Monday, December 29, 2008

Another week goes by...

3 more days left of this year! WOW! Time goes by so fast when you have a family.
We thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas!
Mom and Dad came down for a couple of days and on Christmas Eve day my dad handed me an envelope with a picture of a dishwasher in it! Woohoo!
He then said, "I can give you the money, or we can go now...whatever you want to do"
Well after living with a dead dishwasher for 4 years, we immedietly hopped in the car and went to Best Buy!
Here is a quick lesson on buying things like this...sometimes the best buy is the first buy.
We went to Best Buy first and they had one that I reall liked.

We then went to lunch, HH Gregg, and Home Depot. Needless to say, we ended back up at Best Buy to get the first one that I liked.

Some times shopping around just isn't worth it.

I highly recoomend Best Buy for this type of purchase. They where helpful, knowledgable, and most of all HONEST! The lady at HH Gregg was a complete lying idiot. Sorry, the Mike Harwood in me sometimes comes out...
So here it and my lovely dishwasher.

I am so thankful to my Dad and my Husband for taking the hours of time to install it.
The old dishwasher had to have its legs cut off to get it out. It is currently still sitting in my front yard. Come and get it if you want to. ;)

My parents took the children with them for a few days when they left on Friday. WooHoo!
Friday I went to Kohls, then came home and took a nap, then did a whole lot of nothing.

Saturday I slept in, watched movies, layed on the couch, ate fudge, sorted pictures, showered, went to Cold Stone with Stacy, and played the Wii.
Very relaxing and enjoyable.
Sunday we went to church, went to lunch with friends, went to WalMart, Rooms to Go, Barnes and Noble. Then went to see "Seven Pounds". Really good movie! Then we used our "BoneFish Grill" gift certificate. It was pretty good.

I'm going to Chattanooga tomorrow to pick up the kids so I am trying to finish up some stuff around here tonight and then am going to go to dinner with Crissy, Kim, and Amber. Join us if you like!!!

Hope you all have had a wonderful week too!

Monday, December 22, 2008

3 days till Christmas

3 days till Christmas and my house is a mess.
The laundry is piled up and we cannot get dressed.

My voice is hoarse, and raspy at best.
My nose is way stuffy, its so hard to rest.

Grocery bags are sitting on the table quite full.
Put them away your miserable toole.

Rotting bananas are waiting to bake.
Banana bread won't happen today for goodness sake.

Packages are ready to be sent in the mail.
But today I'm moving the pace of a snail.

Floors need a mopping, they're dirty and gross.
But how can I mop when I'm blowing my nose?

3 days till Christmas, at least presents are wrapped.
Maybe I could just go lay down for a nap.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Tired of seeing friends suffer.
Tired of watching people I love make stupid decisions.
Tired of fighting my flesh.
Tired of striving to be________________.

Holding tight to God's Sovereignty.
Holding tight to God's Promises.
Holding tight to God's Commands.
Holding tight to God's Love and Patience.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tinsel Tuesday- Week 4

Hello my friends! Welcome to this weeks episode of Tinsel Tuesday.

(You must know that this is said in my BEST Mrs.Doubtfire voice)

For this weeks TT I thought I would share with you my baking list for this week. Most of the baking I am doing this week is for gifts.

Some of it might even be for YOU! But you will not know until I see you, now will you?!

This week I will be delivering my annual Pastors goody assortment. I assure you no pastors read my blog, so this is definetly not a spoiler. I have boxes for each of them (5) that will be filled with lovelies, of which I am about to share the recipes with YOU!

I also have some other homemade goody gifts that will be ready to go out this week as well.

I will take pictures after they have been delivered. Well actually, I will take the pictures BEFORE they are delivered, but I will post them AFTER they have been delivered. See? Do you see how brilliant I am?

