Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting Ready for Christmas

After a very busy week, (one hospital stay, laid hardwood floors in living room, company, one hockey tournament, plus Thanksgiving) I am desperately trying to get ready for Christmas. Yesterday, I took out all our decorations.  They are now lying all around our house.  I think my husband secretly thinks I am trying to finish him off.  The poor guy has been stumbling around nativity scenes, Santas, and snowmen, since last night.  I am hoping to get it straightened up today.  Wish me luck...

This morning I found this on Little Fireman's pillow.  At least some of us are having fun.  I will explain what exactly that is tomorrow.  Today I need to do some serious... something.  Cleaning, putting away, straightening, you name it.

I have enjoyed looking at all your beautifully decorated houses.  I am envious, mine looks like this...

And this...

My fireplace looks like this. 

I don't think Santa is going to want to come down it anytime soon...

I hope you all enjoy a great day in your clean and beautifully decorated houses.  Right now, I don't even know where to start in on mine!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Have you seen Lisa's Altered Art???


Just wondering if you all know about Patty from Lisa's Altered Art?  If you don't know about her, then today is your lucky day!  Her site is filled with delicious images, and I guarantee you will love them all!  She has fairies, ephemera, holiday images, crowns, wands, birds and nests, and I could go on and on.

Patty is just like her art, she is one of the sweetest people I have met in blogland.  She spends time with each of her images and I can tell she adores each and every one that she alters.  Patty generously gave us the image above to use. 

The following is a sample of one of her collage sheets.  (I had trouble getting this sheet into blog form, her sheet is put together much more professionally.)


I have had a ton of fun adding her images to just about everything from cards, packages, and collages.  I have used them for baby showers, wedding showers, teas and more.  An added bonus, her prices are incredible.  You can check her out here.  Every Wednesday, Patty has a different sheet on sale for only $1.00, so check back often!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Winner is...

Sunday night at 10:00, my sister and I were on the phone with each other drawing our winners.  Your sweet comments and well wishes are so appreciated.  The winner of the necklace and glitter is...

I had a great time with this giveaway, thank you so much for all your comments and I look forward to throwing another one soon!  I do so wish that everyone could win...

I happened across an old postcard of Santa and two darling little boys.  I scanned the image for everyone to use as I know there are a lot of crafty girls out there!  (It's not every day that you happen across a Santa with fake eyebrows...)  Please enjoy! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vintage Monograms

Would it be wrong to give my husband this for Christmas???

Especially if I used my first initial? I mean, come on,  I would use his last name in it too!!!  He would get something...  One very happy wife!  Now that's worth a lot, isn't it???

Images courtesy of Cathe Holden and her new blog, found right here.  And no, I am not stalking her.  (Okay, maybe just a teensy little bit.  I can't help it, she is so talented!)  Pop on over and order one of her monograms.  Then tell me about it, so I can do some more drooling.

One Lucky Girl!

A day or two ago, I went to get my mail, and guess what the mailman had brought me?  The sweetest package from my Polka Dot Daze swap partner, Karen, of Karen's Playtime.  Oh my, she is the sweetest thing in the world and I love every bit of my package so much.  Let me show you.

She made this Hello Kitty notebook and look at her card!  The details on her work is incredible!

This tote is already holding my library books!  When it is not full of books, I hang it in my pink and silver pantry.  It looks adorable on the silver walls.

This stocking will also hang in my pantry/craft room.  Or will it go in my family room?  Or even my bedroom, perhaps?

And last, but certainly, not least.  Look at this adorable cupcake!  (It's much too pretty to stick pins in.)  Don't you want one?  Well, you too, could have one of your own.  Karen recently opened her own shop.  You can find it here.  Pop on over to give her a warm welcome, and to tell her how beautiful her work is!  Thanks Karen, I love it!  Hope your package arrives safely. 

And lastly, I got this award from Ginger, of the Neff Family. Thanks Ginger, so sweet of you!

