Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving.  I love holidays, but this may just be my favorite.
It is entwined in my heart with so many wonderful memories from my childhood.
Most of them at my grandparents' house- a small home chock full of art made by their own hands.    As we would travel through Oregon to their home, we could (and did) literally sing the song " Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go...."

A cozy cottage, if you will, filled to the brim on Thanksgiving day with uncles, aunts and cousins.  Familiar faces that I love. 

                                                       Norman Rockwell's  Freedom from want

It's quite grand to be a part of a large family!   
And on Thanksgiving and other large get-t0gethers, you can join in on conversations going on all over the house.    I love that.

 It may be Uncle Randy telling colorful, crazy stories of his youth, Uncle Jeff filming Thanksgiving from Grandma's dog's point of view,  various aunts and uncles or cousins showing off their new little babies, Grandma and Mom talking about family history or Grandpa explaining the perfect way to roast a turkey. 
It fills my soul with happiness.

Here's to my family on Thanksgiving Day....and to  yours!

For a great Thanksgiving message, go here

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.  ~H.U. Westermayer


Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.  ~E.P. Powell

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

PS  Mary Ostyn at Owlhaven is giving away an Emerilware stainless steel saucepan in honor of Thanksgiving.  You can check the contest out here

Sunday, November 22, 2009

You are a child of God

My littlest girl turns eight this week. 

What a joy and amazing ray of sunshine she is in our family.
I think of her at two, learning her first song and singing "You Are My Sunshine."
My favorite line was: "....You make me happy, when skies are Gracie..." 
That's how she sang it. 

Stinkin' adorable!

Thoughtful Message:

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, talented, fabulous?" 
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. 
Your playing small doesn't serve the world. 
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. 
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in all of us.
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

~Marianne Williamson
(widely attributed to Nelson Mandela, inaccurately)

For a great spiritual message, go here

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Amarillo, Texas!

A few weeks ago, we headed to Texas for a funeral.
It was a trip full of emotion for all of us.
Lots of memories, lots of tears and laughter with extended family.
A very worthwhile, memorable trip.

And we did A LOT of driving.  Texas is one big state!
We went down the west side and came back up the middle, more or less.
After a quick jaunt into Oklahoma, we headed for Amarillo.  
It was a foggy, misty afternoon that turned into a foggy, misty evening.
We were exhausted as we pulled into Amarillo and got a hotel room.

As The Man of the House got us a room or two we waited, worn out, in the van.

Then we looked over and saw this:

The kids and I did a double-take.  And looked closer:

When The Man of the House got back to us, we began talking over one another, explaining what we saw and gasping at the possibility that the advertising might just be true! 

You see, not one of us had ever ridden in a limo.

So we quickly brought in our luggage:

Called and requested the limo, and  cleaned up before it arrived. 
Longhorns and all!

The kids were thrilled.....and so was I.   So I took lots of pictures, like a touristy-fool. 

And then we arrived:

Can I just say- if you want to experience a TEXAS restaurant, with a BIG TEXAN need to go here!



There is so much to see and do- we wandered around with big grins plastered on our touristy faces; soaking up the Texas culture.  Okay, maybe it's not true Texas culture.  But I wouldn't know.  So I soaked it up.

You could spend hours in there, quite entertained....without even eating your meal!






We first heard about this restaurant on Man v. Food- a favorite TV show of ours on the Travel Channel.
And this is why it was featured:

Adam Richman tried to eat this.
And this is an ongoing contest.

While we were there in fact, they had just finished taping a German TV show similar to
Man v. Food.

And, we got to watch a gentleman tackle this meal, courageously hoping to win.  But he failed.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed the atmosphere; which was loud, family-oriented and fun.

The kids got their drinks served in cowboy boots

Also, free cowboy hats.

And The Man of the House ordered Rocky Mtn. Oysters.....or Calf Fries.

Which, after watching the film, 'Funny Farm' with Chevy Chase, I swore I'd never touch.
Because they portrayed them quite differently in the movie.
(By the way, I LOVE that movie!)

But these came looking rather ordinary.

And the kids liked them.

So I agreed to give 'em a try.


And they were good!  

Then the food came and we got busy.  Lots of down-home food.

While I was absorbing the atmosphere and enjoying myself to the hilt;
we were serenaded at our table by the strolling musicians.
After asking us a few questions, they began to play John Denver's 'Rocky Mountain High'.  
And I almost cried. 
I love John Denver's music- it speaks to me.

Afterward, we hailed our limo and headed back to the hotel.  
The girls really enjoyed the hotel experience...not to mention the pool and spa.

Can you say 'The Suite Life' ?

As we drove away the next morning, we captured another picture of The Big Texan.  And said a fond "farewell" to Amarillo.... 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things.....

