Thursday, December 22, 2022

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!  Like many bloggers, I am gonna take a little blogging break to spend time with family, but I thought I'd pop in here for a little bit and share this years Christmas photo shoot with the grand babies.

Alethea is five years old now and started kindergarten this year.  Atticus is three and is learning how to occupy himself all day while his sister is at school.  Elisha is 15 months and is just starting to take his first steps.  It's been fun watching him as he walks by himself and the smile and sheer pride that comes across his face when he meets his own accomplishment.

A mother daughter shoot; that is my daughter Ashley.  I don't know why I didn't think of getting in there to do a three generation photo.  

And this is my daughter's whole family together.  Now, we do have more people in my family:  my husband and son;  but they're not the type to get all dressed up to do a photo shoot.  😀 Men!

Before I leave, I wanted to share some photos from our last winter storm.  This has been the most challenging holiday season I remember in a long time.  We have had a lot of flu type sicknesses in the area and in our own family, and also a lot of bad weather which has resulted in difficult travel, and lots of closures.  

In this storm, we got dumped a foot of heavy wet snow that stuck to the trees and power lines.  It was (and still is) the most beautiful snow we've seen in a long time.  Everyone keeps remarking about its incredible beauty and how it feels we're living in the magical world of Narnia.  But with its beauty came a lot of hardships for a lot of people.  Many lost power, some people for days, and had to go without heat.  Thankfully, it wasn't that cold so no one froze.  We never lost power, but it wouldn't have affected us much if we did, as our home is heated with two indoor wood stoves.

I loved how my vegetable garden looked in the snow.  Every single surface, all the wire fencing and beams were laced with snow.

All the trees and bushes were covered in snow, and the branches were bent over with the heavy weight.  Lots of tree limbs fell from the weight of the snow.  There will be lots of clean up in the spring, that's for sure.

 Now starting today, we're waiting for the second storm to start.  Thankfully, my family is all tucked in safe and warm in our house already.  So many families are struggling to get home before the storm begins.  We're expecting a "bomb cyclone" here, where the pressure drops 24 millibars within 24 hours, in addition to a "ground blizzard" caused by winds of 40-50 mph which will cause whiteout conditions as the wind will pick up the snow that is on the ground and in the trees and blow it all around.  Temperatures will be 10 degrees below zero, with windchills as low as 35 degrees below zero.  And all of this starts Thursday afternoon and lasts till Saturday!  So yea, it's gonna get interesting.  I'm thankful my family is all here already and we will at least be together for Christmas, but it certainly affected our traditional Christmas plans as weren't able to see the holiday light display or attend church.  So we will have to get creative this Christmas and come up with things we can indoors together...for several days. 

I know most of the nation is dealing with this same storm in one way or another, so I pray for safety for all of you!  

God Bless and Merry Christmas!  Amy

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Straight Leg Denim: An Alternative to Skinny Jeans and Ageless Style Link Up

Ageless Style is a monthly style challenge and link up for women of all ages.   Each month we pick a different theme and style an outfit based on that theme.  This month's theme is:  ""Skinny Jeans" and was picked by Jodie.

This December the Ageless Style theme is Skinny Jeans.  I don't wear skinny jeans anymore, but rather than sitting this month's challenge out, I decided to show what I wear as an alternative to skinny jeans:  Straight Leg Denim.  But before I get into the features of straight leg denim, let's discuss the hot topic question "Are skinny jeans still in style?".  Skinny jeans are still in style, but they are no longer trending.  They are still sold in stores, but it appears most people are moving away from the skin clinging jean to a looser fit.  If you like to wear tall boots, skinny jeans are still the best jean to wear for they fit nicely inside your boots.  

I decided to move away from skinny jeans to a looser fit last year.  I found that even though I purchased high quality stretch denim brands, the tightness of skinny jeans really wasn't all that comfortable and having fabric so close to my skin all the time was really warm;  now that could be nice if it was a super cold day, but on a typical winter day,  I was always too warm in skinny jeans.  I also started to notice how skinny jeans really emphasized my aging, knobby knees which was not flattering at all, so I decided it was time for a change for me.

Other than the tightness and excess warmth,  I did enjoy some aspects of the skinny jean that I didn't want to give up.  I love how skinny jeans really show off my shoes.  I dislike how wide leg pants hide my shoes;  I want my shoes to be easily seen, heck, I have a lot of cute booties that deserve to be seen!  I also liked the slim silhouette  skinny jeans provide.  Like most older women, my lower torso is smaller than my upper torso, so the thinnest part of my body should be highlighted, not hidden under baggy pants.  So for all these reasons, I parted ways with the ultra-skinny jean and found a nice compromise in straight leg denim.

