Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year

Welcome to all of you who stop by after reading my devotion today: "Return To Me."

My family and I are enjoying some holiday downtime together and I plan to return to regular posting this coming Monday.

In the meantime, I hope you all are enjoying this time of year. In the next few days we will spend New Year's Eve with friends and eat our traditional New Year's Day dinner of pork roast, rice and gravy, greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread. This is a meal we only eat once a year but I look forward to it all year! After that it's time to take down all the Christmas decorations and gear up to return to school and (some sense of) a normal life. With Curt out of work, normal is being redefined minute by minute.

We appreciate your continued prayers for his job search and all the offers of help that we have received in many different forms. Thank you so much and happy new year from the Whalens!! We are anticipating a great 2010 and waiting expectantly for what God is going to do in our lives. We hope you are too.
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And He Will Be Called...

This is my last post before Christmas as I take some time to celebrate with my family. That's them in the pictures above, in case you couldn't figure that out for yourself. My youngest is posing as an angel. Her halo, as you can see, is crooked. There's a good reason for that.

Before I go I wanted to share with you something I have been meditating on this Christmas. As I have been reading through Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree Devotion, I have found many truths about Jesus' coming-- things I had never seen before, which I love.

As I read Isaiah 9:6, I was struck with something I had never considered before. This is a verse we have all heard repeated often. We hear it repeated in the words of the Hallelujah chorus. It's printed on Christmas cards and preached in sermons. I have always grasped that those names we can spout off from memory are God's names for Him. But I never stopped to ponder what those names mean for me.

Wonderful Counselor: He is a supernatural counselor, bringing words of eternal life and perfect wisdom.
Mighty God: He will have victory over evil.

Everlasting Father: He is my Father: forever guarding, supplying, and caring for my needs.

Prince of Peace: He brings peace in the fullest sense. We can know His peace now as individuals, but one day the whole world will experience it as well.

I need all of this in my life: perfect wisdom, victory over evil, someone to care for my needs, and peace in the fullest sense. He came so that I might have it. He is all these things so I can have all these things through Him. As we approach the day of celebrating His birth, may we think of who He came to be and what He came to bring to us.

I pray that you all have a blessed Christmas filled with joy and surprises... and Him.
Micah 5:4, "He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace."
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Daybook For Christmas Week

Outside My Window... cold, cold, cold. But dry. And that is an improvement.

I am listening to... the sound of the movie Christmas Vacation, which is on as I type. That movie still makes me laugh. When Aunt Bethany wraps up that cat and Clark is holding it and the package is moving all around... good film moment there.

I am wearing... a gray and white argyle patterned sweater and black pants. Both from Old Navy. Both picked up on sale earlier this fall.

I am thankful... for the clothes and the food and the roof over our head.

I am pondering... if there can be such a thing as too much family togetherness? :)

I am reading... On Strike For Christmas. A cute little book that's perfect for this time of year about a group of moms who decide to simply not do Christmas so their families will appreciate the lengths they go to to pull off the Christmas they take for granted. Great light reading.

From the kitchen... Gingerbread cookies with daddy, cut out Christmas cookies with homemade icing with mommy, eggnog bread

I am creating... a menu for this week. What should we have for Christmas Eve? I was going to do a turkey but am now thinking... no.

I am thinking... about my answers to "the question" my friend Karen Ehman wrote about in her blog post today.

I am going... to try to relax and enjoy this week.

Around the house... Christmas is everywhere, in every room.

One of my favorite things... doing the fun little things with the kids in the time leading up to Christmas. Saturday we went to a class and decorated cookies and cakes. Sunday we visited with Santa at Starbucks and enjoyed free hot chocolate for the kids.

A picture thought I am sharing... Christmas at Starbucks with a visit from Santa!

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Friday, December 18, 2009


This is going to be a quick note just to update everyone on what's been going on. And it's kind of disjointed, just like my thoughts. So forgive me in advance.

Most of you have already seen my tweets and/or Facebook statuses but this will tell "the rest of the story."

Yesterday morning Curt was asked to cut his business trip to VA short and be at a mandatory meeting. He told me when he got this news that he had a bad feeling. Preferring to be an ostrich, I stuck my head in the sand and assured him it was nothing to be worried about. I truly believed the best. I mean, it's a week before Christmas after all. Nothing bad could happen... right?

