Thursday, December 29, 2011

Crayons and Color Books

This is one of those posts that falls under the "I can't believe you post about this stuff" heading for my husband. He is constantly laughing at me because I take pictures of my scrapping, crafting, baking or other general life stuff.

BUT, he texted me at work to tell me we were invited to a party that starts just as I will be arriving home.

For a little girl.

Girl stuff isn't exactly what I have on hand at any given moment. I have boys. And though it was just Christmas, there are no spare presents floating about. Not that I know of, anyway.

So...

I punted.

Its been my experience that

1. New Crayons are ALWAYS special, no matter the age. I'm 41 and like opening a fresh box of crayons as much now as ever in my life.

2. Coloring books are fun to buy and fun to color in...especially when they don't have super heroes, Cars characters, dinosaurs, or Toy Story characters. In other words, the color books I buy for my boys are not as much fun for me personally as the ones I buy for other people's girls.

3. Michaels' dollar aisle has some pretty awesome things for hostess gifts, easy wrapping and general decorating. I make their bins a regular stop. Today they did not let me down.

So, I came back from Michael's with three really cute coloring books, some crayons, wrapping paper, ribbon and a pretty butter fly clip (which can be a hair clip when she's done unwrapping). EVERYTHING except the Crayons had a $1 or less price tag. The Crayons were $2.99.


After a little scotch tape, it looks like this:


Present crisis averted!

And, its super cute!

AND I have once again flabbergasted my hubs for posting about something totally mundane and innocuous.

Peace, ya'll!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

One Little Word - Redo

For 2011, my OLW was BUILD.

This is how BUILD is defined:

to construct by assembling and joining parts or materials
to establish, increase, or strengthen
to mold, form, or create
to increase or develop toward a maximum

I know I have not done these things in my life this year...

I'm going to do something about it...

Rather than choose a NEW word for 2012...

I'm going to REDO.

I'm using BUILD again.

Because this year, I want to get it RIGHT.

How about you?

What is your word for 2012?

Peace, ya'll!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!



And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling-clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were in great fear. And the angel said to them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For to you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling-clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.

And it came to pass, when the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even to Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

~ Luke 1:2-16 ~

Merry Christmas, and Peace ya'll!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve.

Tonight we will read the Christmas Story from Luke and put out cookies and celery for benevolent Santa and say our prayers and sing Happy Birthday Jesus.


And after everyone is in bed, I'll make myself a hot drink and settle with my camera in front of the tree to take my annual Christmas Eve tree photo, and remember that a baby was born to save my soul. I will remember that He could have come with all the force of heaven, in a violent and powerful kingly way...but that He came instead quietly and serenely as a helpless baby to fully experience humanity. All Praise to Jesus!


Could've come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could've come like a forest fire
With the power of heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

You could've swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we've scarred

But You came like a winter snow
(Yes, You did)
You were quiet
You were soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Oh, no, Your voice wasn't in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn't in a rushing wind
It was still
It was small
It was hidden

You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Friday, December 23, 2011

One Solitary Life

I've posted this here often in my blogging time...it never ceases to amaze me how something that seems so very complicated is, in fact, something quite simple.

The credited author is Dr. James Allen Francis.

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.

He grew up in another village.

He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty.

Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home.

He never wrote a book.

He never held an office.

He never had a family.

He never went to college.

He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.

He had no credentials but Himself...

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves.

While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat.

When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.


Never underestimate the wonder that God can do with one simple and solitary life!

Peace, everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa Is Alive & Well - And We Are On His Team

I post this once a year...we firmly believe this way in our house...

I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go."
"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything.

As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.
"Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.
I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill , wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about though, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's second grade class.
Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

"Yes," I replied shyly. "It's ... for Bobbie." The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas. That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it -- Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie.

Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

Author Unknown

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOAH!

Two...

Mr. Noah Boa is Two...

Hard to believe this little bundle...


Now is this little bundle of energy:


At two, his favorite foods are grapes, french fries, fish crackers and raisins.

He's an amazing sleeper...a full two hour nap each day plus a full night's sleep. YEA!!!

He LOVES things that roll...so, essentially balls and cars.

Mickey Mouse is one of his favorite characters - he calls Mickey "Cuca"

He also loves the Backyardigans (the first song he ever really learned) and Yo Gabba Gabba - which he calls "YO YO GAB GAB"

Music and dancing are some of his most favorite things...he likes to dance along with YO YO GAB GAB and also can sing many of the songs - like Keep Trying and My Name Is.

He also sings Jingle Bells (NEE NEE NOSE), Happy Birthday Jesus (just the first two lines, over and over...and he substitutes Mommy, Jayden, Daddy and himself for Jesus when he feels like it), and Go Tell It On the Mountain. Go Tell It On the Mountain is actually Oh, Ell Ihhh Onnn Mahn Nen in Boa-ese.

