Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas!!

I hope everyone has been enjoying this Christmas season. We've been doing our best to make the most of our time together as a family and it has been wonderful!

Our tree search fiasco continued after we put out tree up....it ended up falling over after about 3 days!! It's all good now, though, and the kiddos even posed in front of it sporting matching sweaters made by their aunt a couple Christmases ago!!


We haven't made it out to play in the snow yet, but we've made marshmallow snowmen a couple of times....

...and these popsicle snowmen! Morgan saw a kit for them in the Oriental Trading catalog and really wanted to make them....I was excited because we actually had the supplies to make them on our own! :-)

Morgan has been working on gingerbread in her preschool class. They sent this home (blank) for us to decorate as a family and we had a lot of fun! I wish I could show you some others that kids made in their classes-REALLY creative!!

In her class's newsletter they sent the recipe to make gingerbread dough (to play with), so we went to town making ornaments....

She's also been reading all sorts of different Gingerbread Men/Boy/Girl stories in her class, so when a friend of the family gave our family a huge Gingerbread man, I knew I HAD to make it for Morgan's class too!

We also made a paper chain-it's such an easy craft for a 4 year old! We also made paper snowflakes, when we were snowed in, to hang from it. :-)

The kiddos also get their own Christmas cards from a friend of the family and their Grandma and Papa. This first one is from the friend. Blake got to decorate a tree and Morgan's was a gingerbread house sticker puzzle.

The kiddos grandparents send stickers in the cards for the kiddos too and one sheet had the characters from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I had to laugh at how Blake was using his imagination when he made this...I hope Santa and Mrs. Claus are okay ;-)

We also celebrated Christmas with Rich's parents this past Sunday. The kiddos got to stay overnight and wake up in the morning and open presents. Plus we had a BIG breakfast and stayed most of the day relaxing just as if it were Christmas....it was a REALLY nice time! (Rich's parents and other brother left to be with my brother-in-law for Christmas. His deployment date got moved to Dec. 26th...there was no way he would have been able to come home for Christmas.)

And I have a tree skirt for our tree now!!! We've been using an old flannel sheet for the past 5 years, but now we have one that I think fits our family quite well :-)

I've been busy cooking and baking for the family gatherings we have the next few days. I'm also excited about a very special birthday party for Jesus that I've been planning too! Christmas day, with the kiddos and my nieces, we'll be making a cake that has meaning and verses to go with every aspect of it. We'll also be reading The Legend of the Candy Cane and having a candy cane hunt with rhyming clues to different parts of my parents' house. Plus we'll be reading the Christmas story and coloring nativity print-offs. I hope to make this a tradition. I think it's neat way for the kiddos to always remember what Christmas is really about. (Thanks to Ticia at Adventures in Mommydom for the ideas!)
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas this year! Enjoy time with family and remember that the greatest gift this holiday season is Jesus! :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Remembering....

Pray for Buckland Family


A year ago tonight my friend, Amanda, lost her husband and 2 young children in a fire. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers tonight, and throughout tomorrow, as I'm sure it'll be tough reliving those memories all over again.

Also, in memory of her family, be sure to give your husband and kids an extra hug tonight...or tomorrow....or all the time! :-)

I'd like to share again this poem that Amanda asked to have read at the funeral of her family:

If Tomorrow Never Comes

If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time, I could spare an extra minute or two
to stop and say "I love you," instead of assuming, you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day,
well, I'm sure you'll have so many more, so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance to make everything right.

There will always be another day to say our "I love you's",
And certainly there's another chance to say our "Anything I can do's?"

But just in case I might be wrong and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget,
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day,
That you didn't take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today, whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them and that you'll always hold them dear,
Take time to say "I'm sorry," "please forgive me," "thank you" or "it's okay".
And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no regrets about today.

Author Unknown

Our First 'Real' Snow and a Blizzard Warning!

I had been hearing that we may get some snow since sometime last week. I didn't think much of it because sometimes we barely get a dusting when they forecast several inches. So the snow started Saturday night as a Winter Weather Watch was under way . It was a really wet and heavy snow that made the roads slushy and yucky. We passed up on going to church Sunday morning and Rich ended up on a rescue call for a car accident due to the weather. That afternoon was Rich's Fire Department's Christmas party. As we sat in the fire hall, enjoying good food, playing on fire trucks and Santa's visit (with presents!) the weather continued to get worse. The wind had picked up, it had gotten colder and it was just plain miserable! By that night Morgan's school was already cancelled for the following day and we were under a Winter Weather Warning.

