Tag Archives: Christmas

Two Cents: January Edition

31 Jan

The purpose of this Two Cents series is to have a monthly “show and tell” per ATC the Change– a RAOK cause I cofounded. Each edition will feature many of the Change Cards I’ve made, along with other things I’ve done to make the world better one Change Card at a time. Change. Cents. Get it?

Some months will have more highlights than others, but this, unfortunately, is not one of those months. Between the resolutions I made and then getting sick, I didn’t make much let alone leave much. My game plan for February is to modify one of my resolutions, so instead of writing every day I have the house to myself, I have “Writing Wednesdays.” With less obligations during my free-time, it should– *knock on wood* –give me more opportunities to get my crafty on.

But we’ll talk about February on 2-28! Here are the few highlights since 12-27:

1. I left 7 of the Change Cards I made back in December.

2. Using a handful of the Christmas cards we received, I repurposed them into these Change Cards I’ll be able to leave come this December,

3. I also made some Wonderland-friendly ATCs after making backgrounds with my Spirograph, and I have been putting my dreamcatcher stamp to use, too.

I told you there were only a few! Oh! But if I wouldn’t have liked how my Pandora’s Box cards turned out via the Legendary theme per Little Cards, I would have written “Better an ‘oops’ than a ‘what if?'” on ’em and used them for ATC the Change instead, haha.

Well, whether I make a lot or a little in February, I’m looking forward to seeing what the next month has in store. And if you’re a pen pal of mine, you’ll be able to look forward to seeing ATCs tucked in with my letters like Valentines. Cheers!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~


Hail the Snail 2.43

31 Dec

December 15th: It might have just been a postcard, but it came from Kira over in Finland which automatically makes it awesome, hehe.

December 19th: Some Christmas goodies came next– a card from Kristy and presents from Logan’s Uncle Doug and Aunt Jessica!

December 20th: And of course no Christmas is complete until we get something from Figi’s, courtesy of my dad.

December 21st: A few more Christmas cards came (and one of those came with a Chipotle gift card– thanks Erik and Mindy!), and I also received a new series to read. The timing was perfect because I finished Before I Fall that same morning!

December 22nd: In addition to yet another Christmas card was a letter from Jody and a batch of Little Cards per the Clothes/Accessories theme.

December 26th: Logan received a Lego set from his Uncle Erik and Aunt Mindy, while I received two pieces of mail from Krista… though the one with Box Tops was basically for Logan, too 😛

December 27th: Both mailboxes had a Christmas card for me. Manolo’s was from Allison, and Pablo’s was from Charmaine.

December 30th: The last letter I received this year was from Sarah!

And this will be the last blog post of mine this year! Over the past couple months it became apparent to me that though I’m no longer interested in having a strict posting routine, I do need to have some sort of schedule or Sincerely Kate flounders a bit. That said, I have quite a few plans for this blog in 2018! This Hail the Snail series is safe, for the record, though the number accompanying the title will change since the 2.40-whatever has gotten ridiculous, lol. Take care, Bleaders, and I’ll talk to you in the new year!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Tied Up With Strings

25 Nov

Though this blog of mine is far from dead, prior to this month it was sort of limping around since going from posting regularly to having a few sporadic features. Sometimes I think about bringing the schedule back, but I don’t want to post something half-assed just because it’s the 25th of a month. Today, however, I do need to address something that has been beginning to weigh heavily on me, especially with Christmas now a month away.

Although I’m forever a sucker for anything Alice in Wonderland, I’m reaching a point in my life where I no longer find much joy in getting packages full of odds and ends, or even little extra things tucked in letters. That’s not to say I haven’t been pleasantly surprised by some gifts, but more than I’d like to admit I feel like the sender’s money was wasted on me. Sure, they might have just seen the item in the clearance section and thought what the hell?, but if it didn’t actually scream “Kate” I’d be more than content just seeing a picture of it. I’m sure someone somewhere thinks I sound ungrateful and wants to comment on how it’s the thought that counts, and honestly I do feel ungrateful. However, that “it’s the thought that counts” door swings both ways. First and foremost, I never EVER want any of my pen pals to think I expect a gift, or feel an obligation to get me something– heck, I’m not even crazy about getting Christmas cards while we’re being honest. What I do want my pen pals to think about is the object in question, asking themselves if they think it’s something I’d actually get use out of, or if I’d see it more as clutter.

