Simple Christmas Decor

Simple Christmas Decor at SkipperClanDo you have all your Christmas decorations out? Between traveling over Thanksgiving and some family demands, we have been slow to pull out decorations.

SkipperClan found some grapevine on his parents’ property and setup a form so I could make my own wreaths.

Simple Christmas Decor Wreath Form

They turned out simple but nice and I had just hung a few on my kitchen cabinets when my neighbor happened to share a photo of some decor she was selling.

Simple Christmas Decor at SkipperClan

I walked down the street and couldn’t believe it when she told me there were seven of them, the exact number of upper kitchen cabinets we have.

Simple Christmas Decor Cabinets

So one part of my Christmas decorating became super simple.

However, one of the things about moving three times in about three years, is that we have items that don’t work well with our new home. At our previous home, we had porch railing which held our lighted garland. This home has a large window at the front and center of the porch and I felt it was just begging for a huge wreath.

But I hated having decor items we couldn’t use and considering spending even more on decorations. Especially when I saw that large wreaths commonly sold for well over $100!

That SkipperClan guy of mine…he is pretty smart. In fact, it’s usually the simple ideas that he comes up with while I’m busy trying to research a good deal on just buying things ready-made.

Enter, a hula hoop.

Yep! We had just discussed the idea of wrapping our existing lighted garland around a hula hoop when one of our {other} neighbors had a slightly bent hula hoop out for recycling!

I’m not ashamed to say that other people’s trash is sometimes treasure.

Yesterday I wrapped that garland {over and over} around the hula hoop, adjusted the branches so it would lie against the window better and cover as much of the bright pink toy as possible.

Simple Christmas Decor Cabinets

While this photo isn’t the best, I think you get the idea. And it looks beautiful from the street with our roofline lights.

Simple Christmas Decor Hula Hoop Wreath

I am sure I will find a new home for my handmade grapevine wreaths soon, but for now I am content with my budget-friendly, super simple Christmas decor.

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Best Year Ever Earlybird Deadline

Best Year Ever at SkipperClan

Today is an important date for your 2015.

If you’re like most, the New Year marks a great time to reflect and reset.

It’s a time when we can craft a plan for making
2015 our best year ever.

The problem is, you and I both know that the average “plan” just doesn’t work.

FUN FACT #1: Did you know that the average person sets the same New Year’s resolution 10 times!

FUN FACT #2: After just one week, a full 25% of people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions.

Crazy right?

That’s why Thursday is a significant date for you.

Michael Hyatt’s course called 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever will change the “average” outcome. It’s designed to help you get clear and actually accomplish more of what you really want.

The reason Thursday is important is because the discounted price for this course is about to go up
– pretty significantly.

So if you’d like to have your best year ever, I recommend you go register for the course while the discounted Early Bird rate is still available.

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/register

All the best.

Tammy

P.S. The discount on the VIP option is pretty significant so be sure to register before Thursday at midnight and make 2015 your best year ever!

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/register

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30 Top Achievers Share Their New Year’s Process

Best Year Ever at SkipperClan

What is the most important thing you do at the beginning of each year to set yourself up for your best year ever?

That was the question asked of over 30+ high achievers the replies have been pouring in. It’s a wealth of wisdom and the responses are incredible.

All the answers have been compiled into a single,handy PDF, and you can get it for free here: http://bestyearever.me/a7620/achievers

Enjoy!
Tammy

P.S. Some of the people include Tony Robbins, John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Andy Andrews, Jeff Walker, Marie Forleo, Amy Porterfield, Lysa TerKeurst, Andy Stanley, Chalene Johnson, Lewis Howes, (and many others).  Download everything here:
http://bestyearever.me/a7620/achievers

Learn more about Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever:

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3

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What The Advent Season Means for Moms

This week I was on the phone with one of my dearest friends in the world. We are almost the same age. She gave birth to her second son a few weeks ago about the time I was registering my youngest for college classes. It is truly hard for me to accept the fact it’s been eighteen years since I last brought home a newborn.

For one thing, it seems like that would automatically make me old, which is of course, impossible.

What the Advent Season Means for Moms at SkipperClan

I remember all the senses of that newborn stage. The joy, the exhaustion, the smells (good and bad, don’t you love the smell of a clean baby?!) I used a baby wrap before anyone tossed around phrases like baby-wearing because it helped me get the laundry done. I worried about schedules, and doing this parenting thing the right way, and how to pay for diapers out of the measly little grocery budget we had.

It seemed like the teenage years were far, far away when we had two cribs in one room.

And now that they are just entering adulthood, the teenage years also seem far away.

It seems like tomorrow they will tell me about their careers, spouses, and their own children. Time really does seem to speed up each year.

Two-thousand fourteen has been full for our Clan.

  • SkipperClan completed his Master’s and we attended his graduation ceremony in Nashville, TN.
  • I achieved a dream with my home business.
  • Our youngest graduated high school.
  • SkipperClan retired from twenty years of military service.
  • We moved for the third time in 38 months.
  • We bought a home.

The list goes on and on really, there were surgeries, cancer diagnosis, and financial challenges. Illnesses, damaged furniture, and approximately 2,876,492 pieces of paperwork to complete.

I may be exaggerating only slightly on the paperwork.

In the midst of all this eventfulness, Thanksgiving arrived. Then I blinked, and it was Christmastime.

Advent.

The season when we anticipate, wait for, expect the return of our Savior. We celebrate his birth and we read the promises of His second coming. We begin to light the candles around a wreath to serve as a marker, a reminder, of those promises.

I tell you all of this to tell you, that all of these thoughts entered my heart and mind in a moment that first Sunday after Thanksgiving. I sat in a little church in north Florida with my children on each side of me. Beside my son, was a beautiful young woman who holds his heart. Three young people that I prayed for before I knew them. They all love that Savior we are celebrating. They are healthy, they are responsible young adults, they are compassionate, they are generous, they are a joy to be around.

And I sat there almost completely overwhelmed by how blessed I am that God used me to be a part of their lives. When the pastor read over Luke 2:19…

 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

I was experiencing the meaning of those words in a way I never had.

What does the Advent season mean for moms? To moms who have those newborns, to the moms who have screaming toddlers, inquisitive preschoolers, homework-burdened pre-teens, license-wielding high-schoolers, or wandering prodigals: there is no perfect way to carry, sleep, feed, or schedule your children, there is only a need to raise them to understand the love God has for them.

Anticipate greatness for your children, expect God’s work through their lives, read His promises for those who are faithful {you}.

Merry Christmas Moms, make the most of your Christmas season.

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Your Roadmap to Your Best Year Ever

Best Year Ever at SkipperClan

Does the image above make you want to click away immediately?

Don’t go just yet. If you wait til December 26th to plan for your New Year goals, you are likely to fall into that majority of people who fail to reach them. Is there a dream you’ve had for years but it is starting to feel like you are never going to reach it?

Don’t give up just yet.

I’ve successfully used Michael Hyatt’s free resources for several years now, so if you do nothing else, I hope you will click here and utilize those free tools.

But if you are ready to invest in something more, and you understand the following is an affiliate link (which means I will get a small portion of income from the Michael Hyatt team should you purchase), maybe you’re ready for his new coaching program.

Michael Hyatt just released his all-new 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever Coaching Program.

Last year alone over 3,000+ people went through the program – and there are some amazing stories of people experiencing incredible transformations in their life.

You can experience the same:

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/roadmap

But there is a catch…

It’s only open for the a very short period of time.  After that, he closes it down to focus on supporting the new class of people going through the program.

If you know deep down that you’re capable of more but have felt stuck not knowing how to experience the kind of breakthrough you deserve, then go check this out:

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/roadmap

Praying for YOUR best year ever,
Tammy

P.S. There is even an extra bonus just on opening day!

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/roadmap

P.P.S. The registration for this course is only open for a short period of time so don’t miss out, click the link below:

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/roadmap

P.P.P.S Don’t forget there are free tools available to everyone!

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What Happened When I Tried Whole30 for 9 Days

What Happened When I Tried Whole30 for 9 Days

Last week I shared a little about the search that led me to the Whole30 website. I truly never believed I could go nine days without bread and dairy.

