Thursday, December 30, 2010

Comfort and Joy part 2

 When I left you last night, it was around 2:30am.  My Husband and I had just settled into bed and turned on the History Channel and dozed off to sleep.  About an hour later we were awakened buy a strange silence.....the kind that never happens.  No furnace running, the computers were not whirring, not even the refrigerator was making it's low hum.  

  For the second time in less than 24 hours the power had gone out!  I still don't know what happened, but at least it is back on now, and we can resume our normal "electricity" craving lives.  :)

  I have a few more items of comfort on my list.  Two come from this little chain store, maybe you have heard of it??  OLD NAVY??  One of my all time favorite places to shop, especially for the kids, because their prices are just right for back to school clothing.  AND they carry school uniforms.  My two youngest children wear school uniforms, and YES it is a PUBLIC school.  But that is a different story all together.

  On to MYfavorite Old Navy things for ME!  As I have already told you, I am often cold, so I dress in layers  ALL the time.  Old Navy makes these AWESOME tank tops, they are super long on the bottom.  For me, that is an incredible thing, because I am 5'8.  Nothing ever fits me right, and my shirts have a tendency to ride up in the back.

Right now they are on clearance for $4.99.  But in the summer time they will come out with more, I am sure.
   I wear these underneath their long sleeve v-neck or scoop neck T-shirts.
They aren't very fancy, but they are comfortable, and great for running around with the kids or grocery shopping!
   I pair these two tops often with a pair of jeans, and if it is cold outside, I throw a blazer or cardigan over the top of both of these.  The tanks run Large so my recommendation is ordering the size smaller than you would normally pick up.  

  Okay enough about clothing and p.j.'s.....I am almost at the end of my list now.  

  The next few items I have learned from experience are REALLY important to us all, and often the most over looked.  We spend half our lives in bed, even more time if you become ill for any reason.  Our beds and bedroom should be a haven of rest and comfort.  They should be an area we can retreat to after having a bad day, or when you are feeling lousy, and to go to daily to get rest and feel refreshed for the following day.  

  For a very long time I bought really cheap sheet sets, they always felt scratchy to me, and after a few washes looked dingy and thread bare.  In my mid 20's I developed an addiction to Martha Stewart and she explained thread count to the masses.  Even then, you could mostly only find high thread count sheets in department stores, and they cost an arm and a leg.  

  Now EVERY store you go to, EVEN WALMART has high thread count sheets.  If you haven't already bought yourself a set of sheets 300 thread count or higher, treat yourself now!  You won't regret it, I promise.  Most stores have their white sales in January, if you can afford it.........that would be a great time to invest in your first set. 
Filedcrest Brand at Target starting at $39.99
  You can find sets even less expensive than these if you shop sales.  But it is worth the investment.  I guarantee you will end up replacing the 200 thread count multiple times over, before these even start showing signs of wear.  They feel great against your skin, and make sliding under the covers a JOY every night.

  Great pillows can never be over rated either, I love feather pillows because they seem to last MUCH longer than their fiber fill brothers, and fluff back up again nicely for years to come.  Just remember to use a pillow protector as well as a pillowcase. 

 For those of you who may not know, I have been dealing with a knee injury for the last 9 months.  I recently had a surgery in hopes to repair some of the damage.  My life wouldn't have been the same without one of these handy little things.

I have had mine for years, but funny enough this is the EXACT one I have.  It folds up and slides next to your bed.  It is $24.98 and you can find it on this site Bed Tray
 Last on my list is the cheapest and the simplest.  Most of us have them all over our house collecting dust  somewhere.  Many of you SAVE them for special occasions...and end up throwing them away because once the dust collects on them, they can't be cleaned.  (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE)  LOL  :)  Just teasing.
 I don't know what it is exactly....but lighting candles just makes everything feel "better".  It doesn't have to be a special occasion.....just light them.  You can get them at the dollar store, and use them over and over until they are all gone!  Scented ones are great, tea lights are REALLY cheap, talking CENTS....especially if you buy them in bulk from a place like Ikea!  But my personal favorite, particularly in my bedroom are the "religious" candles.  They may have another name....but I don't know what it is.  They last a really long time, if you keep the wick trimmed and away from a draft.  I feel safer because they are in a glass holder, AND the best part.  They cost a dollar!  
These candles come in a bunch of colors too.  I have them in red, burgundy, white and off whiteI love how simple and elegant they are, and very inexpensive.
  I am not in any way telling you to go out and BUY all of these products.  I am telling you what things I already have that bring ME joy everyday.  Most importantly I am telling you that I had to actually "think" about these overlooked everyday items in my life, and realize that there are many simple pleasures I have been blessed with that often go unnoticed.  Even when things are not the way we would like them to be, and our checking account balance makes us cringe.  There are things like these in our lives that should be met with gratitude.  
  This is my way of showing you the abundance of "things" I have to be grateful for.  OH...I have so many more things like great kids and loving husband too.  I try to not ever take that for granted either.  But in a world full of so much STUFF.....I thought I would show you some of the stuff that makes me the happiest.  