Take for example a Harry Potter ornament I recently got from Sarah, never mind the fact that it is too big to actually fit on our tree. I know why Sarah sent it– I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to the Loganator. The thing is though, this is a S.L.O.W. process, so much so Logan and I only make small dents on Mondays and therefore won’t even get to the scene depicted until Christmas is long over. I know I’m sounding like a Scrooge right now, but bear with me. Do I like Harry Potter? Sure, but is it a favorite thing of mine? No. Something I do love? Gnomes, yet a third of our collection is tucked away because we don’t have the space to display them. If it comes down to having a gnome on a shelf or Harry Potter characters, I’m going to be rolling with my gnomie. P.S. This example has a happy ending– Sarah said she was tempted to keep the ornament for herself before so I’ll be sending it back to her.

Again, I feel ungrateful even bringing this up, and I feel like a hypocrite on top of things since I used to send many a knick knack I found in Oriental Trading catalogs. At the heart of these feelings though, I don’t want to be given gifts, I want to be given time. Having pen pals is how I have mainly socialized as an adult, especially since becoming a stay-at-home-mom, so if I’m given the choice between a present, or someone being present in the form of letters, I will choose the latter.

I apologize for this downer of a post. I thought it was important, though, for my pen pals to know where I stand now, and maybe verbalize how others may be feeling about gift-giving becoming too much of an obligation among loved ones. So as we move into the Christmas season, I believe we all should strive to be more mindful of what our friends and family truly want, and give them the presents (or presence!) that matter most.

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Hail the Snail 2.24

4 Jan

This should have been posted back on the 30th– my bad.

December 15th: We got the first Christmas card of this mail call, and I got a letter from Jody as well.

December 16th: Along with a little happy mail from Sarah was a little package from my dad and another Christmas card, too.

December 17th: Two more cards came plus our Figi’s order and other Christmas-friendly packages from Nicole, my mom, and my brother Doug and his wife.

December 19th: Another thing from Figi’s came thanks to my dad, and yet another two Christmas cards.

December 20th: Manolo had a letter from Justine, and Pablo had a batch of Little Cards.

December 21st: Now Manolo had LulaRoe leggings, Pablo had ATCs from a couple of trades, and UPS delivered some goodies my mom ordered from Amazon. But wait, there’s more! I banged out Harry Potter and the Cursed Child after starting it two days before 😀

December 22nd: I received Christmas cards from two of my pen pals, as well as Little Cards from one of ’em.

December 23rd: I heard from Jody for the second time this mail call.

December 24th: Kayla’s Christmas card made it just in time.

December 25th: There was no mail, but the boys and I all received many a goody.


December 27th: A couple more Christmas cards trickled in.

December 28th: Thanks to my dad, this holiday season got a bit more merrier. Getting the stories back from Sarah was just frosting on the sugar cookies 😀

December 29th: There was happy mail from Kära, double from Sarah, and there was an Amazon order, too.

December 30th: I got two orders today– stamps and LulaRoe!

December 31st: 2016 ended with a letter from Kristy and a postcard from Kayla.

January 3rd: The first letters of the year are from Jody, Kari, and Kayla, and the first package was from Hot Topic 😛

January 4th: And the first mail I got from Pablo was a letter from Whitney and a few ATC trades– these cards in particular were my favorites:


I hope your Christmas was a merry one, and that your New Year has been merry, too. Ours has been interesting so far– hence the late post! Thanks for your patience 🙂

Sincerely, Kate ~!~


Hail the Snail 2.23

15 Dec

November 30th: November ended with a letter from Jody and a surprise package from Barnes & Noble, courtesy of my mom.

