Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a miraculous, joyous, and loving holiday season! Thank you for being such kind and loyal readers. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's almost time!

I heard a new expression this morning. It's Christmas Adam! (Because Adam came before Eve... get it?) So happy Christmas Adam! I am so excited about Christmas this year. Today, if I can get away for lunch, is a cupcake tweet-up with friends. This evening, the girls and I are finishing up our Christmas shopping, and then tomorrow is Christmas Eve. We will open stockings, and (since I set it up this way) our Advent calendar activity tomorrow is to watch Polar Express in our PJs. Sophie and Daddy watched it last weekend, but she fell asleep on his legs so it will still be new to her.

Watching the movie

...and she's out!

I couldn't decide where to put our Christmas cards this year. Finally I had the idea of stringing ribbon across the linen closet and clipping the cards on it. It turned out great, except for the fact that the lowest row is within Sophie's reach. She likes the pictures of the other little ones her age :)

Our Advent activity Wednesday night was making s'mores. I found a link on Pinterest for indoor s'mores, using the oven, and they turned out deliciously! They were so easy to make, you just assemble the bottom graham cracker, chocolate, and a marshmallow on the baking sheet (or pizza pan, in this case) and put in a 400 degree oven until the marshmallow gets puffy and golden. Then take them out, top with the top cracker, and enjoy!

Emma arranged them in the shape of a robot. Best robot I've ever eaten!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Last minute everything! (and a book giveaway to check out!)

Today is Decembe 20. Christmas is in five days.
Five. Days.

I still have gifts for 4 people to buy. I'm finishing our Christmtas cards today. I still need to get stamps. Can you imagine the line at the post office? I think I'll skip the window, use the automated machine, and just put extra stamps on the international cards and pray they make it there. That works, right? Maybe Santa will pick them up mid-flight and deliver them for me.

Time just slips away so quickly! I still haven't taken the storae tubs back to our shed after decorating, and it's nearly time to bring them back in to refill. I didn't bother with a Christmas letter this year, although between Facebook and this blog, everyone should be pretty much up to date on our family.

Isn't this the most frantic week of the entire year for everyone?

Now, for the book.
Back when I participated in the WordCount blogathon in May, I met author-blogger Tia Bach. She and her mother, Angela Silverthorne, co-wrote the novel Depression Cookies. I have this book, and it's wonderful. It's written from both the mother and oldest daughter's viewpoints. I loved how both characters saw the same situation or event so differently, and several parts resonated with me both as a daughter and mother of a teenager. This book deserves to be on the best seller list (and I can't wait until the sequel is finished).
Anyway, another blogger is having a one-day only giveaway of a signed copy of Depression Cookies. You can find the link and details here, on the Depression Cookies blog. Please visit, and check out the book. You won't be sorry!
(Non-needed disclaimer: I am not involved in this giveaway an any way. I have not been asked or compensated for this, in fact I didn't even tell Tia beforehand that I was going to post this. I just think the book deserves a chance to be read by as many people as possible because I loved it so much!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

When do I give gifts?

Today's NaBloPoMo promt is interesting. "Do you give a gift when you buy it for someone or do you wait for a holiday/birthday?"

I buy gifts for my girls a lot. Nothing big, just little things I think they'd like. And yes, I give to them immediately. Starting in October or November, I'll start saving things for Christmas. Usually. Of course I give some, then wish I had saved them a little!
If it's close to birthday time, though, I save the gifts then as well. Not close to either? I give the gifts when I buy them (but not wrapped).

Friday, December 16, 2011

Best and worst Christmas songs ever

What are your favorite Christmas songs? What songs make your skin crawl? I know you can name at least 3 of each without thinking, right? How about 5?
Here are my best and worst lists.

Best Christmas songs ever!
1. Santa Baby 
2. Christmas Wrapping
3. The entire Nutcracker soundtrack
4. Carol of the Bells

Christmas songs that make me want to scream
1. Last Christmas
2. Blue Christmas (especially the Elvis version)
3. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
4. Do They Know It's Christmas
5. Wonderful Christmas Time

 What songs make your lists?

