Ever find yourself really wishing you had more time to get ready for Christmas... December just seems to SNEAK up on you? Well, maybe we can make a difference... together!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Feeling kinda ... blue.......And.... a GIVEAWAY!

 Well... the tree situation is under control. 

If you know me well... or even just a little... you will know that
BLUE is my most least FAVORITE color.... 
But strange things happen every now and again.... 

Last year, the day after Christmas... I just HAPPENED to be in a store that was doing "CLEARANCE" on Christmas stuff... (WHO can pass that up???) ... So, I meandered over and found some GREAT bargains!  
I was so super excited... 
I had such BIG dreams! 
HIGH hopes! 
And an AMAZING imagination..... 
I was just going WILDLY-CRAZY!!! 
I had a WILD HAIR.... 
(yes my Mr. HATES it when I get a WILD hair! LOL!) 
I needed a change for the upcoming year and this sale was PERFECT timing! 
My vision..... 
3 BIG trees....
1- 7' in the front room
1-12-15' in the family room-upstairs
1- 9' in the family room downstairs
THEN...
While I was dreaming.... 
I decided that each of my kids should have trees in their bedrooms as well.... 
oh... and the guest room and MY room....
And it worked out PERFECT too... I found 2' and 3' trees for $2.00 for the set of 2!  STEAL!!! I was so super happy!!!!!  I just couldn't wait until next Christmas....
only 364 days to go!!!! YEAH!!!! 
Only one problem... well two.... I only had one BIG tree - the 7' that we had been using for several years... so I still needed to find a 9' and 12/15'.... no problem... I have 330 days or so to find them...
Yeah right...Bigger TASK than I even imagined!
  Here we are.... 11 months later and I still have not found either tree... I'll keep looking though..... THEN our NORMAL tree - decided to bite the dust as well..... but we got that issue under control (as you know) and it was time to move on.... so..... I pulled out the NEW decorations..... 

Now... just for the record -
(confession time) 
YES! I am OCD! 
(about a lot of things - but we are just talking TREES today!) 
So, from here on out - (well, all along actually) my intent is NOT to offend anyone!  
It is just I....
ME... 
it is MY problem... 
and yes- I know some are offended by it... 
but I in know way mean to offend anyone.... EVER!  
(Are we clear on that??? :)) Please...keep that in mind....

Each of my trees has a "THEME" 

Family Room - (downstairs) - "FAMILY FUN"  
Which consists of a tree made of "events" that have happened through the year 
(so each year new ones are added) 
Colors: Red, Gold and Black 
(yes, the ornaments are the same... homemade - but the same!)

Family Room - (upstairs) - "SWEET SHOP" 
Which consists of gingerbread boys and girls and sweet treats... 
Colors: Red & White 
(again, homemade - yet all the same..) 

Front Room - "WINTER WONDERLAND"  
Which consists of snowflakes, icicles and bells. 
Colors: White, Silver & Blue... 
(struggling with this tree....) 

WAIT!!! HOLD THAT THOUGHT..... 
Did I just say BLUE!?!?! I must be feeling under the weather for sure.... 
(The funny part about this.... as I was "decorating" the tree (alone... by myself... as usual.... because someone is OCD about their tree.... please don't ask why ;)) every single family member... and I mean EVERY... SINGLE... ONE.... one by one would walk in to "CHECK" the status of the tree and they would say

"MOM! You do know that is blue, don't you?"  
or
  "MOM! I thought you hated blue"  
or
"MOM! are you feeling ok? I thought you hated blue... 
but you just did our entire tree in BLUE!?!?" 
or
"WOW.... do you like it mom?".... 

OK EVERYONE!!! 
I see that this is BLUE... 
YES I feel fine.... 
YES I still am not a fan of blue.... 
YES I KNOW it is different..... 
and hmmmmm I'm not so sure I LIKE it just yet...
I'll have to let it sit on me for a while.....
BUT I have now officially decided that I am NOT taking it apart to re-decorate!  
So.... YEP! I'm feeling a bit BLUE...

But... here ya go! 
I'm still "tweaking" it a bit 

I removed my draperies (because they were brown - and that SO DID NOT GO! I tried putting some "tulle" along the window - then hung some snowflakes... not sure it's quite what I'm looking for... so still working on that as well.... 


 And then... there is this tree.... 

The tree my kids are REALLY missing this year... the SWEET SHOP tree!
(and I think I'm missing it too!)

I was ready for a "CHANGE" (or I thought I was) but apparently my "BLUE" has really affected everyone.... oops! LOL!   I am still frantically trying to make a "small" tree out of the "broken" trees to put the SWEET SHOP tree together.... But until then.... we're just feeling BLUE around here :) 
Which.... leads me to GIVEAWAY #4!!!! 
HALLELUJAH!  
(I know that is what you are thinking right.... :)) 

Here is my problem... I told you I'm OCD about my trees.... (and I honestly do NOT know why!) I love seeing how people decorate their trees... and they always look so FABULOUS!! I just love the "primitive, country, whimsical trees.... BUT.... Then... I come home ... and I just can't do it! (and I curse.... I mean thank my dad for passing along his "perfectionist" gift to me...) I drive myself CRaZy most of the time with it - so I KNOW I annoy others..... 

Anyway... PROBLEM:
ALL the ornaments that the kido's make... 
at school... 
at church functions...
on their own time ... 

