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November 29, 2007

the search is over...

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The creme de la cocoa has been found. You Stephen's fans were definitely on to something. This is some seriously yummy stuff—especially the chocolate mint truffle. (And it's quite habit forming...so be careful.) Yum-o is all I can say. (Oh, and I can also say thank you to Lisa for setting me up. You're the best!)

I do need more hot cocoa *help* though. I got an email from Juanita who is desperately seeking the Hershey's Goodnight Kisses. Does anyone know which major retailers carry this? (And Juanita, if you can't find it...this Stephen's stuff is delicious. Plus, it has negligible amounts of caffeine. I drink it right before bed (and in the afternoon—I drink it round the clock, pretty much) and I sleep just fine at night.)

That's it for today's hot cocoa update. Hope you're enjoying a hot cup of your own right now, too. (And if you aren't...go make a cup. Now. Really. You deserve it.)

November 25, 2007

holiday traditions

Getting really excited for Christmas here. How about you? This weekend we decorated the house and today we went to see Santa. Funny how Santa and just being in the mall...hearing the Christmas music, seeing the decorations and the gift ideas galore really put me in the holiday mood. And lunch at Olga's never hurts for lifting the spirits either.

I also love pulling the holiday bins out of storage each year...and uncovering the treasures inside. It's like getting reacquainted with old friends...holiday decorations that have been a part of my history for years, and seeing new friends, things that I picked up in recent years to add to my holiday collection.

This tin

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holds some of my favorite treasures and bits of one of my favorite holiday traditions—one my Mom started for my brother, sister and I when we were young. (And one that I now do with my kids.) Each year, from the year we were born, my Mom bought each of us a Christmas ornament. We would put the ornaments on the tree...so our kid's ornaments were for the whole family to enjoy. But, we knew that when we moved out, we already had some holiday ornaments (and a bit of home and the holidays past) to take with us. I loved that as a kid...and my kids love picking out a new ornament for their collection each year.

Some of my very first ornaments are in this tin...

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The little felt elephants are from my very first Christmas, circa 1968. These sweet little guys used to have trunks that held little felt flowers, until my first dog Shelby "attacked" my first grownup Christmas tree. (Thus explaining why the elephants now live in the tin and don't make it up on the tree each year.)

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The kangaroo and the partridge, who escaped the wrath of Shelby, are from my second and third Christmases. And I just love this handwritten inventory list...

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my handwriting from about 1980. How fun to see how I used to write and evidence that, even then, I loved lists and organizing. (Note to self and any other interested scrapbooker: even YOU will enjoy your handwriting in your scrapbooks in the years to come! Like everything else, your handwriting will change and you'll love seeing the changes as they unfold on your scrapbook pages. My writing is no where near as neat as this sample from my earlier years and it's so fun to see that.)

So how about you? What are your favorite holiday traditions and what treasures do you love to uncover year after year in your holiday decor boxes? I love cherishing the old traditions, but I also love creating new ones to share with my family. I'd love to hear about your favorite traditions and what makes the holidays special to you and your family.

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you and yours are having a wonderful turkey day. We spent the morning watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day — love that! Such a great way to start the day, lounging with the ones you love.

Just finished making my Mom's stuffing and Jay's making some homemade rolls. (Yum-o!) And then we're heading to his Mom and Dad's for the festivities of the day. I hope you're having a lovely and relaxing day, too.

Are you headed out for the shopping frenzy tomorrow? I used to LOVE that...but now...I'd rather be at home decorating for Christmas and do my shopping on a less crowded and frenzied day! ;) If you are heading out tomorrow, make your list today! Sales are wonderful...if you're buying something you or someone on your gift list needs or wants. So take a list, check it twice, and do your best to leave anything unneeded (i.e. not on your list!) at the store. You'll thank me later. I promise. ;)

Now...back to the regularly scheduled Turkey festivities. Enjoy! :)

November 21, 2007

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November 19, 2007

get organized for the holidays - a new planning system

Are you wondering how you're going to "get it all done" this holiday season? If so, I I have good news for you. I received several emails and blog comments saying things like "Please offer Get Organized for the Holidays again but not on a Thursday." "Can I just get access to the forms and worksheets?" "Can you offer Get Organized for the Holidays in a way that doesn't require being on the phone or listening to an MP3?" And so on.

