Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for 2007

Whew – post party!

22nd December 2007

Last night was the big Christmas party we’ve been planning.  It came together really nicely.  I, of course, had worried about whether or not we’d have enough food, as all I was making was 3 pans of pasta, salad and, after a last minute panic at Sam’s, fruit and yogurt.  A bunch of people had asked what they could bring, and told them appetizers.  Whew – we had a lot of appetizers!  I also made Caroling Wine, thanks to my sister’s recommendation.  We had 20 people, 11 kids and 2 babysitters!  I had a dessert table laid out with all the treats we’ve been making this month, and little take-out boxes for people to fill as our Christmas gift to them.  It was a big hit ๐Ÿ™‚  It was a nice evening, and a real blessing to be able to enjoy a Christmas evening with our friends. 

Today, I’m battling a sinus infection, so I’m not feeling so good.  The kids and I had a birthday party at the Jump Zone, and then we came home and crashed for super long naps.  Brian took Analise shopping for me, and I wrapped presents while they were gone.  When they got back, Analise helped me wrap.  She *LOVES* wrapping!  Nothing like wrapping with a 3-year old to get you in the holiday spirit!  She cut lots of tiny scraps of paper and ribbon, taped  (though she often missed where I wanted the tape.  I used her ribbon scraps as bows.  They look pretty good.  And I pieced together her bigger paper scraps for some fun-looking wrappings.  And all the while, she was telling me what she and Brian had gotten me ๐Ÿ™‚  Hehe.  I have no idea where she gets her lack-of-secret-keeping…  Oh, and if anyone in my family is reading this, remind me to tell y’all what she said about Kat’s gift.  So funny!

Off to bed.  Hope the Christmas spirit is surrounding you…  

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More numbers!

19th December 2007

I was just settled in bed, but my mind is still whirling so I thought I’d come share some more numbers with you from the past couple days.  

Number of times I had to restart my computer just now to write this post: Only 3 (we’ve been averaging 6 tries… i’m ignoring what this might mean)

Days until Christmas: 6
Minutes until Christmas, sometime in the 8 o’clock hour: 7368 (according to the Countdown Clock at Brian’s parents house)
Christmas cards mailed today: 18 (ok, in case you don’t get one soon… please don’t feel bad.  I’m writing them out as I receive them.  Everyone will get one eventually… just that some will be earlier than others!)

Batches of playdoh I made to package with with cookie cutters for Analise to give to her preschool classmates yesterday: 4
Time spent kneading playdoh: more than an hour (exhausting! but they turned out cute!  i’ll be back with pictures and recipe!)
Number of 3-year olds in Analise’s preschool Christmas program last night: approximately 50
Number of parents and grandparents in attendance: approximately 150
Songs each class did: 2
Time each class took: 2 minutes or less (pictures and video forthcoming!)

Times Josiah was up last night: Just once!
Time he slept until: 7:30!  What a treat!

Number of turtle pretzels made today: 56
Number of white chocolate dipped oreos with sprinkles: 16 (um, my white chocolate chips don’t melt very well, so it was more like slathered, rather than dipped!)
Batches of dark chocolate peppermint bark made: 1 (in addition to the one from the other day)
Sweets left to make: 3 (puppy chow, more dipped pretzels, and darn-good-chocolate cake)
Other things I made yesterday and today: 2 (Cheeze-it Chicken for dinner last night and Key Lime Pie for tonight… seriously – not much easier.  Pre-made graham crust, 1/2 c. lime, 3 egg yolks, can of sweetened condensed milk mixed.  Bake in crust at 350 for 15 min before refrigerating.  Top with whipped cream.)

Songs Brian’s brother, Matthew, played at his Christmas Organ concert tonight: 9 (wonderfully!)
Songs Analise listened to:  ALL 9!  Amazing!
Time we got home after having dessert at Brian’s parents: 9:30 (crazy late since J’s bedtime is 7!  He hung in there very very well, though.)

Years my parents have been married today: 37 (Happy anniversary!!!  We love you!  We’re so thankful to have such a heritage of long-lasting love to follow!)
Age of my baby boy: 18 months (well, as of the 9th… I’m a little late… I started a sentimental memory post for him, but never finished.  How did he get to be such a little boy so fast??? *sigh*  He melts me…)
Percent of my Christmas shopping done: 95  (woohoo!)

People coming to our house on Friday night: 22
Kids coming: 10
Babysitters hired: 2
Pans of pasta to make: 3
Bags of salad: 3
Loaves of asiago bread to pick up from Panera on Friday: 4

Hours of sleep I’d like tonight: 9 (HA!)

