Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Be Careful Out There, Friends, It Is Cold and Flu Season

One of the funny things about Facebook is knowing when my friends here and around the world have the flu. While I am not fond of all the details (thank you very much) it is a good reminder to begin my yearly flu prevention strategy.

1. Always use the cart wipes to clean the handle of your shopping cart. I grab the wipe first and clean all sides of the handle.

2. Never use a public pen. When I need to sign any paperwork, I always use my own pen. And if there is a machine that requires you to use an attached pen, I use a tissue to hold it.

3.  Be intentional about keeping your hands away from your face. (a hard habit for me to break) 

4. Do not touch public door knobs. I use  a paper towel or the sleeve of my jacket.

5. When you have been out and about, wash your hands as soon as you get home.

6. Wash your hands a lot, if you are visiting a home that has or has recently had sickies in it.

7. Change your dish towels and hand towels every morning. And if someone in the family gets sick, makes those towels off limits to them.

8. Drink lots of water, eat lots of fruits and veggies and take your vitamins. 

And ... teach your kids to do the same thing.

Daniel and Jenny's wedding tea

I raise a delicious cup of hot tea to ... good health this holiday season.

image credit: 1, 2

Monday, November 25, 2013

Two Simple Traditions ... For Christmas

Our family loves traditions. Traditions are easy ... you just choose something you enjoy and do it again and again and again. And the holidays are a perfect time to enjoy traditions. 

I am a  pretty simple girl, so all of our family traditions are simple. But if your family enjoys more complicated things, your traditions should be complicated. 

Today, I want to share just two with you.

1. Tradition One: Opening a Christmas gift on December 1

We begin our season with a wrapped gift on December 1 ... and it is always a book to add to our family basket of Christmas books.  Super easy. 

If it was a year that our budget was very tight it was an inexpensive paperback. On years we had money, it was a beautiful hardbound.

Remember ... do anything year after year and it naturally becomes a tradition.

2. Tradition Two:  Red Cup Day

Red Cup Day 2013

Our family loves coffee. (we were doomed ~ living in Seattle AND
traveling Europe)  We get super excited on the day that Starbucks launches the Christmas season by unveiling this years ... red cup.

As a family, we have not always been in the same city, or even the same continent ... but wherever we are, we get a coffee on red cup day.

So simple, so stress free ... a cup of coffee in a red cup year after year and a wonderful tradition is born.

What is one of your families favorite Christmas traditions?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Art Journaling And A Fun Gift Idea For Kids

Are you staring to think about Christmas gifts? (I am) 

Art journal experiments

When my brother, Tim, was little, I gave him the same gift every year for his birthday. He loved it and all of his little buddies wanted one, too.

It was simple. I got a white box and labelled it Tim's Project Box, and filled it with all sorts of paper and art supplies. It provided Tim with hours and hours of fun and creativity.

Target has a fantastic line of art supplies for kids called Kid Made Modern. They are designed by Todd Oldman who said ... "A well-stocked craft supply kit is a treasure. Think of it as a giant box of possibilities."

You should see the paint set with several shades of each color. And I love the markers and colored duct tape. So very fun. 

Recently I made Glenda's Project Box, as I am taking Brene Brown's e.course and experimenting with art journalling. I love the Kid Made Modern series.

So ... this idea makes a great present for a kid and for yourself.

Have you done any Christmas shopping yet? Does it stress you out

Linking with Jen 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Two Ways To Make Space For The Upcoming Holidays

Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Can you believe it? I have been feeling the tug to do a little preparation, but have not quite been ready. 

So, here are two things that I decided to do first, to clear up some space in my home ... and my head.

1.  Clean off my desk and other spots that I pile paper

Flat Stanley helps Aunt Glenda get organized.  Thanks, Violet.

I am wading through the piles of paper and mini-projects that have accumulated. You know ...

     *send Flat Stanley on to Aunt Sue

     *schedule my final little oral surgery

     *enter a pile of new phone numbers into my
       new iPhone (which I am loving)

       *deal with some insurance nonsense


Starting with a clean desk will be wonderful.

2. Deep clean my house.

Still enjoying the beautiful colors of fall.

Dave was in Michigan yesterday, so I listened to Christmas music all day and did a deep clean of my house. Besides the normal jobs, I 

     *carried a bunch of things downstairs to

     *cleaned my pantry

     *organized my dresser

     *put away my patio furniture (we got our first
          snow two days ago ... sadly, it was time)

Taking care of a few extra things makes me feel ready to tackle some initial planning.  (all those hours of Christmas music did not hurt either)

How about you ... done any planning for the holidays?


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Remembering My Mom's Hands ... (eight years later)

I  love hands. Some people notice eyes, others notice smiles ... I notice hands.

a few of my favorite hands

We recently passed the eight year anniversary of my mom's death. I remember when my friend, Judy, lost her dad, she told me it was a club you never wanted to join. As I am very close to both of my parents, it is a club whose membership I dreaded.

But eight years ago, I had to join it. And in honor of my mom, I have been reflecting on that day.

My adorable mom, Hallie, was always active, healthy and a "gamer." We had very little warning that anything was going on. 

After a few weeks of not feeling well, her doctor thought she had a sinus infection and the flu. But when symptoms persisted she went to the emergency room one night, and a CT scan brought us the bad news that she had cancer. 

That next morning, Christy and I drove to Spokane to hang out with her and be an encouragement. Dave was on a mission trip to Senegal and Jenny was studying at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. 

It was so lovely to see her and I was thrilled that we had recently moved from Minneapolis to Seattle, so a quick 5 hour drive and we were sitting in her bedroom talking and laughing. 

Mom was experiencing some unusual pain in her leg, so she and dad were back to the emergency room,  where they discovered a blood clot. They scheduled a quick procedure for the next morning to stop that blood clot from causing problems. 

Of course, the big, crazy, loud and fun Johnson clan was going to descend on mom's hospital room that night to keep her company. But dad called and said she was resting well and wanted to see us all the next day.

At 2 in the morning, dad called again, for us all to come, as in the night mom had thrown the blood clot and things did not look good. And we came in sweet mass.

Those short hours are ones I will never forget. Mom could not talk, but the doctor assured us that she could hear us. As we all huddled around her bed, we took turns speaking quietly in her ear. 

I remember telling her that Dave and Jenny were not here but that they loved her too. I remember my dad telling her that we would all take good care of each other. (and we did) 

But what I remembered most is thinking, I will never see my mom again (this side of heaven), and I wanted to spend as much time as I could holding and looking at her beautiful thin hands and her long fingers. And that is what I did.

My mom, Hallie, was both an introvert and shy, so she often showed her love with her hands. She made quilts, sewed Cabbage patch dolls for all of her grandchildren, decorated her home, fixed yummy meals, wrote hundreds of letters and thank you notes, typed all of my dad's books he wrote for pastors, ... and much more. 

I loved her busy hands. They were beautiful and they expressed her fun and giving spirit. And I miss them often. 

 You would have loved her hands her, too.

 Linking with Jen.
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