Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas to You

Starting today I have family on their way in from out of state.
Which means the madness funness has begun. 
We are cleaning_ cooking_ getting ready for all that will follow.
Lots of hugs_ games being played_ eating til' we're stuffed_ laughing_ watching movies_ 
staying up way past what I'm used to_ going to see lights_ opening gifts will soon surround us....

So I will take a little break here for the next couple of days to relish_ soak up_
really be present with my family.
But I didn't want to miss an opportunity to say
"Merry Christmas Ya'll"! 
I hope each of you have a great great holiday spent with the ones who mean the most to ya.
Thank you for visiting me this year and for taking this journey with us.
So many of you have become "friends" along this way and I am so thankful for each one of you.
Much Love,
heather.



“ long lay the world in sin and error pining,
till he appeared and the soul felt its worth
O Holy Night

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In a Pickle

Do you guys' have a pickle?
Not the real refrigerated kind_ although my kids love them some real pickles, too.
Do you have the little ceramic pickle that your supposed to hide in your Christmas tree?


We started this tradition about 5 years ago.
You hide the pickle in the tree and after all the gifts are opened on Christmas day and some of the excitement has died down we then would turn the kids loose to find it.
Then whoever found it got a present_ the last present of the day.
I try and get a gift that they all can get enjoyment out of like a board game_ a movie_
this year they got a new Wii game.
They've had this whole week out of school and it's been rainy every single day.
So not much playing has been done outside and they needed a little pick-me-up.
We decided to play the pickle game early_ last night.
And instead of hiding it in the tree {i was fearful of how the tree would look if they went after it in there} we came up with a new plan.
J wrote out a little poem/rhyme giving them clues and they had to find it in the house.
The very last line said something about  "mom loves them when their lit up."
Gray found it hidden in the Dining Room hanging on the lamp.







Awhile back I found these pickles at our Dollar Tree for a $1 all packaged cute-si-fied in a jar with a saying on them. They would have made perfect little happies for someone. So if you still have time and want to play the Pickle Game run go grab one... for a picklin' good time! :)

** only 3 days to go....**
heather.




Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Boots

I can't get enough of these boots lately.
They are definitely my favorite.





Top: American Eagle
Jeans: Target
Boots: Lauren Conrad



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And just for fun_ a little Christmas Quiz.


1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrap them
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? white.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, I probably should though….:)

5. When do you put your decorations up? Thanksgiving Evening
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Sweet potato casserole

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The excitement the night before Christmas. I never could sleep and so many times tried to stay awake to see Santa…Each year I kept thinking it wouldn’t be as exciting but every year that came it still was.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? A friend at school told me when I was in the 5th grade. I was so upset that everyone had lied to me. I started figuring everything out and kinda went down the list, no Easter bunny, no tooth fairy, etc…

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes, we all get new pajamas 

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? The past couple of years it’s been with the pink, turquoise, & red, theme on a white tree. But I change up a lot. So I may go back to my green tree next year.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love, love it. It’s beautiful and is so appropriate for the season.

12. Can you ice skate? I have been before so let’s just say I can manage to stand up …. some
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Probably a Cabbage Patch kid that I got. My mom had to jump through hoops to get it that year and I knew they were so hard to come by. So it was a big surprise to find that I actually had one.



14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Trying to keep the focus off of us, gifts, etc and keep it
on the baby that was born in a manger so that I
could be free.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? This recipe we grew up making  called Mrs Fields chocolate chip cookies

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Being with our family that we only get to see twice a year.

17. What tops your tree? A pretty funky little angel dressed in a turquoise velvet dress.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Definitely the GIVING. So much thought and care goes into it.

19. Candy canes: Yuck or Yummy? Some are yummy

20. Saddest Christmas song? Oh gosh, Christmas Shoes

Happy Wednesday!!
heather.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Christmas Boy

As we sat in church last Sunday and listened to the message on giving I knew the Lord was speaking to me. Our church had taken 100 kids (100 names) from the system that would soon be placed within a foster home to commit to giving them a Christmas. I wasn't aware of this, but they explained how between Thanksgiving and Christmas is usually when the biggest influx of children get taken out of homes and put into the system but because of the timing they can sometimes be the hardest to place within a home. 

 Just 3 weeks prior, while out shopping at Hobby Lobby with my friend Nina she had told me how she had filled out the paperwork_ they were going to be foster parents_ she had been praying about what the Lord would have her to do in this season of her life and both her & her husband had felt like this was it. 
I was blown away because this was the first time she had mentioned anything but so overwhelmed with hopefulness for the kids that I knew her family would be such a blessing to_ I began to picture those children in my head that would get loved on_ taught_ that would have stability.

