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Merry Whimsical Christmas 2012

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Christmas came early for us this year.  Our son and daughter-in-law came in from Wisconsin so we had our family Christmases a week early this year.  This was our first year with baby Eliza and what a joy it was to watch her experience ribbons and wrapping paper and shiny lights.  This year was our turn to host the extended family Christmas dinner too, so Eliza was totally overwhelmed with all the new faces and voices.  There were 15 of us at our table this year and two more joined us via Face Time during our meal.  Overall, our new grand daughter did very well considering these types of crowds could make almost anyone anxious.
In honor of our new grand baby, I wanted to add some whimsy to our Christmas table this year.  A trip to Pier 1 did the trick for inspiration and fun pieces to add to my collections.
Click on any picture to enlarge it for detail.


These cool looking ball ornaments were the perfect color I was after as well as the little deer votive holders....both from Pier 1


La…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 29

This evening, even though Dave is still up, it is quiet in the house.  Dave is re-loading software onto his computer after his hard drive was replaced. I have finally stopped working while simultaneously watching TV and checking Facebook, and now I am sitting quietly on the couch with the fireplace burning and the smell of candle fragrance wafting in the air. 
This day was nothing special. As a matter of fact, I wasted too much time today and didn't get accomplished what I wanted to.  But tonight, sitting here peacefully in the quiet, I am thankful.
These 30 Days of Thanks are almost up, and although I don't think hardly anyone has read these posts, it has been good for me to get quiet each night and reflect on what I am thankful for.  God has blessed me in so many ways.  The obvious, of course is easy, I have a house and can afford food for my table. I have a husband of almost 30 years whom I love more now than the day I married him.  I have two adult children who married God…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 28

Today was a good day. It started off early this morning while chatting with a friend online. She told me of a client that raved about a candy and cookie buffet that I put together at their wedding and how they wanted to write me a note of appreciation. Later this morning I was at my clients house for a de-clutter appointment and she was in better health and better spirits than she had been in a while. We made good progress together and left with a prayer and tears in our eyes.  This evening I received a Partylite order (which is like Christmas to me!) and got that sorted for the guests. I didn't have to cook for supper as we had yummy left-overs from last nights Turkey soup. Then later this evening someone said they wanted to book a show from me!   THEN, I discovered a new musical group called Il Volo, a group of teenage tenors from Italy with heavenly voices.   This whole evening I was listening to Christmas music and bringing up Christmas decor and finalizing our Christmas shopp…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 27

Today I started taking down the autumn decor and began cleaning and preparing to put up the Christmas decor.  Not that long ago, this phase of my seasonal decorating used to drive Dave nuts! Today he took it all in stride, knowing that the Christmas "stuff" would soon be brought up and temporarily the house will be in shambles with boxes everywhere. But in the end our house looks festive and we can relax and enjoy it for a few weeks until it's time to take it all down again.  We are both looking forward to our son and his family coming when we can both get our hands on our grand-daughter.......ohhhhh, she's so cute!

In the meantime, I am already thinking about what tablescape I want to create for the Christmas holidays, so I just may have to try a few out on you and let you pick which one makes it for our family get-together table.  Stay tuned for pictures and I hope you comment to tell me which one's you like.  I'm open for suggestions!!

This evening I made …

30 Days of Thanks Nov 26

Every year since I've been married, I have shopped for everyone in our families  except for myself, pretty much by myself.  In the past 5 or so years Dave has taken over shopping for his parents and of course me. This year, without even asking him, he is taking the initiative to start shopping for our kids and their spouses. I am amazed and thankful that 1. he's shopping before it's even December, and 2. He's actively involved in making the choices for gifts.  I think I'll keep him around....

I am thankful for my husband.

30 Days of Thanks Nov 25

Post thanksgiving... I am seriously thankful that the scales only moved a few notches.

30 Days of Thanks Nov 24

Today is the day that 14 of us gathered around my brother's table to share a meal that made us all hurt, but still want more.  I love Thanksgiving.Yes, I love all the foods that I can indulge in and not feel guilty because it's only once a year, but most of all I love the family and friends that gather together with much talk, jesting and laughter. The babies are underfoot, folks are in each other's way and EVERYONE hovers in the kitchen until finally the food is pronounced "ready" and we all sit down to eat.Then afterwards when none of us can move, we all just sit together and savor each other's presence.

I am thankful to be blessed to have bountiful food, a warm house to live in and family and friends close by. Warm fuzzy feelings....priceless.