What is a MOM with OCD-ness (otherwise known as "perfectionalism" of the tree) to do with all the "said" ornaments?  It is heart breaking... it really is.... I LOVE them with all my heart! (the kids and their ornaments, just to clarify)... BUT I just can NOT bring myself to putting them on "THE" tree! I know... that makes me a horrible mom....I know this!  It really breaks my heart.... I've tried... I truly have... But I just can't.... I drives me UP THE WALL, CRAZY, NUTS... it stresses me!!!   I even decided one year... well in advance... I needed to allow the kids to decorate "THE" tree with their ornaments... I talked to myself daily about it... repeating "I can do this....I can do this... it is ok... life will be fine.... it's for the kids.... they will love it.... You can do this... you really can..."  I even decided that if I went and purchased "MULTI-COLORED" lights for the tree it would be better... with the "disarray-meant" of colored lights (no uniform structure) and the "MULTI-ORNAMENTS", it would be just fine.... we put up the tree.... it lasted... (I hate to say this...) less than 18 hours... while the kids were at school I undressed the tree and redressed it with the "SWEET SHOP".... funny thing was... my kids didn't even notice... SHEW!  I was safe.... until.... this year... my 9 year old said as she was "unloading" each Christmas bin... "Oh mom! Look! Here is the box full of all the ornaments that all of the children have made for you... are you going to put them on the tree this year....(long pause, because I was desperately searching for the "correct" answer ... the one that would not hurt her feelings...) she continued "or are you just going to leave them in this box so that my nieces don't ruin them".... AWE!!! Good thought Bry~ that is it... "Yep... I think it will be best if we keep them safe in the special box marked "Made with love from my favorite little people" don't you agree?"  "Yeah mom, I think that is a good idea this year....(long pause again) but, if I don't have any new nieces or nephews next year, do you think that we could put them on the tree?"  My reply... "Oh, I'm sure we can figure out something".... ... and inside... I'm praying for ONE of the married kids to announce a new family member will be joining us.... (OH I AM A BAD, SELFISH MOM!

SO... here is the GIVEAWAY comment this week.....

Leave me a comment... answering this question.... 

1- Are you a OCD "Tree Snob", (as a new blogging friend deemed us) or are you perfectly content with perfect traditional tree? (1 entry)

2-What do YOU do with all those ornaments made by the little people in your life?
I wanna know.... and I know there are other OCD TREE HOGS  that wanna know too...



Extra entries:
1-Become a follower - or if you are already - just let me know
2-Grab my TIS THE SEASON TO SHARE button over to the right - and post it either on your side bar or in a blog post - and come back and tell me you did
3-Write about this giveaway on your blog - come back and let me know you did (be sure to "link" your posting back to my blog) 

Pretty SIMPLE.... 
You'll never guess what the prize is for this GIVEAWAY!!! 

HEE HEE HEE!!!!! 

Giveaway ends SUNDAY DEC. 4, 2011,  8:00 pm

 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

And.... we have some WINNERS!

But... before I SURPRISE you with the winners....

Let me just THANK YOU ALL for your sweet comments and HELP! This whole TREE issue has been VERY VERY STRESSFUL..... but... after spending nearly 6 hours going to stores looking and pricing trees, calling on ads that were placed in the paper and Craigs List....  in hopes of finding a perfect darn tree! Guess what we did! We ended up coming home at 8:30pm and pulled out the 1000 jigsaw piece puzzle tree (not really but it sure seems like it...)  and PUT THE PUZZLE TOGETHER! .... oh don't worry .... it is missing a few "branches" but I just put them on the back side, so don't look in my window... its not the prettiest from that side.... And then... after all that PUZZLE putting together I had to go back and string all the lights on.... 1000 lights... and it wasn't a SIMPLE task... but why in the world! would I expect it to be EASY!?!?!? I had 2 strands of lights and thought I would S-T-R-E-T-C-HHHHHH it out... but didn't make it.  So at 10:40 pm last night I ran to WalMart, only to pay FULL price for the darn lights that were .99 cents the day before.... grrrr!!!  OH WELL.... tree is up... one out of three... not bad.... so sad that I won't be putting up the other 2 trees... but I am on the LOOK OUT for a good clearance price after Christmas - so I don't have to go through this again.... LOL!

I'll post the pictures soon.... just a few things to TWEEK then I'll be ready to share the tree!  LOL!!!
Oh.... and just for kicks I'm going to enter the Christmas Tree Contest over and  "A Whimsical Christams"... if you feel so inclined... I would LOVE a vote from you.... OR enter yourself!!!  Whichever you do... just remember ... "TIS THE SEASON"... for sharing!  Go on.. head over and take a PEEK!

Now.... for the WINNERS of last weeks giveaway.... are you ready for this?!?!?!

EVERYONE THAT ENTERED.. YOU ARE A WINNER!!!!

WOW!!! How simple was that????  You do the math.... 6 entries..+ from 3 different amazing people.... + 3 prizes.... = all of you are WINNERS!!!!  so....
CONGRATS ladies!!!!

Jonquil from A Whimsical Christmas
Lavendar Dreamer from Lavendar dreams too
and Karan (I finally got this one right! :)) from Cozy Christmas Corner & Karan's Holiday Corner
I'm sure they will agree.... pretty painless!!!!

Now ladies.... I need mailing addresses..... send a email message to me at ladybugz4bry at yahoo dot com, and your prizes will be out in no time!

And... get ready for the next giveaway.. to be posted on Monday Nov, 28  - and will end on Sunday Dec, 4 at 8;00 pm Mountain Standard Time.....
I am a tad bit nervous to post my next "theme" for a giveaway.... but.... then again... everyone has been pretty good about my "quirks"....  I hope I still have friends after this one.....

