Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting Ready for the New Year!!

So in 3 days the New Year will be rolling in. Can you believe it?!? It's been a crazy couple of weeks but I am happy to report that our box is almost full! We started filling a "Pantry Box" after Thanksgiving, and with the help of my friends and family, it's almost full. The best part is that it has everything from oatmeal, peanut butter, canned hams, and mashed potatoes right through to the cake mixes and frostings! I am so excited at how well it's stocked and cannot wait to bring it by the school for them to share it with the families!

I will be researching places that these items can be donated, if you are interested. For now, I can guarantee that any church or parish will be accepting items throughout the year. Remember this is a problem that families are dealing with every single day, not just the holidays!

For more information about what my "Fill the Pantry Challenge" is, check out my post.

I wish you all a Healthy, Happy, Safe, and Satisfying New Year!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Great Day!

So yesterday I was able to spend some time with some friends and family to celebrate the holidays with a good old fashioned cookie swap!! It was sooo much fun... at least I hope it was for everyone, cuz I had an awesome time!

I found an awesome website that has a TON of games you can print out... Christmas Games A to Z. You have to actually subscribe, but for $19.95 I had access to at least 50 holiday games... quizzes, puzzles, BINGO... you name it! They even have the answer keys - very important!

We did the games and had prizes, but we also had an old fashioned Yankee Swap. I don't know about you, but I actually included the rules in the invitation so that people knew what they were in for. Apparently, there are many versions of the game and many are EXTREMELY cut throat. I don't think that's very appropriate during the season of "good will". Anyway, we did the games, the swap, the food... oh yummy food!!

Finally, we divided the cookies... mmm mmm mmm! I forgot to take a picture of the tablescape with all of the batches of cookies, but trust me when I say they all looked great!! They tasted even yummier too!!

Happy Holidays Everyone... and maybe with the help of the economy more people will be settling in with the old traditions of visiting, playing games, and potlucking it! One can only hope, right?!?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Epiphany...

Growing up, my house was full. It was my brother and I, but on the weekends my stepbrothers would come too. Yes there were the struggles of the blended family. My brother and my older stepbrother were only 1 month apart in age, so sparks flew there a bit. My younger stepbrother and I were about 1 yr apart and we would have our fair share of throw downs, as well... BUT, for the most part, we were a family and we played, and laughed, and had fun. At least, that's how I remember it.

I also remember that every year we went on our camping trip. It was 4th of july weekend and we would pack our stuff and head up to Sharon, VT. The boys were all there for each other, but I got to bring a friend. I think that whole trip would cost us about $150 for gas and food. It wasn't the type of camping trip that you camped at night and visited the stores and parks in the area during the day. We played in the White River, swimming, rafting, catching Crawfish, trying to fish. We would cook the crawfish and eat them with dinner. Usually hot dogs cooked on a stick, but sometimes even the occasional trout. These are the times that I remember so well.

I think that I always "knew" that we were never going to go to Disney, although, like most kids, I probably asked. It didn't really matter though, as long as we went camping. We all had bikes and for christmas each year, we all each got that 1 BIG thing. One year it was a TV. One year a stereo. My friends would laugh and tell me that my parents were secretly preparing to kick us out... one year we actually got dishes and pans. hehe. Hey, we asked for them!

So, I don't know what happened, but I started getting to the point, where if I could have it, I got it. I wanted a simple desk for our computer. Ok... actually, I went to the store to look at desks so maybe I could make one, but what happened?? I bought this big armoire that hides everything when not in use, blah blah blah...

Got the Wii, got the Playstation, got the cameras, got the mp3 player... got it all.

I started volunteering at the kids school this year. I went every Thursday and Friday for 6 weeks to sort nonperishables for families in need. Each week I hoped that more stuff would come in. I thought... "How are these kids going to eat breakfast if people don't bring in cereal??" or "What are these families going to do with 15 cans of chicken soup?". Then each of the kids classes picked a charity to help. Payton's class shopped for a family. We were going to be giving them the only gifts they were going to get this year. Phoebe's class collected new baby clothes for new or due mommies.

I started coming home and seeing all this "stuff" around. Is it strange that all of a sudden I don't care? I actually sold the Wii because we haven't used it in quite some time. Chef Hubby is selling his paintball gun and PS2. I've started cleaning out the basement more aggressively, thinking, "If we had a fire, would I even know that I lost this item?". I don't know what happened that made me change my views, but I wish that it would rub off on some people. I hope that I can instill this in my children.

I've already told them that this weekend is time for the annual, clean out the toy bins. It's when they go through their games and toys and decide which ones that no longer use or want. They are given to the charities in the area "for boys and girls who have no toys". They are actually very good at this activity.

I'm trying to bring back that feeling of "enough". I wish you and your families "enough" this holiday! Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

my oh my...

So today I was able to spend some time with friends that I haven't seen in years! Gotta love the holidays and the opportunities they bring for us to all gather, right?

Today I made Chocolate Coconut bars for the cookie swap and they rocked!! But now I have to think of something to make for the cookie swap at my house next weekend... I can't do the same thing, some of the same people are coming. LOL!!

So, I have some ideas, but I was wondering what some people crave for the holidays? Any cookie or bar suggestions that I should make??

Hoping that everyone is having a healthy and happy holiday season so far!