Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things are not always as they appear...

I do like to wake up and shower and put on makeup, but this does not mean I "have it all together". However, I guess it appears that way sometimes to others.

A cute new friend of mine at preschool exclaimed one day, "How do you do it? You are so put together, and you have to get five children dressed and out the door. You are here, calm and collected, and I have 2 children and have lost a shoe and feel very frazzled!"

I assured her that I do not "have it all together" and that looks can be deceiving, but she didn't seem to believe me. Later that very same morning, I went to the bathroom. I wear a lot of pants, but I happened to be in a dress with tights and boots that particular morning. In the bathroom, I realized my underwear was on "caddy wampus", as my mama says!! I had the sides where the middle should be. Since I was wearing tights and boots, I decided it was too much trouble to correct it, so I walked around all day with my underwear wrong! I laughed out loud when I saw it!! I could hardly wait to find H back at school. I ran up to her when I spotted her, and let her know what had happened. LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING!!!

Blog friends, we all struggle and no one has it all together... unless they have a lot of help! And even then, we all have faults, though some hide them better than others:).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Apple Crisp drink

My friend, J, from PA, recommended a drink called Apple Crisp. She said it is so yummy for Christmas!

1 oz dark rum (Goslings is good)
1 oz unfiltered apple juice (simply juice brand is nice)
1/2 oz brandy

Mix ingredients together and pour over ice in a rocks glass. Add a generous splash of seltzer on top and then top with cinnamon and sugar (like what you put on cinnamon toast!) A very big hit- your friends would love it and you just might need one after a crazy day with the children. These are strong! She made a batch in a pitcher and her bartender served them all night.

Girl's Birthday Party Idea

Our little friend, C, turned 8 yesterday. She and her mama came up with the cutest birthday party idea!! They decided to hire a limo to pick up all 10 little girls. The party was from 2-4pm, and our girls were picked up at 3. You were requested to wear your pajamas, which was very cute! When the limo arrived, the birthday girl & her friends hopped out and blew party horns! The music was playing loudly and it looked very fun!!

Our girls were the last pick up, so after they were picked up, everyone had a sparkling grape juice toast, complete with a cherry inside. It was precious!

They drove back to the birthday girl's house where they made their own lotion! This is the part that I thought was so cute. Mama S had bought skin safe colorant to put in bottles of Jergens lotion. She dyed the lotion pink, green, blue, yellow, and white with glitter. Each girl was able to fill her own bottle of lotion to take home. S had bought clear plastic lotion bottles and then printed labels that said, "Made especially for C's 8th Birthday". It was so cute!

The girls had cake and the parents picked them up! Such a cute party for a December birthday girl.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Uses for Christmas cards!

-Use them to decorate your tree

-Use them to make placemats and laminate them

-Make a door filled with Christmas card pictures and keep it that way year-round

-Take the front of cards that are not picture cards and use them for craft projects or to create new cards

-Put them in a bowl or basket and keep them there year-round so that you will look at them. When you pull one out, pray for that family.

-Put the cards in a basket on your kitchen table and keep them there throughout the year. At every family meal, let each child take a turn drawing a card and pray for that family. You could extend the activity and send that family a written note as well!


-Frame your cards from your entire married life and let them decorate a hallway or stairwell. You will love it!

-Frame the cards in tabletop frames that you pull out only at Christmas each year

-Create a scrapbook of your family's cards throughout the years!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Thank you notes

We all know that it's important to write thank you notes because it allows the giver to know how much we appreciate their gift and thoughtfulness. We were so blessed this year with very thoughtful gifts from new frames with our pictures in them for our new house to new hot pink fancy pajamas for me to the gold charm DH gave me that was a house with our current address and city on it. My father carried a cross across the ocean from Spain and then painstakingly refinished the old tired wood to make it beautiful again. It is for my collection of crosses and was very thoughtful!!

Now it's time to let those we love know how appreciative we are for their gifts. Gifts are a sacrifice of time and money, and a written note is the least we can do. For some, an email will suffice, but I believe it should really be a note written on paper and delivered to the gift giver.

