Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ho, Ho Ho...

...It's a Pink and White Christmas in July!
Happy Pink Saturday!!!!!
Thank you to Beverly from How Sweet The Sound for hosting us.
Yes, this is a "re-post". is the last day in July...
and I haven't been involved in a 
Christmas in July party this year...
so I thought I would post this again...since there is some pink in here...
and because I am hopping on a plane to Maine this morning
to see my girl perform in Sleeping Beauty
and bring her home to the Shabby Chicks nest:)

If you saw it last year,
feel free to move on.
If not,stay for a bit and get in the Holiday spirit!
Merry Christmas in July!
Today is July 25 and you know what that means...6 months until Christmas day. Yippee!!! Pour yourself a steaming mug of pink hot cocoa and let's get festive! Never heard of pink hot cocoa??? That's okay...let me be the first to introduce you. If I had a recipe I would share it but instead we buy ours at Sur La Table...and it is sooooo good! And before I get started, I want to apologize for the fact that I am cramming so much into one blog post. First up is the whole pink/white theme, then some family traditions we have always done or ones I wanted to do. I hope you leave feeling joyful and looking forward to the Holidays rather than dreading them. Thank you to Maggi for hosting this blog party!!!

Okay, red & green are traditional colors and they are beautiful, but how about a festive pink or white theme? Think soft, fluffy, delicate, simple, elegant, fun, nice does that sound? Of course, it goes without saying that the overall decor of your home would probably need to be light and/or neutral to really pull this off so if you have that, go for it. I promise it will be one of the prettiest Christmas decors on the block! We did this for years and whenever friends came over to the house, they all thought it was so magical and wintry. I remember the first year we did this while my husband was out of town and when he came home, he loved it...surprise, surprise!!! hahaha Anyway, I have some photos I found while cruising around on the internet to inspire you. I cannot afford to buy new decorations every time I am in a new phase and you are probably the same, so I'll give you a few cost-savings tips to help you pull it off.
Here are some things to start looking for when you're planning your look:
White twinkle lights, white...lots of it and it is cheap. (Makes great gift wrap, too!
Those bags of fluffy white fake snow
White "snow" in a can
White and/or pink cardstock for rings and paper ornaments...lots of hanging paper chains like in the movie "Elf". Everyone loves when we do this!
Crystals in any shape or form...garland, beads
fishing line...for hanging things from the ceiling, chandelier...
white spray paint for pinecones and branches to make white "trees" or to paint any artificial Christmas trees you have
pink bottle brush or dye your own
white or soft pink feather garlands
white,silver,pink ornaments
Clear ornaments...Number ONE decorating tip
silver mercury glass...check Target or yard saleswhite candles
fabric remnants in white silk or satin for centerpieces
cheap snowflake ones to embellish packages or tie on
various items such as candlesticks
cherubs and angels...these are mine:-)

Sometimes I think a bit of greenery for contrast is pretty
For or white poinsettias, white amaryllis or my favorites~~paperwhites.

Now that you've decorated, how about a "White Christmas Party"? This is such an elegant party and you can do it up or keep it simple and have a sweet dessert party.
Think about it...layers of white fabric or tulle on your table, as well as snowflakes, candles in little votives, tall paperwhites in silver spray-painted pots...
The menu:
White chocolate cheesecake bites
Green grapes...plain and sugared
White cheeses and crackers
White chocolate dipped strawberries or anything else dipped in white chocolate, such as pretzels, fortune cookies, white chocolate dipped candy canes...
snowflake or star cookiesbrownie pops
snow punch

Decorating Tip #1:
Clear ornaments. You can do ANYTHING with these, from painting them...even simply painting dots on them, embellish them with scrapbook images, stickers or rub ons, fill with colored shreds or pieces of fabric in your color theme, swirl paint on the inside, fill with artificial snow, and my new favorite...decoupaging scrapbook paper on them. SO pretty!!!

Decorating Tip #2:
Use what you have. As I said, I can't afford to buy tons of new stuff each year. I find the prettiest arrangements often include what I have around the case of Florida, that means seashells. White starfish are perfect additions to a Christmas tree or arrangements mixed with ornaments Do you have pine cones where you live? Take the kids to gather pine cones. We used to bake them to make sure there was NOTHING still living in them and then use glue with colored glitter or spray paint them white for your white Christmas. Gather long twigs to spray paint and tie large plastic crystal drops (Joann's or Michael's) from them with fishing line. (Works for other holidays, too) Cheap and easy...I like it!

