Monday, December 27, 2010

Best Christmas Evah!!!!

I really think this was the best Christmas ever and the kids agree! This past year and a half has been VERY TOUGH on us all and this Christmas we are all grateful for the many blessings in our lives and for the greatest gift given, our Savior. We are hopeful that this new year will have wonderful things in store for our family (and yours).

I have got to brag a bit. I was able to do Christmas for $500.00 this year for the kids and they got everything they had asked for! Shopped Black Friday and got some AMAZING and UNBELIEVABLE deals!!! Yay Me!!! Then I came across an AMAZING deal on a laptop (which we desperately needed). With all my photo editing and the kids school needs for the computer, we were all fighting for computer time. Obviously that blew the budget I had set for us. Thankful for the deal we found on the Dell laptop!! One of those QVC deals where they break the payments up into five payments. In lieu of Christmas gifts for ourselves, Damian and I got the laptop and called it a family gift for us and the big kids. Feeling a lot guilty about the purchase. Aww heck, I always feel guilty about big purchases.

We were up at the butt crack of dawn to open gifts (thanks Olivia!). After gifts we had yummy cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Grammy and Richard treated us all to Harry Potter and snacks. It was Jack's first experience at the theater and he did GREAT!!! Although I am very disappointed with the "inappropriate scene" in the movie when Ron is attempting to destroy a holcrux. Had to have my kiddies close their eyes. Heck, my eyes were burning!!!

Upon returning home to a messy house, Damian and I got to cooking an awesome Christmas dinner. We never disappoint with the food we make around her! Honey Baked Ham (thanks Richard!) and all the fixins!

I think we were all in bed around 7:30 pm.

So today we are attempting to finish straightening up the house. I am sure there will also be Nerf Gun battles, Starcraft on the new laptop, leftovers, and Glitterizing everything Barbie.

It was a magical holiday for us all despite our many challenges! We are truly blessed!

Friday, December 24, 2010

For the record...

Too much arguing over whose turn it is to put the star on top of the tree. For the record...Jared did it this year. Next year it is Olivia's turn.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Happenings

Have a mentioned how much I love this time of year (a bajillion times I'm sure)! It's been a busy week with holiday events!! Really, I don't know how we did this all and survived. Normal everyday life (homework drama, science fair project, photography stuff) was hectic also and to add these events, well as you could imagine, Damian and I were blubbering idiots. Totally worth it though!

Tuesday night was Jared and Nick's district band performance. They were fantastic! Not a ton of picture opps, but I managed to get group shots.

Jared's middle school band

Nick's elementary school band

Friday was Polar Express Day in our classroom. Our principal read the story all decked out like a train conductor to the kindy kiddies in the cafeteria. We used our document camera to flash the pictures on a screen. There was no way 128 kiddos could see the pics in one book. It was the perfect solution!

Oli and her BFF Lyndsey

Boarding passes for the imaginary train ride and story

Hot cocoa and donuts while watching the movie

Last night was our ward's Christmas party and physical therapy for me knee. This weekend starts itself out with a baseball tourney for Nick, dance for Oli, Jared's science fair project, a photography session and lots of editing to name a few. I figure if I can make it through this next week, Christmas will be a breeze!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Naughty or Nice?

Which list did you make?

Friday, November 26, 2010

So much to be thankful for!

We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home, enough food for an army, and much to be thankful for!!!

The past year and a half has been extremely stressful for us. Damian finally found a temp job as a claim rep which has temporarily taken some pressure of of me. His boss is trying to find a way to keep him and has already promised him that he will be kept on a while after the person he is covering for returns. Honestly, with the money he saves companies, he pays for himself- just saying! I really don't know how we have made it financially. I am amazed that we have been able to keep our home!
All I want for Christmas is for him to keep this job, and a clean house!

Damian recognizes he needs to continue treatment for his eyes, but they are stable for now which is a blessing!!! I am just hoping we can work something out and be able to head back to UCSD to start up treatment again. We are too nervous to have him take off time at a temp job he'd like to keep.

This month I have had tons of photography opportunities which has allowed for us to provide Christmas for the kids. As crazy busy as I am, I feel blessed to be able to earn extra income. Praying I can keep up and and to process everyone's photos by the first week of December!

