Christmas tips

For any of you wondering what got me started blogging in the first place…

I was very much interested in helping parents – with ideas to share about children and Christmas – always hoping for respect, manners, and joy to be a major part of every child’s world.

From December, 2010 … Part 1 of 3


This is the first of a three part series on holiday gift giving.
Today we’ll talk about the “giving” of presents. How do you involve your children in the giving spirit of the season?? Well, the operative word here is INVOLVE!

Decide with your children who they will give gifts to: Mom, Dad, brother, sister, grandparents, teacher, and anyone else you think appropriate. Remember that some of the most precious gifts family members can receive are those that have been made by the children in their lives.

Then decide, based on the child’s age, who will pay and how much. When children are very young, obviously the parents will be in charge of buying gifts and helping with decision-making. As children get older they can begin contributing some of their own money as the decision of what to give becomes more their own. Many schools offer Santa Shops where kids can purchase inexpensive items for all of their special people, and in some cases, the Santa Shop elves even help them with wrapping presents before the kids take them home.

Do include your children in the wrapping of gifts to give to family members. Involving your kids in thinking about what to give, who to give to and why, and preparing the gift increases their ability to care about others and to think about someone besides themselves.

an obvious overabundance!!
gifts of clothing can be fun:)
Christmas photos when they’re young…
…and when they’re older – always important!!

Remember to teach your children important messages in the little things you do every day, especially during the holidays!

Happy Parenting!

D and C

Super Saturday #26

Hurray for Super Saturday #26…

Beautiful things, exciting things, inspiring ones…I’ll share with you those things that bring me joy and make me happy!


Here are three things that make me happy:


1) Thanksgiving with these folks!!

2) hosted here…

the new Mr. & Mrs. hosted:))

their newly beautiful dining room

S made this bar/buffet :)

table looks great, doesn't it?


3) food…before and after…

What is all that, you ask?? I took 2 appetizers, a veggie, and a salad…

pineapple meatballs...crockpot

cheese sausage bites

green bean casserole and brussels sprouts slaw

the turkey was brined and smoked...delicious!!

busy carving

full plate

...and empty!!

I am always thankful for my wonderful family!! This year was especially exciting in so many ways….adding beautiful people to bless us all, being able to enjoy an incredible meal with the newlyweds in their beautiful new home, and always being grateful for wonderful memories:))


Happy Parenting and Thanksgiving to you and yours!

D and C

Super Saturday #21

Hurray for Super Saturday #21…

Beautiful things, exciting things, inspiring ones…I’ll share with you those things that bring me joy and make me happy!


Here are three things that make me happy:


1) I did remember to buy some flowers to pass out to the Meals on Wheels seniors:

pretty yellow!


Comments included: “Thank you sooo much!”, “These will sure brighten up my day”, and my favorite: “ohhh, posies for my sweetie!” from a gentlemen for his wife:))  There were also a few shocked faces, but I think everyone liked the sunny flowers!

After leaving some at the senior center where the meals are prepared, I took these beauties home to brighten up my kitchen!

2) This over-laden apple tree is in one of the senior’s back yards. I’ve watched it with blossoms and then tons of apples this year after absolutely none last year! Check out the spike of tree at the top still trying to stand tall after all the rest of the branches have bent under the load of apples! I guess we could use this for a metaphor of our lives, huh? Stand tall, everyone:))

3) …and you know this little, okay big, guy is my forever buddy!! He had a birthday…12 now!!! Yikes! I guess he needs his beauty sleep:)

look at that cute little nose:)


Enjoy your last Saturday in October….are you ready for Halloween??


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Kids Everywhere…and teachers:)

I hope you know I love kids…so here are a few pics of kids around the world:

on a playground in Czech Republic


at recess in Germany


hi, kids!


on a field trip in Austria


Kids everywhere are delightful!

Because I care about them, I also care about the teachers who work with them ….here is a blog post from John Spencer with a ‘humorous’ look at the new testing ideas:))


Post co-written by Tom Panarese and John Spencer

Here’s a variation on the How Many Teachers Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? concept:

Principal: I’ll get back to you on that.

Superintendent: There’s a lightbulb out? I’ll ask the Board of Education if we have any money for them.

Board of Education: The schools have enough lightbulbs. They don’t need any more.

State Department of Education: Teachers will fulfill measurable lightbulb-changing objectives based on a pre-assessment and post-assessment.

