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Friday, November 29, 2013

Four Things For Friday 11.29.13

Hello everyone and welcome to the post-Thanksgiving edition of Four Things For Friday!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! 

Here we go...

1.) What a blessing to be able to spend time with family yesterday. We had a delicious meal with Hubster's family. By the way, the Cheesy Onion Casserole was a hit....really yummy. Later, we had time to head over to Sal's house for some pie and coffee. Circumstances we know of lately in different friends and acquaintances lives have reminded me about the importance of embracing every moment to be together as family and to not take any time for granted. It is so great to be able to have a day without distractions and other commitments to be able to just be together. I'm really grateful for those who work in service occupations such as police, firefighters, and hospital employees. I've been there and it is a huge sacrifice to be away from your family on these special days.

2.) Playing board games with your family is one of the best things ever! We did it with both parts of our family yesterday. In both cases, it brought together three generations to have some fun. There is nothing like playing a raucous game of Scattergories with your family! Memories were made, for sure.

3.) Today is the day we put up the Christmas tree at our house! Yeah! 
Here is a "before" picture of our Christmas tree spot. I promise I will show you the "after" next week.

(Really bad, early morning, non-edited "before" sorry!)

4.) I am really excited to blog through this Christmas season. I have a lot of plans going through my head of projects, recipes, and traditions that I want to share with you. I hope you will join me....and maybe even tell a friend.

Well, that's it for this week. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to take a moment today to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

 I hope and pray that you will be able to take some time to think about all you have to be thankful for and to surround yourself with those who mean the most to you.

Today's Thankfulness....

* For family

* For a home

* For health

* For freedom to worship as we wish

* For Jesus, my Savior

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christmas Trees And A Great Blessing

I have some pretty Christmas eye candy for you to look at today. But first I want to share with you something that has been a huge blessing in our lives.

We often take it for granted, but we have a wonderful asset in our community and that is our Children's Hospital. All three of our kids have received treatment there at different times and continue to see specialists there. Little did we know when we adopted three children from India that we would need their services so much.

Our Children's Hospital treats children from all over the region, but is located right in our back yard and we are really grateful.

For many years now the hospital's big fund raiser for the year has been a Holiday Tree Festival. Individuals and business donate beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, and other decorations that are then for sale. There are also raffles for large prize packages.

The tree festival is always held during the week of Thanksgiving and yesterday I took a little trip downtown to see this years trees.

 Here's a little sampling. The Christmas trees range from the very traditional, to elegant, cute, whimsical, and just plain fun trees. The traditional red and green ones are still my favorites.

Here are a couple close-ups of some of the details. I loved that reindeer in his cable knit sweater!

This was my favorite "non-traditionally colored" tree. The blue, green, and silver were just stunning.

This tree was one of my favorites. Just about all the decorations were made from burlap.....even the pointsettias.

The wreaths were beautiful too. 

There were lots of fun details to look at and I guess I'm drawn to snowmen. I thought the little tree on the chippy chair was really sweet.

And my favorite detail of all....a reminder of the true "Reason for the Season!.

I hope you enjoyed this little field trip to the Holiday Tree Festival!

Today's Thankfulness.....

* For a great medical facility for our children.

* For Christian music, and specifically Christian radio, which blesses me so much as I drive around town.

* For warm coats, gloves, and scarves.

* For family.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Four Things For Friday 11.22.13

Hello and Happy Friday!

Here are some little snippets for today.

1.) I confess that I've been leaving the closet doors open.

2.) I have a little sick one home with me today. She's feeling pretty stuffy. Tis the season, I guess. Time to break out the Airborn and zinc tablets. I don't want us all to be sick for Thanksgiving! Do you use any kind of remedies or supplements to ward off germs?

3.) Only three days of school for the kiddos next week and then a five day break. I think we all could use a little breather from school. I know I'm looking forward to it. My poor 8th grader will probably have homework though. That seems to be the way it is this year.

4.) Have you seen this Onion Casserole recipe floating around on Pinterest? I've decided to make this to take for Thanksgiving. I love French Onion Soup, so this sounds really good to me. I know it won't appeal to everyone, but I think there are enough onion lovers in the group. Are you trying any new recipes for your Thanksgiving meal this year?

Hope you have a happy weekend!

Today's Thankfulness.....

* That I can be a stay-at-home mom and be here when my kids are sick.

* That Hubster arrived home safely last night!!  (Woo hoo!)

* For laughter.

