Staying Connected

Staying Connected: 20 Questions to Ask Your Teenage Daughter

Now, that my daughter has officially hit her teenage years, I’ve noticed that just asking how her day was seems to get me less and less.  Last year on Pinterest, I ran across several lists of questions to ask your kids in lieu of How Was Your Day?  And, my girls and I had so much fun with it.  It opened up the door to limitless conversations and a lot of laughter.

So with their help, I decided to come up with a list of my own, in no particular order.

  • Who did you sit with at lunch today?
  • What was for lunch today?
  • Who would you say is your closest friend at school?
  • What school activities are going on this week?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What is your favorite tv show?
  • What is your favorite song?
  • What is your ideal day?
  • What is your favorite dessert?
  • What was your favorite day?
  • Is there anyone at school that needs your help?
  • Is there anyone at school that needs my help?
  • Do you like your teachers?
  • What is your favorite class?
  • What is your least favorite class and why?
  • What can I do to help you with that class?
  • So far what was the best day of your life?
  • So far what was the worst day of your life?
  • What are you thankful for?

We are always looking for new questions to add to our list, what are some of the questions that you ask your kids to get to know them better?

TODAY I WILL STOP AND LISTEN TO THEIR LAUGHTER. I WILL BREATHE IN THEIR JOY. I WILL PLAY AND BE PART OF THEIR MEMORIES NOT JUST THE MEMORY MAKER.

Our Christmas Home Tour

Our Christmas Home Tour 1 of 3

Our Christmas Home Tour 2 of 3

Our Christmas Home Tour 3 of 3

Come On In, and Welcome to this year’s Christmas Home Tour.  This year we stuck to the traditional Christmas Colors and just added some Buffalo Check and Gold, to our color scheme.

Things I purchased to make this year’s Christmas Look Complete:

  • A Christmas Wreath
  • New Christmas Stockings
  • 2 Yards of Buffalo Check Fabric
  • Buffalo Check Wrapping Paper

Simple DIY’s:  

  • I used the Buffalo Check Fabric to Cover Existing Ornaments that we already had to add a more rustic, yet defined, look to our  Real Tree.
  • I also used the same Buffalo Check Fabric to Complete my Table Setting, by just adding a Pop of Color that I used to marry both rooms (Living Room flows into the Dining Room)
  • Kitchen Centerpiece (1) was made from Mini Apple Vase Fillers that I already had at home and Green Moss balls to add a little More Red and Green to the space.
  • Kitchen Centerpiece (2) was made from Lemons and Little Mini Red Ornaments, for yet another Festive Look.
  • Outdoors/Front Porch.  I stained the (2) crates that we used in our Fall Display to sit our Outdoor Lighted Christmas Trees, and added Fire Wood to add some warmth.

Thanks for stopping by, and now I am off to enjoy the rest of my Holiday Season with my family.   Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night.

Christmas Greeting

2017 Christmas Coloring Sheets

2017 Christmas Coloring Sheets

Less than a Week until Christmas, and this Mommy is exhausted.  But, I am still plugging away.  Meanwhile my baby girl who isn’t getting any homework this week, has a million things that she wants to show me, projects she wants to work on, oh and things she really needs to borrow my phone for.   So I thought I would whip up these Coloring Sheets to keep her busy.  It sounded like a good idea, but she made quick work at it.  I am sure that I am not the only one with little ones under foot.  So, I thought I would share these as this year’s Christmas Coloring Sheets.

Christmas Mouse       Chimney Santa        Baby Jesus        Christmas Candles

Today was officially my kids last day of school for the year, so while they were gone, I finally finished up Our Christmas Basket.  I actually intended to do away with this tradition, simply because Our New Christmas Stockings hold considerably more than last year.  But, since they asked about it, I had to pull them out.  I’ve seen so many versions of this tradition, basically every family seems to put their own spin on it.  And, I think that is just what makes it special.  I try to keep ours relatively simple.

  • Christmas PJ’s
  • Christmas Coloring/Activity Books
  • Classic Christmas Book
  • Candy or Fruit Snacks
  • Novelty Items such as Funky Pens, Folders, Notebooks, Erasers

Christmas Baskets

Our 2017 Holiday Playlist

Nothings sets the Mood, for a festive Holiday, like the appropriate music.  I am normally the person who can not wait until Thanksgiving  to put on Christmas Music.  But, this year after having to spend more than I wanted to on car repairs.  I simply was not feeling the Christmas spirit, or at least I should say it was delayed.  But, while sitting in my car Soul Holiday came on and that was all that it took to spring board me into the season.  Every year I try to pull together a list of some of my favorite Christmas songs and covers.  I get entirely too much joy from hearing different artist remake the classics.  Of course, only when it’s done right.

Looking for some tunes to share with your family this season.  Check Out Our 2017 Holiday Playlist.

