11/30/10

December

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for December.


December is my favorite time of year for many reasons. It is the birth of our precious Lord and Saviour. It is also the birth of my gorgeous twins, Christopher Shawn and Diana Lynn in 1977. It was also the month I was born in 1956. Most people celebrate their 21st birthday in one shape or form. I celebrated mine by holding my 3 day old twins and eating miniature Reece's cups that the nursing staff bought me from the gift shop to celebrate my birthday.

I love everything about December. The cold, crisp nights. Putting up the Christmas tree and decorating the house. See the Christmas lights in my neighborhood at night. Performing the church choir Christmas special. Shopping. Wrapping gifts. Finding that perfect something for that someone(s) special in your life. The spirit of peace and joy that fills the air.

December. Something to be thankful for!
11/29/10

2 x 4's

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for "2 x 4" moments.

The definition of a  2 x4: Lumber made from wood that is used as structural material for construction.


 We pray and pray and ask God for divine wisdom. We ask for His guidance and fall to our knees, begging Him to help us in whatever path we are to take. But how many times in your life has He given you an answer and you didn't realize He was talking to you? How many times has He provided you with a solution that was so simple that you didn't even see it? And how many of those times do you ignore the obvious and continue to beg and plead for His help?

If you are like me, the answer is TOO MANY times. In my lifetime, I have had so many instances where He tries over and over to give me an answer and I'm not even listening when He does. But some of those times, He will do something extreme to get my attention or speak to me in a commanding voice where I don't have a choice, except to listen. I call these my "2x4" moments. The moment when, with a jolt, the light bulb goes on and you realize He's been there all along, trying to get you to see His plan for you.

I was thinking about the 2 x 4 moments in my life yesterday. And it occurred to me, that it is a very appropriate analogy. A 2 x 4 is a means to an end. It is the structural part of the building process that carries the load. We are a continual work in progress. Those 2 x 4 moments from God are simply His way of taking on the responsibility for constructing our lives. He bears our heavy load. And sometimes, in my case, He has to use the 2 x 4 that shores up my life and whack me upside the head with it to get my attention. So I thank Him for caring enough to do that.
11/28/10

Coming soon.......

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for crafts. 

She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. - Proverbs 31:13
I found some great craft sales at A.C. Moore. I have several new craft project ideas, but not sure how it will all come together. But here are some of my new materials to help inspire me. I'll share finished projects as they occur.






11/27/10

Excited....Elated....Energetic....Exhausted

Thankful thought of the day....Today I am thankful for energy.



Excited....Thursday was a day of great excitement and anticipation. I patiently waited for my family to come for dinner. We had a wonderful visit and I got to spend great time with them all.

Elated....I was thrilled when the nieces arrived and we planned our shopping expedition for Friday. It was so good to have them down and to get to do things with them.

Energetic.... I sat up Thursday night with the girls until 12:30. Then I watched Friends reruns in bed until around 1:30. I went to sleep and got back up at 3:45 with great anticipation for Black Friday. I was filled with an energy and excitement to "let the bargain hunting begin."

Exhausted.... Shopped Friday from 4:30 AM until 6:00 PM. Got up today at 6:15 and was out the door by 8:30. Shopped until around 3:00 today. Got home, soaked my bones, napped in the tub, ate a little supper. I am worn out. It's off to the couch to doze until bedtime.

Hope everybody has had a great weekend and will end it by attending church tomorrow. Have a great Saturday night.
11/26/10

'Nuf Said

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for..........


11/25/10

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for Thanksgiving Day.



The world looks around me as I struggle along
They say I have nothing, but they are so wrong.
In my heart I'm rejoicing, how I wish they could see
Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings on me.

There's a roof up above me, I've a good place to sleep.
There's food on my table, and shoes on my feet.
You gave me Your love, Lord, and a fine family.
Thank you, Lord, for Your blessings on me.

I know I'm not wealthy and these clothes are not new,
I don't have much money, but Lord, I have You,
And to me You're all that matters tho' the world may not see.
Thank you, Lord, for Your blessings on me.
                                                            
-------Lyrics by Jeff Easter




11/24/10

Dessert time!

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for dessert.

