Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Merry Disney Birthday

Wow! What a fantastic week we had! Our baby girl turned 4, so we had to fete her in many ways. It's tough to be a December or early January baby. Everyone is so caught up in the frenzy that we call December, so these birthday boys and girls are often overlooked. DH and I decided when Hurricane was born that we would do all that we can to celebrate her well.

So, on December 20, we joined the rest of America at the Magic Kingdom. I was set on seeing the Christmas parade this year while we have annual passes. Unfortunately, we did not move quickly enough, so we entered the gates with a mass of humanity pushing through with us. I've never seen the park so packed!! It was unbelievable. We were thankful to not have to eat any meals there because I am not sure any of the restaurants had space for our party of 7.

The great joy in having annual passes is that there is no pressure when we go to the parks. Of course we WANT to do as much as possible, but when Dumbo has a 2 hour wait, we skip it and wait for our next visit. This day was spent tousling through the crowds more than it was spent riding rides.

Our little bit LOVED the movie Tangled and asked for Rapunzel dolls for Christmas and her birthday. What a thrill that Rapunzel and Flynn were at the park! We endured an hour and a half wait and then took some fun pictures with them. It was worth it to see the smile on her little face.

The 3pm Christmas parade was really cool with all of the characters in Christmas attire.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

Oh my goodness! Christmas is ALMOST here! Can you believe it?! I am so excited! The children can hardly stand it as we begin to really celebrate Jesus' birthday. Bring on the birthday cake! In just a few days, you will be receiving new gifts. Perhaps you will be given a new camera, a printer, or even a Mac Book Pro! Lucky you! Well, please learn from my mistake. Last year I was given a fabulous new wireless printer from my dear mother-in-law. It recently died. I could not find the receipt anywhere. Mimi shared with me what smart Papa, my father-in-law, used to do before he died. He would take receipts for big ticket items and either staple them to the appliance booklet or tape them underneath the printer or computer. That way, there was no doubt that you could find the receipt should you need to return it. I hope you'll employ this Tuesday's Tip this year! I know I will!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gift Idea for the Little Fellas in Your Life

Don't you just love to buy toys for children? They bring them so much delight and happiness. I miss having a really little boy. Our boy has grown up so quickly! I can't believe he and his sisters will be 10 this spring! If you have little ones at home, savor every moment. I remember how long the days can be, but the years pass in a flash.
If you have a little boy under age 9 who needs a great gift, look into Automoblox. What a great toy! They come in many different colors and shapes and sizes. You can interchange the parts to create a new look. They promote gross and fine motor skills, problem solving, and visio-spatial processing. What a great toy! Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday's Tip... I've seen the Light Again!

I love candles. Their fragrance makes your home smell wonderful. When we were first married and living in Dallas, Texas, my Bible Study leader, Laura, always had a candle lit. We could not wait to go to her here because it was always so welcoming. Something about those candles beckoned me! At the time, there was an Aspen Bay candle shop at Inwood Plaza (I may be remembering the name of the shopping center incorrectly). I would go and buy fantastic black gardenia votive candles and burn them at home. Laura tended towards coffee and vanilla candles. When using small votive candles, if you will put a drop or two of oil or a drop of water in the bottom of the glass votive, it makes it easier to remove the candle once it has depleted. I believe Vaseline would do the same thing. Happy Tuesday's Tip!

Monday, December 13, 2010

One Last Christmas

If this doesn't make you get on your knees and thank the Lord for your many blessings, I don't know what will. Find your Kleenex!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fat Friday!

If you have not been to Philadelphia or the Main Line, you need to go. What an absolute treat to visit my dear friend, Julia, back in October. Wow! What a city. I enjoyed my time there immensely. The Main Line in incredible. Each home is more beautiful and interesting than the last. Of course Julia and David own the prettiest house of all. I loved the interesting architecture and gorgeous yards. It is also fun to see all of the universities and private schools and old churches in the area. I can't wait to go back!

While I was there, David treated us to a FABULOUS dinner at Barclay Prime. David was fortunate enough to secure tickets to see the Phillies in their final game, so he sent us to dinner with Julia's precious friend, Katie. The three of us had the best time at Rittenhouse Square's finest. Barclay Prime was quite a treat!
How fun that Katie knew our server from years prior! We began our evening in the bar where we had a fabulous St. Germaine (elderflower) cocktail with pineapple juice, St. Germaine, and vodka. I was introduced to elderflower by Julia on this trip, and I am a believer! After drinks, we were escorted to the fabulous dining room.

The dining room felt so very "Mad Men". I kept waiting for Don Draper to walk through the door. He did not, but I would not have been surprised! Julia ordered a wonderful fish from Australia. I had a fabulous wedge salad and the filet. I couldn't entice anyone to split the filet with me, as it was more than enough meat. The filet was prepared perfectly, and we enjoyed our sides served family style. The sides included truffle whipped potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and creamed spinach. Every bite was scrumptious! We left very happy girls! I was so thankful David was generous enough to send us to such a wonderful restaurant, but we did miss his company!
I can hardly wait to get back to Philly. I hope you'll visit Barclay Prime if given the chance!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Today I will hug those I love a little harder, for I know many a mama who will not get to do that this Christmas (Amy, Priscilla, Elizabeth, and many others).

I will thank God for the little things like a misplaced Math book, for it means I have a child at home who is young enough to still need me.

I will praise God for my health, for I know so many who are struggling with their health. I will turn to the Lord and ask Him for a miracle for those I know personally, especially a young mother in North Carolina who is battling brain cancer. Our whole family is praying for her and for her family, for I have known them all as long as I can remember. Lord, please heal her.

