Monday, December 28, 2015

Holiday Fun

Christmas Day was fun ~ since we had done our gifts the night before, we slept in a little and James cooked us breakfast, a tradition that started years ago (I love it!).

After eating and taking care of the animals, we headed over to Granny's house for the festivities.  Mom had some goodies for all of us & we had some for her and my sister and I exchanged gifts.  Allen, Jennifer and Aiden got to come (he had been sick the week before & felt a lot better) and we got to gift exchange with them too.  Its just too much fun to buy for little ones at the holidays and hard to know when to stop!

We ate our traditional Christmas lunch of boiled shrimp, ham, salad, baked potatoes, and rolls ~ Greg also fixed a yummy pot of grits for those who wanted shrimp and grits.  Our desserts were gingerbread, pound cake, and fudge.  Plus all the candy that mom stuffed in the stockings. 

Then we played our gift swap game.  Everyone that wanted to participate bought 3 wrapped gifts ~ one could be a gag gift.  The total of the 3 gifts could not be more than $10.  Moms fireplace hearth was full of little packages.  We all drew numbers.  #1 opened a gift, then onto #2, they could either pick another gift to open or swipe #1's gift.  I think the game lasted about 2 hours.  The official youngest participant was my nephew Bobby and the oldest was Granny.  Aiden wandered in and out but wasn't really interested in our goofiness.  We had a blast!  The most popular gifts were a set of kitchen knives from ikea and 2 $5 target gift cards.  Oh, and the red solo cup "goblets" (Amy got them)!  When the game was officially over ~ then the "behind the scenes" swapping began.  It was all fun, loads of laughter, and lots of begging....don't steal this from me!  This game will be repeated next year by popular demand!  The gag gifts included a shower squeegee, a princess crown tap light, a dollar tree selfie stick, dried fish bait, and a toilet brush, + more. 

Sat. was a beautiful day in GA.  The sun was out and the temperatures were in the mid 70's (this weekend will be in the 40's).  We spent lots of time outside, working in the garage and rearranging stuff ~ I know have a ceramics working area! 

Sunday we visited a new church about 20 minutes from our house & enjoyed it.  We met the Pastor and he gave us a tour of the facilities and talked for a few minutes before the service.  They have a potluck dinner every Sunday for who ever can stay, so we are planning on participating in that next Sunday.

Then it was Tapley time!  I was so excited that my friends were coming to visit and we crammed as much fun into 24 hours that would fit.  First was eating lunch and playing,  Mom came out as did Andy and AmyKate.  Dinner was "make your own pizza".  Then we rode up to Stone Mountain park and rode around to look at the holiday lights.  We found out it was about over $20 a person to walk around the village and do the activities, so we just hopped out of the car to take some pictures.  a policeman walked up and told us if we take a side path, we could get over close enough to see the fireworks (and I thought he was walking over to tell us to leave because we didn't have a ticket!).  After fireworks and driving home, Amy made us chocolate fondue and we gorged on that yumminess.  Our goodies we dipped were marshmallows, candy orange & fruit slices, graham stick crackers, and pretzels.  We were a chocolatey mess.  Today we drove over to Northpoint Mall to go to the American Girl store (along with about 3000 other people), and the girls had a blast shopping.  Ragen had lots of birthday+Christmas money and she bought a new doll plus accessories.  Then we headed over to the Lego store and the Disney store.  We ended up at Steak and Shake for milkshakes and then drove home. 

Its been an awesome holiday time and its not over yet.

Tomorrow is a "rest" day and then Amy and I are going to meet her fella and his mom in Alabama for lunch and shopping/walking around.  I probably won't do much shopping but we chose a mall because its supposed to be raining a bunch.

And one more family reunion on Sunday with lots of folks before my nephew leaves for Officer Training School for the Marine Corp.

Its awesome being back in GA!

