Thursday, December 22, 2011

More December Days

December 17:  more tag making

17 December

December 18:  making hand balm for gifts

18 December

December 19:  Hand balm and sugar scrub, packed and ready to give away.

19 December

December 20:  My husband made peanut yummy!

20 December


These days are slipping by so quickly and there are still so many more things I want to do.  Tomorrow, making gingerbread is topping the list, along with making these cute little hot chocolate stirrers to have for Christmas Eve.

I'm thinking this chocolate cake is going to make the menu this year, as well.  It's said to be the best and with that cup of coffee added to the batter, I can imagine it is delicious!

These lemon bars are definitely on the menu...I can't wait to get these made and have one with my afternoon coffee.  Yum!

And, isn't this the most elegant idea for using mason jars, greenery, cranberries, and floating candles?  So pretty.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The last three days

In keeping up with my December shots, here are the last few days, busily blurring by....

December 14:

14 December

December essentials:  four sets of eager-to-help hands, scissors, tape, calendar, lists, ribbon, gift tags, wrapping paper, and most importantly, joy.

December 15:

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15 December

The annual gingerbread house...finished!  It's cute, too.  :)

December 16:

Picnik collage

Bowling!  We had a blast playing a couple of games, eating pizza for lunch along with some fries and cookies.  It was definitely a great way to let go of the stress that can come along with the season.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

13 December

I had a  day out for some Christmas shopping with my girls. They grabbed the point and shoot from my purse and made me smile....I made them do the same.  ;)

Picnik collage

We were able to get most things done and they were able to shop for their brothers along with adding a few more items to their own lists...of course.  It was a good day, and I always look forward to my individual shopping days with both the girls and the boys each year.  We take our time, have lunch, and pick out gifts for family, this year was no different.  I love all the memories we make and the traditions we carry on every year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 December

12 december

I love finding little love notes left from one sister to another.  It makes my day.  :)

Todays highlights:

  • school work
  • school work
  • and more school work
  • oh, and laundry too.

On tomorrow's and orthodontist.  Again.

I was really happy to be featured on the These Moments blog.   Click on over and see all the beautiful, daily moments collected there.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

11 December

12 11 11_4129

  • spontaneous meet-up with family and friends for pizza
  • a surprise football signed by none other than Nick Saban!
  • the kids were just a wee bit excited
  • lots of delicious pizza and appetizers
  • lots of laughing
  • and talking
  • and enjoying
  • it was a great evening.

**The photos were hard to come by in this dimly lit and such strange glowing colors from the lamps...everything was heavily cast in a red-orange glow.  Thank goodness for editing software in instances like this, and still the colors are weird, LOL!**

Saturday, December 10, 2011

10 December

10 december

10 december

10 december

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an instant

  • making time to read this new's so hard to put down.
  • a few moments of photo editing
  • gift wrapping
  • new boots for the girls
  • another Christmas parade to ride in
  • beads to throw
  • moon pies to snack on
  • sunshine and cold breezes
  • a Christmas dinner party with the neighbors who will be out of town for the holidays
  • a super-fun Christmas game involving dice and a gift wrapped about 10 times and covered almost impenetrably with many different kinds of tape.
  • glistening Christmas lights
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • a quiet house
  • finally falling into bed tired after a really good day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Catching up...

I can't believe it has been a week since I last posted! Time really does fly.  It makes me wonder how I was able to keep up with daily posting every day in November.  Then again, this has been a busy week with something going on every day.  So, in an attempt to catch up with my December posting...

December 3:

3 December

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12 03 11_4058

12 03 11_4070

Parade time!  The kids were able to ride a float in a local Christmas parade.  The floats were all lit up, music filling the air, and so many happy faces to see along the route.  The kids had a blast throwing all those goodies.

December 4:

4 December

We saw this beautiful nativity scene during our drive around the neighborhood.

December 5:

5 December
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I did a little sparrow watching outside my mom's kitchen windows.  They are the cutest little birds.

December 6:

6 December

More Christmas lights.  I love the solid white lights.  It would be perfectly fine with me if everyone would just leave them up all winter.

December 7:

for real. {7 december}

For real.  This is the state of my house right now.  I'm working on it...

