Daron, Melanie, Stephen, Kassie, and Kenny

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beaucoup de neige!

This snow is so fun! What a treat for us Texans to wake up to a torrent of snow falling every morning... and it keeps coming all day long! We borrowed a sled from our cute neighbor Ana ~

Playing at the bus stop after lunch... Kas comes home for 1 hour everyday then catches the bus back to school. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Nativity... gone wild.

We look forward with such anticipation to our dinners with the missionaries... mostly because of the great lessons they leave us with. Tonight, we reenacted the Nativity. And we'll never again be able to read that story the same way.  Pictured below are the participants:

The hanger-winged angel: Elder Wayment
The African Wiseman: Elder Pittson
Mary: Kassie
The Very Vocal Sheep: Elder Headrick
Tex-Mex Joseph: Stephen
and introducing Kenny as Baby Jesus

Saturday, December 17, 2011

First Snow!

We are SO grateful that the heavens waited to send the first snow until TODAY ~ Saturday morning... so we could wake up and enjoy it without rushing off to school!  We celebrated with crepes for breakfast, followed by some snowballs... Kenny wasn't prepared for how COLD the snow actually was!

Daron and I enjoyed a brisk morning walk in the snowstorm...

Then Stephen and I went out for a snowball fight. I totally won. (But I let him think he did) 8-)

Look - a cute Swiss person put little Christmas decorations on our lobby door!
(And whoa - who's diggin' my cool, nerdy hairdo?)

Stephen's snowy glasses... proof that I won.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Gingerbread Houses and Trains!

Oh, the sheer, utter JOY on the kids' faces when they saw all these supplies being laid out! Thank you to our friend Alma for this great family activity idea ~ they all went to bed on a sugar-high from eating all the fixins!

Stephen and I have so much fun homeschoooling together.  Today we studied everything from Mongolia to the scientific process of 'uncoiling' -- how the globular protein amino acid chains in egg whites break their bonds when you WHIP them, changing the goo from its viscous liquid state to foamy peaks! Then we moved right into Home Economics and made the egg whites into chocolate chip cookies, and shared some with the cute cleaning ladies who vacuum our building.

And just one of the many indications of the kids' excitement to go back to Texas for Christmas... today I found this life-sized American flag that Kassie had created and proudly stuck amidst the laundry pile clothes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers...

I couldn't help but think of Fiddler on the Roof's 'Sunrise, Sunset' lyrics as I bid farewell to my boys this morning, as Stephen accompanied Daron to work at HP for their first father-son work day. Homeschooling has its benefits! And Kassie is now quite anxious to have her father-daughter work day adventure too. 8-) But really... when did Stephen get to be so tall?

Kenny said he needed to rearrange the manger scene, "because they all needed to be looking at Baby Jesus." Gosh I love that.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

European Christmas markets

WOW! We'll always remember exploring these light-studded, dazzling 'stuff'-filled markets with so many fun things to look at! We visited the famous Basel and Montreaux markets (both in Switzerland)... tasting lots of the yummy treats therein ~ needless to say, there was much rejoicing.

Chocolate covered banana! (you know, to go with the nutella crepe, amaretto almonds, hot chocolate, cotton candy, candied apple, and German pork sausages... pure gluttony)

Our tiny Etap Hotel ~ a step up from the F1, since it had a bathroom and shower in the room!

What exactly is this -- a chia-octopus?

See the steam behind us? Those are "chestnuts roasting on an open fire"!! They were delicious!

Kassie's happy mouth, after eating her chocolate-covered apple.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We love December!

Making holiday volcanoes with Benj and Sariah ~

Kenny singing his French song -
And our new European nativity scene from our dear friends, the Mongillos!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Decorating holiday cookies for the missionaries!

The Faith in God kids had a great time caroling to the missionaries tonight, after decorating cookies for them!

(mostly Kenny just decorated them, then ate them)

Stephen and I watched "First Knight" this week for part of our medieval studies... and we loved this quote from King Arthur: "Take the good with the bad ~ don't love people just in slices." That's a good thought, especially at the holidays. Think the best of people, and love them, heart and soul.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


We're filling our countdown days with fun activities like this spy-maze we put up for the kids... it took much longer to create than it did to destroy... I mean, to enjoy!

And here's a blog post I came across that's important enough to include.  So profound. I think someday from up in heaven we'll all chuckle about how much time we spent thinking about our waistlines...

3 Gloves  by Natalie Brown (http://ldwmagazine.com/2011/09/21/3-gloves/)

I held up 3 gloves to my 12 and 13 year old young woman’s class asking them what the differences were, “puffy, warm, lots of strings, only 2 fingers” referring to my ski mitten. “Skinny, thin, white, stretchy, cold…” describing my latex glove. And then the last one, “soft, furry, black”, which was my knitted glove. I then put on 2 of the gloves and asked what they had in common. The answers varied from “they both keep your hand warm” to “they can move.” After I told them that the gloves all represent bodies they realized the hand was the spirit. We talked about the worth of each spirit and how our bodies are just the covering though some may be “black, white, puffy, skinny or even fuzzy” it is what’s on the inside that really matters.  Why do we as women judge our bodies so harshly when the real substance comes from within? I think every woman knows that feeling of insecurity all too well, anywhere from fleeting thoughts of not being good enough or pretty enough to feeling like you look fat in those jeans and your nose is too big. So how do we overcome these stabs of doubt in ourselves, the lack of confidence chipping away at our inner peace? We get to know who we really are, come to respect our spiritual self and know that the “worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (D&C 18:10).  One quote my mother used to tell me when I was in high school was “do all you can in front of your mirror in the morning, but when you leave forget yourself.” So my challenge to you is 1.  To “forget yourself”, not yourself as in who you are but forget what type of glove you are wearing! and 2. Learn something new, whether it’s a new recipe, or a skill or craft. Our “gloves” are lifeless without a “hand inside” so love yourself and then love your body.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