I will thank the Lord for my parents, for we will spend our 3rd Christmas without my precious father-in-law. In remembering his wonderful life, I am praying for those who will spend this Christmas without their loved one for the very first time. A special family in Raleigh comes to mind, as do our family in Texas and Louisiana, and so many others. I continue to pray for my mother-in-law who has remained amazingly strong in her grief.

I thank God for His provision through my husband's job. I praise Him that we have even been able to give a little to help others, for so many will spend this Christmas with no job and no income.

I will especially pray for our former neighbor, Elizabeth, who died today. Lord, bless her. I pray she knew you well. I especially pray for Kate, Jack, and Emma Claire, who were well-loved by their mother.

It seems many die each year in November and December. I believe the suicide rate is higher in those months. May we all know the peace and JOY of Jesus Christ as we celebrate His upcoming birth.

Tuesday's Tip... I've seen the Light!

Recently we had a bulb burn out in our hallway. I dread standing on the ladder to change them, but alas, that is what we did. My parents were here visiting so my sweet Papa said he would do it. Wouldn't you know the bulb broke in the fixture, forcing us to have to use needle-nosed pliers to remove it. Thankfully, Papa did a fabulous job. However, he did recommend putting a little vaseline on the metal base of the new bulb. This will prevent the same thing from happening again! Voila'! Our new bulb is happily in its place, and we know we will not face a mess when it burns out in the future.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Truly Grateful Heart

I believe in the power of the written word. Stationery and pens are my friends. I love them. I can sit and stare at a display of pens or papers for hours. There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment after penning a letter to someone you love. I believe in prompt thank you notes so that the giver knows the depth of your gratefulness. Wouldn't you know I am still behind on my October birthday thank yous? It kills me, but I have somehow not quite finished. My apologies to those I have not treated well. It really is not due to a lack of thankfulness! It is due to doing too many things at once and not finishing something well!

We recently celebrated a friend's birthday over dessert. DH and I were overwhelmed by the fine thank you note this gentleman sent us on Crane's paper. Yes, the friend was a male and yes, HE wrote a thank you note. He wrote it promptly. He wrote it well. Chivalry is not dead. We are so honored to call him our friend!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Play it again, Sam

You may remember that I wrote about our Hewlett-Packard printer that I was given last Christmas. Unfortunately, it broke exactly one year after it was purchased. I called HP, and they were unwilling to do anything to replace it. They told me that I could send them the printer and $90 and they would send me a replacement printer. There were no apologies and no disbelief for the fact that I had only had the printer for ONE YEAR. We were so upset.
DH and I drove to Sam's Club to buy a replacement printer. Admittedly, I was sad that Tampa does not have Costco. However, I have grown to really REALLY LOVE Sam's. DH and I bought our new printer. On the way out of the store, Doug stopped to ask the manager, Jason, if there was anything they could do to help us with the situation. Jason was fantastic. He asked if we had the receipt and the box. Sadly, we did not. He told us to find out my MIL's Sam's Club number and he would take care of it. We left the store not sure if it would work out or not. God is so good.
About 3 days later I called Jason with my MIL's membership number. He ran the report and found our purchase receipt. He told me to come to the store for a refund. I arrived just before closing time, and Jason gave me a FULL REFUND for the original cost of the original printer. I was floored!!! Sam's Club kept their commitment to the customer when HP would not. December expenses are always crazy, and God was so good to use Jason to bless us. I told Jason that I would tell everyone that the South Tampa Sam's Club on South Dale Mabry is the BEST!!! I will never buy electronics anywhere else!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


December is here. Like it or not, the streets are busier, malls are wild, and your to-do list just increased with things like wrapping, decorating, and buying. No matter how we try, December tends to be a busier month than a sweet, slow, cold month like January (unless you're heavily involved in Gasparilla, and then I don't know when you slow down!). Our minds are filled with things to check off the list... did I buy that doll? Where can I find the DSi case? What in the world should I send Great Aunt Martha?
The good news is that Christmas is always on December 25th. That date never changes, so we have a year to plan. I try to spread out our spending by shopping year round. It seems to help. However, no matter how hard I try, I have plenty on my plate in December. This rushing around to find Junior the perfect gift is not wrong.
But we need to SLOW DOWN. We need to stop and remember what it is that we are celebrating. What is the true meaning of Christmas for you? For Mama Henley's house, we are preparing our hearts and minds to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our SAVIOR! What a miracle He is. What a gift. The gift of a relationship with Christ is better and longer-lasting than any toy or gadget. I am so thankful for this gift.
However, I often get caught up in my list and focus on that rather than HIM. This year, I am praying that we will all slow down. I am praying that we will savor every day and not get caught up in the hustle and bustle. I want this year to be about the birth of Jesus, not about who has the best and earliest Christmas card or who has the prettiest festive outfit or who decorates like Town and Country. I am praying that my eyes will be on Him, and that I will enjoy my family this season instead of pushing them to the side to check more off of my to-do list. I struggle with putting the world first and Christ second. How do you balance and keep your focus on the true meaning of Christmas?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

Have you bought some brand new shoes for fall? I just love my Tory Burch revas, but boy, can they rub some blisters when they are new! Has this happened to you? If so, my friend, Victoria, has the BEST solution!! She recommends rubbing DEODORANT on your heels and any other places where blisters are typically provoked. She does this and has no blisters from new shoes! Make sure you use a deodorant solid and not the liquid. Give it a try, girls! Happy Tuesday's Tip!

I have a new love!

