Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas and Beyond

(Warning, picture overload!)

My mom was happy with her gifts.  Buying for her was very hard.  In the end she got a very soft blanket, clothing and mostly sugar free candy.

Tasha had a flag flown in Afghanistan on Sept 11th for her dad.  I was shocked because she normally procrastinates as bad as I do.

Tasha got me a fire pit.  I hope to get some marshmallows today to try it out.

This was my Christmas request, a Silhouette Cameo.  I hope I have some time soon to try it out!

Joselin requested that I make her a minibar....a week before Christmas.  So on the 23rd I started will come later.  She was delighted with the end result.

Everyone was happy with their gifts.  No tears, no complaints, no outward jealousy.
The kids enjoy the library and play with it often.  The gift was for Larissa and I questioned that when it grew after I was given a free library cart and found a magazine rack for less than $3.  This project was actually quite inexpensive to do.  The biggest expense was buying more books (as though we needed more).  I mostly added more chapter books to our existing books.
In the end I decided to keep it as Larissa's gift because she was the one who inspired me to build it in the first place. As time has passed I see it was a good decision. 
Larissa is the most fair child of the little ones and she happily allows others to be the librarian.  Having one child in charge of determining who the librarian is has made it much more peaceful.  Given the make-up of our kids I would have been constantly mediating conflicts over it.  On Christmas it was made clear that Santa sent Larissa the gift and the decisions were up to her.  After only a few challenges, the kids have accepted her authority over it after they realized that she was fair (and mom was going to back her up).

The house is pretty quiet as the kids are enjoying the time with their new toys and electronics.  Hopefully the newness of their Christmas gifts will wear off right when it is time to go back to school.  I believe that they go back next week.  I guess I should look at that. 
When does your kids Christmas break end.  Do you homeschoolers follow public school schedules?

My Elves

After the little ones were asleep, everyone went to work finishing up Santa duties.

I had to laugh when Kassi asked if they were reading the English instructions. 
Hahaha, great training.

Christmas is so different when you have little ones and older ones.  Enjoying the experience of doing Santa duties is really fun.  It was a great evening as my older children shared life experiences and gave advise to my younger older children.  Funny how teens listen more to their older siblings than they do to their mom. Watching your children getting along to accomplish a task is really enjoyable. 
As we headed to bed I thought just how very blessed we have been this year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Eve

Normally our kids open their gifts on Christmas morning. However, many of the kids bought gifts for each other and they wanted to see how their gifts were accepted. So......

Joselin was very excited to share her gifts.  She said that this was her best Christmas ever.  Funny how when you can give then the experience becomes so much richer.  We let the kids stay up late in hopes that they would sleep in past 4 am.
Larissa was very anxious to go to sleep so that Santa could come.

After the kids went to sleep all the elves got to work........

Merry Christmas

We had a fantastic Christmas.  Yes, the kids received lots of gifts and food was in abundance.  Although that did add to the joy, that wasn't what made it a great Christmas. 
On Christmas Eve we stopped all of our activities and we went to church in the afternoon.  It was nice to stop and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.  Sometimes it is so easy to get involved in every day life and not stop and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. 
We have been blessed in so many ways and sometimes we forget that when trials come our way.
After church on Christmas Eve Larissa and Michelle played very nicely together.  This is actually a rare thing because Michelle has control and jealousy issues that impair her ability to play nicely.

Before we went to church we tried out a new potato soup crockpot recipe.

John and Sarah made it and it was ready for us when we came back from church.  It was delicious.
Theresa's Crockpot Loaded Potato Soup

7 cups chicken broth

8 cups of diced potatoes

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

3 cups onions, FINELY chopped

3 cups celery, FINELY chopped

1 stick butter

2 cups heavy cream

2 lbs bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

8 oz Colby cheese, shredded

8 oz Monterrey Jack, shredded

8 oz Sharp Cheddar, shredded

16 oz Velvetta, cubed

2 lb bag of Ore Ida Southern Style Hashbrowns, thawed in the refrigerator overnight

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place chicken broth, diced potatoes, salt and pepper in large pot. Boil until potatoes are tender. Do not drain.

In separate skillet, saute onions and celery in butter until tender. Mix half the onions and celery in the potatoes and broth.

In batches, blend this until smooth. (She didn't say, but you could most likely use your immersion blender here if you had one)

Place in Crockpot. Add remaining onions and celery, heavy cream, bacon and cheeses. Stir until cheese is melted. Add hash browns and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high for 2 to 4 hours until hashbrowns are done.

Serve with extra bacon and cheese on top if desired (naturally we did)

This recipe filled the big crockpot that we have all the way to the top although we did add a little extra heavy cream.  We used my new mixer to puree the vegetables and it did a great job.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Larissa's new closet....uh, bedroom

Last week Larissa asked me if she could move into the closet. Honestly, I wasn't paying much attention and said she could. Little did I know, she was serious. I short time later I could hear the sound of items being tossed and went to investigate what I had just approved.

I couldn't turn this picture around, she emptied the closet.

That night we threw a mattress in there and she seemed intent on making the closet her bedroom.

Several days passed and I realized she planned on staying so I dug out a bi-fold door from the garage and installed it.  There used to be a regular door there but we kept it off because it took up so much space.  The door was quite dirty and Larissa said it was her job to clean it since it was her door.  She was quite happy with her door.

The next day I built in a pallet.  The room is long enough for a twin mattress but it blocks the doorway.  The room isn't quite wide enough for a twin bed so we built a sleeping pallet and double folded a king size mattress topper.  It is quite comfy.

Finished.  Now I need to paint the hallway....

Larissa did some wall decorating of her own.

My husband thinks that this will be very temporary.  I am not quite so sure.  It took her 7 years to get out of our bedroom.  She is now 5 feet away......I think that she is very happy for the moment.
Well, would you let your kid sleep in a closet?