Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's Ahead for 2011?

Are you into New Year's Resolutions? I'm not. 

In the days before a new year starts I do like to think about what's happened in the last year and what I'd like to see happen in the New Year. I guess I like to think of them as a giant to-do list rather than resolve.

So here goes, 11 goals for 2011!

1. Knock down a wall or two and install flooring like this:
Photo courtesy of The Shabby Chic Cottage

2. Complete a mini-makeover in the bathroom which involves this:

3. Make bunkbeds:
Reader photo from Ana White's blog

4. Paint the boys' room and move them in together. This means organizing their closets, new quilts from my MIL, and moving J2 from a crib to a bottom bunk.

5. Build a greenhouse like this one at my in-laws':

6. Deliver a happy, healthy baby in May! I'd like to find a cozy chair for the baby's room, and if by some remote chance we have a baby girl, there will definitely be some PINK additions to this room!

 7. Finish refinishing these:

8. Fix basement walls. We have brick walls that have a couple cracks that aren't exactly watertight. This involves some heavy machinery, digging to expose the walls, and pouring new concrete supports. When it's done we'll be able to landscape and take baby steps toward finishing the inside of the basement too!

9. Set up an Etsy shop. Sell things like this:

10. Install new doors and paint the closets, trim and walls in the hall.

11. Celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary!

Ok, fine, here are the more esoteric goals that are hard to cross off a to-do list! Be a better wife & Mommy; exercise; garden; study my Bible; eat more veggies; improve my blog; potty train J2; challenge J1 with crafts and activities; travel; spend less time online; organize the storage room; sing; go on long walks; figure out how to grocery shop with more children than I have hands; get rid of "stuff" we don't need; play with my kids; organize & print photos; try new recipes; read; take time for myself...

What are your goals for 2011?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to Me!

I won a giveaway over at NewlyWoodwards! Thanks so much, Kim! 

The giveaway was from Michael at Inspired by Charm. Michael owns and operates the Old Charm Bed & Breakfast which also has a gift shoppe! Michael's blog is full of creativity and can steal a big chuck of your day because it's so fun! 

Anyway, here's the big package I got yesterday, and a look at the goodies inside.

Fun to unwrap! I could smell the soap & candles right away!

Santa came two days early!

Michael included this nice card.

I can't wait to use this pack of Christmas cards!

This homemade jelly is so yummy!

These candles are now in jars with epsom salt "snow".

This Christmas tree candle completed the
decorations on my piano.

I love this jar!

My husband keeps bees and was
impressed by this goldenrod honey.

I added this goat's milk soap set to my husband's stocking.
Naughty on one side; the lighter bar is Nice.

Thanks so much Kim and Michael! You've helped my Christmas be a merry one!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feature and a ChristmasTreat

My stocking holders are one of the features on The DIY Showoff' today! Stop by Roeshel's blog and check it out!

My husband's vacation started today, the presents are almost all wrapped, and we're almost ready for the big day! I'm making banana bread today to give out as neighbor gifts and to friends at church. Do you have more baking to do?

One of my favorite treats at Christmas is peppermint bark. I made it for the first time this year and it was simple and fun! I had some leftover supplies, so I made another version of it.

Use a 'double boiler' to melt chocolate chips.
Grab some mini-pretzels.

When the chocolate has melted...

...start dipping! Lay them on a piece of parchment paper.

Pop the pretzels on a cookie sheet and into the freezer. 

Locate and unwrap a few candycanes.

Take out your frustrations on the canes in a
zip-top bag with a rolling pin!

Get out the white chocolate almond bark.
Chop up the almond bark so it's easier to melt.

When it's melted, get the tray of pretzels from the freezer
and start dipping again!

While the white chocolate is still wet, dip the pretzels in
the candycane crumbs.

Mmm! Sweet & salty, chocolate/peppermint yumminess!

Let the pretzels harden in the freezer,
then add them to a decorative tin.

This tin just happens to say Peppermint Bark!

These didn't last long here. Mostly my fault... I haven't made any more Christmas treats since then as it seems I have no will power! Do you? 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Joyeux Noel

I spent Christmas 2004 in Paris. 

Another single friend and I were tired of the holiday routine and both had time off at Christmas, so we booked a flight to Europe! We spent about 5 days in Paris and 5 days in London with 1 day in transit that included an afternoon in Frankfurt. It was my second visit to Paris, also at Christmas time, so this time I wasn't as awe-struck by the architecture and beauty of Paris (which are both amazing and I can't wait until the boys are old enough that we can go as a family!); no, this time I was struck by the amount of UGLY Christmas trees that seemed to lurk in random places!

Let's start with a peek at the tree in our hotel's lobby:
Don't you love the splotchy flocking? It was done after the tree was decorated, so the sad, limp garland and sparse ornaments are flocked in places too.
* **
Let's head down the street and see the trees for sale in the flower shop:
Red flocking anyone?
* **
Next, let's head over to the Christmas Eve service at Notre Dame. I bet the huge tree out front will be spectacular!
Spectacular, eh? Good thing they put up the guardrails, cuz the tree seems to be missing ornaments on the lower section. How did they hang the garland? Just throw it up randomly and hope it stayed?
* **
On the way home, let's check out the festive trees at the cafe down the street.
Not too bad! Rather sparse compared to what I'm used to...
* **
It's Christmas Day and we're headed down the Champs Elysees.
I wonder who took the time to tie on all of these bows? Is that why they only had time to throw the garland at the other trees?

These are quite refreshing after the ones we've seen!
* **
So, Christmas is over. What do Parisians do with their trees?
Why, leave them leaning against buildings, of course! (Um, you forgot a bow.)
* **
These trees were left on the front steps of a cathedral:
Wouldn't you want to take the decorations off before you abandoned your tree?
* **
Hope you enjoyed our Parisian Christmas tree tour!

Joyeux Noel!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Traditions

This Christmas will be the first Christmas our family has spent together at home! We've celebrated Christmas early at home one year, but we've always been gone on Christmas Day. Our families are far away--northern and southern California, Missouri, Virginia... The little ones make flying difficult and expensive, so it was an easy decision to stay home this year.

One of the most important things we want to do as a family is start to establish our own traditions. These are some of the things we've done already and things we hope to be able to do yet!

Time Together. My husband has 10 days off!

A Live Tree. See more of it here.

Homemade Decorations. I told you more about them here

A Nativity and lots of time spent reading and talking about the story so even my 3-year-old can understand it!

Treats! I'll blog about these little goodies this week.

Homemade gifts. I hope no grandparents are reading this until after Christmas!

Stockings and the cutest stocking hangers ever!!!

A candid and relaxed family picture for our Christmas Card.

SNOW. Lots and lots of snow! We have several inches on the ground already, a couple more inches coming tonight and a big storm predicted for Thursday. Glad we're not trying to drive anywhere!

Presents! This picture is from last year. It's so fun to watch the boys open their presents! And so fun to see how much they've grown in a year!

We're looking forward to a fun-filled day! What are your traditions? I'm linking up to Kim's Dare to DIY party at NewlyWoodwards. Stop on by to see more!

Dare to DIY


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