Friday, November 30, 2012

.....Front Porch Lookin' In.....

I am thrilled that our tree is infront of the window this year.  This is the first year in a long while we've had a space that allows for the tree infront of the window.   I think it is gorgeous! 

Yesterday my friend Ann came over for coffee and "girl talk".  We really enjoyed our visit, and so did our young sons. 

The play date totally wore this little gal out!

Today was the last day of November. We're on the cusp of December and it's going to be quite the busy month.  Normally I would saying how fast the days after Thanksgiving, but this year it seemed to crawl by.  Maybe because it's been an emotional week, I'm not sure. 

This evening my parents came over to have an early birthday dinner with us.  My step dad bought Dominoes and we had a good time. 

I had a little help with my gift .....

They gave me scissors with handles shaped like a ginger bread man and the blade says "catch me if you can". How cute is that?!  A calgon bath set,  and LOTS of cookie cutters!  I think I see a lot more salt dough ornaments and cut out cookies in my future!!
Next week I get a birthday outting with my husband - no kids.
To finish off the day, a dear friend from Heavens Door Acres sent me this picture today...

I asked her what it was, and she replied "you're box!"  Talk about knocking me over with a feather! I knew she had plans to send something, I had no idea she was sending something for everyone!
Check out her blog and read about her farm rescue.  She's where our pot belly pigs came from, and she was also the one who found the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte pair I added to my flock.   
We didn't get a craft in today, but we did spend some quality time together as a family, eating, visiting, there was some Happy Birthday singing, and movie watching.
Happy Friday everyone! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012


This is the time of year when people are making Hallmark moments,  sweet memories that they'll take out of the back of their mind and run through their memories.  Memories are sentimental charms on the bracelet of life.   People are pulling out all the yearly traditions set by their family in the years before.  Hot chocolate, ice skating, roasting chestnuts (we are going to try!), homemade ornaments, children's handprint ornaments, baking, caroling, opening that first gift on Christmas Eve, and hosting annual Christmas parties.
I'm usually bahumbug-ing my way through MOST of Novemember and part of December. So many people "over do it" by beginning their Christmas prep in July and then after the season, leaving their tree up until Cupid's arrows are flying around in February (this is my biggest pet peeve).  I despise when people skip Thanksgiving,  I despise the early  Black Friday shopping (though am guilty of having shopped some of the deals in the past), and I want to puke when Easter arrives and someone still has their tree up. 
Normally, in the average holiday season at my house, the tree doesn't go up until after my birthday.  It's the law.  I'm a December baby and I like to know my birthday is "reconognized" and not lost in all of the holiday spirit of over spending, indulgence, and greedy kids telling stuffed up skinny men pretending to be Santa what new and expensive with all these bells and whistles toy they want.
Once we get beyond Thanksgiving and my birthday, then I start looking forward to Christmas.
Except this year.  I found myself excited before Thanksgiving this year.  I think I just came down with a slight case of the Mistletoe Mumps...and I'm still reeling from the after effects.  It's like when you come down with a horrid cold and the cough just hangs around afterwards.

We put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving. We pulled out the special ornaments that represent a special memory or Christmas past.   Like this little elf...

Isn't he just cute?!  He is one of my favorite ornaments,
and I think he'd be fun to re-create with my kids!
He is probably the absolutely most adorable ornament on my entire tree.  He was made for my fourth child when he was probably 2 or 3.  I don't think the date is on him.  I love that a child's building block was used and the letter of his first name creates the body of the elf.  I think I should re-create more of these block elves for the rest of my children. 

Another sentimental ornament on my tree is this vintage glass lantern.  In Christmases past, this lantern hung on my mother in law's Christmas tree.  It's paint is rubbing off in places, and it's definitely seen a better day, but it just wouldn't be Christmas without this ornament on our tree.

We even have sentimental toys here. I love Melissa and Doug products!  They are very sturdy, child friendly, and the kids are occupied for hours!  This specific toy is great!  They can attaching the pieces into little cuts made in the sides of the wooden pieces. Too large to be a choking hazard, while encouraging imaginative play.

There's Holiday baking this time of year, too.  Normally I try to make everything from scratch.  These brownies were delicious. I like how powdered sugar gives the illusion of a "dusting of snow".  It just so happens these brownies....

were from a box mix...and I would gladly argue the America's Favorite claim.....America hasn't tasted what I can make from scratch....(HA!)

