December 18, 2014

just a little Christmas

Since December is halfway gone I thought it might be a good idea to show you a little bit of my dining room Christmas decor before it's time to take it all down.

All the changes I made in the cottage over the last few months really brightened up my usually traditional decorations.  By the time I realized I could use a few new things, the stores were sold out.

I think next year instead of complaining about how quickly the Christmas decoration start showing up I  better start shopping for them.  By the time December rolls around the shelves were looking a little bare.

Most of what I put out I've had for years.  Just seeing it against a white backdrop made it all seem new again.

My six year old grandson loves Christmas, yes for the presents, but also for the music and the decorations.  Just wait till I show you our tree this year.  He chose it on the lot and then decorated it once I hung the lights.  I promise I only moved one or two things he put on...really.

I am off to buy that one last gift and then I hope to finish up the last of the wrapping this afternoon.  I promised a certain little boy that we could start our baking after he gets out of school today and I know he'll hold me to it.  We have five different cookies to make so I'm sure the flour will be flying!

I'm thinking it might be a little too early to start baking but the next few days are full of festivities so I will probably end up freezing a few things.  What about you?  What will you be baking this year?

Have a wonderful Thursday!

xo, Patty

December 17, 2014

the specifics and fashion Wednesday

I can't believe it's been a couple of Wednesdays since I posted last.  For all my planning to have a nice quiet December it has actually been a busy one.  Good busy, but busy none the less.

With my fashion challenge officially over I debated whether or not to continue on with Fashion Wednesday but I am actually kind of liking clothes again so I think it will become a regular feature in the new year.  Yes, I said "new year".  I know we haven't even celebrated Christmas yet but the first will be her before you know it and I love a new beginning.

Now on to fashion.  When I thought about continuing to post about fashion, more specifically fashion after 50, one of things that pushed me to continue was partly self serving.  It's that age old thing called accountability.  If I have to show you all the cute clothes out there and how more mature women can wear them, I kind of have to get dressed in more than my sweats and a t-shirt.  Another factor was how hard I found it to find pictures of how ordinary women looked in those pretty outfits I have pinned on my fashion pinterest board.

Just to set the record straight from the beginning, here are a few of my specific body issues.  (Come on, we all have them.)

I am 5'3'' tall (on a good day, if I stand up real straight) and I wear between a size 10 -12 petite.  I am pear shaped with narrow shoulders and wider hips.  Depending on who you ask, I am either lucky or cursed to be small busted and my rear end, which used to be my best feature, is now not quite as perky as it used to be.  My small waist has widened as I've aged and my normally flat stomach now has a trendy baby bump, which is strange because I never gave birth to a baby.  (My girls are adopted.)

I would like to lose 10 pounds and start a regular exercise program but I have decided that if I wait until I do I will never regain the confidence and sense of personal pride that dressing nicely brings.  So I've decided to love the body I have right now, all the while trying to make smart choices about what I put into it and to include physical activity as often as possible.

I do not have an unlimited budget so my clothes are a combination of new, thrifted and gifted.  I have learned what looks good on me and what does not.  I am more classic than trendy but don't want to look matronly so I am willing to try and incorporate a little of the current styles into what I wear in real life.  I don't work outside the home right now so my clothes are more casual.  I love accessories and use them everyday.  I am a visual person so I love to use pinterest and other blogs as a starting point.

I think that's a good start and probably more than you needed to know.  The outfit I am wearing in this post was for a get together with a few of my favorite girlfriends for a Christmas brunch.  I like the combination of lace and jeans in the pinterest picture and since I am not totally comfortable with skinny jeans, I love the flared boot cut jeans she's wearing.

I really like the lace top from The Loft that I'm wearing.  It is actually a T-shirt and super comfortable.  It was a bit of a splurge for me but I waited and snagged it at 50% off.  It was worth it, I know I will wear it a ton. (Bare with my photography skills, the timer on my camera and I are not the best of friends yet but we will work out our issues eventually.)

