WELCOME!

This blog is dedicated to stamping, tips, musings, and whatever I want to post.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

WOW!


http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/torn-review

I just finished this book a few minutes ago. One of the most powerful, insightful books I have ever read. One paragraph that describes this book so succinctly is:

"I found it impossible to return to my former way of thinking. It was like the famous illustration that appears to be an old woman when viewed one way and a young woman when viewed another way. At first, you may see only one image, but once you've seen the other one, you can't go back and unsee it. Try as I might I could never go back."

One of the most powerful, insightful books I have ever read. It applies to everyone, even though there is a theme to the topic. This man's story and unrelenting journey helped me articulate my feelings on spiritual issues in a way they I never could begin to explain.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Things I Wish I Had Bought More Of

1-I have some wooly feeling socks that are not wool. They are the warmest coziest socks to wear to bed. They are also not at all tight on the tops. I have 3 pair (although one pair has some holes now) and have never found anything close. I wish I had bought 7 or 8 pair. I wear them to bed every night all winter long.

2-My Christmas dishes. I have 12 sets and wish I had bought 16. Same goes for napkins, napkin rings, and place mats. They are impossible to find and Replacements, Inc. says they have not had one in a couple of years. They go for such high prices on ebay ($80 for a single plate now). I bought them at 70% off (they were regularly $10 a plate and I got them for $3)  years back and never saw them anywhere again.

3-A set of pretty glass coasters. I am down to 4.

4-2 more pair of my favorite PJ's. I have 2 sets and wish I had 2-3 more. The tops and bottoms are interchangeable. They are warm, but not too warm. And they look pretty decent if you get caught wearing them at 11AM.

5-My favorite hair color is no longer sold. I have bought up all that I have found, but am down to the last 5.

6-An oversized bag that matches my winter coat. Wish I had 2 of them.

7-Mat strips for my favorite paper cutter. They are no longer made.

8-More Cranicot juice. Loved that stuff and they suddenly quit making it. I wish I had had a stock on hand. Same goes for the sparkling mango bottled beverage that Costco carried for one season.

9-Some Pottery Barn ornaments I got a few years back. Should have bought a dozen.

10-Some reading glasses that are super light that they don't make any more.

Sleigh Ride!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gifts


Monday, December 9, 2013

My Tree Topper

I wanted something different for my tree topper this year. Since I have a snow theme, I thought Frosty's hat would be appropriate. I finally found the right one for just a few dollars at JoAnn today.





Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Best Holiday De-Stress Advice

I came from a family where holidays were a big deal, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have wonderful, wonderful childhood memories from my dad playing Santa for local businesses, to Christmas caroling many nights in Dec., and yes, I even loved the fruitcake the Jaycees sold. I have 2 sisters and no brothers and we loved to decorate, oooh and ahhh over ornaments, listen to Gene Autry Christmas albums, and bake candy cane cookies. We really did it all.

I wanted my kids to have the same. My husband came from a family where Christmas was not much more than a special meal. Grandma put a string of lights around the window but that was about it, not even a tree.

So, I made more and more of Christmas each year, until----until I went back to work full time and was doing Christmas for my students and for my own kids at home. I actually had 21 must-have items on the Dec. baking list. I decorated every room, yep, even the bathroom. The kids had mini-trees in their rooms. We read a Christmas book each night. The kids saw Santa at several places each year. We went to the Y and did gingerbread houses and later had friends over and did them annually at our house. I painted and carved and crafted Christmas decor.

Then I went back to work full time at a juvenile detention center, where Christmas is full of emotion---not always good. After 16 years I can vouch for one pattern that occurs in a residential place for troubled teens and that pattern is that they both love and hate Christmas. Christmas in many of their homes is a time of stress, lack of money, domestic violence, heat being turned off. On the other hand, being in "jail" over Christmas can be pretty distressing too. They want Christmas and we do it, tree and music and all. For some it is wonderful and they refer to it as their "traditions" because they have none at home and for others it can bring dealing with the fact that their home isn't what they see on Hallmark Christmas Specials.

I found myself being stretched too thin and decided I needed to cut back at home. My boys were 10 and 14 when I went back to work full time in January 1998. By November I knew I had to make some changes. I just could not keep up all the traditions and activities that I had worked so hard on when I was a SAHM.  So, I sat down with the family and suggested we decide what was most important. What a shock to find that some things that I put the very most time and effort into, were not the things they said were most important. In fact, the whole talk was very eye opening. I learned that candy cane cookies, fudge, and date rolls were the only must haves. We loved our gingerbread house night and kept that up until my boys were through college (yes, even their HS and college friends still wanted to do that each year at our house). Turns out that outside of a tree and some outdoor lights, they really didn't care much about swags, garlands, and candles in the bathroom :)  It also turned out that they wanted to scale down the gift giving, which in our family was never huge to begin with. They weren't that interested in the Christmas parade and I had had no idea about that. Once we found out what each person "needed" for it to feel like Christmas, I found that probably 2/3 of what I had been doing could either be scrapped or only done every few years.

I also kept things that I really enjoyed. I hand make about 100-120 cards each year and love addressing and sending them. I love the vintage Christmas and craft sales in the area and I hit as many of those as I can. Some years I see or am in the Christmas parade and other years I let it go. I really enjoy doing much of my shopping online as long as I get one fun shopping Christmas day in Tri-Cities around the end of November just because I love seeing all the glitter and sparkle.

Also, this year we are starting a new tradition--a holiday dinner for the whole family and extended family that is not on Christmas or Christmas eve. It was just too hard with the kids grown up and many new families joined with ours to work around those days. I am just as happy with a family dinner the weekend before.  Christmas Eve at our house is now just our immediate family and maybe driving around to look at lights after a light supper.

I find that I enjoy Christmas more, have more energy to get through the holidays with my students and their emotional needs, and my sons told me a few years ago that they liked it the way we do it now. If I add something in, it is only because it is something I really love to do and makes my holiday better. Yes, I still overdecorate a bit, but I don't feel like I have to. I take things out one at a time and some years it is mainly just the tree and outdoor lights and some years I cover the place with decorations simply because I am in the mood to do it and enjoy it.

I wonder how many mothers are doing things they feel they have to? You might ask your family if it all really matters to them. It will change over the years. My boys outgrew the Santa visits by the time they were 10 or so. Gift giving really changed once they became teens. They no longer wanted stockings by the time they were mid-teens. They never wanted anything to do with caroling (probably because my singing voice ruins it for everyone). Anyway, consider making your holidays more joyful and more relaxing.

Winter Sparkle


Sunday, December 1, 2013