Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Secrets...A New Year...A New You!

Last night I got to do something I love. I got to take my big sister shopping. Using her money. Picking out what she liked but what I knew looked good. And for only a couple hours, bossing her around!

I loved saying, "oohhh...yes!" or, ""

As I was dressing her, and creating outfits, and reviewing and designing, I thought to myself how much I love doing that. And I even piped in when I overheard someone looking at a pair of pants saying, "What would I wear with these?" They went with my suggestion, which was also extremely satisfying.

By the end of the evening using my good fashion sense and her money (under $200, if you must know), we walked out of the store having an entirely new wardrobe. A grown up wardrobe. With pants that fit, not the ones that fall off your butt. And shirts that are professional and flattering, not trendy and going to fall apart after 2 washes.

After all, she's almost 35, and is about to be a RN. She needed some help getting prepped for her nursing interviews.

I think my favorite part was being able to see how great she looked and felt at the end of the evening.

So all this to say, that as we come into a new year, go through your closet. Pull out the old, unworn, and unworthy.

Shirt Tips: a classic button down looks good on everyone - it that's too boring for you, get one with ruffles at the sleeves, or ties at the top. Here are the tops that need to go to good will...

- If it's too tight across the chest and pull the buttons apart (too small)
- If it comes up to right at your waist line, so that if you barely move and it exposes your tummy (too short)
- If it hangs down and makes you look frumpy and bunchy around your waist (it's too big)
- If it has a hideous pattern that works with nothing

Pant Tips: you want ones that are tight enough around your waist that you can move a finger around your waist easily with the pants on, but not so loose that you finger doesn't touch the fabric.

- if they are tight and make your tummy have a roll on top (otherwise known as the muffin top) (too tight)
- if they pull at the zipper or buttons and make fabric lines pulling at your crotch - (too small)
- if they hang well below your shoe line (too long)

I'm not advocating going and using your credit card and spending hundreds of dollars. However, it's never a bad idea to get rid of what doesn't fit, and have a smaller selection of clothes that DO fit and ARE flattering! You don't need a fortune to have that! I'm going to Salvation Army in a minute, and I can't wait to show you what I find!! Remember what I found last time?

Call me when you're ready to go shopping!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

On Christmas Morn...

We had a great Christmas, filled with gifts of joy and cheer throughout the day.

We started with our birthday party for Jesus, where we have yummy cake - the kids wanted Jesus to have chocolate chocolate cake this year for His birthday.

Then we moved into the present opening.   Asher's at the stage where he could spend all day just with the first present, and never care about getting to any other gifts.

River, however, went from one to the next, barely stopping for a breath.

I think the biggest hit was the new furniture addition that I'm so lucky to have added to our house...(just ignore the clean clothes piled up on the sofa).

It seems to always come and go quickly, and before you know it, another year has gone by.      But even though the day has come and gone, my hope is that the joy and remembrance of Christ will remain in our hearts each day in this next year.     Hope you each had a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Agenda

Christmas Eve Agenda:

watch cartoons

bake cookies

bake pie

decorate gingerbread house (remember how it's a tradition?)

eat candy from gingerbread house

play tickle game

finally eat real food instead of cookie batter and candy

stay in pjs until afternoon

watch a Christmas movie with River while Asher naps

get ready for Christmas Eve service

worship together and celebrate Christ's birth!

have dinner with friends

open our one present for Christmas Eve!

set the stage for CHRISTMAS MORNING!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Tour of Homes

Christmas Tour of homes?   So much fun!!    Just still act surprised and amazed if you're coming to my Holiday bazaar this weekend!   I'm a little late to the party, but better late than never...again!

welcome all!

entryway table

front room mantle in the morning light

winter time stick arrangement in living room

my dining room mantle

and she kept all these things in her heart and pondered them

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Come Peasant and King To Own Him

I went to a place last night where rich and poor came together to celebrate Christmas, and to thank God for the gift He gave us when He sent His Son to the earth for us.     It was beautiful to see young and old, black and white, rich and poor, all joined under one roof, to celebrate what this King has done.