Decorating Tip#3:
WREATHS!!!* Shell wreaths, button wreaths, "snowball" wreaths, ornament wreaths...use small toys your kids have gathered as well as other special mementos. Lots of ideas!

Decorating Tip #4:
Create little vignettes of things that compliment each other, even if they aren't really holiday items. Just add a little snow and voila! Also, hang stockings everywhere. Instant decorating. (The same goes for gift-wrapped boxes)
Sigh...Yes, I'm dreaming of a White Christmas:-)

Christmas traditions and ideas for the family:
(This is our house)
My family loves Christmas and we are always on the lookout for some new ideas and traditions, so I can't wait to visit the other blogs to get some. We did have some pretty neat ones of our own and a few I found recently that I would definitely do if I could.

~Christmas tree in every room: Family room-family tree, living room-mommy's pretty tree, kids rooms-their theme (Barbie, sports...), master bedroom---hate to say it but this is where the dogs sleep so this is where the doggy tree is:-)

~Gingerbread houses...make great decorations and wonderful gifts to give. Think of the sweet lady who used to make these with her children and now lives alone. What a way to sweeten the Holidays for her!:-)

~Gingerbread Cookies. Have a gingerbread cookie party for the kids or do what we did one year. On Christmas Eve, my kids delivered gifts to neighbors. Inside, gingerbread men unfrosted with all of the toppings...frosting, candies...and a tag that said "From our family to yours...Merry Christmas!" Gingerbread families...get it??? hahaha

~When the tree goes up all of the stuffed animals in the house or at least the special Christmas ones were placed under it to wait for Santa.

~Thanksgiving Shopping Party: I had a friend who held an open house the day after Thanksgiving, to kick off the Christmas season. She had leftover turkey sandwiches as well as cookies and a few other goodies. She sent out invites telling her friends to stop in for some Christmas cheer in between shopping. it was always a big hit!

~Make up "Christmas Survival Kits" for friends, other busy moms... Buy empty paint cans at Home Depot and decorate with paint, ribbon, cardstock... Fill with a candle, a favorite Holiday book, bath salts, hot cider mix and a few yummy chocolates.

~Always, always, always make copies of your children's Christmas letters to Santa. I did this...thank goodness. I will always cherish the letter from Jordie to Santa asking for only 4 simple things when she was 5...a limo, a puppy, a rainbow and a unicorn. Hooray for puppies:-) I think Santa decided she needed an outlet for her creative mind and she got an art easel!:-)

Taylor just asked for every Barbie ever made...and I am NOT kidding. She did serious research into this every year. One list asked for Mermaid Barbie, Nutcracker Barbie and the Prince, Sleeping Beauty Barbie...and the Prince, Wedding Barbie, Chocolate Barbie, Citrus Barbie, Disco Barbie, Teacher Barbie, Marie Claire Barbie, Spanish Barbie and drum roll please...King Kong Barbie. No kidding! hahaha

~Celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with a tiny gift each day to your kids. They will soooo look forward to this and it helps with the wait for the big day.

~Christmas rings...we made 25 rings each year and on each one, I wrote something special and festive we would do. Each day, we took off a ring and would go for a ride in the convertible with hot cocoa to look at Christmas lights,
make gifts for family, go shopping for other children from the "Angel Tree" at the mall, watch a Christmas movie, have dinner by the tree, sleep by the tree...silly little things that made their day! The 25th ring said Merry Christmas!

Well, obviously I could go on and on but I've probably lost my party guests already. hahaha Guess I'll just have to spend the next 6 months adding in all the stuff I forgot!. Lucky you!!!:-) Hope you liked my early Christmas and be sure to visit the others at Maggis party hop. Thank you so much for stopping by and have a jolly Christmas in July, from my family to yours!!!
Hugs, Suzanne

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quitting, Inspiring and a Blog Button...

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there's a mouthful!

Let's start with quitting...
I can be a quitter
but in the nicest possible way.
I have so many ideas flying through my head...
and so many plans...
that I often start them and don't finish.
And nobody is harder on me over this...

But this time, I thought of quitting my blog.
I don't know what happened between the time I had
big plans for this one
AND a new one 
(must have been on a "steroid high":)
But I find that I'm struggling to find time,
time to blog,
time to create...
time to be lazy!
(Wait...I'm finding time for that last one.  hahaha)

So many people have been encouraging to me.
I know I've mentioned Paige of Simple Thoughts before...
but did I ever tell you that Paige's blog was the first blog I ever read?
I was so inspired by her that I started my own blog.
To this day, I read her blog and feel as if I know her.
I would love to live near Paige.
I would love my girls to know her girls!
Do you have a blog that inspired you?
Paige has written me such beautiful messages since
learning of my journey with MS.
So kind...Thank you Paige!

