Friday, December 16, 2011

Use What You Already Have...

This is something I do ALL.THE.TIME.  I go up into my attic, search through bins and go my own house.  This is what I "bought" today....

An old hurricane, epson salt, yankee candle wrapped in left over wrapping paper from last year, tiny ornaments I found in a drawer and jute string=easy and cheap kitchen counter decor;)  And it smells good too!

Seriously, just throw what you have together and see what you get, you may be surprised.  Okay, so there are some limitations but if you like it and it makes you smile, that's all that matters;)

Merry Christmas!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

I have a favor to ask you...

I  REALLY need you to very simply vote for my friend Melissa, as she is currently in first place to win $100,000 for The Ikea Life Improvement Project!!  Her project means a lot to me because it's for her son's preschool and what we hope will be Bennett's preschool next fall.  Go here if ya just want to vote for it and skip my reasoning for why you need to do it;):

But if you still need a reason why:  The school is called The Frankie Lemmon School and it's a preschool for children with special needs.  Now, I've thought long and hard about where I want Bennett to go and why I want him going to a particular school.  Believe me people, I analyzed it to death.  And in my heart, this is truly where I think Bennett will succeed, learn, grow and get prepared for kindergarten.  It was a simple decision with the girls but it hasn't been with Bennett.  There are sooo many other factors that go into the decision with him.

So Melissa plans to donate the money for technology such as ipads (they already use these in the classes but need more), more education for the teachers that work with these great kids and a website to help other teachers across the country that also work with kids with special needs.  Melissa was a teacher herself so she knows what teachers need.

The Frankie Lemmon School is truly a wonderful place.  If she wins, this money will help it be an even better place for these awesome children!

So just vote for it, will ya?!  It takes 10 seconds!!  Here is the direct link again:

Don't forget to confirm your email address after you vote the first time {Only the first time you vote do you have to confirm it but you can vote every day!!!:)}

You won't get spam and you won't get contacted.  Just vote!!  Voting ends DECEMBER 23rd!!

Vote, Vote and Vote again!!!!

I'll be sure to remind you again though!

Thanks so much to all who have already voted!!  Melissa and The Frankie Lemmon school are overwhelmed with all the love!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Our Halls Are Decked...

Our tree is trimmed...

and so is our bed;)

Our candles are lit.

Our stockings are hung.

Our cards have been mailed out and new ones are arriving.  

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The start of the season...

...Turkey day!

Thanksgiving 2011
This year we celebrated Thanksgiving with some of Mike's family at our house!  Mike is an awesome cook chef;) and had everything timed and cooked perfectly once again.  I have to give credit to my husband because the man knows how to cook, pretty much anything.  Now, I did contribute with 2 casseroles {I can cook, just don't really care for it} and of course Mike's mom helped a bunch too.  All in all it was a great holiday!
Mike decided to grill the turkey this was awesome!!  

We really do have lots to be thankful for!  Bennett got a clean bill of health at the cardiologist this past week, Mike has a job, we're all for the most part healthy.  Everything happens for a reason, I've learned that in life and truly believe it.

And so the tradition continues, "Charlie" our elf on the shelf made his debut the day after Thanksgiving and the girls are having fun finding him every morning in his new spot;). Except when Charlie "forgets" to change spots...ehem.

But the house is all decorated {I'll share that in a bit} and now I'm working on some cute outfits for a Christmas parade.  I haven't sewn like this in a while (since my dad passed a way) so it's nice to get back to it and have the girls excited to wear something I made.

Looking forward to a good month ahead with more family and friends visiting, parties and birthdays!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A little here, a little there...

A little Christmas everywhere!

So you know Thanksgiving is next week right?  Well, I've slowly started to pull my Christmas things out because:

  1. I put too much effort into decorating to not enjoy it for a while!
  2. We've got lots of family and visitors coming this year 
  3. I'm type A and a bit of a nut so I like to get things ready
It's not that I don't appreciate Thanksgiving and what it means though.  I just like to have most of my Christmas stuff up and ready to go right after Thanksgiving.  

So here's what I've been up to.  But before I start I must share this great post from "The Nester".  It's really helped me feel less scatterbrained about my decorations.  I used to just pull everything out of the attic and basically "vomit Christmas decor".  No rhyme or reason.  No real theme.  If it was a Santa, a holiday stuffed bear, a baby Jesus or red and green, it was set out.  

This year I have a theme or maybe a couple of themes.  I will not pull out every last decoration.  I will not scatter Santas and holiday bears here and there.  Baby Jesus will still come out {of course} but he will have a special place, not next to candy canes and big ornaments.  I will stick to my theme and I think I'll feel better about taking it all down when it's time instead of dreading it!;)

Okay, okay now I'll show you just a little of what I've done.  Let's call my theme(s) burlap & balls.  Well maybe that's not such a great name for it, lol.  Whatever...

