Friday, December 27, 2013

Black and White Christmas.

In the days that followed....
The kids were busy playing. Mom cleaned and decluttered....there is still much to do.
Dad is hopefully {fingers crossed!} going to get to a project we've been wanting done.
If's okay. Dad needs a little down time too. He's been working a lot lately.

*I forgot today was Friday until just a little while feels like Tuesday!
So...I don't have a fashion week. ;)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas.

Christmas Eve started with brunch at our house...
{Cranberry French Toast with homemade Maple Syrup. Bacon on the side}

This evening we will be going to my parent's house for dinner and gifts..tomorrow Jeff's sister's home.
I love Christmas. I love all that goes along with this joyous celebration!
So much to be thankful for. Such a wonderful gift...a baby in a manger, born to save our souls.

Hope you and your family have a Very, Very Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Snowflake Wrestling Match

Church was cancelled yesterday because of ice and snow.
After 6-7 inches fell the sun came out... and so did we.

This guy ^^^ has been working so much this month Early mornings, late, late nights...

It was great to have him around Sunday..he made us a Dutch Baby for breakfast.
If you've never tried a Dutch're missing out.
If you've never tried one Jeff're REALLY missing out.
Seriously, his are the BEST! The Best.

Father/Son wrestling match....^^^
The boy is getting older...the father needed to let the son know who is in charge.
Young boy may be tough...but not as tough as the pack leader.
Let it be known..the father still prevails!

Today is crazy busy. So exciting though because....
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve!!! Have a great today.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fashion Tip Friday {The Saturday Edition}

Outside ice is covering everything....even the tiniest of branches. It's beautiful.
Another storm is on it's way...5-10 inches of snow is expected...(we're hoping for the 10 :)

Jeff took our second oldest to work with him today...they're finishing up a project hopefully today.
Three kids are outside playing hockey. Two of us are inside cleaning and laundering the clothes.
My sister is dropping off my cute little nephews in just a little while.

For the most part this weekend we will be tucked in...
....baking cookies, wrapping presents and watching Christmas movies.

As for a Fashion Tip...just a few reminders.

1. Does everyone have tights? Go check now.
2. Give baths the night before Christmas Eve.
3. Get party clothes ready today....put outfits together so you're not scrambling Tuesday.
4. Paint your nails Sunday or Monday they're pretty for the following two days.
5. If you don't have red lipstick...go purchase some today! If you're not a fan of bright red...pick a new color that makes you feel pretty and wear it Christmas Eve. :)

Have a wonderful last weekend.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

5 Ways Not To Spoil Your Joy This Christmas.

I love Christmas time. I love everything that goes along with it! They busyness, the food, family, even the shopping. I love going into the stores and seeing all the decorations and the crowds.

I wish Christmas were in the middle of January.
That way we could have a few extra weeks to enjoy all the festivities!

We as women tend to raise our expectation bar pretty high this time of year...
Causing us much self-inflicted stress.

Especially after flipping through a new magazine or a viewing session on Pinterest.

Who wants to go through this Blessed season feeling like they don't have it all together?
Not me! and I'm sure you don't either. So here we go...5 ways to not let your joy be spoiled.

1. Calm Down
Jane wrapped beautifully...even used real 14k gold in the ribbon!
Clara baked cookies with organic sugar from a cane she scraped and grated in her own kitchen!
Susan is on the train right now headed into the city to carol and play the french horn to the homeless.
...and Lola, she is raising reindeer to prance on her roof this Christmas Eve.
{Shhh!...don't tell the children}

Let's go through this list, shall we?
It's sort of like the Proverbs 31 woman...she didn't do every single thing at the exact same time!
Jane ONLY wrapped presents. Clara ONLY baked cookies. and Lola...whatever!

So often we read blogs. scour the internet and find all these fantastic ideas...
but don't realize they are individual.

Instead we see them as a whole..all these great ideas lumped into one overwhelming Christmas season.
Then we feel inadequate. We think everyone else is doing ALL of these things, when they're really not. Calm down and do one thing...or one thing at a time.

2. Stay Focused

Make a list of the things that are most important to you and your family.
If you're a parent, ask your children what their favorite traditions are.
Only focus on those..anything else that comes it for next year.
Eliminate something you're doing that isn't as important and replace it with the new idea.
Stick to the list!

3. What Are You Doing?
I didn't ask "What aren't You Doing?"
Don't beat yourself up over all that you're not doing and be happy about all that you are!
Your children aren't the social networkers or the magazine are.
They don't care about what they are missing as much as you think they do.
Honestly..they probably don't even know.

Children are happy just spending time with a happy and content you!

{cookies ^^made by my friend about feeling like an inadequate sugar cookie baker!}

4. Little Things - Big Deal
Make the little things into a big deal.
In our house...we wrap presents...I bet you do too.
My kids think it's an event. Why? Because I present it as such.

I write "Wrap Presents" all pretty on a 3x5 notecard...they pull it from our advent calendar.
Don't have an advent calendar?...lay the card on the table..
Tell them to flip the card because there is a surprise written on the other side.

Don't have a card? Write on a piece of paper on your refrigerator door.
Hang up a new paper once a week, twice a week, three times a week! with something to do on it.
Nothing can be as simple as popcorn and a Christmas movie!

