Thursday, December 18, 2008

Great giveaways...

Okay, here's a quick post to let my economically savy friends and family know about a blog I discovered while blog trolling this morning. It's called A Contest Blog and if you click on it it'll take you right there. It has links to all kinds of blogs that are having giveaways. Generally, all you have to do to enter is post a comment on the blog. For instance, I entered a Lands End giveaway at Petit Elefant. All I had to do was leave a comment about the giveaway. And, hey, it's a blog with a french title! I have to plug it or the french professor might get cranky...uh, I mean, crankier. I love my cranky french professor by the way. Merry Christmas and Bah humbug!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Stockings were hung...


Well, we've decorated our little house for Christmas. It's certainly pared down from our Saint Joseph days I must say. Gavin and I went shopping for a Christmas tree that would actually fit in our little house. As fate would have it we found a 4 foot Indiana Spruce pre-lit artificial tree at the Wallyworld in Laurens. So we have a little bit (and I mean a little bit) of the Hoosier state in our living room.
The tree sits on top of the trunk. All of the kids' yearly ornaments plus a few memorable ones are hanging on the tree. This year Anna got a Minnie Mouse ornament in the hopes we actually do get to go to Disney World in June '09 and Gavin got a Presbyterian College ornament. The rest are waiting in boxes in the attic for a bigger house that can house a bigger tree. Until then we are enjoying our petite Indiana spruce humming "I'll be home for Christmas".

Only one creche got displayed this year. This caused Patrick to do a little jig of happiness because my creche collection drives him a little batty. Of course, I'm plotting and planning ways to drive him batty all the time. Keep your eyes open for interesting creches on mega clearance after the holidays! You know I'll reimburse you. Then we can all join in the madness.
(Does that crooked picture drive you as crazy as it does me?)

The stockings were hung on the armoire with care. This brought Gavin much distress. He was certain Santa Claus would not fill the stockings because they were not displayed in the correct spot. We spent some time assuring him that Santa would see these stockings as the room was small and cozy.
How could he miss them...they're so darn cute?!
You can make your own "no sew" version just click here, A Fanciful Twist.

Our front door that has seen better days even got in the holiday mood. I filled a distressed metal basket from "Southern Living at Home" with some festive faux flowers (note the magnolias) and clipped some of the unidentifiable red berries that have sprouted in our yard and, tah dah, our dingy front door looks shabby chic for Christmas.
Who knows, I may leave it up all winter.

How are you decorating this holiday? I would love to hear about it and see pictures of your lovelies.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Christmas Magic of Elfie

This Christmas tradition started when Gavin was 3 years old. I had a client who had told me about how as a child during the Christmas season they had an elf ornament called "Elfie". Their mother would secretly move Elfie around after they went to bed each night. In the morning they would get up and search for him. The kids were told he reported back to Santa if they were being naughty or nice. Well, I recently discovered she was not the only family with this tradition. Everyone can have an elf on the shelf.

Our Elfie has some personality thanks to Great Uncle John who gave Gavin the quirky plush elf when he was too young to remember the gift.

Elfie arrives in our house on St. Nicholas Eve night. The children set a pair of shoes outside their bedroom door before they go to bed. And then when they are fast asleep Elfie works his magic and usually leaves a treat or two and an Advent Calendar for each of them. Well, there was a snag or two this year.

The first snag was Elfie could not locate any advent calendars in our little town or any surrounding towns. So "Plan B" had to be put into place. That involved mama elf wrappping individual pieces of candy with a tag attached that had a number on one side and a "random act of kindness" on the other.
After twenty four pieces of candy were wrapped and labeled for each of the kids, mama elf put them into a cute Santa mug
As you can cleary see, mama elf has way too much time on her hands these days. The better to create memories with I guess, huh? So now a way to collect the tags and visually count down to Christmas had to be created too. Green foam core board, a sharpie marker and silver map tacks did the trick simply.
But all this had to be postponed because on St Nicholas Eve night we met with snag number two: unruly children who wouldn't behave...not even for the pope himself I swear (And I think I did a couple of times that night). Even with the threats that Elfie might not show up if they don't straighten up didn't work. The kids put their shoes out but Elfie didn't show. Instead he left this letter for them:
Well, two days later the kids set their shoes out again in hopes that Elfie would show up the next morning.
This time he did show and left them their mugs and candy. I wish he would have run the sweeper while he was at it. Jeez, you just can't get a good elf these days!
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Comes to Clinton

Happy holidays everyone!
Christmas has arrived in our little town in a big way. And it all started with the annual Christmas parade, which I am told is our little town's biggest parade. Hmmm. We were instructed by several Clintonites to be on Broad street in front of the college and bring a gift bag for the kids. Huh? So we dress warmly (for South Carolina) and put Anna in the coat that I wore at that age.
Thanks go to Grandma Debbi for keeping it in such pristine condition!

