Happy New Year...


2013 was a good  one...hoping that 2014 is even better!

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Music Monday

Set your intentions...dream with care.  Brand new moon, brand new sun.

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We now are happy to have some new Legos in the house thanks to Ethan's parents...Zoey (and Ethan and I) love them!  Today was the perfect day to try and put this set together since it was too cold outside to do anything else!

Zoey and I started just after lunch and then Ethan joined in and we finished just before dinner time (with some little breaks here and there in-between).

What a fun set!  The flowers in the set remind me of a set that I had when I was younger.  So many things actually work in the set too...the grill opens, the swing works, the chairs swivel, the oven and fridge open, etc.  So fun!

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Jahnke!  This was a big hit!

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The Perfect Gift...


We just got back from celebrating Christmas with Ethan's family and I have to say that this year I may have given the perfect gift to my in-laws.  It's always a (self proclaimed) Griswold Family Christmas and so...if the t-shirt fits, wear it!!  :) 

So fun!
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Merry Christmas!

So first...for posterity's sake, there were cookies to be made.  Gluten-free, sugar, cut-out cookies to be exact!  The pressure was on for them to taste good AND look good and I think we did it! (I also put a batch of gingerbread men together for Ethan and Zoey to enjoy).

Of course Santa got to enjoy some of our cookie making efforts as well...he barely left a crumb!

Christmas morning was a success!  I have to say, if I'm going to be truthful here, I have had a hard time finding the Christmas spirit this year.  I've been stressing about a lot of things, more than usual and it's been getting me down which is really hard to have happen this time of year. It's all stuff that's really out of my control, but it impacts me and it's hard to not let worry seep in and steal the joy that is usually my life.  Right down to the very last moment of attending church on Christmas Eve I was still feeling a little as though there was a hole sitting right in the middle of my chest and I might just start to cry, right then and there sitting in the church pew...I've been having a pretty hard time emotionally which is really unlike me, usually I'm pretty tough.  Anyways, I am happy to share that come Christmas morning, I was able to pull it together and enjoy the day with my family. Starting with a nice breakfast of pancakes (gluten-free!), orange juice and organic strawberries and some really good coffee.  Zoey woke me up just a little after 7 and then we waited for Ethan to wake up, shovel and then walk Leo...which to Zoey, seemed to take forever.  After all, Santa had been here!

Yay!  Here she is in front of the tree pretty early yet this morning as you can tell from the lack of light.

And then here she is right before getting started on opening up the things in her stocking.  Our family has always opened gifts slowly and by taking turns so we can see what everyone receives.  I love that.


These precious little amulets were in her stocking from sweet.

Leo of course was around and about helping by getting in the way as usual.  We love this puppy so much, even though he needs a haircut and smells a bit like stale Cheetos at the moment.

This was a book that I had found and ordered for Zoey.  She loves Science and this will be a fun and empowering read for her.

Along with the book I got her a wooden box of prepared slides for her to look through using her microscope.  She was tickled!

Here is an ornament that Ethan and I got from Zoey this year.  It's the gift that she made at school in her class for us.  I LOVE it!  :)

Here is Ethan opening up one of his special gifts...earlier this fall when we were in Bayfield he had shared that he had really liked a Stormy Kromer wool button up vest and since it was pretty pricey I shrugged and gave him a look that told him to forget about it.  Well, I was sneaky and I got it for him and saved it for a Christmas gift.

Pretty fancy...and he was surprised!  Double score!

Zoey is into mermaids and she got this really amazing book about them and other merfolk from Santa.

 And then she found this gift under the tree...

and it was THIS!!!

A mermaid tail that you can actually wear in the water!  It's safe to say that she has already tested it out successfully in the bathtub!  She has been saying over and over that she just can't believe that she got a mermaid tail!  Santa also got her the complete season of H2O and she can't get enough of them and can't wait to share the episodes with some of her closest friends.  She didn't even know that they existed so it was a pretty fun gift.

Then from us she got a ukelele which I can tell she is going to enjoy.  I got the brand suggestion for the instrument from my musician cousin Scott (who had gotten one for his daughter too) and it's great!  It came with a really nice tuner, an instrument bag, cleaning cloth and then I had picked up a children's book of chords and songs that included an instructional cd as well.  Tonight she and I were playing Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree and Frere Jacques using C Chord and F Chord. So fun!

So for at least today, I was able to tuck my worries aside and enjoy my little family of three, the sun and the Christmas snow, the good food and special treats as well as the sounds of friends and family from afar via phone calls and Skype.  It was a beautiful Christmas.

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Christmas in Minocqua...


On the first day of our holiday break Zoey and I met up with some friends and participated in some of the Christmas festivities downtown which included a horse drawn wagon ride!  It was the perfect day for it too, not too cold and lots of pretty snow to see...

Here is my friend Amanda and one of her girls...

After a bit of apprehension, Zoey decided that she loved being carted around town by the horses Mama and Baby.

Here is the big tree that's decorated every year downtown.

After our wagon ride we stopped at Dan's Minocqua Fudge to meet with Santa.

And then after enjoying some cocoa and cookies and of course meeting Santa we headed to the Train Village to check out the set-up this year.

It is always so fun to see how they have things set up each year.  I was talking with the "conductor" and he shared with me that it took 5 men about 40 hours each to assemble the display this year, totaling around 200 hours!  The collection belonged to a man that died of cancer and he donated all of his collection to the town of Minocqua to enjoy.  Pretty amazing.  He shared that there is even more to the collection but they just don't have the room to display everything!

This year we discovered that Zoey's friend Gracie had her own Dry Goods store...

Zoey's favorite was the castle...


My favorite set-up was the barn...just love this!

And here is my Sweet Shoppe!

It was a great way to spend the first day of our break from school!

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