If you hate writing, then hit the sales today and buy yourself a really nice pen that you'll enjoy using, cute stamps, and some pretty stationary. You may even find the stationary on sale. My friend, F, who works for Country Living Magazine, once had an article on making a cute caddy or area with your stationary items so that everything is together. This makes the chore (if it is a chore to you) much easier.

After choosing your writing instrument and stationary, find a time NOW to write your notes. The sooner you write them, the better. When we put something off, it becomes more of a chore and it also becomes more and more difficult to find the time to sit down and do it. I confess that while I usually start off with a bang writing many notes immediately, I often leave some left to write weeks later. This has happened to me on more than one occasion now that my life is so full of little ones! However, we can all make up an excuse from a demanding job to children tugging at us, but the truth is, we need to just do it!!

I hope to begin my notes today, even though I am still writing thank you notes for our fabulous party. I just know I need to write as many thank yous as I can NOW because soon I will be knee-deep in boxes with no end in sight!!

Happy Writing!!!!

Twas the night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas
when all through the house
many creatures were stirring
but hopefully no mouse

The children were nestled all snug by the tree
while hopes of Santa filled them with glee

The guests had all left
the mama was tired
time to turn out the lights and put out the fire

The memories this dear house holds
are more than one can take
Mama tries to hold it in, but the tears she can't fake

Blessings have abounded in this sweet home
may they abound again when to Florida we roam

Mama is not sure she can drive out of sight
but she goes to sleep thankful on this Christmas night.

O, Christmas Tree

Our tree was just perfect this year!! As I have said before, we decided not to use our ornaments this year because we have to move so soon after Christmas. I am so glad we made that decision! There are a few new ornaments on the tree that we were given this year, but other than that, the ornaments are our Christmas cards. What a delightful tree! Friends have had fun searching for their card amidst the branches. I am sad to take it down, but know we will enjoy looking at the cards when we are settled in Florida.

As the children hung the cards on the tree, I asked them to pray for the friends or family on the card. One day it would be fun to have 2 trees so that we always have a Christmas card tree!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

What a perfect night! We attended church as a family with my parents. THen, friends and family joined us for a potluck supper that we used to do every year. We have missed the last 2 years because of a birth and then a death. It was a wonderful reminder of what Christmas is all about to do it again. DH asked us to sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" together which was very sweet. Then, we shared a meal spread out around the house. All of the food was wonderful!!! It was fun to gather friends together who don't know one another & to enjoy fellowship. It was a perfect evening.

Our beautiful C, who is known to light up a room, had a panic attack after dinner. I think it was a combo of moving stress and being afraid of Santa. So, I called & spoke to Elf Elvis & he said Santa would leave our gifts on the back deck! We just heard Santa drop off the gifts, so they are now safely inside. We can't wait to celebrate Jesus' birthday tomorrow!!

Merry Christmas to all... and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

May the Lord bless you and keep you as you celebrate His miraculous birth. Be reminded that each day is a gift, and there is no promise that there will be a tomorrow. Love those around you, and thank God for His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to give us eternal life. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


Goodness am I going to miss our sweet neighborhood!!! We have the best neighbors and friends. AFter the fabulous party for the children this afternoon, we had a neighborhood potluck. Families are all invited to share a dish and fellowship. It is a fun, festive time. The children all run around like crazy, and I pretend I don't have any children as I try to taste as many yummy dishes as possible. A glass of water spilled early on in the playroom. My friend, J, (different than the J this afternoon) told me not to worry as she had tested her fabric!! She took her fabric swatches & threw Ragu sauce on them & then laundered them. She chose the fabric that was stain-free!! I love it. I can't wait to choose new fabric and do the Ragu test! I hope you'll try it too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rely on Him

I am really having to rely on the Lord for strength to make it through each day! My mind is swirling with things to do, people to call, and Christmas. On top of that are all of the emotions I am feeling with leaving so many precious friends and family members here in Raleigh.

