Saturday, November 27, 2010

Traditions

When I was going through RCIA a few years ago we had a lesson on church traditions. The gist of it was this: there are "big T" Traditions ~ unwavering, unchanging, and absolute to the practice of our faith ~ and there are "little t" traditions ~ nice, but not necessarily earth shattering if they are not maintained.

Tradition is often a focal point of the holidays, too, and the more I think about it the more I think there are "big T" and "little t" traditions for Christmas as well. The little t's would be things like getting pictures taken with and leaving cookies for Santa, hanging wreaths on the door, Christmas caroling, going to see The Nutcracker, and peppermint EVERYTHING. The big T's, on the other hand center around the permanent: spending time with family and loved ones; celebrating faith; practicing hope; and spreading love, peace, and charity to our neighbors.

Every family develops their own little t's and this week I have been pondering one of ours. New pajamas for Christmas Eve. For as long as I can remember ~starting roughly around the time I debuted in our Christmas morning video in knee socks, underwear, and a t-shirt, I think ~ we have received new PJs for Christmas Eve. Christmas PJs probably started as a little t, but over the years and through the decades they are becoming a Big T. This year, I decided I was going to MAKE them for everyone {the bottoms, at least, let's not get crazy here}. I am three pairs into the 12 I'll need to clothe the whole family for Christmas morning and I am really pleased with how they are turning out so far. God willing, that will be true when I am finished with the rest of them. :)



What are some of your family's little t's?

What about your favorite Big T?

Monday, November 22, 2010

~ Santa's Helpers 2010 ~ *Kids' DREAM Holiday Wishlist*

Ok, Elves, listen closely because this is a big one:

TodaysMama and GameStop are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you. {Fun things with a chance to win are my favorite...how 'bout you?}


1. What is your holiday wish for your family? That we enjoy a peaceful, relaxing, and happy season with all of our family together and that we remember all that Christmas is really about.

2. What is your Christmas morning tradition? Coffee at home while the kids open gifts and then we're off to Memaw and Papaw's for brunch.

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be? Hmmm...I think it would probably be a renovation of our garage and Florida room into additional living/playing spaces {including a sewing/craft room for me} and having the seagrape hedge and other landscaping I want done and sprinklers fixed for the yard. {Decadent is in the eye of the beholder, but I'd say at a 5-figure price tag this wish qualifies!}

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money? We break out the holiday favorites ~ movies {it's just not Christmas without 3-4 weeks of "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"}, music, and Pepe and Yiaya's Christmas village ~ and enjoy the same traditions every year, like Memaw and Papaw's Open House!

5. What games did you play with your family growing up? Scrabble. Still a favorite!

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood? We still do the same Christmas morning CDs and follow pretty much the same Christmas morning routine. And Santa still leaves the same stuff in the stockings...he's pretty consistent that way. ;)

7. Where would you go for a Christmas-away-from-home trip? Oooooh. I'd love to wisk everyone away to a big lodge somewhere in the mountains with snow the kids could play in and a fireplace where we could all enjoy hot cocoa and wassail and have fun...and play Scrabble!

8. Check out GameStop and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year? Wellllllllll, since my GameStop Wish List would be used to fulfill the Christmas wishes of the children this is an easy one! I would go for:


Glee Karaoke Revolution for the Wii



Sonic Colors for DS

and Action Replay Max for DS

Ok, Elves ~ your turn. Head over to TodaysMama to enter yourself!

~ Santa's Helpers 2010 ~

Okay, Elves, it's been a couple of weeks since I've dropped a name or two for you. I hope you've been checking out the blogs I've told you about because they've had some seriously cool stuff going on! Winning any giveaways? And how's your 30-Day Challenge going? Have you been Thankful on Paper? We need to infuse the next few weeks with as much gratitude, love, and joy as we can. Sometimes the stress overtakes us during the holidays and we lose sight of what it's really about.

So... what little bits of Holiday Helpfulness can I share with you today? Let's see:

The Shabby Chic Cottage is [not only one of the most amazing blogs EVER but they're also]hosting a Christmas Carnival that is Not To Be Missed! Seriously, you've got to check it out.

Hoosier Homemade - Making Your House a HomeHoosier Homemade just announced their winners, AND Round 2 of their Grateful Giveaways starting December 1.

And Then There Were 4 is gearing up for their A Merry Fluffy Christmas event next week. It runs December 1~5 so make sure to check it out.

~*~ENJOY!!!~*~

Monday, November 15, 2010

LOVE This!