So, just for you, I put together the Get Organized for the Holidays instant download planning system. All you have to do is read through the pdf document and fill out some forms, and presto! you have a plan to be organized this holiday season. You can access the forms, worksheets, holiday planner project instructions, and all the other information included with the planning system whenever you want (without having to call in or listen to anything.) So if you love instant gratification ;) or you're running out of time for getting it all done this holiday season, the Get Organized for the Holidays Planning System is just for you! Enjoy!

In other holiday organizing news...

One of my favorite gifts to give each holiday season is a holiday calendar from shutterfly. We make one each year for the Grandma's and Grandpa's...and they seriously love it. (In fact my sister, who doesn't even get one, asked if we were doing it again this year. My Mom must be asking her about it...a good sign and quite the typical approach for my Mom:  if she wants to know something about one of her kids, she asks another one of her kids.) Anyway...I highly recommend the photo calendar if you're in search of a gift idea for the Grandma's and Grandpa's on your list.

This weekend I went through ALL the photos we took in 2007 looking for great photos for the 2008 edition of our calendar. This took a serious chunk of time, but it was so much fun to see how much the kiddos have changed in the past year and to see all the fun things we did. I also loved seeing all the seasonal changes that took place in our yard...from the ice storm, to snow, to an early spring and late frost that killed all the little green leaves, to the dried out yuck of our summer yard, and now a really, pretty fall. I seriously love the seasons. And looking at all those photos has my brain spinning with ideas for scrapbook projects. Ah...so much fun.

And...I started my shopping this weekend(!) and Jay hung the holiday lights(!). Woohoo! The best part about getting an early start on the holidays is that it's going to create space at the end of the season for some new things...like relaxation and just hanging out for fun. One new tradition that we're going to start this year is a gingerbread house contest—boys versus girls. The boys seem to think they have a serious advantage...but I'm pushing for the contest to start with a shopping trip to get all the gingerbread making supplies. If I can pull that one off...the boys are in *big* trouble. (Jay seriously hates to shop...and has a bit of trouble finding things at the store. So...this would give the girls a serious edge...or at least level the playing field.) More on the contest soon—once we put together the "official rules."

So I could sit here all day and ramble about organizing and the holidays...but I best go do some other things. This is the ONLY DAY this week my kids are in school...what's up with that?

Hope you have a great day!!

November 15, 2007

kid's birthday party ideas

If you're looking for a fun way to celebrate your child's birthday, here's an idea we've done the last two years with Collin, and it was a huge hit. (In fact, this year he requested it, which is good because I would have totally forgotten we did it last year.)

Here's what we did. We wrapped up all the gifts, and put a number on each one. Then, we made up clues to take him on a scavenger hunt throughout the house in search of his gifts.

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Jay and I had fun creating silly little rhymes for his clues like "Gift #6 is one of your picks.  You’ll find it with the bowls used to mix." And then we hid present number six in the cabinet with the mixing bowls. He loved it and Kailea had lots of fun helping him find his hidden gifts.

The best hiding spot was under a bar stool. We wrapped up some coupons for video game time during the week (one of the items on his list) and attached them to the bottom of the stool. It took them forever to figure out where it was. (Which is fun too...because it stretched out the present opening excitement.)

I was also inspired to make a banner for his birthday. Wendy has posted all sorts of cute banners on her blog so I've wanted to make one for a while. I was a bit perplexed (or too lazy!) to cut triangles, so I opted for squares (inspired by this super cute banner on Elizabeth's blog.)

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It was fun. Ran out of a few supplies midstream so I had to improvise on the far end where it says Collin...but I think it will add a festive touch for his party. Now we just have to add some Sponge Bob streamers and we're all set.