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Today in review

17th December 2007

Times up during the night: 2
Number of waffles made: 8
Number of waffles Analise didn’t eat: .5
Bowls of cereal Josiah pulled off the table and splashed in: 1
Cups of lukewarm coffee Josiah climbed up to the counter and splashed in saying "Num-num!": 1
Number of times I fought Josiah to wash his hands or wipe his face: 5
Sticks of butter used in baking cookies: 3
Pans used in baking double batch of chocolate crinkle cookies: 6
Cookies baked: 85
Bowls of chocolate melted over double boiler: 3
Candy canes crushed with shards flying all over my counters: 6
Pans of holiday bark made (dark chocolate layered with white chocolate and crushed candy canes): 1
Pretzels dipped: 45
Bags of chocolate chips used in cookies, pretzels and holiday bark: 4
Time spent on dishes: Maybe only an hour, but it seemed like way more!
Number of times Josiah begged to play with bin of colored rice and measuring toys: 4
Number of times I let him: 2
Amount of rice scattered on floor: approximately 2/3 of what was originally in the bin
Number of times the kitchen floor got swept: 5
Little Einsteins episodes watched: 0 (amazingly!)
Number of Boz songs listened to: 13
Number of times Analise re-enacted the Christmas story: 4 (that I heard bits and pieces of)
Christmas cards opened: 7
Christmas cards addressed: 15 (!)
Loads of laundry on my couch waiting to be folded: 2
Burritos eaten at Moes: 3
Cost of dinner thanks to Monday’s kids-eat-free: $12.15
Number of lights at the ZooLight Safari: Thousands
Number of times I put Josiah’s mitten on before giving up: 5
Temperature at the Zoolight Safari: 35 degrees with fake snow ๐Ÿ™‚
Cost for evening at the zoo: free thanks to our membership!
Pictures downloaded from the past couple days: 162
Another day of Christmas memories: priceless

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Harry Potter, oops!

14th December 2007

harry potter and the deathly hallows (cover image by Mary GrandPrรฉ ยฉ 2007 Warner Bros)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
(cover image by Mary GrandPrรฉ ยฉ 2007 Warner Bros)

Ooops! I just finished all but the last chapter of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows — the last book in the Harry Potter series. I loved the whole series (or at least what I thought was the whole series). We had been checking out each book from our library and returning it before checking out the next one. We knew that my dad had bought a copy of the last book so we decided to borrow it when I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Little did I know that there was one book in between the Order of the Phoenix and the last one. So I completely missed reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. For those of you who have read the whole series, you probably know that there is a large jump from the Order of the Phoenix to the beginning of the Deathly Hallows! Imagine my surprise when I began reading the Deathly Hallows to find out some major things that seemed to have happened since the ending of the Order of the Phoenix. I thought it was an interesting writing style to be finding out so many important things through Harry Potter’s memory rather than to have them included in the story itself. Oh well! It’s interesting though, I wonder if I didn’t enjoy the last book even more because I had to keep guessing and piecing things together that must have happened between the end of the Order of the Phoenix and the beginning of the Deathly Hallows. And now I have a "bonus" book to read — the one that I missed. That too should be an interesting read now that I know all the things that are going to happen in the last book.

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Bebo, Baby!

11th December 2007

I am SO EXCITED!  Tonight Brian and I are going to this concert with Andrew Peterson, Bebo Norman and Jill Phillips.  I LOVE BEBO NORMAN!  I have listened to his music since college, and I’ve seen him in concert a couple times.  I’m sure it’s going to be lovely, and I just can’t wait to enjoy an evening of music with my sweetheart. 

As I was looking for an image to post, I came across Andrew Peterson’s blog, with a fun page that seems to have many of the songs that are part of the show.  Hope you can enjoy it too!

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Weekend photos

10th December 2007

The kids are having a blast playing outside in our balmy 70 degree weather lately.  Sure doesn’t feel like December!  Quite different than the single-digits and below zero weather all my friends and family in the great North are enjoying!   

They’re really loving playing in the nativity set, though.  This one made me laugh… they look like they’re getting directions from the shepherd:) 

Yes, Josiah is a perfect size to fit in with the nativity people.  He decided to catch a ride on a sheep.  Before this, he was carrying the sheep all over the yard, and leaving them. 

Our church did a super-cool neighborhood outreach this weekend.  We brought Santa in on a firetruck!  It was very fun.  Except that Analise is scared of firetrucks AND Santa.   So she screamed in my arms from the front porch of our friend’s house, begging to go inside. She did, eventually, sit on the floor in front of Santa, about 3 feet away, grudgingly, thanks to a sugar cookie with frosting and icing. Brian had to sit with her on the floor, and Josiah was unimpressed -this will be one Santa picture worth framing, right next to last year’s where they’re both screaming.  I should just give up on pictures with Santa, shouldn’t I? That or start saving for therapy…

Here’s a cool video of Santa coming in on the firetruck, though…

We didn’t get any pictures of the kids, though, we’ll post the one the photographer took when we get it.  They looked so cute… Analise in a pretty velvet jumper and Josiah in a white collared shirt, with a wintery sweater and khakis.  Unfortunately, he found an M&M in his carseat on the way over, and when we arrived he was smeared chocolate and orange all over his shirt, collar and pants! 

