Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Coffee Surprise!

Today, I wanted to surprise someone with a cup of coffee. (Well, actually, it was a Starbucks gift card, so maybe it was a coffee, or a pastry, or tea, or whatever.)

The catch to this was, I was going to do this for someone, whom I know, doesn't particularly care for me that much.

The other catch to this was, I gave it to this person, anonymously.

Say, WHAT?

That's right. I did something nice, for someone else, who doesn't particularly like me, without telling them it was me.

If this seems kind of random, it might be. Honestly, I just felt that I should do something nice for this person, to show them, that they are loved.

Again, who doesn't like hearing that they are loved? Who doesn't like seeing little acts of kindness? 

I got a $5 Starbucks Gift card, put it in a card, and wrote that I wanted to show her that I was thinking of her and that she was loved. I never signed my name. I dropped it off with one of her co-workers, who definitely has no idea who I am, and told her that I wanted to remain anonymous, in case she had questions. 

That's what I did today. I put a little random, anonymous Love out in the world today. Hope it makes a difference.

Have you done any random good deeds and kept quiet about them?! I'd love to hear them? I'm always looking for more ways to put a little love out in the world!

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Happy are people who are humble, 
because they will inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:5

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blessing Bags

This past week, we were busy doing things. I really LOVE giving to people, and giving back in our community.

Our pastor, this past two weeks, has kind of given us a challenge. It really shouldn't be a challenge, it should just be a natural way of life. But, we were challenged to be a blessing to someone else. A six week challege, to be someone else's blessing.

I LOVE this idea. Any time we can help anyone, other than ourselves, is a blessing. Plus, its amazing to have that feeling-that one where your heart just can't stop smiling, because you know what you're doing is right and good.

This week, I made up some blessing bags. These are bags to have handy in your car to hand out to the homeless.

I went to the dollar store (LOVE that place!), and picked up a few items (ok, several) to stick in a gallon size plastic ziplock bag.

I've seen these on pinterest, and like most things on pinterest, I tend to pin it and forget about. 

But, this was easy to do. Easy to make. Easy to distribute.

I bought socks, razors, toothbrushes, soap, tissues, bandaids and lots of various snack food items. I put granola bars, nutrigrain bars, pop tarts, raisins, animal crackers, instant oatmeal and hot cocoa, and a juice box or two.
Items ready to go!

I think, because it is starting to get winter here, that gloves and socks, would be a nice addition to the bags. 

I put all the contents into separate bags and placed them in my car. You can always throw a buck or two inside the bags as well. Everything you put in there, depends on you and what you're willing to give.
All packaged up!

I placed five of the bags in my car. Since, I'm always in my car when I see people in need, that's where I need them.

I got my first chance to hand one out a couple days ago. It was so cool! There was a gentleman who was standing outside our grocery store area on a grassy hill. He was holding a sign, asking for anything. I pulled up and handed him my blessing bag. He was smiling from ear to ear and just kept saying, "Thank you! Thank you!"

It wasn't anything big, but it was something. Honestly, if I hadn't just had a load of groceries and the kids in my car, I probably would have just driven around and tried to hand them all out! I'll save that for another day.

But, honestly though, how cool is it, to bring that big of a smile to someone's face? To feel good, about not just turning away from them and pretending we don't see them, like I would usually do. (Yes, I've done that. I always feel bad and akward when I do it too. Because I know I SHOULD be doing something for them.) But, now I don't have to. Now, I'm ready to hand out blessing bags and be a helper for once.

Have you guys done this? Do you have opportunities like this? Do you have any tips for other great items to place in the bags??

I'd love to hear from you guys! 

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"Those who are gracious to the poor lend to the LORD, and the Lord will fully repay them." 
Proverbs 19:17

Check out my other posts on giving and donating!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More than Generous...

I guess this has been on my heart for awhile. It took a wonderful Christian mom's meeting, to really bring it out and up front in my life and eyes.

I felt the need to share this with you guys, my readers. (I think all two of you out there!) We've had a rough week (our 6 1/2 year old dog disappeared) and it's time to get back to the roots of this blog, doing for others when we're down.

