"Staying home to bond over board games is totally in style this year."
I recently read this in the November issue of a woman's magazine. Well whadayaknow. Our family is au courant! It's not that we've ever tried to stay within the current trends... we just know how to have a good time. :)
When extended family is together, we give the kids a movie to watch and then we get serious. Serious about fun. Canasta, Garbage Rummy, Golf (card game), 3-13, Pounce, Apples to Apples, Chicken Foot, Battle of the Sexes, the list goes on and on.
Not to worry. We don't leave the kids out. Mancala, UNO, Rummikub, Sequence, Jenga, Triominoes, and Blockus are some of our family favorites.
Turning off the t.v. and turning on the Christmas tunes sets the mood. Family bonding, laughter, and healthy competition ensues. Sometimes, I even learn a thing or two. For instance, last night I learned that vodka is made from potatoes. Not that I need to know that. But now you know if you ever find yourself playing Battle of the Sexes.
My kids are learning sequence, logic, strategy, and visual perception. The best part is that they are learning while having a great time. Together.
Here's my challenge of the week. Set a family date night this week and make it special. Throw in some popcorn, a little background music and be ready to have fun.
I hope your day is filled with love, laughter, thankfulness, and togetherness.
Today I celebrate my family, one of the greatest blessings in my life. The memories we've made, the walks we've taken, the laughs we've shared. I am so thankful for the freedom to worship God; a freedom that my brother serves to uphold. My heart is filled with gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice ... Jesus. I am humbled by the knowledge that God loves me enough offer me eternal life with him. Enjoy your day ... I'm off on our annual Thanksgiving Day hike; and then to feast on homemade goodness. Hugs!!
Congrats to Amy at A Mom's View Check out her blog ... and all of her creative and fabulous ideas! Amy, just send me an email with your mailing address and the color of your choice and I will make sure it is on its way. Just in time for Christmas!
I noticed a very nice Mercedes Benz in the lane next to me as we sat in traffic. What caught my eye were the two picture-perfect blonde toddlers in the backseat. Lap of luxury crossed my mind but only for a brief moment. I inched forward to see the mom in the front seat, with perfectly manicured nails and a good color job on her tresses. She was on the phone in an obviously heated conversation. The longer we sat there, the worse I felt for those two little angels in the backseat. I could hear the mother's angry voice through my closed window, so I know she was speaking in a loud, scary voice. I said a quick prayer for those kids as the light turned green.
Two minutes down the road, I passed a woman on the side of the road with her hood up -- on the Jaguar. Bummer. She looked very perplexed. Fortunately, a good Samaritan in an old pick-up truck was pouring some kind of fluid into the engine area.
I realized, as I drove along, that sometimes I assume that wealthy people have it easy. Not so. In fact, 2 of the most unhappy people I know are monetarily wealthy. Can you be wealthy and happy? Absolutely. But I need to remember that being wealthy wouldn't make me happier. As a matter of fact, happiness doesn't even need to be on my list of goals. Contentment and joy are much more fulfilling, doncha think?
As the holidays approach (along with sales, Black Friday, and retail marketing amped up) I don't want to fall into the trap of if only I had _______ mentality. Rather, I want to focus on I'm so thankful I have...
Isn't this the cutest idea ever?!! What an act of love because it is HARD to cut those mini pumpkins. These photos are from a women's event at our church. (For more ideas go here). This table was ooh-la-la. The centerpiece was amazing in its fern and feathery fineness. Then to feather it up even more, it was placed on top of a feather wreath. Loved. it. Now I know what to do with my feather wreath!
Here's one more peek at that cute little place setting.
Another grand idea: using coffee beans and cream/tan/brown candles inside some hurricanes. So simple. So elegant. You can do it!
I hope these were inspiring as you prepare your table of thankfulness for next week.
I have some beautiful Christmas table ideas to show you, but not yet...
It's that time of year again! Time to celebrate, enjoy family, generate a spirit of thankfulness.
Just around the corner lurks the busiest time of year. In order to prepare our hearts -- and homes for the holidays, a group of women from my church gathered to share practical ideas and enjoy a morning of fellowship. Each table was decorated by a different hostess. (To see ideas from last year's event check out this, this, and this.)
