Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Tree Plantation

This year, we decided to stay in New York for Christmas.  We left our plastic tree when we moved, so for the next two years at least, we will have a real tree.  I'm pretty excited about that.  We always had a fresh tree growing up, and I think we've only had one once since we've been married.  There is a large tree plantation in Clarence, NY just down the road from us, so we went to go get our tree last week.

We walked up and down the rows of beautiful Christmas trees searching for just the right one.

The tree needed to be full, but not too wide or too tall.  Our duplex is tight on space as it is, and we didn't want to have it in the middle of the front room.

After searching for awhile, Stephen spotted the perfect tree, and was very adamant that we get that one.

Everyone agreed that it would be just right!

The kids each took turns with the saw (well, not Tanner).  Then dad finished it off.

My camera battery died, so I didn't get any pictures of them carrying it back to the barn to get wrapped up, but it was quite a sight!  Part of the time, Dad had the stump end and the boys were helping drag the other end along the trail.  But most of the time, Blake carried it by himself.  He did this by holding the truck up by his shoulder with the whole tree standing straight up in the air.  I wish my battery hadn't died.  Oh well, next year I guess.

We got it home and set it up.  The next day, we put the lights on, and the kids went to town with their boxes of ornaments.  It was great!  We don't have a designer tree with matching ornaments, but it is perfect for us, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Christmas Vinyl

So, I wanted to make a vinyl lettering block for Christmas that I could give to the ladies I visit from church.  I looked on Pinterest to get some good ideas before I started.  I saw a few blocks that had a lot of Christmas words all over.  I really liked them and might make some of them for our home, but for the one I had in mind, I wanted something a little more about the Savior and a little less about Santa.  I decided on the phrases I wanted, and set to work.  After I got all the words and fonts I wanted, I arranged them so they fit together, and added an ornament and a Christmas star.

I used silver vinyl for the border and most of the phrases, but did the center in black so it would stand out more.  On one, I did all silver, and it looked really nice that way too.  I cut it out with my Silhouette SD (which I love by the way!) and put it on a wooden plaque I got from JoAnn's and painted green.

It's not perfect by any means, but it turned out about how I wanted it to.  Hopefully it will add a little extra Christmas spirit to some already awesome homes this year!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Coloring books and minis

With Christmas coming up, I have been getting a lot of orders for coloring books.  I love it!  I made a smaller version for myself and have really liked it.  So, I thought I would put them on here too.  The original size (shown with the pimk and purple flowers) holds a standard clipboard and letter sized paper.  The mini version (shown in the lime/grey) holds a smaller clipboard that is 6x9" and letter paper that is cut in half.  The larger size holds 14 or 15 crayons/colored pencils/skinny markers, the smaller one I made only holds four and has a pocket next to it, but it can also be made to hold about 10 crayons.  They include the clip board, but not the paper/crayons/stickers.

Until Christmas, I will be selling the larger (portfolio) sized coloring books for $15 and the smaller (day planner) sized ones for $10.  After that, they will go back to the regular prices of $20 and $13.

I will update the fabrics I have available in my store, but I can make them in any color/theme you want.  If you want them in time for Christmas, order soon!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Toddler Pizzas

I'm no gourmet cook, but I'm usually able to scrape something together to feed our family each night for dinner.  But, when it comes to lunch, we seem to have a lot of turkey sandwich or quesadilla days.  I've noticed that I'm not very creative, or even motivated around lunch-time.  This may be a no-brainer for most of you, but I have some work to do.  So, slowly but surely, I am trying hard to not give my kids' lunch the shaft each day.

One thing we made last week was very well received.  I made tiny pizzas with refrigerated biscuits, and ended up having to make a second batch because they were gone so quickly.


I started with a tube (that sounds very un-appitizing) of refrigerated biscuits, some shredded mozzerella, diced tomatoes, and some toppings.

I squashed the biscuits so they were a little bigger and not so fluffy.

Then I placed a small scoop of diced tomatoes on each one with some italian seasoning and garlic salt.  You could use thily sliced tomatoes, pizza sauce or tomato sauce too, but I didn't have any- so diced it was!

After that, put on whatever you want, or have the kids make their own.  Mine usually eat better if they help.  We went with just cheese on most, but some had pepperoni or spinach and pepperoni.

