Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bring On 2014

So 2014 is upon us.  I love the "clean slate" that the New Year brings.  Starting last year we sat down as a family and made a big list of things we wanted to do together in 2013.  We didn't do a lot of the things on the list - some were quite lofty - but it at least gave us things to try and plan for.  We will do the same thing again this year.  I don't really like resolutions - I prefer to set goals, make plans.  I'm a planner, a scheduler.  You can't really spring something major on me at the last minute.  So I like to try and plan stuff out.  I have a few goals for 2014, I need to be more intentional and really write all my personal and family goals out for 2014.  I'd like for our girls to write out some things they would like to accomplish this year also.

One thing I did see on pinterest that I thought was a fabulous idea was to write down every good thing as it happens big or small and put it in a jar.  At the end of the year, you pull everything out and remember all the good stuff through the year.  We tend to get so focused on ourselves, our problems, what isn't going right - how nice would it be to read through all the good stuff at the end of the year no matter how "small".

I may share some of our family goals on the blog this year... what are some things you all are wanting to do in 2014?


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our Christmas and Stuff

Well, another Christmas has come and gone.  It's always nice to get everyone together, and watch all the kids open their gifts.  I am always the first one up on Christmas morning.  So, I woke everyone else up - like you're supposed to do...
However, before I woke the kids and husband up, I was surprised with my own gift!  The best husband in the universe (mine) BUILT me a new dining room table!  I had shown him a picture a long time ago of what I liked and asked him if he thought he could build it.  We never really talked much about it again.  I was planning on using some tax return money to buy a new table.  Well, he sure did build it, and moved it into the dining room on Christmas Eve after I went to bed.  Hello awesome surprise for me in the morning!  It really is one of the best gifts he's ever given me. (except our kids of course, but you know what I mean)  The fact that he built it, and the fact that they all kept it a secret for so long.  I literally had no idea, not even a clue that he was doing that for me.

We also went and saw Frozen over Christmas break.  Such a cute movie - I love animated movies.  Have I mentioned how I want to be a voice in an animated movie??  That would be like the best thing ever.  Bucket list, I guess.

Here are some pics of my new table for your enjoyment.  :)

You can click my instagram link over on the right to see some more Christmas pictures

Hope you all had a great Christmas - we sure did!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Kids & Doing The Right Thing

Our family has been very active in church since forever... Our kids have grown up in church - that's just how it is.  It is not about a religion for us, it's about a relationship with Christ, loving others, serving others - but that's another whole post for another day.  :)
We don't go to church so we can check off our to do list for the week.  It's a part of who we are.  And we are seeing the fruits of our labor with our girls.  Brandon and I are very much what you see is what you get kind of people.  We don't put on a show at church for everyone to see and then live completely different lives through the week, and our girls see that consistency.  I have written before about building Godly character in our girls, and teaching them to love others - treat people how you would want to be treated regardless of how they treat you.

Just the other day, someone needed us to do a favor for them.  It frustrated me because we were already running a little behind schedule, wasn't there someone else who could do it, we don't have time etc etc. I acted just the opposite of how I should have acted.  My 13 year old said - Mom, we are blessed to be a blessing - and helping them out would be the right thing to do.   Talk about being put in your place by your kid!  But on the other hand, it makes me proud that she is taking a stand for what she believes in, what we are trying to teach them.  There are plenty of rough days, trust me.   But these little moments remind me that it's all worth it.  We want our girls to be world changers, Christ followers who love Him and love others and do their part to make a difference in the world.  Now, if I could get her to show God's love to her sister everyday I'd really be winning the battle!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dry Winter Skin

Living in the Northeast makes for some very dry skin in the winter.  I work with money a lot at my job too, so I am constantly washing my hands, which only makes them drier.  So I thought I would let everyone in on a wonderful dry skin cream.  I use it every day.

This is a homemade cream - and is best applied all over while you are still damp from bath or shower.  My skin feels so good after I use it.  If you use too much you will be slightly greasy, a little goes a long way with this stuff.