After all the excitement, this was Josiah in the car about 10 minutes after we left Santa. 

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Christmas Cookies – Candy Cane Cookies

10th December 2007

I wanted to try out these cute candy cane cookies from the website.  But it really turned out to be a big comedy of errors, times two!  Before I started, I realized I didn’t have peppermint extract, so my father-in-law rescued me by picking some up and bringing it over.  Then I decided since the recipe ONLY made 25 cookies, I kind of wanted more, since I’m making and freezing for a Christmas party we’re having on December 21st.  So I doubled the recipe.  But   Then after I’d already STARTED the dough, I realized I only had neon food coloring!  And in pink, purple, bright green and blue!  So we were going to have green and white candy canes. 

I gave Analise her chunk of dough, a pan and sprinkles and let her at it.  Josiah, too, got some dough, and he was thrilled, because he’s been trying to eat PlayDoh for the last couple weeks.  This was perfect, and between dough and sprinkles, he was entertained in his high chair for nearly 2 hours!  I started making my candy canes, pinching off a little ball, rolling it out, and then twisting them together.  GOODNESS – it was time consuming.  A pan of 12 took me like 20 minutes, and I’d barely dented the dough.  I was NOT in the mood to make 50 candy canes.

So I decided to roll some dough out and make cutout cookies.  This was WAY more work than I really wanted to do, but since we were already making a mess, I figured I’d finish things up ๐Ÿ™‚  So we made bells and Christmas trees and stars with sprinkles.  The candy canes were disappointing to me, as they looked pretty miserable compared to the cute picture above from the website.  They tasted ok, but in the end, I’d left out the peppermint, because I was afraid Analise wouldn’t like it.  So they were REALLY buttery.  The cutout cookies were crisper than I liked, and we’re adding a little frosting to liven them up.  After all that, I haven’t even frozen any because I wasn’t that impressed! 

On to our next cookie adventure later this week…

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Oh What a Day!

6th December 2007

That was the title of Analise’s Christmas program last night.  It should have been called "Oh What a Night!".  It was a Christmas eve bedtime story, interspersed with songs, so the kids were in their pajamas.  She knows the songs and the dialogue, forwards and backwards, and we’ve sung it countless times since they sent the CD home.  I knew it would be fun to see her on stage.  But when she steps on stage, watch out!

Seriously…she was a riot. She was in the front row, and sat down before the first song started.  She sat the whole program, and we could hardly see her. She had a sour look on her face for the first 3 songs. But then she got into it… first, she stood up and threw her hands up in the air, like she was starting the wave.  I was nearly crying because I was laughing so hard.  Then she started taking her shoes and socks off.  At one point, she leaned over and hugged the little boy next to her. And she tried to get the wave going again before the end.


1 – quiet singing, not sure what she thinks of the situation.
2 – quiet singing, frumpy face, slightly overshadowed by the lively boy next to her
3 – from quiet singing to the star of the show.  This is the MUST WATCH video!
4 – quiet song, rocking Baby Jesus, mouthing the Christmas story dialogue.
5- Shoes come off…
5- Socks come off, more of the wave. 

I kept telling myself everyone was so busy watching their own kids they weren’t noticing mine… but no… everyone commented on The Wave as we walked out. The dad of her friend, who was in on all the antics, told me that we were lucky they kept their clothes on.  Seriously, it was the funniest thing ever.

These are the memories we’ll be telling until she’s married with kids ๐Ÿ™‚

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Cool craft and my first Christmas gift!

4th December 2007

Today was a great day:)  I had MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), and it is so refreshing to get together with other moms and be reminded that you are not alone in all the crazy moments of motherhood.  Therapeutic.  And today we made this awesome beaded serving spoon!

So easy!  It honestly took less than 15 minutes.  It would be so easy and cheap to make a whole set of matching serving utensils.  What a great gift!!  I could make them and sell them on Ebay:)  I’ll add it to my never-ending list of things I could do someday…

Another great thing about today was that my mother-in-law insisted I open my Christmas present, since she said I needed it now.  It was a set of the Three Wise Men to go with my cherished Willow Tree Nativity set.  I just set them up on my mantle yesterday, and this was the perfect addition. 

