December 9, 2014

For All The Elf on the Shelf Haters

Wow it's almost been a full year since I have blogged! When I started this blog I had the intentions of posting all the time and committing to it. My youngest started school and I was a stay at home Mom, home alone, with "nothing" to do. Last year I made the decision to go to college and that has pretty much consumed my life. Well that and being a Mom, Wife and all the other fun stuff. So what brought me back you ask? Well I have been seeing all these negative post about Elf on the Shelf and well you guessed it...I have a Elf on the Shelf and I wanted to voice my opinion as to why we enjoy our Elf on the Shelf!

(The kids were so happy when we got an Elf on the Shelf
 that they drew pictures of him)

It all started 3 years ago when I seen the idea of Elf on the Shelf and liked the idea of it. So I bought one and he showed up on our doorstep all wrapped up, sent from Santa himself! How excited the kids were to read the book and name him. The kids decided on the name "POOF!" You wouldn't believe how good the kids started acting knowing that Poof was reporting back to Santa. Each morning the kids would wake up (even my 15 year old at the time) and search for him and each morning I was greeted with much excitement and hey the kids were getting up on their own and getting ready for school without being grumpy! What a great bonus!

 (How could waking up to snow angels and snowballs/truffles not be exciting?)

 So why did I decide to jump on this bandwagon????....because I knew it would be exciting for the kids. I mean what could be so bad about me waiting until the kids fell asleep (I am awake anyways) and hide or do something creative with Elf on the Shelf that would bring excitement to the kids? My kids are only with me for a short time, in fact this is the last year my oldest will be under the age of 18. Yes I will have my first official "adult-child."

 (Look at the joy Poof brought to my 16 year old on her birthday...
even a teenager joins in on the fun)

When I look back on my childhood I don't really remember much about Christmas because it was the same thing each year. We would wake up on Christmas (1 day) and unwrap gifts and then it was over just like that. With Elf on the Shelf we get so much more memories for 25 days (or more). My kids can reminisce such as the time that POOF tried to give our oldest a makeover, or when he turned on the movie ELF and made elf spaghetti and we all laughed. As family we gathered around, popped some popcorn and watched the movie ourselves.

(How is this not a good memory, I laugh every-time) 

 Christmas is the best time of year. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, this should be a month to remember, and we do and we make memories with Elf on the Shelf. Sure I could do it without Elf on the Shelf but I'm pretty sure if I laid out a plate that has dog bacon and dog cookies on it telling the kids that I tried to make them bacon and eggs and that the cookies would not be a good idea to feed to Santa, the kids wouldn't find it very amusing.

(These are just some fun times to brighten our morning)

 So let's talk Elf on the Shelf and how we do it! Well on the morning of November 30, the kids receive letters from Santa and Poof. Each of the letters include "magic beans" (tic-tacs) that the kids plant that night in sugar and that is what brings Poof to life the next day. When the kids awake they find that the magic beans have sprouted into cookies!

 (The kids look forward to planting their seeds each year and waking up to 
these cookies and Elf milk which is green milk)

Each day after that something magical happens. Most of what Elf on the Shelf does I would do anyways for example buy Christmas ornaments, instead Poof hides and when the kids find him he has the ornaments. Or Poof brings a gingerbread house, we do one anyways why not make it even more memorable by letting our little Elf bring it. The kids were never excited that I bought a gingerbread house (they loved to put it together) but when Poof brings it, its a whole other level of excitement.

(Each year we make Gingerbread houses why not let Poof bring them for a little bit more excitement, it's fun to see the joy our Elf brings) 

This is very true, but let me guess you don't do Santa in your house (yeah right)? There are not many people I know who don't do Santa so what's the complaint? I mean my husband's parents the most Godly people I know and who's Dad is a Pastor did Santa for their kids. Of course it is understood in our family what the true meaning of Christmas is but Santa has become a part of Christmas and now in our house so has Elf on the Shelf. Did I mention that Elf on the Shelf is Godly? Let's see when Santa sends letters the letters stress the importance of the birth of Jesus. Poof has brought The Nativity (I highly recommend watching this movie around Christmas, or anytime for that matter), brought crosses for the kids to paint (did I mention I have them hanging on the wall and each time I walk by them I have great memories) and that's to only name a few.  So no Poof doesn't just play hide and seek he also reminds the kids the reason for the season. So not only do they get to hear it from my hubby and I, at church, it also comes from Poof!

 (There is so much that Poof does for our family to make sure that the kids remember the true meaning of Christmas...look how happy they are to watch an amazing movie that little kids might not be so excited to watch had our Elf on the Shelf not brought it)

These memories are made because I bought this Elf on the Shelf. I must admit had I not bought Elf on the Shelf I would not be doing some of the things that I do and I would have missed out on some of the most memorable times with my kids. Poof has brought memories to my house that will never be forgotten and I have pictures to remember them. Each year the kids talk to each other "remember when Poof did this," "remember when we watched that movie Poof brought us?"