GOOD NIGHT ALL! and thanks again for all your help and concern with my DARN TREE!!!  Sweet people here!

See ya Monday!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oh Christmas tree.... Oh Christmas tree.....

CAN YOU NOT JUST CO-OPERATE!?!?!?! 

We set out last night to decorate the tree.... only to discover that we have 4 pieces to our 3 piece tree..... 1 piece to our 3 part tree and no CENTER for our 1000 + piece tree!!!!  SERIOUSLY!!!! and of course not ONE of them will WORK with the other!!! Come on TREES! Have you ever heard of CO-OPERATION!!!!!  This is a VERY crucial matter!!!! We have a 9 year old that is in tears!  CO-OPERATE with me PLEASE!!!!! 
(I'm thinking we may just have to do something like this...)

But.. to no avail.... Not ONE would work with the other!  (Needless to say, my 9 year old went to bed in tears.... she was SO disappointed! She was being SO VERY PATIENT all day long WAITING for me to get my ORGANIZATION done so we could decorate... only to discover that there would be NO tree to decorate right now...)  I came in and started looking on line for trees.... We just don't have extra money for tree right now... even at 50% off... (why are they so EXPENSIVE????)  So I turned to the classifieds... sent out a few emails (because it was 11pm and didn't think that they would want a call from a FRANTIC mom inquiring about their TREE...) I woke this morning at 6 tossing and turning... and in hopes that there was a reply to my emails... even just ONE .... but there were NONE!!!!  Then it dawned on me ... probably because it is 6 AM and most people are still SLEEPING!!!!  HELLO!!!!!!  So, here I sit....waiting for a reply on a tree... silly huh? 

So..... until a reply..... I'll go get Santa's shop up and working again!  
SO..... MUCH.....TO..... DO!!!!!!

It has been one HECK of a CrAZy month to say the least... BUT I'm getting use to it!!!  (I think....) 
The past several weeks I've been busy cutting wood, painting, re-thinking my plan...cleaning up... pulling it out again.... cleaning up..... pulling it back out..... sleeping with saw dust in my ear.... my eyes....my nose... my hair... even my teeth! Every fiber of my being.....covered in saw dust!  And still... I feel as if I'm getting no-where NEAR being done!  And... Dec. 1st is just ... RIGHT... THERE!!! It is in hands reach... and I so desperately need to PUSH it out a tad!  :)   ....I'm really thinking that my December 1 deadline is going to be booted :( but I certainly am NOT going to go down without a FIGHT.... and a TEAR or TWO of my own.... I'm sure!!!!  

Well... until the TREE situation is resolved... guess I better get back to the shop.... here is just a SNEAK PEEK of what is going on around here...... 
 For December....
Meet the TALL Sno-FAMILY! 
I just LOVE the sleigh and reindeer... but I just realized...
I need to get them "TIED" up!!!  Missing the reins!!!!
I found the pattern and instructions here... what a TALENTED lady! 
Of course hers looks MUCH better than mine..
but I'm not giving the receiver a picture of what it SHOULD look like... 
so they will NEVER know... RIGHT???!


And for OCTOBER.....

A friend of mine had some of these... so I just "COPIED" them... and then.... I discovered they too were from this TALENTED lady.... again... hers are much better... I was just flying by the seat of my britches! 
I am now VERY tempted to just PURCHASE from her ETSY shop!!! and save me the HEADACHE!
 These are my BLOCK HEAD family!

 Well... that leaves 10 months to go!!! 
I better get on the stick!!! 
Making 4 sets of EVERYTHING is just a WEE BIT.....
OUT - OF - CONTROL!!!! 
(so, now you will no longer need to wonder WHY my house looks like a tornado, hurricane, tsunami and a whirlwind have touched down...they really have!) 

My girls are at the "newly-wed-rather poor" stage of life.... well, poor in the aspect of "no money to decorate the house" .... so I've decided to help them out - by doing a bit of monthly decorations for them... I'm so super excited .... but feeling a "BIT" overwhelmed .... because as usual.... these projects go MUCH MUCH MUCH faster in my head!! LOL!!! they are so TIME consuming in "reality" world!!!!  
Why is it that my outer body can not work as FAST as my INNER body!!! (the brain!) :)  

Well.... off I go.... hoping to hear back on a tree or two and to the shop I go... 
IT IS FREEZZZZZZING out there!!!!! 

OH!!! Don't forget!!! 
GIVEAWAY #3(enter here!)  is coming to a end!!!! 
AND.... there are 3 prizes!!!!! 
and about the same number of entries.....
I wonder WHO will win.... LOL!!!!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving .... Giveaway....and more!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL!!! 
I hope that you all had a WONDERFUL day - and that you enjoyed your family traditions! 

I just wanted to remind you all ... the GIVEAWAY #3 ends on Saturday Nov. 24 at 8 pm - MST....


Also wanted to give you a "HINT" about this weeks giveaway ....

1 - there will be 3 winners!  YEP!! 3!!!!! 
2- It is homemade... and perfect for "thanks!" ..... I think you will like it! 


Question.... needing some feed back... 
Do most prefer to know WHAT they MAY win... or do you like SURPRISES???? 

I'm kinda more of a "SURPRISE ME KINDA GAL"... but I'm thinking it isn't so much what BLOG-LAND likes... :(  Just need to know....AND if anyone has any suggestions on how to attract posters to give-aways - let me know as well....  I know it is all about TRAFFIC to your blog - right???? 

