Christmas Rewind

I wanted to share how our new Christmas activities that will become traditions went.  Our advent tree was wonderful.  Everyone so enjoyed talking and sharing abut how awesome Jesus is – what an indescribable gift!!

 

 

Also, this year we decided to give back to Him for the first time.  A couple of weeks before Christmas we told the kiddos about our idea to give back by shopping a few catalogs.  Again, inspiration from A Holy Experience.  From her list of catalogs we chose three.  We allowed the kids time to peruse and explained that they would be using some of their own money for these purchases – we wanted them to sacrifice as God had by giving His only son.  Then on Christmas day we all sat down to make our purchases.  My husband and I went first to set the tone.  Then they all took turns picking and placing their orders and paying me their cash.  Let me just say I was shook to the core by their generosity.  Sure, they had raked in the cash for Christmas but still they had already begun to make plans for that cash and now they were giving it away.  It blessed my heart.  I read so many stories of families giving back at Christmas over the years, and to be honest, I made excuse after excuse as to why we couldn’t do that.  Now, I will never miss it.  Looking forward to finding other ways we can teach our children how to look outside themselves.
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Happy Birthday Jesus!!

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the Roman empire the inhabited earth.  This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is MessiahChrist the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men of good willwith whom He is pleased.”
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Luke 2:1-20
Happy Birthday Jesus!!  Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

 

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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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