Christmas Eve memories and blessings.

Oh my, that chubby little toddler is me holding my brother Tom.  We are only 13 months apart so I can't remember not knowing him.  He lives in Flagstaff, AZ. with his wife Kathy and their beloved dog.   I am so thankful they are still in Arizona and that my son Joshua, dil Dawn and grand-daughter Calista who live in Phoenix, were able to spend Christmas with them.

And here's my brother Tom holding my grand-daughter Calista!  I am so happy they were able to act as her honorary grand-parents this Christmas.

I love my Christmas nativity!  With my 14 month old grand-daughter around I wasn't able to put it out this year and I miss it.  Oh well, maybe next year she will be a little less into things.

Cause this is what she can do already..... scale every piece of furniture around!
My hubby came into the kitchen the another night and found her standing on top of the table!  This is what happens when they walk at 9 months of age



Katie and Addison

We had a small gathering on Christmas Eve at our home.
We will celebrate with my side of the family later in January.
My extended family is very large.  My mom has 8 kids and their spouses, 25 grandkids and now 2 great-grandkids.  Years ago we came up with the idea of going to a water park and renting a condo for the weekend.  It's worked out well and its a tradition we have kept.

Helping grandpa with some last minute wrapping.

And then bonking him on the head!

My mom and her beau!  It's been 4 years since my father passed away and I am glad she has someone in her life.

My brother Matt and his wife Bridget came for Christmas eve dinner.

Helping grandpa open presents.

Brand new fun things to play with!

Katie and boyfriend.
I was so busy cooking and doing other things that I didn't get in one pic!
Told my hubby if I up and die you won't even remember me!
Ok, just kidding but seriously I should get in at least one pic.
Last evening we spent Christmas with Dan's extended family.
It was very nice and the Packers won which was a bonus.
Today I am busy cleaning, throwing out and just generally resting up.
Hopefully you all had a nice Christmas and are looking forward to the new year.


Snowy scene, front porch and Christmas angels!

Hi friends,
I snapped this snowy barn scene about a week and a half ago after our last snowfall.
I love old barns especially when they are lovingly decorated by Mother Nature.
Since that time we've had a cold snap and now a warm snap with rain.
Our snow is melting fast and I am so hoping for more of the white stuff before Christmas Eve.  It's been at least a decade since we've had a brown Christmas and I don't like it.

I am still working away on Christmas decorating.  At the rate I am going it will be New Years day before I am done.  My front porch got a little sprucing up on Monday.

Now there is a good reason for my slow going Christmas decorating and she is 14 months and very busy!  She also spends a good part of her week with Grandma while Mommy works.

She has been cutting teeth like crazy and always has her fingers by her mouth.  Poor baby.... its been tough going!  She also likes to decorate her Grandma's tree over and over again!

My other little Christmas angel! 
She just turned 4 months and I sure am missing her!
Mommy and Daddy report that she is a good baby and they are feeling so blessed to have her.

So friends, how are you coming with your shopping, decorating, baking and more.
I am working on Christmas cards, starting to plan Christmas Eve dinner and of course still decorating!
Do any of you have any great ideas for Christmas Eve dinner?
I don't want to do a traditional ham or turkey since we all will be eating that on Christmas day.
I also need something that little Addison can eat too.  Luckily she is not picky at all.
Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Enjoy the season,


A Snowy Christmas table-scape.

Hi friends,
With all of the snow we recently received, I am truly catching the Christmas spirit.
And the knitted Nordic style ornaments above,
 hand-knitted by my sweet MIL are some of my favorite things!

Knitted from an old Norwegian pattern they certainly fit well in our home.  My hubby is 100 percent Norwegian heritage.  In fact the  little town he grew up in in Western Wisconsin is full of Norskes! 

The other thing I love are Christmas plaids!  I can't get enough and my tablecloth was a new purchase for only $9.99 at Tuesday Morning.  My chargers were last season wally world. .75 a piece. 
Dinner plates also Wally.
The cardinal plates were purchased at a local gift shop.
Snow flake glassware, dollar tree.

My centerpiece is a birch type basket filled with my MIL's ornaments and pine-cones.
A little red popped in for good measure.
Snowmen s & p, JC Penney's a freebie I think.

Those jingle bell napkin rings were also an after Christmas find, like .25 a piece!
I try to wait and then load up on goodies for next years decorating!

I had hoped to get some sunny pics but alas we've been having some very cloudy days.

Loving my Christmas pillows!  I've had them for many Christmas moons.

Snowy men of course!

It may be cloudy but there is a beautiful wintry view right outside my window to enjoy!

Mr. Santa on top of my hutch keeping us company.   Normally he sits on my fireplace hearth but little Addison can't keep her sweet little fingers off of his beard.
She calls all Santa's ho-ho's, it's too cute!  She tells them goodnight before bed.

A view above for good measure.

Thanks for stopping by.
I am fashionably late joining some fun Christmas blog parties.

