Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas is coming so quickly.  I hope that you have made out all your Christmas card lists and gift lists and have started a little shopping, and/or crafting.

I'm hoping to order my Christmas cards this week and do a lot of my shopping (mostly online).  I'm not a big shopper, so I avoid the Black Friday sales like the plague, but I will shop online that day.  I'm working on some neat gift bag/basket ideas that will share as soon as they are assembled.

I've also realized that keeping a steady supply of refrigerated cookie dough is essential.  We've already had several events pop up on us that require bringing a snack or a dessert.  Having those ready to simply pop in the oven has been a lifesaver!

By the way, here's a sample of what part of my Thanksgiving mantel looks like this year.  I will share more pictures once I start decorating for Christmas.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

This year we are trying a radical new experiment.  It's something no one in our family is used to, but we're learning.  We are saying "no" to a few extra activities this year.

Saying no is difficult under regular circumstances.  But around holiday time when so many special, once a year activities come up (especially for our daughter) we always try to do them all.  Then we wind up frazzled, exhausted, snapping at each other and ready for the rush to be over.

So this weekend, we sat down as a family and discussed the seemingly endless list of places to be and things to do.  We narrowed them down to a few things that we all want to do, and are going to let the rest go.  It's not going to be easy, but it has to happen.  Our daughter won't be living at home with us forever and we have to make time to enjoy our family now.

Don't forget that you don't have to do everything and be everything all the time.  We're refocusing this year on what's important, and I'm excited about the change.

33 days to go....

Thursday, November 21, 2013

35 Days

Very happy with the way my glass ornaments turned out! The glass paint is transparent so they will look great with the Christmas lights on the tree. I may give some as gifts, sell a few, or keep a few to put on my tree. :-)
35 days to go...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

36 days to go..... It seems that once Halloween is over, we just fly right through Thanksgiving and onto Christmas.  I have been busy painting a new line of glass ornaments that I will share tomorrow once they have completely dried and baked in the oven.  I love these new ornaments and would like to see what others' opinions are.

I also received my first shipment of gifts that I ordered earlier in the month.  It feels great to at least start on my buying list.  I can't promise that I won't be a last minute shopper for some items, but at least I won't be shopping for everything at one time.

I'm hoping to head to Bath and Body Works for hand sanitizers, lotions and other goodies for small gifts and stockings.  I have some ideas on gift baskets too that I will share once they are put together.

I you have any awesome time saving, creative ideas to share, feel free! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Because time is so scarce the closer we get to Christmas, I'm trying to start carving out time now for my daughter to have extra friend time activities.  It's harder to do with travel schedules and family activities when December rolls around. 

Besides the usual sleepovers and movie watching this year, my daughter decided to have crafting time with her friends to make Christmas presents.  It's so much fun to see them enjoying making things for others.  I also tried a new recipe out on them making cinnamon rolls from crescent rolls.  Oh my stars, were they delicious!  I will definitely make this again for sleepovers and our holiday parties.  I found the recipe on pinterest - here's the link to the original site:

I'm glad the girls were my taste testers yesterday and that they got to spend extra time together.  Good food, warmth and friendship.  What a great start to the holidays!

I also bought my first presents yesterday.  I love shopping online and am excited that I haven't waited until the last minute to start shopping this year!

39 days to go......

Thursday, November 14, 2013

41 Days

I love to paint on any surface, and a few years ago I discovered how much I enjoy painting glass.  I found a fabulous set of French glass paints from Cheap Joes that I love.  I just finished a new Christmas candy dish and hope to have new ornaments finished soon. 

I hope you're crafting and making something special for those you love. Those are the best gifts.

41 days to go....

Monday, November 11, 2013

Picked up more stamps, more wrapping paper and bags (I have some strange fear of running out), painted glass pieces for Christmas, and I am hoping to try my hand at crocheting necklaces and bracelets.  I will share step by step how it goes and photos if all goes well. :)

Now is the time to start pinpointing those Christmas gifts if you haven't already (I'm also talking to myself at this point).  With the card writing, decorating and taking care of everyone else, it will be a mad dash if you don't start soon.  Just your friendly reminder....

44 days to go....

Friday, November 8, 2013

We are hoping to plan a fun get together with our friends this year.  We try every year; some holidays we succeed and others we don't.  I am also working on lots of ideas for our "reindeer games" this year and lots of crafts to make for teacher gifts. I love looking at pinterest when planning a get together or giving gifts for those ideas to make things extra special.

If you would like to follow my holiday ideas board (which includes lots of holidays - not just Christmas) here's the link:

I've just started a new board for kid friendly Christmas party ideas.  If you'd like to follow it too, here's the link:

I'm sure I will continue to add a lot of ideas to these very soon!

47 days......

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

49 Days

Finished my first acrylic on watercolor paper snow and night scene this evening.  That's a long combination!  It was fun to experiment with the paints on a new surface to see how well they worked.  It's always nice to continue to challenge yourself to try to new ideas.

I haven't decided if this one will be a Christmas gift or go on the website.  Decisions, decisions....

Also working on more snowflake gifts and ideas for candles.

Don't forget to finish up your list of addresses and keep buying those stamps.  It's almost time to get those cards ready!

49 days to go.....

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

50 days until Christmas.....  Try not to panic yet.  Remember to breathe in and out.  That's what I'm doing too.  It's coming so quickly.

I've been making more snowflake ornaments for gifts, working on a painting, got more wrapping paper (I have this irrational fear that I will never have enough), and am working to get everything in order to start shopping this weekend.  I hope to do some online shopping and start getting items together for shoeboxes. 

The season is upon us!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Today I'm starting a new painting.  It will be my first night, winter scene painted in acrylics.  It will either be a great success or flaming disaster.  But life is all about trying new ideas and projects.  We will never know what we are capable of until we try.

I love our family's Christmas traditions, but I am looking to add new ones this year.  I would like to add a holiday movie marathon and some other fun activities to the list.  As we try out our "new" ideas, I will pass along how well (or not well) they go.  If you have any new ideas that you are trying this year, please comment and let me know.

I will pass along how my new painting project turns out too....

51 days....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

One of the most important things that I strive to remember during the holidays is just how blessed we are.  It's easy to get caught up in all the items that have to be purchased and it can feel that we can never do or buy enough for those we love.

A while back I started selling limited edition prints of two of my paintings.  I promote them mainly during the holidays, because I donate a portion of all the sales of these prints to our local food pantry.  They do such amazing work and there are so many in need, that it seemed like an obvious choice.  I love getting to pass along the blessings from others to those who need them so desperately.

These prints are $35 each and there will only be 100 of each sold.  Once they are gone, I will move on to new paintings and prints.

If you are interested in more details about these prints (Anderson Barn in Winter and Christmas at the Country Store) or how you can help your local food pantries, you can email

Saturday, November 2, 2013

53 Days....

With all the busyness of life, it's easy to get caught up in the details of the holidays.  Trying to have the perfectly decorated home, perfect Christmas card, and most delectable food can be exhausting and cause us to dread the holidays instead of cherish them.

I try to read the devotions from this website daily, but especially during Advent.  It's and it has wonderful daily devotions.  I make myself stop and take the time during the holidays to read and contemplate the scripture readings before going back out into the world.

So, I hope that you and I will take the time to refocus on what's important during the holidays and every day. 

53 days to go....

Friday, November 1, 2013

54 Days

Halloween was tons of fun for our whole family this year.  We got to spend extra time with family and friends and that's what made it fun and special.  We are working very hard to see those that we love a little more often, even if it doesn't involve a holiday.

I haven't gotten to paint and craft nearly as much lately, and I must work to make up for lost time.  I have so many ideas running around in my head that need to be made. 

One of the most important things I do is keep a little sketchbook with me that fits in my purse.  During the rest of the year, I sketch out ideas or write out anything that I am thinking of or need to do.  During the Christmas season it also multitasks as a to do list, present ideas, or anything else I need to jot down to keep me sane.

If you don't have a small notebook to keep with you, now is the time to buy one.  They are very cheap and I promise they will save you headaches later when you try to remember which store had a certain item, what size shoe someone wears, and what you need to pick up from the grocery store.

It's hard to believe there are only 54 days left.....