Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Little Taste of Hungary

Now I could talk about all my New Year's resolutions in a blog post, but I'm not going to. I'm continually trying to improve myself, so I don't need to make a list for the New Year. I should have already been working on my goals. What I am going to write about is some fun we had last night.

We got together with some friends last night for dinner and we basically had a culture night. Both Jeremy and the dad of the family served their missions for our church in Hungary, so we've been excited about eating Hungarian food together. Last night we had the opportunity. We made food to bring over and they made food. This is what we ate (I apologize in advance for mistakes in spelling, having no accents, and even if I got words wrong- rough translations):

Mushroom soup

Gombaszik leves

Cucumber salad

Uborka salata



Hungarian Stew


Stuffed cabbage
Toltott kaposzta

Chocolate Sponge Cake Dessert which I didn't get a picture of and have no idea what it is called in Hungarian

While eating and after, the kids had a lot of fun playing while the adults and some of the older kids enjoyed hearing stories about Hungary and general chatting. Time flew and we got home really late that night. We'll have another late night tonight. Balloon twisting for 6 hours for Provo First Night at the Provo Towne Center Mall.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's Ba-ack!

We got snow again today. We had some errands to run so while Jeremy was getting ready, the kids and I went out to get the car ready. Every time we go out the kids want to play in the snow so this time they had enough time to. And they were big helpers. Nichole did a very good job shoveling and Jr. was very helpful brushing the snow off the car. After maybe 10-15 minutes of being outside, Nichole looked up and said, "Oh, it's snowing." Heh heh. I made the comment, "You're just now noticing this?" It definitely made me laugh.

Jr. felt it was fun to crawl around in the snow. I made sure I got some pictures. Not of him falling, oh no. But of him lying down in it- by choice. I think he was pretending to be a dog.

We finally got to run our errands and when we got back the kids played some more in the snow before we went in.
For Family Home Evening tonight Jeremy and the kids made rice krispie treats while I gave them a lesson. Daddy gave the kids instructions on what to do with stirring and pouring, etc. When they didn't follow Daddy's directions, such as when Jr. didn't keep his spoon in the bowl, we lost a few marshmallows. But when they did follow Daddy's directions, they were able to make that beautiful treat that we were all able to enjoy. It is the same way with Heavenly Father's directions. When we don't do those things He asks us, we miss out on some blessings, but when we do keep His commandments, we ultimately come out with something really special.

Oh, and yes those are eyes on Jeremy's fingers. My parents got him a ventriloquism book for Christmas that came with those eyes so he can practice with his hands.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 25th- Christmas!

I mentioned before that Jeremy wasn't able to finish the project he was working on with the flannel, so instead Jeremy built some balloon sculptures for the kids to go along with the presents that Santa brought them. From Santa, Nichole got a little Polly Pocket-sized set of Beauty and the Beast figurines with interchangeable outfits for Belle. To go with that, Jeremy built her a Lumiere candlestick with electric tealights attached to his candles.

Jr. got some little plastic animal figurines (Northwest animals and marine animals) from Santa, and Jeremy built him a balloon lighthouse. He put an electric tealight inside a round balloon but it wouldn't work Christmas morning. The lighthouse is still neat, though.

It was nice to have more time to get ready for Christmas this year. I was even able to crochet a little ball with a face and hair for Jr. and a little purse for Nichole. Jr. immediately started throwing his little guy around. Hurray for softness.

It was a nice day. We all had lots of presents to open and even when we thought we were all done, a few anonymous gifts came to the door.
We had a pretty laid back day yesterday, but it looks like we've got plenty of cleanup ahead of us this weekend. I think we'll slowly get around to figuring out where to put all the new stuff, but it will be nice to have the stack of wrapped presents out of Jeremy's office again.
I am glad that we focused on what Christmas is really about. We had a lot of reminders through the month of the love our Savior has for us and the love we can show for Him. I didn't feel guilty about having a day of opening and playing with presents. We are very blessed and we had a good Christmas!
Merry Christmas. Happy Boxing Day. Now to get ready for New Year's. Phew.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 24th- Christmas Eve

Quick- before Santa comes.

