life is always about the journey...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year.....

Wishing you the happiest of New Year's!
Don't burden yourselves with outrageous expectations but instead love yourself, love your life and live it the best that you can each day.  Make your life what you want it to be, not what others think it should be and don't stress about things that don't matter in the big picture.

Every day we are the author of our own story...and each day we can change the course of that story...make it the novel you want to read and to live.

May your year be blessed with much joy, love & happiness!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas to youuuuuu.....


Hi friends!  I'm just popping in here really quick!  I had a few more blog posts planned and I may still get 1 or 2 up before Christmas. However my goal this month was to NOT stress or feel I had to do things instead of enjoying my family and this time.  And I don't have photos edited and time to get everything typed up.  Instead I'm having that time to spend with my kids and husband watching holiday movies, baking, driving around looking at holiday lights, wrapping gifts and just enjoying everything that the Season brings.

So I thought I'd share a few pics of random things our family likes to do during the Holiday Season!
You can see how I decorate our house HERE if you wish....I haven't included all the trees in that post but the ones I did put up this year look the same minus the family room tree which is the only REAL tree we get.  Family traditions are very important to me and our family..they are what makes the Season Bright & Super Special!


I wanted to share a few pics of our Christmas tree farm adventure...which is always lots of fun for our family.  We've been going since they were babies and its just one of my favorite holiday traditions.

It was a beautiful but COLD day and snow was still on the ground...which meant lots of mud!

The boys chopped the tree down and dragged it to the barn to be shaken & baled!

Meanwhile Alexa & I run back to the truck to get warm and take some selfies...hahaha!

I have a "thing" for red barns and I love them....they are a must take a photo for me. Maybe one day I'll have my own red barn ;)

Here's Alexa adding her decorations to the tree...this year's tree is 14 ft so we had to use a ladder which is always an adventure of sorts.

There's just something about a real tree...smells so good and looks so nice!  The tree skirt I use each year for the family room tree was made by my mom for our engagement it will be a family heirloom one day for the kids.

We also went to see the ICE! Show at the National Harbor Gaylord over Thanksgiving weekend.  We've been going ever since they've hosted them (7 years I believe) and it is another favorite family tradition.  This year it was Frosty the Snowman and YES I did the ice slide this year too :)

We stayed at the Gaylord National Harbor for Thanksgiving & had dinner in Alexandria...I'm not a big fan of Thanksgiving and we usually go somewhere instead to celebrate as a family.  We got to ride the Eye at the Harbor which was fun...if you follow me on Facebook you prob saw the video of ummm Alexa singing...loudly LOL!

You can't visit National Harbor without a stop at the Peeps store to stock up of course ;)

Then I got to go to the Ritz for a Holiday Tea with my two best girlfriends.  It was so much fun and I def ate more sugar than I should've...tis the Season right?

The other night Alexa & I went to the Alamo Drafthouse for their "Elf" movie quote-sing-along with our friends.  We LOVE going to quote-alongs and we've done "Dirty Dancing" and "Pitch Perfect" as well.  They give you fun props and you get to eat yummy foods...always a good time!

I also have a thing for Santas...I have quite a few around my house (maybe 12, 14??).  This is my newest one from Decor Steals...I loved his burlap banner.  The canvas/burlap trees I made last year HERE.

This is the living room tree this year...see the cat in the back..yeah they can't wait to lay on the tree skirt.  With 6 cats I've never had issues with them climbing the trees, but they do like to bat at ornaments now and again.  And that babydoll & rocking chair are mine from my childhood.

One of our 2014 family ornaments from our trip to Disney World this summer!  I love looking at photo ornaments from past years...such a treasure to have on the tree.

And this dog...Baylee loves lights...I mean she loves them. So her favorite part of the holidays is when I string lights on all the trees, she wags her tail & "helps' me LOL!

We are also very serious about our Holiday Movie Watching in the Dean house.  We have a schedule we follow and usually have some "treats" while watching.  This year its homemade popcorn in the Dutch Oven with different toppings and homemade hot cocoa with lots of Cool-Whip!  Our holiday faves include Elf, Home Alone 1 & 2, The Grinch, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, It's A Wonderful Life, Rudolph, A Christmas Carol and lots of sappy Hallmark movies like Mrs. Miracle :)

The front door wreath this year...I just love it!

