Tuesday, December 16, 2014

First Reconciliation

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Josh made his first reconciliation tonight.  It’s also called penance or confession.  He was very nervous to go into the confessional.  He wouldn't tell me why he was scared, but I think it’s because he thought he was going to get into trouble.  The entire thing too all of maybe 5 minutes.  It took us longer to get to the church!  He went into the confessional, told Father Tewes his sins and came out and had to say three Hail Mary's.  He now has grace in his heart.  He was very proud of himself and kept saying how easy it was.  I'm so proud that he completed part of his first sacrament.  Next up.....First Holy Communion!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Friday Favorites

There are trees on the tops of cars.  Houses are lit up with sparkly lights.  Decorations are dominating the stores (and have been for weeks now).  Every once in a while you hear a Christmas song on the radio.  It’s that time of year again!  The time where your calendar is jam packed with events – cookie exchanges, ugly pj party, tacky Christmas sweater party, holiday cocktails with neighbors, Winter Wonderland, the Purcellville parade, breakfast with Santa.  The list goes on with how full our holiday season is, and as much as it stresses me out sometimes, I remind myself to relish in the moment and enjoy every ounce of it.  My boys are building more memories that they one day will tell their children and grandchildren about.    Here are a few of my holiday favorites…..

Veggetti – I had my 3rd annual Favorite Things party a few weeks ago.  This party is so much fun because you get to see what everyone’s favorite things are, and the BEST part is that you get one for yourself.  My friend brought this new awesome sauce kitchen tool called the Veggetti.  It a weird hour glass shaped tool that allows you to make “spaghetti” from zucchini and squash.  I used it for the first time this week and O.M.G.  It was one of the best (and healthiest) meals I’ve had in a while.  I veggetti’d the zucchini, sautéed it in olive oil with a little onion, garlic and cayenne pepper.  Once it was ready, I added chicken, corn, bruschetta and shaved parmesan.  Delicious!  If you want one, you can get it on Amazon for $12.

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Holiday Bayberry Yankee Candle – If you’re in the mood to have your house smell like holiday, this is the perfect candle!  The minute I wake up each day, I pour my coffee and light a candle.  I love having my house smell good.  My other holiday favorite for after Christmas is Cranberry Chutney.  I’m not a big sweet candle fan.  These are spicy with a little sweetness to them. 

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Willow Tree Nativity – I love the simplicity of this nativity.  I mentioned to my parents that I wanted this as Christmas gift last year and when we were in Tampa for Thanksgiving, they gave this to me early.  I have a lot of pieces to add to it, but it’s so nice having this be the first thing you see when you enter our house. 

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LED Candles – I do love a good smelling candle, but I also love a candle that last longer.  I recently bought a bunch of LED candles and put them in candle holders and lanterns all over the house – on the coffee table, by the fireplace, in the middle of the dining table and in a lantern on the stairs.  They have a timer where they run for 5 hours and turn off for 19.  Every day at the same time they go on.  Fantastic!  My house is cozy with “candles” lit all over. 

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Trans-Siberian Orchestra – There are a lot of Christmas songs out there, but only a few that give me goosebumps – one of those being Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Canon”.  It’s by far my favorite Christmas song (next to Manheim Steamrollers God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen).  I would love to see either orchestra in concert one Christmas if we can ever find the time.  Until then, I enjoy it on Pandora or the regular radio.

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Mulling Spices - Now that I'm working in the wine industry, I've discovered mulled wine.  It's a blend of red wine, apple juice and spices and it's oh so delicious! 

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Noonday Collection – I’ve recently discovered a company called Noonday.  They sell jewelry that is made by women in third world countries.  The company helps provides economic opportunity for those women so that they can provide food, shelter and clothing for their children.  It’s a win win for me – helping others while wearing beautiful jewelry.  I hosted a party a few months ago.  Here are some pieces that are my favorites.  I have most of these items.  The items are made from odd materials that usually are considered junk or trash. The purse is made from goat.  The bracelets and necklace I have are made from artillery shells from old wars.  

