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Thanks for all the virtual pats on the back, everyone.  I felt them, I really did.  And patience sometimes does not go unrewarded, for what to my wandering eyes did appear?  An email reading, “You did well to wait, my dear!”

Yes I did.

Happily, Pier 1 is practically adjacent to my JoAnn’s, and I needed spray adhesive for a project and patches for the boys’ jeans.  You see, it was kismet.  I had to go.

So, with my 40% off coupon (expiring today, no less – kismet!) for JoAnn’s in hand, off I toodled to the mall.  Upon seeing my giddy state when I returned home, Jason observed, “This is your Black Friday, isn’t it?”  Oh yeah, he can get up at 3 am the day after a tryptophan coma; I’m waiting ’til 10:30 am on a Saturday in January for my high.

I just wish I had the photographic skills to do this haul justice.  You’ll have to trust that it looks about a thousand times more impressive in person.  (Boring spray adhesive and patches not pictured.)

Everything here was either 75% off or 90% off.  I got the multi-color picks last Sunday on Michaels’ Christmas clearance aisle, and the rest was at Pier 1 and JoAnn’s today.

These trees are my favorite.  $1.75 each for the big ones.  Pitter-pat! To think I almost walked out with only two.  I need a forest of these.  I can’t even show you the very best piece of the loot, because it’s a gift, and these blogs are dangerously public for gift givers.  You’ll just have to wait.  (But I’m going to be pulling it out and ogling it now and then, count on it!)

The best part of this little shopping spree is that I will have forgotten exactly what I bought by the time I open up the storage bins after Thanksgiving this year.  It will be my own early Christmas present…and then I get to use them.

I’ve been enjoying our decorations so much this year, I had to join in with The Nester’s Christmas Tour of Homes.  I didn’t do much around the house, but what we do have up is fun.  And the best part?  The Nester says we’re not aloud to worry about perfection in our decorations.  Boy, can I do imperfect!!

As you saw in yesterday’s 12 of 12, we have icicle lights up outside, but what you didn’t see are the swags along the driveway bushes.

Imperfectionism abounds!  I swear, we tested those lights before hanging them on the house, but once they came on that first evening, sure enough a strand was out.  (Okay, two are out, but the other one’s on the opposite corner of the house, so not quite as visible.)

Our front door decoration is one I picked up at Costco years ago, and with just a little fluffing each year, it has held up beautifully.  I like it because it’s not a wreath.  I have nothing against wreaths, don’t get me wrong.  But it’s different, and I like that.

Inside, of course, is the tree.  Since I love walking or driving down the street and seeing people’s trees in their front windows, and since we’re lucky enough to have a bay window in our living room, that’s where our tree sits.  As my regular readers know, it’s a pre-lit tree with a mom-made tree skirt.  As much as I would love to have a second “decorator” tree someday, our main tree will always be decorated with our sentimental ornaments (which I’ll go into in another post this week).

While I love white lights, there’s just something about colorful Christmas lights that says “Christmas with kids” to me.  So where better to put the colored strands we have but in the boys bedroom

and playroom?

Yes, those are M&M’s Christmas lights!  The boys were so excited when they got home from school a couple of weeks ago and saw these rooms.  A month’s worth of holiday joy for very little effort.  And it’s far from perfect, but who cares?

My very favorite decoration this year is the mantel swag.  I used tips found on several different blogs and visiting the thrift store, dollar store, and our Christmas bins to create this.  Our formerly very wimpy garland is now twisted with a white poinsettia garland and a strand of white lights, and I’ve added in some picks and all of the brass ornaments from our tree.

On top, I draped a table runner (over some small boxes and even a stack of coasters), and I finished it off with some branches from one of our evergreens in the back yard.  It was pretty cool to watch the pine cones on them open up over the first couple of days they were in the house.

It’s especially pretty at night.

