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Monthly Archives: December 2011



Do you remember what your New Year’s resolution from last year was? Did you attain it? Here I am, writing it down for all to see this year, to make sure I keep them alive during this next year and beyond! I also invite you to share your goals, if not on this page, then for sure out loud and written down for your circle of friends and family to encourage you along the way!

My 2012 Resolutions… All 10 of them!

  1. to set real, attainable, and measurable goals for 2012 and keep myself accountable to them
  2. to be healthy, not just lose weight, work out, and look good for the sake of vanity alone
  3. to help others understand the importance of overall health, be it physical, emotional, and/or spiritual
  4. to focus on making our home a welcoming place of trust, rejuvenation, friendship, and fun
  5. to finish potty-training our baby and teach our eldest to read
  6. to spend more time on my marriage, e.g. weekly dates solidified by the end of the year
  7. to increase my own business ventures and help my husband with his
  8. to engage in regular community service events such as visits to the nursing home, music productions, and fundraisers
  9. to garden and have a great harvest for next winter
  10. to buy a snow-worthy, all-terrain vehicle for work, camping trips, family joy rides (this last item courtesy of many family days in my childhood spent driving for hours for the sole purpose of enjoying the scenery. Thanks Mom!)

I often reserve my womanly right to adjust my priorities (read: change my mind) however now that my goals are public, I have all my readers to be a part of such decisions and keep me accountable if I try  to exercise that right! (I’m giving you permission to tell me, “No.”)

Blessing with your goals, and thank you for helping me with mine! Happy 2012 🙂


Western Woman

Your 2012 Fashion Must-Have’s

Your 2012 Fashion Must-Have’s

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in a beautiful LBD

Every so often I bemoan the clutter in my life, and New Year’s Resolution time unquestionably tops the chart. Handsome new trinkets courtesy of the season make me wonder, “Where am I going to put all this!?” Can you relate?

If you are anything like me, then your wardrobe space is at a premium. Use this list to beat the muddle! As for those “number 11” items (as in, items not on the must-have list but you still want to keep it) if they comfortably fit in the confines of your wardrobe, they are safe. If they don’t fit, never fear; simply trade out the old for the new. Let your mantra be, “Donate, donate, donate.”

Here we go, your 2012 Top 10 Fashion Must-Have’s:

  1. LBD (This is, of course, the classic little black dress; it should be worthy of being worn to any magnificent occasion, be it a hot date, a formal occasion, and of course dress-up. One LBD shouldsuffice, however I usually keep at least three.)
  2. Black skirt, one you like enough to wear to professional settings, church, and out on the town.
  3. Jeans (You really only need 2-3 pairs of well-fitting jeans. Any more is wasted closet space. Seriously. Jeans are jeans.)
  4. Go-to jacket; In my career days this was a fitted black blazer. In my home-making days, this is a denim jacket capable of providing a neat and clean finish to virtually any outfit. Yours could be an elegant soft leather or sporty zippered style, whatever suits your personality.
  5. 2-3 sweaters, in colors that match most of your wardrobe. Save the neon orange for something little, not half a shelf of knitwear 😉
  6. Boots: These should be appropriate for nearly all occasions. For me, this could be a pair of chic black cowboy boots to wear to church, around the farm, and throughout the entire year. I’m not going to list any other shoes, because most of us already have enough for a couple seasons of Project Runway!
  7. Neutral layering pieces (e.g. White button-down blouse, leggings, black and white close-fitting t-shirts for each season, etc.)
  8. Trademark accessories: You don’t need to own a whole store, but rather choose a few items you love (such as a cowboy hat, thigh-high boots, fascinators, or a Coach purse)Beware of your inventory, as these items can be somewhat bulky, not to mention expensive!I like my collection of scarves (my latest and greatest find is a cute little book called “Scarfenomena” from the antique store! Who knew scarves could be so versatile? I am therefore increasing my supply of silk scarves to enjoy year-round.)
  9. A swimsuit you feel comfortable and happy in. Remember to pack it every time you travel, just in case.
  10. A wild card, your own little pride and joy, that little something-something for which you saved $$ month after month… My 2012 splurge is not actually a clothing item, but its close enough! Buying a Silk’n SensEpil hair removal system, hopefully this year, is another great resolution of mine! I already own practically everything else on my clothing list; in theory this little money-saving venture should be comparatively easy!