I have told you peeps before of my love for Macs and their people. I mean, I wrote a whole post about One to One! Well, I have found a new love. My HP printer died after just one year. I am not finished with the folks at HP. They didn't even apologize when I called. Instead, they told me I can send them my old printer and BUY ONE JUST LIKE IT for $90. Does that sound like a deal to you? I don't think so, but that's a separate post.
My DH is the best and he feels my pain. He knew I needed a printer for work and home. So, we bought a new printer. Sadly, our desktop is old enough that it simply could not support the software installation for the new printer. The printer folks could not send me a CD that would work with our older operating system. I was stuck.
I had passed the iHospital many times. I had seen the signs for Mac and iPhone repair. I googled them and called them after finding out that I had to have a newer operating system and some more Ram. The iHospital said they could help me, so I drove to their store. It was clean and BUSY. I never knew how many people drop their iPhone in a day! I wish I had thought of this brilliant idea! The men were all dressed in doctor's scrubs. They were friendly and knowledgeable. I filled out my info on the iPad and went on my merry way. The computer was back in my hands in about 5 hours. They were fast, efficient, and guess what? They threw in the RAM for FREE and I just paid for my new operating system and the labor. They're nice like that! When I left my old faithful G5, they did not give me a claim ticket. I admit, it made me nervous. In fact, I told them so. I teased them that I am a blogger. They assured me that they would treat me right. And they did. If you live in Tampa or have an IHospital in your area, consider yourself blessed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

National Velvet

Our D is blessed with 2 wonderful godmothers. Last Christmas Frances gave her a gift card to Blockbuster so that she could have her own copy of Elizabeth Taylor in "National Velvet". We tried to buy it and Blockbuster did not have it for sale. With my mind on Christmas once again, I pulled out her gift card and tried again. It was there! I ordered "National Velvet" and another horse movie for our sweet horse lover. She is going to be THRILLED!

Friday, November 26, 2010


It's Black Friday!! Many of you have just embarked on your Christmas shopping. Some of you finished in October. I have completed the bulk of our shopping, but still have some photo calendars to make and other items to purchase. All of us have that moment where we are stuck and have no idea what to buy our child or niece or nephew or godchild. Last year, I wrote a post about Magnatiles. They are still one of our very favorite toys of all times. I highly recommend buying a set if you haven't already!

This year I wanted to tell you about Citiblocs. They are an all-natural wooden block with pine from New Zealand. They are unique in that each block is the exact same size. Children can build tall buildings, ships, castles, and houses without the use of glue or magnets. They are safe for children which is a huge plus at Mama Henley's house! You can find a set on, Ebay, or by searching good toy websites like Fat Brain Toys or Back to Basics. Children of all ages will enjoy these blocks, but they are best for children over age 3! I love it that now you can buy cool colors or hot colors in a set to liven up your buildings.

In a world that is fast-paced and motivated by tv, internet, and video games, it's nice to find a toy that truly captures a child's imagination and helps them learn and grow. Happy Black Friday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Psalm 100

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."
Psalm 100

Today I am especially thankful for God's gift to us on the cross. I am thankful for a loving husband and 5 miracle babies. I am thankful for the soldiers who fight to protect our freedom and for their families who sacrifice along with them. I am thankful that I can buy what I need freely at the store. Though I am often tired, I am able to rest at night in a comfortable bed. All of our needs are met, and that is a huge blessing. God is my strength and refuge in times of trouble. He is the great Comforter, the Great Healer, and the Great Physician. He knows my heart before I speak. He loves me.

Today I will delight in the tiny handprints all over our doors and windows and mirrors, for I remember what it was like to long for a baby. I will delight over the mess I make in our galley kitchen because I am thankful to have a kitchen! When my feet ache at the end of the day, I will rejoice that I have the ability to feel pain and hot and cold. When my hair doesn't look right in the morning, I will rejoice that it is all mine. Too many I love are going through major heart ache, pain, and loss right now. I have been there too. Therefore, I will choose to count my blessings and to thank the Lord in all things!! His faithfulness endures forever!

As I write this, I am praying for those friends who have lost a loved one, who are fighting cancer or some other sickness, who long for a baby, who have lost a baby, who are overwhelmed, who know the Lord, who need the Lord, who have been betrayed by a loved one, who have lost their job, who are oversees at war, who would do anything for one more hug. You are in my heart and prayers. Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends! May you spend it rejoicing in God's bountiful goodness, even in times of trouble!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Talk to Me, Baby! I need your DSi wisdom!

Our precious boy is about to die to have a DSi! We are the last holdouts in his circle of friends. They all have them and we have learned that it's hard to share. It just doesn't happen. So, Santa baby might bring our boy his dream toy. He has saved his money from his grandmothers to help him purchase one. We haven't started giving allowance, so this is quite a big feat. If Santa were to give him a DSi, what games do you recommend? What games would his sisters enjoy? Do we need a nerf case? Do they make one for the XL? What are the necessities and what are extras? Help Mama Henley, if you please!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

Do you just love s'mores? My friend, Anne, told me that she eats one almost every day after school. She is a teacher, so she has earned an after school snack! Well, my new Tampa friend, Cathy, taught me the neatest trick! Ritz crackers has some new chocolate-covered Ritz cookies. Perhaps they are trying them in Tampa and they haven't made it to other cities because I could not find them on the Nabisco website. Anyway, Cathy recommends cooking your marshmallow over the campfire and then placing it on chocolate-covered Ritz! This eliminates the need for a chocolate bar! Cathy said that you can sometimes find chocolate-covered graham crackers at Sam's Club or Costco, and you can also use these for s'mores! Your next camping trip will be much easier!

