One Year Ago Today….

One year ago today I met the love of my life. I met with Lee for coffee and we never spent another day apart since then, well maybe one day due to our children’s schedules but the point being is that we met off of Match.com and were such a perfect match that we never looked back.

In all honesty if I were to set a bullet point list of qualities that were important to me in a relationship as well as a life partner, Lee would fit every single one of them. We have an amazing capability to communicate, to show love to each other through all stresses and at the end of the night he never falls asleep without his arm on me.

Brandy Ellen Gets Engaged

Each day we wake up happy to be near each other, we don’t like being apart but we are not so out of our minds being apart that we can’t handle it. This week is living proof that we are two people, when put home together for a 12 day stretch, still don’t falter. No matter what you throw at us, we start swinging and always make it out on top. There are so many stresses going on in our world but that hasn’t kept our love from growing stronger each day.

When Lee comes up behind me to give me a quick hug or a quick kiss on the back of my neck while I am cooking our family dinner, I still get shivers. Goosebumps are a common occurrence when you put me with Lee, just the mere sight of him makes me so heart fluttering happy. Today, is one year and I am still just as smitten with him and him with me as our first day we met for coffee.

Engagement Ring

Never in a million years could I have thought I would have met someone who was indeed who his profile said he was, his appearance was what his profile picture showed him to be. Everything has been our most wonderful time of our lives and as we celebrate our one year anniversary today, we look down upon my left ring finger at the commitment Lee made to me and I made to him late Christmas night.

On Christmas night we went out to dinner, then walked around looking at the Christmas tree lights at the town common and then returned home to read this couples book. While reading this couples book we found that a lot of the tips and quotes that were inside of the book were ways we already think daily about each other, ways we already show each other our love and have for the past year. I don’t foresee that changing, why? Because if I only shared with you the extent of the challenges we have faced in the past year. It’s a long story, honestly, we may just write a book about it all someday. For now, they are our own family secrets so-to-speak that don’t need to be broadcasted, but let me just say this; Lee and I have experienced a level of stress that I personally have never, ever had to experience in such a mind boggling, jaw dropping way before. We never let these stresses affect our love, we cannot change outsider influences, we cannot change other people and we are determined to remember our love for each other at the end of every night – no matter what!

Engaged at 32

About 11pm on Christmas night, Lee got down on one knee and asked if I would do him the “monumental honor of becoming his wife”, there were tears, giggles because we both were so nervous and happiness. With a ring that is so pretty yet so simple. We now have committed to marrying each other in the future. We do not have a date set yet, we have the commitment and the intent to wed down, but now it’s all about planning what kind of wedding event we wish to have and then pick a date.

Right now, in all honesty, I am just enjoying the complete happiness that comes with being engaged and so is he. We are so blessed, both us as adults and our children, to have been able to experience the joining of two families with two adults who are completely, utterly in love with each other. Prior to our engagement, I had asked my daughter {because my son’s at ages 5 & 7 really have no real concept of “marriage”} what she thought about us getting hitched. Lee also asked his children what they thought about the idea of us getting married. With great happiness, all three of our older children were happy about the idea of us getting married. That was all we needed to know in order to move forward, while our children do not tell us what relationship we shall have or not, it is important that they play a key role in building our family, together, forever and always. The children are a huge part of our combined love together and we want them to know that we both love them all very, very much!

The Home of Christmas Spirit in Cornish, NH #NH #christmas #events

Each year the children and I head to Cornish, NH to a place I call The Home of Christmas Spirit. Each year we normally go and see Mr & Mrs Claus there. This year, we sadly missed them … apparently they are only there on Saturday and Sunday evenings; we went on a Friday evening this year.

The Home of Christmas Spirit in NH

This is a completely free light display and event in Cornish, NH. A local couple is all dressed up for the children to enjoy the Christmas Spirit. You drive up a long stretch of dirt road to what seems like the middle of no where. All of a sudden you see signs “Watch for Mrs Claus and Elves dancing”, “Reindeer Crossing” and other fun signs to engage the guests traveling along this long dirt road to get to the Home of Christmas Spirit.

Christmas LIghts Event for Free in NH

Then you come around a corner to a terrific display of lights with Christmas music playing over the speakers. People everywhere, children everywhere. Smiles, laughter and just joy.

Children enjoying Christmas Lights

My  middle son was the most smart of the bunch, he wore his boots, winter coat and Ski Pants. To the far right in the above picture you can see my daughter in her Pajama Pants, no joke.

Cornish NH Home of Christmas Spirit Grinch

You simply pull into the parking lot, get out and walk around to get a warm fuzzy of Christmas Spirit. It’s a wonderful place and I truly leave with a huge smile on my face and a warm heart. They take donations so we always try to bring some change that we have laying around to do our part to assist in keeping this magic alive for years to come.

Home of Chrismas Spirit Cornish NH Jackson RD

The picture above is at an area in this location where you can take a picture in various wooden Christmas images, Aj wanted to be Santa it seems and let me tell you all what, to see this child smile this big makes my heart melt. My son, Aj, is going through some difficult times with his mood disorder so when something like The Home of Christmas Spirit can lift his spirits for a period of time; that my friends is something worth keeping the family tradition going at this home in Cornish, NH.

