Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Home Sweet Home!!!

We're home, safe, tired, happy, sad, exhausted, cheerful, full, and together....all 7 of us made it back and forth across the country! Just wanted to peak in and say hello bloggy world!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas....

I'm leaving for the holidays and want to send out a Merry Christmas to my bloggy friends! It's been a very hard few weeks here, facing 2 family deaths during the holidays, but so many of you have left me so many beautiful words of encouragement and wisdom. Thank you for all the emails and prayers...I've felt them all. We're leaving town to spend the holidays with those we love. This unplanned trip will be filled with sadness, but so much joy and gratitude as well.

I don't like writing my posts ahead of time and having them auto-post...I like to write them in the moment and post them. So My Blog will be here, without me until December 30...31st... somewhere around there. I'll be back to start the New Year off fresh.

Merry Christmas to you all and enjoy this beautiful holiday.
May you all have a Christ filled Christmas!
♥ Tara

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the Winners are....

Congrats to the winners of the beautiful Holiday Hair Bows!

Courtney Set #1
LaQuela Set #2
Amy Set #3

Enjoy & MeRrY ChRiStMaS

Please email me ASAP with your address @ tarabrown at cherishbound dot com

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...WAHM WISH GRANTED!



Kelly McCausey @ Work @ Home Mom's Talk Radio granted me my Wahm Wish!!!
Yes, an Epson Artisan 800 Print / Copy / Scan / Fax / Ultra HD Photo
Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you Kelly. You're awesome!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday Tradition #36

My mom has officially started a brand new tradition in my home...today! There's nothing more exciting than getting the "ding-dong" of the doorbell and then finding a big gigantic box on the porch! So much fun!!! This box contained some wrapped gifts, GIANT candy canes, fun Christmas Beanie Babies, and.....5 hand sewn Christmas themed pillowcases for my kids!

Yep, that's the new tradition! Some of my friends are 100% domestic diva's (you know who you are) and make themed pillowcases for every holiday. Well, I've never gotten around to it and kind of forgot about that idea...until today! And what's even better about it, I'm going to let my mom surprise us every year with new Christmas pillow cases. I'm going to let her pick the fabric, sew them and even ship them. ;O)

She attached a cute little poem....

December the first starts a magical time,
With all sorts of color, music and rhyme.
Sugar plum fairies will dance in your head
If you'll put this pillowcase on your head!
The reason it's special as you will soon see,
It's been dusted with Christmas fantasy!
Visions of candy canes, Santa and such
Will fill each dream with pleasure so much.
But when comes the time for it to be washed,
Do it quickly so the magic's not lost.

Now break out those sewing machines & get to work!

♥ Tara

Advent Conspiracy

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Day Fun!

Christmas Day is a long day, but fun and filled with excitement. We like to pack our day with activities that we can enjoy as a family. There are 2 things we always do on Christmas day and they make our day memorable as we enjoy this special time together.

Over the past 8 years we started buying our kids games. Just regular fun board games, card games....any game! Lots of them too. We always add to our collection and play the new games that we get under the tree, but also many old ones like Monopoly and Clue!

The other activity that we look forward to is watching home videos. We tend to roll the camera sporadically throughout the year and never have time to go back and watch the chaos that we've recorded. So it's always as surprise on Christmas Day as we go back and watch the embarrassing, hilarious and crazy videos that we tape during the year. You never know who recorded what, where we are or what we're doing. This brings back memories of the recent past, but we also pull out the old ones from the years gone by.Plan now for your Christmas Day entertainment. Find things that bring your family closer and help fill your home with love and laughter.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Husband Rocks ♥ Christmastime!

Today Katy Lin's "My Husband Rocks" is a Christmastime theme....and I have lots of amazing stories from the holidays. But I'm going to post the most recent, sweetest, kindest thing he's done....there are many, but this one melted me....

The past four years we've either been in transition of moving or had major "things" going on in our lives during the holidays. It's kept me from being the over top wannabe Mrs. Claus that I've always dreamed of being....lights on every inch of the house inside and out, baking 24/7, holiday decor plastered in every room, including the laundry room, music constantly playing my favorite songs....etc.....so on and so on.....give me time, money and opportunity, my holidays would look like that!

Well, this year we're actually "settled" for once! I love my home and especially my yard that houses at least 100 oak trees. There are many clusters in the front yard that are begging to be wrapped with lights....Oh, I could just picture the lights swirling around each trunk.....As we started to go through the boxes of holiday decorations we realized that all of our outdoor lights were not there....3 moves within a few years and somewhere they got lost. {GASP} boo-hoo-hoo! Yes, the lights were missing...I know, I know...shocking! Because I ♥ Christmas lights! I get all giddy and little-girl-like and it makes me want to bake fudge and drink cocoa. (I'm so easy....no sparkly diamonds...just lights and lots of them!)

Anyway, budgeting Christmas for 7 people and tyring to keep our holidays focused in the right direction, I decided that I wasn't going to beg and cry.....I could forgo this year with no outdoor lights and enjoy the many blessings I already have....so I let it go.

