datestampUSEWednesday, December 31, 2008

5, 4, 3, 2, 1....

Happy New Year! We're enjoying our "week between" with Grandma and Grandpa in sunny St. George. (This pic was taken last week in the northern tundra aka our front yard.) We'll be back next week to officially kick off our 2009 in non-vacation mode. Until then we'll be eating that extra cookie, staying up too late, and enjoying just a few more of those wicked little vices that we'll be attempting to curb starting next week. Cheers to 2009!

datestampUSETuesday, December 30, 2008

My own reality madness

This morning felt like an episode to John and Kate plus 8. (A favorite at our house...makes our life seem so tame.) It was time for our bi-annual visit to the dentist and I bravely took an appointment for all 5 us at the 8 a.m. block. (Josie came along and was shuffled to whoever wasn't in the chair at the moment.) If only I had a television crew to document the hilarity. Max couldn't figure out when and what to bite during the x-rays, Ella's nonstop questions to the hygienist, and Josie's pterodactyl scream. (Her famous scream that comes out of nowhere without any warning. I had a friend once who termed such behavior as going from "zero to freak.") Perhaps Hollywood should come calling...yet somehow BTR and AMR plus 4 seems rather pathetic in comparison, don't you think?

datestampUSESunday, December 28, 2008

Our Crystal Ball...Sort of

We spent our evening writing our list of predictions for 2009. It is one of our favorite holiday traditions that we have done since our very first Christmas as newlyweds. I keep the list tucked away in our Christmas journal and after we've written them, the list is put away with the decorations until we pull it all out the next year. We're always eager to dig them up and see how close we were on our guesses. I have a nice little stack now dating back to 1996 and I love to see how our life decisions and circumstances have changed throughout the years. They started with predictions of what jobs we would have, what college class we would pass/fail that year, if we would move, if we would we have a baby, and on and on...

Now of course the kids have snuck into the process and like to include such things as:

"David Archuletta will come to our church and speak on sharing one's talents and then he will sing for us." (I've tried to explain to the girls the difference between a prediction and a wish but its not sinking in.)

Our predictions are sometimes funny, sometimes personal, sometimes motivating, or sometimes just straight out of left field. If your family hasn't done something like this in the past, I'm here to say, "Go for it." It is time well spent. Next year you'll be glad you did.

datestampUSESaturday, December 27, 2008


Would it be totally lame if I spent some of my Christmas moola on these?

datestampUSEFriday, December 26, 2008

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

but the kids are so delighted...

The snow began falling on Christmas night. And it kept snowing and snowing and snowing. We woke up to nearly 12 inches....and it was still snowing. No need for venturing to the back country. All this happy playing happened right on our street.

datestampUSEThursday, December 25, 2008

And the Roberts themselves...they chose the Roast Beast

About two weeks ago I put up a voting station on our chalkboard wall to ensure a happy and well fed family on Christmas Day. Prime rib and almond tart were the clear winners. The menu was as follows:

Prime Rib
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Yams
Grilled Asparagus
Never Fail Refrigerator Rolls
Left over finger Jello (once again, for those sophisticated palates.)
Almond Toffee Tart

(And I don't want to cook again for at least another month!)

Cute Overload

Hands down my favorite set of pictures from the day are these of my baby taking a turn as the mother. Ella gave her this little baby doll (she shopped for and bought herself) and for Josie it was love at first sight. She kissed and loved and hugged her new baby all day long. You may try to convince me that this isn't the cutest thing you've ever seen, but I'll never believe you.

More Christmas Day Pics

I especially love this last picture...look at the sheer joy on his face. And notice all the wrapping paper and boxes behind him. This may be the only picture I'll happily post of a mess in my house. Ah, come on! Isn't this how everyone's family room looks on Christmas morning?

Christmas Morning Joy

The children did not disappoint - and were not disappointed. They gave every possible enthusiastic and positively exuberant noise, cry, and expression. Needless to say there were four happy little (and two big!) people in our cozy brick house this morning.

datestampUSEWednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

The house is festive and busy and we're in the full swing of celebrating another wonderful Christmas Eve. The Roberts' family Christmas eve celebration is immersed deep in tradition and like all other families, we greatly anticipate this night each and every year. Many of these traditions come straight from my dear mother who took it upon herself to ensure each Christmas was nothing short of pure magic. As a mother now to my own little brood, I enjoy and take seriously the mantle of responsibility to make each and every Christmas festive, magical, and memorable.

Each Christmas Eve begins with a dinner of delectable finger foods and hors d'oeuvres. On the menu tonight is:

Shrimp Cocktail

Baked Brie served with fruit
Beef Satay on Skewers
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Vegetable Tray
Mini Quiche
Finger Jello (for our most sophisticated food critics)

After the dinner, the kids help clean up and then get to choose their present from Grammy and Paca (Bryce's parents) to unwrap. They always know its new Christmas jammies and they are always beyond excited.