December 1st: December started with our first Christmas card of the season, as well as the last batch of November’s Little Cards and some happy mail from Sarah.

December 2nd: Another surprise from my mom– a Daytimer refill– came today, and a letter from Justine, too.

December 3rd: Along with a letter from Kari and a Christmas card from Sarah, more orders came, but I’m responsible for these ones 😀

December 4th: I paid Pablo a visit and was rewarded with ATCs from two private trades.

December 5th: Manolo had a letter from Nicole, a letter and a postcard from Kayla, and a story and the following goodies from Sarah:


December 6th: Today’s offering was a Christmas card from Justine, a postcard from Sarah that Ashley originally sent me, and an Etsy order that sadly was not worth the wait.

December 7th: Manolo ran out of stuff for a bit, but Pablo had a letter from Whitney.

December 9th: We now have the license plate for this beauty we’re leasing:


December 10th: Last week ended with a letter from Ashley and Little Cards from Arlene.

December 13th: Along with a Christmas card from my brother Tom’s family, I got three envelopes worth of happy mail from Sarah.

December 14th: Another two envelopes from Sarah came, plus two from Jenn and Jody– Jenn’s had her North Pole Little Cards, and Jody’s the letter that went missing over a month ago.

And that’s all folks! At least for now 🙂
Sincerely, Kate ~!~


Feliz Navidad and Yaddi Yadda

25 Dec

December 16th: If getting two batches of winter ATCs wasn’t awesome already, getting packages from both of my parents was.

December 17th: We got a Christmas card from Gabe’s grandparents, and saw mine when we went to Logan’s Christmas program. The Loganator’s debut was quite the adorable success, by the way!

December 18th: I have gotten a Figi’s box from my dad for what feels like decades, and this year was no exception.


I also received a couple of Christmas cards, ATCs from Donna, and a letter from Eileen.

December 19th: Prior to getting the newest gnomes in my collection thanks to Krista, I got more mail from both boxes. Manolo had Kayla’s letter, and Pablo a Christmas card.

December 21st: Between Kära‘s card, Jody’s letter, and cookies from my newest sister-in-law, this week certainly started on a high.

December 22nd: The high continued thanks to both mailboxes. There were cards– two with gift cards and one with a bookmark– stickers for Logan, a letter from Sadie and a postcard from Kira for me, and then this amazing bag from Jenn:


December 23rd: The boys and I acquired a bunch of goodies like the stocking stuffers I ordered for me and Gabe, and the Zippy Sack Logan got from his Tia Jen and Tia Marilyn when we went to their house.

December 24th: Happy mail came in the form of a Christmas card from S’Moore, a letter from Erika, and a DVD for the Loganator from his Uncle Erik and Aunt Mindy.

December 25th: Normally I don’t include the day of in these mail calls, but since it’s so late in the day that I’m posting I can make an exception. The boys and I– and even Harper– got a lot of neat stuff, and thanks to the post office being unlocked I got the last of the Winter ATCs via Little Cards!

Hope your Christmas was a merry one!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~


A Merry Little Mail Call

5 Dec

November 27th: A Christmas present arrived for the Loganator.

November 28th: Another package arrived for Logan– this time from Papa Halvorson. Also in the mail was a letter from Kristy for me.

November 30th: As awesome as it is that presents have been arriving, I felt like it was ABOUT DARN TIME I got letters.

Thanks Krista, Justine, Jody, and Jenn!

Thanks Krista, Justine, Jody, and Jenn!

December 1st: Yet another Christmas present for Logan, and yet another letter for me. Thanks, Katy!

December 2nd: A handy dandy booklet came regarding our upcoming Disney trip, and the godsend that is Logan’s new mattress arrived as well. He wasted no time breaking it in, hehe.


December 4th: Krista’s card and my former neighbor’s tied for first place in the race for first Christmas cards received.

All in all, a great week and I’m looking forward to seeing what this next one has in store!


