I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be. - Douglas Adams

Wordless Wednesday


You know Santa did a good job when this is the face you see while opening gifts.

Wordless Wednesday


I just love them...

How to Survive the Holidays...

...without losing your marbles.

Does anyone else hit that wall around this time of year where you're brain is fried from late-night gift-wrapping sessions, your credit cards are smoking from excessive use, and if you hear Jingle Bells one more time you just might scream...?  Oh good, it isn't just me.

Intellectually, I know the holidays are exciting and fun but as a daughter, sister, friend, mother and wife...they are also exhausting.  The endless loop of music that always seems to get caught up on those songs that you never loved to begin with.  Searching high and low for that perfect gift for the person that has one (or two) of everything.  Buying, addressing, stamping and actually mailing cards to family and friends.  Grocery shopping, cooking and baking all those delicious treats we only seem to get once per year.  Fighting with the elements, the light strand snarls, the eaves and the ladders to hang/arrange outdoor decorations.  Spending hours decorating your tree, your mantle, your tables and living areas, only to do it all again 2 days later when you realize that your small children will not leave said decorations alone and you must move everything to a surface above 4 ft tall.  Buying, stashing, remembering where you stashed, and wrapping all of those gifts.  Staggering under the weight of your purchase and then staggering even more under the weight of your credit card bill.

This year, I'm trying to keep it all in perspective.  I've made a list of reasons to ENJOY this time of year instead of getting overwhelmed and crazy like in years past.  I've got one taped to my fridge and one to the bathroom mirror, to keep me grounded.

1. Remember the Reason for the Season.  No matter what your religious affiliation, I think we can all agree there is more to this time of year than commercialism and advertising.  Kindness toward others.  Giving to those less fortunate.  Spending time with loved ones.  Remembering how good it feels to give, rather than just receive.  Filling your home with the scents and sights that bring back warm memories from your own childhood.

2. Don't be afraid to make a budget, and don't feel guilty for sticking to it.  Before you ever leave the house, decide how much money you have to spend on each person and stick to it

3. The holidays are not a competition.  It isn't about who can spend more, or wrap better, or bake fancier things.  It isn't about which house has more lights, better music, or a nicer tree.  Do what works best for you and your family.

4. Don't sweat the small stuff.  So you ran out of green sprinkles in the midst of your cookie decorating.  Your child "helped" by adding an entire container of nutmeg to the eggnog.  Aunt Madge sent you a fruitcake.  Again.  Not a problem.  You are resilient.  Creating memories that are special is much more important than creating a green sugar cookie "tree". 

5. Don't be afraid to walk away for a minute.  The oven is on, the kitchen is hot.  You burned your finger for the third time and you've already got bandages covering the other 9 digits from gift-wrapping related injuries.  Your kids are playing every holiday movie they own, over and over and over, at full volume.  Turn off the stove.  Grab your jacket.  Step out on the back porch for a few minutes and take a breath of cool air.  You'll feel better and your head will be cleared for the next onslaught. 

6. Take advantage of the Once-A-Year-Sights.  Dress everyone in warm jammies, load up in the car with a basket of cookies and a thermos of hot cocoa to spend an hour driving around admiring the lights and decorations.  If you live in a snowy climate - layer on the warm clothing and head outside for an afternoon of snow angels, snowmen and snowball fights.  Take the time to dress up nicely and stop by the Christmas Eve service at your church.  If you have little kids (or even if you don't) stop by your local shopping mall and take photos with Santa.  Don't forget to tell him what you're wishing for!

7.  Don't overlook the "other" family members.  When we're busy planning, running around, baking and wrapping, it's easy to overlook our animal friends.  They may be confused and on edge from the holiday chaos, but give them a few minutes of your time to reassure them (and yourself) that everything will be back to normal soon.

8.  Remember that not all gifts come wrapped.  Is there a special person in your life that could use a few minutes of your time?  A neighbor you could invite to lunch?  A teacher who might appreciate a nice note and a plate of cookies?  It doesn't take much to make an impact in someone's life. 

9. Not every moment has to be spent racing from place to place.  Rent a holiday movie, make popcorn and cocoa and settle in with your family to enjoy some quiet time together.  One of my favorites is the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas (with Boris Karloff as narrator).  If you don't have young kids in the house, you might enjoy National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (with Chevy Chase).

10. Give to those less fortunate when you can.  A local shelter, the Salvation Army, an animal shelter.  Every penny counts.  Encourage your family members to participate by saving up during the year and contribute together.  There is nothing quite like the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when Giving.

These are just a few tips to keep you sane.  What do you do to stay grounded during the holidays? 

These Are A Few...

... of my favorite things!

With the holidays right around the corner, it seems like the gadgets and gizmos are getting smaller and fancier and cooler.  The commercials and online descriptions have me oooh-ing and ahhh-ing like a small child.

