Dec 24, 2011

Joy To The World

Our family has so much to be thankful for, but I must say that the thing I am most thankful for is God's Love.

He loved us enough to send His son.

Born to a virgin, in a manger, on a miraculous night.

A night that changed the world in a permanent way.  Forever.

We read this story often, (or at least once a year), but do we ever stop to reflect on how it impacts our lives today?  Right this minute?

Because of the birth of that child on that night, my life is changed.

God no longer seems far away.

His love is close.  It is here.

It means that He came to me.  That He loved me enough that He chased me.  All the way from Heaven to Earth.

It means that He understands me.  He understands what it is like to be human.  He knows my struggle.  He has felt my pain and suffering.  And more.

It means that I don't have to earn my way into His grace.  It is His gift to me.  His gift to this world.

It means that I am free. 

To celebrate life.  To enjoy His blessings.  To bathe in His splendor.

I am able to snuggle up close to Him and tell Him my dreams.  To complain about my day.  Or to ask Him for anything.

He loves me just that much.

And I am in awe.

That God Himself would love me enough that He would leave His Palace.  His Thrown.  To come and live here.

To live a humble life.

And then to be ridiculed.  And tortured.  And killed. 

Just because He loved me. 

And you.

And He wanted us to know it.

Yes, I am in awe of that kind of love.

It is my prayer that you experience His love this Christmas in an intimate, life-changing way. 

Because I know that there truly is no greater joy!

Merry Christmas!

Dec 21, 2011

Our Night at The Nutcracker

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For a month, we had been planning our evening at The Nutcracker.  We were going to make sure the girls took a nap that afternoon, get ready in our nice clothes, have a fancy dinner at a great restaurant, and then go to the evening show.

It was going to be perfect!

But here's how it really went:

On Friday, we had our friend's kids spend the night.  It was great, except that all the kids had their last day of school on Friday. 

Which means classroom Christmas Parties.

Which means sugar.

Which means super hyped up kids.

We took them for Pizza and then to look at Christmas lights all over town.

Aren't Christmas lights suppose to be peaceful?

Hmmm....not so much.

I have never quite had that kind of experience looking at Christmas lights.

After that we came home and watched a movie, which I thought was a great way to wind down the evening before bed.

But, in fact, I just believe it gave them the rest they needed before they got their second wind.

So, somewhere around 11ish, they all settled down and fell asleep...

...and then woke up at 6am.

That would have been fine, except for the fact that my family had decided to celebrate Christmas last Saturday afternoon so that my mom could enjoy it on her "off week" from chemo.

So, I made the food, wrapped the packages, and loaded up the car. 

We had a great time together, and my mom was fully able to enjoy herself.

But no time for a nap...or dinner.

We came home, had to spend an hour looking for Faith's dress shoes, (which we never found BTW.  Good thing I had extras, even if they were too big!  Nothing a little tissue paper in the front of the shoe couldn't fix!),  got dressed and off we went.

I was very nervous that the girls were going to fall asleep during the show.  Or worse, that they would have a meltdown.

Doesn't that sound fun?

But I said my prayers, and decided we would just go with whatever happened.

When we arrived to get the tickets from Will-Call, they didn't have them.  But that was no problem.  The kind lady behind the counter simply looked up my name and re-printed the tickets.  I have to say, I was nervous as first, (because if I had gone to all this trouble only to be turned away, I would be the one having a meltdown!), but it all went very smoothly.

The girls in their pretty dresses.  Sorry for the bad photo!  We were trying to hurry in before lights went down...

After that, we went to take our seats.  And whoa, were they good seats!

They were actually PERFECT for the girls, and they could see the entire show easily.

Once the show started, I was just waiting for the complaining to start.  But I am here to tell you that it never happened!!

Addy reading her program

The girls were so fixated on the show that they never once whined or cried, or had to go to the bathroom. 

It was a Christmas miracle.

And honestly, it was one of the best productions of The Nutcracker that I have ever seen.