So I'm not sure if I will be back before the New Year and wanted to say a big 

With the kids being older and Alexa being home on break, this time of year I really want to soak it all up and not worry about things that don't need to happen for the world to keep turning LOL!

This is a slightly blurry version (thx scanner) of our Christmas card this year that I wanted to share with you all!

Please take the time to slow down, breathe, and just enjoy all the moments.
Wishing you lots of love, laughter, peace and joy over the holiday!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Soup For The Soul.......

Only 10 more days until Christmas....are you getting a little nervous or excited yet?  I can't believe that December is half way over ugh....time just seems to fly these days more and more.  I'm trying to slow it all down and enjoy everything as much as I can.

I will share some pics this week of holiday things, but wanted to pop in with one of my favorite cold-weather soups that is easy to make and good to put up in the freezer too.  So make a big batch to enjoy on those days you just don't have time to cook or want to be doing other things ;)

For a printable version of this recipe, click HERE!

Have a wonderful week everyone!!!

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Few of My Fave Holiday Gift Ideas....


I just wanted to share a few fun gift ideas that I may have picked up this year for those on my gift list or things I saw that I think would make the perfect gifts.  Last minute ideas and nothing is super expensive!  If you have a super gift idea please leave a comment so we can all see as well....I love new ideas! daughter flies in today from college and gets to stay home for a month..whoohoo!

I discovered these a couple months ago and quickly ordered one for myself.  They are a FANTASTIC and trendy version of a fanny pack for anyone on the go.  I use mine for my phone when I'm out walking or at a yoga class.  They have a zippered pocket that can hold money, ID or keys and then your phone/iPod tucks in as well.  They come in tons of styles and patterns (even swimming versions) and run about $24 each.  So for someone on your list that loves to walk, exercise or just go anywhere really..they are perfect!

The Spice House

Love these spices...concentrated, always great in recipes and so many varieties.  The spices come in so many flavors including mixtures you may have never heard of.   The gift boxes make lovely gifts for your favorite chef or grill-fanatic...or just pick up a few bottles to stick in gift baskets or stockings will LOVE them!

Reusable Juice Boxes

I love items that can be REUSED and while my teens don't drink juice boxes anymore, these are a fun idea for a mom or kid on your holiday list.  After seeing what was in the bottom of some of those packaged juice boxes a couple years ago (MOLD)...I don't think I could ever drink one again.  These are cute, easily replenished and perfect for your kids (or grandbabies).

Portable Bluetooth Speaker (splash proof)

These speakers are great quality, work pretty much anywhere you need to listen to your music.  Great stocking stuffer for teens that you know they will love.  Heck, I want one for myself too!  A few different fun colors as well.

Ticket Stub Diary

I have a ton of tickets from events our family goes to every year in a tix, concerts, etc.  Yep, in just a big box..sitting there...but in a box.  So I thought what a great idea to have a ticket book for each year.  If you scrapbook or Project Life you may like to record them another way. For me at this moment in my life..I know I can handle sticking them in a book once a month and being DONE!

Tea Bag Buddy

I love this little gadget myself... perfect for anyone that loves tea, its a great gift for under $6.
It holds your tea bag while steeping & keeping your tea hot.
Then you can use it to squeeze the teabag and hold it afterwards.
Cute little video on all the fun things it does is here...and it comes in other cute colors!

Shea Butter Cream
Coiled Paper Trivet

I'm a huge fan of fair trade items, especially those made by women in other countries...those starting a business or supporting their families.  And I always buy a few things every year from Ten Thousand Villages...each product has a description of who made it, how and why.  So you are buying a gift for someone AND helping someone else as!  These were the two items I purchased this holiday for some folks on my gift list. I have two of the paper trivets myself and I love them...they've held up well for over 5 years and they just look cool on the table :)

Selfie Poles

Super fun idea for your teens or anyone that loves taking selfies with their phones!
This one has a button on the handle to easily click a photo.  I can't take credit for this friend Sally got me one for Christmas this year and I thought it was a fantastic idea!