Thanksgiving Tablescape 2012

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I know it has been quite a while since I shared a tablescape. Some of you have gently hinted it was time for another one.  Since I quit work in April my life has been nothing less than random as I have tried to figure out how to get things done and start a new business. I've had not much success in either department. And believe it or not, I (who always has a table on) went months without a tablescape on my table. It wasn't that I didn't get pictures, I had instead papers and a computer on the dining table...something I NEVER do!
So, after a certain well placed comment from a certain southern friend whom I miss terribly, and another southern friend who I've never ever met face to face and a few other sweetly dropped hints from other out of state friends (you know who you are ladies) I realized I actually have folks who wait to see what I come up with next.  So thank you ladies for the kick in the pants.  I promise to begin tablescaping once again. I'll trust you&#…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 23

My Daddy and sister came up today to spend the night before our big Thanksgiving feast tomorrow with the extended family. We will have my oldest brother and half of his family, our daughter and new son-in-law, my Dad and sister and a good friend of my nephew. My brother and I take turns hosting the holidays. This year the dinner will be held at my brothers house and I'll host Christmas. Next year we'll switch.

For the past year my dad has been talking about possibly moving up near us, he lives 3 hours south of here! So today I drove him and my sister around a few areas not too far from where we live, a little out in the country, but close enough to all the good shopping. I am cautiously hoping that he is serious as my brother and I would both be thrilled to have them nearer. Momma has been gone for over eight years now, so it seems even tougher with Daddy so far away.

I am so thankful to still have my daddy around. Now I'm praying that he moves even closer so that we can s…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 22

Today was Thanksgiving, and just as I predicted, it was quiet. Both our children and their families were were celebrating in their own way. Our oldest was giving thanks with her new in-laws, while our youngest was making an intimate dinner that could feed a small army at home with his wife and daughter. We were blessed to be able to cook with our son, as we "face-timed" with them during our separate dinner preparations.  We were delighted to hear our grand-daughter "sing" to us as she followed her momma's lead.

Dave and I spent a little while outside transplanting a few small trees and bushes this afternoon. The weather is abnormally nice for this time of year, and it was good to be outside on such a gorgeous day. Tomorrow all bets are off as a cold front moves through. Later we signed off of Face-time with our son and his family just as our dinner was coming to completion. Even though we will celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend with our extended family, our h…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 21

It is the night before Thanksgiving and there are no smells of baking, our first empty nest holiday with not even a pie in the making.
Our children are in their own homes all nestled in their beds, with visions of their own traditions swirling round in their heads.
Their papa and I are exploring new ground, we're not used to our children not being around.
Tomorrow will bring football and a turkey still the same, but not much else exciting will happen besides the game.
I expect we'll jump at the ring of our cells, expectations of their voices make our hearts swell.
It's bittersweet this time, this year...but we anticipate not too long and we'll all once again be near.
Until then we'll make it through all right, Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night.


30 Days of Thanks Nov 20

I am so looking forward to this weekend when my dad and sister come up for Thanksgiving and we, along with my oldest brother and his family that is here, will all gather around a table to share food and fellowship once again.  This year due to schedules will have our traditional family gathering on Saturday rather than Thursday. My dad and sister will travel up from southern Ohio, our daughter and new son-in-law will join us as will my brothers youngest daughter and children will be there.  On my side of the family we are missing my other brother from Texas and his family and our son and his wife and our new grand baby as well as my  oldest brother's two oldest children and the ones they love. It is always bitter-sweet this time of year when the local family gathers and we all remember those who can't be with us. My mother, who has been gone for over eight years, and our son and his family are already on my mind as we approach yet another year without them joining us at the t…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 19

Thanksgiving is this week!  This year has gone by so fast and so many things have happened  that has changed my normal, comfortable routine. I honestly thought that when I quit my corporate job that seemed to hinder me from accomplishing the many things I wanted to do, that I would have so much free time on my hands. I didn't realize that the very mundane routine of my daily corporate job was actually what allowed me to accomplish what I did in the short hours I actually had at home.  Now that I don't have a true routine, I find myself working all kinds of hours and I seem to be incapable of accomplishing the projects and normal social tasks, like sending cards on birthdays, thank you cards and sympathy cards, with any type of expediency. 