* For new friends.
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Thursday, November 21, 2013

That Awkward Moment When.... don't know if you should be blogging about Thanksgiving or Christmas.


There are the popular trend-setting blogs that have already moved on to Christmas and there are the diehard "there shall be no Christmas decorations until after the turkey has been eaten" folks.

What's a girl to do?

I love Thanksgiving and am SO looking forward to it this year. But I must confess that I've been thinking about Christmas too. I've been thinking about decorations and have even bought a couple new things. I've been working on my Christmas shopping and I'm looking forward to all the wonderful music that proclaims our Savior's birth.

I guess I willl fall somewhere in the middle and write a little about both today.

First up, I discovered this free Thanksgiving printable being offered by The Pleated Poppy the other day while perusing Pinterest.

Isn't it pretty? I think it would look great in a gold frame on your Thanksgiving table as part of a centerpiece. Or maybe print small cards to put at each persons place. I wish I would've found it before I set my Thanksgiving table.

Moving on to Christmas.....

The third annual Holiday House Walk that is hosted by Jennifer Rizzo will be starting on December 2nd.

Five days. Thirty holiday home tours. Trust me, this is the mother of all home tours. I've followed along the last two years and was blown away.

You can get all the details at

Today's Thankfulness....

* Hubster is coming home tonight! Yeah!!!

* For my Dad being willing to step in and help while Hubster is away.

* For technology that keeps people connected.

* For the creativity of others that we can gain inspiration from.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Finally....The Mudroom Closet Reveal!


I'm excited to finally share my mudroom closet with you. I never dreamed this project would take me almost a month! It was filled with ups and downs and delays for all sorts of reasons. But in the end, I'm very happy with how it all turned out.

Let me remind you of how things looked when I started. Ouch!


When I first shared the mudroom with you, I didn't really have any thoughts of doing a makeover. I really just intended to clean it out and get all our winter gear organized. The sorting and cleaning out only took me parts of two days. I was able to donate some things the kids had outgrown, relocate a few things to different places in the house, and throw some things away.

But once I had cleared everything out and it was totally empty, I realized still looked really bad! The walls were extremely scuffed and dirty from everyone just throwing their shoes and boots in there. I tried to scrub the walls but to no avail. I was only scrubbing off the paint. You see, when we put on this addition, we never painted the closet, only primed it. So I decided that before I put everything back in, I really needed to paint.

But somewhere in between realizing this and digging out the painting supplies, I remembered a very cool mudroom makeover that I had pinned from Carmel at Our Fifth House. I was totally inspired.

Now I knew that my closet wasn't, nor did it need to be as amazing as Carmel's. After all, she was creating a complete mudroom out of a closet and a hallway. I still was going to be closing my closet doors. But that doesn't mean it couldn't be cute, right?

I purchased some of the supplies I cute new metal door knobs and wood, but it just seemed that my time to work on the project kept getting waylaid. Between birthday celebrations, Hubster traveling (I knew I was going to need his help for some of my ideas), meetings, church activities, etc., it just wasn't getting done.

Finally, last week I decided to paint. I planned on using leftover yellow paint from the mudroom. But when I picked up the can, I realized it was not going to be enough. So I wound up mixing that with the leftover paint from the kitchen. It made the yellow a little duller, but I reminded myself it was only a closet. (You have no idea how many times I told myself that during this project!)

My plan was to wallpaper the lower half using the same bead board wallpaper that I had used in the kitchen, only horizontally like Carmel did. The day after I painted, I attempted to do the wallpapering myself. Big mistake. I really needed a couple extra hands. So I gave up on that and waited for Hubster to be able to help me a couple days later. But in messing up the wallpaper, I also had wasted some and now I didn't have enough. So that evening when I was tired and crabby and disappointed that I hadn't got the papering done, I headed out to Lowe's to get more which was a fiasco and a long story itself.

Finally, this past weekend we had no plans so Hubster and I worked together on hanging the wallpaper, installing a kind of chair rail board, painting, and installing new hooks.

Yesterday was spent purchasing a few new baskets to store things like gloves and hats (It always bugged me a bit that you could see through the old baskets. It made it look a little messy to me.) and a cute sign I found at Hobby Lobby.

So....are you ready for the final reveal?


Hubster now has his own big basket on the floor for his caps, ear protection for mowing, gloves, etc.

My daughter also needed her own little basket for her iPod, headphones, and other little doo-dads she feels are necessary to keep in this closet.

