All In The Interest Of Research, You Understand

Last night after supper I was sitting in the living room, clicking around on the computer while my husband flipped around on the remote. At some point between shows D stood up to go fix himself a Coke, and as he walked past me, he stopped for just a second and stared.

Trust me when I tell you that he did not stop and stare to meditate upon my loveliness. I was wearing sweats and had my hair pulled back with a clippie. JUST LIKE I LIKE IT.


“Is everything okay?” he asked. “I mean, you’re sitting in the living room and playing a game on the computer. Why aren’t you writing a blog post? Is something wrong? Are you okay? You seem weird.”

“I’m caught up.”


“I’m caught up. I’ve written my blog stuff. Finished my deadline stuff. Answered my email. Cleaned up the kitchen. Clothes are in the dryer. I’m caught up.”

And then I sort of stared off into space.

“So, does being caught up make you weird?”


But then I remembered all the mail that was waiting on me when I got home Sunday afternoon. And I remembered what was in the mail. And I realized that I was missing out on one of my favorite pre-Christmas activities in the whole wide world because YOU CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE HOW HAPPY IT MAKES ME.

Seriously. Two Christmas magazines and some post-it notes for bookmarks. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?

I spent the next couple of hours flipping through the magazines, marking the pages that have recipes or decorating ideas that I want to try this year. And when I was finished – at least with the first read-through – here’s what the magazines looked like.

I found some great new recipes to try (that cake on the Southern Living cover is first on the list), and I also found a little inspiration for decorating our front porch.

And don’t think for one second that I won’t be dragging out some of our Christmas decorations this weekend. Because I TOTALLY AM. Thanksgiving weekend and the first weekend in December are going to be a little cuckoo around here, so Mama needs a jump start. I can’t wait!

What about y’all? Any pre-Christmas preparations underway? Found any good ideas in your favorite magazines or on your favorite websites?

I’m all ears.

(Or eyes, as it were.)

(Because I guess I’ll be reading as opposed to listening. Since I can’t really hear you over the internet.)

(Bye bye.)

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  1. Yeah, I have already caught a lot slack around my neck of the woods.

    You see, I actually put up our tree(s) a week ago.

    When decorating is that much work, I, for one, want to enjoy it longer than a month.

    Don’t judge me! ;)

  2. Heeeeck no. I make it a point to not decorate until the first week of December so that I am just as frazzled as one can be. I need all of the stress of shopping, cooking, traveling and decorating to hit me all at one time or Christmas just doesn’t feel complete.

    Keeps me on my toes.

  3. I will be following you and starting my decorating this weekend! :) I am going to see New Moon with some girlfriends on Saturday morning and then coming home to crank up “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” and spend the afternoon dragging out box after box of Christmas splendor. :) I can’t wait!

  4. Here’s a question for you: For our Christmas tree this year, we’re doing one of those “bare” trees. You know, grab a dead tree out of the woods, spray paint it, and call it Christmas. I’m writing an article for Christmas Change about it, and they want pictures. Which means I’ve either got to find a picture of said method of “tree-ing” or I’ve got to make it happen in my house before next Tuesday.

    I’ve been scouring Ye Olde Internet all day and I can’t find any of the pictures that were in every.single.potterybarn.catalog LAST YEAR. Have you run across any pictures of such tree-ish goodness in your idea hunting?

  5. What is this “caught up” that you speak of????

  6. I know- isn’t that cake hateful? I was going to make it last weekend, but we had to do Christmas Card pictures- so it’s first on the list this weekend. Then I will promptly spend the rest of the weekend eating it.

  7. Yes, the Rubbermaid totes (green with red lids) are scattered in the upstairs hall. Wreaths are on the doors. Dining room centerpiece is done. Tomorrow I don’t work, so watch out!

  8. Why do you always tease me with the new Southern Living? I don’t get it for another two weeks because they like to remind me that I don’t live down South anymore.

    And I do have some of my Christmas stuff out…I just couldn’t help myself. It makes me happy. :)

  9. Girl, my tree has BEEN up!

    I warned my husband when I gave into his pressure about getting a fake tree that once I got one, it was goin’ up first thing in November.

    I just love having it up so early, and it really does make December MUCH less stressful when the house is already decorated!