Susie Davis has a great thing going on over at her blog. She started November 1st, so I'm a little late in sharing but it is worth your time to check it out anyway. And join in! You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

THANK YOU.

{Take 5 minutes and watch this. And while you're at it whisper a prayer for all our veterans today.}

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Honk If You Love A Hoosier!

{That would be your cue to honk.} You see I was born a Hoosier, grew up a Hoosier, and even though I am no longer geographically a Hoosier I will always be a Hoosier at heart! Who cares? Eh, probably nobody but since I just finished reading about the Grateful Giveaways event that will be taking place over at Hoosier Homemade next Monday it seemed like a fitting segue...in my mind anyway.



Maybe it's random but random usually works for me. And actually, I just started re~reading a book I've loved for a long time that is set, in part, about 3 blocks from where I grew up. It's a novel called The Massacre at Fall Creek by Jessamyn West and it is a fictionalized account of actual events from central Indiana history. When we were home for a quick trip this summer I took the kids back to the park where we used to play and showed them this little stone marker tucked back in the wooded area where we used to explore. They pretended to be interested long enough to be polite and then ran off to play, as is to be fully expected.

Maybe when I finish the book I can get Kyle to read it. I bet he'd like it if he would give it a chance. It's no Harry Potter and certainly no Wimpy Kid, but maybe he'll give it a shot just to humor me?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

~ Santa's Helpers 2010 ~

Okay, Elves. So far I have told you about the holiday happenings at Reece's Rainbow, Nation of Moms, Gussy, Florida Frugal Family, Me Making Do, Jolly Mom, The Artists' House, A Few of My Favorite Things, and Tip Junkie {WHEW! That's a lot of links, Elves! My head's spinning.}

I also mentioned the 30 Days of Giving Challenge and the Be Thankful on Paper project going on at No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane. What I haven't talked about is this:


November is National Adoption Month.
In a Presidential Proclamation dated November 1, 2010, President Obama says:

As we observe National Adoption Month, we honor the loving embrace of adoptive families and the affirming role of adoption in the lives of American families and our country. Let us all commit to supporting our children in any way that we are able -- whether opening our hearts and homes through adoption, becoming foster parents to provide quality temporary care to children in crisis, supporting foster and adoptive families in our communities and places of worship, mentoring young people in need of guidance, or donating time to helping children in need. Working together, we can shape a future of hope and promise for all of our Nation's children.
So here's another thing to think about, Elves:

Too many kids around the country and around the world don't have families to call their own. And the chaos of the holidays {and, yes, even the "is she crazy talking about the holidays already?" mindset that I'm sure some of you still have...but tick, tock, Elves, the time it is a-passing!} is totally foreign to them. Without a family to share them with the holidays mean little.

Sure, not everyone can Adopt. But everyone can help. You can Foster. You can Mentor. You can Donate. You can PRAY. So instead of a gift guide or other holiday themed link today I'm going to send you to meet a few families in the process of adopting. {And each has a fundraiser going on that you could use for holiday gifts, so it still qualifies as a Santa's Helper post!}

If you've been here for a while you've read our adoption story and you have seen how Mariana was specially made for our family like only God can do! We aren't the only ones with a story, folks. Take some time today to read these families' stories and if you feel led to help support their adoptions, please do. If not, just stop for a minute to think about what the holidays REALLY mean. It's really not about the things we buy or the packages we wrap and open. It's about the true gifts in our lives: time to spend with each other in joy and the knowledge that no matter what the day brings when we go to sleep at night we are truly blessed to have a family to love that loves us back. All children deserve that.

The Wood Family ~ a terrific family -- and Wendi's one of my dearest pals! -- in the process of bringing home child #4, a daughter from Colombia. Visit them, and check out their Calendar! {Yikes! Just remembered I still owe Wendi a picture of me in their fantastic t~shirts!}

The Anderson Family ~ fun, fun, fun blogging mama! They're bringing home child #5, a daughter from Ethiopia. Visit them, they've got lots of fundraisers happening. Personally, I love that hoodie!

The Bennett Family ~ awesome Mom and Daughter duo bringing home a little sister! Visit them {So I'm cheating! They aren't actually fundraising yet but if Nataly's excitement doesn't make you happy then you are some kinda Scrooge!}

The Blair Family ~ family bringing home child #3. Visit them and check out their Noel CD fundraiser. They've got a coffee fundraiser too! Yummm.

