Saturday, December 31, 2011

In review~

1. Dean's dad went home to be with Jesus.

2. Mac got a job with me.

3. Mac got injured at work.

4. The Mr. & Mac built a bee-oooo-teee-fullll patio.

5. The mother-in-law moved back to Alabama.

6. My sweet friend Heather was diagnosed with breast cancer.

7. Our Scarf Baby was born and had surgery.

8. I was moved to a pediatric unit.

9. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a wonderful Michigan road trip.

10. God has been gracious, faithful and merciful.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Various stuff~

Behold my kitchen linens drawer! On the left, my "old" dish towels and on the right my new ones! I asked the Mr. and my mom for new dish towels and I hit the jackpot. Aren't they pretty? Take my word for it, they are!
Next on the hit parade, my new clearance Christmas stockings. Over the years we somehow accumulated a hodge podge of stockings and the Mr. picked up new ones for daboyz, which I have never cared for. They are Victorian velvet, just too...Victorian. The T.J. Maxx has the best home goods, did you know that? I picked up a carton of Chai tea and 5 new stockings on clearance. The striped ones are corduroy and were $3 each, the knit ones were $6 each. Just mismatchy but matchy enough to suit

my sensibilities.
I have a set of green Indiana Whitehall tumbles en route from my good friends at E bay to match the gold ones from my mom. I also have a set of 4 vintage coffee cups on the way! I ordered a set of 5 vintage Melmac breakfast plates for Jay and the bidding on my cafeteria trays closes tomorrow.
In my Etsy cart is a set of mid century canisters (for flour, sugar, etc.) that I am thinking about but I do believe I shall order. If you are careful and not impulsive, you can do pretty well on E Bay and Etsy, especially if you watch for the free shipping offers. Pictures of all to follow as they arrive. I know you can't wait.
Finally, for breakfast today, bannock! If you've never tried it, I highly recommend it. Couldn't be easier and soooooo good!

3 cups flour
2 T. baking powder
1 1/5 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt

Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly then add water until dough forms into a ball.
Roll out on floured surface, drop into heated pan.
Fry on both sides for about 5 minutes each. I finish it in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes so it's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Serve with butter, honey, cinnamon, jam...your favorite toppings. It'll be delicious even plain.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Darling Somethings

Days off always leave me feeling that I must have missed my calling. Surely, there is some work I could have done that would have allowed me to bask in the things that bring me the most joy, like homemaking. As you know, I've been online shopping for a set of vintage Melmac plates to go with my vintage Indiana Whitehall tumblers. What I've found are hundreds of wonderful little items that aren't expensive that would be absolutely darling (a word I rarely use) in someone's home. The problem is, I already have so many absolutely darling somethings that I can't add more. However, someone somewhere is lacking darling somethings and doesn't even know it. I'm sure of it!

My mom and I have talked about needing to have a warehouse for our stock of stuff, much like people who stage homes. Only instead of cookie cutter neutral items, we have unusual old vintage things that make one think of childhood and grandparents. Naturally, we can't give up our own darling somethings as they have sentimental attachment that goes all the way to our marrow. But I've been to other people's homes and they don't have as many darling somethings and whether they realize it or not, they need them.

Target, Crate & Barrel, Bed, Bath & Beyond...all lovely places that I enjoy. Individuality in one's home, however, is becoming a lost art. Also a lost art, knowing what kind of home you would even enjoy.

So here's my proposal, I could be hired to figure out what kind of home would make you happiest and then set about helping you create it. But we'd create it with unusual items that evolve over time (so this would not be a weekend project) until piece by piece and detail by detail you would find yourself living within four walls that no one else lived within. You'd be surrounded with things that wouldn't necessarily make visitors ooh and ahh but would make your very heart giggle. Like a set of old Indiana Whitehall glass tumblers that just feel perfect in your hand. Or a beat up Melmac plate with a silly rooster on it. Or funky old vintage bed linens from the 1970s. Or softly faded old curtains in your kitchen window. Things that feel permanent and weighty and will not go out of style because they are like your fingerprints on your home. And some day your kids will remember that iced tea pitcher you had and maybe even your grandchildren will ask you if they can have your old cake platter when they get married.

There's my idea. Now if I could just get someone to pay me enough money to live on, we'd be ready to open for business!

