jacob t. marley

Dec 28, 2023 by

Last night we finished our December Read-Aloud, Jacob T. Marley. I cried at the sacrifice, the love, the redemption, the service, and the transformation. Oh, it is delicious. Truly, if you haven’t read it, give yourself a gift of a few hours snuggled up in a blanket and read (or the Audible recording is FANTASTIC!).

When I saw these words today, my soul shouted, AMEN. May we all treat people as the person they are changed into and not as the person they have been before. And may we allow ourselves to believe we can change as well.

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not just rocks

Dec 25, 2021 by

See this bag of rocks?

Tears at opening them today.

During 2020, I gathered rocks. I kept seeing heart-shaped rocks on my walks and kayak trips and would pick them up. My family kind of chuckled at me, but they all knew this project of finding rocks was important to me. Then when Richard and I went on our first solo camping and kayaking trip, I stopped all over the river to find rocks that spoke to my soul. I put them in Richard’s boat.

And then I forgot about them. Not totally forgot, but mostly forgot. With teaching and work and being a wife and mother and getting stuff put away for winter and then more of everything this year, I had no idea where those rocks were and figured they had been thrown out when Fisher put the kayaks up last year.

And then today, Richard gave me a bag of rocks for Christmas.

My rocks.

Heart-shaped rocks and layered rocks that remind me of growth and the different seasons of my life and rocks that remind of a mama holding her babies.

He knew they meant something to me. So he found them and gave them back to me.

Just like Jesus does. This is the best, most tender gift and I am in awe of this good, good man I’ve been blessed to be loved by and to love right back.

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secret santa

Dec 25, 2021 by

Many years ago we were adopted by a Secret Santa. Every Christmas Eve for the past 10ish years, Christmas presents have been left on our doorstep. We are deeply grateful to whomever has done this for us. Each year, I would think to myself, “I should leave a thank you note on our door in case they come again.” And then I would think, “There is no way they will come again, they have already blessed us SO much, surely they will not come this year.”

And I wouldn’t leave a note.

I should have.

Over and over again, I should have.

Because their love and generosity has been such a gift to our family.

These presents have done many, many things for our family.

  • They have given us toys and games we could never afford for ourselves and we have had SO much fun with them! Multiple times they gave Fisher and Annesley big, awesome Lego sets which they played with for YEARS.
  • They have given us gift cards for groceries that have made all the difference in our budget. Many times, I would have nothing in my bank account and would be able to use these gift cards to buy food for our family. Other times, we were able to use them during the case-lot sale to stock up on food storage. I can’t tell you what an incredible blessing this has been.
  • They have brought our children a feeling of being seen and known and loved.
  • They have helped Richard and I know we are not alone and that miracles happen and that people are so very kind and generous and good.
  • These gifts have wrapped us up in a warm blanket of tender care that has carried us through many a dark day, many a seemingly hopeless time, many a devastating heartbreak that could have broken our spirits or challenged our faith. But because of the great love of these Secret Santas and so many others who have served us, we have been carried. We have been ministered to by your generous giving and thoughtful hearts.

Thank you. Thank you for your love. Thank you for seeing us. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for surprising us with JOY again and again. Thank you for making a difference in our family’s life by showing us how the Giver of All Good Gifts loves and lifts.

We will try to serve others as you have served us.

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week 13 – first christmas without her

Dec 28, 2015 by

Seeing our daughter over FaceTime on Christmas Day was amazing! It was so, so good to see her bright, shining face and to see her healthy and happy and glowing. She sounded wonderful. We were able to talk for about 90 minutes and she shared her testimony of the Savior and of missionary work with us. We were able to have family prayer together and we all cried a bit. My heart rejoiced at how much love she has for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. She has always loved Jesus, but her love for Him has grown as has her love for the people around her. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of. Ahhh, I love this girl of mine.


Christmas was wonderful. We had a ton of contacts this week, more than we’ve ever gotten I think, with everyone coming in to town and visiting and going to the park with their families. It’s been great just to see so many people actually outside!

We saw Francesca again on Christmas Eve and it was probably the most wonderful visit I’ve had on my mission yet. She is so open about God and loves Him. She talks about Him like a friend. She says some funny things, like “blessings be upon you” and “protection be with these people.” She is very passionate in her belief in God and has a ton of faith. She talks about miracles all the time. We just love her.

Christmas is really a wonderful missionary tool. It’s been great in the work because of the people it has put in our way. My testimony of the Savior has been strengthened this season with the assurance that He came for us and knows exactly what we personally need at this very moment and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to share that belief with others.

My Ponderizing scripture this week is D&C 121:7-9. I also read a wonderful chapter about missionary work this morning in Alma 26.

Love you all and Merry after Christmas!
Sister W.

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the tv miracle

Dec 26, 2014 by

Back in mid-November, on a day my body was doing really well, Kat and I went to Costco. She started looking for Christmas presents and I had a “What the heck, is it almost Christmas??” moment. I had not even started thinking about Christmas and simply could not imagine going shopping for presents, even though at that time I was doing quite well physically. The thought of being out in weather, standing in lines, going shopping alone, and even just wrapping my brain around anything Christmas-y was too much. Surely it was only September and I had months to get ready for Christmas?

I said, “I wish I could just buy them a TV and be done with it.” Kat jumped right on that idea and said she thought it was a great idea. Later I presented it to Richard in a kind of snarky-listen-to-this-crazy-idea way. He loved it and actually was able to convince me it was a great idea and not a you-are-a-lazy-bum-who-doesn’t-want-to-shop idea.

Then we presented it to the kids. Blythe and Keziah were all for it. Fisher and Annes, not so much. I assured them they would have at least two presents to open, one from each set of grandparents, and after about a week of thinking about it, they decided to go for it.

So, with everyone in favor I decided to start pricing out TVs and decided we actually wouldn’t be able to do it. Our gas bill to go home for Thanksgiving was more than I thought it would be and Richard’s check was about $500 less than I was expecting. I didn’t know what to do. Everyone was so excited about the idea of an actual working television we could watch movies on and now I didn’t know if I could make it happen. I found a great cyber Monday deal at Sam’s for a huge 48″ off-brand TV with a Roku stick included for $348. I thought it was a great price and really wanted to make it happen, but I still didn’t have enough pennies for it.

I like to hoard gift cards, it gives me a sense of security to have a way to purchase needed items when we have run out of cash, so I started searching through our gift cards from last Christmas and was able to come up with $60 in unused cards. While I was searching for gift cards, I found a sealed envelope with Keziah’s writing on it. I had no idea what it was, but it had a note on it, “$$$$ I owe you.”

WHAT???????? What money did she owe us? And why was it in the bottom of my bill bin? And how much was it?

It turned out to be $300. The total for the TV with tax was $368. So, with Keziah’s money and the gift cards, I had to come up $8.00. Eight whole bucks. Oh, my goodness. I sat on my bed and cried. I knew this was a gift from an all-knowing Father. If I had known about Keziah’s money earlier in the year, I would have used it when our Suburban broke down. But instead, it was kept hidden from me until the moment we needed it.

We are having so much fun having family movie nights with this TV! I have been pretty anti-TV our whole married life, but we do enjoy watching great family films together. We are learning all about Amazon Instant Videos and I’m pretty amazed at how far technology has come in the past few years – the Roku stick makes it so slick to access content from the internet. Our children finally feel like they are part of the modern world, teehee!

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the story of the precious quilts

Dec 26, 2014 by

the story of the precious quilts

I usually tell people, “I can’t sew!” The truth of the matter is I can sew, just barely. Sewing is really, really, REALLY challenging for me. It doesn’t make sense to my brain. I can’t sew straight. I mess up back-stitching, have to unpick lots, and my projects leave a lot to be desired in the sewn-well-looks-pretty department. But for some reason, I love making homemade, home-sewn things for my children. It feels like I am wrapping up all the love in my heart for them and handing it to them on a silver platter, fabric platter, of course.

Jessica’s mom has been making birthday quilts for all of her grandchildren this year…and they are gorgeous. When the first one arrived at Jess’ home back in October, I swooned over it. But I didn’t even think about making one because Debbie is a quilter and I am not. At all. It seemed way, way, way outside of my abilities.


Then when I saw the second quilt at Thanksgiving, I nearly died over it. I could not stop staring at it and touching it. Excuse the blurry pic, it is the only one I have and you must see it so you can see what inspired me! It is made with the Miss Kate jelly roll and I was so tempted to use it for Annesley’s, but in the end chose a different one.


I loved them ever so much and in spite of the facts that I don’t sew well normally (certainly not well enough to make a quilt like this!) AND cannot sew at all right now because I cannot sit due to my hip injury AND haven’t sewn at all since the hip injury occurred in February 2012 AND knew I could not afford the fabric needed to make one quilt, much less four, I COULD NOT stop thinking about making these quilts for my children.

The whole drive home from Thanksgiving had my brain going round in circles trying to figure out how on earth I could make these for my children. I especially wanted to make something for my children because it is Blythe’s last Christmas at home before her mission. We always make something special for our children and we weren’t going to this year because we decided to put all our Christmas money towards a TV. We also didn’t last year because we adopted an orphanage in Ecuador instead of buying presents. So even though I loved the TV idea, my whole soul was longing to make my children something from my heart. The more I thought about it, I realized there was just no way. I could not come up with any solutions. None.