Monday, November 22, 2010

More Reasons to Give Thanks

I am thankful that although our icemaker leaked frozen water all over our entire freezer, it's not the end of the world, and I can buy a new icemaker.

I am thankful that while our dishwasher leaves our dishes with a white film, I can try vinegar and Finish and get rid of some of the white stuff. Phosphate free detergents to not mean that life is over.

I am thankful that while our dryer was making a noise for DH and his mama this weekend, it has been reverently silent upon my return home.

I am thankful that while some little things were broken this afternoon, I was able to mend the little spirit that I hurt while not being the best mama in the world.

I am thankful for time away with my sweet mother because I know how blessed I am to still have her. I am thankful for a mother-in-law that I love like a mother and for her sacrificial love for our family.

I am thankful to have the children home for an entire week of rest and play and decorating for Christmas.

I am thankful that while sometimes he has to work really long hours, my husband is not deployed or working out of state. Most nights he is right here at home with us.

I am thankful that while I have lots of things to work on in this dear body of mine, I am healthy and happy. I can run and jump and sing and play with my children. I can empty the dishwasher and fold their clothes and take them to their activities and hold them in my lap and snuggle beside them in their little beds. I don't take these little things for granted.

I am thankful that while my "to be ironed" pile is overflowing, I know that I can be the one to wither it down to a more manageable size. It's a great accomplishment to iron the shirt that goes on dear hubby's back:).

I am thankful for a husband who loves me more than I deserve.

I am thankful for five miracle babies. I am especially thankful that our tiny 2 and 3 pound babies are taller than 4 feet these days and growing like weeds!

I am thankful for 2 brothers and 2 sisters (in laws) who I love deeply and who have given me our precious niece on one side and precious nephew on the other!

I am thankful for our niece and 2 nephews out west!

I am thankful for friends who show me the love of Christ in how they treat me and others.

Most of all, I am thankful for a Savior who chose to die on the cross for my sins. I did nothing to deserve His infinite grace and mercy. Thank you, Lord, for all that you have given each of us!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

3 Things Mama Says All Women Should Have

The things you learn when you put a bunch of women together! I just had the MOST fun on a Mother/Daughter trip with my Mama! We went on a trip with my BFF and her mama and several other friends were there too. These ladies are a HOOT!!! Do you readers know the three things every woman should wear in order to look fantastic? Well, if you don't, Mama Henley will enlighten you. According to my Mama, you should wear:


Every woman should wear a great shade of red lipstick. Mama says red always looks good. I am more of a ginger girl myself, but sometimes I do listen to Mama.

A GREAT looking handbag

If you wear a cheap handbag, dahlin', then you look just that... Cheap. So, stay away from the street knockoffs and buy yourself a less expensive bag that is the real thing and looks great. You will always feel confident if you have a good handbag....that's what Mama says!


Supercuts just does not do the trick. I should know as I've tried some cheap places. Pay for a good haircut. It plays up your facial features and just makes you feel good. When I was 13, Mama and Papa took me to New York. They made an appointment for me at Elizabeth Arden to have my hair and make up done. It was one of the best haircuts I've ever had! My face looked great after Constantine was finished with me. Honey, you do get what you paid for!

Now, do y'all agree or disagree with my Mama?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Start Spreading the News....

Sorry I haven't posted in the past few days... I am in New York City!!! I'm on a mother/daughter trip with my darling mother. While I'm here, I spent the night with my BFF who is also the author of 400 Square Feet and one of the TOP designers in New York! She works in the magazine industry and in designing and staging. She can transform a dump into a palace! When I arrived at her chic New York apartment, I was greeted by this:

How does she think of these things? She left me some New York favorites including a New York red apple, some really good chips, gourmet cookies, and a darling note on a stump. LOVE IT! We had the most fabulous dinner at the Standard Hotel. Then we walked around the Meat Packing District and had a drink at Budakan. If you haven't read Frances' blog, then you are missing out and need to stop everything and click NOW.

My other dear buddy lives here too and just happens to be the famous trainer to the stars, Joel Harper. Joel also happens to be pretty easy on the eyes.. He literally works out all day every day while training others. He met us for dinner last night, and the women at our table fought over him. I just love Joel. You will love his website,

So, get moving and visit these 2 sites! You'll be so glad you did! I'm off to see the CITY!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Wow! This week has flown! Sometimes I feel like life is moving forward without me while I try to hang on as tightly as I can! We've had a normal week with homework, activities, lots of hugs, laughter, ballet, golf, piano, family dinners, and school events. Life is full, but life is so good. I have been praying that I will delight in the mundane including washing clothes daily, emptying the dishwasher twice a day, and meal planning. I am much happier when I delight in these things rather than dread them. I am thankful that my body is healthy enough that I can do these things. I am thankful that I get to share my life with such a wonderful husband whom I love more each day and five beautiful precious children. I am so blessed.

As we enter Thanksgiving week and enjoy celebrations at school and with family and friends, for what are you thankful? Are you thankful for the mundane day to day activities? Have you been a good friend this week? Have you reached out to your parents and in-laws? What about your siblings and neighbors? Pray about how the Lord might use you in someone else's life. When we were first married, my Bible Study leader, Laura, said that she would often double their dinner. While she was making it, she would pray that the Lord would reveal who most needed the meal. I love this. What a way to love your neighbor! How will you show your thankful heart this Thanksgiving? Inspire me! Mama Henley can always be more giving and more thankful!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

Are you plagued with a dishwasher that leaves you with dirty dishes? Do your "clean" dishes often have a white film on them? This seems to be a constant problem here in Florida. Perhaps it is because of the salt content in the water. This past week our dishes were looking REALLY dingy. DH was particularly discouraged. I happened to talk to my friend, W, as we were planning a party together at her home. She commented that she did not know what she was going to do about glasses because her dishwasher was not working correctly. "What do you mean?," I asked. She explained that her dishes has a white film on them and looked dirty after being washed. I told her I felt her pain! We have the same problem!