And you want imperfection?  Oh, I’ve got imperfection for you.  That center part of the swag?  It’s a good two-to-three inches too far to the left.  Some of you are rolling your eyes a la my husband right now, aren’t you?  But some of you understand.  Once I realized it, it would have been an incredible hassle to fix, so I decided to breathe deeply and embrace the off-centeredness of it all.  And I’m okay with it, because really, who’s going to notice?  (I mean besides the however-many-of-you just read this paragraph.  And you won’t tell anyone, will you?)

I had grand plans for several more decorating feats around the house this December, but they’ve fizzled.  I’m really okay with that.  After all, we still have quite a few unpacked boxes, so I’m just thrilled to have a couple of rooms in the house filled with Christmas cheer.

If you’d like to see more decorations, click on this button.  Be sure to leave lots of comments for the other bloggers…we really like to hear what you think!

Happy 12th, everyone!  Today was one of my favorite days.  I am loving December this year…

11:50 am – Family errands.  Here, we’re on the hunt for some giftable goodies.  Mmmm, Pfeffernüsse…

12:47 pm – After a highly (ahem) nutritious fast food lunch, we head to our next exciting stop: the grocery store.

1:50 pm – Mission accomplished.

2:28 pm – The best photo I’ve gotten of the tree yet!

3:46 pm – Dinner about to go in for Phase II of the cooking.  I’m not always much of a pork fan, but this was excellent.

4:43 pm – Lights, and their reflections in my car roof.  (Yes, a strand is out.  It might get fixed this year; it might not.)

4:44 pm – Fun with the camera!  (Or, “Lights & Camera Action.”)

4:46 pm – May I introduce Betty, my new toy?  She is a Dell Inspiron Mini 10V.  She is so stinkin’ cute, especially with her new ink.  (She’s young & a tad impetuous, Betty is.)

5:33 pm – It is the Wii-kend after all.  (Just please don’t tell them that the word “week” has the ‘Wii’ sound in it, too.)

7:27 pm – The candles in the menorah kept us company…

7:36 pm – …while we watched Christmas movies.  This was the kids’ first time seeing Miracle.  (They loved it!)

8:37 pm – “Buffalo gals, won’t you come out tonight?”

Thanks, as always, to Chad for envisioning and continuing the monthly 12!


  • I’ve got lots to blog about (decorating!!), and now that we’re having sunny days, maybe I can get good photos so I can actually get some of those posts up here.
  • Thanksgiving was great.
  • Civilization IV*, a PC game released in 2005, was on sale for $5 at Best Buy on Black Friday.  It does, in fact, run quite well on Vista.  Any guesses as to what my new addiction might be?
  • I am finding such joy in decorating the house for the holidays this year.  (My other addiction at the mo’.)
  • Thrift stores are fabulous resources for Christmas decorations.  Why spend $0.99 for seven replacement lightbulbs, or $1.99 for a brand-new strings of lights, when you can pay $1.99 (and less on sale days) for a used, but working-perfectly string of lights at the thrift store?  Thrifting = recycling.
  • I need to check the calendar and find out when Hanukkah is this year.  We try to light the menorah with the kids but always forget until about halfway through.  Or, we start out fine and forget after the first couple of nights.
  • We’re flying to Atlanta on Solstice, so I don’t think we’ll be doing a Solstice tree this year.  Sniff.
  • I should blog about how our not-so-traditionally-religious family celebrates the holiday season.  (The last couple of bullet points should be a clue.)
  • I should also blog about how no one’s trying to “steal Christmas,” “eliminate Christmas,” or “declare war on Christmas” when they say “Happy Holidays,” but I have a feeling the people who need to hear the message wouldn’t believe me, anyway.  I bet they’d be even more ticked off if I went around wishing them a Blessed Solstice.

*Is it proper to italicize the name of a video game?  Is it like a movie?  Conventions for these new-fangled-type technologies weren’t discussed in my high school English classes.

My boys

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