On Tuesday, December 2, Sheri took me to physical therapy and afterwards I asked her if we could stop by the fabric store so I could price out fabric. As we walked through the store I became more and more enamored with the idea and at the same time, realized it was going to be far too expensive to even consider it.

Late that night, Sheri showed up at my door with a plan to get me the fabric. I thought she was crazy, but after lots of laughter and tears, I agreed to her plan…she would buy the fabric in exchange for future gymnastics lessons and work with my husband. We checked with Kat about the possibilities of using her fancy machine with a start/stop button instead of a foot pedal and how she thought it would work for me to sew standing up at an elevated table. She thought it would work, so we stayed up for hours looking at online fabric stores and got the jelly rolls ordered and I started brainstorming what I could sell to earn some money to pay for the quilting.

The next day was the big passing out/shaking/vomiting episode and I had to spend several days in bed. Friday night I felt well enough to go pick out minkee and Sheri, Jen, and I headed to the fabric store and were blessed to find a big table of minkee on sale for $7.88/yard! We were able to find stuff to coordinate with the tops, pick out the binding fabric, and make it home without any vomiting.

Then on Sunday, the 7th, I fell at church and injured my knee. And I continued to throw up almost all my food. It seemed there was no way I would be able to continue the project because I felt so terrible with the stomach issues and there was no way I would be able to stand to sew with my knee in so much pain.

But once again, my awesome friends helped me. Kat figured out how to put the sewing machine on a table over top of my zero gravity chair so I could lay back with my knee elevated and wrapped in ice packs and still reach the start/stop button and guide the fabric. Every few days, in between vomiting episodes and usually late at night after our children were in bed, Kat would come and get me, set me up in my chair with her sewing machine on top of me, and mentor me through each stage of the project. It was amazing! Each time I finished a top, I would shriek with joy and cry big tears of happiness at how fabulous they were turning out. I just could not believe my very limited sewing skills could produce something so beautiful. Even though I sewed all the stitches, it was Kat’s awesome tutelage that made them turn out so well.

My aunt owns a quilting business in Wyoming, so the next step was to get all the tops to her. We sent some of the tops on the 16th with a woman from my hometown who was up here visiting her daughter (thanks Lori!), then finished the remaining tops at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, the 17th, and sent them to Wyoming with our friend Tamia who was taking her boys to visit Jessica’s family for a few days. Then my mom got them from Jessica and took them over to Angie.

Angie worked her magic and then got them over to the fabric store to be bound. They were all done by Saturday, the 20th. But my mom was down in Salt Lake for the day and couldn’t pick them up. She had to leave early Monday morning before the store opened to come up here to deliver them, so she started calling all sorts of people to see if someone could go get them. She finally found someone (thanks Karen!) and we were one step closer to getting the quilts into my arms before Christmas morning.

Meanwhile I was here fretting about them, wondering if the quilting turned out well, if I had chosen the right designs, the right color thread, if the binding was working, and a million other things. I could not sleep Saturday night for fear I had completely ruined the whole project by choosing something wrong.

Also, that day I sold my beloved Singer 301A to finish up earning the money to pay for the quilting. It is my favorite machine to sew on and an incredible workhorse. I sewed my first and only quilt (until now) on it back in 2011. It was one of the things I knew could bring in some money and I since I can’t sit to sew, I can’t use it anyway. I have been holding on to it with the hope that someday I will be able to use it again, but I decided it was time to face the reality that I may never sit again.

Then on Monday, the 22nd, my mom showed up with her presents for our family and the all-my-hopes-pinned-on-them quilts. After she took my kiddos to a movie, I unwrapped the quilt package and burst into tears. They were so, so lovely. I could barely breathe, I was so in love with them.

Christmas morning my children opened one and only one gift from their parents – the quilts! They love them and have been snuggled up in them ever since.

Thank you Sheri, Kat, Jen, Angie, Lori, Tamia, Jessica, Karen, Charla, and mom. Thank you so much for helping me make this dream come true.

Annesley’s ray of sunshine quilt made with the Bloomin’ Fresh jelly roll. Hers is stitched with pink thread in a design of hearts, flowers, and stars. So cute!



Fisher’s bold quilt is made with the Mixed Bag jelly roll and has orange zigzag binding. He loves, loves, loves lime green, orange, and red – this is so perfect for him. It always cracks me up that such a quiet boy is drawn to such loud colors and fabrics. His thread is blue and is quilted in a chevron design. His is the only one I wish I had done differently. I should have chosen a bug or airplanes design, but the chevron looks great.



Keziah’s is done with the Girl Crazy jelly roll. She loves old cruiser bikes, so we did the quilt design with bikes and Scotty dogs (dogs are perhaps her biggest passion!) with turquoise thread and the binding is bikes too!


Can you see the bike design?




Blythe loves hot pink and other bright colors and I think the daisy quilting design goes with her fabric perfectly. It is made with the LOL jelly roll and has both hot pink binding and thread. She loves it!




You can see how to make this Jelly Roll Race quilt in this video tutorial. This quilt pattern is called a one hour top and maybe it is for someone, but not for me. I’m about as slow as molasses. I sewed Blythe’s top first and it took me nine hours. By the time I got to the last one, I was down to about three or four hours. If you are a beginner quilter, this is an excellent project. It is technically easy, comes together quickly, and turns out beautifully. I would guess if you have any sewing skills at all, you can make the top easily in two – three hours.

I still can’t believe we got these done in three short weeks…and not three good weeks, three really, really hard weeks for my body to do much of anything. Pretty much a Christmas miracle!

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such a silly ditty

Dec 24, 2014 by

My mom came to visit the past few days and brightened my spirits immensely. She helped me get all the odd and ends done for Christmas and brought presents! Most of all, she gave my children some much needed love. It hasn’t been a very fun month for them because we haven’t been able to go many places and I haven’t been the most cheerful mom on the planet. She just drove away and this silly little ditty poured out of me…it isn’t good poetry or anything, but she’ll like it.

‘Twas the day before Christmas when all through the home
My mama is working herself to the bone
The dishes and laundry and cooking up treats
Are her gift to me as I sit on my seat.

Took kids to the movies and had lots of fun
She sure can keep up even if she can’t run
Her knee swelled up huge as she hobbled around
Taking us all out for fun on the town.

She took me shopping for stockings and groceries and stuff
We almost got hit, TWO TIMES, it was rough!
We giggled and laughed as I burped through the day
Oh, how I wish she could come here and stay!

Now mama must return to her quiet house
Where creatures aren’t stirring, not even a mouse.
She brought us some presents, some help, and some cheer,
We hope she’ll come back before the new year!

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giving and receiving

Dec 25, 2013 by

Warm and fuzzy.












On this Christmas night my heart is full from top to bottom with all of these emotions. Our month has been full of Christmasy things – performances in the Messiah concert with the Youth Symphony and the Christmas Carol ballet, piano and violin recitals of Christmas music, several secret Christmas projects, caroling, visiting with friends and neighbors, Christmas stories, scripture study, yummy food, big hugs, nativities, and piles and piles AND PILES of love being poured out upon our family.

We have been on the receiving end of so much goodness and generosity this month. Moola for Muscles has raised thousands of dollars for my therapy. People have written the loveliest notes of encouragement and their love has filled my heart with courage and determination to keep trying to get my life back. Nearly 150 people invested their hard-earned cash in my Hip Recovery Plan. I can’t even think about it without tears running down my face. What a precious gift!

If the Moola for Muscles response wasn’t enough, we have been blessed with lovely presents from friends and family and had several knock-n-run experiences this week. Money, gifts, food, and, of course, piles of love have been delivered by these Secret Angels/Santas/Elves/Disciples. We have no idea who has reached out to our little family and blessed us so abundantly, but if any of you are reading this, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for being a force for good in the world and for loving us so much that you would sacrifice and serve and give and bless.

The speaker at church this Sunday, Sister Spaulding, said something like “We experience Christmas every day of our lives. We are either giving or getting Christ’s love.” When she said those words I realized something…when we give Christ’s love to others we come to more fully love Him and know Him. When we receive Christ’s love, either through His own actions or the actions of our fellowman, we also learn more of Him and become closer to Him. As we go through life and have experiences on both sides of the equation, we understand Him and His ability to love, serve, and sacrifice for the children of God. We are more able to receive His love into our hearts and accept His sacrifice for us.

This year we have learned more clearly than ever before how important it is to be on both sides of the giving and receiving circle. I love being on the giving side. I love being guided to those who need our love and money. I love organizing secret projects and big, public fundraisers or service projects. I love doing God’s work by reaching out to someone who needs a hug, a listening ear, a big box of food, or a chunk of money. It is one of my very favorite things to do and I am so grateful for the opportunities we have had as a family to make a difference in the world.

But this hip injury has forced me to the other side of the circle. I have been on the receiving end of service for the past 22 months. People have taken care of our children, given umpteen hours of service, taken me to doctor’s appointments, paid for treatments, held me as I have sobbed, given me wise counsel, encouraged me, been patient with me, tried to understand, cleaned our home, cooked meals, and so much more. People have loved. Truly loved me. Loved us. Supported us. Been God’s hands in holding us up. I had no idea there was this much goodness in the world. It is been a tender privilege to be the recipient of so much goodness and one of the greatest blessings of my life to be taught not only the meaning, but the actions of love as I have been thoroughly loved through this injury.

