December to Remember – 2

Our second day of December to Remember began with Wes sick in bed with a head cold. We were sad to leave him home, but the girls and I went to a Christmas parade. It was a small parade (our little town’s first one), but it was very sweet, and we enjoyed ourselves!

Don’t you love that Santa rode in on a motorcycle?? Lol!

img_4650That night ended with Wes and Claire joining me for another Christmas parade (he was feeling better and Sadie was at a birthday party). It was nice and cold downtown, just as it should be for a Christmas parade!

What fun activities have you been up to?

 

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December to Remember – 1

My kids weren’t with me all that much (read: enough) last year during the month of December due to vacations with their Dad and scheduling, etc., so we weren’t able to do some of the activities/new traditions I wanted to. They are with me quite a bit more this year, and I could not be more excited!

Once I realized they would be with me so much, I started planning…I want to make this month, this Christmas season, fun and memorable. So I have affectionately and kid-eye-roll-producing-ly started calling this our “December to Remember!”

When they came back to me last Friday, December 2nd, our December to Remember commenced! We took an after-school trip to Chick Fil A for peppermint mocha milkshakes, although only 2 out of 4 of us had them (the other 2 had other flavors).

I want to place a disclaimer here for the next part: I am not a fan of people doing good deeds and then bragging about them online. Just seems to make the whole act less genuine, like they were only doing it to be able to brag about it online. That is not my intent with this. I am simply describing our December to Remember and feel this is a really important part of it. Alright, back to it…

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After leaving Chick Fil A we went to Walmart and picked out 3 children (1 for each of mine) from the Salvation Army’s Christmas Angel Tree. We then spent a good amount of time hunting for the gifts around Walmart. Wes chose an 8-yr old boy, Claire chose a 7-yr old girl, and Sadie chose a baby girl (we think less than a year old). It was really fun seeing them choose the gifts for their angel child. I tried to explain to them the significance of helping others in need rather than only thinking about ourselves.

In a season in which it is way too easy (and understandably so, with all of the commercialization of it all) for kids to default to “I want…”, I thought it was really important to start this season out with them (and our “December to Remember”) by thinking of and giving to others.

I’ll continue posting our December to Remember activities throughout the month, so check back often if you’re interested in the activities we’re doing!

What kinds of activities or Christmas traditions are you doing with your family this year?

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Christmas Decor, Pt. 2

I am finally showing you the rest of my Christmas decor!

Let’s start outside, since that is what you would see first if you visited my home (and you definitely should — ya know, come visit!).

11-30-16_8793View from the driveway. I kinda love my candy-cane lamp post!
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Here is a view of the front straight-on:

11-30-16_8771And here is a view of just the front door area. Believe me, it was quite an experience putting all of this up (think ladders and Command hooks that wouldn’t stay stuck, etc).

Alright – moving inside now…

I would say my style is not fancy. I like little accents here and there, not a complete overhaul of my normal decor.

11-30-16_8778This is not a technically great photo, but it shows what I was talking about above. I mixed in a little Christmas–bowl of Christmas-colored large potpourri, red mercury glass votives, and the wooden rocking horse from my childhood (it has the date 1984 written on it, so now you have an idea of how ancient I am)– with the regular decor that lives on the shelves of my living room built-in. This picture shows the same kind of mixture of normal and Christmas: 11-30-16_8780

 

 

 

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In my dining room, I simply replaced the centerpiece and put faux poinsettias in the basket on the buffet.

11-30-16_8787And I put a very small accent on the breakfast table (a little centerpiece with a candle, some greenery and some burlap. I thought it was important to go very simple there because of the statement I made in the kitchen.

 

I bought cheap wreaths at Dollar Tree and spray-painted them dark brown, hot-glued ribbons and bows on and attached them to the cabinets. I think my kids thought I was insane when I was putting these up, but I just love the happy Christmas-y look all the wreaths give the kitchen!

11-30-16_8790I showed you the entrance in my previous Christmas Decor post, but I didn’t show you this nativity figurine. I placed it on a table I usually keep in the front room/office anyway. It came with the wooden base, but I bought some super cheap faux greenery from Hobby Lobby, took the leaves off the stems and scattered them around the figurine.

Back to the living room now…

11-30-16_8788I placed a wreath down on an end table and put a cinnamon-smelling red candle in the middle on a small silver tray.

11-30-16_8784This is one of my favorite decorations in the living room…remember that tray I had on the coffee table with pumpkins and leaves? Well, I filled it with red ornaments, a white pitcher (very inexpensive from Target) with some burlap tied around it, and some greenery (yep, bought from Hobby Lobby) placed inside. I absolutely love this look!

And now for the tree!

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I just love how bright and happy it is, full of all sorts of ornaments, from handmade to those bought on vacations. Oh, in case you are wondering where the other stocking is (yep, still have 3 kiddos!), Sadie’s is hiding behind the tree…I was concerned someone wouldn’t love the idea that their stocking wouldn’t be visible, but Sadie actually asked if hers could be the one hanging back there (we went with the hooks that were already there). I think she thinks it’s like a secret!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little home tour of my Christmas decorations! I really enjoy making my house feel homey!

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What if…

I wrote this last week for someone I dearly love who seemed to really need to hear it. It likely fell on deaf ears (eyes?), but maybe someone who reads this blog needs to hear/read it too. (A little disclaimer from me before you start…I have been on both sides of moral wrong, both committing it and holding other people to my standard of it. Neither is okay; but there is grace and love, and I am dependent on both.)

