Posts filed under ‘Christmas’

Fall Bucket List Update – November

Yosemite's regal Ahwahnee Hotel had some amazing centerpieces during Thanksgiving weekend. ‪#‎GratitudeScavengerHunt‬ . . . This photo went into the "Something I'm grateful for that tastes good" category.

Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel had amazing centerpieces Thanksgiving weekend. ‪#‎GratitudeScavengerHunt‬ –  This photo went into the “Something I’m grateful for that tastes good” category.

How well do you finish all the things on your bucket lists? I am great at writing them, but have troubles finishing. Well, not this month. This month, I finished all the things I wanted to!!!

Below is the original November list and some details about the item.

ONE. Read – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens before seeing the play. TRUTH DISCLAIMER – I didn’t actually read the book, but I listened to a free audio version. Except for kids books, I have never listened to an audio book. I thought I would do some work while listening to this story, but I ended up sitting in my chair on 3 different occasions just listening. This was quite enjoyable and I will do this again.

I also read a book about gratitude: Choosing Gratitude: Learning to Love the Life you Have by James A Autry. Here is my recap post about that book.

TWO. Field Trip – Go see A Christmas Carol: The Musical with the PEP group at Folsom Lake College. This was a fun night out with 9 women and 2 men. The acting, staging and music were a delight.

THREE. Write Another Bucket List – Write a Singles Thanksgiving Bucket List and do at least a few of the items.

Before Thanksgiving or during Thanksgiving weekend, I did numbers One (Watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving) Five (Made silverware holders), Six (Made this prayer pumpkin)Seven (Scavenger Gratitude Walk), Eight (I gave our waitress a BIG tip.) and Ten (Made a snowman ornament, but not the block one. I used these directions.

This spot in Yosemite didn't have much snow Thanksgiving weekend, but it was beautiful and cold!

This spot in Yosemite didn’t have much snow Thanksgiving weekend, but it was beautiful and cold!

FOUR. Celebrate Thanksgiving in a new way – We won’t be going to the beach this year. I had the joy of Thanksgiving at my sister’s home. It was a merry and tasty time. And then I spent Friday and Saturday in Yosemite with my daughter.

FIVE. Make grown up Advent calendar. See this online Advent calendar. Here is an advent chain to make. Advent November 29 (ends December 24).

I made an Advent Prayer Wreath. The base is a felt quilled wreath kit I picked up from Michaels last year after Christmas. I cut out 24 extra leaves. Each day I will write a name on one leaf and pray for that person. And then I will glue the leaf onto my wreath.

All the numbers started off upside down. As each day comes and I finish the daily "project", the number will be righted.

All the numbers start off upside down. As each day comes and I finish the daily “project”, the number will be righted.

I also made a magnetic tree ornament advent calendar. I got the directions from here.

I decided to read several advent books.

SIX. Donate something extra. Operation Christmas Child is something I always do. And I did it again this year. To add to the joy of doing this project, my daughter-in-law also did this with me. Together we filled 20 boxes.

Here are some posts about Operation Christmas Child . . . Everyone Can Help One Child . . . Grateful I am Able to Help  . . . I Help Because I am a Parent, Auntie, and Missionary . . . Love in a Box . . . My Plan to Collect 55 OCC Boxes 

SEVEN. Try a new pumpkin recipe. A friend (Michelle) and I made a paleo pumpkin and tomato soup. I made a 2nd batch and put some into the freezer.

Your Turn . . . Have you done anything mew this past month? Or something that helped you celebrate Fall?

Related Posts . . .

 

 

 

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From Eyeglasses to Snowman Ornament (tutorial)

I found this idea on Pinterest. Unfortunately the link did not go back to the original designer. This is my version of the original.

For our family’s 2nd annual ornament-making fest, I scoured the internet for many months before coming across the cutie I will be showing you. We make other ornaments besides snowmen, but the star of the program is always a snowman. This is the link I have for our star snowman.