So here I am sitting in church_ my heart already ripe from walking beside Nina & her family with fostering and the pastor is talking about these children and I know we need to sponsor one...but I'm so nervous because I know that we have just enough money to get what we need to have for our 3 children and family for Christmas... so I lean over to oldest and say "Grayson would you, middle, and youngest be willing to not have a stocking this year for Christmas so that we can take one of these children?" and immediately without hesitation he starts shaking his head yes... he knew too...

We get a 2 year old little boy who loves the Pittsburgh Steelers and wants a basketball goal_ basketball_and a football. Coincidence that this little 2 year old boy wants the same thing that my 12 year old son wants.... we don't think so. It all stands as confirmation to us that this was supposed to be our Christmas boy. And the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers {Pennsylvania} hold such a special place in each of our hearts....not a coincidence. 






I cannot even begin to tell you how excited my kids were for this. 
I wanted it to be their thing. So they were the ones who picked out each item and they added 
everything up as we went along. We were able to get every item our Christmas boy had down on his list. Is this to boast in us and say look what we did...nope, it's to say look at Jesus and what He has done. This is the least we could ever do and I know people who took 4 & 5 kids home to sponsor which is so awesome... I pray we can eventually do that. I know our hearts are there. 
And I know this Christmas my kids eyes & affections were hopefully turned from themselves onto someone else as we talked about our little guy and what Christmas morning will be like for him now. 
And there hasn't been a day that has gone by that we haven't prayed for him_ called him by name_ wondered what he may be up to. 

When we dropped the gifts off to the location my kids kept asking if they were going to be able to meet him and I had to explain why they weren't going to, etc. They were so disappointed.... but all I could think about was one day we just may get to meet our Christmas boy..... one day. :)

Linking up for 


heather.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Middle


Middle is growing_ growing_ growing
Her laugh makes me laugh
She is quite special.
Gabi girl- don't ever forget 
you are kind_
you are smart_
you are important.

Love you, Mom...






heather.




Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Share & Care Project

I have a special guest sharing some goodness today_ meet Katie.
Katie is such an encourager and has become my friend since blogging. 
If we didn't live on the other side of the world I just know we would have a coffee date every week. 
Check out this project she is sharing....

There is no better time than the Christmas season to reflect on all that we have been given and to teach our children to give back in return.

Giving is also a great way to counteract any serious bouts of "I wants" which seem to plague our home come December.

Inspired by the bags I saw from Joy's Hope over Thanksgiving, I asked my friend Karen if she wanted to join me in the creation of the Share and Care Project.

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The idea is simple and affordable.

You first need to gather items from your local bargain store. I found Wisps, beanies, gloves, foot warmers, and lip balm at the 99 cent store and Target dollar bins. I added bottled water, a granola bar, raisins, and a pack of nuts.

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The bags are not limited to these items. Mini bags of tissues, McDonald's gift cards, protein bars, etc. are also great items to include.

To make the bags special and personal, the children first decorated homemade sugar cookies, which they of course had to sample. You know, just to make sure they were good!

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After decorating cookies, they made Christmas cards to add to their bags.

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Each child made a bag. We will store the bags in our car and when the opportunity arises, such as when we see someone with a sign off a freeway off ramp, we will hand them the bag.

Even the younger children understood the basic concept that we were meeting together to make a bag for someone who does not have the simple things that we take for granted like a warm, safe house and a refrigerator and pantry full of food.

I encourage you to take part in the Share and Care Project this season. Gather with family, friends, co-workers, or church group and make it happen.

As an extra incentive, try this sugar cookie recipe. It gets raves every time. You will want to share these cookies, trust me!

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter. Add sugar gradually. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla and cream well. Sift flour and baking soda together and add to mixture. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Roll out on floured surface to 1/8" thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Place on cookie sheet. Bake until very light brown. Cool. Frost and decorate. (Serves 2 dozen large cookies).

Enjoy the time doing something that will bless the lives of others and teach your children the gift of giving. And may you each experience the ultimate gift which we celebrate on December 25th.

Merry Christmas!

Much love,
Katie

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Thank you again Katie for sharing.
heather.

Can You Feel It?

Christmas is coming....
So much expectation_ so many emotions
For unto us a child will be born
the one who will take away the sins of the world
God could have chosen anything
He could have had a certain animal die_ a whole day lived out in darkness_ but He didn't
He chose for his only child to be born so that He could then let him die for all of our ugliness_ our sin.
Christmas is coming

The world is preparing- as we shop & give_ I can just feel it in the air
A baby is coming and just as we prepared for our own to come_
Getting everything ready_ the room set up_ the clothes bought_ going to baby showers
The expectation continues to build as it leads up to their arrival
I wonder about Mary's building expectation & emotions_ because she believed in the child she was carrying in her belly_ she KNEW Christmas was coming

I feel joy wanting to erupt that comes from down in the depths of my insides
And I want to shout it from the rooftops "Christmas is coming!"
I don't want to miss it.
because Christmas came_
now we get to live_ we get to go_ we get to tell it....


