Sunday, January 1, 2017

Christmas and New Year whirlwind! Cookies, hiking, catering, babysitting.....

 I had a very full December, so I started on neighbor gifts right away. Even so, it took a couple of weeks to get through my list. I watched more Hallmark Christmas movies than I like to admit, and memorized the playlist on my holiday Pandora station. It was awesome. I love doing those cookies. I get  a little stressed out sometimes, but love it.

 We had a couple of beautiful storms in December. I risked my foot and went hiking one day up Mapleton canyon. I packed Trader Joe's truffles from my mom for energy (oh my gosh yum --first time I tried them!), and ate snow off the trees for water. I wore the wrong shoes though, and my feet got super cold before I got done. I learned my lesson for next time! 

 My poor Fluffy! This is my borrowed cat. We give him lots of loving whenever he comes over to visit from my neighbors. I felt so bad for him this day though. Jeff is allergic so we never let him inside. It looks like the willow bush is giving him a bit of shelter...

 Hobble Creek canyon is just like a picture postcard when it snows --complete with little church steeples. 

 I got a mini catering job in December. My friend's daughter got married, and she needed help with the hot chocolate bar at the reception. I dipped 250 wooden spoons after stamping them! A lot of friends kicked in with help on getting the stamps together since I have never stamped anything before.

 The chocolate bar turned out kind of cute, with chalkboard trays and barn wood all through it.

 We found tiny marshmallows at Orson Gygi.

 I mixed up a white hot chocolate with Ghirradelli white chocolate, milk, extra cream, and extra vanilla. So yum.

 The three days before Christmas eve, I was able to help out some friends watching their little tiny girls. I have to admit, I was a little tired by the third day --I'm not used to being a little kid mom anymore like I thought I could be --but they were so so fun and worth it! Those little tiny voices! We called the younger one "eep eep" while she was here because that was how she asked for things. 

 We made cookies, went to the library, the animal museum, pet store, the grocery store --everything was new and fascinating to them. It made everything magical to me!

 They left Christmas Eve, and we went to my brother Gavin's house that night for dinner and our nativity play. I had some mildly uncooperative teenagers this year....
 Mary refusing to wear her headdress, Joseph in a Santa hat...
 Gav's kids were fun though :)

 Christmas morning I was too excited to sleep, and was up by 6:30. I turned on my Christmas village, the tree, and Christmas carols, and waited and waited....
 Finally the kids got up to open their presents,

 and as a bonus it was an extra white white Christmas! It must have snowed two feet of snow through the night. Our friend Monte came to plow our driveway for a Christmas present. 
 Just as Jeff went out to thank him, a whole flock of geese flew overhead.
 Christmas day everyone came over here for dinner. My food assignment consisted of almost all produce ---and I was so frazzled, I forgot all about it. I just put off dealing with it and put it off, until it was late Christmas eve and nothing was open. My sweet sweet neighbors all lent me what I needed. A true Christmas miracle for me. What are the odds that there are 5 ripe avocados in the neighborhood Christmas eve? I was so grateful.

 Brenda and I took advantage of that Christmas storm and broke our snowshoes out for the first time this season the next day. We were limited on time, but were able to go quite a ways up the right fork of Hobble Creek canyon. This side is blocked off to traffic in the winter. It was just lovely. We took Brenda's dog Gabby, and every few feet she would hear a bird or a squirrel and point point point!

 For our "Annual New Year's Gala Event" (a tradition in my family since I was a teenager), my parents brought over a goofy movie from the 60's "The Russians are Coming!" We made homemade pizzas using my sourdough starter for the first time, and only set off our fire alarm twice...  The worst thing about that? You have to open the windows and doors to get the smoke out, so all the neighbors could hear it (I imagined). While we watched the movie (it was hilarious), we worked on gingerbread houses. I made these earlier in the day using burnt sugar syrup to construct, so they were ready to decorate.
 Mine and mom's
 Jeff's --that I did for him.

 Ari's.  My dad did one too, and Tia did our extra one, but we didn't get individual shots of them.
 Jeff was the man of the hour --taking our T.V. off the wall in the other room, and setting it up in our family room for our party. I know it looks like it, but he didn't watch the movie through the telescope.

Extra gala this year. and smoky. Extra smoky too. 

Thanksgiving times two, and my city is the greatest city ever.

 We had a wonderful Earley Thanksgiving with Meesha's family joining the usual suspects. I got very few pictures I'm afraid. We had such a nice dry fall, that I was able to pull all of the centerpiece runner from our yard. 

 We had Kira's home pressed cider for drinks --she sent some home with my parents and they generously shared.

 So sorry I didn't get any real posed shots! 

 In between our Earley Thanksgiving and real Thanksgiving I was able to attend Time Out for Women with my friends. The program was a little uneven, and I really liked some speakers better than others, but the time with my buddies was the main draw. I felt like I got spiritually fed for sure, but loved being with these ladies.

 For real Thanksgiving we went to Jeff's parents' in St. George. My parents came too, and we had a lot of fun. His mom cooked the entire meal before we got there --which blew me away. 
 We spent Friday at the temple. Jeff and I took the kids to do baptisms, and the parents all went and did ordinances upstairs. A little tip? NEVER try to do baptisms the day after Thanksgiving in St. George! We were waiting at least three hours. It is their record setting day of each year.

 The weekend after Thanksgiving, Mapleton has its community Christmas park lighting evening. I live in such a cool town.
 Every year the first graders from Mapleton elementary sing Christmas carols in the little old timey pavilion in the park. So cute but so cold for them! Kudos to the parents that bring their kids to do this. I'm betting there is some complaining before they get there!

 We were bundled up pretty thoroughly!

 Santa cameo --he was taking wishes in the city building later on.

 The city provided fire pits and smores kits for everyone. Free.
 All of these white streaks through the pictures are snowflakes. It just made it more magical for me.

 Quite the light display got turned on!
 Inside the city building there was a gingerbread house competition, and wreath making competition. They were auctioned off for charity I think?

Nice start to our Christmas season. We did miss having Tia there with us though.