Friday, December 28, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 76.

Goodbye celebrating the birth of our Savior surrounded by family and friends.
Goodbye honoring the Wise Men's gifts with lots of gifts of our own to each other.
Goodbye piled, unwrapped gifts that still need to find a place in our shrinking home.
Goodbye Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie that is sadly the reason for my weight-loss new year's resolution (no regrets).
Goodbye snow blizzard we shoveled off the drive to help with burning that Pie off the thighs.

Hello warm apple cider at my side each morning while I type and blog, thanks to my new Keurig.
Hello grandparents from New York, staying awhile and enjoying their company.
Hello conjuring up projects and plans for my new office space and making it pretty.
Hello sledding, and playdates, and hot chocolate.
Hello taking a wee-bit of a bloggy break to truly be present with my family next week.

My Waterford Crystal Champagne Flutes representing love, happiness, peace, health, and prosperity.

My lesson learned this week is that blogging takes A LOT of energy (but I know you already know that). So, in realizing this, I'm taking a week off, a bloggy break. If you don't blog yourself, let me tell you how consuming the whole process is. I'm not complaining, but it takes a lot more than snapping a few pictures and keyboarding a few strokes. It consumes you. Honestly, I find myself in a constant state of creativity and it begins to drain me. And, my kiddo has a week left of Winter Break so I want to really be "in-the-moment" with him, enjoy his and Super Hubby's company, and not be thinking what tomorrow's post will look like or what craft project I can think up using a coffee filter and some glitter. I blog 5-days a week and I'm happy, thrilled, and even consider myself blessed to be given the honor of your attention each day. But, right now, I need to be present for my family. Time is fleeting, and I won't let it escape just for 5-days of posts.

If you want to come back next week for 5 days, here's some old posts that really touched a lot of hearts. I'll link them here and I'll be back on January 7th:

Let me, also, take this time to wish you all a most promising New Year filled with love, peace, good health, happiness, and prosperity. Welcome 2013!

As you can see from the picture of my champagne flutes, Waterford took 5 years, introducing each new year's wish leading up to the new millennium. Waterford cut the crystal with a symbol representing each: the heart represents Love, the bow represents Happiness, the dove represents Peace, the wheat represents Health, and the burst represents Prosperity. Each year we ring in the new year by each selecting the one wish we hope for the most. Which one would you choose to drink from when toasting in 2013?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Some New Favorite Things

Was Santa good to you this year? I think Santa was better to me than I deserved! Here are a few of my favorites from this Christmas. 

 1. A White Christmas (thanks, Suzan)
2. Fuzzy and warm suede slippers (thanks, Super Hubby)
3. A new camera (Super Hubby thought I needed a new one since mine puffs out a bit of smoke after each flash - I didn't see that as a problem)
4. Ina's new cookbook - bought by me, wrapped by me, given to Super Hubby to give to me:-)
5. Keurig BrewMaster (thanks, mom and dad - now, winter doesn't feel so cold)
6. Huge poinsettia (thanks, Mr. P. - it really livens up the foyer)

Now, for my most favorite, most cherished Christmas gift of all this year: a miniature owl-shaped cookie cutter from none other than my Super Kiddo! Love it, love him!!!!

So, spill...what did you get for Christmas this year that you absolutely love?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {A Plethora of Projects}


Happy day-after Christmas! I wanted to share with you a potpourri of What I Made's throughout the week. Every year we have Christmas dinner at our house so I'll share the menu of our feast, as well. Finally, we hunt out a family ornament that best represents each year. We started this tradition 16 years ago when Super Hubby and I celebrated our first Christmas together in this house of ours. So, today's What I Made Wednesday is a mish-mosh of projects that have been keeping me busy these past several days. I hope you are entertained.