PD Coordinator: I need to develop a Lightbulb Theory Training with clip art lightbulbs and Comic Sans font. Can anyone tell me what Marzano said about lightbulbs?

Standardized Test: A) 2 B) 3 C) 3.14 D) Pineapple

Federal Government: “We see you have been changing lightbulbs but we don’t think you have been changing enough of them fast enough. All lightbulbs must be changed at a 100% rate each year or you will lose money for lightbulbs.”

Taxpayers: Why are our tax dollars being spent on things like lightbulbs?

Teach for America: The lightbulbs are going out, because the engineers are lazy slobs. Let’s replace them with someone who went through a month-long training course on engineering.

Parent: Why didn’t you call me two weeks ago to tell me the lightbulb was going to go out?

Union: This isn’t in the contract. It’s the custodian’s job.

Khan Learning Academy: Watch this neon-on-blackboard video on how to change lightbulbs.

Arne Duncan: Bill, can you change the lightbulb for me?

Movie Tagline: Some lightbulbs, they said, would never be changed. She inspired them so they could be.

RT @participantname: We should think beyond the lightbulbs and inspire the light to light the bulb itself.

Education Conference Attendee: I just was so INSPIRED by that wonk’s keynote about changing lightbulbs!

Techie Reformy Post: Eventually lightbulbs will replace teachers. Kids can find the light. You don’t have to do it for them.

Seth Godin: We are stealing their lightbulbs. Read my book about it.

Student: [says nothing and doesn't notice lightbulb is out because he/she is texting]

#stuvoice: Why is the teacher the one changing lightbulbs? Every kid should have their own lightbulb.

Maker Movement: Kids will make lightbulbs if you get out of the way and leave them alone.

Unschooler: We don’t need lightbulbs. That’s a part of factory/industrial mindset. Kids should be playing out in the sun all day.

Homeschooler: Even though the lightbulbs are exactly the same, the ones in my home are better than the ones at school.

#edchat: How do we change professional development so that teachers start changing lightbulbs instead of complaining that the bulbs are dead?

#edtech: Check out these 95 coolest, super-amazing, LED lightbulbs that will revolutionize classroom space.

2,000 retweet Twitter post: You have to think outside the bulb. #lightchat #bulbchat

TED Talk: Everything you thought you knew about light bulbs is wrong and I’m here to tell you why.

Tumblr Teacher Post: Here’s a .gif of a flashing lightbulb and a quote by Dewey about enlightening minds. Hope this helps.

This American Life: I’m not sure how many it takes, but I think we could learn something from a counterintuitive human interest story on lightbulbs. I’ll narrate it in a near-whisper.

Time Magazine: Why Teachers Are the Real Reason for Busted Lightbulbs and How Michelle Rhee Will Fix It

Internet Magazine: How An Amazing Way a 3rd World Teacher Changes Lightbulbs and Occasionally Refurbishes Lightbulbs from the Dump

Politician: Why do Finland’s lightbulbs work so much better than ours? I’ll ignore the evidence and assume that their bulbs and their entire electric grid must be decentralized.

Teacher: Actually, I did it 35 minutes ago.

photo credit: B Tal via photopin cc


Teachers, I hope you liked this. Parents, please believe this is exactly how teachers feel right now! I love you, teachers!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Super Saturday #20

Hurray for Super Saturday #20…

Beautiful things, exciting things, inspiring ones…I’ll share with you those things that bring me joy and make me happy!


Here are three things that make me happy:


1) reminiscing over photos…Danube River Cruise starting with 3 extra days in Prague, awesome! Just a few for you to see of the many 100′s I took!!

Prague Castle

in a train station!!

beautiful stained glass

my buddies, just arrived from long flight!! Gorgeous hotel...Boscolo!


2) birthday dinner for Chad…I fancied up the table, a rare occurrence….but got down to basics for dessert!

potato soup and then pot roast...

the 'famous' cake knife, a smaller version of our favorite bump cake, and a sneaky 'candle' to blow out:))


3) I added another Meals on Wheels day to my schedule…now I’ll be doing the same route on Tuesday one week and on Thursday the next! It’s nice to get to know the people from week to week. They’re not always the same but many are there some weeks and back again later weeks. It may be time for me to grab some flowers again to pass out to these sweet people!


Find your happiness and spread it around…happy Fall and Happy Sweetest Day!


Happy Parenting!

