Dec 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This sums up Harper pretty well.  Since we are entering the terrible twos I have decided to embrace it! 

Today I'm thankful for my whole family having the day off.  We enjoyed breakfast together and unwrapped some presents!  It was a great Christmas morning!

Dec 23, 2013

Holiday Randomness

Christmas is so soon now, I can’t believe it.  It makes me kind of sad to think that it will be over so quickly!  I do enjoy the preparation for Christmas, I just wish it didn’t go so quickly!  Oh well, another one is only 365 days away, right!?

We have had some busy days lately!  We had a family party on Saturday evening.  It was a lot of fun to see everyone and catch up!  It was at my parent’s house this year so I got to make a lot of different food!  I tried a few new recipes, both were pretty darn good and really easy to make!  Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake and No Bake Éclair Cake.  Check them out, delicious!  I also made a Sticky Toffee Bundt Cake, which I have blogged about before.  It is one of my favorite bundts ever, especially when it is still warm!  Also, very easy to make!

Saturday night we packed up and headed to Cleveland to spend Christmas with Matt’s family.  Sadly his dad is stuck in Virginia until his truck gets fixed.  We are really hoping he will make it home for Christmas!  We have had a lot of fun with Matt’s mom though!  It is always nice to hang out and relax, and tonight we are going to some kind of interactive Santa’s workshop.  I’m not exactly sure what we are doing there but it sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun!!  Santa will be there so Harper will be in heaven!  She is obsessed with Santa these days!  

I’m just hoping we make it until tonight.  Harper has been up until 11:30-12:00 the past two nights.  She doesn’t do well traveling, which means neither do we! Haha!  She also has woke up at 8:00ish both days.  This morning we had a full-blown melt down.  It was bad!  Screaming, flopping her body everywhere she could, more screaming!  I’m hoping she will nap this afternoon so we can have a fun time this evening!  We are even meeting our friends tonight so it will be a really nice night!  Gotta love time off with friends and family during break! 

Harper and I have had a little down time lately so we have done some crafting.  These were easy to do and really fun for her!  First off I took a piece of green construction paper and cut out a Christmas tree.  I put a yellow star on top and brown trunk on the bottom of it.  Then, I let Harper decorate it with glitter glue and stickers (both I got from the Dollar Tree).  It was super simple but she really enjoyed doing it! 





We also did another egg carton activity.  I put the numbers 1-6 each in a different spot in the egg carton.  Then, I picked up some Christmas erasers on sale at Michaels.  We practiced matching erasers to the corresponding numbers.  This is a little too much for her (she is not really ready for this yet) but I still had fun practicing with her.  She also really enjoyed dumping the erasers in and out of the egg carton.  You could adapt it to older kids by using the numbers 1-12! 





That is about all that is going on here for now.  Tomorrow afternooon we head back to Erie for some more Christmas celebrations.  The weather is supposed to get bad so I'm hoping for okay travel weather!  

I really hope that you all are enjoying your holiday season and getting every last bit out of it that you can! 
Today I’m thankful for the holidays!  It is a special time of year that you get to enjoy time off with family and friends.  If you do have to work, I’m hoping it goes quickly and you are able to get home for time with your families!  Thanks for stopping by today! 

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Dec 19, 2013

Giving Thanks

I received an email from an incredible lady with an amazing story.  This story truly touched my heart and also reminded me just how precious each and everyday is.  I would love for you to take a few minutes to read my blog today, visit Heather's blog, and show your support by commenting below with something you are thankful for!

Heather Von St. James was a brand new mother of only 3 1/2 months when she got the news that she was diagnosed with Mesothelioma.  It is a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure.  Most people who are diagnosed with this cancer don't live beyond 15 months.  I can't even imagine having that precious new born baby and thinking that your life with that sweet child would be cut so short.  I also couldn't even imagine how Heather had the strength to continue after hearing the diagnosis, she did though, she had hope!  She was only 36 years old when she was diagnosed.

