Saturday, December 30, 2006

my new gallery

Miranda surprised me with a portrait collage of my kids for Christmas! She had our fellow scrapbooker/ photographer friend Amy do a photo shoot in November. Check out her blog and photography web site. I am blown away by every pic! Miranda put her favorites in frames and then bought the lighting at IKEA. Thanks to Miranda and Randy, the black-frame gallery that I have talked about doing someday came together yesterday. I'm loving it!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

New Year's confession

I have this thing... ok, this problem. I have a ton of projects that I have started over the years and have never finished. Crafting, quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, framing, refinishing, painting... whew, it's rather daunting when you see it all in print!
So, here's the deal. No more starting new projects till I have either finished my old projects or gotten rid of them. And I mean it!
The blog world has exposed me to some of the most inspiring crafters, quilters, thrifters, decorators and scrappers in all the world! They have caused me to think, consider, reflect and contemplate... what it is I do well, that I am not doing and why is that. Cuz when I am creating... I am at peace. I feel so good about myself... and it affects how I react and respond to life and others. And let me tell you, 'others' like when I am like that! So... why did I stop doing the things that I loved to do?
Well, no more, I'm back and reconnecting to those first loves. But first I have to get organized and that means lots of weeding out... lots of purging. As my sister Ginny reminded me last night- eliminate and concentrate! Does anyone remember where we first heard those words? Yes, from Anne Ortland's book "Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman". I first read that book back in 1981. Loved the simplicity in her message of priorities, goals, organizing your life. When I am better equiped to serve others, to give my life away, it's because I have taken the time to do the things that matter... for me.
How do we do that? Well, it looks very different and unique to each person and who they are. For some it's taking the time each day to exercise, go for a walk... sitting in a quiet room praying, studying God's Word... reading, writing, listening to worship music... crafting, sewing, thrifting... cooking, baking or blogging. Whatever!
I just know that I want to set aside some time each day to better equip me to do the next thing. I want to be ready for whatever the Lord sets before me. I am tired of managing all my clutter... or is it my clutter controling me? I want to be clutter free... and focused on all that I was created to be and do. I'll keep you posted. (literally!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Patty's album

Randy's sister Patty died in a car accident when she was 18 years old. She was hit head-on by a 16 year old drunk driver. Randy was 20 years old at the time. Patty was the youngest of 5 children... the only girl. She had just turned 18, she had just graduated from high school, she had just gotten her driver's license. I never knew her. My kids will never know their Aunt Patty.
So my daughter Miranda decided to do a scrapbook of Patty's life and give it to her Mamaw & Papaw for Christmas. After several weeks, she finally finished at 5:30 PM Christmas Day. It was done. We drove over to their house and she presented it to them. They were so deeply moved and grateful to have all her pictures and memorabilia put in one album. Miranda could not have done anything more honoring to Patty's memory. It's truly a work of love & art.

Love the picture of Randy & Patty on the lower right corner... that is the very first guitar that Randy ever played. How cute!

We ended the day singing for Mamaw & Papaw... Tyler singing and playing the piano, Miranda singing "Mary Did You Know" and Randy singing his newest song "The Christmas Card". What a special day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I love taking pictures of food! Shawn & Nicole made the dreamy raspberry puffs for Rice Night... a gathering of dear friends that share traditional foods from their childhood. I always bring my Swedish meatballs and my friend Barb provides her wonderful Lefse to wrap the meatballs in. And Steve's creamy warm rice with a pat of butter and cinnamon is simply devine! Miranda agrees!

The children were nestled all snug in their beds...
My kids have slept in the same room on Christmas Eve since they were out of cribs. Nicole was excited to join in the tradition. How cool it was for Randy & I to hear them laughing and talking as we were setting out the stocking gifts and setting up the cameras for Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

I will be posting about this surprising, amazing gift from Miranda!

Randy got his Pirate's necklace from Miranda... a replica from the movie. Is he one proud Pirate or what!

Nicole & Shawn before opening their stockings. Wiley let her use his stocking!

Friday, December 22, 2006

mashed potato martini

Randy & I are thoroughly enjoying a very nice martini glass of... mashed potatoes! Yes! Mashed potatoes! And trust me, it's the only way to truly enjoy the mashed potato experience!
Let me give you some background before I explain the mashed potato martini. The four women pictured below (Karen, me, Stacey & Cindy) have spent Christmas Eve together with our families for the past 22 years!!! How cool is that! Each year we pile all our kids (we have three kids each) on the couch of the home we're gathered at and take a picture. We then take a picture of the four Moms. And yes, we get quite a laugh looking at our various outfits, hairstyles and haircolors over the past years! This being the very first year that we did not have "perfect attendance"... a child from each family was unable to be at the gathering.
Well, a year ago November, Karen (on the left) married David and at their beautiful, elegant wedding reception they had a "mashed potato bar"! The coolest most awesome display of mashed potato decadence ever! Oh my gosh, the toppings were endless and the gravy glorious!
So that following Christmas Eve, Stacey (on my right) hosted a repeat performance of Karen & David's reception and recreated the "mashed potato bar"! She found these real cool red and green martini glasses! And then last week when the Christmas Eve families got together at Karen & David's lovely home, they did the same thing! Thus, a new tradition was born and it was... well, look at us! We are in mashed potato heaven! We are savoring every delicious bite... the sauted mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, crispy bacon, sour cream, chives, green onions, shredded cheese, all drown in this velvety smooth gravy. It was intoxicating but without the alcohol. Potent but without the side affects. Hey, try it in a martini or margarita glass and I'm telling you, you will never want it any other way!
Cheers! Here's to another dollop!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Santas and Snowmen and Angels, oh my!

