Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Dear Aunt Loretta

On Saturday night I lost my very lovely Aunt. She was truly a beautiful woman. She was 58 years old.
I was there when they took her off of life support. She had an infection in her heart valve. She had surgery 2 weeks ago but after 3 heart attacks it was evident she would not make it.
Being a military child and spouse, I never had the privilege of knowing her as a child but I have spent time with her the last 5 years. My mother however was very close to her sister. It's so hard to see my mom in so much pain. People say "time heals all wounds", but is that true? Or does time just give us extra moments and we learn to live and cope with our pain?
My Aunt's name was Loretta. Her husband of 33 years is of course beside himself, but holding it together the best he can.
I've made many friends through blogging and I'd like to ask for prayer and thought for my family during this difficult time.
Much love,
Tammy

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

Hi y'all!

I've been away for a few days. Actually... I'm not quite sure where those days went!?! Is it me or does the month of December seem to go faster than the other months?
Especially here in the United States, things go from slow to warp speed right after Thanksgiving.
We actually made these ornaments about 3 weeks ago, and this.. THIS Is the first time I have had time to sit down and edit photos. It's December 12th and I don't have one single gift wrapped yet!! YIKES! Santa needs to send over some elves to help me along!

What have I been doing? Well. Shopping... Working. Shopping. Decorating. Shopping. Christmas Cards... work, work work... Only one more week of work and I'm off for 2 weeks for the Christmas Holidays! Yay!

These Christmas Ornaments were made because I participated in an Ornament swap through MezzMakesStuff blog (You know, the girl that makes the fabulous home made magazine).

Hannah wanted to do all of the mixing and cutting and I was quite happy to just supervise!

First up we of course had to dig out all of the Christmas Cookie Cutters.
A task Hannah thoroughly enjoyed!
The Cinnamon Ornament Recipe is
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of cinnamon
1 cup salt
1 cup water
1/2 tbsp ground cloves
Straws for cutting the holes

Mix the Ingredients thoroughly.
Roll out as if you were making regular cookies (with flour)
Cut with Shape of your choice
Cut a hole in each with the straw so you can hang your ornament

Bake at 325 degrees
Checking often

They burn quickly, so watch them. We actually had a minor ornament catastrophe!

Hannah had a lot of fun making these!

We baked the ornaments on aluminum foil but any non stick cookie sheet will also do.

We decorated the eyes and buttons with whole cloves before baking.
Of course I was in charge of the baking and the use of the oven.

ORNAMENT FAIL

Hannah kissed each Ornament goodbye before we tossed it!
Do not walk too far away from the oven, I'm telling you, these suckers cook quick!

We did salvage quite a few
I covered them with Mod Podge (I seriously love that stuff) and Glitter
It doesn't matter which order you decorate
Hannah used Elmer's glue and sprinkles first and then Mod Podge
I put my sprinkles on the Mod Podge, which is a great glue and sealant!

I'm actually quite happy with the outcome.
I have seen these just left in the simple cooked state, un-decorated and they are just as lovely.
The best part? They smell so good!
Here are Hannah's Creations
She's the most creative 8 year old that I know!

And this one for my Ornament Partner all the way in Canada.
I do hope you like it... 
Merry Christmas!

I hope you're all having a wonderful Holiday season filled with love, peace, health and hope.
Much love,
Tammy

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

World Wide Thanks

American Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. To me it means family, reflection and hope.

Thanksgiving is not something I look upon with ancestor pride. The American Indian Tribes that we turned to for survival were eventually very nearly wiped off of the map, as we chased them from their land and murdered the majority. Gruesome right? I never really thought about it until I had to take an American history class at University that taught about Native American history from both the "white" man perspective and the "Indian" man perspective. It was a real eye opener.

But ya know.... Which Country on this entire planet can we say is without fault ... without bloodshed and without crime?

None of us are without some sort of shame. I believe every Country around the world should have a day dedicated to being publicly thankful. Yes, we "should" always count our blessings but life has a way of taking hold of us and spinning us in several directions at once, often leaving us to wonder if we are coming or going. Dedicating a day of Thanksgiving makes us reconsider our busy lives and to remember to be grateful.

And so I write this to remind myself just how blessed I am and that I need to be grateful on a regular basis.