OK...now I need help from you. If you have any great ideas for games or other sorts of entertainment for 9 year old boys at a slumber party, I would be oh-so grateful. We have five boys headed our way tomorrow night for the official party. We're going to play Twister, watch a movie and play some video games, and foozeball, make pizza, eat pizza, cake, ice cream, etc. But I think a few more planned activities would be a good idea. So let me know if you have any ideas, anything at all. Thanks so much!

Have a great night!

November 13, 2007

They told me my life was going to change…

They didn’t tell me I would change.

And that I’d never, ever be the same.

Nine years ago today, my life changed in ways I never would have imagined.

Going into labor five weeks early.
Hoping his lungs would be fully developed.
Taking my little baby boy home a day later…healthy and happy.
Being awake at all hours of the night for feedings.
Worrying that he was sleeping too long.
Sleeping too little.
Eating enough.
Staying at home for weeks—he was just too small to take out.
Living life on tidbits of sleep.

But all of this pales in comparison to the changes in me…

Loving at a level deeper than I ever knew possible.
Seeing the world in a whole new way.
Feeling more compassion.
Feeling greater depths of sorrow…with each tragic news story I’d see.
Knowing that no matter what was happening in the news, some Mom’s “baby” was involved—someone who loved her child in exactly the same way I love mine.
Understanding why it mattered when I stayed out late in High School.
Knowing the depth of my Mother’s love for me.
Believing that miracles really do happen.

My baby boy is nine years old today.

Nine.

Happy birthday Collin.

Thank you for making me a Mom.

Thank you for changing my life.

Thank you for changing ME.

Love you, kiddo.

November 08, 2007

home alone...

A rarity. Just me. Everyone else is off at basketball practice. So I have a whole hour a.l.o.n.e. Wouldn't want it all the time, but it's a nice change of pace.

Reading Ali's new book. Fabulous. Inspiring. (No surprise.) Have you read it? I'm loving it. I seem to be carrying it around with me wherever I go.

Waiting for my teleclass to start...43 minutes. So, if you want to join me, technically there's still time. ;)

And looking forward to climbing into bed tonight. Got up early, early to do some writing (my prime time for the flowing words.) But even more so, I pulled out the down comforter last night. Can't remember the last time I slept so well. Ah...looking forward to more cozy zzzz's.

Hope you're having a great evening. Guess I'll go answer a few emails and sneak in a few more pages of Ali's book.

:)

yikes! better start working off the turkey now

Check this out. It's a calorie counter for the average Thanksgiving dinner. And the scary thing...I don't think their list covers everything on my typical plate. Uh-oh.

How many calories is your Thanksgiving dinner?

(Thanks Stacy T. for sharing this fun link.) 

November 07, 2007

get organized for the holidays!

This just in...Thanksgiving is two weeks from tomorrow! Can you believe it?

So my brain is all about the holidays right now. I love that Target is filling up with holiday items (even holiday buckets and you know how I love buckets.) Have you seen the felt holiday "buckets" in the dollar spot? They're just too cute.

Speaking of buckets, one of the speakers at the Happy, Healthy Holiday's event was Karen a self-proclaimed "foodie" (who is looking for an alternate title, by the way.) In my mind, she is an amazing, award winning recipe developer and a fan of little metal buckets. How fun is that? Karen scoops up little metal buckets at Target and uses them for center pieces on her buffet table. She fills them with flowers like amaryllis at the holiday season. So festive. She also bakes scones, wraps them in bags, and puts the scones into a little metal bucket. Fun gift. So if you were looking for another reason to buy buckets at the Target dollar spot...there you go. ;)

Karen taught us how to put together a holiday open house for 50, including recipes and a freshly ground spice rub. How cute is this? Glass jars, spices, twine and tags. Right up my alley.

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So yes, I have holidays on the brain. So much fun.

Don't forget, my Get Organized for the Holidays Class starts tomorrow! We'll be putting together a holiday survival plan. I've created all sorts of forms and checklists...everything you need to get through the holiday season organized, energized and happy. I also added a bonus project download to create a holiday planning binder, so you can keep all your holiday plans happily corralled together throughout the season. Pretty organized, don't you think? ;)

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There's still time to sign up if you haven't done so yet. Hope to see you in class!

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