This is the season of Thanks and Giving. The, seemingly, once a year, we all talk about how we're happy to have people and things. 

There are a lot of people out there with HUGE WISH/WANT lists. Trust me, I'm guilty of this too! I really would love to have a mother's ring, a bike, a vacation, a new wardrobe since I'm done being pregnant, yada yada yada. If I don't get any of this stuff, I'll be just fine. In fact, if I got ANY of these things, I'd be shocked.

There are a lot of people out there, who don't think they are rich enough. Who don't have enough 'stuff.' The truth is, if you live in America, you're actually rich. Most of the world's population lives on just $2 a day. How lucky are we? Most of us have rent that well surpasses $2 a day. If you don't, you need to tell me your secret. But, honestly, thinking of having a home that we can afford to pay for, is a blessing. We really are lucky! If you were able to take a warm shower, or put on clothes, or eat a meal, you ARE BLESSED! And if you did all these things, in succession, you're EXTREMELY BLESSED!

I'm telling you this because there are stories attached to this. We weren't always so lucky. There are people out there now, that definitely aren't. So, if you look at the second word, in ThanksGiving (Capitalized on Purpose!), you'll see, what I'm about to talk about. Giving.
Girl & Boy from the Giving Tree.

This week, we've been busy. I donated a turkey to our local Salvation Army.
They are in need, every year. I also picked up the names of two kids off the Giving Tree. I always tend to go for the older kids, because babies and smaller children always end up being pretty easily taken care of. The older ones, even though are a little harder to shop for, are the most fun for me.

A long time ago, I remember being a recipient of someone else's generosity. I was very little, my brother and I both were. I might have mentioned that we weren't a very wealthy family. We were poor. It doesn't bother me to say that. It was, what it was. My parents always found a way to take care of us.
Wuzzles, photo from Wikipedia.

I remember one Christmas, I got to go to a special place with my brother, where I got the coolest toy I'd ever gotten! It was a Wuzzle. Remember those?! I got Eleroo! He was half elephant and have Kangaroo. I remember I put stickers in his pouch. He was purple and had orange stripes. He was AWESOME! I don't remember what my brother got, but I remember that's what I got. I had him for the longest time too. Not sure whatever happened to him. Gosh, funny how memories of random things will affect your outlook on life as an adult.

When I became old enough and financially able to do so, I started doing the same thing. I started giving back to kids. It wasn't much at first, maybe one name. But EVERY year, I do this. I do this because, it's important. I knew, at a very young age, how special the smallest act of kindness could mean. Changes your heart and your life.

We give to a lot of different things. Lots of causes that affect children and families. This is what our jobs are. No matter what, you can always find something to give. Whether it be money, items, or just time. You can afford something, for someone.

I remember sitting in church and learning that your job as a Christian, is to take care of, well, everyone. All of mankind. Show love to one another, and treat them as ourselves.

Going back to the ladies meeting I had this week, one of the points we talked about, was excess in our lives. We all have sooooo much stuff.

I learned that one lady, doesn't buy presents for her kids. They have generous family members that buy gifts and presents for her kids, so in turn they take money and donate it to other families and causes. Woman after my own heart! 

The true meaning of Christmas is giving, helping others and showing love, in honor of Jesus, isn't it? 

We talked about the second chapter in James. It's an EXCELLENT chapter. It popped out at me immediately, because it's something I really needed to hear. I really feel like this applies to all of us. I've been guilty of this, and I need to be better.

Honestly, I kind of really want to type up the entire 2nd Chapter of James, but would probably turn you away. Know that it kind of ties along into Matthew, if you're not familiar with it. (And you totally need to read it and get familiar with it!)