I had the opportunity to do two tables, one for Thanksgiving, and one for Christmas. Let's take a look. Simple, casual elegance is what I wanted. My giant wicker bowl was filled with gourds and pumpkins, with some muslin fabric underneath. I used gold chargers (the large plates) and fun paper plates/napkins from the dollar store. Each person had a little verse attached to a mini pumpkin to take home. I simply cut a tiny slit in the stem of each pumpkin and wedged the paper inside. (To see the verse, click on the picture, it will enlarge)
A friend of mine did this table. I really like this wire basket because it is so versatile and easy. In the spring, she puts green grass and colorful easter eggs inside. Love it.
While this table is a little formal for my own taste, I loved the idea of using pinecones as place holders. And check out those yummy homemade cookies each guest got to take home!
I have some more fall tables to share with you next time, and then we will look at some Christmas ideas next week. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. ;)
Pumpkin pie from scratch has never appealed to me. I mean, why take the time to bake a pumpkin when Libby does all the work for you? A friend gave me some homegrown pie pumpkins so I thought we would give it a try. The kids thought it was super fun to clean out the insides. It really wasn't that much work. You can make a pie with one pumpkin ... we just had a bumper crop ;)
Cut the pumpkin in 1/2.
Scoop out seeds and strings.
Place cut down on a foil lined baking sheet.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours, until tender.
Cool and scoop out flesh.
Puree in food processor until smooth (drain if too watery).
Beat together until smooth:
1 1/3 cup pumpkin
1 1/3 cup sweet condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 cup water
Pour into 9" deep pie crust
Bake @ 375 for one hour
Cool and enjoy! Before we processed the pumpkin, it seemed stringy, but it smoothed out just fine. When the pie came out of the oven, I was a little concerned with the color. It was almost yellow, not orange. But that didn't stop me from eating it... I guess that's the difference between fresh and canned pumpkin. Even though it took a little more time, it was so easy. I had never heard of using sweetened condensed milk and water in place of sugar, but it worked! Delish!
Oh, and one more fringe benefit: Roast on a foil lined pan @ 400 until they start jumping off the pan. Sprinkle with seasoned salt.
I'm joining my new blog-friend Meredith for a fun little ditty. My friend Susan and I were recently discussing our commitment issues when it comes to weekly themes, but I figured I could handle a monthly theme. So in honor of 11-10-09 (sounds like a count down) here we go!
1. My parents celebrated 42 years of marriage this month. It is cause for celebration because they have been a lifelong example of a beautiful marriage to so many people, especially me.
2. I started my Christmas shopping this month. Sigh. I used to start in August and be done by November.
3. Veterans day is tomorrow. Please take the time to appreciate the sacrifice of our military.
Only 2 people have volunteered to die for you.
Jesus died for your soul and eternal freedom.
Soldiers have died for your earthly freedom.
4. I visited the mall yesterday for the first time in months. My kids were confused when we passed 2 Santas.
5. At the mall, I was disturbed by how many kiosk vendors spoke in a French accent wanting to give me lotion samples and play with my hair. Personal space, people!
6. Don't even get me started on the Asian men wanting to give foot/back/head massages. In the middle of the mall. For all the world to watch.
7. I made a pumkin pie from scratch yesterday. It was so easy and delish, I'm sharing the recipe with you tomorrow. Not sharing the pie, just the recipe. Sorry.
8. Christmas music is playing at our house. It's never too early for Christmas music.
9. I attended the annual women's event at our church - the one where I come home with lots of table decorating ideas. I'll be sharing those this week, too.
10. I'm so thankful for you, my faithful (or maybe new) readers. Leave me a comment today... it's like a hug from you to me.
We celebrated fall with one last hoorah this weekend. We took advantage of the mild weather and invited our Sunday school class over for a chicken pickin.'
Hubby did his thang and fired up THE grill. Those are 1/2 chickens sizzling over the flames. Since I had a big event at church that morning, I took the easy way out and provided drinks. And napkins. My friend Leslie found this cute paper table cloth on clearance and gave it to me saying, "I know you'll use it for something." Thanks, friend, it went perfect with the fall theme.