Well - hope all is going well!!! I'm off to bed now... just returned from midnight-black Friday shopping and I'm exhausted... and CRANKY!  People are just RUDE! So glad I'm done and I can just ENJOY the Christmas season now! .... Stay tuned... one more giveaway next week ... and then the FUN begins!  Next weeks giveaway will START on Sunday Nov. 25  and end on Wednesday Nov. 30!  It's gonna be a quick one!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giveaway #3..... are you READY!?!?

Well, I think you all know by now ... that my goal was to have my Christmas all DONE... FINISHED!.... All wrapping, decorating, baking.... EVERYTHING done by Dec. 1 ..... And I think that you will remember how last year SOMEONE just HAD to change my plan.... (you can read this - if you need a reminder... :)) Men... they always think it is all about them... ;) .... Well.... This year I warned him LOUD AND CLEAR! I've been telling him since August - that I have a deadline - and we WILL be done with Christmas by Dec. 1! And he was to not be pulling any SHA-NAN-A-GANS this year! LOL!

WELL..... APPARENTLY I failed to mention to a few others (ahem!) the RULES!  

Quick run down.... 
Nov. 2, at 5:30 pm, we received a frantic call from our daughter that she was rushing her husband to the hospital and he was going in for emergency surgery... she has a 2 year old and 3 year old ... (THE CUTEST 2 and 3 year old ever I will add!) and... well, we all know just how well little ones LOVE hospitals... They truly do LOVE them... all the machines with lots of little lights, buttons, noises and flashing things.... They live about 3 hours from us and they were heading to a hospital another hour and a half FARTHER from us - by 6 we were on our way to pick up the girls from her... a 4 1/2 hour journey was ahead.  He came out about midnight and was one sick young man.  They removed his gangrene appendix, and flushed his stomach cavity with saline and high powered antibiotics,  that was 80% filled with infection, cleaned his intestines and decided he was staying for 5-10 days depending on how he handled the infection.  (We are awaiting pathology reports to see exactly what he has) We arrived home at 4 am with 2 tired  little girls, we all crashed and called it a  night..... 

ONLY I was suppose to be to another hospital the opposite direction at 6 am to sit with my dad while my mom underwent a knee replacement surgery..... needless to say ... I didn't make it (I did call and let them know I would be late) I arrived about 11 am - mom came out of recovery about 2:15.... however, while waiting for my mom, about 12 noon I received a call from my son stating that he fell down a snow covered mountain while carrying his tools.  He tried to "catch" himself, but he was pretty certain that he broke his wrist and messed up his ankle really good! ....My reply... "Well I'm at the hospital already, I'll meet you in the ER" .... shortly after my mom came out - at 2:20 to be exact, I received a call from my hubby.... he informed me that his 83 year old aunt had fallen and broke her hip - and he felt that he needed to go to the hospital to be with his dad..... I hurried home..... exhausted of course....

We kept the girls for 1 week, so that dad could get home and rest a few days before chaos set it... and the 2 year old had a doctor appointment in Salt Lake anyway - On Nov. 8 - my Mr had a routine stress test ... after 3 hours of tests, they told us that he needed to return the next morning for another series... at that point I knew it was not well.... Nov. 9, we returned for 2 hours of testing, I worked for 1/2 a day - then took the 2 year old in for her ENT appointment.  They were REALLY behind .... SURPRISE!  after 4 hours a hearing test and discovering that SHE was going to need surgery as well... this grandma was exhausted.... we headed home in rush hour traffic, loaded the girls up and began our 2 1/2 hour journey to meet mom and dad and return them to their rightful owners .... (we sure miss them already!... but they were missing their mom and dad too!)  We returned home at 10:30 pm ....  and CRASHED in bed! 

Nov. 10, bright and early, our phone rang ... it was my Mr's heart doctor.... he informed us that there was significant blockage detected on the stress test and that he was going to need to go in for heart surgery.  He was to "LAY-LOW" until they could get him scheduled - no strenuous activity at all.... Can you say REPEAT!!! Did he not listen to me????  Sheesh!  

Nov. 16, he went in for heart surgery, my daughter and her family returned to be here for dad and grandpa... they sent us home Wednesday night with instructions to lay flat for 24 hours - avoid lifting, stress, and physical activity for at least 2 weeks...... Nov 18, we were back in the ER for monitoring and tests.... returned home about 11pm - and he is resting comfortably at this moment...... 

SO... you say.... WHAT THE HECK! What does this have to do with a GIVEAWAY!?!?!?! ..... well... I'll tell you.... This week, my giveaway is going to do with THANKSGIVING.... (I've decided that because I get so focused on WHAT to accomplish for Christmas by the end of November... that Thanksgiving is punishing me! It is feeling a bit neglected... ) I never EVER intended on it happening that way at all!  I just know that I don't want to be a STRESSED-OUT-BASKED case come December.... BUT Goals are just that GOALS!  And sometimes we reach them... sometimes we don't....

I think I'm changing my deadline to Oct. 31 for next year  (I'll show them!) AND hopefully you will forgive me for my tardiness... ramblings... and such!

So to keep THANKSGIVING on my side..... This weeks giveaway is....

Tell me what you are THANKFUL FOR! 