After they've changed into their new jams, we get everything ready (including any needed props) for our Christmas program. Everyone is required to participate and can do anything they want as long as its Christmas related. This year Max sang Jingle Bells, Ella got a lei and hula'ed to Meli Kalikimaka, Kalli wrote and recited a poem about last year's Christmas eve (when Santa actually came by during dinner!) and I did an interpretive number (complete with pink boa) to my favorite Christmas song of the year by Lenka. (I'm quite devastated that the batteries died on the camera and Bryce wasn't able to record it; otherwise, I'd love to share it with you;)

We always end the evening on a more spiritual note when Bryce reads in the Bible from Luke Chapter 2, the story of our Savior's birth. This year the children dressed in their nativity costumes and acted it out as daddy read. It was really sweet.

Before they head up to Kalli's room for a sleepover (something Bryce did as a child with his siblings), we get their stockings out and hang them up and are sure to leave Santa a plate full of homemade cookies (made and frosted by us earlier that day).

Because neither Bryce nor I are from Utah, we don't always have the chance to spend the holidays with our families. And although we adore each holiday we are able to spend with our extended families, when we have finished an evening like this - with just the 6 of us - we both swell with joy and love for the own little family we have created. We thank our Father above for our great many blessings and snuggle into our bed completely satisfied that we're doing the best we can to give them memories that will last forever. (Please give me a pass on the cheese today, it is Christmas after all.) We can hardly wait to see their faces in the morning.

Wishing you all memories that will last forever and more.

A Closer Look

A Family Classic

*Run to the store for a few last minute things before it gets too crazy...check

*Make rolls for dinner tomorrow...check

*Make almond tart for dessert tomorrow...check

*Put Josie down for a nap and watch one of our favorite Christmas movies with the kids this to do that right now.
(Is it just me or does Kevin look a bit like a mischievous little boy who lives at my house?)

datestampUSETuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Dreaming

Someday, when my remodel is finished...when I don't need new bedding, more furniture, or new Uggs - this will be the one and only item on my Christmas list.

datestampUSEMonday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Baking

Peppermint Puffs

2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick butter
1 c. confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. white dipping chocolate
1/2 c. finely chopped candy canes

Stir together flour and salt. Beat butter and sugar in large bow until smooth. Beat in egg. Beat in peppermint and vanilla. On low speed, beat in flour mixture. Shape dough into a ball and wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into 1 inch balls for a total of 36 cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. When cool, dip top in melted white chocolate and then in candy canes.

datestampUSESunday, December 21, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside

datestampUSEThursday, December 18, 2008

The Countdown is On

Only 7 Days! With only one week left, I'm disappointed that I never put together an advent for my children. I'm hoping next year I'll be better and do something like this (via Black Eiffel). I love the idea of these little cloth baggies full of surprises (think Slinkys or jacks) or special privileges just for that day (staying up an extra 30 minutes with mom). On the bright side, we've been busy doing a 12 days of Christmas service project, getting white elephants together for school parties (remember the giant clown-size sunglasses from the 80s?), practicing parts for our Nativity on Sunday night, and of course baking. I'm hosting a holiday cookie exchange at my house tonight and you're all invited! Wishing you a very merry (and snowy if you live near me!) Thursday.

datestampUSEWednesday, December 17, 2008

Ballerina - ing

This is Kalli's first year taking a classic ballet class and what a ballerina she is becoming. She is learning so much and not only accomplishing the positions, but learning the terminology as well - such as arabesque and chaines. She was fun to watch while we were waiting in the lines at Disneyland. While we were all just standing around, she just couldn't stop moving and dancing. Here's a couple of pictures taken with my iPhone from the parents' showcase last night. I'll stop gushing now.

Call Me Sentimental...

Ahhhhh...yet another reason to MELT.

datestampUSETuesday, December 16, 2008

More Holiday Decos

Here are a few more shots to share (gotta do it while the house is clean:)

1. The built-in hutch in my dining room is a fun and unexpected place to put decorations. Most of this Santa collection was inherited. They are near and dear to me...especially the one where my mom wrote my name in on Santa's nice list. What a kind and loving mom. I'd be putting my kids on the naughty list today!

2. I'm a fan of anything and everything robin's egg blue. I'm getting quite a nice collection - and although it is not a traditional Christmas color; I couldn't bear to put it all away for the season.

3. I like to create small vignettes in each of my kids' room for a little holiday magic just for them. The big girls have a great vintage aqua-blue tinsel tree (I'll take a picture of that later) and this is a little shelf on Max's bookcase. (Notice the fab "cowboy" Santa straight from Wyoming!)

4. I went simple and trendy on my table centerpiece this year. Have you noticed the woodland decorations everywhere from Pottery Barn to Anthropologie? This is my humble ode to holiday decos of 2008. I was lucky enough to be on my friends D. I. route where this red bamboo platter was headed for its doom. The fabulous bark vase was a gift from a lovely woman in my neighborhood who knows I love to create table centerpieces. And those cute little toadstool ornaments are a left-over from last year's obsession with all fungus that happened to be red, white, and spotty.