Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 30 (Our Christmas Traditions)

First off, I want to thank my readers for supporting me through a month of daily posting (although I technically cheated for 5 of those days so I could enjoy Thanksgiving with my family). I may never post every day for a month again, haha, but it did help me catch up on my 52 Stories which was my goal.

Last Christmas. I need to hang these bulbs up again and we’re still waiting for snow. Looks like a late winter here this year.

I thought I’d make my last November Blessing post about my family’s Christmas traditions. I didn’t have any to carry over from my childhood, that I liked anyway. I just didn’t have one of those kind of childhoods. But, that just meant I had a blank slate to start my own traditions with my husband and my children. So, without further ado…

  • Every night leading up to Christmas Eve, we read a Christmas story. We have a binder which includes each story typed out, plus a scripture verse and carol, but last year I wrapped up all the Christmas story books we’ve collected over the years and we unwrapped one to read each night.
  • We have quite the collection of Christmas movies in our home library and that is pretty much all we watch all December long. My all-time favorite is White Christmas.
  • Every year my kids each get a new ornament for our family tree. They each have their own ornament box to keep their collection in.
  • We send out family photo cards to friends and extended family. Some years, this has been an e-card instead and some years we’ve written up a newsletter.
  • We bake batches of cookies, and sometimes candy and make up plates for our neighbors.
  • We see one play, ballet or concert as a family. Sometimes it’s The Nutcracker. Sometimes it’s A Christmas Carol. This year it’s the Mannheim Steamroller concert.
  • For several years now, the boys have given to the girls and the girls to the boys. So, my two daughters team up and give a gift to their two brothers, and the boys do the same for their sisters.
  • I fully decorate our house inside and out. I have close to 20 Christmas containers full of decorations and such. I have several Peruvian nativities.
  • In the past few years my daughters and I have hosted a little girl Christmas craft party. We have little neighbor girls over to make ornaments and decorate sugar cookies.
  • We play Secret Santa to one family in need. We love selecting special gifts, wrapping them, and figuring out how to deliver them anonymously.

On Christmas Eve we spend most of the day celebrating Marcus’ birthday. Sometimes we go see a movie he wants us to see. We have birthday cake and birthday presents, wrapped in birthday paper. Then, we eat a delicious prime rib dinner my husband cooks for us. After dinner, we each open one gift, a new pair of pajamas. After we’ve changed into our pajamas, we read the Christmas Story out of the scriptures (we actually have a special binder for this) and sing carols in between parts. My kids tell me this is their favorite tradition of all.

♥ I’d love to hear one or two of your Christmas traditions. ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 29 (Next Year Will Be An Adventure)

I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my husband’s truck. It’s just after 7pm and we are in the middle of “moderate” Salt Lake traffic on the freeway. We (my husband, Marcus and I) are on our way home from visiting my mother-in-law for three days. We are planning to move close to her next year so this was to get that ball rolling on her end. We saw 2 builders and drove around looking at potential land to build on. 0332496D-6CFB-4276-8C6C-78ADD92E717C
We have never ever built a home before so this will be a new experience for us. It feels both overwhelming and exciting at the same time.  The second builder we met with gave us some advice. He told us to send him photos of details we like that we want to incorporate. He also sent us to a website of home plans we could choose from and he can modify them. Or we could have our own draw up. Any advice from those who have “been there, done that” would be appreciated.

♥ So that is a little of what is going on with us. How about you? Who is excited for Christmas? Marcus goes on a campout this weekend to cut down Christmas trees for neighbors who have ordered one. He’s going to choose our tree as well. 🎄

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 28 (Missionary Mom Moment)


I’m so excited to be a missionary mom again! Marissa leaves for Lima, Peru in early January, where she will report to the MTC (missionary training center) there. After she completes her training, she will serve in Cusco, Peru. Her father served his mission in Santiago, Chile. Her brother, Zach, served his mission in Calgary, Canada.

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Marissa in her baptism dress

It was special that she was called to serve in Peru because we have lived there as a family, twice. The first time we lived in Arequipa, Peru, for nearly 2 years. Marissa was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while we lived in Arequipa.