Secret Santa and the Mail Lady

25 Jul

I’m so glad I decided to post about my post more often. I find myself much more rejuvenated here at Sincerely Kate; I hope you see that below and in the mail calls that follow.

July 15th: My last mail call ended with a “Postcard from Wonderland,” and thanks to Emily this entry is starting with one.

July 16th: Nicole hooked me up with yet another Wonderland postcard, and Jody and Erika both hooked me up with letters.

July 17th: Pablo not only had Leslie’s letter for me, but two envelopes full of tea.

July 18th: Another two envelopes full of tea came today plus a letter from Sarah S.

July 19th: Despite there being no mail because it was Sunday, I still had a great day because the boys and I saw Minions. It was a fun movie, but I kind of feel it should have been straight to DVD and blu-ray rather than released in theaters. And the rich get richer…

July 20th: I got more tea (for reasons you’ll read about later) from both mailboxes. I got some from Kayla via Manolo, and from Charmaine via Pablo.

July 21st: A moving announcement was all that came, so I prepared the ATCs like these for the LEPeeps who hooked me up with some tea.


July 22nd: Neither mailbox had letters for me, but I did get some things I was expecting like tea, a gift for my almost-here nephew, and preschool hoopla.

July 23rd: Finally some letters thanks to Jody, Justine, and Stephanie. *Throws confetti* I also got a postcard from Ashley, and Logan got half a year older.

July 25th: Over the past few years, July 25th has been when I’ve done Christmas in July posts (Exhibit A and Exhibit B), and so I wanted to share some pictures from my annual Secret Santa swap once again, though I only have these two so far:

Speaking of Christmas in July/ Secret Santa, Emily over at Nerd in the Brain borrowed my idea. I signed up, of course, and was given a wishlist that consisted of books, tea, and coffee. It is because of this I acquired all the tea I mentioned above, hehe. I told my pen pals and the LEP how tea was not a forte of mine but that I wanted to give her a variety, and a bunch of people came to my aide, as you can see:


For the record, I sent the person a book too, but I thought the tea would be an extraordinary extra. I have yet to receive either of my gifts, but I don’t doubt they’ll be worth their wait!

Thanks to everyone who sent me anything, and to my mail carrier for making sure I receive/d everything, hehe.

Sincerely, Kate

So Long, Farewell

29 Dec

Sincerely Kate the blog is not going anywhere, but these weekly posts– better known as Miscellaneous Mondays– are. I thought I would use this last Monday to share what I’ve liked about so many Mondays that came before it.

First and foremost, I like the “Hail the Snail” posts I started to highlight the mail I received. Inspired by this nerdy post by my friend Emily, I will share some of the glorious mail that either came to my mailbox or departed from it.

To see more where these pictures came from, search “Hail the Snail!”

Something else I’ve enjoyed have been the five tea parties I’ve thrown (known as “If We Were Having Coffee” elsewhere). What I would tell you right now is that the boys and I had such a good Christmas, though Logan is definitely over opening presents at this point. Favorite gifts of his include Hungry Hungry Hippos and the foosball table I mentioned before— he’s currently playing on the latter. I am SO EXCITED to go to the post office today because it will be the first time I get to check the P.O. Box since I got it. I’m not really expecting much of anything as it’s a baby yet, but there may at least be postcards as I switched my address via postcrossing. My trip won’t be in vain though! I have a book to send to my friend Krista, the traveling journal to pass to Kari, and Othella’s Christmas package (I didn’t get to see her while she was in Michigan, but I’m confident I’ll see her again 😀 )

Feel free to search “My Not-s0-Mad Tea Party” to see similar posts!

Although Music Themes were something I haven’t done much this year, I still can’t help but think of them today as they were possibly the biggest reason I started doing Miscellaneous Mondays in the first place. That said, I shall leave you with a few songs that come to mind when I think of “Goodbye:”

So Long, Farewell- The Sound of Music cast
“Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.”

Here Comes Goodbye- Rascal Flatts
“Here comes the pain, here comes me wishing things had never changed.”