The wise men look a little less worn than Mary, Joseph and the shepherd, who have been well-loved and played with by Analise.  She likes having it up on the mantle, and she had to bring a stool into the living room so she could look at Baby Jesus.  Sweet.  She was SO EXCITED to help me open the Wise Men and arrange them with the others.  "Is that ok?" I asked her.  "No, they have to be closer.  They can’t see Baby Jesus."  I’m hoping maybe I’ll get another piece or two for Christmas to add to the display.  Analise said we need a stable and an angel, and I told her she needs to tell Daddy ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re enjoying reading our Advent verses, singing a carol and lighting the candle each day.  Josiah starts blowing as soon as he sees the candle.  I think tomorrow’s agenda holds more Christmas cookies, along with Analise’s choir Christmas program.  Should be fun!!  We’ll get pictures and video… I can’t wait to share it!  She knows the words to the entire program inside and out. 

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Holiday Tips! and Advent!

2nd December 2007

Well, a little bit late, but here they are.  We had a tremendous speaker at our Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group in early November, Sherri Torelli.  She was poignant, funny, and full of organizing tips from a "sentimental packrat" personality perspective.  I can’t say I’ve been great at implementing them, especially the Christmas card one, but they are worth sharing! 

  • Wrap as you buy your gifts!  Wrap in white paper, embellish with wire ribbon.  Wire ribbon was one of her favorite things.  It’s cheap, you can decorate anything with it, including packages, wreaths, and vases. 
  • Put together a basket with a timer, your Christmas cards, address book, stamps, and good pen.  Sit down for 15 minutes and write out cards.  When the timer goes off, put it aside.  Do other things, and come back to it.  Do NO MORE THAN 15 minutes so you don’t get overwhelmed.  Start now (early November) and you’ll be done by early December.  **Hm.  Maybe I’ll try this next November ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Centerpiece – Simple wide, round bottom vase filled with cranberries and long-stemmed roses (silk is fine) arranged in them.  She used white roses.  Beautiful.
  • Any size/shape of vases with cranberries and taper candles in them.  I loved this!
  • Cut a circle out of the top of red and green apples, place a tealight in the hole, and use down the center of your Christmas table. 
  • Thanksgiving centerpiece – clean out a pumpkin, plant a mum, including soil, in it.  Use as centerpiece, and after you’re done, put it right in the ground.
  • Glue leaves on top of pumpkins, like hats.
  • Cut a circle in the top of little pumpkins for tea lights, use a simple garland of leaves (or fresh/fallen) or berries down center of table interspersed with small gourds squash. 
  • Speed cleaning tips:
  1. Put together a carry-all with everything you need so you can just take it with you from room-to-room.
  2. Things you need: gloves, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner (2:1 water to rubbing alcohol bc the alcohol dries so quickly it won’t streak), microfiber towels (can quickly be run through rinse cycle before cleaning so they’re damp), cleanser, paint scraper for getting gunk off floor or counters, wide paint brush for brushing out window sills, lamp shades & keyboards, natural pumice stone (most unbelievable cleaner for toilets/porcelin – completely wipes away stains – will shine like never before.  She said, "You’ll have to invite someone over just to show them how clean your toilet is!"), Ostrich feather duster (bc the feathers trap dust – great for knicknacks, blinds, ceiling fans – shake it off outside), plastic bags for trash (leave them in the bottom of your trash cans so they’re always ready when you take the trash out). 
  3. Stay in the room until your done.  Don’t take things back to other rooms… pile things outside the door, and put them away when you’re done. 
  • Chargers are CHEAP (84cents at Hobby Lobby!) and make all dishes look even more elegant.  You can get a plate clip that holds a tiny little taper candle to clip onto charger. 
  • Implement a new tradition each year.  
  • Trimming tree – make it a big evening.  Special food, music, memories, movie. 
  • Birthday tea party for Jesus!  Serve birthday cake and cookies, tea, celebrate Him early in the Christmas season so it starts off with the right attitude!
  • Keep a basket for Christmas cards received on the table.  Read a card at dinner, pray for them. If they send a picture, after Christmas put them in a cheap little photo album and keep them handy so you can pray for them throughout the year at dinner.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent!  It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the whole season of Christmas, and to build the anticipation of the Christ’s coming.  I’ve got my pretty little homemade Advent wreath on the table.  There are lots more Advent ideas, devotionals, crafts and resources here: Advent 4 Evangelicals  I attended a fun mom’s evening last week about celebrating Advent.  Having grown up in the Lutheran church where Advent is a part of the church season, celebrating it as a family has always been something important to me.  We light the candles (previous years only on Sundays, but this year we’re going to try to do it every evening after dinner), read a little devotional, and maybe sing a song.  One idea is to use a chocolate advent calendar as motivation for the quiet time, and I’ve got to get a couple for my sweeties! 

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