Well, her dishwasher repair man gave her the answer we both needed. I do believe that Florida dishwashers have a shorter life span because of the hard water. However, he suggested filling a Pyrex glass measuring cup with 2 cups of white vinegar and then to place it in between the rungs so that it stands up. Then, you run the dishwasher. It will remove the film from your dishes. It has made a huge difference at Mama Henley's house! Happy Tuesday's Tip!

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Better to Give than to Receive

Christmas is right around the corner. Have you started your shopping? One of my sisters-in-law was wrapping all of her gifts yesterday! I like to buy gifts all year long, but I have only wrapped the ones I took to North Carolina during my 24 hour visit home for sweet nephew's baptism. Have you started your shopping?
This time of year reminds us first of all of the reason we celebrate: Jesus Christ was born and later died on the cross for our sins. Stores and the media encourage us to get wrapped up in Santa Claus and gift-giving, but Jesus' birth is the real reason we are celebrating. Our children receive 3 gifts since that is what baby Jesus received (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). They seem to enjoy thinking of three things they'd like for Christmas. They also know that all 3 gifts will not be huge gifts. In fact, the sisters have told our son that if he gets his DSi, that will count for all 3 gifts! Ha!
I thought I would highlight some of our favorite places to give. This year our church is supporting the Angel Tree Ministry once again. These children have parents who will spend Christmas in jail. DH and I allowed our children to choose some children from the tree that they would like to bless with gifts. It was sweet to watch them pore over the names and the sweet wishes of these children. We were saddened by the ones where there was no message from their parents. Our D chose a 9-month old baby boy. When she went to the desk to have our name put beside this baby boy's name, D asked about the baby boy. The lady from our church knew his whole story and shared it with the children. They were captivated by the story and couldn't believe a new baby had never met his father because his father is in jail.
Later that evening I thought our D was upset because she did not get the new bunk beds in her room. I called her name because I was going to hug her and love on her since I thought she looked disappointed. When she walked in the room, she said, "Mommy!", and dissolved into huge sobs. "Mommy, that baby doesn't even know his Daddy. It makes me so sad. I am also so sad for the family from home who lost their grandmother. Mommy, I have been praying for them because I am so sad." As you can imagine, my steel magnolia self (more like mushy oatmeal than steel!) joined her sobs with tears of my own. I sat and rocked our big 9-year old girl and held her and cried. How humbling to me. I thought she was sad over a set of bunkbeds but she was sad because of real brokenness and despair. Her heart had been touched through one baby boy's story on the Angel Tree. What will you be touched by this Christmas? How will the Lord use the heartbreak of others to teach you things in your own life?
If you are interested in the Angel Tree MInistry, just click here. This is one of many wonderful places to give this Christmas!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What We Miss....

We absolutely LOVE living in Florida. Our school and church are teaching us all in ways we never imagined, we have the dearest friends, and 80* and sunny in November is quite wonderful! However, as the holidays are upon us, we are reminded of what we miss. We miss our family and friends in North Carolina. We miss our precious angels interacting with their cousins. Is this not precious?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Slip Sliding Away....

My Mama has always been a princess at heart. Don't let her fool you! She loves luxurious niceties, and I can't help but enjoy them too. Growing up I remember that Mama had the most beautiful bedroom slippers. They were not the fleece wonders that I often sport in the winter. They were usually gold or ivory leather. Sometimes they were quilted, sometimes they were silk, but they were always beautiful. Mama preferred Jacques Levine, but she has also worn Daniel Green. Another great brand is Patricia Green.

Don't you think these are so lovely? Look at the attention to detail.

Have you fallen in love yet? Check your specialty lingerie stores for some of these beauties for yourself or someone you love!

What a GREAT Christmas gift!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

Do you love Greek yogurt? You can make your own! A very smart friend shared this recipe! Thanks, Ashley! Buy a large container of yogurt - I like Stonyfield Farms but you could use Dannon too if you wanted. You can buy flavored or plain. Scoop some into either a cheese cloth or an extra-fine sieve and suspend it over a small bowl. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a day. Voila! You have thick, Greek style yogurt. If you use the plain, add some strawberry jam and a little fruit to the bottom of the bowl and it is just like Chobani. Or, you can add a touch of honey on top. I also like to use the strawberry flavor and add sliced bananas. It is Ashley's favorite new snack for half the price!

Monday, November 8, 2010

I am Bound

I have been learning so much at church in the past months. This week we learned about living our lives "as if not". The sermon was on not focusing on things and the love of money, but that our lives should be spent loving and worshipping the Lord. (My summary may not be perfect, but it is what I took away from it). As a girl whose mind can drift during a sermon to thoughts of the week's menu, I was convicted. What does the way I spend my time tell you about what is most important in my life? Am I focused on the next big purchase or on our Great Big God?
With the news of so many tragic events from the hurricane that hit Haiti to things much closer to home, I am reminded that this life is not forever. I am prodded to turn to the Lord in ALL things. I want to know Him better and to love Him more. I am praying that my life will truly glorify Him and Him alone. It's hard in a society that encourages glorifying oneself in how we act, dress, or even how we give. May my heart be His and may I live "as if not". How convicting and encouraging at the same time. I don't pretend to be a perfect believer. Rather, I am a very sinful, flawed person who is saved by grace. Thank you, Lord! I think this hymn puts things in perspective:).

