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How Much Too Much?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Don't really know: but yeah, much too much!!

Cinnamon bun and fresh fruit salad for breakfast. Quite a few appetizers. Mostly shrimp, raw veggies with humus/salsa . . . but also a couple of cheesie pastries. And two Virgin Caesars.

And then: a small serving of each of everything I'd put on the table. Turkey, stuffing, smashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots, corn, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, a small croissant with butter and . . . I simply clocked in somebody's 2011 Thanksgiving Dinner on the nutrition tracker as a kind of proxy -- such a wild number that it's gotta be more than I actually ate -- - and that person had very kindly included fat and protein and calories and carbs. Thank you!!

It was a great day -- family, friends, music, laughter, some lovely gifts: and too much food. My brother-in-law brought home made-lemon blueberry cheesecake and I even had a sliver of that! -- with a tiny sliver of cherry pie!!.

And now I'm taking all of it to the gym.

I very very rarely eat those kind of foods. Today I'm reminded of why I don't: my digestive system is simply not geared up to accommodate them! Not just the calories, but in particular that amount of fat. And that length of time sitting, although believe me, I also did a lot of zooming around the kitchen wrassling everything onto the table. Even my patented "pre fab" approach (frozen pre-stuffed turkey, canned cranberry sauce with add-ins, canned turkey gravy with thyme and sage etc. etc. ) does not eliminate all of the labour!

Suffice it to say, I had more than an elegant satiety. I know that I'll feel much much better when I've burned a little of it on the elliptical cross trainer. And done a lower body ST workout!

Bring it on!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANCY- 12/27/2011 3:22PM

    Those kind of meals help me measure my progress in my quest to be healthier. There are things that can be tweaked. WTG on making things simple and being kind to you.

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_LINDA 12/26/2011 10:58PM

    Good one Donna, all too true! I can't work off my calories yet, got to have patience. Good for you with your discipline Ellen! Sounds like you didn't do too much damamge!

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DONNACFIT 12/26/2011 5:16PM

    Christmas Cheer ends up on my rear!! Haha..oh I over ate too and now I'm ready to gear up to burn off those extra calories!

Happy Boxing Day..maybe we should do some "kick boxing"

Look out exercise bike!!

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DDOORN 12/26/2011 2:50PM

    Yep, back at it here...have staked out my 4.5 mile loop for Nordic Walking and jogging @ DS & D-i-L's.


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TRYINGHARD1948 12/26/2011 2:07PM

    I think quite a few of us will be feeling the same way today Ellen. So lovely to enjoy a few days without guilt and then get right back to normal. We can do it.

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PHEBESS 12/26/2011 1:05PM

    Sounds like a wonderful Christmas - and Boxing Day is here to burn off those Christmas calories!

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TRAVELGRRL 12/26/2011 10:55AM

    Well, thank goodness Christmas only comes once a year!!!

We went out to eat, which means no leftovers in my house! Yay.
I don't eat like that very often either, and I ended up going to bed early -- it must have been the overload of all the bad stuff that made me feel so sluggish.

I'm with you -- already have my 4 mile walk in today and ready to get back to some healthy eating!

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NEWKAREN43 12/26/2011 10:52AM

    Track it all and take it to the gym...that's the recipe for success even when we overindulge a bit! Good for you!!!

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Mary made Christmas happen the first time . . . .

Friday, December 23, 2011

. . . . . and it must have been difficult. Worrying.

Money worries? Certainly: the taxes were due, after all. Not easy.

Riding a donkey to Bethlehem at 8.9 months pregnant? Not easy.

No room in the inn, having to labour and deliver in a stable? Not easy.

And then accepting that she was the mother of the Messiah? Couldn't have been easy at all.

But: (and meaning no disrespect, absolutely none) Mary only had to do it once. Once only.

Moreover, she had lots of help.

The greetings department was expertly managed by a heavenly host of angels. Better than Christmas cards or emails: no trips to the post office, no stamps, no inbox overloads from photo blogs.

