Monthly Archives: December 2012

NO ho hum over here!

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What does the NEW YEAR mean to you?  This was a brief conversation we had as a family as we traveled home  from our last Christmas celebration last night.  I have to admit, once the end of December draws near, there is a bit of a let down.  Life is quickly coming back to normal.  The kids start counting the number of days left of Christmas vacation as we take down the tree, the decorations, and the lights on the house.  They find a place for their Christmas gifts.  Fruits and veggies find their way back in to the meal time.  Or at least mom is making sure that’s what is being eaten.  The goodies, sparkling cider, fattening hot chocolate, and meals away from home begin to dwindle.  Basketball practice demands an earlier bedtime than the last 7 days have allowed.  Piano lessons linger and lessons have not been practiced.  Looking into the next few weeks, there is not the anticipation there once was the last few weeks.  I totally get that, I really do.

 New Year’s Eve has never been a very big deal to Steve or me.  I don’t think we’ve ever hosted a party.  Most of the time, I want my family all together as we bring in the New Year.  Most of the time, it is met with a fun meal, sparkling grape juice for the kids, champagne for us, movies, p0pcorn and toothpicks for Steve and I so we can see midnight–which at that time we all hop into bed.  It works for us.  And for this year, I am scheduled to maybe see one of the first babies born in 2013.  I may be sneaking a New Year’s kiss from another boy…of the baby variety.  Yep, that’s as crazaaayy as we get over here.  I can see that this is going to change in the next few years as the kids get older and want to do things with their friends on NYE.  In fact, I would love to host a party for my kids…when they start asking for it.  But for now, I’m waiting on them.

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As eager as I am to get my Christmas up, I am JUST as eager to put it away once Christmas is over.  I still leave out some “wintery” type decor through the house.  I love it.  I keep lights and candles on—it is just a warm feeling. But the red and green and all things Christmas?  They have to go.  It is a chance to get some deep cleaning done as we put things away.  We generally rearrange furniture or things on the wall, just to be different.  Refreshing.  So by the time the kids are back in school, the house is ready to finish out the long remainder of the winter season.  And by the time March comes around?  We’re ready to think spring.  But not a minute sooner.  I can’t wait for a week of different soups, new ways to pack lunches for basketball games, and we are hoping for enough snow to have a sledding party with the four-wheeler!

Blessings Unlimited no doubt has recognized the “ho hum” of after the holidays.  MANY exciting things I have to tell you that I’ve held off sharing so we could all indulge fully in the Christmas season.   First and foremost…A BRAND NEW CATALOG!!!!  With a brand new catalog comes BRAND NEW PRODUCTS!!!!!   Would you like a sneak peek of some of my favorites??

Set of Three MerryHeart Spool Hooks44981  —Add a touch of rustic whimsy to your walls with these Spool Hooks…Small: laugh&be happy, Medium: sing with your whole heart, Large: A merry heart does good like medicine  

                                                               Rustic Block Set—Rugged and rustic lettered blocks spell out a variety  of foundational statements about your family, your home, or your faith.  “APPLE OF HIS EYE” , “JESUS LORD OF ALL”, “THIS HOUSE PRAYS”, “PEACE SWEET PEACE”, “I AM TRULY LOVED”, “WE ARE TRULY LOVED”, “ALL MY HEART & SOUL”

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I can hardly wait to order this one…   Kitchen Caddy—beautiful and practical, this caddy adds elegance to your table…Message:  Our God, we give you thanks.  Handcrafted in India.

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Ok, I can’t wait to order this either.  Praise Tray.  Handcrafted from Indain mango wood with jute-wrapped handles.  The hammered copper plate is a daily reminder of His blessings displaying “Praise God From Whom all Blessings Flow”.  I seriously love this one.54426

FOR THE KIDDOS!!!  This is precious…Rooted in Faith 3-D Puzzle.  As they build the sturdy base and attach leaves, flowers, animals, and other items representing God’s creation, they become rooted in faith.  Scripture verses and inspirational pharases are included on many of the leaves and fruit.  I just received mine and am excited to get it out for Kourtney and Landon to put together!  Maybe a NYE activity tonight??54432

These are just a few of the new items.  There are many more I am just as excited about, but don’t want to overload you here today, including two new puzzle card sets–which as many of you know, are one of my favorite items!