I loved fashion when I was younger but my busy life and extra weight allowed me to tell myself it wasn't important to dress nice.  Somehow by looking matronly or plain I was more pious than if I spent a little time and yes, money on myself.  I'm not buying that anymore.  Like most of life, it's all about priorities.  What about you?  Is it hard for you to focus on yourself in this way?

xo, Patty

Jeans - Levis from Kohls
Top - The Loft
Belt - Target
Booties - Macy's (my Christmas gift this year from my mom and I absolutely adore them!)
Necklace and earrings - Kohls
Watch - Walmart

I'm linking up with GYPO for I feel pretty
The Pleated Poppy for What I wore Wednesday
Ginger side of Life for The Oh, Hey Girl

December 3, 2014

a little cocooning and fashion Wednesday

We've been enjoying a few days of cooler weather and glorious rainfall and the urge to slow down and cocoon has taken over my desire to decorate.  So instead of readying the house for the holidays, I have been sitting quietly with pen in hand planning and praying about next year.

I am such a plotter and planner.  I love it, absolutely and completely.  Of course, I hold those plans loosely in one hand as I wait and watch what unfolds each day but life's twists and turns don't keep me from dreaming and scheming about what the future holds.  I had so many things floating around in my head that it was hard to concentrate on the here and now but now that I've written them down with an erasable pencil, I can fully focus on the season in front of me.  Are you like that, too?

And that includes Fashion Wednesday.   I actually took pictures for the Build Your Basics Wardrobe Challenge twice last week.  One casual and one a little dressier.

The casual challenge clothes consisted of a grey cardigan, striped tee, skinny jeans and riding boots.  I have to tell you that this outfit was way out of my comfort zone but one of the great things about a challenge like this is trying styles that you normally wouldn't and the skinny jeans and riding boots are definitely not a look I would have tried.  But I was actually okay with it.

The boots were a gift from husband during the Fall challenge that sat in my closet looking cute for two months.  They were super comfy and I felt quite stylish in them and not at all like I was trying to look too young which was my biggest fear.

The dressier challenge clothes consisted of a dressy blouse, long necklace, boot cut jeans and heeled boots.  This one was much easier because it is an outfit I could have put together myself.  Totally in my comfort zone.  I loved pairing the dressy blouse and my $2.98 thrift store pearls with jeans.  I wore this to my bible study Christmas potluck and felt like a million bucks.

Now go and take a look at how the other bloggers styled these basics and be sure to leave them an encouraging word.  It's not easy to take a picture of yourself and put it out there for all to see.

I'll be back soon with a peek at my Christmas decorations and to share what I'm learning about hospitality.  Thanks for stopping by...

xo, Patty

December 1, 2014

let the decorating begin

I had the best intentions over the weekend to get into the attic and pull out the Christmas boxes but then the rain came and the thought of getting into that dusty small space with who knows what crawling around became but a distant thought.  Instead I had myself a mini Pioneer Woman marathon and relaxed on the sofa just listening to the gentle shower outside.

But now, with a break in storms, those boxes are coming down.

I have two little helpers tonight so the going will be slow but that won't stop me from at least getting started.  The first thing I do is unpack the boxes and start little piles on the dining room table based on where they might go and then I edit, start a give away pile of things I haven't used in a while and a list of what I might like to add this year.

The real decorating won't start until tomorrow afternoon when the little ones go home.  I am hoping to have it all done by Thursday so that I can make a trip to Hobby Lobby on Friday (anyone want to join me) for a few new additions.

We don't usually get our tree until the second weekend in December and but that time I am chomping at the bit (does anyone say that anymore?) to get it decorated.

What about you?  How's your decorating coming along?

xo, Patty

I know, these pictures have nothing to do with this post but I had to share how pretty the garden looked last week.  One of the perks of living in Southern California...

November 30, 2014

goodbye November

It seems my infrequent blog posts have served as a way to mark time this month.  I am either saying hello or goodbye to something.  I suppose that's reflective of this season of my life.  I have been both humbled and enlightened around every corner.

I shared with you earlier in the month that my brother is facing a critical illness and I am so overjoyed to report that the battle is going very well.  He is not quite midway through the process and his doctor is pleased with how things are progressing.