Our sweet neighbor, J, always hosts a Children's Live Nativity and Happy Birthday, Jesus party. Today was the party. The children dress as wisemen, shepherds, and angels. Mary & Joseph are there too. This year, we had a special treat. Our pastor, P, showed up as the shepherd Eli and told us about Jesus' birth. Then, J spoke and said so many sweet things that tears rolled down my face! P then prayed for our family and I cried some more. Thank you, Lord, for so many precious friends and for this sweet community. Please guide us as you lead us to a new city and new friends.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Book of Meals You've Made

My mother has always had a nice book where she keeps the menus from all family dinners, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Baptisms, et cetera. I loved this idea & started it when Doug & I got married. I bought a nice leather-bound sketchbook at Borders or Barnes and Noble. I record the food I made for baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties, and dinners for friends. I also try to remember to write down when I take a meal to someone, the occasion, and what I gave them. It is fun to look back and read over it to remember special events, and it also keeps you from feeding someone the same thing every time they come over!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sugared Pecans

Tis the Season! It's always nice to have something delicious for friends and family to enjoy during visits or just before dinner. I believe these pecans are a wonderful treat!!!


1 lb. pecans
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract

Bake pecans on cookie sheet at 350*F for 15 minutes. While pecans are in the oven, mix sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt. Cook to soft ball stage (about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Mix. Add pecans and stir until all pecans are coated with mixture. Pour onto waxed paper (or buttered foil) to cool. Separate pecans. Store in tightly closed container. ENJOY!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

K's Pageant

I have wanted one of my children to be Mary or Joseph ever since they were born. The triplets were 2 angels & a star. No Mary. I felt certain K had a pretty good shot. She loves to sing, she has a loud voice, and she is beyond precious. But no. K was not Mary. K was a FRIEND of Mary. Well, if you can't be Mary, being a friend of Mary is the next best thing, right?

Poor K. She was so embarrassed by her head dress. She covered her beautiful face because she did not like her little hat. And I cried. Tears of sadness that my little angel didn't like what she had to wear. There were tears of happiness that she did such a great job, despite the fact that she did not get to be her chosen role. There were also the tears that I knew would flow since we're leaving our sweet preschool because of the move. It was a beautiful morning. All of the children did a wonderful job and I cried listening to every solo and seeing every little character, angel, and animal. I beamed at my beautiful friend of Mary and thanked the Lord for our 5 blessings.

Friday, December 19, 2008

One year anniversary

A year ago on the 18th our sweet Papa went to Heaven to be with Jesus. None of us can believe he is really gone because he was so healthy and vibrant until cancer took over his life. He died 50 days later. D's mother is here, so we tried to make it a special day. I made her a book about Papa & D, and she spent the day with her niece on Papa's side. That afternoon, we bought balloons and released them to Papa. The children each told a favorite thing about Papa. It was very sweet. Then we watched the balloons travel to Heaven to be with Papa!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Infinitely More than we could imagine

God is so faithful!!! I am in FL visiting our new home and am AMAZED at the way the Lord has provided for us!! He makes the impossible possible. Our new home was way out of our price range. It is just beautiful. It is the only home we looked at that has a nice front and back yard and a pool. It is truly incredible!! And now, it is under contract and will be ours in 2 weeks!! Thank you, Lord. I believe He saved this house for us. We could not afford it. The owner took a MAJOR lowball offer, after turning one down in the past year that was close to his asking price. Wow. We are so thankful. To GOD BE THE GLORY!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Special recipes

DH & I are still enjoying memories from our fabulous going-away party. I was particularly touched because all of the recipes for the food came from my cookbooks. I make cookbooks as a gift for friends and family. They are a collection of favorite recipes that tell a little about the person who shared the recipe and when they like to prepare it. It was so touching that our dear friends would serve these treasured recipes!! If you have a favorite recipe (it does not need to be an original recipe), please share it & tell a little bit about when you like to make it (example: My mother used to make these biscuits every Saturday morning. We believe they are best served with homemade strawberry butter or honey!). I would love permission to publish your recipes in cookbook #3! You can also email me at ahp5@aol.com

Friday, December 12, 2008

Donate to the American Cancer Society

As yet another friend faces losing a parent to cancer, and we face the one year anniversary mark of when Papa P went to Heaven, it is a great reminder that the American Cancer Society needs our time, money, and support. If you don't have time to make baked goods this year, consider making a donation, even a small one to the American Cancer Society. If another disease is even closer to your heart, cut out expensive gifts to others and make a donation to that cause!!! There are so many wonderful causes and ministries that can use our time and donations, especially at this time of year!! We all have so much, and it is "more blessed to give than to receive".

