Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nuts & Cracks

Book club last night was quite delightful. We read a book (well, I got to page 67) called Wedding In December, so to follow that theme the girls put together a mini little wedding reception as our meeting! There were: nuts and cake and champagne and abdoveres and other surpises including a favor for each of us to take home! Fun Stuff!
Dreams come true, say they do say they do say they do...(anyone remember that song from The Movie Dream a little Dream? ) anyWHO..I wanted to share (by the way I never say anyWho in real life but it feels acceptable here) two of my favorite gifts. Finally, I got an IPOD NANO from Santa (noah). whoah!!!!!!! I got very special gifts from very special people and I thank everyone for their thoughtfulness and giving hearts! (also pictured is season 4 The Office dvd set from my bro).
Goodbye to all the Nuts and Crackers. I plan to put away Christmas decorations today. As they sing in the Sound of Music: So long, goodbye!

I just had to share this beautiful picture of my little Santa Baby. What an adorable little boy that I just want to squeeze all the time. At the moment he is watching the "Cars" movie. He has a small addiction. We were going for a ride the other day and told him to bring one of his cars along...he packed the whole case up and dragged it with.

Other notes/thoughts of possible interest or not:
I made bbq slow cooked pork sandwiches last night for dinner, it was funny when I was looking up recipes online, quite a few recipes came up for Slow cooked SQuIRReL. Do that many people really eat squirrel?
I have newly discovered the not so new artist/singer/songwriter: Tom Waits. The lyrics to some of his songs are just truly amazing and beautiful.
The Sun is shining. It is Wonderful to see and feel the sun after all this gloom. Well, I am currently being called to build a Train Track... Good Day to you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dear Santa

Christmas eve has arrived

Dear Santa,
Hello . how are you? I want a video game for Christmas. I want a strawberry shortcake tent for Christmas. I want a doll with a bow in her hair. It’s snowing a lot here. Please bring my little brother Ben, a car tent. How about a couple cars for Ben and a couple trucks for Ben. And I think that’s all. Me and Ben have been good this year. Oh yeah, I know what else I want. I want a moving cat. Like a white colored one and you shut it on and it moves. Drive carefully.
Love, Isabelle

anta! anta!,
cars! caRS! CARS pease!

Dear Santa,
My wish list is an 87 page document. I feel it would be most appropriate for me to send you a printed and bound copy with easy reference tabs. The very important items of top priority will be highlighted for you. Thank you kindly and Happy Sledding. -Cheryl

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tis the Season

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." - Henry David Thoreau
Magical Snack Mix

Is there a Reindeer In the House?

I stoled the quote above from my Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea Box. Sometimes I question whether I truly buy the tea because I enjoy the chamomile, spearmint, etc mixture or is it because the box brings me such comfort. Always a lovely quote and the picture of the bear (not beer) sitting in his pajamas and night cap in front of a roaring fireplace. I just want to become part of the picture.

Winter has just offically begun yet it has brutally attacked us so far this season. Although I try to embrace the season, I have to admit this weather really gets me down at times. The house has been cold. Traveling has not been easy. Ive been stuck out of my car, I have slipped on the ice and hit my head...but overall I am trying to focus on the peace and the beauty of the nature that God has created. There truly is something magical about this winter wonderland (well, the parts that the dog does not pee on anyway).

Although our count down santa calendar has left only one cotton ball (for the beard) and one red nose to put on, I have no presents wrapped for the kids yet, I just sent out most of my cards, I haven't finished my peanut butter balls...but that's o.k. There is so much going on, life is crazy..and our paths are covered in snow and ice...but at the end of each day, if we can settle down, get warm...relax...all together get under the blankets on the couch and watch a Christmas show together...then maybe we are o.k. after all.

Well, I think I have done enough rambling for one period of time. So for now I bid you, Good Health, True Warmth and a Heart full of JOLLY.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A storm is brewing...

My little snowBenny.
(this morning we were running late so I left him in his pajamas)
Preparing some of the teachers gifts this morning.
(accordion scrapbook and peanutbutter balls)

It is coming. They keep warning us. It will be here soon and it will be huge. There is a Winter Storm coming our way starting this afternoon/evening, I believe. Provisions must be made just in case we need to hybernate for a few days...