Mint Green Cafeteria Lunch Trays

Day two of Christmas vacation has me waking up feeling more like "myself" than I have in a few weeks. Yesterday was devoted to wearing my pajamas and spending a shameful amount of time online looking at vintage Melmac. I may develop carpal tunnel from add to cart, remove from cart, add to cart. At the end of the day I told the Mr. that I had wasted an entire precious day off. He, having no particular issue with wasted time (wink); told me that it was a perfectly good way to spend the day and tomorrow I could kick it into gear if I so choose. And I do so choose.
After sleeping in until almost 9:00 this morning I have showered and thrown laundry in as well as running the dishwasher. Yes, I admit that I have visited E Bay and Etsy to check on the Melmac and....hold on to your hats...a bid I made on E bay. I hesitate to tell you about it as you will all be overcome with jealousy and rush to out bid me. I bid on a set of 16 mint green melmac cafeteria trays circa 1970s original used in a junior high in Michigan! That's right! Try to hold yourself back from rushing to outbid me! There was a moment when I showed the Mr. what I was up to and he may or may not have mentioned that perhaps, after all, I could find a less crazy way to spend my day. But I'm telling you, these trays are what I've been lacking and didn't even know it! I think they will be groovy for family dinners. I don't have a large enough dining room to seat the lot of us so we end up spreading out from kitchen table to eating on the sofa. They are perfect! And even if they aren't, I think they are funky fab. I'll keep you updated on the progress of the auction. Surprisingly, so far, there are only two bidders and I am the highest.
I do believe I will finish my cup of Starbucks and start Operation Clean This Gross House. Snow falling, housework calling. There's a song in there somewhere.
Signing off,
A Happy Homemaker in the Mitten aka The Lunch Tray Bandit

Monday, December 26, 2011


This morning I enjoyed my orange juice in my new Indiana Whitehall vintage tumbler! I'm all about the Indiana Glassware Company. I've searched for at least 50 years for drinking glasses but none match the groovy charm of the vintage ones. I'm sure it's a throw-back to childhood but nonetheless, I just absolutely love them. My mom gave me a set of four like the ones in this picture. And they have this wonderful weight in your hand, substantial. When I unpacked them this morning for breakfast, the Mr. said, "Hey! Those are so cool, we had those when I was a kid!"

So my plan is to keep an eye out and add another 4 in the olive green color. And yes, I am using them. I have a few things put away for only very special moments but overall, I like to use what I have. And speaking of use, next on my list is a set of Melmac dishware. You've seen Melmac even if you weren't aware, it's plastic dinnerware that very likely someone in your life was using in the 1960s or 1970s. There are some nice sets on line that are not overly expensive but the shipping is where the money is. I'm going to squirrel away a little money here and there and treat myself. In truth, even with shipping the cost of a complete vintage set is less than a new set would be. I know it's a peculiar decorating taste I have! On the one hand, it's best described as mid-century but it's not the "modern" mid-century that is actually popular! Think of (I know I've said this before!) Lucy in Connecticut. This was very much the feeling of my Gramma's decorating style, probably best described as early American? But farm-housey casual too. Let's be honest, only I truly know what in the world I'm trying to say. And possibly my mom. So! I'm online window shopping and dreaming of these little details that really are so happy-making for me. Probably the only vintage item that I won't use? Coffee cups! Good grief they are small, only 6 ounces! I have a set from my Grandma Trent's house that I claimed out of her basement but they just don't hold enough coffee! They are cute for a scoop of ice cream though.

I'm happily home from work for a whole week with nothing on my mind but homemaking and daydreaming. And of course, a nice tall glass of juice in my Indiana Whitehall amber gold tumbler.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

We have seen and do testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

1 John 4:14

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Because of Jesus

1. I have the opportunity to talk directly to the Creator of the universe about my smallest concerns.
2. Fear is abolished.
3. Joy comes every morning.
4. The impossible is possible.
5. I am prayed for by others who know the Creator as well.
6. My children will spend eternity in heaven.
7. My home is a sanctuary of peace.
8. Walls fall in front of me.
9. My kids know, "I'm praying for you" is the ultimate statement of love.
10. I dance.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Keeping Christmas