Here are a few verses from James 2: (Common English Bible)

  "Imagine two people coming into your meeeting. One has a gold ring and fine clothes, while the other is poor, dressed in filthy rags.
  Then suppose that you were to take special notice of the one wearing fine clothes, saying, 'Here's an excellent place. Sit here.' But to the poor person you say, 'Stand over there'; or, 'Here, sit at my feet.'
  Wouldn't you have shown favoritism among yourselves and become evil-minded judges?
  My dear brothers and sisters, listen! Hasn't God chosen those who are poor by worldly standards to be rich in terms of faith? Hasn't God chosen the poor as heir of the kingdom he has promised to those who love him?
  But you have dishonored the poor." James 2:2-6

  "You do well when you really fulfill the royal law found in scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself." James 2:8

  "My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they  have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can't save anyone, can it?
  Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat.
  What if one of you said, 'Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!'? What good is it if you don't actually give them what their body needs?
  In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn't result in faithful activity." James 2:14-17

  "Someone might claim, 'You have faith and I have action.' But how can I see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I'll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faith action.
  It's good that you believe that God is one. Ha! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble with fear. 
  Are you slow? Do you need to be shown that faith without actions has no value at all?" James 2:18-20

Add this along with Matthew 7:21-24, and you've got yourself some big actions and consequences.

I know, I'm still really young and learning in the ways of God and love and showing his amazingness through opportunity. I, by no means, have any or all the answers. But, I was so humbled and touched by these other ladies and their stories of how they connect with one another, and show love and honor God with giving.

Do you know your neighbors? Like, their names? Where they work? We tend to be so isolated, even though we're all socially connected online, that we tend to overlook actual people.

This week, I found out, a man who I had kind of known for a couple of years, lived a few streets down. His wife has some medical trouble and he works full-time and she's home. Why can't I help them? How did I NOT know they lived just a few streets over? We literally, walk by their street almost every day. So, I offered up my services to help. When ever they need it. I'd hope that someone would do that for me, if I ever needed it some day.
Finger Painted Fall Trees Card
Also, this week, (Remember, I said we've been busy!) the kids and I planned a craft day. We called a local nursing home, and asked if we could make some cards for the residents there. The staff was really excited by our offer! They had over 80 residents. I'm not sure how many of these people get visitors, or cards, or anything, so I wanted to make sure to get something to all of them. Trust me, this is a daunting task with a three year old and one and half year old. 
Hand Turkeys, Trees, Scribbles and more on these cards!
Their focus isn't really going to last for 80 cards, so I definitely picked up the slack. But, I did so cheerfully! I was HAPPY to do this! Happy to donate my time into some cards, to show love to others. 
All 82 cards!
It only took us a few hours, and they were done. We dropped off all our finished cards so they could be distributed before Thanksgiving. 

Giving to others, is just such an amazing feeling! Especially, giving something, you know can really help! 

We also, bought food and donated it to the local food shelters. I can't imagine what it would like to be hungry. Or to watch my children be hungry. We give thanks, EVERY DAY, that we have food. 

I know this has probably been beat to death over the past month and that many of you, do find ways to give. Isn't it just amazing, the feeling you get from doing it? Can't you just help, but smile while you do it? 

If you ever need to hear a testimonial about how something you've done (like donating Toys for Tots, or a turkey) can change a life, just ask me. I was once one of those kids. Your generosity, made a difference in my life. You started a cycle, when you gave that day. Because, I now give. My children, will give. One random act of kindness has changed two generations.

Your giving may not always have that affect, but it will NEVER have a negative impact on anyone's life. Giving, with LOVE, will always have a positive that comes from it.

So, this year, I'm thankful, for everything. I'm thankful for the hardships, that have lead me to be who I am today. I'm thankful, for the chance to help give back to others. I'm grateful for opportunity to teach my children the same, and to make an impact in the lives of the people in my community, and in the world. People, whom, I may never meet, but will hopefully know, that I'm giving because I LOVE. I love, because that's what God does, and wants. And, I am so thankful for God, for His love, and for Him showing me the way.

Remember, faith without action, is dead. Faith, is love. What would we be without love? So, go and do all things, with LOVE!

Happy Holidays!

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I'd love to hear stories of how you've been helped, or been able to be a blessing to someone else! It's always inspiring and giving ideas totally helps us all, share the love!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Mother's Milk, Donating Life.

I'm pretty thankful, most of the time, about everything and everyone in my life.

I guess November is National Be Thankful Month for everyone else too! It's good to be thankful. It's good to give.

While many food banks across the nation are looking for donations to feed families, there is another 'food' bank looking for the same thing. Except, instead of just feeding families, it's looking for the donation of life.

