Friday, December 12, 2014

Weekend Bloggy Reading :: Link Up!

Hi there! Welcome to my Weekend Bloggy Reading link party. Fridays are fun because this is the day of the week where other bloggers stop by to link up their best post of the week here at Serenity Now, and readers get to browse tons of fun project ideas. If you're new here, don't forget to "Follow" or subscribe so you don't miss future parties and projects!

*Please be sure to read my guidelines before you add a link--I've had to bypass so many great projects lately because they didn't include a link back to my blog in the post!

This party is a great place to showcase your very best post of the week (home decor, crafts, party ideas, recipes, DIY, tips and tricks, etc.) and to see what else is out there.

Did you miss any of this week's posts? I talked about why I'm not having a "Pinterest Perfect" Christmas on Tuesday, and I also shared some great Christmas books to curl up by the fire with. Yesterday brought some fab features from last week's link party!



Time to link up your best post of the week!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Inspiring Project Ideas {link party features}

Hello, hello! I wanted to share some good creative features from the weekend link party with you today. The party opens up again tomorrow morning, so be ready to join the fun. If you're new to the blog, I take a couple of days each week to let other bloggers showcase their project ideas here, and I take a day to feature a few of my faves. We have crafts, home decor, DIY, recipes, party ideas, organizing, tips and tricks, seasonal projects, and more!

Here are some projects that caught my eye this week:

~Christmas Mantel via Life and Home at 2102

~Layered Blondies with Chocolate Ganache via Winnish


~DIY Glitter Reindeer via Revolutionaries

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Good Christmas Books to Read

If you read my post yesterday about celebrating the Christmas season in a simpler way, you'll know I suggested taking the time to read a good book by the Christmas tree. I did just that last night. After reading a Dave Barry Christmas story, I thought I'd share a short list of some good Christmas books.

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog- Dave Barry

This is the Christmas book I read last night. At just 117 pages, it's a quick read, but so worth the time. Set in the 1960s, you are definitely transported back to a simpler era. The twist is that it's written from the perspective of Doug Barnes, a young boy. With Barry's typical sense of humor layering the story, you'll remember the whimsy and wonder of the season.

Skipping Christmas- John Grisham


I read this one every year at Christmastime. The movie (starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) is cute, but the book really captures the humor of the story. It reads quickly as well...not a tedious novel to get through at all.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever- Barbara Robinson


This one's for kids! I remember a teacher reading this to our class in elementary school, and also watching the TV special several years at school during Christmastime. This one is laugh-out-loud funny. There are a few words I edited out when reading the book out loud to my kiddos, but they loved it!

The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree- Stan and Jan Berenstain


If you grew up on Berenstain Bears books like I did, you may remember this one. I have my original copy, and my children love this one. It's written in verse, and the illustrations are just as sweet as I remember as a child.

Here's a quote from The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog that seems fitting, considering yesterday's post and my efforts to enjoy the season without all the blog stress:

"I really like Christmas Eve. I think I like it even more than Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, you get to open your presents and see what you got, but you also know that Christmas is starting to be over for a year, and by nighttime some of the stuff you got is already broken. But on Christmas Eve, all the tree lights are on and carols are playing and people are saying "Merry Christmas," and everything is about to happen, but it didn't happen yet. That's the best time of the year."

That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

I'd love to know what some of your favorite Christmas books are!


*As always, please be sure to Pin from the original source, unless you want to Pin the main "round-up" image to keep this post for future reference.

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I'm Not Having a "Pinterest Perfect" Christmas

Do you stress out when the holidays roll around? Do you worry that your house isn't sparkly and glittery enough? Not clean enough? The gifts you give aren't expensive enough? Not handmade enough? The food you're serving on Christmas Eve isn't organic enough? Tasty enough? Enough, enough, enough. It's never enough, is it? Be my friend today. Let's pat each other on the hand and smile and I'll tell you why I'm not having a "Pinterest Perfect" Christmas this year.


With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the plethora of Christmas crafts and recipes and home decor, you probably didn't even notice that I didn't post last week, except for the weekly link party. I hardly noticed myself. I was busy around here, fluffing and baking and prepping for two birthday parties that we hosted for our newly turned one and nine year olds. By the time the cupcakes were baked, the presents wrapped, and the favors set out on display, I realized that I hadn't bothered to write a new post for the blog.

And I was okay with it.

A year ago, two years ago, the thought of not having a brand-new fresh blog post for eager readers' eyes would have given me hives of epic proportions. Like the kind of hives you need a prescription for and then some heavy drinking to forgot the whole thing. 

Maybe it was adding a new family member last December. Maybe it was a shift in priorities. Maybe I'm just tired. 

Whatever the reason, I found myself less and less twitchy about sitting down every single night for an hour or so to edit photos, type out a post, edit, schedule, and then spend the next day relentlessly plugging said post on social media.

What's fun about that?

