Disclosure: This site contains sponsored posts, affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale) and is part of the Amazon affiliate program, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Fall is dandy.

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

It really is.  Dandy.  Fall is.  I love this time of year.  Absolutely love it.  I think that I’ve always been a fan of fall.  There’s just something about this time of year that draws me in.  It reminds me of things.  For starters it tells me that everything is going to be okay and eventually will become anew.  After a very long, hot summer the temperatures will start to drop, brilliant colors will form on my favorite trees, leaves will begin to fall, snow will eventually cleanse, and then spring will burst forth The newness happens all because of fall.  All because of it.  Without fall we would miss out on so much!  (If you’ve never experienced a Midwest fall then I highly recommend it.  Visit a place that has a real and true fall just once.  You will see exactly what I’m talking about.  The beauty of it all.  Truly breathtaking.)

Everything about this season for me is a memory.  My childhood is a big part of this memory.  I remember going with my grandparents to stomp through piles of leaves in the parks near Jefferson Barracks.  We would leave the pathways to find the biggest clusters of leaves.  The crispness in the air was often filled with silence that was then broken by our feet crunching through the giant, untouched leaves.  My grandparents would positively glow at the happiness that I expressed on our leaf walks.  I knew that they were happy and, as their only granddaughter, I reveled in the attention.  The walks were filled with love.  They taught me the joy that is leaf stomping and I can never look at falling leaves in the same way again because of it.

This year the change of season has taken on new meaning for me.  My feelings toward fall are now bitter sweet.  Seven years ago next month my grandfather (the inspiration for the dandy blog) passed away while raking leaves.  In a strange way it was almost meant to happen that way.  Despite the fact that I was thousands of miles away when it happened… It happened while he was doing something that was so closely connected to me.  Something that tied us together.  Maybe that sounds silly, but it has become a comfort to me.  We lost my grandmother earlier this year.  I’ll forever miss our walks together in the fall.

Despite the sadness that I feel this time of year I can still feel the joy of the season.  I’ll always have the wonderful memories and I’ve come to love sharing this season with my own family.  Spending time out in the fall weather with my husband and children, teaching them about the dandiness that is leaf walks, and taking part in all the fun of the season.  There truly is so much to enjoy this time of year.  Last weekend we found ourselves at a corn maze with friends.  Always a fall gem.  It has become a tradition for us to go to this specific maze.  Our dandy kids had a great time while building their own fall memories and I was able to reflect on all the many reasons why I love this time of year.

A dandy fall to all!

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Little Tikes recently gave my family the gift of the Cozy Coupe Wagon.  It’s perfect for all of your fall outings.  Stay tuned for the Halloween review. 

O Eclectic Tannenbaum in July

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

I call Christmas in July!  After all July 1st is tomorrow and it’s my blog, so I can do that.  Right?  Right?  *wink*  Plus, you all know that I LOVE Christmas.  It’s by far my most favorite holiday.  I do also really like Halloween, but I’m pretty sure you know that already, too.  There’s just something about the Christmas season.  All the Christmas decorations, Christmas smells, and ChristmasLightsEtc.com sales this month.  What’s not to love?  Anyway, today you are in for a real treat.  Are you ready for it?  I’ve decided that I’m going to share with you a part of my life that I’ve never done before.  I’m going to share with you something from my family blog.  A hush falls over the crowd and then…  The crowd goes wild!  Some of you may not know this about me, but before this blog I was actually already a blogger.  I had a little family blog that I maintained while we were living in San Antonio, Texas.  Far away from family and friends.  I should specify that I mean prior friends.  We did make friends in San Antonio.  I’m not that anti social.  *wink*  We lived in SA for 6 years.  I started a blog to share our lives and growing family with loved ones who lived elsewhere.  My very first blog posting was on April 8, 2008.  This was exactly 6 days before Banjo was born.  So I have been blogging for quite the long while.  For my Christmas in July special I’ve decided to share with you an excerpt from my little blog.   And here it is…

Monday, December 1, 2008

O Eclectic Tannenbaum – I love Christmas ornaments!! I’ve always been fascinated by the way the glass ones glint and reflect the lights. My mom was always one of the room-mothers when I was in elementary and she would give out these great handmade ornaments at the class Christmas party. I have one creative mother! However, why is the grass always greener…or in this case someone else’s Christmas tree always greener? I will admit that while I was growing up there were some years I envied others’ Christmas trees. They were all fancy and put together right out of a decorator’s magazine. Our tree was always quite eclectic. We put our school made ornaments on the tree no matter how they looked! 

