Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Family Pictures From "You-Know-Where"

You can see that our VERY first family pictures (which included 7 of us) went VERY well.....
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

12 Days of Christmas

Previously Posted 12/2/08

Sunday, Dec. 13 is the day start the 12 Days of Christmas if you want it to end on Christmas Eve, and Monday, December 14th will begin the 12 Days of Christmas if want to end on Christmas.

Hopefully have read one of my old posts from last year about how as a child my family was given the "The 12 Days a Christmas".  You can see how this simple and sweet project can not only change the holiday season for another family, but also your own.

Here are some tips and ideas on how to prep this project and get your family excited about the secret Santa project they'll be doing. 

I was bouncing around the internet a few days ago and came across this adorable kit with download-able printouts and directions. It's called 12 Days of Christmas Kit by Sandy. For $2.85, I'm thinking it's money well spent. What I love about this one is the ideas and gifts are homemade and inexpensive. I don't need to remind everyone that money is tight, so leaving boxes of $20 bills probably won't be happening any time soon....these gifts are cute, usable, eatable, and easy to find. With the printouts (very cute!!) the gifts look adorable!

....I must confess....I'm happy that money is tight for everyone, including our family. I'm happy that we're being forced to remember why we celebrate this beautiful season. Maybe we should see it as a tender mercy and a blessing in disguise. Immersing your family in service and holiday projects, starting family traditions, keeping old traditions will remind us and keep us focused on Christmas...

Sorry....back to the 12-days....

So if you can spend the $2.96, go download her cute kit! It has a letter for the first night, all the tags and poems, pictures of ideas, and the gifts are easy and cute! If are some cute ideas!! These are ones that I have done, friends have done, had done to my own family, etc.....

TIP: Wal-mart, Dollar Stores, Dollar Section in Target have everything you need if you need to go out and buy something.

"Anything" items could be as simple as bubbles for kids, microwave popcorn, candy, homemade cookies & treats, ornaments, crafts, nativity pictures, holiday wrapping supplies, fruit, mini puzzles, games, eggnog and dollar mugs, cocoa, homemade greeting cards or stationary....

Day 1 ♥ A partridge in a pear tree: One of ANYTHING, one pear, one basket of pears, dove ornament.
Day 2 ♥ 2 turtle doves: Two of ANYTHING, Dove candies or chocolate turtle candies,
Day 3 ♥ 3 french hens: Three of ANYTHING, anything "French", chicken noodle soup (hen is a chicken ;O), 3 Dozen cookies or treats of any kind.
Day 4 ♥ 4 calling birds: Four of ANYTHING, 4 bags of goodies, "calling" cards.
Day 5 ♥ 5 golden rings: Five of ANYTHING, donuts (my fav), ring pops

Day 6 ♥ 6 geese a laying: Six of ANYTHING, Easter eggs filled with treats, Fixings for omelets, 6 pack of soda or favorite drinks
Day 7 ♥ 7 swans a swimming: Seven of ANYTHING, Bubble bath and bath toys, Ugly Duckling Storybook

Day 8 ♥ 8 maids a milking: Eight of ANYTHING, milk maid caramels, Ice cream toppings, chocolate milk, cow print items, cow ornament...pretty much anything milk or cows!
Day 9 ♥ 9 ladies waiting: Nine of ANYTHING, Ladyfinger cookies, box of art supplies for kids
Day 10 ♥ 10 lords a leaping: Ten of ANYTHING, frog items, I heard this one represents the 10 commandments?? I stick with Ten of Anything...but let me know if you think of something creative!
Day 11 ♥ 11 pipers piping: Eleven of ANYTHING, Christmas CD (download and make it or buy it)
Day 12 ♥ 12 drummers drumming: Twelve of ANYTHING, drum ornament, drummer boy "something", ice cream drumsticks.

So here's a list to get the creative juices flowing! Start getting your items and ideas together now. I like to start on the 13th so our last delivery is on Christmas Eve. If you know the family will be traveling or leaving town, start earlier or finish when they return. Organize and start now because the days will fly by quickly. Plus its fun to get the hubby and kids excited about it. Be sure to sit down this week or by Saturday and plan out your gifts, pick a family or two and prep to begin Sunday or Monday. This is good time to "make" some homemade ornaments or crafts that you'd like to give as well. Please pass on your ideas and share them with us all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Tradition - Family Trivia

This traditions requires a little prep today or tomorrow, but it's so worth it and so much fun!  We have to celebrate our holidays without the warmth and loveable chaos that most families do becuase we live 2000 miles away from everyone, but we did this in the past with our extended family and it was the highlight of the day! 