 

Supplies Needed

  • Eyeglasses
  • Ammonia based cleaner and rag
  • Paint brushes
  • Acrylic  paint: white, black, orange
  • Blush (makeup), brown, tan, or pinkish eye shadow
  • Acrylic spray
  • Strip of fabric for the scarf

Step One – Clean

Clean eyeglasses with cleaner. Rinse well with water. Dry with non-lint towel.

Step Two – Base coat

Paint lenses of eyeglasses in a thin coat of white paint in one direction. Try to keep paint off the rim of the glasses. Let it dry thoroughly. You can use a hair dryer to help it dry more quickly. If you put on more paint when it is still wet, some paint will come off. That is why you need to let it dry between coats.

Step Three – Base coat in opposite direction

Paint lenses in the opposite direction with a thin coat of white paint. Let it dry thoroughly. You can use a hair dryer to help it dry more quickly.

Step Three – Finish base coat

Do this 2 or 3 more times, or until you have a totally white surface. If you paint in thin layers and alternate directions, each time you will end up with a smooth surface. However, it will still look good, if the surface isn’t smooth; after all, real snowmen aren’t smooth.

Step Four – Eyes

Eyes: Practice making ovals on a scrap piece of paper. In the top lens about a finger width down paint two ovals in black. Paint two lines for eyebrows above the eyes in black paint.

Step Five – Nose

Nose: In the middle of the lenses, make an orange triangle. Start with the fat end of the carrot ending with the pointy end.

Step Six – Mouth

Mouth: Dip the end of your paint brush into black paint. Use this end to make dots for the mouth.

Step Seven – Let top dry & work on bottom

Let the top lens dry while you work on the bottom lens.

Step Eight – Buttons

Buttons: Using black paint make three circles on the bottom lens. Or you can use the end of a fat paint brush or pen dipped in black paint to make the circle buttons.

Step Nine  – Finish eyes & nose

Top Lens 

  • Eyes: Dip your paint brush end into white paint. Use this end to put dots onto your eyes to give them dimension.
  • Nose: Using a liner brush dipped in black paint, outline the carrot in black. Also paint a few vertical lines.

Step Ten – Finish buttons

Bottom Lens – Buttons: Paint a small white curved line on the buttons.

Step Eleven – Cheeks & outline

Blush: 

  • When both lenses are dry do the following: Put blush on a small, dry paint brush. Make circles on the cheeks.
  • Outline the snowman with same blush or desired colour of eye makeup.

Step Twelve – Date and initials

On the inside of the lenses, paint your initials and current year.

Step Thirteen – Clean & seal

Wipe off frames well. Clean off smudges and any white paint.

In a well-ventilated area, spray the acrylic spray the outside and inside of lenses. Use thin layers.

Step Fourteen – Scarf

Tie the strip of the fabric on the “neck” of the snowman.

Step Fifteen – Display

Put the snowman onto your tree and admire.

Step Sixteen – Picture & post

Take a picture and send it to me so I can make a post with everyone’s creation. Or write your own post and link it to this one.

_______________________________________________________

During November I am writing or posting a photo about something for which I am grateful. This explains why.  

My gratitude posting for November 28: I am finally making time for crafting. Besides being fun, crafting gives me something pleasant to think about, gives me more creative thoughts in all areas, and is a stress release. And when I craft with others, it is a bonding experience.

_____________________________________________________

Your Turn . . .

  1. Did you make this snowman?
  2. Did you make any ornaments, snowman or otherwise, this year?
  3. Do you give ornaments as presents?
  4. What are you grateful for today?

Related Posts . . . 

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Snowman Ornaments Made of Foam & Some Made with Eyeglasses

The designers for the snowman foam kit, couldn’t have envisioned their product looking this cute.

It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in their basement,” (Markus Zusak, The Book Thief).

Like many people I am enamored with snowmen. You can read books, find merchandise, and peruse Pinterest on this topic

Snowmen can even be part of family traditions.

Top left ornament is from a wooden kit.

