Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas 2007!

It was a wonderful Christmas for our family this year. The day began in our jammies on the living room floor with the girls opening presents, just our little family and Uncle Tyler who had spent the night. After showers and getting ourselves ready, we headed over to Grammy and Papa's house for a wonderful breakfast and more giftly festivities, thanks again Connie for preparing the breakfast.

A rare picture of me and my sweetie. It seems that one of us is always behind our camera, so it takes effort to remember to ask someone else to take a picture of us.
Chloe smeared beans in her hair during breakfast, it makes for some good hair gel!
Ready and waiting to open her gifts
Popity Pop Fun!
"Thank you Papa, I love you!"
Reading her new princess book with Grammy.
Miss Chloe was all about hugging her Auntie Monica on Christmas morning.
Does this look say mischief or what?! The beaned up, wild hair adds to it don't you think?
Brothers. Need I say more?
The afternoon and evening were spent back at our house with my family. This year was my first time hosting Christmas dinner, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Our nephew Milo is a bundle who commands snuggling! No one can resist him!
Getting four little ones to stay on the couch for a picture, let alone all smile and look at the camera was wishful thinking! But doesn't this picture capture what our lives are like as parents?
Tayden and Emma having way too much fun at the "kid's table".
My new favorite picture! I love you so much mom!
Welcome Auntie Kim!
We love you!
Mom with her daughters. You're joining a crazy, silly group of women Kim!
The guys. In all their masculine affection.
Oh so loved!
It's so neat to see the way God brings two families together through marriage. We had a great night at our house the day after Christmas playing Taboo with Kim's family, eating snacks, and getting to know each other better. Tyler couldn't have asked for better in-laws!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Tour of Homes

Ever just want to peek inside people's houses to see how they decorate for Christmas? Well, your wish is granted! Just click on the button above and start your tour! I just had to join in the fun too, so here's a look at our decor.Welcome to our home for the holidays! Come on in!A beautiful lantern my mother-in-law just gave me as an early Christmas present.
Bet you thought there was a fireplace behind this mantel...Gotcha! Pretty good trick eh!
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree!I made these stockings this year as my very first sewing endeavor. I'm just loving how they look on my mantel! Now I just need to sew our names on them.Cutting out snowflakes for the windows has been a tradition since childhood. I wouldn't consider myself an expert snowflake cutter, but it sure is fun to make them.My favorite item here is the sled. I found it at an antique store.Just some Christmasy potpourri Some figurines and a church I inherited from my GrandmaMy precious Nativity. Hoping to upgrade some day.More village scenes from GrannyHope you've enjoyed the tour! Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:8-12

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Twas The Week Before Christmas!

It's been just over two weeks since I've published a post, so I suppose it's high time. We've been busy around here with Christmas activities. Emma and I just finished baking and decorating our Christmas cookies. They're all plated and ready to take to the neighbors tonight. Shopping is done, minus a few odds and ends, and I've been busy rehearsing for our Christmas choir performance at church. Here we sit, just one week before Christmas, and I am feeling ready and relaxed. This week will be spent cleaning house to prepare for family coming on Christmas day, a little grocery shopping for Christmas dinner, but mainly preparing our hearts to celebrate what we should be celebrating every day of the year, the beautiful birth, life ministry, and atoning death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let's prepare Him MUCH room this week in light of the hustle and bustle the season can bring. Let's choose peace and simplicity over stressful expectations. Here are a few fun pictures highlighting our past couple weeks. Enjoy! And Merry Christmas to all!

Love, Sarah

The girls are both pretty enamoured by the Christmas tree. It's going to be a sad day in their worlds when it comes down after new years.

These little fingers face daily temptations to reek havoc on ornaments...but they are learning:)

My little blondie is getting way too big!

Sister love, it's the best!Hey, let me goober that camera!How bout a messy kiss too?!Emma decorated most of these cookies herself, aren't they beautiful!The artist hard at workFrosting dryingSuch fun!The clean-up was a snap!Emma did a great job singing at her Christmas program at church on Sunday.

Sleeping beauty on our way home from church. Sunday mornings are still a bit rough for Chloe as she is still dealing with some separation anxiety. But she's getting much better in the nursery and only usually cries for the first few minutes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Keeping Christmas about Christ

A mentor mother and great friend of mine, Pattie, spoke at one of our MOPS meetings in Wellington last year about keeping our Christmas traditions Christ-centered. I was so moved and inspired by her ideas that I thought I’d pass them along to all my lovely blog readers. We have not implemented all these traditions, but what creative food for thought for creating our own Christ-centered traditions including and/or beyond her suggestions.

1) Use 25 plastic (especially with younger children) Christmas balls and a paint pen and write one Attribute of Jesus with coordinating scripture on each. Put all the ornaments in a basket beside the tree. Each day, starting on December 1st, put a ball on the tree as a family. Talk about the attribute and read the scripture – this is like an advent calendar.

2) The "good and perfect gift". Wrap a gift that contains seven items that each represent a promise of God. This is the last gift to be opened on Christmas morning. Each child gets to take out an item and guess what it means. The attached verse will give the answer. For example: an eraser reminds us of god's forgiveness of our sins...

3) Its fun decorating the tree as a family each year. Why not give this special time even more meaning by hanging a special ornament last. The last ornament hung brings the focus back to what we are truly celebrating at Christmas - this is the Christmas nail. The nail reminds us of the ultimate reason Christ came as a tiny baby in a manger, He came to die for us.