Ok, about the Lego Santas... many years ago Lego started making a Santa every year and they would be at the Toys-R-us checkout line in little bags for a buck or two. But you know me, I'd get them half off after Christmas.
Then a couple years ago Lego came out with a Lego Advent Calender. My kids loved putting together a Lego set every day before Christmas. Well there would always be a Santa or two in each Calender Edition. I also have several Lego Snowmen and Angel sets that Target also carried the last couple years. Some are the MegaBloks brand.
We are a huge Lego family so this collection was right up our alley! My kids always know they have a Lego Advent calender set to open on December 1st... this past year I got it at Barnes & Nobles after Christmas. So Tyler and his girl friend Sam have had fun putting the little sets together every day. It is so cute seeing my 6'4" son hunched over, snapping the pieces together and then displaying for all to see.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Here comes Santa Claus

Finally, the post you've all been wondering about.
Does Linda really have a Lego Santa collection? I do.

Monday, December 18, 2006

my 50th birthday party

My 50th Birthday Party was sooo much FUN!
I was blessed to have 40 of my dearest friends celebrate with me and my family. I can't begin to tell you how I felt knowing they were taking time out of an already busy Holiday Season to love me in that way. But that just goes to show you how amazing, loving, thoughtful and caring they are.
But I need to tell you the purpose of this birthday gathering... well, I wanted them all to come so I could take pictures of them and then put together a scrapbook that tells our story... what they mean to me, how God has used them in making me who I am. And believe me, I have oodles of stories and many of them wrote out stories that I had forgotten! I can't wait to get started!

My dear friend Nancy made this collage of ME! Do I love it or what!

OK, my Norweigen buddy Don is a huge Minnesota Vikings fan (boo)... so what does he do! He has a Packer jersey made for me with my name and the number 50 on the back!!! But as I open the package and see the number 50 and that it's a Packer jersey, well, I think what Packer player is the number 50? Then I turn it over and see my name and I SCREAM!!! And then I realize that I'm the number 50! Don, you could not have gotten me anything that I love more!! I am so way cool! 
Thanks Don & Carol!

Andrew being crazy with Miranda & Nicole!

Nancy also took a ton of pics at the party. Love em all! Thought you'd like to see the one she took of the snowflake in our lemon tree!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's my party!

Tonight... in a couple hours... my party! It's a soup party... five amazing soups!
Here are the party favors I made for each of my guests. My new favorite saying! Enlarge to read... don't you just love it!

Got up a 5 AM to start making cupcakes! I have not made cupcakes in 15 years! The cream cheese coconut frosting is so yummy! Gotta tell you that when I first started planning my party, I bought this Wilton cupcake rack, holds 25 cupcakes and well, it's the cutest!

My helpers Miranda and Randy decorating the cupcakes.
Hey, I will tell you all about the party in the next day or so.
Have fun! I will!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

words & ampersands

Shawn & Nicole got me this casserole dish with words on the lid! I love what it says and I will be using it year-round! It's so creamy and smooth and yummy!

AMPERSANDS! How much do I love them? Well, now I have a stamp, an Italian charm and several embellishments that I can either scrap or wear on a chain. Thanks Tyler... and thanks Miranda for finding them, you sneaky thing!

Miranda got me the ampersand stamp and my new favorite movie... "An Unfinished Life"! Back in 1976 I was sooo into the movie "A Star is Born". Watched it several times... entered a talent contest and sang a medley from the soundtrack... got a perm like Barbra! So Miranda got me the 30th Anniversary DVD Edition! She has not seen it yet so I can't wait to watch it with her!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Birthday to ME!

* I just had to add that I woke up to this! My daughter Miranda decorated the house for my birthday AND posted the sweetest letter to me on her blog! (click her name to get to her blog)

I was born 50 years ago today. Wow, that sounded weird... cuz I don't feel 50. I remember thinking that when I'm 50 years old I will have it all together. Well, I do not have it all together! But I do know the ONE who does and HE sees me as being good enough. HE views me as having value, worth and significance. HE loves me just as I am. And HE is all I need. Now if I could only remember that when I am doubting, condemning and questioning myself. I am a work in process for sure... progressing non the less.

My fondest memory of having a December birthday was bringing decorated cut-out sugar cookies for my birthday treat each year. Back then, the 13th was usually around the last day of school before Christmas break. Everyone loved my artistically decorated Christmas cookies! I was a big hit with classmates and teachers.

Here's my favorite newborn picture... my Mom looking so Donna Reed and Loretta Young... my sisters Kathy and Ginny 15 months apart, my brother Gary and I 14 months apart... and my Dad looking handsome and stoic. He would welcome a son Ronnie 21 months later and Kevin 11 years after Ronnie thus balancing out the family!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

These wonderful things

are the things we remember all through our lives.

Today as I was sorting in the garage, I found a box of old Christmas decorations that I had retrieved from Aunt Evelyn's estate sale several years ago. Randy remembers his Aunt and Mamaw Bean both decorating their trees in pink. They loved pink. So I was tickled pink when I found these glass balls and decorations and wanted to share them with you. Can you believe how vivid the colors still are? You can even see the Ben Franklin price tag of 29 cents!

Any ideas on what I should do with the little trees and angel decorations? They just make me smile!