Then there is Karen, from
Some Days are Diamonds
(also know as the lady who started
the Bloggerette Sisters Sorority:)
The day I sat down to tell you that I was quitting,
I received an email from Karen.
Karen, as always, was encouraging...
and kind.
She had no idea I was thinking this way...
She told me to have faith,
be positive,
remember the prayers,
rearrange a few things...
in my path and in my life...
keep a sense of humor
and keep journaling.
Thank you Karen!

Next, blog buttons...
I asked Cat from

PaisleyCat Blog Design
to make me a blog button.
See it in the sidebar and at the top of this post??
Go ahead, take it if you like.
Just click on it.
She made it really easy to do:-)
And I am going to go around collecting buttons from all of you
in the coming days.
It's the least I can do, since I have been so lazy about a 
(Wait till you see the divider she is working on for me!)
And here is the blog button from my "other" blog...
the one I plan to have fun with...
IF I ever get my act together.

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(Although I have to confess...the other day my 13 year old
DID say "You ARE a cool Mom" after I did something...
cool apparently;-)

have you ever heard of iMom?
If not, check it out ASAP!
I subscribe and I love the daily emails.
They are always useful and thought provoking...
for moms with kids of all ages.
They are inspiring...
just look at today's "espresso minute"message...
16 Ways to Inspire your Children...
They have a link for a bunch of these cut-out cards
to post around the house or put in your child's lunch.

Here are a few but I suggest you visit iMom to meet
some very inspiring moms...
and get some fabulous parenting tips
and get the rest of the inspiring cards!

Whew...told you it was a mouthful!
Have a beautiful day and be inspired...
better yet, inspire someone else.
You never know how much they need it!:)
Trust me on this one, my friends!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some Pretty Cool Things...

So today I thought I would lighten things
up a bit...
and let you know that yes, 
I still go shopping.

You didn't think I let that one go,
did you?

And yes, I still love to find some pretty things...
cool stuff...
cheap stuff...
VINTAGE stuff...

So, here are some of my latest finds...

Vintage luggage, appropriately roughed up...

Going my way?

Cherubs and starfish...

So sweet!

Cherishing the important things...

and signs, signs everywhere...

and finally...

So what do you think?
Not bad for one week!

And considering the bargains I found,
this makes for a week full of FINE THINGS indeed!

Celebrating the finer things with Amy...

 Have a Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Something's Wrong with Me...Chapter 1-...

Okay...all of my wonderful friends have said
it's okay if I tell my story here...
on my little blog...
so it's time I started...
because there may be someone who needs this...
and I need to get my thoughts together...
IF that is possible.
I know this is not for everyone,
so in each title regarding the new road I am on,,,
I will include "chapter..." so you will know...
and can stay away if you like. 
I understand, 
really, I do!

And since I love fairytales...I'll start with
"Once upon a time"...

in the hot summer month of June,
2 weeks before we had to 
leave and take Taylor to a 6 week summer ballet program
in Maine,
I started feeling kind of weird...
The kind of feelings you brush off.
I did just that...until I couldn't any longer.
First, I had a kind of numbness/tingling in my right foot...
which spread to my lower leg,
then my right hand and arm...and finally the right side of my face.
Kind of like when you go to the dentist and they numb you
and then when you are home and the numbness is starting to wear off.
Except this went on and on.  
I wasn't in pain...
I just felt weird.
So what???
And did I mention I was sometimes tired?
I mean, stop everything and crawl in bed for a deep sleep kind of tired?

Even though I haven't worked in years,
my background is in nursing.
And my husband runs hospitals...
so between the two of us, we have just enough medical knowledge
to be dangerous:)

By that I mean, with the help of the Internet and what little I
remembered. I came to a conclusion early on...
I have MS.
Either that or a brain tumor.
I wasn't being a hypochondriac...
just putting 2 and 2 together according to my symptoms.
(Just so you doctor did the same math)

One night, Jordan was at a sleepover when my husband
came home to find me in tears in our room. 
I can cry easy...
but at silly things.
This was very unusual!
And I have no doubt that it was the first time that it scared my husband.
I thought Taylor was in her room packing,
so I sobbed and told him I thought I had MS...or worse...
a brain tumor or something else.

