Friday, December 30, 2011

Vacation

So, I haven't been blogging since our trip on Tuesday. It's because I have been having too much fun!!! We arrived at our cabin on Tuesday afternoon and we were amazed, stumped, in love, overwhelmed. It was absolutely magnificent!!! It was the picture perfect cabin that you dream about. With all the walls made from logs, wood floors, braided rugs and curtains with bears on them. And of course we had the lovely hot tub on the porch and the jacuzzi tub in the the huge master suite. The best part was the amazing views of the mountains. The cabin sits on top of a mountain ( the driveway makes you pray hard)...and you overlook the whole countryside and at night you can see the dull roar of lights from Gatlinburg from afar. It's is absolutely breathtaking.
The best part is that we have enjoyed just hanging out here. We finished a 500 piece puzzle, played lots of games of checkers and cards, and just enjoyed hanging out. The whole point of being here was to decompress...and we have accomplished that. Once again, I don't have any pictures yet...but I will next week when we are home. So, let me wish you an early happy new year and I will see you next year:)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blogging from the Highway

Well, here we are on the road..right now in the mountains of North Carolina...headed to our beloved Tennessee. Matt hooked up the I-pad to his phone so we have had Internet access the whole trip. So, I couldn't miss out on blogging from the road (and yes, I am in the passenger seat)...how many opportunities do you have to do this.
We woke up at three in the morning and were on the road within a half an hour...the forecast called for rain and we got plenty of it. But right before we hit NC it stopped. Matt drove the first few hours and then I drove after. It has been a great trip. The kids are watching movies...and as we hit the mountains we heard a lot of "whoa" and " look at that" and my personal favorite from William, "this is creeping me out." It feels so good to be up here. Looking forward to some much needed rest. I told Matt a few minutes ago, " I was meant to be in the mountains," and he agreed. There is something so beautiful and majestic about them. Soothing and peaceful. Can't post pictures, but I will when we get back. I will keep you updated, as the memories stay fresh.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Packing

Spending the day getting ready for our trip to Tennessee. It's amazing to me to see how much stuff we need for a trip. Crazy! Especially when you're headed to a colder climate. Shorts and t-shirts are much easier to throw in a bag than jackets, sweaters and pants.
Feeling exhausted from the busy last week before Christmas. We had a lovely day yesterday, but I feel a bit run down today. Our house is almost packed and the rest of the day will be preparing for take off. Our dogs will be taken care of nicely with our house sitter, and we are ready for a little rest. Will keep you updated.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Rejoice in His Birth

On this beautiful day, rejoice in the birth of a special baby...born to save you and me. Merry Christmas from the Reynolds Nation!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beautiful night...

Last night the family came over and we had a beautiful bonfire outside on the property. The kids gathered sticks in the pasture and Matt's brother brought a load of firewood. Though the weather didn't cooperate (it was 82 degrees here yesterday), we still had a lovely night. The kids roasted marshmallows and we made smores. I think they each ate a ton of the lovely white creations...which they needed to keep up with their pace. Despite it being so dark out the kids ran all around the property and played with their two younger cousins. It was a relaxing evening with the family.
Afterwards, I wrapped a ton of gifts. Though we only got the kids three presents, it seemed like so much. Matt sat there and talked to me...it was a nice time. This morning I am making our traditional homemade apple fritters and plan on having a lovely day. This is the first year that we will not be going to Grandma's on Christmas eve...at 92 she moved to Uncle Scott's house about 2 hours away. A tradition that has been here for decades is gone. Kind of sad, and hard to have change. But God is making some new traditions here at the Reynolds Nation. He is faithful to replace what is gone. God is good. Happy Merry Christmas Eve!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

All The Way...




...to Madagascar. Yes, that's where they went. Our boxes. Remember our boxes...from Operation Christmas Child. We sent out 10 boxes out into the unknown. Filled with hope. With love. And with lots of expectation. Well, yesterday we got an email saying that our boxes went all the way to Madagascar. How awesome is that? All the way to Africa. Another part of the world. Who is experiencing summer right now. Who may not know Jesus. Just to see Esther's face when I showed her where the boxes went brought joy to my face. It became real to us then. Our boxes really could make a difference. And because of our love, time, and prayers it truly will make a difference.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Busy Week