  • Soul Holiday, Sounds of Blackness
  • Last Christmas, Braxton Family Christmas
  • I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, Gayla Peevey
  • Christmas Everyday, Fred Hammond
  • Please Come Home for Christmas, Bon Jovi
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside, Brett Eldredge featuring Meghan Trainor
  • Please Come Home for Christmas Leslie Odom Jr.
  • Say All I Want for Christmas, Nick Jonas featuring Shania Twain
  • Deck The Halls, Pentatonix
  • Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer, DMX
  • The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole
  • Cool Yule Louis Armstrong
  • It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, Michael Buble’
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Frank Sinatra
  • The Christmas Song, Celine Dion
  • White Christmas, Bing Crosby
  • Winter Wonderland, Jason Mraz
  • Sleigh Ride, Tamar Braxton (listen to this first)
  • What Christmas Means to Me, Stevie Wonder
  • Every Year, Every Christmas, Luther Vandross

My kids and I share a love for Christmas music, so  I am always looking to add some more songs to my catalog.  What are some of your favorites?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

All About The Stockings..

All About The Stockings

Photo Source: Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez The Image Bank Getty Images

There are less than two weeks left before Christmas.  If you are lucky enough to be done with your shopping and your decorating, the only thing left to do is to Fill those Stockings!!  This just happens to be one of my favorite Christmas Traditions.  When it comes to Christmas gifts, my kids normally give us a general idea of what they like.  But, the Christmas stocking … let’s just say I have free reign where that is concerned.  When my oldest was younger and my pockets were lighter, I stuffed it with things that I knew he LOVED, like Yoo-Hoo’s, mini boxes of his favorite cereals, Candy, and Gum.

As the years went by our Christmas Stockings evolved.  So here are some of the things that I use to fill our Christmas Stockings.

For My Son (21):

  • Dress Socks
  • Hand Lotion
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Gift Cards
  • Mini Tissue Packs
  • Pens
  • Note Pads
  • Batteries

For My Teenage Daughter: 

  • Lip Gloss
  • Hand Lotion
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Wipes
  • Earrings
  • Bracelets
  • Midi Rings*
  • Funky Pens and Pencils
  • Sticker Books
  • Cell Phone Cases
  • Funky Socks
  • Winter Hats
  • Gloves
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Microfiber Cloths

For My Younger Daughter:

  • Legos (Small Box Sets)
  • Pencil Top Erasers
  • Socks
  • Gloves
  • Winter Hats
  • Coloring Books
  • Crayons
  • Colored Pencils
  • Art Supplies
  • Sketch Books
  • Fidget Spinners
  • Hair Barrettes and Hair Bows
  • Frilly Church Socks
  • Stockings/Tights
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunglasses Case
  • Dry Erase Markers

Hubby:

    • Dress Socks
    • Regular Socks
    • Phone Cases
    • Pens
    • Gift Cards
    • Mini Liquor Bottles
    • Play Station Games
    • Car Chargers
    • USB Chargers
    • Lotion
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Hand Wipes
    • Mini Tissue Packs
    • Razors
    • Batteries

Favorite Places to Shop for Stocking Stuffers:

  • Five and Below
  • The Dollar Store
  • Kroger/Publix
  • Bath and Body Works
  • Ross
  • TJmaxx
  • Marshalls
  • Home Goods
  • Brookstones

FUN FACT:

According to the St. Nicholas Center Organization, St. Nicholas aided the poor, especially those girls whose families could not afford to give them dowries, by dropping gold down chimneys or through windows. This money would land in stockings that were hung up to dry. Another story says that the stocking tradition began when children would leave their shoes out filled with hay for Santa Claus’s horse. He then would replace the hay with gifts.

St. Nicholas was reputedly born in the third century in Patara, a place that is now Demre, Turkey. His parents, who raised him as a Christian in what was then a Grecian province, died in an epidemic. Nicholas used what was left of the family fortune to help those less fortunate. He eventually became the Bishop of Myra where he continued his good works. He died on December 6, on what is now known as St. Nicholas Day. Many countries, such as Poland, celebrate this day with gift giving and feasts.

What are some of the things that you use to stuff your Christmas Stockings?  I would love to hear about it, in the comment section below.

Saying Goodbye to Our Christmas Elf

For the last seven years, Dobbie the Christmas Elf, also known as our Elf on The Shelf, has been a part of Our Christmas traditions.  So you can imagine my shock and surprise when my seven year old told me that he scared her a little.  Of all three of my kids, my youngest one is the one that I would describe as “fearless”, so hearing her say this really hit me hard.   After all, Dobbie was meant to add to the Christmas Magic.  Once I got myself together, I decided to talk to her some more and really get an idea of where her head was.  And, that is when she said that she sometimes had nightmares about him.  I knew then, that Dobbie would have to go.