The tradition around my house is that I make the dessert for Thanksgiving and my husband cooks the dinner. He does make the graham cracker pie though, because I can't make it as good as he does. So today will be my day to bake. I'm starting off already with two batches of brownies in the oven.


Next, I'll whip up a batch of the no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. My grandmother always made them for us. My mom followed the tradition and now I get to make them for the my kids and grandkids. I may need to make a double batch of these as well since The Nieces are coming and it's their favorite.


I've been craving some peanut butter candy (not fudge). I'm going to make a batch of that as well. It is so easy, just milk and sugar to a soft ball stage, add peanut butter and vanilla and pour on a greased platter.
Next, I'll whip up Jamie's birthday cake. This year, she has requested Mamaw Eden's Hershey's Chocolate Syrup cake. It is so rich and good. It has a whole can of Hershey's syrup in the cake and Hershey's cocoa in the icing. It's to die for. You can make it in a cake pan or a jelly roll pan.



 Allen will make his graham cracker pie tomorrow. That's his day in the kitchen. It is one of those recipes passed down from my mom and no holiday is complete without the pie. It is simple to make, but I just get too impatient on the meringue so it never turns out good for me.


I hope you each and everyone have a wonderful, happy, filling Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day with loved ones. And remember the #1 rule to a happy home: Life is short, eat dessert first!!

(If you want the recipe for any of these items, just leave me a comment or send me an email.)
11/23/10

Excitement in the air

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for nieces and nephews.


There is an excitement in the air at our house. The holiday is approaching. We are cleaning house, making menus, making lists, and preparing for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. My children and their families will be over. I love when I get all my grandchildren together at one time. I'm going to shoot for a photo of all five of them. Colby is 7 1/2 weeks old and I have yet been able to get them all together in one photo. We'll see how it goes Thursday. I love Thanksgiving. The food is awesome and we get to spend time browsing through the ads to get gift ideas.

But this year, I have another reason to be excited. Three of my nieces are driving down to arrive late Thursday evening and will spend a couple of days with me. We are going to get up Friday around 4:00 to head out for Black Friday shopping. I am so excited to have them visit. Lori is in her early 30's and will be leaving her husband and two boys at home to fend for themselves. Amy is in her late 20's and will be leaving her goat and dog at home for her husband to take care of. Emili a senior in high school and will be leaving her high school woes behind. I've got to make some of the families favorite chocolate oatmeal cookies for the girls to have when they get here. I always make them for Thanksgiving. Every year, I leave the house around 4:30 AM on Black Friday, armed with shopping list, sale papers, a baggie of those cookies and a glass of milk.

I am so blessed to have nieces who look forward to spending time with their Aunt. We are going to have a fabulous weekend. This will be the first time just the three of them have visited by themselves. I'm so excited!
11/22/10

Christmas Decorations

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for Christmas decorations.



I love this time of year. There is nothing as festive as seeing lights on houses as you drive around at night. I've noticed in my town that more people are getting in the Christmas spirit earlier this year. Many already have their lights up and turned on at night. Some have been pulling their Christmas decorations out for the past few days, getting ready to decorate. I saw a fully decorated tree in one of my neighbors windows. I love Christmas decorations. I like to pick up little things to add to my decorations each year. I'm a Dollar Tree fanatic. Here are a few things I've picked up this year that I really like.

My new Christmas bells.


Each year the kitchen has a "theme". It has been blue & white with snowmen. It has been poinsettias. It has been gingerbread men. This year, I'm going with Santa. Here's my new spoon rest that inspired this years kitchen decor. I'll incorporate some of my "leftover" red and green in there as well. I just need to find a new tablecloth.


I love little pillboxes. I thought these were adorable. It isn't Christmas unless I have some nativity sets setting around. I'll put the child nativity one in the spare room where the kids hang out. We always decorate in there and let them put up a 4' tree.


With my love for sweets, I couldn't pass up this candy dish.


Those were all from the Dollar Tree. I want to decorate my guest bath, but it is done in pastels with birdhouse so I've not decorated it much before. Well, I found this towel and guest towel set at Kmart and it inspired me to do blue and snowmen in there. The blue is the exact shade of some of my other items in that bathroom. I'm going to look for a plain white lace shower curtain for the holiday.


