Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflecting on 2012... Highlighting Favorite Posts

Happy New Year's Eve!

Can you even believe it?

2013 is FAST approaching and I have spent a good portion of today reading through some fellow bloggers posts, highlighting some of their favorite entries and I thought I would play along!

I did not blog every week in 2012... nor every month... (but the month of October and all it's #31Days made up for it!)... still... here is a list of highlighted posts that give you a great glimpse of our 2012!

January brought a post on Recycling/Repurposing my beloved Coffee themed calendar, and revealed my One Little Word!

February of course stirred up my creativity and left me feelin a little Valentiney!

March brought me back to my One Little Word (Releasing)...

Then... apparently - life got REALLY busy (in actuality - life got really hard and it was all I could do to keep my heart and head above drowning waters... crafting was sporadic at best!)

In July I realized I had abandoned the blog, and came back to post on my One Little Action.

In September I shared some DigiLayouts I had (finally!) been working on!

As I mentioned, I blogged on EVERY one of the 31 Days in October... I loved all of the posts, which you can read through HERE, or you can read my two favorites: Day 17 & Day 31.

In November, we hosted a WAR Int'l jewelry party and of course, we were Thankful and Counting On!

December has come and nearly gone and a few highlights here were answering the call to SLOW DOWN, our fun Ugly Christmas Sweater Game Night, and the Snowy Cold Family Portrait session!

So - that brings us to here... New Year's Eve!
Here's to a Happy New Year and a blessed 2013 ahead!

Hoping to get my Scrap on soon and get all caught up once again... but my One Word for 2013 is a bit unnerving to my planners heart! Still - once again... it chose me, I didn't choose it! My One Word for 2013? "Surprise!"

What about you?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Snow Photo Shoot today... Brrr

It didn't start out too bad... with sun peaking out here and there and the air not TOO crisp!  We lost track of time playing in the snow... but then the sun went away, we played a little closer to the snow, and  - well, it just got cold! We wrapped it up quickly after that!

Here are a few sneak peaks...

A few (last!?) shots of my senior girlie...

and a few of the Family Shoot...

Now, I will be editing for some time... good thing this part is still fun for me too!!! It was cold - but we all had so much fun!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Snowfall... Winter has arrived!

As I was dropping my daughter off at school, I turned the corner and immediately caught my breath!  The sun - all Tangeriney and neon was just sneaking up the hillside to peak over the top - it hadn't quite caught a glimpse yet - but the hill was glowing with morning glory!  I reached to my passenger seat only to remember that I had once again brought the camera in the house and left it there!

By the time I got home, the sun had gone up and over the top and was hiding behind clouds hanging low... and yet I captured in my mind the vision of winter white frosty snow - all aglow with sunbathed glory!  It also forced me to take a few minutes in the midst of a busy day to SLOW DOWN (see? I DO take my own advice every now and then!) and snap some winter wonderland shots around our house!

With the recent Snowfall... winter has arrived - and oh my - it is JUST in time!


How about where you are? Is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas yet? I'd love to hear!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ugly Christmas Sweaters (& my love for Pinterest lives on!)

So - at the last minute(ish)... we decided to throw an Ugly Christmas Sweater Game Night party on Friday night... and apparently we were not the first or only to think of this super fun idea because we went on the search for some classic Ugly Christmas sweaters at the secondhand stores around town with NOT ONE to be found? Not ONE?  Not even one just sort of ugly Christmas sweater?

We mentioned it to my mother, and she admitted that she more than likely had a few to choose from hanging in her closet! What a good sport - and to be honest... these were not SO bad... but we were desperate... and they ARE Christmas sweaters... so with just a little added "Flair" (thank you jcp and your brilliant holiday button campaign!) and some retro Christmas jewelry - we were decked out!

Some guests were able to play along...

Some were coming from other office parties so they did not 'dress up'...

We played several different games with lots of visiting, laughing, and catching up in between!

What's a Game night without games and well... Snacks... hmmm - well, you KNOW I have pinned SEVERAL Christmasy snacky recipes to try and so I decided to add to my "Pinterested - Things I have ACTUALLY made!" Board by making 4 snacky items that are mostly finger food friendly - perfect for munching while playing games!

I made Buffalo Chicken Dip - OH MY... so yummy and easy and delicious!  We had veggies (YES - I am 'that' girl?) and crackers to dip in it and it was a big hit! So big in fact that I have no pictures? Oops?! I noticed that the link to the recipe also has no photo's? Hmm... seems like a common problem?

I also made (again!) the Pretzel Hugs - so easy and incredible - salty sweet crunchy yumminess!

Next up, I made the little Elf Hats (Bugles stuffed with PB and dipped in Chocolate!)  This one was not so easy and really I needed an extra pair of hands to help me pipe the peanut butter mixture into the teeny tiny Bugles - about halfway through we began to question if it was worth it.  however, after putting them in the freezer to let the chocolate set and then grabbing one or five to taste test... well - we will most likely be making them again! They are so good! Not to mention SUPER CUTE!

Lastly - (and my favorite of the night!) I finally made the Cran-Pistachio cookies! SO soo easy... super moist and a HUGE hit! Even my daughter - who doesn't like pistachios OR cranberries - LOVED these cookies!

The night was a success... we had a small turn out I think mostly due to the holiday party schedules of the season - but we had a blast and that just meant more snacks for us to share!