And don't you love this metal sign? I thought it was just perfect for us all to see as we grab our coats to head out the door. It might be my favorite part of this whole makeover.

I also added another boot tray since it seemed like the two we had were always overflowing.

Now I have to be honest and tell you that there are still a few things that need to be put back in the closet. And the kids will be hanging their school backpacks here as well. But you'll indulge me a couple "beauty shots," right?

I love a good "before and after."

And one last look. I hope it was worth the wait. Thanks for stopping by!

Today's Thankfulness.....

* For safety for Hubster traveling in bad weather.

* For my sweet sister and her love for all the nieces and nephews in her family.

* For the Lord's provision of help when I needed it.

* For a beautiful blue Fall sky.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Comments: Pros and Cons

When I began this blog, I wanted to be able to share some of the creative ways I try to make our house a home. I hoped that readers would want to participate in conversations about topics I blogged about....that there would be more interaction....that I would meet new people.

I know that I haven't been at this blogging thing very long, but a girl can still hope.

So, to that end, I've made some decisions about comments on this blog. 

I initially set things up in a way that would prevent spam and anonymous comments. However, that meant anyone who commented had to be both registered and signed in to one of the available networks. For most of you, that probably would have been Google. 

I understand this can be an inconvenience when you just want to leave a quick comment and I want to make it as easy as possible for my readers.

So I've decided to open things up for anyone to comment. This will make it much easier for everyone.

Let me explain what you need to do.....

First, type your comment in the box, Then, where it says "choose profile", pick name/url. Enter your name. If you do not have a website or blog of your own, you can leave the URL box empty. Then just hit publish. Easy peasy!

Okay, here come the cons of these changes. 

First, as I said, this potentially leaves me open to spam and inappropriate commenters. So I've decided I will be moderating comments to prevent anything of this nature from reaching my readers. This is not meant to be censorship, because I would like there to be healthy discussion. But it will keep spam advertising and inappropriate content from reaching my readers and keep this a family-oriented blog. And for the record, I am not a fan of anonymous comments either.

I pay close attention to the blog, so comments will still be posted in a fairly timely manner.

Secondly, when you comment with only your name you do not leave an email for me to respond directly to you. I can only respond to you in the comments and you may or may not see it. If you would like for me to be able to respond directly to you, then registering with Google is probably the way to go. Please note that you also have to be signed in to your Google account to leave a comment this way.

Another option would be to include your email address in your comment.

Okay, I think that's it. If you ever have any questions, you can also email me by clicking on the Contact Me page.

If you would like to connect with me on social media, you can read about that HERE.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Today's Thankfulness....

* For a weekend to get things done around the house.

* For my Mom....and the chance to celebrate her birthday this weekend.

* For a son who doesn't complain about homework even when he doesn't really want to do it....especially on the weekend.

* For a family who is patient with me even when I am not so patient myself.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Four Things For Friday 11.15.13

The weekend is almost here! Happy Friday!

Here are my rambling thoughts for this week....

1.) Earlier this week I shared my Thanksgiving table.  In the spirit of full  disclosure...and a couple laughs...I thought I would show you how the table looked before I decked it out for the holiday meal.

Just keepin' it real, folks. HA!

2.) Last night I went to three stores to get three specific things. None of them had what I needed to get. How frustrating is THAT? I could see maybe one store, but all three?

And on a side note....Don't you hate it when the make-up you use is discontinued? I was very happy with what I was using and now I have to find something new. I'm not a happy camper.

3.) In my life I have learned that the only way to overcome the feeling of the dread of something (like Hubster being away on a business trip most of next week) is through prayer.....and LOTS of it!

4.)  I love this guy!

Sugar the Wonderdoodle.

He is loyal, a constant companion, loves unconditionally, doesn't judge, and is a great listener (often better than some of the humans in our house.) Even his Grandma loves him.....which is saying A LOT. His standing in our home has been sometimes rocky, but God doesn't mistakes and he knew I needed this dog even more than the kids do. 

Today's Thankfulness....

* That my husband has a that he enjoys and is challenged by.

*  For sweet and supportive friends.

* That God knows what we need more than we know ourselves.

Have a great weekend everyone!!
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Thanksgiving Recipe: Sweet Potato Souffle

In my post about Thanksgiving traditions I mentioned my mother-in-law's sweet potato recipe and I thought I would share it with you today. It really is yummy!

First, a little bit about the name....

"Sweet Potato"....I realized when I grabbed what I usually use at the grocery store, it's actually YAMS that I've been using all these years. But Sweet Potato Souffle sounds much more charming than Yam Souffle, don't you think?