Between Naps on the Porch for Table-scape Thursday
No Minimalist here for Holiday Tables
At the Picket Fence for Christmas in the kitchen.


Winter Wonderland and my Christmas Mantel

Hi friends,
We got our first big snow of the season yesterday and I have to say it's looking like a winter wonderland around here!

The branches are glistening with snow and I am finally feeling the Christmas spirit.
Hubby and I were sick with the stomach flu for a good part of this past week and nothing got done but the basics.  Yesterday I got a surge of energy and finished the mantel.

It's pretty similar to my past ones but I do have that new cute little reindeer in the middle!

A little close-up of my reindeer, I love his little face!

A closer view of my lantern filled with ornies!

 A bit of tabletop decorating...

A basket filled with pretties!!

Another mantel view.

I love filling a basket full of Christmas pretties!

 A few more snowy scenes!  Honestly, it really is gorgeous!

Beauty by mother nature...
Hubby and I bought our tree yesterday and I have been busy decorating that today.
The snowplows came out early so we're able to move about but I am happy as a bug all snuggled in today.
Working on my decorating and hoping the Packers win so that hubby is happy too!
So what's up with all of you?

I am joining Susan for Met. Monday.
Marty for Tabletop Tuesday.
Mantel Party @ From my front porch to yours.
Mantel Party @ My uncommon slice of Suburbia


Thanksgiving, family blessings and the Packers!


I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
And even if you don't like the Packers at all, you have to admit we have a good looking and talented quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.
Because on Thanksgiving day not only will we be celebrating with our large extended family, many of us will also be glued to the TV when our beloved Packers take the field!
A perfect day for my Packer loving hubby! 

Last weekend hubby and I spent a night in the twin cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.  This is our go to city when we want to get away!  It's just a short 2 hour drive for us and all interstate as well.
We visited the Mall of America and while it looked all cozy and warm inside....

 outside our motel window it looked like this!
We hit the snow about an hour from the twin cities and boy did traffic slow down quickly!  Driving in that first snow can be scary so I was happy to see my fellow travelers also taking it easy. 

But back to the mall!  It's simply enormous and even though we have been there more times than I can count we still get lost.  It's a nice little excursion if ever get there for a visit. 

We also went to IKEA which is right next door to the Mall of America.   This kitchen is part of a 550 sq. foot model home.  I love IKEA's storage ideas for small home living.  And even though this kitchen is not exactly what I would want, there are a lot of neat features especially with the storage.

I have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Two beautiful grand-daughters born in the past 13 months.  My little long distant pumpkin, Calista who may know her grandma as someone that talks silly to her on Skype.  And boy this Grandma can't wait to get back to Phoenix to give her hugs and kisses!

And my nearby grand-daughter little Addison who fills our lives with joy!
I am also thankful for a loving and supportive husband.  I am thankful for my son, daughter, step-son and daughter-in-law... my large extended family... and the fact that I still have my Mom around is something I am very thankful for.
And last but not least,  I am thankful for all of the friendships I have made though blogging.  Some of you I have met in real life.... others not, but your friendship means so much to me.
Enjoy your Turkey Day!


Christmas Mantel Inspiration!

I've been a little under the weather lately.  Could be the changing of the seasons or the November blahs.  Today though, I felt the urge to search for a bit of mantel inspiration!
With a toddler around our home, my mantel needs to be a big part of my decorating this Christmas season.  It's the one place her little hands can't reach as of yet! hehe.
I found some inspiration on Pinterest but I do have to say I find it a bit bothersome that so few are marked with the source they came from.  I do like the whimsical one above from BHG. It combines a bit of the traditional and whimsical without looking too funky.

But truly I think I am a traditionalist and tend to gravitate toward this kind of Christmas decorating the most.
Love this....it's cheery, sparkly and traditional to boot!

I love the use of lanterns, and that twiggy stuff adds so much here!

Another one that makes me smile!  Love the lights, garland and Merry Christmas swag.

I also love the natural look!  No matter how much you spend it's hard to get boughs that look as good as the real thing.  And pine cones, just love them and they need to be somewhere in my home at Christmas time.
So what colors and styles do you love best at Christmas time? 
I know that the style of your mantel and fireplace must factor in.
Ours is stone so nothing too feminine will work.

And how about your style of Christmas trees?  We always get a real one and cut it ourselves.  I do think artificial are easier to decorate but they don't smell as good.  I also am wondering how to keep little, bitty hands off of my tree this year.  Any ideas out there?  I truly am perplexed on this one and need ideas.    I don't want to buy one of those huge ugly gates that circle the tree.  I have even though of hanging our tree from the ceiling! Lol.

Our life is more complicated now with a toddler around but she sure is rewarding!
Her newest words are ho-ho for Santa and ah-oo no!  The words keep coming like crazy and its so fun!
Off to do a bit of holiday shopping today, maybe I will find the perfect solution!

Take Care,