I am Thankful for…

My children...
Nicholas Constantine
Joshua Benton
Christopher Michael
Andrew Chrzan
Hannah Rose

My Mother
My Health
My Upstairs Apartment (I feel safer)
Having a good job
Having good health benefits
Having a paid off car
I'm thankful God has given me a desire to travel... It makes me save money better.
I'm thankful for England and it's rich history.
I'm thankful for my freedom.
I'm thankful my children have a good father.
I'm thankful he pays child support.
I'm thankful for Joshua's safety while he's in The Middle East.
I'm thankful for my many diverse friends.
I'm thankful for my creativity.
I'm thankful for my eternal optimism.
I'm thankful for the parts of my past that are painful, it has shown me how I don't want to live and how to strive for better.
I'm thankful for a family that loves me.
I'm thankful for the women that my sons love.
I'm thankful for books!
I'm thankful for my faith in Christ Jesus.
I'm thankful for being able to listen to Chris play his classical guitar.
I'm thankful for the laughter I just heard from Andy & Hannah.
I'm thankful to live in an age of technology.
I'm thankful for the desire to write.
I'm thankful for my education.
I'm thankful for my sense of humor.
I'm thankful for the Downs Syndrome kids I work with, they've made my heart grow.
I'm grateful for the Autistic children I work with. What a blessing they are!!
I'm thankful for freedom of religion.
Though I'm not too materialistic, I'm grateful for my new Nikon d3200! Paid for cash.
I'm grateful I have no credit card debt.
I'm thankful that I can hold my daughter every night as she falls asleep, even though she's 8 years old.

What are you thankful for?
What do you think about having a World Thanksgiving Day?

I hope you’re having a rocking week!
Tammy

Monday, December 2, 2013

Meaningful Mondays... Thanksgiving

I don't have a perfect family.
In fact, we are probably more like a tree of nuts.
We Love, we fight, we make up, we forgive, we forget, we grow and we laugh.
But we have the BEST holidays together. The Best!

This Thanksgiving mom offered to do the dinner, when my mom does something, it's never ever "just a little bit"... She goes all out. ALL OUT. I think we had like 13 desserts... I can't even begin to remember all that was on the dessert table, but I know mom set up a separate large table in the living room for all of the sweets.

Mom prepared for 3 days! I worked one of the days, but I did help a bit... Hannah helped a lot. (Did I mention mom cooked for 3 days??), Hannah and I went over to help a couple of times, but my mom moves at a speed where you don't want to get in her way! You'll end up in the broth!

There was so much preparation...
My mom yelled at me for distracting Hannah for photo opportunities... :)
 Hannah loves to cook and bake, she was more than happy to help her Mamaw.
 How can I not take pictures of my little peanut?
My mothers Pomeranian all had their little selves about... in the kitchen... non stop! They stalk you if they think you have food!
My brother Lee and Heather always do a fried Turkey, I don't really like fried turkey, I always think that the meat tastes like it's been soaked in water. I'm not a big meat eater to start with so I'm very picky... But it's a HUGE hit at my mom's house.
Here is My sister in law Heather frying... Isn't she a cutie?
The main meal consisted of...
2 fried turkeys 
A spiral cut ham
Fresh baked yams
Candied sweet potatoes 
Mashed potatoes
Sausage stuffing
 Vegetarian stuffing
Green bean casserole 
Broccoli casserole
Creamed corn 
Hawaiian rolls
Turkey gravy
AND
Vegetarian gravy!
Whew. Needless to say, after we ate, I don't think any of us could move.
 The food was so delicious!
And you guessed it. The dogs weren't far!
My oldest son and his fiance were there and I got the rare photo of him, he's not my little boy anymore so I can't get away with following him around with a camera!... I would if I could, you know I would!
Here is my Nicholas...
And here's his lovely fiance...
I even snuck in a photo of my Christopher while he played the guitar!
(Chris has Alopecia Areata, An Auto-Immune disease that causes all of your hair to fall out, as your body recognizes your hair follicles as an enemy and kills them)
Christopher plays the guitar so very beautifully... I love to hear him practice in his room at night.
And my silly Andy... ALWAYS silly.
The only thing missing was my son Joshua, but as you know he's in the Middle East and we won't see him until late January. I miss him so much...