This Christmas season has been a quiet one for me. Extra hours at work have forced me to let the mega baking plans go so our home doesn't have trays of goodies on every surface. I've done all of my shopping online so I've not set foot inside of a mall. I don't like malls and shopping but at Christmas time there is a certain cheeriness to the decorations, piped in music and Santa seeing little kids in a corner somewhere.
Our Christmas decorations went up as usual and I've enjoyed every moment of sitting at the end of the day admiring the lights and sentimental ornaments. I finally found most of the Christmas movies I was hoping for and that has been a great stress-reducer at the end of the day, crawling under a blanket and watching the Bishop's Wife.
Every year we wear pajamas on Christmas and every year I buy a new pair for the occasion. Haven't done that. We'll see if that happens or not.
A quiet holiday season isn't a bad thing. Although the Mr. did mention the other day that, not to rush anyone, but he's pretty much ready for a house full of grandchildren on the holidays. :) But life comes in seasons and we've had holidays of rushing out on Christmas Eve with our last paycheck to shop (awful!) Busy running from house to house. Up early to unwrap gifts and then a big breakfast and nap before going to my parents' home. This year I work the holiday so the slow-paced Christmas morning will commence without me. Mac works Christmas Eve so the Mexican fiesta will commence without him.
We've had to do some persistent planning to keep this quiet season on track because the quietness can make you kind of let it slide by and get a little too watered down. After all, it's the day we celebrate the coming of Messiah! It's not just another day or week or month regardless of lack of little ones or changing work hours. First instincts were too simplify the festivities but then the simplification got dangerously close to making it not special enough. Conversations came and went very quickly such as, should we just eat out on Christmas Eve since Mac isn't going to be here? Should we just skip baking altogether? Do you want to put the stockings away this year? And so on.
So we've made sure that the traditions and memories and once-a-year specialness aren't lost even as we've recalculated to ensure that we aren't sliding into Christmas morning wrapped in tinsel with dark circles under our eyes and angry at everyone we've been shopping for. I'll bake a few somethings for us instead of enough for work and the neighbors. The stocking are indeed hung by the chimney with care because goodness, would the half hour saved by not filling them have contributed to anything useful? Dean will make our traditional Mexican Christmas Eve dinner and Mac will come home at around midnight as usual and eat. If I'm not awake, the Mr. and Jay will be waiting for him. On Christmas morning we'll open a few gifts and as I go off to work, Mac will be with his brother and dad to enjoy breakfast and a lazy morning. Not as we would prefer it but those who can will hold the fort for another season of celebration and wonderfulness.
There will be no frozen dinners in place of Christmas goodies and no "not-this-year" for traditions we've loved forever. No matter your particular situation this year, please don't let your mind take over where your heart should be for Christmas. Mary is said to have kept everything in her heart, cherishing and treasuring the miracle of Emanuel, Christ with us. Make it as loud and bright or quiet and serene as it should be in your home, but do not make it easy. Make it on purpose and simple and lovely. But not easy, there is nothing easy about the salvation of the world.
When my planning slipped from simple enough so that I can truly feel the beauty to easy so I can just get it over with, I had to stop and start over.
I, like Mary, will keep this time in my heart.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Root People

I'm sure I've mentioned, haven't I, that I am now working on a new unit at the hospital? I was formerly the manager of the adult schizophrenia unit but now I'm managing the pediatric unit. If there's anything sadder than adult schizophrenics, it would be child schizophrenics. In my prior life (prior to nursing), I was a parapro in an emotional impairment program. So I guess I've got a good foundation.
I bet I've also mentioned that this new position is wearing me out. Wearing. Me. Out. Not only because of the kids I work with but the unit itself has some challenges. So I'm working swing shifts and lots of pushing up my sleeves and trying to get to the root of the problems.
Unfortunately, some of those roots are people.
Those Root People sure don't like to be pruned.
But something kind of wonderful has been happening the last few days. Quiet people who rarely make a peep are coming into my office and telling me I'm doing a great job. Average people who do their jobs and go home are offering to do special projects and groups with the kids. People who work on the adult units and refuse to work with the kids are volunteering to take a turn on pediatrics.
It's almost like rubbing the dirt off of a diamond, it's getting sparklier and sparklier. And it's making me feel like all of my tiredness and frustration is a little less tiring and frustrating.
It also makes me think, those Root People are choking the spirits of the rest of the people. People with creative ideas and energy have hidden in corners trying to get by without rocking the boat. But now that I'm rocking the boat, they are coming out of their corners.
I said all of that to say this, Lord, please don't let me be a Root Person. A root of bitterness that spreads and poisons the ground so that nothing beautiful can grow around it. I don't think the Root People are evil awful people. I don't think they want to be Root People. I don't think they know that they are!
Root people are pessimistic and discouraging and always most excited when there's something awful to say.
If I am ever a Root Person, change me. Let me instead, bring a rain of refreshing to others.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

