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Monday, December 31, 2012

Georgia Visit Part I

Matt and I arrived in Georgia on Wednesday, December 19th. For the first week, my mom and little Asian siblings were in Idaho so we stayed with Matt's parents. (However, these pictures do not include our time with them!) Matt was really happy to be home. He had seen his parents in April, but he has not been home to Georgia since the wedding!

Our first stop was, of course, Chick-fil-a! Yum Yum! Then it was off for a little nap because I was tired from the flight and the time change.

Jessie and Jake, my cousins from Florida, came up for a few days and it was great to see them. We tie-dyed shirts together, went shopping, ate at Canyon Burgers, experienced a blackout together, had a game night which included a rousing game of sardines, (A game where Jake and I clung to each other in the dark!), and just all around had a great time. I am so glad they were able to make the trip up. I had such a great time visiting with them.

Ever since Jessie was born we have been really close and I have always enjoyed spending time with her. And that has not changed, but the last few times I have hung out with Jake I have realized how awesome of a young man he has become.

I also was able to hang around my Stewart cousins (Coda, Aspen, Sage, and Ava). This was Matt's first time meeting Ava. During the blackout, we gathered around the table and played Apples to Apples and Taboo and Sage was awesome! I was so impressed with his vocabulary skills.

It is so strange to see all my cousins growing up without me. In my mind, all my cousins cease to age while I am away in Hawaii.

These first few days really started our trip off good!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Elf on the Shelf- 2012: Part 3

Norman had some fun times in the days leading up to Christmas. We had the best time seeing all of Norman's shenanigans. 

One afternoon we got a text message with this picture- Yup that's right Malia and her husband Caleb surprised us and Mom and Dad Ho by driving in from Utah! Her and Norman became fast friends. He especially liked sitting on her tummy and feeling Baby Bowen kick around. 

The next morning we woke up to find Norman hitting it up with the ladies in a photo booth. 

That Teddy Bear can take good pictures! 

The next day we woke up to this sweet message.  Norman is one smart elf! 
Apparently, Norman takes after Matt with his love of Scrabble- he definitely did not get it from his Mom! 

On Christmas Morning we woke up to find Norman had set up a hot chocolate bar. 
Most North Pole Elves have to return to the North Pole, but because this was Norman's first Christmas with us he was able to stay with us for all of Christmas day. 

He even made it to my parents house and helped deliver a Christmas present from my sister and her family- The Lapicolas!

Christmas Day he wanted to stay with Grandma Andie and they had a lot of fun adventures in their short time together. 

(Although- I am not too happy with the food choices Grandma lets him eat!) 

Norman having fun with Gibbs 

Grandma kept calling Norman a Gnome and he got upset. He kept saying "I am not a Gnome- I'm an elf!" 

Buckling up for safety! 

For Christmas dinner Norman helped set up this beautiful dessert bar (check back later for more information about this table.) 

Baby Ava loved Norman. She kept grabbing him and by the end of the night Norman needed a lot of cinnamon sprinkled on him to regain his magic. 

Christmas night Norman flew back to the North Pole. His time with our little family is over for now because he needs to spend time helping Santa for next year. Matt and I have really enjoyed having Norman be a part of Christmas season and can't wait to see him next Christmas!

I hope you enjoyed reading about Norman as much as we loved having him with us.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Friday Flashback #32

Yup at one point my family was the family that wore matching shirts for pictures (and some still do... hint hint my mom wanting us to wear white shirts and jeans for our pictures.... and no offense to those that still do this :) ) 

I just love how young everyone looks in this picture. I believe this is 2007. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wrapping the Presents

Most years I hate wrapping the presents I buy. I am not very good at it, and I lose my patience pretty easily. It also doesn't help that my Mom is really really good at wrapping. Every year I would see her wrapping the presents with such ease, and then I would try it and they would look rough.

This year I wanted it to be different. I wanted our presents to stand out and be a little different, so I hit up Pinterest to see what I could find. While searching I came across this wonderful blog called Older and Wiser. This woman has so many ideas on how to wrap presents and how to wrap on a tight budget.

