Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm a little bit like a pomegranate.

 One of my favorite wintry treats, is frozen pomegranate seeds.  They are so yummy and un-calorie-laden!  (Seriously try it.) Anyway, the other day I remembered, that I'd forgotten how much I loved this treat, so as I rounded the produce aisle of my supermarket, I snatched one of the reddish fruits.  As I perused the store picking up the other items that were actually on my list, as opposed to making it up as I go along, which of course I never do, (heh, heh)  I found myself dreaming of slicing it open and sinking my teeth into each little crimson nugget of sweetness, flavors bursting on my tongue.
 And then I got it home.

I spent the next hour working my fingers into the tiny crags of each pomegranate section, carefully pulling each seed from its pulp, inadvertently flinging seeds all over my kitchen, forever staining a dishcloth, and pretty much being tired of the whole process before I was finished.
 And that's when it hit me.  I'm a little bit like a pomegranate.  At the starting line of the holiday season, I've got some good intentions in my heart, I do!  I intend to spend daily time with Jesus, setting my heart on what's truly important, giving Him the first of my time.  I intend to eat healthy food and take good care of myself in the hurry and scurry of the holiday season.  I intend to keep my budget in check and only buy what I need and can afford.  I intend to reach out to friends, family, and the needy, shuffling my priorities to let them know they are loved.  I intend to carve out time to be a blessing to my man.  I intend to shower my children with meaningful bedtime conversations and solve world problems with them each day.  I intend to live each precious moment, savor the fleeting memories, think only about today's worries, and thank God for everything.

Yeah....  But then the "pulp of life" crowds around all those good and sweet intentions, making them a pain to get to, and suddenly the unimportant or unexpected fillers in life become my life and it's January 1st, and I'm standing in my kitchen going, "What happened?"
 If you think eating a pomegranate is deep, you don't even want to see where I go with a watermelon.

The point is this.  If you don't set out to do it differently, you'll do what you've always done.  This is pretty much true for all of life.  I want mine to look different, so each moment must be an intentional choice. So, I hereby choose to kick December's butt.
 Cause let me just say, the reward is very sweet when you put in the time and effort.

Wanna join me? 

P.S.  I'm giving all of you sweet readers free shipping on all my remaining Etsy items for the month of December!  Enter the coupon code, "freeholidayshipping" when you check out, and the shipping's on me! (Domestic orders only.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas advent and the Brown Eyed Fox

One of my most favorite blogs is the Brown Eyed Fox.  Carissa is a total sweet heart and inspires me like crazy.  Her photography, her creativity, her style.  I find myself doing the shop alike- Do you know what I mean when I say that?  It's when you find yourself adoring someone's style so much, that when you go out shopping for an item, you think to yourself, "What would (in my case, Carissa) do?"  And then you shop along those lines... I do that constantly.   I adore everything that girl touches, and wish I had her instincts.  I also wish I lived near enough so we could go out shopping together!!
 Anyway... they say that the most sincere form of flattery is imitation.  And of the dozens of things I find myself copycatting about her creativity, one thing in particular got my heart last holiday season.  She wrote this post, and showed the most adorable old ladder, displaying 25 tiny metal buckets (be still my heart!) for their advent countdown.
 Well, last summer, my sis in law found me an old ladder and the second I got it home, I thought how much fun it would be to use Carissa's wonderful idea come Christmas-time.
 I went online and ordered some tiny buckets (I think they were wedding favor buckets) and bought some simple sticker numbers at the craft store.  (And actually, I think I am using the same exact buckets and numbers as she did.  That part was completely by accident, as I just grabbed what I found.)
 I failed to remove the stickers from the bottoms of my buckets.  Oops.  I'll get em next year.  I filled each bucket with a sweet treat and tissue paper and hung them from a simple ribbon tie.  I'm so glad Carissa thought of this!
 Every time I pass by it, I smile.  
 If you haven't visited The Brown Eyed Fox, you are missing out on a real treat.  You've got to take a second and click over to say hi to her... and while you're there, make sure to drool over her 365 galleries.