Our Christmas Eve was jam packed.

We delivered little balloon Christmas trees to some people in the ward. When we first went out to the car to deliver the trees, we could see tiny snowflakes on the hood of the car. It wasn't big clumps of snowflakes which we usually see covering things. Here we could see a bunch of individual snowflakes. It was really quite amazing. Click on the picture to see it larger.

One of the trees we delivered to a widow in our ward who I sing in choir with. She invited us in and we were able to stay and chat with her for a while. She loves company but feels lonely most of the time. She had family taking her to be with them for Christmas, but we got to spend a good amount of time with her before they picked her up. She is an amazing woman and has done so many neat things in her life. Visting her was a blessing for us.

We had our Christmas Eve program with our little family. I sang Silent Night for the kids. Sometimes when I'm singing hymns, I get emotional and have a hard time getting through them because I am touched by the Spirit. Today I had a hard time getting through the third verse because the kids were making faces at me and making me laugh. I love my family.

This evening we went to visit friends for treats and games. We made peanut brittle, almond roca (or rather peanut roca), Chex Mix, and Rice Krispie Treats. Our friends made some yummy treats, too. There was plenty to eat and now even thinking about eating Christmas treats doesn't appeal to me. I wonder how it will be after Santa fills the stockings tomorrow morning.

I don't know why my kids always have such out of it expressions when we take pictures of them with chocolate on their faces.

After we played for a while, the kids made cookies. There were plenty of cookie cutters with holiday shapes and it was fun for them.

We finally left and drove home. By the time we got home, both kids were mostly asleep, and by the time we'd carried them to their room, they were both awake. I stayed in there with them for a little while until they were both asleep again.

Jeremy and I both had some wrapping to do so we took turns. Then as I wrote the blog post, Jeremy worked on balloon sculptures for the kids.
Now it's late and I need to go to bed so Santa can come.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23rd- Toys For Tots

Many years ago (well not that many), Jeremy and I volunteered to juggle for several hours at a Christmas festival held in Salt Lake City. The entrance fee of this festival for the general public was a new unwrapped toy to be given to the Marine Corps for Toys For Tots. After we were done juggling, we chatted with the Marine who was collecting the toys as people were coming in. He gave us each a button that said, "I donated to Toys For Tots." Now we didn't actually donate toys then, but we did donate our time and talent to this festival. We still have those buttons. We were impressed with what the Marines were doing collecting those toys.
Since we've been married and had kids, we've tried to have our children donate to Toys For Tots. The first year we bought juggling balls to donate but were kind of disappointed that there wasn't a place with Marines to actually give the toys. And the place that we went to donate didn't have a box for it anymore either. Someone from the store took it to pass it on later however. Of course I think Nichole was a baby at the time so she didn't care.
After we got over the realization that we wouldn't actually be handing it over to a Marine and would be just putting it in a box, we still wanted to do it because those kids still need those toys. Last year as I mentioned before, we just ran out of time for everything, including donating to Toys For Tots. This year it was on our list of things to do, but we got busy toward the end and as of this morning we hadn't bought any toys to donate and figured we wouldn't because we wouldn't get around to it.

This morning I read the First Presidency Message in the Ensign for this month written by President Henry B. Eyring. There were a lot of wonderful things he said in that message and it would take too long to talk about a lot of what I read, but some things he said made me think that I'd really like us to donate to Toys For Tots this year if it was possible. He said, "You have already felt the joy of giving alms and receiving them. That joy in this life is a glimpse of what we will feel in the life to come if we are generous here out of faith in God. The Savior is our great exemplar. At the Christmas season we contemplate anew who He is and what generosity He extended to us by coming into the world to be our Savior."
After everyone else got up, we used this for scripture time. In this article in the Ensign, there were pictures of Mary with baby Jesus, the shepherds, and the wise men with the star. Nichole was very good at identifying the pictures for Daddy and we talked a little bit about Jesus, his life, his suffering, and dying for us so that we can be forgiven for mistakes we make- that great gift our Savior gave us. President Eyring said, "The Christmas season gives us encouragement to remember Him and His infinite generosity. Remembering His generosity will help us feel and respond to the inspiration that there is someone who needs our help, and it will let us see the hand of God reaching to us when He sends someone to succor us, as He so often does. There is joy in giving and in receiving the generosity that God inpires, especially at Christmas."