Another note about this lovely place, your children or even the adults, can leave a letter with a return address in Santa’s mailbox here; after Christmas Santa and Mrs Claus actually sit down and hand write a letter back to everyone who dropped a letter in that special mailbox. It’s another part of our family tradition when we go to The Home of Christmas Spirit. The children anxiously await hearing back from Santa after the holiday has passed!

There is no website, that I can find, for this family’s home. All I can say is that this is a great, heart warming holiday season tradition for us that we shared with our new additions to the family this season; my boyfriend and his children.

So if you are ever in the area of Cornish, NH … think about taking a back road and see where it leads you to, you may just be surprised!

 

How much you could save when you do it yourself this Christmas!

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you haven’t started making a dent on your Christmas list, why not check out the following ideas. If you want to give something personalized, and unique whilst saving a few pennies along the way… Get crafting! There are so many craft hobbies at beginner, intermediate and expert levels. Just see the graphic below to get you started…

Save With Homecrafts
Brought to you by Homecrafts

Fun Family Halloween Craft – Pumpkin Water Jugs #craft #diy #halloween

Our family was here over weekend, that means all five of our blended family of children were together for a fun filled weekend of having fun. One idea that I had the week prior was to create water jug pumpkins and so we did it! I made sure to have all of the supplies handy and my step Mom supplied me with plenty of water jugs for this craft.

Water Jug Pumpkins

What you will need; permanent makers, orange glow sticks, water jugs.

Get to work creating water jug pumpkins

Miss Ki didn’t want to take part in this fun craft idea, but all of the other children had fun creating their own pumpkin faces.

Halloween Pumpkins Water Jug Craft

Creative Pumpkin Halloween Water Jugs

While this was a super fun activity to do as a family, we found that the water jug pumpkins were looking best on one night outside. The glow sticks we used simply were not enough light to keep them glowing as bright as day one. Just glad we were able to do something altogether as a family that was fun and each child put their own creativity into their own water jug pumpkin.

Glowing Water Jug Pumpkin Craft

Basically you have fun taking all of the supplies referenced above drawing on the water jugs, insert rocks or water in the button of the jug to ensure they don’t blow away while on display outside your front door and then insert the glow stick or other item that can make it glow and voila!

There you have a cheap, creative craft for Halloween that any family member can enjoy creating!

 

 

 

A Great Hand Out Idea for Halloween – College Savings Registry @GradSave #halloween

Have you ever created a baby registry?

How about a registry for a wedding or maybe your child’s birthday?

GradSave is about the same concept, you create a college savings registry by going to GradSave.com and connect a 529 Plan or prepaid college savings plan to your GradSave account. Once you have your GradSave account page created you can share this with anyone; let’s say Uncle Mike lives in Texas but you live in Vermont. How can Uncle Mike give to his niece or nephew each holiday season or birthday time? Well, Uncle Mike can put a gift of money into his niece or nephews college savings plan by utilizing the GradSave College Savings Registry that you created. I know many elders who would much rather give the gift of savings to a child than the gift of a materialistic item, for that is how they can pass along a future for their younger generation relatives.

College Savings Registry 3

With all that in mind, why not pass along the idea of saving for college by placing $10 coupons in your trick or treat bowl this Halloween? You will be able to educate others on how they can setup their own GradSave College Savings Registry and in turn they will be passing along the idea to their children that saving money is important. I personally wasn’t ever taught to budget money nor save money, but I eventually did learn through trial and error. Would you not rather a child learn through example rather than trial and error?  I think it’s important to teach children to save at a young age so that they learn the concept that money doesn’t grow on trees.

College Savings Registry 2

College is an important advancement for your child, whether they go to college for some off he wall career idea or they go for what you had hoped they went for, you must start saving now to be able to afford the ever rising cost of college tuition’s. The younger your child is, the more money you can save. GradSave’s College Savings Registry really makes it easier to save and allow family to donate to the child’s college fund from afar.  This Halloween you can go to GradSave Happy Halloween Page and sign up to register for your child’s registry today or you can simply print off these coupons to hand out to your trick or treaters this season. Not handing out trick or treating items this year? If you are attending any Halloween event you can print off these images and do what I did; place them on cardboard or card stock and hand them out at the event. 

College Savings Registry

Remember, this is a legit College Savings Registry so by signing up you are indeed attempting to allow your child’s 529 or prepaid college fund to be attached to this registry so that others (friends and family) can donate to your child’s college savings from anywhere at any time. Do not simply sign up because I am sharing this information with you; I am sharing this information as a great idea for Halloween hand outs and that I feel strongly about saving for college if you are able to do so. With GradSave College Savings Registry you can essentially take your child’s college fund further by opening doors for far away relatives and friends to easily donate to the fund.

Click here to visit the GradSave Halloween Page. Remember to use my referral code of HHHAPB if you are signing up.

Click here to print these coupons in white (shown in images) or Click here to print in black  to hand out this Halloween. {will open a PDF document in new tab/window}

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