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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wait

While we were on vacation recently, we laughed at the number of times we said, "We'll see..." to the kids, and they said "YAY!"  thinking that meant YES to whatever they were wanting or waiting for.  Waiting... It's not something that most of us would say we're "good" at, is it?

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint." (King James Bible)

In this context, wait means to rely upon.

The idea of waiting has been on my mind a lot lately.  I have a friend who is waiting to begin radiation treatments on Friday.  I follow a blogger who is waiting to give birth to her daughter - days overdue.  I follow another blogger who is waiting for her sweet preemie to be healed, and to grow stronger.  I am waiting for my kids to get over the flu - waiting to see if my husband and I will be next.  All very different things on the waiting-spectrum.

I am reminded that I need to WAIT on the Lord.  That means rely on him.  Each of our needs are important to him.  He knows about my friend's radiation treatments.  He knows when a sweet baby girl will be born.  He knows when another sweet baby will be healed.  And, he knows that my kids have the flu.

If I am waiting on the Lord, I am relying on HIM for my strength.  Wow - that sounds a whole lot better than what I will be able to accomplish in my own strength after only a few good hours of sleep.  Renewed strength?  Running without being weary?  Walking without fainting?  Sounds good to me.

I am choosing to wait upon the Lord today.  If He says "we'll see", then I'll just wait some more - for I know He wants the very best for me.


Many thanks to Shabby Blogs for the frame freebie!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Just Hit "Reply"

I have noticed that on some blogs there is a way for the blogger to "reply" to the comments she gets on any post.  A nice touch I think.

I have ALSO noticed that sometimes when I POST A COMMENT on someone's blog, they respond via e-mail.

Which is better?  I have tried to respond via e-mail, but find that some people don't leave their e-mail on their profile - so I hit a dead end, and thought the "reply" button might be a better option.

Therefore, I have been GOOGLING "add reply option to blogger comments" - and there are several sites that offer to help with this.  However, when I follow their directions, I: #1-get a 404 error, or #2-end up with a reply button that just leaves another ordinary comment at the end of the post - as if I am a visitor, and not the blog-owner.  (I even tweeted my dilemma, but got no responses.)

I'm hoping that one of my lovely readers will have the answer to my blog question.  HELP.  Just leave a comment. (ha!)  I'd love to hear from you (but I might not be able to REPLY).

REPLY to "Live a Life EXTRAordinary" - who sent good wishes for my sick son... THANK YOU.  He is feeling somewhat better.  I hope you'll be feeling better soon as well.

REPLY to all the people who have left sweet comments about my December Daily pages -OR- my blog name -OR- my Pomegranate Post (Who knew?)... THANK YOU.


update (April '12): I am laughing at this post.  After blogging for a little longer, I now know that I can have comments sent to my e-mail, and that I can respond to them directly (via e-address, or by leaving a comment at the commenter's blog.)  Aaaah, experience!


Everyday Thankfulness

Well, what a couple of days it's been!  We returned home from our Disney trip, and about 30 hours later, my son was really sick with this year's version of the flu.  So let's see, here are some of the latest things on my "thankful for" list:

* I am SO thankful that we were safe at home before "the bug" hit.  SO THANKFUL.  * I am thankful for a washing machine and dryer that work.  SO THANKFUL.  * I am thankful for my son's sweet attitude when I told him that I had washed the iPod in his pants pocket.  * I am thankful for rice (yes rice) to draw all the water out of my son's iPod.  * I am thankful for a newly handed-down carpet cleaner, and cleaning solution.  SO THANKFUL.  * I am thankful for ginger ale.  * I am thankful for a weekend for recovery before we get back into the swing of things this week.  ** I can't even believe I am saying this (you parents of teenage boys will understand), but I am thankful that my son is able to eat today.  *** I am thankful that this morning, after 24 hrs. in rice, the $iPod$ seems to be working.

