Happy New Year!

"See you" in 2009~



There's a quiet coziness to our days.

Christmas is over.

We're nestled into our abode- a strict dress code of "loungewear" (aka Pj's)and socks.

New toys being played with. Leftover holiday food & sweets being casually consumed.

In the process of removing all of the Christmas decor- lovingy being tucked away for another year. And, of course, as with every year...

Thoughts of organization, fitness & creative aspirations are mulled over. I won't make a Resolution List. I'm much more successful when I keep these goals to myself.

Our weather has been blustery the last few days. Cold and windy with heavy rainfall. All the snow and ice is but a memory now! I admit, I've had my fill of white Winter days. Rain and wind is just dandy!

Much planning in progress... I have Sunday school lessons to plan, final preparations for the Creation Conference we're holding at church in a few weeks, VBS for Summer. Reviewing lesson plans for next week so I'm ready to roll with school again. Re-organizing and evaluating my inventory in order to reopen my ETSY and EBay stores. Preparing for taxes (ick). Putting the final touches on decorating a little nook at church (long overdue- it's quite ridiculous). Making lists of necessities required in closets and cupboards & such. Doctor appointments. The list goes on and on.

I could be overwhelmed and stressed- but I prefer to tackle it a bit at a time.I've always been a sucker for TO DO lists. It's SO satisfying to cross things off once accomplished! I know I've talked about this more than once- so I'll let it go at that.

Here are a few bits & bobs of fun & lovliness. Can't have a post without pics...it just isn't right!

I'd *love* a mixture of tortoise & white pearl handled silverware.

from a few seasons ago, Diesel. Love the retro glamour. Red lips and feathers top it off!

also from a few seasons ago, Ses Petit Mains. PURE lovliness for the littles.

I *heart* this Macy's ad!! The colors. The collage of product. SO fun to look at!

lastly...these stockings. Aren't they beautiful?!?
Can't remember where I found this image...I want to say a book. Handknit Christmas or something??? sorry...



Snow Day part deux

The snow is falling harder and harder.
Our tracks from play earlier are already filled and covered.
We are plied with cocoa,coffee, snacks galore and movies.
The boys are watching "boy" movies (Scorpion King,etc), Josie's playing and I'm nestled in our room wrapping gifts, folding clothes, playing around on Facebook & such AND watching this movie. How did I not hear about this before?? LOVED it. Partly because I was shocked to discover that I could understand much of it without reading the subtitles (it's German)-and because it's a sweet story of a child prodigy.


Cabin Fever.

Cabin Fever.
It can cause crazy things to happen.

I've always wondered what I'd look like with dark hair.
NOW I know!
Don't know if I'll keep it, but it's fun for now.

It's been a mess around here lately. Frozen rain and snow the last few days...

We had to go to church yesterday and it took 45 minutes just to thaw out ONE car door for us all to climb through! We inched our way down I-5 and when we got to 20 minutes south there was NOTHING but rain!! Crazy, the difference 20 minutes in one direction/elevation can make!!

After church, we drove back up and once again, just south of Salem it got ugly. There was a HUGE line of people along the road chaining up or trying to pull over to put chains on. It was more of an ice storm yesterday afternoon/evening.

Then this morning we awoke to a fluffy Winter Wonderland! About 6" of snow now. On TOP of the 3+" of snow and ice from the few days before! A whopper of a mess, really. Lovely if you can stay home- but horrible if you have to go out!

Last minute gift wrapping and food to make.

Can't believe Christmas is only two days away!


Christmas. Day 13

Taking Time to Remember...

I love recalling family memories. Looking at years past and how my family has grown. Thinking of my children and the precious holidays we've already shared together. Wondering what THEIR memories of it all will be. My recollections of my childhood seem to start around when I was 5 or 6..so it's fascinating to think we're forming memories to be looked back on for my kidlets. It makes me want to create a warm, fun environment at home and within our family unit in general, that they will cherish for years to come. I don't want to try so hard creating that atmosphere that it seems forced or stressful OR makes me too busy to enjoy the moments together. But I do want to share some traditions of my childhood and make new ones... it's all those little gestures and efforts that get stored away in our minds, gently made fuzzy with time but hopefully never forgotten.