My hang-up has always been comparing myself to the gorgeous and inspiring homes I see on my friends' blogs. I do my best to find inspiration rather than let the discouragement get a hold of me, but it is a struggle. I love celebrating our fun little family traditions, but I have hesitated to share them because I know they just don't measure up.

Don't get me wrong. I love blogs, blogging, and bloggers. I just don't love the stress of it anymore. We have enough stress with pleasing in-laws, mothers, and children during the month of December. We have enough stress making sure everyone is clean and wearing pants to attend the preschool Christmas pageant. We have enough stress over those grocery store trips with all three kids to pick up the ingredients we forgot for the special Christmas cookies. We have enough stress with German Shepherds who EAT ORNAMENTS OFF THE TREE.

I can't tell you how many social media posts I saw last week where bloggers were in SUPER HIGH STRESS MODE over Christmas home tours going up this week. I have been that blogger...trying to festoon and adorn (and clean) every square inch of the first floor of our home with Christmas decor so I could have a pretty tour to post on the blog. Usually this involved yelling, kids crying, and an overall irritated demeanor that settled over the house for several days.

Yep. Super Christmasy, right?

I couldn't hop on board this year. I have certainly had my moments (the tree lights and I always have a disagreement at some point). But stepping back from the stress and worry of having creative tutorials, recipes, and tips up on the blog every single weekday this month has helped me appreciate this time. 

I enjoyed a week of (relative leisure) putting out decorations a bit at a time, prepping for those two birthday parties, and fitting in regular day-to-day-life stuff with three kiddos. I'll probably post an abbreviated tour on the blog at some point this month, and I have some other things to share too...but I'm not going to worry too much about it because I'd rather enjoy some special moments with my family than sit at a computer every night. And you probably do too. 

Take a deep breath with me and know that Christmas will still be there, even if you have Goldfish cracker crumbs on the floor and you don't have a custom holiday vignette on your dining room table.

Doesn't that sound nice?

No, our Christmas won't be "Pinterest Perfect" this year. But the first Christmas wasn't either. I highly doubt the baby Jesus had a handmade glitter polka dot pennant banner hanging over his manger that Mary made with the Silhouette/Cricut machine she lugged along with her all the way to Bethlehem.

I challenge you to shut the laptop tonight. Stick your phone in another room. Sit in front of your Christmas tree with its haphazardly hung paper and popsicle stick preschool ornaments and enjoy the quiet. Watch a funny Christmas movie with your husband. Read a good book. Drink some hot cocoa. Snuggle with the dog.

Your blog can wait. But Christmas can't.

While we're distracted with hanging lights, positioning that Elf on his shelf, snapping perfectly lit photos of peppermint cookies to be rePinned by 12,000 followers, the Christmas season is passing us by. 

The "perfect Christmas", I am learning, is not the one you'll see on my blog. It's not the one you'll find as you scroll through Pinterest, or Instagram, or Facebook. It's the one you celebrate quietly at home in the glow of the Christmas tree lights. It's the moments you take with your children to thank The One who made all of this possible in the first place.

Enjoy your perfect Christmas!

Love, 
Amanda

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekend Bloggy Reading :: Link Up!

Happy Friday, everyone! I've been absent this week, getting the house decorated for Christmas AND for two children's birthdays. Yep, I have a one year old and a nine year old, as of tomorrow. Welcome to my Weekend Bloggy Reading link party. Fridays are fun because this is the day of the week where other bloggers stop by to link up their best post of the week here at Serenity Now, and readers get to browse tons of fun project ideas. If you're new here, don't forget to "Follow" or subscribe so you don't miss future parties and projects!

*Please be sure to read my guidelines before you add a link--I've had to bypass so many great projects lately because they didn't include a link back to my blog in the post!

This party is a great place to showcase your very best post of the week (home decor, crafts, party ideas, recipes, DIY, tips and tricks, etc.) and to see what else is out there.

Don't miss a new edition of the BOTB over at Centsational Girl today. Kate and I rounded up some fab DIY to share with you in today's Best of the Blogosphere post!



Time to link up your best post of the week!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We all love our turkey, and stuffing, and football, and parades. I know I do. But don't forget to take a moment and let some gratitude wash over you today. We are blessed. I am blessed. You are blessed. 

Have a beautiful, warm Thanksgiving!



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

10 Simple, Last Minute Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Raise your hand if you're ready for Thanksgiving! I'm getting there. I (think I) have all of the ingredients I need to do my prep work tomorrow, but we all know that saying about "best laid plans...." I thought I'd round up a few easy side dish recipes for anyone who might need a few last-minute ideas for the big holiday meal this week! So, without further ado, here are 10 Last Minute Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes.
10 Side Dish Recipes you can make this #thanksgiving at the last minute, from Serenity Now #sidedish #sides #recipe


These should all be easy dishes with simple ingredients...the hubs can run out to the store for you and not spend 30 minutes on the spice aisle trying to find ingredients he's never heard of. Enjoy!








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