Well, the parade starts and the candy starts flying(thus the gift bags)! Kids turn into crackheads and go crazy...until he shows up that is, then they all scream in horror. Thank heavens he wasn't handing out candy to the kids or the local police may have arrested him.
What was he thinking?!
Once I saw this scary clown I got all excited like a kid in a candy shop because I knew this was going to be good blog fodder! And they didn't disappoint either. Soon after scary clown passed and the children stopped screaming we were treated to an adorable little elf that seemed to calm the freaked out kiddies. Oh, that and the copious amounts of candy they were throwing out of their truck.
Yes,my friends,their truck. There were many trucks and cars that just had a cute kid or baby in it and the parents showing them off. Really not parade worthy...except in our little town it seems.

Then the piece de resistance occurred.
The Hillbilly Clan Motorcade showed up.
The local Shriners have created a whole line of crazy hillbilly vehicles that I must say are very entertaining. Let's hope and pray no one uses them as their everyday vehicle.
Ya'll have a Merry Christmas!
So festive!
Yes, that is an ginourmous pair of women's underwear for a door. See what I mean when I said that this was gonna be blog fodder?

And what parade would be complete with out Barney Fife? I have to say I ran out into the street to get his picture! Okay, a complete blog maniac now. But, hey, he showed me his one bullet. Can you beat that?
Keeping our little town safe from Burgermeister Meisterburger!

Finally, I need your help in explaining this last parade picture I have. So after thinking about it, leave a comment here telling me what your take on it is. We live in the Bible belt right? There was float after float of the manger scene, bell choirs from the local churches and a Christian rock singer or two. Then we have the Devil himself.
Nothin' says Christmas like the devil in a Santa hat. That image is burned into my mind. So the local high school's mascot in this God fearing town is the Red Devil. Explain that one to me. It defies logic...
...More merriment to come this week!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Great Give Away

Now I know my family and friends well. They like free...
If you want free and possibly something cool and homemade click on Sew, Mama, Sew a fabulous blog that I love. You'll find lots of people out in cyber-world participating in a cool experiment. For instance, check out this amazing give away at This is Life blog. I'm loving it and I think you all will too! Check it said, now.
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Wordless Wednesday 12/03/08

Wordless Wednesday 12/03/08SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Attitude of Gratitude

We're back from our lovefest known to many as Thanksgiving. Back in the day I had a sponsor who would have me write an ABC gratitude list when my attitude was in the toilet. Today, I am happy to report, my attitude is good. But this exercise is always helpful and gives you the opportunity to match pictures to gratitudes. Note: there are not 26 pictures! Good luck!

  • A - Another photo opportunity
  • B - Baby Gallagher #4 coming in June '09
  • C - "Cousining"
  • D - Delicious food
  • E - Erin & Scott's wonderful new home
  • F - Fun was had by all
  • G - Gallaghers
  • H - Hugs, mmmm, hugs
  • I - Inlaws
  • J - Joy
  • K - Kileys
  • L - Lazyboy full of love
  • M - Making memories
  • N - Noise and laughter
  • O - Over the river and through the woods...
  • P - Prostate Cancer treatments are over
  • Q - Quitting smoking
  • R - Requests for Piggyback rides honored
  • S - Seeing friends and family
  • T - Traveling safely
  • U - Understanding grandparents
  • V - Visit with Santa
  • W - Whip cream
  • X - Xtra cute kids
  • Y - Youngsters & Oldsters alike
  • Z - Zzzzz, sleeping kids
God, Laurie, you look absolutely gorgeous!

Anna is still talking about playing with Maddie

Maggie was exhausted after the day's activities

It's blurry but captures Sean's ability to seize the moment

The result of Papi Dan and the whipped cream can!

Happy Anniversary, honey! I'll do the dishes.

Gavin loved being the big cousin!

Yummy food!

Exciting game of Chutes & Ladders

I love the "ant shanin"!

uhhh, not sure what's going on here...

It's all worth it for this sweetness...

So now we're back, safe and sound, in our little house and life has continued it's regular daily pace. But the memories sustain me until the next time. Oh, that and maybe a Christmas cookie or two.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Tickle Time Injuries

I never thought loving someone would hurt so much.

Gavin and I spend time connecting with one another in an after bathtime ritual we call "tickle time". This began about a year ago after I read a fabulous book on parenting called Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen, PhD. The book suggests that what kids are really looking for, first and foremost, is a real connection with the people who love and care for them. And every kid is different. My job as a parent to two very different kids is to figure out how to connect to them in their own personal way. Gavin's way is very physical. I'm thinking of auditioning for World Wrestling Entertainment as a Diva!