For many years, I have bought my nieces and daughter a snowman ornament.

And now on the day after Thanksgiving we congregate to make ornaments. This year I bought 2 kits. One was a foam snowman kit and the other kit had wooden ornaments: owl, penguin, sock monkey and snowman.

This year we decorated with puffy paint (of course), markers, and craft paint. I even had glow-in-the-dark paint in green and orange.

Aren’t these sock monkies darling?

Of course we put our names and the current year on the backs. You think you are always going to remember the year when you did something memorable. But you don’t.

I think it would be neat to glue a current photo onto the back of one of the yearly made ornaments. I hope to remember to do this next year. i also hope I remember to print the photo onto archival paper so that the photo will last throughout the years and become a true heirloom.

All from the same kitSurfing Snowman

There was one ornament that was the star. The foam and the wooden ornaments were the warm up acts. I looked all year long for THE ornament we would make.

I found the eyeglass snowman ornament on a Pinterest board. Unfortunately the link did

The fuzzy bit in the middle is a scarf.

not go back to the original designer of this project. It was easy enough to duplicate for all ages from 11 to 54. If/when I write a tutorial for this ornament I will include the link here.

Everyone was proud of their ornaments. We made another day of great memories. Maybe because we had snowmen in our basement too. (My daughter’s living space is a renovated apartment in the basement of a house.)

Go here for the eye glass tutorial.

_______________________________________________

During November I am writing or posting a photo about something for which I am grateful. This explains why.  

My gratitude posting for November 27: Making memories and then recalling them from year-to-year help connect me with family and friends. They remind me what’s good and precious in life.

____________________________________________________

Your Turn . . .

  1. Are you enamored with snowmen or any other decorator object?
  2. Do you buy yearly ornaments for anyone? If yes, who?
  3. What kinds of traditions do you have at Christmas time?
  4. What are you grateful for today?

Related Posts . . . 

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10 Things to do When Your Energy is Low

What do you do when your energy is low?

Here I am wearing a $0.75 clearance Christmas tee-shirt holding the newest addition to my collection of Christmas movies..  ..  ..  May be silly, but watching this is going to energize me.

The first thing I do is to figure out why my energy is low. Knowing the answer to this will help me decide what I can do to energize myself.

I “study” myself and see if my energylessness is one of the below ideas. Have a read-through and see which one(s) could account for your low energy. . .

  • Situational. Has something happened that has zapped your energy? My prayer partner says when I am feeling low to look back 72 hours. Lots of times something happened then that is now reflecting in my low energy now..  ..  ..  The following are some examples: Did poorly on something..  ..  ..  Had a fight with someone close..  ..  ..  Received shocking news..  ..  ..  Encountered a majour disappointment..  ..  ..
  • Body Need. Have you heard of H.A.L.T.? These are “ailments” that can influence moods. The letters stand for the following: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Whenever we are under the influence of any of these, it is normal to feel low energy. For women the “H” can also stand for hormonal.
  • Spiritual. People are spiritual beings. So when the spiritual part of yourself is out-of-sorts, your general energy level is out-of-sorts. Are you communicating (I.e. through prayer & Bible reading) on a regular basis with God? Is a particular sin trapping you?
  • Too Busy. Being busy, especially too busy, seems to be a by-product of living in America today. We are encouraged (by media, inappropriate role models, and our own insecurities) to achieve all we can, all the time, in all areas of our life, without excuse. Whew! That made me tired to just write and read that.
  • No Clue. Sometimes we just don’t have a clue as to why we are feeling the way we are. Just because we are clueless doesn’t mean we can’t do something to up our energy.

Now that you have an idea (hopefully) as to the cause of your low energy, read on for some tips to fuel up. Many of the below suggestions can apply to more than one cause. Pick one that sounds do-able, comforting, or just intrigues you. If  that one doesn’t work, try something else.

