Sunday, December 24, 2017

My Home Christmas Decorations and A Holiday Break Announcement

Merry Christmas!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful time celebrating with their family and friends!  So far, our Christmas has been blessed beyond measure with family and friends and Christmas Day hasn't even arrived yet.  My son arrived last night;  it was so good to welcome him home again.  My husband had an awesome Christmas work party and received some generous gift cards from his employers.  And I just threw a ladies Christmas tea for some friends yesterday that went so well.  I really felt the presence of the Lord during our visit, and we promised to get together more often.  Ashley, Jason, and our new grand baby Alethea will arrive tomorrow.  Jason's father will be visiting us later in the week.  And New Year's Day we will be throwing our annual New Years Day party with our oldest friends.  Fun, fun, fun!  

I will be taking a two week blogging break starting today.  One week just to have fun, and one week to have time to write blog posts for the next week.  If I only took the holiday week off, I would have to write blog posts during the holiday week, and I don't want to do that.  I want to cherish every minute of my time with my family and friends.  I will return to a regular blogging schedule on January 8, 2018!

In the meantime, I wanted to show you a few pictures of my home decorated for Christmas.  Last year I went all out and made many videos of my Christmas Decorations.  You can check out my YouTube Channel HERE if your interested in seeing those.  This year, I decided to simplify my Christmas Decorations.  One reason was to be easier for me and another reason was to follow current Christmas decorations trends.  I've noticed as I perused the web that flocking, greenery, undecorated rustic trees and garland with lights are trending, so I tried to incorporate some of those new ideas with my own Christmas decor.  

My son gave me this sleigh as my Christmas gift last year.  I placed it in my entry way and filled it with presents and greenery.  I placed three little lit green trees around the sleigh and left them undecorated.

On the entry way table next to the sleigh I placed a Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus statue surrounded by greenery and a "Merry Christmas" sign.  I want everyone to know when they enter my house that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season".

To keep up with my simpler Christmas decorating theme, I only decorated one tree this year instead of two or more.  I put it in my family room.  In previous years, I've always done this room in red and gold colors.  This year, I decided to go with a monochromatic theme and decorate the entire tree and entertainment center garland in gold.

I put gold snowflakes on the tree, in the garland, and on the windows!

I tried a new technique this year and I absolutely love it!  My cat in previous years always destroyed my Christmas Tree so I wanted to figure out another way to put ribbon on my tree where he wouldn't be able to pull it off.  It's called the Octopus Technique.  You cut three strands of ribbon and tie them to the tree.  It not only keeps the ribbon secure, but it makes the tree look so full and lush as well.  I made a video explaining this technique and I put it on my Facebook Page HERE.

In the living room, I put up a simple garland of greenery, gold bulbs, and bows on my staircase, and I added a tall ceramic angel to my end table.

For the dining room I put up my usual Christmas plates and added a simple lighted garland with a few gold bows to the opening of the dining room/office area.

I did decorate the chandelier and add some greenery to the top of other furnishings as well.

 I had a lot of fun with the sun room this year.  I decorated the shelf behind the wood stove with garland, some Victorian characters, and a wreath.  I put a small wreath in every window and added a festive touch to each table.

I added more garland to the staircase, putting a gold bell with red bows at each post.  A large green and red wreath is above the exit door.

 I used a gold sleigh for the dining room centerpiece table.  I put some reindeer in front of the sleigh and added some greenery inside the sleigh.

Normally I put greenery on top of the upper balcony, but this year in keeping with my simpler theme, I just tied red bows to each support beam.

I added just a touch of Christmas in our master bedroom by putting a silver metallic tree on one nightstand and a silver vase filled with Christmas greenery on another.

For the kitchen, I just decorated with more Christmas greenery and Christmas Cookie Cook Books.

 Have a Wonderful Christmas and A Happy New Year, and I'll See You Next Year!


Friday, December 22, 2017

My Most Popular Fashion Posts of 2017

At the end of every year I like to look back on my blog and reflect on the things I made, the places I went, and my most popular fashion outfits I created.  I've already posted My Favorite Home, Hobby and Crafting Projects of 2017 and A Summary of Our 2017 Travel Adventures.  Today, I will share my most popular fashion posts of 2017 based on how many hits they received that month.


In January,  my most popular fashion post at 897 hits was My Go-To Winter Outfit:  Sweater, Leggings, and a Puffer Vest.  One year later, I would say this is STILL my go-to winter outfit except I'd probably swap out the leggings for jeggings today because I like the coverage better.


With February came Valentine's Day so it's no surprise that A Casual Valentine's Day Outfit was the hit of the month coming in at 746 hits.