Also, here is the best part of January….drum roll please…..DOUBLE HOSTESS REWARDS with a gathering this month!!!  You might remember when I show cased a lovely hostess and what she earned at her gathering in September with the double hostess rewards. You can check that out here.  In September I had13 gatherings.  It was awesome and so many people were blessed with awesome rewards…free product, and half-priced products.  I am ready to do it again!  Not sure if I can add more than 13 gatherings with basketball games twice a week, BUT, I am willing to try.  If you are interested in hosting a gathering, now is the time to contact me as my schedule is tight.  I don’t want you to miss out.  If you love these products as much as I do—this is the time to host.  New catalog, new products, and NEW hostess exclusive gifts.  Now you have 5 different to choose from!  It’s exciting.  And the guest promotion gifts for January?  Awesome.  I’m excited—can you tell?  Definitely NO HO HUM over here. 

If you are interested in hosting a gathering and getting DOUBLE the rewards for the month of January, contact me ASAP.  email ssnkklk@gmail.com , facebook, or call 620-386-0203. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

gifts.

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Until I sat down and looked at these pictures, did I really realize how incredible it is to live among family and the many grandparents and great-grandparents my kids are blessed to know and love.

Steve and I have each lost a grandpa and I have lost step-grandparents.  Other than that, we have many who are still with us.  What a gift.

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I don’t have pictures with all of them from the past week.  Some we haven’t even celebrated with yet…

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This year on Steve’s side, we met at a bowling alley.  They catered Mexican food and then everyone bowled.  It was so fun!  A fun thing for the kids to keep busy, plenty of room, and no dishes!  Never would anyone have guessed this would be the way we would celebrate, but it was great.  Not the same.  Not traditional.  But good!

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My grandparents are not able to host in their home, but they still live at home.  Something very important to them.  We all make sure we visit them on Christmas day.  I remember going there almost every Christmas and eating fried shrimp.  Precious memories.

I wonder what traditions will continue as our kids begin their families?  And then I wonder how hard it will be when we are not able to continue to do what we’ve always done.  Our grandparents have definitely showed that what really matters is the relationships you have.  They just want to see us.  To talk with us.  And to love us.  Even when there is no fried shrimp or if we meet in a bowling alley…

sweet sixteen.

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What can happen in sixteen years, you ask? 

                                                                                                                                         * I had big hair in 1996.
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*Steve had a lot of hair in 1996.
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*I was working full-time evening shift in Hutch as a labor and delivery nurse.

*Steve was working in Hutch at Farmland.

*We ate out almost every weekend somewhere.

*We rarely worked out.

*I planted flowers and tried to landscape for the first time ever in my life.

*Steve tried to raise a bucket calf on his own.

*I said I would never marry a farmer.
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*Steve started farming part-time.

*I was making $12 an hour.

*Steve was making about the same.

*We paid $300 a month for rent.

*And less than that on groceries for the month.

*We went to movies all of the time and rented at least a couple a weekend.

*We went to church every Sunday and started a young adult Sunday school class.

*Unless I was off of work, we rarely ate dinner together.

*Unless I was off of work, I rarely got up in the mornings before Steve left for work.

*Unless I was off of work, Steve rarely stayed awake until I went to bed.

*December 28th, 1996 was a beautiful 55 degree day with no wind and perfect for a horse and buggy wedding departure.
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*We shopped at Towne East mall for after-Christmas sales on the 29th.

FAST FORWARD to 2012…

*36 months of pregnancy and 48 months of breastfeeding.  (you can imagine what that has done to a body.)

*Steve has changed jobs twice.