  1. Nap. This is my favourite and most used comfort tool. If/when that doesn’t work, I go on to the other suggestions. For a bit of silliness read 5 Things I Learned Between Naps.
  2. Plan something. The most fun and energizing part of any activity is the planning – for me. “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you”(Oprah Winfrey).
  3. Destress. Sometimes I unconsciously let life get to me. Knowing how to destress can give me back much needed energy. Read 21 Ways to DeStress Your Life for ideas on how you can destress.
  4. Meet a need. Look at your body and see what need you are ignoring. Good food? Alone time? Glass of cold water? Exercise? Cancel an out-of-the-house activity? Treat yourself well by indulging your need.
  5. Combat worry. Worrying always drains my energy and NEVER helps with the situation. Some ways I combat worry are by..  ..  .. Prayer..  ..  .. Journaling..  ..  ..  Talking with a wise person..  ..  .. Balance my checkbook or some other left-brain activity..  ..  .. Refusing to think about it..  ..  .. Read 8 Ways to Stop Worrying by Lisa Burgess at Lisa Notes.
  6. Copy verses. God’s WORD is truth. Sometimes I need truth purposefully zipping through my brain. I underline meaningful verses in my Bible. When blue, I grab paper and pen and copy down those verses – especially verses from the Minor Prophets.
  7. Confess. Stop running and hiding from sin. Confess it. Get into a community of folks who will help you live a holy life. Get with folks who practice forgiveness for themselves and others. Read Why Confession is Still Good for You by Paul Ellis at Escape to Reality.
  8. Play spider solitaire.  Playing this allows my hands to be busy, but my brain has the freedom to think whatever it needs to think. When I am trying to plan a paper or solve a problem, I play several rounds of solitaire and I almost always feel energized afterwards. And I usually have a plan of action too.
  9. Do something Christmassy. Christmas and all activities related to it, make me smile. If I do one of the following when feeling low energy, I feel better! Watch a Christmas movie..  ..  .. Decorate cards..  ..  .. Plan a snowman ornament to create with nieces..  ..  .. Write yearly letter..  ..  .. Sing along with Holiday music. Read 3 Reasons to Watch Christmas Movies.
  10. Perform kind acts. Did you know when we do a kind act for someone, it boosts our immune system? And when we witness a kind act, it also boosts our immune system. This surely helps combat a sluggish system! (I learned this and much more from Sister Anne Smollin.)

Your Turn . . . What would you add to this list? 

NOTE: This is the 5th photo in the series, A Fall of Self Portraits, from my Fall Bucket List.

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3 Reasons to Watch Christmas Movies

What are Christmas movies you must see each year? Why do you watch them?

I have many reasons to watch Christmas movies. Here are three of them.

  1. I watch some because they bring back lovely childhood memories: A Charlie Brown Christmas, White Christmas, and of course Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).
  2. I watch some because they remind me of times with my children: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Prancer, and Miracle on 34th Street.
  3. I also watch them because they bring a message of hope while providing clean entertainment. Some make me laugh (The Santa Clause) and some make me think (A Christmas Memory).

Below are the Christmas movies I currently own. Most of them are on VHS.  What would you add to my list of “must own” movies? 

  1. 12 Days of Christmas Eve. Go here to read my review.
  2. A Christmas Memory 
  3. Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
  4. Blizzard
  5. Elf
  6. Going My Way
  7. Holiday Inn
  8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  9. It’s a Wonderful Life
  10. Miracle on 34th Street
  11. Muppet Family Christmas
  12. Must Be Santa
  13. Prancer
  14. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  15. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Island of Misfit Toys 
  16. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  17. Snow Globe
  18. SpongeBob Squarepants Christmas
  19. The 12 Dogs of Christmas
  20. The Christmas Card
  21. The Polar Express
  22. The Santa Clause
  23. Touched By An Angel Inspiration Collection: Holiday
  24. White Christmas

Go here to see Christmas movies I watched in 2011 (but don’t own).

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Christmas Movies I Watched in 2011

What Christmas movies have you seen this year? Were there any new ones? Any surprisingly good?