What fun thing have you pinned AND MADE from Pinterest this season?
I'd love to hear!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Won't you join me...

As I was adding photo's to a different post, the news broke about the tragedy in Connecticut today... what I had planned to say today here... well - it can wait!

This tragedy is so very heart wrenchingly sad.  So senseless... these kinds of events so often leave us speechless - at a loss for words... and this is a good thing! It is good to be still... to be quiet... when our thoughts are hazy, and our world feels wobbly at best.  This blog will be quiet for a few days... I will be writing my heart and His in my own personal journal as I process through the events of the day! I encourage you to do the same.

Join me won't you, as this is a time for praying, for loving your family and friends, for miracles...

I am praying for these families... this town... our world.

Miracle working God... come near, once again!
In Jesus' Name,


Thursday, December 13, 2012

'Tis the Season... to slow D-O-W-N!

I know... that just doesn't seem real, right? Is it even possible?  We all know this time of year adds to our busyness, and there is so much MORE to do... and yet, the call is ever so clear and answering it is what will TRULY help you to feel the Christmas Spirit!

The call is to SLOW D-O-W-N... just breathe...

It only takes a moment or two... OK - maybe 5!  I don't really want to believe that it is because I am getting older (although I have found myself saying things that make me SOUND like this is the case!) but it seems as though time is spinning faster and faster - just on a regular everyday sort of date - not to mention any date in December!

But I am finding that when time moves so fast… sometimes it's in the slowing down where we truly catch up!

I have mentioned that I am late to the party, but I am thoroughly enjoying Ann Voskamps' "one thousand gifts" and in Chapter 4... "The Sanctuary of Time" she writes: "I know you, those seeking eyes. You're the one in dire need of time, that thing we can't buy, what we sell of ourselves to get more of what we think we want, what we sacrifice to seemingly gain. They say time is money, but that's not true. Time is life. And if I want the fullest life, I need to find fullest time... oh yes, I know you, the busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life." (Pg 64)

Ouch, right?  Her words in this chapter on time hit me hard! Me, with the Bossy Lists, and the constant multi-tasking... her prayer becomes my prayer: "I speak it to God: I don't really want MORE time, I just want ENOUGH time. Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or WILD to get it all done - yesterday." (Pg 67)

Is this not what we ALL want... to not come to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and be exhausted, having rushed through all of the holiday cheer?  She goes on in that chapter to talk about the key to slowing down time... it's easier than you think and yet it takes such determination!  You simply must - wherever you are, be ALL there!  Be PRESENT... give all of your attention, all of your focus to whatever is right in front of you and feel the second hand slow... the breathing come easier!  Take just a moment to enjoy - truly marvel at - the twinkling of Christmas lights - whether on the commute home in neighborhoods, or in your living room, on the tree.  Brush your babies hair from forehead and watch them sleep... breathe in this moment - so precious and holy. You will not regret it... and because you slowed down time, you will not forget it! 

Our God - who is not bound to time... is ever present and waiting to refresh and refill... in this season, yes! In ALL seasons!  So in the rush of your busy days... slow down... make eye contact... share a smile... capture a moment in time, taking a picture with your heart... and make it Holy!

As Ann closes that chapter on time, she shares a story of making a passed-down treat and watching her kids thoroughly enjoy it!  She wonders when she forgot that Life is Dessert!  She writes, it's "too brief to hurry.  You don't wolf it down."  So with the holidays fast approaching, and all the time stretched oh so thin - I pray you are able to stop yourself in the midst of the rush, be FULLY present, breathe in... give thanks, and be Full!

Thank you for taking the Time here with me today... and if you have just 5 minutes more... enjoy this... my favorite Christmas Carol, matched with scenes from The Nativity Story.

If by chance, you have not felt very Christmasy yet... this just may do the trick!


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Decking the Halls!

Well - December is officially upon us and that means that Christmas is everywhere... While I enjoy a little Black Friday shopping - I try to hold out and keep Christmas in December... mostly because I SO love Thanksgiving, I want it to last as long as possible!

We had our first Holiday party in our home last weekend, so that was incentive enough to get all the Halls Decked on Dec 1st before our guests arrived!  We hosted the first portion of a Progressive Dinner. We haven't done one of those in years, and we had forgotten how FUN they are!  We made Appetizers (Tomato, Basil, & Feta Bruschetta, Honey Mustard, Ham & Swiss Bruschetta, & Stuffed Mushrooms) - YUM!

I am finding as our daughter is older, and I am older, I would like to cut back a bit on the overload of every corner decked out... simple smaller touches here and there that help to lend to the Christmas Spirit without completely taking over is more my style now... so every room still feels magical, but it's a bit less in your face about it!

I love all the handmade ornaments, and the nativity set my little girl played with as a toddler (always taking baby Jesus and Mary and hiding them somewhere in her room!)...  Most of all, I LOVE our little feed trough filled with hay and a babe, 'wrapped in swaddling clothes'!  It helps us to remember the True meaning of Christmas every day!

What about you? What is your style and your favorite Holiday decoration? Do you have any plans to host a party this month?  Up next, I am mulling over the idea of hosting an Ugly Sweater Game night... how fun would THAT be? I am making my guest list now... and off to shop for an ugly sweater soon!

Happy Holidays!