There you have it, your 2012 Top 10 Fashion Must-Haves. Please add your own wisdom and insight for us to read and enjoy! Finally, please accept my warm wishes for an uncluttered closet and a Happy New Year!

Pomegranate Chocolates

jPomegranate Chocolates

  • —   1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • —  1 cup coconut oil
  • —  ¾ cup raw honey
  • —  1 pomegranate

Gently melt half the coconut oil in a pan over a low heat. Mix the remaining ingredients in your blender.

Carefully add the melted coconut oil to the mixture in blender and pulse. Take care not to over-blend, lest it separate.

Spread plastic or wax paper on a tray.  Drop spoonfuls of mixture onto covered tray (If mixture is too “wet” you may refridgerate for 15 minutes prior to this step.)  Add the pomegranate pearls to your chocolates.  Cool in refridgerator 1/2 hour, or until solid.

Prepare yourself for a mouthwatering.treat for Christmas time, New Years, and year-round! I truly enjoyed the results along with my lovely host, my mother-in-law Lori 🙂 Thanks to Elisa for another mouthwatering post, translated from,

Gifts for Children, Sans the Maxed-Out Credit Card

Gramma Martha teaches great things to Archangela, while she seriously listens with a Nerf dart on her nose.

Myth: Children need expensive gifts for Christmas to be happy.

Truth # 1: Small children will be equally happy with gifts in your price range, unless they have been previously spoiled.

Example: My three-year-old daughter hand-picked one of her gifts–a toy from the thrifts store for less than a dollar. Her excitement grew as she helped me wrap gift after gift for herself and for others. (She loves tape!) I cleverly shopped at deep discounts earlier in the year, before holiday fever hit the stores. Archangela will be very pleased on Christmas morning!

Truth # 2: Older children should have a clear understanding of finances.

Whether your income is $20,000 or $200,000 please use your influence and train them to be wise–for life. If they want something out of their price range; offer to pary a partial amount as their Christmas gift; they will gain work ethic and budgeting skills as they pay the rest. If your children expect you to buy out of your budget, then it is time to share a vital life-lesson with them. It is for your own future, but even more so for the decisions your children will make for the rest of their lives.

Example: As a child, I was well aware of my parents position. They didn’t lack money; they simply chose to invest it in ministry overseas. What a great legacy! (You may follow my mom’s story @

When I didn’t get what I wanted, I was trained to find ways to earn the money. At thirteen, with my mother’s encouragement, I created accessories to be sold at local clothing stores. My brother Dan also joined me in similar ventures. This is also a great legacy! As an adult, when I lack the money for a need or a want, I automatically think of how to ‘raise’ the money. I’m good at it. I enjoy earning treats that were not previously in my budget!

Necessity is the mother of invention, right? So don’t spoil it. And don’t spoil your kids. And please don’t spoil your bank account.

Have a very joyful Christmas! Enjoy the poinsettias and your coffee in the company of your loved ones!

Gifts for Men–Seriously!?

Men often brag about how uncomplicated they are, yet any gift they really want tends to be at least $150, usually more so in the $1000’s! Can I hear an amen?

Have you completed your shopping? If so, please advise. If not, we are in this together. You may guess, correctly so, that I have yet to wrap a gift for my husband. I wanted to see if ‘professional’ gift idea sites had any ideas for meaningful items for a reasonable price. PLEASE help me out and comment about your own good ideas for men, keeping it under $50!

