Tuesday, December 30

Before and After

I know I should be blogging about our fun Christmas, but I have not tackled that yet. There are so many pictures to look through and then choosing which ones to blog. Hopefully, I will get to it in the next few days.

What I have been up to since we returned from Little Rock is a painting project. John and I painted the girls' bathroom a few weeks ago and then did the cabinets over the past few days. It was a trial run because I would ideally love all of our cabinets to be painted white. After this, I'm not sure I have the energy for it. It was quite a bit of work, but very much worth the effort. It looks fresh!
Here is the before:

And the after:

Thursday, December 25

Tuesday, December 23

Gingerbread Party

For the past 7 years (I think), the Elleman's have hosted a Gingerbread Party. We all bring our goodies to make gingerbread houses or any kind of edible creation. You can bake your base before, but everything must be assembled at the party. Allyn and Aaron always make a yummy meal and the best part is the attire for the
evening: pj's! The same 7-8 couples come each year and the majority of them are couples that we only see a few times a year. It is our favorite party of the season and something we look forward to each year. At the end of the night, we all cast our votes for our favorites and fun prizes are given.

We have never won, although we always think we will! :) This year, our creation was inspired by Brooklyn's love for Snoopy. We decided to make Snoopy on top of his dog house at Christmas. It really did turn out cute, but before the voting began it all collapsed. Sad! BUT, Brooke and John were fast to take pictures before the collapse.

We sat with Brooke and Finley this year. They made an incredible ski lift that should have placed. I voted for them!

First prize went to Cory and Amanda Rogers. It was a very intricate log (pretzel rods) cabin. Cory is a builder, so we all think it is a little unfair that he is a part of the competition.

Second prize went to the Thompson's. They made a sailboat and it was my favorite. The funny thing about theirs is that the mast is made out of edible panties. Apparently, fruit roll ups were heavier than what they wanted. :)

Third prize went to Jim and Catherine (Aaron's parents). They made a Mouse House and it was very detailed and creative.

Monday, December 22


I am so thankful for Christmas and what this time of year brings. It seems like we make more time for family and more time for doing stuff all together. There is so much that makes me happy this time of year, so it is hard to narrow it down. My true "happies" for the week are those that were included in my super huge blog from yesterday, so you can read that if you want. I love my family and friends and I love hanging out with them.

These 3 "happies" are superficial and I know that. Nonetheless, they have made me happy:

1. Emma has needed a heavier coat to wear on these super cold days and for the snow. The coat she has had is not waterproof. I figured I would buy her an inexpensive heavy coat from Walmart or Target to get us through the season. I spotted this coat at Children's Place about a month ago and loved it. I love the hearts on one side and the silver on the other, but it was $50 which was more than I wanted to spend. When we were at the mall this past week, I stopped in to see if it was on sale. It had been marked down to $35, but also had a sign that said 50% off the marked down price. So, I was sold! They had one left in Emma's size. I also had a 15% off coupon, so the $50 coat ended up to be $16 and some change! It is a little long in the sleeves so I think she will be able to wear it next year too. I LOVE A GOOD DEAL and LOVE it even more when I wait on something and then get such a good deal!

2. I LOVE movies with my family and especially at Christmas! John and I used to frequent the movie theater during the Christmas season when it was just the 2 of us. This tradition has slowed over the past 5 years. About the time Emma was old enough to start going, we had Brooklyn. Brooklyn went to see Madagascar and did great, so today we took them both to see Bolt. I realize that we will be seeing kid movies for a while, but that is fine.

3. Speaking of movies, you local guys MUST know that the Malco theater in Springdale has cheap movies. We had not been to this theater in a while because it is not the nicest theater in NWA. We will be going to this theater much more especially when we have the girls. Monday-Thursday-all seats (matinee or night) are $4! The weekend is a little more at night, but not near as much as the other theaters. All 4 of us went to the movie and got popcorn and a drink for $20. It is sad that is considered cheap, but these days it is. John would want me to make it clear that he won't be seeing "guy" movies in Springdale because the sound is not as good. As for me, I just want the best price!

