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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Slightly belated Holiday Greetings from our little family to yours!  Consider this my digital Christmas card to all of you.  Hope you had a wonderful Christmas day with the ones you love.
Belated due to major computer meltdown URGH!  I'm up and running again with a new computer (which we bought in a panic Christmas Eve but couldn't pick up until yesterday) and I didn't lose any photos/files so happy dancin' going on over here.  I was sick to my stomach thinking of how long it had been since I backed up photos - I would have lost this family photo session plus both kids' birthdays and all the other minor events in life for the last 4-6 months.  Giant note to self - back up photos regularly!  And to you too - quick!  Back up your photos!
It's kind of been a month of disasters (like the night of Kaitlyn's dance recital where it was raining cats and dogs and we got to the car only to find out the battery was dead!) and busy-ness around here but I'm taking this week to shake it all off and get back on track so we can start the New Year off on the right foot. 
Again - happy holidays to all!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

It really is a Wonderful Time of the Year

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year.  I love everything about it.
Decorating the tree

planning the perfect gifts, buying and wrapping them (even better when I find great coordinating paper that matches my tree!)

putting out the Christmas decorations and adding a few new ones
the tree all sparkly and shiny during the day and brightly lit at night
that feeling of accomplishment when all the little gifts are accounted for - like the one for the dance teachers, classrooms, bus driver, etc.  And even better when we reach the end of the last week of school before vacation and all of them have been handed out.  All the parties and the dance recitals - done!
and all of the fun family activities like seeing Santa and baking yummy treats.  And did I mention the Christmas music?  I'm a sucker for Christmas music, especially the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and any version of the Carol of the Bells.

That's just a quick glimpse of what we've been up to this month as I feel like this poor blog has been thoroughly neglected throughout.  What does your Christmas season look like?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Elf Antics 2012 Week 2 & 3

May as well finish up the list of Elf Capades I started yesterday, right?
Week 2 & 3:
-one of the elves was trying to hitch a ride in Tyler's backpack while the other one was found trying on Kaitlyn's dance hoodie and knee-high boots
-everyone seems to be taking turns getting sick around here, including the elves
-the elves were found hanging out in the sunroom one morning.  One was working on Kaitlyn's latch hook kit while the other was playing a new Christmas peg game (you know - like the old fashioned ones they have at Cracker Barrel!).  The kids were pretty excited to get their own peg game

-One night they turned tissue paper into all sorts of paper doll strings - reindeer, snowmen, trees
(cutting templates can be found here)
-they snuck into Tyler's room one night and played with his stuffed animals.  Tinsel put a Santa hat on Shamu and took a ride on his back while Twinkle snuck into the basket full of teddy bears
-popped popcorn in the microwave
-not to be left out, they also snuck into Kaitlyn's room where Twinkle read one of her books and Tinsel got to know the other stuffed animals

-took the stack of Christmas books into the "secret hideout" (that's the dead corner behind the love seat where the kids like to play during December, which is the only time the love seat is moved into that corner) along with some stuffed animals and had a big old party reading to each other
-hid Christmas jokes all over the house - in shoes, cupboards and drawers, the pantry, fridge, under the table, by the countdown blocks...  (printable jokes found here)

-used a small candle/light to "roast" chocolate covered marshmallows
-tea party with some of the toys on the bed in the guest room
-must have had a craving for chocolate peppermint pancakes

-no idea what they will be doing tomorrow morning, but I do believe we will find them with these Naught/Nice Progress Reports for Santa on Monday

Elf Antics 2012

Three days until Christmas!  We're all so excited!  With the last half-day of school for vacation yesterday, we have hit the end of the Have To events, planning, parties, and prep and I'm looking forward to spending the next 3 days just relaxing and having fun with my little family.
That also means we only have 3 more days with the elves, which have been visiting us the entire month of December and reporting back to Santa.  So it's probably a good time to do a quick recap of what those mischief-makers have been up to.