The dancers were fabulous, the sets were amazing, and the length of the show was perfect for 2 tired little girls.

And of course, the music is always beautiful.

If you have never been to The Nutcracker, I really urge you to check it out next year.  The Dayton Ballet does a phenomenal job and it truly is something everyone should experience.

Plus, The Dayton Ballet has several other performances throughout the year.  I have never been disappointed with them, and can't wait to take the girls again.

So I have to say, even though our evening didn't go as planned, it still ended up great!  And that's what Family Fun is all about!

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to The Dayton Ballet's Performance of The Nutcracker to facilitate this review, but all opinions are mine and completely honest!

Dec 13, 2011

The Ups and Down of Life

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Yep.  Life has LOTS of ups and downs.

Sometimes even in the same hour :)

***This post is the length of a small novel.  You have been warned!***

So to get started, let me tell you about some of my "ups" lately!

On Friday, my husband and I surprised our girls with a trip to Connersville, Indiana where we rode on The Polar Express train ride.

They had no idea until we got there and they saw the train, and they were kind of in shock.

And I have to tell you that it didn't disappoint, either!

The ride is 2 hours long and they make it as much like the movie as possible.  Kids are invited to wear their pj's, everyone gets hot chocolate and a cookie, there is a conductor, (that even looked like Tom Hanks in the movie!), and chefs wearing chef hats and coats that pass out the refreshments.  The ride goes to The North Pole where Santa boards the train and sits with each child so that they can tell him what they want for Christmas.  Then he gives them a Polar Express bell...The First Gift of Christmas.

For Addy, who is almost 8, it was fun.  She enjoyed the whole thing and had a great time.  But for Faith, who is 5, it was magical!  She truly believed that she was on a magical train taking her to the North Pole.  She believed that it was 'The REAL Santa', that there were real elves.  I loved seeing her eyes get big as the train started to roll down the tracks as she anticipated the adventure.

That is the part that made it magical for me.

The next evening we went to Clifton Mill, which is a local attraction that decorates with thousands of lights at Christmas time.  It's always beautiful, but Saturday night was FREEZING, so our kids didn't last as long as they usually do.  So we only stayed about an hour and then ran through Tim Hortons to grab hot chocolate, Timbits, and use the bathroom.

Side Note:  I need to do a better job of paying attention to the 'Men's/Women's signs on the bathroom doors.  A nice gentleman who was washing his hands, (thank goodness!), got a surprise visit from me as I rushed in and then screamed when I realized what I had done.  I quickly exited the men's room and rushed into the women's.  I was completely embarrassed, and considered staying in there until the place closed.  Then I remembered that Tim Hortons is open 24 hrs, and since making the bathroom my permanent home didn't seem reasonable, (plus I really wanted those Timbits), I finished my business and went out to make my order.  The man was sitting right beside the counter.  But thankfully, he had mercy on me and never looked my way. 

After my Tim Horton's experience, we went to a friends house and visited a little while.  They just got back from Disney and they got to tell us all about their super fun trip. 

I'm not jealous at all.

No, that wasn't me rolling my eyes.

I mean, who needs a trip to Disney anyway?  I just love staying in Ohio and enjoying the dreary weather and grey skies.

Sun and warm weather are overrated.

Ahem.  Back to my wonderful weekend.

And it really was wonderful.

Because on Sunday, some of my bestest girlfriends and I did our annual Christmas shopping day!

We all pile in a van, (mine this year), and head down to Kenwood Mall near Cincy.

We spend an entire afternoon visiting all our favorite stores, and catching up.  Then we get back in the car and head over to Rookwood, another shopping center, where we hit up Home Goods.  After that, it's dinner at J. Alexander's and then home. 

It's always so much fun to be with these gals.  We don't all get to see each other as often as we used to, but because we have all been friends for so long, every time we are together, it just picks right back up where we left off.  I love them dearly, and I treasure their friendship!

So those are some of my recent "Up's"

And now for a few of the "Down's".

