December Success

Christmas Eve, the day all the children wait for. Presents wrapped, cookies baked, gifts made and meals planned. Today we watch Christmas movies and snuggle on the couch waiting for tomorrow to arrive. Later  a supper with family close and  far and our Christmas is complete.

Surprisingly, I can say I’m ready for Christmas. After such a busy busy December I honestly don’t know how I did it all and have a cold (from which I lost my voice), and still feel ready and enjoy the day without rushing about. I even did a few last minute batches of fudge and cookies today. I managed to make 6 Christmas stockings, 5 teacher gifts, 2 grandma gifts, 7 arm knit scarfs, all the toy shopping and many many batches of cookies. Now to some of you this may be a normal year, but for me this was a big success. I have tried for many years to try and cut back Christmas buying with handmade gifts as I do have many skills if only I have the time. Well this year I MADE time and I’m very proud of what I’ve done. I think my husband is too.

But to me the real success of Christmas is sharing the spirit of Christmas with Friends and Family. The joy, laughter, giving, food and goodies and love of the season is the greatest gift of all. If you can manage to share in just a little bit of the spirit of Christmas then I think that’s the real success. We can get so caught up in the commercial part of Christmas that we forget what it’s really about. So this Christmas Eve take a moment to look around at the ones you love and share a smile, create a memory and enjoy the simple joys. Be thankful for what you have.

It’s been a very big learning year for me and this Christmas is so peaceful and pleasant, this year that is what I’m thankful for. I’ve given of myself and it fills me with peace. That is a big December success! I hope your Christmas is beautiful too, Merry Christmas everyone!

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Temperature Changes

Well after the most wonderful and relaxing week on sandy beaches in Mexico, we flew home just in time to get home and hunker down before the snow hit. We turned up the furnace and made soup for lunch while the snow blew all day. With a difference of almost 60degrees I am very proud of my husband for bundling up and going out in the storm to look after his cows. Me and the kids, we stayed in our PJ’s ALL day.

Our week in Mexico was so relaxing and quiet and just what we both needed. We slept the first night for 15hrs straight… no word of a lie. We were celebrating our 10years of marriage, yet everywhere we went people asked and called us Honeymooners… So that was nice.

We were ready to come home on Sunday and see our kids, afterall it was our oldest daughters Birthday and she’s not so little anymore. And as happy as we were to see our kids, I couldn’t help but wish we were still back in Mexico, especially when I woke up the next morning to see knee high drifts in front of my garage, and blowing snow so we couldn’t see the end of the driveway. Sigh….. Mexico was so lush and Warm… I hate being cold, but more than that even though I feel rested and that my husband and I have connected again, I don’t really feel rejuvenated the way I had hoped. When the reality of house and kids and cooking and cleaning hit me Monday morning it sucked my energy and fogged my brain. Maybe it was just everything all at once, snow, cold,kids, house…. but I’m a little sad that I can’t put on my bikini and go sit at the beach for one more day. Oh well. The smiles and giggles of seeing our kids after a week warmed my heart, even if there has been a bit of crying and yelling too. And today the snow has stopped blowing and the trees look nice. I put on the Christmas music to put me in the mood and am cleaning  the house so we can decorate. Christmas does have a way of rejuvenating me, there are many things about it I like, so that will be good to focus on. Since the kids are home because school has been cancelled for two days I thought today Christmas decorating should be fun, unfortunately the christmas tree is in a shed across the yard which is drifted thigh high… so the tree might have to wait. 

It’s funny, when we were leaving Mexico all the resorts were decorating for Christmas in a very festive style, and I thought how strange it was to see fake trees decorated and Palm Trees with Christmas bells hanging from them with beaches in the back ground while the sun shines brightly. Christmas means snow to me, well I got snow didn’t I??? lol. Although I could do with out it being 30below.

Last week was wonderful in the sun and this week in the cold will be busy preparing for Christmas. Talk about Temperature changes…

November Christmas

Yes you read that right, I wrote November, not December. It’s very snowy and chilly here and feels more like the beginning  of December and that Christmas is upon us. Although I discovered it’s not a bad thing that it feels like Christmas for it’s put me in the right mood and the planning has begun.

As I looked at my calendar this past week, and sat down with my cookie recipe book, I realized that when you have kids and family and events to go to, Christmas starts earlier every year. I’ve got Christmas gifts to make, Cookies to bake, Events to plan, Shoeboxes to pack, cards to send out, and most of that before the first week of December. So for me Christmas starts in November as both my freezer and sewing machine will believe. I’m sure there are some people who do Christmas stuff all year round, but my house is too busy for that right now. Maybe when I retire. Some of my projects will wait till the calendar flips it’s page, but I like to get ahead of the game. Even if I just have a tippy-toe in the door of a project now, I feel I’ve got a plan on how to tackle it.

