Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Night at the Nutcracker Ballet

I have to admit I was SO EXCITED to go to the Nutcracker with my boys on Friday night:)
I am not sure they totally shared my enthusiasm--but they were all sweet about it.
I heard TJ tell Coleman (who was pretty bummed to be missing a school Christmas dance) that he needed to "man up and have fun because this is really important to Mom"  They didn't know that I heard that conversation--so cute!  And it worked!  They all had great attitudes even when I required them to be in shirts and ties.
I brought 4 of the boys while Brad waited to bring Connor a little late as soon as he got off work.   Brad ended up coming in during the opening scene alone.  I was so disappointed that Connor wasn't coming, but I am not sure he was too broken up about it.  He has seen the Nutcracker more than once already, but he was missed by me!!    
 The Tivoli theatre is classic and delightfully ornate, making it so fun to be there!  The ballet was beautiful and the symphony wonderful!!  I loved it!


During intermission (or half time as my boys kept saying)  Brad treated them all to a snack from the refreshment bar and I required some pictures!

How I LOVE these boys!  They were such good sports!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Christmas Goals this Year

I had so much fun decorating my house for Christmas the last couple of weeks and it gave me lots of time to think.  I pondered what I wanted most out of this LAST Christmas with all my sons home together.  Next year, our oldest Connor will be serving a two year mission for our church and more than likely our second son TJ will leave on his mission before Connor gets home.  It might be years before we are all together again for Christmas.  That kind of breaks my heart but at the same time it is exciting.  For almost 18 years I have poured my heart and soul into raising these boys--nurturing them and giving them the love and guidance to develop strong characters that can leave the nest and do great things in the world when the time comes.  So even though it is hard, I remind myself that this really is what I want.
But it does make this Christmas extra special for this sentimental Momma.

Some of my Christmas Goals:
*Go to the Nutcracker.  I started to worry that I have not educated these sports loving boys of mine enough in the cultural arts:)  So we are all dressing up and going downtown this weekend to a beautiful Tivoli theatre to watch the ballet performance accompanied by the Chattanooga Symphony.  I am so excited!  I am not sure the boys are as thrilled as I am, but they love and humor their Mom!  I can't wait--it is going to be fun!

*Make our favorite Christmas goodies --we have a LONG list!
 * Read a story most nights from our Christmas collection in the glow of the tree--one of my favorite traditions! I always seem to get a little teary eyed with almost every story--the boys laugh, but I can't help it!  They pull at my heart strings:)
*Go on a family drive to see all the lights people have put up--we have done this since Connor was a baby! 
*Watch our favorite Christmas movies and some new ones on the Hallmark Channel
*One on one shopping trips with each of my boys to get their gifts for each other
*A temple trip  with my boys old enough to participate
*Delivering treats to neighbors and friends
*Some type of meaningful secret service as a family

I want this Christmas to be about family, about love, about giving and most importantly about Christ!
 I am going to pray for opportunities to share my testimony and love of Jesus Christ with my family. 
I want them to know that all the traditions and fun of Christmas are wonderful but that He is the true gift and we can honor Him most when we love others and try to be like Him.

 Have you seen this video?  It gives me chills every time I watch it.  I love it!

Merry Christmas my dear friends--may your hearts be filled with the love and peace of Jesus the Christ this season and all year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Family Cookbook Project--DONE!!

Remember my Family Cookbook project I talked about last year?  Well, I am happy report that I finally DID it!  I went through all my recipes and chose my VERY favorites and created 2 cookbooks.  I actually made two cookbooks--one is 'Christensen Family Favorites' full of our everyday best recipes and the other I named ' Let's Celebrate' and it is full of party food recipes and traditions to celebrate holidays etc.  I used the company called Tastebook and I recommend them wholeheartedly!!  I LOVE my books and they were really easy to make. The hardest part was trying to decide which recipes to include.  Once of my favorite features of the Tastebook Cookbooks is that you can add to them as needed.  It is hardcover book with a very nice binder type mechanism.
Since I have a recipe website, I am always testing recipes and finding new favorites!  Now I can add recipes whenever I want--I just order them online for less than a dollar a page and they come in the mail ready to insert in my cookbook--like this:

I also LOVE that there is a little dedication page in each of the books so I can be "mushy" about how much I love my family and preparing good food and traditions for them:

I will treasure these family cookbooks forever, especially since there are spot for pictures and little notes to personalize each page.  I plan on gifting these book to my boys when they get married.
I think a cookbook or a gift card to Tastebook would be the PERFECT gift this Christmas for anyone who enjoys cooking for the ones they love.  If you log onto Tastebook you can see most of my recipes from the sisters cafĂ© --my username is Melanie Christensen.
Aren't they pretty?
I am really excited to FINALLY have them.  It took be a year to get a round to doing it but I am so glad I did!!  Trust me anyone would LOVE to have one of these beautiful personalized cookbooks!
Can you tell I am a little excited about mine?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Skittles is Back

 Our elf is back and ready to have a "hole" lot of fun!  Haha.  I tell you we have way too much fun with this little guy!  This year he came with a cool idea.  He told the boys to try and do a good deed everyday and write it down and put it in the Christmas tin he brought.  Then he can report to the North Pole, all the ways the Christensen boys have spread holiday cheer this month:)  I think Santa is really going to like this :)
Man I am going to miss Skittles and all his antics when we have no little people in the house anymore.  I know that time is coming quickly--boo hoo!!
Hope you have a very happy weekend!
What are you up to?
We are making Christmas caramels, white chocolate pretzels and watching Family Man!
I love watching this movie every Christmas season--it is the best!!
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