D and C





Super Saturday #16

Hurray for Super Saturday #16…

Beautiful things, exciting things, inspiring ones…I’ll share with you those things that bring me joy and make me happy!


Here are three things that make me happy:


1) I’m so lucky!!! Shannon invited me to join her and her mom and gramma to look at wedding dresses! She is such a beauty that every dress looked wonderful on her. We had so much fun and excitement.

2) Lauren works near our first appointment so she met us for lunch where Shannon asked her to be a bridesmaid!!

The two of them are obviously beautiful on the outside, but their insides are even so much more beautiful. They shared lovely, sentimental messages with each other that made me so proud to have them be a part of our family. Bottom line…they make my guys happy, so they make me happy, too!

3) …and, yes, I do have just a few more wedding photos…can’t help it, I love them!!

I do preach happiness, don’t I??  Well, I’m loving the happiness all around me:)

Have a wonderful day!!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Super Saturday #14

Hurray for Super Saturday #14…

Beautiful things, exciting things, inspiring ones…I’ll share with you those things that bring me joy and make me happy!


Here are three things that make me happy:


1) at the rehearsal dinner, an amazing, beautiful letter for Scott from Lauren…it touched everyone’s heart…as she gave him his wedding ring for the ceremony (if you want the story, let me know)  :)

Scott reading his letter...


emotional Lauren watching him...

2) yesterday was our Out-of-Towners’ BBQ….held in Chad and Shannon’s back yard for Scott and Lauren

very popular:)

with Lauren's grandparents

enjoying the shade

Roxy gets to come to the picnic

the boys with Tom and Krista (my brother and sister-in-law)

love 'em

a little one, picking apples!

Mary, with her hubby and her sisters

relaxing in the shade...

family :)

babies included:))))

end of the evening with a tired puppy!


We had hot sun and bright skies, then clouds came in….and, in perfect timing, at the very end of the night, the skies opened up and it POURED for hours! We’re all assuming that was to get it out of the way for a more important day!!!

3) The most exciting of all…. today is the day of the wedding!!

These two are lovely together, and I couldn’t be happier or more honored to be the one to make them husband and wife!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C


Don’t Miss the Moment…

Being ‘ in the moment ‘ is such an important part of bringing joy and happiness to your family. A look, a nod, a smile, a hug….each makes all the difference in the world to all the people in a family, but especially to the little ones! These small gestures are not forgotten along the way.

Here is a beautiful quote by Rachel Macy Stafford:


“I’ve decided I don’t want my children to grow up without the loving hellos. I vow to let go of my distractions long enough to cause a ‘Sun Delay,’ meaning:

No matter what I am in the middle of doing,

No matter how inconvenient it is to look up,

No matter how ‘busy’ I think I am,

When my children walk in the room,

When my children hop in the car,

When my children and I are reunited after a separation,

The world is going to stop for a moment,

And when it does,

I will shine my love into their eyes and into their hearts

So my children see and feel how much I love them.”

© Rachel Macy Stafford 2013

In the rush of our busy lives and the abundance of distraction, sometimes the loving hellos and goodbyes get lost. Let us remember their importance today. Our loved ones’ joyful faces have the power to remind us how much these gestures matter.

Some beautiful moments to remember:

All of these moments with your children are precious…see them, love them, smile at them…wonderful:)))


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Nearly There

It was time for the Bachelorette Party for L…with the Bachelor Party for S going on at the same time, but separately!!

held at S and L's house, before heading out...

L’s mom and I attended the early part of the party, before the carousing began :)

with her mom

with me


with many of her friends…

‘kiss’ cookies…

Roxy…all dressed up…

opening pretty presents…

Lots of fun with friends…celebrating with the bride-to-be..

Love and kisses to all of you!!

Happy Parenting!

D and C

bridal shower #1

Sooo much fun and excitement!! Lauren’s mom and I wanted simple and fun for all the guests, and I think we succeeded:))

great for the centerpieces and also for dessert!

pretty labels for the wine theme...door prizes

'eat, drink, and be married' labels with mini calla lilies

the guests of honor

lots of delightful presents...

....and more...

and more!

the guys hanging out during lunch...

beautiful bridesmaids and bride

handsome groomsmen and groom

me, with my wonderful sons and their awesome fiancees:)))


One shower down…two more to go this week and then, a little bit of ‘calm before the storm’ of wedding activity at the end of August!!! Major excitement here…can you tell??


Enjoying all the happy times…following my own advice ;)


Happy Parenting!

D and C