The shepherds visiting handled all the travel arrangements themselves. No pickups at the airport or the bus station.

Gift shopping? Thank to the magi, all wrapped up and delivered. No Visa bills after the event.

House cleaning? Not a big concern, under the circumstances. Maybe a little extra hay spread around.

Baking? The baby Jesus wasn't yet interested in gingerbread houses. No shortbread required for refreshments after the church pageant.

Decorating? One big star seems to have done the trick.

Music? A little lowing from the cattle . . . that apparently sufficed.

But since that first Christmas, all over the world women make Christmas happen over and over again, year after year, for their families. Maybe you're helping your mother and your sisters. Or it's your first time alone, Your fifth. Perhaps you've done it thirty times. Will do it fifty times, or more. In your lifetime. With help from your daughter as you get older.

Because in most families, it still is women who do most of the work. Who make Christmas happen. For everyone. Their own families, their relatives, and anyone who needs a place to go that special day so as not to be alone.

Okay, we're not pregnant every year. But most of us have been pregnant (or with young children) quite a few Christmases And young, middle aged, or getting on in years we still handle the visitors, the cleaning, the gift shopping, the wrapping, the grocery shopping, the baking, the meal planning, the decorations, the entertainment, the . . . yeah. All of that.

And did I mention, we also get ourselves all dooded up a bit too? Hair. Makeup. A pretty seasonal outfit. That's also suitable for leaning into a hot oven and lifting out a fully stuffed turkey??

Mary did it once. Once only, And by all accounts she kept it simple.

As I sit down in my house (decorated) with a fridge full of groceries and a small mound of gifts (wrapped) I think of Mary.

And what she did, once. Simply. Magnificently. Joyously.

What all of us have done over the past month. And what all of us will do, over the next 48 hours.

Mary Christmas? We are!! And Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas!!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYLSLYNN 12/29/2011 2:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon I WANT TO BE MORE LIKE MARK AND KEEP IT SIMPLE. I WANT TO KEEP MY LIFE SIMPLE SERVING GOD.

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MA_DIDDLES 12/26/2011 10:26PM


Comment edited on: 12/26/2011 10:28:59 PM

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GOOSIEMOON 12/24/2011 10:15PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 12/24/2011 1:49PM

    Having no children and never will, I do appreciate all the work mothers (especially mine) puts into making Christmas special for her children and grandchildren when they gather round. She has been going since five o' clock this morning without any help or respite. My poor step dad is next to useless. He can't cook or clean, but he can do a little wrapping, but the effort Mom puts into getting him to do it sometimes is too much and she gets it done quicker herself. Can't keep him away from his puzzles (he plays solitaire on the computer and sudoku and crosswords most of the day when he is not falling asleep while doing it). So yes, Moms deserve kudos, and as much help as they can get from their fellow women.
But wouldn't it be nice to go back to simpler times.
I hope you vcan enjoy the Christmas you have worked so hard for!!

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PHEBESS 12/24/2011 11:54AM

    Sending you Happy Merry Christmas wishes, and may you have much love and laughter in the coming year!

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EBPOOKIE 12/24/2011 1:49AM

    Most wonderful and thank you and you have yourself a Merry Merry Christmas!! and a great 2012!

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ANYVAR54 12/24/2011 12:11AM

    Thank you, our mutual friend SHERRIE_BERRY shared this with me. I am glad she did. Thank you. Good blog. good thoughts.
My daughter is helping me with Christmas this year, we are having it at her house.
And we do have a little one, her brothers son is 22 mths old.
And my daughter has one on the way. Due in July.
What a blessing this Christmas is, and will be.

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DDOORN 12/23/2011 11:38PM

    Oh hey, Christmas would pale if it wasn't for the efforts of all you lovely women out there...absolutely no DOUBT about that!

Lovely thoughts...thx for sharing!