 Part of this years Newest Journey is going to be about GRATITUDE.  Here is goal Number #1.  To take time to be grateful EVERY day!  

  What are you Grateful for?  Right now in this moment?
Blessings <3 Paula 

Comfort and Joy part 1

  Before I loose you all completely....I KNOW Christmas is OVER.  LOL  This isn't a post about Christmas.  While lying in the bathtub I was inspired to write this blog before I deal with all the heavy things I have been wrestling with lately.  

  Bathing is one of my all time FAVORITE things in the world to do.  It relaxes me completely.  Sometimes I read a book in the tub, sometimes I light candles, a glass of wine sometimes sits on the edge of the tub too.  I have the greatest bath pillow with suction cups to keep it secured in just the right place to rest your head.  It helps me regroup, and I often do my best praying there as well.  Now to the inspiration part.....I thought with most people having money issues now a days, why not blog about some of my favorite things that cost very little money and bring me "COMFORT and JOY"  every day of the year.  

  So here is the rest of my list in no particular order. 

 I have a coffee mug that I picked up at Walmart one day, just because I like the way it looked and felt in my hand.  I don't have the dishes or any other piece of the china.  But I drink out of this mug EVERY day.  Holding the heavy warmth of it in my hand in the mornings while getting my kids ready for school is the perfect start to my day.  I am very much a creature of habit when it comes to certain things, and when it is not clean, or someone else is using it....(totally drives me CRAZY)  the same level of soothing does not happen.  

The coffee cup is JUST the right size in my opinion.
   While we are on coffee mugs I thought I would mention the beverages IN them.  I love coffee in the morning, Folgers half and half.  Caffeine bothers me in excessive amounts so no strong stuff for me thank you.  I enjoy tea as well, but not nearly as much as I enjoy Motts hot cider drinks.  They are wonderful, and you can usually find them at Sam's club, in the fall.

  In the cold months There are a few things that I wear almost daily.  Knee socks have become a new love of mine.  I don't know why it took me so long to fall in love with these wonderful little things, but the warmth they add is astounding!  Who would have thunk it?  

As you see they come in all kinds of colors.  They are the best thing to put on in the morning when frost is in the air.

  I have Grave's Disease and Raynauds syndrome so I am often cold.  Have you noticed a theme yet?  Next is my robe and my knit slipper socks.  They ROCK.  I got them at Target last year right before I had the radioactive iodine procedure done to kill my thyroid.  
This robe is like wearing a fleece blanket.
Also from Target.  Soft warm and has little grippers on the bottom.
   While cuddled on the couch with my Hubby or kiddos, You can often find me underneath one of these.  
These look particularly luxurious, I couldn't find the ones I have, but they cost half the price of these.  About $20 to be exact.
   We like to keep the heat down to a reasonable but not balmy temperature.  As I mentioned I am often cold.  Between these throws, my robe, and my slippers I am a happy and cozy camper.  

  Ikea, is always one of my favorite places to visit.  Sometimes to shop and other times for inspiration, ( And the Swedish meatballs).  They have the best kitchen ware.  If you are a klutz like me, but don't want to drink wine out of a tumbler.  Have no fear, Ikea is here.  

$4.99 for 6 pack
 There is just something wonderful, comforting, and luxurious, about drinking a nice glass of wine with dinner, or on the porch with a friend, or sitting on the patio with your husband discussing the days events.  Something so simple, to feel so very pampered. 

  I will need to pick this back up tomorrow, but till then....What makes you happy?  Something small maybe?  Do you use it everyday?  I would love to hear from you!  

