Saturday, December 31, 2011

we almost ran out of time, but...

...we squeezed it in!This past Friday we had our annual Bake Day...yes, after Christmas.Seems like Christmas came fast & furious this year and we just ran out of time, so sadly Santa had store-bought cookies this year :(We always make such a mess during Bake Day but it's always so much fun.This year Hudson really got into it. I think it had a little something to do with the alligator rolling pin Aunt Segi gave him......or maybe it was the 543,187 white chocolate chips he ate! He even shared a few with Noonie......and played cookie cutter peek-a-boo with me.
LOVE this sweet boy!We mixed...and mixed...and mixed some more.We got ready to roll out the dough...and Oops!...a little love pat!Luckily Noonie took it in stride.We rolled......and rolled some more.
{Oh, how I love these three sweet hands!}
We put those vintage cookie cutters to good use......and then the littles insisted on pulling out every.single.cookie.cutter we own. Ha!Before long...
{Yikes! I need to clean my oven!!}
Our cookies were ready for the littles' favorite part: ICING OVERLOAD!
{we cheated with the can froting because I have yet to master royal icing}
And of course, SPRINKLES!!!As soon as I pulled out these sprinkles...
{yes, DINOSAURS!!!}
Hudson went to town frosting and decorating his cookie masterpiece!
{Notice the missing gingerbread boy arm and legs?? Hudson snuck in a little taste test along the way!! he he he}
So sweet to see how into it they were...And before long we had some mighty fine masterpieces...
{yes, they had complete creative control this year!!}
Love how proud they both were of their creations!Best part of Bake Day for the littles?
Eating their masterpieces, of course!But for Noonie and I...
just spending this sweet time with the littles is what it's all about.Sweet, sweet memories.

Happy New Year!
I'm excited for 2012!!


Friday, December 30, 2011

it only took me 33 years...

...but I FINALLY managed to keep a New Year's resolution!!!Weight loss? Sadly no...onto 2012!!
Fitness? Nope. More for 2012.
Learn something new? Kinda...I did learn to hand embroider! But that's not it.

So what is it???
Wanna guess?
Give up?
I went an entire year WITHOUT charging a SINGLE thing on a CREDIT CARD!!! 365 days without using plastic!! Yay me!

It wasn't exactly the Dave Ramsey cash system, I DID use my debit card but that's tied to my bank account so it doesn't really count, I mean the money comes straight out of the account immediately....because, I don't know about you, but there is absolutely NO way that I'm going to drag two littles INTO the gas station every.single.time. I need to pay for gas!?!?

But other than my debit card, that was it. No major credit card, no store card (got rid of those a long time ago), nothing. nada.

To be completely honest I didn't think I would make it, so last December, I called the credit card company and had them cancel and deactivate my account effective December 31, 2010.
So not to boast or anything, but I'm pretty proud. It wasn't easy, but I made it!

Oh, and please DO NOT consider this financial advice of any kind - I actually don't think it's a good idea to cancel your only credit card, but I needed to make a drastic change to open up the door for some new ventures in 2012 and this worked for me.
Was it hard? Maybe not for some, but for me, yes - you betcha!

Hardest? Hotel reservations!!! Did you know that when you book a reservation with a debit card and check in to the hotel, they actually charge 3-4x the amount of your stay as a temporary hold on your account - you know, in case you decide to party like a rockstar and trash the room - and then it takes something like 5-7 days to be removed?? Yes, I learned that this year. Fun times. :)

So now that this little experiment is over, what next?
Hello, Visa/MC come 12:01 a.m. on Jan 1, 2012!!!
HA! just kidding!
Thank you to my family & close friends who supported me along the way! And thank you Jesus for your constant grace and provision in my life.

Here's to a 2012 full of possibilities!

10 lbs. of pure sweetness

Man, were we in for a treat last night! A treat in the form of a sweet-as-can-be little baby girl named Shabella, here for a short visit all the way from Florida. Oh my, is she the charts sweet with her little 3-month old coos, tiny little hands, and jet-black hair. Grace was pretty smitten too.Hudson was fascinated with her little feet.He loved kissing them. And he sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to her. Be still my heart.Thank you Riveras for letting us stop by to meet sweet Shabella...I know it was the end of the day and you guys were all ready to call it a day, but it was such a treat for us to see her and deliver her gift in person.Shabella's aunt, Segi (holding Shabella in the pic), is one of my dearest friends. We go way back. You know the type of friendship where you really have seen each other at your very worst and know every little detail of the things that have shaped each one of us into the people we are today. The kind of godly friend who has sat with you and cried with you when life threw you curveballs no one deserves to endure. That type of friend.

Her sister and her parents are no exception. They are like a second family to me. I think her mom fed me dinner almost every night for an entire season of my life, almost a decade ago, when I was really weathering some storms. She did more than feed me, she nurtured my broken heart. I still carry in my wallet the prayer card she gave me when I miscarried my baby five years ago. Some people are just golden. This whole family is. Love you, Riveras!Haguit & Charlie~ we're so happy for you! Shabella is just the sweetest little thing ever. We loved seeing you today and meeting your precious baby girl. Come visit again sometime soon so we can get in another little Shabella love session!!! God bless your growing family!
XOXO, Jessica

P.S. Totally unrelated but can I say I'm in awe over Neosporin and Mederma for Kids!! The alternating combination has done wonders for Grace's cut and five days in, it is healing faster than I could have imagined!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

baked with love

Every year since Grace was born, we've made a point of trying to do something tangible to remind her why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Sure, we talk about Jesus, we pray together, we believe, we go to church, but I think for a little child, having something they can relate to makes a big difference, so............... all that to say, we sing Happy Birthday to baby Jesus and have cake on Christmas Day!
The past 3 years {see here, and here, and here} I've baked the cupcake/cake/brownies and we've just sang happy birthday. This year I wanted to do things a little bit different.I knew the littles were old enough to help and both of them fight all the time to be my helper in the kitchen. So after we opened presents, we baked a funfetti cake for Jesus! Thank you Segi for the baking supplies - we put them to good use right away!!Sprinkes (and glitter!) = the little pumpkin's love language.If a few sprinkles are good, a WHOLE container of sprinkles is much better!There, isn't that pretty?!She has seen me add bunting to just about anything that will stay still, so she was super excited to make this one, "for baby Jesus, mama! He will love it!" Not too happy that she had to share putting in the mini bunting on the cake with her little brother, "But he didn't help make it!!! It's not fair!" Oy!For Hudson, cake = birthdays and birthdays = candles, so as soon as the bunting was in and we started singing "Happy Birthday to you..." he was blowing the (imaginary) candle out!! That's right, we didn't even have a candle on the cake yet!!He kept going and going and going...
{it's a good thing this cake was just for family - HA!}
Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill towards men. ~Luke 2:14