When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say,
"I used everything You gave me."
~Erma Bombeck

December 31, 2009

Not Just a Crazy Year... A Crazy Decade!


My Daddy left a couple of hours ago. Yes, I already miss him. 10 days is a long time, but there is never enough time to spend with the ones you love.

So I got to thinking how I cannot wait for 2009 to be done and over with. Not a pretty year at all mind you. But still there were blessings none the less.

I saw how another blogger listed major things that happened in the last decade and I thought to myself, "Self, you have come a long way in the past 10 years!"

2000-Relatively uneventful, just full of fun with friends and the boyfriend.

2001-I was proposed to.

2002- Married in June, pregnant in July, bought our first house in August. This is the year we jokingly said, "We like our stress all at the same time."

2003- We welcomed our first born in March, a daughter, the one of the absolute BEST creations I have ever had the honor of making!

2004- Relatively uneventful.

2005- We welcomed our second born in August, another daughter, ranking right up there with the other absolute BEST creation I have ever had the honor of making!

2006- Relatively uneventful

2007- Midyear my mother had a stroke. :(

2008- K started kindergarten in August. Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in September, which led to other complications, the start of several months in the hospital, chemo and bowel surgeries.

which brings us to...

2009- In March, I put down my two beloved cats, ages 14 and 15 within 11 days of each other due to renal failure. In May, my sweet Grandma passed away. In August my father-in-law Henry was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed within 2 weeks of his diagnosis. In September I underwent major jaw surgery to correct sleep apnea. In October, my mother passed away, not from the cancer itself, but from the complications I mentioned above. Remember 2002? Well, if we like all our stress at one time, this was definitely the year that proved it!

Needless to say there were many, many blessings in the past decade, but because of this last year, I am more than ready for the new year and new decade.

So, from my family to yours, we wish you a very Happy New Year! May it be blessed with lots of love with family and friends, because... in the end, that is truely what life is about.




December 17, 2009

Christmas firsts...

As many of you know, this is my first Christmas without my sweet Mama.  If you have lost a parent, you will know what I am feeling. If you haven't, that is okay. Just be prepared for a profound sadness that comes with each "first" you spend without them. Everything reminds me of Mom and I simply cannot get enough of her around me. While going through my ornaments this past weekend I came across these. They have survived several moves over the past 15 years. Thank goodness.







I have a couple more, but my pictures weren't the greatest. Mama was an artist. You can see more of her work in my Mother's Day Tribute to her here. She didn't believe in herself as an artist until the last couple of years in her life. It was really hard for me to hold her hand two days before she passed and hear her say, "I think my painting days are over." She taught me so much even in her sickness. Don't waste time. Seize the moment. Create. Love.

I am thankful that the Christmas bustle is almost done. My girls will be out of school as of Friday and my Daddy will be here for 10 days on Dec. 21. It is time to slow down, love on each other and bless, not impress. I am looking forward to that.

I'll leave you will a glimpse of our sweet little tree. Not the best pic mind you, but you get the idea.




December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday...



...except to say how much my heart overflows with love for these sweet babies.


December 13, 2009

Monday Musings... Joy


"Joy is the feeling of grinning inside." ~Melba Colgrove

"Joy is a net of love by which you catch souls." ~Mother Theresa

"Joy is not in things, it is in us." ~Richard Wagner

"There are those that give with joy, and that joy is their reward." ~Kahlil Gibran

"When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love, prosperity,
happiness... all the good things." ~Maya Angelou

Wishing you "all the good things" this Christmas season.

December 10, 2009

Friday Favorites (12/11/09)



Wow! There is a lot again this week. Plus I have several new blogs I am following/subscribing to so there more to be found for Friday Favorites. I'm gonna list them different this week. The only comments I will make are up front... the recipes look very YUMMY and all of the projects are adorable.



Cents to Get Debt Free recipe for Homemade Bath Salts (and cute packaging)






Whew! I hope I didn't miss any... There was a blog I visited this week and I loved the project so much I told them I was going to list it today. Guess what? I am so tired tonight, I can't remember which one! So if I stopped by and left such a comment for you, please let me know and I will add you in.

Now, go forth and enjoy all the yummy recipes and cute projects and be sure to tell these ladies "hello" for me!


Christmas Mantle and Creating Tradition

Wow! First let me say thanks for all the sweet compliments on my Texas style rag wreath. I really love it and think it looks great on the front door. I hung some lighted garland above the door yesterday and this is how it looks now...

I hope to pick up some nice big pots with plants sometime throughout the next year that I can change out for each seaon. I think it would add a lot to the porch.

I also finished the mantle...




As you can see, we don't use that beautiful fireplace. I am still working on my hubby about that one. If we aren't going to use it for a fire, I think I am going to put a pretty candlescape in there. The extra stocking is for my Daddy. He is coming to spend 10 days with us around Christmas. I am so excited for my girls and for myself!

Now on to creating tradition. Each year, C and I take the girls to a local Christmas tree farm where we ride a hayride out to pick out and cut our tree. This has become such a tradition for us, I can't stand the thought of going to a roadside and picking out a precut tree. The farm is a little more expensive, but having a fresh cut tree that lasts is worth it. The girls have a ball as to C and I.