If you every want to try anything different for wrapping, I would encourage you to go to this blog!

I looked at some of her ideas and then tried to think of what I wanted to do.

Here is what I came up with:

Matt and I went to Target for a few presents and while there I found myself in the Christmas section. Because it was so close to the holiday, everything was 30% off or higher! 

So I bought 1 roll of Snowman wrapping paper for $2.50, 2 boxes of assorted silver ornament balls for $5.00, 4 packs of colored jingle bells for $1 each, and a few $2 cloth animal ornaments, and gift tags (I wanted to make my own, but this way was cheaper and matched the ornaments well.) 

When I wrapped I alternated between how many of each every present would get. Matt's parents had some twine lying around so I used that to string my ornaments. 

I think my presents look really good. This way definitely took a bit longer, but each present is unique.

What do you think?  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friday Flashback #31

What is strange about this photo is that Kwanzaa is not a place, so I don't really understand the sign.

All I remember is stealing this sign from somewhere on campus at Georgia College and State and hanging in my dorm room for the remainder of the holiday season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Elf on the Shelf: 2012- Part II

Norman sure has been busy the last couple of days. Here is what he has been up to: 

One morning I woke up to find that Norman had made his favorite Elf Food. This was a great surprise and I was happy to share it will all my co-workers. While I think I make a good batch of Elf Food- I gotta say, Norman's is great! It must be some of his magic from the North Pole. 

I guess Norman got tired of his own company and pulled together of members of the household. It looks like the game of Texas Hold'em got a little crazy. Santa assured us Norman can get a little crazy because we don't have any children this year. As long as Norman continues to do his duties he can have all the fun he wants. 

Last night, Matt and I flew to Georgia for Christmas. While we informed Norman of the trip, we were still afraid that he would not be able to find us. But low and behold, when we woke up from our naps, there was Norman. It looked like he had been picking out a few gifts of his own for Christmas this year.  Well at least someone reads the SkyMall. 

We are glad Norman found his way to Georgia. 

Wow- Norman is not only one social little elf, but also extremely talented. Here he is playing some Christmas carols for the carolers. 

Highlights of 2012

For those of you that got our Christmas card and saw a link to our blog: WELCOME! 

I thought I would give you the highlights of 2012 so you could see what we have been up to if you are new to the blog. 

If you are new please click Follow on the right hand side to get updates! 

2012 Highlights: 

*I started student teaching at Mililani Middle School teaching Hawaiian and Pacific History. 
*Matt continued working on his bachelors degree at BYU- Hawaii. 

*I started coaching beginning lacrosse. 

*I went to California to see Joe play baseball at West Valley and to visit my dad. We also took a day trip to Yosemite. 
*I met up with Matt in Utah and we had a mini family reunion for Malia's wedding to Caleb. This was fun because we got to go through a session at the Salt Lake Temple and see the sealing room of the Bountiful Temple. (If you are not a member click here.) 
*Matt and I went to Arches National Park. 
*While in Utah, I was able to have a reunion with Brittany and Ashael (friends of mine from London.)
*Matt and I had a layover in Portland and we were able to stop at Voodoo Doughnuts. 
*My best friend Beth came for a visit. 

*I ended my student teaching and became a licensed secondary teacher. 
*Celebrated my 24th birthday. 
*Started watching the 2012 Summer London Olympics

*Started my first official teaching job at Mililani Middle School teaching Hawaiian and Pacific History.
*Celebrated Matt's 25th birthday. 

*My best friend Jenny came for a visit. 

*Matt started his last semester of classes. 

*I got to surprise my family by going home for two weeks. 

*Matt and I voted in the presidential elections. 
*Spent Thanksgiving in California with my Dad. 
*Celebrated our 2nd anniversary. 

*Matt and I went to Wicked the musical.
*Matt ended his last semester of classes. Now all he has to do is his internship. 
*We are going home for Christmas. 

Thank you for reading and please stick around. I love getting comments and knowing people actually read this thing! Matt and I hope your 2012 was as great as ours, and we wish you an even greater 2013!