He still sleeps in his crib because he has not yet figured out how to climb out. Once he's figured that out, we move on to the big boy bed.

He still uses a paci when he's going to sleep. Our kids have given them up fairly naturally...Boa willingly relinquishes his when he gets up. He won't be hard to break completely.

He likes stories, and can often be found reading to himself in his crib after he wakes up.

He LOVES school - he calls it "cool"

He calls himself "Boa" and identifies himself in the third person "Boa's cool day?"

He is a rough-houser. He likes to wrestle, run, jump, slide, spin, tumble and crash.

He's a mad sword fighter - even has the stunt-double "OH YOU GOT ME" move down.

He's a complete copycat right now.

He is usually the one who begins prayers at mealtimes. He tells us to "Pay" and then squeezes his eyes shut, folds his hands and sings a meal-time prayer.

He's extremely helpful - he picks up, puts things in the trash, likes to help carry things, will wipe cupboards or the fridge if you give him a wet paper towel, and thinks he knows how to use a broom. VERY helpful.

He likes to go to Target. He will even say "Mommy. I go Tahhhget."

He's got the GREATEST smile in town...seriously.

Happy Birthday, Noah Boa!

WE LOVE YOU!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two for Tuesday - Christmas Dinner Recipes

I love big Holiday meals...Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas...

In my mind, it should be Ham, Turkey and Prime Rib, respectively, for these meals, but honestly, I'll take any large hunk of roasted meat and delectible sides...I'm not that picky.

What I LOVE is that we see the fancy and/or traditional side dishes that come out...home-made cranberry relish, marshmallow-sweet potato casserole, butter and parsley new potatoes, green bean casserole...you name it.

I'm kind of a snob about side dishes...I like everything in them to be as home-made as possible. A few years ago, I started making Made-from Scratch green bean casserole and I've never gone back to the canned soup version. The made-from-scratch is totally worth the time and effort. It tastes SO good. I kind of figured it should apply to as many side dishes as I could muster...plus that way, I know precisely what is IN those side dishes.

Since we had our first child, we've shared holiday's with grandparents and have been blessed to share the cooking too. We divide and conquer the meal so that none of us has to do all of it.

We're still ironing out the details for THIS Christmas, so I have been trolling my recipes and think no matter what else ends up on the table, I'm going to use these:

First up is Hash Brown Casserole.


The recipe I use is pretty much the same one that you can find on Little Rock Mama's.

My sister makes this in a way that cannot be matched...and even when I follow her recipe to the letter, her's is always better. She does that "you just have to eye it" thing and they always turn out perfect. I don't have her eye. Still, they end up so so good...I'll probably sub the canned cream of chicken soup with a very easy cream soup recipe I have, just to add that extra layer of yum.

And I'm also thinking we will be having Balsamic Roasted Carrots a la Epicurious. I've actually made this dish for a regular old dinner and my kids loved it. Always a plus for a veg dish. To make it special, I'm toying with trying to find some fancy multi-colored carrots like these:


I just kind of want to see my kid's faces when I show them a purple carrot!

What are YOU doing for your holiday meal?

Peace, ya'll!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Muse - The One with the Art Book

I found this on Pinterest via my friend April.

It originally comes from Kay Winiecki Designs.

It is absolutely, positively brilliant.

I'm totally doing it.


Now, this muse inspired me to get creatively organized...totally something to be thinking about for the new year. And with two kids in school, LOTS of artwork and papers come home...I'm thinking this is the way to go. I can do it by year.

What about you? Would this inspire you to do something creatively organized?

Peace, ya'll!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

10 on our Tree

I find it amazing what ends up on our tree each year - especially since I used to have barely enough for one small tree.

There are some ornaments that come out year after year - like a blown-glass clown with very, extremely, dangerously delicate feet (why do I bring that out every year again!?!?!?), while some ornaments are brand new - like those that Mr. Noah received just last year.

We have so many ornaments that we could easily fill two trees (or more...). Sadly there is no SPACE for more than one tree in our home (unless you count the baby in Jayden's room, but I don't).

I am keenly aware that one day my boys will take their individual boxes of ornaments and decorate their own trees and our family collection will have diminished by lifetimes.

This year, the tree is full to overflowing with beautiful ornaments. I realized after sitting in front of the tree for some time that the ornaments on it say a lot about who we are as people.

This one says we love Jesus! We love the story of the Christ child, we believe he came for us and we celebrate His birth at Christmas. It also reflects an art style that is from my mom's side of the family - Norwegian Rosemaling.