I have been missing in action again...so busy with the holiday. Though the last few weeks have been slow and relaxing, this last week seems to be super busy. On Sunday we spent the whole afternoon with Matt's family. The kids decorated gingerbread cookies...an annual event...and we hung out with the family. The weather was perfect and the kids had a great day together. Lots of swinging on the swings, running and just playing. Though my mother in law had movies set for them, they never sat still long enough to watch them. Which is a good thing, right? I would much rather have my kids play outside then sit in front of the tube. Though I am thankful for the backup plan.
On Monday the kids had their homeschool Christmas party...here at our house. They had fun making a craft and eating with friends. Once again we had a movie planned (polar express, a favorite) but the kids wanted to be outside. So they played, and played, and played...and were full of sugar from lots of cookies. On Monday night I went out and did my final shopping with my mom. That was fun, and I introduced her to my favorite burger joint, Five Guys. Of course she loved it and was a fun night. Yesterday i had a a busy day with Caleb, taking him for his routine psych appointment...that's another post with lots of good news. It is all consuming going to the appt. because I drive 200 miles...but this doctor is worth it. And then we ended the night with a Christmas party at our church...which was fun for all of us and full of yummy food.
So, as you can see it has been a busy few days...and it doesn't get any quieter anytime soon. We are gearing up for our big trip up north and of course Christmas for five kids. I hope your days are going well...and I am sure busy too. I will be back soon.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Advent calendar #16...go o the bell ringer for the salvation army and give. No, they didn't give much, but it was in the right mindset. We want to raise our kids as givers, so you have to start somewhere. The kids were actually excited and William was talking about how the money was going to "poor people." I thought it was an overall sweet moment and one day I hope this little seed of giving grows huge and they all give above and beyond.

Please excuse my teenager Bryn for not participating. Though she wanted to come, she is bogged down with school work and is needing to get it done before the holiday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where is Judah?



When it is quiet in the house, always check where Judah may be. On this particular day he had set up his own craft table...and was busy with glue, scissors, and construction paper. Oh my Judah! This cute thing was full of smiles and busyness that day. He is always striving to be like his older brothers and sisters...so this was one way that he could do that. After leaving a mess and a tiny lecture from me (he is prone to want to eat the glue still or cut his own hair), he still had a small unrecognizable craft. Love this boy. He brings a lot of fun (and gray hair) to this house :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Continuing to Make Memories

Last night we had a lot of fun. It was day 12 on the advent calendar and it said to, "watch a movie and eat ice cream." Well, rather than eat plain old ice cream, I took this idea from www.pinterest.com. The kids were so surprised. I kept them out of the kitchen (barely) and made this little snowman creation. They loved it. It's amazing that just a little creativity (not even my own creative skills), a little time...makes a lifetime of memories.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Monday...if you haven't noticed.

Well, it's Monday again. It always seems to sneak up on me. I wish the weekends would go slower...they always seem to go by so fast. It was an enjoyable weekend. After our Friday night date with the boys, we were at our local parade early the next morning. The kids look forward to it so much...I think more for the candy rather than the actual parade. I think we collected (no joke) about 25 pounds of candy. Not so good for the teeth or the belly...so it will be distributed out slowly. It was a nice time for some of the family to get together and to meet up with old friends.
Then on Saturday night we met up with another family and had a yummy pizza dinner...at one of my favorite pizza joints. And then we headed over to a local church who did a "Walk Through Bethlehem" production. You actually walk through the town of Bethlehem...or at least what it would have looked like. It feels so real and the kids loved it. I loved going by the temple and seeing the priests with their hats and breastplates...which looked just like the ones we had made for our history project...I got a few wide eyes from the kids! Anyway, it was a great weekend. Looking forward to the next few weeks. Love this season!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday Date Night

Since the girls were out of the house, spending the night at Nana's house, we were left with the "energy" of the Reynolds Nation. What to do? What to do? How can we keep them occupied with weary and tired parents...it had been a long and busy week. Nothing that a little shopping and ice cream can't cure! We had one more present to buy (for one of the girls) and I had some Kohls bucks to use...so we headed out to Walmart and Kohls. In the end we found what we wanted online later that night, but we still had fun together. The picture snapped above is after our trip through Kohls. When we were walking around, I heard another shopper say, "those kids are talking a mile a minute." How true, how true!

Goofing off in one of the aisles. Don't they look incredibly handsome? I love Caleb's hat...he looks like one of those old guys who sits on the front porch of his house. What a fun night together. And when we got home, the kids fell asleep in minutes. The "energy" was spent.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gratitude Friday

What a beautiful time of the year. Despite the warm weather, it has been such a delightful season. I am loving this time...speckled with a few activities, but mainly just time together. Simply Delightful!
1. I am so grateful for the advent calendar that I made for us. It has forced us to slow down a bit and anticipate a fun activity to do together. It has been wonderful for our family.
2. I am thankful that the medicare season is over and Matt will be back to his regular schedule...though the financial bonus will be great, the stress level for him was way too high.
3. I am thankful for little voices that float through my house all day. They bring life to this house.
4. I am thankful for only one more week of school. So ready for a nice, long break.
5. I am so thankful for our future trip to Tennessee...just 18 days away. I can not wait.