This past week I've had my knee landed on and bent the wrong way and one of my fingers received a headbutt that resulted in a seriously jammed finger. Both of these were done in the name of connection and love. There was a time when injuries received from Gavin were a result of temper tantrums and his unending frustration. So today, I gladly receive these injuries in the name of love. Tickle time has taken a temporary hiatus while my knee and finger heal but this diva is looking forward to the next time she connects to Gav in his own special way.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fall Fairy House or What to do on a Saturday Afternoon in a Small Town when there is nothing to do

After a chilling fall rain the night before, the day was washed clean and the sky, blue and sunny. And the age old questioned that arises every Saturday morning in our little house arose again without fail, "What are we gonna do with the kids today?". Neither of the parental units were feeling too parental that morning so cartoons would have to do until lunch was the next activity of the day. With lunch done and the dishes cleaned up we were begging them to go outside...please! I evened opened the front door pointing with great momma intimidation to! When that technique failed to work I succumbed to interacting with them. Yes, mom of the year award once again.

I stepped outside with the kids and looked at the decaying jack-o-lantern. It was then I remembered seeing a fairy house constructed out of a pumpkin. I brought the kids back into the house for a brief moment to review the rules of constructing a fairy house:
  • Fairy Houses should look so natural they are almost hidden. A location close to the ground is best.
  • You should use only natural materials. Dry grasses, leaves, sticks, pebbles and pine cones are just a few examples of materials to choose.
  • Be careful not to use or disturb any of nature's materials that are still living, especially flowers, ferns, mosses and lichen. Fairies do not like to disturb or destroy anything that is growing in nature.
So outside we go to collect natural materials to add to our pumpkin house. Here is some of what we came up with:
Now, I have to confess we used toothpicks to attach some items. But they were once natural material, right? Gavin decided the decaying pumpkin was not too inviting for fairies to sleep in so he gathered very colorful leaves and layed them inside the pumpkin.
He also, I might add, was highly concerned that the lid of the jack-o-lantern would leak on the fairies if it rained. So he gathered leaves that still had their stems attached and stuck them through the lid opening creating a canopy of beautiful deep red leaves on the orange pumpkin. Mother Nature really is a great designer! Anna created the pathway to the house with pebbles and small rocks.
And I created the ladder leading up to the house.

The kids stood back and appreciated their creation. They walked around the tree and peeked around several times to see if they might be able to sneak up on a fairy.

Then I suggested they say a little something to dedicate their house to the fairies. This is what they came up with:

I must say, the magic of childhood is one of the best things about being a parent. And to think I had begrudgingly stepped outside with them. How lucky am I to be given the opportunity to share in that magic? What a gift. We are already planning what our winter fairy house will look like.

May you find some magic today too!
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Simple Joys

As the trees and bushes in our little neighborhood grow more and more beautiful every day, I have the joy of looking out our living room window at Mother Nature's splendor. There are many days when I complain and joke about my little house and this little town but all I have to do is look out that window and my soul is soothed. Fall has also inspired Anna and Gavin to play together outside in the leaves. This makes our little house a little bigger giving the grown ups who live here a little more room to breathe every now and then. The previous renters left a rake and the kids decided that was reason enough to rake up some leaves and jump in 'em.
So jumping ensued and screams of pure delight. Their merriment brought us joy. This kind of bliss always sneaks up and surprises me.
And after all the raking and jumping was over I managed to catch a little girl dreaming, perhaps experiencing her own kind of bliss in the leaves and in the fall sky.
I wish you all simple joys this fall.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat...

This past Saturday morning, the air was crisp and the breath of several second graders hung in the air as they warmed up to run their fun run.gavrun06.JPG
On your mark, get set, go!
Gavin, determined to medal, shot off like a bat outa hell.Following a John Deere "Gator" (the irony is not lost to me my friends), these second graders ran a half mile around the Clinton High School football stadium in honor of Veteran's Day. Flags were waving and parents were cheering as Gavin approached the finish line for what seemed to be a first place finish but at the last few seconds another boy, who looked old enough for 3rd grade I might add, passed Gavin to finish first. BUT...our boy, Gavin, placed second in his very first race! Way to go Gav!
There was an awards ceremony and everything! He is very proud of the medals he received. We tried to get him to call the grandparents to let them know the good news but he just dipped his head down and quietly said,"No, Momma, that would be bragging.". So now its come down to Momma bragging. Woo,hoo Gavin!
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