*I am still at the same hospital in labor and delivery, but working “as needed.  Added to that, I became a Blessings Unlimited consultant.

*Three girls and one boy now live in our home.

*Plus a dog (don’t ask me how I ever agreed to that.)  And two cats guard the exterior.

*We eat out on special occasions and if our crazy schedule does not allow us to be near home (and I don’t get lunches/suppers packed)

*Steve now works with farmers and has pretty much put his hobby farming aside

*Movies in theaters are seen MAYBE once a year, and we still rent them at home frequently.

*Steve has graduated from raising the bucket calves to a cow/calf operation with the kids. (sidenote:  the cows live at Grandpa’s.)

*We bought a house, remodeled and lived there for 10 years.  Sold it and dug a hole in Moundridge.  House sat for sweet church friends.  Invaded my parent’s home for 6 weeks, and moved in to a new house we built almost 4 years ago.

*Spend double the $300 on groceries per month.  (or more?)

*Went from driving super cool cars, to SUV’s, to a couple of different vans, and now back to a car and the necessary suburban.

*We rarely are not together each morning when the other wakes up.

*We rarely are not together each night when we go to bed.

*Working out and landscaping are fun things we love to do together.

*Still go to church each Sunday, and instead of starting a Sunday school class—we’re starting a church.

*December 28, 2012 is cold and appears to be a bit windy.  Wouldn’t be excited for a horse and buggy ride tonight.

*After Christmas shopping sales happened at Towne West mall.

A lot has happened in sixteen years.  And even more since the very first date I had with Steve Kaufman back in 1990 when we went to see the movie The Abyss. I apparently did not talk the entire date.  On the rare occasions we go out on a date–I think I may do a lot of talking now?
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Steve and I have been through much together.  I lost a brother and a few years later, he lost a sister.  We have had many more good times than bad.  And for that I am grateful.  We have grown together in many ways and I am thankful to have had my best friend with me by my side for the last 22 years. 
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Thinking back on our wedding day, I could not have imagined the life we are living now.  A house full of kids–the majority of them girls?  Never would have thought.  We are truly blessed.  And although most of my life I want to freeze time so I can embrace where we are at right this very minute, I am also excited to see what things look like in another sixteen years…

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Will I still be at the same hospital working in labor and delivery?  Will Steve still be sportin’ the John Deere?  Will we still be living in this house we are raising our kids in now?  Will we have added to our family?  (not from Steve and I!!!!)  How many weddings will we have planned by then?  Will our kids have graduated from college?  Do they have jobs?  Are they living the life and using the gifts God has given them?  Just how broke are we going to be after weddings and college????  Are we going to look back at the last sixteen years and wonder how in the world these years flew by so fast?  I think so.  Ok, now I’m getting all choked up.  Time to grab my kiddos and love the stage we’re in.  Time to grab Steve and cherish an evening out.  And time to live each day to the fullest knowing how blessed we really are.
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(sorry—the quality of pictures –well, not much quality.)

taking it in.

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What a beautiful Christmas.   The one time of year I completely embrace and let traditions take me over.  I love it.  If I could squeeze every tiny ounce of goodness that comes with the Christmas season and make sure it all happens?  I would.  I am realizing as our lives evolve and things take on different priorities, that I am not able to make it all happen.  But, what does happen?  We do it fully.  Experiencing the season fully is what I want for my family.  And what I want for them as they begin to have families of their own.  (but we aren’t going there, yet!)

Obviously, my computer time took a dive on the priority list.  My facebook account is blocked for some reason on the computer and I can’t unlock it except for giving all of this information including a credit card—is this normal?  I’m not doing it.  And I have given Blessings Unlimited a well deserved rest–although the phone calls from the hospital have proved that there is no rest for those with child the week before Christmas. 

 
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This precious baby girl, loved her some Baby Jesus.  I found her mimicking Kassidy (who was an older angel, just like her) as she held baby Jesus up to the heavens.  This one little thing this baby angel did during one of the rehearsals, carried me through this program.  It was absolutely so amazing.