Sunday, December 21

Christmas Fun

We have had a very fun and very busy last 10 days. We are enjoying the season and doing all kinds of Christmas activities. This is a quick (although it may be long with all the pics) run down of what we have been up to.

Friday, December 12:
The 4 of us went to eat a quick bite of dinner and then headed home for our 1st Annual Cookie Decorating. Emma and I had made the cookies that afternoon. There were no rules and no worries from me about making things look right because they were for us to enjoy and did not have to be taken anywhere. Seems like I normally let them help me cook when I need things to look a certain way. The girls got a plate of different colored icings and we had sprinkles too. It was a lot of fun!

Saturday, December 13:
Arkansas Children's Hospital was raising money by having a breakfast with Santa at the mall. We had a yummy breakfast at Garcia's, pictures with Santa, writing letters to Santa and face painting. It was a lot of fun for the girls and for a good cause. The Elleman's were leaving as we were getting there, so we snapped a picture of the kiddos together. Aren't they cute? Brooklyn is not a fan of sitting with Santa alone. This is why I was forced to be in the picture!

On Saturday night, John and I went to his office party. It was our first Christmas Party at Kellogg and we learned a lot about the night. Unfortunately, we didn't take a picture of our outfits. We had no idea it was a formal affair and were completely under dressed! It made for a good laugh between us all night long.

Sunday, December 14th:
We had our Community Group Christmas party at the Vaught's house on Sunday night. We had a yummy Mexican dinner with WAY to much food! We did a gift exchange after. Again, John and I are the newbies to the group and when told it was a "Dirty Santa" gift exchange, we pulled gifts from our giveaway pile. We felt like real shmucks when people started opening Starbucks cards and cute coffee mugs. Again (just like the office party), we will know for next year!

Monday, December 15th:
The girls and I made a fun little Santa craft. Again, they are wearing their best for a crafty Monday!

Tuesday, December 16th:
John and I got to go on a date! WooHoo! We meant to take a picture, but didn't. We ate dinner at Wasabi. We decided that it was one of our favorite dinners. Whenever we go to these kinds of places, we get random things and split it. We had edamame, chicken fried rice and California rolls. We ate everything! After dinner, we walked down to Walton Art Center to see Spamalot. It was really fun and very entertaining. The lady next to me thought everything was even funnier than we did. We laughed at her laughing the majority of the night.

Thursday, December 18th:
Emma had her preschool Christmas program. She has been singing to us for weeks, so it was fun to finally see the real show. The first picture is Emma's best little boyfriend, Davis. They have been in Mother's Day Out and preschool together since they were 1 and this will probably be the last year they go to the same school. (sniff sniff) They were all so cute up there! After, everyone had cookies and punch together.

Friday, December 19th:
We had our annual Happy Birthday Jesus Party with all of our little friends. JB is normally the host of this event, but since she is now in Colorado, Brooke took over the honor. We had yummy food, playtime and a story read by Finley . It is nice having a Christmas party for the kids that is focused on the main reason for Christmas.

Friday night, we headed to John's office for a kid's Christmas party. They had pictures with Santa and then Chickfila in the conference room. We sat with the Darby family and had fun catching up. Well, Andrea and I did. Brandon and John see eachother every day.
From there, we dropped the girls off with the Lewis' and we went to Monte Ne. It is not my favorite place to eat, but we always go with a fun crowd. The Tokar's were in town, so it was fun to hang out for a bit!

That is it for now. I will post pictures from our Annual Gingerbread Party at the Elleman's soon. It is the one party that we look so forward to every year. It is so fun getting together, being creative and eating good food!

Wednesday, December 17

Sweet, funny moments for the day......

I didn't want to write 2 separate blogs, but wanted to post both of these things from today. 

