfully, he handled the loss well. He doesn’t care too much about the tooth as long as a dollar is the end result. Turns out the Tooth Fairy is very understanding of mishaps like this. She’s a sweetie!

I love this time of year! Christmas cards are collecting on the fridge. Christmas music is often playing the background. The yummy treats and special gatherings make each week feel like a party. One day last week, I saw a post on social media with the message “hold on to your peace” in reference to this time of year. Then the very same statement was in the devotional I read with the boys at the start of school. When a message repeats itself in my day (this time within the hour), I know it’s not a coincidence, it’s the Holy Spirit. The holiday season can get anyone amped up and stressed out – myself included. I can get overwhelmed and let anxiety rule my thoughts unless I’m intentional to hold on to my peace. We’re coming off of a busy season and I can’t say peace has been my priority. Heading into this break, I hope to schedule a little less activity and let myself (and my family) rest. The holidays don’t have to be a mad dash through a Christmas calendar obstacle course. I’m hoping to keep peace in mind as we celebrate over the next few weeks. I hope you can do the same. Merry Almost Christmas!

An Introvert in her December habitat – hot chocolate, Christmas novel, fake fire with instrumental Christmas music, and white lights on the tree. Very peaceful!
Threw together a batch of Christmas cookies for the scavenger hunt. This is around two of Christmas cookies with hopefully one or two more baking sessions to come.
The 2022 Gingerbread House (Mansion)
The snowman is my favorite part!
We braved the mall in December for Snowflake Lane (and got a Mickey Mouse calendar).
Snowflake Lane 2022
I find fake snow so magical!
Santa Sighting
Red Cups and family adventures with my forever friend!
How my kids decorate cookies… Abstract art…???
Now for the foam version… the gingerbread theme was strong this week!
 

December Arrived with a Flurry December 1, 2022

December arrived with a flurry! A flurry of snow that is! As I write this post a light dusting of snow is melting in my yard. I’m a little sad there wasn’t more, but I’ll happily enjoy whatever snow we get. Ever since Monday, we’ve seen snowflakes falling throughout the day. I love looking out the window as the flurries fall. The end of November has also been a flurry – a flurry of activity!!!

Where to start? On Wednesday, the 22nd, we decorated the house for Christmas. Jeremy worked a half day and since our Thanksgiving weekend was full to the brim, this seemed like the best time to make the merriment happen. Decorating the house is almost a holiday in itself for our family. We sipped hot apple cider and listened to Christmas music while adding Christmas cheer all over. The boys select an ornament each year and it’s no surprise that they chose Luigi and Yoshi from Nintendo Super Mario. We added a Mario ornament to our big tree and I just ordered a Grinch ornament today because our family (specifically Graham) has an obsession with the Grinch this year.

We spent most of Thanksgiving Day with Jeremy’s family. We enjoyed good food, a bunco tournament (I won so many prizes for being the biggest loser), and yard games. We finished the day with an untraditional pizza dinner with my parents. The rest of the holiday weekend was filled with family, friends, and shopping. We hosted a sleepover with some of the cousins Friday into Saturday. We had friends over for dinner on Sunday. We hosted a play date on Monday. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had company over five days in a row. Wow! I got the baulk of the Christmas shopping done online with Black Friday sales and we visited a few stores Saturday afternoon. I’m feeling very good about where my Christmas shopping is at now. Even though November wasn’t over, I was starting to feel behind!

Sunday was Christmas musical practice and the start of Advent. The church calendar is running our lives at this moment! Owen had drama practice for the musical last night and he’ll have another practice tomorrow. Saturday is a dress rehearsal for the whole choir and then Sunday is showtime! I’m so excited to see Owen and Graham preform in their first Christmas musical. I’m so proud of the whole team – kids and leaders alike. It’s been a wild ride! It will be neat to see it all come together on Sunday.

I taught a Christmas cookie decorating class on Tuesday for our homeschool co-op. It went so well (considering I didn’t know what to expect). I provided all the decorating supplies and the students brought cookies to frost. I let the group know in advance what cookies I would be demonstrating so they could bring similar cookies to class. These kids focused intently on their decorating and their cookies turned out amazing. Our co-op could open a bakery! I loved listening to Christmas music play on my portable speaker while kids creatively decorated cookie after cookie. Our boys were worn out after the big weekend, so I kept them home from the cookie class. When I got home, we pulled out all the supplies and did mini-version of the class with our family.

