Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A little of this...a little of that...

Since I've been absent for a while, you are going to get about 2 weeks of posts all wrapped up in one!! We had a wonderful vacation with Nate being home, it's actually wierd not having him here this week during the day.

Christmas was great! We went to the 8 o'clock service at church Christmas Eve. It was a little late for the kids, and they weren't on their best behavior...but they sure did look cute ;-) Here are some pictures before we headed out.

The kids decorated a Gingerbread Christmas Tree, that our sweet dog decided to eat while we were out.

Here is Mallory Christmas morning "the best day of her life" as she told us all...

Jack in his new blue Power Ranger outfit.

On Friday, we took the kids on the pirate boat that sails out of our little harbor. We took the sunset cruise, which was 2 hours long...about an hour too long for all of us. Yes, even the adults got their faces painted!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Great Story for Christmas

This was posted in one of the groups that we belong to on eBay. It makes me want to return my gifts and do something for the less fortunate.


It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband, Mike, hated Christmas --oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma -- the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys, in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wre stler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, 'I wish just one of them could have won,' he said. 'They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.

Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition --one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelo pe became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it had been joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the ot hers, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.

God Bless Each of You -- pass this along to those friends and loved ones who you know are the givers who understand the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Nate passed his big exam and is now LEED Certified. I never had any doubt that he wouldn't pass. :-) I'm so proud of you, Sweetheart.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Madness

So I have been cleaning my house all day long, but can only go about 30 minutes without having to take a break from all the fumes!! We are having about 30 adults and children at our house tomorrow night for our Christmas party. I'm cooking my delicious lasagna with a salad. Our guests are bringing appetizers and desserts, but I couldn't resist making some of these chocolate covered pretzels too!! They are SUPER easy to make!

I have all the teacher's gifts wrapped and ready to deliver to school tomorrow morning as well.

Nate is off of work until December 29th, but he has been at the library studying all day for his big LEED Certification exam tomorrow. There is only a 32% pass rate, so let's hope he's part of that 32%!

My sister and Sydney came over this morning for a few minutes. My sister had to run an errand, so I kept Sydney with me. We decided to go in the backyard for a little impromptu photo shoot. She is such a beautiful little baby.

We are planning on listing a few sample sets here in the next few weeks to clear some room on our hanging racks (yes, that's plural, two HUGE racks of samples!!)
If anyone is interested in anything we've sold this year (look on our ME page) and let us know. Maybe we could set something up privately.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

North Pole Visit

Last week, we took the kids on a train ride to the North Pole. What an exciting adventure for us all. It had rained all day long, so the North Pole was very wet and cold, but that didn't stop the kids from having a great time.

Here are some pictures from the trip. They all wore their PJ's, like the Polar Express.

Jack wouldn't sit on Santa's lap!

We started a new tradition here at our house, with the book called "Elf on the Shelf". The kids named the Elf "Snickel Fritz"...who knows where that came from, but it's been so much fun waking up each morning and trying to find where he is hiding.

We got a big package in the mail the other day from one of our favorite buyers. The kids were SO excited to be able to open a present before Christmas! Thanks for all the goodies, favorite buyer, you truly are a GEM!!

Here is just a sweet picture of my little girl...she is growing up so fast...

Tomorrow is the Christmas party at the kids school, then I will be cleaning and cooking Thursday and Friday in preparation for our own Christmas Party Friday night, with a surprise visit from Santa on the Fire Truck!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


So I have a bunch of different photos to share tonight...
First, and I am jumping for joy that our house painting is FINALLY complete. I don't think I could have possibly survived another day of trying to keep two kids and a 60 pound dog occupied from 7:30 to 4:00 and not allow them to get near the paint from 4:00 until it was dry. The entire outside is painted and all of our new interior doors and trim have been sanded and painted. They used oil-based paint for the doors and trim, which the smell has given me a headache for days...

Here is a picture of the front of our house (with the new paint color "Artichoke") decorated for Christmas. We have big plastic ornaments hanging in the palm trees, our darling wreath on the front door that you can find here, lighted garland along the planter, and 3 different sized decorated Christmas trees on the front porch.

