Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Post Christmas Contentment

 Not long after the Christmas dinner was consumed, a tiny little hand slipped into mine and guided me over to the foyer.  Once there, the tiny little finger pointed to the floor and I did my best to follow instructions.  Not an easy task right after eating that large meal, I might add.

 There we waited with train cars in hand...

as the daddy and uncle learned the true meaning of "some assembly required."
Thomas the Train and his wooden railway were quite the hit once we were able to start playing.
It seems those tiny little hands are just the right size to carry three train cars at once all around the house.

 In this week between Christmas and New Year's, the foyer has taken on a new look.  One we haven't seen around here for quite a few years.
So, we are enjoying the world of choo choo trains, Hot Wheel cars and Toy Story characters with fond recollections of our own boys playing with similar toys.

Even though he is drawn to "things that go", I was holding him in the kitchen one day when the tiny finger pointed to the vintage baking display and one by one the pieces were taken to the family room floor where he amused himself (and his grandma) by baking Christmas treats and pouring us each a cup of Christmas tea.

Soon life will return to normal and playtime will be over.
Until then I plan to enjoy every moment.
I do hope that you all are enjoying your holidays and just as soon as I'm done playing, I'll be back to visiting your blogs.  
Until then,

Happy, Happy New Year!! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wishing You a Joyful Christmas

 With the prospect of a white Christmas not even a remote possibility, I made the decision to create my own little snow scene on the kitchen counter.  Mini carnations will stand in for snowballs as that seems to be more in line with our predicted 75 degree weather.

As we move nearer to Christmas day, I want to take a moment to remember you, my blog friends.

 May your holiday celebration bring you JOY.

It brings me JOY to share life's journey with you.
Thank you for your visits.
From my happy home, I wish you a
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Small Things

Sometimes that old junk I collect comes in handy for creating little Christmas vignettes around the house.    Several years ago I purchased this handmade card here. Once I received it, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it, so I started sifting through the contents of my vintage bin.  I was pleased to discover this little snowman and tiny candy canes.   They seemed meant to be together.

 I debated throwing the snowman on the right into the trash because, in truth, he is missing a chunk of his chubby little tummy.  Something about his hat and cheery scarf keep me from resorting to such drastic measures.  I think his bright red nose and cute little smile endear me as well.  I think I'll find a tiny sprig of holly to fill up the hole.  He can have new life as a vase.  A true trash to treasure story :).

 Through the years I have found it hard to pass up some of these old relics from the past.
  Our local Value Village has an entire wall of bagged up treasures.  Sometimes they look like the contents of somebody's junk drawer, but once in a while there is an old vintage item to be found.  That was the case recently with this wee collection of angels complete with candles and Christmas tree.
They turned out to be a bonus since what I really wanted out of the bag was...
 This wee little Santa mug.  
He just seemed lonely in there all by himself.
I'm quite sure he is now smiling under all of that facial hair.
Glad to be reunited with members of his family tree, no doubt. 

Last month I was feeling quite ahead of the game by getting my napkins folded while the boys were engrossed in the football game.
Since then I've been on the hunt for something to tuck inside.
Hoping for something besides candy canes, I was happy to find these little Santas... Godiva Santas.  Mmmmm.
He looks a bit like he is tucked into bed.  Perhaps resting up for the big night ;D. 

Hang in there Santa.  It won't be long now.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Cookie Baking Fun

 While banging candy canes with a meat mallet this afternoon, it occurred to me that   ♪thumpety thump thump, thumpety thump thump... look at Frosty go.  Thumpety thump thump, thumpety thump thump... over the hills of snow♫ is an ideal tune to go along with this job.  With Anne Murray crooning from the CD player, I found myself singing and thumping the mallet to the beat.  Who knew crushing candy canes could be so much fun.

 Once pulverized they were added to the cookie baking line-up.

 Measure, mix, roll.
Sing, dance and stroll...

 right over to the oven just in time to pull out a nice warm tray of Christmas cookies.

At this time of year when there seems to be no end to the to do list,
I'm thankful for Christmas music and all of it's variations.
Today was a day for peppy, upbeat selections.
Sure does help the energy levels remain high and the mood remain cheery. :D.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Monthly Motivation - A Great Gift

 Back here I shared with you my motivation for getting serious about regular exercise.
I'm pleased to report that since that time I have been successful at making exercise a top priority.  I strive for 4 workouts per week. 
The other day while following along with the DVD, the instructor made a simple statement that really hit home with me.
She said "it's a great gift to move your body."  See what I mean, simple.  Although as I thought about it I really appreciated her words in a way I might not have several years ago.
Recently while visiting my father-in-law we were shocked by the physical change in him.  It had been awhile since we last saw him and at that time he was noticing some mysterious changes to his health.  Now watching him shuffle very slowly with his walker I could only think how frustrating this must be for a man who once ran a company and traveled the world.  I'm sure the greatest gift he could receive would be the gift of moving his body the way he once did.  
I also think of my sister.  In the blink of an eye a stroke took away the ability to move one side of her body.  I know, without a doubt, she would consider it a very great gift to be able to move her body once again.