I mean, there is being healthy and there is being crazy.

As I mentioned, I had already limited those food for about a week and a half, with great results. By the time I was ready to start nine days of eating according to the Whole30 guidelines, I was giving up very little. I love goal setting and accomplishment too, so it was really the perfect time for the challenge.

I won’t lie, I was hungry the first couple days. Looking back, I genuinely think it was a combination of two things:

  1. I wasn’t drinking as much water because it coincided with a couple of days of cooler weather.
  2. I wasn’t eating enough healthy fats or large enough meals.

Once I adjusted these two areas, I truly was very satisfied after each meal. I was surprised how many times I couldn’t finish as much food as I had routinely eaten just a month earlier. I noticed flavors of the ingredients in my meals more and more each day. I was willing to eat what might seem like extremely random meals, as long as I had protein, vegetables, and a healthy fat on the plate. I drank a ton of water. I only drank water.

I carry most of my extra weight right on my middle. They call it apple-shaped and it is miserable. I can picture my grandmother when I think of this who had great legs and often wore shorts, but was very overweight. Now that I am an adult, I have lived the frustration of seeing nearly every extra ounce land firmly on my waistline. Even when I have been able to do more vigorous exercise routines and been fit, the last place I lost weight was my stomach.

Everything was different this time. With the Whole30 eating guidelines, I no longer snacked and I felt full. But nothing prepared me for the shock of seeing weight come off my waistline first.

Like, fall over, what-is-happening, then jumping-up-and-down, high-fiving, shock that my pants were loose. Very loose.

Whole30 specifically challenges you not to look at the scale during your 30 day experiment. Even though my challenge was just for 9 days, I followed the same guidance. After the 9 days, I’d lost almost five pounds but, more importantly, I’d gone down TWO pant sizes.

Let me repeat, what happened when I tried Whole30 for 9 days was that I went down two pant sizes.

My daughter said my happy dance deserved it’s own event on Facebook.

I don’t know what would happen for you if you challenged yourself to eat this way. I just know that for me, this way of eating is truly what my body seems to be designed to consume. I never planned to eat this way forever although some do. I’ve had several weeks since finishing this first challenge (including Thanksgiving) so I’ll be sharing more about that time soon.

If you are trying to make healthy changes like this, there is probably no greater key to success with Whole30 than to plan ahead and prep for your week. Whether it’s washing and chopping vegetables and fruit, deciding on your sides, or having your favorite refillable water container clean each night for the next day: you absolutely will find yourself eating unhealthy foods if you aren’t prepared. Especially if your workday or other responsibilities take more time than you expected and it is dinnertime.

I also had great online support through my first Whole30 (9) Challenge. Next week I’ll be sharing more about how that group came together and the importance of those women in my success.

Characteristics of Those That Succeed

Best Year Ever at SkipperClan

Can we be honest for a second?

It’s not easy making progress against our big goals is it?

Today more than ever there are a million things competing for our attention and I don’t know about you, but life often feels chaotic.

Whether it’s work conflicting with family time or missed appointments and deadlines and feeling like you never have control over your schedule – life can feel disheartening at times can’t it?

It’s like no matter what you do, you always feel like you struggle to find time and the important things are falling through the cracks.

I have good news…

It might be easier than you think to turn things around. Especially after you watch this video from Michael Hyatt outlining the 5 characteristics of those who get what they want.

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/want

Enjoy!

P.S. This video comes with a free PDF download

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/want

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Planning for My Best Year Ever

Best Year Ever at SkipperClan

Something big is happening in my life in 2015 and it has me evaluating a lot of areas from fitness to finances. Maybe thinking about New Year goals before Christmas makes you as crazy as seeing Christmas trees up before Thanksgiving, but the alternative means you are giving yourself 6 days to set goals for an entire year!

Every year I turn to Michael Hyatt’s advice for goal setting. I’ve used his Life Plan format for several years now. He’s doing even more this year and because of it, I’ve got a special treat for you.