So today I’m going upstairs to bake more cookies for the freezer. Plus the oven will help heat up the house. Today I’m decorating Christmas tree cookies, trying my hand at peppermint cookies, testing out a recipe and modifying a new found favorite.   I hope my husband like sugar cookies for supper, I know my daughter wont mind. LOL. No I’ll get some real food on the table too.

 

 

White Stuff

Yep it’s here! That fluffy white stuff that covers the grass and the trees and tells us that winter is here. That S word, but today on the first day when I see how pretty it is, I don’t mind. Snow!

The first snowfall of the season is one of my favorites. Much like the first flowers of spring, the first snow brings with it the promise of events to come; Family Gatherings, Christmas, a New Year, Winter fun and on and on. We only hope that the winter isn’t too long and that those chinooks come often.

I’m enjoying the soft snowfall and the clean white trees, but ask me again how I feel March 1st, my opinion might be different. 😉

Dec 22, 2012

Good Morning everyone! As everyone knows the end of the world did not happen yesterday, and that just proves to me that NO-BODY can predict the end of the world.

So I think we should just be thankful for everyday we get.

Everyday is a gift, that is why it is called the present

Some days this can be really hard when the kids are driving you crazy and everything seems to be going wrong, but I’m going to try to enjoy more moments in each day and enjoy the gifts of smiles, snuggles and laughter I get, after all, we never know when the end of the world is going to be.

So in a few days when it’s Christmas and we are all opening gifts, take a moment to treasure the real gift of life that day. Treasure what is around you, even if it’s something small, and enjoy the gift of the present with family and friends.

Happy Holidays.

 

Christmas 2012

Well I finally feel like it’s  Christmas time. The Tree is up, the carols are playing in the background, Christmas gifts are being wrapped, and Family gatherings have begun. This past weekend we spent two wonderful days with family. Good food, good people,good news and great memories.

As I have gotten older, I really cherish that part of Christmas. The gathering’s, the family traditions, the giving. Yes, I really enjoy finding a great gift and giving more then receiving. I am in the process of trying to teach my eldest daughter just that. And I am also learning that giving does not mean spending lots of money. Sometimes a simple homemade gift or baking is just as nice, if not better, cause it was made with love.  Giving of our time is also a wonderful thing, like some of my family did last week. We helped sort Shoeboxes at the Wearhouse in Calgary for Samaritan’s Purse. Giving our time to this charity felt wonderful, it certainly helped put me in the Christmas mood.

This Christmas will be a first for our baby boy, so that’s always exciting. This year we get to share the joy with our growing family and Christmas with kids is very joyful. It’s the joy in their eyes I look forward to on Christmas morning. Being able to spend the day with my Family, just like I did with my own family as a kid,  means so much to me and this year is special again. I hope that I can pass on the importance of family to my own children.

Now I’ll admit that this time of year brings some stress too. Busy-ness, Sickness, Finances, End of the year just to name a few. Busy-nes; Trying to fit everything in, visiting and shopping, baking, decorating etc… can get a bit hectic. So trying to slow things down and enjoy the moments helps. This year for us seems more relaxed and I will enjoy that I think. It will allow us to think about what Christmas is really all about and try to bring that out more. Sickness; Winter is flu season, and our house has had it twice. It’s hard to get things done when you are tired and cant stop sneezing from that silly cold. My Poor Husband.  Finances; I don’t think I need to say much about this one, but that every year I try to spend less on gifts. Still it can be a stressful time on your bank account. End of Year; Christmas means the year is almost done, and a new one around the corner. Sometimes that is good, sometimes it is bad. I lately have been thinking about all the things that didn’t get done this year, and how nice it would be to do one more project before 2013 rolls around. Oh well, so instead I’ll focus on Christmas 2012. For the next two weeks, I’m going to go easy on my self, do what I can, and just enjoy what the season has to bring.  Family Dinners, visit’s with friends, parties and Christmas Concerts. It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas season.

Plus, I’ve perfected my crockpot yam recipe, and my mom has requested it for Family Christmas. That’s really neat. Boy I’ve come along way this year. Here’s to a Merry Christmas to everyone and to growth and Joy in 2013.  May God bless your home and your heart. From all of Us here at the Duquette house.