December 8:

making. {8 december}

Making gift tags...just beyond the sea of clutter in the previous photo.  Yep.

December 9:

9 december

Salt dough ornaments are quick and easy.  The girls loved making these.

That's all I have in photos.  Not seen were the school lessons, the grocery/Christmas shopping, the weekly guitar lessons and library run, the several hours I spent this week making photo books (I'll share the results as soon as they arrive in the mail), my boys' new smiles...they had braces put on Wednesday afternoon!  I do have photos, but they're a little touchy with the pictures-of-braces-on-the-blog thing, so I'll have to sneak them in soon.  They did great with the braces, though.  Very little pain and irritation, so we're happy.  Also, not seen was my appointment at the podiatrist yesterday and the second round of a cortisone shot to my heel to hopefully begin easing the pain that I've been struggling with daily.  I sure hope this shot works...ouch.  Then, today along with painting ornaments, we took time to hang some outdoor Christmas lights down the driveway, away from Cooper, our yellow lab, since he has an appetite for just about anything {read: crazy dog}.  We have no outdoor decorations on the house or in the yard, but the driveway is sure to look great!

So, that sums it up, these last seven days whirring by in a quick blur.  I'm hoping planning to slow down for the rest of this season and try to savor the moments as they come and go.  For the rest of today, however, I need to put it in gear and clear the clutter lurking on every surface.  An orderly house will be just the thing to help me slow down and enjoy.

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, December 2, 2011



Today we did things a little differently.  The boys woke up at 6am and we were doing our lessons by 7:30.  They are usually allowed to sleep in until about 8am because, at thirteen, I feel like they need as much rest as they can get. The trouble is that we're always so late getting started with our lessons, nearly 9:30.  That means that we are always barely finishing by 2pm or even later.  And since the girls are more active with their lessons at this stage, it can be really difficult to manage all four of them doing different things at the same time.  

With the shift in start times, our lessons went well today. I was able to spend time with the boys first, covering our English and grammar, science, and history.  By that point the girls were awake and ready to start their lessons while the boys went separately to finish the day with their math lessons.

All of this means earlier mornings for me, too, since I like to wake up much earlier than the kids for a little peace and quiet before the day begins.  I'm thinking that I'll be up by 4am most mornings, but it will be a good trade-off if things continue to go as well as they did today.  It was nice to be finished with the boys by 11:30 while having time to devote to the girls alone.

In our spare time during the day and at night while the television is playing some sort of Christmas movie, the girls and I have also spent some time making Christmas gift tags.  It has been a fun thing, spending time with fancy scissors and mod podge and twine.  Maybe I'll get some photos up this weekend.

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I'm still trying to recover from Thanksgiving last week, too.  For the last several days, most meals have included lightly sauteed greens of some kind and plain brown rice. Those two simple foods have been so delicious and satisfying, and hopefully cleansing as well.  This morning I added an egg to my rice and collards and was full all day, right up until dinner tonight.  Last night, however, was an utter fail.  Without getting into an enormous amount of detail, the whole summary involved a propane tank that was running on fumes due to my failure to pay attention to the gas level and a delivery driver not showing up until after dark.  All of that led to an order of pizza...and soda.  I suppose I could have managed without eating any, but I gave in and had some, knowing the whole time just how I'd feel afterward.    :-/

This morning I put myself back on track with my greens and rice and water and am still on track this evening, so I'm hoping that last night's dinner won't turn into an even bigger failure.  I also happened to read this blog post today and it pretty much sums up the past week for me.  I have done exactly the same things and feel exactly the same way about my actions.  It reminded me about eating for power and energy, both of which I'm going to need so much of over the next few weeks.  It reminded me just how bad it feels once that piece of pie is finished, once that ice cream cone has been eaten, and for me, once that piece of bread makes its painful journey through my digestive system.  It also made me realize that to feel well, I have to eat well.  I know this.  I've experienced it time and time again.  But still, there are times of utter weakness where I eat all the bad stuff anyway, even knowing how I'll feel.  It's crazy behavior, I tell you.  

Ultimately, I know where I stand right now and that is a major accomplishment for me.  I know I have choices to make to keep these thirty pounds permanently off while ridding myself of even more.