What better way to start off breakfast on the 1st day of December than with cookies and milk?!? Yahoo! The day had lots of great things in store... including Kassie riding her horse while STANDING! She's a total equestrian.

And Daron's home from Vienna! We watched The Sound of Music while he was gone, and this time, we recognized all the places we had just visited with Sterl and Jen ~ how exhilarating to see the statues and fountains we saw in person.  When he returned, we exchanged some early Christmas gifts... the Swiss cow shirt and a pretty Edelweiss necklace from Austria!

Daron wandered this Christmas market at the Vienna Rathaus (town hall) at night after manning his booth in the day at his HP Event ~

Image Detail

Image Detail

His favorite authentic Viennese meal: weiner schnitzel and apple streudel!

Here he is at his event - on the far right:

And to celebrate our return to Texas in 3 weeks:
Pinned Image

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

There's something about Christmastime!

We put up our tree and lights on Thanksgiving night... we love this happy season!

Kassie's cute Swiss friend Charlotte from school came to play...  keep-away and Oh Susanna songtime!

And WHO KNEW that the movie Chariots of Fire is based on the Presbyterian missionary Eric Liddel from Scotland who won an Olympic medal in running, but wouldn't race on Sundays?? (Probably everyone did except me) Stephen just finished his biography for homeschooling then we watched the movie. Nothing tops that running scene on the beach with the Vangelis music!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Get out and play!

The kids loved starting their Christmas advent calendars today... eating the first chocolate, since our countdown is now on day 24 for when we return to Texas! Yahoo!
I love reading things that re-inspire me to re-discover things that I should always re-member!!! I just came across this great advice for parents to let their kids 'get out and play'... something we all used to do for HOURS when we were kids (one of my favorite memories was climbing 'Danny's Tree' in our neighbor's backyard, which arched over a river -- I don't think my kids have done anything like that!).  Now, kids' time is so 'scheduled' - with dinner and lessons and homework and bathtime... where do we fit in playtime? If we don't, it's not good for them (or for us).


And I love this woman's gems of advice too:

My sister recently called my daughter Kassie 'unflappable.'  I love that description of her. If she were a cake, I think this is what she'd look like. Just full of fun colors, sugary frosting, and lots of happy marshmallows. She reminds me to take life slowly. Because this life is all we have.

photoparadise: Weheartit

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cool ideas

I just discovered Pinterest.com from my sister -- unreal! Fun ideas below and an INSPIRING story -- I want to spend my 40th birthday the same way this cute lady spent hers!

Colored Ice Glass.  Fill balloons with water, food coloring, freeze. Break balloon, take outside and enjoy! cute idea for a not too hot summer day 

Colored Ice Glass. Fill balloons with water, food coloring, freeze. Break balloon, take outside and enjoy!

so easy...Wood letters glued to canvas then all painted a solid color.
Wood letters glued to canvas then all painted a solid color


Last day of school holding a picture from the first day of school...would be cute to do the first or last day of Senior Year as well...with the kindergarten picture!

coat hanger

 Pinned Image
Bake your favorite cake recipe, let cool. Before frosting, make sure your cake is shorter than a kit-kat bar, if not trim some off the top to leave room for the M&M;’s. Cover with your favourite icing. Take a bunch of kit-kat bars (about 4 large packages), cut or gently break each bar into two sections. Place the bars on the cake, gently pushing into the frosting. Tie with a ribbon and fill the center with M&M;’s (about 1 large bag). You can leave some out to pour around the base of your cake.
Water PiƱatas!
Such a cute idea for your kids!
Bath with glow sticks. Easy idea!
Bath with glow sticks... this will revolutionize Kenny's tubby-time experience.

Thumb tacks. So smart.

“Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others...By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves.”        President Gordon B. Hinckley
“Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others...By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves.” President Gordon B. Hinckley

Holiday Family Photo
Maybe we'll take one and hold CHALK letters. Cool.
Cut Bell Pepper into 1 inch rings. Crack an egg into it.

Freezer English muffin sandwiches for busy mornings: Lightly grease muffin tins + crack one egg in each well. Stick these in a 350 oven for about 15-20 minutes. Assemble: whole wheat English muffins + egg + cheese + Canadian bacon/ham/sausage, wrap and freeze.

Thanksgiving (or anytime) Veggie Tray for the kids

"Laugh til your stomach hurts"

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Check out how this darling lady spent her birthday. We should all copy her atleast once!
(How I Celebrated My Birthday (aka 38 Random Acts of Robyn)