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.

Reclaiming My Time

Reclaiming My Time - August 2017 - stage-presents.com

Unless you somehow managed to stay plugged out while the rest of us are constantly plugged in, then you’ve probably been hearing this phrase a lot lately.  Recently, Representative Maxine Waters said this phrase repeatedly during a House Financial Services Committee hearing when confronted by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.  Of course, my reason for using this phrase is no where as important or noble.  The kids are back in school and I am slowly but surely, reclaiming my time. Seemed like the perfect time to do a Currently Post …
Currently - Reclaiming My Time
Thinking … About Working on More Items for  the Fall Collection in Our Etsy Store and creating a newsletter for subscribers

Enjoying… Peace and Quiet — the kids are at school

Feeling …. Blah .. lazy and not all that productive today

Wearing…  My favorite PJ’s, a messy bun, and my not soo cute specs..

Needing…  A manicure and pedicure

Wanting…  Apple to hurry up with the iPhone 8Splus

Listening… to Scars by My Brothers and I

Making..  Savory Sweet Potato Mash my latest obsession

Eating… Zucchini and Squash Everything..

Drinking…  My Decaf Coffee with Half and Half.. Torani Salted Caramel Sugar Free Syrup and Stevia.

I always enjoy reading everyone’s Currently Posts.  Want to join in?  I’d love to know what you are currently up to?  Share your links in the comment section below.

Friday Favorites – Week 384 – Chalkboard Milk Bottle Candles

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The Great Escape – The She-Shed

I know I am not alone.  I am sure you have imagined what it would be like to have a space that was strictly your own, where you did not have to consider anyone but yourself.  Some might say that sounds a little selfish, but indulge me a bit.  Can you imagine what it would be like to not have to worry about Scotch Guarded couches or colors that would hide potential spills?  And to have a space where you could hear yourself think.  I can, that space is referred to as a She-Shed.  Some say its origins branch off of the man cave but I think it’s borrowed some from the tiny house craze.  Now, I ll be clear, I have no desire to have my family of 5 cramped into 1200 square feet, however delightful  But, give me 1200 feet that I can call and all mine, and we are best friends for L-I-F-E.

The more I thought about this, the more I got sucked into what such a space would look and feel like for me.  And, I quickly came up with a list of must haves.  This space would have to serve as a sanctuary for me, it would need first and foremost, A LOCK on the door.  I would want it to be a place where I could relax, but also a place where I would feel most creative.  And, so the daydream/planning began. Join me as I think up the Great Escape.

The Great Escape - She-Shed - The Bones

No matter what I am doing, from Christmas decorations to revamping a room in my own home, my starting point is always a Color Scheme.  I am one of those people that takes a lot of stock in how certain colors make me feel.  So the bones of my she shed would need neutral colors.  I find them extremely relaxing, and I also find that they lend to easy changes.

The Great Escape - She-Shed - Accent Colors

Once the bones are in place, I choose my accent colors.  If you have been a reader of this blog for a while, you know I have a certain affinity for blues and greens.  More on that here. They transport me to the ocean, and I find these colors to be soothing to my spirit.  And, with migraines being a constant in my life, anything that lends to those qualities is therapeutic for me.

The Great Escape - She-Shed - Down To Business

Last but not least, I would need to be able to get some work done in this space as well.  With everything else being of lighter hues in this space.  I would opt for darker furniture in the area designated for work.

So there you have it!! If only this were an option for me, right now.  But, for now its just a fantasy.  What would your she-shed look for?  And, what are your must haves for this space.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!!

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Hero Image

Every year on March 17th, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  What began as a religious feast day for St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland has become an international celebration of Irish culture.   I will admit that I am not normally “gung ho” about St. Patrick’s Day, but aside from the fact that I enjoy Corn Beef and Cabbage, there are now so many family friendly activities centered around this holiday.  From the  grand St. Patrick’s Day parades to the local street festivals, there is more than enough to see, learn and participate in.  And, if you happen to be kid free, there’s more than enough Green Beer to go around too.  (Yuck, I hate beer, but to each his own, I guess.)

