Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our Christmas 2014

Well you guys, I got the slow December I was asking for!  I find it impossible that Christmas has already come and gone.  It's kind of hard to comprehend that today is the last day of the 2014!  Anyone else with me?  Where do I begin?  It has been kind of quiet around here for the last couple of weeks and I owe it all to the stomach bug!  That stupid ole thing came to our house Christmas Eve and decided to hang around for good.  We are still trying to fight it off and gain our strength back.  

Maybe we all just needed to be sick in order to slow down and enjoy our time together and remember why we truly celebrate Christmas?  Cam became sick early Christmas Eve morning leaving us shell shocked as to what to do.  Do we skip the plans for the day? Did he eat too much?  Or is it a virus? 
 Cam being a toddler, it was hard for us to tell. 

 It turns out we made the wrong decision in visiting families the latter part of the evening...By Christmas morning, I was propped up in Cam's chair videoing the fussy Christmas morning magic that turned out to be not so magical with a stomach bug is floating around the room.  Not long after that, family called to share they too had the bug, resulting in the decision to cancel our Mustache Christmas Breakfast:(  

Despite the sickly Christmas Eve visits, and a homebound Christmas Day, you know what I remember most about this Christmas?  Picking up my sweet hubby from the airport.  Cam squealing, "Ho ho comin!" just before his bedtime on Christmas Eve.  The Mr and I making sure the big guy made it down the chimney okay and then finally getting to cuddle and laugh ourselves silly watching Christmas Vacation.  I smell a new tradition!  Cam putting his "phone" to use (and entertaining a sad sick mommy) during the Christmas morning Disney Parade.  And making sure that his Cars, he says "Lightening McQueen" (swear), never leave his sight...even during breakfast.  All the Christmas shopping and baking fun with friends and family.  And getting 2 extra days with the Mr:)  What more could a girl ask for?  God is good, ALL the time.  Only 358 more days to go...;)  

I also must say...I am thankful for the greatest gift of all.  Jesus Christ!  Happy Birthday Jesus:) 
Thank you for loving a sinner like me!
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Baking

My house smells just LIKE ginger, cinnamon, and sugar!  I am pretty sure I could put this smell in a bottle and sniff it all year long.  I love the season of Christmas baking.  Truly one of the most memorable traditions of my childhood, and now, it is my turn (yay) to make sure it becomes one of my own baby's sweet memories.  Besides, dipping candy canes in the flour bowl and tossing cans of ingredients in the bowl to sift, I think we are off to a good start;)

P.S. I have kind of gave up on the sugar overload for Cam until December 26.  I feel like it would be kind of mean to refuse to let him test out all of the hard work we have been doing in the kitchen.  After that little taste test, the cookies have to stay high and out of sight, because the moment he spots them... "Kee-kie, Kee-kie!"  If your still looking for a tried and true recipe for your Christmas cookie baking...we really liked this gingerbread from Food Network, and these no spread sugar cookies and royal icing from Pinterest.

I can't let this Christmas season pass by without making some of my great grandpa's (family famous) sugar cookies with the not so pretty, but tasty cream cheese icing.  They made not hold their cookie cutter shape great, but I've never tasted a better sugar cookie in my life!  Here is the special recipe, if you'd like to try it yourself...  I know this will be on today's to do list!
Vernon's Sugar Cookies
4 c. self-rising flour
2 c. sugar
1 c. Crisco
4 Tb Milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients together.  Roll out into small balls and spread evenly in pan.   Bake at 350 degrees until brown.  Enjoy & maybe share with Santa if there are any left overs?;)
Monday, December 22, 2014

Is It All Hustle & Bustle?

I mentioned earlier this month, about the concept of a "slow December."  In my best efforts, here we are in mid-December (less than a few days away from Christmas!) and I wonder where this time has gone?  I don't really know why this has stuck with me this Christmas, but I can't seem to shake it off.  