You are supposed to share 10 interesting facts, then award it to 7 bloggers.  It was hard, but here goes:
 Polka Dot Daze
The Nut House
The Mini Baker
The Thrifty Mrs
Go check them out! 
If you are still with me, here are ten facts, I will try and be brief and let you know about my real life!
1.  Even though I am just under 6 feet tall, I always wear heels!
2.  I love my curly hair.  Usually...  I just wash it at night, then however I wake up, is how I go out the door.
3.  We just added a family room onto our house.  I painted it silver, pink, and black!  Sounds totally weird, but it is beautiful.  And the more macho the man, the more they actually like it.
4.  I coached Nature Girl's hockey team for the last six years.  Yep, the only girl coach.  I love it!
5.  I love pink, as if you didn't already know.
6.  I never have a clue where my cell phone is.
7.  My sister had to load my pictures on my blog the first two or three times I posted.  That's how bad at computers I am...  I am surprised I didn't blow the thing up already...
8.  I drive my husband nuts on a regular basis with my re-decorating.
9.  I just plain old drive my husband nuts on a regular basis!  I love you, honey!!!  (Like he would ever read this.  But I do.  Thanks for putting up with me...)
10.  I play professional football for the MN Vixen.  I know, totally weird, but during the season, if you were to punch me in the stomach, I have rock hard abs. (I actually go around telling people to punch me in the stomach.)  It's only in-season.  Post-season, I don't have good ab's at all...  In fact, I go around sucking my stomach in all the time!

Now you know, I am totally weird.  I will admit it, I hear it from my kids on a daily basis anyway!!!  Enjoy your day!

Sweet Bluebird and her News...

 The girl on the far left is my Sweet Bluebird.  She just turned 16.  (let me tell you, A- I am really not old enough to have a 16 year old and B- the whole driving thing is WAY TOO SCARY!  Be prepared...)
Yes, I scanned all 375 of her Facebook pictures and could not find even one pic of her alone.  Or one without her head glued to her friends, so I couldn't even crop.  So, you get to enjoy her friends also.  They are hilarious.  I love them all. 

I love creative kids, and was a little worried that my kiddos would grow out of the dress-up stage.

Guess I didn't have to worry about that one...  Her Facebook page is FILLED with her and her friends wearing pretty much everything but their normal, everyday, clothes.

Need I say more?  Incidentally, that is Mary and Joseph in our annual Christmas Eve re-enactment of the birth of Jesus.  (I think the above is what is called "artistic license.")  All the cousins are required to participate, even the big kids.  I think it's even more fun for them now than it was when they were little.  Those two are the oldest and claimed Mary and Joesph for forever.  They are lucky, they got to skip being the sheep, donkey, or shepherds.  Not that those aren't important to the story, but...

I call her my Sweet Bluebird because I don't think I  have ever met any adult who knows her and when they find out I am her mom, their first words are, "You're HER mom?  She is SOOOO sweet."  I take it as a compliment, rather than the other way, ie- how could YOU have such a sweet thing?  She truly is the sweetest.

This summer Sweet Bluebird went on an awesome missions trip with Reign Ministries.  She was gone for about two months, trekking all through western Europe.  Yes, she did go through 14 different countries, and it was an awesome experience to visit them all, but what we loved most about it was this...

She had a summer filled with worship, service and actively followed Christ.  It was truly an awesome experience. 

When Sweet Bluebird was gone, we wrote tons of letters to her. The standard letter got old really fast.  I think I wrote her two cards before I got bored.  I knew I had a summer of letters ahead of me, so I took a page from Cathe Holden, of Just Something I Made.  (If you have not been to visit her fabulous ideas, images and projects that she so generously shares, run, don't walk over to her blog, found right here.  I am not kidding.)   A long, long, time ago Cathe shared a doodle of a bluebird.  It so fit my daughter, who left our "nest" for the summer, that I created my own adaptation of her bluebird and started writing "Bluebird News."

I cut sheets of card stock length-wise into thirds, covered the front with drawings of whatever we were doing at the moment, then on the back, I wrote newspaper style articles so that she would know what was happening at home.  It was so much fun to be doodling all of a sudden.  I bought tons of colored pencils and went to town figuring out what I could actually draw.  We seemed to spend all summer visiting one old car show or another.  I still can't draw a car, but by now I can draw a really good tire!!!  It's all in the perspective, baby.

