Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions~

When I read this cartoon, it put a smile on my face.  I am not one to make New Year's resolutions...why? because I learned a long time ago that they just set me up for failure.  I learned in life there are some things I can control, and others I can't...and those others on occassion tended to come sweeping in and cause my resolutions to go right out the door!

I tried something new last New Year.  I decided to pick ONE SINGLE WORD to focus on for the upcoming year.  Something that would effect my life as well as my family's in a positive way.  The word I chose was SIMPLIFY.  And, I am proud to say I feel like we accomplished that in many ways. 

So this year, I will be choosing a new word to focus on...just one word.  I have a few rolling around in my head and plan to pick one by tomorrow so that I can begin focusing on it Sunday.  I'll let you all know what I chose next week.

In the meantime...I pray everyone has a Blessed and Safe New Year's Eve!!  I have so enjoyed getting to know each of you this past year and look forward to seeing what you all have up your sleeves for 2012!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bittersweet Christmas~

The past month has been a whirlwind for us...Thanksgiving, followed by our oldest's graduation from college, to her starting her new job full time, to our youngest finishing her Senior year 1st semester and looking at colleges, to the anticipation of Christmas and celebrating with family and friends.

We had a very blessed Thanksgiving, we were so proud of our oldest as we watched her receive her college diploma, then watched as our youngest finished her 1st semester Senior year with honors and acceptance letters to 5 out of 6 colleges she has applied to (still waiting on the last one) and to have had a wonderful and Merry Christmas with our friends and family.

But with that came the bittersweet...our babies have now grown up and are starting lives all their own.  How did that happen???  Seems like just yesterday they needed us for EVERYTHING!  So it was a bit bittersweet for my hubby and proud, yet that little part of us deep down inside wanted to stop time, go back for just an instant, to when they were little and asking for baby dolls, and barbies. 

We are in longer parents of girls that need us for every little thing, who are now quite independent, and have minds all their own.  But yet, we still long for those few moments of "mom, how do I do this?" and "Dad, can you fix this for me"...and they still oblige on occassion.

It will take time to adjust...

We are so proud of the young women they have become and wouldn't trade it for anything, yet there is always a part of a parent that would love to hold onto their little girls and stop time.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Dinner~

The presents have been purchased and wrapped, the tree is lit, wish I could say we have a roaring fire going in our fireplace's been so darn hot here!!  There will not be a White Christmas in Georgia this year : (

We are all ready to settle down, relax and enjoy the company of family and friends.

Christmas Eve will consist of attending our church service and then heading home for...

Basic Hot Oil Fondue (Bourguignonne)

Our girls love hot oil fondue!  It is tradition for us to serve it for New Year's Eve, but now that both girls are older and have plans of their own for the evening (sorry mom and dad, you're not invited) they've requested it for Christmas Eve dinner.

This year my parents will be eating with us, so we will have two pots for meats and the other for veggies.

Basics needed for hot oil fondue:
Fondue pot (metal, not ceramic for hot oil)
Skewers (always have extra on hand)
Oil (Peanut and Grapeseed work best)

Tenderloin or Sirloin cut into bite size pieces
Boneless Chicken Breasts cut into bite size pieces (keep separate from other meats/veggies due to possible Samonella)

Peppers (red, green, yellow, orange bell peppers)
Onions (we use the small white pearl onions, our local Trader Joes has fresh already peeled...BONUS!)

Veggies should be bite size pieces as well.

Choose several things to dip your meat and veggies in such as:
Steak sauce
BBQ sauce
Terriyaki sauce
Hot Mustard
Bearnaise sauce

There are so many great choices is fun to experiment!!!

This is the part the girls love best...all the different sauces and flavors!!

We usually serve Jasmine rice and dinner rolls as well.  Super easy.

Fondue is a fun way to celebrate an evening around the dinner table with good food and conversation!

I hope each of you has a Very Blessed and Merry Christmas with your loved ones on Sunday!!! Can't wait to see what the New Year has in store for everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas From Our House to Yours

Wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!  It was a balmy 67 degrees here earlier today, but now we are experiencing torrential rains!!!  Gotta love Georgia in December!

The family Christmas card designed by our oldest this year (names blocked for privacy purposes).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

If I could bottle Christmas~

Hard to believe this was 10 years ago...
Age 11 and Age 8

And this is now...
Age 18 and Age 21

Enjoy your time with the little ones this holiday season, they grow up way too fast!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Congrats and Let's Party!

Last Tuesday marked a momentous occassion in our family.  Our oldest daughter graduated from college (a semester early).  The day couldn't have been more perfect!  The weather was beautiful, sunny and a balmy 70 degrees.  We are so very proud of her.

On Saturday, we hosted a dessert party along with a candy bar to celebrate the occassion with our family and closest friends.  I spent much of the day Thursday baking in preparation for the party. I haven't baked that much in a LONG time.  It was a lot of fun!!

The proud graduate!

With her sweet boyfriend.

A journal for guests to write their "words of wisdom" for the graduate.


and more goodies...

and the candy bar!

A fabulous time was had by all! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Southern Style has been a busy couple of weeks around this household!

Thanksgiving came and went, our youngest finished up her 1st semester Senior year of high school (where did the time go?), we got busy decorating the house for the Christmas season, planned a graduation party for our oldest, and watched as our first born graduated from college this past Tuesday.

I am looking forward to sitting back and relaxing this week.  Exams were passed, graduation went well, the party went off without a hitch, the house is decorated and 90% of the presents are wrapped.