That sums up the flurry of activity we’ve had this last week. We are headed into another big weekend with the Christmas musical right around the corner. I love how fun and festive the activities are this time of year. After a busy season for our family, I’m also looking forward to slowing down and savoring the season over the next few weeks! Happy first day of December!

Making the house merry and bright!
The Christmas season is officially here!
Graham is a whole Christmas vibe!
The Start of Advent
Prepping for my cookie class on Monday night. I had plenty of frosting left over, but better safe than sorry!
Snapshots from Tuesday’s cookie adventures!
Studying the layers of the Earth this week.
Not a bad way to start December! Let it snow!
 

Welcome November November 2, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Getting Creative,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 6:33 pm

The start of November always feels like a finish line to me. October is my favorite month of the year, without a doubt. October is also a very full month for our family. After wrapping up birthday month and a major ministry event (Fall Fest on Halloween), I feel like taking a deep breath when November arrives. We did it! We had all the fun! We went big! We gave it our all! It was good! And now it’s November! *Sigh* My husband pointed out that November is equally “big” in it’s own right, but before the November pace picks up, I’m just going to enjoy this moment.

October actually ended a little quieter than we expected. Jeremy got a cold over the weekend, so we hunkered down at home to rest. With a big event on Monday night, we needed to be pro-active in the recovery department. I was sad to cancel our very fun plans with friends, but it was good to dedicate two full days to resting. It was time well spent.

We always end October with a bang. A big part of children’s ministry is event planning. Jeremy knows how to throw a party (with help, of course). The theme for our annual Fall Fest was Galaxy Adventures (outer space). The whole building and all the activities revolved around this out-of-this-world theme. It was nice to move this event indoors again after two years of shifting for the pandemic (we did a drive-thru event in 2020 and an outdoor event in 2021). Our kids had a blast and even dressed on theme with their costumes (astronaut costumes we recycled from 2020 – Owen’s barely fit, oops). The black light room was a favorite and Owen enjoyed helping Nana & Papa hand out prizes at the prize wheel. Almost 300 kids attended, so I would say that was quite some party! Way to go, Jeremy (and team)!

November 1st is always a bit of a recovery day. We’re all tired from the big day and late night. Yesterday, we had co-op and Owen had piano lessons, but all I really wanted to do was hibernate! Thankfully, we had a very chill evening last night and we’re starting to come out of the holiday haze! And there you have it. October is in the rearview mirror and November is staring us down. Ready, set, go!

Family game night. Qwixx is the game of choice right now. Owen got it for his birthday and is obsessed!
Candy corn blondies are a holiday tradition!
Space Panda (?!) Amy with her astronauts!
We weren’t quite sure what Jeremy was – NASA personnel? Engineer? Tech person? Maybe we should call him the Command Leader.
Enjoying the themed games in the black light room.
The show must go on. No matter how tired, we did school on Tuesday morning. Here is Graham’s science experiment – making a cloud!
 

My “Unofficial” Word of the Year… May 4, 2022

Filed under: Bible,Family Time,Getting Creative,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 1:47 pm

Many people select a word for the year. Something they are hoping for, looking to grow in, be more mindful of. Friends have chosen words like gather, peace, excellence, hope, and resilience. All good words. I’ve never done well with this practice. I’ve tried a few times and for some reason it doesn’t stick. However, some words seem find me. They seem to declare themselves, no matter my choosing. In complete jest (sorta), I’ve discovered my word for 2022 is cancel (or similar words such as reschedule/postpone). 2022 has been filled with plans that just didn’t come to be. I’m not upset. It’s humorous to me at this point. I’ve learned to roll with it. Plans change often enough that I am very practiced at canceling, rescheduling, and postponing.

We’re supposed to be at conference in Idaho this week. As you can guess, we aren’t… For the last few weeks, I’ve been preparing for this big trip. I got the kids ahead in school. I purchased “distractions” to keep them busy. Graham got a new backpack big enough to carry these new treasures. New leak-proof water bottles were selected at Target for the adventure. In a moment of insanity and weakness on my part, giant stuffed animals were purchased at Costco as travel companions. The kids knew there would be time to go to the nearby park, swim in the hotel pool, and walk by the lake. Oh, and the snacks! We had a huge tote of snacks ready to keep blood sugar levels good and make sure no one (adults included) got hangry. We were as ready as you could be for an out-of-town adventure.