The thankfulness continues...
What are YOU thankful for today?  If it seems silly, it's NOT.  C'mon, write it out loud.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Finding Joy in the Simple Things (Pomegranates)


A few weeks ago, I read a great blog post on "How to cut, de-seed, and eat a pomegranate."  Since then, I've been dying to try one.  My only experience with pomegranates was pomegranate flavored 7-UP.  While delicious, I was pretty sure that was not the entire experience.  Yesterday, I finally remembered to buy one.  What's amazing is that the fruit is filled with these edible seeds -- and that is all there is to it.  They are very juicy seeds, and delicious - with a little crunch.  (Yes, the 7-UP is a good copy, minus the crunch!)





Saturday, November 27, 2010

~ Our Thanksgiving Celebration ~

Happy Thanksgiving -- a little late!
Did you have a wonderful holiday?
Was it filled with traditions,
or did you do something completely out of the ordinary?


For the past three years, we have had a Thanksgiving Open House at our house.  We open our home for a noon-time meal for both sides of our family.  The first year, we had 14 people (including our family of 4).  The second year, 11, and last year, there were 19.  It's always a fun time to be together.  Whoever doesn't have other plans, plans to come to our house.  Our intention was not to steal the thunder from anyone who had previously served Thanksgiving Dinner, but that the Moms - my husband's mom and my mom - wouldn't have to cook every year for their entire families.  We serve the basics, and ask that everyone brings a dish to share.  It has worked out wonderfully, and there is always more than enough food - including some leftovers for those who stay into the evening to play games.

This year, however, our family did something completely out of the ordinary.  For months, we have been planning a special Thanksgiving - not in terms of the menu, but rather the location -- as in, a Disney ship, and Disney World! 
  

There were eleven of us to be exact.  It was a family trip celebrating my parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary!  It all began with a Disney Cruise on The Disney Wonder --and what a wonder it was!  We left Port Canaveral in high spirits, and The Disney Wonder did not disappoint.  I love being near the water, so really, I would've been happy to just sail the seas for a few days.  But Disney pulls out all the stops, and with all the trimmings too!  There is not one detail that they haven't thought of.  We were lucky enough to sail during Disney's Christmas Season - so the ship and the parks were decorated & ready for the holidays.


Nassau, Bahamas was our first stop.  Most people would've enjoyed all of the local shopping, but since almost half of our group were children, that didn't prove to be an exciting option.  Back on the ship, we found lots to do: kids' cooking classes, swimming, movies (inside or out), as well as sun-bathing, and just plain old relaxing!


The following day our destination was Castaway Cay - Disney's private island.  What a beautiful spot!  We enjoyed an amazing lunch on the island, as well as swimming, biking, & even para-sailing  (That's my son up there...recognize him?)  The options were really endless, but we used the day mostly to relax.


Next up was Disney World.  Our choices this trip were The Magic Kingdom, and Epcot -- a magical combination for sure.  This was a whirlwind week for our family.  Even so, we had time to be thankful.  As we stood at the airport baggage claim on our home turf, we all agreed that considering all we had done (x 11 people), it had been truly an "uneventful" trip (meaning it all went smoothly & without incident).  How could we help but be thankful for that?




Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Keep Christ in Christmas!

Does it ever seem to you that store clerks are coached to say the politically correct "Happy Holidays" rather than Merry Christmas?  It's become rare to have someone tell you "Merry Christmas!"

I will never forget one particular incident involving a young lady who told me "Happy Holidays" as I prepared to leave the store.  My immediate response to her was "Merry Christmas!"  I was surprised to see her literally heave a sigh of relief, and say, "OH, Merry Christmas to YOU TOO!"  You could tell she had just been itchin' to say that ALL DAY!

Keep Christ in Christmas!
Remind the world of the true meaning of Christmas!