Bye, Bye, Bye- NSync
“Don’t really wanna make it tough, I just wanna tell you that I had enough.”

“Music Themes” would be a good search term to see more Kate-friendly music.

Have a great week and a Happy New Year, too!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~

26 Letters- Christmas Edition

25 Dec

Ahoy! That’s what Alexander Graham Bell said when he answered the telephone. And while we’re talking history, I’ve done three posts like this one before (1st, 2nd, 3rd) where I use each letter of the alphabet to come up with words to build a blog post around. Considering what today is obviously the following will have a festive theme going on.

The first of my Christmas get togethers was Krista’s visit, though I like to call her Bingaling. For the past 6 or 7 years I have given her a novelty edition of Monopoly, this year’s being The Big Bang Theory one. Tokens include Raj’s dog Cinnamon, Penny’s wine glass and Amy’s tiara, hehe. Krista’s not the only happy camper as I now own these awesome gnomes (as well as one that’s not pictured since he’s outside):


One thing the boys and I do every year is watch a handful of Christmas movies like A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Polar Express. This year I introduced Logan to The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (the classic version) and he liked them enough that they may join our repertoire.

Kevin, my father-in-law, had a nasty case of the flu that landed him in the hospital a couple weeks ago, so when Logan started saying he didn’t feel well either we didn’t take it lightly. We came close to taking him to the doctor’s, but I’m happy to report that whatever bug he caught didn’t escalate to that point. He got plenty of R&R that weekend and by Monday he was himself again, thank goodness.

Last year I wanted to try something where interested pen pals would give me enough of something to give to the other interested parties so each of them would get a little something from everyone (you can read more about it here). I decided to try the exchange again this year but made some changes. For example, instead of asking who’d be up for it, I invited the four people I knew would have fun with it and I think it was more successful. Enclosed were handmade soaps and bath salts, as well as the other stuff below:


Logan asked for quite a bit for Christmas this year. Of course he wanted trucks and tractors and he’ll be opening some games today and this weekend, but the request that threw us for a loop was a foosball table. No, we didn’t get a full-size one, but as of this morning he does have a table-top version.

As for that Gabe fellow, the main thing I wanted to get him was a new phone, and though he has it now I still wanted him to have something to open. I wound up getting him things like a couple CDs and a calendar. I would have liked to get him The Book of Life too, but that won’t be on blu-ray for a while yet.

Ever since the boys and I watched The Polar Express, hot chocolate in hand, this song has been stuck in my head:

I am no stranger to indoor Christmas lights, but as of this year I have now become acquainted with outdoor ones as well. Gabe has talked about putting them up for as long as we’ve been married so I’m glad he/we got the chance. It’s far from the elaborate scene his late grandfather used to do, but it’s perfect for our humble abode.

This is probably a bit sacrilegious, but check out my awesome nativity! I love that the baby Jesus is resting on a mushroom, hehe.


My grandma was nice enough to take me shopping for new boots earlier this month. We hit up a few thrift stores first but we  were ultimately successful at Kohls. My grandma would have preferred I picked the more stylish pair she found, but this accident prone girl will choose comfort and practicality over style any day, winter or otherwise.

Had I provided an address in the League of Extraordinary Pen Pals’ database, I can only imagine how many Christmas cards I would have wound up getting, but 20 is still an impressive number.

Earlier I showed you a picture of the loot from the exchange, but I wanted to highlight my main contribution a bit more. One day when Gabe and I were at a toy store, we noticed this big display of Mad-Libs and I had this lightbulb moment– I could get my pen friends each one of these, and they could each get one that is up their alley! Allison, for example, is a pirate in her own right, and I could see Emily and her family having fun with the on the road one whenever they’re on the road. I hope my friends have as much fun with these as I did picking them out!