Simple center piece for the kitchen table, staying with my color scheme for this year;)

Needed to dress up these old windows I have hanging on the wall.  These sparkle at night and look so pretty-love.

Old candle stick holders that's belonged to my grandmother on each side of the mantle. Kind of whimsical.  

Love these fun, oversized ball ornaments that my mom let me have!  But just a little goes a long way here.  You can't go crazy with these things!

And here's that tree right next to the dining, in the foyer. This belongs to my mom but she doesn't want to mess with it this year since she'll be with us for Christmas so I told her I would take it. It's tall and slim, perfect for our foyer! Thank you mom!!

Still lots to do. We've got the two trees this year and that's where "The Nester's" post has really come in handy. Highly recommend reading that if you're feeling scattered with your decorations!

It may be a few weeks for the full reveal on the inside;) Now I've got my little wreath on the front door but then there's the rest of the outside of the house....

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

They say the first ones are the hardest....

Holidays that is.

The first holiday without your loved one.

The first holiday season without my dad.

To catch you up if you just started following:  my dad passed away in May from Melanoma.  He fought very hard for a year.  My dad wasn't old, he was just 66.  Worst year of our lives.  Full of ups and downs.  About drove me to have a heart attack or what I found out later to be panic attacks.

I was thinking about last year at this time when he was just getting over a major surgery and we were preparing for a good holiday season.  And it was a good one.

There's this strange thing when someone you love dearly has stage IV cancer.  At least for me, there was this dueling fight between two very different feelings.  One being the realistic person that I am:  My dad has stage IV Melanoma; incurable, aggressive, fatal in almost all cases.

And then there was what I think occurs to many if not most people that are clinging onto the person they love:  The superhero mentality.  Meaning, you turn the person that has cancer into a superhero.  They will be the one to beat this.  They will kick cancer's ass.  There is no alternative, the cancer has to go.  And you genuinely believe this even when you see the person struggling to breathe, struggling to walk.

That's called HOPE.  

And if we didn't have hope how would anyone ever beat cancer?  What would be the point?

Last Christmas I took lots of pictures of my dad.  More than I usually do because the realist in me told me that this may be the last Christmas I spend with him but then he would say something like: {and this was so my dad, always joking, always wanting to see you smile}

"Why are you taking so many pictures of me?  Ya think I'm going somewhere?"  

And once again, he was my superhero.  But it didn't take cancer for me to feel that way about him.

So while this holiday season will be the first without him and hard, I am so thankful for the fact that our last holiday season with him was wonderful.  In fact EVERY.SINGLE.HOLIDAY SEASON was wonderful with my dad.  So many perfect memories that I have, all of them put a smile on my face.

He was the best, that's all there is to it.

Miss you dad.  I think of you every day.  You're still my superhero.  Always have been, always will be.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

DIY Monogram Lamp...

So for those of you with Cricut machines or the new Silhouette Cameo...I'm jealous.  You just have a good old time cutting out all your stuff and looking like Martha Stewart while the rest of us drool over your crafts;)  It's on my Christmas list but until then... or never if Santa doesn't bring it, I'll do it my way....

Easy monogram lampshade!  Well not as easy if I had a cricut but still easy!   I got the idea of monogramming things using clear label paper from this pinterest.  Totally want to do the balloons for one of my kid's parties but I got to playing around and found that it looked pretty good on a lampshade too!

Without the light on.

I'm loving it!

So I put one upstairs in the bonus room too! {This room needs serious decorating help when it comes to adding color on the walls but it's gonna be a while.  In the meantime, a monogram always adds a nice touch!}

I just created my "D" in photoshop but microsoft word would work just fine too.  Then I added a buldge to it because I thought it looked better.  

Here's the paper I used.

And then since I had and still have lots of paper left (that will be for those balloons ;)) I tried it in Ainsley's room on her lamps...

Without the light on.

And with the light on!  Looks totally different with the light on as far as the color goes obviously but I like it both ways.  

I have lots to do in Ainsley's room as far as decorating goes but for now, I'm satisfied;)  

Now go monogram some lamps!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

First Steps!!!!

We've been waiting for this for a looong time.  Like reeeally long.  So yeah, this is pretty darn sweet...

By no means is he walking but Bennett is finally taking independent steps!

Yep, I've watched it about 20 times now;)  Happy tears.

So proud of my boy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Let The Decorating Begin!

Can you believe it's that time of the year again!?  Now, I haven't started to drag out my decorations from the attic but I'm definitely thinking about how I want to decorate this year and I've decided to go with a burlap theme!  We're in a new and different house so I'm changing things up a little!  Can't wait to share!

So I was out shopping with Bennett {my usual shopping companion;)} and we saw this simple wreath with a monogram and holly.  I turned it over to see the price and it was $56!  It was once again one of those "oh please, I can make that myself" moments.  So with a touch of burlap, I did;)

Here's my version!  So simple but I think it makes a nice statement.  I plan on having garland all around the door so maybe a less elaborate "wreath" will be better.

