Search for specific post, or keyword

A blog to support, encourage, and mentor at home moms in all aspects of home making and family life.

Find Me Online

Christmas in January, Storing Christmas Decor

About 8 years ago a sales lady in a store gave me a great idea about storing Christmas decor.

She said she takes pictures of all her Christmas decor before she takes it down, room by room, table top by table top,  then tapes the pictures to the top of the box those things are stored in.  Each room has it's own box with a picture on top.  This way no matter whose helping decorate or putting things away after Christmas, they know exactly where everything goes.  Brilliant!

I've started doing this and I love it! 

The boxes for each room are bigger, and for some rooms there are two, but the thing I like about it is, if you only have time to decorate or tear down one room at a time your whole house isn't left in a disaster zone until you get to the other rooms.  You can box up one room, put the box away and be done with it. 

I actually don't have my pics taped to the boxes I have them on my computer in an album marked "Christmas Decor."  It just works better for me, but the theory is the same and works great!

Here are some of mine.  You can see that they're not super artistic photos - definitely not "Pinterest worthy."  They're just for reference.  I take close up shots of table tops and then an over view of the room as well.


This is a side table in our breakfast nook.

A different side table in the same room.


An overview of the room.This isn't a super Christmasy room, our living room is the one with the tree, etc.  But regardless each room or area has a box of it's own.  So this one would have the "JOY" pillows, the little Christmasy things from the tables and the wreath.

My husband really likes this new system because there are a lot fewer boxes for him to haul down and he knows where they all go.

That's my little trick.  What are yours? 


Just Shut Up!

Shut up!

Seriously.  Just    shut    up! 

From the many readers who have written to me lately, expressing their hurt and shock at comments others are making right to their faces, this is basically what I gather many of us need to be told.    









That the average person, whether it be family, friend or stranger, needs to learn to shut their trap when it comes to offering their opinions, or asking questions about the other's lives.  

"So you're not going to university next year?"  

"When are you two going to finally get around to starting a family?!"

"You're engaged??  How old are you?!"

"You're selling in this market?!" 

"So you're not going back to work???"  

"You're home schooling!?  Augh!  I couldn't stand that!  I need a break during the day!  Don't you worry they'll be, you know, a little weird...?  Socially I mean."

Why are we concerning ourselves!!!????  Why do we care!!!!  And why on earth do we feel the need to share our opinions with those making these choices??!!!

My recent post, "Shameful Infertility," prompted many private responses voicing hurt at how people feel somehow entitled to offer their opinions when couples seemed to take too long to begin a family.  Thanking me for explaining their side of the story.  The story they shouldn't feel obligated to tell!  The story they feel forced to awkwardly explain when faced with prying questions.  Into their reproductive life!  Their sex life!  The story which is no one else's frickin' business!!!  Keep your questions and suggestions to yourselves people!

I myself have had complete strangers - complete strangers - offer their opinions on the ages at which our daughters married.  At first I felt I needed to justify, to explain, our choice as parents for allowing our girls to marry young.  However, by the time our second daughter was engaged I had learned to basically give the offender an oh-so-polite verbal smack down for feeling at liberty to tell me how I was failing my, uneducated, child by allowing her to walk down the aisle before obtaining a degree and having "travelled".  (Which is ironic considering that our girls had both already been to Asia, Europe and all over North America by the time they married - information which this One-Of-Superior-Knowledge of course didn't know.)  The fact that their own spawn had yet to manage to pull themselves up off the bathroom floor after yet another a drunken university binge, whilst pursuing a degree they may or may not ever use, seemed to escape their notice.  However I bit my tongue and restrained myself from offering counter opinions on their own children's lives and their own choices as parents, BECAUSE IT'S NONE OF MY BUSINESS!!!

Why is it that when someone's personal choices go against our own we feel threatened?   Politically offended.  Why do we feel the need to oh-so-subtly let them know that we disapprove.  To voice "concern." 

Why do we care?!  More importantly, what are we thinking when we freely offer our unsolicited advice or opinions???!!  Who are we to offer counsel or show disgust at the choices others make?  The choices that have absolutely no effect or bearing on our lives.  They're not asking us to pick up the pieces if things go wrong.  