If you’re wanting to make 2015 your best year ever, then go watch this video from NYT bestselling author Michael Hyatt:

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/secrets

In it Michael shares the four strategies you need to create a solid foundation for success with your goals.

After a few minutes in, you’ll see why so many people struggle to hit the mark when they don’t have these four things in place.

If you’ve ever felt like there was something standing between you and the things you want most in life, don’t miss this series.

Enjoy!

P.S.  The videos are so well produced… probably some of the best free content available online.

Take a look for yourself and see:

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/secrets

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When Eating Healthy is Overwhelming

Some changes to your diet involve simple decisions, but difficult behavior changes. Others involve difficult decisions for simple behavior changes.

The decisions to stop drinking diet soda and to increase my water intake were obviously good choices.

Trying to eat more vegetables was the first decision that got a bit more complicated. It should have been simple: veggies are good for you, eat more. However, in the Information Age, there are often more questions than answers. Which ones can I buy organic and local? Which ones are most important to buy organic? Which vegetables are higher in sugar and more like eating fruit?

And with a personality like mine, you want to know all the answers before you start. Silly perfectionism!

This time, my search for more information led me to the Whole30 website.

I’ve had friends who changed their diets to be primarily Paleo or clean eating, but to be honest, the changes always seemed extreme. I had successfully lost weight with boot camp programs and using Weight Watchers before. Those plans seemed to incorporate food that was easy to find and easy to make. Clean eating sounded time consuming and Paleo sounded like a level of grain-free torture I’d never survive. What I couldn’t argue with was the length of time my clean-eating friends had maintained good health, even through injuries and surgeries. On top of that, they seemed to genuinely be happier and stronger than anyone I knew on a point or calorie counting plan.

And that is where I was when I landed on Whole30 and started reading the plan information. I was captured by the concept that food should be treated as the source for health. There were no branded foods or special shakes. There was absolutely nothing I needed to buy to start the plan. No coaching membership, no bizarre foods only sourced in a city like NYC or L.A. Just food from animals and plants, single ingredients. The plan, shopping list and recipes were available for free right on the website while links were provided to support groups on Facebook for free. Best of all, I didn’t need to count or track a thing.

There was a list of foods not to eat and I read the explanations as to why they were excluded. I quickly decided I could mostly follow the plan and have just limited servings of bread and dairy.

For about ten days, I essentially ate 95% Paleo with limited bread and cheese. I lost several pounds and started feeling better. I was more alert, focused, and almost never felt bloated.

And then my new friend Amy caught wind of my goals and challenged me to follow Whole30 strictly to the plan with her for nine days. SkipperClan said I was a total wimp if I couldn’t do it for just nine days. He didn’t volunteer to do it with me.

So the challenge was accepted. More about that next week!

My Mother’s Baby Dress Shadowbox Project

Moms Baby Dress at SkipperClanNearly eighteen years ago, I took a snapshot of my daughter wearing my mother’s baby dress. We didn’t have a great camera, we didn’t have a beautiful home, but we did have a beautiful baby girl.

The backdrop was a simple Noah’s Ark throw and the dress arrived with my mom during one of her visits to our little white house in Oklahoma. When I look back at photos like this, I realize how much I have always enjoyed photography. I love capturing moments connecting our generations.

This summer I received that dress from my mom to pass on to my now-adult-daughter one day. I found great inspiration on Pinterest for a shadowbox project.

My Pinterest projects don’t always go according to plan.

This one actually turned out simpler. I found a deal on a small shadowbox. Next, I got a free scrap of beadboard from our local home improvement store. I had my handy-man cut it to size. Finally I just placed everything inside and I have a beautiful keepsake.

And I love it. I will be adding it to the wall in our living room that has family photos. The dress isn’t in perfect condition. Mom said it used to be the same shade of purple as the thread you see in the detail.

Moms Baby Dress Detail

I am grateful for little moments like these, passing things between generations, and remembering what it was like for our grandparents. This dress was made from flour sack. I didn’t even make clothes for our children! What a change in a generation.

One more time cause she is adorable…

Moms Baby Dress on KitKat2

Moms Baby Dress On KitKat

 

Have a great week with your family!

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Family Life, Military Style