Monday, December 23, 2019

On Christmas Break

From My Home and Heart to Yours:  MERRY CHRISTMAS and A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I will be taking a two week break so I can spend a lot of time cuddling with these two little ones!  I will return to a regular blogging schedule on January 6th!

Have A Great Holiday!  Amy

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Our Utah Adventure: Day Three: Part IV: Bryce Canyon "Navajo Loop"

 This is a continuation of a travel series to Utah.  To start at the beginning, go  HERE.  The rest of the posts in chronological order are HERE,  HEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHERE, HERE, and HERE!

In last week's travel post we started our hike into the canyon on the "Queen's Garden Trail".  Now, you can go back up the same way you came down or you hook into the "Navajo Loop" to get back to the rim of the canyon.  We decided we didn't want to just turn around and go back, so we took the Navajo Loop Trail back.

I enclosed a map of the trails as my explanation can get complicated.  Because he Navajo Loop Trail is a loop,  if you hook into it from another trail like we did you are going to miss half of it.  We went back up to the rim via the south side of the trail because we really wanted to see "Wall Street" (An amazing trail and the best trail in the park in my opinion.   I will feature it after Christmas break).  But because we took that part of the loop back to our car, we missed "Two Bridges".  "Thor's Hammer" can be seen from Sunset Point because it is so large, so we didn't miss that.

So in other words, this post will only cover half of the Navajo Loop trail because that is all we saw.  You can always google "Two Bridges, Bryce Canyon" if you want to see what the other half of the trail is like.

Navajo Loop Trail is very different than Queen's Garden or the Rim Walk.  You are deep in the canyon, but it seems more forestry, and you can actually find a little bit of shade here and there.  I thought the contrast of the evergreens growing among the rock was breath-taking.  I also marveled how they could grow at all in such a dry, rocky, landscape.

The loop is 1.3 miles and is only open as a loop in summer because Wall Street is too dangerous to hike other times of the year.

My "boys" always like to have fun taking pictures like this.

I enjoyed crawling into this little hole, can you see me?  Boy was I covered in dust after I did this!

Here's a close up of me in the same hole.

We did see horseback riders in the distance.  Can you see them in the upper center of this picture?  I had no idea you could horseback in Bryce Canyon.  If I took this trip all over again, I would definitely do this.  It's pretty hard hiking for five days, it would have been a nice break. I believe it costs around $65 per person.

It's always nice when they put benches on a trail, and this trail had a few shady stone benches to enjoy.  My son and I spotted this one and sat down for a few minutes to rest and wait for my husband to catch up.  He usually always trails behind us as he is always stopping to take photos.  When he caught up to us he laughed and said "Uh, I don't know if that's the best place to sit.  You should see what is above you".  Unbeknownst to us, we were sitting under a gigantic rock formation that looked like it could tip over at any moment! 🤣.   You'll be able to see it in the picture after this one.

I will be taking a two week Christmas break starting next week Monday.  My Utah travel posts will resume after the New Year.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

December Bible Journaling Pages

I am finally back to sharing some Bible Journaling Pages.  I know it's been awhile and some of you may have been wondering what happened.  The main reason I haven't been sharing is that Tuesday is the only day I post crafts.  In November I had so many fall cards to share that there wasn't any space to share my Bible Journaling pages.  And then December came around and then it was time to share Christmas crafts!  But another reason was that after I finished 1 Kings and started reading 2 Kings there wasn't much to Bible Journal about.  I don't know if many of  you have spent much time in 2 Kings but it is not a fun book to read!  It's all this king "did evil in the sight of the Lord" and then he dies and then the next one "did evil in the sight of the Lord" and then he dies, and on and on it goes with the occasional king thrown in there he actually does what is "pleasing to the Lord".  It's so hard to keep track of who's who and who did what to who, etc., that one needs a graph to keep it all straight.  Now I'm sure there's one out there somewhere, but I don't even know if I want to study it further.  I'm ready to move on to the next book...1 Chronicles, and I'm almost there!  I have just a few chapters of 2 Kings left.

Even though I didn't get much spiritually out of 2 Kings, at the same time in November I was working on a Thanksgiving Challenge with a Bible Journaling Facebook Group.  This challenge was so amazing, and filled my spiritual needs in a way just reading 2 Kings did not.  The challenge was to prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving by reading one verse on Thankfulness a day and journaling on it.  I did Faith Index Cards instead of journaling (Faith Index Cards are small index cards where you write a verse on the front, and your thoughts on the back, and then you can also decorate the front of the card.  They help with scripture memory) and I learned so much about Thankfulness and how important it is to God that we are thankful and to be thankful even when we don't think we have much to be thankful for.  During our Thanksgiving dinner I pulled out my Thanksgiving Faith Index Cards and shared them with my family.  We then all took turns reading one and then discussing what the verse personally meant to us.  It was such a special family moment, and everyone agreed that I should save the cards and we do the same thing next year.  

