Thursday, December 23, 2010

Signing Off....

Friends, I'm signing off for Christmas and thought I'd leave you with one of my favorite Christmas songs, Mary Did You Know.  My prayer for you is that your Christmas is full of the wonder of the Christ Child and joy as you enjoy your own children and/or families. Thank you for sharing this year with me.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stone Soup

Do you have any last minute holiday baking to do?  Are you stressed about it? If so, boy do I have a solution for you.  Check out this free downloadable cookbook where every recipe is five ingredients or less: Stone Soup. The entire cookbook is full of sweets: ice creams, cookies, cakes, tarts and more.  I cannot testify to all of the recipes, but I've tried and few and they were a success. The best part is the ease at which every recipe can be made - five ingredients I tell you. This is going to make my upcoming cookie exchange a breeze.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Legend of the Candy Cane

It's funny to me how candy canes are such staples at Christmas. When I ask my girls what they want for Christmas, one of their first answers is "a candy cane."  This surprises me because aren't they just the same as peppermints that we can get year-round?

Truth be told, I love candy canes too. I love them because of the message that can accompany them. I confess, I do not know if the Legend of the Candy Cane is true or not, but it's another way to get the real meaning of Christmas in the heads of our children that are so bombarded with what the world thinks of Christmas.  You can bet this little story will be read with each candy cane my girls consume.

The Legend of the Candy Cane

Many years ago, a candymaker wanted to make a candy at Christmas time that would serve as a witness to his Christian faith. He wanted to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus.

He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. The white symbolized the virgin birth and the sinless life of Jesus.

He made the candy hard to symbolize the that Jesus is the solid rock and the foundation of the church. The firmness also represents the promises of God.

The candy maker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. He thought it could also represent the staff of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

The candy maker then added red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could be forgiven and have the promise of eternal life.

The flavor of mint is similar to hyssop. In Old Testament times, hyssop was associated with purification and sacrifice. It was also used at the cross as they gave Jesus a drink of vinegar before He gave up the Ghost.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Baby Sock Advent Calendar

I know it's too late to do this for this year, but you can bet I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for some Christmas baby socks on sale after Christmas.  I've been looking for a cute, simple advent calendar. We do our Jesse Tree Devotional and I love it, but my oldest said to me the other day, "Mom, did you know there are calendars with pieces of chocolate in them?"  I played dumb and acted like I didn't know.  Since both of my girls inherited my sweet tooth, I thought it would be fun to surprise them with the "chocolate kind of calendar" next year. These little socks will hold treats that are just the right size for little ones. Check out Martha Stewart for instructions.  

I hope you are all finding the time to sit back, relax and enjoy the provisions of God this Christmas. Even if the material provisions seem lacking, remember that the greatest provision has already come in Christ.  Why is it so easy for me to lose sight of this, even when I try so hard not to? I guess it's because the world is so easily a source of distraction. I'm thankful that God is always waiting for us to return to Him and thank Him. His forgiveness is abundant, His grace is sufficient and His love is without measure.  Thank goodness!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Picture with Santa

These pictures were taken at the downtown Neiman Marcus. They have an impressive NASA style Christmas theme that includes some incredible crawling tubes (picture Chick Fil A on steroids) for the kiddos. It's definitely worth a visit. The tubes are free, but they definitely make up for it with the price of the Santa pics. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Twine Ornaments

I bought a roll of twine for another purpose and had a bunch left over.  So I got to thinking of other ways to use this twine of mine.  Since I'm going for a more nature inspired look next year, here's one idea I came up with.

1. I started with a tube of silver ball ornaments from the Target dollar spot.  You can't beat 8 for $1.00.

2. Next came the twine and craft glue.

3. I added glue to the top and just started wrapping the twine around one section at a time.

4. It looked like this and yes, this is a sticky project.

5. Here is the finished product, although the glue was obviously still drying.

6. Here are the rest I was able to do while my girls were working on......

 7......these. Stickers + Sharpies + cheap ball ornaments = fun for all.

Here is the final look. I think lots of these and other "natural" elements on my tree next year will be just what I'm looking for. 

Do you have a theme for your tree? If so, what is it?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Free Nativity Scene Download

I just stumbled across this free download. I love the simplicity of this nativity scene and it comes in many different colors. I think it would be darling in a simple frame, turned into gift tags (imagine that) or hung in the center of a wreath. 

Speaking of nativities, my girls have had a ball coloring nativity coloring pages. It's just an easy way to divert them (for a while) from Santa, presents, candy canes, etc. Go here to find a lot of great coloring page options. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a Wrap

Have you started wrapping yet? I've just begun and am always so inspired by the many wonderful and beautiful ways to wrap gifts. All of the ideas below have an element of reuse/recycle/repurpose. That's why I love 'em.

I always complain about the 50 small newspapers that seem to be thrown on my walk daily.  Maybe I should stop complaining and start wrapping.

Another qualm - what do to with all the daily artwork that my children produce. Let's be honest, I can't keep it ALL, so why not give some away.....

(via Martha Stewart Living)

Craft paper? Lunch sacks? Grocery bags?  Do you have any of those things laying around? I do.  How cute and simple is this?

(via Martha Stewart Living)

It looks like this winter scene could easily be made with some construction paper and a hole punch. I bet the kiddos would love helping with this one. 
(via Martha Stewart Living)

Happy wrapping, my friends.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Gem at Pier One

I don't shop at Pier One very often. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was even in one of the stores. But every once in a while I check their website just to be sure they haven't come up with something that I love. Well, they have. Check out this darling throw.