As a lot of you know. I lost my sweet Mama in October due to complications surrounding a diagnosis with Ovarian Cancer. My heart has been aching, but I keep pressing on for my little girls. I want them to remember the fun of Christmas. I didn't realize I was trying so hard until yesterday when I went in search of the sugar cookie recipe my Mom used to make every year and I couldn't find it. I had wanted to make these with my girls this year and start that tradition. Each moment that passed as I searched for that recipe I got more and more upset until I gave up at last and called my little sister in tears because I had lost the recipe. Fortunately, she found it bookmarked in Mom's copy of the family cookbook. A cookbook that I happen to own too!

I took a step back yesterday. I wasn't only crying because I lost the recipe and Mom is no longer there to call and ask precious questions to. I was crying because I was beginning to stress myself out trying to make Christmas perfect for my girls. Maybe to cover up the fact that I am so darn sad! So... slowing down to enjoy the holidays with special hugs and kisses, Christmas movies, hot chocolate, sugar cookies (of course), hayrides, christmas lights and church services to remember the real meaning of Christmas. Those are the things my daughters will remember the most.

What about you? What are your special Christmas traditions you do with your family?

December 8, 2009

Merry SITSmas!!!

Just wanted to say
Merry SITSmas
to all the wonderful bloggers over at SITS.

The Secret is in the Sauce has helped me meet some wonderful bloggers this year.
If you want to learn more about them go here!

While you're here, I hope you will take a look around!

December 7, 2009

A Texas Style Christmas Rag Wreath (with a little help from my friends)

Okay, so Marie you were right, it's the stuff to make a rag wreath. If I was having a contest you would have won. Oh, speaking of winning, this will be my 87th post. That means we are coming very close to the big 100. I will be celebrating that one with a giveaway. I'll give you a hint... if you like my Etsy shop, I promise you will love the giveaway!

I had seen rag wreaths, and never tried making one. I wanted something new for my front door this year and this is what I came up with. I'll post step by step...


Materials needed:

Pinking shears
Wire form for wreath (I used 18")
1 yd ea. of 3 desired materials
Star for embellishing in the end
(Optional, a couple of kitties to help you along)

First you need to cut your material into strips. I did approximately 1 in. by 5 in. strips. Those who are near and dear to me know that I hate to do precise measurements so this project is easy because it is very forgiving. Speaking of precise measurements. It was during the course of making this wreath I decided quilting would not be for me!

Tie your pieces to the wire. I did a pattern of red, tan, green to keep things consistent. Just keep going around until...

You need to take a break and get a work in progress picture. Note my little helper. And then you do a little more and leave your project in the middle of the living room floor to take another break and find...

Your other helper thinks it makes a better bed than decoration!

I was pretty pleased with the end result, but thought it need one more touch...

I found the star at Bed Bath and Beyond. Please don't judge the front door, I know it is badly in need of refinishing. And the weather left a lot to be desired today but oh well...what is it we say in the blog world? Hey, I'm just keeping it real!

Once the porch is finished being decorated, I'll give you an updated picture.


DIY Day @ ASPTL





BCD Show and tell



Monday Musings... Pretty Little Dolly (Just for fun!)



Here is the link in case you can't view the video... Pretty Little Dolly

** My 4 year old heard the very end of the song and said, "That was TERRIBLE!" LOL!



December 4, 2009

Friday Favorites (12/4/09)



Good Lord! The blogosphere is packed with great projects and recipes this week! Have fun!

First, a shout-out to my friends at
If you are a crafter, stop on by, visit some new crafty blogs
and sign up to give and get some comment love!

Check out Poppies at Play for a very cute handmade

Not So Idle Hands shows how to make
Christmas Treat Canisters. Oh, and she has some really
great giveaways going on too!

Looking for some great Christmas sweets recipes?
Go see Recipe Girl for her
YUMMY!

We will be making some of these.
 Can you imagine how your tree will smell with
these pretties that the kids can help with?

I just LOVE this Diaper Cake Tutorial from

Blue Cricket Design shows us how to make



December 3, 2009

A New Project...

Stay tuned to see if I succeed in what I want to make with these items...



And don't forget to come back tomorrow for some Friday Favorites!


December 2, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Whole Grain Cookies


I have been wanting to try a baking recipe with agave nectar versus white sugar. I found this one in Delicious Meets Nutritious by Stephen Richards.  Mr. Richards is the developer of Xagave brand agave nectar. I bought a bottle a while back and we love it! Check out their website for more information at http://www.xagave.com/.

Ingredients:
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups Xagave
1 tsp. vanilla
3-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 325. Mix pumpkin, eggs, butter, Xagave and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and mix with pumpkin mixture. Add chocolate chips and oats. Drop 6 large cookies per cookie sheet (2-3 in. apart). Bake for 18 minutes.

These are really good. What is your family doing to cook, bake and eat healthier?


December 1, 2009

Metropolitan Mama's Christmas Gift Guide



One of my favorite blogs to visit is Metropolitan Mama. I just love Stephanie's philosophies on life and child rearing. She also is very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of blogging and how to actually profit from it.

Right now she is hosting several fanastic giveaways. You don't have to jump through a million hoops to enter either (another thing I love about her). You really need to drop in and pay her a visit, maybe enter a giveaway or two... or three.... oh heck just enter them all!