Being on the receiving end has taught me much about God’s abundance and the windows of heaven. To those of you who have been His hands in lifting our burdens, both physical and emotional, please know we love you, we pray for you, and we thank God for you.

May each of you feel the love of God for you at this Christmas season and throughout the coming year.

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ornaments for orphans

Nov 12, 2013 by

We started learning about OSSO many years ago and have been supportive of its mission to help children in Ecuador. Going to Ecuador and serving there has been in the back of our minds for a long, long time. We have a good friend, Lisa, who travels to Ecuador several times a year to serve in several orphanages down there. Our good friends, Cameron and Paula, are in the middle of adopting older children from Ecuador and we are cheering them on and doing what we can from the sidelines. Blythe intends to go work in the orphanages sometime in the next eighteen months before her mission. Lots of talk of orphans circulates around our home. We have been donating our hearts and a wee bit of our money to these orphanages for awhile and have been tickled pink to play a small part in alleviating suffering. Last week Lisa posted a challenge on Facebook called the Ornaments for Orphans Club and said they were going to not give presents to their teens and adults and would instead be donating the money they would have spent on gifts to Dando Amor. Her challenge percolated in my heart and we started talking to the children about it. The first night we talked to them there were a few outbursts of “no presents!?!” but we asked them to think about it and come to family home evening ready to share their thoughts, pro or con, about this idea. Last night we had our discussion and oh, boy, these amazing children of mine! I am so proud of them. They all voted to give up their presents from us and give that money to the children at Dando Amor. Their one condition is that they be allowed to give each other homemade presents because they love that part of our tradition so much.

So it is final. This year our Christmas money will go to children that need it much, much more than we need it. Our Christmas presents have always been on the simple side since we do three gifts per child, something that will help them spiritually, something that will allow them to develop their gifts to bless others, and something that will help them in their learning. This year we will learn new lessons in love and service. Wahoo!!

Anyone want to the club with us? If so, let me know and I will give you Lisa’s contact information. She leaves in a few days to go to Ecuador and she is going to have an ornament signed by the orphans for each child that gives up their Christmas presents.

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moments to remember sans photos

Dec 30, 2012 by

Some Christmas moments not captured in pictures, but needing to be remembered nonetheless…so I will share them with you without any photgraphic evidence.

1. We made Peppermint Bark! For the first time! Yes! For the first time in my life I melted chocolate and made it into something yummy. Actually, I laid on the couch with ice packs on my injection sites and told Blythe, Keziah, and Andie what to do. They did everything. If you are a Peppermint Bark newbie like me, here is what you do. Buy two pounds of white chocolate meltaways and two pounds of vanilla chips (or buy all vanilla chips…I just did what the lady in the bulk food section of Winco recommended, but the vanilla ones taste a gob better). Buy 60 peppermint candies. Turn on some Christmas music and unwrap all sixty peppermints. Place them in a thick ziplock bag. Find a hammer in your absolutely filthy garage (or your perfectly clean tool organizer). Go out on the front cement and hammer the mints into smithereens. After the mints are smashed (or at the same time if you have more than one candy maker on the job), put all four pounds of white chocolate in a glass bowl. Place the glass bowl on top of a large pan that has water in it. Make sure your bowl is bigger than your pan and that the water does not touch the bowl. Turn the burner on low to medium and heat up the water…this will heat up the chocolate…which will melt the chocolate. Stir. Stir. Stir. Stir. Stir. Stir. Stir until all the chocolate is melted. Pour the peppermint smithereens into the melted chocolate. Then pour the whole thing into a foil-covered cookie sheet. Put in the fridge for one hour to cool.

Eat. Then eat some more.

2. On Christmas Eve I spent 2 1/2 hours at the local print shop making Gratitude Journals for the special women in my life. Way too long, but totally worth it to make this dream project come true.

3. When I left the print shop, I stopped to get gas and fell in the parking lot. My right foot slipped and because there is not a lot of stability in my hip socket, my leg flew into the air. Then I flew into the air. Then I landed on my head. Hard. Whiplash. Pain. Dizziness. World spinning. Headache. Passing out.

But I am doing a gazillion times better now.

4. Blythe passed three gallstones on the night before Christmas Eve. I cannot even tell you how much pain she was in…writhing and moaning on the floor. Thanks to a priesthood blessing and Richard’s energy work she was able to pass them and recovered quickly.

5. On Christmas Eve we came home to a porch full of presents from some amazing Christmas angels. Their kindness and generosity simply overwhelms me and their gifts are so, so appreciated. I desperately want to know who the angels are so I can wrap my arms around their necks with a big koala bear hug and look in their eyes and tell them “thank you.”

6. Treasured presents were given to me by my friends. Jess gave me a gorgeous framed quilt print, Kat gave me a Mother Necklace made with a nest and four birthstone “eggs” inside for my babies, Jen gave me a lovely Nativity (where Mary is holding Jesus!!!), and Amy gave me a Mary Engelbreit book and all sorts of cool lotions and bath stuff. So, so fun!!!!

7. My brother, Scott, and niece, Andie, came to visit and we had a blast. Mostly we ate a lot of food and played Mastermind and Spades while I laid on the couch covered in ice packs, but somehow those simple things were just what we needed.

8. One of the grandmas in our ward who likes to love on Annesley brought her over a special Christmas present of homemade suckers. Totally made Annes’ whole day!

9. Our bishop also brought over a present for her. She insisted on making him a present last Sunday and he returned the kindness and brought her a present on Christmas Eve. She is one loved girlie!

10. By two days post-injection I could walk like a normal person. Super exciting!

11. My mama and Easton also came to visit. I wish they could stay for another week! My mama could live with me forever.

12. We sewed 80 handwarmers. It was quite a project for me since I can’t sit. We need to sew about 40 more and are hoping to get them done before Valentine’s Day.

I think I have pictures of ice skating, opening presents, and our birthday dinner for Jesus, so I will upload those and get posts written about those adventures soon.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

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Dec 12, 2012 by

Banner day.

My mother has a love affair with numbers. She set her alarm for 4:44 or 5:55. Our phone number ended in 3333 and then after that, 2222. We counted everything and screamed over any cool combination of numbers we encountered.

I have the same love affair.

So today is a pretty cool day. But I didn’t do anything to celebrate. I don’t know why. It wasn’t a conscious choice. It just felt like another day and I spent it with my children, reading, mathing, cleaning, and sewing. Not a bad way to spend any day, but there was certainly nothing exciting about it. I didn’t even notice when 12:12 p.m. rolled around.

I do, however, remember a December 12 from nineteen years ago when we had been married for just eight short weeks. On that December 12, on the night before final exams started, our first little house burned down. We were living without a working furnace in a singlewide trailer and I finally got so tired of being SO cold that I asked Richard to start a fire in the decrepit wood stove.

We left to go practice being Mary and Joseph in a church performance and came home to a house all aflame.

Oh, the tears. The absolute gut-wrenching sobs that poured out of my soul that night…and for many nights to follow. We lost everything we owned except for Richard’s scriptures, gun, and missionary memory box.

It seemed an army of kindness was thrown our way. So many people reached out their hearts and hands and helped us. We found another little house to rent and each night when we came home from school we would find boxes on our doorstep full of things we needed. We had only moved to the town in October and very few people knew us, but everyone knew of our plight and blessed us with their love.

Our family members tried to replace many of our wedding gifts and my great-grandfather sent me a quilt he made along with $500. My father sent us $1000 in JCPenny gift cards so we could get some clothing. My church in Wyoming sent us a beautiful handstitched quilt. Our aunts and uncles sent kitchen goods, blankets, and more love than we thought possible.

I will never forget that December 12. It changed me. Forever altered my being and cemented in me a great desire to make a difference in the world by blessing others as I had been blessed.

And for that I am grateful.

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christmas play

Dec 11, 2012 by

christmas play

On Monday night we helped our friends put on a Christmas program at the Senior Citizen’s Center. We were told there would be about five people there, but there turned out to be 49! It was a bit stressful, but it was also a lot of fun and was a good experience for our family to get out and mingle with the elderly people in our community.

Thank goodness for our friends, the Thomases! They are costume experts and were exactly what we needed! My skills are seriously lacking in the costuming department and Annette is a pro! She made all 18 children look much, much better than they would have if Tasha and I had been left on our own.

Getting everyone assembled



Angel Annesley and Abby as Mary


During our practice run


The performance turned out a gazillion times better than I thought it would! I have a video of it, but it is too big to upload here…anyone know how to compress it? Here is the video..only watch if you adore our children and can smile at the simplicity of the whole thing. Thanks for the tip, Jess!

After the reenactment of Jesus’ birth, Blythe, Keziah, Courtney, Spencer, and Mallory played Oh, Come All Ye Faithful on their violins and cellos. Then Keziah sang The Miracle by Shawna Edwards.

Afterwards the children visited with all the guests and ate piles of cookies. I’m sure the cookies were their favorite part!

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tree, gingerbread houses, and friends

Dec 11, 2012 by

tree, gingerbread houses, and friends

My friend, Jodie (of Make It For Maggie fame), brought her whole family to come visit us and taught us how to make gingerbread houses with graham crackers (confession time…I have never made gingerbread houses with my children!). It was so FUN! Mostly because Jodie is a professional make-things-with-children mama (me, not so much) .Jodie had each child’s parts and pieces assembled in their own individual baggies and had each child’s frosting portion in their own ziplock with a small hole cut in the corner. She led them through the build-the-house steps one at at time and then let them loose to create their masterpiece with their own bag of candy. She is brilliant, oh yes, she is.

