Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Chronicles {Instagram}

I lost my Christmas spirit this week, somewhere between expectations and reality. Or maybe it's just perspective.

The month started on a great note. I was super-excited to start decorating, creating memories with the boys and crafting my way through the month. But I under-slept, over-worked, neglected my health and had too many deadlines. My blessings turned into obligations and my opportunities became just another demand for my attention.

Why is it with Christmas, to have a memorable season, to celebrate to the fullest, we expect so much of ourselves? This weekend I'm going to quietly remember the reason we celebrate, soak in the love and wonder of our three little boys, and remember the big picture.

Join me?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Passport Out-takes

We are in the process of applying for passports. I took some pictures of the boys the other day, asking them to just sit there, then we could take some funny pictures.

Here's what happened.




I love my cuties, crazy as they may be sometimes!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Countdown to Christmas

Ok, so this post might not be named correctly if you're hyper-analytical like I am. It's not technically a countdown because I arranged these cute little cards in numerical order from least to greatest. I thought it would be easier to just check the day's date and read that card for a fun activity with my kids.

So in that regard it's much more like an Advent Calendar. But it's just for an activity, no scriptures or candies or gifts like so many Advent Calendars include.

Call it what you want to, I had way too much fun making this! It reminded me why I used to scrapbook and made me long for the day when I have a little more free time to spend doing just that.

I knew I wanted to make something like this, but part of the time factor when I actually sat down to put it together on Saturday night was spent figuring out how I wanted it to work and where I would hang it! I love the Advent Calendars that use paper lunch bags, so I found some tags and made some more out of my scrapbooking supplies.

I squirreled away cute ornaments, little craft ideas, glitter glue, gum, playdoh with cookie cutters, etc, planning on putting a clue for the day's activity in the paper bag which we'd take down and open each day.

But then I decided it was just too cute and I couldn't pull it down and rip up more of it each day, even in the name of something fun to do with the boys!

And the question of where to hang it kept coming up... And my crib spring display thingy-ma-bob was looking a little forlorn, even with the burlap banner and snowflakes added to the wreath.

Then I someone went and added cute cards to write the activities on... not sure why, but they're super cute, and I someone spent way too long coordinating them just so...

So my 2-3 hour project turned into 5 hours one night, three hours the next day, another hour or two hanging them...

Sadly, that's all too typical around here. Just ask my husband. No, don't, please!

Did you notice just how cute it all is?! Totally worth the time and effort!

You know that when Christmas is over I'll be storing these together in a box. Cute cards, clothespins, tags, ornaments, embellishments and all. It's actually quite flexible, in that next year I can hang them with the lunch bags if I want, or on a string on the wall, or wherever!

(The two little bunches in the top middle are place holders because my crib springs needed something there.)

The boys are totally thrilled with the little daily activities. These are things I included--on a sticky note so I can mix and match next time, or toss the ideas and do new stuff if I want to and not have to mess up my cute note cards!
  • Make coffee filter snowflakes
  • Sing carols by the Christmas tree
  • Make cinnamon ornaments
  • Make cookies and give them to a neighbor
  • Enjoy hot chocolate with candy canes
  • Decorate paper ornaments with glitter 
  • Go to a Christmas concert
  • Make an ornament wreath
  • Play hide-and-seek with jingle bell ornaments
  • Use cookie cutters with play doh

 So there you have it, our Christmas Countdown, or Advent Calendar, or Activity Planner, or Really Cute Christmas Display that took way more time than I planned but I still love it!

How are you looking forward to Christmas every day?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hot Chocolate Station

I'm super excited about decorating Christmas this year! We were in between homes last year and enjoyed Christmas with our families while the decorations stayed in storage.

This year we're staying home and as soon as December 1st came I wanted to be setting up the tree and pulling out the boxes!

I waited until December 2. That's restraint for ya!

I've never set up a hot chocolate station before. I like hot chocolate, for sure, but I didn't think I needed to tempt myself or my small kids with sugary drinks... But I was putting away groceries and reorganizing a few things in the kitchen and this kinda just happened.

First I decided to put the candy canes and marshmallows in jars. Then the hot chocolate packets went in another jar. I added a small jar of sugar and a jug for cream in case someone's fixing a decaf instead of hot chocolate. I added a couple mugs, put it all on a tray and slapped the picture onto Instagram.

Then I added some Epsom salt snow, red ornaments and a cute tag to an antique jar and some other stuff moved around too and I ended up with this.

It was the unanimous winner of the which-do-you-like-better contest on Facebook, and I love the red!

What about you? Do you set up a place for all the add-ins for your hot drinks? Do you prefer hot chocolate or coffee? Tea? I hope you're staying warm this winter!


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