Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A few nights after Christmas

It was a few nights after Christmas and all through the house,
 not a creature was stirring except Mom as quiet as a mouse.
Catching up on things neglected, the bills that were due, the
letters and thank you's and blog posting too:)
The presents were opened, the feast was consumed, 
 & she just spent hours and hours cleaning her room.
The children had driven and flown back to their homes, 
how glad she was not to have been all alone.
Oh the tinsel, and wrapping, and planning galore,
the shopping and cooking and baking some more.
She had flown to the window to see them arrive,
 so well and so happy, and seeming to thrive.
Is this not the reason for gathering so, 
the memories we're making with time not so slow.
The season of joy and of goodwill to men,
a worship of Him who brought hope here again.
Yet... her eyes drooped with fatigue and her body screamed TIRED,
she thought...maybe next year I'll boycott or better, retire!
BUT...as her mind reflected on the last few days
her heart swelled with joy in all of the ways
that Christmas changes the world for a few glorious days.
She thought once again and knew without nary a doubt
she would do it ALL again because family is what Christmas is all about!
                                               Kimberly:)


Blankets by Grammie:)... and Aunt Mitzi who rescued Grammie and helped tie them!

Our boxer Brandi is 10 years old, we never know if this is her last Christmas.

The hit of the season...Nerf gun games!





Our own family nativity..the shepherds pretended to be ninjas but it worked:)

Us:)

And to all a good night!

              



Monday, December 3, 2012

Ruffles on the run:)

There is nothing cutter than ruffles on the run:)

I learned to sew when I was 12. I made a light blue skirt and vest and matching purse (yuck!) I was hooked! Lucky for me my Aunt Betty kept me supplied with a steady stream of fabric which kept me in the latest fashions...homemade style. The kind of clothes my girls would not have been caught dead in!
I gave up sewing when the girls outgrew ruffle and bows, but now I am back in the ruffle business with my granddaughters:) I will have to give up my matching obsession at some point but for now while they are little I can matchy matchy all I want!

I stated with charming fabric with a pear motif which can morph from fall to a partridge in a pear tree.


My one little girl pattern disappeared so I traced the bodice from another dress and cut a column 3 inches wider than the chest measurement, which I gathered onto the bodice. I cut 5 inch strips of alternating fabric to create the ruffles. I sewed the trim on the strips before I gathered the ruffles.




I placed the ruffles on the skirt column for placement and then measured and pinned the ruffle before sewing.

Eyelet, giant rickrack, and sheer ribbon sewed into pleats make this dress!


I stand corrected...... these little darlings make these dresses:)





So...can you guess which baby goes with which daddy:) Love it!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

A heart wide open

At the beginning of November I set out to write a note of thanks each day of the month. 
I wanted to let those who have touched my life know how grateful I am for their influence. The first day slipped away without a note written, days 2 & 3 went by......fast forward to 15 days after that when I remembered my promise, my goal. It seemed daunting, I was more than half a month behind. 
I simply could not fail because I made a public declaration on this very blog! 
So I sat down with cards and pen and began to think and write. I managed 15 notes in the first sitting. 

The miracle was not in the task accomplished but in the way I felt. Gratitude filled my heart, my life was truly blessed, and I was happy! 
A few more days went by and it became apparent that my daily note writing skills were sorely lacking. November 29 came and I panicked....15 notes behind and today there was no time. November 30th arrived and I sat down at 10:30 pm to finish my notes. I struggled to think of people I wanted to write, not for any lack of inspiring people in my life but rather from the race with the clock. I cranked out seven notes by midnight, still 8 short to reach my goal. 
Failure? 
Was this about time and dates OR about gratitude, example, and my blessings?
My over achiever self granted forgiveness and I had the most wonderful experience writing those last few notes, not in November, but on December 1rst. As I wrote each note became longer, my heart was more full, and I felt more gratitude. It occurred to me that I had finished my task in the month we celebrate Christ's birth, the month of goodwill to all men, the month peace seems more possible. 
What makes this magic?
I believe it is because we were looking outside of ourselves. 
Gift giving abounds, homemade and heartfelt goodies are presented with love for the receiver, in short we are all doing what Christ did...showing love to everyone. I am glad I wasn't on my game enough to finish my notes in November. I am glad it gave my heart a grand entrance into the Christmas season...wide open and full of gratitude!

p.s. This is my original post about these notes.
http://nelliescottageretreat.blogspot.com/2012/11/30-days-30-notes-of-thanks.html

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It melted my tired heart...