They will look forward to that piece of paper, ask for it next year and talk about it for years to come!

Make the ordinary special.
Even if it's something you were going to do anyway.

5. Be Yourself
We don't decorate gingerbread houses like the rest of the world.
We have our traditions, other people have their own

Your traditions, what you do is what makes your family special and unique.
Your kids are going to want to have their own little story to tell when they grow up!

Make the holiday season fit your family...don't try and make your family fit into the holiday season.

We're celebrating the birth of Christ.
That is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember! Everything else is less important.
If all you do is celebrate Jesus...that is enough.
That's what He wants most anyway... :)

{our tree this year....covered in ornaments from my great grandmother's childhood..
and old pearls from my mom}

Don't stress when you see all those pretty pretty handmade stockings and pillows.
You can't do everything...remember...Anthropologie has a whole staff of women working over there! ;)

Remember....Make the simple and ordinary special...because it is. :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I almost didn't go.

My neighbor invited us skating.
We had so much to do. Laundry. Schoolwork. Piano practice. Paper snowflake making...etc.
We've been having cold weather..below zero wind chills...
I really didn't feel like leaving the house anyway. There were a million reasons not to.
I told her it wouldn't work.....

She may have said something about everyday being an opportunity to make memories.....
And...I can be easily distracted....and skating is much more fun than laundry. What was one to do?

My beautiful neighbor and very dear friend. ^^^

These two..he was born three months before her...
they've been friends and next door neighbors their whole little lives. ^^^

Time moves forward so fast. Each day with these kids is a gift.
I thanked God for them so many times today.
I loved having Sophia ask if she can hold my hand while she skates. I loved watching the older boys help their sisters on the ice. It makes my heart full. I am blessed. So very, very blessed.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Car batteries are a funny thing.

We shipped them off....we do this the first weekend of December.
The boys to Jeff's parents, the girls to mine. We go downtown...{Chicago}

But this year, a car battery changed our plans.
Instead of spending Saturday in the city, we spent it waiting for our car to be fixed.

We cared, but then again we didn't care. It was nice to just be together.
Jeff was able to finish up some work that he needed to get done.
We drank coffee and Christmas shopped a little.

We did make it down in time for the Bull's game.
We met up with our cousin and a friend who works for the Chicago Bulls.
We watched the game from incredible seats and then went out for pizza.

It was freezing cold Saturday. Single-digit freezing. Below- zero-wind-chills freezing.
The kind of cold that goes right through you, but feels good to breath in.

Winter is one of my favorites. I like the snow and cold. Especially this time of year.
It lends to the coziness of the season. and...wearing sweaters and mittens, bliss. :)

Late Saturday night Jeff told me that we have to get into the city before Christmas.
He said it's something we've always done and he didn't want to miss going with me this year.
I felt loved.

We almost went Sunday, but it was snowing.
Instead the day was spent at home just the two of us, a fire  burning in our wood stove, a dinner of wild rice soup and garlic bread,  Christmas movies playing and an afternoon nap on the couch.

Next weekend a trip to Chicago is planned....along with our entourage. :)
Looking forward to it.

Hope your week is off to a good start. Happy Monday.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fashion Tip Friday ~

Happy Friday everyone.
What are you up to this weekend?

Jeff and I will be in the city...Christmas shopping, eating and we also have tickets to a Bull's game.
Our parents have our kids and we are ever so thankful to have time just the two of us.

So this Friday I'm going to make it quick since I have Chinese take-out, a Christmas movie and an incredible husband waiting for me on the couch.

Thought I'd share a favorite of mine....which I happen to be wearing at the moment. ;)
About a year ago Jeff's cousin told me how much she loved her Juicy Couture sweat pants.
She said they were amazing. She said they were more comfortable than any other sweats.

Fast forward one year.
I finally bought a pair and let me tell you...She wasn't lying! They are wonderful.

You can find them here on amazon.
Or on Juicy's official website.

...and I'll let you in on a little secret.
If you happen to be at the right place at the right time...
you can find them at Nordstrom Rack and also TJMaxx where you can snatch them up for a steal.

Happy Weekending.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend 2013

We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, ate turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie.
Thirty people sat down for dinner after appetizers. It was a day I was truly thankful for.
I love family.

Cousins ^^^
Jeff's birthday was on Thanksgiving..and my little niece (pictured above) had a birthday just a few days before. So we celebrated the two of them too with cupcakes and presents and a song.

....and now! We've moved on to Christmas.
It was -6 with the windchill that day. 
Cold didn't deter anyone in this family from hiking billions of miles to find the perfect tree!

(which is only 80% decorated by the way...because there was this Hallmark movie on... and well...the decorating party ended a tad bit early last night ;)

Spike even joined us...the girls wrapped him in a mitten so he wouldn't get cold. ^^^

The men who cut the tree. ^^^

Now it's Monday.
I'm 100 pounds fatter. Jeff is back at work after 4 days off.  :(
My house is a tad bit *cough* of a disaster. Christmas decor is everywhere.
School needs to be done. Laundry needs to washed...

Off to the routine. Which honestly...I don't mind.
I love my little family, and taking care of them is an honor and a blessing.
Happy new week to you.