Perhaps, there is nothing more heart touching to me than the telling of the Christmas story through children.  I have learned, that rehearsals generally do not give you the “real” deal.  And oh how  thankful I am for that!!  I am thankful for parents who step up and help.  For the kids, who went it comes right down to it, are there and giving of themselves 100%.  It brought me to tears before the program and it does now.  I absolutely can not say enough about the kids in our program.  Precious.  Glorifying Christ.  And showing others the magnificence of the birth of Christ.  And it turns out our little talk before the program even began about “it’s ok if we mess up—it doesn’t have to be perfect!”  Well, that talk was JUST for me as I brought the kids in on a different scene totally bypassing one of the most climactic songs.  HUMBLING!!! 

Christmas shopping with my little boy as he so desperately wants to get his sisters something they want.  A morning of chaos and frustration was completely erased as we had our “date” to shop for the girls.  This boy was seriously skipping his way downtown McPherson with bags in hand.  His heart full of excitement with the secrets of his gifts that would have to remain a secret for another 48 + hours. 
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The magic of Christmas morning, which thankfully in our house, does not happen until after 8:00 am, is a sweet tradition I’ve had ever since I was little.  The beautiful awakening of Christmas morning and joy of the the birth of Jesus—something I don’t ever want to miss with my kids.  I know as they get older and circumstances may change the timing of our own family celebration, but for now, it is perfect.  Ever since 14 years ago when Steve and I anxiously awaited our new baby to get up so we could open gifts with a two-month old.  We were crazy.  Who wants their two month old to wake up????

And the year we had two babies under two?  The same thing.  Banging things around so they would get up.  We were still crazy.  Needless to say…we have learned to let everyone sleep as long as possible.

As our kids get older, Christmas gifts take on a new dimension.  What they ask for and what they want, and what they will actually get are not always the same thing, right?!  In a very real sense, kids are so much easier at Christmas when they are little.  So cherish that time!  Remember the wrapping paper and boxes that were better than the gift they held?  Those were the days!

I had great joy this season in giving my youngest girl a doll.  It used to be tradition for all of my girls to get a baby doll for Christmas.  Obviously, they have outgrown that.  And maybe Kourtney has too?  But for Christmas morning, opening her doll and seeing the excitment—and  when she learned her precious friend got one too?  So awesome.  I had to chuckle when I got a text from her sweet friend that was asking if Kourtney and Abby could come play.  (Abby is her doll’s name.)  So sweet.  Wondering how long these play dates with the dolls will last???
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If I had known how focused Landon would be on his football, basketball, and baseball cards?  He would have gotten these at the age of two.  Oh my goodness.  I don’t get it.  I guess I don’t have to.  I haven’t heard much out of him since Christmas morning…

The oldest girls’ gifts may seem lame to those from the outside.  Shoes? Seriously?  You could not wipe the smiles off their faces.  And the fact that I wear the same size as they do?  You can not wipe the smile off my face!

We spent a day together making returns and spending some Christmas $$ on dressy clothes for the girls for game days (they were raiding my closet for things to wear, so you know they were desperate!), Landon spent $$ on SOCKS (can you believe it?), and eating more food together.  Steve had one more day off and we actually made it out of our home and to Wichita before 8:30 am.  And home before 6:00 pm!  Popped some popcorn and watched a movie, squeezing in every last minute of every hour of Steve’s Christmas vacation time.
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Natalie told me that she was sad that Christmas was over.  That the shopping day yesterday felt like the years in the past when we shopped together BEFORE Christmas.  I will admit, it kind of did.  But Christmas is not over.  We head to my Dad’s the weekend after Christmas each year where the celebration continues.  What a wonderful week of family and celebration.  And we are thankful for these days where we can just sit and take it all in.  Because soon, I’m going to make them help me clean this house.  VERY soon, in fact.

taking a breath.