Linking up with Jami
heather.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shootin' Some Hoops

Today is a "so much to do" kinda day.
I'm sure a lot of you are having one of those days.
I need to make a grocery run_ get a birthday gift_ and be ready for a vendor show this afternoon.

However, last week hubs found this basketball goal for $10.
It's not the best of the best and I'm sure eventually oldest will want a little better one,
but for now it's perfect.
And I considered it a blessing when he came home with it.

Oldest is really into basketball lately_ that's his thang.
Recently we signed him up to play and he'll start in January.
And having him wake up the next morning and tell us he still cannot believe we own a basketball goal_ that and having him thank us a bajillion times_ makes me a happy momma.








Linking up with heather for 


heather.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Tunes

You're probably tired of hearing me talk about the song the "Little Drummer Boy" but it's my favorite!
I think this dates back to my childhood.
I remember my brother having a version {I would love to know which one he had} that he would play on his record player. I would hang out by his door just so I could listen.... you know because he had the big stereo cabinet with the 2 huge speakers that would rock your face off if you sat in front of them.
My how the times have changed. But that's a good thing...

When I first heard MercyMe's version it just "spoke" to me. Because I could put myself in the song. When the song kicks in I feel it. So much emotion and I can only imagine playing my drum for Jesus or living my life in a way that worships Him.... living it out humbly but letting it speak loudly to others.

So in case you wanted to take a listen to some of my fave versions here they are...

1. Mercy Me

And when I looked up the "little drummer boy"  from MercyMe a few weeks back I found this version done by Aaron Gillespie from the band  "The Almost." I googled him because I had never heard of him and then read his testimony and it was pretty awesome-sauce stuff. He grew up in church but they didn't want him to play because he played too loudly......hmmmm. 
Granted his regular music {not Christmas} is kinda hard-ish and isn't on my playlist but I love his passion in this video and in playing this song. 


2. Aaron Gillespie



And just a little extra goodness for you on this Friday.. Coldplay's "Christmas Lights" will be going down as one of my faves too.

3. Coldplay



Happy Friday!
heather.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Come on In {Christmas Decor}

Come on in ya'll and let's take a tour of my home.
I'm linking up today with Gussy Sews for the inspiration_ Christmas Decorations and 
the Inspired Room.



I love, love Christmas and have always grown up around a lot of decorations.
Growing up my family and extended family all lived on the same property and we {they} were known for their outdoor decorations at Christmas. People would come from all over just to ride through our neighborhood....this was before you could set your radio station to play a tune to the dancing of lights too! We had a huge nativity_ my Aunt & Uncle had a humongous lit up star that sat at the very top of their roof pitch_ there were hanging things_ and moving things...good times. But a lot of work. 
Looking back now as an adult I really don't know how they did it each year. I remember my Aunt going through rows & rows of lights testing them and changing 
out bulbs if a line was out... my few strings for my tree can wear me out.
Anywho let's get started....



I've always had a green tree up until 2 years ago when I decided to go with the pink & turquoise decor
and my mom bought me a white tree to go along with it. I like to change things up so I'm not sure how long the whole white tree thang will last but for now it 's light & bright_ and kinda retro feeling.



My kids take turns each year being the one who places the angel at the top of the tree. They always seem to remember whose turn it is.... and I'm glad they do. Hubs used to hold them up while they placed it on top but they're getting a little too big for that now.


This snow globe is one of my fave things...




The feather tree is another thing I really like but is starting to look kinda bad. A lot of the feathers are missing and it has started to lean... I'm not even sure how that happened or why but I can't bare to part with it yet.



The crown is always set out for us to remember that He is the King of Kings. Which is the whole reason we celebrate Christmas. It also reminds me of the wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus.

Over on the right of the fireplace are my daddy's boots. He was a builder and these were his boots he wore everyday to work. They are very dear to my heart....


And my most fave thing is this nativity. Years ago we lived in Pennsylvania and one year while in Costco I spotted this nativity. It was a splurge and I knew it but I also knew how worth it it would be. It has been through many a miles and many of years with my kids. One of Joseph's fingers has been lost and baby Jesus has gone missing a time or too. Especially back when the kids were smaller and had to touch everything. 
Nevertheless it is the reason we have any decorations out in our home. 
It is the reason that we have Hope_ that we celebrate our Savior being born.

 I always imagine myself there that night...being a wise man, or someone who came to see the baby... Jesus. 
I think this is why the little drummer boy is my all time favorite Christmas song. 
I imagine myself there seeing or even being the one to play my drum for Him. 
Can you imagine the emotion... the pure joy... wanting so badly to play your very best for Jesus?
Even now I think about that song and I want to play my best for Him. 
To only worship the One who was born in a stable to take away the sins of the world_ to take away my sins_ all those years ago.



"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests."
Luke 2:14
heather.