 (There are so many memories and pictures I have of us as a family enjoying the long lasting fun that will always be remembered each Christmas season)

All I can say is maybe Elf on the Shelf isn't for you, but why do you have to bash it? My kids enjoy waking up to their Poof and I enjoy watching them and how excited they are each morning. I even made my sister jump on the bandwagon by buying my nieces an Elf on the Shelf, and when my sister found out she was not happy, but if I called her right now and asked her if it was worth it she would say the memories will last forever! So why is Elf on the Shelf everywhere??? Because it brings happiness to the kids each day. Sometimes our Elf does something so simple as to hide in a cabinet, other days he does something creative, other days he brings gifts, but most of all he brings joy to my kids!

(This year we added a new friend, Jingles and the kids absolutely love her just like they love Poof and  we will have many more memories for many years to come...I call those blessed memories. If Poof had not became part of our family our Christmas would consist of waking up on Christmas and that's it. Now it consist of family time together all month long)

February 21, 2014

Baltimore Orioles Birthday Cake

Wow it's been such a long time since I've been on here! I think I might have forgot how to blog! I do miss blogging but I literally have no time to blog now that I am in college :(  In-fact I barley have time to shower lol. I happened to finish my work this week leaving me with a little extra time, I probably could have picked up the house or something but I wasn't feeling good so I thought since I missed everyone so much I would blog!

Yesterday was my husband's 40th birthday so of course I had to make it a special cake! It turned out better than I thought it would and it was yummy!

I made him a Baltimore Orioles cake since it's his favorite sports team. His family is from Baltimore and they are crazy sports fans! Anyways I went through and picked all of their 'official' logos they have had throughout the years and all of their 'non-official' logos they have had. What made we want to do the cake is the O's it's a logo they have and I thought it would be a brilliant idea to use the O's as 0. At the bottom where it has his name and 1944-2014 makes it look like he died, but he didn't. It was to show their logo when he was born and their current logo they have lol. The top left is their very first logo and the top right is Jared's favorite.

 This is a chocolate cake w/almond buttercream (my hubby's request and his favorite).
The cupcakes are red velvet w/cream-cheese frosting.
Everything is edible including the toppers, made by me, you can see how I make them on Edible Cupcake Toppers. It took a lot of time and a lot and I mean a lot of detail work which is not easy with royal frosting, but I got the job done and it was so worth it!

 I just wanted to sneak in a picture of the grass, because it looked so realistic on the cake.

 Around the sides I used crushed oreos for the dirt.

And the birthday boy himself! He absolutely loved his cake...hey what are wives for? 

I hope you enjoyed the cake I made for my hubby, and thanks for stopping in, esp. since I'm not on here much anymore, I do miss my blogging.

January 5, 2014

December Fun

Wow another year gone!
I can't believe how fast 2013 went. I guess the older you get the more you realize how precious time is and then it seems like a year goes by in one day.
Since I don't have a lot of time to share my crafts, recipes, and decor in detail anymore I still wanted to share all of it with you, even if it is with pictures.

So here is December 2013 for the Secret family:

 We started off the winter with some snow. Here in Roswell, NM we do not see snow very often. Other parts of NM gets snow but it is very rare we see snow here. We have lived in Roswell for 7 years and this is only the 2nd time we have been able to make a snowman...who we named Spike! So this was a real treat for the kids.

 It even froze here, this has never happened since we lived here. I am from North Dakota so this is mild from what I am used to...but the kids thought it was so beautiful and so did I since it's been quite sometime since I have seen something like this.

 Here is a fence we have, it looked pretty neat with the frozen ice-cycles.

 Now this girl right here is the whole reason why my December went so fast. My oldest daughter turned 16! I can't believe it, so I wanted to make sure she had a 16th birthday she wouldn't forget.

 I made her a birthday cake she would never forget. I too will never forget that I didn't have much time to make this cake but I thought for the time I had it came out great. I definitely will be making it again. I had a lot of fun.

 Here is a side view of the cake.

 And here is the birthday girl with her cake!

 We took a small trip to Pecos on the River in Carlsbad N.M.
They have this wonderful playground that the kids always enjoy, even the big kids!
(I have included a video below so you can learn more about it and see the beautiful Christmas lights on the river).

Here are the two little ones having some fun.

And our older daughter as well.

And of course the big kids's fun for the whole family!

Here's a picture of the bridge along the river.

Here is where all the fun begins.
A boat brings you down the river to see all the houses that have put up Christmas lights along the river. It's very beautiful.

 Here is the video, people come from all over the world to see this.

I hope you watched the video and enjoyed it. If you ever get the chance it's worth it!

Here's the walk to the boat dock.

Who doesn't love Christmas decorations???

Here are some peanut blossom cookies I made for my daughters class.

I also made these snowmen for her class.
The head is a peanut butter ball
 The bottom is an oreo truffle
The arms are pretzels with chocolate
The hat is a mini oreo topped with a marshmallow

 Although I didn't have time to make all the Christmas goodies I would have liked, I did get the chance to make some.

Here is another plate of goodies.

Of course who could forget Santa cookies that we all decorated as a family!

What better way to start Christmas morning than with a snowman pancake!