I admit I've been slacking on NaBloPoMo posts. But truthfully, the promts just aren't that great! I read several of the November prompts and loved them, so I'm a bit disappointed this time around. The theme is gifts, but their idea of gifts seems so narrow that the questions almost repeat themselves.
Here are the promts so far:
  • What was the last handmade gift you gave?
  • What was a gift that wasn't well-received?
  • What is your favourite gift you ever gave someone?
  • Which do you enjoy more: receiving or giving?
  • What gift do you regret losing?
  • What gift do you regret breaking?
  • What was your favourite thing you received below the age of 10?
  • What was the strangest thing that ever made your gift wish list?
  • Do you like to try to guess your gifts ahead of time?
  • What was the first gift you ever made another person?
  • What was the most disappointing gift you received as a child?
  • What was the first tangible gift you remember receiving?
Not only do my answers start to get repetitive, it seems like the questions are also. And there is such a focus on "stuff." Yes, I could get all metaphorical and turn the question around, but this time of year I don't have the brain power to do that every day. And also - am I the only one who does not keep a mental journal of gifts? Most of my answers are "I don't remember." I'll still check the prompts daily, though, and use the ones that speak to me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Difficult conversation

Charla in happier, healthier days
I am so glad my husband reads my blog, because I cannot bear to start this conversation in person.

We have an old cat. She is nearly 15 years old. We were given her and her sister when they were six months old, when we first married. Ocoee (the sister cat) died last summer of a sudden, serious illness. Our surviving cat, Charla, is not healthy. She's been a diabetic and receiving insulin shots for 5 years now, but has recently lost a dramatic amount of weight. She's gone from 8 lbs to 5 lbs, all the while eating more than she ever has before.

Lately, though, she's not eating as much. And we're a few days away from running out of insulin and syringes, and to replace both will be nearly $200. She's arthritic, so bony, and lays curled up in a quiet corner most of the time. But she's still so loving. She purrs so loudly when we enter the room. She cuddles with Sophie. She sleeps on top of my husband or myself at night (not so nice for us, but still sweet). I feel guilty even thinking about euthanasia, because I don't want to seem like a "we don't want you any more" issue, but realistically, what kind of quality of life does she have? I know she doesn't feel good. I can feel her kidneys through her body and even though she drinks a LOT they always feel hard like she's dehydrated (I know kidney issues tag along with diabetes frequently). The simple fact, though, is we cannot afford hundreds of dollars in tests and medications to make her healthy again, and at this age, should we even try?

I just don't know what to do!

My grown-up Christmas wish list

Isn't there a sappy sentimental Christmas song with the same title asking for peace on Earth and goodwill for all? This isn't that kind of list.
(Yes, I would like peace on Earth, no more hunger, etc)

I'm already taking steps to get my biggest Christmas wish for several years now - my smile back. I have terrible teeth. They are soft, and break and get cavities and whatever no matter what I do. Brushing, flossing, Listerine, no chewy candy - doesn't matter. Combine that with a lack of dental insurance for a few years, and it compounded. Now I do have insurance, but the dentists don't want to do payment plans and I just haven't had an extra $20,000 to give up like that, you know? But Saturday I have a dentist appointment, and a plan :)

Now for the rest of my list:
8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I would simply adore this! Sophie's sleep schedule has been weird since our Thanksgiving trip and it's killing me! Last night was the first night I had her in bed before midnight. I never thought I'd be excited to put her to bed at 11:30. Progress! I still have to get up early for work, though, no matter how late she's up. SOME of us can't nap at the babysitter's house in the afternoons...

Ooh, that's another good idea for my wish list: an afternoon nap. I like the siesta idea - let's all take a nap from 2-4! We'd all be rested, and able to be so much more productive the other six hours at work that we could probably get even more done than before.

I want time to read. I tried taking a hot bath and reading a book a couple weeks ago. Sophie was so amazed to see me in the bathtub instead of showering, that she stood next to me with her elbows on the side of the tub and chattered the entire time. It really was precious, and I wish I had been able to capture that moment, but cameras just aren't possible in the most precious of times.

