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Showing posts from December, 2012

White Elephant and a Rooster

We go to a White Elephant gift exchange every year with a group of people we've met through church.

This exchange has been going on for years before  we were even included in on it.
The inside jokes are aplenty.
There are gifts that have been donated to a "Hall of Fame" that get displayed every year.

Items like
statuette pictures of people dressed like Santa 
or the action figures that have been dressed like  people at the party.
These people are clever.

The writing on the instructions for the gifts is usually my favorite part.

The rules are simple yet are contested every year.

A gift can be stolen only twice. AND If you unwrap an outfit that can be worn, you have to wear it.
There is ALWAYS the same Santa outfit in the exchange.

And Grinch boxer shorts.
And Star Trek Pez dispensers for some unknown reason.
Last year, we came home with a (for real) deer head who's antlers had been decorated with ornaments for Christmas.

It became known as Rudy.

In the days after the exchange, …

Tis the Season

It has been so heavy lately.

I thought I would share a few observations from my day of errand running to get you in the spirit of the season.

And maybe to offer a little bit of levity.

It's what I do.
What I witnessed at Macy's:

After considerable trouble getting Frustrated Shopper's Macy's card to process, the sales lady asks for another form of payment.

Frustrated Shopper:  "Forget the whole thing!  I have spent an hour here.  And it's not like it's Christmas or anything!!"
Sales Lady:  "I am so sorry.  I don't know what the problem with your card is."
Frustrated Shopper left all her "almost purchased" clothing on the counter and stormed out of the store in a most dramatic way.

Now, hang on. I am not judging. 
Hey, I wanted to drive a stake through my husband's heart for offering me a tip he heard from Kathie Lee and Hoda.

No, I just found it interesting…

and funny.
Than I went to the grocery store where you can use this great dig…

Tuesdays Unwrapped, Part 3

Today is week 3 in Emily Freeman's Tuesdays Unwrapped. Check her blog out at Chatting At the Sky.

I have struggled for the past few weeks with "shoulds".

You know, the

"We should do blah because blah happened."

"We shouldn't do blah because blah happened."

"What should we do?"
should,  should.
And "we" rarely means we.

It means you.
Which, in this case, means me.
Have I lost you?

I have been known to be rebellious in the past.

Tell me to turn right  and I have turned left  just because you told me what to do. (real mature, I know)
But this isn't one of those times.

These shoulds seem to be bouncing off me. (Which is weird, for me.)
In the past,  I have let them eat away at me wearing me down until I actually act on them.
Without so much as a whisper of a prayer  seeking God's wisdom.
As it turns out,
I don't like being "should" on.

In "Grace For the Good Girl", Emily Freeman captures this beautifull…


17 years ago today at 4:30 pm
on an unseasonably warm day in Indianapolis, Indiana,  Monte and I got married.
Well, it was probably more like 4:45 pm because my brothers didn't realize that they were supposed to roll out the aisle runner before the flower girl could drop the petals and my dad could walk me down the aisle.

When they were finally alerted that they were "holding up the show", they bolted down the aisle so fast

and they were laughing
that the roll kept going off center and banging into the ends of the pews.

Which made them laugh more.
It is on tape. I've seen it.

But all that was AFTER my great-uncle Bob

who married us as well as my parents 30 years before
was talking with Monte in a little room behind the altar  without realizing his microphone was already on.
Guests in the church looked all around and finally up as if God Himself was speaking
directly to Monte.

Again, on tape.  Watched the whole thing.
17 years ago, I took on the last name Hartranft.


Some Things Old, Some New

I have posted some updated pictures of my latest color change to my Spoon Flower Wreath. I decided to spray paint it red some time ago. It is looking quite Poinsettia-like now that it is Christmas. You can check it out in its original glory here.

The city came either in the dark of night or early morning and planted this tiny tree with brown shriveled up leaves. 
If you don't know what I'm talking about, read this.
I keep hearing Linus from The Peanut Gang say:
"Of all the Charlie Browns, you are the Charlie Brownest."

That pretty much sums up how I feel about this tree.
And covers the "some things old" section of this post. 
Onto the new… I made a Christmas ornament wreath.

I originally saw this wreath here.

So. Simple.
But it takes WAY more ornaments than you can imagine 
so buy more than you think you will ever need. 
Than buy more than that.
This is when thrift stores and Dollar Tree come in handy.
Although I bought mine at Wal-Mart.

Tuesdays Unwrapped

Ours is a sick house.

Monte and I  came home from our trip to Nashville last week to a very sick Ellie with bronchitis and a super high fever.

In a matter of days, two more people in our household were diagnosed with bronchitis.

I am not one of them  (thankfully).
Yesterday morning my husband decided to start his sick day off from work watching football highlights.

I am not used to having the TV on during the day.
I like it quiet.
So does our dog Nigel.

He hid most of last week to escape the noise  of Ellie's continuous viewing  of Hallmark Christmas movies.
I tried to lay low and let Monte recuperate the way he needed to recuperate.
Then he hollered to get my attention 
to tell me  (get this) that Kathie Lee & Hoda said to put lip gloss on zippers to get them unstuck.
I told him to turn football back on. Now. But I really wanted to drive a stake through his heart.

So I left the house to hand deliver Christmas party invitations.

In the cold.

and rain  that was starting to freeze.
The f…


We have this great guy that cleans out our gutters.

Monte has built a friendship with him.

They talk periodically.
Trade books.
Monte has passed his name along to friends and neighbors.

He came the other day to clean our gutters and rake our Sycamore's face-size leaves.

I noticed when I moved my car out of the driveway for him, that he had his little daughter with him.

When I peeked my head in his truck he said that "he had to do what he had to do".

He is a single parent.
I asked if it was okay if she came in to play with my girls while he worked.

He said it was okay.
Her name is Bella.

She is 4.
I forgot 4.
4 is great.

Everything to a 4-year-old is great.
We were starting to hang the lights and ornaments on our tree.

"Your tree is great!" Bella shouted.
The girls played with Play Dough with her.

She thought Play Dough was great.
From time to time she'd come into the room where I was to check on me.

"Just wanted to make sure you are okay," she'd say.


I have decided to link up with Emily Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky for a month of Tuesdays "unwrapped".

She is asking bloggers to consider what we each have in our lives right now.

If you haven't already, check out her two books:

Grace For The Good Girl
I highlighted, underlined and wrote notes ALL OVER this book. It so spoke to me in a way I didn't know it would.

and Graceful.
I am not all the way through it yet, but loving it just as much. It is a Grace For the Good Girl for younger girls. Can't wait to pass it on to my teenage daughter.

As I type this, I am in a hotel room in Nashville, TN.

It is a gray, rainy day so the walking around and exploring I was going to do is on hold.

But that is ok.

My brain is still in knots.
My life has been a mad dash of many details and things to get done just so I could be here now.

In this hotel room

While my husband is across town at a budget meeting.
I want to thank my friend Sumita, for the idea of getting away wi…