A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas

Since being married, Jonathan and I have never spent a Christmas with our families. Not that we didn’t want to, we did. But we lived too far away and never had enough time off work to make a trip happen. Last year we were able to go to my parents’ for Thanksgiving and loved it. Now that we are in Texas, we are thrilled with all our family-for-the-holiday options. This year my parents, two younger brothers, and our family, will be meeting in Ft. Worth, where my older brother lives with his wife and kids. To make it even more fun, my SIL’s family will be there too. The last guest tally was 36 people. Eekk! {That’s a squeal of joy}.

I volunteered to plan out our meals for Christmas Day. And while it’s a big task {did I mention several teenaged boys will be there?!}, I am beyond excited to put my hosting, cooking, Christmas-loving skills to work. Here’s a small preview of our Christmas Day menu:

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Brie and Veggie Strata


Make Ahead Lasagna


Pork Loin Roast with sides and clover rolls

Call me crazy {cause I know I am!}, but I am really looking forward to this cooking adventure. Being in the kitchen with my mom and stepdad {both fabulous cooks} and enjoying the hectic, loud, loving family reunion just feels too good to be true. *happy sigh*

What are your plans for Christmas? Any favorite holiday recipe I should try out?

Vist Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

Perhaps I’ve mentioned this a few times, but I really love Christmas. And my love starts showing itself through decorating in November. There, I said it. I decorate before Thanksgiving. But this year, with our big move, I had to hold out. Until December 8th. You read that right. December 8th. As in yesterday. Never in the history of Sarah has Christmas started this late.

Yesterday I spent all morning unpacking boxes just to make space for our Christmas tree. I think it was worth the effort, don’t you?

Excuse the camera phone quality, our real camera is currently MIA.

Christmas trees to me embody the Christmas spirit. I’ve seen a lot of city Christmas trees over the years, and these are my favorites:

Rockefeller Center, NY

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Daley Plaza, Chicago

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Trafalgar Square, London

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Visit Jill at Diaper Diaries for more Things I Love Thursday.

Movers at the holidays a like the Grinch {photo credit}

We hired movers to bring our things down from Iowa to Texas. Over the last 10+ days, we’ve had some real issues with them. Our belonging were due to be delivered today {after a delay}, but we were informed last night it would be delayed again. Can I tell you the words I said {and especially thought} were less than pretty? I was down right angry. Irritable. Frustrated. Mad. That’s my stuff. My Christmas stuff! They’re like my very own Grinch, keeping me from enjoying Christmas.

I even tweeted my anger. And as soon as I hit “send” I thought “Did I just miss the big picture?” “Did I just miss something amazing from God?” I did my friends. I did.

Over the last several weeks God has really challenged me with my comforts. And in the last few days I keep wondering if I am holding on to my stuff more than I am holding onto God. See, last year I battled with moving at Christmas – my favorite holiday. Now this year I am battling it all over again. Where’s my tree? Where are my decorations? Where’s my Christmas?! Yet this year is becoming different. Because this year, like a flame getting brighter, I’m wondering if my priorities are in the right place. Why am I celebrating Christmas? The presents? The food? The family? Where is Christ in my celebrations? Where is my worshiping of Him in all the wrapping papers? Where is the celebration of my Savior’s birth – and therefore redeeming death?

I’m not saying I’m going to totally give up Christmas. That might be a little too shocking to my system. But I do think I need to reevaluate some things – put the true meaning into perspective and ask myself “How do I want our family to celebrate the birth of our Savior?” It’s a tough question and it’s taken a year and two moves for me to ask it. I’m not sure yet, but I’m opening my heart up to the Lord to show me.

Yesterday my SIL and I decided to treat our three youngest by letting them help us bake snickerdoodles. Rare is the day that I bake with both my girls helping, let alone three. Each mom manned a counter and had the girls take turns helping us measure, pour and stir.

