Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Winter Waltz is {almost} Over

If life is a dance then winter is the waltz. Everything about winter is s l o w . The snow falls at a unassuming and mellow pace, the days are long and still, and all seems quieter than the loud boldness of the opposite season, summer.

Although we grow weary of the muted sunshine and the long, dark nights, I count this season a quiet gift. It's not often with our hurried modern lifestyle that we are forced to slow down and be quiet. God has given us all a perfect balance with the seasons! Each season has bundles of blessings for us to enjoy! I hope the slow stillness of this winter has allowed you the time to quietly reflect and savor the moments of the ONE life you get to embrace here on earth.

My wall art reads
"In Quietness and Trust is your Strength."
-Isaiah 20:15

With spring and summer dancing ahead, all of our spirits will be ready to scream on the top of our lungs while surrounded with friends, to laugh and run in the water, and to remember to take things lightly and with a carefree heart too!

One last bowl of warm White Chicken Chili...
with sour cream and fresh guacamole.
And a coffee table book The Blessing of Little Boys
with the gorgeous painting by Jim Daly.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hot Chocolate Bar and Sledding

A pink and brown hot chocolate bar
in the entryway waiting for
the freezing cold cheeks of little snow players.

The idea of doing a Hot Chocolate Bar was triggered
when I got these adorably petite MICRO marshmallows!
I knew they couldn't stay tucked away behind pantry doors!

And my GIANT-sized hot cocoa mugs
that take two hands to hold were a fun addition.

This jar holds homemade cinnamon hot chocolate...

Of course we had to have traditional Swiss Miss packs available too...

Spoons and flavor accents, hot cocoa's perfect accessories.

Soft Chocolate Cherry Kiss cookies are the ideal February treat
for the month of hearts.

The Hot Chocolate Bar waits for the door to open
to the hum of happy voices and cold shivers
as they line up for their warm treats.
Little FYI:
This bar took literally 5 minutes to put together
so it's easy peasy as my youngest would say.

And a day of snow games
is the best wintertime treat!

Skyler catches some major air!

Cameron Skyler

Kotah landing after a big drop...

Even my Grandma, who is 75, got in on the ride.

Layers of snow gear and big boots make it hard to move!

Little Titus

Sweet Kotah

Eskimo kisses to end the day...

...oh, and the hot chocolate too!

This post is linked to: The Inspired Room, Works for Me Wednesday, DIY Day

Sunday, February 14, 2010

to Lightly Love

Happy Valentine's Day

Crocheted heart by my Mom

love, love, love, love, love, love, love

It's always said that the word "love" is over-used, worn out, and even misused. I'm guilty. I'm the one that says I "love" my burrito and also say I "love" my kids.

Hanging white hearts for the season

I understand that perspective, truly I do. However, I still love everything that I claim to love. I say it all the time and I'm certain I will be using my fair share of the word for the rest of my life! Because when I say "love" it evokes the same excitement each time, with different levels of passion. The energetic feeling within my heart when I claim to love is the feeling of being alive, happy, excited, energized, youthful, motivated, and on fire. When I love something I am happy, smiling, and ready for the very next moment in life!

Holiday Inspiration with pink and purple

Some things I deeply love with intense depth are my husband, kids, family, and Jesus.

Some things I lightly love
with energizing life are the rain, the smell of fresh laundry, and the taste of a hot sandwich. The level of passion changes but the feeling of being alive is constant.

Some more lightly loves...
the sunshine on my toes as they snuggle in the sand,
the sound and smell of rain,
pretty desserts,
cozy textures,
a baby's soft skin,
the sound of a newborn baby's cry,
little toddler fingers wrapped around mine,
genuine smiles,
clean clothes and the fresh smell of clean laundry,
name-brand material masterpieces,
splashes of bold color,
a newly made bed with the covers pulled back,
piles of soft pillows,
strong arms to hold me,
deep, secure words to calm me,
the laughter of kids playing lost in their own world,
the sound of little kids walking in footed pajamas,
beautiful people,
new hair styles,
a trip to the salon,
window shopping,
dreaming and making goals,
learning something new,
opening the stiff pages of a brand new book,
giving a heartfelt gift to someone special,
money and the opportunities it brings,
looking at houses,
eating a good meal at a new restaurant,
decorating for an event,
making every detail in life beautiful,
walking in the forest over pine needles,
exercising so hard that I feel invincible,
accomplishing something that felt impossible,
checking thing off my to-do list,
the chance to start over,
intense pleasure,
being strengthened through trials,
the magic of holidays,
finding good deals,
writing on a blank sheet of paper,
making lists,
organizing personal space,
fresh flowers,
fancy destinations,
exquisite hotels,
charming towns,
scalloped edges,
pink diamonds and black pearls,
kisses from my kids,
someone winking at me,
love letters,
big brown packages on the front door step

....and the list goes on.