I was leaving early one weekend morning a week ago when I realized my husband was heading out of the driveway and off....hum...no idea where he was going....AND he didn't even say goodbye! Oh, well, I left with the kids and returned a few hours later. The rain had started and it was getting very cold. As I turned into the driveway, I could see my husband wading through the trunks of oak trees, with boxes of lights piled on the walkway, frantically wrapping every single little oak in our front yard. I stopped the car and (I know this sounds so babyish) but I actually teared up! I got out and he turned his head surprised to see me....we were standing in the rain as he kept wrapping but with a big smile. I walked over and just grabbed him and hugged him!! He kissed my head and said, "Babe, you're so easy...that's what I ♥ about you. Now grab some lights and let's get this baby lit up!" My older daughters took the little ones in the house and my husband and I finished wrapping all the trees.

When we were done it was dark, we did the whole plug-in ceremony with just the two of us standing there on the sidewalk....my heart just melted because he took the time to listen to me, he knows what I love, what I wished for, and somehow made it work within our budget....and stood in the pouring rain hanging Christmas lights just for me! He so ROCKS!

For more "My Husband Rocks" visit My Husband Rocks Blog Roll!

Little Girl's Holiday Hair Bows ♥♥♥ Giveaway!!

I need something to make me feel better today...
And giving away things always make me feel better.

So I have 3 sets of bows to give away!!
My amazing friend CMommy at Her Sweet Little Things has been making bows for awhile now and has just started making her hobby a small business. She has made many beautiful bows for my girls and has now given me some to share with y'all! All you have to do is leave a comment and let me know which set you! PLEASE Make sure you leave your email if you don't have a blog. I cannot find you if I can't contact you!!! And you need to be willing to give me your mailing address if you win, but don't leave it in the comments...I'll contact you for it via email or your blog so I can send you your beautiful bows before Christmas!!

You have until
Wednesday, December 17th Midnight (EST)!!!

Set #1:
Set #2

Set #3


Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's so much closer than we know...

The last few days have been a complete whirlwind....my Father-in-Law passed away very unexpectedly Tuesday. With only hours to understand it all and before we realized what was happening, he was gone. I'm trying to understand and be strong, but it's so hard right now. We live across the country from all of our family and having to hold it together for my kids, alone, is very hard.

My husband received the call on Tuesday that he needed to get on the next flight out of Tampa and get to San Diego as fast as he could. Things were bad and it was more than just needing a miracle. Within a 48 hour period he developed an extreme case of pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital on Monday. He made some great progress by Monday evening, things were looking good as we expected. He's a young 65-year-old...and we didn't really panic at that point. I mean, they just bought their plane tickets. They were coming to our house in 2 weeks to spend the holiday with us. It's been 7 years since our kids have been able to celebrate Christmas with family and we were so excited! We couldn't wait for them to get here...we were emailing just this past week, counting down the days and making final plans.

By Tuesday morning, everything that could be wrong and bad, was. A turn for the worse in the middle of night made it almost impossible to keep him breathing on his own. The dreaded early morning phone call made my heart stop as a I saw the area code on the caller ID. I knew it had to be bad. At first I didn't want to answer it, but I did, and with a pit in my gut got the news that he wasn't okay. I honestly don't remember the conversation, but I had to tell my husband to be prepared to head to California. I don't think it even set in then...until the midday phone call with more panic and a plea to get there. My husband immediately came home from work, grab a suitcase and headed to the airport. I felt like I was standing in the middle of busy subway watching everything around me fly by and feeling completely helpless. My husband gave me a hug....a long one, and I knew in my heart that when I saw him again he would be different. I could feel his pain already.

My husband called me from the Atlanta airport while getting ready to board his next flight and there were no sounds but the background noise of the airport. He must have just gotten a phone call or an update and whatever it was it was bad. I knew he was tyring to collect himself together so he could speak. With a deep breath he said that his family called him and told him that he needed to know that his dad probably wouldn't be with them by time he got there. Things were just moving to quickly....he said more but at that time my heart began to break as I pictured my sweet husband getting on the back of a plane, with tears and pain that were indescribable....and all alone. I wanted so badly just run out the door and go to him. I just wanted him to feel my hand or something...I could not even fathom the pain he was going through at that moment, all by himself.

His plane departed and I waited patiently at home, all the while trying not to alarm the kids yet. And then the phone rang again...as I heard my MIL say my name I just knew. She didn't need to say a thing. I knew his time had come. As I sat there on the kitchen floor, we just cried together wishing we could just touch each other and make some sense of it all. I waited up for my husband to arrive in California, and knew that I'd be the first person he'd call. And he did. I couldn't talk when he called, and as I tried to say the words he already knew. As we sat there in silence I realized he was still on the plane. He hadn't even gotten off yet.

The last 2 days have been an emotional roller coaster and I know that this is just the beginning of a long road. My husband has told me that his world is no longer the same....life has changed. He can't explain it, but I know it hurts so deeply. Deeper than I can ever imagine. His quiet sobs from 2000 miles away anger me, sadden me, frustrate me, because I can't hold him. But i know he needs to be there. Telling our children was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.....watching their sweet little spirits go from bright and bubbly to deep sadness that would forever change them was heartbreaking.

