Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Deck the Halls

I truly LOVE decorating for Christmas, Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. While, I'd love to have a large gathering and have you all over to see the house, its just not happening this year. However, I'd still love to give you a tour of our Home for the Holidays. Had enough Christmas music references yet? Alright, alright, turn on your own music and come on in...

The kids helped pick out the tree, aren't they festive? 

Here, a little better? 

We've never had a window we could put the tree in so I was glad it fit here. You can see it right when you walk in the front door and I can enjoy it from the couch while I catch up on my mid season finales.

I love everything about sitting in the room. The light, the tree, the fireplace...

My mom made these stockings for the kids. It took her almost a year on each of them, but I am so glad she did it. They'll have them forever now and its pretty special.

Even the couch got a little Christmas cheer this year, and I'm not talking about the wine I drink there when the kids go down for the night.

Our dining room and my home coffee bar

Several of my windows have snowflakes hanging in them for some added sparkle.

I found these mercury glass snowflake lights and had to have them.

Leaving the dining room and heading into the kitchen 

The dish washing window got in on the festivities. Snowflakes make washing dishes not as bad and occasionally little bubbles will float up from the dish soap, then its a real party.

My small collection of Santa pics are on the sill. Now that I have space to put them out I am going to have to round up the rest -minus last year because the kids were terrified of the jolly fella and refused pictures with him.

What's the limit on strands of garland inside your home? I may be pushing takes about 10 min to unplug everything before bed at night. 

 Some people make Christmas cookies, this year I made Christmas pillows.

I walk by the tree a thousand times a day and never tire of looking at it. 

That about rounds it out folks. Thanks for stopping by. 

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Light Show

Ok there is not really a light show, but I'm showing you our lights, isn't that good enough?
I have to say, our luck with Christmas lights is minimal. As in, we are lucky they ever work.  A couple years ago we bought some solar lights for the old house. See, there was only one plug on the outside of that house and it was actually in the garage. So we had to string an extension cord across the 2 car garage  then up the side of the house. Any of the small tree lights we used were run through windows that were closed on cords and then towels stuffed around them to keep out a draft.  Solar lights seemed like a great solution and they were, for a year.  The following year we pulled them out and at $30 or so dollars a strand, they didn't work.  So we threw them away and just did a couple of strands inside until we could find another solution. Then one night when we went out to take out the trash, of the solar strands was lit up in the trash can.
Anyway, this year we decided being in a new house and all, we would just go out and buy all new. Make the conversion to LED and hopefully it would last a while before we had to replace anything. Of course we went to 3 stores and none of them had the large C9 style LED lights in warm white (the cool white is not my favorite but no offense intended.) We finally decided on a slightly smaller bulb, my OCD just prevents me from really loving them because they are nearly impossible to get tight, straight, and all the same direction. 
In the end I'm happy with the results but secretly holding out for big bulbs next year! 

Pretty cute huh? I went all out with deco mesh this year, I just like the sparkly-ness of it (and the price) plus it holds up in the weather. So where to start...

My fancy mailbox swag.  That bow is giant but I love it and although I've said I'm done, I may be adding more greenery to it. (Please note the lollipop, Eli had to have them.)

These bad boys are my tomato cage topiaries. They are about 4ft tall and only cost $17 to make the pair. During the process I was cursing the whole ordeal but as soon as they went up I was smitten and forgot about the hassle. After Christmas I can just pull them out, put them straight in the attic and replant my planters with something seasonal. 

Just above the topiaries I have these pretties...brand new porch lights that are actually large enough to be seen on the front of the house.

Since we took out all those giant bushes I knew our chimney needed something large to tie it in a bit, enter giant wreath and mesh bow.  Freebie tip: I added pinecones for a little flair and to make it match the other window wreaths. 

That leaves the front door. I originally bought the deco mesh for the wreath but once it was made I had more than enough left over so I added it to, well, everything. 

"Santa I was good..."

Tomorrow you'll have to come in and see the rest but first I have to scoot everything out of the way  clean up for pictures. See ya then! 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Elf on the Shelf 2013

Its finally that time when our Elf Teddy has returned for his second annual Christmas with us.  This year when the kids woke up they had (a little and easy) breakfast waiting for them. The elf also brought two wish lists for them to fill out and color, some window clings, and most importantly a letter from Santa.
Check out the blog links of the fantastically creative people behind these ideas. A few pictures too, but please excuse the quality I took them on my phone.
The Elf breakfast is served...