You should be able to get this stuff at any health food store...
Coconut Oil - a few big tablespoons 3-4
Shea Butter - a couple of tablespoons 2-3
Apricot Kernel Oil - a few drops plus a few more drops
Almond or Grapeseed Oil - a couple of teaspoons
Jojoba Oil - just a few drops
Rose Water - couple of teaspoons (this part is optional)  I feel like the addition of the rose water makes it a little more lotiony and less thick like a butter, and helps it to absorb just a little better.  But the more water you add, the faster it can spoil.  This only makes a small batch though, you don't have to worry about it spoiling unless you don't use it for like 6 months.

You can put it all in a pot over a boiling pan of water and melt it.  Then put it in freezer to cool - maybe 10 mins or so, and then using a blender/stick blender whip it until its creamy.

I don't always melt it, I just use my stick blender and mix it all together.  Put it in a small containter, and you're done.  Nice, creamy body lotion that is actually good for your skin.  I mean seriously, what is in most lotions out there??  A bunch of crap I don't want on me...

Your skin will thank you for this, I promise.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's The Little Things

I had coffee with a friend this morning.  Can I first just say that I don't do that enough... It was cold and snowy and I had worked late and was tired, but I'm so glad we got together.  It's so refreshing to be around someone who builds you up...

Anyway, we got talking about trusting God.  She commented on how if we can trust God for the big things in our lives, why do we have so much trouble trusting him for the little things.  This is often what happens in my own life.  I can and do pray over the big stuff, but when it comes to the little stuff, I don't even bother God with that.  Why is that?  Surely God cares about my littles as much as my bigs.

Maybe sometimes it's easy to pray over the bigs because on one hand, maybe it's so big that God is the only one that can come to the rescue.  Or maybe it's so big that we don't really have the faith to believe that God can do anything about it, but what the heck..

Maybe all the little stuff is so little that I can figure it out on my own.  But God wants to be a part of everything.  I am learning that - especially over this last year.  God cares about every part of my life.  He has a big plan and a purpose for me.  I am doing my best every day and learning to trust Him and His timing through it all.

What are you not giving to God?  What are you trying to deal with on your own?  You don't have to and God doesn't want you to.

1 Peter 5:7 says - Give ALL your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
It doesn't say some of your worries and cares.  Let God take care of it and just see what happens!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Merry Christmas From Us

I like when people send out a Christmas letter instead of the regular Christmas card - telling us all about their last year.  I did that one year, but I am so bad about sending out cards or letters... Facebook has this nifty little year in review feature.  So here you go.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!!!!

click here to see my year in review

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

If You're Right And You're Rude - You're Wrong

Something I've been thinking about lately - what to do when someone is rude to you... how do you respond in a situation like that?  It happens a lot - at least I see it happen a lot, especially working in retail.  Retail's motto tends to be that the customer is always right.  Well, if you're right and you're rude, you're wrong.  When someone is nasty to me just because they think that is their right, it makes me so mad.  It's like a switch is flipped and I have a very hard time smiling and holding my tongue.  Well, there was an incident with a customer at my job the other night, and I just couldn't sit back and pretend like how she was acting was ok.  I told her right then and there, that she was going to have to wait her turn, that I was trying to help the other customers ahead of her, and if and when she returns to the store to please not act like that again.  Then I just turned around and walked away.  I have to say - it felt REALLY good.  I was not rude in return - I just said what needed to be said.  If you let people walk all over you, they are going to do just that.  Ok, not everyone - but you know what I'm saying.  Don't treat me poorly because you feel like you can.  And I totally understand that I had no idea what kind of day she just had... which is why I was very civil.  Sometimes you just gotta let someone know that they are being an ass.  It's easier if you are friends or family maybe - maybe they will take it better, maybe not.  I've told my husband many times when we are having "discussions" to just let me know (in a nice way) that I am acting crazy.  Sometimes I get frustrated with people, things, whatever.  I need to vent sometimes... Well, my venting can turn into shouting, and my poor  husband feels like he's the one being yelled at.  Which is totally not the case.  But it's not ok for me to make him feel bad because I need to vent.  So I've told him to just stop me and say - babe, you're yelling at me again.  haha

But do you see what I mean?  It's ok to be angry, frustrated, upset - whatever.  But it's NOT ok to treat people like crap in the process.  So this is fair warning... If you are having a bad day - or not - and you see me and are mean to me or someone near me, I WILL confront you.  If you're ok with that, then bring it on - if you're not, then please take a few deep breaths.  It will all be ok.