The apple pie cookies on the other hand....

I made from scratch.  I went a little crazy with the apple pie cookies this time. I have a teeny, tiny, apple shaped cookie I used it to cut apples from my apple slices for the center of the cookies...

 Something else I really enjoy, and holds sentiment for me, homemade, hand crafted gifts.  More specifically, crocheted afghans, crocheted slippers (shaped like rabbits from Aunt Linda),  and homemade flannel night gowns. I found an afghan online that I just fell in love with.  It had a beautifully designed edging, and well,  I don't crochet.  I sent the link to my friend Liz and she was quick to inform me that her mother could re-create the afghan, fancy edging and all, for me.   I gave them my color preferences, and just a couple weeks later this beautiful afghan was ready..
She will open it on  Christmas morning and I'm oh so thrilled.   I have a homemade afghan for each of my children.  My oldest two were both have ones made by Aunt Linda.  It was all important to me, that my children had something from Aunt Linda, as I have many Christmas memories of having handmade slippers, pj's, and even homemade pound puppies from Aunt Linda.
This Christmas we're focusing on sentimental memories.  Memories that we'll pull out later in life and run through the fingers of our mind like a string of favored pearls.  A lot of those memories include holiday related crafts, with a few messes on the side. 
I hope all of you are finding the sentiment. The joy in making memories. Hold onto them, because our time to make memories with eachother is fleeting.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I think sometimes the best blog posts or stories a person tells are the ones told directly from their heart.  The ones that just develop as you're staring at a blank screen, wanting to type out something, anything, to fill up the white space in front of you.

Then you wonder if anyone reads it.  You hope someone reads it.  You wonder if someone did read it, did they like it? 

There are so many things I should talk about, blog about, write about, but they're not all easy to put into words.  The fun stuff I had originally intended for today's post will need to wait until tomorrow.

My last living biological grandparent left this world today.  She must have fulfilled her purpose on this earth because she left it.  Cross the rainbow, moved to heaven. Flew up with the Angels. 

I hope she hugged my dad.  

Thinking about dad is hard.  I have few memories of him, and not all good, but oh I loved him so much. Pined for him as a  child, wondered what he was like. Envious of my friends who had both mother and father in their home. 

He missed my highschool graduation.  He didn't get to give me away at my wedding.  He didn't know his first grandchild.  Twelve long years had passed, and then he was gone.  I didn't see him.  

This morning I learned of my grandmother's passing via a facebook posting. We knew it was coming, we'd talked via messages with my Aunts for weeks so we had an idea the end was close. 

I then I made a decision.  At first I was going to rent a car and go to the services.  Then I talked to my sister. 

Sisters are something unique, and special.  Sisters are the blessings in life that you are happy to have.  They float down from heaven in the winter on snowflakes that glide softly and smoothly to the earth.  They are unique and special. 

My sister and I haven't seen each other in over a decade.  Neither has either of us been that good at keeping communications open between us. Oh sure, there was the passing facebook comments and casual "love you's" but nothing really substantial passing between us.

I made the decision to skip my Nanny's funeral, to put the  money towards visiting my sister.  She lives in the Deep South and so for Christmas, I'm packing up my rugrats, my partner in everything, loading up my car, and going South for Christmas.

I hope Santa Clause has his beach gear ready!  

It is at this point I should add that my husband hasn't said no, hasn't tried to dissuade me. He knows me well enough to know my mind was made up, it was not optional, and nothing he could do or say would deter me.

The kids don't know what to make of it, and asked swirling questions of "does that mean twice the presents?"   "Will Santa still find us?"   

I accomplished almost nothing today. I sat on my couch, eyes glued to FB messages, and spent no less than 6 hours chatting with my sister.  My screen is flashing that there's a message from her right now, but she's just waiting for this blog post to be finished (ha!).
Today, I realized what we're missing.  Chatting over coffee, the occassional girls night out, comparing parenting horror stories, recipe swapping, working out together, shopping, or just vegging out.  Hugs.  I love you's. Watching each other's kids growing up...and not just in pictures. 

This year, for Christmas, all I want is to go South.  To invade my sister's home and have her so sick of us that she can't wait for the end of our visit.  Just kidding.   I don't want her to be sick of us.  I hope that we don't want the visit to end.  I hope we can pop popcorn, and tell stories, and laugh, and drink hot chocolate until the sun comes up.   To make Christmas memories that will last forever, a lifetime.  A childhood.  Memories that we've yet had the chance to create.