Vanna White & More

There are very few people who don’t know what you mean when you say, ” We need you to be Vanna.” We all automatically think parading around, showing off items with grace and a big smile. Well last night I did my best and played the role of Vanna for my daughters Playschool Fundraiser, and you know I liked it!

I’ll admit, I’m no stranger to being in front of a crowd people singing, acting, speaking, and this is not the first time I’ve played Vanna, but last night was really fun. I did my hair, found a sparkly shirt and put on my biggest brightest smile. By the end of the night I was feeling pretty good about my- self, I was a FANTASTIC Vanna! But come on now the night wasn’t about me,  It was about our local playschool! This is the first year we have been  involved with the playschool fundraiser and it was a great evening. We had some laughs, got some great bargains, ate yummy goodies, AND raised an amazing amount of Money for the playschool. It was also the first festive evening I have attended this year, and you know,  it really helped put me into the Christmas Spirit.

Speaking of Christmas Spirit, I am even more excited for today. I am taking my Mom, Granny, Brother and Aunt to a place I am very passionate about. Even though I can not help out as much as I’d like to, I know every little bit helps. Today for the first time I am taking my family to the Operation Christmas Child Wearhouse in Calgary to sort Shoeboxes that will be sent all over the world. This is a charity that I have been involved with for at least 15 years. I remember packing shoeboxes in school, and as I got older I would pack more and more of them each year.  I often thought how amazing it would be to go on the mission to deliver the boxes, and some day I will do that. It’s on my bucket list. Then just last year I discovered that you can volunteer to sort boxes before they get shipped out in Ontario and ALBERTA! Calgary has a wearhouse! I tried to get to Calgary, and then a door opened and by chance I was able to go with a group from our local church. From the first 1omins I was hooked. That’s it, I was coming every year! It’s such an amazing feeling to be a part of something that touches children who have so little, so far away, and some close by too. So this year I organized to get some of my family together to sort boxes. It’s going to be a wonderful afternoon.

I’d better go get ready. I go from sparkle tops and Vanna shoes to comfortable jeans and runners. Today my role will be on an assembly line, and I couldn’t be happier. Merry Christmas Everyone, let the season begin…….

How Mama Got Her Groove Back

Today is Sunday, the end of a week or the beginning of a new week, depending on your perspective. Today I looked around my house and thought, How did it get like this? I have the biggest laundry pile I have ever seen; to the point I stood and starred at it for a full 2 minutes thinking “where do I begin?” The girls room has exploded with stuffed animals yet again, the dishes are always waiting, the cradle still needs to be taken apart and stored, piles of papers for the “office” sit on top my filing cabinet, and our basement is no closer to being finished then it was in spring. Oh yes to me the little piles of stuff are starting to feel overwhelming. Now my house is NO WHERE NEAR close to an episode of Hoarders, but I feel like I need to take control again and get my mommy groove back.

For a while there, I was Domestic Diva, Crockpot dinners, laundry and dishes everyday, time to blog, time to shower (yes you read that right. lol) I had time to sew a few things and started making some Christmas presents. But then I got hit with a double wammy; Holidays.  We all love going on holidays, getting away and taking a vacation, but in the back of our mind a little voice tries to remind you how it works. First there is the pre-holiday laundry, then the packing, the race around the house to make sure you have not forgot everything, then the mad clean before you leave so as not to come home to a dirty house. Then you enjoy the holiday, and when it’s over……. then the unpacking, and the post-holiday laundry. And then someone gets sick and soon the whole house has the sniffles, and the laundry starts all over again. Oh if I could hire someone who only did my laundry, I’d have millions of more hours in my week. I had gotten a pretty good handle on it once by making sure to do one load a day. I need to get back into that groove again, to take control of the Mt.Everest I have in my basement.

Of course I need to give myself some credit. I was sick too this past week and that really takes it out of you. Plus having extra kids around, and like I said the post-holiday unpacking and laundry. Also, and a big Also, is I need to remind my self that just 7 months ago I had a little baby boy, and he has been the center of my world. He is little and he still needs his Mom. Although he has almost weened himself from nursing, he still wants Moms attention and we are working on getting him to sleep through the night again. He has been more demanding then my girls were.  He was sleeping 8hours through the night, but since his first cold he hasn’t been a good sleeper. Which in turn means mom doesn’t get much rest either. Now all Moms have learned to function on limited sleep, but let me tell you, we are not nearly as productive or motivated on 5hrs of rest.