Nothing says fall more than a bonfire. The kids did s'mores and the grown-ups warmed themselves by the fire. I got to hang out with old and new friends...
1. Gwen Thompson is the newest addition to the American Girl Doll collection. Each doll typically represents a certain time period and comes with her own series of books. Since I love all things history related, I was excited to find out what Gwen's story would be. History? Not so much. So what's her story? She's keeping a secret: she's homeless.
Really? The makers at Matel really want to touch that subject? And then charge $95 for a doll? A little ironic, doncha think?
2. Gwen's dad apparently skipped town and left them homeless. Hmm... sounds like a theme. Remember Kit? Her dad skipped town during the depression to "find work."
3. Speaking of parental themes, ever noticed how the mother is eerily absent in most Disney princess movies? Snow White, check. Cinderella, check. Jasmine, check. Ariel, check. There is a new princess movie coming out soon and I'm interested to see if momma's on board.
4. Why do I feel so cool when I wear jeans with a hole in the knee?
5. Why do some women think it is okay to wear pajama bottoms in public?
6. I heard this little jingle on a cartoon this morning: practice makes progress, practice makes progress Hmm... I think this is much more realistic than practice makes perfect. Nobody's perfect.
7. Why do weirdos like to hang out at the public library? I wish the library had a separate building for the free internet and weirdos.
8. Why did I schedule 2 major events in the same day? Why, why, why?
9. Why would someone do that? asked my 10 year old after seeing the news about Ft. Hood. Why do I have to answer such a sad question?
10. Why does Starbucks wait until November 17th to sell Gingerbread Lattes?
Full of life, snuggles, laughter, emotion, imagination.
He was put into my arms and filled my heart six years ago. Thanks to him, I know each of the characters in the Justice League, Star Wars, and Bibleman. Because of him, my prayers as a mother have changed. For my girls, I pray for their protection, their hearts, their future families. For a son, my prayers gravitate toward his character, leadership, becoming a man of God, integrity. Even though I want all of these things for all of my children, my focus is different for each child. Since he is my youngest, I think my heartstrings hold on a little tighter as each year passes. As I watch him grow and mature it is bittersweet. I want him to fulfill all that he was placed on this earth to do. But for now, I want to make time stand still and enjoy the moment.
We celebrated number six with just a few friends. It was what he wanted. For me, it was the easiest birthday I've ever planned. Hubby made the cake:
I planned the scavenger hunt, the girls decorated. The boys were entertained with roasting marshmallows and playing in the fort...
It has begun. The 55 days of annual weight gain. It begins on November 1 when I pilfer through the leftover Halloween candy and ends with my momma's cooking on Christmas day. Anyone else have this problem?
I'm taking a stand!
No more holiday weight gain!
Wow. I sound so sure of myself! So in control!
If only you could have seen me on Friday...
My mother, who lives next door, called around 10:30 and asked me to come over and help her with a computer issue. I told her I could come, but I was still in my pj's. Her reply was, "good! me too." So I slipped on some shoes and ran across the yard, giving my 10 year old a good excuse to be the boss for the next 20 minutes. As I left, I reminded her to not answer the door if someone rang the bell, which is silly because we never have anyone come to the door in our neighborhood.
After being the geek-squad at a reduced rate, I was standing at the fence in my mom's yard when we noticed a car pull up and park in front of my house. Are you kidding me? What are the odds?! Realizing it was the men in black toting the book of Mormon I started across my back yard trying to make it home before they rang the door bell and scared my kids. I know my mom totally had my back in her cute little nightgown.
I was just about half way to the door, when I realized that they were not coming toward my house, but heading across the street to the neighbor's house, so I quickly ducked behind a bush. Darting behind a second bush, I watched them head up his driveway. As I made the last dash to my back door, a movement caught my eye.
It was a man and a woman walking up my driveway no more than 30 feet away. I stood frozen. I think I squeaked a hi!
The woman graciously said, "I can see you are busy, so we'll only take a minute of your time."
Yes, yes, I'm quite busy practicing my stealthy geek-squad moves.