Thankful for ~
my friend Angel who drove all this way with her 4 blessings to visit
fun in the doll store
1/2 price milkshakes during happy hour at Steak n Shake
beautiful colorful holiday lights
knowing someone at the church we visited
the friendliness of the people we met
loads of hugs, kisses & I love you's

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Georgia!

I wish everyone ~ fun memories, family times, laughter, good food, and quiet, joyful reflection on the reason for the season.

We will be spending the day at my moms house with Will, Amy, James, Allen, Jennifer, Aiden, my mom, my sister and her family.  We've got enough desserts coming to give us all tummy aches.

We are trying a new gift swap game tomorrow ~ so I will have to report afterwards.  We've had fun getting ready for it. 

In our striving for a simpler holiday we are still experimenting on what to do for our family.  With Greg and the kids working, their schedules have been determined by work hours.  I've been able to sit down for hours and cross stitch this week and watch some recorded TV specials.  Since we are going to Moms in the morning, we did our gift exchange tonight for Greg and I and the kids.  Lots of fun and surprises!

I am thankful for ~

presents ~ I love to give and receive!
long weekends
living closer to family
yummy holiday food
sales and coupons for sales
But most of all ~
Our Lord coming to earth

Luke 2:8-14
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood over them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For there is born to you this day, in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!

Now its just 3 more days till my Mississippi buddies get here!  Can't wait for my Tapley hugs!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

When ya Take an Animal Lover Shopping

Amy LOVES animals, all shapes, sizes, makes, models, etc.  She would love to turn our backyard into an alpaca playground.

Her animal friends don't have to be "real" either....the stuffed variety are fun too.  Just look at the new friend she found at our local grocery store today.

Since large monkey friend was $40, he is living at the grocery store and not our house.  Had he been clearanced, we mught have adopted a huge stuffed monkey!

I am thankful for.....
*Fun with Amy
*Her random animal facts
*Her compassion & love of life
*Our shopping times-even to the grocery store
*our talks

Monday, December 21, 2015

Kickin' It Up A Notch ~

Greg loves my spice tea mix ~ and drinks it every morning, and some afternoons and evenings!

I've posted the recipe here before for one batch ~ but we have to remake it too often, so now I do the basic x 5.  Heres the recipe

1 jar instant tea ~ I use the unsweetened, decaf
5 cups sweetener of your choice ~ Greg likes Splenda over Stevia
1 Crystal Light container Lemonade ~ all the packets
1 Crystal Light container Orange (the Walmart brand is Sunrise) ~ all the packets
3 tablespoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves

Dump all this into a large bowl and whisk the ingredients.  Put into airtight containers to store.

a regular coffee cup takes a little over 2 teaspoon fulls ~ a travel mug takes 4 teaspoons

Now for the kickin' it up part,to your mug of spice tea ~ add 2 drops lemon essential oil and 2 drops orange essential oil ~ yumminess in a cup! 

Hope you have a warm, cozy holiday weekend with your loved ones!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Pinterest Goodies

Pinterest is loaded with holiday goodies and inspiration!  Crafting, Decorating, Food, etc.

Here are some things I have found this season ~~

For the Table Top... maybe use wreath battery christmas light and different christmas fabric:
I did 3 of these ~ 1 with ribbon and 2 with printed fabric ~ turned out great

I love these nativity themed free printables! An easy, great way to keep the true meaning of Christmas central in your home!:
I printed this yesterday

This hands-on Christmas card. | 23 DIY Christmas Cards You Can Make In Under An Hour:
This is adorable.....just sayin' or hinting!

I need old scrabble sets!  This would be great to do ~ our kids and grandkids names & hang on my garland.  Gotta start searching consignment sales and garage sales or thrift stores.:
I need old scrabble games ~ would love to do this with all our names and add to the garland

In just a few minutes, a simple Hershey bar can become a penguin or a snowman – thank you Pinterest!   Look how adorable these are: I found the free printables for these candy bar wrappers here.  You’ll find other wrappers there beyond snowmen and penguins – those two were just my favorites. :)  We’re …:
cute, easy and yummy!

