Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dear 2012

Cheers Banner from Simply Burlap
Dear 2012,
I truly can't believe that you are almost over. This year has been full of firsts, full of projects and full of surprises. I always have fun looking back and remembering some of my favorite things that happened during your reign. Let's take a look...
Everything from Pioneer Woman's new cookbook!
Blates! (See here and here)

In 2013 I hope to expand my shop by working my first craft show, learn my way around Photoshop, take my first trip out to Colorado with my husband and create even more projects and recipes from my Pinterest boards! My biggest resolution this year is to remember to be thankful in all circumstances! Cheers to 2013!

See my letter to 2011 here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

High Five for Friday!

This week was all about relaxing in my pjs while recovering from our busy Christmas day, soaking in time with my sweet family and sporting my new Christmas gifts around the town.
1. New outfit (top: Victoria Secret, leggings: Victoria Secret, belt: Francesca's, gloves: Boutique in Nashville)
2. New bling from Charming Charlie
3. Mother/daughter date to see Les Miserables. It was seriously AMAZING!
4. A trip to the Cincinnati Observatory
5. My new Grace and Lace boot socks!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why I just love the holidays...

So many of my favorite parts of the holidays have to do with traditions. I love going to the Christmas eve service at church with my family and singing hymns by candlelight. I love my old traditions with my family of eating blueberry muffins and running past the present room before going in for a sneak peek. And I have loved making new traditions with Drew the past 4 years. Here is our day of 3 Christmases in pictures...
Drew and I wake up and start cooking a big breakfast. When it goes in the oven we go down and start a fire and open our stockings in front of the fireplace. This is the second year in a row we have bought each other the same movie to put in the other one's stocking, Madagascar 3 anyone? Then we let our cats "open" their gifts and are entertained while they play with them. Then we go back upstairs and eat while watching Mickey's Christmas Carol. Then we load up our gifts and head to my parents house...
More stockings, blueberry muffins, happy doggies and lots of family time. Then it's on to my grandma's house for lunch.
We opened another round of stockings, exchanged gifts and stuffed ourselves with honey baked ham. After a big lunch we put on a Christmas movie and bust out the games. This year it was our Lord of the Rings Monopoly. When our stomach's start growling again we know it's time to head to Drew's parents for dinner and more presents.
And our last stop is Drew's parents house. We always get PJ's and  have a very big and tasty dinner followed by presents, Uno Attack and Christmas Story. The night always ends with me falling asleep on their couch.

And one last picture because it's not a Renner holiday without pet pictures...
I hope you had a very merry Christmas! Looking forward to reading all about all your holiday fun!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas in Kentucky

This weekend we celebrated Christmas round 1 with my Mom's side of the family in Kentucky. I am so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing family who I can laugh with and simply enjoy every second of being with.
Pictured above: My Momma, 3 Aunts and my amazing grandparents at Christmas eve dinner
Pictured above: My amazing girl cousins who are more like sisters, our cute Christmas eve dinner tablescape and an old picture of my mom and Aunts with Santa. All of the tables were decorated with old Christmas photos!
Pictured above: The sweetest couple ever
Pictured above: All my cousins with our "stockings." Since the youngest one of us is now in high school we moved from stockings to decorative bags so we all have something to take our stuff home in. The girl cousins have a little too much fun decorating them every year.
Pictured above: Puppy love, husband love, the boy cousins make an appearance and fun with pipe cleaners.
Pictured above: The coolest gift ever
We did a secret Santa gift exchange with our cousins and my sister's hammocks were the hit of the party. Since it was warm we headed out into the woods and tried them out. My sister is now selling these hammocks on Etsy so hop on over and check out her new shop. I have one and it is awesome!

Tomorrow I will be celebrating 3 more Christmases and I hope they are all as sweet as the first one.
Merry Christmas eve friends!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

High 5 for Friday-Holiday Edition

This week was full of:
1. Last minute shopping and wrapping (I'm a terrible wrapper, any tips are welcome!)
2. Getting Pinterest inspired gifts in cute packages.
3. Looking at our Christmas card pictures 1,000 times and finally sending out my cards.
4. Finding old ornaments and reminiscing. That cute little boy is my husband in kindergarten.
5. A SNOW DAY! That's as I am writing this I am in my pajamas drinking hot chocolate and watching episodes of Parenthood. The roads aren't that bad and there is less than an inch of snow here, but since we were only going for a half day today anyway I think the head of our school decided to give us a gift early. High five for Fridays especially when they are SNOW DAYS!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas card photo shoot!!