And my last item didn't come from either of those places. It was a gift from my mother. It it exquisite. There is such fine detail and it has a shimmering shine of the finest glitter all over it. It has a switch on the bottom and lights up. The lights change color and it's gorgeous. My husband worked for a candle shop for years and made candles that looked like this. Mom knew it would be very special to me and I love it. It's going on my desk in my home office since I spend most of my day there.



11/21/10
Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for playtime.


One of my favorite quotes is by Oliver Wendell Holmes. He said "We do not quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing."

I am thankful that God gave us a playful spirit and a fun loving nature. Many people mistake play and fun for something only the young can do. They think we must "grow up" "be mature" "act your age". Do I agree with this train of thought? Absolutely not. I think to play and have fun is to enjoy life. Continue to do the things you enjoy; even if they were a part of your childhood. I still like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. I can't go through the holidays without A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer. Santa still fills my stocking every Christmas and the Easter Bunny still brings me a basket of goodies. (Of course, my hubby stays in close contact with both of them to make sure they know where to find me.)

I still love to play jacks and jump rope in the summer on the back patio. I still like having tea parties, rocking doll babies and dressing Barbie's. I can still shoot marbles and race matchbox cars with the best of them.

When my grandchildren visit, I don't stress over keeping the house straight or doing the numerous chores we each do every day. I like to veg out on the couch with them and watch Dora the Explorer. Or I like to try out their new toys and learn how to play with a Bey Blade (watch out if you get your hands on these, they are addictive.) Garret was laughing at me Friday night. I had never seen a Bey Blade. It's a new cartoon and has these neat gizmos like tops that you put in a launcher and pull the rip cord and they will spin. They "battle" each other. I was fascinated because they are simply a very high tech, high speed top. So I had to confiscate one and play in the kitchen floor half the evening. They are AWESOME.

As you can see, playtime is still fun time around our household. Mr. Holmes was so right. He knew the secret to the fountain of youth. Continue to play and enjoy life and you will remain young. What Mr. Holmes forgets to remind us is that being young is a state of mind, a spirit, an energy that comes from remaining youthful. What he should have added is this: "By playing, you will remain young at heart; but be warned. When you get up the next morning, your body will remind you exactly how old you are.

11/20/10

Anticipation

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for anticipation.


 
I love having something to look forward to; the excitement of things to come. This time of year is always full of anticipation. If you know anything about me, you know I love to shop and I love a bargain. Today starts my anticipated countdown to Black Friday. The countdown is just mere days. It no longer measured in months or weeks, but just SIX days.

As with anything I do, I approach it with planning and preparation. Really, let's be honest here. For me, the process of planning for Black Friday is a major production. I have been visiting http://www.bfads.net/ for weeks, updating my "wish" list so I can have an idea where to shop and what to shop for.

I'll get up early Thursday morning to get my paper. It will be full of ads of all the wonderful sales going on. I'll sort the paper, pull out all the ads and place them in two stacks. One stack will be the stores I frequent and one will be the stores I don't normally go to, but I look at their ads anyway.

My husband loves to cook and Thanksgiving dinner is his BIG day of the year. So I will have made my cakes and cookies the day before and I'll stay out of his kitchen on Thursday. While he cooks, I'll do any last minute housekeeping that needs done before the kids arrive. Then I will settle down with the ads and meticulously go through each one to find that perfect gift at that perfect price. I'll start a list of "ideas" that I might want to look for.

When the family comes over later that day, we'll have a wonderful dinner and then relax together as we go through the papers yet again. The kids & grandchildren will give me ideas of things that would please them and I add those to my idea list.

When they journey back home, I shower and get my jammies on. Then I settle down on the couch with a glass of milk, some chocolate oatmeal cookies, my sale papers, and, of course, my list book. While hubby relaxes with his favorite shows, I look at the idea list and compare prices for the different stores. I decide what items I just "have" to have for gifts.

Then I make my master shopping list per store and plan my day for Black Friday. I'll take the sales papers with me that I need in case I have to check back on anything. I'll change purses to one that can go across my body, making it easier to shop and being able to keep my purse safe. I'll get the papers and lists organized, finalized and placed in a tote to carry in the car. I'll lay out the clothes and shoes I want to wear. Finally about midnight, I'll head off to bed. I'll toss and turn most of the night, looking forward to my alarm going off at 4 AM. Within minutes after it rings, I'll be dressed and ready, heading out the door munching on peanut butter and toast and carrying a cold Pepsi.