There have been so many times where I have failed to show someone that I am thinking of them on the day of their occasion. Then so much time passes that it feels silly to send something so late, so, I don't send anything at all. Now, here…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 18

I guess my 30 days will trickle into December. The last two nights I've been so tired that I have fallen asleep on the couch before I've loaded up my computer. I'm hoping I'm past the exhausted phase of my cold and will now be able to not be so tired at the end of a day.  Of course I suppose I could also write my thanks at an earlier time in the day as well. But I generally wait until I get quiet and reflect back on my day before I write.

Today I demo'd Partylite for my daughter and her guest.  Her apartment smelled wonderful once I lit all the candles, then she streamed in a fireplace from Netflix on their big TV and played instrumental Christmas music from the CD Comfort and Joy. The demonstration didn't last that long, but the guest lingered. I would have to contribute that to the inviting and cozy atmosphere she created.

I am so proud of my daughter and am thankful she is learning to create a beautiful environment for her guests where they can come and be r…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 15

I have a friend (Hi Babs!) who is just as weird as I am when it comes to organization. She and I have had "meetings" for years now where we share our organizational spreadsheets with each other and hold each other accountable to getting our tasks done. Babs and I don't live in the same state, so we actually schedule our time to call each other on our spreadsheets too. One more task we can check off our list, check!

Through the years we have changed and tweaked our spreadsheets to make them work for us, and for many of those years, these spreadsheets have made us both well oiled, task completing machines.  That is until life changed for both of us.  Bab's took a new position with the company and I left the company. Life changed for us and , well, neither one of us acclimated very well to those changes. We found ourselves no longer getting much accomplished, which for org freaks like us, is very disconcerting.

BUT... not too long ago we both re-committed to meeting onc…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 14

Call me nuts, but once I get past the fact that warm weather is finished for the year, I embrace the colder weather, and yes I even look forward to snow. Another more practical side to the colder weather is the use of the outdoor refrigeration.  I made a big pot of soup tonight and, after having just gone to the grocery store yesterday, we had very little room to store the left overs. So, the remainder of the soup went outside on the back patio. The temperatures are dipping below freezing at night and only in the 40's during the day, so for most of the food that I fix, those temps will do just fine for the overflow. But I daresay, that the patio soup won't even make it long enough to see the upper 40's that we are expecting tomorrow, instead it will be Dave's lunch.

I am thankful for the natural outdoor refrigeration this time of the year.  : )

30 Days of Thanks Nov 13

For years now I have been trying to improve our way of eating. Throughout the years we have steadily improved our diet. First it was because I was learning about vegetarianism to help Jenn have a healthy and nutritional diet, then it was because as we grew older, the weight grew along with us. Then my cholesterol was borderline high due to genetics,but I figured surely I can do better.. and I have.

But when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 my research led me down a more committed path to eating the way God intended us to eat. I could get on a soapbox at this point, but I won't. However we have taken that next step in becoming even more conscience of what we put in our bodies. This week, due to my lack of neglect of taking care of me, I came down with a cold. However, I am already feeling better and I have to contribute the speedy recovery to increasingly eating better each year.

I keep wondering..how did God design our bodies to interact with food? What was His intended …

30 Days of Thanks Nov 12

Yesterday came and went and I did not sit down to journal my daily thanks. I was busy until late in the evening and by the time I got home I was exhausted and not feeling 100%.  This week my body was giving me fair warning to slow down or else. This morning when I woke up I realized my body wasn't bluffing.  If I had just heeded my body's warning and did what I knew I should have done, such as rest more, drink plenty of water, and eat right, I wouldn't be experiencing these consequences now. But, it was my choice to not heed my body's warning.  My bad. 

There are consequences to everything we do in life, both good and bad. If we spend more than we earn, we will end up in debt. Whereas if we save and invest our money, we will be prepared for emergencies and retirement and be able to afford to live comfortably. Our grandparents knew, our parents knew and even my generation was raised knowing there were consequences to our actions.  I taught our children as well. I remembe…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 10

Today was a beautiful day in NE Ohio so Dave and I took advantage of the good weather and went to Kendall Lake to hike the trails. The air was slightly cool but the hike up the hills kept us warm. During our three hour hike, we stopped occasionally to look at a squirrel or chipmunk and a pileated woodpecker teased us with his calls, taunting us to find him in the thick forest. We never did. We saw several Canada geese on the lake and a hawk screeched high up in the air as he circled overhead looking for prey.  We found a few fallen walnuts from some large walnut trees and several acorns. Dave said they fell from acorn trees.  I pointed out that they fell from oak trees, but he insisted that if walnuts fell from walnut trees, then acorns fell from acorn trees. We both smirked at the joke.