Tomorrow is another day - with choices to make.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Homemade Lotion


Now that I'm finished with my month of Habit and gratitude I wanted to tell you about homemade lotion.  Yes.  I finally made my own.  I've had this on my to-do list for a long time and have never taken the time to gather the ingredients and just do it.  The simplicity of this recipe from Amanda at The Habit of Being made me dive right in.


I ordered my beeswax since I couldn't find a local supplier.  I bought the one pound bar of beeswax and I'm sure it will last for years.  I always have a good supply of both olive oil and coconut oil around here and even some favorite essential oils.  I chose to mix the oils, about one-fourth cup of coconut oil and one-half cup of extra virgin olive oil because I wanted it to be a medium weight lotion.  I also added several drops of orange essential oil and it smells divine.

I hope this natural lotion will help with my insanely dry skin.  My skin has become so much drier over the past year or so and nothing, no matter how much I pay for expensive brand lotions and creams, ever works.  I've been using it for only the past few days and I like the results so far. The most important thing to me is knowing what is in the lotion.  There is no long string of mystery ingredients to worry about and I don't mind that my kids slather it on whenever they please.  I'm also hoping that this will help to soothe Isaac's eczema.  I think I'll make another jar just for him with tea tree essential oil for the added benefit of its antibacterial properties.

November 28 - Habit

I do wonder about one thing though....would light olive oil work as well?  My main concern is if it would be sticky, because extra virgin is absolutely not sticky. I was thinking too, this could be a wonderful homemade gift idea for the holidays. I'm considering pairing it with a recipe for sugar scrub and giving it to all the ladies on my list. I would love a gift like that!


On another note, can you believe it's December first already?  Yesterday I went out to do my Christmas shopping and thankfully I'm about 95% finished!  I had a list, a plan to keep things simple, and I reminded myself to keep focused.  I'll have one more trip to make to finish up just a few things that I couldn't find the energy for late yesterday and I should be done.  That is such a huge relief.

One thing I'm looking forward to today is beginning an Advent storybook, Jotham's Journey.  We read this one a couple of years ago and the way the story unfolds is just beautiful.  The kind of beautiful that sends little shivers down your spine as you read each day, getting closer to Christmas.

Have a beautiful first day of December.  xo

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gratitude : 30

November 30 - Habit

November 30:

November has been beautiful this year, I have fully enjoyed it.  But, to celebrate the start of December we went out for a drive after dinner to see the neighborhood Christmas lights (already!).

Thank you for a beautifully inspiring month, Habit.  


This month's gratitude posts wouldn't be complete without expressing my thankfulness for my family.  Those five people in the photo above mean everything to me.  They complete me, my soul, my heart, my life.
I am ever so grateful that I was blessed with each one of them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gratitude : 29

November 29 - Habit

November 29:

Things crossed off today's list:  bill paying, internet shopping, list making, and eating the last piece of pumpkin pie.

also here.

On a side note, I'm so glad that pie is finally gone.  It's just too tempting to have in the house {it is my favorite} and has completely shaken up my health-food-only way of eating in recent months.  Tomorrow is a new day.  It makes me thankful that all the Thanksgiving food is now in the past.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratitude : 28 and Last week in details

November 28 - Habit

November 28:

I was feeling certain today would be totally unproductive, but I'm thankful that it turned out to be the complete opposite.


Last week in details:
  • We intended on doing our school work for a couple of days this week, but....
  • On Monday I had a house full of little ones, my four plus three more (two cousins and a neighbor) made for lots of running and laughing and playing.
  • That made me decide that sometimes the most important thing for kids to do is to just be kids...doing all the things that they do best. 
  • Tuesday was filled with the usual guitar lessons and the first appointment for the boys as they get braces.  Spacers were put in and a little discomfort was had.  Taco soup was on the menu that day.
  • Wednesday was filled with prepping some Thanksgiving day dishes here and also with going to my Mom's house so we could help her with her preparations for the big family Thanksgiving gathering there.