Yesterday the kids and I had a quiet day together. I was enjoying it, but it increased when each kidlet came to me seperately at some point during the day and told me of their excitement over Christmas. About how much fun they had this week doing this and that. And that they loved days like this. YESSSSSSS!

Yesterday I let them sleep in a bit. It gave me some quiet time to be on my own and just *BE*. I'd had a rough night with little sleep the night before, however I couldn't stay in bed. So I got up, showered & dressed. I sat on the couch for a little while, sipping on coffee and listening to Christmas music. Then I thought of how yummy it would be to have the kids wake up to the smell of something baking. Something straight from the oven into their little tummies. I made some Pumpkin bread loaves and muffins. And perfectly on cue, they came stumbling out of their room, rubbing sleep from their eyes and hair adorably disheveled, into the kitchen & peering into the oven window to find out what the yummy smell was! Cocoa, pumpkin bread, Christmas music...it was delish.

And here's the recipe! Best served fresh from the oven with a light skimming of butter! ;)

Pumpkin Bread
yields (3) 7x3 Loaf Pans

1 (15oz)can Pumpkin Puree

4 eggs

1 c. vegetable oil

2/3 c. water

3 c. sugar

3 1/2 c. flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

**Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Grease/flour 3 loaf pans. In large bowl mix pumpkin, eggs, oil, water and sugar, until well blended. In seperate large bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt and seasonings. Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into prepped pans. Bake about 50 minutes. Loaves are done when toothpick in center comes out clean.

~Makes great muffins and freezes fantastically!~




Christmas. Days 11 & 12.

It's About GIVING...

I love this season. The nostalgia it envokes. The re-emergence of family ornaments & decorations. Making delicious food and desserts. Finding just the right things for those loved ones. Watching the excitement of my children as they envision what this year's festivities will be like. Reading holiday books. Watching Christmas classics. Listening to holiday music all. day. long. Church fellowship. Kids Christmas programs. The re-telling of the Nativity story. Those are all lovely, lovely things.

But this year- my kidlets learned the importance of giving to others. Especially those in need. We've discussed this with them before. We've donated toys and food before. But this week they got to actively participate in helping others. Our Homeschol co-op visited our church food bank on Thursday. They learned how the bank helps the local community every week and how it's done. Then they helped by packing boxes of food together to be distributed the next day. It was great to see them work together diligently for the good of others. And at this time of year- when many kids are compiling their lists of wishes and we hear " I want", "I want" so very often... it warmed my heart to hear my kids talk excitedly on the way home- wondering what family would pick "their" boxes and asking if they could go work at the food bank EVERY day.




Christmas..Day 9

MY Favorite Christmas Cookies:

Icebox Butter Cookies

recipe & photo courtesy of Martha Stewart


3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 cup (2 sticks)cold, Unsalted Butter, cut in pieces
1/2 tsp Salt
4 large Egg yolks
1 tsp. Vanilla
Egg Wash (one egg white with 2 tsp.water,beaten)
Decorating Sugar, Sprinkles


Combine flour,sugar,butter & salt in food processor until they resemble coarse crumbs. In a bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla together. With processor running, gradually add yolk mixture to crumbs just until a dough forms.

Divide dough in half, making two, 2" square logs, about 5 1/2" long.Wrap logs in waxed paper and refrigerate about 2 hours (until firm). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice logs crosswise in thin segments (MS says 3/16" thin... I say, just eyeball the thinness). If you're decorating the cookies, cover with coating of egg wash then add your sugars and or sprinkles. Bake about 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are firm (NOT brown). Remove and let sit on cookie sheet one to two minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely.

