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?