Monday, December 29, 2014

Simple Pleasures

Things are still pretty laid back around here.
We did enjoy a most wonderful Christmas and hope that you did too.
It's always a bit of a relief to know that all those things that seemed so vitally important to finish by December 25th are now but a memory.  Tiny details may have been left undone, but in the end... who really cares.  Time moves on and now we are onto new pursuits.  Around here that means watching and waiting patiently for our feathered friends.

Always an exciting moment when our patience pays off.

~ Wishing you time for simple pleasures and quiet pursuits as we prepare to say goodbye to 2014 ~

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Not a Creature Was Stirring

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse . . .

 or a grandpa & his grandson :), :)

Story time by the Christmas tree ~

 The Christmas season at my happy home has unfolded in a somewhat laid back manner.  Decorating, while still plentiful, was scaled back to the most meaningful pieces.  Many treasures remained in the attic and others were donated to local thrift shops.  
I guess what it boils down to is at this stage of life I'm working towards re-thinking many of the holiday traditions with the goal of making them work for our present circumstances.  Sometimes it's easy to keep doing things the way they've been done for years and years because, after all, it's tradition.  Sometimes, however, those traditions can cause exhaustion and/or undue stress which is something we really don't want to be part of the plan if it can be prevented.
 So, this year, I did my best to search for what really matters and put my energy there.

At times I felt a bit guilty about trimming back the traditions.
Particularly when it came to the cookie baking tradition.
What was once an all day event morphed into a few hours baking cranberry orange bread and a double batch of one type of cookie.
The look on my son's face when I told him there would be no candy cane cookies this year made me feel the old guilty feelings.
I went back and forth with myself thinking there's been candy cane cookies every year, there has to be candy cane cookies... it's tradition.  On the other hand, candy cane cookies are time consuming and when the free time presented itself, I didn't feel like making them so I let go of the guilt trip and skipped making them this year.  Next year could be different.  Years ago if I had read this I would have thought "what kind of selfish mother wouldn't make her son's favorite cookies at Christmas?"  Years ago I was younger and had more energy.  Ho Ho!!

  Anyhow, I suppose I'm sharing this here because I feel the need to explain my absence in the last few weeks.  I guess I unintentionally scaled back on my computer time too.  Funny how at one time December was my favorite time to share things on my blog.  I love Christmastime and all that goes with it.  For whatever reason I was happy to scale things back this year and found that if I spent too much time in blogland it became easy to second guess my laid back approach to Christmas and feel the need to do more and hurry up about it.  I guess I'm just trying to say that there is so much beautiful inspiration out there and I love it all.  This year it just seemed a bit overwhelming to me so I spent more time unplugged.
Once again next year could be a whole different story, but for this year I'm quite happy with this slower pace.
My hope is that each of you are enjoying the pace that is right for you and your loved ones.  
I'll most likely be carrying out this laid back intentional Christmas season until the new year so I'll take this opportunity to wish you a very meaningful and Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Whew and Oops!!

"Whew" is what I say after decorating the tree in the dining room and. . .

the tree in the family room.  It's so nice to be all done with that job.  Time now to put my feet up and enjoy the magic of the lights.
Thinking it might be fun to try capturing the blue hour as a backdrop to my blue/white Christmas tree,   I kept backing up trying to get in as much of the 9' tree as possible.
That's where the "oops" came in.

Seems I backed right onto the vacuum hose.
A little candid shot as I tried to steady myself, which was a bit like being on a teeter totter.  Didn't realize my finger pressed the camera button while all the action was happening.  I got quite a kick out of this shot as I was reviewing my photos.
I'm happy to report that I was able to get off the hose before I heard a thud or a boom or a crash.
Ah, the hazards of Christmas decorating!
You haven't had any of those, have you?
All I can say is I'm glad I was the only one home for this event.
The men in my family would have had trouble keeping a straight face over this one.
For now, I'm off to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Right after I get that pesky vacuum put away.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

 It seems like after all of these years of blogging, I'd find it quite simple to change up the header and background for the seasons.
However, that is so not the case.
I find it a test of my patience each time I make the attempt.
What worked last time doesn't seem to work the next time.
Gigantic headers, off center headers, chopped off headers.
♫ Fa La La La La ♫

I think I need a course in Easy, Effortless Blog Design 101.
I've been plucking away at it now for close to an hour...
even consulted my blog bible... the place where I jot down tips and tricks I see along the way.
My efforts have yielded a re-run of last years efforts and this time part of the header is chopped off.  Egads!!
I consulted that link I have bookmarked... the one telling me how to center my header.  It worked like a charm last time.  Not so much this time.
Ho Ho Ho
When I finished creating this masterpiece and went to "view blog" I thought "what a big, busy looking mess I've made"
 It didn't help that my colorful Thanksgiving collage was residing right below the header.  Talk about too much going on at once.
In the interest of making things somewhat less busy, a sparkly white candle has replaced the collage.

Alright, now that I have gotten that off my chest...
onto more pleasant topics.
Isn't this a fun time to wander through blogland?
Inspiration to be found at every turn.
I am so enjoying the opportunity to tour decorated homes, pick up simple ideas for cooking, baking, wrapping, etc.
I also love reading about the different traditions people embrace during the holiday season.
Every year I am reminded of what a joy and pleasure it is to be able to do this.
There's been a lot of talk recently about how blogging has changed so much in the past few years.  I agree, but I also think there's a place for all of us and for that I am thankful.

Until next time (when I hope to be done with the Christmas decorating),