And so when the phone rang just 30 minutes after the meeting began, I wondered how he was calling so fast. When he told me he had just been let go, I truly thought he was kidding. I mean, it's Christmas. And we have six kids to support. What kind of people would do that??

So just like that we went from a one-income family to a no-income family.

The good news is, he does have severance that will get us through for awhile. We appreciate your prayers. We appreciate the emails and encouraging comments on Facebook and the phone calls. We appreciate any leads you might have. We are willing to move and are not limiting our search to Charlotte-- as much as we love our home we have to be realistic.

Life can change in an instant and ours did yesterday morning.

I might be around less in the coming days. In addition to normal Christmas craziness I now am sharing a computer with Curt. This is going to be tricky since I have a book to write and he will be using the computer to find a job. The company took back the computer and cell phone they were providing for him. I can honestly say I had no idea how impacting this was going to be. The ramifications are still rippling out.

Perhaps one of you out there has a laptop you aren't using or don't need. If so and you feel like passing it along to a needy family, I would say that we officially qualify now. We would immensely appreciate it. You can contact me privately if so.

The hardest part was last night when we told our 9yo. The other kids took it in stride really, saying they had faith he would get another job and expressing their frustration with the company for doing this at Christmas. But our 9yo just cried and cried. As Curt held her he looked at me and said, "This is the part the men who made this decision should have to see."

This was something no 9yo should ever have to face. Especially at Christmas.

God will provide. He was not surprised. We trust in His plans. He is sovereign. We know all this is true. Now it's time to live it.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Festival Of Tables

Last year when I went to a festival of tables and posted about it, you all seemed to like it, so I am posting another collection, this one from the Christmas conference I spoke at in SC two weeks ago. I hope that these tables inspire you. I loved how the ladies kept it simple and found things they already had and built on a theme.

This little snowman table just made me happy. Mostly because of the special touches she added.

Cute place settings

Sorry this picture is sideways-- but look at how she wrapped up her silver with that cute snowman pop stuck in!

Blue candy canes to match.

This table was my favorite because I love, love, love this book. If you have never read it, go to and buy it today!! It's a great story for Christmas or Easter. The hostess of this table had her handy husband create a cross, a boat and a manger for the centerpiece.

At each place setting, she had wooden chargers under clear plates, and Reese's trees too! Then she had printed off a portion of the story so that they could go around the table and each person read her part. Cute! I love when someone thinks outside the box and she did!

This table was fun and cute-- loved the ornaments in the glass bowl as a centerpiece and all the fun snowman pottery. Plus there were bags of chocolate kisses at each place!

This person put her Christmas village to good use.
Loved these handpainted glasses.

That were at this table. This was very elegant, I thought. I loved the hand stitched tablecloth.

This centerpiece featured a nativity scene and... candy. I learned that if you are hosting a table at one of these, put some candy somewhere. Women love to be close to chocolate!

Here's a bigger view of the nativity scene table.

Another simple, elegant, beautiful table.

And another one

And here's more candy! Loved the Santa theme here!

Here's a bigger view of that table.

And finally this one is also simple, elegant and beautiful. All the tables were gorgeous and I could tell a lot of work and thought went into them. If you are daunted by setting a beautiful table for company, just look around. As you can see here, the sky's the limit when it comes to creating an atmosphere using what you already have!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Little Christmas In Every Room

Welcome to my home! My theory of Christmas decorating is that there should be a little bit of Christmas in every room. I am always adding and changing. This year I took a BUNCH of stuff we never used to Goodwill and donated it. Less clutter, less stress and someone else can be blessed!
These Christmas bears were a gift from my in-laws. I love them and have them perched on my windowsill over my kitchen sink so I can enjoy them while I wash dishes!

This year my mom got me this mercury glass hurricane and we filled it with apple cinnamon potpourri in Christmas reds and greens! This sits on my kitchen island. I like it because it doesn't take up much space, which is practical for my island where I do a lot of food prep.

Here's a view of my kitchen table. That centerpiece was what I had sitting on my island last year. I changed things up this year. Those paper plate wreaths are leftover from a craft project we made last year. The kids were so excited to hang them again even though the tissue paper is fading.

Here's a closeup of the centerpiece.

My dining room table. This pine swag has been my centerpiece for years but this year my mom refreshed it with new colors and new picks. I love it even more now! I also got a pretty new red tablecloth.

