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Friday, December 2, 2016

From your nose to your toes

We are a family of blanket lovers. 
 
Not because we are cold, but because there is something comforting about having a soft, familiar and, yes, warm blanket wrapped around you.  Snuggles in the chair are better with a blanket and beds are so much cozier with blankets piled high.  However, to compensate for all the added blankets in your bed, you must then sleep with a fan on - no matter the season, no matter the temperature.  Trust me on this one. 
 
When a sister in law reminded me about the wonderful charity that is Project Linus and expressed interest in making tie blankets to donate,  I happily jumped on the Black Friday sales at JoAnn fabrics.  
 
 
 
I only purchased enough material for us to make 8 blankets.  But that's 8 more children (or teens) who are "seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need" that will know the security, comfort and warmth that a blanket can bring.  Its a simple act on our behalf but to the recipients, the effects are ever lasting.  
 
#Advent2016  #ilovemyshepard  #graftedheart 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Simpletons

I've heard it.  You've heard it.  We know it in our hearts.  And yet... at Christmastime we tend to forget it.
 
 "Its the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary."
 
No frills.  No bells and whistles.  No stressing, no supplies, no time involved.  To countdown the Christmas season in our home, all you need is a simple 97 cent Chocolate Advent calendar from Aldi's courtesy of an aunt who delivers them every Thanksgiving. 
 
 
The excitement that ensues until the countdown that begins is almost unbearable!
 

 
And when December 1st is finally here, the children run to the special spot that holds their calendar.  They search out the corresponding day and ever so carefully open the perforated window to reveal a special symbol that represents the Christmas season.  One chooses to nibble the candy, one prefers to hold it in their mouth allowing the chocolate to slowly melt, and one just gobbles it down.  But.  Everyone savors the moment. 

 
And everyone is happier all because of a small piece of chocolate.

#Advent2016   #ilovemyshepard   #graftedheart

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Village Grows

As Bree's birthday neared, it was time for Jim and I to dive into the history of our families and carefully select that all important village piece
 
This year was easy:
 

A camper.
 
I remember many camping trips with my family.  I remember the smell of the brown canvas tent, the fear of spiders hiding in the corners of my top bunk in the camper, and even a solo camping trip with my sister while she was home on summer break from college.  Jim too had week long camping trips with his family as a child and they continue to camp all summer long to this day.  This village piece is equally fitting as we purchase our first family camper this summer.  And oh the journeys we will take.
 
Yes, camping.  As a child, nothing is as easy or carefree.  Overtime they will learn the work that is involved to pack all that is needed, including food, for five people.  It will be exhausting (on both sides) and they will most definitely whine.  But.  They will know the end result will be worth it.  In the chaos of today, we will always look back with fondness of our foundation, never remembering the weary, tired days - only the love, time and important-ness of it all.  And that's what matters, right? 

 
 
#Advent2016  #ilovemyshepard  #graftedheart

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Holiday Story

On Thanksgiving morning, the children came running out of their rooms searching the house, desperately hoping to spot our holiday elf friend, Fred.  A thousand questions ensued like:
 
"When does the elf come?"      "Doesn't he come today?" 
 
"Mom, have you seen the elf?"
 
"Where could he be?"        "Where has he hidden before?"
 
"Jacob, did you look here?"
 
"Bree, did you look there?"
 
And on and on and on....
 
Then, larger than life, the Elf on the Shelf appears on the TV screen. 
 
 
In all my brilliantness I said,
 
"HEY!  Maybe all the elves are inside that balloon!  And then it'll explode releasing them all to come to our houses!!"
 
Jacob would not take his eyes from that screen, not even after the elf balloon had moved along.   In a very serious but with a hint of excitement tone he asked,
 
"When is it going to explode?!?"
 
Oh Jacob....  I am a broken record when it comes to things like 'Put your shoes in the closet', 'Clean your room', 'Use your manners', 'Eat your vegetables', 'No! For the millionth time! You cannot have candy for breakfast' all because you don't "hear" me.  But the mention of an exploding elf?  You have ears like a bat. 
 
As a parent, you know the struggle is real.  And as a parent, you can only hope that the virtues of life and the true meaning of the holidays like Christmas are really being heard and tucked deep into their hearts.  And even though you want to smack your head against the wall because your children cannot answer the simple question of "What did you do in school today?", your heart will burst when you overhear your children telling their friends about the coolest thing they learned in church this week.  Having faith in God is also having faith in yourself that your doing something right.   And you are, we all are.
 
#Advent2016  #ilovemyshepard  #graftedheart

Monday, November 28, 2016

God Given

Isn't there a saying that goes "God made it.  Farmers grew it.  We ate it."?  Or maybe that's some sort of prayer for kids.  While I'm not that great at gardening, no matter how much advice I take from the professionals, there is one God given talent I am especially grateful for.
 
 
 
 
God grew the trees.  Man made it into plywood.  I (with a little help from the hubby) have been blessed with the ability to transform it into whatever my head can dream up.
 
#Advent2016  #ilovemyshepard  #graftedheart

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It warms my soul

As loudly as the Grinch stands on top of Mount Crumpit stating how he hates Christmas, I will scream the opposite!
 
I LOVE Christmas -
the whole Christmas Season!
 
From the  fresh baked cookies to the thoughtful cards - from the  carols you know by the first note to the heartwarming movies - From the *hopeful* snow to the school break to the calm, serene, peaceful church Christmas performance that ties the whole season together, I just simply love it.
 
 
 
"Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer.  Cheer to all Whos far and near.  Christmas day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp.  Christmas day will always be just as long as we have we.  Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand."
 
#Advent2016  #ilovemyshepard  #graftedheart 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving.
 
That special time of year when families gather with grateful hearts and bellies awaiting a bounty of food.
 
But first!
 
You must cook...  Or begin teaching the next generation to cook!
 
Twas the day before Thanksgiving and someone was learning how to make...
 
Banana Cream Pie
 

 
Apple Pie 
 
 
Cheese Ball 
 
 
And, of course, it is not truly Thanksgiving (or any holiday for that matter) if someone isn't sick.

 
A trip to urgent care told us only that its i an infection of some sort and was given a weeks worth of antibiotics.  Spiking fevers of 106 makes for a long night for everyone involved.

 
Finally its Thanksgiving Day! 
A morning filled with games...

 
...the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade...

 
...more games...

 
...FOOD...

 
...and even more games.

 
The rest of the day is filled with naps, football, Black Friday ad searching, crafting, and preparations for Christmas. 
 
Tis a good day with much to be thankful for.  
 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Coming Your Way!

The 2016 Dominique Christmas Cards!
 
Signed, sealed and
soon to be delivered to your door!
 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Goin' Old School

Straying from the norm is my thing.
 
I don't have a cell phone. 
I love holding and reading real books. 
And I still believe in sending snail mail to people. 
 
Maybe that makes me "old school" but you know what?  
That's okay.
  
I accept my weirdness and will embrace it with my new address book. 
 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I Don't Care

I don't care how cheesy your smile is.
 
I don't care how adorable you are while taking a nap.
 
Your crazy big eyes have no power over me.
 
 
Your only teeny, tiny, minuscule saving grace is your 3 year old innocence.  However....
 
You will still get into trouble for cutting your own hair!