Winter, even in Orlando

Am I one of the only people who loves cold weather.  I really do love it.  Although it has been said that
I really don't know what I'm talking about since I live in Orlando.  Maybe that's why I have this love affair with winter.  We barely know each other.  ha!   This year has been "good" to us.  With quite a few cold days and I'm trying to soak in every single one of them.  Just because we don't have the typical winter outside here it doesn't mean I can't have it on the inside.  I've put up a few winter vignettes this year just to honor this season that I love so.  

Winter mantel


Winter dough bowl

this is my true wish 
I know what your thinking


it did snow once in Orlando in 1989
on the night before Christmas Eve
it flurried for an hour or two
enough for snowflakes to accumulate on our windshield 
letting us make miniature snowballs
what a great memory

my hope springs eternal


I'm sticking with just a few colors for my decor elements

mainly silver and white with a little aqua

mercury glass

with the exception of the wreath (and the little chalkboard above) that I made this year
 everything I used I already had on hand with either 
Christmas ornaments or my every growing mercury glass collection

don't you love to be able to "shop" your house to come up with new ideas

Mercury glass candle sticks - Bath and Bodyworks and Target
Mercury glass tea candle containers - Target and Pier One
Mercury glass pinecones and star ornaments - Crate and Barrel
Mercury glass ornaments - C Wonder
Wooden snowflakes - Michaels (spray painted white)
White branches - our yard (spray painted white)
Wooden Chalkboard - JoAnn's (spray painted with chalkboard paint)

I hope y'all are enjoying you winter season because before we know it
Spring will have sprung.

Things are looking up.  I'm on my way to spend the week
with my Illinois grandkids
The last two times I went in the winter it snowed.
Fingers crossed.


Winter Snowball Wreath

for quite a while now I've been wanting to make the anthopology knockoff cotton yarn wreath 

it reminds  me of my grandmother's white hydrangea bush

which we always called the snowball tree

and i tend to love everything that brings back memories of my grandmother

how to make this wreath is all over pinterest and blogland so I decided to give it a try

i'm really happy with how easy (albeit time consuming) it was to make 

i did not take the time to photo step by step instructions but i got mine from

(love her)

what i did differently:

 used almost everybit of 4 packages of yarn

 wound the yarn 20 to 21 times around my fingers for the "poms" to be as full as possible

 used a straw wreath (leaving the plastic wrap on) instead of cardboard

used greenery pins to fasten the poms onto the wreath instead of hot glue

 breakdown of materials used

straw wreath 
greenery pins (1 package)
4 packages of Patons Cobbles Yarn in Winter White

all bought at JoAnn's with a 40 and 50 % off coupons

total cost:  25.00

it wasn't planned but i love the way our wedding cake topper is peaking

 through the center of the wreath

i really love it and i am thinking i just might change the ribbon and leave 

it up through valentine's day

please overlook the fact that obviously my glass and mirrors in the cabinet are 

in need of a good purge and clean

thank goodness i'm working my way through the house doing just that

Visit thecsiproject.com


Let the New Year begin

I've spent the first several days of the New Year just holding onto last year.  

Does anyone else have a hard time moving on?  

Its been cold cool,  gray and overcast.  
We've snuggled up with blankets, watched lots of movies (thanks redbox) 
 and caught up on DVR'd shows that got lost in the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

We've eaten up all the left overs, candies, cheeses and crackers lingering from the holidays.
Something that has not been kind to my weight loss/healthy eating program.

Hours of catching up on old and new blogs and their "end of the year" and "new years goals" posts.

Dreaming of all the new renovation/purging/organization projects I've made for us this year.

Admiring our Christmas lights and decorations just a few more days.

Well, I woke up this morning and decided that today was the day.

The day to move forward.

Let the New Year begin.

And the first thing I came upon was a shared link on facebook by Paige (love her)

of a post by Ann Voskamp who has changed my life in the past couple of years.

Memorizing the word.

