Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas and the New Year

Our family had a wonderful Christmas this year! It was much more simple and stress-free than in years past! Even so, I would like next Christmas to be even more simple and stress-free! It's a work in progress, right?! :0) This year we decided to put more of a limit on what the children could receive for Christmas. We told them they could receive 2 gifts from Mr. Man and myself. They all wanted to receive Pioneer/Cowboy Stuff and Stick Horses from Santa, so that's what they got. Next year, we will stick to one thing from Santa! It was a little too much! :0) They received a picnic basket and blanket, pie tins and spoons for dishes, 2 tin cups (since Laura and Mary always shared their with each other), and some baked beans and cornbread mix to make their own prairie meal, all from Santa. He brought the boys all western shirts and red bandanas with toy guns and accessories. He brought the girls homemade pioneer skirts and aprons with shirts and bonnets that had flowers glued on to them. The hats turned out really cute and tie under their chins with ties that match their dresses or aprons. (Thanks to Nana Claus...my mom!) They also each received a pair of cowboy/pioneer boots to wear. Let's just say that Santa ran around to every thrift store in town, looking to find boots for every child. Most everything they received came from a second-hand store in some way, and they loved it! I don't think I'll ever shop at a regular store again, if I can help it! We went over to my parents house to open gifts and had a nice time! I wish the part about opening presents wasn't so chaotic, but it was fun! In Utah, Mr. Man's family all opens gifts one at a time and shows everyone what they got, and it just makes for a more peaceful and grateful atmosphere where everyone can give hugs and thank-you's and knows who gave them what! :0) So next year...we are talking about giving Christmas to another family and focusing more on acts of service/homemade gifts to give each other. We want to start making homemade gifts next month, so that Christmas doesn't sneak up on us and turn into a scramble to find gifts for everyone. The cool thing about this, is that we want to teach the children a new skill each month, that they can turn into gifts for others. Hopefully, this will help us to be more intentional about Christmas next year, and leave time and energy for focusing on the spirit of Christmas, in a more reverent way! All in all, it was a wonderful time! We feel bad because we had a Secret Santa who was trying to do the 12 days of Christmas for our family, but we went out of town this year. No one has ever done that for our family before, and we are sad to have missed it! Thank you to whoever you were! It was a lovely thought! :0)

With the New Year approaching, my thoughts are turned to making some real and lasting changes with some things! First off, I want to make an appointment with the Lord each morning, for personal prayer and scripture study! A dear friend told me that she has done this and I just thought it was a beautiful idea! I am going to go to bed early enough (by 9 p.m.) so that I can wake up at 5 a.m. and have an hour to myself for prayer, scripture study, personal reflection and planning of my day. Next...I really need to do something about the state of my bod. I've gained about 20 pounds and have been having some health problems lately. Mr. Man and I both have some weight to lose and are both intent on daily stretching, exercising and walks on the treadmill! This will include intentional eating as well. No more junk food! Gone are the days when I can eat whatever I want and not gain anything! I want to set a better example for my children too, and am looking forward to some fun projects in the kitchen, preparing healthy meals and snacks! :0) The other goals that I have, involve my personal education and providing inspiration for my children to educate themselves! We received lots of great books and activities/project ideas for our family this Christmas, so we have some inspiration for learning some new skills together! 2011 should be a great year! I am planning for it to be so! Merry Christmas everyone...and Happy New Year! :0)

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