Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year of Wishes!

I just had to share a gift my oldest daughter got me for Christmas, and New Year's Eve was the perfect time.  I unwrapped the package to discover it was from Red Envelope (love, love, love).  Upon opening the box this is what I discovered...

A glass plate, a set of tweezers (yes, tweezers!) and instructions...hmmm...After futher inspection, this is what I found...

12 chunky brightly colored candles, each with a silver plate and word of inspiration on the front (health, joy, adventure, fun, peace, wealth, success, comfort, love, balance, luck, longevity).  And, the following instructions:  As your candles burn, each reveals a tiny treasure hidden inside-a keepsake charm to remind you of the power of intentions, dreams and wishes!  How cool is that!!!!!  I am super excited to burn each of them and discover the charm inside, plus each silver piece on the front is a keepsake too!

Wishing each of you a Very Happy New Year, may all your wishes come true!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Unexpected Christmas Present~

Guess what WE got for Christmas????  Anybody????

Yup, the very 1st White Christmas in Georgia since 1800-something!  It was beautiful.  We spent Christmas Eve going to church, then eating with my folks and the girls' respective boyfriends.  It was a lot of fun!  Christmas Day found us sleeping in (thank goodness for teen/college age daughters!), opening presents, and eating a pancake lunch (I told ya we slept in!!)  We headed out to my brother and sil's late in the afternoon.  It had just started to snow.  By the time we reached their house (30 minutes to the West) it was really coming down.  His property is gorgeous...3+ acres on a lake with lots of deer (got to see the new babies too)...looked like a postcard!!  We stayed there until around 6, then headed home as we had a dessert party to attend at a dear friends' home.  OMG...I so need to go on a diet now!! YUM!!!

Our oldest took her new puppy out to play in the snow for the 1st time!  He loved it!!  Kylee likes it too, athough she is so low to the ground that it sticks to her little legs (she's a Cairn Terrier).  The big guys preferred to stay indoors (smart, if you ask me!) 

Today was kinda quiet...the oldest headed back to her place with all her goodies, and the youngest is watching a movie with her beau.  Hubby is watching the football game.  Me, I'm in that inbetween stage-not ready for Christmas to be over, looking forward to the New Year, but not looking forward to packing all this stuff up!! LOL

New Year's Resolution-(don't hold me to it, but if I put it out in public maybe I'll actually stick to it???!!!)  SIMPLIFY!!!  In all areas.  Things that have happened in recent weeks have lead me to realize that "things" don't matter, people do.  I want less stuff, and more time with those I love.  So, I figure if I simplify our home then I'll have more time for the things I love and really want to do (spending time with family, friends and diying/crafting).  We started by simplifying our was a NEEDS year versus a WANTS year.  And, everyone was happy!!!

Looking forward to spending the New Year with all of you!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Blessings~

The tree has been trimmed, the decorations set out, shopping is done, and packages are wrapped! Whew!!  The events of the past two weeks really had an impact on our made us stop dead in our tracks and reflect on the true meaning of the season.  The loss of three wonderful people will do that.  Thank you for all of the prayers sent our way.  All of the families effected by loss take great comfort in knowing so many are holding them up in prayer!

Wanted to share a few more holiday photos with each of you.

A Little Chalkboard Fun...

The best presents ever!

Wishing each of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and BLESSINGS for a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!! 
                                            ~Simply LKJ

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ice Age~

The rain started sometime during the night, the temperature dropped, and we awoke to an icy mess.  School delayed two hours!  I was just thankful our oldest made it home safely to her apartment last night after sitting for the family she is a nanny for.  The roads were a mess, many stranded with nowhere to go.  By mid-morning we had thawed out and life continued on.  Hubby and I spent the afternoon shopping, and then came home to wrap gifts.  I managed to wrap half of the girls feeling a little less stressed! One more day of finals for the youngest, and then we will all take a much needed break!!!

Thank you for all of the prayers for Will and his family.  The funeral is tomorrow.  Our daughter will be going up to support Will.  It will be hard for her, as this is a first for her.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Her Majesty, the tree...