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Dear Santa

Dear Santa (or Joel),

I know I just got a new car, and I’m considering that my BIG Christmas gift, but like I always say “good things come in small packages.”  I want to send you my wish list with those little goodies that fit perfectly in my stocking.  I’ve been a good girl.

Alex and Ani Quill Feather Bracelet

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The One by Dolce & Gabbana

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Clinique Super Balm (in the color Ginger)

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Willow Tree Quietly

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Old Navy Infinity Scarf

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I know some of these items seem too big to fit into a stocking, but I also know you don't like to wrap my stocking stuffers ;) 

Love,
Danielle

P.S.  Another great stocking stuffer would be cushion cut diamond earrings.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend 2014

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Joel, Alyssa, the boys and I flew to Tampa to spend it with my mom and dad.  My aunt, uncle and cousins flew down from PA too.  And my cousin, Anthony who lives in FL came over with his girlfriend and his daughter, Kailynn (a.k.a. KK) who like my niece even though she is technically my 2nd cousin.  Anthony is like my brother and we definitely have that sibling relationship.  We pick at each other and bicker like siblings.  It’s a love/relationship.  KK is just the cutest thing!  The girl loves to dance.  She has constant music in her head and always shaking her booty!

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I love having all the family together for the holiday.  It makes my heart happy to see my kids making long lasting memories with the family that I have memories spending holidays with. 

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When Josh turned 5, we took him to Legoland as a birthday present.  When we asked Gavin what he wanted for his 5th birthday, he requested Disney World.  The timing was perfect since we already had plans to go to Tampa for Thanksgiving.  We aren’t big theme park people so one day was certainly enough!  Especially since we decided to go on one of the busiest days.  I was told that about 65,000 people were there.  Lines for rides were 90-105 minutes long.  Luckily we learned about the Disney app from my cousin so we reserved a fast pass on a few rides.  We definitely need to go back and do it right now that we have a bit of an idea who things work.  Despite the lines and mass of people, the boys had fun and that’s all that matters.  We got to see the castle being lit up like it was frozen.  It was simply breath taking and it actually brought tears to my eyes.  Disney is really the most magical place!

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Saturday morning we drove home so we could get ready to take family pictures at Sand Key Beach. Those pictures will be posted just as soon as we get them.  I can’t wait to see them.  We had great lighting and everyone cooperated.  We also took Alyssa to get her belly button pierced.  We took her to the same place I got mine done.  She did great and her belly is so cute!

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Sunday we had a surprise party for Poppy’s 60th birthday.  He had no clue!  He received a few good gifts, but the best was the Packers apron my grandmother bought him and the hunting toilet paper. 

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We flew home Monday back to the rain and cold.  It was whirlwind of a weekend!  From arriving to Thanksgiving dinner to Disney World to family pictures to a surprise party for my dad’s 60th to flying home, it all went by in a blink of an eye, but we all had so much fun!

Now it's time to get ready for Christmas and all the fun festivities!

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!  This year I am so thankful for being able to spend it with family and for all the loving and supportive friends and neighbors we have.  We are one lucky group little family who are loved so much by so many people.  

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happenings

Between Joel traveling, me working and PTO stuff, life has been pretty busy these days.  A lot has been going on, but not a lot has been going on.  Ya know?!  It’s just living daily life – nothing really to write home about.  Busy, but good. 

My last post was about fall and here we are in almost winter.  I can’t believe Thanksgiving is later this week and Christmas is a month away.  I really need to step it up and get moving on shopping!

Just a few things worth mentioning…..

Halloween.  The boys dressed up as a Clone Trooper from Star Wars (can you guess who that was?!) and a Black Ninja.  We met friends and walked around collecting candy.  The best thing about my kids is that they get tired out quickly from running house to house like a maniac that we quit trick or treating early.  They have as much fun trick or treating as they do handing out candy. 