On Jordan's Stormy Banks

1. On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

2. All o’er those wide extended plains,
Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.

Chorus: I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound for promised land,
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound for promised land.

3. No chilling winds nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness, sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.
(Repeat chorus)

4. When shall I reach that happy place,
And be forever blessed?
When shall I see my Father’s face,
And in His bosom rest?
(Repeat chorus)

©1997 Christopher Miner Music.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New York City Favorites

I love to hear from my readers! What are your NYC faves? Do you go for a frozen hot chocolate or to see the latest styles at Barney's and Bergdorf's? Have you hit the Carlyle outlet or are you an H&M fan? Does Chinatown captivate you or scare you? Will you watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade? Share your New York City faves! This will be fun!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday's Tip!

Good Morning, dear readers! It's that time of year where parents are having CONFERENCES with their child's teacher! We are in the midst of conferences right now. Our teachers work HARD for us and are not always paid generously. As a former teacher, I LOVED it when my parents pampered me. I love to think of things I wish they had done or to remember the special things they DID do! So, I try to do small things for our children's teachers throughout the year. Pampering your teachers does not have to be elaborate! If a teacher loves Diet Coke or wasabi spiced walnuts:), then surprise them with a little treat every now and then! I try to bring something with me on Conference Days, though I am prone to forget. My friend, W, brought all of her children's teachers a fun fast food lunch this past Friday. They ATE IT UP! Literally!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Don't forget to vote tomorrow! Personally I am endorsing those on the Republican ticket as I want to see some CHANGE!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Today a beautiful woman and fellow mother of five, just like me, joined the angels in Heaven. Her suffering from cancer is over. She is completely whole and completely healed. Yet, her death leaves a grieving husband, grieving children, and grieving parents, siblings, and friends. She was a fighter until the very end. I would have given up, but she did not. It is hard to talk about worldly things at a time like this.
I prayed for God's mercy today. He was merciful in taking her and not allowing her to suffer more. I just can't imagine the void that will be felt at her home or how one simple daddy can raise 5 children. Thankfully God is bigger than all of that. He is bigger than my thoughts and worries. He is with her children and her husband. HE KNOWS BEST and HE IS GOOD. All the time.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You Will Pray for Rain

They caught my eye many moons ago. Their lavender color beckoned me to make them mine. I watched as others fell prey to their allure and charm, yet I resisted. I wanted them, but I had to resist. They could not be mine. They were a want, not a need. I need to focus on needs. While others danced in the rain in them at camp on Opening Day, I trudged around in my 1980s Duck boots that have nary a scratch on them. I was determined to be practical, yet the desire was still there. We were reunited time and time again at Nordstrom as new colors appeared. They courted me, too, but not like the lavish lavender. Oh, how they called my name!
A dear friend showed up one day in gorgeous shiny black ones. I made her turn around and even took her picture. She looked fabulous. They made the outfit. On my birthday, she brought me a gift. Imagine my surprise when I opened it! The name "HUNTER" shouted from the outside of the box. Oh, it couldn't be! It really couldn't be! Yes! As I excitedly opened the box, a touch of lavender caught my eye. I couldn't believe it!!! They would be mine!!!! And, honey, if the shoe fits, WEAR IT!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday's Tip!

My friend, Julia, is a gourmet cook.... and she makes everything look easy! Her favorite kitchen staple is Maldon Sea Salt. She keeps it in the cutest egg right by her stove top so that she can sprinkle some whenever it is needed. Maldon salt is sold in a box and can be found at Williams-Sonoma, Sur-la-table, and specialty grocers. Maldon Sea Salt hails from England, where it was founded in 1882. The Maldon Salt Crystal Company still draws the salt from seawater using traditional long-handled rakes. They do not add artificial additives so it has a pure and clean flavor. Due to its purity, you can use less and it is very flavorful. I can't wait to get buy a box for Mama Henley!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Share the LOVE!

Our Bug's class is having a Fairy Tale day in a few weeks. It is going to be so much fun! We are looking for fairy-tale themed food ideas. Do you have any great ideas of what we should make? Come on, share the love with Mama Henley!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh baby, baby, baby, baby Oh....

Mama Henley's house is many things, but it is not boring! Sadly I spent the triplets' first years beating myself up because I could not keep a perfect house. My friends were able to, but it just did not happen at my house. I put so much time and energy into trying to keep the house perfect until I realized that my house was not meant to be perfect. Its imperfections bring many blessings. For example, a friend recently said, "I hope you'll take this as a compliment, but I study beauty, and I think your house is really beautiful. But what I really like is that everything is not perfect. You can see your family's priorities." Through my years as a mother, I have evaluated my priorities many times. One summer I realized that keeping the children at home while I tried to clean the house was fruitless. Of course I can empty the dishwasher or run a load of laundry or even vacuum a room, but doing this for hours on end is not fair to the children. That summer I created Camp Mama Henley and we had great outings instead of being penned inside so that I could make everything perfect.
The above picture personifies life at Mama Henley's house. Our children are so creative. I love that about them. However, every where I turn are little "projects". Sometimes I lose my patience. Other times, I pray for God's grace to APPRECIATE the way their little minds are working. Recently I walked in our family room and saw paper spread out everywhere. "What in the world?", I asked. As I examined the room more closely, I realized that our Bug had made 20 pumpkins on paper and found 20 orange markers and 20 black crayons to go with the pumpkins. She had made a class craft for her invisible pupils. I let her leave it out overnight so that she could play again the next day. I had to let go of my need to have the room be aesthetically perfect and let her enjoy what she had created.
Our pastor has been so inspired by the Holy Spirit lately! His sermons have really pricked my heart. We've learned a lot about discontent, which is a sin I certainly have struggled with through the years. In fact, it was discontent that led me to clean house instead of enjoying my children on those summer days. Anyway, he pointed out that the reason we love magazines so much is because the images are PERFECT. Stylists take days or even weeks to assemble the rooms perfectly. There are no children or dogs to make a mess. There is not even a piece of paper out of place. The images are wonderful, but so often, we close that magazine and then sin against our family members by screaming at them for leaving a mess here or there. That really struck me. It is SO TRUE. I do it all of the time. Do you struggle with this?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fat Friday!