Monday, November 22, 2010

The Christmas Guest

by Helen Steiner Rice

It happened one day near December's end,
Two neighbors called on an old-time friend
And they found his shop so meager and mean,
Made gay with a thousand boughs of green,
And Conrad was sitting with face a-shine
When he suddenly stopped as he stitched a twine
And he said, "Old friends, at dawn today,
When the cock was crowing the night away,
The Lord appeared in a dream to me
And said, 'I am coming your guest to be'.
So I've been busy with feet astir,
Strewing my shop with branches of fir,
The table is spread and the kettle is shined
And over the rafters the holly is twined,
And now I will wait for my Lord to appear
And listen closely so I will hear
His step as He nears my humble place,
And I open the door and look on His face. . ."
So his friends went home and left Conrad alone,
For this was the happiest day he had known,
For, long since, his family had passed away
And Conrad had spent many a sad Christmas Day.
But he knew with the Lord as his Christmas guest
This Christmas would be the dearest and best,
So he listened with only joy in his heart.
And with every sound he would rise with a start
And look for the Lord to be at his door
Like the vision he had a few hours before.
So he ran to the window after hearing a sound,
But all that he could see on the snow-covered ground
Was a shabby beggar whose shoes were torn
And all of his clothes were ragged and worn.
But Conrad was touched and went to the door
And he said, "Your feet must be frozen and sore,
I have some shoes in my shop for you
And a coat that will keep you warmer, too."
So with grateful heart the man went away,
But Conrad noticed the time of day.
He wondered what made the Lord so late
And how much longer he'd have to wait,
When he heard a knock and ran to the door,
But it was only a stranger once more.
A bent, old lady with a shawl of black,
With a bundle of kindling piled on her back.
She asked for only a place to rest,
But that was reserved for Conrad's Great Guest.
But her voice seemed to plead, "Don't send me away
Let me rest for awhile on Christmas day."
So Conrad brewed her a steaming cup
And told her to sit at the table and sup.
But after she left he was filled with dismay
For he saw that the hours were slipping away
And the Lord had not come as He said He would,
And Conrad felt sure he had misunderstood.
When out of the stillness he heard a cry,
"Please help me and tell me where am I."
So again he opened his friendly door
And stood disappointed as twice before,
It was only a child who had wandered away
And was lost from her family on Christmas Day.
Again Conrad's heart was heavy and sad,
But he knew he should make the litte girl glad,
So he called her in and wiped her tears
And quieted all her childish fears.
Then he led her back to her home once more
But as he entered his own darkened door,
He knew that the Lord was not coming today
For the hours of Christmas had passed away.
So he went to his room and knelt down to pray
And he said, "Dear Lord, why did you delay,
What kept You from coming to call on me,
For I wanted so much Your face to see. . ."
When soft in the silence a voice he heard,
"Lift up your head for I kept My word--
Three times My shadow crossed your floor--
Three times I came to your lowly door--
For I was the beggar with bruised, cold feet,
I was the woman you gave something to eat,
And I was the child on the homeless street.
Three times I knocked and three times I came in,
And each time I found the warmth of a friend.
Of all the gifts, love is the best,
I was honored to be your Christmas guest."

I loved this poem the first time I heard it read - on a Reba McEntire Christmas album.  It makes me think about all of the people that the Lord has put in my path - and makes me wonder if I served them in the way the Lord would've had me serve them.  Wouldn't it be amazing to hear those words from the Lord?  "I was honored to be your Christmas guest."


Praying that God makes Himself evident to YOU this CHRISTmas Season!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

If We've Ever Needed You

There's so much going on in today's world.  Some days - it's just an effort to keep up.  Don't be mistaken - I don't mean on a personal level.  I mean all the unrest in the world - and really, if we hear of one more tragedy - one more crisis... I just wonder sometimes how much more this earth can bear.  And then I remember who is in control...  I know who holds the future, and I know HE holds my handPraise God.

I received this image in an e-mail the other day, and wanted to share it.

I made it the wallpaper on my computer.  It is a reminder every time I sit down here.  It is a reminder to my daughter who said "wow, I like THAT!" when she passed by.  It's a special verse to me - because I shared it with our kids when my husband was so sick several years ago.  We pictured God and Daddy, hand in hand.  It helped us remember who is in control.  Who indeed. 

