Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's Good to Be Nine

Kate had her 9th birthday on Saturday.  One can never be quite sure about the weather in January and whether it will cooperate with birthday plans or not.  This year, the weather was exceptionally good for January and all of the Indiana family was able to come and help us celebrate.  They even got to play outside for awhile.

 The elephant was actually a Christmas gift.  Ellie is never far from Kate's side


Kate loves animals more than anything.  When I saw this cake, oh my goodness!  I just loved it and knew that it would be perfect for Kate!  She loves animals and she loves tea and having tea parties.  Also, I had everything we needed already.  It doesn't get any better than that!

 something about the lighting at this place and my phone camera were not a good combination, but I LOVE the people in the picture!

When trying to write this post, I realized we took very few pictures.  I guess we were too busy being in the moment. 

It was a great day and we had a great time celebrating, even if there aren't any great pics to prove it!


Friday, January 9, 2015

{This Moment}

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, visit SouleMama.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Winter Decorating

We got our first snow of the year a couple of days ago.  Someone was very happy.  We all like the snow, but some of us really, really like it.

I am sure that I saw a print like this on Pinterest while looking at Christmas decorating pins, but when I looked for it later, I couldn't find it.  It's so appropriate for us for many reasons.  In case you don't know, its a line from the "Snow" song in White Christmas.  That is pretty much our favorite Christmas movie.  Also, of course, Kate would probably do this if we'd let her and then there is the fact that we have sort of done it a few times.  When we've had major issues with pipes and have had to shut off the well, guess what we melted pots of.  Yep, snow.  We bought water for drinking and cooking, but for washing dishes and flushing toilets (no water when there's no electricity when you have a well) we have melted snow.  Thankfully, so far this year, that has not been necessary. 

So when I saw this, I knew I had to make one.  I just printed it out in a large font, found a very inexpensive frame at Goodwill, which I promptly painted red, and it was done!  Fast, easy, inexpensive and it makes me smile.

Which brings me to the real point of this post.  Winter in a very old, poorly insulated, owned by people who in July completely forget about things that could be done to help things in January, house can be pretty rough.  If you are a female who is home all day, it can be downright depressing and discouraging.  I never drank hot chocolate until we lived here. LOL  In our little ranch house in the city, I would just turn up the heat!  No big deal. 

Currently it is 18 degrees outside, with a wind chill of 1 degree.  Eighteen has been the high today and tomorrows high is supposed to be 8.  Inside our house right now the thermostat says it is 50 degrees.  It is set on 66.  I could turn it up, but it wouldn't do a bit of good.  With wind chills and temps like today, it just can't keep up.

Thankfully, the upstairs and our bedroom are warmer than that!  We also have learned how to dress on these days and drink hot tea and of course, hot chocolate.  It honestly isn't that bad if you can just keep a good perspective about things.  It doesn't usually last more than a few days, we have plenty of blankets and sweaters, we have a home to live in.   These are things I repeat to myself if I start to get whiny.

All this to say......taking down the Christmas decorations and facing January weather can be rather dreary and depressing.  For the past few years I've been leaving some things out that are not overtly "Christmas".  I pack away the nativity scene and anything Santa or that says "Merry Christmas", but I leave out some of the things that are red, or cheery or just wintery. 

I may be pushing it with the ornaments, but this is one of my favorite decorations during this time.  Since we have two January birthdays, it's nice to have some festive touches here and there.

I'm on a big red plaid kick these days and I just wasn't ready to pack these away.  I cut off some branches from our tree before we carried it out.  They are holding up pretty well so far.

I'll usually leave these things out until the end of January.  The girls like to make hearts and things for February and then before too long it's March and we can hang up the spring wreaths and buy (or cut) daffodils to set on the table.  And then we can thank God that we have survived another winter.  By the time August comes around, we find ourselves wishing it were cooler and looking forward to winter.  It seems ridiculous tonight, but that's what happens every year.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Recycling Calendars

Last year I totally splurged on a full price calendar! {Gasp!}

I never buy a wall calendar that's not half price, but last year I had some Christmas money and when I saw this calendar I really, really wanted to order it.  So I did! 

This year, I couldn't really find anything that grabbed me (that was cheap) so I decided to see if I could just print off the dates for each month and attach it to last years.  I did find an inexpensive desk calendar/planner at Half Price Books, but it's so handy to have one hanging too.

I printed off free monthly sheets from and then used washi tape to tape them onto last years calendar.  I only printed one first to see how it fit and if it looked silly, but I really like it.  I get to enjoy the really adorable artwork one more year and it was FREE!

