Christmas in Summertime!

We are packing things up, finalizing our home's sale, and making the trip out to Denver. Life is crazy right now. Too many emotions to know how to process, so . . . I think of Christmas.

Knowing that Jeff and I might be mailing or packing and flying our Christmas presents this year has really put the pressure on to find great, nicely packaged gifts. In our family we tend to give more couple/family gifts and then give smaller items to any kids. This year, the only real “kid” we have on my side is my youngest sister, and for Jeff’s we have his youngest sister and currently lone nephew. When we start to get more kids around, I’m sure the dynamic will change, but for now it’s usually just one main gift per family. In the past we’ve come up with some pretty good family gifts as a whole, but this year I’m struggling. (I might just have to think individually, oh no!)
So, to get my brain moving I’ve decided to make a list of all the best and brightest family gifts that we have given and received in the past. I am so tired of going to websites and seeing inscribed crystal plaques, cheese and cracker sets, and chocolate covered strawberries as gift ideas for a whole family. I think it would be better to give something that people will actually use, even if it’s not as fancy.
#1 Camping Gear
There are so many options with camping gear if you have family that likes to get lost out in the woods. Sure, some of the items can be a bit pricey, but if you’re giving it to say, your sisters family as a whole, then it tends to break down to a reasonable price per person. Plus, there are also a lot of fun less expensive items out there as well. Some of our favorite items to receive and give include:
Dutch Ovens
Quirky Cooking Items (think egg holders, roasting sticks, toast makers, camping spices)

#2 Beach Items
This is pretty similar to Camping items. This just works for our family because they all love to go to the beach. Last year both my older sister AND parents had the same thought on this, now Jeff and I are the proud owners of 4 beach chairs. We’ll need them all someday, ha ha.
Beach Umbrella

Beach Towels
Snorkeling Gear
Toys (Sand Castle kit, Frisbee, Volleyball)
#3 Religious Items
We are Latter Day Saints, and with that there is a smorgasbord of items that many LDS families like to decorate or have in their homes. These also can be on the more expensive side, unfortunately, however there are some more affordable options with books and movies.
Statues (Christ, Temples, or Prophets)
Art Work
Inscribed Hymn Book
FHE Workbooks
Past Years General Conferences on CD (big hit with Grandparents)

#4 Kitchen Items
Yes, these may be just typically given to the lady of the house, but in most of our families homes both the women and men do the cooking, so it really is a present for both of them. In a house were just one of them in charge of the cooking, then it might be better to give kitchen items to just that one person.
Crockpot (w/cookbooks)
Kitchen Aid Attachments
Cutesy Measuring Cups (think Anthroplogie)
Marble or Raw Wood Edge Cutting Board 
 #5 Entertainment
For some of our more extended family and close friends that we exchange gifts with we have some pretty regular standbys. I’d like to switch it up every once in a while, but these always seem to hit the mark.
Movie Bucket (Some cool new release (w/ gift receipt), Soda, Popcorn Bags, and Treats)
Board Games (We have family that actually is in to the latest board games, so it works)
Fast Food Gift Card (think something like Sonic, where $20-$30 can still go a long ways or just get everyone a treat) 

#6 Handmade Items
For a more personal touch, these items may be less expensive but more meaningful because of the time put in. Tears of joy can be a factor with these types of gifts.
Blankets (This does not have to be complicated, just use fleece in a more modern pattern)
Picture Calendars (We have family members that do this every year on both sides and LOVE it. We can keep up on whose birthdays are coming up and have wonderful family pictures from last year to look at.)
Picture Books (I made my parents one of those photo books from Blurb with pictures of their wedding)
Knitted Beanies or Scarves
Family History Workbooks or Old Journal Copies



Movin' On Up

I thought I was going to be a really good blogger this summer. I was sure I was going to record every vacation, every wedding (there are 3 sibling just this summer!), and get tons of things accomplished. But then something came up, something big, something that is taking a lot of my time.What could it be?

Denver Colorado Wedding, Neighborhood, or Housewarming Gift Print - Personalized Map Art
A suburb of Denver to be exact. We are looking in the Littleton/Centennial/Parker area.
I haven't said anything on the blog because I thought if I did I would jinks is somehow. But now I can officially say, we sold our HOUSE and I better get a movin' on finding a place to live in Colorado! I have so many mixed emotions about it. I am so nervous, terrified, excited, and everything else all at once. I have never really lived in such a big city away from my family. It is just very strange and I'm not sure when it will sink in.
Jeff was offered a promotion out there for his job so we decided to be adventurous and just take it. We should be moving at the end of the month. It is seriously so crazy!!! I worry that me and my family wont be able to visit enough, I worry that I haven't started to look for a JOB yet, I'm sad about selling my most loved home, but I am happy to be with my handsome husband again. He left for Denver way back in May. It was a last minute favor to his bosses when someone else fell through to train employees at a new store his company opened up out there. Well, they liked him so much they asked him to stay, with a promotion! It has been touch and go, up and down all summer long, trying to sneak in quick visits with my sugar buns and figure out what was going on with his job. Seriously stressful, but I'm hoping it has a good reward eventually.
I hear only good things about Littleton, so I am excited to explore a new city and have some serious adventures. I'm trying to take this curve ball and sit back and evaluate my own career, see if there is maybe something else out there that I want to try. Maybe, just maybe, when I am so far away from my family I will blog more, and just maybe (though very unlikely) one of my family members will read this blog one day. Haha, we will see. Off to pack more boxes and get things settled on the Nevada home front.