family holiday

Holiday shopping, Santa, and Turkeys

My mom was in town for the Holiday week. Love that! She lives 2 states away. The kids really loved it because she spoiled them rotten at the mall. Oh, ya she spoiled me too with a new pair of boots.

Parker sat on Santa’s lap twice, at two different malls. This is the Santa at Park Meadows Mall in Highlands Ranch.

gold studded boots

It is also were Mom and I fell in love with this pair of Michael Kors gold studded boots in the window. I bet her the boots are $250. She said, “Really? You think?” I was wrong. They are $450.  But they are beautiful!  This day we also went to IKEA, ate lunch and oohed and aahed at the kitchens.

We visited 3 Justice’s at 3 different malls. Alex was in heaven. Of course, I can’t blame her. Love the clothes in this store! But it was overload.

Parker finally shopped ’til she dropped. Me too, honey.

Alex was so ready to help prepare Thanksgiving dinner. About 4 carrots into peeling she decided it was too hard. Yay for me!

Parker lasted 1 potato… Thanksgiving is my favorite. It’s a holiday all about family and good food. Food that takes hours to prepare and only 15 minutes to devour.

colorado mills mall

Merry Go ‘Round inside Colorado Mills Mall.

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Give Thanks Project

Every year we create a project to “give thanks” in November. Not that we aren’t thankful all year long. But, November is a good time to reflect and be mindful of what we have before the “I wants” of the holiday season begin.


Using small gifts bags, decorate with stickers, bling and ribbon. (“Be Thankful” stickers and coordinating “Give Thanks” banner from Michael’s.)


Hang in a prominent area of your home. If I had a fireplace these would be hung on the hearth. Instead, we hung this in the dining room where the kids usually hang their artwork from school.


Cut leaf shapes from cardstock in autumn colors. Every day in the month of November write something you are thankful for. The autumn moon, the warm weather, Grandma coming to visit…there is so much to be thankful for.


Shhhh, don’t tell anyone what you wrote. Then, put the “thankful leaves” in your bag. On Thanksgiving open your bag and read out loud all that you were thankful for this month.



It’s never too late to join in the “November Joy Dare”.

Categories: art club for kids, family holiday, Good things | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving {Printable}

Free Printable Here.

I am thankful my mom is here with us this holiday. The last time she was in Colorado, I was expecting my first child (9 years ago). I was 3cm dilated and Mom and Ron were on their way back to Missouri from Mexico. They waited to see if I would move along in the labor process. I didn’t. So they left to drive home. I gave birth to Alex the next day, almost in the hospital parking lot, but that’s another story.

Now that Ron has passed on, Mom has time and energy to travel. I am excited to watch her hug on the girls. Still trying to talk her into move out here but she has her own calling. She has a new chapter to start. Time will tell.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving day full of blessings and laugher. God bless.

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Attention Pumpkin Pie Haters: Try This Pie

I am one of those Pumpkin Pie Haters. Give me any other pie, except Pumpkin, and I’ll eat the whole thing. I made this recipe years ago and I have to tell you, it changed my mind about pumpkin pie. Of course, it’s not really a traditional pumpkin pie…it’s a creamy pumpkin pie.

Recipe from Keebler Ready Crust

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1 package (6-serving size) vanilla flavor instant pudding & pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
  • Keebler® Ready Crust® Graham Pie Crust


  • In large bowl beat milk, pudding mix and spice with wire whisk for 1 minute. (Mixture will be very thick.) Whisk in pumpkin. Stir in whipped topping. Spread in crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until set.
  • Garnish with a dollop of whipped topping and a sprinkle of cinnamon before serving.**
  • Store in refrigerator.
  • *NOTE: May substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves in place of pumpkin pie spice.

**I plan to sprinkle some chopped Texas pecans atop a dollop of whipped topping before serving…yummy!

This is one of the 2 dishes we plan to make from “scratch” this year. The rest of the Thanksgiving meal is from a local grocery store. It’s completely cooked; all we have to do is heat it up. Let’s face it, easier is better on Thanksgiving day. I hope it’s not a disaster.

Categories: family holiday, Food, Holidays | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thankful Tree Centerpiece

Like a lot of families, it’s become a tradition to write out the things we are thankful for during Thanksgiving. Because my kids love crafts, they required the activity to be craft related. I demand that the craft to be E-A-S-Y. Last year we colored a stuffed blessings turkey {see it here}. This year we made a Thankful Tree.

Tree full of thanks

I cut some branches from our plum-tree in the backyard. (After the snow storm, it needed pruned anyway.) Arranged the limbs in a pretty vase with some marbles in the bottom, used foam glitter leaves from Joann’s, wrote our thanks on the back and attached with string. It is the centerpiece on our dining room table. I told it had to be easy! 

Giving thanks should never be a once-a-year-thing. I am continuing to record my 1,000 Gifts (Thankfulness) until I reach that magic number. I encourage you to think about what you are thankful for and record it. For those times when you forget that you are truly blessed.

Categories: family holiday, Holidays, holidays with family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Easter Story.

My mom (2nd from left) and her sisters.

My grandmother was a humble woman. She and my grandfather lived modestly. Simple.

They lived in a small town in rural Missouri. She was a homemaker, raising five children. He was a milkman and a U.S. Navy veteran. Later, when their kids were grown, he was a school bus driver. In this small town, everybody knew everybody. Family was your most important asset and cousins were your closest friends. Sunday was an all day affair with church services in the morning, family gathered for supper in the afternoon, followed by evening church services.

They pinched their pennies wherever possible. They saved what they could. They didn’t have money to waste on the purchase of frivolous luxuries, such as, fancy Easter dresses brought from a Sears catalog for their daughters. Instead my grandmother, Ruth, would most likely have hand-sown the dresses for her daughters.

Except one year.

It was the early 1960s.  Ruth had saved enough extra change to buy her 4 daughters catalog dresses. She decided to hide the dresses at the home of her sister-and-brother-in-law, Pauline and Bink, to keep the girls from peeking and spoiling the surprise.

Ironically, that would be the least of her worries that Easter.

One spring day, just before Easter, the whole family was having a get-together with food and fellowship. The children, playing upstairs of my great-grandmother’s home, spotted smoke billowing from a house up the hill.

It was Pauline and Bink’s house that was on fire!

The Uncle’s rushed up the hill and attempted to put the fire out. It was too late and their house burned to the ground…along with the frilly dresses.

I can just imagine my heart-broken Grandmother watching the fire. Everything her sister and brother-in-law owned was in ashes. The pennies she pinched for a year to afford to buy something special for her daughters, gone.

Now, my mother will tell you her mom was more concerned about her family and their lose rather than the dresses. She had to have felt defeated. I know I would have. But that was who she was. Humble.

That’s it. There is no happy ending. No one replaced the dresses. No one took up a collection to rebuild Pauline and Bink’s house.  They picked themselves up and carried on. They relied on family and the Lord to carry them through.

No one was hurt or, worse, lost their life in the fire. And isn’t that the most important gift of all?

The house, the possessions, the frilly dresses are just things. Okay, to see everything you own reduced to ashes is undoubtedly devastating. But all those things can be replaced. Life cannot.

So, this Easter don’t forget the “reason”. LIFE. Take joy in it. Celebrate it.

~ Wishing you a Happy Easter.

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