Monday, December 28, 2009

Secret Santa Surprise

Amid all of the busyness and wonder of the season, I received a package in the mail from my Secret Santa. Kind of like a secret pal but at Christmas. It was so much fun. I remember when I was younger and had a secret pal from my youth group, trying to think of little ways to surprise them...
Anyway, we had some mix-ups with our deliveries around our little area but my package finally made it where it belonged...to me:-)

Just look at my goodies...



2 candles, which I love...one in pink which is my favorite color and the other a handmade soy candle, maybe made by my secret santa??? Both are amazing!

Yada Yada Prayer group books which I have been told by many are a wonderful read and right up my alley:-)

A pretty cross and bracelet...again in my favorite colors.

A picture frame that has a beautiful message on it about family and is exactly like something I would pick out.

Last but not least, this amazingly beautiful vintage santa ornament, although since it is perfect for me it will be out year round!



Thank you Secret Santa! After all the days I spend being santa around here, it was so nice to have someone out there thinking of me:-) I love it all!

Oops...there were chocolates too but those are long gone:-)

Suzanne

Friday, December 25, 2009

We Wish You...

...A very Merry Christmas
full of peace, love, joy and happiness.



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas Eve...

...from our "village" to yours.



If you lived closer,
we would bring you some of these...




And as the billboard near our home reminds us,
don't forget to wish everyone a very
Merry Christmas...





Joyeux Noel!

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Name is Suzanne and I am a Homebody...

There...I said it!

The official definition of a homebody is "a person whose life and interests center on the home."
Yep...that's me!


Especially at Christmas.

Maybe because we have been so busy leading up to the Holidays.
Maybe because I just love being home with my family, regardless of the time of year.
Maybe it's because I realize how quickly the years are flying by and there will be plenty of time for dinners out and parties when we have an empty nest.
(But if you think I won't move mountains to keep my girls nearby, you don't know me at all:-)

Don't get me wrong, I love a festive Christmas party as much as the next person.
In fact, in my own humble opinion, I could throw an amazing Christmas party...and every summer I say I will.
Then the Holidays get closer, I realize we have a window of one weekend to do it...usually the one right before Christmas...and I can't do it.
I can't do that to myself because by that time I am craving peace and quiet at home.
And I can't do it to friends who want the same.
But one of these years I will...maybe next year. But I think it will be a Christmas open house late afternoon/early evening on a Sunday. Maybe that will be less stressful. People can stop in for a bit of Christmas cheer when it is the most convenient for them. Yes, I think definitely next year;-)

In the meantime, it is the Friday before Christmas and I am probably the only person out there who is sooooo happy for a few simple things.

I am happy...

~that we have nothing to do tonight or tomorrow night (We are busy on Sunday night and Tuesday so I do have a bit of a life, in case you were worried, and I think my husband has a little party at the hospital so he can be social and them come home to us homebodies:-)
So...we get to stay home tonight...Yay!!!!!
(By the way, the Nutcracker is over...I'm kind of happy/sad for that, too...and my ballerina was beautiful, thank you all for the good wishes!)

I am happy...
~that we are having a very rainy day.

Hey...it has been so hot down here...very un-festive! At least with clouds and rain, I can pretend we are snowed in and make a comfort food dinner. If we turn the air conditioning way down, we can wear sweaters and socks and be really happy!

I am happy...
~that I can curl up on my cozy couch with them...




...and sip hot cocoa



...and eat tons of Christmas cookies...



...and watch Christmas movies...




...with the lights of the Christmas tree twinkling in the background.



That's it!


See...I told you I am a homebody...and proud of it!
Hope you all have a very happy weekend.

XOXOXO
Suzanne






Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sugar Plum Fairies and Sisters...


My sweet Taylor is dancing in the Nutcracker this weekend. We are all so excited to see the show. In case you missed my post about it earlier in the year, she has 5 parts, including the parts of demi-solist for the snow scene and soloist (Dew Drop) in Waltz of the Flowers. She has not missed one rehearsal in all these months...and I mean they had a lot of rehearsals. Long rehearsals!!!!! Many nights she danced from 4:30-9:00...and loved every second of it!