Of course, how could I explain his departure, or just that he was not coming back this year?  So we put our heads together and decided that we would write a letter to Santa, requesting to retire Dobbie and gift him to another family.

I am not sure if anyone else’s little ones are experiencing this.  But, just in case, here’s the letter that we wrote to Santa.  She is generally a very inquisitive child, and this managed to pass the “sniff test”.

Last year, we officially let our oldest daughter in on the fun, and made her the keeper of the Christmas Elf.  It was her job to move him around, before her sister woke up in the morning.  So she is a little sad to see him go.  But, we thought it was best.  So.. Goodbye Dobbie.. you served our family well, until you didn’t,  lol.

In my humble opinion, being a parent is full of lots of wins and fails, not sure I won this one.  But, I’m moving on.  Hopefully, I am not the only one out here flailing from time to time.

Our 2017 Fall Home Tour

Fall Home Tour 2017

It was my intention to have this year’s Fall Home Tour posted by the first day of Autumn, but life happened, and I had to settle on getting it done before the Time Change.  That being said, my home is finally all decorated for fall and Visitor Ready.  So come on in and look around.

Fall Home Tour 2017: Front Porch

Not to toot my own horn, but I think that I am finally getting the hang of re-using things we already have in a new way.  Believe it or not that makes decorating that much easier.  This year the list of things that I purchased were minimal.  For the front porch, I bought a new wreath on sale for 60% off at Joann’s and (2) unfinished wooden crates.

Fall Home Tour 2017 : Foyer

In the foyer, I simply changed out the Fall Printable, with one from Our Etsy Store, and added some leaf votive candle holders, fall flowers and a ceramic pumpkin.

Fall Home Tour 2017 : Formal Living Room

In the Formal Living Room, I purchased a few mini Pumpkin and Gourd Vase Fillers and threw them in with Pine Cones and Fall Leaves from previous year’s decor, and surrounded the basket with Salt and Pepper Acorn Shakers.

Fall Home Tour 2017 : Fall Tablescape

The only thing new in this year’s Tablescape were the Velvet Fabric Pumpkins I found at Joann’s for 40% off.

Fall Home Tour 2017 : Centerpiece on the Side Buffet

A fun centerpiece for the Side Buffet using a Fall Bouquet and some mini apple vase fillers.

Fall Home Tour 2017: Mantel Decor

Fall Home Tour 2017 : The Family Room

Our Family Room is where we spend most of our time together, I did the least in this room.  Just a few simple touches here and there, the Football Fall Wood Accent over the fireplace, the pumpkins in the Dough Bowl and the super plush Football Throw that I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

I hope you enjoyed this year’s Fall Home Tour.  How do you decorate for the season?  I’d love to hear all about it.  Feel free to share in the comment section below.

Dividing The Work Load

As a Mom, I feel like I am tasked with the job of teaching my children responsibility while still allowing them to be children.  It is never my desire for them to feel like they are in the army, but it is my desire for them to realize how much more can be accomplished when we all pull our own weight.  I love my Mom to death, but I think that part of her aggravation when we were children came from her doing everything herself.  I realize how easy it is to fall into that pattern, especially if you are like me and you want things done a certain way.  But, now that my own daughters are getting older, I have decided that it is high time, we all have our own chores that we are responsible.  Confession Time:  For years, I have introduced chores and then pulled back from them.  But, I don’t think i am doing them any favors by allowing them an opt out clause, or myself for that matter.

I know that every child grows and develops at their own pace, but I look at my oldest daughter and I know that there are definitely things that she could be doing for herself that would make my day to day life that much easier.  And, so began my need for an Updated Chore Chart.  I don’t know … I may be the only Mommy who struggles with this, but on the off chance that you are just where I am,  grab your free Chore List Printable and make it your own.  In addition, it is a fun way to teach your younger kids about money.  Trust me, they will want to make sure that you are paying them what you owe them.

Click Here for Your Printable Chore List

Friday Favorites – Week 387 – Mini Turkey Meatloaves

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Grab Your Free 2017 Back to School Binder Covers

GRAB YOUR FREE 2017 BACK TO SCHOOL BINDER COVERS 2017 Back to School Binder Covers

The 2017 – 2017 School Year has officially begun here in Atlanta!!  As a child, I always loved the back to school season, the smell of new clothes and new school supplies!!  I am sure that shocks no one, since I am still all about new clothes, new pens, notebooks, etc. etc.  Back in my day… we used to actually carry physical books and bought all different kinds of cool book covers and decorated them to our liking.  But, these days pretty much all of the books are available online.  So, my daughter and I simply dress up her three ring binders.  We love doing this every year, it’s kind of our thing.

This is the third year that we have shared our Binder Covers here on the blog.  To grab these simply right click on the links below.

Back to School Binder 1   

Back to School Binder 2

Back to School Binder 3

Back to School Binder 4

To grab some from the previous years click here and here.

Free Back to School Binder Cover Closeups