For our Christmas card photo shoot this year we took pictures in our cute little downtown square, which was all decorated for Christmas. I love our little downtown because there is an amazing coffee shop/cafe with a drive thru, it feels so quaint and homey, we can walk there annnnnd there is an adorable little ice cream parlor that I used to go to as a kid with my mom. All making this a fun spot to visit and a great place to take pictures that would be meaningful to us! I absolutely love how they turned out!!
I made the Naughty and Nice banners above for our photo shoot and thought about waiting until next holiday season to add them to my shop, but I just couldn't resist. So these banners are now available in my shop. Hop on over to Simply Burlap and use the code HOLIDAYRUSH12 for 15% off any purchase from now through New Years Day! If you are finished holiday shopping just go ahead and add it to your favorites for next Christmas.

Kristen from over at Ella Claire was kind enough to post a few pictures of how she decorated with one of my banners in her lovely home. You won't regret checking out her blog, which is full of beautiful decor and amazing tutorials!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekend update

Friday: My sweet husband took a half day from teaching at his school to come and be at mine. I have a long special right after lunch so we were able to go on a little date for lunch before he was our Mystery Reader. We went to the CUTEST Italian restaurant called Scotti's, which just so happens to be within walking distance of my school.
My kids flipped out when they found out that MR. RENNER was our guest for the afternoon. They literally started chanting his name. It was hilarious. He read a book, he did cool experiments with dry ice and then he signed autographs by request.
Friday night we went to our family friends annual pizza party and I got to see my friend Katie who is visiting from Columbia!

Saturday: I went with Drew, my mom and brother to see the HOBBIT. It was so good you guys! Then we headed to Drew's extended family's Christmas party. We wore ugly Christmas sweaters, ate until our stomach's hurt and had a gift exchange. The gift you brought had to be homemade, handmade or an "as seen on TV" gift. I came home with glitter tattooes (as seen on tv) and Drew came home with a homemade DIY cookie kit. You win some, you lose some.

Sunday: We went to Church and then I went to a bridal shower for my friend Linh who gets married in just a few weeks. Look how festive we all are!
Despite a full weekend of fun, I did a lot of crying, reflecting and praying for the families in Connecticut and as I prepare to go back into my classroom today, I pray that God will help guide my words as I know many of my students will be frightened and anxious after the tragedy that took place.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My heart hurts...

I woke up this morning in tears thinking about all the parents waking up this Saturday morning and not being able to see their children's smiles. Parents who have already bought many of their kid's Christmas presents anticipating seeing their reaction when they open them Christmas morning, parents who had weekend plans to take their kids to see Santa or go to basketball practice. I am also so very sad for the brave teachers who lost their lives yesterday. Being a teacher myself I just can not even imagine what they went through, how helpless they probably felt. It makes me tear up thinking about someone coming into my school, my classroom and being capable of doing such evil. I can't help, but just be filled with sadness this morning.  I can't put into words, but Max Lucado did an excellent job in his prayer as a response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In such a dark time, we can only look to the light.
                                                                                Source: Uploaded by user via Sonya on Pinterest


Dear Jesus,

It's a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod's jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won't you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
Your Children

In tragedies like this one we want to close our eyes, turn off the tv and just pretend it never happened, but it did. So where do we go from here? Casey wrote a beautiful post about this tragedy and her outlook on it. You can check it out here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday's letters

Dear Thoughtful Husband of mine, I'm so excited for you to be our Mystery Reader today! My kids are going to freak out when they find out it is you. Thank you for taking a half day off work just to hang out with me and my class...oh and entertain us by reading Elf and showing us cool tricks with dry ice. You are the best!! Dear Nutella and Bananas, Why are you such a good snack? I've eaten you three nights this week and am always satisfied by you. Dear Christmas Cards, You finally arrived at my door step and I'm so happy with you. Now I have to get addressing and stamping! Dear HOBBIT movie, I can't wait to see you on Saturday! I'm more excited about you than most girls are for Twilight. Yes, I'm that excited! Dear Annual Christmas Pizza Party, I'm excited about attending you and stuffing my face with free pizza tonight! Dear Blog Friends, Looking for a last minute gift or a little holiday cheer for your home? Visit my shop and enter the code HOLIDAYRUSH12 to get 15% off! Dear Papa, Yesterday was your 89th Birthday! I am so proud of you and all you stand for. Your love for Mimi and your family is incredible. I can't wait to celebrate with you next weekend! Dear Husband (again), Remember when you were a Mystery Reader last year and the kids asked you for your autograph? You are oh so famous and I'm glad you are mine.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thankful Thursdays Part 6-Chronic Soul Amnesia