To Taylor, I would like to say how very proud we are of you. Watching you dancing so gracefully, smiling brightly for all to see...it is clear you are doing something you love. People always come up to me after the show...people I don't know, telling me what a beautiful girl and beautiful dancer you are. They tell me they couldn't take their eyes off of you, that your smile was so sweet and it was as if you were dancing for them. I am always amazed at this...not because I don't agree because you know I do. But I never stop to think that others are enjoying your performance as much as I am. And they say how nice you are to the other girls, especially the younger ones, helping them with little tips along the way.



We can't wait to see you in the Nutcracker and we will enjoy every moment of every scene, clapping loudly with tears in our eyes...tears of joy! I love you!


There is also another person who makes us proud, who does everything she can to help you follow your dream. That would be your sister Jordan, who is your biggest fan. (Well, besides me:-) I know you sometimes get frustrated with her but she thinks you deserve all the best parts all the time:-) While you are backstage preparing for the show, you do not get to see your little sister and how excited she is for you. She loves it and clearly she is very proud of you. She sacrifices a lot for your dancing...sometimes willingly and sometimes not so willingly...but deep down she knows this is what makes you happy and more than anything she wants you to be happy. I feel the same way but I'm your mom...I'm supposed to feel that way:-) Somehow it is even more remarkable coming from your sister.


To Jordan, I am so very proud of you also. In addition to being an amazing daughter, you are so supportive of your sister and understanding when night after night, we have to make that long drive to dance.

You agreed to take tennis lessons at a new location that was in the same part of town as the ballet studio, just to make my life a bit easier. Even though I know you now love it, I realize it was a sacrifice and I am very grateful to you for doing this. Thank you for all that you do to help me...with dinner, the puppies, keeping me company in the car...you know. I couldn't do it without you. I love you, my Starbucks buddy:-)!

Well girlfriends, this has been a crazy December for us. From being sick to dance rehearsals to unexpected company, we are way behind in the usual stuff...like shopping, baking, decorating, watching Christmas movies.

But we are blessed more than most because we have each other.

From the land of sugarplums and marzipans...

Suzanne

Friday, December 11, 2009

Online Christmas Shopping...For Me!

Okay, enough of this flu. I am resigning myself to a permanent nasty cough. Thank you so much for all of my get well wishes! There is good news here...I have managed to lose a few lbs...but I'm sure I'll make up for it in the next few weeks:-) And my Christmas cards are slowly but surely going out, thanks to my girls.

Christmas is 2 weeks away and I have to get my shopping done, so for the first time in my life I am verrrrry grateful for online shopping.

As I was up in the middle of the night and unable to sleep, I started browsing through the channels. I saw a lady on one show wearing a monogram initial necklace that I fell in love with! (Of course, hers was made with diamonds...mine simply sterling silver:-) Anyway, I looked on the internet, found one I liked and voila...Merry Christmas to Suzanne. (Hey, I needed this:-) Here is what it looks like but with different initials.



Mine will not be just my initials...boring. The center initial is an "S" for me. On either side are "T" for Taylor and "J" for Jordan. Kind of like my own removable tattoo. hahaha

Anyway, my question for you is...do you ever shop for you while out Christmas shopping? Please say yes so I won't feel quite so guilty!!!:-) And if so, what'd you get?????

XOXOXOX
Suzanne



Friday, December 4, 2009

The flu...and the Best Christmas Ever!

First it was Jordie and now it's me...Mrs. Claus. Have you had your flu shots yet? Because let me tell you, it is NOT fun. But hey, at least I'll get it over with before Christmas.

On that note, I do not feel like posting anything and yet I feel bad because this is my favorite month to blog. What to do...

Ah ha...I know! I'm going to link you to my friend Trudy's blog.


Let me tell you something about Trudy. If we hadn't had such a messed up Thanksgiving, my Thanksgiving blog was going to be about things this past year I am grateful for. On that list is my friend Trudy. We "met" this year via blogland and I just love her! She and her husband are expecting their first child together so she is feeling especially blessed. What she probably does not realize is what a blessing she is to others.

Reading Trudy's blog is like reading a daily devotional. She makes me laugh, cry and always makes me think! She is truly a beautiful person. I hope to meet Trudy in person someday but in the meantime, I will continue to get to know her through her blog.

If you have not visited Trudy's blog at Third Time's A Charm, you need to do so...asap!
She wrote a beautiful post today titled "The Best Christmas Ever". It's what is on so many of our minds and hearts these days and Trudy was able to put it into words for us all.
Please visit this beautiful lady while I am sick...and every day after, too!:-) Just click on any of the links or her button/pic and it will take you to her blog.

Hugs, Suzanne

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Must Be Something More...

Have you heard this song yet this Christmas season? I love all Christmas songs but every year there seems to be a new favorite to add to the list and THIS IS IT! It's performed by
Taylor Swift..

...and with teen girls in the house, we hear a lot of Taylor Swift! (And thank you, Miss Swift, for performing such easy to sing, clean and age appropriate songs!) Anyway, here are the lyrics... please read them and turn up your volume because it is on my playlist!
Have a wonderful day!!!



Christmas Must Be Something More

What if ribbons and bows didn't mean a thing
Would the song still survive without 5 golden rings
Would you still wanna kiss without mistletoe
What would happen if God never let it snow
What would happen if Christmas Carols told a lie
Tell me what you would find

You'd say that today holds something special
Something holy and not superficial
So here's to the Birthday Boy who saved our lives
It's something we all try to ignore
And put a wreath up on your door
So here's something you should know that is for sure
Christmas must be something more

What if angels did not pay attention to
All the things that we wish they would always do
What if happiness came in a cardboard box
Then I'd think there was something we all forgot
What would happen if presents all went away
Tell me what would you find

You'd say that today holds something special
Something holy and not superficial
So here's to the Birthday Boy who saved our lives
It's something we all try to ignore
And put a wreath up on your door
So here's something you should know that is for sure
Christmas must be something more

We get so caught up in all of it
Business and relationships
100 mile an hour lives
And it's this time of year
And everybody's here
It seems the last thing on your mind

You'd say that today holds something special
Something holy and not superficial
So here's to Jesus Christ who saved our lives
It's something we all try to ignore
And put a wreath up on your door
So here's something you should know that is for sure
Christmas must be something
Christmas must be something
Christmas must be something more
There's gotta be more
There's gotta be more

XOXOXO
Suzanne

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Surf's Up...

I know what you're thinking...Surf's Up? Bear with me...it's part of my Christmas decorating tip. But first, this post is not going to be a belated Thanksgiving post, where I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving since I missed doing that. Nor will it be a post that tells you that our Thanksgiving ended up a bit of a bust, with one daughter at her grandparents (that was the good part) and the other sick as a dog. (Who wants to hear that? Besides, it would sound like I am making excuses...again...for neglecting my blog and yours too.) Anyway, my husband still went and served at the hospital while I stayed home with Jordan and made homemade chicken noodle soup and pumpkin milkshakes while watching Christmas movies on the couch. But at least she had this big guy to curl up with on her lap...




yes, a 65 lb lap dog! Okay, does he look like a teddy bear or what?:-)


Anyway, here is my Christmas tip of the day. If you don't have room for a tree or maybe you just aren't up to it this year, throw lights and a few decorations on something else. Jordie usually has a full size white tree in her room but this year she is a bit more crowded, thanks to her ginormous new beanbag chair. Hmmm...what to do... We decided that her surfboard would look amazing with lights and it is awesome!!!!!


Surf's up! She decorated it with tiny ball ornaments, snowflakes and pink pipe cleaner candy canes. Pretty cute, huh? So if you are out of room...or out of ideas...light up something unexpected!