Pajama Ride... Fun Friday!

Christmas is such a busy and fun time of year! My friend, A, and her husband always have the BEST ideas!! They put the children to bed and then come rushing in a few minutes later with loud instruments and lots of fun yelling and say, "Pajama Ride!" They scoop the children out of bed and put them in the car and take them out for ice cream. With the cold weather and all of the beautiful Christmas lights, I want to try this! I think we're going to do it soon and go to Krispy Kreme and then look at the lights! MMMM..... Hot & Now! I'm ready!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friendship video

I saw this You Tube video on another blog. It made me cry because of all the friendships I hold so dear. It made me laugh. It made me cry some more because I am moving away from so many friends. I hope you enjoy it & are blessed. It is by Kelly Corrigan & she has a book out called "The MIddle Place". I hope to read it one day!
Enjoy... get out the kleenex and click below on "Transcending"

Loss of a loved one

Our sweet Papa P died last year on December 18, just one week before Christmas. DH was especially close to his precious father. For D's birthday, I took several of his father's letters and had them framed. I also framed one of the envelopes. He was so touched and just loved it. It shows his father's handwriting and the address where DH spent his childhood. I think it is something he will love forever!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A soothing bedroom

It is so important to make your bedroom a haven. After all, it is a place of rest and you probably spend at least one third of your day in that very room!! My friend, D, has such a soothing home. I visited her one day & she took me upstairs to see something in the office off of her bedroom. When we passed through her room, beautiful Classical music was playing. She said she does it to create a sense of calm in her home. It worked! I try to remember to play soft Classical music in our home throughout the day, but it doesn't happen very often!
Our bedroom was the last room in our house to receive attention. Before baby #5 was born, we finally tore out the nasty old carpet and added hardwoods. It made a HUGE difference. I used money from a sale I helped with to buy a new blanket cover that is monogrammed. It is white with pink initials. Those changes made our room feel so much better. I try to have a nice candle to light in our room and to keep clutter to a minimum rather than allowing it to be a dumping ground.
I have always heard that you should not do homework or work in your bedroom because it can keep you from being able to sleep.
It is also recommended that you buy a good mattress, very comfortable sheets, and good pillows. We replaced all of our pillows last year and it made a huge difference. Giving yourself the best in the place where you sleep is so important!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Book of your Children's Art gallery

My friend, A, is so smart. I think she should start her own blog!! I have shared ideas in the past of how to store your children's artwork. Some of the ideas are to take a picture of your child with the picture and then make a DVD of all of the pictures or to buy an art portfolio to store your favorites. A took the picture idea a bit further! She took pictures of all of her artwork from her 3 children. Then, she made it into a book using her MAC. You can buy the book straight from Apple without having to upload the photos a second time. Brilliant. She held onto the actual artwork until the book arrived, and then she was able to dispose of the pieces she didn't want to keep. Now she has a beautiful book filled with the wonderful things her children created! It also makes the children feel extra special to see their very own works in a book!

Monday, December 8, 2008

19 days... the countdown begins

I cannot believe we actually begin our move in 19 days! I just realized that Christmas is close, and that soon I will be watching strangers pack all of our earthly belongings and I will watch them drive off with them headed to the unknown in Florida. I think I might be a little overwhelmed just thinking about that. There is so much to do that I don't even know what to do!
I think the best thing to do is just to pray over all of the details and to enjoy my time here. It is making me very aware of how I spend each day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

WOW... Do we feel loved!!!!!!!

