Friday, December 09, 2011

Teddy Bear Table Manners

For Activity day on November 30, 2011, I had the girls each bring a teddy bear.  They cuddled with their stuffed animal or doll while we discussed manners, table setting, and proper etiquette during sacrament meeting.
Sugar Doodle had some amazing ideas that I printed out (Manners and Etiquette Questions).   Martha Stewart came up with a cool way for kids to practice table setting, she included a template for download that could be printed out on paper-stock for the kiddos to cut out and practice. 

The Template by Martha Stewart 
We played a game using real paper plates, plastic cups, plastic utensils, and napkins. I had to girls practice a couple rounds then they started racing each other to see who could correctly set the table the quickest.   We ate Honey Teddy Grahams and Chocolate Chip Honey Grahams for a snack.
Next time I plan this activity I would love to do a small a tea party with some tiny cakes or pastries, sandwiches, veggies, and lemonade would be darling.  I didn't have much time to plan this activity due to my trip and school.  Hopefully they learned something new and had fun!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Fall Family Photographs

On November 4,2011, our sweet talented friend Mindi Youngblood took our family photos in Lehi, Utah.  Even though it was cloudy and cold, we had a lot of fun doing our photo shoot! I decided to do a navy blue and mustard yellow theme! We are stepping out of our comfort zones by wearing the color mustard but it was sure fun shopping for our clothes and accessories!  For our photo shoot backgrounds, Mindi picked an industrial area that offered many textured backgrounds such as an old red brick building, rusty metal warehouse, a red wooden building, tall yellow grass, cobblestone wall, fall leaves, and railroad tracks.  It was a perfect place to snap photographs!  In fact, there were a few other photographers shooting pictures at the same area. 
Free Family Established 1997

John wore Faded Glory jeans, Old Navy mustard yellow and navy blue stripped long sleeved shirt, and Dr Martens shoes.
 I wore David Kahn jeans (thrift), Old Navy mustard yellow tank top, Old Navy ruffled navy blue blouse, jewelry set by Chaps from Kohls, and mustard yellow Soda shoes from Forever Young.
My oldest daughter wore skinny jeans from American Eagle, Old Navy ruffled mustard yellow camisole, Old Navy long sleeved navy blue tee shirt, feather drop earrings (SO), and Navy blue Toms.
 My youngest daughter wore Old Navy skinny jeans, Mudd mustard yellow shirt, Old Navy blue and white stripped long sleeved shirt, Sketchers twinkle toes shoes, and navy blue flower hair accessory by Claire's.
 Thank you very much, Mindi!!!  We absolutely love them!!!

Thanksgiving in Mesa

This year we decided to make a road trip to SUNNY Mesa Arizona to celebrate Thanksgiving with many extended family members!  We left on Tuesday night November 22, 2011 around 8:00 PM.  We made a pit stop to southern Utah to rest for a couple hours.  Then we were back on the road at 5:00 AM on Wednesday morning. We took the Las Vegas and Hoover Dam route down to Arizona!  We sure enjoyed seeing the desert, cactus plants, and flowers along the way!  Here are the many wonderful family members, which we spent the long FUN holiday weekend with! 
The five Free siblings (John, Elizabeth, Matt, Dave, and Joe) out of eight total with their spouses were in Mesa this year.   Oh how fun it would be to have EVERYONE gathered in once place!!! Below are the many grandchildren.

We spent Thanksgiving with Dave/Kristin, Joe/Dave, Elizabeth/Ben, Grandpa/Grandma Free, Matt/Chiaki, and many nieces, nephews, and a couple furry friends (Bella and Nutmeg).  We had around 45 people at Thanksgiving dinner.
After stuffing our faces, we gathered in a large living area and sang a couple hymns and Christmas songs with the family.  Anna put hair wraps in the girl's hair.  We are so grateful for our wonderful loving family!  
Instead of "Black Friday"shopping, several family members got up early and went to the Mesa Temple.  The youth did baptisms while the adults did endowments and sealings.  By the way, it was big sister's first time doing baptisms for the dead.  It was a beautiful experience for me because I brought down some names of my ancestors.  I felt like we accomplished a lot of temple work because of the effort of many family members!
As for our Iron Chef Family Cook off, we divided into three groups. The secret ingredients were the following: bell peppers, mango, Italian sausage, butternut squash, zucchini, yellow squash, and chocolate chips.  We had to use all the ingredients by making an appetizer, entree, and dessert. 
John and I were on Team Smith.  We met at Jeff and Melinda Smiths (our niece and nephew).  
We made the following:  Bow-tie vegetable sausage with alfredo sauce, butternut squash/ sausage potatoes, mango salsa, and strawberry cheese cake crepes with melted chocolate. 
My niece Aisling made a YouTube of all our delicious food!!!
On Saturday November 26, 2011, we went to a baby shower at Brett and Aisling's house for Keli Silva who is having a boy in February.  We played some games, ate some finger foods, and awwwwwed over her new baby things!
While the girls were at the baby shower, the men and boys had a blast in the desert shooting guns and riding mini bikes.
On Saturday night, we went to Sekai Sushi with Matt, Chiaki, Dave, Kristin, Joe, Diana, Elizabeth, and Ben. Since Matt and Chiaki are sushi experts, they ordered for us!  The sushi was AMAZING!  I tried octopus for the first time! We had a fun time talking with each other and trying out sushi.  The eel was my favorite!  After dinner, we got some  Mesa Frozen Yogurt for dessert!  We shared a lot of stories, smiles, and laughter!  What a fabulous group date!
We went to sacrament meeting with Dave's family, changed our clothes, packed the car, and went home.  We took the Flagstaff route home.  It was a long 12 hour drive home due to slow traffic near car accidents and many potty breaks!  We were so happy to be able to spend Thanksgiving with the Arizona Free families!  We cannot wait to visit them again in the future!