Now, that Thanksgiving is past I'm currently working on a new challenge with this same Facebook group.  This time it is a challenge to prepare our hearts for Christmas.  It's titled "The Book Of Luke: 24 Chapters in 24 Days".  Instead of a verse a day, we are reading one chapter of Luke a day and then we pick one verse out of the chapter that really struck a chord with us.  I am doing Faith Index Cards for this challenge as well.  

I've shared both my Thanksgiving Faith Index Cards and my Christmas Faith Index Cards in my Instagram and Facebook stories, so you can check my stories if your curious as to what they look like.  Lord willing, if I'm still blogging next year, I will share them here as well.

But now on to this month's Bible Journaling pages!

I didn't do much of my own Bible Journaling pages the past two months because I was so busy with my Facebook group challenges, but I did color in every pre-printed image before I moved on to the next chapter.

This page was colored with mostly glitter gel pens.

This page was colored with a mix of metallic colored pencils and gel pens.

This was a page I created for my "Thanksgiving Challenge" Facebook group.  I water colored the entire page being sure not to put color over the verse I wanted to be noticed.  I then used printables given to us by the page administer to decorate the page.

Another pre-printed image I colored with glitter gel pens.

Here is a page I created myself.  I was so proud of myself in how I did this page as I still feel like a novice when it comes to Bible Journaling.  I look at so many other beautiful Bible Journaling pages done by others and mine always fail in comparison.  But this one turned out pretty good for me!  I water colored the entire page then I stamped the Jerusalem image using a retired Stampin' Up! stamp called "City of David".  the Bible verse was created using a mix of stamps and my own handwriting.  I then highlighted certain words with a white gel pen.

I colored the city with a mix of comic markers, pencils, and glitter gel pens.

A pre-printed image colored with gel pens.

Here's another page I did myself based on some thoughts I had on this verse.  Not all Bible Journaling pages have to have a pretty image.  Many pretty, interesting pages can be created with just words.  After I water colored the entire page to look like water, I wrote the verse using my own handwriting and a few stickers and stamps.

This is the 2 Kings Chapter Header page.  I tried to make the whole page look like fire to echo the image of the fire in the Bible verse.  It was first colored with water colors, then I used a combination of gel pens, glitter pens, and pencils to color the images in.

And finally, another pre-printed verse colored in with pencils and gel pens.

I hope you enjoyed looking at this months Bible Journaling pages. Hopefully when my Facebook Challenges are over and I have moved out of 2 Kings and into 1 Chronicles I will have more pages to share!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Home For The Holidays

 I don't know about you, but the Holidays around my house are super casual!  Although I will do my hair and make-up (Who wants to be seen in holiday photos with out make-up? 🤣),  I want my clothes to be comfortable.  My usual attire is stretch denim or leggings with cozy knits.

I was so happy Jackson decided to join us for our photo shoot.  Kitties and Christmas can be so much fun (and sometimes they can be disasters).  Jackson enjoys helping me decorate the house.  He loves "hunting" among the green garland and batting all the round balls and berries that fall to the floor.  He has been pretty good this year about  leaving the tree alone once it's done.  But he has also gotten a few scoldings so he knows the trees are off limits.  He's such a good boy.

For this cozy "Home For The Holidays" look I am wearing a new sherpa fleece top from JCPenney with dark wine stretch skinny jeans  and black suede booties.

 I bought this top on a whim because I had a great coupon "I just HAD to use!"  Who can relate to that?  You really don't need anything, but you can't let a good coupon go to waste!  🤣 What drew me to this top was it's softness.  I have never felt anything so soft in my life!  And even though it makes me look larger than I really am because it's so big and puffy,  I really don't care because it feels so good to have it on.  The best solution to combat the "larger than life" issue is to wear something tighter on your lower life, like skinny jeans or leggings.

I threw this top in my suitcase when I went to visit my kids in October and I was so glad I did because it was so unexpectedly COLD.  It even snowed, and I didn't even bring a winter coat with me.  Who would think one would need a parka in October?  Thankfully, I had this top and it was a lifesaver!  It is super warm, and because I'm over fifty and therefore run warm, I can only wear it on the coldest of days--like TODAY!  It's a balmy -6 degrees right now!  UGH!