Week 1:
-showed up with Hello letter
-wrapped the toilet with wrapping paper (and themselves!)
-brought Christmas cereal - and got stuck in the box!

-played with the legos the kids left out in the playroom.  Tinsel built himself a sleigh and turned the monster trucks into reindeer.  Twinkle disassembled the Lego Friends shop (Kaitlyn wasn't happy about that) and built a winter scene with christmas trees and a snowman.

-Were found with Tyler's presents on his birthday, with Tinsel trying to peek into on of the packages!
-had a Nerf gun war with all the new toys from Ty's birthday
-Twinkle fell asleep in the decorative sleigh on the ledge in the stairway while Tinsel tried out his repelling skills
-hid in the Christmas tree
-on the day after Ty's Nerf Top Shop party, were found in the garage where the obstacle course was still set up with Tinsel on the hanging rings (bow and arrow targets) and Twinkle had taken a tumble off the balance beam

Saturday, December 15, 2012

When life tells you to take a break

Sometimes you have those little a-ha moments when you get hit with a tiny piece of inspiration or clarity about something in your life.  And sometimes life hits you with a sledge hammer.  This week it took the latter approach.  It was inevitable, I suppose.  I've been running practically non-stop since school started and have managed to not get taken down by the small colds the kids came home with.  But this week, after a crazy week of birthday festivities (Tyler is 6!  more blog posts on that soon!) and my mom visiting, and girl scouts and... I got taken down by the monster of all colds.  I was seriously flat on my back on the couch - or more specifically in the fetal position wracked by chills and whimpering about body aches and a screaming throat while trying to ignore the migraine quality headache.  There was no way I was going to get anything done.  Forget the To Do List.  Cancel girl scouts (my coleader was also sick - go figure).  Put it off, toss it aside, or get someone else to do it.  That was my lesson this week.  Not the greatest time of the year to have it hit, but when it does you have to deal with it right?  Luckily my husband quickly stepped in and handled dinner and homework the first night.  He also had to take my daughter to her dress rehearsal on Thursday.  And I still wasn't feeling good enough to attend his work party last night so he took Kaitlyn to that as well.  I was wondering how Tyler would react when I told him he would be staying home with me and was amused when he let out a fake cough and told me "it's ok.  We will take care of each other."  And we spent the rest of the night cuddling and watching the Game Show Network (it's either that or Food Network when I find I can't stand to watch another cartoon).
Obviously I'm feeling marginally better or I wouldn't be able to sit here on the computer and look at it from this perspective.  Fingers crossed it continues this way because I don't want to face the mess life would be if I had another week like that one. 
Look, even our elves were sick!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Furniture Upgrades

Welcome to December!  We've had so much going on and I have SO much to blog about!  I'm hoping to spend a little time in the next few weeks playing catch up, because you know I love to share the projects I've been working on.  Like the furniture I refinished a few weeks ago - weeks!  Aaaaa I'm so behind.  *sigh*
My husband, like most men always wants the biggest and best when it comes to technology, particularly TVs.  So I finally let him upgrade the TV in our bedroom for Father's Day  (Yes have a TV in the bedroom, which I know some say is a No No.  But if that's what it takes to shut my brain off so I can get to sleep at night, I'm all for it.  Plus it's nice to have an extra TV when the husband is watching something I really don't want to see) and eventually I got around to buying the wall mounting bracket for it.  Which happily led to me getting to play Musical Chairs with the furniture as I was then able to move the dresser than we had been using for a TV stand into the playroom.

The dresser matches the nightstand and headboard that are in the guest bedroom (that's through the doorway to the right in the photo above) and is now being used to hold the TV and electronics in the playroom.  I moved all the video games and DVDs into the drawers on the dresser which freed up not only the nightstand that was originally holding the TV, but the small bookcase next to it.  And I knew exactly where I wanted to use both pieces.
The nightstand was a high school shop project that my husband did, so we've had it pretty much forever.  It needed a little work as part of the trim on the bottom was coming off and the doors weren't exactly square - I repeat High School Shop ;)  But my husband is now a much better carpenter and those were easy fixes.  I added a few coats of white paint and now it's good as new!

