Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Keepin' It Real...Naptime

And I don't mean for the kids.  In the interest of fairness, I feel compelled to admit to you that yes, I take a nap. Almost every afternoon. I am a morning person. I awake early, shower early, begin my day early. And that makes me happy.  It also makes me sleepy around the same time every afternoon. Could I hop on the treadmill instead of onto the couch? Absolutely. Should I? Probably. But that would mean missing out on one of my Flynn's favorite parts of the day...snuggle time. Since she was little we have taken time most every afternoon to snuggle in the same spot with the same blanket and recharge for the rest of the day. She calls it Snuggletime. : ) She used to sleep as well. Now...not so much. She snuggles and watches a show or two while this old lady gets her rest. Note: Homeschool Bonus...Older kids at home in case Mom falls asleep on the couch. And honestly, I will truly miss this special time when she outgrows it. But then again, I'm 45, and haven't outgrown it yet. : )

If you need me, this is where you'll usually find me around 2:00 everyday. Try it sometime. It will change your life. Promise. : )

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Don't Forget...National Chocolate Cake Day!

Just a reminder! Tuesday, January 27, is National Chocolate Cake Day! Really. It's a thing. As if I need an excuse to bake and eat chocolate cake! So put on your aprons and get baking! And don't forget to share you photos!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Today I'm thinking about...

...Time. And how quickly it passes. I have learned to stop lamenting that fact and have tried to embrace it by living in the moment. Time passes, things change, children grow. So why not hold on and enjoy? Here are a few pictures of the past wintry week in our part of the world...

My beautiful mother...she loved the pillow I had made for her with pieces of my dear father's favorite ties...
My sisters and I shared our memories of my father wearing each one with her. She recognized them right away, and told me she will treasure it always.
My Madison had her first Mary Kay skin care class, and Peyton was happy to help her out with the refreshments! Not pictured would be these amazing brownies. Because they were devoured as soon as I put them out! Thanks, Sarah! : )
My baby...with braids...
and the next day without. : ) And yes...she took a paper shamrock to Mass. And it sang. : )
Just me...
and my coffee.
Have a wonderful January weekend, my friends! : )

Monday, January 19, 2015

Make Your Winter Fun...Celebrate!

It is no secret we love to celebrate holidays in this house. I began celebrating these little holidays when I had three little ones five years old and under with a long, cold winter stretching out before us. It was a way to give them something to look forward to, as well as add some fun to our winter days. As with most things, it became a tradition we continue to this day. Why not start your own traditions this year?

Below are the upcoming holidays you can plan for and celebrate any way you choose! Remember, it doesn't have to be Pinterest inspired or expensive...just fun and festive and yummy! I get my supplies online from Party City. I have seen items on Oriental Trading Company and at Walmart as well. Often times I have leftover supplies, so I keep them in labeled Rubbermaid containers. Each January, I look and see if I need to replenish any for the upcoming holidays. Easy and fun! : ) So...mark your calendars and begin the planning. There are a lot of special days coming up!

Super Bowl
Sunday, February 1
Even if you are not a huge football fan, it is fun to watch the commercials! We usually make some fun snack food and a sheet cake to celebrate.

 Groundhog Day
Monday, February 2
Rise and shine! You can catch the real Punxutawney Phil around 7:00 Am EST. We also read these books, and use this adorable cookie cutter to make groundhog cookies. We like Molasses cookies with a mini chocolate chip for the eye. You can visit the official site here to find the cookie cutter as well as printable activity pages for the kids. : )

Valentine's Day
Saturday, February 14
What better reason to celebrate than Love? We make a nice meal of stuffed shells and garlic toast every year. Peyton also makes a special dessert to celebrate. I purchase the BEST chocolate hearts to place at each setting. I have done this since Madison was little, and the kids look forward to that little heart every year. You can find them here.

Mardi Gras
Tuesday, February 17
This is a fun one! We decorate the table with beads and masks and have a blast. Peyton and I make our version of a King Cake and we celebrate before Lent begins.