Her eye for photography inspires me daily.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hall decking with heart

I realize that decorations are the most miniscule part of the season in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  And because of that, I tried to sprinkle little reminders of His great gift to us, throughout our home's decor this season.
I began with a cheery message, that makes me feel joy down to my toes.  I change this message with each season or special occasion.  I have seen so many sweet Christmasy messages scrawled on chalkboards, and I wanted something large and simple, and that reminded us what we are truly celebrating this season!  I can't read it without praising God for everything He has done for us this year.
 In late September, when Christmas decorations hit the craft stores, and half of us groaned inwardly, while the other half began silently cheering, (you know who you are) I began clipping 40% off coupons, and slowly forming a plan that involved these adorable little trees.  I knew I wanted four of them for this table, so I carefully plotted my course with our budget, and I finally have all four!
 They had ugly red bows tied around the bases, which I promptly ripped off.  Then I tied the burlap with some twine, and attached some metal address numbers (found at Lowe's for about $1.50 each)  to each one. Much better!

Painted pine cones in a wooden tool caddy, faux poinsettias tucked into a galvanized bucket, and this print hanging in the hallway.  I hit these pine cones with some heirloom white spray paint.  I just wanted a little variation in the color from the wood tool caddy.  Plus, it added a wintry touch that can last until February when I get bored and feel ready for spring!  Ha!

I filled my favorite glass cloche with ornaments that I wasn't going to use on our tree (more on that later).  It sits on the kitchen counter, adding a touch of sparkle to the room.
 This was a fun project, and super easy if you want something with a little fun punch!  I painted two small canvases red, and then printed and cut out letters from card stock.  I used some mod podge to attach them, splitting the middle "R" in half and I love the way the whole thing turned out!  they looked really sweet just propped up in the window sill with a little space between each canvas, but I wanted theme to go here, so I hot glued them onto a piece of cardboard and popped the whole thing into an empty frame. (And don't worry, my beloved marshmallow print will be back in it's place come January 1st.)

 I always have a goal of creating fun for my children.  What's more fun than a bowl filled with jingle bells? 
 Because I selected the most wimpy, wispy-branched evergreen, nothing would stay on this tree but the most lightweight of items.  Thus.... snowflakes, hand-made star of David ornaments (super easy by the way- glue some sticks together and brush with glue and glitter) lights, and my names of God garlands were all that glam up our tree this year. (I made these garlands for my Etsy store and am sold out.  I'll make more next November though!)  I have to say... it's my favorite Christmas tree EVER.  (And I include magazines, Pottery Barn and our previous trees in this statement.  I love this tree to death!) 
This photo was taken after I finished decorating, and turned all the lights out.  She didn't see me, and had been standing there with that sweet smile on her face, just gazing into the tree for a while.  (We were watching It's a Wonderful Life on the television too.)

 I love the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of my kids.  Don't you just love how your home transforms as we pull out favorite treasures, packed away each year?   I think this is all I've got for you guys right now.  The halls are decked!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

"It's not going in our yard, Russ."

Our Thanksgiving was fantastic, how about yours?  We ate leftovers tonight, and I swear they were even better than the first meal.  Also, my gluten free stuffing was out of this world amazing.  My man (who doesn't need to eat gluten free) actually told me it was the best stuffing he'd ever eaten tonight! 
 We tromped around a tree farm today, and came home with our Christmas tree.  I'm excited to share it with you all soon.
 I am very partial to what my family likes to call, "wimpy" trees.  The more imperfect, the better... only that's kind of hard to find at a tree farm.
 I'm pretty sure I found the most unlovable tree there though.  Somehow that makes me feel happy.  Picking the tree that most people pass by. 
 Of course, it's got such wimpy branches, we're going to have to keep the decorations to a minimum- and only use super light weight ones at that.  I think it might be my favorite tree ever!

 It was so cute watching my boys saw it down...
 ...and then watching my man single-handedly heft the tree over his shoulder, well... it was pretty spectacular.  (I'm pretty sure he did that just for me too.)

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how accidents happen.  (Thankfully, no one was injured in the chopping down of this tree.)
 Lots of little helpers...
I'm pretty sure my next several posts will be full of hall decking and merry making!   So stay tuned... this is my favorite part!