The neckline is very versatile.  It has buttons on the shoulder and in the neck of the top.  You can wear the neck down like I am in these photos, or you can button it all the way up to your chin to stay toasty warm.

I didn't think of showing the different ways the neckline can be worn when shooting this post, sorry.

I chose a size Medium because I wanted to be super comfy in it, but if I sized down it might have helped me not to look so large on top.  The back on me (I have a very long torso) goes down to the top half of my butt.  For women who want their backsides covered, you may not want to wear this with leggings.

Unfortunately even though I just purchased this top not that long ago, I can no longer find it on-line.  Do check your local JCP stores, and if you still don't see it I also like this similar one HERE.  Booties, old, similar HERE,  burgundy stretch skinny jeans, old, Stitch Fix, similar HERE.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

My 2019 Christmas Home Tour

Welcome to my Christmas Home Tour!  Every year is different, this year I decorated every room in my house for Christmas except the guest room, beauty room, and craft room.  I will only be showing the main living spaces in this year's post as it's hard to get good photographs of some of the other rooms.

I had a lot of fun decorating for Christmas this year.  Some years I really dread it, as it is so much work and I do it all myself.  I think having small children around for Christmas is a great motivator.  Seeing the expression on Alethea's face when she walks into my house and sees all the big trees and beautiful decor is worth all the work.  But I also enjoyed decorating more this year because we have been remodeling our home the past few years one room at a time and having a house with a nice, clean white palette is so much easier to decorate than one filled with color already.  I can be creative and use any combination of colors I want in my Christmas decor, and it always matches the room.

But let's get on with the tour shall we?  First the tree in the small living room we renovated last year (If you want to see what this room looked like BEFORE the renovation, go HERE!).  I was going to go with a red and white tree but I did not have bright red ornaments.  I did have a lot of white ornaments though so I went with an all white tree with light gold accents.  I flocked the tree myself using about five or six cans of flocking.  I just LOVE the way it turned out, but I hope to find some great ornaments on clearance AFTER Christmas.  I was thinking other than red and white,  the tree in this room would look great with that pretty blue/teal color that's trending now too.  How I decorate this tree next year will all depend on what is left after Christmas.

For this tree I used white poinsettias and other white florals (but I also added a touch of pink as seen in this picture below), with white beads, white and gold bulbs, and white snowflakes.  I also used other gold ornaments from my stash and then flocked everything (including the ornaments and florals).

For the tree topper I used a mix of white and gold stems and then added some white ribbon.

White birds from my daughter's wedding were tucked in among the branches.

The snowflakes I did buy this year from Hobby Lobby.  They really made the tree in my opinion, giving it that final, finishing touch.

I kept the white and gold theme going on the other side of this room by wrapping white poinsettia garland down the staircase.  I added some gold bows, white bulbs, and then I flocked the garland.  I held a piece of cardboard behind where I was spraying to keep the flocking from getting all over the place.


In my corner stand at the foot of the staircase, I added a silver metallic tree and a "Joy" wood decoration.  Everything else was already on the stand.

Here is the view of the small living room and tree as seen from the dining room.  I put Christmas plates on the plate rail all around the dining room wall and I added some white and gold Christmas garland above the doorway.

 This is the view of the dining room as seen from the small living room.  I kept the white and gold theme, but I also started introducing small amounts of red because as we start to transition into other parts of the house, Christmas red takes over the decor theme.

The dining room is open to the office (which you can see in the background of this picture), the kitchen, and the small living room.

On top of the piano I placed my Christmas metal tiered stand (I did an entire post HERE on how I decorated this tray).  This stand is usually on my dining table but with all the extra guests in the house during the holidays, I thought it would be more "safe" on top of the piano.  I put a bowl of red and gold ornaments on the table instead, so it could be easily moved for what's most important:  THE FOOD!

 I purchased this wonderful photo collage at Walmart for around $12.00 a long time ago.  I just love it!  It has clips instead of glass, so I can change the photos constantly.  I usually change them seasonally to match my seasonal decor.  For Christmas, I filled the collage frame with pictures from this year's Christmas photo shoot.  I was just in Walmart last week and they still have these photo frames, so if your interested, snap one up!

There are two china hutches in the dining room (I have a lot of dishes!) This corner one with the curved mirror I use for my seasonal dishes.  It is currently filled with my Christmas dining dishes.  I change the dishes out with the seasons.  It's a good time to wash them too as they still get dusty inside a hutch.