"Souffle"....If you're looking for something tall, light, and fluffy, this is not it. It's delicious, but is none of those things. Think more along the lines of pumpkin pie.

Okay, so here's a look at the ingredients. Please note that the recipe calls for THREE cans of...YAMS....even though only two are pictured. Also, if you get in the store and get confused about what kind of canned milk to buy (like me), it's the kind you use in pumpkin pie. It helps that my brand has a slice pictured on the can.

Let me tell you a little story about the topping for this recipe....

As you know, Hubster and I were married in November. Our first holiday together as a married couple was Thanksgiving. That year, we were headed to my new in-laws. I had asked what I could bring and my mother-in-law asked if I would make the sweet potatoes if she gave me the recipe. I agreed, although I was a little intimidated by the word "souffle."
We had received a beautiful, round, enameled baking dish as a wedding gift. It had a lovely fruit and leaf pattern on it that looked sort of "cornacopia-ish". I thought it would be perfect for Thanksgiving so I planned to make the sweet potatoes in it.
Thanksgiving morning arrived and I started making the recipe. I told Hubster that I was planning on using the new baking dish. "You ARE?" he asked.

"Yea, isn't it pretty?"

"You can't make the sweet potatoes in THAT!"

"Why not?"

"That dish doesn't have enough AREA to put all the crunchy topping on. That's everyone's favorite part! You need to use a bigger pan so everybody get's some!"

I was SO deflated! I wanted to use my pretty new baking dish. But I also wanted to make my new husband happy....and impress my new mother-in-law.

So I used the ugly metal 9x13.

But the topping was worth it. Here are the ingredients for that part. And you can always make a little more than what the recipe calls for, if you like.

And when it's done baking....YUM-O!!

If I can, I like to give it a few minutes out of the oven to set up a bit before serving.

And if there ARE any leftovers, it's actually good cold too. Not that I've ever eaten it straight out of the refrigerator or anything.

And here is the complete recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!

Today's Thankfulness....

* For good food to eat.

* For my computer.

* For clean laundry.
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Thanksgiving Table

I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year. But I couldn't resist the temptation to put together some ideas for a pretty Thanksgiving table. One of the things I love doing when I do host is setting the table.

I didn't buy anything new for this table. I put it together with things I already had and gathered from around the house.

I only have two of the black and white dinner plates. So I did a little mixing and matching with the place settings.

I used little leaf tags (found at the Target Dollar Spot last year) tied to faux pumpkins to create place cards.

Our chalkboard makes a nice back drop, don't you think?

I used an Autumn wreath I've had for years around a hurricane and added some houndstooth ribbon for the centerpiece.

If you are welcoming guests this year, I hope my table gives you a little inspiration.

If you'd like, you can read about our Family's Thanksgiving traditions HERE.

Today's Thankfulness....

* For the beautiful snow fall we had yesterday.

* For my cozy, warm house.

* For a day to just putter around the house.
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Our Thanksgiving Traditions

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go....

That's how many a holiday started out for our family when I was growing up. Whether near, or later far when we moved to a different state, we usually headed to my grandparent's house for the holidays....both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have such wonderful memories of gathering together with family to spend the holiday together.

You know me. I'm all about tradition and creating memories for our children. I hope that when my kids grow up they will cherish the time spent together with family just as I do now.

So let me tell you a little bit about our Thanksgiving traditions. We live in the same area as both my family and Hubster's so we alternate years between the two. We used to try and do both, but we'd wind up stuffed and exhausted. Once kids entered the picture it was pretty clear things had to change.  Alternating years has worked really well for us.

There are some things both sides have in common and definitely some differences.


On the years we spend with Hubster's family, we generally go to my in-laws house. My mother-in-law usually serves a large group.... I'd say anywhere from 18 to 28. They make the turkey and some of the sides, but everyone also pitches in and brings a dish. It is a true feast! The menu ranges from traditional Thanksgiving dishes to whatever somebody wants to bring.

I remember one year my mother-in-law asked me to bring the broccoli salad I make that she likes. I thought it was sort of odd since to me it wasn't a "Thanksgiving dish." (My family is very traditional about the meal as you will see.) But I made it and it was eaten up. Hubster's family are "equal opportunity eaters" and don't sweat the details....which is a good thing. It's been a great example to me over the years. I told you God provided just the right man for me to marry!

