Saturday, November 29, 2014

Boerne Stocking Stroll - Dickens on Main

I hate to admit it but living in Boerne for over two decades means that I take for granted our charming little town and adorable shops on Main Street. But, at least once I year I visit almost every shop and that's around Christmas time when the Boerne Merchant's come together to host Dickens on Main. If you haven't experienced Dickens on Main in Boerne I highly suggest packing up the family and heading to the Hill Country of Texas for a family fun Christmas experience.

Here is a picture of my oldest daughter sitting on Santa's
 lap that I found on Dickens' flickr account! Oh, the memories!!
 Dickens kicks off the Christmas season in Boerne with the shops staying open late, holding sales, Boerne Market Days which brings in more vendors that set up around the town square and throughout main street, live music at different spots down Main and food vendors selling kettle corn, gorditas, beer and wine and even hot chocolate shakes!! Santa makes a stop too to visit the little kids and hear all of their wishes and the town is festively decorated for the holidays. The Stocking Stroll is one event that coincides with Dickens and is like Christmas trick-or-treating in super cute stores and shopping all rolled in to one!
To participate in the Stocking Stroll you have to buy a big red bag! They are $20 and went on sale around the 1st of November and are available from local merchants until there aren't any left! There's only a limited amount so you have to hurry and grab one once they go on sale. The bag has a piece of paper stapled to it that lists all of the participating stores and when you visit the store and get your gift they stamp or hole punch their store name to know you've been there.

Big Red Bag! $20 sold from November 1st until they are sold out.
Which is fast!
Overall, I'd definitely participate again! The only suggestion I have is to include a small little map with dots where the stores are up and down Main Street. Between my mom and I we knew where each store was but I think for visitors that'd be a good thing to include.

As far as the gifts go I wasn't expecting anything super expensive or fancy but a few of the goodies happily surprised me! Hunting and Gathering's gift was a gorgeous glass blown ornament. I liked Calamity Jane's and Daisy Pearl Boutiques gifts that worked together with cookie cutters and sugar cookie and sugar cookie icing recipes tied to them. My girls love cookie cutters! Merle Norman gave a lot of great beauty samples and who doesn't love free beauty samples?! Read on to see all the goodies we got! (Forgive me for the bad pictures!) A lot of the gifts are cute and perfect for stocking stuffers! Stocking Stroll...stocking stuffers! I get it. Ha!
My mom and I got a late start heading out around 2:30 pm. The Stocking Stroll starts at 11 am and goes through 5:00 pm so today we really did only go to the stores that were participating so we missed looking and shopping in quite a few of the stores that weren't participating. Maybe next year we will a) get an earlier start and b) more stores will participate. Oh, and c) cooler weather will be in the forecast! It wasn't miserable and was a beautiful day but it's Christmas. I need cold! Or, a chill in the air. But, that's south Texas for ya'!  
The stores that participated this year were: 259 Home Market, Alley on Main, Calamity Jane's, Celeste, Cutie Patootie, The Christmas Shoppe, Daisy Pearl Boutique, The Flower Shop, Hunting & Gathering, La Te Da, Lillian's, Merle Norman, Red Bird Retro, Soda Pop's/Sugar Shack, Son of a Brave, and The Red Rooster.
The following gifts aren't pictured because my mom took them for my daughter's and my niece Brinley's stockings! :) La Te Da gave out bubble bath in little containers that looked like Christmas lights. Celeste gave out ADORABLE felted pens in the shape of animals like pigs, monkeys, bears, roosters, giraffe, antelope and some others. We picked a monkey and a bear. They are just adorable!! And, Cutie Patootie gave out Christmas scented votive candles. That is already in one of my red votive holders on the mantle. :)

From Red Bird Retro: jingle bell cup filled with candy
(That I can neither confirm nor deny may have already been eaten),
a candy cane notepad and a candy can pen)
 In the background you  can see part of the beautiful ornament from
Hunting and Gathering (One of my favorite Main Street stores. Gorgeous!)
Also, in the far background you can see part of the Christmas card from Son of a Brave.