Even though I have now made exercise a priority, I sometimes find I need a boost to my motivation level.
That simple thought... it's a great gift to move your body... is all it takes to put things into perspective for me.  It's kind of become my mantra. 

As we enter into the gift giving season I thought I'd share this thought with you.  Perhaps in this busy season it will provide just the motivation you might be looking for.
A great gift to give yourself.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Bringing Joy to my Little World

 One night last week I curled up in bed with Peanut and enjoyed a little escape from reality in the form of a Hallmark channel Christmas movie.  Even better because I had recorded it and could zoom through the commercials.  I think if I couldn't watch tv this way I would have given up on it entirely by now.  Mostly because I detest being inundated with commercials advertising drugs and all of their numerous, disturbing side effects.  It kind of spoils the entertainment factor to keep hearing these gross details.  Ugh! 
Prior to the Hallmark movie, I had been tuning in to the world news reports each evening to fill the quiet hours while Brett was away on business.  I find it a fine line between being informed and being overwhelmed when it comes to the news.  Lately it has seemed particularly overwhelming.  Which is why I've decided to lay off the news for the rest of the year.  It seems to come at us constantly now and, while it's good to be informed, there isn't much that I can do to change it.  So, instead, I'm focusing on bringing joy to my little world.  My own little way of spreading cheer to all who visit here during this holiday season.
Today was a day for morphing the turkey carcass into turkey broth.
How nice it will be to have in the freezer for future soup making on some of the cold, busy days leading up to Christmas.
As it simmered away all afternoon,  I worked on decking the halls.

As I unwrapped my collection of vintage decor, I couldn't help but think how many of these pieces have been around for a lot of years.  Each one of those years came filled with good times and bad times, peaceful times and times of unrest.  But, through it all, we are given the opportunity to choose to be joyful and spread cheer.

We may not be able to bring peace to the world, but creating a joy-filled peaceful home might be a good place to start.

 ~ Let There Be Peace on Earth 
and Let it Begin with Me ~ 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

China Talk

 Right about now I imagine there are many of us playing around with china.  Most likely getting it ready to grace the Thanksgiving table.

Perhaps it only comes out for the holidays or maybe it is a part of the weekly Sunday dinner ritual.

In many cases it may have been passed down through the generations serving up a heaping helping of treasured memories along with the turkey and mashed potatoes.

My own china playing hasn't been to prepare for Thanksgiving as I am not hosting the holiday this year.  
Instead it is the result of helping my in-laws downsize in preparation for their upcoming move into assisted living. 
My mother-in-law offered it to me and although I have the china I received as a wedding gift, it was hard to turn down such a beautiful set of dishes.  Not to mention it looks like it was made to match my dining room.  So, I've been re-arranging every cupboard in my kitchen to make room for them.  
As I was unpacking each piece I felt thankful for receiving this generous gift, but also a bit sad.  Remembering back to the day my mother-in-law purchased this set of china to coordinate with the home they had just built.  Although that was probably over 20 years ago now she maybe used the china once or twice.  You see she is the type of person who was afraid that it would get broken if it were used so for all of this time it has been tucked into the china cabinet, each piece individually wrapped in the plastic bags they originally came in.  I realize we are all different and it's really none of my business what anybody else does with their china, but to me by now if the china could talk it should have lots of stories to tell.  Happy memory making, heartwarming, family times together, celebratory, holiday merrymaking stories.  Oh the potential for that set of china.  How sad that it was saved for a special occasion... that never came.  
Time passes too quickly to wait for just the right moment.
So my (unsolicited) advice to you as we prepare to celebrate our Thanksgiving holiday in America.  Don't save the "good" stuff for that special day.  Use it now and enjoy the here and the now.  Make memories with those you care about and treasure the moments.
If your china could talk what story do you think it would have to tell?

~ Warm Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving ~



Thursday, November 12, 2015

What a Difference a Day Makes

 It's only a matter of time until the trees will be completely bare.  All of that brilliant foliage giving way to the duller browns and grays that spell November to me.
All the more reason to enjoy every last drop of these pretty leaves while we're still able.  Therefore, after several days of rain and drear I woke up to this scene out my front window and hopped onto the porch in my pj's to capture the moment.  Just in case the sun decided to pull a disappearing act.

