2014 Review Extravaganza - Q2

I'm linking up with a ton of wonderful gals who want to know what we have been up to this year. If you want to play along, visit any one of them, Karen @ A Peek at Karen's WorldKenzie @ Chasing My ExtraordinaryEmmy @ Emmy MomAmy @ Involuntary Smiles Melissa @ Making MelissaAmanda @ Meet @ the BarreNicole @ Midwestern at HeartAngie @ My So-Called Chaos, and Shane @ Whispering Sweet Nothings for the details!

This week, we're recapping April, May, and June. 

Elise turned 18 months old.

I did a little Easter and Summer sewing for Elise.

We crammed a ton of fun into Spring Break!

The Rev and Elise started a beautiful Mother's Day tradition.

I tried to keep it real for you....

Emmy inspired me to create some Important Date art.

Elise made a Summer Bucket List.

And, well.....


Elise's Countdown to Christmas

While we don't "do" Santa or Elf on the Shelf, we still do plenty of things to make the Christmas season magical for Elise. This year, I made a Christmas Countdown calendar full of little treats and fun activities that we can do each day (its just some simple little numbered cups hot glued to a wrapped piece of foam board). She loves opening one each day and waiting for us to read what her fun is for that day.

Here is what we have included on our list:
  1. Sweet treat (Christmas candy bracelet)
  2. Give money to the Salvation Army bell ringer
  3. Go find a Minnie Mouse surprise in your room (Ornament)
  4. Watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and have cocoa with marshmallows
  5. Make a cereal garland and decorate an outside tree for the birds
  6. Go see a Christmas parade
  7. Go see the Christmas lights at Tanglewood
  8. Wear a new Christmas necklace to a party
  9. Buy a toy for a child in need
  10. Sing Christmas carols at the nursing homes
  11. Sweet treat (Christmas Jelly Beans)
  12. Wear Pajamas to school and visit with Santa
  13. Decorate the windows with Christmas clings
  14. Hear Mimi sing in Handel's "Messiah"
  15. Make gifts for church and preschool friends (Play-doh Tree Kits)
  16. Take a Christmas fun bath (Red balloons and green glow sticks)
  17. Sweet treat (M&M's)
  18. Make wrapping paper with paint and cookie cutters
  19. Treat (Fuzzy Christmas socks)
  20. Play with your new Cheerios Christmas Play Book
  21. Go see a Christmas play
  22. Celebrate Christmas with MaMaw and PaPaw
  23. Decorate a sugar cookie house
  24. Open your Christmas Eve box (Christmas pajamas and a Christmas book)
  25. It's Christmas!


Tipsy Tuesday (#291)

Scrooge Confession...I loathe wrapping presents.

Tip #291

Check out these 23 Tricks to Take the Stress Out of Wrapping Gifts to simplify the gift wrapping chore this year.

Now for fun...I am normally a coordinated wrapping paper kind of gal...The Rev always complains about not having "fun" paper. This year, I let Elise pick her own paper and pick some for her Daddy, so we have Minnie Mouse and Batman under the tree. What kind of paper person are you?


2014 Review Extravaganza - Q1

I'm linking up with a ton of wonderful gals who want to know what we have been up to this year. If you want to play along, visit any one of them, Karen @ A Peek at Karen's WorldKenzie @ Chasing My ExtraordinaryEmmy @ Emmy MomAmy @ Involuntary Smiles Melissa @ Making MelissaAmanda @ Meet @ the BarreNicole @ Midwestern at HeartAngie @ My So-Called Chaos, and Shane @ Whispering Sweet Nothings for the details!

This week, we're recapping January, February, and March. 

The 1st quarter saw a $2 DIY wreath.

I gave hand sewing a try to whip up some sweet treats for Elise.

We gave up "stuff" for Lent.

Elise and I took a last visit to MeeMaw's house.
And I found a new favorite sweet side dish!


Tipsy Tuesday (#290)

Did you know that it is better to Christmas shop alone?

Tip #290

Ditch your buddy and save money!

According to Real Simple, "Unconsciously, people tend to mimic one another. That means if your girlfriend stocks up at the kitchen-supply store, you’re more likely to do so, too. So just say no to a shopping companion today. You can share deals with friends by using the free My Shopping Circle app, which notifies them about sales you see (and vice versa)."

They also have a great One Day Shopping Plan, so there is still time to get all of your shopping done!

Where are you at in the shopping process?



Listening...to chatter.


Drinking...Diet Cherry Pepsi.


Wearing...khakis, orange sweater, and brown flats.

Feeling...tired...why must the first week back after a break be so draining?

Needing...to pull the trigger on several online shopping carts today and get some presents ordered. The dang prices in my cart keep changing!

Wanting...to get a new dining table...we've agreed on it, now just need to find time in our schedule to make it happen. Living in a small town means a long drive anywhere to make a purchase...

Thinking...that I need to order Christmas cards. Anybody else dread that task?

Enjoying...the fully decorated Christmas tree! I just have a few other decorations to set out and I will be finished!


Tipsy Tuesday (#289)

Donate your Thanksgiving leftovers!

Tip # 289

If you overbought for Thanksgiving, don't let those extra cans of beans and yams, and boxes of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pasta go to waste or take up space in the cabinet. Donate them to a local food bank...you just might be providing a family with the start of a Christmas dinner.