In this horrible pain, I know that this is not a goodbye, it's just a see ya later. He's finished the test here on Earth. His work will continue on, he has errands somewhere else. Somewhere close by, just a little farther than those of us here on Earth want. I've developed an even deeper gratitude for my Savior and Heavenly Father, yet again, for the knowledge and faith that I've been blessed with. I know that this is not the "end". This is just the beginning for him and as our lives continue on here, his life is beginning in a place we all long to go one day. I'm thinking, given the chance, he'd never wish to come back here...who would ever want to leave the beautiful presence of heaven? It's so much closer than we know....and I feel that right now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday... Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is so hard...my husband lost his father very unexpectedly last night. Just trying to be strong with the heavy heart that I'm carrying.

Wordless Wednesday @ www.5minutesformom.com

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dinner Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

My Littlest Lady would look B-U-TiFuL in this dress!
I WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean, she wants it!
Dinner Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

And the Winner is.....

Linda from Another Piece of the Pie!!

Linda won my $200 Cherish Bound Story Giveaway!
My 6-year-old thinks he has the coolest job in the world...he's my official giveaway drawer. So he picked your name out of a box full of entries!

I'm so excited to help Linda tell a very important story
about an amazing person in her life!
Congrats Linda!!!
Make sure you drop me an email....
tarabrown at cherishbound dot com

Christmas Craft ♥ So Easy...Even I can do it!

This craft was so easy and it's adorable! I wish I could take credit, but of course it's something I found online somewhere, can't remember where, and now I can't pass on the credit. If I figure out who it was I'll make sure I give them the credit for it. My daughter's and I made these trees last weekend and they look adorable up on the mantle.

We bought 2 Styrofoam-shaped cones, gathered buttons from home, but also purchased a few craft bags full of buttons, and stick pins. The buttons we used were reds, greens, and whites of all shades and sizes. We also used stick pins with the white balls on the end. There were a few buttons that had large holes so we used hot glue to secure them and there were a few tiny buttons without holes for the pins and we used hot glue to attach them in the little spaces that were left at the end. It's a quick fun project that is very cute when done.....

Voila! There they are... {smile} So proud of myself...and my daughters.
We actually FINISHED a project! ♥

For some more great Homemaking Monday ideas visit
11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Storytime ♥ Highlighting Books for Chidren

The past few years my children have accumulated beautiful collection of storybooks. Being a Cherish Bound consultant and working out and about in the storytelling industry, I've had the privilege of being introduced to some amazing storytellers and writers. My children have received many storybooks from family and friends as well, and many we had never heard of until receiving them as gifts. Sometimes it's hard to find stories and books our children will love and finding a great storybook is always a prefect gift.

So be on the lookout each week as I highlight and share a storybook from my children's collection. I hope you find some new stories to share with your children. Feel free to comment and share your family's favorites too!

So here's goes the first book....

"Martina the Beautiful Cockroach"
My rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

I met the author of this book for the first time at the Jonesborough Storytelling Festival in Tennessee back in 2006. I fell in love with her stories, her energy...everything! She's absolutely incredible. Her name is Carmen Deedy and I've talked about her on my blog before. She's a phenomenal storyteller!

Our last Cherish Bound convention was at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival and of course, Carmen was there. In the store I found one of her stories I had heard her tell, but it was in print, and I had to have it for me...and my kids too. It's called "Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach". Yes, it's a story about a Cockroach. It's a Cuban folktale that she has retold with a little Carmen-spice. Stirred it up a little bit of Spanish. It's an adorable story about a Martina the Cockroach who's looking for love....but doesn't know a thing about love and marriage. Her wise grandmother gives her advice that will help her find what she's looking for.

This book also came with a CD, so my kids love listening to it in the car as well. The book has beautiful illustrations by Michael Austin. The story is wonderful, humorous and the book is beautiful! Martina has her own website, Beautiful Martina.

You're kids will get a kick of the book, but you'll also get a some humor and a little laugh out of it too. It's a delight to read and Carmen is simply a breath of fresh air! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Last Chance for $200 Giveaway!!!

DON'T MISS MY BIGGEST GIVEAWAY YET!!
Enter here or on the original post
I ♥ my bloggy friends! I'm so Thankful to have found this amazing world that I didn't know existed just months ago.
So I want to give you a Thanksgiving/Christmas present you can't live without!
Running until 11:59 pm on Friday, December 5th, I'll be giving away my best giveaway yet! Cherish Bound story products, story starters, chat cards, and even publishing!!
Don't miss out!!! You'll love everything in this giveaway!

$200 of Cherish Bound goodies!!!!!!!!

♥Gathering Chat Cards
♥Child Chat Cards
♥Sassy Binder
♥Notebook Pages
♥Writing & Publishing Guide
♥Vacation Dailies
♥Looking Back, It's My Life, A First Time For Everything Mini Story Starters♥
♥Recipe & Top Ten Mini Story Starters
♥Best Friends, Reflections of a Parent, I Did It, & All About Me Story Starters
♥Photo Bracelet
♥$29 in Cherish Bound Publishing!