~Much Love the Fahey Ho Family 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baby Buckmaster

Well the time has come where one of the London gang had a baby. Yup, that's right. Elliot and Roy had a baby! I really can't believe it. I don't feel old enough to be able to have a baby, so it's weird that one of my friends just had their first child.

(The Attic Crew: Brittany, Sarah, Jenny, Me, Elliot, and Ashael back in 2009) 

I have a lot of friends that have babies, but for some reason my London friends starting families is strange. I met Elliot in 2009 during my study abroad to London. During our study abroad, Elliot and Roy were dating and soon after our return they got engaged. Soon after that they got married... and now they had a baby!

 I am so happy for these two. And I wanted to write a little message to each member of the Buckmaster family.

To Elliot- Congrats on making a little human. I can't wait to read all about your adventures in motherhood and parenting. Matt and I will need to plan a trip to Arizona to see this little babe. Don't forget to take pictures of the blanket.

To Baby Camden- You are lucky to be with such great parents. You will be a part of many adventures, and your whole life will be documented on your mom's blog- good luck.

To Roy- We have never met, but congrats! Good luck with law school and a newborn- my mom did it and hated it- so I know you will need the luck.

(This is the first of many M.H.A Productions. Yup, that's right I made it on my very own.
Elliot- I planned on printing this and sending it to y'all- would you like it?) 

Holiday Recipe: Elf Food

The other day I was reading a blog I follow, and I came across a recipe I wanted to try. While I love Bakerella, I often find her recipes to be too complex and I never have any of the ingredients.

But this recipe came from Betty Crocker and I thought I could handle it. *NOTE: This is more time consuming than Reindeer Food. 

This is Elf Food and if you have an Elf on the Shelf you have probably had it before because it is their speciality. 

Here is what you will need: 

(I added the peanut M&Ms because I thought the recipe could use a little color and who doesn't like M&Ms?!) 

1/2 cup white chocolate, 1/2 cup Cheerios cereal, 2 tablespoons candy sprinkles, 6 cups Chex cereal- can be rice or corn, 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, and 2 cups mini marshmallows 

1. Melt the white chocolate and stir smooth. Stir in Cheerios cereal. Spread on waxed paper in single layer and top with sprinkles. Let stand for about 30 minutes. Break into pieces and keep it on the side. 

*When I did this I noticed the bottom was still wet so I flipped the Cheerios and repeated the sprinkle process. 

(When separated they are supposed to look like mini Elf size doughnuts!) 

2. Place Chex cereal in large microwavable bowl. (Make sure bowl fits in microwave- I found that our the hard way!) 

3. Melt butter uncovered in microwave. Add brown sugar and maple syrup. Microwave until mixture is boiling. 

4. Pour over Chex cereal stirring until evenly coated. 

5. Microwave Chex cereal mixture uncovered on High 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute, until mixture just begins to brown. Spread on waxed paper or foil. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. 

6. Place back into bowl and mix in marshmallows, and Cheerios pieces. 

*I think you could add more marshmallows and I added the peanut M&Ms. I also tried it with the peppermint M&Ms and it turned out just as good. I like the pop of color the M&Ms add to the otherwise brown mixture. *

7. Store in air tight container. (You can make it up to 2 weeks ahead if it is in an air tight container.) 

8. Serve however you want. 

When I made my first batch I put a batch in pint size canning jars I had in my house. *The whole batch made 6 pint size canning jars. 

(Use some ribbon and tie a nice bow around the jars to add a nice holiday touch.) 

The next time I made it I put it in decorative Chinese take out boxes I found at Target (4 for $5). 
*Note: Norman our Elf made the second batch for my co-workers. :) 

I gave this to my friends at church and I have only heard good things, so I think you should try it.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Elf on the Self: 2012- Part 1


Well- the newest member of the Ho household has arrived! 

Elf Norman Baggins Ho arrived to us from the North Pole yesterday, December 15! 

Norman weighs in at 20 grams and is 13.5 inches long. 

Matt and I had put our adoption papers in a while ago and have been waiting around to get our newest member from the North Pole. 

We didn't know if we were eligible for adoption because we were childless, but Santa assured us that our 2 member family would be perfect for a scouting elf from the North Pole. 