Now a few more, no explanations required:
Entitlement fairy to zap the entitlement out of my teenager
Housework fairy to help around the house - I'm drowning in clutter!
Translation fairy so we can understand Sophie's toddlerspeak better. I know she gets frustrated also.
Lots of love, laughter, and hope.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giving or receiving?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Which do you enjoy more: receiving or giving?

Let's be honest - who doesn't like receiving gifts? But I really like giving gifts to my family and friends. I love finding just the right thing, and I love their faces when they open their gift. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

Submission (Part 2)

This continues our submission conversation. See yesterday's post for the first segment. Again, thanks to Kate at Teaching What Is Good for discussing this with me.

Me: Ok, here's my problem. I actually get the overall idea, and can see how it should work. But, there is a key part missing to me - respect for the wife. Yes, ideally, the couple would discuss their issue, and the husband would have only the best thing for the family in mind. But we are still human. Pride and egos don't go away. To me, it seems like an idea of a pat on the head and "be a good little wife and let the man make the hard decisions" and hope he makes the right one. In a marriage, a partnership, shouldn't the husband respect the wife enough to listen to her, also? And not just on everyday things like what's for dinner or whatever. I guess my problem with this submission idea is that no matter how educated the wife is, no matter how thoroughly the couple discusses something, no matter how right she may be, ultimately because she is the woman it doesn't matter. If the husband wants to override her, that's it. She goes from capable, confident, and empowered to "good little wifey" role just because he says so. I just cannot comprehend giving up that part of myself. It would make me into someone different than the woman my husband fell in love with.

Kate: Christine, that is ABSOLUTELY the issue (and our struggle) with submission. I have 2 thoughts on this:

  1. If I married a man who loves and respects me, who gives me honor and sees me as an equal partner, this issue of submission may come up a handful of times in a lifetime of marriage. I've been married almost 27 years and there have been 3 times where my husband made a decision I had differing views on. BECAUSE he respects me AND my insight and wisdom, he holds my counsel and opinions sometimes more highly than his own. Either we work and pray to come to agreement or one of us CHOOSES to defer to the other one. And those 2 things have worked very well this past quarter of a century!

    Of course if you do NOT have a husband who respects you that is another matter and would probably call for marital counseling to help work through this. This is one reason why I feel it is VITAL to know  who you are marrying and what they are like, how they treat and care for (nurture and cherish) you BEFORE you ever say, "I Do." A harsh, demanding and disrespectful boyfriend will turn into a harsh, demanding and disrespectful husband, and that is a whole 'nother kettle of fish!
  2. The idea of "giving up that part of myself" for me is at the heart, not of submission, but of my relationship with God. When I came to the Lord at my conversion, I CHOSE to give up myself, to live in submission and surrender to Him. I CHOSE to let Him create me anew and to live my life for Him.

    • Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant...Phil 2:3-7
    • Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." Matt 16:24
So, you are right in that I, as a wife, have just as much value and honor in the marital relationship as my husband. And scripture speaks to that as well:
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Pet 3:7)
Our husbands are COMMANDED here to give us consideration, respect and honor as joint heirs of the promise of salvation. This is not something we get either because we are intelligent or educated enough either. It is not something we earn by our vast wisdom. It is something that God demands because of His choice, just like God requires us to submit when an ultimate agreement cannot be reached between the two of us.

If both parties are walking in obedience to the Lord, the husband WILL be respecting us, considering HEAVILY our views and perspectives and will give us honor as a partner with him in the marriage. And we wives WILL submit to our husbands in those few times in our marriage when we just cannot come to agreement on an issue and a final decision MUST be made.

I'll let Kate's segment conclude the discussion. She has many valid points, and is a pleasure to talk with. (Visit her blog, too - lots of interesting things there!) But like I said earlier in the discussion, while I do understand that view of marriage, I just can't let myself do it! It seems to go against my very core being. I did learn a lot about myself over the course of this discussion, though, and I hope Kate did as well.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Submission (Part 1)

For a while now, I've been working on a joint blog post with another blogger, Kate of Teaching What is Good. I knew we had different views on this subject, so I thought a conversation would be interesting. For a couple months (interrupted by "real life" on both ends) we corresponded by email, discussing this. What follows is our post. We did not have an outline or plan, just an honest discussion.