These straight leg denim jeans are "Gia Glider Slim Eco" by  Liverpool .  They are actually a pull on pant, with faux barn door zippers and button waist.  It is a looser fit, super comfy, the fabric doesn't cling to my thighs or knees, so they camouflage my knobby knees, yet, they are still tapered enough at the bottom to show off all my cute booties.

I wore this outfit to our church's Christmas program and also in a holiday photo shoot with my grand babies.  I bought this pretty sparkly Christmas sweater last year from JCPenney at an after-Christmas sale. Holiday wear doesn't change much year from year, so after-Christmas is the best time to score a pretty holiday outfit for next year.  It was so fun to pull out of my closet something new to wear with the price tags still on it!

On another note, the teenagers in our church did the worship portion of our service a couple of times the past few months, and I noticed that not a single one of them had skinny jeans on.  They all wore a looser fit jean, and a few even had wide leg pants on.  Not that we older women should ever look to teenagers as our fashion icons, but it is important to watch them, for they are always the first ones to set the trends and we can adapt the current trends to a look that's right for us.  By observing teen fashion I think  it's  probably not a great idea to invest in anymore skinny jeans, as they appear to be on the way out.  But, that is just my opinion.  Everyone should really wear whatever they want, whatever they feel comfortable in.

And now let's see how the rest of the ladies in our Ageless Style group are styling their skinny jeans, or if like me, they found an alternative.  Be sure to link up with us too!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

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Tuesday, December 13, 2022

More Handmade Christmas Cards

I have a few more handmade Christmas cards to share with you.  All the cards were made with retired Stampin' Up! images.

For my first card I created a simple nativity scene by using textured card stock to make a "barn".  

I created a frame by cutting a large square in the white card stock base.  The images were stamped, colored, and cut out then glued to the black card stock.  The star was done the same way except I added some glitter glue and popped it up on dimensionals.

For my next card, the star and sentiment are from a Stampin' Up! set but the image was just googled off the internet (free coloring pages), printed, colored in, then cut out.

I cut the star out of glitter paper, then I added some crystal clear glitter glue around the sentiment.

For this card, I stamped the background image and sentiment directly on the card stock, but the Joseph and Mary figures were stamped separately, colored in, cut out, and glued on the card.

I put crystal clear glitter glue on the stars in the sky.

I even did the inside of the card too, but this time I colored the Joseph and Mary images in with pencil so they wouldn't bleed through on the other side of the card stock.

And finally, here's some easy peasy cards I mass produced.

I just stamped a sentiment and simple Christmas tree image on the card and added a little sparkle with glitter glue.

I hope you enjoyed my Christmas cards!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Devil's Punchbowl

Last week I finished my summer travel series to Minnesota's North Shore and now I'm going to share a few posts of our fall hiking adventures.  

Every Sunday, weather permitting, we went hiking after church.  We went to some familiar places, but we also found a few new places to hike like "The Devil's Punchbowl".

The Devil's Punchbowl is a nature preserve located in Menomonie, Wisconsin.  The "bowl" was carved by water over the course of thousands of years.  What you see at the bowl depends on the season, in the spring you could see water flowing over the edge into the bowl, and in the winter there are fabulous ice formations.  We were there in fall, and there was no waterfall, but we could definitely see water seeping from the rocks.

There are two short trails leading to the bowl.  The first one, gives you a view from of the bowl from the top.  The second trail takes you right into the bowl.

This is the view from the first trail, looking down into the bowl.

Now it was time to descend a lot of stairs down into The Devil's Punchbowl.

The bottom of the bowl is very muddy.  I did not bring appropriate footwear, so I stayed close to the stairs while hubby ventured further.

The punchbowl was deemed a "scientific study area" in the 1990's as it is basically a mini ecosystem with cliffs, waterfalls, underground springs, and other incredible natural features. 

The stairs were just re-done, and I must say they did a fabulous job!

I really enjoyed our little stop at The Devil's Punchbowl, but I'd love to see it in other seasons like spring/summer where I can see the waterfall and lush foliage and rare fauna, or in winter to see the amazing ice formations made by the water.  We might just have to go back!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Gingerbread Men Christmas Cards

I've been trying NOT to send out Christmas cards anymore.   Between the time involved with making my own Christmas cards, plus the cost of Postage and Handling, it just seems an unnecessary added stress to the holiday I don't need.  On the receiving end, my Christmas cards have been getting less and less every year.  I think this is due to the older generation dying off (those are the die-hard Christmas card people!),  and the younger generation just doing the annual social media holiday post.  I always feel obligated to return a Christmas card to aging relatives who are not on social media, and if you have any of those loved ones in your family, I highly recommend sending them a snail mail card.  It will mean the world to them to get a warm holiday greeting in the mail, along with an updated family photo.