The girls had a blast helping. It was so much fun to be baking with Christmas music playing in the background and the girls laughing and having such a good time. Hannah especially liked the mixing spoon. Who can blame her? 🙂

*Another adventure this week was my new hat {see picture}. What do ya’ll think?? Is it a keeper?

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

At some point late Saturday night, I announced to Jonathan “I’ve forgotten to take our family picture, let’s make sure to do it tomorrow before you leave.” Then at some point late Sunday night {well after Jon left} I announced to my SIL “I forgot to take our family picture before Jon left.” I soon came up with what I think was a brilliant idea. I asked my 7-year old niece to draw a family picture:

Grandma, Jonathan, Sarah, Julia, Hannah, Jack

November has been a crazy, crazy month. The second week of the month, Jonathan accepted an offer at a company in Austin, Texas. This new job is an amazing opportunity for Jon and we are thrilled to see how God will be using his talents while there. He started the job Monday and is spending this week on a company scavenger hunt – a way the company gets new employees to learn all about company history and their fellow co-workers. Pretty cool idea, huh?

Julia turned 3-years old on the 23rd. Wow. I can’t even fathom that three years have passed. On one hand it’s flown by, but at the same time I can’t remember life without my precious little girl. I’d love for you to read my birthday letter to her: Happy Birthday, Julia Mabel.

Hannah has really started talking more and more. She’s added “Katie {her cousin}”, “guys {as in “hey guys”}, “yes”, “Julia {which sounds more like Ju}” and “grandma”. Hannah is really claiming her own and making me see that she is a force to be reckoned with. She is showing some stubbornness and making herself known far more than I expected at this age. And topping it off with a fearlessness that puts Julia’s antics to shame. She is keeping us on our toes, there is no doubt about that.

As for me, I’m feeling like I’m just trying to keep up with it all. Aside from packing and moving, not much has happened for me this month. I had started the 30 Day Shred, but couldn’t keep up with it the last few days in Iowa and certainly haven’t been able to while we’re in this holding pattern {Jonathan is in Austin, while the girls and I are in Ft. Worth}. It’s been a trying month at times, dealing with a lot of emotions and changes, but God has really been good to show me His continues faithfulness and love. I will say though, I’m so looking forward to setting up all my Christmas decorations. And don’t be surprised if I leave them up a little longer this year.

We only have five more days in Iowa. Yesterday was the first day that everyone was health {or relatively enough to have outside contact}, so we did a lot. And in the craziness of everything, two amazing things happened:

1. We found renters for our house! Praise God! After several postings on Craigslist, with no response, we finally had a couple contact us for a showing. They are moving into the area for work and just fell in love with the house {who could blame them?!?}. They signed the lease yesterday – the same day we gave them a tour. It all happened in four hours! Whew. Talk about a whirlwind.

2. My sweet and dear friend, Leah, gave me this:

"Would you look at that? Would you look at THAT? Holy smokes. Do... Do you know what this is? This is... A lamp!"

While my version is a night light, it is perhaps the coolest Christmas gift I have ever received. I love it. And owning it now allows me to cross off #27 of my 30 Before 30 – Own a Leg Lamp. Thanks again, Leah!

Christmas is right around the corner. Have you started on your Christmas shopping? If you’re like me, you’ve still got a few people left and aren’t sure where to find the perfect gift.

Splish splash in the bath! {photo credit}

Want a gift that is unique? Want a gift that is earth friendly? Want a gift that smells really, really good? You’ve come to the right place! I am super excited to be hosting another Eco Natural Soap giveaway! They will be giving one lucky person two soap bars and a lip balm to give as a Christmas gift!

I can’t tell you how much I love Eco Natural Soap. I’ve been using their shampoo, body soap and shave bar since August and have already gotten some of their products as Christmas gifts for family. One of their newest, seasonal products is a pumpkin spice bath & body bar. It is divine. It acts like an moisture rich exfoliating bar – not too harsh, but leaves your body feeling smooth and refreshed. Not to mention it makes your bathroom smell like wonderful spiced pumpkin. *sigh*

One lucky winner will receive two bars of soap {of their choice} and a lip balm {of their choice}.