What I have going on this week, goes all the way back to my first TT post about planning.
Remember I talked about planning out your baking for the month?
I did my shopping for this a few weeks ago. Bought my boxes a few weeks ago. And have been working on little projects for this stuff over the past few weeks.
I made my list, and checked it twice, of who I would be giving too, and now the time has come to begin the process!
I love the week of baking. Although, only one of the recipes I am making actually requires the oven. Crazy huh?!
Pastors goody boxes will consist of 4 things, of which I am about to share.
One of these things makes a huge batch and I MIGHT share with some of you.
IF you have been good this year, and I'm thinking, but I don't recall any of my friends being good this year, so never mind.

Recipe 1:

White Trash
(Kim Hill also makes White Trash, but hers is the Mississippi version. Mine is the Alabama version, and yes there is a difference!)

10-oz. pkg mini pretzels
5 c. Cheerios
5 c. Corn Chex
2 c. Peanuts
16 oz. pkg M&M's
1/2 block of White Almond Bark
1 T. Oil
Powdered Sugar-Optional

Combine first 5 ingredients in a VERY large bowl; set aside.
Melt chocolate with oil in microwave. Stir until smooth.
Pour over cereal mixture, and mix well.
Spread mixture onto 3 wax paper lined baking sheets and allow to cool.
Break into bite size pieces, store in an airtight container.

~TIP~ I do not have a bowl large enough, so I bought one of those HUGE disposable roasting pans at Wal-Mart and it works very well.
Also, I don't put my wax paper on cookie sheets. I just spread it out onto my table and do it that way.
This makes a HUGE amount!

Recipe 2:

Rocky Road Fudge
(This is one of those recipes that we have made forever and a day in my family)

12-oz pkg Chocolate Chips (2 cups)
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 TBLS butter or margarine
10 1/2 oz pkg mini marshmallows (or 5 1/2 cups)
8-oz jar unsalted peanuts

In a saucepan combine chocolate, condensed milk, and butter.
Heat over low heat till chocolate is melted; remove from heat.
In a large bowl combine marsmallows and peanuts.
Fold in Chocolate mixture.
Spread in a 9x13 pan that is lined with waxed paper.
Chill 2 hours or until firm.
Remove from pan, peel off waxed paper. Cut into 1" squares with a wet knife.

Recipe 3:

White Chocolate, Peanut, and Caramel Candy Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 c. sugar
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups uncooked regular oats
2 c. AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 (1.91 oz) pkgs Rolo's candy
2 (4 oz) white chocolate bars, chopped
1 1/2 cups unsalted peanuts, chopped

Beat butter at medium speed until creamy.
Add sugars and beat well.
Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended.
Process oats in a blender or food processor until finely ground.
Combine oats, flour, and next 3 ingredients.
Add to butter mixture, beating well.
Stir in chopped candy, white chocolate and peanuts.
Shape dough into 1 1/2" balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
Bake @ 375 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool 1 minute on baking sheets and then remove to wire racks to cool.
Makes 6 dozen.

~ I haven't actually made these yet! I'll be making them this week and let you know how it turns out. I didn't buy white chocolate bars, I am using white chocolate chips.

Drum Roll Please! I have saved the best recipe for last!
If you have not had these, then make them!
They are easy, but also a little messy and a little hands on. But SOOOOO good!

Recipe 4:

Chocolate Balls

1 Pkg oreo cookies
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 pkg Chocolate Almond Bark

Put oreos in a food processor or blender and make into a fine crumb mixture.
Place in a large bowl, and with your hands, mix the cream cheese into them.
This is very messy, but using the mixer just doesn't work as well.
For the love, wash your hands first!
Keep mixing until the crumbs are mixed into the cream cheese.
Put in fridge for a few minutes to harden back up.
Line a pan with wax paper.
Roll mixture into 1" balls.
Place on pan.
Put back in the fridge for 1 hour or so.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave.
Dip balls into chocolate.
They will start to harden pretty quickly.
If you want, drizzle some white chocolate over the top for a pretty look, or drizzle the regular chocolate over it again for a drizzly look.
Does that make sense?

Store in Fridge.
Makes about 3 dozen.

I cannot tell you enough how yummy these are!!!!

