Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OH Christmas Tree, OH Christmas Tree

This year Colin and I may have started a new tradition.  I decided to get us a real Christmas tree instead of the artificial one I've had for the last 12 years.  Colin is big enough to help with putting things up so I decided we would give it a try.  But the next problem, I didn't know where to get a live Christmas tree in our area so we started the hunt last Saturday.

We found a tree farm on-line so we headed in their direction but got lost.  Along the way we found signs to a different tree farm so I decided to give them a shot instead and I'm happy we did.  They had lots of trees that they grew, but they also had some trees from Michigan shipped in (they said our soil and temperatures don't allow this type of tree to grow).


Colin wanted to document the trip so he was in charge of the camcorder.  I...took care of pictures.  Like this one with his goofy smile.


The families tree farm was beautiful.  I loved this barn at the end of their tree patch.


Colin took the stick-thingy to careful measure all trees so that we got the perfect size.

But this is the one we settled on.  And.......he is from Michigan.  :)  I had to laugh that I went to a small local town next to us to buy a tree from Michigan while my Sister lives there.  It was still cheaper for me to buy this one then to drive to MI to get one directly, but it would have been MORE fun to go see my Sissy.  Oh well, maybe next year.


So with the help of the tree farmer, we shoved it inside our SUV instead of on-top.  I have a feeling he knew I was a single Mom and thought this was the best route to take.  Colin was pretty disappointed.  He wanted the tree on top like everyone else does.  Maybe next year for that one too.


A couple cute other photos of the kiddo's in our house.


And let's hope that dog-dog does not go potty on the live Christmas tree.  Or dog-dog might have to go back to the North Pole with Santa.  :)  Just kidding.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm ready, bring on December!

When I say I'm ready for December, I'm not only talking about celebrating the most special time of the year. I'm also talking about I'm ready to document and capture all that splendor.  I have been busy in October and November building my December Daily Album.  This wonderful lady is who started it all, Ali Edwards.  She has a LOT of info about her DD over on her blog if you would like to learn more.


I start my process in October because I try to build my album here and there whenever I have a few minutes to spare.  Usually only on weekends since Basketball keeps us busy, but it is important to me to do this so I make the time. 

I start by digging out all of my Christmas scrapbook items. I decide what pieces I think I would like to use and then fill some containers so I have the items handy. That way each evening when it's time to prepare my page, I have the goodies at my side.


Since my scrapbook stash is rather large (we won't say HOW large), I have lots to get me started but I can usually find something new I want to add.  One thing I use a lot of are numbers so I'm always on the lookout for some cute new ones.  The concept behind the album is you document the month of December, one day at a time.  Every day I try to take pictures of our December day and it may be Christmas related or not.  Some days I don't have time to devote to it so I may add a newspaper article or scripture or just one simple picture.  But since it documents each day in December, I add numbers to each page.

I also grab little note cards, clip art, and stickers that I really love in hopes of finding a way to incorporate them into my album. I tucked them inside this baseball card holder that I plan on cutting down to size and using as well.  Baseball card holders are one of my favorite things to use in my DD album.


The next step in building the album is to choose your size.  There are MANY albums out there already bound that you could just buy and be done with it.  I personally can't use them because my album gets very, very thick and the pre-made albums don't expand enough.  For the last 3 years I have made my own album.  I have always gone with 8x8 but the size is up to you as well.  I keep mine smaller because again the idea is to not feel overwhelmed during an already busy time and fell like you have a 12x12 page to decorate.  But it's a personal preference.

So here is the start of my album.  9x9 chipboard (bigger than 8x8 pages inside), nice and ugly.  I am waiting on some new paper I ordered to decorate the outside.  I haven't seen the paper in person yet but here is what it looks like on-line.  If I decide I don't want to use it for my album covers, I have a back-up ready to go.  Until then.....she sits naked.


But inside, she is full of sweetness.  I have all the pages cut down to size, stickers tucked in there I believe I will want to use and numbers ready for each page.


