Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Morning 2010

Each year we spend Christmas Eve with Ryan's family down in Orem at his siser's house. As always, the kids fall asleep on the ride home, thus leaving us time to get things ready. This year we actually got to bed earlier than last year (thanks to some strategically timed present wrapping earlier in the week). However, when I heard a rustling in the kitchen at 5:00 am, I knew that no matter how early I thought we'd gone to bed, it wasn't early enough.

I dragged myself out of bed at 5:15am to find Finley sitting in front of the Christmas tree staring at presents. I told him it was way WAY to early and that he need to go back to bed. He said no, and I told him he could lay down by the tree if he wanted, but he was NOT to open or touch anything since Berlin and Dad were still asleep. He agreed and so I crawled back into bed. About 8:00am Ryan awoke to a rustling and got up. Turns out it was just the dog. However, Ryan saw this and came to wake me up to get a picture. 

Finley, sound asleep in front of the stockings, was SNORING super loud. I love that he has all his favorite toys: Serena bunny, scruffy dog, and the new clone-trooper doll he received the night before from his cousin.

About 10 minutes later Berlin woke up and the Christmas morning festivities began. Here are the kids with their gifts & stockings. 
The tree
Finley's new Skateboard from Ryan and I.
This is the one thing he really wanted this year. 

 He was so excited to check it out that he only got one wrist-guard on. 
He's got some cool moves apparently.

 The Batcave from Santa. The other thing that he really really wanted. 
It has been played with every day & all day ever since.

 Berlin's stocking, which is almost as tall as her.
 Her new headlamp. She's wearing her new nightgown that I made. 
The easiest pattern ever, but the fabric just makes it.
 Bentley spied his present while we were still on stockings.
He couldn't wait to get the toys out of the box and dragged it all over the house.

 Berlin with her gift from Ryan and I.

This year I took each kid out separately to buy a $10 gift for each other.
Finley with his gift from Berlin and Berlin with her gift from Finley.

All I can say is that Christmas with children is so much better than Christmas without. They definitely keep the magic alive. And thanks to my sister Emily who spent the weekend with us. The kids LOVED having a fun playmate.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2011 - Poinsettia Tree Skirt

Nope, the title is not a typo. I meant to type Christmas 2011. Why? Well, as mentioned in a previous post, I don't have tree skirts for either tree (one sits on a snowflake quilt and the other just has fabric wrapped around the base). So, I went to the fabric store the week before Christmas and bought some cream fleece for 70% off in hopes of making a tree skirt before the big day. Of course, that didn't happen and I just barely finished it today. So that means it will have to wait until 2011 to be put on display. But here's a sneak peek. 

This was my inspiration, but I only wanted one row of flowers instead of two, and I didn't want buttons or a "closure" system. With our trees stand we can slip it on before we assemble the tree so no need to have button closures. And, since our tree is such a hodge-podge of ornaments (most are German ornaments from Ryan's mother or that we bought in Germany a few years back) it's very colorful. Thus, I went with a basic cream to keep it from being too busy. 

I originally started by hand-cutting all the flower petals. After wasting some time I got bored, and after some grumbling pondering, I realized, DUH! why don't I just use my Sizzix big-shot? Luckily, I have a fun flower die that worked perfectly. Thank heavens! It was such a time-saver. I was able to cut out 4 layers of fleece at a time and the kids had fun helping me. They even noticed that the flowers looked like poinsettias.

I'm very happy with it, though my now stiff fingers are VERY very grateful that it's all done. I hand stitched each flower together (each flower has 6-7 layers) and then glued it to the edge of the fleece with my trusty hot-glue gun. 

Total cost: 
2 yards of fleece  = $6.40
Time to make:
1 hour of cutting the skirt and die-cutting all the flowers
about 1 hour to hand-stitch the flowers together
15 minutes to glue them on 
(all these steps were spread across a couple days)

2010 Christmas Card

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Treats

I don't really bake a ton over the holidays. I'm just not a baker. Don't love it, never have, and I admit that I probably never will. But this year I have really tried to do a couple treats that the kids can help prepare because I want them to have those memories.

Last week Ryan made some cookies that his mother made when he was a child: Hazelnut Thumb-print Cookies. Here are the kids taking turns measuring, dumping, stirring.

Then yesterday we made these Pretzel Turtles that my friend Jen told me about. Seriously, this is my kind of homemade treat - prepped and done in less than 15 minutes. And they taste pretty good.


1 bag of rolos (maybe 2 if your kids eat as many as mine do during the process)
bag of pretzels
m&m's, salted cashews, walnuts, etc.
parchment paper & cookie sheet

Set oven to 350 degrees. Place rolos in center of pretzels. Place in oven for 3 minutes (just until rolos get glossy and barely start melting. Too long and it will be a mess). Take them out and push your other toppings into the rolo (smoosh it all down baby!). We did salted cashews and m&m's - both delish!

Here the rascals are placing the pretzels & rolos on the parchment paper ... can you guess what's in Finn's mouth?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I just might ...

have gotten this from Ryan for my birthday!
Yippee! Now I won't have to walk while Ryan totes the kids around in the Madsen. It is perfect for me with it's slight "cruiser" look, leather seat & handlebars with contrast stitching, AND it has 7 gears, which is kind of a must in Utah with all these hills. Can't wait for Spring to get here and take it for a spin.