We took the kids to the store and after letting them explore some of the toys there, we explained to them about why we were there. We are very blessed. The kids know they are getting toys for Christmas. Both sets of Grandmas and Grandpas sent them presents. Some children, however, don't have families that are able to give them toys for Christmas. We have the opportunity to help out some of those children. Each child picked out a toy/present that we would buy and donate to the children. Nichole picked out a baby doll and Jr. picked out a toy tool set. Nichole was a little disappointed when we got to the front of the store that she wouldn't be giving them directly to the children (sound familiar?- me and wanting to give the toys directly to the Marines?), but we let her know that the Marines would take all the toys from the big box and give them to those children who normally wouldn't be getting the presents like we would get.

And we thought about those children who might get those toys our children picked out. Maybe a little girl named Cindy would get that baby doll and a little boy named Johnny would get that tool set so he could do as Nichole let me know- "fix his boy baby." Apparently Johnny was going to have a baby doll as well, but a boy baby- and it would need to be fixed. And I'm sure Cindy and Johnny would be very grateful for those toys and it would make them happy. And it can make us happy to be able to do it for them.
It is good to both give and receive. Every good thing we receive ultimately comes from God and we can realize His hand in those blessings. This evening, our home teacher brought over sugar cookies that his wife made. Also, some friends from the ward brought us over some treats with a cute poem that one of the kids had written.
We've had a few stressful moments (pink flannel, anyone?) and it looks like Jeremy's not going to be able to finish the project he's been working on in time for Christmas. However, with his talent in balloon art, he's going to make some objects out of balloons that will work in place of that project on Christmas morning then the kids will be surprised later on when the project is finished and they all of a sudden have another present even though it won't be Christmas anymore.
We've also had some special moments to bring our family closer together and to the Savior at this Christmastime. We are blessed in the Telford household and are enjoying a very merry Christmas indeed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 20th & 21st & December 22nd

Getting ready for Christmas can be a lot of hard work. So far this year's preparations have been pretty laid back, which also means that my blog posts have been a little laid back (or more like taken a backseat) and for the past several days I've gotten up in the morning and remembered how I'd forgotten to write a blog post about our countdown activities. So tonight while my husband is working on a project, I'm playing catch-up on this blog. Here we go:

December 20th- We didn't even get around to making a balloon number or putting up a post so it was combined with the next day. But Sunday, I got a new calling at church. I had gone early to choir practice since our choir was singing in Sacrament meeting that day. As soon as I sat down, a member of the bishopric came and got me away from practice to ask me. So I missed some of practice, but it still turned out well. So, I am now a Sunbeam teacher. Since they didn't have anyone to sub for this last week before I am officially a teacher next week, I volunteered to help out. The other teacher used to teach in Relief Society before she got called as a Sunbeam teacher. I loved her lessons in Relief Society and she is just as good with the 3-4 year olds. My daughter who is in that class until the end of the month thinks a lot of her as well. During part of the lesson, she showed a short video of the Nativity. Several of the kids were saying that they have that movie at home.
That evening for our Christmas activity, we watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas, a little movie I remember from my childhood with Jimmy Stewart and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The DVD came with the Ensign a few years ago as a special Christmas message. Also on the DVD was a short video of the Nativity. As soon as I put that on, Nichole said, "Hey, we have that movie." It was the same one that was shown in her class that day. It was cute how excited she got about seeing baby Jesus on the movies.