This is one of my current favorites: "If We've Ever Needed You, Lord It's Now!"  -- by Casting Crowns.  I'll hope you'll take a listen!  It reminds me that the Lord does not intend for me to walk through this life and handle it all on my own.  I am ever-thankful that He walks by my side.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Soup Season!



Rejoice!  For it is soup season!  Can you tell I ENJOY soup?  (It's possible that I have mentioned this in a previous post!)  I really do.  I could live on soup from fall (as soon as it gets cold) until early spring, when it is still cold!  If it weren't for my family asking me to make anything other than soup, I probably would do just that!  Seriously though, my family...good sports.  'Nuf said.




Today, I am making Vegetable Beef Soup.  It's a recipe that I concocted about two years ago (after looking at LOTS of others).  I make it in the crock-pot, but it is just as easily made in a big pot on the stove.

Vegetable Beef Soup
5 cups water
5 packets/cubes/tsp. low sodium beef bouillon
a dash of garlic salt
1 can of tomato sauce
1 lb. ground round, browned & drained
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 potatoes, sliced/cut how you like 'em
1 can green beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste

We tend to like our broth on the light side (meaning: not too strong).  You could certainly adjust anything about this recipe to suit your tastes!  Enjoy -- and stay warm!




Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All Because Two People Fell in Love

I am blessed beyond belief to have parents that committed to stay together -- no matter what.  At the time of their wedding, my grandmother wrote a letter to them as a couple.  The letter was copied by my mom, and shared with my husband and I at the time of our wedding.  Mom thought the things my grandma shared were timeless.  I think she was right.


Mom and Dad with their wedding party ~ 1960

One of Gram's "pearls of wisdom" was this: 

"Remember - during these (difficult) times, one must be the crutch or leaning post.  One has to be the cheering section for the other.  This is the way you can see these things through."  

This may seem like such a simple thing - but in a society that is becoming more about me, me, me, I believe that it becomes more and more of a conscious decision to act in this manner.

I am so thankful for the example that my grandparents set for my parents, and in turn, the example that my parents set for me.  They have all lived what they believed, and followed their own advice.  My parents have always been that leaning post or cheering section to one another.  My husband and I try to live that out daily as well.

I'm hoping that perhaps someday, when we pass along Gram's letter at our children's weddings, our kids will be thankful for the example that my husband and I have set as well.  I can only hope.  In the meantime, I am ever thankful for what IS, and what has gone before -- making us the people that we are.  For better or worse.

p.s.  Happy Birthday Mom.  I love you!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

These are a Few of My Favorite Things


Raindrops on roses and...
No - you didn't really think I was going to go THERE, did you?

But seriously, this seems to be the time of year when people are posting their favorite things - or things that inspire them, or make their lives easier.

Since I have just recently joined the world of blogging, I've been thinking a lot about the blogs that I follow, and why I follow them - are they just fun to read, do they help me, inspire me?

Here are some that top my list:

I LOVE Ali's approach to scrapbooking and memory keeping.  By approach, I guess I mean the simplicity and clean lines of her pages, because the interesting twist is that Ali is "a lot digital," and I am a-lot-NOT.  But I love Ali's style, and am a big fan.  She has shared tons of amazing ideas with her blog-followers, not the least of which are her "Week In The Life" and "December Daily" projects.  You know I am excitedly tackling the December Daily album this year!  C'mon December FIRST!  I'm ready for you!  A Week in (my) Life album may come in 2011, who knows?

This of course, is Becky Higgins - creator of "Project Life"  I love to read Becky's ideas for pictures of the day, her decorating & spray-painting tricks, and her suggestions for Project Life.  I used the kit version (vs. the digital version) for my Project 365 this year.  I have taken (at least) one picture every day all year, and have put them all in this album, using all the goodies that come with the kit.  It is a fun way to get a "snap shot" of your entire year without doing scrapbook layouts for every single event.  It is definitely a simplified approach, and I have enjoyed the journey.  It has also stretched my imagination for picture taking possibilities - even though I am strictly an amateur.  Becky recently revealed a Project Life sneak peek HERE. (Wait until you see the new designs & product options for 2011!)  I'm thinking about a different approach for next year - perhaps a week at a glance, and not necessarily a photo from each day.  There are so many ways to use this product.

