Thursday, November 30, 2006

House decoration dilema

We're moving into our new house next week (and haven't started packing yet...but that's a who different post). I've been pondering how I would like to decorate our home. I love combining things that don't always go together. MY style is one that's rather difficult....sort of a funky traditional (with sort of an Asian influence thrown in there... oh, and a Celtic one too). It's hard to get right, and it makes my husband very nervous. I do want our house to look nice though...a house that is welcoming and warm and inviting.

In my head, I figure that if we put all the things we love together, then they will go together, simply because they are the style of US, and it would reflect US. Yet, this may not be true if other people saw it.

So... I want your opinion. Below are a bunch of pictures I really enjoy. Following my logic, I could put them all up on my walls, and it would all work and be pretty together. But is it too weird? Is it weird to have a totally traditional picture on one wall, and on the next wall have really bold, funky colors? Does the style of the house need to be the same throughout? And for heavens sake, what colors will I paint the walls?

Help? And really... shouldn't I be packing instead of worrying about this?

Oh yeah...I also have a few antique Sunday School posters that I LOVE. They have really bold colors, but really have a very old look to them. I wouldn't put them up to be serious...I really think they are funny. I'm not sure how to pull that in either. Hmmm...

I am midnight

I found this fun little quiz from MomRN. I suppose I do value unique-ness...although given our current schedules, I get rather grumpy when I'm still up at midnight, for I know that morning will come oh so quickly. Always was a night owl though...

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.

Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.

You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

at home

Well, we are snowed in this morning. It doesn't take much around here...the snow isn't the problem - it's the hills and the ice. Especially this time - our roads are mainly packed with hail, not snow...and hail is basically just little ice balls. It's so slippery out - very scary. I was working from home today anyway, but hubs decided to as well. I made us whole wheat pancakes and eggs - that were actually really yummy. I typically don't like pancakes - and haven't made them for him in years and years (I think I have maybe only ever made pancakes once), but these were pretty darn good. The recipe is in the current Cooking Light magazine.

Now we're trying to decide about our day... at some point in the next few days, it would be nice to go grocery shopping. I've got meat to last a long time in the freezer, but could use some milk and produce. We also have a rental property - we were supposed to go down tonight (an hour or so good traffic) and switch keys from the old tenant to the new people. That will be all but impossible to get to today. AND...we're signing on our new house tomorrow and need to have a cashier's check for closing. The bank is not easy to get to. Ugh. Oh how I wish we could just stay in by the fire. At least if we HAVE to go out, perhaps it can allow for a trip to Starbucks or Tully's. Yum.

I still would love any tips or recipes for freezing meals. See this post about it. Thanks!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Need something new

I've been struggling lately to keep a good schedule for my home-tasks and get things done. The next month is going to be even more challenging - we're moving, preparing our home for sale, and enjoying all of the Christmas festivities.

I need to make a few changes...I've got a few ideas but would love any that you have too.
  • I'm going to start (well, I started, but then stopped. I'm going to start being consistent!) making a daily schedule the day before of what needs to be done at what time and what chores I need to do. I sort of get stuck during the day and need a prepared schedule to get me on track.
  • I'm going to change my work schedule so that I'm working a bit longer, but only four days a week....well, as much as I can do this. I was going to take tomorrow "off" but then two meetings came up that I need to have, so I'll at least take the afternoon off. I think this will help to have a long bit of dedicated home time, especially with the moving and house projects that need to be done.
  • I'd like to start making more freeze-ahead meals. Crock-pot meals too, but I think freezing ahead will help the most. Crock-pot meals are great too, but they make so much left overs - that's hard. If anyone has some favorite freeze-ahead recipes or tips on doing this, feel free to send them my way! I found this website today ( that I think will help, but I'd like more!
  • Finally, a friend of mine had a fantastic idea of helping each other clean our houses for an hour or two each week - alternating weeks/houses. I think this is great and I LOVE that I have a friend who thinks like me and actually wants to do this. We'll hopefully start next week or the week after.

