Wednesday, December 28, 2011

:: New Years Eve

How was your Christmas?
Ours was wonderful.
We just arrived home last night from a 
fun filled week in Las Vegas with family.

On to New Years.
Any fun plans?
We'll probably just be home
{and putting the kids to bed early}.

Found a few cute ideas for the countdown.

:: 12 balloons with activities in them for every hour.
{that way you can keep them busy AND they'll stop asking "how much longer"}

:: same idea as the one before, but in bags

need some free printables for your New Year's Eve party?
Love the Tom Kat Studio printables.

I absolutely love this idea {below} to add memories throughout the year
 and then read all of them on New Year's Eve.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all enjoy this wonderful day
and are able to spend it with those dearest to you.
I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ.
His birth, His life, 
and the great gift He gave each one of us.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

:: Christmas - reindeer food

Last week I was trying to figure out 
what to give Ava's little preschool friends for Christmas.

I'd seen these idea on Pinterest.
Reindeer Food.
Of course.
They'd love that.
And Ava loved the idea too.

And it's so simple!
Just get some oats, sprinkles, and glitter, (or other reindeer snacks)
mix and put it in a snack size ziplock bag.
Print this topper here and you're done.

They'll love sprinkling this on the lawn/snow on Christmas Eve.

{here are those sneaky, little hands again - - always trying to grab what I'm photographing.
at least they're cute, sneaky hands.}

Some other free printables for reindeer food
can be found below.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

:: Christmas - portable north pole video

Last December, I discovered an amazing website
that helps you create personalized videos from Santa to your child.
Almost better than waiting in a 2 hour line at the mall to sit on his lap (we have yet to do that).
It's called the Portable North Pole and you can find it here.

I discovered it and made a personalized message for Ava and each of her cousins
that were going to be at my parents' home for Christmas.
After we read The Christmas Story and the kiddos
opened up their Christmas pajamas,
each child took a turn watching their own message
from Santa.
{we recorded it, but I can't find it.}
The awe on their faces was priceless.
Those kids were in heaven!

So, I was reminded about it this year and decided to do it again.
It might as well become a tradition.

All you have to do is give them some info
(name, age, what they want, what state they live in, pictures)
 and your e-mail and they'll e-mail it directly to you.
It does expire (I think a month later) but you can
buy your video for $6.99.

If you'd like to see Ava's video that we'll show her
on Christmas Eve, then click here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

:: Family Happenings - Wicked!!!

One of my favorite things I did last week?
Well.  Now that you ask. . . 

We FINALLY saw Wicked!!!!
It was amazing!

I've been dying to see this musical.
Well . . . about three years ago (as an anniversary gift)
the hubby gave me an "I owe you" to go see it.

I heard it was coming back to L.A.
and politely reminded him of his "I owe you".
So, he bought tickets and we went last Wednesday night
{which might be the cause of the lack of posts from last week}.

Anyway, I thought that since we were driving to L.A.
we might as well drop by the fabric district.
I've been waiting to go there for years.

So, we dropped off the girls with some family 
in San Diego and drove to L.A.
Spent a few hours in the fabric district.
{I was in heaven.  I don't think the hubby was, but I think he was happy that he wasn't studying for finals anymore, so he could care less where he was.}

umm. . . check out these yards and yard of ribbons and lace

and floor to ceiling filled with bolts of fabric . . . inexpensive fabric.

It started getting dark so we decided to go find the theatre and then
grab something to eat nearby.
Traffic was crazy.
That's why I don't live in L.A.
We found a hole-in-the-wall pupusaria (which are the best)
and ate those yummy pupusas that I constantly crave.

Here we are before it started.
Oh.  Did I mention it was amazing?!
If you ever get a chance to see it, GO!!!
And the hubby LOVED it too (no joke - and he's not a musical-lovin' guy).

**oh and if you want more info/tips on the fabric district,
then check out this link here.
Leanne has some great information!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

:: Christmas - paper snowflakes

We have a Christmas Advent calendar,
and each morning Ava opens up the little envelope
to see what activity she get to do that day
 (related to something Christmas-y, of course).

Well, the other day it was to make paper snowflakes.
Ava's addicted.
The other day she kept on giving me papers 
so that I could make more and more.

She automatically put them on the fridge.
Love my girl.
I think we'll probably hang them from the ceiling.

Here are a few tutorials.

(we did all three of these - I like the top one the best)

and we've gotta try these ones below.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Christmas wish for a young boy.

A woman from my church recently posted
on Facebook about her nephew who will soon
have his last Christmas.
Her nephew was diagnosed with DIPG (diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) 
or Pediatric Brainstem Cancer in December of 2009. 
He's currently on Hospice and will be spending his last Christmas at home with his family.
He's only 10 years old.
{can see more about him at

His Aunt says, 
"About 6 months ago while spending a lot of time at the hospital, the local area in Waterloo Iowa had a "get well card" campaign. He received literally bags and bags of cards from well wishes. This needless to say made his day. He loved reading from so many cards of complete strangers that had taken an interest in his life. What we want to do for him this, his last Christmas, is see to it that he again receive bags and bags of Christmas cards, only now from all over the country. "

So, please,
if you have some time,
please send Ollie a card.

It can be short or long.
Handmade or bought.

What matters is that he gets a card from you!
A complete stranger!
It would make his day.

