>Valentine’s Gift

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A while back, we were literally snowed in for 2+ days. With no cable, I resolved to crafting and sewing to pass the time. I figured I’d make a few Valentine’s Day gifts for some friends. Well, a few turned into many.  I can’t think of a better way to use my time though!
 Inside each one of these is a bundle of candy. Want to know how I made them? Read on…
I started by pulling out all the girly fabrics I had. I sewed them together, quilt style. I kept it random and unorganized though.
 I then made my own heart stencil and traced it on the quilted fabric.
 I cut the hearts out and then trimmed the edges with some shearing scissors.
 Here’s my pile of cut out hearts.
 I pinned two hearts, wrong sides together, and sewed around the edges leaving a hole at the top (so I could put candy in it!)
 After stuffing the heart pouches with candy, I cut a small hole at the top of each heart and wove a piece of ribbon through.
I LOVE the way they turned out.
 Happy Valentines Day friends!
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>A Few Leftovers

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 I’ve had these pictures for a while and haven’t posted them.
Paul, Liz, Bill, Polly and Austin
 This talking parrot was stinking hilarious. It seriously kept us entertained for a LONG time.
 Yucky teeth.
 Even yuckier teeth.
 Austin teaching his granpa, Bill, how to use his audible calculator. Since he can’t see, not having to do math in his head anymore made him super happy!

Austin, Bill and Me
 Talking Calculator!
New Years Eve!
Daniel in his finest attire for the evening.

Hattie, Carly and Me
 I sneaked into the background of this pic to rock the baby belly.
Mary Kate

Sara

Bonnie, Sara, and Hattie

Conners and the Pattons!      
 Happy New Year!
My best buds!
 
 

>Christmas Happies

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We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my parent’s house. My mom is an expert at spoiling us when we are in town. This holiday was no different. 
Here are a few flashbacks from the weekend.
Here is “Christmas Cooper” as we nicknamed him. Yes, the dog is wearing a Santa suit.
 An appropriate shirt for the holidays…
 Look…look! The baby bump is finally making an appearance. However, it’s still small enough to make most people think I had one too many glasses of eggnog this season.
 Apparently Santa’s elf got a bit overwhelmed by the amount of gifts under the tree.
 Here’s a gift worth mentioning…
 

Isn’t this in the skymall magazine or something? Either way, I am excited to have one. I love the edges of brownies!
There were plenty of dogs around for the holidays as well. Here is a video of something hilarious we discovered.
Who knew we had such talented dogs in our midst??
Another gift worth mentioning that we got is a programmable thermostat. 
When we got home, I attempted to install this puppy solo. (Austin was busy hanging up his new pull up bar).
One of my weaknesses in house projects is recklessly rushing into things in an attempt to get it done asap. This project was no different. 
When Austin walked in and saw 4 different wires sticking out of the wall and me standing there with a screwdriver and instruction manual, he wisely took over the project. He quickly pointed out that I hadn’t turned the power off to the thermostat/furnace… woops. Thank you Jesus for not letting me electrocute myself. 
We couldn’t figure out which breaker switch would turn off the power in the room so Austin suggested we just turn off all of the power to the house. And that’s what we did. Hilarious. So geared up with a headlamp, flashlight and two candles we managed to install our new thermostat. Victory!

>Mission: Gold Toe Socks

>For the past few days, Austin and I have been in Denver visiting his grandpa, Bill. Bill lost his sight around 3 years ago from macular degeneration. The entire time I was there, I was totally in awe of his independence, positive attitude, and ability to do so much while living alone. It truly was amazing.

One thing Bill cannot to alone is shop for socks at the mall. He mentioned multiple times he wanted to do this while we were there so the five of us (Austin’s parents, Bill, Austin and myself) set out for the very busy shopping mall to get him some socks. 

Bill knew he wanted white, Gold Toe socks. Simple enough, right? As we got to the first store, Macy’s, Bill’s requirements for socks got a bit longer. He wanted white, Gold Toe socks that were made primarily of cotton AND that didn’t have too much elastic at the top. He claimed it cut off his circulation. Fair enough.

So the 4 of us scour the store for white, Gold Toe, cotton, non-elastic socks. We found many that came close but Bill wasn’t bending on his sock requirements. After the 4 of us go through almost every pack of socks there, Bill declares he wants to talk to a clerk or go to the next store. Since no clerk was in sight, we moved on to JC Penny’s. At this point, I was getting impatient until I took a step back and just had to laugh at the situation.