I'm THANKFUL for: 
Change - and the ability to adjust 
Goals - that keep me focused and striving to improve 
Food - because there have been times when we have had very little to none 
TRUE friends - because they take me for who I really am
Health - although we have our share of trials in this area - I know it could be worse ... I'm thankful it is not! 
Our home - it is a safe place for us to gather... a safe place for all who enter.
Blessings and Miracles.... we have witnessed a lot of them lately and I feel VERY blessed and grateful that we have been watched over and protected!
Strangers.... because they become my friends! And we all need GOOD friends!   
and mostly I am THANKFUL for my FAMILY....
You just never know when it is your time to go - I am thankful that we have each other and that we are close It is good to know that when everything around us seems to be crumbling, we can gather as a family and conquer the toughest obstacles! 

So.... what are you Thankful for? 

Giveaway Entries:
1-become a follower  (1 entry)
2-Tell us what you are Thankful for! (1 entry)
AND... you can earn extra entries for the following:
3-Write about the giveaway on your blog and come back to let me know you did (2 entries) 
4-Grab my TIS THE SEASON button and place on your blog - come back and tell me you did (3 entries) 
Thats 7 entries!!! HOLY SHMOKES!!!!  
What ya waitin' for???? 

OH.... and there will be 3 lucky winners this week!!!!! 
EVEN BETTER!!!!!
  So come on...
Let's make this a great-ful week -I know I am GRATEFUL to all of you!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

THANK YOU! Just isn't enough some times!

WOW!!! What a week! .... WHO am I kidding???? WHAT A MONTH!!!!!  My goodness! 

But! I must say.......
I am so thankful for such AMAZING WONDERFUL AWESOME people!.... in blog land!!!!!  You have done a great service this week and I simply can not thank you all enough!!!!  

Jonquil - I LOVE your JAMMIE tradition!  I would always make certain that my children had new jammies and slippers for Christmas morning.... But now.... Thanks to an amazing SISTER-IN-LAW, she takes care of that (as you know from my post) I no longer need to stress over JAMMIES...but sometimes (ok every year!) I wish I were a kid!!!! I would LOVE some nice, warm, cuddly, soft jammies!!! 

Karan - I too love the CHRISTMAS LIGHT RIDE!  And... I REALLY love your cookie/candy weekend tradition!  I have searched for the past 3 years to find someone that could teach me how to make hand-dipped chocolates... you know.... the kind with the "creamy" centers... hand dipped in YUMMY chocolate!  I have not found a "teacher" (or taker :)) yet!  You wanna volunteer??? :)   And... I just may borrow (I don't like to steal.... ) your "BIRTHDAY Party" for our Savior idea!  LOVE IT! 

Michelle - WOW!!! We have a LOT of the same favorite traditions! :)  I am going to look for "The boy who laughed at Santa Claus:" poem... I am certain that it needs to be added to my Christmas story/poem collection!  I LOVE your new tradition too!!!  I just may have to copy that too!!! I know one thing for sure - you convinced me that I need MUST HAVE Christmas plates! (I've been pleading my case for a couple years now... I think this has officially ended the "case!"  Thank you! ;) )

Lindsay - Thank you for reminding me about the ELF!  We use to have a ELF visit our house every night from Dec. 1 - Dec. 20 - He visited when I just had my first 2 or 3 children - then I think we OVERWHELMED him.. or scared him away.... whichever..... I LOVED the Elf!  He helped to keep us all motivated to be kind, help out, go the extra mile etc... all month long!  He even made sure to leave "COAL" when we weren't at our best... or what HE knew we could be!  I think I'll be sending a letter out to Mr. Elfy Tine this week!  See if we can EARN his visits back! OH! I hope he will accept!  :) 

OH MY GOODNESS!!!  I just have to say one more thing.... THANK YOU ALL for sharing!  You have all given me the extra "BOOST" that I really needed this week to stay focused and motivated!!!! Especially, after the past 19 days!  I was just about to throw in the towel.... slip back into my BAH-HUM-BUG sleeping bag and forget it all!!!!  BUT not no more!!!! NO SIREE!!!  Thank you all SO MUCH!  You will never know just how much you have helped me this week!  And to think that I don't even know you face to face!  What a blessing you all are! 

Jonquil.... thanks again for the "SHOUT OUT" on your blog this past week!  I was so touched that you would do such a kind thing!  SO SWEET OF YOU!!! Thank you!!!!  

Thank you all for keeping me on my toes.... I love to visit ALL of your blogs... and do so quite FREQUENTLY!  :)   Have a WONDERFUL WEEK!!!!    

Be sure to check out this weeks winner....s !!!! here!  :)  

CONGRATS TO YOU ALL !!! 
For SAVING Christmas for me!!!!

Feeling CHRISTMAS-Y!

Winner for giveaway #2!!!!

CONGRATS TO....... 

DEBBIE from..... Debbie - Dabble & Debbie Dabble Christmas!comment #4

True Random Number Generator   
  
  4

 That's right..... #4 .... is a winner this week..... and guess what else????? 

I was just feeling a bit .... CHRISTMAS-Y tonight - so I decided to go for 2 - YEP 2 winners.....

Isn't this fun??????

So CONGRATS  to comment #1.... JONQUIL of  A Whimsical Christmas!  

 
True Random Number Generator  . 
  
  1

I just couldn't resist!!!! 

And now... I just can't wait for MONDAY.... ya never know.... maybe I'll be REALLY Christmasy and feel like doing 3!  Or.... perhaps .... every one who enters..... ya just never know!!!!

 Keep your eyes open.... GIVE AWAY #3 is just around the corner!!!!! 