Mail to:
Oliver Palmer
417 Oaklawn Ave.
Waterloo, IA  50701

We'll be making a card for him tomorrow night.
Maybe a few snowflakes too (cause right now Ava's on a homemade snowflake kick).
And please repost this on your facebook page or blog!
The more cards the better!

Happy Monday!  And hope your weekend was great!

Friday, December 9, 2011

:: Clothing the Littles - holiday dresses

I love little girl dresses.
Especially the holiday dresses.
This one is from H&M for only . . .
No joke.
I'm in love.
Of course it wasn't at the H&M near me.
And they don't sell online.
Has anyone seen this dress?!
{doesn't look like it'd be hard to make though - maybe I'll try}

Oh and if you're not into making Christmas dresses,
a great place to buy them is off of ebay.
Some people buy the dresses just for Christmas
and then never use them again.
So they're cheaper but still in great condition.
I found the cutest dress for Reese
for my brother's wedding in February.

It was bought from Gap for probably around $40-$50, used only a few times
and I bought it for $7.
Love it.
{but watch out.  ebay can be pretty addicting.
also, make sure you know how much shipping is because
sometimes the item will be really cheap, but the shipping is a fortune!}

Thursday, December 8, 2011

:: Christmas - scrabble ornament

When I'm at thrift stores, I'm always on a lookout for scrabble games.
Do you know how many crafts you could make with those pieces?!

Anyway, I found a game and they've been 
sitting in our laundry room gathering dust.

{side story - - we don't play scrabble at our house cause the hubby despised it.
although now his favorite computer game is 'words with friends'
and now all of the sudden he wants to play scrabble.
but, because sometimes I'm too prideful and so annoyed that
he complained about that game for 5 years - whenever my family played it, 
I decided to do with it what it was bought for - to make a craft.  :)  don't worry.
I'm sure I'll find another scrabble game soon and we'll actually play it.}

I first saw this idea here.

All you need is:
scrabble pieces
the wooden stand they sit on
a chop saw
hot glue

Pretty self-explanatory, huh.
Cut the stand down to the length of the word you want to create.
Sand edge.
Hot glue the letters to the stand.
When you get to the letter in the middle, first hot glue the twine and then 
you can hot glue the middle letter on top of the twine.
Place ribbon around
and you're ready to hang it on the tree!

I think I'll be making these with our names on them
to go on the present with the Christmas pajamas.
{we get a new Christmas ornament each year}

Be careful though.  
Little hands love these scrabble ornaments.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

:: Christmas - christmas book tradition

I tried this tradition a few years back, but Ava was too young to care.
So, I didn't continue it.
 (plus I don't think I had enough Christmas books)

But it's really easy.
Just wrap up 24 Christmas books.
{if you don't have enough, go to the library or . . . re-wrap}
Place numbers on them (or not ).
Put under the tree.
Each night they get to open one up and you get to read it to them.
(although on Christmas Eve she gets to open up two - -
'Twas The Night Before Christmas and The Nativity)

Ava LOVES it.
She loves opening presents {and then shredding the paper to pieces}
and she also loves books.
So, it's a win-win.

We love reading them near the Christmas tree
with the twinkle lights lighting the pages.
We love Christmas!

Reese also likes this tradition and is beginning to love the opening of gifts.
{just hope she doesn't shred them like her older sis}

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

:: Christmas - real meaning of Christmas

So before you get too caught up
in the commercialized part of Christmas,
take a look at this video
and lets remember the real meaning of Christmas
through a child's eye.

I absolutely love this.

Monday, December 5, 2011

:: Christmas - on my to-do list

So there are a few things I want to make this
year before Christmas has come and gone.

Our Christmas tree still has no skirt.
Embarassing, huh.
Each year I say I'm gonna make one and I end up being too busy.
But this year it's gonna happen.
No really, it is.
I really need to schedule it in.

This is what I'm going to make.
A no-sew ruffle Christmas tree skirt.

We have Christmas stockings,
but I've always wanted to make my own.
And these are the ones I'm going to try to re-create.
Ruffles for us girls and something more manly for the hubs.

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

What's on your list to get done this December?

Friday, December 2, 2011

:: Photography - christmas tree glow

Months ago when I first discovered Pinterest (oh what an amazing day that was),
one of my first pins was this one here.
Loved it and knew I would try it once we put our tree up.
Although, mine isn't as awesome as hers cause my camera's
highest iso setting is 1600 [insert screaming here].

To recreate this look,
grab your camera and turn to manual mode, 
bump the iso up (way up),
and shutter speed down to 1/30th range (focusing on tree), 
and make sure you place the camera on a tripod or if you don't have one
then a couch or chair will do.
And you'll get a look like this SOOC (no editing involved).

It was hard to keep Reese still in this one, but a miracle happend.

Canon Rebel Xsi
ISO 1600
SS 1/30th

Come check out her linking party.

Unskinny Boppy

And this one too!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

:: Embrace the Camera 12.01.11

It's December 1st.
The Christmas decorations are up.
The Christmas tree is decorated.
And I have almost all the shopping done.
{although I have a few homemade gifts I need to start on}
My goal this year is to be organized. {ha!}
So I can enjoy this Christmas
and to remember the true reason for the season.

We took family pics the other day {self timer style}.
Just waiting for our Chirstmas cards to arrive so I can send those out.

I love my family
and I love December.