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Are you feeling like me?  Running from one thing to the next?  More on your to-do list and not very many things crossed off?  Isn’t this EXACTLY what I did not want to happen during this season?! 
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Waking up to a pure, white snow was more than refreshing.  I am stopping to enjoy that this morning.   Before I go on to my list.  Before I give in to the crazy whirling thoughts circling my head and taking over.  Before I take my kids their coats—which they left at home.  Seriously. 

Can I tell you that there are things I’ve had to give up this year, that are normally very important to me.  Enter the first:  CHRISTMAS PICTURES.  I think I even wrote about our upcoming Christmas picture day—which I had scheduled with a photograher—and then cancelled at the last minute because it was becoming too much.  Have I ever missed a Christmas picture for a Christmas card opportunity?  Never.  If I let it, this one tradition of our family could bring me to tears.  Missing a Christmas Eve service at the church our kids grew up in.  If I let it, this one tradition of our family could bring me to tears.  Hearing all four of my kids play a Christmas piano piece at a recital before Christmas?  Not going to happen this year.  If I let it, it could bring me to tears. 

This year is a harsh reality of change.  Change is so stinkin’ hard.  Even when it’s so good.  And I think at Christmas time, you want to keep things the same as they’ve been.  It is important, I believe, that there are things you keep constant.  To hold on to the good—and even let go of some of the good.  It has to happen.  We have to sift through what is most important for our family, right now–here in the moment.  Not to let it bring me to tears!!  But to meet each tradition we love right where we are at.  And if it doesn’t happen the way it has always been?  That’s ok.

What a pep talk, huh?!!  More for myself, obviously, than anyone else.  We are so incredibly blessed.  I could have a Christmas card picture taken and cards in the mail with one or more of my children missing now from that picture.  We have a Christmas program for our precious children and they will all be there.  If I want, I could pull each of my kids down to the piano in the basement and have a Christmas recital of our own. Steve and I both have jobs we love and can provide a Christmas for our kids and for others.   Blessed?  Oh my, yes.

At the end of all of the rush of this season—keeping traditions alive and letting go of some—we are left with each other.  And the promise of hope and life in Christ.  A sweet tradition  that will never, ever die.

traditions live on!

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Before the girls started their junior high sports, we always used to take one day in December for Christmas shopping with the whole family.  We would take the kids out of school and load up really early in the morning (sometimes all dolled up for family pictures that same day), stop and eat breakfast, hit the stores hard, stop and eat lunch, hit the stores hard, and finally end with eating dinner out.  And there was always snacks and coffee stops in between.  At one point during the day, Steve and I would split up the kids and let them do their own shopping for each other.  It was so, so fun.  And I miss that!  One of the joys of having younger kids without much responsibility yet…

As much as I would love to go back to that time in our lives, we have adapted and NOT let go of the Christmas shopping tradition.  Now…it’s just a kidless day during the week. And I’ve got to say…it is so, so fun too!!
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Steve and I took a day.  Of course, didn’t get as much done in our allotted time, but had a ton of fun–no less. We ate at Bella Luna Cafe for the first time and it was delish! 

Our other tradition the kids do not want to let go of (yet!) is our Christmas Lights Night.  This year we purposely cancelled our plans of attending a basketball game and our other alternative of seeing a movie.  Instead, we tried to put the kids to bed before 10:00 pm on a Friday night—which I believe may have led to suspicion for our older girls?  When they go to their beds, there is a gift waiting on their pillows.  NEW JAMMIES!!!  I was there to witness Landon when he found his and he “peter-panned” off of his bed yelling it’s “Christmas Lights Night”!!  That was worth it all.  So much joy.

 
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Even Brinklee got her own pair of new pj’s.  I am scared of what I am turning in to…
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We loaded up our vehicle and our cups with homemade creamy hot chocolate—a recipe from a dear friend of mine.  Oh my goodness!  This is the BEST hot chocolate ever.  I found the recipe on my beloved Pinterest also.  Here is the recipe. You WANT to try this, I promise.  You may never want Spring to come.  You may be begging for snow and frigid temperatures…just so you can make this:

Creamy Crock Pot Hot Chocolate

2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tsp. vanilla

6 cups of whole milk

Mix all and place in crockpot for 2 hours on low. Be sure to mix as the chocolate chips melt.

