Christmas Week

As of last Friday, I was on Christmas Break, so I had 6 days to do Christmas activities with Kate. Since Claire naps twice a day, I tried to do 2 activities a day. A craft & also something to bake. At 15 months, Claire is too young to craft or bake, so Kate got special time with me this year. Next year, Claire will be 2, so then she can join in the fun!

Kate LOVES to bake & is actually a good helper, so she helped me make everything this week.

Here is a snapshot of our Christmas week filled with baking, crafting, eating, listening to Christmas music 24-7 & spending time with friends & family!

Making our first batch of cookies to bring to our friends who were having a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party (yes, we went to another one! And, we wore different sweaters!)
Kevin won tackiest sweater (I borrowed his sweater from co-worker)
Making more cookies with Auntie El
Making a Gingerbread house:

Making a Christmas tree ornament (thanks to Meg for this idea)

Making even more cookies (chewy gingersnaps!) for the guys in Kevin's office

Making a puff ball snowman
(Claire got to "help" on this one):

Family dinner & then looking at Christmas lights

Also, if you haven't heard, as of Tuesday afternoon, we surpassed $10,000 for Project 320.
2 villages will now have wells that give them access to clean, fresh water.
Hundreds of lives changed.
It has been such an amazing project to be a part of.
I am in awe of the amazing God we have!
It takes 18 months for the wells to be built. That means in the summer of 2011, 2 villages in Africa will have clean water. I really want to go visit the villages & see the people who's lives where changed because of Project 320.
Thank you for your donations & prayers for this project!

Tomato Soup lunch with our buddies
 Making Pumpkin Bread to give to friends

Puff Ball Ornament (yet ANOTER idea from Meg)

New tradition - reading "The Best Christmas Pagent Ever" on Christmas Eve, Eve

Red Velvet Peppermint cupcakes for tonight's Christmas Eve dessert (also got this idea from Meg)

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas week spending time with family & friends as you anticipate & celebrate Christ's birth!


Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint {aka: candy cane} Hot Chocolate is something I make every Christmas season.
I love hot chocolate & I LOVE candy canes, so I created this little concoction a few years ago.
I always make it the night we decorate our Christmas tree and when we have friends over to watch Christmas movies. Actually, I pretty much drink it every night in December.
It is a fun little twist on hot chocolate and is SO easy to make!
Here is what you need:
- Your favorite brand of Instant Hot Chocolate mix
- Candy Canes
- 1 large Candy Cane stick (optional)
- Whipped Cream
- Peppermint Sprinkles

If you are serving this for a group of people, then make a big batch of hot chocolate & have it simmer on your stove top. Use the Candy Cane stick to stir the hot chocolate. This adds the yummy peppermint flavor!
*Note* the candy cane stick will dissolve /break off because of the heat.
I usually take the candy cane out after 10-15 minutes because I don't like it *too* peppermint-y!
If you are just making a mug or 2 of the hot chocolate, then skip the step above and just make the hot chocolate in individual mugs.
Then add whip cream, sprinkle with the peppermint sprinkles (see below) and then garnish with a candy cane!
This hot chocolate tastes best when sitting by your Christmas tree & listening to Christmas music!
It is a fun & easy twist on normal hot chocolate. It looks really fancy, but it couldn't be easier to make!
And, it is especially fun to eat the candy cane when you are done!


Gotta love being a Teacher

You know, BESIDES the obvious reasons like:

Summer vacation,
Thanksgiving Break,
Christmas Break
& Spring Break.

And of course,
BESIDES making a difference in lives of middle schoolers & teaching them to love math.....

Let's call this reason #14 why I love being a teacher:
The Christmas Gift Stash:
Check out all the stuff I got from my students this year.
Lots of homemade goodies, a few candles, a couple ornaments, several boxes of See's Candy,
PLUS over $100 in Starbucks cards! Score!

When in doubt, ALWAYS, ALWAYS get your child's teacher a Starbucks (or Target) Gift Card.
Best. Gift. Ever!
Well, actually.... the best gift in my opinion....2 weeks off of school!
Happy Christmas Vacation!