What I wore on a crazy warm 70 degree day in February in Chicago came in first for the month of March at 804 hits.


It must have been because it was the month of April Fools Day, because for some crazy reason a simple post of "How To Wear A T-Shirt And Jeans" came in first for the month at 996 hits.


What I Wore On My Vacation To Myrtle Beach came in first for the month of May at 1009 hits.


My Summer Stitch Fix review came in first for the month of June at 797 hits.


How To Wear A Midi Skirt and Not Look Frumpy not only got the most hits for the month of July, but also the most hits of all the fashion posts for the entire year, coming in at 1091 hits.   Hmmm, I wonder if a lot of women struggle with styling midi skirts like I do.


Grandma and Me:  A Very Special Link Up took the number one fashion post of the month at 704 hits.  I was thrilled to see it so popular and I have since made this a monthly feature on my blog.


In September  Transitioning A Summer Dress For Fall came in as number one for the month at 507 hits.  


How To Wear A Long Cardigan was number one for the month at  580 hits.  


Chenille: A Fabric I'm So Happy To See Return Again took the number one spot at 454 hits.


And finally, A Plaid Dress For Winter finished off the year with the number one spot at 454 hits.

As I look at the most popular fashion posts of the year, I am always surprised at what my readers liked the most verses what I like the most.  Other than the dress above, I don't think my personal favorites even made the top twelve.  That's why I always take pictures of what I wore, whether I like the outfit or not, because I never really know what my readers will think.  I think one thing though comes across very clear:  women aren't looking for glamorous outfit ideas.  They are looking for ways to style the simple items they already have in their closet:  T-Shirts, Jeans, Leggings, etc.  And that is what my fashion posts will almost always be about, because I lead a very casual lifestyle and I don't have a need for fancy clothes or work clothes.

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Summary of Our 2017 Travel Adventures

At the end of every year I like to take some time to and look back at the previous year and review my favorite outfits;  remember all the home, garden, and crafting projects I took on;  and also reflect on our travel adventures.  Our travel adventures is  always my favorite to review because I remember such happy times.  I also think one tends to forget vacations so quickly, so it's nice to go back and look at pictures and re-live them through memories.

 Here is where we have traveled this year:

With a new baby in the family, we made a lot of trips to the state of Illinois.  I always visit the kids by myself in February for one full week to help break up the humdrum of winter.  This past February was a blast as Ashley and I packed a lot in one week.   The highlights include the following:

In the spring, we made our annual trek to Milwaukee to see the Easter Passion Play only to discover that they moved the date one week we missed it!  Nevertheless we had fun catching up with old friends and our children. I also used the opportunity to take my daughter's maternity photos at the iconic Milwaukee Domes.

April brought our first road trip!  We went to Myrtle Beach for the week ending the trip with a day in Charleston!

Memorial Day Weekend brought another trek back to Illinois for my daughter's baby shower!

While in Wheaton, we decided to visit Cantigny Park since it was Memorial Day.  We thought we'd do something patriotic and we wanted to see their war museum and tank park there;  but they were closed for renovations.  We had a great time anyway visiting a gorgeous historic home and gardens.

Our grand baby ended up coming a bit early, so we were in Illinois for the 4th of July!

I ended up going back to Illinois at the end of the month to help Ashley with the new baby as she had colic.  We took Alethea on the Naperville River Walk for her very first outing.  It was such a relaxing and special day for Ashley as it was the first time she had even gotten out of the house and had some fun since the baby was born.

We had a lot unexpected expenses this year with our home, so we decided to cancel two major vacations and enjoy some staycations instead.  At the end of June we went to the Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival and enjoyed tasting all the foods made with cheese curds!

We have to drive 45 minutes to church every Sunday, so we decided to make the best of it by making 'Sunday our Fun Day!'.  We always tried to explore something locally every Sunday afternoon after church.

In September we took our second and last major road trip of the year.  We went to the state of Missouri and hiked in six different state parks, and visited the cities of St. Charles and Branson.

Elephant Rock State Park

Our fall was filled with weekend trips to see all the gorgeous fall color Wisconsin has to offer!
We went to the highest point in the state of Wisconsin:  Timms Hill.

And we finished out the year by seeing the Rotary Lights in LaCrosse and going to the Moondance Inn bed and breakfast in Red Wing to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary.

Even though we had to cancel two major road trips to make some much needed repairs to the house, it ended up being a pretty good year!  We made the most of it by having a lot of fun locally and I discovered so many wonderful things about my own area that I never knew before!  

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!