As we talked this morning around the advent calendar, we recognized how great it was that God did not only tell the three kings about Jesus.    Or that He did not only appear to the poor and lowly shepherds.   But that He came to each, the peasant and the king, and told each how to go and worship the newborn King.    

It is for each of us that He came.     No matter our earthly status or demographic.   No matter if we're homeless or royalty.    We are each in need to receive this gift.    This gift to you this Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Show and Tell...

The other night when I was doing some Christmas decorating, I thought about how much I hate taping my cards to my molding. They always fall down, or get pulled off by little hands, and just fold down, and end up looking kind of junky. Especially if you're like me, and leave up Christmas decorations until Feb.

So I decided this would be a cute way to hang Christmas cards!

Ragamuffin Christmas Card Garlands!

All I did was stretch out plenty of twine, and then did two strands, and tied the ends together. Then tie a bunch of scraps of ribbons and fabric at each little section of your twine. Not too much, to make it too tricky for cards to be on there, but enough to catch your eye, and make you happy to see fun fabric. Then, use drapery clips to hang cards, or paper clips (I know it sounds tacky, but you can't see them from the floor), or even just hang the cards over the twine. (I had to put the same Christmas cards on both sides, because I only have 2 so far!)

Here's hoping for Christmas cards that stay up all season!! And not to mention bring a quite whimsical, festive touch to your house!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Garland Show and Tell

i love being able to put together beautiful garlands.    i really just discovered this love about 3 years ago, and ever since, i look more forward to doing them, than my tree!  isn't that awful?! shhh...don't tell anyone.    

because i keep up with a 1, 2, and 4 year old every day, and because i'm a dork who doesn't have google reader, i don't always know all the goings on out there in bloggy land.   so, today at one of the best playdates ever, (she made me homemade chocolate chip cookies, wore my kids out, and gave me much needed friend time), emily told me to make sure i linked up to nester's garland party.    so, needless to say, i couldn't wait to have an excuse to show mine off!

these are close ups of my front room garland

my dining room garland
 (a little less traditional, but probably my favorite)

the whole thing

can you guess what kind of garland this is?

Check back tomorrow and I'll show and tell!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Secrets of a SLACK Sassy Mama...

I know I've been slack. And, no, I'm not talking about the kind you wear. I've gotten into doing this post every other Wednesday, but if you've been missing the weekly updates, let me know, and I'll get on the ball. There's something that I've been wanting to tell you to put on your Christmas list...

Sweater Dresses!

They are sooo sooo cute. I have to post this picture that my blog friend Jodie took of a senior that she was photographing, because she shows the whole reason why these are so becoming. Ok, now I just sound like my grandmother. Becoming? Stunning is a better word. Check out this beauty...

I absolutely love this photograph. And the sweater dress. And the boots. It's perfect.

All this to say...I have seen these on people who are tiny and people who are more stout. I have seen them on short and tall. They look great on everyone. Wear it casual with a pair of everyday boots, or dress them up with a pair of pumps or a pair of heeled boots.

Here's a link to some of the best priced ones I've seen. And over here at Ann Taylor, there are some that were more pricey, but some of them are on a GREAT sale. If you don't find any you like, check your favorite store. I'm sure they have them, because everyone is dying to get their hands on these comfy, cozy, and sassy dresses! So take advantage of Christmas, and ask for a sweater dress. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Trim Up the Tree

We got our tree yesterday.   Getting our tree home and in the stand the right way used to be a big issue for my hubby and I, that always ended in an argument, until my brilliant friend Emily said, "Why don't you take your stand with you to the Christmas tree lot?  They'll put it in there for you."    And those words changed my life.    I mean, why didn't I know that 9 years ago!!??

So anyway, yesterday, we brought it home, already in its stand.   It was wonderful.   Until we realized that it was crooked.    So, we still ended up having to hold and tip and tighten and get pricked, but it wasn't a big deal at all.    I don't even know why we've had issues in the past!     I always love seeing the legs coming out from under the tree.    This is Randy trying to get it just right.