I watch Christmas movies year round.

The list below contains movies I’ve seen in 2011 that I do not own. Except for Charlie Brown, I saw these for the first time. I would see any of these again.


  1. A Charlie Brown Christmas – Go here to see my Charlie Brown Christmas Quiz
  2. A Christmas Without Snow
  3. All I Want for Christmas
  4. Borrowed Hearts: A Holiday Romance
  5. Christmas Cupid
  6. Christmas Lodge (Thomas Kincaid)
  7. Christmas on Division Street 
  8. Christmas with a Capital C
  9. Christmas in Wonderland
  10. Eve’s Christmas
  11. The Angel Doll
  12. The Bells of Saint Mary’s
  13. The Christmas Cottage (Thomas Kincaid)
  14. Santa and Pete
  15. Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe
  16. Shadow Island Mysteries: The Last Christmas

I have about 10 more movies on my list. If I watch anymore of them, I will update this post.

NOTE: For that list of movies I own, go here. I have watched most of these this year as well. So the total number of Christmas movies I’ve seen in 2011 is really closer to 30.

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Pay It Forward – New Theme for the 12 Days of Christmas

Many people are striving to bring the message of Christmas back to its

Spending Thanksgiving WITH one another. No food comas or screaming at football players on the TV. Don’t know our Christmas plans yet. What are YOURS?

roots of giving, love, compassion, Christ. My church, along with many others, is encouraging folks to be part of the Advent Conspiracy. View one explanation video here. The idea is to . . .

  • Spend less money on stuff for those you love. Buy ONE less gift.
  • Instead spend more time doing activities with them. Build those relationships. Go here for activity ideas.
  • With the money you don’t spend on that ONE gift, give to those who can’t afford basic necessities. Give the gift of clean water  . . . .   check out a Samaritan’s Purse catalog of ways to help children and women worldwide  . . . .   give to your church benevolent fund to reach those in your church family and neighborhood  . . . .  or give to CAMA Services which also has worldwide projects to help the needy.

Or join in a unique way to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas. Read on to understand this concept.

Yesterday I came across a post on Jan’s Yearning for God. Jan introduced us to a blog called Chain Links which encourages and documents random acts of kindness. Trista Wilson is a 27-year-old blogger who wants to change the emphasis on Christmas, too. She asks,

“Remember when Christmas was really about bringing family together, the birth of Christ, and encompassing the spirit of giving?”

I love her line of questioning here . . .

  •  Since when did we need to ‘buy’ love from the very people who already love us unconditionally?
  • And why can’t showing someone how much they mean to us consist of quality conversation and random acts of kindness …
  • rather than topping last years Christmas gift with an even more extravagant one this year?

In order to “help us focus on what truly matters and get in the spirit of giving that Christmas was meant to inspire,” Chain Links has come up with a new theme for the 12 Days of Christmas (Dec 13-24) – Pay it Forward with random acts of kindness.

You can pick your own good deeds. Or you can follow the below list that

Giving our time to others brings joy to the relationship. Giving $ wisely to the poor brings joy to their circumstances.

Chain Links has written as suggestions. It’s a great starting place for ideas.

THE 12 GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS:

DAY 12: (DECEMBER 13)— Buy food for a homeless person (or someone in need). This does not have to be expensive. $5 should cover lunch.

DAY 11: (DECEMBER 14)— Write a kind, hand-written letter to someone who changed your life for the better. And no, I’m not talking about an email or a text…I’m talking about snail mail people. 😉 (This can be to a childhood friend, a teacher from the past, or even an old baby-sitter that impacted your life for the better.)

DAY 10: (DECEMBER 15)— Pay for the person’s order in line behind you in either the coffee drive-thru, fast food, a tollbooth, train ticket, etc. (There are a LOT of options here…)

DAY 9: (DECEMBER 16)— Put grocery carts away in a random parking lot for other shoppers or find carts that others have left behind. It will help the employees out by bringing them indoors where they belong.

