Christmas Home Tour 2012

Praying for continued peace and comfort for the families in CT.  Still, no words.  Still trying to process.  Just trying to stop the clock and hold onto the moments that are given each day.
Today I am sharing the touches of Christmas around my home this year.
You may have already seen my mantle here.

 

And you may have seen my nativities here.

 

 

And my tree here.

 

Learn more about this beauty here, and here is what it looks like now – 16 days in.
Here are some other touches of Christmas decor from around the house.

 

My husband commented that it was the “year of the ribbon”.  I bought this ribbon last year after Christmas and I love it, and I did put it everywhere 🙂

 

I couldn’t leave without showing you two of my kids trees.  The little sad tree on the left belongs to my 17yr old.  That’s about as Christmasy as he was getting this year 🙂
The one on the right is my daughters.  She loves decorating just as much as I do 🙂

 

I want to leave you with this picture.  I’ve said it before but I’m saying it again.  This is the reason we celebrate CHRISTmas, because Christ is born.  This is what I have hanging on my front door.  Simple with a little sparkle that lets everyone know what’s going on inside our home.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
Linking up to these fun parties, check them out for beautiful Christmas decor.
 
 
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Our Christmas Tree 2012

It’s Christmas tree share day!!
I have never been a matchy – matchy kind of girl when it came to my Christmas tree.  I love them and I think they look beautiful, but that decor never worked out for me.  When we were first married we hardly had enough ornaments to cover the front of the tree, and didn’t really have the cash to spend on a treeful of ornaments.  Each year I would add a few cuties during after-Christmas sales, and my collection slowly grew.  We have held to the tradition of purchasing a family ornament each year, some describing what was going on that year, and others that were personalized with names and year.  Sometimes we include the kids in the picking out and other times we just make it easy and
do it ourselves, because 2 heads are most often better than 6 :).
And then, we had children who began bringing home these adorable hand-made ornaments which I adore.
As my kids are all older now, new ornaments come fewer and fewer each year.  And, I come apart a little more each time I pull them out and gaze out these precious smiles and cheeks, and those little hands.  Where has the time gone??
As a matter of fact, the kids decorated the entire tree by themselves this year.  They really do love doing it, and it takes no time at all.  I turned on the Christmas music and unpacked the tins and they went to work.
I was unsure how it would work this year.  Because unlike those starting out years we have lots of ornaments now, because I still shop those after-Christmas sales.  Here is what my stash looks like all stored up.
Yep, those are old popcorn tins that I cleaned out and used for storage 😉  And here is my frustration…
See, my wonderful hubby had purchased this wonderfully awesome 9.5 ft pre-lit slim tree at an after-Christmas sale about 8 years ago for $35.  Yes, $35.  He called me and told what he had found and said “should I get it, is that a good deal??”  and I quickly said “YES!!”  Now I kinda wish I would’ve said “get two!!”  Because when I got this beauty out and fluffed and plugged in – only half the lights worked.  So, then I thought – ‘I can fix it’ – and proceeded to try – and then decided it wasn’t worth it.  So, I then pulled out our old 7.5 ft tree that I had kept thinking I would someday put up two trees and decided to use that.  So, I wasn’t sure that all the ornaments from the 9.5 ft tree would fit on the 7.5 ft tree – but the kids, they made them fit.  The tree is full, and I mean full or ornaments.  I love it!!
Here’s another look
Glorious imperfection is perfect to me 🙂
Oh, and if you are wondering, the tree skirt was a tablecloth that I got at an after-Christmas sale at Target, several years ago that I transformed – cost much less than a store bought skirt.
I wish I could keep the tree up all year long.  It just make me happy looking at it, twinkling lights and precious ornaments.
Linking up today at
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Lots O Gifts

Do you have a large group of people you need to get gifts for?  Employees, neighbors, teachers, co-workers, friends.  How do you keep it fair?  How do you do it without breaking the bank?  How do you make it personal?  I may have told you that I am the director of our church’s mother’s day out.  I have 27 employees that I buy gifts for.  This is quite overwhelming for me.  So, how do I do it?
My first tip would be set a budget, an overall max budget and a per person budget.  This makes it easy to narrow the gift down, and keeps you from breaking the bank.
My second tip – taken from directors past – is to buy everyone the same thing.  This eliminates a lot of stress of trying to find 27 individual gift that fit the person and that stay within your budget.
Third – find a way to make it personal.
Fourth – pay attention to the presentation.
The first two are pretty self-explanatory, but the last two take a little more thought.  Here is what I came up with this year {and yes, we had our Christmas party a couple of days ago so they have all already received their gifts}.