With the end of the year approaching, I thought I would give you an update on the note card thing I’ve been doing for the majority of my letters for the past few months. You see, I have a bunch of partially used notebooks and I decided that I wanted to start using their pages for letters along with note cards– the cards so I can dress the process up a bit. I am only 20 pages or so from finishing up my third notebook. I asked my pen pals if they would like me to go back to using nicer paper, but the consensus is that they don’t care what I write them on as long as I write them. As of today I have a LOT more note cards and I’m so excited to start putting them to use!

When Logan’s first Christmas was approaching, I knew right then and there I wanted to get him an ornament and I wanted to continue doing so every year. That year it was his picture with Santa, the following it was a dalmation in a firefighter boot, and last year it was Elmo. He now has a French fry ornament, haha! We also got Christian, our nephew, a firetruck ornament– the first of many for him as well.

While I had things I wanted to get for the Loganator, there was one thing I wanted for myself… a P.O. Box! I once posted something that listed off 10 reasons I wanted a P.O. Box and it’s as true as ever; I think I even have more reasons now. For those of you who want to write me/ hook me up with Alice in Wonderland– friendly postcards/ WHATEVER, you now can! 😀


A pen pal recently told me about how her family went to Disneyland for Thanksgiving, and as she listed what they’d be doing for Christmas, I couldn’t help but think how especially quaint our holidays are– not that there’s anything wrong with that! We saw Gabe’s aunts yesterday afternoon, we’ll see his parents today for food and even more presents, and on Saturday we’ll see a chunk of my family.

I haven’t really made any resolutions for 2015. As always it’d be nice to save money and I may even try to lose weight, but to say I WILL do these things would be making promises I don’t necessarily intend to keep. Basically all I’m hoping to accomplish this year are things pertaining to school for me &/or the Loganator.

In addition to the exchange I also organized Secret Santa yet again for me and my interested pen pals. I’m hoping everyone likes their goodies as much as Emily, my recipient, liked hers. Kära, my not-so-secret Secret Santa was really nice to me. In addition to sending me something in response to each thing on my wishlist, she also sent me a few odds and ends like “Patchpops”– very intriguing! Thank you, Kära!


Dang nabbit– I forgot the magnet!

P to the S: This is my TWO-HUNDREDTH BLOG POST! *Throws confetti.*

My aunt-in-law is friends with the daughter of my mail carrier, so I used that connection to get a hold of Nancy’s address. It just seemed like I should send something via USPS to the person who makes sure I get all of my glorious mail. Nancy sent me this postcard in return, hehe:


Back to the two-hundredth blog post thing for a moment… In the 2+ years I’ve been blogging I’ve gotten 10,466 views! My best ever day was 141 views which may not be a lot for some of you blog stars, but considering pen palling’s not exactly a hot topic, I’ll take it!

As much as I dislike the snow and ice, the thing I dislike the most about winter is the hiatus most TV shows will go on. Once Upon a Time, for example, isn’t coming back until my birthday (March 1st). At least the writers have a knack for leaving us wanting more. Out of all the shows returning next year I’m the most anxious for How to Get Away With Murder, but Revenge is a very close second considering who (and how) they killed someone off. Thank goodness I only have to wait until January for their returns.

I don’t think anyone still refers to Christina Aguilera as Xtina, but I will for the sake of using that tricky letter. This is a Christmas song of hers I like hearing this time of year:

The town I grew up in has a Yule Light Night and this year I wish I would have gone. It’s not as though I missed out on anything exciting, but back when I lived there it was one of my favorite nights of the year as all the shops offered food and beverages after a tree lighting ceremony. I think Logan is now at an age where he would think it’s as cool as I used to, and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind things like cookies and popcorn either.

In my last post I told you how I ordered a monster from a fellow LEP member, but what I didn’t tell you is that Meredith is so awesome she told me to pick out another one of her creations for free as she was trying to find homes for the older monsters. I picked out a zombie named Finnster with my pen friend Kyleigh in mind, and she told me he couldn’t have come at a better time which made me so incredibly happy. Us pen pal people call it “Happy Mail” for a reason!

Well, I have kept you from your day, festive or otherwise, long enough so take care and Happy Holidays!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~