While the topic of breastfeeding seems to generate a lot of passion in people. Both for and against. It was one of the surprising questions that I got asked when I was pregnant-"Are you going to nurse?" Was something that popped out of not just women's mouths, but men. (Even some men my husband knew, asked him if I planned on doing it.)

I have never taken offense to this. I read up a lot on nursing. While I didn't find it to be as "romantic" as I've read it described, I did find (after a struggling period in the beginning) it to be quite easy and relaxing. 

With my first, I also developed a relationship with my breast pump. (I would say love/hate is a good description!) I went back to working part time after I had him, and so I pumped. I was able to breast and bottle feed him for 13 months. I had a lot of milk stored up in the freezer. 

After he was weaned, I found he wouldn't drink anything from the freezer. So, I threw it out. (Probably about 50 oz.) If you've ever pumped milk, you know, you basically cry if any gets spilled or lost. Especially in the early stages of a newborns life. I think the first time I thawed out a bag and found it leaked all over my fridge, I seriously had a mental break down and cried. It was 4 oz. Of literally, spilt milk.
Yep, Me!
After my daughter was born, she proved to be the breastfeeding champ. I never went back to work after having her. I still pumped, and a lot, because originally that wasn't the plan. I was planning to work part time. I woke up early and pumped when I could. I had a great supply the second time around as well!

She was reluctant to take a bottle though. She wasn't really going to fall for that trick, especially if she knew mom was anywhere within a 5 mile radius of the house. She's a funny kid. 

Anyway, so there I was, with a freezer full of milk, that she hardly ever drank. We tried plan sippy cups, mixing it with stuff, anything you could imagine. She just didn't particularly want to use it. I breast fed her for a loooooooong time.
Donated Mother's Milk Bags*

My frozen breast milk that had been stored up in our freezer, was a ton! I couldn't BARE to throw it away. It was way too much! I remembered seeing a piece on the Today Show about donated breast milk, and then I remembered a family member had done the same with hers. She donated a big cooler's worth! An amount I wouldn't even come close too! I took to google immediately and found The Mother's Milk Bank of Denver. This place is AMAZING!

For a short video of how it helps, click here! 
I called and did my screening over the phone and talked to a nurse and found out I was able to donate my milk. I had the option of either shipping it to them, or if I could get to Denver, Colorado, I could just drop it off. (They did need blood samples, just to do testing to make sure you're healthy! But they take care of all that, or help you arrange it in your home town, to ship to them. They won't just leave you hanging, they are there for guidance.)

This was so wonderful! I was able to donate a little over 100 oz. of breast milk that went to help who knows how many families and little ones.

Donated Milk Ready to be Prepared.*
The people that work at the Mother's Milk Bank of Denver, were unbelievably kind and amazing. They have so much gratitude for the people that donate. They get to see first hand, just how much it helps! 

There are a lot of little videos out there, and I'd encourage anyone to watch a two minute video that talks about how much, donated breast milk, can change the life of a little one that is struggling. I know, if it were my own children, I'd hope someone would be able to do this for us. 

So, like I said before in the beginning of this, if you or anyone you know, can donate breast milk, please consider it. Lots of people also need turkeys and "things," this holiday season, but there are also some who need life! 

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I was young and now I'm old, but I have never seen the righteous left all alone, have never seen their children begging for bread. They are always gracious and generous. Their children are a blessing.
Psalms 37:25-26

More Giving ideas or stories? Click below!
Photographer Love, Library Fine, Coffee Dates, Encouragement in a Balloon

*Photos were taken off a video from 9News Denver*

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Breast Milk Donation

Mother's Milk Bank of Colorado Needs Milk ... Save a Life and Don't Just Donate a Turkey this Year!

Or, spread the word, so that others know how they can help!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Target Shopping=Money to Spend

I'm one of those people who enjoys shopping. I actually used to be one of those people, who would scour the clearance aisles at Target and buy all the crap, just to have it.

I learned, about 4 years ago, while I was cleaning out our spare bedroom to convert it into a nursery, that my hoarding the Target clearance, needed to end! I remember saying, as I would  buy stuff, "This would make a great gift!" or, "I can so use that for a craft or something!" 

