1st Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange Luncheon

I hosted my first Christmas Cookie Exchange party!  It was so much fun!!  I invited ladies from work.  It was a small gathering, but it was perfect.  I didn't have the ladies tell me what cookies they would bring to ensure there were no duplicates, but it worked out because no one brought the same cookies.

I made White Chocolate Peppermint cookies.  I found the recipe here:
The cookies were yummy and festive.

I made Lasagna, salad, garlic bread, hot chocolate and apple cider.  It was a simple lunch, but yummy.  Afterwards, we test tasted the cookies.  All yummy!  I was planning on saving them for Christmas, but not sure if they will make it that long...

The kids were so good!  They played with block and Legos.  They let us ladies have girl time.  Oh and that little guy Caleb, he's a tall one!  He had his 2 year doctor's appointment this morning. He's 36 inches tall.

Here we are with our cookies.  Thank you ladies for a wonderful afternoon.

I made these Christmas card holders for the ladies as party gifts.  They loved them.  They are like the one I made for myself.

Christmas is next week!  I can't believe how quickly it has come upon me.  I'm ready!!

I Crafted!

I wish I had been the person who had won the Mega Millions today!  It would have helped if I had bought a ticket...

One day into my Christmas vacation I had the inspiration to craft and I did!  I wanted something cute to display Christmas cards.  In our old home, I taped cards to a wall in the hallway.  Not the coolest, but it worked.

I googled Christmas card holders and I found this on Pinterest at

This is my version.

I love how it looks.  I have it hanging in the kitchen.  I might need to redo the ribbons.  They might need to be longer.  Plus I didn't realize that I had bought two ribbons that are wired (that's what happens when you shop with a 2 and a 3 year old).  As you can see they sort of curl up.  I am debating whether to leave it as is or replace them.  I went to Michael's today.  Their selection of Christmas ribbon is minimal.  It's the 70% to 50% off all their Christmas stuff!

So I am completely done Christmas shopping.  Now I need to stay out of the stores!  

I am enjoying being with the kids.  Although, there is some adjustment for them and me being together all day.  I know you working moms know what I'm talking about.

Shopping can be hard with both kids in tow.  So this is what I did this morning and it was smooth sailing at Target...

Thank God for Icees!  Not a peep of fussiness.


Getting Ready!!

It's that time of the year where things get really crazy! I can feel the stress all in my shoulders and neck. I am trying really hard to enjoy the season. I am now on my three week Christmas vacation (I'm smiling from ear to ear)! Those were some crazy last two weeks! I thought I was done with my Christmas shopping, but there were those last minute gift exchanges, potlucks, etc for work and Grace's school.

Now that I am on vacation, I can focus on getting ready for Christmas. We finally put up the Christmas tree last weekend. It took me two days from the time we got it on Saturday morning to the time we finished decorating it Sunday night.
This is the biggest tree we have ever bought. I didn't think we'd have enough ornaments to fill it, but like the feeding of the five thousand, there was enough ornaments.
The kids love the tree. Grace is enthralled with the tree, the lights and the ornaments. We don't have a fancy designer tree. We decorate our tree with ornaments we have collected over the years. It's a homey and family oriented tree.

My challenge to myself this Christmas season is to stop worrying about the planning of it all, the gifts to buy and the money to do all of this with and to focus on Jesus. Our pastor this weekend challenged us to focus more on Jesus' birth and gave us suggestions on what we could to to achieve this. I have decided that I am going to spend time reading the accounts of Jesus' birth in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke.

I am also going to spend time with the kids reading Advent stories. I am already competing with Santa! Grace is being exposed to Santa at preschool and comes home talking about it. When I try to talk about Jesus and him being why we celebrate Christmas, she wants to talk about Santa. Ahhh, so it begins!

I have nothing against Santa, but good is nothing compared to the best. What I mean, Santa is a good concept, but it has nothing to do with nor does it measure up with the fact that Jesus, God himself, was born so that we can be saved from our sin and have eternal relationship with God. That beats the pants off Santa!

So I leave you with this...
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Luke 1-21


Christmas Fun

It's that time of the year for Christmas programs!  Last year, we attended our first one.  Grace was in a Christmas program with Independence  Christian School where she attended daycare.  It was so cute and I was so emotional!
This is her second program.  It was not as intricate as last years. This year she attends Rainbow Preschool.  They sang a couple of songs, were read a book and then Santa made an appearance.  Grace loved it!  And of course, I was emotional!
In the morning, Grace stated that we had to get ready for school because Santa was going to be very sad if she wasn't there.  Ahh, the mind of a three year old.
Santa brought gifts for the kids.  He called them up one by one and handed them the gifts.  This is Grace's first picture with Santa. 
Ms. Walker and Mrs. Price, Grace's preschool teachers
Grace loves preschool and she has been learning a lot!  I am very grateful for these ladies who teach my child and who love on her so much!

And just like that, He's 2!

Caleb turns two tomorrow.  I was going to have a monster themed party at home, but last minute decided to have it at Chuck E Cheese.  I was running out of time and feeling really stressed about having to put on a party at home, so we made the decision to move it.  It was the best decision! 

The Birthday Boy!  He has so much fun!!  He stayed up till 9:30pm...the latest he has ever been up and he didn't fuss at all.
My little guy and princess
Family picture right before cake time.
Caleb had so much fun with the rides.
I didn't get to use the party decorations I had already made, but the kids had a blast!  I didn't have to do anything!  Just show up and have fun.  I think this is the way I will have parties for the kids for now on.
I had two monster poster boards with cutouts for the kids to take pictures with.  These were made by the Art club at Nogales high school where I work.

The kids had a blast taking pictures with them.

Monster cupcakes.  This was my first time using the icing tip for making hair.  It came out okay.  Probably should have practiced before making the cupcakes.  The package that I bought for the decorations, invitations, ets came from an Etsy seller named ItsAllAboutKidz.

Cute cake! The mother of one of my friends made this cake. And it was just a delicious as it was cute.

It blessed my heart to see how much fun he and Grace were having. Caleb is such a sweet heart and really active! He's loves giving us hugs and kisses. It's really sweet to see him giving them to Grace. I pray they will grow up to be very close. And I pray that Caleb will grow to be a man of God full of love and compassion. Happy Birthday my sweet boy.
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