We went to our favorite park today to take some pictures of Andrea's kids for their Christmas card, so I snapped some shots of my kids while we were waiting for them to arrive.
Check out Jack's eyelashes. Why do the boys always get the great lashes?

Love this photo (not so much that you can only see half of Mallory's face, as she refuses to wear anything in her hair anymore), but the fact that they are holding hands. So sweet.

Here's a sneak peek of a set that's coming up...if we could just get a cooperative little model...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Be My Valentine FINALLY!!

It's listed!
You can find it on eBay by clicking here.
If someone decides to do the Buy It Now, we are throwing in the bows and the little bracelet that Mallory is wearing! Too cute!!

On a sad note for me, Jack has officially decided to become a big boy. He has slept in his big boy bed for 3 nights now. We took his crib apart today and it's sitting in our front hallway ready to go to it's new home. Boo hoo.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Be My Valentine...tomorrow!

So I had grand plans of having my little set finished this morning and pictures taken before noon, but that didn't happen. We decided to go as a family and have donuts at our new Dunkin Donuts in downtown Clearwater and then to Target and Pier One. We are looking for an electronics console to put underneath our brand new TV that is now mounted on the wall. I think I'm just going to have someone paint and distress one for me, as I can't find what I have pictured in my head anywhere.

The kids loved the "snow" last night. We waited in line about 45 minutes for their 6 second ride down the hill in the sled. I might call about having them come do the same set up for Jack's birthday next month in our yard. How cool would a Snow Party be in Florida??

Here are a few pictures of the night.

Mallory with the Snow Princess

The kids on the sled (they had people lined up down the whole thing to make sure the kids didn't fly off the edges, ha!)

Nate and the kids and Mallory's friend.

Our Valentine's set that will be listed TOMORROW!!
The Buy It Now Price will include the top, skirt, leggings, bracelet & bows! WOW!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Photos

Our Christmas cards were ordered last night and should be here in a few days!! Here are the sweet pictures of the kids that I took for the card. I had to bribe them with going to the dollar store to get them to sit next to each other, sit still, and to smile at the same time!! It only cost me $2 too!! I love the dollar store.

We are gearing up for a busy couple of days again. Tonight, we are heading over to downtown Clearwater for a night of SNOW!! Ha ha! It's 75 degrees right now, but they are making a huge snow hill and play area for the kids to enjoy. Santa and a Snow Princess will be there as well. Tomorrow, we have 2 more birthday parties to go to, along with Nate's company's Christmas party. Sunday I will be cleaning the house, as we are having the painters come on Monday and Tuesday to paint the rest of the outside of the house, along with our new interior doors and baseboards. I can't wait!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Great Weekend

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Thursday morning, Mallory and I went with a few friends to walk in our local Turkey Trot. We only did the 1-mile race this year, as Mallory wasn't riding in a stroller! She did great! Jack had a real bad cold, so he stayed home with Nate and made Pumpkin Cheesecake! We had dinner at my parents house with all of our relatives, even my aunt came in from Jacksonville. Friday, I got up at 5:15 and headed out with three other girlfriends to hit the big sales. By 3:00, we could not fit one more item in my SUV, so we headed home. I think we got some really good deals on things, especially some winter clothes for the kids. Saturday, we went and picked out our Christmas tree. Every year, I am always disappointed with our tree, as it looks good in the lot, but when we get it home, it looks so skinny and short. Well, we got the BEST tree this year! It's so fat, it can't even fit in the corner where we always put our tree. It has 1500 lights on it too!! Sunday, we went to a little birthday party for one of Jack's friends, then went to church for a little service, followed by pizza, desert, crafts & Santa!!

Here are some pictures of the kids singing in the Thanksgiving program at school.

Here they are telling Santa what they want for Christmas.
Mallory wants a pink kitty Webkinz.
Jack wants a knight castle and a Jeep like our neighbor Katie has.

Here is a sneak peek of a set that we will be listing on eBay towards the end of the week :-) Just waiting on some bows to arrive.
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