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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

the 12 days of [simplifying] Christmas: merry me

I returned last night from the most wonderful girlfriends' weekend. It was just what I needed before heading into the holidays.

1. We stayed at my friend Marci's bro and sis-in-law's condo in St. George, Utah. 2. Road trip shot. 3. We all took sewing/quilting projects to work on. 4. My first time eating at Smashburger. I eat a burger maybe twice a year, and it will be here from now on. The olive oil, rosemary, sea salt sweet potato fries were sooooo good! 5. Shopping. 6. Breaking Dawn 2 opening weekend, so we hit the matinee. 7. More shopping. :) 8. Attended church on Sunday. 9. Listened to great music and lots of Christmas tunes.

We spent a bit of time at one of our favorite stores, Urban Renewal. It's a "must see" every time we're in St. George. Lots of new, consignment, and vintage goodies. 3. I love how the hair accessory was packaged on a vintage postcard. 4. I found a great stash--weathered pots, a vintage repro clock, some small green bowls and a nice pine topiary for my Christmas mantle. 5. Check out those glasses. Jen looks a little _____________ (fill in the blank). 6. Terra cotta pumpkins. I know I'm going to wish I'd gotten some. 7. We all walked out with big bags chock full of goodness. 8. These were so cool. Letters cut from old books. 9. Loved this owl, but wished he'd been a bit smaller .

This was our third weekend together in St. George. The weather was beautiful and we didn't have any real plans other than finishing up projects. Marci made flannel jammie bottoms for her kids for Christmas, and Jen finished sewing and binding three quilts for some girls in a foster care group home.

I stitched and cut squares for two baby quilts, worked on a quilt for the Family Support and Treatment Center Santa's Workshop, finished a self-binding baby blanket for my new little granddaughter, Lilah (due in six days!), and stitched and cut all the pennants for a bunting from Super Saturday.

note to self: check for the cord--twice!
I have a hard time starting new projects if I have unfinished ones haunting me. I still have things to finish up, but the big stuff is done. It felt good to accomplish so much, even without my own sewing machine. I packed the cord/foot pedal, then took it out to rearrange everything in the bag and left it on the counter, duh. SO frustrating!

For our getaways we keep our meals pretty simple. Our first stop is always the grocery store, where we load up on breakfast items and stuff we can munch on throughout the day--yogurt, fruit, cereal, nuts, Raisinettes, etc. Then we eat out for either lunch or dinner. There are always leftovers, so it works out great. And we always stir up a batch of oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies.

Hanging out with my girlfriends is absolutely one of my favorite things to do for "me" time. Spending a weekend--or a day or even an hour--with others who are funny, inspiring, like things simple, and build each other up is always good. (Although the girls do tease me about being more particular about where we eat than they are! :))

Taking time for yourself is so important, especially during the holidays. Sometimes we get so caught up in making sure everyone else is "merry and bright," we neglect ourselves. And being sick during Christmas really complicates things--I know

a few more simple ideas for taking "me" time with friends:

Lunch Dates
For the past few years, my visiting teachers have held a simple brunch for the girls they visit teach. I've done the same for my sisters. It's so relaxing and a great excuse to get out those Christmas dishes or try a new muffin recipe. Keep the meal simple--a breakfast casserole or quiche, fruit, banana bread, and juice. Or let someone else do all the work and meet up at a favorite restaurant.

Craft Day
I loved hosting a craft day at my home for a few friends a couple of years ago. To keep things simple, I asked each person to choose a project and provide a kit for each attendee. I made pulled pork in the crockpot and prepared all the fixings for Cafe Rio-style salads beforehand. Nothing fancy, but a lot of fun.

Finishing Day
If a craft party still seems like too much, invite friends over to complete or work on unfinished projects. Watch Elf or play holiday tunes (NOT A Twisted Sister Christmas! Yes, we found out this weekend there is such a thing--oh gag.).

Favorite Things Party
I really want to throw this party. Each friend brings five of one of their favorite things ($6 limit) and everyone goes home with five new things. Here's the complete how-to.

Pamper Yourself
To melt away stress and loosen up tight muscles, I love an hour long massage. It's a gift to myself.

My Man Plan
For years, my husband would take off one day each week during December. We would shop, go to the temple, eat out for lunch, or whatever we felt like doing. Those days were some of my favorite of the holidays and we were able to get things done before the weekend rush.

P.S. Yes, Marci really was at the getaway, but the only photos I had of her were in her pjs and major bed head. :) 


  1. You were in my neck of the woods!! And I think I may need to go get that owl!! :)

    1. Hey, Mary Kathryn. Yes, you most definitely need it! :) It's darling. I love spending time in your neck of the woods. We're hoping to retire in the area someday.