Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas! Wishing you the peace and joy of Christ today and always.
 
 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Celebrating advent.

In the church, Advent is traditionally a time to prepare for the coming birth of Jesus Christ. Advent calendars, wreaths, and other "countdown" type items are commonly used each day or week. There are lots of awesome ideas on Pinterest of how to do an advent calendar with verses, activities, or other Christmas items that get your family ready for Jesus' birth.

This year, my in-laws are doing their Advent wreath on Mondays so that Delaney can participate with them. Each week, they bring more items into one of their nativity scenes. On Christmas Eve, we'll put in the baby Jesus and read the Christmas scripture.

Celebrating Advent is one of my favorite times of the Christian year. Each year, it feels refreshing to prepare my heart for the Lord and take moments to be still in the midst of the hectic season. Our little family will be doing the reading and lighting the advent candles this Sunday at church. I am excited for Delaney to experience this with us, as this is the first time our family has been asked to participate!

I found this site, and it gives some great history on Advent, as well as the lectionary scriptures and some other personal reading suggestions for this time. I hope you can find it useful!

Does your family celebrate Advent? What do you do to make the holiday more meaningful?


Thursday, December 20, 2012

All I want for Christmas is...

Today we're linking up with Crystal again, this time to talk about gifts for....US! We've covered our kiddos and our husbands, now its time to have some fun picking out things for ourselves.

At my mom's request, I usually make a little list for her and Andrew of what I'm wanting that year. Sometimes its a "new dress coat," and they can pick the style, color, etc.(a little surprise is always fun!), and sometimes its more specific, like makeup or a new Erin Condren Life Planner (hint, hint hubby!). These three things were all on my list this year. Link up and tell us what is on yours, and click on over and see what Crystal wants this year.

 
 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Crafts!!


And from my bestie...

 
A performer, adorned with flowers by her admirers... (aka mom and dad)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to deal with holiday stress, aka, cocktails!

Cocktails are definitely a fun way to enjoy the holiday season! There are a few that really signal the holidays to me - diet cranberry splash and vodka, egg nog and rum, or hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps.

Today I'm linking up with my bestie again, and she's giving us some cocktails to try this week.

Cheers!

 
 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday stress.

The holidays are filled with fun, family...and sometimes a little stress.

The shopping, the gift wrapping, the schedule juggling, can all get overwhelming. For me, this is also my busiest time of the year work-wise, so organization and balance is key. It can get overwhelming, but I find the best thing to do is focus on one week or day at a time. I am a habitual list maker, so making lists, both personal and profession, helps me keep sane and know what I have going on.

I try to use what free time I have to do little things - a load of laundry here, a dishwasher switch out there. This year, I did a marathon Black Friday shopping trip, and another pretty long trip one Saturday. Between those two outings and some Amazon shopping, I had a pretty easy time getting my gifts together this year. I did a major wrapping session as well, which was fun, tiresome, and led to Andrew asking if I am part elf (answer: not to my knowledge.)

What stresses you out during the holidays? For me, its that overwhelming feeling. As long as I can get organized and work my plan, I do a pretty good job of staying cool. This year, I have to say that I really haven't felt the stress too much (that said, this week coming up is a busy one!) I think I've done a good job this year of prioritizing the most important things - times with friends, our church responsibilities, and making memories with my girl.

What helps you to stay calm? Or are you a lucky, natural-born non-worrier? If so, color me jealous.

Only ONE WEEK til Christmas ya'll...enjoy it!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Klahnanooga Christmas Fun!

For the last couple of years, we've done an "event" to celebrate Klahn family Christmas. We've done a play, a dinner, and this year we decided to take a weekend trip to Chattanooga. We ate a yummy lunch at Mellow Mushroom, went to an IMAX movie about butterflies, and went all through the aquarium. Not all of our family could be there, but a lot of us were there and we had a great time. Since I have made it my official job to create "Klahn" names surrounding all family events, I dubbed this one Klahnanooga. We had a blast!

It is always fun getting together. After we got Delaney down for a late bedtime, we played games and laughed together for a few hours. I am from a small family, so it is always fun for me to be packed in with everyone and have lots of fun with my brothers and sisters (in law, but I claim them as the real deal!)

Here our some pictures from our weekend adventure!