Send out a questionnaire to everyone that will be attending Thanksgiving together...even those who may not attend in person.  Plan questions so that they answers will reveal funny tidbits of your family history that not everyone has heard before.  Make sure everyone brings their answered questions to Thanskgiving so you can have yourselves a Family Trivia game! 

Need some question help? has a great list of questoins and ideas!!  See below -

Family: These questions should be about family members, alive or deceased, their accomplishments, favorite things, or birthplaces. Second cousins and great greats can be included in the harder questions.

History: Look at your children's history homework for ideas. Also consider questions about historical places you've visited on vacation, like the Alamo, or history about your state. Family history can also be incorporated.

Science: Again, your children's homework will help here. Consider questions from museum exhibits you've attended or movies you've seen. How about kitchen science? Garage science? Computer science? Questions about favorite family animal shows would also be appropriate.

Literature: Books you've read together, or favorite childhood books are wonderful sources for literature questions. Who wrote a favorite book? Who are the main characters? Movies are also a good source of questions. For instance, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a movie, but it's also a book. Questions about the story, sequels, or C.S. Lewis would be appropriate.

Art: Have you and your kids visited an art museum? Have you read art books? How about that print in the living room? If it's famous, questions about the artist would be great. Questions about colors and color mixing, different media, and even book illustrators will work well.

Geography: Vacations! Questions like, "How many states do we cross to get to Florida?" and "Which states do we cross to get to Florida?" will be customized just for your family. Have you worked a country or world puzzle together? Use questions about the puzzle. Even questions about your city's streets are appropriate: "Main street runs in which two directions?"

Sports & Liesure: This is a topic your entire family will love because it can be so personal. How many years has Suzie taken ballet? What was her first performance? Johnny plays soccer, but does anyone know the score to his last game? What sport did Mom play in fifth grade? Dad won first chair in the high school jazz band playing which instrument? If Jenny could play any instrument in the world, what would it be? What was the first song June and Henry danced to at their wedding reception? 

Image from -

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Holidays In Hand with Jessica Sprague

Don't miss out on this wonderful FREE class given by Jessica Sprague... Holidays In Hand.
The FINAL class of 2009 began this morning, but there's still time to toss your hat into the ring!  
FREE registration will end tonight at 11:59pm, so go claim a spot!

This class will help you capture the hopes, memories and wonderment of the holidays.  This class helps us focus on what's important during the holidays.

We'll be making a great project to help you tell your holiday stories both past and present.  This class is for EVERYONE. Since you don't have to know Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, grab a friend to join you in class!
Registration is easy and free!

  • Go to
  • Copy this code by highlighting it and typing Ctrl-C (Cmd-c on your Mac): HIHFREE2009

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm Back....

I'm back...

Life has gotten chaotic-busy in wonderful ways and blogging was taking a backseat. I'm here and out...still busy, but hoping to keep up on my all my blogging. I have so many saved posts and ideas. I haven't even had time to try and post one up. But hopefully in a day or two I'll be moving along.

I do have some great holiday giveaways planned...I owe that to you! I can't wait to give some presents away! ♥

I did finish the pettiskirt...

Go me! It was HARD! I'm not going to lie....tedious! But she was so cute as our little Autumn Fairy.

Homecoming was a blast...we had 20 kids over for a candlelight dinner. My girl is growing up! Makes me happy-sad...

Genealogy has become a big hobby for me lately...I could go on and on about that! What an amazing experience that has been... Found my long lost family that had been forgotten.

So much more has been happening in our little world, but with all the craziness I have managed to be creative and create...which has probably kept me SANE! I'll share some of my fun with you soon....

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Sew...Busy! Adorable Pettiskirts!!!

I'm at it again... My dear friend keeps showing me adorable projects to sew. Well, we're working on this right now....

You can veiw a tutorial and at Martha Stewart.

Our girls are going to be "ballerinas". My little one is actually a "ballerina-fairy-princess". I have to get this done by Wednesday night, so hopefully I'll have some pictures to share soon.

And I also made a skirt with NO pattern. EASY EASY EASY! You can make it in less than an hour. So I'll post about that too once I get this project done.