We pooled our candy together with two other homes in a common area and had an impromptu “block” party.  Two fire bowls and homemade appetizers. 

Even Joel dressed up.  He was the Stay Puff man from Ghostbusters.  The suit had a small cell phone sized case with a fan that made the costume puff up.  It was funny watching him walk in it.  He was so large, he didn’t know how to walk around people or sit down. 

What a fun night!

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Cub Scouts.  Our den goes on a field trips for some of our den meetings.  Last year we went to the fire station.  This year, we went to the local police station.  The boys learned about safety in and around town and in their neighborhood.  They got a chance to look around a police car.  The parents were hoping we could get a picture of the boys behind bars, but unfortunately (or fortunately) we don’t have a jail at our local police station.  They take the offenders to Leesburg.  We only have 13 police officers in our small town and the biggest crime is vandalism.  I’m not complaining!


New Car.  Mama got a new car!  My old van was none years old, the driver’s door was broken, the kids doors were broken, the DVD player was broken and I needed four new tires……and possibly brakes.  After researching and learning that my car was only worth a small amount and that repairs were half the cost of the car, we decided to get a new one.  We bought a Honda Odyssey minivan.  I am in love!  I wanted a white one with tan interior and Joel searched and searched until he found one.  

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Sorry for the lack of pictures.  I haven't had time to lug around the big camera to get good pictures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hello Fall!

Fall has arrived and is almost gone.  We have been enjoying ourselves immensely with the cool weather and colors.

Apple Picking.  It’s been a couple years since we last went.  Couple years meaning Gavin wasn't even walking so…..

We met our friends and picked apples at Great Country Farms.  After picking, we spent the day at the farm playing. 

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Fun Run. The boys’ school and PTO hosted our fall fundraiser, the Fun Run.  Each kid runs the track for a half hour and raises money per lap.  Last year we raised $20,000.  We are hoping to supersede that amount this year.  Gavin and I went up to watch Josh run in the morning.  It was fun watching him run around with his classmates.  Josh ran a total of 22 laps (2.6 miles) and Gavin ran a total of 12 (1.4 miles) laps (he could have run more but he’s in school half day and didn't get a chance to run a 2nd time like Josh did).

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Bluemont Vineyard.  I started working as a tasting associate at Bluemont Vineyard.  I’ve been working weekends.  It’s so much fun!  The winery is in its busy season with harvest, which means weekends are slammed packed with people driving out to the country to see the colors and relax while drinking wine.   The winery is located 951 feet above elevation.  The view from the top of the deck is just spectacular, especially this time of year with all the leaves changing color.  We have farm pets who hang out with the patrons - Iggy, Toby and Hersey - are our cats and Meryl is our dog.  

While I've been at work, Joel and the boys have done some exploring with neighbors. 

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Great Country Farm.  Gavin’s kindergarten class went on a field trip to Great Country Farm, who happens to own the vineyard I work for.  I volunteered to be a chaperone.  I was in charge of Gavin and 3 other boys – Isaiah, Cole and Ian.  I couldn't have gotten a better group!  Gavin is friends with Cole from t-ball and Ian is in the Lego Club after school activity, so I already knew them going in.  I had never met Isaiah and that little boy stole my heart!  He was so kind and loving that I just enjoyed spending time with him.  A gentle soul and so polite.  All the boys had fun.  I ended the day with two more boys from another group who latched onto me.  I give credit to the teachers for dealing with the kids all day.  I had the boys for about 5 hours and was exhausted.  

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We are getting ready for Halloween on Friday.  Gavin is going to be a black ninja and Josh is going to be a Storm Trooper.  We're having a mini block party.  It's a long weekend too and I only have to work one day out of the 4.  I'm excited to have some down time to enjoy the kids and more of the beautiful fall weather before winter arrives ready and armed - they say we're going to have another winter like last year.  Ugh!  Not looking forward to all the snow

Happy Hump Day!

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