We drove home in silence as the sun was beginning to set in the west. Dave wanted to stop at a different place to hike some more, but we had spent the day outdoors and another stop would have us walki…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 9

Dave travels frequently and whenever he comes back he always says, " It's good to be back home."  Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word home as a familiar or usual setting.  I have been very busy this week and just tonight helped assist at a large wedding. When I came home tonight, I felt that same contentment at being home.

 We have moved several times in the almost 30 years we've been married, so I believe home is not just the physical building we reside in, but the familiar setting we count on. Dave and I count on each other being there when we return.  We can be free and easy with each other just being "ourselves" in each other's presence, communicating without even speaking. You've heard the saying "Home is where your heart is." Well, my home is wherever Dave is.

I am thankful for my home.


30 Days of Thanks Nov 8

This week has been a hectic and busy week and will continue into next week before I get the chance to regroup at home. But today.... ahhh, I had today. I was able to wake without an alarm, stay in my jammies for awhile and make a vegetable soup using just about every fresh veggie we had in the house. I took time to leaf through a magazine and have conversations with two of my good friends.

I am thankful for a day of rest for my physical body as well as my mind.

30 Days of Thanks Nov 7

I started my day out helping someone de-clutter their home. Before I left we chopped vegetables together and I showed her how quick and easy it was to make soup with those veggies, some basil pesto and water.

This afternoon I baked for the fundraiser I've been working on.

Tonight was the fundraiser. It was a lot of hard work, but so satisfying to be able to help raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association to help find a cure to this awful disease. My nephew has this nasty disease and he is praying they find a cure.  We're all praying for a cure.

About this time 3years ago I was not in a place to physically help anyone as I was still weak after going through chemotherapy.  I was the one who experienced others helping me, and the outpouring of love from family and friends.

Today I am thankful for the physical strength and energy that I have now, so that I can pay if forward to others.

30 Days of Thanks Nov 6

I have been working on a fundraiser for my brother for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  In this process, many folks have offered to donate their time, gift, talents and baked goods so that we can raise money for this wonderful cause.  I have been blessed to witness so much goodness come from people during this process.

I am thankful for people who have BIG hearts!

30 Days of Thanks Nov 5

I am hosting a Dining to Donate at the Brunswick, OH Applesbee's this week to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. My nephew was diagnosed at the age of 2, and today at the age of 16 has just enough strength left in his hands to swipe his iPod. I have been trying to find a musician or DJ to donate their services so that we could have live music that night and so that we could take advantage of the microphone to make announcements to Applebee's patrons as well as our supporters. However all the avenues I and my brother tried panned out to be fruitless.  Today, as I was delivering the baskets that will be raffled off, one of the employees told me that a DJ right down the sidewalk from them would be doing Karioke that same evening. So my friend Heather and I walked into his store, baskets in arm, and asked if he would be willing to make a few announcements Wednesday evening so that we could make our fundraiser a success. His immediate response was , why yes, of cou…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 4

The first Sunday of each month Harvest church serves communion. During the time that the sacraments are being shared to the congregation, reflection and prayer is encouraged. This morning I had an understanding of the  phrase, "If you aren't for Me, you are against Me."  It hit me. We were God's enemy, yet He loved us so much, He sent his son to die as the sacrifice for our sins so that we might be saved from eternal death.

I'm not sure I have any earthly enemies, but there have been a few people in my life that I didn't care for, and honestly I can say I'm glad they aren't in my life anymore. I'm okay with not having them around, not even wondering what happened to them.  But God couldn't do that to His enemies (i.e. us). He couldn't stop thinking about us. He couldn't stop loving and caring for us. He wanted us to spend eternity with Him!! So He sent His only son to be the ultimate sacrifice, to shed His blood  to cover our sins so t…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 3

We just spent the evening at our daughter and son-in-law's apartment. They had a housewarming get together with their friends where they served root beer floats and had tons of games to play. Our kids have a really good core group of friends who accept Dave and I as Mama and Papa. We are never made to feel like we are interfering parents and often have stimulating conversations with them, or challenging chess games as was the case tonight. I am even Nana to the little ones that are begining appear in the group now as well.

I am thankful that our kids have God-loving, parent accepting, loyal friends.