Matt and I went to Target yesterday to get some shopping done, and when we returned Norman was waiting for us in the car!

Norman told us (he can talk to adults, just not children) there was a mix up in the North Pole and he ended up getting stuck in traffic! He also assured us that it was okay for us to have North Pole Elf even though we didn't have children because Santa still looks after us to see if we have been naughty or nice!

*If you are not familiar with the Elf on the Shelf tradition click here.*  

Each night, Norman returns to the North Pole to report to Santa and then he comes back to watch over us. Norman's purpose is also to remind us the true reason of the season and to remember to be kind to one another. The fun thing about Elves from the North Pole is each night they find a new favorite spot in the house and hang out there. 

Matt and I were curious to see what type of places Norman could find in our small apartment and he did not disappoint. 

When we woke up this morning, Matt and I saw Norman on my laptop. It looks like he wanted to make his adoption official. He registered himself with the North Pole and completed his adoption certificate. 

I am glad he was kind enough to take care of all the paperwork! 

Stay tuned to see what else Norman gets into the next few days. 

Don't worry, Matt and I aren't crazy. We just wanted to have a fun tradition and I couldn't wait to have kids to do it. 

And if you haven't heard of this tradition you need to check it out! 

2012 Christmas Card

I think our card turned out real well this year. We took this picture at Sunset beach. If you didn't get one this year and you would like to be put on the mailing list please message me your address or contact information! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Words With Friends and Saying Goodbye

This last week Matt and I had some friends over on Tuesday and Wednesday for dinner. 

(I know Abuela- shocking we had 2 sets of friends over in one week.) 

Anyway, on Tuesday we had the Romneys over (David, Nana, and Baby Jonas). You might remember reading about them because we have been friends with them for a while. We had them over for breakfast last Christmas and David and I both graduated as history majors last December. 

This December it was time for Nana to graduate, so we wanted to have them over one last time before they left Hawaii. We had pizza and wonderful conversation. Matt and I pulled out all our stuffed animal toys we had lying around for Jonas to play with, but he was more focused on the t.v./ wii remotes and our Christmas tree. At one point Jonas ripped off one of the one shot liquor bottles from our tree and was carrying it around. It was funny in an inappropriate way. 

We are sad they are leaving, but excited for their new adventure to start. 

On Wednesday we had the Farnsworths over. We have known Kilie and Huston for a while, but never hung out with them until Kilie and I became visiting teaching companions. This was probably the best thing to happen to me this year. Kilie was the exact type of person I needed in my life. I regret not getting to know this wonderful couple sooner and taking advantage of their awesomeness. Kilie was also a Social Work major and was in the same cohort as Matt. 

Kilie and I always have great chats and I am sad to see her leave. The Farnsworths are expecting their first child in a month or so and I am so excited for them. 

Dinner was great and it was nice to visit with them one last time before they moved back to the mainland. 

While we were all extremely busy this last week, I am glad we took the time to have dinner with these wonderful couples. 

To these four- it has been great becoming your friend. 
Good luck with your new adventures and remember to stay in touch! 

Today was graduation, so Matt and I went up and made sure we shared our love one last time and gave the graduates leis. 

(Picture: top middle- The Romneys bottom- Matt and I with the Farnsworths) 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Flashback #29

You're Welcome

My first Christmas. Yup, it's me. I mean it's perfectly normal for parents to dress their bald DAUGHTER as Santa Right? ... right? 

Happy Christmas! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Traditions

What traditions do you and your families have during the holiday season?
Are they important to you? 
Do they stress you out because you feel like if you don't get to them it will completely ruin the season? 
Are there some traditions you do, but you have no idea why? 
Do any of the traditions have to do with the true reason of the season? Do any bring in the love of Christ and the giving to others? 

These are the questions I have been thinking about the last couple of weeks as Matt and I head into our 3rd Christmas as a married couple. When Matt and I were dating I asked if his family had any holiday traditions that he wanted to keep going to our little Ho family. He informed me he did not and that his dad didn't like traditions so they never had any special things they had to do. 