This blog is just plain fun.  If you are one of those people that watches movies and falls in love with the houses, or if you just like to look at interesting homes, Julia is the one to "hook" you up.  She has a passionate pastime, and it makes for one interesting blog.  The other day, I watched the movie "Stepmom," and I got to wondering about that house.  I asked Julia about it, and sure enough - she had pictures and info to share!

I found this blog recently, and have been challenged by what Sandy shares.  Her blog challenges us to open our homes more, and relax and enjoy that time with family and friends. She's got lots of good ideas for planning get-togethers, and plenty of recipes to pass along too! 

Kara Layne Photography & Design 
If you like to look at gorgeous pictures of normal people like you & me, check out Kara's blog.  She is a most-awesome photographer who captures her subjects in beautiful ways.  There are lots of family & wedding shots here -- so fun to look at... I know you will enjoy pouring over Kara's site.  She shares a lot of sweet stories too!

This is only a drop in the blog-bucket.  There are many other blogs that I frequently check in on.  I'll share more another time.

You must have favorites as well!  Please post a comment and tell me about your favorite blog -- perhaps with a link for easy access?

Enjoy your day!


Monday, November 15, 2010

December Daily Foundation Pages

I'm thankful for the opportunity to link up with other December Daily album creators on Ali Edward's Project BlogMy foundation page photos are also viewable on my Flickr page (see "My Photography" in left-hand margin for link).  For those who have not visited before, I'm doing my album on a budget.  Ali's best advice was that I keep it simple.  Coincidentally, I have recently learned that I have "commitment issues" when it comes to scrapbooking -- so I am "good" with the idea of keeping things simple!  Most of my little embellishments are not glued down yet.  I want to be sure to have the flexibility to move things around as December progresses.  So, here we go...

 My (inside) cover page - an oops on one of Ali's freebies
- printed it whole-page size!

 12 Days of Christmas from Ormolu.  (shopormolu.com)

Looking for interesting date NUMBERS? Do a Google search for the number & "images". Some interesting things pop up that you can print!

 
 Another oops-oversized tag of Ali's.
"Hello Winter Kraft Tag" from the Winter Celebrations MiniKit

 I believe these tags were also a freebie from Ormolu.
(Correct me if I'm wrong so I can give proper credit.)


Bought one 12x12 sheet of journal blocks.


Bought a fancy 12x12 sheet w/ a collage of recipes,
& saved Hershey's cocoa label for Christmas baking pages.

There are 3 baseball card page protectors throughout the album -- just to break up the routine a little. I have all the spots filled in right now w/ either patterned papers or white cardstock for journaling. ...easily changed out if I have lots of pictures on these days.


 I've been finding things in the mail... on seasonal marketing postcards or catalog covers.  I go through the mail carefully each day to see if there is anything at all that I can use.

Using things I have...

"Beautiful Gifts!" from a seasonal marketing postcard.

"Best in Snow" from the Lands End Kids catalog.


A favorite Christmas story from my childhood. I copied it onto cardstock.
It is two pages glued together. Pretty sturdy.



From the ToysRUs catalog

 Kmart paper?  "toys"

"winter sticker" (Ali Edwards)


 Love this saying.  It's been on my bulletin board for a long time.
Decided to take it down & use it in the album.

a "gift card" holder - purchased at Target.

Another enlarged Ali Edwards tag.

 
 "25 Christmas twenty-ten" freebie from Ali Edwards.



a medium-sized gift bag - just slightly smaller than album size.
Handles are cut off... good for a little "catch-all" at the end of the album.

Thanks for stopping by.  You can see my other December Daily posts by clicking on "December Daily" under labels at left.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

Yesterday - 5PM
I prepared an early dinner, as we were heading out to a concert at The Civic Theatre in the evening - along with my husband's entire extended family.  The occasion was a concert-package-Christmas-gift from his parents.  Last night's concert was "The Music of Richard Rodgers," and I thought that I (read: ONLY me) would know a lot of the songs and would want to sing along.  (Yes, I am the person that sits behind you and hums all the songs.  Forgive me.)

