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,

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.


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,

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!

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
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,