Saturday, January 23, 2016

January: Puzzling, Packing, and Party Planning

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Starting the new year off grateful for a fresh start and putting the past behind us. Praising God for his provision and faithfulness and some answered prayers.

January: Puzzling, Packing, and Party Planning, and a few other things . . .

January has been an especially busy month. Adding packing up the house to starting a new school semester, to putting puzzles together with my daughter, and to planning a surprise party for my middle son has made these first 21 days fly by!

One of my favorite post Christmas pastimes is spending time with my daughter by putting her puzzle Christmas presents together. I'm glad she shares the experience with me. I don't know why, but working on a puzzle is kind of therapeutic. :)

Shiloh is in love with the Aqua Shimmer Glitter tiger puzzles!

Once we are all done, Shiloh likes to hang the puzzles on her bedroom wall. These 2 will have to wait to be hung up in our new house. :) If you'd like to see how we hang up puzzles, visit this post, How to Hang a Puzzle on Your Wall.

I found both puzzles on Amazon, but I can't seem to find the first one anymore. She owns quite a few puzzles from the aqua shimmer series, though. They really are pretty and of good quality!

The day before our wonderful Arizona winter Christmas break ended, we hiked the Butcher Jones Trail with some friends. It was truly exhilarating, but my body screamed at me for four days after the fact. I must be so out of shape!! I experienced an incessant headache for 4 days straight, and my muscles were pretty sore. :( I've recovered, thankfully, and am ready for another hike!

Thanks to my friend, Alicia, for planning the hike and asking us to go! It was a fairly easy hike, but it was definitely rocky, and pointy cacti were plentiful. Views were absolutely beautiful! There's a bit more info here if you'd like to hike the trail yourself.

Once homeschool was back in full swing, it was time to start packing. I saved all of our wrapping paper from the Christmas morning whirlwind to use for packing. It worked really well. So, tip for moving after Christmas: save your wrapping paper!

I am so ready to be done with the packing stage. Packing isn't the most fun thing to do, and boxes in the house make me feel dirty. But, I am super excited about putting the 3-year renting phase behind us. Time to put down some roots again!! Goodness, for a while there we didn't know if those roots were going to continue to be in AZ, but I guess they are. Next week we should be able to begin the unpacking phase. :)

About a week before my middle son's birthday, I got a text from his friend asking if I'd like to help plan a surprise party, and I said, "Yes!" It was so fun party shopping and having lunch with my friend and her daughter, the party planner. :)

It was quite the challenge keeping the secret with all the "dings" from multiple texts, but Lincoln was totally surprised. In fact when Dad brought him to the park and all his family and friends shouted "SURPRISE!" he still didn't catch on that the surprise was for him. He was so taken aback that he didn't recognize all the familiar faces at first and thought random people were shouting "Surprise" to the wrong person. Silly Lincoln. ;)

Anyway, the party was a hit, and everyone had a blast!

My friend, Alicia, her daughter, Nina, and me

Nina planned all sorts of fun games - very entertaining watching the kids try to unwrap candy in a saran wrap ball. The details for the saran wrap candy ball game can be found on Pinterest.

Most kids didn't want to attempt the ping pong ball game in which one has to shake oneself in order to empty ping pong balls out of a box attached to one's behind, but a few were mighty brave and got quite creative! ;)

The sort-of white elephant game was fun, too. The best part was picking out the gag gift prizes. Love that my daughter won the big foot call. (Pictured below.)

Darth Vader pinata was exciting. We donned the birthday boy with a wanna-be Obi Wan Kenobi cape from The Dollar Tree and presented him with a blue light saber. Because the ONLY way to battle a Darth Vader pinata is with a light saber!! And it worked, too. My oldest son is the one who finally decapitated Vader and then proceeded to beat the candy out of him.

And of course you put candles on donuts for the birthday boy who really doesn't like cake.

Loved all the funny gifts Lincoln got from his friends - I mean who doesn't want a peeled, boiled egg or a healthy pita sandwich thing with a bite already taken out of it? He did get some nice ties, money from grandparents, and a Steeler's chair from his grandpa. :)

So, apparently I snapped the pic of the hot-dog cookers at just the right time. ;)

The only way the parents of the birthday boy are going to get in a picture is through a selfie, I guess.

Thanks to all who made Lincoln's 14th birthday so awesome!!!!

The real birthday: his menu pick - home made potato soup for dinner and sherbet (yuck) for dessert.

After the party fun, it was back to packing. Perfect timing for our water heater to start leaking and then bust. We never have a bunch of stuff in our garage besides our vehicles and a few garage-type items . . . unless we're MOVING. Ugh. Thankfully, we caught it before too many boxes got wet. I think all of our things are OK.

This month I was so very relieved to finally take down my temporary art studio in my room. Hoping the final outcome makes the month-long mess worth it!

And last but not least, these extraordinary January sunsets have reminded me to keep my eyes fixed on heavenly things. Sunset gazing brings instant peace and restores this weary soul! I'd rather watch the sky than TV any day. :) So thankful God didn't take away all beauty after sin entered the world.

Looking forward to February and starting this next phase of AZ life in a new neighborhood!

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