  And, I don't know about yours, but apparently, our tree has to be drilled into a piece of wood to be really secured.   

He just likes being able to use his drill.

After getting it upright, River and I quickly put the lights on together while Daddy took Asher potty.   It was the first time she helped with the lights, but even getting pricked didn't bother her.     We were on a task to surprise the boys.   And by the time they were done (he had to go poopie so it took a little while) River was saying, 

"Close your eyes!    Ok, look!!    SURPRISE!   The lights are on!"

She felt like she had given the first gift of Christmas.   It was great.

It was one of those moments that you don't want to forget, and that passes too quickly.    

Em is doing a fun thing over at her place where we can all stop and savor the moments of this season. Enjoying the everyday, or to use her phrase, unwrapping everyday, and seeing how beautiful each moment is.      Take a moment to listen to the stories of others, and challenge yourself to stop long enough to unwrap today.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Place Between the Leaves

At the close of fall, and the beginning of the Christmas season, I always wait for a feeling to emerge.    That simply because Thanksgiving has passed and I can begin listening to Christmas music, my heart should suddenly have some magical  erruption of joy and gratitude to the One who has come.     Waiting for the evergreens to take their stage, I wait for something in me to begin to celebrate.

But this change of seasons is not always so easy to come.    Just as the leaves all have to die, and turn from their glory back into the soil from where they came, so must I experience a type of surrendering.

To choose to celebrate Christ's coming, is not to have a magical feeling.   It's not seeing all the pretty lights in the night.    Or to have my tree up (which I don't have yet).     To see the beautiful green leaves in my house or around town.

It is to choose to Stop.   Remember.    Listen.    Praise.     Celebrate.

When David talks about a sacrifice of praise, I often think how hard it must have been for him to praise the Lord.   When all of his friends had turned against him.   When every day he was hiding, in fear of his life.   When the one who he had served and loved as his king had betrayed him.   When nothing in his life was going well.    He still chose to praise the Lord.      Through depression, suffering, loss, He gave a sacrifice of praise.

With all the business, chaos, and stuff, there are few moments to sit and ponder the meaning of Christmas, or even the meaning of Christ.

But this is the place between the leaves.   Before the day of Christmas, where we can so boldly celebrate because everything is finally done.   Or before the parties really start.   Where I have to choose to sacrifice some of the stuff to be able to enter in to this place of celebration.   Of praise.   To make myself stop many times feel like a sacrifice.   I would go 100 miles per hour every day, for my entire life, and many days, I confess that I do.    But when I forget to stop, I miss out on the celebration.   Even in this place of waiting for Christmas.    I have to make myself stop.    And allow the Christ to enter into this broken vessel.   For then, I will know His power to experience who He truly is.   This Christmas season, and always.    He enters in, in the same way that He first came.    Sweetly.   Gently.   Quietly.    Humbly.    Powerfully.     

Christ come to us, this day.    As you did so many years ago.    O come, let us adore you. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bye Bye Ball!

Yesterday I went in and found these two in the bathroom...after I had heard the potty flush. They were both standing over the toilet looking in it, and looking quite suspicious.

I asked Asher if he had gone potty. He said no. I said, why did you flush the potty? And as Maddie was pointing toward the potty, Asher said, "Ball flush."

"You flushed a ball down the potty?" I asked indignantly.

"Huh." (which means yes.)

I asked again..."YOU FLUSHED A BALL??!!"


So, now worrying about our already old house sewage line, I asked..."A big ball or a small ball?"

In his cutest cock his head to the side and squint his eyes look, he said, "Ummm....'mall. Bye bye, ball."

"Yes, bye-bye ball," I said.

Friday, November 21, 2008


My 10 favorite things about it being far... I'm really a wimp about the cold, so I have to remind myself why I love this time of year.