Nevertheless, despite my sad attempts to not send out Christmas cards, whenever I get a Christmas card in the mail, I still feel obligated to return one.  Here are a couple of cards I made using some gingerbread men I had in my stash.  The gingerbread men were die cuts I had made with the grandchildren on a previous project.

I cut the gingerbread men using a Circuit machine then just adhered him to a piece of coordinating designer paper.  I then cut a sentiment banner, stamped a sentiment, and adhered it to the card using brads.

My next card is an example of how you can still use broken die cut pieces to create a card.  For whatever reason, these gingerbread men didn't cut out well, so I used just a small portion of them on my card:  just the undamaged pieces.  I put them in film frames (also cut with a circuit) and added some fun sentiments stamped on black paper with white craft ink.

I adhered all the frames to a fun Christmas designer paper and added another sentiment to the bottom frame.

After a decade of seeing a declining amount of Christmas cards, last Christmas I received more Christmas Cards than much for me NOT sending out Christmas cards anymore.  I ended up scrambling to make more Christmas cards, which I will show you next week.

This year, I am once again NOT planning on sending out Christmas cards.  We will see how that goes. 😁

So what about you?  Do you still send out Christmas cards?  I'd love to hear from you.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Snapshots of Our Last Day of Vacation in Silver Bay, Minnesota

This is the final post of a travel series to Wisconsin and Minnesota's North Shore.  To start at the beginning, go HERE.   The rest of the posts in consecutive order are HERE HEREHEREHERE, and HERE!

Silver Bay Marina

On our last day of vacation, after we finished hiking in Tettegouche State Park,  we headed out to explore Silver Bay, Minnesota.  Our first stop was the Silver Bay Marina. 

This is a beautiful little marina with a public beach and boat launch.  Boats up to 100' can be accommodated in one of 110 spacious slips.  

There are views of the taconite plant in the distance.

There's also a short hike to an island that you can take from the marina.  It sounds interesting, but scary.  I wish I would have known about it while I was there.  You can see the hike out to the island in the photo below, and read more about the hike in this post HERE.

Grand Superior Lodge

While we were in Silver Bay we stayed at the AmericInn, but we noticed another nice place in town that was located right on the shores of Lake Superior so we decided to check it out.  It seemed pretty popular.

We did peek inside and saw a lovely lobby with a fireplace, plus a restaurant with a view of the lake.

We walked around the grounds for a bit, and we were awestruck with the serene, natural beauty.

There were wildflowers everywhere!  They looked so stunning with the blue background of Lake Superior.

Northwoods Family Grille

By now, it was supper time and we were quite hungry so we decided to check out the #1 restaurant in the town of Silver Bay:  Northwoods Family Grille.  There are not a lot of restaurants in town.  Most places were closed because it was the end of the tourist season.  We only found one other place to eat while we were there, and that was "Tracks and Racks", which is more bar than restaurant.  The food was good, but boy was it expensive!  Our meal was over $50 for a burger, a wrap, onion rings, and two drinks.  So we were quite happy to find the Northwoods Family Grille where the prices were much lower, and they had more of a family atmosphere.

Being on Lake Superior fish is the primary item on most of the restaurants menus, so that is what we ordered.  This was the second time on our vacation we ordered fish, and this fish was the best we had so far.  It tasted so fresh!

The meal was very reasonably priced and came with a nice salad, dinner roll, and baked potato.  If you're ever in Silver Bay, I highly recommend this restaurant.  Just be sure to get there early, as they close early.  You will have more of "Linner" than a "Dinner".

Silver Bay Scenic Overlook

Silver Bay Industry Overlook

Our final stop of the day was a short hike to the Silver Bay Scenic Overlook.  This is such a nice spot in Silver Bay where you can not only see amazing views but, you learn so much about the history, past and present, of the town.  You drive to the top of the overlook, and then hike to three separate overlooks.  Each overlook has interpretive signage identifying the sights.

The first overlook had views of the taconite plant and lots of information of mining in the area.  I'm not going to rehash all the information about the plant, you can just read the signage in all the photos if you're interested.

Lake Superior View

The second overlook had views of Lake Superior.

The trails to get to these three different overlooks were beautiful in and of themselves.  When we visiting, there were so many wildflowers, and I loved all the birch trees.

City of Silver Bay View

Finally, the third overlook had scenic views of the town of Silver Bay.

The interpretative signage covered not just the history of Silver Bay, but also pointed out current points of interest as well.

There is a short-cut hike you can take that will get you back to the parking lot more quickly.  It is more rugged, but boy was it beautiful with all the wildflowers in bloom.

And that concludes my last post of this travel series.  I will be back next week with a few posts of our fall hiking adventures.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!