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SHERRIE_BERRY 12/23/2011 10:45PM

    Wow!!! This is the most inspirational, beautiful blog I have ever read!

Merry Christmas to you!

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The darkest evening of the year

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter solstice is, of course, the darkest evening of the year: and it's no coincidence that so many religions have a celebration of light, the gradually lengthening days to come.

Many of us will remember school days studying or even memorizing Robert Frost's deceptively simple poem on the topic:

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

We stop and ponder the dark moments. Contemplate surrender to darkness. And then move on. To keep our commitments. Because there are more tasks to be completed.

And always the potential to be relieved by light, surprised by joy.

My first pot of narcissus was somewhat disappointing. The bulbs produced vigorous green leaves but only one blossom. I've got another pot which looks more promising. And my pink amaryllis is budding.

DS and DD, both home for the holidays, have been busily decorating the house while DH and I are at work. It was lovely to come home last night to see the Christmas tree, lit up, in the dining room bay window. And the Christmas village alight on the mantle.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 12/24/2011 1:54PM

    Lovely poem and thoughts! So glad your children are home and helping out!! Sorry about the lack of blooms :( Hope your other one does better!
I feel real guilty I am not home with Mom helping her out. She has been running herself to exhaustion looking after me and now all the extra prep, cooking and cleaning getting ready for her other daughter and son and children to descend on her little bungelow. The kids are all grown except my sister's youngest Maddy, at 15, so big appetites coming. Mom started out making latkes!
Hope you have a wonderful time with your family!

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SLENDERELLA61 12/23/2011 3:13PM

    Love the celebration of light! That your kids decorated the tree and mantle for your return -- well, that is just cool!! Wishing you much light and joy this season and throughout the year. -Marsha

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NANCY- 12/23/2011 10:05AM

    Sorry about the disappointing narcissus, I was looking forward to your description of them to bring a bit of light into winter.
Even at the darkest time there are ways to bring light into our lives. Celebrate the darkness with dance.
Thanks for reminding us not to surrender.

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CARRAND 12/22/2011 7:11PM

    I love that Robert Frost poem. Thanks again for sharing.

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SALSIFY 12/22/2011 6:23PM

    I've already been celebrating that the nights are getting shorter as I thought the winter solstice was yesterday, not today - but I was wrong! I always feel better when I know the nights are getting shorter - I'm so not suited to living in a Northerly latitude.


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TRAVELGRRL 12/22/2011 6:20PM

    I DID have to memorize this poem in eighth grade; it was always one of my favorites!

I'm glad your children are home; how heartwarming to see them participating so fully in family traditions.

When I lived in Michigan (frozen north) I always loved to watch an amaryllis grow and bloom during the dark and coldness of winter...now we can enjoy pansies outside all winter long.

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family, Watermellen!

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PHEBESS 12/22/2011 10:41AM

    And how did I know that would be your poem?

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!!!! Wishing you much joy and laughter in the coming year, dear friend!

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DONNACFIT 12/22/2011 9:53AM

    Thanks for sharing!! Enjoy your family and Merry Christmas!!

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LINDAJ0621 12/22/2011 8:14AM

    Beautiful blog! Enjoy this magical time of the year with your family and loved ones!
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EMGERBER 12/22/2011 7:50AM

    Thanks I had totally forgotten about winter solstice.

Christmas is fast approaching and it is so nice to have family members home who have been away.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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What did you buy yourself for Christmas??

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last Monday was my annual Christmas shopping day . . . and I got most of it done.

But: today I was out looking for the "stocking stuff". Silly little items, mostly . . . A tiny toy airplane for my son, who's training to be a pilot. A princess tiara with glittery purple rhinestones and marabou for my darling daughter! Some dark chocolate . . . .

And I spotted some 100% cotton flannel ladies shirts. A red/black/white check. A grey/black/white check.

I've been wanting a couple cozy flannel shirts for awhile. To wear over a long-sleeved T or under a sweater, with my jeans on the weekends.