Below are findings of what some sites truly believe our men want. Gadgets galore, I’m just going to say “really?” and leave it at that… No wait, let me try again; “Here is a great item to stuff in the back of your closet!”

Beer Holster $24.99
Because you think he drinks at work? Or maybe he isn’t talented enough to actually hold a drink in his hand?
The Debt-Free Graduate: How to Survive College Without Going Broke Kindle version $9.99 am I reading this right? paperback $748.90???!!! Give him $748.90 and ask him if he would like to buy a book about not going broke, or if he would rather put it toward not going broke. Seriously.
World's Largest Gummy Worm
World’s largest gummy bear $27.99
So what are you calling him? A worm? Or a giant chicken eating a giant worm?
OK, we have narrowed down what not to buy (at least that was my intention.) Please share your good ideas under $50 for men! Your secret is safe with me 🙂

Cut Your Own Hair

Cut Your Own Hair

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Several months ago I bemoaned to a co-worker, my friend Angel, my lack of time to go in for a hair appointment. My stylist always did an incredible job, however money was tight and time was even tighter to get myself to the salon. Then, a light was turned on for me when Angel informed me she has been cutting her own hair for years, and I have always admired her shag hairstyle! I took note of her instructions, adjusting it somewhat for my desired style. Several months later, I have used the technique many times and would like to share my joyful results with you.

This style works for long hair. The wispy look is carefree, reminiscent of the 1970’s, easy to style, and good for busy women as the cutting process should only take about five minutes. As a disclaimer, I am not a professional. I am a woman who wants to achieve healthy, beautiful hair, quickly and inexpensively.

How to Cut Your Shag Hairstyle

  1. Bend forward at the waist, and brush your dry hair into a ponytail at the top of your forehead.
  2. Cut straight across at the desired length. (I like an Eclipse Cushion-Grip Shears from $19.99 for members) Remember, cutting about eye level will give you about chest-length hair, so don’t be nervous about all that hair landing in the trash. If you are creating new layers, the bulk of what you cut off if coming from the upper layers. (This step is easy, so if you are unsure, allow ‘room for improvement’ by starting out with longer layers.)
  3. Flip your hair back and check for accuracy, using a mirror or a friend to see the back. You can always repeat step 2 if needed.
  4. Bangs or no bangs? At this time in my life, I like bangs! I use a texture shears which I purchased on Sally Beauty for about $15. I clean it up with my regular regular shears. If you are creating bangs for the first time, select the amount of hair carefully. There is a big difference between Lea Michelle’s thick bangs and Audrey Hepburn’s delicately ultra-short fringe in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Hold hair between two fingers over your forehead, and cut a slight rainbow shape, allowing extra length to any cowlicks. One more thing–vision-obstruction is so overrated… if you can’t see, trim them shorter, or clip them to the side! my preference is to not have bangs that cover one’s eyes!
  5. If you want to get a fancier edge such as choppy layers, look up more involved instructions online, or take some professional classes. Whatever you decide to do with your hair: Have fun, look fabulous, and drink your coffee 🙂

You will need: Construction paper, markers, glue, stickers and/or leftover confetti from a birthday party, ribbon, glitter, and any odds and ends you decide would look posh on your Fancy-Nancy ornament. Please take any artistic liberty you may wish, whether it is to alter the shape, object (don’t like boots? make it a purse! or a… coffee mug?), or decoration in any way. It is yours!