There are so many more ~ these are truly only a few of the multitude! And, because I must, here is another link to Reece's Rainbow. These babies need your support. Can't adopt? Ok, maybe you can donate? Or at least pray.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Whole Lotta Holidays Going On!

I have been busy lately with the Santa's Helpers posts, haven't I? {Just trying to spread the love. I haven't really decided if I am going to continue it as a daily thing or hold on to them for one big weekly recap or what from here on out. Guess I'll decide later today.}


But clearly Christmas isn't the ONLY holiday out there, you know? We just passed Halloween ~ which is admittedly my least favorite...ridiculous sugar pushing "holiday" that it is~ but I scored Mari's costume for next year over the weekend at 90% off! That's $2.00, people. Love that kind of bargain! Then we got a jump start on Thanksgiving by having a mini turkey dinner with my sister, brother-in-law and niece. That was a lot of fun! And in a word: YUMMMMM....And I am starting a Holidays Around the World project with the kids to look at some of the other fun holidays that we don't usually think of in our little bubble. I think it will be fun.

And then there's the weather ~ the downward nod of the thermometer just gives a little bit more festive feel to the atmosphere, don't you think? It's been SO NICE this past few days. {Unfortunately it's going back up into the 80s in the next couple of days. Bah!}

Hope you're gearing up for the holidays {and hope the Santa's Helpers posts are giving you some good ideas!}. Enjoy your day!




Sunday, November 7, 2010

~ Santa's Helpers 2010 ~

Starting tomorrow, Elves! Tip Junkie has a community of Mom-preneur Shops that are full of all kinds of goodies made by moms. Why not check out Tip Junkie's Mom-preneur Shop-a-Thon and see if there's anything there you can't live without for the Holidays? Plus, there's going to be some daily giveaways too, just to sweeten the pot a bit...

homemade gift ideas

Saturday, November 6, 2010

~ Santa's Helpers 2010 ~

Another fun All-in-One, Elves:




Throughout November, Danielle at A Few Of My Favorite Things will be posting recipes, crafts, gift ideas and more to get you ready for the holidays. And that's not all - she'll also be having at least one giveaway per day! Says Danielle, "After all, they say it's better to give than receive, right?"

Friday, November 5, 2010

~ Santa's Helpers 2010 ~

We talked a little bit about Handmade Goodies on Monday, with Gussy's Holiday Gift Guide. (I hope I hope you checked her out this week, love Gussy.)

I came across a little more on the Where Women Create blog. Seems there is a blog hop out there, hosted by Angela at The Artists' House, featuring handmade gifts for Christmas instead of department store stuff.

LOTS of ideas here, Elves. Take a look:


A Crafty Holiday 2010



And don't forget to check out Where Women Create too, while you're at it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

There's So Much To Be THANKFUL For ~

Rachel at No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane has another challenge for us to consider this month:


IMAGE CREDIT: Rachel

Rachel's challenge to Be Thankful on Paper started yesterday but it's not too late to show your thankfulness. Here's how:

*The 4 Wednesdays (beginning on Nov 3rd), leading up to Thanksgiving, Rachel's going to write one person and tell them she is thankful for them and why. She'll send it to them them that day (or drop it off at their house) and hopefully express to them how much she cares for them and how grateful she is that they are in her life. She would love us to do the same.

*The 4 Thursdays (beginning on Nov 4th), leading up to Thanksgiving, she will write a simple blog post about who she wrote to and why. On those Thursdays, she would love for us to join in and write a post. She will link to each of your blogs on that Thursday so that others can visit your site and be inspired. [...] If the person is someone you would like to keep private, that is also fine. You can opt out that week or write a general post keeping it private, but sharing some sentiment of Thankfulness.

*It's as easy as that!

[THE ABOVE TEXT ADAPTED FROM No. 17 CHERRY TREE LANE]

Be sure to hop on over to see Rachel and let her know if you're joining her!


~ Santa's Helpers 2010~

Wowza! You want to see something for everyone, Elves? Check out the Holiday Gift Guide being put on by Jolly Mom!


IMAGE CREDIT: Jolly Mom

Jolly Mom's got lists of ideas for anyone on your list, PLUS she's going to have product reviews AND giveaways going on this month! Sounds like fun to me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just Check This Girl Out

{Mari is on the go and taking Riley along for the ride!}



Grainy video from my cheap little phone but still a VERY BIG STEP for Little Miss Mari!

~Santa's Helpers 2010 ~

Do I have some Elves out there feeling crafty?


