Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day

 Hopefully by the time this post has posted I will be long gone.
Long gone to my parents home, surrounded by my siblings and grandparents and all their love and affection and good nature ribbing and lots of doing nothing for a few days.

Today is Boxing Day, the day we all gather together to celebrate and rejoice and exchange gifts.
We are funny that way.

These are my gifts for them.
They are simple. Most are homespun.
A few are not.
Some will hit the mark. Some will miss.
We all do what we can.

The past few months have been a bit of a roller coaster around here.
Christmas 2010 is falling right along that line.
Imperfect. Beautiful. Unpredictable. Surprising. Full.

I will mostly like be absent from the ye ole blog for a few days as I enjoy my family and the art of being lazy and mull over all these things.

2011 - what will you bring?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

Here we are at last.
Christmas has truly begun.
Redemption has come to us all.

Merry Christmas friends.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Day

This is it. The celebrating begins in a few short hours.
As I am finishing up gifts and wrapping gifts, I am thinking about Mary.
Was she in labor all day or was it sudden and quick?
Did they comb Bethlehem looking for a place to crash, with her having to stop every few yards to breathe through a contraction? Or did her labor come all at once - as she finally lay down to sleep in the barn, exhausted and worn out
 just  about to drift off, then WHAM! Baby time!
We all work so hard to plan for our Christmas's. We spend so much time getting ready. Being prepared.
Do we leave any room for the unexpected? For wonder divine?
For Mary and her baby and their blessed interruption?

After all, Jesus wasn't born on Christmas.
Christmas came because Jesus was born.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the Thursday before Christmas

 Thursday's To-Do List

*Not freak out about increasingly messy house
*Finish Collage Gifts
*Figure out who is lighting which candles during tomorrow nights service
*Wrap Gifts for Tonight and Tomorrow's get-togethers
*Remember why we are doing all of this in the first place. Let that soak into my bones today and not a bunch of "shoulds."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the Wednesday before Christmas

The past 2 nights have been filled with small, intimate holiday gatherings with some of our very best friends.
Each night I have gone to bed with my heart full to overflowing.
I am so so grateful for their honesty. Their laughter. Their outlook on life. Their love of me, of my children and husband. Their support, encouragement; Their genuine excitement when things go right, their genuine concern when things go wrong.
Their complete lack of pretense.

Their continuing friendship throughout the years is always one of my favorite Christmas gifts.
My life is so much brighter, so much richer, so much MORE because of them.
My wish this Christmas for them, for us,  is as the song says
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now

Wednesday's To-Do List
*Make Collage Boxes
*Paint Frames for Collage Boxes
*Put laundry away
*Help boys with their gift making
*Advent Dinner 
*Watch The Family Stone and perhaps The Family Man while crafting

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the Tuesday before Christmas

 Saturday night Wylie had his Christmas Recital for Piano.
Afterwards we continued the holiday celebration with a trip to Wendy's 99Cent Menu and a tour of our State Capitol building.

We have lived in the Little Rock area for 12 years and just last year we discovered this little {free} gem of a holiday experience. The boys love it because it is THE CAPITOL - oh my little history buffs!
I love it because it is festive. 

 Every year they light the whole building and you can see it from miles around - so beautiful.
My favorite part is how they have spelled PEACE in the round windows above the columns.

 There are 4 levels in all and they open them all up to visitors for the holidays.

 This year I just kept marveling at all the marble.
I know that I have seen in before, but I had never noticed how much there really is.

 The bridge with the snowflakes overhead is the big Picture Spot.
I love how they created a grid over the bridge with fishing line to hang all the snowflakes from.

 The tree is local and huge and beautiful as always.
I did think it could have used more ornaments, but then again I like a glittering tree...
Guess for the "Natural State" tree less may be more.

 My nutty nutcracker boys.
Right after this wrestling ensued and they had to be seperated.