Then came Monday, the 21st. Our activity- letting the stress of the holidays finally get to Mommy. Jeremy and I are working on a special project for Christmas so we had gone fabric shopping, found what would work for the project, and brought it home. We got some red flannel, some green flannel, and some white flannel. We figured we should prewash them, I figured mostly because they'd probably shrink a little, and decided to wash them on cold so they wouldn't bleed all over. I didn't think about washing them separate from each other, I just wanted to get them washed so we could start working with them. Guess what. The white flannel came out of the washing machine pink. Not too surprising is it. So, I let the stress get to me. I wasn't so patient with the kids, I was tired, hungry, and not so happy. I called Jeremy and we decided to let him go ahead and stop at the fabric store on his way home to get some more white. The cashier he got was the same as we had earlier and she recognized him. "Uh oh, what happened?" So he explained it to her. Oh sad.
In the meantime, I put the red and green flannels (which had no trouble with each other) in the dryer and threw the white in the washing machine by itself again just in case it would help. It came out pink again. So when Jeremy got home we said, oh well, we'll just have to figure out some other project for pink flannel later. Sigh. I threw the pink in the dryer and put the new white in the washing machine. Suprisingly, the pink came out of the dryer mostly white. I couldn't believe it. It was close enough to white that we are going to be able to use it for our project anyway. Yay, and we have an extra bunch of white now so we can do more of this project later on if this turns out well this time. Hooray. So after the stress, I was able to calm down a bit and Jeremy even made me some food. What a sweetheart.

Today, the 22nd, we talked about traditions. Traditions can help bring a family closer together. They are something to look forward to, something steady, something you can count on. We talked about some of our family traditions and did one of our Christmastime traditions today. We watched the Polar Express movie and drank hot chocolate at the appropriate point. Then we read the Polar Express book. Several years ago, Jeremy got a hot chocolate mug and saucer just like in the movie. So he likes to use that special mug when we watch that movie.

One more day and then it's Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 19th- Enjoy Beauty

We are given so many wonderful gifts from our Heavenly Father- eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to touch, the list goes on and on. What a blessing it is use those gifts to appreciate the beauty around us. Today's countdown to Christmas activity was to enjoy beauty.

Over the last few days we've been reading the story of the Nutcracker in a book and enjoying the illustrations by Don Daily. This evening we finished reading it then we watched the movie on

I let the kids know it was a dancing movie and encouraged them to dance around. We had fun, though I forgot that Jr. wasn't feeling very well earlier and all the playing around kind of took its toll on him. Poor little guy.

Beautiful illustrations. Beautiful music. Beautiful dancing. Beautiful family. Enjoying the beauty of the season can help us remember the beautiful gift of our Savior's birth.

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18th- Wrap Presents

I love wrapping presents. My mom used to let me wrap presents all the time when I was younger. She would even save some presents for me to wrap when I'd come home from college for Christmas break.

This year we got ourselves some new wrapping paper (the kids picked it out) and the kids have helped with wrapping presents to give to friends and to send to cousins. They are such good helpers. And they know that not only is it fun to wrap presents, but it is even better to be able to give to others.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 17th- Christmas Shopping

Last year, Christmastime, Jeremy was finishing up his last semester at BYU. Things were nice and busy and we didn't have a lot of time to get ready for Christmas. We basically ran out of time. We didn't do much shopping. We didn't even do some of our Christmas Eve traditions- but that was because we had something better to do. We had my little brother over for Christmas Eve dinner then we took him to the airport to fly home for Christmas. We were going to take him a few days before, but his flight was canceled because of weather. So we took him on Christmas Eve. We stayed with him at the aiport for several more hours than we were expecting because his flight kept getting delayed more and more, until he was finally able to fly home. By the time we got back home, it was really late at night, the kids were asleep, and we'd had a wonderful time with their uncle.

This year things have been a little bit easier. Jeremy's not in school, we got an earlier start with presents- including some handmade presents, and today we went

Christmas Shopping

We didn't find everything, Jr. got too tired while we were out, but we got some supplies for making treats, got some ideas for presents, and did pick up a few things. It was nice for us all to get out together for a good amount of time, now that we're basically over our colds. We had some fun and I'm glad we've been having a more relaxed season this year. We're not in too much of a hurry... yet. Though I'll tell you. Wow. Already lots of crowds in the stores a week before Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 16th- Christmas Dinner