I’m reminded of the Bible verse, Proverbs 16:9 – “We can make our plans, but the┬áLord┬ádetermines our steps.” We were as prepared as possible for this trip, but in the end it wasn’t meant to be. Jeremy started to feel under the weather at the end of the week. On Saturday, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and he started antibiotics right away. We were supposed to leave on Sunday, but he was still feeling crummy and he didn’t fall under the conference health code.

Instead of traveling, we’ve had a quiet week at home. We are ahead now in school and using this time to keep that momentum going. We might be able to finish the school year sooner than expected. The boys and I were able to attend our homeschool co-op yesterday. Owen especially didn’t want to miss a meeting, so the boys were happy to make it. They’ve had blanket forts up all week. Tomorrow they will attempt to sleep in their forts. I’m not sure they’ll last all night. Their beds are way more comfortable than the floor, but they can learn from experience. I’ve used the extra time at home to do a baking project, organize/purge toys, and create a new storage system for schoolwork. We’re making the most of these surprise days at home.

With plans changing so often, I am grateful for friends, family, and collogues who are gracious with these adjustments. Our people are understanding and supportive which is a huge relief. I am thankful for our home and the space it provides for rest. We are always able to fill days at home without issue. Owen is pouring through books at a shocking rate. Graham is loving the Bluey activity books I got as conference distractions. Art is being created and cookies are being eaten. Staying home isn’t too bad. On the bright side, Jeremy is improving. He needed this week to rest. We might have been surprised by our change of plans, but God knew. He is faithful through all the unexpected twist and turns life throws our way.

It’s been months since I’ve decorated sugar cookies! I felt bad that I purchased these LEGO cookie cutters in December and hadn’t used them yet. I had some extra free time, so it seemed like it was the right time to make a special treat.
Graham is my cookie shark. He is always close by waiting for a chance to chomp into a treat!
My completely unnecessary purchase for the conference. Instead of travel companions, they turned into consolation prizes!
 

February Fun! February 16, 2022

This last week was full of fun! I love holidays and any reason to celebrate. Valentine’s Day definitely was celebrated over the course of the week as well as on Monday. Jeremy surprised me with a 4-pack of pizzas from Lou Malnati’s in Chicago as a Valentine’s gift. Such a special and thoughtful treat! The pizzas arrived last Wednesday and I made one that evening. I couldn’t wait until Valentine’s day! The package came with dry ice to keep the pizzas frozen, which meant our evening was spent playing with dry ice. The kids had a blast! It was just as exciting as the pizzas in the package.

On Thursday, I promised to take the kids to the park after school. I thought it would be cloudy, but I didn’t anticipate that it would be foggy/misty. The park was damp but mostly empty as a result. The kids got super wet despite the towel I brought along to dry things off. My mom joined us for this outing and after the park we took off for the library. Mom treated us to a fast food lunch on our way home. It was a fun morning out and about – even if it was chilly and damp. Those of us in the PNW don’t let a little wet and chill keep us inside (okay, some time it does, but not all the time).

After a wet morning on Thursday, the skies cleared. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were beautiful. False spring as it is known around here. I enjoyed walking outside each day to get my steps in and my daily dose of vitamin D. Jeremy spent his days doing yard projects and the boys happily worked alongside him. When they weren’t tagging along with projects, they were in the drainage ditch near our house building dams. I’m so thankful the sun came out and we all got to appreciate the great outdoors!

Super Bowl Sunday was a highlight of the weekend. I’m not super into football, but the food is usually what gets my attention. My parents picked up a family meal from Olive Garden so our Super Bowl food consisted of lasagna, salad, and breadsticks. There were chips to munch on and Costco bakery items for dessert. I made some Valentine themed sugar cookies and contributed them to the game day goodies. Jeremy and my dad watched the game in one room while the boys played video games in the other room. After halftime, I excused myself to head home for some quiet time. The sunset on my walk home was lovely and really the best part of the evening (or maybe it was a tie with the breadsticks).

Our Valentine’s day celebration on Monday was fairly simple. We got the boys special boxes with Hershey Kisses inside. We picked up Power-Up Packs for their LEGO Super Mario characters. The fire suit makes a little flower appear on Mario and Luigio. It was fun take on chocolates and flowers for our little Valentines. I made mini bundt cakes for dessert and Jeremy picked up a heartbreaker pizza from Papa Murphy’s. Cheese pizza from Papa Murphy’s is definitely our boys’ love language. We had a bottle of sparkling cider left over from the holidays and we enjoyed our meal by candlelight. Nothing too fancy, but lots of fun!

