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Welcoming in a New Year at Home..

Ready for the big celebration?  In just a few hours we’ll watch the ball drop and give hugs and well wishes as one year ends and another begins.

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Christmas 2017 is over and it’s almost time to usher in a new year!  Don’t we all look around and ask, where did the time go?  Home has gone from shiny ornaments on the tree and beautifully wrapped presents underneath, to trash stuffed in the trash can and a mad dash to the curb so it will be hauled away by the giant claw on the trash truck!

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Christmas was almost a week ago and it seems like it was just yesterday!!  I had EVERY intention of organizing all my decorations as I put them up – I even took pictures of all the rooms so I’ll remember where everything goes, but I should have taken pictures of the “before” because I have totally forgotten how things looked before I decorated!

In this week between Christmas and New Years, I was able to spend more time with my daughters and other family, and my youngest daughter took me downtown to fulfill my wish of getting a cupcake out of an ATM machine (yep, the carbs came back into my life with a vengeance during the holidays and yep, I don’t dream very big these days!)

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Now, as the hours of 2017 tick down and we prepare to welcome 2018, the serenity, and even solemnity, of these last days of the year help me focus again on the important things.  I hope you all have time to reflect, but not get stuck,  on the past, and look forward with hope to what lies ahead!

 Happy New Year from Home,

                                               Linda

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Christmas is Almost Here!

 

 

It’s almost here!

 I remember when I was a child calling this the Eve’s Eve!  I remember the anticipation, the excitement waiting for Christmas morning to get here.  The drive home from my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve night, all wrapped up in our coats and gloves,  watching for that streak across the sky.  Even though I was way too old to believe, there was still that feeling of sweet belief!  My dad would point out that, “possibly that light up there in the dark night sky is really Santa on his way”.  Little did I know he was just preparing us to get to sleep as quickly as we could so he could become that toy maker again that year.

I still get excited listening to Gene Autry’s rendition of “Here Comes Santa Claus” as I wait for the excitement of sharing gifts with my own children.  (Maybe I’m a little too simple, but I’ve never had a problem reconciling my “belief” in Santa Claus and the One who is Christmas! I know the truth and don’t really spend a lot of time in that childhood fantasy, but I still live in that ten-year old’s coat for a while every Christmas).  I remember and smile – one of those deep, sweet smiles of remembrance of those no longer with us but so entwined in who I am today.


Merry Christmas!

Linda

 “ I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 

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Adding Height to Your Tree…..

Do you have plenty of room to put Christmas gifts under your tree? No! That has been my complaint ever since I moved into this house (Warning: Yes, this post is really a first world problem!)

Over the years in other houses, I’ve either had lots of space around the tree or very minimal space.

These tree locations range from our earliest one cut fresh from a trek in the woods in South Carolina, to a table top tree in an apartment in Memphis, to ones in my children’s childhood home, to a couple from homes in between.  The childhood home,  thankfully, had the very best space considering the toys back then.

This year I finally tried to alleviate the problem in my current situation.  To be able to put the tree in front of a window, it’s in a corner of the living room that has very little “present” space, but with high ceilings I could move the tree up vertically to give more space underneath.  Below is my  tree from last year and this year – note the height of the very same tree:

It is the same tree in the very same space, but I was able to get a TON more presents underneath, behind, and around the tree, thanks to 4 small plastic crates and zip ties!

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I tied 4 of these boxes together (these are from Amazon, http://amzn.to/2ATPRA4) and the tree sits sturdily on top.  Voila – a minor Christmas miracle!  Give it a try if you’re short on real estate too!

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Little Christmas Memories at Home…

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Oh what memories this picture brings to mind!  That’s me in the front with my sister and brother on Christmas morning. Look at that Gerber doll and the little pink stroller (of course this being a black and white print, you’ll just have to trust my memory on the color!). Of course my brother is also pointing the gun straight at my dad who was making the picture – be careful “you’ll shoot your eye out” was probably written for him!  This is circa around 1956 but it seems like yesterday as I look at those faces and remember our Christmas mornings in mama’s living room.

Do you decorate with memories in mind?  I no longer use a real tree like this one, but I’ve kept a few things from that time period.

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This little Santa was an ornament that was used on our family tree when I was little and then passed on to me and used on my children’s tree when they were small. I don’t hold very tightly to “things” in my life, but this little fellow makes me smile every year as I pull him out and add him to my decorations.

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Here’s another Santa that was my mom’s (second from he left). Who knows why he’s holding a dollar sign!  Probably as a reminder to not spend too much during Christmas. The other Santas were gifts from children I taught over the years.

One of my sweetest memories as a child was going to the Parthenon in Nashville every Christmas with my family. Harvey’s Department store provided this display and we would audibly gasp when we drove into Centennial Park and see this beautiful replica of the Nativity every year. The lights would change every few minutes going from white, blue, green, amber and red (I think those were the colors) and my sister and I would debate our favorite color over and over.  I’m still a sucker for the solid color lights – blue, green and white are my favorites!

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I can’t even tell you how excited I was to see this print in an antique mall a few years ago – all those sweet memories of my mom and dad taking us on that little journey every year. What a blessing to have those memories!  Thanks to my girls, this print showed up on Christmas morning for me and it now hangs in my office.

I hope you have decorations that capture memories of your childhood,  and those memories that remind you of the love of your family and friends during this season!

Enjoying Home,

Linda

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Today at Home….Our Annual Cookie Swap

We had our 21st or 22nd annual Cookie Swap this weekend and once again, we enjoyed all those who were able to join us!  (A word to those of you just starting a tradition – after a lot of years of doing this, I really regret not keeping better records for myself. I wish I had pictures from every year and had done a better job of journaling our times with friends and family. Trust me, you’ll wish you had!).

We’ve done this in three different houses and even though this house is the smallest, we were still able to seat people throughout the house, and it was so much fun getting together, being cozy, and laughing and eating with our family and friends. We were even able to sit out on the screened porch since the temp was near 65 degrees on Saturday!  Some years we’ve had a fire, some years it rained, but this year was by far the best weather!

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Here’s the dining room last week as I was trying to get things started.

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…..and, the dining room all decked out and with added food.

Some years we’ve worn aprons, some years we’ve all worn ugly sweaters, but this year the hostesses wore Cookie Baking Team t-shirts made by our friend Barbara at Monograms and More Facebook, search Monograms and More, Gallatin, TN,    (Left to right, Sarah, Carrie, me, and our dear friend Shelley, who has pitched in (probably) all 22 years!

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I usually try to have a small ornament for our guests to leave with – last year and again this year I went with pre cut, pre-drilled wood slabs from Amazon. I can’t say enough about how easy these little ornaments are to make!  Last year I just painted one side white and then stamped a Christmas design, and this year I used black acrylic paint to make it look like chalkboard paint, and then just hand-lettered Christmas words. To finish up, I just added a little twine in the pre-drilled hole.  These little babies come ready to paint in a plastic box for only $10.95 for twenty pieces. Here’s the link:  Bilapia Wood Slices, Wood Slabs, Unfinished Wood Circles for DIY Craft, 2~2.4 Inch, 20 PCS   www.amazon.com 

With three weeks left until Christmas, I hope you’re also able to spend time with friends and family, be creative, and enjoy this special time!

Linda