Laresa Watkins

Easing Out of the Holidays

Dec 29, 2014
mommyinbonlee

So, here we are.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are over.  They flew by, didn’t they?

I wish I had tons of pictures to share with you, but we were grossly inadequate on the documentation front this year.  We videoed the Christmas play at church, then couldn’t quite get it together to record much more.  I couldn’t bring myself to spend time clearing off memory sticks and recharging batteries.  Our camera has been behaving badly, so we didn’t take many pictures, either.

So you can just take me on my word that it was a great one, okay?  (Aside from the terrible cold I have been suffering with, that is.)

Over the last couple of years, as children have been added to our families and we have lost our grandmothers, our Christmas traditions have gone through some changes.  While it is sad to let go of some traditions that we have had throughout our childhoods, it is also exciting to begin new things within our little family.

This Christmas Eve we opened up a Christmas Eve box here at the house.  Inside were matching PJ’s for the kids, Jason, and me, along with a tin of popcorn.  We put on our new jammies (thankfully the camera wasn’t working!:)) and ate popcorn while watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  It was a fun way to spend the night.

Since this Christmas (and the entire Holiday season) has been so great for us, I am trying to take the next few days slowly.  Usually I put up all of the decorations on December 26, ready to get the house cleaned up and uncluttered.  I am a lover of a new year and the feelings of starting over with the clean slate that it brings, so it has never been a problem for me to rush Christmas on so I can get started on new things.

Last year, however, Charlie dealt with a  little sadness after Christmas.  He was disappointed that it was over and protested when I did my usual December 26th cleansing.  I regretted rushing the season on.

This year I have done things differently, not just for Charlie, but for me.  I found myself experiencing a little sadness when I began taking our decorations down, so I decided to take it very slowly to make it a little easier on us all.  The kids and I have been taking down just a thing or two every day, in between time spent playing their new board games or watching new movies.  They have spent days in costumes, playing with their new toys.

Today, we turned our Christmas tree into a New Year’s Tree.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

New Year's Tree

We took off the Christmas ornaments and the colored lights, then added these beautiful large white lights and put some silver sprigs and ribbons at the top.  It’s simple and pretty, and when we’re ready to take the tree out (probably over the weekend) it won’t take long to take the decorations off.  We all love it, and we can enjoy the warm glow of Christmas lights a little longer.

Another thing I have been doing to try to draw out the Christmas cheer is discuss the idea of giving all year long with Charlie and Maddie.  John 3:16 teaches us “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him wouldn’t perish, but would have eternal life.”  This is the Christmas message, and one we are going to try to emphasize this year.

Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”  God gave us the greatest gift when He gave us his Son, and we should spread that message of giving when we are given the opportunity.  When we do this, the spirit of Christmas will last the entire year through.

How do you keep the Christmas spirit alive in your home?

 

Decorating With Fresh Produce

Aug 22, 2014
mommyinbonlee

Our gardens are in full swing as we speak, and we are spending a lot of our time in the afternoons picking and canning and freezing.  I love that we are able to do this and feel so fortunate to be surrounded by nature where we live.  To me, nature is such an expression of God’s beauty and creativity.

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?” Job 12: 7-9

I love to bring nature inside and use it to decorate, especially in the kitchen.  It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s beautiful!

Here’s what I have around the house right now:

decorating with produce5

decorating with produce4

decorating with produce3

decorating with produce1

Rosemary and basil snipped from my the cutting garden are gorgeous when they are bunched up and placed in a stemless wine glass, and a pile of tomatoes adds color to my kitchen window.  I stacked some apples next to some sunflowers on the kitchen table for an almost-fall decoration.

Another plus to this: your herbs and produce are within easy reach, and they smell fabulous!

Win A Gorgeous Print from Salty Treasures!

Jul 19, 2014
mommyinbonlee

Last summer, I ordered this lovely print from Salty Treasures, an Etsy shop run by Nicole DiGiacomo.  I love the print, with its bright colors and Bible verse that constantly reminds me that God is watching over me.

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” 

Psalms 91:4

I am so excited to be teaming up with Nicole for a giveaway.  You have the chance to win an 8×10 print of your choice from Salty Treasures.  Here are some of the prints you can choose from:

anchor teal-2

lifesaver anchor love

psalms appleberry closeup room-2

ocean set

Make sure you visit Nicole’s Etsy shop to see more of her fabulous creations!

Would you like a chance to win?  Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway!

We will choose a winner Friday night at 7:00.  Good luck everyone!

Changing Views

Jun 25, 2014
mommyinbonlee

DSC_0007

 

A little over a week ago I made the kids go outside, still in their pajamas, and run around in the back yard while I frantically snapped pictures.  They thought their dad and I had lost our minds, and I am sure they really thought we had gone off the deep end when Jason and I just stood behind our house, Jason shaking his head and me crying.

When Jason came home a few months ago and told me that all of the timber on the land adjoining ours had been sold, I didn’t think too much about it.  You know, it was one of those things that just wasn’t going to happen.  But two weeks ago, they moved the saw in, and the next morning we were awaked by the sounds of trees being cut down: a sharp squeal of a saw followed by a crash.

I know not everyone understands this, but losing these trees has been so sad for us.  We spend a lot of time outside, and the canopy of trees around us that has been forming for the past 100 years or so is one of the best things about living where we do.  It is hard to explain to the kids that even they, in their lifetimes, won’t see that view out of our kitchen window.