And there you have it my friends far and wide.
Some yum yum recipes to try.

Later on this week I will show you some packaging.
Until then...Enjoy the last week before Christmas!

What? I haven't blogged in a week?

Busy week is over.
12 days straight of stuff going on is done.
No parties this week.
Only housework, baking, B'Ball practice, Awanas, and Crissy's Friday night.
The week of parties was fun, but I am partied out.

~I am definetly making the ornament swap a tradition. And I am definetly going to take some pictures next year, like I should have done this year!~

~Sunday School Chrismtas party was fun. We played Dirty Santa and I won the movie "Deck the Halls". I haven't watched it yet. But I will.~

~Kids Christmas party was fun too. Kids made cute nativity ornaments for me to enjoy forever more.~

~Oh, date night...yes super fun! Although Stacy and I have discovered that we are getting old.
We went to the movies. Yes, THE movie. Then we where supposed to drive to Hoover to go to dinner cause we had a gift certificate. Well after the movie best buy, we where too tired and cold to drive allllllllllll the way to Hoover. (yes people, I am talking 25 minutes max)
So we opted to spend $20 at Frontera. ~

~Childrens Theater was very cute. We saw "The Best Christmas Musical Ever". We laughed, we cried, we had good times. Seriously, Logan told me when we left that he got teary eyed at one part. How sweet is that?!~

~Christmas Choir musical was last night. "This is our God".
It was a compelation of 10 songs that our Music Minister picked from various musicals that we have done in the past and other songs. It went very well. 47 minutes goes by very quickly.
I also have never been so thirsty after 47 minutes.
Logan had a solo part in "Welcome to our World". He did really well. He even hit his "high" note.
Stacy sang "This is our God" with the choir in the background, and even though he doesn't think he did well, I think he did, and I had to fight back tears several times during that song. The words are amazing and then there was a video playing to go with it. ~
This is the chorus:
"This is our God, living and breathing Call Him courageous, relentless,

and brave. This is our God, loving and reaching, Scandalous mercy
mighty to save.Hallelujah! This is our God!"

"This is our God, suffering and dying.

Call Him the Hero redeeming the lost.

This is our God, love sacrificing,All that is holy,

accepting our cross.Hallelujah! This is our God!"
Love those words!

~One of my favorite parts of the week was....
The Rockettes!!!
Loved it!
Loved going with Lana cause she enjoyed every single second of it. Everything she oohed and ahhed at. Everything was beautiful and amazing for her.
She has been doing "High Kicks" ever since then. Poor thing, she wants to be a Rockette, and well, I just don't think that is going to happen.
You have to be between 5'6" and 5'10".
Have you seen Lana's mother?
It sure was fun though and something we will remember forever!~

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tinsel Tuesday- Week 3

Hello Friends. Hope you all are having a good week and enjoying this holiday season.
I know for me, this week is my most busy week of the season.

Monday night- SS Christmas Party
Tuesday night- Ornament Swap- (Hope to see you tonight!)
Wednesday- Christmas pics, ballet party, Awana, Choir Rehersal
Thursday- Childrens Theater, Art Class, Logan-Window Washing Job
Friday- The Rockettes!
Saturday- Morning Choir Rehersal, Evening Kids Church Christmas Party
Sunday Night- Choir Performance

OK, see really that was for my benefit. The more I see it written down, the more it gets ingrained in my brain what I need to do.

And such it is with Tradition...nice segway right ?!

Yes folks, this weeks installment of Tinsel Tuesday is Tradition.

Websters dictionary describes Tradition as:
1 : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)
2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.

The Traditions of Christmas are all around us. The mere act in and of itself is a Tradition.
I am admittedly a Traditionalist, ecspecially around this time of year. I have many customary patterns of thought, action, or behaviour that define me this time of year.
I have been handed down information, beliefs and customs, by word of mouth and by example from another generation. I am now endevoring to do the same with my own small brood.

So this week for TT, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Traditions, both old and new. And I would also like to hear from you...what is one of your favorite Traditions.