                                                      Blessings!  <3  Paula

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I've been up to since Christmas.....

  Christmas Day had an unexpected event that spoiled our family get together.  Our Sewer started backing up into the downstairs tub, and trying to find a plumber to come out on Christmas Day and root the line isn't an easy feat.  We called quite a few places before we even had someone pick up a phone!

  After a couple of hours, and $329 later, the problem still wasn't solved and the plumber was telling us that he thought he couldn't get his line to go through because the pipe had either shifted or broken.  He felt the cost would be starting at 5k and go up from there to fix it.

  Needless to say, after spending money on gifts that sent us into a panic!  We had to call off our visit with the extended family because you couldn't flush toilet paper down the toilet without risk of it backing up again!  I posted on Facebook that I was in need of a plumber and to please send me the info of anyone that my friends might know.  

 Long story short....(too late)  I was flooded with private messages and contacts from lots of long time friends suggesting people they knew or were related to and could trust.  My friend since childhood Mike is a plumber and contacted me himself.  Over the phone he spoke with my husband and told him he has never heard of that happening that far from the house, and it would be HIGHLY unlikely that was the problem.  After only about a half hour here, he had the entire problem resolved, and all it involved was some expertise and rooting the line!  He was able to get a 4 inch blade through the pipe!!  Broken my You know what!! Anyway a big Thanks to my Buddy Mike Freier again!!  You have no idea how much you helped us out!

  Since that day, I have been just taking it easy and re-evaluating/reflecting and praying on my life.  I realize that it is time for some SERIOUS change!  That is a post for another day. 

  Now, on to the fun we had last night.  I was clipping coupons and just finished watching my Jill Cataldo DVD that I received for Christmas from my Aunt Sue, (thanks again it was awesome).  I decided I was cold and wanted something warm to drink.  My Daughter followed me upstairs and we decided, spur of the moment to have a tea party before bed. 

We brought down our individual tea pots from the top of the kitchen cabinet, gave them a good wash and set up our tray for our tea service.

 My Daughter, Lexi then decided that I should read her a book while we sipped tea.  (She's 9)  I asked her what book would she like me to read, and she said she had the perfect book.  She wanted me to take pictures so I could "blog" about it.  I thought that was just darling, so of course I had to do what she requested.

 Here is the book she came out of her very PINK room with.  
Sorry about the glare, these pics were all taken from my iPhone. Is this cute  or what?

The tiara on the front is inside a pouch so you can wear it while you read the book!

She decided to serve our tea, but first had to run back to her room to get these...

All proper ladies serve tea with white gloves on, don't you know?
   Then she served our tea....

After we daintily sipped our tea, we decided to start reading the book.  She insisted I take pictures of all the neat pages that have pull-outs or pop-ups.  SHE LOVES pop-up books.  Every time I am at the library with her, we spend hours searching for pop-up books and wind up sitting on the floor between aisles pouring over all our finds!   

 Here are all the pages she had me photograph....

Our book had lots to say about character, kindness, thoughtfulness, and it ended with a true princess always smiles and lets her character shine through to the world.
I don't know about you, but I am pretty sure I have the "real deal" here!  Look at that lovely smile.  :)

 The majority of this week has been spent reflecting and praying about life and some changes that need to be made.  My Sons and Daughter are for sure THE most precious things in the world to of the changes NEEDS to be, spending more time doing things with them that THEY enjoy.  I spend lots of time with my kids, but not necessarily doing things that they enjoy doing....more like making them suffer through things I like doing.  Or things I feel need to be done.  I realize that it doesn't need to be some extravagant thing all the time either.  This little tea party cost NOTHING!  But will always be a treasured moment.  

Happy New Year! 
<3  Paula 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One of my favorite blogs to follow

 One of my most favorite blogs I follow is All Things Heart and Home
There are so many beautiful and inspirational things posted on this site.  I am linking my page to theirs today.  If you haven't ever stopped by this blog before be sure to check it out!  I guarantee to will be in blog heaven!   Merry Christmas <3

Monday, December 20, 2010

All Decked Out!

 I figured I didn't have much time to share the Christmas decorations from around the house, so I would post TWICE in ONE day.  My grocery and present shopping isn't complete yet either, so this will be my last post until after Christmas Day.    I will start with the Foyer.