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My brother and I even had our own box of ornaments to place on the tree. These were random ornaments we had collected over the years; first Christmas, special ornaments, gift ornaments, etc. We had so much fun picking just the right branches to hang our ornaments! Looking back I wonder why I ever had Christmas tree envy??? We had a great tree and a great family tradition! One that I will always remember and hold close to my heart. My parents made sure that it was about us feeling special and included around the holidays. And the tree itself displayed how we had grown over the years. I’m so thankful to my parents for instilling in me these valuable traditions and for giving me the type of tree that I want my own children to have!

A Smith Family Christmas Tree
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Our tree has also become very eclectic. Anyone who comes over around the holidays will find that I just love Christmas ornaments in all their randomness! When Audi and I got married my mom sent us my ornament box. Every year we have even gotten more memory making ornaments as gifts from people; our first Christmas married, in our new home, etc. I can’t wait for Banjo to one day bring home his beautiful school made ornaments and store them away in his very own box! We also started our own tradition of collecting ornaments from the various places we have vacationed. It is fun to decorate the tree together every year and remember what we have done and where we have been throughout the years.
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*The End*
These days our Christmas tree still looks exactly the same.  With the exception of the additions of new ornaments from new travels and ornaments that Banjo has made.  Yay!  My wish came true!  I’ll have to share those with you sometime.  We’ve also embarked on the adventures of decorating the outside of the house.  I guess that comes from living in a more established neighborhood with children around.  Plus, we have to compete with all the St. Louis neighborhood light displays.  Not really, but we can try.  Or rather… dream, right?!  We still need to perfect getting the light strands to the top of the columns:
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That will come with time I’m sure.
Despite our failed column lights attempt…
We are so very grateful to finally live in a neighborhood that has a Christmas tradition of its own.
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Luminaries line our street every year on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
*This post was brought to you by MBN. All of the thoughts were completely my own.

MailPix Picture Keeper {Review}

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Have you ever been asked what you would grab if your house was on fire?  Of course, my first answer is my kids, then our coats, and then I’m stumped because the next most important things are our memories!  Our pictures!  I can’t lug the whole tethered computer out the burning building.  The camera only has a few leftovers on the camera card, and I don’t even know what our external hard drive looks like.  Then we come to the next issue–are all of the pictures I want on said object that I’m taking with me?  Have I saved everything in the right folders?  What about our wedding photos?  Pictures from my high school musical?  Yesterday’s afternoon playing in the snow?  How am I going to FIND all of these pictures in their various archives to even begin one collective folder?

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The magical Picture Keeper I just got from MailPix is easing all of these worries.  Without having to upload any special software, this gadget searches and finds all your pictures on your computer.  When it comes across the same picture in multiple folders, it only saves it once, which eliminates extra copies of the same thing.  This is genius!

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I plugged in my little Picture Keeper and felt the worry of losing precious memories slowly melt away.  I should have done this a long time ago.  Other things I like about the MailPix Picture Keeper:

  • It’s basically a USB drive–small, compact, portable.
  • I can delete pictures off of it to make space for new pictures as I upload them onto my computer.
  • I can customize the search folders or file types, which means it can also store videos!
  • After the first backup, it only copies pictures that were added or changed

The only let-down was that after the Picture Keeper did its business searching and copying pictures, it said it was full (and only could copy 1450 pictures), and that I still had 26,942 pictures left to copy.  Haha, I know I have a ridiculous amount of pictures on my computer, so this actually didn’t surprise me.  If you have normal picture-taking habits, one Picture Keeper might suit you fine.

But do you see the value and peace of mind that makes this worth every penny?  And it just so happens that getting your hands on one of these won’t cost you a penny at all.  MailPix is offering the free gift of a picture keeper with each order!  picturekeeper-offer

Seriously, go order some pictures or make a photo calendar or something, and get your free Picture Keeper with your order!

*This posting was sponsored by MailPix, but all opinions are strictly my own

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