The kiddos with Santa and they didn't even cry!
Monday came and I woke to our house freezing! Rich had turned down the heat because we were running low on fuel oil. (I'll tell you more about that later.) I spent most of the day between trying to stay warm and doing snow related activities with the kiddos for Morgan's first snow day! :-) By Monday afternoon, when I thought the snow was going to let up, the National Weather Service upgraded our Winter Weather Warning to a Blizzard Warning. The system was lingering just east of us over Lake Huron, creating lake effect snow, and was staying until about 7:00 am this morning. Zero visibility, impassible roads, 3 feet of snow in some areas as well as 7 ft snow drifts were all being reported. Morgan's school was cancelled again last night for today.

Throughout all of this, a top concern of mine was having heat (as well as electricity since several others in the area were losing power.) We heat our house using fuel oil and we just started on the keep full program this July. I noticed we were running low a while ago and called last Monday for someone to come out, since I figured we couldn't wait much longer. No one came the whole week to fill it. Rich ended up running to the gas station to get 5 gallons of fuel on Saturday hoping that would hold us over until Monday. Well, with the weather Monday, I figured there was no way anyone would make it out, so I called again, told them what was going on and asked that our guy come out as soon as it's safe. The company apologized and hopefully we have someone coming out tomorrow. Rich grabbed 10 more gallons last night from the gas station....we hope that'll be enough to make it until we get more!!

After this storm, and reading and knowing what others have had to go through to make it through, I have to say that it made me thankful that we made it through safe and sound! Rich was always able to make it out with the truck and went to work both yesterday and today. We didn't end up with as much snow as those north of us did. We never lost our power, so there were no complications there. We still have heat (so far) and I pray that we will, because it's bitter cold out now! (I went out to shovel snow today and only lasted about 20 minutes before my fingers were in pain from the cold! That was with doubled up gloves on, since it was -6 with the wind chill when I went out.) Even though the temp in our house is lingering around 58 and we can feel the cold come through the walls, it still feels a TON better than outside....VERY thankful we still have heat!!!! :-)

Hopefully tomorrow we can get back to normal. Morgan should be going back to school....as long as we get our driveway cleared out and the roads are clean of course. She isn't used to the idea of being both snowed in and not being able to play in the snow. It's so terribly cold I won't let her go out to play and she keeps asking if we can go somewhere! LOL! We should have our fuel oil tank filled tomorrow too! That means we can turn our thermostat back up to the 64 we usually keep it at. And, hopefully, I'll be back to my old self and not cuddled under a blanket trying to stay warm all day! ;-)

Although I didn't get pictures of the blizzard, I did get a few pics today...as you can see we didn't get 3 feet of snow or 7 ft drifts...the tallest drift may be 4 feet.

**UPDATE: Still no school today (Wednesday). It's been too cold for the salt to actually work on the roads, so they're too icy. The snow plows stopped working at sunset last too, so many of the roads hadn't been cleared.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TV Time


I had never been a huge fan of the TV...until becoming a parent. I know that sounds terrible, doesn't it? I honestly didn't watch much TV, and neither had Rich, before kids came along and it wasn't something that I wanted my kids to see too much of either. (We actually didn't even HAVE TV the first year we were married.) I don't know when exactly things went downhill, but they did!

There was a point that the kids watched TV constantly! They'd ask to watch something, so I'd put it in for them never thinking that I should offer a different activity instead. The kids TV time is actually much better now. They may watch 1 or 2 shows a day, possibly a 3rd before bed at night but, for the most part, they play a lot now, we have nearly an hour of reading time most days (divided into 30 minute periods), we listen to music more, play games and do activities. I'm actually quite happy with how little time the kiddos watch TV compared to what they used to.

The thing is, it's still a problem for me...