So that is our capitol.
If you live local you should go - it stays open late and it is a lot of fun for all ages. They even open rooms like the Old Supreme Court and the kids can go sit at the bench.
It's good to get them hooked early on.

Tuesdays To-Do List
Finish Stitching on Scarves
Wrap Some Gifts
Make Chicken & Dumplings for the masses
Keep boys from destroying living room & dining room before Playgroup party tonight
Figure Out Craft for Party

Monday, December 20, 2010

the Monday before Christmas (and a WINNER!

Today starts the Christmas Making/Baking/Cleaning/Wrapping Marathon around our home.
I love it. And I love that I get to be home this week in order to do it up right.
If you are like me, you are just now getting started on some of your handmade gifts.
 And if you are like me, you spend last night racking your brain for all those gift ideas that you made mental notes of earlier in the year. Notes like "I will make that for Christmas! That's perfect!"
Only you couldn't remember one single craft, so you had to come with a whole new list.

So I propose a Christmas Exchange. A Christmas Exchange of
Last Minute Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas.
To participate, see my list below, then put your list in the comment section OR post your list on your blog and come back and share the link in the comments section.

Here is my list:

What is on you  Last Minute Handmade Christmas Gift List?? I would love to know!

*Also, the winner of the copy of  Common Prayer is comment #5
Maureen said...This book and I will be together some day. I have seen it here and there 3 or 4 times this week alone. Maybe it's meant to be.
Maureen email me your contact info so I can get this book sent to you!
Thanks to everyone who entered!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

the sunday before Christmas

 Today I went to church, heated up leftovers for lunch, took a 3 hour nap, washed dishes, made Mac-n-Cheese for the kids for dinner,  and am about to go fold more origami and watch a Christmas movie of some kind and maybe plan out my crafting/baking/cleaning for the next few days.

Speaking of cleaning, these pictures are all from our laundry room.
This year I have only purchased 4 ornaments, 1 tin can that says JOY and a huge box of used Christmas lights.
I think when you have reached  the point when you have enough decorations to adorn your laundry room with Christmas Cheer, it might be a good sign that you need to STOP buying holiday decor.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

the saturday before Christmas

the way my mind works lately is like this:
what do I have to do Today?
Not, what do I have to do Tomorrow? Next Week? Next Month?
nope, if it is not on the list for Today, then chances are I am not going to plan for it.
well maybe I am stretching the truth a little
but not too much.
the result of thinking like this is that I am rarely overwhelmed.
another result? we have 1 week till Christmas and I am just now, today starting the handmade portions of my gifts.
and digging the wrapping paper out of the hall closet, which was a major accomplishment.
above is Gift Wrap Central 2010
it may not be pretty but it is organized and now it is done.
the handmade gifts will not be so quickly conquered however.
so today I called in some back-up support.

some of our besties came over to play and craft.
Fizzie Lizzie came prepared with her mad origami skills to teach me some basics for a gift idea I am working on, while J & W came to distract and entertain Wy and Miles so I could get my craft on.

Lizzie's patience when teaching - an adult or child- is amazing. She is zen-like. 
When Miles, unable to resist a crafting session, even with Bigger Boys in the house, joined in, she never blinked, she just included him in our work without missing a beat.

 Now that I have mastered my technique I have to get to folding. And I have a lot of folding to do.
But Confucius says "Better to fold paper than laundry,"  right?

Friday, December 17, 2010

every day holiday table

One of my goals this past year has been to find ways to really use our house to it's full potential. not wasting space, not complaining about what we don't have and working with what we do have.
We are still working on that goal, but one thing we have done well so far is that we have began to use our dining room table as our every-day table.

This solved 2 issues; firstly it keeps us from only using the dining room table as a dumping ground
And secondly this has allowed us to turn the kitchen table (which is bar height) into another work station since we are sadly lacking in counter top space and we all 4 like to get in on the cooking.