  10. Thanksgiving is a week away and I already feel behind! I’ve done a good bit of the Christmas shopping but we’re going away this weekend to celebrate the anniversary (good thing!) but I’ll miss a whole weekend (bad thing!). I saw a great article on cranberry sauce and it’s many variations in the Nov. Bon Appetit which will come on the weekend getaway with me. I have a few Christmas crafty projects I planned last year but never got to and would like to finish this year. That might be a stretch though…I can barely spell decoupage – I think finishing it might be a bit of an over-reach! Lots of plans for things for the girlies this year, just need to get them finished. the card pictures are done though so I’m feeling good about that! Gotta get that Southern Living issue for the road trip this weekend as well! Can’t wait!

  11. I’m with ya! My trees are going up this weekend!! I’m so excited!! Woot! Woot!!

  12. I’ve already purchased my cards, as I send out close to 100 photo cards, I need to get a jump. This year I found the cards that you slide a photo into (my preference because I like to actually WRITE something to everyone I send a card to!) at Target in their $1 bins, bought 9 boxes! Usually, I buy two boxes of slide in cards from Costco, which are about $17 each, totally just saved a GOB! Great gift ideas in Real Simple this month and now I’m off to look through Cooking Light to get some food ideas! And yep, this weekend, my Christmas bins will be coming out so I can start the process!

  13. I want to know how you get your SL so early! I just got my Thanksgiving issue last week. I guess it’s ’cause I’m livin’ in Yankee territory now(BUT, I was born below the Mason Dixon line, if that matters at all.)

    I can’t bring myself to decorate any earlier than Thanksgiving. I…..just…..can’t……do……it.

  14. Southern Gal says:

    Have to wait and visit my mil to get the Southern Living. My daughter gets Martha’s magazine and there are too many great things in there to list.

  15. I have NO motivation to decorate. None. Hope I get bit by the bug sometime in the next few weeks.

  16. Still waiting for my Southern Living even though my zip code is in the North.

    On BHG I saw swags on the open staircase rather than a garland. I can visualize great things but somehow things get messed up working their way down from my brain through my hands….. Well, I guess they aren’t terrible. Now hopefully I will be able to attach them.

    I love to decorate each room so last night we got the Christmas linens and my kitchen decorations out. Hopefully those will be done by the end of this week. I am starting somewhat earlier than usual.

  17. Ha! Those are the exact 2 magazines I was flipping through last night too. I haven’t put any post-its on mine yet, but that cake recipe sure looks wonderful.

    And yes, I’m already decorating. After the Holiday House came down, it’s all sitting in my den & has to start going up so I’m trying to get started and enthused about it. Glad to get it done early.

  18. I wish I could get caught up! You make me laugh!

  19. I’m part of the display staff at the art gallery that I work at. I just displayed 6 very different trees and have product displays to go with each tree. I’m having a tree decorating demo on Sunday. The trees? I’ve have photos and they will be my Christmas tour this year.

    No, I will not be decorating at home before the day after Thanksgiving. I just can’t do it. I’ve decorated so much over the last few weeks that I’m sure if they were to do a chest x-ray, my lungs would twinkle.

    Happy decorating!

  20. I have been appointed the vice president in charge of public relations for the Christmas season at our church. Not really, I just gave myself that title to make myself feel important. Actually, I’m in charge of advertising for our church’s first ever live nativity – I’m making posters and e-mailing radio stations. I like doing that kind of stuff, too.

  21. Haven’t started yet, but plan to this week sometime, maybe as early as Thursday! Can’t wait. I’ve been listening to Christmas music for a couple of weeks now. Oh, and my Christmas’ houses have been lit for several weeks now too.

  22. Sophie…I’ve gone back to work…like real time adult hours…i’m hoping I can remember to do Christmas this year. ;)

  23. will get the decorations started next week…pronto..i think…at least thats the plan stan :)

  24. I appreciate you saying “fix himself a Coke.” People out west can’t figure out what that means when I say that.

    Because it’s confusing and all.

  25. we are already putting up lights (not turning them on yet – not until Thanksgiving night anyway!) and planning on what old decorations we’ll use again – facing a very difficult year health wise and financially – so we plan to DO the Christmas decorations and celebrate the holidays with fervency! That cake on SoLiv appears to be a good place to start! BTW – if I don’t have a book and cell phone and possession of the tv remote my husband thinks I’m being weird – men define weird in their own — weird way!