I found myself wondering how the younger people in our group would fare - and how much (if any) of the music they would find familiar.



11PM
What a great evening!  The first song was "March of the Siamese Children" from the musical "The King and I" - and recognized by my daughter.  When she was younger, we watched the animated version a LOT.   The second song was "It's a Grand Night for Singing" from "State Fair," and the COMPANY came on stage to sing.  The "company" consisted of a local high school symphonic choir and included, not 1, 2, 3, or 4 -- but 5 students that our kids knew from church.  Kinda cool.  All of a sudden the whole thing took a turn, and it didn't matter so much if my kids knew the songs - they were watching their friends perform!

Also included were songs from "South Pacific," "Carousel," and "Oklahoma."  And it WAS a grand night for singing.  There was one encore, and it was "Do Re Me" from "The Sound of Music."  Wow - we knew that one!  Everyone was encouraged to sing along, and it was a great note on which to end.

Success.  Memories recalled.  Time shared.  New memories made.  And, looking forward to the next concert in the line-up: "Holiday Pops" -- a week before Christmas!

{Side note:  I'm already thinking of how I can add these programs & tickets to my December Daily album!}

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's for Dinner?

That's a common question around here at about 4:00 in the afternoon.  Today the answer was "Pumpkin Pancakes", and the kids both said "oooooh," instead of "ewwwwww."  You gotta love that.  I should interject here that "ewwwww" is not a typical response at out house.  But you know what they say about silence... wait, that doesn't apply here.  Anyways - you know how the kids don't respond, and you think they are "secretly" not liking your choices for a dinner menu?  {Or is that only at my house?}

Anyway, I digress.  A few weeks ago, a friend on facebook "said" that she was making Pumpkin Pancakes for dinner.  That sounded so yummy and "fall-ish" that I kept it on the back burner of my mind -- for some time in the future when I didn't have a plan.  That was today.  So, I Googled "Bisquick Pumpkin Pancakes", and this is what Google gave me.  I'm using up the Bisquick before we dig into the Hungry Jack (a recent Twitter winning - which I just received today).  We did however use the Hungry Jack syrup.  The no-drip spout comes in the form of a smiley face.  So, in reality, while you are pouring syrup, it looks as though the eyes are crying.  And just about the time that you realize the little spout is smiling and crying at the same time, syrup comes out of the "mouth."  I'm not even gonna go there.


Here's the recipe.  There were a few omissions on their part and mine.  Please see my added notes.

PUMPKIN PUFF PANCAKES
[Full credit goes to Cooks.com]

2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. cooked pumpkin
1 3/4 c. Bisquick baking mix
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger
 1/4 c. canola oil

In small mixer bowl, beat eggs on high speed 5 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. {My note: Add other ingredients, and mix well.  They forgot this part.}  Pour batter by tablespoons onto medium hot ungreased griddle. Bake until puffed and bubbles begin to break. Turn; bake other side until golden brown. About 15 dozen 2" pancakes.  {My note: I used a small ladle, and got about 18 small-ish pancakes.  And OOPS, I "Pam-ed" the pan.  Someday I'll learn to read all of the directions! ...or not.}

They were a success.  We voted that we {read: I} would make them again.  I confess that I was rather proud of myself.  Typically, I am impatient, turn the heat up, and end up burning some of the pancakes.  Not tonight.  It was an all-around yummy dinner-time.

I hope you will try this recipe.  Again, I claim no credit {well, maybe for the notes in brackets, and the no-burning part?}  If you try the recipe, let me know how your family likes the pancakes!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reconsider your Amazon Shopping

There was alarming news across twitter and the blog-world today.  It appears that Amazon is selling a book that is SO offensive, inappropriate -- & just plain wrong.  It's incredible to think that they thought they could get away with selling this without any repercussions.  If you are a parent, or love a child, you may take particular offense, and want to show Amazon where you stand on this issue.  Many people are contacting Amazon to let them know that they will no longer be shopping with them.  You can read more detailed information on the sites listed below.