So.... Karan OOPS!!!!  (Karan you are right... it was Debbie! LOL! Thanks for keeping me on my toes!) So... Debbie and Jonquil.... email your mailing address to me at ladybugz4bry at yahoo dot com!

I'll give you a hint..... This is another one of my favorite traditions! I didn't mention in my post ...

I have a large Christams basket that sits under my Christmas tree in our family room, and every year I purchase a new BOOK to put in the basket (of course it is wrapped!), and every night we pick a book out of our Christmas basket and read the story! I will admit, it gets harder with older children and so MUCH going on... but it is fun to try and do the best that we can to read a book a night! And when Christmas is boxed up at the end of the month, so are the books, this way, they don't get lost and everyone is excited to bring them out the next Christmas!  ....OH! I also "year date" it so we can see what year we got the book! 
So yep!  You guessed it!!! I'm sending you a new book! I hope you like it!

I'll be watching for your email!!!

CONGRATS!!!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!!!!!

Just a little less than 2 hours left to enter this weeks giveaway!!!!! 

And.... FINALLY I remembered to get BATTERIES.... 
Here is the picture of the package that was sent off to last weeks winner COLEY!!!! 

 I tried to include what I could of some of my favorite things about the season...

The "REASON" for the season is my number one!  
And I just LOVE this picture!  
MUSIC
And.... there is just something about PEPPERMINT CANDIES.... 
and combined with a GIFT TAG ... how can it get better than that! 

CONGRATS COLEY!!!
I hope you enjoy your package! 
....OH! And I added a SURPRISE for someone very DEAR to you! 
....I've kinda fallen for him too, through your blog... 
Let me know what he thinks! ;)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another giveaway!!!! WOOT WOOT!!!!

So... this week.... I wanna hear about your FAVORITE family tradition! 

Don't you just LOVE traditions???? 

We have lots of family traditions... and I usually add one or two new ones each year.... just to try them out - some we keep - some we don't... but I love getting new ideas, trying them out and seeing what works for our family.... 

One of the very first traditions we start December out with is our GINGER BREAD HOUSE CONTEST!  There is a HUGE group!  And it is so fun to see just how creative everyone gets!
 Sometimes I think that more candy goes into the little mouths... and not so much on the house... but that is part of the fun!

  Of course it is a BONUS if we get to have a SNOWBALL FIGHT!!!

One of my kids most FAVORITE tradition, is on Christmas Eve.
They always get PJ's from Aunt Leslie! 
ALL THE COUSINS!!! 


 They wait with anticipation as they all open their "SPECIAL PACKAGE" together... 
What FABRIC will it be????
(and of course it is always fun to see "who's doesn't fit!" LOL!)
And... no matter how much I have hinted... 
I still have not gotten a pair of PJ'S  :( .... 
Like this year... the year of COW PJ's was one of their most favorite! 
 
 This year grandma made them all a "TEDDY BEAR!"
I know that my kids have cherished those little bears! 
Especially now that grandma has passed away! 
My little one still SNUGGLES with hers!
One of the other favorite traditions that the kids always looked forward too is on Christmas Eve when they would all gather around grandma as she read "The Night Before Christmas" to them. 
Now that Grandma is no longer with us, we have carried on the tradition in our house.
When we return from Grandpas house we read "The Night Before Christmas".  I know I'm not nearly as good as grandma, and I know we would all prefer grandma to be here with us and read to them... but until we can all gather around grandma again, I'll just have to do..... 
(This was the last Christmas Grandma read to them... picture is PRICELESS!)
 
 Of course, no Christmas is complete without reading (or acting out) the Nativity. 
Isn't this just precious??? 
We now have what I call "Our Night In Bethlehem" night. 
We all gather together, and watch the movie, "The Nativity" and we have food that we think they would have eaten during that time... like cheese's and crackers, salami and beef stick, raisins, nuts and different breads...and of course "sparkling cider!"  My kids think that is just the best! 
It has become one of my favorite traditions that we just started a couple years ago.

 And then no Christmas would be complete if we didn't make it to Temple Square to see the lights and nativity. 
We have missed it the past couple of years due to illness and the bad weather on the days we plan to go...
But this year! It is a must!  
The grand-babies must see! 


It is simply breathtaking....
uplifting.... 
and helps to keep us focused on the REAL reason for the season.
So... now that you know a few of our family traditions... 
What are yours? 

There is one more of MY most favorites... 
(WOW! I have a lot don't I!?!?) 
that I have not shared... 
and that will become the GIVEAWAY prize this week.... 
But... I'm not going to tell you until....
Next Monday.... 
When I reveal the winner! 

So... hurry!! 
On your marks...
GET SET.....
Here's is what you do.... 
You can enter 5 times!!!! WOW!!!!!

1-Post in a comment - your favorite holiday tradition
2-Become a follower ... and if you are already - tell me you are again! 
(It gives me warm fuzzies just knowing you are really out there :)) 
3-Blog about my give-away on your blog - 
come back and let me know you did by leaving the URL in your comment...
4-Grab my button and put it on your blog - come back and tell me you did so.... 
5- Tell your friends and have them mention "who" referred them to my giveaway, and if they win.... SO DO YOU!!!!!  WOW!!! that is 2 giveaways if you think about it!!!! 

SO! What are you waiting for!?!?! 

 
Let's GO!!!!! 

(sorry, can only ship to US addresses...  BOO WHO!!! but I hope you will still share!) 
(I hope to soon figure out how to ship world wide! LOL!) 

Giveaway ends at 8:00PM (MST) on Saturday Nov. 19, 2011




and.... we have a WINNER!!!!!