On top of this hutch I placed some garland, a "Noel" sign and a tree top angel.  I flocked the sign and the garland (yes, the flocking easily comes off).


My second dining hutch has no glass panels because my daughter and her friend broke them when they were younger.  It was totally innocent, they did nothing wrong, and I'm glad no one got hurt,  but I never replaced the glass and just hung curtains in the spot instead.  This hutch holds all the different plates that I put on the plate rail in the dining room.  It's probably a good thing the glass is gone, because it's a mess inside this hutch.  It is filled with plates and dishes for all the seasons/holidays of the year.


On top of this hutch I placed white Christmas candles with greenery that I flocked.

 I did my chandelier a little different than I have in previous years.  I put the greenery only on the bottom layer of lights and then tied gold bows on the top layer of lights.  Again, I stuck with a white and gold color theme to match the elegance of the room and to tie the room to the colors in the living room.

In this picture you can see the white and gold predominates, but you can also start seeing hints of red appearing with the ornaments on the table, the colors in the Christmas plates on the plate rail, and the piano display.

 Before we move into the other part of the house,  let's take a peek into the kitchen shall we?

The kitchen's color scheme is blue and white with yellow accents, so I decorated the kitchen for the holidays with blue and silver.  In the kitchen hutch I placed a white/silver star alongside some blue and silver boxes that I will fill with Christmas cookies as soon as I start baking next week!

I have a plate rail on the wall in this room that I filled with my snowman plate collection and matching snowman mugs.

I used extra snowman plates to decorate the unused inside spaces of the hutch around the stove.  I also added a silver metallic Christmas tree and a "Noel" wooden sign.

In the hutch surrounding the sink I placed silver and blue berries amongst the china.

Above the stove I nestled greenery and white berry stems amongst the silver antiques and blue mason jars.

Now let's start moving into the other half of the house.  This part of the house was an addition that we added over ten years ago but now needs an update.  We will be painting all the walls white and updating some of the furnishings.

The office to the new addition is the transitional space between the old house and the new.  This space received an update last year.  It use to be a dark red and I painted the walls white.

For Christmas, I decorated the office hutch with greenery and red poinsettias.

This is the entryway to my home looking into the large family room.  This is the room will be renovating this spring and I will be doing a series of blog posts as usual so stay tuned!

I draped the doorway to the family room in flocked garland with burgundy bows.

I decorated my tree in this room in red, gold, and a touch of lime green.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE how this tree turned out!  I think it took me three days to decorate this tree.  It is packed full of ornaments!  Every time my precious cat goes near it, I nearly lose it. 🤣. Poor baby.  After a couple of days he eventually learned playing with this tree was off limits.

I found the "Joy to the World" banner at Hobby Lobby for just a few dollars.  I was so excited when I saw it, and such an incredible price too.

Beside the tree sits a large sleigh that my son bought me for Christmas years ago.

In the windows on either side of the tree I hung large gold snowflakes.

The tree has a little bit of everything:  red and gold bulbs, red poinsettias, lots of berries and floral picks and my favorite of all, these red birds.

Every year I get a lot of questions on how to decorate a tree.  My biggest tip is to pick a color scheme and no matter what item you put on that tree it will coordinate with everything else just because it's the same color(s).  

Second, use florals in your tree, not just ornaments.  Buy bunches of Christmas flowers (after Christmas is best for the deals!), and cut them apart and stick randomly in your trees branches.  Then add other florals like Christmas Picks and stems.

Finally, stuff your tree full!  Keep adding ornaments till you can't find one more spot to hang an ornament and then hang some more.  If your tree branches are more open like this tree is, hang ornaments deep inside the tree to fill the empty spaces.

On the end tables in this room I placed garland or Christmas floral and added more Christmas photos.

For the side hutches in this room, I just filled in with greenery around the items that usually sit in this hutch.

 The entry way and large family room are located in a balcony space which overlooks the sun room portion of the addition.  Here I hung small wreaths in each window, put a sleigh on the dining table, and some garland on the shelf above the wood stove.

I decorated the staircase with red bows and holly garland and I hung a large red and gold wreath above the door.    I set up a Christmas Village for the grandchildren on the buffet next to the dining table.

On the hutch next to the dining table (yes I own three dining hutch, all filled to capacity with dishes) I added Christmas greenery and Christmas photos and a handmade tea candle holder from a friend.

I hope you enjoyed taking a tour of my holiday home!  I've sure been enjoying looking at all of your decorations on your blogs and on Facebook.  It's fun to see how everyone decorates their home for Christmas.

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!