Last but not least, I want to share my brother and his wife. They are special to me, though we don't get to spend as much time together as I would like, they are busy... I am busy... But we always make sure the cousins spend time together and we all spend time with my mom, life has a way of keeping family distracted with many things, but you know... That's what the holidays are for, Bringing together family.
I'm so blessed to have my family... And these two crazies :)
Heather and Lee...
Thank you mom, for all of your hard work over the Thanksgiving holiday, we are so blessed to have you in our lives, I love you so much!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday,
Peace be yours,
Tammy

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy Dr. Who Day!

I am so excited I just sit here saying .... "SQQQEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

Not really... But I do keep doing it in my head :)

I love me some Dr. Who! I never even heard of Dr. Who before I  met The Cockney... But he opened up a door to me that has never been closed! Dr. 10 was my first Doctor... dreamy... but then 11 captured my heart... and oh... oh oh oh... wait wha??? The movie is today???

Celebrating 50 years?!?! YES!!

I don't actually have cable, we aren't big TV watchers, IF I watch a British show I have to do it on Acorn.tv or netflix... But mom is letting me use her "Big Huge Massive Screen" today... :)

I'm on my way over there now...

I wish you all a fantastic day. It's so cold here in Texas, I have the fire going... and my flannel pajamas on, I might drive to my moms house in my pajamas... It's so cold!

And here is my toasty fire... I love winter days with a fire!
Have a great Saturday!
Much love,
Tammy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Which Camera Do You Use?

I'm in the market for a new camera. I've been researching and looking and shopping and reading lot of reviews. For someone that is not a professional photographer, I have read that the Nikon D5200 is one of the best camera's on the market with really good reviews. Almost everyone that has this camera loves it.

What Camera do you use? Do you like it? Would you recommend it?

As you know Black Friday is coming up, and I've only recently started taking advantage of the online deals. If I can find someone that has this camera on sale... I will even wait outside at 4am until the store opens :) Yes, I will be THAT person. Currently this camera lists at $800-$900. I am going to devour all of the sale papers for Black Friday and look for this camera on sale.

Please... Let me know what you think...
Happy Wednesday! Tammy x

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Gift Tags

Do you remember Mezz that makes that fantastic home magazine?
She did a swap on her blog and I signed up! Turns out that there was a little girl that wanted to participate as well... So my daughter got to make and send some tags to another girl all the way in Australia! That's exciting for Hannah, as she can't quite fathom distance around the World yet, so Australia is like going to another Planet to her (Do they talk funny there mom?)...

Since I have a tiny apartment I have to keep everything put away, so Hannah & I dragged out all and any "Christmas" colors and crafts that we could find and got started on our gift tags.

And we had our snacks at the ready...
And we started...
But not with out some craft accidents :)
There is now more glitter lurking in my apartment than any craft store in the Country :)
When I made my tags I didn't really have any sort of plan in mind, but I love Snowmen, Gingerbread men and any cute creature with a big ole scarf on.
So I made mostly penguins, they were easy and super cute!
I used card stock I already had ... in fact I had almost all of it, as you know I'm on a "Frugal" kick because I'm saving to move... I did however buy the ribbon, but it was 50% off! (Score!)
My tags are all bagged up and headed to Kentucky where my paired up partner lives... She is also creating 15 Christmas gift tags for me.
My little girl Hannah crafted her little heart out... Here are 2 of her ornaments, she's only 8, but she's a creative little peanut!
It cracks me up that she only put a snowman head on one of them and put "Frosty the Snowman". I'm pretty sure the story says he lost his hat and not his head, but ... I was highly amused :) She picked her favorite 5 and they are on their way to Australia to a bitty girl there!
Here are the 15 I chose for my partner...
All handmade and lots of fun. 
I had some leftover gift tags, so some of you might get a surprise with your Christmas Card :)

Did I mention I LOVE this time of year as well?

I hope you're having a fantastic week!
Much love,
Tammy

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hundreds and Thousands Magazine. An itty bitty Review...

Do you like to buy homemade?

With places like Ebay, Etsy and Storeenvy it's easier than ever to get your homemade products sold and to be very successful at running a home business.

