December 31, 2016

Resolutions...And Why I Avoid Them

Just like that, it is January. The time of year when many people resolve to do things differently. I am not one of those people. Through the years, I have learned that making resolutions does not work for me. That is not to say it doesn't work for others. For me, however, making resolutions to stop eating sweets or to start exercising everyday is setting myself up for failure. And that is not awesome.

I could make a resolution to exercise more.

And I would start and do it for a few days, maybe even a week.
But honestly, I just don't enjoy it.
And that means I won't do it.

I much prefer to spend my free time cozy in a chair reading a good book.
That...I will do.
So maybe I don't resolve to exercise every single day.
Maybe I will make an effort to walk down the road on a nice day with Flynn instead.
Or play a game of basketball with Peyton and Rhett.

I am not making a resolution to completely revamp my eating habits.
I know from experience that doesn't work for me long term.
I like food too much.

What I can do is be mindful of the choices I am making each day.
 If I am having pizza for dinner, maybe I could choose something a bit healthier for lunch, right?

But giving up desserts?
Not likely. : )

Lastly, I cannot resolve to stop worrying.
My anxiety is a part of who I am.

I can continue utilizing the mindfulness meditation and prayers that enable me to put things in perspective.
And lean on my loved ones when I need a helping hand.

So, my friends, that is how I deal with the pressure of making New Years Resolutions.
I don't.
I am mindful of who I am and what I can and will accomplish.
This year, I will continue to be me.
 And strive to be a happy, healthy, content, prayerful, mindful, thankful me.

Happy New Year to each one of you, my friends.

December 27, 2016

The Week In Between

Hello, my friends! I hope you all had a blessed Christmas, and are continuing to enjoy this Christmas week with your loved ones. This week finds us snug and cozy inside our Christmas home, playing new games, watching old movies, eating too much good food, and taking much appreciated afternoon naps. Steve heads to work, and comes home as early as he can so that we can continue our Christmas fun together. We will head out to my sister Margie's for our annual pizza and wing party, and to New Year's Eve Mass as well. Other than that, we will enjoy this most wonderful week of the year safe and sound, cozy together. I hope you all enjoy this week with your people in whatever way makes you happy!

I'll be back next week, my friends.
Happy New Year to you!!!

December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

From our home to yours...
Merry and Blessed Christmas.
May you enjoy every moment of this beautiful season with those you hold dear.

December 23, 2016

Weekend Plans...It's Christmas!

Well, my friends, it's here! The presents are bought and wrapped, the cards are mailed, the menu planned, and the cookies baked. All that is left is to sit back, pour a cup of whatever makes you happy, put on the Christmas music, and relax by the twinkling lights of the tree.

Friday night we plan on doing just that. Plus ordering in pizza. And playing a few Christmas games. I am committed to a relaxing family evening. It all passes so quickly!

Saturday is Christmas Eve! We are going to celebrate by having a festive breakfast of homemade...not by me...cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, coffee and tea. Then we are having our annual family gift exchange! After that we will start preparing our Christmas Eve meal...Steve is preparing marinated pork loin...Peyton will make green bean casserole...Rhett is doing the mashed potatoes...Madison the sweet potatoes...Nicolas is making coleslaw...and Flynn and I are in charge of setting the table. Yay me! Dinner will be early afternoon, followed by Christmas Eve of my favorite Masses of the year. After that, we will dust our lawn with our homemade reindeer food, change into our Christmas jammies, have our dessert, read The Night Before Christmas, hang our stockings, and head to sleep with dreams of Santa and Rudolph in our heads.

Sunday is Christmas Day! Our plans include presents, stockings, food, games, naps, and more food! My mom is planning on joining us for dinner...Lasagna and garlic toast...followed by cheesecake for dessert. I am hoping for some beautiful snow to round out the day, but the weatherman isn't making any promises. In any case, we hope to have a festive Christmas Day. And that is my hope for you as well. : )

The past week has been full of Christmas fun. Here is a little peek...

I have a few new Christmas touches around the house...
This darling vintage jar came all the way from Denmark with my dear Madison...
These new tea towels were a gift from my sweet friend...
And this beautiful gift came as a surprise from a faraway friend. : )
The reindeer sign I added to the mantel...
And the one I placed on the hearth were both gifts to myself!
Because I think we should treat ourselves sometimes, too.
I found them on Etsy.  : )
This beautiful plant was a gift from Steve's employees.
They gave it to me at our Christmas party.
I was so touched.
We ate some yummy Christmas themed breakfasts too.
My favorite French Toast...
And some chocolate chip muffins. : )
Flynn and I enjoyed some afternoon coffee and cocoa...
And then she and Daddy went on a shopping date...
And she was soooo excited. : )
Finally, Madison and Flynn continued their special tradition of decorating a gingerbread house together.
Just the two of them.
My firstborn and my baby.
Christmastime is love.
Don't you think?


Merry Christmas, my dear friends!
Enjoy every moment with the ones you love!