Recently, our local newspaper ran a story about submission. Specifically, wives submitting to their husbands. I know this isn't a new idea, but has literally been around for centuries. It's also not an extinct idea, either. I don't agree with this idea, but I really wanted to explore it with someone who does.
Personally, the thought of "submitting" makes my skin crawl. Don't get me wrong - I love my husband very much. I would not have married him if I didn't! I also respect my husband. BUT I don't think that just because he's the man that he has control over me. I see our marriage as a partnership - we make decisions together, having equal input. There are times where I leave the decision up to him if it's something I don't understand, and likewise there are decisions he defers to me. He doesn't tell me what to do, and I don't tell him what to do, either.

Kate: I love dialogue and am very excited to be discussing this topic with Christine. Submission is such a hot topic, and one that, about 32 years ago, gave me the same reaction as it does Christine!

I'd like to start out saying that I COMPLETELY agree with Christine that marriage is a partnership. I believe that we should work as hard as we can to come to unity on decisions before they are made. And I absolutely agree that there will be times when we may disagree and one of us will defer to the other's preference.

So what am I even writing about? I'm writing about the times when we can't come to agreement and the decision is important enough that neither one of us want to defer to the other. We are CONVINCED our way is the right way. What do we do? Maybe you haven't ever gotten to that point in your marriage - and that's great! I had a friend once who said, "For years I always thought I was very submissive until we clashed on something. Then I realized it was only that we were always in agreement!"

For me, the heart of submission comes down to who has the final say when a point of unity cannot be reached and no one wants to defer to the other. And I believe that the final decision rests with the husband. Not because he is better or smarter than I am. Just because that is his responsibility.

Ok, I understand deferring to one another when that other person knows more about the subject, or if one just isn't interested as much. That sounds cold, but we all have things that come up in everyday life that matters to one but not the other. Where to get a part for a vehicle? I don't have a clue which business is better. I do stay away from one chain in particular, but that is based on how they treated me when I was there as a woman by myself, as opposed to when my husband went in with me. As long as we don't buy anything there, I don't care where he gets it. When we were making Sophie's nursery, he left the colors and design up to me.
But what about when it's something important, and you as an intelligent, educated woman just cannot let yourself give in about? Is it right or fair to expect the wife to do that? And what about politics? My husband and I have vastly different views there. If we discussed politics, am I supposed to ignore my own feelings and vote how he prefers? And religion? We were raised in different denominations. It wasn't a problem at first, but once we were going to that church every week and I got to know more about it, the more miserable I became, to the point where we stopped going to church because I hated it so badly. After a couple years of not going at all, my grandmother died and I could see the comfort and support my parents got from their church family, the one I grew up with. I began going to church again with Emma, and now Sophie. We love our church family, and I honestly don't know what we would have done without them when Sophie was hospitilized after she was born. Am I supposed to give all that up because my husband doesn't believe the same way?
Christine, those are CRITICAL issues to discuss and I'm so glad you brought them up. This is absolutely where the rubber meets the road in the question of submission. In an issue I don't care or don't know about, submission is EASY (because it is really just deference to my husband). But with an issue that is very important to me - this is when a deeper exploration of submission is very helpful.
In your first example, I do NOT believe that we have to submit to our husbands in regards to our personal conscience. By that I mean submission does not require me to believe what my husband believes. The government, which is also an authority in my life, gives us all ONE vote. It doesn't give husbands 2 and wives 0. I am called, as a citizen, to vote MY conscience and no one else's. This is a liberty given to me and I do not see anything in the bible that requires me to violate my governing authorities on this matter.
Also, I believe that any husband who tries to DEMAND that his wife to vote HIS conscience does not understand what the bible requires of him as a godly loving and nurturing husband.
When it comes to churches, I think part of a husband’s responsibility is to help his family SOLVE conflicts. If a wife really despises the church they attend, they need to have deep and immediate communication on this issue. They need to discuss what they each consider to be their “non-negotiables” when it comes to a church. I feel very strongly that this is a decision that must be reached TOGETHER and that every opportunity for dialogue must be explored.
If either spouse comes to this discussion with a set and implacable mindset, they have just cut off the opportunity to come to a point of unity and have determined to do damage to the marriage. It may take a long time and much compromise on non-negotiable issues between them, but I feel strongly that going to the same church is the best and healthiest choice for a family. Spiritual unity is also a very important aspect of a healthy marriage.
But here is the key. IF for some reason we are not able to come to a point of unity, I believe that if I submit to my husband’s desire and attend the church HE chooses (knowing my dissatisfaction with it), I can still do so WITH JOY because God gives me the grace to do it. And I pray, and I do NOT take this prayer lightly! I completely surrender this to God in prayer and ask that HE work in both of us to such a degree that we WILL become united on this – either for my heart or my husband’s heart to change.
Eph 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”
I love this verse! It tells me that when I submit to my husband, it is actually the Lord that I am submitting to. It is this knowledge, that I am obeying and honoring God when I submit to my husband, which allows me to do so (when a final decision MUST be made) with joy.