A few days ago I was up really late, which is not all that unusual, especially since my hubby is on all nights this month. The longer I live with him the more we sync...it is weird! Anyway, I finally became too tired to see the needle on my sewing machine so I headed to bed. Before I made it down the hall I heard her cry. It was a real cry like the one when a child is really in distress. I thought I would be super Grammie and save Annabelle's parents from getting up, which didn't turn out so well for me:)
I was feeling so generous, so magnanimous in the bestowal of my sacrifice on behalf of my daughter.
Annabelle seemed to possibly have a tummy ache and so I began to sing and rock, and pat, and rock and sing and pat and cuddle.......and sing and rock...you get the picture. This went on for hours. I made the big mistake of thinking I could sleep in a twin bed with her tossing. and turning, and pounding the toddler rail with her feet.
I finally reached my limit, did the aggghghhgghggg sound, 
and said in a stern voice 
"Annabelle you have got to stop and go to sleep" 
I wrapped the blanket tightly around her arms and flopped back down on the pillow. What happened next melted my heart. A tiny voice in the dark said 
"Tank you Gwammie."
It was one of those moments when I was brought back to the reality that my comfort and convenience doesn't usually matter most. 
This same scenerio happened two more or three times during the night and every time I did the frustrated agggghhghggggg and tucked her little arms too tight in the blanket she would sweetly say again 
"Tank you Gwammie."
The more I have pondered on that night I am realizing the power of thank you. While her gratitude didn't instantly turn the night into a joyful one, it did teach me a powerful lesson. A simple thank you can melt hearts, mend hearts, soften hearts and bring joy to the hearts of those we love. I am grateful for innocence of children. We have been commanded to become as little children...
that night I was reminded why.




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Notes with a sparkle!

Sparkle is always a good thing:) 
My daughter Brittany caught the glitter bug 
and upgraded a craft idea with some fabulous 
brown glitter and a chipboard flourish. 
She thought this would be fun for sweet notes to the hubby. 
See her whole project and instructions at

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Paint, ruffles and cabinet doors from the curb!

My daughter in law has done some amazing make over magic in her home but this room is just plain snazzy:) Visit her blog and enjoy her creative and crafty room makeover.



Puppies & Presents

This is the reason I scrapbook!

Watching my daughter with her daughter look at the new album was priceless! I have always had a vision of being snuggled up on the couch with the grandbabies, looking at scrapbooks, making new memories as I tell them about past memories. I had that same vision for my children with their children...it has become a reality!






Thursday, November 8, 2012

Muddy Piggies:)

Annabelle has been obsessed with a particular Old Mc Donald farm video which has an adorable muddy piggy bit at the end. That is why her second birthday was all about muddy piggies! This is a budget friendly birthday party with all the trimmings.

Invitations were so fun to make..layer, layer layer!
Kraft paper for the cards.
 Piggies-from Create a Critter cartridge.
Barn-from Country Life cartridge

The party food table was filled with pigs in a blanket, corn on the cob, 
and Brittany made THE most amazing calorie laden, creamy mac & cheese ever! 







I found some cute muddy images on google images
which I printed and put in some old wooden frames
for easy and cheap table decorations. My scrapbook stash
came in handy for a barn scene on one of the buckets.
We rounded up any metal buckets we could find, and added rafia for a vintage farm look.
The piggy cupcakes were so fun and easy! I ordered piggy squirters from Amazon for party favors. We added them to the top of the cupcakes and then drizzled chocolate fudge icing (while it was warm) over the top for the mud. A wooden tray was the perfect piggy corral.