Another way to do it, is putting a second biscuit on top and sealing the edges to make tiny calzones.

I baked them with the directions on the biscuit tube and they came out golden and bubbling.  I was planning on baking two batches- one to eat and one to freeze for another day.  We ended up eating them both, but I think I'll try again so I have some in the freezer ready to go when we need a quick lunch.

These were the perfect size for all the kids.  The little ones were good with one, and the bigger kids ate a few each.  Try them out- Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two months in fast foward

The last two months has gone by pretty quickly for me.  We've been busy with a wide variety of activities, and I haven't stopped much to update anything.  So, I thought I would do it now.

On Father's Day Blake did Tanner's baby blessing.  My Dad, Uncle Derek, Stephen Whitener, Joey West, and my Grandpa Cristensen were all up there with him  It was really nice.  We were going to do it a week or two earlier, but we decided to wait for Derek to get back from Brasil and my Grandpa to get back from a long road trip with my Grandma.  I'm glad we waited for them.  That ended up being the last time we got to see my Grandpa Cristensen.  He passed away just a couple weeks later.  It was really special to me that he was there.

Tanner was nice and quiet for the blessing, and we were able to bless him before we left our ward in Arizona (which we really miss already!).

We took all the kids in to get their eyes checked in June because Stephen is very far-sighted and should have had glasses long before we knew he needed them.  He is legally blind without them, and we had no idea!  Berkeley's eyes are normal for her age, but Brady's pretty far-sighted as well.  So he got his new glasses, and is very excited about them.

We had to say good-by to all our good friends in Arizona for a couple of years.  This is Berkeley and her friend Sophi.

We got on a plane, and moved all the way across the country to Buffalo, Ney York!  The kids were really excited about having a "camping party" the first night before we got all of our furniture out of the truck and set up.  Uncle Cory and Aunt Cande drove a moving truck with our stuff for us, which was really nice because they got there the same night we did and got to spend a couple of days here too.

Blake's parents and brother took a week and drove our car across the country for us, stopping along the way to visit family and see some sights.  While they were here, we went to Palmyra, NY and visited the Church history sights there.  Here's a picture of our group at the Whitmer farm.

And the kids on the Hill Cumorah.

This was the first trip to Niagra Falls for the kids and myself.  We visited the Canadian side and saw the beautiful Falls from there.  The kids wanted to go on the boat, so we took a ride on The Maid of the Mist and went right up to the mist from the falls.  It was pretty awesome!

For the Fourth of July, we had a barbeque with some new ward friends and then went to the University at Buffalo to watch fireworks.

Later that week we had a picnic on a farm with the other residents that Blake works with.  It was really pretty.  They even had a hay ride for everyone.

On Wednesday last week, we went to a local farm and picked blueberries.  We ended up with just under five pounds, but the kids probably ate two or three more while we were picking.  I had never seen a blueberry plant that I can remember.  We used to go pick them in Portland, but I was too young to remember that.  The fields were beautiful, and it was a gorgeous day!

 Tanner is two months old now, and the big kids just love him to death.  He's super sweet, and growing like crazy. He's already 15 pounds!  It's been going by quickly, but we've enjoyed every moment of it.

So, that's what we've been up to for the last two months.  I will try to update this more frequently now that we are settled in our new home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Baby Tanner!

Now that we are a little more settled and got the computer set up (finally), I can share some more pictures of our newest family member.

Tanner Kelby Tucker!

He was born May 22nd late at night.  He was 9 lbs 13.5 oz and 21 inches long.
He was by far our biggest baby yet!

The kids just love him and ask constantly if they can hold and kiss and snuggle him.

Biggest brother Stephen.

Big brother Brady.

Super excited big sister Berkeley!

Tanner's trip home from the hospital, and first time strapped in.

Taking a nap in the tire swing at the cabin.  We went up to Pinedale the day after we got home from the hospital.  I know people usually rest at home for awhile, but the older kids are a lot easier to watch when they can play and explore outside where it's not 110+ durring the day.  Plus, we had Blake's parents with us, so that helped a lot.  I didn't have to cook and clean.  I just got to relax and take naps durring the day with my Tanner.  It was really nice.  I'm glad we got to spend some time up there before we moved.