I finally ordered Our Christmas cards. I need to pick those up. The kids have totally loved watching the charlie brown christmas specials this season and any time Ben sees anything peanuts related he screams at the top of his lungs: Brown! Brown! So, that is the layout I ordered for our cards. I promise someday, I will start handmaking my own cards again...someday...just didnt make it this year. I must remember to buy stamps.

Isabelle has a daisy scout meeting after school today (if the weather holds up until then). I have a feeling that her school sing along and party will probably be cancelled tomorrow. They say it's going to be a rough one. I know the kids will be quite disappointed, but what can you do? We also have plans to travel to the chicago area this weekend. I hope the weather conditions work out for that trip.

I think that is all that I know at the moment since Ben is sitting on my lap and talking to me about trucks.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Angels & Elvis's

Isabelle decided the tree skirt would make a fabulous Cape.
As Ben got busy decorating the tree, I did not notice his plan of action until this was produced. Something in his head told him to put ALL the ornaments on one branch together in a very close knit group. Just keep adding! The more the merrier.
The Master so proud of his work.

Decorating moments and musings:
We decided to keep things simple this year. We have always bought a real tree. If we can we even go chop it down...well this year in the the theme of simple and saving money...we borrowed an artificial tree. Isabelle still can't understand why no water is needed in the stand. I knew going into the decorating situation with a 5 year old and a 2 year old, just to take it lightly...anything goes...enjoy the chaos of the moments, the excitements of the discoveries of Christmas pasts lurking in the carefully, dusty packed boxes. Nutcrackers, Bows and Candy Canes flying about merged with Santa's and Snowmen of plenty...the decorating begins. Sure, we have had more brilliant trees in the past, and fancier displays of the holiday scene, but this year...is : anything goes, whatever will be - will be and that is fine and that is more than enough. The letting go of control of the situation...not easy, but very possible. Sure a box of ornaments went flying off the table as a little boy dropped (pushed) it...some glass was broken, but we (I) clean up the wreckage and move on...we carry on with what we have to the best of our abilities. (I was smart this year, not to get out the giant candy canes that the kids like to hit each other with, of course Isabelle asked where they were and I told her " I don't know, I'll have to look into that and get back to you"). We still have a lot of decorating to accomplish (hopefully today) as the task at hand was exhausting with these two little adorable rug rats undoing everything that was done....but it feels good to have our Christmas Warmth out. The items that bring memories and moments of holiday joy. I think the children really enjoyed seeing and looking through our collection of Christmas books the most. My favorite part was discovering the little mementos and ornaments of past years...remembering where they come from and what they mean. I loved finding the homemade ornaments that Isabelle has made. Some special ornaments of my childhood even remain. As I decorated the tree this yesterday, I noticed there are quite a few Angels and Elvis's. Honestly, I believe that you can never have enough Angels and Elvis's on your tree.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A surprise gift

I just listened in on Isabelle telling Benjamin, her version of the Christmas Story...her details are a little off (this is the baby Jesus, he is the baby that Mary found on the road...).
This morning, the UPS truck pulled up with a surprise package (The Fisher Price Nativity Set that I was looking for!) for the kids (an early gift from Santa). This gift is really from a very special friend of mine, that I have been truly blessed to meet in this world. With all my heart, Thank you- Santa's Helper, Elf K. hehe
Today has been determined Winter Storm Weather, hazardous driving conditions - NO SCHOOL. So, today we are just going to stay nice and snug in the house (that which is actually warm for once!) and play, ponder, wonder and enjoy the day.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Tree Grows...