These Rudolph donuts are so cute. They can be found here at My Frugal Adventures. They are so easy, its just a chocolate donut, some red hots I had on hand from Christmas baking - I believe she used red M&M's, Bonus: you get to eat the rest - pretzels halved, and some candy eyes (found on the baking isle next to all the frosting and candles.)

The window clings were from Micheal's and were less than a $1. (get 20% off your ENTIRE purchase with a coupon

I found the letter to Santa on pinterest as well,you can print it here.

We also printed a letter from Santa. I used this very official looking letterhead from Design Editor and printed the letter on gold scrapbook paper. It was rolled like a scroll - this for some reason, is how I imagine Santa letters - and tied with a ribbon. 

She was very impressed. We are taking them to see Santa this morning and the letter mentioned it. Also, the bumble bee headband (why?) was broken by Brother last night and magically repaired by the elf and left in her chair this morning. 

It was a very easy return of the Elf and the kids enjoyed it. Hope your elf has made its triumphant return as well. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Teacher Gifts

This year I've been debating on teacher gifts. I hate to give them something they probably have already received a thousand times, I don't know enough about them to pick something personal, and they can probably decorate their entire tree in gifted ornaments alone. Plus, its Christmas and like everyone else, I have a budget.
Finally, I came across this cute idea on Pinterest to give giftwrap (maybe my blog should be called Pinterest adventures.) At first I saw it and thought, thats pretty lame but I followed the link to to a blog called It's Always Craft Time and read more.  So the giftwrap comes with tape and a little card (you can print a couple cute ones free from Always Craft Time) that reads...

Since November you've been shopping,
Barely sleeping, hardly stopping. 
Now its late, you're in a scrape, out of paper or out of tape.
Hope this wrap saves the day! 
Merry Christmas


Since our printer is not a color printer I had to make my own card. While I was at Hobby Lobby getting the gift wrap I picked up two coordinating Christmas scrapbook pages then a matching transparent one to each. I bought the smaller size paper, it went through the printer no problem and I was able to make two cards per sheet. 
I just printed the saying on the transparent paper and layered it over the decorative one. I punched two holes in each so it would lay nicer once it was all tied together. 

All and all not bad for a cute, useful, budget friendly teacher gift. The kids even got to have a hand in it because they picked out the paper. Hey, if the teachers don't like it they can always re-gift it and at least its not another ornament with an apple on it.
Happy gifting!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Give Thanks

Since the surrogacy has come to a close, I've been a lot more thankful for all the things around me and may family. Its just amazing the way God can touch your life through the smallest of things. However, I'm not one to post my  30 days of giving thanks on Facebook.
Whats up with that anyway? I feel like if your going to do it you need to dig deep and come up with something worth posting/reading.  I mean, aren't we all thankful for our children, family, and the beautiful weather? Maybe the whole "Im thankful for" should be changed to "Count your blessings" - but that's another soap box all together I guess.
Moving on... This, year as you know, we moved into our new house. It was also our first year to host Thanksgiving. Honestly, it was the first year we had enough space to even consider it.   I wanted to have a big family gathering with lots of food and too many pies.  I wanted our house to be filled with the aroma of Fall, conversation, and plenty of laughter. You know, the things traditions and memories are made of. And I got all I wanted and more (that is definitely something to count in your blessings!)
So we had a total of 15 people including both sets of grandparent, the kid's great grandpa, my aunt and her family, and our neighbor (and her mother) from across the street at our old house. It warmed my heart to watch my house fill up with guests and everything went off without a hitch. So here a few pictures from this year's Thanksgiving and I hope that there are many more just like it to follow.

I was so excited to host I decided to go with real plates an everything. I am so glad we did.

The "kids" table, turned overflow seating, even had a coloring table cloth. (Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV and no, this TV is not in my dining room, we just had to spread out a bit.) 

The dining room decor (I had to mix Chritmas and Thanksgiving this year between the baby and our house doubling in size, there wasn't enough "fall" to go around.) 

Turkeys made by the kids 

Then there was was so good.  Beautiful cookies handmade by my friend Wendy (why yes! she sells them)...

 "old fashioned" (so it was deemed this year) chocolate pie, pumpkin roll, pumpkin cheesecake...

and did you see those cupcakes?! Feast your eyes friends...

Is it obvious yet, why a post Thanksgiving diet was in order? 
As if all the scrumptious homemade sweets weren't enough, we roasted marshmallows with the grandparents and kids that evening...

A little too close to the fire there Dad

Not sure if her mouth is big enough for that bad boy...

Finally, we spent Black Friday at the zoo with all the grandparents.  It was a great way to walk off some of those calories and create more of those memories I want my kids to have. After all that' really what its all about.

And that my friends, is something to be thankful for!