A first Christmas. With my sister. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Just So You Know... is not perfect here.  

I'm not a perfect mom, or a super mom.  There's always a the house and just when I think I have every mess cleaned up, I turn around to another one. 

Life with six children is not easy. An adventure, oh yes, easy heck no.  

We seem to get compliments every where we go in regards to how well behaved and polite our children are.  Of course they are well behaved because they want to live to see tomorrow we tend to be very strict.  They are, though, still children.  Moldeable,  but with minds of their own.  No puppets on a string here (darn).    They do not always listen.

Some days I need to be reminded that they are not demon spawn still children.  

Like today. 

Today is the first day of deer season.  Which means, for this week, I'm virtually a single parent.  Everything falls on me while my sweet husband and his buddies are out searching for that elusive "big one" that will give them that spot among the Boone and Crockett Trophy bucks.  The big one that "just got away" is still out there. Somewhere.   

Today means the first day of 5 am wake ups.  For some unknown reason, the kids think just because WE are up at 5 am they should be, too.  Which means quiet, early morning kid free coffee is interrupted.  Requests for breakfast, before the sleep is even rubbed from my eyes, begin five minutes later and quickly followed with "can we play the DS?".  They are repeatedly told to go. back. to. bed.

Did I mention they did not go back to school today?  They are STILL on Thanksgiving break. Mostly, because there are teen students who also hunt with their dad's and friends. 

Add to the morning two "hunting buddies" show up and this adds to the chaos.  

I am fairly certain my kids plot out their game plan. I am pretty sure they have roundevous points and code words and plans A, B, and C mapped out for every time someone shows up to visit, when they want something, or when they are just being flat out nosey.  They have no fear of spankings,  no real concern for any repercussions in our home. At school, they're absolutely terrified that they will have to change their "green" card to "yellow".  

I want to know what Black Magic the public teachers possess that a simple CHANGING OF A COLORED CARD puts more fear into a child than a potential spanking or loss of an electronic gaming system?! 

This morning continued on, and by 8 am we had some bickering over matchbox cars, someone coming out to tattle, and yet more someones just wandering around the kitchen to be nosey.   Eggs were put on for breakfast and the kids were told to "knock off the bickering and play nice, and to share".   This was ignored, so I tromped back to their room and said "play nice, or go to bed while I throw all your toys away".  This worked.  One kid starts picking up the room, another starts picking up their dirty clothes that just spontaneously combusted everywhere, and the youngest continued on with their play. 

As I sat down to sip coffee and read a message on FB from a friend while the eggs finished cooking, I hear the tell tale sign of glass breaking. 

I asked, "What was that?!"
My third child replies, "A glass thing fell, and then I broke it."  

The only "glass thing" that was in the room where he just came from, that he wasn't supposed to be in, was my storm window to my laundry room, leaning against a wall where my husband and I had placed it.   "It fell and then I broke it" translated to "It fell over so I just walked on it".  

What happened next, after I leaped from the couch and in total disbelief stared down at the shattered glass still in it's metal framing, can only be described as an out of body experience.

I KNOW I opened my mouth to scold him, to mete out some affordable punishment that was worthy of such an atrocity.   What came out of me I can only liken to sounds you read about in books, or see in movies. 

A  blood curdling, uneatheral sound emanated from my lips.  I could feel the vein in my forehead pounding as all of the blood in my body rushed to my head.   I had been pushed to my limits for the day, and it was just barely 8:30 am.   

My son stood there, like a deer caught by headlights.  I'm fairly certain I fit every grotesque monster imagined in fairy tales and scary stories.  I had transformed into Medusa before his very eyes, and he couldn't avoid looking at me. 

An eerie silence followed the ending cacophany of my scream.  I'm not totally sure how long the scream lasted, but I felt it's tremblings reverbete through my entire body, and saw it resounding in my young sons eyes. 

Over a broken window.   Our first ever broken window. 

If my husband hadn't baggd a deer today, it would have been no doubt, 100% my fault, since I'm fairly certain the sound I had the potential to scare off any and all game. 