Since my Mom bought me a little craft sewing machine last year I like to use it for my DD album.  I still can't figure out this sewing thing, but I guess I won't give up.  I tried to add some glitter and wooden pieces to this baseball card holder and sew it shut, but I couldn't get Bernice the machine to cooperate.  So I ended up hand sewing it.  It worked, it looks rough, but I'm not about perfection.


Number on page 4.


Number on page 6.  I will journal on that Gingerbread tag when the day comes.  I have found I always want to do a 2 page spread for each day.  And some days that works fine, but some days I may have just a bit more I want to add that can't fit on 2-8x8 pages.  So I add little extras like that Gingerbread tag.  On the flip side of the card I can add another picture if I want.


I played around with some glimmer mist paint for page #9 on this Bingo Card. I will also decorate the back-side of the Bingo Card.


Page #11 has an old wooden Bingo Chip.


Page #12 is waiting for Colin to add his Wish List for Santa.


Page #13....love this vintage paper.


So that is a little sneak peak of my December Daily Album.  I just looked back at my blog for the last 2 years and realized I didn't post much about this.  I will try to do better this year and show you some of the finished pages.

You don't have to enjoy scrapbooking to create a December Daily Album.  You just need to decide if you want to commit some time, each day (or you don't even have to do each day) in December to documenting the holiday.  You could make it so simple by just purchasing a journal and adding notes, clips of reading materials, bulletins from church, etc.  If you don't have a way to print pictures at home, you can go back after the holiday is over and add pictures.  You really can do this in a very, very simple way.  

Preserving memories is something I cherish.  My Grandma did this for my Dad and I see how much a 70+ year old man enjoys looking at his childhood so I know it will be loved for years to come.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Elf on A Shelf

We just watched the cutest movie on ABC!  It was called Elf on a Shelf.  I always saw this cute guy in stores but didn't really know what he was about.  Well the movie just explained it.



Chippy the Elf asked Santa to send him on a special assignment to help a little boy named Taylor believe in Santa again.  I won't tell you the ending in case the movie is on ABC again.  But it's a must see.


Now I know what this little package really contains.  A round trip ticket to the North Pole each night.


Santa, please send Colin and I our own Elf on the Shelf.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone



I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving and may you enjoy the time with your families.  May your turkey be moist and your pumpkin pies creamy (and all of the other things in between).    Take time this day to just enjoy your loved ones.  I know I will.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I need a bigger bed

What do you get with 3 animals and one Mama?  3 animals in 1 Mama's bed.


Luckily, only one of these furry beasts gets to actually sleep in my bed and she is the most petite of the 3.  Romeo and Tiger do not get to sleep with me.  Romeo sleeps on his bed on my floor in my bedroom.  Tiger sleeps with Colin.  Calleigh does sleep with me.  But this was taken before I shut the lights off and when one jumped in bed, the other 2 followed.  Colin saw us and felt really left out.  But by then, there was no more room.






Sunday, November 13, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

For many years now Colin and I have packed shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse "Operation Christmas Child".  Colin loves to be a part of it and to shop for the boys and girls.  I try to buy some items throughout the year but it seems like the majority of it is done in the fall when school supplies come out and then right before we package the boxes up.  Last night, we picked up the final few items and decided we wanted to do 3 boxes for a 5-9 year old boy.  I still need to wrap my boxes and add a personal note and then I will take them to our church which serves as a gathering hub in our community.


I am doing something new this year and that is donating on-line at Samaritan's website and by doing so, it will enable you to track your shoebox.  Here is their website.


After making the $7.00/box donation on-line, it gives me a label to print and attach to the box.  I will receive an e-mail after my box is delivered telling me which country it was delivered to and more about Operation Christmas Child in that country.