As school was released Wednesday, I have a clear picture of smiles on all of the sweet babies faces as they ran down the hall, arms dangling with homemade ornaments and artwork, shouting "Merry Christmas!" to each person they passed.  At that moment, God spoke to me.  I replayed that image of happiness displayed by those little ones and those around me and was reminded of where the joy from Christmas really comes from...Hope.  Hope is Christmas.  Without the birth of Christ, we would have no hope as the human race.  There would be no reason for the smiles on our little ones faces.  There would be no kids running down the hall shouting "Merry Christmas!"  Without the cross, there would be no tree decorated with the blood of the lamb...or those that we love to put up every year in our own homes in remembrance of that tree adorned at Calvary.  (Yes, that is what they represent!)  
Oh, how I personally miss the mark every year!  
So again, (after I just return from a day of full fledged marathon Christmas shopping) I have to ask it all hustle and bustle?  I wonder how I ended up making Christmas out to be so extravagant.  I love everything about it, but yet...why do we really celebrate it?    Is it really all about the hustle and bustle and gifts?  Or the hope, born that day in a stable so many years ago.  The gifts, traditions, and decorations are not wrong...but they are symbolic.  Let's not forget what they stand for;) 

Merry CHRISTmas week to you and yours!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cam's Christmas Bedroom

Just to release my inner interior designer/Christmas decorator;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Style+School's Out Bucket List

Fall and winter, as I am sure I have run this subject into the ground, are my favorite times of the year to dress for!  I just can't ever get enough of sweaters, scarves, and boots.  Around the holidays, I can't help but be all about Snoopy graphic tees, fur, emerald green, sparkles, and shine.  It gives a girl just the excuse she needs to be a little more dolled up than in the everyday routines of life.  And one of the rare times in the year that sequins and sparkles don't seem to be overkill;)  Not that I generally care...Here is a fun Christmas Style inspiration board just for fun!  What is your favorite thing to wear for Christmas gatherings?
Let's switch on over to the topic of Christmas of mine came true!  (In an unfortunate kinda way).  After tomorrow, our school system has decided we will close our doors for the Christmas Holiday EARLY due to rising cases of flu!  It's been unreal!  I am a little anxious about going one more day after how bad it has been, so I plan on making sure I am doing my part to avoid a visit from that yucky ole booger...wash hands, sanitize, emphasize personal space and well (stay in as much as I can!)  I admit, I can't help but be excited about the much needed early release...which inevitably has had me dreaming up what I might do with those extra couple of days off:)

School's Out Christmas Bucket List
1.  Watch Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Elf, I'll Be Home For Christmas, This Christmas, The Holiday, A Christmas Story, Charlie Brown's Christmas, Christmas With The Kranks, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Deck the Halls,  Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause, at least 3 times each...
2.  Finish shopping "Santa's Nice List"
3.  Christmas Dance Wars
4.  Pick out wrapping paper & finally get some things under the tree
5. Pick the Mr. up at the airport & Shopping trip with friends!
6.  Bake bookoo's of Christmas cookies for Santa
7.  Do a little more extravagant tricks with No Name
8.  Make a Gingerbread Train for Cam
9.  Take Cam to see Santa
10.  Christmas Eve and Day Festivities;-)
11.  Christmas Manicure
12.  YES, I wanna build a snowman!
13.  Our Church's Christmas Play & Nativity 
14.  Drive around and look at lights
15.  Squeeze in all the Christmas music possible!
16.  We only have a couple more of Cam's books to read:)
So much fun!
17.  Random act of kindness
18.  Change our chalk board ONE more time!
19.  Read Christmas story in Bible & let Cam make Birthday card for Jesus
20.  Make homemade marshmallows

I'm sure I have forgot something as usual!  Oh well, I'm going to call it a night.  
Happy Tuesday, ya morons! (not an insult, just thank Kevin McCallister;)
Friday, December 12, 2014

On the 12th Day of December...

