Thursday, June 11, 2015

Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

Happy Summer Vacation!  This is my absolute favorite time of the year.  

Roger and I are so blessed to have jobs that allow us to adopt a carefree schedule during the summer months.  We have decided, for the second year in a row, to forego a *big* vacation and just enjoy some weekend road trips throughout the summer.  We love vacationing, but we also enjoy tending our garden, sharing a meal together on our porch and finishing projects that make our house a home.  

This morning, inspired by one of my favorite Instagram feeds, I jotted down our 2015 Summer Manifesto.  I am excited to see how many of these we can check off before creating our 2015 Fall Manifesto in just a few short months.   

              What is on your 2015 Summer Manifesto?  

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year, New Me-2015

Happy New Year!  A clean slate, a fresh start and a second chance to get it right.  

I like to start the new year, as well as the new school year, with a *family meeting.*  Roger and Maddie say the family meeting strikes fear in their hearts. (Only because after all these years, they can't forget the one that went wrong...really wrong.  Yes, it was bad and we no longer speak of it.) Anyway, I plan the family meeting for the Sunday morning before we return to school in January and August.  Here are a few things we discuss at our family meeting.  

1.  We reflect on, edit and, if needed, rewrite our *life lists.* A life list is a bit different than a bucket list.   A life list has daily, weekly, monthly and year-long goals to aspire to. Writing the goals and posting them in our Command Center holds us accountable for those goals and aspirations.  

2.  We brainstorm summer vacation plans, then make a list of things we need to do to work toward that vacation.  Save/set aside money, make reservations, etc.  

3.  We choose *one little word* and discuss why this word was chosen and how it will guide our year.  My word this year is *Focus.*  I plan to focus on the present, focus on the task at hand and focus on the ones I love.  

4. We review our *chore contracts.* Our chore contracts list the jobs we are each responsible for in the home.  Roger and I tag-team most chores around the house, but there are a few that are solely his and solely mine. Maddie has her own contract with a list of her chores and a daily/weekly completion timeline.  And, yes, we sign and date our contracts. 

5. We plan our weekly menu *theme days.*  Ex. Crock-pot Monday, Taco Tuesday, Pizza Friday, etc.  We also browse my Pinterest boards and brainstorm new meal ideas we would like to try.  I text my Dad and get his input, since he dines with us four times a week.

I hope this encourages you to hold your own family meeting.  It always sets the tone for an organized and productive new year.  

Here's to a blessed 2015.  Cheers!  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

First Annual Crossgrove Lock-Down

We are knee-deep into the Christmas season and the calendar is filling up quickly.  I used to be a very social person, but after the death of my Mom, I became introverted and would much rather spend time in my cozy home with my family.  This is one time of year I do enjoy getting out and socializing, enjoying the joy and wonder the Christmas season brings.  The next three weeks will bring lots of these festivities, but this weekend happened to be free of any social obligations and we decided, as a family, to spend this whole weekend enjoying our festively decorated home and spending time with each other.  We dubbed it the First Annual Crossgrove Family Lock-Down and have enjoyed every minute of it.

After school on Friday, we completed several errands around town, then met at Pizza Hut for a quick and easy dinner.  When we got home, we conquered our weekend chores in just a few short hours--did several loads of laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, swept the floor and sent off a book order for my kiddos, to name a few.  At 7:30, we finally sat down together to watch Maleficent and a Christmas movie.  The rest of the weekend we slept late, wrapped presents, watched more movies, read, napped, did some online shopping, cooked together and enjoyed the opportunity to just do nothing.  We made sure to leave the housework for later, made no trips to town and tried to have limited screen time. Were we always in the same room together? No.  This weekend was also about resting and recharging for the busy weeks ahead, so quiet time in our chosen rooms was also cherished.  Plus, Sunday is football day and my fantasy football lover HAD to watch his games. :)  

I am hoping this becomes an annual Christmas tradition, but my dream is for this to become a monthly tradition. How nice would it be to devote one weekend a month to our home and family.  A special time set aside to continue traditions and create memories for years to come.  Spending time with our family is the most important gift we can give ourselves and the ones we love. 