 Bluebird News was a huge hit.  She still talks about how she got the best mail, and all the kids would crowd around her at mail time.  The few times that she did call us, I spent the entire time talking to her friends whom I had never even met, and instead of getting news on what the kids were doing, or where they were, I was plied with requests to send even more mail.  The little extra time I spent to make the mail more creative, will always be remembered by Sweet Bluebird and her friends.  I know many of you send lunchbox notes with not only your kids, but your Honey also, next time you write that note, draw a little doodle to let them know how much you love them!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Look What I Found!

I was just at Michael's, and you would not believe what I stumbled upon!  Making Memories fall scrapbook kits for 80% off!  I don't scrapbook, but who in their right mind could resist this?

 Or this?

And I especially love all the ephemera in these.

I really just had to have these.

I am blaming these beauties on you all.  I have seen them popping up on your blogs.  They just hopped in my basket, before I even knew what was happening.

Hope you are able to get in on some of the 80% off at Michael's!  I already sent my sister.  You had better hurry before the two of us buy it all up!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My First Giveaway!!!

In order to properly kick off the new blog, I am really thinking I need to host my own giveaway.  For me, there is nothing better than picking out and then giving the perfect present, and I think I did good this time around!  I love both these items, and want to share them with you.

I love this necklace I found on Etsy.  Who wouldn't want to get this sweet birdie in the mailbox?  It is handmade by Arete, and her shop can be found here.  Stop by and pay her a visit.  You will find beautiful Christmas ideas, I promise.

Next up,  in honor of my love of glitter, the Martha Stewart snow 3-pack.  I am thinking you  might be frantically working on Christmas projects right now, and a little extra glitter might help. The world could use some extra sparkle!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post.  For an extra chance, I will automatically enter all my followers before I pick a winner.  Don't feel you have to follow, but I do appreciate every one of you!
I will choose a winner on Sunday, November 22, at 10:00 PM.

My own sister, The Middlest Sister, is also having another giveaway.  Look at her sweet stationary set!  You can enter her giveaway here.

Good luck, and thanks so much for stopping by!  I appreciate your time spent here so much.  It has been so much fun to be so warmly welcomed into blogland!  Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

R.I.P. Uncle Jessie

If you came to our house this summer, you were most likely greeted at the front door by Uncle Jessie.  My lovable rooster.  I love Uncle Jessie.  Let me share with you how it all came to be...

I was visiting a friend's farm when I first laid eyes on the big guy.  It was love at first sight, he was one of the most beautiful roosters I had ever seen.  By the end of my stay, they had talked me into taking him home with me.  He was going to end up in the soup pot.  How could I say no?

I happily hopped into the back seat of the car with my new friend.  By the time we got to the McDonald's drive-through window, he had climbed right up into my lap and was snoring loudly.  (Mickey D's informed us that he was the first rooster to come through their drive-through.  I have a hard time believing that, those drive-through people have seen everything...)

When we got home, he was named Uncle Jessie (yes, Captain Awesome LOVES the Dukes of Hazzard...) and was put in with his new lady friends.  But, alas! Uncle Jessie was not happy with his new harem.  A day later, I realized those new relationships were just not going to work out.  It appeared those ladies didn't fully realize the potential they had in befriending poor little Uncle Jessie.  To put it succinctly, he was in dire danger of becoming henpecked.

What to do?  I brought him up to the house and fashioned a fenced-off area with a cattle panel.  Uncle Jessie seemed pretty happy with his new arrangement.  Relieved, I went into the house, only to come out 20 minutes later to no Uncle Jessie!  What on earth, where did my little buddy go?  (Something that big and clumsy can actually fly???) I frantically raced around the front yard calling for him.  He was nowhere to be found.  Big Fireman was in the garage, under the car: "Honey, Uncle Jessie is GONE!"  I got this reply, "Kate, look under the car."  Lo and behold, Uncle Jessie was sitting right by hubby helping him fix the brakes. Nose to beak, they were...   I fell even more madly in love.  A rooster that is such a good buddy he will even fix the car with you!