  1. Draw your boot design. Mine stands about 3 inches tall. Cut it out, and use the prototype to trace onto the construction paper as many boots as you will want. (I suggest making extra, just in case of an oops, or if you need a little gift for someone. Children are great for showering one and only of many relatives with special homemade presents, and then randomly needing mom to supply a gift for someone they haven’t seen in months! Or maybe it’s just me and my daughter?)
  2. This is an addition to step one, per the advice of my sister’s comment below! If you need a pattern, go to hit print, change page scaling from ‘fit to selected area’ to ‘multiple pages per sheet’ and number of pages per sheet to 9. Print this, cut it out, and use to trace the rest. (Unless you can figure out how to print this multiple times on the same page of cardstock paper, then do tell! This would eliminate the tracing and drawing the design on the boot, which saves a lot of time when you have many ornaments to make.) Of course there are many images available for your boot, choose whichever one suits you best.
  3. Use markers to draw a Western design on your boot. I opted for a simple paisley-type design.
  4. Use 2 matching sturdy stickers back-to-back to secure the ‘spur.’
  5. Use glitter, stickers, and your choice of pretties to glamorize your ornament.
  6. Glue a loop of ribbon onto the back, securing this on the back with a small circle of construction paper.
  7. The end result should be appealing to the whole family. Display with pride and share with joy!

The Change You Want To See

Please enjoy the  translation of my post on sister’s blog

Three-year-old  Archangela lectures her baby sister, “Abigail, Mommy doesn’t fuss; you don’t need to fuss. Ahh! I don’t need this!” How nice that she believes I don’t fuss.

Besides her remarkable vocabulary, my daughter brings up an interesting point. Since I apparently don’t fuss, it stands that she and her sister should follow suit. My little girl holds me in high regard, so naturally I must live up to her standard. Wise beyond her years, indeed!

“Be the change you want to see” is a quote that is almost cliché, yet so true.

Next time I wish to find fault with someone, instead of fussing, why not lead by example?

Thank Elisa!

Time Vs. Money part II–The Case for Time

Yesterday we made a Case for Money. Will the jury please listen to the Case for Time, and choose wisely.

Nowadays my day starts out with helping my eldest make her bed, an important exercise in responsibility. After it is made we have breakfast, and we always eat together. Even our little baby knows the ‘hand motions’ to the prayer of thanksgiving.

We feed the cats, either jump on the trampoline or play inside if it is cold. Then we snuggle up for story time. At three years of age, Archangela is learning how to read from this rhythmic activity. Abigail goes down for her morning nap, and Archangela and I might do a craft or perhaps laundry.

Lunchtime is again a family affair (sans Daddy, when he is working) and my girls know they are to eat what is set before them. We make it a ‘tea party’ as often as possible.

After some playtime, we have story again before afternoon nap. I have my coffee and a little Bible reading, and some other project if I have time. After they wake up we play outside, before coming in to warm up with dress-up or a craft (Our latest favorite is making ultra-fancy flower pens! They are complete with feathers, lace, ribbons, and tulle!)

Our day continues in a mode of togetherness. Both children and mommy are worn out from playing hard all day, and we hug and kiss as we sing “Good Night” because there is time for it.

The case for Time? Really, the answer is clear.

I rest my case.

Time Vs. Money part I: The Case For Money

Busy people either have no choice but to be busy, or they act out of compulsion. Places to go, people to see, bills to be paid, gotta make some more money, honey… And the cycle is endless.

Children pay the price.

I know this firsthand. At my busiest I was working 60-70 hour weeks. Once I clocked 85, and my health began to fall apart, causing me to give even less time and attention to my girls. I found that the less time I gave my children, the more money I would spend on them to try to make them feel loved.

Here is the between-the-lines text for you:

“Archangela, it’s present time! I bought you some fancy new flower tights!” Translated: “I don’t have time to watch you dance, but here is something to wear while you dance by yourself.”

“Abigail, I got you a cute little outfit!” Translated: “I know you’re a baby and really don’t care, but at least other people will think I spend time getting you dolled up.”

And the worst gift of all… “Archangela, I got you some new craft supplies!” Translated: “I don’t have time to draw with you; clean up after you; or put your artwork into a scrapbook. So please use these quietly while I get ready for work until your babysitter arrives. Thank you.”

What a sobering reality! Clearly, the amount of $$ spent is irrelevant. The children are alone either way. Tomorrow we will hear the Case for Time.