Chinese New Year
Thursday, February 19
What better excuse for Chinese Take Out? We love to decorate and eat and read about the Chinese new year traditions. Working on the chopsticks, though. : )

St. Patrick's Day
Tuesday, March 17
This is another fun one! We wear our green and gold and have a good Irish meal of Red Potatoes, Cabbage and Bacon. And of course, our traditional Lime Jello Poke Cake. : )

So there you go! Some special days to brighten your winter. Mark your calendars. And please post about your celebrations, too! : ) 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thursday Thoughts...And A Winner!

Today I'm thinking about...

...Not much! I'm enjoying this little time of the year in which we have few commitments and more time spent at home together. We are hunkering down in our country home and planning meals, doing schoolwork, watching television programs, playing games, and making treasured family memories. It is January. And as nature slumbers and refreshes itself, so do we. : ) Here are a few pictures of our past week together...

Kirby is enjoying the snuggly days with us. : )

My little lady all set for Mass last Saturday...

and my little Sunday morning treat.

We worked on Thank You cards for the thoughtful Christmas gifts the kids received...

and Daddy took some young people outside to build a snowman. Thank Heaven for outdoorsy husbands!

 Cupcake Day. What more can I say?

My Madison. Last weekend she embarked on her first "Grown Up" adventure. I am so proud to share with you that she has begun her career as an Independent Mary Kay Consultant! She was born with a makeup brush in hand, and I am so happy that she is choosing to embark on a career in which she will be able to put her talent and knowledge to use, as well as do something she truly enjoys. And I am also proud that she is beginning while still finishing high school. She attended a Mary Kay conference and came back so excited to begin. If you are interested, please feel free to visit her website and check out her products. She ships anywhere in the United States! You can find her here. : )

And congratulations to Mary! She was picked by my personal assistant Peyton as the winner of the Little House On The Prairie DVD set. Please email me your information and I will get it right out to you. : )

And that's a wrap! Have a cozy, blessed weekend friends!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Our Winter Home

Christmas is packed away, but our home is still decorated. For winter, that is. I am always ready for the bare, uncluttered space that January brings. It is peaceful and cozy after moths of holiday fun. Here is a peek at our winter home...

The hearth room is cozy with touches of snowmen and snow flakes...and the beautiful poinsettia that somehow still alive. ; ) 
Gone are the candy canes on the little holiday tree...
but cute little snowmen take their place. : )
And the mantel is all set with touches of snow fun and blue.
Around the corner, this little table holds some snowy touches. And containers that hold lots of Christmas candy. : )
I am loving the fresh, clean scent of a new Let It Snow candle.
And am also loving that we decided to keep the cocoa center out as long as it is cold outside.
The kitchen table is clean and simple...just the way I like it.
And if you are missing those cute Christmas scented soaps...no worries! This Iced Blackberries is amazing!
A few touches add some warmth the the family room...
as does Peyton's favorite winter throw. : )
The kids are LOVING the card table I set up in the foyer. All of a sudden they are rediscovering wonderful games to play together. I am going to keep this up as long as they want. I love the time they spend together as the snow falls and the wind howls outside.
And finally...we are enjoying this crisp, fresh scented candle every evening in our winter home.
Stay warm and cozy, my friends!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

This Makes Me Happy...Retro TV Shows...And A Giveaway!

Santa added to our Retro Television Show collection this Christmas, and we are glad! I want to share a few of our favorite shows that we enjoy watching together as a family. These shows are the ones I grew up watching with my sisters, and am happy to say my own children enjoy them as well. It is no secret that I place a large value on the importance of family time, and this is one way to spend it. Each night, after dinner and after the kitchen is cleaned, we gather together and spend some time watching these classic shows. I encourage you to try it, especially during these blustery, cold winter evenings. Here are some of our favorites...

This is our newest addition...the original Batman. So much fun!
Always a favorite...right Kathleen? : )
We haven't started this one yet, but I am waiting!
Fave. No other words necessary.
And this one...simply love.
All of these are available at Walmart or Amazon...perhaps even Netflix or Vudu...but if you want a head start and would like to win a brand new set of Little House on the Prairie Season One,  just leave a comment below. It is one of our favorites, and I would love to gift one to one of my readers. We will draw a winner Wednesday, January 14, and announce the winner on Thursday, January 15. Good Luck!
So remember to gather together and find a show you all enjoy. Spend time together as a family. It may seem silly, but retro television shows make me happy.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Today I'm thinking about...