I decided to use the metal wall pocket here next to the key rack that hangs by the back door.  It usually holds the dog leashes, but I have stored them away for the holidays.  I filled the wall pocket with a holly garland that we had in storage.

This is where I hung the garland from the thrift store.  I really like the way it looks with the candles lit.

The gold frames from the Salvation Army, that cost 65cents each!

Joy and Noel signs found at the Thrift store.  I thought worked well here in the foyer. 
With the help of my Hubby I created these on the computer to put inside the frames.  Do you recognize the background image?  I just had to use it again, I absolutely LOVE it.  I think they turned out VERY elegant.

 Now on to the living room!  

I made the Christmas music candles, inspired by Just following Jesus in my real life I aged mine using some water color pigments.  Stark white just doesn't work well in the living room with it's more Old World theme. 

I like the way they turned out with an aged look.  I suppose I could have tea stained them as well, but that would have taken more steps.

Our Old World Saint Nicholas looks wonderful here sitting on top of the piano. 

The shelves above the piano. 

I told you my Mom likes dolls.....  :)

Before I added the sheet music candles, but you get the idea.

The frame with my cuties in there now!

I added another DOLL for my Mother, she can't EVER say I don't love her....LOL  She looks sweet in the sleigh though.

My first Christmas "cloche"

Here is Santa from our treasure hunt, in my Mother's Christmas tree.

My children decorated the trees this year, because I am still recovering from knee surgery.  I am amazed at the outstanding job they did!  My BOYS did the lions share of the work.

The kids decorating the tree.

Douglas putting the angel on the tree! 

Truth is today they were making me CRAZY, but when I look at these pictures I am reminded that they really are great kids!  How many kids would do this, for a perfectionist Mother, willingly, without complaint??  Thank You Jesus, for blessing me with such amazing kids!

Here is where the garland on the red rope wound up.  It worked out well for the top of the China cabinet.

I HAD to show you this piece of decor.  It tickles me more than any of them, because My little girl put this together while I was at the grocery store.  When I came home, I was so distracted that I didn't really realize what she was telling me she had done. I barely glanced in that direction.   The following day, after I had gotten the kids off to school is when I REALLY noticed what she had done.  It brought tears to my eyes when I  realized she is EMULATING  me, and I didn't even take the time to notice.  Again, a very humbling experience.  I am constantly reminded how important it is to stop and listen to what my children have to say.

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This is my favorite Christmas decoration, for many reasons. Being a Christian, the nativity scene is very important to me.  This Nativity, however,  is the one I grew up with and played with as a child.  My Mother at one point replaced it, and during my teen years we used a white bisque porcelain nativity.  It was rather modern and trendy at the time. Many years passed, I became the main decorator of both households, and I came across our old one while unpacking decorations.  It has a music box on the back that plays Away in a Manger.  I wanted to use it desperately, but after unpacking it, I noticed that Joseph was missing.  We couldn't find just a Joseph figurine that was the right scale or color scheme. After lots of searching my Mother found the entire Holy Family on ebay and they look perfect!  I have so many memories of acting out the Christmas story with the figurines when I was a child, that this nativity is Very dear to me!  Recently, I have found my Daughter playing with it as well, and dancing ballerina style to the music box!  

  Now on to the Family room! 

The top of the fridge in the family room.  I am still giddy about these finds.  Every time I look over at this little vignette it puts a smile on my face!

Snowflakes are the main theme of this tree.  I love snowflakes and snowmen!

My Love putting the lights on the tree for me.  Even though I grew up with multicolored lights, I prefer white lights.  Go Figure...........

Sorry some of these pictures are so blurry.  They are from my iPhone.

Again, my Children decorated our tree in the family room.  It turned out beautiful!

A gift from a family we used to attend church with. 

The three stockings in the middle were thrift store finds, still looking for two more to replace the other stockings on the end.

My Mother found this tree skirt a few years back.  I absolutely love it.  It has all the colors I love to decorate with.  Cranberry, Forest Green, Olive Green, Silver, and Gold it shouldn't be a surprise that Autumn is my favorite time of year.

 I hope you have enjoyed your tour of our home.  I really do enjoy decorating for the holidays!  Many Blessings to all of you this Holiday season.  I pray you all take time to slow down for at least a little while, cuddle with the ones you love, and just enjoy each other.  
                                                                      Merry Christmas!  Paula