Check out some crafty gift ideas this week at Me Making Do

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

~Santa's Helpers 2010~

Hi there, Elves! Would you like to enter to win some great Holiday Giveaways today?

{Little Note: There are only about a bazillion giveaway sites out there. I am only going to be posting the ones with Holiday themes on my Santa's Helpers posts. I could spend half my life posting all the links to all the blogs with giveaways (and since I already spend half my life on blogs as it is you can understand why that wouldn't be such a good idea, can't you?)}




Why not head over to Florida Frugal Family and visit Mami? She's teamed up with some other blogs to host lots of giveaways this month. You just may find something you like! Then, from her site, make sure you hop over to her partners' sites and see what they've got going on.


Monday, November 1, 2010

A Happy [Zombie] Holiday Project

Some time ago I won a fat quarter set of Holiday Happy by Monica Solorio-Snow for Lecien [hello? Happy Zombie...love her blog! And her FABRIC!] from Emma at It's All About The Fabric {THANK YOU AGAIN, Emma! xoxo}.


Today, after all of the Buddy Walk hats and Halloween costumes have finally been put to rest, I was finally able to start to make something fun out of it!

Happy [Zombie] Holiday Fun Project #1




{And, I might add, my niece Riley's very FIRST Christmas gift! But who's counting? ;)}

30~Day Giving Challenge

Are you not quite there yet with the idea of holiday shopping? Worry not, I have something for you too! Look what I found today {thanks to Cassandra at Aubut Family!}:



30-Day Giving Challenge




The 30 Day Giving Challenge started in 2009 with participants being encouraged to spend 30days giving. This was no ordinary giving. Participants were asked to document their giving in a journal for 30 days. The giving could be big or small, time or money, whatever God prompted each one to do each day.

And now the challenge continues.

If you have a heart for giving, The 30 Day Giving Challenge invites you to join them from November 1 – 30, 2010 as they take giving to new heights,combining the efforts of thousands of people. We’ll be working together to bless our friends, family, neighbors, and complete strangers by making a conscious effort to give each day of November. And we’ll do it all for God’s glory!

Throughout the challenge, the team of ten bloggers will be providing giving ideas, inspiration, and other tools to help you give like you’ve never given before throughout the month of November.


[above text adapted from the 30 Day Giving Challenge website]




IMAGE CREDIT: 30 Day Giving Challenge

~Santa's Helpers 2010~

Good Morning, Elves! I mentioned yesterday that there is a lot of holiday buzz around the web that I will be spotlighting over the next few weeks. I am excited. Are you? You should be.

There will likely be something for everyone on my Santa's Helpers list: some advocacy opportunities, loads of handmade and mom-preneur items, and some blogs focusing on nationwide product reviews and giveaways. Who doesn't love giveaways, right? {At least I do. I read a bazillion blogs and some of them host giveways that I usually enter. I have even won some things! I will do a post on that one day...} I will be posting links or buttons to the places I find interesting ~ and interjecting my opinion all willy-nilly at times, like I am prone to do ~ so you can check them out yourself. Bet you find at least one that you like!

Here are a couple of Santa's Helpers from around the web to get us started:

Looking for unique ~ and wonderful! ~ Christmas ornaments? Got it:



Running from November 1-December 31 each year,
the Christmas Angel Tree is Reece's Rainbow's most important fundraiser of every year. Hundreds of families hope to adopt but, with an average adoption cost of over $20,000, many can't. When you donate $35 or more before December 15, 2010 for a child featured on Reece's Rainbow's Christmas Angel Tree, you will receive a beautiful photo ornament of your sponsored child to hang on your tree or give as a gift! (Reece's Rainbow will even send the ornament directly to your intended recipient with a gift card.)

If you've been around here at all you know we love Reece's Rainbow. And we're not alone! Andrea Roberts, executive director and founder of Reece's Rainbow, was just voted People Magazine's Reader's Choice for Hero of the Year! Congrats, Andrea! xo


Looking for the perfect gift for all the Ladies on your list? Ask Gussy!

She'll hosting a 3 Day Holiday Gift Guide this week and says: "If you’ve made the commitment {or would like to} to buy handmade this holiday season, this Gift Guide will serve as a great reference for you. There are 27 shops participating in the gift guide ~ you are going to LOVE them, I just know it!" She'll be featuring products for women, girls, and babies at a wide range of prices. Clothing, accessories, art...ALL HANDMADE! I love that, don't you? No mass marketed junk here! I love.Love.LOVE unique and handmade!