I mentioned on my blog a while back that my mom had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  She has now completed her first round of chemo, and it was a rough start.

We had no idea what to expect, but it has been pretty bad.

She just has no energy at all, has had horrible pain, and has been feeling sick pretty much all the time.  This is her week off between rounds, and just now she is starting to feel a little bit better.

Our family is trying to work around her schedule, so we will have Christmas together this Saturday so that she can attend on, hopefully, a good day.

Please pray that she has a great day, and is able to enjoy the Holiday.  Please also pray that her body begins to adjust to the poison that is being pumped into her body so that it can kill the cancer, and pray that it does kill all of the cancer!

Another 'Down' is that the same week my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, my father-in-law found out he had Bone Marrow cancer. 

I know.  Crazy.

He had been having back/hip pain for a while, and after a lot of testing, they determined that the pain was from damage to his bones and joints from bone marrow cancer.
And while we had some frustration with the doctors about getting answers for him, he had gotten a treatment plan and begun his chemo.

Until he had a fall and things spiraled and he ended up in the hospital with 2 blood transfusions.

UGH!  Why can it never be easy???

Anyhow, he is actually doing better and we think he will be able to come home today.

Please pray that he can have as easy of a time as possible with this process and that the chemo kills his cancer and that his body heals from all the damage that has already been done.

Ya know, sometimes, life just comes right out of nowhere and smacks you upside the head with more than you think you can stand.

But I have to say, I guess we can pretty much stand anything when we have Jesus on our side.

I know that people are praying, and I know He is answering, because I can physically feel it.

You see, usually I am one big stress ball.  I have all kinds of anxiety, and I can never control it.  And on top of that, I am a 'glass half empty' kind of person.  I like to call it being a realist, but it's all the same.

But with this, I have been steady.  Not to say that I haven't had my moments, but overall, I have been able to just think about what needs to be done, and stay positive.

That in itself is kind of a miracle.

So that's kind of our life right now.  Taking care of and loving on the parents in our life who need us more than ever right now, and trying to stay on top of our "normal" life with 2 wonderful, beautiful little girls that also need mom and dad to take care of all of their stuff. 

I won't lie.  It's a juggling act.  But I am learning that no matter how good of a juggler you are, a few things will always fall.

Sometimes, it's dinner, (lots of fast food).

Sometimes, it's my house, (looks like a tornado...or a frat house).

Sometimes, it's an email or text that I don't return, (there have been lots lately).

And sometimes, (okay, most of the time), it's this blog. 

Because as long as it's not the important things, (or the important people I should say), I can live with that.

Okay, novel can come to an end now! :)

Thanks for staying with it, and for the prayers.  Keep em' coming please!!

Nov 29, 2011

My FABULOUS Holiday Weekend

So before you say anything, I already know that I have been way off my blogging game for a while.

But life has been so crazy for me over the past month that honestly, blogging was just about the last thing I could think about.

But now life is *kind of* starting to get back to some kind of normal.  And I miss this blog o' mine.  So I'm hoping I can get back into the swing of things.

So now let me tell you about my FABULOUS Holiday weekend!

First, the girls had last Wednesday off of school, so it was a special mommy-daughter day. 

We started off by having breakfast at Waffle House.

My girls have never been to Waffle House before, and Addy had been begging us to take her.

Unfortunately, my husband is not a fan.  I am!

So we went and of course they loved it, too.

I mean, how can you not love a place where you get to order things scattered and covered???

After that we went Christmas shopping for daddy.

I won't tell you what they bought him because the hubby reads this blog, but I will say that they are SUPER excited about it, and I am just hoping that they can keep it a secret until the big day.

Our fun day was then made even better when we went home and the girls helped me bake 3 pies.  I love the help, and they love helping, so it's a win-win!  And no one minds that there little fingers were taking swipes of the filling anyway, right?

On Thursday, my day started early so that I could get our GINORMOUS turkey in the oven, followed by the ham.  But it was worth it when we got to enjoy the best meal of the year while we visited with 20 or so relatives.