Chocolate fudge icing recipe:
1 stick of butter
4 Tbsp cocoa
6 Tbsp milk
Heat to boiling
Add 2 cups of powdered sugar
Mix with a mixer until smooth


Yummy:)
The party activities included watching the piggy video, tractor rides and playing in the dirt. 
We filled up a plastic pool with bags of dirt we bought from the garden center.
We wanted to make mud but it was too cool for the kiddos to be wet.





Michael cut out a barn using a projector which we painted barn red of course!
We added a bale of hay, an old washtub and viola...
A cute photo back drop for pictures of all the party guests.





That is how to do a muddy piggy party which makes a really happy two year old...
And we all know that having a HAPPY two year old is PRICELESS!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 days, 30 notes of thanks

I have a drawer of cards. 
They mostly just sit there hoping for the perfect event, thought, or thank you. 
This month I am going to change that...I am going to actually write notes AND mail them!



I think November is the perfect month to usher in the holidays. I don't think there could be a better way to begin the season of goodwill than focusing on gratitude!
My life is touched by so many people I never thank. 
The sweet postal carrier that honks and WAITS for me to come running out of the house for my packages, who is never grumpy. 
The lady that sits on the back row every Sunday who inspires me with more faith than anyone I know. 
My sister in law who was a shoulder for my teenagers when we were fed up with each other! 
The nursery leader at church who keeps Annabelle happy for 2 hours along with all the other 2 year olds. 
The car detail guy who can make my suburban look new even after the most messy DIY project week.
My favorite checker at Walmart who doesn't get frustrated when I check out with 5 different transactions for our businesses.
The list could go on and on and on......

This month I am going to thank them with a simple note. 
One note a day for 30 days. 
One overdue thank you for 30 people who have touched my life. 
It's the least I can do.
Take the challenge...30 days of thank you's.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing

 that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. 

And because all things have contributed to your

advancement, you should include all things in your

 gratitude.” 

                                                     Ralph Waldo Emerson



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Taco Soup..my "go to" meal:)

I love taco soup!
I love the speed at which I can make my family a tasty and healthy meal, which everyone likes to eat!
I follow a basic recipe with built in flexibility. Taco soup is easy to expand for sharing and freezing.
Ingredients are interchangeable and optional within the same food family. Okay...I will stop trying to sell it and just post the recipe:)



Taco Soup

1 lb lean hamburger browned with 
a large onion chopped-any color
a large green bell pepper chopped
1 pkg taco seasoning mix


1 can diced tomatoes
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can whole corn (not drained)
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 can kidney beans
1 can Ranch style beans (rinsed)
Add chicken broth as needed.


Simmer for an hour or cook on medium for 30 min if they are hungry!

Top with sour cream, chips, chopped tomatoes, or serve with cornbread.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A little bit of New Orleans flair...shutters at last!

I love New Orleans flair. I love the colorful shutters, wrought iron gates, and hanging ferns that give New Orleans it's unique decorative flavor. 



When we built our home in 1995, I had shutters on my wish list but, as most first time builders, we found that our wish list needed to be chopped as the building progressed. 
This year,
this month, 
my shutters finally became a reality!




Shutters make a difference!




This was one of our more fun DIY projects:) We began with cedar fence pickets and wrought iron pieces from Hobby Lobby (half price of course!)

6 ft pickets were less expensive. We needed 8 ft shutters so Michael
cut the dog ears off the pickets and cut the boards to size.


These are the decorative front cross pieces.
He cut cross pieces for the backside to stabilize the shutters.


We primed then painted the shutters with 2 coats of a beautiful teal blue.

This is what happens when painting is done too late in the day
and the dew settles on wet paint:)


I distressed the whole shutter with black paint paying
extra attention to the edges of the boards.

Annabelle "helping?"





I smile a big smile every time I pull into the driveway! 
Good things DO come to those who wait...even if it takes 17 years!