Felt Rosette Wreath
Last week I started this Felt Rosette Wreath but never got finished in time to show you the completed project. Well, here it is! It's actually quite impressive in-person. Click here for the "how-to". I just wanted to make sure you knew I finish things I start:-)

Christmas Dinner Menu We have been honored to have 16 Christmas dinners at our house since we've been here and every year it has been a joy to pull-off. Some years we have had as many as 25 guests, all seated around our dining room table (with both leaf extensions) and a couple card tables at the end of it spilling into the living room for good measure. With cousins grown and living their own lives and starting their own traditions, our numbers have dwindled but the effort I put into Christmas dinner is the same: always made with love. Here's our Christmas menu for 2012, all homemade, even down to the pita chips! I just wish I had the thought to take a picture of it before we dug-in. A note about the beef wellington: so easy to make, so impresssive when it hits the table! Look for it in an upcoming W.I.M. Wednesday!
Veggies and Dill Dip
Eggplant/Pepper Spread with Pita Chips

 Beef Wellington with Mustard Sauce and Mushrooms
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Scalloped Potatoes
Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing and Croutons
Rosemary Bread

Peanut Butter Pie
Christmas Cookies

2012 Family Christmas Ornament This year's Christmas ornament comes with some revelation. My son first spotted this gem at the local Garden Center. This place treats the public to a dozen of fully-blown, decorated to-the-nines, Christmas trees. There isn't a bare branch to behold with all the ornaments that adorn these differently themed trees. Of course, all the ornaments are for sale and my son spotted this interesting number. I joked with Super Hubby and said how perfect the ornament was for 2012 as the first thing I thought of when I saw the jingle bell inside the ball of wire was "Trapped"! Trapped with health insurance, trapped with the Fiscal Cliff, trapped, trapped. My bah! humbug mood was overtaking my clarity. 
We bought the ornament never intending it to be the family's 2012 ornament until, right before Christmas, it hit me! The jingle bell inside the wired ball didn't represent us being "trapped". Instead, it represented us being "protected"! Despite all the woes of 2012, we were always, and will ever be, protected and safe because we believe. Wow! I went into my workshop and got busy hand-stamping the numbers 2-0-1-2 onto a small silver blank and attached it with a jump ring to the top of the ornament. There, perfect! I absolutely love it! 

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Blessings to you and yours on this day of celebrating miracles and hope. This day may not be a joyous one for all. For many, the holidays may open old wounds, or even fresh ones. For others, today encompasses the joys and good fortunes experienced throughout this year. Whether you fall into the former category, the latter, or somewhere in between, know that you are loved and blessed. Believe in the promises Christmas brings: hope, new beginnings, and miracles. If times have been good to you, I wish you even more of the same. If things have been a bit rough, I wish you strength and courage to hold on until times get better, because I promise you they will. It is the promise of Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

Anyone know the name of the unusual flower bud?
Here it is: the day before the big day! So many young, little hearts wait expectantly for tomorrow's morning to come. They wouldn't be the only ones waiting with great expectations. Over 2,000 years ago, there was a young, scared mother waiting expectantly for her Child of God to be born. There was a faithful, young father waiting expectantly to love a Child, not of his own. There were shepards in a field, waiting expectantly for a Miracle promised by a shining star. And, there were Wise Men, waiting expectantly to give gifts to the One that was destined to save us all.

My wish for you is that you wait expectantly for great things to come your way. Start each and every day knowing something good is going to happen to you today. "Impossible," you say? Not with an attitude of gratitude. It's not just about being thankful, it's about knowing that if all you have today is all you'll ever get, ever, it is enough. Look around you and begin to realize that any wrapped present that awaits you under the sparkling tree Christmas morn is something you probably could have lived without any way. You can't wrap health, love, peace, and happiness. But if you have those intangibles, you are rich with gifts intended for each and every being on this Earth. And, if you lack any of those, begin to wait expectantly while you thank graciously. Merry Christmas!

Give yourself a gift and begin your own Gratitude Journal. Here's where I got started, click here.

371. I am grateful for the magic and anticipation of Christmas that flows so easily through children - it's contagious.
372. I am grateful for those friends and family that spend Christmas day at our house, sharing a good meal and a few laughs with those we love.
373. I am grateful for the good health I enjoy, the love that surrounds me, the peace within me, and the choice of happiness I make daily.
374. I am grateful for all the yummy cookies given to us by many friends.
375. I am thankful for my wonderful friend, Pam, who is the most thoughtful, positive, unselfish, and caring person I know; I am so lucky to know her.

See you tomorrow for a special Christmas wish! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 75.

Goodbye fantastic performance of the Canadian and American National Anthems at the CAVS game against the Toronto Raptors; great job by our school's Glee club!

Goodbye as my kiddo's face plastered the arena's JumboTron for nearly 5-seconds while singing the Anthems - so cool!

Goodbye hot cocoa bar on the last day of school before Winter Break - yummy.

Goodbye starting Break off right with friends, Rise of the Gaurdians, bowling, and MineCraft.