Have a great Friday everyone. Be blessed in this beautiful season!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dance Party Reynolds Nation Style

Day 8 of the Advent Calendar says...Play Christmas music really loud and dance around the room...I got them to stop for a second.

Swing dancers they are, I tell you.



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Bit of Loveliness

Last night we put this on our wall...it was a surprise gift from a friend who just returned from Maine and brought me a little Maine back with her. On Facebook the other day we were joking about her bringing back a Maine Christmas tree...haha...didn't think much of it. Though this New Yorker loves the smell of fresh pine and the thought of a fresh Christmas tree. Most of the trees down here seem to have traveled a million miles, so they never have that fresh smell. Anyway, yesterday I got a message asking me to pick a little gift up from this friend at work. She owns a little shop in Maine, so I figured it was a little trinket from her store. But no, it was this lovely wreath, just put together at a Christmas tree place...put together just for me. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude. She brought it all the way down from Maine, on the airplane. So sweet. She told me that she couldn't bring a tree, so this was the next best thing. I just sat there and drank in all the beautiful smells from the bag. It brought me back to my childhood...all the Christmases when I was a little girl in New York. Simply lovely. It also made me think about how much I dislike living in Florida (but that's another post, another time).
So, I thought I would share a bit of loveliness with you. As I sit here, I can still smell the beautiful fragrance. What a beautiful gift. Thank you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How Lovely Are Your Branches...

Last night our tree went up. I didn't want to put it up Thanksgiving weekend (not that we had any time) because the holiday was so early this year. I truly like to keep Christmas for the month of December. So yesterday afternoon we pulled out all of our boxes and decorated the tree. The kids were so excited and loved every second. My favorite part was looking at all the kids' ornaments. Every year we get each kid an ornament for Christmas (along with one from their Nana)...so they have quite collection now. Bryn has almost 30 ornaments. It's fun to look at each one and talk about the memories of Christmas past. We had a great time...the house looks beautiful. And to finish off the evening we sat in the living room and enjoyed the tree...all lit up in the dark house while the Christmas music played. What a lovely way to end a Saturday night :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Patter of Little Feet

This was our craft for yesterday...Christmas feet. The kids loved it...they said that I was tickling their feet. I painted their feet and they painted the trunk and the star. And while they waited for their turn they colored a sheet I printed out of a cute Christmas tree. They had fun doing this and they turned out really well. I got this idea from my new favorite site, http://www.pinterest.com/ ...a virtual organizer of ideas and thoughts. I love it. Everything on my boards is categorized into sections, such as...Christmas, yummy food, my style, glorious fall, etc. And when you see ideas on the main boards or a friend's board that you like, you PIN it to your specific board. It is a great way to organize your ideas. So, I had pinned this idea weeks ago and now it came to be. This works really well for homeschooling mom. I have lots of ideas that I think I will remember, but then I forget and find it way after the event happened. So, now with Christmas upon us, I just check out my Christmas board and see what I have pinned and pull my ideas from there. Super fun. Great for my need for organization. And my kids benefit the most. Have a happy Saturday!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Special Cookie Delivery

In celebration of the month of December and all it's glory I always start the month by making my family's special peanut butter balls. I only make these cookies during the Christmas season, so this is a special way to start the holidays. These cookies also happen to be the favorite cookie of my husband's boss. He talks about them all year and asks for me to make some for him...and I always respond that I can't make them until December. Yesterday, I also made these special snowflake cookies for a friend of mine who just had a baby. I delivered a yummy meal to her along with these sweet treats.

As a special surprise I stopped by one of my dearest friends house and delivered a yummy treat for her and her family. I think she was truly surprised.




Happy insurance agents they were. My husband had his boss believing that I didn't say anything about making the cookies this year. At the two o'clock hour I came with my special surprise. I must say that my sweet treat didn't last long :)







Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wow December!

To welcome the beautiful month of December, I was able to put together this wonderful Advent Calendar. It is to remember to take time and cherish and remember the true reason for this season. I got the idea from Emily Anderson, over there at http://www.theandersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com/ ...check out her blog...it is simply awesome and she has wonderful crafty ideas. She got the idea from http://www.pinterest.com/ ...which is another addicting site for me. Check it out and celebrate this beautiful season!