Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MY WORD for 2011


1. the state, quality, or an instance of being simple.

2. freedom from complexity

This word came easy for me this year.  I've found myself thinking and wanting to do so many brain is a scrambling mess.  I work about 35 hours a week outside my home (work can be stressful for me at times), and I'm a wife and mom of two. I want to do so many things but don't have the time.  At times I feel like I'm all over the place.  I really need to learn to let go of wanting to do so many things…..big or small. 

Recently I picked up my book called "Things Good Mothers Know", it's a book you can read over and over, sections here and there.  This is book that sits on my dresser next to my bed all year long.  When opening up to Chapter 3, "Simplicity: The New Luxury" I paused and really thought about that title.  After thinking I went on to read the chapter.  I've read it every night for the past several nights, wanting it to all sink in. 

It seems that we crowd ourselves with "obligations" and "stuff"   then feel overwhelmed.  We then learn to let go and realize that simplicity is what makes us happy.  Those simple things maybe reading a book to our little ones, a hot bath, a little talk with our pets ( I find myself talking to the animals a lot and always walking away happy).  I find myself enjoying those quiet moments, something that I thought was crazy when I was younger.  I remember being a teenager and asking my stepmother "don't you hate it when it's so quite in the house, don't you want the TV or radio on?!?!?" she replied, "I enjoy the quietness", I walked away thinking she was crazy.  A few years ago when both kids were in school I was folding the laundry, it was quiet, at that moment I knew exactly what my stepmother was talking about.  Would I want quietness all the time...NO way but those moments are simple pleasures after a busy morning getting the kids out the door.

I'm hoping I can stick to my word and try to let things go knowing in the long run I will be happier by simplifying my thoughts and wants.

Check out Ali's Blog for inspiration. I would love to know your word for the year.

Monday, December 27, 2010

miscellany monday

1. The Tree Christmas is over and my tree has been removed from the house already.  It was so dry I couldn’t stand the thought of it in the house any longer.  All of the other decorations will stay up for now.  I do look forward to January 2nd when things get all cleaned up and organized again.   

2.  Our first blizzard of the season is here.  High winds and lots of snow expected. I'm actually looking forward to being snowed in for the day.  All the rushing around last week has finally caught up with me.  

The kids don't seem to mind.....their new games are keeping them busy.

3. I’m so excited!!!!  Project Life 2011 is available and mine has been ordered.....woohoo!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with it go here. I did it for 2010 and love the concept.  This year instead of worrying about taking a picture each day, I plan to use pictures I’ve taken throughout the week.  I found it hard to take a picture each day and document it; picking out 7 pictures from the week seems a bit more attainable for me. 

Project Life - Amber Edition

4. A few pics from Christmas Morning   Ethan was thrilled with anything baseball and Audrey was thrilled with anything Barbie.  The kids woke us up at 6:30am (Ethan set his alarm...if I had known I would have changed it to 8am). 

Now it's time to start the organizing and find places for all their new things. 

Join along at lowercase letters and 
Have a wonderful Monday!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Memories and A Merry Christmas!

This past spring my Grandmother passed away, she was 90.  She was an incredible women to me. She was one of the most organized persons I've ever known.  I remember when I was a kid, her craft beads were neatly organized by color and size.  Everything had a place!   I didn't live near her for most of my life but still felt close to her. She always sent a card for every holiday with a one dollar bill in it.  Always crisp.  I can't think of a time throughout my whole life that she missed or was even late for that matter with a card.  When her great grandchildren came along she began to send them the dollar instead since she was on a budget but she would still send us, her grandchildren cards too. The wonderful thing about those cards where that she took the time to write in them, not just how are you, all is well here and so on, but wrote about memories of us when we were little or memories of my father or of  her and my grandfather.  If you wrote her a letter she would be sure to write back.  I've missed getting those cards and letters.  I feel like something is missing in my mailbox when a holiday strolls around .  What I do have though is many Christmas decorations made by her.  When I'm looking around the room I think of her and about who she was and what was important to! 