I hope everyone has a restful weekend, and if you are shopping and looking for a gift idea, This necklace and these napkins have been favorites!  (And that's it for a little plug for my shop :)

Happy Weekend dear friends,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


This post is specifically for the group of you who have facebooked me, emailed me, and downright begged me for the bacon blue cheese dip I mentioned a few posts back.  Or as I like to call it, "Kristin's Dip."  I made it for book club once, and my friend Kristin loved it so much, that from then on, I thought of it as Kristin's Dip. In fact, that's how it's labelled on my recipe card.  At the time, I served it with wheat thins, but now that my little family can't have gluten, I serve it with gluten free chips, pear slices, and even veggies on occasion.  You can smear it on baked potatoes too.  I hear that's yummy.  And for those of you who don't love blue cheese... neither does my man (somehow we've managed to get past that these many years) but he likes this dip.  The flavor is fairly mild, and you can always add less of the blue cheese. 

Kristin's Dip (aka Bacon blue cheese dip)
1 jar real bacon pieces (reserve just a little for sprinkling on top)
2 minced garlic cloves
2 8oz pkgs cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 c half and half
4 oz blue cheese crumbles
1/2 chopped sweet onion
(Optional, and I seldom add this for my family's sake, but it's really yummy if you are okay with nuts: 1/2 c chopped, toasted walnuts- reserve a few for the top.)
* Cream all together,  and spoon into a buttered 9x9 pan.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the top is slightly golden and bubbling.  Sprinkle with the remaining bacon and walnut pieces.  Serve with chips, crackers, grapes and pears.  

I've been working like a crazy woman to get gluten free rolls baked, gluten free pumpkin and pecan pies made, this dip, and gluten free stuffing put together, today.  I had no idea how much gluten went into a Thanksgiving meal!  I think I'm going to have to sit down and soak my feet tonight... maybe even add a shiny coat of classic red polish.  I hope everyone stays safe out there.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving you guys and I'll be back with lots of photos in a few days! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Just a few...

 Okay, I realize it's Thanksgiving week, so blog traffic will be minimal... but for those of you still hangin' round your computers, I wanted to share some of our weekend pictures.  I really forced myself to leave the camera in  my bag, and not photograph every amazing sight... something I'm trying to do more of... just live in the moment and see it with my eyes, not my lens.  That said, I came home with very few photos!  By the way, have I ever mentioned how terrified I am, of huge bridges?  Okay, really any bridges.  I'm pretty sure we've discussed this on here before, because some of you recommended something that breaks your window.  I haven't gotten one yet.  I remember that I've forgotten that every. single. time. I. have. to. cross. a. freaky. bridge.  And then I pray like mad with my finger on the window button.  This one was exceptionally creepy.  I am not a fan of suspension bridges. 
 But once we finally arrived at the "surprise" destination that my man planned out for our anniversary, he sprung movie tickets on me!  Bless his heart, he sat through the movie, and kept his near constant stream of laughter very silent.  I just felt his shoulders shaking a lot.  He was such a good sport. 
 I pretty much figured out where we were going a week ago, but it was a good thing, because it was so cold outside!  We aren't skiers, but there was a lot to do besides ski. 
 And if you can believe this, my man taught me how to work a crossword puzzle.  We sat in a Starbucks for what seemed like hours, thinking and filling one out.  It was a blast.  I can just see us, years from now, sitting on a porch, doing a cross word together. 
 We were blessed with amazing weather, though cold... and lots of sunshine.
 This man really wanted to ride on a gondola that went from one mountain peak to another... I was terrified but willing....unfortunately (ahem) it didn't open for another week.  Oh darn.  I was so looking forward to that too. 
 We went on a hike, because aren't sit-around vacationers.  It was gorgeous!  I was kind of bummed that we didn't rent snowshoes. 

 Sixteen years baby!
 Yeah... I'll do another sixteen with this guy.  (grin)
 Then he stole the camera from me, and proceeded to take fifteen shots of me at first cooperating... then glaring at him and telling him to stop... then laughing because he wouldn't.  I deleted most of them, but he's such a goof. 

And also... I know a bunch of you are wanting my recipe for blue cheese bacon dip.  I am going to try and get it on here in a day or so.  Don't hold me to that, but I'm gonna try! 

How was your weekend?