My two loves waiting on a yummy pizza lunch at Mellow Mushroom

Alex, Wendy, & Michelle on the shuttle bus

Looking at the birds with Daddy

Pointing out fishies with Aunt Wendy

Making fun animal noises with Alex!

Looking at the penguins with Aunt Michelle. This was her favorite exhibit, and she picked a penguin stuffed animal as her souvenir for the trip.

Waiting outside the IMAX theater with Alyssa. Delaney didn't understand wearing the 3D glasses but she sat through the movie pretty well. It was a pretty cool show about the migration of monarch butterflies.

Our little segment of Klahns outside the aquarium

Mommy & Little Love

Alyssa, Delaney, Michelle, and Priscilla the Pink Party Penguin, on the way back to our hotel Saturday night.

A little hotel fun with Mommy

Our group, minus two. Thanks Wendy & Alex for taking pictures!

Us.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mary, did you know?

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. - Luke 1:35
 
Now that I am a mom, Mary's part of the Christmas story really speaks to me. How did she feel when the angel came to her and told her what was going to happen? How did she feel about telling her boyfriend what God was calling her to do? I can only imagine she was scared, nervous, even terrified about what was to happen. But what faith! She stayed faithful to God, waiting. Waiting through what I'm sure was a long pregnancy, through a hard trip to Bethlehem, and through Jesus' entire life as she raised Him only to have Him leave her too soon.
 
I am not a patient waiter. I worry, fuss, complain, and fret over things during the wait. I pray always, and truly want God's will, but the waiting sure is the hardest part. Through waiting my faith is always stregthened, and I am again reminded that the Lord I am waiting on has been there the entire time, holding out until the perfect timing for what I am wanting "right now." I have to believe that Mary had a few of these same thoughts.
 
 
Advent is all about waiting. Waiting for the birth of Jesus, waiting for the anticipation of the Christmas celebration. I hope as you are waiting for Christmas this year, you steal a few moments of quiet time to reflect on Jesus and the cause of all the celebration. What a miracle. I thank God for Mary and her faithfulness. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gift giving: Your Hubs.

Today we're talking about gifts again, and this week we're focusing on the man in your life. Our hubbies are great, they are great to us, great dads, and it's fun to spoil them every once in a while!

What are you giving your hubby this year? Mine occasionally reads this here blog, so I better not divulge any secrets (sorry, hubby). Go see what Crystal is thinking of giving her other half!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Holly Jolly Linkup Style.

'Tis better to give than to receive!



Holiday Performer

xo, crystal

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Deck the kitchen table with {delicious} food.

Let's eat, ya'll!

Please tell me I'm not the only one who likes to eat yummy food at Christmas? As you probably know, I'm not much of a cook, but I do love to bake, so the holidays suit me just fine. My mom and I usually make fudge each year, and I like to make cookies too. I'm making some Christmas funfetti cupcakes for Delaney's preschool Christmas party tomorrow, but I don't think that really counts as a recipe!

Here are a couple of my favorites for the holidays:

Snickerdoodles from scratch (aka Awesome Wife Cookies- these are Andrew's favorite cookie):
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, and stir in remaining flour. Cover and wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Combine the 4 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are delightfully golden!

Candy Cane Punch (from Taste of Home):
2 jars (10 ounces each) strawberry jelly
2 liters lemon-lime soda, divided
2 quarts peppermint stick ice cream
mini candy canes

In a large saucepan, melt jelly with 2 cups soda. Chill the jelly mixture and remaining soda. Just before serving, place 6 cups ice cream in a punch bowl. Gently stir in jelly mixture. Add remaining soda. Add remaining ice cream by scoopfuls. Garnish with candy canes.

Philadelphia White Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake (from Kraft Foods)
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 pkgs (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup sour cream
4 squares white chocolate, melted
4 eggs
1 cup thawed whipped topping
16 mini candy canes

Heat oven to 325. Line 13x9 inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Mix graham crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar and butter; press onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and extract in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream and chocolate; mis well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake 40 minutes of until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 4 hours. Top each piece with a dollop of whipped topping and candy cane.

Happy baking, ya'll! What are your favorite Christmas recipes?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas traditions.