Here's how I made it:

It's not rocket science, just a cheap mdf letter from Michaels, glue gun {of course}, holly from Michaels and burlap garland or ribbon.  I found this burlap ribbon at Michaels as well and it will be perfect to add to my green garland but I'm wanting the wired ribbon to make more bows so I ordered that from Ballard Designs and I'm waiting for it's arrival.  The ribbon should be easier to manipulate into a bow as well for other wreaths.

Just cut the holly off and glue!  Fill in the spaces and you're done!  Depending on the letter of your last name you may have to get creative with how you hang your ribbon from the letter.

So that's my first little tid bit of decor.  I'm busy painting most of the downstairs this very pale blue (totally different color scheme for me) and I love it!  Can't wait to have everything in it's place and ready for the holidays!!

Stay tuned!


Many have asked about hanging those tricky letters like L, M, H and W.  Again, you will have to get creative but here's what I suggest for the letter L:

 I would either hot glue or use a staple gun to attach the burlap (to the back of the L) and give yourself enough burlap to then make a big bow. I'm not sure by I'm thinking it would hang straight and not be uneven.

For those letters that have 2 points  {for lack of better words}:

You could decorate the H, M, W etc. with holly berries and then get a basic stick wreath and hot clue jute string to the top of each point on the 2 pointed letter {lol} and then tie it around the letter and then add a burlap bow, an extra step but not expensive.  I've done this before for a wreath I made for my sister:

This was for fall so of course you wouldn't have all the extra stuff on the side, just the stick wreath, the holly berry letter and a big burlap bow.  Still simple but a way to hang that tricky letter.  

The letter I purchased at Michaels for the holly berry letter wreath was a black MDF letter and it's 12x11 in size.   

Hope this helps!!

Linked up to:


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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Son That Never Existed.

I wrote this back when Bennett was just 5 months old.  So in honor of Down syndrome awareness month....

I've been doing some thinking. Thinking about how upset I was when I first found out that Bennett had Down syndrome. Almost immediately a little boys life flashed before my eyes. A boy I didn't even know but I felt I was losing him. Dreams that I had for this boy seemed to vanish, dreams that I had made up, dreams that we all make up. His face that I had envisioned seemed to vanish and even the names I had picked seemed to slip away. It was as if all of a sudden I was given this new child that I was not prepared for and that did not fit into my plans.

Now, I know that all of these feelings I had were normal and I don't think there is anything wrong with mourning the death of child you thought you were having. Because essentially that's what it feels like at first. However, I've come to realize that the child I had dreamed about and that I thought I was having never even existed. There was never a Bennett without Down syndrome. The moment Bennett was conceived, that extra chromosome was there.

When he was first born I used to wonder what he would look like if he didn't have Down syndrome or what he would be doing if he didn't have it. Would his eyes be big and round like Harper's? Would he be a strong baby and holding his head up more as an infant if he did not have DS? But now when I look at him, again I remind myself that there was never a little Bennett of mine without Down syndrome, he never existed. For some reason this thought puts me to tears, like really makes me cry but I don't think it makes me cry because I'm sad that there was never a Bennett without Down syndrome, I think it makes me realize how much of this life is not in my control and how God has his hands on everything and that's a good thing.

In the beginning I struggled so much with whether or not this just happened by mistake or if God knew this all along. Like when I was a little girl did God know that I would one day have two little girls of my own and then something special would happen and Bennett would be conceived? I struggled because I thought why would God cause this to happen, why would he want my son to have something that would cause him to be different or "not perfect"? But now I've come to believe that God allowed this to happen and although I do not know his plans or why it would happen to us, his ways are much bigger than my ways and it's okay to not know why. And for some reason it puts me at peace to know that this child I had in my mind, the child I thought I was having never was meant to be. Bennett, however was meant to be. He was perfectly placed in our family and not because we are special parents that have the strength to handle a child with special needs, because 1) we aren't and 2) we don't but because God has plans. And I'm so thankful I can now believe that Bennett was always the son I was meant to have, from the very beginning, just the way he is.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Through the years....

 Isn't it fun to look back?  I found these pics and had to share.  They crack me up because of how ridiculous the dogs look and how funny I am about dressing them up as well!  Once Bennett arrived it just got to be too much to get them to stay in the darn picture!  Maybe I can get them back in the Halloween pic this year though....

Our first Halloween as a little family-2005:)

Harper's here!  Pumpkin Patch 2007

Halloween 2007{Please look at Blitzen-the dog on the right-lol}
Pumpkin Patch 2008
Halloween 2008- {again with the dogs!}
Bennett's here!  Pumpkin patch 2009-

I can't find a pic from Halloween 2009 but I know we all had the Swine Flu and it was miserable!

Pumpkin patch 2010

Halloween 2010
Pumpkin Patch 2011

Halloween 2011 will be here in just a few days!  I'm gonna attempt to get all five of them on the steps-need to dig out the dog costumes!