I often find myself upset about something. I get mad, and I make a stand. I hold to that with everything I have. I will not back down. To back down would be to admit I was wrong. More specifically, I was not right. And I am not generally (read: ever) okay with not being right.

My sense of justice, and my steadfastness in holding to that, take precedence over everything else. And it isn’t always a “general” kind of justice. Often, it is a rule I have made or maybe a moral or religious rule that I have tweaked to become what suits me best.

What I am saying is, sometimes I take a stand for something I feel is right and I won’t back down, even when it threatens relationships with people I love.

When I am on the other side of it, when the situation has diffused and peace is restored, I can see that I put my “stand” ahead of love, ahead of relationships, ahead of people I hold the most dear.

The other thing I find is that, as hard as it is (and it is so extremely hard), once I am able to admit that I am wrong (again, I have a *really* hard time with this), there is such freedom.

It is exhausting to have to be perfect all the time. And to never be wrong is to be perfect. No one can do it.

What if we all could humble ourselves and make ourselves vulnerable enough to say “I can see now I was wrong”?

What if we, God forbid, allowed ourselves to be wrong about something, even if we have taken the biggest stand in regards to it?

What if we realized there is not all the shame and embarrassment we anticipate on the other side of admitting wrong? There may be a little, but in larger quantity, there is peace, there is forgiveness, there is transparency and the realization that we are all human and we all make mistakes.

What if we all decided love and relationships are more valuable than our pride?

What if we put people (love/relationships) first over ideals that we take a stand for?

And isn’t that what Jesus did? The Pharisees took their stands for the religious laws and rules. But guess what?…When they looked for Jesus (ya know, to make sure he was following said rules) they found him hanging out and eating with the worst scoundrels and low-lives around. He was making a point to say “People, love, relationships, peace, restoration….they are so much more important than the rules or the things you choose to make such a stand about.

And He was right.

What if we all tried to do the same?

No matter how far you have taken that stand, it is never too late to just try.

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Christmas Decorating

The past few years, the kids and I have had the tradition of decorating the house for Christmas the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It works well because it fills time that they have off from school and would likely just be watching TV anyway. But it also makes it so that the house is all nice and decorated when they return to me after the rest of the weekend with their Dad.

I think I have mentioned on here that we just moved into our house last Spring, so this is the first Christmas at our new house.

I decided to buy a bigger (9 ft.) tree this year for our family tree, which allowed me to use the tree we already have in the entrance to our home (my office). This tree gets to be mine to decorate! I love all the sweet, sentimental, handmade ornaments on our family tree, but I was super excited to be able to decorate one myself this year. I will show you the main family tree, as well as the other decorations around my house, in another post next week.

11-24-16_8751-copyMy office has a very neutral tone, with an earthy colored large world map on one wall, dark wood furniture and other neutral accents, like burlap desk accessories. So I wanted this tree to have the same feel. I had a vision for burlap, ivory and gold/bronze. I think it turned out well.

The awesome part is that most of the decorations for this tree were really inexpensive. Some of them were actually purchased at the Dollar Tree! Others were on sale at Hobby Lobby, in addition to the burlap garland and string pearl garland. I made my own ornaments from clear glass ornaments (more about that here) and also from styrofoam balls (wrapped some in canvas and tied it up with Jute; wrapped others in burlap and tied with a white ribbon).

11-24-16_8749-copyI found this sign at Hobby Lobby and knew I needed it to go with this front room decor. I found the little (faux) trees at Ross for about $7 each. I bought some cheap wood letters from Hobby Lobby, spray-painted them brown and hot-glued them on. I love how this turned out!

11-24-16_8752-copyAnother new addition to this room (though not specific to Christmas) is this:
I have long-loved the beautiful signs made by House of Belonging and finally bit the bullet and bought one when I saw this version of 1 Corinthians 13. So simple, understated and beautiful!

(Excuse my dying plant also featured in this photo – ugh!)

 

 

I just love the way this tree (and the whole front room) turned out, and I love that I was able to have my own to decorate this year!

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Christmas Crafty

I wanted to get a little crafty with some ornaments this year, but I am not that great if things are too terribly complicated. So I bought some clear glass ornaments at Hobby Lobby as well as some styrofoam balls, and thought I would find something to do with them.
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A couple months ago, my parents brought over a few old things of mine they found in their house. Among the items was a musical staff notepad. I used to write music, so this wasn’t a terribly surprising thing for them to have found. I thought it would be perfect to use to make some ornaments. img_4523

I got busy writing some music (no idea what this sounds like, I was just putting notes on the page).

Then I cut the staff paper into individual lines and pulled against my scissors the way you would curl ribbon.

I got my box of clear glass ornaments and carefully fed each strip through.

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I had planned to tie some jute around the top of the ornament, but that gave me another idea to try with the glass ornaments. I just fed a handful of jute into the ornament.

I hot-glued some jute around the top of the ornament and also as a loop to hang it from on the tree. I think both ideas turned out really well!

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Look for a post on Friday showing you the tree these were hung on and the rest of the decor in that room!

(edited to add: if you would like to make the music ornaments, but don’t have staff paper and/or don’t know how to write music, I just found a blog here that has Christmas sheet music ready to print!)

 

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Slump

So, I know I haven’t been back here blogging again for all that long, but I already feel like I am in a bit of a slump. I didn’t post at all last week.

Blah

I guess I am wondering if there is anything you all would like to read about? Anything you’d like to me to write about specifically?

I’m sure I will be back in the swing soon, but until then, I hope you’ll be patient.

Thanks, lovelies.

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