Scripture Memory For The Rest Of  Us:  The Jesus Project


I can't wait to get started.

Now I'm off to clean out my cabinets of any lingering holiday snacks

pick up some Christmas storage bins

finalize organization and renovation projects for the year with my huband

make sure our calendars are in sync

and begin memorizing

I'm looking forward to sharing some of my projects

I'll be asking for advice I'm sure



Serve and Joy

Happy New Year

the text picture I sent out to family and friends on New Years Eve
and yes, I still have my trees up

I'm not very good at keeping my New Year's Resolutions, in fact it's a major fail for
me most years.  I decided not to put alot of pressure on myself this year.

I have instead decided to go with a word (or in my case this year words because I
just couldn't choose) of the year.

Which brings me to Serve and Joy

1st word of the year:  Serve

I'm going to try to find ways to serve my husband, family, friends, neighbors,
community and especially God.  I believe myself to be a fairly nice person and try
to be helpful whenever I can.  Particularly around the major holidays but this
year I'm going to try to do at least one kindness or service everyday.  More when I can.

I'm going to make myself accountable by doing a list on Sunday from the previous week.

2nd word of the year:  Joy

I am going to find joy in all circumstances presented to me this year.  Good and bad.
Even if it's beyond my understanding, I know God has a plan for my life and I will
find joy.  

And to keep myself on track I'm going to find ways to put those two words in my path.


I found this company through facebook.  

A Charming Welcome

Such cute signs.  I'm thinking about ordering one
or possibly trying my hand at making something similar. 


I'm actually saving up for two of her beautiful boxwood door wreaths.
(why do I have a double front door)

Monograms and Bows.  Whats not to love.

Emily Jones posted a really fun list of goals to share with your friends and family.
Click the link below.  

Check her out at jonesdesigncompany.com 


My list:

1.  bad habit:  procrastination
2.  new skill:  learning to photograph in manual and begin to learn the piano
3.  a person I hope to be more like:  since I'm usually very bad with comparing my self to others,
I'm gonna say a better version of myself (and Audrey Hepburn)
4.  a good deed I'm going to do:  serve other's in my family and community well (ie: word of the year)
5.  a place I'd like to visit:  Colorado, Minnesota and Ethiopia
6.  a book I'd like to read:  bible front to back this year and actually finish
7.  a letter i'm going to write:  to my kids and grandkids telling them why they are special to me
8.  new food to try:  french food
9.  going to do better this year at:  not judging or jumping to conclusions of people and accepting them
for them.

Okay, your turn.

Happy New Year


Highlights of the last few months of 2013.

I really fell down on the job the last several months so I've decided to do a highlight post 
(in my attempt to play catch up) of moments I'd like to remember.

Savannah Weekend

We were able to plan a short weekend get-together with Janet
and Mack as a celebration of both our anniversaries.

We stayed at Park Avenue Manor just off of Forsyth Park.

We had dinner at The Olde Pink House.
My all time favorite place to eat in Savannah.

 they brought out dessests saying Happy Anniversary and we let the boys blow out the candles

The next day we visited the Savannah Candy shoppes.
Can I just say right now, everything is delicious.
Of course we  had to take pictures by pumpkins.

Even though we visited lots of shops, my three favorite were and in order:

1.  The Paris Market

your have to have their frozen hot chocolates
they are definitely worth the calories and then some

This is where I fell in love with the lighted letters and now I must have 
one (or two or three).

pure yumminess with a serious case of cuteness

2.  One Fish Two Fish

3.  The Paula Deen Store

We went on a nighttime carriage ride/ghost tour.
You have to make time for this on a cool evening.

waiting for our turn

our sweet driver was an art student who actually was suppose to be getting 
off before our ride but made time for us even though we scheduled at the last minute

  We were  grateful and she did an awesome job.
We love hearing about all the spirits in Savannah.
We've done a walking ghost tour before and now the carriage tour.
I can honestly say I loved the both and would recommend either.