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Touring the Maras salt mines just outside of Cusco

The second time we lived in Lima, Peru, for nearly 2 years (10 years after we lived in Arequipa). For our last Christmas there, we spent a week touring Cusco and Machu Picchu as a family. That was an awesome trip.

♥ I’m so proud of my soon-to-be-missionary daughter. She’s going to give her whole self to serving the Lord for 18 months. Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 19 (The Spirit of Thanksgiving)

It’s the Thanksgiving season, a time that shines on our blessings because we tend to live more in the spirit of thanksgiving. Tonight my heart is full of gratitude for a loving Father in Heaven who has blessed me in so many ways. He has given me a family of my own to love and cherish. I am so grateful to be a wife and mother here on earth. I am thankful for a husband who adores me and is blind to my faults for some strange reason. I am grateful for my four children who bring me incredible joy. They are really good kids, too. I also feel incredibly blessed to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such a wonderful church! Having the gospel in my life means everything to me. It gives me purpose and direction. I know who I am, a daughter of God. I know my savior is Jesus Christ. Having a savior is a HUGE blessing; someone to be grateful for every. single. husband and I were asked by our bishopric to give the talks in Sacrament meeting next Sunday (Sacrament meeting is the family meeting at our church, when we partake of the sacrament). The topic we were assigned was, of course, gratitude. That will give me a lot to ponder and study throughout this Thanksgiving week as I prepare my talk.

♥ I think gratitude and joy are connected. What do you think? Maybe you can help me with my talk! If you have any thoughts about gratitude you’d like to share with me, please leave a comment. ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 18 (My Joy As a Homeschooling Mom)

Ever since I became a homeschooling mom, I have been blessed beyond measure. I love homeschooling my children for so many reasons. I won’t list them here because that would make for a very long post! I’ll just say my biggest reason is simply the joy it gives me. Each and every leisurely breakfast, snuggled-up read-aloud, colorful art project, creative unit study, fieldtrip, nature walk, our one-and-only time with a co-op, and everything in between has given me joy.

Marcus was 6 when we started homeschooling.
I love this photo of my two baby girls.
Zach 3
Zach is an exceptional son and big brother.

Our homeschooling journey began the year these photos were taken: 2009. Back then we lived in Ontario, Canada. You can read our homeschool story here, if you’d like. As soon as I started homeschooling Marcus I knew this was something perfect for our family, and it continues to be so to this day, even though it looks a lot different now that he’s in his high school years. I’m so glad I’m a homeschooling mom!

♥ What is something that gives you joy? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 17 (Memories from Bloom Night)

When we lived in Arizona, in the summer of last year, we were lucky enough to attend a once-a-year event called Bloom Night at Tohono Chul (a beautiful desert park). This is the only time of year their collection of the cereus Peniocereus greggi, also known as The Queen of the Night, blooms.


It was so cool. The paths were lined with paper lanterns.



We were able to walk around and see the flowers opening at different stages.




♥ It was a magical night and I loved experiencing it with my husband, youngest daughter, and youngest son. ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 16 (In the Smallest Details)

After reading this article today, I started pondering how God is in the smallest details of my life. I’ve always believed in God and that I am a child of God. I love that! I know that He knows me personally, even better than I know myself. He is completely aware of my circumstances and my trials. He knows my heart. Of course he’s in the little details making up my life.

I love the details in this photo I took at Yellowstone National Park this year.

My husband’s job has moved our family around, and every move means starting over with a new house, new neighborhood, new ward (LDS church congregation), new just-about-everything. And every single time, I have made one true friend who made all the newness worthwhile. She would be someone I would least expect, but someone who just “got me”.


Sometimes I know God is in my details when I come across the perfect scripture verse or quote just when I need it most. Or when I listen to a talk at church and an ordinary person, just like me, says exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. Recently, when my husband and I decided that we should seriously consider selling our house so we can move close to his aging mother, and as I was composing a list of the pros and cons, I came across these three quotes on my Instagram feed, each posted by a different person on the same day:

You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment that you will ever make.     ~Gordon B. Hinckley

Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. ~Robin Sharma

We can’t see new beginnings if we are unwilling to make hard endings. ~Dharius Daniels

♥ I’d love to hear from you: when you have seen God’s hand in the little details of your life? ♥