So lets summarize: My house looks out of control, my family was on holidays, then we were sick, my baby is not sleeping through the night, Mom is tired, Mom has low motivation, laundry pile continues to grow, and then I wake up and think….. where did my groove go? How do I get it back? How can I take control and feel good about my house again? Unlike the movie, I do not think a trip to a tropical area and a cute pool boy is the answer here ; )  I am more of the mind set of slow and steady, baby steps, one step at a time. So I’ll start by making a dent in the laundry, finding the floor in the girls room, and making soup for supper tomorrow. Then maybe I’ll feel better about myself again, that yes I can do this as I did before. I can be the Mom and wife I want to be, I just lost my groove, and now I need to find it again.

You know, I wonder, do you think there is a chance my groove is hiding under my pile of laundry????? I’m gonna find out!!!!

Crafting and Relaxing

And credit to my Dad for cutting the wood bases for them.

Finally a chance to sit down and blog. The kids are watching Aladdin on our brand new 50″ TV, that my husband got last night, after almost three weeks without a TV. Realistically, I was so busy I didn’t even miss it. I think I would have been alright without a TV for a bit, but my poor hubby missed more then one Football game, and so when the Black Friday Flyers came last night, he jumped into action. So now we have a bigger, better plasma TV. As my mom said ” I’d better pretend that that means something and I’m impressed right?” or something like that… lol.  Yes it looks great on our wall, and I know the kids are happy to be able to watch Treehouse again.  So while Conner naps and I have my tea, I’d like to share the highlight of my week and relax a bit.

This week I fell quickly and comfortably into an old role of mine. A few weeks ago my Dad asked me if I would help with a Christmas party he was involved in  organizing. He asked if I could  make centerpieces for the tables. You see, I worked in the floral industry for close to ten years and during those years I discovered I have a natural talent for designing and crafting. Also that I really enjoyed creating beautiful floral art with my hands. If I have the right supplies, my instincts take over and something inspires me to create beautiful pieces.  Well I think they are beautiful, and others tell me they are, so I hope they are not just being nice.  I once created a beautiful horse shoe wreath for someones funeral, and custom designed other funeral pieces with bibles, saddles, gardening gloves and other personal items. My most amazing memory of designing, was rescuing a bride after they  picked up their flowers from another florist and she was distraught. In 45mins, I re-designed her bouquet and the four bridesmaids bouquets,  managed to get before and after pictures too, all the while supervising Deanna who used to come to work with me. BOO-YAH! Top that! And they LOVED them.  But I digress, back to the centerpieces. I was excited to help out with this project. So I quickly went on Pintrest and after a few very inspiring pictures, came up with a  design.

My Mom and I did a shopping trip to Red Deer, and when I got back from my holiday, I went to work putting them together. My mom helped me one afternoon, and it was nice to share the project with her. We got in some Mother- Daughter time while we worked.  I was really impressed how  quick and simple they were to put together and how cost effective too.  My kids thought is was neat that Mom was making crafts. They were too little to remember the hours, and hours they spent as babies and toddlers helping me at the flower shop. I got to do crafts there everyday! And without the stress of business, I find that designing really is relaxing.  It is very satisfying to make something beautiful with your hands, to see an idea in your mind come together and look  good. I am really glad my Dad asked me to do these, and I hope that the guests at the Party tonight enjoy them! We made a total of 26 Centerpieces!

Now back to runny noses and a mountain of Laundry, till the next time my floral skills are needed, and I get to play with pretty things. Maybe sometime in the next month I’ll be able to sit down at my sewing machine again and fit in some Christmas crafts. It tis the season.  Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Nominated… wow.

I am sitting here at the end of my day, sorting through a few emails, and trying to tie up a few loose ends. I had a very fun day, reliving my past role as a florist, designing centerpieces; Christmas berries, hot glue gun, pinecones and glitter ribbon. I had a great time. But I’m getting sidetracked,  so I come across an email….. Approve this comment….. A new pingback is awaiting approval. Okay, so I quickly put on my detective hat and search Pingback on Google, Yes I am new to this, can you tell? And it means someone else has tagged my blog  in their blog. Hey that’s cool.  So I do some more searching and find the blog “Life Doesn’t Knock” .  It turns out she has nominated my blog for the Liebster Award, Discover new blogs.!!!! I’m shocked. Wow. That’s neat, what a boost to my confidence.  So if I have time tomorrow after my mom hat gets hung up, I’ll  do some more detective work and find out more about the Leibster Award.

I am honored and surprised. Thank you.