When we are snuggled in our cozy home, I always feel the need to cook, so I made Pioneer Woman Breakfast Quesadillas for brunch on Saturday morning.  Maddie and I had them again on Sunday morning using the leftover filling.  You can find the recipe here 

We love snack night and one of our favorite things to make as a family are soft pretzels.  I am the *boiler* and Roger and Maddie form the rods and nuggets.  We use the Simply Homemade Pretzel Creations mix from Fleischmann's.  We also made my bestie's *big croutons.*  Slice your choice of bread into large cubes, spread out on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with your choice of spices.  I used Everything French bread from Walmart and a sprinkling of sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  Bake at 400 until brown and crusty.  Serve with melted butter and some good ole Velveeta & Ro-tel for dipping.  

I hope you are creating some new Christmas traditions, while keeping the old ones alive.  I would love to hear what your plans are this festive holiday season.   

Joyfully yours, 

Our Festive Holiday Home

Christmas decorating happens on the Friday after Thanksgiving in our home.  No Black Friday for us, just lots and lots of cleaning and decking the halls.  My most favorite thing to do during the holiday season is to lay in my chair with the lights off and enjoy my tree.  Here is a little tour of our holiday home.

You will find at least two, maybe three, Yankee candles burning in our home each evening.  
This picture was taken on our first *sleet* day of the school year.  

Our Christmas Tree 2014 

Santa and Mrs. Claus made by my Mom in the 70s with some dear friends.
I was so happy to find these hidden away in my Grandma and Grandpa's attic. 
Such a treasure to me.

Our Christmas Mantel 2014

Mantel Close-up.  
I am addicted to those old, metal trucks with a tree tied on top.  
I will have many more to display next year.  This is a new mission for me... 

Our clipboard wall all decked out for Christmas.

My small Christmas cookie jar collection.

My newly painted chalkboard with lyrics 
from my favorite Christmas carol *O Holy Night.* 

Our new stockings.  
The ornaments below will adorn them with our names.

Ornaments made by Polka Dot Door, Salem, MO

Our wrapping matches our mitten tree perfectly this year.  
Maddie gets the sweater paper, Roger gets the vintage print and I get the mitten paper.  

My winter burlee.
happily made by my dear friend, Melanie.

Our simplified Christmas porch.
The basket was made by Mom two weeks before she died.
She lovingly created it for the church bazaar.  
The church ladies made sure it came to me.
I will cherish it always.  

I would love to see your Christmas home.  

Joyfully yours, 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Week is Here

Halloween week is upon us and bittersweet memories are evoked once again. My Mom passed away on October 29th, 2005 and her services were held the day after Halloween.  For the past nine years, my grief has kept me from enjoying and embracing the month of October and Halloween.  I did continue to carry on her pumpkin carving tradition each year, but my heart usually wasn't in it. This year, with inspiration from Instagram and the support of close friends, I am embracing this season and the upcoming holiday.  The house is decorated, this week's menu is planned, the goodie bags are stuffed and the candy bowl is full.  

Halloween Week Dinner Menu

Ghostly Chili with all the Fixins 
Sliced Apples w/ Caramel Dip

Tuesday: Annual Pumpkin Carving Night with Mom's Traditional Menu
Mummy Dogs
Baked Beans
Chips & Dip

Candy Corn Chicken Quesadillas
Tortilla chips, Guacamole & Salsa

French Bread Mummy Pizzas
Tossed Salad

Friday: Halloween Night
Sonic 50 Cent Corn Dogs
Onion Rings/Tater Tots
Sonic Sodas

Saturday: Dia de Muertos Party with the Crossgrove Family
7 Layer Dip
Chili's Restaurant Queso
Homemade Salsa
Taco Bar with all the Fixins
Spiderweb Munch

I can't wait to celebrate Halloween week with my friends and family.  Make your Halloween week a celebration to remember.  Here's to cherishing old memories while creating new ones.  

Our Halloween mantel
Mom and me on our annual pumpkin carving night

Preschool goodie bags are ready to go
We are enjoying fall evenings in our cozy home  

This is Me

I have dreamed of becoming a blogger for years. I envisioned myself sitting in my chair in my cozy home, journaling daily happenings while documenting the recipes & traditions of my simple & satisfying life. But, life is crazy busy and blogging was always pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. After encouragement from dear friends, I have decided to take the plunge. I, by no means, live an exciting life, but I do believe I have something to share.  I hope to share family recipes, meal-planning & organizational tips, party-planning ideas, book talks, money-saving tips, holiday gift & decor ideas and just simple details to help you make every day in your home a celebration of this joyful life.   

My husband, Roger, my daughter, Madison Grace and me in front of our home in rural MO.
This pretty much sums up our happy life!