It's Ralph Lauren and Anthropologie all in one.  I will say, it is not cheap. The price is $69.95.  But, depending on it's size and how soft it is, it might just be worth the price for someone special on your Christmas list. I think it would add the perfect little punch to a sofa or chair. Unfortunately, I just don't have a place for it. 

Have you found any other goodies out there in unexpected places?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Looped Christmas Trees

Here is a project I'm definitely going to do for next year....looped Christmas trees.

This would be such a great way to use left over wrapping paper, scrap-booking paper or anything paper for that matter. I'm thinking about using some of my antique book pages and seeing what happens. If I get around to it before Christmas, I'll be sure and let you know how it goes.  

Have you found any fun Christmas crafts that have made your decorating a bit more personal and creative?

Have a Rock'n Christmas!!!

Hubby was in charge of the Christmas card this year.

I wish I could make it bigger so you could get the full effect, but it's pretty hilarious. Chloe loooved the drums and Ava was in full performance mode - it couldn't have captured their personalities more perfectly. I can't wait to see what next year holds!  

We hope you have a rock'n Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Recycling Newspaper: A New Way

I ran across these on the West Elm website this weekend. This, my friends, is another great way to recycle newspapers.  I don't know if I'll get around to trying this before Christmas, but I'll definitely give it a go in the new year. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Gift Tags: the "natural" look.

I'm sure by now you are getting tired of gift tags or have more than you could possibly use. But, I stumbled across these the other day and think they are too cute not to pass along. I love the earthy, natural feel to them. These will be the one's I use this year (unless I come across some others, which is highly possible).

If you've got enough tags to embellish your gifts, here is another idea:

(image via Country Living)

It reminds me a lot of our "I'm Thankful" tree. I think it would be darling to have Christmas prayers on each tag and pass them out as people leave your home (be it a visiting neighbor, party goers, play dates, family, etc.).  What a sweet way to bless people this time of year. 


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Christmas Decor

I share these pictures with you only because all of my Christmas decorations have been done on the cheap. Most have been purchased at prior year's after Christmas sales. This year my mission after Christmas is to find some natural wood ornaments (and other neutral decorations) for my tree and a linen or burlap tree skirt. In the past I've gone with a lot of color and am now ready to tone it down.

(I found my mercury glass at Kohls after Christmas a couple of years ago. They always have a handful of really cool things.)

(The reindeer are from Wisteria outlet after Christmas sale. The sad looking branches are from a tree in our back yard; I'm thinking it's time for some fresh ones.)

(I love using glass jars and vases because I've collected tons of them over the years and they can be used in so many ways). 

(Ball ornaments are such an inexpensive and easy way to decorate, although my hubby did say all the colors might give our fish a heart attack - so far, he's fine).

(I love pinecones - another after Christmas purchase. The snowflakes are at Target right now and $1 for sets of two large ones or 4 small ones).

(Terra Cotta Nativity from Wisteria after Christmas Sale)

(Our Jesse Tree)

Hopefully these pictures show you just how easy it is to decorate on a dime. I usually set a aside a little money each year for after Christmas spending.  Not only to I get any additional decorations I'm looking for, but I also look for paper, ribbon, holiday scented candles and soaps (these make great teacher's gifts for the following year).  I usually limit myself to about $50 - it's amazing how far it can go. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I love burlap. It's inexpensive and adds such a natural element to decor.  Here is a simple way to use burlap and twine cover up plastic planters that plants often come in.  I love the greens and purples of the rosemary and kale, but also think the burlap would be so pretty on the containers of white and red poinsettias for Christmas decorating.

(images via Velvet and Linen)

Here's to keeping things simple!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Online Design

The second edition of RUE, a free online design magazine, is (has been, really) out. If you like to unwind by flipping through design/home decor magazines (like I sometimes do), this is a great way to do it. It's free and green.

Here are a few images that I thought inspiring and lovely:

This would make for a pretty centerpiece in either an apothecary jar or glass vase. 

I love the big bowl of nuts and dark, cozy colors.

The simple elegance of this office would be so soothing to work in. (But I bet it doesn't have the calming sound of my washer and dryer in the background....poor thing).  :)

This could be achieved so easily with a bookshelf from ikea. I love this for a playroom. 

Take some time out for yourself soon. Grab a cup of coffee, flip through RUE and forget about all you have to do.  Make it a gift to yourself and enjoy. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Shows

This months feature for kids at the Studio Movie Grill is Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas. It's every Saturday in December at 11:00 am and admission is $2 a pop. There's nothing like a little monkey to add some Christmas cheer. 

Other shows I'd love to see are (warning: big price jump from the $2.00 admission):  The NutcrackerHow the Grinch Stole Christmas, and ICE at the Gaylord Texan.

I hope your December is off to a good start. Crank up the Christmas music, start a devotional, put some cider on and ENJOY THIS SEASON!!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More Free Gift Tags!!!!

By now you have probably figured out that I love packaging/wrapping gifts as much as I love giving them.  If you're anything like me, here is a treat for you....more free gift tags. Check these cuties out....

These are just three out of twelve free Gift Tag printables you'll find by following the link.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Crafts

Since we are officially in December, I figure it's time to start the Christmas crafts. My goal is one special craft a day.  I'm certain there will be days that the craft will simply be decorating paper with Christmas stickers, but below are some that I hope will fill in those gaps. Just click on the link below each picture to go straight to the "how to" page. Happy Christmas crafting!