My coffee table in the den. My stepfather bought me that Santa when I was about 14 or so. He is very special to me and I love having him in my house now that I am an adult. I picked up those trees at the dollar store last year but didn't see them there again this year-- that's how it is with the dollar store. You just never know what you will find!

My mantle and the stockings all hung and waiting for Christmas!

I love these bears. It was the first Christmas present Curt gave me. I remember opening it and being SO confused and a bit disappointed. I was thinking jewelry, he gives me bears??? He smiled at my confused expression and pointed at the figurine. "Those are the four children (back then that sounded like a lot to us) that we are going to have someday. And someday you will put this in our house and tell our children how I gave you that when we had only been dating for four months. But we already knew we were going to be together forever." I still smile whenever I get it out each year. How romantic!

A little corner in my kitchen. Don't you just love this pretty cookbook?

This wreath hangs on our back door. It's facing in so we can enjoy it inside.

This little guy was an early gift this year. He is filled with (diminishing) candy. Guess it's time to stock up! I have him sitting on top of my cookbooks in our kitchen.

This Santa doorstop was carved and painted by Curt's grandfather, who is an expert woodcrafter in his late 80's.

A nativity and angels on one shelf. An NC State Santa and a Christmas Tree candle from on the other.

This scene dates backt to 1974-- all handcarved and painted by a local craftsman who has painted many wooden ornaments on our tree as well. My grandmother always had this in her house and I was so glad to inherit it.

Finally, the dry sink that sits in our entryway. I love the Snowman sentry standing guard.

Thanks for touring my home. Please do stop by again!
(This tour was posted (late) at

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Daybook For Monday December 14th

Outside my window... it's still cold (I know that's relative to you Northerners) but at least the rain has stopped.

I am thankful for... a fun weekend for our family that was focused on church and friends.

I am wearing... my Ocean Isle Beach sweatshirt and gray track pants, fuzzy black NC State socks.

I am remembering... Christmases past. Tis the season.

I am going... to bake a lot this week. That's the plan at least! I have one with a fever and throwing up so I am not sure my best-laid plans will hold up. But I am hopeful.

I am reading... a Paula Deen Christmas magazine that my dear friend Karen Ehman surprised me with. She knew that with my edits finished I would want some Christmas inspiration. I am also cuddling up at night with my collection of Christmas cookbooks from Gooseberry Patch.

I am hoping... to get through what is shaping up to be a busy, stressful week with a smile on my face and joy in my heart!

On my mind... shopping lists. Does everyone have what they asked for? This will be a question that dominates my thoughts and haunts my dreams until Christmas morning.

From the learning rooms... Christmas books.

From the kitchen... baked goods aplenty. My list is bold, but doable.

Around the house... the tree is up but still needs to be decorated. Sad, but true. The rest of the house, though, looks very Christmasey. I had hoped to participate in posting photos for Nester's Tour of Homes today. But that did not happen and I am okay with that.

Plans for the week... doctor's appointments aplenty. It's "that week." You know, the one that you look at several weeks ahead of time and say to yourself, "Why do I do this to myself??" But you know you just have to put your nose to the grindstone and gut it out. I do not like weeks where we have to run a lot. And this is one of those weeks. Instead I am focusing on being thankful to have doctors and medicine, and transportation to get to those appointments. The week will be capped off by my parent's annual Christmas party, which is a part of Christmas Curt and I look forward to each year.

One of my favorite things... lazy nights as a family with a fire going, a big mug of peppermint tea, and no particular place to go.
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Doing For The Least of These This Christmas

If you are looking to give to others this Christmas, consider sponsoring a child through Compassion.

And be sure to check out the posts over at She Reads about Tom Davis' ministry to the orphans of Ethiopia. He filmed some great videos just for She Reads that talk about his book Scared and his work. Definitely worth a few minutes of your time. And if you haven't picked up a copy of Scared, do it! Our quarterly She Reads newsletter just went out so if you haven't subscribed yet, you can do so over at
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Focus Days

One thing I have noticed lately is that certain days take on a rhythm of their own. I am sure this looks different for everyone but I am learning to go with whatever that rhythm is and plan my days around it. And so, I have started attempting to have a focus for each day. It has helped me to better plan and also to not attempt too much in one day.

Here's what my week looks like, day by day:

Monday's focus is HOME. After busy weekends, I need to arrange that day around our house. That is the day I clean, organize, do household projects, make phone calls, and focus on my to-do list. This means I don't schedule appointments, meetings or get-togethers with friends on Mondays as a rule.