The Lands End or Woolrich or Eddie Bauer versions are nice . . . but pricey. Fifty bucks and up . . . plus shipping and customs into Canada.

These were marked down to $15 each. Well made, roll tabs on the sleeves, small breast pockets with the plaid on the diagonal and nicely matched horizontally across the front placket. Soft. Feminine fitted cut.

The check out gal asked me, "Are these for you?"

"Yes," I said. I bit shame faced. Wondering how she knew; maybe something proprietary about my pat as I folded them up. "Guess I shouldn't be shopping for myself/"

( I'm thinking that the red one will be great with my black jeans . . . and I've got a nice black jeans belt, leather, with appliquéd red leather stars. The grey will be great with my grey jeans . . . and yeah, I have the same belt with white stars as well!! Those belts were $2 each . . . love them).

By this point, check out gal has all my purchases parcelled up. And she is grinning at me. "We all do it, " she said. "We all buy something for ourselves while we're out Christmas shopping for gifts for everybody else."

So: what did you buy yourself for Christmas?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 12/21/2011 8:32AM

    I don't go shopping very often; it's not an activity I enjoy. So at Christmas, when I do shop, I have occasionally decided that I like a gift so much that I bought another one for myself.

Enjoy your family this holiday season!

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FROSTIERACES 12/19/2011 1:36PM

    You should always shop for you sweetest Ellen! I sometimes will buy two of something when it's a gift for a friend or family and if I love it too..I buy myself one too. Yet I know that feeling very well.

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KALIGIRL 12/19/2011 11:49AM

    emoticon all Santa's gifts (with DH along of course)!

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_LINDA 12/18/2011 10:45PM

    Good for you! Sounds cozy, I love soft cotton clothing. I guess my new wardrobe is what I have been buying for myself..
Little over the top really. What you bought yourself pales in comparison!

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LISALGB 12/18/2011 9:55PM

    While shopping for my brother, who is impossible to buy for, I bought myself a new purse. I am a sucker for a great purse (as if I don't already have too many.)
Shopping for others is fun, but it is also fun to pick up a little something for ourselves!! emoticon
Your flannel shirts sound wonderful!! I love a great, comfy shirt.
Merry Christmas!! emoticon

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TBANMAN 12/18/2011 11:09AM

    While buying a sweater for a friend, I bought one for me too.


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NANCY- 12/18/2011 8:16AM

    SCORE!!!! Enjoy the flannel! You deserve it.

I usually wait until my birthday to get something. Hair done, pedicure, reflexology, a day of relaxing shopping. I'll pay full price for a gift for others, but the sales close to Christmas are when I will snag a something or two just for me. This year I pretty much already have what I need,
What I love to do on my birthday is to turn some soothing Christmas music and sip a little something while gazing at the lovely Christmas tree. Reflecting and projecting. Ah I cannot wait for tomorrow.

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SLENDERELLA61 12/17/2011 11:38PM

    I think buying something for yourself at Christmas is a good practice. But the only thing I can think of that I bought myself this year is pathetic. I bought a whole bunch of scotch tape. Natalie loves to play with it and I need it to wrap packages. I almost ordered myself 3 bras online, but my computer hung up and I haven't tried it again. If the free shipping is gone, I'll wait for my favorite style to come to my local store. So, I think you have pointed out a weakness in my Christmas shopping. Honestly, I haven't bought much this year for Christmas and haven't gotten me anything of consequence. Maybe I will. This is my first Christmas actually retired and I think I'm still adjusting to new financial situation. I don't feel poor, I just feel uncertain.

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PHEBESS 12/17/2011 11:30PM

    I'm trying to order two Eileen Fisher scoop neck, long sleeve, cropped viscose tops - like a long sleeve cropped T shirt, in viscose rayon - to wear in the winter over a tank with a skirt, with slacks - even over a simple tank dress. One in black, one in cobalt blue. They'll be perfect for travelling - because they're multipurpose and they don't wrinkle!