Would love to hear how others deal with this?


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas and Stuff

My kids have never really believed in Santa - and we have never pushed the issue.  Somehow they've always known that Santa isn't real.  Whenever they would ask, (which was never very often) we would tell them that mom and dad buy their presents.  Now that they are older (10 &13) they are past that age anyway.  We have told them the basic story of the real St. Nicholas - but somehow over the years Christmas has turned into a ME frenzy.

What we have tried to teach them over the years, is that Christmas isn't about them.  We want our girls to have generous hearts despite our innate selfishness.  I don't think that Christmas is the only time of year, you should promote this idea, but Christmas time is always a good reminder time of year.

For us, Christmas is about Jesus - His birth, and that is what we rememeber and celebrate on Christmas.  I'm not saying that my kids don't get presents - because they do.  They are blessed little girls with lots of grandparents that like to spoil them.  But that needs to be balanced out.  We are blessed to be a blessing, and while we definitely don't have tons - we have more than alot of people.

So this year, we are going to start a new tradition with the girls.  We are going to give them each a set amount of $, and they will get to pick how they want to spend the money (the focus of course being someone else - with some guidance from us).  Brandon and I try to demonstrate this for them through the year - whether it's buying someones meal in line behind us at the drive through, or giving the homeless man on the corner a value meal for lunch.  Our kids have started looking for those little opportunities to give.  That's what I want to focus on this holiday season.  I love that our church also puts the focus on others.  Every November, we have the opportunity to buy gifts for people in our community that wouldn't otherwise be able to.  So that is also something we do as a family.  This year we bought for a 5 year old little boy.  It feels so good to give - and to know that you had a part in making someone else's day a little brighter.

What are some things that you do as a family to teach generosity?


Monday, December 9, 2013

Random Acts Of Kindness

This last year has been a hard year for us.  There has been a lot of transition, a lot of trying to figure out what we are supposed to be doing.  I will spare you all the boring tidbits for now of everything that has happened over the last year.  But we are finally in a better place, moving forward, adjusting to our lives in New York.  One thing that we have tried to do over the last year in particular is be generous.  There was a long period of unemployment for both my husband and myself - and we determined that even though we didn't have much we still are blessed to be a blessing.  I know that taking the focus off of ourselves and our problems helps us to not live in a "why me" mindset.  Have you ever noticed that it's easier to be generous when you have less?  It seems like the more you have, the less you rely on God, and the less generous you want to be.  At least, that seems to be true for me.  That's one of the things we are trying to learn, and feel like we were supposed to learn from this last year.  It doesn't matter what you have or how much money you have, everyone can be generous.  Whether it's finanically, with your time, making something for someone, a smile for someone in a bad mood - we ALL can be generous.  It's not always easy, but it is always so worth it.  

Yesterday, on my way to work I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a hot chocolate and a blueberry muffin. I also paid for the car behind me.  The cashier got a big smile on his face and his mood changed almost instantly.  I hope I helped to make the day a little brighter for the guy behind me too.  I don't want a pat on the back for that - just doing that little bit for someone else also put me in a much better mood.  I looked at people differently for the rest of the night!

So let me encourage you to do something nice for someone today.  No matter how big or how small - it will change your day, I promise.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Thanksgiving Weekend In Pictures

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  We had the opportunity to get to MA for the long weekend.  It was nice to sit around and not do much.  There was lots of fireplace sitting and ornament decorating and wreath making here.  If you're ever in Worcester MA, you should def. check the place out.  So cool.

Anyway, enjoy the pics and have a great Wednesday!