But the real fun began when at 7:30pm, a few lovely ladies and I, (and my hubby for the first stop), headed out to begin our BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING!!!!

Oh friends, let me just tell you that Black Friday shopping is not for the weak. 

First of all, it should be called Black Thursday now because the deals started on Thursday evening at 10pm at Wal-Mart, which was our first stop. 

And can I just say that Wal-Mart is just full of the most interesting people you will ever see in your life?

I mean, where else can you see someone in ugg-like boots, pj bottoms, and a tank top with no bra and think that it's totally acceptable? 

And just when things were starting to get boring while we waited in line, a fight almost broke out between a guy I'm pretty sure was a truck driver at some point in his life and a preppy little momma trying to cut in line who had no fear of him.  That is until he started cursing at her.  Then she hightailed it outta there.

I think it was a wise choice.

And then, after we got our goods and tried to make our way to a check-out line, I was stopped by a police officer inside the store who was directing traffic.

Did you see that I said, INSIDE the store?


After that we hot the mall for Old Navy, Elder-Beerman, NY&Co., and The Great Steak Escape.

There weren't a lot of choices for food at 3am, and we were running out of steam.  And truth be told, pretty much nothing is off limits at that time of the morning.

Our last stop was Target.  Unfortunately, everything had been pretty picked over at that point, (they had opened at midnight), so I struck out there.  But when I got home, I was able to get the rest of my stuff on, so it's all good.

And on Friday evening, those same great ladies and I gathered up our families and went to the Downtown Dayton Grande Illumination and Children's Parade.  The weather was perfect and the kids had a fabulous time!

The next day we put up our tree and decorated the house.  It is seriously one of my very favorite things to do.  It just makes every day better when you get to walk by a beautiful lit-up Christmas Tree.  It just does.

And our wonderful weekend ended with a Pajama day and pizza-movie night.  A perfect ending for a perfect weekend.

I am so excited for all the fun stuff that this season holds.  We have lots of fun plans, and I can't wait to share all of them with you.

Which reminds me, tomorrow I will be listing a bunch of the events going on around town in December.  Hopefully, you will be able to check out some of them with your crew!

So I hope you all had a great Holiday weekend, too!  Feel free to share some of your Black Friday stories also.  I always love a good Wal-Mart story!

Nov 22, 2011

Are You As Excited As I Am??

The preparations have begun.

Groceries are bought, turkey is thawing in the fridge, cranberry relish is cooked, cheesecake is baked, and pies are getting started.

I am sooooo excited for the absolute best meal of the year!

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This year, I am hosting at my house.

20 relatives all under the same roof is definitely a recipe for disaster, but I don't care one bit!

I LOVE having everyone together for the holiday's.

Unfortunately, my husband doesn't enjoy the cleaning and other preparations for the day as much as I do, but someone has to get the house ready while I bake... :)

And the girls are getting excited too.  Tomorrow there is no school.  So we have plans to go to breakfast together, go Christmas Shopping for daddy, (shhhh), and then home so that they can help me finish all the baking for the BIG DAY!

And after dinner on Thursday, it begins.

You do know what I'm talking about don't you?


Target Black Friday Ad page 8

Usually, we wake up at 3am, head out to stand in line and stay out until about noon.

But this year, Wal-Mart deals start at 10pm, so I will be out at 8pm.

It kind of cuts into our Thanksgiving, but since I am usually heading to bed around 8pm anyway, I don't mind so much.

This way I can just stay up all night and (hopefully) be home by 6 or 7am.

I am just giddy about it.

I have my list's done and the plan is laid out. (BTW, I use this site to lay out my plan.  It has all the Black Friday ads listed so I know what's on sale!)

First is Wal-Mart, then Target, then the mall.  I *may* drop by Toys R' Us at some point, but there is nothing that I have to get there that is on sale, so we'll see.

And my husband and I have a great system, too.

As soon as we go into the store, he goes and gets in line.  I go do the shopping and then by the time that we are done, he is near the front. 

