Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The BEST OF MooreMinutes 2013: a collection of the top favorites and most pinned this year!

Every year I share YOUR top favorites and the most pinned pictures and blog posts from Moore Minutes.  This year, I am changing it just a little.  I am posting MY favorites from this year instead of the readers' favorites.

I am also adding something new!  I'll be sharing a look through the seasons & holidays 2013 at the end of this post.

To begin, past archives of BEST OF MOORE MINUTES:

And now this year: 2013!
This year was a lot different.  I posted about half the blog posts as I normally do.  I am not sure what the future holds with blogging.  I have some changes I want to make and some big things on my heart I hope to share in 2014 that started with this post in January...

click on links to read full posts and details

1) Learning about perfectionism, beauty, and being set free

This blog post shared a pivotal moment in my life that changed me from the inside out.  My desire is that it will bless others who share the same struggles I do.

source unknown, please advise

2) Ok, I guess I am sneaking in a reader's favorite...this post was one of the most popular this year:  Family Money Lessons for Kids

4) I surprised Chris on our 13th anniversary this year with a wedding video recap of our special day and reception at Lake Powell

5) Every summer, I plan a fun activity list in an exciting new format for the boys.  This year we did summer journals in this Documenting our Days of Summer blog post.

6) For Dakotah's summer birthday, I planned a super fun and super cute River Raft Party and River Raft vacation!

7) I shared Cameron's vintage bookstore birthday and picnic this fall too.

8) Creative uses for leftover Halloween candy...a candybar hot chocolate picnic!

9) A visit to the Christmas Tree Farm was one of our favorite family adventures this year.

...10,11,12, and 20...Other exciting blog posts this year included the best ever chocolate cake you'll ever eat, a muddy Warrior Dash race, Lake Powell trippin, and annual peach recipe goodness.

Part TWO of 2013 summary on Moore Minutes 
is a walk through the seasons and holidays 2013.

2013 was a beautiful year of quiet change
 and yet constant consistency for our family. 
 Our boys are slowly transitioning into new life stages
 and Chris and I have experienced a lot of personal growth
 as we are living in our thirties.  

Our year held struggles that grew us, 
blessings that encompassed our hearts, 
exciting moments that made our spirits sing,  
and reliable traditions that comforted our souls.  

My arms stretch out to embrace this life.  
Life is forever a blessing 
and every day holds treasures to be thankful for. 

Thank you to my readers for your loyalty and support! 
 I hope you find bits of inspiration along the way as you read.  
My heart's desire to to push the passion of enjoying the details of life onto YOU. 

Be blessed in your new year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Our radiantly GRAND finale to the year: Christmas Day 2013, full story, pictures, menus

the calm after the gift rush

Life isn't perfect.  Each year we face struggles, grumpy days, and off moments.  BUT Christmas IS perfect...100%.  Christmas is magic.  It is a couple days of luxurious excess that make our hearts patter and our smiles big.  It is the celebration of all things radiant!  It is the celebration of family, and of life.  Sometimes in life, we go simple, low key, and minimal, but not on the 25th of December. Christmas Day is our grand finale to the year, brought in with grand splendor!  We live as if it were our last days.  We never know what the future holds so we celebrate these golden days fully.

PLEASE NOTE: This is habitually the LONGEST blog post of the year.  I take enough pictures to carry you through our entire holiday experience! This year, I am adding most of our photos to MooreMinutes Facebook page. Like Moore Minutes on Facebook and see the rest of the pictures later this week!

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas combined is the most anticipated experience of our year.  Every year we pile our presents, food, and pillows into the car and head 15 minutes up the road, into the country, to my parent's house.  We escape real life for 3 days into the magical holiday winterland.

The minute we enter the door, everything is dreamy!

We arrive at my parent's home sweet home on Christmas Eve.  Their home is warm and cozy for a Colorado rustic Christmas.

My Dad's vintage restored toys make the perfect decor.

 When we arrive, my Mom and I prepare for our giant holiday feast!