Tipsy Tuesday (#288)

Because I've been there recently and I know how much we appreciated the care packages that we received...

Tip #288

Consider putting together a hospital care package for a friend or family member experiencing a hospital stay. Useful Beautiful Home has a great list of things to pack including:

  • tissues
  • water
  • soda or tea of his/her preference
  • individual packaged nuts
  • individual packaged dried fruit
  • granola bars
  • pretzels
  • apples or bananas
  • gum
  • small pad of paper and pen (for writing questions and notes for the doctor)
  • dollar bills for the vending machine or parking fees
  • reading materials of his/her preference


Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

It's a new year in the Cake Slice Bakers and that means that we are baking from a new book. This year we will bake our way through The Southern Cake Book.

I selected the Caramel Apple Coffee Cake and man, it is good! Apples, cinnamon, butter, pecans and brown sugar make it hard to go wrong! The recipe is available online here and would make a great Thanksgiving breakfast treat.


Where I've Been...

So, this little blog of mine has been neglected, but I had good reason.

I had surgery to remove the tumor on my sinuses on October 23rd. We had been cautioned that a CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid) leak was a strong possibility because of the location of the tumor, so my Dr. was pleasantly surprised when there was none.....until I had the most excruciating headache 4 days later and a small trickle of fluid from my nose. The next day's follow-up visit (where they vacuumed packing out of my nose  - I do not recommend having that done!) turned into scheduling surgery for the next day, just 1 week removed from the first surgery, to insert a lumbar drain and repair the leak.

They were unable to get the lumbar drain in place, which would have allowed them to inject a dye that would have pinpointed the leak, so they patched as best as they could and a 2nd surgery and 1 night in the hospital later, they sent me home. I think that I was there a total of 4 hours when fluid started pouring out of my nose. We scrambled to get someone to take care of Elise and make sure that she still got to go trick or treating, packed a bag, and headed back to the hospital.
So I spent Halloween evening having an X-ray guided lumbar drain inserted. I remained in the hospital for the next 6 days, where every hour on the hour they would drain 10cc of spinal fluid in an effort to help the leak repair itself. They eventually injected dye through the drain to see if anything would leak out, turned off the drain, and after a week that included 4 IV's (they kept blowing!) and a million cherry ices, pronounced me fit to go home.
That was 2 weeks ago today. The first week home was rough with some wicked headaches, the worst of my life. I'm still healing and won't go for an official follow-up visit until next week, but each day the headaches are less, so I think full recovery is on the horizon.
It has been a rollercoaster, but we absolutely love my Dr., who has gone above and beyond for us. And we have been so blessed with friends and family who stepped in and made sure that Elise was cared for and that life was as normal as possible for her. The Rev might have a career in nursing and was a great caregiver through the whole ordeal. Slowly but surely, things are getting back to normal.
I'm happy to be on the mend and back to blogging! I've missed you!


Tipsy Tuesday (#287)

Follow these tips from Maryland SPCA to ensure a Happy Thanksgiving for your pets!

Tip # 287

Make no bones about it: Although, Fido may say 'yes' to a turkey drumstick, keep bones away from your pet.  Turkey bones can cause serious injury to your pet if they splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet's digestive track.

Limit table food treats: Too many fatty, rich or unfamiliar foods for your pet can cause painful and serious medical conditions.

Sage advice: No stuffing for pets. Sage and other herbs often used to make turkey stuffing contain essential oils and resins that can cause stomach upset and central nervous system depression in pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of these oils.


Elise's Minnie Mouse Party

Elise is all about Minnie Mouse, so that was the theme for her 2nd birthday party. I made a huge Minnie Mouse out of plumbing insulation, made fringed streamers, and a Minnie inspired set of letters proclaiming that Elise was TWO! I added Oreo ears and Starburst bows to the amazing cupcakes that our friend made and cute labels to bubbles and cups of cotton candy as favors. All of our food was inspired by Minnie and her Clubhouse friends, too.

It was a chilly day and had rained most of the morning, so a last minute table full of Play Doh and art supplies was a necessary save since the playground at the picnic shelter where her party was held was too wet to play. Everybody braved the chill and celebrated our precious little girl It was a good day!



Tipsy Tuesday (#286)

Most of us know how to keep kids safe while out and about on Halloween...

Tip #286

but do you put any thought into keeping your house safe for others that may visit you?
  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. 
  • Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
Now for fun, what was your all time favorite Halloween costume?


Jam Packed Weekend!

This past weekend literally could not have held another single activity! Saturday was a whirlwind of stuff - family photos in the morning, a lunch time birthday party for Elise to attend, a quick nap to avoid a cranky toddler, and off to the Fall Festival at church. I was worn out...and that doesn't even cover all of the laundry and grocery shopping. Do you ever have weekends where you just need an extra day to rest because you have so much going on?

On a sidenote, this girl loves to play in the leaves!


Tipsy Tuesday (#285)

This is a horrible time of year to try to cut back on candy....

Tip #285

and then I realized how much exercise you have to do to counteract the sugar in some of my favorite Halloween treats and I'm thinking that I'd rather cut back...because I love M&M's but I don't know how to ride a bike!

What is your favorite Halloween treat?