Because waisting time on Black Friday is NOT an option!

This is serious business.

And yes, I DO know that I have the most wonderful husband in the world!  Most husbands avoid Black Friday like the plague.  But when Addy was a baby, he really wanted to come out and help me shop for her.  And after that, it just became our tradition.

He won't admit that he loves it, but I know he does :)

So in case I'm too busy baking and enjoying the holiday with family to post on here again before Thursday, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of friends and family!

And a great Black Friday, too!

Nov 18, 2011

Winner of The Nutcracker Tickets!!!

Congratulations to......

Real Life Motherhood of 4 for winning tickets to The Nutcracker!!!

Email me your name and mailing address to and I will send you your voucher!

I KNOW that you will love this show!!

Congratulations and I hope you have a FANTASTIC time!

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Nov 11, 2011

Great Service Makes Me Smile

Have I shared with you about how much my family enjoys eating out?

It's kind of a bad thing, I know.

It cost extra money and isn't super healthy.

But it means no cooking for me, no clean-up and everyone is happy with their choices so there's no complaining.

So, I pretty much want to do it every night.

{Note:  We DON'T do it every night.  That's just my wish...}

Anyhow, because we do eat out a fair amount, we are used to so-so customer service at restaurants.

I don't complain because honestly, I don't even want to serve my family supper, how do I expect them to do it with great service?

But I do realize that we are actually paying for the service, so I do expect something beyond the minimum.

But I have to tell you about some EXCELLENT service we got last week.  It was just that good!

Because my mom was in the hospital, my husband went to visit one evening and then stopped to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse after.  It was by the hospital and I was too exhausted and emotional to drive anywhere else. 

First of all, I was a little in shock at the price.

{Have I also told you how cheap I am?}

We are used to eating at Wendy's, Chick-fil-a, Bob Evans, Chili's on kids eat free night....we  pretty much try to keep it around $20-$25 for our meal.

So when I saw that most steaks were around $15-$20, I panicked a little. 

But then I calmed myself down and reminded myself that this was a grown up meal without nuggets or mac-n-cheese.  I decided to just enjoy the moment.

I ordered a nice steak, medium rare just like I like it, with salad and mashed potatoes.  I felt like it was my birthday or something.

Until the steak arrived.

Remember that I said I ordered it medium rare?

It was VERY well done.

But then the manager came over.

Not only did he bring me a new steak, but he stayed while I cut into it to make sure that it was cooked perfectly.

And it was!

And then he told us that my entire meal would be on the house.

Seriously?  Just for overcooking a steak?

I told him it wasn't necessary, but he insisted.

And that my friends, makes me a happy customer.

Not because I didn't want to pay.  But because they went the extra mile to make sure I was happy.

And this is not the first time Longhorn has given us excellent service, either.

I have to say, when it comes to chain steak houses, they really rise above the rest in terms of service.

So Thank you Longhorn for making a crummy night just a little better. 

Nov 7, 2011

Mix It Up Monday: Boots and A Skirt

There is this fashion rule that I try to follow most of the time.

That fashion rule is: Just because it's trendy doesn't mean it will look good on you!  Wear what looks good, not what everyone else is wearing!

But I have to admit that sometimes, I look at a girl in a something trendy that I'm pretty sure won't work for me, and I am SO jealous!

I just wish I was one of those girls who could pull off any look...but I'm not.

And when everyone started wearing skinny jeans or leggings with boots, I was screaming, "WHYYYY?" in my head.  Not because it doesn't look good, but because I didn't think it would look good on ME!

First of all, to find a pair of boots that will fit up over my large calves is almost impossible.

And need I explain the skinny jeans or leggings?

I didn't think so.

But after and eternity a while of watching everyone else pull off this look, I was determined to try. 

And by golly, I think I found a way to make it work.