I was pretty shocked because my family had always had a few special things they did during the Christmas season and I wanted to incorporate some into my new family. 

What I have realized though is TRADITIONS are a lot harder than you might think! 

The last two years the only thing we did was exchange our p.j.s on Christmas Eve and watch the Christmas Story- go crazy on stockings - and have a nice dinner. 

There really was no mention of Jesus and his birth or the importance of the holiday. 

So this year I asked Matt what things he wanted to do to make sure we have a constant reminder of the 'reason for the season'. 

We brainstormed, and then I went a little crazy and tried to do everything imaginable. And I got a little stressed out. I was freaking out with all the things we needed to do to remember Christmas and to start our traditions as a little family so by the time we had children we would have a nice little routine. 

THIS IS CRAZY AND STRESSFUL. And a little pointless. What I have realized in the last week is I can't do everything. And I shouldn't do everything. Going overboard is only going to leave me stressed, tired, and grumpy.... the complete opposite of what I want to be. 

So this year I am going  to try to just relax and enjoy the joy this time of year brings. 

I do want to put more emphasis in Christ and the true importance of the celebration. My mom always celebrated the 12 days of Christmas by selecting a few families to secretly drop treats off on each night with a little message. 

Instead of doing this every night, Matt and I are picking a few families and just doing a drop one night. 

Another thing I really want to try is doing Random Acts of Kindness throughout the month. I don't want this to be a huge ordeal- just some random things I can do to give back to others. 

(Just some things I may do) 

Eventually, I would love to get the Elf on the Shelf because I saw some pretty cute things families have done with the Elf. 

While this post has become this huge rambling mess I do want to share my true point. Traditions are important and they are great. And I think they can add a lot to your celebrations, but your whole season should not just focus on these things you 'MUST' do. Some traditions work well one year and aren't necessary the next. And if your going to get stuck in the traditions mess- stick with those that are all about giving back to others. 

The other day Matt and I bought toys for the Toys for Tots event my school was putting on with the local military branch. And it felt so good to do this and know the toys were going to kids that otherwise wouldn't get toys. 

Today I watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional (for you guys that don't know what I am talking about- this is an annual message the leaders of my church broadcast during the month of December.) I enjoyed listening to the message that was shared and taking the time for the gospel. 

Click here for a link to the Devotional. 

Good luck with your traditions! Don't get stressed and remember to relax and give back to others. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Closer Look At Our Tree

I love my Christmas tree ornaments

Every year we get a few more for ourselves, and my Grandma Fahey sends me a bunch of new ones every year. My Grandma has been doing this since my very first Christmas, which has resulted in me having way too many ornaments. But I love it! 

Matt and I started buying ornaments to the different places we travel together. It started on our honeymoon when we bought a moose ornament from Vancouver. Every year I take a picture of our tree, but I never get a close up of my ornaments. 

So I wanted to take a couple close ups of some of my favorite that are on our tree. We have a bunch back home in Georgia, but we have gotten some great ones in our two Christmases here in Hawaii. 

1. Surfing Santa we bought this last year in Haleiwa to mark our first year in Hawaii. 
2. Moab- When Matt and I went to Utah last April, we went to Arches National Park and picked up this beauty in Moab. 
3. H- We got this at Target, but I love the yarn letter H. I really love anything monogramed or with the letter H. 
4. Mr. Snowman- This is a new one from my grandma this year. I really love snowmen. I actually think I am close to being able to have a little tree with just snowmen. 
5. Partridge in a Pear Tree- Last year my grandma sent me this ornament. It is a new series from Hallmark- the 12 days of Christmas. 
6. Ukulele- Matt and I got this Koa wood ornament when we did a stay-cation in September. I know we already have one that represents Hawaii, but I really wanted something from Koa wood. 
7. Christmas Balls- hehe Last year when Matt and I picked out our Christmas decorations I wanted to go away from the traditional red, gold, and green ornaments. So we got the purple, silver, red, and blue ball ornaments. But we also got ones that were different shapes and I love those!
8. Hipster Snowgirl- This is a new one from my grandma and I love her little beanie. 
9. Liquor Bottle- This is one of the ornaments Matt made last year. 
10. Penguin- Look how fat he is! As much as I love snowmen, I love penguins!
11. Peace- Super cute from Target
12. Snowman- see I love snowmen. This is another series from Hallmark. Every decade Hallmark has a new series- this decade it's snowmen. I have the 2010 and 2011 as well. 
13. Penguins Mailing a Letter to Santa- Cute cute from Hallmark and from my grandma.
14. Alaska Moose- This one is from a friend of mine, Patricia. She got this for me a year ago. I am so happy I have ornaments from both of the states not apart of the mainland. 
15. Two Turtle Doves- Part 2 in the Hallmark series. I really can't wait to have the whole collection!
16. Another of the filler ornament. 