Store what's left after your family smells them baking & comes in to devour most all, in an airtight container. They'll be good for two weeks, but rest assured- they'll NEVER sit around that long.

Makes about 72 cookies.



Christmas. Day 8

Matthew's #1 Favorite Christmas Cookie

Russian Tea Cakes

1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

Combine all ingredients, mix well.
Refrigerate dough until chilled.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls and bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven.
Once baked, roll while still hot in confectioners' sugar until coated. Let cool. Lightly dust with more confectioners' sugar.


What's a cookie you're asked to make every year??




Christmas! Day 7


There are SO many books to list... I know if I tried to recall a list by memory I'd forget more than a few, so I'll just list what we have in our current stacks! These images were pulled from AMAZON and no, I didn't mess with links for any of them. I couldn't find images for a couple treasures we have...like SNOWBOUND WITH BETSY by Carolyn Haywood (an all time favorite from my childhood!) and Becky's Christmas by Tasha Tudor. And, I've mentioned before that Matthew is a talented reader but lacks the initiative or excitement over reading...that's slowly changing! Which makes the heart of this book-lovin' Mama SO overjoyed!!!


Christmas Countdown Day 1..er. 6.

I was *going* to post a little Christmas tidbit everyday this month but obviously I'm a few days behind! I haven't exactly been consistent in posting either so I'm not PROMISING daily entries but check back often, as I'll do my best!

ESSENTIAL Christmas Movies for the Holiday Season!

These will all be watched at LEAST once before Christmas is over in this household!


Blessings & Prayers.

A homeschool blogger I visit on occasion was seriously injured recently & although she is home, she will be in the recovery phase for a while... it's a strange sensation to have the emotion I do for someone I've yet to meet (although she's local, so I hope to some day!). Perhaps it's because I've been in a similar situation only a few years ago and realize the mental/emotional whirlwind that occurs within seconds of being placed there. Perhaps also, because she's a sister in Christ and I feel the instant need to cover her & her brood in prayer and thank God for sparing her life. She's been an inspiration on a number of levels, but I discovered her blog while hunting down information on Homeschooling. After reading her blog a while, I realized she was a kindred spirit with many similar interests. And here she is, inspiring me again- with her posts following injury. Kindred spirit, indeed.



Here's the dealio...

Another Grocery Game batch of goodness.

Went to KMart today and got a few things. Many items were out of stock but I managed to take advantage of some excellent bargains.

Here's what I came away with...

* (1) box of Kellogg's Cereal Straws, Normally $3.79, On Sale 4/$10, Used $1 coupon which KMart doubled, resulting in Final Price of 50 cents!

* (3) boxes of Kellogg's Cereal, Normally $3.79-3.99 each, On Sale 4/$10, Used $1 coupon on each box, which KMart doubled, resulting in Final Price of 50 cents per box!

* (2) Glade Air Freshener Sprays, Normally 96 cents each, Used $1 off 2 coupon, which KMart doubled resulting in Final Price of 19 cents each!

* (1) roll Scotch Packing Tape, Normally $2.99, Used $1 off coupon, which KMart doubled resulting in Final Price of 99 cents!

* (1) Revlon Cream Eyeshadow set, Normally $5.79, Used $2 coupon, which KMart doubled resulting in Final Price of $1.79!

* (3) packs of Tic Tac Paradise Mints, Normally $1.49 each, Used $1 coupon, which KMart doubled up to full price, resulting in Final Price of FREE for all 3!

Full Price Total: $25.17
Grand Total Paid: $5.70

I was pretty happy to get ALL of those items for UNDER the price of the eyeshadow alone...
Bargains give me such a thrill!



it's been a pretty good day.

bicycle planter @ my mom&dads

The weather was dreary.
cold. blustery. rainy.
the perfect day to stay at home & in your pj's.

But today was library day-- so we donned our coats w/hoods and drove downtown.