  26. Kim R. G. says:

    Caught up??? Wouldn’t begin to know what that looks or feels like. My hat is off to you for accomplishing that! I haven’t begun to think about Christmas decor yet. Must confess that although Halloween stuff is no longer on my porch, it is still in the foyer waiting to be boxed. Hey—at least I pulled it in! While I’m confessing…I, too have been known to crave me some of the Cap’n’s (those apostrophes just don’t look right) delights. Don’t even try to get between me and the cracklins! Anyway…back to Christmas….It won’t be long before my December issue of Mississippi Magazine is dog-eared and my house is adorned with wreaths. I love this time of year! I would like to quote one of my favorite old friends and say “Merra Crima!”

  27. As far as Christmas decorations, I’m just waiting for my father-in-law to be to fix my Christmas tree stand.

    You CANNOT go without a tree!!

    But, one thing I am doing is I’m reserching fun, creative, advent calendar ideas. One of my dearest friends just found a few weeks ago that after being “in the book” for just 2 months, she and her husband were selected to be adoptive parents!

    Long story short, I wanted to do something more than just the onezies and diapers. They consider this child not only a miracle and a gift from God, but their early Christmas gift. So, the advent calendar as a baby-shower gift is fitting! : )

  28. Husband and my brother drug all the Christmas stuff down from the attic tonight. My grand plan had been to put the tree up on Thursday while my boy is at KDO. And then I had to be an idiot and schedule myself a dentist appointment on Thursday. But the decor will all be up this weekend…somehow.

    Maybe I’ll finish on Saturday while Husband is at the Arkansas/Mississippi State game! Oh yes, he will be!

  29. We will decorate Thanksgiving weekend as my girls will be home from college and they like to help. I just went thru all my moms old Nov/Dec Southern Livings from the past five years and have a huge stack of recipes to try. I hope I actually make some. Quite often my eyes are bigger than my cooking motivation.

  30. I’m decorating for Christmas this weekend, too! It’s been unseasonably warm here, so I can get my outdoor things out. More pressing, though, is the elementary school where I teach is moving into a brand new building the week of Dec. 14th!!!!! There are only 14 SCHOOLDAYS until then…, we’ve all been busy sorting and packing. This is my 29th year of teaching and I’ve never taught in a building that was built for elementary students. We have always inherited the old high schools :(

    It’s a joke with my fifth grade students about how things will be once we get there. Our favorite phrase is “In the new building…..”. I’ve said it so often, they say it with me in unison and we finish the statement with something extreme. It’s cute. We say it with such enthusiasm you would think that we are going to the “Promise Land”. We are decorating this week for Christmas and, as well as, Thanksgiving. All of it will have to be taken down on Friday, Dec. 11 in our current classroom.

    My grandson will turn 1 year old on Dec. 1. This is going to be an exciting Christmas at home and school! Enjoy your’s,too!

  31. For the first time in history, I am already 70% done with my Christmas shopping. It’s like cats and dogs living together.

    That’s the extent of my caught-upness. The mountains of Christmas decorations will remain in the attic until after Turkey Day as is our tradition. I did listen to a few Christmas songs today. I couldn’t resist. The weather was so crisp and cool… I simply couldn’t wait.

  32. it’s been so warm here in knoxville that I just can’t get in the mood! I did get my SL and Martha in the mail but I haven’t looked through them yet. I don’t decorate until after Thanksgiving but I need to get busy shopping!

  33. Hello! Several blogs that I visit read your blog and I just had to come and check it out too! :)
    My family is so ready for Christmas! Most of our shopping done and our decorations are up (well, our trees are)! Love the holidays!

  34. being caught up would definitely make me weird. and being AHEAD, and decorating for Christmas? that’s funny farm material.

  35. that elle decor issue is waiting for me, too. just might be my favorite magazine to look at, for inspiration. not the prices ;)
    enjoy the being-caught-up!

  36. You get your Southern Living before me. No fair!

  37. Why yes, I do have a great idea from one of my favorite websites. I got it from THIS POST! The sticky notes page markers is just ingenious!

    I would love a Christmas makeover this season. Lots to give thanks and rejoice over; however, the very reasons to rejoice will likely leave me with little time for a Christmas makeover–I HAVE A BRAND NEW GRANDSON as of yesterday! And it’s amazing.

    You may not recall me telling you about my daughter being pregnant when I met you at Beth Moore’s conference this past April in New Orleans. God is good! My cup runneth over and it’s a good thing because I just don’t how in the world I would be able to contain this joy!

