Thursday, November 29, 2012

Family Christmas Ideas....

I am a visual person, one of my biggest sources of fuel and ideas is Pinterest.  I CAN'T GET ENOUGH!  It seriously can feel like an addiction at times!  And I know people who think that about me, that I'm an addict;)  Go ahead, you will agree too!  {My Pinterest Boards}

I'm sharing a few images that really spoke to me....  
{1} I have many of these cylinder vases that I have used for events {by annette's creation's}.  And battery operated lights....and lots of ornaments!  It looks simple, cheap {free!}, and full of sparkle!  
{2} wreathes, I can't get enough wreath ideas....!  There are so many creative ideas and really loved the simplicity of these, and if I look hard enough around my house I can probably create yet another cheap {free!} Christmas craft! 
{3}  A tree skirt, I don't have one.  I have been so picky about these, everything I see at the store is either ridiculously priced or just not what I, when I saw this!  I thought, OMG, I could find a round table cloth that I love at Target or Homegoods and just add a few hems! Budget friendly, simple and exactly what I want! 
{4} Natural home-fragrance, CHECK!  I did this last night!  I saved the leftover citrus from our juice machine and added fresh cranberries I had on hand for juice, a cinnamon stick, vanilla extract and ginger peel from my soup!  It smells cheery!  Another cheap {free!} one;) 
{side I am writing this, I am realizing I did not have any intention of having a completely free list or even anywhere close to free....but my wish list is looking pretty good right now.......!!!!!}
{5 & 6} I am obsessed with staging and setting a table!  My fascination really took over when I worked at Pier One in college btw!  People probably walk through my house and think I'm crazy for having lots of accessories with 2 rambunctious boys running around?!?!?!  I question myself all the time!  But I love it too much and I wouldn't be completely devastated if something happened to it!  I would just replace it and hope that no one got hurt!  I just love looking at it too much! In these settings I really am attracted to the pinks and reds, gold and turquoise, white and mint.  My house is already full of these colors and they will look great for the holidays!  
{7} I just love this!  I will figure out a reason why I should string pom-poms or marshmallows from my ceiling.....!!!!! 
{8} This really came from my son JB, when we were discussing the lay of the land, you know where should we put the tree?  Where should we move this table?  Where do we want people to sit at our family party?!  Then a light bulb clicked in his head and he thought that we should put food that looked like Christmas trees in the middle of the table, and then my light bulb went on and remembered this photo from pinterest....OMG, I HAVE TO DO THIS!!!!  It sounds cute, simple enough, some what healthy, we could do a veggie tree, an apple tree....., and it's very festive!
4. babble
6. sorry I don't have the original for this, its labeled Martha Stewart table scape in flickr...

This list is more about having a festive holiday with my kids!  I'm one of those moms who would have probably been a pretty good pre-school teacher, I love this stage, they are so creative and they love exploring. It is such a fun age, I just LOVE it. Spotted these ideas on Pinterest that can really be done without much hassle...!  {1} a fun photo shoot! {2} a fun place setting! {3} cardboard Christmas house! {4} colorful ice! {5} hand-made winter bird feeder! {6} paper gingerbread men! {7} a shower curtain floor mat we can turn into Christmasville!  {8} hand-made card! {9} ice cream cone Christmas tree forest! {10} gingerbread men play dough! {11} gingerbread house (ours will not look like this! LOL) {12} home-made gift giving........!!!!!
5. babble
11. zinke

Just want to recognize where the ideas come from!  Want to give credit where credit is due.
{These photos on Pinterest inspired me enough to want to know more, and when I looked further I did find some pretty great and interesting stories out there...}

I encourage you to make a mood board too, they are fun....!!!  See if you can use some things you already have in a different but special way........and maybe you'll add something extra special that you didn't think you could have or maybe even do this holiday season.....!

Cheers ~ annette

Immunity Super Soup....