He just listened,
gave me a hug...

and said "You don't have MS.
It isn't in the family and you're just stressed out right now
with Taylor leaving for 6 weeks.
And you don't have a brain tumor."
These were all words I wanted to hear...
but I knew weren't true. 
I heard them a lot from many people...
many people trying to reassure me and maybe themselves.
But deep down, I knew.
knew it was something.
Then I turned around...
and saw Taylor standing there...
hearing every word...
seeing her mama crying and scared...
and thinking something was very wrong.
That was when I started trying to joke about it...
and to reassure others...
when I needed to be reassured.
But I had to do it for my daughter who
just wanted to hear that everything was alright.

I wasn't trying to think the worst.
I try to stay positive.
But I do believe in facing the truth...
being prepared...and preparing others.
So this is why many of you heard me say I thought I had MS.

But I tried not to dwell on it.
Hard to do when one whole side is numb and you can't chew 
on the right side because you're afraid
you will chomp down on your tongue or the inside of your cheek.
But I managed to eat, don't worry:)

The night before we went on our girls weekend
to Kennebunkport before dropping Taylor off,
I didn't sleep.
Not one bit!
I kept telling myself it was because we had such an early flight...
but truthfully my mind was racing...
and my legs were restless.
Sleep??? Not a chance!
All I could think of was that something was wrong...
and was it smart to travel?
No...but I'm not often accused of being overly smart:)

Only  a handful of people knew what was happening...
and their advice was to relax, go, have fun with my girls...
and it would be okay.

So I went,
had a fabulous time with my girls...
fell in love with coastal Maine...

and knew something was wrong.

I was still numb.
AND I fell twice...
I mean fell big time!
The kind of fall that when a kid sees it...and sometimes us too...
you can't help but burst out laughing.
(After you see they're okay, of course)
I scraped and bruised both palms...
ME...the person with great balance.
I know how to ski, rollerblade, 
and I can still at least stand up on a skateboard.
I fell twice...
and later learned this was a BIG clue to my doctor.

So when I talked to my husband that night,
I told him I wanted...
no NEEDED to see a neurologist.
I knew that he had ways of finding out who would be best for me to go to...
and he could get me in as soon as I got home.
Because I just knew...

That weekend was about fun.
Fun with my girls...
a chance to get away from Florida in the Summer...
time to be together.
They knew I wasn't my usual self...
but we didn't dwell on it at all.
Although I did make sure they were somewhat prepared...
and made sure they knew that no matter what,
I loved them and we would all be okay.

I remember the day we were at Kennebunkport Beach
climbing over rocks and searching for sea glass.
Looking at the dark blue water,
I prayed...
and prayed...
You see, deep down, I already knew.
So yes, I prayed that this was something silly...
that I had moved one too many pieces of furniture to paint...
but I also prayed for strength...
because I could tell I was going to need it.
For me...and for those who care about me.  
We were going to need it.

I was not for one minute negative or "doom and gloom".
I believe God had already given me a sense of peace.
I tried not to act as if this was our last trip together 
because I knew it wasn't.
But I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I was still scared...
worried that I might not be climbing these rocks again.
I positive.
And I am truly trying.
But there was a part of me that wanted to be real.
That just wanted to know for sure what was wrong.
Because I didn't feel right.

I remember praying...
asking God to take this away and make me feel good again...
I mean, I have never asked for much.
I want to be there for my husband, my girls...
I want to take long walks on the beach and
long walks with my dogs.
This is what I told the doctor, too...
"Please, just keep me walking."

I remember praying that if this turned out as I thought it might,
to let me be a voice to help others.
At least I could do that.

And I wanted to be an example to my girls...
because life is anything but "fair"...
at least in our eyes.
And when they are faced with a bump in the road...
that they follow my example.
To know that God is with them on their path...
to know that people care...
to know that they can go on with faith and a smile on their face...
And they can get over that bump in the road.
They might not know what is on the other side...
but they can do it.

On that note, I think I should stop.
I know this is long.
Next time I promise to get to the point.
It's more the medical side anyway...
doctor's, diagnosis, hospitals, treatments...
good stuff like that:)

Please remember my intention is not to bore...
but to record my journey...
and hopefully help or inspire someone else facing something similar.

None of us knows what the future holds.
After all, these aren't our bodies, are they?
Never take things for granted...
and never stop believing in happy endings.

I haven't given up.
This is still so new to me.
I'm still praying...
for strength and yes
...a miracle.
Because as we know,
"With God, all things ARE possible".


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