Monday, December 12: What gift do you regret losing?

After a minute's thought, this one was easy. The gift wasn't a Christmas gift, but a family heirloom handed down to me. One of my great-aunts died when I was probably close to Emma's age. My great-uncle, going through her things, found two identical diamond rings. They were solitaires, in gold bands with beautiful white gold sections on either side of the stone that could be replaced with more diamonds if desired. He did not know how she had two rings, but since at the time there were only two girls in the family he gave us each one of them.

My freshman year of college, I lived in the dorm. Of course I had my favorite jewelry with me. I always took it home on weekends, though. One week I was very sick. I was so sick I couldn't go home for several days, and when I finally was able to leave, I forgot to take my jewelry with me. One of my dorm-mates broke into my room and stole several items, including that ring.

I was so upset I threw up. I had envisioned this ring as my someday engagement ring, and passing it down to my someday children. I was terrified to tell my parents, and didn't until Christmas break. They took the news very well, though, although I punished myself mentally.

If only I had taken it home with me!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas pictures!

This weekend I've (finally) been taking photos of the girls to use for our Christmas cards. Last night we braved the mall to see Santa, and today I took some pictures of the girls after church in front of the big beautiful tree there.

Here are some of the results (but not the card picture - you'll have to wait for that).

Friday, December 9, 2011

Caution: Fragile

Friday, December 9, 2011
What gift do you regret breaking?

Oh, wow.
Everything that's ever been broken! I always feel horrible guilt and regret when I break something.

I remember breaking a gift I had purchased, also, one year. I had bought a beautiful porcelain candle holder. It was the last one in the store, and the store was a good distance away. As I was walking into our building, I dropped the bag on the sidewalk. Luckily I was able to glue it together and it wasn't obvious that it had been broken.

Thankful part 2

I know I did a "thankful" post last month, but I keep thinking of more things I'm thankful for. So here is another installment.

Sesame Street
Peppermint mocha creamer
New words
Warm clothes
On Demand television
Online shopping
Free shipping
Amazon Prime
Health insurance
Dental insurance
Children's allergy medicine
Warm coats
Pay-at-pump gas stations
Water heaters

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our next episode of "I made it from Pinterest"

I've been making some fun things that I found on Pinterest lately! Some have had incredible results, others... not so much.
I was excited to find these instructions for homemade, non-toxic glitter. (There are tons of other recipes non-toxic craft supplies on this site also) It seemed simple, so I tried it while making dinner one night.
First, baking salt STINKS. Seriously. Second, the glitter does not magically turn glittery and sparkly like in the picture. A few crystals did, but it looks more like colored sand than glitter. We haven't tried crafting with it yet, so I have no idea how it will work then. Time will tell.

The girls and I also made handprint/footprint reindeer. It was a craft on our Advent calendar. This one was fun, and turned out great! 