Between the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and a three-day weekend coming up, February is full of fun! After an unusually quiet month in January, February seems to be a step in the direction of good times and community. The pandemic has given me fresh insight into into how much fun the little celebrations can be. I don’t take the small things for granted quite as much. They bring so much joy to our daily life!

The very best kind of frozen pizza! And the fact that it’s heart shaped makes it even better!
Fun with dry ice and dish soap. When the bubbles popped it would release the steam from the dry ice. Super cool!
Park Time!
My little monkey
Valentine crafting
Valentine baking
Super Bowl Sunday Sunset
Flowers and chocolates for the boys!
All the Valentine vibes
Another day, another heart shaped pizza!
Dinner by candlelight! It wasn’t dark outside yet, but it was still fun.
 

The Start of Sabbatical December 7, 2021

As of this last Friday, Jeremy is officially on sabbatical for a month. Our family is thrilled to have extra time together during this festive month. We certainly started this sabbatical off with a bang. On Friday, the boys decorated a gingerbread house while I made gingerbread cookies to take to a moms’ only Christmas party. The kids had a blast with all the sugar. Owen licked the frosting more than he decorated with it. The moms’ only Christmas party included a book gift exchange which is my love language. Being a wild, crazy, kid-free mom, I got home after 11pm (which is unheard of for me these days).

On Saturday, Jeremy’s parents invited the boys over to spend the day with them. Nana and Papa were watching some of the cousins and it was very thoughtful of them to include our boys. The boys love time with cousins family time and it gave Jeremy and I chance to Christmas shop without them in tow. I feel very good about where our Christmas shopping is at now. We started late this year, but it didn’t take us long to get it done…. well… almost done. We have two more gifts to purchase, but in the grand scheme of shopping, that’s not too bad. I had a delightful time selecting wrapping paper to match each family – Disney characters for our boys, LEGO for the cousins, Santa dogs for my family. Jeremy and I savored a yummy lunch out and reveled in the quiet conversations we were able to have while driving.

Sunday started with Christmas lesson and craft that Jeremy brought home from church. We did cocoa bombs (which were a gift from a friend) and then did our advent candles. We did advent in the morning because we planned to be out late that evening. We took off after lunch for Jenny’s Cookie Bake Shop in Lynnwood. I’ve been following Jenny for a year now and I’ve been decorating cookies from her Cookie Class book. It was a dream come true to pick up a treat from Jenny’s and see her bake shop in-person. After cookie munching, we went over to visit my forever friend, Maggie. We had dinner with her family before bundling up to do the Wild Lanterns at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. The wild lanterns were so neat!!! Way cooler than the usual Zoolights experience that I’ve come to expect at most zoos. It special visit my friend in her neck of the woods. We are very rarely ever north of Seattle. It was an awesome adventure wandering the zoo with our families.

We were able to keep our school routine yesterday even with Daddy home as a distraction. Jeremy started a burn pile in the yard and it motivated Owen to get school done quickly. We are two days into school with Daddy home, but I think the flow will be Jeremy works on a project while we do school. He is currently reorganizing our garage was I type this. I wonder what project will be next. Yesterday, I had coffee with a friend in the afternoon and then were able to get our boys their first dose of the COVID vaccine. It was a bit complicated getting them an appointment in our area, so I was grateful for the last-minute appointment we snagged. The boys and I hope to return to in-person church attendance in January and this vaccine is a step toward that goal. We celebrated with pizza, cookies, and ice cream!

After a super big weekend filled with holiday fun, our week is looking fairly quiet. We have a few outings we are hopeful to make happen while on sabbatical. Some are weather dependent so we are waiting and watching the forecast. Being on sabbatical means we have flexibility to wait for good weather days. I love getting out and about, seeing people I love, and doing something new. I equally love being snuggled in at home! It’s been a great kick-off to Jeremy’s sabbatical. I’m looking forward to all that still lies ahead!

The Start of Advent
Cocoa Buddies
Starting December off right with a trip to Christa and her train neighborhood.
The Gingerbread House
The Gingerbread Cookies
Christmas shopping date!
Advent with cocoa
A dream come true for this cookie lover!
Enjoying Jenny’s Cookies
A game with friends before Wild Lanterns
Wild Lanterns
Wild Lanterns
Wild Lanterns
Wild Lanterns
So glad our families were able to do this fun outing together!
 

Deck the Halls! November 28, 2021

It’s that time of year again! Time to deck the halls! Our kids were ready to decorate for Christmas the day we got back from Disneyland. The Christmas magic they experienced at Disneyland definitely inspired them! Our family has no rules for when Christmas decorations are allowed to come out. It changes year to year based on our schedule. This year we needed to recover from Disneyland before diving into Christmas mode. We don’t mind waiting until after Thanksgiving (but we also don’t mind decorating before Thanksgiving either – no rules).