She was exposed to asbestos as a child.  Her father was a construction worker and would carry it around on his clothing.  She often wore his jacket around, thus leading to her exposure.

She was able to meet a wonderful network of doctors who helped her along the way.  She also had something so incredible, hope.  She mentioned on her blog how she lives her life with hope and in the moment and not negatively.  That tells me what a strong lady she is, it is no wonder she beat the odds!  She was going to beat it, no matter what.  There was no other option for her!

On her blog she has a video of her story.  You should really check it out, it is a great video!  The video ends with such a powerful statement, "with hope, the odds don't matter."  Incredible, I love everything Heather stands for.  She sees the world and each day with hope, she doesn't dwell on the negatives, she turns them into a positive.

Hearing her story has really touched my heart.  I know that there are so many people out there who are going through so many different and challenging things.  I can't imagine what other people have to go through.  It really makes me reflect on my own life and realize that I don't take the time each day to give enough thanks and praise.  Heather and her story have inspired me to really start looking at the good in all that life has to offer each day, and not to let the little things get in my way.

Her story has been on my mind since I heard it... Heather's diagnosis was in November and so each year during the holiday season she makes it a goal to acknowledge something she is thankful for each day. Heather's goal has inspired a goal for me as well.  I'm going to start jotting down something I'm thankful for at the end of each day (in my planner since I use it so often).  Each morning I want to read the previous day's entry to remind myself of all the joy each day can bring, and to really be thankful for what I have, and say a prayer for those in need.  I want to live my life in the moment, to really take time each day to be thankful!

Heather also asked me to share something that I'm thankful for. There are so many things that I'm truly thankful for it is hard to pick just one.  Here is my day number 1-I have decided that at the core of my happiness is my family.  They are the reason I am where I am today and they are the most important part of my life.  I go to my family for everything, to share in my joys, to share in my pain.  I'm so thankful for their love and support and the joy they bring me each day!

It is the season of giving and the season of thanks.  I'm so thankful for Heather and her incredible strength to beat the odds and share her story!  I'm also thankful that she decided to share it with me and allowed me the opportunity to share it with all of you.  I hope that you will comment below (or on her facebook page) with something you are thankful for to show Heather your support with her story and her cause!  Thank you Heather and each and everyone of you all!

Here is a link to Heather's blog:  http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/#.UrJSgfRDuGw  Be sure to click on the video!  She also has facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherVonStJames
Please pass it along and share her story to help spread awareness of Mesothelioma!

Dec 13, 2013

Baked Chicken Ranch or Chipotle Tacos

Well last night my dad and I went shopping for my Mom's Christmas presents and I'm officially done Christmas shopping!!  It feels really good to be done (I'm not the biggest fan of shopping), now it is time to wrap, make Christmas cookies, and check out lots of fun Christmas decorations! It is kind of like the hard part of the season is done and the fun part is just beginning!  I love to bake Christmas cookies!  

Tonight Matt, Harper, and I are going to drive around checking out Christmas decorations.  I'm excited to do this because Harper is really getting into the decorations this year.  She squeals if she sees inflatable Mickey and Minnie decorations.  She oohs and ahhs with the best of them, I think she is going to love it!

Since we have some busy nights coming up (as I'm sure you all do too) I'm going to share a quick and easy dinner recipe!

Baked Chicken Ranch or Chipotle Tacos

3 chicken breasts (maybe 4 if you want a lot of chicken in each shell)
Cheese (as much as you want to sprinkle on top of each shell)
Ranch dressing or chipotle sauce
Your favorite taco toppings (we had lettuce and tomatoes)
Stand and stuff taco shells

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Get a large Pyrex baking dish and place all shells standing up in the dish.  I actually had to use a small Pyrex in addition to the large to get all my tacos to fit.
Then, place cooked chicken and cheese in each taco shell.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese looks melted.
When they come out, put your favorite dressing on them along with your favorite toppings.