#1-"Just Needing to Get Away"
Emma got a Leapster for her birthday and it is a GREAT toy, but so great that it is fought over quite a bit. Brooklyn doesn't know how to play, but she can turn it on, get to the screen where you can color and she can color. I couldn't find Brooklyn today and then as I
 approached their bedroom, I heard the Leapster coming from the closet. I opened it and this picture is what I saw. B had made herself comfortable in the pink bucket with the Leapster. 
I don't blame her. Sometimes I want to get a magazine (or a cookie!) and go to my closet ALONE and hide! :) 

#2-"The Manger Scene (at our House)" 
Emma was very busy today when we got home from running a few errands. I was in the kitchen making fudge (there is much stirring required) and heard her ask Brooklyn to help her. 
A little while later, they ran into the kitchen asking me to come look in the playroom. I told them I would quickly, but I had to keep stirring so the fudge wouldn't burn. I'm so glad I left what I was doing!! I went in there to find the Little People Nativity all set up with EVERY SINGLE Little Person, Barbie, LIttle Pony, and Disney figurine we own gathered around the stable. I asked what they were doing and Emma said, " Everyone wanted to come see baby Jesus be born!" 
This warmed my heart today and reminded me AGAIN that I need to slow down and enjoy my little girls and the sweet, funny things they do each and every day!

Monday, December 15

Happy Everything!

We had Nelson/Hannon Christmas last Thursday night because we will be in Little Rock for Christmas Day. John's parents gave me this really cool platter that I can display and use for serving. It has velcro at the top and you can buy different seasonal things to stick onto it. The Hannon's got me the heart to jump start my collection and the plate came with a birthday cake. I thought it ever so appropriate to show you guys my Happy Everything! plate as my "happy" for the day!

We had a really fun family weekend and a really funny Christmas party for John's work. I will post more about all of this in the days to come!

Sunday, December 14

Emma's 5th Birthday Party

Emma's birthday party took place a few weeks ago, but I haven't been able to get all the pictures together to post. Here is a recap of her fun day!!!!

Friday, December 12

Great Statement

This is what Emma told me the other day and again today. She repeats statements when she gets a good laugh out of people. 

Emma: "Mom, I want to be just like you. Except when you have a bad attitude. "

Me: (laughing REALLY hard) I hope you don't get my bad attitude either! 

Tuesday, December 9

Christmas Crafts

We made these cute foam magnets last week. I did most of the cutting, but Emma assembled everything. She is the one that decided what to make too. I had seen the idea in the fall for fall magnets, but we never got around to it.

You guys have probably seen this reindeer idea before, but we have never made one. I just love them! I love that we will have something 20 years from now to see the size of their little feet and hands.

I know the question on the top of everyone's head is whether or not our children actually own clothing and get their hair brushed? If we are home for the day, I don't even bother dressing them. If I did, it would end up on the floor because all they do is dress up. The "at home" days are the days we end up doing crafts and taking pictures!

Monday, December 8


I love Christmas and everything that goes along with it, except for the busyness that we all get sucked into and the over materialistic way we make it.
These are just a few of my favorite things that I looked forward to at Christmas. I'm sure there will be more in the weeks to come!

1. Christmas lights on the Fayetteville square and eating at Tim's Pizza! We always go with the Hannon's and usually it is on Emma's birthday. This is a picture of our girls with the Hannon cousins and the Hannon cousins' cousins. (we have been trying to explain that to Emma) That Hannon family just moved to NWA and we have had fun hanging out with them. Emily and Emma have a good time together!

2. Christmas cards. I look forward to the mail coming everyday this time of year. I love seeing everyone's fun pictures!

3. Christmas shows on TV. I love all the old ones and even the new Nick Jr. Christmas episodes.

4. Driving around looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music. We went to the drive-thru nativity the other night and it was really neat.
We haven't made it to this neighborhood yet this year, but we love one of the streets off Turner Rd. in Springdale. Every house does something and it always looks good. We will go this week.

5. Baking. Fudge is my favorite to make and eat! I use my Mom's recipe and I really think it is the best fudge in the world.
I made Cinnamon Munch today and will be making Red Velvet Cookies this week for a cookie exchange. I like trying new things, but I love the things I grew up on even more.