My mom and I are kitchen twins, both carrying a love for serving our family with beautiful meals and good menus.  We work super hard for this meal and every bite is delicious!

Holiday Menu 2013
Roast Beef
Smoked Turkey
Honey Ham
Homemade honey rolls
whipped potatoes
Cheese potato casserole
Fresh Almond green beans
homemade creamed corn
homemade stuffing
red, green, and white salad
homemade white Macaroni and Cheese
Snowman Swiss Cauliflower
baked cinnamon apples 

My mom set up a crock pot bar so we could attend Christmas Eve service and have most of our dishes ready.

Frozen Mocha Loaf
Apple Spice Cake
Pumpkin Pie
Cherry Bars
Layered Mint Brownies
Assortment of Christmas cookies and candy

Excited to dig in!

After dinner, we traditionally gather around the living room to sing carols and watch the kids to presentations.  We also recite Luke 2 and read Twas the Night Before Christmas.  This year, Dakotah memorized Twas the Night Before Christmas and said it for us all!

Cameron did a sign language song and Titus played violin, while Kotah played the bells.  It was heartwarming to to hear!  

Chris played the guitar while we sang carols.

After that, we follow ANOTHER tradition to open Christmas Eve gifts. Christmastime is all about traditions!  My mom always has fun surprises and also a stuffed animal on their beds.  And Chris and I give jammies.  

The boys ready to open their jammie bags

New slippers with chocolate suckers

Then, it is time to head downstairs and jump into bed.  
They're so excited, they can hardly wait!  

Getting a big bear hug from Bapa. 

Our tradition is no presents under the tree until the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve.  Then!  When they wake up on Christmas morning, it's a big, beautiful surprise under the tree.


They tiptoe quickly around the tree, looking for presents with their names on them.

My parents wrap the most beautiful gifts!

Fun tags too!

Unlce Kyle kicked off the morning by giving them their FIRST ipads!  He sure spoils those boys...but not rotten. ;)

The rest of the morning buzzes with excited energy.

...and lots of surprised happy faces.

And soon we have a housefull of boy toys.  Soooo many LEGO sets!!

And a Star Wars Robot!

My brother gave me a giant-sized new camera lens!

And my Mom ALWAYS prepares the most beautiful packages...inside and out.  Every one of her packages looks like this inside:

We break for a traditional breakfast too.  
My parents always make overnight egg casseroles that are delicious!  
My mom and I baked an assortment of breakfast pastries too.

Breakfast Menu
Overnight Egg and Sausage Casserole
Overnight Egg and Ham Casserole
Mom's sweet rolls
Mom's blueberry cream muffins
My cream cheese cranberry wreath
My cranberry candycane bread

I traditionally put lotto tickets under every breakfast plate.  

Good morning Christmas!

For an EXTRA special afternoon surprise this year, my parents surprised the boys with an off-road go kart!  It is adorable and so much fun.  This was the highlight of our Christmas!

They rode it and rode it until dusk.

The NEXT DAY is just as fun as Christmas Day.  It is very relaxed and cozy with nothing to do except play with new toys and hang out with each other.  My mom and I prepared finger foods and leftovers for this day.  I also make a big pot of soup for people to dip into throughout the day.  And Mom made Wasil and creamy homemade hot chocolate in crockpots for everyone to enjoy all day too.

My mom's gorgeous cheese tree!

My layered cheese slices with crackers

All paper and plastic for this day!

Christmas is everywhere.

Just playing all day!

All cozy with the ones we love most!

The boys with their new ultra sabers from Uncle Kyle!

Mom and Dad work SO hard to make Christmas amazing for all of us.  My heart swells with excited gratitude for who they are and what they do for us.  Thank you both for giving us so much beauty in this life!  We love you. 

they're resting.

Every year we do this pose...
so fun to watch my favorites grow!

If you made it this far then WOW! 
Thank you for following along on our Christmas story 2013.
Be blessed in your new year!


2012 Christmas Day, Abundant Joy

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