Monday, December 14, 2015

3 Wise Women

Three wise women... absolutely ;-):

I laugh everytime I see this! 

Friday, December 11, 2015


Every year it strikes me as very funny & quite sad that people are rushing around crazy getting ready for Christmas ~ it comes on the same day every single year.  Whether you go all out and decorate every square inch of your house or yard or have a more simple holiday ~ its still the same time every year.

Evaluate what is most important to you and your family and concentrate on getting that done.  For many families its a trip to see Santa ~ if that's a priority then go....but you really only need to go once and not schedule visits to every Santa within 50 miles of your home.  When I was little we checked out of school early one afternoon in December & daddy took off work a early.  We drove to downtown Atlanta and visited Santa at Rich's and rode the pink pig.  It was a huge adventure ~ sometimes they had reindeer you could pet and my sister and I could shop at the secret Santa shop for our parents.  Obviously this made a big impression on me since I can remember it 50 years later.

We are always involved in our church's Christmas program or Christmas Cantata.  Choir is a priority for that.  Our program is this weekend, so it will be busy.  If your children are young and involved in childrens church activities, then that's important to them. 

Do you love to go to Grandma's house for the holiday?  When I was little we would go to my MaMa's house on Christmas Eve, every year.  Then Christmas afternoon we would go to my Grandma's house.  There wasn't any question where we would be or what time, it was the same every year ~ this was simplified by the fact all our family was got harder and changed when the grandkids grew, married and started having babies.  If your family isn't nearby, it will be more difficult.

Do you have a food tradition?  For the last 32 or so years, Christmas dinner at Mom's house has been boiled shrimp, ham, baked potatoes, salad, bread and desserts.  The drink is cokes in the little glass bottles.  Most think we are crazy but it started because by Christmas we were tired of turkey but everyone loved shrimp ~ except James and that's why we have ham too but its usually leftover from another gathering.  This is the first year in quite a while that we will be at Mom's on Christmas day & I am so excited!  It took Greg and I several years to come up with our own food traditions for the holiday but we finalized on finger foods for Christmas eve, James cooks breakfast the morning of the 25th, lunch was shrimp and grits, and dinner was grilled steak & baked potatoes.....yummy!

Gifts are another source of stress for many.  Shopping on the internet is fun and lots of places offer free shipping is you reach a certain level of purchases.  Or shop on Amazon and take advantage of their free Prime membership shipping.  You can shop all year long or do it all in December.  We are all simplifying our gift giving.  What do you give the Granny who has everything and when she wants something, she goes out and buys it?  You get creative!  Who do you need to buy a gift for ~ or who do you want to get a gift for?  Don't feel obligated when your neighbors cousins mom sends you a plate of cookies ~ just say thank you. 

Relax this month ~

watch a movie
drive around and look at lights
color pictures (the new adult coloring books are cool)
play a game
visit friends & family
read a book
start a hobby
reflect on the meaning of the Season
read the scriptures concerning the Incarnation of the Lord (day 11 here)
sit back & watch the world spin while you drink hot chocolate
order your gifts online & have them delivered directly to the person ( we did this!)
enjoy family time
be thankful for all your blessings & resources & talents

Pictures from my past ~

My first kitchen! You could really put water in that sink and wash your dishes!

Me & my sister ~ matching Chrismas gowns!

Christmas morning, I was about 2

At my Aunts house, we were teenagers

Another teen Christmas at our house with MaMa, Aunts/Uncles & cousins

Thursday, December 10, 2015

It Only Takes a Spark ~

It only takes a spark to get a fire going ~ in this case a huge bonfire in our pasture the day after Thanksgiving.  What started out as a "hey can we do a bonfire" turned into a huge fire (arranged by my pyromaniacs James & Allen) and a really fun night.

We had lots of hot dog sticks ~ but the handles were too short ~ because of the heat, we couldn't get close enough to it to roast.  I believe it was my nephews who came up with the idea (brilliant) to pull some of the burning kindling/embers to the side and have a smaller roasting area. 