Matt really enjoyed mixing the ranch and chipotle dressings on his (yuck)!  I enjoyed the ranch on mine.  We just got a small container of chipotle sauce with the dressings at the grocery store.  It was something a little different then the traditional salsa and I really liked it for a change!




Happy Friday!  I hope you have something fun and festive planned for the weekend!  Stay warm and enjoy the weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

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Dec 10, 2013

Crafting Weekend

This weekend was jammed pack with crafting!  It started out on Friday night as a cram session to finish my bows and burlees.  Of course I didn't get all my crafts done ahead of time like I had planned to months ago when I signed up for the craft show.  Just call me Last Minute Leslie!  Anyways, I was hot gluing, cutting, and painting late into the night on Friday, hoping for some interest in my stuff come Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday wasn't terrible.  First thing I sold one of my burlees and the lady who bought it was so excited, it made me feel pretty good (someone liked my stuff)!  That was the last and only burlee sold, bummer!  Now I have 11 sitting around at my house....if you are a family member reading this blog, you may acquire one of these lovely decorations as a gift at some point! :)  

My hairbows and flower clips were really what saved me.  They sparked a lot of interest in many young girls and parents of babies!  Although a number of people said that the bows/flowers were too big for their babies head!  I guess they didn't see my daughter as an infant....
The flower is definitely taking over her little head, who couldn't love it?!?  Haha, I guess some people are more conservative and that is okay!  I lived in North Carolina for four years, the southerners love their big hair pieces, I happened to pick up on that trend! :)  Overall, Saturday wasn't the best profits (just selling bows and flowers) but it was fun!

Well Sunday rolled around and I was ready to sell my burlees!  Who couldn't use a little extra Christmas cash right?!  I made sure they were out and displayed well for all to see.  I even marked them down $5.00 from the day before!  Only two people even took notice of them, it was a major bummer!  Especially because now I have a bunch with no idea what to do with them!  I think they are really cute and the two ladies just loved them, but I guess they weren't in a buying mood.  Oh well!  The crowd on Sunday was more of a lazy Sunday drive group of people.  They were out to drive by but not really stop and look, which is fine.  It just made for a more boring day on Sunday.

Overall, the craft show wasn't very profitable (I have decided not to start a crafting business on the side), but my mom and I didn't have anything priced over $15.00, we weren't looking to get rich. We just wanted to put our stuff out there and see if anyone showed interest.  There was a lot of really nice feedback, not really any negative (thankfully) or they didn't mention it if there was.  We met some wonderful people who made it a really pleasant experience!  I don't think I would do it again just because I'm Last Minute Leslie.  Seriously people, it is not fun...I cram last minute for everything I do.  But, it was definitely a great experience and a fun time spent with my mom!  We had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun!  

Here is part of our craft table...pretty crowded but bright and cheerful!  My mom had a lot of interest in her sweet items, especially her fun monsters and owl taggies!  She had a lot of fun and unique gifts that people really seemed to enjoy, something different is always a good thing!   

By the way, I happened to win an awesome print done by a wonderful local artist.  Everyone had to contribute one item to a Chinese auction held at the craft fair.  I bought 5 tickets for $1.00 and put them all in this framed print (I knew it would be cute in Harp's room).  I ended up winning which was awesome!  Here is her blog:  http://www.heathercash.com/  The print I won is bright, cheerful, and perfect for Harper's room!  

I'm thankful for a fun weekend with my mom, and also a much more relaxing remaining December!  I'm taking the rest of the month off from crafting (at least heavy duty crafting) to spend some quality time with my fussy little princess!  By the way, wow...terrible twos are in full swing at my home!  I don't know what kind of alien invaded her little body, but we are sure thankful for each and every happy moment these days!!!  :)  Gotta love her!

Happy Tuesday and thanks for stopping by!  I will be back this week (maybe tomorrow) with a tasty (and easy) dinner idea!