I LOVE my down time each night after the kiddos go to bed. I tend to turn the TV on at 8 or 9, depending on the night and what shows are on, and watch until at least 11:00. I don't think a little TV time for myself is bad, but the amount I feel like I watch is getting to be TOO much. On top of that, I end up snacking and by the end of the night I feel fat and lazy. :-/

On a positive note, at the times that I'm not snacking, I do get some cross-stitching done. Also, I'm proud that we only have one TV on a little TV stand in the corner, and Rich and I have agreed that we will never get more TVs for our bedrooms. We feel TV takes away from family time enough without having it separate the family into separate rooms to watch their own shows too.

So, I'm hoping that I can just take the plunge one day soon and stop watching TV so much...cut back to a couple shows a week and, in turn, make more time for working out, spending time with Rich (and the kids), reading and studying the Bible, etc. I think it'll help make the days more fulfilling and create a stronger bond as a family....maybe for a New Years Resolution?! Then the next thing to tackle will be this computer time!! ;-)

K-Mart Gift Card Giveaway at Flying Giggles and Lollipops

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Michelle at Flying Giggles and Lollipops has an amazing giveaway going on right now for a $500 gift card to Kmart! Can you imagine all that you could do with that? I think I'd finish my Chrismas shopping (I don't have much left-yay!) then grab several names from Salvation Army's Angel Giving Tree and go to work shopping for them! Or, if the giveaway ends too late for that, maybe buy a bunch of groceries for those who are less fortunate. Either way, it would be awesome to have the opportunity to help others in my community to have a Merry Christmas this year :-)

Be sure to stop by and get your entries in. And while you're there check out the giveaway for a $500 Sears Gift Card as well!! Even more awesomeness, right? ;-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our Christmas Tree Search Adventure

Yesterday we decided we'd brave the cold and go get our Christmas tree. Rich's mom mentioned that the field they are cleaning out to farm has some nice trees if we'd like to get one from there. So the four of us jumped into the truck and headed over to the family farm planning on getting a free Christmas tree and helping clean out the field at the same time (not that it was going to be a lot of help, but it'd be one less tree to clear out.) We first had to stop at Rich's parents' for a saw, then to his grandma's for a key to take the chain down in the entry to the field, then into the field where the real adventure began....

It was SO COLD yesterday, that we wanted to drive to where the trees were, which happened to be across the field that had already been cleaned out and worked. Rich slowed down near a low spot to put the truck in 4-wheel drive, but apparently thought about it a little too late...

The truck sank in the mud and we were stuck...

Rich's uncle came to the rescue....

And we were free within 10 minutes.
Blake missed all the excitement, but woke up to a little boys dream of trucks, tractors and MUD! LOL!
Needless to say, we gave up on that field and went to the hill behind Rich's grandma's for our tree. (If it looks like the kids are standing funny it's because it's a fairly steep hill and they were trying not to fall backwards into the tree.)

And our free tree wasn't so 'free'....it ended up costing us $11....at the car wash....getting all the mud off the truck!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dollhouse Giveaway at Mom Spotted!

Morgan asked for a dollhouse this year for Christmas and they are SO expensive that I'm not sure that it will happen this year...unless I'm lucky enough to win one!



Mom Spotted has a giveaway going on right now for a Melissa & Doug Multi-Level Solid Wood Dollhouse.




Isn't it beautiful!?

Morgan would absolutely LOVE it! And I love that it's wood. It could be something that she keeps and hands down to her daughter someday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!! If you'd like a chance to win for a little girl in your life, just stop by Mom Spotted and follow the super simple rules to enter. :-)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Event at Hip Mama's Place!



LrgImOnHipMama


Hip Mama's Place is currently hosting a 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Event where you could win some AWESOME prizes. Some of the prizes include several gift cards to K-Mart and Sears to help with Christmas shopping this year! :-)

Make sure to stop by Hip Mama's Place before midnight, December 11th to get your entries in. You really won't want to miss out on the chance to win!! :-)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Family Devotion Time

Each night, the kids and I (and sometimes Rich when he has the chance) do a preschool devotion after bedtime stories. It has been wonderful for the kids. The devotion is short, so it keeps the kiddos attention and asks a simple question or two to engage them in what is being taught. It also has a bible verse and a prayer to go along with what we're learning....and when I say 'we', I mean me too! Even though the devotions are meant for little ones, I always feel like I go away with reminders of God's love and what it means to be a Christian. I love the devotion time that we have each night and it's made me think seriously of doing a devotion either on my own or as a couple with Rich in the near future! For now, I'm happy with that special time with the kiddos learning more about God. Plus I love that we're starting the routine now, so hopefully it will be something that the kids will continue even after they've grown up and left home :-)

Here is a video of the kiddos doing one of the prayers in their devotional that I recorded back in the Spring because I wanted to remember their cute little voices praying :-)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pre-Thanksgiving Fun!