Happy Monday, friends! I'm back this week co-hosting the Holly Jolly Linkup with my bestie. Today, we're talking about Christmas traditions. My favorites have evolved since I've gotten older. When I was little, I loved going out shopping and wrapping with my dad for my mom's presents, most years on Christmas Eve. We had some special Christmas Eve traditions, a lot of which we've kept in my own little family now. As a mom, I now love playing Santa, and we've kept up traditions from both sides of our family, as well as starting new ones.

We start Christmas Eve by celebrating at Grandma & Grandpa's house. We all go over, Delaney makes her cookies for Santa with Grandpa, and we usually watch a Christmas movie. Later, our family all attends Christmas Eve service at 11pm Christmas Eve night, followed by a big breakfast at my in-laws at midnight. After that, we all go home and get to bed so Santa can visit. This is when Andrew & I usually open our gifts together. It is fun to be up in the middle of the night drinking hot chocolate (ok, it may be spiked with whipped cream vodka) and celebrating with each other. In the morning, our parents come over and watch Delaney open her gifts from Santa. We go later that day to open gifts at Grannie & Pop's house. This may be my favorite 24 hours of the year! It's such a special time for us.

Crystal is talking about the traditions she loves today. Link up and tell us about yours!




Friday, December 7, 2012

The reason for the season.

As we hustle and bustle around this holiday season, it's SO important to remember the reason for all the celebration. We talk about Jesus and his birthday a lot around our house, so that Delaney grows up learning that Christmas is more than buying presents, going to parties, and eating lots of treats.

As we go through Advent, I hope you'll take time to let some Scripture sink into your heart this holiday season. Crystal is closing out this week for us with just that.




Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gifts for little girls.

True confession: buying gifts is one of my very favorite parts of the Christmas season.

I love shopping, so that helps. But I also love putting thought into finding something that the recipient will truly enjoy, and if I can think of something that surprises them and they still love, that is even better. One of my favorite groups to buy for is little girls. My own, and her friends. I've been buying little girl gifts for longer than I've been a mom, as Miss Emery had to get showered with gifts from Auntie Bri before Delaney was even around. Seeing little eyes light up at a special gift purchased warms my heart and "makes mommy happy," as Delaney has been saying a lot lately.

So what do you get for these little dolls?

1. Clothes/Shoes/Accessories: I like finding Delaney some super cute things that are more "fun" items than needed. If you've got a girly girl who loves clothes, this is always a good option! I love holiday themed or "auntie" themed shirts for tiny girls, but I don't know too many of those anymore!
Toddler Girl Clothes

 
2. Toys: This is kind of a given. I love buying educational things and anything by Melissa and Doug. I always look for a sale and check Amazon for these items. Delaney also adores her KidKraft kitchen, so this year we're adding some wooden food to the mix. Pretend play is also huge for us. Hello doctor kits, babydolls, and tools!

 
 
 
Toddler Girl Toys

 
3. Books/Art/Music: I've got a little girl that loves to read, and if Santa brought nothing but books she would be thrilled. Music is a real favorite too. Anything that inspires creativity is a wonderful thing! Kids all love to dance, and music is great for the mind too. Encourage your little genius with one of these awesome items!
Toddler Books & Music

 
I've got a few of these things in Santa's bag, but some are just cool things to keep in mind for the future. Link up and tell us what you are buying your little ones - if you have boys, link up and share those ideas too!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday.

Meeting the Man in Red
xo, bri
 
Decking the Halls
xoxo, crystal


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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Yep, I use that title every year. What can I say? Old habits die hard.

Aaaaaaaanyway.

Today we're talking about Christmas decor. My house is all full and fun and Christmasy, and the challenge is how to make it different using what I already have. Today, my lucky bestie and her gorgeous brand new house are the focus. In a new, bigger space, she's finding ways to make her house a home, Christmas style.

Take a look at her beautiful spaces!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Welcome to Christmas!

Happy December, ya’ll!

In honor of the most wonderful time of the year, my bestie and I are hosting a link up for all you fellow bloggers to participate in! Christmas is fabulous, and we want to talk about it all month long. In an effort to do just that, we’ve come up with some fun topics and will be rotating hosting positions on them all month long. Read along, link up, and find new blogs with us!  

