Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Home 2014

Christmas Home Tour 2014 - lots of great budget friendly ideas to create a warm and inviting home for the holidays.
Well hello, friends! Happy Holidays! It's been fun visiting other blogger friends' holiday home tours this season and I thought I'd finally join in on the fun. It's like a neighborhood holiday open house or one of those progressive dinner parties (do people do those any more?) where you get to go around to other people's homes, but you can do it from the comfort of your own home in your sweatpants and not have to bring a hostess gift! But please do grab a cup of hot chocolate, come inside and we'll take a little tour of my family's eclectic home in all its holiday glory.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Save the Date! Unique Card Designs from Minted

Nautical by Rebecca Bowen
My husband and I have been married a long time. I'm talking AGES. We practically grew up together. I remember when we both took driver's ed in high school and Rick had braces, that's how long we've known each other. He made my heart pitter-patter then and he still does all these years later. When our anniversary comes around again this summer, it will be our 25th wedding anniversary. 25!! We'd like to do something special, either go on a nice vacation or throw a huge wonderful party reception, but we haven't decided yet. We have to decide soon though, because if we throw a party, we're already behind in picking a date and booking a place to hold all our friends and family. It's like planning another mini wedding!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nature Inspired Christmas Fireplace Mantel

Nature Inspired Christmas Fireplace Mantel

I so appreciate living in the Pacific Northwest. It's naturally beautiful and evergreen around here with all the trees and the mountains and water - salt water, fresh water, AND rain water - lots and lots of rain right now. Maybe that part I don't like so much, but I'll try to be appreciative of it since I like what it does to keep things green around here! Inspired by our surroundings, I finally put the finishing touches on decorating our fireplace and family room for the holidays today. Come on in and let me show you how I put this together easily and inexpensively by mostly using things from the great outdoors and re-using what we already had.

(We should have some kind of hot toddy or hot buttered rum or something while we chat, don't you think?)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Joy to the World Shadow Box

Joy to the World Shadow Box
Last year, my son's girlfriend Kelsey made me this sweet shadow box for Christmas. Isn't it pretty? We've known Kelsey for a couple years now. She's funny and sweet and caring, and she makes crafty things like this (and cupcakes, she makes those too. A girl after my own heart!). She was really thoughtful about this shadow box, using one of my favorite words in the English vocabulary (JOY!) and one of my favorite colors with the turquoise-y blue accents, the same color that was all around us when we were all in Hawaii together last year.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dad's Birthday=Yellow Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

It was my Dad's birthday yesterday - Happy Birthday, dear Dad! I say this every year around his birthday about how lucky we are to have him in our lives, but I really do feel blessed and grateful to celebrate each and every one of his birthdays with him. At one point in his life between heart attacks, two major heart surgeries, and cancer, we were all just hoping and praying he'd make it to 60. He has blown that benchmark out of the water! Overachiever! :)

For years now, we have celebrated Dad's birthday at our house with a family dinner and I make him the same birthday dinner, linguine with creamy clam sauce:

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Gratitude30 Photo Challenge: Final Recap

Happy first day of December! The holiday season is here, are you ready for it? When do you decorate for Christmas? We don't usually decorate until around the first weekend in December, so we'll probably start in the next week or so, which makes me a bad blogger if you're here looking for holiday decorating ideas. Maybe check out previous years' posts until I get around to decorating for this season. :)

I'm still wrapping up the month long gratitude photo challenge hosted by Positively Present that I've been participating in, which has put me in a good mood to start the holidays off right. Here's a quick recap of the challenge - each day in November, participants post a challenge-related photo on Instagram and Twitter (or whatever social media they want) with the hashtag #gratitude30. I've written a blog post about it each Monday with a photo summary of the week here on the blog. Here's a reminder of the topics that we posted about for each day in November:

4th and Final Week on

Monday, November 24, 2014

November Gratitude30 Photo Challenge: Week 3 Recap + A Thanksgiving Message to You

Happy Thanksgiving Week! The holidays are upon us and I for one am so looking forward to Thursday and spending time with my family on Thanksgiving. It's been fun planning the big day with all of them. I really do love spending time with them and it's always a fun time when we all get together.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I've been participating in Positively Present's Gratitude30 Photo Challenge all month long. It's been a fun way to reflect on gratitude about a variety of daily topics, things I don't always think to be thankful for, so I've enjoyed this challenge quite a bit since it's made me really think about gratitude in a different way. In case you missed the first post, here's what I'm challenging myself to do this month - each day in November, I'll post a challenge-related photo on Instagram and Twitter. Each Monday, I'll write a blog post about it here (like this one) with a summary of the week and post it on Facebook. Here's a reminder of the topics for each day in November:

Here's How Week 3 Looked on