Next up...a giddy, skinny Santa. This tells you we place Santa in the right role in our house...he's not such a serious thing. He comes, he leaves a present or two (never more than two) and fills up our stockings. But he's not the reason for our season. More for us, he represents the spirit of freely and joyfully giving to others.


Ahhh...Max and the wild things. This is Jayden's. He used to LOVE this book. We read it night after night after night and each time the story was new and exciting for him. This one tells you how much we love a good story in our house. We have several such book representations in our collection, but this one represents a book that is loved by both Mommy and the boys - a generational favorite!


Another precious Nativity ornament. It took me a few years of hanging it on the tree to NOTICE that the half-circle that the Holy family is sitting in was the wings of an angel. One night, by the twinkle lights, I noticed it for the first time. This reinforces how much the celebration of Christ's birth matters to us.


Luke and his Landspeeder. This is one of around 10 or so Star Wars ornaments. Star Wars is something that my husband LOVES. He has helped me to love it (not as much as him, but I LOVE it!) He waited in line as a kid to see what is now called Episode IV, but at the time was just Star Wars. Over the years, we've gathered many of his favorite characters. This tells you we love Star Wars.


I'm not sure how long this ornament will last. I hope for a very long time, but one never knows how these handmade things will age. This tells you that we honor the art and creativity of our children.


Mr. Grinch and his dog Max. This is another favorite story, cartoon and movie. I think this message is clear...we don't believe in grinching at Christmas and we fight to make sure our hearts are never two sizes too small.


Our praying gold angel is an ornament I bought long long ago when I could barely afford ornaments. Its so old, I'm surprised its lasted this long. Prayer is my lifeblood and this particular ornament is precious to me because I know that without prayer I would be completely lost.


Wolverine, Captain America and Ironman. Now, this is an ALL JAYDEN thing. Daddy is not a Marvel guy...he's a DC guy (you know...Superman, Batman...) but Jayden is all Marvel. He loves every single character and has taken a particular interest in the X-men. I confess, I'm pretty partial to Batman, myself, but this little boy has his own super hero's to admire!


This is a reindeer that Jayden and I made last year for his classmates. We didn't manage to get anything done this year (sigh...TIME!) but we have this one from last year hanging up so we can remember how easy it is to make art from every day things and how important it is to honor the craft of our hands.


So, there you have it...10 from our tree.

What's on yours???

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fun Little Christmas Gifts

I think that how you wrap a gift is half the fun of giving...

and lets, face it, who hasn't totally loved an amazingly packaged gift! Sometimes how a gift is packaged is the sole reason we buy it!

For a couple of gifts this year, I've made CD's of favorite music - as I have in the past.

Packaging in this case is easy - CD cover's with die cuts and stickers. The supplies for these all came from a single Paper Studio scrap pack and my Cricut Christmas Cheer cartridge:



Each cover was different and I let the recipients choose the one they wanted.

My second little pretty was a mini-lunch box that I got for $1 and supplies from an old Cloud 9 Design Christmas line plus some Basic Grey Basics sticker trims, a bit of bling from Want to Scrap, some random ribbon trims from my stash and those adorable little pins from Little Yellow Bicycle:


I really love that little ribbon + pin combo for putting a "bow" on a present.

Peace, ya'll!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2 for Tuesday - Christmas Tags

I have a bunch of presents that are being shipped around the country...and some for the teachers at the boy's school that needed a little extra something to look special. So, I made up a couple of batches of cool tags using scraps and some older supplies in my stash.

These were made using some scraps I had from Jillibean Soup, Collage Press and one other that I cannot remember. The stickers are from an old Cloud 9 Design Christmas collection and embellishments from Girl's Paperie.


The second set is scrap paper from October Afteroon, stickers from Basic Grey and some dimensional tree stickers from Making Memories...SO SIMPLE!


What do you do to give your packages that extra UMPH?

Peace, ya'll!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Muse - The One with the Multi-Media Christmas Tree

Today's muse is courtesy of Christy Tomlinson and her amazing multi-media art:


I'm in love with the shabby, glowing, glorious quality of it...

How about you?

Peace, ya'll!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

OVERLOAD!!!

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Panic would be such an easy way to go right now...

You see, there is SO MUCH TO DO!!!

There is an Elf on the Shelf.

There are Christmas CD's to be made.

There are photo projects.

I'm doing December Daily so I remember to SLOW DOWN and enjoy some of the month.

There are still gifts to purchase.

And wrap.

And ship.

Or hide.

There are cookies to be made.

There are little boys to entertain.

And lets not forget that I have a real job.

So...if see me only sporadically, please forgive me...

I'm living the best way I know how...

And fitting in as much as I can...

But the blog. Not always on the top of my priority list!

Peace, ya'll!