Tuesday's focus is ERRANDS. Everything I run across on Monday that needs to be done out of the house I put on a list for Tuesday. That means that most every Tuesday I am running most of that morning. I can generally accomplish all my running for the week in that day. Whatever doesn't get done goes on my list for either the coming weekend or the following Tuesday.

Wednesday's focus is WRITING. My preschooler is gone those mornings so I use the quiet house to write. Because I have spent Monday and Tuesday cleaning, organizing, and running, I can sit and write without a million things pulling at me. Ideally.

Thursday's focus used to be BIBLE STUDY but my Bible study moved to a new location far from my house and I don't have that focus anymore. For right now my daughter and I generally have something planned to do on Thursday mornings. It's a good time to plan to get together with friends or meet daddy for lunch. With the Christmas season upon us, I think for right now Thursday's focus needs to be Christmas shopping, baking and preparations. Thursdays for me right now are a bit more "loose." I think it's good to have a wild card day if you can.

Friday's focus is WRITING again. This is another preschool day so I take advantage of that time to work.

Of course, when I am on deadline or in edits, all of this goes right out the window and nothing goes as planned!

I hope this idea helps someone. When I speak of focus, I really mean the time prior to 2:15 when I start running carpool. Once 2:15 hits, I am either in the car or helping with homework or preparing dinner, etc. I am very UNfocused and kind of all over the place once my kids start arriving home. But having focus for some part of the day is better than no focus at all!
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

After receiving several requests for my recipe, I have decided to just post it again because I am too lazy to go hunting through the archives to find it. I promise this is the best banana bread you will ever make. And I have tried my share of recipes, yessiree.

This would make a great gift and if you get really ambitious, you can make 6 loaves at once like I did!

2 large bananas (very ripe... black)
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1/2 bag of chocolate chips (1 cup)

Beat egg and add sugar, butter and bananas (which have been mashed with a fork-- kids like to do this). Add this to the flour, soda and salt which been sifted together. Add chocolate chips and mix well. Put in greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until it begins to leave the sides of the pan.

This makes a nice dessert as well served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and some warm caramel sauce drizzled over top. We eat it for breakfast and a whole loaf is gone in one morning!

ETA: This just in! I just found these yummy looking banana chocolate chip cookies (scroll down to get to the recipe... it's there). I definitely know what I am trying next time I find some "past their prime" bananas!
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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Thoughts On Celebrating Christmas

I wanted to share some links to great blog posts on celebrating Christmas. These were shared on one of the writers' loops I am on, and I thought they contained information you all would like to see see as well.

Becky Spencer shares 60 ways to make the holiday meaningful.

Stephanie Shott shares 25 tips for a Christ-centered Christmas.

Edwina Cowgill shares her thoughts about receiving what God has for us this Christmas. She has blogged each day of advent about the gifts God has shown her for that day. Good stuff.

I hope these blog posts and the ideas they contain are inspiring to you. They were to me!

I am taking the next several days to get my life back in order now that my edits are finished. I will be popping in and out here at the blog, but am also trying to be sensitive to the time my family needs. We are decorating the house, baking goodies, running long overdue errands, and I am rejoicing in the dailiness of life. I hope you are too!
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Monday, December 07, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Pumpkin Vinagrette, Grilled Chicken

Burgers, French Fries

Black Bean Chili over Yellow Rice

Slow Cooked Pepper Steak over rice

Pretzel Crusted Chicken, green beans, couscous

Meatball Stew, French Bread

Chicken Milano over linguine, broccoli

Roasted Pepper Chicken, Brown Sugar Carrots, Baked Potatoes

Desserts: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

For more menu plans check out
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Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook, A Day Early

Outside my window... cold. I finally broke down and bought a coat. I got rid of all my ones that were too big on me after I lost weight and didn't want to spend the money to replace my coat. When we headed to Charleston this weekend and knew we would be walking the streets in cold weather, Curt convinced me to buy a coat. We stopped at Target and I love the black coat I found! And I know it must be decently cool because my daughter said she'd like to have one like it!

I am thankful for... being FINISHED with my edits!!! I just hit send and it was a great feeling! I am sure there will be some other tweaking involved but the major push is O-V-E-R. And just in time for Christmas!

I am wearing... jeans and a pink sweater with a faux-fur collar that I just love.