Goodbye green grass as snowfall turns you white and frosty - let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Our Winter Storm warning: lines of de-icer fluid on the streets.

Hello cookie baking Snickerdoodles, Snow Balls, Kris Kringle's Chocolate Krinkles, Marshmallow Wreaths, Sugar Cookies, and Thumbprints.

Hello Alumni Luncheon with Super Hubby (I'm forcing him to attend and it's his school; thanks, hon).

Hello watching lots of Christmas film classics all weekend-long.

Hello staying calm, cool, and collected as we ready for the Christmas feast; I've got a great menu planned.

Hello prayers for my Grandmother as she lives each day getting closer and closer to heaven.

My Lesson Learned this week is so appropriate during this holiday season when Earthly justice takes a backseat. Thank goodness our actions are judged truly, not by man, but by the Almighty. We need to learn to take "judgement" off our To-Do list; it's not our job.

In the spirit of the holiday, I may have to do something I just don't feel like doing. As long as it's legal, I'll do it anyways. I may have to forgive someone that doesn't deserve forgiveness. I'll do it anyways. And, I'll have to love somebody that doesn't love me back. That's OK, I'll do it anyways. Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards ALL!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bucket List for Winter Break

It's here. It's finally here! Do you know how much time we gain in our day when my son doesn't go to school? Nearly 5 hours!!! With 2-hours of driving time and nearly 3 hours of homework each night for my poor kiddo, there will be TIME, precious time for this family to have some fun, rest, and more fun!

Our Family's Bucket List for Winter Break

1. Have lots and lots of friends over lots and lots of times.
2. Sledding, if we get snow.
3. Check out the Gingerbread Houses at Cleveland's Botanical Gardens.
4. Enjoy and relish in a low-key Christmas.
5. Don't leave the house for days on end, stay in pajamas, and keep the fire stoked.
6. Don't worry about all the consumed sweets; that's what new year's resolutions are for.
7. Snowshoe, if we get snow.
8. Be present, completely.
9. Sleep.
10. Organize the LEGO bins (this one is totally mine).

To all the families enjoying a Winter Break, be safe, stay merry, and LOVD tidings to you and yours. - Lilly

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {Felt Rosette Wreath}

I'm not done with this cute little wreath just yet, but I wanted to show you how it's coming along and how, with a little time, you can make one, too! It's easy to see how to finish (kind of like Rinse. Lather. Repeat. - self-explanatory).

When I show you how I made this, you just won't believe it. And, bonus, it's actually very relaxing because it's repetitive. I'm not done with the wreath but you can see how it's going to look, can't you?

What You'll Need
Green and Red Felt (more green than red)
Plastic Canvas found in the knitting section of your hobby store
Bamboo skewer or some pokey object
Round objects to be used as circle templates (I used a juice glass for the felt and a small dessert plate for the wreath)

What You'll Do
I'm not going to be gentle about this: you will be cutting A LOT of little circles so you decide if you want to cut them all out ahead of time, or as you go along.

Take the small dessert plate and use it as a template to draw an outline of a circle with your pen. Cut out the round circle. Then, take a smaller circle template (I used a cocoa mug) to draw and cut-out the center.

Using a small juice glass as a template, trace a circle on the felt with a pen and cut-out. You'll need lots and lots!
Take the cut-out felt and fold it in half (semi-circle). Then, fold it in half again where you end up with a point at the bottom. Take a skewer and push the point of the felt into and through the hole of the plastic canvas.


You may need to use pliers to grab the tiny ball of felt protruding through on the other side to help pull it a little more for ultimate security. You don't want your felt rosettes to pop out of your canvas, now do you?

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

The rosette takes up a lot of space on the pretty side. You'll notice I don't really have to bunch them up to fill-in the canvas. See how I have them spaced out, not right on top of each other?

What You'll Need to Know to Finish
 I kept on cutting, poking, pulling, prodding, and fluffing and got to this point:
 It looked so cute, I thought I could cut this and turn it into a lapel pin for my coat during the holidays!!! It would have been adorable and the only thing you need is some glue and a pin fastener.

With time not being on my side, I should have turned this wreath project into a pin project since I'm still not done, but I hope you can see how to finish. Easy, right?

Hope you enjoyed this technique. The possibilities are endless. For instance, next year, I may get white felt, cut-out 3 circles of expanding size, and make a snowman. How adorable would that be? Giggles.

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