So, I thought I would share some pictures of this year's decorations.

Our front staircase-simple lighted garland, burlap ribbon and pinecones (very southern)

Simple wreaths on the office doors

The front hall table-lighted trees from Ikea (a gift from a friend last Christmas)

Our library-our white vintage tree (ornaments given to us by my mil, some dating back to the 50s), our christmas village and a few special touches

Our family room

The zany elves are back and up to no good

Hope you all enjoyed the tour...I will be including pictures of our dining room in our graduation party post tomorrow as well as our front entrance all decked out.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Days of Giveaways Over At Art By Karena~

My Sweet friend Karena, Art By Karena, is giving away some fabulous things during her 12 Days of Giveaways!

Lots of pretty goodies!!

Art by Kerry of Design Du Monde

$25 to Decor Adore's esty shop

The Paris Apartment book by Claudia Strasser

The novel Hidden Paris by Corine Gantz

Five vintage golden rings (can be used as napkin rings) and vintage monogrammed dish towels from The French Basketeer and Metis Linen

Beautiful gold quatrefoil earrings with black onyx teardrops by Karen Sugarman Designs

French Essence and My French Life by author Vicki Archer

Be sure to go take a peek and enter to win some of these fabulous finds!  Several of the giveaways are open until next week, so take the weekend to browse and enter.

Karena always has something to giveaway, so be sure to check her site often.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Today is the big day!

Our oldest graduates from college!

Today our oldest will graduate a semester early from college with a degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and and minor in Marketing, and she did it in 3 and a half years!  She will begin her new career tomorrow FULL TIME-she doesn't waste a minute!!!

We are so VERY VERY proud of all of her accomplishments!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Teacher Gift #4 and More

I apologize for not getting #4 up yesterday.  I was once again experiencing some computer troubles.

Teacher Gift Idea #4-

I can't take credit for this one, as I saw it in a magazine years ago (not sure which one), but still love the idea.  And, once again it was a hit with the teachers.

Sorry I don't have pictures of the assembled gifts as most were given pre-digital, pre-blog era! (yes, I am dating myself)

This gift is very simple, but so fun!

What you will need:

A Six Pack of Coke (or any other soda, but needs to be glass bottles)

Okay, so now you are thinking..."that's it?, you are giving the teacher a six pack of Coca Cola for Christmas?"

Not really...

We are going to doctor it up!

First-remove three of the bottles
Second-drink the Coke from the three (not all at once, unless you are in desperate need of a caffeine fix!)

Wash the empty bottles out really well.

Return two of the empty bottles to the carton, leave one space empty.

Fill one of the empty bottles with Twizzlers (or any kind of stick candy small enough to fit), and fill the other with fresh flowers.

In the empty spot you can be creative-add a candy bar, a homemade treat (brownie, rice krispie treat, sugar coated nuts), a gift card.

Place a ribbon around the handle with a tag stating the teacher's name.

It's that simple.  Teachers love them...a great pick me up during those long days just prior to the holidays when their students are restless and ready for the break!  If you are a teacher, you know exactly what I mean.

And lastly, a few more ideas to get you thinking:

1) Gift card to the office supply store-teachers are always spending their own hard earned money for classroom items such as markers, paper and such.

2) Add a book to the classroom library.  This is a great idea for an entire class gift. Have each child bring one.  If your school has a book fair, this is a great way to give something to your teacher while also helping with a school fundraiser.

3) Movie tickets.  Place tickets in a cellophane bag along with some microwave popcorn and a box of "movie" candy, tie with a pretty bow.

4) An adaptation from a gift we give during the spring months, is to purchase a pot of Thyme, tie a ribbon with a gift tag around the pot with the words, "Thank You for Your Thyme and Patience".  In the spring we usually place Impatients in a pot with a packet of Thyme...the teachers laugh about the "impatients".  

5) Make a coaster for your teacher's desk using a simple white ceramic tile.  Take paint and have your child use their fingerprint to create a picture such as a Christmas Tree or turn a simple fingerprint into bugs (you can find tutorials for this online).  For instance, you would add wings, stripes and a stinger to make a bumble bee out of a yellow fingerprint.

6) Nice acrylic cups with lids and straws make great gifts.  Teachers always like to have a glass of water at arms reach.  You can fill it initially with a treat or candies when giving.

I hope you have enjoyed this series and find these ideas helpful. I always struggled with ideas this time of year.  Didn't want my child's teacher to end up with 20 lbs. of fruit cake!

Have a wonderful and blessed holiday season.  I hope to share our Christmas decor with you on Monday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Teacher Gift Idea #3

Our third teacher gift idea is quite simple and easy to make.  You will need the following items to complete this project:

4 inch clay pot

chalkboard paint

Tape off the rim of your clay pot with painter's tape, you will only be spraying the outer bottom portion (you can use the brush on kind of paint as well, but the spray does the job quickly).  Coat the pot with several light coats of the paint until you have reached the desired finish. Take the tape off.  At this point you may choose to write your child's teacher's name in paint pen on the rim, or you can leave it off.  I liked to personalize ours.

We normally fill our pots with the following items:

Teachers favorite candy bar!


Pack of chalk.


We like to add a gift card to their favorite coffee shop or local deli that delivers.  A lot of our teachers stay a day later than the students to finish up grading for the semester, so being able to order lunch in is always a welcome thing.

You can finish up your gift by having your child write a message to his/her teacher on the outside of the pencil holder with chalk.

Hope everyone has a great Wednesday!