Seriously... I'd love tips on freezing meals ahead. Favorite recipes? Tips you've figured out? What types of foods freeze well and which ones don't? What containers work best? I'd be fine w/ freezing them in aluminum pans and re-using them, but what do you do for a lid...since they don't come with a lid? Do you just put foil on top and then put the next tin on that? I'm confused. I do need help though... HELP!!!

- kel, in the snow and hail. (BTW - I'm such a grouch. I asked two kids today to stop playing in the snow in our yard. I don't mind if they are in our yard by the street, but they were up right by my house, which was freaking my dog out. Mainly though I was just irritated that they were messing up my pretty snow!)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Winter wonderland forming

It is snowing, and it is beautiful. The world seems to slow down when it snows. I live in the pacific northwest, where snow is a treat. We don't get much and it doesn't stay long. It's only been snowing for about 10 minutes, but is actually starting to stick to the grass, so that's pretty cool. Often it will snow without sticking.

My dog - attacking the snow:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

happy birthday baby

I'd like to welcome my new niece into this big world.
Happy Birthday!

She was born yesterday morning... very, very early in the morning. My sister has been blessed with the ability to have babies very, very quickly. For this dear one, my sister was only at the hospital for 45 minutes before they got to hold her in their own arms.

I'm a very proud aunt indeed!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WFMW - Christmas #2

Is it bad to have two Works for me Wednesday postings? I hope not! I just thought of another things I'd like to share.

This is a tip that I've thought of but have never actually done. If it sounds interesting to you, and you do it, would you write me back and let me know how it went?

No matter how much I try to keep Christmas focused on Christ, and keep it a peaceful family time, I'm always a little saddened during the gift-opening time. It goes by so quickly and it's just about what am I going to get next.

I think it would be fun to open presents in a way (this would work for birthdays too) where the focus is on the giver instead of the recipient. Currently, we go in a circle of recipients - when it's your turn, you get to open a present. Instead, I think it would be fun to go in a circle and each person gets to give one of their presents to someone else. They could say who it's for, and why they thought of them, and personally give them their gift. To say, "I knew this would make you smile, so I shopped for months to find one" sounds so much sweeter than just picking the next present from under the tree.

I've heard of people doing something similar to this for kids birthday parties where the birthday child sits in a special chair to open their present, and the friends take turns sitting in a chair right next to the birthday child. Each friend gets to personally give their gift, the birthday child gets to say thank you, and it's easier to take pictures.

Anyway, I haven't done this yet, but I would love to change the focus from gift-getting to gift-giving.

- kel

Works for me Wednesday - Christmas!

I don't have any one big tip to share, so I thought I'd just offer up a few things I've done that worked pretty well for me.

  • Cheap decoration: holly! My mother-in-law has a huge holly bush in her yard. When we were first married, I found that holly clippings on the mantle were the best Christmas decoration, and free!
  • Christ in Christmas: I often don't have gifts wrapped until pretty close before Christmas (I buy them earlier, but don't get around to wrapping). I bought a small nativity scene (one where all the pieces are connected) and put it under the tree. It is a good reminder that Jesus is the REAL gift... and it doesn't look so sad to have a gift-less tree.
  • Family time: The first year hubs and I were married, we had been asked to do a Christmas morning breakfast with hubs' family, and we had Christmas evening plans with my family (they live an hour apart). We aren't morning people anyday of the year, let alone Christmas morning! It was horrible to have to open our stockings quickly and hurry though our first Christmas morning. No more. We decided it was important to have time for OUR family (no matter how small our family is at the moment). I have also realized that "Christmas to me" is NOT driving around to lots of places. When I was little, we often lived far away from our extended family. Therefore, we stayed home. Christmas was a very quiet, private time. Sometimes we had a family member visit us, but they just stayed with us the whole time. I hate driving around a lot and being super busy on Christmas day. We decided that hubs' family gets Christmas eve, OUR time is Christmas morning, and my family gets Christmas night.

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Christmas is coming

Our family Christmas picture from 2004. We had JUST moved into our new house; the only thing moved in was the tree. Literally - we had it up at the last place for a family Christmas party, took down the tree, moved it, and set it back up. We adopted our dog just a couple days before this picture was taken. This was probably her first Christmas picture ever! I am currently unable to find any Christmas pictures from last year and I'm very nervous about that!