So, one by one the trees have been coming down, and every day there is another chunk of sky or torn-up ground visible through the thin line of trees left on our property line.  Jason and I joked about chaining ourselves to one of the trees in protest, but we both know that there is nothing to do but get over it.

So, in my effort to get over it, I am trying to cheer up my kitchen window.  I spend a lot (I mean, a ridiculous amount of time) looking out of this window, because it is where I stand when I cook or wash dishes.  I love to look out that window, but the view isn’t quite what it once was. Plus, I have really been neglecting the window and window sill.  It was really quite pitiful!

Brighten up a windowsill1

Bad, right?  My poor lipstick plant definitely needs to be repotted in a bigger pot, and Maddie’s rock that we brought her from Mexico (sounds ridiculous, but she loves that thing) needs to find a new home.  Plus, the window is just plain dirty.  Definitely neglected.

So, I moved the plant to the back deck (Don’t worry-I am going to save it!) and gave Maddie her rock to relocate (She’s been rolling it around in her stroller all afternoon), and got to cleaning.  That in itself made a huge difference.

Before we built our house, we had to tear down some really old houses that were here.  The people who lived here threw their trash out in the woods, so every time it rains now, glass and other things rise to the top.  We find all sorts of old glass bottles and keep most of them.

I got some of my favorite bottles that we have found and used them to hold some different plants from the yard.  Turned out really pretty, I think!

Brighten up a windowsill3

 

Brighten up a windowsill2

 

Brighten up a windowsill4

 

So, even though the view out my kitchen window is changing, I still plan to enjoy being at my sink and looking out of the window.  I do spend half of my life there, after all, so might as well do everything I can to make it pleasant!

 

 

Turning Christmas Trees into Summer Trees

Apr 24, 2014
mommyinbonlee

I had to have Maddie in Cary for a dentist appointment at 8:00 this morning, which was totally CRAZY for us. I can’t remember the last time I was dressed and out and about that early in the morning, and I didn’t like it one bit! When my alarm went off before 6, Jason said, “Do you remember when you used to get up at 5:30 every morning to go to work?” I do, and I don’t miss it!

The pediatric dentist was amazing, and Maddie acted just as she predicted.  Yesterday, I asked her if she was going to be a good girl at the dentist.  She responded, “After I’m bad.”  I thought at the time that was pretty funny, but that is exactly what she did this morning!  At least she follows through….

One plus side to going to Cary this morning was that we got to go to Target.  We live a little ways from any good stores, so going to Target is pretty eventful for us.  I was finally able to buy some supplies to do something I have been wanting to do for awhile (since the beginning of January, actually).

When we took down our decorations after Christmas, Charlie got pretty depressed.  He was upset it was over, he missed Martin (our Elf on the Shelf), and he didn’t want me to take down our decorations.  I agreed to leave the little trees in his and Maddie’s rooms, and we decided after a few weeks that we would transform them into Valentine’s trees, then Easter trees, then summer trees.

Valentine’s Day and Easter are now over, and the kids still have Christmas trees in their rooms.

Christmas trees-minus some ornaments because the kids have been slowly been picking them off and playing with or breaking them.

Christmas trees-minus some ornaments because the kids have been slowly been picking them off and playing with or breaking them.

 

I found several bags of summer-themed foam stickers in the $1 section of Target.  I peeled the backs off of 2 matching stickers, then stuck them back-t0-back around a pipe cleaner.  They made really cute ornaments!

I found several bags of summer-themed foam stickers in the $1 section of Target. I peeled the backs off of 2 matching stickers, then stuck them back-to-back around a pipe cleaner. They made really cute ornaments!

 

This is the finished sunshine ornament.  I wrapped the pipe cleaner around a branch, then twisted the ends of the pipe cleaner into little curls.

This is the finished sunshine ornament. I wrapped the pipe cleaner around a branch, then twisted the ends of the pipe cleaner into little curls.

 

Charlie working on a snail for Maddie's tree.

Charlie working on a snail for Maddie’s tree.

 

...and his masterpiece!

…and his masterpiece!

 

We used pinwheels (also found in Target's $1 section) for our tree toppers.  I just removed the sticks and the wheels fit perfectly on the tops of the trees.

We used pinwheels (also found in Target’s $1 section) for our tree toppers. I just removed the sticks and the wheels fit perfectly on the tops of the trees.

 

A little frog ornament for Charlie's tree.

A little frog ornament for Charlie’s tree.

 

And a football ornament for Charlie's tree.  These were actually on his Christmas tree, but he wanted to keep them for his summer tree, too.

And a football ornament for Charlie’s tree. These were actually on his Christmas tree, but he wanted to keep them for his summer tree, too.

 

Maddie and her finished tree!  I found some great globe lights in Target, and we wrapped some yellow streamers around the tree as a finishing touch.

Maddie and her finished tree! I found some great globe lights in Target, and we wrapped some yellow streamers around the tree as a finishing touch.

 

...and here's Charlie with his tree.  A little burlap around the bottom covers the cords.

…and here’s Charlie with his tree. We hung some balls on his tree, too. A little burlap around the bottom covers the cords.

 

I am so glad we finally got this done.  The kids love them, and I can finally check “take down Christmas decorations” off my to-do list!

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