Pretty!  The nightstand now lives in Tyler's room where he quickly loaded it up with all his stuff.  I actually had to take half it of back off and stow it in the closet before I took these photos :)

And then there is the nightstand.  I think we got it for about $20 for my first room at college to give me some extra storage.  It's dated, but in good shape so out came the spray paint.

And then into Kaitlyn's room it went.  She's been trying to find a good spot for her "library" so this was perfect.  She spent a lot of time categorizing her books and she even went as far as to put little code stickers inside each cover so she knows where to put her books away after she uses them.  LOL  This kid is going to be quite the powerhouse when she's all grown up.
So wouldn't you know it right in the middle of all this furniture switcheroo-ing the TV in the living room died.  And now we are left with a completely blank wall where the TV in the bedroom used to be with a sad pile of electronics in the corner including the dead TV that we have no idea what to do with.  Cross one thing off add another to the List, right?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Craft Day - Deco Mesh Wreaths

Did everyone enjoy their Thanksgiving?  We had a pleasant day of it yesterday with good food and great company.  It was a great way to spend the holiday.  But with Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror I of course woke up with big plans for Christmas decorating, gifts, and some Elf antics (we do our own version of Elf on a Shelf) swirling in my head - such a fun time of year!  Unless there is something super-fantastic in the Black Friday stuff (Sam did spot a great deal on a TV but was too late to get in on the 4 they had in stock at Walmart last night *sigh*) we usually choose to avoid the crowds and instead spend the day after Thanksgiving at home putting up the Christmas tree.  So that's the plan for today - yay! 
Of course I'm up before the sun once again this morning.  My internal alarm clock seems to be set at 5AM or earlier the last few months.  It's still dark outside and if I start pulling out decoration boxes this early I'll wake the kids up so I thought I'd play a little catch up with the blog.  May I present a fun collection of Christmas wreaths from our nieghborhood/friend crafting session a couple weeks back :)

In October, a friend of mine had run across some great deco mesh wreath ideas and asked I could teach her how to make one.  It quckly turned into fun plans for a craft day with a few friends, including a shopping trip for supplies all together the week before - always so fun to have some time out with the girls.  It was very interesting to watch the creative process and see how the personalities of each individual showed throughout the whole process - how they decided on what kind of wreath to make and the embellisments for it, and the different methods of putting it together and all the different styles of wreaths we ended up with.
I went a slightly different route and tried out the curly version for the first time, making the base for a fall wreath for myself (which I posted about here yesterday).  My MIL had seen part of our planning photos and discussion on Facebook and requested a wreath of her own.  The result is the purple one above - her absolute favorite color is purple and this year she decided to change the decor on one of her Christmas trees (she has three I think :)  It's so great that her enthusiasm for Christmas carried over into my husband because it makes life so much more fun when he's just into all the Christmas fun as I am) to a purple theme.  I love the colors, but have to admit that it threw me for a loop.  Once I got the base done I struggled with how to make it read as a Christmas wreath instead of say, something for Spring or Easter.  Thus the addition of the Merry Christmas sign and the ornaments. 
As with my own fall wreath, I didn't finish the purple one on craft day.  My friends, however, did complete their own wreaths (it was a much longer crafting session than any of us had originally planned but it was worth it) so I was able to snap a few photos of their finished wreaths.

Cute right?  I love the color combination
I love this one too.  Great colors and I found myself wishing I had a use for that fantastic floral pick (above the bow) with the swirls and the glitter - too fun!

Ooooo I can't wait to go pull out the boxes and get my own Christmas decorations out...!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Fall...and Happy Thanksgiving!

I did it again!  Too wrapped up in all the things going on right now that not only did the blog get neglected, but I didn't finish my fall wreath until this week!  Awww....oh well right?