Here are a few of my recent favorites:
(all images are linked for your viewing pleasure)

1. Power Mat - speaking of gadgets and gizmos, isn't this awesome?  Instead of dragging out your charger each time your phone, handheld game, etc starts to lose it's mojo, just drop it down on this handy mat and VOILA it starts recharging.  Genius.  Sadly, there doesn't seem to be an adapter for my Droid phone, but I am certain it won't be long.
 2. Two Words: Plasma Car.  Oh the miles I would have traveled if I'd had one of these as a kid.  No motor, no batteries, you just wiggle the steering wheel back and forth to make it go-go-go!  It will also hold a grownup (up to around 200lbs), which I think is awesome!  Santa may or may not be leaving one of these under the tree this year for my daughter.  I hope she will share.
3. Ruffles, lace and all things girly.  Take a look at this scarf - I'll admit, my experience with crochet can pretty much be summed up by my looking over my grandmother's shoulder as a small child.  According to the lovely owner of this photo - it's EASY...and she even tells you HOW!  So, grab those hooks and some yarn and make one.  Even better, make two and send me one.  Just kidding.  Unless you really want to.  ;-)

4. Ahhh, Flavia's planners and organizers.  I am not, by nature, a highly organized and coordinated person, perhaps this is why I love calendars and planners - I have great ambitions to be organized and coordinated.  Everyone needs a goal, right?  I especially love the planners designed by artist Flavia Weedn, she has gorgeous drawings and remarkable quotes scattered throughout the pages.  
 5. Hot Mama Handbags.  Oh my - the gorgeous fabrics cover every color and pattern under the rainbow.  Each is handmade and custom orders are even available.  How I covet one of these:

Well, that's it for tonight - let me know what has you drooling this holiday season.  Is Santa leaving you a special gift under the tree?

Baby Wish List...

Thanks to Natasha and her GORGEOUS compilation of baby goods for her little one's upcoming arrival, I was inspired to spend a little time shopping around and figuring out what I want.  Amazingly, I was able to find pretty much everything at Target - love that store.  My pocketbook suffers because of my love of that store.

all items are listed and linked below for your shopping pleasure

If you're working on nursery, be sure to head over to Natasha's blog The Blessed Nest and leave her a link.  As a matter of fact, leave me one too!


Wordless Wednesday...


This is from one year ago today.  Sometimes you're just too tired to lay down.  Enough said.

I'm Dreaming of a.....

....Pink Christmas.  Wait, what??  Pink?

Let's back up a little.  We moved into this house about 18 months ago, and for the most part it has been great.  Our only complaint has been that the master bedroom and bathroom take on traits of the Sahara Desert in the summer and Arctic Tundra in the winter.  Now that we're mid-November it's getting a little chilly in there.  I don't mean cold, I mean COLD.  You know when you're out camping and you have to psych yourself up to get out of your sleeping bag in the morning, because you're warm but it's cold out?  Yes, that is me every morning.  Showering in the winter was an exercise in self discipline. 

We tried a few different things, and initially thought the house-builder had given us a heating/air conditioning unit that was just too small.  After more checking, nope.  Finally, hubby crawled up in the attic to make sure the heating ducts were all connected properly and discovered we had NO INSULATION!  Well, to be fair, there was a slight dusting, but it was less than 1/2 inch in most places and bare wood for the rest.  No wonder we were having such a hard time!

Finally, this weekend we were able to get the attic insulated - I'm not talking inches, I'm talking FEET!  It is awesome!  I just poked my head up and peeked and it looks like rolling hills of sparkly snow.  Well, Pink Snow. 

Wonder if hubby would be mad if I climbed up and left a "snow angel" up there.....

Anyone else struggle with home-improvement projects?  I miss being a renter, it seems like now that we have a place with our name on it, SOMETHING always needs fixed/replaced. 

Winter Reading!

Any other readers out there?  I have been known to devour an entire book in one day, or less.  Sadly, that was before I became a mother and other aspects of life got in the way.

As a result, I'm taking the leap and selling off my book-collection.  You're probably envisioning rows of dusty books, similar to a used bookstore, and you couldn't be more wrong.  I've always taken very good care of my books, and in fact some are brand new!  There are a few that I bought used, and they show some wear, but all pages and fully intact and in great condition.

If you're in the market for some books to snuggle down with this winter, I hope you'll go by and take a look.  I've got some listed as low as $1!!  If you purchase more than one, please let me know and I'll combine the shipping costs and refund you the difference.  Also, I don't have international shipping listed, but if you're overseas and are interested, leave me a message and we'll work something out.
Taylored Amazon Store

 I've been adding to the list daily and it's already up to 90+ titles, so if you don't see something you want, please check back soon!

Thanks for looking!
The Mulberry TreeMercyNora Roberts Quinn Brothers Trilogy: Sea Swept, Rising Tides, Inner Harbor (Chesapeake Bay)The HostageThe Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut (Signet)WatchersOrigin In DeathBullet (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)

These are just a taste of what you'll find in my very eclectic collection!  Don't forget, books make excellent stocking stuffers!

Hello There....

Fancy meeting you here!

I know, it's been an excusably long time since I posted and I appreciate everyone that followed me over here out of the trenches.  I was having serious issues with my old blog and they reached a point where they seemed to be irreparable, so I decided to quit fighting throw up the white flag.  Forgive me!