Let's just keep the suspense going on a little bit longer... shall we?  :)
First....THANK YOU ALL for entering in my first ever GIVE-AWAY!!!! 
I'll be quite honest with you all... after the first nearly 24 hours, and I had no comments... I was feeling a bit like a looser and wondered "why in the world I put myself through such torment...." I honestly had myself convinced that I had no readers... that my idea was STUUUUPID! and ... I was just about to throw in the towel and forget it all.... but.... I was quick to judge!  TOO IMPATIENT!!!! You all have made my week!  You are all so sweet with your comments and such good sports to play along! THANK YOU!!!!! I truly am grateful!  I hope you are all as excited as I am..... 

AND..... I was going to post a picture of the GIVEAWAY... but.... my camera... is once again.... DEAD!!!! I know I just put batteries in it! And... I think I know just who will be at fault for my dead battery.... when I get my battery replaced.... I'll know for sure!!! .... I'll give you a hint..... 3 girls in the house... which one will it be??????  :) 

Anyway..... I'll post the picture later on today... when I get a second to sneak out and get some batteries! 

Now... my only worry is.... is my giveaway "CORNY"...... oh I stress myself out sometimes.... always!

OH YES! One more thing.... 
before I tell you who won.... 

You were all so VERY VERY CLOSE on my top 5 most favorite Christmas things! 
I am amazed at how good you all are!!! 
(and... I didn't realize just how hard it was to narrow my FAVORITES to 5!!!!) 
That was REALLY hard! 

Now... not in any particular order... my top 5 favs are...
STOCKINGS
MUSIC
THE SAVIOR - The reason for the Season! 
BEING WITH MY FAMILY ... and our TRADITIONS 
WATCHING MY KIDS OPEN THEIR FAVORITE THINGS BOX! 
 (I know...technically that is 6 - but come on! they go together!)  
I was so impressed with everyone! 
It seems we all have VERY similar FAVORITES!

NOW....
DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!!!!! 

The winner is.......comment #22
(selected by Random.org)

True Random Number Generator     22
Congrats to COLEY!!!! You will for sure want to visit her blog!  (Or all of her blogs!) I know I am amazed by her!  She has a heart of gold ... I just know it!!! You know...sometimes you just get a "feeling" about someone ... well, I discovered her blog not too long ago... and I just know... we would be great friends if we lived near each other...and I just KNOW we will become good long distance friends! I'm so grateful for this wonderful world of blogging! I have had the opportunity to meet so many AMAZING people... via the internet!  When I'm feeling all alone and feel that I have not much to offer ...I turn to blog land and discover some pretty amazing people! And it is so amazing to me to see just how much everyone lifts each other and is so willing to "share" their talents with others..... complete strangers!!!! AND how much they LIFT each other up! I'm SO GRATEFUL!  Thank you to everyone that played along! You inspired me and gave me the strength I needed during a rough week!  THANK YOU!!!! 

So.... Coley, I need your mailing address!  
A package is awaiting to greet you!!!!!  


AND, TO THE REST OF YOU!!!!! 
Let's get ready for ROUND 2!!!!  
I'll be posting the next GIVE-AWAY contest about 6 pm tonight... (MST).... so be sure to come back! 
I wish you all a FABULOUS week! 


Monday, November 7, 2011

Tis the season...for a GIVEAWAY!!!

And I'm getting sooooo super excited!!!!
SO..... to start this week out... 
(and I apologize for my TARDINESS- I meant to post this earlier today) 
I've decided it is time to start some GIVEAWAYS!!!!  

Every Monday thru November- I'll be posting some sort of NEW give-away contest! 

This week..... are you ready?????? 

This week - the giveaway will be....

5 of my FAVORITE CHRISTMAS THINGS! 
Can you just GUESS what they might be???  

I't's going to be easy too!
There are 4 ways to enter! 
Do any or all... it's totally up to you!!!
1- Leave a comment telling me about your 5 favorite CHRISTMAS things!
2-Become a follower, then leave me a comment that you are now a follower! 
3-Grab my button and share it on your blog - come back and let me know you did! 
4-and... in another comment.... just take a guess at my top 5 FAVORITE CHRISTMAS things are....
this is for fun! Come on! Take a guess!!! (Hint: I'm pretty simple....)  
SEE!! That is simple!!!! Don't you think!?!?! 

HURRY!!!
I promise... It's going to be fun
Giveaway will end on Saturday Nov. 12, 2011 and.... 
the winner of my  
5 FAVORITE CHRISTMAS THINGS
will be announced on MONDAY Nov. 14, 2011...
And another giveaway will begin

(I just have to share this from a few years ago...)
 Can you just see the SNEAKY-NESS in big brother??? 
Tweeking ears.... 
These girls are pretty quick to catch him! 
They know just what to do when he is nearby.....

and... THANK YOU ALL for the sweet comments and messages!
YOU MAKE MY DAY BRIGHTER!!! 

On the LAST day of PUMPKIN.....

It just has to be FUDGE!!!!  

I'm sure you will really like this recipe as well! 


Pumpkin Fudge
3 cups white sugar
1 cup milk
3 T. light corn syrup
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 t. salt
1 t. pumpkin pie spice (I used cinnamon, cloves and ginger...didn’t measure)
1 ½ t. vanilla
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional, and I left it out this time)

Butter or grease one 8x8 pan. Alternatively, line it with Reynolds’s Release foil for easy removal. In a large saucepan (this bubbles up quite high, roughly quadruples in volume), mix together the sugar, milk, corn syrup, pumpkin and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling—do NOT stir.