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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Tradition #46 - Homemade Halloween Fun!

Somewhere a long time ago, a few city and states ago, I was over at a friends house for a little Halloween party. Sometimes entertaining 3 and 4 yr. olds can be quite a task. But she pulled out this adorable homemade Halloween memory game and the kids played it for over an hour!

Take Halloween pictures from the past years, as far back as you want, and print out 2 - 2x2 squares of each picture. Mount them on card stock, Halloween style if you want, and cut those out into squares. You should have 2 of every picture. That's it!

Place the squares picture side down, in nice even rows, and take turns picking 2 cards at a time while trying to make a match. Whoever has the most pairs at the end of the game, WINS! My little ones LOVE this game. I'm putting together my family's Halloween Memory game today and I'm sure we'll get lots of use out of this easy, cheap, homemade game!


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Monday, October 12, 2009

Hello...Anyone There?

I know...I've been MIA...BIG TIME! It's been a wild-wild-wild crazy few weeks. Lots of ups and down and downs and ups. Dealing with my sister-in-law's passing, my husband flying back and forth to California to take care of her 4 kids (they have no family or father...and there's a big possibility that I'll go from a mother of 5 to 9 shortly) , swine flu, homecoming, kids sports, school, church know, the drill.

I've realized that I'm in the thick of life! I'm potty training 2 kids, teaching one to tie his shoes and another to drive. So yeah, that's my excuse. I'll be back into the blogging world tomorrow...or Wednesday....okay, at least by Friday.

I'm still the luckiest mom in the world!

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Favorite Fall Recipes - Butternut Squash Soup

My newest passion is beginning to cause some serious overload since the arrival of Fall. For the first time in my life I'm spending more and more time in the kitchen than anywhere else in my home...and I'm LOVING IT! Fall offers the excuse to bake and cook wonderful delicious meals every single day!

So in my cooking excitement I'm going to share my newest favorite fall recipe with you...but I'd love love love for you to share one with me too! Leave your favorite in the comments. A girl can never have enough recipes!

With this new passion I've forced myself to try some new foods...foods that I have never ever given a thought to. My newest fav is Butternut Squash. Now, I've only had it as a soup or "bisque", but can I tell you how EXTREMELY incredible it was?!!! Unbelievable! So I have to share it with you. Trust me, you will love it!

A wonderful friend of mine invited myself and a few other friends over for a lunch one day last week and made this for us.

Butternut Squash Bisque

Approximately how this recipe goes...

1 butternut squash, cut-up
1 medium to large white onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 large peeled carrot

4 oz. cream cheese
approx 1-3 cups chicken broth
approx 1 cup half-n-half
salt (guessing 2 teaspoons worth)
fresh ground pepper

Boil first 4 ingredients together until vegetables are soft--about 45 minutes. I peel my butternut squash at this point--after it's cooked. Drain water.

Puree cooked vegetables together in blender with salt, pepper, and 4 oz. softened cream cheese. Slowly add chicken stock (start with 1 cup, you may have to go up to 2 or more cups--I just eyeball it). Add about 1 cup of half-n-half. Return to pot and warm on low.

And don't forget to share some yummy recipes too!
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Meet My Offspring

Picture by (thank you Ryan!)

This is MY family...this is our ONLY family picture! We are scheduled for pics in a few weeks (FINALLY) but I wanted to share my favorite people on Earth with you all...and of course we're hanging out at sporting event...but hey, at least it's a family picture!

For more Wordless Wednesday visit

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Family Yearbook Challenge 2009 - Week 24

If you're new to the Family Yearbook Challenge click HERE & then HERE

Well, September was full of "stuff" stuff and I neglected to keep up the FYB Challenge. So this month we're doing a full month in one week....Ready?
Homework September 7 - September 30:

1. Labor Day Weekend - How did you observe Labor Day weekend? Did you go on any final summer trips, celebrations or maybe you have some favorite traditions?

2. Sports - You may or may not LOVE football like we do, but for our family, Football gets a spot every year in our FYB. We love all football....our kids flag football, local high school, college and pro! Maybe your family loves Baseball and the excitement that October brings to the sport. Whatever it is, share your "FAN"atic side of what you love!

3. Birthdays - Don't forget birthdays. Any big parties, celebrations with family, weddings, births, deaths? Make sure you keep track of those events and memories.