I'm outta here but hopefully I will make it back before another week rolls by:-)
XOXOXO
Suzanne

Monday, November 23, 2009

Back to Blogland...

Happy Monday...I'm back to my little home on the internet. Amazingly, I managed to pick up about 30 followers in the few weeks I was gone. How does this happen? I don't know but I'm happy it does:-)

Yes, I took a little break. I can choose between writing about my life/family and the Holidays or I can live it. Unlike many of you gifted people out there, I'm not capable of doing both.

The bad news...I had my annual Holiday meltdown. The good news...it's over early and I'm good to go:-) About 2 weeks ago I called my mom and started bawling on the phone about how I feel I let everyone down... Blah, blah, blah. (Martha, this is because of you and my quest for the perfect Holiday:-) I've let go of a few things since then. Since my girls were little, I've always had to have the perfect Christmas card. I know photo cards have been around forever but I think I was one of the first that I know of to go with a "theme" picture for our cards, such as angels, mermaids... maybe I'll do a post about it and show a few. I can't show you the one of them when they were 7 and 5, lounging around the pool in old-fashioned bathing suits with flowered bathing caps on like some vintage bathing beauty, because that was the one card they refused to be a part of...and I never let them forget it! hahaha...

Anyway, this year the cards are ready to go out with a short, sweet note and a simple, fun photo. And it's killing me... lol

Okay, well, this is Thanksgiving week. Hope you're all enjoying this special time of year. Me...I'm not a big Thanksgiving person. In the old days when cousins aunts and Uncles crammed around a long table at my Grandma's...that was Thanksgiving. These days just aren't quite the same. Don't get me wrong, we are very thankful. But we are more than ready to move on to Christmas.
Sorry...one of those people:-) To top it off, I don't like turkey.
http://www.wqlnkids.org/activities/Nov06/jokes.gif
(You're safe from me, Mr. Turkey!)
But I do love mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie. Carbs anyone??? Geez...good thing I am serving dinner at the hospital with my husband instead of eating it! My girls are spending Thanksgiving with their grandparents so I will have my first Holiday with an empty nest...seems kind of strange but they'll have fun.

What else, what else... Well, we are in full Nutcracker mode around here. This is the Flower Fairy or Dew Drop, which is Taylor's main role. And she wears pink:-)

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41GFDYYYCWL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

Rehearsals, rehearsals and more rehearsals...long ones...but it's looking good, so it's worth it. And we are making lots of these little cuties...




I know I write about a pink Christmas but the only rooms I can pull that off this year are Taylor's room and maybe the guest room. The great room is mainly a white Christmas with touches of red. Because I am worried about my curious BIG puppy, our tree has only those family ornaments that are not breakable as well as a lot of other sturdy ones, just in case I come home to find the tree toppled over. We glittered some starfish and white poinsettias and it looks so pretty.



One of my favorite decorations was the simplest. I had all of these colored glass ornaments and a huge glass cylinder I picked up for $7 at a yard sale this year so I dumped them in and voila...instant decoration!




I also love, love, love feather trees and here is one by the front door...




Just look at these shells...I'm not sure you can see but they're all glittery. Thanks to Tales from an OC Cottage for the idea!



Guess that's enough rambling for today. I'll leave you with a thought for the Holidays...
"Remember, the more expensive and big the gift, the more kids will enjoy playing with the box it came in more than anything".

Have a great day!
Au revoir,
Suzanne

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Hula-Girl and Football Player

They're growing up but I still got one more year of costumes out of them. Taylor had dance so her costume had to be "ballet-friendly". Meet the Hawaiian ballerina...






Jordie dressed like her favorite football player from her favorite team...




I would have so dressed like this when I was her age, too:-)

That's it for today...short and sweet!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkins are "Pink"...