We had hot dogs, buns, ketchup/mustard, chips/dip, raw vegies/ranch dressing, and whats a bonfire without s'mores and loads of extra marshmallows.  Brenda and her crowd supplied the vegies/dip and drinks!  We hauled a couple of serving tables and chairs to the pasture and toted everything else in Gregs wagon.

4 family generations were out there ~ oldest was my mom and youngest was her great grandson Alvin.  My sister and her family came and Austin and his family were here.  It was Austin and his Moms birthday celebration also!  Amy baked him a cake so dessert also included Red Velvet cake.

Next time, we need more light out there ~ for walking to and from the gate and being able to see the little ones.  Although, they really did good out there ~ and probably ate way too many marshmallows or mushrooms as they called them.  I think at one point I heard them called mushmallows too.  Hey whatever works ~ toasted marshmallows are yummy!

Amy bought this Anchor at the Yellow Daisy Festival and painted it for Austin ~ he loves anchors

His red velvet cake had an anchor also

Robert waiting at his own table for his hot dog to be done

Mom used the seat on her walker as a table

Ben & Will working on hot dogs

my brother in law and sister ` Doug & Brenda

nephew Brian ~ who is heading to officer candidate school for the Marines in January


Me & Greg

my nephews Ben & Billy ~ Billy made a good naptime place for Thomas

Billy Kent roasting marshmallows

PaPa & Robert


Nephews Bobby & Billy & Austins cousin Taylor

Robert & great granny

I think Katie was cutting the cake

Amys gift to Tammy ~

sharing birthday cake

watching the fire

Our littlest honey

we are getting cold now!

the best wagon puller & pusher ever~  They got the wagon all the way to the sidewalk
Thankful for ~
simple, laid back fun with family
the bonfire idea
fun, safe times
lots of company
laughter around the campfire
sticky, gooey, yummy marshmallows
hot dogs roasted over a fire
4 awesome generations of family
the cousin visiting time afterwards
plans for the bonfire to be an annual tradition

Monday, December 7, 2015

My Buddy

Today my friend Angel posted a very cute video of her daughter Ragen reading a letter.   The letter written to Ragen was explaining that she would not be having a birthday party this year....her birthday is on Dec. 20.  And then she found out why....she and her mom and sisters (& maybe brother) are coming to our house to visit and go to the American Girl Store.  To say she is excited is an understatement ~ the same goes for me.  I can't wait to see them all, celebrate a birthday and shop for dolly goodies! 

Its unusual when life gives you a best friend that is in elementary school ~ but I have been blessed!  We haven't seen them since July.  My little buddies give the best hugs!  And I miss their mom too!  She and Amy and I spent many hours crafting. 

Most of the world may be counting down till Christmas ~ but my countdown just got added 2 days to it ~ Dec. 27 is the day!

So excited to see all my besties again! 

Thankful for ~
*an upcoming visit
*sweet phone calls
*I love you's
*happy tears
*awesome hugs
*girlie fun
*the 4 best bonus "grandchildren" in the world
*fun through the years
*a little girl who calls me her bestie

Scripture Reading ~ Day 7

I am on Day 7 of the Christmas Scripture reading ~

Luke 1: 35-36

  "And the angel said to her "the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called Son of God.  Now indeed , Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; this is now the 6th month for her who was called barren."

The baby Elizabeth conceived was John ~ or as referred to in the New Testament, John the Baptist.  He and Jesus were cousins.  Scripture tells us in Matthew 6:13-17, that it was John who baptized Jesus.  This even is also retold in Mark 1: 9-11 and in Luke 3: 21-23. 

Here are some links to great resources for your family this holiday season ~

for the little ones ~,,,,

This is a great idea ~ unfortunately, the link doesn't work.  This craft could be done with blocks of wood (sanded) and scrapbook stickers.  As you read the account of the Nativity to your children, they could choose the figures to add to the "scene".  Very kid friendly, and unbreakable, plus it gets them involved and listening!