Here's how you can enter!!
  1. Leave a comment & tell me a story you would love to tell your family
  2. Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/cherishbound176
  3. Sign up for my newsletter (see top-right sidebar, already get it, just remind me in your comment and it counts!)
  4. Post on your own blog about the Power of Story and how Cherish Bound can help you tell your stories. (5 entries for every post!! Just make sure you link back and let me know in the comments!)
  5. Add me to your favorites (top-right side bar-I'm already a favorite? Remind me...and It counts :O)
  6. Refer a friend and have them mention you in their comment (5 entries)
  7. Register at my Cherish Bound home page (VERY bottom) www.findcaptureandshare.com (if you're already a customer it won't let you do it twice ;O)
There you GO!! I can't wait to give this amazing gift package away!
GOOD LUCK! And many blessings to you and your family!!
US Residents only. And PLEASE don't forget to leave your email!! You have to be able to give your shipping address if you win!!

Wordless Wednesday: His new Obsession!

For more Wordless Wednesday visit www.5minutesformom.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

TwitterMoms Holiday Catalog

Look who's #1 on this list.... ♥ Twittermoms ONLY!! Email me to get 25% of All Cherish Bound publishing and products from now until December 31!!


Monday, December 1, 2008

12 Days of Christmas...The Power of Service

I think I was in 6th or 7th grade. Being the oldest of 3 and in a newly divorced family, I knew too much at a young age and I also knew what to expect that holiday season. Looking back, I consider myself more mature than your average 11 or 12-year old. I kind of had to be...

My parents were living in the same town, different house, every other weekend, 2 house payments, money was tight, etc. I was prepped for a slim Christmas. I was fine with it...sort of. It was hard to comprehend having a "small" Christmas because quite frankly, we were used to BIG elaborate holidays. Santa was always more than generous. We were sort of spoiled. Yes. But this year was going to be different. Things had changed drastically.

My parents were both struggling in more ways than one. My brother and sister were too. I think I was fine. At least I remember being fine. But I could tell there was some sadness, frustrations, anger...it wasn't the happy feeling I wanted during the holidays. This had always been my favorite time of year, but not this time. It wasn't going to be happy at all.

Until one night during the first week of December . I still remember the day, I wrote about it in my journal. There was a loud knock at the door, fairly late in the evening. We gave each other the look, "Who could that be?" Everyone jumped up to go to the door. The porch light was off, so mom turned it on and my brother opened the door. Nobody was there. He went to close the door when my little sister yelled, "STOP! There's something on the ground." I pushed through and picked up a small green Christmas tree filled with chocolate candies. Attached was a note.

I don't remember what the note said exactly. It said something to the affect of "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...." and on it went. There was unexpected excitement as we ran out to the yard to see if we could see anybody, but they were long gone by then. We ran back in the house laughing, my mom smiling, as we tore open that cute little helpless tree and began to devour the yummy chocolates. Mom salvaged the tree and put it up on the shelf with other decorations where it still sits today.

The next night, there was another knock at the door...at first it didn't register, but then we realized what it might be...so we ran to the door and of course no one was there, but a beautiful crystal candle holder with two bright red candles. Beautiful. And a note that read, "On the second day of Christmas my true love gave me to me..." and on it went. Even though this was a gift our mom would enjoy, we were excited too. My mom's smile grew a little bigger as she put it on our dining room table and lit the candles. They smelled so pretty...the house began to buzz again....a little happiness filled up the room.

The next night, we were ready. We knew this was going to go on for the next 10 nights. We sat and waited outside, on the side yard, back inside by the window and so on...nothing. And then just as we were giving up and heading to bed, "Knock-Knock!" Dang it! We missed it again....

This continued on night after night. I could see my mom's stress turning into something more relaxed and her smile stayed a little longer each day. My brother and sister were a so excited as the sun went down each day anticipating the "Knock"! I was swept up in the wonder and mystery of it all. I could feel that happy feeling that loved so much coming back. It was so sweet to feel that again...

Night 12 had finally arrived. It was about 5 or 6 days before Christmas. My mom had been talking to me earlier that day about how she wanted me to help her make some gifts because shopping was going to be limited and the budget was just too tight this year. She was trying to think of ways we could serve and help other people....Huh? I kept thinking we were the ones that needed to be served. We weren't in any position to help anyone else, but that's not how mom was working....she still knew there were people that were going without. We were fine. But I could see the worry on her face that day. She loves to give. And this year, she wasn't going to be able to give to her three kids like she always did. It wasn't about her. It was about us. She just wanted to make us happy.

"Knock-Knock!" A scream slipped through the house as we all darted for the door hoping to finally catch our secret Santa! Nope, nobody there....but on porch laid a cute little house made of cardboard. It had individual boxes inside like a puzzle, 12 of them. We picked it up and ran into the house and set it on the table. My brother opened the first box and pulled out a 20 dollar bill. My eyes about popped out of my head. My mom's jaw dropped and we began opening the houses. Each one filled with $20. TWENTY DOLLARS! Times that by 12... $240! Yes, on the 12th day of Christmas someone gave to us $240 to use on Christmas. My mom's eyes began to water and she slowly began to cry as she realized that someone had just changed our lives. Not because she could go buy "stuff" for us. That wasn't it at all. It was because she saw that each of us in our young ages softened and felt the undeniable power of service. We all began to cry as we sat around the kitchen table. We knew that we were loved, watched over, and someone really cared.