Of course, I'd find it a year later in a bag in a closet, pretty much just wasted money.

I am reformed now. But, Target is my main shopping store. I love it! And, it really is cheaper than Wal Mart.

Now, on to the good stuff. I'm not sure if you ever pay attention, but Target has A LOT to offer. I was able to buy the new iPad 2 (last year) for FREE, thanks to Target (and ShopKick!).

ShopKick is a free app! Check it out. Free money! (Photo from ShopKick)

First things first. This didn't happen over night. I saved for a year. If you can utilize Target and Shopkick the same way, you can use that money for Christmas Gifts, Hanukkah Gifts, Birthday Gifts, Grocery Shopping for a month, etc. That way, come the end of the year, if you find yourself strapped for cash, you don't have to worry about the gifts.

How it happened...

Every month, a few times a month, I go to Target and buy the stuff we need. Things like toilet paper, diapers, baby wipes, laundry detergent, stuff like that. We don't have a Super Target here (we should), so we have a few grocery items, but not enough to replace the trip to the grocery store.

I would use this trip to do my ShopKick'ing as well. It's a free app you download, and each time you walk into certain stores, you get points. While in these stores, you can scan the listed items and get more points. You can use these points instantly to get free gift cards sent to your phone and to use at check out. Target happens to be one of the big users of this app. They also have coupons to Target on there, as well as for Children's Place, American Eagle, Old Navy, etc. It's not just for Target, but this place I used my points last year. It's kind of like a scavenger hunt, while out shopping. If you're going there anyway, might as well get paid to go, right?

I found out that Target will take one target coupon and one manufacturer coupon for items. Basically, making some items cheap! (Yes, I do coupon, but NOT for anything we don't use, and NO I don't have a stock pile.) You can even apply these coupons to clearance items. I've been able to pick up some items for practically nothing.

Now to the good part. Target always has a "Buy this get a $XX gift card free," deal going on. Some change every week, and some are up for close to a month at a time.
Photo from

Most of the items are things we use, like toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, baby wipes, tampons, etc. Just about ALL of these items, are items I have coupons for as well.
Photo from

I always found myself buying toilet paper. Honestly, when I would buy the toilet paper I would say to myself, it's already on sale, and I have coupons, might as well buy 2 and get the gift card and bulk up.

The problem got to be, that I would get these gift cards and ALWAYS forget to use them the next time I was at the store. My  mom would always laugh at me, because I would forget to use my "Target Money." 

I added my little gift card stack up and I had almost $75. That's quite the chunk of change, when you think about it. I checked out my ShopKick app points too, and found out I had acquired enough for a $25 gift card to Target. I had $100, in free money. That's pretty much enough to cover Christmas Shopping in this household. 

I was kind of in awe by that. This is money that didn't come out of our budget, that could be used on pretty much whatever we wanted. (And trust me, I WANTED an iPad from the moment I laid eyes on Steve Jobs holding the first generation in his hand!)

This was only the around end of April early May,and so I decided to make a little game out of it. Only buying the things we needed and taking advantage of the deals that Target had to offer, plus ShopKicking. It was such a thrill!

Around Thanksgiving to Christmas, Target came out with a ton of spend $50 get a $10 gift card and other type deals like this. Pretty much made the iPad totally acquireable for me.

When the big day came, for my get my iPad, it was a surreal scene. I brought my Target Bags (you get $0.05 credit for every bag you bring in and use, awesome!), my gift cards, my phone with the ShopKick app pulled up and ready with the gift cards, and down to the iPad section I went!

As I was ringing up, the guy behind me was floored. Five dollars or so at a time, the price dropped, and continued dropping, down, down, down. He was so amazed at what he was witnessing, he didn't mind the long wait to go through all those gift cards, and then he asked, after it was all over, if I'd be his personal shopper, because I was his hero! 

To add to it, Target was having a deal, where if you bought the iPad, they gave you a $50 gift card. I kind of, got paid to buy it. I used it to purchase a case/cover for the iPad. It was a separate purchase. Can you say, "Thrifty!"
My giftcard stack before I started!

My receipt to show you I really did it!

