A Little Bit of Charlie Brown in Me

Yes, I have realized that I get a bit down on Christmas day. For many reasons, I think, but I think the biggest reason is that at this time in my life, at my age, I realize that the true meaning of Christmas seems to be lost in our day to day activity leading up to Christmas. As much as we talk about the birth of the baby Jesus and the reason for his earthly birth, I think the commercialization over shadows it most of the time. Damn that! Don't get me wrong, I buy into at times, too, but I feel an emptiness, a depression, a little down on Christmas day after all the gift opening and such. We just don't NEED all that STUFF! My favorite gift is NO GIFT. Or maybe what my mother-in-law did which was she gave us a nice sum of money to donate to our favorite charity. I can get into that! Thanks, Marlene!

Tomorrow, I will feel better. I'm going to clean and feng shui...

A Few of my favorite things...

I like to identify things that I've come to love or can't do without during this holiday season. I shot pictures of most of my "favorite things" this season. Here they are!

I just downloaded this holiday season the Carpenter's Christmas disc.  It had about 20 songs on it - a few very familiar, but others I had never heard.  I LOVED IT!  I think Karen Carpenter had one of the best voices ever - such a vocal range and pure.

I always have to have this on my lips - at ALL TIMES - especially once this MN air becomes super dry.
I got these arm warmers (like the leg warmers of the 80s which I never owned) but these are to warm the arms. I like wearing them just over my hands to keep them warm. I'm wearing them as I type. Does the job well. Thanks GAP!

Family time is soooooooooooo important especially during holiday times. This shot was from Thanksgiving which we had here at our house. Tom is a fabulous cook, and he lets the girls help out especially for the deserts if there might be something to sweet to dip a finger into... :))

The girls have been playing the piano since February and are doing a great job. I enjoyed their Christmas music so much. Their winter recital went well, and Olivia was the only one who played without her music in front of her. Way to go O!

Homemade cranberry sauce is so GOOD!!! It's so easy to make, too, and here Olivia is making it for us. Get a pack of cranberries and a large measuring bowl. Pour cranberries in along with about 1/2 cup of orange juice and 1/2 cup of sugar. Heat for about 2 min. in microwave, stir, another min., stir, another min., stir - do this for about 8 - 10 min. total and the berries will be bursting and the cranberry sauce will be nice and chunky. Viola!

I love shooting pics of my kids playing in the snow! I just got a lens that I've been wanting for about 1 1/2 years. It's AWESOME! Great bokeh (blur around the subject).

Picking out the tree on December 4th.

The first snow fall of the season is always so exciting for me! We had just gone to see "The Best Christmas Pagaent Ever" at Stepping Stone theatre and then were heading to Cafe Latte for dinner after. The snow was really coming down!
Trimming the tree! Turn on the Christmas music and let the fun (except the lights) begin!

We went to SPA's Middle School winter concert, and was I ever impressed with the skill and talent of these kids! I know much credit goes to Almut Englehardt-Kachian who teaches stringed instruments to these kids. Music moves me like nothing else, and I was brought to tears several times during this show, feeling so proud of these 11-14-year olds...

Joanie brought these shortbread Christmas cookies and hot apple cider to our last painting class. These cookies were DE-LICIOUS! Thanks for your sweetness, Joanie!

Julia gave me this reversible hat by Nike. She had ordered one, and they sent two, and I was the honored recipient of her extra one. Stripes one side and more elegant on the other. LOVE IT! Thanks, Julia!

I love J Crew's skinny belts and got this foiled ones for the holiday season. Don't worry, I will be wearing my wide, leather ones, too...

My new red Chuck Taylor's!
What a dreadful incident of that apartment building burning this week in Burnsville, MN that displaced about 65 families as they lost everything and have to start all over. A fund was started through US Bank and someone anonymously gave $1 million dollars to help these people! Tears again!!! I have gotten to where I try only to read good news stories, and one couldn't help but see this on the front page of the Pioneer Press! Yea!!! Hope and belief in the goodness of humanity prevail.

THESE have been my favorite things this season so far!



OMG!! Our Christmas tree fell this afternoon about 1:30! No one was near it - I was in the kitchen and heard this boom and shattering. I ran into the living room and there our beautiful tree had fallen and so many ornaments had shattered. We we're sad! :(((( So, after we tried to calm down and after we got over the dread of having to re-trim the tree, and I mean, start ALL OVER we got to work again! The reason it fell is that it was kind of crooked in the stand because it has a weird stump!

This picture was the FIRST time we trimmed the tree about 3 weeks ago. See how happy we were?

This was right after it fell, and we had started to sweep up all the glass... sad!

Here is the tree now! About 1/2 the lights, but still lots of ornaments! It's now 6:30.

Now, we can laugh!

We're still blessed. At least it didn't fall during the night or ON anyone...


I Feel Lucky!

I feel so lucky that though I live 1000 away from my dear family (parents, brothers and twin sister) that I am able to visit like almost being there!


Today, my sister Carole and I chatted for about an hour, and it was so nice to be able to do that knowing that I won't be able to spend time with any of my family this holiday season. I thank Apple's ichat so much!

Now, the bad thing is is that I now want a Burberry scarf like hers... :)))

Hit the Pause Button! Fast!

The Christian Science Monitor had a great article in their paper today that completely echoed the same subject of our sermon in church on Sunday. It's about slowing down - I mean taking real time to sit still, quiet the mind, and reflect on what Christmas is all about. In this hurried season, it's often hard to find that time. We need to carve the time to do it.

Read this great article for more inspiration!

I hope you all find a satisfying stillness and quiet as we reflect on the birth of our Lord and Savior. Also, one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Mary, did you know?" contains some moving words like, "Mary, did you know that the son that you deliver will soon deliver you? AWESOME!

Merry Christmas, all!



Today is my Dad's 74th birthday, and he is still going strong! I have the most wonderful Dad a girl could ever have, and I know I'm so blessed to be his daughter. He was a great businessman and still is and was always able to be around to help raise us four children. He is very musical and plays the piano when the mood hits him, and now, most days, he spends his time writing. He is about to have published his second novel in the past 4 years! He has always helped to inspire my creativity and always supported it.

Check out his site!

THANKS, DAD! I hope your birthday was wonderful, and I wish you many more!