The good china is used, but since usually there are a lot of us we are a little bit spread around at various tables, so it tends to be rather informal. We eat at lunchtime and usually take a break before desserts are served buffet-style. There is always football on the TV and a little napping for the men. And the women congregate in the kitchen and check out the Thanksgiving ads from the newspaper. Those who are Black Friday shoppers begin to formulate their plan of attack and we start to exchange Christmas wish lists. If the weather is nice enough, some of us go for a walk to burn off some of our huge lunch.

So that pretty much sums up Thanksgiving with Hubster's family. It's always a fun time with lots of people and activity. I'm so blessed to have wonderful in-laws!

Now let me tell you about Thanksgiving with MY family. 

As I said, we alternate years. In recent years, my sister has been hosting Thanksgiving at her house. I've hosted a couple times over the years (I did last year), but the alternating thing has kind of kept me from hosting more regularly.

My family has a traditional (to us) Thanksgiving menu.  You DON'T mess with the menu! And we all pitch in.

We have turkey, stuffing (and there's ALWAYS a discussion on what the difference is between stuffing and dressing), mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cranberry jelly from the can, and cinnamon applesauce jello salad. The only alteration there has been in the menu in recent years is that they now let me bring my mother-in-law's sweet potato souffle recipe too. (I promise to share that recipe sometime before Thanksgiving. It's so yummy!)

And we have a very special secret recipe for our stuffing. It's called....Stove Top. Hey, we all love it so why not?

We always cook one of those turkeys with the pop-up timer. And we inevitably get a call saying, "The turkey popped! You need to come NOW!"

We also eat at lunchtime. The good china is used. But I guess we're just not fancy-schmancy because it never feels formal. My sister also has a couple turkey serving bowls with lids that our Grandma made when she did ceramics. I always love seeing those.

After stuffing ourselves, we usually take a break before dessert which is pumpkin and apple pie.

We may have the TV on for the parade while we wait to sit down to eat. But usually it's no TV. We're not a big football crowd. We're more into board games and so we always play some of those. There may be a little napping that goes on too.

We also scan the ads and talk about Christmas wish lists. 

Later in the evening, the leftovers are pulled out. The last few years we've also been adding some appetizers to the evening meal. (Pinterest was a huge help for that last year!) It makes for another huge feast.

Usually after that, we waddle home. Ha ha!

So that's it. 

No matter where we spend our Thanksgiving we always head home happy and feeling extremely blessed and thankful for our family and the wonderful times we share together.

So what about you? What are your Thanksgiving traditions? I would love for you to leave a comment and tell me!

You're also invited to join me at Sally's Thanksgiving Traditions linky party over at Drinking From My Saucer ['cause my cup has overflowed].

Today's Thankfulness....

* For a day set aside to be thankful.

* For time spent with family.

* For the wonderful family that I married into.
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Monday, November 11, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-Up

I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Ours was great. Crazy-busy, but in a good way.

On Friday evening we celebrated this girly's "Gotcha Day." Twelve years she's been with us. She's growing up, but independence sure is a hard struggle. So I cherish moments like this, when she wanted to help cook. She pretty much made salad I told you I was going to make. I only provided a little guidance. I was very proud of her!

Saturday, I worked to get the house cleaned up for this guys birthday party. Fourteen years old! Time sure flies. He is the first born of my heart (not our oldest, but the first that was ours.) and he can still make this Mama's heart melt.

And the boy LOVES a party! We ate pizza, cake, and ice cream and he opened presents. Fun times!

Notice the cake? Yep, I'm ones of those moms. The ones that buy their kids cake instead of making it.

I think it all started with this guys very first birthday. He was our first child and the first party had a lot of guests. I decided that it would be easier to buy a cake for that many people than to make it. From then on the kids loved picking out what kind of cake and what characters they wanted on it. It's become OUR tradition.

Yesterday was church and Second Sunday lunch at my parents. It was good to be back there. My sister and I have hosted the last couple months because my Mom had knee replacement surgery. Even the kids said it was good for everything to be "back to normal" again.

I hope you will come back the rest of the week as I will be sharing some things to help us think about and prepare for Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow I will be sharing our family's Thanksgiving traditions and linking up to Sal's linky party at Drinking From My Saucer. Won't you join us?

Today's Thankfulness....

* For God allowing our daughter to be part of our family and the twelve years that  she has been with us.

* For God bringing our son through another year.

* For healing for my Mom after knee replacement surgery.

* For our loving family who supports us and celebrates with us.
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