We have been having fun, like usual, doing some crafting to get ready for Thanksgiving. Most of these I saw online and seemed easy enough, so we tried them out!

This one is actually a card. Morgan and Blake each made one (with mom's help) and the cards were given to their grandparents. Aren't they super cute!? This one was found at Peppers and Pollywogs.

This is Morgan's entry into the newspapers contest. She had to color in the turkey's feathers and she wanted to use paints...not sure paints were allowed, but she had fun! ;-)

This family of turkeys idea came from Trendy Treehouse. We changed them up a bit by adding beaks and waddles and leaving out the legs...I think they turned out adorable! :-)

I put them above the doorway into the kitchen...they seem to like roosting up there ;-)

These were kinda my own idea. I had won a turkey cookie cutter last year AFTER Thanksgiving, so I had to wait a whole year to use it, but I think the wait was worth it! YUM! We took most of them in to Morgan's class and to the vet clinic my moms work at. (Moms=my mom and my MIL.) Morgan had fun cutting them all out and putting the tail feathers on for me :-)

Morgan colored this turkey in her preschool class....they don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but no one will say anything if they happen to focus a little more on turkeys this time of year ;-)

I saw the idea for these pilgrim hats on Snack Picks. (I must have got the link through another blog I follow, but don't remember which one right now.) They were SO easy and they'll make a great addition to our Thanksgiving dinner! :-) (They taste delicious too!!!)


I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!! There is definitely A LOT to be thankful for! :-)

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $45 gift code to CSN Stores!! It ends tonight (Thanksgiving) at 10:00 pm.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

*UPDATED* Airline Taking Advantage of a Military Man

*UPDATE: First of all I wanted to thank those of you who took the time to write U.S. Airways. I really appreciate the time you took out of your busy schedules to help a member of my family and a Marine! Now for the update! U.S. Airways has been in contact with my in-laws and are in the process of having a $150 voucher sent out to them. Great news, right!? In light of this news, if there are people who come across this post wanting to write an e-mail to the airline, there is no need to anymore. The situation has been taken care of and everyone is satisfied with how it all worked out. U.S. Airways was very helpful and understanding....after all the e-mails they received ;-) Thank you again, enjoy this holiday season and have a very Merry Christmas! :-)

***************

I am angered tonight. I typically wouldn't write a post like this, but it has angered me to tears and I feel like everyone should know what happened.

My brother-in-law, a U.S. Marine, recently found out that he is to be deployed soon to Afghanistan. So when he was granted leave, he booked a round-trip flight home with U.S. Airways to spend time with his family before being overseas for a year. Not having his own vehicle on base, he depended on another Marine to get him to the airport, but that Marine took his time and got my brother-in-law there late. By the time he made it to his terminal, it was only 20 minutes before his flight was to leave. No one was at the desk and he was unable to find anyone to get him on his plane....he ended up watching his plane take-off without him on it.

Alaska Airlines was able to get him on a flight with a one-way ticket, which cost as much as his round-trip ticket, and assured him that he would still have his ticket back to base with U.S. Airways...but now, 2 days before he is to head back, we find out that isn't the case!

Apparently if you miss your flight, they automatically cancel your flight back on a round-trip ticket and they charge another $150 to reinstate that ticket. I don't understand it! If you pay for 2 tickets and don't use your first, you should still have the second one that you paid for, right?

So, my mother-in-law ended up calling the airline to see if there is anything that they can do...at least wave that fee. The woman she talked to was rude. She acted like my mother-in-law should have known that's what would happen. My mother-in-law insisted that they never fly and there was no reason for them to think that he'd lose his ticket back to base....the woman at U.S. Airways HUNG UP ON HER!!!