To this day we do not know who did it. We assumed it was someone from church. But we still have no idea. I don't remember what my mom bought with that money. But what I do remember is the feeling I had that night as I realized what Christmas was all about. It's about serving others, sacrificing and becoming like Christ.

Since that experience, I have continued the tradition of the 12 days of Christmas. I've never been able to offer $20 in 12 little houses :O) But we have put some smiles on faces and in return felt the warm love of service. ♥

Tune in tomorrow for ideas on how you can start the 12 Days of Christmas! It's an amazing tradition that will change your holidays!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Tradition #35

This a new tradition that was started 2 years ago with my friends. We get together the day before Thanksgiving and make homemade pies and rolls together. It's so much fun and a huge life savor for me because One, I don't have my own "mixer" (yet) and Two, I can't cook worth a crap. So my very sweet and best friend CMommy saves my life!

This year we're making Pioneer Woman's pie crust. Looks very, very yummy. I'm going to be making 2 pumpkin pies and a chocolate silk. Now CMommy has the most incredible rolls you'll ever eat!! They're so good!! I can make 2 entire large cookie sheets full and my small family of 7 will EAT EVERY SINGLE ONE BY Friday afternoon....talk about serious carb over loading! Woo-hoo!Maybe I can get her to share the recipe! It's fabulously delicious!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Deepest Gratitude

I actually had a different post for today....but changed it after the events of the past few days.

I'm sort of crying at my freaking computer right now. Ugh! I'm a "closet-crier"....I HATE to be upset. (okay, so why did i just tell you....) I avoid it. I can't stand the feelings it brews up in me...I'm a little confused right now. Crying because I feel sadness, but also because of the deepest gratitude that I can possibly feel.

Over the past year or so it seems that so many people around me have been faced with unexpected illnesses, traumatic experiences, challenges and sadness. All the while, I keep holding my breath that I may never personally experience what they're going through within my own family or my self....selfish of me, yes. But I feel for them and I do want to take it away. Confusing.

Last night I was writing in my journal....almost jotting down all the trials that my friends and some family have had to face. Some minor and others very upsetting. It was actually a long list...I shut the journal and pushed it away with anger because of this LONG list of trials. Why? Why do these good people have to go through so many challenges? I happened to have the scriptures sitting right next to me ;O) and looked for something to answer my question. I searched through and found something that stood out in Acts....it went something like this: Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Hum...Hum....Hum....

In the meantime, I've carried a warm feeling amongst all this anxiety because I've come to the complete understanding that my Heavenly Father has blessed me, my children and my husband beyond anything I can ever understand. I almost feel a sense of peace....because I actually "KNOW" that his watchful eye is constantly on my family. I don't know why...but I just feel it. I feel the deepest gratitude for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. My heart has finally realized that I'm so blessed, beyond anything I could have ever imagined, hoped for, or asked for. Maybe my begging prayers of safety and peace are being answered, or maybe my stubborn heart is finally softening up to actually feel it. I don't know...but my "worldly" mind and thoughts have probably clouded this feeling for awhile...thank goodness He's patient with me.

Wow...this was way off of what I ever share on my blog. But I just felt the need to express my gratitude...after all it is Thanksgiving...the week of celebrating Thankfulness and Gratitude. Thanks for letting me spill my guts....it hurt a little bit, but I feel better now. I'm still a little awe struck that I, ME, of all people could be so-so-so very blessed.......

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Husband Rocks ♥ Fridays!

My hubby really-really rocks! He's done a few big-time rockin' things in that past few weeks! Today I'm going to share the first one.....

He worked from home one day a week ago. I was having a stressful morning, busy, tired, twins were being naughty little tots, other kids all had a bad morning...it was just ONE OF THOSE DAYS. Well, I was doing laundry and trying to stay somewhat caught up on the disaster in our house when He said...

"Come on! It's ready."

"What's ready?"

"Just come on babe."

"Where are the twins?"

"Asleep!"

"What?"

So I followed him and he led me outside....it was an unusually cold day in Florida. He had a toasty fire in the outdoor fireplace, two lounge chairs pulled up next to it, a tray of hot tomato soup, my favorite sandwich - Grilled cheese, tomato and mustard, and 2 Diet Cokes! Seriously! He did that...we enjoyed about 45 minutes of peace and quite, great conversation, yummy food on cold Tuesday morning. How rockin' is that?

For more My Husband Rocks visit My Great Adventures! Help get participation to 150 and then I can do my giveaway on her blog!!!

List of FREE Digi Scrap Downloads! Confessions of an Ex-"Traditional" Scrapbooker!

I found this compiled list of blogs/websites that offer FREE digital scrapbooking downloads. For the life of me I can't remember where I found it!! I'm thinking it was one of my handy-dandy mom sites that I go into, but whoever did it I wish I could remember where I saw it to give you credit! Anyway, I saved it and have referred to it 100's of times! I love this list! I also posted it on Little Scrapbook Shop as well.