When mixture registers 232 degrees on candy thermometer or forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water, remove pan from heat. Stir in spice, vanilla, butter and nuts. Cool to lukewarm (110 degrees on candy thermometer).

Beat mixture until it is very thick and loses some of its gloss. It will also lighten up by several shades. Quickly pour into the prepared pan and allow to set. Cut into 1 inch squares.


So SMOOTH.... CREAMY.... YUMMY! 

Well.... 
That wraps up the 7 days of PUMPKIN!!!!  

Be watching.... because later tonight.... 
I have a surprise!!!! 
You won't want to miss! 

I PROMISE! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

You can NEVER have too much PUMPKIN...

can you???? 

NAH!!!!! 

This is a GREAT pumpkin recipe for a cold, lightly snowing (ok, SNOW at all) need some WARM and COMFY smells breakfast.... Like Sunday morning..... 

The fun thing about this recipe is I've had it for a long time... I use to make it when my first 2 children were little... but I somehow forgot about it... probably with life's crazy crazes! I was digging through my OLD recipe book looking to re-BOOST my menu planning... and stumbled across this recipe again.... and I just can't WAIT to whip them up again! But as I was browsing around THE SISTERS CAFE again.... I found that they too had this recipe!  (there were a few variations - but the picture just made me have a hankering for a big ol' hunk of a ....... 


PUMPKIN PANCAKES WITH APPLE CIDER SYRUP! 

2 cups flour 
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground all spice*
1 tsp ground cinnamon*
1/2 tsp ginger*
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk (I do an overflowing 1/2 cup)
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp vinegar
In one bowl mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, oil and vinegar. Combine dry ingredients separately and them stir into pumpkin mixture just until combined. Heat your pan or griddle (lightly butter or oil if it is not seasoned), using about 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot with apple cider syrup.
*The variation my recipe had was to use 2 tsp PUMPKIN PIE SPICE instead of the allspice, cinnamon & ginger and 1/2 tsp nutmeg.  

Apple Cider Syrup
 (Perfect over Pumpkin Pancakes)
3/4 Cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBs cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups fresh apple cider (or juice would work)
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter
Mix sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg well. Add apple cider and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, use within a week or two.

Pecan Topping.... optional, but you are going to want to make it mandatory! 
2 TBSP butter 
1 cup pecans (halves of whole) 
about 1/4 cup brown sugar 

Melt butter in a skillet.  Mix in pecans and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Mix, and let caramelize on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.  Do not let the mixture burn....  top your pancakes and apple cider syrup.... mmmmmmmmm OH ...... SO....... DEEE-LIGHT..... FUL!  mmmmmmmmmm! 



Is your mouth just WATERING!?!?!  
Oh how I wish it weren't Fast Sunday today.... :) 
 Maybe this will be Monday night dinner!  ... oh, and let me just add... the smell is DEEE-VINE!  I just remember getting up to make these before I would get the kids up for school, and everytime.... the SMELL would just "wake" them up... in a great mood of course! (and trust me... they were NOT morning people!) 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

On the 5th day of PUMPKIN.....

It just wouldn't be complete without.....

PUMPKIN CREAM TRIFLE
(Gayle Holdman, SECRET RECIPES, World Wide Recipes)

1 18.25 oz. pkg spice cake mix
1 3.4 oz pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup pumpkin, canned or mashed fresh
1/2 cup vegetable oil (again... applesauce is amazing!)
1/2 cup water
3 lg eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 3.4 oz. pkgs. cheesecake instant pudding mix
(can use 2 vanilla or 1 cheesecake/1 vanilla)
2 cups cold milk
2 cups frozen whipped topping - thawed
Pecans - chopped and toasted
English toffee bits (or chopped candy bars like SKOR or Heath)
Caramel sauce - (drizzle) optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray.  In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin, oil, water, eggs, cinnamon and ginger.  Blend with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.  Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.  increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 mintes more.  Batter should look thick and well blended.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 32-39 minutes or until cake springs back lightly when touched and toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool completely.  (Cake can be frozen at this point.  Thaw at room temp before assembling trifle.)  When ready to assemble trifle, cut or tear cake into 1 inch cubes.  Combine pudding mixes with nilk and blend with whisk until the pudding starts to thicken.  Fold in whipped topping, the quickly assemble trifle.   Place 1/3 of cake cubes into trifle bowl.  Top with 1/3 pudding mixture and sprinkle with 1/3 nuts and toffee bits.  Repeat layers two more times, ending with nuts and toffee on top.  Drizzle with caramel sauce, if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate, coveredm, no longer than 24 hours.  Makes 16 servings.
Doesn't this just look DEEE-LICIOUS!!!!! 
(it is! trust me!)
(Being that this week has NOT gone as planned SURPRISE!.... 
I asked Melanie over at THE SISTERS CAFE if I could borrow her picture of this HEAVENLY treat... she was ever so kind and gave me permission to use her picture.... but... feel free to bop on over to THE SISTERS CAFE...  take a look around... (if you haven't already!) it is simply YUMMY over there!!! .... Thank you Melanie!) 

I love that this can be frozen! Just bake up a few cakes - freeze and then when you get a last minute invite (or for me it is usually a last "OH CRAP! I JUST REMEMBERED I NEED TO TAKE....something...") this whips up in no time! Well.. kinda... got to remember to remove from the freezer!!!

Just two more days of PUMPKIN!!!!