Friday, December 31, 2010

Thinking Out Loud

Another year bites the dust. Gone...just like that. Where did it go? Did I make it count? Do I need/want to make changes? What is in store for 2011? Am I ever going to do anything memorable? Anything worthwhile to make this life count? Have I had an impact on anyone this past year? Did I flounder? Did I share my faith? Did I spread joy and happiness to those I know and love, as well as to strangers? Was I generous? Was I mean or nasty to someone? Will I look back on the things I accomplished and the impact I've made with regret or with joy? Am I making memories?

I could go on and on with questions about my life (past, present, and future). Honestly I am still trying to figure it out. Still trying to grow into the person I want to be. Into the person God wants me to be. Do I want change in my life? Yes, I do! Am I willing to step out of my comfort zone and make positive changes in my life?

Time will tell...won't it!?!

Am I making New Years Resolutions? No. I am not. I will make a list of things I want to do and accomplish in the New Year though.

Here goes...not in any specific order:
  • Yard work (it should really go with out saying since we downed 35 ginormous trees and destroyed our yard as we knew it)
  • Have my Aunt Lois teach me how to crochet. They say it's easier than knitting. It doesn't seem that way to me.
  • Start a scrapbook I'm calling "Project 2011" Random pics and tidbits from each month of the coming year.
  • Read my bible the whole way through in one year.
  • Spend more time in Massachusetts with my guys.
  • Buy a new camera and learn how to use it.
  • And finally, work on this little blog. Learn more, share more and have fun with it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmastime

It's 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve and I wanted to take a few moments to hop on here to wish you a Merry Christmas!I wish I could have you over for a cinnamon roll and some coffee.

Everything is ready (or at least as ready as it's going to be) and we are hanging around waiting until it's time to go to Grandma-Josh's house. I've baked and cooked until I can bake and cook no more. I've wrapped all the presents (with some help) but am seriously considering hiring that part of Christmas out to my niece's next year. We've shopped, decorated, and even stressed a little, but the time has come. It's time to relax, enjoy family and let the madness begin!

On a more serious note, it's also time to honor the real reason for this season...Jesus Christ!! Please don't forget Him in your celebrating. He's the best gift of all!!

My heart is so full of love and thankfulness! Make sure to take time to let it all soak in. To enjoy the little moments, for they are what make our memories sweet!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gingerbread Success!

**I have to apologize in advance for the quality of the photos. A new camera is on my list of needs/wants. It doesn't help that we took the pictures at night with poor lighting either. Sorry!**
I ♥ gingerbread!

Why do I love gingerbread ? Let me tell you a few reasons:
  • The word itself. Stop and say it...g*i*n*g*e*r*b*r*e*a*d. It's a cute word!
  • It smells amazing!
  • It tastes pretty good too.
  • Gingerbread men are adorable...truth be told, I'm mildly attracted to them. Weird I know, but I can't help it.
  • The possibilities when constructing a gingerbread house are endless. The candy choices, color choices, design choices just go on and on.
Years ago I made gingerbread houses with the boys. I think they were about 12 & 14 years old. They each made one. It was fun. We hadn't made one since. I've always wanted to, just never got around to it.
This year I promised myself it would be different. I had been saving the above pattern and instructions from a 2006 Country Home magazine for all these years and decided it was time to make it happen. I enlisted all three of my guys. Reluctantly at first, I might add.
The entire process took about 4 days. The first day we baked the pieces. The second day we did most of the decorating. On the third day we glued it together and finally yesterday we finished the roof and all the little extras. I LOVE how it turned out! But more than that, I love that my guys actually got interested in the whole process. So much that they are already talking about next years house. I feel like maybe a new tradition has been started.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mayhem and Chaos Have Taken Up Residence... our house!

I had plans to post something Christmasy every day for the month of December. Turns out my plans went a little haywire. We had been trying to get a timber guy to come and cut down about 35 large, old oak trees on our property. He came. Three weeks before Christmas and he decided he had nothing better to do than destroy my yard. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that the ginormous trees are gone. (No more worries about one thumping down on the house the next time we have a wind storm.) But three weeks before Christmas!?! Our yard is in a total shambles. Good thing we hadn't finished decorating outside yet.

For now, I'm in denial. I'm in denial about all the work that needs to be done to restore our yard to a useable space. I'm in denial that our yard could/will turn into a muddy mess as soon as the snow melts. I'm in denial that I'm actually going to have to do manual labor. I'm going to pretend (for now) that it's all going to magically get cleaned least until after Christmas.

As I do with everything else in my life, I made a list. A Pro and Con list.

  • The yard is destroyed!
  • Some of the large trees, when falling, took out some of the smaller trees I did not want to see go.
  • We have a lot of work to do.
  • I'll miss the cool shade in the dead of summer.
  • It's going to cost a fair amount of $'s to put our yard back together again.
  • I'm going to have to dress like a lumber jack and will probably get a few hundred splinters.


  • I can plant things other than "shade loving perennials"
  • My house will not stay damp all the time (this could be a plus for my allergies)
  • Natural sunlight
  • Actual grass and not moss
  • Peace of mind knowing that my house won't be smashed to pieces by a tree older than may grandma (rest her soul)
  • The trees that hold my hammock survived!!
  • And finally...I can have the vegetable garden I have always dreamed of. Raised beds with a white picket fence complete with a gate. Backyard farming here I come!!!!