The tree skirt was made for my mother and father when we were little  kids.  Every Christmas growing up I would love to sit around the tree and look at that tree skirt, I LOVED it, I loved the characters and shinny beads.  She made ornaments that now fill my apothecary jar and I still have my stocking she made for me when I was a baby.  When my kids came along she made matching stockings for them and this cute advent calender (she was in her early 80's when she made them, that amazes me).  I will cherish these parts of her forever and I believe my kids will too.  Even though they didn't get the chance to spend time with my grandmother since we lived so far from one another, those cards she sent and wrote in made it so my kids felt a connection with her.  It proves that you don't have to live close to one another to love one another or feel someone close to your heart.  Maybe we should all take the time to write a letter to a someone not so near.  I think a hand written letter means so much!  What a wonderful Christmas surprise you could give someone when they open their mailbox.
Have a Wonderful week and
 Merry Christmas  ! 
* a card I'm sure my Grnadmother would like

P.S. To get a better idea of what my Grnadmother was like......think of the show "Leave it to Beaver"  That's what my father's childhood was like.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pinecone Frame Ornaments

* Pics of the kids are from a couple of Christmases ago, they're growing up way to fast! 

 I love pinecones!  I love that you can decorate with them throughout the winter.  After looking thorough some of my favorite books, Martha Stewart's Holiday books, I found the idea of making pinecone frame ornaments. This was my first attempt to making them,  I know I will get more creative as I try to make more.  Below is what you need to get started, minus the books.  .     

First, you will need to collect pinecones or buy them from your local craft store.  I live in Maine where we have an abundance of  pine and spruce trees to gather pinecones from.  Pictures, cutting tools to trim your picture, scraps of thin cardboard for the backing (cardstock will work fine too) and scissors..  Missing from the photo is my hot glue gun (a must), pliers(something I didn't think I needed) and ribbon to hang the ornament.  And, a few embellishments if you want to add a little bling. 

 First I cut my photo to the size I wanted and then cut a piece of thin cardboard  a bit bigger to create a place to glue my scales to.

Depending on the pinecone, you may need pliers to remove the scales.  It's a bit messy so you may want to lay a plastic bag under your work area.  I didn't do this and ended up with a big mess all over the table and floor.

After removing the scales I then trimmed the bottoms of each  to make it easier to layer the scales. 

I then got my handy dandy glue gun heated up and got ready for the fun part of assembling my frame. I put a thin strip of glue on each scale then  layered them onto the photo frame.  I added my ribbon for hanging.  

Overall I think they came out pretty cute.  I look forward to making more.  

For this frame I used a pinecone from a White Pine Tree. They were easy to work with and only required scissors to cut the scales.

I would love to hear about your creations with pinecones too! 

Have a FANTASTIC weekend!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cookie Season has begun......

Rachel at Finding Joy gave me the little push I needed to start my cookie baking with her Christmas Recipe Swap Linky Party

finding joy | Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap

 I decided to try two new recipes to me.  EASY recipes.  Easy Shortbread Cookies,  I found this recipe over at Clover Lane and thought I need to do this with the kids. The other is Noel Nut Balls,   I found this one in my Good Housekeeping magazine and when reading the recipe it brought back memories from Grandmother use to make them.  I never made them before but easy peasy they were.  I like easy when life is busy.  This allows me and the kids to create and have fun together but not take too much time.  Both these recipes need to be chilled first which made things run smoothly.  I was able to have the kitchen cleaned up before the fun part started.

The Recipes

Easy Shortbread Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
red and green sprinkles

Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla.
Add in flour, baking powder and salt.
Mix together and divide into 3 equal portions
Make 3 Rolls with the dough and fridge for a few hours.
After dough has chilled cut rolls into slices.
Add sprinkles by dabbing one side of the uncooked cookie into the  sprinkles.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, cookie will look a little undone.

This made 3 dozen pretty yummy cookies.

Noel Nut Ball

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon or orange juice
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (best if chopped by hand)
  • 1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and honey until fluffy.  Add bourbon  orange juice and beat to combine.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pecans, confectioners' sugar, and salt.  Add to the butter mixture, and beat to combine.  Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours. 

Bake at 350 . Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough, 2 teaspoons at a time, into balls. Place on prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them. Bake until brown around the edges, 12 to 13 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Roll in confectioners' sugar to coat.

Our little Miss Audrey made a plate of cookies for her Daddy.  He's been working evenings this week and she thought it would be nice to leave a plate of cookies out for him to munch on when he gets home.  She's so sweet.

I plan to make some more cookies in a few days that involve Chocolate.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Every year my husband and I have the same conversation about getting a tree, it goes something like this.... 

Before leaving to get the tree

Husband - I don't want a real big tree this year.  Let's get something smaller.

Me - Why?????

Husband - We don't need a big tree.