For the first time ever, I am reading : A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I cannot believe in all my years and all my literary explorations that my path has not yet crossed with this well loved classic. I have just begun, yet in it's first breathings, I know that I already admire this writer and her story.
This here is the face that a parent must deal with on the occasion that the lovely child disapproves or is disappointed in a situation at hand.. This face is soon followed by the whine and rejection of parental authority and the battle begins...
Monday. It doesn't feel like a Monday, yet it is in fact Monday. But honestly, what does Monday feel like anyway? It's the start over day. The let's get back into routine day. It's the notification of the long haul ahead day. It's the I don't think there is anything good on t.v. or groceries in the fridge day.
Sometimes it baffles me how I can go through life, not experiencing certain things. Upon discovery of the certain thing, I am quite enlightened and wondered how I ever got by missing this thing in my existence. The example at hand that I speak of today is the song: Mary, Did You Know? This song is sung by many different artists. I don't know how long it has been around, but I recently discovered it. What am amazing, powerful and beautiful song. I watched a version of the song on utube that was associated with certain clips from the movie, Passion of The Christ. I will admit to you right now, that I watched this video and tears started to stream down my face. Wow. This is what Christmas is about. Not presents or decorations, or cookies. This is what life is about. This song is so beautiful and such truth. If you don't know it, I recommend you listen to it, especially during this season.
Isabelle just asked me for an envelope and asked me how to spell her teachers name. She wrote some words that she learned how to write/spell that she wanted to give to her. How sweet (unlike her photo above). Noah called, he is on his way home with the Chili ingredients that I need. The weather is currently freezing rain. Good night, Sweet Dreams - Stay Warm & Well!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside

female cardinal
more winter scenes

above: Ben was Thrilled to be stopped by "THOMAS the Train". haha
below: My adorable litle eskimo put his boots on the wrong feet.
JACK FROST IS EVIL. O.k. I know that winter has just begun, but I am tired of FREEZING! Last night I felt like I was on the icy deck of the Titanic. I know I should not complain but sometimes blankets and hot chocolate just don't cut it! I am truly chilled to the bone. o.k....my rant is over....onto other things:
My readers may get sick of me taking photos of winter birds...but I must admit it is a small obsession of mine. So please bare with me during this time. Ben is wandering through the house with his arms up in the air asking where his blue car is? boo car? boo car? boo car? Other news: I suppose that Isabelle is offically a daisy scout now that I have signed the registration papers. How fun! Umm.. o.k. I think my fingers are too frozen to keep typing so I shall go for now. Today, Isabelle and I get to go see the Nutcracker Ballet (if we can get through the snow and cold that is). Right now I must go whip up some breakfast. Maybe scrambled eggs today for a change. Good Day to you all. Good day.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's starting to look...

...a little bit like Christmas! I am not ready to really decorate yet, but Isabelle has been asking for the musical snow globe that Santa brought for her a few years back, so I found it and I will slowly be putting things out each day. I really like to wait until we get our tree, but for now a few items here and there will be fun! What memories, opening a Christmas Box does bring!

Cardinals - My beautiful magical winter birds. I seriously cannot get enough of these bright red beauties in the snow! They come in the summer, but it is nothing compared to their winter visits. Every time I see one I get excited...now the kids are excited too...except they go running to the window and pound on it to say "hi" to the birds and the birds...leave. hehe - who can blame them! I would be cautious too.

Isabelle brought this cute Santa home from School. She is so excited to glue a cotton ball on each morning. We put the cotton balls up high so "Benny doesn't get them".

I decided to get out our holiday collection of movies! My absolute favorites of course: The Christmas Story and will ferrell's ELF. My other favorites: it's a wonderful life and chevy chases' Christmas vacation...I will need to add these two to my collection some day! I love Christmas movies! Last night the classic from when I was a kid- clay animated "Santa Claus is coming to Town" was on t.v., I let the kids stay up and watch it.
I am having a hard time deciding what to do for CHRISTMAS CARDS this year. My heart wants to make them because I so enjoy it so much, but my head tells me that things are too busy crazy right now and I will regret it. My brain tells me to get Walgreen's photo cards. So I am having this debate with myself.
I am on a major search for the fisher price little people Navtivity Set. I hope to find it locally and for a good price!
Misc. Babble
I am excited to be signed on for helping with Isabelle's Christmas Class party. I have to start thinking of some fun ideas for the kids. She will also have a sing-a-long on that day. Tomorrow marks my last day of Bible Study. This has been such a wonderful thing for me, such an amazing group of women. I hope with all my heart that I can take part in the next session! Tomorrow also is an informational/registration meeting for Girl Scout Daisies for Isabelle. Last night I tried a new recipe: Spinach Ravioli Bake. It was good. I have some bananas going bad, I should make some bread. Twilight: The Book - I wasn't going to read this book because of all the hype and that I thought nothing can compare to Anne Rice when it comes to vampires...but my step sister in law (Ellen aka Gumby) convinced me to give it a try...and I must say I stayed up for 2 hours straight last night reading it so far. hehe o.k., I guess I should go rouse the troops. Although I see no Sun, morning is here. May your day be blessed and beautiful.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Winter has arrived