The next best thing to being home in pj's on a rainy day, is a huge library full of good books waiting to be plucked from their shelves & savored.

We left with two huge stacks...

local schoolyard--the trees look like they're a line of fire!

This trip was solely to replenish the kids seasonal basket of reading.
We returned all books pertaining to Fall, Back to School, falling leaves,etc.
We kept a few Thanksgiving ones, but we've officially turned the basket into a Winter one.
I'm eager to dig in, with the kidlets- nestled into the couch w/quilts and cocoa!

We've had a break in our background music during the day, from Classical to Christmas!

It's officially on the brain-- Christmas, snow, higher ingestion of hot coffee,cider, cocoa & tea & homemade sweets; sweaters, scarves and hats- LOTS of 'em! Quilts. Traditions being recalled & shared with a younger generation. Thoughtful planning in blessings others. It's all so yummy!

Got a new BODEN catalog & READY MADE mag in the mail. MORE yumminess!

Breakfast dinner...pancakes & bacon. mmmm.

Freshly bathed kidlets tucked into bed at a decent hour. mmmmm mmm good.

Survivor, Grey's & CSI on tonite w/Cheezits & Diet Dr.Pepper. MOORRRRRRRE yumminess!

Can I PLEASE have a re-run tomorrow???

Oh right! I *am*!

We're taking the day off school except for an afternoon of reading. Then later it's a night of fellowship, flower arranging & scrapbooking with girlfriends for me!

ooooh how I needed this. yes indeedy.
Here's hoping YOU have a fab Friday yourself!



Grocery Gaming...

I think I'm loving it & I've only just begun to "play"!
A girlfriend told me about this a while ago and shared her own success- which completely intrigued me. So I visited the site (click on the post title to visit yourself!)and read, read, read all the information and testimonials. Then I joined the 3 week free trial so I could try it firsthand. I haven't done any MAJOR grocery shopping utilizing this yet- just a few small trips for specific items, but each one was VERY successful. I've been stockpiling coupons for several weeks and can't wait to do our monthly grocery shopping in a few weeks.

Last week I saved 50% off my Safeway bill by using coupons on top of sale prices.
Today I went to Target and bought 3 packages of my favorite coffee (Dunkin Donuts) that was on sale for $5.99 (reg.$7.99 ea) per package. On top of the sale price, if you purchased 3 pkg.s you would earn a $5 Target gift card. So I went through my stockpile and found coupons I'd been saving and discovered I had (3) $2 off coupons! So I was able to purchase the coffee for $3.99 each AND received a $5 gift card! I used the gift card to purchase a double pack of TP that was on sale (plus a coupon I had to save even more) and some dish detergent (with a coupon) so I left with 29 cents still on my gift card!
The hubster was amused at my excitement over the successful transactions...I wanted to find more right away!

If you're on a tight budget or just love making the most of your money and filling your cupboards- try it! And if you do, please use my name/email as your referral. I earn a few free weeks of lists that way. And let me know if you try it! I love bargain stories!!!



catch up.

oooh, it's been a LONG time.
We've been busy with day to day things..some fun, some not-so-much.
It's Fall and we're enjoying the change in weather...
Bustin' out the scarves and hats, coats and sweaters.
Fall leaves falling from trees, gorgeous array of color.
LOTS of rain.
Forecast... lots MORE rain.
Which calls for much soup & roll consumption.

We had Hannah Montana and The Hulk in the house around Halloween.
We were a bit starstruck by their greatness.

Nanny came and spent a day with us not too long ago.
It was a lovely time that went much too fast.
Josie has been wanting to learn how to knit for a very long time, so Nanny brought some supplies and took some time to show her the ropes. er. skeins?
Although she LOVED it and has attempted a little more on her own- I think it will be another year or two before she takes off.
Her attention span wanes a little too quickly right now.
Still. It was fun to watch her interest in something crafty.

More to come soon.
LOTS more pics to share & little tidbits to update you on our recent activities,etc.