I put this away every spring and get it out once the temperatures get cooler

I got to light it the other day

it makes my house smell yummy and cozy and comfy.

I love when seasons change.


Happy Birthday My Sweet Pea

Seven years ago this morning
one of God’s most precious gifts was given to me
in my daughter, Kaitlyn.

She’s spunky, creative, colorful, headstrong
and wonderful.
And I am in awe beyond words
that I get to be called her mom.

I love you with all my heart sweet girl,
you bring such bright light into my life
I could never thank God enough for the gift of you.

I know that God will use you to change the world
to shine His light so brightly
as I already see Him doing.

You are so precious to me
and to our heavenly Father.

All the days of your life
I pray you live in His love
knowing He will never leave you
always carry you
always love you
and always draw you near to Him.

I’m so proud of you Kaitlyn,
I can’t believe I get to be your mom.

December traditions

I was just talking to my mom today about how December seems to just come and go without even a blink! I tend to start the month with great intentions to send cards, bake lots of (easy) goodies and get in touch with old friends. But alas, it’s almost New Year’s Eve and I neglected to do most of those things.

December is one of my favorite months though because it is filled with family traditions.

Here are a few of ours…

Early in December, all the Cowell girls go to the “Christmas Sweets”. We all get dressed up in our fancy dresses and spend the afternoon eating sweet treats and listening to beautiful Christmas carols at a local church. Here are me and my girls getting ready to go and the girls and their cousins…


This year on Christmas Eve, we spent the morning at Keith’s parents house, eating yummy treats and opening gifts with his family…

I have very creative sister-in-laws who always come up with the most amazing gift ideas for the grandparents. This year we had all the grandkids put painted footprints on a canvas with Psalm 119:105 painted in the middle “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” …it turned out beautifully…


On Christmas day after opening our gifts and spending the morning together, we usually head up to Maryland to spend a week with my mom, sister and her family. But this year we treated ourselves to coming up on Christmas Eve so the kids could all open presents together…


One of the most fun things I remember as a kid is a sing-along that we had every year after Christmas. My sister has continued that tradition at her house. It always includes my Uncle Jeff playing the piano…


And the “12 Days of Christmas”, complete with hand motions…


Once the Christmas festivities are over and we still have time to relax and enjoy each other, my sister always comes up with a home improvement project for Keith and my brother-in-law to tackle while we’re here and the guys always have such a blast.


Here they are taking out a brick “stoop” in front of the fireplace…



As excited as I am about 2010 and all the “new” traditions we may make, I am so grateful for all the family and fun times we’ve been given this December.

Build & Grow Clinic

As the weather gets colder and playing outside gets harder…and cabin fever gets more likely, I’m always looking for something fun for the five of us to do together.

One of our favorite things to do is head to Lowe’s for their Build & Grow Clinic for kids…

This weekend, we’ll be building a Gingerbread house…

Everything is FREE and the kids get aprons and goggles to take home!

You just have to register here

TGIFridays – Dinner for 4 under $25

Last night our family went to TGIFridays, ate well, and the total bill came to $21.54 (without tip). Can’t beat that!

TGIF’s is running a promotion that kids eat free Sunday – Thursday off of the kids menu. The only limitation is that it is one free kids menu item per one adult entree ordered.

PLUS, you can find a buy one entree, get one entree free coupon here. The only catch is that the entree has to be a Jack Daniel’s entree, but they include ribs, steak and chicken (and are very very good). The coupon expires April 30th.

Hope you have a chance to enjoy this!

funniest forward

I’m not a big fan of forwards, but this one made me laugh out loud and I thought I would share. I tried to figure out who the originator was, but couldn’t…so if you read this and it’s yours, let me know and I’ll post your name on it.

The subject of the email was “Check Child’s Homework”:




 Here’s the reply the teacher received the next day…

 Dear Mrs. Jones,
I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.  
I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit.  I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it.    Her picture doesn’t show me dancing around a pole.  It’s supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.
From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.
Mrs.  Smith

No goals?

Ok, last one – I know you aren’t at my blog to read someone elses stuff. But Samantha has refused to sleep through the night since we got back from vacation, making my morning time much shorter (and groggier)…leaving me no time to blog. Oddly enough, some of the blogs I’ve been reading have really been hitting home for me at the same time. Here’s one I read this morning and LOVED it. Explains my battle daily between fun and effective – still trying to figure out the perfect balance…because there’s gotta be one, right? Or does there?

Seth Godin is my favorite marketing blogger. I love his ideas and how he thinks. Here’s one of my favorite posts of his yet….

The thing about goals

Having goals is a pain in the neck.

If you don’t have a goal (a corporate goal, a market share goal, a personal career goal, an athletic goal…) then you can just do your best. You can take what comes. You can reprioritize on a regular basis. If you don’t have a goal, you never have to worry about missing it. If you don’t have a goal you don’t need nearly as many excuses, either.

Not having a goal lets you make a ruckus, or have more fun, or spend time doing what matters right now, which is, after all, the moment in which you are living.

The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run.

It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.

Chocolate Cake for breakfast

Yup, that’s right, I had chocolate cake for breakfast! Last night was my mom-in-law’s birthday and I didn’t get to have any of the cake. But this morning it’s hittin’ the spot….because some mornings ya just gotta throw all the rules out the door and have CAKE for breakfast 🙂

…and really, isn’t the morning the best time to have the bulk of your calories so you have the rest of the day to burn them off?!

Hope you have a chocolate cake for breakfast kind of day!