After Christmas we took a mini vacation. We went to Lubbock, TX and took the kids to the Science Spectrum where the kids enjoyed fun and knowledge. They also have an OMNI theater which the kids thought was pretty neat.

Here is a nice slam dunk from Cameron.

And from the little man too.

Then we ended our vacation with a little New Years fun at the motel!

We also started the New Year with a healthy breakfast!

Who can resist Krispy Kreme doughnuts?

I know it's a little late but I hope all of you had a very blessed Christmas and will have a very blessed 2014 from The Secrets!

December 27, 2013

Christmas Decoration Tour

Wow, I can't believe it's already the end of 2013. When I started this blog I had high hopes for it. I really wanted to put a lot of effort towards it and share so much with all of you. Well as you can see the last time I made a post was the beginning of November. Things have really changed for me. When I started, my youngest started kindergarten and I was a stay at home Mom leaving me with a lot of free time. So I decided that I would blog to keep me busy while the kids were at school. Then I made a sudden decision to start college. With that being said I haven't had a whole lot of time for anything. My once spotless house is lucky if it gets vacuumed once a week lol. It's been good for me though, my "OCD" has now turned into "I hope I can pick up the house before the day ends." I now realize how much time I spent on cleaning the house vs precious time. It really has been and eye opener for me, and a good one. So when I do get time I spend every moment with my kids and if I get lucky, sneak in some cleaning time. College break started for me December 13th and I have taken full advantage of catching up on some things.

Anyways my last post I promised a tour of my Fall decor, well that never happened. Maybe I can sneak that in while I'm on break (better late than never, maybe or maybe not). Because I have been so busy I have a lot to share, but before I get to that I wanted to put this post up Christmas decor. Although I kept it simple, I thought it turned out nice.

 Here is the top half of my fireplace mantle. My favorite Christmas decorating colors is red and gold with white lights. I added some greenery to it and here is a simple yet decorated mantle.

 Here is the middle of the fireplace. I have a Merry Christmas sign, 2 decor trees, 2 glasses filled with ornaments & a touch of sparkle decor, and a vase filled with pine cones w/ a bow for added touch. 

 On the top of the mantle I made this lovely overhang decor piece.

 In the middle I have this decor glass filled with sparkle decor.

 Here's an individual picture of the pine cone filled vase, with a bow.

An individual picture of a simple glass with ornaments and a touch of sparkle decor.

 This piece is displayed on each side of my mantle.

 Here's a red glass filled with greenery decoration flowers.

 Another simple glass decor filled with ornaments and sparkle decor for an added touch.

 A glass turned upside down with ornaments used as a candle holder.

 A glass filled with decor rocks and a pine cone for a simple touch.

 In the background I have a simple lighted garland with added decor.

 Here's an up close shot of the added decor to the garland. This lighted garland is also in the front of my mantle for an added touch.

 On front of the mantle on each side I have these bells with a bow above it.

 Here is the bottom half of my fireplace.

 I have these cute little wooden decorations on once side of my fireplace. I didn't really like where they where, but I never got around to finding a better place for them.

 On the other side of the fireplace I have a simple display with some candles for added decor.

 My daughter insisted that we buy all the Christmas Village Displays at the dollar store. Then she seen the bigger displays at a store, I have a feeling that next year we will be upgrading to more than just dollar store village displays.

 Many years ago my Mom got me this little Nativity set, I usually have it on a certain display stand but was to lazy to get it out this year, so this was it's new home, but I didn't like it.

 Here's our decorated Christmas tree. I am in desperate need to buy a new Christmas tree. I've had this tree for 10+ years, again I found myself to lazy to get a new one. 

 Here is a simple garland wreath with lights I made and put a bow that matches my tree skirt on it.

 This is a German Nativity Pyramid. My Father~in~law was stationed in Germany when my husband was little. I had seen one my Mother~in~law had and just loved it, so she got me one! I love it.

 Here's a closer look at it. I display it on my coffee table with some candle holders on each side for added decor. The German Nativity Pyramid is also a candle holder (but I couldn't find candles to fit), but you light the candles and it spins.

 I filled my crate with a Nativity set that my kids painted last year. I didn't really have a home for my snowman and Christmas tree so I put it on top. Hopefully next year I can put a little more thought into my decor.

 This is my entryway table. The decor consist of my nutcrackers, homemade Christmas trees, Gingerbread houses that we all made as a family, and candy cane decor.

 Here's a side view of the display... I also have large Christmas boxes for decor.

 We have a bunch of pecan trees, so putting them next to the Nutcrackers was an easy decision. Beside the Nutcrackers I have homemade Christmas trees for an added touch of decor.

 Here are the homemade Christmas trees we made as a family.

 Here are our many Gingerbread houses we made as a family night. It was fun and of course was a nice touch to my entryway table.

 Last my candy cane display. In one vase I have a candle in the middle surrounded by candy canes making it a candle holder as well as a candy cane display. Beside it I have a jar full of peppermints and a simple candle holder.

Thanks for stopping in even if it's a little late. I didn't do as much decorating as I would have liked this year but I was still able to keep it simple but still enhancing the room with a Christmas look. I hope everyone had a very blessed Christmas.
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