From The Flower Shop we got an artificial rose tied with a  red ribbon.
From Lillian's we got some cute nail polish and a coupon to use on something
in the store. They have some cute clothes and accessories!  
From Soda Pop's/Sugar Shack we got a cute Jelly Belly lollipop
(Anna will find this in her stocking!) and also a $3 off coupon on a purchase.
We used the coupon immediately once we found out they carry Dublin sodas.
I'm still so sad that Dr. Pepper bottling Co. won't let Dublin Bottling Co. make Dublin
Dr. Pepper but the Black Cherry Dublin Soda tastes pretty close.
From Calamity Jane's and Daisy Pearl Boutique we got cookie cutters
and each had a recipe for sugar cookies and sugar cookie frosting attached.

From Merle Norman we got a lot of samples and a coupon to
use later. There was a foundation sponge, lip gloss, lip
gloss applicator, eye shadow applicator, stretchy bead ring,
foaming facial cleanser, wrinkle smoother, and wrinkle smoother
lift and firm samples. I love samples of those types of beauty things!
From The Christmas Shoppe we got a cute wooden ornament.
From The Red Rooster we got a cute snowman notepad!

From Son of Brave you can see the Christmas Card we got with
a beautiful winter (that we don't get to experience in South Texas)
From Alley on Main I got a set of super cute, big pearl earrings!
My mom got another par of earrings that were really pretty
gold and cz sparklies.
From Hunting and Gathering we got a beautiful glass ornament.

From 259 Home Market (Another Main Street Favorite)
we got a little linen bag filled with super
cute Christmas charms. A snowman, a Peace round charm,
a believe gift tag charm, a dove and olive branch,
a little crystal, and a stocking. Cute, cute!
My mom and I went to Hobby Lobby afterwards for some
things and she got a necklace to put hers on. I haven't
decided what I'm going to do with mine yet.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Christmas & Some {Brave} Exciting News!!

I simply can't believe that in 2 days it will be December and the craziness of  Christmas parties, shopping and wrapping, baking and cooking and trying to find some rest time begins. And, in keeping with tradition I got my trees up today! Not decorated yet but they are up. And, yes, I said trees. I have two regular trees, a Charlie brown tree  because doesn't everyone have one of those from their Mother-In-Law?! We love the cute tree and it sits in our "drop-off zone" where we dump our shoes, bags and jackets. It adds some humor to the chaos. Plus, it is already decorated with the one red ornament! There's a felt tree hanging on an empty space of wall in the living room that I sewed for my girls last year and Anna has a mini tree with pink ornaments in her room. My husband said I'm getting out of control but I think he can sometimes just be a scrooge. Ha!

Our "Advent Tree" for our
Truth in the Tinsel ornaments
Here's the reason for the many's all very simple, really. My mom wanted a really tall tree and I had one that didn't fit in the awkward living room in the house we were living in at the time so she had that tree for a couple of years. When we moved I bought a smaller one and then she got a new one so I got my old one back so that's why we have two regular trees. AND, I LOVE IT! Now all that is left is decorations. We also have a lot planned this month: tickets to see The Nutcracker, a drive through the Living Nativity in town and we plan on making a quick weekend trip at some point to visit family. Plus, I have some exciting lessons planned out for my kiddos at school and at church!
We, like everyone this time of year, will be extra busy, busy, busy but my prayer is to take it as slow as possible and always remember that Jesus is the reason for this wonderful season! I want to share that truth with my kids each Christmas season so here at home Anna and I are going to be doing the Truth in the Tinsel Advent Experience. I actually plan to use the smaller, 6 foot skinny tree for the ornaments Anna and I make from Truth in the Tinsel. I hung a felt advent board for the daily countdown up beside that one. I'm really excited to do this together.

I have about 90% of my supplies bought for that because I figure if I organize it all through the month of November and have it all ready, I'll be more likely to do it! I also got the quick ornament coloring sheets for those days that making the actual adornment isn't possible. This is our first year and I hope to find some time to blog about our experience. We will see about that...

I also have some more exciting news and while it isn't my first time being published, this is my first time being published on another blog besides my own!! A post of mine will be on MOPS International's blog, Hello Darling! Check back on December 3rd when it goes live on their blog!

I think I'm so extra excited because I started attending MOPS this year in Boerne and the theme is "Be You Bravely." I have to admit that I'm not very brave when it comes to "getting out there" and "going for it!" I love to write and be creative and things but putting myself out there is scary! You could be rejected!! Oh my! But, when my Facebook news feed (back when I had a Facebook) showed that MOPS had a call for December blog submissions I thought, "What the heck?! It's nap time and I have a few minutes; I'll check it out." I typed up the piece, emailed it and about a month later I got an email back telling me that my post was chosen! How cool is that? I think it's pretty neat.