Last night friends gave us a going-away party here in Raleigh. As you can imagine, we faced this party with so many different emotions. It was difficult to even thing about going to our GOODBYE party!! Do we really have to leave? I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing the entire night was. WOW.

Wouldn't you know K set me up with a "blow dry pretty" with E before the party. K always makes me feel so wonderful! E is a doll and I have loved getting to know her. She cuts my hair. AT HOME. If you are local, contact me for her info! She blow-dried and styled my hair and then did my makeup. I felt like a queen!

When we drove up, flamingos lined the driveway. Some of them even had on Santa hats!!! It was so precious. Our friends worked tirelessly on this party. We came in the house and were greeted with hugs and sweet friends and family. MD & M's house is amazing, and it was particularly beautiful with all of their Christmas decorations and their beautiful tree!!!! C had arranged all of the flowers in beautiful glass vases in unusual shapes and a giant silver epergne on the dining room table. These hostesses had thought of everything!!!!

In the Master bedroom where we put our coats, there were signs saying "HENLEY ON THE HORN" .... telling you to call a cab if you can't drive home. Too clever. I love it (that was all because of this blog that I thought no one read!)

I put my things down, and our friends showed me the host/hostess gift to us... a GORGEOUS painting by my favorite local artist, S!!!(who is also a very dear friend!) It is a painting of my absolute favorite restaurant downtown!!! Wow! It is beautiful. The colors are perfect and it is just beautiful. Of course I cried. I can't wait to hang it in our new home.

The food was incredible. I create cookbooks as gifts and have 2 volumes. Our sweet friends cooked all of the food using recipes from my cookbook!!! WOW! They were all of my favorites including marinated cheese, hatcher crackers, white trash, blonde brownies, tenderloin and rolls, pepperoni pinwheels, etc. It was so special.

It was so nice to be in our sweet friends' home where everyone felt welcome. It was so festive and beautiful with fires burning and so many special people who have touched our lives. DH woke up teary-eyed this morning. We felt so loved! I will post pics asap!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Portrait of my sweet boy

This is our son's portrait. Is it not amazing??!! You really need to check out Art Gallery Originalsif you have children. The portraits are beautiful and very reasonable compared to other oil portraits.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I just love Art Gallery Originals!! Their artists are in China, and they are absolutely incredibly talented. We have had portraits painted of 4 of our 5 children and they are all perfect. I thought you all might want to check out their website because the prices are so reasonable and the work is perfect! I have enclosed our samples below.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Art of a Written Note

In today's world of email, blackberries, I phones, and WiFi, how often do you receive a handwritten letter? My guess is that unless it's the month of December when Christmas cards begin to pour in, you don't receive handwritten letters very often. My friend, K, is gifted at writing letters. She enjoys writing them like I do. Yesterday I saw her handwriting on an envelope, and I knew that she had taken the time to send just the kind of encouragement I needed. I was right. Inside was a sweet note acknowledging that a move is difficult and letting me know she loves me. Thank you, K!! The Lord used you to bless me so!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


My friend, A, was so helpful when we were deciding how to decorate this Christmas because of the move. She & J graciously offered to put up an artificial tree for us & it was her idea to use Christmas cards instead of ornaments on the tree. We decided we needed the joy of choosing a tree as a family since last December was a sad one as we were losing my father-in-law. So... we bought a tree yesterday. At the end, we decided on the least expensive tree since we're moving. It was just delivered... and it is BEAUTIFUL!! I kid you not. It is gorgeous & it doesn't look small or short. It is perfect.

K doesn't nap & is home just after lunch everyday. I pulled out the pretty chocolate with pink dots ribbon that I had bought for our tree. We have already hung our first three cards and it is precious!! We'll have to take them down when DH hangs the lights, but I am so excited about our tree!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008


My friend, M, is so smart!! She told me about a great website called dafont.com . I have been playing on the website this morning to download a font for our little hurricane's 2nd birthday. Meanwhile, she has eaten natural cheetos and marshmallows, and has tried to open some MMs leftover from Halloween!! Nonetheless, I have the CUTEST Santa train font for her Santa train birthday party this month!!! Now off to print the invitations!!