They don't have the VI on their "state" menu so I have to call in the order, and keep getting put on hold.

And I love a plaid flannel shirt over a pencil skirt, belted - sporty and warm!!!

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KMICHA 12/17/2011 10:26PM

    I haven't done that . . . yet! There is still a week left! LOL!!!

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SCOOTERGIRLOZ 12/17/2011 9:40PM

    Hi and big thanks for your warm congratulations. Very appreciated.

We splurged on portrait photo sittings as my Xmas gift.

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Hope you have a great holiday time.

Scootergirl in Oz

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MARITIMER3 12/17/2011 9:27PM

    "Sarah's Key", because I'd seen the movie and wanted to read the book.

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BMEIER2543 12/17/2011 9:08PM

    a new watch that caught my eye :)

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DONNACFIT 12/17/2011 8:32PM

    Yeah while shopping in Williston, ND on Thursday I bought a beautiful snow flake necklace, coffee cup polar fleece pjs, a Christmas t-shirt, new makeup etc all for me :) haha

Merry Christmas to me!!

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JERZGURL_NAN 12/17/2011 8:28PM

    Nothing intentional for me - but I did order a gift that I'm going to keep since my granddaughter already has it and it was pretty cool.

However, I came home f rom work the other day and the New Toby Keith CD was playing. DH had purchased it for himself, while the one I bought him is wrapped and under the tree. His loss. lol

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CARRAND 12/17/2011 8:16PM

    I bought myself two sweaters - very soft and pretty - and they were 40% off.

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Christmas Under Control? Good Enough!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Every year the boss (that's me) grants me one day off to get Christmas stuff done.

That day was yesterday.

And: it was sunny, not snowy, not too cold -- perfect "driving around in a mad frenzy" weather. (After, of course, a leisurely couple hours at the gym, to get me in the proper mood!)

We did put our outdoor lights up Sunday (so that our DS and DD will get the full benefit, pulling in the driveway). Now that was very cold work. But they do look great -- well, maybe a little droopy, not precision-installed or anything -- but in the "traditional" pattern that we have used all the years we've lived in this house. Creating a bit of a "triumphal arch" effect which we know they like especially on returning home after a long time away: our son since his flying visit for Canadian Thanksgiving in October, our daughter for almost two years in Australia.

And: we bought our tree. A tall balsam fir, still bundled up (so it would fit into my car, using the back seat pass-through for the trunk) and got it stored in the garage. Because the kids will want to help put that up. Christmas snarling over snarled strings of indoor lights being traditional too.

Yesterday was all about buying a few gifts (we don't do much around this actually). Basically pjs, slippers, books, a couple DVDs. A new toy for Charlie. All carefully and lovingly selected, however, without rushing. With a focus on creating that "Christmas at home cozy warmth and kick back" feeling. This year my sister and I are scheduling a post-Christmas "sisters' day" for a makeup/photo session -- business pics for our respective websites. So I did not gift shop for her. Not that shopping for her is ever the least bit difficult: we really know what each other likes!

So my Christmas organization day meant I must have been on my feet for well over five hours. But: on a Monday the stores weren't very crowded. There wasn't much shoving or clerk-surliness. And, yeah: it's mostly done. Other than buying groceries (using my patented "pre-fab less flab" approach: frozen appetizers, pre-stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes in sous vide bag -- all of course with my own "cheater" special touches such as a bit of orange rind grated into the canned cranberry sauce, a little thyme in the canned turkey gravy), and putting up the decorations sometime between the 20th and the 24th!! The light-up Christmas village on the mantel; the felt stockings I made when DH and I were first married 32 years ago, adding a stocking for each of the children now 27 and 24 years ago.

I've been three days out of the office, checking in only by email -- and I know there is lots of urgent stuff waiting for me.

So: ready to go in and stamp out as many little fires as possible.