Me - Why? ( I then get up and go do something so the conversation ends for now)

At the tree farm

Husband - Why do we need to look for a perfect tree!?!?!

Me - I'm not! 

Husband - I think we should get a smaller one.

Me - Fine Eric, how about tall but narrow.

This is what we ended up with..... a tree that looks like a torpedo and that leans to the left.

Our torpedo tree has fallen twice after being decorated, this was extremely frustrating and very messy! We ended up having to tie a string around it and bolt it into the wall, there are wood pieces in the tree stand trying to push the tree to the right and also some pieces are wedged under the tree stand to help straighten it out. Again, very frustrating!   You see the tree was much taller and we cut it so that it would fit in our home.  What we didn't realize is that it wasn't straight. During our dramas with the tree our Miss Audrey had to point out that she knew this wasn't the tree for us when we were at the tree farm and that we should have listened to her (she's 7)  She doesn't realize that when you are married you have to compromise every so often ( I thought she was too young for this conversation).  I'm hoping my Husband has learned to listen to us girls. 
I'm sure your all shacking our head no! We can only hope.

Anyway.....I've learned to love our tree, it's like our not perfect!  
I'm grateful for the memories this tree has given us so far, we now have a story to tell.  All of the stressfulness of setting it up now seems like a blink of an eye.  
I love these moments the tree brings.....


Monday, December 6, 2010

The Christmas Tree

Eric, Audrey, Ethan and my mother in law (Nannie Wizza) on the hunt

Every year we head to Piper Mt. to get our Christmas Tree.  We've been doing this for 9 years now and most likely will be doing for the next 9 (at times I do dream of a fake tree......the easiness of it).  We go on the first Sunday of December but this year we had to go on Saturday since Ethan had his first basketball game on Sunday (this was very unusual).  The weather wasn't the most was a wet misty day, which meant mud.  We still had fun trying to find our perfect tree!

Ethan really wanted to cut the tree down, he wasn't strong enough but he tried.  He was happy to help carry it down to the farm, which was quite a walk.  Miss Trix of course went with us, she is so good.  She listens and stays near us, we seldom put a collar and leash on her.  It's funny because she is often referred to as a pup when she's almost 14!  

After the tree is cut we head into the tree shop for hot cider and fresh yummy!  The kids each pick out an ornament, we certainly don't need anymore but it' has now become a tradition.  Ethan spotted the Red Sox ornaments from a mile away and picked on out and Audrey found a cute little mouse.  She loves small creatures.

Piper Mt. also makes and sells Maine wreaths that are sent all of the states.
  I thought this one was pretty fun! 
Another great year for getting a tree.  I'm thankful we've started this tradition, the kids love it so much.  I know they will want to carry this tradition on for a long, long, time.

Coming later this week "The Setting up of our Perfect Tree"


December Daily - Day Two and Three

I'm  behind two days but I'm ok with it.  I've found that getting started is always the hardest but then it all starts to come together.  I started day 4 last night but didn't have a chance to many pics to choose from, we had a full day.  



Have a great Day!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Vine and Felt Wreath

This Christmas Season has made we want to make wreaths, wreaths and more wreaths! I love how this simple wreath came out.  I had fun with these easy to make felt flowers and a glue gun.  

The cost to make my wreath  was less than $4 Bucks.  
Vine wreath - $2.50
Felt - $1.25 (5 sheets used)
(I used one sheet of felt for the larger white flowers and was able to get two smaller flowers out of one sheet)
Ribbon - Free (came off a box of Candy last Christmas)  


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Daily - Day One - updated

For the past couple of years I've wanted to follow along with Ali Edwards Daily December but never seem to pull it off, but this year I'm going to try really, really hard.  I know I won't always have the opportunity to put my page together each night but I plan to document by writing notes and taking lots and lots of pictures ( which I do anyways). 

Here's my Day One Pictures  
Today at Target I went to get a Cafe Mocha at Starbucks before I started my shopping, a few people were looking out the window at  at the dogs hanging out the minivan window. I asked the Starbucks guy to hold my coffee, that I'd be back in a minute.  I went out to take a picture of these three cuties with permission from the owner, she didn't mind at all....I think she was used to it.  She had them dressed in santa jackets with bells......super adorable.  After I got my latte I did manage to get a few gifts and browse the isles. I came home to  put out a few decorations before picking the kids up from school.
I'm off to a good start..........well for me anyways!  


December 1st

* I used my scanner so the color is a bit washed out looking