Mama Henley never misses a chance for a good meal. One of my favorite clog-your-arteries places is Char Grill in Raleigh, North Carolina. I would venture to say that an extended visit to Raleigh is not complete without a stop at the Char Grill. They have been grilling fresh burgers since my Mama was dating in high school. In fact, one of my best friend's father took Mama to Char Grill on a date back in the day. Picture a 1950's style restaurant. The only difference is that now you get out of the car to place your order. The menu is filled with hamburgers, including their famous long rectangle burger, the Hamburger Steak Junior, french fries, onion rings, and fantastic shakes. YUM. I am getting hungry just thinking about it! A Carolina burger is served with slaw, chili, ketchup, and mustard. My favorite combo is cheese, ketchup, mustard, chili, and onions on the small hamburger. It is FANTASTIC!!! A Diet Pepsi with good pellet ice always compliments my favorite meal there!

Years ago we brought our dear friends, The Woods, to Raleigh on our way to the beach. Mr. Wood knows his food well, especially since he is an official judge at the STATE FAIR OF TEXAS. Being someone who loves culinary treats, Mr. Wood asked me if there was a special way to order his burger. Being a Southern belle, I felt I shouldn't tell him what to do, so I told him just to order whatever sounded good. To this day, we laugh every time DH and Mr. Wood tell the story. Mr. Wood claims that he was presented with a plain, non-exciting burger, while my burger was dripping with goodness. I don't think he's ever forgiven me for not recommending the chili and onions on a cheeseburger!

If you find yourself in the Great State of North Carolina, and you can stand to gain a pound or two, or you just love a good burger, try the Char Grill! And tell 'em Mama Henley sent you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Whooping Cough Outbreak

Tragically 10 infants have lost their lives in California all due to a preventable disease. Whooping cough, or pertussis, has a vaccine that has been around for years. However, many parents are opting not to vaccinate their children. Many adults and older children are no longer covered by vaccines they took more than 5 years ago. This is the worst outbreak they've seen in 60 years. The article explains that young children are often infected by non-vaccinated adults... their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, nursery workers, teachers, etc. PLEASE call your doctor immediately and receive the vaccine if you haven't had it in more than 5 years or can't remember. You might save a sweet child's life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday's Tip... a day late!

Happy Wednesday! I feel like life is flying by, and I better grab and hold on to it! Whew! I'm sure you feel that way too. Some sweet friends are leaving on a trip to Europe, and it brought back memories of my first trip to Europe many years ago. During college, I studied French in Tours, France for a summer. I LOVED it! It was such an exciting time as I was really immersed in the language and met so many interesting people. I lived in the home of a beautiful woman named Nicole Demontiex. I can't believe her name just came to me! She was a divorced woman with a beautiful home that had plenty of room. During the summer, she housed students and during the year, she sailed around the world. She fed us breakfast and dinner each day, and I learned so much from the other students in her home.
Mercedes was from Spain and was the first person to kiss me on both cheeks and to kiss me every time I saw her! Yasou was from Japan and we corresponded for a while after France. Yasou was very smart and had a great time enjoying French wine! Nicholas was from Austria and Otto was from Sweden while Josephine hailed from England. There was another American at our home who refused to speak any English to us! It drove my friend, Rod, and I crazy because Richard made us call him the French pronunciation of "Ri-chard". Hilarious. I am amazed at the details that are coming to me now, but I know that many have been forgotten.
Nonetheless, that is where my Tuesday's Tip comes in to play! Of course I took pictures of EVERYTHING and made a cute photo album upon my return to the U.S.. However, the best thing I did was keep a journal. It wasn't just a journal filled with words. When I packed for my oversees trip, I packed a journal, plenty of pens, and a GLUE STICK. I not only wrote about life in Europe, but I glued postcards and notes and tickets and other things in my journal as I wrote. It is fascinating to go back and read it and to see the beautiful places I visited because they are RIGHT THERE glued in the book! So, as you travel, pack a glue stick with your journal and be sure to glue in postcards and other small mementos! You'll be glad you did!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You Never Know What's Going Down at Mama Henley's House...