Because: Christmas is under control!! Yes it is!! I am (thank you Bruno Bettleheim) a "good enough" mother. And we will have a "good enough" Christmas. Sometimes (with apologies to Voltaire) the "good enough" is better than the best!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 12/20/2011 7:01PM

    I love the way you described the lights and archway...sounds beautiful! All for the kids I know this well! Is my Christmas under control.....well as much control as I can have from 3000 miles away, yes. I basically am sending my kids cash. They love that. But they hate me being away. This is only temporary, tho my husband would LOVE to live here permanently. I would too, if it were in a couple years. He could easily work from here, however I cannot do my work as a Mom from here. Plus, my cooking school venture got totally derailed. So...we're here for the winter, but then, thankfully back home we go! I will probably decorate to high heavens next year to make up for not doing it this year! Missed reading your blogs!

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TBANMAN 12/17/2011 3:55PM

    Excellent reminder that Christmas isn't about being "perfect," which leads to more stress than it should. "Good enough" is definitely good enough!

Merry Christmas!

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TRYINGHARD1948 12/16/2011 8:29PM

    A stress free Christmas is definitely the way to go. Loved the blog and I hope you all have a wonderful reunion.

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PENNYAN45 12/16/2011 12:45AM

    It sounds like a lovely Christmas you have put together for your family. How very nice that both your children will be home with you for the holiday.
May your days together be merry and bright!

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_LINDA 12/13/2011 10:17PM

    What an awesome family get together! That is cool you and your sister get some girl time too, even if its a little business mixed in. Traditional lights are always enjoyable to see driving by. That is great you will put up and decorate the tree together! What a productive and sensible shopping day you had! I usually can never get it in all in one day. My sister does baking as gifts now rather than bothering with presents. She now knows my weakness for her daughter's ginger snaps lol. It even surpasses my love of chocolate, that is saying a lot to how very,very good they are.
You painted such a wonderful picture of your preparations, don't need a photo to imagine it!
Hope your work days aren't too swamped and you get those fires put out quickly!

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CARRAND 12/13/2011 5:02PM

    Your Christmas preparations sound wonderful! How lovely that your children will be home for the holidays. My daughter will not be home this year, and that pains me, but we had a nice visit for her birthday, so that will have to do. My son will be here, and of course my dear husband. I'm spreading things out. I got packages wrapped yesterday, and mailed today. I may not even put up a tree. One less thing for the cats to knock down!

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NANCY- 12/13/2011 12:32PM

    Love your attitude. I'm going to try and do the good enough as perfection doesn't really exist and really stresses everyone out.
Thank you for sharing it helps me to envision a relaxed Christmas.

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FREELADY 12/13/2011 10:26AM

    I am pondering what you said. Yes, I am a "good enough" mother . . . how you expressed that is so helpful.

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PHEBESS 12/13/2011 10:25AM

    I love the idea of a day off to get ready for the holiday - DH's office always gave one day as a shopping day! (School doesn't have that option.)

And YAY for being ready!!!!!

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LISALGB 12/13/2011 9:25AM

    You really have it all under control!! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, with all the traditions and precious time spent together.


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LINDAJ0621 12/13/2011 8:48AM

    Sounds like your family will enjoy a wonderful and traditional Christmas together. We also emphasize the "together" and traditions versus overbuying meaningless gifts. Our children (24 & 29) both live away from home now, so our biggest gift is time together as a family.
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TRAVELGRRL 12/13/2011 8:22AM

    Giving yourself permission to be "good enough", when paired with a relaxed day and a relaxed family is ALWAYS the best!

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DDOORN 12/13/2011 8:18AM

    You are on your way, aren't you? Love your idea of a jump-start @ the gym! :-)


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GROEDER 12/13/2011 7:52AM

    It sounds like you are very in control of the situation!!!
Have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy your family time together.

Comment edited on: 12/13/2011 7:52:54 AM

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ELRIDDICK 12/13/2011 7:34AM

  Thanks for sharing

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