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  • I loved seeing the kids dive in and help her with making their own pie crusts, pie fillings, and toppings.
  • I loved watching her in the kitchen with them, letting them basically have free rein over it all, the chopping of veggies, the putting together of the recipes, the rolling of the dough, the fillings, the meringue toppings, and even the clean up, which Claire especially likes.  She loves to pull her stool up to the sink and do the washing.
  • Pine straw was raked and put around the house. Everything looks so good when fresh straw is in place.
  • Finally, I was back in my kitchen doing more prep work and making pumpkin pies.  One regular pumpkin pie and one sweetened with agave.  It was delicious!
  • Thanksgiving day started early with the turkey being first in the oven. Dressing and apple pies were next in line.
  • We went to my parents' house to have our official Thanksgiving day dinner although I made our own dinner to have here at our house, too.
  • There were lots of family and friends gathered, some who live out of state (and I wish they lived next door), some who are friends that feel more like family, and of course, those that are near and dear every day of the year.  It really was such a blessed day...we are so fortunate.
  • The day extended into night and all things were finally cleaned up.  I think that is an important part of the whole celebratory process...the coming together to clean up and put things away.  It is just as important as the coming together to prepare and share the meal.  

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  • The day after Thanksgiving was a good one, too.  We had a cousin stay the night of Thanksgiving and was here with us to begin our Christmas decorating.
  • The tree was put up, lights were strung, cinnamon ornaments smelled delicious, holiday music was played, and plenty of leftovers were eaten.  Oh, and pie, too.   
  • Friday night our cousin stayed again with requests to stay even another night.  I said that he definitely could.  ♥
  • Saturday was warm...too warm, really.  It felt like early September rather than late November.  The kids played football half the day anyway, while looking forward to the cool front to make its way through that night, hopefully bringing much cooler weather with it for the start of next week.
  • Sunday was filled with more playing children, running here and there while I baked them chocolate chip cookies.
  • The little cousin finally made his way back home. They were all a little sad to see the long weekend come to an end although they were all completely worn out from all the playing.
  • The night ended peacefully and just a bit early, just the way I wanted.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gratitude : 27

November 27 - Habit

They played and laughed for four days straight, when it was over we were all looking for solitude.


Everything seemed to drop, especially the energy level.  We all pulled back into our quiet spots for just a bit before continuing on with the evening.  That tired-down-to-the-bone feeling seems to be creeping in.  I think an early bedtime sounds like the perfect cure-all.

Tonight I am so very grateful for peace.and.quiet.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gratitude : 26

November 26 - Habit

November 26:

All the doing and the going and the cooking and the cleaning and the keeping up with kids and the decorating and the noise is finally catching up with me.  I'm sure that tonight I'm going to enjoy the downtime I'm determined to take.  I'm grateful for the moments of peace I can get when my husband is home.


also here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude : 25

November 25 - Habit 

November 25:

It has begun...the cinnamon ornaments, the twinkle lights, the holiday music, the smell of Fraser fir,
and the excitement of happy kids.  


also here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude : 24

Apple Pie Morning

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On this day of thanks I have so much to be grateful for.  Like watching all four kids get their hands into the process of making dinner, watching my mom pass on such beautiful traditions and memories to my children, the same as she did with me.


Favorite parts of the day were the early morning apple pie making with Emma, the smell of baked turkey and cornbread dressing, the large but intimate gathering of family and friends, a beautiful blessing before we ate, a plentiful bounty of food so that not one person was hungry, sweet treats of nearly every kind, long conversations and little jokes, games and laughter.  So much goodness.

Before the blessing was said, we were reminded of this Thanksgiving prayer that really puts things into perspective:

Oh, Heavenly Father, We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service, That Thy gifts to us may be used for others.
                        from Dear Abby   

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude : 23

November 23 - Habit

November 23:

Today Gratitude fills the air.  Christmas music on the radio, little ones helping to chop veggies for tomorrow's meal, the house smells like sauteed onions, celery, and bell pepper, the oven is warm with crispy cornbread inside, the turkey is finishing its thaw, cranberries are waiting to be made into sauce, turnips are waiting to be cleaned, and pies are being planned.

Along with all of this, of course, is the messy kitchen, the onion peelings on the floor, cornbread crumbs that will find their way into the dog's mouth, little sticky fingers sampling all the sweet treats, the piles of stuff scattered on the table, the occasional feeling of not being able to do it all.  But, one thing is for sure, I wouldn't change a single thing.  All these things add up to the most perfect and blessed attitude of gratitude.  My heart runneth over.