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OH MY YUMMINESS!!  Are you scared of those ingredients?  Don’t be.  It is worth every calorie.  Just ask my kids!

 

We always choose a different town each year to go look at Christmas lights.  And the past two years we have listened to Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God Christmas CD–which is amazing, by the way.

 

Landon and Kourt fell asleep before we made it home,which gave us some great quality time to talk with our oldest girlies.  This is a tradition I don’t ever want to lose.  Even if their spouses have to wear jammies with us…

heartwrenching.

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I can not shake the lump in my throat.  If you are on facebook, I am sure you’ve seen this beautiful illustration of Jesus welcoming the little children into His loving arms.  It is very difficult for us to imagine that there is a place in heaven more wonderful than anything we can experience here.  Our hearts ache for the many innocent children and others who were taken from this world so needlessly.  Disgustingly.  Pathetically.  Nauseatingly.  My gut is just wrenching.  I can hardly let my mind go there.  From the parents, to the teachers, and to the children who witnessed this today—heartbreaking sadness, fear, and anxiety. 

I know, like all of you, I have held my kids tighter tonight.  I don’t want to leave our house.  I don’t want to go anywhere.  I want to protect them and by never leaving this house?  It sounds logical to me. 

That picture so does something else for me.  It reminds me that our kids are a gift.  They aren’t ours.  I know that—and I’ve tried to be mindful of that.  That no matter what, I can not protect them other than teaching them to be aware of obvious danger.  To help them learn the difference between right and wrong.  And then my mind goes to the family of the perpetrator.  Can you even imagine?  Oh my.  My heart is so heavy.  And although, the picture above makes me crumble to tears, there is a sense of beautiful comfort in knowing that Jesus has wrapped each and every one of those precious kids in his arms.  For those who are left, it has to be real to us.  It can’t be something that happened miles away and we forget about on Christmas morning when we open gifts and experience the joy of the season.  For so many, the joy will be lost. 

How do Steve and I deal with this and our kids?  We have a couple who would like to think of it as something that happened far away and could not happen here.  And one that is unable to understand.  And another that understands too well and has been shaken with fear.  Jesus’ arms are full and reaching far and wide tonight. 

It comes back to us.  WE are to be the light, because we have seen today—there is just so much darkness.   Keep shining God’s love.  Shine you, Lord.  Help us to shine you, Lord…

rejoice for trials?

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We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” Romans 5:3

Where was this verse yesterday when I needed it most?  Actually, had I read this verse yesterday I would have said …..”it’s fine!  I don’t need endurance!!” 

And then you go to bed, let it all roll off and you wake up to a new day.  What a gift that is, isn’t it?  Things most always look better in the morning.  The stresses of yesterday are just that.  And we begin NEW, REFRESHED, and hopefully with more ENDURANCE. 

Yesterday at the hospital it felt like problems and trials were popping up everywhere.  It was all we could do to keep our heads above water.  It was one of those days where I felt like I was not the best nurse I could be.  When dealing with technicalities of paperwork and circumstances out of our control, I know that all of the staff were facing those challenges yesterday right along with me.  And the one thing I hold onto after each time I work, is that in the end, when everything feels like it is going wrong—when you’re left with a healthy mom and a healthy baby?  You’ve done your job.  That is the beautiful thing about labor and delivery.  For the most part, it is a place of complete JOY.  Babies have a way of doing that, don’t they?  I can be running with my head cut off, and each and every time the world slows down and stops, if only for a brief moment, when a baby is born.  Beautiful. 