This week's chapter in Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts was on our tendency to forget to see God's glory in our everyday lives. "The whole earth is full of His glory. Sky, land and sea, heavy and saturated with God-why do I always forget?" (page 106)

So often people see the creation, but forget all about the creator. Think about it...God created all the things you love most in the world. Your favorite flavors and foods, your family, the clouds, your cute little furbaby, the ocean, the tree you love to sit under and read...and when we look at those things do we see God's glory? Voskamp compares us to the Israelites wandering in the desert. God had just freed them from slavery in Egypt, but then they got hungry and scared and began complaining again about a new set of troubles. How quickly they forgot what God had just rescued them from. God had to constantly remind them that he loved them and would take care of them. We are the same way. God provides for us everyday and then we just forget about all he has done or choose not to see it...Voskamp calls it "chronic soul amnesia." (page 106)
                                                                                Source: via Allison on Pinterest

I really connect with God when I am out in his creation. Seeing a colorful sunset, a hawk above me on a telephone pole, big puffy snowflakes landing on the ground, the stars shining, a harvest moon...all of these things make me realize how much bigger the world is than just me and how amazing our creator is for making these things for our pleasure.  We just have to choose to see it. What will you see God's glory in today?

Be sure to check out these lovely ladies thoughts on the chapter as well...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tacky Christmas Sweaters at their finest!

This weekend we had our 4th annual Tacky Sweater party. We had such a fun time looking ridiculous with our friends and getting in the Christmas spirit. I'll let the pictures (and ugly sweaters) do the talking...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A little tackiness and a WINNER!

Happy Saturday friends...only 17 days left until Christmas! Starting today I have a holiday party pretty much every weekend night until Christmas, which makes me excited, but also leaves me wondering when I will finish my shopping and wrap all my gifts! Tonight is our 4th annual Tacky Sweater party so today I will be cleaning and cooking away. Read about last year's party here.
And now for the exciting news...folks we have a winner! Congrats Kristen! I will be emailing you shortly. Thank you so much to everyone who entered! Happy weekend!!!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday Part 5

Even though I'm a little late in posting, I couldn't let a Thankful Thursday pass me by. If you've been following along, I've been reading Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts along with some other wonderful bloggers to help remind us to be thankful for the small things.

Every week I think wow this is some good stuff and then the next week comes along and the book just keeps going deeper and tugging at more of my heart strings. This week is a reflection on Chapter 5, which was all about our suffering. I don't think anyone enjoys the pain or suffering that comes with living in this world. So many people look to God when they are suffering and ask "why would you let this happen?" Or "how could a loving God not stop this..." The truth I gleaned from this chapter was that "God is always good and I am always loved" no matter how much pain and suffering I have to endure. "It is suffering that has the realest possibility to bear down and deliver grace." (page 97) So many people question God's existence and love when they go through a hard time, but what about all the good times God has given us that we don't even come close to deserving? If you are going to question God, why not question who he is when you see the sunrise, eat your favorite food or see the smile of the person you love most?

Despite people's perception of God, He"does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow" (Lamentations 3:3) When we go through a time of suffering we need to use Jesus as our example of how to handle it..."take the pain that is given, give thanks for it, and transform it into joy that fulfills all emptiness." This is much harder than it sounds and even as I type it, it seems crazy, but the only way we can get through suffering and make our way back to joy is to give it to God and know he is using it in some way for his glory.

This chapter was a lot to swallow, but was so good for me to read. If this is something you struggle with I would let Ann do the talking and read the book for yourself because I don't do it justice! Be sure to check out these lovely ladies take on the chapter as well...

And since I am so very thankful for all of you I'm hosting a holiday giveaway...the last day to enter is tomorrow!