I have to start this post off by saying...every year our family goes in search of the "perfect tree".  Of course, "perfect" is defined differently by each member of our family!  Dad-"good quality, great price", Mom "pretty shape, fresh", Girls, "Tall and BIG!!!"  So, every year we search..."too short, too fat, too many holes..."   Until alas, we find THE tree...usually much to dad's chagrin!  Yes, the GIRLS win EVERY time!  Dad and Mom shell out the bucks and haul home the big honkin' tree!!!  This year...she's an eleven foot beauty! (do the girls not understand that Mom and Dad are too old for this????)  Funny story...get said tree, put said tree in stand in driveway, drag said tree into house-not wrapped because it was TOO big to fit in bagger!, go to stand tree up, tree snags sweet Koda Bear's stocking (Oldest daughter's puppy) on the way up (it was hanging on one of the knobs on the Entertainment center...stand tree up, only to find a a bright red stocking adorning the tree stating "Santa, It Wasn't My Fault".  We were all on the floor rolling with laughter!  Well, not really, someone HAD to hold up the tree!  She is a beauty, but seriously girls, mom and dad are too old to be hauling a 100 lb tree through the house!!!!

This baby needs a bigger skirt!!!! Hence the need to go on a diet!!!  Our youngest is a Junior in high school.  We figure, we have to keep this up for a few more years...then Mom and Dad are getting a tree we can decorate while standing on our own two feet!!!

Thank you to everyone who expressed their sympathy and who are praying for Will's family.  It is very much appreciated by all.  It just breaks my heart as a mother that at 21 years old, he won't have his mother to wish him a Merry Christmas.  We are at peace in knowing that she is resting in the Good Lord's hands and is no longer suffering.  It is a gentle reminder to tell your family you love them each and every day!  Live for today, as the future is uncertain.

Heavy Heart~

It is with a heavy heart that  I  write this post.  Our oldest daughter's dear friend Will's mother lost her battle with cancer early this morning. 

We find comfort in knowing she is in the hands of God, and is no longer suffering.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Natural Southern Christmas~

Sorry for the lack of posts!  One, I was snowed under sorting through uniforms for 118 volleyball players and Two, my card reader died on my desktop.  But, I got an early Christmas present...a new card reader just for muah!  So, without further are some more pictures of our Christmas decor.  My mission....use what you have and add some natural elements.  I plan to add fresh greens to the mantel, but am waiting to do so as they dry out so quickly with the heat on!!

The Mantel...I used a lot of what I had.  We purchased the ivory quilted stockings (turned for name's sake) and the stocking holders from Pottery Barn last year.  Each is monogramed with the name of each family member in a different color represented in the decor of the room (green, red, blue, brown).  The burlap ribbon was a splurge this year from Pottery Barn.  I love the texture it adds and it is quite substantial.  The topiaries are new, a PB Outlet purchase.  The lanterns stay year round and get updated according to the holiday.  I added a touch of the burlap ribbon to the candle sconces as well.  The green apples I had.  They pull the apple green color from the wrapping paper I used for the tray that sits on our coffee table (pics to come). I will be adding some fresh greens as the holiday draws closer.

A little vignette in the library.  I took a "cheapo" silver tray I purchased from Target ($4) added a little moss, the jars are "repurposed pickle" jars tied with jute twine with an ornament I found at Wal-mart attached.  Add a little faux snow, a votive and a twig Christmas tree found at Target and you have a very natural little scene!

We added some chunky candle holders to the table in the library along with a bowl full of pinecones. The white-tipped ones were rolled in white paint last year for a snow covered look. Add a $1 ornament from Wal-mart and your done!

More "snow covered " pinecones on the entry table.
This glass domed pedestal gets changed with the seasons.  Summer, a cute little bird's nest with robins eggs.  Fall, a miniature white pumpkin.  And Christmas/Winter, faux snow, moss and a pinecone.

This hurricane also gets changed out with the seasons.  The current look, faux snow, miniature pinecones my daughter collected in NC years ago, and a red burlap bow.

The Christmas Village that sits atop the piano in the library.  The white lit trees in the backround came from Ikea (an early Christmas present from a girlfirend).

We will be picking out the "big" tree this weekend when our oldest daugher comes home (she is finishing college finals this week).  Proud Mama Moment...she will graduate an ENTIRE YEAR early!!!!

