Category Archives: Musings of a blonde brain

Some thoughts on shopping small…. <3


I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. I know it was different and I know some of you were feeling very alone. My prayer is that in the midst of whatever Thanksgiving looked like, you were able to be thankful. One thing about this pandemic, it has opened our eyes to what we do have and to be grateful every day. 

Now we move on to Christmas. 

In case you have not been absolutely flooded with emails today, it the national holiday of consumerism known as “Black Friday.” Which in true American marketing fashion we have actually been treated to since early October. 

So in light of the fact that we suddenly are aware of multiple opportunities to save tons of money on things we didn’t even know we needed, I am offering a few little insights and tips that might prove helpful. I also want to share some encouragement to shop small and shop local. 

Here we go:

Delete all emails with promotions unless you specifically had planned to purchase from that store. Don’t let mass marketing dictate your Christmas list. Think and pray about what you are gifting and then shop rather than shop the ads and overspend. 

Constantly remind yourself that a gift is just a token of love. You can gift your people all year long with little acts of kindness so don’t feel like all the love you have needs to be expressed in wrapped packages under a tree one day each year. 

Think about how you can bless small businesses in your area while you are blessing your friends and family through your gifts this year. If your family/friends live in another city, consider supporting a business that is local to them and order though that store for their gift.

Yes, you can probably save money ordering online from Amazon, but in the long run you will be hurting the local economy of our home communities. 

Give less and bless your neighbors who own stores, restaurants and businesses. 

Perhaps you have been burned by purchasing gift cards from a restaurant that closed before the card was redeemed. How about treating a young family or couple who can’t get out to a meal from a local restaurant NOW..instead of a gift card, pick up dinner for them and deliver? And leave a nice tip when you pick it up. Blessings abound on that one. 

I saw the following post on Instagram #shoplocal and I couldn’t amen it enough. Having worked for corporate retail and then a small, locally owned shop I can’t tell you how much your support means to our local businesses and economy. 

Here are some ways your “word of mouth” can help defer the cost of advertisement and boost local shops and services:

Write a positive review 

Tell your friends and family – you can do this verbally and in a post on your social media feed.

Follow them on social media

Engage in their posts- make comments, answer their question. Tag a friend in your comment.

Give them a shout out – tell about the great service or the cute stocking stuffer you picked up.

Sign up for their newsletter.    

Post from @goodjobs_eu

Your “likes/loves”, shares and comments of a post from a local business helps bring that post into the feeds of other people. Your post giving a shout out to a restaurant, shop or service in our community is huge. You speaking positively in conversation with people you know about where you shop is so helpful. If you are on Facebook locally there is a page called “Support Decatur IL small business.” You can share your own experiences with local business and find others to support. 

Friends who sell products are also a great place to shop. You bless them with business and can find practical gifts for your family that will be used up instead of just things to add to the clutter of their home. 

If you have family who tend to ask you what you would like for Christmas, point them in the direction of a local business you want to support. 

I know this is not my usual Friday encouragement, but with all that is happening in our world and with a focus on global issues, we need to remember we live in a community among people whose lives are interwoven into our own. Prayerfully consider how you can invest locally this holiday season. 

Okay…I am done…thanks for considering shopping small and local.

Just know you are loved…that’s the main thing. 


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Because just getting the regular stuff done isn’t keeping me busy enough <3

No matter what your Thanksgiving plans look like, I bet you are busy this week. We have Christmas breathing down our necks, and we either are quarantined, just got sprung or are waiting it out to see if we are next. 

Gifts need to be bought, we want to decorate the house even if it’s just for ourselves, some kind of something has to make Thanksgiving fun so we are hunting down recipes. 

We might be ordering cards, addressing cards, or thanking the good Lord He released us from the annual Christmas card sending and we are doing some other kind of something that is our tradition. 

