Merry Christmas

Just wanted to quick pop in and wish you a very blessed Christmas! I thank God for his gift which gives us all the hope & promise of Heaven.

I can only imagine what Christmas must be like in Heaven for Noah. Oh how we love and miss our precious son!

We could use your thoughts and prayers right now. I can't get into details because a few people stalk my blog  and cause problems for us in real life, so I unfortunately can't share details. =(  But we are dealing with yet another huge life challenge. You are welcome to email me (right hand column) as I can share with those of you who are regular followers and who have been a support to us.

Merry Christmas Noah! How blessed  you are to celebrate with the King of Kings! We love and miss you so very much and look forward to the day we get to spend Christmas together as a family!

Christmas Parties

What a whirlwind of a weekend! I had Christmas parties with friends for 3 days straight, Fri, Sat & Sun! (mainly all w/my co-op family). My busiest day though was this past Friday when I hosted a big group of friends for a cookie & gift exchange. Normally this last year considering, I don't think I would've been emotionally up to pulling such a thing off, but it was doable considering this was for my "family" (aka for my co-op friends who have stuck by my side through thick and thin this last year, I thank God for these selfless gals!)

Us moms rarely get a night to ourselves, so I told them to just come as they are and that I would provide the munchies. I rarely get a chance to host, so this was a treat for me to make food, as I love hosting parties! It was the least I could do to bless my friends.
olive penguins (recipe at the end)

Mr Snowman cheeseball

Just a pic of some of the food I made. There was another table & counter yet full of desserts, sweets & drink I forgot to take a pic of.

What a night we had! Everyone hung out eating & talking to start with, then we did our cookie exchange. It was awesome to get SOO many different kinds of cookies! I highly suggest a cookie exchange if you want to try different kinds of cookies but don't want to bake tons of different cookies. I had everyone email me their recipes so I could email a master list out so it saved everyone from writing out cards of recipes.

Then we played "Now you have it now you don't". For those who have never played this, you are missing out. Everyone takes 3 numbers then the numbers are randomly called. Each time your # is called, you go choose a wrapped gift, whether that's from the main pile or better yet, you take a gift from someone. When your third # is called, you then choose your final gift which you open and it's yours to keep. Our theme this year was to bring something from home you wanted to pass along. I didn't want anyone to feel burdened to go out and purchase a new gift. Holidays are already a stress filled time just buying for immediately family and everyone seemed to love the idea of a "hand-me-down" so that's what we did. Oh my did we have some awesome gifts!!! Let's just say we had some interesting gifts from *ahem* dice & games (*wink* lol) to a santa snuggie, candles, books, trolls (HA) etc. It was SUCH a fun night for all of us that went pretty late!!! Can't beat just sitting around conversing with some pretty great people!

Thank you gals for such a great night & fun memories!!!

And thank you to those who have already emailed, mailed or messaged me your R.A.C.K! I am overwhelmed at the response already filling Noah's stocking and look forward to many more!!!! Please feel free to share it w/others whether verbally or on your blog, facebook, etc.
Details can be found here.

1 (5 3/4 ounce) can jumbo pitted ripe olives, drained
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
1 dash garlic powder
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4 inch slices
12 small pitted ripe olives
12 toothpicks, with cellophane frilled tops
1 (2 ounce) jar sliced pimientos

Cut a slit from the top to the bottom of 12 jumbo olives; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the next six ingredients; mix well.
Fill a small heavy-duty plastic bag with cream cheese mixture.
Cut a small hole in the corner of the plastic bag; carefully pipe mixture into jumbo olives.
Set aside.
Cut a small triangle out of each carrot slice; press triangles into small olives for a beak.
On each notched carrot slice, position a jumbo olive so the white chest is lined up with the notch for the feet.
Place the small olive, hole side down, over the jumbo olive so the beak, chest and feet are aligned.
Carefully insert a toothpick through the top of the head into the body and carrot base.


As I was hanging all the kids stockings, it made me wonder what will we do with Noah's stocking this year? Last year we put in a little something for the other kids "from" Noah, which they loved! But I have been trying to think of a tradition we could start that would include Noah....

(that tree is the kids "mini-tree", we have a bigger real one in another area of the house)

About this same time as I was brainstorming, I came across some neat blog entries being hosted at Small Bird Studios entitled "12 Days of Christmas with You in Heaven".
There are many different writers (fellow baby loss mommas) contributing ideas of how to help remember and include our precious babies during the Christmas season. Which brings me to R.A.C.K.......

Acts of

One of the moms (here) asked friends, family, (facebook & blog followers as well) to help keep the Christmas spirit alive by "doing unto others" in the memory of her child. So my friends, that's where YOU can help play a part in filling Noah's stocking for us this year!! Anytime you make a conscious effort to do a random act of kindness between now & Christmas, send me a message of what you did and/or the story surrounding why or what you did (contact link is located along the right sidebar, or you can click on the facebook page link & contact me that way, or if I know you in real life, drop me a note in the mail :-). I will collect all the messages & without reading, will print them off and put them into Noah's stocking. As a family on Christmas morning, we will open and read them.

Your random acts don't have to be anything huge or monumental, so this is something EVERYONE can do! Some ideas listed from the MISS foundation can be found here.  Some other ideas to get you started:
-send a note or an e-card to someone
-thank someone you don't normally think to (mailman, UPS driver, etc)
-make some cookies for someone
-give someone a hug or smile
-help carry someones groceries while at the store

Or consider doing something like this if you feel led:

We would love each and every one of you to join in, not only to do something in Noah's memory but to show Christ's love to others. After all, this season is about giving. That small seed of kindness you plant today may have a huge impact on someones life down the road!

Kids that can cook

I just have to brag on my girls a bit. They have been getting pretty efficient in the kitchen for quite some time. The older 4 kids all enjoy baking and can do it quite well. They are at the point where I can give them a recipe (or they look one up online) and they can turn it out great with no supervision from me.

Growing up I wasn't really allowed to experiment in the kitchen much for fear of messing up and wasting supplies so I wanted to make sure my kids had the chance to build some life skills early on (plus the added benefit was the earlier they learned the ropes of the kitchen, the more they could help me! ha)

Recently, the girls have been wanting to venture out into main meal prep. So this week, they took over making dinner 2 different nights this week with minimal help from me. Sarah made mock filet mignons and Hannah made lasagna. (Susan plans to cook next week). They did an amazing job! And the rule is, if you cook, you also do the dishes as well (we don't have a dishwasher) which they did without complaining.

I am so proud of them and the fact that they eagerly want to learn. They are already talking about the fact that they want to take turns making dinner to give me a break (and I certainly won't complain lol). In fact, the day Sarah cooked allowed me to finish up a painting project I took on. If she hadn't made dinner that day, I wouldn't have been able to finish painting the 2 ceilings I got done.

Love how we all work together as a family to accomplish things!