Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Ice Storm

My last post was perhaps a bit more fortuitous than I had intended.  The letting things go and getting down on the floor to play with the children and focus on our blessings became something a large part of state was nudged to do as a large ice storm hit Michigan on the Saturday night before Christmas.  It began as icy rain and turned more frozen as the night progressed.  I'll admit that I did not take it as seriously as I should have and there were a few things I would have done to prepare for an outage had I paid more attention to the weather reports.  But my mind was on the things to finish before Christmas and enjoying the fact that I had some much needed time off work.  So I went to bed in a blissful state of unawareness while my husband worried a bit about the sounds of the ice beginning to form on the tree branches.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Holiday Spirit

Well best laid plans have been foiled once again by busy schedules, the never-ending list of things to complete for the holidays and the parade of invitations to do fun stuff! I have so many posts in my head to share with you (and I even got some pictures taken!) but just have not had the time to get them written.  So anticipating that time will be even shorter over the next week, I will wish you a very Merry Christmas right now and leave you with this.

I hope that you will embrace every moment and opportunity to celebrate life and fun with your loved ones and friends this holiday season.  Its not about the perfect gift so perfectly wrapped or the masses of rich foods - it is about the moments we share and the memories we gather during these special times.  

Do not lose yourself to your desire to make everything perfectly perfect - its a losing battle.  Instead, turn up the music, get a little messy, laugh off the clutter and piles of ripped wrapping paper.  Get down on the floor and play Star Wars Legos and race Hot Wheels with your small son who will not ask you to join in such play for too many more years.  Snuggle up with your daughter (even if she is getting as big as you and has a hard time sharing what is on her mind - particularly with mom and dad) and discuss what are her favorite parts of the holidays so that you can remember next year which traditions are the most meaningful to your children and help them carry on to your grandchildren.  Jump on the ice and take a spin around the rink with them.  Do not be afraid to show them that you fall down - be sure that you show them you can do it with laughter and keep trying even if it is in front of their whole team and all the hockey moms, dads and coaches are watching.  Those are the stories your children will tell in the coming years and they will remember the spirit, rather than the particular toys, or that the house was totally dust free (for about 30 seconds), or that every ornament was hung perfectly spaced on the tree.  Show them the spirit in you.

Many blessings are wished upon you and yours!  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Spiced Candied Nuts

This is a re-post of a little snack recipe that is perfect this time of year.  
A tasty treat with a mug of coffee 
(or a beer like my hubby had with them last night!).
It also works well as a small gift for teachers, neighbors, or co-workers.
You can do a big batch of these in about 10 minutes 
(plus they make your house smell great!).
I packaged them into jelly jars after they cooled and tied with a pretty ribbon.
You can vary the type of nuts quite a bit if you like different kinds.

Monday, December 9, 2013

25 Easy Secret Santa Gifts

It's time for Secret Santa exchanges and maybe, like me, you tend to forget to plan ahead for those with everything else going on.  Here are 25 simple ideas that can be found in gas stations, checkout lanes, dollar stores and local businesses for $1-$5 and will only take you a few minutes.  If you need more ideas for simple gifts, check out my post 25 Small Gifts for Kids, Co-Workers or Friends.  Happy gifting! 

1.  Scratch-off lotto ticket
2.  Snack size bag of chips or snacks
3.  Hair accessories
4.  Mini LED keychain flashlight
5.  $5 coffee shop gift card
6.  Special teas or cocoa mixes
7.  Funky pens
8.  Candles/votive holders
9.  Car fresheners
10.  Pre-paid car wash
11.  Tin/dish full of candies
12.  Bath items (sponge, scrubber, body wash, bath salts)
13.  Scented hand lotion
14.  Nail polish
15.  Car buffing glove
16.  Decorative sticky notes
17.  Decorated wine glass/beer mug
18.  Fresh flowers
19.  Small plants (mini ferns, spider plants, and other small houseplants are easy to care for)
20.  Decorative garden items (LED lights, statues, etc.)
21.  Old-fashioned soda in glass bottles
22.  Specialty popcorn
23.  Small puzzles
24.  Specialty pastry from a local bakery
25.  Book by a favorite author

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Looking for Homemade Holiday Gifts Ideas?

If you are looking for ideas for homemade gifts, 
the Homemade Holiday Party hosted by Marilyn at 4 You With Love 
is a great place to look for ideas!
I'm linking up many of my homemade gift ideas and baked treats
that are perfect for sharing. 
The variety of items shared by others there includes
photo gifts, kitchen treats, decorating, advent calendars, 
sewing/knitting projects, wrapping ideas, and more!
Be sure to visit again over the weekend to vote for your favorite 10 projects!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#GivingTuesday - America's Food Crisis

We are in the full swing of the holiday season and for many, that means time with family around a table piled high with food - gluttonous amounts of food.  What if you didn't have the means to put that food on the table?  What if it was a choice between feeding your children or keeping the heat going to keep them from freezing?  For a growing number of families right here in America, its a huge problem.  
How many frustrated moms and dads have told their picky eaters that there are starving children in Africa who would love to have that broccoli for dinner?  
Have you ever told them there are children at their school, in their class - maybe even a good friend - who go home every night and count the hours until they get the school-provided breakfast and lunch because it is all they get to eat for the day?  Have you ever told them there are children they know whose only food for the weekend is a backpack full of ready-to-consume snacks and foods provided by the local food bank that they share with their siblings and parents?

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Story of Christmas - The Goat

When people find out we have a goat, they are usually very curious to know why.  My husband always says he hasn't figured that out yet.  My son will say because Santa brought him - it was love at first sight.  My daughter will say because she asked Santa for a goat to keep her pony company because he was very lonely the winter after my old horse had to be put down - which is true.