Old Traditions that where passed down to me:

1. Baking-
I come from a Southern Grandmother and a Northern Nana, so my recipe list is quite comprehensive. I appreciate that my Mom has kept all the recipes organized so that all I've had to do is print them off. I really do enjoy the baking and cooking involved during this time of year. Growing up we followed my Mom's list to a "T" ("T" for Tradition, I'm sure!)
We made everything on the list, and lots of it. I always enjoyed spending the time with my Mom and Sister, and sometimes even friends that we would have over, baking all day long.

2. Christmas Movies-
There are certain Christmas movies that where essential in my upbringing, that I am sure I could quote every line, and yet I never ever tire of them.
White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, and Christmas Carol- the George C Scott version, are the 3 that are forever ingrained in my memory from childhood.

3. Our Christmas drink-
I'm not sure when my Mom started this, but we have an orange/coconut drink that we drink on Christmas morning that is indeed a family favorite. We raise our glasses in a toast, and everybody taps glasses before we drink.

4. Christmas Morning torture-
As kids we where not allowed to come downstairs or out into the living room until Mom and Dad had everything just so. In other words, no running out and ripping away. Mom would get the Chrismtas lights and music going, while Dad gets the coffee going...then the camera is poised, and then we are allowed in.

5. Sibling Traditions-
My siblings and I always exchanged gifts with each other on Christmas Eve. This was always fun and gave us time to appreciate what we had picked out for each other.

My siblings and I also all had a "side" of the tree. There where 3 of us, and my side was the left, Lauras' was the right, and then when Adam came along he got the middle.

We 3 also had to take turns placing the tree topper on the tree. Obviously for the first 2 years it was only me...then Laura came along and for 7 years we swapped back and forth every other year, and then Adam entered the picture and we went to an every 3 year system. It was always an honor to be the one to place the Angel, or star on top of the tree.

6. The Christmas Story-
I mean this is kind of a given, but I always remember us lighting candles, singing Christmas carols, and my Dad reading Luke 2 to us. I always remember loving to hear him reading out loud to us. I still like to hear him read it now, even as an adult.

There are others from my childhood, but you get the picture.
All of these I am passing down to my kids too, and so far they love all of them!

New Traditions for my family-

1. Pine Hill Farms
Stacy came home from work one day in the December of 2000 and told me about a place called Pine Hill Farms. So from the time Logan was 6 months old and had his first Christmas, we have been going out to Pine Hill Farms. It is one of these cut your own Christmas Tree places. Several times we have cut our own tree, but the reason we go is for the sleigh!
They have a Santa Sleigh in front of a huge Christmas Tree. Every year we have taken the kids and taken their pictures in that sleigh. It's been fun to look back over the past 8 years and see how much my kids have grown. I mean obviously you know that from year to year, but there is something about seeing them in that same spot that really puts it into perspective.

We also take bananas and feed the real live Reindeer that they have. It's a fun family day that we look forward to every year. We'll be going tomorrow! Yeah!

2. Frames
Every year, I take said pictures and I put them in a cutesy new Christmas Frame.
Acutally I do not have a frame from Logans first 2 Christmas's, but I have those in ornmanet Frames.
But every year since Lana came into the picture. I currently have 6 frames, plus I have one of all the grandkids a few years ago. It's a lot of fun to pull those out each year, and I think it will be fun to have around once my kids are grown.

3. Wrapping Paper-
Wierd huh? Actually I guess this should have fallen under Childhood Traditions, but oh well.
Every year I take the kids to the store and they pick out "their" wrapping paper for Christmas.
Then all of their gifts are wrapped in that paper. It's neat to see what they choose from year to year based on their taste. One year we had princess and spiderman...another year was stars for one, and stripes for the other...This year they both picked pretty silver and blues to match the downstairs decor. I thought that was very sweet!