Now, this ain't no fancy, award winning piece. Ha! I am fully aware of that fact. It's just quirky and fun and silly! But, I stepped out, being brave, and that little shot of bravery paid off! Not really, they don't pay out, Ha! But, they have over 140,000 subscribers and 70,000 Facebook fans and they will post it on Pinterest, Facebook and of course their blog along with a snippet about me and a link back to this little ole Thankfully Blessed blog! I am thankful for nudges from God and bravery! :)

*This post includes affiliate links

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Adios Facebook. It's Been...Not So Real

My daughter and I sat down at the table to have a snack and she got up out of her chair and ran off. "Anna!! Where are you going?" I yelled after her. She quickly came back with my phone in her hand. She laid it in front of me on the table and said, "There's your phone mom." and went to eating her snack like nothing was out of the normal. To her normal was me with my phone.  For the most part all day I was talking, texting, checking email, on Pinterest, checking out Instagram or scrolling through Facebook. My heart sank and I was devastated. With myself. I thought, "Wow. This is her view of me. This is what she'll remember." and that disgusted me.

I've been debating deleting my Facebook for months now. I know it sucks away time here and there more often than I like. I know that 98% of my 500+ "friends" are not real friends. I mean the real, genuine, person I'd call when I really needed an ear to listen kind of friend. Maybe a handful of them were people who I know are tried and true and who I really wanted to keep in touch with. But, the internal argument of, "but, I should keep my Facebook so I can keep up with my friends and family I only see once every year or two!" kept me active. I also made the argument that I manage pages for work. I had to log in and manage those pages, and in order to do that I had to have a Facebook page myself. So, that kept me active for a bit longer too.But, I guess I'd just had enough.

I also didn't  like what I was seeing and filling my head with from my newsfeed made me feel. I "liked" news channels and political pages. The stream of horrible and sickening headlines filled my head and got me mad, angry, sad, upset, frustrated and I knew that wasn't good for me. I also know that I was seeing the best of everyone and it was all an illusion. It wasn't social media, it was status media and only people's best self and best parts of life. I was guilty of that too, don't get me wrong. Most of the time, there's over-poster exceptions of course, no one posted real life struggles; bills piling up, work stresses (besides the typical, "Is it Friday yet!? and "This deadline for sales is gonna kill me"), family drama, real-life-worries and the like. No, only the best is shown. New houses, new cars, new babies, new toys, new adventures and experiences. There were a couple of "bold and honest" blog posts linked into the news feed of real pictures showing toys and dirty dishes in the living room and people proudly proclaiming, "I'm going to be real this month and post a picture of our real life." But, even that was an exhibition of how social media still wasn't real life but only an attempt at it.

Real. That's what I need daily. Real life. 365 days a year. I need authentic, genuine, real life. I need my daughter to see that I am putting my family first and not strangers who I haven't seen in 10 years. I need her to know that her and her sister and their father are more important to me than shoving my face into the computer or phone and telling her to hold on. Just like I've made decisions to be more selective in the activities and events I participate in, I want to be more selective in who I let into my life and I know that those who want to be in my life will keep in touch. I couldn't preach to her about not using the tablet we have and limiting television and movies when I sat there glued to my phone. I also have stuff to do and Facebook was taking away from that. It was a great distraction from the laundry, dishes, dusting and all the other chores that I would put off for half an hour or more sitting on social media.

I think Facebook has a place and it definitely is everywhere for a reason. It's great for keeping up and selling unwanted items and networking if used correctly. I don't think it's evil and if you're reading this and on Facebook and don't have an issue with this then that's fine. Your decisions don't bother me and my opinion of you isn't changed one bit if you have or don't have a Facebook account. My own issues of Facebook sucking away my precious God-given time is what was bothering me. And, here I go. I have sent the delete request and they say it takes two weeks to delete everything. Now, my only worry are those sites I used Facebook to log-in for me automatically. Because apparently if you use those in the two week period then it re-activates your Facebook account. I guess for now I won't worry too much since I won't be getting on to check and see. But, if you would like to contact me and see things y family has been up to then call me, email me a personal email, stop by! I'd love to friend you and real life! ;) 
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