Our 7 year old, Bug, was riding home with one of my friends this afternoon after a delightful time with her friend. As they were driving down our street, my friend asked Bug which house is ours. Buggy pointed to our house, to which my friend replied, "What happened to all of your trees?"
Bug replied flatly, "Our neighbor cut them all down without our permission and half of them are ours. NOW we can't go outside NAKED."
Great. My secret is out. Where do children get these things?! Now my friend thinks we're exhibitionists at Mama Henley's house! Hilarious!
For those who are horrified and have already started calling the police, Buggy went on to explain that sometimes they take off their dripping bathing suits outside before coming inside after a swim, and now they're scared to do it in case the neighbor sees. There. Clarification!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meal Planning

Feeding a family of seven is not for the weak at heart (or for those who can't take the heat!)! Believe me, I am well-versed in figuring out ways to feed our family affordably, easily, and creatively. Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I don't. Each week I try to write a general meal plan. I usually just jot my ideas for dinner on my calendar on the individual days of the week. Sometimes I stick to the plan perfectly, and other weeks things change and we eat grilled cheese sandwiches or frozen leftovers in place of whatever item was planned.
I try to keep ground beef and boneless skinless chicken on hand in the fridge or freezer so that I can easily make a meal. With my couponing, I seem to always have plenty of boxes of rice and canned veggies to complete a meal as needed. I am well-stocked and can always make something, even when I am not inspired.
This week the children have enjoyed dinner. On Monday night, I made spaghetti. I brown my meat with onion and add spices like oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion salt, parsley and salt and pepper. Per my friend Rachel's suggestion, I sometimes add carrots or mushrooms or green pepper if I have them on hand. I loved her idea of adding carrots... what an easy way to add a vegetable! Most weeks I prepare my ground beef and then add tomato sauce and a prepared sauce like Ragu or Prego or Classico. I buy these items on BOGO weeks (buy one get one) with my coupons and then store them in the garage. Spaghetti is often found on BOGO and I prefer angel hair pasta, so I always have that on hand as well.
Tuesday night I grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts that I marinated in a raspberry vinaigrette dressing and some extra balsamic vinaigrette. The raspberry vinaigrette had neared its expiration, so I dumped it in a bowl with the chicken. It gave it a nice flavor! While the chicken cooked, I cooked some great yellow rice by Vigo and some black beans straight out of the can. I brought Publix fresh salsa and Wholly Guacamole to the table for those who wanted to doctor their meal. DH put the salsa over his chicken and DS (Dear Son) and I put guac and salsa on top and mixed the chicken, rice, and beans together. Some of the girls used ketchup with their chicken, and that was fine since they did eat. That's a big one!
Tonight I made roast beef, veggies, and mashed potatoes. My man is happy with me today! The children gobbled up the roast beef. I made it like my Mama makes it. I bought a chuck roast on sale and had it in our freezer. I thawed it and put it in my All Clad roasting pan that I bought with my birthday money last year. LOVE it. I had put tin foil on the bottom of the pan first. I opened a can of cream of mushroom and a can of cream of celery since I didn't have 2 cream of mushrooms. I poured them over the meat. I added a can of green peas, a chopped onion, and chopped carrots. I wish I had added more carrots. I poured 4 cans of water in there and added more as the meat cooked. I then sprinkled Lipton's onion soup mix over the top. I covered it in tin foil and put it on convection bake at 320*F for at least 5 hours. The meat was still partially frozen. I have to say, it was SLAP YOUR MAMA GOOD! Everyone was happy and there were no leftovers! A first!
Tomorrow night I am helping host an art show, so dinner will be cheap, fast, and easy. Just don't call me that! I don't love processed meat, but we may have pigs in a blanket. Don't shoot me for being honest! A girl in a hurry is a girl in a hurry. Friday night we hope to join our Small Group, in which case we'll break bread with them and I'll just bring a side dish.
How do you plan your weekly meals?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Do Y'All Do It?

Well, I guess you could misinterpret my title, so I'll just take that risk. I love organization. I thrive when I am most organized. I love for everything to have a place and to be in it. However, God has a sense of humor. He sent us triplets. Then He sent us two more little loves. I would not trade our 5 blessings for ANYTHING and I do mean ANYTHING. I adore our children and my husband. I am so thankful for them. However, I lost the battle when the triplets were born. I just couldn't keep things perfect (not that I had ever done so perfectly).
Paper takes over my house. I save recipes, slips of paper with addresses on it, special cards or letters, notes from the children, and bills. I am the CFO of our family, so I pay (or sometimes forget to pay) all of our bills. I love to write letters so I enjoy fun paper. I grew up with parents who were smart and saved their money for big things. They taught me how to find another use for things. Many hours are spent purging each week, but it's never enough. I've collected more than 10 bags of giveaway items in recent months, but we still need more closet space. I've thrown away collections of snail shells, little itty bitty pencils and pieces of paper, and broken toys. I've taken all of the old t-shirts out of my closet and tried to keep only what I will truly wear. New file folders and filing systems have been implemented. Evenings are spent tidying drawers and closets, putting away clean clothes, and throwing away old receipts. Yet it's never enough. If I open a drawer and it's messy, I stop everything and clean it out and re-organize it. I love to clean. The housekeeper is me. If I'm helping a child in the bath, I'll clean the sink and toilet or put away laundry. In other words, I really do spend my time wisely. But the paper haunts me. How do you do it? Please share some ideas with Mama Henley!

Hey Pumpkin!

I just LOVE fall.... the crisp, cool air, the smells of cinnamon and apples and pumpkins, and the fun fall produce. The pumpkin signifies fall and harvest. Their pretty orange color brightens front porches and tables along with gourds, squash, and mums. Oh Happiness!
The little pumpkins have so many wonderful uses. Some of them are pie pumpkins and they are best for yes, making pies! Others can be hollowed out to serve delicious dips in at a fall gathering. My friend, Frances, once served the BEST artichoke dip in a pumpkin. She cut off the top and it adorned the plate along with delicious crackers. Those who are super gourmet can make their own leaf-shaped crackers like my sister-in-law does. Fantastic! You hollow out the pumpkin and put the dip in its place.

Small pumpkins can also be used for decorative pieces or as hollowed out candle holders.
Larger pumpkins can be hollowed out and filled with a large glass bowl and then they become an ice bucket that chills bottled beverages!
Have fun this fall with some pumpkins! Happy Fall, y'all!