4- Sunday Gifts-
I started this one a few years ago. There are usually 3 Sunday leading up to Christmas. So every Sunday evening I give my kids a gift. It's always predictable too...although I don't think they've caught on to that yet. A movie, A game, and Pj's.
It's fun to watch the movie or play the game all together on that evening. And the PJs are always soft and snuggly! Logan is still not too old for footie pajamas!

5- Baking and Gingerbead house-
I do have my Moms list of all the goodies that we made from year to year, and there are several on there that I HAVE to make every year with the kids. But I also like to change things up and try new things too. The older the kids are getting, the easier it is to do this with them, and they both love to bake.
Lana and I have been decorating a Gingerbread house together for the past several years too, and I will for sure make sure that is a Tradition we keep.

6- Adornments
This is something someone gave me years ago. It is 12 ornaments that open up and it comes with a book. It is 12 names of Christ. "I am the door", "The Good Shepherd", etc...
I love starting this 12 days before Christmas. The kids get to take turns hanging the ornament on a small tree that I have designated just for this. It is something that is different from advent, and reminds all of us of the many things that Jesus is to us.

So those are just a few of my favorites from Christmas past and present, and hopefully will be carried into the future.
Last year I started a Christmas book that I would like to add to and hand down to Lana someday. It's just a binder with all the family recipes, new recipes, craft and project ideas, etc.
Although the defintion of Tradition is information passed down without written instruction, I know she will appreciate having it down the road to keep Tradition alive in her own home.

One thing I would like to point out about Tradition is that if you want to keep it, you need to love it! Traditions can be burdensome and annoying. Seriously, who wants to make a fruit cake every year? Traditions should mean something to you and should show others something about you and your family, about who you are, and who is the center of your holiday season.

If you don't have any Traditions, or if you haven't been keeping up with them because it just gets to be too much, I encourage you to pick one or two that are easy and that you will love and then just do them!
I know it meant a lot to me that my Mom kept up with Traditions, and I can see that it means alot to my family now that I am doing the same.

I do not want to trivialize what the meaning of Christmas is all about. My actions 24-7-365 should be displaying Christ love and sacrifice on my behalf.
If I am not living that out during every month, then really, what good does it do to try to cram it all into December. Tradition means nothing if it is forced and is from a spirit that is trying to live out Christs love because it is the Christmas season. If that is what I am doing, then what happens Jan.1st?

So let me hear from you...what are some of your favorite Christmas Traditions?

Stay tuned for next week's TT. Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Saw it, Tried it, Like it!

I saw an idea on the cover of Southern Living Magazine the other day. I didn't have a chance to really look at it closely, so I have done my own variation. I thought it turned out really cute.
I used green construction paper and wax paper, because that is what I had. I am quite sure that SL used heavy green cardstock and velum, but hey, you use what you've got right?!
They had plain brownies, and I had made Rocky Road Fudge for a Christmas event at Church tonight. This is going to be fun to transport huh!!!
I think I will do it again next week for my ornament swap and make Creme De Menthe brownies, and get some cardstock and velum. But in the mean time....I am pleased.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Check Him Out

Logan has had a blog for a while now, but the past two months we haven't done much with it.
Today I have taken off the permissions, so it is an open blog.
Check him out. If your kids are friends with Logan, please let them comment.
I'd be fun to have a little kid network of blogs going on. It's fun for them and a good creative outlet.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tinsel Tuesday- Week 2

Is it really Tuesday already? This week has flown by.
Todays Tinsel Tuesday is dedicated to Decorating.
Now really, I know many of you and therefore know that many of you don't need any decorating tips. I know some pretty creative people. But I thought I would just share some of my favorite Christmas decorating tips.

I had pictures for you, but blogger is not uploading pictures today. I had this problem yesterday too trying to email a picture, so maybe it is my computer. can catch on without pictures I'm sure.

For me, there are a few decorating essentials at Christmas.

1. Garland- I love garland.
Garland is relatively inexpensive. It can also be cut with a good pair of wire cutters. Why would you cut garland you ask? I like to put small strands of garland on lots of things.