As much as I want to be a sahm, I know it is just not in the cards. I am thankful to be teaching. It has been hard to like teaching these past two years because of some of the crappy politics going on at my school, but the kids are great this year and that is a blessing!

I am grateful for the yummy kick butt dinner we had! I must say, Damian and I can REALLY cook!!! Check out this yummy, gorgeous bird!!!

I am most thankful for these guys and their Daddy!!!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

This is not the best picture in the world and is a total disgrace to my picture taking skills. I took this picture about three years ago, so obviously this was taken during my "learning year". Your thinking "Jen, there is this thing called white balance!", right? I will replace it this Thanksgiving with a new one! I so digress!

I get asked for this recipe A LOT! You'll never eat regular pumpkin pie again! I love chocolate and I love pumpkin. I love them together!!! This pie is so good, it should be illegal!! My mouth is watering as I type!!!!!!!

Make your regular pie crust (I prefer an oreo crust, you can buy it at the store).
Make pumpkin pie filling according o the directions on the back of the can. I usually use Libby's.
Reserve 1/4-1/2 cup filling.
Melt 6 oz.chocolate chips and the reserved pie filling together. I use the microwave. It melted for me in less than a minute. I use the Pampered Chef micro cooker. One of the best kitchen items I've ever purchased!
Pour chocolate mixture into center of pie crust. I added a little more pumpkin pie filling to cover the top of the choco-pumpkin mixture at this point. Swirl with a knife to marbelize. It should look pretty.
Bake pie according to directions on the can. Allow to cool.
Carmelize 1 C pecans or walnuts with 1 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour on top of cooked pie. You can also top with whip cream.

I had a lot of pumpkin pie filling left after making two chocolate pumpkin. I am going to see how it freezes this year and use it for Christmas pies.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Quick Halloweekend Recap

Behind on blogging!! Wanted to quickly share our Halloweekend before going into November.

Pumpkin Jars-Lots of them!! Not quite done! Lisa, I say we finish them up over Christmas vacation!

Cute, huh?

Pumpkin carving and pumpkin boobs

Trunk or Treat

the big night!

There you have it!! Our Halloweekend in a nutshell!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch

I *heart* the pumpkin patch!!!! This is one of my favorite family traditions! The kids love it also, although I am sure they would have preferred that I left the camera at home. I am such a mamarazzi! They'll thank me for it when they are older! Not only is our favorite pumpkin patch fun, but they are cheap (12 pumpkins for $40.00, corn maze for $5.00)!

Can you tell by the look on their faces that the last thing they want to do is pose for a picture in front of a dumb inflatable pumpkin?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Nick!!

Yesterday, my little baby. Today, a young man!! I can't tell you enough how much I love this kid!!! He is amazing! He really can do anything he sets his mind to! What a privilege it has been to be his mommy! I am so proud of this boy!!

In homage of the birthday boy, here are eleven fun facts about Nick!

*Baseball stud
*Straight A student
*Voracious reader
*Super affectionate
*Good heart
*Life of the party
*An awesome brother! Cuddles with Jack when Jack is sleepy.
*Stinky bedroom (darn socks!)
*Too smart for his own good!!

He requested his birthday treat be brownies with peppermint ice cream and hot fudge sauce. Sooooooooo Yummy!!!!! He couldn't decide if he wanted a birthday party or money. In the end, he chose money. So shopping this weekend it is!

I love this kid!! Happy Bday Nick!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Getting My Artsy Fartsy on!

It's that time of year (October-December) when I craft. Today, I finished a belated birthday gift for Nick's teacher. Inspired by this, I used the "explore.learn.grow" digi kit by Sahlin Studio, ribbon, and a craft box. All the goodies inside the craft box were from Walmart. Every teacher needs chocolate and soda money so I made sure to add those. I think I might need to make one for myself.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Two years from now, do you think she'll love homework as much as she does now???

Probably not. Especially since I am a teacher (and pencil grip Nazi).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Jack!!!

My baby is three!! I cannot believe it!!! Remember this?

I miss this!!!!

So to celebrate Jack turning three and his love for all things Toy Story, we had a Buzz Lightyear party!!

Another shout out to the Sugar Granny for helping to make this party happen!!! Jack loves animals, so we invited Mary back from My Pony Go Round. Jack was born in the year of the pig so he was right at home in the animal pen.

Thanks to everyone for making my little boy's day a special one!