The crisp cool air, the bulky sweaters and thick scarves, hot coffee and of course, hot soup!  Winter is here and I hear all around me of people getting that almost inevitable cold or flu.  Yuck, I hate getting sick, and I am going to try super hard to avoid this....!  {Good luck to me!} I could eat soup everyday, I enjoy making home-made soup so why not indulge in this everyday?!?!?!  Soup can be very healthy especially if you prepare it yourself, you can control what goes in, and let me tell you, all it takes it a whole lotta love and wholesome goodness to make good soup...   

I LOVE Dr. Oz, how could you not!  He is adorable, and knowledgeable!  I caught this great episode, as a working mom I don't get to watch regularly, and it was about your immune system and doing healthy natural things to keep your body fighting those nasty germs!   Chef Ming Tsai, also adorable, made this soup on the show and talked about all the great ingredients and how they help your body fight off the germs and claimed he hasn't been sick in a really long time!  I bought into it and had to make this soup, I love soup and spicy soup is the BOMB!  Yummy! 

A quote from Ming that I also fell in love with, "Food is the best medicine...." Amen.
Here is the link to Dr. Oz but I will share with you here as well, I added chopped fresh parsley because I love it! 

1 jalapeno (with seeds)
1 tbs grape seed oil (I didn't have this so I used coconut oil)
1 tbs minced ginger
1 tbs minced garlic (I love garlic and added more!)
2 bunches of scallions
1 lb of shitakes
black pepper
put it all in a pot and cook it down for 2-3 minutes, moving it around with a spoon.

2 qts of low sodium chicken stock or chicken broth (best choice is stock...)
2 lemons juiced
2 tbs brewed soy sauce
2 carrots shredded
1 block of silken tofu (I tried both silken and firm, I preferred the silken!)
black pepper
Add lemon zest and scallions to garnish! Enjoy! {I couldn't wait, and left this out!}

Do you have any cold remedies or ways you keep your family healthy during the fall/winter months when everyone else is sick spreading their germs EVERYWHERE!?  Some other natural cold remedies we will be trying this year….thanks to the Dr. Oz show…
-Bilberry extract to help fight a cold
-garlic foot rub: minced garlic + olive oil, another fighter
-cough syrup: 1 tbs apple cider vinegar, 1 tbs honey, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-Congestion: pineapple
-Sore throat: colloidal silver spray (kills bacteria)
-Headache: Capsaicin spray, 2 sprays in each nostril
And of course good old home-made chicken noodle soup can help those days you or your family members are under the weather.....!  And its great for the soul.  Why not send some soup to a neighbor or an elderly person you know as an act of kindness this winter..........
Wishing you a healthy winter,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Essentials and Organization....

I am currently geared up to tackle the tasks with grace, health and organization... I hope to add a few little luxuries to this list to help keep me lifted while tackling the holidays, maybe the occasional latte, a perfect cozy scarf, slippers!

#1 my iPhone

#2 stress relief in a bottle!
I tried this for the first time this summer and love it, rescue, by bach, rescue remedy natural stress relief and I think this could really help while tackling the holidays!

#3 emergen-C packets
so that I can feel the good!  these give me energy and keep my immune system in check...  I take at least 2 packs a day, some days, if I am starting to feel something trying to attack my immune system and throw one more in the mix for a better defense....!
#4 my 1GB usb storage drive by scandisk, so that I am never without my most important files;)  honestly, I never know when I will need them!  What if I need my favorite photos or lists while I am at my mom's or sisters....?!

#5 my favorite lip stick, marykay, color shell and my favorite lip shine burt's bees zesty red, I can survive without lots of make up, but I need foundation and lipstick to not feel naked while running around town doing holiday errands! 

#6 alba pineapple quench lip balm, the dry air is already taking a toll on my lips and skin, seriously, can not live without moisturizer this winter I hate the feeling of cracked lips and skin!  And the tropical smell......mmmmm, it can take me on a quick mental vacation....

#7 ear phones: can't get enough enya lately... so calming and I can get lost in the sounds while wrapping and crafting and blogging!