  38. oldwomaninashoe says:

    I thought I was ready. I really, really did. Then I went to Kimba’s blog & now I’m making a wreath. Then my daughter called & gave me a recipe for creamy peppermint patties, which in the course of the conversation we figured out how to make it a maple cream cluster recipe. Then there are the Oreo truffles, fudge and fleece blankets that need made. Thanksgiving Lunch was moved back to Thanksgiving suppper so I can hit the Thanksgiving Early Bird Sales.
    No. I don’t think I’m even close to being ready for anything.

  39. Oh, no, no, no, no, no….put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving??? Why, my mama would jump up and slap me! (not really, but you know what I mean) I have to say that seeing two fully decked out houses (seriously, lights everywhere and all the blow-up and animated figurines you can imagine the front yard) in rural TN on my way home from the Forum was just about more than my heart could stand! :-)

  40. We’re (hopefully) going to put up our tree this week.
    We’re moving out of this parsonage in January and I want to make the most of this holiday season. a little sad….more excited to see what God is up to!


  41. I am starting this weekend…and I feel dreadfully behind! My husband is all geared up to pull all our Christmas stuff down…or should I say, I think he is! Busy weekends ahead…I love Christmas time.

  42. Ann Marie says:

    That’s so funny because I was also thinking about starting early and at least decorating my banisters and whatnot with the cute little white lights in time for Thanksgiving!!!!! I am going to look for that cake online! Since I live in the Northeast its hard to find SOUTHERN LIVING MAGAZINE in the stores!!!!

  43. Well. I’ve located the Rum that I hid from myself. I think it’s time to make the first batch of Christmas Rum Balls.

  44. We are TOTALLY starting the decorating Friday night! Here’s the reasoning, not that I need any other reason than I L.O.V.E. Christmas! Thanksgiving is at my house this year. We are leaving the day after for my brother’s. Then we go back to work. Then the following Friday (the 4th for those who are still reading) we are hosting the Deacon Christmas Party. If you don’t know, this is a BIG DEAL kind of thing. So, long story longer, Christmas comes early to our house this year!

  45. Oh, please teach me to be like you! I’m still working on the Halloween candy and am in denial about Thanksgiving being next week.

  46. How do you always get your SL way before I do? It is always my favorite issue!

  47. You crack me up, that post-it note infested Southern Living magazine totally proves that you are a true southern gal!!!!! :)

  48. My favorite ideas always come from the Pottery Barn catalog and of course Southern Living. I’ve been thinking perhaps I should get a job so I can decorate “properly”.

  49. How do you get your magazine so quickly?! I ordered Southern Living because you gushed over it so much and I adore it. So, thanks for that!

  50. OKAY, OKAY….yall stop screaming at me….I’ll totally decorate this weekend!!! No, really, I don’t get my SL when you do (I still don’t have mine) and I DO live in the south. Dang it!!
    And to Rebekah (above)…if you get a job to decorate “properly”..then you’ll have the money, but not the time..double-edged sword!! lol

  51. You must be a preferred SL customer, Sophie. I don’t get my copy in the mail until about two weeks after you! Maybe you just live closer to the mother ship.

  52. Yep, my tree is already up too… don’t have a free weekend before Christmas, and Christmas is AT my house… so early decorating it is!

  53. oh, no…last Christmas i instituted a fast from all decorating magazines, blogs, websites, stores, etc., and it’s carried over into the year as well! it’s so nice to be pressure-free and not feel inferior in the homekeeping realm. magazines just make me feel that way. so no decor magazines for me again this season, and limited trips to decor stores to only run in and out for what i need.

    we’ll begin decorating the weekend after TG, which is also my second daughter’s birthday weekend. i hope to make that a birthday tradition for her!

    my theme? “content with what we have”!

    Christmas shopping? DONE. thanks to internet deals and free shipping! woo-hoo!

    now just on to stocking stuffers and planning fun family activities! and of course, researching ways to make the season spiritually relevant for my growing little people.

  54. Just wanted to say that your writing is a BALM, lo a BALM IN GILEAD, to my weary soul. So thanks about writing about magazines and post-it-notes cuz it soothes the frazzled nerves.

  55. Wheeee! You just reminded me that I get to decorate my apartment for Christmas this year! I totally can’t wait to pull out all my stuff. YIPPEE!!!!!