If you’re looking to start digital scrapbooking and would like to save some money in the process, visit these sites and see what you can grab for free! If you have a site and it's not on here, please leave it on the comment section and I'll update it to the list!

http://www.shabbyprincess.com/default.asp
http://store.scrapgirls.com/category.php?cat=21
http://happyscrapgirl.blogspot.com/
http://www.rackettyscrappety.blogspot.com/
http://www.littledreamerdesigns.com/
http://www.designerdigitals.com/
http://www.gingerscraps.blogspot.com

http://scraporchard.com/
http://ikeagoddess.blogspot.com/
http://raspberryroaddesigns.blogspot.com/
http://www.sunshinestudioscraps.com/
http://vivianefreebies.blogspot.com/
http://www.weedsandwildflowersdesign.com/
http://www.scraphead.com/
http://www.myscrapbookart.com/
http://tracimurphydesigns.com/
http://www.the-lilypad.com/index.php
http://www.sweetshoppedesigns.com/
http://www.simplysarahdesigns.blogspot.com/
http://www.scrapmatters.com/cms/
http://www.scrapbookgraphics.com/xcart/home.php
http://scrapbook-elements.com
http://scrapbook-bytes.com/
http://www.scrapartist.com/
http://ellielash.com/blog/
http://www.peppermintcreative.com/
http://bestscrapfreebies.itopsites.com/
http://mistycatodesigns.blogspot.com/
http://www.memorymakersmag.com/
http://www.jenwilsondesigns.com/
http://www.hodgepodgeart.typepad.com/
http://happyscrapgirldesigns.blogspot.com/
http://www.ginamillerdesigns.com/shoppe/
http://fishinmom.blogspot.com/
http://www.digitalscrapbookpages.com/
http://www.digitalfreebies.com/freebies.php
http://www.digitaldivasdesigns.com/
http://www.digiscrapdepot.com/freebies/
http://digifree.blogspot.com/
http://www.cottagearts.net/
http://www.catscrap.com/
http://bitsoscrap.blogspot.com/
http://www.atomiccupcake.com/
http://www.scrapgoo.lliella.com/
http://pineappleplantation.blogspot.com/
http://angeltown.typepad.com/
http://imaginebyfran.blogspot.com/
http://www.godigitalscrapbooking.com/blog/?p=33
http://lifebeginswithlove.blogspot.com/
http://scrapandrea.blogspot.com/
http://amandaheimanndesigns.com/blog/
http://sugarsnapscraps.blogspot.com/
http://www.funkyplaygrounddesigns.com/store/home.php
http://www.creatingkeepsakes.com/

Thursday, November 20, 2008

$200 Giveaway! Merry Christmas To You ♥ From Me!

DON'T MISS MY BIGGEST GIVEAWAY YET!!
I ♥ my bloggy friends! I'm so Thankful to have found this amazing world that I didn't know existed just months ago.
So I want to give you a Thanksgiving/Christmas present you can't live without!
Staring today and running until 11:59 pm on Friday, December 5th, I'll be giving away my best giveaway yet! Cherish Bound story products, story starters, chat cards, and even publishing!!
Don't miss out!!! You'll love everything in this giveaway!

$200 of Cherish Bound goodies!!!!!!!!

♥Gathering Chat Cards
♥Child Chat Cards
♥Sassy Binder
♥Notebook Pages
♥Writing & Publishing Guide
♥Vacation Dailies
♥Looking Back, It's My Life, A First Time For Everything Mini Story Starters♥
♥Recipe & Top Ten Mini Story Starters
♥Best Friends, Reflections of a Parent, I Did It, & All About Me Story Starters
♥Photo Bracelet
♥$29 in Cherish Bound Publishing!

Here's how you can enter!!
  1. Leave a comment & tell me a story you would love to tell your family
  2. Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/cherishbound176
  3. Sign up for my newsletter (see top-right sidebar, already get it, just remind me in your comment and it counts!)
  4. Post on your own blog about the Power of Story and how Cherish Bound can help you tell your stories. (5 entries for every post!! Just make sure you link back and let me know in the comments!)
  5. Add me to your favorites (top-right side bar-I'm already a favorite? Remind me...and It counts :O)
  6. Refer a friend and have them mention you in their comment (5 entries)
  7. Register at my Cherish Bound home page (VERY bottom) www.findcaptureandshare.com (if you're already a customer it won't let you do it twice ;O)
There you GO!! I can't wait to give this amazing gift package away!
GOOD LUCK! And many blessings to you and your family!!
US Residents only. And PLEASE don't forget to leave your email!! You have to be able to give your shipping address if you win!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Tradition #34

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!! I promised myself that this year I would not be surprised or shocked to realize that Thanksgiving was just days a way, but I am. It always comes so quickly, but I have taken the time to plan out a few things other than the menu. I'm not totally planned out (wish I was that good...) but I've got my "Thanksgiving Agenda" planned and hopefully I'll be able to pull off an enjoyable and relaxing holiday with my gang.

