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Family Time

I’ve really enjoyed sharing what’s on my Mind on Mondays (a.k.a. Kristen’s ramblings), and going to aim to keep that an ongoing tradition. I’ve got a group share going on tomorrow, so thought I’d post this Sunday night instead. It’s a chance for me to journal for myself, and for those of you out there to get to know me beyond the projects and recipes I share. I want everyone out there to know that I’m a real person with ups and downs and life events going on, and not just a blogger with tips. I’m not afraid to be open and vulnerable, but I also don’t want to be a downer, so it’s a fine line with sharing. I had the most fabulous Christmas week, I had to share a few pictures! If you are on Instagram, I’m often posting pictures over there, so follow along there if you’d like.

  • Monday and Tuesday I went to Target and Wal Mart like the rest of the world. I wasn’t shopping for my family, but for a cousin gift exchange and food. On Christmas Eve (after I went to the store), I realized I didn’t have enough eggs for our breakfast casserole, and my friend Tracey saved the day and told me how to break into her house and grab some eggs. Life saver!
  • Our Christmas festivities couldn’t have been more perfect. We took lots of fun pictures in our matching Christmas Jammies, and the energy and excitement was alive and kickin’ with the kids. My husband stayed up all the way til midnight to help me finish wrapping gifts. I dismissed the poor guy (his eyes get bloodshot at 10pm) and I was up til 2am working on a few details.
  • We surprised the kids with a family cruise, gifted by the inheritance from my grandma who passed away this year. The big kids squealed, the youngest cried at the idea of being on a big boat! We assured her it would be really fun. It will be for 7 days out of Houston to Belize, Cozumel, and Honduras.
  • I was so excited to gift my second son with a bearded dragon, he was very excited! My oldest who said “he didn’t need anything” I got him and my husband Indoor Skydiving passes. My girls got clothes and dolls and roller skates for the older one. My husband gave me a few charms for my charm bracelet (per my request) and fixed the bike chain on my bike (also per my request).
  • Christmas Day we played, took a little nap, then packed up the car to head on a cabin adventure. This is our 4th year heading to a local cabin during the holiday break, this time we met up with my brothers. They are all in Texas for now, but 2 are moving away this next summer. With my parents on a mission in Ghana, it was sad to not have them there, but we got in a Skype call with them.
  • Had SO much fun Wed night-Sun Morning with my siblings. Not only do I LOVE to be with my brothers, I LOVE my sisters in law just as much. A while ago, I wrote about the sisters in my life, having not grown up with one. A craving I have for close relationships seems to stem from the fact that I had a sister, but she died before I was born. These girls make it easy to love. I posted a pic of us on Instagram and said how grateful I am that we all get along so well. A few days later, a gal at church said, “Is that really true, or were you just saying that?” No, REALLY, it’s true! I feel so grateful. My SIL’s joined me on a photo shoot as my assistants, and we all stayed up really late playing games and discussing “hot topics” until the wee hours of the morning.
  • My husband was released as the Early Morning Seminary teacher at church after a year and a half. He was quite sad, because he loved it so much. He and I are both happy that his new calling is still working with the youth.
  • I had a random thought while walking through Wal Mart the other day. I love Wal Mart and I love Target–for different reasons. I grew up going to Wal Mart, and still love it. People like to make fun of Wal Mart, and it’s never sat well with me. This week, I realized why. I never before noticed the difference in the people shopping at WM vs. Target, until I heard lots of snickering about it…people making fun of Wal Mart shoppers. All of a sudden, I became more aware, and I realized I wish I didn’t notice. I liked it when I saw it with a blind eye, now I feel tainted. So next time, you think of making fun of a group of people who shop at a certain store, don’t. It’s not nice.
  • I made two new recipes I found via a Pinterest search. First this Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas on Christmas Eve. It was a big hit! Will def. make it again. Then this Artichoke Bacon Dip with the fam, YUM!
  • Spent some time today looking over my ancestors and uploading family pictures to Family Search, showing our kids their pedigree charts.
  • My friend Mique at 30 Days Blog shared some really fun free printables for New Years Eve celebrations, check them out! There are activity sheets for the kids, and resolutions sheets for kids and adults. It will be our Family Home Evening activity Monday night.
  • Read this article today, The Best Time to Plant a Tree, about setting goals.  The article states, An old proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” Sometimes I get discouraged with goal setting, and this was a great reminder that we are not perfect, we just need to continuously work on bettering ourselves, starting now.  President Uchtdorf explained that when we fail to reach our goals, “we can be empowered. … Even though we might fall short of our finish line, just continuing the journey will make us greater than we were before.”
  • So excited to start FRESH in 2014!!!

A few pictures from my past week on Christmas:

photo 11

christmas morningThen with my family at the cabin:

cabin get together

cousin fun

photo 112 photo 31 photo 311

christmas cabin

I took my older brothers family pictures. Since I saw him in August, he’d lost 35 pounds! It was fun to chat about his lifestyle changes and go for a jog with him, too.

Kristen Duke

Kristen Duke

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Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
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  1. Kristen Joy,

    We love the picts and the written commentary. Mom even said it is almost like being there. Thanks for the many things you do for all of us and others. We love you soooooooooo much. You are the best.


  2. Ana Huffman says:

    such a beautiful family that you have!

  3. Looks like you had a fun Christmas week! I love seeing the happy kids faces on Christmas morning.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      It’s the best, isn’t it? I hold back from buying them stuff all year long, so Christmas morning is a delight for me, just to see their faces!

  4. I hope my kids grow up to be close as adults. What a great gift you have in your siblings.

  5. You’ll have so much fun on your first cruise, we love cruising!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I’m pretty dang excited about it! I know I’ll love the excursions, I’m just wondering if our time will be filled while on the boat!

  6. I feel the same way about Wal Mart, love it!

  7. A cruise! So exciting. I love the picture in your collage with the card – and that you can see the hestitation in your littlest face. I am hoping you will post some pictures of that vacation on the blog. I like to live vicariously through other’s vacations, and that one sounds amazing. The other picture that is a favorite of the bunch is the one of your son with his new pet on his shoulder. You can see how excited he is. His eyes are just so lit up with happiness!

    Looks like you had a great time with your family. We get all the grandkids up in a tree at my parents house every gathering we can and take pics. So fun!

  8. Commenting commenting.. .. Thanks for the pics! You’re the best!