This is just a touch of the fun things we crammed into a weekend.  Savannah is one
of our favorite getaway spots.  

Family Reunion

In October we were off to Virginia for family reunions.
Friday night was my Dad's reunion and we got a group shot.
(Missing Ryan, Tammy, Sarah, Jansen, Cindi, Jeremy and Tyler)
We had a great time and really appreciate the effort Dad and Margaret made to 
make it so special and fun for us all.

The next day was my Mom's extended family reunion.  Our family has not
been up for a reunion before.  It was so great seeing long lost cousins and our great aunts.

There are hundreds of pictures but these were just a few of my favorites.

My cousin Shannon and with me and my brother

My three youngest grandbabies.

Favorite cousins that were in our age group.
I love them so much.

My beautiful Aunt Juanita

Faye and my mom

Linda who was in charge of the reunion.
She did such a great job.

My sweet granddaughters.

Aunt Nettie and Aunt Juanita
beautiful sisters

My mom and Aunt Edrie (who is 99 years old)

Our dear family friends who are really family, the Hills.

Me and my baby sister.

My baby brother, helping clean up.  Had to be documented.  :-)

One of very few pictures of my grandparents.
My grandmother passed away soon after my mom was born.

Cousin Keith and his family

Aunt Ivadele, Aunt Juanita and Aunt Nettie with
me, my mom and my girls.

We had a wonderful time and look forward to going again in the future.
More postings in the future of our other adventures will home on the mountain.

Our trick-or-treators 2013

I know all grandmother's think their grandkids are the cutest
trick-or-treaters.  Right!!!!

Rahel and Hermela 

I love having my great-nieces and nephews spend the night but
these two are at such a fun age, I could just keep them forever.
We built a Thanksgiving House.

We made pumpkins and they did such a great job.
Both of them are very artistic.

went out for pizza  

rudolph noses
 watched Santa parachute on the mall roof
watched Little Women
 made crafts 

we just had such a good visit

Already looking forward to our next slumber party.  After their siblings 
have their turn of course.

Love you girls.

Our Anniversary

We celebrated our 20th anniversary in Canada and France.
By way of Epcot of course.
We ate at Le Cellier.
The food was delicious (albeit expensive).  We had to 
make our reservations 6 months in advance.
My only complaint is that is was very loud (I guess I should of expected that
at Epcot)   I felt like they were rushing us.  Not as romantic as I would of liked but
we did have a very good time.

We made our way to Germany to check out the gingerbread houses.
My favorite.

Happy Anniversary Mike.

I love you.

Jennifer's Shower

My baby sister Jennifer (Michelle) is getting married in January.
It's a destination wedding on a Island and with the holidays fast approaching we
threw her a beach themed shower.

Mermaid Punch

Michelle's friends

Mom and sisters

Congratulation Jennifer and Damien

1st Christmas Card Picture Shoot
(my niece and her family)

Great subjects.
Bad lense.

We will be doing retakes soon but I still wanted to document it.

Thanksgiving Decorations

my favorite decoration this year
I just love the pilgrim sillouettes from dearlillie.com
as a matter of fact, I love everything in their shop

My favorite Publix salt and pepper shakers.  Remember those precious commercials that
Publix had.  I was late to the band wagon and by the time I wanted them they were discontinued.
My sweet husband found me a couple of sets on ebay.

I never even brought out my camera on Thanksgiving so just for memory sake I snapped a few shots
before I took everything down.   The lense on my camera is giving me problems and it was raining outside so the pictures are dark but I still wanted to show that we did celebrate Thanksgiving in 2013.

Orange Mercury Glass Pumpkin - Pottery Barn
Mercury Glass Owls - Target
Black Frames - JoAnn Fabrics
Fall Dishes - Crate and Barrel
Pilgrim Salt and Pepper Shaker - ebay (originally sold at Publix before being discontinued)
Fall Platters on Hutch - Hobby Lobby

Thanksgiving Grandkid Gifts

every year I get the grandkids a gift to be opened
around Thanksgiving.  
it usually has their Christmas pj's, a book,
a treat and an ornament
I want them to be able to use and enjoy through
the holiday and it doesn't get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season


(I wonder how long she'll want her Nana to get her Christmas pj's)



Taylor's Cheerleading and Weight Lifting

Two very diverse sports for one really cool girl.
Love you Taylor.