6. Christmas crafts with the girls! I don't have pictures right now, but I will post the final products this week. Fun times!

Saturday, December 6

Christmas Design on a Dime

I made a very thrifty centerpiece for our dining room table. I was inspired by a picture in a magazine and decided to make my own. The girls and I gathered sticks from the Hannon's yard, then sprayed it with snow, and then spread glitter glue along the limbs. Placed these in a large vase with fake snow inside. Then decorated the limbs with ornaments. I already owned all of these things besides the big vase (which can be used over and over) and the snow which cost about $2 from Hobby Lobby. I'm very pleased with the end creation, but I'm sad that I could not get a very good picture.
So, look around your house and the outdoors and see what you can make!

Friday, December 5

Happy 5th Birthday Emma!

I mean, has it really been 5 years since Emma was born??? It is a Friday today, which is the same day she was born. Man, it is crazy how time flies. As my sister in law has said before, "The days often seem like years and the years seem like days." So very true!

I will report more about her birthday once we have her little party on Sunday, but I wanted to make sure that I got a short post in on the actual day. We did go to Jump Zone this morning with the Walker girls and then ate some lunch. We are going to the square for pizza and Christmas lights tonight with the Hannon fam.

Since this blog is to help us document our girls' lives, I wanted to write Emma a short little note. I couldn't help but look back at pictures on this special day!

Dear Emma,
Happy 5th Birthday! I can't tell you how thrilled I was to find out your were a girl (we did not find out ahead of time) on December 5, 2003. I secretly wanted a little girl named Emma so badly!

The past 5 years have been so fun! We have had low points (mainly just your 3rd year of life :)!), but the fun has far outweighed the hard stuff. You are a ball of fun to be around. You are an entertainer in every sense of the word. You are creative, funny, smart, the BEST colorer of ALL time, a leader, athletic, did I mention creative?, social, the welcoming committee to everything,
a great friend, an awesome sister, and the list could go on and on......I am also so proud of your little heart and how God is forming it and growing the desire to know Him. You love to pray and you care for others. Brooklyn is beyond blessed to have you as a big sister. You play and share with her so well (the majority of the time) and are great at including her into things that you do.

Em, I love having you as a daughter and as my little buddy. You are my most favorite 5 year old in the world!!!!

Monday, December 1


We had a great Thanksgiving with John's parents in Mtn. Home. On Friday, we headed to Branson to do our traditional Silver Dollar City night. We love being out there with all the lights. It was actually warm enough to ride some rides. It always gets us ready for Christmas.
My family (Mom, Dad, Cathy and her whole crew) joined us in Branson on Saturday to celebrate Emma's birthday a little early. I loved having everyone there together and I am so thankful for in-laws and parents that like each other. It was a great weekend, but we did not take a lot of photos. I did take this one before entering SDC, mainly to document the fact that John twisted his knee out of socket and back in on Thanksgiving Day (playing golf-a high impact sport :) ) and he enjoyed SDC on crutches. Aren't they cute and cozy in this picture?

I could write about a million things right now that make me happy, but I think I'm going to stick with just this one. I have plenty of time to tell you all the other reasons I love this time of year. Since it is December 1st, that means it is the beginning of Advent. (actually it started yesterday) I bought these little Advent mittens last year and I love them.
My Mom always gives the girls little Christmas treats at the beginning of December to enjoy before Christmas. I'm using those gifts, along with a couple items I found, plus Christmas crafts to do as we count down to Jesus' birthday.
They won't receive a gift every day. We will also add people to pray for in the mittens.
The gifts are not the point of Advent, they are just a fun little thing for the girls. This year, we are really going to follow the Advent readings. I can't say that tonight went all that smoothly, but I'm hoping it will plant a seed in their little hearts. If we could only get Brooklyn to sit still and listen for longer than 5 seconds. (I know, she is 2) I think it will be a neat holiday tradition and hopefully will help us keep our focus on what the true meaning of Christmas. Here are the scriptures for each day. You can also make an Advent wreath, but we are not doing that this year.