As we are celebrating the Advent season and preparing for our Christmas program, this verse above is just so significant to me.  I love how God has that way of weaving himself and the story into our every day lives always.  It proves to me once again that God is the same yesterday, today and will be the same tomorrow.  As Isaiah prophesized that a baby would be born that would save the world—that the world would stop if only for a minute to glorify and praise His name as a baby was born.  There were many, many trials and problems leading up to the gift of Jesus.  The hope and promise of his saving grace–we hold on to.  I think it is just so unbelievable that Jesus came in the form of a baby.  Wow.

Well, I have promised more Christmas Blessings deals for you this week–so here you go for Wednesday!

Happy Birthday to the King collection sets were on sale just a couple of weeks ago.  And we sold out FAST!!  Luckily for you, I bought some extra.  And I would love to get them to you for your last minute Christmas shopping or just for you to keep for yourself!  Sometimes missing out on the deal the first time can lead you to an even better deal!  I have 2 sets and am selling them for $29 —no tax and no shipping.

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See the picture above.  The set contains a platter, 4 oval plates, 2 mugs, and 3 ornaments.  It really is an awesome deal.  Most people who have bought this have separated the pieces out into 10 gifts. Which makes each piece $2.90!!

Happy Birthday to the King!  Yes!  I’ve got them right here bagged up and ready to be delivered.  Leave a comment here, on facebook or shoot me an email.  ssnkklk@gmail.com

decor with a discounted twist!

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Oh my goodness people…the GOOSE is FAT.  Christmas is really almost here.  This week is the LAST week to order from Blessings Unlimited to guarantee your items are here for Christmas.  Mark it down!!  DECEMBER 14th—THIS FRIDAY.  I am more than happy to do your ordering for you OR you can check out my website.  I’ll  link through facebook—or if you don’t have facebook—email me:  ssnkklk@gmail.com.
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I thought for today (Monday!) I would give you another Christmas special and give you a bit of decorating help as I have seen how all of these things work together—and they work together beautifully!  And decorating is SO much more fun if you can get it at a super price.  I’ve got the deal for you today!  But I can only do this once…so be ready.  Are you ready?

If you have not seen the Christmas Special flyer, it has some amazing deals with it already.  I am going to make it just a bit sweeter.  I have the Blessed Large Candlestick sitting here all boxed up ready to go to someone for half-price.  It is regularly priced at $39.  So you would receive this for $18–NO TAX and NO SHIPPING (on candlestick). Here is the catch…and it’s a good one, I promise because you’re going to want something to go with it, right? 

There are two items on the sale flyer (still available as I write!) that match this candlestick amazingly well. If you purchase either of these items off the Christmas Sale flyer, you can buy the Large Candlestick for just $18 to go with it.  And it get’s even better…IF you buy both of the Christmas Sale Items that go with it, you will also get a 12 pack of FREE Christmas cards.  

 The first is the LOVE MERCY CROSS.It is rustic looking just as the candlestick with the same browns and greens and metal embellishments. It measures 16″x22″.  It is a great size for hanging.  Take a look at the picture…
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This cross is priced regularly at $58 but on the Christmas Sale for $29. HALF-OFF!!

The next item has been a very popular item even at it’s regular price of $79.  The IF YOU SEEK HIM WEATHERVANE is hand carved from distressed wood and metal with the same color tones as the other two products.  And this one—it is HUGE measuring at 14 1/2″x 24″ high with an almost 6″ base.  You won’t believe the price of this either…on sale for $28.
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So, is this all clear as mud?  Buy all three you are saving 50% on two items, and 65% on the third—PLUS you are getting a set of FREE Christmas cards. 

Buy either one of those matching sale items (Weathervane or Cross) and get the Large Candlestick for $18. I

This is a ONE TIME deal for ONE customer.  First come, first serve.  If you love decorating in rustic greens and brown tones, you will love these items for your home.

And if you miss out on this deal?  There are more coming this week—SO FUN!

do over, please.

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Alright.  So I have no idea what it’s like to grow up with a sister, let alone two.  I had a step-sister, who was MUCH younger and she was just cute.  Couldn’t wear my clothes because I was so much older, and never came in my room to bother me—and I probably wouldn’t have minded.  Because, you know…she was so darn cute!