My mother-in-law ended up calling the number again and got someone totally different in a totally different call center, so there was nothing he could do about the first person my mother-in-law talked to. He was very kind about the situation and apologized saying that there really was nothing that she could do by calling....the only thing she could do was get as many people as possible to write the airline at their website and maybe if enough people were upset by what happened, then U.S. Airways would do something for my brother-in-law.

If this had happened to just anyone, I'm sure I'd be upset, but not to the extent that I am knowing that this is my brother-in-law, who is a U.S. Marine, who just came home to see his family before being deployed to risk his life for our country...that's the part that makes me cry. How could the airline NOT do what they can for him? And what is $150 dollars to an airline?

I am going to be writing U.S. Airways in hopes that they will work with my in-laws and help them out. I would appreciate it, if you have a minute and are as upset about this as I am, if you could also write the airline? It would really mean a lot to me :-)

This is the information you will need to fill out their complaint form:

Link to form: http://www.usairways.com/Forms/CustomerRelations.aspx

Departure City: Palm Springs, CA

Arrival City: Detroit, MI

Departure Date: November 13, 2010

List Names of People Traveling: Please e-mail me at khmorgan_00@yahoo.com for his name.

If you would like to just copy and paste what I wrote to U.S. Airways, this is my e-mail:

"I was recently made aware of a situation where a U.S. Marine, missed his flight home on your airline. He was going home to see his family before being deployed to Afghanistan. He was able to get a one-way flight through another airline and was under the assumption that he would still have his ticket back to Palm Springs...since it WAS already paid for. Turns out your airline cancelled that ticket and wants to charge him $150 to reinstate it....even though he already paid for it? This man is about to go overseas to fight for our freedom and I feel that we, including your airline, should be doing what we can to thank him! Your airline was already called by his mother seeing if there was any way you could wave that fee and she was hung up on by one of your employees who was being rude to her throughout the conversation. We are only asking that you be kind enough to wave the fee to reinstate his ticket back to Palm Springs. PLEASE consider this request to help a U.S. Marine."

The rest of the information that they ask for will have to be your own personal info if you were to take the time do this for me. Again, I would really appreciate any help that I can get with this. Also, you have my permission to re-post this on your blog as well, if you would like to do that or share on facebook or twitter.

Thank you again! And remember, on this Thanksgiving, to give thanks for our service men and women who are risking their lives so that we can enjoy our freedom!! :-)

***I also wanted to let you know that despite all the negative elements around this situation, there were some positive. When my brother-in-law was trying to get on his plane, Alaska Airlines actually paged U.S. Airways several times for him trying to get someone to get him on his flight. And, when he missed his flight, an older couple, who had seen what had happened, gave him $200 out of their pocket to help him get home! The kindness and generosity of these people really warmed my heart! :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

CSN Stores $45 Gift Code Giveaway!! *CLOSED*

Congrats to Liz, comment #26!!
Just in time for Christmas shopping, CSN Stores has offered a $45 gift code to one of my readers!! Isn't that awesome!?

I've thought of a couple things that I could get from CSN Stores if I had a $45 gift code:

I like this Bilibo for the kids. I LOVE how versatile it is for the kiddos to use their imaginations:


I also like this backpack for Blake. It has Legos AND firefighting-PERFECT! He'll most likely be going to preschool next year and I'd like to get a head start on school shopping. (I like to plan ahead!)


If I were shopping for myself, I like this end table to replace the end table/coffee table set we have. We're trying to open up our floor space a bit, plus this would provide more storage!

BUT, this gift code isn't for me...it's for one of you!

WIN!: To enter the giveaway for the $45 gift code to CSN Stores, please take a look around their 200+ stores and tell me what you'd like to get if you were the lucky winner. Be sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment, so I can contact you if you win.

Extra Entry Opportunity (leave a separate comment):

*Follow me through Google Friend Connect. (1 Extra Entry)

Giveaway will end on Thanksgiving Day (U.S.), Thursday, November 25th, 2010 at 10:00 p.m. Winner will be chosen that night by random.org and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

*Disclosure: I was given this opportunity to host a giveaway in exchange for a teaser post. I was not compensated in any other way and any opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Blake Sleeping

Blake decided he could quit taking naps when his sister did and this is what happened:


This little guy sleeps everywhere!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happenings and Projects

I wanted to apologize for the lack of personal posts lately. (And that I haven't been to visit your blogs the last week or so.) I've been busier than I realized I would be:

*My sister is engaged now...happened last Sunday (November 7th) and she plans to have her wedding up by me. So between her working 60 hours a week and not having time and the fact that I live near everything, I've been trying to help figure out the wedding plans...it's starting to come together now and we can relax a little, but there is still a lot of work to do!