4. School Events - School is now in full gear....any favorite art work or papers from your kids worth sharing? Did you go to Open House, meet the teacher, have some funny stories of your kids at school?

Now COPY and paste any photos that you have that go with these events and questions into a new folder titled June. If you'd like to rename the photos you can with ept 1, sept 2, sept 3 so on and so on. If you have any memorabilia that is NOT digital, scan and save as a jpg. minimum 300 dpi to your September folder, named and labeled. If you have a "story" you can hand write it or "type" it into a document and save in the same folder.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumn Apple Vases

I saw this picture and I just made me smile...

We've had a rough week in our family, yet again, another death has come upon us. I was breaking from all the chaos when I spotted this picture. Made me smile and feel a twinge of excitement that my favorite time of year is fast approaching.

There is something about autumn and the holidays that jolts me back into warming up the home and preparing for lots of celebration. As a wife and mother, it's a pleasure to have the responsibility of nurturing my family and providing a home of warmth where we can all feel happy and comfortable.

To get instructions on how to create this adorable autumn apple arrangement visit Home Made Simple and see all of their seasonal arrangements and this adorable apple vase idea!

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picture from Home Made Simple

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Did you know today is Constitution Day?

Today is a beautiful day. Many people don't even KNOW that today is Constitution Day. On this day in 1787, all 12 state delegations approved the Constitution. 39 delegates signed it of the 42 that were present, and the Convention formally adjourned.

As a family, we have decided that it's time to REALLY REALLY know our Constitution and the beautiful promises and blessings that will be bestowed upon this country if we uphold and honor this document and the men who made this possible.

We have promised each other the following -
1. We will each read and learn about the Constitution

2. We will educate our family and learn about Good Government
3. Show gratitude for our liberty
4. Teach others about America
I found this quote and it gave me chills...we have a lot of work to do as parents.

"A primary object...should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing...than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?"
-George Washington

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Bribery

Potty Training Bribery...

For more Wordless Wednesday visit

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Tradition - Handwritten Letters?

Email, text, cell phone, instant message, PM.......and the list goes on.

I've realized that my children are learning to communicate without emotion. They're falling into a trap of non-verbal communication and it's scaring me. All those things are so convenient, and I personally love them too. They're faster, easier and get the job done. But this past weekend I realized that my daughters (pre-teen and teen) haven't hand written a letter to anyone in their family in a few years.

I remember as a youth writing my grandparents, they would write me back...writing my cousins and getting cute decorated notes back in the mail. There is something to be said about the excitement that stirs when we look in the mailbox and see a letter from a family member, a friend across the country or a pen pal. (Do people still pen pal?)

I was going through some keepsake boxes and realized I had an entire shoebox filled with handwritten letters from my cousins, grandparents, and friends that were sent to me during my childhood. I stopped and read those letters for about 2 hours and realized that my children have no shoe boxes full of letters. They have email accounts that are used for quick writes, dumb jokes and few funky surveys.

Where are those emails going to be in 20 years? Not in a shoebox.

The advice and stories that I have in that shoebox is priceless. It's a treasure box full of support, love, direction, advice, congratulations.....I can't even list them all. I pulled them out and shared them with my kids and they were captivated by these letters. They loved to see "great-grandma's" beautiful handwriting and the stories and emotion that flowed onto the paper.

There is something special, something different about a handwritten letter. I've read somewhere about the positive impact personally handwriting a letter can benefit a child, a mother, a father. One of our family "traditions" that we try to do each month is write HAND WRITTEN letters to family. No texting, emailing, or pm'ing...a real handwritten letter. I hope that we can start a family tradition with all of our extended family and bring back the beauty of swapping stories and memories through the mail.

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PS. A very amazing wonderful friend of mine has started a new blog called "Incredible Women". This week she is highlighting one my heroes and one of THE most incredible women I have ever met....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Finding Hope - 9/11

This is a must see video. Finding Hope through the tragedy of 9/11, remembering not only those who were lost, but those who survived.

Shabby Apple - Modest, Beautiful, Perfect!

Fit to Flatter

I'm so excited to share Shabby Apple with you. I've always be an "Apple" stalker. If you don't know who or what Shabby Apple is....Well, then you're MISSING OUT!!!

Shabby Apple is an online dress boutique that has affordable, hip, attire perfect for work or a day to play. They are experts in modest women's dresses, little girls dresses, maternity dresses, and fashion accessories.