My girls, on the other hand, I’m guessing don’t think the others are cute enough to get away with anything.  I’m guessing.  We are entering a time that I think is really amazing.  All of our shoe sizes are getting close enough that we can wear each other’s shoes, Kass and Kourt are finding that they can inter-change some of their clothing, and Nat and Kass have been doing it for awhile now.  And as cool and amazing as I think it is?  It has caused significant stress in the lives of the Kaufman girls who live on the corner.  Oh my goodness.

This morning, I had  had enough.  And by that I mean–I was ready to ground everyone and everything in my sight.  Steve is lucky he didn’t get his phone taken away.  I don’t know what it was, but I had it.  I am thankful for a husband who can step in and calm the storm.  Really, I am.  And really, he does.  But yet, at the same time, it is irritating to me.  Because I feel like I am right in the middle of the drama.  Which today?  Yes, I was.  And therefore, I declared a “DO-OVER” for us all.  Right there in the middle of our kitchen amongst the tears and smoke (from our ears, not the oven).  And there in the middle of it, I offered grace to which my youngest girls were most thankful.  I didn’t want to.  But I did. 

I am ever so thankful for the One who does offer grace.  And get this?  He wants to.  Because, God knows I need that right now.   And we get a “do-over” offered to us.  And sometimes a do-over and over and over and over…

I was frustrated because today I am coming off a very wonderful weekend with Steve and the kids. Steve finally made it home after being gone most of the week and we spent the majority of our weekend watching Landon play what he loves to play most.  After years of watching his older sisters, he finally was given an opportunity to play basketball in a tournament!  He was so pumped.  And it was precious to have the girls there cheering him on. 
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This post took a different direction.  Like WHIPLASH.  But it is real life.  And it’s perspective.  And I am thankful for the fun opportunities and the challenging ones.  Because as we all know, when we grow up—life doesn’t get any easier, does it?  These little problems of sharing clothes?  They are nothing.  Especially when you find those who would love to be given a choice in what they get to wear.  Teaching that and realizing that myself is a hard reality.  Important though.

Just 12 hours before our “do-over” morning, we were all working together on some really fun treats.  Besides the Ladies Night at Steve’s work, there is a huge Christmas Open House to celebrate and appreciate their customers.  It’s a fun day to meet new people and share a fun atmosphere of yummy Christmas goodies.  I always enjoy it.  We try to have about 75 dozen cookies along with a cheese tray, crackers, apple cider, coffee, and a smoked sausage on a stick thing for this year.  I think the employees love it almost as much as the customers.  A half a day of snacking?  Bring it on! 
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I have seen these little pretzel/rolo thingies before and have never tried one, until last week.  The kids in our Christmas program this year have been meeting at our house and after their hard work, wanted them to have a Christmas goodie.  So I tried them out on them.  And when everyone left, I had a couple.  And they are yummo!  And too easy. So easy and a super kid-helping-friendly recipe.  So here you go.  Not sure what the name of them are?  And there are many variations on this.  But this is what we did.
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Christmas Pretzel Rolo Bites

Mini Christmas themed pretzels (I found ours at Sam’s)

Rolos (I got these at Sam’s—get the whole roll of rolos–then you don’t have to unwrap so many)

Christmas M&M’s–(plain or peanut will work)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper (an important step!!!)

Place pretzels on baking sheet and top with a rolo.

Bake for 3-4 minutes (depends on oven—don’t let them look melted, they should still have shape)

While warm, top with an M&M.  Let cool.

Now, how simple is that?  To me they seem like a great way to cheat making Christmas candy.  It’s salty and sweet with crunchiness and chewiness all rolled into one.  And addicting!!!

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We’ll see how they go over at the Open House!!  Disclaimer:  They may bring your family together, but not a guarantee to keep said family together 12 ours later.  Enter:  the “do-over”.