Monday, December 31, 2012

Disney Cruise & Cabo San Lucas

A few weeks ago my family and I flew down to Los Angeles and boarded the Disney Wonder for a two week cruise that would take us to Mexico, through the Panama Canal and to Columbia. We were so excited since it had been quite awhile since our last big family vacation. This one took some dedicated savings and lots of planning.

We flew down to Los Angeles on Virgin Air U.S. This airline was very friendly and the flight attendants were nice and friendly as well. The interior seemed up to date and was clean. The kids appreciated being able to watch TV while in flight (no charge). There is a bag-check fee but it was comprable to most other airlines and we only had one back to check.

The Disney Wonder had been sailing from/to various West Coast ports but was moving back over to the East Coast and the Bahamas. This cruise was part of the "repositioning". There were about 1900 guests on board. Our scheduled ports of call were Cabo San Lucas, Puerta Vallarta, Columbia and Costa Maya.

I'll be sharing some of the many pictures I took while on vacation. During these two weeks I had no internet or phone service so I've got lots of backlog.

These first photos are from our first day at sea and Cabo San Lucas. There were many individual vendors around the port in Cabo and I have to say of all the places we stopped, they were definitely the most aggressive.

While in the kids and I also swam with a dolphin which was amazing. Sorry no pics of that as they restrict any photography on their property.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Prayer Request

I just wanted to take a quick moment to send out a couple of prayer requests. My grandma has been having a very difficult time fighting what they believe is viral pneumonia. She was admitted to the hospital on Christmas morning. Any prayers you wish to send would be greatly appreciated. We are all praying for speedy recovery for her here as well.
Also, my family is currently facing some challenges right now. I won't go into detail, but again your prayers are appreciated.
Thank you! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I will be posting again soon with some new photos from the past couple of crazy weeks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Packages

Most years for the holidays I like to bring a little treat or gift in for my co-workers. Last year I made ornaments so I wanted to try something different this year.
This year I made gloss for all the women and madelines for the men. I found the basic gloss recipe here. I used beeswax instead of parrafin and shea butter petroleum jelly. Also, the flavorings I used were very concentrated so only a couple of drops were needed.
I made 36 glosses total and five different flavors. Peppermint, cinnamon, cherry, coconut vanilla and chocolate orange. They all smelled delicious! I printed out circular label images and punched them out with a 1 inch punch. Then I ran them through my Xyron stickermaker so they could be applied to the top of the containers. I wrapped the final product in some fancy tissue paper and packaged them in simple small paper bags tied closed with silver ribbon.
Since, I didn't think the few men at work would appreciate my fine flavored glosses I opted for a treat instead.
Anique helped me make lemon and chocolate madeleines. I used dark chocolate cocoa powder since that's what I had on hand. My grandma had just given me her KitchenAid mixer (she wanted a new one in red to match her renovated kitchen). This made mixing up the cookies a breeze. I felt so spoiled! These were quite easy to make. Although they were both good, I personally preferred the lemon version. I liked the light flavor. I wrapped these in parchment paper and packaged them in miniature takeout boxes. Voila!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree -- Part Two

Here is our tree all finished. Yep, it's not fancy but there's a lot of love in the ornaments. Once upon a time, I dreamed of a themed tree. My colors were silver and blue. I had white lights and the ornaments were all coordinated. After watching the Martha Stewart episode on how to properly decorate a tree, it was a production. Strategic lights wrapped around the trunk of the tree, silver balls inside to give it extra sparkle, etc, etc, etc.
Post-children: Lots of handmade ornaments from a variety of materials. Multi-colored lights. Variety. Here are some of our favorites and pictures from decorating. These days, I do the lights and the kids put the ornaments on while I snap pictures.
Bailey is a penguin fan. He collects penguins in every form.
Ken is our household Disney fan.
My mom made this tassel angel a few years ago.
These are the glass ornaments I made last year.
Santa is one of our original silver and blues.
Here's Santa in his bi-plane. Sled was in the shop.
What tree is complete without Batman.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree --Part One

Ken and the kids went to pick out a Christmas tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It's smaller than usual but very pretty. I was suffering from an cold that snuck up on me out of nowhere and didn't go with them. Anique is fighting it off now.

Last Wednesday, I finally hauled the Christmas ornaments up so we could decorate the tree. They sure did look organized in the bin next to the tree where they sat until we finally decorated this past Saturday.

I'm always in charge of lights. I prefer white lights but Ken likes the multi-colored lights. Last year after we lost more than half of our lights to the mysterious light monster (You know the one that causes lights that worked when you put them away to fail magically...) I replaced our lights with LED lights. I have to say it was wonderful to pull the lights out this year and they all worked without having to replace any bulbs. Well worth the extra couple of dollars.

Here's the beginning of our tree and house decorations. We'll be out and about quite a bit this season so we're only putting up a few things.

Anique and my mom did some Hanukkah crafts while Ken and I took Bailey to his soccer game in Pasco a couple of weeks ago. They hung them from the light fixture.

The stockings were hung from the china hutch with care. Yes, we have a fireplace but it gets hot and we use frequently so the past two years they've been moved to an alternate location. My mom made us these stockings a couple of years ago. Lots of hand sewn sparkles. Pretty!