Watching him has reminded me of how precious this life, with all it's imperfections, is.  In my most childish moments I can be guilty of lamenting over the fact that my life didn't turn out just as I had planned, I can spend time in self pity and wallow in a bit of narcissistic "why me's".  Believing I know what's best and that I have control of things that I don't.

"Problems are a part of life.  They are inescapable: woven into the very fabric of this fallen world.  You tend to go into problem-solving mode all too readily, acting as if you have the capacity to fix everything. This is a habitual response, so automatic that it bypasses your conscious thinking.  Not only does this habit frustrate you, it also distances you from Me.".  Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Now I am making a more conscious effort not to go there.  To spend my time being thankful for all I do have instead of moaning about what I don't have or what didn't go according my plans.  I am asking my friends to pray for me to let go of disappointment, to not let it turn into bitterness and to embrace each day with a joy filled and thankful heart.

So as I say goodbye to November, I do so not clutching my hands trying to hold on or shaking my fist in frustration but with my arms wide open ready to embrace all the miracles that December has waiting.

xo, Patty

November 26, 2014

talking pies and fashion Wednesday

Is it weird that I love the day before Thanksgiving almost as much as Thanksgiving Day itself?  I think it's the anticipation of what's ahead.  The food and family and memories to be made.

Today is pie making day for me.  In my ongoing quest to master the art of crust making, I am trying the half butter, half shortening version making sure to use ice cold water and to chill the crust a half hour before assembling the pies.

I am making a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie for tomorrow.  Last year I tried a chocolate pecan pie and while it was good, it didn't quite seem the same.  I figure if I only make pecan pie once a year I'll stick with the classic version.  As for the pumpkin, I just use Libby's pumpkin pie mix in the can instead of adding my own spices to real pumpkin but my family thinks it's delicious that way so I'm good with that.

Now on to this weeks fashion challenge (which by the way has seriously cut into my consumption of pies)...

The challenge pieces were a white blouse, khaki pants, denim jacket and leopard flats.  Since we've been enjoying gorgeous weather in the upper 70's and low 80's, (I know, don't hate) I went with a denim vest instead of the jacket.  I added a mustard tank and the blue polka dot scarf.  I'd hoped to take a few more pictures this week but time just got away from me.  I'm sure you know how that goes.  Please take a minute and visit the other fashion challenge bloggers joining in at the link below.

Now it's your turn...  Any pie or fashion chatter on your mind?

xo, Patty

Deena | Joy | Dee | Leslie | Patty | Shawnee | Shaunta

November 24, 2014

before or after Thanksgiving...

It seems there are two camps on the whole decorating for Christmas issue...before or after Thanksgiving.  I say to each his own.

I have been fighting the urge to begin my Christmas decorating before Thanksgiving especially with all the creative inspiration that abounds at every turn but I have stuck to my guns but I have friends and family who have happily started readying their homes and I say hallelujah to that as well because I know I get to go and enjoy the fruit of their hard labors of love.  It takes them a good while to set all that splendor up and they want time to enjoy it before the holiday is over.

About ten years ago I started giving myself the first week of December to get all the decorating done for the Christmas holiday.  Prior to that I would find myself still decorating on Christmas Eve completely stressed out and having missed out on much of the celebration leading up to the big day.

As a full time working mom I only had the weekends to decorate, bake and create memories with my girls so I went full steam ahead sometimes even wrapping gifts on Christmas morning to be delivered later that day!

Now that I am able to be a full time stay at home wife and grandma I could easily begin the decor before December first but now I choose to wait for me.  The anticipation of pulling those boxes out after the Thanksgiving meal and leftovers are but a beautiful memory is my gift to myself.

I still give myself a one week time frame to get it all up but now when the end of the week comes, I can blow a collective sigh of relief and begin to enjoy the true celebration with my grand kids.  Sure, most years I don't put out as many decorations as I would like to but that's okay as long as the twinkle lights are glowing and the nativity scene has found it's special place no one seems to notice.

What they do notice is a wife/mom/grandma who is ready to be fully present for baking, movie watching and singing off key to all our favorite Christmas carols.  The trade off to a perfectly decked out home is totally worth it.

xo, Patty