For those of you who have never done Black Friday, it is something to experience. You hear horror stories, but they are not as common as you would think. I've never witness any violence. I see mostly people asking "Do you see a Sponge Bob in size 4?" "Can you hand me one, I'm too short." Most people waiting in line are cordial and friendly. It's a very relaxing atmosphere believe it or not. Everybody socializes. Being in a tourist area, the thing I hear most is "Where are you from?". It never ceases to amaze me the distance people have traveled to spend the holidays in our little town. When the frenzy of getting what you want is over and you are waiting in a long line to check out, it is human nature for most people to strike up a conversation. One of the things that I enjoy most about those conversations is realizing how many times the subject turns to God and the amazing things He does. It seems like He always places me in line right beside someone who is talking about church and the reason for the season.

Overall, the experience is something I look forward to every year. It's something I'll continue to do as long as I can. I love the thrill. I love the pace. I love the anticipation.
11/19/10

And the winner is....


I received numerous entries and I thank each and every one of my readers who entered. Most entered through email. I encourage each of you who entered to also sign up to become a follower.

Many blogs use something called a random generator, but I must have a simple mind because I did it the old fashioned way. I wrote each entry down on a sticky note and folded them up. Then I shook them up in a basket and we drew the winner out. And the winner is......

Amy from Parkersburg

Congratulations Amy. I'll email you regarding shipping information. Thanks again to everyone who entered!


Words

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for words.

Words are a big part of our lives. They can calm, they can encourage and they can heal. They can hurt, they can harm and they can destroy. Choose your words carefully. Be kind, be polite, be courteous.

Words are also becoming a very popular decoration around the home. There are plaques and figurines that incorporated words. There are phrases that can be hung on walls or sat on shelves. You can purchase block letters or flat cut outs in wood to decorate yourself. You can make your own words or simply use one letter as a decoration. This is going to be one of my new decor items for the holidays. I scoured the internet and found some that I love that will provide me with ideas to decorate. I see a trip to Hobby Lobby and A.C. Moore in my future!!








11/18/10

Happy birthday

Thankful thought of the day - Today I'm thankful for my daughter-in-law. Happy birthday, Jamie.

In 1998, my son said "I do" and made us the proud in-laws of one of the most special women I know. She has been such a blessing to the family over the years. She has a quiet strength that is always there when you need a shoulder to lean on or an ear to vent to. She & Chris have blessed us with three beautiful grandchildren. She is a wonderful wife, mother and friend. And one of her most important traits is that she is able to put up with me. She always makes me feel like a special grandmother and never makes me feel like the dreaded "mother-in-law". Yet, she feels secure enough in our love for her to cut up with us and tolerate our warped sense of humor. She lets me "borrow" my grandchildren whenever I want.

Jamie, today we celebrate not only your birthday but the fact that our family has been honored to have you in it. Have a very Happy Birthday!

Chris and Jamie Boyle


Christian Garret (11)
Alexis Caroline (6)
Colby James (7 weeks tomorrow)


Vacation time


The things a mother does. They are holding baby animals. I think they are either kangaroos or wallabies.


Mother & Daughter


A family portrait - can't wait to get one this year with the newest addition - Colby James


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JAMIE
11/17/10

Joy

Thankful thought of the day - Today I am thankful for Joy

There was a song we used to sing in VBS when I was a little girl. It went:

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart.

How many times do we let life get in the way and steal our joy? We should always be filled with joy no matter what we are going through. We have so many things in our life that bring us joy and we shouldn't ever let anything take our joy away. What are some of the things that bring me joy?

My husbands smile and the way his eyes light up when I walk in the room.
The laughter of my grandchildren.
Listening to my grandchildren having conversations among themselves.
Talking with my children.
Holidays.
Saturday morning calls with Mom to catch up on our week.
Visiting with my family.
Having out of town guests.
Singing in the choir.
Working in Children's Church
Sermons.
Baking.
Shopping.
Sunday drives on beautiful spring days.
Setting in the sun at the beach.
Reading.
Bubble baths.
Pizza with a side order of M & M's.
A Milky Way
A tall glass of Pepsi loaded with ice.
A really good hot dog.
Planting flowers and watching them grow.
The smell of jasmine and gardenia.
Sunrises and sunsets.
My life.