 

I started with a stack of CD’s {check out the title *JOY*!!}
And some silver ornaments + some sparkle
The ornaments are the unbreakable kind for crafting, and the sparkle came from the scrapbooking section – stickers.
So, the first step was to apply the stickers – lovely, blingy, initials.  This was my way of making the gift personal this year.
Second, I tied some bows.  I have used this sheer ribbon for years – no wire but it looks pretty no matter what you do with it and it’s inexpensive.  I then hot glued the bows to the neck of the ornament.  I used more of the sheer ribbon to make a loop to hang the ornament with.
Next came the packaging.  Because of the colors on the CD {and a little bit of my laziness} I opted not to wrap them.  I found more sheer ribbon in the gift wrap section of HL, this time red.  Sticking with the red and white/silver color scheme, I added some candy canes.

Time to start layering.  CD on bottom, then a candy cane, then the blingy initial ornament, and…..

VOILA!! 

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Christmas Mantel 2012

Well, after running around like a crazy person on Saturday, I finally got my home decorated for Christmas!!  I love it!!  Today I would like to share with you our mantel decor.

At Christmas time I clear off everything and start fresh.  The family portrait of course stays because I love it :).  Everything you see are things I already had in my stash except for the JOY which I showed you how I made here.
It never looks exactly the same from year to year.  Probably only a couple of elements are constant – the greenery and the star garland – which I actually made last year to hold my Christmas cards.  You see there is one lonely little card up there so far – but soon (hopefully) it will be covered with cards and pictures of friends near and far.
I’m pretty traditional when it comes to Christmas decorating – I like red and green, and a little sparkle here and there.  Most important to me is spreading out my nativity collection – the snow globe and the little handmade one next to it.  CHRISTmas is about the birth of Jesus and I want people to be reminded of that when they are in my home at this time of year.
I’m loving our advent activity for this year and so are the kids.  You can see a peak of it in the corner of this pic.  I will share more with you about that and other ways we keep Christ in Christmas on a later post.
Have a blessed day!!

 Linking up with these linky parties

 

 

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Our Thankful Tree

Hello all!!  Last year when I found pinterest I found these cute trees – “thankful trees”.  I loved the look and the idea so I duplicated it.  And this week our “Thankful Tree” went up again.

 

Counting my blessings is one of my favorite activities. Truly I have soooo many things to be thankful for. I know sometimes I get caught up in the aggravation of day to day living and I forget to take a moment and remember all the things in my life I have to be thankful for.  God has brought my husband and I on incredible path over the past 18 years of marriage with many twists and turns and bumps.  Sometimes (when we have a quiet moment just the two of us) we like to walk backwards through the path and connect the dots.  When you are in the midst of the mess it doesn’t make sense and we wonder “what in the world?”  But, when you are through it, and on the other side of it you can look back and make that connection.  Those “oh, I get it now” moments are my favorite.  God is amazing and He always knows what’s coming next, and next, and next.  Back-tracking and putting the pieces together helps me to remember that.  It’s an awesome peaceful feeling to know that no matter what He is on the throne and in control.

 

So, I really want to instill this thankful attitude in my kids as well.  I didn’t have much participation from the teenagers last year so this year I have asked everyone to add one leaf to the Thankful Tree everyday for this month, and they cannot repeat themselves.  🙂  If you have teenagers or pre-teens you know the constant mode of self-centeredness that they live in.  It’s not their fault, they can’t help it, that’s just where they are developmentally….right?  Anyway, I hope that this will let them see how blessed they truly are, and right before Christmas when the lists start rolling in…
God has been really pricking my heart lately and stirring me to do more for the unloved.  I’m still praying and working through how all that is going to look exactly but I will most likely be sharing a little bit here.  Mostly I am just convicted that it is not someone else’s responsibility to take care of these people, but as a follower of Christ it is mine.  I know I am only one person, but added to another one person, and another.  Well, you get the picture.
By the way, I snapped this shot of my entryway/mudroom this morning before the kids left for school.  Here it is in action!!  Loving it!!
Praying that you take a moment to count your blessings, back-track over your life and put the pieces together to see God’s hand.  Try it, you will be amazed.
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