In my fantasies, when people cross this line with me, I in turn begin a detailed diatribe on how they're running their own lives, raising their own children, managing their own homes and marriages.

Who the heck do these people think they are??!!

If someone's not starting a family perhaps they can't!!!  If someone's children marry young perhaps its because they value family and purity and home more than education or career.  You don't like someone's choices regarding real estate, regarding their career?  Good thing it doesn't have anything to do with you!!!! 

Just shut up!!!!!!!  

Until we all have lives that are oh so resoundingly perfect, that are, in all areas, beyond reproach, perhaps we should all just keep our #@!* opinions to ourselves!  Unless of course we'd like to be subject to the same unsolicited advice!

"Just shut up."  I think that's a motto many of us need to learn to live by.


Christmas Wishes

I wanted to thank you all for being part of Your Apron Strings this year, it's been a good one, and to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas.

I won't be posting again until the new year, but I have a very cheeky post ready for the 1st of January so I hope you'll all join me.

Wish warm holiday wishes from my family to yours,



The Value Of Time Spent With Girlfriends

Me and some of my gals at our recent Christmas party.As I post this I am about to get ready for a Christmas lunch with a girlfriend - and I can't begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to it after a very busy Fall.  There's just something about the company of women!    

I don't know about you, but I could really use some girlfriend time right about now!  

Shopping, baking, cooking, entertaining, cleaning up from entertaining, wrapping, more shopping.  And I'm sure for many of you with young kids - tournaments, school concerts, costumes for the concerts, recitals, costumes for the recitals, etc., etc., etc.  

I am really ready for some giggle time with my girlfriends right about now!


"Having spent the first 5-6 years of my marriage with out the female camaraderie I had taken for granted throughout high school, has given me a deep appreciation for the value of time spent with girlfriends."


When my girls were small I didn't have any peers.  

You see we had our family young.  I was 21 and 23 when I had our two girls.  So my girlfriends my own age were still in university or back-packing across Europe, and the women who were home, the "moms," were all at least 10 years older than I was, and not interested in hanging out with a "kid."

As I got older and my girlfriends caught up with me - had families, started in to the school years, I was thrilled to have peers again!  Friends who were also home, also looking after their little ones.  Who were up for play time at the park, a lunch date, a chat in the parking lot after drop-off.  

We would also, although more rarely, go out, just us girls, in the evening.  To one of our houses or to the movies, and just gab, like we used to have so much time to do when we were younger.

Having spent the first 5-6 years of my marriage with out the female camaraderie I had taken for granted throughout high school, has given me a deep appreciation for the value of time spent with girlfriends.  Not doing much of anything.  Just enjoying common interests, common problems and schedules.

It got so my husband would tell me, "You need time with your girlfriends."  He could tell when it I had gone too long without my chick time.  I wasn't as lively.  Wasn't as bubbly.


"Knowing that you'll be heard and understood.  Knowing that they'll listen.  That they'll just get it, regardless of what it is."


There's something about girl time.  I don't know if it's being able to talk a full 10 minutes about something you saw on Pinterest, having someone notice that you got new shoes or just the "sameness" of being in the company of other women, but it just gives me a lift.  Knowing that coversation can turn on a dime from the very trivial to the very deep, the very private.  Knowing that you'll be heard and understood.  Knowing that they'll listen.  That they'll just get it, regardless of what it is.

If you're feeling the way I am this week, like you're on an endless treadmill of shopping, prepping, cleaning-up, shopping prepping, cleaning-up.  Why not see if you can squeeze in some girlfriend time?  You're sure to come home feeling lighter, sillier and with a bunch of new hilarious stories to tell.


To Water A Land Where No Man Lives...  Yet!

This was written a while back, since then we've been blessed with the safe arrival of our first grandchild, Elisabeth Grace, born very early on October 6th, to the joy of our entire family, and we are now excitedly counting the weeks until our second grandbaby is due to arrive mid-January.

Photo courtesy of Kirsten Berlie Photography, who does lovely baby photos! Just in case you're interested!! 

I am going to be a grandmaaaaaaaaaaa!!!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!  SO excited!!  I can't even tell you!