This year, I again, started with the saving of the gift cards. I've gotten quite a lot and unlike last year, where I decided I wanted to save for an iPad, I don't really have anything in mind to purchase this year. I've thought about a really nice camera, like a Canon Rebel, but I'm not really a great picture taker. As you can kind of tell from the photos on my blog. I kind of thought about converting that into cash. I was thinking that my goal might be to try and buy EVERYTHING from Target during November and December and save that money that I would have budgeted with and use it for something else special. I haven't quite come up with anything, but it's definitely fun to think about the possibilities!

Anyway, I know this might be a little late in the holiday season, or maybe it isn't. I just wanted to share some tips with you, for this year, or for next year. It really has been a lot of fun, and like I said, you can pretty much do whatever you want to with the gift cards you save!

What would you use your gift card stash on??? What is the one thing you REALLY want this year? Any other really great ideas or stores to shop at for stuff like this?!

I'd love to hear from you!

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Plans fail with no counsel, but with  many counselors they succeed.
Proverbs 15:23

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Giving Thanks: Photographer Love

A few days ago I sent out a little thank you note, with some love. Thank you notes aren't something that are different for me to do, but to who it went to was.

I think we are living in an age where we can take for granted that we have digital cameras, and photo editing software, pretty much at our finger tips. Pictures get taken all the time!

Growing up, it was a little different. Remember when we had to send in our film, cross our fingers and hope that SOMETHING GOOD came out of the negatives?! Remember when you ruined the negatives?? Remember when 1 hr. photo was the most amazing thing ever! Wow, times have certainly changed, and really quite recently and rapidly.

There really aren't that many photos of us growing up. We had a large family (I have four siblings, which makes five including me). Money was tight, and photos were taken sparingly. Honestly, I've never really given it any thought, until a few years ago.

Someone very special to me passed away a few years ago. She was beautiful and amazing in every way, inside and out. I loved her. She was my mother-in-law. She taught me so much about life-being a wife, a mother, a nurturer, about so many things. She was, my mom. I love my own mother as well, but I learned so many different things from this woman. If we could all be a little like her, this world, would be a completely different place.

She was also the woman, who raised my husband. If you wanted to get an idea of who she was, you'd find it in him. I could go on about all the goodness for a long time, but this was only supposed to be a back story about what I'm writing about now.

Going back through old photos, I realized, we didn't have hardly any, of her. Hindsight can be kinda tough sometimes. But, it also made me go back through all MY photos. Photos I'd taken of the kids. Then I saw it again. I think it's a mother's curse. We spend so much time taking photos of the kids and other things, that the person who's behind the camera gets forgotten. I had almost NO photos of me with my children.

There were several of my husband and the kids, but a handful of me with them. I decided to change that. I called a booked a mommy and me session with each of my kids. I was able to start first with my son, and then after my daughter turn one, I did some with her as well.

I've become kind of a photo crazy person. My husband kind of get annoyed by it, but I simply reply, "I'm documenting life." When this stage is over, all we'll have are memories (which differ from each person who tells the story) but also photos. Our children, I've heard called, are the .Jpeg Generation. Kind of funny, and I get how obsessive people can be, but those will be treasures some day.

In any event, I had just had this family photo shoot with an amazing photographer. It was a cold day and my kids were anything, BUT cooperative. My husband really wasn't so enthused either. But, she worked wonders! It was the shortest session ever, but she still did some amazing work.

I'm so thankful for these people. At the end of the day when you look at the price, remember they're treasures. Of you, of your family, of your life. You're paying someone to do your own little documentary. Someone, who was given a blessed talent, by God. Someone, who learned early they could do some amazing things for families.

Some of the biggest regrets I've heard, are from people who didn't get photos taken. I've never heard someone regret getting them done. And as I've gotten older, I've realized it's not about looking and being perfect. Or having EVERY SINGLE PHOTO turn out to be absolutely amazing. If I get one photo I like, out of any photos I've taken, it's a success.

When was the last family picture you had taken? What are you waiting for????????? 

So, to finish this post, I sent our photographer, a thank you note and little gift. She deserves it and more. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to our photographer! And to all photographers out there! You're appreciated, more than you know!