Still tweaking a few things and adding here and there.  Have soooo much shopping to get done!  But, this weekend will be spent putting together a care package for our oldest daughter's dear friend and his family.  Will's mother has cancer, inoperable, and will be entering her 3rd round of chemo soon.  Will has already lost several family members to cancer.  Will is like the son we never had...the kind of young man you would be proud to call your own.  He recently sent us the sweetest note, thanking us and she for our support and friendship.  It literally brought tears to our eyes.  It was an an opener for sure...THIS IS WHAT THE SEASON IS TRULY ABOUT!  So, from the depth of my heart...Thanks Will!  We love you!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Table is Set~

The dining room is just about done.  I still need to tweek the bar, but the table has been set.  Once again, I used my collection of Mercury glass along with some natural elements and shiny blue and silver ornaments.

I apologize for the not so great was dark by the time I finished and got a chance to take pictures.  I'll take more when I do the whole home tour.  Things are finally coming together! 

Here is a sneek peak at the mantel...


Will be posting more pictures in the next few days.  Seeing my niece perform in the Nutcracker this morning put me in a festive mood!  The music will be swimming in my head for days!!!

When mom gets sick~

Everything comes to a screeching halt!

My apologies for lack of posts, our family decided to pass around a stomach bug right after Thanksgiving (at least it wasn't before or during).

I am also in charge of uniforms for 118 volleyball players and 20+ coaches for the club.

So with that said, mom's been snowed under (it wouldn't be so bad it if was the really pretty white fluffy kind).

The decorating will resume today, after we see my niece perform in the Nutcracker this morning.  Look for some inspirational pictures in the next few days.

Thanks to everyone for the get  well wishes!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

They've come to play~

Well, it's official...the Elves have arrived!  And, with them comes mischief and whimsy and tons of fun!!

Yes, it's a three ring circus on the kitchen chandelier!

Counting down the days, keeping watch on the bar, and guarding the cabinet (what's in there anyhow?)

Keeping a watchful eye on the "list"?  Looks more like naptime to me!

As you can see, these little guys add quite a bit of holiday charm (and trouble) to our kitchen.  Funny thing happened last niece, then 8 came for Christmas day and wanted to know why the elves got to stay at Aunt Lauren's house.  You see, her elf has to go back to the North Pole in time for Christmas Eve!  I told her, "Emma, as you can see...Aunt Lauren's Elves aren't the behaving kind!"

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Outdoor Christmas Decor and Front Staircase~

It has been non-stop Christmas decorating around here!  I am happy to say that the front staircase and the outdoor decorations are done!!  Of course, every other weekend it has been an unseasonably warm 70 degrees...well, not today!  It was cold and windy!!  Happens every year.  I really think someone with a really bad sense of humor throws a switch the Friday night after Thanksgiving because they know all us Southerners will be out in force decorating our homes for the impending holiday season!  By the time we were done, I couldn't feel my fingers and toes!!

The staircase first.  We are really going for a more natural feel/look this year.  I am over the plastic and faux!  Although, I did use faux greens as real just doesn't last long enough.

Large pinecones along with burlap ribbon bows set the stage for this year!  I ordered a box of these big babies a couple years ago from Washington state.  I love them!  Hubby says he wants to see the trees they came from because they have to be pretty impressive.  These babies are HUGE! (about a foot long each)
The burlap ribbon came from Pottery Barn.  I made the bows myself.  I fringed the ends of each, very easy to do...just pull a few horizontal strands out.

You can see that we swag our garland.  The garland is lit with white lights as well.  It is soooo pretty at night.  You can catch a glimpse of one of our photo walls upstairs in this picture.  It is a series we had done when our oldest  was a senior.  The cheerleader versus the volleyball player!!  For one picture we actually had the girls "switch" uniforms!  We also have the injury series...this was the year our oldest blew out her foot tumbling and our youngest had shoulder surgery.  The photographer captured our year of injuries in a really funny way!

There are two of on each french door leading into our study.

Front door with lighted garland and wreath.  Our daughters were both competitive figure skaters at one point. The skates were our oldest daughter's first pair.

Each window on our house is adorned with a wreath like this one.

View of the front porch.  The porch is adorned with lighted garland around the doorway, a wreath, wreaths on the windows, lighted topiaries, lanterns, as well as lighted snowflakes.

Overall view of the front.

I am still working on the interior decor.  The vintage tree is up in the living room, the staircase done, and  the elves have officially made their debut (pictures to come).  During the course of next week, the dining room table will be set, the family room decor put in place and the "big" tree chosen and decorated. 

Did I mention, shopping, baking, shopping some more...  I am hosting my bunco group on the 21st, so I am really ready to get things done this year so I can sit back and enjoy the festivities!