Given to me by a best friend in high school

I know I speak of FEELINGS and the happiness that loving something brings. BUT as we know, love is a choice too. We all know that we must make choices to love when it's hard. But we must also make the choice to love the details in life, to be alive, to remain positive, and not to take a single thing for granted! How many little amazing details have you brushed over in your life lately? How would your life change if you embraced every incredible little thing that delighted your heart?

Reminder in chalk of family love

Antiqued Vintage Charm with some Romance
on our kitchen table for Valentine's Day

Loving the details in life is always a choice we make.
Every day.
Take it all in deeply.
It's worth the ride.

Lavender heart wreaths
for a sweet welcome on the door

We also have a WINNER for the Tunkables Giveaway! A big thank you to EACH of you for participating. I truly wish you could all win.

This post is linked to: DIY Day

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love Lessons and a Lunch of Hearts

Heart-Day lunch for the little ones...

Holidays are celebrations of life, little walks off the beaten trail of everyday living...a chance to just be and enjoy what's around us. Valentine's Day is super cute for the little ones. It's about the greatest thing that makes our world tick: l.o.v.e. ...It's about hearts and everything sweet and wholesome in between.

I like to take opportunities when they present themselves to cuddle up with my boys and softly tell them lessons of life. And Valentine's Day is one of those opportunities.

So as we cuddle close on the couch and I have all wide eyes and listening ears I share some love secrets to their willing hearts AFTER I read them some fun Valentine stories....

This is what I whispered...

"My sweet boys...when Momma and Daddy say we love you that means that YOU are made exactly how we want you and you don't need to change a thing!"

It means that we value everything that is packed into your little bodies.

It means that we want to see you shine inside and out.

It means we want to celebrate every bit of happiness you can tuck into your pocket.

It means that you delight our hearts and we simply cannot get enough of you.

So, you grow each day and relate to friends and family, love them with a wholesome heart. Because love is everything that is good. It will make your heart shine and your face happy. Love because it is so much better than being a bully! Strong men are made of steel and velvet. (I stole the steel and velvet phrase from a book title years ago and it stuck with me!).

You boys see and feel how Momma and Daddy love you and we hope you can love that way too because it is a great joy! And even if you try your best, just as Momma and Daddy do, sometimes you may not love completely and it may hurt someone. Momma and Daddy don't always love you the right way but we try...and you know what? If people know that you try your best, then that is simply good enough."

And of course after I tell them all of that, they will be fidgeting and restless little boys, ready for something more exciting...

Heart Season Lunch!

Dakotah, one of my hearthrobs,
helped me prepare this fun Valentine meal.
We made PB & J using STRAWBERRY jam to have RED for V Day!
Then we took cookie cutters to cut them into festive shapes.

The best part for the kids was NO CRUST!
And the best part for me was Dixie paper plates!

For drinks, I froze Cranberry Juice in heart-shaped trays.
I poured 7-up into glasses and used the Cranberry Juice ice cubes.
Then I dropped a bit of cherry juice into each glass.

I had some extra hearts that stood alone
for a frozen slush treat!

And here's a little Seasonal tip for the Moms after we're done taking care of our crazy little kids all day:

Buy those trial size scented lotions for holiday use. Bath and Body Works sells all sorts of scents that are seasonal. This one is called "PS I LOVE YOU" and is perfect for V Day.

Of course you can keep full size of your favorite lotions but these little seasonal ones are fun to change it up. Each season put a different one out. I LOVE the coconut scent for summertime...etc, etc.

This post is linked to: DIY Day, Works for Me Wednesday, Show and Tell, DIY Showoff, Inspired Room, Foodie Friday

Monday, February 8, 2010

Three Sweet February Treats

I have three
appropriate for
the month of Hearts!

1. Oreo Truffles

I made these rich truffles with a recipe from allrecipes. They are very simple to make and extra yummy. I bought little candy liners to bump up the cuteness. *wink*

2. Cherry Heart Cake

This cake is decorated with the celebrated word of the season: L.O.V.E.

The hearts and letters were melted chocolate chips that were piped on using cookie cutters for forms.

3. Chocolate Mousse with Contemporary Hearts

I made this light but rich mousse using too. It's described as "heaven on a spoon".
Martha Stewart Living February issue had this idea for the hearts and it was simple and fun to create! Melt semi-sweet chocolate and pipe it onto parchment paper into your desired shapes. Wait for your creations to completely dry before transferring them to desserts.
I made each of my hearts different inside with various designs.

Don't forget to enter my Tunkables giveaway! It's such a fun and unique treasure! The giveaway ends on Valentine's Day.

This post is linked to: Works for Me Wednesday , Its So Creative, Make Your Monday, DIY Day, Making the World Cuter, Foodie Friday,DIY Showoff, Something I Whipped Up Today's Creative Blog, Show and Tell, Inspired Room