Christmas Decor

I always decorate for Christmas. I love it. It’s part of what makes Christmas fun. I usually do it the day after Thanksgiving. I pull out the plastic bins of decorations, crank up some Carpenter’s Christmas music and set up my house – fill it with Christmas cheer, if you will. Here’s this year’s decorations:

We got this tree from the Clark’s. Our little fake tree is a modest (skinny) 6.5 foot tree. It worked nicely in the past, in our tiny MI home, but this year, we have 9 foot ceilings and our house is twice the size. So, when Christina called me and said she just picked up a free, 9 foot, pre-lit, Costco tree and wondered if I wanted to use it this year – I leapt at the chance! This is the free tree she found on Craigslist. She would have used it herself, but their ceilings wouldn’t allow it :)

Before Santa came:


Thanksgiving 2013

This year, we hosted Thanksgiving at our house and the Blackburns and Clarks came. It was awesome to have everyone around one table. I loved that. There was a little scare the day before Thanksgiving when Aria called Christina and me and said she thought Chiara had chickenpox and so they wouldn’t be coming. Christina and I rushed around and covered the things Aria was supposed to bring. It all worked out fine and then Thanksgiving morning, Aria called and said Chiara was fine and it wasn’t chickenpox afterall. Aria felt sheepish and told everyone how bad she felt about not being able to contribute to the meal. It was funny. We were sooooo glad to have everyone there :)

Speaking of cooking …. I did the turkey this year. I’ve only cooked a turkey twice before and one time I called my mom the morning of and asked what to do with a frozen turkey. She just laughed. But this year was different! I went to Costco 10 days before and got the biggest turkey they had – 26 lbs. Then I did research on how to cook it and everywhere I looked it advised you to not buy any turkey bigger than 14 lbs … great. They said the reason was because bigger turkeys are older turkeys and the meat can taste “gamey”. Aria dubbed my turkey old and named it “Herb”.

I brined the turkey for 24 hours in advance in a 5 gallon bucket (which Herb barely fit into) and in order to account for this massive and old turkey I had, I wanted to allow a lot of cook time. Sooooo, I got up at 5:30 am on T-Day and prepped that turkey for an hour – rubbing it, injecting it, massaging it … it was ridiculous. I got it in the oven at 6:40 am and went back to bed. It smelled up the house in the most delightful way and it really felt like Thanksgiving! It was wonderful and I felt so victorious.

Around 10:30 am I checked on Herb and realized, to my dismay, that he was done. He was 165 degrees all over and that meant done. I checked my meat thermometer several times and in several different places on the turkey. Yeah. I was ready for Thanksgiving dinner at 11 am. It would’ve been a really nice brunch, but I just kept Herb nice and warm in the oven on low and we ate at 2 pm.

The dinner was awesome, we watched movies we had gotten from RedBox (Red 2 – awesome) and the kids watched their movies upstairs in the boys’ room on stadium seating. And here are the pictures of the fun happenings:

That was not real silverware .. it was plastic, but it looked pretty darn real, right?

The stadium seating for the kids:

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Daniel found a hike. This hike went through “The Valley of Enchantment” (that was the name of it) and was a hike to Heart Rock. It was only a total of 1.75 miles roundtrip and turned out to be pretty cool. Good job Cakes!

This next picture looks a little posey … cuz it was. Daniel put me here and said to smile. The hand on the hip puts it over the edge, right?

Halloween Party 2013

I think I’ve been holding out on this post because it’s something I love and wanted to present correctly. It’s the Halloween party!!!!!!!!!! My little sister, Aria, hosted it this year and she did a ridiculously good job! She even bought a chemistry set online and borrowed bunson burners from a Biology teacher friend. It was amazing. And so fun. Man I love Halloween parties!

As a rule, we never tell one another what we’re going to dress up like. Total secrecy. But this year, Christina, Aria and I all lived near one another and we were doing the party together and our costume ideas slipped out weeks before the party. It turned out that Christina was lying about her costume, just to throw us off the scent. But last minute Daniel and I changed our costumes, so jokes on them! Ha! What’s funny is that both Christina and Jeff and Daniel and I ended up dressing up like rock stars without knowing that’s what the other was doing. What’s sad? I look a LOT like Slash (who is a man … why do I look like a man?) Anyway, tons of fun and Aria killed it this year for the Halloween party!

Daniel and I were Slash and Axel Rose from Guns-n-Roses.

Jamiesons came too! They drove an hour to get there – woo hoo! That’s dedication :)

That’s me, Aria and Christina. Aria is Egor.

The front room. Aria covered the walls in tea stained biology book pages. And she made that chalkboard herself. I made the thing in the corner. It was supposed to be a transistor type thing that would hypothetically bring Frankenstein back to life …

This is above her piano.

John, the skeleton.

The bathroom had green and blue lights and was bird cage themed.

The drink table. It was cool cuz you could pour yourself a sprite then, add grenadine from little test tubes that were filled.

Brittany and Landon. We love them. Landon looks like Thor .. or Brad Pitt, right? A little? Brittany is so artistic. She did the paintings and all the photography.

The food table.

This was clear plastic sheeting that Aria used to cover the kitchen area. They splattered it with red food coloring dye to look like blood.

And there it is. Finally. The Great Halloween Party of 2013. Oh yeah, and guess who tied for Best Costume? Forsyths and Jamiesons!

thankful tree

I have been meaning to do this for years and I finally got to it this year. Christina really got me going because she called me and said, “I know where you should put your thankful tree in your new house”. Awesome. Sooo, I kept looking online at thankful trees and they were pretty puny. Little gatherings of sticks in a vase …. but not me. I always go big. I took a wall and 3 days to really finish it.

Anyway, last night for Family Home Evening, we sat around our table and I cut out leaves from paper and the boys and Daniel wrote things they were grateful for. They really got into it. I HAD to stop them so we could eat treat and get to bed. It was fun and easy and I love that it looks like Fall inside my southern California house now :)


Easter 2013

This year for the boys’ Easter outfits I just got a few things and kept the khaki pants and same hats from last year. I got the vests, shirts and ties at RUUM, a kids’ clothing store that used to be 77kids, a break off from American Eagle. It’s a fun store, cool style and not bad prices when they’re having sales, which they were. I’ll just show our pictures, but give details of the Easter hunt and dinner at our friends’ house later.

Look at my handsome men. Big and small. They are perfect, aren’t they?

 It’s sad to say, but all I can see when I see this picture is how much weight I still need to lose since I had Ray. sigh.

And even though Ray has his own post below, I had to throw in this last one. I love his little chin and relaxed mouth … makes him look almost squishy right? He’s so “kinny kinny” as my dad would say. Happy Easter!