I am remembering... the people who have helped me with my novel all along the way. You know who you are. Thanks for the advice, the prayers, and the encouragement.

I am going... to try to make these this week. They look mucho delicious and especially perfect for this time of year! A package of these with a box of gingerbread tea would make a sweet gift for someone. I can just see them wrapped in some gingerbread printed ribbon.

I am reading... the new issue of Writer's Digest. It just came in the mail this weekend. Hooray! And it's on writing a novel. Perfect!

I am hoping... to get lots of Christmas preparations going this week now that my edits are behind me.

On my mind... a new novel that just might be a Christmas story. :)

From the learning rooms... Christmas books aplenty. Baking and crafting too.

From the kitchen... a menu plan is in the works. I will post it tomorrow for Menu Plan Monday.

Around the house... decorating for Christmas. My mom and I have a date tomorrow for her to come over and help me. She has a good decorating eye and we enjoy sprucing up my house for Christmas together!

Plans for the week... actually, nothing. A row of white blocks on my calendar is a beautiful thing to see!

One of my favorite things... time alone with my husband. We had a great time in Charleston together. He went with me for my speaking engagement since it was his birthday and we were able to turn it into a short getaway. Dinner at Fleet Landing restaurant was wonderful and the time to finish lots of conversations was priceless.
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Friday, December 04, 2009


Welcome to my blog if you are visiting from today's P31 devotion: For His Name's Sake. I am glad you visited!

As you read this I am most likely en route to a Christmas conference in Eutawville SC. The ladies at this church based the conference on my ebook, A Recipe For Christmas Joy. We are going to spend the day talking about how to experience Joy this Christmas and I can't wait to see what God does during our day together! I spoke at their retreat last fall and I am so excited to see them all again!

If Christmas is on your mind today, be sure to check out my post from yesterday about ways I am trying to have a simple Christmas this year. And be sure to leave a comment letting me know some ways that you are simplifying your Christmas. I could always use help in this area and I learn so much from you guys.

I hope that your weekend is filled with joy and that you are enjoying your Christmas season however you are choosing to spend it. I will see you back here next week!
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Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Simple Christmas

Lately I have been feeling the urge to simplify and downsize our Christmas-- take on less, commit to less, and spend less. I have been actively looking for ways I can do this. There have been several ways I have found that I wanted to share here:

  • Think through the activities we participate in: I love to do special things for my kids at Christmas. As I sat and debated the different excellent options in our area, I started calculating the cost to participate in these activities. As I did so, the costs started adding up and the activities were no longer as enticing as they were. This was a good exercise for me-- to literally count the cost. And so, this season I am actively looking for free or very inexpensive things we can do. Because my desire to do the fun things didn't go away. Each weekend my aim is to have a fun activity planned and so far I have been able to do that. This weekend I will be gone speaking but my mother in law is taking my two older girls to a tea they attend every year at her church. The following weekend we've been invited to a cookie exchange that we will attend as a family and the girls and I are headed back to wonderful Zoe's house to bake our traditional baklava! The following weekend I am hoping to do a little Christmas tea here. During their break I have found some fun craft and storytime activities the library is offering. None of these things cost much, if anything, but they provide us with the chance for memories and fun, and a diversion from the ordinary-ness of life. That's all I really want for my children where Christmas is concerned. Who says I have to spend tons of money to do that? It took some looking and some creativity, but I did find affordable options. We can all invite another family over to bake cookies and sip hot chocolate for just a few dollars but a lot of fun memories.
  • Purge: I decided to get rid of some decorations I have stored year after year and never used and also some decorations that had seen better days. It was hard to part with these things that had been part of our Christmases for years, but it was time. Sadly, I loaded them into the car and took them to Goodwill. I know that just because we are tired of looking at these things doesn't mean someone else will be. After I dropped them off, I felt much better. Lighter. I highly recommend purging your stash of Christmas stuff this year when you drag it all out. Instead of packing stuff to go back in the attic, really ask yourself: If I am not using it this year, am I really ever going to use it? If the answer is no-- even if it's Aunt Gladys' prized heirloom-- get rid of it. Be ruthless. Purging is good for you.
  • Hold onto my expectations lightly: I saved a lot of money this year with our Christmas cards. A few weeks ago, my friend Molly tweeted about a good deal on Hallmark Christmas cards. I zipped over there, designed a card I loved, and was about to press that little "proceed to checkout" button when Curt told me I needed to wait on that purchase. Grudgingly, I waited. When I went back several days later, I was dismayed to find that the coupon code had expired. And I had designed a card I now couldn't afford! I had to let go of my desire to have cards. I realized that the world will go on without the Whalen family Christmas card.

    Imagine my surprise when, just a few days later, my friend Sherri tweeted about another deal. was offering cards for half off. I hastily gathered my kids together and snapped a photo of them. It wasn't the best setting (our family couch), the kids weren't matchy matchy (which just thrills this mother's heart to bits but they are revolting more loudly each year), the card wasn't as cute as the one I originally designed at Hallmark, and it wasn't the best picture they've ever taken. I didn't care. I was on a deadline to get the deal this time before the coupon code expired. And semi-decent cards were better than no cards at all. I ended up with 100 cards for $26-- nearly half the price I was going to pay for my half-price cards at Hallmark. I was tickled. (The special is over but I think they are offering other deals if you want to check them out. Their prices are very reasonable.) The point was, I held onto my desire to have cards lightly. When it didn't work out, I let it go pretty quickly. When it got added back, it was a nice surprise. But I didn't get so tunnel-visioned that I broke the bank to have what I wanted in my little vision of that dangerous thing known as "the perfect Christmas." This is a lesson I learn a bit more each year.
  • Make gifts instead of buy them: I am making gifts for the kids' teachers. I realized that, with six kids now in school, contributing $10-$20 per child, per teacher, was going to be expensive. (In the past I have contributed to the class gift of a Visa giftcard, which is a great thing to do if you can swing it.) I have decided to bake some goodies for them instead. Last night I baked 6 loaves of chocolate chip banana bread. Four are now tucked into the freezer to pull out as gifts. I have been searching online for some other gift ideas and hope we can make several items to make a nice gift basket. This wasn't that much work and I would much rather put effort rather than a lot of money into the gifts we are giving. If you want to make gifts, check out this Works For Me Wednesday blog carnival. There are lots of suggestions for gifts you can make. (Go down to the bottom of the post for the links.)
  • Reduce my workload any way I can: I am planning way simple meals these days. This week we've had tacos, spaghetti, make your own subs, etc. The point is to think of meals that free you up to do other things. All of these things could be made in the morning, put in the crockpot and the day is free to take care of shopping, baking, errands, or editing a novel, as it is in our house. I had to do some thinking and planning but by doing that, I saved time and money. I wasn't sending my husband out for expensive takeout and we still ate decent. Not gourmet, but decent. This is something you might want to think through if you have an especially busy or demanding schedule in the weeks to come. I have a list of simple and easy meal solutions in my ebook if you'd like to check that out.
  • Keep my first priority: No matter what we have going on, I am committing to keep my time with God each morning a priority. During Advent, I am going through a devotion by Ann Voskamp called The Glorious Coming: A Jesse Tree Celebration of Advent. It's not too late to buy this wonderful ebook and get started, as I am only the 4th day. This daily devotion features a scripture reading and an application that shows how all of God's plans pointed to Christ's coming, starting with creation. This devotion is meant to do with your whole family but I am just doing it for myself.
  • Ask God: This devotion from Holly Good has inspired me that gift giving does not have to cost us anything financially. When we listen to God, He can inspire some pretty special gifts that surprise us and bless others. Be sure and read Melissa's blog post on her inspiration behind the gift.

Maybe with your financial situation, it's best for you to look around for what you can let go of. Maybe there are some things stressing you out that you need to say no to. Whatever your situation is, it's time to get serious about cutting what needs to be cut. My friend Molly has a great vlog this week on learning to say "no." Check it out at And check out Micca Campbell's "Tips For Reducing Holiday Stress."

You can have a joy-filled Christmas this year. Don't let the current economic climate or your family's busyness steal that from you. Let go of some things and see that life-- and Christmas-- does go on when you do.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hearts at Home blog post

I have a post up today over at the Hearts at Home blog. If you would like a game plan for organizing your Christmas, stop over there for a week by week look at what you can be doing.

Leave me a comment and let me know what one thing you are doing this week to prepare.

I will go first: I started decorating yesterday. And I ordered my cards on Monday and expect them in a week. And I got a good bit of shopping done on Black Friday.

So far, so good.

Stop by tomorrow for a post about having a simple Christmas.
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