O Christmas Tree Morning Robert Duncan Framed Print Art

I've been thinking about Christmas lately.
Maybe it's the snow we had, maybe it's the fact that the trees are now bare and wintery looking.  
Maybe it's just that I'm finally finding some time to breathe and relax and I long for that Christmas-y feeling!
So I'm playing Christmas music in the mornings.  
And the kids don't mind a bit.  
In fact,  it lends a calm, peaceful feeling to school mornings!

And, because I'm feeling the Christmas spirit, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite things.  
A few that we own and enjoy, and a few that I'd love to own and enjoy.  : )

They're fun to look at!  So window shop away, if you like.

First, we have some cheerful sunflower prints.
I know many think sunflowers are so 1990's- but I still love them.
It would be impossible I believe, to ever declare sunflowers out of style.
They're so cheerful, hardy and the epitome of summer time!
Gotta love 'em.

2 Garden Art Prints-Home/Kitchen Wall Decor Sunflowers

Next, we have some bowls.  Ceramic, practical, stylish.
I have a definite thing for bowls of this nature.

Reco International Ribbed Bowls Set of 3, Terra Cotta

Reco International Ribbed Batter Bowl 1.5Q, Yellow

On to aprons.
I've been wearing and loving aprons since 1991.

Ever since I was given an old, retro apron from a  yard sale. (Thanks, Muriel!)

As a mother of six, I have a DEEP appreciation for something beautiful that also covers and protects from food spills, baby spit-up, toddler nose-wipes  and the like.
I prefer those with pockets for items like tissue, special rocks, notes or coins the children give me, and the occasional chapstick or lip gloss.
Aprons can also function as garden produce carriers, tear wipers and a place for shy children to hide.
Love them!!

Cherry Bib Aprons for Mother or Daughter

Jessie Steele Bib Audrey Blue Poppy Fields Apron

Jessie Steele Bib Ava Cabbage Rose Stripe Apron

Jessie Steele Gigi Red and Cream Damask Apron with Attached Towel

Fashionista Vintage Floral Bib Apron - French Toile

April Cornell Ambrosia Blue Apron (Adult size only)

Zen Zen Chef Bali Green Printed Apron

Barefoot Roses Adult & Toddler Apron Set

Now on to art from one of my favorite artists.
I have several Robert Duncan prints in my home-but would love more!
Wholesome and, in my opinion, displaying the very things that this world needs more of;

I have a great respect for this artist. 

Here are a few of them:

The Egg Basket Chicken Coop Robert Duncan Framed Print

Piggy Back Boy Pig Goose Robert Duncan Framed Print Art

Maggie & Her Mother Garden Robert Duncan Framed Print

Our Friend Murphy Boy Goat Robert Duncan Framed Print

Morning Walk Robert Duncan Cow Framed Art Print Picture

Flowers in the Evening Art Print by Robert Duncan, 20" x 26"

Harvest Time by Robert Duncan. Size 29.01 inches width by 22.44 inches height. High Quality Art Poster Print

Anniken & The Cows Robert Child Duncan Framed Picture

Framed Rooftop Warriors Robert Duncan Snow Children

Girls Club Girl Riding Cow Robert Duncan Framed Print

Down The Garden Path Girl Robert Duncan Framed Print

For the man in your life, not to mention relatives, children and yourself;
consider Old Friend slippers.

These are just delightful Delightful, I tell you!
The Man of the House finally wore his out.  After 4 years.
And I'm thinking he's gonna get a new pair for Christmas...

Old Friend Men's Loafer Moccasin,Chestnut,12 2E

Old Friend Women's 441165 Loafer Moccasin

Something else I really like: 

TripleLayer Jacquard Pashmina Shawl-DK.Red#DM

For little girls, consider the following:  Only Hearts Club dolls and accessories.
These are wholesome, adorable and my girls love them.  
(Although they're about to outgrow them completely, I fear.)  I need more little girls.   

Here are just a few of what they offer:

Only Hearts Club Hannah Faith Kitten

Lily Rose w/ Her Dog Cupcake

Karina Grace in Pink Western Riding Outfit

Cinnamon / Palomino Quarter Horse (Golden Brown)

Only Hearts Club Stable and Tack Room

Star Sleeper Sofa

For kids in general, how about this 3-D Hologram toy?
Drop in the toy frog that comes with it, a coin or other item and watch people try to grab what looks like the real thing!  

3-D MIRASCOPE by Toysmith

Now these we've owned.  And enjoyed.  Until my boys outgrew them.
I need more little boys.

My kids enjoyed this kit.  It comes with the real chicle gum base from the rain forests of Guatemala, all the other ingredients needed and even a little pan to cook it in.  Fun to make the real stuff!
Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit

Now this is something we'd love to own.  A zip line.  My kids have wanted one for a while.
They sure look fun!

Spring Swings Deluxe Fun Ride (Colors May Vary)

And for those busy girls in  your life, how about a friendship bracelet kit? 

Alex Toys Friends 4 Ever Bracelet Making Kit

Sending happy, peaceful Christmas thoughts to advance!


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