December 21, 2016

Cookie Baking Day 2016

The Sunday before Christmas is always our annual Christmas Cookie Baking Day. This year was perfect. Outside the snow was falling, inside the elves were baking. Peyton was the head baker...she planned and organized and mixed...all in all we baked nine different kinds of delicious Christmas cookies! They were baked, tasted, wrapped, and frozen. Some were packed into brightly colored containers and tied with pretty ribbon before being delivered to some of our special friends and neighbors. My mom joined us to make it the perfect day!

First thing Sunday morning, I lit our cookie baking candle...

Then we donned our aprons...

And got busy baking!

Even little Zip helped by keeping an eye on things. : )

By the end of the afternoon, we had baked nine different kinds of delicious cookies!
Peanut Blossoms
Chocolate Chip
Chocolate Crinkle
Italian Christmas Cookies
Oatmeal Scotchies
Seven Layer Bars

I am so proud of my Peyton Rose.
She took charge and did a wonderful job.

Want a closer look?

Thought so. : )

Merry Christmas Baking, my friends!!!!

December 19, 2016

What If...

Christmas Day is almost here. The most magical time of the year is upon us. The weeks and months of shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, planning and preparing will soon be realized in the celebration of that blessed Christmas Day. As hard as we may try to keep it from passing so quickly, Christmas comes. And like every other day...twenty-four hours goes.

What if we celebrated Christmas as a season, rather than a day? What if we could spend a few days nestled together with our loved ones, without pressure and chaos pulling us back into reality so quickly? What if we didn't have to cram all the joy and blessings of Christmas into one single day? Wishful thinking, I know. But think about it...

We could slow down and be in the moment. We could rest in the knowledge that we have tomorrow to pick up the wrapping paper and sit by the tree with the peace of Christmas Day still in our hearts. We could spend another day playing games and drinking coffee while eating cookies and watching little ones play with new toys. We could also take much needed naps under fluffy new blankets, or even spend the day in freshly laundered new pajamas. We could bundle up and visit aunts and uncles and cousins for another day of Christmas joy.

What if everyone could enjoy a few more days of Christmas without having to run back to work or to the store for after Christmas sales, or worse yet, Valentines Day candy? What if we didn't see discarded Christmas trees on the curb in front of houses on December 26th because people had to clean up before returning to work? What if we didn't experience the inevitable feeling of letdown due to exhaustion and sadness on Christmas night, because this wonderful day we waited for and prepared for all these months was over just like that?

Christmas is bigger than just one day. I fear somehow we lost the meaning of this blessed day in the mix of commercialism, competition, pressure, and technology. What if we looked back, just this once, and learned from the ones who came before? What if we slowed down and stripped Christmas down to what it is really about... The one silent night when the Savior came into the world? What if we all could experience that peace and joy with the ones we love for a few more days before rushing back into the chaos of the world so far removed from that night in a manger so many years ago?

What if Christmas was a season, not just one day? That, my friends, is my Christmas wish. And who knows? Someday my wish may come true. In the meantime, I'll do my best to make Christmas last for my loved ones, nestled here in our country home, for as long as I possibly can.

December 16, 2016

Weekend Plans

These weeks are passing quickly, don't you think?! We are trying to enjoy each and every moment of this magical time of year. This weekend will be filled with all kinds of Christmas fun... Friday night we are having our sweet friend Blueberry Mary and my mother in for dinner. They enjoy each other's company and we always have fun playing all sorts of games. Dinner will be a big pan of comfort food...macaroni and cheese...and Peyton is making a cake for dessert in my mom's Christmas tree cake pans. : )

Saturday we are free until late afternoon Mass. After Mass we are attending an Italian Dinner at our church. My kind of night! After that, it will be home and jammies for this old gal! I am hoping for a cozy night by the tree with a good Lifetime movie and a cup of hot tea. So exciting, right?

Sunday is our annual Cookie Baking Day! We will put on our aprons and bake all day...We are still determining which types of cookies will make the cut, and I am hoping my favorite Chocolate Crinkles will be in the running! We usually order pizza for dinner that day. And we will finish the weekend with The Holiday Baking Championship. No more Walking Dead until February. Sigh...

So that's what is happening around here this weekend. And here is a bit of what happened this past week in our Christmas home...

My little Flynn wore pink for the third Sunday of Advent...

And then we baked doughnuts.
Because. Christmas.

My Flynn and her baby.
In matching jammies.

Christmas cards were written...

While snow fell outside...

Making it look...and Christmas. : )

Our little elf brought Flynn a new cookbook.
Peyton helped her that very morning...

And she made the best pancakes ever.
And...yes. I do like a bit of butter on mine. : )

She and Peyton also planned and prepared a beautiful and delicious Christmas tea...


My Madison is home!!!!!

And we are happy!!!!!!

Have a blessed, cozy, Christmas filled weekend with the ones you love, my friends.
It is the most wonderful time of the year!