*If you were wondering were the owls were don't you worry I do have a couple on the tree I just didn't take a picture of them! 

I really do love my ornaments and have such a great time pulling them out every year. My mom is a Christmas tree minimalist, and I don't want to go overboard but I can't wait till I have a home big enough to have more than one tree. 

What's on your Christmas tree? 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holiday Recipe: Reindeer Food

Back in high school a friend of mine, Aimee, gave me a wonderful holiday recipe called 
Reindeer Food. 

I loved it from the first taste, and I have been making it ever since. Because this has become a annual tradition for me, I thought I would share it with you. 

Here is what you will need: 

In a large bowl mix 6 cups of the Chex cereal, 2 cups Pretzels, 2 cups of Dry Roasted Peanuts, and 1 (12 oz) bag of plain M&Ms. (I use the holiday red and green ones.) 

In a microwave safe bowl melt the two bags of white chocolate. I add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil to help the chocolate not stick. I have found 3 minutes to be a perfect time in the microwave, but I stop it every minute and stir it. 

After the chocolate is melted, pour it over the dry mixture. Make sure you get chocolate on all the mix. 

Then lay the mixture out on max paper to set. 

Break into pieces and store in air tight container. You may refrigerate it you like. 

And Enjoy! 

Reindeer Food is perfect for gifts, parties, or just snacking around the house. Try it out and let me know what you think! 

Thanks Aimee for the yummy recipe! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Flashback #28

In the spirit of the holidays I thought I would share a flashback about Christmas. 

*Caution: This flashback is shares the 'truth' about Santa. 

It was the day after Christmas and I was 8 years old. I was sitting on my mom's bed and I asked "Mom, just tell me the truth... is Santa real? Just tell me the truth." 

And my mom said "Okay, he is not real." 

Me: "What! What about the presents?" 

Mom: "I put them there." 

Me: "The cookies? The letter? The carrot for Rudolph?" 

Mom: "Me, Me, and Me" 

Me: At this point I am crying and I wail "You were supposed to lie! You were supposed to tell me he is real!" 

I remember at this age I knew the truth, but I still wanted to believe in the magic of Santa! And my mom just told me the truth. 

Strange Things Around Town

The last week or so I have seen some pretty strange things around the island and I thought I should show you:

Our local football team the Kahuku Red Raiders won the state football championships and this was one of the banners that was hanging up around town. It made me laugh so much I forced Matt to stop the car so I could take the picture. Matt was a little annoyed because he had to turn the car around and he said the sign would be up for awhile, but the next day they took it down. I am so glad I got the picture!  

Last week Matt and I were in Wal-Mart shopping for toys for my school's Toys for Tots charity drive. While shopping, Matt found this little cowboy hat, so of course he had to put it on. 

Again at Wal-Mart- we found this freakish large/ scary doll. I have decided our kids will never play with baby dolls these things are just creepy. 

Hmmmm- obesity here we come 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wish List: 2012

I don't really like doing these and asking for things, but I wanted Matt's Christmas presents to be a surprise so I came up with this wish list. This way Matt knows what I want but, I don't know what I am going to get. Some of these things are just wishes, but it's nice to put these things out there.

Plus, these are the things I am loving right down, so it's nice documentation. 

There is no order to the list and there are other things I would be completely happy with. In fact, if I didn't get any of these things I would be fine because I get to spend Christmas with my Georgia family!!!!

So what's on your wish list this year?