Monday, December 17, 2012

DYI light-up Christmas tree lawn decoration

LOVE this idea and totally going to do this for next year.  Take a tomato cage and put it upside down.  Then wrap string lights starting at the top all the way to the bottom and you'll have yourself an adorable light-up Christmas tree lawn decoration.  What's even better is you can get a couple of landscaping fabric "staples" - I call them staples because they look like huge staples that you use to hold down landscaping fabric - and use those to secure the "tree" in whatever spot you'd like on your lawn.

Thanks so much to for this fantastic idea!

In Remembrance of Sandy Hook Elementary

     I don't even know where to begin, mostly because I still cannot understand why someone would shoot his way into a school and heinously murder helpless children and staff of an elementary school.  I don't think any of us will fully understand why someone would do this, and this pain that we all feel as a nation will never fully go away, it may lessen with time, but we will never forget what was done.  We will never forget the faces of the innocent children whose lives were just beginning and ended way too soon.  We will never forget the staff of the school who woke up and went to do the jobs they loved, working with children. 

     Over the past couple years, we have seen many indescribable tragedies that have shaken us, but for me personally, this one hits close to home and is the worst I've ever seen.  I have two beautiful children, aged 5 and 7, that I would give my life for, as any parent would.  And to think that someone would willingly hurt them just takes my breath away.  Where do we draw the line?  Now we can't even feel safe sending our children to school?  

     Many people say "What is this world coming to?"  One of things we need to do, as difficult as it is, is to live our lives the way we always have, and let our children have their innocence.  As parents it is our job to shield our children from these things as much as we possibly can.  Of course they will hear about it to some degree, but we cannot let our children and ourselves stop living and enjoying our time on this earth, for we don't know which day is our last.  We cannot let our freedom and faith get taken away by a monster who doesn't value life.  We have to inform our children of bad things that could and do happen in life, but we have to make sure to do it in a way that children would understand.  Gone are the days of letting our children be as carefree as we once were.  I remember as a child walking around the corner to the candy store with my friends at a very young age, just as all the other children in the neighborhood did.  There were always neighbors outside and tons of children outside playing.  And none of us worried about a thing, except for who was going to be "it" in the game of tag; or who was getting picked next on a team for kickball.  We were young and carefree and had not a care in the world.  Unfortunately times have changed and we need to give our children the knowledge of bad things to help keep them safe.

     There are others that say "How could God let this happen?"  God didn't let this happen, in my opinion the devil did, but God was right there by those little angels when they met him at the gates of heaven.  They are safe now in His hands.  Unfortunately since the start of time there has been evil, but there has also been good.  Many more children and staff could have died that day if certain staff members didn't go above and beyond to save lives.  The first responders didn't even know what they were walking into when they entered the building, but they too saved many lives just by the monster ending his own upon hearing police enter the building.  Of course that doesn't lessen the sorrow and heartache that we all feel for the people who perished on that day, but it leaves us with a little glimmer of hope that good will ALWAYS prevail over evil in some way.  

     The only thing I can say about this tragic event is that every day I look at my children and thank God that I have them.  I always did that, but now even more than ever I feel lucky to have them to hug and kiss.  Even when they are testing my patience, as children often do, I find myself lucky that I can calmly talk to them and guide them through life.  There is no greater gift than the gift of parenthood.  God bless the community residing near Sandy Hook Elementary, and God bless the friends and family of the deceased.  We will rise and prevail and be a better nation.

These are pictures of some of the angels that earned their wings on Friday, December 14th (pictures courtesy of various sources online):

Daniel Barden, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6
Josephine Gay, 7

Avielle Richman, 6

Ann Marie Murphy, 52
James Mattioli, 6
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Rachel Davino, 29
Grace McDonnell, 7
Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung was one of those killed at Sandy  Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut (Photo: Newtown Patch)
Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47

Nancy Lanza, 52
Nancy Lanza, 52

Dylan Hockley, 6 (CNN)
Dylan Hockley, 6

Victoria Soto (Photo: KCTV News)
Victoria Soto, 27
Olivia Engel (Courtesy Timothy Nosenzo/Engel Familiy)
Olivia Engel, 6
Charlotte Bacon, 6 (CNN)
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Mark Sherlach and his wife, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, pose for a photo (AP/Mark Sherlach)
Mary Sherlach, 56
This 2012 photo provided by the family shows Lauren Rousseau (AP/Rousseau Family)
Lauren Russeau, 30
Emilie Parker (Photo: Emilie Parker Fund Facebook Page)
Emilie Parker, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6 (CNN)
Jessica Rekos, 6
The names of those killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary school were released by state police on Saturday. The list includes full names of children only when parents have spoken publicly:
  • Charlotte, 6
  • Daniel, 7
  • Rachel Davino, 29
  • Olivia, 6
  • Josephine, 7
  • Ana, 6
  • Dylan, 6
  • Dawn Hocksprung, 47
  • Madeleine, 6
  • Catherine, 6
  • Chase, 7
  • Jesse, 6
  • James, 6
  • Grace, 7
  • Anne Marie Murphy, 52
  • Emilie Parker, 6
  • Jack, 6
  • Noah, 6
  • Caroline, 6
  • Jessica, 6
  • Avielle, 6
  • Lauren Russeau, 30
  • Mary Sherlach, 56
  • Victoria Soto, 27
  • Benjamin, 6
  • Allison, 6

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wonderful DIY Advent Wreaths

picture credit:

I just had to share this wonderful idea from  After getting a request for ideas on advent wreaths, I thought this idea was easy, beautiful and different!  You simply start with a bundt pan, add some glass votives (which can be found at your local dollar store), place some candles in the votives, and surround the votives with cranberries - instant advent wreath!  And you could definitely keep this one a little traditional by using 3 purple votives and 1 pink votive.  Also what you fill it with is up to you, cranberries are cute, but think potpourri, pine cones, small ornaments, etc.  The possibilities are endless!

picture credit:

If you'd like to go with a more traditional advent wreath, you can always click this link for step by step directions on how to make your own advent wreath

Last but certainly not least, this advent wreath would be great for the children to make with you and best of all there is no worry about fire because it is made entirely out of construction paper!  Have all the members of your family trace their hands on green construction paper and cut out.  Then attach the hands to a paper plate (with the center cut out) to look like a "wreath" by gluing them all together  and layering (see above picture for reference).  Then take some purple paper to make 3 "candles" and pink paper to make 1 "candle."  Finally cut out some "flames" from orange paper and add them each week to celebrate the coming of Christmas!