Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Time!

Christmas was so magical this year! Oliver loved every bit of the season. We made so many cookies together, read lots of books about Santa, made gingerbread houses, drove to see Christmas lights, made an igloo in the fresh snow, visited Santa, wrote Santa a letter, etc. 

At our house, we try to keep Christmas simple and fun and, most importantly, focused on Christ! Yes, we do buy gifts for each other... but we try to limit our spending and use our money on family activities instead of buying things. We have a family motto: we collect experiences, not things! And, we try to stay true to that even during Christmas time. 

Every year on Christmas Eve we attend the Live Nativity Pageant at The First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor. It is so much fun! They re-inact the birth of Jesus with all the children from the church and also with live animals (inside the church!!) including camels and donkeys. It is so much fun. It is also really spiritual as we all sing Christmas songs and listen to the story of Jesus. 

Then we head home and have a candlelit "Dinner in Bethlehem" where we eat lentil stew, fattoush, hard bread, etc. and we read about the birth of Jesus in the Bible. It is always a nice, simple evening that is focused on the Savior. 

On Christmas day we opened presents and had a big breakfast. Then we immediately started cleaning and making sure last minute things were taken care of before we headed to the airport to fly to SLC. We spent the next 10 days in Idaho visiting both sides of our families. We had a really great time!

At our church Christmas party

Pants-less boys decorating the Christmas tree

We made homemade gingerbread for gingerbread houses and Oliver ate the whole thing the next day!

The tree provided hours of entertainment for this guy!

They like each other a little bit.... :)

I taught Oliver how to play "Elves in Santa's workshop" and he loved it!

At least Oliver had a nice visit with Santa!

Christmas Eve Day

Christmas Eve Live Nativity Pageant

After the pageant we have a candlelit "Dinner in Bethlehem" at home

We eat lentil stew, artisan bread, fattoush, etc. and we read the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible!

Oliver was so excited to leave cookies and milk for Santa

Then we read a few Christmas books

Christmas was so fun with Oliver this year! He was super excited for Christmas morning!

The boys were spoiled spoiled spoiled!!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Recital

My students performed so well at our bi-annual recital this December. I have been teaching some of these students for a few years now and seeing their progress is such a reward to me. And some of my students just began lessons this Fall and were performing for an audience for the first time. I was so proud of each of them and their hard work to prepare for this performance!

My studio (minus 3 students)
Chocolate Mexican spice cake with vanilla bean buttercream
I always love making cakes for my recitals and the kids always love eating them! :)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Highlights of November

Another trip to the Toledo Zoo! The weather has been so mild this Fall so we have been able to go outside a ton!

Calum loves the zoo!

Oliver loves taking care of his class guinea pig, Miss Dixie!

Austin and Oliver occasionally do science experiments together!

There is nothing cuter than a freshly bathed baby!

Austin and I spent a night away for our 6 year anniversary!!! We found an awesome lodge bed and breakfast called, A Dove Nest, that was located up north on a ton of wooded acres. We had so much fun exploring in the fresh snow and cozying up in our fire-lit room. It was such a relaxing, fun and much-needed time away together!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Another Thanksgiving in Maine!

We had a really great Thanksgiving visiting Auntie Judy, Uncle Carlos and Auntie Ellen in Maine! We stayed at Judy's house and I enjoyed lots of baking and cooking time with her! Oliver loved going out every morning and helping Uncle Carlos take care of the goats and collect eggs from the hen house. We did a few really fun hikes with Ellen and always love walking through all their wooded property out behind the house with her. We also did some fun town exploring with Judy and we loved eating seafood at the famous A1 diner with her! It was a really relaxing trip and one that we will never forget!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Halloween was really fun this year! We went to lots of different events and had a ton of chances to dress up! Oliver was set on being Buzz the Lightyear for halloween, Calum was a spider, and Austin and I were the cop and robber duo! Oliver had so much fun this year going from house to house to trick-or-treat and he was incredibly brave going up to the really spooky doorsteps! He got a ton of candy and is already looking forward to next year! haha!