How to enter:

Mandatory entry: Visit Eco Natural Soap and leave me a comment telling me what you’d like and who you’d gift it to.

Additional entries {leave me a comment for each}

– Follow me on Twitter {@sadiewindham}

– Tweet/Facebook this giveaway

– Visit Eco Natural Soap’s new blog: Eco Friendly Homemaking

You have until Tuesday, November 16th at 11:59 PM CST to enter!

*Disclaimer: While I was provided with products to try from Eco Natural Soap, all opinions are mine!

{Be sure to check out my Fall Apron Giveaway!}

Top Ten {Tuesday} There are some of you who don’t even want to think about Christmas yet {after all Halloween isn’t even here}, but the planner in me can’t help but start making Christmas lists. Of course it doesn’t hurt that I just so happen to love Christmas. But, here are ten ways that you can start planning for Christmas without feeling like you’re slightly Halloween and Thanksgiving.

1. Christmas Cards/Pictures – Take your family Christmas picture in October or beginning of November so that you can have your cards ready to mail by December 1st.

2. Name Swap – Does your family do a name swap for presents? If not, I highly recommend it {especially if you have a larger family}

3. Gift List – You can start this early, writing down gift ideas for individuals; It helps you make sure you have everyone covered.

4. Shopping – I bought all the girls’ Christmas presents in August. I found some great deals at random stores and garage sales and have just stored them away for later.

5. Craft Ideas – Want a new Christmas wreath? Or does your husband need a new stocking? Start making your Christmas crafts now so that you can get good deals at hobby shops and don’t feel the holiday pressure come December.

6. Baking – I love to bake during the holidays. And for me, that means baking October – February. One trick I learned last year was to bake several batches of cookies, breads or pies and freezing most of it to bring out for parties or events.

7. Plan Parties in Advance – The holidays book up fast. And between family, work, church and friends it’s hard to coordinate larger events. One way to help is by setting a date early and send out invites a few weeks in advance.

8. Meal Plan – Along with planning parties, it’s important to start listing out a menu. This is where baking and freezing can really come in handy.

9. Check Lights/Locate Decorations – You can wait till closer to December {or November if that’s when you start decorating} to check your lights/find your decorations. I wish I’d done this last year when half way through decorating our tree I realized several strings of lights were out. :/

10. Enjoy the Holidays – I remember Christmas being a carefree and wonderful time as a child. As an adult I can’t help but feel slightly overwhelmed at times. But I strive to enjoy the wonders of the time; the snow, the time with family, the magic of it all.

What are ways you prepare for Christmas?

Visit Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

Last year we celebrated Christmas in July as a family {you know, because I’m obsessed with Christmas}. This year, we’ve taken it a step further and celebrated with our church. Well, the church might not have known we were celebrating, but I did.

Our house church meets on Sunday mornings. Before the actual meeting, we have a time of fellowship over coffee and muffins/bread. Today was our family’s turn to provide the food. So, I made pumpkin bread with a cream cheese glaze and gave all the kids a “stocking” with goodies.

The kids were pretty pleased with their stocking {or at least the treats inside}. We didn’t sing any carols, because Jon wasn’t around this morning {been working crazy busy hours for a site launch}. But, I have been playing Christmas carols around the house and we’re having roasted chicken and all the fixins’ for dinner. Yum-O!

If you’ve ever gotten to talk to me for very long {especially after October 1st}, you might know that I am a little obsessed with Christmas. So, when Southern Living sent me an offer for this:

photo credit

I seriously had to stop from reading it cover to cover and waste spend the entire afternoon planning out my Christmas meals, decorations and parties. Because, after all, it is only June 1st and I still have 207 days till Christmas.

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