You see a couple weeks ago I got together with a few friends from the neighborhood and we all worked on deco mesh wreaths.  As the one "in charge" of the project I made sure everyone got theirs done, but mine...  Well, I did finish the base! lol  I hung it on the front door to get a good look at it, and it sat there for a couple of weeks, in all its unfinished glory.  Actually I was pretty happy with the base - the colors are so pretty and so very much "fall."  But it was missing a little something.

My mother-in-law had also requested a Christmas wreath which I had also started on craft day and which also sat unfinished in the sun room.  Knowing that she would want to be able to display her wreath soon, and that I would need to use the sunroom to set up the dining table for Thanksgiving I finally took the time to finish them both.  (I will post pictured of her wreath and some of the other wreaths my friends made in a day or two - they turned out so great!)  I took a scrap piece of wood and stenciled the saying "Happy Fall Y'all" on it then wired it onto the wreath base and covered up the wire with a nice bow.  The final touch was this gorgeous floral pic I grabbed along with the wreath supplies because I was totally in love with it.  Still on the fence about if I like the tiny pop of red or if I will take that part out...
For now though, I'm happy.  And my front door will be fully dressed up for the guests that will be joining us this afternoon - Yay!  I'm so happy that today is Thanksgiving.  Happy to have my three favorite people asleep upstairs all warm and safe and happy.  Happy to know that I have so many great friends and family, both near and far away today.  Happy that my life is so full right now.  Happy to have friends coming over to spend Thanksgiving with us (that's always one of the big dilemas when you don't live near family - how to celebrate the holidays and who is available to spend them with??).  Happy to have a good start on the prep for the big meal, and that my husband is taking over the hard parts of the cooking (turkey and home made rolls) so I have no reason to stress or rush around today.  And happy that tomorrow the focus switches to Christmas - my favorite holiday! ;)
Today is going to be a great day!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope you all a fantastic, and thankful day!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween! (31 Days: Day 30)

Happy Halloween!  It's almost time for some Trick or Treating!  (yeah, that sounds so much more fun when you're 6 than when you're 30, right?)  We will be headed out for that shortly, but I wanted to take a quick minute to document some of the fun we've been having with the holiday.
Last night before carving up the pumpkins we had a fun Halloween theme dinner with mummy wrapped hot dogs and spiced apple cider.  It was the perfect thing to set the stage for the main event - the pumpkins.

I suprised the kids with some fun things in their lunchboxes today - mummy wrapped drinks, Halloween jokes, single serve mandarin oranges with pumpkin faces drawn on them, and spider rings in their sandwiches.
And there you see my little cowboy and rodeo queen.  In order to be able to dress up for school they had to pick something that went with the school's dress up day theme for Red Ribbon Week, which was What I Want to Be When I Grow Up.  I was pretty happy when Tyler suggested the cowboy because we already had everything we needed.  And don't they both look adorable in their hats?

Again - Happy Halloween!  Here's hoping they get some good candy for me to steal ;)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Carving (31 Days: Day 30)

(no I didn't forget to write anything - I just figured the photos spoke for themselves.  Happy Halloween Eve!)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Always something to be Thankful for (31 Days: Day 28)

Since I had all the supplies out the other day I decided to go ahead and make one of the Thanksgiving decor ideas I ran across on Pinterest.  Love that saying!  Might be one I need to keep out more often than just the month of November.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trick or Treat Glass Block (31 Days: Day 27)

Ready for one more candy corn Halloween decoration variation?  Yup, me too! :)  The original inspiration from this one came from here via Pinterest.  Looks pretty simple, right?  Well, you'd be right.  They carry these great glass blocks at most of the big craft stores, complete with a nice little opening in the bottom.  I think mine was $12 before the 40% off coupon.
I used that handy hole in the bottom to stuff some lights and colored tissue paper inside.  I didn't worry too much about the back, but you could cover it up if you wanted to.
I added some vinyl lettering (that Silhouette machine is really earning its keep this month!) and some black tulle.  That it!  Another 5 minute, under $10 project.  I was on such a roll yesterday :)