My snow bunnies this morning!
Outside the window.
The drive to school.
Book I am making for the month of December called December Daily. Simple journaling or notes to document each day in December. May include some photos as well. Made out of a refurbished old hardbound novel, old pages extracted, now instead, has a binder mechanism to include hole punched festive papers. Cover: old storybook page.
So, December 1st has arrived for us as the start of a white wonderland. I must tell you that I do believe in miracles, because I found a snow brush instantly and easily this morning! With December 1st, we also started the chocolate advent calendars. Isabelle is super excited, Ben is excited as well, but doesn't really get the concept. He ripped the #1 door right off and grabbed his chocolate prize.....but then was very upset to learn that was all that he could open for today. He wanted more! I also know it is winter because I have whipped out my Apacha wool knitted hat. It is funny looking, I know, but I absoutley LOVE it. It's a little itchy though and Lance always wants to sniff my head when I wear it. O.k....I have much cleaning to do. This weekend was quite busy (thanksgiving, noah's work dinner/dance, company, etc) so I have a whirlwind of chaos to sort through and catch up on. Wishing you a wonderful and warm day wherever you are!

TurkeyDay Roundup

Traveled to my hometown (Oak Lawn) for the Family Feast.
Isabelle made the place cards. The best one was for my brother. She wrote: Uncle Al , but since all the letters were big and smooshed, the actual card read more like: UNCLEAN (haha).
Part of our festivities included: decorating gingerbread people.
We also played with Tinker toys, matchbox cars, puzzles, galloped as horses (halloween costume), and watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special. Of course, the best part of the whole holiday was my mom's stuffing. I had it for leftovers and breakfast the next morning too

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

For each new morning with its light,For rest and shelter of the night,For health and food, for love and friends,For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Morning Snow

Our Monday Morning started out with a White Surprise.
Our Friends, the Minnesota McRoberts visited us today.
I made them each a special journal with photos that my friend took previously.

These were so fun to make, I am sure I will be making more! hehe

We had a wonderful visit. We shared and compared our creative/scrap projects, we had a few photo sessions, we ate some lovely treats...time went way too fast. These visits are always so bittersweet. I enjoy them so much, but am so sad when they are over. Isabelle did not get to visit this time because she insisted on going to school! She said she could see our company next year, she didn't want to miss projects! Well, when she got home she found some special gifts that were left for her. "How did Sally know I liked tinkerbell mom?" - hehe. The kids absolutely LOVED the nice warm pajamas they got. They put them on right away! (Thank you so much Betsey!!!!). What a nice day. If only all Mondays could be this swell. hehe