DAY 8: (DECEMBER 17)— Write a letter of thanks to the armed forces. (Yes, even if you don’t support the war. Remember that these people are risking their lives daily in order to ensure our safety and Freedom).

Here is the address:
A Million Thanks
17853 Santiago Blvd. #107-355
Villa Park, CA 92861

DAY 7: (DECEMBER 18)— Buy or bake something for a neighbor. You may know them well, or you may have never even introduced yourself. So here’s your chance;)

DAY 6: (DECEMBER 19)— Buy a $5 or $10 gift card for a grocery store, gas station, coffee place, etc. Leave the gift card on a random park bench or windshield of someone’s car.

DAY 5: (DECEMBER 20)— Do something kind for the elderly. This can be anything from helping them to their car with heavy groceries, holding the door open for them, volunteering at a retirement home, or even raking their leaves.

DAY 4: (DECEMBER 21)— Tape quarters to a vending machine. So simple, yet so convenient! I honestly cannot count how many times I have wanted a snack or a soda, but could not dig up that last quarter to satisfy my craving.

DAY 3: (DECEMBER 22)— Leave a generous tip for a server, barista, or bartender–along with a nice note. This will most likely make their night. Having been in all three of these positions, I know how easy it is to get discouraged when guests are difficult and do not tip. This could turn their entire day around!

DAY 2: (DECEMBER 23)— Purchase a gift card at a local grocery store (of any amount). Turn around in line, and hand it to the first person you see. Then walk away. No explanation is needed. I’m sure their expression will say it all.

Day 1: (DECEMBER 24)— YOUR turn to choose a random act of kindness. I thought it would be fun to see the different ideas everybody comes up with for this last day before Christmas. Be creative. The sky is the limit. =)

Go here to read the full blog post. Chain Links is hoping to document the

Through Samaritan’s Purse, it only costs $9 to feed a hungry baby for a week.

experiences of those who do these or other random acts of kindness.

By The Way – if you planned on giving me a present, I’d love it if you used the $ to buy Gift #2 – food for a week for a hungry baby ($9).

Your Turn  .  .  .  .   How are you going to ensure that this Christmas is more about spending TIME with loved ones? And that it includes helping ONE person in need?

Related Movie . . . Christmas on Division Street. This moving story shows a kid from a wealthy family coming to care for, befriend and really SEE some of the homeless in his new city, Philadelphia. This new attitude trickles into the lives of his family and friends after a tragic event. I saw this on Netflix instant streaming.

Related Posts . . . 

  • Ways to Decommercialize ChristmasDoes it bother you that stores start selling Christmas decorations and Christmas themed gifts as soon as Halloween is over? Are you offended that many stores are bowing to politically correct pressure and requiring their clerks and cashiers to say “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas? Read on for 6 ways to put Christ back into Christmas.
  • 7 More Ways to Decommercialize ChristmasDo you feel that the true meaning of Christmas has become lost in the wrappings, trappings, and political fights? Well read on for 7 more ways to put Christ back into Christmas.
  • 10 Acts of Kindness Ideas and 20 Acts of Kindness Ideas
  • Everyone Can help One Child. My poorest/deprived day is unimagined wealth to a majority of the world. Especially to the children. I can give up some “extras” in my life to help a child. A cup of designer coffee . . . a Thrifty’s ice cream cone . . . an item from McDonald’s Dollar menu . . . a pair of clearance shoes from Wal-Mart . . . a gas station car wash.
  • Perfect Gift Takes Reflection and Sacrifice. The Christmas movie, The Bishop’s Wife, helps me to think about what’s truly important at Christmas and what gift I’ll give to the birthday Boy/God named Jesus.
  • When Christmas Gets Radical: Whose Birthday is it Really? How a question from a child changed the Voskamp’s way of “doing” Christmas: “if we get wrapped presents for our birthdays, real sacrifices from people who love us — they gave up other things to give something to us — then why don’t we do that for Jesus’ birthday?” Read this post by Ann for their answer.

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