Sweater: Garage Sale, Skirt: Goodwill, White Tee: Target, Black Shirt: Old Navy, Gray Leggings: Gap Outlet, Black Boots: Avenue Online

I still don't think I can follow every trend, (and actually, this may be the only outfit I can wear these boots and leggings with...but what the heck!), but it's nice to know that if I am willing to adjust a little, I can feel a little trendy too!

So tell me, what fashion trends have you tried lately?

I will be linking up with Momma Go Round for RMRS, and The Pleated Poppy for WIWW.

Nov 4, 2011

Choosing To Focus On Today

This has been a week of ups and downs for sure.  A lot of sadness but a lot of praise too.

Let me explain.

{Deep Breath}

So on Sunday, my momma called me and my three sisters to her house to explain to us that she had a large mass in her lower abdomen that they believed to be cancer.

It was a scary thing to hear.

She had been having pain for a while that she thought was gallbladder pain.  But since the tests for that had come back fine, they decided to do a CT scan and that is when they saw the mass.

My mom had breast cancer about ten years ago, but had been in remission since, and we were hoping to never have to hear the C-word again.

But here it was, and we were scared.  Especially since we wouldn't have much information until they operated.

So this past Wednesday, they operated to remove the mass. 

And when the surgeon came out to talk to us, he told us that it was ovarian cancer, stage C3.  I don't know much about ovarian cancer, but that didn't sound good to me.

But the good news is that they were able to get all of the mass removed, (it started in one ovary and had spread all around engulfing the other and grown to a size larger than a softball), but it had NOT spread to her colon.  That had been one of my mom's major concerns.

That was a HUGE praise!

He said she would go through six rounds of chemo and hopefully, after that she would be fine.

I was SOOOO relieved to hear that. 

He also mentioned that there is an 80% remission rate and that also is great news.  Unfortunately, he also mentioned that of that 80%, 75% will have cancer return within 3 years.

Ugh.  Seriously?  Why did he have to say that?

I spent the day with lots of ups and downs. 

First being so thankful that she made it through surgery fine, and that they got all of the tumor, and that she will likely be fine after her chemo.

Then being crushed by the news that she might be dealing with this for many years to come.

In some ways, I felt like a little girl again, a little girl who just wants her mommy.

It is strange to be in this place in life when you start really realizing that your parents won't be around forever.  I knew that, but I don't like to think about it.

But now it's here, trying to get my attention, and I just want it to go away.

After praying and talking with amazing friends who have been down this road, I am choosing to focus on the positive news and only think about today.

Today she is recovering.

Today she is getting stronger.

Today she is tumor free.

Today she is watching Fox News, telling me how to raise my girls, and being sassy with the nurses.

Today, she is being my mom.

I am focusing on that, and praising God for it.

my mom, sisters and I

She will be in the hospital until sometime next week, and then she will go home and start her chemo.  I would covet your prayers for her as she walks down this difficult road.

Thank you!

Nov 3, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: The Nutcracker {GIVEAWAY}!!!!

One year when I was about 15, one of my church youth leaders took some of us girls to see The Nutcracker Ballet. 

It was beautiful.

I knew that one day I would want to take my kids to see it too.

And when Addy was 3, we took her to see it, and she loved it too.

It is so much fun to get all dressed up, go out for a fancy dinner, and then go to The Schuster Center.

The Christmas decorations were up, the Holiday music was playing, and there was a fabulous anticipation in the air because it was just one of those magical moments.

You know, the kind that almost make you want to cry.

(Okay, so maybe I'm a little over-emotional right now.  But it *is* just so special!)

I wish everyone had the chance to see this beautiful and special ballet, but I realize that it can be a big expense during a time of year that is already kind of tight.

Not that it's not worth it, because it TOTALLY is!  But I'm just saying that I can definitely see why sometimes people just can't fit it into the budget.

But if you have thought about going, but have been holding off on getting tickets, TODAY'S YOUR DAY!

I am giving away 4 FREE tickets to The Dayton Ballet's Performance of The Nutcracker!!! And one of the BEST parts is that you get to choose the date you want to go!

There are several ways to enter for your FREE tickets AND YOU CAN ENTER AS MANY TIMES AS YOU LIKE!  But make sure to leave a comment for each entry.

-Follow This Blog
-Follow Family Fun Mom on Facebook
-Follow Family Fun Mom on Twitter
-Follow The Dayton Ballet on Facebook
-Follow The Dayton Ballet on Twitter
-Tell us about your favorite memory of seeing The Nutcracker
-Tell us why you want to win the tickets
-Blog about this giveaway
-Link a post from your Facebook or Twitter account to this giveaway


The Giveaway will run through November 17th and a winner will be announced on November 18th! 

I am SOOOO excited to be doing this giveaway, you don't even understand!  I just know that you'll have a fabulous time!

Good Luck!

Disclosure:  I have received tickets for my family and to giveaway for this promotion of The Dayton Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker.  All opinions in this post are completely my own!

Nov 1, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Bring on the Holidays!

Every year I have to will myself to hold off on the Christmas music and general Holiday celebrating until Halloween is over.

I want my kids to enjoy all the fun that trick-or-treating brings.

Because, it just isn't the same to trick-or-treat with "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" ringing in your ears, ya know?!

But now that it's officially over, BRING ON THE HOLIDAY CELEBRATING!!!!

The Christmas music will be playing, the cinnamon candles will come out and the baking will begin.

Isn't it just wonderful?!

So in honor of the sheer JOY I feel today as I let loose on all of my Thanksgiving/Christmas celebrations, I am dedicating my Top Ten to Reasons I Love The Holiday Season!

10.  Loads of Baked goods!  The bagged candy is out the window in honor of warm pies, rich cakes, decorated cookies, and all the other goodies that come out to play for the season.

9.  Christmas Music!  I could listen to Christmas Music all year round and my kids feel the same way.  Just a few weeks ago I heard my youngest humming Jingle Bells in her room.  It warms a mother's heart :)

8.  Shopping!  I know Christmas is not all about the "stuff", but I DO love to buy presents for people.  It makes me giddy to try and get the things that I know my loved ones will want. 

7.  The decorating!  Putting up Christmas lights, wreaths, and our beautiful tree with all the ornaments just makes me happier than almost anything. 

6.  Family Meals!  Thanksgiving dinner is by far the best meal of the year.  Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn casserole, cranberry dressing, rolls...I mean seriously?!

5.  Peppermint Mocha's from Starbucks!  Enough said...

4.  Getting together with friends!  During the Holidays, everyone always makes time to get together and celebrate the season with friends, and because I have the very best friends in the world, I can't get enough of it!

3.  Christmas cheer!  Somehow, during the Holidays, everyone seems to be in a better mood.  Even spending an hour in line while you wait to pay for all the goodies you're getting doesn't phase you. 

2.  All the fun Holiday activities/events we do as a family!  Looking at lights, going to The Nutcracker, sledding in the snow, Christmas Tree lighting's, parades, Breakfast with Santa, Christmas movie marathons...I just LOVE all of it!

1.  Faith, Family, and friends!  I really know what this season is about, and I love celebrating it all. 

So tell me, what are you most looking forward to this Holiday Season?

I am linking up with Oh Amanda for Top Ten Tuesday!

Oct 31, 2011

Mix It Up Monday: Halloween

Instead of posting the boring everyday outfits I wore this week, I am posting some of the costumes that I, (and a few friends), wore this past weekend to the 2 Halloween parties that we went to!

The first party was Friday night and it was a Music Mania theme.  Jeremy and I channeled Rock Of Love and went as Bret Michaels and one of his "ladies", (I use that word loosely).

And my friend, Amy and her husband went as Sharon and Ozzy...don't they look awesome?!  They win the costume contest ever year.  Overachievers!

And here's me with my friend Carrie (aka Cindy Lauper) and Amy.  Carrie is the crazy lady who throws this party every year.  Sooo thankful for these fun friends!

On Saturday, we went to my sister's annual Halloween costume party.  There was no theme for this party and I was DYING to wear my 'Flo The Progressive Girl' costume!!