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Dec 7, 2013

Gingerbread Garland

Aren't you glad it is the weekend!?!  I sure am!  This morning my mom and I are heading to our craft show...I'm really hoping it goes well!  More about that Monday or Tuesday! :) 

Harper and I have been getting in the crafting spirit and I'm going to share some of our fun! Recently I picked up a bag of foam gingerbread figures from Target's dollar bin.  10 foam gingerbread men for $1.00, yes please!  I didn't know what I was going to do with them when I picked them up I just knew I loved gingerbread and had to have them!  

After talking to my mom she gave me the idea of a garland, I loved it!  I grabbed a pack of glitter glue from the Dollar Tree and Harper and I got busy.  She decorated 5 and so did I.  Then, we punched holes in the top of each gingerbread, laced them with yarn and hung them up over her crib.  It is adorable and she really loves having a sweet Christmas decoration in her room! 

Warning-the glue quickly squirts out!  Especially with a toddler that loves to squeeze!  Messy but fun!!

If you aren't able to find foam gingerbread in your Target, try cutting them out of construction paper.  You could always find one you like online, cut it out and use it as a stencil!  

A simple way to spread some Christmas cheer in your home!  Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!!  Thanks for stopping by!








Dec 5, 2013

Happy December!

I know it has been a little bit, but Happy December everyone!  It is such an exciting, busy, crazy, and fun time of the year...I love it!  My mom and I have been busy finishing up crafts because this Saturday and Sunday we are participating in a large craft show in my area.  I'm nervous that nothing will sell but excited to see if it does!!  I have also taken a mental note that Christmas time is not the best time to get involved in a craft show.  I sure wish I would have done more crafting ahead of time (I'm in a huge cram session getting everything done)!  Anyways, it should be a fun experience!

Awhile back I shared what movies I was watching for the fall season.  I'm a HUGE movie person.  My idea of the perfect date night is either going to dinner and a movie or having dinner at home in front of the TV while watching a movie.  I'm the type of person who could seriously watch the same movie 100 times and not get sick of it!  My collection is out of control, my husband doesn't share that same LOVE and sure doesn't enjoy the collection taking over some of our bedroom.  Oh well, when we get a house they can go somewhere else!  Anyways, to prepare for the Christmas season I got out all my Christmas DVDs and I decided I would share with you what I'm watching this winter!  I'll share my favorites out of the pile too!  


My number one favorite family Christmas movie is Home Alone.  I have almost every line memorized and could probably watch it almost every night in the Christmas season!  I love the music, the funny things Kevin says and does, and the memories it brings me (thinking back to watching it as a kid)!  It is just a favorite for me!  Home Alone 2 is also a great one.  The sequels usually don't come close to being as good as the originals, Home Alone 2 is pretty darn close for me!  

My favorite adult Christmas movie is Love Actually.  If you haven't seen in, it is an awesome movie!  There are so many different stories that all connect by the end in one way or another.  It is so sweet, funny, (a little crude), and just really fun!  I highly recommend checking it out this season! 

A few others I really enjoy:
*Santa Claus is Coming to Town 
*Arthur Christmas-I just bought this one for Harper, it is a really sweet movie!
*The Grinch
*Elf
*I'll Be Home for Christmas (a Jonathan Taylor Thomas movie from the 90s)
*The Santa Claus Movies
*The Family Stone
*The Holiday

There are many more but those are just a few of my favorites!  I hope this has put you in the Christmas Movie mood and you can find sometime in the next few weeks to enjoy a bowl of popcorn and one of these great movies with your family!  

One more quick note...

I found this website yesterday (a little late but that is okay) where your kiddos can glue a cotton ball on Santa's beard for each day up until Christmas.  It is a fun and interactive advent calendar for kids.  I'm sharing the link and it's not too late to print one out and let your kiddos enjoy this Christmas activity!



We cut out Santa and glued him to a piece of red construction paper to make him more sturdy!

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