Dylan's Thanksgiving Program

We were so lucky to be invited to Dylan's Thanksgiving Program.  Is there
anything sweeter than little Pilgrims and Indians telling the true reason for Thanksgiving.
Afterwards, the preschool has a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Picnic outside.
It was great.

Dylan spent the night the next day and we had our annual watching of 
the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special.

Neighborhood Christmas Entry Lighting

Mike has been fighting politely working with the homeowner's association for 3 years
now to have electric outlets installed at the opening of our neighborhood so that 
Christmas decorations could be put up.  Finally with the help of Becky and her husband who 
was on the board, it happened this year.
Mike collected donations from our neighbors who were very generous and appreciative
for all of Mike's work.  He bought and made the decorations and then hung them.
We had a little celebration to honor the first lighting and I made cookies.  
(I had to at least do a little something.  ha)

The last picture is Mike and Marie.  Her husband Eric and Mike use to talk about
the struggles of getting the Christmas lights up.  Eric passed away before it could happen
but we always think of him, especially at Christmas time.

We have since added lights to the Palm Trees.  It's really quite pretty.
Now we just have to worry about storing them till next year.

Thanks again for all the nieghbors who donated money and helped
with the celebration.

Especially a big thank you to Mike.
You did such a great job.
Eric would have really been proud.

Sister's Christmas Dinner

We try to have just a girls get-together before Christmas for a little sister's/mom
gift exchange.  It's fun to get away by ourselves.  
Thanks Mom for surprising us by sneaking the check treating us all.

"i could never love anyone as i love my sisters" 
.......  Little Women

Christmas Sleepover

First up was the Christmas train.  

Then we tried our hand at decorating Gingerbread cookies.  They were
really yummy.

Then up for Christmas movies.
This year we watched:
Charlie Brown Christmas (of course)
Santa 1, 2 and 3
Polar Express
Jingle All The Way

My little Christmas movie buddy and sometimes be a handful
but just look at that smile.
Merry Christmas Dylan

Next year we'll do our Christmas sleepover with Makenzie and Brody.
We sure missed them this year.

Family Christmas Party

Every year my siblings and I take turns hosting our extended family Christmas party.

This year was Kim's turn.  She (with the help of Brittany, Dustin and especially Pat) did
such a great job.  Her house was decorated beautifully, the food was delicious and everyone
had a great time.

The cutest favors that Brittany made.  

I didn't make it to the food tables to photograph until everyone had already dug in but it was so delicious.

Hunter is so sweet.  He always plays with Dylan even though he's much older.
Thank you buddy.

We do a "round robin" gift exchange.
It's funny and mean all at the same time but it usually involves lots of laughing.

there's always a photo bomber

my obligatory picture to prove I'm at the party

Thanks Kim, Pat, Brittany and Dustin.  We had such a wonderful time and 
made lots of memories.

Disney Trip with Dylan

I'm gonna try to condense this to his favorite parts of the day.
I took hundreds of pictures.

He really didn't want anything to do with "Princess anything" so I got a picture of the castle
in by bribing him with a mickey cookie.

His favorite was the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.
That was my favorite as a child also.

He really loved the Jungle cruise also.

I really liked their Christmas tree.

Pirates of the Carribean was another big hit.
Although he wasn't crazy about Captain Jack asking him to sword fight.
A quick duck behind a trash can saved him from that battle.

The Haunted Mansion

as we were entering he was not to sure about this ride as you can
tell in the picture below but he ended up loving it.

He enjoyed the riverboat cruise

I got him to stand still long enough to watch Mickey Mouse come by for his 
birthday parade.