Personalized Cutting Boards

I love personalized gifts whether they be for a wedding, Christmas, birth or just because.
I got myself a small engraved bar board a couple months ago and I just love it.  You can never have enough cutting boards in my opinion...use them for parties, use them everyday, or use them to display.  Etsy has so many gorgeous options but I liked this store the shapes and sizes and so many ways to engrave each one.  Perfect gift for someone anytime of the year.

Board Games
My family are HUGE fans of board/card games...we play them over the holidays, on vacations and any other time we are all together.  It is a fun way to connect without technology and really have some laughs and enjoy each other.  We always have a game night on Christmas Eve after we are all snuggled in our new pajammies, drinking some hot cocoa and waiting for Santa.
This Bounce Off game is pretty popular and for under $15 a good addition to your game supply.
May we also recommend a few of our family's favorites too:  Scattegories, The Logo Game, Wits & Wagers, Say Anything and last but not least....Cards Against Humanity (for older teens & adults please lol).

Chapstick Holders

I got all of Alexa's friends one of these for this Christmas.  I thought they were super cute and filled them with their favorite Peppermint Chapsticks.  Cute stocking stuffer gift for any age.  I bought mine on a flash-steal site but found these on Etsy in the same fun patterns.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Bring On The Gold Trees.....

Ok I have a super easy, inexpensive and FUN DIY project for you today.  Its so easy that it will amaze you...prepare to be amazed...hahahaha! Just joshin' with you a bit, but it is very easy to do and it's a fun project that kids can help with too (minus the epoxy part).

These gold napkin rings literally takes less than 30 mins and costs between $12-18 to make 6 or more, depending on what you may already have on hand.


Wood Ornaments
Acrylic Paint
Glitter Paint (optional)
Gold Floral wire (12 gauge)
5 Minute Epoxy

I bought these wooden ornaments at Michaels...they are usually a $1 each but I got them for $0.59 each..BARGAIN!  I got 12 of them but only made 6 napkin rings...I always have extras if I need them right?  They had lots of pretty options for ornaments but I loved these swirly trees and knew they'd be beautiful on the table.

I had gold paint and gold-glitter paint already but you can usually buy them for under $3 at most craft stores.  And in any color you want to match your decor or holiday table.  I didn't end up using the glitter paint but it would be a fun option to add on top of your painted ornaments if you wanted more sparkle...sparkle is always a good thing!

I like to paint things like this on wax paper as the wood ornaments won't stick when they dry. I just squirt a blob of paint onto the side of the paper and paint away.  I painted both sides with 2 coats so they'd look nice from any angle..they dry quickly.

Now I didn't take a photo at this point....I was caught up in watching "When Harry Met Sally" and totally forgot...forgive me!  This gold floral wire can be found at most craft stores and also comes in lots of other bold colors too depending on what you want.  But it's 12 gauge & easily snipped with wire snips.  I wrapped the wire around the paint bottle (clever yes haha) 3 times and then snipped.  This gives you a nice mold for the wire rings.  It retails for around $5-10 depending on how big the spools are...use a coupon if shopping at Michaels, AC Moore or Hobby Lobby.  My motto is "NEVER PAY FULL PRICE" :)

Then you need some 5 minute Epoxy which most home improvement stores have and some craft stores do as well.  You don't need anything stronger than this since the ornaments are super light.  This part I think an adult should do if you are making these with your kids...just for safety's sake ok? Add a bit of epoxy to the backside of your ornament in a couple of places, then press on your wire ring and hold for a few seconds until the glue takes hold.  Put to the side and let them dry.

And you end up with these beauties for your holiday table.  Pretty easy right?  You could make so many different versions, in pretty colors to mix and match as well.....lots of fun options for not a lot of money.  I think a set of these wrapped prettily in a box would make a great hostess or holiday gift as well.

I set up an impromptu holiday table in my kitchen for photo reasons only...usually we eat holiday meals in the dining room.  But I loved the way they turned out & am already thinking of making another set so I can mix-n-match them myself.

Nothing better than an easy & inexpensive DIY craft in my opinion!


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