It's Frrriiidddaaayyy!!  It's kinda sad I get this excited over the last day of work, but man I am in work overload.  My slow December begins this weekend!  On a mushy and personal note, today marks the fifth year of marriage for Cade and I.  Which is kind of surreal...  We've actually been "together" since I was in the 10th grade...kind of a Cory and Topainga-ish story.  Any Boy Meets World lovers out there?;)  

It has been a crazy roller coaster full of changes as we have matured, gotten older, and experienced different phases of life together (school, work, baby, etc.), but here we are!  I can honestly say that if it wasn't for Cade, I would have a part of me missing that would have made it almost impossible to have accomplished all that has been done within the past 5 years.  Graduate school, Cam, our home, and all of the other blessings the Lord has entrusted to us.  Without him, it wouldn't exist.  He is the most selfless, genuine, caring person I have ever met (though he may not seem like it at times,  with his ruthless humor-- (it's a front, he is a real teddy bear).  Indulge my throwback picture spree...
In honor of our 5 years, I am going to share 5 of my favorite pieces of advice I have come across for marriage so far.  Not that we always do these things, but they inspire me to make these a part of our relationship on the harder days...

1.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.  Ephesians 5:33
2.  Keep your marriage as the priority (with God as the center), even before your own children, and this will ultimately be the key to a happy marriage and happy children too.  (We struggle with this one!)
3.  It's the little things.  
4.  Never lose the fine art of dating. Set aside a romantic evening on a regular basis to rekindle the magic of a long-term relationship. It doesn't have to be fancy, just special time for the two of you to remember how and why you first fell in love.  (maybe we can work on this when we are in the same part of the country again?  LOL)
5.  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.  Ephesians 4:26 husband is a firm believer in hugs and I love you's which I often take for granted but love about him!   
Do you have any favorites?

On the 12th Day of December, the GOOD LORD gave to me...a marriage only he could create:)  No it doesn't rhyme, but it's the best I got!  I have to give all of the glory to God for bringing us this far.  And for giving us our little fire ball Cam.  Wishing everybody a cozy and calm weekend with your loves!
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Slow Down December+Christmas Giveaway Winner

Happy Hump Day and 10th day of December, everyone!  Did I just say 10th day of December??  I can't believe we are almost a week away from Christmas Vacation and picking the Mr. up at the airport.  I am so excited and feel very overwhelmed at all there is to be done before all of the fun begins.  Speaking of all of the things that need to be done, one of my favorite bloggers shared a post about slowing down during what many see as the busiest month of the year.
Something that stuck with me?  "I am learning with each year, that the peace Christmas promises has to be fought for."  I have to ask myself if it will actually make room for more peace, and less chaos. I don’t want to fall for the traps this year of the fancy bells and wrapping. I know you can fill yourself full of all very good things, but there is no room left for the great things. The things you cannot quite verbally describe but fill your body and soul with an unearthly joy. That joy that beamed out of a humble stable on that first Christmas over 2000 years ago…
Wow!  Well said, right?  She poses the question, What are some ways that you will try to slow down your December...
Despite the recommendations of this blogger, I've already sent my Christmas cards, hosted a giveaway (more of that below), I get up a little earlier every weekday morning and help No Name get into mischief, and am hosting and participating in a December Photo Challenge which is enough to keep a person in constant action.  I've been thinking about this for a few days and have decided that my effort to slow December down for my household, is going to be all about altering my state of mind rather than the actual doings.  While I have a lot on my plate at work and at home, I am going to chose to remain calm and find happiness in the small things.  I am going to choose not to sweat the small things, do the best I can, and stay in constant search of those aha moments that remind me of why I do all that I do.  A smile from Cam, playing Christmas music while I work on an always so stressful IEP, an impromptu dance party to Cam's favorite... "Shake It Off," or cuddling up to watch Cam's other new favorite "Grinch."  These are the moments I will grasp to in an effort to fight for a slower December.  Now I pose that same question to YOU!  Do you have any ideas on how to make sure we aren't doing TOO much that we miss something special? :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway Lastly, I am so excited to announce, that the winner of a new pair of Freshly Picked Moccasins is MARSHA CODY!!  Congratulations Marsha!  (If you enjoyed this giveaway...Stay tuned;)  And thank you to every single person who participated, who read my blog, and support Peaches and Pearls:)  I wish you ALL a very Merry Christmas!  May all our Decembers slow down enough for us to enjoy the special memories that will be made.