Oh my, what a day! The day started out so lovely, the sun was shining outside and I had plugged in my ipod to some inspiring tunes. I was tidying up around the house, just thinking about how grateful I am for so many things. I looked at my new little journals and life was good. I went from room to room gathering up stuff and enjoying a little fluffing time!

Then, things started to go downhill from there. I took some laundry down to my basement, stuck it the wash and was on my way out of the laundry room when I happened to look down at another laundry basket full of dirty clothes (yes, we have three children. There is ALWAYS another basket of dirty clothes).

I saw something that made me do a double take. So I looked again, squinting. Closer this time. OH MY GOSH! I think it was RAT DROPPINGS! PLOPPED RIGHT THERE ON MY SON’S DIRTY SOCKS!

OH MY OH MY, I went RUNNING, no TEARING OUT of that room so fast I dropped everything in my hands, tripped over a bucket and slammed the door behind me. OH MY GOSH!

I ran upstairs and did what every brave girl does in this sort of situation. I called my husband after leaping up on top of the counter (feet far from the floor, just in case). He said, “well, gather up the evidence in a baggie and I will look at it when I get home!” UNACCEPTABLE! I was not gathering up any evidence.

So, I spent the rest of the day on the third floor, getting the drawing entries ready from our big soirée! Things were pretty good for a bit there until I had some trouble with my darn Flash Player. So I spent the rest of the afternoon reading up on “Troubleshooting for Your Flash Player” forums. Such inspiring reading! NOT.

Anyways, I now have a new flash player and I couldn’t be happier. Except for the little fact of a RAT in my house somewhere. That is still slightly disturbing.


But I do have some great news! After cutting up all of your lovely comments into pretty strips and putting them into a hat (sorry, no pictures to prove it, I just didn’t have the energy after the rat and flash episodes), I pulled out the winning name! I was quite excited about this! And I am pleased to announce to you, right now, the winner of the grand prize Eiffel Tower Earrings AND the magazine gift certificate! So without further ado, send your congratulations to:

Just Bee N’ Me


Now, I had the fun of getting to do another drawing! This time, with only those of you who attempted BFF status! To each of you, I forever bestow the title of BFF, but to only one of you can I offer the prize of the Moonstruck Chocolates! Thanks to each of you who so graciously and in some cases humorously tried. There were poems and photos of hors d’oeuvres and fancy gowns, and hostess gifts and all sorts of lovely gestures. All of them warmed my heart and endeared you to me forever. So, out of the hat came the Moonstruck Chocolate winner:


Congratulations to both of the winners and thanks to everyone who played along! I am going to be adding TONS of people to my blogroll since I made such lovely new friends!


Now I have something else crazy to tell you! As I was typing this, all of a sudden I realized I was already getting comments on my post, before I had hit PUBLISH. OH NO! Sure enough, though, I had published a partially written post. No title, no photos, half-written commentary. Oops! But my commenters graciously didn’t mention how blah or incomplete it was! Such kind and forgiving ladies. They just pretended nothing had happened and commented on what little content I had published, but inside I am sure they were thinking YOU DORK!

So, I had to pull the post from my blog and start over. Sheesh, could anything else go wrong today? Good thing I didn’t send off an embarrassing photo or something, can you imagine? These are the sorts of things that happen to me! And I thought my awkward blogging episodes were behind me now that I have entered my second century of posts! Clearly not.

Me oh my, I think it is time for me to hang it up for the day! Although I really don’t want to go downstairs… Where is Ian when I need him?

Ian, oh, Ian, I could use a hot toddy and my slippers. And would you please do something about that RAT? No, not that one. The furry one in the basement!


Today’s photos are from a walk I took awhile back on another beautiful fall day



“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
-Melody Beattie

As our weekend soirée comes to a close, I am filled with gratitude for all the lovely people that stopped by! You all made this party very fun because YOU are fun! Now forever more, if I need a hostess gift or an hors d’oeuvre, all I have to do is read through the party comments! You were all so generous with your ideas, I know they will be enjoyed for a long time to come! Thank you!