Be a Friend

I was a tomboy growing up. I was always trying to fit in with my brothers. I didn’t want to be stuck in the house playing dolls with my sister or sit and read like she liked to do. I wanted to be outside riding my bike, catching toads, playing with the animals or wading in the creek in the woods. I wanted to be one of the boys, but I wasn’t. When my brothers banded together, they did everything they could to lose me. They would run faster, hop on their bikes and ride off, or join together in taunting me. “Skunk”, “Stick legs” “Ugly”. These words stung to the core even though I tried to act like they didn’t bother me. They stung more from the rejection rather than the insult intended. I wanted to be a part of the pack. I wanted to fit in. But I wasn’t one of them. I was a girl. Today, as a grown woman, I still struggle with feeling like I don’t fit in. My friends would never call me names like my brothers used to, but they are still banding together, running faster than me or jumping on…

30 Days of Thanks Nov 2

I am thankful that I have many friends who stand by me and support me. Your support means so much to me in so many ways. I cannot begin to express my thanks. I love all my friends both close and far away.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecc 4:9-10

30 Days of Thanks Nov 1

November 1st! I am always amazed at how fast a year can seem to pass by. Today the sun shone. It may not seem like a big deal, but we haven't seen the sun shine for over a week. I am so very thankful the sun shone today.

This One's for You Donna!

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I have a friend who says she loves my tables, but could never do what I do. She told me when she entertains, she uses paper plates and plastic tablecloths.  I let her know that even if you use disposable dinnerware, you can still make your table look special!  She presented me with a challenge;  that if Ishowed her how, she would create one. So Donna, this tablescape is for you!! I want to see your pictures once yours is done!!


Red paper placemat, ivory paper plates, black and white luncheon plates, deocorative napkins, black hot and cold cups, and black plastic cutlery all make for a pretty and inexpensive place setting.



A black paper bowl is filled with red gift filler paper.



I did "break the rules" with the black silk flowers that are "planted" into the red filler.



But I figured, everyone owns silk flowers...right??


These pretty little glitter boxes can be used over and over again, however they are considered paper!


I filled those with gift filler too, but pa…

Tea?

A co-worker and I had made a date to have lunch at a Tea House this past week. In the morning, I asked her, via e-mail if we were still on. The conversation that transpired was one that left me laughing. I thought I would share. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Me: Tea today?

Victoria: Ah, but of course!

Me: I wore my finest attire for the occasion! My blue jeans and a snoopy t-shirt!

Victoria: See great minds! I too am wearing blue jeans and my party turtleneck!

Me: Dear, you have outdone me. I surrender to your fashion. I would believe you to also be wearing some sort of fashionable footwear with no less than a 3 inch riser. Alas, I am wearing only a lowly sneaker.

Victoria: Ah, the footwear is not fashionable…but as a wee person, it is a necessity to “lift” when venturing out in public. Strangers have a tendency to attempt to put me in their pocket like I am a small toy or pet!

Me: Such silly notions are, no doubt, squelched by your high rise footwear. I am waiting with bat…

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month

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I am re-posting a blog that I posted last year about this time. April is National Card and Letter Writing month and there is much to be said in favor of writing a letter or sending a card to someone you are thinking about. There is a special feeling for both the writer and the recipient when this type of correspondence is shared. Disappointingly, writing with pen and paper has become a lost art. Several years ago, I found an old letter that my maternal grandmother had written to my grandfather during World War II (enlarge the picture and peek at that date!) So I staged this little vignette and took this black and white photo to capture how it used to be.

Let me take a poll; would you rather recieve a letter that starts out like the one below?
"Good morning my darling. How are you?"   Or one much like folks today text to each other? 
  .... "sup?" 


That's what I thought.


I challenge each of us to send a card with a note inside, or write a letter to someone we are t…

A Little Bit of Sunshine

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Winter wasn't as cold as other years have been in Cleveland and I dare say most of the lower 48 was warmer than normal this year. However, we still had our share of gloomy days.Jenn's birthday was on January 27th, and I asked her what type of table she would like me to set. Her first attempt at a suggestion was for me to keep the Christmas table on, as she never tires if Christmas decor. After that was shot down by everyone's moans in the house, she finally gave up on trying to push a Christmas theme. Instead, she said she needed something to get her out of the depression of Christmas being taken down and research says that sunset orange is proven to fight depression. So with that she made the decision for sunset orange and yellow, something bright and cheery. Once that decision was made, I was off and running, gathering ideas from what I already had on hand. I immediately thought of citrus with the colors Jenn selected, so off to the store I went to get some Cuties and L…