Happy Halloween and Happy Pink Saturday!
Hope you get lots of treats and NO tricks:-)
Now why didn't I think of pink pumpkins myself...so perfect for the hot tropical Halloween we are having down south!
Please visit Beverly at How Sweet The Sound for more Pink Saturday












(pink painted pumpkins courtesy of Holly from Holly's Haven)
(sweater pumpkin idea courtesy of Debi)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Today I will...


~do my devotions. I have a new book called Daily Steps for God Chicks. Sounds kind of silly but it is really good.

http://www.eden.co.uk/images/300/9780830742059.jpg


~exercise...if I must...and I must:-)



~treat myself to a Starbucks. It has been banned from my diet but I'm desperate for a Pumpkin Spice latte! (But not right after exercise. hahaha) Does anyone else prefer a Starbucks in the evening? It seems like such a treat that way and not just an everyday morning habit. (And this sign is for me...I never get on a plane without my Starbucks. Love it!!!) Are we crazy, or what???

http://www.myspaceantics.com//images/myspace-graphics/funny-pictures/last-starbucks.jpg

~try to learn something in our French lesson...but so far I think I am tres stupide!!!!!

http://www.booksnobphotos.com/images/460_french_lessons_2.jpg

~make Taylor's costume for her Halloween party at ballet...she is a hula girl and I need to work on the Hawaiian tutu:-) Thank goodness I have this to do as I am feeling kind of sappy that we are moving out of the little kid halloween age and all of that excitement.

~watch my new dog training video. I have been so bad about this but the "season" is coming and so are visitors. It's just a bad combination...my dogs are so darn cute and I am so darn lazy:-)

http://www.bizarroartist.org/gallery/albums/bizarro/dog-training.jpg

~have at least one melt-down since they seem to be popping up daily.

~go on a date with my husband. We're thinking of seeing The Informant. Any thoughts/suggestions?

~take a nap since I am up at 2:30 a.m:-) I wish, but not likely!

~waste time on the computer doing things like these online puzzles. Click on the puzzle if you want to join me. My time was 2 min, 10 sec. Go ahead...you know you want to beat me!


Click to Mix and Solve


~what about you...what's on your to-do list?
Inspire me, please!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Random Wednesday Questions...


(Swiped from Kellie @ La Vida Dulce , because I am at a total loss of something to say! I even swiped this comment:-)


1.. What's the last state you visited other than your own? Alabama...Tuscaloosa, to be exact. Go Bama:-)

2. What's your middle name? Elizabeth...after my great-grandmother. I love it. My oldest daughter has it as her middle name and I wish I had given it to my younger daughter, too.

3. What is something you don't like...even though everyone else seems to? Hmmm...where to start:-) A few days ago I would have said FB but I have happily moved on. Okay, I have a hard time cooking meat. Seriously. I do it, but it creeps me out. Last night I opened a small box of steaks we received as a gift and I was going to make this for my husband for dinner but they were so bloody, I couldn't do it. We had pasta instead:-)

4. What's the first costume you remember dressing up in for Halloween? Okay, believe it or not I was a tomboy from the get-go. I remember being a football player once and I think I was a race car driver. We bought one of those costumes with a plastic mask and the costume is like a jumpsuit.

5. Have you ever played a sport? Yes...I played volleyball in high school. Played a little tennis. As a kid, I played football and...I was very good at it, if I say so myself:-)

6. What is a talent you have that people might not know about? Hmmm....that's a good one. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue...and do so every time I eat a cherry. hahaha


7. What's the last thing that made you laugh out loud? My daughter is a ballet dancer and the other night while she was at rehearsal, my younger daughter and I put the Nutcracker CD on and did our own version of ballet. We are NOT ballerinas so yes, it did crack us up:-)

8. Are you an oldest, middle, or youngest child? I'm the youngest.

9. What's the best thing you've had someone say to you lately? After reading my last blog post, my mom sent me an email saying she loved it, loved my writing and she was proud of me. (She is my biggest fan. No wait, she is probably my only fan:-)

10. What are you wearing right now? What else...my pj's. It's only 10 a.m and like the commercial says...we do school in our pajamas. Unfortunately that also means I walked the dogs in them, too.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What I Learned This Week...