...You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

Matthew 16:16

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Good, The Bad & The DVR

1. This month is not going as planned.
2. At least according to my plan. :)
3. I had to cancel a family day today that I was sooooo looking forward to.
4. I am learning flexibility.
5. I don't like being flexible.
6. However, all of those wonderful movies I was looking for? Yay! They are all on now!
7. I watched The Bishop's Wife with Carey Grant last night.
8. I lurv Carey Grant.
9. I DVR'd Christmas in Connecticut because I fell asleep.
10. If you haven't seen it, search your listing for The Man Who Came To Dinner.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

To give is better, or not to give? That is the question.

Facebook brings lots of thoughts and conversations into a public forum and over the last few days, I've "eavesdropped" on a young lady whom I love to pieces about buying Christmas gifts. She and her husband are expecting their first child and she posted a status that they are not able to buy Christmas gifts this year as they are preparing for their son's arrival and have other financial priorities. It seems she felt she needed to post this information because someone made a comment to her that they were offended that she wasn't buying gifts this year.

That got me thinking, Christmas gift -giving can be kind of like walking through a grenade field. I imagine most of us have had the experience of being presented with a gift from someone for whom we had not gotten one. There are many times in my life that people with significantly more income than I had me on their list and given my limited resources, I had not even considered them. Embarrassing. Of course, always they say that they didn't expect a gift. That's probably very true however, did not ease my unease.

This year at work we are trying to minimize the co-worker gift exchange by stating our request that a new pair of shoes be purchased instead of a gift for us. And I imagine that some sweet someone will buy said shoes and still bring in "just a little something" for others. That happens with the very best of intentions but honestly, I think if an agreement not to exchange gifts is made, you really need to stick to it.

As a mom, I am always uncomfortable with my kids giving me gifts. Always. Mother's Day makes me cringe, birthdays are the same. And of course, Christmas! I would prefer every cent they spend on me be applied to themselves for something they want or need or into the bank. I am in need of nothing and can scarcely make a wish list. I usually try to come up with a favor they can do as a gift to me, plant my flowers, do the housework for me, make me dinner. To me, this minimizes the focus on money and still allows them to properly honor their mom, which they want to do. As they get older and are now working, they very sweetly insist on giving us gifts.

What about the statement that one is not giving gifts to family. Obviously, this would not bother me whatsoever. But, there are people whom it would bother, I'm sure. I am aware that the opportunity to give gifts is not just a materialistic gesture. It's a way to honor those we love, to express what they mean to us. It's proper and right to want to do this, like my boys' desire to bless their dad and me. It feels good to do this. I like giving gifts myself, I get it!

If you cannot afford to or have simply chosen not to participate in the gift exchange part of the season, should you still make some effort to offer a gesture? Should you perhaps make something small like a Christmas ornament or bake something? Should you provide some small service like my aforementioned...making someone dinner or cleaning out their car? Or is it acceptable to abstain altogether.

And what about giving gifts to someone who has requested to not exchange? Do you still feel the need to give them a present? Should you?

I'm very interested in your opinions. Frankly, I don't think there is a right or wrong. I think we all have our varying opinions but maybe if we have a bit of a survey, we can negotiate that mine field with a little insight.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy am I

Good Monday morning from a very tired me. Worked the weekend and the kid's unit was rather a hot mess, as we say in the business. Stressful, busy and difficult. With much prayer and amazing staff, word is this morning that overnight the unit settled down and there were no problems. Thank you Jesus!
So today is my day off and I have much housework to do. Don't cry for me Argentina, I like being home with much housework. I could think of home projects forever and a day. Mac wants to make a gingerbread house. I need to get organized for my baking which I think will officially commence next weekend. Laundry awaits. Mac built Jay book cases for Christmas which are hidden in my bedroom so I think I'll try to wrap those suckers and get them out of there. All of the rest of my gift wrapping is done and I am waiting for only two more packages to be delivered, one of which has shipped from my good friends at LL Bean.
Daboyz spent several hours "rock climbing" on Saturday. They started off with lessons at some place in Pontiac and then spent the rest of the afternoon practicing. These two certainly spend a lot of time together, texting and talking on the phone for two people who can't stand one another. They invited their dad along. He declined. Smart, since it is almost the season when he falls on the exact same spot of ice on the driveway every morning. He needs to save his strength for that. They rock climb, he driveway falls. Similar hobbies.
The Mr. bought an air mattress this weekend at the Sear's outlet. $50 which is quite a good deal considering what they are listed for elsewhere. This is for Jay, who spends the night every Christmas Eve. We only have two bedrooms and despite their closeness, daboyz are not interested in sleeping in the same bed. So it was blown up and given a trial run and declared awesome. Of course, we were informed by both of the kids that eventually, we will need to be prepared for their future wives and children spending Christmas Eve as well. Frankly, I doubt their wives will be interested in the Christmas Eve Smith Family Camp Out but it's nice that daboyz think it's such a grand idea. I guess they plan on marrying orphans who have no families of their own to see on the holidays. You can't have that conversation with them, they cannot imagine being with "strangers" for the holidays. Ahh, how life will change for them!
Do you find a shortage of Christmas movies this year? Unless I'm missing something, other than Hallmark movies, the old classics are no where to be found. We watched A Christmas Carol (the 1980s version) and It's A Wonderful Life as well as Rudolph and Santa Clause is Coming To Town however, I cannot find Christmas In Connecticut, White Christmas, Holiday Inn and the like. If you live in the Mitten and know when these are showing, please let me know! I cannot bear to watch them on DVD. I need the special catching it when it's on experience.
Another cup of coffee is calling my name and the laundry does not fold itself (a fact which the Mr. has not grasped.) Stay warm and get your Christmas on, it only comes once a year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas baking!

1. Buckeyes
2. Pecan pie

3. Magic cookie bars

4. Espresso cake

5. Gingerbread cookies

6. Chocolate chip walnut cookies

7. Powdered sugar almond balls

8. Lemon squares

9. Mexican wedding cake

10. Coconut pecan cookies

Friday, December 09, 2011

Checkin' it twice

A bit of a snow morning here in the Mitten. I'm off today and plan on wrapping all of the gifts I have so far. And then making a list of any incidentals yet to be picked up. I'm mostly done with my shopping, how about you? A lovely thing has happened this year, we found ourselves hard pressed to make Christmas wish lists. Isn't that wonderful? We could scarcely think of things we wanted, we are that blessed. So under our tree will be one or two luxury items for each of us. And of course, having boys, I have picked up a few things that they don't realize they need ;)
Another development here in the Smith home, the Mr. is much less concerned with the number of presents under the tree. In the past, he's been one of those people who shops and shops until the last moment of the last dollar of the last closing store before Christmas. This generally means we sit knee deep in wrapping paper admiring lots of stuff we don't' need nor particularly want. It's all with the best intentions and reflects his childhood and the way his mom still feels about Christmas.
Although I don't have the one luxury I want, the holiday off of work, I feel particularly peaceful and I'm enjoying the season.
In order to fully express to you what our wish lists have come to, allow me to share Mac's.

One 5# bag of Dearborn brand hunter's sausage
A trailer hitch (in case Grandpa needs him to tow his trailer.)
Pajama pants

His brother, having drawn his name for the family exchange and hoping to buy him a gift in addition to that, is rather frustrated. In a good way.

The only list I'm working on now is the goodie list: cookies and treats to share and enjoy.

What's on your list?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A few updates and then...give me more stuff!

Whew, woke up with a doozy of a sinus headache this morning! I've got a busy day ahead so thank you Jesus for Sudafed! Another weekend of work is around the corner so I'm off tomorrow. My major plans are wrapping Christmas gifts and then to pick up a few items to round out my Christmas shopping. One of the items I ordered arrived and was not exactly what I had in mind but the good news is, it is exactly what Jay would like to give his girlfriend so it's all good.

The cold winds and flurries we've been experiencing in the Mitten have me thinking of soup and I think perhaps a big pot simmering on the stove will be the perfect addition to my wrapping day tomorrow. That's neither here nor there, just thought I'd share.

It seems that my Hallmark Christmas cards were delivered and according to the Mr.'s aunt, we look like movie stars. Thank you Kelly! LOL.

Oh! I know what I keep meaning to tell you! The shoe drive we have been working on together is going great! We have been able to give away shoes to every single patient in need and still have some in the clothing closet standing by. Every year at Christmas, leadership at my hospital draws names or has a white elephant gift exchange. This year it was decided that instead of any gift exchange among co-workers, we are requesting shoe donations to the clothing closet or money or gift cards for our petty cash fund to supply shoes & coats throughout the winter. Isn't that exciting!? Well I'm excited! I wish I could have captured on film the first young lady who asked if we had any shoes for her when we handed her a brand new pair of tennis shoes, still in the box that had been lovingly donated by Margie. "Are these new?, Oh my God these are brand new shoes? Oh thank you Jesus." I set out to do a better job of meeting a need but to see the feeling of restored dignity of someone getting a pair of shoes is both heartbreaking and exhilarating. What a privilege to be witness to God's grace through his creation.

Ok, then let's get real. The shoe drive is going great and I know we can keep the momentum going. We continue to need hoodies, sweatshirts and winter coats. But we are completely out of one item. Ahem. Well. We need bras. Yes, we need bras! Especially on our critical schizophrenia unit, most of the female patients do not have a bra. Do you need a bra to keep warm? No. But back to that feeling of restored dignity, it is important. We have patients who come out of their rooms with a blanket around their shoulders not because they are cold but because they are embarrassed. All sizes are needed but obviously, the larger the woman is the more a bra is necessary. I don't mean to be blunt but it is what it is! Actually, I don't mind being blunt. Again, new is nice but used is absolutely fine. I have a theory that most ladies have at least a few bras that don't use. So.....we need bras. And while I'm at it, underwear too.

Time to get a move on and start this day! New residents starting work at Kingswood so I am co-teaching recipient rights this morning, then teaching restraint use to new hires, then have a welcome luncheon with the new residents, then teaching new hires about infection control and in between, being a manager! Manicure this evening and I'm guessing when I finally arrive back home I'll be tired and ready for my Friday off.

Have a blessed day and send me your bras!

Image: Our Christmas lights!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Laugh family!

Here's a site you can visit for the separate pieces in one of the things that makes me smile, this...
The black and white polka dot words (LAUGH in our case) are made of metal and the embellishments are magnets that can be purchased in holiday, seasonal or any other theme you can think of. We've added some Christmas stuff to our base. There are multiple bases you can buy that say everything from Family to Love to Laugh to whatever you can think of. You can use the magnets to hold pictures in place or just to make a statement as I've done here. The Our Story Wall Words line has hundreds of products that I can't even begin to list here. We bought ours at the Mole Hole in Marshall, MI and they have a huge selection.

This is a relatively inexpensive and fun way to express the character of your home and change it up when the mood strikes. They can be hung on a wall or you can purchase a base as we've done. I think it would make a great gift too and the recipient could add to it if they choose.

This might be a sweet gift for someone you are thinking of blessing this Christmas!

Christmas cards~

My Christmas cards are currently "shipped." For the second year, I am using the Hallmark online card service. You can find it by clicking HERE.

Last year the delivery was late. I did order late however, according to the site, delivery would still be on time. Eventually everyone got the cards (I think) although a few came after Christmas. But the idea of the Hallmark service is great so I'm giving them another try and ordering early this time. I placed my order on Sunday and got an e mail last night that they were shipped.

I have to say I love Christmas cards and I think it's sad that they are becoming a lost tradition. Although I understand with the increased pace of life and the cost of cards and stamps, sometimes a person just can't do it all. I've mailed cards to a smaller and smaller list over the years and a few years, I've only sent them to immediate family.

The Hallmark site allows you to make an address book that it stores so you can send cards for any occasion year 'round. You have the option of having the card delivered to you or they will sign, address, stamp and mail them to the people you specify on your list. You can upload personal photos for your card or choose a stock card and you can personalize the message on the card as well. The price varies according to which you choose. The postcard style is the least expensive.

The site predicted that my cards ordered on Sunday 11/27 would be shipped on 11/30 so the e mail last night that they were shipped is a good sign. If they don't deliver properly, I'll update you and probably not use the service again. I'm hoping that it works better this year because it just makes it so much easier to re-embrace the old fashioned tradition of Christmas cards.

Finally let me just say, I love getting Christmas cards in the mail. I'm not offended or disappointed if I don't get many, and in recent years the number has significantly decreased (maybe because my sending has decreased!) But if you are trying to decide whether or not to send cards based on wondering if people even care anymore? Send one or send 100 but send cards if you are in the mood. I, for one, love 'em.

What about you? Do you send Christmas cards? Do you think it's just a dying tradition that we should let go?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Lazy Monday

It's a cloudy Michigan morning here in the Mitten. The temperature is a balmy 38F and the sky is overcast. An excellent napping day, as you can see. Above we have the Mr. and Donny hunkered in for a mid morning catnap. Why not move slowly and do some lazing when you can? There aren't that many moments available. I'm off today and doing some housework and Christmas gift wrapping. The Mr. took the day off (why is unclear, so far nappage is pretty much the main focus.) Actually, the poor guy fell off the ladder when he was hanging lights outside so he's sore. I guess he's earned a little couch time.
I really dislike shopping and this year I've done everything online so far. I just love getting those packages on the front porch! There are a few items I'll still need to go out and get but I am almost done. Now I am being smart and wrapping every day so I don't have to do a marathon all night wrapping frenzy. Plus, why not enjoy those pretty packages under the tree?
Well, it is late morning and I remain in my pajamas so I guess I need to do a little bit more than Donny & the Mr. if I'm going to get my list checked off. Days off are much shorter than work days :)
Whatever is on your list today, try to find a place to relax and enjoy the moment.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Better things~

Hi guys,
In response to the great need for prayer and my own determination to discipline myself, I have started a prayer journal blog. If you go to my profile you will find the link to my new blog Better Things.
Please don't feel the need to visit or comment, I just wanted to share that it is there for whatever purpose the Lord might have.

Love & grace,

The wise in heart shall be called prudent; and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning

Proverbs 16:21

Saturday, December 03, 2011

10 sentences

1. Placed my Hallmark Christmas card order last Sunday, I'm hearing that people started receiving their cards yesterday. Yay Hallmark!

2. Mac & I had a fun day decorating my parents' house for Christmas. I'm thankful that he has a servant's heart.

3. The Mr. & Mac surprised me by hanging Christmas lights outside! And the Mr. even went out and got the old fashioned big multi colored ones that I so love!

4. More than half of my Christmas shopping is done and I haven't set foot in a store. I lurv online shopping.

5. I'm in hair hell. I just got a new haircut and haven't had a good hair day since although it's a good cut. I think my perfect hairstyle has yet to be invented.

6. My mom got one of them Shark steamer moppers. I want one of them things too.

7. I'm working this weekend. That's all I've got to say about that.

8. The Henry Ford Health system is changing to standardized scrub colors, ceil blue for nurses. Simplicity is a lovely thing. After Christmas I shall buy 5 sets.

9. I asked the Mr. for a silver horizontal cross necklace for Christmas. Someone is probably going to need to help him with that. I am holding all of you responsible ;)

10. I have a deep sense of peace and joy this Christmas despite being scheduled to work. I know that is Jesus keeping my heart steadfast.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Well here we are with nothing in particular to talk about and so I bring you...

Succulents just make me so happy! And you know why? Because succulents are weird. In fact, and please don't repeat this or people might think I'm weird myself, I call them weirdos. Pictured here are my personal weirdos.

In fact, the Mr. was looking at landscaping pictures and there were succulents involved and he says to me he says, "Hey, you'd like this. They used lots of weirdos."

Heh heh. He probably thinks that is the real name for them. He probably says weirdos to other people. Like, "My wife really likes weirdos so I'm going to put them on the berm."


You cannot kill weirdos, I mean succulents. Technically you can kill weirdos, although you shouldn't.

I love my weirdos so much I brought them in with my house plants even though they usually survive the winter just because I like lookin' at 'em.

Ahh, weirdos.

They make me happy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The C.S. Lewis Tree

This is one of two identical music globes. The first one is put away, it was my Grandma Trent's and used to sit under my parents' Christmas tree when I was a child. This one I found in an antique shop on an anniversary trip. The original has a small crack at the top and the star has broken away and lays on the bottom of the globe now. How like the Lord to provide this replacement so that the original can be safely packed away. As a bonus, each of my boys will receive one for their own homes some day.