The kids quietly finished putting away their laundry, then crawled back into their beds while I picked up the broken glass.   I then returned to finish their mostly over done eggs, called them out to eat their breakfast, and poured myself another cup of coffee with a side of tylenol. 

Well, I DID say I wanted to make memories.....

I also want to point out that by the time I wrote this out, and read it to my husband, we were both laughing hysterically.  By dinner time, we were all laughing over mom's transformation into a Greek Mythology villian.  Windows can be replaced, it just wasn't a planned expense.

Thankfully, the day did get better.  Infact, I'm fairly certain this has been one of our best days yet.  HA! I bet that statement surprises you!  

About 11 am this morning my husband got a doe!  First day of the season, and he bagged one!  This is a rare, and somewhat celebrated, event here.  I almost thought it was a faux pas as it is more common for him to get one the last day, last hour of the season.  Not prior to noon on the first day of the season!  Still, we are eternally grateful, and thankful, that we have this doe hanging and waiting to be processed.  We are not so patient as to wait for tomorrow...

Fresh, venison tenderloin browned in bacon grease. Nom nom nom.
I did get the salt dough ornaments made and dried. The kids and I watched cartoons together while the ornaments were drying.  Then we painted some before bed.

I also found a "just the right sized" box in which I cocooned my friend Debbie's gift.  I have had a blast putting this gift together for her, and I cannot wait to send it out.

All wrapped and ALMOST ready to send!  Finishing touch will be added tomorrow!!
I hope everyone else had a great day, filled with wonderful not so planned memories!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I'm sitting here staring at a blank screen, wondering how to effectively put into words what I want to say.  There is some risk of upsetting an apple cart, since I am not 100%  sure who does or doesn't read my blog.  I guess there is nothing to do but to put it out there.

It irritates me to no end when someone complains about "not having money" for some frivolity.   Especially when the person most likely doesn't really know or have a real feeling of "not having money". 

To me, to say one doesn't have money means you have no income.  Being "broke" because you paid all your bills this week and there's no "fun money" until your next paycheck doesn't mean you do not have money.  It means you've tapped out your available money on bills.  It means you're most likely living beyond your means.   It means you didn't budget.   Or save.   Or plan well.  It does not mean you do not have money, it just means you do not have money for the fun, unnecessary frivolities in life that we as humans have put importance on. 

Please, before you think I'm judging harshly or being unfair, just remember I lived it. For six. long. years.  No income.  No promise of a check in one or two weeks or even in a few days.  I've been homeless.  I've been unemployed.  My husband has been injured, homeless, and unemployed.  Guess what? We bounced back.  It took a hand up and hard work, but we did it.

By the way, I find it shameful to publicly whine about not having money when a family member could literally breathe their last at any given moment. There are some things far more important than paying for Christmas.

So what does this have to do with memories?  Plenty. 

Memories are priceless, yet for the most part are free.  Sure, a few extra dollars can create an extra special memory, but one doesn't need to go "all out" to make a simple moment in time special.

My mom told me that a friend of theirs does the 12 days of Christmas every year.  They do not focus on a lot of gifts for Christmas Day, but instead, they focus on family traditions and creating special memories with each other every day.

I've taken it a step further.  Instead of 12 Days of Christmas memories, we started the day after Thanksgiving.  A whole month of memories. As I'm typing this out, I'm wondering why stop there?  Why not a year?  And would anyone else want to accept the challenge? 

On Friday we put up and decorated our tree. Together.. As a family. Since we use the same pre-lit tree every year, and save the same ornaments year after year, the only cost to create that memory was time.  A little bit of ourselves went into those moments spent together, as a family, decorating our tree. 

On Saturday, my husband and I went on a morning date.  It was a cheap but fun date. We didn't spend over $20.  The kiss he stole was free.  We also pulled out everyone's stockings, watched a movie as a family, and in the afternoon we pulled out board games and played them together.  

One thing I think everyone by now really knows about me is I bake.  I bake a lot.  I really enjoy it.  There isn't anything I can't bake except bread and we're not talking about bread   or if I can't bake it, I try try again until I get it right.  
Today, it was sugar cookies.  Not just any sugar cookies, but cut out cookies.  I had this  horrible recipe that never turned out just right.  Today I tried the recipe from Old Faithful, my house fire surviving partner in crime baking.  

Of course, I had help from my girls during the baking process.  ;)

We cut out snowmen shapes, turkeys, children's hands, a few roosters, and Christmas trees.