I haven't done one of these in awhile and since I I've learned some things recently, thought I'd give it a try. This is what I've learned this week...

~I learned that sometimes you have to step away from the computer once in awhile to take care of life...be a mom, help someone who needs it...and just recharge in general. I did that this week (as all of you know who left me comments and emails and I have yet to answer...so sorry:-) And to take this a step further...it felt good. It felt really good...and I highly recommend it if you need a break:-) I read a long book (for me) from start to finish, fit in some exercise, reworked my eating habits, helped my girls with school and had some nice talks with my husband at night when I am usually too tired or on this thing.

~I learned that I consume waaaaayyy too much sugar in the course of a day. Carbs too, but who doesn't! No wonder I am tired and struggle to even lose 2 lbs. I cut back on calories, exercise...nothing. But when I started tracking my carbs and sugar and limiting them to good carbs and only 15 grams of sugar, I realised that I take in over 50 grams of sugar with my coffee and breakfast alone. Yikes!!!! After one week of cutting back and eating healthier, I feel better already...and lost 4 lbs. I doubt I will ever stick to anything forever but it is good to be aware of this so after having too much sugar for whatever reason (Holidays...) I know how to get back on track. (And we all know about the good carb/bad carb stuff, right?)

~I learned that sometimes adults are thoughtless and do stupid things to kids. That always surprises me. I see this all the time, from the competitive moms who put other kids down to make their kids look good to insensitive ones who just don't think...but it still surprises me. This happened to one of my daughters recently and as we talked about it, I found myself saying what I say all too often... "Sometimes the only thing you can do is learn from their behavior and don't act like them when you are an adult." But you know what...I teach them not to act like that as a kid so maybe some adults still need to grow up:-)

~Which brings me to the next topic which will probably also bring me hate mail. Is there anybody else out there who thinks facebook is not the great communicator people claim it to be but a weird way to relive highschool...AT BEST? I suppose there are those who use FB and Twitter in a good way but it seems like there is so much "look at me, look at my kid, this is where we went on vacation, this is where we ate dinner"...every day. I love my friends and family as much as the next person but it seems kind of competitive, or something. I know we do some of that on our blogs but it is not every second of our day and every thought that crosses our mind. (Some of the status updates are just plain stupid...who cares if you are at a red light and trying to decide between Taco Bell and Wendy's?????????) And then there are the status updates which have the subtlety of a 100lb brick sometimes. And I won't even touch the amount of snooping into other peoples lives and gossiping about it...yep, high school to me. I have concluded, along with a few others in my life, that FB does not in any way make me a better person so to quote "The Sharks" (my favorite new show:-)...Count me out!

And now for a few quickies...
~I learned that Truvia is the most amazing sweetener. (Other than good ol sugar but we already went there:-)
~I learned that it is hard to find a pair of jeans. Wait...I'm sure I've learned that MANY times:-)
~I learned that there is nothing like a new set of sheets and a fluffy comforter. Now if only I could get my dog off the bed to let me enjoy it:-)
~I learned, or maybe I was reminded, how much I love to read.
~I learned that my old house, the one I loved and it broke my heart to leave...is going up for sale. Hmmm...better not touch that one...but you know it's killing me:-) Can you ever go back? I'd sure be willing to try!
~I learned that Mondays are not so bad if you do a little planning on Sunday.
And speaking of Sunday, I'll leave you with a thought our pastor said at church yesterday. I've thought about it a lot and it is so true...

"The worst day of your life is still better than the best day in the life of most people in the world". Think about it... I know where my next meal wil come from, don't live in a war zone and do not fear being physically abused today, just to name a few horrible scenarios. So I am wishing you a wonderful day and a prayer for those whose days are likely to be much worse than mine, no matter what.
XOXOX SUZANNE

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