4) Matt 5:14 says, "You are the light of the world, glowing in the night for all to see. Don't hide your light under a basket." - Let your children make handmade ornaments (angels etc...) and attach them to cookie plates for your neighbors and friends, perhaps with a special verse attached as well that captures the meaning of Christmas.

5) II Corinthians 1:3, 4 says that God is the source of every mercy and it is He who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. Keeping Christ in Christmas is comforting others. - help others during this time by decorating their tree, shopping for them, wrapping their gifts, baking goodies for them or WITH them etc... If it is someone in a nursing home - miniature trees(7") with miniature mangers can be a special treat to set on the bedside table - visit again after Christmas and take it down and store it for them.

6) Telling others the Christmas story through your gift is a great way to keep the focus on Christ. Teenage nieces are difficult to buy for but a Nativity piece each year (with some money) helps them to think about what Christmas is and will eventually provide them with their own set.

7) If you have your own nativity set put it under your tree next to your gifts to remind your family that Jesus is the first and greatest gift of Christmas. They even have stuffed nativity sets for those of us with younger children. You could move Mary and Joseph around the house as they travel to Bethlehem and let your children look for them. Leave a treat at each new stop along the way for your children to find. Set Baby Jesus out with Mary and Joseph on Christmas morning.

8) Don’t ask them what they want for Christmas! This is Jesus birthday so we limited gifts to one gift when they were growing up from us. It seemed that they still had plenty (relatives) but we never set them under the tree - only the one gift for each child. When it is their birthday we celebrate it big.

9) Before opening gifts we read from the Bible or a devotional and each person shares what gifts from God have been most meaningful to them.

10) On Christmas Eve we would go to church and then come home and have "snowballs". This was vanilla ice cream that we would soften and mix in white chocolate and then roll balls in coconut and refreeze. We would put a candle in the balls with a bit of pretty greenery (with lights out) and light the candles and sing "Happy Birthday to Jesus". The white represented His holiness and purity -even at birth!!! Then we would pour homemade raspberry syrup over top to represent His blood in dying for our sins - great time to read prophesy and explain it!!

These are some great ideas eh! Thanks Pattie! It can be a challenge in our culture to keep Christmas Christ-centered. I'll admit, Travis and I struggle with the whole notion of Santa. We both have such fond memories of "believing" when we were young. But at the same time, it is so easy for kids to see Christmas as all about what they might get and the "magic" of Santa, which easily overshadows our celebration of Christ's birth. Whether we celebrate with Santa or not though, the bigger temptation is greed and material focus. We don't pretend to have it all figured out, in fact we're no where close to knowing exactly what's best. But we'll continue to pray about it, seek the Word and wise counsel and thank goodness for God's grace along the way! But we shouldn't just do this about Christmas and other holidays, Amen! Every day of our lives, every decision we make should be approached this way. Christian freedoms can unfortunately be a dividing place for us as fellow believers as we are tempted to judge our brothers and sisters in an effort to make ourselves feel more secure in our own convictions, so let's be careful of that. But I know that, as Christians, we all can agree that we have been given the greatest gift imaginable in Christ, a gift we don't come close to deserving, a gift we didn't earn or buy, a free and beautiful and perfect gift! That's something we should be celebrating 365 days a year, not just on December 25th! Blessings to you this Christmas season! May this special time of year bring you a deeper love for our Savior, and consequently a deeper love for the people He came to save.

Always learning, always growing, never arriving,


Sunday, November 25, 2007


I am happy to announce that my brother Tyler and his girlfriend Kim just got engaged on Friday November 23rd! We are so excited to be welcoming this wonderful woman into our family, she and Tyler really were made for one another. She was completely surprised when, after a hike on snow shoes up to Lake Agnes, next to the frozen lake, Tyler told her he had a surprise for her in his coat pocket. She reached in and there was the box! He then popped the question and she said yes. The ring pictured here is not the ring, but the closest one I could find to it. If I could grab the ring in the middle and twist it about 90 degrees so that the accent diamonds weren't headed straight for the middle, that would be the ring. It's absolutely gorgeous, Tyler did a great job picking it all on his own. They haven't set a date yet, but I'm sure the planning will commence sooner than later. We love you both so much and are just over the moon excited for you as your lives will soon become one!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stocking Instructions

Several of you have asked me where I got the pattern for my stockings. Just click here. But I must give my notes as well since I tweaked things a bit to make the stockings the way I envisioned them. First of all, instead of using outer material, fusible fleece and liner material, I used already quilted material and then liner material. This saved a step and gave the stockings a more country feel, which is what I was going for. The patchwork, stocking cuff, toe patch and heal patch were all pieces I sewed on before sewing the liners on. I drew my own patterns for these. I then followed the pattern instructions to a T up until the very last step, which was sewing the front and back finished pieces together. Instead of sewing them front to front and turning them inside out, I simply pinned the front and back together, liner to liner, and sewed them together with a zigzag stitch. This gave the fronts a more primitive country look and made the stocking "fuller" in size. It also lets them hang flatter so you can fully appreciate the shape and design of the stocking. If you decide to do patches on the fronts, be sure to keep the design simple if you plan to sew them on with your sewing machine, otherwise you should hand sew them on. Lastly, take your time cutting your front/back and liner pieces and make sure they are exactly the same size. Then make sure you do a nice 1/4 inch seem so that when you go to sew your fronts and backs together, they line up nicely. If they're not perfectly the same size, you can make it work when you pin them together, but it will make your job much easier if you are careful in the cutting and seaming process leading up to the final assembly. I hope this all makes sense and is helpful if you are planning to make this pattern. Please feel free to email me with any further questions if you get stumped somewhere in the process. Happy sewing!