Thankfully that was not the case and we enjoyed a bright and beautiful fall day.
Walking into the kitchen I was nearly giddy to see the sun sparkling away on the hand soap.  I was reminded how true that saying about what a difference a day makes really is.
The previous day the dreariness and non-stop rain was taking a toll.
Normally the weather conditions don't affect my mood too much.  Not so on this particular day.  By the end of my work day I dragged myself to the couch to lie down and see if the weatherman was going to bring the sun back to us anytime soon.  The next thing I knew the news was ending and I'd missed the entire weather forecast.  Slept right through it.  As someone who is unable to nap during the day, I attributed it to the weather and proceeded to eat a bowl of cereal for dinner.  That was followed by letting Peanut out, washing up and getting ready for a super early bedtime with hopes of sunnier skies in the morning.

Amazing how much more energetic I felt in the morning just from seeing the sun shining through my window.
By 9:00 that morning I felt like I'd accomplished more than I had the entire previous day.  Thank goodness for that :D.  I'm not sure I could handle cereal for dinner two nights in a row.

Anyhow,  my little burst of energy included playing around with a few Thanksgiving decorations.  Since we won't be hosting the holiday I wasn't sure I would even bother with decorating.  By way of compromise it was decided that the Gurley candle contingent would join me in the kitchen.  Their old-fashioned qualities take me right back to the Thanksgivings of my childhood.  Good memories there surrounded by the love of family and the smells of turkey roasting in the oven.  Back then the decorating was a simple affair, but it usually seemed to include a Gurley candle or two.

I guess that's why I have such a fondness for these sweet little candles.
The ones above were included in a recent bag from the thrift shop.
They are quite a motley crew, aren't they?
I was excited to find him as I have been on the lookout for a taller pilgrim couple.  He's leaning a bit and didn't come with a mate.  Perhaps she left him because of his condition... whatever it might be.
The two tiny pilgrim ladies are in desperate need of a bath and one seems to be losing her eyesight eyes.I  did  try to clean her up a bit with no luck so I'm leaving her be.
They collectively remind me a bit of how much has changed since the days they first decorated our Thanksgiving gatherings.  We've all changed through the years.  That's just the way life goes, but while we're still here we will remember to enjoy one another and be thankful for being together to celebrate.  

 Now that the sun has been shining for two days straight, I was happy to be able to venture into the soggy garden to discover the camellias coming into bloom.  This particular blossom wowed me with it's beauty and prompted me to clip it for indoor enjoyment.  Just in case the rain re-appears anytime soon, I'll be ready.

And so will my little photo bomber.



Sunday, October 18, 2015

An October Moment

Today was a day for being inside and outside.
Mostly outside trying to put the summer garden to bed and planting new things for fall color.  Around here that translates to plenty of pansies, mums and some cool weather crops in my petite veggie garden.  
When choosing pansies I look for ones that complement the fall landscape and will also look fitting once spring rolls around.  I'm thinking this "Matrix Morpheus" variety will look just as nice with Tulips and Easter eggs as it does with the brilliant fall colors currently coming into view.

Speaking of fall colors...
While zipping past the dining room window this afternoon, I caught a glimpse of color out of the corner of me eye.  It made me stop and take notice.  
October seems to offer a lot of moments like that and I look forward to enjoying every one of them.  How about you? 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pumpkins, Pirates, Pigskin, Pools, Painting and just plain Pooped

 In trying to sum up last week, it seemed one of the blog titles featuring a series of words might be the best way to go.  It was definitely a jam packed week.  
Disney World at this time of year offered all of the usual magic along with a happy assortment of Halloween decorations.
Pirates in parades.

 As well as trucks filled with candy corn.

 When not at the park, there was plenty of pool time.
Usually this was cause for happy smiles.

But, not always.
Sometimes pouting was the way to go.
Two year old boys don't always like the word "no".  Ha! 
 Yikes, if looks could kill.  :/

Some days were spent at the beach where it was a bit too cool for swimming.  Tossing the football and running along the water's edge were the way to go that day.

 Jaxson showed us his painting skills.

 He wasn't quite sure about the painted fingers and palms and elbows and tummy, however.

 On our last day together, the "big" boys needed to make an urgent trip to Walmart and wondered if I would mind staying behind with Jaxson so that he could nap.  Mind??  Not a bit.  I climbed in bed to lay with him until he fell asleep.  He started to protest and slowly "scooch" to the foot of the bed.  Just before he made it to the end, he was out like a light and didn't move for the next 2 hours.  
After sneaking a quick photo, I hopped back in and joined him quite enjoying the opportunity to slow the pace.

 Once nap time was over it was time to see what the boys were up to.
Serious snacking and. . .

 Even more serious football.
Yep, seriously!!
One tv on top of the other.  Apparently that's what has to happen when the Michigan game and the Tennessee game are on at the same time.

All too soon it was time for us to head home.
Jaxson was intent on showing us his driving skills too.
After explaining to him that we'd have to wait a few years to see that one, the boy who did so well all week, began to have a meltdown.  A major meltdown.  
Sounds like it might be nap time again.
Count me in.