SO LET’S GET FESTIVE !!

St. Patrick’s Day Attire:  Don your Green attire, or risk getting pinched.

St. Patrick’s Day  Traditional Irish Meals/Deserts/Cocktails:  (Clickable Links)

Corn Beef and Cabbage

Irish Beef Stew

Chocolate-Stout Cupcakes

Emerald Isle Drink

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Traditional Irish Recipes and Drinks

Photo Source 1: ChewOutLoud.com 2: TasteFoodBlog.com 3: MarthaStewart.com 4: TheOdysseyOnline.com

Let your little ones get in on the action, and download your 2 Free St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Sheets.

Celebrating St. Patricks Day Coloring Sheets

Luck of the Irish

Irish Blessings

For more St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Sheets follow this link here.

Friday Favorites – Week 359 – DIY Die Cut Watercolor Art

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Our Visit to the King Center: A Photo Blog

Visit to the King Center : Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

Earlier this month, we loaded the kids up in the car and went to visit the King Center.  My older daughter had been to the King Center before, but unfortunately she was too little to have really understood exactly what the Civil Rights movement or Dr. King’s dream was about.  And so, with  blatant racism, and bigotry being displayed everywhere these days, we thought that it was important for us to remind our children of their significant heritage.

As a parent, I always err on the side of caution when it comes to telling my kids the gruesome and graphic details of life/history.  My philosophy on that is that they have their whole lives to be adults and to deal with such things.  And, I simply don’t want them living in fear.  But, as we were walking through the King Museum and I was trying my best to answer all their questions and explain the things we saw.  I was reminded that the Civil Rights movement was not just for adults.  There were several children on the front lines standing up for what they believed was right.  And, it brought me back to the famous quote by George Santayana, “that those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Surprisingly enough, I do not have too much to say about our trip other than to say that it was a humbling and solemn experience.  It filled me with both great pride and waves of grief.  Pride because of the long journey that our ancestors took on behalf of the very inalienable rights we are supposed to have today.  And, grief for those who lost their loved ones in the struggle and continue to do so in the name of upward mobility and dreams yet to be actualized.

Visit to the King Center - A Day On ... Not A Day Off

A Visit to the King Center : Call To Lead

A Visit to the King Center: Signs from Marches

A Visit to the King Center: Freedom March

I'm Black and Beautiful.

I hope that you enjoyed these pictures that my husband took and, if you are ever in the Atlanta area definitely put this on your list of places to see.  It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.  How do you deal with telling your children about things that are unpleasant?  Do you sugar coat it, or give it to them straight?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, in the comments below.

Friday Favorites – Week 348 – Fabulous Funky Upcycled Felt Garland

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The 2016 Fall Must Haves…

It’s officially the first day of Autumn!!  You know what that means, all you folks that were shaking your heads at my Early Fall Decorations can now take several seats!!  LOL.  OK, I am kidding, well kind of …  There is just something about Fall that sends my Energy and Creativity Levels soaring.  As much as I enjoy a good pool or beach day, me and elevated temperatures are not friends.  Plus, fall means time to update your wardrobe, pull out your Cold Weather Goodies and get rid of those things that you no longer love!!  And, who would not love that?

Sweaters and Tops:

The most important rule of Fall Fashion is layering.  I mean lets face it, its not exactly Parka Weather, but it is often Brisk Enough early in the day to catch the oh so infamous “Autumn Cold”.  And, NO ONE, especially us Moms, have time for that.  I am always excited every year at how diverse the selection of Sweaters and Tops are for the changing season.  You can go from Casual Chic to Sexy Mom with just a few style changes.

2016 Autumn Fashion Must Haves Sweaters and Tops

 

Photo Source 1 2

Boots… Boots and More Boots:

There are so many different boot styles to choose from.  But, this time of year I am particularly fond of Ankle Boots.  Simply because I consider them to be a transitional staple.  They can go from Early Fall to late Winter.  But, I also have a love hate relationship with them.  The oh so anal side of me wants my pants/jeans/slacks to be long enough not to hide their beauty, but not short enough that I look like I am expecting a flood.