Reindeer ornament, bought at Garden Ridge to decorate our second Christmas tree in the C.S. Lewis room.

Purchased on a anniversary trip and on this tree because it matches the bronze and golds of the decorations in this room.

Birds! The Mr. loves these little guys and picks them up whenever he sees them. We have to perch them high though, or Donny goes "hunting" when no one is looking!

Antique ornament that hung on my Grandma Trent's tree in the 1970s

Another bird, doesn't he look like he's smiling?

Do you see a theme here?

Doggy angel tree topper! I must admit, this is my whimsical contribution. The Mr. isn't a big fan. We had a pretty star (from Target) on the tree that was on its last leg so I grabbed my chance to use my dog angel.

Our second Christmas tree is found in the living room which I call the C.S. Lewis room. This room was a formal living room when my grandparents were alive. Since moving in, it has become a quiet place where I like to read or write or just be still. There's no television in here, just a comfy chair, computer and piano. It's the overflow room when the family is all here for those who want to converse without shouting over the television.

This tree was my Grandma Trent's and when she passed away in 2008 it was given to me just in time since we now had two rooms needing trees, having moved here in 2007.

This tree is more intentionally decorated than the sentimental tree in the family room. We didn't have ornaments for it so we purchased most of what you see at Garden Ridge in the blues, golds and bronzes that match the room itself. There are only a few older ornaments, those which came from my Trent grandparents' home. This tree expresses a lot of the Mr.'s preferences, as you can see, he's a fan of the little birds. I have to admit they are pretty cute. The poinsettias I added this year when I ran across a box full of silk ones that I had used elsewhere over the years. I used wire cutters to separate the ones that were potted and tucked them into the tree for some color and added fullness.

Beneath the tree is my replacement music globe and the flag from the Mr.'s dad's memorial service in Alabama over Labor Day. We haven't found a permanent home for the flag yet and I like having it there this year, his first in heaven.

If we live long enough, this tree may become sentimental tree number two, after all, how many more anniversary ornaments will fit on the other one? :)

(I wonder if the C. S. Lewis title has left you hoping for something much more fanciful? Sorry! This room is the place where I read and think and pray and write and that is where the connection ends. )

Monday, November 28, 2011

Family room Christmas tree~

Mac's high school football number
I believe this is a porcupine, a gift from Lisa

Snow baby reminds me of my babies

Tortoise & hare, from 2009 anniversary trip. This was the year Dean's parents moved here, he was a hare & she is a tortoise. :)

2011 anniversary trip, 2 robins

2011 anniversary trip

2010 anniversary trip. In Autumn 2011 we had a crazy squirrel in our yard who was putting acorns in our yard furniture instead of burying them.

Chapel, gift from my mom.

2008 anniversary trip

2007 anniversary trip. We have Mexican food every Christmas Eve with daboyz.

Traditional Bronner's ornament, we each have one, including Donny.

Our family room tree is decorated with only sentimental ornaments collected since daboyz were born. I've shared just a few here. Some were chosen by them, some were gifts, some are from my grandparent's trees and every year since 2006 we have purchased an ornament on our anniversary trip. There are no ornaments on this tree that are "fillers." Each has a story.

At his home, Jay has my gramma's little Christmas tree with my grampa's angel tree topper. Just yesterday, Mac was looking at our sentimental tree and said that when he has his own home, he is going to start with a very plain tree and add ornaments year by year until he, too, has a tree of memories.

Although it may not be the most sophisticated, this is my very favorite kind of Christmas tree.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Dining alcove. C. S. Lewis Room

Dining alcove/C.S. Lewis Room


Family room

Thank the Lord that after almost two weeks of feeling somewhere between crummy and cruddy, I felt pretty good this weekend. Not only was it time for the Christmas decorations to come out but honestly, the old house hadn't been really cleaned for a little while. Keep that a secret please.

One of my favorite types of blogs are those home and garden types. Recipes, decorating and the like. So if you are running short on post ideas, please post some pictures of your home and what you are working on, dreaming of or just cooking for dinner. And if you don't like those blogs, sorry, that's all I got at the moment!