Saturday, for breakfast, I made this recipe. It was absolutely, amazingly, delicious. And super easy! I used my cast iron pan for the first time in at least a decade. I brushed it with melted butter like the directions said, then put the biscuits in the bottom. I then brushed what was left of the butter over the biscuits before adding the first layer of cheese. This was a big hit with the family.

Finally, there is the macaroni and cheese. It looks good, doesn't it? We thought so, too. Unfortunately, even though I followed the recipe down to the freshly-grated cheese, it was so very bland. There just wasn't any taste to this at all! I think the small amount of butter is the problem.

NaNoPoBlown away...

I seem to be falling behind! So here's a quick catch-up post.

December 7: What was the strangest thing that ever made your gift wish list?

A visit by Stanley Steamer. Seriously. Is that strange? When you combine children, dogs, and cats with carpeting, I don't think it's so strange. But it has yet to appear under my tree...

December 8: What was your favourite thing you received below the age of 10?

Hmm.... I feel like I'm getting repetitive here!  I've already mentioned Kasie, and my Barbies. I also remember getting a beautiful Austrian crystal heart-shaped necklace I was fascinated with. I just couldn't pick one favorite thing!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Guessing games

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Do you like to try to guess your gifts ahead of time?

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I try to guess! I'm dying to know! At the same time, though, I always hope I'm wrong because I hate knowing what I'm going to get. I like the surprise!


We put up our Christmas tree on Sunday. We have an artificial tree, and Emma and I brought it in the house from our storage building and assembled it.
I knew we had a mouse in the building, because this summer we could hear it in there. We'd also see evidence here and there. I left it alone, though, because most things are in the plastic Rubbermaid tubs, and honestly I didn't want to have it crawl into our things to die and then smell. Ew.
Em saw some of the shredded-up paper and got excited: Can we put it in a cage and keep it? I told her no, because 1. it would die and 2. EW. She asked me what they ate, and I had to guess. Clothes? Boxes? No idea what else.
As we were putting the branches on our tree, we made a gruesome discovery: the mouse, mummified. How in the world it got into the tub with the tree, I have no idea! At least there was no damage. Emma was sad.
We also have our ornaments in tubs, except for a cardboard ornament storage box from my mother-in-law. It has 3 pull-out drawers, and is full of ornaments she gave us when she downsized a few years back. When I opened the middle drawer, I could answer Emma's question about what mice eat: acorns! I found the nest. Luckily none of the ornaments were disturbed at all, but I can't say the same for the tissue paper they were wrapped in.

A fun little holiday quiz-like thing

I found this holiday quiz at Glenneth's blog, Let's Talk and Walk. If you're into healthy living, check out her blog!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I do a mix of both, but haven't used bows or ribbons in years. Too tempting for cats and small children!
2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial.
3. When do you put up the tree? After Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take the tree down? Between Christmas and New Years.
5. Do you like eggnog? I can't stand the stuff.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? OMG that's hard! Depends on my age I guess. My Cabbage Patch doll, Barbie home and office, CD player...
7. Hardest person to buy for? my father
8. Easiest person to buy for? the girls
9. Mail or email Holiday cards? mail. Although every year it's "pray they make it before New Year."
10. Worst gift you ever received? knick-nacks
11. Favorite Holiday Movie? White Christmas
12. When do you start shopping for the holidays? I don't have a set shopping date really. I start picking up things here and there in October or November, unless i find something amazing earlier.
13. Have you ever recycled a present? not that I remember
14. Favorite thing to eat during the holidays? chocolate, Norwegian cookies
15. Lights on the tree? Yes
16. Favorite Holiday song? Santa Baby, Christmas Wrapping
17. Travel during Holidays or stay home? We usually stay home
18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer’s? Of course.
19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither. It's a tall glass pointy-bulby-thingy, similar to this:

20. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Bills, and most people's attitudes
21. Favorite ornament theme or color? We don't have a theme or color scheme. Our ornaments are a mix of ornaments from both our childhoods, and special ones we've bought or have been made during our marriage.
22. Favorite holiday dinner? I really don't have a favorite.
23. What gift are you hoping to receive this year? Books and the Sims 3 newest expansions.
Want to play along? Answer in the comment section below or link to your blog post!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Handmade with love

What was the first gift you ever made another person?