Oh, the summer we had together!  I spent all my time outdoors just visiting with my new friend. We would weed the garden together, play games together, read, and just hang out and be ourselves.  We were so tight we didn't even have to talk, we were just content to be together.  And how he loved his new home!  He had the run of the garden and, let me tell you, he kept it bug free.  He was my personal doorman.  He would run and greet each and every visitor, and you haven't lived until you have had a Rooster Doorman. 

Sadly, one morning, as I was letting Uncle Jessie out of his night home (I didn't want any coyotes getting him), Uncle Jessie popped up, then flopped over.  All that day he hung out in one spot, and then, the next day, Uncle Jessie took his last breath under his favorite cherry tree.

We all miss our Uncle Jessie.  Gone is the cheery clucking from the front step.  Gone is the sweet scratching in the dirt.  Even the dog misses him.  Best buddies, those two.  The kids miss him, even Big Fireman misses him.  It's lonely out in that garage now.

To pay homage to the dearly departed, the big girls had a rooster funeral.  Sweet Bluebird and her friends played dress-up and laid my buddy to rest.  Of course, my sister and her family were over, so my niece,  Annie, joined in on the dress-up fun.  It was a hilarious night, we swapped tales of the little guy, then I plucked his feathers to use in craft projects.

I will always have a place in my heart for my little buddy. Relationships like ours are a once-in-a-lifetime thing. He can never be replaced.

But I do wonder if there is a Boss Hogg out there somewhere that would be happy in my garden?  A Cletus, perhaps???

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Zuppa Tuscana

The Zuppa Tuscana was a big hit at the bonfire.  I have had several people ask for my recipe so I thought I would share it with you. 
Brown one package Italian sausage with one chopped onion and one minced garlic clove.  (I have to tell you, I have made this recipe many times, trying many different sausages, our favorite is the Bob Evans Zesty Hot Italian Sausage, it has loads of flavor in it.  You buy it in a red tube in the refrigerated case of the meat department.  Horror of horrors, but it is good, good, good!)

Add eight cups of water, chicken base to taste (I use three tablespoons) and four or five cubed potatoes.  Simmer to cook potatoes thoroughly, then add one cup heavy cream.  At the last minute, add one bunch of chopped kale and let simmer for another minute or so.

There you go!  Easy dinner idea.  Pick up a loaf of good bread, add a fruit or veggie and you're done.  Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Harvest Bonfire

Sixty degrees on the first Saturday of November in Minnesota deserves a celebration!  My sis called and said she had a hankering for some "Brown Bears."  That called for a harvest bonfire.  Come and enjoy the night with us!

Can't have a bonfire without decorations!

I love to use old pictures on my table outside.  The picture on the right is of my husband's great-great-aunt picking the fall harvest.  It's one of my favorite fall images.

Railroad or kerosene lanterns hanging from garden stakes are a great way to light up your party.

See why?

Big Fireman's aunt made these twig chairs for me.  Aren't I the luckiest girl in the world???

Plenty of candles and lanterns on hand.  It got dark fast!  
Plenty of logs for seating, and popcorn for snacking.

My sister even decorated the water bottles.

My new soup tureen from Target inspired the meal.  We had Zuppa Tuscana.  Yum!

Remember these floating apple candles from Martha Stewart?

I love these canisters.  I use them for everything. Here they are holding marshmallows and hot cocoa.

Can't have a bonfire without the hot cocoa!

Or sweet friends!  These two beautiful girls are friends from our church.  Our entire family adores them.  The woman on the right recently conquered cancer with dignity and grace and only wanted to glorify God through her experience.  They are both such awesome women.  Our family just loves them and were tickled they could spend the evening with us!

As the night went on, the table looked beautiful.

The night was perfect for a bonfire.  There aren't too many November nights in Minnesota that you can entertain outside.  

The Middlest Sister and me.  Can't have a night without a self-portrait!  We laughed so hard trying to take this picture ourselves.

Did you see this giveaway?  The Peanut Petunia is having THE BEST giveaway.  It involves Pottery Barn, so make sure you stop by to enter.  Trust me, you don't want to miss this one.
Thanks for stopping by, hope you have a great start to your week!