And now I think I might have to get this to go with it:

I also just might have bought myself a birthday present (or two) with some birthday money ...
(photo from Dana.made.it.com)
I saw the above shoes here and fell in love, and since I worked SOOO hard on tracking them down, I had to buy them - and they were 30% off with free 2-day shipping. I got them the other day and they are super cute on!

If Ryan is reading this I'm sure he is shaking his head and thinking that I should be buying some much needed winter boots. But, I've survived living in Utah for 16 years now without winter boots, and I think I'll be just fine until next winter ... when I might just actually buy some snow boots.

Anyway, HAPPY 35th to me!!!

PS: thanks for the all birthday love that was sent my way. It made my day!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Frosty the Snowman Craft

It got cold again, which means antzy kids. I told them we would build a snowman soon, but we've been busy and haven't had much time. And now we don't really have anymore snow on the ground, so we couldn't go out and build a snowman. So we decided to stay inside and make some snowmen - paper style.

The kids were giddy excitement and couldn't wait for me to set everything up. Berlin especially was excited because I don't usually let them use my nice stamps & inks. But after seeing how much fun they had with the snowflake stamps, I am beginning to think I should just let them stamp more often.



Final result:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Traditions 2010

There are some things that we find ourselves doing every year around Christmas: German Christmas Market, Temple Square, Zoo Lights, and Thanksgiving Point Lights. This year was no exception.  You'll notice in all these photos that I have one kid who can't stop hamming it up. It makes for some great photos ... right?

Thanksgiving Point lights:

(Finley wore his batman costume the whole time, except when we went to look at the reindeer. We told him that the mask would scare them so he had to take it off. After all, we don't want to give them a heart attack right before Christmas, right? He willingly obliged.)

Temple Square:

Zoo Lights:
(we met up with some of our friends and the kids had such a fun time)


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Revenge of the Turkey

I found this picture on my cell phone and just had to share. Finley was drawing a Thanksgiving picture last month using his hand as a turkey. I turned to help Berlin trace her hand and I look back at Finley to see this ...

Me:           Finley, what is that?
Finley:      It's a pilgrim baby.
Me:           What the heck is happening?
Finley:      The turkey wins this year!
Me:           huh?
Finley:      It's a turkey carrying a baby child {in a pilgrims hat & wearing a diaper}. 
                 The turkey is going to eat him up!
Me:          Awesome. I love it! Let's take a picture and email it to dad 
                (hence why it was on my phone in the first place)

Lot's of giggles have been shared over this picture. I think I'll frame it and put it in our kitchen every November.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Things I {HEART} Right Now - Winter 2010

Seriously, I don't know what it is about Winter and the Holidays, but it seems that everything I see, I want to buy. My favorite thing is to put things in my cart and then walk away. It makes me think I'm buying it, but not really (I do this ALOT on anthropologies website).

Anyway, these are just some of the things that I {HEART} right now:

1. Tree skirts ... 
Maybe it's because I don't have one for either of our trees and I really want some. These 2 are my faves.

I want this for the upstairs tree (my tree):

Garnet Hill (again, I think I can replicate this for a fraction of the cost)

And this one for the kids tree downstairs:
Land of Nod (sold out - but would be easy enough to sew)

2. Mercury glass ... 

I have loved mercury glass forever. And now it seems to be getting more and more popular which usually I think is a bad thing, but if it means that it brings the prices down to something within reason, I'm all for it. Maybe next year I'll splurge.

Wisteria (and they are on sale right now!)

3. Advent Calendars ...

We have a couple paper advents which are fun, but really, they only work once as the paper doors never close again, they get ripped, and the kids start to remember what's underneath them. I wanted to make a legit one that would stand the test of time and give me the freedom to change out the goodies, but of course it won't happen this year. But this one is my fave. I love that it's like a piece of art and I have the perfect spot for something like it. I don't love the price tag. Seriously, who pays that kind of money ($219 and that's on sale) for metal pails on twigs with twine?

(update: I just bought some metal pails from all-a-dollar and have plans to make one like this ... for under $10! And I have until Nov 2011 to get it done.)

4. Paper Dolls ...

As a kid I loved paper dolls. I had a couple sets and thought they were the shiz (yeah, that's right, I said the shiz - how's that for a blast to the past). They are making a comeback, and these are my faves right now, ranging from expensive to super affordable. I'm even tempted to sway Berlin into a Paper Doll Birthday Party in Feb just to have an excuse to buy them. Wouldn't it be a darling theme with fabric pennant flags hanging from all over the ceiling in the sun-room? Heck, maybe I'll get some for my 35th birthday in a couple weeks and invite my girlfriends over:

Sarah Jane Paper Dolls : $3 - $10 (you can choose the print at home option and save even more money!)

MiniMe Custom Paper Dolls : $5 -$25 (print at home options also avail). I love that these are custom, so you get to chose, hair color, style, eye color, skin tone, etc. 

5. and finally, putz Christmas Houses ...
If you know me, you know I like vintage things. Especially nick-nacks. And this year I finally started getting some of my own pieces. But these are some that I love on ebay and wouldn't mind having ... of course, it's much better to find them around town and for a fraction of the cost (I have yet to pay more than $4.99 for any of mine). These are the ones on our sofa table. I just love them. 

and the one in the front room...

I even found these free downloadable Putz house patterns online here. I plan on doing these next week with the kids just for fun (minus all the glitter dust of course).