Here are 3 fun family traditions that you can do now and prep for next week. These are some fun things you can actually do ON Thanksgiving day if you need to fill some extra time up. We spend our Thanksgiving at home with just the 7 of us and there can be an hour or two here and there that allows board children to find trouble or simply drive me up a wall. So here's what we'll be doing on Thanksgiving day...other than eating and stuffing our faces full of grub.

1. Pick a fun family holiday movie to watch. This is great day to watch The Christmas Story, Polar Express, Rudolph, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf...and the list goes on. We catch the NFL games first and then pop a movie in.

2. How about a fun holiday craft or make some gifts? This year I'm loving the vinyl lettering! You can put this stuff ANYWHERE! But this year, we're going to be making some "tiles" with vinyl lettering. You better get your lettering ASAP though....and go down to your local Home Depot or Lowe's and buy some clearance tiles for cents!

3. And don't forget to take a family picture for your holiday cards. We always try and take one on Thanksgiving...however, we have to take it ourselves because we all want to be in it and we have no one else to help us take it. So we go with the old "timer" thing. Sometimes we look like we actually got dressed up and went somewhere and other times...well, it's the thought that counts right?

Start planning some fun things to do over the 5 day break! Lots of food, blessings and family traditions! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dinner Blessings #5

One of my most favorite foods of all time has been and always will be.....

MEATLOAF!!

I know, of all the foods in the world...meatloaf? But it is. I love a few other things just as much, but this is one of my top favs. I'm a big-time carnivore. Had I lived 2 million years ago I would have been a T-rex. Seriously...

So I'd like to share my favorite meatloaf recipe with you.....and if you have one please share it using Mr. Linky on your blog or post it in the comment section. I'd love to see all the "meatloaf" recipes out there. I make it at least 2 times a month. So show me what you've got!

I wish I could give credit for this recipe, but I actually found it on a written piece of paper about 10 years ago in my church's kitchen. I snagged it...it look dusty. I don't think anyone was looking for it, but I took it, made it, and fell in love...so that's why I call it...

Sunday Meatloaf

2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 pound bacon strips, uncooked

Sauce
2 cups ketchup
2 cups brown sugar

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT bacon, ketchup and brown sugar. Put in a large 9x6 loaf pan. Cut bacon strips in half and place on top of meatloaf to cover. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Remove and drain excess juices (fat). Spoon ketchup/brown sugar sauce over the top. Save some for serving at the table too. Return to oven for about 15-20 more min. Let stand for a few minutes before serving. (I'm hungry just typing this!!!!)

Enjoy and please share yours! I can always use a new Meatloaf recipe....well, my family would love the variation!
Ps...don't forget Homemaker Monday over at 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Famous Northpole.com Recipes!

Here are TONS and TONS of holiday favorites!!! Just click on the name of the cookie and BAM....the recipe is there! Enjoy these yummy Christmas treats!!