My husband decided not to go with a costume change.  BOOOOOOOO!

Some of my favorites from the night were the Sock Monkey's.  Super Clever.  They had monkey ears and a monkey tail and socks pinned all over them.  

And this couple never disappoints.  This year she was a drugged out, toothless, skanky looking girl and her husband was a thug.  They played the parts a little too real if you ask me :)

And this is my friend Vickie.  She looked awesome in her Madonna outfit.  I was waiting on her to belt out some "Like a Virgin', but no such luck.

I hope you all have a great Halloween and that you too got to put on some fun outfits and be silly for a night. 

Speaking of which, what was your FAVORITE costume growing up? 

Mine was a witch when I was about 8.  I had a long black dress and my older sisters did my face in green makeup and teased up my hair really good.  It looked so great that people were asking me to come in their houses to take pictures of my costume.

As always, I will be linking up with Momma Go Round for RMRS and The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday!

Oct 28, 2011

Stuff We've Been Up To

It has been sort of an exhausting October around here.

Fun, but exhausting.

I am waaaaaaay behind on sharing what has been going on it our lives, but I figure better late than never.

Here goes:

One of the super fun things that we did was take the girls down to Kings Island, (the local Amusement Park), for the Howl-O-Fest!  The kids got to dress up in their costumes and there are lots of fun activities for them, plus the rides are still open so we did some of those too.

Here are a few pics from that:

Addy being silly

Some of the friends we went with

Going through the hay maze

Our little cowgirl dancer

Another one of our fun adventure's was Addy's cheer Halloween party.  We did one last year and she pretty much got to invite almost everyone. 

There were 50 first and second graders at my house. 

Not sure I will ever try that again.

Needless to say, we did it on a MUCH smaller scale this year and limited it to just the cheer squad.  It was lots of fun and we had yummy food, fun games, a scary story, and a Halloween show to top it off.  Here are some pictures from the party:

Our treat bags!  Load em' up with SUGAR!!

Witch hat cookies

The jack-o-lantern with carrots

Some of our fun decorations

Me telling ghost stories to the girls...have to say my eyes look a little spooky here too :)

The girls watching their Halloween show.

We also made our annual trip to Windmill Farms for the hayride and pumpkin picking.  The girls had a blast with the tractor pulling us through muddy trails and down steep hills, and also the scary characters that kept jumping out.

They also have play equipment for the kids and animals for the kids to visit with.  But I must say that one of the MAJOR highlights of the day was the Apple Cider Slushies.  YUMMO!!

Our hayride

Daddy and his girls

Addy choosing her perfect pumpkin!  (The one we used to make pumpkin pie!)

Faith getting some help from daddy

Faith playing on top of the castle

The girls with The Pumpkin King

Apple Cider Slushies...Mmmmmmm.....

And finally, I want to tell you about our AWESOME time at The Ballet!  We got tickets from The Dayton Ballet to see Sleepy Hallow and a variation on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 


My girls really enjoy the ballet and since Faith just started ballet classes this year, she truly enjoyed seeing professionals who have been doing this for a long time.

I could go on and on about how great it was, but I think my 5-year-old summed it up best when at the end she said, "Mom, that was SO COOL!".

I agree!

And I was so glad that the winner of the ballet tickets giveaway could be there, too!  They also enjoyed the performance and it was an extra treat that after the show, some of the performers came out to meet the audience and take questions. 

The kids really loved that!

My two sweet girls

Faith getting ready for the show

A few of the performers after the show

The winners of the giveaway!

Besides all of these fun things, we have been finishing up cheer season, getting ready for TWO costume parties this weekend for the hubs and I, (Pictures to come!), Attending a Going Away party for a dear friend of mine, Sad :(, going to my favorite festival...The Potato Festival!, celebrating hubby's b-day, celebrating my dad's b-day, date night at the haunted houses, and all of our normal day-to-day stuff.

I am tired just thinking about my life.

But I love it :)