Here are some before and after shots. Oh and just to clarify, we do still have a lot of trees so we won't be baking in the sun. It'll be a nice mixture of sun with some shady spots.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Picking Out Our Christmas Tree 2010

Yesterday we went to the tree farm and got our tree. It was a great day to bundle up and and go out searching for "the perfect tree". We loaded into the pick up, drove to the tree farm, got out and walked around, got back in the truck and drove to another field, walked around and searched. We finally found the perfect tree...but it was a tad too big.

So we got back in the truck, went to another field, walked around, found the perfect tree...but it was tagged...somebody else would get to enjoy that perfect tree. Oh well, to be quite honest, all trees pretty much look the same once they get decorated...don't they? We took the boys.

We took these boys too.

Would it be too much information if I told you that the boys peed on every tree they came close too!?! The furry boys that is. They had a field day! All that unmarked territory. It was almost too much for them.

It took a little while to find the right tree.
Do these guys look impatient? Because I think they look impatient! They said not.
Just down one more, okay maybe two or three more rows we ended up finding the right tree.
Homeward bound...for a hot cup of cocoa or coffee...which, come to think of, I never did get.

The tree is a Concolor (our favorite) and it's just the right size and shape. I cannot wait to set it up tonight and decorate it!!

If you've never had a Concolor before you should give it a try (if you're a real tree kind of person). They smell like oranges and have beautiful bluish long needles. Here's a link to the description if you're interested. Concolor Fir

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Christmas Dishes

Twas the night befor Christmas when all through the house...

I love that Poem! I love dishes! I love that our Christmas dishes have portions of that poem on them. Several years ago, I ran across the most lovely set of Christmas dishes on Dillards website. We've been collecting ever since. We don't have the full poem yet, but we are well on our way. It's fun getting a few new pieces each year and seeing which part of the poem is on them.

It doesn't matter if we're having a nice family dinner or if we're having soup and sandwiches...I really think everything tastes better on a pretty plate.

Here's the link if you'd like to take a peek. Twas the night before Christmas dishes

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Christmas Wish List

Okay, so I have too much stuff. I am trying to downsize the amount of stuff I possess...but...everyone needs a Christmas wish list. It doesn't really matter if I get anything (or everything) on my list. I just like making lists. sweet, loving, generous traveling man reads my blog. I thought maybe I'd help him out a little and post a few things. :)

If I could only have one thing, I, I know I'd want this.
Here's the handy link sweetie... Le Creuset White Braiser Pan

I could be totally happy with it in the beautiful Caribbean color in the event they should be out of white...just saying.
Okay, moving on...If I could only have two things for Christmas, I think I'd ask for this ring. It's so me...and it's so pretty!
And just in case the link is needed...Rose Red Enamel Ring
I adore books. I read mostly non fiction. I can read a cookbook and be happy and content. I like some fiction from time to time. When it comes to fiction, I'll probably hold out for Pioneer Woman's new book in February. It's only available for pre order right now honey, so I can wait.
Anyway...books, here are a few, but honestly you should just tap into my Barnes and Noble wish list. Jared can show you how...right Jared!?!
Since the last book is titled "Keeping Chickens", maybe now would be a good time to mention that I might want to get some chickens. Really, I'm just kicking the idea around. It's good to be prepared though.

A few other misc. things I might desire would be:
  • A gift certificate for a pedicure
  • The 2011 Gooseberry Patch wall calendar
  • Some mini cast iron skillet (for skillet we'd all benefit from that purchase)
  • Gift certificates for Chick Fil A (yum!) Sheetz, Anthropologie, or Barnes and Noble.
  • A couple DVD's (Eat Pray Love or It's Complicated if you're asking)

Honestly, if I don't get anything (except the braiser pan) for Christmas I will still be content and happy cause I have you! ♥

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Merriment and an Advent House

Today is December 1st. The first official day in the countdown to Christmas (at least for me). The countdown to the day we celebrate Christ's birth. I adore the Christmas season! I love everything about it. I love celebrating the birth of my Savior as well as all the traditional merriment.

What do I love about this time of year!?! Let me list a few things:
  • The annual children's Christmas play at Church
  • Candlelight service and singing Silent Night
  • Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army
  • Caroling
  • Christmas music
  • Christmas movies ( Elf and Prancer happen to be my favorites)
  • Snow
  • Decorating and favorite decorations from years gone by
  • Shopping
  • Christmas cookies
  • Family traditions
  • Making a gingerbread house
  • Celebrations with family and friends
  • Puppy Christmas pictures
  • The magical glow of the lights on the Christmas tree
  • Opening the mailbox and finding Christmas cards
  • My Christmas dishes
  • The hussle and bussle felt in the air
  • The quiet times spent in prayer
  • Random acts of kindness
Oh my, I could go on and on. I'll have to come back and add to this list.

One of the decorations I love most is our Advent House. George bought it several years ago. I love that he bought it with our future grandkids in mind. How sweet is that!?! I love that it gets him as excited as a small child. I also love that it is a replica of the one from the famous movie "Christmas Vacation".
Tonight before dinner we will open the first door. It will be extra special since Jared will be here to share in this little tradition. He's been away at college for the last 5 years and isn't usually home that much. I'm so thankful that isn't the case this year!! Just one of many blessings to count.