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we enjoyed a day full of family and yummy food. We were back to our pre-pandemic schedule of two family gatherings in one day. It’s was the first time that our family has joined my extended family for a gathering since Christmas 2019. It was good to be back to “normal” but I forgot how long it can make a day when you hop from gathering to gathering. Seeing family was worth the effort, though! It was a great day and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for!

Getting back to school to after Disneyland was a bit of a struggle. If it didn’t mean going to school until the end of June, I would have just declared us on holiday vacation until January. It was nice to come back to a short week and a holiday weekend. Just three more weeks of school until Christmas break! That seems like forever, but I know it will go by in a blink (at least, I hope so)! Jeremy was offered a sabbatical for the month of December. Our family is excited to have extra time together during this special time of year. We are looking forward to Christmas activities and outings as well as plenty of time around the house enjoying Christmas movies, books, and treats! It’s such a joyful season and we are ready for it! Bring on all things Christmas!

PS – You’ll notice that Disneyland has seeped into our Christmas celebration this year. We got matching Christmas Mickey pajamas for our trip. At Disneyland, we picked up a Mickey ornament for our tree. Once we got home, we picked more Mickey ornaments and a Disney advent book. Our Christmas cards will also feature Mickey this year. Our annual photo ornament has been ordered with pictures from our vacation. Disney is our theme this holiday season!

Cookies of the Month for November! Sweet as pie!
I made 59 cookies this last week (gotta love that odd total). I brought them to each family gathering and made some for a friend. This photo features 2/3 of them decorated for Thanksgiving day.
Graham is my official cookie taste tester!
Cousin time at Thanksgiving!
The Scott Family – Thanksgiving 2021
It’s going to be a very Disney Christmas this year!
Each year they get a new ornament to put on their mini trees in their bedrooms. Mickey Mouse was an obvious choice this year!
Placing the star on top of the tree is such a dramatic moment…
The tree is officially decorated!
They are a little amped up for Christmas!
Grandma got them this LEGO wreath at The LEGO Store in Downtown Disney. Such a fun project and super festive. It also can be made into an advent wreath with LEGO candles!
The nativity set and the Christmas train have met… I keep reminding the boys that Baby Jesus isn’t allowed on the tracks.
Beautiful sunrise this morning!
 

Happy Halloween 2021 November 1, 2021

Like most families, yesterday was a big day! Halloween has always been a big deal to our family. Not because of spooky season, though. Annually, Jeremy plans and hosts a major holiday event for our community on Halloween. Fall Fest is a long standing tradition at our church. When I was in high school, I volunteered at this same event, but back then it was called the Fall Family Fun Festival. Jeremy shortened the title to Fall Fest when he became the children’s pastor. October 31st means big church event in our world and we were ready for it!

Last year, we did a drive-thru event due to COVID restrictions. This year we did an outdoor event for the first time. The weather was absolutely beautiful! We couldn’t have asked for a better day. We were so thankful! Jeremy had canopies over every game so the event could have been rain or shine. Being in the PNW, we roll with wet weather, but I’m glad we didn’t have to! Another fun element of Fall Fest this year was the Candyland theme. The decorations and games all revolved around the classic candy-themed board game. The boys and I arrived early in the afternoon to help Jeremy set-up. Pastor’s kid privileges meant our kiddos got to test out the games before it got crowded. They even got an extra long jump in the inflatable bounce house. The boys were very helpful in the set-up process. I love that we are at an age when were we can serve our community together as a family.

While Halloween and Fall Fest were the highlight of the week, I also had some fun moments with a few mom friends. On Monday, I did a book swap with a friend. She came over to look over my home library and share some of her books with me. It’s always interesting to see what books we’ve already read and what books we can introduce each other to. It’s a rewarding challenge! In the theme of books and friends, I went to the 30th birthday party of a good friend this weekend. The guests were asked to bring a wrapped book for a gift exchange. The exchange was a classic white elephant style, but instead of gag gifts, it was everyone’s favorite books. The party was kid-free and the time to chat with other mom friends was priceless. I even road out to the party with another friend so I could get more kid-free socializing into the night. What’s not to love about books and kid-free mom time with friends. Such a special treat!