I don't remember what the first gift I ever made someone was, but I do remember the first "real" gift I made someone (not kids' crafts). Several years ago, I had stopped working to go back to school full-time to finish my degree. My husband was making enough to cover my income, and it seemed like the best time to do it. Then, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit. We are fortunate enough to not live in areas directly hit, but when your now only source of income is commission based in an industry affected by such things, let's just say suddenly money was very tight. I did go back to work part time until the end of the semester and full time again as soon as the semester ended, but that was a small Christmas. I made my mother's gift that year, a black scarf. It was my first time ever doing anything like that, and I was proud of that scarf! It took ages to finish, but I did it.


Let me begin by saying that yes, my husband pointed out my mistake in Thursday's blog post. December 1 was NOT a Monday. In my defense, I copied and pasted from the NaBloPoMo page! Oops.

We've had sickness in our house, so Friday's  post is a little late. The prompt: What was the most disappointing gift you received as a child?

I can't think of any, really!

Ok that's not entirely true. Some things I was disappointed with at first, but then grew to love. There was one outfit in middle school that I hated when I first opened it, but it became one of my favorites. Then there was the silverware set. If I remember correctly, I was 12 when I recieved that "for my hope chest." Just what every girl wants, right? A Christmas present that she can't use or enjoy at all at that age, and something she won't even really get until she's older. It was Onieda flatware, the complete set with serving pieces and all. However, once I was married, it was amazing! We're using a different set now (because somehow most of the forks vanished during Emma's small years) but I still have the set.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


If you're not familiar with  NaBloPoMo, it's "National Blog Posting Month." So yes, another challenge. This is how many in a row now? But, I like these. Challenges prevent me from becoming a lazy blogger. And fresh ideas is always a plus, right?
The theme for December is gifts. What a lovely theme! Here is today's prompt:

Monday, December 1, 2011
What was the first tangible gift you remember receiving?

I had to stop and think about this one for a while. I remember many gifts over the years, but what was the earliest one? I think it was my Cabbage Patch doll, Kasie. I got her for Christmas when I was five, and she was my constant companion for years. She had long brown hair in pigtails. I had written to Santa asking for a Cabbage Patch doll (that was the year they were incredibly popular) and recieving her made me just KNOW he was real! She was later joined by a little brother, Scottty, but she was my special favorite. We still have her; Emma played with her and now she is in storage waiting for Sophie. It won't be long now, though, until she will be out to be loved by another member of our family.

Advent is here

Ready and waiting!
(This post is a repeat from September, when I made the calendar. The picture above is of the filled calendar this morning, though.)

Christmas is coming!

I realized recently that we don't have an Advent calendar. I loved using ours as a child. I remember sitting in my father's lap, reading the verse for that night and putting the ornament on the fabric tree. I wanted to make one for our family to use  now, but one problem - I don't sew.

I found a ready-to-be decorated calendar at a craft store. I wasn't even looking for it!  I also found a felt nativity set. I glued the figures onto the calendar. That was the easy part.

My original idea was to make something similar to what I had grown up with - 24 pieces of scripture that corresponded with the 24 ornaments. Since I didn't make the same design, that wouldn't work. Instead, I printed up a list of 24 different things to do. It took a while to come up with that many ideas, but I did it! I used Excel to make "blocks" of paper that will be easier to cut out. I'll print them, cut out, and fold each one and put into the calendar. Each day the girls can take out the paper and we'll do the activity as a family.

I can't wait.

Here is my list of things to do:
Make cookies
Read the Christmas story
Watch White Christmas
Decorate bedroom doors
Breakfast for dinner
Make handprint/footprint reindeer
Make S'mores
Play board games together
Watch Polar Express in PJs
Do something nice for each other
Take cookies to the neighbors
Write a letter to Santa
Make paper snowflakes
Make Christmas cards for grandparents
Make brownies
Unplugged night
Drive around to see Christmas lights
Read a Christmas book together
Make an ornament
Share favorite times of the past year
Visit Santa
Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
Make hot chocolate with marshmallows
Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas