Posted in Holiday, House

In The Bleak Midwinter

Rain in late December IS rather bleak, although I will take it anyway over the “wintry mix” we were supposed to get on Christmas Day that changed course!

It’s been a weird week. We’re still settling in, still figuring out where stuff goes, still have some boxes upstairs to unpack and a ton of stuff in the basement to deal with. (My prayer this morning was that the HOUSE would become a HOME this year.) On one of my errand days this week I was driving by the cemetery where Connor is buried. I pass by it quite often, but this one day I decided to stop. It took a few minutes to find his grave–it’s been awhile and they’ve added quite a number around him–but I finally did. I’m guessing Nana (Jim’s mom) stopped by with a wreath.

For whatever reason–the general season, the whole year just adding up or who knows, that wreath at my son’s grave just got to me. I cried. I sobbed. So often I’m fine–really–with not having him here and dealing with it, but this month has just left me a mess in general and that in particular.

We’re down to two days before Christmas and the list of “Things to do before family descends” is well under hand. I still have a lot of cooking ahead of me, but I’m ok with that, and I’m looking forward to seeing the family and having them hang out here.

I hope you and yours have a blessed Christmas and a peaceful new year!


Posted in Change, Church, Family, Holiday, Kitchen Reno

Christmas Time Is Here…

If you read that title in the Charlie Brown chorus singing it, you are not alone!

It’s a strange holiday season. We’re having ups and downs and weird weather and I’m left feeling a little muddled.

I have a beautiful, gorgeous perfect little brand new niece. She was born 2 weeks LATE on December 3rd. I got to hold her today. So little! So sweet! The newest-born baby I’ve held since my own. So very, very weird to look at my teenagers and shake my head at the fact that they, too, were once that small and sweet.

We visited for a third time a new church. While we were in a bit of a rush on the way out (to go and see aforementioned baby), it was still a lovely service. The pastor preached on Luke 2. Never, ever an easy passage simply because everyone (even those who only do church once or twice a year) has heard messages on it forEVER. How to put a new spin on it? He managed! I’m tentatively hopeful about this church–it feels like home already, and I like the people. They are SO friendly! We’re going to continue to visit for the time being, so that’s great.

On the not-so-great front, which I have been fairly silent about, my sister has breast cancer. Originally it was thought she could get a mastectomy and be done, but the pathology report was much more severe and now 12 weeks of chemo is in her future. As is her daughter’s wedding on April 8. My heart hurts for her, and I’m scared. I love my sister and don’t want this journey for her. She is facing it with grace and faith, but doesn’t really want to do it, either.

The kitchen planning continues. We received the first draft of the plan from the designers, but it had some errors in it (missing a soffit, forgot to figure in the new door), so I’m getting the 2nd draft tomorrow. What I saw that was correct I really liked. A LOT. We still have a lot of conversations and decisions about specifics ahead of us, but having the design in hand will be a good foundation.

In Southeastern PA, typically, it would be in the 30’s and 40’s now. Probably not snow, although on occasion it would be, but it’s heading towards winter and it will be feeling like it. Not this year, though. Today was 71 when we visited the baby in Philadelphia. Weird! It doesn’t FEEL like Christmas!

With the baby and my sister’s treatments going on, planning is up in the air. Now, any of you who have read me know, without a doubt, that I am not only Planner Extraordinaire, but also that I like things written down in pen on the calendar. Nothing is in pen. Not even in pencil. I have not one clue what is going on. And I’ve just got to suck it up and deal with it! 🙂

This week coming up is the beginning of the Great Fudge Making. This year (as was last) I’m making 12 pounds of fudge for gifts. Yes, 12 POUNDS. That’s 24 containers. Work, but so worth it!

Thanks for dropping by. I hope your holidays are peaceful, joyous and healthy.

Posted in Holiday, Me

So I’m Not Crafty

But you all knew that by now, didn’t you?!

I emailed Wilton today–that’s the company that puts out the gingerbread house kits. I bought one last year with the greatest of intentions.

See? Over there! There’s the road to hell, and I’m paving it!

So this year I’m going to do my darndest to actually put the thing together. Wilton said it’s fine–just that the candy might not be as fresh as if it was newly made. Like the children will care!

I just got out the directions and am grimly reminded of why I didn’t do this last year.

Join one side wall to one peaked wall. Attach other peaked wall and side all panels. Press together. LET DRY AT LEAST 1 HOUR BEFORE PROCEEDING.


And all this time you have to keep the icing moist.


That’s, like, a whole day between setting the stupid thing up, letting it dry (while keeping little hands away from it), putting more on and letting it set up some more.

I AM NOT CRAFTY, PEOPLE! I don’t ENJOY this kind of thing. I do it for the kids so they have some sort of happy memories of their childhood, that’s it!

Pray for me!

Posted in Holiday, Organizing

Planning Ahead

Have I mentioned that I’m a planner? Yes, I’m sure I have. Because it’s very closet to being a sickness with me. I can’t help it, nor, really, do I want to! It’s very helpful!

Since December and the whole Christmas deal only comes once a year, and I have the worst memory in world, I have made a Word document. It’s under my “Christmas” folder. It’s called “Christmas Ideas–read in Nov” Seriously. I told you it was like a sickness!

Here’s my list of things I need to know in November so I plan ahead and make my December much easier!

1. Hang string on the wall for cards instead of the card holder on the door (Ethan just bangs on it and pulls the cards off!)
2. Remember that I DO NOT like to cook late in December and budget for more meals out!
3. Get family picture taken in summer or early fall or Thanksgiving–no worries!
4. Buy larger bins for kids’ decorations. They have outgrown the shoebox size.
5. New Years Eve you will change your mind and want to hang out with the Stapleton’s eating appetizers. Plan early. Harry’s closes at 6 on that day.
6. Borrow folding chairs for dinner from the church.
7. Christmas Dinner: ½ ham, premade mashed potatoes mixed with 2 cups cheddar cheese, green beans, carrots or corn, rolls, pies for dessert (Ken always makes apple), Don’t forget extra butter and apple cider!

We learned #1 the hard way. Same with #2. #3 we’ve done for several years and it works really well. #4 is a problem that cropped up the end of last year and I didn’t want to deal with it until this year–this way I remember! #5 is another lesson learned the hard way. We wanted to eat, but nothing was open so we ended up running to WalMart for something to cook. #6 only matters if we’re hosting, which I think we’re not this year. Thank you, Jesus! #7 is my go-to menu from last year when I was incredibly busy.

What would help you with planning if you thought about it ahead of time?

Posted in Holiday

What happened to November?

I walked into our local Super Wal*Mart to do my grocery shopping. Today is Monday November 3rd. What is the first thing I see when I walk in the doors?


HELLOOOOO???? What happened to Thanksgiving? They’ve put away all the Halloween stuff, but they forgot the next holiday. I mean, really? Who buys Christmas stuff on November 3rd?

It’s like the election. By the time you finally get there you are totally sick of even hearing it.

Oh, and they are playing Christmas music in one section–where the garden stuff usually is but it’s now all Christmas thing.

November 3rd, PEOPLE.

I hate commercialism.