Annes and Mary


Kat, Jack, and Oz…notice the grass out my back door? Yep, it is still there, no snow yet.


Starting to put the pieces together.



About halfway through…and look, no crying children yet!


Fisher and Trey concentrating hard.


Maggie’s house in process.


Some finished houses.



Two days later we decorated our Christmas tree. I had to try hard not to cry during the festivities as I thought about how few Christmases I have left with all my children at home. These mothering days are growing short and I am feeling a great desire to hold on and savor each and every one of them. I kept looking at Blythe and soon my eyes were full of tears. I love having my children with me. I love being a mother. I think the last few years have been so full of pain and stress and worry that I haven’t enjoyed them as much as I could have. So I am trying to turn a new leaf of full-on savoring.

Everyone working on the tree.


Blythe and Kez spent most of the night wrestling instead of decorating.


Keziah’s muscle pose…it is one we see a lot in pics at our house.


Oh, how I love this mug.


Annesley putting the star on.


The finished tree with my five cuties.


Oh, I love Christmas!

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the piano guys perfection

Dec 6, 2012 by

Oh my. I love this so, so much. I could listen to it over and over again and never grow tired of it. Isn’t the look on Mary’s face when the shepherds come so incredibly perfect – full of exhaustion and joy and love.

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giving = happiness

Dec 4, 2012 by

Oh, how I love December! I love how the whole world (at least it seems to me to be the whole wide world) unites in giving and loving and smiling and serving. I love the music and joy and food and generosity and miracles that I see every December.

I am a big believer in the equation of giving = happiness and I want my children to become committed givers as well. Doesn’t this Light ‘Em Up idea look fun?

This morning during our reading time, I snuggled in bed with Fisher and Annes and read The Quiltmaker’s Gift. It is one of my very favorite books and has been ever since it was published back in 2000. I remember reading it to Blythe over and over and over. She loved it so, so much. One of her favorite things to do as a four to six year old was to be just like the quiltmaker and giving her treasured items to all of our neighbors. I remember her walking over to our elderly friends and giving them her special rocks, dolls, drawings, flowers, necklaces, and more.

This morning when we read it again, I loved discussing how all the King’s stuff didn’t make him happy and our stuff doesn’t and WON’T make us happy either. We talked about all the secret things we want to do this month to spread joy to others. Tomorrow we will be reading the prequel, The Quiltmaker’s Journey and learn all about how the quiltmaker left her life of comfort to become some of God’s hands on earth.

That is what I want our family to be…God’s hands. I know from much personal experience how much of a difference service makes. When I was in bed this spring for weeks on end, Kat arranged for meals to be brought in to my home. Day after day, week after week, women came into my home and fed my family delicious warm food while I laid in bed in my pajamas crying from the pain of this labral tear. Many, many times people have brought groceries or given us money for tires, violins, dentist appointments, and oh, so much more. There is so much love in this world and I have been blessed immensely because of other people being God’s hands in my life.

I love our Save The World projects. I love to create events that bring people together to make a difference in the lives of others. Right now, I have a few projects up my sleeve and am filled with joy at how excited my children are to spend this month giving. One of our projects is putting on a Christmas play at the Senior Citizen’s Center. Another is Operation Pay For The Hole for my dear friend, Jessica. A lot of amazing people have donated to Jessica. If you want to contribute AND get some lovely things for yourself or to give as gifts, we have an awesome auction and affiliate program going on right now over at Balancing Everything. One of the affiliate programs gives you several years worth of music/composer instruction for your family for $19.95. I ordered it and it is awesome sauce! Another program is Richard’s energy work. You can book a session with him and he will donate 50% of the fee to Jessica. Win-win!

What fun ideas do you have in your plans to model that giving = happiness? I would love to hear how you inculcate this truth into your family culture.

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presents and presence and presents

Dec 20, 2011 by

presents and presence and presents

God presented His son to the world over two millennia ago. We celebrate Christmas to celebrate His birth, His life, His death, and His presence in our lives. At least I do. I join with millions of Christians around the world to remember His words, spread His love, and rejoice in His saving power. I love Jesus. I am so grateful to know of Him and to have the privilege of knowing Him.

I have pondered the world’s celebration of Christmas, the “true meaning” of Christmas, and my personal celebration and how it all fits together. I have come to realize that while presents are not at all essential to my celebration, I DO love giving them and I enjoy getting them as well. As I have pondered this and wondered whether we should ban presents all together so we can focus completely on Christ, I have had some insights come to me.

As a family, we focus on Christ all month long. We have a nightly Christmas devotional where we share a story from Jesus’ life, sing Christmas songs, and read a Christmas book. We focus on service to others and love to do things in secret to brighten other people’s lives. We celebrate Hanukkah and retell the miracle of the light in the temple, the courage of the freedom fighters, and God’s goodness and mercy to His children. We love to remember the redemption of Ebeneezer Scrooge and the possible redemption in our own lives. In short, we have a full month of focus on Christ, His gospel, and striving to be His hands in the lives of others.

But, I also love giving my children presents. It can’t be just any present, can’t be a present just to give a present. I cannot stand those types of presents. It must be a present straight from my heart that shows that I know them, their needs, their secret desires, their goals, their dreams. A present that wraps them up in my love and tells them “My mom knows the inner workings of my heart.” A present that helps them fulfill their mission here on earth. I don’t give glitzy toys or the latest fad thing. I want my presents to have meaning.

Isn’t that what the wise men did for Jesus? They gave Him presents befitting His Kingship and which would aid Him in His life and His escape to Egypt. Isn’t that what Jesus does for us? We are told in James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

In The Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 it says,

And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.

God blesses us with a perfect knowledge of our hearts, the comfort that will sustain us, the power and grace of the atonement which saves us from spiritual death, and the resurrection that saves us from physical death. He knows what we need and He meets those needs.

But He doesn’t stop there. He also knows the desires of our hearts and he often blesses us with those things. I cannot tell you the number of times I have wanted a certain book, piece of fabric, pair of shoes, or on a deeper level, a relationship or experience, and been prompted to go somewhere or do something and the thing I desire is right there in front of me. None of those things were NEEDS per se, but they were desires and by giving them to me, He teaches me who He is, how much He loves me, and how intimately He knows me.

I want my children to have a microcosm of that experience when I give them gifts. I want them to feel known. To know they are treasured. To have the assurance that I will help them and love them. To know they can trust me.

Presents are certainly not the only way to accomplish these things, but they are one way to build a relationship with their hearts and to point them towards the giver of all good gifts. With this goal in mind, we decided long ago to give our children three gifts for Christmas, represented by the gold, frankincense, and myrrh of the Wise Men. Gold is a gift of something they will treasure and has value to their lives. Often this gift is something I have made for them…like their skirts last year or the deluxe colored pencil holders from 2009. Frankincense is an oil that was used in worshiping in the temple, it was burned before the Holy of Holies. Our frankincense gift is something that will aid them in their relationship with God. It is something that will help them learn of Him, connect with Him, or enable them to serve Him. Myrrh is an oil that was used to heal from sickness and to embalm the dead. It preserves things makes them last longer. Our myrrh gift is something that will aid them in their mission that God has placed them on earth to fulfill. It is something that will develop their gifts or further their education, something that will help their influence last longer, go further.

This gift-giving plan has helped me to focus in on their hearts and be mindful of what each gift should be. It adds a depth and richness to my gift-giving. It forces me to ponder who my children are and how I can best help them become who they were created to be.

I am grateful for His presence in my life, for the presents He gives to me daily, for His presentation on this earth as a baby, for His eventual presence here when He will rule as the King of Kings, and for the opportunity I have to teach my children who they are and who He is by the gifts I give to them.

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friends, food, and fhe

Dec 13, 2011 by

friends, food, and fhe

We have some dear friends, the Lamoreaux family, who invited us over for a night of festivity. They prepared a full-course Christmas dinner with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cabbage salad, green beans, cranberry relish, carrots, rolls, pumpkin pie, and Jace’s signature dish, pecan pie. All homemade with healthy ingredients (except the pecan pie) and all delicious. I must get her recipe for cranberry relish…it was the most fantabulous cranberry dish I have ever had. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the amazing spread they must have worked all day long preparing, but I was so overwhelmed with the scrumptiousness of it all, I just enjoyed it. There is no way in a million years I could prepare a meal like that!

They wanted us to come and share an evening of food and fun with them and all they asked us to do was share our nightly Christmas devotional with them. Easy-peasy! We shared a story of Jesus, sang Christmas songs, and then I read everyone Grandfather’s Christmas Tree and A Christmas Dress For Ellen, two of our most favorite Christmas books. After story time, we handed out papers, colored pencils, and markers, and everyone drew a picture for or wrote a letter to someone they love.


Fisher’s dreams came true when the boys finished up quickly and started playing football. He doesn’t get nearly enough roughhousing in our house full of girls and he loves going and playing with the Lamoreaux boys…they have four and their dad is quite a boy too, so that makes five playmates for our little guy who wishes he had a house full of brothers. The girls went to their secret hiding places and talked and talked AND talked. They hid so well that Annesley couldn’t find them and she eventually gave up and joined in the football game.



Most plays ended up in a wrestling match.


Here are seven of their nine children (Taycie Grace and Abigail were already in bed by the time I remembered to take a picture of everyone) and our four all piled on top of each other. Pretty cute bunch of kids, eh?


We are so grateful to have such a wonderful family as our good friends. We share children, books, and food quite frequently and they have saved my behind more times than I can count. Thank you, Lam Family, for being stalwart disciples of Christ, joyful sojourners on earth, examples of truth, and dear friends to each of us. You are all GEMS!

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advent calendar directions

Dec 4, 2011 by

advent calendar directions

Okay, okay, okay. I guess people aren’t getting how my adorable quilted creation is an advent calendar. Soooo, I will explain.

The trees are pockets! They hold whatever you want to put in them to count down the days till Christmas or whatever else you want to count down to. You could put in candy or presents or a card with the carol you want to sing that night or whatever. We are putting our Jesus pictures in ours.

There are 12 trees with two pockets on each, so 24 days total. We will count down from the 1st to Christmas Eve by turning over a picture of Jesus each day.

Here is what ours looks like so far..with three pictures turned over and the rest still backwards.



Get it? Brilliant, yes?

Okay, so here are the sewing directions in my most completely non-technical, non-seamstress-y way.

1. After you have made your flying geese pieces as instructed here, then you need to arrange all your pieces the way you want them to be.

2. Make sure your seams are pressed the opposite way from the piece on top of it.

3. Sew your tree lines together to make two trees per row (or two trunks for the bottom piece).

4. At this point you need to get your back ready. My front measured 18″ x 29.5ish”, so we cut the back 20″ x 32″ and cut the batting the same.

5. Iron your batting onto the wrong side of your backing. They will kind of adhere to one another…Kat calls this hugging.

6. Then lay your top tree line near the top of your batting…give yourself a little bit of room…like 1/2″ or so.

7. Lay your next tree line below it and then fold it up onto the top tree line so right sides are together and your center seam is lined up. Pin and sew through all layers with a 1/4″ seam. This will quilt your fabric together while you are sewing it. I think it is called quilt-as-you-go method???

8. Press flat, then fold down and press seam open.

9. Lay the third treeline under the second and repeat steps 7 and 8.

10. Lay the fourth treeline under the third and repeat steps 7 and 8.

11. Keep repeating until you have done all six rows of trees and the trunk line.

12. Shout hallelujah and praise the Lord that you have finished the top!

13. Trim the excess batting and backing so all your edges are even.

14. Get your binding fabric ready by either using bias tape or making your own binding fabric by cutting fabric and sewing strips together. I cannot describe this process to you…just google it and I’m sure you will find some directions that will make more sense to you than anything I could say.

15. I pressed my binding fabric in half and then lined up the raw edge with the edge of my top and sewed a 1/4″ seam all the way around. At each corner, sew until you get 1/4″ from the corner, then fold in the fabric to make a 45 degree angle on the corner and fold the top to make a 90 degree angle that lines up with your new side you will be sewing down. Okay, that didn’t make a lick of sense…just google it and once again, I’m sure you will find some awesome directions. Here are some I found: Sew Inspired and Oh Frannson. Both of those however sew the back on by hand, which I would never in a million years be able to do…if you can believe it, my hand sewing is even worse than my machine sewing – I have NO fine-motor coordination.

16. Clip your corners…just a little bit to remove excess fabric.

17. Press your binding seam on the top of your quilt and then turn it over and fold the binding to the back, pressing as you go. Make your mitered corners have balanced, attractive 45 degree angles and press into place.

18. Choose a stitch that is wavy so that it will be able to catch both the front and back pieces of binding in the same stitch. I used a vine stitch that turned out quite lovely. This type of stitch is very forgiving and allows you to mess up without a disaster resulting. Start sewing somewhere other than a corner and when you get to the corner, make sure your mitered corner looks good and sew into it a little bit to make sure you catch all the edges. Continue sewing around till you are done.

19. Fall to your knees with gratitude that you are FINISHED!

I have probably missed some steps, but that is what I can remember right now. Kat? Do I need to add anything else?

For those of you that can sew, this would be an easy-peasy project. For me, it took a whole-lotta effort.

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decorating for christmas

Dec 3, 2011 by

decorating for christmas

We finally got our decorations (and by decorations, I mean three nativities and lots of books, not anything fancy-schmancy) and tree up today and had our first night of our month-long Christmas devotionals. We are supposed to start on the 1st, but on that night, I was still sewing our advent calendar and came home in the middle of the night to a sleeping house. Last night we bought the tree and got it set up, but it was 10 p.m. by the time that happened, so we went to bed and put off decorating till today.

Nativity the first


Nativity the second…and my favorite one. Maybe someday I will have all the other parts that go to it.


Notice that Mary is holding her precious baby? I cannot handle looking at Jesus in a manger so my nativities have to have him in her arms. This peculiar belief of mine greatly limits the selection of nativities we can buy, which is why we only have two real ones and one soft play one for the kids.

Christmas Books



Decorating the tree (notice the advent calendar hanging on the wall behind me?)




Hanging the star on top



Most of my decorations were made by me back in the winter of 1995 when I was pregnant with Blythe. They aren’t very current, but they are homey and I love them. Tonight Keziah said “we need some new decorations” and Richard responded, “No, we don’t, your mother made these and I hope we are still decorating with them when I am 90.” Warmed my heart right up.

Are your decorations up?

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advent dreams

Dec 3, 2011 by

advent dreams

I have longed for an adorable advent calendar for years. Decades. On top of that dream, I added the cherry of wanting to be the one to actually make it. I have scoured the internet for the last many years looking for one I loved AND could make.

I have found a few, but they have never materialized. I have tried making a few, but they never turned out. A few years ago I bought a set of pictures of Jesus in a mini-size and mounted them on cardstock and hung those up with clothespins on a piece of rick-rack. It drove me batty. I loved the idea, but it turned out so much different than I had envisioned that it was hard for me to even enjoy it. The pictures didn’t hang straight and any breeze through the house would send them all twisty-turvy. It was hard to tell which ones had been turned front-facing and which ones were backwards because they were always so skewampus.

This year I decided I would try once again to make one. Myself. By the grace of God…literally…and the help of my sewing mentor and dear friend, Katherine, I did it!

We started the project a couple of weeks ago and made it this far. Then Thanksgiving and the gnome party happened, so no progress was made. All of a sudden it was December 1st and I needed it to be done. Kat said I could come over and she would help me. Thinking it would take four or five hours I set out in the early afternoon hoping to be home in time for a late dinner with my family. What was I thinking? I didn’t leave Kat’s house until 1 a.m.! (Then I had to be up at 6 a.m. to get my family ready to go teach gymnastics all day.) Craziness!

Sewing the top together was fairly easy, but a little frustrating. The first two rows went smoothly, but I think we unpicked the third row (or was it the fourth?) several times. I was ready to scream at this point. The stupid, simple, straight seams were taking far longer than they should have because my skills are so, SO lacking. Kat could have whipped it out in no time at all, but she insisted I sew every stitch. I’m glad she did, but at the time I was none too thrilled. As the hours wore on, I just wanted to hand the whole thing over and yell “let me throw some money at you and have you finish it!” But she wouldn’t let me give up.

After the top was finally finished, we started the binding. Binding! Can you believe it? She made me do the binding! Never in my wildest imaginations did I think she would make me do the binding. Binding is a separate thing. A thing for experts.

She taught me what to do and because I had paid close attention when Jessica sewed my binding on the quilt I made for Natasha this spring, her directions made a teensy bit of sense. I sewed all the binding fabric together, then pressed it in half and then quite trepidatiously started sewing it on. I thought to myself (prematurely!) “This isn’t bad at all. I can do this! Look at me. I am sewing binding on. I really should start saving $20 a month for a better machine, I could never do this on my machine, but if I had a machine that worked like this one (I was sewing on Kat’s), I could do this. I am figuring this out. I can do this.” After the first side of binding was sewn on, Kat taught me to clip the corners, press the binding to the back side, and make lovely mitered corners.

This is where the real trouble began. I thought I followed her directions exactly. I thought I knew what I was doing, but I didn’t. I clipped holes in the corners. HOLES! Holes in my almost finished, just-spent-the-last-11-hours-sewing-and-unpicking-and-sewing-and-unpicking-and-sewing project. (Not to mention the hours I spent picking out the fabric, cutting it out and sewing all the trees together a few weeks ago. Not to mention the years I have dreamed of hanging up my very own homemade-by-me calendar.)

It was too much.

I burst into tears. Gut-wrenching sobs. I buried my face in my hands and started spouting off some nonsense about how this is what always happens…I ruin my sewing projects. What was I thinking? Why on God’s green earth did I think I could do this. Why didn’t YOU (meaning Kat) stop me months ago when I started talking about this? I will never, ever sew another stitch. I will never get some insane idea about creating ANYTHING. I am going home. You can have my fabric if you want it. You can burn it or whatever you want, but I am going home. I never want to see it again. No, No, you cannot make me open my eyes. I am leaving. Yes, I am giving up. Why? Because I can’t do it. It’s just too hard and I am not good enough to make it turn out the way I want it, so I am leaving.

Yes, I said all those things. With snot running down my face and tears pouring out of my eyes and sobs wracking my body.

