Friday, December 19, 2014

Fantasy vs Reality at Christmas

Less than one week to go and we can definitely feel the excitement building around here! My girls are giddy! There are a lot of fun traditions and times to look forward to as we approach these final days before Christmas.  I was in volunteering at school yesterday and could literally see the children bouncing off the walls, full of joy and excitement and if I'm being honest here, in need of a good sprint or five around school to burn off some of that excitement!  That being said, there is still a lot to do!  I've been trying hard to get into the spirit of the season and I just wanted to touch on that today.

I think people sometimes have an idea of what the "perfect Christmas" should be like. This of course, includes but certainly isn't limited to… Children perfectly dressed in their festive ensembles, holding hands or playing quietly by the lights of the Christmas tree, smells of delicious food being lovingly prepared by a mother who is not only beautifully dressed but is also relaxed and smiling.  Presents are neatly wrapped aka Martha Stewart, with coordinating gift tags and paper allocated to each recipient, handmade hors d'oeuvres and beverages to carry you through the busy week of Christmas right through the new year.  Did I mention in this fantasy, everyone gets along splendidly? There is no arguing, no family grudges, sisters, aunts and mother-in-law's fill the kitchen with laughter and the ease.  I could go on and on but unfortunately, at least for my family, this picture is not my reality and until we let that go, I don't think you can really enjoy what Christmas is truly about.  The perfect holiday can be loud, unorganized (as in flying by the seat of my pants to finish up the last of my holiday shopping) and running to the grocery store for the 5th time because I forgot that "one last item".  This is the time of year when my quest to create the perfect Pinterest recipes lead me to dumping flour all over the kitchen or forgetting a key ingredient. This time of year brings extra stress to so many to try to create that "perfect Christmas" and extra sadness to those who are not able to provide or to those who have lost loved ones.  It can be a challenging time and a stressful time.

One of the things I try to focus on is reality vs fantasy. I'm talking about living in your situation with what you have,  truly remembering what is important to YOU. If you make yourself happy first then you have the tendency to make those around you happy as well. If you are stressed out and trying to accommodate every person you know, that will likely make you more unhappy and reflect that feeling onto others. It's okay to say no this time year, it's okay not to attend every single Christmas party you're invited to and to order pizza on the night you have to make six dozen sugar cookies for your kids class. Along those same lines, it's okay not to contribute to every single donation or feel bad when you decline.  It is so important to give and have compassion but sometimes we are giving out of obligation and not desire. Sometimes you just can't do it and that's okay.  That's what makes you human. Life happens!  We need to cut ourselves some slack!  Further, we need to support one another and not judge. Believe me, it's so hard not to get wrapped up in it all. This reminder helps me as well when I start to get carried away with the madness of it all. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love this time of year but gentle reminders go a long way especially as we approach the final days before Christmas.  This is the time of year to support one another and give ourselves a break, realize that your holiday will likely be fantastic because it's filled with your family, your traditions and most importantly the love that you share. Take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time if you have to. When the stress starts to build simply take a deep breath and LET IT GO!

Lastly, enjoy the chaos of your holiday because in my mind, that is what my "perfect Christmas" has become. My perfect Christmas includes family, laughter and lots of love. Who cares if my kids stay in their pajamas for the week?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas and Crafting

You guys! I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that we don't have much time left before Christmas arrives. I know I've talked about this before and every year my goal remains the same, to have a stress-free holiday when I'm prepared and organized. When everyone is dashing around grabbing last minute gifts, I want to be the one sipping eggnog by the fire. In reality, I don't drink eggnog and with the new puppy in our house we rarely light a fire so yes my friends, I will be making a mad dash to complete my holiday commitments and shopping like so many of you. I am happy that Amazon prime exists so I'm not too nervous about it but still, it's coming down to the wire.
That being said, we've had a great December so far with the perfect mix of family time and productivity. One of the things I do every December is the Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude!  This was my sixth year doing it and it just keeps getting more fun. Kennebunkport Maine is a beautiful coastal town and this time of year, completely decked out for the holidays. They have an entire weekend devoted to welcoming Santa, wonderful Christmas music and festivities throughout their town. Saturday morning brings a plethora of craft fairs at different locations scattered throughout the village. I always set up shop first thing Saturday morning and look forward to meeting new people and seeing old friends. One of the things I love so much about this craft fair is that The same crafters attend every year so it's great to catch up with people and see what they're up to.  This year, the morning started out with a lot of freezing rain which kept people away the first hour or so but by mid-morning the place was busy! It was a great day and absolutely put me in the Christmas spirit. Here are a couple of pictures of my table at the event.
The event was a success and what's best about this?  Leftovers make excellent holiday gifts! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bixby Bar Feature!

There was a time when Santa would stuff my stocking full of chocolate kisses and Reesie's peanut butter cups. Over the years, I've requested to have a candy free stocking simply because I don't want to work quite as hard on my New Year's resolutions :-). Still, I love to indulge in a delicious bit of chocolate every once in a while but if I'm going to do it, I want to be well worth the calories.  After researching this company a bit more I realized that their candy is perfect for the chocolate conscious connoisseur, using only the finest organic and all-natural ingredients, these non-GMO treats contain no additives and are made by using fair trade and green resources. Let me introduce you to Bixby Co!  
Kraft chocolate was a term that I wasn't familiar with but I am so glad I am now! Consider this: chocolate that goes the extra step, chocolate that is for those who have a little more sophisticated taste, rich in flavor and depth. Developed and founded by a new generation of entrepreneur, Kate McAleer, wanted to create a good quality product that used the finest ingredients and was socially conscious while creating deep roots and supporting her local community. Bixby & Co uses premium organic chocolate and the finest ingredients in their bars.  The Bixby Bar incorporates this organic chocolate plus delicious fruit, nuts and spices.  The result is delicious, rich and makes a wonderful gift for the holiday season and beyond!

The flavor combinations are incredible, these most certainly aren't your run-of-the-mill candy bars!  I absolutely love their Limited Edition bars including the FIGGY, their Sweet Fig Gingerbread Walnut and the TABOGGAN, their Cranberry Maine Sea Salt Pistacio!  I think Santa would love to find a Bixby bar waiting for him instead of milk and cookies (just sayin')!  Since I'm always looking for a great holiday gift that's different and uniquely suited for the person I'm giving it to, I feel like these would make a great gift!  They are full of flavor and goodness, not junk!  

You can learn more about Bixby Co by visiting their website here, following them on Facebook and on Twitter.  If you sign up for their newsletter, you'll save 10% off your first order! Be sure to check out Bixby Co and their gift packs which include a vegan sampler, white chocolate sampler, and holiday gift pack. Also, their "You Pick 6" packs are on sale right now and make a great stocking stuffer or gift! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Puppy Pics!

Tippy's very first SNOW (he loved it)!
His new favorite sleeping spot!  And clearly, my new favorite vacuum spot! 
Light post today - 'Tis The Season! Have a wonderful weekend my friends! 
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