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday RoundUp

I had NO pictures to share today, so I just pulled this photo from my summer collection. I call it: Tomatoes in a Basket. Enjoy.
Just some rambling: This busy weekend is winding down. Breakfast today: Mickey Mouse Pancakes & Chocolate Milk. Dinner: Misc. Leftovers. Now: Football in the background, children slumbering in their beds in nice warm footy pajamas...most of my dishes are done..I am just finishing up a few minor projects and then will grab a book (The Shack) to read under a heavy blanket. Isabelle was quite the party girl this weekend, with two birthday parties to attend on Saturday, It just melts my heart to see how excited & sweet these little girls are at these parties. Today, Isabelle and I spent some alone time together (daddy and Ben free). We went to JC Penney and I picked out a beautiful black dress that I just love for an upcoming holiday formal type event for Noah's work and Isabelle picked out a fuzzy pink sweater with a butterfly clip on it for school. Then we went grocery shopping in which she asked for every single thing that they sold in the store. Each time I would remind her that she just got a sweater and she would say oh yeah. Well maybe Santa will get me this/that etc. She was quite concerned that there would be no Wall-E movies left when Santa got around to it. (quite frankly I don't think she even really liked that movie all that much when she saw it in the theatre). I am not a pop drinker. But, on occasion, I get a desire for a soda. hehe - well I came across something that looked delightful and festive: Sierra Mist with Cranberry Splash. I must say this is a good drink, I recommend it if you are looking for something different. Well I am freeeeezzzing and tired, so I better get going. We are looking forward to a visit tomorrow from our very special friends from Minnesota. I can't wait! For this evening, I will leave you with a highly approved and recommended recipe that I recently tried. I loved it, Noah loved it, Ben loved it. Isabelle liked the corn bread part. hehe - Thanks to my friend Sarah P. for sharing this delight with us! Here it goes, give it a try sometime, you won't be disappointed!
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1 lb boneless chicken breast, cubed
1 10 0z can tomatoes
(hey my photo above somewhat relates after all!)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Pinch chili powder
cooking spray
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Monterey hack cheese
FOR Topping: 1 8.5oz package of corn muffin mix
1. Preheat over to 350. Coat a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray. In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil for 2 minutes.
2. Add chicken and brown, then add tomatoes, corn , chili powder, salt and pepper to skillet for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into the pie pan, and top with grated cheese.
3. In a mixing bowl, prepare muffin mix according to package directions. Spread evenly over chicken mixture, and bake for 30 minutes, or until corn muffin topping is lightly browned and filling is bubbling.
The EnD & GooD NighT!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A BENCH inside the Arts Center that I am fond of.
A few of my Recent Projects:
A Little Christmas Themed Tag Shaped Notebook/Planner to fit in the purse or pocket!
A 4x6 Notebook/Journal - stab style binding, blank pages.

Something that I know for sure: As soon as I let my dog outside, chances are the mailman will be arriving about 32 seconds later.

Something that I learned today: Sometimes it would be better to make hamburger helper and spend 20 or so minutes on dinner rather than wasting two hours on a new homemade from scratch recipe (especially when the children either do or dont eat no matter what and they would have rather I spent that time with them and so do I).

Something that I wonder: I wonder if the Wonderbread factory is still open to the public for tours. We used to take field trips there as kids and they would give us these adorable little mini loaves in mini packaging to take home and I could make adorable mini little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Something that I am grateful for today: My Benny Boo taking my hand and asking me if I want to "dance, dance?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Passing the BUCK

This lovely BUCK passed by our House this morning. He was across the road by the time I got my camera out, but I got a couple decent shots! Usually we see the ladies or youngins, so it was neat to see this giant fellow hanging about for a bit.

Other notes:
- I took Ben for a haircut this morning. He sat very well!
-Isabelle wants me to teach her how to make Friendship bracelets. (oh the memories...I picked up the floss thread we need and I told her we would start tonight).
-Tonight for dinner, I am trying a new dish: Linquine with Chicken Thighs
-Book Club: We had a great meeting last night discussing Eat, Pray, Love among other things. Our next reading selection is: A Wedding In December by Anita Shreve.
-I am currently researching Daisy Scouts and Ballet at the Art Center for Isabelle. Both start in December!
OPPS! Revision to tonight's activities....Ballet started tonight! Revised the dinner plan to: opening a can of chicken noodle soup upon our return from the first class. Isabelle loved class and she did so great! I defintely think we have a future ballerina on our hands.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Gratitude for homemade Pumpkin Pie (thank you Celia!)
Gratitude for two beautiful amazing little children.

We finally got our Thankfulness Tree up and running! We are going to add a couple leaves of what we are thankful for each day until Thanksgiving.
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder
Friends & Family, May your Sunday be: Blessed & Beautiful!