And Kat? She listened and she cried and she grabbed my face in both of her hands and she said “NO! You are doing this. We will fix it. It will be lovely. You will see. Trust me. Trust me. Trust me.” She was amazing. She loved me right through years of fears and heartbreak and unrealized dreams.

She also said I should pat myself on the back for not being scared to use my scissors…I guess some people are so hesitant to cut that they don’t get their corners trimmed down enough. Yeah, I think I will be one of those people next time (will there ever be a next time?) because I don’t ever want to see holes in my almost finished project again.

After I calmed down and wiped all the snot off my face, she showed me how to fix it and by show I mean she basically did everything but push the pedal and guide it through. She made me do those two things, but really I had NO CLUE what I was doing.

Then I pressed the binding to the back, made my mitered corners (which turned out a gazillion times better than I ever imagined they could) and sat down to sew it on.

Can I just say sheer terror. The last step and it felt like everything was on the line. It felt like I was going to ruin my project one step from the finish line.

But I didn’t. It worked. I worked. Kat sat and watched and we had a wonderful gospel discussion about covenants and God’s promises and faith and motherhood and we both cried some more. But not because of sewing. Because of God’s love for us.

Here it is…I still can’t believe it.


Thank you Miss Katherine. You saved my dream and brought it to life. I cannot thank you enough for walking through the path of fear with me. Maybe someday, if you hold my hand for long enough, I will conquer it.

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making my very own advent calendar

Nov 22, 2011 by

making my very own advent calendar

Oh my.

I cannot even tell you how long I have wanted…yearned for…a homemade advent calendar. I have been searching for one that speaks to my soul for years. I have fallen in love with a few, but haven’t had the skills to make them. It seems like I spend every fall searching for the one I will not only love, but will also be able to make.

Ladies and gentleman (do we have any gentlemen here?), I have found it!

Okay, I didn’t actually find it. Jennifer and Kat found it on their weekend sewing retreat (How fun is that? Two best friends spending a weekend in a cabin all by themselves sewing up a storm, eating yummy food, and shopping at fabric stores!) and came back and told me all about it. Then, Kat told me exactly what to do, and so far, so good. We are halfway done and it is looking adorable!

Here is the top all laid out and ready to sew…except, I will be rearranging them still. The red and black fabric with the dots need to be spread out from each other. The trees and trunk are already sewn on to the red background, but now each piece needs to be sewn together. The trees are not sewn down on the angled sides, they are pockets that you use to put whatever stuff you want your advent calendar to hold. Ours will hold our Jesus pictures. We will put them in backwards and then each night during our Christmas devotional we will turn the picture for that day over. Make sense?



This is the back and binding fabric. I am swooning over it…and if I wasn’t sitting here with bedhead and in my jammies, I would show you my swooniness (and no, that isn’t actually a word, but I kind of like it).


A close-up of a tree so you can see what I mean about the pockets.


I keep thinking I will write up a step-by-step tutorial, but I can’t promise anything…and my non-technical instructions might not make sense to anyone anyway. But, for now…if you don’t know how to make a one-seam flying goose, which is what I did to make my trees, watch this YouTube instructional video to find out how.

If you can’t wait for the tutorial and you think you can figure it out on your own, here are my dimensions for the fabric pieces.

Cut green pieces 9 1/2″ x 5″. Cut however many days you want to do, divided by two since each green piece will make two pockets for two days. I cut 12, so I will have a 24 day calendar, December 1 – Christmas Eve. I used fat quarters and you could get by with 2 fat quarters to get all 12 of your pieces, but I wanted mine to have a lot of variety so I used 6 different fat quarters and have a lot left over to make two more calendars as gifts.

Cut red pieces 5″ square. For my 24 day calendar, I need 24 red pieces. Again, I wanted variety, so I used 4 different fabrics. You could get by with 2 fat quarters.

Cut 4 more red pieces 3″ x 4 1/4″ for the pieces by the trunk.

Cut 2 brown pieces 2″ x 3″.

Then make your sandwiches as outlined in that awesome YouTube video and sew your trees together, press them open and lay them out the way you want them.

That is as far as I have gotten so far, but when my sewing guru, Miss Kat, comes back to teach me how to do the back, I will share the rest with you.

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book bonanza – a chanukah noel

Jan 13, 2011 by

A Chanukah Noel

Oh, my.

Read this book.


This book has been in our library box for several weeks (it is a Christmas book for heaven’s sake!) and we finally got around to reading it today during morning story time.

I must own this book.

This is a delightful story of a Jewish family who moves to France and how the little girl, Charlotte, is not at all pleased with the changes in her life. She doesn’t like the food, the schooling, the language, and she especially doesn’t like to be surrounded by Christmas and not be allowed to participate because she is Jewish. She feels desperately lonely and out of place until she hatches the brilliant idea to give “Christmas” to a poor girl at school who will not be receiving presents. Her parents, to her astonishment, agree to her plan and they all work hard to provide Christmas dinner, decorations, and presents to the little girl’s family.

I was crying so hard I had to keep stopping my reading to get a hold of myself. I loved it that much.

For any of you who try to bring Jewish holidays into your Christian home, this is a perfect book!

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blessed day!

Dec 25, 2010 by

What a lovely day we have had!

We woke up around 9:30 and started sharing our presents with each other. We had a wonderful breakfast of creamed eggs and then went to Aunt Holly’s for a delicious Christmas dinner of homemade ravioli, a Christmas program put on by everyone in the family, and more present exchanging.

Such a blessed and happy day!

My favorite moments?

1. Fisher smiling from from ear to ear when he saw his new orange and green ties hanging from his stocking. He also loves his crayon roll from Annesley (I did the sewing, she put the crayons in…we are such a great team!)


2. Blythe crying when she opened up her bookmarks Keziah and Andie made for her.

3. Annesley’s pure joy at every single present that anyone opened. “A paper! Wow!” “Socks! I love socks!”

4. Annesley loving on the doll Blythe crocheted for her.

5. The overwhelming gratitude we all felt for the people who Secret Santa-ed us. There really aren’t words to describe the feelings in our hearts for these people who gave us so much. We could feel their love and wish we could find out who it is and give them giant bear hugs. The children were SO excited about their presents and Richard and I couldn’t stop crying over the generosity that has been shown to us.

6. Seeing the children wearing all the hats from Grandma Dorothy. They love them to pieces! And everything else she did for us this Christmas season was amazing! Can’t wait to try out the pressure cooker and see how much time it saves me in the kitchen! Fisher is in love with his bow and arrow and loves going outside to shoot!




7. Seeing my girls faces when they opened their skirts. They LOVED them. All the long hours were completely worth it to see how delighted they were. They tried them on and then loved them even more! A big shout out of thanks to Kat and Jennifer for all your help (What am I saying…help? All your DOING it!).




8. My girls’ presents to us. Blythe gave Richard and I ten dollars with a little note saying “For a little treat on your next date.” Keziah made me a cute pillow all by herself…so fun to be at the stage when children think up presents for us and do it all on their own.

9. The 2nd Annual Family Christmas Program was fabulous. The grandchildren sang lots of different numbers, Keziah played her violin, Grandpa played two songs for us on his baritone, Uncle Bret sang Henry VIII, and Aunt Holly and Aunt Sandy played the piano. I hope we do this every year!









10. My new adorable towels from my sister-in-laws are so stinkin’ cute! I can’t wait to hang them on my oven bars. I will also be begging for a tutorial on how to make them!

11. Watching the cousin’s exchange presents. Nicole’s face when she opened hers was priceless! This is the first Christmas in a long time that Aunt Sandy and her family have been here and it was so wonderful to see her children play with ours and get to know them a little bit better.

12. Richard’s parents made all the grandchildren blow guns and boy howdy have they had fun with them all afternoon. Fisher and Uncle Derek had an all out war. These will be favorite toys for years to come!



13. I always love to see what Aunt Holly makes for her parents and this year she came through with adorableness once again. She made a photo book on the letters L-O-V-E and embellished it with all manner of ribbons, flowers, clips, and more. So cute!

14. Richard and I were given a Country Know-How book which is perfect for us wanna-be country folk and a date night to Texas Roadhouse. Can’t wait to have a loaded potato with my sweetie!

15. Kat just came over to give me her present. I screamed and scared everyone in the house half-to-death. A lime green Emile Henrie pie dish I have been ogling for months is now mine! I can’t wait to bake a pie in it…of course I have to learn how to first!

16. My most favorite man gave me some wonderful things…a gift certificate for a date with the words “To the woman who gave me everything I ever wanted when she said yes.” He also gave me the certificate down below.

This document grants to
Mrs. Tracy N. Ward,
A fabulous

“ I want to stay in my house and read for 12 continuous hours without interruption.”

Or an equally amazing

“ I am leaving for 12 hours to find a book, go shopping, get a massage, talk to my friend and eat ice cream, etc…”

This gift comes with a day with Papa for the children, to insure guilt free pleasure spending your time and money on yourself without fear of completely ruining your children’s lives by not having a parent there to bond with your posterity. Included is a “The house will not be in worse shape than you left it” clause in the event that you choose the “Leave the House” option. Since this gift may require some planning to ensure the children are not lost, bored, dismayed, dismantled, dyspeptic, discouraged, dejected, etc… or the house is not destroyed, damaged, disturbed, diluted, displaced or other completely preventable catastrophes, please give at least 12 hours notice before taking advantage of this gift.