Just write a blog that follows the daily theme, link up to the host blog in your post, and come back here and post your link into our Link Up below. It’s that simple!  

Here’s a look at the ladies who’ll be playing Hostess with the Mostess this Christmas season: 

Brienn
 
I’m a Southern working mama with a passion for Christ, my family, and really doing life. When I’m at home I play wife to an amazing husband who can cook like nobody’s business, and together we are raising an independent, creative, sassy 2 year old little love. Our house is usually bustling with animals and people – I love to entertain and we’ve got four furbabies to love, too. If it involves hot glue and doesn’t require sewing, I am all about DIY’ing. I don’t cook (unless pinning recipes on Pinterest counts), but I love to bake at the holidays. I don’t sit still long, except to blog about life happening around me!

Crystal
I’m a So. Cal mama, raising my family and finding my way in Colorado, although I like to think of myself as a little bit Southern at heart. I am passionate about service and giving back to others and my community, as well as instilling that passion in my 3 year old girl. I am a wifey to an amazing and supportive husband that successfully handles my OCD tendencies and desire for a pinterest inspired home. Together, we are raising a smart, compassionate, and fiercely independent girly girl. As new, first time homeowners are we creating new holiday traditions and collecting new holiday d├ęcor. To top it off, we have 3 fur children that complete our chaotic and blissful life and love story.

We hope you’ll join us this month getting into the Christmas spirit with ideas, inspiration, and some pretty cute pictures of our girls, too.  

Merry Christmas!

 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy toddler, happy life.

Life is moving at a steady pace for us right now. Not crazy busy (although I'm pretty sure our "normal" would be considered crazy busy to some!), but not dull (as if that could ever happen). We're busy with work we care about, a church we love, and family and friends that we want to spend time with as this holiday season gets started. But, by far, the best times of my life now are times spent with my girl.

I always try to create "special" times and memories for our family, but some of the things that make me smile most just happen in the day to day with Delaney. This kid is hilarious, ya'll. I know most people adore their kids, and they should! I sure do adore mine.

Delaney loves to laugh. So do I, but I think she gets her love of making people laugh from her daddy, combined with her outgoing personality,  courtesy of yours truly. She is such a ham! The toddler stage is fully upon us, meaning if we laugh at something, we're definitely likely to hear it about a dozen times...or more. The thing I love most is when she gets herself laughing and gets a huge smile and that deep belly laugh. Doesn't get much better than that.

Her personality is cute (let's be honest here, that means MOST of the time its cute, when there is no fit-throwing or general toddler 'tude), but her vocabulary is what really cracks me up. She has expanded to know so many words and she loves to use a wide variety daily. Some examples:

Can't get her hand to fit through her sleeve:
Mommy, this is VERY difficult! I am having difficulty with this!

Talking to our dogs:
Santo and Sadie, you need to eat your food so you can grow big and strong. You have to eat your food so you can get a treat.

Her favorite song to sing to Grannie on FaceTime:
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair! Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair! Fuzzy Wuzzy, Fuzzy Wuzzy, WUZZY!!!!!
(I'm hoping you guys know the real lyrics to this song, or this one seems really stupid).

Prayertime:
God is grape, God is good, lettuce thank'em for our food. AMEN! (pause) Good job Delaney!

Mix this in with her repotoire of favorite songs and all the books that she loves to "read," and Delaney keeps us laughing a good portion of the time. It makes my mommy heart glad to hear my girl's laughter and know she is happy and loving life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WW: Fun at Grandma's.







Tuesday, November 13, 2012

History buffs.

My husband loves the history channel. He gets it honestly. My father-in-law is a total history buff, so it is passed down in the genes. I used to read a book or find other entertainment while this channel was on, but I have gotten lazy more interested as the years have gone on. I do love listening to Andrew talk about history, it is definitely an area he is more well versed in than me, and he can always teach me something I don't know.

Most recently, we've started watching 10 Things You Didn't Know. It is a series of short episodes about different topics, telling you 10 oddball facts about it (hence the super catchy title). The guy who hosts it is pretty obnoxious, but the episodes are interesting.

We've also seen one episode of The Men Who Built America. There are 8 of these, each 2 hours long. I really love these so far. They talk about early power men in America, how they came into power and how they interacted with each other. Can't wait to watch the rest of these. If you are interested, I am sure you can catch the reruns on the history channel.