1. my clothes don't sour when left in the washer too long

2. my son's first words about snow - "i see no!"

3. being able to layer clothes! i love layering.

4. planning winter day meals...and thanksgiving day food...and food.

5. sweaters.

6. hats.

7. scarves.

8. drinking warm drinks all day long.

9. seeing my kids noses get pink from the cold.

10. starting my Christmas shopping!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Joy of An Hour

After a long day of toting things and kids to and from, and getting this and that, we finally arrived home at 3:15.    Both children were falling apart, and I knew they both needed naps.    So in this gift of an hour, I have not cleaned, I have not straightened.   I haven't even put away the bags of things sitting by the front door.    I used my hour in what may seem like a waste to some, as solace to me.    

Sitting at my computer, reading and passing on good cheer in the blogoshpere.   Because even when I don't get a chance to catch up, because of children being sick, or being too busy, or having too much stuff that clutters up my life, I still love hearing how you're doing.     It was much needed quiet, and much needed connecting.   Isn't that an oxymoron?   Not anymore.   

And now, the sound of my coffee perking, is the icing on the cake.    Not to mention, the kids are still sleeping!!

Secrets of a Sassy...Hats!!

Now is the time to wear your hats! They're so cute, and they give you such a fun look. I love how hats frame your face. Not to mention that I love how you can get away with a bad hair day and still look great!

Here are some that are hot right now.

Here are some that will never be out of style.

Here are ones that are great for snow and also super cute!

So there ya have it - or there ya hat it. Whichever you'd prefer...but just like those boots, just put them on! People say all the time, "I don't look good in hats." But it's such a lie! You just have to find WHICH type of hat looks good on you. So, find one right for you, and wear it! And don't think that your grandmother or mom doesn't have one that would suit, too - go search through their old things, and find yourself a newsboy cap or vintage wool hat that will still be great today!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Days Go By...

The weekend days always feels like my "days off".   Even though, I'm a stay at home mom, and my kids are still around, and I'm still the mom, for some reason I can allow myself  to rest a little bit more.    For instance, the house doesn't necessarily get cleaned as much.    I might even take a nap.   Or read a magazine.    The laundry piles up a little, and I'm not as on top of the dishes as I usually am.     I even play with the kids more.    So, what is it, that allows this restful mindset to set in?    Why is it that just knowing that the weekend is here somehow bids me a more laid back perspective?    

I think that being a stay at home mom is a wonderful gift.   A gift that is a choice, and is also filled with it's own share of troubles and anxieties.    And because the role never really changes, (for example, it's not like we have a choice about taking our work home with us) there has to be an outlet of when we take a break, or chill out a little more.    Somehow in my mind, the weekend days are my days off, too, just as if I were out in the working world and I couldn't wait for the weekend to be here.    I look forward to Friday, even though my job title will be the same on Sat. and Sun. as it is Monday-Friday.    I don't do my duties as rigidly, and I don't stress of always getting everything done in a particular timeframe.   Whatever it is, I'm thankful to have the weekends...even when the kids are sick and we have lots of things to do.   The trick is figuring out how to not suddenly feel overwhelmed when Monday rolls around, and almost hyperventilate from the junk and stuff that I relaxed about over the weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Secrets of a Sassy...goes vintage!

I've been a little slack on my secrets lately. And I've probably started at least 3 posts since last week, and just haven't either liked them or had the energy to finish them. But I had wanted to give a little tip for today. I love things being repurposed and reused. And I love finding unique items to spruce up a house, an outfit, whatever it is. Last week, I noticed that almost every day, I had something on that was from an antique store or a thrift store, that to someone was too old to keep around. But to me, it's vintage wonderful! So, then, what's my tip?

Put a little vintage flare into your outfits. I know this is a little more artsy than just wearing a cute pair of boots or some beaded jewelry. And I think maybe it has happened for me more out of living on a budget, than just trying to be cool, but whatever it is, now I love it.