Our eldest daughter and her husband told us this amazing news February 10th.  I cried.  Of course!  Well, I teared up with them, hugged them.  Then a few minutes later I went to the bathroom and had a really good hard cry.  Overjoyed.  Overwhelmed. 

My very first thought when they told us, was how God was just heaping blessings on us now.  An embarrassment of riches as it were.  All my life I wanted to be a mother, and when I became one it was everything I had hoped for, the fulfillment of my childhood dreams.  I loved raising our girls, then for them to find such wonderful young men to marry, to add to our family was an answer to prayer.  And now this!  A baby!  A precious little life to begin the next generation.  A blessing to my daughter and her husband that they, at this point, can't even comprehend how soulful, how life altering, it will be.  My heart literally swelled and ached with the joy of it.  The gratitude for it all.


"A baby!  A precious little life to begin the next generation.  A blessing to my daughter and her husband that they, at this point, can't even comprehend how wonderful it will be.  My heart literally swelled and ached with the joy of it.  The gratitude for it all."


Then unbelievably three months later, one Sunday evening when all our kids were over for dinner, our younger daughter casually said she didn't want any wine because it wouldn't be good for the baby in her tummy.  Once again, I was dumbfounded!  Couldn't believe it!  My baby having a baby!  SO many blessings!  How could we possibly merit such favour!?  Once again I found myself in the bathroom sobbing with joy.  I'm really not one for sobbing in front of people. 

And I felt good, when I realized, that I had been praying for these little babes for quite a while now.  Watering a land where no man lives - yet.  You see, as I mentioned in 'Praying Blessings Over Your Family', I pray each day for our family and our "line", the future members of our family.  I put them into God's hands from the beginning, knowing that they're never really ours to keep.  Just as I prayed for the men who would one day become our girls' husbands, long before we met them, I have been praying for, and over, these future little babes for some time now.

My greatest desire, my truest plea to my Maker, is that our line - those who will come after my husband and I, will come to love, serve and fear the Lord.  That the faith we have, that our girls and their husbands share, won't die out with future generations.  The greatest inheritance I received was my faith.  Passed down from my grandparents, to my parents, to me.  A faith that began with instruction at home and at church, and that grew to be my own, a guiding force in my life.  This is my prayer for my line.  That they would treasure their faith.  That it would guide them, give them the peace of mind and joy in their spirit that it's given me.  That their families and the culture within their homes would be pleasing to God.

If you're a person of faith, I encourage you to water the land where no man lives.  Pray for the members of your family that are yet to be.  Your children's future spouses.  For their parents in those homes, who are raising up your future sons-in-law and daughters-in-law.  Pray for those marriages.  Pray for the choices those kids will make through their teens.  Pray that they would hold fast to their faith.  For the children who will one day be your grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  Children you might never hold.  But who you can blanket in prayer right now, before they're even born or even conceived.


"If you're a person of faith, I encourage you to water the land where no man lives.  Pray for the members of your family that are yet to be." 


After our girls found their spouses I began straight in on praying for their future children.  I haven't met these little babes yet.  These little souls currently being knit together by their Maker.  But they will be people with preferences and personalities of their own.  They'll grow and face challenges and temptations.  They'll make decisions and mistakes.  But knowing that they've been blanketed in prayer from their conception - before!  Makes me feel good.  It makes me feel that I'm doing all I can for those to come, those who I will never influence and possibly never even meet.  But, who will be blessed by the prayers, I prayed on their behalf, as a mother, a grandmother.  That they would continue in this faith that steers our family.  That these members of my future line will be blessed by the prayers I pray on their behalf, now, before they've come into being.  To water the land they will one day inhabit.  With its own cultural challenges, and also, many of the same challenges and decisions we've all faced.  Choosing how to live, who to marry, who they'll worship and if they'll remain true to the things they know to be right and valuable.  That!  Is all I want out of life at this point.  Truly.  Yes, the "benefits" we've accrued in life up to this point are great.  The privileges that come 25 years into a marriage and career.  Rest, travel, security.  But give me a family, that clings tightly to the Lord, and I'll consider myself a very blessed woman indeed.