2016 Autumn Fashion Must Haves Boots.. Boots.. and More Boots

Photo Source 1 2

Scarves.. Ponchos.. and Wraps…

Surprise, Surprise, my love affair with the Blanket Scarf has made its way into this season.  But, in addition to that these Ponchos and Wraps are just as fun, if not more because of their Cover Up Properties.  You can throw them over a t-shirt, add the right accessories and splash some color on your lips and you are good to go.

2016 Autumn Fashion Must Haves Scarves Ponchos and Wraps

Photo Source 1 2 3

“personal style should be effortless. it’s not about what you wear, but how confident you are when you wear it.” – Monica rose

There’s nothing like a Good Refresh to get you going and take you through the last Quarter of the Year.  What are your favorite Fall Pieces?  Share your finds in the comment section below!!  I can’t wait to read all about it. Are you dressing your house up for fall as well?  If so, be sure to grab this Free Fall Printable here.

Quick and Easy Steps to Making Your Own Candles

Quick and Easy Steps to Making Your Own Candles

I enjoy DIY projects.  But, I should explain I do not enjoy projects that have too many moving parts or require too much work on my part.  So, if you ever see me share a project or a recipe, you can be sure of two things.  It will be quick and it will be easy. Today’s DIY is no different.  I will confess this isn’t the first time that I have made my own candles.  But, it literally was back in 2008.  And, back then I was making them as gifts, so I rarely enjoyed them myself.

Fast forward to this summer, as I was making my summer bucket list.  I tried to come up with projects that I thought the kids would be excited to be a part of.  Now, I know you are probably thinking kids and hot wax, but I promise I did that part all myself.  So, let’s get started.

Moving Parts aka Things You Need.

Moving Parts

  1. Glassware of Some Type
  2. Microwaveable Soy Wax
  3. Candle Wicks with Metal Base
  4. Plastic Mold Sealer (to secure Metal Base)
  5. Straw or Pencil
  6. Fragrance
  7. About 10-15 minutes

I used Mason Jars, because… well I love Mason Jars.  The Microwaveable Soy Wax was Quick and Easy.  The directions on the packaging shown in the first picture.  Indicates that it will take up to a minute to melt.  It took me about 3 minutes to get it all the melted.  I have a Microwave that I don’t use to cook in so I used that for this project.  I am mentioning this because, of course you probably don’t want tomorrow’s left overs smelling like wax.  But I am sure if you give it a good wipe down right after you would be fine.  Candle Wicks, this is one of those things where you will have choices galore.  This go around I used the Soy Wicks with the tabs.  But, if I was to do it again, I would do the braided wicks, because I like the way that they burn better.  And, I would probably go for the simple white wicks just for a cleaner look.  I used a small piece of the Plastic Mold Sealers to secure the Metal Base of the Wicks.  This is not something you have to do but, I feel better knowing that when I start pouring the wick will stay in place.  My favorite part and the reason I made the candles in the first place is the fragrance.  But, I am going to warn you fragrance is NOT CHEAP.  And, if you want a noticeable scent.  You may want to pour between 3-4 bottles of 1 oz  Liquid Candle Fragrances into the melted wax and stir well, for even distribution.

OK, so that explains all the things you will need EXCEPT for the Pencil or the Straw.  Now the first time I did this, I bought longer wicks, so I simply attached the Metal Base and tied the remaining wick around a pencil centered on top of the jar to keep it centered.  This time the wicks I purchased were shorter was shorter, so hubby “jimmy- rigged” it.  My Mommy would always tell me necessity is the Mother of Invention, and she would be right.   He came up with the idea to puncture a hole in a straw and thread the wick through it and then center it on top of the jar.  I was skeptical, but he was right.. hes good with these things.

Making Candles

So there you have it, go forth…and make some great smelling candles.  Not to mention how impressed all your friends and family will be.  I find that these candles are always a most welcome Hostess Gift.  With the holidays coming up, it’s something to consider.  Slap a Personalized Sticker on here or dress it up with a ribbon or two.  Don’t say I never told you anything (smile).

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!