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Owe no one anything, except to love each other, 
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:8

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving After Party: Fry it UP!

Happy Thanksgiving! I really enjoy this holiday. It's all about giving and thanks. I love both! Plus, the food and my family are always great company! I have the best husband and children a lady could ask for.

We tend to do things a little different in our part of the woods. My husband and I lived in a very touristy part of the world for a long time. Most of the people get holidays off to go home and spend with their families, shop, etc. Where we lived, this was the exact opposite. Everyone worked. It was ski season. No one left, and no one was really encouraged to come out, because it was usually bad weather, and it was also Black Out days for ski passes. Joy! Plus, a lot of our friends, were in the same boat as us. Family lived a LONG way away. So, my first year out here, I was introduced to the, and pardon the name, "Ski Bum Thanksgiving." A large group of us, who were all alone, got together and had our own "Family Thanksgiving." In the early years, there was a substantial amount of alcohol involved. It was fun. No one likes to be alone during the holidays, and we pretty much took it upon ourselves to make it what we all needed it to be.

Over the years, it evolved to actually include food. The people tended to change with the years, but these past few years, we've actually gotten a pretty stable group. 

We also discovered Frying Turkeys! This is definitely something you do outside of the house, but they taste pretty good. I was skeptical, but I've become a fan over the years.

One of the problems, I guess you could say, is that you spend a lot of money on the oil to fry the turkey in. Then after you're done frying the turkey (about an hour), you're done with it.

About 5 years ago, after our usual Turkey Frying feast, we started talking about the oil and the left overs. We had A LOT, of both. I used to work in a restaurant, when I was in high school. As I starred at the half eaten veggie platter, I remembered that we used to fry up pickles, and french fries. I'd also recently discovered a love of tempura asparagus. (SUSHI IS MY FAVORITE! and pretty much anything they serve at the restaurant, as long as it's not shellfish...that makes me itchy.)
Almost done frying! See all the goodies!

All our veggies ready to go! Onion rings, cream cheese stuffed mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, and asaragus!
Fresh from the turkey frier! They don't last long!
I put two and two together and threw the idea out there of having a fry fest! Who doesn't like things fried?? Well, almost everyone. A few people were skeptical at first, but we went home and mixed up some batter and dipped everything in there and fried it all up! It lasted about 5 minutes, and all the left overs were gone. It was pretty simple. I had also, remembered that we used to make Fried Ice Cream Balls! Since everyone seemed confused by the idea of what Fried Ice Cream was, I made some. HUGE HIT!

How do you make Fried Ice Cream?

It's pretty simple. Take Ice Cream. (Any flavor you like.) Get it soft enough that you can roll them into a ball, and roll them in a cornflake, cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat the balls. Freeze.
Make balls.
Roll Balls in Mixture.
Re-freeze Balls.

Remove once frozen and dip in beaten eggs, and then re-roll in the cornflake mixture to coat. Freeze again until use. 
Dip in egg, re-roll in mixture, freeze.

Pull these out, right before you fry them. Dip them in the hot oil (350 degrees) for about 30-45 seconds. If it starts to melt, it's too long! Pull out, put on a plate, top with ice cream toppings and ENJOY!!
Mine covered in hot fudge and sprinkles.
One covered in strawberry syrup and nuts.
One covered in strawberry syrup and sprinkles! Yum!

This has been our tradition ever since. We fry the turkey, and then saving the grease, we have a big "Left Over Fry Party!" the next few days! 

Confused as to what to do for stuffing? Let me help you! Roll it into little balls and fry them! Fried Stuffing Balls are awesome! 

This really is just a continuation on the whole day of Thanksgiving. We keep getting together and celebrate and have a great time eating. Plus, we never have to throw anything away, and  the party gets better and better each year, as we initiate our children into it!

Hope you have some really great ideas for some more Thanksgiving Traditions to start or pass along with your family and friends. Every year, everyone looks forward to this. Hope you guys do too!

Looking for some more recipes? Check out Caramel Apple Cider, Easy White Chicken Pizza, and Sloppy Cheeseburgers!

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Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name, Make known His deeds among the peoples.
1 Chronicles 16:8

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