I wonder if there is any one like me who in the midst of all of the making of menus and grocery lists and trying to figure out where the tree will go this year and dreaming about the perfect gift for every single person on the list, has these hair-brained ideas to knit someone a hat or design a photo book as a special gift or hand paint something. 

Maybe it is just me but there is something about the extreme pressure of a too-short week with a holiday planted smack dab in the middle and then the launch into the Christmas season that turns me into my own version of Walt Disney. 

Creativity is oozing out of me and it is only enhanced by all the pretty Christmas trim in the stores and on my feed. The ideas are popping like corn in my head and spilling out under the lid. 

All of this leads to a kind of stress that is really so pointless. I have more ideas than are humanly possible to make happen and I start to feel like I “failed” when they don’t all pan out. Or any pan out for that matter. 

Today I caught myself driving and plotting and planning and my blood pressure was starting to increase a bit. So I intentionally chose to stop it. Stop the over thinking. Set aside all the ideas that were just blossoming up out of my over-stressed brain. 

I took some deep breaths and acknowledged that it’s most likely too late to knit a hat…and the vision that danced in my head was a fair isle design, which help me, which would be a challenge in the best of times.  

If we have learned anything in 2020 it is to enjoy the present moment and not bank too much on what we think our plans are in the next week, or day, or hour. I need to give these marvelously creative ideas freedom to flow in on side of my brain and out the other. 

I am setting about to just embrace what Christmas 2020 will look like. 

The Advent season has my undivided attention.

Once I get the egg casserole made for Thursday morning and figure out the sides to go with our dinner….of course…because reality. 

How are you doing the holidays this year? 

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Turkey talk <3

Last Friday was pretty busy at the store where I work part time. 

People were either getting ideas for or purchasing Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers and everyone was in that pre holiday mood that is so fun for retail. 

Often as someone pulled at the door to leave and I would call a thank you for coming in, the return response would be “Happy Thanksgiving!” 

Each time I would think they must be planning on holing up now and not coming out anymore for a long while, because…Thanksgiving has to be weeks away, right? 

Finally as the weekend kicked in it dawned on me…gulp…we are here. 

I cannot think of Thanksgiving that I don’t remember my first attempt as a young wife to make a turkey for our small celebration. I have told this story before so if you remember it, you can tell it along with me or just go on with your own day…but after almost forty years of marriage it still makes me laugh so hard. 

We lived in a one bedroom apartment filled with all manner of wedding gifts that were too fancy for the hand me down furniture that filled a tiny living room. I had purchased a small turkey breast and these wonderful magical cooking bags that everyone at work had told me about. 

Following the directions on the side of the box, I shook the flour in the bag and rinsed and patted dry our feast-to-be. I slipped it in, securing the ziplock tie around the end of the bag and set the oven to the temperature listed on the box the bags came in. Easy peasy.

I headed out to watch football with Russ. 

I kept marveling at this new-fangled way of baking. It seemed like 185 degrees was so low to cook a hunk of meat, but I figured those bags must have some kind of technology available that would get the job done.

I also repeatedly interrupted the football games to say over and over how crazy it was because we didn’t have a 185 degree mark on our dial. I had to dip it just below the lowest mark of 200. I checked on it after an hour and it looked pretty much like what it had when I placed it on the pan in the oven. 

I went back out and told my new husband that those bags must kick in towards the end of the cooking time. We watched more football and I started some of the other sides, keeping a wary eye on the contents of the oven. 

Finally as the end of the prescribed time was nearing and the turkey looked as raw as ever, I looked at the box again and discovered what all of you have probably figured out by now…185 degrees INTERNAL temperature…after baking at 350. 

I went back out and said dinner would be a little later than planned. The man who has put up with far worse than a raw turkey smiled and said that sounded great. 

Hope your plans are coming along at the right time and temperature. 

Thanksgiving will most likely look different this year for all of us. But hopefully your food is cooked and your people are supportive of however the plans turn out. 

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