Of course changing up anything in a house is like pulling a thread on a sweater. You change one thing, and suddenly you have to change it all...
Ever since having boys I have become a big fan of cute oilcloth and vinyl tablecloths. they can be fun, vintage in look and VERY easy to clean up.

But the dining room table is a great shade of blue and I hate to cover it up, so I have found myself going back to place mats after years of being a tablecloth person.
Of course cloth place-mats pose the same problems as cloth tablecloths 
(man I wish I could get a dollar for every time I am using the word "cloth" in this post!)
so I was super excited to find these vinyl snowflake place mats at the Dollar Tree on our vacation.
They are fun, festive, easy to clean and durable.

Also, at that same store I found these great drinking glasses that look like measuring cups.
I bought one just like these about 3 years ago in another town at a another Dollar Tree.
I loved the glass - the design, the weight, the price - but when I went back to get a whole set they were gone and I have never seen them since.
Until the last day of vacation when I spied these on my millionth trip through the store.
I bought all they had.

The last item on our every-day table is our Advent Wreath that the boys made a few years ago at church.
We try to have one Advent meal a week, lighting the candles, reading the readings and sharing what Peace, Love, Joy and Hope mean to each of us & how they challenge us.
On Christmas Eve, after we have put out the Santa cookies and the Reindeer food we will light the tall white candle, the Christ candle,  and begin our Christmas at last.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holly Jolly Folly - The Party

Oh my do I love a good old fashioned Christmas party!
Egg Nog and Cheese Balls and Boiled Shrimp Pinned to foam trees with toothpicks.
Or a Holiday party with a Chinese buffet  and well mixed drinks.
Deciding what to wear, deciding what to take, pulling out your "party purse."

Now you all know that I will  happily Make Do and Mend. I will Stay Calm and Carry On. I will Hunker Down and Hold On for the The FEP. For the good of our budget.
But sometimes a girl likes to dream, and this girl likes to dream of throwing a Yuletide Celebration with unlimited Visa Gift Card footing the bill.
Why not?

So without further ado here is my Holly Jolly Christmas Folly Dream Team

Skirt & Shirt: Ruche
Boots: Anthropologie
Tights: Target
Earrings: Etsy
Apron: Cath Kidston

Wrapping Paper, Christmas Cards, Naughty & Nice Coasters: Paper Source
Star Ornaments, Tin Cans, Star Bag: Ikea
Snowman and Santa Snowballs: RSH Catalog
Red Dot Ribbon: Cath Kidston
Wide Burlap Ribbon: Micheals
Toy Boys: Land of Nod

Tea Towels and Silver Trees: Wisteria
Red Lantern, Stripe Fabric & Paper Cups: Ikea
Polka Dot Plates & Paper Napkins: Cath Kidston
Burlap Fabric: Joann's
Spoons: Anthropologie

Do you dream in inspiration boards?

Monday, December 13, 2010

For the FEP: Jolly Goode Posters

 now for sale at JollyGoode

support adoption and putting good things into the world

Friday, December 10, 2010

Visions of Sugar Plum Faries...

 Today our school went to see the Nutcracker Ballet.
And when I say our school, I mean almost the whole school.
It was an amazing experience. We took up almost the entire balcony of the the theatre. The kids did great, the show was great and it was fun to try and pick out our school mates who were dancing on stage.

Today was a day that some child's -maybe one, maybe more - world opened up and they saw something they had never seen before. They experienced something they have never had the chance to experience before, and a spark was ignited. Today they were inspired.
Today was one of those days when I really love my job.

To celebrate this classic Christmas tradition I thought I would share a few of my favorite Nutcracker things...

This is a fun book, great illustrations
You can also find a free printable from the book here

These Christmas Crackers are so fun, but they are sold out. That's OK, I think I could make them just as easily and maybe make them with my own spin.

Frida and Diego do the Nutcracker.
This print makes me happy - the colors, the subjects, the style.
Love it!

Makes me want to give my plane jane Nutcracker's a makeover

Aren't these cute? I think I love the Mouse King the most!

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