Monday, December 22, 2008

A Flair for Fashion

After bathing, Little Miss Independent went into her room on her own...into her closet and dresser drawers and threw this ensemble together. The velvet dress is on backwards, and the Lelly Kelly shoes (handed down from her cousin Natalie) are about 1-2 sizes too big still. Despite it all...something works! I think this is a fun-funky look and I am impressed a 3 year old put it together on her own (even unintentionally :). I am "feelin" the backwards dress...I like the buttons in the front...And I would never have paired the hot pink polka-dot leggings with this jumper and Mary Jane tennies, but now I am trying to figure out what season she could actually wear this...the sleeveless arms and sockless/ tightless legs don't work too well for Winter months...and the velvet doesn't work too well for summer...I think late Spring and Early Fall may be winners. Anyways, I love fashion and I just couldn't resist snapping a few of this 3 year old creation...especially when this little monkey was "caught in the act" as you'll pleasantly view in the last two photos.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There's No Place Like HOME for the Holidays

This has been a fun post to do...I have been taking photos here and there since we first put up our tree Thanksgiving weekend. And since then, in our home...It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We have a traditional eclectic Christmas tree...white lights, berries, pinecones, bulbs in purples, reds and golds, popcorn garland and a mixture of fun, special and vintage ornaments.

We added this Advent Wreath to our Christmas traditions this year.

The kids had a lot of fun helping to decorate the tree and the house this year.
Brooke especially got into it...I can tell she is her Mommy's girl and already loves decorating.

a little help from daddy
Because our home is up for sale, we minimized the decorating this year. Normally, we have two Christmas trees (the second being a real one we cut down ourselves and let the kids decorate to their liking) But, here are a few odds and ends we bring out each year...
vintage Santa tin
these oversized Jingle Bells hang from our banister which is decorated in white-lit garland

My mom made this cute "melting" snowman above.
Cinnamon-scented pinecones are in a couple of rooms...this helps the "Christmas feel" since we do not have the real smell of pine in the home this year.

Vintage postcards- made into art (the one below: circa 1920)

Our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
("Good Grief!" isn't it cute?)
We call this our "Jesus Box." It sits next to the fireplace...Inside there are books all pertaining to the true meaning of Christmas...The birth of Jesus! We read to the kids each night before bed...This serves as a good reminder why we celebrate this holiday. (and all the stories are a bit different yet have the same meaning. With kids it's all about repetition, repetition, repetition. May they always associate Christmas with Christ and not just Santa Claus)
Every Christmas Eve my Dad read us "Twas the Night Before Christmas" when we were children...this tradition has carried into our own home now too.
(As well as an ELF who comes every Christmas Eve, rings our doorbell and leaves a package for the kids...the same thing every year...Brand New Christmas PJs...but we have yet made it to the door in time to actually see this quick elf...Santa is always in a hurry and calling him back to the North Pole for some last minute toy-making)
I like this mini tree above- the photo doesn't do it justice, but it's fun and a bit sassy-
decorated with hot pink, fuschia and red bulbs)
Of course, you must have the famous PICKLE on your tree...
And these are my favorite ornaments...the one above is my first ornament from the year I was born. Every year we were given a new ornament for Christmas and my mom wrote the year on the back of them.
I was four when I received the one below. Each one of us kids got the same ornament, just a bit different...(with this ornament below, I think my brother got a bushel of pears, and my sister a bushel of lemons, etc.)
These next three wooden ornaments are special because my Grandpa made them...I remember his workbench set up in his basement where he used to whittle and carve, and the painted ones drying on the kitchen table upstairs.

This ornament below was also one of my very favorites
A first grade artist made the ornament below :)
(It always finds it's way on the back of the Christmas tree)
On this year, we all received different musical instruments. I love ornaments that are actually "objects" like this...
The below Tinder Box is cool...but I have yet to find the perfect place for it. So year after year,
it gets set out in some random spot with no purpose. Darcy loves to make comments about this.
And our newest addition: BUDDY the Elf!
You'll hear more about Buddy in the days to come
My favorite Christmas tradition is probably the advent calendar. My Mom made this one for me- it is an exact replica of the one we had growing up. She actually made this same one for all 5 of us kids- (I wish I could find the picture of us all holding them- we were in the living room of the old farmhouse we grew up in...)
We loved taking turns opening the presents each day...and continued doing it throughout high school and some college years (except we no longer fought over who's turn it was to open an ornament). My kids absolutely love doing it now. It's the first thing they do in the morning and it helps us count down the days till Christmas. (and I labeled each wrapped ornament with the number and child's name, so there is no switching, confusion or arguing over who's turn it is!)
We go to the library once or twice a week. The rack below has all the Christmas themed books we have been borrowing. Each week we re-stock with 15-30 new books...and these ones have stories about reindeer, Santa and elves too. (I love the library- books, DVDs, puppets...and it's all free, free, free!)

I have to laugh about this beautiful BOOB gift above. This "thing" is made from baby food jars, red lace and ribbon, and it actually lights up! It is passed from one family member to another each year. I can't remember if it was originally given to someone as a "real" gift or if it was a gag gift/white elephant gift exchange. At any rate, we have enjoyed the laughter it brings each year. Last year Darcy was the lucky recipient. This year...who knows who will be the winner! (The funny thing is- we had a small holiday get together recently and displayed this on our kitchen counter. I was going to be serious and rant to our guests how innovative this piece of art was and what craftsmanship went into the making...and I forgot. I wonder if anyone noticed it, or if anyone thought this was a "real" decoration? Ha!)
more fun ornaments...tomatoes and birds
another ornament from childhood (another real object- a chair!)
And YES! We still hang Candy Canes from our tree. ..At least while the kids are young...They love it! And why fight tradition?
I picked up this Nativity Set this year for the kids. It is called "What Does God Want for Christmas?" It comes with 7 boxes and a story book to go along with it. It works a bit like a game in that the kids listen to the story and open up the boxes in order as the story is being told. Boxes one through 6 contain the characters to the original Christmas Story...
And in the order they appear...the angel Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the shepherd, and the wiseman. As the boxes are opened and the story is being told, the kids set up the figurines in the stable and "role play" the story...
But Box number 7 is the last to be opened and it is a surprise! It contains the secret of the story...What Does God want for Christmas?
and if you peek inside, you'll find a mirror...He wants YOU!

And I'll leave you with a kiss...
We have this kissing ball hanging and mistletoe too...
And this Christmas, we are sending our love to YOU!
from our home to yours...