As I reflect on this last week, I’m so grateful that Fall Fest went so well. I am thankful for the friends and community we get to do life with. It’s mind-blowing that we now find ourselves in November! We have so many fun things ahead. I have a few coffee dates on the calendar. Red Cup Day at Starbucks is right around the corner. We have some homeschool outings planned with other families. And… we have Disneyland on the horizon! So much to be thankful for as we make our way toward Thanksgiving! I’ve added a gratitude practice to my daily journaling as effort to find and remember the good moments scattered throughout each day. I’m not immune to the struggles and challenges of these different days. When things seem hard or overwhelming, I fall back into thankfulness. Oh! That’s another blessing in November – falling back with daylight savings. I used to love falling back just as much as I loved Christmas (before kids). Now… it’s not quite the holiday it once was, but I still get excited for it. I’m certainly counting my blessings as we head into November.

Graham helped me make this super tasty pumpkin cake. He requested no frosting but I couldn’t agree to that. We compromised… and then he didn’t eat any of it. No worries! I ate all the unfrosted pieces with the extra frosting I had leftover.
This playroom usually looks like a bomb went off it in. I can accept they worked hard to creatively make this mess. The fun discovery this week was Mario Kart Hot Wheels cars. They used birthday money and their first-quarter-of-school reward to start a collection of vehicles.
Taking on the world together! These ninjas had a fantastic Halloween!
If you give a kid a sword…
Setting up for Fall Fest. Every year I wear a headband as my costume. This year I rocked the Minnie Mouse ears leftover from the boys’ birthday party.
Jeremy as King Candy! Seems fitting as the leader of this candy-filled event.
Donut Hole Game
Classic fishing pond with a licorice twist!
Graham got warm during set-up and took his costume off. I couldn’t get him back into it for the actual event. Graham was his own person for Halloween.

 

These May Days May 11, 2021

Our floor replacement project was supposed to start today. But… it’s been postponed. Our flooring situation feels like an epic saga (a never ending one at that). There was an internal miscommunication with the building company and now we’re looking at the end of May or beginning of June for this project to take place. As much as I want this project behind us, I’m okay with the pause. I wasn’t thrilled to homeschool around the flooring project. With only 1.5 weeks of school left, I’ll be glad to do this project after we wrap up school. We will have summer school, but the summer schedule is lighter. Postponing the flooring project fits better later. I guess a delay can be a blessing.

When my hubby asked me how I wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day, I originally thought the house would be torn up right after the weekend. I didn’t want a busy weekend on top of a crazy week. This year I opted for a quiet day at home to read and eat my favorite foods. We ran errands on Friday and then had dinner with my parents to celebrate my mom. Saturday was my quiet day. Sunday morning was restful around the house with the kids while Jeremy worked. Once Jeremy got home, we went over to celebrate with his mom. I enjoy the flow of celebrating Mother’s Day over the whole weekend. Instead of celebrating three moms in short burst of time, it allows us to have a laid back flow to the weekend. No need to rush. Expanding the time we celebrate allows our family to be in the moment and present. Maybe I won’t feel this way ever year, but a low-key Mother’s Day was perfect this year.

Without a major construction project in the immediate future, things around our house are business-as-usual. Homeschooling, reading, baking, walking, outside time, hot tub time… All the usual things. The weather has been nice so we have been outside everyday. The sunshine reminds me that summer is right around the corner. We had a chat with the kids this week about our summer bucket list. We’re starting to daydream about how to fill our summer days. We have a camping trip on the books. I hope to visit the zoo. The kids hope to go to the beach. We’re looking forward to more play dates and backyard hangouts. The boys and I will return to church on Sundays for outdoor gatherings. We are enjoying this slower-paced Spring, but we are also looking forward the promise of Summer!

Graham directed me on how to decorate this cake. He was also my sprinkler of the sprinkles. He was so proud of our team effort. It was a bit busy for me, but apparently the 5 year-old sees the world differently!
Our final MOPS & MOMSnext craft! I might add some ribbon for a finishing touch.
My favorite place to read is a loveseat in my bedroom. These two are always close by. Here you can see the pillow fort bedrooms that they created. The orange vest were used for the construction phase and then cast off for “bedtime.”
My Saturday Mother’s Day Plans: Reading, dinner of mac & cheese with brownie sundaes for dessert, and then movie night with my hubby. Perfect day!
Mother’s Day 2021 – Love being their mama!
Silly Bedtime snuggles
Our MOPS & MOMSnext group did a fun challenge to share a picture of yourself in middle school. Here is 8th grade Amy. Awesome bangs and braces!