*I'm trying to make sure to do a little bit of preschool with the kids...I mostly read to them more (my goal is 5 hours a week, but even that hasn't been happening) and then we have creative time, music time, game time and learning time (where they work on writing/reading/etc.). We try do each of those "times" once a week. Morgan gets a lot of this in school, but I wanted to expand on her schooling here at home :-)

*I've been signing up for giveaways like crazy!! Because I don't work outside the home, I feel like it's my way of contributing. Winning food, gift cards, clothes and toys/books (for presents) helps out a little....plus it's fun just getting those "You Won!" e-mails! LOL! :-)

*I started doing a craft night with my mom once a week (or 3 times a week like last week) and it really feels good to finish a few projects. These are what I have done so far:

This is my first project. It's a book sling for over/next to Morgan's bed. I happened to have more fabric from when her bedspread was made (it used to be mine when I was in junior high/high school), so all I had to purchase were the dowels and the curtain rod brackets.
I sewed it at my mom's one night and put it up while Morgan was in school the next day. I surprised her with it when she came home from school that day. She still asks if I have a surprise for her when she gets off the bus on occasion-LOL!
I also made some curtains for the kids to go with the valences (there are 2 windows) they had from the nursery set...I know it's baby-ish, but I figured we'd stick with the gender neutral farm animal theme since they still share a room. This is the first that they've had window coverings since getting the new windows this summer!
This last project I actually worked on at home without my mom. I spun up a few small skeins of yarn made from raw (unwashed) alpaca fiber. Rich's Aunt and Uncle have alpacas at their place and had an open house that I spun at for 3 hours this past Saturday. I made these up ahead of time for them to display at the open house. (There is a black one too that I had already sent to them before this picture was taken.)

I have a few Christmas presents under way that I'm making for the kiddos as well. I just hope I can get them done in time because I'm really excited to actually make the kids some gifts this year...my mom used to make things for my sister and I-I'm loving being able to do the same for my kiddos! :-)

So that's what has been happening here! I'm hoping to catch up on here this week and visit everyone...so I should be by soon! :-)

A Gathering Place

I had another Girls' Night Out this past Saturday night and had a wonderful time. It was at my close friend's place that I roomed with all 4 years at college. She and her dad fixed up a run-down foreclosed house and it's beautiful now! My favorite spot is her kitchen...I dream of a kitchen like hers! I just LOVE the island in it with the counter stools along one side for people to sit. Saturday night we had all the food set on the island and for the longest time all eight of us stood/sat around it and just talked and laughed and had the best time. The kitchen was open and inviting and made a wonderful gathering place that I long for in my home...Sunday night I longed for that kitchen even more.... Sunday night Rich had his 6th Annual Opening Day Eve party. (A party before the first day of deer hunting gun season.) It's mostly guys and they hang out in the garage, drink beer and watch the movie "Escanaba in da Moonlight", but some of the women come along too. The girls usually hang out in the house until the guys are ready to go home and then they're the designated drivers ;-) Well, this year I felt like my house was awkward...no good place for a larger group than 3 or 4 to come together and have a nice time...the living area of the house is split up into 3 small rooms and it just doesn't work nicely. Needless to say we all ended up in the garage after about a half hour...partially because that's where all the food was but, as funny as it sounds, I think our garage is more inviting being a large open space to gather.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining. I do love our little house and I know we're just starting out so this is how it's going to be for a little while. And I honestly had an amazing time this year for Opening Day Eve and wouldn't have changed a thing! But, in the future, I would love a kitchen with an island like my friend's as a gathering place so we can start having parties inside as well. Plus....having to get both the outside AND the inside ready for people to visit for each gathering is quite exhausting!!! ;-)

*Disclosure: This is a teaser post for an upcoming CSN Store giveaway! CSN Stores offered for me to host a giveaway or do a review in exchange for this post.
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