Christmas is coming, and I am so excited. In my world right now, I'm just sort of skipping over Thanksgiving this year. Don't get me wrong - I love Thanksgiving. I almost went to a college very far away, and one of my reasons for staying local was because of not wanting to miss Thanksgiving with my family. I have a big extended family (6 grandparents, my mom was one of 4 kids, my dad was one of 5), and I LOVE big family gatherings. I love all my cousins. Love it, love it, love it. I actually am very sad that my kids won't be able to enjoy the big family gatherings that I have. I have one sister and hubs has one brother. At most, my kids will have 2 aunts and 2 uncles. That is so weird to me.

Last year, I hosted my first Thanksgiving. It was just for hubs' immediate family, so there were 5 of us (hubs' brother isn't married yet...we're praying... my kids will need all the aunts and uncles they can get). I loved hosting and thanks to all my spreadsheets and planning, I think I actually did a pretty good job on the food, and getting it all ready on time. I love Thanksgiving.

This year, we are moving between December 5-10... that whole week. Well, we won't have a truck until the 9th/10th, but I refuse to let my new house sit empty from the 5th-9th. As soon as we have the keys, I'm in! So, with that timing, my mind has just sped through Thanksgiving, plowed right over it, has gone straight to planning for the move, and Christmas in our new home. I will thoroughly enjoy Thanksgiving at our parents' homes this year. head is all into Christmas. As much as I love Thanksgiving, I ADORE Christmas. Not only are we dealing with the move this year, but this is the first time I'm really trying to hold to a Christmas budget and tighten this belt a little this year.

I need ideas! I need ideas for decorating our new house, for semi-homemade gift ideas that are still nice, and ideas for just ushering the Christmas spirit into our home.

  • I can't list my gift ideas here, incase the recipient sees this.
  • We celebrate Advent and have an advent wreath that I made last year - we
    will celebrate Advent every night. (I made an advent wreath for my sister too for her gift last year - she loved it.)
  • I have been thinking (today) about hosting a cookie exchange and cookie decorating party at our house for friends.

Any decorating ideas? Gift ideas? Does anybody still go Christmas caroling?

Merry Christmas!

- kel

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

State of Emergency

I live in the Seattle area where we often enjoy rainy days. Well, I don't know that we enjoy them, but we have lots of them anyway. The last week or so, we have received RAIN. Not our normal "scattered showers" but a continual and constant deluge. We received as much rain a couple days than we normally receive all of November...and then it just continued raining. We had urban flooding, and then as the week progressed, we have had a couple days of serious river flooding. Thousands have had to evacuate their homes and there is a state of emergency declared in 18 counties.

I personally drove through two massive puddles (in a very small car) that covered the road and splashed up onto the hood of my car (going 2 mph). My husband was NOT pleased to hear this (although, in my defense, I did have some very good logical reasoning for doing it! Best of all, I had a few very good minutes of prayer!) and asked me to never do it again.... not for my safety though. He cringed at the thought of our mini cooper being towed away. Oh, I must have been a sight! =)

This morning as the night turned into day, I realized that it was NOT raining and (gasp!) it was SUNNY outside! I ditched my gym plans for a good, long walk outside with the pooch. Sunshine! I was so excited!

During the walk, went went up a hill on a street of very pretty, rather hoity-toity houses. They had their sprinklers on.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

An update

Just an update...

The house plans continue. The inspection went generally well. Hubs and I got our head around all the financing options and decided that we are comfortable with it all and we ARE buying this house. Hurray!

I really, really want a piano in the front room. I only barely play the piano (one year of lessons in the 4th grade and choir all through high school) but I'd really like to learn. I do have "how to play the piano" book for adults and a book of hymns for beginners. Every year for Christmas, hubs and I buy each other a smallish gift, and then we get to pick out a bigger present for ourselves (and still open it on Christmas day). Anyway, there is a beautiful piano on crackles for $175 that I want SO badly for Christmas. Hubs is a little hung up on how we would get it and where we would put it for now. I don't really care - it's only $175 and pretty! We'll see. I'm betting that it won't be mine. =( What if I promised to learn to play a Christmas carol by Christmas day. Do you think that would help?