Do you have any favorite shows like this?
Are we the only nerds who sit around watching the history channel?
Bueller? Bueller??

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend recap.

We had a great weekend full of family time. Saturday we ventured out to Opry Mills to get Ghost Armor put on Andrew's phone. If you haven't heard of this stuff, it's pretty cool. While we were there, we got to do some other shopping as well. In an effort to be more frugal and save up for the fast approaching holidays, I haven't done any shopping lately, so I was in Heaven! We didn't buy much, mostly just window shopped and scouted out some Christmas presents. Delaney did end up with a new pair of canvas Tom's and a couple of clearance rack clothes items that I couldn't pass up. I was able to get a few items crossed off my holiday shopping list as well.

We went to lunch at Chuy's. I have to say I was completely underwhelmed there. Maybe I was expecting too much after seeing such rave reviews on Facebook. It was good, but didn't knock my socks off or anything.

After lunch, we drove around and finished up our errands. The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet. We spent some time visiting Graanie and Pop, went to church, and watched the Titans win (whoop!). Sunday night, we had our second ever family movie night, this time trying Toy Story 3. Delaney still lasted about half an hour. We enjoyed the rest of the movie though! I think I cried through the last 30 minutes - what a tearjerker!

What did you do this weekend? In the midst of a hectic season, it was nice to take a weekend to relax!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Trick or Treat!

I'll end my fall posts this week with our evening trick or treating on Halloween. I went back and forth about going, mostly because the weather was bad, Delaney was a little cranky that day, and we were back and forth at the hospital with mom last week. But luckily my hubby is a big fan of trick or treating, and we decided we didn't want to miss it!

Delaney was a witch this year. I made her tutu, ordered her a witch hat headband and she was good to go! The leggings she wore she already had, which is what originally gave me the idea for the costume. She said she was a "ballerina" witch, as anytime she wears a tutu that automatically turns her into a ballerina!

This year, we repeated our last year's event of going over to some friends' house for dinner and trick or treating. All the kids are within a couple years of being the same age and it is so much fun to see them all dressed up and having so much fun together! Delaney and I had been practicing for a while what to say ("Trick or treat!") and how to be polite with her thank you's. She made us very proud and did a great job. Between houses, she would say, "I'm getting candy! Look at all the candy!" I think she was more excited about hoarding the candy then she actually was about eating any of it!


 


It was a nice, chilly night and I am so glad we were able to spend it with friends. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Best of Fall: Fall Festivals

There are so many fall festivals around Mt. Juliet during this time of year. I wish we could go to them all! But, we try to pick the best ones and have lots of fun at those. This year, we even had an outdoor fall birthday party to attend, plus our annual family fall festival.

In late October, we went to White House for our nephew Jackson's first birthday party. It was a fall extravaganza! Pumpkin decorating, a hay ride, cornhole, bonfire with hot dogs and s'mores, and Delaney's favorite, a bouncy house. We had a great time celebrating an awesome little guy and enjoying the beautiful weather!




The next week, we got to attend the Fall Festival at Grace Preschool. I have known about the festival as a church member, but this was our first time attending since it is Delaney's first year at the preschool. She had a great day! There were games and prizes, face painting, cookie decorating, and lots of outdoor fun. Andrew & I both got to attend, and we mostly stuck together with Delaney's classmates. She loves them all so much and Mrs. Deana says Delaney is definitely the mother hen of the class. This doesn't surprise me at all! She seems to be a little bit bossy and a great caregiver - good material for a mother hen if you ask me! We are so blessed that Delaney is a part of this great program.







We capped off fall with the church's fall festival this past Sunday. After the crazy week we'd had, I had some work to do Sunday, and Andrew went to the Titans game with some friends, so Grandma & Grandpa offered to take Delaney to this festival. She had a blast! There was another hayride, chili, and a HUGE bouncy castle. When she saw that from the parking lot when I dropped her off, she could hardly wait to get inside! Grandma is a great sport and got in too. This is a great event for our church every year. I hated to miss it, but was glad Delaney still got to be a part of it.



What fall festivals did you go to this year? We missed the City Trunk or Treat, but hope to make it next year!