Isn’t that the sweetest thing you’ve ever read? He is simply adorable and I am so thankful I made the choice to marry him seventeen years ago.

I am now going to go read a little more in The Hidden Christ and drift off to sleep with gratitude in my heart for the love of my Savior, my family, and my friends. What a blessing today has been!

p.s. Please excuse the lack of pictures…my camera was left at the Christmas Eve party and our other camera died pretty early in the present-opening adventure.

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merry christmas – it’s all about christ

Dec 24, 2010 by

I am grabbing a few minutes of precious Christmas Eve time to write down my thoughts about this whole Christmas thing. I need to get them out of my heart so I can remember them down the road.

I have been reading The Hidden Christ this whole year. Yes, for the whole year. Those of you who know me well know that I devour books on a daily or weekly basis, not on a yearly basis. I decided to approach this book a different way and really savor it by reading it in small chunks.

On Sunday afternoons or early weekly mornings I would read a few pages and then ponder what I read all day long. The insights of the author brought up so many new ideas in my own heart and mind that I wanted to really let them sink in and not breeze through them in my usual hurried manner. I wanted to digest it bit by bit and let it become a part of me and the way I understand my Savior. I wanted to understand the Old Testament and the symbolic teachings that pour out of its pages.

So, I took it slow.

I have thoroughly loved it. If any of you are looking for a greater understanding of the Old Testament, find this book, immerse yourself in the stories, and glory at your new eyes that will be able to see Christ more fully throughout all the history of the world.

I have read quite a bit of the book this month because I am a little ahead on my reading for my colloquia group (I have already read the books for January and February and am just starting on The Tale of Two Cities for March). I have thought much about Christ and Christmas and what it all really means to me. Our Christmas traditions are already focused on Christ, but sometimes the hustle and bustle of the season has a way of distracting me from the peace and the marvelous reality that there is a Savior that lived AND died AND was resurrected for me. Sometimes the presents under the tree have taken precedent over His presence in my life. I have been working on changing that for years and still have a long way to go, but I feel I have made some progress this year. Yes, I have sewn and I have shopped a little bit, but mostly I have served and pondered and rejoiced. Mostly I have tried to be loving. Mostly I have tried to let others feel the love of Christ. Mostly I have prayed to be an instrument in His hands to spread His message of mercy and truth and abounding love. Mostly I have tried to focus on Him and listen to Him.

As I prepare for the giving of presents tomorrow to the ones I love best, I hope they will feel my love, but more importantly they will feel His love for them and know they are in His care…and always will be.

Merry Christmas to you and may you feel the love of your Savior for you.

It is real.

I promise.

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christmas is coming

Dec 20, 2010 by

Christmas is coming,
The goose is getting fat,
Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny,
A half-penny will do
If you haven’t got a half-penny then God bless you.

I grew up singing this song at the top of my lungs, over and over again, all Christmas season long. Good memories.

Christmas is coming and I have SO enjoyed this lovely month of December. We went to SLC to see Christmas Carol at Hale Centre Theatre. What a treat! What a lovely way to fall in love with humanity and the goodness that is in all of us. A big THANK YOU to my mother for gifting us this fun family trip and spending the afternoon with us. The lights on Temple Square were beautiful and it was so fun to watch my children’s faces light up with wonder at the magic of it all.

Yesterday I was blessed to be able to sign a beautiful song at church and miraculously (it was miraculous because I hadn’t made it through the song once without making some major errors before the performance) it turned out so wonderful! The spirit of the Lord was so strong. It was such a privilege to be part of it.

This week I have family coming into town, lots of sewing to do (laughing hysterically at myself because the reality is, Kat will be doing the sewing and I will be doing the pressing), grocery shopping, and I still need to find presents for a few important people in our lives. I also need to finish my friend presents…when you have as many friends as I do, the friend presents take quite a bit of time. They might not get done till after Christmas, which is fine by me. It lengthens out the season, don’t you think?

Well, I am off to sew press.

p.s. What fabulous-ness do I need to do for Kat and Jennifer for creating the cutest Christmas skirts ever???????? Send your ideas my way!

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Dec 13, 2010 by

I love Handel’s Messiah. Love it to pieces.

And last night I was able to attend it with my big girls. I could barely restrain myself from shouting with joy during the Hallelujah Chorus.

Here are these amazing words that have brought so much joy to the world since they were penned years ago.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

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some more christmas books

Dec 6, 2010 by

We finally decorated for Christmas tonight! Whew, we are pretty late this year! All the books are out, the tree is up, the nativities are displayed, and my homemade Advent calender is hung.

Annesley was SO excited for the Christmas tree to be brought in from the top of the car. She was jumping up and down with pure glee in her eyes and singing at the top of her lungs. I think she sang “O Christmas Tree” for a whole hour while Richard got the tree off the car, trimmed the loose branches, and got it set up in the stand. It was hilarious and heart-warming to hear her sing “O Pimpmas Tee, O Pimpmas Tee!” over and over again. The wonder of Jesus’ birth is alive in her heart and she brought it alive for all of us as well.

Last year I wrote about one of our favorite Christmas traditions of decorating our home with Christmas books and reading one book a night for all of December.

I found a few wonderful books at the library last week that I had never heard of before. In case you haven’t heard of them either and are on the hunt for more Christmas books, here are our library finds:


Silver Packages is the lovely story of a poor Appalachian boy who waits eagerly each year for the “Christmas Train” which brings presents to their poverty-laden town. He longs for a doctor kit, but it never comes. He receives socks and mittens and toy cars, but never the doctor kit of his dreams. Eventually he grows up and goes to medical school. Many years later he returns to his home town and tries to thank the rich man who brought the presents, but he can’t because a little girl gets hurt right in front of him and he realizes his duty now is to help her…to be a doctor to her and all the town members…and how that service repays the debt to the rich man more than anything else ever can.


The Gingerbread Doll is an adorable read about a little girl who wants a fancy porcelain doll for Christmas, but her father’s farm didn’t do well that year and her family can’t afford a new doll for her. Instead her mama makes her a gingerbread doll and the little girl learns to treasures her instead.

Prairie Christmas

Prairie Christmas is oh, oh, so incredibly wonderful. I can’t wait till the night we read this book! When I read it at the library, I sat on the floor surrounded by books and cried my little eyes out. LaDawn, one of the librarians, was quite concerned until I smiled up at her and told her I was crying over the wonderfulness of the book. Emma’s mama is a midwife and gets called out to a long birth on Christmas Day. Emma is quite disappointed that her Christmas plans are disrupted, but over the course of the book she learns the real meaning of Christmas and works hard to help the new baby’s siblings have a special Christmas while their mama is laboring in the other room. I think anyone would love this story, but for those of us who attend births regularly, this is sure to be a favorite!

One Small Lost Sheep

One Small Lost Sheep is the touching story of a little shepherd boy in Bethlehem and how his searching for his favorite sheep brings him to the Christ child. The artwork is simply beautiful and the love for his precious Kivsa will touch any heart.

The Little Fir Tree

The Little Fir Tree tells the story of a nurturing father who brings a live tree to his lame son each Christmas and then replants it each Spring. He does this for several years and the little tree always looks forward to his coming. One year, the father doesn’t come for him and the little tree thinks he has been forgotten until the all the family and friends came to the tree with the little boy walking and leading the way.

We love to read Hanukkah books as well and a new one we found this year is One Yellow Daffodil. Through the love of some neighborhood children, a sad and heartbroken elderly man from Poland is able to once again discover the beauty of Hanukkah and remember the childhood he has tried to forget.

one yellow daffodil

What are your favorite Christmas books?

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creamed eggs

Jan 3, 2010 by

When I was a little girl, my mother made creamed eggs. I don’t know how often she made them, but I have the memory in my mind that we had them every Easter morning. My childhood memories are quite warped, so it is possible we only had them once or twice or that we really did eat them every Easter or that it had nothing to do with Easter and she made them when she was in the mood to make them with no rhyme or reason to it at all. Nevertheless, they are one of my favorite foods. They represent family, safety, motherhood, love, Jesus, and joy. So, we eat them for Christmas morning breakfast. Every year. We love them. They are soooo yummy, but more than yummy-ness, they are part of Christmas, part of family, part of celebrating our Savior’s birth. I don’t know what they represent to my children, but I do know they expect them on Christmas morning and enjoy every single bite.

For anyone who has never had creamed eggs, here is my mother’s recipe:

2 sticks of butter
1 C. flour (we use whole wheat, but the sauce is a nicer color of cream if you use white flour)
4 C. milk
18 hard boiled eggs
Lots of Nature’s Seasoning Salt

Melt the butter and stir in the flour until it is all creamy. Then take your pan off the heat and add in your milk while whisking. Place pan back on the heat and stir until it is thick. Cut up the eggs and add them into the sauce. Shake on the Nature’s till it tastes perfect. Serve over toast.

What are the foods that add meaning to your traditions? How did you decide upon them?

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gift giving

Dec 24, 2009 by

I love giving people gifts, not just at Christmas, but all the time. I love finding or better yet, making, the perfect something for someone I love. This year has been full of that for me. I have loved getting ready for Christmas this year.

The pencil-roll project set the tone for the season perfectly. Giving of my heart, time, money, and skills for complete strangers really felt like I was giving God a gift. I was using what He has given me to bless other people and it felt wonderful.

