Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Enjoying The Christmas Season

How could I not enjoy it with this view?  I get to see this every day and I'm loving it!

I find that in order for me to enjoy this season, I need to have little expectation for what it 'should' look like.  

This is a good thing, as I think too many people, at the holidays, have big expectations.  It should be Hallmark like, the family should all get together, siblings should get along, there should be peace on earth...

The realities are often very different and that can be hard to reconcile with our expectations.  If we can learn to hold these expectations loosely, and trust God with them, we can have a good Christmas, even a wonderful one.

Sometimes it's other peoples expectations that we are dealing with. Perhaps we have family that don't share our values, or who think we're the odd relatives.  Maybe you have an aunt that is critical of you but always expects to see you and your family at the holidays.  

The best advice I can give is to pray about it, and ask what you should do.  The right thing might be to drop in to visit your aunt, take her a little gift, let her see you all and then leave.  You can control how much time you spend with her that way.

I have a sweet friend with four young kids.  She said that every year they spent the all day on Christmas going from relatives home to relatives home and it was exhausting for her and her kids.  Two years ago they decided that they were going to stay home, in the jammies, all day!  But they knew that it was important to some of the family to see them, so they let it be known that everyone was welcome to drop in during the afternoon, as long as they realized that her family would all be in the PJs!  Isn't that a brilliant way to handle it?

Often times people don't spend time building relationship within their families, but when the holidays come, they expect everything to be perfect.  This just isn't reality.  Relationships take work to ensure peace and harmony.  If people aren't willing to invest the time to build relationships, the actual time together might be less than wonderful.

For us our kids are getting older, three are married with their own families, and so Christmas days are looking different, and rightly so, than they did even just five years ago.  It would be wrong of me to insist that everyone come here on Christmas!  We give them all freedom to do what they want to do.  

We have older friends whose kids are all grown with kids of their own and some years when their kids have been with the inlaws, our friends have gone on cruises!

Enjoy the Christmas season, embrace its beauty and its gifts, but also choose what works for you this year.  It might be different than in years past and that's okay.  It really is.

Leaf Fun and Family Photos

These photos were taken on Thanksgiving Day.  Tons of leaves in the yard!  They are now all raked up, but the girls had a lot of fun when we went out to take family photos.

Here is the photo we used for our card this year.  

Two weeks until Christmas!  I'm not nearly ready, but I'm not stressed.  I'm enjoying the season, doing some shopping, doing some baking, watching Christmas classics and Hallmark movies.  Enjoying time with these sweet people who share my life.  I'm grateful.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

How I'm Wrapping Our Gifts This Year

I've been on a plaid kick for several years now and even though I have some rolls of red plaid paper, when I saw these cute plaid deer and snowflakes on this brown paper and then a coordinating plaid paper at Christmas Tree Shops, I snatched them up right away!

 Last night I dug through my stash and found a big roll of wire edged 'burlap' ribbon, that I think looks great with the wrapping paper.

This brighter red plaid ribbon doesn't quite match but it works anyway, and the gift tag I bought at Target in the dollar spot.  

 I keep my eyes out for nice gift tags year round.  These are navy blue and go very well with the plaid wrapping paper.

I have a lot more wrapping to do, but it'll all get done!  No worries!

So how do you wrap your gifts?  Do you use gift bags only?  Wrap perfect packages tied up with pretty ribbons?

Binge Watching

Image result for the crown season 2

Season 2 of The Crown.  Having followed the Royal Family over the years, I am fascinated with this series.  It's an original series on Netflix and its very good.

I will be wrapping gifts later, and making a list of what's still needed.  I have to think through events - Tim and I are going with Rachel to her Chick-fil-A Christmas party tomorrow afternoon, I'm trying to find a day to go visit Cheryl at the Pineapple House, and Tim and I are talking about what we are going to do to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary on January 2nd.  Christmas Eve, being a Sunday, is full of church and our Christmas Eve service, but it's also Tim's birthday and we have our traditions.  Lots to decide.

It has just begun to snow here!  The roads are supposed to stay clear, and we are not expecting very much snow, but its so pretty coming down!

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Updated to say that Episode 7 had content that I skipped through and if you have VidAngel you'll want to use it to filter that episode!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas Party 2 - Christmas Tea Party

We had 19 ladies and girls here for tea Thursday night.  

We had to rearrange the living room furniture to set up another table, but it worked out perfectly.  It was so good to share good food and tea together.  We also played an ornament exchange game, and everyone enjoyed it very much!

Tomorrow, I'll put away all the tea things, and put the furniture back where it belongs.  For tonight, I want to bask in the light of the tree and think about the lovely time we had together.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

How To Take Inspiration And Make It Work Within Your Budget

Terrain is a place of great inspiration for me.  I love the plants, the greens, the homewares.  But I don't love the prices. They are not a store within my budget for many things.  

However, you can take ideas from their displays and look around at stores with in your budget, you can recreate the look you want.

For example - 

These are zinc houses at Terrain.  Concordville Zinc Half House, Medium

This is a metal house at Christmas Tree Shops


Here is a lovely string of lights at Terrain


Same kind of lights at Christmas Tree Shops (sorry for the weird photo!)


However, I did see the best artificial tree I've ever seen.  Even to the touch it is soft and amazingly life like.  The price is amazing too!  The 7ft tree is less than $200!  There is nothing I've seen like this tree!


Anyway, I hope this post encourages you to take your inspiration and make it work in your budget.  

Here are a few photos I took today of things that caught my eye -

I always like their outdoor living inspiration, even for winter!

 I liked these colored bottle brush trees with the faux birch bark tea light holders.  

 They had a lot of metals in all colors in their candle holders and vases.  They all looked great on the shelves and that showed me that I could mix colors like this in my own home and it would look great, too.

It's always crowded at Christmas, so pardon the people in the shot.  I really love this lighted sphere, and the shot of all the trees with the lights on them!  So pretty!

Let me know what you think, and we'll chat in the comments!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I've Been Shopping, Have You?

Mostly online, but some local shopping, too.  Today we may go to one of my favorite stores for inspiration - Terrain.  We also will pop down to Trader Joe's.  Both of these stores are about an hour away from us, so we don't go as often as we'd like.

I just placed an Old Navy order - I had Old Navy cash to use, and the clearance and sales were good.

I have purchased almost everyone's gifts now, but I'm still looking for my parents' gifts, Tim (he has a birthday on the 24th!), Nate, and Kay, Lindsay and Joseph.  That's still a lot of shopping to do.  We are of the less is good, kind of gift givers.  We like meaningful gifts, and we don't do debt for gift giving.

We buy books, games, clothes, gift cards, chocolate....chocolate is always a good thing!

Tomorrow, I'll post about Christmas stocking stuffer ideas.

So, tell me how your shopping is going?  Are you done?  Do you make your gifts?  Shop online?  Let's chat in the comments!