I've had my eye on the 90WPM dress for awhile...a little hesitant to purchase the dress because...dang, look at it! It's fitting, slightly risky for my taste, but so beautiful. It has the most beautiful Turquoise color. Well, I got the dress in the mail, but I left in the package for about a week...too scared to open it...fearing that it would "NOT LOOK GOOD ON ME"...

Well...Well...Well....Shabby Apple doesn't lie. When they say Fit To Flatter, they're not kidding. When they say "connect our customers with their designs" they mean it. Just ask my hubby...

I'm NO WHERE close to being a perfect "10", but the design and lay of this dress was, to my surprise, AMAZING! This dress has ruching at the side to flatter the hips (yes, I said FLATTER) and an adorable tie at the neck. The puff sleeves have a band that hit just above the elbow, while the length is at knee level.

The first time I wore it, I walked out of the bathroom, hair done, heals on and my hubby about fell over... oh yeah. He said, "Hello! Where did you come from? That is the most beautiful dress I have EVER seen on you...."

{Sighhhhhhh...I love that man}

(I had every intention of modeling the dress for you,but I didn't want to take this model's job away so I decided to humble myself and leave the self portraits off...)

My favorite part about Shabby Apple is the that they only design with modesty in mind. They create beautiful, flattering dresses without losing the modesty factor. The dresses are perfectly designed to fit just about every body type...making any woman feel and look great!

So you must go check out Shabby Apple and see what they're so good at. And because I'm sure you'll find something they've been gracious enough to offer my readers a 15% discount!!! Use this code at check out! publishourstories15off

  • Latest fashion line: Manhattan line, designed by Rebecca McKinney
  • New Fashion Line: Carousel Line arrives September 15
  • Internship: Shabby Apple offers an internship, directed towards business, marketing, PR, fashion, etc, to inspire the chic, stylish local business mentality
  • They partnered with Unitus—a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating access to financial services to the impoverished. Shabby Apple donates 5% of its net dress sales to support work in India helping women initiate businesses.
Here's something REALLY REALLY Cool that just started yesterday... Shabby Apple is running a "Dare to Design" contest!
  • Design a dress
  • If you Win, the dress will be featured as part of the Shabby Apple Spring collection
  • The winner will receive a 3% royalty on EVERY dress sold of his or her design!!!!
This contest if open to EVERYONE...not just professionals! Go check it out!!!



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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday Tradition - Apples & Fall

With Fall just around the corner, apple picking is in high demand. Just typing the words "Fall" and "apple picking" give me a warm fuzzy! I love this time a year and and I love to go apple picking. The memories and traditions that ring in my head make me want to throw some overalls on and go run up and down rows and rows of apple trees.

As a child we had apple orchards within blocks of our house, right in the middle of our neighborhood. We'd grab laundry baskets and go fill them up as high as we could....of course we could never carry them back home. We'd have to send mom or dad with the car to pick up our laundry baskets that were heaping with apples on the sidewalks. Picking the apples were always fun, but the apple fights were probably the best. Nothing like hucking a rotten apple at the brat that lived down the street and pegging her right in the back of the head....okay, I've said too much.

Anyway, apple picking can be a positive family can become a new tradition that all families can enjoy. Many farms have live music and picnic areas and some offer wagon or hay rides. Sometimes a little petting zoo or pony ride can be found. We've even found a corn maze or two.

The fun doesn't stop at the orchards. Once you bring the apples home all the yummy fun begins. From homemade apple pies and apple sauces to caramel-dipped apples there are 100's of things that you can do with apples. Heck, my grandma would make freaky little apple dolls with hers....Don't ask!

Here is a great link to help you find apple picking in your own neighborhoods. has great ideas and resources for all picking adventures! Find a farm close by and take your family out for a great day of picking, throwing, and eating! Nothing like a real family tradition to get the Fall kicked off!

If you know of any other "picking" info sites, please pass them along.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fly an American Flag

Thought I'd share this thought I found...

On Friday, September 11th, 2009, an American Flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States . Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this eighth anniversary of one of our country's worst tragedies. We do this to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.

Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11.

Honestly, Americans should fly the flag year-round, but if you don't, then at least make it a priority on this day.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Best Present Ever!

No better present than SLEEPING twins....

For more Wordless Wednesday visit

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