Time is almost up to fill a shoebox for this year, but you can probably get it done and delivered this week.  I really encourage everyone to do this.  It is a wonderful way to deliver the gospel to children all over the world and to let them know they are loved.  You could forever change the life of one small child.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Christmas on Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day to all of our blessed Veteran's.  I am so grateful to all of the Men and Women in our country that have served for my freedom.  I will never under estimate the sacrafices they have made for us and I will always keep them in my prayers.

Because today is Veteran's Day I have the day off from work.  Unfortanetly I had to go in for a 1/2 day, but it was still better than working a full day plus it was very quite because only 2 other people were working.  So it was a very productive day which makes me feel better.

After work I ran an few errands.  Stopped at Meijer to kill some time before a Dr. appointment.  It was fully decorated for Christmas which put me in more of the Christmas spirit than I am already.  It is also nice to just leasurely brouse without having a kid tell you he is ready to go.  :)  I saw a couple of cute things that I loved, but didn't buy.  I have adopted a love for magazines just like my Sissy.  I usually check out the new ones and try hard to not buy every single one.  There are a bunch of Christmas only magazines out and while flipping through one, I saw this little guy.  I snapped his picture on my iPod because I think I might be able to make him.  If I ever have some spare time, I just might try.  Isn't he cute?  He was in the new "Holiday" by Matthew Mead magazine and I just found his blog.......here.



Next I was off to the baking isle, cause' it is Christmas season and all.  I found these sweet fellars and thought they were the most adorable thing!  It was a Cocoa Trimming Kit that cost $5.00 and came with marshmellow snowmen and candy cane sticks.  Wouldn't that be cute to stick in some cocoa with your kids?  I thought so.


Instead of the cute snowmen or magazine, I went with these.......yum!  I love peppermint and dark chocolate.


The creativity juices are flowing with the holidays quickly approaching.  I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and then some Ho, Ho, Ho!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Reality Check

I needed a reality check this week and last night while praying my heart out to God, he sent it to me.  As you may remember from previous blog posts over the years, I get overwhelmed during sport seasons.  Being a single parent, you get 100% of the responsibilities.  Having a 7th grade ball player feels like we went from a 3 year old to a 25 yr old in the NBA.  I know, I'm being a big baby, but let me continue with my pity party.

We are week 3 into the start of tryouts, practice and finally games.  Last week we had 3 games, this week we had 2 and in between all of those days we had 5:30am practices.  My life has revolved around basketball from 5:00am to 10:00pm when I crash and die in my bed.  I am doing laundry these days at 5:00am because that's the only time I can fit it in.  To make my life more miserable, Colin had 5 tests this week and a huge project due tomorrow.  When it rains it pours and we have a tsunami going on.

So back to my pity party.  Last night I'm praying for God to send me strength and courage to get me through this week.  I was getting upset for being a single Mom and asking again, WHY did this happen to me?  WHY do I have 100% of the responsibility of parenting?  And then God spoke to me.  He brought the title of my Blog into my mind "My Sweet Single Life".  My life is not sweet because I am single.  I have chosen for my single life to be sweet.  It was a choice I made 12 years ago when I found myself suddenly single and that choice of being single was not mine to make.  My husband left me and our 8 month old son.  I didn't know how to parent yet, let alone parent alone.  But it did not take me long to realize, you either turn this into something great, or you die.  So....I choose to make my single life sweet. 

Fast forward 12 years and while laying in my bed, wishing it wasn't 10:00pm because I wasn't ready to go to sleep, God reminded me of this.  This is the life that has been chosen for me.  I am proud to be a Single Mom and I will be just fine and a silly basketball season won't get the best of me.

P.S.  Gotta run.....it's 9:30pm, had another bball game tonight and it's time to pick up Colin at the school because the bus just got back.  Oh yes and then laundry.  :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Family


I love this picture.  Found it while looking at old photos.  It is 8 years ago and the kiddos were so small.  Looks like it was on my birthday back then and we had a fire outside my parents house.  That's me, or the back of me, making a smore it appears.  Life is so sweet........then..........and now.