I love seeing that our styles repeat over the years and trying to find something at a thrift store or yard sale that could pass for a cute thing found in J. Crew. Take for instance my red velvet blazer. I think I paid $1 for it 4 years ago at a yard sale, but every year I love layering it with cute fall clothes. Or, my Jackie O brown alligator pumps. They always make my feet look pretty. Or some of those houndstooth blazers that are so in style right now! I think it's really neat to be able to continue getting use out of things, even when to some, they're old and gray.

I've always wished that my mom had saved a pair of bell bottoms, just so I could see how big they really were compared to the flare pants these days. What about you? Do you have anything vintage that you wear? Besides your mom's old zipper suit? Now that, I hope those never comes back in!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Birthday Baby

a cupcake to start the day off always gets you in the birthday mood

I won't be able to call him that next year. He's not really even a baby anymore. Babies don't climb up steep slides and slide down by themselves. Babies don't bounce on trampolines and jump off playsets. Babies don't take themselves to the potty and ask for "privy" when they want privacy. But my baby does. He's a daredevil and a love all wrapped up in one, and he's been that way since the beginning.

He's been more joy than I ever knew what to imagine when I first held him in my arms 2 years ago. When we chose the name "Asher", we knew we were naming him "joy" and "blessed", to which he has lived up to in every since of the word. To be putting big boy underwear away in his drawer just feels surreal. Like I blinked and by mistake fell asleep, and now my baby's a big boy. I love seeing who he is becoming, and I am so thankful to get to be a part of it. When he kissed me goodnight tonight, he got lots of slobber all over my cheek, and I didn't dare wipe it off.

Happy Birthday, baby boy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Secrets of a Sassy..."

I love pumps. Peep toe or pointy toe, I think they have to be the prettiest shoe there is. They've been around forever but still continue to hit the runway. Recently, they've made a comeback in an array of colors to "pump" up your average outfit! Choose your favorite color - mine of course would be red- and match them up with anything.

They can actually be pretty comfortable these days, too, if you get ones that are wide base and wide heel. From jeans to skirts, and everything in between, you can make yourself feel a little more dressed up, just with a pair of pumps.

Do you have a pair of pumps? What color is your favorite?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Making My Mark

The alarm sounded at 5:45, and instead of being grumpy about having to get out of bed, I jumped up, and quickly got dressed. I hit "on" on the coffee maker to start brewing, and gathered my things while I waited for my hot beverage. I felt giddy, like a kid on Christmas morning.

As I pulled up at 6:15 to the street in front of the church where we vote, I saw the line of people bundled up already making their stance in history. Their voices were quiet, but their presence speaking quite loudly. I walked up, and said in a jovial tone,

"What time did y'all get here to be first in line?" The older African-American man answered back happily,

"Oh, about 5:30." I patted his friend on the back as I walked by and said,

"5:30! I'm impressed!" We chuckled and I walked on to the back of the line.

A few seconds later a woman walked up behind me and we said hello. Then we ended up talking for most of the time we were in line. A reporter showed up about 6:30 and was snapping some pictures, and a man was sneakily passing out flyers campaigning for his candidates.

Then, we all watched as a SUV drove into the parking lot. In trying to squeeze by the line of voters, the driver didn't realize she was about to scrape up next to a parked Jeep. We all gasped together when she hit it, and then let out another "oooohh" when she tried to back up, and just scraped it the other way. The man I had originally spoken with, who had been there since 5:30 came walking back, and very casually said,

"Hold on. Let me pull forward." After he moved his car forward, he said for her to not worry about it, that he thought his car was fine. I'm guessing hers was not. The woman next to me giggled and whispered, "It doesn't look like this is the first time that's happened" as we were on the opposite side of her car, and could see scrapes there as well.

A few minutes later, we were escorted into the building, and knew that we would soon make our choices, and go our merry ways. After 4 long years, now it would only be hours until we would all see the results of who America chose as our next President.

So, on went my day, of making breakfast, and dressing children, and of course stopping to get my free coffee for voting. Knowing all the while today is a day of making history.