So.  Last night I was working on this little project and I thought I would blog about my great money saving tip.  A few hours later, I went to my room and I realized I still hadn't unpacked my book bag from our trip to Mississippi.  So I start pulling out books and magazines and.......a desk calendar that I bought back in the summer.  That I totally forgot about!!  I had even taken it with us to fill it out if I got the chance!  It's Downton Abby and I think I even paid full price for it!!

Sometimes I think I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached!  I'm too young for this!

I wonder if I could sell it?  Hmm.  It is Downton Abby after all.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

If I had to choose one word to describe 2014, it would be Intense.  2014 was the most intense year of my life I think.  Not all bad of course.  In fact quite good in some ways. We and our extended family have all been mostly healthy and that is no small blessing!  But the year was definitely hard in other ways and I'm definitely ready to move on!

That being said, it has been an intense season of seeing God provide and bless us in ways I would not have imagined.  I've learned some hard lessons that I hope I don't forget and I trust that all of the lessons are for our good, even though I may not be able to see it right now.

Yesterday I worked really hard on reorganizing and cleaning out.  It felt sooo good!  I even have empty shelves on a closet right now.  It won't stay that way, I have other things to move in, but oh it felt so nice to get that stuff out of there.  Some things went in the garbage or in bags to be donated and others just got rearranged and placed somewhere that made a lot more sense.

The year of the "K"!  Kate got several gifts with her initial, not planned, but she loved them all.  Callie made this for her to hang on her wall.  It turned out sooo good and Kate loves it.

I love the week between Christmas and the New Year.  I love filling in my calendar and making plans and notes.  I really wish there were a few more days before "real life" starts back up again.  I sort of have this idea that on January 1 I'll wake up and all my faults will be gone and all the problems will fly out the window.  I get the same feelings when planning a new school year.  Of, course I know it's not true, but a new year and a new season do seem so promising. 


Kate has been a bit sick so we will celebrate the coming of the new year on our own tonight.  Something I don't really think we've done before and Callie was rather disappointed at first, but we have some ideas and I think it will be lots of fun!  And I'm sure our friends will be glad we kept our germs to ourselves!

Happy New Year!!

{One thing I have no idea what to do with is a large amount of fabric scraps.  I can't bear to throw them away, but I will not be making any quilts anytime soon.  If you or someone you know quilts and would like some scraps of mostly feminine fabric, let me know!}

Monday, December 15, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree

**I wrote this post over a week ago but then had picture issues.  I'm leaving it as is and just adding some more pictures**
We finally got our tree today!  The girls, all three of us, have been waiting not so patiently. :)

Years ago I saw this and thought it would be nice if we had the right space for something like this...

We have the round table, big windows, but not really the space to have a regular tree and something like this.
 Our tradition has been to go to the local tree farm just down the road and cut our own tree.  It's a beautiful place with animals to pet, horses pulling wagons, hot chocolate, a huge slide.  It's really an awesome place to go.  The down side is, it's no bargain.  In fact, we realized one year that the cost of cutting our own tree there was more than double what we could get one for at the local box stores.  But we love to support this local business.  So..... 
So this year I started lobbying for a table top tree.  Cameron really doesn't care too much, but I had to convince the girls. 
I showed them the above picture, they weren't impressed, but the next two got them on my side.

So off to the farm we went.  We had a great time, took some pictures and realized that even the smallest trees for sale were still quite pricey and a little too big to (safely) go on a table.  As much as we love to support local businesses, our own budget had to come first.

So off to the box store we went and got our tree.


It didn't take long at all to decorate.  That was a disappointment to some and a bit of relief to others.  It was a bit of a bummer for the girls to not use all of their ornaments, but they still had a good time.
The quilt top was one started by my grandmother (or maybe my great-grandmother), anyway, I thought it was perfect.  The bucket started leaking water so we had to put a plate under it.  I panicked when we came home and there was a wet circle on the quilt, but it washed out just fine.

One thing we are not short of in this house is nutcrackers!  This big one helps hide the cord that is stretched out for the lights.  I like how the gifts look stacked in front of the quilt.  I was a little concerned that it wouldn't turn out the way I had envisioned it, but I'm really quite pleased with it.  I don't mean to pat myself on the back or anything like that!  I'm excited that we were able to still have a beautiful spot and save money at the same time.  


Not to mention the cleanup will be a snap!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Best Sisters Ever

Look who helped break in the KitchenAid!  Of course the first thing we made was brownies.

My sisters and parents surprised me with an early birthday present when we were there for Thanksgiving.  Then the next day one of my sisters made a comment about my hair looking like Meg Ryan's.  (I don't even care if she was lying or not!)

Best birthday EVER! LOL

Now, what to make next?