Looking Christmas-y Without Spending Big Bucks

The Merona tiered tees from Target have been some of my most favorite shirts to wear, so when I saw a tiered dress on clearance online, it went directly into my cart! Actually, I put two dresses in my cart – one in red, size large, and one in gray, size extra large. For the tees, size large fits me best, but knowing that I’m somewhat pear shaped, I thought I might need a little extra room in a dress. It turns out that a large works best for me in the dresses, too. I’m glad, because I really, really love the dress in red!

I wore the red dress to church on Boo’s birthday. I was going to wear it to his party, too, but ended up wearing jeans instead. We did play on the floor together, so it was a good choice.

 Merona dress – Target
Scarf – hmmm….I can’t remember!
 Nurture booties – thrifted
Vintage wool coat – thrifted
Hat – eBay
This winter, I’ve been looking at coats when I visit Goodwill or the church thrift store in Little Town. This winter white vintage wool coat was only $4 at the church thrift store, and it fits me perfectly! None of my hats looked right with it, so I had to go hat shopping, of course. Nothing in stores looked right, either, so I went online and found this wonderful leopard print hat on eBay. I think it’s a perfect pairing!

Going Back in Time

We’ll begin a new year on Wednesday, and I still have a few outfits and a craft project from the past couple of weeks that I never got posted. This week, we’ll go back in time a bit and catch up.

This outfit was worn on Dec 13, and I think I went grocery shopping that day. I went somewhere, anyway, because I was wearing a coat. Our furnace works well enough that I don’t need to wear a coat in the house. Thank God for that!

 Merona tee – Target
Sweater – Old Navy
Fleece lined leggings – Walmart
St Johns Bay boots – JCP
 Coffeeshop Red coat – Target
Snowflake earrings – Target
Wool hat – gift

Twas the Night Before a FHH Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Dachshund;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The chickens were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of grub worms danced in their heads;

And me in my ‘kerchief, and Some Postman in his cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reinducks,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, Jitterbug! now, Disco! now, Hokey and Pokey!
On, Congo! on Can-Can! on, Boogie and Woogie!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now splash away! splash away! splash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the duckies they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The slapping and splatting of each little webbed foot.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,


Letting Go of Expectations, Keeping Perspective and What’s Really Important

Well, now, that’s a lengthy title, is it not? And that was version number three!

It’s the Christmas season.

That’s not news to you, dear reader, obviously. It’s impossible to miss the signs.

I always think of this scene in Bruce Almighty when someone says “show me a sign”.
Stores have had trees and Christmas decorations on display since October (or earlier, in the case of craft and sewing retailers). Commercials on TV lure us to shop, shop, shop for all the perfect gifts for everyone we know, knew or might possibly know in the future. Radio stations are cranking out Jingle Bells and White Christmas. Grocery ads have all the baking supplies, hams and trimmings on sale for The Perfect Christmas Dinner. Even stop lights blink a bright red and green!
All of this creates pressure on us women, particularly, to do it all and make the holidays perfect in every way, even if it kills us. Expectations….which leads to the post-holiday blues the day after Christmas when it didn’t turn out like a Hallmark movie despite all that tearing about like the proverbial chicken.
This is why I have scaled down my Christmas “doings”. Instead of baking a dozen different kinds of cookies and making six different kinds of candy, I turned it back to two cookies and three candies, all very simple and small batches, too. I did most of my shopping online this year, as well as my usual clearance shopping throughout the year. My dear husband bought us a new tree this year – a slim, pre-lit one that was so much easier for me to decorate. (Although, next year, I’ll forego the garland. I got dizzy winding it around the tree!) There used to be a time when I decorated every room in the house with lights, greenery, shelf-sitters, etc. I still enjoy doing that, but it’s not in every room anymore, and only takes one day instead of three.
What’s really important about all that craziness? Is that REALLY what Christmas is all about? Of course not! Christians chose this winter celebration date to remember the birth of Christ. Before that, pagans celebrated the winter solstice this time of year. Neither of these celebrations were intended to drive people crazy. Let’s keep perspective on the season and get back to enjoying it.
For me, the Christmas season is a time of gathering with family and friends, spending time with people we love. Sometimes that involves gift giving, but in my circle of loved ones, we keep it simple. Christmas is a time of joy, remembering how God sent His Son to live among us and save us from our sins. Christmas is a time of thankfulness, of sharing, and of peace.
I’ll never host a Hallmark Christmas gathering. Mine are probably more Charlie Brown in nature. I once hosted a Not-So-Martha-Stewart Thanksgiving dinner in my bedroom! Ask me about that sometime…it was great fun! But I am perfectly happy with the simple, uncomplicated ways we celebrate Christmas in my family. We’re thankful to be together, enjoying one another’s company, strengthening those family ties.
This will be the first Christmas I’ve ever celebrated without my Grandpa. He went to heaven a couple of weeks ago. It will be different without him, but I am so very thankful for the years we had with him. He was the leader of our clan and we all wanted him to be proud of us. We were certainly proud of him!
Being thankful is definitely a key in keeping the holiday season in perspective. Gratitude for what we already have will keep away the greed for more stuff, which only weighs us down anyway. Heather, a blogger friend, recently contacted me and asked if I would share a bit of her story. She lives a life of gratitude. Heather is an 8-year survivor of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. You can read her story on her blog at www.mesothelioma.com/heather and learn more. Thank you, Heather, for asking me to write about something for which I am thankful…it’s helping me keep my perspective in this busy time of year!
My Not-So-Martha-Stewart Christmas tree and “mantle”.
Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Soft and Cuddly

The North Door has been left open in Kansas, which means it’s gotten downright chilly around here. We’ve had January-style weather in two rounds already since Thanksgiving. It might be shaping up to be a remarkably COLD winter!

All the more reason to wear cozy warm outfits like this one, which I wore to church this past Sunday. As the congregation went about greeting one another at the beginning of service, I received several hugs that lasted extra long so the hugger could enjoy my cuddly softness!

a.n.a. shirt – JCP
Chadwick’s skirt – thrifted
Scarf – ???
 Faith 21 sweater-jacket thing – thrifted

I found this ultra-soft sweater-jacket thing hanging among the men’s jackets at Goodwill, as if someone had either changed their mind about it, or “hid” it so they could get it later. (I’ve worked in retail before, and have seen this done. A customer tucks something where it would least likely be found by someone else who might want it, then they can go back later when they have the money for it and it will still be there. Unless, of course, the retail workers are doing their job.) It’s a size 3X and came with a hideous 4-inch wide elastic belt. Yes, it’s enormous on me, but since the shoulders aren’t overly broad, I think it works as a swing jacket, especially without that awful belt. After looking at the pictures, I can see that it really doesn’t do anything for my shape, but who cares when it’s so soft and cuddly, even the high school boys at church can’t resist petting my arm? (Just so you know – I consider all our church youth to be my own children, so it’s not weird! Really!)

Mossimo western boots – Target
Vintage Sarah Coventry pin – Heritage Collections gift shop, Wamego

Advent Season is Here

Merry Christmas, all y’all in blogland! Advent season is upon us, and it is a very busy time of year. Do you have your house decorated, cards mailed, menus planned, gifts purchased and wrapped, cookies baked? No? And you think I do?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, ohhh – HA ha ha!

OK, so yes, I do have a few of those things done: the house is as decorated as it’s going to get and I have most of the gift buying done. The rest of it still waits patiently on my to-do list. It will get done eventually. I refuse to stress out about getting it all done and making Christmas “perfect”. If you strive for a picture-perfect Christmas that dwells only in Fantasy Land, you’re going to be sorely disappointed and bring on the post-holiday blues faster that you can get a licked candy cane stuck in your hair.

Perspective…that’s what keeps me from stressing out this time of year. We just laid my dear hero of a Grandpa to rest yesterday, fittingly on Pearl Harbor Day (he was a WWII POW). Last year was our final Christmas with him. This year, he will celebrate Jesus’ birth in heaven. Now there’s a perfect Christmas for you! Thinking about my Grandpa, I realize that all the decorations, gifts, cookies, etc are nice and wonderful ways to celebrate the season, but they are not what is important. Family, friends, the people you love – they are what is important. And what is most important of all is remembering why Jesus was born in the first place. He came here to save me from sin and death. If all I do this Christmas is sit and ponder that fact and thank Him for his most wonderful gift, then the holiday has been properly celebrated.

On to an outfit…the fluff part of this blog!

This very casual outfit is what I wore to do some grocery and Christmas shopping last week. We had a bit of a reprieve from the Deep Freeze so I was able to wear a lighter coat and actually enjoy dashing between the car and the stores.

 Merona tee – Target
CJ Banks jeans – thrifted
Born mocs – eBay
 Coldwater Creek coat – thrifted

Snowflake earrings – Target, I think
Partridge in a Pear Tree vintage pin – thrifted
This color combination feels festive to me without being overtly Christmas-y. It was fun and comfy to wear while out shopping. That’s about all there is to say about such a simple outfit, and so I will leave you with a view of my favorite part of the house decorated for Christmas: