Our Chirstmas was every bit as relaxing and precious and memorable as we hoped it would be. But now, we are all feeling the drive to finally get off the couch and jump into our new year.
I have always been a huge fan of ringing in the New Year. I love the space after Christmas to sit down with my husband and a good cup of coffee to evaluate what worked and didn't work about 2016 and set our intentions for 2017. I believe that we are much less likely to break new ground in the New Year if we aren't setting our sights on what we want to achieve. But that, of course, can be a slippery slope. I have a strong tendancy to make my goals lofty to the point of nearly unachieveable and then spend the first month of my year pressuring myself to get a running start on goals I'll probaly never reach.
Last year around this time I heard New Year's resolutions referred to as New Year's experiments. That definitely registered with me as a healthier practice. So I created the worksheet below to help me identify the areas of my life that I cared about improving and set manageble goals that seemed within easy reach. Recently I've been exploring bullet journalling and I'm using that platform break my yearly goals in bite sized chunks through weekly goal setting and forming daily tasks. I'll be writing soon with my advise on starting a bullet journal without adding extra stress.
Finally, Ben and I pick our word of the year. I like to choose a word that embodies the progress I want to make professionally, spiritually, and relationally. I try to dwell on that word as I make foundational choices for scheduling my new year. My word for this year is, "Abide." My hope is tht I can rest in my job before starting my graduate work, that I can create white space in my calander to fill with kingdom work and unstructured time with friends and family, and that I can find quiet in my mornings and through each hour of my day to abide in the presence of my Savior and savor this season, storing it up in my heart.
If you would like to use our worksheet to create some guidelines for your 2017 experiment, click the link below to download, and I'll be wishing you a lovely New Year.
I can't begin to explain how excited I was to send out our very first Christmas cards. I started shopping designs around Halloween but was blown away by how EXPENSIVE they all were. I wanted to send 100 cards and knew I already had to pay around $50 for stamps (woah), so spending hundreds more on the cards and envelopes was not an option. I finally figured out the perfect strategy and bought my 100 Christmas Cards and envelopes for less than $15 total! Here's how!
Start by visiting canva.com (the link is below) and uploading your favorite photo of you and your family. Then use their free editing tools to overlay text. I ended up making two because I just couldn't decide!
When your design is excatly the way you want it, download the edited image to your computer in an easily accessile spot. Then, hop over to snapfish.com (also linked below) and upload your edited photo. They are currently running the same sale that I took advantage of it, so check it out soon! Snapfish is selling up to 100 prints for a penny each right now when you use the promo code YULEPRT. For me the shipping cost $2.99 so the toal cost of printing and shipping all my Christmas cards was only $3.99!
So! Next it was time to order envelopes and the most cost effecitive option I could find (that was still gorgeous and perfectly sized) were the 4x6 photo envelopes linked below. They were only $9.99 with shipping so my total Christmas cards costs came up to a little under $14!
One of my favorite things about Christmas cards are the little updates on the lives of the families in the pictures so I wrote up this little outline of our first few months of marriage, printed 8 to a page, cut them all out and added them to each card.
Finally I used the monogrammed stamp I used on our wedding invitations on the seal in the back, and mailed them out!
Hopefully this helps you pull together some money smart Christmas cards this year! Please let me know if you have any questions! I would love to help!
There are just no words for how much I just love Christmas. Yes my home has been decorated since November 3rd, but now the whole world is completely on board the Christmas train and I love life in December. I really believe the best, most joyful, and youthful part of every person comes out this time of year and the hustley bustley cheer of this whole month just lights up my heart. SO I have been littering this first week of December with Christmas activities and here are my top three recommendations to kick off your season!
Visit a Christmas Tree Farm
Even if you put up an artificial tree, just walking around a Christmas tree farm is the perfect kick-start to the season. My family drove up to Saum's Tree Farm, all the ladies wore blanket scarves, we took a zillion pictures (duh), and made the boys cut down the trees. The atmosphere was so precious with free cookies and hot chocolate, wreath making kits for your extra tree trimmings, and Santa and Mrs. Claus in the cabin for the kids (and me) to visit. Ben and I headed straight to the Anderson home to deck the first tree and then back to our own house to trim ours. It was the perfect Christmasy day.
When I got back to school on Monday my kids were so jazzed to tell me that they put up their Christmas trees over the weekend, but I think I might have been even more excited. My second graders and I probably spent a bit too long debating real vs. artifical trees.
Advent started super early this year with Thanksgiving falling so soon, so the first Advent Sunday was last week. BUT it's not too late to start celebrating the anticipation of Jesus's coming. My family has always celebrated Advent with our dinner table wreath, devotions, and a big birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Day. I love love love our family Advent traditions but this year I wanted to dive into studying God's words about Jesus and his humble arrival and let the Lord work in my heart in the quiet of this season and not just the hustle. So my mom, sister, and I are working through She Reads Truth's Advent Study together and I love the sacred pausing it has ushered into my life. I definitely recommend carving out minutes of reflection and calm to soak up the beauty this time. Click the link to buy the Advent study for yourself or the people you love.
I've written before about how valuable I think it is to support small businesses but that is especially true during the Christmas season when your money can go straight into the hand of a small business owner building up your local community or to a faceless corporation. Ben and I got to shop at the Worthington downtown open house (check out the clothes at Vernacular. I'm obsessed.) and sip coffee at the beautiful Paper City Coffee in Chillicothe. But even if you can't get into a physical store front to shop, click the link below to check out online small businesses that are doing good in the world AND making beautiful and giftable products. Spend and give wisely and compasisonately this Christmas!
How do you and your family kick off Christmas? Tell me all about it!
Tomorrow I get to host this year’s Friendsgiving at our home and I’m just about as excited as I can be. I’ve been hard at work on my Pumpkin Cheesecake for the last two-ish hours and listening to my favorite Friendsgiving playlists to get in the spirit. I love the beautiful new tradition of gathering your family of friends to practice gratitude for each other and touching base before everyone heads off for the holidays. What a perfect way to kick off the whole holiday season. Here are my top three new finds for hosting or attending your Friendsgiving!
1. Plaid Skirt
I have been actively looking for a plaid skirt all fall and finally found the perfect one. I love the tiny little flair and the school appropriate length. With Old Navy’s Pre-Black Friday sale tonight, you can snag this for under $20!
2. Pumpkin Cheesecake
I am WAY into baking cheesecakes this holiday season! I posted a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake in my last post that is wonderful and time efficient, BUT if you are looking for the authentic cheesecake experience, this is your recipe. You’ll have to take on a water bath (not as scary as it sounds), homemade crust, over 12 hours of total committed time, the works. But spending this evening sipping wine, chatting with company, and building this giant cheesecake one piece at a time makes preparing for Friendsgiving feel so special. Click below for the recipe!
Music is so necessary for setting the perfect atmosphere. I wanted something that felt old fashioned, high quality, a little folksy, and very chill. I also wanted a new Christmas album to keep me company during my prep time. Here are my picks. For the meal we will be streaming Starbuck’s Thanksgiving Gathering Playlist. I know this sounds incredibly basic, but it’s so GOOD. Click to check that out.
As far as my new Christmas album, I can’t stop won’t stop listening to Christy Nockel’s brand new Christmas project, The Thrill of Hope. Gorgeous, touching, and the perfect blend of traditionally festive and unique. Listen to it and then please tell me how obsessed with it you are. ESPECIALLY, “Silent Night (Holding Us Now).” Wow.
Welcome! I'm a brand new wife, first year music teacher, Jesus follower, and am chronically curious about just about everything. Join me as I start off a whole new life.
"I am the Vine, you are the Branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."