The day finally arrived. Not Christmas Day, but Christmas Dinner. It's a tradition in our family to have a big Christmas Eve dinner (a tradition carried over from Jeremy's family- I love how we've been able to adopt some traditions from both our families as well as make some of our own). We were given a turkey at Thanksgiving time, which we figured would be great for our Christmas dinner. Since we were given that blessing, we also felt it would be great to share that blessing with others- that and we love spending time with these friends. Our friends would not be available on Christmas Eve, so we adjusted so we could have Christmas dinner together today.
Nichole has known since we started that new chart that the 16th was when we were going to have our Christmas dinner with Anna and she's been talking about it every day. "We're going to have Christmas dinner on the 16th." Today she reminded us that today is the 16th.
Jeremy worked hard today on the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc. etc. etc. He is so awesome. I baked rolls last night and today Jr. and I did the filling for deviled eggs and both Nichole and Jr. helped me sprinkle paprika on top. I found that Nichole taps the container much harder than Jr. does and more paprika comes out. Not too much though, thank goodness.

I put contact paper on the placemats to kind of laminate them. The kids used them at the table, while the adults enjoyed social time eating in the living room. Now we have them to use for more meals and more fun.

You can see another Telford tradition of candy canes in Sprite to drink with our dinner.
Anna finally got to take her finished placemat home along with her sister's.
I do feel blessed to share what we've been given. That is something important for this Christmas season and I'm glad that as a family we can do it.
It was a great day with great company. These guys are great.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 15th- Advent Calendar

We offered to watch our friends' children while they were doing school and work today. We benefited by having the children over to play with our children. Anna is Nichole's best friend and they are always happy to get together. Since these are friends we're having at our Christmas dinner tomorrow, we had all the kids continuing to make placemats. Anna made dots on her placemat because her mom likes dots. She let us know that her mom will be very pleased. And she was when she came to pick the kids up. Anna was happy to show her what she'd done and was reluctant to leave it here overnight so I could finish it up by putting contact paper on it. I assured her that she would get to take it home tomorrow, though.

The other children also had their own style of art they demonstrated on the placemats. Nichole liked to push hard on the markers to make the colors darker. Jr. took the acrobatic approach sticking his legs over the back of his chair. And the youngest tried to eat the crayons. Oh what fun to do crafts with children of different ages.

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14th- Advent Calendar

Wednesday we are going to have friends over for a Christmas dinner. Today and tomorrow we will be preparing for that. The kids and I started making holiday placemats to use at the dinner. We also received a few Christmas cards in the mail. My parents sent cards that had snowmen on the front for the kids to color. They were very excited about that. They colored them while we were doing placemats. Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13th- Advent Calendar

So, we obviously haven't been doing a very good job with our advent calendar activities. It gets late at night and we say, so what should our activity be, oh I don't know, hmm, well, I guess we did such and such today, can you make a balloon number, etc. etc. etc. And the kids keep asking or mentioning, so it's Christmas now? or it's going to be Christmas in the morning?
And we didn't even get around to doing a number yesterday. Poor kids.
So today as we were sitting down to eat, we discussed that Christmas is coming up. What is Christmas? It's the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The things that we have fun with like presents can remind us of Him. It's okay to have fun. Heavenly Father and Jesus want us to be happy. We talked about how we have been blessed so we should share our blessings, like we did with the bag of canned food. We discussed what we're going to do in the next few days to share with others.
And so the kids can actually know how much time until Christmas (they're little, they need visuals), I quickly printed out something to show how many days we have left and we can cross them off each day.

We want these activities to be good for our family and help bring us closer to the Savior as we get closer to the celebration of His birth. I hope we can be better. At least the next few days should be. We have plans.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Advent Calendar- December 11th

Today Jeremy and the kids decorated the tree a little more. Then my brother and sister-in-law came to visit for a little while... and they brought us candy. Woohoo.

It's a blessing to appreciate the kindnesses of others. Thanks, Paco and Lia.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent Calendar- December 10th

We read in Matthew about the wise men bringing gifts to Jesus. Just like the shepherd crook crafts we did earlier, when we open Christmas presents, it can also remind us of this great event and blessing of our Savior.
So for our activity we opened the present from Grandma and Grandpa H. that said we could open before Christmas.

Nichole is not feeling well and can't get off the couch so in her weak voice she said, "Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa."

Jr. said, "Thank you Grandpma" and then something about a movie?