We took a brief refreshment break and "nap".
For about 20 seconds.

We rode the people mover several times.
I think what he really enjoyed was the stairless escalator
you have to go on to get to this ride.

Because we were by ourselves, this was the only picture I got of the both of us.

Buzz Light Year was also a favorite that we rode a few times.

And of course the race track.  Dylan was tall enough to be the driver this time.

We rode the tea cups a few times and I actually didn't get sick.

We rode the Dumbo ride and the rollercoaster several times.  Fun.

We had a great day together, even though he would have no part of any rides having to do with
any princess.  Nana loved spending the day with you like I use to do with Taylor when she was little.
Next time it's Makenzie and Brody's turn.  One of the perks of being a grandmother in Orlando.

the beautiful Cinderella Castle all decked out in her Christmas finest

of all the prizes he could pick out at Disney he choose
of course
Star War Legos

Gingerbread House Party

This year cousin Kim hosted the Cousin Gingerbread House Party.

Thanks Aunt Gail for pre-building the houses.

The cousins were excited to go.
Kids, mom's and grandma's alike got in on the decorating.

Finished products.

Dylan's house

And let me just tell you, after two hours of eating pizza and cookies and
drinking juice, this picture is as good as it's gonna get getting the whole crowd in.

We missed Caleb (at a ball game)
Kylee (sick)
Taylor (working)
and Makenzie and Brody (in Illinois)

Looking forward to next year already.

Merry Christmas

Jessica's Christmas Eve Party

My niece Jessica has a Christmas Eve gathering at her house for friends and family.
Every year it seems to get bigger and bigger.
I think there were about 70 this year.

Mom's and daughters

there were more children than I could count

Cutest face ever

Thank goodness for Jessica, they had a little help with cleanup.

Mom's Christmas Eve Party

After staying a Jessica's for an hour or so I head over to my Mom's Christmas Eve gathering.  
Thank goodness they live in the same neighborhood.  Everyone gets really tired of me sticking a camera in their faces all the time so I just made a few quick snapshots.
Document people, I'm just saying....

hugs and yummy food
what could be better

I found these two (my little brother and my son) in the back
room.  I'm sure they were just making calls to spread Christmas joy.

Memories of Christmas 2013

I really liked my Christmas cookies this year.   Especially the snowglobe christmas tree on a car that I made for parties, family and neighbors.

Mike got squirrels to put in our trees in honor of his favorite Christmas movie,
Christmas Vacation.

I think my hot chocolate station may have to stay up through winter.

Mike made this wreath for the door years ago and we hadn't used it in quite a while.
He brought it out again this year and added some additional decorations to brighten it up.

Koby got a Christmas sweater this year and seemed to really like it.

Carrie's big Christmas surprise.

After we opened our presents with Carrie, it was off to Melissa's for
Christmas breakfast and a second round of presents.

Koby got his favorite present again for Christmas.

As I look over this extremely long/picture heavy post I realize what a blessed life I live.
So many things to be thankful for.  My biggest blessing this year was Makenzie's full recovery
from what may well  have been a tragedy.  My sweet Makenzie had her tonsils out the day
before Thanksgiving.  As went well in her surgery but about a week later she woke up with
a cough and it busted open her incisions.  Her arteries began to spasm and she began bleeding
profusely.  After a trip to the local hospital she was air lifted to St. Louis.  God gave us the
miracle of having the bleeding stop before emergency surgery was done however she did
have much needed blood transfusions.  She is now completely healed.  Praise God.
 I only realized how serious it was and what a blessing our family received when I read 
the story of the little girl in California who the same thing happened to and is now brain dead.
Please pray for her and her family.

Thank you God for the best blessing for the season/year/decade/life.

Kelly, Matt, Makenzie and Brody, we missed you all so much this holiday season but don't worry, 
Nana will be there in a few weeks.  I've got lots of fun activities planned.

From our family to yours
We hope you Christmas was Merry and
your New Year is blessed.