Rachel at No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane has done her homework, and you will find good information there about contacting Amazon should you choose to make your voice heard.

Thanks for reading.  Hug your children extra tight tonight. 

Thursday Morning NOTE:  In all fairness, I must also share the e-response that I received from Amazon this morning.

"Hello,  
This book is no longer available for sale.  
Thank you for your recent inquiry. Did I solve your problem? If yes, click here".....etc.

Thankful for their decision.  Still really disappointed in their original choice.

Even more disappointed (days later) to hear that there are other questionable materials on sale at Amazon.  They have not won me back.

FYI - Anderson Cooper seems to have his finger on the pulse of what is going on.  


Are You a Reluctant Entertainer?

Are you?  I confess that I am.  As much as I enjoy having people in our home, it takes a lot to get me inspired & motivated to host a gathering.  Sandy Coughlin at Reluctant Entertainer understands, and has a great website that encourages that reluctant entertainer in all of us.

Today, she has a great giveaway too.  One lucky winner will win an 18" x 18" plaque that states: "The fondest memories are made gathered around the table" from Back 40 Life.  What a beautiful sentiment.  For a chance to win, head on over to her blog, and check out the ways to enter.  

AND, if you go HERE, you can find out how to print out "The Reluctant Entertainer's Ten Commandments of Hospitality."  My favorite on the list is #7 - "Don't apologize.  It's okay to make mistakes.  Learn to not bring them to light in front of your guests; it robs your guest of relaxation."  Slowly, I am learning this one.

I'm hoping to be less of a reluctant entertainer this holiday season.

Thanks Sandy, for all of your great ideas!

                                                                  Reluctant Entertainer

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our Security Blankets

We have more blankets, quilts, & afghans around our house than we will ever know what to do with. Since the first baby quilts that our kids received from Grandma (at the hospital), THEY have been hooked on blankets. When I look at our collection, it's no wonder. It's in their blood. We have cute "throws" that we have been given or purchased to go with the colors in a particular room.  We also have a huge quilt ...that my husband's grandma made, and a twin-sized one that my mom made for me. But it doesn't end there. My side of the family is also HEAVILY(smile) into afghans! My grandma & great aunt loved/love to crochet - and we have been recipients of much of their work (including a Christmas Wreath afghan that my great-aunt crocheted -- pictured below).  When my gram passed away, I was blessed enough to "inherit" one of her own afghans. It's not pretty. (I'm just being honest here.) It is dark green and a shade of rust (also pictured below). It's sort of a blast back to the 70's or something. But, I will tell you this: when I am not feeling well, there is nothing in the world like wrapping up in Gram's own afghan. Oh, the memories that it holds! (How many times did I lay under it at her house? How many times did Gram herself lay under it for her after-dinner nap?) I can't think of anything as treasured as the various "security blankets" around our home!   

 

Do you have a collection of something special that your entire family enjoys? 



Monday, November 8, 2010

A Chance to Win $500

Wow - who couldn't use a little extra money at this time of year?  Amanda over at "i am mommy" is giving us a chance to win $500 - so I'm spreading the word!  If you click on the link above, and read "Gravy and Stuffing Baby", you'll not only get a great stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving, but you can read about entering for the chance to win $500.  WooHoo!  How easy is that?




The Simple Things


On Saturday, we woke up to a touch of snow.  There wasn't much, but it's amazing how the thought of snow speeds fall up a little bit.  All of a sudden, I was in a hurry to get that last pumpkin carved so I could bake the last of the seeds.

And then, wondrously, there was an afternoon flurry of snow. Only my daughter and I were around to witness it.  We both grabbed our cameras and ran - before we missed it.  There we were scurrying around in the yard, trying to take pictures of the snowflakes as quickly as they could fall.

I love that we were like-minded in our scurrying for the camera...in our love of photography...in the thrill of the chase for a great photo.  I'm not sure either of us got a great photo -- but we gained a memory!




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