...Christmas being over. And how sad that makes me. Not just because I love all things Christmas...the music...the family...the tree...the lights...the food...the joy...But because it means another year passed. Another year of my children moving farther away from that magical place called childhood. Another Christmas with a little one filled with the wonder of Santa is passed.

... How much I love January too! As much as I love Christmas, I also look forward to the quiet that is January. I embrace the peace and calm that the long, cold evenings bring. We gather here together after dinner in our country home and watch television and visit while the wind howls outside. Things slow down and we can just be.

...My resolve to be in the moment. I realized recently that this is the last semester of school that Madison will be here with us. I vow to be more in the moment and relish each and every day spent with my four children laughing and talking and learning together. : )

Here are a few photos of what we have been up to these first few days of the brand new year...

This little guy grew up to become my wonderful, amazing father. And he celebrated his 80th birthday in Heaven this week.
So we made the cake we made him every year. And celebrated with him in our hearts.
My little lady was all set for Mass on Sunday. And decided to take a Chihuahua Webkinz with her, of course.
We packed away Christmas. And we miss it. But to make our daily dinner special, I lit this pretty candle. And it was good.
Have a cozy weekend, my friends!
Happy New Year!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas And New Year's 2014

Well... another wonderful Christmas Season has come and gone. Presents and memories and even a few cookies remain. I hope you all enjoyed a cozy, peaceful, lovely time with those you love. Here are a few pictures of our Christmas days...

We began our Christmas celebration on the 23rd, the first day of Christmas Break. I surprised the kids with our first Annual Rudolph Breakfast! I love Rudolph, and wanted to extend the Christmas fun as long as possible. The kids and Steve were thrilled.  : )

Christmas Eve was wonderful! No snow...but cloudy and cozy and cold! We lit our traditional Christmas Eve candle...the one that burns only one special day a year...

We spent the happiest day of the year relaxing, tracking Santa, drinking cocoa, and getting ready for Mass.

We decided to attend the later Mass, and had dinner first. We had our large meal on the 23rd, and decided to have an easier but still delicious meal of Pizza Stromboli for Christmas Eve.

After a beautiful Mass and a sprinkle of homemade reindeer food on the front lawn, we had dessert. : )

Then we read The Night Before Christmas and hung the stockings. And the kids went to sleep on the happiest night of the year. And yes...we hang a stocking for our little puppy, too!

What good sports I have! The annual top of the stairs picture...

We opened stockings first and then had a delicious breakfast of cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, and Kringles.

Then it was time! Santa had come and my children were excited! Madison was thrilled with her Polaroid Camera. Yes...they are back!

Peyton was in awe of her gifts...she loved a set of books Santa found!

Rhett was sooooo happy! He could not even choose a favorite!

And my baby. Her favorite? A jack-in -the box. Forget technology. The tried and true classics are timeless. : )

Christmas Day was cozy here in our country home. Just the six of us together, blessed and happy.

The week in between Christmas and New Year's was spent very much the same way...cozy and warm at home. We played new Christmas gift games...

and drank cocoa with Fluff...

and attended Mass in new Christmas clothes...

and held onto Christmas while looking ahead to a brand new year.

Soon it was New Year's Eve, and we baked some red velvet cupcakes and decorated the table...

and went to Mass before heading home to our little family New Year's Eve party.
We played games, and watched movies and all stayed up to ring in a brand new year.
I looked around at that moment and realized how blessed I was to have all four of my children and my husband together on New Year's Eve. I wanted to be in that moment forever. And so I tucked it into my heart, where it will remain for me to pull out whenever I want.

I want to remember so much about this season...How much fun it is to have a little one to pull the older ones back into the magic...how excited my baby was to read The Night Before Christmas...how she left cookies for Santa...How my children's eyes sparkled as they saw their presents...how we were all together at our table with Raspberry Ginger Ale in crystal wine glasses. I want to remember how very blessed I am. So I write it down. And keep these memories in my heart.

Happy New Year, my friends!
Thanks for visiting!