1-2-3 Cookies 7 Layer Cookies Allie Nelson's Famous Snickerdoodle Cookies Almond Crescent Shortbread Amish Sugar Cookies Andies Candies Cookies Angel Crisps Angenets Applesauce Cookies Apricot Fold-Overs Aunt Edy's Molasses Crinkles Auntie Linda's Ginger Gems Bakeless Dream Cookies Banana Drop Cookies Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World Biscotti Biscotti Blueberry Cookies Boiled Chocolate Oatmeal Drop Cookies Bronwnies Brown Sugar Shortbread Brownie Cookies Brownie Delight Brownies Buccaneer Snowballs Buried Cherry Cookies Butter Cookies Butter Nut Balls Butterballs Butterscotch Haystacks C.O.P. Cookies Candy Cane Cookies Candy Cookies Caramel Shortbread Cheesecake Brownies Cherry Buns Cherry Crowns Cherry Winks Chewies Chewy Noels Chinese Chews/Haystacks Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Chocolate Chip Cookies Chocolate Chip Meltaways Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies Chocolate Christmas Trees Chocolate Cream Cheese Squares Chocolate Crinkles Chocolate Mint Snow-Top Cookies Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (no bake) Chocolate Snowball Cookies Chocolate Streusel Bars Chocolate Sundae Cookies Chocolate Walnut Crumb Bars Choco-Scotch Crunchies Choose A Cookie Dough Recipe Christmas Crackers Christmas Crunch Bars Christmas Ginger Snaps Christmas Macaroons Christmas Mice Cookies Christmas Shaped Cookies Church Window Cookies Coconut Cookies Congo Squares Cookie in a Jar Corn Flakes Cookies Cornflake Christmas Wreaths Cowboy Cookies (oatmeal) Cream Cheese Cookies with Apricot Filling Crème De Menthe Chocolate Squares Crème Wafers Crescent Cookies Crispy Crunchies Date Nut Balls Date-nut Pinwheel Cookies Diabetic Peanut Butter Cookies Disgustingly Rich Brownies Doodles Double chocolate chip cookies Double-Chocolate Crinkles Eatmore Cookies Eggnog Cookies Elizabeth's Sugar Cookies Elves Quick Fudge Brownies Emily Dickinson's Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Emily's Best Brownies Famous Oatmeal Cookies Firemen Cookies Fluffy Shortbread Cookies Forgotten Cookies Frosted Peanut Butter Brownies Fruit Cake Cookies Fruitcake Squares Fry Pan Cookies Gems Ginger Cookies Ginger Crinkles Gingerbread Baby Gingerbread Cookies with Butter Cream Icing Gingerbread Men Gingerbread Men Ginny's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Glory's Golden Graham Squares Glory's Sugar Cookies Gramma Chapman's chocolate coconut drops Grandma Elsie's Zimt (cinnamon) Cookies Grandma J's Butter Cookies Grandma Olson's Parkay Cookies Great Grandmothers Sugar Cookies Gum Drop Cookies Gumdrop Gems Haystack Cookies Ho-Ho Bars Holiday Cereal Snaps Holiday Chocolate Butter Cookies Holiday Raisin Walnut Bars Holly Cookies Hungarian Cookies (Little Nut Rolls) Ice Box Cookies Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies Italian Cookies Jacob's Peppermint Snowballs Jam Bars Jessica's Famous Brownies Jessie's Chocolate Chip Cookies Jubilee Jumbles Juliet's Peanut Butter Blossoms Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies Kentucky Colonels Kiefle (cream cheese cookies with jam filling) Kifflings Kiss Cookies Lacy Swedish Almond Wafers Lemon Angel Bar Cookies Lemon Bars Lemon Cake Cookies Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies Lemon Squares Linzer Tarts Log Cabin Cookies Luscious Lemon Squares M&M Cookies Magic Cookie Bars Melt in Your Mouth Cutout Sugar Cookies Melting Shortbread Meme's Cream Cheese Cookies Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies Mincemeat Cookies Mincemeat Goodies Molasses Cookies Molasses Forest Cookies Molasses Sugar Cookies Mom Mom's Crescent Cookies Mom-Mom's Ginger Cookies Mom's Nutmeg Sugar Cookies Mom's Old Fashion 'Puffy' Sugar Cookies Monster Cookies Moravian Christmas Cookies Nana's Famous Soft Southern Cookies Nitey Nite Cookies No Bake Chocolate Cookies No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies No Bake Cookies No Bake Cookies No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies No-Bake Cookies Norwegian Sugar Cookies Nut Balls Oatmeal Bars Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies Oatmeal Coconut Crisps Oatmeal Cookies Oatmeal Scotchies Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies Ooey Gooey Caramel Chocolate Dunk Ooey Gooey Squares Orange Slice Cookies Parking Lot Cookies Peanut Blossoms Peanut Butter Bars Peanut Butter Blossoms Peanut Butter Cereal Cookies Peanut Butter Chewies Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars Peanut Butter Cookies Peanut Butter Cookies Peanut butter fingers Peanut Butter Reindeer Peanut Butter Surprises Peanut Marshmallow Cookies Pecan Puff Cookies Peppermint Snowballs Peppernuts Persimmon Cookies Persimmon Cookies Petey's Yummy Spicy Almond Thins Pfeffernuesse Pffefferneuse Cookies Pineapple Filled Cookies Pizzelles Potato Chip Cookies Potato Flake Cookies Praline Cookies Praline Strips Pterodactyl Nests Pumpkin Bars Pumpkin Bars Pumpkin Chip Cookies Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Pumpkin Cookies Queen Biscuits Quick Cookies Raised Sugar Cookies Raisin Filled Oatmeal Bars Raspberry Meringue Bars Really Peanutty Butter Cookies Reese`s Brownies Reese's Peanut Butter Bars Rich Flavor Christmas Cookies Rich Lemon Bars Ricotta Cheese Cookies Royal Almond Christmas Bars Rudolph Cinnamon Cookies Russian Tea Cookies Russian Teacakes Samantha & Kelsey's Chocolate Chip Cookies Sand Art Brownies Santa Claus Cookie Pops Santa Claus Cookies Santa's Butterscotch Melts Santa's Shorts Santa's Special Squares Scotch Cakes Scotch Shortbread Scotcharoos Scotcheroos Seven Layer Cookies Short Bread Cookies Shortbread Skor Squares Snicker Doodle Cookies Snickerdoodles Snickerdoodles Snow Balls Sour Cream Apple Squares Sour Cream Christmas Cookies Special K Cookies Spice Cookies Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Spritz Cookies Stained Glass Window Cookies Stir & Drop Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Swedish Pepparkakor (Pepper Cake) Cookies Swedish Sugar Cookies Sweet Marie's Swiss Treats Taralle (Italian Cookies) Tea Time Tassies Texas Brownies The Best Shortbread in The World Thumbprint Cookies Thumbprint Cookies Toffee Squares Traditional Christmas Sugar Cookies Traditional Gingerbread Men Cookies Triple-Chocolate Chip Cookies Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Vanilla Waffer Balls Walnut Butter Cookies Walnut Crumb Bars White Chip Chocolate Cookies Wild Oatmeal Cookies Will's Famous Apple Jack Cookies Yummy Yummy Peanut Butter Blossoms