~Cut a piece of garland to fit just on top of a mirror or a frame.
~Do you have a plate rack? Line the plate rack with garland.
~You could put just a small piece tucked into the side of a tray or candle holder.
~Put larger pieces over doorways.
~Little sprigs of greenery like that scream Christmas, and add an inexpensive nice touch.

2. Lights- Sparkly lights
Hey guess what...lights look good on garland! Lights are cheap! Don't buy the garland that is prelit. It is more expensive and you can't cut pieces off. Lights are cheap, garland is cheap. Lights and garland together...yep, you guessed it. Cheap!

~Wrap a strand of lights around a long line of garland and drape it over a banister, over a window, or even place it on a table or other surface.
This last way is actually one of my favorite ways to use lights.
~I love lights mixed with a strand of berries or garland, and then placed on the piano.
I also have a strand on a small table that would otherwise go unnoticed.
~Lights are a good highlighter.
~Put a small candle light somewhere that you want highlighted.
~Put an electric candle light directly behind your nativity set to add a special glow.
~Put lights in your windows.
It doesn't even have to be visible...its the effect from the light that you are wanting to show off.

3. Balls- Shiny Christmas Balls
Christmas balls are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to go festive.
~Fill a glass bowl or a glass pitcher with balls.
~Fill an oven mitt with balls and hang it in the kitchen.
~Hang some balls with ribbon on a chandalier.
~Hang some balls with fishing line from a high ceiling or a doorway.
~Set a random ball on a shelf.
~Place some balls in a decorative container with a candle in the middle.
~Hang small balls from cut branches in a tall vase.

4. Ribbon- Save that scrap!
I know you have scraps of ribbon that came off of package and was too pretty to throw away.
Save it in a box or drawer and use it at Christmas.
~Hang balls with it.
~Tie a piece around a plain candle to add a festive touch.
~Tie some around a glass candle holder with a small sprig of garland or berries.
~Tie some onto your garland.
~Hang little knick knacks with ribbon.
~Tie some onto a Chrismtas mug with a festive looking tag.

5. Collections- What do you like?
6 years ago I was in PA with my Mom and Sister and the kids. We where visiting my Grandparents. It was during this trip that I started collecting snowmen. I saw some a cute family of them, and got 4. 2 big, 2 small. This kind of started a little collection.
You don't have to be all out crazy.
I really don't even buy them anymore.
It's just something that accumulates, but I love pulling them out every year.
Do you have something you like to collect?
If you don't, start something.
It doesn't have to be big. If you just pick up one snowman a year, or festive mug, dessert plate, specialty ornament, santa, whatever strikes your fancy.
It really is fun every year to pull the things out and remember when you got it, or who gave it to you.

6. The Small Things- This is where it gets personal.
The small touches are what makes your decorating style, your decorating style and your house your home.
~Display your kids crafty creations.
~Pull out your favorite childhood craft and set it out.
~Add a paper tag to a candle.
~Make a paper chain countdown to Christmas.
~Hang a star over a doorway.
~Put a small Christmas tree in an unusual place.
~Don't hide your wrapping paper...display it in a small bucket or prop it up in the corner of a room.
~Put your Christmas cookie cutters in your window sill for a cute decoration and easy access.
~Don't forget the kids rooms. Kids love to have their own trees, and its also a great place to send decorations that cramp your style or that you don't have room for.
~Get a package of "Angel Hair". It can be used on everything...garland, shelves, around the nativity. One package will go a loooong way.
~Festive tableclothes make great tree skirts.
~ Tree skirts make great table toppers.
~ Think outside the box. Don't be confined by conventional decorating. Everything doesn't have to be red and green. Lime green and bright pink are fun whimsy Chrismtas colors too.

The most important aspect of decorating, in my opinion, is that it is you! Don't try to decorate like your friend if it truly is not your style. Find your style, and then incorporate these little things the way that makes you feel festive.

Even if you think you don't like to decorate for Christmas, I challenge you to do do this.
Buy 2 strands of garland, 2 strands of lights, a pack of balls, and a spool of ribbon.
See what you can do with may be happily suprised!