It's not baking unless you're snitching pieces of dough....

Since we really can't have her snitching all the dough, plus there is raw egg in it, mini m&m's to the rescue....

Her little flour covered face is just too cute and so so precious.  She will not remember this, but I will.  Her older siblings will.  :)   And we'll have the photos for her.

After we finished cutting out and baking all of the cookies, I pulled out everything I had available for decorating.

Everyone, even Daddy, came out to decorate cookies.   The grand parents stopped in while there were still cookies to ice and decorate as well, so it turned into a great evening!
Yes, it is necessary to have half of your body on the table while decorating cookies...especially if you're four...
This was also the quietest they had been all. day.  

She was a total mess!!!  It ended in a bath, where she totally rocked the Woody Woodpecker hair style!
These four cookies I decorated.  The red one is "Ruby Rooster" in honor of my friend Debbie's sweet roo who passed away this morning. RIP sweet Ruby.  You were very loved. 
Speaking of my friend Debbie, here's a sneak peek at her gift!  This is a tag I made for it. :) No, her name is not on it, and there is a good reason for that....but I can't tell you yet...


We still haven't found the angel top for my tree, so we substituted her for a snowman today. He was a big hit with the kids.

For tomorrow's memories, I'm making salt dough ornaments for us to paint. :)   Remember, it's not about how much you can buy, but how many memories you can make. :)  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Simple Small Business Saturday...

Today, I wrapped the first gift of the season.
I really ENJOY wrapping gifts. I just LOVE it. 

This first gift has actually been here, in a plain white box, for several weeks.  It's nothing extra fancy, just a small something that I thought my dear sweet husband would like for his "man cave".  ;)  Best of all, it was purchased from a small local business.

Then I finished hanging my "primitive" Christmas decor.  I just love the look of the old stockings mixed with the woodsy birdhouses.  And what's Christmas Decor without some gingerbread and moose?

Stockings were brought out, and for now, laid under the tree until I find the hooks for the wall.
This child carried her stocking everywhere this morning. She cracks me up.

 Mid morning my husband and I had a "date".  I think I like morning dates!  It included some hand holding, walking through the little local village for the 44th annual craftshow, a stolen kiss, short tour of the Opera House, hot chocolate to wash down pulled pork sandwiches, and some shopping.
I bought a small gift for a dear friend out in Indiana. :)   Here is the promised sneak peek, but since I know she reads this blog, I can only show a small piece.....

 I am working on the tags for her gift, and will have to find that oh so perfect box and wrap it up before shipping.  I think I have to finally confess that I do oh so love this time of year....and I just cannot wait to send this gift!
 My dear sweet husband also purchased an early birthday gift for me, with the promise of a birthday outing later. 
I love how simple and sweet and prim it is.

Over all, it was a delightful, simplistic day.  I'm really finding joy in the simple things! 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Just a Little Bit of Christmas....

Since I am a December baby, we normally do not put up our tree until AFTER my birthday. It's a rule. 

This year, we broke the rule.   I just couldn't wait.    Thanks to pinterest and all of the gifts I'm creating for our kids this year....

I can "hardly stand the wait. Please Christmas don't be late..."

And this girl is totally captivated with the tree!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pinterest Project!

When I stumbled upon this creative use of a pallet/skid, I knew I was going to try it!

I don't think mine turned out too bad, do you?

It was a quick and easy project, completed in less than an hour.  I just removed select boards from top and bottom and left the 4 on the ends and the two in the middle that are against the wall.  

I'm probably going to add a few more pics later, but this is an Ok start for now :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Whoops! Houston, We Have a Problem!!

Ah, so we ran into a small snag with the work shop project today...

We started to drill wholes for the new drawer pulls to be screwed in and...
We found that the paint was rubbing off!!! 


Turns out I should have sanded the old paint off before applying new....because apparantly I was painting over oil base paint with water base paint!  Oooops! :)

So it was a learning experience, and on the upside I got to play with electric sanders today...something I've never done before!!   So now we have drawers that look like this...

I still have two more drawers to sand and half of the main part of the desk to finish sanding.  I'll work on it tomorrow.  Let me just say, I will ever be thankful that the Good Lord gave some person out there the knowledge and know how to create those electric sanders!!  I shudder to think how bad of a set back this would have been if I had to sand it all by hand!!