Block Nativity Scene ~ cute, unbreakable idea for babies and toddlers:

We are thankful for ~

*scripture that tells of this miraculous Gift from Heaven ~ both in the Old Testament and the New Testament
*the creative ideas of others that involve all ages of the family
*the beautiful music that accompanies this season
*the twinkly lights and colors
*happy faces

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Scripture Reading

I saw a chart on Facebook and then on Pinterest for 25 days of Christmas Countdown Scriptures ~ one challenge was to write the scriptures each day.  I found a notebook and my favorite Flair pens and got busy.  Since I started on Day 2, I copied 2 days this morning.  The Bible translation I use is the New King James Version.

Today's scripture reading is~

Matthew 1:18-24 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was a follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband being a just man and not wanting to make her a public example was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying :Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet (Isaiah 7:14), Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name, Immanuel, which is translated, God with us. Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife."

If you are interested in doing this yourself the chart is below ~

Christmas Countdown Scripture list Maybe for the elf to bring everyday? Keeping Christ in Christmas.:
If you need a Bible ~ please leave me a comment with your name and address and I will be glad to mail you a paperback copy.

I am linking this post with Raising Homemakers ~

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Great Ideas

I'm all for great ideas and crafty projects that others so generously share!  I was excited to be able to use some great Thanksgiving ideas collected on Pinterest for our Harvest Table last week and some little "happy" treats to send home with our guests. 

Here are pictures of the reproductions and links to the original posters ~

The leaves and tiny clothespins we already had ~ the Give Thanks banner came from

Love the silverware holders ~ mine are printed on heavy cardstock ~ link to printable is ~
Wonderful Thanksgiving scripture cards!  from Second Chance to Dream: Free Printable Give Thanks Scripture Cards:
Blessing Mix. Make ahead with the kids and talk about each item's meaning. Snacks Thanksgiving Day.:
The cute turkeys below are a Jackson Family Farm Original ~ I had the concept ~ my daughter in law Amy Kate made it a reality.  The base of the turkeys is pumpkin foam sheets (80% off at Hobby Lobby!), feathers are 2 bags of fall leaves from Walmart, leaves are glued on with E6000 glue and the drawings are with sharpie markers.  She did an awesome job!

This is a Jackson original

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Our Thanksgiving day celebration this year was really special for quite a number of reasons ~

*we are in our new house
*our new house is in GA ~ quite close to family!
*everyone that could be here came to our house for Thanksgiving
*Amy's young man Austin and his parents joined us for the celebration fun
*4 generations of family hanging out & having fun
*James & Allen both have new jobs~ Allens starts on Tuesday and James on Dec. 7 ~ both jobs came with pay raises and benefits!
*we did shop for a couple of hours on Thanksgiving night ~ got to the first store at 6:30, got exactly what we wanted in a timely manner & paid quickly.  Same with the 2nd store!

Mom is crumbling the cornbread and biscuits to mix up for our dressing

Amy Kate made our cute placecard turkeys!

my expert turkey fryer!

AK and I...her beautifully arranged marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes became marshmallow flambe when left in the oven too long ~ the whole top of the casserole was on fire! Greg picked off the black and we ate it anyway!

Yay!  The turkey hat for Thanksgiving!

Another Turkey!

Green Beans, Black eyed Peas, dressing & gravy, Sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, 1 fried and 1 oven roasted turkey, honeybaked ham, fruit salad and rolls!

niece Bethany snitching turkey, Austins daddy Billy Kent is in the background

My cute nephew Bobby

my sister and her youngest

Lets Eat!

Austin, nephew Billy & Bethany

Brenda, AmyKate, Ben, Austin & Andy


James, Billy & Brian

Cutest turkey on the block!  In his shirt made by my friend Angel!

Mom is an expert turkey picker!

Sitting on PaPa's tractor!

Aiden & Oreo