Well I have to hang my head in shame and say that I never really considered giving home made gifts until last year, I made some gifts for Christmas and I really enjoyed making them, not only did I enjoy it, but I felt like it was more personal. I'm so sick and tired of going to a huge multi-billion dollar store chain like Walmart to buy gifts made my exploited children in China. I know I can't make everything home made... shoot... I can't even sew on a machine (On my bucket list) nor can I afford the time to make everything from scratch. BUT... Those people out there trying to make a go of it... Trying to compete against the slashed prices of the High Street... Trying to earn their own money at home... THOSE people I would like to support as much as I can. When I need or want something, I find myself looking to the people that make an honest living working at home. 

I honestly came upon Mezz Coleman by accident... On one of my blog hops I found her. Mezz makes her own clothing and likes to upcycle and re-use... So when she and a friend published their own magazine, I thought "Hey... I'd really like to support a home business"... so I ordered the starter issue.

Of course I just love happy mail to start with, so when I opened my box and found something from Australia, I knew what it was... I was giddy as I came in the door from work. 
I'd like to give you my honest "Opinion" of this magazine... I'm spreading the "Joy" so to speak.
It's called "Hundreds and Thousands" and It's a small and very quaint magazine... I absolutely ADORE the "Vintage look and feel" of it.
 Everything in the magazine just feels ... homey...
There are a couple of pages of "Things we love", and guess who is in there? I know a lot of you know "Vintage Sheet Addict"... I was so excited to see her in the magazine.. It's like she's famous :)
The pages looked so REAL... Like they were printed on fabric!
There were many pages full of interesting tid-bits...
There is Gardening...
People they visit... And I, for one, love getting to know new people.
Oooooo and Recipes... Who doesn't love a good recipe? Even if you hate cooking... We all like to look at food! Wait... or is it just me? :)
There are recipes... and not just "Recipes", but recipes written by hand! Like an old recipe that Grandma found in her pantry and handed it to you to keep forever...
And of course there are crafts... I mean HELLO...These girls make almost everything homemade... I'm pretty sure they like to dabble in some crafting :)
There is a "Great Finds" section
 And new places to see and visit...
Isn't Mezz Cute as a bug?
I haven't read the whole magazine yet, I've only read some of it, but that was enough to sell me. I'm ready for my 2nd issue already, so I hope this inspires you to take a little peek and to support home-made... and home businesses.
Thanks ladies for the great magazine and all of the hard work I know you put into it!
Here is Mezz... Mezz Makes Stuff
And here is Taz... Butter and Buntings
And here is where you can buy your own copy of Hundreds and Thousands Magazine

I hope you're having a rocking week! The weekend is just around the corner!
Much love,
Tammy x

Monday, November 11, 2013

Meaningful Monday

A girl and her Pooh.

Well...
A girl and her Pooh...... and her dolphin...... and her mini pooh .....and her...

It started last Christmas, Hannah got a Winnie the "Pooh" doll for Christmas, she had asked for a Teddy Bear and the Christmas before last I bought her one at Harrods. HARRODS people... But she didn't like him, I have no idea why, but he went in the toy box and he's buried in there somewhere still, along with countless other stuffed animals that she has never batted an eye at.

So when she asked for a bear again... I got her Pooh.
It was instant love.
She took him everywhere.

Then... she saw a teeny little pooh bear at a restaurant cafe... so she tucked him in Poohs red shirt and then there were two.

I thought the family was complete until we went to the aquarium this past summer and she picked a pink dolphin as her souvenir, she calls her Princess.

This trio often gets dirty and I hold my breath as I put them on the gentle cycle in the washing machine... praying that no one loses an eye!

Ahhhh.... But it's so precious to see her with her Pooh.
Then my mom took her two granddaughters out of town last weekend...
(Yes, Hannah likes her bright clothes. She dresses herself. I'm more of a conservative dresser, so she gets this wild side from her Grandma! :)
........and Hannah returned with this guy. A lemur dressed as a giraffe. Seriously? Now there are 4?
Hannah will throw all of the animals on top of me and say "Mom watch them"... (watch them do what?)... She says they are my grandchildren. Oh you better believe it Hannah... Because You're not allowed to date ;)

Have a wonderful week,
Tammy x