#8 hair tie, another must have at all times, the dry weather takes a toll on my pin straight hair and when I am running around I may need to throw it back to not fuss with the frizzies!  ...gotta love cold Michigan weather...!

#9 my binder for the current agenda and list! {gosh, I really need to convert to the iPhone, but there is something about paper....I - LOVE - PAPER!}

#10 portable keyboard for the iPhone. {I really, really, really want an iPad, but it is not a current priority...}  I do love the wireless keyboard, if I feel like typing something on pages or notes or an email it really helps my fingers and thumbs, although, my eyes are given the true challenge of being strained while looking at the tiny screen!

#11 my big bag, vera bradley style, it is called the miller bag, it is my favorite bag ever!  I consider myself a bit of a bag lady, I live out of bags!  This is great for traveling as well as running around town it can hold EVERYTHING!  Pockets and the way it opens, you can see it all!  So when I am out shopping my daily binder goes, my coupon binder goes, and anything else that needs to come along, like diapers and wipes;)

 #12 my coupon binder for coupons, sales flyer's, deals, extra cash bonuses, coupons, gift cards anything to help me save as many bucks as I can this Christmas!

There you have it, my holiday essentials....simple, helpful, handy and healthy to keep me going!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Daily Reminder....

Simply intentional with love!
I took one of my favorite photos I snapped with my iPhone of my boys sharing an
act of endearment while wrestling in the grass at the park and made it into a daily reminder quote for myself. 
I captured this moment of love and happiness with my oldest son just starring into my eyes.  Everything I do, I do it for them they are my first priority, I even put them before myself. 
The truth is though that for me to be the best I can be for them I need to focus energy onto myself.  I need to keep up with them so I need to be healthy.  I need to stay positive and balanced even if the world seems like it can come crashing down at any time....
I put this list together and have posted it in a few convenient locations in our home, daily reminders of what I need to do for myself and my family everyday to keep us happy, healthy and balanced.
Find peace and joy in the everyday,

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year....

Christmas.  I have some pretty wonderful memories that revolve around Christmas,
it is the biggest celebration of the year for us by far!
It starts after Thanksgiving and doesn't end until the tree comes down...  There is so much happiness, and giving, and LOVE!

{Photo: our super excited boys camped out in front of the fireplace!} 
Before the holidays began this year I felt this overwhelming sense of panic...  I wanted nothing to do with them. The idea of getting ready and prepared to join in some great festivities was really starting to bog me down.  I was even getting sad about the thought of everything that goes with it, I didn't want the flu, and I didn't want the stress~panic feeling of OMG, its too late to figure out the perfect gift, .....I won't have time for everything....ahhhhhhhhhh!

But then, I had a complete revelation of myself, I got over my fears of getting sick, not having enough time, the to-do's, the list upon list, and go-go-go mentality until its over.  I trully LOVE everything about the holidays, and I wasn't going to let the negatives take me down and keep me from enjoying this wonderful end to a pretty tough but beautiful year!   I enjoy hosting and giving and I really do want to embrace this season even if my life is already stressful!  There is so much joy that can come with the holidays.  ....SO I pulled up the big girl pants a couple days after Thanksgiving, the official kick-off to the holiday season, and really got into the spirit of Christmas....and there is no stopping me now!  I have a plan!

After spending endless hours and days looking at and using my idea boards {on pinterest} to see how others handle the details, I developed a plan.  This weekend I started the foundation of what is to come  this holiday season because WE LOVE IT!!!  The Christmas tree is standing, the garland is hung, the furniture has shifted and the plans have begun!!!  The boys could hardly control themselves they were filled with so much joyful excitement!

It's time to stage the house for the holidays, make my lists and check them twice, be thankful for my life everyday and appreciate what I have around me, host a party, try new recipes and share them, see relatives I haven't seen in a really long time, start a BIG tradition and make the entire month about Christmas, blog as much as I can while I am busy so that I develop a really great habit from the CRAZIEST month of the whole entire year!!!!!

Cheers to a scuccessful, happy, healthy holiday season,