I will be going through each one of your comments, adding my new BFF to my blogroll, and putting your entries into a hat for the drawings! Give me a couple of days to figure that all out, there was a tremendous number of participants so it might take me a bit of time to get it all put together. I cannot wait to announce the winners hopefully by the middle of the week!


Now, about the Holiday Season ahead…

I’ve been thinking.

Ever since I turned 40 last January, new thoughts of how to refine my life have entered my head pretty much on a daily basis. I know, what is up with that!? Gasp! Is that a mid-life crisis?

When I was a young wife, I used to create huge lists of everything that needed to be done around the holidays! I had the image of the perfect holiday in mind and I was determined to make it happen! And the perfect holiday meant the perfect gifts, the perfect decorations, the perfect cozy home, the perfect menu, and perfectly dressed children smiling on our family Christmas card! I’m exhausted just remembering it all!

And you know what? I could create the image of the perfect holiday because of my hard work, hard earned dollar, organizational feats and keeping myself busy making sure it all happened accordingly! But as wonderful as those holidays seemed, I don’t want to do it that way anymore! Maybe I am old and tired, or maybe I have just finally figured out what truly makes me happy.


While I still firmly believe in the wonder and festivity of the holidays, and I still want all that glitter and cozy holiday stuff, I realize there are more important things to me than all the preparation. Not that I didn’t know that before, it just wasn’t always in the forefront of my mind, especially once the holiday madness kicked in! We used to have to take a vacation right after the holidays because we were exhausted from the expectations both put on us and put on ourselves. We had a love/hate relationship with holidays.

I am entering the phase of life where I confidently declare how I want my life to be and I make it so, even if it isn’t popular. Funny how you become more confident as you get older! And you get to know yourself better. Even though I know all the things I want to do, I really don’t have time to do them. And that is starting to irritate me!

So, what do I do about that? I’ve made a list. Not of what I should do, not what I need to do, not what I must do, or what I have to do, but a list of simple things I WANT TO DO! And I am going to pick up that list at least once a week and DO SOMETHING I want to do! I am sick of lists of what I must do and should do. I loved that sort of thing when I was younger, but now I know those sorts of lists never end! You just keep adding more things that have to happen. I am feeding those lists to the shredder. Be gone, lists of must-dos!

Behold, the new and improved list! A journal!


I have made a list of what I want to do and then given myself permission each week to actually DO them. And if that means a simpler holiday must take place this year, I am all for it. If that means disappointing someone or failing to get something else done, so be it. I’m sporting a ‘tude. A new holiday attitude. I might have lots of holiday things on my list, I’m not going to give up festive activities, but they will only be fun relaxing things, not things I must accomplish.

This list is in my new reality journal. Not a list of dreams which will remain unfulfilled, but a list of things I will actually do because I will set aside time to do them.

I don’t want my holidays to be summed up by my must do list, I want it to be full of experiences, life, love, reflection, meaning and warm cozy feelings that I can create without a 12 page to do list! I might be a dreamer, but this time I am determined to make it a reality.

But wait, there’s more. I’ve also started a gratitude journal in honor of Thanksgiving. I want to remind myself of simple everyday joys.


My two most memorable Thanksgivings were ones in which I did the least amount of preparation, but savored the day and the meaning of the day in simple ways. The food was delicious but SO easy. There were simple decorations on the table, and the ambience came from candlelight flickering a warm glow in the dining room. But the real meaning of the holiday came through without being buried in a sea of holiday preparations. We didn’t notice the dust or the missing 20 holiday dishes we didn’t prepare that year. We just savored the simplicity of being together.

That is going to be my goal for this season, two journals reminding me of simple joys, simple ideas, fun projects, cherished family, happy thoughts and an abundantly full and blessed holiday season. With no must-do lists. I’m on strike from those.

Visit My Simpler Life for more ideas on creating the kind of life you really want!

Rubber stamps from Posh Chicago

Get that fun journal at kate’s paperie