This month we have been reading The Book of Mormon for at least 30 minutes a day and often over an hour. It has definitely brought our minds to Christ and has forced us to slow down and make time for scriptures. We have also been reading Christmas books, singing carols & hymns, and spending lots of time together each night. Some nights have been pure chaos, some nights have been full of contention, but most nights have been full of family love, lots of snuggles, a bit of giggling and some yummy snacks to share while we are reading.

I have been busy making things for my children and friends – all people that I adore – and it has been SO wonderful to sit and create things that I know will be really loved! I will try to take some pictures today so you can see how cute everything is turning out.

Today the children and I are cleaning up the kitchen (which has LOTS of dirty dishes and sticky stuff on the floor) and then making sugar cookies with my mother’s delicious cream cheese frosting. Tonight we will have Christmas Eve dinner by candlelight, read the story of Jesus’ birth in both Luke 2 and 3 Nephi, and sing Silent Night with each of us holding a candle. I love our Christmas Eve traditions!

I hope your Christmas is full of peace, full of love, and full of joy.

God Bless Us Everyone!

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sewing all day long and not much to show for it

Dec 19, 2009 by

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I dream of creating adorable things for my children and not budget enough time for the inevitable mistakes, unpicking and interruptions that happen while I am sewing? Surely this type of stuff happens to all who sew, right?

Two down, two to go. When they are all finished I will take a picture and share with you what I have designed AND made for my children. I tell ya, I am getting more ambitious all the time!

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free christmas music, well, really free anytime music

Dec 14, 2009 by

I’m pretty certain I am the last internet user to find out about Pandora, but just in case I am not and you are one of the few uninformed souls out there, I am here to save the day!

Pandora is a free radio station on the internet that only plays music you like. You put in a song or artist that you enjoy and then it creates a playlist of similar type music. If it plays a song you don’t like, you just tell it so and then it will not play that song again. It is so fun! I am have been sitting here hand sewing all day long making something adorable for a friend of mine and it has been wonderful to hear a wide variety of beautiful Christmas music…and I have LOVED every single song that has played! I only have a few Christmas CD’s and we have listened to them over and over the last couple of weeks, so it was really fun to hear something different.

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do you have room?

Dec 13, 2009 by

My friend, Laila, just sent me this link to listen to a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful song that has been made into a short movie. Do you get that it is truly wonderful?

I love it! I want to watch it everyday and so do my girls. When I saw a picture of some African children opening up a box of clothes, I started bawling. When I saw Mary holding her son, I was filled with joy. When I pondered if I have room for Jesus, I was filled with both peace AND a desire to do more for Him.

It is the perfect song for Christmas and will surely move you.


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advent calender

Dec 9, 2009 by

I love advent calenders. I have always wanted one, but could never find one I loved. I have searched for one for our family for the last 16 years. Searched! Never have I found one that I was willing to shell out the money for. So, last year, I made one. It is still not perfect and I need to change the way it hangs, but we love it.

I bought 25 little pictures of Jesus painted by Greg Olsen, Simon Dewey, Liz Lemon Swindle, etc. and mounted them on red cardstock. I tied a ribbon through the top and hung them on some thick rick-rack with clothespins. They are all turned backwards and each night after we finish our Christmas song, value, and Christmas story for the day we turn one around. It is really fun for the children and gives them a visible way to see how close Christmas is becoming.

I want to make a piece of wood with little nails in it to hold the pictures, but that didn’t happen last year and its not happening this year, so we will make do with the rick rack and clothespin design for now.

I absolutely love this advent calender and wish I could hand sew well enough to make it, but it would probably take me the rest of my life and would turn out with LOTS of errors.

I also saw this idea recently and have entertained the idea of having my friend Cami cut the vinyl for me.

What do YOU do for an advent calender at your home?

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christmas books to gladden the heart

Nov 16, 2009 by

One of our favorite traditions is to decorate our home with our favorite Christmas books and to read one each night of December. Each child has their favorite books they are dying for me to read and they know that one of those nights, they will get “their” book read to everyone. We also sing a different Christmas song each night and have a scripture about Christ. We love this tradition!

If you are wanting to create this tradition in your home, just list out your favorite Christmas books that you own and then list out which ones you will need to either buy or check out from the library so that you have at least 24 books. If you need some ideas, I will share with you some of our favorites.

grandfather's christmas tree

Grandfather’s Christmas Tree by Keith Strand and Thomas Locker is the heartwarming story of a young couple homesteading out in the Colorado wilderness and being hit by the worst winter storms in years. As they learn to depend on one another and God above, they are able to save an injured goose, give birth to their first baby, and create a story to tell for generations. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is sure to bring a soft smile to your face.

christmas oranges

Christmas Oranges by Linda Bethers is a story of children in a cruel orphanage learning to share and lighten a little girl’s heart.

silent night, holy night

Silent Night, Holy Night: The Story of the Christmas Truce by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Walter Cronkite is a story from WWI and enemy soldiers calling for a two day truce to celebrate Christmas.

christmas dress for ellen

A Christmas Dress For Ellen by Thomas S. Monson is a true story of a family who is down on their luck after moving to Canada and the generosity of people in Idaho sending food, clothes, books, and games to ease their poverty. Ellen has been forced to grow up before her time and the joy has been snuffed right out of her. Through the selflessness of a nearly blind postman who travels eight hours through a blizzard on Christmas Eve and the love of her family, Ellen is able to feel the power of Christmas and smile again.

one candle

One Candle by Eve Bunting. This is a beautiful story about Hannukah and a WWII observance in a concentration camp using a smuggled potato as the candle. We celebrate Hannukah and read it on the first night of the festival.

christmas day in the morning

Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl Buck tells how a boy wakes up at 2:45 a.m. to do the farm chores for his father on Christmas morning and how much joy it brings to him to give this gift to his father. The illustrations are lovely, full of old-fashioned folksy-ness. (Another invented word!)

cowboy christmas

A Cowboy Christmas: The Miracle at Lone Pine Ridge by Audrey Wood tells how a fatherless boy answers a prompting to find his father’s friend in a blizzard on Christmas Eve and saves his life. This one is Keziah’s favorite.

christmas like helen's

A Christmas Like Helen’s by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock (who is one of our all-time favorite authors – check out The Bear Who Heard Crying, Wilderness Cat, and A Farm of Her Own.) This book goes through Helen’s life and talks about different Christmas experiences she has had. It is full of family, faith, and love and will take you back to a forgotten time when life was simpler.


The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (Book & CD Gift Edition) by Susan Wojciechowski, P.J. Lynch, and James Earl Jones is a delightful story of a bitter and broken-hearted widower who slowly has his heart brought back to life by a widow and her curious, endearing little boy. Get the one with the CD, it is fabulous!

small miracle

A Small Miracle by Peter Collington is a picture book without words that tells the story of an impoverished woman who restores the church’s vandalized creche and then is saved when those characters come to life to rescue her. My children love looking at the pictures and creating their own words for the story.

we were there

We Were There: A Nativity Story by Eve Bunting has wonderful illustrations and tells the story of the lowly creatures (snake, toad, scorpion, cockroach, bat, spider, and rat) who went unnoticed, but traveled far to be present at Christ’s birth. Each animal has its own rhyme and is a great read-aloud.

no snow on christmas eve

There Was No Snow On Christmas Eve by Pamela Munoz Ryan is a beautifully illustrated book that paints the picture of what it really would have been like in Bethlehem in the springtime of the year when Christ was born.

gift of the magi

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is a classic tale of both spouses sacrificing their most treasured item to buy the other a gift for those treasured items. Pure delight!

christmas carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens…what else needs to be said? We love it and think everyone else does too! This absolutely breathtaking edition by my favorite illustrator, Robert Ingpen is a MUST have.

this is the season

This Is the Season: Beloved of the Year by Simon Dewey tells the words to the song “This is the Season” and has lots of quotes about Christmas. My children love to look at the paintings by Simon Dewey.

christmas treasury

A Christmas Treasury for Latter-day Saint Families by Lloyd and Karmel Newell has 25 different sections with a different value for each day, like Hope, Joy, Kindness, or Sharing. Each value theme has stories, poems, scriptures and songs to teach that value. We use this book to give us a theme for the day and then I pick a picture book to go with that theme. If I don’t have a book for that day, I just use the stories in this book.

three trees

The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Angela Elwell Hunt is a story from long ago that shows how God can make our plans for our life come true in ways we never imagined. Each of the three trees comes to play a part in Jesus’ life, but not the way they had planned.

sacred songs

Sacred Songs of Christmas: A Family Treasury [With CD] by Nicole Wong, Paine Proffitt, and Andrea Eberbach is full of treasured hymns and also songs I have never heard of. We sing a different Christmas song each night and we get lots of them from this book. Comes with a CD to help you with the unfamiliar ones.


Silent Night: The Song and Its Story by Margaret Hodges tells the story of how this staple of Christmas was written and became famous across the world.


When Christ Was Born in Bethlehem by Joseph Brickey has gorgeous paintings on each page and contains the text of Luke 2 to tell the story of Christ’s birth straight from the scriptures. It also contains some references from LDS scriptures, but if you are not LDS, I think you will still love it. It is simply breathtaking.

Please share with me some of your favorites so our list can keep growing!

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