So on we went, shuffling Austin’s blind grandpa up and down escalators and through the mall until we arrived at the sock section of JC Penny. Once again, the 4 of us scoured the store and brought our finds back to Bill for approval. We got a little closer this time. Gold Toe-check. White-check. Mostly made of cotton-check. Non Elastic-check. Austin brought the winner to Bill for the approval. We were about to wave the victory flag when Bill says he doesn’t really want a pack of 6. He wanted a pack of 3. I mean, really? I was tempted to just buy the 6 pairs and give him 3 of them. Nope. On to the next store to look for the non-existent 3 pack of Gold Toe, white, cotton, non-elastic socks.

At this point, Baby C started wreaking havoc and was demanding some food. Austin and I split off to the food court while the other 3 headed to Dillards. After a while, Austin gets a phone call announcing they have finally found the exact socks Bill wanted. Praise the Lord. Thank you Dillards. You saved Christmas. I really think this Denver trip will be labeled the “Gold Toe Sock Denver Trip”

>Senior High Christmas Party

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This year, we carried on the tradition of a tacky sweater Christmas party for senior high. This really is one of my favorite events of the year. This year proved to be no different. First of all check out our rockin outfits.
 Here is the place where students can get their pictures taken with Santa. (More on that later)
 We always have a highly competitive cookie decorating contest.

 Here are some of the pictures with Santa.

 Wes, the elf got a little worn out by the end.
 Not sure how this happened…
After working with high school students for 9+ years, nothing really surprises me anymore.
 Look at those glamorous cookies.

 Here is Santa doing the cookie judging.
 And of course, the White Elephant gift exchange. We did have to take one gift away and hide it from the students (a knife that someone brought…)

Over all though, the party was a huge success. So fun!

>Making Jars Pretty

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In October, my family got together to make homemade apple butter. 
Well, every Christmas, my mom gives cans of this deliciousness to friends and neighbors. She COULD just give them the plain ol’ jar with a card or something.
But that wouldn’t go over well with my mother’s exuberant Christmas spirit.
 She recruited my sister and I to help jazz up the jars a bit.
It all started with some decorative mesh ribbon.
 We wrapped up the cans.
  Tied a pretty ribbon around the top…
We even made a little assembly line to make it go faster.
All done!
 Lots of pretty jars of apple butter!

>Turkey Day Highlights

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For Thanksgiving this year, we went to my parent’s house in Camdenton. It was a great weekend. The day before we went home, my mother informed me that my dad had signed us all up for the 1st annual 5K Turkey Trot in Camdenton.
Oh, joy.
Don’t worry, we didn’t do it alone. We brought ALL of the dogs. All 6 of them. (Two are mine, two are my parents, and two are my sister’s).
It was a bit chaotic but totally added to the fun. 
We all jogged our 5K successfully despite the onset of rain and snow. It was very cold 5K. 
Sophie was freezing and shivering so I put her in my sweatshirt. This picture makes me laugh. She just looks mad at the world.
Here is the crew.
It’s quite a challenge to get all dogs to sit still for one picture. Look at Sophie. She still looks angry. 
After the 5K, there was an award ceremony and a pie eating contest. 
Another little secret that my dad didn’t inform us of was that he signed the boys up for the pie eating contest.
There weren’t too excited about it at first but once the peer pressure of the crowd set in when their names were called, they couldn’t say no.
Ready. Set….
 Go!

 Will claimed that the whipped cream up his nose prevented him from breathing so he bowed out quickly.
After a close race, Peter was declared the winner!
Look how proud he is.
 Don’t worry. He got a plaque for his efforts. Yes, a plaque for the Camdenton Turkey Trot Pie Eating contest.
 Later that day, we began the cooking and baking for Thanksgiving dinner. 
All was going as planned until my aunt put a sweet potato casserole in the oven and turned it broil. She walked away to make a phone call and the marshmallows on top quickly caught fire. My mom when into a slight panic while my dad and sister took turns trying to blow out the marshmallow fire. After a few huffs and puffs, a charred casserole appeared. 
Whew. Disaster thwarted.
The rest of the night proved to be uneventful. Like most Americans, we ate too much, talked about how our pants are too tight and moved into a comatose state. 
We did do a bit of black Friday shopping at the Outlets. (Yeah for 50% off everything at Banana Republic!) But nothing to major.
As if we hadn’t eaten enough the day before, we also whipped up some peanut brittle. It’s a team effort to make this stuff. We managed it ok I think.
Well, I think those are most of the highlights. Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!