11/16/10
Thankful thought of the day - Today I'm thankful for traditions.

In my house, we have many family traditions for the holidays. Certain decor that each family has used over the years; certain foods that are a "must" for snacking.

I am so thankful for traditions. For it is traditions that bond families together and make the holiday so special. Here are just a few of the traditions we have had over the years.

My Mamaw Eden, my mom and myself always put out our poinsettias as the first decoration of the Christmas season. When I first got married and Mamaw was still alive, there was always a race to see who got theirs out first. We never put them out until we were ready to decorate completely and we never put them out until after Thanksgiving. I never won. Mom or Mamaw always beat me to it. Over the years, we have used the fake plastic ones from the 5 & 10 stores. We graduated to silk ones where those became the rave. We even put out real ones on occasion. But to us, Christmas was not here until the poinsettias were in the living room.


I haven't done one of these in years, but I'm going to try to get one made this year. We would get together and Dad would drill our holes and we would decorate our yule logs. We would put felt on the bottom to protect the furniture. We each decorated ours to our own taste, using greenery, ribbons and various Christmas floral picks.


This is one of my traditions. Somewhere in my house, I have to have pine cones. It's not Christmas without some decoration using pine cones. I like to use real ones. Sometimes I paint the tips with glue and dip them in glitter. Sometimes I spray paint them and sometimes I just leave them plain. I usually place them in some type of dish or bowl. Sometime I weave ribbon through the bowl and sometimes I place pine boughs in with them. But either way, I have to do pine cones at Christmas. I'm in search of some this year. We do not have pine trees so I have to call on friends and family to see if I can get some.


It's just not Christmas without my tree being a mish-mash of memories. The first ornaments that go on our tree are the old glass ornaments that belonged to hubby's Granny Keefer. When she passed away, his grandfather gave them to us and they have decorated our tree ever since. They have their own special box and are each wrapped in soft cotton to prevent breakage. They are placed on with great care and high enough that the grandbabies can't reach.


Papaw is a train buff. He has always been fascinated with them and has passed his infatuation down to the grandchildren. They all love trains and love when he lets them hold some of his old trains. About 8 years ago, we purchased this Hallmark snow globe. You wind it up to play a Christmas Song and the trains moves around the track. The grandkids are spell bound. It's one of those special moments when he holds the globe and winds it for the first time each Christmas. They all gather around him and stand in awe as the train moves around. 


I don't have this style anymore, but growing up, we used to always decorate our windows with these electric candles. Some years the bulbs were green, sometimes red, and sometimes blue. Over the years, I changed to those you just twist on that are battery powered. But I still love the tradition of a candle in the window.


Another family tradition is a Christmas tablecloth. I scour the stores every year looking for the perfect one to fit the mood of my decorations that year. Some years, I'm in to the Santa theme and go with a red style tablecloth. Some years I use all my snowmen stuff and go back to a blue with snowflakes tablecloth. Whatever the mood, me and Mom always have a Christmas tablecloth for the holidays.


Some of my favorite family traditions are the sweets. We have a wonderful recipe for peanut butter balls passed down from Mamaw Eden. Mamaw and Mom would make them every year and they always gave us a tin with some in it. Now that Mamaw's gone, we don't get them as much. One year I decided to make them myself. Oh my gosh! Nobody ever told me how long it took or how MANY it makes. 


Mom has the great recipe for chocolate candy. I call it candy not fudge, because it sets up hard and doesn't have to be refrigerated. One of  my greatest achievements was when I actually made it and it turned out right. It is one of those "beat it until it almost sets up". I always got too impatient and ended up with a chocolaty syrupy sugary concoction that was not edible. But I learned to be patient and now I can make it just fine. This is my all time favorite candy.


That's just some of my favorite family traditions. I'm sure your family has some of its own. To my blogging friends, I would love to see what some of your traditions are. I think it is nice to learn the different things that bring a smile to our faces.