Infinitely More

We just built a well.

I kept checking the progress of our well & was THRILLED when at 2:15 pm I saw this on my computer screen:
We reached $5,000 (and then some!)

When I saw this, I cried.

Tears of joy, tears of amazement.

Couldn't believe we reached our goal 2 days into the raffle!

Thank you to everyone who donated prizes and money for the well.

250 lives now promised clean, safe water for years to come.

An entire village will be changed.

A boy like this:
Will now have this:
I am amazed.

So, what's next?

We changed our goal to $10,000.

Let's build 2 wells!

Because God can do infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.
He has already proven this to us.

Go HERE to donate & don't forget there are 3 more days of giveaways on our Project 320 blog!



Last night I got back from my whirlwind trip to So Cal for Project 320.
Friday afternoon Heather G, Heather M and I packed up my Tahoe & made the long drive to So Cal. We left an hour later than we originally planned, but it worked out great. There was basically no traffic & it took us exactly 6 hours to get to Erin's house.
Can you believe how packed my Tahoe was?
We were only gone for 48 hours, but we had lots of things to bring!
That night, Julie brought over all the donations that were sent to her. Our goal was 100 items. We lost count at 300! We couldn't believe the overwhelming support of this project.
SO many donations!!!!
We were up until 3am that night unpacking items & sorting them into prize bundles.
Instead of having 10 bundles with 10 items in each bundle, we ended up with 15 prize bundles with 20 items in each bundle! Amazing!

After a few hours of sleep on Friday night we were up Saturday morning & went to breakfast to have a mini-baby shower for Heather who is due with baby Gianna in March.
Awesome diaper cake that Erin made:
Then after a Trader Joe's stop & Coffee Bean run, it was back to work organizing the prizes, documenting who gave what prizes & taking pictures of all the prize bundles.
(oh yeah, and lots of cooking & eating!)
We took another break Saturday night to throw Julie a mini-birthday party.
It isn't a party if you don't have cupcakes!
How awesome is the banner that Heather M. made? Seriously talented!
Marta & I...the tall girls representing!
Then it was time to finish taking pictures of the bundles, write posts, make sure we knew the etsy shop or blog of each person who gave an item & then edit the pictures for the blog posts.

Here is a snapshot of all the boxes that each hold a bundle of prizes.
Needless to say, we were all up until 4 am getting everything organized.

Good thing all of us are night owls!

A few hours of sleep & then us Nor Cal girls packed it up & headed home.

It was an amazing weekend with wonderful girls.

We all totally clicked, worked so well together, and laughed the entire two days.

Good food, lots of laughs with inspiring and talented women with amazing hearts.

Thank you to Kevin who took such great care of our girls while I was gone!

Thank you Julie, Erin, Heather G, Heather M & Marta for a memorable 2 days I will forever cherish and never forget!

I am so honored to be a part of Project 320.

The giveaways started today! Each day we are raffling off 3 amazing bundles of prizes.

Donate $10 to our WELL.
For each $10 you donate you will get one entry into the bundle of your choice.
If you donate $50 you get 5 entries.
1 comment = one entry.

After you make your donation, go to the Project 320 blog.
comment under which bundle you would like to win!

We have already raised over $4,000.

p.s. If you go to my friend Wendy's blog and comment on her Clean Water post, she will donate $2 per comment toward our well! Thanks, Wendy!


10 on 10 :: December 2009

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}

Advent Calendar:
Sneak peek of our Christmas Cards:
Christmas cards ready to be mailed out:
I went to the bathroom & came back to this:
Christmas countdown!
Boulder the Wonder Dog begging for a treat:
Kate coloring in her new coloring book while I fix her dinner:
The best.soup.EVER!
(Tomato soup & foccacia bread from one of our favorite places in town!)
Getting tickled by Daddy!
A new ornament our neighbors left on our doorstep today!
Now, I am off to pack because I am leaving for So Cal to help with Project 320!
Can't wait to tell you all about my weekend!


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